Can a Muslim call a non-Muslim ‘Brother’?

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Yes, it would be permissible to refer to or respond to a non-Muslim as a ‘brother’ referring to the common brotherhood of humanity.

According to some scholars, it would also be permissible to greet a non-Muslim with ‘Assalam ‘alaykum’ and respond to their greeting with ‘Wa’alaykum assalam’. The permission is more desirable if one hopes for their Islam. And Allah knows best.

[Sharh Sahih Muslim]

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Brotherhood

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

“There are certain people amongst the servants of Allah, who are not prophets, nor are they martyrs, yet on the Day of Judgement they will have attained to such a position that even the prophets and the martyrs will look at them in admiration”.

The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, asked:

“Who are these people and what sort of good deeds will they have done? Let us know so that we can love them and be close to them, o Messenger of Allah”. The Prophet ﷺ answered:

‘They are such people that though there are no blood relations amongst them, nor any business or trade relations, yet they love each other for the sake of Allah. By Allah their faces are radiant with light and they are upon pillars of light. When others fear, they do not fear, and when others feel sorrow, they do not feel sorrow”.

He ﷺ then recited the following verse:

‘Yes, the friends of Allah will feel no fear and will know no sorrow: 

those who have faith and are conscious of Allah, there is good news for them in the life of this world and in the afterlife. There is no changing the words of Allah. That is the great victory!’ (Yunus, 10:62-64)

The Blessed Prophet ﷺ narrated the following story as an demonstration of how loving one’s fellow Muslim for Allah will allow one to attain to Allah’s love.

“One time a man set out to visit his Muslim brother who lived in another village. Allah Most High appointed an angel with the duty of watching him on his way. When the man came to the angel, the angel asked him:

‘Where are you going?’

The man replied:

‘My Muslim brother lives in that village. I am going to see him.

The angel asked him:

‘Is there something that you wish to benefit from that friend?’

The man replied:

‘No, no. It is just that I love him for the sake of Allah and I am going to visit him’.

The angel then said:

‘Just as you love him, so does Allah love you. I am a messenger sent to you by Allah in order to give you this good news’ (Muslim, Birr, 38; Ahmad, II, 292).

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Abu Idris al-Hawlani (may Allah have mercy on him) narrates:

“I had gone to the mosque of Damascus, where I saw a young man there with a smiling face. A group of people had gathered around him. Whenever they fell into dispute about some matter they would immediately go to that young man and ask for and accept his opinion. I asked who this young man was. They told me it was Muadh ibn Jabal .

The next day I ran to the mosque as early as I could. When I got there I saw that that young man was there already performing his prayer. I waited until he had finished and then approached him and greeted him with the greeting of peace and then said to him”:

“By Allah! I love you”.

“Do you love me for the sake of Allah?” he asked.

“Yes for Allah” I said. Then he asked me twice:

“Do you really love me for the sake of Allah?” Both times I answered:

“Yes I truly love you for the sake of Allah”. Then he held me by my robe and pulled me towards him and said:

“I congratulate you. I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say:

“Allah Most High has said: ‘Those who love each other merely for My sake, and those who gather together to please Me, and those who visit each other for My sake and who give charity and do good for My sake… They will be the ones who (will) have earned my love” (Muwatta, Sha’r, 16).

 

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Charity, the healer of hearts and the joy of both worlds

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It is said in the Qur’an:

And spend out of what We have given you before death comes to any of you, so that he should say: My Lord! why did You not respite me to a near term, so that I should have given alms and been among the doers of good deeds? (Munafiqun, 63/10).

Inspired by this verse, Hadrat Mawlana (Alaihi Rahma) said:

• “Unfortunate souls are like dwellers in a house full of smoke. Give ear to their cries and respond by opening a window for ventilation. That will refine your soul!”

• “What have you got? What have you treasured up? What kind of pearl did you draw from the bottom of the sea? All this will be clear on the day of your death.”

