What Are the Conditions and Obligatory Acts of Wudu?

What Are the Conditions and Obligatory Acts of Wudu?

What Are the Conditions and Obligatory Acts of Wudu?

Allah, Exalted be He, says:

O you who haw have believed, when you rise to (perform) prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles… (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

This verse states that performing ablution whenever rising to prayer is obligatory, and tells us which organs should be washed and those which should be wiped during wudu, and specifies what part of them should be washed or wiped.

What Are the Conditions and Obligatory Acts of Wudu

The elbows are included when washing the arms during ablution.

Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him), through his hadiths (sayings) and practices has dearly shown the way ablution is to be performed.

Every Muslim should know that wudu has certain conditions, obligatory acts, and practices of the Sunnah to be observed while performing it. Both conditions and obligatory acts must be fulfilled as much as possible in order to ensure the validity of ablution.

As for the acts of the Sunnah related to ablution, they are considered complementary practices that guarantee the perfection of wudu. Observing these acts of the Sunnah, during ablution in increases ones reward, yet abandoning them does not affect the validity of ablution.

The Conditions of Ablution

There are eight conditions of ablution:

1- Being a Muslim

2- Being mentally sound

3- Having discretion

4- Having the intention of performing wudu

According to the aforementioned four conditions, ablution is invalid if performed by a disbeliever, an insane person, a young child who does not distinguish (between right and wrong), or one who does not have the intention of ablution (upon performing it), such as performing it as a way of refreshment in a hot weather, or as a means of cleaning one’s body organs or removing certain impurities or the like.

5- Using pure water: Water used for performing ablution must be pure, so impure water is inadequate for performing ablution.

6- Using legally-obtained water: If the water used for ablution is unlawfully acquired, or taken by force, ablution will not be valid.

7- Being preceded by istinja’ or istijmar (cleaning one’s stool and urine exits following defecation or urination,) when necessary.

8- Removing what may prevent water from reaching skin of the ablution organs: That is the one performing ablution ha, to remove anything covering the organ of ablution, such as mud, dough, wax, accumulated dirt, thick paint, etc., in order to allow water to reach the skin of the organ directly without hindrance.

The Obligatory Acts of Ablution

There are six obligatory acts related to the organs of ablution:

1 -Washing the whole face

Washing the whole face involves rinsing the mouth and the nose with water. Accordingly, one’s ablution is void if one washes one’s face without rinsing ‘both’ the mouth and the nose with water. This is because the mouth and the nose belong to the face, and Allah says. (regarding ablution): “Wash your faces.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

Thus, Allah commands washing the whole face during ablution. So whoever disregards washing any part of the face is considered to be disobedient to the Command of Allah.

Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to rinse his mouth and nose with water while performing wudu.

2-Washing the forearms including the elbows

Allah says “….. And your forearms to the elbows…” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6), i.e. washing them including the elbows, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do according to a hadith narrated in this regard. It is also slated in another hadith that the Prophet “…washed his hands (during ablution) until he reached the upper arms”. This indicates that the elbows are included when washing the arms during ablution.

3-Wiping over the whole head

Wiping over the head includes the ears, for Allah says “…And wipe over your heads…” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6) Moreover, the Prophet said “The ears are treated as part of the head” (Ibn Majah)

Therefore, it is incorrect to abandon wiping over the ears, for it is insufficient to wipe over one part of the head and neglect another during ablution.

4- Washing the feet including the ankles

During ablution the feet must be washed including the ankles, for Allah, Exalted be He, says: “…and wash your feet to the ankles…” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6) Here, the preposition “to” means ‘with’ according to the hadiths pointing out how ablution is performed, and through which it is stated that the whole feet must be washed ‘including’ the ankles.

5- Sequence

The decreed sequence has to be observed while performing wudu. To clarify, one begins with washing the face, followed by the hands, then wipes over the head, and finally washes the feet, as clearly shown in the verse Allah says:

O you who have believed, when you rise to (perform) prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles· (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to follow that order while performing ablution, saying:

“This is an ablution without which Allah does not accept any prayer·” (Abu Dawud)

6- Succession

This means to wash the organs successively without any interval between washing the organs, i.e. the organs must be washed successively without pause as much as possible.

These are the obligatory acts of wudu that must fulfilled as commanded by Allah in His Book, the Qur’an.


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence”.


Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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Al-Wadoud: The All-Loving God

Al-Wadoud: The All-Loving God

By Dr. Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

godAl-Wadoud: The All-Loving God

Allah’s divine name “Al-Wadoud” (The All-Loving), is an emphatic name derived from the Arabic word “Woudd”, which means “Houbb” (Love) as Allah says:

“And He (Allah) is the All-Forgiving, the All-Loving.” (Al-Buruj 85:14)

The Arabic word “Houbb” is, in turn, derived from “Habab Al-Asnan”, which means “whiteness, cleanliness and purity of teeth”. This means that those who love Allah, Most Gracious, are pure, chaste, sincere, and faithful. The word “Houbb” also indicates submission and obedience to the beloved. Hence, those who love Allah, Most Gracious, are dutiful and obedient to Him. They are modest, humble and submissive to the Lord, Exalted and All-High.

The word “Houbb” also means “instability”, which, in turn, means that those who love Allah are in constant instability as regards their relationship with their lord. True believers, who really love their Lord, undergo constantly changing feelings as regards their relationship with Him; while hypocrites, whose hearts are dead and, hence, emotionless, remain stable and unchangeable. Also, the word “Houbb” or “Habb” refers to a seed from which we get good fruits.

This means that those who love the Lord their love is like a seed that produces a shady tree that, in turn, yields good fruits. In fact, the word “Houbb” (love) embraces all of the foregoing meanings: purity, chastity, submission, humbleness, instability, growth and good …etc.

Love into Action

Undoubtedly, there is a delicate difference between both words. “Al-Houbb” means love as a noble feeling dwelling in the heart; while “Al-Woudd” means love substantiated by action. In other words, if you love someone, your inner feelings towards him are called “Houbb” (i.e. love that exists in your heart), but when you translate such love into action by smiling to him, for example, or doing him a favor, this is “Woudd” (i.e. love that you put into action).

If you offer him a present, it is “Woudd”. If you help him out of a problem, it is “Woudd”. If you visit him when he is ill, it is “Woudd”. If you offer him a present when he gets married, it is “Woudd”. In short, inner feelings of love are “Houbb”; while ostensible substantial acts of love are “Woudd”.

All those who have “Woudd” must necessarily have “Houbb”, but not vice versa. This means that someone might love another but does not show that in his behavior, but if someone shows love to another, this means that he loves him.

This means that the whole universe, that is, with its heavens, stars, planets, galaxies, the sun, the moon, rain, fishes, birds, animals, plants, flowers, is but a substantiation of Allah’s “Woudd” (Love) for mankind. Children, who fill the home with life and movement, are of Allah’s “Woudd”. The great many kinds of fruits are of Allah’s “Woudd”. Wives, whom Allah created especially for men’s psychological and physical comfort, are of Allah’s “Woudd”. Husbands, whom Allah created especially for women’s comfort, are out of Allah’s “Woudd”. Wool, which Allah created to protect us from cold is out of Allah’s “Woudd”. All things that Allah has subjected for mankind are out of Allah’s “Woudd”. The whole universe is subjugated for man as a kind of “Woudd” from God.

And when God loves someone He honors and mercies him/her. However, Allah’s love for true believers is confirmed in the Qur’an.

Allah’s divine love for man is manifested by His divine protection, help, victory, success, sending down mercy upon his heart, sending down peace and tranquility upon him, providing him with all the things he needs. This is Allah’s divine love for man. But man’s love for Allah is substantiated by inclination and attachment, because if Allah forsakes him, or deprives him of His divine light, he feels unbearable pain and sorrow.

Once man loves God he gets inclined to Him, seeks refuge in His divine shade, light, holy manifestations, peace and tranquility, and he feels that Allah is always protecting and helping him. But Allah’s divine love for man means protection, help, support…etc. And “Al-Woudd” is the practical substantiation of both kinds of love.

Allah Is All-Loving

1- The first point concerns Allah’s name “Al-Wadoud” (The All-Loving) is that He endears Himself to His slaves by bestowing His innumerable divine favors upon them. Therefore, logic and good reason show that the entire universe is nothing but a manifestation and substantiation of Allah’s Divine “Woudd” (i.e. Love) for mankind.

