The authority of the Prophet
September 10 2020 08:44 PM
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Is the scope of the authority of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) limited only to the doctrinal affairs and the matter of worship, and not to worldly affairs? By some Western circles, the function of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is restricted to correct the doctrinal beliefs of the ummah and to teach them how to worship Allah. According to them, worldly affairs are not governed by the prophetic authority. Nevertheless, the authority of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is clearly established by the Holy Qur’an for all people and all times.
These worldly affairs include, in the view of those who would limit the scope of the Prophet’s authority, all the economic, social and political affairs which should be settled according to the expediency at each relevant time, and the Prophetic authority has no concern with them. Even if the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) gives some directions in these fields, he does so in his private capacity, and not as a Messenger. So, it is not necessary for the ummah to comply with such directions.
A report which is often misquoted to support the above-mentioned fallacious view is as follows from Imam Muslim: The blessed Companion Talha (radiallahu ‘anhu) says: “I passed along with the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) across some people who were on the tips of the palm-trees. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) asked, What are they doing? Some people said, “They are fecundating the tree. They insert the male into the female and the tree stands fecundated”. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, I do not think it will be of any use.
The people were informed about what the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said. So, they stopped this operation. Then the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was informed about their withdrawal. On this, the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) says, If it is in fact useful to them, let them do it, because I had only made a guess. So, do not cling to me in my guess. But when I tell you something on behalf of Allah, take it firm, because I shall never tell a lie on behalf of Allah. Further, According to Anas (radiallahu ‘anhu), the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has also said on this occasion, You know more about your worldly affairs.
If the ummah was to take the above-mentioned hadith literally, Islam, like some other religions would only be restricted to doctrines and rituals, and having no concern with the day-to-day affairs of the human life. Once one has observed the prescribed doctrines and rituals, he is free to run his life in whatever way he likes, not hindered in any manner by the divine imperatives. However, it is an established fact that Islam, unlike some other religions which can coincide and co-exist with the secular concept of life, is not merely a set of doctrines and rituals. Islam is a complete way of life which deals with the political, economics and social problems as well as the theological issues. Allah states in the Holy Qur’an: O those who believe, respond to the call of Allah and His Messenger when he calls you for what gives you life (8:24).
There are vast fields in our day-to-day worldly affairs which are not directly commented upon by the Qur’an and Sunnah, where people have been allowed to proceed according to their needs and expedience on the basis of their knowledge and experience. However, for these worldly affairs that are not directly addressed by the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Muslim must align his decision with existing principles laid down by both, to ensure that they are guided Islamically in the performance of that affair, and most importantly, avoiding the major sin of committing shirk.
For, if Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) are to call people towards life, the affairs of life must totally be within the jurisdiction of Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). Otherwise, vital branches of human life will always fall prey to satanic desires leading the people toward disaster.
Furthermore, none who has studied the Qur’an can endorse that its teachings are limited to worship and rituals only. There are specific injunctions in the Qur’an about sales, purchase loans, mortgages, partnership, penal laws, inheritance, matrimonial relations, political, social and family affairs, problems of war and peace and other aspects of worldly relations. Likewise, the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) also deals with the economic, social, political and legal problems in such details that voluminous books have been written to compile them. The injunctions of the Qur’an and the Sunnah in this field (worldly affairs) are so absolute, imperative, and of mandatory nature that they cannot be imagined to be personal advises lacking any legal (divine) reference.
Finally, there are numerous verses from the Qur’an which enjoin the obedience of Allah and the authority of the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) upon the believers, in particular Chapter 4 Aayat 65 which says: But no, by your Lord! They could not be believers, until they make you (Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions, but accept them fully with submission. Hence, to accept the fallacy that the Prophet’s (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) authority does not encompass worldly affairs, is to denounce the second source of Islamic Law, the Sunnah. This authority of the Sunnah is based on the revelation the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) received from Allah. This obedience to the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has nowhere been limited to some particular field. It is an all-embracing obedience which requires total submission from the believers, having no exception whatsoever, neither by limiting its tenure, nor by exempting the worldly affairs from its scope.
[Compiled from The Authority of Sunnah, by Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani.]