• “Visiting friends without a present is like going to the mill without wheat.”

“One should pay back what one owes before death takes it by force.”

The following couplet by Necip Fazil puts this point elo- quently:

O stingy jeweler, get another purse!

Save up a currency valid in the grave…

Wise advice is fundamental to the revival of hearts. Those who appreciate the treasures of wisdom become wise themselves. Those who follow wisdom rightly will surely perfect faith.

May our Lord give us the opportunity to live in an atmosphere of wisdom and to perceive the mysteries of reality. May He help us to comprehend the meaning of the Qur’an, of the universe, and of being human.

Amin…

  • Excerpt from the book, “Such a mercy he is”

Sincerity in Charity

Sincerity shows its effect in everything. As long as it is given out with a sincere intention, the one who gives charity will be rewarded to the degree of their sincerity, even if the charity goes to one who is unworthy of it. According to the degree of one’s sin- cerity there arise positive tendencies towards goodness in those who are given the charity. The Messenger of Allah  has indicated this truth as follows:

“One time a man said: “I am going to give charity”.

That night he left his home with his charity and placed it in the hands of a thief without realising who it was. The next day the people of the town started to talk:

“What an amazing thing! Last night someone gave charity to a thief !”

The man said:

“O Allah! Praise be to you. I am going to give charity today as well”.

Again he left his home with his money and this time without realising it, he placed it in the hands of a prostitute. The next day the people of the town began to talk once more:

“It cannot be! Last night somebody gave charity to a prostitute”.

The man said again:

“O Allah! Praise be to you even if I have given charity to a pros- titute. I am going to give charity again”.

Again that night, the man took what he had set aside for chari- ty and left his house, this time placing it in the hands of a rich man. The next day the people of the town began to chatter again in amazement:

“What is this! Last night charity was given to a rich man!”.

The man said:

“O Allah! I am grateful to you for being able to give charity whether it be to a thief, a prostitute or a rich man.

As a result of the sincerity of this man, he saw someone in his dream say to him:

“Perhaps the charity you gave to the thief will embarrass him and stop him from stealing. And perchance the prostitute will regret what she had been doing and become a chaste woman. And maybe the rich man will take heed and give out to the needy from the wealth that Allah has given him”. (Bukhari, Zekat, 14)

And so these are the blessings of sincerity and true devotion… What is indicated in this hadith is the necessary sincerity and devotion that needs to be within the heart of the person who is giving charity. It also expresses the idea that intentions are better than deeds. However, let it not be assumed from this that it is a virtuous act to give out charity carelessly. On the contrary, when giving out charity and alms-giving, the believer should give it to those who are truly in need, and must search out the most worthy person if possible and give it to them.

Worldly Ambition, cancer of the heart

Allah Almighty states in the holy Qur’an:

…And (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful chastisement on the day when it shall be heated in the fire of Hell, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it. This is what you hoarded up for yourselves, therefore taste what you hoarded. (Tawbah, 9/34-35).

Inspired by this verse, Hadrat Mawlana (Alaihi Rahma) said:

• “No matter how rich you are, you cannot eat more than your stomach can hold. Even if you dip your water-pot into the sea, it will carry no more water than it can hold.”

• “There are so many fishes which, because of ambition, swallow the bait, though the sea could safely feed them.”

• “What is this world about? This world is about being ignorant of Allah!”

• “This world, a testing ground, is like a magnet for selfish desires: it attracts them as amber attracts straw. Only the substan- tial wheat, the wise believer whose inner world contains spiritual secrets and wisdom, can escape the attraction of this magnet.”

• “The trap of raw egos is worldly gain. It tricks and allures,and the inner eyes of some people go blind out of desire for it. They drink bitter and salty water out of wet clay. Since they never taste spiritual happiness, they regard what they taste of the worldly life as happiness.”

• “Greed and ambition for the pleasures of this world lead us to obtain what we do not deserve.”