Thus Allah favors you with His never-ending favors and graces: good health, fresh water, delicious food and drink, fruits, fishes, birds…etc. When your heart and all other parts of your body work properly, this is one of Allah’s uncountable Divine Favors and Graces. Therefore, true believers should say what Allah’s Prophets taught us to say:

“Say: ‘Truly, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, Lord of all worlds.” (Al-An`am 6:162)

Before Allah created you and brought you into existence, you were nothing at all. But from the moment He brought you into existence, He bestowed on you a couple of Priceless Divine Favors:

“Have We not made for him (Man) a pair of eyes, a tongue and a pair of lips, and shown him the two Ways (of good and evil)?” (Al-Balad 90:2-4)

The first divine gift man that receives from his Lord upon his birth is a very complicated operation, namely the so-called “Suck reflex”, which enables him, from the moment of birth, to take his mother’s breast tightly with his small mouth and start sucking. Without such reflex, human life would be impossible! Your mother is one of Allah’s great divine signs and favors, for she is naturally pre-disposed to consecrate, and even sacrifice, all her existence for her baby. She devotes all herself, her nerves, her feelings and emotions, her powers, and her efforts, for the sake of her baby.

Air that we breathe and water that we drink are great Divine Favors. What would you say about the different kinds of fruits?! Even more, God has endowed you with an intelligent mind with which you think and take up a certain vocation or profession and do it properly.

2- When in the Qur’an Allah says: “And He (Allah) is the All-Forgiving, Al-Wadoud (the All-Loving)”, the word “Al-Wadoud” here means that Allah loves and honors His righteous slaves. It also means that His favors and blessings are but substantiations and manifestations of His Divine Love for them:

“On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will (Allah) Most Gracious bestow love.” (Maryam 19:96)

3- Allah is “Wadoud” (All-Loving) for His slaves in the sense that He creates love and casts it among His slaves.

Who casts love for children in the hearts of mothers? If you go to an infant-hospital, you see something really amazing: different mothers from all walks of life cry for their babies. In fact, all mothers, Muslim and non-Muslim, without any exception, cry for their babies if anything goes wrong with them. Undoubtedly Allah, most gracious, has cast such love for children in the hearts of mothers!

Therefore, Allah “Al-Wadoud” (the All-Loving), creates love and casts it among His slaves: fathers, mothers, husbands, mothers, siblings, and friends. They all enjoy love among them. To the same effect, Allah, Most Gracious, says:

“And among His Signs is that He has created for you wives from among yourselves that you may find repose in them; and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed Signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Who creates such affection and mercy? It is Allah, Most Gracious!

4- Allah is All-Loving in the sense that He seeks love of His slaves, just as they seek His divine love. And He casts love into their heart for one another and for Him. In this sense, this name has three meanings: love from the Lord for His slaves, love from slaves to their Lord, and love among slaves for one another. That is why Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, says “The zenith of wisdom, after belief in Allah, is to seek people’s love.”

Therefore, the wisest, cleverest and best thing a believer can do, after having believed in Allah, is to seek people’s love and friendship, in order to help them know the truth. To this, Allah says:

“And by a Mercy from Allah you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from around you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them, and consult them in the affairs. Then, when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah. Certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (Aal `Imran 3:159)

Here emerges a difference between “Al-Woudd” (Practical love) and “Ar-Rahmah” (mercy) as the latest is offered to a weak, helpless, miserable, ill, suffering person who is inferior to you, and, hence deserves your mercy; while “Al-Woudd” (love) is offered to others not because they are inferior to you or are in need of your help.

In other words, “Al-Woudd” is offered without request or imploration, but “Ar-Rahmah” is offered upon request, imploration or inferiority. When God created us, He was “Wadoud”, i.e. loving. We were nothing, but He created us, honored us, and bestowed His Innumerable divine favors and graces upon us: “O man! What has made you careless about your Lord, the Generous, Who created you and made you in due measures? In whatever shape He desires He constructs you.

“Be cursed (the disbelieving) man! How ungrateful he is! From what thing did He (Allah) create him? From a semen He created him and then set him in due proportion. Then He made the Path easy for him. Then He caused him to die and caused him to be put in a grave. Then, when He wills, He will resurrect him. Nay! But he (man) has not done what He (Allah) commanded him.” (`Abasa 80:17-23)


This article is a summarized version of the article (Al-Wadoud) by the author, published at his web site www.nabulsi.com.

Dr. Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi is a Muslim Syrian preacher and writer. He has written a number of Islamic books, most remarkable of which are: “Encyclopedia of the Beautiful Names of Allah”, “Encyclopedia of Scientific Miracles of the Holy Qur’an and Prophetic Sunnah” , “Outlooks on Islam” and “Contemplations on Islam”. He delivers a number of lessons, orations, symposiums and chat programs broadcasted on the Syrian, Arab, and Islamic radios and Televisions.

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Al-Hakeem: Wisdom of the All-Wise

Al-Hakeem: Wisdom of the All-Wise

By Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

Al-Hakeem: Wisdom of the All-Wise

“And whosoever is granted wisdom is indeed granted abundant good.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 269)

For that the word “hakeem” means “someone who does his work most accurately and perfectly, because he knows how to calculate, measure and design perfectly well.”

For that the word “hakeem” means “someone who does his work most accurately and perfectly, because he knows how to calculate, measure and design perfectly well.”

All of Allah’s attributes can be summed up in three main notions, namely that He exists, that He is one: in His own self, attributes and acts, and that He is perfect, which is the nearest in meaning to God’s name Hakeem (The All-Wise).

However, the name “Al-Hakeem” is one of some of Allah’s divine Names that are nearer than others to human beings; and the nearest of all of His names to human beings are “the Lord”. To this, the Lord, Allah, All-Mighty, says:

“So wait patiently for your Lord’s Decision, for verily you are under Our Eyes; and glorify the Praises of your Lord when you get up from sleep.” (At-Tur 52:48)

This shows clearly that decision of all issues and matters belongs only to Allah, the Lord, who knows everything, who is most gracious, and who is all-wise.

How God is Al-Hakeem?

1- The Arabic word “hakeem” means “someone who is well experienced and whose work is perfect, i.e. faultless”. For example, if a carpenter fails to cut a piece of wood accurately, his work is not satisfactory enough. In this case, we could say: “If his calculations were accurate, his work would be perfect and faultless.” And the more accurate calculations are, the better and more faultless work is.

Expensive machines are usually perfect and faultless, while bad cheap ones are full of faults and defects. In fact, accuracy and faultlessness are essential elements in good machines. This is what makes them more valuable and more expensive.

For that the word “hakeem” means “someone who does his work most accurately and perfectly, because he knows how to calculate, measure and design perfectly well.” And God is Hakeem (All Wise) that He creates all things in perfect faultless measurements.

Consider your human body: The blood that runs through your veins and arteries contains a very accurate amount of salt, 0.78%. If this very accurate amount of salt decreased, blood corpuscles would shrink and cause immediate death. If it increased, the corpuscles would burst and also cause immediate death. Who has made the ratio of salt in the human blood fixed?

It is Allah, most bounteous, who makes the kidneys maintain such fixed ratio of salt in the blood! Also, there are 2.5 billion types of tissues in the world. This means that only one human being in the whole world has a type of tissue similar to yours.

“He (Allah) has created everything and has measured it exactly according to its due measurements.” (Al-Furqan 25: 2)

Thus, “Al-Hakeem” is He Who perfects all the things that He creates:

“It is He (Allah) Who has created seven heavens, one above another; you can see no fault in the creation of the Most Gracious. Then, look again: can you see any rifts?” (Al-Mulk 67:3)

Consider creation of an ant, a fly, an elephant, a galaxy, an atom, or any other creature! They are all perfect, and they bespeak the creator’s absolute divine wisdom:

“It is He (Allah) Who made everything that He has created perfect, and began the creation of man from clay.” (As-Sajdah 32: 7; Al-Infitar 82:5-8; At-Tin 95:4)

2- “Al-Hikmah” (Wisdom) is to possess the best knowledge; and Allah’s divine knowledge is infinite, while man’s human knowledge is limited. To this effect, Allah, the All-Wise, says:

“And over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing.” (Yusuf 12:76)

3- “Al-Hakeem” (All Wise) is attributed to the omniscient, Allah, whose divine knowledge is infinite, all-embracing and free from all kinds of ignorance, imperfection or defect. No human being can ever claim to have acquired all knowledge or experience, not even doctors, engineers or scientists. They often make mistakes. But Allah, alone, is the one who is the omniscient. That is why Imam Al-Ghazali says:

“No one knows Allah except Allah (Himself).”

