Category Archives: Hadith

Topics on Hadith, Methodology & Commentary

“If You Knew What I Know…”

salamu `alaykum

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

‏لو تعلمون ما أعلم لضحكتم قليلا ولبكيتم كثيرا

“Verily, if you knew what I know you would laugh less and weep more.”

(Bukhari, Kitab al Riqaq #6004)

Ibn Hajar `Asqalani (Allah have mercy on him) states in his Fath al Bari:

والمراد بالعلم هنا ما يتعلق بعظمة الله وانتقامه ممن يعصيه والأهوال التي تقع عند النزع والموت وفي القبر ويوم القيامة , ومناسبة كثرة البكاء وقلة الضحك في هذا المقام واضحة , والمراد به التخويف . وقد جاء لهذا الحديث سبب أخرجه سنيد في تفسيره بسند واه والطبراني عن ابن عمر ” خرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى المسجد فإذا بقوم يتحدثون ويضحكون , فقال : والذي نفسي بيده ” فذكر هذا الحديث . وعن الحسن البصري ” من علم أن الموت مورده , والقيامة موعده , والوقوف بين يدي الله تعالى مشهده , فحقه أن يطول في الدنيا حزنه “

“What is meant by “knowledge” here is what is related to the greatness of Allah and His vengeance against he who disobeys Him, the states that arise with extirpation, death, in the grave, and the Day of Judgment. The appropriateness of weeping much and laughing little within this context is clear, and what is indicated by it is fear.

It is narrated from Hasan al Basri (Allah have mercy on him) that, ‘He who knew about death and its furnishing, the Day of Judigement and its appointed time, and the spectacle of standing between the two hands of Allah (s: a reference to Allah’s mercy and wrath), then it is proper and right that his sadness and anxiety (due to his knowledge of these events) arise in this world.'”

And Allah Knows Best

Wasalam

Salman

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Are Your Trousers Dragging…?

salamu `alaykum

I recall an incident my close friend related to me, which was the main inspiration behind this post, wherein he was pulled out of his prayer and lectured against harshly merely due to the fact that his pants were not above his ankles. Talk about extreme measures… but the reality is that such an attitude is not uncommon among some of the religious youth and even (some) scholars. Although many would not go to the extent of pulling someone out of his prayer, there is certainly a looking down upon those who “drag their garments”. Ofcourse, the fundamental reason behind such an attitude is biased partisanship as well as a lack of awareness that the matter at hand is differed upon.

Before beginning, it is pertinent for everyone to know, in specific those associated with the path of Hakim al Ummah Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanawi, that the first step in suluk – in traversing the path to Allah – is to consider oneself the most inferior of all of Allah’s creation, so much so that even if one sees another engaging in sin he will not hold him in contempt for it is possible that the perpetuator of sin repents from his sin and becomes one of Allah’s friends whereas we become entrapped in the desires of the devil and the nafs.

It is also pertinent to know that the Akabir of Deoband spoke about ikhtilaf and its limits. Maulana Thanawi (Allah sanctify his secret) has a very detailed treatise on this very topic that has been reproduced in Bawadir al Nawadir. The issue at hand is a fiqhi one, regarding which Maulana Thanawi (Allah sanctify his secret) says:

“The third type of difference is the difference that relates to a religious matter from among the branches (furu`), with proof – whether that proof is textual, or ones ijtihad, or ones following of a righteous person’s ijtihad and fatawa. This is the type of difference that has been present among the community from the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) … and a rule pertaining to such a difference is that when it is well and accepted one cannot have antipathy towards another and nor can he accuse him of misguidance and evil, something prevalent amongst the extremist’s books and speeches. This is clear innovation, misguidance, intolerant bias, and against the way of the pious predecessors (salaf).”

(Bawadi al Nawadir Pg: 671-674, Idarat Islamiyat Ed: 1985)

With the above in mind, it is now possible to proceed. There are two major opinions within the Hanafi school regarding having one’s trousers below the ankles:

(1) The scholars of Deoband and others state that doing so is makruh tahriman (prohibitively disliked) whether it is done with pride (خيلاء ) or not,

(2) Many of the Hanafi scholars among the muta’akhirin and muhaqiqin say that it is makruh tanzihan (slighlty disliked) and therefore not sinful if done without pride. However, if done with pride it will be makruh tahriman.

