August 26, 2009
Mishkaat al-Anwaar, or Lanterns of Light
A Series on Faith and Hope through Ahadith Qudsi
Shaykh Muhammad Hassan
Asalamualaikum wrt wb,
Oh Allah, all praise be to You, You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and whatever is in them, and praise be to You, for You cause all things to exist, and You are the King of the Universe and whatever is in it, and You are Truth, and Paradise is True, and Hellfire is True, and the Prophet is True.
Oh Allah, I have submitted to you, I believe in You, and trust in You, and seek Your guidance, and I seek Your rulings, please forgive me for what has gone by in my life, and what I will do in the future, for there is no god but You.
I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, Who is Known by all perfect qualities and characteristics, Who is beyond all examples, the Living that does not die, the Cause of all events, and the actions of the Day reach Him before the Night, and the actions of the night reach Him before the Day, and He does not sleep.
His veil is Light, and if it were lifted the face of the onlooker would be set ablaze (by its Glory).
His words are truth and just, and His essence is beyond comparison. His mercy encompasses all of creation, with beauty and kindness, and to Him is all praise and the dominion.
He did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them in falsehood, nor did he leave mankind in chaos (wandering about without purpose). But rather, He commanded them to worship Him, and to affirm His Oneness, and He showed them His signs in order that they might know Him, and to love Him, and those who accept, He is pleased with them, and those who turn away He calls out to them.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ [الزمر/53]
53. Say: "O 'Ibâdî (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allâh, verily Allâh forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner, the Shining Bright Lantern (of guidance), the one who raised hardships from the people, and the one whom Allah sent with guidance before the Hour with good news and a warning. He sealed the line of Prophethood with him, and taught the ignorant, and guided the lost, and opened blind eyes, and deaf ears, and sealed hearts, and he left us on a clear manifest guidance, its night like its day, and none deviates from it save finds himself in perdition.
Oh Allah, send peace be upon him, his family, and companions, and those who follow in his footsteps until the Day of Judgment.
Welcome to you all, brothers and sisters, you have done well, you pure and noble people, and your efforts have been blessed. I ask Allah who joined us during this blessed hour, in His obedience, to join us in the Afterlife with the best of Messengers, in the Gardens of Paradise.
My beloved, “Mishkaat al Anwaar”, or “Lanterns of Light”: a series in Faith and Hope, about Hadith Qudsi, narrations that the best of creation (our beloved Prophet pbuh) relates on the authority of Allah, to purify our character, and renew our Iman, and take our hearts into the Shade of His Majestic Throne, and to raise our aspirations and hopes, and fill our spirits with the light of taqwa, and cure the sickness our heedlessness by smelling the musk of divine guidance, in the hope that we may attain proximity with Allah, and what is more happy than a life with Allah, and the taste of Divine intimacy, for one who experiences is not like one who only hears, and no one knows the pain of a thorn save one who touches is it.
Oh my Lord, the Kings have shut their doors, but Your Door is open to every supplicant, beggar, and sinner, it is open to those who have shortcomings, my Lord, my Master, the celestial bodies have gone, and the eyes of closed (in sleep) yet you are the Ever Living, the Eternal, who never sleeps.
Oh Allah, others have gone to bed, to be with their beloved, but we have come to you, we are here raising our hands in the air calling on You, we place our foreheads on the ground in humble submission to You, we are the people of Your worship, of Your love, and yes, we are people of sin, oh Allah, we have committed mistakes, but we do not despair of Your Mercy, but we flee to You. We need you. What has deluded the others from Your Countenance?
But You do not need us, yet if I seek Your forgiveness, You forgive, and if I make mistakes, You accept me, and if I turn away, You call me, and if I come towards you, You come close to me, and if I love You, You make me your Wali, Your close friend, and if I do good You reward me, and if I am sincere, You have intimate speech with me, oh Allah, You are the most Merciful, so forgive me.
Oh the One whom the fearful flee too, and the One Whom those who trust place their trust in, and those who ask You, You give them, my Lord, My Master, My Owner:
I cried out to You, while I wore a robe of poverty,
Raising my hands towards You, shaking humbly,
I called on Your beautiful names and attributes, faithfully,
So please do not return my hands to me , bare and empty,
For boundless indeed is Your bounty, and Your generosity.
