Never shall you attain piety ... indeed Allah-SWT knows it well.
Birr stands for virtue, and its basis lies in the nearness to the Holy Prophet-SW. Prophethood is such a blessing that it renders a Prophet-AS innocent. In other words, one of the Barakah of the Divine Revelation is innocence, which is conferred upon all the Prophets-AS of Allah-SWT .
Attainment Of Birr And Nearness To Prophet-As
Nearness to a Prophet-AS generates a special quality in a believer, that is, repugnance to sin and love for virtue. Because of this quality he enjoys a protection against sin. This is the level that can be termed as an attainment of Birr. Now, if a person is so desperate for material benefit that only for its attainment he declares himself a Muslim, how can he acquire real Islam? Or, if he is so crazy for wealth and power that these stand between him and the Path of Allah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW, he can never attain piety i.e. nearness to Prophethood. Just as the Jews had made religion a source of gaining temporal wealth and power, not only did they fail to believe but also proved to be the worst enemies of Islam. Therefore, it is imperative for a believer to love Allah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW above everything else. He should not hesitate to sacrifice everything to the extent of laying down his life in His-SWT Cause and consider it an honour. And while spending in Allah-SWT’s Way, he must always remember to spend what is good and cherished by him.
According to the traditions of the Companions-RAU, Abu Talha Ansari-RAU owned an orchard named Bearha, which he valued a lot. Upon the revelation of this Ayah, he-RAU presented himself before the Holy Prophet-SW, and said that he-RAU was giving away the said orchard in Allah-SWT’s Name and the Holy Prophet-SW was free to spend of it as he-SW pleased. The Holy Prophet-SW suggested that the orchard was extremely precious and lucrative and that the owner should distribute it amongst his-RAU relatives. He-RAU complied with immediately. Similarly Hadhrat Zaid-RAU bin Harith presented his-RAU most favourite horse to the Holy Prophet-SW, who, in turn, gave it to another Companion Osama-RAU bin Zaid-RAU. He-SW told the donor, who had felt a little grieved over the Holy Prophet-SW’s not keeping the horse to himself, that his-RAU donation has been accepted by Allah-SWT.Hadhrat ‘Umar Farooq-RAU freed his-RAU best maidservant for the sake of Allah-SWT . In simple words, the love for power and wealth or any temporal benefit is the greatest barrier between disbelief and belief. Whoever gets rid of it for the sake of Allah-SWT , may be blessed with guidance. And for a believer, he must spend his most beloved possession in the name of Allah-SWT instead of getting rid of all useless items as if he was paying a ransom. On the other hand it does not mean that one should give away all that he has, but whatever he has to spend by way of voluntary or obligatory charity must be from what is good and valuable, so as to attain nearness to the Holy Prophet-SW, which is the basis of all virtue.
Charity By A Poor Man
It is not necessary that this reward can only be attained by the affluent. In fact, the term “spending in the Cause of Allah-SWT ” encompasses a much larger sphere. Even a poor person can attain this great reward by sacrificing his emotions, desires and his time. He can devote his time to Allah-SWT’s Zikr and worship with care and sincerity. However, it is also not proper that one should altogether withhold used items that he can spare in the way of Allah-SWT , like left over food or used clothing. He should give them away and earn a reward. But it should not be made a practice to spend in Allah-SWT’s Way only that, which is worthless because Allah-SWT is fully Aware of the quality, the motive and the spirit behind it. He-SWT also knows whether it is being done for personal projection or His-SWT pleasure.
As a principle, the greatest barrier between a person and his faith in the Holy Prophet-SW, are his favourite desires. And even when blessed with faith, only that person will indulge in sin who fails to sacrifice his desires for the teachings of the Holy Prophet-SW. But, if one is blessed with this strength, he shall (In-sha-Allah) certainly be blessed with the Holy Prophet-SW’s nearness commensurate to his status.
All food was lawful ... and he-AS was not of the polytheists.
It were these desires, which prevented the People of the Book to accept Islam. Allah-SWT declares that the only way to earn salvation is to forsake their desires while at the same time also reveals the answer to each objection they had raised. For example, they had argued that the abrogation of Divine Commands was improper, because it was not possible that Allah-SWT would issue an order and then change it. Was the one previously revealed incorrect? Whereas the reason for abrogation is not because of any error but Allah-SWT’s Will as to what he prefers, when and when. As long as He-SWT wills, a Command remains valid and viable; and when it is replaced by another that too subsumes countless reasons of wisdom of the Wisest.
