The Massacre in Paris; Assessing the Muslim Response, by American Imam, Luqman Ahmad

Iterror-attack-paris-510x287 do not regard lightly, the loss of any innocent life that Allah has made inviolable. Innocent life is sacred, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, nationality, or ethnicity. It is Allah who grants life to whomever He pleases, and no one has a legitimate right to take that life unjustly. When people die, other people’s lives are affected. When innocent people are mercilessly killed, slaughtered, gunned down, beheaded, massacred, blown up, suicide bombed, or droned for no sense at all, it amplifies the tragedy.

I agree wholeheartedly that condemning violence against innocent souls is an appropriate Muslim response as it falls into the category of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil (al’amr bit a’roof wal nahyi an al-munkar). However, condemning selected instances of violence, while remaining silent about others that are equally if not more heinous, only perpetuates the widely held notion that Muslims living in the West are disingenuous, and self-serving. If Muslims are in fact, morally outraged about the terrible slaughter in Paris, then we should be equally outraged when it happens in Beirut, North Africa, Palestine, in suburban Connecticut, or in a Chicago slum.

There is a difference between taking a firm, unequivocal, morally principled position against injustice and murder of innocent lives of any kind, and taking episodic stances against occurrences of extreme violence’s against innocent civilians, according to hyperbolic pressure from the media, or our own political, and public relations considerations. This recurring, and seemingly automated Muslim reaction to these types of selected and sensationalized acts of extremism only takes us deeper into an ostentatious black hole, with no foreseeable ending or win game.

If we still believe that selective condemnation of Muslim violent extremism will somehow convince the media and vocal critics of Islam, and Muslims, to put the brakes on their vitriol, and give the rest of us a break, then history has shown that we are terribly wrong, and have not succeeded by any measure.

That we continuously find ourselves in the circuitous predicament of feeling compelled to condemn yet another incident of Muslim violence, and then complaining with the same frequency that no one’s listening, is testimony enough that just as violent extremists have hijacked the image of Islam, our politics has hijacked our morality.

We cannot continue to calibrate the shelf life and intensity of our moral consciousness based upon the length of a news feed or the broadcast schedule of the news media. Politicizing our Islam has virtually eviscerated Muslim moral credibility in the West. If people believed that we were truly a people of conscious and not a people of convenience, there would be no expectation of Muslims to condemn selected instances of violence, nor would we feel any compulsion to do so.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Luqman Ahmad has been the Imam of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento California, for close to 20 years. He is the author of the Book: ‘The Devils Deception of the Modern Day Salafiyyah Sect, a detailed analysis of extremist salafiyyism, which is the mindset of the modern ISIS extremists. Available on Amazon.com. He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

The Book: Miskaat al-Masaabeeh; A reunion with My Childhood Friend, By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

mirkatGrowing up in Philadelphia, my father, Sheikh Abdul-Karim Ahmad had a lot of books in the house, mostly about Islam. We had a lot of children’s books about Islam as well that my parents used to teach us or have us read as lessons. The first so called adult book of hadith that I actually read with seriousness is one that I took from my father’s library and adopted as my own, called “Mish’kaat al-Masaabih” (A Niche of Lamps). This was the first recollection that I have of actually reading hadith of the Prophet (SAWS). I was about 11 or 12 years old at the time. Back then I had no idea about hadith terminology and didn’t know what was meant by good (hasan), sound (sahih), or weak (da’eef), and I was totally oblivious about the meaning of the term “agreed upon” (muttafiqun alaihi[1]) which would appear at the end of many ahaadeeth in Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh.

The truth of the matter is that at the time, I wasn’t really interested in what those terms meant. I just liked reading the hadiths of the Prophet (SAWS). Many of them I didn’t fully understand and I would occasionally ask my father about this or that, but mostly I just kept on reading as there were many that I understood well on face value. The copy of the Mishkaat in our house that I read from was in Arabic with the English translation right under it. I didn’t know Arabic at the time so of course I read the hadith in English but there was something fascinating to me about reading hadith of the Prophet; a love and a fascination that has not left me even until today, more than forty years later.   The light of Muhammad Rasoolillaah (SAWS) is a light that never dims, and it is a knowledge that never goes out of relevance, and it is a hidaaya (guidance) that never wanes.

It wasn’t until I became an adult that I came to appreciate the value of this book that I “borrowed” from my father’s library and made a home for it on my nightstand. What is so outstanding is how I, in my Philadelphia bedroom as a child, was benefiting from the work done by a scholar centuries earlier and how the sacred knowledge of prophetic tradition has been so carefully preserved, generation after generation until this very day.

