The Etiquettes of Seeking Knowledge from the Life of Imam Malik (May Allah have Mercy on him).

The Etiquettes of Seeking Knowledge from the Life of Imam Malik (May Allah have Mercy on him).

All praise is for Allaah, Lord of all the Worlds, who ordered us to follow His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and to call to His Way, and may Allaah send praises and blessings of peace upon our Prophet Muhammad (‎صلى الله عليه وسلم), and upon his family, his Companions, and those who truly follow them until the Day of Judgment.

Allah says in the Quran: Say, “Are equal those who know and those who (do) not know?” Only will take heed those of understanding.(39:9). The seeking of knowledge has been greatly stressed in our religion and it is obligatory on every Muslim to seek knowledge.

Imam Malik ( May Allah have mercy on him) is one of the greatest scholars of Islam. He is one of the Scholars who strived to attain the truth and stayed steadfast to it. A Seeker of Knowledge can learn a lot of etiquettes of seeking knowledge from his life.

Imam Malik was born in the Year 711 CE according to the most correct opinion[1]. His Great Grandfather Abu ‘Amir had accepted Islam and had migrated to Medina. This helped Imam Malik to live and die in one of the best lands and he sought his knowledge in Madina itself. He never travelled to seek knowledge due to his birth in the Treasure of Knowledge.

His Early Struggles in Seeking Knowledge

He started on seeking knowledge very early in his life. In his early days, his father had given a problem and he was unable to answer it, while his elder brother answered it. This really struck Imam Malik and he started to seek knowledge seriously. His mother also had a great role in inspiring him. She at once dressed Imam Malik and sent him to one of the scholars to learn only the etiquettes and manners of seeking knowledge. She asked him to observe the scholars before actually starting to take the knowledge[2].

The importance of etiquettes and manners can be seen from the above example. Nowadays, people especially the students of knowledge are too keen and enthusiastic in seeking knowledge, however before they actually start to take the knowledge, they forget to learn the etiquettes and the mannerisms of seeking knowledge.

Imam Malik also had memorized the Qura’n at an early age. It is highly beneficial for a child to start early in his seeking of knowledge. The Parents should imbibe the passion and zeal for knowledge in their children at a young age itself. If the Qura’n has been memorized at an early age, the seeking of knowledge will be more fruitful and beneficial.

His Choice of Local Scholars

There were many scholars under whom he could have studied and gained knowledge from. However, he gave preference to local scholars and did not travel to attain knowledge. Although, it is highly beneficial for a student of knowledge to travel and seek it, however, when he has responsibilities it is more better for him to seek the knowledge from the scholars around him, instead of leaving his home and forsaking the responsibilities.

His Perseverance

Imam Malik studied under various scholars and he would always persevere in seeking knowledge. Ibn Hurmuz was one of his teachers. He would very often go to his house and seek knowledge from him. He was a scholar who generally did not like to take students when his classes are over. However, Imam Malik used to go his home and learn beneficial knowledge of Islam. He even went to his teacher’s home on the day of Eid. His respect towards the value of time and his patience in seeking knowledge is noteworthy. [3]

A student of knowledge should also be patient and he should persevere in his quest of knowledge. He should not be lax in his attitude and should not have any hobbies which lead to his wastage of time.

His Steadfastness to the Truth

There are always trials and pitfalls in the life of a Taalibul Ilm. Imam Malik always was steadfast to the truth. He never gave into the whims and fancies of the rulers and was not a “Scholar for Dollars”. He was courageous and was prepared to face the consequences. It can be seen from an instance from his life. When the Governor of Madina demanded and forced people to give the allegiance Khalifa Al Mansour, by stating that one who would break the allegiance will automatically be divorced from his wives, then Imam Malik stood firm and gave a verdict that divorce under duress is not a valid divorce. Due to his steadfastness, he was publicly flogged and punished.

A student of knowledge should also be steadfast to the truth and not change his opinions based on his desires or under the force of others. He should wisdom and deal with the situation appropriately.

His Respect to Religious Verdicts

He always performed ablution and was always in a state of purity before he gave any religious verdict. [4] He clothed very well and presented himself to public and his students in a very presentable way.

Imam Malik was also reluctant to give any religious verdict. If he did not know any ruling, he would frankly say that he did not know.  A student of knowledge should not try to play smart to questions he doesn’t know. He should be honest and trustworthy and declare his ignorance when he doesn’t have any knowledge on any issue.

His Self Dependency

Imam Malik was self dependant when it came to earning money and maintaining a living. He used to have a business of textile partnering with his brother , who was also a scholar. He did not depend on others to meet his financial needs.

