Category Archives: Islamic Miracles

Book Review: Mahdi – The Promised Caliph

We live in an increasingly confusing world, the religio-political domain is in a state of constant flux, in times like these we need to take a step back and truly understand our faith so as to ensure we don’t fall prey to misguidance and propaganda. It is in this context that a book on the Mahdi plays an instrumental role.

Mahdi Book

This book tackles quite a few fundamental questions that are being asked today by young Muslims worldwide:

  • Who is the Mahdi and is he an imaginatory figure of Islamic mythos?
  • Are extremist groups representative of a Caliphate?
  • Are the hadiths about the end times fabricated?

The book is written for the layman and scholar alike, for the Muslim and non-Muslim. It’s language is plain and simple, Islamic terms are thoroughly explained and the writing style is straightforward. Meaning then, that there are no complex theories here, there is no obfuscation by the author, no flowery language, they get straight to the point. This is no better displayed than in the first chapter where the author explains why there is no mention of the Mahdi in the Qur’an. In answering this question, they set a foundation from which to explain the traditional Islamic understanding of who the Mahdi is. He is not some fanciful, legendary figure with magical powers who with the flick of his fingers will fix all the ills of the world. This is simply, not the traditional Islamic perception of the Mahdi.

It is important to understand that eschatology (end time beliefs) is a highly contentious topic, with speculation as its mainstay. A lot of people will be familiar with Islamic personalities who apply various narrations to modern day countries and groups based on highly problematic interpretations that seem to change with whatever direction the wind is blowing in. Many Muslims have been mislead by the series the Arrivals, others by Imran Nazar Hosein, who as it should be known is a countryman of myself, we are fellow Trinidadians. No one doubts the importance of studying Islamic teachings on eschatology, we all in some way want to understand how these narrations relate to our world today. In one way, it’s a means of removing existential doubt as we find our place in the world today, on the other hand it is also a means of hoping for a better future for the world. This is another place where a book like this becomes instrumental, it lets us know that yes we can in some cases apply some narrations from the hadith corpus to today’s world but it also makes it clear that there is a lot we can’t know for certain and that the authentic narrations may not apply to our generation at all.

A point of note is the author’s handling of recent extremist groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda. The author dutifully points out in a systematic and objective way that the interpretations of the hadiths used to give legitimacy to the aforementioned groups are purely speculative and absolutely false. In no uncertain words, the author plainly states that neither ISIS nor al Qaeda have any relation to the Mahdi or a genuine Caliphate, he agrees that they are extremist groups and their claims for a Caliphate or Khilafa are absolutely illegitimate. Here’s an excerpt of the author’s analysis of a hadith used by extremist groups:

The primary meaning of Harith is tiller or ploughman. If Usama meant a farmer or a villager it would have made more sense, however, it means lion and hence does not apply. Saying that one of the meanings of Harith is a young lion is also a stretch and leads one to incorrect conclusions. Using this logic, we find that one of the meanings of happy is willing whereas the primary meaning is being glad or feeling pleasure. A person may be happy to help and hence willing in that sense but this does not change the main meaning of the word. Such dodgy logic has been used for both Usama and Zawahiri.

Harith, Harrath, Mansur, Usama, and Laden are all Arabic words and it does not make sense at all that the Prophet (ﷺ) would use one Arabic name to describe another Arabic name. Describing a president (in English) as Ameer (in Arabic) or a mayor (in English) as Haakim (in Arabic) makes sense but describing one Arabic name with another is actually insulting the Prophet (ﷺ) because the Prophet (ﷺ) did not speak in confusing terms – he was concise, clear, and eloquent.

Simple and straight to the point. For a young Muslim to read this, they will surely see through the propaganda of extremist groups, and as for a non-Muslim, it demonstrates that Islam does not endorse or provide an intellectual basis for extremist groups. In other words, this section of the book serves two purposes, a means of guiding young Muslims away from extremist groups by grounding them in a traditional understanding of Islam, and on the other hand it does da’wah towards our non-Muslim brothers and sisters by demonstrating the intellectual beauty of Islam.