Collecting prophetic tradition is one of the most prestigious and loftiest of scholarly pursuits, and the scholars of hadith (al-Muhaddithoon) are counted among the intellectual elite of our Ummah.  The assembly of illustrious personages by whom Allah has preserved prophetic tradition amounts to no less than a miracle. The sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) is an indispensable tool in understanding our great religion. Their faith, their love for Allah and His Messenger, and their dedication to the detailed and painstaking task of naql (transmission), dabt (accuracy), and bayaan (clarity) with respect to Prophetic tradition is the fuel that energized them to collect and preserve the sunna of the our beloved Prophet Mustapha (SAWS). Imam al-Hakim [died 403 A.H.] who was considered one of the Imams of the Muhadditheen, and the Imam of the Muhadditheen of Khursaan who authored many important works, started writing his most famous work; “al-Mustadrik alaa Saheehain” when he was 72 years old.

The scholars and preservers (huffaadh) of tradition employed various methods of chronicle in collecting [la1] and recording ahaadeeth of the Prophet (SAWS). Some of them would record authentic (sahih) hadith exclusively and place them in one collection such as Imam Bukhaari and Imam Muslim in the two sahihs (as-Sahihain).  Some of them would compile hadith according to the companion that narrated it. Such compilations are called ‘musnad’ as in the Musnads [musaaneed] of Imam Ahmad, Abu Ya’la, al-Bazzar and others, and there were others who gathered hadith and recorded them in a book according to the subjects of fiqh (sacred law), such as the Muwatta of Imam Malik and al-Bayhaqi’s as-Sunan al-Kubrah. Some scholars compiled books of hadith on a particular topic such as Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarik [died 181 A.H.]  in “az-Zuhd” (asceticism), and  Ibn abi Dunya in “Adab ad-Dunya wa Deen”.

Which all brings me back to the book of my childhood; “Mishkaat al-Masaabih” by Shaykh Waliyuddeen Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Khateeb at-Tabrizi {died 741 A.H.], is a highly valued book containing ahaadeeth of the Prophet (SAWS) that has been read, taught and prized as a premier collection of prophetic tradition by countless Muslims. It is considered by scholars past and present to be a bona-fide compendium of the sunna. The basis of “Mishkaat al-Masaabih” is taken from the book; “Masaabih as-Sunna” which was a collection of about 4434 ahaadeeth written by the famous Shaafi’ee scholar and jurist Imam Abu Muhammad al-Husayn ibn Mas’ud ibn Muhammad al-Farra’ al-Baghawi who died in the Hijra year of 516. It was a valued work, and contained ahaadeeth from the six major collections of hadith; Bukhaari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmithi and an-Nisaa’i, as well as ahaadith[2] from the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, the Sunan of ad-Darimi, and ahaadeeth from Shu’b al-Eemaan (Branches of Faith) by al-Bayhaqi [died 458 A.H.]. I remember as a child, not knowing anything about him, how the name al-Bayhaqi resonated with me, and how I thought it was an interesting name of an important person. However, in “Masaabeeh as-Sunna”, Imam al-Baghawi did not mention the isnad of any of the hadiths he recorded nor did he mention the name of the narrator.

According to prophetic tradition, one of the signs that Allah loves a person is that he gains acceptance in the earth by the righteous of the ummah[3], Imam al-Baghawi’s “Masaabeeh as-Sunna” received great acceptance from the scholars of his time and hence forward. They regarded it as an important work, and wrote appendages for it, abridgements of it, and commentaries on it.

Abu an-Najeeb Abdul-Qaahir ibn Abdullah as-Sah’roorudi [died 563 A.H.] wrote an abridged version of “Masaabeeh as-Sunna” which he entitled; “al-Masaabeeh”. Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Abul Hasan al-Khaawaraani [died 571 A.H.] wrote a commentary on it which he entitled; “At-Tal’weeh fi Sharh al-Masaabeeh”. Shaabud-deen Fadlallah[la2] [la3]  ibn Hasan at-Turbishti [died 600 A.H.] wrote “‘al-Maseer”.  Ali ibn Abdullah ibn Ahmad, also known as Zainul-Arab wrote three commentaries on it known as “al-Kabeer, al-Awsat”, and “al-Sagheer” (The Big, the Medium and the Small respectively). Taqiyyudeen Ali ibn Abdul-Kaafi as-Subki [d. 756 h.] wrote a commentary on it which he called “Diyaa al-Masaabeeh” (Light of the Lamps) and Shaykhul Islam al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani [died 852 A.H.] wrote a book called “Hidaayatul Rawaat ilaa Takh’reej al_Masaabeeh wal Mishkaat”. However Al-Asqalaani didn’t merely write a commentary, he appended an exposition of the narrators (rawaat) of

Of all the commentaries, abridgements, and literary works produced from “Masaabeeh as-Sunna”, the most famous and most enduring is the “Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh” written by Imam al-Tabrizi. Al-Tibrizi took “Masaabeeh as-Sunna” to a whole different level. He added 1511 ahaadeeth to the ones already contained in “Masaabih as-Sunna”, he added the isnad to the individual ahaadeeth which were omitted from al-Baghawi’s Masaabeeh as-Sunna, he added the names of the companions of the Prophet (SAWS) who reported the hadith and he added a notation to each hadith of the collection from whence the hadith was collected. The process of attributing unattributed hadith to their respective collection; Bukhaari, Muslim, Abu Dawood and so forth is called “takhreej”.  He also expanded and organized the book into 29 chapters. Imam Tabrizi finished this task during Ramadan in the year 737 of the Hijra calandar.

