Spiritual Significance of Jihad

And those who perform jihad for Us, We shall certainly guide them in Our ways, and God is surely with the doers of good. (Quran 29:69)

You have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad. (Hadith)

The Arabic term jihad, usually translated into European languages as holy war, more on the basis of its juridical usage in Islam rather than on its much more universal meaning in the Quran and Hadith, is derived from the root jhd whose primary meaning is to strive or to exert oneself.

Its translation into holy war combined with the erroneous notion of Islam prevalent in the West as the 'religion of the sword' has helped to eclipse its inner and spiritual significance and to distort its connotation. Nor has the appearance upon the stage of history during the past century and especially during the past few years of an array of movements within the Islamic world often contending or even imposing each other and using the word jihad or one of its derivative forms helped to make known the full import of its traditional meaning which alone is of concern to us here. Instead recent distortions and even total reversal of the meaning of jihad as understood over the ages by Muslims have made it more difficult than ever before to gain insight into this key religious and spiritual concept.

To understand the spiritual significance of jihad and its wide application to nearly every aspect of human life as understood by Islam, it is necessary to remember that Islam bases itself upon the idea of establishing equilibrium within the being of man as well as in the human society where he functions and fulfills the goals of his earthly life.

This equilibrium, which is the terrestrial reflection of Divine Justice and the necessary condition for peace in the human domain, is the basis upon which the soul takes its flight towards that peace which, to use Christian terms, 'passeth understanding'. If Christian morality sees the aim of the spiritual life and its own morality as based on the vertical flight towards that perfection and ideal which is embodied in Christ, Islam sees it in the establishment of an equilibrium both outward and inward as the necessary basis for the vertical ascent.

The very stability of Islamic society over the centuries, the immutability of Islamic norms embodied in the Shari'ah, and the timeless character of traditional Islamic civilization which is the consequence of its permanent and immutable prototype are all reflections of both the ideal of equilibrium and its realization as is so evident in the teachings of the Shari'ah (or Divine Law) as well as works of Islamic art, that equilibrium which is inseparable from the very name of Islam as being related to salam or peace.

The preservation of equilibrium in this world, however, does not mean simply a static or inactive passivity since life by nature implies movement. In the face of the contingencies of the world of change, of the withering effects of time, of the vicissitudes of terrestrial existence, to remain in equilibrium requires continuous exertion. It means carrying out jihad at every stage of life.

Human nature being what it is, given to forgetfulness and the conquest of our immortal soul by the carnal soul or passions, the very process of life of both the individual and the human collectivity implies the ever-present danger of the loss of equilibrium and the fact of falling into the state of disequilibrium which if allowed to continue cannot but lead to disintegration on the individual level and chaos on the scale of community life.

To avoid this tragic end and to fulfill the entelechy of the human state which is the realization of unity (al-tawhid) or total integration, Muslims as both individuals and members of Islamic society must carry out jihad, that is they must exert themselves at all moments of life to fight a battle both inward and outward against those forces that if not combatted will destroy that equilibrium which is the necessary condition for the spiritual life of the person and the functioning of human society. This fact is especially true if society is seen as a collectivity which bears the imprint of the Divine Norm rather than an antheap of contending and opposing units and forces.

Man is at once a spiritual and corporeal being, a micro-cosm complete unto himself; yet he is the member of a society within which alone are certain aspects of his being developed and certain of his needs fulfilled. He possesses at once an intelligence whose substance is ultimately of a divine character and sentiments which can either veil his intelligence or abett his quest for his own Origin. In him are found both love and hatred, generosity and coveteousness, compassion and aggression.

Moreover, there have existed until now not just one but several 'humanities' with their own religious and moral norms and national, ethnic and racial groups with their own bonds of affiliation. As a result the practice of jihad as applied to the world of multiplicity and the vicissitudes of human existence in the external world has come to develop numerous ramifications in the fields of political and economic activity and in social life and come to partake on the external level of the complexity which characterizes the human world.

In its most outward sense jihad came to mean the defence of dar al-islam, that is, the Islamic world, from invasion and intrusion by non-Islamic forces. The earliest wars of Islamic history which threatened the very existence of the young community came to be known as jihad par excellence in this outward sense of 'holy war'. But it was upon returning from one of these early wars, which was of paramount importance in the survival of the newly established religious community and therefore of cosmic significance, that the Prophet nevertheless said to his companions that they had returned from the lesser holy war to the greater holy war, the greater jihad being the inner battle against all the forces which would prevent man from living according to the theomorphic norm which is his primordial and God given nature.

Throughout Islamic history, the lesser holy war has echoed in the Islamic world when parts or the whole of that world have been threatened by forces from without or within. This call has been especially persistent since the nineteenth century with the advent of colonialism and the threat to the very existence of the Islamic world. It must be remembered, however, that even in such cases when the idea of jihad has been evoked in certain parts of the Islamic world, it has not usually been a question of religion simply sanctioning war but of the attempt of a society in which religion remains of central concern to protect itself from being conquered either by military and economic forces or by ideas of an alien nature.

This does not mean, however, that in some cases especially in recent times, religious sentiments have not been used or misused to intensify or legitimize a conflict. But to say the least, the Islamic world does not have a monopoly on this abuse as the history of other civilizations including even the secularized West demonstrates so amply. Moreover, human nature being what it is, once religion ceases to be of central significance to a particular human collectivity, then men fight and kill each other for much less exalted issues than their heavenly faith. By including the question of war in its sacred legislation, Islam did not condone but limited war and its consequences as the history of the traditional Islamic world bears out. In any case the idea of total war and the actual practice of the extermination of whole civilian populations did not grow out of a civilization whose dominant religion saw jihad in a positive light.

On the more external level, the lesser jihad also includes the socio-economic domain. It means the reassertion of justice in the external environment of human existence starting with man himself. To defend one's rights and reputation, to defend the honour of oneself and one's family is itself a jihad and a religious duty. So is the strengthening of all those social bonds from the family to the whole of the Muslim people (al-ummah) which the Shari'ah emphasizes. To seek social justice in accordance with the tenets of the Quran and of course not in the modern secularist sense is a way of re-establishing equilibrium in human society, that is, of performing jihad, as are constructive economic enterprises provided the well-being of the whole person is kept in mind and material welfare does not become an end in itself; provided one does not lose sight of the Quranic verse, 'The other world is better for you than this one'. To forget the proper relation between the two worlds would itself be instrumental in bringing about disequilibrium and would be a kind of jihad in reverse.

All of those external forms of jihad would remain incomplete and in fact contribute to an excessive externalization of human being, if they were not complemented by the greater or inner jihad which man must carry out continuously within himself for the nobility of the human state resides in the constant tension between what we appear to be and what we really are and the need to transcend ourselves throughout this journey of earthly life in order to become what we 'are'.

From the spiritual point of view all the 'pillars' of Islam can be seen as being related to jihad. The fundamental witnesses, 'There is no divinity but Allah' and 'Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah', through the utterance of which a person becomes a Muslim are not only statements about the Truth as seen in the Islamic perspective but also weapons for the practice of inner jihad.

The very form of the first witness (La ilaha illa' Lla-h in Arabic) when written in Arabic calligraphy is like a bent sword with which all otherness is removed from the Supreme Reality while all that is positive in manifestation is returned to that Reality. The second witness is the blinding assertion of the powerful and majestic descent of all that constitutes in a positive manner the cosmos, man and revelation from that Supreme Reality. To invoke the two witnesses in the form of the sacred language in which they were revealed is to practice the inner jihad and to bring about awareness of who we are, from whence we come and where is our ultimate abode.

The daily prayers (salat or namaz) which constitute the heart of the Islamic rites are again a never ending jihad which punctuate human existence in a continuous rhythm in conformity with the rhythm of the cosmos. To perform the prayers with regularity and concentration requires the constant exertion of our will and an unending battle and striving against forgetfulness, dissipation and laziness. It is itself a form of spiritual warfare.

Likewise, the fast of Ramadan in which one wears the armour of inner purity and detachment against the passions and temptations of the outside world requires an asceticism and inner discipline which cannot come about except through an inner holy war.

Nor is the hajj to the centre of the Islamic world in Mecca possible without long preparation, effort, often suffering and endurance of hardship. It requires great effort and exertion so that the Prophet could say, 'The hajj is the most excellent of all jihads". Like the knight in quest of the Holy Grail, the pilgrim to the house of the Beloved must engage in a spiritual warfare whose end makes all sacrifice and all hardship pale into significance, for the hajj to the House of God implies for the person who practices the inner jihad encounter with the Master of the House who also resides at the centre of that other Ka'bah which is the heart.

