Meri Soch aur Meri Awaz

The treasure of a fool is in his tongue, so think before you speak

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Prophet as a Man: Conducting Human Affairs

History has not recorded the detailed life of any person in the same way as it has done in the case of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is due to the fact that his practices, particularly in matters of religion, provide an example that we are urged by God to follow. The encouragement applies even in ordinary matters where no religious edict is needed and where people are free to choose whatever method they wish. In such matters, following the Prophet’s example earns us a reward. God states in the Qur’an: “In God’s Messenger, you have a good example to follow, for those of you who hope to please God and to be successful on the Last Day.” Therefore, the Prophet’s companions were keen to watch his practice for guidance and they reported what they saw and heard. Scholars in succeeding generations have emphasized the need to follow the Prophet’s guidance and practice, outlining this and explaining it.
Thus, we have a complete record of how the Prophet conducted himself even in his private and personal life. We learn how he behaved at home, what he used to do when resting and relaxing, how he talked, joked, ate and dressed. Books have been written on his character and behavior, in addition to what has been recorded about his public life and how he ran his community and state. It is acknowledged by all scholars that we are required to follow the Prophet’s example only in what pertains to faith and religion. But in private and personal matters such requirement does not apply. However, if we learn how the Prophet behaved in a certain situation and we follow his example with the intention of being close to him and learning from him, such intention earns us a reward from God. Thus, if we follow the Prophet’s example in how he sat when eating, we are not doing a religious duty or recommended practice, but our desire to do as he did is acknowledged by God and granted a reward. Therefore, scholars have recorded such private matters and ascertained that their reporting is accurate and authentic.
Abbad ibn Tameem quotes his uncle saying that he “saw God’s Messenger lying down in the mosque, with one of his legs over the other.” [Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Malik and Al-Tirmidhi). This Hadith serves to tell us that it is permissible to lie down in a mosque, and the posture of the Prophet is perfectly permissible. Moreover, when we know that the Prophet did something in a particular fashion, it means that his way is not harmful.
Al-Baraa’ ibn Azib, a companion of the Prophet, reports: “When the Prophet lied down to sleep, he would put his right hand under his right cheek and say: ‘My Lord! Protect me from Your punishment on the day You resurrect Your servants.’” (Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood and Al-Baghawi). The supplication the Prophet used to say at a particular time is recommended for us to say, but the posture is not. However, it is a comfortable position that we may wish to try.
Abu Qatadah reports: “When the Prophet stopped at night for rest on a travel, he would lie down on his right side, and if he stopped before dawn, he would put up his arm and place his head on his palm.” (Related by Muslim, Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi). The Prophet placed his hand under his head in the latter case because he wanted to be sure not to sleep long and miss the dawn prayers. Otherwise, if the night were still long, he would take a more comfortable position. To him, prayer was of extreme importance. Hence, he wanted to make sure not to miss it.
Naturally the Hadiths describing the Prophet’s sleep mostly come from some who were closely related to him. His cousin, Abdullah ibn Abbas, who was young during the Prophet’s lifetime, reports: “I stayed overnight at Maymoonah (the last of the Prophet’s wives) when the Prophet woke up, relieved himself, then he performed the ablution in a middle-of-the-way fashion, making it complete but not too elaborate, then he prayed and completed his prayer in 13 rak’ahs, then he lied down and slept until his breathing was audible, which was his habit when he slept. Then Bilal called him for prayer and he prayed without performing a fresh ablution.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and Al-Tirmidhi).
Another Hadith which is similar in many ways is also reported by Ibn Abbas: “I stayed overnight in the home of my maternal aunt Maymoonah, the Prophet’s wife when the Prophet was also staying there as it was her night. The Prophet prayed the obligatory prayer of Isha and came home to her where he offered four rak’ahs of prayer before he went to sleep. He then woke up and said: ‘The young lad is asleep’, or words to this effect. He stood up for prayer and I joined him standing to his left, but he moved me to his right. He prayed five rak’ahs, then added two more rak’ahs, then he slept until I heard his breathing. He later went out for prayer.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Al-Baghawi).
These two Hadiths could be speaking of the same occasion, or of two different occasions. The discrepancy in the number of rak’ahs of prayer is easily reconciled. The first mentions that the Prophet completed his prayer in 13 rak’ahs, while the second mentions his prayer in three lots adding up to 11 rak’ahs but if we add the 4 rak’ahs of obligatory Isha prayer the complete number becomes 13, except for the last two which were the recommended, or Sunnah, prayer before the obligatory one Fajr, at dawn. This last prayer does not count as night prayer and should not be confused with what the Prophet prayed at night.
In the first Hadith, Ibn Abbas does not mention that he joined the Prophet in his prayer, while he mentions it in the second. Perhaps he mentioned the occasion at different times, and he felt in the second that it would be useful to mention the fact that the Prophet moved him to his right hand side when he was the only one joining him in prayer. This defines the position of the imam in relation to the only person joining him.
We have mentioned these Hadiths here as they relate to the description of the Prophet’s sleep. We learn from them that he used to sleep soundly, as his breathing would be audible. We also learn that the Prophet used to offer voluntary night prayer often, particularly if the Hadiths are speaking of different occasions.
In the first Hadith, Ibn Abbas makes clear that the Prophet did not renew his ablution when he woke up for prayer, while in such a situation we are required to perform a fresh ablution, or else our prayer would not be valid. The Prophet might have been informed by Gabriel that his ablution remained valid as sleeping does not invalidate ablution if one is certain that no wind or urine discharge took place during sleep.
Adil Salahi