Towards the end of the book the author has compiled a vast collection of fabricated and weak hadith narrations from various hadith collections. This is important, as I am not aware of someone having done so in English previously. The internet has fueled the use of “fake news”, and Islamic eschatology has not escaped this onslaught of fake news. To this end, the author has some 29 pages of the book dedicated to this collection of weak and fabricated narrations. This in effect provides Muslims with a reliable resource to refer to when reading or seeing end times media on the internet. It is astounding to see the number of weak narrations that are used by those who profit off of making “prophecies” on behalf of Islam. The author has no doubt done a dutiful service to the religion of Islam in providing us with such an extensive collection of fabricated and weak narrations on this topic.

Lastly, the author provides a breakdown of the general order of events that will occur before, during and after the time of the Mahdi. This is important because if left to our own devices to delineate the series of events that should take place, we would be no better off than watching a random YouTube video on the topic. By providing us with a simple progression of events, a lot of the propaganda out there is rendered useless. Not only does the author go through each narration in detail throughout the book, the chronology that summarizes the events at the end of the book serves as an excellent conclusion. In a sense some scholars of literature have referred to this as the inclusio literary device, a powerful language device used to aid a reader in fully understanding what has been written. This in itself demonstrates the level of careful detail and planning that went into the development of this book. While I must admit I am not one who is fond of or interested in Islamic eschatology, this book has provided me with a comprehensive study of the topic, one that has given me meaningful and useful knowledge about Islam and Islamic thought. I would definitely recommend this book, it’s only been available for a few days but I honestly see it as something which is needed in our time.

The book is now available and can be bought at the following links:

For further works by the same author please see their Qur’an Answers website.

and God knows best.

Jerusalem and the Fulfillment of Prophecy

In a narration recorded by al Musharrah ibn al Murajja al Maqdisi in his work, Fada’il Bayt al Maqdis, we read a prophecy about ‘Umar’s (may Allah be pleased with him) peaceful conquest of Jerusalem. What makes the prophecy special, is that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also described al Quds al Sharif in great detail to the point that ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who had never been to Jerusalem before was able to locate al Quds al Sharif (the Temple Mount) solely based on the Prophet’s detailed and highly accurate description. This video brings to life that narration:

YouTube Mirror: Jerusalem and Umar’s (ra) fulfillment of Prophecy

The Origins of Shirk

The Origins of Shirk

Shaykh Muhammad Naasir ud-Deen al-Albaanee rahimahullaah

Al-Ibaanah Magazine , Issue No.3 – Dhul-Qa’dah 1416H / April 1996

From that which has been established in the Sharee’ah (prescribed law) is that mankind was – in the beginning – a single nation upn true Tawheed, then Shirk (directing any part or form of worship, or anything else that is solely the right of Allaah, to other than Allaah) gradually overcame them. The basis for this is the saying of Allaah – the Most Blessed, the Most High:

“Mankind was one Ummah, then Allaah sent prophets bringing good news and warnings.” (Soorah Baqarah 2:213)

Ibn ‘Abbaas – radiallaahu ‘anhu – said: “Between Nooh (Noah) and Adam were ten generations, all of them were upon Sharee’ah (law) of the truth, then they differed. So Allaah sent prophets as bringers of good news and as warners.” [2]

Ibn ‘Urwah al-Hanbalee (d.837 H) said: “This saying refutes those historians from the People of the Book who claim that Qaabil (Cain) and his sons were fire-worshippers.” [3]

I say: In it is also a refutation of some of the philosophers and athists who claim that the (natural) basis of man is Shirk, and that Tawheed evolved in man! The preceeding aayah (verse) falsifies this claim, as do the two following authentic hadith:

Firstly: His (the prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying that he related from his Lord (Allaah) : “I created all my servants upon the true Religion (upon Tawheed, fre from Shirk). Then the devils came to them and led them astray from their true Religion. They made unlawful to people that which I had made lawful for them, and they commanded them to associate in worship with Me, that which I had sent down no authority.” [4]

Secondly: His (the prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying: “Every child is born upon the Fitrah [5] but his parents make him a jew or a christian or a magian. It is like the way an animal gives birth to a natural offspring. have you noticed any born mutilated, before you mutilate them.”

