Bismillahir rahman ir raheem
April 29, 2009
Jibreel Asks, and the Prophet Answers
What is the Meaning of Zuhd?—Sh. Muhammad Hassan
Asalamu alaikum wrt wb,
All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, All praise be to the One Who did not take a child, and has no partner in dominion, the One Who has no helper, Whom there is no god except He, the Creator of all things, and there is no creator other than Him. Allah deserves all forms of worship, and He declared that we worship none other than Him, that is because Allah is the Truth, and what they call on other than Him is falsehood, and Allah is the Highest, the Greatest.
I bear witness that there is no god other than Allah, unique in His Actions, Names, and Attributes; He has no equal, no partner, no opposite, no wife, no parents, nor children, unique in His Self, attributes, and actions. “Say: Allah is One, the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe, He has no children, no parents, and there is nothing like Him.”
And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the Leader of those who declare God’s Oneness, and His close Friend. He is the most knowledgeable of people from amongst Allah’s creation, who said about Allah: Indeed Allah does not sleep, and it is not befitting of Him to sleep. His veil is Light, if it were lifted, the vision of the onlooker would be set ablaze.
May Allah send peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad, the Shining Sun, and Allah opened through him blind eyes, sealed hearts, and left us on a clear manifest guidance, its night like its day. He is the caller to the best of actions and speech and character, and may peace be on his companions, family, and all those who follow his guidance and Sunnah, until the Day of Judgment.
Welcome my noble friends, parents, brothers and honorable sisters, and may Allah reward you for your efforts. You have done well, and earned a place for yourselves in Jannah. I ask Allah the Loving and Generous, who joined us during this blessed hour in His worship, to join us in the Afterlife with the Best of Callers, and Imam of the Prophets in the Gardens of Paradise.
My beloved: Jibreel asks and the Prophet, peace be upon them both, answers. Lessons in Aqeedah and Imaan, and Tawheed, based on the Hadith of Jibreel, I present it to the beloved Ummah in a new unique means of presentation, the questions and answers that take place between the Prophet peace be upon him and Jibreel. Why not, and the questioner is the Trustworthy one of the heavens, Jibreel, and the teacher is the Trustworthy one of the earth, our noble Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
And that is through this beautiful hadith narrated by Bukhari in its abridged form, and Muslim, Ahmed, and others at length, and the version I chose for us: The first one who spoke of denying Qadr in Basra was Ma’bad al Juhani. So we left for Hajj or Umrah, and said, I wish that we find someone from the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, so that we may ask him about it. We found Ibn Umar in a Masjid, and we gathered around him, and said: Oh Aba Abdurahman, some people have begun to read the Quran seeking out its minute details, believe that there is no Qadr, and that all events happen spontaneously, and that Allah doesn’t know about them until they happen. Ibn Umar said: “If you meet them, tell them that I am free from them and they are free from me. By Allah, if they gave a mountain of gold in charity it would not be accepted by Allah from them until they believe in Destiny.” Ibn Umar then said, ‘Hadathani Abi’ i.e. my father (Umar bin al-Khattab) taught me: “While we were sitting with the Prophet, peace be upon him, a man suddenly came upon us, his clothes were extremely white, and his hair extremely black, and he had no signs of travel upon him, and none of us knew him. He sat next to the Prophet, placing his knees next to his knees, and placing his hand on his thigh and said, ‘Oh Muhammad, Teach me about Islam…’
The Prophet peace be upon him said, ‘Islam is to bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is his messenger, establish prayer, pay Zakat, fast Ramadan, and perform Hajj if you are able.’ The man said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ We were amazed that he asked him a question, and then told him he was correct! He then said ‘Teach me about Iman.’
The Prophet replied, “To believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgment, and to believe in Destiny, its good and evil.” He said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ He then said…’Teach me about Ihsaan…’ The Prophet said, “To worship Allah as if you see him, and if you aren’t able to see him, then He indeed Sees you.” He said, ‘Teach me about the Hour…’
The Prophet replied, “The one being asked does not know more than one questioning.” The man said, ‘Then tell me about its signs.’ The Prophet said, ‘A slave-woman will give birth to her master, and you will see barefoot, naked, herdsmen competing in constructing tall buildings.”
Then the questioner left. We sat for a while, and then the Prophet peace be upon him said: ‘Do you know who the questioner was oh Umar?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He replied, ‘He is Gabriel (Jibreel), he came to teach you your religion.’ ”
Forgive me, for I am honored and I honor you with hearing these beautiful words of the Prophet peace be upon him, and what is more beautiful than blessing our gathering with his words. We continue, my beloved friends, on our 23rd meeting, with the means of Tarbiyya (Upbringing) that our Ummah is so desperately in need of. And we continue with these two words, Hadathani abee, my father taught me, a lost Prophetic teaching methodology.
