Monday, November 8, 2010

A Brief Intro to the Science of Hadith

Saturday 6th November 2010

Alhamdulillah, we completed the kitab Wishahul Afrah wa Isbahul Falah on 30th October. Last Saturday we opened a new kitab – on hadith. Dependent on Allah's will, Ustaz Zakaria shall hold this lesson every Saturday at 10 am. Every one – men, women, children are welcome, and the lesson is free.

Translated from Mestika Hadis published by The Division of Islamic Affairs, Prime Minister's Department, 1973.

Definition of Hadith Nabawi and Hadith Qudsi

Hadith Nabawi

It refers to what has reached us regarding sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wasallam, and his taqrir (silence) on certain actions of his companions when he became aware about them. This hadith (pl. ahadith) also refers to the physical descriptions and excellent personality of the Pophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam.

Hadith Qudsi

It refers to the words of Allah, as narrated by the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam, described in the Prophet's own words. It is different from al-Quran al-Karim, the Kalam of Allah Ta'ala, which arrangement and pronunciation revealed upon the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam then was ordered to spread it to all mankind.

Every hadith has its isnad

The era of the companions and the time hadith being collected and recorded in books spanned many generations. Therefore each hadith carries an isnad.

An isnad (pl. sanad) is a silsilah (chain of narrations) consisted of narrators listed one by one. The isnad begins with the name of one's shaykh (teacher) and ends with the name of the companion receiving the hadith directly from Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.

Upon inspection of the isnad and the characters of the narrator (rawi), a hadith can further be classified into many categories.

Hadith Mutawatir

Some ahadith are popularly narrated by many rawi in each level of the isnad, so popular it is impossible that all of them would conceive a plot to make up the hadith. These ahadith are known as "Hadith Mutawatir". The status of these ahadith are strong and they become proofs to Islamic ruling. It is not permissible to reject or deny these ahadith.

Hadith Sahih, Hasan, and Dho'if

Some other ahadith do not reach the level of Mutawatir due to the lesser number of narrators. They are divided into 3 categories: Sahih, Hasan, and Dho'if.

Hadith Sahih

A hadith that satisfies 5 prerequisites is called a sahih (authentic) hadith:

  1. Unbroken isnad – the rawi are interconnected continuously from the beginning to the end.
  2. Each rawi is of impeccable character ('adl).
  3. Each rawi is of strong memory (dhobit) – or the hadith is legibly and neatly recorded, if written in a book.
  4. The particular hadith being narrated is not in disagreement with another hadith being narrated by a more reliable narrator.
  5. The hadith is free of defect (oddities, irregularities). What is considered defect and what is not is a long discussion, and not covered here.

Hadith Hasan

Hadith Hasan (sound) passes the 5 Sahih qualifications above,. However the level of 'adl and dhobit of its narrators are of slightly lower standard.

Hadith Dho'if

A dho'if (weak) hadith is a hadith failing any of the 5 qualifications stated.

Place of Ahadith

Sahih or Hasan ahadith are among the founding platform of Islamic Syari'ah; they are for daily practice and used as proofs to establish a ruling. Dho'if ahadith are not valid as legal proofs, but can be used to show merit of good deeds, thus encouraging the good; and to create fear of evil deeds and discourage the bad.

Identifying category of Hadith

A decision whether a hadith is Sahih, Hasan, or Dho'if is based on the superficial characteristics of the rawi and isnad. The decision could never be final, because there is always a chance of error on judging a rawi's trustworthiness; not to mention that even a liar sometimes speak the truth. We leave the absolute judgment to Allah.

Ustaz Zakaria said:

  1. I studied Nailul Autar from Haji Hussin Besut; and Muwatta' from Haji Abdul Qadir Pondok Ga'al; plus some more Jawi kitab.
  2. When ulama included a hadith without isnad in their kitab and said it is sahih etc., we take their word for it. They know better, who are we to dispute?
  3. The new trend these days are to reject dho'if hadith, come a few years they will tell you to reject all ahadith altogether. Then we become like Kassim Ahmad.
  4. You still get rewarded for practicing a dho'if hadith, such as in wearing a turban. If you belittle dho'if hadith, you in danger of becoming a fasiq (sinner).
  5. A fasiq is not qualified to lead a prayer (become an imam) in Hanafi mazhab. To them beard is compulsory, so solah is not valid behind a clean shaven man according to Hanafi.
  6. In Hanbali mazhab, a dho'if hadith can be used as a proof, if it is supported by other ahadith.
  7. Ulama of old dislike to argue.
  8. There are ahadith as acknowledged by older kitab, but lowered to mere "sayings of ulama" in the newer publishings. I trust the older kitab better. Examples of these ahadith:
    1. The beginning of deen is to know Allah (awwaluddin ma'rifatullah).
    2. He who knows his self, knows his God (man 'arafa nafsahu 'arafa rabbahu).
  9. Never try to do instinbath just by reading a hadith. Besides 'ilm mustalah hadith, you have to master other branches of Islamic knowledge as well (nahu, sorof, asbabun nuzul etc) before you are qualified to derive ruling.
  10. A dho'if hadith is still a hadith and deserves respect. In tasawwuf, a 40-year old who does not carry walking stick is considered takabbur (arrogant). He is not fit for Paradise.
  11. Among the old ulama who carried walking stick include Haji Daud Bukit Abal, Tok Man (?), Haji Musafa Pasir Tumbuh, Haji Mahmud Bukit Besar Kedah (Janggut Merah).
  12. An 'alim once said "It amazes me these young ustazs who graduated overseas, they come back and teach Tafsir, Hadith, but do not have an inch of turban around their head. What is use of knowledge without practice?"
  13. Students who are not wara' (respectful) of knowledge – do not practice what they know - might graduate and become teachers, but Allah will afflict them with 3 miseries:
    1. They die young.
    2. They are isolated from the masses.
    3. They become "yes man" to the rulers.

