21 Muharram 1441

The Walking Qur’an

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Nov 13th, 2015
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The title of this talk is The Walking Qur’an. Though Da’ees and Scholars have used this title before, I do not like it very much. The reason is that, as you all know, the ‘Aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wa al-Jamaa’ah is that the Qur’an is the ‘Word’ of Allah azza wa jal. Meaning, it is one of Allah’s Beautiful Attributes. Hence, it would not be appropriate to describe it as to be ‘walking’ or to associate it with anything that did not come to us from the Salaf. Therefore, we should avoid such things out of respect. Not that it is not respected when we say this but saying such things about the Qur’an is not something that is encouraged.

So, what is the origin of this title? Before we go to the origin, we should remind ourselves that Allah azza wa jal has sent a miracle with every Prophet and every Messenger. But can we see or touch or say by pointing that this is the miracle of Prophet Musa or Prophet ‘Isa or Prophet Nuh or Prophet Ibraheem? No, we cannot. However, do we believe in them? Definitely, we do because they are mentioned in the Qur’an and the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam informed us about them. And this is what makes our religion unique. If you go to the Jews, they will tell you about the different miracles of Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, about the stick and the hand and the snake that ate all the other snakes and the splitting of the sea and how he crossed it while Fir’aun drowned. We Muslims simply say that we believe all of this even though we did not see these things because the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam informed us of them. If you go to the Christians, they will tell you about the miracles of Prophet ‘Isa, peace be upon him, how he, by the Permission of Allah azza wa jal, used to cure the leper and those who were born deaf and born blind and how he used to give life to the death. The Jews reject this because they cannot see these things but we as Muslims say that all this is correct and we completely believe in it. When we come to our Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, the Muslims believe that the moon was split into two (does any Muslim dispute or doubt this? No.). And the pagans saw this with their own eyes. We also believe that the water used to spring from between his fingers, the tree and the camels used to talk to him and that the rocks used to greet him and offer him salaam. However, the Jews and the Christians do not believe in these things because they cannot see them.

So, what can we show them? We have the Qur’an. We have the ultimate miracle of all miracles: we have the Speech of Allah azza wa jal. And this is a miracle that will last till the end of time. It is a miracle that we can show to anyone who disputes about it. Allah azza wa jal says in the Qur’an, “And We sent down from the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe.” By Allah, the Qur’an is a healing for our souls. By Allah, it is a healing for the believers and it is a mercy. That is why, when Muslims have a problem, they turn to the Qur’an for salvation or healing or comfort because they know that this is the Word is Allah azza wa jal.

Why is the title of today’s lecture ‘The Walking Qur’an’? There is a misunderstanding among some of the so-called Scholars and Da’ees. When one of the Tabi’een approached our Mother ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, and asked her to tell him about the character of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, she asked him, “My son, did you read the Qur’an?” He said yes. She said, “His character was the Qur’an;” Peace and blessings be upon him. Now, this answer is quite ambiguous but it is general. It is ambiguous in the sense that, “OK, what does this mean exactly?” The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was the greatest Messenger of Allah azza wa jal. That is why Allah azza wa jal revealed His Greatest Book to him salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. That is why this great book will remain until the Day of Judgement. If you would like to explain how the Qur’an was the character of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, you have to describe the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

Al-Ghazari, may Allah have mercy on his soul, had a beautiful description of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, taken from all the books of the Sunnah. He said, “The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam by far was the most forbearing and the most tolerant person, the most courageous and brave, the most fair and the most modest and bashful.” Salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. He was the most generous. He salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would never allow even one Dinar or one Dirham to remain in his house and if it was with him overnight, he salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would go out to look for any needy person to give it to. He would not save or keep money in his house. The only thing that he would keep in his house was the provision of his family for a whole year. And what do we mean by provision?-barley, grains, dates and that is it. Moreover, if anybody asks him for something, he would always give them whatever he could. He would never refuse. And if he didn’t have anything with him, he would go back to his houses, take from next year’s provision and give it to those who were in need. That is why, in a few months’ time, the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would himself be in need. In this regard, Mother ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “The fire would not be lit in the houses of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam for two consecutive months.” They would not cook anything for two months! {Look at us, if we did not have different types of food every day, we would start complaining. We need fried, cooked, baked food every day.} So she was asked, “O Mother ‘Aisha, then how did you live? What did you eat?” She said that they would live on just water and dates, that this would be their only food for two months in a row.