The reason for this difference is due to conflicting hadith on the issue, some mentioning the impermissibility of dragging the garment below the ankles unconditionally while others establish such impermissibily with the accompaniment of pride. Imam Bukhari narrates in his Sahih:

‏حدثنا ‏ ‏آدم ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏شعبة ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏سعيد بن أبي سعيد المقبري ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ‏رضي الله عنه ‏
‏عن النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏ما أسفل من الكعبين من الإزار ففي النار

“The Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘Whatever from the waist-cloth is below the ankles is in the fire.”

(Kitab al Libas, Bab Ma Asfal Min al Ka`bayn Fahuwa fil Nar. Also narrated in Sunan al Nasa’i, Sunan Abu Dawud as part of a longer narration, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Yet elsewhere, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is reported to have conditioned this, such as his saying:

‏ ‏لا ينظر الله إلى من جر ثوبه ‏ ‏خيلاء

“Allah will not look towards one who drags his garment out of pride”

(Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Libas – with a number of chains and variants all mentioning “pride”. Also narrated in Bukhari)

Similarly, it is narrated in Sahih Bukhari that the Prophet said to Abu Bakr, on the latters inquiry of his dragging his garment unintentionally:

فقال النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏لست ممن يصنعه ‏ ‏ خيلاء

You are not of those who do so out of pride.”

(Kitab al Libas)

(1) Hakim al Ummah Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanawi states in his Imdad al Fatawa (4:121-122):

“There is no reason to condition the general meaning of the narration and therefore hanging the garment is impermissible unconditionally and also hanging the garment with pride. Yet, if some level of difference is admitted between both prohibited acts then there is room for accepting such a difference in that one instance mentions only one prohibited action, that of hanging, while the other mentions two, both hanging and pride … as for the condition of pride then it is mentioned because many people who do this action knowingly do so out of pride.”

Elsewhere, Hakim al Ummah states:

“According to the Hanafis, in such a case the unconditional will remain unconditioned and the conditional will remain conditioned.”

This is also what Imam Anwar Shah Kashmiri stated in his Fayd al Bari:

قوله: ( من جرّ ثوبه خيلا ء ) وجرُّ الثوب ممنوعٌ عندنا مطلقا

“His saying “He who drags his garment with pride”: The dragging of the garment is impermissible with us unconditionally.”

Mufti Taqi `Uthmani states in his Taqrir al Tirmidhi (2:340):

“According to me, what seems more preferable is that, in actuality, prohibition due to pride is not conditioned with the meaning that one can drag his garment if he is not certain of feeling pride and arrogance. The correct interpretative scenario is that there is no doubt regarding the fact that its impermissibility is based on pride itself… meaning that dragging the garment is usually done as a result of pride and arrogance.

[…]

In this way the ruling of prohibition was built on pride, but pride is a hidden matter. One cannot tell if someone is doing such an act out of pride/arrogance or not, and on many occasions the one who does so arrogantly does not even know that he is engaged in such pride/arrogance. This is why its prohibition was built on the appearance of signs, and the sign was the dragging of the garment below the ankles. When this sign is manifested then it will be thought of as an act being done out of pride/arrogance, except if there is some extraneous proof that negates such pride/arrogance, for example dragging the garment without one actively and knowingly doing so.

[…]

Then, regarding this matter, two things should be kept in mind: Firstly, that no matter how arrogant one is, do you think he will admit to such arrogance and pride? If he admits to it, then he is not an arrogant man in the first place. Secondly, such arrogance is done only on the part of he who does not recognize such pride and arrogance. Then, the ruling that if pride is present it is impermissible and if it is not then it is permissible is meaningless.”

(2) The other position is that it is slightly disliked:

It is stated in one of the leading fatwa references of the Hanafi school, the Fatawa Hindiyya:

إسبال الرجل إزاره أسفل من الكعبين إن لم يكن للخيلاء ففيه كراهة تنزيه ، كذا في الغرائ

“The man’s lenghtening of his waist-cloth below the ankles without the presence of pride, then in it is slight dislikedness.”

