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Rights of the Poor and Needy in Islam

poor and needy

Muslims willingly offer the due amount in obedience to Allah’s commands. They pay it to the poor and the needy.

Allah (Exalted be He) praises those who spend for His cause in order to help the poor and the needy in the Islamic society. This is based on the instructions of the verse in the  Qur’an:

And in their wealth is a recognized right. For the (needy) who asks and the one who is deprived. (Al-Ma`arij 70:24,25)

As a matter of fact Islam regards the charity given to the poor and the needy as one of the most virtuous deeds. Moreover, Islam warns those who conceal and save up their wealth and do not spend for the cause of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West. But the righteousness is to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Prophets, and to give of your wealth out of love for Him, to your kin and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves… (Al-Baqarah 2:177)

The ones who accumulate the wealth without giving the due right of the poor and needy as commanded by Allah, are promised by Allah that they will receive a severe punishment on the Day of Requital. Allah says in the Qur’an:

And those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend in the Path of Allah then warn them of the painful torment. (At-Tawbah 9:34)

For this reason Zakah was prescribed as one of the basic tenets of Islam. Zakah is a set percentage (2.5%) of the accumulated wealth over a period of one year.

On Whom & To Whom?

Muslims willingly offer the due amount in obedience to Allah’s commands. They pay it to  the poor and the needy. Zakah is obligatory upon those who possess the appropriate amount on which Zakah is due. Allah states in the Qur’an:

And they were commanded not except to worship Allah, offering Him alone sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular Prayer; and to give calculated Charity; and that is the right Religion. ( Al-Bayyinah 98:5)

Zakah is prescribed with the following principles and conditions:

1- The person to pay Zakah must possess “nisab” (the appropriate amount as stipulated in the Islamic Shari`ah).

2- A period of one-year must pass while the owner maintains this amount in his possession. If less than a year passes, Zakah will not be required.

Islam defines the types of people who are entitled to receive Zakah. This is based on the verse in the Qur’an:

Verily alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer (the funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is All- Knower and All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:60)

Why We Pay It!

Islam imposes Zakah in order to uproot poverty from the Islamic society, treat the resulting problems stemming from poverty such as: theft, murder, attacking people and taking their property unjustly. In addition, it revives the mutual social welfare and support among members of the Islamic society.

Furthermore, Zakah is used to fulfill the needs of the needy, the destitute, and to pay the debts of those who have debts and are not able to pay their debts due to a sound and legitimate reason.

Moreover, the payment of Zakah purifies one’s heart, soul and  wealth as well. An owner of a wealth will become less selfish and greedy when he/she pays this charity with a pure heart. The Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an:

And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls; they are the ones that achieve prosperity. (At-Taghabun 64:16)

Zakah purifies the hearts of those who are less affluent since they will have less hatred, jealousy and bitterness against the rich and wealthy class of people of the society because they see that they are paying their just dues and the rights to their poorer brethren.

The Almighty Allah warns those who refuse to pay their due Zakah against a severe punishment:

And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (wealth) think that it is good for them. Nay, it will be worse for them; soon shall the things which they covetously withheld be tied to their necks like a twisted collar on the Day of Resurrection. To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do. (Aal `Imran 3:180)

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions.

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Sadaqah: Its Virtues and Benefits in Qur’an and Sunnah

By: Sayyid Saabiq

The legitimacy of giving sadaqah other than that of zakah is not restricted by a time limit or definite nisab. The amount designated for expenditure need not be a certain percentage (for example, a tithe, a one-quarter tithe, or a one-tenth tithe). It is an open-ended matter that is left to the beneficence, generosity, and condition of the one who gives. The protection of a revered man from destruction and harm is an obligation upon whoever can help him, but more than that, it is left unquantified.

People overlook most of the public rights which the Qur’an supports, for these rights seek to establish an honorable and just social life. People spend only a small amount on the needy and even less for beggars because they are considered the least deserving nowadays. This is due to the fact that beggars have made begging a profession, even though most of them are well-to-do.

Ibn Hazm says: “It is enjoined upon the rich of every country to support their poor, and the ruler has the authority to force them to do so. This is called for when the prescribed zakah or the holdings of other Muslims are not enough to meet the needs of the poor. In that case, their food and their clothing to protect them from the elements and the eyes of the passer-by would be provided by the rich.”

The proof for this is in the saying of Allah:

Give the kinsman his due, and the needy, and the wayfarer. (Al-Israa’ 17:26)

Allah also says:

Show kindness to parents, to near kin and orphans, to the needy, to relatives, to neighbors who are not related to you, to fellow travelers and wayfarers, and (to the slaves) whom your right hand possesses. (An-Nisaa’ 4:36)

Generosity urges support for the above-mentioned people and forbids harming them.

Referring to the guilty in the life to come, the Qur’an says that they would ask each other: “What brought you to this hellfire?” They will answer: “We were not of those who prayed, nor did we feed the needy”. (Al-Muddaththir 74:42-44)

Thus, Allah links feeding the needy with performing prayers.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “He who does not have mercy upon people, Allah’s mercy will be kept from him.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Thus, anyone upon whom Allah bestowed His grace and who sees his Muslim brother hungry, in need of clothes, and miserable, and still does not help him, he will, indeed, deprive himself of Allah’s mercy.

