- "The Sincere Advice" : from the desk of Ustaz Zhulkeflee

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيۡهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسۡلِيمًا

"... O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation." (QUR'AN:AL-AHZAB:33:56)

"O Allah, I believed in Muhammad but did not see him; do not deprive me in the Gardens of his vision. Bestow his company upon me and cause me to die in his religion. Let me drink from his pool a quenching, pleasant, delightful drink after which we shall never thirst again. You are powerful over everything. O Allah, convey to the soul of Muhammad my greetings and peace. O Allah, as I believed in Muhammad but did not see him, do not deprive me in the Gardens of his vision."

O Allah! I make the intention to invoke blessings on the Prophet, may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him, in compliance with Your Order and as an attestation of  the Prophet sent by You, our master Muhammad, may Your blessings and peace be upon him; in his love and in my yearning for him and with the respect due to him as he merits it. Accept it from me by Your Grace and Kindness and remove the veil of negligence from my heart and make me among one of Your righteous servants.

A-MEEN! YA ROB-BAL 'AA-LA-MEEN ! .............











"DALAA-ILUTL-KHAY-RAT" was compiled of Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli r.a. May Allah Reward & Bless his soul.  (and to reciter Ishak Danis)

...  Al-Faatihah !


Monday, April 21, 2008

3.0 What is “An-NaseeHah”?

Why does the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. equates succinctly, this Deen with “An-NaseeHah” (the Advice)?

The Arabic word “NaseeHah” generally carries the literal meaning in English for ”advice”. Yet unlike the English term, the Arabic meaning of this term contains much more than mere advice. Thus when the Prophet s.a.w. equates the Deen (religion) to the advice, this then invited further question from his Companions who seemed to understand “NaseeHah” to be of the general meaning, referring perhaps to a command or imperative act in ‘communicating some good message to another’, thus they sought its clarification with “Li-man?” – meaning ‘for whom?’, or it can also mean ‘towards whom?’

In this Arabic interrogative term “li-man?” when we mean to ask “for whom?” it implies we seek to know “who is the one who is obligated to carry out this act.” But if we mean by this same term to ask “towards whom?” it is to seek direction as “to whom or upon whom is the advice meant for or to be given to”.

When the Prophet s.a.w. responded to explain that it is “.... For (and also towards) Allah, His Book, His Messengers, the a-immah (leaders) of the Muslims and towards all Muslims in general” – the meaning of “NaseeHah” to merely mean “advice” is problematic because it is untoward for us to be advising Allah, His Book, His Messenger etc., although if the advice is from Allah, from His Book, His Messenger etc. towards us it is perfectly sensible. This is because “advice” is deemed to be given to another who is the needy for it. Certainly, Allah s.w.t. has no need from any one whereas everyone and everything is ever in need of Him. We are the needy ones vis-a-vis Allah, His Book, His Messenger etc.

Yet, the Prophet s.a.w. has no qualms to still use the term “NaseeHah” even when one understands it to pertain to our attitude as regards to giving “NaseeHah” towards Allah, His Book, His Messenger etc. What can this “NaseeHah” here means, what is implied for us to say making “NaseeHah” towards Allah s.w.t., His Book, His Messenger etc.? That is unless “NaseeHah” has other meanings as well.

The beauty of Arabic language is that every word is derived from its trilateral roots (in this case the three letters Nun-Sod-Hah) which therefore shares varieties of semantic fields of words of similar construct but which has other exact meanings. One of which is “Nu-Suu-H” which has the meanings of “to be sincere; to mean well; to act in good faith; to be loyal, genuine and true” Thus also in the Qur’an the command for “sincere and true repentance” is termed in Arabic as “Taw-ba-tan-Na-Su-Hah.” Thus the relevance of the Prophet’s use of this same word here – one of the mark of his gifted wisdom and eloquence (“Jawaa-mi-‘ul kaleem”). “NaseeHah” is a comprehensive word indeed, whose meaning implies “the desire for all possible good for the one being advised as well as the expectation for being true and sincere in reciprocation to those receiving it”; a most concise in speech, and there is no other single word in the Arabic language that completely and precisely explains its meaning.
  • In other words......