4- “Al-Hakeem” (The All Wise) is He Who is far above doing things that should not be done. Put it differently, He does the proper thing in the proper way in the proper place and the proper time. For human beings, a wise person is someone who does the proper thing in the proper way in the proper place and the proper time. Such is a “Hakeem” (a wise person).

5- God is Hakeem (All-Wise) that all things in the world happen only by His divine will and if He wills that something should happen, it happens. Allah’s divine will is associated with His absolute divine wisdom that whatever He wills will inevitably come to pass and that His divine wisdom is associated with absolute good.

No leaf of a tree could ever fall down except by Allah’s absolute divine will and wisdom. Too many seemingly evil things turn out good in the end; and in Allah’s kingdom, there is no injustice, in the real sense of the word. Even unjust tyrannical rulers or leaders are, as it is said, Allah’s sword in the earth; He retaliates by them and then He retaliates from them.

6- Allah is infinitely pre-existent; and He is one and only. No existence is like His infinite divine existence. He is absolute and perfect, and hence, He is all wise. Thus, if you ask, “Where is Allah?” your question means that He does not exist. Nay! Allah is pre-existent. To this, He says:

“Think not that Allah is unaware of that which the wrong-doers do. Nay! He only gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror.” (Ibrahim 14:42)

7- Moreover, there is no other dominator of the whole universe except Allah. This is Islamic monotheism: in the whole existence, there is only one hand that controls everything, namely the Hand of Allah, the irresistible, the omnipotent, the all-wise, the all-powerful, who is Free to honor or dishonor, give or withhold, provide or deprive, exalt or disparage.

“And Allah is Ever All Mighty, All Wise.” (Al-Fat-h 48: 19; An-Nisa’ 4: 130; Yusuf 12: 6)

Al-Hakeem (The All-Wise) in the Qur’an:

The word “Hakeem” (The All Wise) is mentioned thirty-three times in the Qur’an with different denotations. Some of them are:

“And if all the he sea (were ink wherewith to write), with seven seas behind it to add to its (supply), yet Allah’s Words would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah All Mighty, All Wise.” (Luqman 31: 27; 11: 1; 24: 10; 41: 42; 60: 10)

1- Allah’s book the Qur’an is described as being “Hakeem” (i.e. a Book full of wisdom”. To this effect, Allah, the All Wise, says:

“Alif Lam Ra’: Such are the Verses of the Book, “Al-Hakeem” (i.e. full of wisdom)” (Yunus 10: 1; 36: 1; 2:129)

2-   Scholars of Qur’anic interpretation hold that whenever the word “Hikmah” (i.e. wisdom) comes together with the Qur’an, it means prophetic Sunnah and tradition, because the Prophet’s Hadith and Tradition are the best interpreters of the Holy Qur’an:

“Verily, Allah conferred a great Favor upon believers when He sent to them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses (the Qur’an), purifying them, and instructing them (in) the Book (the Qur’an) and wisdom (Prophetic Sunnah), while before that they had been in manifest error.” (Aal `Imran 3: 164)

3-   Also, “Al-Hikmah” (wisdom) should be used in the call for Allah and His religion. To this effect Allah says:

“Invite to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching and argue with them in a way that is better. Verily, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are rightly guided.” (An-Nahl 16:125)

4- “Al-Hikmah” (wisdom) can also be granted to people. If Allah gave you the best woman in the world, but did not give you wisdom, you would make the worst woman of her. If He gave you enormous wealth, but did not give you wisdom, you would soon waste it and make of it a source of sorrow and regret for you on the Day of Judgment. If He gave you good health, but did not give you wisdom, you would use your health in trivialities and foolish things. And if He gave you good children, but did not give you wisdom, your own children would be the cause of your entering hell-fire.

In other words, if you lack wisdom, everything leads you to endless sorrows and losses on the day of resurrection. That is why Allah says:

“(He (Allah) grants wisdom to whomsoever He pleases; and he who is granted wisdom is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember except those possessed of understanding)” (Al-Baqarah 2: 269)

Man’s Share of Al-Hikmah (Wisdom)

Allah’s Divine Name “Al-Hakeem” (the All-Wise) is nearest to human beings. Sometimes, man sees or meets things that he does not like, i.e. unpleasant things, as Allah sometimes afflicts man with things that seem to be unpleasant to him, i.e. things that he does not like. However, it is most unwise and ignorant of man to get angry or discontented with his Lord; it is wise for man, under all circumstances, to be contented with his Lord, and with His foreordainment and divine decree.

This Divine Name “Al-Hakeem” (The All Wise) is one of Allah’s Names that can be adopted by human beings, according to the saying that goes, “Adopt Allah’s Names and Attributes”. In other words, a true believer should be wise. And, as a true believer, he should derive his wisdom from his knowledge of Allah. Let’s have the following example: If you have a very complicated and sophisticated machine, and you have the operation instructions, it is wise to follow such instructions because they come from the manufacturer. This is very clear and easy. If you read and understand Allah’s book the Qur’an, prophetic Sunnah and tradition, and if you commit yourself to Allah and His messenger’s commands, then, you are a wise person.

Hence, you are wise when you follow the commands of God, All Wise, and His messenger, peace be upon him. And the more believing a person is, the wiser he/she is. Moreover, Allah’s messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the wisest of all mankind because he was the nearest and most devoted to Allah, the fountain of all wisdom.

Indeed, the more devoted and committed we are, the wiser and more rightly guided.


This article is a summarized version of the article (Al-Hakeem) by the author, published at his web site www.nabulsi.com.

Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi is an Islamic scholar; he was born in 1938 of a religious and well educated, family. His father was one of the religious scholars of Damascus city.

He was appointed orator in the mosque of his grandfather, Sheikh Abdulghani An-Nabulsi, and a religion lecturer in the mosques of Damascus.

He has written a number of Islamic books, most remarkable of which are: “Encyclopedia of the Beautiful Names of Allah”, “Encyclopedia of Scientific Miracles of the Holy Qur’an and Prophetic Sunna”, “Outlooks on Islam”, “Contemplations on Islam”. He also wrote articles for some Syrian, Arab, Islamic, and Western magazines and newspapers.

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Thirty Prophetic Hadiths on Mercy

Thirty Prophetic Hadiths on Mercy

By Truth Seeker Staff

MercyThirty Hadiths on Mercy

Despair not of the Mercy of God, for God forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Az-Zumar 39:53)

One aspect of the Mercy of Allah of His slaves is that He sent the Messengers and revealed the Books and laws to organize their lives according to the ways of wisdom, far removed from hardship and difficulty. Allah says:

And We have sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the ‘alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).” (Al-Anbiya’ 21:107)

It is by the Mercy of Allah that He will admin His believing slaves to Paradise on the Day of Resurrection. No-one will ever enter Paradise because of his deeds along as the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “No-one’s deeds will ever admit him to Paradise.” They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “No, not even me, unless Allah showers me with His Mercy. So try to be near to perfection. An no-one should wish for death; he is either doing good so he will do more of that, or he is doing wrong so he may repent.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

We hope and pray that this booklet will bring the reader closer to Allah by inspiring you to reflect on the meaning of these ahadith and to increase you in acts of mercy in the blessed month [of Ramadan] and beyond.

“Ramadan has come to you – a month of blessing in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds) and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived herein of the Mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted.” (At-Tabarani)

“Where there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained.” (Muslim)

“Allah has made mercy into one hundred parts. He kept with Himself ninety-nine parts and sent down one part to the Earth so because of that part the creation is merciful such that a horse raises a hoof over its child for fear of hurting it.” (Al-Bukhari)

“When Allah decreed the creation He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne: My Mercy prevails over My Wrath.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, was asked, “O Messenger of Allah pray against the idolators!” So the Prophet said, “Verily, I was not sent to invoke curses but rather I was only sent as a mercy.” (Muslim)

“I am the Prophet of repentance and I am the Prophet of mercy.” (Muslim)

“Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you.” (At-Tirmidhi)

“Be merciful to other you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you.” (Ahmad)

A man saw the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, kiss his grandson Hasan. The man said, “I have ten children and I do not kiss any of them.” The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “Verily whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy.” (At-Tirmidhi)

“He who does not show mercy to our little ones or recognize the rights of our elders if not one of us.” (Ahmad)


Adapted with editorial adjustments from a booklet that was published by the valuable charity HHUGS.