Many scholars endeavored to write commentaries on Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh.  Hasan Ibn Muhammad at-Teebi [died 743 A.H.] wrote a commentary on Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh entitled “Al-Kaashif an Haqaa’iq as-Sunnan”, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami [died 974 A.H.] wrote, Fat’hul ilaah fi Sharh al-Mishkaat. There were others as well who wrote commentaries or abridgements to Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh. However, the explanation of the Mishkaat that has endured and is in good circulation in today’s time is the monumental work of the well known 17th century hanafi scholar Mullah Ali al-Qaari [died 1014 A.H.] called Mir’qaat al-Mufaateeh Sharh Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh (Stairwell of Keys; Explanation of Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh), which exists in 11 volumes. It is a masterfully written, detailed explanation of Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, and it a tribute to its title, in that it is like a stairwell of keys, with each key opening up yet another door of knowledge into the reality of prophetic tradition.

Thus years later when I opened the box which contained the full set of Miqaat al-Mafaateeh, it was as if a childhood friend had returned to me, albeit all grown up, seasoned and mature, to befriend me once more, and be my companion. By Allah! I am fortunate to have this book in my library. It is the most recent addition to my humble family of books, which have kept me company and been my constant companions for the entirety of my adult life. I have ardent love for Rasoolillah, and love for those who narrated about him, clarified his words and preserved his sunna by Allah’s permission. I only ask that Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala elevate the scholars of hadith, and reward them for preserving the sacred inheritance left behind by the Prophet (SAWS) and for being the vehicles by Allah’s divine decree by which we  are delivered the message of our beloved Rasoolillaah (SAWS).

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ibn Abdulkarim Muhammad Ahmad


[1] Meaning a hadith to which both Imam Bukhaarri, and Imam Muslim agree to its authenticity and appears in their collections respectively.

[2] Plural of hadith.

[3] In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, the Prophet said, (Verily, whenever Allah loves a servant of His, He calls Jibril and says, “O Jibril, verily I love so-and-so, so love him.” Thus, Jibril will love him. Then, he (Jibril) will call out to the dwellers of the heavens, “Verily, Allah loves so-and-so, so you too must love him.” Then the dwellers of the heavens love him and he will be given acceptance in the earth. [Collected by Imam Ahmad in the Musnad]


 

Audio Khutba: The Keys to Mental and Emotional Health from The Quran and the Sunna, Part Two, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

mental healthMental and emotional wellbeing are two important elements necessary for one’s Islam to be healthy and morally functional. Many times, mental and emotional imbalances are spiritual ailments and the Quran and the sunna are full of directives for how to achieve mental and emotional health. Anger, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and psychopathic behavior can all be factors in moral dysfunction. To learn about the clinical solution, visit your health professional. To hear about the Islamic solution, click on the link to this khutba.

001_A_005_abulaith_The keys to psychological and emotional health part two_2012_12_28

The Islamic Ruling Regarding Morals and Ethics on Social Networks, by Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

social networking 2Social networking can be an effective tool for maintaining contact with relatives, giving sincere advice, inviting to Islam, spreading the word of Allah, and disseminating the words of His Prophet (SAWS), as the Prophet has said: “inform about me, even if it’s only one verse.[1] All of these actions mentioned are praiseworthy manifestations of faith if done with the right intention and in the right manner. Millions of Muslims across the world use facebook and other social networking outlets to do these things on a daily basis. Internet networking is the new international meeting place, and it can be a sometimes, spiritually uplifting, engaging, and profitable venue for global interconnection, spreading good, and familiarization of peoples from different backgrounds, cultures, and faiths. Human beings by our nature, are social beings, and social interconnectivity by itself is not prohibited in Islam, as Allah has indeed sanctioned it;

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”.[2]What is not sanctioned however is that people connect with one another and engage in behavior in ways that are prohibited by the Quran and the Sunna and that contradict the moral and ethical standards of our faith.

One of the first common casualties of social networking is shame

One of the first casualties of online social networking is modesty (hiyaa).  The Prophet (SAWS) said: “And modesty  is a branch of faith”. When a Muslim loses shame then they have lost a part of their faith. Facebook is a public forum; the words you say and conversations that you have on Facebook and other social media are public. You are willingly stating your views, your positions, your beliefs, and your personal discretions out there for public consumption. Therefore, if you openly report your sins without shame or modesty, then you are telling the world that you are a sinner. Therefore, If you openly and shamelessly backbite, then you are telling the world that you are an open backbiter, and if you glowingly talk about your escapades with your boyfriend or girlfriend, then you are telling the world that you are an open fornicator. You are still accountable for it but you are now deliberately publicizing it. Deliberately publicizing something is called (mujaahara) and mujaahara of sin, is itself a sin, and it shows that you lack modesty.

