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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Repudation of those who compare asking intercession to the Christian worship of Jesus and the saints, and of those who limit the quantity of permissible Salawat on the Prophet in any way or form

As for the heinous comparison, from near or far, of Muslims making tawassul through the Prophet to the Christian worship of Jesus, or Muslims making tawassul through awliya to the Christian worship of saints, we ask Allah to reform those who make such comparand stray so widely from the right path in their views as to forget, by ignorance or design, that Muslims are strict monotheists who worship Allah alone and use the blessings of particular acts, times, places, and persons to benefit them, not as objects of worship. If you persist in not seeing the difference between taking one as an object of worship on the one hand, and using one as a means to obtain blessings on the other, we ask Allah from protection from such misguidance, for persistance in making analogies between the doctrines of Muslims and Christians in disregard of their fundamental disparity is a characteristic of the enemies of Islam.
One deviant sect in particular among these enemies of tawassul are the bukhala' or misers who wish to curtail sending "too much blessings and peace" on the Prophet on the pretense that it would foster worship of the Prophet. They claim -- and what a detestable claim -- that "Praising him too much would be like ascribing a partner to Allah." Subhan Allah! The Prophet explicitly declared their status in the hadith when he said: "The miser (bakhil) is he before whom my name is mentioned and he does not invoke blessings ane peace upon me."
Allah said:
"Verily, Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O believers! Invoke blessings upon him, and utmost greetings." (33:56)
The bukhala' have declared their opposition to Allah Himself, since Allah Himself is sending his salat on the Prophet. If Allah does something, can anyone compete with Him in that? If not, and if He gives the order nevertheless to do the same, then how can that that same thing ever be "too much"? Even one salat of Allah on His Prophet is more than all the salawat jinn and mankind can ever make, even if they made it forever. For that reason, our salat on the Prophet can never be enough, nor does it consist of anything at all on our part, but is only our asking more salat from Allah on him: Allahuma salli `ala Muhammad, i.e. "O Allah, we beg You to send Your salat on Your Prophet."
It is beyond us how anyone can dare say that there is too much praise for the Prophet when his very name is the Praised One. The scholars have even said that Allah has cut the name of the Prophet from His Own Name, as we shall explain insha ALlah in the section on the Prophet's Names. Suffice it to say here that the names of Muhammad, Ahmad, and Mahmud: "Praised One, Most Praised, and Praiseworthy," were never given to any one person before or after him. And Allah said, as read by al-Baydawi in his Commentary:
Allah suffices as witness
(that) Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
What differentiates the Muslims from the Jews? The Jews say la ilaha illallah but they never like to say Musa rasulullah. They are stingy in love for their Prophet. Christians similarly refuse to say `Isa rasulullah although for other reasons. Both groups refuse to say Muhammadun rasulullah and that is where we differ. You cannot be Muslim without the latter, even if you are a believer in God. This makes the second part of the shahada a requirement for entering Islam, and thus belief in the Prophet is a means for salvation from error and punishment. Allah never accepts anyone to come to Him saying "I love You directly": instead they must obey the order "If you indeed love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you" (3:31). Therefore love of Allah can only proceed from love of the Prophet and its sign is to praise him an invoke blessings upon him often, as he requested in the hadith akthiru al-salat `alayya ("Send much blessings upon me") which we cite below.
The scholars have explained that Allah's salawat or sending of blessings stands for rahma -- mercy--, while the believers' salawat or invocation of blessings stands for du`a -- supplication. This verse on the salawat of Allah and His angels is absolute in sense and unrestricted with respect to quantity and time. In other words Allah and His angels send blessings, peace, mercy, honor, gifts, and salutations upon the Prophet at all times and with boundless abundance. Allah orders the believers to invoke blessings upon him similarly, that is: incessantly, as far as they are able.
Furthermore, since the best remembrance is la ilaha illallah, a Muslim does not remember Allah except he also remembers the Prophet since he says directly after it: muhammadun rasulullah. This is established by Allah's saying: "Remember Me and I shall remember you" (2:152) as elucidated by the hadith: "Whoever invokes blessings upon me once, Allah sends ten blessings upon him." In this connection al-hafiz Sakhawi said:
Just as in the testimony of faith (shahada) Allah has placed His Messenger's blessed name next to His own sacred name and has said that he who obeys the Prophet obeys Him and he who loves the Prophet loves Him, in the same manner He has related our invoking blessings upon the Prophet to His own blessings upon us. Therefore just as Allah said about His remembrance: Remember Me and I will remember you, likewise is His assurance: Allah sends ten blessings on the one who invokes a single blessing on the Holy Prophet, as it is established in the sound hadith.
