ALLAH does not change the state of people, until they change it themselves

6.6.13

Guidance Regarding The Celebration Of Lailat-ul-Miraj On 27th of Rajab

By Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (db)

Extracted from The Month of Rajab, Part 1 & Part 2

Rajab is the seventh month in the Islamic lunar calendar. This month was regarded as one of the sacred months (Al-Ashhur-al-hurum) in which battles were prohibited in the days of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم  .

It is also deemed to be a prelude to the month of Ramadan, because the month Ramadan follows it after the intervening month of Sha’ban. Therefore, when the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم  sighted the moon of Rajab, he used to pray Allah in the following words:

اللهم بارك لنا في رجب وشعبان وبلغنا رمضان

O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadan (i.e. prolong our life upto Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings).

Although the month of Rajab has aforesaid merits, yet no specific way of worship has been prescribed by the Shari’ah in this month. However, some people have invented some special rituals or practices in this month which are not supported by reliable resources of the Shari’ah or are based on some unauthentic traditions. We would like to explain here the correct position about them.

 Celebration of Lailat-ul-Mi’raj

It is generally believed that the great event of Mi’raj (ascension of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم to the heavens) took place in the night of 27th of Rajab. Therefore, some people celebrate the night as “Lailat-ul-Mi’raj” (the night of ascension to heavens).

Indeed, the event of Mi’raj was one of the most remarkable episodes in the life of our beloved Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم. He was called by Almighty Allah. He traveled from Makkah to Bait-ul-Maqdis and from there he ascended the heavens through the miraculous power of Allah. He was honoured with a direct contact with his Creator at a place where even the angels had no access. This was the unique honour conferred by Allah to the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم alone. It was the climax of the spiritual progress which is not attained by anybody except him. No doubt the night in which he was blessed with this unparalleled honour was one of the great nights in the history of this world.

But, as we have explained in our discussion about the month of Rabi’ul-awwal, Islam has its own principles with regard to the historic and religious events. Its approach about observing festivals and celebrating days and nights is totally different from the approach of other religions. The Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم did not prescribe any festival or any celebration to commemorate an event from the past, however remarkable it might have been. Instead, Islam has prescribed two annual celebrations only. One is Eid-ul-Fitr and the other is Eid-ul-Adha. Both of these festivals have been fixed at a date on which the Muslims accomplish a great ‘ibadah (worship) every year. Eid-ul-Fitr has been prescribed after the fasts of Ramadan, while Eid-ul-Adha has been fixed when the Muslims perform the Hajj annually. None of these two eids is designed to commemorate a particular event of the past which has happened in these dates. This approach is indicative of the fact that the real occasion for a happy celebration is the day in which the celebrators themselves have accomplished remarkable work through their own active effort. As for the accomplishments of our ancestors, their commemoration should not be restricted to a particular day or night. Instead, their accomplishments must be remembered every day in the practical life by observing their teachings and following the great examples they have set for us.

Keeping this principle in view, the following points should be remembered with regard to the “Lailatul-mi’raj”:

(1) We cannot say with absolute certainty in which night the great event of Mi’raj had taken place. Although some traditions relate this event to 27th night of the month of Rajab, yet there are other traditions which suggest some other dates. Al-Zurqani, the famous biographer of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم, has referred to five different views in this respect: Rabi’-ul-awwal, Rabi’-ul-’akhir, Rajab, Ramadan and Shawwal. Later, while discussing different traditions, he has added a sixth opinion, that the Mi’raj took place in the month of Zulhijjah.

Allamah Abdulhaq Muhaddith Dehlawi, the well-known scholar of the Indian sub-continent, has written a detailed book on the merits of Islamic months. While discussing the Lailat-ul-Mi’raj he has mentioned that most of the scholars are of the view that the event of Mi’raj took place in the month of Ramadan or in Rabi’ul-awwal.

(2) It is also not certainly known in which year the event of Mi’raj had taken place. There are a number of views mentioned in the books of history which suggest a wide range between the fifth-year and the twelfth year after the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم was entrusted with Prophethood.

Now, if it is assumed that the event of Miraj took place in the fifth year of his Prophethood, it will mean that the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم remained in this world for eighteen years after this event. Even if it is presumed that the Mi’raj took place in the twelfth year of his Prophehood, his remaining life-time after this event would be eleven years. Throughout this long period, which may range between eleven years and eighteen years, the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم never celebrated the event of Mi’raj, nor did he give any instruction about it. No one can prove that the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم ever performed some specific modes of worship in a night calling it the “Lailatul-Mi’raj” or advised his followers to commemorate the event in a particular manner.

(3) After the demise of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم also, no one of his companions is reported to celebrate this night as a night of special acts of worship. They were the true lovers of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم and had devoted their lives to preserve every minute detail of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم and other Islamic teachings. Still, they did not celebrate the event of Mi’raj in a particular night in a particular way.