The Jews objected that the Holy Prophet-SW consumed camel’s meat and goat’s milk and yet claimed to be the follower of Prophet Ibrahim-AS’s way, while to the best of their knowledge, both were forbidden unto the followers of Prophet Ibrahim-AS.
The Quran refutes their argument and asserts that all eatables were permissible to the Bani Israil except the meat and milk of camel, which Prophet Ya’qub-AS had himself pledged not to consume. And this had taken place before the revelation of Torah, which means that abrogation of Divine Commands had taken place in their Shari’ah too at the request of Prophet Ya’qub-AS who suffered from sciatica and he-AS pledged to give up his-AS favourite food if he-AS recovered. He-AS stood to his-AS words upon recovery, and abstained from consuming camel’s meat as well as milk. On his-AS request these were prohibited unto his-AS children.
So now if the Jews do not accept this they are invited to bring forth the Torah and read it out in order to prove their stance, but they failed to do so and were proved liars. So whoever, after receiving such substantial evidence, resorts lying has indeed fabricated falsehood about Allah-SWT.That is a great transgression and such people are indeed unjust. The Holy Prophet-SW is being told to inform them that Allah-SWT always pronounces the truth and the very thought of falsehood is beyond imagination. And the Quran is Allah-SWT’s Word and is nothing but the truth and obedience to it is Prophet Ibrahim-AS’s Millat. Millat stands for total conformity to someone, with sincerity. This is why it is never associated to Allah-SWT but with the Prophets-AS, for example, Millat-e Musa-AS, Millat-e ‘Isa-AS and Millat-e Muhammad-SW.
The Holy Prophet-SW is the leader of all Prophets-AS and not subordinate to anyone. He-SW himself conveyed the most comprehensive Shari’ah to the entire mankind for all ages to come.
This term here refers to the spirit with which Prophet Ibrahim-AS obeyed Allah-SWT all his-AS life. So it is being enjoined to obey Allah-SWT in the same manner as that was also Islam and this too is Islam. This is why the Command is to adopt Millat-e-Ibrahimi, (the way of Prophet Ibrahim-AS) and not to follow Prophet Ibrahim-AS himself as obedience now will only be to the Holy Prophet-SW. The word Hanifa means that Prophet Ibrahim-AS had devoted himself to the One and only Allah-SWT , dedicating his-AS entire life to the pursuit of His-SWT Pleasure. He-AS certainly was not amongst the idolaters to associate any partners with Allah-SWT nor did any of his likes or desires impeded obedience.
Indeed the first House ..... Allah-SWT is Independent of everything in the universe.
The very first Sanctuary, which was constructed for the entire mankind, was the House of Allah-SWT . According to some scholars it is also the first ever house built on the globe. When Prophet Aadam-AS landed on earth, the angels indicated the site for K’abah on which it was constructed, until later demolished by Prophet Nuh-AS’s Deluge. It was raised on the same foundations once again by Prophet Ibrahim-AS and later reconstructed by Jirham tribe and then by the Amaliqah on the same foundations.
With the passage of time, the building became dilapidated and the Quraish rebuilt it in the early period of the Holy Prophet-SW’s life. His-SW participation in the construction and installation of Hajar-e Aswad, averting a major conflict among the Quraish, is a well-known event. The Quraish made some modifications in the constructions. Firstly, they left out some space from the original foundation laid by Prophet Ibrahim-AS, known as Hatim. The reason for leaving it uncovered being an announcement by the Quraish, that the money to be spent on the reconstruction of K’abah must be lawful and pure. Hence the funds raised from the entire city of Makkah were not enough for the completion of the project. It was therefore, decided that some space be left uncovered.
If only the Muslims of today could learn a lesson from those idolaters, regarding the construction of masaajid! Here donations for building masaajid are collected and used even from the brothels.
The second change made by the Quraish was the closure of the rear exit permanently. The original design had two doors, one for entry at the front and other exactly opposite to it at the back for exit. Lastly they raised the entrance door much above the ground level so as to deny easy access to public and to control the entry into the K'abah.
