Showing posts with label Lailatul Qadr. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lailatul Qadr. Show all posts

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Scholars' Viewpoint: How was the Quran Revealed in Ramadan?

The Qur'an and the month of Ramadan have much in common for it is during this month the Qur'an was revealed. We also know that the revelation period of Qur'an was spanned over a period of 23 years right from the revelation of the first verses of Surah Al Alaq in the Cave of Hira in Makkah till the very last verse. So, the question arises why it is said that the Qur'an was revealed in Ramadan?

Let us first see two references from Qur'an itself:

شَهۡرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِىۡٓ اُنۡزِلَ فِيۡهِ الۡقُرۡاٰنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَ بَيِّنٰتٍ مِّنَ الۡهُدٰى وَالۡفُرۡقَانِۚ فَمَنۡ شَهِدَ مِنۡكُمُ الشَّهۡرَ فَلۡيَـصُمۡهُ ؕ وَمَنۡ کَانَ مَرِيۡضًا اَوۡ عَلٰى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنۡ اَيَّامٍ اُخَرَؕ يُرِيۡدُ اللّٰهُ بِکُمُ الۡيُسۡرَ وَلَا يُرِيۡدُ بِکُمُ الۡعُسۡرَ وَلِتُکۡمِلُوا الۡعِدَّةَ وَلِتُکَبِّرُوا اللّٰهَ عَلٰى مَا هَدٰٮكُمۡ وَلَعَلَّکُمۡ تَشۡكُرُوۡنَ‏ 

During the month of Ramadan the Qur'an was sent down as a guidance to the people with Clear Signs of the true guidance and as the Criterion (between right and wrong). So those of you who live to see that month should fast it, and whoever is sick or on a journey should fast the same number of other days instead. Allah wants ease and not hardship for you so that you may complete the number of days required, magnify Allah for what He has guided you to, and give thanks to Him. (Surah 2 Al Baqarah: 185) 

And the second reference is Surah Al Qadr itself:

اِنَّاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنٰهُ فِىۡ لَيۡلَةِ الۡقَدۡرِ ۖ ۚ‏ 

Behold, We revealed this (Qur'an) on the Night of Power. (Surah 97 Al Qadr: 1) 

Here, it has been said: We sent it down (the Quran) in the Night of Destiny, and in (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 185), Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down. This shows that the night in which the Angel of God had brought down revelation for the first time to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the Cave of Hira, was a night of the month of Ramadan. This night has been described as Lailat-ul-qadr here and as Lailat-im-mubarakah in (Surah 44. Ad-Dukhan,Ayat 3).

There can be two meanings of sending down the Quran in this night: 
First, that in this night the entire Quran was entrusted to the bearers (angels) of revelation, and then Gabriel continued to reveal its verses and Surahs, from time to time, to the Prophet (peace be upon him) during 23 years as the occasion and conditions demanded. This meaning was given by Ibn Abbas. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn al- Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Hakim, lbn Marduyah, Baihaqi). 
Second, that the revelation of the Quran began in this night. This is Imam Shabi’s view, although from him to the other view is also related, which is the view of Ibn Abbas as cited above (Ibn Jarir). 
In both cases, the meaning is the same as the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) began on this very night, and this was the night in which the five opening verses of (Surah 96. Al-Alaq) were revealed. The fact, however, is that Allah did not compose the verses and the Surahs of the Quran right at the time guidance was needed by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for his message of Islam in respect of an occasion or affair, but even before the creation of the universe, in the very beginning, Allah had a full plan of the creation of mankind on the earth, of raising the Prophets in it, of sending down the Books to the Prophets, of raising the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) at the end of the line of the Prophets and of sending down the Quran to him. In the Night of Destiny only the execution of the final phase of the plan began. No wonder if at that very time the entire Quran was entrusted to the bearers of revelation.

Let us see how scholars interpret these verses. Watch the video about How was the Qur'an revealed in Ramadan by an eminent scholar Shabbir Ally, a Canadian Muslim preacher and Imam:

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is our duty to convey only to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video above are those of the scholar concerned. We have shared this view as added information in better understanding of Islam. The reader may or may not agree with the view owing to their own perception. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | Also watch another view here

For more Scholarly views and videos, please read our reference page: Scholars' Viewpoint on Important Issues Related to Islam.

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Saturday 3 November 2018

Innovations - Shab e Baraat

Islam is a religion which if understood makes one's life very easy and rewarding. But if try to turn our lives from simplicity and of s straight path to innovations and rituals of the post Islamic era, the life will not only become difficult but also take us away from the life that is intended for us as Muslims. And when one is not clear about what he should believe in, innovations start to creep in, which though seemingly appear to be in line with the teachings of Islam, are in fact make one's light difficult and take away a believer from the essence of Islamic way of life. 

One of such innovations, which is widely observed by the Muslims in areas which now constitute Pakistan and India, is Shab e Baraat. It is widely believed that on this night, the 15th of Shaban, the future or the fate of a person is decided. Thus on this night, special arrangements for prayers are made, special dishes are prepared and food is distributed among relatives and the needy. People visit the graveyards and offer special prayers for those relatives and fiends who are buried there. 

But the truth is that this is absolutely man-made festival. Neither Our'an nor Hadith and the era of companions of Prophet Muhammad indicate the existence of this festival, then. Even there is no such tradition is attributed to the very early post Islamic scholars have called such a feast non Islamic. In fact such night was never exited in those day. It is thus an innovation that has slowly crept into our way of life and almost become a ritual which is celebrated with 'religious zeal and fervor.'