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Good Ol' Days..

I thought of writing somethnig myslef for a change..
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I remember when we got a call from our lawyer informing us that we have gotten our visa's to come to Canada for good. I remember being happy and being sad for leaving the 17 yrs in Jeddah behind where I grew up and was fond of everyone in the street, where everyone knew each other by name and where they lived and knew everything about each other. Playing cricket with friends daily and running home as sun dawns because if you are late..you wont be able to go out and play the next day..Skipping classes with friends and doing all the fun stuff..offcourse studying was never the fun stuff. I got caught once by my brother's friend while they were skipping school as well. Coincidence..I think not..
Those good ol' days...I miss them dearly. I was never really close to my brother when we were growing up mainly because he was in Pakistan in a university and I was back with my parents in Jeddah. It all turned around when he came back after his bachelors and got a job and I had to unwillingly move out of his room and gave up all the freedom.. ;)
It all started when my brother decided to take me to meet his friends to their house where his friend's younger brothers were my firneds as well but we never were close or the bestest friends as we call each other now, I just knew that they were my brother's firneds brothers so we said knew each other to an extent... It was my brother who took the first step in making me comfortable around him, it was not becuase I did not love him..I was scared because he was my older brother.
After meeting his frineds, we all started hanging out at different places, going to different restaurants, playing pool, playing cards and video games all night long cuz we were all together for a short time always since everyone use to live in Pakistan and we were in Jeddah. We were all food lovers..trying new restaurants..or going to the same restaurant (AL-BAIK) and we never did anything out of the ordinary but we did the common things..we sat and we talked and we laughed our behind's off..We had a near death experience in a Jeep when we made a sharp turn and the jeep almost was flipped over not cuz the turn was fast but because there were 9 guys in the car but just like Pakistanis..we balmed the driver who also was a friend of ours. We laugh about it now but we were terrified.
It was right after Ramadan we were suppose to leave for Canada and we made full use of that time we were together..so we use to all go and play snooker after 9:00 p.m. every night and use to play all night and December was a month in which a lot of our friends and their family members had their birthdays in, so we ate a lot of cake in those days and gained good chunks of weight..(still trying to shed them. wish me luck..its hard to do that). Whenever we were late after all the snooker playing and knew that we will be yelled at once we get home..we use to find out whose birthday it was and buy a cake and march into the house singing Happy birthday..did that with my uncle (manjlay baba) and made him forget the anger..it was hillarious. when late at night, we got bored..we would go to their place or go pick them up and bring them back to our place..make junk food or order junk food and ate all night and play video games..my mom was always surprised to see that when at night only two of her sons went to sleep but when she came in the morning to wake us up..there was all together 7 or 8 of us sleeping in the room..
My mom one time made Biryani and lots of it for all the boys because we were all working hard moving from one house to the other smaller one for my father..she made enough so that we can all eat it for lunch and dinner but it was all finished at lunch..maybe this tells one how much we all love food..(I am guessing the reader must be thinking we are a bunch of fat guys.hehehe)..
Those teaming up in snooker games..always trash talking with the other team members..win one game and make sure they remember the defeat for the rest of their lives..competition in Video games..competition in beating each other at anything we did..pulling each other's leg at every opportunity..never let go of the one thing that made them embarassed and keep reminding them of it.
The stories are endless and I think I can go on forever..but after those last two months in Jeddah before coming to Canada were over..there was a gap of 4 years before we all met again..but those two months made me some friends that I did not have for the past 17 years..Though we live far from each other and we see each other after every two three years gap..but when we do..it never feels like we were all apart for so long. Everything is always like it used to be before. Two are married now and one has a kid who the most devilish and the mose cutest kid..those last two months I will always cherish and everytime we all sit and think about it..it brings a smile on to our faces and those are memories worth keeping.
The bottom line is I miss those good Ol' days..and I will cherish those days forever and I thank my loving and the most caring brother for all this.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Prophet as a Man: Natural Behavior in All Situations