All these points go a long way to prove that the celebration of the 27th night of Rajab, being the Lailat-ul-Mi’raj, has no basis in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم or in the practice of his noble companions. Had it been a commendable practice to celebrate this night, the exact date of this event would have been preserved accurately by the Ummah and the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم and his blessed companions would have given specific directions for it.

Therefore, it is not a Sunnah to celebrate the Lailat-ul-Mi’raj . We cannot take any practice as a Sunnah by our own emotions, unless it is established through authentic sources that the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم or his noble Companions have recognized it as such, otherwise it may become a bid’ah about which the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم has observed in the following words:

من أحدث في أمرنا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد

 Whoever invents something in our religion which is not a part of it, it is to be rejected.

Being mindful of this serious warning, we should appreciate that the 27th night of the month of Rajab is not like Lailat-ul-Qadr or Lailat-ul-Bara’ah for which special merits have been mentioned expressly either by the Holy Qur’an or by the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم.

However, all the recognized modes of ‘ibadah (worship) like salah, recitation of the Holy Qur’an, dhikr, etc. are commendable any time, especially in the late hours of night, and obviously the 27th night of Rajab is not an exception. Therefore, if someone performs any recognized ‘ibadah in this night from this point of view nothing can stop him from doing so, and he will be entitled to the thawab (reward allocated for that recognized ‘ibadah, Insha-Allah). But it is not permissible to believe that performing ‘ibadah in this night is more meritorious or carries more thawab like Lailat-ul-Qadr or Lailat-ul-Bara’ah, because this belief is not based on any authentic verse or on a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم. Similarly, it is not a correct practice to celebrate this night on a collective scale and to invite people to special ritual congregations.

(4) Some people suggest some special modes of worship to be performed in this night. Since no special mode of worship is prescribed by the Shari’ah in this night, these suggestions are devoid of any authority and should not be acted upon.

It is believed by some that the Muslims should keep fast on 27th of Rajab. Although there are some traditions attributing special merits to the fast of this day yet the scholars of hadith have held these traditions as very weak and unauthentic reports which cannot be sufficient to establish a rule of Shari’ah. On the contrary, there is an authentic report that Sayyidna Umar  رضي الله تعالى عنه  used to forbid people from fasting on this day, rather to compel them to eat if they had started fasting.

It should be borne in mind here that a Nafl fast can be observed any day (except the five prohibited days of the year), therefore, fasting on 27th of Rajab is not prohibited in itself. What is prohibited is the belief that fasting on this day is more meritorious than fasting in other normal days. One should not fast in this day with this belief. But if someone fasts therein, believing it to be a normal Nafl fast, there is no bar against it.

Courtesy: www.muftitaqiusmani.com 

2.6.13

Are We Healers Or Corrupters


The current state of our planet is one wherein there is huge imbalance and pollution; where the equilibrium of our Earth has been greatly corrupted. Armed conflicts and wars are increasing across the globe; the economies of an ever-increasing number of countries are in meltdown as global capitalism spirals out of control; and we continue to inch ever closer to environmental destruction, to a point where it could be beyond repair. Modern man, instead of being a caretaker of the earth, has become its most deadly predator: damaging the planet, devouring its natural resources and destroying his fellow man!

The Qur’an says: Corruption has appeared on land and on sea for what men’s hands have earned, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may repent. [30:41]

Corruption (fasad, in Arabic) is defined as: khuruj al-shay’ ‘ani’l-i‘tidal – “A thing leaving a balanced state.”1 In other words, corruption is when something has become ruined, contaminated, polluted and is out of balance. Its opposite is salah/islah, which means: to rectify, correct, or set aright. In other words, to bring a thing back to some sort of equilibrium and balance.

What follows is a reminder about how, as  believers, we must be muslihun – people of islah, not mufsidun – people of fasad; of how we are to be people who set things aright, not sow mischief throughout the earth; and of how we, as Muslims, are called upon to be healers, not corrupters:



God Loves Not Corruption: The first and foremost reason why we are to be people who seek to heal is because corruption is wicked and God is not pleased with it: And when he turns away [from you], he hastens about the land to do corruption therein, and to destroy crops and cattle; and God loves not corruption. [2:205]

Stewardship of the Earth: This stems from the notion of us being khalifahs – “stewards” or “vicegerents” of the earth. The Qur’an says: Indeed, it is He who has appointed you as vicegerents of the earth. [6:165] Classical Quranic authorities explain khalifah to mean (i) One generation succeeding another, and (ii) someone delegated to uphold God’s laws and administer justice – in other words a vicegerent.2 Accordingly, man is required to tend to the earth, uphold the Divine purpose in it, establish justice upon it, keep it in balance and to work not corruption on the earth after it has been set in order. [7:56] We see this very sentiment echoed in the following hadith: ‘The world is green and sweet and God has placed you as vicegerents in it, to see how you behave.’3