Imam Badr al Din `Ayni stated in his Umdat al Qari Sharh Sahih Bukhari:

أي هذا باب في بيان حكم من جر إزاره من غير قصد التخييل فإنه لا بأس به من غير كراهة وكذلك يجوز لدفع ضرر يحصل له كأن يكون تحت كعبيه جراح أو حكة أو نحو ذلك إن لم يغطها تؤذيه الهوام كالذباب ونحوه بالجلوس عليها ولا يجد ما يسترها به إلاَّ إزاره أو ردائه أو قميصه وهذا كما يجوز كشف العورة للتداوي وغير ذلك من الأسباب المبيحة للترخص وقال شيخنا زين الدين وأما جوازه لغير ضرورة لا لقصد الخيل

“This is a chapter in discussion of the ruling on dragging the garment without pride and indeed there is no harm in it (la ba’asa bihi)…”

This was also the position of Imam `Ala al Din ibn `Abidin in his Hada’iyya al Ala’iyya (Pg: 238, Dar Ibn Hazm) who states:

لا يجوز إسبال الثوب تحت الكعبين، إنْ كان للخيَلاء، والتكبر، وإلاّ جاز، إلا أنّ الأفضل أن يكون فوق الكعبين، ويكره لبس ثيابٍ كثياب الفَسقة وزيِّهم، فإن اعتاد الناس لبسها، وصارت شعارَهم، (ف) لا يكر

“It is not permitted to drag ones garment below the ankles if done out of pride and arrogance, otherwise it is permitted (wa ila jaaz) although what is superior (afdhal) is that it be above the ankles (fawq al ka`abayn).”

This was also the position of Imam Nahlawi in his Al Durar al Mubaha.

Indeed, all of these scholars saw the general wordings of the hadith in question to be conditioned, and expounded on it with many proofs, among them the actions of the companions themselves, `urf (custom), and the general establishment of karaha tahnzihi – not tahrimi – in prohibited acts relating to aspects of adab. Ofcourse, this can also be detailed more from a methodological point of view, but the author neither has the ability nor the resources to engage in such a discussion.

Lastly, it is useful to note that Mufti Taqi `Uthmani himself mentioned this difference at the very beginning of his discussion on this issue. He states:

“The position of one group among the scholars is that hanging the garment is impermissible only when one does it with the intention of pride, and if one does not then there is no harm in it. At most, it is considered slightly disliked.”

To all those on the Ashrafiyya silisla, one of the practices that is to be implemented on one joining the path is to keep ones pants above his ankles. Maulana Thanawi makes this clear in his Takashaf. At the same time no one has the right to look down upon or criticise one who does not do so, since the matter is differed upon. If we do so, we will be going against the teaching and general guidelines outlined by our Akabir on the issue.

And Allah Knows Best

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An Example of the Prophet’s Perfection

salamu `alaykum

One of the most beautiful examples I came across that showed the rank and perfection of the Beloved of Allah (May our lives be sacrificed for him) was the immense insight that the hadith master Ibn Hibban mentioned while explaining the narration:

[ 409 ] أخبرنا عبد الله بن صالح البخاري ببغداد حدثنا الحسن بن علي الحلواني حدثنا عمران بن أبان حدثنا مالك بن الحسن بن مالك بن الحويرث عن أبيه عن جده قال صعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المنبر فلما رقي عتبة قال آمين ثم رقي عتبة أخرى فقال آمين ثم رقي عتبة ثالثة فقال آمين ثم قال أتاني جبريل فقال يا محمد من أدرك رمضان فلم يغفر له فأبعده الله قلت آمين قال ومن أدرك والديه أو أحدهما فدخل النار فأبعده الله قلت آمين فقال ومن ذكرت عنده فلم يصل عليك فأبعده الله قل آمين فقلت آمين

“The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) climbed up the pulpit and said ‘Amin‘ then he climbed up (to the second step) and said ‘Amin‘ and then he climbed up to the third and said ‘Amin‘. He then said: “Gabriel came to me and said: ‘Oh Muhammad, he is ruined who sees the month of Ramadaan come and go, and he has not been forgiven.’ I said Amin. Then he said: ‘He is doomed, who grows up and both his parents or one of them are still alive, and they do not cause him to enter Paradise.’ I said Amin. Then he said: ‘He is doomed who hears you mention and does not send peace upon you. Say Amin!’ So I said Amin.”

