February 23, 2011

Interview with Umm 'Abdullah, Wife of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-'Uthaimeen (rahimahullah)

Post excerpted from an interview conducted by Sister Maha bint Husein Ash-Shammari and published in "Al-Mutamayyizah" Magazine; Issue No. 45, Ramadan 1427. Confirmed and presented in English by Dr. Saleh as-Saleh. 

Question 2: What did you see that was amazing in the Shaykh’s (rahimahullah) life? 
His life was an example to follow, especially his patience and motivation to seek the knowledge as well as teach and dissipate it.  Also, his  piety ( rahimahullah ) was something that those who were not close to him may not have known about.

Question 3: How did the Shaykh interact with his children in their private lives?
His dealings with his sons and daughters fell into two stages. First, in their childhood, he ( rahimahullah ) was keen to be close to them, take care of them, raise some of the Islamic principles in them, and follow their educational achievements.

In addition, he made sure to direct, admonish, and incite them. For instance, he would sometimes take the children with him to the  masjid to perform some of the  fard prayers. Also, he would encourage them to fast some of the days of  Ramadan. Furthermore, he would incite them to memorize some of the short surahs of the Qur’aan and reward them on that.

In the stage of youth and maturity, he ( rahimahullah ) was firm concerning their fulfilling of the religious obligations and in discipline in cases of negligence. He would couple that with direction and leniency. At certain times, he was not hesitant to do what was sufficient to change or correct their mistakes. In addition, he ( rahimahullah ) used to put full trust in them to do certain things so they could learn to depend upon themselves; he used to continuously encourage them on righteousness and check on them regarding that.

Question 5: When did the Shaykh's anger intensify, and how did he deal with your anger?
His anger used to intensify if the inviolable matters of Allaah (subhana wa ta ala) were violated. Regarding my anger with the children, he would try to calm me down first and then give the admonition to the one that was mistaken. In general, he ( rahimahullah ) was quiet and did not anger quickly; when he ( rahimahullah ) did, his anger would quickly dissipate, and this is from the favors of Allaah (subhana wa ta ala) upon him, something which I wished for the like of his condition.

Question 7: Would the Shaykh ( rahimahullah ) ever go outside with his family for a picnic?
Yes, the family used to have a weekly picnic on Fridays after salaat aljumu’ah; we would go to an area in the wilderness close by and bring our lunch. He utilized this time to share in some activities with the children, like foot racing and solving puzzles. Also, he would bring a small rifle and compete with his children in aiming and shooting.

Question 9: How did the Shaykh select the names of his children?
He used to choose names like ‘Abdullaah and ‘Abd ar-Rahman; he left the rest for consultation amongst us. We would pick a name and present it to him; he would either agree or ask us to select another.

Question 10: What were some of the things that would please the Shaykh ( rahimahullah )?
There is no doubt that the Shaykh’s ( rahimahullah ) happiness used to increase whenever he saw the strength of Islam and Muslims. Regarding happiness at home, it was manifested in meetings with his family and children.

You would also see the signs of pleasure and happiness on him upon receiving his grandchildren. He used to open his cloak to allow them to enter underneath and then inquire about them a few times before reopening it; he would do this several times. Later, he would take them to his library where he kept a special kind of sweets they used to call “halawat abooye” (my father’s sweets). We were keen to ensure that they would not find it, except with him. In addition, despite his busy schedule, he made sure to visit his grandchildren at their homes or in the hospital if any of them were ill; this would have a great influence on them and their patents.

Question 11: How many children did the Shaykh (rahimahullah ) have?
The Shaykh had five sons and three daughters.

Question 12: Who amongst his children was the closest to his heart?
The Shaykh used to deal justly with his children in all affairs, major and minor. If he found any kind of distinction between them, he would never declare it openly because this is not from justice. If he was keen to be just in matters lighter than this, then what should we expect here?

Question 13: Who amongst his children was most affected by his death?
All of them were, and the reality of the matter is that I used to feel that we were not alone in this as he was a father to Muslims around the world, who all felt a great shock by his death.