Finally the giving of zakat or religious tax and khums is again a form of jihad not only in that in departing from one's wealth man must fight against the coveteousness and greed of his carnal soul, but also in that through the payment of zakat and khums in its many forms man contributes to the establishment of economic justice in human society.

Although jihad is not one of the 'pillars of Islam', it in a sense resides within all the other 'pillars'. From the spiritual point of view in fact all of the 'pillars' can be seen in the light of an inner jihad which is essential to the life of man from the Islamic point of view and which does not oppose but complements contemplativity and the peace which result from the contemplation of the One.

The great stations of perfection in the spiritual life can also be seen in the light of the inner jihad. To become detached from the impurities of the world in order to repose in the purity of the Divine Presence requires an intense jihad for our soul has its roots sunk deeply into the transient world which the soul of fallen man mistakes for reality.

To overcome the lethargy, passivity and indifference of the soul, qualities which have become second nature to man as a result of his forgetting who he is constitutes likewise a constant jihad. To pull the reigns of the soul from dissipating itself outwardly as a result of its centrifugal tendencies and to bring it back to the centre wherein resides Divine Peace and all the beauty which the soul seeks in vain in the domain of multiplicity is again an inner jihad.

To melt the hardened heart into a flowing stream of love which would embrace the whole of creation in virtue of the love for God is to perform the alchemical process of solve et coagula inwardly through a 'work' which is none other than an inner struggle and battle against what the soul has become in order to transform it into that which it 'is' and has never ceased to be if only it were to become aware of its own nature.

Finally, to realize that only the Absolute is absolute and that only the Self can ultimately utter 'I' is to perform the supreme jihad of awakening the soul from the dream of forgetfulness and enabling it to gain the supreme principal knowledge for the sake of which it was created. The inner jihad or warfare seen spiritually and esoterically can be considered therefore as the key for the understanding of the whole spiritual process, and the path for the realization of the One which lies at the heart of the Islamic message seen in its totality.

The Islamic path towards perfection can be conceived in the light of the symbolism of the greater jihad to which the Prophet of Islam, who founded this path on earth, himself referred.

In the same way that with every breath the principle of life which functions in us irrespective of our will and as long as it is willed by Him who created us, exerts itself through jihad to instill life within our whole body, at every moment in our conscious life we should seek to perform jihad in not only establishing equilibrium in the world about us but also in awakening to that Divine Reality which is the very source of our consciousness. For the spiritual man, every breath is a reminder that he should continue the inner jihad until he awakens from all dreaming and until the very rhythm of his heart echoes that primordial sacred Name by which all things were made and through which all things return to their Origin. The Prophet said, 'Man is asleep and when he dies he awakens'.

Through inner jihad the spiritual man dies in this life in order to cease all dreaming, in order to awaken to that Reality which is the origin of all realities, in order to behold that Beauty of which all earthly beauty is but a pale reflection, in order to attain that Peace which all men seek but which can in fact be found only through the inner jihad.

Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr is one of the world's leading experts on Islamic science and spirituality. He is Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University. Professor Nasr is the author of numerous books including Man and Nature: the Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man (Kazi Publications, 1998), Religion and the Order of Nature (Oxford, 1996) and Knowledge and the Sacred (SUNY, 1989).

This article was originally published on July 21, 2004.

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Older Comments:

Why do you so adamantly defend ahadith?

You are not disbelievers.

It is obvious that ahadith have been tampered with, at least slightly, and yet you continue to follow them as if they are revilation.

Does not the quran mention how the christians argue about the truths in their religion, amongst themselves and the jews, and how allah is the only one who really knows the truth.

Dont be like those that, because of pride, defend the bible; without sincerely (or tottaly) submiting to god!

Ahadith are like the bible.

Many have unfathamable wisdom, but obviously MANY ARE CORRUPT!!!

The best thing to do is to follow what is revealed in the quran.......and then follow that wich is best, instructional, and does not contridict the quran, from ahadith.


How can you fight against or ostrisize a fellow muslim on the basis of something that has, even possibly, been tampered with?

Even after the person has said lailahailalah?

Even if he prays to the same god?

Is this the prophet's way?

The reasons obviously have a lot to do with pride, heritage, culture, and a lack of faith.

And the perpitrators act the same as the christians who continue to blindly and proudly (and hypocritically?) propogate and revere an uncertain way of life.

I would sincerely like to meet a christian who has moved to the mountains, left society, and become very poor for the sake of god, who would tell me that the bible is authentic; and i would also love to meet a muslim who has put allah above their jobs and their family who would tell me that ahadith are authentic or even remotely comparable to the authenticity of the quran.


Akbar Khan you contradict yourself. On one hand in your previous posts you have cursed and condemned Whahabism and Imam Mohammed Abdul Wahab and now you seek legitmacy of your Sufi cult by quoting Imam Wahab's book, which in itself is an utterly and intentionally incorrect and interpretation of the work of Imam Wahab. Akbar Khan you speak like Americans do - from both sides of your mouth. Bad business.


Muhammad bin Abd' Al-Wahhab's Position on Sufism:

In the 3rd Volume of his complete works published by Ibn Sa`ud University,
on page 31 of the Fatawa wa rasa'il, Fifth Question:

"Know -- may Allah guide you -- that Allah Almighty has sent Muhammad, blessings and peace upon him, with right guidance, consisting in beneficial knowledge, and with true religion consisting in righteous action. The adherents of religion are as follows: among them are those who concern themselves with learning and fiqh, and discourse about it,such as the jurists; and among them are those who concern themselves with worship and the pursuit of the Hereafter,
such as the Sufis. Allah has sent His Prophet with this religion which encompasses both kinds, that is: fiqh and tasawwuf."

Now Muhammad bin Abd' Al-Wahhab himself, the grandfather of the Wahhabi movement, has admitted that concerning yourself with worship
and the pursuit of the hereafter are practices of the Sufis, and likened these practices
to that as being the same as during the time of the Prophet (saaw). Now how can, anyone
in their right mind openly declare Tasawwuf (sufism) to be haraam, when the very leader and
most admired figure behind of those who call themselves Wahhabis and Salafis admits to the authenticity of Tasawwuf (Sufism)?

May Allah guide us all to the straight path, Ameen.

If the Sufis are sincere, then let them obey Allaah and his Messenger and adhere to His Sharee'ah - as commanded in this aayah - so that they will be among the victorious. As for their claims that the awliyaa' ("saints") have knowledge of the Unseen (al-ghayb), which no one knows but Allaah, and their doing Tawaaf around graves and praying to the dead as a means of worship and drawing closer to Allaah - all of this in fact means that they are seeking the help of someone other than Allaah and this is kufr and shirk. They say, "Allaah inspires us with things which He casts into our hearts in addition to what is in the Qur'aan and Sunnah"; and they say that the "elite" do not have to adhere to the Sharee'ah of Islam which is obligatory for the "masses"; and they invent adhkaar (phrases remembering Allaah) which they repeat regularly, which are not in the Qur'aan or in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him... and after all this, they want to be among the victorious, with the Prophets and Siddeeqoon. On the contrary, they will be with the shayaateen (devils) and mushrikeen. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound. May Allaah bless us all with the love for His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him and love for his noble companions, and gather us with them in the place of honour with Him, for He is the Sovereign, the One Who is able to do all things.

Brother Ahmed Asgher,
I respectully diasgree with you regarding the character of Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA). The Prophet (SAWS) has forbidden
all Muslims from slandering his companions and that includes Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA). And, that is as per an
authentic Hadith upon which there is a consensus among all Hadith Scholars and which was narrated by Hazrat
Abu Saeed (RA). So, we should simply follow that Hadith and refrain from calling names to any of the
Prophet's (SAWS) companions.
You say that ummul muminoon Ayesha (RA) has called Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) to be a liar. Now, I don't know how
trustworthy the source you are quoting from is. For me the above authentic Hadith is good enough to refrain from
calling names to any of the Prophet's (SAWS) companions. If Ummul Muminoon Ayesha (RA) has not spoken any such thing
about Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) then Allah forbid that you become guilty of two sins, one against Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA)
and the other against Ummul-muminoon Ayesha (RA). So brother, my sincere advise to you is that please check your
source once again.
Also, there is a consensus among many great Islamic Scholars that Islam is incomplete without the Sunnah of Prophet
Muhammad (SAWS). Which means that Quran alone is not sufficient to understand and implement the Quran in one's life.
The guidance of Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) is absolutely necessary to fully understand and implement it for
the simple reason that the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was a living Quran and the Glorious Quran advises us to follow the
Prophet (SAWS) for he's the best example to follow. Plus there are many things that the Prophet (SAWS) has said and
done during his lifetime that are indisputable part of Islam but you won't find them in the Quran. An example is the
40 hadith Qudsi (these are special hadees who's chain of narration goes back to Allah Subhanawatala Himself.
continued ...........