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Allah Is Indivisible & Loves What Is Indivisible

Allah Is Indivisible & Loves What Is Indivisible

By Salman Al-Oadah

Allah's Attributes

Allah is alone, separate and distinct from His creation. He is the Indivisible who has created His creatures in pairs.

Allah Is Indivisible & Loves What Is Indivisible

The Arabic word witr refers to a single, indivisible entity. It also refers to a number that cannot be divided by two. The word is found with this second meaning in the verse:

“(I swear) by the even number and the odd.” (Al-Fajr 89:3)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made the same statement about God loving that which is indivisible when he said: “Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one, whoever comprehends them all will enter Paradise, and He is Indivisible and loves that which is indivisible.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Allah is the Indivisible whose essence cannot be divided. He has no partner, and there is no one who can compare with or rival Him in any way. He is One, unique in His names, attributes and actions.

“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Seeing, the Hearing.” (Ash-Shura 42: 11)

“Do you know of any who is worthy of His name?” (Maryam 19: 65)

Allah is Indivisible, and He loves it for us to observe our devotions an odd number of times. What this means is that Allah loves all that He prescribed for us to observe in odd numbers. He loves these things because He commanded us to observe them and determined them to be carried out in their particular forms in accordance with the dictates of His wisdom.

What devotions are being referred to here?

Scholars have differed in answering this question. Some say that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is speaking about the Friday prayer, or the Day of `Arafah during the Pilgrimage, or to the Maghrib prayer which is three units long, or to the Witr prayer at the end of the day which is always observed as an odd number of prayer units.

However, the best approach is to understand it as general in meaning, applicable to all prescribed acts of devotion that are observed an odd number of times. I also believe that it refers to the worshipers who are foremost in doing good deeds, since they stand alone in excellence by doing far more than others are willing to do. Allah praises them by saying:

“The foremost are the foremost.” (Al-Waqi`ah 56: 10)

And by saying:

“Be foremost in seeking forgiveness from your Lord.” (Al-Hadid 57: 21)

Likewise, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Those who strive in competition (for excellence) stand peerless.

When he was asked who he was referring to, he said:

They are the men and women who remember Allah often.” (Muslim)

Allah loves those who stand out ahead of the rest through their devotion and their good deeds, especially when they strive to help others. Allah says:

“For this, those who strive with each other should strive.” (Al-Mutaffifin 83: 26)

By contrast, Allah hates those who strive with one another in stinginess, sin, iniquity and misappropriating the rights of others. Allah is alone, separate and distinct from His creation. He is the Indivisible who has created His creatures in pairs. We find numerous examples of this. Rarely do we find things that are indivisible into pairs. Allah says:

“And everything We have created in pairs, so that perchance you might reflect.” (Al-Dhariyat 51: 49)

There is a supplication associated with this meaning. Once, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) entered the mosque and saw a man who was sitting and completing his prayer. The man was supplicating with the following words:

“O Allah! I ask You by Your being the One, Alone, the Self-Subsisting who neither begets nor is begotten, and who none is like unto Him. I ask You to forgive me my sins, for you are the Forgiving and Merciful.” Upon hearing this, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said three times:

Allah has forgiven him.” (Abu Dawud)


Source: Islam Today web site – http://en.islamtoday.net

Salman Al-Oadah is a prominent Saudi scholar. He supervises the website Islam Today (www.islamtoday.com).



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As-Samad – Allah Is Self-Subsisting

As-Samad – Allah Is Self-Subsisting

By Salman Al-Oadah


Only those who reflect on the purpose of the creation around them, who have a clear faculty of discernment, who apply their minds and use their conscience, can recognize the truth that which these signs imply

As-Samad – Allah Is Self-Subsisting

This name of Allah appears only once in the Qur’an, in the second verse of the chapter entitled al-Ikhlas:

“Allah, the Self-Subsisting.” (Al-Ikhlas 112:2)

It appears in the Prophet’s Sunnah on a number of occasions, particularly in the aforementioned tradition pertaining to Allah’s greatest name, where Buraydah ibn al-Husayb relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard a man beseeching his Lord in the following words:

“O Allah! I beseech You by affirming that You are Allah, there is no god besides You, the One, the Self-Subsisting, who begets not and is not begotten, and who no one else resembles in any way.”

After the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard this, he said:

I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, this man has beseeched Allah with His greatest name, which if anyone supplicates with it, that supplication will be accepted, and if anyone asks by it, it will be granted.” (At-Tirmidhi, 3475; Ibn Majah, 3857)

The name As-Samad has many aspects to its meaning. It refers to one who is Lord, who possesses and disposes of all affairs, one whom people come to with their needs, but who at the same time is complete and self-sufficient, needing and depending upon no one else.

Ibn `Abbas, the eminent companion, defined the word samad as follows:

“A chieftain whose chieftaincy and pre-eminence is absolute; a noble whose nobility is complete and impeccable; someone who is mighty, possessing absolute power, but clement in the utmost; someone who is wealthy without limit, able to compel at will; with full knowledge and wisdom. It is only Allah who has complete nobility and dominion, and this attribute – samad – belongs to Him alone. No one else is worthy of it.

The word samad is also defined as: “One whom everyone depends to fulfill their needs, but who needs no one and depends upon no one else.”

Allah says:

“Shall I take for my protector any other than Allah, the Bringer into Existence of the heavens and the Earth? – He who gives sustenance and is never given sustenance?” (Al-An`am 6:14)

Allah provides everything for His creatures, but He is not dependent on them for anything:

“I have only created humanity and the Jinn to worship Me. I seek no livelihood from them, nor do I ask that they should provide Me with sustenance.” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56-7)

Allah did not create us to enrich Him or empower Him. He created us merely to worship Him. He is free from all deficiency and dependency. He begets not, nor is He begotten.

Benefits of Knowing This Name of Allah

When we believe in our hearts that God is Self-Subsisting, needs no one but able to fulfill the needs of all, it becomes natural for us to turn to Him and pin our hopes in Him alone.

Ibn `Abbas relates:

“I was with Allah’s Messenger one day, when he said to me:

Young man, I will teach you something: Remember Allah and He will remember you. Keep Him in your heart and you will find Him with you. If you beg of someone, beg of Allah. If you rely on someone, rely on Allah.

Know that if the whole world united in order to provide you with some benefit, they could only benefit you with what Allah has already decreed for you. And know that if the whole world united in order to bring you harm, they could only harm you with what Allah had already decreed to befall you.

The pens have been lifted from the pages and the ink has dried.” (At-Tirmidhi, 2516)

We should turn to Allah with our hopes and fears, with our worldly concerns as well as our spiritual aspirations, in all matters great and small.

“And there are some among them who say: ‘Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the Fire’.” (Al-Baqarah 2:201)

Our faith in Allah’s names and attributes should not be reduced to some rote recital of words, but must be something that actively informs and shapes our approach to life. When this is the case, we become empowered by our faith and more independent in our outlook.

Such faith should at the same time provide a vitality to our efforts and embolden us with confidence when we actively strive to reach our goals. It should make us more productive – as well as more patient – in realizing the things in life we are trying to achieve.

It should make it easier for us to weather the difficulties that we face and surmount the obstacles that come our way. It should keep us from despair when we have done everything that we practically can do, but more is still required.

We need to contemplate on the fact that Allah is Self-Subsisting. We are very different than other animals. Many of them have been given strength and sensory perception far exceeding our own.

However, we have been blessed with the faculty of reason. We have been made accountable for our beliefs and our actions. One thing our minds can discern is the awareness of Allah.

We can come to know our own weakness and discern our limitations. We recognize our own smallness and insignificance before the vastness of Allah’s creation, and realize the greatness of Allah. When we have this awareness of Allah, believe in Him, and recite His scriptures, we keep the remembrance of Allah alive. This is a great honor that Allah has blessed us with.

This is why Allah says:

“In houses where Allah has permitted His name to be often invoked and remembered.” (An-Nur 24:36)

It is indeed a great honor that Allah has permitted us to be aware of Him and to remember Him.


Taken with slight editorial modifications from the author’s website, Islam Today: http://en.islamtoday.net.

Salman Al-Oadah is a prominent Saudi scholar. He supervises the website Islam Today (www.islamtoday.com).

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On the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Special Folder)

On the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Special Folder)

By Dr. Ali Al-Halawani

the sunnahNo doubt, Islam is a divine faith revealed by Allah the Almighty Who created the whole universe and beyond to guide all humanity towards the Right Path.