Prayer is the life of the heart
The state of a person in prayer depends on his righteousness and conduct. The more he perfects his prayer, the better his conditions and conduct are and vice versa.
One may wonder: How?
The prayer is a way of life; it is the highest level of servitude to Allah, the Exalted.
Observing khushoo’ (i.e. the state of the heart when it stands before its Lord in full submission, humility and absolute concentration) in the prayer is the reason for attaining success in this worldly life and in the Hereafter as well. Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their prayer with all solemnity and full submissiveness} [Qur’an 23:1-2] The Prophet, sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), said: “Prayer is the best deed, so whoever could pray more, let him do so.” [Ahmad, At-Tabarani; Al-Albani: authentic] He, sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, also said: “... prayer is a light…” [Muslim] Prayer is a light for the slave in this worldly life and the Hereafter.
Let us have a quick glance at the meanings of the prayer.
When the praying person stands before his Lord with an attentive, submissive, pure heart, directing it towards his Lord, and recites takbeer (i.e. saying ‘Allahu Akbar’: Allah is the Greatest) to start the prayer; he is proclaiming that Allah, the Exalted, is greater than anyone and anything else. Then, he commences his prayer and seeks the forgiveness from Allah, the Exalted, by saying the istiftaah (the opening supplication of the prayer) supplication which reads: “Allahumma, ba‘id bayni wa bayna khatayaya kama ba‘adta bayna al-mashriqi wa al-maghrib. Allahumma, naqqini min khatayaya kama yunaqqa ath-thawbu al-abyadhu min ad-danas. Allahumma, ighsilni min khatayaya bil-ma’i wa ath-thalji wa al-barad.” (O Allah, set me apart from my sins (faults) as the East and the West are set apart from each other, and clean me from sins as a white garment is cleaned of dirt (after thorough washing). O Allah, wash off my sins with water, snow and hail.) [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
If one fully comprehends what this means, will he then commit a sin deliberately or insist on it?
Then, the praying person seeks refuge with Allah, the Exalted, from the devil and recites Al-Fatihah, which is known as Umm Al-Kitab (i.e. The Mother of the Book), because it combines all the meanings of faith and tawheed (i.e. Islamic monotheism) from praising, expressing gratefulness, glorifying, worshipping and relaying on Him Alone, acknowledging the Day of Judgment and that Allah is its Master, along with asking his Lord for guidance and nothing except it. Guidance here refers to the guidance to the path of the prophets and the believers. Then, the praying person asks Allah, the Exalted, to shield him against the path of those who have incurred [His] anger and of those who are astray, meaning the Jews and Christians and those who are similar to them.
After reciting Al-Fatihah, the praying person says takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar) and performs rukoo‘ (i.e. bowing) before his Lord, saying: “Subhana Rabbi Al-‘Atheem.” (how Perfect my Lord is, the Great!). When the praying person understands the meaning of this glorification of Allah, the Exalted, this bowing, this physical submission before his Lord, and this veneration with the tongue; should he not know that his Great Lord loves His slave to be submissive to Him in all matters? Would he not know that his Lord Wants him not to favour his personal desires (preferences), opinions, and reason over that which He Has Legislated for His slaves?
How strange the case is of someone who performs the prayer (as described above), and then after that he approves legislations other than that ordained by Allah and shows keenness on going against His commands! Such a person did not perform the prayer as due.
Reflect on the condition of someone who is raising his head from rukoo‘ and is praising and glorifying Allah, the Exalted, saying: “Sami‘a Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana wa laka al-hamd, mil’ as-samawati wa mil’ al-ardh wa mil’ ma shi’ta min shay’in ba‘d. Ahla ath-thana’i wal-majd la mani‘a lima a‘tayt wa la mu‘tya lima mana‘t wa la yanfa‘u thal-jaddi minka al-jadd” (Allah, the Exalted, hears the one who praises Him; Our Lord, to You be the praise, filling the heavens, filling the Earth, and filling whatever else You may will, Lord of Glory and Majesty.