Ahmad Asghar you use flowery language to introduce yourself and yet as one reads on it is evident that you are trying to cause divisions and confusion regarding Islamic facts through your expressed hate for the companions of the prophet and his hadees. Given the achievements of the Companions of the Prophet Mohammed Peace on Him, who is a Liar they or You? Read Surah Imran 003.031
"Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Say: Obey Allah and the messenger. But if they turn away, lo! Allah loveth not the disbelievers (in His guidance

You two guys, Khan and Asghar are up to no good.

Peace be upon you all brothers. First I would like to say that we are truly blessed to be Muslims and have the only book written by God given to us and preserved till eternity as He has promised. I feel brother Bnak aimed at me when he said that I denigraded Abu Hurairah. i did not do so. Aisha (raa)did. Refer to the same books of Sunnah. The man was with our Prophet(pbuh)for barely two years, yet he wrote thousands of ahadith, more than anyone else. He capitalised on his own posting to Bahrain and became wealthy. Then he chose the company of Moawiya who was the first imperialist in Islam. Furthermore it was him and his son Yazid who fought Prophet's pbuh family. Moawiya caused fitna and fought Ali whilst Yazid openly waged war against Hussain, killed him and all his followers and took his women as hostages. Now this man is referred to by ahle-sunnah as a pious man and given the blessing of radhia'Allahu anhu. I ask you: He is the killer Prophet's hareem and family of whom the Prophet pbuh has sung numerous praises reserved to none other of his companions and all recorded in the books of Sunnah. Common sense dictates that such people must be ignored, if not cursed and never given any mantle of respect in Islam. This was a dark chapter in Islam. It is for this that we can never be a united ummah and that our enemies are able to attack us with impunity. Brothers use hadith if it confirms Quran and if it harbours a single doubt then drop it like a hot brick. The Quran is ALL we need for our salvation, unity and success both in this life and the next. If you equate anything else with it then that is truly shirk. The rest should be like reading history books never spoken of with same zeal as if it is the word of Allah. It should increase our faith in the One God and we should not make demigods from individuals, not even the prophet pbuh himslef. This is Quranic teaching. There is only ONE GOD.

You know Mr. Moriarty, I thought that you were genuine in dialoguing in a civilized manner. Now you accuse me of insulting Islam and attributing concepts to Islam which are not Islamic. That is a false lie in itself for you to say that. I guess I take back what I said about you, I must say your face has changed completely. There is no such thing as a Sufi Priest. You say it in a way as if you think you can discredit Awliya-Allah. Read and learn please.

1) 'We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed in accordance with the leave of Allah. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee [Muhammad] and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.'

[Sura An-Nisa', verse 6]

Now in the Qur'an it says very clearly, to ask forgiveness from rasool-Allah Muhammad (sawaws). Now Allah is telling you to do this in the Qur'an. Does this mean it is SHIRK? Ya Rasool-Allah, forgive them, for they know not what the do and they know not what they say.

2) "There are many signs of awliya Allah, the most obvious is the ones who when looked upon remind you of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala and those when you remember them, leads to the dhikr of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala."

It is not wajib to seek help from the pious; it is merely permissible. However, we do not encourage people to ask help from the pious directly - rather they should ask the awliya' to make du'a to Allah for them, on their behalf.

Those who argue that the pious are unable to help after their death also include the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in this reference. However, it is very strange that this does not apply to scholars whom they hold in high esteem. As Hafiz ibn al-Qayyim states:

Mr. Khan in all earnestness I am afraid I simply can't agree with you. Your approach to Allah necessitates the involvement of a medium not dissimilar to the religion of ancient Greeks, Zoroasters, Hindus or Buddhists. To read and understand the holy book in an effort to understand God's commands and seek his pleasure is one thing, but to approach individuals such as saints, gurus, rabbis, priests, palmists etc. is egregiously wrong, because it makes God unapproachable with the requirement of some holy fellow to plead and pray on your behalf. This is what made the Church such a powerful and affluent institution and precisely what corrupted them. Amongst other reasons this is why I left Christianity as I was loathe begging priest to deliver my message to God. I must state yur belief which claim is Islam, contradicts Islam and denigrates it to where the faith becomes an instrument of prestos and holy men. I also disagree with you when you state that God does not cure an ailment, the doctor does. I am rather shocked by your contention. All healing comes from God, as with all his other myriad mercies. Without God's permission, neither you, nor I, nor a single leaf could exist or survive. Finally I also take exception to your statement "So in the same light, pious individuals who are Allah's vicegerents on Earth, are all subjects to our leader who is a mercy to the worlds" My question to you is who made these pious people "Allah's vicegerents on Earth" as you claim? Some Sufi priest? Finally once again I do protest your claim that Tawassul and Wasilah are Islamic concepts. They are not. They are Sufi concepts maybe but certainly not Islamic. Finally you claim the prophet's companions sought his intercession after his death. I don't just find this statement incredible but outrageous. The Prophet perfected Islam and left no doubts. Your claim refutes, indeed insults Islam.

Assalam-U-Alaikum Br.Akbar!
If you read my comments carefully, I am not saying that you are lieing nor am I saying that you are trying to
convert anyone. I fully understand that you are quoting from your sources and I am from mine, and in the process
we exchange info and learn from each other. Neither am I accusing anyone of Shirk for I am fully aware of the
consequences of falsely accusing anyone of such a grave sin. I don't want any brother to hold me accountable
before Allah on the day of Judgement and ask how I falsely accused that brother of shirk, I shudder in fear
even at the thought of it, so I have refrained and shall refrain from doing so. All I can say is what shirk is as
per my understanding based on the sources I have read.
Let me clarify my previous comment about Auliya-e-Karam, what I meant was that visiting the graves of pious people
with the intention of worship is wrong simply because none of the great Auliya-e-karam including the names you have
quoted have asked us to go to their graves for the sake of worshipping. Otherwise, visiting the graves itself is
encouraged by our beloved Prophet (SAWS) for it reminds us of our impending death and also reminds us that one day
we must join the ones buried in the grave we are visiting. It instills fear of Allah in our hearts and may become a
guiding factor towards doing good deeds in this passing phase of our short life on Earth. If we want to educate
ourselves about the etiquette of visiting graves, there are a few ahadith which we can refer to. Who knows?
probably Khaja Moinuddin Chisti (RA) may just be following that etiquette while visitng the grave of al-Hujwiri(RA).
Nobody knows what happens to a person inside the grave and it is purely the knowledge of the unseen which nobody
has besides Allah. And, from authentic Hadith texts we know that by His Mercy Allah granted that power to the
Prophet (SAWS) on a couple of occasions. Continued next ........

Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes:

"In the 18th year of the Hijra, during the Khilafa of 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) there was a famine. 'Umar and Bilal (may Allah be well pleased with them) went to the blessed grave of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and said 'Ya Rasulu'llah! Your umma is dying (from hunger). Pray for us that Allah sends us rain'. Later, Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) had a dream in which the Prophet of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) told Bilal to go to 'Umar and convey his salaam, and to inform him that there will be rain and that he should perform salat Istisqa'. This is a very authentic narration"

[Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on Khilafa of 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)]

Hafiz ibn Taymiyya writes:

"In the time of a drought, a person came to our Prophet's grave and complained about the drought. He then saw our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) who told him to go to 'Umar and tell him to perform the salat of Istisqah.There are numerous true narrations similar to this"

[Iqtisa Sirat al Mustaqim, page 373. Imam Bukhari has also discussed this in his book, Ta'rikh al Kabir, under the 'Biography of Malik ad-Dar']

Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani writes:

"A person who came to the grave said: 'Your Umma is dying; supplicate to Allah to send rain.Sayf says: 'The person who made this supplication to the Messenger of Allah was called Bilal ibn al-Harith (may Allah be pleased with him).This narration is authentic"

[al-'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al Bari, chapter on "al Istisqa" ]

The scholar of Masjid an Nabawi, Shaykh al-Jazari, writes:

Dear Moriarty:
Thank you for your understanding and respect, I respect you because of you talked with kindness. I really really appreciated your kind words very much. It is nice to speak to someone who hold a different view, without having that other person call me names and insult me. For that, I am truly grateful for your very kind words.

To get back to the concept of visiting tombs, I just wanted to shed some more light on the issue.
People who visit the tombs of saints (Awliya-Allah), are not worshipping them. I will explain. It is an Islamic concept known as Tawassul (intercession), seeking Wasilah (a means to Allah), the means of another person's closeness to Allah who is Ahad (One). This Wasilah is not only limited to people. Wasilah can be as basic as, reading the Qur'an as an intermediary to get closeness to Allah Subhanahu wa ta 'ala. The Qur'an acts as this intermediary to Allah. Most of the prophets companions saught his intercession. And Many of them saught the prophet's intercession even after he passed away into the life of barzakh (in the grave). The examples I mentioned earlier, of Sahabi Bilal ibn Harith, I will sight for you below.