`Uthman An-Nahdi reported that `Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr informed him that the Companions of As-Suffah were poor and that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “He who has enough food for two, let him invite a third, and he who has food for four, let him invite a fifth or a sixth.”

It is related from Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A Muslim is a brother of another, and he should neither do injustice to him nor betray him.”

Thus, anyone who lets a needy Muslim go without food or clothes while, in fact, he is able to feed and clothe him would have betrayed him.

It is related from Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah said: “He whose holdings exceed his needs, let him support the one whose holdings do not, and he whose food exceeds his needs, let him share it with him who does not have food.” Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri says: ”Then he mentioned so many kinds of property that we thought no one of us had the right to have anything surplus with us.” This is the consensus of the companions, as it was reported by Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri.

Concerning this tradition, it is reported on the authority of Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and ransom the prisoner.”

There are many verses in the Qur’an and numerous sound hadiths on this subject. `Umar says: “If I were to live again the past which I have already lived, I would take the surplus from the rich and distribute it among the poor immigrants (muhajirun).” This is considered to be the most authentic report.

`Ali said: “Allah (the Exalted be He) has placed a due upon the properties of the rich to meet the needs of the poor. Thus, if the poor go hungry or naked or struggle because of the neglect of the rich, then Allah will hold them (the rich) accountable on the Day of Judgment and will punish them.”

Ibn `Umar is reported to have said: “There is a due on your property other than zakah.” It is related from `A’ishah (the mother of the believers), Al-Hasan ibn `Ali, Ibn `Umar that all of them replied to those who had asked them: “If you are asked for help in cases of blood money, heavy debt, or desperate poverty, then it is a must for you to give them from your holdings.”

It was accurately reported by Abu `Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrah and 300 Companions that (once) when their provisions had run very low, Abu `Ubaydah ordered them to collect what was left and place it into two bags and then allot it to each one equally. Then he said: “It is not permissible for a hard-pressed Muslim to eat the meat of a dead animal or a pig when he can find surplus food from either a Muslim or a dhimmi (non-Muslims living under the protection of the Islamic State). It is an obligation of the one who has food to feed the hungry.”

Allah says:

And if one party of them does wrong to the other, fight those who do wrong until they return to the ordinance of Allah. (Al-Hujurat 49:9)

Thus, one who withholds a right is an oppressor of his brother. The latter is the possessor of that right.

On this basis, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq waged war against those who refused to pay their zakah.

From the preceding, one can see the degree of compassion and commiseration that Islam has for the deprived. Islam, in fact, excels over all other faiths and systems. They are like weak, sputtering candles when placed next to the bright and steady light of the sun of Islam.

Voluntary Sadaqah

Islam calls upon the individual to spend freely in ways that please the heart of the donor, and evoke generosity, goodness, reverence, and obedience to Allah.

Voluntary Sadaqah in the Qur’an

Allah says:

The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases; Allah cares for all and knows all things. (Al-Baqarah 2:261)

By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give freely of that which you love, and whatever you give, Allah knows it well. (Aal `Imran 92)

And spend from what We have made you heir. For those of you who believe and spend, for them is a great reward. (Al-Hadid 57:7)

Voluntary Sadaqah in the Hadith

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah appeases the anger of the Lord and wards off the agony of death.” (At-Tirmidhi)

It is similarly related that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The sadaqah of the Muslim increases during his lifetime. It also softens the agony of death, and through it, Allah takes away arrogance and vanity.”

The Messenger of Allah said: “’There is not a day in which the obedient servants rise in the morning or two angels descend, and one of them says: ‘O Allah! Compensate the one who spends freely.’ The other angel says: ‘O Allah! Let an annihilation come upon the one who is niggardly.’” (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah said:

“Acts of kindness protect one from ruin wrought by evil. Sadaqah given secretly appeases the anger of the Lord, and a gift to strengthen the ties of relationship increases one’s life span. All good deeds are sadaqah, and those who do acts of kindness in this world are also the same people in the other world. Those who do misdeeds in this world are the same people in the other world. The first of those who shall enter Paradise are the people who do acts of kindness.” (At-Tabarani)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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Zakah: Great Wisdom and Many Reasons

Upon becoming Muslim, one must pay the zakah (obligatory alms) to those who deserve it. The zakah is a right from the rights of Allah (Exalted be He) which

zakah

Zakah brings the spirit of the mutual dependence and the brotherhood of the Muslim society to life.

href=”http://www.new-muslims.info/abcs-of-islam/articles-of-faith/muslims/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>a Muslim must pay to his brothers from the poor and needy to cover their requirements and save them from the humility of asking others. Allah says:

And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and establish the salah and give the zakah: and that is the upright religion. (Al-Bayyinah 98:5)

There is a great wisdom and many reasons why zakah has been prescribed. From them may be the following:

1- It purifies the souls of the rich Muslims and cleanses them from greed, selfishness, base covetousness, and the love of this temporal world and drowning in its desires.