 Ibn Abbaas said: “Shame and faith are in the same horn, when shame is taken away, the other follows”[3]. And Salmaan al-Faarisee relates: “when Allah wants destruction for a person, he takes shame away (from his heart).  The invisible wall of the internet sometimes lures people into a false sense of anonymity and they become unabashedly immodest.  When people start to lose modesty/shame, their faith as a whole begins to dwindle, and it can continue to where they have no shame at all. This is why the Prophet said: “If you do not feel any shame, then do as you wish[4]. People put out things shamelessly and fool themselves into thinking that since they are behind a computer screen, there are no repercussions for what they do and say, and all they need to do to hide is to turn off their computer. That is a wrong asumption.

The difference between public and private actions in Islam

When you intentionally publicize something to the world, you are making a public statement about yourself, who you are, what you believe, and what you are about. With respect to Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, is doesn’t matter if what is said is done in private, or done publicly, each is accounted for;

سَوَاء مِّنكُم مَّنْ أَسَرَّ الْقَوْلَ وَمَن جَهَرَ بِهِ وَمَنْ هُوَ مُسْتَخْفٍ بِاللَّيْلِ وَسَارِبٌ بِالنَّهَارِ

It is all alike [to Him] whether any of you conceals his thougt or brings it into the open, and whether he seeks to hide [his evil deeds] under the cover of night or walks [boldly] in the light of day”.[5]

With respect to the public, when you publicize things to people without shame, you give them license to form opinions about you that you, yourself, have confirmed. There is the additional harm of opening yourself up to criticism, recrimination, and ruining your reputation. Facebook is a public forum; the words you say and conversations that you have on Facebook and other social media are public. If you unabashedly lie to the public, then you only confirm to them that you are a liar. If you are unabashedly lewd to the public, then you confirm to them that you are lewd.

Everything on Facebook is recorded

Everything that you put on your facebook page becomes a permanent record that will bear witness for, or against you on the Day of Judgment. The angels that record words and deeds are not intimidated by the internet; and even though you can set your privacy settings to limit access for people, there is no way that a person can shield his or her online actions from them or from Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala. Sometimes people are misled into thinking that since we are sitting comfortably ensconced in our homes out of view from the public; our words and actions online do not fall under any divine jurisdiction and have no spiritual consequence. This could not be farther from the truth; every deed, and every word, is recorded;

And whoever does an atoms weight of good shall see it, and whoever does an atoms weight of bad shall see it”[6]. The angels who record deeds, and words, write down every word whether it is online or offline;

مَا يَلْفِظُ مِن قَوْلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيْهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌ

[Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it).[7]]

Facebook Fitna

For all its benefit, Facebook like other social networks can be a great source of fitna (trial); an alarming amount of marriages have ended, been weakened or have been threatened by the involvement of one or both spouses in risky facebook activity. People are insulted, maligned and slandered, and in turn, are tempted to return insults, and often do.  Peoples sexual exploits are divulged shamelessly and people regularly report their offline sinful behavior. It is not permissible for a Muslim to use social networking as a means to cheat on one’s spouse, cultivate unlawful relationships, post revealing photographs, spread bedroom secrets, or to uncover the faults of others without just cause. All of the above are prohibited in Islam by agreement of the scholars, and have toxic consequences upon the soul.

Likewise, we shouldn’t use the internet to make fun of people, exhibit bad character, or to backbite and slander one another. Those of you who are looking for spouses should keep in mind that it will only take a few clicks for your potential husband or wife to see the extent of your bad character, in fact the world can see it and all who see it or read it will bear witness to it. Some people have taken it upon themselves to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, to show the worst behavioral qualities that they have to the public. Remember, whatever any one of us puts out on the internet, multiplies and can spread way beyond our control.

How Sins or virtues are multiplied on Facebook

When it comes to good words or good deeds, they are automatically multiplied by at least tenfold; [مَن جَاء بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا وَمَن جَاء بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلاَ يُجْزَى إِلاَّ مِثْلَهَا وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ] “He that doeth good shall have ten times as much to his credit: He that doeth evil shall only be recompensed according to his evil: no wrong shall be done unto (any of) them.[8] However, bad words and statements, on the other hand, require more caution; a bad word, bad action or deed under normal circumstances, by itself constitutes only one infraction or sinful act. However, when you take into account the duplicitous nature of internet posting in that information is often re-tweeted, re-posted and forwarded to and read by others, who in turn, repeat the information, a single bad word, false statement, accusation or slander is multiplied exponentially, so one personal attack is not just one personal attack, it can easily become 1,000,000 personal attacks, and one heretical statement becomes 1,000,000 heretical statements. Then it’s all written down and goes on a scale that we will see on the Day of Judgment.