So in the same light, pious individuals who are Allah's vicegerents on Earth, are all subjects to our leader who is a mercy to the worlds, Sayyidina Muhammad (sawaws).

Awliya-Allah (translated as Saints in english) dedicated their lives to spreading Islam around the world. You will find Muslims not only in India and Pakistan, my good friend, who visit the tombs of Awliya-Allah. These tombs and people who seek the blessings of such locations, are found in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Turkey, Bosnia, Chechnya, etc.

It is a matter of understanding the concept properly. Just like the author of this article, Sayyed Hossein Nasr, will say the same thing, that Tawassul is not worshipping graves.

Getting back

Assalam-U-Alaikum Br.Akbar!
If you read my comments carefully, I am not saying that you are lieing nor am I saying that you are trying to convert anyone. I fully understand that you are quoting from your sources and I am from mine, and in the process we exchange info and learn from each other. Neither am I accusing anyone of Shirk for I am fully aware of the consequences of falsely accusing anyone of such a grave sin. I don't want any brother to hold me accountable before Allah on the day of Judgement and ask how I falsely accused that brother of shirk, I shudder in fear even at the thought of it, so I have refrained and shall refrain from doing so. All I can say is what shirk is as per my understanding based on the sources I have read.
Let me clarify my previous comment about Auliya-e-Karam, what I meant was that visiting the graves of pious people with the intention of worship is wrong simply because none of the great Auliya-e-karam including the names you have quoted have asked us to go to their graves for the sake of worshipping. Otherwise, visiting the graves itself is encouraged by our beloved Prophet (SAWS) for it reminds us of our impending death and also reminds us that one day we must join the ones buried in the grave we are visiting. It instills fear of Allah in our hearts and may become a guiding factor towards doing good deeds in this passing phase of our short life on Earth. If we want to educate ourselves about the etiquette of visiting graves, there are a few ahadith which we can refer to. Who knows? probably Khaja Moinuddin Chisti (RA) may just be following that etiquette while visitng the grave of al-Hujwiri(RA). Nobody knows what happens to a person inside the grave and it is purely the knowledge of the unseen which nobody has besides Allah. And, from authentic Hadith texts we know that by His Mercy Allah granted that power to the Prophet (SAWS) on a couple of occasions. Continued next ........

If one practices a cult belief based upon the worship of saints, he should be free to do so; but he should not try and give the impression that his convictions - true or false, are the proper explanation of Islamic philosophy and theology. Given Mr. Khan's Indian background I can see why he feels the way he does. In my recent sojourn to India, I did witness rather peculiar form of worship. The atmosphere was rather energised by frenzied dancing and raucous singing and lamenting. It was all most interesting, but I was told that it was not representative of Islam. I feel these practices that are obviously contrary to Islamic belief and teachings, stem from the fact that the concept of Islam held by many Indian Muslims is coloured by centuries old and entrenched Hindu customs, beliefs and practices. Hindu revere their priests and saints to a level, which Muslims only reserve for God. So I can understand why Mr. Khan feels the way he does, but certainly his views are not common Islamic belief or practice.

Dear BNAK,

I understand what you have said about the Sahabahs. Indeed no one should ever curse them, nauzubillah. And just as we should not curse the Sahabahs, we should not disrespect the Syedeena Muhammad (sawaws) Ahl' al-Bayt either. They are both to be respected and admired for this is the adab of Ahl' as Sunnah wa'l Jam'aah.

As far as your comment go on Awliya al-Karaam, I disagree with you. Khawaja Moin'uddin Chishti (ra), upon entering India, went to the tomb of Hazrat Ali al-Hujwiri in Lahore, and spent 40 days in seclusion at his grave. That is brother, one Wali visiting and spending time at the tomb of another Wali. This is where Khawaja Moin'uddin Chishti (ra) pronounced the title of al-Hujwiri (ra) as being Daata Ganj Baksh (the bestower of treasures). So can we say that Khawaja Moin'uddin Chishti (ra) was doing wrong here? I just ask the simple question, who are we in the 21st century to say such things against anyone, whether it be the Sahaba al-Karaam or the Ahl' al-Bayt, Tabi'een or Awliya al-Karaam? So yes brother I have looked at the history of Awliya-Allah and their example is as such. In fact the Sahabah hadhrat Bilal (radi'Allahu anhu) visited the tomb of Sayyidina Muhammad (sawaws) when there was a drought, no rain. Imam Shafi'e (ra) visited and make seclusion at the tomb of Imam Abu Hanifah (ra) to meditate and find inspiration and a solution to a problem which was bothering him. This is recorded by Imam Shafie's (ra) own students. These are Tabi'een and Tabi' Tabi'een I am talking about here. Why would I lie, do you think I am trying to convert anyone? No, I am trying to show that people should be careful in accusing others of Shirk - it is the only thing which Allah Subhanahu wa ta 'ala does not forgive for and damns you to hellfire for eternity, and if a Muslim is wrong in accusing the other Muslim of Shirk, the accuser is putting him or herself at risk of being punished. That's all I'm saying.

I had a few comments about the importance of Ahadith in Islam. In Quran, Allah exhorts mankind to follow the Prophet (SAWS) for he's the best of Allah's creations and the best example to follow. Now, wasn't it easier to follow this Quranic injunction for those people who lived during the lifetime of the holy
Prophet (SAWS) and who saw the Prophet (SAWS) in flesh and blood? But what about us who came 100s of years after the death of the Prophet (SAWS) and how are we supposed to follow the Prophet without the guidance from Hadees?
Now, we all know that the Prophet (SAWS) never
said or did anything on his own accord but ONLY as Guided and Commanded by Allah. And, whatever the Prophet(SAWS) said and did is indisputably part of Islam. On this basis we simply cannot reject any hadith because, Hadees are part and parcel of Islam, and the Quran and Hadith are inseparable from each other, for the simple
reason that Quran commands mankind while Ahadith describe how to carry out a specific commandment of the Quran by following the way of the Prophet (SAWS) and his companions who lived with the Prophet (SAWS)and saw the Prophet (SAWS) carrying out Allah's commandments. This is the conclusion of many greatscholars in Islam. Now, it is understandable that any person can come up with some whim or fancy of his own and attribute that to the Prophet (SAWS) and thats exactly where our great Hadith Scholars like Imam Bukhari (RA), Imam Muslim (RA), Imam Abu Dawood (RA) and countless number of other great scholars come into the picture, who have devoted their entire life sifting through the Hadiths and researching every single hadith and making sure that the hadith is indeed authentic before putting it down on the paper. Their intensive work does not just end there. They have also studied the life and character of every single person who's involved in the chain of narration of all the hadiths they came across. continued further .....

Ahmed Asghar by your logic you must by now have have a very painful and scarred head from all the times you smashed it against walls, because as you state yourself you have to hit it against the wall as its so full of contradictions related to the Koran. You are right one should not mock fellow Muslims, particularly the companions of the Prophet Mohammed Peace on Him, such as Abu Hureira, who was a close friend of the Prophet. You seriously think the good Prophet would let a liar hang around him. Looking for a liar look in the mirror and go and bandage your head. It must hurt a lot.

Saleem, I have simple words for you. When a Muslim person mentions the name of our blessed prophet, we say Muhammad Sal' Allahu alaiyhi wa sallam. You talk about respecting Habib-Allah, yet you cannot even say the words, Sal' Allahu alaiyhi wa sallam after his name? ..
There is no FUN way. YOu don't know anything about ilm at-Tassawwuf. Allah Subhanahu wa ta 'ala does not look at our outwardly appearances, He looks at our hearts. It is because of people who forget the importance of tazkiyya an-nafs in Islam, that Tasawwuf is used in order to preserve this vital and core part of being a Muslim. I urge you to show some respect for our prophet, do not use his name in vain without sending blessings upon him whenever his name is mentioned, or else that person who does not is simply a miser.

