Did the Prophet Predict Islamophobia?

PROPHETIC WISDOM FOR OUR TIMES series [The Message Magazine]

The Prophet Muhammad:

بَادِرُوا بِالأعْمَال فتناً كقطَعِ اللَّيْلِ المُظْلِمِ ، يُصْبحُ الرَّجُلُ مُؤْمِناً وَيُمْسِي كَافِراً ، وَيُمْسِي مُؤمِناً ويُصبحُ كَافِراً ، يَبيعُ دِينَهُ بعَرَضٍ مِنَ الدُّنيا

You should rush towards virtuous deeds before you are overtaken by turbulent times like a portion of a pitch-dark night, times in which a person may wake up believing and lose faith by nightfall, or believe at nightfall and lose faith by morning, selling one’s religion for a paltry, worldly profit.

[Related by Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Ibn Hibban on the authority of Abu Hurayrah]

A timely prescription, a warning and a truthful prediction.  These insightful Prophetic words could not come at a more opportune time.  The prescription is for general virtue, the prophecy a time of unprecedented turmoil of faith and intense greed.

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Summary Points on Taqwa

  • Among the most essential and repeated commandments in Islam is taqwā
  • Allah commands us to have taqwā to the best of our ability [al-Taghābun 16], which implies that taqwā is a general and non-specific obligation that is flexible and relative, varying by situation and circumstance. This verse also teaches us that our responsibility for fulfilling commands is dependent upon our ability and capacity. Therefore, we should fulfill our obligations to the best of our capacity and as much as we possibly can, leaving the rest to Allah’s mercy. Conversely, if we suffer from lack of capacity in some aspect of the obligation, that doesn’t absolve us of the entire obligation. An example is the prayer, which must be prayed standing or, if unable to stand, by sitting or, and if unable to sit, by lying down, etc.
  • Taqwā also necessitates that we be truthful and straightforward in our speech [al-Aḥzāb 70], for speech is among the greatest weakness of human beings and the cause for many of them to enter the Hellfire. Continue reading

The Reality of Muraqabah

dark ocean 2No single leaf falls from a tree nor does exist a tiny grain below the deepest bowels of the earth except that it is in Allah’s perfect knowledge and awareness. Take an introductory look at the the concept of Muraqabah based upon a series of moving verses of the Qur’an, from Imam Nawawi’s Riyadh al-Saliheen. [click to listen]

Prophetic Training in Sabr

207421353Having concluded our lessons this week in the Chapter of Sabr in Riyadh al-Saliheen, we present a summary of these valuable gems and lessons. [Click here for a pdf version of these]


Prophetic Training in Ṣabr

from Imām al-Nawawīʼs Riyāḍ al-Ṣāliḥīn

  • Life is accompanied by ups and downs, health and illness, prosperity and adversity
  • The teachings of Sabr orient and train the believers to deal with day-to-day life
  • There are 4 levels of human response to calamity and tragedy, arranged in order of closeness to Allah:
  • Displeasure/annoyance [natural default reaction, most common]
  • Patience [advised for believers]
  • Contentment [only real believers can experience this]
  • Gratitude [the highest stage of belief]
  • 3 basic types of Sabr: In dealing with tribulations (lowest level), in refraining from sin, and in the obedience of Allah (highest level)
  • Allah commands sabr in the Qur’an, gives glad tidings to its practitioners, and rewards it without limits
  • The Prophet described sabr as illumination and warmth for our lives (ḍiyā), and the absolute greatest provision granted to a believer
  • The Prophet advised sabr over begging for those in need, pointing out that real poverty and richness is that of the heart
  • Sabr allows the believer to always be in a good state, for he/she adopts gratitude (shukr) in prosperity and sabr in adversity, the 2 states of life
  • The Prophet endured harsher trials than other human beings in every aspect of his life (including illness and disease), and the only wisdom behind that is to earn the great reward and status of sabr
  • Natural crying does not negate sabr, for the Prophet cried and attributed it to the natural mercy created by Allah
  • The Prophet taught us to place things in perspective when dealing with calamities- the comforting reality that all things belong to Allah and that everything, no matter how difficult, is temporary, and advised us to be patient and anticipate its reward
  • Importance of intention in sabr (anticipating reward brings additional rewards above atonement of sins, but bearing difficulties because you have no choice is not necessarily the sabr that is rewarded-although Allah may reward it if He chooses)
  • Sabr must be voluntary and conscious
  • Sabr must be at the first strike
  • The Prophets were the most patient people on earth
  • Every iota of suffering, however big or small, serves as atonement for a believers sins; the Prophet likened it to leaves falling from a tree; it is even possible for some to wind up meeting Allah with no sins at all due to their suffering
  • Don’t consider any aspect of your life insignificant, for good comes out even a thornprick
  • It is a good sign that one is afflicted with suffering
  • Wishing for death prohibited, for it is a sign of extreme impatience and questioning the wisdom of Allah’s decree; if one cannot help it, then it should be in vague terms that as for good and resign one’s trust in Allah
  • What leads to success, victory and achieving ones goals is sabr, along with long-term strategic planning
  • The Prophet would remind his tortured Companions in Makkah to have sabr and assure them that victory and peace would surely prevail one day
  • Anger is the opposite of sabr, and sabr demands that one avoid anger to the best of one’s ability
  • Among the tools that mitigate anger is the istiadhah supplication (seeking refuge in Allah from Shaytan)
  • Those who restrain their rage while having the capacity to act it out will have tremendous rewards in the Hereafter
  • The Prophet advised us to avoid anger
  • Avoiding anger has 3 meanings- avoid the means that lead to it, restrain it when it does occur, and never act out of anger
  • When your rights are deprived, be patient and don’t let that hinder you from fulfilling the rights of others
  • Don’t ask for suffering and don’t desire to meet the enemy in battle but always ask for peace and safety and health; but when you do meet your enemy be firm and steadfast, knowing Paradise awaits you