2- It purifies the soul of the poor from hate and jealousy which they might feel for the rich. They see them giving from their wealth that which Allah ordered, continuously caring for them, by giving them money and treating them well.

3- It causes a Muslim to grow fond of good manners, such as giving charity, expending efforts, and preferring others to one’s self.

4- It uproots poverty in the Muslim society and alleviates the dangers which result from it, like theft, murder, and acts of transgression against people’s honor. It brings the spirit of the mutual dependence and the brotherhood of the Muslim society to life, by fulfilling the needs of Islam and the Muslims.

5- It plays a role in spreading the call to Islam in the world. Through it, the non-Muslims are shown the religion of Islam and its beauty, and it is hoped that they accept it.

The Conditions of Zakah

1- Possession in the nisab, which is that amount of wealth that upon which Islam has legislated zakah. This amount is equal to 85 grams of gold.

2- The elapse of one year, if one possesses the nisab for a period of a complete year.

Who Is Eligible for Zakah?

Allah has specified those people who are eligible to receive zakah. Allah says:

As-sadaqat (here zakat) are only for the poor and the needy and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s cause (i.e. those fighting in Jihad), and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:60)

Properties Exempted from Zakah

– There is no zakah due on those items which one possesses for personal use, such as houses, furniture, cars, and animals used specifically for riding (horses, donkeys, etc.).

– There is no zakah due on those assets one holds for rental purposes, like cars, shops, houses. zakah though must be paid on the rental payment if it, combined with his other wealth, reaches the nisab and remains in his possession for a period of one year.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “How to Become a Muslim”. 

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Give Sadaqah Even If You Have Nothing

By: Sayyid Saabiq

Sadaqah is not restricted to any special deed of righteousness. The general rule is that all good deeds are sadaqah. Some of them are as follows:

Give Sadaqah Even If You Have Nothing

All good deeds are sadaqah.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Every Muslim has to give sadaqah.” The people asked: “O Prophet of Allah, what about the one who has nothing?” He said: “He should work with his hands to give sadaqah.” They asked: “If he cannot find (work)?” He replied: “He should help the needy who asks for help.” They asked: “If he cannot do that?” He replied: “He should then do good deeds and shun evil, for this will be taken as sadaqah.” (Al-Bukhari and others)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah is prescribed for every person every day the sun rises. To administer justice between two people is sadaqah. To assist a man upon his mount so that he may ride it is sadaqah. To place his luggage on the animal is sadaqah. To remove harm from the road is sadaqah. A good word is sadaqah. Each step taken toward prayer is sadaqah.” (Ahmad and others)

Doors of Sadaqah

Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘Sadaqah is for every person every day the sun rises.’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah from what do we give sadaqah if we do not possess property?’ He said: ‘The doors of sadaqah are takbir (i.e., to say: Allahu-Akbar, Allah is Great); Subhan-Allah (Allah is free from imperfection); Alhamdulillah (all praise is for Allah); La -ilaha-illa-Allah (there is no god other than Allah); Astaghfirul-lah (I seek forgiveness from Allah); enjoining good; forbidding evil; removing thorns, bones, and stones from the paths of people; guiding the blind; listening to the deaf and dumb until you understand them; guiding a person to his object of need if you know where it is; hurrying with the strength of your legs to one in sorrow who is appealing for help; and supporting the weak with the strength of your arms. These are all the doors of sadaqah. (The sadaqah) from you is prescribed for you, and there is a reward for you (even) in sex with your wife.’” This is related by Ahmad, and the wording is his. According to Muslim, they said: “O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, is there a reward if one satisfies his passion?” He said: “Do you know that if he satisfies it unlawfully he has taken a sin upon himself? Likewise, if he satisfies it lawfully, he is rewarded.”

It is related following Abu Zhar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” It was asked: “O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) from what do we give sadaqah every day?” He said: “The doors of goodness are many; the tasbeeh (to say ‘Subhan-Allah’), the tamheed (to say ‘Alhamdu lillah’), the taheel (to say ‘La ilaha-illa-Allah), enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms- all of these are sadaqah prescribed for you.” This is related by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih. Al-Bukhari related it in a shortened form and added in his report: “Your smile for your brother is sadaqah. Your removal of stones, thorns, or bones from the paths of people is sadaqah. Your guidance of a person who is lost is sadaqah.”

Goodness

The Messenger of Allah also said: “He from among you who is able to protect himself from the Fire should give sadaqah, even if but with half a date. If he does not find it, then with a good word.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Allah, the Majestic and Mighty, shall say on the Day of Judgment: ‘O son of man! I was ill and you did not visit me.’ He will reply: ‘O my Lord! How could I visit You and You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah shall say: ‘Did you not know that My slave, so-and-so, was ill and you did not visit him? If you had visited him, you would have found Me with him.