Question 16: How did he reconcile between the dawah, which took most of his time, and his familial and social responsibilities? 
He used to organize his time and gave this great attention. For instance, he would dedicate time for teaching, fatawa,  dawah, worship, the family, the children, social responsibilities, and upholding the ties of kinship. If he, at certain times, was unable to directly share in some of these responsibilities, he was still keen to share
even by phone.

Question 17: What was his policy regarding educating and directing his children?
His policy was education; however, he did not force his children to seek a specialty but instead used to consult with them regarding this decision. The obvious proof is that his children graduated from different types of colleges, some  sharee’, others military, and also educational.

Question 18: Taking into consideration the Shaykh’s work and commitments, this inevitably led to him being away from home and the family. What  was your role regarding this matter, and how did you cover for his absence (rahimahullah )?
Even if he was away from home whether for teaching and propagating inside Unayzah or while traveling, he used to follow up with his children through phone calls and by checking on their affairs upon his return. My role is not even worth mentioning because we always felt his presence with us. In general, I used to make the children feel their father’s responsibilities were great and his works many. As such, I would incite them to be patient on that, and he ( rahimahullah ) used to compensate them on his return.

Question 25: How did the Shaykh’s ( rahimahullah ) family deal with his asceticism and piety?
We used to see him (rahimahullah ) as an example in all things, and we used to revere his asceticism and piety, which would comfort us since he ( rahimahullah ) did not like any unnatural mannerisms nor did he want that around him. He was a simple person who liked ease in all of his matters.

Question 31: We would like an admonition from you to the wives of the callers and students of knowledge.
They should preserve their husbands, openly and secretly. In addition, they should prepare for them the best situations and conditions to continue providing their duties of dawah and knowledge. Also, I incite them that they should not be bothered by the busy schedule of their husbands and their time spent traveling, seeking knowledge, reading, and doing dawah. By Allaah’s (subhana wa ta ala) Will, they are sharing in the reward.

Question 33: What about a rare and pleasing encounter he had with his children or neighbours?
The Shaykh ( rahimahullah ) acted with simplicity towards his children and neighbors and all those surrounding him. And one of those rare and nice occasions is that the Shaykh ( rahimahullah ) used to record some short recitations and  nasheed for his children and sometimes in the presence of one of the neighbors' kids. He then would re-play the cassette to them during some meeting with them at older ages. We even still keep some of these recording to this date

Question 36: What kinds of gifts would the Shaykh (rahimahullah ) give you, his children, and people in general?
During his lifetime, he ( rahimahullah ) would not withhold anything from those that were close and those that were distant, to the best of his ability. The greatest gift he used to give us was his dawah and du’aa; I ask Allaah (subhana wa ta ala) to accept his du’aa, hold them for him in his good record, and bestow upon us the ability to be righteous to him after his death.

Question 45: Was the Shaykh (rahimahullah ) married to anyone else other than you, and how many wives did he have?
No, the Shaykh ( rahimahullah ) was not married to other than me. He married two wives before me; his first wife died, and Allaah (subhana wa ta ala) did not intend for the second marriage to continue.

Question 46: We need from you an admonition to men who have more than one wife.
Justice. Justice. Justice

Question 47: If one would ask the father (i.e. the Shaykh) to admonish me as a girl, what would you expect him? 
He would admonish you as he would admonish one of his daughters and all of the daughters of the Muslims to fear Allaah (subhana wa ta ala ) openly and secretly, to be righteous to the parents, uphold the ties of kinship, preserve the  husband, and fear Allaah (subhana wa ta ala) regarding raising the children Islamically based on leniency and kindness.
All Praise is due to Allaah, and may the  salaah and  salaam be on Prophet Muhammad, his household, the noble companions, and those who follow them until the Day of Resurrection.

If you would like to read the full interview, it is available online in PDF format at the following link: http://abdurrahman.org/knowledge/InterviewwithShUthaimeen-swife.pdf

February 18, 2011

Establishing a Home of Faith

Post excerpted from Advice on Establishing an Islamic Home

Making the Home a Place for the Remembrance of Allah
The Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "The likeness of a house in which Allah is remembered and the house in which Allah is not remembered is that of the living and the dead, respectively." 