The Qur’an, the Divine Book cherished by Muslims, is a comprehensive book that contains everything ever needed by man to obtain the state of being well satisfied in this present life and the hereafter.

The one who carried the Qur’an to Muslims was Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) who was sent by Allah to humanity to teach them all about Islam and to show them through practice the innate essence of Islam as a faith and how it can mingle with life to make it far better than ever before.

He was the practical example of Islam with all its principles, morals, ethics and all. Through him, Muslims came to know all about their faith and the sound and only the correct way of worshipping Allah the Almighty. Prophet Muhammad’s traditions and narrations are called hadiths.

Below, you can find a number of articles that deal with the Prophet’s Sunnah, ahadith as well as the compilers and narrators of Hadiths:

* * * * * *

5 Prophet’s Hadiths About Smiling

Prophet was so eloquent that he could express many meanings via using a few words only and that some hadiths are more comprehensive than others in terms of addressing issues so that if one only practices or applies these hadiths he may not need to do anything else to obtain Allah’s Pleasure

* * * * * *

The Hadith of Archangel Gabriel

Try to imagine the situation. The Messenger of God, at the time the greatest human being on the face of the earth (as far as his companions were concerned – and the historical record bears them out), is sitting at the edge of an oasis in Medina with a group of his companions,

* * * * * *

Significance of Knowing the Narrators of Prophetic Hadith

The narrators of Hadith are the most honourable and respectable Muslims, as they are keepers and preservers of the Prophetic Sunnah. Most of them are the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) who witnessed the acts and learnt the sayings of the Prophet

* * * * * *

Human Development as Revealed in Qur’an & Hadith

The two theories in Aristotle’s time were: (a) the embryo is preformed as a miniature in either the male semen or the female secretion and then grows in the womb; and (b) the embryo is actually formed and created out of the menstrual blood. Aristotle favored the second view,

* * * * * *

Four Hadiths are Sufficient!

This hadith deals with the significance cum importance of intention in the life of a Muslim who should always be sincere to Allah the Almighty and should carry out all his actions while observing loyalty and sincerity to Him Alone without associating any partners to Him, Glory be His.

* * * * * *

Al-Bukhari: Master in the Science of Hadith (Part 1/2)

One night, Al-Bukhari (May Allah have mercy on him) had a strange dream that later had a great impact on his life. He saw himself standing before the Prophet(Peace and blessings be upon him), holding a palm-leaf fan in his hand with which he pushed all evil away from the Prophet.

* * * * * *

Al-Bukhari: Master in the Science of Hadith (Part 2/2)

The pious mother walked to her son’s room, hardly able to move her feet. When she reached his bed, she was about to wake him up but she hesitated. Her broken heart was beating and she kept tenderly and kindly caressing his head with her shaky hands.

* * * * * *

Aishah bint Abi Bakr: Mother of the Believers

Aishah lived on almost fifty years after the passing away of the Prophet. She had been his wife for a decade. Much of this time was spent in learning and acquiring knowledge of the two most important sources of God’s guidance, the Quran and the Sunnah of His Prophet. Aishah was one of three wives

* * * * * *

Abu Hurairah: Master of the Memorizers

Abu Hurairah had an excellent memory and he was able to quickly memorize and did not forget. Ash-Shafi‘i said about him, “He is the person who memorized the most Hadith in his time.” Abu Hurairah, said about himself, “No one knows the Hadiths of the Prophet

* * * * * *

What Do You Know About Imam An-Nawawi?

An-Nawawi first studied at the Saramiyyah school in Damascus. This is where his father left him. He had no housing there whatsoever. After some time, he approached the Shaykh of the school to ask if he had any housing, as many of the schools house their students. They had no housing

* * * * * *

Imam Malik ibn Anas

Malik ibn Anas is especially recognized for his voluminous book ‘Al-Muwatta’, which is said to be the second compilation in Islamic history of religious teachings. It was compiled, according to some historians, in 40 years. Today, that book is still a major guiding authority for millions of Muslims



Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation Studies. He is an author, translator, and writer based in Canada. To date, Al-Halawani authored over 400 original articles on Islam and Muslims, most of which can be accessed on www.truth-seeker.info and other famous websites. He has recently started to self-publish his articles and new books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle. You can reach him at alihalawani72@hotmail.com.


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Can We Be Happy Without God?

Can We Be Happy Without God?

By Shahul Hameed

Can We Be Happy Without God?

God“A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?”

This is one of the surprise questions that would greet New York commuters on the subway. A coalition of eight atheist organizations has purchased a month-long campaign that would place their posters in a dozen busy subway stations throughout Manhattan.

This is “part of a coordinated multi-organizational advertising campaign designed to raise awareness about people who don’t believe in a “god”, according to a statement from the group, the Big Apple Coalition of Reason. (Atheist ads to adorn New York subway stations, last accessed 24 October 2009)

The executive director of the New York Center for Inquiry, one of the associated atheists, explained that the coalition hopes “to encourage talking and thinking about religion and morality.”

As believers in Islam, we do welcome talking and thinking about religion and morality. And thinking of religion, we need to, first of all, confront the question of the existence of God:

If we just pass our eyes over the phenomena of nature with attention, we see a regularity and order in all things. We can see this, for instance, in the rotation of the day and night, in the new moon and the full moon, and in the change of seasons. We see the same pattern in the birth, growth and decay of plants and animals.

In short, we can very clearly observe that everything in nature follows an order or a regular pattern, which naturally presupposes a plan or design behind it. But if there is a design, shouldn’t there be a designer? Our reason tells us and our experience teaches us that a plan or design can come only out of an intelligent being.

And if so, how can we look at the grand design of the universe, the unerring order and regularity in nature, and say that these are mere coincidences?

Most assuredly, ours is a universe of order; it is a cosmos and not a chaos. Unless there is a reliable order, or a systematic predictability of laws governing the working of the universe, how can researchers do experiments and arrive at the laws of nature or laws of science?

The foregoing means that behind the operations of this universe, there must be a grand design that is the product of an extraordinary intelligence that comprehends and transcends all the areas of human knowledge, wisdom, and experience.

And what is more, we find that the unity and the uniformity of the Laws of Nature unerringly point to the unity of the power behind the universe. In short, if we are prepared to set aside all our prejudices, and let our minds free for reason to operate freely, we can recognize the overwhelming presence of God in all aspects of the universe.

 The Importance of Religion in Life

To consider the influence of religion in human life, we should make a distinction between “individual religiosity” and “organized religion”. By individual religiosity, we mean the faith and practices of individual persons.

And “organized religion” means an institution like the Roman Catholic Church, which has a hierarchical system. Even Islam, which has no clergy or a hierarchical system, is loosely considered an organized religion.

Indeed, Islam is a complete system covering all aspects of socio-political life as well as individual life, as embodied in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (the example of Prophet Muhammad). But such a complete system is visualized only under a government organized and run on the principles of Islamic jurisprudence.

But apart from it, there are politically or economically motivated groups among Muslims now, whom the media wrongly depicts as models of “organized Islam”.

One criticism of religion in this age is that it causes a lot of violence and intolerance. In fact, violence is not caused by religion as such. It is indeed an aspect of the human psyche, most evident in the socio-political sphere of life.

An objective study will convince us that most of the persisting conflicts of the world today are born out of some complexity of a political-economical nature, rather than from religion.

But vested interests often muddle the issue. For instance, to consider the Palestinian problem from a religious point of view is to distort the vital aspects of the problem, namely the Palestinians are denied their birthright to their home, to their land and their life. Even Israelis who quote their religious book as the basis of their claim to Palestine simply exploit their religion for political advantage.

Today the majority of refugees worldwide happen to be Muslims, and so often this situation is blindly attributed to the religion of Muslims. The truth is that racism, xenophobia, and morbid fear-mongering manipulate public opinion to equate refugees with illegal migrants and even terrorists. Such attitudes create misperceptions about Muslims and Islam. Why can’t we recognize the simple fact that refugees are the victims of state terrorism in the first place?

The Islamic Declaration of Human Rights — formulated on the basis of the Qur’an and the example of Prophet Muhammad — declares that every human being running away from persecution has the right of asylum, and deserves protection.

