Ibn alQayyim: Provisions for the Hereafter
Taught by Sheikh Sajid Umar
Notes of a student
Session 1: Saturday 7th March 2015
Assalaamu alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu,
The Sheikh welcomes our first session of the ‘Provisions for the Hereafter’ course. He begins by praising Allah and sending blessings upon the final messenger Muhammad ﷺ. (Khutbatul Haajah).
He then begins by reminding of us of a beautiful hadith…
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“No people gather in one of the houses of Allaah, reciting the Book of Allaah and studying it together, but tranquility will descend upon them, mercy will overshadow them, the angels will surround them and Allaah will mention them to those who are with Him.” [Muslim]
From this hadith we learn that Allah showers upon people who sit in gatherings of knowledge, four gifts:
- Allah causes contentment to fall upon the gathering
- Angels surround the gathering
- The gathering is engulfed in the mercy of Allah
- Allah proudly praises this gathering to the angels
We learn from this….
When you are looking for the mercy of Allah, go look to the circle of knowledge.
When you are looking for peace and tranquility, go look to the circles of knowledge.
When you want to be surrounded by the Angels, go look to the circles of knowledge.
Sheikh then advises us, that this is why we must all try our best to attend the live sessions. The recordings must only complement in our gaining of this inheritance. We want to be in the front line when it comes to seeking knowledge, just like Salaah. When the imam leads we want to be at the first row. Similarly, we must want to be at the forefront and from the first present, when our teacher begin his class.
Our love for the Prophet ﷺ should push us forward!
Some may argue, but the hadith discusses gathering in the houses of Allah, so do these gifts apply to us?
Imaam ash Shawkani (rahimullah), who was a learned scholar commented on this hadith, saying:
The hadith is not specific to those gatherings that happen in the Masaajid only, but they apply to all gatherings of knowledge whether at home or at the masjid.
The statement (In a house from the houses of Allah) is there, not to exclude other places used when seeking knowledge from the fruits of this hadeeth, but to teach us that the best place of seeking knowledge is indeed in the Masjid, just like Al Masjid Nabawi was used at the time of the Prophet . The lessons were conducted and prepared there at the Masjid.
We also learn from this hadith…
That the Masjid is not just a place of prayer, but a place considered the establishment of Islam. The biggest decisions should happen there and people should love to flock there.
This statement (In a house from the houses of Allah) is known in the methodology of Fiqh as ‘Kharaja Makhraj al Ghaalib’, where a text exists in the Qur’an and Sunnah not to exclude other places or lessons, but to show what was the norm at the time.
In fact Sheikh Sa’d bin Naasir ashShethry (May Allah preserve him) has said that we can say that this hadeeth also includes virtual gatherings such as gatherings in our online classroom. Technology is a means of making vast and bigger the circles of knowledge. Hence, we must praise Allah for blessing us with this technology, where we can be in a circle of knowledge from the comfort of our own homes.
It is a blessing that although we are so far away we can still experience these beautiful gifts and earn the praise of Allah.
How would you feel…?
When a father or mother praises you and singles you out amidst siblings at home? Or imagine a king praises you or a chancellor of a university? But now imagine the king of all kings, Allah, praising you to the purest of creation. This praise is a means of causing Shaytaan more frustration, as he dislikes for a slave of Allah to be praised.
Sheikh Sajd then moved onto discussing the maps of journeys taken by the scholars when seeking knowledge, and the lessons we can take from them. They will be uploaded on Google groups.
We are reminded of…
- How much ground was covered by these scholars when it came to seeking knowledge. They saw knowledge as more valuable than treasures or gold bricks.
- Some of them would travel the journey of a month or more just to get one hadith. Just because they had heard so and so from this distant land has something valuable. There attitude was, ‘I need to get it! I want to be honored by being a narrator of this hadith, or be in a chain of narration of a hadith!’
- They would get on their mounts and gain their Zaad (provisions). This is also a reason behind the title of the book we are studying (provisions for the hereafter). Because we are on a journey to Allah and we also need our provisions. This book contains the provisions we need for the journey back to Allah.
These scholars were living at a time when there was no email, telegram, Facebook, Google chat, nor Skype or Whatsapp. They had no technology that could connect one person to another person at the blink of an eye. So they would mount their camels or animals to go and travel, but when they arrived after a month or more, they would learn that the carrier of the hadith passed away.
In some cases, the person passed away just a few days before their arrival! What would we do? We would blame our camel/mount, or the weather and we would cry and complain!
This wasn’t the way of the scholars of hadith. They would instead praise Allah.
This was their attitude because they knew Allah looks at their intentions. They travelled, they left, they earned and let go – all for Allah. They made their life a type of Waqf. So they knew Allah was the best of those who reward and doesn’t let the rewards of those who do good to be lost.
May Allah gather us with out scholars in jannah and give us the same character that he gave them and may he accept from us as he accepted from them. O Allah, we ask you to grant us understanding of your religion and teach us the meaning of your Qur’an. Ameen.