We spoke of teaching by example, love, Aqeedah, worship, and we continue today on the topic of teaching through Akhlaaq (character).
Akhlaaq is a critical foundation, and permeates all types of Tarbiyya, and I don’t want to repeat what I mentioned last time, because today, I want to speak of the most important foundations of Tarbiyya by Akhlaaq.
I am not exaggerating if I say the crisis of the Ummah is a crisis of Akhlaaq. By Allah, we don’t need wealth, we have mineral resources, and a strategic geographic position that all the armies of the world desire. They seek our resources, and ignore all the lies that they say, like ‘we want to promote freedom,’ these are lies; they didn’t send their armies into the heart of the Muslim world, except for what God has blessed our lands with: Oil.
By Allah, you would not be able to imagine the amount of Muslim wealth in American Banks, and if they invested this in Sudan, for example, there would be no poverty amongst its people.
Poverty, for us, is a dearth of Akhlaaq. Allah blessed us with oil, without any effort on our part. Allah has given us a strategic location in the center of civilizations, and Makkah is the heart of the land masses of the earth.
Allah blessed us with great minds, but I must say that our Ummah is good at cutting off our talents, and restricting their greatness and imagination. Search for the great minds of the earth, and you will find that they are Muslims, those who emigrated to the West. Many of you know their names.
Allah has given the Ummah everything it needs, but we are in lack of Akhlaaq, in its wider meaning. We are in need of Akhlaaq with Allah, with the Prophet, with the environment, with others, with the oceans, with all of creation.
Allah sent the Prophet only to perfect these forms of Akhlaaq.
Today, let’s talk about the most critical foundation of Tarbiyya by Akhlaaq:
Adab. A word that is filled with beautiful meanings. Forgive me, it is critical for us to encounter Adab from an early age, and nurture it in ourselves first and foremost, before we can teach it to our children. A person who lacks something cannot give it. If I don’t have good Adab, how can I impart it to my children?
How can I be prepared to raise my daughters and sons without Adab?
What a minute Shaikh, you didn’t tell us what Adab is, and what are its legal and linguistic definitions?
Listen, for tonight you will hear something you never heard before in your life.
Adab is a high station. Let me give you its linguistic meaning. Adab is taken from ‘madabbah’, i.e. a table of food. Shaikh, why are you talking about food? It is a table covered with food that people have gathered around to have a meal, and people are invited to enjoy from.
So like a table of food, whom others gather around, Adab is all the types of the good character in a person that all others appreciate and seek after. Like modesty, honesty, loyalty, bravery, sincerity, and determination.
Like the poet Mutanabbi said: A noble person doesn’t take rest, rather he is always seeking to reach a higher station.
This is the linguistic definition.
Now, what is Adab according to the Islamic definition? We can learn its definition from those who have reached high states of Adab, for they are our teachers, and I don’t ever imagine that I am a physician healing others, for I am the subject of this verse:
A doctor healing others, yet he himself is need of seeing a doctor!
I seek refuge in Allah from hypocrisy.
Adab, according to Ibn Hajr al Asqalani: It is all that is praiseworthy, of speech and action. And I add, and of spiritual states. For a person can show others goodness, but if inwards he is not in a good state with Allah, then this is not Adab.
Didn’t you hear the words of the Prophet, as narrated by Imam al-Bayhaqi: “I know a people coming on the Day of Judgment, with good deeds like a mountain, then Allah will make it like dust, they are your brothers, and you would be jealous of their prayer, but they violate the rights of Allah to please the people.”
They looked at creation, and forget that Allah looks into their hearts. It is good character first and foremost that will be judged. And good character is from Adab.
And Adab is to respect your elders, and show kindness to those younger than you. To show respect to your shaikh, your boss, your parents, teachers, and show kindness to those younger you, or if you are a manager, or a principal in a school, it is to show easiness and kindness to those under your authority.
And it is said, Adab is good companionship. To be gentle and kind, with your wife, and to have good character with her. To have good character with your kids, your neighbors, your coworkers, your companions on the bus or the train.
It is not from Adab to blast your stereo while driving in the streets. It is not from Adab to bother your neighbors, or turn the TV on loudly, or eat something in the car and toss the litter out the window, or pollute our rivers, or harm our coworkers, or in those in the Masjid.
Didn’t I say that our crisis is a crisis of Adab?
Adab is good companionship, how beautiful.
And what is more beautiful is what Ibn Qayyim said: Adab is the entire religion! And it has three parts:
1. Adab with Allah
2. Adab with the Messenger.
3. And with the rest of creation.
The first is Adab with Allah, to know His Greatness, Mighty, and Majesty. How can I teach my children Adab with Allah, and I myself have never tasted His Greatness, rather, I am negligent with Allah’s rights? Allah says, “They did not make a just estimation of Allah.”