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam never touched a woman and never touched the hand of a woman who was not his Mahram or his wife or his slave. Moreover, Mother ‘Aisha said that whenever the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam entered his house, he would be like any one of us. Also, the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was the most modest and the most bashful of all men, though he was the most complete and perfect man. No man is as complete and perfect as he was, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. He was so modest and bashful that he would never look at even the men who were speaking to him straight in the eye. He would listen but he would not embarrass the people by looking at them straight in the eye, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Whenever he was invited, he would accept, whether who invited him was a slave or a free person. He would accept any kind of gift. He would not be arrogant and say that this was too little or something like that. Even if someone gave him a glass of milk, he would accept it. However, he would never eat from charity. Charity does not befit the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam nor his family.

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would answer the call of a slave girl, the call of the needy. A young slave girl would come to him, take his hand, and walk with him through all the streets of Madinah because she has a problem that she wants to discuss with him. He would never say that he didn’t have time or that he is busy or ask them to take an appointment. He would never become angry for himself at all; no matter how badly he was treated or abused, he would never avenge himself. Only if a sin was committed, he would become angry for the Sake of Allah azza wa jal. And if there was a need for the truth to be adhered to, he would do that even if this brought harm to him or to his Companions. The truth has to be implemented. Once, one of his best friends was assassinated and his body was found next to the neighborhood of the Jews. So, definitely the Jews must have killed him. The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam investigated, but he did not accuse the Jews because he did not have any evidence. This is Islam. There is no jumping to conclusions, no room for speculating; if there is no evidence, then that is it. So, what happened? Even thought it was a time of great need for the Muslims, the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam gave the blood money to the family of his slain Companion; a hundred camels, though the Muslims were in great need. However, this was something that he had to adhere to. So, he gave the blood money to the family and, moreover, he did not do anything to the Jews.

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to be hungry like everyone else. The Companions used to tie a rock or a stone on their bellies to stop the pains of hunger and the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to tie two stones or rocks around his belly. A Hadeeth tells us that he was never full for three consecutive days of the bread made of barley. He would probably be full one day or two days, but never three days in a row. This was the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. But he did not suffer because he chose this for himself. He said that Allah told him that if he wished, Allah will turn the whole area of Hasba Makkah that he saw into gold. He azza wa jal gave him the choice of being a ‘Prophet king’ or a ‘Slave Messenger’ and he salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam chose to be a ‘Slave Messenger.’

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would accept any invitation to a Waleemah. He would visit the ill among his Companions even if they lived in the outskirts of Madinah. He would follow the funerals. And he would walk among his enemies without any guard; he doesn’t need any guard. He was the most humble among all people. We will never find any signs of arrogance in his Ahadeeth or in his description. He used to have the most eloquent speech but he was not long-winded. Sometimes, we find people who are eloquent in their speech but they speak for hours on end. On the other hand, we can count the number of words the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to say. You can count them-3 or 10 or 15. There is a great Hadeeth that was explained in all books of Fiqh-La Darar wa la Diraar. These are 2 words-La Darar and wa la Diraar, and look at the number of volumes written on this Fiqhy rule.

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would not be impressed by anything in this Duniya. He would wear whatever he finds. He would ride whatever he finds-a camel; if not, a horse; if not, a mule; if not, a donkey. Moreover, he had no problem at all in having some of his Companions or slaves or relatives mounting behind him on his ride. In the great Hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbas, the young Companion, the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “O Ibn ‘Abbas, I will teach you words that will benefit you. Protect (the Rights of) Allah and He will protect you.” Ibn ‘Abbas was 10 or 11 years old and the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was addressing him because he was riding behind him and the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was almost 60 years old. Yet he did not feel arrogant; rather he utilized this time, teaching this 10 or 11 year old, who became one of the greatest Scholars of Islam.

