Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rays of Faith; Day 2. Day of debunked beliefs.

Day 2;
Pillar 4; Belief in Allah's messengers. 

It's also the day where the sheikh debunked some of my beliefs.
Here's the thing. It's not a blame game but my parent only started talking to me about religion aggressively when I reach adulthood. A tad too late really. And I am pretty sure many of us are in the same boat. The boat of ignorance and taking religion for granted coz we were born Muslim. So my Islamic foundation was shaped from what I learned from the teachers in school. All this while I never really give a thought to most of the stuffs being taught. Especially pertaining to religion. Just swallow whatever the teacher said and regurgitate the exact facts & figures during exam. And I always aced my Islamic studies' exam. If u memorized all the facts, u will ace the exams. No critical thinking needed for Islamic studies. U don't question. U don't challenge. U don't verify. U just accept. Coz it's religion. Sighhhhh....it's so wrong.

Debunked belief #1:
In school, we were taught there were 315 messengers (rasool) and 124,000 prophets (nabi). And we memorized that there is a difference between prophet and messenger. Prophet is the one who received the revelation from Allah but not obliged to spread them. While messengers received the revelation and were responsible to spread the message to the people.

And it's very common for us to hear people citing the following hadith;

In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it is narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
Convey from me, even if it is a verse.


So have u ever wondered, if it's highly encouraged for us to spread whatever knowledge that we have, even if it's a verse from Rasulullah (pbuh), would it be weird for a prophet to receive revelation from Allah and just kept it to himself?
We discussed in details the hadiths and Quranic verses related to this matter, and we concluded that there is no difference between a messenger and a prophet. A prophet is the one who's been told. Once they received the revelation from Allah there were a prophet. Once they started spreading the message, they become the messenger. So all prophet IS a messenger.

The number of prophets and messengers come from this hadith:"Hadeeth of Abu Dharr: The Prophet (saw) was asked about the number of Prophets and messengers. He replied that there were 124,000 Prophets among whom 315 were Messengers. [Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, At-Tabaranee]

But most scholars agreed this is a very weak hadith. Some considered it a munkar type of hadith because it includes (Ali son of Yazeed) as one of the narrators and he is a weak narrator.

Anyway, there are 25 prophets named in the Quran.
Pic is from here.

There are difference of opinion on the status of Luqman and Khidr whether they are prophets. Based on the evidence, Sh Waleed think Luqman was a wise man and Khidr was a prophet. But the actual total number of prophets is not known. There are also some scholars who think Maryam, Hawa and Sarah were prophets. But based on the evidence, the syeikh didn't agree.

Debunked belief #2:
I am sure some of u have heard the teachers telling our kids the Muslim will go to heaven the non Muslim will go to hell fire. Sounds familiar?
Well, now u can tell your kids, that's not right. Check out this verse.

Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger. (17:15)

The verse clearly said that disbelievers will not be punished until they receive the message. On the day of judgement, Allah will send them a messenger. And they will be rewarded accordingly based on whether they accept or reject the message. Besides, we are not the judge to tell who go to heaven or hell fire. Only Allah knows. I remember Sheikh Hussein Yee said, we shouldn't call a disbeliever non Muslim. They are just not Muslim YET. We never know how they will end. For all we know, they might end up better than us. Should always remind ourselves and be careful not to have this "holier than thou" mentality. Imam Afroz Ali said, instead of thinking a disbeliever or a sinner will go to hell fire, we should instead ask ourselves: "Will I go to hell fire for not doing anything to bring him to the right path?"

Why did Allah send us messenger?
They were sent to guide us. To help us make a life while making a living. To help us make sense of our life. To protect humanity from humanity. To help us put justice in place.

We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice.
(57:25)


One important thing to remember is all the prophets and messengers have NO divine attributes. There are many verses in the Quran stressing on the divine issue because throughout history human is known to worship idols.

And We did not send before you, [O Muhammad], any of the messengers except that they ate food and walked in the markets. And We have made some of you [people] as trial for others - will you have patience? And ever is your Lord, Seeing.
25:20


They were given miracles to support them. They were infallible (maksoom). But they did make mistake. Because they were human after all. In the Quran, Allah corrected Rasulullah (pbuh) at least 5 times. So how can they be infallible when they made mistakes? Due to their infallibility, Allah will correct them immediately. Infallibility means Allah protect them from continuing doing the mistake.

Syeikh Waleed spend quite a bit chunk of the day discussing the last messenger, our Rasulullah, Muhammad (peace be upon him). 
 
We discussed about the prophet and his actions (sunnah). This is important coz we need to understand, do we follow everything Rasulullah did? Or we only follow certain things? If we selectively follow, where do u draw the line between what and what not to follow.

