Mawlid: Celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday

Abdullah bin Hisham narrates: ‘We were with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and he was holding the hand of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. ‘Umar said to Him, “O Allah’s Messenger! You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” The Prophet said, “No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self.” Then ‘Umar said to him, “However, now, by Allah, you are dearer to me than my own self.” The Prophet said, “Now, O ‘Umar, (now you are a believer) (Bukhari, Hadith 628.)

The companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) loved their Prophet in the truest meaning of the word ‘love’. And what better way to describe the truest sense of love than the verse; ‘say, if you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you.’ In this verse, we have a criterion for judging love, that is, if you love some one, you will try to follow all his commands to the best you can. It is no wonder then, that Allah praised the companions of the Prophet at various places throughout the Quran commenting on their belief, their love, and their following of the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

The companions were the one whose knees shook and heart trembled upon the hearing of demise of their Prophet (Peace be upon him). They are the ones who adhered to his Sunnah so much so that if the Prophet (Peace be upon him) stopped at a particular place during their journey, then they would also want to stop at the same place, and if the Prophet (Peace be upon him) placed his foot on a certain place during tawaf, then they will also try to do likewise. Such were the followers of Muhammad, and they were truly followers and not innovators.

They understood what it means to love the Prophet and how they knew how to express that love in a meaningful and appropriate way. They knew the teachings of Islam and how to implement them under the guiding light of the Prophet. They are the ones whom the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was satisfied with and whom he left responsible for spreading the message of this deen.

After them came a people who introduced new matters into the religion of Allah based upon their logic or upon what influenced them from the non-Muslims societies. Among such innovations is the innovation of celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). This is a clear innovation because our salaf[1] were unaware of any such deed that we now so proudly claim to be a part of Islam.

Each and every one of the companions was happy about the birth of their Prophet and they celebrated this blessing not on a particular day but rather throughout their lives in the form of obedience to his each and every command. That is the true acceptance of his message and that is the truest form of love that you can express. We do not have a single narration that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) celebrated his birthday or ordered for such to happen. Consequently, we do not have a single example where any of the companions, or the righteous scholars that followed them celebrated such an event.

On the other hand, we have authentic narrations that mention only 2 forms of (Eid) celebrations in a year for any Muslim; Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. For both these times we have detailed explanation of how the Prophet (Peace be upon him) spent his day and night in Worship and enjoyment. This third eid; Eid Milad-un-Nabi, is an innovation that was unknown at the time of the Prophet and the roots of which can be traced back to Fourth Hijri in Cairo by the Fatimi State (Shia sect) who used to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet, Ali, Fatima, Hassan Hussain and their present monarch.

The mawlid[2] is most commonly celebrated on the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal whereas the scholars differ greatly upon the exact date of birth of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). All agree that he was born in the year of elephant (when Abraha attacked Makkah) and that he was born on a Monday[3] but when it comes to the day of the month, there are a lot of different opinions and none of them can be fully confirmed. However, one thing is for sure, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed away on the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal at the age of 63. That was a catastrophic day for the companions and the ummah and it makes no sense for us to celebrate a day in which the ummah suffered an irrevocable loss.

Many of those who celebrate the mawlid present different verses from the Quran[4] while playing with its meaning or interpretation as a means of justifying their actions. Do these people not realize that if the order of celebrating mawlid was in the Quran and/or the Sunnah then the prophet (Peace be upon him) would also have done it and shown us (his ummah) how to do it properly? Did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) not know the interpretation of the Quran like you now know? And we seek refuge with Allah from saying that. The truth is, no matter how many unauthentic ahadith are presented, and no matter how many wrong interpretations are offered, if the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions did not celebrate mawlid and did not consider it as a religious duty or a form of expression of love, then we are in no position to do so.

Also know that all the actions that we do in our lives can be categorized under one of the five categories. Either it is Fard (obligatory), or Haram (prohibited), or Sunnah (practice of the Prophet), or Makruh (disliked), or Mubah (no reward no punishment). Every action must fall into one of these mentioned categories. In regards to Mawlid we see that it is not fard or sunnah otherwise we would have found the example of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions. Then we are left with Makruh, Mubah and Haram. In the celebrating of Mawlid there is a clear resemblance with mushrikeen[5] and kuffar, and this resemblance (especially in religion) is absolutely haram. Also, celebrating the mawlid is a newly invented matter in the religion and all newly invented matters in the religion are haram and lead to hell fire.

