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Monday, July 21, 2014

BLESSINGS THROUGHT PROPHET (S), THE RIGHTEOUS, AND THEIR RELICS - Part 8.

Seeking blessings through Prophet (s), and the Righteous and their Relics: 

From the Layman’s Desk: Islamic Article No.16: ISLAMIC BARAKA, Part 8:

In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful. 

Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, and blessings and peace of Allah upon His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), his Family and all his Companions. 

In order to deny the fact of Baraka, it is very common for the deviants  to point out that Hazrat Umar ® chopped down the tree under which the the Treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah was executed by the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam).  According to them, Hazrat Umar ® chopped… “all the trees under which the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) had ever sat.”  So lets examine this: 

The Tree at Hudaybiyyah - Bay'at al-Ridwan

The tree became famous when Allah, subhanaHu wa Ta`ala, mentioned it in the Holy Qur'an (48:18) saying: (Laqad radiy Allahu anil muminina iz. Yubayi-oonaka tahta ash shajarah) "Verily Allah, subhanaHu wa Ta`ala, is Pleased with those Believers who gave Bay'ah to you under the Tree".  That tree was in Hudaybiyyah.  
The incident of cutting down of the “Tree” by Hazarat Umar ® is mentioned in Tabaqaat ibn-Saad which is not a book of Hadith.  According to this book, based on the chain of narrators, Abdul Wahhaab Bin Ataa' reported "People were visiting a tree in Hudaybiyyah which had become famous as Shajaratul Ridhwaan and they were praying beside the tree. When Umar ® was informed about this, he ordered that the tree should be cut down." 
But the Tabaqaat also mentions: "Saeed Bin Musayyab was informed that people were praying at a location that had become famous as the tree of Hudaybiyyah, he laughed and  said: My father [Musayyab Bin Hazn Al-Qurashi ® was among the Sahaabah who took oath under that tree, and Musayyab reported that when they went to Makkah the next year, they traveled to Hudaybiyyah to visit the tree but could not find it.  So it is like a joke for me that Sahaabah of Rasoolullah were unable to locate the tree and you have found it, so you have more knowledge than Sahaabah".
The word “Hudaybiyyah” appear 65 times in 56 prophetic traditions mentioned by Bukhari.  We ask the same people to show us either in Bukhari or Muslim where the above mentioned narration is mentioned regarding Umar's ® ordering that tree to be cut down. Hafiz ibn Kathir has not mentioned any narration about the cutting of the tree either in his Tafseer, or Tarikh or even in Seerat a-an-Nabi.  

This incident as recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari (Kitab al-Maghazi) and Muslim (Kitab al-Imamah) took place because there was controversy over which tree was the one where the honourable Bay'ah was taken and reliable sources from amongst the Sahabah held that that tree in question was definitely the wrong tree and the original Tree could no longer be located and had mysteriously vanished.  Ibn Umar (who was present in the Bay'ah under the Tree) said: "No one could locate the Tree after that year". (Bukhari)  In fact, according to him,  when they reached (Hudaibiyya) a year after the treaty of Hudaybiyya), not even two men amongst us agreed unanimously as to which was the tree under which we had given the pledge of allegiance, and that was out of Allah’s Mercy.  In Imam al-Bukhari's version Sa'id ibn Musayib said: 'My father told me when he went to look for the tree of bay'a, he could not recognize the place where it was and had forgotten the exact place where it was' [i.e. it had disappeared] [Bukhari, chapter on 'Al-Hudaybiyya']  In the last moments of Jabir ibn 'Abdullah, when he had lost his sight, he used to say: 'If I could see today I would show you the tree where the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) received the bay'a of the Companions".  [Bukhari, chapter on 'al-Magazi']  

To state very shortly:   Sahaabah loved to visit the sacred sites which had a NISBAT with Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) involving a special journey to Hudaybiyyah from Makkah  (22 km approx.) in the west which is not located en route to Madinah.  This indicates that visiting  sacred sites was valid.  From the narration in Bukhari we can say no one was stopped to go there.  

The above mentioned narrations prove that if it were shirk to seek the blessings,  the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) would have struck down the tree.  This was not done!  Neither did this happen during the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr ®.   The Sahabah gave a lot of importance to that tree and that is why they tried to locate it after the year of the Bay'ah.  The Tabi'een would also go to the valley of Hudaibiyyah looking for that tree.  However, Allah, subhanaHu wa Ta`ala, had made the original tree vanish for mysterious reasons.  The tree that the Tabi’een were visiting at the Hudaybiyyah , in the the time of Sayyidina Umar ® was not the real one, though it was in the same valley.  Sayyidina Umar ®  did not cut down the tree because he believed the people were committing shirk, he cut it because it was not the original tree and because it was being wrongly attributed to the Prophet (sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam). So, it is wrong to conclude from the premise of ibn Sa’d that Tabarruk from the relics of the pious is forbidden.  