(Sahih ibn Hibban, Vol 2 – This narration is considered mass-transmitted as per Imam Kattani in his Nazm, who states that it was narrated by 9 companions in various books including Imam Hakim’s Mustadrak (wa isnaduhu sahih), Imam Bukhari in his Al Adab Al Mufrad, Imam Tabarani in his al Kabir and Al Awsat, Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih, Al Bazzar in his Musnad, and others)

When I read the explanation of this narration, I was amazed at the intricacy and pure genius, contemplative thought, and wisdom underlying it, something that makes one only appreciate the scholars of the religion more and more. There is no doubt that compared to them we are nothing, and without them we are but a flock of sheep without a sheperd to guide us – roaming around aimlessly without a clue.

Ofcourse, you may all be wondering ‘What is this man going on about?’, and my rant may have placed within the soul of my readers a deep excitement (or the opposite, I pray not). However, before reading ahead stop and try to analyse the narration. Use your own intuitive mind to conclude, regarding the narration and its wording, ‘What is different’ and ‘Why is this difference so significanct’.

Ibn Hibban mentions right after this narration:

قال أبو حاتم في هذا الخبر دليل على أن المرء قد استحب له ترك الانتظار لنفسه ولا سيما إذا كان المرء ممن يتأسى بفعله وذاك أن المصطفى صلى الله عليه وسلم لما قال له جبريل من أدرك رمضان فلم يغفر له فأبعده الله بادر صلى الله عليه وسلم بأن قال آمين وكذلك في قوله ومن أدرك والديه أو أحدهما فدخل النار أبعده الله فلما قال له ومن ذكرت عنده فلم يصل عليك فأبعده الله فلم يبادر إلى قوله آمين عند وجود حظ النفس فيه حتى قتال جبريل قل آمين قال قلت آمين أراد به صلى الله عليه وسلم التأسي به في ترك الانتصار للنفس بالنفس إذ الله جل وعلا هو ناصر أوليائه في الدارين وإن كرهوا نصرة الأنفس في الدنيا

I am not going to translate this verbatim, but I will summarise the basic message and lesson being propogated. When we look at this narration we see a clear example of what it means to be purified of ones nafsanic (“selfly”) desires, and that one of the primary goals of a Muslim is to purify his self, something that the path of tasawwuf seeks to achieve. Within this narration we see three key points:

[1] That the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said Amin twice of his own accord,

[2] That the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said Amin once at the demand ofGabriel, who said “SAY: Amin“, and

[3] That this coaxing and motioning to say Amin was regarding something related to the Prophet’s own self – namely the du`a against those who fail to send peace on his mention.

One of our teachers said:

“He wished to preclude any part of gain for his own nafs. Ibn Hibban added that this is also a proof that Allah Most High Himself protects His friends here and hereafter.”

So, we pray that Allah makes us among those who resemble His Prophet (Allah bless him and gran thim epace) in our states, and may He allow us to overcome our nafs and actualzie the spirit that lies so deep within us… Amin.

Wasalam

Salman

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The Level of the `Arif (Knower of Allah)

salamu `alaykum

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Do not curse my companions. If any of you were to spend the weight of Uhud in gold, it still would not reach the measure (mudd) of one of them nor even one-half of it.”

(Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah from Abi Sa`id, Muslim from Abu Hurayra, Bazzar from Jabir with the wording ‘If any of you were to spend all the wealth of the earth’)

Qutb al `Alam wal Shaykh al Akbar Maulana `Ashraf `Ali Thanawi (Allah be well-pleased with him) stated, while explaining this narration:

“Within the books of this science (s: of tasawwuf), it is mentioned that the action (`amal) of the `arif is increased manifold in reward and degree over that of the ghayr `arif (s: the one who does not ‘know’ Allah) – so much so that it was heard from Shaykh Murshidi (Allah have mercy on him) that two cycles of prayer by the `arif are more superior than a thousand cycles of prayer by the ghayr `arif. This narration is a proof for this, for even though it is regarding the companions the underlying reasoning between the two are shared, which is their distinct level of sincerity (s: from others) …”

(Al Takashaf, Pg 357 Ed. Kutub Khana Mazhari)

It should be noted here that an `arif is not merely a person who knows that God exists. He is not merely someone who is a “good muslim” or a “pious” one. Rather, he is a person who has actualized the very definition of Ihsan, which is to “Worship Allah as if you see Him”, also known as the level of mushahada, and stays firm (istiqamat) on this state. This is a key point to understand since many seemingly confuse the distinction.