Loving the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is a criteria of Eman because Allah says, “Say (O Beloved Prophet): If your fathers, and your sons, and your brothers, and your wives, and your kinsfolk, and the wealth you have acquired, and merchandise for which you fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings you desire, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and fighting in His Way: then wait till Allah brings His Command to pass, and Allah does not guide the disobedient people. (Quran 9:24). But this love should be expressed as the companions expressed it. They did not hold celebrations of Mawlid but rather followed him they best they could in adversity and prosperity and in peace and war.

“O you who believe! Be in reverential awe of Allah and believe in His Messenger. He (Allah) will give you twofold of His Mercy and will appoint for you a light wherein you shall walk, and will forgive you, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (57:28)

“And it befits not a believing (Muslim) man or a believing (Muslim) woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter (for them), that they should (after that) claim any choice in their matter; and whoso disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has surely gone astray in manifest error.” (33:36)

 

 


[1] Predecessors. The first three generations of Islam. Companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)

[2] Birthday of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)

[3] Abu Qatada al-Ansari narrates in Sahih Muslim, Kitab as-siyam, that the Prophet was asked about the fast of Monday, and he answered: “That is the day that I was born and that is the day I received the prophecy.”

[4] “Indeed Allah conferred a great favor on the believers when He sent in them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them his Verses, and purifying them, and teaching them the Book (Quran) and wisdom (Sunnah),  while before that they had been in a manifest corruption.” (3:164). And Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy: therein [alone] let them rejoice. It is better than what they hoard” (10:58)

[5] Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25th December

 

Glimpses of Perfection

Allah is the one who creates and then He chooses from amongst His creation. So He created the earth and chose the location of Kaba to be the most sacred. And He created the months and chose Ramadan to be the most blessed. And He created mankind and chose Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as the pinnacle of humanity. And he created the ummah and chose the companions of his messenger (Peace be upon him) to be the best amongst it.

In the lives of companions we see the clearest reflection of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) they followed. In their submission we find the elevation of mankind, and in their actions we find the tafasir of the Quran. Their speech and action portray a deep understanding of faith, and their examples serve as the benchmark for the whole humanity. They were human beings like us, yet their resolution, sincerity and perseverance in Islam allowed them to overcome obstacles to faith and acquire such a level of piety that Allah praised them through the tongue of his blessed and honorable Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

“Do not revile my companions. By (Allah) in Whose Hand my soul is!, if any one of you spends gold (piled up) like (mount) ‘Uhud it will not equal a pint of any one of them, nor its half.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari, & Muslim)

It is no secret that the times of tribulation reveal the true nature of the hearts. It is also no secret that our lives, wealth, and family are amongst the dearest things to our souls and thus the hardest obstacles to overcome on the path to faith. Glancing into the lives of the companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), we are able to witness their courage, honor, and valor as they proved their worth in front of their Lord. In their words, actions, lives, and deaths, there are glimpses of perfect faith for every Muslim to aspire and follow.

They are the sabiqoon that Allah praises in the verse “And those foremost (in faith) will be Foremost (in the Hereafter)[1]”And they are the believers whom Allah promised His pleasure in the verse, “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. Thou (O Muhammad) seest them bowing and falling prostrate (in worship), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) acceptance. […] Allah hath promised, unto such of them as believe and do good works, forgiveness and immense reward.”[2] And they are the ones who have honored their promise to Allah “Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant which they made with Allah: so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed in the least.”[3] And they are the ones for whom the Quran was truly a healing and mercy, “We send down in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe:”[4]

Verily for men and women of such standing, this world becomes a subservient slave. All the matters of this world are put under their control as they have put themselves under the control of their Lord. It is no wonder then that we find in our history bright examples of obedience and in that obedience, the glimpses of perfection of eman.

If such men recited Quran on a person, that person would be healed.[5] If they were to order inanimate objects in regards to something, their order will be obeyed.[6] Their prayer, in itself, would be enough to inspire the light of Islam in the hearts of the non-Muslims, and their belief in the promise of Allah rendered all hardships and pains as the lightest of breeze. They were walking on the face of this earth but living in the hereafter, the sweetness of faith had overcome their sense, and as a result, their hearts had over flown with contentment.