Sakhawi mentions on the same page al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi's similar explanation of the verse: "Whoso brings a good deed shall have ten the like of it" (6:160) as referring to the good deed of invoking blessings on the Prophet, in the light of the aforementioned hadith.
Anyone who dares claim that there is a limitation in quantity, quality, timeliness, or in any other aspect of invoking blessings and peace upon the Prophet has erred and strayed from the Qur'an, the Sunna, and the Religion of Islam. Be warned, O Muslims who love your Prophet -- and every Muslim loves his Prophet -- about the dissemination of such false advice in your midst, which typifies the logic of those who cannot differentiate between worship and respect and are remiss in both, and typifies the hatred of non-Muslims for the central symbol of the Religion of Muslims -- Blessings and Peace upon him. Diminishing one's praise of the Prophet on the pretense that "it would foster his worship" is to imitate Iblis, who refused to prostrate to Adam on the claim that he only worships Allah.
Such are those who desire to extinguish Allah's light, but Allah will perfect His light in spite of them. None but non-Muslims cringe at the enthusiasm of the believers in invoking blessings on their Prophet. Such enthusiasm proceeds directly from the Prophet's own joy when he received news from heaven of the immense mercy granted his Community for invoking blessings upon him:
Sahl ibn Sa`d narrates: Allah's Messenger came out and met Abu Talha. The latter rose and went to him saying: "My father and mother be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah! I see joy and delight in your countenance?" The Prophet said: "Yes, for Gabriel has just come to me saying: O Muhammad, whoever among your Community invokes blessings upon you once, Allah records for Him ten meritorious deeds, erases from his register ten evil deeds, and raises him ten degrees because of it." al-Sakhawi said: "Our shaykh (Ibn Hajar) graded it hasan without doubt."
Another extremely important reason why one must incessantly invoke blessings on the Prophet is that it is established in the hadith that "the du`a or invocation of the believer is suspended between heaven and earth as long as the invocation of blessings and peace upon your Prophet does not accompany it." Tirmidhi narrates this hadith from `Umar in the section of his Sunan entitled Sifat al-salat `ala al-nabi, and al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi comments it thus:
The chain of men who narrate this is sound and both Malik and Muslim have cited it though not Bukhari. Such an utterance on the part of `Umar can only be a Prophetic legislation because it is not subject to opinion. It is strengthened by Muslim's narration of the Prophet's words: "If you hear the mu'adhdhin, repeat his words after him then invoke blessings upon me... then ask Allah to grant me al-wasila..."
It is established that invoking blessings on the Prophet is especially meritorious on Friday according tthe following hadith:
"Invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday because is is a day that is (particularly) witnessed and the angels witness it (abundantly). As soon as a person invokes blessings on me his invocation is shown to me until he ends it." Abu al-Darda' said: "Even after (your) death?" The Prophet replied: "Verily, Allah has forbidden the earth to consume the bodies of Prophets."
The Prophet explicitly confirmed that the believer gains by invoking blessings and peace upon him without restriction even he ceases all other forms of du`a. This is established in the following hadith:
Ubayy ibn Ka`b said: "After one third of the night the Prophet used to get up. One such time he said: O People! Remember Allah! The rajifa [first blow of the Trumpet] is upon us! The radifa [second blow of the Trumpet] follows it. Death has come." Ubayy said: ya rasulallah inni ukthiru al-salata `alayka fa kam aj`al laka min salati "O Messenger of Allah, I make much salawat upon you as a habit. How much of my prayer should I devote to you?" The Prophet said: "As much as you like." Ubayy said: "A quarter?" The Prophet said: "As you like, but if you add to that it will be better for you." Ubayy then mentioned a third, then a half, then two thirds, and always the Prophet answered: "As you like, but if you add to that it will be better for you." Finally Ubayy said: ya rasulallah inni uridu an aj`ala salati kullaha lak "O Messenger of Allah, I want to devote my entire prayer (i.e. du`a) to you." Whereupon the Prophet said: "Then you will be freed from care and your sins will be forgiven." (Another version has: "Then Allah will suffice you in the matter of your worldly life and your hereafter.")
The scholars of Islam have contributed many commentaries on this important hadith, of which we cite the following from Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami's Fatawa hadithiyya and from al-hafiz al-Sakhawi's al-Qawl al-badi`:
[Haytami:] It is understood from the wording of these narrations that the meaning of the word salat in the expression: "I shall devote my salat to you" is du`a' -- invocation... Then the meaning is: "There is a time in which I make du`a on behalf of myself: how much of that should I devote to you?" If this is established firmly, then consider what the Shaykh al-Islam al-hafiz Ibn Hajar said as reported from him by his student al-hafiz al-Sakhawi who particularly commended this saying of his: "This hadith constitutes a tremendous principle of the Religion for whoever makes du`a after his recitation and says: O Allah, grant our Master Allah's Messenger the reward of this worship."