This is why the Prophet (SAWS) said: “A person will say something that angers Allah and not give it any thought, then (that statement) will throw him into the hell-fire a distance of seventy autums[9]. A singular online statement of backbiting, slander, or disbelief, may multiply long after you have logged out of your computer, and become a cause for your own spiritual ruin. May Allah protect us from that.

Good and Bad Precedents

This is the true danger of using bad words, bad adab and bad judgment when posting, liking or commenting on things using the internet, is that since it is a public forum, you increase the likelihood that someone else will follow your example. As in the hadith of Jarir ibn Abdullah, who reported the Prophet (SAWS) as saying; “Whoever sets a good precedent in Islam will have the reward for that and the reward of those who do it after him, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest. And whoever sets a bad precedent in Islam will bear the burden of sin for that, and the burden of those who do it after him, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.[10] It is important for Muslims to be aware of the potential consequences for what they are posting. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, he said: the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: “Whoever calls others to guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest. And whoever calls others to misguidance will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow it, without it detracting from their burden in the slightest.[11] With respect to the two previously mentioned hadith, Imam Nawawi says; “These two ahaadeeth clearly encourage us to set good precedents and forbid setting bad precedents. The one who sets a good precedent will have a reward like that of everyone who follows it until the Day of Resurrection, and the one who sets a bad precedent will have a burden of sin like that of everyone who follows it until the Day of Resurrection. The one who calls others to right guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow it, and the one who calls others to misguidance will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow it, whether this guidance or misguidance is something that he initiated or it was started before him, and whether that is by teaching knowledge, acts of worship, etiquette or anything else”[12].

This is important to consider, because long after you have logged off of your computer, deleted your social network account, changed your profile, or in some way shielded your identity, your actions are still spreading and having consequences. This can continue long after your soul has left your body and you are in your grave. It is common that people post and say things that they give no second thought to, and it will turn out that those statements and posts will result in their being thrown into the hell-fire. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “A slave of Allah might say something which pleases Allah Almighty without realizing it on account of which Allah raises him some degrees. A slave of Allah might say something which angers Allah Almighty without realizing it on account of which he falls into Jahannam.[13]

Major infractions we commit on Facebook

Spreading marital secrets.

 The Prophet (SAWS) said: “Verily among the worst people before Allâh on the Day of Judgment is a man who approaches his wife sexually and she responds and then he spreads her secrets.”[1] This is when either a husband or a wife, and sometimes boyfriend and girlfriend pretending to be married, discloses about their personal bedroom manners. This is prohibited behavior in Islam and has terrible spiritual consequences, and places people amongst the worst people on the Day of Judgment.


[1] Collected by Muslim, Ibn Abi Shayba, and others.

Heretical statements or sentiments

Another common problem that we see are when people make statements, or take positions that are tantamount to kufr (heresy); such as when people openly reject verses of the Quran, or authentic  hadith of the Prophet (SAWS) without any ta’weel [acceptable interpretation] . A person may state on facebook or another social network like YouTube, twitter or instagram and say, I believe such and such a thing, or so and so is correct when they say such and such a thing, all the while, the statement that they make or say they believe in is a statement of unbelief. Kufr, does not cease to be kufr, just because it’s on the internet.

Speaking without knowledge

Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala makes it clear; وَلاَ تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولـئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْؤُولاً   [“And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).”][15]  Too often, people make claims about religious matters without having any knowledge. It is common that people make their own tafseer of the Quran, or ignore agreed upon positions of Islamic scholarship, many times, committing heresy in the process. The Prophet said: “Whoever speaks about the Quran without knowledge, then let him have his seat in Hellfire.” [Tirmithi]. Making capricious statements about Quranic verses is a cardinal sin. Even if the person happens to be correct, the fact alone that he or she takes such liberties as to freely interpret the sacred word of the Almighty God Allah, after it had been sent down from seven heavens, delivered by the archangel Jib’reel to the Prophet (SAWS) and preserved in the hearts of men is enough to warrant condemnation.  “The Prophet said: ”He who speaks about the Quran on the basis of his own opinion, he commits an error even if he is right”. [Tirmithi and Dawood]

Disclosing the faults of others

This has become rampant on face book and other social media. Many Muslims have followed the path of tabloid television and spend an inordinate amount of time in trying to disclose the faults of others; such behavior leads to punishment in this life and in the hereafter;
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَن تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

“Those who love to see scandal published (and) broadcast among the Believers will have a grievous Penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: Allah knows and ye know not”[16] (Quran, 19-24) The first principle to follow on this matter is to cover up your brother’s faults and resist scandal, based upon the hadith of the Prophet (SAWS) “Whosoever covers (the sins of) a Muslim, Allah covers (his sins) on the Day of Judgment”.