Abu Hurayrah said: Recite if you wish: “Allaah’s fitrah with which He created mankind. There is to be no change to the creation (Religion) of Allaah.” (Soorah ar-Rum 30:30) [6]

After this clear explanation, it is of the upmost importance for the Muslim to know how Shirk spread amongst the believers, after they were muwahhideen (people upon Tawheed). Concerning the saying of Allaah – the most perfect – about the people of Nooh:

“And they have said : You shall not forsake your gods, nor shall you forsake Wadd, nor Suwaa’, nor Yaghooth, nor Ya’ooq, nor Nasr.” (Soorah Nooh 71:23)

It has been related by a group from the Salaf (Pious Predecessors), in many narrations, that these five deities were righteous worshippers. However, when they died, Shaytaan (Satan) whispered into their people to retreat and sit at their graves. Then Shaytaan whispered to those who came after them that they should take them as idols, beautifying to them the idea that you will be reminded of them and thereby follow them in righteous conduct. Then Shaytaan suggested to the third generation that they should worship these idols besides Allaah – the most high – and he whispered to them that this is what their forefathers used to do!!!

So Allaah sent to them Nooh alayhis-salaam, commanding them to worship Allaah alone. However none responded to hiscall except a few. Allaah – the mighty and majestic – related this whole incident in Soorah Nooh Ibn ‘Abbas relates: “Indeed these five names of righteous men from the people of Nooh. When they died Shataan whispered to their people to make statues of them and to place these statues in their places of gathering as a reminder of them, so they did this. However, none from amongst them worshipped these statues, until when they died and the purpose of the statues was forgotten. Then (the next generation) began to worship them.”[7]

The likes of this has also been related by Ibn Jareer at-Tabaree and others, from a number of the salaf (Pious Predecessors) – radiallaahu ‘anhum. In ad-Durral-Manthoor (6/269): ‘Abdullaah ibn Humaid relates from Abu Muttahar, who said: Yazeed ibn al-Muhallab was mentioned to Abu Ja’far al-Baaqir (d.11H), so he said: He was killed at the place where another besides Allaah was first worshipped. Then he mentioned Wadd and said: “Wadd was a Muslim man who was loved by his people. When he died, the people began to gather around his grave in the land of Baabil ( Babel ), lamenting and mourning. So when Iblees (Satan) saw them mourning and lamenting over him, he took the form of a man and came to them, saying : I see that you are mourning and lamenting over him. So why don’t you make a picture of him (i.e. a statue) and place it in your places of gatherings so that you maybe reminded of him. So they said: Yes, and they made a picture of him and put in their place of gathering; which reminded them of him. When Iblees saw how they were (excessively) remembering him, he said : “Why doesn’t every man amongst you make a similar picture to keep in your own houses, so that you can be (constantly) reminded of him.” So they all said “yes”. So each household made a picture of him, which they adored and venerated and which constantly reminded them of him. Abu Ja’far said: “Those from the later generation saw what the (pevious generation) had done and considered that……..to the extent that they took him as an ilah (diety) to be worshipped besides Allaah. He then said :” This was the first idol worshipped other than Allaah, and they called this idol Wadd”[8]

Thus the wisdom of Allaah – the Blessed, the Most High – was fufilled, when he sent Muhammed sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as the final prophet and made his Sharee’ah the completion of all divinely Prescribed Laws, in that He prohibited all means and avenues by which people may fall into Shirk – which is the greatest of sins. For this reason, building shrines over graves and intending to specifically travel to them, taking them as places of festivity and gathering and swearing an oath by the inmate of a grave; have all been prohibited. All of these lead to excessiveness and lead to the worship of other than Allaah – the Most High.

This being the case even more so in an age in which knowledge is diminishing, ignorance is increasing, thre are few sincere advisors ( to the truth) and shaytaan is co-operating with men and jinn to misguide mankind and to take them away from the worship of Allaah alone – the Blessed, the Most High.

FOOTNOTES:

1. Tahdheerus-Saajid min Ittikhaadhil-Quboori Masaajid (pp.101-106)

2. Related by Ibn Jareer at-Tabaree in his tafseer (4/275) and al-Haakim (2/546) who said: “It is authentic according to the criterion of al-Bukhari.” Adh-Dhahabee also agreed.

