Tag Archives: angels

The Black Stone

As thousands, nay millions, of muslims flock to perform Hajj, they will form queues to touch the black stone and fight to kiss it. But what is the black stone? And what is its significance in Islam?

The black stone was sent down from paradise, as we learn from the hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas that The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Black Stone came down from Paradise.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 877; al-Nasaa’i, 2935. The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi)

“When the Black Stone came down from Paradise, it was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam made it black.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 877; Ahmad, 2792. Classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah, 4/219. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar classed it as qawiy (strong) in Fath al-Baari, 3/462).

This hadith means that the sins of those who touched the stone, caused it to turn black.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said: “Some heretics tried to criticize this hadeeth by saying: How come the sins of the mushrikeen turned it black and the worship of the people of Tawheed did not make it white? I answer by quoting what Ibn Qutaybah said: If Allah had willed, that would have happened. But Allah has caused it to be the case that black usually changes other colours and its not itself changed, which is the opposite to what happens with white.”

Al-Muhibb al-Tabari said: The fact that it is black is a lesson for those who have insight. If sins can have this effect on an inanimate rock, then the effect they have on the heart is greater. (Fath al-Baari, 3/463)

Subhanallah! Imagine if sins can have such an adverse effect on a rock, then what about our hearts?!

This reminds me of another hadith, in which the Messenger ﷺ mentions the effects of sins on the heart;

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases. That is the Ran that Allah mentions in His Book: “Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.” [83:14] (Ibn Majah, Hasan)

So, let us use these upcoming blessed days to clean and polish our hearts. Let us seek the forgiveness of Allah and utilise our time in His remembrance. May Allah purify our hearts.

Back to the subject of the black stone…

Did you know that the black stone will speak on the day of judgement and testify?

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said concerning the Stone: “By Allah, Allah will bring it forth on the Day of Resurrection, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favour of those who touched it in sincerity.”

(Tirmidhi, 961; Ibn Maajah, 2944, hasan by al-Tirmidhi, and as qawiy by al-Haafiz ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari, 3/462)

So how should muslims performing hajj or umrah deal with the black stone?

It was narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Makkah, he came to the Black Stone and touched it, then he walked to the right of it and ran three times and walked four times [around the Ka’bah].  (Muslim)

Hence touching the black stone is to be done before performing tawaf.

It is also encouraged to kiss for the Prophet was seen doing so.

It was narrated that ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the Black Stone and kissed it, then he said: “I know that you are only a stone which can neither bring benefit nor cause harm. Were it not that I had seen the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) kiss you, I would not have kissed you.”  (Bukhari and Muslim)

However, one should know that it is merely a stone, and has no ability or power in of itself. It cannot cause harm nor bring benefit. Many a times, people become extreme in kissing it, they rub their faces into it, rub their clothes, and if they could, would probably try and take a piece home with them! We should beware of exaggerating, and know that benefit and harm are in Hands of Allah.

Nonetheless, touching the stone is a means of expiation,

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Touching them both [the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamani] is an expiation for sins.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 959. This hadeeth was classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi and as saheeh by al-Haakim (1/664). Al-Dhahabi agreed with him).

If one is unable to reach it due to the crowds or some other reason, then he should touch it with something else and kiss that object. And if he is unable to do that then he should point towards it and say Allahu-Akbar, as these were all reported from the Prophet.

When one goes to kiss it or touch one should maintain Islamic etiquettes, and should not cause annoyance to others. Pushing, shoving are all too common in Hajj crowds, and we should aim to change this, and be better than that. Islam teaches us good manners, and we should uphold these mannerisms when we are the holiest site, performing such honourable rituals, otherwise we only incur sin upon ourselves. Pushing and shoving in crowds are often the reason for unnecessary injury, and at times even death or stampedes. Many a times women also get caught up in the crowds, hence we should be aware, and maintain cautiousness even in these difficult trying circumstances.

When Seventy Thousand Angels send Blessings!

