Why Study the Seerah

The Seerah refers to the study of the blessed life of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (ﷺ) may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The reason for studying his life is obvious: he is the Prophet of Allah who brought Islam to us. The Quran was revealed to him. He explained Islam to us. Allah commanded us in the Quran to obey Him and His Messenger (ﷺ). Therefore, it is our religious obligation as Muslims to learn about our Prophet (ﷺ) and what he taught and follow his teachings in order to succeed in this life and in the hereafter.

He (ﷺ) implemented Islam in his own life and showed it to the companions who also followed his examples. They meticulously recorded his sayings, his habits, his likes and dislikes, his approvals and disapprovals, his orders and his prohibitions. They even recorded how he looked, how he dressed, how he handled himself, how he behaved with different people, how he was as a husband, how he was as a father, how he was as a leader, how he was as a friend, how he was as a human being. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

The Quran as well as the Hadith contain details of the Prophet’s (ﷺ) life. To really understand what Islam is, we have to take a deep dive into the study of the Seerah. We need to learn the background, the culture, the time, the tradition, the language and the circumstances in which the Prophet (ﷺ) was sent to really understand the message he brought. The more we study the life of the Mercy to the Worlds (ﷺ), the more we love him. The more we learn about what he went through, how he dealt with every situation in his life, what his comforting words to the companions were in every situation, the more we can’t help but love him (ﷺ).

Just like with the study of the Tafseer and any other study in Islam, it is important to study it from the most authentic sources available to us and not fall victim to propaganda of the Orientalist writings which consist of numerous texts readily available nowadays that were written in an attempt to misguide the masses and misinform them. So we should be careful and weed out the bad stuff and focus on the writings of the Muslim scholars. A lot of these authentic texts have been translated into English as well as other languages globally so they are accessible even if you don’t yet read Arabic.

 

And Allah knows best.

Please follow and like us:

The reasons for studying the Quran & Tafseer

The reason for studying the Quran & its correct interpretation (the Tafseer) is obvious: the Quran is one of the two fundamental textual sources of Islamic knowledge. The other fundamental textual source is the Hadith literature which will discuss in the next chapter. Being the main source for knowledge it behooves us as Muslims and specially as students of knowledge to learn as much from the Quran and its authentic Tafseer or the correct interpretation as possible. For that end, learning Arabic is a fundamental requirement, as was discussed in the last chapter.

Learning the Quran has many aspects.

There are many areas of study when it comes to the Quran. Learning to read the Quran properly is from the knowledge of Tajweed (proper recitation with the correct pronunciation rules). Learning the meanings of words comes from the knowledge of the Arabic of the Quraish tribes in Mecca in Arabia at the time when the Quran was revealed. Learning the reasons of revelations is derived from the Hadith concerning the Asbaab un Nuzool to provide the correct historical context and the events that occurred at the time and the people that the verses may have been addressing and so on around the time of the revelation. Learning the true meanings and application of the text of the Quran comes from the many authentic traditions found in the Hadith where the Prophet (ﷺ) himself explained the meanings of the verses revealed to the companions who recorded, related and passed down the information to be collected later on in the Hadith collections. All of these areas of study serve to provide a complete understanding of the Quran. Failing to take any of these into account could potentially result in a deficient or partial or even incorrect understanding of the Quran.

And Allah knows best.

Please follow and like us:

Why is it necessary to learn Arabic

Learning Arabic is a necessity for Muslims. This is because the Quran and the Sunnah, which form two of the most fundamental sources of Islamic knowledge are in the Arabic language. Of course, these primary sources of Islamic knowledge have already been translated into virtually every language there is. But the reality is that you only get the full and correct understanding of Quran and Sunnah in the Arabic language. Translation loses its essence.

Therefore, in order to understand the religion properly, the Arabic language is a pre-requisite. In other words, a person’s understanding of Islam is not complete if they rely solely on translations. Not only does it not suffice to read the translation for a complete understanding, but it is very likely to misunderstand Islam when all of our knowledge base is based on translated text. This is specially true if the person who did the translation does not himself or herself know Arabic that well. So now you have a very twisted understanding from what was originally intended.

Most Muslims have taken this very lightly and think that it is totally optional to learn Arabic. We should realize that we are only limiting ourselves when we assume that learning Arabic for the purpose of understanding the Quran and Hadith is not required. Every able Muslim should make every possible effort to learn the Arabic language for the sake of seeking a more complete and authentic understanding of Islam.

There are many people teaching Arabic at various mosques or schools around the world. Concerned Muslims do find a way to organize Arabic classes in their locality if at all possible. Additionally, with the internet and social media, there are numerous resources for learning the Arabic language available online these days. Interested Muslims can and should take advantage of the many opportunities for learning Arabic online. If it’s important to you, you will find a way. Learning Arabic is the most important basic knowledge areas that every Muslim should invest in.

And Allah knows best.

