ISRA Retreat on Nawawi’s Arba’een: Hadith 35

inside Masjid Noor-al-Huda, Columbia, SC

I didn’t tell you that yesterday Noora danced in the middle of the dhikr circle. She stomped her feet to the beat of La ilaha il Allah, whirling dervish of nasheeds that she is. Today, the baby who has abducted my body for the past 4 months kicked and flipped for the first time (that I could feel) upon hearing this hadith:

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra), the messenger of Allah (saws) said:

“Do not envy one another; do not inflate prices one to another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from one another; and do not undercut one another, but be you, O servants of Allah, brothers. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim: he neither oppresses him nor does he fail him, he neither lies to him nor does he hold him in contempt. Piety is right here—and he pointed to his breast three times. It is evil enough for a man to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. The whole of a Muslim for another Muslim is inviolable: his blood, his property, and his honor.” (Muslim)

I never paid much attention to this hadith before; my focus was always on the one preceeding it which is my favorite. Well, the new baby made sure that I was paying attention. I must pause to tell you about a book that was suggested to be read…’Ibn Arabi’s Sufis of Andalusia: The Ruh Al-Quds and Al-Durrat Al-Fakhirah in which he writes down the story of anyone and everyone who ever taught him anything, including children and women. Subhanallah, we were taught today to treat everyone like Khidr and every night as laylatul qadr. For not every person is a person…you never know when someone has come into your life just to test you or teach you…just like the story of Khidr and the Prophet Moses (pbuh) and the Angel Jibrail (as) and Muhammad (pbuh) when he taught the companions about iman, islam, and ihsan…

But back to hadith 35, we were told that this hadith is all about brotherhood and it was one of the most important hadiths for our time, as our ummah is in shambles. We were then taught that there are three levels of brotherhood. There is the brotherhood of the Muslim (islam), the brotherhood of the Mu’min (iman), and the brotherhood of the Muhsin (ihsan). The brotherhood of iman is that you love for your brother what you love for yourself (as in hadith 13). The brotherhood of ihsan is that you prefer for your brother what you love for yourself. Our problem is that we manifest these egotistical personalities like selfishness but they aren’t our true selves…they aren’t the souls who said “yes” to Allah when He asked (azza wa jal), “Am I not your Lord?” before we were even born. Not following hadith 35 is what is hurting ourselves and our communities. Not answering the phone when our brothers and sisters call…not thinking of them as ourselves…treating them as we want to be treated. Shaykh Muhammad Mendes offered a solution given by one of his teachers who said to treat plants like animals, animals like humans, people of other faiths like Muslims, and Muslims like yourself. Subhanallah. And then reminded us that lowering our gaze doesn’t just go for the opposite sex; we must also lower our gaze from the faults of our brothers and sisters as well…

But to reach these levels of brotherhood, we need to get rid of some idols of our time. Idols aren’t just made out of wood and stone; they are ideas, emotions and our own caprices. Shaykh Muhammad said that there are always idols that need to be slashed, just like in the time of the prophets (pbut). The two main idols that need to be slashed in our time are materialism (love of the world) and individualism. We aren’t here to buy new things or amass money to get new things. And RasulAllah (saws) wasn’t an individualist. He put everyone before himself. The Muslim feels connected with everything…just like the shaykh who felt like his arm was being amputated because a leaf fell from a tree…

And most profoundly for me today, Shaykh Muhammad said that we shouldn’t look at the seerah as merely a history lesson. The seerah is to teach us ihsan, the excellence of the Prophet Muhammad (saws). And the entire seerah is not only his story, but our story as well. We relive the lives of the predecessors every day and we need to look to who is reflecting these hadiths in our communities. The prophets were more than just people. The sahaba were more than just people. They are universal principles to live by…we need to figure out who is the Umar in our community? the Abu Bakr? the Aisha?

And then, right then and there, many things became apparent. I traveled down to Columbia, SC with a sister I met in Ramadan. We hadn’t spent that much time together until now. But I learned more from that sister about how I should be and how I want to be more than anything else. It is my deep belief that she is one of those pillars…one of those universal principles in our world. I always saw her helping, giving, and patient…I never saw a look of disdain, contempt, or anger cross her face no matter what was thrown at her. And I couldn’t say the same about my own face. Subhanallah. Everyone we meet is a teacher. And while it is my sincere hope to be the Zaynab of my community…beautiful, crafty, and giving, I know that I still have a lot to learn…but at least I now know my purpose in being here. Of all the things said today, the thing that sticks out in my mind most is when Shaykh Muhammad said that we must pay zakat on our knowledge. Zakat means growth. We must pay zakat on what we learned to our families and communities, and I pray that is what I have been doing here and will be blessed to continue to do. As we received ijazas in maqra (reciting) and sam’a (listening) to Nawawi’s Arba’een, I felt that I really didn’t deserve it. I couldn’t hear or understand everything being said at times. But as Shaykh Muhammad said, it’s not the paper that matters. It’s what it symbolizes…the chain…and with that, I’m ready to continue the chain link that I started working on. I started tajweed courses this fall that I almost gave up on until now…so even if it takes me years, inshAllah, I’ll complete my chain link and pay zakat on it to you, to Noora, to baby-to-be, to anyone who wants to hear or learn…Thank you teachers…Shaykh Muhammad Mendes, Shaykh Manzar-ul-Islam Azhari, Br. Syed and the ISRA team, Hassan, Noora, baby-to-be inshAllah, Khalida, Muhafiz, Nusaibah, Tazkiyya, Karima, Sr. Khalilah, Sr. Khalida, and all other attendees. I pray the lessons you taught me will stick. Pray for me. I love you.

3 thoughts on “ISRA Retreat on Nawawi’s Arba’een: Hadith 35

  1. Bismillah

    As-salaamu alaikum my dearest Mashkura,
    Jazakee Allahu khair for taking me w/ you to the retreat..your writing is as if I attened it myself. MashaAllah. your experiences became mine too! MashaAllah Shaykh Muhammad said many beautiful things that really touched my heart and affected it (same in Tennessee). May Allah bless him always and the Ummah.. (ameen).

    “we were taught today to treat everyone like Khidr and every night as laylatul qadr. For not every person is a person…you never know when someone has come into your life just to test you or teach you…” and treat plants like animals, animals like humans, people of other faiths like Muslims, and Muslims like yourself..”

    Ya Allah!! THat is soooooo powerful, so intense..ya Allah if we lived by these words..imagine!! our state, the ummah’s state, the Universe’s state..

    May Allah put light in our hearts, and increase us in sincerity and taqwa and bring us closer to Him and to His Love and acceptance…ameen.

    Thank you soo much for sharing this w/ us.. Love and miss you.

  2. Amin! amin! amin! Wa alaikum as-salaam wa rahmatullah and BarakAllahu fiki dearest Miriam…yes, the snippets I caught were so powerful, and inshAllah will prove life changing…state changing…heart changing…I can’t wait until we are reunited again, sis…I love you and miss you too…let me know when you are free to share some of your good company with me again inshAllah!

  3. As salaamu Alaikum, Mashkura I had the best time of my life being able to join you and noora on a few days of an adventurous journey. You made me feel at home and I just wanted to thank you and I pray that Allah will bless you and your family with a heart full of light and the taufiq to continue in your studies. I feel like my life has opened up and masha”Allah there was so much positivity and I just wanted to say thank you. Love the song by Benyammi.

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