I will repeat this introduction each time we meet, so that we may ponder its meaning.
Now come with me, to live each night of this beloved month of Ramadan with a Lantern of Light, a Hadith Qudsi, which is a hadith narrated by the Prophet pbuh on Allah, and has reached us through a chain of reliable narrators.
I beg that you allow me to lay the foundation for this book through a small introduction. What is the difference between the Quran and a Hadith Qudsi?
Yes, it is not appropriate to go directly to these hadith Qudsi, without explaining the difference them and the Quran. And I know that few really know the difference between them, so inshallah you will be pleased to learn these differences between the Quran and the Hadith Qudsi.
First let me explain the definition of the Quran: The Quran is the word of Allah, revealed to the heart of Muhammad pbuh, miraculous in its meaning and in its text, its reading is an act of worship, and it is a challenge even in its smallest Surah, and it was narrated to us by Tawatir, and written in the Mushafs, it begins with Surah al-Fatiha and ends with Surah al-Naas.
The Quran is 114 Surahs, that are composed of 6236 verses according to the scholars of Kufa, and according others there are approximately 6600 verses, and this difference is in numbering the verses. The Quran is composed of 1000 verses that are commands, and 1000 verses that are prohibitions, and 1000 verses that are promises of a good rewards, and 1000 verses that are warnings, and 1000 verses on stories and news of past nations, and 1000 verses are on lessons and parables, and 500 verses are on halal and haram, and 100 verses duas, and 60 verses are abrogated or abrogating.
The Quran is a treasure of meaning, an ocean of truths, and precise in its verse, it is the Speech of Allah, the source of all wisdom, and the foundation of all goodness, and the means of happiness in this world and the next.
It is the eloquent proof, and a cure for what is in the hearts, and its merit above other texts is like the merit of Allah over His creation.
The Hadith Qudsi, (also known as hadith Ilaahi, or hadith Rabbani) were called this because the word Qudsi it is derived from the word Qaddassa, which means to purify. And Taqdees means to purification, and Qaddassa is purity and blessing.
And the Ard al-Muqaddas, means the pure land, and Bayt al Muqaddas means the place of purification, and Jibreel is called Rooh al Qudus, the Holy Spirit, and Allah says regarding His angels, “Wa nahnu nusabihoo bi hamdika wa nuqadisu lak” i.e. We declare Your praises and sanctify Your Purity.
And in the Sunan of Ibn Majah, the Prophet pbuh said:
كَيْفَ يُقَدِّسُ اللَّهُ أُمَّةً لَا يُؤْخَذُ لِضَعِيفِهِمْ مِنْ شَدِيدِهِمْ
The Prophet said, ‘How can Allah bless (yuqadiss) a people who do not take from their strong to give to their weak.’ i.e. how can Allah bless them and purify them.
And Qudus is from the names of Allah, as is established in the Quran and Sunnah. It appears twice in the Quran, in Surah Hashr, (Huwa Allah aladhi la illaha illa hu, al malik al quddoss). The second place in the Quran is in Surah Jumah, in the first verse, “al malik al Qudus”.
What does the name of Allah al-Qudus mean? It means, “the pure, the exalted above shortcomings and defects, and likeness, the one described by the highest qualities, and no example is like Him.”
These are the derivations of the word Quds.
So now we understand that the Quran is the word of Allah that was revealed to Muhammad pbuh, as defined above. As for Hadith Qudsi, it is a hadith that is narrated by reliable narrators, on the authority of Allah.
So what is the difference between the Quran and the hadith Qudsi? There is a big difference.
First, the Quran is from Allah in word and meaning. Perhaps this is the first time you hearing this. Jibreel descends with the words and meaning from Allah to the heart of Muhammad pbuh.
Allah says, “Nazalahu ar rooh al ameen.” “The Trustworthy Spirit (Angel) brings (these verses) down (from Allah.)”