Please follow and like us:

Studying the Seerah

The study of the Seerah is an essential knowledge area for every Muslim. The more a person learns about the Seerah the better his or her understanding of Islam will be. Allah sent the Prophet (ﷺ) as a guide to human beings until the Day of Judgment. He revealed the Quran gradually over a period of twenty three years to the Prophet (ﷺ). The Quran and the Seerah are connected in a way that the Quran was not revealed as a complete book all at once, rather it was revealed according to the time, place and situation that was suitable for its revelation. Therefore a study of the Quran without an understanding of the Seerah is never complete or accurate.

This is largely because the Seerah provides a context and therefore a proper understanding of the Quran. The reasons for revelation of the verses, the time, the place and how the Prophet (ﷺ) explained the verses is often recorded in authentic Hadith. Together, they form a complete picture for the understanding of Islam. Leaving one of these components out will result in an incomplete picture of Islam. This is another reason why the Hadith is an important primary source of Islamic knowledge right after the Quran. Without a complete picture, the Quran maybe interpreted incorrectly and understood differently than what was intended. This misinterpretation would not be possible if the Hadith or Sunnah and the Seerah were used to provide the context required for the correct understanding. Often the reason for the many deviations that appeared in the Ummah is the rejection of the Hadith by the people.

The source for the Seerah is Hadith and Aathar (recorded sayings of the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ). The verses of the Quran often leave out the details of events that were the reasons for the revelation. The background of the events are recorded meticulously in the Hadith and the Aathar.

And Allah knows best.

Please follow and like us:

How to conduct research about Islamic topics

Conducting research about Islam is an important part of acquiring knowledge. It is essential to make sure that the right information from the right sources is chosen. There is a lot of inauthentic information that is commonplace nowadays. Because of the Internet, there is an even greater need to ascertain that the information is thoroughly researched and backed by authentic sources. This is because information is so easily distributed with the help of technology that anyone with or without knowledge can spread it. Proliferation of knowledge means both authentic knowledge and inauthentic made up stuff is out there.

Researching requires scrutinizing the material to see whether it is a work that has been referenced properly with primary sources of knowledge namely the Quran and Hadith directly or from secondary sources that take from works that are based upon the Quran and Hadith. This is no simple task. Very often well-intentioned people end up including questionable material in their works because they just couldn’t do the research or imagined that their sources were correct when they were in fact made up material. It can be confusing to a non-scholar to determine whether the secondary sources have been authenticated to be derived and based upon the accepted interpretation of the primary sources.

The safest way to do this research is to work with a few reputable scholars who will not shy away from providing you with the references when asked. As a rule of thumb, make sure to cross-references the sources yourself and not to rely on anyone blindly. As students of knowledge, we owe it ourselves to check and double-check information before accepting it.

Islamic knowledge has been preserved by Allah’s help. The Quran is protected against alteration as a promise of Allah. The Hadith is a primary source for Islamic knowledge right after the Quran. There has been a lot of work done by the scholars of Islam to authenticate Hadith. There is a fully developed science of Hadith which includes the chains of narrations, their content and the knowledge of the narrators of Hadith. The Prophet (ﷺ) explained the Quran to his companions and the reasons of the revelations of much of the Quran are preserved in the Hadith collections. Without the Hadith, the Quran can be interpreted incorrectly by people. Without the Hadith the knowledge of Islam is incomplete.

And Allah knows best.

Please follow and like us:

Remembering Allah Daily

Remembrance of Allah is where our hearts truly find peace. A Muslim remembers Allah daily numerous times throughout the day and night. Remembering Allah daily helps us remember what our place in this universe really is. It also helps us to remember that we rely on Allah for everything. If Allah wills it, we will live another day. When Allah wills it we will leave this temporary worldly life. We are not created for this world but for a very powerful purpose: the everlasting life in the hereafter, i.e. after our death in this life, when we are resurrected, we will never cease to exist. So we remember Allah often. Many times daily, in fact.

First and foremost are the five daily prayers which are spread out throughout the day to ensure that our hearts are connected to the Creator throughout our lives. We also remember Allah through the recitation of the Quran. This is a way to converse with Allah since the Quran is the speech of Allah. Furthermore, we have supplications (duaa) for everything we do: for waking up, for entering or exiting the washroom, for eating and drinking, for going changing outfits, for going out of the house, for traveling, for entering or leaving the masjid (mosque) and for everything in between. In addition to all these, we are encouraged to supplicate morning and evening with the recommended duaa and azkaar that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to supplicate with. These supplications are meant to ask Allah for help for our daily affairs, protection from evil and to be able to be good Muslims.

Remembering Allah in the morning with these supplications (known as Azkaar as-Sabaah or the morning reminders) helps us start off our day right. Remembering Allah in the evening before we go to sleep (known as Azkaar al-Masaa’ or the night reminders) to go to sleep with the consciousness that Allah is our Creator and Sustainer God.

Please follow and like us:

Reading A Book a Month

I’m trying my hardest to read a book a month. This month I have finished reading Dr. Israr Ahmed’s (May Allah have Mercy on his soul) book Rasul-e-Kamil (in Urdu). Although the book is only about a hundred pages, it packs the essence of the life of the Prophet (ﷺ) highlighting his special purpose in this world. Allah sent him as a mercy to mankind. His character, his example and his being in and of itself was such a supreme example of what Allah wants every one of us to aspire to. He lived a humble life and brought the Message of Allah through the Quran. He also lived the Quran so we have an example to follow.