Later, Hadhrat ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair-RAU, during his-RAU reign in Makkah, rebuilt the K’abah exactly on the foundations laid by Prophet Ibrahim-AS. He-RAU was inspired to do so by a wish that the Holy Prophet-SW had expressed to his-SW beloved wife Hadhrat ‘A’ishah shortly before his-SW eternal journey: “I would really like to demolish the existing construction of the K’abah and rebuilt it on the foundations laid by Prophet Ibrahim-AS, but I am afraid it might cause misunderstandings for the ignorant and the newly converted Muslims.”
Therefore, ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair-RAU fulfilled the desire of the Holy Prophet-SW. But when Hajjaj bin Yusuf conquered Makkah during the reign of the Marwans he demolished the construction done by Hadhrat ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair-RAU who had fallen martyr. He reconstructed it according the same pattern as the Quraish, which exists today. Although Walid bin ‘Abdul Malik bin Marwan himself wanted it to be reconstructed on the foundations laid by Prophet Ibrahim-AS and felt that Hajjaj had erred, but Imam Malik bin Ans-RUA gave a verdict against the demolition. He-RUA said that repeated make and break exercises would encourage the future rulers to do the same. So it was to be left as it was. The entire Ummah accepted this verdict.
The same construction stands today. Only maintenance and repair work continues. The interior columns and the ceiling are made of the very same wood obtained by dismantling a ship, which the Quraish had bought at Jeddah. The Holy Prophet-SW had participated in the construction of the K’abah. (I too have a piece of that wood which the craftsmen had thrown away during the repair work and-a friend picked up and presented it to me).
According to some reports, residential abodes may have existed before K’abah but it was the first Sanctuary for worship for the entire mankind. And it is also reported that the site for K’abah was the first to appear in the form of surf over the surface of water and then from it was spread out the vast expanse of the earth. Hadhrat Abu Zar Ghaffari-RAU once asked the Holy Prophet-SW about the first ever masjid established on the globe. He-SW replied that it was Masjid-al-Haram (the Sacred Masjid), followed by Bait al-Maqdas after a period of forty years. This report proves that Bait al-Maqdas too was built by Prophet Ibrahim-AS and later reconstructed by Prophet Sulaiman-AS on the same foundations.
The phrase “appointed for mankind” indicates that the K’abah has always stood as a centre for mankind and every nation held this Sanctuary in veneration. ‘Allama Samhudi-RUA has recounted amazing incidents in his book Wafa-al-Wafa, which may be referred to for details.
There is a certain element of awe in the cubicle of K’abah, which captivates the hearts. Its Barakah, both intrinsic and extrinsic, cannot be encompassed completely. A city engulfed by a barren sandy desert hosts an unlimited number of people. Its affectionate and hospitable lap welcomes every Muslim round the year and especially during Hajj, it accommodates millions of people simultaneously. And not a single guest has ever gone hungry or without lodging nor has ever experienced the shortage of any commodity in the markets. Vegetables, fruits, yoghurt and even buttermilk are available at all times. Never has there been a shortfall in the supply of animals to the pilgrims, although some may sacrifice animals in hundreds while each offers at least one.
The intrinsic aspect of its Barakah cannot possibly be estimated. One Salat offered in K’abah equals one hundred thousand Salat offered elsewhere; and one dime spent in charity stands equal to spending one hundred thousand dimes, in terms of merit. Its Hajj, according to a well-known saying of the Holy Prophet-SW, completely cleanses a person of all sins, rendering him like a newly born baby. K’abah not only gives the hearts ecstasy but also enlightens them; and the heart of a believer eagerly turns to it.
Although the building was demolished by the Deluge yet the Prophets-AS, through time, upon the destruction of their people by Divine Punishment, always headed for this Sanctuary. They lived and died here and the blowing winds would bury them under the dust. According to a saying of the Holy Prophet-SW: “Every Prophet-AS whose nation suffered destruction moved to K’abah, and engaged in His-SWT worship until death.” (Kashf al-Asrar).
