Kith and Kin

Islam is a religion of peace and calls for the upholding of the ties of kinship because of the great effect that this has on achieving social cohesion and perpetuating cooperation and love among the Muslims. Upholding the ties of kinship is a duty obligatory upon every Muslim. This has been reiterated in various verses of the Qur’an,

“And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e., they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e., they will be far away from Allah’s Mercy); And for them is the unhappy home (i.e., Hell).” [Al-Ra’d 13:26]

This ayah brings to our attention the importance of maintaining the ties of kinship for Allah has warned us against cutting the ties of kinship and has commended maintaining ties of kinship independent of intentions of acquiring something in return from ones kith and kin.

“Shall he then, who knows that what has been revealed unto you (O Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him]) from your Lord is the truth, be like him who is blind? But it is only the men of understanding that pay heed. Those who fulfill the covenant of Allah and break not the Mithaq (bond, treaty and convenant). And those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they are good to their relatives and do not sever the bond of kinship), and fear their Lord, and dread the terrible reckoning.” [Al-Ra’d 13:19-21]

Thus we can see from the above ayah that preserving the ties of kinship has been defined as a characteristic of those who believe and of men of understanding contradictory to the qualities of disbelievers.

“And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is forgiving and Merciful.” [An-Noor 24:22]

This ayah was preceded by the event of the enormous slander against Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) and from this ayah we can see that so pleasing to Allah is safeguarding the ties of kinship that when Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) swore to not give aid to his relative who was also a part of spreading the slander against his daughter Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), Allah revealed that it would be better to forgive ones relative and help them even when faced by relatives who speak against you. After all we would all want to be under Allah’s mercy and be amongst those who Allah forgives.

“… and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship)…” [Al-Nisa’ 4:1]


The Analogy of Tabook

In 9AH, our Prophet Muhammad PBUH and the sahabas went on an expedition, famously known as “The Tabook Expedition.” However, it is also known as the “Expedition of Distress.”

This is because of the severe hardships the Muslims endured throughout their journey to Tabook. The weather was extremely hot, their destination was far off, they did not have enough riding horses to carry all of the soldiers, they quickly ran out of water and they didn’t have enough wealth to equip themselves.

In fact, in one account, it is said that the Muslims became so thirsty during the Tabook expedition that they would slaughter a camel and drink the water that was found in its stomach. A similar account is related from Umar ibn Al Khattab RA who said, “We left for Tabook with the Messenger of Allah in a period of sweltering heat. We stopped somewhere to make camp, and we became so thirsty that we thought our necks would break apart (as a result of dryness)….” He then went to explain how the situation became so desperate that one of them would slaughter his camel and squeeze out any water he could find, and drink it, despite the shortage of riding beasts.

The point being here friends is that, many of us complain about how hungry and especially how thirsty we are, we grumble and whine, not realizing how ungrateful our attitude is. Rather we should stop for a moment and think of those people, who are starving, and those war-stricken countries, who undergo much hardship. Also, we should lift the pages of history and read and reflect at what our predecessors have been through, so that we could integrate some of those ways in our life.

So, next time before complaining about how hungry or thirsty we are, remember “The Expedition of Tabook”.


Increase Ibadah and Reap the fruit of this month

Knowing the importance of this blessed month, we need to prepare, so that we can increase in ibadah and gain the most from it.

Here is a list of ways to reap the fruits of this month,

1) First and foremost, we need to draw nearer to Allah and have an increase in iman. Some of the aspects by which we can achieve this is:

  • Pondering on the creation of Allah.
  • Reading the seerah and the stories of our Prophet’s.

2) Make dua to Allah to help us maximize our ibadah and to reap the reward of it.

3) To raise our standard of doing good, whether by doing more, or better the quality of what we already do.

4) Avoiding evil: Abstain from ghaibah, lying, and other evil deeds

5) Dedicating time daily for Quran: Read it, try to understand, read a tafseer or translation as well.

6) Attending halaqas and listening to Islamic lectures that are iman boosting.

7) Utilizing the early hours of the morning: the morning hours are known for having barakah.

In conclusion, let’s hope and pray for Allah’s mercy during this time of Ramadan and focus on the lasting transformation of our hearts and souls and make dua to HIM to make all our good deeds only and solely for HIM.


The Golden Age of Spain

Al Andalusia: The shining star amidst chaos.