Backbiting and Slander

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it…But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful”.[17]

Backbiting is the most heinous of sins, and bears grave consequences. The Prophet (SAWS) was reported to have said: “Allah may forgive a person if he repents after committing adultery. However, Allah will not forgive the one who backbites, till his victim forgives him.”[18]

Dear beloveds, let’s be mindful of what we post or comment on the internet because bad words, bad adab, profanity, personal attacks, false accusations, lewdness, and misinformation about the religion, has its consequences. Hiding behind online anonymity may work for some people to conceal their real identities from the public, but it doesn’t work with Allah; “And every human being’s destiny have We tied to his neck; and on the Day of Resurrection We shall bring forth for him a record which he will find wide open, and he will be told:] “Read this thy record,! Sufficient is thine own self today to make out thine account!” 17:13-14 Quran. Remember to think before you post, like or comment. And Allah knows best.

Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Luqman is the weekly Imam/Khateeb at the Islamic Society of Folsom in Northern California  and Executive Director of the Lotus Tree Institute, an American Muslim Think Tank based in California; he can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari

[2] Quran, 49:13

[3] Jaami’ Uloom wal Hikam, By Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, p. 248.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari.

[5] Quran, 13:10

[6] Quran, 99:7-8

[7] Quran, 50:18

[8] Quran, 6:160

[9] Collected by Imam Ahmad, and Abu Eesa at-Tirmithee.

[10] Collected by Muslim

[11] Collected by Muslim

[12] Sharhu Muslim 16/227-227

[13] Collected by Bukhaari

[14] Collected by Muslim, Ibn Abi Shayba, and others.

[15] Quran, 17:36

[16] Quran, 24:19

[17] Quran, 49:12

[18] Collected by al-Bayhaqi

77 principles from the Quran and the Sunna, that supports stability in your life. By Imam Luqman Ahmad.

Dear beloveds, these are tough times that we live in. many families are in turmoil. Drug abuse, incarceration, spousal abuse, family and moral dysfunction, ignorance of religion, wanton violence and killing, fanaticism, marital discord, social instability, emotional baggage, juvenile delinquency, and hardened hearts are plaguing our communities in the United States.  Many of these things are signs of the last days, and there will be in the coming years, many spiritual casualties. Below are seventy-seven principles, from the Quran and from the sunna of our Prophet (SAWS) that will aid the Muslim in restoring and maintaining steadiness in his or her life. If you are experiencing instability in your life; then practicing these principles will help you in sha Allah.

  1. If at all possible, be married not single
  2. Honor your parents
  3. Teach your children the right way to behave.
  4. Always speak the truth, even if it is bitter
  5. Establish prayer
  6. Always observe the month of Ramadan.
  7. Do not compromise religious principles for monetary gain.
  8. Maintain good character
  9. Establish order in your home.
  10. Pay your zakaat dutifully
  11. Make Hajj when you are able
  12. Learn your religion
  13. Don’t make excuses for not for fulfilling your obligations
  14. Be kind to your neighbors
  15. Honor your guests
  16. Be fair and just in your dealings
  17. Speak kindly to your spouse
  18. Pay off your debts
  19. Get an education.
  20. Remember your Lord much and mention his name throughout the day.
  21. Take time out for your family
  22. Take time out for yourself
  23. Take care of your health
  24. Keep your religion simple and don’t make it complicated
  25. Do not make prohibited what Allah has allowed
  26. Don’t worship the scholars , but take the good from them
  27. Avoid fornication and adultery like the plague
  28. Don’t waste money
  29. Do not oppress anyone, ever.
  30. Don’t waste time
  31. Maintain good relations with your relatives.
  32. Protect your children from harm.
  33. Avoid the use of profanity
  34. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
  35. Don’t be two-faced.
  36. Be kind and benevolent to the orphans
  37. Be loyal to what you believe
  38. Avoid unlawful relationships
  39. Don’t beg for anything from anyone, except from Allah
  40. Give salaams, to those who you know, and those who don’t know.
  41. don’t be envious of what other people have, except those who have      knowledge of religion and teach it to others, and those who have money and      give it to charity
  42. Always Keep your home, your clothes, and your body clean
  43. Don’t confuse religion with culture
  44. Don’t waste food
  45. Be grateful for the things you have.
  46. Don’t be self-destructive
  47. Embrace parenting
  48. Avoid religious extremism
  49. Avoid religious sectarianism
  50. Don’t argue with people about your faith.
  51. Visit the sick
  52. Never associate partners with Allah; not ever.
  53. Stay away from intoxicants
  54. Don’t say that which you do not do.
  55. Avoid close association with unrighteous people
  56. Mind your own business
  57. Always have the right intentions.
  58. Keep observant of the Friday prayers
  59. Support Allah so that He will support you
  60. Avoid complaining too much
  61. Find content in what Allah has given you
  62. Look to those who have less than you do; not to those who have more      than you do.
  63. Stay close to the masaajid
  64. Be a part of a Muslim community that has an imam
  65. Trust in Allah in all of your affairs
  66. Always observe cleanliness and the principles of Muslim hygiene
  67. Be proud of your faith
  68. Give sincere advice and be willing to take it from others.
  69. Avoid religious innovation
  70. Be consistent.
  71. Don’t let your children rule your home
  72. Always be present at the two Eids
  73. Embrace islamic spirituality according to the sunna
  74. Accept Islam totally without pre-conditions
  75. Be sincere in your worship
  76. Love the Prophet (SAWS), and send salutations upon him (SAWS).
  77. Love the righteous, and give them respect.