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to walk on the streets, but sometimes he used to walk barefooted. Sometimes he used to wear a cloak and sometimes not. Sometimes he used to wear a turban or a cap and sometimes he did not wear anything on his head. He used to love perfumes and used to abhor and hate foul smells. So, he would be away from anything that smelled bad. That is why, Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I served the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam for 10 years and, by Allah, there was never a day that I found a foul smell coming from him.” Sometimes you find someone next to you in the Masjid having a truly awful odor. This is not a Muslim’s way. You should always be perfumed, always be showering, always be clean and always be smelling nice because this is what identifies you from the Non-Muslims, your personal hygiene. This is how our Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was.

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to sit with the poor. He used to eat with the needy. However, sadly, we ourselves find this unacceptable. That is why, if we have a wedding, who do we invite? We would never invite someone who is poor or needy; all the guests are rich, even though we might know someone who is poor or needy. And what is our excuse?-“Ya Akhi, I feel disgraced and humiliated to have someone like that at my wedding. Whereas, these guys are posh.” The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was not like that. He used to sit, eat, and socialize with those who were poor and needy. Nevertheless, he also used to honor the righteous and the pious. He used to soften his words with the dignitaries, even if they were not righteous and pious because he would be calling them to Islam.

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to connect with the next of kin. He always used to bring them close but not closer than those who were better than them in righteousness and piety. He would never be harsh with anyone-never. And on the other hand, I can remember tens and hundreds of cases of me being harsh to people, today; not in my lifetime. The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would never be harsh with anyone. He would forgive anyone who asked him for forgiveness. Even the hypocrites, when they came to him and started giving excuses for not being able to attend a battle with him, he accepted their excuses. He would joke with his friends but never say anything but the truth. He would never lie. He would laugh, but not loudly; his laughter was a simple smile. He would see people playing permissible kind of games and he would not detest or object to it. He would himself race his wife, as ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, tells us. When was the last time you raced your wife? {You might say, “Sheikh, I was running away when she was trying to hit me with her high heeled shoe, but Alhumdulillah she couldn’t catch me!” This is not a race; this is running away for your life!} When was the last time you had some quality time with your wife; racing, playing? She is not only there for cooking, cleaning and taking orders from you. So we see how the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to be with his wives.

Sometimes, when the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would be with his Companions, there would come to him Nomads and Bedouins who would be disrespectful to him, would raise their voices in his presence and he would not say anything; he would wait until they calmed down. The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam had slaves; males and females, but he did not use to have an edge over them. He would wear what they wore, eat what they ate and he would command his Companions to do the same with their slaves. He salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam would utilize his time. If we analyze the day of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, we would find that it was always 100% for the Sake of Allah; whether he would be playing with his wives or battling or teaching or praying or fasting or reconciling between two people.

There is a story about a female Companion by the name of Barirah, who was a slave and married to a slave by the name of Mugheef. Eventually, however, Barirah got the chance to buy her freedom and she became free. After becoming free, she had the option to either stay with her slave husband or get a separation, because now she was free. She chose to leave her husband. So Mugheef went to the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and asked him to intercede because he loved Barirah very much. The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam went to Barirah and asked her why doesn’t she go back to Mugheef. Barirah asked him if he was ordering her to do so. The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said that he wasn’t ordering her, rather he was just interceding. She said that if this was the case, then she didn’t want him. The story goes that Mugheef used to walk behind Barirah in the streets of Madinah, crying and weeping, with his beard filled with tears. The point relevant to our discussion is that the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam interceded for a slave man. This was our Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam!

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would never look down at anyone, whether he/she was poor or in need or sick. He would never fear any king in his wealth or in his kingdom. He used to call both, the poor and the rich, the kings and the non-kings and he would not differentiate between them. This was the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam!