We can see that it is often the ethnocentrism of certain communities that generates violence, rather than religion. But essentially religion teaches peace, cooperation, and sacrifice. Consider for instance the Qur’anic verses:

Help you one another in righteousness and piety, but help you not one another in sin and rancor… (Al-Ma’idah 5:2)

Do no mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good. (Al-A`raf 7:56)

…But do you good, as Allah has been good to you, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief. (Al-Qasas 28:77)

Indeed, the moral worth of a society depends on the righteousness of the individuals who comprise that society. And an Islamic society is one in which the individual citizens of the society live by the tenets of Islam.

Regarding religion, one question that haunts thinking humans is about the meaning of suffering. Islam offers a satisfactory answer to this question, which is: If God is good and means well for humankind, why should He allow them to suffer?

Islam teaches that evil, which causes suffering, is the other side of good. That is to say, good in this world cannot exist without bad, as they are two sides of the same coin.

A little reflection would make us see that both good and evil are equally necessary for the spiritual growth of mankind.

Suffering tests the worth and mettle of a person. And the spirits of genuine believers do not weaken under suffering; nor does suffering frighten them or make them desperate.

The superiority of Islam over other philosophies or ideologies can be seen in that it equips its adherents with the spiritual strength to confront evil and overcome suffering. A sincere Muslim accepts physical pain, disease, and personal loss of life or property, as unavoidable tests of this life and as a means of purification; and so he or she strives to overcome them with an equal temper of mind.

As sensible beings, we ought to understand that as humans we are weak beings unable to control even our day-to-day affairs. As such, what can we really do when we are faced with situations that are beyond us? The only course open is not to lose hope, but to rely on the infinite mercy of God.

We should use our reason to assess the problems facing us, and do what we can by way of solving them. Having trust in God, we must adopt a policy of patient perseverance in the face of calamities:

O you who believe! seek help with patient perseverance and Prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

Islam gives its followers the confidence that God’s mercy is all-pervading, and that He fulfills the smallest need of the lowest creature in the most unexpected ways.

Contentment and tranquility of mind can be attained only through the contemplation of God. God says in the Qur’an what means,

….for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. (Ar-Ra`d 13:28)

Is Death the End?

Whatever happiness we enjoy in our life on earth is punctuated by the anxiety about impending death. Even those who are deluded by the idea that they can be “good without God” cannot escape the haunting thought of death.

At the time of death, they have to reckon with the fact that they have to leave their loved ones once and for all. If they still maintain their reason, how can they avoid asking at the point of death: “Has all the glamour and glory of our life come to this? Is this all?”

Indeed, Islam offers a satisfactory answer to the question, “why death?”

Death is only a transitional point in the life of a human being, whereby we leave this temporary world and enter into an eternal world at a different level of existence.

Since this world is imperfect and transient, and our earthly life is short, it is a horrible thought that suddenly one day, all our achievements in the world just vanish before our eyes for good.

It is only the natural corollary of our temporary existence, riddled with unhappiness, that we hope for an endless life of happiness, if not here, then in another world. And certainly, Islam answers to this natural yearning of humans for an endless life of uninterrupted happiness in the world to come:

As to those who believe and work righteous deeds, they have, for their entertainment, the Gardens of Paradise. (Al-Kahf 18:107)

From the point of view of Islam, God is the perfection of beauty, love, and justice. And the believers’ desire to meet their God in the end gives them the greatest incentive for leading a life of goodness in this world.

There is no way we can avoid facing our God to answer for all our actions on the Day of Judgment. On that day, those of us who led a good life are rewarded with an eternal life of bliss in the hereafter. And those who feel that they can be “happy without God” will necessarily be unhappy in the world to come.

The question is whether it is better to have the opportunity of enjoying an eternal life of bliss, or to miss that chance altogether by following the delusion that we can be happy without God.

The choice is ours.



Taken with slight modifications from onislam.net.

Professor Shahul Hameed is a consultant to the Reading Islam Website. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.

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Names & Attributes of God in Surah Ya-Sin

Names & Attributes of God in Surah Ya-Sin

By Raya Shokatfard

attributes of godNames & Attributes of God in Surah Ya-Sin

Ya-Sin, the thirty-sixth chapter of the Qur’an, is very popular among Muslims due to the many special merits associated with reading it, according to various statements attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

It is incumbent upon every Muslim to know and understand God’s names and attributes. It is only through better understanding Him that we gain closeness to Him, and move from worshiping an abstract God to one we are trying to come to know.

As for non-Muslims, this step will certainly bring a better understanding of the God Muslims worship. One will easily find many of these attributes are also alluded to Him in the Old and New Testament of the Bible. He is one God for all and His attributes do not change based on various religions.

The aim of this article is to highlight various names and attributes of God mentioned in some of the verses of this chapter and elaborate on them for a better understanding toward knowing our Creator.

Each attribute is at the end of each verse which in essence explains the verse itself.

The chapter begins with:

“In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.” (Ya-Sin 36: 1)

God is the most merciful, therefore, it is proper to start everything with His great name and attribute Ar-Rahim. Likewise Ar-Rahman is another great attribute of God, both of which are derived from Rahman.

Ar-Rahman is one which God encompasses with it all His creation, whereas Ar-Rahim is only for the believers.

One would be at awe about His mercy and compassion for His creation. God has instructed us to start all chapters of Qur’an with His name, except chapter 9 (At-Tawbah). This reminds us that while we read the chapters of the Qur’an, we should remember His compassion and mercy.

“By the Qur’an, full of Wisdom.” (Ya-Sin 36:2)

God swears by the Glorious Qur’an which is full of laws, evidences and proofs. According to Ibn Kathir, Al-Hakeem (full of Wisdom) means Al-Muhkam (perfect) which cannot be damaged by falsehood in any shape or form.

God swears by the Qur’an which is perfect in order to emphasize its incredible importance.

“It is a revelation sent down by the Almighty, the most Merciful.” (Ya-Sin 36:3)

For those who may doubt about God’s power and might, this verse serves as a reminder, especially to the disbelievers about who is behind sending down the mighty revelation to the last Prophet of God.

Yet, to His believing servants, He reminds them how merciful He is to them, while he is most powerful against His enemies.

This verse should be a strong reminder to both believing and disbelieving creatures of God.

He shows in the Qur’an and through His mercy that He guides, protects and nurtures His creatures.

It is important to note that God only guides to the straight path for which He has sent down many verses like the ones below:

“… if I am on the right path, it is but by the virtue of what my Sustainer reveals unto me.” (Saba’ 34: 50)

“…and verily, you are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path. The path of Allah to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Verily, to Allah all matters return.” (Ash-Shura 42:52-53)

“You (O Prophet!) can only warn him who follows the Reminder (i.e. Qur’an) and fears the Most Beneficent (Allah), unseen. Then bear the glad tidings of Forgiveness to such a one, and a generous reward (i.e. Jannah).” (Ya-Sin 36: 11)

Here, Karim (generous) refers to another attribute of God which He uses here as means to show a reward – a generous reward for those take heed to the warning and fear God when no one sees them, except God. He does righteous deeds because he knows God is watching him.

In another similar verse, God says:

“Verily, those who fear their Lord unseen, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward.” (Al-Mulk 67: 12)

Only a believer is looking forward to receive a generous reward for doing good acts while not being seen. The wicked does not see, or care about any reward, as he is heedless of his Creator in the first place. His aim is only satisfaction of his desires of this world.

In as much as warnings that are given to the disbelievers for heedlessness of their evil deeds, the believers are given glad tidings of great reward and in each verse of the Qur’an the promise of reward is preceded by the acts that would deserve such rewards.

So, Prophet Muhammad is given order to warn the believers while promising him great reward:

“ (It will be said to them): “Peace be on you”, a Word from the Lord, Most Merciful.” (Ya-Sin 36: 58)

Rahim” again, is a reminder to such believers about the Most Merciful.

Can one imagine receiving ‘Salam’ or greeting from His Lord personally?

Would there be a higher honor than this?

This is when one must contemplate on this attribute of God, Ar-Rahim who gives glad tidings of His presence with the believers.

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri: Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:

“Allah will say to the people of Paradise, “O the people of Paradise,

They will say, ‘Labbaik, O our Lord, and Sa`daik!’

Allah will say, ‘Are you pleased?

They will say, “Why should we not be pleased since You have given us what You have not given to anyone of Your creation?’

Allah will say, ‘I will give you something better than that.’

They will reply, ‘O our Lord! And what is better than that?’