O son of man! I asked you for food and you did not give it to me.’ He will reply: ‘O my Lord! How could I give You food–You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah shall say: ‘Did you not know that My slave, so and so, asked you for food and you did not give it to him? Did you not know that if you had given the food, you would have found that with Me? O son of man! I asked you to quench My thirst and you did not.’ He will say: ‘O my Lord! How could I quench Your thirst–You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah shall say: ‘My slave, so-and-so, asked you to quench his thirst and you did not. If you had given him to drink, you would have found that with Me.’” (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A Muslim does not plant or sow anything from which a person, an animal, or anything eats but it is considered as sadaqah from him.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah said: “Every good deed is sadaqah. To meet your brother with a smiling face and to pour out from your bucket into his container are sadaqah.”

Those Who Have Precedence for Receiving Sadaqah

One’s children, family, and relatives have precedence over others. It is not permissible to give sadaqah to a stranger when you and your dependents are in need of it.

It is related from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When one of you is poor, he starts with himself. If anything is left, he spends it on his dependents. If anything is (still left) then on his relatives, and then, if more is left, he spends it here and there.”

The Messenger of Allah(peace be upon him) said: “Give sadaqah.” A man said: “I have a dinar.” He replied: “Give it to yourself as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “Give it to your wife as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “Give it to your child as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “Give it to your servant as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “You would be able to assess better (to whom to give it).” (Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, and Hakim)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A man has sinned enough if he neglects to feed those in need.” (Muslim and Abu Dawud)

Also: “The most excellent sadaqah is that given to a relative who does not like you.” (At-Tabarani and Hakim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

 

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Things That Invalidate Your Sadaqah

By: Sayyid Saabiq

It is unlawful for the one giving sadaqah to remind the recipient of his generosity, to reproach him, or to make a show with his sadaqah. Allah warns:

Things That Invalidate Your Sadaqah

Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful.

O you who believe! Do not invalidate your sadaqah by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their property to be seen by men. (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “There are three (types of people). Allah shall not speak to them, notice them, or sanctify them; and for them is a grievous penalty.” Abu Dhar inquired: “O Messenger of Allah, who are the ones gone wrong and astray?” He replied: “Those who through conceit lengthen their garments to make them hang on the ground, who give nothing without reproach, and who sell their merchandise swearing untruthfully (to its quality).”

Giving What is Unlawful as Sadaqah

Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “O people! Allah is good and accepts only good, and He has instructed the believers through the Messengers. Allah, the Mighty and the Majestic, says: “O Messengers! Consume what is good and work righteously. I am well-acquainted with what you do”. (Al-Mu’minun 23:51) He also calls upon (you): “O you who believe! Consume of the good that We have provided for you” (Al-Baqarah 2:172). Then (the Messenger) mentioned a man who had traveled for a long time. Unkempt and covered in dust, he raised his hands to the heavens (and cried): “O my Lord! O my Lord!’ His food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and what he had provided to sustain himself with was also unlawful. How could his invocation be accepted?” (Muslim)

Also: “If one gives a date bought from honestly earned money (and Allah accepts only good), Allah accepts it in His right hand and enlarges (its rewards) for its owner (as one rears his foal) until it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Al-Bukhari)

Sadaqah of the wife from the property of her husband

It is permissible for the wife to give sadaqah from her husband’s holdings if she knows that he would not mind. However, it is unlawful if she is not sure of this: It is related from `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When a wife gives something as sadaqah from the food of her home without causing any waste, she will get the reward for what she has given. Her husband will be rewarded for what he has earned, and the keeper (if any) will be similarly rewarded. The one does not reduce the reward of the other in any way.” (Al-Bukhari)

Abu Umamah reports that he had heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, saying in a sermon during the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage: “The wife should not spend anything from the household of her husband without his permission.” He asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Not food either?” He said: “That is the most excellent of our holdings.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Of small things which she is in the habit of giving, no permission from her husband is called for: It is related from Asmaa’, daughter of Abu Bakr, that she said to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace: “Zubayr is a well-off man. A man in need approached me and I gave him sadaqah from my husband’s household without his permission.” The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “Give what you are in the habit of giving of what is small, and do not store property away, for Allah shall withhold his blessings from you.” (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, and Muslim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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Prophet Muhammad: A Morality Message for All Time

A few months after his return to Medina, in the eleventh year of hijrah, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) decided to send an expedition to the north, near Mu’tah and Palestine, where a few years earlier Ja`far ibn Abi Talib, `Abdullah Ibn Rawahah, and Zayd ibn Harithah had been killed.

nature-peace

The Prophet had taught in various circumstances about warfare, respect for nature, or how to treat animals.

To everyone’s surprise, he gave the command to young Usamah, Zayd’s son, who was only twenty years old, though this three-thousand-strong army included such men as `Umar and other experienced Companions.