A student of knowledge should also try to be self dependant and have a source of income so that he can take care of himself and his family. He should not become a burden on others to take care of his needs and should work out a way in which he can meet the ends of his means.

Conclusion

The above are some of the etiquettes of knowledge from the Life of Imam Malik. A student of knowledge should read, understand and get inspired from the life of the righteous scholars and should try to implement all the etiquettes of knowledge.

We Pray to Allah(swt) that he grants us success in this world and the next.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malik_ibn_Anas

[2]http://www.haqislam.org/imam-malik/

[3] Early on during his search for knowledge his master Ibn Hurmuz asked his housemaid to look out as to who was at the door. She replied, “It is the blond boy Malik.” He was sitting at the door on a padding of folded cloth to escape the coldness of the stone (http://islamicencyclopedia.org/public/index/topicDetail/id/450)

[4] Ismael ibn abi Uwaiss said, “I asked my uncle Imam Malik – about something. He had me sit, made ablution, then said, ‘Laa hawla wala quwata illa billah.’ He did not give any fatwa without saying it first.” (http://www.haqislam.org/imam-malik/)

Differences between Fiqh of Hijaz and Fiqh of Iraq – An Analysis

Differences between Fiqh of Hijaz and Fiqh of Iraq – An Analysis

Differences between the Fiqh of Hijaz and Fiqh of Iraq.

Islam, the one true religion, spread rapidly and it had the largest Islamic Empire ever. People embraced Islam in large numbers. The Fiqh also developed and it was basically branched into two: The Fiqh of Hijaz and the Fiqh of Iraq. Communication gap and huge travelling distances made it difficult for people to consolidate the fiqh and unite the stances on fiqh. The scholars too were dispersed and Ijma’ of the scholars was difficult to attain.

Hijaz, the land to where the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had been sent i.e Makkah and Madina. While, Iraq was where Islam had spread later on and Kufah became one of the major centers of Islamic Learning. Since, the foundation itself there were many differences in the Fiqh of Hijaz and Iraq.

In Hijaz, the scholars were known as Ahl Hadeeth. This was due to the fact that they did not tend to delve in hypothetical problems and they based it on the Hadeeth. They were reluctant to use excessive reasoning and their opinions.

While, another group of Scholars, who were in Iraq were called the Ahl Rai. They felt that there are identifiable reasons for the revelation of laws. They used a lot of their powers of reasoning to deduce the laws and they delved into more of hypothetical issues which have not occurred yet. They wanted to prepare for the future, hence they tried to imagine all sorts of problems and issues which might arise and worked to solve those issues.

The Ahl Rai or the Scholars of Iraq,  try to apply the spirit of the law while the Ahl hadeeth look into the strengths of evidences before giving a ruling. Both of the schools generally agree to few sources of law such as Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyas.

The Scholars of Ahl Rai give more precedence to their opinion and they have set up general principles and rules through which they deduce rules. If there is any hadeeth contradicting their general principles, they prefer rejecting this hadeeth. They were known as the “What iffers”. This was due the reason that, they started any discussion by using the phrase, “What if it were like this?” etc.  While, in the fiqh of Hijaz, the scholars are more strict in applying the evidences.  The Center of Fiqh of Hijaz was Medina. Imam Malik and various other scholars were from this Fiqh.

There were many reasons for differences among the Fiqh of Hijaz and the Fiqh of Iraq. One of the reason is due to the different approaches of both the scholars. There was a lot of turbulence in the area of the Iraq , hence it lead to lot of fabrication of hadeeth and stories. While, in the Hijaz, the area was more peaceful and free from the political tyrannies. Almost most of the deviant sects started in Iraq and the scholars had to develop strict conditions for acceptance of hadiths. Hence most of the time, they ended up rejecting authentic hadeeth.

Greek Logic also known as Ilmul Kalam, also had started taking root in the Islamic study and more preference was being given to Logic over divine revealed laws. Imam Abu Haneefa is said to be among the Ahl Rai.

However, the intention of both the types of Fiqh was clear. Both of them wanted to follow Islamic Law as was revealed. However, due to various reasons as stated above , the Fiqh became more and more different from each other.

Hence it can be understood that the Fiqh of Iraq and the Fiqh of Hijaz were both different approaches to Fiqh and a scholar must try to seek a balance between them.

And Allah Knows best.

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركات

The Green Dome of the Masjid Un Nabawi

The Green Dome of the Masjid Un Nabawi

Bismillahir Rahman nir Rahim.

All praise be to Allah and peace and blessings be on the Prophet Muhammad (‎صلى الله عليه وسلم).