The words and the meaning of the Quran are not from the Prophet, rather Jibreel descends to the Prophet pbuh and narrates the words to the Prophet, and he then memorizes them.
Allah says, “la tuharrik bihi lisaanaka li tajala bih” “Do not move your tongue anxiously with the Quran” for Allah will gather its words in your heart. Allah will explain the meanings to you.
As for hadith Qudsi, its words are from the Prophet, and the meanings are from Allah. The Prophet pbuh is the most eloquent of all creation, and had the best of speech; he was the most eloquent of Arabs, and he was unlettered, yet taught all learned people. The words and phrasing are from the Prophet pbuh.
You might ask, how was this meaning revealed to the Prophet, and how was he told to say, “Allah said…”?
The answer is that there were a number of means that revelation came to the Prophet. Sometimes it would come like the ringing of a bell, and he would break a sweat. Or an angel would blow into the Prophet’s heart, and this was the most common way that revelation came to the Prophet pbuh.
The Prophet pbuh said, for example “inna rooh al qudus nafatha fee roohi” “Indeed the Holy Spirit blew into my heart that a soul will not die until its provision has been attained so fear Allah and make your beseeching beautiful, and do not make the slow coming of your provision a cause for you to disobey Allah.”
So an angel blows into the heart of the Prophet meanings of the hadith Qudsi.
Or an angel might come to the Prophet pbuh in the shape of a man. Like the famous Hadith of Jibreel.
And the fourth means of revelation is the seeing of the Prophet pbuh in his dream, for the dreams of the Prophets are revelation.
The Quran’s text and meaning are from Allah, whereas the Hadith Qudsi’s text is from the Prophet, while its meaning is from Allah.
Another difference is that the Quran’s text, all of it from Surah al-Fatiha to al-Naas, is absolute authentic, i.e. it was narrated by Tawaatur. Tawaatur means the Sahabah narrated the Quran in large numbers from the Prophet pbuh, and the Tabi’een narrated in large numbers from the Sahabah, and so on, such that it is impossible to have been changed or lied about. Thus, believing in all the verses of the Quran is a requirement of faith, and one who rejects even a single verse has disbelieved.
As for the hadith Qudsi, it is not of absolute authority, rather there is some ambivalence as to their authority. In fact, the majority of hadith Qudsi are singly narrated, and from them there are Saheeh (Sound), and from them are Hassan (Acceptable), and Daeef (Weak), and Mawduooh (fabricated.)
Yes, there are those who have fabricated many Hadith Qudsi. There is this hadith for example, “Allah said to his slave, be my slave, and if you say Be, it will be.” No, only Allah, not even the Prophet pbuh, can say, “Be, and it is.” No matter how high of a status a person achieves.
Hadith Qudsi can be authentic, good, weak, or fabricated. Therefore scholars who speak of Hadith Qudsi must check their authenticity, since they are signing on behalf of Allah and His Messenger pbuh. Thus, they must check their chain (the names of the narrators) and text.
And this science of chain or Sanad is one of the greatest contributions of Islam to knowledge. In summary, the Quran is of absolutely authentic origin, whereas hadith Qudsi may or may not be authentic.
Another difference between the Quran and the Hadith Qudsi is that the Quran is a miracle in its text and meaning, whereas the hadith Qudsi is a miracle in its meaning, but not its text. Yes, the hadith are the most eloquent of the Arabic language, but there is a big difference between the speech of Allah, and the speech of man.
The virtue of the Quran over other language is like the virtue of Allah over His creation.
All the scholars of eloquence and Arabic language agree that the Quran is the most eloquent text in Arabic, and they are incapable of producing a verse like it.
Another important difference between the Quran and Hadith Qudsi is that recitation of the Quran is worship, like in Salat, and there is a reward for every letter that is read. The Prophet said in Tirmidhi,
مَنْ قَرَأَ حَرْفًا مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَلَهُ بِهِ حَسَنَةٌ وَالْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا لَا أَقُولُ الم حَرْفٌ وَلَكِنْ أَلِفٌ حَرْفٌ وَلَامٌ حَرْفٌ وَمِيمٌ حَرْفٌ
“Whoever reads a single letter from the Book of Allah will have a reward, and each reward will be multiplied by 10 like it, and I don’t say Alif Laam Mim is a letter, rather Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter, and Meem is a letter.”