Allah will say, “I will bestow My good pleasure and contentment upon you so that I will never be angry with you after this forever.” (Al-Bukhari)

“Say: (O Prophet!): “He Who created it (the bones) for the first time will give life to it. And He (Allah) is the All-Knower of every creation.” (Ya-Sin 36: 79)

Al-Alim (the All-Knower), surely is manifested in this verse, pointing to the one who created human from just a drop and certainly after death, He knows how to revive him and bring him into account.

Not only that, God knows all the intricate properties of each of His creation. So, He is indeed All-Knower of each and every creation He has ever created.

“Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth, able to create the like thereof? Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator.” (Ya-Sin 36: 81)

As in the previous verse, again we refer to the unimaginable, ever encompassing knowledge of God.

He has informed us that the creation of the heavens and the earth is much greater than the creation of humans and he can recreate the like of it as He wills. He is the All-Knowing, Supreme Creator.

If one were to contemplate about the vast creation of heavens and the earth, he cannot but be awed at the incredible knowledge of the Creator for what He has created, known or unknown to us.

“The creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind. Yet most men understand not.” (Ghafir 40: 57)


Taken with slight editorial modifications from onislam.net.

Raya Shokatfard holds an MA in Journalism/Mass Communications and an M.A.D. in TV journalism. BA in Communication and BA in Islamic Studies in progress. She has been Islamic propagator in the U.S and Egypt for many years and academic lecturer, writer, international presenter, consultant, foreign correspondent, and former Editor in Chief for Reading Islam website. She can be reached at: raya4peace@gmail.com


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What Do You Know About Imam An-Nawawi?

What Do You Know About Imam An-Nawawi?

By Jamal Ad-Din Zarabozo

An-NawawiThe Life of An-Nawawi

It is important for Muslims to take the time to learn about the lives of the pious predecessors. The great scholars and pious individuals of the past can be great examples of the living. Their behaviour and actions can have a great effect on their hearts. Their examples demonstrate that in every age, there were pious Muslims who followed the way of the Prophet (PBUH) and his noble Companions, without compromise and without giving in to the desires of this world. They demonstrate to the Muslims of today that the guidance of the Qur’an and Hadith was sufficient for them to lead their lives in manners pleasing to Allah, although they did not sit with and learn directly from the Prophet (PBUH) or even his close Companions.

Today, Muslims face many of the same problems, temptations and difficulties that these pious predecessors faced. The pious predecessors read and intensively studied the Qur’an and Hadith to attain guidance for their lives. They applied the Qur’an and Sunnah in their lives under various circumstances. What they derived from the Divine Guidance should be considered light for all of those who come after them who face circumstances similar to theirs.

There are many aspects of An-Nawawi’s life, in particular, that may set an example for those living today. In his introduction to his Master’s Thesis on An-Nawawi, Ahmad al-Haddad echoed these views when he stated,

“The third reason [for writing about An-Nawawi] was to bring to the forefront of the life of this extraordinary man who lived in a later time. It is hoped that this biography will bring to us and the coming generations great benefits with respect to the seriousness and striving for knowledge, with respect to asceticism and fearing Allah, and with respect to the bravery in publicly speaking the truth. The lives of the pious have the greatest effect on those who hear about them. Allah has certainly spoken the truth when He said, “And all that We relate to you (O Muhammad) of the news of the messenger [is] in order that We may make your heart strong and firm.” (Hud 11:20)

The goal here is to be brief. Therefore, only certain aspects of his life will be highlighted.[1]

Background to An-Nawawi’s Life

Islam in the Seventh Century of Hijrah

The Seventh Century of Islam was a very turbulent time, especially for the area of Sham (Greater Syria). It was during this Century that the Mongols invaded the East and the Crusaders controlled part of the Muslim lands from the West. In the year 656H, the Mongols invaded and conquered Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasids. In 658, however, under the reign of Al-Mudhafar Qutuz ibn ‘Abdullah and military leadership of Al-Dhahir Baybars, the Muslims handed the Mongols a stunning defeat at Ayn Jalut. Also, in 679H, when the Mongols again tried to conquer Aleppo, they were defeated. From that time onwards, Muslim forces continue to battle and make headway against the Mongols. Similarly, the Crusaders were defeated and removed from Sham in the year 691H.

By the grace and mercy of Allah, these turbulent times did not mean the end of Islam studies for the inhabitants of that area. In fact, when Nur ud-Din az-Zanki (d. 569H) entered Sham he found that the light of learning had been extinguished. Therefore, he made a concerted effort to encourage the people of that area to renew their studies of Islam. In the process, he opened many schools for the study of Islam. In fact, he opened the first Dar al-Hadith in Damascus, Aleppo and elsewhere. This same spirit of spreading knowledge and establishing educational institutions was carried on by those who ruled after Nur ad-Din az-Zanki, especially Sayf ud-Din Qalawun (d. 689H). Therefore, one does not find a shortage of scholars and learning even during that turbulent century of Islamic history.

An-Nawawi’s Birth and Upbringing

Muhy ud-Din [2] Abu Zakariyyah[3] Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Hizami an-Nawawi was born in the 631H (1233CE) in the village of Nawa, south of Damascus, Syria. Coming from Nawa, he is given the descriptive name of An-Nawawi, which is also sometimes written An-Nawaawi.

An-Nawawi did not come from a well-known family. There is very little mention, if any, of his grandfather, father and other relatives. This implies that they were a modest family. They also were not known for producing great scholars. However, his father did have a reputation for being very pious and God-fearing. His father had a garden in which he would grow food for his family. He would avoid, and taught his family to avoid, eating anything which may be forbidden in any way whatsoever. This was a true application of the following Hadith from Sunan at-Tirmidhi:

O, People! Verily Allah is good and He does not accept but what is good. Allah has ordered the believers with the same command that He ordered the messengers. He said, ‘O Messengers, eat of the good and pure things and work righteous deeds. Verily, I am knowledgeable about what you do.’ And He said, ‘O believers! Eat of the good and wholesome things that We have provided for you.’ And he mentioned a man who was on a long journey, with dishevelled hair and dust-ridden, stretching out his hands to the sky, saying, ‘O Lord, O Lord,’ while his food is of the forbidden and his provisions are of the forbidden. How is he going to be responded to [by Allah]?

From his youth, Yahya an-Nawawi was not attracted to sports or playing. Indeed, other children chided him for this. From an early age, he turned his attention to his studies. He hated any activity that would take him away from memorizing the Qur’an. On one occasion, the children forced him to play with them and he cried because of the time that he was wasting.[4] It is not surprising then that he memorized the Qur’an at an early age.

At the age of eighteen, his father took him to Damascus to continue his studies. He excelled in the Shafi’i school of fiqh, memorizing some of its most important texts. He performed the pilgrimage to Makkah, visited Madinah and other locations but then returned to Damascus until prior to his death when he returned to his hometown of Nawa.

An-Nawawi’s Personal Life

His Pursuit of Knowledge

An-Nawawi first studied at the Saramiyyah school in Damascus. This is where his father left him. He had no housing there whatsoever. After some time, he approached the Shaykh of the school to ask if he had any housing, as many of the schools house their students. They had no housing so the Shaykh suggested that he go to Rawahiyyah School. There he was given a very small room in which he lived for a number of years. In fact, he remained in that small room until he was named the head of the Ashrafiyyah school, a number of years later.[5] It was stated that, when one visited him, the room was so small and the books were so many, that the only way one could sit down was to remove the books and pile them on top of each other to make some room to sit.

After Saramiyyah, he continued his studies at the Rawahiyyah school in Damascus. At one point in time, he was attending twelve lectures a day on assorted topics, including Arabic language, hadith, fiqh and Islamic legal theory. Some of his well-known teachers[6] included Ishaq ibn Ahmad al-Maghrabi al-Maqdisi (d. 650H), ‘Abdur-Rahman al-Anbari (d. 661H) and ‘Abdul-‘Aziz al-Ansari (d. 662H). He studied Sahih Muslim from Abu Ishaq Ibrahim al-Wasiti. In 655H, at the age of 24, he began teaching at the Ashrafiyyah school. His reputation and excellence as a scholar began to be recognized by the scholars and inhabitants of Damascus.