Islam is a pure religion. As Muslims we submit to Allah and obey. We obey the command of Allah Subhanotalah that is made clear by his Prophet Mohammed Peace be upon him. If there is any doubt or confusion about how to do any thing the proper Islamic way you only have to see the example set by Prophet Mohammed and his companions i. If you take a gallon of the purest and the most delicious milk and add to it even a drop of some foul pollutant, even if you do not taste that pollutant, but if you knew that the milk was contaminated you would never drink. Similarly miscreants and those who wish to hurt Islam's image and Muslims cleverly repeat 100 Truths mixed with 1 Lie. It is this 1 Lie that does most damage. People in the West are more open to the Sufi concept because it seems like the "Fun" way, nothing to do with religion, only to have a good time singing and dancing, not realizing that those misleading put doubt in their mind by sneakingly cursing the prophet by indirectly cursing the good companions of Prophet Mohammed by saying shameful lies about our prophet's wives or his daughters. Sufism is nothing but a philosophy based upon half baked truths, singing, dancing, drinking and claiming that they have some divine right to do so and misguiding other Muslims. You want to be a good Muslim stick to the program. Deviating away from path prescribed by Allah, to pleasure your senses or please white people or some silly claim to higher understanding and closeness to Allah by chanting, singing, dancing and drinking is ridiculous. I question any Sufi, Who was more close to Allah Subhanotalah their Sufi masters and leaders or our Prophet Mohammed Peace be on him? Which book has more weight and stirs hearts and guides, their wonderful Sufi Books of Philosophy or the Quran and Hadees? No Sufi champions could even compare himself to the sand that fell from thefeet of any companion of the Prophet.

Akbar Khan, the reason why no one debates you is because no one reads your ... The only reason I am responding to your .. is because you have specifically addressed me. Since my conversion to Islam I have never been happier, however I will state that had I accepted Islam blindly and let myself be deceived by these "glamorous Sufis" with their singing, dancing and chanting nonsensical poems and amusing claims to mysticism, that seemed then so unusual and appealing, I most certainly would have been misled by this beguiling Sufi sect. All I found Sufi teachers "expounding" were their pathetic egos and venomous hate towards Arabs, Chechnyans, Afghans, A Wahabis and just about anyone who did not agree with them. Would one dare to critique their philosophy and their facts they would immediately brand you a traitor and a heretic or claim that you were "not ready", as if we were ingredients to some exotic soup they were cooking - but all they were cooking was hate and spite towards other Muslims. Upon investigation we found, interestingly enough, that Sufi organisations received substantial aid and support from both the US government during the Clinton years and also from the present Russian administration. I found it bewildering that they exempted themselves from the very necessary act of prayer. All they did was make fantastic claims about their paranormal abilities which they could neither produce nor substantiate and if challenged would immediately defer to this saint and that saint and this book and that book. They all had a bone to pick with the companions of the prophet calling them hypocrites and that Arabs and Chechnyans and Afghans were all going to go to hell. Islam is not made ugly by us seeking a proper, sensible and realistic path to truth and enlightenment, it is however indeed done a great disservice by the likes of you who foment hatred and push an agenda that is indeed suspect. You go your way and I will mine.

lhernandez. peace be upon you. no i do not wish to be cremated. it is in my will to be given a proper islamic burial just like my forefathers who did so as they were told by quran to do so since habeel and qabeel story and that of the bird. like everything else quran has explained it all. hadeeth has become like talmud for many muslims. the jews revere talmud more than torah. jaffar ibn sadiq was a grand son of our beloved prophet. he said a wise thing which pays to remember: "if a hadeeth conform to quran then accept it, if it contradicts quran then hit it against the wall"., meaning ignore it. perhaps you should study early islam and see that the prophet himself forbade writing down his sayings for fear of confusion. the prophet could have easily written down such a manual of his own thoughts but we have no such writing from the prophet. think: why not? because he gave us the best of the manuals. It is the quran: the perfect word of God. whereas muawiya employed people like abu-hurairah to write ahadith that were to the liking of himself and that denegraded ali ibn abi-talib because he did not like ali since ali would not accept muawiya's debauchery. still, if it makes you follow the quran and clarifies god's word for you as god intended then only He guides the souls and He knows best how to guide souls to His light. but i would refrain from making mockery of another believing brother.

Present day sufis? Winfred, honestly grow up. Your attempt at trying to shove the history of Sufi thought of over 1000 years, long before any new age salafists and others even existed, Sufi's were expounding the inner secrets of the heart. You think it's modern day sufis? Man, go and read the book called Kashf al-Mahjub, by Ali bin Uthman al-Hujwiri, which was written in the 10th and 11th centuries. Modern day Sufis.

Where do you get off getting so egotistical and self righteous? Waiting for more self-proclaimed fatwas, i'm sure, bring it on. I will provide you with my evidences. IN the last article, prophet of mercy, not one of you responded back to my arguments and proofs, yet assured me that you would. Stop this and clear the way for the beauty of Islam, stop making it ugly and depressing and scary for others.

as salaamu alaikum ahki....beautiful piece...brought me to tears...alhamdulilah

When I accepted Islam, it became clear that the Quran was my guide towards success in this world and the next and the Hadees clarified for me that guidance, in the form of detail instructions to help me perform my daily obligations as a Muslim. Allah tells me in the Quran to pray. The Hadees tells me how to perform my pray. The initial ablution, the specific words of prayer to the complete process of prayer and submission to Allah is all explained in the Hadees. And this is not limited to the correct performance of prayers only. From birth to death and some enlightment on life after death, it is the Hadees that provides me with the necessary instructions on how to live my life based upon the example set by our prophet Mohammed (Peace be On Him). Whether its the percentage of Zakat due, or the birth and death rites, or marriage rites and responsibilities, obligations to family, friends, neighbors, the orphans, the needy, proper conduct and business transactions, divorce ..I could go on, but in short the Hadees is the instructions manual. Imagine if there were no hadees, how would you say your prayers? How would you determine how much Zakat to pay. How would you know the rites involved on a Muslim's birth or his or her death? Maybe when Ahmed Asgher dies respecting his wishes not to abide by the Hadees, his family can toss a coin and if its heads cremate him in dazzling big bornfire OR tails - dress him in pink clothes, dig a hole and bury him - head first. Maybe then, though in life he had no sense so maybe in death standing on his head- he might-not that it would do him any good then.

Assalmu alaikum
It is nice to read all your comments once again after a long absence. I do like Akbar khans comments and those from Zinnedine come from the heart. True muslim follows the word of Quran alone. By all means read the Sunna but understand that it was written by human hands and each one of those had political/worldy motives. Sure amongst them were pious men and you will find their words conform to Allah's words and that is fine but let us not elevate them to the level of worship. Besides were there is conflict then assuredly we must follow Quran and not even mention such ahadith - they remain ahadith, "sayings" attributed to persons- the prophet himslef never set out to write such 'ahadith'. He only wrote down the word of Allah. Abu Hurairah was a liar and was labelled as such by no lesser person than Aisha r.a.a. So, whoever puts this guys' word above that of Allah can never claim to be a Muslim. It pays to remember that being a muslim means submitting oneself to the will of Allah. As far as we can see as Muslims we are blessed with One Book which we truly believe is the word of Allah and we must never associate others with HIM for they are all His creatures, good , bad and ugly and a true Muslim learns from all the three, including Satan himslef for he too teaches us how to be God-fearing, especially when we read what punishment awaits Satan. Subhaana'Allah who gives guidance to his chosen creatures. May His peace envelope us all. Brothers/sisters just read the Quran early hours of the morning as instructed by Sura 73 and see how your heart sings for Allah's love and forgivenss. Everything else drives us away from HIM especially labelling each other with foul names. is there any wonder that we have no unity between muslims. May peace of Allah overtake our own 'self'. Ameen.

I think the argument by Adam Ibrahim Muhammad and BNAK deserves merit. Present day Sufis indeed seem to be focused on damaging Islam with their intentional misinterpretation of the hadees and the Koran. Their apologist and back sliding attitude only betrays the true nature of their intent - to dilute Islam into something more palatable to Western sensibilities -an institution of meaningless, though entertaining rituals resembling the mess that Christianity and Judaism are today. I would be careful of such miscreants as Akbar Khan on this panel who persists in his indefatigable attempt to misguide and misrepresent Islam.

Br Akbar,
Let's not get angry at another brother's comments and try to express our opinions and try to back them up with a valid Daleel (evidence from Quran or Hadith) and in the process learn from each other. If we don't agree with someone else's opinion, then let's respectfully disagree. We're all part of one Ummah and ought to be with each other like brothers, lest our enemy take advantage of our in-fighting. Disagreement with each other leads to debate ( a healthy debate hopefully) which in turn leads into more discussion and in the process we learn from each other. If you disagree with a comment of br. Adam then please let Br. Adam know what you disagree with that he said and backup your counter-opinion with relevant daleel and Br.Adam shall do the same.
I apologize in advance if I unintentionally offended you or anyone else.

Peace to all.

Assalamu Alaikum brothers and sisters in Deen!
I have gone through all the comments posted in the past. I fully concur with the views/comments of Br.Adamu Ibrahim Muhammad.