Eyes watering and red, with the temperature rising, and an agonizing pain coursing the body, lying on our sides, and when swelling in our throat dutifully sends a stabbing pain, a groan escapes through our mouth…

At this moment, the doorbell rings and enters someone, a platter of brownies in one hand and a basket of freshly picked strawberries in the other, with a dazzling smile that reminds one of bright sunshine and golden buttercups, a soft voice that enquires about our wellbeing. A streak of happiness gushes forth and satisfaction sets in, as we realize that our existence may have some weight in the hearts of others.

Certainly when one is ill, not only does the physical and biochemical state of our body change, but our attitude also undergoes some modification, for the time being at least, and we learn to be more appreciative, and even a simple smile from others sends warmth down our hearts.

So dear friends, can we then not try to appease these dejected ones, by simply visiting them, as we do acknowledge the significance of our short detour to their houses in their lives.

visit the sick

But our intentions should be pure, and we should strive to principally please our Rabb by doing these humble acts of kindness for verily the Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The one who visits the sick is like a person who is in a fruit garden of Paradise until he returns.”
[Sahih Muslim]

Subhan Allah, “a fruit garden of paradise,” indeed if only we were to perceive the magnitude of this phrase, then certainly we would hasten to the sides of our sick brothers.

But the glad tidings do not cease here, for the following ahadith just intensifies the rewards for this simple deed:
Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “There is no Muslim who visits a (sick) Muslim early in the morning but seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until evening comes, and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until morning comes, and he will have a garden in Paradise.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi (969)

Allahu Akbar, think about it, seventy thousand angels, angels who don’t know about disobedience, who are pure, to think that they were to pray for us should indeed stir our hearts.

Furthermore, Imam Ahmad narrated that Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever visits a sick person is plunging into mercy until he sits down, and when he sits down he is submerged in it.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2504.

And also, The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever visits a sick person or visits a brother in Islam, a caller cries out to him: ‘May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you occupy a dignified position in Paradise’.”
Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi (2008)

Visiting the sick does not involve only those whom you know, rather it is prescribed for those whom you know and those whom you do not know. This was stated by al-Nawawi in Sharh Muslim. Also one should follow the proper etiquettes whilst paying such a visit.

My dear friends, compared to the intense amounts of reward, that this deed brings us, shouldn’t we bring about a change in our attitudes and opinions. Visiting the sick, now should no longer seem to us as a colossal task, rather the rewards that this simple deed brings to us is indeed phenomenal.

So finally my friends, let’s take the initiative to rush to our ailing friends with the sole purpose of pleasing Our Creator, and to pave for ourselves the path to Paradise by the mercy of Allah, whilst making our sick friends smile.