Worldly ambition is the prime drive leading to great ignorance. Ambition makes the heart go blind. Such a heart ceases to draw a line between right and wrong, legitimate and illegitimate. Hadrat Mawlana (Alaihi Rahma) says of heart-blindness, “Even a dog will not eat a bone before sniffing it.” So whoever is heart-blind due to ambition for worldly attractions has less wisdom than a dog. Worldly ambition brings spiritual disaster!

Our master, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), warned of ambition as a human failing. He said, “The son of Adam may have two valleys full of gold: he will still want a third valley. The son of Adam will be satisfied with nothing but the soil of the grave.” (Bukhari, al-Riqaq, 10; Muslim, al-Zakat, 116).

Even if those afflicted with ambition attained all the wealth on earth, they would still wish to get more from the Moon or Mars. Today, the ambition and spiritual rottenness of the followers of materialism seems endless. Such is the sad condition of our world.

Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him), eloquently expressed how the faithful should view property. He said, “There are three shareholders in any worldly possession. The first is its owner, which is you. The second is fate. Fate does not consult you about whether your possession will bring you good or evil, disaster or death. The third shareholder in any possession is its heir, who wants you to die. Your heir will take your property when you die, but it is you who will be held accountable for it. If you can, try not to be weakest of the three (by giving charity before death). Allah Almighty says, “You cannot reach perfection in spending for the sake of Allah unless you give of what you love.” My most valuable possession my camel; there- fore I am giving it as a charity. I am sending it in advance so that it will welcome me in the Hereafter.” (Abu Nu`aym, al-Hilyah, I, 163).

Worldly possessions are only entrusted to us by Allah. We do not know when what He has deposited will be withdrawn. We may lose our possessions at any time. Life is open to surprises, and we cannot tell what fate will bring. The most inescapable surprise, death, is undoubtedly on the agenda of fate. We may be ready for it always by managing the trusts we administer in the most useful of ways.

 

-Excerpt from the book, “Such a mercy he is”

BENEFITS OF GIVING REWARD OF SALAWAT TO OTHERS

Durood

A woman came to Sayyidina Hassan Al-Basri (rahimahullah) and said,

My daughter passed away and now I wish to see her in my dream.

Sayyidina Hassan (rahimahullah) told her,

Offer four rakat Nafl after Isha and in each rakaat recite Surah At-Takasur (102). Then go to sleep while reciting Salawaat upon RasulAllah ﷺ until you fall asleep.

The woman did so and narrated the dream to Sayyidina Hassan (rahimahullah) the next day. She said,

I saw her in a bad state. She was wearing dirty robes. Her hands were tied and there were chains of fire around her feet.

Sayyidina Hassan (rahimahullah) asked her to give sadqa and hope that her daughter’s affliction gets lessened. The following night Sayyidina Hassan (rahimahullah) himself saw a dream wherein he was in Jannah and there was a beautiful young girl on a throne dressed in magnificent clothes. She told him that she was the daughter of the woman who had visited him. Sayyidina Hassan (rahimahullah) told her,

But your mother told me that she saw you in a bad state.

The girl said,

Indeed what she said was true. We were 70,000 souls who were afflicted with the torture of the grave until a pious person passed by us. He recited Salawat upon RasulAllah ﷺ dedicated it’s sawaab to us. And Allah accepted it in such a manner that we were freed from our tribulations and what you see now is due to barakah of that Durood Shareef.