This choice gave rise to much criticism, but the Prophet reacted very promptly and put an end to all arguments when he proclaimed:

“You criticize the choice of Usamah to command the army as you had formerly criticized that of his father Zayd. Usamah is truly worthy of the command I entrust him with, as his father was before him.” (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah)

Qualifications-based

In the past, some Muslims had reacted to the choice of Zayd because they still considered him as a slave, though he had been freed; now some opposed the choice of his son, perhaps because of his father, but mostly because of his young age.

By confirming his choice, Prophet Muhammad informed them that neither a man’s social origin nor his age should prevent him from exerting authority and power if he possessed the spiritual, intellectual, and moral qualities required. One had to show discernment by offering the most destitute in society real equality of opportunity and trusting the young so that everybody could express their skills and talents.

On a more general level, trust was a fine lesson in humility addressed to older Companions: they were to experience the inner, greater jihad of obeying a man who could have been their son, and in so doing remember that their time was limited, like any man’s.

By that choice, Prophet Muhammad taught them that time naturally erodes one’s energy, and one must be wise enough to learn to step aside, to delegate authority to those who are young and strong enough to create and build.

The Prophet gave young Usamah his recommendations and asked him to set out promptly. However, the Prophet’s sudden illness was to delay that departure, and the army waited near Medina during all those days of doubt about his condition.

Prophet Muhammad & War Ethics

A few weeks later, Abu Bakr was, according to the Prophet’s wish, to ask Usamah to carry out the expedition. He reminded him of the Prophet’s teachings concerning war ethics, for the latter had constantly insisted on the principles Muslims must respect when dealing with their enemies:

“Do not kill women, children, and old people,” Abu Bakr ordered him.

Literally, “Let the blood of women, children and old people never soil your hands.”

“Do not commit treacherous actions. Do not stray from the right path. Never mutilate. Do not destroy palm trees, do not burn houses and cornfields, do not cut down fruit trees, and do not kill livestock except when you are compelled to eat them …. As you move on, you will meet hermits who live in monasteries and serve God in seclusion. Leave them alone; do not kill them and do not destroy their monasteries.”  (At-Tabari)

Those teachings were essential, and they were conveyed to Usamah in the light of what the Prophet had said in various circumstances about warfare, respect for nature, or how to treat animals.

In a few sentences, Abu Bakr was synthesizing the essence of the Messenger’s teachings in this respect.

Years before, at the end of the Battle of Hunayn, the Prophet had passed by a group of people standing around a woman who lay on the ground, and heard that she had been killed by Khalid ibn Al-Waleed (who was then a recent convert). He was deeply angered and asked that Ibn Al-Waleed be told: “God’s Messenger forbids killing children, women, and slaves.” (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah)

The Prophet’s Mercy

He had also blamed him when he had killed men who had already surrendered after a battle. In both cases, then, the message was the same: one should fight only enemy soldiers, while sparing all those who did not directly take part in armed conflict or could no longer cause any harm.

The Prophet had clearly stated before sending the Mu’tah expedition:

You shall not be treacherous, you shall not deceive, you shall not mutilate, you shall not kill children nor the inhabitants of hermitages (ashab as-sawami`).” (Ibn Hanbal)

War was never desirable, but when Muslims were compelled to it because they were attacked or because their survival was threatened, they had to keep strictly to what was needed to fight enemy forces who were armed and/ or determined to fight. If the latter wished for peace or surrendered, the war must be stopped, according to the Qur’anic injunction:

But if they incline toward peace, do you (also, in the same way) incline toward peace, and trust in God, for He is the One that hears and knows (all things). (Al-Anfal 8:61)

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The article is an excerpt from Dr. Tariq Ramadan’s In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press (2007).

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His Character New Muslims

Muhammad: The Exemplar of Coexistence and Moderation

Most traditionists report that the Prophet entered Makkah on the twentieth or twenty-first of Ramadan of the eighth year of hijrah (630 CE).

The Day of Mercy

moderation_nature

The Prophet taught his Companions not only to forgive, but also to always remember that nobody can be held responsible for someone else’s mistakes.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) had segmented his army into divisions that encircled the city (Makkah) and closed in on the center together. A few Quraish groups posted themselves on the hills, led by Suhayl, `lkrimah, and Safwan, but after the first confrontations, they realized that resisting was pointless.

Suhayl sought refuge in his home, and `Ikrimah and Safwan ran away. The Prophet had demanded that no fighting or battle should take place on that day, which he called “the day of mercy”. (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

Some eight years before, the Prophet had left Makkah secretly, but with dignity and with his head held high. The Prophet now came back to Makkah in broad daylight, victorious, but this time he prostrated himself on his mount in thankfulness to the One as he recited the verses from the Surat “AI-Fath” (The Victory):

Verily We have granted you a manifest victory, that God may forgive you your faults of the past and those to follow, fulfill His favor to you, and guide you on the straight path, and that God may aid you with powerful help. It is He Who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers, that they may add faith to their faith. (Al-Fath 48:1-4)

He entered Makkah expressing the deepest humility, and he required that the greatest kindness should be shown to the Muslims’ former foes. He performed the greater ablution and prayed eight cycles of voluntary ritual prayer before resting for a few hours.