We receive 10 rewards for each letter that we read, as the Prophet pbuh said.
As for the hadith Qudsi, we cannot recite in prayer, but yes, at the same time, reading the hadith Qudsi will earn reward, but not like the Quran. It is not permissible to recite hadith Qudsi in prayer.
Another difference is that the Quran is protected by Allah, and not a single verse or letter can be changed from it. Allah says,
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ [الحجر/9]
9. Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur'ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).
Not a single letter, let alone a word, has be changed.
As for the hadith Qudsi, as we said, there is Saheeh, and Daeef, and fabricated.
Also, one who disbelieves in a single verse, has disbelieved. As for one who disbelieves in a hadith Qudsi is not a disbeliever, and perhaps he rejects the hadith because there is some weakness in one of its narrators, or its text is in violation of the Quran.
Also, another big difference, is that a person who is in a state of impurity cannot touch the Quran, while it is permissible for a person in impurity to touch a page with Hadith Qudsi written on it.
Also, another difference is that the Quran is a book of Aqeedah, and Akhlaq, and worship, and law, and it is a complete way of life. As for the hadith Qudsi, it doesn’t talk about Fiqh, rather it speaks about hope in Allah, and opens the door of hope for sinners, and raises aspirations, and guides one to tawbah, and love of Jannah and fear of the Fire. The Quran on the other hand is a complete way of life.
These are the main differences between the Quran and Hadith Qudsi, that I wanted to explain to my beloved brothers and sisters, before we dive into these Lanterns of Light, to enlighten our hearts and souls, and perhaps we will taste anew the sweetness of the closeness to Allah, a sweetness that has been lost in this age of rampant desires.
Now, as for the word Hadith in general, it means linguistically the opposite of anything old, but in Islam it means: “Anything reported about the Prophet pbuh from speech, actions, or tacit approval, or characteristics, physical or otherwise.”
An example of the spoken hadith is like his words, “Actions are according to intentions.”
And an example of a hadith referring to his actions is like the way the Prophet pbuh prayed, or performed Hajj, or how he sat, or ate and drank. The Prophet pbuh said, “Pray like you see me pray.”
And an example of a hadith that refers to tacit approval, is if a Sahabah speaks or acts, and the Prophet pbuh stays silent. This then becomes law. The silence of the Prophet pbuh is law. This is called Sunnah taqreeriah. Everything the Prophet pbuh did was from revelation.
An example of this is: When the two groups went to Banu Quradhi and one prayed, and the other didn’t, the Prophet didn’t criticize either of them.
As for personal characteristics, is like the hadith of Anas who said, “I haven’t felt a hand as soft like silk as the Prophet’s hand was, and his scent was like musk, pbuh.”
Allah said, “He does not speak according to his desires, nay, it is not but revelation being revealed.”
And in the Sunan of Abi Dawud, the Prophet pbuh said,
إِنِّي أُوتِيتُ الْكِتَابَ وَمِثْلَهُ مَعَهُ أَلَا يُوشِكُ رَجُلٌ شَبْعَانُ عَلَى أَرِيكَتِهِ يَقُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ بِهَذَا الْقُرْآنِ فَمَا وَجَدْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ حَلَالٍ فَأَحِلُّوهُ وَمَا وَجَدْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ حَرَامٍ فَحَرِّمُوهُ
“I was given the Book a something like it (the Sunnah), and soon there will be a person full and satiated laying on a couch saying, ‘Let us stick to the Quran (only), so whatever the Quran makes halal, we will consider it halal, and whatever the Quran makes haram, we will consider it haram.’”
My beloved, our time together is over, and these are the differences between the Quran and Hadith.
Come with me to the next chapter, to the first of the Hadith Qudsi, the Lanterns of Light.
May Allah purify our souls, and let us attain His closeness. May Allah accept from your efforts, and reward you.
Asalamualaikum wrt wb.