In the depth of the dark ages, long back during the 8th century, when Europe was still knee deep in the medieval period; when the western world was redundant of squalor and chaos, and civilization yet had mighty steps to climb. This squalid society was organized under a feudal system and had little that would resemble a commercial economy.

During this time, Abdur Rahman I, the first caliph of Al Andalusia, went to Spain and set up the Ummayyad dynasty.

At first, the land resembled the rest of Europe in its squalor, but within 200 years, it turned into a bastion of culture, commerce and beauty.

Some of the contributions they made are legends within themselves. They were the innovators of cotton, paper, glass mirror, colored glass, silk, satin and of countless more.

In fact, when London was still a tiny mud village and could not boast of a single lamp, Spain flourished with 700 masjids, 900 public baths, 10,000 lamps, 50 hospitals and streets paved and lighted. Muslims introduced public baths because of their need to perform ablution for the five daily prayers. Libraries and research institutions prospered rapidly in Muslim Spain, while the rest of Europe yet lingered in ignorance.

Court-Of-The-Lions-Alhambra-Granada-Spain-Wallpaper-1235The houses were adorned with gardens of artificial fountains and orchards. Also, the Spanish Muslims were able to acquire water from a mountain using aqua ducts; every house had access to running water. This machinery was propelled by gravity whilst ensuring that nothing else was cut down or destroyed; an enormous achievement.

During the end of the first millennium, Cordova was the intellectual well from which Europeans came to drink; it was one of the largest seats of learning. They were the ones who began algebra, symbols, equations and also the development of the Arabic numerals. They were noted for excelling in medicine, geography, physics (as it was them who had discovered gravity before Newton) and in many other fields. Students from France and England traveled there to sit at the feet of the scholars and learn from them.

These are just a few examples of their achievements and truly their accomplishments give justice to their time being called “the era of the Golden Age.”

As James Cleuge said, “For there was nothing like it, at the epoch, in the rest of the Europe. The best minds in that continent looked to Spain for everything, which most clearly differentiates a human being from a tiger.”

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The Market Patrol

Market places have been a source of great benefit to everyone around the globe, but if left unsupervised, it can metamorphose into a nest of deception and evil; where the rich discriminate and oppress the poor. That being the case, Umar (RA) would personally patrol the market place, compelling buyers and sellers to conduct their transactions in accordance with the teachings of Islam. Rather than focusing on some issues and ignoring others, Umar had a balanced approach to governing his people, giving each matter the due attention it deserved. Since commerce is of great purport in any society, Umar took vital steps to ensure the following:

  • Business was conducted in a way that benefited consumers.
  • The marketplace remained stable and prices did not fluctuate erratically.
  • No form of cheating took place in the marketplace.
  • No individual or group of people formed a monopoly or engaged in the practice of price-fixing.
  • No black market existed.
  • The removal of any form ignorance amongst buyers and sellers in regards to what is lawful and unlawful in the buying and selling of goods.

Umar achieved the last aforementioned aim by issuing the following effective yet simple decree:” Whoever has not gained an understanding [of the laws of buying and selling] may not conduct business in our marketplace.”

What Umar (RA) effectively did, is what most countries do today when they establish laws that state “no one is allowed to engage in such and such trade or profession unless one gains the required license to do so.” In order to gain such a licence, one has to educate themselves regarding the rules, norms and regulations that pertain to one’s trade or profession. Every developed country has a solid system that ensures the smooth-running of markets, and almost every city has a Chamber Of Commerce, an association that promotes and protects the interest of local commerce, or a similar institution that enforces rules and regulations that must be followed by all merchants. These very same institutions that are found in advanced countries today, Umar (RA) had established these about fourteen centuries ago. Umar (RA) appointed supervisors to oversee the marketplace across Muslim land, and there were also local supervisors who were in charge of specific marketplaces and who were answerable to the said minister.

Umar (RA) was a strong proponent of hard work and nothing vexed Umar more than the person who refused to work, making the disingenuous claim that he was placing his complete trust in Allah, believing with certainty that Allah would provide him with sustenance. For Umar knew that a person who truly trusts in Allah, works hard in order to earn a lawful living. Umar then proceeded to recite the saying of Allah,

“And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.”

This ayah proves that although Allah (SWT) alone is our sustainer, we have been commanded to work and so should do so.

Umar (RA) proved that the laws of Islam are suitable to every era and to every place on Earth. Islam’s laws pushes regressive countries forward, and protects advanced countries from spiralling into an abyss of corruption Therefore, in order to succeed in both worlds, one should always hold on to Islam alone..