After that, he mounted his camel, Qaswaa’, and went to the Ka`bah sanctuary, where he performed the seven rounds of circumambulation. Then, with his stick, he pulled down the idols and destroyed them while repeating the Qur’anic verse “Truth has arrived, and falsehood perished: for falsehood is bound to perish.” (Al-Israa’  17:8 1)

He had the keys to the sanctuary brought to him and required that all religious images be obliterated, in order to reconcile the House of God with its essence, which was to celebrate the worship of the One, Who cannot be represented and must not be associated with any image:

There is nothing whatever like Him, and He is the One that hears and sees. (Ash-Shura 42:11)

This gesture of destruction by the Prophet was, in appearance, the exact antithesis of all that he had usually been doing since leaving Makkah, as he had had mosques (devoid of any image) built to mark the sacred space of worship of the One God.

On the level of the spiritual message, however, this gesture was exactly of the same essence, since by breaking the idols that lay inside and near the Ka`bah he was destroying what had, in the course of centuries, perverted the cult of the Transcendent.

With this act Muhammad turned the Ka`bah into a real mosque, in which henceforth only the One was to be worshiped.

The Quraish people were gradually coming out of their homes and gathering inside the sanctuary enclosure. After destroying the idols, the Prophet exclaimed: “There is no god but God, the One, Who has no partner.”

He has fulfilled His promise, supported His servant, and routed the enemy clans; He alone (has done that). (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

Then he turned toward the Quraish, told them about the rules of Islam, and recited this verse:

O humankind! He created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily the most honored among you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you (the most deeply aware of God’s presence). And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

After that, he asked them “how they thought he was going to deal with them. (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah) They replied that as “a noble brother, son of a noble brother,” he would certainly deal with them kindly. (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

Forgiveness and Moderation

At that point, the Prophet recited the verse that punctuates the story of Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) when he was reunited with his brothers, who had wanted to kill him: “This day let no reproach be (cast) On you: God will forgive you, and He is the Most-merciful of then who show mercy.” (Yusuf 12:92). Then he exclaimed: “Go on, you are free!” (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

The Prophet granted his forgiveness to all the women and men who came to him or to a Companion. Wahshi ibn Harb, who had killed Hamzah, was also forgiven, but the Prophet asked him to refrain from appearing in his presence in the future.

Many Quraish converted to Islam on Mount As-Safa in front of `Umar; some years before, the Prophet had been called a liar on that same spot. When `Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl came to the Prophet, the latter warned his Companion: “`lkrimah, Abu Jahl’s son, is coming to you as a believer. Do not insult his father, for insulting the dead hurts the living without reaching the dead.”

He thus reminded them not only to forgive him but also to always remember that nobody can be held responsible for someone else’s mistakes. not even their father’s, according to the meaning of the Qur’anic verse “No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another”. ( Al-Israa’ 17:15) Prudence was required, as well as nobleness of soul.

The Prophet stayed in Makkah for two weeks, and the situation been to settle down. He sent expeditions to make sure that his alliances with the nearby tribes were solid and that those who had announced they accepted Islam had given up all idol worship.

Khalid ibn Al-Waleed had been entrusted with such a mission among the Banu Jadhimah, who eventually surrendered, but Khalid decided, against Abd Ar-Rahman ibn `Awf advice, to execute the prisoners toward whom he harbored particular resentment.

After executing some of them, he stopped at Abd Ar-Rahman’s insistence, the latter having made it dear to him that his behavior was motivated by other intentions than faith in God and justice. The Prophet got very angry when he heard of Khalid’s behavior; he decided to pay blood money for all the dead, and he kept repeating aloud: “0 God, I am innocent of what Khalid ibn Al-Waleed has done”. (Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawyyah)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press (2007).

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Fasting New Muslims

How to Prepare for Ramadan in Sha`ban

By Editorial Staff

To get the best of Ramadan, insha’Allah, one needs to prepare well and put the plan before the precious month knocks the door without being ready to receive it.

Be a Winner in Ramadan

It is the month of the year, and the actual loser is the one who witnesses Ramadan without being forgiven in it as narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him).

The tips below discuss how to make actual and useful preparation for the precious month without dumping into details.

Ramadan

To get the best of Ramadan one needs to prepare well and put the plan before Ramadan knocks the door without being ready to receive it.

1- Supplicate Allah to prolong your life to attend Ramadan, bless it for you, accept your good deeds in it and forgive your shortcomings.

2- Make a sincere repentance from all sins and evil deeds, regret them, and ask Allah to help you not to turn again to them.

3- Keep away from the misdeeds that displease Allah and incur his Wrath upon you.

4- Always renew your repentance to Allah and your commitment with Him.

5- Strive to observe the obligatory prayers at their due times in congregation so that it will be easy for you to continue on this in and after Ramadan.

6- If you are not in the habit of offering the supererogatory prayers, try to do some of them and move on to do all of them.

7- Rectify your intention, make all your actions sincerely to Allah, the Almighty, Alone.