The sunnah (action) of Rasulullah (pbuh) is divided into 3;
1. Action related specifically to him.

eg; He married 9 women. Or he used to do continuous fasting. For several days without breaking his fast.
These were actions granted permissible specific to him due to his status as the messenger of Allah. BTW, Sh. Waleed did elaborate about the wisdom behind Rasulullah (pbuh) marrying 9 women. Some of the women were chosen by Allah. Not by him. And many were married to him for a specific reason. One the wisdoms behind the marriages was we have 9 personal documentation of the personal life of Rasulullah (pbuh). One of his greatest assets was his beautiful character. He was one person whom his personal life was more beautiful and much greater than the person that he potrayed to the outside world. Just because he married 9 women, it doesn't mean everybody can start doing the same too.

2. Action done for specific reason. Due to his position in the community or due to specific circumstances.

eg; Rasulullah (pbuh) declared war. Due to his position as a leader. So if u r a leader, and faced with similar circumstances, then u can follow his sunnah. But if u r not a leader, and do not have the authority u cannot simply declare war anywhere anytime. Another example is Rasulullah (pbuh) wore a ring. Coz the ring was his stamp seal. So if u r a leader who need to use the stamp seal, u can follow. But if u r not a leader, then there's no point to follow him wearing a ring.

3. Action done as part of his culture or his personal preferences. 
It is not sunnah to eat with hands, or ride a camel to the masjid, or dress in a certain way UNLESS there is a hadith stating it is recommended or has a certain reward.

eg;
Rasulullah (pbuh) said that dates are the best food to break fast with.
He also told people to grow their beards.
He also said not to drag clothes and that it will be punished.

These are sunnah to be followed because Rasulullah (pbuh) clearly recommend us to do so.

According to Sh Waleed, the sunnah that we need to follow are the sunnah that Rasulullah (pbuh) did as part of explaining the religion. How he live his life as a Muslim. We should honor and respect the sunnah.

He told us a very interesting story about one of his teachers. While giving lecture to a group of students (which include the sheikh) in a mosque, the teacher was summoned by a VVIP. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Instead of scurrying to the Crown Prince, the teacher just turned to the Crown Prince and made a signal for him to come over and sit next to him. And the Crown Prince obliged. Sh. Waleed was in awe of the boldness of his teacher. And later he found out from the teacher..."How can I stop and attend him (the Crown Prince) when I am teaching u about Rasulullah (pbuh)? No human should be honored greater than him. if I am teaching u other subjects I would have stop, and go and attend the Crown Prince".

Another story he related to us was also about one of his teachers. Who was in great pain, on his death bed dying due to cancer. And while Sh Waleed was helping him putting on his shoes to go to the toilet, the teacher reminded him..."Right feet first, then left feet". Such a trivial matter to us. But not to them. It's sunnah. They honor the sunnah so close to their heart until their last breath. Rasulullah (pbuh) is their role model in every part of their life.

Hmppphhh...I should really put more effort in this. Over the weekend, Luqman went to a youth camp in Janda Baik with Sheikh Yahya Ibrahim. Coincidentally, one of the short lecture was Sunnah: The Natural Way. Check it out. Less than 10 minutes ;-)
Over the weekend, we attended a family wedding. After the solemnization ceremony, the bride's family invited Sheikh Hussein Yee to give a short tazkirah (lecture). It was the first time I saw people did tazkirah in  a wedding.
I am a HUGE fan of Sh. Hussein Yee. My kids are a fan too. He believes very strongly in living your life according to the Quran and sunnah. No innovation (bidaah).
After the short lecture on the rights of the wife in Islam, he spoke about some sunnah that was practised by Rasulullah (pbuh) during a wedding. One of the sunnah is the husband should, at the time of consummating the marriage with his wife or before that, place his hand on the front part of her head, mention the name of Allah Most High, and pray for Allah's blessings.
Sheikh Hussein Yee guided the groom reading the prayer. "O Allah, I ask You for the good in her and the good with which You have created her, and I seek refuge in You from the evil in her and the evil with which You have created her."
{Allaahumma innee as'aluka min khairiha wa khairi maa jabaltaha 'alaihi wa a'oodhubika min sharriha wa sharri maa jabaltaha 'alaihi}
[Aboo Dawood and others. Al-Bukhari in "Af'aalul-'Ibaad", Aboo Dawood, Ibn Majah, al-Haakim, al-Baihaqee and Aboo Ya'laa with hasan isnaad ...]

So simple. Yet so beautiful. Don't u think so?? Sniff2 ;') We should strive to make the sunnah of Rasulullah (pbuh) natural. And once it become part of our life, it's really a beautiful thing. Insyaallah.

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