Oh Allah, grant us Adab with You. Adab with Allah is that your outward and inward state is in accordance with shyness before the greatness of Allah, the King. It is a high, strong spiritual state.
May Allah save us from the chains of Shahawaat.
I can hold Allah in esteem with words, but does my inward state reflect that? Do I feel Allah’s power? If you saw those who sat with kings and presidents, and how they respect them, you would be humbled, and to Allah belongs the greatest example.
Am I with Allah like those with the kings and leaders of the earth? Rather, there are those who respect kings more than they respect Allah.
If you don’t know Allah, you will not be able to achieve this state. A rabbi came to the Prophet and he said: We read in the Torah, that Allah places the Earth on a finger, the skies on a finger, the trees on a finger, the oceans on a finger, and the rest of creation on a finger, than grasps them. The Prophet smiled, and then read: “They did not make a just estimation of Allah, the heavens and the earth will be a scroll in His Right on the Day of Judgment.”
You cannot have this feeling of Allah’s awesome nature save if you know Allah’s Names, Attributes, and Actions.
I can say, none on earth has truly fulfilled Allah’s rights and had Adab with Allah like the Prophet did peace be upon him. What verse speaks of the Prophet’s Adab with Allah? Allah says, “His vision did not make a mistake, or turn away.” Shaikh, what does this have to do with Adab?
This is the state of the Prophet on the Night of Israa and Miraaj, when he stood before Allah. A person, if he stands before a king from the kings of the earth, he doesn’t look left or right, no he stares at directly at the king.
Imagine, then, how the state of the Prophet was in front of Allah. Allah says, he didn’t look around, left or right, but he had the true state of Adab with Allah, and none knows this state better than what Allah has stated.
Listen my beloved, if your love is true to Allah, then certainly with your beloved you will have Adab. That is through following His commands, staying away from what He forbade, and the whole time you are in absolute pleasure and submission to Allah’s commands.
Listen to these words of Hassan al Basri, he was asked, and he is a man whose words resemble the words of prophets: “The most beneficial Adab is Fiqh in religion, abstinence (Zuhd) from the dunya, and knowing what the rights of Allah are on you.”
Fiqh, how can you worship Allah if you do not know the rights of Allah, the Prophet, your wife, kids? Fiqh in religion is a sign of Allah being pleased with you. The Prophet peace be upon him said, as narrated in Bukhari and Muslim: “Whomsoever Allah wishes goodness for, He gives Him Fiqh in the religion.”
If Allah wishes good for you, brother, Allah will cause you to read these articles, to hear what Allah said, oh sister, he will cause you to hear about what the Prophet peace be upon him said, and the pious Salaf have said.
He will teach you Tawheed, Hadith, Tafseer, and beneficial knowledge.
By Allah, there are those who obtain a doctorate, and yet they cannot even read a page of the Quran properly, with its rules.
I was on Hajj, and I was in a tent with a number of teachers, and we began reading Surah Fatiha: and a professor in Islamic History started reading, and he started reading Surah Baqarah, then he said: “Alam, Dhalikal Kitabu la raiba feeh.”
If you learn the Quran, you must be sure to learn from a teacher. Just as Jibreel gave the Quran to the Prophet peace be upon him, and the Sahabah then learned from the Prophet, and the Tabieen learned from the Sahabah, and so on.
I said, “It is Alif Lam Meem, not Alam.” They know the outward knowledge of the dunya, yet they are ignorant of their Lord.
I was sitting with a professor who said, ‘I don’t believe in Allah.’ He said, well I believe in a philosophical understanding of God. I said, “Professor, explain to me what this means.” He mentioned some empty words that the masses might be fooled by, but he disbelieved in Allah.
Fiqh in the religion is to go way from ignorance, and to learn the religion, it is to learn how to respect and honor Allah, how to follow His commands, stay away from what He forbade, how to understand His Sunnah and Shariah.
“Ignorance is death before actual death, and their bodies are graves before their actual graves.”
I don’t expect you to be a preacher on the pulpit, but if you are a doctor, a teacher, or engineer, then you must know the Fard Ayn (Obligatory knowledge): Tawheed, Salat, Zakat, Fasting, Hajj if you can afford it, my brother or sister, it is required for you to learn the religion.
The first step in Adab is Fiqh in the religion. Do you make an oath to Allah that you will give an hour a week to learn about Allah? To sit with a scholar, or listen to a beneficial Islamic lecture, and increase your knowledge by sitting in front of the ulema. Do you promise to study tafseer, or Aqeedah, or Akhlaaq, or Seerah?
People are essentially equal, their father is Adam, and their mother is Hawaa. If there is no honor for our bodies, for we are all made from clay and water, then the only honor is through knowledge. For most people are dead, and the people of knowledge are the ones truly alive.