So, where did the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam get all this from? As we mentioned before, Mother ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “Did you read the Qur’an? His character was the Qur’an.” Nowadays, we find ourselves very far away from the Book of Allah. However, if we look at the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, did they love the Qur’an? They loved the Qur’an more than their lives! ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, may Allah be pleased with him, was newly-wed and after two weeks of his marriage, his father, ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas goes and visits his daughter-in-law and says, “How is your husband with you?” She replied, praising him, “Ma sha Allah, he is amongst the best of the Arabs, the best of men! He prays all night and fasts every day.” Such a beautiful description! However, ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas was a smart man; he understood what she meant. He understood that his son did not approach her and that she was still a virgin. Because if he prayed all night and fasted every day, when is he going to have intimacy with his wife? So he complained to the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam summoned him. And he said, “’Abdullah, do you recite the Qur’an?” He replied in the affirmative. So the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam asked, “Once every how many days?” ‘Abdullah replied, “I complete the Qur’an once a night.” Once a night! Not only that, it has been narrated to us in an authentic Hadeeth a man described that ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, in the season of Hajj (and we know that the people during Hajj are always weary and tired), after praying ‘Isha and sunnah in the Haram, prayed one Rak’ah Witr, just before Fajr prayer, with the whole Qur’an! So these people had this love for the Qur’an. So going back to the story of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam told him not to do that (i.e. recite the whole Qur’an once every night), rather recite it once every month. Meaning, recite one Juz or Parah, every night, and this way you can finish the Qur’an once a month and 12 times a year. ‘Abdullah said, “I can do more than that.” So, the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam kept reducing the number of days until, in one narration, he said to do it in 7 days and no less, and in another narration, in 3 days and no less. They were fighting for more obligations and we fight for more freedom, SubhanAllah!

Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, described the people that carry the Qur’an in their hearts. We all claim that we are carrying the Qur’an in our hearts, don’t we? Let us see how ibn Mas’ood described such people. He said, “The person who prays and who carries the Qur’an should be known by his night, when the people are asleep. He should be known by his fasting when the people during the day are not fasting. He should be known by his grief when the people are jubilant. He should be known by his weeping while everyone else is laughing. And he should be known by his silence while everyone else is speaking and talking.”

The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, would not memorize the Qur’an all together at once. They would only take a selected number of ayahs, study them, know what they are talking about, implement them in their lives and then memorize them before moving on to the next set. We have many people who memorize the Qur’an but do not put it into practice. So how does this benefit the Islamic Ummah and how does it benefit the individual if he is reciting and memorizing an ayah that curses him in the day and in the night? That is why, Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, who is one of the greatest scholars of Islam, memorized Surat al-Baqarah in 8 years. Why did it take him so long? Because of the 10 ayahs-10 ayahs’ plan, until he mastered everything in it.

The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’s character was the Qur’an. So, now, how do we take benefit from all that we have heard? We have to be like the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. He used to forgive and pardon and moreover, used to honor those who did this. Are we like this? The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was once walking with Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, wearing a very rough cloak (made of wool) on his back and with nothing underneath. Imagine him walking and someone startling him from behind, grabbing him and pulling him so hard that it affected his shoulder and his neck. Not only that, the man, who was a nomad, a Bedouin, then said, loudly and roughly, “Ya Muhammad! Give me from the money you have; it is not your money, it is Allah’s money.” What would we do if someone did this to us and talked to us in this way? Think about it, we would probably throw him on the floor, jump on his stomach 6 to 7 times until his guts are out and tell him, “how dare you talk to me like this!!” And that was the Prophet of Allah salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. What did he do? He did not even reply sternly to him or there was not even a frown in his face. He smiled and asked his Companions to give him some money. Salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam! I ask you by Allah, each one of you who is married, do you treat your wife like the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam treated that Bedouin? I get so many complaints from the wives about their husbands. Wallahi, I got a complaint from a woman who has been married for more than 30 years; her husband is over 60. She said to me, “My husband has stopped talking to me for a year now. And we live in the same house and share the same bed.” I didn’t believe her. Her daughter called and confirmed that her father was indeed like this. Why?-she said that her mother did something stupid that was trivial and insignificant, they couldn’t even remember what it was, and that was it; the man shut down and stopped speaking to her. Does this man know the Qur’an; know what is written in it? Is he following the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam? By Allah, he is not.