Bint Ayesha, Writer, AAT

The Destroyer of Pleasures

deathDeath. It is the destroyer of pleasures. It is the end. An inevitable termination to the life of this world. A reality truer than life itself.
Though we are taught to remember death, it occupies little space in our minds. Though it is undeniable, its thought trail rarely lingers in our heads. Death, is reminder for us to fix ourselves before it is too late. We only live the life of this world once. It is a one-way ticket, without return.
Death hangs over life, it is forever shadowing it. Knowing this, and accepting this fact will enable one to come to terms with it.
To the believer, death ends the pains and sufferings of the world. Death brings one closer to the rewards of Jannah, and death brings one, ever closer to seeing Allah. In this sense, death is a mere stopover en route to the final abode of paradise, and as such, one almost looks forward to it.
My grandmother’s sister recently passed away. I ask Allah to grant her Jannah. She had been afflicted with cancer and had suffered many pains. When the news reached us, we were broken. My grandmother was torn. She could barely speak. We consoled and comforted her as best as we could, reminding her that her sister was in a better place, without pain and suffering, and that one day, they would meet each other inshallah in Jannah, and what better reunion than that?!
Amidst tears, consolation and visitors, I recalled the hadith of Al-Bara’ ibn Azib. It is a hadith that brings contentment and hope to the believer.
Upon the authority of al-Bara’ ibn `Aazib who said: We went out with the Prophet to a burial of a man from the Ansar (original inhabitants of Madina) until we arrived at the grave, and he still had not been placed in the slot of the grave.
Then the Messenger of Allah sat down and we sat around him. You would have thought that birds were upon our heads from our silence, and in the hand of the Messenger of Allah was a stick which he was poking the ground with. [Then he started looking at the sky and looking at the earth and looking up down three times]. Then he said to us: “Ask Allah for refuge from the torment of the grave”, he repeated this command two or three times. Then he said O Allah I seek refuge in you from the torment of the grave [three times]. Then he said: “Verily, the believing servant, when leaving this life and journeying to the hereafter angels will descend upon him, their faces will be white as if they were suns, they will have with them a shroud (kafan) from the shroud of Paradise, and an embalmment (Hanout) from the embalmment’s of heaven. Then, they will sit within eye-shot of him.
Then the angel of death will come and sit at his head and will say “O you virtuous soul; come out to a forgiveness and a pleasure from your Lord. ” So it will come out as a drop comes out of the mouth of a jug (with ease), then he will take it, not leaving it in his hand for longer that a blink of an eye until they (he and the other angels) have placed it in that shroud and that embalmment. And there will emanate from it a smell like that of the most sweet smelling musk on the face of the earth. Then they shall ascend with it, and they shall not pass with it by any group of angels but they will say: What is this good and sweet-smelling soul? Then they shall say to them (he is) “such” the son of “such” choosing the best of the names he used to be called in this life. Until they reach the lowest sky, then they shall ask permission to enter, and they shall be granted entry, until they end at the seventh heaven sky, then Allah, exalted and high, shall say: “write the book of my servant in `illiyeen.” [“And what will explain to you what Illiyeen is?A register fully inscribed to which bear witness those nearest to Allah” (83:18)], and his book will be written in `illiyeen, and it shall be said “return him to the earth, for [I promised them] I have created them from it, and into it I shall return them, and from it I shall extract (resurrect) them a second time (20:55)”. So [he is returned to earth and] his soul is returned to his body and he will hear the footsteps of his friends who buried him when they leave him.
Then two [severe] angels shall come and terrify him and sit him up next to them and shall ask him: “Who is your Lord?” He shall reply “My Lord is Allah” Then they shall ask him: “What is your religion?” He shall answer them: “My religion is Islam.” Then they shall ask him “Who is this man who was sent among you?” He will reply “He is the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him.” Then they shall ask him “What have you done?” He shall reply: “I read the book of Allah, then I believed in it and accepted it.” [In another narration: The angel will terrify him and ask him “who is your Lord?”, “what is your religion?” “who is your prophet?”, and this will be the last trial on earth for the believer, it is then when Allah says: “Allah will establish in strength those who believe with the word that stands firm in this world”, so he will answer my Lord is Allah, my religion is Islam and my Prophet is Mohammad.] Then a caller will call from the sky: “My slave has spoken the truth, so spread out for him from the heaven, and clothe him from the heaven, and open a door for him from the heaven (within his grave)”, so its goodness and its smell will come unto him, then his grave will be expanded for him as far as he can see.