[Sakhawi:] Salat in this hadith means invocation (du`a') and habitual devotion (wird) in the following sense: "There is a time in which I make du`a on behalf of myself: how much of that should I devote to you?" The Prophet did not consider that he should place a limit for him in this respect in order not to close the gate of superabundance for him. Accordingly he persisted in giving Ubayy the choice at the same time as he stressed for him surplus in invocation until Ubayy said: "I shall devote my entire prayer to you." That is: I shall invoke blessings upon you instead of asking anything for myself. Whereupon the Prophet said: "Then you will be freed from care," that is: do not worry either for your Religion or for your worldly need, because invoking blessings on me includes both remembrance of Allah and rendering honor to the Prophet; and the sense of this is an indication to Ubayy that he is actually invoking for himself, as confirmed by the Prophet's report on behalf of his Lord: "Whoever is occupied from beseeching Me because of remembering Me, I shall grant him the best of what I grant those who beseech." Know then that if you make most of your worship consist in invoking blessings upon your Prophet, Allah will suffice you in the matter of your worldly life and your hereafter.
However, according to the party of the bukhala -- the mean and miserly -- to follow the Prophet's advice in this matter "would foster his worship"! How far is this "Salafi" opinion from the Qur'an and the Sunna! In 1,400 years of sending salawat on the Prophet far more abundantly than in our age, we have never witnessed what they claim; how then do they want us to fear its occurrence now? And have they forgotten that the Prophet specifically said: "Those closest to me in the hereafter are those who invoked blessings upon me the most (in dunya)" and "No people sit at length without mentioning Allah and invoking bleeeings on His Prophet except they will incur dissatisfaction from Allah (or: dissatisfaction on the Day of resurrection): if He likes He will punish them and if He likes He will forgive them"? Rather, they are intent on hindering Muslims from expressing love for their Prophet through invoking blessings upon him, celebrating his birth, reading his life, and encouraging each other towards knowing him and loving him more than their own parents and children. For this is the great characteristic of this Community which its enemies wish to eradicate: we know our Prophet; we keep his status high; we prefer his Sunna to all other lifestyles; and we cherish his love among us more dearly than our own lives and properties.
Following is a list of the principal benefits obtained by invoking blessings on the Prophet as compiled by the hafiz al-Sakhawi in his book devoted to the topic, entitled: al-Qawl al-badi` fi al-salat `ala al-habib al-shafi` (The Radiant Discourse Concerning the Invocation of Blessings on the Beloved Intercessor):
Among the rewards of one who performs salat upon Allah's Messenger are the following:
The salat -- blessing -- of Allah, His angels, and His Prophet on that person; the expiation of his faults; the purification of his works; the exaltation of his rank; the forgiveness of his sins; the asking of forgiveness for him by his own salat; the recording of rewards the like of Mount Uhud for him and his repayment in superabundant measure; the comfort of his world and his hereafter if he devotes his entire salat to invoking blessings upon him; the obliteration of more faults than that effected by the manumission of a slave; his deliverance from affliction because of it; the witnessing of the Prophet himself to it; the guarantee of the Prophet's intercession for him; Allah's pleasure, mercy, and safety from His anger; admission under the shade of the Throne for him; preponderance of his good deeds in the Balance; his admission to drink from the Prophet's Pond; his safety from thirst and deliverance from the Fire; his ability to cross the Bridge swiftly; the sight of his seat in Paradise before he dies; numerous wives in Paradise; the preponderance of his salat over more than twenty military conquests; its equivalency to giving alms to the needy; its being zakat and purification for him; his wealth and possessions will increase because of its blessing; more than one hundred of his needs will be fulfilled through it; it constitutes worship; it is the most beloved of all deeds to Allah; it beautifies meetings; it cancels out poverty and mduress; it lets him expect and find goodness everywhere; it makes him the most deserving of goodness; he benefits from it as well as his children and theirs, as well as those to whom its reward is gifted in the register of his good deeds; it brings him near to Allah and to His Prophet; it is a light that helps him against his enemies; it cleans his heart of hypocrisy and rust; it commands the love of people and the sight of the Prophet in dreams; it forbids slander (ghiba) against him;
In sum, it is among the most blessed, most meritorious, most useful of deeds in Religion and in the life of the world, and carries desirable rewards other than all this for those who are clever and eager to acquire the deeds which constitute treasures for them, and harvest the most flourishing ang glowing of hopes. They do this by focusing on the deed that includes all these tremendous merits, noble qualities, manifold and all-encompassing benefits which are not found together in any other. Nor do they characterize any other human action or speech except this: sallahu `alayhi wa sallama tasliman kathiran -- May Allah bless him and greet him abundantly.