Look at the following example of one such man; Abdullah ibn Hudhafah (May Allah be pleased with him).

“In the nineteenth year after the Hijrah, ‘Umar dispatched an army to fight against the Byzantines. In it was Abdullah ibn Hudhafah As-Sahmi. News of the Muslim force reached the Byzantine emperor, Heraclius. He had heard of their sincerity of faith, and their willingness to sacrifice their lives in the way of Allah and His Prophet. He gave orders to his men to bring to him any Muslim captives they might take alive.

Allah willed that Abdullah ibn Hudhafah should fall captive to the Byzantines and he was brought before the Emperor. The Emperor looked at Abdullah for a long time. Suddenly he said, “I shall make a proposal to you.” “What is it?” asked Abdullah. “I suggest that you become a Christian. If you do this, you will be set free and I shall grant you a safe refuge.” The prisoner’s reaction was furious: “Death is preferable to me a thousand times to what you ask me to do.” “I see that you are a bold man. However, if you respond positively to what I propose to you, I will give you a share in my authority and swear you in as my aide.” The prisoner, shackled in his chains, smiled and said, “By Allah, if you give me all that you possess and all that the Arabs have in exchange for giving up the religion of Muhammad, I shall not do so.” “Then I shall kill you.” “Do what you want,” answered Abdullah. The emperor then had him put on a cross and ordered his soldiers to throw spears at him, first near his hands and then near his feet, all the while telling him to accept Christianity or at least give up his religion. This he refused over and over again to do. The emperor then had him taken down from the wooden cross. He called for a great pot to be brought. This was filled with oil which was then heated under a fierce fire. He then had two other Muslim prisoners brought and had one of them thrown into the boiling oil. The prisoner’s flesh sizzled and soon his bones could be seen. The emperor turned to Abdullah and invited him to Christianity. This was the most terrible test that Abdullah had had to face up till now. But he remained firm and the emperor gave up trying. He then ordered that Abdullah too be thrown into the pot. As he was being taken away he began to shed tears. The emperor thought that he had at last been broken and had him brought back to him. He once more suggested that Abdullah become a Christian but to his astonishment, Abdullah refused. “Damn you! Why did you weep then?” shouted the emperor. “I cried,” said Abdullah, “because I said to myself ‘You will now be thrown into this pot and your soul will depart’. What I really desired then was to have as many souls as the number of hairs on my body and to have all of them thrown into this pot for the sake of Allah.” The tyrant then said, “Will you kiss my head? I will then set you free?” “And all the Muslim prisoners also?” asked Abdullah. This the emperor agreed to do and Abdullah said to himself, “One of the enemies of Allah! I shall kiss his head and he shall set me and all other Muslim prisoners free. There can be no blame on me for doing this.” He then went up to the emperor and kissed his forehead. All the Muslim prisoners were released and handed over to Abdullah. Abdullah ibn Hudhafah eventually came to ‘Umar ibn al Khattab and told him what had happened. ‘Umar was greatly pleased and when he looked at the prisoners he said, “Every Muslim has a duty to kiss the head of Abdullah ibn Khudhafah and I shall start.” Umar then got up and kissed the head of Abdullah ibn Hudhafah.” Source: “Companions of The Prophet”, Vol.1 by Abdul Wahid Hamid

Another companion of the Prophet (Peace be upon him); Khubaib Ibn Adiy (May Allah be pleased with him), left us with another shining example of the definition of Eman. This great companion was caught by the Mushrikeen of Makkah and hung on the cross. While on the cross his body was being pierced by spears and swords and he was then asked, “Would you not rather wish that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) be in your place while you are safe and sound with your family ?” Khubaib answered, “By God ! I would not like to be safe with my wife and children with the joys of the whole world while the Messenger of (Peace be upon him) is being hurt even with the prick of a thorn” Such was the firmness of the men surrounding the Prophet (Peace be upon him), such was their resolution, understanding, and love for their Prophet (Peace be upon him) and their faith.