From the above, it also becomes quite necessary to understand that respecting, following, and loving such people is wherein our success lies. Opposing them will lead to our destruction. It is our duty to realize their immense rank, to realize their inheriting of the propehtic states, and to realize that they are our door to Allah and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

May Allah grant us true knowledge of Him, and grant us sincere following and actualization of the state of His greatest creation, the cause of our salvation, the reason for our existence, Muhammad, for whom we would sacrifice our lives over and over just to get a glimpse of his face… Nay! even the sandals that touched his feet! The dust of those sandals!

And Allah Alone gives success.

Salman

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Is it true that there is “blatant shirk” in many parts of the Qasida Burda?

Answered by Sayyidi Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (Seekersdigest)

Question:

Some learned scholars say that there is “blatant shirk” in many parts of the Qasida Burda–that it goes against Allah’s Oneness of Lordship, His Oneness in Names & Attributes, and also His Oneness in Divinity…

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Beloved Messenger Muhammad, his noble folk, righteous companions, and all followers

No, the Qasida Burda doesn’t contain “shirk” (associating partners with Allah) or other deviations from sound Islamic belief. Rather, it is a pure expression of deep and passionate love for the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), whose love is a condition of faith. [Read full answer]

 

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“Fasting Is For Me”: The Meaning Of The Hadith Qudsi

It is narrated in a hadith qudsi that Allah says:

كل حسنة بعشر أمثالها إلى سبع مائة ضعف إلا الصيام فهو لي وأنا أجزي به

“Every good action is rewarded by ten times its kind, up to seven hundred times, except fasting, which is for Me, and I reward it.”

(Narrated in the Sunan of Tirmidhi and the Muwatta of Imam Malik, from Abu Hurayra, with variants in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasa`i and Ahmad)

The Meaning of ‘Fasting is for Me’

 

Among the various interpretations for Allah’s usage of this phrase are:

[1] Fasting is an act of worship that precludes the presence of riya’ (showing-off) due to its hidden nature, whereas all other acts of worship are clearly visible which makes the probability of riya’ occurring higher. This was mentioned by al Maziri, as related by Qadhi `Iyad from Abi `Ubaid. It was also stated by Qurtubi and Ibn Jawzi. This is why Allah said “Fasting is for Me”.

[2] It can also mean that “Fasting is the most beloved to Me, and most preferable with Me”. This was the position preferred by Ibn `Abd al Barr. In the Fath al bari it states:

معنى قوله ” الصوم لي ” أي أنه أحب العبادات إلي والمقدم عندي , وقد تقدم قول ابن عبد البر : كفى بقوله ” الصوم لي ” فضلا للصيام على سائر العبادات

[3] The relationship (nisba) in the phrase “Fasting is for Me” is a nisba al ta`zim i.e of reverence and respect, just like the phrase baytullah (the house of Allah) although all houses are Allah’s. This was mentioned by Ibn Munir who stated that such specification from the general is meant to convey a meaning of nobility and respect. wa fi fath al bari li ibn hajar `asqalani:

قال الزين بن المنير : التخصيص في موضع التعميم في مثل هذا السياق لا يفهم منه إلا التعظيم والتشريف

[4] Being free from the need of food and other desires, in totality, is specifically an attribute of Allah Most High. When a person abstains from these desires then he formulates a specific closeness to Allah Most High by resembling His attribute (although, of course, it is not at the same level of independence). Due to this it is said “‘Fasting is for Me’, meaning, Fasting is the means of closeness to Me.” Imam Qurtubi, explaining this, said:

وقال القرطبي : معناه أن أعمال العباد مناسبة لأحوالهم إلا الصيام فإنه مناسب لصفة من صفات الحق , كأنه يقول إن الصائم يتقرب إلي بأمر هو متعلق بصفة من صفاتي