It may be understood that Islam is not a religion of customs, festivities and traditions. It in fact is  a simple and straightforward religion  which strongly restrains man from the shackles of rituals or futile and time consuming festivals. It is thus highly uncharacteristic of Islam to mark one day in a year for fire-cracking and distributing foods and allow people to keep on wasting valuable time and hard-earned money every year.  Thus, there is absolutely no evidence in the authentic Sunnah whereby the Prophet  or his noble companions or family ever celebrated or commemorated the night of Shab e-Baraat, nor did Prophet  ever offered any special prayers on this night, nor ever command the believers to do anything special on this night!

It is the absolute unanimous opinion of all the good jurists and scholars in Islam that there is to be no special commemoration or celebration of the so-called Shab e-Baraat night; and if anyone offers or ordains any special prayer or rite of worship especially for the commemoration of this night, it would be against the guidance and Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah ; and thus a bid'ah or innovation in the perfect Deen of Islam.

At the most, Islamic literature reveals only an event : once, on the night of Shaban the 15th, Hazrat Ayesha did not find Prophet Mohammad ﷺ on his bed, so she left in his search and found him in Jannat~ul Baquee. On querying, he replied: "On this night, Allah turns His attention from the sky to this world and forgives as many sins of people as the total number of hair of all the sheep put-together of the clan, called Ka'b." But a prominent writer of Hadiths, Imam Tirmizi has declared this tradition a fragile and has claimed, through his research, that it can not be believed with certainty that Hazrat Ayesha was its source. !

Many misinterpreters of the Holy Qur'an refer the night as Lailatul Mubaraka which is mentioned in Surah al-Dukhan (44: 2-4) “The Book (Holy Quran) that makes things clear, We sent it down during a blessed night, In fact ! We want to Warn (Mankind)" Whereon every affair of wisdom is made clear ". Now it is very clear from the referred verses of the Holy Qur'an that Lailatul Mubaraka is the night when Allah sent down the Holy Qur'an and it is the same night as Lailatul Qadr mentioned in Surah Qadr [97]: " Verily, We have revealed this (Qur'ân) in the night of Al-Qadr "!

Even if their authenticity is recognized, then also, the only inference could be that praying and asking for His forgiveness for the sins, during this night, is an appreciable act. If this is done individually, then they will be rewarded. Other than this, the perusal of these narrations does nor prove that either 14th or 1 5th night of Shaban is proclaimed to be Eid or some collective prayers are pronounced for this occasion. 

The more reliable books on Hadiths acknowledge that Prophet Mohammad   used to be in a peculiar state, in the month of Shaban, prior to the commencement of Ramadan. It is in the month of Ramadan that the stupendous honour of Prophet hood was bestowed upon him and the revelation of immortal Book, the Our'an, commenced. Due to these reasons, he not only used to keep unusually regular fasts and perform longer prayers during Ramadan, but even in advance, Prophet Mohammad   would inch closer to Allah. Hazrat Ayesha and Umme Salma state that besides Ramadan, Shaban was the only month during which Prophet Mohammad   fasted most, rather the entire month was spent in fasting. But this practice of his was specifically for his own sake. However, the common Muslims were instructed by him to stay away from fasting during the second fortnight of Shaban, for it may weaken them to fast during the following month of Ramadan. 

Islam has taken necessary care of the fact that its followers do not adopt rituals and rites which Allah has not asked them to. Thus none of the self-created customs, artificial ceremonies or any collective practices should take the shape of Farz (Obligation). By exceeding the limits prescribed by Him, if people establish certain customs and rituals of their own, and practice them like Faraiz (Obligations), then they will make the life unnecessarily burdened and would in fact had committed the same blunder of pioneering rituals and customs and made them essential and part of their religion.  

Qur'an has declared customs as synonymous to "shackles" and the chief objective of the life of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ  is said to be setting free the mankind from such chains and shackles. And the Prophet Mohammad  therefore proposed a lean and mean stream of faraiz and eliminated all other customs and traditions. There is no third festival in Islam other than Eid-ui-Fitr  and and Eid-ui-Azha. There is no pilgrimage other than Hajj and besides Zakah there is no charity or donation which is declared as Farz. Thereafter, a simple rule is laid forever that man is not authorized to cut down on any of the faraiz. Similarly, he is not mandated to make any additions either. 

Now one last argument in disfavour of Shab e Baraat: The absolutely biggest evidence of the non-importance or existence of the Shab-e-Baraat in Islam is the term itself! The very term "shab" is not an Arabic word but rather a farsi (Persian language) term which means night; and baraat in Arabic means to boycott or destiny. The fact that the term itself is half-Farsi half-Arabic signifies that this term was not used by the Messenger of Allah  or his early companions, but rather was invented and innovated long after their deaths in the Indo-Pak region where Farsi was the court or official language of the rulers for a long period of time!

Our'an and Hadiths were never scrutinized with the objective of learning the principles and guidelines, rather the ignorance resulted into finding excuses for continuing their old customs and inventing new conventions. When they managed to find a minor clue, they converted it into a mammoth and perpetual custom. People felt proud on filling the gap by inventing festivities, which were originally not there, without realizing that they have worn the same shackles which were destroyed by Allah, through His Prophet Mohammad , and they have again fallen into the trap from which no nation has ever managed to come out. 

References: | 1 ( pp 7-12) | 2 | 3 |
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