Commandments of the Messenger (SAWS)







By his Eminence Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt

Abu-Hurairah (RA)[1] said, “The Messengers (SAWS)[2] said, ‘He who alleviates the suffering of a brother out of the affliction of the world, Allah would alleviate his suffering from the sufferings of the Day of Resurrection.  He who finds relief for one who is hard pressed, Allah would make things easy for him in the Hereafter.  He who conceals (the faults) of a Muslim, Allah would conceal his faults in this world and in the Hereafter.  Allah Is at the back of a servant so long as the servant is at the back of his brother.  He who treads the path in search of knowledge, Allah would make that path easy, leading to Paradise for him.  Those persons who assemble in a house of Allah (a mosque), recite the Book of Allah, and they learn and teach the Qur’an (among themselves), tranquility would descend upon them, mercy would cover them, the angels would surround them, and Allah makes a mention of them in the presence of those near Him.  He who is slow-paced in doing good deeds, his (high) descent does not make him go ahead.’ (Reported by Muslim).

In this noble hadith, the Messenger (SAWS) has collected seven precious commandments, which are considered the main pillars of the Muslim community that help it in its crises and urge the strengthening of the bonds of mercy and cordiality among its members.

The first commandment urges the alleviation of sufferings of people.  The Messenger (SAWS) put it in a way that shows the great thawab (reward) of such an act.  He mentioned it as a singular, and made it the base of judgment.  Yet, we have to bear in mind the huge difference between the sufferings of the worldly life and those of the Day of Judgment.  He did not restrict it to a certain time, so as to urge doing it in all time.  He used the verb ‘naffassa’, which is the same root of ‘nafs’ (self) in order to assure the self relief that one feels when their sufferings are being relieved.  He showed us that the thawb is directly from Allah, where there is neither mediator nor veil.  This all is concentrated in the first command, which is a collective and absolute that is valid in all time and place.

In the second commandment, he (SAWS) handled another type of relieving the sufferings.  He put in a single command so as to highlight it and emphasize its importance and great thawab.  The debtor is in continuous distress.  The Messenger (SAWS) used to supplicate Allah by saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from disbelief, poverty, and torture in the grave.”  He sought Allah’s refuge from poverty as it is an affliction.  He coupled it with disbelief and poverty because of its striking impact on the believer.  Moreover, Islam has set a share in zakah (alms) for the insolvent, thus, emphasizing the importance of reliving the suffering of Muslims in the hard times.  Alleviating the insolvent in some cases is obligatory and recommended in other cases.  It is obligatory to grant the insolvent a respite, which means deferring the payment of the debt until they are in time of ease.  Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “And in case any person is under difficulty, then he should (be granted) a respite to (the time of) ease…”  (TMQ, 2:280).  As for the recommended, it is recommended to drop the debt.  What is amazing about this branch of fiqh, is that the recommended is more in reward than the obligatory.  This is different from the case of most of fiqh branches, in which the obligatory is more in reward than the recommended except for four branches this is one of them.  The second branch is to be the first to say ‘salam’, which is sunnah.  Yet its reward is more than greeting back, which is obligatory.  The third branch is getting purified before the time of prayer.  The forth branch is male circumcision before their puberty.

The third commandment orders us to cover up people’s faults or conceal them, which is the opposite of scandal.  Religion is based on concealing faults.  Many people in our time, however, call for the so-called ‘transparency’.  This word has a good meaning and a bad one as well.  The bad meaning is to call people to take obscenity, bad talking, and morals too lightly, under the pretext of transparency.  The good meaning of transparency, however, is honesty not scandal.  Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Surely the ones who love that (the) obscenity should be widespread among the ones who have believed, (they) will have a painful torment in the present (life) (Literally: the lowly “life”, i.e., the life of this world) and the Hereafter; and Allah knows, and you do not know.” (TMQ: 24:19)

It is a fact that Allah aids His slave for as long the slave aids their brother/sister.  This is a commandment that implies how the heart of a Muslim has room for the worlds.  It also implies that he is always ready to cooperate in righteousness and piety, and not in sin and aggression.  The more a Muslim aids their brother/sister, the more they feel the support of Allah (SWT).

The fifth commandment tells us that all kinds of striving in the path of knowledge is a strive in the path of paradise itself.  Such eloquence we rarely find in the speeches of ordinary people.  It is only in the master of all Arabs and all Messengers, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).  Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Say, “Are the ones who know equal to the ones who do not know?”  (TMQ, 39:9).  He also shows that knowledge is infinite, so He says, “and say, “Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”  (TMQ, 20:114).  He tells us that a researcher and a scholar should keep on learning for as long as they live, so He says,  “and above every (man) owning knowledge is One Who is Ever-Knowing.” (TMQ, 12: 76).  This knowledge would eventually lead to being apprehensive of Allah, so He says, “Surely only the ones of His bondmen who are apprehensive of Allah are the knowledgeable. (i.e. learned ones)” (TMQ, 35:28).

The sixth commandment tells us that the mosque should be one of the most important institutes in the society. It is in mosques where we learn that caring for the human being advances everything else, even the mosques itself.  In mosques, we learn the keys of good, like knowledge, remembrance of Allah, and thinking.

The seventh commandment shows the standard according to which we should accept things or reject.  It is equality rather than ancestry or lineage.

This is the community the Messenger (SAWS) wanted for us to live in.  However, our community, nowadays, suffers form such failures that most complain about, and ask for getting back to how we used to be in the past, for the strength of nations springs from the strength of communities.