We must make our homes places where Allah is remembered in all kinds of ways, whether in our hearts, verbally, during prayer, by reading Qur'an, by discussing Islamic issues, or by reading different kinds of Islamic books. 

How many Muslim homes nowadays are dead because there is no remembrance of Allah, as mentioned in the hadith. What must they be like when all that is heard therein is the music of Shaytan with instruments and singing, and backbiting, slander, and gossip? 

What must they be like when they are filled with evil and sin, such as the haram mixing of the sexes and wanton display between relatives who are not mahram or with neighbors who enter the home? How can the angels enter a home like this? Revive your homes with all kinds of dhikr, may Allah have mercy on you! 

Make Your Homes as a Place of Worship 
...The companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used to be keen to pray at home- apart from the fard or obligatory prayers (which they prayed in congregation at the masjid)- and there is a moving story concerning this. 

Mahmood ibn al-Rabi'al-Ansari reported that 'Utban ibn Malik - who was one of the Companions of the Messenger, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and was on of the Ansar who had been present at Badr - came to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and said: "I am losing my sight, and I lead my people in prayer. When it rains, the valley between me and them gets flooded and I cannot get to their masjid to lead them in prayer. O Messenger of Allah, I would like you to come and pray in my house so I can take it as a place for prayer." The Messenger of Allah, salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "I will do that inshaAllah." 'Utbaan said: 'The next day the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and Abu Bakr came in the morning. The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, asked for permission to enter, and I gave him permission. He did not sit down until he entered the house, then he said, 'Where would you like me to pray in your house?' I showed him a corner of the house, then the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, stood up, said takbir, and we stood in a row behind him, and he prayed two rak'ahs and gave the salam at the end of the prayer." --Bukhari

Spiritual Training for the Members of the Household
'Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: "The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, used to pray qiyaam at night, and when he prayed witr he would say, 'Get up and pray witr, o Aisha.'" --Muslim

Encouraging the women of one's household to give charity is another means of increasing faith. This is something very important which the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, encouraged when he said, "O women! Give in charity, for I have seen that you form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell." --Bukhari

Adkhaar for Entering the Home
Muslim reported in his Saheeh that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "When any one of you enters his home nad mentions the Name of Allah when he enters and when he eats, the Shaytan says, 'You have no place to stay and nothing to eat here.' If he enters and does not mention the name of Allah when he enters, The Shaytan says, 'You have a place to stay.' If he does not mention the name of Allah when he eats, The Shaytan says, 'You have a place to stay and something to eat.'"

Abu Dawood reported in his Sunan that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "If a man foes out of his house and says, 'In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah, there is no help and no strength except in Allah,' it will be said to him, 'This will take care of you, you are guided, you have what you need and you are protected.' The Shaytan will stay away from him and another Shaytan will say to him, 'What can you do with a man who is guided, provided for and protected?'" 

Imaam Muslim reported in his Saheeh that 'Aisha, 'Umm al-Mu'minin, may Allah be pleased with her, said: "When the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, entered his house, the first thing he would do was use siwaak."

Continuously Reciting Surat al-Baqarah in the House to Ward off the Shaytan
The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, "Do not make your house into graves. The Shaytan flees from a house in which Surat al-Baqarah is recited." --Muslim

February 13, 2011

Children's Rights: To Be Given a Good Name

When the good news of a child to come is received, a common dilemma parents face is what to name him or her. While searching names online, in books, or through family trees may present some decent options, before we make a final decision, the most important question to ask ourselves is: Will this name fulfill my child's right?

One of a children's primary rights over his parents is to be given a good name.