On the contrary, Sayyidina Umar, radi Allahu `anh, had complete respect and honour for all things related to the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, and it is unimaginable that he should show any kind of disrespect to them. He did not mean to prohibit the Tabarruk with the traces of the Messenger.  Had it been like what they thought, his son Abdullah would not have come to the tree of samur, under which the Messenger used to sit, seeking the Tabarruk. He used to water it so that it does not dry out. Ibn Hibban related it and said it is sahih. There is no doubt that Abdullah understood his father's biography more than Ibn Taymiyah and his followers did.

Sayyidina Umar's respect for the relics and things of the Nabi , sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, can also be ascertained from the  incident narrated in Kanzul Ummal (vol.7 p.66) and Ibn Qudamah (al-Mughni vol.4 p.554):   

Refixing the “Mizab” or Water Spout:

Once while going to the Masjid to lead the Friday Prayers  Umar ® passed by a ‘Mizab, which was in the way, and the dirty water from the Spout soiled his clean clothes.  Annoyed, he removed the Mizab out of the way,  went back home,  dressed up again and went to Masjid.  There, the Prophet’s (sal Allah alayhi wasallam) uncle Sayyidina Abbas ® confronted him saying: "That ‘Mizab’ was fixed there by the Rasool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam),  as I saw with my own eyes".  When Umar ® heard that, he immediately left the Masjid along with Abbas ® and went to the place where   the ‘Mizab’ had been originally fixed.  Then he bowed as in a ‘Ruku’ and said to Abbas ®:  " O Uncle of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), climb on to my back and put the back the Water Spout where Allah's Messenger had fixed it".

Hazrat Umar’s ® zeal in protecting the relics of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam is also proved from what al-Bukhari transmitted from al-Zubayr that Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alalyhi wasallam) requested from (al-Zubayr) the spear with which he killed Abu Dhat al-Karish on the day of Badr, and it is mentioned here that “When Allah’s Messenger died, (al-Zubayr) took it (back). After that Abu Bakr ® demanded it and he gave it to him, and when Abu Bakr ® died, (al-Zubayr) took it (back). ‘Umar ®  then demanded it from him and he gave it to him.  When ‘Umar ® died, (al-Zubayr) took it (back).  Thereafter, ‘Uthman ® demanded it from him and he gave it to him. When ‘Uthman ® was killed, the spear remained with Ali’s ® offspring. Then ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr demanded it, and it remained with him till he was martyred.” [Kitab al-Maghazi in Sahih al-Bukhari, Bab Shuhud al-Mala’ikati Badran]

This was the love and respect Hadrat Umar ® had for the things related to the master of all believers, sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam).  And now it has become a common place to destroy the holiest of Islamic relics, including the home of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu Alayhi wasallam). 

Kissing and Touching the Black Stone of Ka’ba: 

Next, as we are all aware, kissing the Black Stone (Hajar-e-Aswad) during the Hajj is a part of the pilgrimage rituals and is full of blessings.  However, in their zeal to deny the Baraka, the Wahhabis point out the following hadith: 
Al-Bukhârî reports that ‘Umar – Allâh be pleased with him – came to the Black Stone (performing tawâf, circumambulation), kissed it, and said, “I know that you are a stone, you do not cause benefit or harm; and if it were not that I had seen Allâh’s Messenger – peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him – kiss you, I would never have kissed you.” [Al-Bukhârî, Al-Sahîh, Chapter on what has been said about the Black Stone.]

So lets discuss this:

1. It may be noted that Hazrat Umar ® while visiting the Kaba, said before the Hajar al-aswad, "You cannot do anything! But I kiss you in order to follow Rasulullah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam)."  Upon hearing this, Hazarat 'Ali ® said: "Rasulullah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) said, 'On the Day of Judgment, the Hajar al-aswad will intercede for people.' " [This hadith is reported by at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasai, al-Baihaki, at-Tabarani and al-Bukhari in his History.] And 'Umar ® thanked 'Ali ®.

2. Qutaiba narrated from Jarir, who from Khusaim, who from Sa'eed bin Jubair, who from Ibn Abbas, who said that Rasool Allah (sal Alayhi wasallam) said about Hajar-e-Aswad:  By Allah, Hajar-e-Aswad will be granted eyes on the day of judgement by Allah and also a tongue, which will give testimony in favour of those who behaved well with it.Abu 'Isa said that this hadith is "Hasan".[Sunnan Tirmidhi, Book of Hajj.]

3. The Black Stone will come forth on the Day of Resurrection and will testify in favour of those who touched it in truth.  It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said concerning the Stone: “By Alllah, Allah will bring it forth on the Day of Resurrection, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favour of those who touched it in sincerity.”  [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 961; Ibn Maajah, 2944.   This hadeeth was classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi, and as ‘qawiy’ by al-Haafiz ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari, 3/462]
The following Ahadith confirm the fact that Prophet Mohammad  (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaba ® kissed and touched the black stone (Hajar al-Aswad)  at Ka'abatullah: 
4. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas ® said: The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The Black Stone came down from Paradise.”  
[Tirmidhi # 877; Nasaa’i # 2935]. The Hadith was classified as Saheeh by Tirmidhi.]