8- As the utmost goal of fasting is attaining Taqwa (righteousness and fear of God), facilitate its realization by the different means of Taqwa, such as remembering Allah, reading about the stories of the earlier generations, contemplation on the Qu’ran, thinking about death and the Hereafter, and so on.

9- Abandon TV series and movies that include prohibited scenes.

10- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. use up most of our free time. From now on, give Qur’an, dhikr, Salah, etc. the greater time to prepare for the month of the Qur’an and Salah; Ramadan.

11- Recitation of the Qur’an in Ramadan is the month’s worship, so make the Qur’an your companion by starting recitation from now and learning the rules of Tajweed.

12- If you have a missed fast from the former Ramadan, make up for them in Sha`ban, as Lady `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to do.

13- Accustom yourself to long du`aa’ (supplication), memorize some of the reported supplications of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and remember that the supplication of the fasting person is accepted.

13- Accustom yourself to long stay in the mosque after each Prayer, in preparation for i`tikaf in the month.

14- Find righteous companions who would assist you in getting closer to Allah.

15- Follow the Prophet’s example in fasting in Sha`ban, as he used to fast most of the month of Sha`ban. Do not forget that this makes fasting in Ramadan easy for you.

To get the best of Ramadan, in sha’ Allah, one needs to prepare well and put the plan before Ramadan knocks the door without being ready to receive it.

Find righteous companions who would assist you in getting closer to Allah.

16- Save some money to give in Sadaqah (charity) in Ramadan and start from now.

17- Start offering 2 rak`ahs (unit of Prayer) daily and increase the number from time to time during the night in preparation for tarawih (supererogatory night prayer).

18- Prepare yourself to make `Umrah in Ramadan, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “`Umrah in Ramadan equals Hajj with me (in reward).” (Al-Bukhari)

19- Among the best acts in this precious month is feeding the fasting persons, prepare yourself for it.

20- Map out your time and put a schedule to commit to it during the month in order to help you achieve the acts of worship you aim at.

21- Find righteous companions who would assist you in getting closer to Allah.

21- If you are a smoker, you should bear in mind that Ramadan is a good chance for you to quit. Start from now and minimize the number of cigarettes until you rid yourself of this bad habit that devour your money and health and incurs the displeasure of God.

23- The month of Ramadan is the month where the Qur’an is revealed. Thus, it is the best time to memorize the Qur’an. Let’s start from Sha`ban.

24- We all know that people use in Ramadan a lot of the types of food and drinks, we do not mind this on a condition of avoiding wastefulness. I suggest that you buy these things in Sha`ban to be free for worship only in Ramadan.

25- Maintain the ties of kinship before the coming of the blessed month and remember that Allah does not accept the deeds of those who disrupt these ties.

26- Some people simulate poorness despite that they are not so. Thus, find the actual poor people to be the right place for your Sadaqah.

27- Some people pay their Zakat in Ramadan to take the reward multiplied.

28- Accustom yourself to good manners, because the fasting person is not expected to react violently or indecently.

29- Bring your youngsters and tell them about the merits of Ramadan and the virtues of fasting in it so that they prepare themselves for fasting as much as they can.

30- Congratulate each other with the coming of the Holy Month.

These are 30 tips about the preparation for the blessed month of Ramadan that every one of us can do while receiving this month.

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

The Prophet On Charity and Its Virtues

By Editorial Staff

Charity is one of the best deeds a Muslim can do. Giving charity, we are actually giving back to Allah what He has gifted us, is a practical way of showing gratitude to Allah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Save yourself from Hell-fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity.”

Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: For He loves not creatures ungrateful and wicked. (Al-Baqarah 2:276)

Narrated Asmaa’ bint Abu Bakr that she had gone to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he said, “Do not shut your money bag; otherwise Allah too will withhold His blessings from you. Spend (in Allah’s Cause) as much as you can afford.“ (Al-Bukhari)

Several hadiths (sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) indicate the virtues, importance and rewards of spending in the way of Allah.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Save yourself from Hell-fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity.” (Al-Bukhari)

Narrated Ibn Mas`ud: I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying:

“There is no envy except in two: a person whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way, and a person whom Allah has given wisdom (i.e. religious knowledge) and he gives his decisions accordingly and teaches it to the others.” (Al-Bukhari)

Virtues of Charity

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, ‘O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,’ and the other (angel) says, ‘O Allah! Destroy every miser.’” (Al-Bukhari)

Allah says:

And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s pleasure, and for the strengthening of their souls, is as the likeness of a garden on a height. The rainstorm smites it and it brings forth its fruit twofold. And if the rainstorm smite it not, then the shower. Allah is Seer of what you do. (Al-Baqarah 2:265)

A Way to Paradise

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Who among you is fasting today?” Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I am.” He said: “Who among you has attended a funeral today?” Abu Bakr said: “I have.” He said: “Who among you has fed a poor person today?’ Abu Bakr said: “I have.” He said: “Who among you has visited a sick person today?” Abu Bakr said: “I have.” The Messenger of Allah said: “These (traits) are not combined in a person but he will enter Paradise.” (Muslim)