None can withhold what You grant, and none can grant what You withhold, nor can the wealth of a wealthy benefit him before You.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Then, the praying person prostrates himself before his Lord. What a great and honorable position it is as the praying person places his forehead on the ground, showing submission, humility, and poverty to his Lord, saying, “Subhana Rabbi Al-A‘la.” (How perfect is my Lord, the Most High!) If the Muslim was offered heaps of money to prostrate himself before other than Allah, the Exalted, he would never accept it. Prostration serves as a spiritual remedy for the human self from arrogance, blameworthy sense of pride, and haughtiness. Thus, the praying person learns to adhere to humility and submission to Allah, the Exalted, which entails modesty and treating others with kindness.
Then, the praying person testifies that Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is the Messenger of Allah, asks his Lord to bestow His blessings and mercy upon him in the prayer. Such marvelous meanings in the prayer serve as a deterring factor for the person from committing vices and sins. Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {… and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater…} [Qur’an 29:45]
The more the praying person fails to understand the meaning of all of this, the less his prayers would prevent him from committing vices and sins. Thus, we come to realise that the deficiency is in the worshipper’s performance and his understanding of the prayer and not in the prayer itself.
In conclusion, we come to know that the prayer includes the following:
Perfect servitude to Allah, the Exalted.
Praising Allah, the Exalted, with His Names and Attributes.
Disassociation from disbelief and disbelievers.
Acknowledgment of sins.
Reliance on Allah, the Exalted, and humility.
Proclamation that there is no power and strength save by Allah.
Compliance with the guidance of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam.
Submission, obedience, surrender, and humility to Allah Almighty.
Testifying that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is the Messenger of Allah.
Is this not a way of life for a Muslim, knowing that his Lord and God is the Creator of the universe and the Disposer of all affairs?
If the person understands the meaning of all of this in his prayer; he will finish the prayer as a different (better) person with brighter inner light. He will renew his submission to his Lord and will never dare to violate or reject the Divine Revelation, be it through negation, plainly going against the Divine Commands, or distortion. Prayer is a way of life that aims to rectify the person ideologically, spiritually, behaviorally, morally, and systematically.
We ask Allah, the Exalted, to make us among those who constantly establish the prayer.
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/

Prayer: A cry of the inner soul
By Sameh Strauch

After a long and hectic day at work, how difficult it is for a tired person to go out to the mosque and concentrate on his prayers to Allah, the Almighty. Snuggled up in a warm and cozy bed, how difficult it is to get up at the call of the Muezzin: “Come to prayer! Come to success!”
The famous doctor and philosopher, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), recalls such a moment in his life. One cold and icy night, he and his slave were resting at an inn in a remote part of Khuraasaan. During the night, he felt thirsty, so he called to his slave to bring him some water. The slave had no desire to leave his warm bed, so he pretended not to hear Ibn Sina’s call. But finally, after repeated calls, he reluctantly got up and went to fetch the water. A little while later, the melodious sound of the azaan (call to prayer) filled the air.
Ibn Sina began to think about the person calling the people to prayer. “My slave, ‘Abdullaah, he mused, has always respected me and admired me. He seizes any opportunity to lavish praise and affection on me, but tonight he preferred his own comfort to my needs. On the other hand, look at this Persian slave of Allah: He left his warm bed to go out into the chilly night, he made ablution in the icy water of the stream, and then he ascended the high minaret of the mosque to glorify Him Whom he truly serves: ‘I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’”
Ibn Sina records: “I learned the essence of true love, that love which results in complete obedience.” The love of Allah demands total and unconditional obedience. Allah, the Almighty says: { Say [oh, Muhammad!]: “If you love Allah, follow me: Allah will forgive you your sins, for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful } (Surah 3:31)
His arrogance and pride have often led man to behave as an oppressor and a tyrant. Some men have been carried away by their own self-importance that they have even claimed divinity. Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, was among those who announced: “I am your supreme Lord!” With his sense of greatness and pride, Pharaoh subjugated the Israelites and made their lives wretched and miserable.
But is man really as strong and great as his ego tells him? The Qur’an tells us the reality of man’s nature: { It is Allah Who created you in a state of weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength, gave you weakness and a hoary head: He creates what He wills, and He is the All-knowing, the All-powerful } (Surah 30:54)
Weakness in the beginning and weakness in the end: This is the essence of man. He is so weak and helpless at birth that his entire existence depends on his parents and his family. If he were to be abandoned in these first crucial years, he could not survive on his own. He needs a gentle and loving hand, not only in his infancy, but in his childhood and even in his teenage years.