Peace to all!

The article did not say completely what really JIHAD is according to the Qur'an and Sunnah. We should remember that fighting the enemies of Allah is part of Jihad. Let's stop being apologetics. Islam is the truth and there is nothing to hide.



The One God, Who has absolutely no partner, at all, has created us from nothing and we shall be buried back in this earth, no doubt at all. Why should we then, not guide ourselves and others to the Way of Paradise and stop ourselves from Hell-fire and others as well. This is the bottom-line meaning of Jihad. The next life is never ending life with delights over delights which none define in this world. This we should explain to ourselves and all around us, Insha Allah.

You .. don't have one percent of the Islamic knowledge that Seyyed Hossein Nasr has, ready to give fatwas against this muslim or that person for being a coward or for using the "wrong" word. Man get over yourselves, stop acting like you are an Alim or Mufti. ..


Jihad an Nafs is an ongoing inner struggle against once own self, every Muslim go through this while in peace or at war. These inner struggles make a Muslim to a Momin, and it required a heart of a Momin to went out in a battle field to fight in the cause of Allah.

The Mujahadeen are actually at the winning side of the Jihad an Nafs.

Jihad an Nafs is not the replacement of Jihad in battle field against the enemies of Islam but it actually prepare a Muslim for it.

The cowards (among muslims) are trying to replace one with the other.

Allah knows the best

half the truth is worst than a lie. why are we trying to please the west ? you view is what the west would like to listen and what our leaders in the muslim world would like their people to believe CLOSE YOUR EYES AND CONTINUE WITHJIHAD A NAFS AND LET OUR ENEMIES DECIDE OUR DESTINY.very likely ALLAH will destroy us and replace us with nation that will more grateful.

Asalaam Aleikum,
Quite interesting and echoes the Sufi tradition of ascetism and inner relfection. Indeed, the greater Jihad is the spiritual struggle against ones own self, the nafs, from its whims and desires and engage in the remembrance of Allah the Most High. However, one must not negate the Jihad of those protecting their lands from oppressive imperialists, though it is the lesser Jihad, it is the incumbent Jihad upon those living in those lands.

Wa Aleikum Salaam

I went through all the past comments and I must say that they are interesting. They also contain a lot that needed clarifications.

This is 2005, as I notice the comments were all done 2004. But this much I have to say:

There is no place for any ISM in Islam. All innovations are prohibited! Who says so? The Prophet (SAW) in his famous-AUTHENTIC-tradition where he says amongst other things...ALL (KULLU) innovations are dalalah (bad, astray). I know Suffists and all the Dariqah followers have a way of changing the meaning of the word KULLU to have two meanings. But check any dictionary ask any Arabic scholar the meaning of KULLU is always ALL. Now the Prophet (SAW) that said this is also the only person to say ..except this or that. As one brother want us to believe that some innovations are good(?). The prophet (SAW) says ALL somebody says SOME! Who are we to believe?

Another interesting comment is that Allah promised to protect only the Quran but not the Sunnah..Did HE? Who was the Quran sent to in bits as revelation in order that he TEACHES (the key word) this revelation to all mankind? If the prophet (SAW)'s words that he used to teach or explain the Quran is not protected then by simple implicative law of logic the Quran is not equally protected -Wa'iyazu Billah. You see, people know what to say but they don't know the replies they will get.

Also the Prophet (SAW) told us that those that follows his teachings and the teachings of those of his SAHABA will be on true guidance. So if Ummar (No. 2 in line of the Sahabas) introduce a teaching (ie if we agree with the antagonist) into the Deen, this should not be equated with innovation. It is Islamic, period. Any other person wether among the Tabiun or Tabiu-ttabiun or the subsequent generations, cannot and should not introduce into this religion of ours anything that does not belongs to it, cos it will be REJECTED.

I like a comment about Suffism being equated with Zuhd. Yes it is true..

There would seem to be perhaps ten verses in the Qur'an which indicate that burial is indeed the "approved method" for taking care of deceased individuals. I am hoping to offer some comfort, however, for those whose dearly departed perhaps were not (or even simply could not be) accommodated in accordance with tradition.

Sahih Muslim Book 037, Number 6637:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying that a person who had never done any good deed asked the members of his family to burn his dead body when he would die and to scatter half of its ashes over the land and half in the ocean. (Because he was afraid that) if Allah finds him in His grip, He would torment him with a torment with which He did not afflict anyone amongst the people of the world; and when the person died, it was done to him as he had commanded (his family) to do. Allah commanded the land to collect (the ashes scattered on it) and He commanded the ocean and that collected (ashes) contained in it (so that he was put together again). Allah questioned him why he had done (what he did). He said: "My Lord, it is out of Thine fear that I have done it and Thou art well aware of it" and Allah granted him pardon.

For me personally the lessons in the above hadith are that Allah can do anything, that all of us return entirely to Allah no matter what, and that Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) has absolute command over time as well as absolute command over substance. The hadith does not suggest to me that I should assume I can get by without doing any good - but it does suggest that fearing Allah even at the end of life could, if Allah wills, save a person from despair in the hereafter.

Jazak Allahu khair - for the link to "Burying not Cremating is the Abrahamic tradition" (provided in the "Editor's Response" to my previous submission for this article on Jihad). Insha'Allah I like it when others try to share something with me for Allah's sake.

I noticed that clicking on the link provided in the response opened up the article (on burial) within the (unresizable) comment window itself. The editor might perhaps wish to consider modifying the "href" attribute (in the source file) so that it includes a specification of target="_new" - so that it would for example appear as ...Articles.asp?ref=IC0208-1728" target="_new">...

I have tested this and it seems to work satisfactorily on my own machine. I realize there are surely many different aspects to managing IslamiCity's web pages but perhaps the above suggestion might be helpful.

May you receive peace and Allah's mercy and blessings (Ameen).

Wa'alaikum-assalam wa'rahmatullahi Akbar Khan. I was wondering about something that I suppose sounds rather strange. As yet, I know very little about Muslim burial practices. It is not my wish to offend anyone with the following thought. Perhaps the remains of beloved Muslimen could be re-interred at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Who knows? Perhaps in some way our dearly departed might once again lead their seemingly disoriented ummah to victory.

Again, I do not wish to cause offense - but in my view one day all of this will go away - regardless of what mankind does or does not do. Providing that we keep that in mind, to me it simply seems better to oppose idolatry through education rather than (intentional) demolition. In the meantime, perhaps adversaries of the ummah of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wassalam) might for reasons of their own seek peace with the Prophet's ummah. If not... well... allahu alim... wa subhanallah.

And rest assured, my brother. Indiana Jones would not best my personal preference for the business at hand. Besides - it sounds as if he is already on site, in Jerusalem, looking for the ark. Such a mess - may God help them to see the light. Of course, I would have to admit that their toil has definitely served as an inspiration. Glory be to God. (And may peace descend on us all.)

I begin by invoking the name of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

Salaam once again,

br Zinedine I am quite shocked by the comment of Mohammed Qassem as well, that is truly digusting, I agree with you.

Then I read Abu Jibreel's comment as well, he's saying the same thing that the only meaning of Jihad is physical fighting - then he goes on to say that according to the ahadith, Riba (usury), and Zina (lust, fornication), mean the same thing.

Now I don't know what kind of books these guys are reading, but I can most certainly tell everyone that these guys individuals, if they believe that they are supposed to attack someone offensively for an unqualified reason, then they are both on the wrong track. Obviously neither of them knows what it's like to be in Afghanistan or Iraq, but they talk as if they'd know what to do.

So Abu Jibreel, if you are saying that Jihad encompasses an aspect of fighting in the way of Allah to defend your family, community, yourself even, from oppressors, then I understand. I am no one to judge a Muslim on the battlefield anyways because I do not know his/her circumstances coming up to that point. The main thing I am concerned with is what you stated adn demonstrated as your point of view. It seems like you have a limited scope of understand for jihad. And please enlighten me as to how Zina and Riba mean the same thing? Nauzobillah I might be wrong and you may be right, so please let me know...otherwise as far as I know and have always known them to be two totally seperate and distinctly sinful acts....

Aside from all that...this is what I am worried about, that many Muslims who start to think like this, are turning into demons...and zombies, they don't think straight or clear, and they scare and intimidate non-muslims by saying things like that because they've gone WHACKY! Please brohters and sister, do not turn into freaky demons and zombies.