 Imam Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, a researcher, associate Imam and resident scholar at Toledo Masjid al-Islam in Toledo, Ohio. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF). He is also and the author of the book, “Double Edged Slavery“, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a critical look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.

The Islamic Ruling Regarding Muslim Women Following Funeral Processions, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Al-humdu lillahi Rabbil aalameen, wa salaatu wa salaam alaa Rasoolilllah, wa alaa aalihi wa sah’bihi wa sallam

A short time ago there was a death in our area and after the janaazah prayer, the women were told to stay away from following the funeral procession to the burial site. Among those present were the wife and female children of the deceased. The announcement was disheartening to them, and to others who then asked me what my opinion on the matter was. Al-humdu lillah we were able to redress the issue and allowed them to accompany us to the grave yard to offer their du’aa and to pay their last respects to their husband and father, and they did so without any wailing, any misconduct and without losing control of themselves in any way. However, I became aware that this is a prevalent understanding of many Muslims in the United States that women are not allowed to accompany the funeral procession to the grave site under any circumstances. Thus, we release the following statement in order to clarify the question. Wal Allahul Musta’aan wa bihi tawfiq.

Women following the funeral procession and going to the grave site

This issue is both a matter of urf (local custom) and fiqh (Islamic law). The part of it that deals with urf , is; what is the local custom amongst Muslims in America is with regard to women’s role and behavior at funerals, and whether or not that behavior is permissible based upon the Quran, the sunna and the analysis of our scholars.  The other part of the matter is the definitive understanding of this issue by our Prophet (SAWS), his companions, the Salaf of our ummah and the people of knowledge. Wa Allahul Musta’aan, wa bihi tawfiq.

The objective of understanding the religion and the proper practice thereof is not served when we apply a ruling to a condition that does not exist. When people say: women following the funeral procession, and going to the grave site, what is meant here in the United States and elsewhere is when after the janaazah prayer is over, they follow the burial procession to the grave site, and stand and be witnesses to the body of the deceased being lowered into the ground and put to rest while they make du’aa, and stand quietly, and allow the men to do the actual lowering and speaking if any. This is the practice as it occurs here in the United States and therefore this is what the ruling needs to apply to.

The reason women were prohibited from the graves

The prohibition and disliked nature of women attending the gravesites is not simply a matter of a female presence at the grave; it is a matter of unlawful and unislamic behavior, some of which would harm the deceased and add to their punishment, as mentioned in the hadith; “Indeed the deceased will be tortured for those who wail over him.”[1] This understanding is also taken from the hadith; “There are four things from the affair of the days of ignorance that my nation will not abandon; boasting about one’s status, criticizing people’s lineage, seeking rain from the stars, and wailing over the dead. And if the wailing woman does not repent before she dies, she will be made to stand on the Day of Judgment wearing a garment of tar and a mangy coat of armor.”[2]  In the days of jaahiliyyah (ignorance), before the guidance of Islam, the women during that time used to tear their clothes and beat their cheeks and make unlawful utterances upon the death of someone, and the Prophet (SAWS) used to disavow such behavior; “They are not from us; those who beat their cheeks, tear open their garments, and call out with cries from the days of ignorance.”,[3]

Understanding of the scholars regarding this prohibition

The textual prohibition of women going to the graves is found in the hadith of Umm Atiyyah; :”We have been forbidden to accompany funeral processions but it wasn’t strict upon us[4] In explaining this hadith, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani says: “The phrase ‘but it wasn’t strict upon us’ [wa lam yu’zam alainaa] means; he didn’t make it a firm prevention for us like he made other things that were prohibited. So it’s as if she [Umm Atiyyah] said; he disliked for us to follow the funeral procession without making it prohibited”.[5] In this respect, Imam al-Qurtubi said: “the apparent wording of Umm Atiyyah indicates that the nahiy [prohibition] here is nahiy tanzeeh[6][prohibitively disliked]. The hadith is also a daleel (proof) that there are degrees in prohibition and that not all statements of prohibition from the Prophet (SAWS) have the same meaning. Imam al-Qurtubi goes on to state: This is the position of the majority of people of knowledge, and Imam Malik leans towards it being permissible outright, which was the position of the people of Medina.

The permissibility of women attending the gravesite is further supported by what was related by Ibn Abi Shayba in the hadith of Abu Hurraira that the Messenger of Allah was at a funeral and Umar saw a woman (following the funeral procession). He yelled at her, but the Prophet (SAWS) said to him: “Leave her alone, `Umar! Verily her eyes shed tears, the soul feels the pangs, and the promised hour is near.”[7] According to Abu Hasan ad-Dawudi[8] the meaning of the Prophet’s statement “and it wasn’t strict upon us” is so that we do not go to the family of the dead, console them, and invoke blessing upon their deceased and then not follow the funeral procession. The majority if not all of the hadith regarding the prohibition of women attending funeral processions, except for the hadith I mentioned from Sahih al-Bukhaari, are weak. However what it prohibited, is unlawful behavior such as wailing, tearing the clothing, jumping into caskets, cursing Allah’s decree, beating one’s self, and like behavior.