Prophetic Guidance in Anger Management

fire1Consider this:

  • The US has the highest homicide rate of any industrialized Western nation
  • Anger is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds
  • Anger is a leading cause of domestic violence
  • Anger is behind the rising “Road-Rage phenomenon”
  • Anger is even behind many physical diseases, such as heart disease (e.g. “type A personalities”)
“America is suffering from a kind of internal terrorism that is killing more of our citizens than any external threat from our enemies. The violence resulting from out collective inability to manage anger is having a devastating toll on our country, in terms of both damage to property and loss of lives.” -Leonard Ingram, president Chicago Anger Institute

[click here for audio]

In this session, we look at Prophetic narrations dealing with anger from the beautfiul Riyadh al Saliheen collection and conclude with 8 principles of  Anger Management from the Qur’an and Sunnah:


1. Istiadha

  • The Prophet said after seeing a man overcome with rage, “I know a word, the saying of which will cause him to relax, if he does say it. If he says: ‘I seek Refuge with Allah from Satan’ then all his anger will go away.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

إنّي أعلمُ كلمة ً لو قالها لذهبَ عنه ما يَجِد –

لو قال أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

2. Water/Wudu

  • “Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution.” [Abu Daud, Ahmad, authenticated by al-Arnaut but weak as per Albani]

إن الغضبَ من الشيطان ، و إن الشيطان خلِقَ من النار ، فإذا غضبَ أحدكم فليتوضأ

  • Wudu as an activity takes your mind off anger; water has calming effect

3. Change Positions

  • Abu Dharr narrated: The Apostle of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said to us: “When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.” [Abu Daud, Ahmad, authenticated by Albani]

إذا غضب أحدكم و هو قائمٌ فليجلس فإن ذهبَ عنه الغضبُ ، و إلا فليَضطَجِع

  • Physical change likely to lead to a mental change
  • Modern Techniques:
    • Find quiet place, lie down and relax.
    • Physical time out: change activities.

4. Remain silent

  • Hadith: “If one of you becomes angry then he should be silent.” [Ahmad, authenticated by Albani]

إذا غضب أحدكم فليسكت

  • Modern techniques: Mental Time Out.

5. Never Act on Anger

  • Narrated ‘Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakra: Abu Bakr wrote to his son who was in Sijistan: Do not judge between two persons when you are angry, for I heard the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, saying: “A judge should not judge between two persons while he is in an angry mood.” [Al-Bukhari; Vol. 9, No. 272]

6. Remembering Allah

  • Al-Toofi: The strongest means of preventing anger is understanding the reality of tawheed; when one realizes that there is no mover or controller of affairs other than Allah, and all persons and actions are His instruments, then one accepts His will with calm
  • Ibn Hajar: This is the secret behind isti‘adha: draws your attention to Allah and His tahweed.
  • Modern techniques: Think pleasant thoughts.

7. Humbling yourself

  • Among the most powerful precipitants of anger is Kibr- arrogance, the one who humbles himself and rids himself of arrogance will be protected from anger

8. Forgiveness

  • Islam proposes forgiveness and giving up your rights as a remedy [See al-A’raf 199, Al-Shura 40-41]
  • Also see al-Nisa 148-149: theseverses revealed in early days of persecution, when natural and justified feelings of rage and anger were developing in the Muslims; Allah encourages them to take the higher moral ground: continue practicing virtue even in the face of evil and at least refrain from reciprocating evil [Maududi]