Wa alaikumu salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I have always held you in high esteem for your good & continuous contributions! I am glad to hear that you are tolerant of others because Allah the Most patient requires that we be patient with those who disagree with us. Btw: You stated a fact in one of your conversations with brother Akbar that there the Jews are prominent in Science...Yes there is a great deal of scientists within the Jewish community & there are many reasons for this reality; one of them is the fact that the Renaissance era, the Sephardic Jews spent 200 years translating valuable Islamic scientific books from Arabic into Latin. Besides the Scots, the Jews were Andalusia's Muslim scholars best students. They kept that tradition alive & kicking beyond the advent of the Bourgeoisie & Capitalism. Being the world's top bankers also helped & the huge budgets that the West pumps into scientific research are other reasons among others. Please let me know if you have any questions about the Moors history!

May Allah bless you,


Assalaamu'Alaiykum Wa Rahmatullah,

Br. Yahya, I guess the reason why they don't transport the tombs of the sahabi is simply b/c they don't even care about preserving the house of Prophet Muhammad (saaw), or of his wife Khadija (ra.a)...and 60 percent of the Saudi population is illiterate. I do think it is quite a big task for them to be willing to airlift such important islamic sites to be sitting in a museum somewhere, while members of Ahl' As-Sunnah Wa'l Jam'ah merely wish for the graves of sahabi to be respected. It is a great sin to desecrate any grave, for one is disturbing the resting place of someone who is deceased. As Muslims we know that the dead do undergo a phase while in the grave, so I mean, do they not respect this fact, for the companions of hte prophet! By Allah they should be ashamed of themselves, greatly. The Saudi Royal Family, really needs to openly declare it's past relationship with American Oil Conglomerates and it's installation by the British, being put in as British agents after the loss of control over the Hijaaz by the Ottoman Khalifah.

Saudi Royal Family has 1 trillion U.S. dollars of theirs invested into U.S. corporations, as you saw in Michael Moore's film as well, this represent's 8 percent of the U.S. economy. Now imagine, could such a group of people care to ship the graves of the dear sahabi or the houses of the companions and family of the Prophet (saaw), to other Muslim populated nations, while they cannot even use their oil wealth to teach their own people to learn how to read and write...? Insha'Allah that day will come, when King Abdullah, King Abdullah of Jordan, King Assad, Hosni Mubarak, the Kuwaiti Royal family, and all these other jokers get off their highhorses and plant their feet onto firm ground, and give back to their people, raise them up...??? It is quite a dream I understand...but at least I did answer you question br. Yahya! :-D Wassalaamu'Alaiykum wa Rahmatullah.

Jazak Allah khair for your kinds words, Zinedine. (Wassalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu.) Insha'Allah it will be helpful for you to hear that many of your comments have led me to become more tolerant of other believers who in some way or another seem different than me. Additionally, you might find it interesting that, specifically because of your comments, I have actually striven (for real) to become more interested in the history and culture of the Maghreb - as well as in the welfare of those who call it home - masha'Allah.

It's been two months or so that I have written for islamcity because I was traveling and on training for my company but I always appreciate this beautiful website's articles and your comments brothers and sisters namely Yahya, Akbar, Ahmed, Hudd, Adamo & Umm Muhammad. Sorry if I forget anyone with valuable contributions.
I found some non-Muslims comments encouraging others appalling but this is expected though; what really bothers me are ignorant people like Mohammed Qasem making ridiculous statements such as "Jihad is the sword, all those who want to equate the self purification with it are failures and fools...Jehad is the act of struggle by force in the way of Allah to defend, to propagate, to scare the S out of the unbelivers too". Your statements about Jihaad show us who the real fool is, Ya mughaffal!
Preemptive is what you call Jihad...astaghfirullah! What's the difference then between your way of thinking and the way the terrorist Bush thinks?. Will people achieve peace and prosperity by attacking one another or by tolerating one another:
Remember boy that Allah said: "Lo people, We created you from male and female & turned you into tribes and nations so that you recognise each other (tolerate each other, not attack each other). Verily, the best amongst you are the ones that fear Allah the most". little warrior, you need to remember Allah's words again: "There is no compulsion in religion".
And read Akbar's comments about Ihsaan, you need to spend 45 minutes a day in dhikr: Say: La ilaha illa Allah for 15 minutes after Fajr, 15 minutes after Maghrib and 15 minutes after Isha' to soften your hard heart because the opposite of Dhikr is Ghafla and you are in a state of ghafla. These sessions will help you turn your foolish enthusiasm (hamas) into discipline (tarbia), the animalistic urge to attack others & them to convert them to Islam into the angelic drive to educate them & revert them to Islam's universal Fitra, (human nature).

Wa'alaikum Assalam br. Akbar. So if the Wahhabis don't want those shrines then why don't they donate and possibly even transport them to countries such as a Sufi or Shiite region within Afghanistan or somewhere in Bangladesh, which could surely benefit from increased revenue from tourism?

Jazak Allah khair for all the material by the way. I am still trying to digest it all. Barakatuhu.

Assalaamu'Alaiykum br. Zinedine, where'd you disappear to???

I am not accusing anyone of doing anything, I just want to clarify the position of Sufiyya. Those who follow the Qadiri, Naqshbandi, Mevlevi, and Chisti orders, are part of the Ahl' As-Sunnah Wa'l Jama'ah. I can say this because they follow rightly guided caliphs and saints! I can confirm this by quoting what Ibn Taymiyya says about seekng guidance from those who follow saints and rightly guided Imams. This is very interesting b/c the Wahhabi/Salafi branch is quite different from Ahl' As-Sunnah Wa'l Jam'ah in that respect, and it is even more interesting that Muhammad bin Abd' Al-Wahhab (born in Huraimila in Najd in 1111 (1699 A.D.)), followed the teachings of Ibn Taymiyyah, the leader of Salafi thought, in his Aqeedat-il-Wasitiyyah (pg. 154) says: "Their creed is the religion of Islam which was sent to the world by Allah through the Prophet (Peace be upon him). But the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, 'My Ummah will get divided into 73 sects and each one will go to Hell save one and that one is the Jama'at.' Also in one Hadith he said, 'They are those people who will follow this path which I and my Sahaba follow today.' Therefore they have caught hold of Islam unalloyed from every adulteration and these are the people of Ahl as-Sunnah Wa'l Jama'ah. This group includes the truthful, the martyrs and the virtuous; it includes the minarets of guidance, lamps in the darkness and owners of such superiorities and virtues who have been already mentioned. It includes the saints and also those Imams on whose guidance Muslims are unanimous. It is this successful group about which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) has said: 'One group from my Ummah will always remain dominant with truth; the opponents will never be able to harm its members or afflict them up to the Doomsday.'"

Lets not allow non-Muslims to define our religion for us any longer. Stop being ashamed of Islam and apologising for Jihad and polygamy and a host of other things in our religion that are not compatible with Western Culture.
Islam is superior to any other kind of life.
There is no need to change, add or subtract one bit of it!

Salaamu alaikum, I miss you brothers!

There are two types of Ahl Zuhd wa Tazkia, aka, Sufia which is derivative from Soof, the Arabic word for wool, because they wear wool all seasons.
Sofia, a Greek word, that means wisdom and let me tell you that most Suffis are wise Muslims but some are unfortunately Zanadiqa, the Arabic word for immature people. The Islamic term that we must use is Ahl Zuhd wa Tazkia, not Sufism, Sufia or Tasawuuf etc. Some of the famous members of Ahl Zuhd wa Tazkia are Imam Ali, may Allah bless his noble face, Al-Iz ibn Abdessalaam, Abdu Allah ibn Adham, Muhammad, Al-Nafs Zakia, Abu Hamed Alghazali etc. Most of them were Mujahideen with the whole meaning of the word Jihad. The word Jihad is derivative from the word Juhd and not Jhd as the author states. Some deviant members of Ahl Al-istishraq, are found among Toroqueen, derivative word of Tariqua, those are the dancers i.e., the Dervishes of Turkey, Lebanon & Syria that claim that they inherited the dancing tradition based on their assumption that Sahabi Abu Bakr Siddiq, radia Allahu anhu, danced after the messenger of Allah designated him as one of the ten Sahaba that are promised Jannah, paradise. Noted Islamic scholars states that Abu bakr never danced upon hearing the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) message. There is another kind of Toroquieen that have deviated from the path of Ahl Zuhd wa Tazkia, those are few anyways as some of their masters stop worshipping Allah altogether. The reason behind this immature decision is their interpretation of the word Yaquin, meaning death but can be understood as certainty: " Worship your Lord until (your reach the state of certainty) you die". If you ask them how come you stopped praying, a master of this Tariqa would answer: I have been blessed by Allah, I reached received the state of certainty.

Wa la hawla wa la qu'wata illa billah,

The riwayah about lesser and greater Jihad is not from the mouth of Rasool-Ullah (saw). It has been dismissed by the renowned scholar Ibn Hajr al-'Asqalaani (rh).