The Islamic ruling regarding women attending the funeral procession and visiting the graves

Following the body of the deceased to the grave yard is a right of the dead upon the living according to the hadith: “the right of a Muslim over a Muslim are six” and at the end of the hadith is the phrase; “and when he dies, follow him”. This is the agreed upon position of Ahlus sunna past and present. The ruling of whether or not women should be allowed to accompany the funeral procession to the gravesite is predicated upon whether or not unislamic behavior will occur as a result of their grieving. What constitutes normal behavior occurring during funerals varies from country to country and sometimes even from region to region. Because of the tumultuous conditions in many parts of the Muslim world, many deaths of Muslims are a result of bombings, terror, war, retaliation and factionalism. These are all circumstances where emotions may run high and wailing is more likely to occur. Additionally, many funerals accompany protest which is another reason for high emotions.

In the United States, at this juncture in our history, most deaths of Muslims are due to illness, old age, accidents, and natural causes. In cases where death is from homicide, it is usually one or two persons. Amongst American Muslims, there has never been an accepted tradition of wailing over the dead, tearing clothing, jumping into the casket, cursing Allah, or questioning His decree with regards to someone’s soul being taken. Some of these practices did exist in jaahiliyyah before people entered into Islam, and some of it still exists amongst non-Muslims. However, this type of behavior amongst Muslim Americans was addressed and stamped out early on, and the Islamic prohibition on these things has been pretty well known across the board by the general Muslim population here in the United States.

Furthermore, we do not have a history of paid mourners, wailing parties, and mass hysteria during funerals amongst the Muslim women folk here in our country.  Although it has happened on occasion that one or two persons would get out of hand, this is has been usually corrected immediately by others who are present. I have been present at scores of funerals and have seen the women present at scores of burials and have never witnessed or even heard of women wailing, yelling, cursing, tearing their clothes, or beating their cheeks at funerals.

Similar moral progress occurred during the time of the Prophet (SAWS) with regards to visiting the grave sites. In the beginning of the Prophetic era, there was a need to prevent the women from the gravesites because of their recent habit to jaahiliyyah practices, and later as people gained greater understanding, the prohibition was rescinded. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “I used to prohibit you from visiting the graves, now (I say) visit them for verily it will remind you of death[9]. In another tradition, the Prophet (SAWS) saw a woman crying at a grave so he told her: ‘Fear Allah and be patient.[10] It is duly noted in this hadith that the Prophet (SAWS) did not forbid her from staying at the grave. The Mother of the Believers, Aisha (RA) continued to visit the graves after the death of the Prophet (SAWS), as mentioned in the hadith of Abdullah Ibn Abi Mulaykah, who said: `Aisha came one day from the graveyard, so I said: “O Mother of Believers, from where have you come?” She said: “From the grave of `Abdul-Rahmaan Ibn Abi Bakr.” I said: “Did not the Prophet (SAWS) forbid visiting the graves?”She said: “Yes, then he commanded us to visit them.”[11]

Therefore, based upon the fact that Muslims in America, as a rule do not engage in the practices of wailing, tearing clothing, beating the cheeks, and hollering out bad statements at funerals, and the evidence from the sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) and the view of the scholars we have mentioned, it is not haram for Muslim women to accompany the funeral procession to the grave sites as long as they are able to control themselves from the unlawful types of behavior that we have mentioned in the hadith. If there is a probability that attendance at the burial will stir emotions to a degree where unlawful behavior will likely occur, and If the standards of adab and decorum cannot be maintained when following the funeral procession to the gravesite, then it is prohibitively disliked. And Allah knows best.

Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, an associate Imam, khateeb, at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam in Toledo, Ohio. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF). He is also and the author of the new book, “Double Edged Slavery “, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[2] Collected by Muslim.

[3] Collected by Muslim.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari.

[5] Fat’hul Bari, vol. 3, p. 489.

[6] The difference between nahiy tah’reem [prohibitively unlawful] and nahiy tanzih [prohibitively disliked] is that the former makes something haram and therefore a sin while the latter makes it disliked but not sinful in and of itself.

[7] Collected by Ibn Majah and an-Nisaa’ee.

[8] Abu Hassan Abdurrahman ibn Muzaffar ad-Dawudi (d. 467).

[9] Collected by Abu Dawood in the Sunan and by Imam Ahmad in the Musnad, this hadith is also in Sahih Muslim but with a slightly different wording

[10] Collected by Bukhaari.

[11] Collected in the Mustrad’rak of al-Haakim, and in the Sunan of al-Baihaqi

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