Then a man will come to him. His face will be handsome, and his clothes will be handsome, and his smell will be sweet. Then he shall say unto him: I bring you glad tidings of that which will make you happy [Rejoice with a pleasure of Allah and delights that endure]. This is the day that you were promised (46:16). Then he will say [and may Allah give you glad tiding] “who are you? For your face is the face of someone who comes with good news”. He shall reply: “I am your good deeds, [by Allah, I did not know of you but that you were quick to the obedience of Allah and slow to His disobedience, so may Allah reward you good]”. Then he shall say: “My Lord bring the hour so that I might return to my family and my wealth” [it will be said to him “be tranquil”].
He (peace be upon him) said: And the disbelieving [transgressor/wicked] servant, if he is leaving this life and journeying to the hereafter then angels will descend upon him, their faces will be black, they have with them a coarse woollen fabric (sackcloth) made of fire. Then they will sit within eye-shot of him. Then the angel of death will come and sit at his head and will say “O you wicked soul; come out to the anger from your Lord and a fury (from Him.” So it will be distributed (spread out) throughout his body, then it will be ripped away as a skewer/spit is ripped out of damp cotton [and in its way out it will tear and cut the nerves and blood vessels] and then he will be cursed by all the angels between the earth and the sky and by all the angels in the sky, and the gates of heaven are closed. There is no gate in the heaven but its people supplicate that the wicked soul shall not be ascended to their side, then he will take it (the soul), not leaving it in his hand for longer than a blink of an eye until they have placed it in that sackcloth. And there will emanate from it a stench like that of the most evil smelling corpse on the face of the earth. Then they shall ascend with it, and they shall not pass with it by a group of angels but they will say: What is this wicked soul? Then they shall say to them (he is) “such” the son of “such” choosing the most hated of the names he used to be called in this life. Until they reach the lowest heaven (sky), then they shall ask permission to enter, and they shall not be granted entry. Then the Messenger of Allah recited “The doors of the sky are not opened to them, nor shall they enter heaven until the camel passes through the eye of the needle” (7:40).
Then Allah, exalted and high, shall say: “write the book of my servant in Sijjeen (See: 83:7) in the lowest earth”. Then will be said “return my slave to the earth, for I promised them I have created them from it, and into it I shall return them, and from it I shall extract (resurrect) them a second time (20:55)”]. Then his soul shall be taken away [from the sky] with a mighty hurl [until it is cast into his body]. Then he (the Prophet) read: “and those who associate partners with Allah, They are as one who falls from the sky then is snatched by the birds or is cast by the wind into a very low place (22:31)”. Then his soul will be returned into his body. He (the prophet) said: verily he will hear the footsteps of his friends who buried him when they leave him. Then two harsh severe and fearsome angels shall come and [terrify him and] sit him up and shall ask him: “Who is your Lord?” He shall reply “Huh? Huh (this is an expression of sorrow), I don’t know”. Then they shall ask him: “What is your religion?” He shall answer them: “Huh, Huh? I don’t know”. Then they shall ask him “Who is this man who was sent among you?” He will reply “Huh, Huh? I don’t know [I heard people saying that!]”. He (the Prophet) said “And then will be said to him, don’t ever know and don’t ever recite!”.
Then a caller will call from the sky: “My slave has spoken falsely, so spread out for him from the hell fire, and open a door for him from the hell fire (within his grave)”, so its heat and hot wind will come unto him, then his grave will be contracted upon him until his limbs are caught up among one another. Then a man will come to him. His face will be ugly, and his clothes will be ugly, and his smell will be vile. Then he shall say unto him: I bring you tidings of that which will harm you. This is the day that you were promised (70:44). Then he will say [and you, may Allah give you bad tidings] “who are you? for your face is the face of someone who comes with evil”. He shall reply: “I am your evil deeds [by Allah, I did not know of you but that you were quick to the disobedience of Allah and slow to His obedience, so may Allah reward you bad, and then will be assigned to him a blind, deaf and mute person who holds in his hand a hammer, if a mountain is hit with it, it would disintegrate, and he will beat him with it until he becomes dust, and then Allah will render him to his initial form, and he will beat him again, and he (the wicked) will cry of sorrow and pain a cry that will be heard by all creatures except humans and jinn, and a door of hell will be opened unto him within his grave and will spread out for him sheets of hell fire]”. Then he shall say: “My Lord do not bring the hour”.
This hadith is narrated by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, at-Tayalisi, and al-Hakim who said it is according to the standards of Bukhari and Muslim.
And so I end this piece saying, death is true. And the events of the grave are true, so prepare your grave now, by sowing seeds of righteous deeds.
May Allah forgive the believing deceased and let them rest in peace, and forgive those of us who remain alive, for we shall surely join them.