3. Al-Khawaakibud-Duraaree fee Tarteeb Musnadul-Imaam Ahmad’alaa Abwaabil-Bukhaaree (6/212/1), still in manuscript form.

4. Related by Muslim (8/159) and Ahmad (4/162) from ‘Iyaadh ibn Himaar al-Mujaashi’ee radiallaahu ‘anhu

5. [From the Editors] Ibn-al-Atheer said in an-Nihaayah (3/457): “Al-Fitr: means to begin and create, and al-Fitrah is the condition resulting from it. The meaning is that mankind were born upona disposition and a nature which is ready to accept the true Religion. So if he were to be left upon this, then he would continue upon it. However, those who deviate from this do so due to following human weaknesses and blind following of others…..” Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar said in Al-Fath (3/248): “The people differ concerning what is meant by al-Fitrah and the most famous saying is that it means Islaam. Ibn ‘abdul-Barr said: That is what was well known with most of the salaf (pious predecessors), and the scholars of tafseer are agreed that what is meant by the saying of Allaah – the Most High – “Allaah’s fitrah wiht which He created mankind.” is Islaam

6. Related by Al-Bukhaaree (11/418) and Muslim (18/52)

7. Related by al-Bukhaaree (8/534)

8. Related by Ibn Abee Haatim also, as is in al-Kawaakibud-Duraaree (6/112/2) of Ibn ‘Urwah al-Hanbalee, along with an isnaad which is Hasan, up to Abu Muttahar. However, no biography could be found for him, neither in ad-Dawlaabee’s al-Kunaa wal-Asmaa, nor Muslim’s al-Kunaa, nor any one elses. And the hidden defect here is that he is from the Shee’ah, but his biography is not included in at-Toosee’s al-Kunaa — from the index of Shee’ah narrators

Ibrahim’s Demise and its Implication on the Prophethood of Mohammad (p)

Ibrahim’s Demise and its Implication on the Prophethood of Mohammad (p)

 

Question Mark

Ibrahim was one of the few sons that the Prophet of Islam had (peace be upon him). Sadly he passed away as a mere toddler. The books of Seerah narrate the hapless incident in some detail. The following are the words of Ibn Sa’d [1.] – one of the early biographers:

 

“He (Ibn Sa’d) said: Al-Fadl Ibn Dukayn informed us: ‘Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Ghasil informed us on the authority of ‘Asim Ibn `Umar Ibn Qatadah, he on the authority of Mahmud Ibn Labid; he said:

 

The sun eclipsed the day Ibrahim, the son of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, died. Thereupon the people said: The sun eclipsed because of the demise of Ibrahim. The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, came out when he heard this. Thereupon he praised and glorified Allah and then said: After that, 0 people ! verily the sun and the moon are the signs of Allah and they do not eclipse because of the death or life of any one, when you perceive this, hasten to the mosques. His eyes had tears. They said: 0 Apostle of Allah ! do you weep although you are the Apostle of Allah? He said: Verily I am a human being whose eyes shed tears and whose heart fears, and we do not utter”  ([p.86] Account of Ibrahim the Son of the apostle of Allah (May Allah bless him), Volume 1, Parts 1.37.41, Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir),

 

 

The coincidence of solar eclipse with the demise of Ibrahim must have been the best opportunity for the Prophet (peace be upon him) had he any ulterior agenda. A community so deeply rooted in superstition and polytheism must have easily accepted the injunctions of Mohammad (peace be upon him) and his authority had he (mis) used the celestial phenomenon.

On the contrary, we find Mohammad (peace be upon him) acting as he ought to act: as a bona fide apostle of Allah (SWT). Uninterested from any hidden motives, Prophet (peace be upon him) disabused that the eclipse was not consequential to the demise of his son. In fact his words, “…they do not eclipse because of the death or life of any one” further explains that he did not took for his son any special privilege than “any one” else when he had all the opportunity to do so. Furthermore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not give any superstitious twist to the celestial bodies for they are merely “the signs of Allah”; His mere creation in the house of Islam; they do not represent any “moon god”.

Let alone any worldly motive, we do not think that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have been much blamed had he used the incident to at least extricate the non-believers from idolatry, shirk and blasphemy into the fold of Islam! Saving people from idolatries and blasphemies could have been much better choice than not to allow them to believe that the sun eclipsed because of the unfortunate occasion of Ibrahim’s death. But he did not even do that. He did not dupe anyone into the fold of Islam based on the extraterrestrial event.

Although it is just another incident proving the noble character and the true nature of his divine mission but for us it is enough to prove that he was indeed the Apostle of Allah (SWT).

 

Footnote:

[1.] Anti-Islamic propagandists love using biographical works Ibn Sa’d and others to demonize Islam. So we thought it would fair if we use the same book. Otherwise there are more reliable books on Seerah available.