– Al-Qawl Al-Badee : Imaam Shams Ad-Deen Sakhaawi, p.234-235 –

Ten Ways to Prepare for Ramadan From Now

With Ramadan just around the corner, many of us are looking for ways to make sure that this will be the year we change, writes Nour Merza. With this in mind, here are ten ways to prepare yourself for Ramadan.
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1. Make the right intention
Beginning right now, make an intention that this Ramadan will be a time of great spiritual effort and sincerity. To help turn that intention into reality, make checklists of both daily goals for Ramadan (read a section of Quran or a beneficial lecture every day, etc.) and goals for the overall month (visit a home for the elderly, invite two non-Muslim friends for a chance to experience iftar, etc.).
2. Prepare your body
Make sure you are up to par physically by adjusting the amount and quality of your food intake. Start by eliminating snacks and have smaller meals in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. Also reduce your caffeine intake so that the lack of your morning coffee or afternoon tea doesn’t debilitate you in the first few days of the holy month. Of course, if you’re fasting during the month of Sha’baan, you’re halfway there.
3. Review all medical situations before Ramadan
Make sure to get your medical business in order before Ramadan arrives. If you suffer from a particular illness, check with a doctor, preferably one who understands the importance of fasting, on whether fasting is a reasonable option for you. If you are taking medication, ask your doctor if you can take your doses during non-fasting hours instead of during the day. Also, check if there are options to take your medication via injection instead of orally, as in the Hanafi school injections do not break your fast.
4. Observe voluntary fasts
Voluntary (nafl) fasts are a great way to help prepare the mind, body and soul for Ramadan. If you can do it, follow the Prophetic sunna and fast the month of Shaaban, which comes just before Ramadan. If that proves too difficult, try to implement some of these other sunnas: fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, or fasting on the ‘white days’ of each Islamic month: the 13th, 14th and 15th.
5. Increase Quran recitation
Many people aim to do a complete reading of the Quran at least once during Ramadan. If you don’t have a habit of reading the Quran daily, take this as an opportunity to incorporate that habit into your life. This will enable you to read longer sections of the book during Ramadan. Even if doing a complete reading of the Quran during Ramadan is too difficult, making a habit of reading one page or even a few verses a day will bring many blessings during the holy month and afterwards, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The most beloved of actions to Allah are the most consistent ones, even if in little amount.”
6. Perform extra prayers
If you have no missed obligatory prayers to make up, start to pray voluntary sunna prayers to prepare yourself for the extra prayers that take place in Ramadan. If you do have missed obligatory prayers, use the time you would give to the sunna prayers to make some of them up. Don’t feel that you are missing out on the opportunity to do voluntary sunnas, because God says in the famous Hadith Hazrat Jibreel (AS), “My servant draws near to Me by nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory on him.”
7. Give charity
Use the weeks leading up to Ramadan to increase your acts of charity, be that in the form of giving money to needy people or worthy causes.Giving charity is a way to purify your wealth, and you can enter the month of Ramadan in a greater state of purity. It also opens doors for great good in your life, for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has told us, “Allah says, ‘Spend, O son of Adam, you will also be spent on.’”
8. Engage in service (khidma)
Spend some time before Ramadan to find a local charity or community service opportunity to work with, whether it be in an Islamic environment or in the wider community. If you begin well before Ramadan starts, you will adjust to the environment before you begin fasting, so that you can explain to co-workers why you can’t join them for a coffee break or a meal.
9. Focus on your character
Imam al-Ghazali (rah) discusses the inner dimensions of the fast in his Revival of the Religious Sciences , which you can observe before Ramadan arrives. He mentioned that one must learn to fast with all the limbs, from all that harms the heart. You can, for example, avoid certain television shows to keep the eyes from seeing nudity, leave particular conversations to keep the ears from hearing foul language, and control the ego to keep the tongue from argument or backbiting. The inner fast is among the most important aspects of fasting Ramadan and is often more difficult than the physical fast from food, water and sexual relations, so the earlier you begin to practice this, the better.
10. Organize your life to minimize waste, over consumption and the ills that come with this
One of the major concerns about how Muslims practice Ramadan today is the high level of over consumption and waste that takes place during the holy month – a reality which is completely antithetical to the Prophetic tradition. Imam Zaid Shakir and others have spoken about ‘greening’ Ramadan as practiced today in the Muslim community, while Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has suggested that Muslims use Ramadan to support ethical, fairtrade companies.
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Article taken from seekershub.org