The Prophet said, “I am the most knowledgeable from you about Allah, and I fear Him the Most.” The more you know about Allah, the more you will fear Him.
“Only those with Knowledge fear Allah from amongst His Servants.”
Then, Hassan al Basri said, from Adab is “Zuhd from the world.” Some people think Zuhd is wearing rough clothes, and walking aimlessly in the streets. Is there anyone who had more Zuhd than the Prophet, peace be upon him? Then, was there anyone more beautiful than the Prophet, peace be upon him? A person came to the Prophet, and the Prophet peace be upon him gave him a huge flock of sheep. The Prophet, peace be upon him, was the richest person, yet he was only sometimes without food, not because he was poor, but to teach people that he was truly rich, and he didn’t need those things.
No, a Zahid is not to wear ugly clothes. Wear beautiful clothes, wear fragrance, and if you can be a millionaire, then do it, but with two conditions: Earn from halal, and give Allah his right.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah was asked about Zuhd and Wara’ (scrupulousness). He replied: “Zuhd is leaving everything that does not benefit you in the Afterlife, and Wara’ is leaving anything that you think might harm you in the Afterlife.”
Sufyan ath-Thawari, the Imam of Zuhd and Wara’, said: “Zuhd is to have short hopes and it is not attained by rough clothes and abstinence from food.”
Rather, a person may wear a wool cloak, but his heart is filled with arrogance. He might think he is better than others.
And another might wear a beautiful thobe, with nice perfume, but it is strictly from halal earnings, and thus he attains the status of Zahid.
Imam Ahmad, the Imam of Knowledge, Sunnah, and Zuhd and Wara’, defined Zuhd as having three types:
1. “Leaving haram, and this is the Zuhd of the common people.” (It is wajib on all)
2. “Leaving the excessive things from the halal. This is the Zuhd of the special people.” Umar said, “Is it that whatever you desire, you buy?”
3. And the highest state, Imam Ahmed said: “Leaving anything that keeps you busy from the remembrance of Allah, and this is the Zuhd of the Knowledgeable of Allah.”
Shaikh Ibn Qayyim says, “What all the people of knowledge have agreed upon is that Zuhd is the traveling of the heart from the worldly life to the states of the afterlife.”
Another scholar stated: “Zuhd is not by making halal haram, but Zuhd is making what is in Allah’s Hand more valuable to you than what is in your hand.”
And another said, “Know that you travel to Allah by your hearts, not by your legs.” Allah says, “The (sacrifice’s) meat or blood does not reach Allah, but it is the piety in your hearts that reaches Him.”
Abdullah bin Mubarak said, “We are more in need of a small amount of Adab, than much knowledge.” What is the use of Adab, if it doesn’t teach me good manners with others?
Good Adab outwards is a sign of good Adab inwards. If the inward and outward match, that is true faith.
One of the pious predecessors said: Have good Adab with Allah outwards and inwards. Whoever has bad Adab with Allah outwardly, he will be punished outwardly. And whoever has bad Adab with Allah inwardly, he will be punished inwardly.
If you think you are brave, and can challenge Allah by disobeying him in the open, you will be punished outwardly.
If you close yourself in a room, and open permissive internet websites, you will find inward punishment, from hardness of heart, or you will be forbidden the sweetness of worship.
Few take notice of these states of the heart. You have not cried to Allah, or you cannot cry, why? Since you had bad Adab with Allah. Since you showed people one face, and then held something else inwardly.
You try to memorize a verse, or a hadith, or a Friday sermon, but you cannot. Abdullah ibn Masud said, “I believe that a person forgets knowledge because of his sins.”
The Swine Flu, it is because of sins.
“That is how we punished them for their rebelliousness.”
“Evil has become widespread on the earth and oceans because of what their hands have wrought.”
Have Adab with Allah, outward and inward, for one has not had bad Adab with Allah outward save he was punished with an outward punishment. And he did not have bad Adab with Allah inwardly, save he found its effect inwardly. Thus, true Adab is obeying Allah’s commands outwardly and inwardly.
I ask Allah to grant us Adab with him.
Next week, we will talk about how to have Adab with the Prophet, peace be upon him.
Then in the coming weeks, we will talk about having Adab with the creation, with parents, teachers, coworkers, colleagues, one’s wife or husband, with children, in going to the bathroom, and other topics, it is a long and beautiful topic.
May Allah make us of those who have achieve this beautiful station of Adab.
Oh Allah, I feel like nothing in front of these pious predecessors. Our hearts must be attached, either to the heavens, or the base things of the earth.
Inshallah we will meet again next time.
Asalamualaikum wrt wb.
My dear friends, I want to thank the young brothers who listen to these talks and post them on the internet, so that many other people can benefit. May Allah reward you, not only for propagating this program, but for any program or beneficial knowledge that you hear and spread to others, may Allah reward you generously.