It was not only the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam who learnt the Qur’an and implemented it in his life, but so did the Companions. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab used to have in his court only those who knew the Qur’an; only those who were knowledgeable like ibn ‘Abbas, etc., even if they were young. One of those young ones who took part in these gatherings was someone by the name of al-Hurr ibn al-Qais. His uncle, U’aid ibn Husn Al Fazari, one of the rude Bedouins, said, “Why don’t you talk to ‘Umar so that he can let me attend as well?” So ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, approved and gave him permission to attend because al-Hurr requested it. The minute this man came in, he said, very rudely, “‘Umar! Give us from the money you have. By Allah, you don’t judge fairly and you are not generous when you give. ” Now, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was hot-blooded and his face immediately started to change with anger. So, al-Hurr {the nephew of that man} immediately stood up and said, “Ya Ameer al-Mu’mineen, Allah azza wa jal says, ‘Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good and turn away from the foolish.’” This is Allah’s Command at the end of Surat al-A’raaf. And that man, the uncle of al-Hurr, was among the foolish. So, what did ‘Umar do? He immediately cooled down because it has been described about him that he would never hear an ayah of the Qur’an and go against it. The minute he hears an ayah, it would be the end of the story.

There is a beautiful story of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, that I always use in my lectures. We all know the terrible story in which the hypocrites slandered Mother ‘Aisha. Among these were three Companions, who revealed themselves; the rest, who did not reveal themselves, were hypocrites. These three companions were: the poet of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, Hassan ibn Thabit; the sister-in-law and cousin of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, Hamnah bint Jahsh; and the third one was Mastah ibn Athaatha, the cousin of Abu Bakr. Meaning, Mastah was slandering his cousin’s daughter. Not only that, she was also the wife of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, one of the Mothers of the Believers! Mastah ibn Athaatha was among the first to migrate from Makkah and he was completely broke when he migrated. So Abu Bakr took it upon himself to sponsor him, to give him some allowance because he had nothing. But when Mastah said what he said about Mother ‘Aisha, Abu Bakr justifiably and understandably resolved not to help him anymore. After all, how dare his cousin say such things about his daughter? After a while, the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam came to Abu Bakr and said, “O Abu Bakr, didn’t you hear what Allah azza wa jal has revealed?” Abu Bakr asked him what that was. The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “Allah says, ‘And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give to their kinsmen.’ (Because Abu Bakr had sworn that he will not give Mastah money anymore.) ‘Let them pardon and forgive. Don’t you love that Allah should forgive you?’” So when the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam recited this to Abu Bakr, he said, “By Allah, I would love Allah to pardon me and to forgive me. I make you my witness, O Prophet of Allah, I will never cut Mustah’s allowance until I die.” What amazing behavior this is! Look at how these people learnt and implemented the Qur’an in their lives!

Therefore, I conclude my talk by saying: whoever is blessed and favored by Allah azza wa jal to implement the Qur’an in his life; whoever is truthful, always says the truth; whoever is honest, does not cheat anyone, whether they be Muslims or Non-Muslims; whoever is generous, tolerant and merciful; whoever offers a lot of deeds in worship to Allah azza wa jal and is described with honorable attributes as mentioned in the Qur’an and as the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to do, then, by Allah, he is someone who can be described as implementing the Qur’an in his life. However, those who turn away from the Qur’an and put it behind them, never searching for guidance in it, they are the ones that the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam complained about. And it is such a terrible thing if the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam complained about you. This is mentioned in the Qur’an as, “And the Messenger said, ‘O my Lord! Verily my people deserted this Qur’an.’” So, are you one of those who have deserted the Qur’an? This Qur’an is the miracle for the Muslims, the miracle of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and his character. Learn the only thing that identifies you, that distinguishes you from all other human beings. Learn the only thing that gives you pride, that gives you honor and that is your way to Paradise. Learn it with sincerity to Allah azza wa jal; not to boast about it to others by saying, “I know this and I have memorized this” and so on. Learn it to follow it and not to brag about it, and only then will you not be among those who have deserted the Qur’an.

The quotations from the Qur’an and Hadiths in this Article are a rough translation of the meanings of the original text!

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