The only Islamic meaning of Jihad, is fighting. In the language Jihad is striving, but in Islamic termonoligy it is fighting (qitaal). Also one can not translate the word Jihad as holy war (harb al-muqaddasa). It is impossible to mean this. Therefore the only Shari' meaning of Jihad is fighting in the way of Allah (swt), and nothing else, in terms of termonoligy. In the language Riba is increase, but in the termonoligy it's forbidden to do this type of transaction, and it's equivalent is zina (fornication), according the hadith.

Therefore we should not confuse the terms and give them meanings which are not applicable anymore.

Abu Jibreel

Indeed brother Yahya there is a science to purifying one's self. It is referred to as Tasawwuf, a technical term which describes a spiritual state, Ihsan as mentioned in the famous hadith of Jibril; a process known as Tazkiyyat an-Nafs (purification of the lower self) is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an. They are both acceptable in Islam as long as they do not take a superstitious direction. Ihsan is a form of purification of hte heart, and is an important part of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saaw), and a teaching of the Holy Qur'an. This definition of Tasawwuf I have just given is clearly and in detail, explained by Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Kathir, and all the other great scholars of the four madhabs of Shari'ah. Many negative connotations have been attributed to Tasawwuf by so-called authorities on the subject - Orientalists, Modernists who reject the historical fact of tasawwuf practiced across the Islamic world. However because of this, if someone is uncomfortable with using the word Tasawwuf, they can use something else, like Ihsan if they wish to follow the spiritual path of cleansing the heart of Vices. In 1400 pages of Ibn Taymiyya's Ilk as-Sulook, Volume 10, and Volume11 (at-Tasawwuf). In his great work he never denied Tasawwuf but built upon it. Now if he is the great Shuyukh al-Islam who the Wahhabi's differentiate from Sufi's, then they should read these chapters of his book to actually see that you cannot follow the Sunnah path without embracing Tasawwuf/Ihsan.

So back to your answer about what you think about when you think Sufi or Wahhabi, I thought I could share some knowledge with you regarding this. There is indeed a science to purifying yourself in Islam, and it is a method known as 'Ilm at-Tazkiyyah/'Ilm ul-Ihsan; There are many other sciences involved in Tasawwuf/Sufism/Ihsan....and these were developed by great Scholars of the past - 'Ilm al-Qur'an, 'Ilm al-Bayan, 'Ilm at-Tafsir, and many other Ulum (sciences)

Wassalaamu'Alaiykum once again Yahya,

I totally udnerstand where you rae coming from in your difficulties in discussing many issues with many brothers here who may not realize that there are many issues which you are exploring, and they themselves should think about replying to you in a sincere manner. That is one reason I have never jumped at you brother, simply because I realize that you raise many questions. Just look at the writings of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who wrote the poem, Shikwa...he says in his poem as if he is critiquing God, and the Mullah's of his time were furious, calling for someone to kill him...but didn't realize that the great man wrote a reply to those questions raised in Shikwa, on the basis of the teachings of the Glorious Qur'an, he replied and refuted his own questions he raised in his poem Shikwa with Jawab-e-Shikwa..then the Mullah's backed off and cooled down adn realized that their rash nature really made them into looking like fools.

I am sorry if I gave you the wrong impression, that I may be attacking wahhabism. That is not the case, my case is simply put that I am tired of Wahhabi's and those who undertake their methodology, of trying to enforce their rulings of Fiqh and their version of Aqeedah upon the biggest body of Muslims in the world, Ahl' As-Sunnah Wa'l Jam'aah. This body is comprised in majority of those who follow Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Shaf'ie, Imam Ahmed, Imam Malik, size-wise in that order, from largest percentage to smallest. Now of those who follow Imam Ahmed, and the particular branch of Wahhabi's from this branch...how are they to accuse Sufi's of worshipping graves, Astagfirullah! Sufi's do not call Wahhabis or Salafi's kaffirs, why do they attack those who follow the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saaw), calling them kaffir? Sufi's do not worship graves, it is called paying tribute to the Awliya (Friends of Allah) who gave their lives for the establishment of this deen.

Wa'alaikum Assalam, Br. Akbar. In the past, I have tried encouraging peaceful discussions of sensitive differences between Muslimen (Arabic/Semitic/Germanic plural for Muslim?) using attempts at humor, nonspecific or indirect criticism, questions about Islam, rhetorical questions (to which I am surprised when I receive answers), admissions of my own ignorance and so forth. Unfortunately, humor and "indirectness" are among the things which do not always seem to have precisely the effect I was hoping for.

Also, the "Muslim consensus" would appear to be that (potentially) sensitive issues should generally be left unmentioned. For the most part, brother, only a few commentators seem inclined to discuss such things. Trying to keep that in mind, I think Sufism is beautiful but I also think Wahabism has merits of its own. I would imagine that quite a lot actually depends on "context" - such as the environment in which a particular movement made what its admirers typically point to as the movement's most notable contributions.

Hopefully your points on Alchemy - or whatever I should be calling it - are not lost on me. When I reflect on the virtues of either Sufism or Wahabism (however) science is not what immediately comes to mind - tolerance, humility, compassion, purity, constancy and self-sacrifice readily come to mind but not science. Actually, a number of sciences, such as medicine and nuclear physics, would (at least within the past century or so) perhaps seem a little more "Jewish" in origin than for example Christian or Buddhist. I would hopefully agree that denying the true source of understanding is unhelpful - and potentially even disastrous (Quran 46:26) - as might be denying the routes by which understanding has come to us.

Br. Yahya, I am not sure if you already know but I just want to clarify how the word Alchemy is a deviation from the true meaning of the arabic word, Al Chemy (The Modern Science). The Latinized alchemy has been given a totally different meaning from its true meaning by previous rulers and kings of Europe who invaded Muslim Spain/Al-Andalus, in order to confuse people about where this word comes from, and how the Modern Science was undertaken by great Islamic scientists such as Ibn Arabi. The word Alchemy itself is a corrupt translation of the Arabic word Chemia. Alchemy in the west as being a word in the english dictionaries really have no relationship to Alchemy and is an invention by itself, that supposedly means amateur; the occult; second or third rate. Also the notion that Al Chemy ended with Muslims and Chemistry began with the Westerners has absolutely no ground either - This is simply because all sciences began in other parts of the world, such as China, the Ancient Middle East, India, and over the centuries graduated to higher levels. Anyways Chemistry began under one form, associated with occult and what not, then when the Muslims inherited and built upon the process and named it Al Chemy or Chemia, they did things like discovering alcohol, nitric and sulphuric acids, silver nitrate, potassium, the process of crystallization adn distillation. It was used in many industrial processes such as tanning, textiles, and the making of perfumes and theapeutic pharmacy.

Anyways I babble a lot but I just felt I should post this - I know Al Chemy has no direct relationship to Jihad, so please forgive me for that. Thanks...wassalaam.

Who is warning you about that "sufi stuff" brother Yahya? Those sufis are part of Ahl as-Sunnah Wa'l Jam'aah...and deserve our rememberance and love. May Allah bless abundantly for the Jihad (struggle) they undertake in their daily lives. To those of Ahlus-Sunnah who follow the Qadiri Tariqah, Naqshbandiyya Tariqah, to the Mevlevi Tariqah, to the Chistiyya Tariqah...may Allah bless them all for reminding us to NOT forget the SUNNAH, and to not forget our beloved, Muhammad Mustafa (saaw)!

This is an important point. I say this because one of the signs of Qiyamat is the loss of the Sunnah. Tawassul, Tassawuf are elements of Islam, and should not be pushed aside by some smart alecks of the 21st century popping up out of nowhere claiming authority over over 1000 years of Islamic tradition and Sunnah practices. May Allah have mercy on such people who try to break up Ahl As-Sunnah Wa'l Jam'aah.

Jihad is the sword, all those who want to equate the self purification with it are failures and fools. If the Prophet PBUH said what the majority of us are saying now, he would not even leave Makkah. Abu Jahl would accepted himm and Abu Lahab too.
Jehad is the act of struggle by force in the way of Allah to defend, to propagate, to scare the S out of the unbelivers too. wassalam Alakum

As-salaamu alaikum all! ... Allah says that He loves when we fight in His as thogh we were a solid cemented structure. The word Allah uses is Qital Meaning: to cut; maim; fight. Don't be scared of these people who take Islam and Allah as a joke. Stand up for Allah and Islam and fall not into disputes. The inner struggles are as important as the outer stuggles, bot are extremely important, but don't let the non-believers redefine our Islam. May Allah Bless all of the Muslims.

Speaking of Alchemy (and struggle) what a wonderfully contructed article! Well done, Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Masha'Allah!