As this child enters the years of youth and independence, he begins to take control of his own life. He looks with pride at his strong physique, his handsome features and his many talents. He begins to despise those of lesser abilities, even scorning his parents, who exhausted their own health to nurture him. He becomes unjust and cruel, using his strength and vigour to dominate others. He thinks he is master, free to act as he wills. But does this youth, these good looks last forever? In only a few decades, he begins to lose his strength...his youth is replaced by old age. Weakness in the beginning, weakness in the end.”
The message is clear: The real Master is Allah. He Alone is Mighty, He Alone, is Great. He Alone is never tired, never needs rest, is never dependent upon anyone. Allahu Akbar! – Allah is the Greatest! In our everyday lives, we say a warm thank you for the small acts of kindness which others do for us. So what about thanking Allah, Who, in His infinite Mercy, has provided for every single one of our needs. Just observe the beauty and perfection of the earth around you and fall down in gratitude to your Lord.
Prayer: The Ascension for a Believer
After the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was commissioned for Prophethood, the first thing he was commanded to do by Allah was to pray. The angel Jibreel came to him and a spring of water gushed out of the rocks in front of them. Jibreel then showed Allah’s Messenger how to make ablution. He then showed him how to offer prayers to Allah. He began to pray two rak’ah twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. He then went home and showed his wife Khadeejah what he had learnt from the angel Jibreel.
From that time, the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) never went through a day without praying. Just before his migration to Madinah, he was taken on a night journey to Jerusalem and then to the heavens (Mi’raaj). During this journey, Allah, Almighty, ordered him to pray five times a day. This prayer was a gift given to every Believer to enable him to experience a spiritual ascension five times a day. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “The prayer is the Mi’raaj of the Believer.” It gives every Muslim the chance to communicate with his Lord. During each prayer, the Muslim recites Surah Al-Faatihah: This recitation is not a dull monologue by the Believer, but Allah promises that it is a conversation between Him and the worshipper.
The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) reported that Allah, the Almighty says: ‘When my slave says in his prayer: “All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds,” I say: “My slave has praised Me” When he says: “The Merciful, the Compassionate, Master of the Day of Judgment,” I say: “My slave has glorified Me.” When he says: “You Alone we worship and your Aid we seek,” I say: “This is between Me and My slave.” When he says: “Show us the Straight Path,” I say: “This is for My slave, and I give My slave what he wants.”
The Messenger of Allah once said: “Prayer is the pillar of religion.” (Narrated by Al-Baihaqi) He also informed us that Islam is built upon five pillars, the second being to establish prayer five times a day. (Narrated by Al-Bukhari) This makes the image very clear: Islam is like a building supported by five columns; remove just one column and the entire building weakens. In the same way, when a person stops praying, his faith becomes weak, and the mildest blows can cause it to crumble. The prayer is so very important that the Prophet said: “Verily, between man and polytheism and disbelief is abandoning prayer.” (Narrated by Muslim)
Allah says, concerning the plight of the disbelievers on the Day of Judgment, that they will be asked by the Believers: {“What led you into the Hell-fire?” They will say: “We were not of those who prayed.”} (Surah 74:42-43). Allah also says: {Successful indeed are the Believers, those who humble themselves in their prayers } (Surah 23:1-2), and: {And those who guard [strictly] their worship, such will be the honoured ones in the Gardens [of Bliss] } (Surah 70: 34-35).
Allah has emphasised the need for humility and concentration in prayers. There is no doubt that Satan is the most bitter enemy of man; he always tries to disturb the Believer’s prayers. He (the worshipper) finds his mind suddenly engulfed with memories, problems, worries, work and his family... and he will often find himself wondering whether he has prayed three rak’ah or four. This is how Satan steals the prayer. Man was created only to worship Allah. He says: {I created not the jinns and mankind except to worship me} (Surah 51:56). Man is to live in this world as a worshipper of Allah and prayer is the best form of worship. On the Day of Judgment, man will have to answer for his deeds. Allah says: {Then shall you be questioned about the joy [you indulged in]} (Surah 102:8)
(Abridged from: Why Do We Pray? by Dr Suhaib Hasan)



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