We must realise that this Deen is all about the message, Ar-Risaalah, from Allah; and every activity in its dissemination of this message (as conveyed in His Book through the angels and prophets, and the leaders succeeding the prophet as well as amongst Muslims in general) to be heeded by us, mankind. Conversely, we as recipients of the advice are expected to react by being true, faithful and sincere - through having faith with genuine acceptance by way of surrender (submission) and we are also to reciprocate by striving in carrying out sincere acts of devotions, termed as righteous deeds, and to continue disseminating the advice.

The term “NaseeHah” actually already stipulates communication both ways, not just by God towards men, but from men towards God, i.e. man is expected to be sincere, faithful and true towards His Creator and Sustainer, Who ultimately is the source-giver of the advice – this Deen of al-Islam.

Interestingly, the religion of al-Islam is equated with the term “advice” would imply firstly, that man is not to be forced or coerced. We must realize that what is given (this Deen) is meant for man’s own well-being because mankind needs it not God, for Allah s.w.t. (God exalted and glorious is He) is above any need from any of His creation, least of all from us human.

We ought to give utmost attention to the point that when Allah s.w.t. speaks of Himself in the Qur’an as representing this advice, He repeatedly and consistently reminds us that your God, the giver of this ad-Deen (religion as an advice) is surely the One Who has utmost Compassion and Most Merciful, Who cares very much for mankind. From the earliest (first) revelation to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Allah underscored the Haqiqah (truth and reality) ... in the name of thy Lord (God as the Sustainer) Who creates ... Who is Most Bounteous ... Who creates and teaches mankind whatever that man do not know..” (Qur’an: Surah al-‘Alaq: 1-5).

This realization in the term an-NaseeHah with the Deen must guide us and all those who engages in the work of Islamic Da’wah (literally “calling” all people to al-Islam i.e. to God’s Way), that we have to respect people’s right to accept or reject the call, we are only to advise and not impose Faith upon people. Therefore we cannot compel nor coerce, neither by outright force nor even by deception. Truth and the right way are clear and must be made distinct to every person. And thus we are to exude genuine concern and empathy rather than be seen as being too judgemental and condescending. We must hold the optimism that every human being can think and would want think rightly. Those who may lapse towards accepting that which may be regarded as morally wrong may simply be unaware of their real state, perhaps because of blind acceptance or as victims of deception. We must patiently convey the message, seeking only to make available the Truth, to free mankind from every shackle of falsehood and injustice which blinds and enslaves minds. This we must do, as a collective responsibility lest we all become losers:

وَٱلۡعَصۡرِ إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَفِى
خُسۡرٍ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ
وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ

By the Time (through the ages)
Verily man is in Loss;
Except those who believe and works righteous deeds;
And engages in the
mutual teaching of al-Haqq (the Truth);
And engages in mutual exhortation
with as-Sobr (Patience and Constancy).
(Qur’an: Surah al-’Asr)

Those who accept or submit (called “Muslim”, which literally means “one who have submitted”) shall then continue to participate in disseminating this advice amongst themselves and the rest of mankind, for Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is the last of Allah’s messenger, the seal of prophethood after whom there will be no other prophet. Muslims thus are honoured with the responsibility to continue this prophetic task henceforth. As Allah s.w.t. emphasises the additional condition so as not to be losers, because believing and striving to do good to and for oneself alone is insufficient. Added to having faith and living a righteous life, Allah s.w.t. explicitly advocate for man to also participate and be in engaged in giving and receiving advice amongst mankind – “engage in the mutual teachings of truth, and of patience and constant striving in life.” For ‘no man is an island’ and can claim immunity to any shortcoming and imperfection, but is constantly in need of advice. Such is our nature as human. We cannot live without social interaction – accepting and giving advice is our lifeblood for existence.

Question: “How do you reconcile your assertion that if everything in this Deen is advice, then why do many Islamists and so-called Da-‘ie (missionary or propagator) of Islam seemed to be speaking about wanting to impose rules and laws of Shariyah etc.? Does this not then contradict the dicta ‘no compulsion in matters of faith’? “

........ to be continued, insyaAllaah!

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