Wallahu a'lam

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hope Is All I Do *sigh*

There are always excuses
you think you're well-prepared
but come that crucial moment
you find your strength, so impaired

There's always something
that you wait the whole year
yet when you about to catch it
you find your persistence, disappear

Friday, August 20, 2010

Time to rejoice

In the beginning there was a sprinkle of rahmah
About half way it is downpour of maghfirah
The end of it, the Fire put out, insha-Allah

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Refuting root’s god-like status

Two days ago, a presenter at an IT conference was explaining some issues on security.

And she blurted away "root is like a god in UNIX" . I know it was said more for a dramatic effect, and she probably does not believe in god anyway. As ego took over, I grabbed a notepad and scribbled some points on why even though root can execute practically any command, a root is not a god even within its own environment. They are probably seven skies apart, no resemblance nor likeness whatsoever.

This all just for fun... you have to understand UNIX to make any sense of my rambling:

  1. God exists, while root does not. root is just a user id, it does not represent any real identity – anybody with the password could be a root;
  2. God has been present before everything else, while root was created during OS installation;
  3. God will always be and will never cease to exist, while root can be erased when the hard disk is initialized (or another uid 0 deletes the root id);
  4. God is beyond compare of anything else, while root can be imitated by another uid 0;
  5. God stands by Himself wile root requires a proper shell environment and resources to execute even a simple command;
  6. God is singular, while root could be many. Create another uid 0, just don't let your boss know;
  7. God has boundless power, while root's power is limited. Root will not be able to create a user when a similarly named user already exists;
  8. God has own free will, while root takes order from a superior. Else the human root would not have stayed up all night in the data center;
  9. God has unlimited knowledge, root is dumb. Tell root to do chmod –R –x * and it will lock itself out, and thus lock you in the data center for another day;
  10. God is alive, root is dead until somebody logs in or a cron job kicks off;
  11. God can hear, root is deaf. Yell all you want, root will not listen and undo that rm –rf * mistake;
  12. God can see, root is blind. Again, root does not see if your pwd is / or somewhere else when you do the rm –rf *;
  13. God can speak, root does not. That's why it doesn't tell you it has been executing that infinite loop for the last 4 hours;

More importantly, God is able to create anything that could be created and terminate anything that could be terminated. Root's limited power is in effect only within its own shell. It is a superuser at best.

Glory to You Allah, there is no knowledge in us except those that You have taught us. Truly You the Most Knowledgable and the Most Wise.
God please increase in me knowledge.

Allah please send salawat and salam to our Master Muhammad and to all his family and companions.

Allah please place the Imams Abu Hassan Ash-Sha'ari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi at the highest place amongst those that you love.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

you poor soul!

O You who loves to hear the sobs of regret
O You who holds the Cure to disease an illness
all eyes have gone to sleep, but these poor eyes stay awake
crying at Your Door in the middle of night, in darkness
those sins, I committed them, I admit
yet I know You with conviction, full of Greatness
give mercy, that is Your Prerogative, don’t look at my failings
indeed Your Generosity and Forgiveness, are boundless.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Remember Him Every Time You Inhale

The night casts shadow
and the day brings light
the lakes ripple and the seas roll
those are signs of Allah’s Might

I hope the wind don’t stop blowing
because for every tree, twig, leaf, and fruit swaying
I raise my hands, supplicating...

I hope the the rain keep showering
because for every drop that is falling
I close my eyes, praying...

I hope my sight remains crisp
because in every glance it gives
and photon of light it receives
I dedicate a special wish...

I hope my lungs perform their best
for everytime I inhale my breath
( - how many times Allah alone has knowledge)
I supplicate that Allah send salawat,
salam, and blessing to our master Muhammad.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What's happening at Pondok Batu 10

The wise men used to say:
Seek knowledge from many a teacher,
but seek guidance from only one shaykh.

Saturday: Ustaz Zakaria teaching Wishahul Afrah (fiqh), and Hikam Tok Pulau Manis (tasawwuf).
Sunday: Ustaz Ismail Dungun teaching 'Aqa'id wal Fawa'id by Tuan Guru Haji Daud Bukit Abal.

Lessons are free and open to every body. Check out the latest schedule.

Wallahu a'lam

Friday, April 2, 2010

We All Do Have To Work Don't We?