His pursuit of knowledge dominated his entire life. He would put all of his time into studying, learning, and teaching. It is even stated that he would not sleep except when sleep would overtake him. He would rest on his book and sleep for a little, then he would act startled upon awakening and continues studying. He once said about himself, “I spent two years without lying on the ground [to sleep] on my side.” That is, he would always study and write until sleep overtook while in a sitting position. Al-Qutb al-Yawnini said about him, “He would not waste any moment of the day or night but he would spend it busy with attaining knowledge. Even when he walking and in the streets, he will be busy going over what he had remembered and reviewing his notes. He continued gaining knowledge in that way for a period of six years.”[7]

It seems – and only Allah knows the reality – that Allah truly blessed his time. Perhaps this was due to a sincere intention to please Allah. As mentioned above, he would attend up to twelve classes a day. Commenting on that fact, Al-Diqr wrote:

“He used to have twelve study sessions a day with his teachers. These included explanations, verifications, commentaries, explaining the different aspects and expressions as well as exacting the correct wordings. This would take, at least approximation, twelve hours a day. Then he would need to review what he had learned and memories that need to be memorized. The very least approximation is that this would also take twelve hours a day. This is twenty-four hours in a day! When would he sleep? When would he eat? When would he perform the acts of worship? When would he perform the voluntary late-night prayers? It is well-known that he performed those types of acts of obedience and worship. When would all of that take place? He was in need of studying and reviewing for all the twenty fours in a day and night. This shows how Allah blessed and graced this man. Allah blessed him in his time. He gave him the ability to complete in one day what it takes everyone else two years to accomplish. This is the only way we can explain this tremendous undertaking that made him one of the greatest scholars of his time in about ten years. In fact, it made him the leader (Imam) of his time. This is also the only way we can explain all of his wonderful, detailed and radiant writings in a span of time that lasted no more than fifteen years. He spent all of his lifetime and living hours in learning, teaching and writing.” (Quoted in Al-Diqr (see footnote 1), p. 34)

His Austerity

He led a very austere and simple life. Some narrations state that all the clothing he possessed was a turban and long gown. He did not desire any of the pleasures of this world. At one point in time, he would not eat anything except some cake and olives that his father would send him from time to time from Nawa. One of the reasons for this was that he was certain that such food came from permissible sources.

He would refuse even permissible things out of fear that they may lead him to doubtful matters. Indeed, he refused to eat any of the fruits of Damascus because he knew that orchards, many of which were endowments and for orphans and others, were not handled properly and he feared that the food he would be eating was not from a permissible source. Another reason he gave for not eating the fruit was that much of it was handled through sharecropping and there was a difference of opinion among the scholars concerning the validity of sharecropping. In a footnote, Al-Haddad points out that, in reality, all of those matters boiled down to one thing: An-Nawawi was afraid to involve himself in any matter concerning which there was even the slightest doubt.[8]

An-Nawawi desired to live a simple and pure life, although it would have been possible for him to live otherwise, given his teaching position and influence. Chief Justice Sulayman az-Zara’i narrated that he visited An-Nawawi on the day of ‘Eid. An-Nawawi was eating some kind of broth with no meat. He asked Sulayman to eat with him and he said that is was not appealing to him. Sulayman’s brother went and bought some roasted meat and sweets. Sulayman told An-Nawawi to eat from it and he refused. Sulayman said to him, “O my brother, is this forbidden?” He said, “No, but it is the food of the tyrants [and extravagant].” In this matter, he was following the example of the Prophet(PBUH) who could have enjoyed many of the bounties of this world, but, instead, his household would go days without cooking any meat or having their full of bread for two days straight.[9] It seems that An-Nawawi did not consider such food as impermissible, in general, as obviously the Prophet(PBUH) ate such foods. However, it seems that he was never sure that their source was permissible, so he refused to eat such foods.[10]

He was also well-known for his modesty. Part of his modesty included never being served by any of his students. At the same time, he continued to serve his students even into his old age.

An-Nawawi would fast perpetually (every day except the days of ‘Eid).[11] In general, he would only eat once a day, after the last obligatory prayer of the day; and he would only drink once a day, before dawn. When he drank, he would drink cold water out of fear that it may make him drowsy. Al-Haddad argues that this was done by An-Nawawi so that he would dedicate all of his time to work and worship instead of the pleasures of this life. Al-Haddad writes that it is said that knowledge is not attained by rest. In fact, he states, a person will not receive even part of knowledge unless he dedicates himself to it. If a person dedicates all of himself to knowledge, then he may achieve a portion of it. Al-Haddad states that perhaps this was An-Nawawi’s perception of knowledge. He left his heart completely free and open to receive the blessed knowledge of the religion of Islam.[12]

He did not accept a stipend for his teaching. It seems that he may have accepted money for the first year or two. That money he did receive, he would spend on books that were left as endowments after him. However, after that time, he refused to accept any money whatsoever for his services.[13]

One material possession of this world that An-Nawawi did have was books. In general, a student is greatly in need of books. He is perhaps as much in need of books than he is of food and water, as Al-Haddad pointed out. As alluded to earlier, An-Nawawi’s small room was like a warehouse of books. One of the testimonies as to how many books An-Nawawi had may be found in his introduction to At-Tahqiq wherein he said, “I have with me, of the books of Shafi’i fiqh, and all praises are due to Allah, about one hundred books, including well-known books, rare books and others.”[14] Al-Haddad comments, “If that was the case with the number of books of fiqh, which were not as plentiful as they were in later eras, then what about the number of books of hadith he must have had, as there were many more books of hadith available at his time.”[15] Taj ud-Din as-Subki (683-756H), who was a Chief Justice (Qadhi al-Qudha), was asked to complete one of An-Nawawi’s works, Al-Majmu’. He tried to excuse himself by saying that he did not have the number of references available to him that An-Nawawi had.

It seems clear though, that An-Nawawi’s goal was not simply to possess a large library. His books were not for decoration or display. Instead, he benefited greatly from these works and, from his lectures and writings, numerous people have benefited from them since then.


Adapted from Commentary on the Forty Hadeeth of an-Nawawi, Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, published by Al-Basheer Publications & Translations with some minor amendments.



  1. Those readers interested in more details about the life of Imam An-Nawawi may consult Ala ud-Din ibn Al-Attar, Tuhfat at-Talibin fi Tarjumah al-Imam Muhy ud-Din (Riyadh: Dar as-Sami’i, 1414H), passim; Jalal ud-Din as-Suyuti, Al-Minhaj al-Sawi fi Tarjamah Al-Imam An-Nawawi (Beirut: Dar ibn Hazm, 1994), passim; ‘Abdul-Ghani ad-Diqr, Al-Imam An-Nawawi: Shaykh ul-Islam wa’l-Muslimin was Umdat al-Fuqaha wa’l-Muhadithin (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 1980), passim. As-Suyuti relied greatly on Al-Attar, quoting lengthy passages from his work.
  2. All of the biographical works give him the nickname “Muhy ud-Din” although he himself did not like to be called by it. He said that he did not forgive the person who gave him that nickname. He may have disliked that nickname because it means, “The one who gives life to the religion,” while, in fact, the religion of Islam is not in need of anyone to give it life. Al-Haddad argues that the name does become him but that out of modesty, he did not like to be called by it. (See Al-Haddad, p. 19) According to Al-Madabaghi, if a name or title of praise is disliked by someone, out of modesty, although the title fits him, then it is allowed to call that person by that name. This is not considered a type of backbiting or insult. See Hasan al-Madabaghi’s comments on the margin of Ahmad ibn Hajr al-Haytami, Fath al-Mubin li Sharh al-Arbain (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1978), p. 4.
  3. He was given the name Abu Zakariyyah (“The Father of Zakariyyah”) although he never had a child by that name. It is not uncommon for me to be given agnomens while they are still underage and that agnomen remains with them throughout their lives. In Al-Majmu’, An-Nawawi argues that it is recommended for people to have agnomens, even if they do not have children. See Yahya an-Nawawi, Al-Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadhab (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n.d.) vol. 8, p. 438.
  4. Al-Haddad, p. 26.
  5. ibid, p. 32.
  6. The most detailed discussion of the different teachers of Imam An-Nawawi may be found in Al-Haddad, pp. 41-70.
  7. Quoted in Al-Diqr, p. 28.
  8. Al-Haddad, p. 90.
  9. ibid, p. 90.
  10. Al-Diqr, p. 129.
  11. There is a difference of opinion concerning perpetual fasting. An-Nawawi seemed to be of the view that it is permissible as long as one has the ability to do it and as long as one does not fast on those days which it is prohibited to fast. See An-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim, vol. 8, p. 40.
  12. Al-Haddad, p.35.
  13. See Al-Diqr, p.127.
  14. Quoted in Al-Haddad, p. 71.
  15. ibid, p. 72.

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