The accomplished Shaikh Hadhrat Maulana Allah Yar Khan-RUA writes in his Asrar al-Haramain (Secrets of the Holy Lands) that beneath the Mutaf alone are buried ninety-nine Prophets-AS. There must be many more laid to eternal rest outside the Mutaf. Moreover, an exalted worship as the Hajj is also associated with K’abah. The intrinsic beneficence of the K'abah has been highlighted in Al-Baqarah, and can be referred to there.
K’abah is the fountainhead of eternal success and emancipation. Its Barakah are for all worlds and not only for the mankind. This is because the Divine Refulgence, associated with this Sanctuary, is the source of existence for all the creation below the ‘Arsh. Rather, every creation beneath the “Alam-e-Amr” survives because of this. Once it is demolished and the worship ceases, Yaum-al-Qiyamah will commence and the earth will be jolted to complete disorder, as foretold by the Holy Prophet-SW.
The ‘Arsh located nether to ‘Alam-e-Amr will only remain intact because it is also the seat for the descent of Allah-SWT’s Personal Refulgence. Similarly paradise is a manifestation of His-SWT Mercy and Hell of His-SWT Wrath. These are the manifestations of Divine Attributes and Spirit is directly related to ‘Alam-e-Amr. Therefore, all the centres of Divine refulgence as well as those associated with ‘Alam-e-Amr will remain intact. This also includes the blessed bodies of those fortunate souls who had attained the Personal Divine Lights and earned salvation.
Reason For The Preservation Of Bodies
Therefore, the sacred bodies of the Prophets-AS, and of those noble people who through their Prophets-AS managed to transform their Qulub into receiving centres of Divine Refulgence will remain intact. These, for instance, are the Companions-RAU, the Shuhada' and the Aulia.
The literal meaning of Barakah is a lake surrounded by many valleys wherefrom the water flows into it. Tafsir-e-Kabir gives an amazing analogy about the Barakah of the K’abah. If K’abah is thought of as a central point, and the people turning to it imagined in circles around it, countless circles will be there all over the world. It is beyond doubt that many amongst them will be great men holding high spiritual status, with gifted and enlightened hearts. When these exalted souls focus their attention on the Reality of K’abah with their bodies focusing on the physical cubicle, the hearts of those present in K’abah will immensely benefit from the Divine Lights and Refulgence descending because of the spiritual attention of these exalted ones. Certainly everyone present will benefit and receive Light in proportion to his capacity. In the same way those not physically present will also benefit. Besides other advantaged of congregational Salat this aspect must also be remembered of this blessed Sanctuary: the author of Tafsir Kabir states that it is indeed a vast ocean of Barakah, and a blessed place.
In it are Signs manifest... Allah-SWT is Independent of everything in the Universe.
The Barakah Of K’abah
Among these clear Signs and Barakah of the K’abah, is peace against any fear. Since the day of its establishment, Allah-SWT has blessed the K’abah and because of it the Makkans, with protection against any enemy invasion. Ibraha’s invasion on Makkah is a well-known event when Allah-SWT decimated his army of elephants by a swarm of swallows. Another sign of K’abah’s glory is that no bird flies over it. And also the throwing of pebbles by the pilgrims at the Jamrat (the symbolic pillars at the sites of the Satan’s appearance to deter Prophet Ibrahim-AS from sacrificing his son); are said to be picked up by the angels. Except the pebbles of those whose Hajj Allah-SWT does not accept. This is why it is forbidden to pick up pebbles from there for reuse as these indicate rejection by Allah-SWT .
This indeed is a great miracle in itself that neither the Administration removes the pebbles nor the public, and saving a few all other disappear. If these were to remain at the site they would accumulate to form a mountain in a single day. It is said that the Administration now a days arranges for the removal of these pebbles; probably because the Hajj is now undertaken by many as a picnic, without paying any heed even to its basic rites. Certainly the pebbles of such pilgrims will have to be removed by the Administration.
Similarly the water spring Zam Zam, the Hatim, the hillocks of Safa and Marwa; indeed every single atom related to the Sacred Precincts contains signs of the Divinity of Allah-SWT as well as the integrity of the Holy Prophet-SW. And one of the greatest symbols is Maqam-e Ibrahim-AS. This is the stone that bears the footprints of Prophet Ibrahim-AS. According to a report he-AS stood on this stone while constructing the K’abah, which would rise by itself as the walls were raised. Prophet Isma’il-AS would supply stones and mud while his-AS father built the cubicle whose feet sank ankle deep into the rock. This in itself is an amazing symbol that a hard stone turns so malleable as to take the noble footprints and then re-hardens to its original state.