Narrated Abu Hurairah that a Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “Tell me of such a deed that will make me enter Paradise, if I do it.” The Prophet said, “Worship Allah, and worship none along with Him, offer the (five) prescribed compulsory prayers perfectly, pay the compulsory Zakah, and fast the month of Ramadan.” The Bedouin said, “By Him, in Whose Hands my life is, I will not do more than this.” When he (the Bedouin) left, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever likes to see a man of Paradise, then he may look at this man.” (Al-Bukhari)

Charitable People Will Be under Allah’s Shade on the Day of Judgment

Narrated Abu Hurayiah:

The Prophet said, “Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His. They are: (1) a just ruler; (2) a young man who has been brought up in the worship of Allah, (i.e. worship Allah (Alone) sincerely from his childhood), (3) a man whose heart is attached to the mosque (who offers the five compulsory congregational prayers in the mosque); (4) two persons who love each other only for Allah’s sake and they meet and part in Allah’s cause only; (5) a man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for an illegal sexual intercourse with her and says: I am afraid of Allah; (6) a person who practices charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows how much he has given in charity). (7) a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes get flooded with tears.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Best Charity

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

A man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! Which charity is the most superior in reward?” He replied, “The charity which you practice while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wish to become wealthy. Do not delay it to the time of approaching death and then say, ‘Give so much to such and such, and so much to such and such.’ And it has already belonged to such and such (as it is too late).” (Al-Bukhari)

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best charity is that which is practiced by a wealthy person. And start giving first to your dependents.” (Al-Bukhari)

Anas narrated that the Prophet was asked which fast was most virtuous after Ramadan? He said: “Sha`ban in honor of Ramadan” He said: “Which charity is best?” He said: “Charity in Ramadan.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Before It’s Too Late

Narrated Harithah ibn Wahab: I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying,

“O people! Give in charity as a time will come upon you when a person will wander about with his object of charity and will not find anybody to accept it, and one (who will be requested to take it) will say, “If you had brought it yesterday, would have taken it, but today I am not in need of it.” (Al-Bukhari)

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The Hour (Day of Judgment) will not be established till your wealth increases so much so that one will be worried, for no one will accept his Zakah and the person to whom he will give it will reply, ‘I am not in need of it.’” (Al-Bukhari)

The Longest Hands

Narrated `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her):

Some of the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him, “Who amongst us will be the first to follow you (i.e. die after you)?” He said, “Whoever has the longest hand.” So they started measuring their hands with a stick and Sauda’s hand turned out to be the longest. (When Zainab bint Jahsh died first of all in the caliphate of `Umar), we came to know that the long hand was a symbol of practicing charity, so she was the first to follow the Prophet and she used to love to practice charity. (Sauda died later in the caliphate of Mu`awiyah).

Only the Halal

No charity is accepted from what is grabbed from an illegal way.

Narrated Abu Hurairah that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“If one give in charity what equals one date-fruit from the honestly earned money and Allah accepts only the honestly earned money –Allah takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much as that it becomes as big as a mountain. (Al-Bukhari)

To Relatives

It was narrated from Salman bin `Amir that the Prophet said:

“Giving charity to a poor person is charity, and (giving) to a relative is two things, charity and upholding the ties of kinship.” (An-Nasa’i)

Narrated Zainab (the daughter of Um Salamah): My mother said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Shall I receive a reward if I spend for the sustenance of Abu Salama’s offspring, and in fact they are also my sons?” The Prophet replied, “Spend on them and you will get a reward for what you spend on them.” (Al-Bukhari)

Good Deeds are Charity

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Prophet! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” He said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot find even that?” He replied, “He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” He replied, “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” (Al-Bukhari)

Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said :

“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Abu Hurairah reported that Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

“On every joint of man, there is charity, on every day when the sun rises: doing justice between two men is charity, and assisting a man to ride an animal or to load his luggage on it is charity; and a good word is charity, every step which one takes towards (the mosque for) Salah is charity, and removing harmful things from the way is charity”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Even Voluntary Prayers

Even the Duha (fore-noon) Prayer is a charity. It is recommended to pray Duha, the least of which is two rak`ah, the best of which is eight, and the average of which is four or six, and encouragement to do so regularly

Abu Dharr reported Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) as saying:

“In the morning charity is due from every bone in the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah’s glorification is an act of charity. Every utterance of praise of Him is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Oneness is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Greatness is an act of charity, enjoining good is an act of charity, forbidding what is disreputable is an act of charity, and two rak`ahs which one prays in the forenoon will suffice.” (Muslim)

Abu al-Aswad al-Dailani said:

While we were present with Abu Dharr, he said: In the morning, alms are due for him, ever fast is alms, every pilgrimage is alms, every utterance of “Glory to be Allah” is alms, every utterance of “Allah is most great” is alms, every utterance of “Praise be to Allah” is alms. The Messenger of Allah  recounted all such good works. He then said: Two rak’ahs which one prays in the Duha serve instead of that. (Abu Dawud and authenticated by Al-Albani)

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