They were the ones who, in their life and in their death, dedicated themselves to the propagation of Islam. An amazing hadith narrated in Bukhari (No. 2647) attests to this fact. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) sent some companions to give the message of Islam to a people, “…While one of them was conveying to them the message of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, they [the disbelievers] made a gesture to one of their men and he attacked him and stabbed him through. He [the companion] said, ‘Allah is greater! By the Lord of the Ka’ba, I have won!’ [and died]”.

A non-Muslim who was witnessing all this could not understand how a person who has been killed in such a way is saying such a statement out of happiness. That non-Muslim continued inquiring about this case until it led him to truth of Islam. It was then he realized that for a true Muslim, no joy is greater than the joy of dying upon Islam, and no death is more honorable than dying in the path of Allah.

These were the men who removed all obstacles to faith from their hearts, so their hearts became obedient to the words of Allah and his messenger. But as for us, we have erected countless barriers between our religion and our hearts. So, we recite the same Quran but it is not Shifa (cure) for our sick. And we perform the same Hajj but it is not an expiation of our sins. We make promises and then turn our backs, and we welcome with open hearts the comfort of this world while knowingly destroying any hopes of such in the hereafter. We know the truth, yet are content with lies. We know death is certain, yet treat it as doubtful. We call ourselves Muslims when we are far away from Islam. And we claim to love the messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), yet find it inconvenient to follow him in life and death.


[1] Quran 56:10

[2] Quran 48:29

[3] Quran 33:23

[4] Quran 17:82

[5] Narrated by Abu Said: Some of the companions of the Prophet went on a journey till they reached some of the ‘Arab tribes (at night). They asked the latter to treat them as their guests but they refused. The chief of that tribe was then bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and they tried their best to cure him but in vain. Some of them said (to the others), “Nothing has benefited him, will you go to the people who resided here at night, it may be that some of them might possess something (as treatment),” They went to the group of the companions (of the Prophet ) and said, “Our chief has been bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and we have tried everything but he has not benefitted. Have you got anything (useful)?” One of them replied, “Yes, by Allah! I can recite a ruqya, but as you have refused to accept us as your guests, I will not recite the ruqya for you unless you fix for us some wages for it.” They agrees to pay them a flock of sheep. One of them then went and recited (Suratul-Fatiha): ‘All the praises are for the Lord of the Worlds’ and puffed over the chief who became all right as if he was released from a chain, and got up and started walking, showing no signs of sickness. They paid them what they agreed to pay. Some of them (i.e. the companions) then suggested to divide their earnings among themselves, but the one who performed the recitation said, “Do not divide them till we go to the Prophet and narrate the whole story to him, and wait for his order.” So, they went to Allah’s Apostle and narrated the story. Allah’s Apostle asked, “How did you come to know that Surat-ul-Fatiha was recited as ruqya?” Then he added, “You have done the right thing. Divide (what you have earned) and assign a share for me as well.” The Prophet smiled thereupon.  (Book #36, Hadith #476)

[6] The Coptic Christians of Egypt used to sacrifice a girl in the name of the river Nile so that the river would not dry up. When the Muslims conquered Egypt, this practice was stopped, however that year, the river dried up. At that time, Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) sent the following letter addressed to the River itself. “From the servant of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) and Commander of the Muslims to the River of the Nile of Egypt. O Nile, if you flow of your own will, then do not flow. But if your flow is controlled by Allah, the Almighty, we pray to Him to keep you flowing.” The letter was thrown into the river bed, and since then the water has not dried up in the Nile river.

Fitness guide for muslims

fitness guide for muslimsNormally you will find a fitness guide written by a buffed up macho with eight-pack abs and deltoids the size of a football. Such guides will provide you with great details on what to eat, how to exercise, the timings, the conditions and a whole bunch of scientific observations for motivation and what not. Well, this is not your typical health guide and I am not your stereotypical nutritionist or fitness expert trying to make a buck from selling the latest fad. In fact, if you were to see me, you would probably say that I am in need of this guide the most (and I would agree).

The truth is, I have been obese for the vast majority of my life (even up till now). The only moments of real fitness I enjoyed were those, coincidentally, around my marriage years. Interestingly, those were also the years in which I started learning and practicing the teachings of Islam to the utmost of my capabilities. Coincidence? Not Really!