Some people try to impart to those around them an expression of their position or an air of superiority by the way they behave or by the postures they take. Appearances count for much in social relations, practically in all societies. The Prophet (peace be upon him), however, was keen to give an air of friendliness to all people. Therefore, he behaved naturally, doing what other people do without affecting any air of superiority. On the contrary, he was keen to impart by his postures that he was not different from others, and that he viewed all people as equal.
However, he was one to inspire awe. When people looked at him they felt that they owed him respect. This came to him naturally without any affectation by gesture or posture. When he sat, he might sit in any suitable position, but always reflecting a natural attitude. Qaylah bint Makhzamah reports that she saw the Prophet in the mosque, taking the squatting position. She says: “When I saw God’s Messenger sitting humbly, I was surely terrified.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood).
This may sound strange, because the woman states that the Prophet’s posture reflected his humility, rather than any attitude that might terrify anyone. Yet she felt a dread. She does not explain why she should be scared, but apparently her fear was keen enough that she should remember it later and report it to others. Her statement serves to emphasize that the Prophet always inspired awe and people could not look at him without feeling that there was a man of high esteem. As for the Prophet’s posture, it showed his humility.
This comes out again and again in Hadiths in which the reporters mention the way the Prophet sat or reclined on different occasions. Abu Saeed Al-Khudri mentions: “When the Prophet sat with his companions he would use his hands to keep his body together.” (Related by Al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood). This means that either he would put his legs up and join his hands around them, or put his hands behind him for support to give an impression of being firmly seated. The description here suggests that he looked very strong and stable in his position.
This feeling of strength is clearly imparted in many Hadiths that describe the Prophet in different positions and situations. We often have a physical description of the Prophet in Hadiths that may be more concerned with the message the Hadith gives rather than providing a description of the Prophet. However, the description is given in order to share an image of what actually took place, or give the background to the statement being reported, as in the following Hadith reported by Abu Bakarah who quotes the Prophet as saying: “Shall I tell you about the most grievous of sins?” He repeated his question three times, and his companions requested him to give them that information. He said: ‘Associating partners with God; and undutifulness to parents.’ He was reclining but at this point he sat up and continued: ‘And deliberately stating what is false.’ He repeated this one again and again until we wished that he would stop.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Baghawi).
In this Hadith, the physical description of the Prophet’s action serves to emphasize the importance of what comes after the gesture. Although the Prophet was stating the most grievous of sins, his sitting up and repetition of the last one serves to emphasize its special importance. People very often take a light attitude to telling a lie or stating what is false, particularly when it serves their purpose or gives them some gain. Hence, the Prophet was keen to emphasize that such an action deserves to be viewed on a par with the association of partners with God, and with being undutiful to one’s parents.
Other Hadiths mentioning how the Prophet sat or walked confirm that he was always far from affectation, and he behaved normally as he felt comfortable. Jabir ibn Samurah, for example, reports: “I saw the Prophet reclining on a pillow on his left side.” (Related by Al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood). Some people suggest that the Sunnah is to lie on one’s right side, when we sleep. However, this Hadith goes to show that there is nothing wrong if one lies on one’s left side. Had there been anything wrong with it, the Prophet would not have done it. As for the pillow the Prophet used, we have another Hadith that says: “The pillow the Prophet used was made of hide and filled up with fiber.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim). This means that it was an ordinary pillow made of material that was easily found in his environment.
Another Hadith reported by Anas states: “The Prophet was unwell and he came out leaning on Usamah and wrapping a robe made of cotton over his shoulders, and he led the congregational prayer.” (Related by Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Baghawi).
Jabir ibn Abdullah reports: “The Prophet stood up on the day of the Eid Al-Fitr (which occurs immediately after the end of Ramadan) and he led the Eid prayer, starting with it before he gave a sermon. When he finished, he went to speak to the women and reminded them (of their duties and what is permissible or forbidden). He was leaning on Bilal’s arm, while Bilal put down his robe so that women could place their charitable donations in it.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Al-Shafie).
The last Hadith we quote relevant to our subject is that reported by Aishah, the Prophet’s wife, who says: “God’s Messenger used to put his head on my lap and read the Qur’an when I might be in my period.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawood).
All these Hadiths confirm what we have already said about the Prophet behaving in the most natural manner, reclining when he needed to recline, or sitting comfortably when he needed to sit, leaning on someone else for support when he needed such support. He did not stay away from people because of an illness requiring him to have some physical support. Nor did he leave women without admonition when he realized that they could not have heard his sermon in their position in the praying place. We should remember here that at Eid prayer, the whole community attends and the prayer is offered in an open place.
There were no public address systems at the time, nor even loudspeakers. Hence, the Prophet needed to address the women at a close distance.
The last Hadith tells us that the Qur’an can be read in all situations, except by a person who is in the state of ceremonial impurity. Such a person cannot read the Qur’an, but the Qur’an can be read very close to him, even in this instance in a woman’s lap.

Adil Salahi