At the end, it Is only Allah that we seek

Al-Aharm Newspaper 21 Nov, 09

[1] Radya Allah anhu/anha [May Allah be pleased with him/her].

[2]Salla Allah alayhe Wa Salam [All Prayers and Peace of Allah be upon him]

Usul al-Fiqh (3-3) by Imam Ali Jumaa- Translated

Usul al-Fiqh (1-3) by Imam Ali Jumaa- Translated

Obama’s Speech and the Necessity of the Scientific Methodology

Dr. Ali Jum'aa- 2

 I listened to the well-prepared speech of the US President Barack Obama in Cairo University last Thursday.  In fact, it is a good start of the mutual relationships between the Muslim World and the United States.  In his speech, President Obama referred to civilization’s debt to Islam, which carried the light of knowledge and learning throughout centuries. 

In his speech, he reminds us of the speech Prince Charles delivered in Oxford in 1992, as it had the same spirit.

Now, as everyone is anticipating, it is time for the beginning of real work, I would like to suggest some practical plans for this cooperation, in which the Muslim World along with the US and the whole world would begin the establishment of the human civilization in a better way and based on justice. 

1-     After President Obama has confirmed the removal of US troops from Iraq and the closing of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay by the beginning of next year, I think a plan should be set forward regarding Afghanistan too, although growing complexity of the situation over there.  After all, colonization would not bring anyone any good.

2-     We do not want the relationships between the United States and Israel to break.   Yet we want the establishment of peace upon justice in order to protect the Palestinian people from the woes they have been going through during the last sixty years.  Muslims are quite ready to turn a new leaf in order to overcome the past, especially if we find true efforts exerted in reality, efforts that have positive effects on the daily life of the Palestinians who have been denied the essentials of decent life.  First and for most, a Palestinian state must be established, in which the three religions could be practiced.  Moreover, expatriates should also return to their homeland.  All these issues are possible to attain, only if the Israeli administration would respond to the wish of the whole world that just peace should prevail in order to reach a settlement for the world and seek a new beginning.

3-     A group of Muslims undertook the revision of some of the Western curricula that portrayed Muslims badly.  The bad image those curricula had created, affected whole generations, resulting in this vicious circle of exchanged hatred.  These revisions showed explicitly in the efforts exerted by professor Abdul-Jawad Flatori, who published his work in an eight-volume study in the University of Kuln in Germany.  The study, which was published in German language, started in 1985 until 1996.  According to such respectful scientific work that is produced by one of the most remarkable universities in Western Europe, we should call upon the United States and the West to rectify education curricula.  It should return to the image that has been proved with the scientific evidence by professor Flatori, his wife, and his team.  The distorted image is widely spread and prevailed in the Western and American education curricula as well.  We are quite sure that the West has no objections regarding such rectification, as long as it is a scientific one, aiming to remove the hateful fanaticism adopted by some extremists.  In early 1990s, some research centers in the United States undertook this task, though only partially, especially in history textbooks.

4-     Ahead of us is also the issue of the international Muslim authority, which is a very significant issue.  The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) can undertake such task.  Especially when it has an organ such as the Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence) Academy in Jeddah, which in itself is a remarkable international Islamic institution that represents the whole Muslim world.  With the scientific cooperation of some international institutions such as al-Azhar and the Islamic Research Academy, the OIC could undertake such a role very well.  President Obama has even referred to the OIC and its cooperative role in the eradication of polio. 

      The international Muslim authority, unanimously, agreed on the renunciation of violence, taking the road of moderation, respecting difference of madhhab (juristic schools of thought), acknowledging dialogue, peaceful coexistence and developmental issues.

5-     I call all Muslims to embark on a course of action to discard nuclear weapons all over the world.  It is unacceptable for a nation to have a whole arsenal, by which it could destroy the whole Earth, while there is no deterrent power to prevent using such mass destruction weapons, which are prohibited by all religions and denounced by the reasonable.  From now on, we should focus on putting an end to the possession of nuclear weapons.  We all should work cooperatively to make this wish come true, especially after President Obama has expressed it plainly.  By this, we can change the face of Earth.

6-     President Obama indicated that Muslim communities, since ancient times, have proved they are capable of being at the forefront of innovation and education.  Accordingly, I wish we could activate research even more.  He has pointed out that there has been no developmental strategy that could depend solely on wealth.  Rather, innovation and education are more important.  Here I, once again, affirm the importance of the scientific scholarships.  We need to resuscitate scientific scholarships back as they were in days of yore, making them more frequent and prevalent than their case today.  It has to be both ways; from the Muslim world to the West and vice versa. In fact, we have things that humanity urgently needs.  Putting this point in details might need larger space, yet, from my point of view I can bit on it.

7-     The US aid, that has been allocated for development in Africa, Middle East, and Southeast Asia, has been a good idea.  We even think that it has been lagged for a while.  Therefore, we should encourage it and work perseveringly on sustaining it.  Here in Egypt, we started to push forth and encourage civil work, not only for the sake of doing good, but also for the developmental purposes in the fields of health, education, scientific research, social interdependence, and different aspects of life, such as art, literature, and sports.  This is because our religion believes in construction and prohibits destruction. So all praises and thanks belong to Allah, who has ordained us to be Muslims. 

al-Aharm Newspaper

8 June, 2009

This is my humble effort to translate some of Sheikh Ali Jum’aa’s articles.  It is a try to make the world acknowledge the real value of one our most knowledgeable Muslim scholars, who took upon himself to deliver this religion to others in a remarkable way. marmad

Original article in Arabic here