After you realize that Islam is a complete way of life, and also the last religion from Allah until the Day of Judgment, it is only expected that our Lord, in his absolute wisdom, will sent down guidelines for us to maintain and flourish our health in all the Big Mac soda pop sugar crunching eras that were to come between the Prophet and the last day. In reality, Islam has not only provided these guidelines, but also made it a reward worthy act to pursue good health and physical fitness.

Intention (to look good…in front of Allah)

Before starting of any action, it is imperative that we define, evaluate, and if necessary, correct our intention. Without a proper intention, our goals could be skewed, our efforts, worthless, and our time, wasted. From the treasure of ahadith, we find such narrations as;

“The strong believer is better and more loved by Allah than the weak one, but they are both good.” (Muslim)

In another hadith the Prophet made us realize the importance of good health by (Peace be upon him) saying:

“Grab five things before five others: your youth before your decrepitude, your health before your illness, your wealth before your poverty, your leisure before your work, and your life before your death.”
[Al-Mustadrak, Book No. 44, 4/341]

From the above narrations we find that strength in a believer is a praiseworthy act, and that, as Muslims, we are supposed to benefit from good health by amassing more good deeds. Hence our intention should be to please Allah through every morsel of food we eat, and every drop of sweat we break while following our fitness program. Since our intention is good and goal is superior to the typical goal of non-Muslims; ‘to look good naked’, we should be expecting blessings and help from Allah from the very start of our fitness regimen.

Secret pill of transformation

The next thing to realize is that there was no secret pill that made you fat and lazy overnight. Similarly, there is no secret pill, scientific breakthrough, or diet plan that will make you slim overnight. You gained weight pound by pound and increased your waist inch by inch. Similarly, and only naturally, you should expect to lose excess fat pound by pound and inch by inch. The sooner you realize this truth, the sooner you can mend your ways for the better life that awaits you. If you want to get into shape, you will need to work for it. In short, you will need to exert more energy than the calories you intake on daily basis, and you will need to do it regularly, and preferably until old age sets you apart. But here is a promise of Allah to get you motivated;

And that man can have nothing but what he strives for” (Surah Najm, Verse 39)

This means that if you strive for something, you are going to achieve it, given that you fulfill the conditions of striving. In other words, if you start working towards your fitness goal with sincerity and perseverance, you will definitely most surely achieve it. So, imagine yourself having achieved those goals and go grab those cleats lying in the dustiest part of your closet.

The natural (aka, common sense) plan to fitness

If you want to become fit, you will need to manage two things; food and exertion.

Eat right!

Islam does not ask you to go on a special diet eating proteins, wheat bread, egg whites, and Special K. It only asks you two things, (i) to eat of the good things, (ii) and to eat in moderation. Allah says in the Quran:

‘Eat of the good things which We have provided for you.’ (Quran 2:173)

‘O you who believe! Make not unlawful the good things Allah has made lawful to you. But commit no excess, for Allah does not like those given to excess. Eat of the things which Allah has provided you, lawful and good, but fear Allah, in whom you believe’ (4: 86-88).Healthy Lifestyle

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.”
Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 2380.

Control your calorie intake and make sure that the calories you do take are healthy. I am not asking you to stay hungry all the time, just take smaller portions so that at all times your stomach is according to the 1/3rd rule described by the Prophet (Peace be upon him). Also notice that Allah says in the verse to not make unlawful on yourself what Allah has made lawful for you. In other words, you don’t need to go on a fat free or carbs-only diet in the name of fitness. In fact, I found an interesting hadith where it seems that Allah punished the Jews by putting them on a truly fat-free system.

Narrated by Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “May Allah curse the Jews, because Allah made (use of) fat illegal for them but they sold it and ate its price. ”  (Bukhari Book #34, Hadith #427)

If your hunger is not satisfied while following the 1/3rd rule, then perhaps eating together would help in this regards. This is because in one of the ahadith it is narrated that some of the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) companions complained that they ate but were not satisfied. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “Perhaps you eat separately.” They said, “Yes.” He said, “If you gather together and mention Allah’s name, you will be blessed in it.” (Abu Dawud)

Common sense has it that a moderate amount of proteins, carbs, and fats make a comprehensive and healthy diet. The problem arises when we indulge in more than we should. In other words, as soon as loss our moderation, we lose the inherent blessing of the item we are consuming.