Keeping this stone preserved to-date at its place is again a proof of Allah-SWT’s Magnificence. Neither the vicissitudes of time, nor enemies like the Jews, the Christians, or the idolaters could destroy this stone. Preserved in a glass casing it is displayed to-date close to the K’abah.
Another grandeur of K’abah is the security it provides to whoever enters the Sacred Precincts, whereas the real beneficence achieved is the protection from Allah-SWT’s Wrath. But even in the physical sense everything within the Sacred Precincts is safe so much so that even the hunting animals spare their prey if it enters therein. According to Shari’ah, none will be killed or persecuted within its limits. Even if a convict enters the Sacred Precincts, he should be forced to come out by cutting off his food supply but neither be seized nor punished inside. Allah-SWT has instilled the greatest reverence for K’abah in every heart throughout the ages.
History reveals that during the era of Ignorance, the pagans also upheld the sanctity of the K’abah; they abstained from indulging in any scuffle therein and considered any violation a very serious matter. Even the Holy Prophet-SW at the conquest of Makkah, was allowed to fight within its limits only for a few hours in order to purify it for all times to come, after which the sanctity was restored. Whenever someone violated its sanctity, whether for political Governmental motives like Hajjaj bin Yusuf, it was declared unlawful and grave sin by consensus of the Ummah. Even Hajjaj bin Yusuf himself believed it to be a wrong act.
Also amongst the merits of K’abah is its Hajj. Allah-SWT has enjoined it upon the Muslims, subject to their capacity, which means that a pilgrim must be physically fit and financially sound to undertake the journey. At the same time he must have enough money to leave behind for the maintenance of his dependants. Those who are handicapped are also exempted from Hajj unless they can afford to take an attendant along. Similarly a woman who is not accompanied by a Mahram shall be exempt because it is not permissible for a woman to travel without him. Whether he accompanies her on her expense or his own, is immaterial. The literal meaning of Hajj is to resolve, whereas its details in terms of Shari’ah are given in the Quran as well as in the teachings of the Holy Prophet-SW, such as stay in Mina, ‘Arafat and Muzdalifah etc.
If anyone, inspite of all the guidance, denies Hajj just as the non-believers do, he must know that Allah-SWT is without want and that Hajj is for the welfare of the pilgrims themselves. The one, who denies Hajj as an obligation, is indeed a non-believer. However, if a Muslim fails to perform this duty inspite of having the resources, it will be considered as an act of infidelity save a genuine excuse for instance, denial of permission by the Government, sickness etc. According to Caliph ‘Umar Faruq-RAU: “I want to assign someone to detect people who inspite of being affluent fail to perform Hajj so that I may levy tax on them as payable by non-Muslims.”
It must, however, be remembered that Hajj is an obligation to be fulfilled only once in a lifetime. Those who undertake this journey every year should better donate that money for propagation of Islam or helping the handicapped Muslims.
Say: “O People of the Book!... And Allah-SWT is not unaware of what you do.
The K’abah and its sublimity, the Hajj and its rites and blessings provide ample evidence that this House of Allah-SWT had always been held in high esteem and awe. However, no one was acquainted with the correct way of worship nor had any idea of its Barakah. The worship of Hajj did exist but mainly comprised man-made innovations so much so that people went round the K’abah naked, they danced, clapped and whistled around. Amidst this darkness, the revelation of the truth to the Holy Prophet-SW concerning the K’abah, its Barakah and the complete code of worship, with the evidence already present in their Books, became by itself a strong proof.
The Holy Prophet-SW is called upon to ask the People of the Book as to why do they disbelieve after such clear proofs? For they must remember that Allah-SWT Himself is a witness to their actions. Whereas the correct course of action for them was to believe instead of creating hurdles and fabricating all sorts of excuses to distort the facts in order to mislead others. They must beware that Allah-SWT is well Aware of what they do.
O you who believe!... been guided unto a path that is straight.