Introduction of Zaad Al Ma’ad
[Brother Hisham reads the introduction about the author of the book]
The author began the book with Bismillahir rahmaan niraheem. This was the way of the scholars, they would begin all their works with this statement and it was also the way of the Prophet
He also taught us that, the person who begins with anything without Bismillah, then the action is cut. Cut from what? From Barakah (blessings).
In this day and age, we crave barakah in our wealth, work, and time for time runs away from us so fast! Our wealth and property hardly last us, this is from the signs of Qiyaamah; the concepts of blessings being removed from the earth. And one of them is time losing its blessing. We will have 24 hours but it will feel like we only have 12 hours.
If your grandparents are alive, ask them.. How was time back then? They will till you that they would plan to do 10 things and by Dhuhr they would have completed it. Today you and I plan ten things and by Maghrib, we would be lucky if we had even completed even five.
So we need barakah! From the means of achieving barakah is by saying bismillah. Before you make a call, or join a meeting, or a class, say Bismillaah. Perhaps you may not spend so much time on the call but Allah will make it feel like you spoke for long.
Even when you put petrol in your car, say Bismillaah! Perhaps Allah will give you more mileage and you would help save the environment as well.
The secret for each one of us getting blessings in our life, is saying Bismillah.
Bismillahir rahmaniraheem in Arabic has been titled ‘Basmallah.’ This noun is a name for the entire sentence.
For example, La hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah is titled in Arabic as ‘Hawqalaa.’
In the Quran, when Allah discusses the story of the two gardens (in Surah Kahf), he talks about a man who had a garden blessed with so many fruits; that a river would flow through the middle of it at the right current, and as a result would water the plantations of he garden without overflowing the plantations.
This person didn’t even have to water his garden! Thereafter, Allah tested him and he became arrogant. So his friend advised him to say mashaAllah la quwwata ila billah for it would be better him. (he advised him to say hawqalaa).
In the books of fiqh, when the scholars get to ‘Hayya Alas Salaah and Hayya alal Falaah’ – they would title it ‘Hay’alaa’ This is how amazing the Arabic language is!
The Basmallah contains the Name Ar-Rahmaan, from this we learn:
- This name exists in the expressive sense, meaning that Allah is perpetually beneficent
- The term also entails the all-encompassing mercy of Allah. It includes the mercy He even showers upon the disbelievers for they are His creation.
- For the believers, there is a special mercy which is understood by another name of Allah – Ar-Raheem – meaning ‘especially merciful’ to Ummah of Muhammad
Ibn alQayyim then moves onto praise Allah and send blessing upon His messenger ﷺ with the Khutbatul Haajah.
This is from the ‘thawaabit’ (established matters) in the talks we do. For the Prophet ﷺ began his khutbah with this Khutbatul Haajah. So there is a lot of goodness in it!
The author then goes on to build his introduction on this ayah:
“And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses; not for them was the choice. Exalted is Allah and high above what they associate with Him.”(28:68)
Perhaps he chose this ayah to be placed in the introduction because he was inspired by his journey; by the day, night, the stars and moon. For in a journey you have time to reflect and ponder. It’s therapeutic.
The introduction has to be mightily worthy. Sadly, first impressions are last impression in the day and age we live in especially. We are quick to judge others based on their weaknesses rather on their strong points.
Points of benefit from the ayah:
- ‘Yakhtaar’ in this ayah means ‘Allah chooses who and what He prefers over other parts of His creation,’ but some have translated it as, ‘Allah chooses what He creates.’ When we translate the ayah this way, whilst this is true, we haven’t given the ayah its full meaning.
- The correct translation; ‘Allah creates, and gives rank and honour to a certain part of His creation over an other.’
- Perhaps the Imaam was having an imaan boost understanding the Lordship of Allah! In terms of His Ruboobiyah and Names and Attributes.
- He created the sky, the stars, with such precision and perfection. Some stars shine more brightly than others, some mountains are bigger than others.
- We learn that Allah chooses to give some, more wealth/children over others. He knows what is Best for us. We can’t help but love and praise Him for this.
Pondering over the creation, and those parts enjoying a special precedence…
Although each sky is made up of the same particles, Allah preferred the seventh sky above them all and chose it to be closest to the angels and closest to His throne.
He created the 7 heavens, but chose alFirdaus to be the highest of these heavens.
He gave this Jannah a special precedence, honour and rank, and chose it for the best of people and made His throne it’s roof.
In the Sunnah we find a hadith that Allah planted the plantations of Jannah with His own Hands.
Similarly, Allah created the angels, but gave a special precedence to certain angels.
He gave rank to Israfeel, and Mika’eel, and Jibreel. He created thousands and thousands of angels, but in terms of mention and praise he has allowed these angels to enjoy a certain special mention and honour.
The Prophet ﷺ would stand in the night prayer and would open his Du’aa with: “O Lord of Jibra’eel and Mika’eel and Israfeel…”
- Jibra’eel – is the angel that is a means of giving life to a dead heart by carrying revelation.