In a hadith narrated by Ahmad, the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, "Every child is a pledge subject to its Aqeeah, an is animal is sacrificed upon its behalf on its seventh day, it is there forth named and it's head shaved." --Tirmidhee graded it hasan saheeh 

The Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, also said: "You will indeed be called on the Day of Judgement by your names and the names of your fathers, so choose good names (for yourselves)." --Abu Dawood, Ahmad

It's reported by Abu Dawood and An-Nasaa'ee that the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, instructed the people how to name themselves when he said, "Name yourselves with the names of the prophets. The most beloved of names to Allah are 'Abdullah and 'Abdur-Rahman. The most truthful are Haarith and Hammaam. And the most repugnant are Harb and Murrah." 

It was also a practice of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, to change names with bad, ugly or self-praising meanings to names with good meanings.

Sa'eed ibn Al-Musayyib reported that the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, once asked his father, "What is your name? He said, "Hazn (i.e. rough). So the Prophet said, "Rather you are Sahl (i.e. ease). He replied, " I will not change a name that my father gave me." Ibn Al-Musayyib said: "So hardship (i.e. grief) did not cease to be with us after that."--Bukhari

Abu Hurairah reported that Zainab's name used to be Barrah (i.e. pious) and it was said: 'She is praising herself.' So Allah's Messenger, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, named her Zainab. --Bukhari. 

We can see from these examples that naming the child was no insignificant matter. Our children must bear the names we give them throughout their lives and after their deaths. So isn't it best that the names we give them be good ones, and can inspire our children to a good way?

Ibn Al-Qayyim mentions the effect that names can have on a person in their lives when he says, "Names have an effect on the things they identify and vice-versa in terms of beauty and repulsiveness and lightness and heaviness, as the saying goes: 'It is very rare that your eyes see someone with a nickname whose identity, if you think about it, is found in his nickname.'"--Zaad-ul-Ma'aad of Ibn Al-Qayyim, taken from Raising Children in Light of the Qur'an and Sunnah

February 8, 2011

A Mother's Milk: The Command from Allah

Umm Abdulkarim is an American mother of two, currently living in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She is an Economics, pre-Law and Philosophy student currently studying for her LSAT exam to enter Law School and is an avid breastfeeding supporter. 

By guest author Umm Abdulkarim:

Allah, subhanu wa ta'ala, says in the Qur'an: “And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years - give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination." --Sura Luqman, (31:14)

The mother, in Islam, has the highest status and it is her that determines the success of the family. As mothers, we are the foundation our family is built upon. We provide the love, passion and nurturing that every family thrives upon. Our vital role of nurturing our child starts in the womb and carries on throughout our child’s lifetime. 

Even in the earliest stages of development, our children depend upon us for their survival. During pregnancy, we take care of ourselves and make sure we are healthy to ensure that we have done our best to protect and provide for the development of our growing baby. Once our baby is born the most natural and nutritional way to sustain them is with breast milk. Verily Allah, subhanu wa ta’ala, has given us mothers this beautiful gift and made breastfeeding an obligation for those who are able.

Breastfeeding is the right of the child and for all women who are able to breastfeed, it is a must and the blessings you and your child will receive are plentiful.

For in the Glorious Qu’ran in states:
“And We inspired the mother of Musa (Moses): (telling): "Suckle him [Musa (Moses)], but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily, We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers."-- Sura Al-Qasas, (28: 7)

“The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling, but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother's food and clothing on a reasonable basis. No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor father on account of his child. And on the (father's) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no sin on them. And if you decide on a foster suckling-mother for your children, there is no sin on you, provided you pay (the mother) what you agreed (to give her) on reasonable basis. And fear Allah and know that Allah is All-Seer of what you do.”-- Sura Al-Baqara, (2:233)

Commenting on this verse, Ibn Kathir says: "This is a direction from Allah to the mothers to suckle their infants through the complete term of suckling, which is two years." --Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, tafsir.com

There are many benefits of breastfeeding for the child, the mother, the family and society. Islam has known of these benefits, as proven by the aforementioned ayat in the Holy Qur'an. 

In his book, The Fragile Vessels, Muhammad Al-Jibaly says, "A woman may not forsake this important obligation unless she has an Islamically acceptable excuse, such as a genuine medical problem. Women who deny their children their nursing rights are liable to punishment in the Grave and the Hereafter."