These two Ayat address the Muslims that if the People of the Book do not refrain from malefaction, they should be simply ignored because they will try their best to win them back to disbelief. The Muslims have been fortunate enough to have been blessed with comprehensive means of negating disbelief for the Divine Revelations are read out to them, which ward off infidelity and darkness.
Prophethood Itself Is A Great Evidence
The greatest blessing for the believers is the presence of Allah-SWT’s Prophet-SW amongst them who is a constant deterrent to disbelief and a source of spreading the truth. He-SW is the one who recites the Ayat of the Quran, revealed unto his-SW most sacred Qalb, and also conveys the meanings thereof.
It is only befitting for the Holy Prophet-SW to expound the meanings of what has been revealed to him-SW for the mankind. It is this interpretation of the Quran, given by the Holy Prophet-SW, which is known as Hadith. It is obvious that when he-SW has been assigned the duty of interpreting the Quran, no one else can do so. Otherwise, his-SW very raising would be superfluous, a notion altogether absurd.
Protection Of Hadith
The Divine Protection is not confined to the text of Quran but also to its meanings and interpretations given by the Holy Prophet-SW, where there is a greater need for it. This is why the great task of protection of Hadith has been completed, not possible otherwise, without Allah-SWT’s patronage. Seventeen branches of learning were created to ensure the preservation of Hadith in its pristine purity. The great encyclopaedia Asma’ ar-Rijal compiled by the great Muslim scholars has no parallel in human history. It discusses at length each and every reporter of the Holy Prophet-SW’s sayings; his origin, his character traits, his life style, his reputation, his integrity as well as the period he lived in thereby screening out every evil attempt of the non-believers to adulterate the collection. Many outstanding scholars devoted their entire lives to this classical work. If today someone asserts that the Hadith cannot be trusted, he must know that the sources proving the validity of the Quran and Hadith are the same.
“Allah-SWT’s Messenger-SW is amongst you” refers not only to his-SW physical being, nor only to his blessed Spirit but the term comprehensively refers to a personage, body and Spirit together, which will remain permanently in the same state whether he-SW lives in this world or is stationed in Barzakh. Now if his-SW physical existence in Barzakh is to be negated, it will automatically imply that the noble Spirit has vacated the sacred body. And since Messengership and Prophethood are attributes of the Spirit therefore, those too are gone, hence the Barakah associated with the Prophet-AS’s being are no longer there. If this is to be believed then there remains no deterrence to disbelief and thus not a single person can possibly remain steadfast on Islam in the world. Hence those who deny the physical life of the Prophet in Barzakh must beware of these facts.
Quran is not a collection of parables, rather its revelation was complemented with special fervent feelings. The custodian of these feelings is the Holy Prophet-SW for all times to come. In his-SW lifetime, anyone who embraced Islam and came physically close was elated to the status of a Companion-RAU. Now if the physical life in Barzakh is denied, the Barakah of Prophethood would not be there. Consequently no one would enjoy faith, let alone Wilayah.
And anyone, who holds firmly onto Allah-SWT and develops a close relationship with the Holy Prophet-SW by way of obedience, in a manner that all his actions are in accordance with His-SWT Command, it is as if he has given hand into Allah-SWT’s hands. He-SWT now controls all his movements. This is the state of a person blessed with Divine Guidance and the capacity to move on the right path, which is the very purpose of creation.
The following section highlights further the Barakah of the Holy Prophet-SW. It must be remembered that anyone who embraces Islam today receives the same Barakah, which were received by those on his-SW raising, who believed. Except for the fact that no one can acquire Companionship now because the Holy Prophet-SW has moved away to a different world, but certainly not, because Allah-SWT forbid, he-SW does not live anymore. Had it been so then no one could have even believed, as the factor of “Messenger being amidst you” would have been lost.
Syed Abdul ‘Aziz Dabagh-RUA writes that a ray of light from the sacred heart of the Holy Prophet-SW connects the Qalb of every believer. This connection continues to be strengthened by adherence to his-SW Sunnah, to an extent that it may even assume the volume of a canal or a river. On the other hand it weakens to a level that it may disconnect altogether. A person so disconnected ends up in apostasy. Sadly enough, numerous cases of such disconnection can be seen all around us today.