- Mika’eel – Allah made him in charge of rain. Rain is the means of life for this earth. Allah says in the Qur’an that He has made everything from water. We have the Qur’an giving life to a dead heart, and rain giving life to a barren land. This is further emphasized in Surah alHadeed – “Has the time not come for the believers to have hearts that are filled with ‘Khashyah…” [57:16]
Khashyah – does not mean raw fear, for that is called ‘khawf’. Khashyah is to fear Allah Almighty with knowledge. Allah says: “Those who truly have Khashyah are those who have knowledge (ulamaa).”
Why do we need this Khashyah?
…Because Jibra’eel has come with that which gives spiritual life to a dead heart.
Allah says in Surah Hadeed, don’t be like those people before who left obedience to Allah and who rejected this life and light of revelation.
At the beginning of this aayah in Surah Hadeed, there was reference to that which Jibra’eel is entrusted with- which entails spiritual life, and in the next ayah, it references what Mika’eel was entrusted with- which is with water that brings life to earth. Look at how the Qur’an connects!
Allah gives a special rank, and singles Jibreel (AS) out from the other two angels, by giving him a greater rank and entrusting him with the heaviest and most profound task and with the honour of visiting the best from among Mankind, Muhammad ﷺ.
As children of Adam, we share the same entities; we have minds, souls, hearts, desires… we are all same in make-up, but Allah has given special rank to some of the children of Adam over others. Thus, note how Allah raised his Prophets in rank over the rest of Mankind.
Allah sent 124,000 prophets! He raised the rank of 124,000 from the children of Adam (as).
From these Prophets, he chose the messengers and gave them a rank different to the rank of the Prophets.
As Rasulullah ﷺ taught us in the hadith of Abu Tharr (RA), that Allah sent 313 messengers. Those were his Ambiya (as).
Is there a difference between a messenger (rasul) and prophet (nabi)?
- Some scholars say there is no difference between a nabi and a rasul.
- The second group of scholars say, ‘ A nabi is more specific than a messenger.’ so every nabi is a messenger and not every messenger is a prophet.
- The third group says, ‘A rasul is more specific than a prophet.’ So every messenger is a prophet, but not every prophet is a messenger.’
The correct view is the 3rd view and Allah knows best, and this is the preferred view of Sheikh Saalih aal ashSheikh (HA).
Evidences for above views:
- Those who have the first view use the following as an evidence:
”And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet except that when he spoke [or recited], Satan threw into it [some misunderstanding]. But Allah abolishes that which Satan throws in; then Allah makes precise His verses. And Allah is Knowing and Wise. [Hajj:52]”
- The main argument for the scholars who differentiate is that a Rasul is someone who Allah revealed a book to, but a Nabi is someone that Allah didn’t reveal a book too. But here we see Allah saying that revelation goes to both a Nabi and a Rasool.
- The third group’s evidence (correct view) is that the word Nabi comes from the word ‘Naba’, meaning informer. It also comes from the word ‘Nuboowa’ which refers to the concept of being raised in rank and having a raised platform. And these meanings are different to the meaning of rasool, which refers to (messenger).
- Another evidence used by the scholars of the third view is that in the same aayah used as evidence by the first group- for Allah mentions Rasul and Nabi in the aayah. If Allah mentions two things, then they have two specific and different meanings, because of the principles of the Qur’an is that everything mentioned in the Qur’an has a specific implication unless specified, as by default the Qur’an does not mention anything excess to requirement. So in the aayah, Allah Almighty gives special mention to both a rasool and a nabi which teaches us that they are two different things
“And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet except that when he spoke [or recited], Satan threw into it [some misunderstanding].” [22:52]
Allah doesn’t mention certain things if there is no benefit in it. For example, in Surah Yusuf, Allah doesn’t speak of the mother of Yusuf (as), nor does he tell us the name of the mistress, because there is no need of us knowing in terms of the purpose the Surah aimed to serve.
A final evidence used to establish the third view, is the hadeeth of Abu Tharr (RA) which was shared earlier regarding how Allah chooses certain people over another. Allah chose 313 messengers 124,000 prophets. If a messenger and a prophet was the same, the count would not be different.
The precise explanation and this the explanation of our sheikh Saalih aal ash-Sheikh (HA):
The difference between a prophet and a messenger is that a messenger is one who was sent to people who had strayed and went against the revelation brought to them or their people by a previous prophet or messenger, which was sent to them. The messenger brought them back to the straight path; even if a book hadn’t been revealed to him yet.
As for a Prophet (nabi), then he is someone who Allah also revealed to, however:
- He was not commanded to convey the revelation. Or…
- He was commanded to convey a message, but not to a people who went against the teaching of the previous revelation, but a people who were upon their scriptures.
Example of a Nabi:
Adam (as). For, he was a Nabi before Hawaa (as) and even after Hawaa (as). So he was a Prophet from two angles.
- Note: The first prophet was Adam (as) and the first messenger was Nuh (as).
- Next class, bi’ithnillah: We will discuss further examples of how Allah Almighty bestows rank over certain parts of His creation of other parts- as part of our discussion surrounding Ibn alQayyim’s introduction to his book.