Fat consumption was a routine diet of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions (May Allay be pleased with them). They used to dip their bread in olive oil, and specifically save the fat of animals for journeys. Ibn’ Abbas narrates that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) drank milk, rinsed his mouth and said, “It has fat.”(Bukhari Book #4, Hadith #210).

Why were the companions (RA) and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) fit and healthy even after such deliberate use of fats in their diets? The answer lies with them having an active lifestyle and regular exercise. Which, unsurprisingly, is our next point of discussion.

Exercise!

You would not see a companion (May Allah be pleased with them) going for a jog around the block. Neither would you see them joining a gym (there were none reported in ahadith anyways), nevertheless you would definitely see them living an active lifestyle. They were farmers, laborers, traders, and soldiers; all positions which meant extensive physical exertion.

Times have changed a lot since the era of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) however our physiology remained the same. So, what worked for them will surely work for us as well. Plan and start an active lifestyle from today. Increase your physical activity, be it through working out in a gym, or walking in the park with your family, or doing house hold chores or any other thing which will make you exert some energy and perhaps break some sweat while doing so.

Prophet Muhammad, may Allah praise him, said, “Any action without the remembrance of Allah is either a diversion or heedlessness excepting four acts: Walking from target to target [during archery practice], training a horse, playing with one’s wife, and learning to swim.”[Tabarani]

From the Sunnah we find that the companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to run between the targets in order to stay more active. They used to learn horse riding, swimming, racing, target shooting, lifting weights (they used to pick up heavy stones), wrestling and other forms of recreational activities that involved the element of physical exertion. For them physical fitness was not a daily torture or boring chore but rather a source of enjoyment. The following beautiful hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is enough evidence for this point.
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Narrated Aisha, (May Allah be pleased with her): while she was on a journey along with the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him): I had a race with him (the Prophet) and I outstripped him on my feet. When I became fleshy, (again) I had a race with him (the Prophet) and he outstripped me. He said: This is for that outstripping.  (Book #14, Hadith #2572)

Foundations of success

There are some basic guidelines that, we as Muslims, should follow irrespective of whether we choose to follow a fitness plan or not. Following these guidelines in regards to a fitness plan will help us achieve our goals effectively and timely. One of those guidelines, or golden rule as I like to call them can be found in one of the ahadith narrated by our mother; Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her).

Narrated Aisha: Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah’s is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” (Sahih Bukhari 6056)

And another version in Bukhari states:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately. . .Always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course, whereby you will reach your target (of paradise).” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadith 470

Becoming physically fit with the proper intention is a good deed. We, as Muslims, are required to do a good deed properly. In this regards, it means that we are supposed to eat properly and workout properly. We are supposed to be sincere with our intention and purpose of achieving the goal. We are required to be moderate in all what we do and not overburden ourselves with hardships as “Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire difficulty for you.”(2:185) And finally we are required to be constant upon the good deed. Only if these qualities are combined in a Muslim can he truly aspire to be an ideal follower of the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

Another golden rule is that if you thank Allah for the blessings He has bestowed upon you, He will give you even more.

“And when your Lord proclaimed, “If you give thanks, I will give you more; but if you are thankless, lo!  My punishment is dire.” (Quran 14:7)

So thank Allah for whatever blessing you desire an increase of. If you desire an increase of fitness and good health, then start thanking Allah for the level of fitness, health and blessings that you are already enjoying. Allah will definitely bestow you with more. This is a promise from Him and a glad tiding of success.

Similarly, never underestimate the power of dua and the effects of proper tawakul. Early in your fitness regimen, you might want to give up because you are not getting results fast enough. If this happens then remind yourself that Allah rewards patience and effort, and that you must have trust in Him during your perseverance. And know that Allah is always listening to your duas and responding to them in the most appropriate manner.

Allah says in Surah Baqarah, verse 5: “And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones,”

And Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH), “The supplication of every one of you will be granted if he does not get impatient and say (for example): `I supplicated my Rubb but my prayer has not been granted’.” [Al-Bukhari]

The next golden rule is described in the Quran as follows:

“and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.”(Surah Talaq, Verse 4)

Based on the above ayat, Allah will make the path easy for you given that you fear him and have taqwa of him. This simple rule and promise of Allah can do wonders in your life (including your fitness plan) if implemented properly.