[5] Being free from food, water, and its like are attributes of the angels who are among Allah’s most closest creations. The believer, by fasting, allows himself to resemble this attribute of the angels which draws him closer to Allah. wa fi fath al bari:

أن المعنى كذلك , لكن بالنسبة إلى الملائكة لأن ذلك من صفاتهم

[6] Fasting is an act of worship specifically done for Allah, with no delight in it for the human being except, of course, the delight of pleasing his Lord. This is what al Khatabi mentioned kaza fil fath al bari :

أنه خالص لله وليس للعبد فيه حظ , قاله الخطابي , هكذا نقله عياض وغيره

[7] Fasting is an act of worship that is not done for anyone besides Allah, unlike praying, giving charity, doing tawaf and so forth. Ibn Hajar says in his Fath:

سبب الإضافة إلى الله أن الصيام لم يعبد به غير الله , بخلاف الصلاة والصدقة والطواف ونحو ذلك

[8] Fasting is hidden worship regarding which everyone, even the angels writing down our deeds, are unaware of. Only Allah is aware of this deed.

[9] Similar to the above, the interpretation of “And I reward it” is interpreted to mean that fasting is rewarded without the means of the angels. This was mentioned by Hakim al Ummah.

[10] “And I reward it” can also mean that the amount of reward earned by the one who is fasting is solely known by Allah, whereas the rewards for other acts of worship can be known to specific people. The knowledge of the reward gained through fasting is thus specific only to Allah. This was mentioned by Ibn `Uyana. Imam Qurtubi said as stated in the fath al bari:

المراد بقوله ” وأنا أجزي به ” أني أنفرد بعلم مقدار ثوابه وتضعيف حسناته . وأما غيره من العبادات فقد اطلع عليها بعض الناس . قال القرطبي : معناه أن الأعمال قد كشفت مقادير ثوابها للناس وأنها تضاعف من عشرة إلى سبعمائة إلى ما شاء الله , إلا الصيام فإن الله يثيب عليه بغير تقدير . ويشهد لهذا السياق الرواية الأخرى يعني رواية الموطأ , وكذلك رواية الأعمش عن أبي صالح حيث قال ” كل عمل ابن آدم يضاعف الحسنة بعشر أمثالها إلى سبعمائة ضعف إلى ما شاء الله – قال الله – إلا الصوم فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به ” أي أجازي عليه جزاء كثيرا من غير تعيين لمقداره , وهذا كقوله تعالى ( إنما يوفى الصابرون أجرهم بغير حساب ) انتهى

And Allah Knows Best

Main Sources: Darse Tirmidhi of Mufti Taqi, and Ibn Hajar `Asqalani’s Fath al Bari (see attachment below of Ibn Hajar’s full text)

Ibn Hajar’s commentary

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The Chaining of the Devils

Salamu `Alaykum

It is narrated on the authority Sayyidina Abu Hurayra (Allah be well-pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

‏حدثنا ‏ ‏يحيى بن أيوب ‏ ‏وقتيبة ‏ ‏وابن حجر ‏ ‏قالوا حدثنا ‏ ‏إسمعيل وهو ابن جعفر ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي سهيل ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبيه ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ‏رضي الله عنه ‏
‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏إذا جاء رمضان فتحت أبواب الجنة وغلقت أبواب النار ‏ ‏وصفدت ‏ ‏الشياطين

“When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened, and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained up.

(Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, and Nasa`i – who narrates numerous versions of the narration with their variants some mentioning “the most evil jinns“)

Among the interpretative possibilities given for this narration are:

[1] That it is taken literally and on its apparent meaning. This was the position of Qadhi `Iyaad, Imam Qurtubi, and Ibn Munir. In the Fath al Bari, it states in a lengthy discussion:

قال عياض : يحتمل أنه على ظاهره وحقيقته وأن ذلك كله علامة للملائكة لدخول الشر وتعظيم حرمته ولمنع الشياطين من أذى المؤمنين , ويحتمل أن يكون إشارة إلى كثرة الثواب والعفو , وأن الشياطين يقل إغواؤهم فيصيرون كالمصفدين . قال : ويؤيد هذا الاحتمال الثاني قوله في رواية يونس عن ابن شهاب عند مسلم ” فتحت أبواب الرحمة ” قال : ويحتمل أن يكون فتح أبواب الجنة عبارة عما يفتحه الله لعباده من الطاعات وذلك أسباب لدخول الجنة , وغلق أبواب النار عبارة عن صرف الهمم عن المعاصي الآيلة بأصحابها إلى النار , وتصفيد الشياطين عبارة عن تعجيزهم عن الإغواء وتزيين الشهوات . قال الزين بن المنير : والأول أوجه , ولا ضرورة تدعو إلى صرف اللفظ عن ظاهره

“[Qadhi] `Iyaadh said: ‘It is alluded to that it is on its apparent and literal meaning… and the devils are prevented from harming the believers. And it also (s: speaking of the second opinion) alludes to the abundance of reward and forgiveness, and that the seduction of the devils decreases. The second position is indicated from the narration of Yunus from Ibn Shihab in Muslim that, “The gates of Mercy are opened”. This phrase signifies the opening of the gates of paradise and expresses Allahs opening of the gates of obedience for his servants, which is the door to paradise. The closing of the doors of hell is an expression of changing resolve from the verge of disobedience…’ Ibn Munir said: ‘The first opinion is preferrable and there is no reason to change the words from their apparent meaning.'”

[2] That this is a figurative expression that alludes to the doer of good being rewarded more for his noble actions, the forgiveness of his sins, overlooking of his mistakes, and the lessening of the devils influence. Imam Turbushati held this opinion, as did others, and took as his proof the narration “When Ramadhan comes the doors of mercy are opened” (Muslim). (See: above)

From among these two positions, Imam Qurtubi gave preference to the first. However, a questions arises: If the devils are chained up during the month of Ramadhan then why do we still commit sins?

Imam Qurtubi, replying to this, states that sin and disobedience are not only a result of the devils and their whispers but also due to the weakness of our nufus, our ill habits, bad company, and disposition to sin. In the Sharh of Nasa`i it the author states:

وجود المعاصي شرازة النفس وخباثتها ولا يلزم أن تكون كل معصية بواسطة شيطان

“The presence of disobedience is the nafs and its malice, and it is not necessary that all disobedience be by the way of the devils.”

Further, the narration mentioning the chaining of the devils does not necessitate that all of them are chained. Rather, as some variants mention only the “most evil jinn” are locked up. Even if we presume that all of them are chained the effects of their whispers are still with us, even if somewhat lessened, due to their accompanying us for the remaining, prior months. It is like a hot iron rod that is placed in a furnace for a number of days. When removed, its temperature may decrease, but some of its hot effects remain. Imam Suyuti states in his Sharh `ala Sunan al Nasa`i:

وقال غيره : المراد بالشياطين بعضهم وهم المردة منهم ويؤيده قوله في الحديث بعد هذا ‏

“And others said: What is indicated by “devils” is some of them, and they are the most evil ones from among them…”

This is why seeking the spiritual path is of utmost importance as it allows one to rectify the self and overcome the ill habits that plague the human being. It is only through purification of the heart that complete felicity and hifaza from sin can be attained.

And Allah Knows Best

وقال القرطبي بعد أن رجح حمله على ظاهره : فإن قيل كيف نرى الشرور والمعاصي واقعة في رمضان كثيرا فلو صفدت الشياطين لم يقع ذلك ؟ فالجواب أنها إنما تقل عن الصائمين الصوم الذي حوفظ على شروطه وروعيت آدابه , أو المصفد بعض الشياطين وهم المردة لا كلهم كما تقدم في بعض الروايات , أو المقصود تقليل الشرور فيه وهذا أمر محسوس فإن وقوع ذلك فيه أقل من غيره , إذ لا يلزم من تصفيد جميعهم أن لا يقع شر ولا معصية لأن لذلك أسبابا غير الشياطين كالنفوس الخبيثة والعادات القبيحة والشياطين الإنسية . وقال غيره : في تصفيد الشياطين في رمضان إشارة إلى رفع عذر المكلف كأنه يقال له قد كفت الشياطين عنك فلا تعتل بهم في ترك الطاعة ولا فعل المعص

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