Abu Umamah al-Bahili reported that Allah's Messenger (saw) said:
"While I was sleeping, two men (angels) came to me, held my upper arms, and took me to a rough mountain. They said," Climb." I said," I cannot climb it." They said, " We will make it easy for you." He continued: " So I ascended until I reached a high place in the mountain. I heard fierce cries and asked, " What are those cries?" The replied, " That is the howling of the people of the Fire." He continued: "We moved on until I saw some people who were suspended by their Achilles' tendons, their cheeks cut and gushing blood. I asked, "Who are those?" The replied, "Those are the ones who break their fast when it is not permissible." He continued: "We moved on until I saw people who were awfully swollen, and had the most foul stench and the most hideous appearance. I asked," Who are those?" He replied,"Those are the dead of the kuffar (on the battlefield)." He continued: "We moved on until I saw some people who were awfully swollen, and had the most foul stench--their stench was like that of gutters. I asked," Who are those?" The replied," Those are the male and female adulterers." He continued: "We moved on until I saw some women with snakes biting at their breasts. I asked," Who are those?" They replied, " Those are the women who deny their children their milk." He continued: "We moved on until I saw boys playing between two rivers. I asked," who are those?" The replied, " Those are the believers' offspring (who die before puberty.) --Recorded by Ibn Khuzaymah (no.1986), Ibn Hibban and others. Verified to be authentic by Sheikh Albani (Sahih ut-Targhib no.991)

Breastfeeding your baby is one of the most important ways to develop your child physically, mentally and spiritually.  May Allah grant us success in this life and in the hereafter! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.

February 5, 2011

Children's Rights: To Have a Righteous Mother

The following post has been excerpted from the book, Raising Children in Light of the Qur'aan and Sunnah by 'Abdus-Salaam bin 'Abdillah As-Sulaymaan. 

If someone wishes to produce ripe fruits, he will indeed search for the land that is the most fertile. One of the great aspects of wisdom behind getting married is to produce righteous offspring that will worship Allah and serve as a provision for their parents. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Marry women that are loving and fertile for indeed I will outnumber the nations through you."--Abu Dawood, An-Nasaa'ee, authenticated by Ibn Hibban

Furthermore, the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, clarified the people's standards when seeking a partner for marriage, saying: "A woman is married for four (reasons): Her wealth, her lineage, her beauty, and her religion. So choose the woman with (good) religious qualities, may your hands be covered in dust." --Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, An-Nasaa'ee, and Ahmad

...He, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, praised a woman with good religious qualities, saying: "Shall I not inform you of the best treasure a man gathers-- A righteous wife."--Al-Haakim. 
And he said: "Choose for your seeds (a good mother), for indeed breeding is a strategy." --Ibn Maajah.

This is from the rights that a child has over his father-- that he picks a good mother for him. 

A man once came to 'Umar bin Al-Khattaab, radiAllahu anhu, complaining about his son being undutiful to him. He had brought his son with him and began blaming him for his disobedience, so the son asked, "Doesn't a son have a right over his father also?" 'Umar said: "Of course." The son said, "Then what is it?" 'Umar replied, "That his father carefully chooses a mother for him, that he gives him a good name and that he teaches him the Qur'an." At this, the son said, "My father has not done any of these things. As for my mother, she was a black slave woman that used to belong to a Zoroastrian (Majoos). He named me Ju'al and did not teach me even one letter from the Qur'an." 'Umar turned to the man and said, "You came to me to complain about your son being undutiful to you, however, it is you who were undutiful to him before that!" 

Abul-Aswad Ad-Du'alee once told his children, "I was good to you when you were children, when you grew up, and also before you were born." They asked, "And how is it that you were good to us before we were born?" He said, " I chose for you a mother through whom you would not be mistreated." 

Ar-Riyaashee would recite this same theme in the following poetic verses: "The first good thing I did for you was my choosing (for you) an honorable woman of noble descent and clear virtue."