And finally it is no secret that the company of a man affects his personality, vision and actions. This is why the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “The example of a good and bad companion is that of a perfume seller and a blacksmith. The perfume seller either gives you the perfume or tries to sell it to you, or you will get a good smell from him; but in the blacksmith’s workshop you will either burn your clothes, or they’ll be blackened by soot.” (Sahih Muslim)

Surround yourself with scholars, students, or lovers of knowledge. The company of all of these is blessed and blessings will bring you happiness and success in this world and the next. If you are unable to find such company then why not opt for a virtual presence of these people? Instead of listening to music or watching any vain program, perhaps you could listen to Islamic lectures, stories of the prophets (Peace be upon them) or other beneficial topics while exercising. This mentality of Islamic multitasking will help you not only in fitness but also in rest of the matters in your life.

Last but not least, realize that the creation of the body in the hereafter will be different than the creation of body in this world. Realize that the body you have is a blessing and a trust from Allah, so take care of your trusts as much as you can. And finally, don’t let your blubber pull down your eman.


What happened to my gifts?

what happened to my giftsBirthday parties are among some of my earliest and sweetest memories of my childhood. It was not the cake (or the guests) that I cherished, but it was the act of receiving gifts, and the suspense at the time of opening them, that tingled my sense of delight and happiness. Usually the gifts included chocolates, toys, and video games (ahh! the joy). But if you had money (or clothes) to give me, then brace yourself for a fake smile, a broken heart, and a polite acceptance. In short, the overall experience of receiving gifts was awesome, and I never wanted it to end.

Then, Islam happened, and I realized that birthday parties are amongst many things in which we wrongly follow the non-Muslims. I gave up the ceremony and along with it the only major source of receiving (and giving) gifts. Yes, people give gifts on Eid but that is more of a dull tradition/obligation that everyone does without putting any real thought into the gift giving process (hence giving money is the most common gift at Eid).

The nostalgia of personalized, carefully selected, and delightful gifts struck me hard enough to go to the books of hadith and see what Islam had to say on this topic. And what I found was beautiful.

Narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If I were invited to a meal of a sheep’s foot I would accept, and if I were given a sheep’s foot as a gift, I would accept.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5178).
Narrated ‘Aisha: Allah’s Apostles used to accept gifts and used to give something in return. (Book #47, Hadith #758)

Narrated ‘Azra bin Thabit: Anas said: The Prophet used not to reject the gifts of perfume. (Sahih Bukhari, Book #47, Hadith #756)

The Prophet said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” [Al-Bukhari]

Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “O Muslim women, no woman should look down on a gift given by her neighbor, even if it is the meat from a sheep’s foot.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2566) and Muslim (1030).

Abdullah Ibn Masood (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Accept invitations, do not refuse gifts and do not beat the Muslims.” Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (1/404), It was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel (6/59).

Nu’man b. Bashir, reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) had said: Have you, besides him, other sons? He said: Yes. Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: Have you given gifts to all of them like this (as you have given to Nu’man)? He said: No. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: I cannot bear witness to an injustice. (Sahih Bukhari, Book #012, Hadith #3967)

Ibn ‘Amir reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) gave the gifts of goats to be distributed amongst his Companions. They sacrificed them, but a lamb of one year of age was left. (Someone) made a mention of that to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him), whereupon he said: You sacrifice it. (Shahih Bukhair, Book #022, Hadith #4838)

As evident from the above ahadith, giving and receiving gifts has a great status in Islam. Furthermore, we don’t need birthdays to give gifts; we are supposed to give gifts all year round, whenever we want, to whomever we want. Giving of gifts increases the love, is the sunnah of our Prophet (Peace be upon him), and is a sign of a healthy community. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to accept gifts irrespective of how humble the present was and used to give something in return.

After reading these ahadith a few things happened in the back of my mind. I am now hopeful again that my friends and family would start showering me with gifts after they read this article (by the way, I like electronics, books, and chocolates). And I am not going to undermine any gift (even if it is clothes or money) because Prophet (Peace be upon him) forbade us to do so. And oh! I will also attempt to give some gifts as it increases the brotherhood and love amongst the Muslims.

So, give gifts to each other O! my Muslim brothers & sisters and become closer to Allah through the sunnah of His Prophet (Peace be upon him).