This book is about the life and times of the last Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) [may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). This is known as a book of Seerah (or the biography of the blessed Prophet (ﷺ) of Allah). Although I have read a few books on the Seerah already, it is always beneficial to read more. I recommend reading a book on the Seerah once every year. I also recommend everyone read a book of Tafseer every year. This is to keep us connected to the book of Allah (the Quran) and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

Islam has two fundamental sources. The Quran and the Sunnah. The Sunnah is stored in the collections of authentic Hadith. The Seerah contains the biography of the Prophet (ﷺ) from these two sources. The Quran, Sunnah and Seerah of the Prophet give us the complete context for understanding the message of Islam. Taking any of these sources in isolation will only create an incomplete understanding of Islam. An incomplete understanding is usually an incorrect understanding and can lead people in the wrong direction. May Allah protect us from an incorrect understanding of Islam.

Please follow and like us:

How do I start learning the Quran?

The Quran is a divinely revealed book containing the speech of Allah as revealed to the Prophet (ﷺ) by the angel Gabriel (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is a special book. Every Muslim should aspire to learn and make it their most important project in life. Learning the Quran is a lifelong journey. Everything you learn in your journey toward learning to read and understand the Quran for the purpose of getting closer to Allah and understanding the religion of Islam is rewardable. There are numerous rewards, but that’s a different blog post. For this post, I’m outlining what I believe to be the essential steps for learning the Quran. Start from the very beginning, in the following order:

1-The Arabic Alphabet – learn the names, shapes & how to pronounce each alphabet properly. Apart from the individual letters, learn how to join the letters with vowels to form complete words. This will be very handy to have done early in your journey as everything will build on top of this. Make sure you get it right the first time, with as good a teacher as you can possibly find. This will be the foundation. Consider this successfully completed if you can read the Quran.

2-The Tajweed Rules – learn the rules of Tajweed to truly understand proper pronunciation of the letters correctly when reciting the Quran. Simply learning to read is not enough, learning to read with the rules of Tajweed is mandatory for properly reciting the book of Allah. Tajweed rules should be learned with the help of a qualified teacher.

3-The Arabic Language – learn enough Arabic to be able to understand the Quran in its original language instead of relying on translations. It isn’t hard, ANYONE can do it if they put enough effort into it. There are courses available for this, so it’s a great idea to enroll in one of those and learn it properly.

4-Tafseer – learn the meanings of the Quran by studying from a basic Tafseer, something like the popular Tafseer of Ibn Katheer. A well written Tafseer relies on the authentic Hadith and the Quran itself to explain the Quran. Tafseer that doesn’t rely on Quran & Hadith should be avoided. Ideally this should be read in its original Arabic but if that’s not possible, there are translations available in English, Urdu and possibly other languages as well.

5-Bringing it all together – Once you have learned to read with Tajweed, have learned enough Arabic to know the meanings of what you’re reciting, have invested enough time to study from a reliable work of Tafseer, then you are truly on the path to understanding Islam inshaaAllah. You still need to refer to the Hadith, Sunnah and the works of the Seerah (the recorded works contain authentic descriptions, actions and sayings of the Prophet (ﷺ)  as well as his blessed life to bring it all together.

May you find the journey of Quran studies be an easy and fruitful one. Ameen.

Please follow and like us:

Studying the Life of the Prophet (ﷺ)

The Quran is the book of guidance for all of humanity. The Prophet (ﷺ) was the practical embodiment of the message contained in the Quran. The blessed life of the last Prophet & Messenger of Allah (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) is a source of guidance for all of us. He showed us practically how to live life according the teachings of the Quran.

In order to understand the Quran and really appreciate the message of Islam, we must invest the time and energy to study the life of the Prophet (ﷺ). We have to understand Islam from the lens of the Hadith (which is essentially the recorded actions and sayings of the Prophet (ﷺ). Learning Islam from the right context is extremely important. This is particularly true these days when a lot of made up propaganda and false information is heavily marketed and readily available.

We are extremely lucky to have many books on the subject in every language available to us these days. These are called books of Seerah (books on the life of the Prophet (ﷺ). The books that are written by qualified scholars taking only from the authentic sources (Quran and authentic Hadith) should be read by every Muslim to personally learn about the life of the Prophet (ﷺ). There are also audio and video materials available online today that are very useful in acquiring this much needed knowledge.

One of the best books available in English is the Sealed Nectar (which is the English translation of the Arabic book Ar-Raheeq al-Makhtoom by SafiurRahman Mubarakpuri). There are lectures on the Seerah by prominent lecturers in English. The most detailed ones are by Dr Sheikh Yasir Qadhi available on YouTube.

There are plenty of other resources available as well but these should get anyone get started on this journey of acquiring knowledge. Start today and learn. May your path to knowledge be easy and fruitful.

Please follow and like us: