Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Honor both the learned and learners


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah to have been in the presence of Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki.  Shaykh Fahmi is absolutely admirable. It has been fifteen years since my father passed away and eversince I have not met anyone who is as special - one whose words I long to hear and whose advice I would gladly follow. Shaykh Fahmi is fatherly, witty and kindly. May Allah give him a long, healthy and prosperous life. Ameen.

He continued the monthly lesson on Kitab at-targhib wat-tarhib at KL Ba'alawi last sunday saying:

We must honor the 'aleem ulama, people with religious knowledge and the guests of Rasulullah s.a.w. - students at majlis ilm. We must continue to give munasohah (good advice). We must respect shi'ar Allah. 

What is shi'ar Allah? We can see plenty of that in Makkah. For example the Kaabah, Maqam Ibrahim, Safa, Marwa, all of those are masha'ir Haram. They are symbols that make us remember Allah. They are things that make us feel the presence of Allah. When we look at mosques, especially when we travel abroad, the sights of minarets soothe our hearts. They are symbols of the religion. That is why we are allowed to spend a lot of money on building these shi'ar of Allah. It is not considered wasteful to invest on grand and expensive mosques or minarets.

People who are learned on matters of Islam, the 'aleem ulama and students who devote their time and life learning the religion are also shi'ar of Islam. One of the signs of people who have mahabbah (love) towards Rasulullah or the deen is that they are delighted at seeing people wearing the jubah (traditional white dress worn by religious men).

The Turks were known for their triumphant army who carried with them minarets to war. It was meant to remind and motivate themselves the purpose of going to war and indeed they were victorious at conquering lands as far as middle of Europe.

The learned and those who learn to become knowledgeable in matters of religion deserve much respect. It is not easy to master the religion. The Prophet s.a.w in Surah As-Shu'ara verse 215, was asked to humble himself towards his companions and followers. Why? Because they are symbols of the deen. And not just that, even places where people study the religion e.g. madrasa must be respected. The same applies to kitab (religious books).

The Qur'an says: 'I (the Prophet) am a good and trustworthy advisor for you.' We must have that kind of attitude too. That is iradatul khair  lil khair - meaning to give al nasihah (advice) so that we not only want to become good ourself but we also want other people to be good.

Saidatina Aishah r.a. said 'We have been trained to treat a person according to his level.' We must put people according to their rightful maqam or manzilah. Why must we respect the learned? Because those whom Allah gives knowledge of the religion are those whom He wants good for them. In other words, if Allah wants good for you, He will give you good understanding of the religion.

Ad deeni an nasihah - religion is good counsel. What is religion? Religion means everything/anything that is good. Who do we give good counsel to? Apart from following advice of Allah, Rasulullah and kitabullah (the Qur'an), we must advise our leaders and the public. Rasulullah s.a.w and Imam Nawawi were known to have written letters of advice to people and kings during their time. When giving advice we must practise mujadalah (be diplomatic and polite). There was one ulama who counseled Harun ar-Rashid rather harshly, to which he said, 'I cannot possibly be worse than Fir'aun and you could not possibly be better than Musa.' Fir'aun was very mean and yet Musa had spoken to him politely.

We are not allowed to be takabbur (thinking we are better than the rest). Nor are we allowed to have ujub (feeling great about ourselves). We must be polite and patient when dealing with people who are against our advice.

The ulama/awliya/waliyullah carry a heavy responsibility that most people are not aware of. They have to bear much pain and burden on behalf of people. Some of them are ahlul nawbah. They absorb bala' (mishaps) from Allah so that other people will not get affected. They are the ones who are very close to Allah. They want people to become well, not harmed by severe calamities but most people do not understand this special role of  ahlul nawbah. The anbiya were known to have shed tears for their people. They were forgiving and compassionate even to those who treated them badly.

The Prophet s.a.w was ridiculed and injured by the people of Ta'if so much so that his cheeks were badly bleeding. He had to stop his blood from touching the ground because he knew the sort of punishment from Allah that would befall them if that happened. He prayed for the Ta'if people so that their offsprings would become faithful and good Muslims. The Prophet's du'a came true. Muhammad bin Qasim as-Saqafi was one of them whose father and grandfather had thrown stones to the Prophet's face. Muhammad bin Qasim became a pious and brave man. At the age of 17, he became the head of army that brought Islam to the Indian continents.

What about us? What are we doing for the future generations? The Muslims in the old days had traveled far and struggled a lot for the sake of Islam. If not for their sacrifice in spreading the deen, we might still be idol worshippers or atheists.

The Qur'an says, 'We give a good result (rewards of heaven) for those who refused glory of this world and who avoided making troubles on earth.' So think about what you can do for your people while you are here in this world.

Lukman al-Hakim said to his son, do not look away from people out of arrogance. Do not be proud when people greet you. Allah does not like one who walk on earth with pride in his heart. He, the Almighty despises those who are takabbur and proud of themselves. One who has a speck of takabbur in him will be chased out from the heaven. Allah is Al-Mutakabbir. He alone can be proud, for He alone deserves to have pride. At Resurrection, He would be proudly asking, Where is Fir'aun? Where are all the kings of the world? Who is the greatest?

The companions of the Prophet s.a.w once asked him what is meant by takabbur/kibru - whether one who likes to wear nice clothes, shoes or cars are considered to have kibru. He said: kibru is to deny the truth and to look down on others. We are encouraged to wear nice attires, drive good cars and spend on good things as a sign of gratitude for what Allah bestows on us. That is not takabbur. Takabbur is when you look down on other people who drive old cars etc.

Allah praises people of taqwa. One of the signs of one who has taqwa is that he refrains from getting angry and does not keep scores (not revengeful). When the Prophet s.a.w re-conquered Makkah, he asked the 2000 odd Mushrikin: "What do you think I would do to you?" Rasulullah s.a.w made three declarations. Those who stay home; those who took refuge at Abu Suffian's home and those who were in Masjidil Haram were safe. Everyone was forgiven and given protection except for 5 people. But even then they would be forgiven if they accepted Islam. One of them was Ikrimah who fled to Yemen. Upon hearing the Prophet's declaration, Ikrimah's wife, Ummu Haram went to see Rasulullah. She asked if Ikrimah would be forgiven if she took him back from Yemen to see the Prophet.

Rasulullah not only guaranteed pardon for Ikrimah, he had also given his burdah (scarf) for Ikrimah to put on, on his return to Makkah. Ikrimah embraced Islam and later became a notable mujahideen. What I am trying to say is, the Prophet was very forgiving but he also had anger in him and for the right reasons. We must be angry for anything that goes against the deen, if not we are as good as himar (mule).

There was one rich man who was to be punished for stealing. This man's family thought of a clever plan for him to get away from the hudud ruling against him. They persuaded Usamah bin Zaid bin Harithah to talk to the Prophet. Zaid bin Harithah was the Prophet's most loved god-son. So naturally, Zaid's son, Usamah too was very much adored by the Prophet. Usamah who was a teen then tried to persuade the Prophet about the hudud case. Rasulullah was so angry at Usamah that he ordered Bilal to call for azan at ten in the morning. Everyone was startled to hear azan being called at such odd hours. It must be something very urgent, they thought. In those days only those who are uzur (handicapped) or munafiq did not gather around Bilal and the Prophet. So people assembled. Rasulullah addressed the crowd, with anger from what Usamah was trying to make him do. He said: 'Did you not know that Allah had severely punished the ummah (people) before you because they refrained from punishing the rich but would punish the poor for the same act of stealing? By Allah, if my daughter Fatimah were to steal, I would cut her hand too, no doubt about that.'

But then again, in Islam those who are ignorant of the rulings are forgiven, unlike the present day civil law where ignorance of the law is not a defence. Islam teaches us to forgive our friends who have wronged us. Islam teaches us to encourage people to do good deeds (amal ma'ruf). And Islam teaches us to leave the ignorants alone.

Wallahu a'lam.
The above majlis ilm was hosted by:


  1. Masya-Allah. Jantungku bagaikan berhenti, air mata berlinang tanpa disedari setiap perkataan dan maksudnya amat mendalam sekali. Moga Allah saja yang dapat membalasnya, Insya-Allah. Terima Kasih pada Shaykh juga penulis saudari. Doa saya buat semua ulama2 dan saudari. Harap saya juga dapat bersama dimajlis sedemikian. Wasallam.

  2. MashaAllah Tabarakallah.
    Saudara Zul, terima kasih atas ucapan dan doanya.
    Setiap yang baik itu datang dari Allah dan yang buruk itu adalah dari saya walaupun pada hakikatnya segalanya adalah daripada Allah jua.
    Sehari suntuk saya sakit kelmarin sebelum dapat berkongsi posting ini. Bak doa seorang Shaykh sempena Isra Miraj baru-baru ini: Semoga segala cabaran dan ujian yang kita lalui menjadi pembuka kepada makrifat kepada Allah s.w.t.

    Semoga Allah memberi tawfik kepada saudara dan kita semua untuk singgah di taman-taman shurga di dunia yakni majlis ilmu dan majlis zikir, InshaAllah.


  3. Assalamu'alaikum sis Ezza. Alhamdulillah, thank you very much for your posts. They have always been good refreshers of classes held at Ba'Alawi.

    I wish to highlight 2 things in this particular post:

    1. I think the term Shaykh Fahmi used was 'iradatul khair lil ghair', which literally means the wanting of good for others. But 'iradatul khair bikhair', wanting of good by doing good, doesn't stray far.

    2. It was the people of Taif that mistreated Rasulullah s.a.w., not Ta'im.

    I apologise for it may be me who have heard wrongly, and it is not my wish to point out mistakes, for I myself am not free from them. But as stated in the post, ad-deenu nasihah. May Allah grant you istiqamah in your writings for the benefit of others. Ameen.

  4. Alaykumsalam,

    Please, there is no need to apologize. I stand corrected as I know next to nothing about Arabic or the Islamic history. I merely regurgitate what I heard and I don't have it recorded to double check. So please keep checking my work.

    Thank you for your du'a.