A year ago or so , there was a media outbreak with the news that the Green Dome above the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was supposedly to be destroyed and the grave of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم relocated.  However, the media, like always, when it comes to Islam, did not have sufficient proof and they just fueled the fire of dissension among Muslims. The Green Dome has now erroneously become a part of Islam and many Muslims all over the world revere it. It is not surprising to see in many parts of the world, people writing poems and songs dedicated to the Green Dome and Masjid un Nabawi. Hence, there was a strong reaction to the alleged destruction of the dome and relocation of the grave.

Looking back historically, after the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم death, there was a dispute among the Sahaba as to where the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is to be buried. Then Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said that he had heard from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم  that “A prophet is buried where he dies”. Hence a grave was dug in the house of Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلمwas buried there.

There was no dome built above the sacred chamber and only a waist high enclosure of brick was constructed to distinguish the location of the chamber from the rest of Masjid’s roof [1].

A Dome above the sacred chamber was built in 678 A.H. It was built by Sultan Al Mansoor Qalawoon. He was the one, who inspite of the scholars criticizing him for the construction, did so, being ignorant of the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلمcommand of not constructing any domes or buildings on the graves.[2] The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said in his dying moments that, “The curse of Allah falls upon the Jews and Christians for they have made their Prophets’صلى الله عليه وسلم tombs places of worship.” [3] However, the Sultan disregarded this and he went on with the construction with the Dome. This is a classic example of the state prevailing over the Shari’ah of Islam.

The Green Dome was not always green but it changed many colours. First it was of the colour of the wood but then later on it turned to white, blue, and then green. It was in 1253 AH , that Sultan Abd’al Hameed  was the one who painted it green.

The Scholars have always criticized the building of the dome and the coloring of it, such as Al San’aani in Ta-theer al –I’tiqaad, etc. In another hadeeth of Abu’l-Hayaaj al-Asadi who said: ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) said to me: Shall I not send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent me? Do not leave any image without erasing it or any high grave without levelling it.[4]

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said “Lo! Beware those who were before you used to take the graves of their prophets as places of worship. Beware, never take graves for mosques. I forbid you in doing so.”[5] Hence, it can be clearly noticed, that Islam condemns the act of construction of domes and buildings over the graves.

As stated earlier, the Prophets صلى الله عليه وسلم are buried where they died. Hence, our beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم died in the house of Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) and he was buried there. The room of Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) was not included in the time of the Prophet in the Masjid but was separate from it and neither was it included during the time of the Righteous Caliphs.

The Sacred Chamber of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was included during the time of Sultan Walid ibn Abdul Malik. He, as is usual with all the rulers, went against the scholars of that time and included the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم grave in the Masjid.

This argument is generally used by the Sufis and the grave worshippers, who claim that since the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم grave is included in the Masjid un Nabawi, it is therefore allowed to build Masaajids over the graves of the saintly people, the awliyaa and also to bury people in the Masjid. However this is false argument and it has no basis to it. This goes against the saheeh hadeeth and it opens the door to Shirk which is the gravest sin ever.

The fact that the dome and the Grave is included in the masjid since centuries, does not become a proof to act according to it and one must follow the Qura’n and the hadeeth.

As Allah says in the Qura’an :

ۚ وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا

(Take what the Messenger Gives You and Abstain from what he Forbids you)[6]

In another narration of Jaabir (May Allaah be pleased with him), The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade plastering over graves, or sitting on them or building over them.[7]

Therefore by looking at the narrations of the hadeeth above, it should be very clear in the mind of an objective person, that Islam has come to remove all sorts of shirk from this planet and it has also closed all doors which lead to shirk. Constructing a Masjid above the graves, venerating the graves, building mausoleums over them are all acts which are prohibited in Islam and one must avoid indulging in such acts.

As far as, the Green dome is concerned, the authorities should act wisely and the dome should be removed. However, this might cause a huge fitnah and dissension among the ranks of Muslims. Hence the ruler should do it whenever he sees is the right time and the dome should be removed and the grave of the Prophet  should be separated from the Masjid un Nabawy.

We ask Allah to grant us understanding of the Deen and to make us successful in this life and the hereafter.

[1] Fusool min Tareekh al-Madeenah al-Munawwarah by ‘Ali Haafiz (p. 127, 128).

[2] The Prophet  said: “Those people, when a righteous member of their group or a pious slave (of Allah swt ) dies, they build a mosque over his grave and make images therein; by so doing, they combine two evils: (i) The evil of the graves and (ii) the evil of images.”( Al Bukhari )

[3] [Sahih al-Bukhari, 1/62; Muwatta’ Imam Malik, p. 360]

[4]Sahih Muslim

[5] Sahih Muslim

[6] Surah Al Hashr (59:7)

[7] Sahih Muslim