5. Narrated by Ibn Umar ®  He said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) say: “Touching them both (the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamani) is an expiation for sins.” 
[Tirmidhi - 959.  This Hadith was classified as Hasan by Tirmidhi and as Saheeh by al-Hakim(1/664) and ad-Dhahabi agreed with him].

6. Narrated by Naafi’  ®  He said: I saw Ibn Umar ® touch the Stone with his hand then he kissed his hand. He (Ibn Umar ® said, I have never ceased to do this since I saw the Messenger of Allah  (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) do it. (Muslim - 1268).

No one doubts that while circumambulating the House of God {tawaf}, the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasalalam) used to touch or kiss the Black Stone {Hajar al-Aswad}.  Bukhari in his Sahih says:

“I saw the Messenger of Allah (S) touch and kiss it (Hajar al-Aswad).” [Sahih al-Bukhari (Egypt), vol. 2, “Kitab al-Hajj,” “Bab Taqbil al-Hajar,” pp. 151-152.]

If touching or kissing a stone was an act of associating partner with God, how would the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) who called for monotheism do it?
To conclude, it is worth warning those who show disregard for the items related to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and deny Tabarruk. It is stated in Al-Shifa that Jahiah seized from Uthman ® the Prophet's (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) staff, and broke it over his knee.  Then Jahiah's knee became infected from a splinter, leading to amputation.  He died within a year.

CONCLUSION

What have been mentioned above are only a few incidents of Tabarruk out of the many that have been documented by the righteous Islamic Scholars.    By themselves they are proof enough to show that  the Holy Prophet, (sal Alahu alayhi wa sallam) taught us that there is indeed a benefit in seeking blessings (barakah) from the traces of the Prophets and the righteous and  pious Muslims and in asking Allah for things by them whether during their lifetime or even after death.  As was mentioned above, Imam Nawawi (in “Sharh Sahih Muslim”) said: “In these narrations is evidence for seeking blessings with the relics of the saints” (fihi al-Tabarruk bi athar al-salihin). This is, of course, with the understanding that the relics of holy people are a means to receiving blessings from Allah Almighty.

Seeking Tabarruk was the methodology of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and those who followed them, i.e. the Salaf as-Saliheen and the Khalaf as-Sadiqeen.  The righteous Sunni scholars passed the uninterrupted chain of knowledge to the masses through the Four surviving authentic Schools of Islamic jurisprudence: Hanafi, Shafi’I, Maliki and Hanbali schools (madhaahib) who are followers of the Ash’ari-Maturidi creed. Therefore, those who say that it is ““shirk””/kufr to believe in taburruk have no proof from either the Holy Qur’an and the ahadith and having invented their own methodology have deviated from the right path.  There is no hadith that proves that to get Tabarruk from the pious is forbidden.  It is also to be remembered that if Tabarruk was only permitted during the Prophet’s life, then he would have clearly indicated so. No hadith, not even a weak one, exists in which the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) informed us that after his passing away Tabarruk is haraam.    The sacred relics means that they contain God-given nobility.  We do not believe that they are inherently noble.  Thus respecting the sacred relics does not mean worshipping them.  The Ummah is connected to the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and so is his Baraka.  The Tabarruk through any  thing other than the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) is in reality through him (s) just as the Baraka through him is really from Allah (swt).

In view of the above, some of the simple questions for the doubters and slanderers are:  Why did the Companions of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) take his hair?  Why did the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) distribute his nails among the people?  Why did the Companions want the Prophet’s (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) sweat?  Why did the Companions of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) compete for his ablution water?  Why did the noble followers of Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) want his sweat?  If putting the face on the grave was not objected to by any of the Companions, what would Ibn Taymiyah say?  Would he accuse Abu Ayyub ® of kufr or what would he do? Then what would he do with the statement of Imam Ahmad reported by his son Abdullah, which was mentioned previously about kissing and touching the minbar and grave of the Prophet in order to seek the blessing and a better status from Allah: No objection to that. We pray to Allah Almighty, not to the relics. In fact, like Maqam Ibrahim shows, you can pray towards a relic and it is still not shirk  because your intention is known to Allah alone. And so on!  

It is well-settled that Tabarruk is a noble and established practice in our Islamic tradition and in full agreement with the Qur’an and Sunnah — even if the deviant sects foolishly think that Tabarruk and Tawassul are shirk (polytheism).  May Allah protect us from their designs, and may He keep all Muslims unswervingly on the path of Ahl al-Sunna and that of the true Salaf. We declare ourselves clear and innocent of the innovations of those who have attacked, rejected, or questioned the validity of Tabarruk and Tawassul. 

May Allah Guide us on the Right Path and forgive us for our wrong assumptions and misinterpretations of the actions of the pious.

And Allah and His Rasool knows best.

Continued in Part 9…