Dear boss
Pls accept my apology
For not fulfilling my KPI
While going to work everyday with red eyes

Dear boss
I agree you have shown sympathy
For you hired me at quite generous salary
While my performance is at best, paltry

Now boss
When you calculate your ROI
You scratch your head and ask why
This poor fella is so fragile

Dear boss
This world is neither mine nor yours
I despise all these hurdles I have to cross
I work due to need, not greed
Since I’m nowhere near the maqam tajreed

Know it boss,
I desire to achieve the ultimate
Jannatul Firdaus and enter the heavens gates
If you could bear with me please contemplate:

The day after I die
I long to savour an “A+” ROI
That’s why I wake at night and measure up my KPI
To the ways as commanded by Allah al-Hayy

But for now,
all I have to show are red eyes,
confused looks,
a pale face wanting rest,
some half-hearted achievement,
and slow progress .

Wallahu a'lam

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Who Need an April Fool's Day?

I dont need an april fool's day
because already i'm fooled everyday
by those two “guys”, so to say
shaytan - whispering me to go astray
and nafs – from within try to betray

“o man, solah, zikr and salawaat you often repeat
the station you've attained is no easy feat
cut yourself some slack
go play a little, come free time pay it back”

That's the whisper of al-khannaas
from al-jinns and an-naas
breathing was-a-was into my chest
and put my iman at unrest

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crazy About The Prophet (saw) v2

A careless translation of one of my favorite nashid. The radio used to play it often (many many years ago):

Lo, a new page had been written
in history
in Makkah, the land of bless and holy
as the day manifested utmost dignity
here commenced a beautiful story

The dawn of Monday, at first light
12th of Rabiul Awal, a day so bright
on 20th of April, the year of the elephant
there was born an offspring of heaven

Born to the late Abdullah
and the blessed Aminah
with pure delight
the young mother accept’d
the majestic progeny who shall set mankind right

Muhammad was the given name
name of repute, praise and fame
Allah’s best gift, accept it with pleasure
for he shall grow to nobility beyond measure

Nobility and charisma were his birth rights
along with his appearance you see lights
the world once oppressive, now filled with cheer
all creations stood up to receive their noble heir.

“O Allah, bless our master Muhammad in the night when it darkens, bless our master Muhammad in the day when it brightens, bless our master Muhammad in the next abode and the first, bless our master Muhammad as a pure youth, bless our master Muhammad as a pleasing man of maturity, bless our master Muhammad since he was a child in the cradle and bless our master Muhammad until nothing remains of blessing”
– Dala’il Khayrat by Imam al-Jazuli

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To Love Prophet Is To Love 'Ulama

I thank Imam Abu Hassan Ash-Sha'ari
for the insight he had
to lay down the framework
of beliefs of an Ahlu Sunnah wal Jama'ah
on the creed of Rasulullah (saw)

I thank Imam Muhammad bin Idris Ash-Shafi'i
for the brilliance he displayed
in formulating the procedures
on how to show obedience to Allah
as close as possible to the way of Rasulullah (saw)

I thank Imam Junayd al-Baghdadi
for his sincere recommendations
on how to obtain nearness to Allah
the same indoctrination Rasulullah (saw) made to his companions.

Said Rasulullah (saw):

The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets

My dedication also goes to:
All other founders of mazhabs: Imams Abu Hanifah, Malik bin Anas, Ahmad bin Hanbal, al-Layth, Abdullah bin Mubarak
Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, al-Ghazali, al-Qusyairi, as-Shazili, Ahmad bin Idris al-Fasi, al-Jazuli, al-Busairi, An-Nawawi, Ar-Rafi’i, ar-Ramli, both Ibn Hajars, ar-Razi, as-Suyuti, al-Sakandari, al-Haddad and so many more. Allah knows who.
To the malay 'ulama who fought hard and their students who still fighting to keep malays true muslims like Shayks Abdul Samad al-Falimbani, Daud al-Fatani, Tuan Hussin Kedah, Wan Mohamammad Zain al-Fatani.

I won't forget the auliya of Allah whose knowledge is like the ocean, but remain faceless because that's simply the way they are. They write no books, teach no students. Due to their barakah, Allah holds back calamities from befalling us.
And to my shaykhs and teachers, and parents. May Allah reward them all the best of rewards.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Crazy About The Prophet (saw)

As I look at the half moon
I bathe in its luminous ray
12th Rabi’ul Awwal shall be here soon
and I look forward to his birthday
Sayyidina Muhammad (saw), the best among creations
that Allah ever made from light, flame, or clay

He is the chief of all creatures and mankind,
he is the chief of this world and the next.

Why else in every 2 rak’ahs we pray
respects to him we pay?
Why else in every tashahhud
his noble name we salute?
Why else to his family and to his great grandfather Ibrahim (as)
likewise we pay tribute?

O Allah send salawat to Sayyidina Muhammad and his family and companions as many times as there are Your creations. The creations who make tasbih to You, who glorify You, who prostrate to You, and who acknowledge Your Greatness – since the day You created this world until the day of Resurrection, and for every day you increase the salawat a thousand fold.