Not Living Excessively: About this, the Qur’an declares: God created for you all that is on the earth. [2:29] Also: He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. [45:13] The earths bounties are for all of humanity, not just a privileged few. Yet, having stated the obvious, we live in a world where less than twenty percent of the globe (mainly us in the “developed world”) consume over eighty per-cent of the earth’s natural resources so as to buttress a consumption-driven lifestyle. Our concern here in the West is not fear of poverty, as it is obesity! We have created a world that is now grotesque in its excesses and staggering in its inequalities. Partake of the earth’s fruits for our needs we must; partake of them for our wants we certainly may; but partake of them excessively and irresponsibly we may not: Eat and drink, but not excessively. For God loves not the excessive. [7:31]

Honouring the Balance: In one celebrated chapter of the Qur’an, we read the following: The All-Merciful has taught the Qur’an, has created man, teaching him speech. The sun and the moon follow a reckoning and the plants and the trees bow down. And He has raised the heavens and has set the balance, [declaring] that you may not upset the balance, but observe the balance and not fall short therein. [55:1-9] This, as well as one of the previously cited verses, reminds us that God has created the earth in a state of equilibrium, which itself is composed of innumerable mini equilibriums. We can, of course, utilise the earth for our food, clothing and instruments of trade and, indeed, for actualising the potentials that lie within us. But all of this is conditional on not disturbing this equilibrium, nor transgressing the balance.

Enchantment with Nature: For believers, the natural world is like a mirror: beautiful in itself, while reflecting the even greater beauty of God. The Qur’an invites mankind to contemplate creation and be enchanted by its majestic beauty, in order to know and appreciate the Maker of such enchantment: In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for people of understanding. Those who remember God standing, sitting, and lying down, and meditate upon the creation of the heavens and the earth. [3:191-2] Thus, if the starry heavens illicit in us a sense of awe; if a newly sprung rose illicits in us a sense of beauty; if the solemn stillness of an autumn woodland illicits in us a sense of sublimity – then how much more awesome, beautiful and sublime must the Creator of such things be.

Celebrating Creation: In an intriguing passage, the Qur’an informs: Have you not seen that all that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies God? And the birds as they spread their wings? Every creature knows its prayer and its glorification. [24:41] Elsewhere: There is not a single thing that does not proclaim His praise, yet you understand not their praises. [17:44] Such verses teach us to celebrate God’s creation, as they tell us that each created thing, animate or inanimate, extols His praise and glory - subhana’Llah! Prophets and many of the awliya are able to hear such praises, while some objects even make known their love for the godly. In the lifetime of the Prophet, peace be upon him, trees and stones spoke to him, and glorified God when he picked them up or passed by them.4 He even said about Mount Uhud: hadha jabal yuhibbuna wa nuhibbuhu – ‘This mountain loves us, and we love it.’5

Courtesy with Earth’s Creatures: Inanimate things aside, in regards to the animal world the Qur’an insists on courtesy: There is not an animal in the earth, nor a creature flying on two wings, but they are communities like you. [6:38] This courtesy is one that is based on a sense of awe and respect for earth’s living creatures. The Prophet, peace be upon him, was asked: Will we be rewarded for doing good to animals? He replied: ‘There is a reward for serving every living creature.’6 On another occasion, he told a group who were mounted on their camels, just chatting to one another: ‘Ride these animals safely and return them safely, but do not use them as chairs for your conversations in the streets and marketplaces.’7 He also said: ‘A woman was once flung into Hell for tying a cat till it starved to death.’8 And there is the hadith where a man took an egg from a bird’s nest, which then distressed the mother bird. Observing this, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘Have mercy on the mother; return her egg.’9 Such is the courtesy Islam obliges us to show to other creatures with whom we share this earth.



This, then, is Islam’s case for why we must tend to our fragile planet and partake in its healing. But for such revealed teachings to truly bear fruit, we must each become the example we wish others to follow. Wa’Llahu wali al-tawfiq.

References:

1. Al-Raghib al-Asbahani, Mufradat Alfaz al-Qur’an (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 2002), 636.

2. Cf. al-Sam‘ani, Tafsir al-Qur’an (Riyadh: Dar al-Watn, 1997), 1:63-4; Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 2002), 52-3.

3. Muslim, no.2742.

4. As per Ibn Hibban, Sahih, no.2110; al-Bazzar, Musnad, no.2413; Muslim, no.2277.

5. Al-Bukhari, no.4084; Muslim, no.1393.

6. Al-Bukhari, no.3321; Muslim, no.2245.

7. Ahmad, Musnad, no.15629.

8. Al-Bukhari, no.3318; Muslim, no.2241.

9. Abu Dawud, Sunan, no.2675

Source: The Humble I