A collection of words of wisdom and excerpts from the spiritual gatherings of Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq

Love not Hate

In a hadīth related by Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal in his Musnad and others, Rasūl Allāh ﷺ says “The disease of the nations of yore has crept into you, which is envy, and malice/hatred is the shaver. I do not say that it shaves hair, rather it shaves religion. By Allāh in Whose Hand rests my soul, you will never enter Jannah until you believe, and you will never believe until you come to love one another. Should I not inform you of that which will establish this love? Spread salām amongst you.’

If we develop hatred for others, it will bubble and enrage within. Hatred is not neutral. It does not remain settled. It agitates and incites a person to action, whether verbal or physical. it may lead a person to abusing, slandering, or seeking to harm another individual. It may lead to a person harming another’s name or dignity. It may lead a person to unlawfully consuming the wealth of another, or even physically harming them. Hatred does not remain stagnant. This is why the Prophet ﷺ referred to hatred/malice as ‘the shaver’; it shaves a person’s account of good deeds and wipes it clean.

This hadīth teaches us so much. We learn from this hadīth that there can be no Īmān without love. Developing mutual love and conveying salām can help protect our hearts from malice and hatred.

[This short excerpt is based on “Malice: To Hate & Hurt” which was delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 18th November 2016].

Be the Better One

In a hadīth we learn that Uqbah ibn Amir رضى الله عنه took hold of Prophet’s ﷺ hand and said “Oh Messenger of Allah, inform me of the virtuous deeds.”

Prophet ﷺ said 3 things to him: “Bond and join relations with the one who severs relations with you, give to one who deprives you and turn away from and ignore the one who is unjust to you.”

In all 3 points of advice, Prophet ﷺ told Uqbah ibn Amir رضى الله عنه to have the upper hand and to be the better one.

Regarding the first piece of advice, we should remind ourselves that صِلَةُ الرَّحِم (Ṣilat al-raḥim) means the joining and bonding of the relations of kin, blood and family, and is a very noble concept and an obligation.

In another famous hadīth Prophet ﷺ explained that the one joining and fulfilling the obligation of Ṣilat al-raḥim is not simply the one who reciprocates. The joiner is not the reciprocator. The Prophet ﷺ said that the joiner and keeper of good relations is one who when others sever relations with him, he bonds them and joins them.

As an example, if one person forms a good relationship with you, then you are simply reciprocating. This is not a virtue but an obligation. But the joiner and the keeper of good relations is that person who bonds and joins relations with that person who severs them.

[This short excerpt is based on “From Darknesses to Dawn: A Tafsīr of Sūrat 113 – al-Falaq” which was delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 30th of March 2012].


Sticks and Stones

The concept of ‘sticks and stones may break bones, but words never hurt’ does not stand in Islam. In Islam, we have always been taught that words can hurt as much as stones. Words can inflict as much pain as sticks. A broken bone can be mended, but a broken heart can not as easily be mended from hurtful words.

Hence, in Islam there is no real distinction between physical and verbal attacks. That is they way of looking at it. When we look at it from that prism, many of the teaching of Allāh and His Rasul come together, make sense and appear very consistent.

The alternative view is that as long as you do not hurt a person physically, you can say whatever you like to them; in their presence and their absence. The harm that this approach can cause is now slowly being acknowledged. We are now starting to see laws being developed to tackle hate crime and misogyny whereas Islam has dealt with these issues from the very beginning, because of this lack of distinction between physical and verbal attacks.

[This short excerpt is based on ‘The Madinan Society: A Tafsīr Of Sūrat ʾal-Hujurat – Part 8’ which was delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 23rd September 2016].

A Suspended Duʿā

A person’s duʿā remains suspended between the heaven and the earth until he sends salutations on the Prophet ﷺ – – Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (عمر بن الخطاب) رضى الله عنه

Be Careful What You Say

We should be careful what we say and when. We do not know when Allāh will accept our duʿā or our words.


It Begins in the Mind

In a verse of the Holy Qurʾān, Allāh says:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱجۡتَنِبُواْ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعۡضَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِثۡمٌ۬‌ۖ وَلَاتَجَسَّسُواْ وَلَا يَغۡتَب بَّعۡضُكُم بَعۡضًا‌ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُڪُمۡ أَن يَأۡڪُلَ لَحۡمَ أَخِيهِ مَيۡتً۬ا فَكَرِهۡتُمُوهُ‌ۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬
Oh believers! Abstain excessively from speculation (conjecture) for indeed some instances of conjecture are a sin. Do not investigate, do not search for each others’ faults and do not backbite one another. [Surah Hujurat: 49:12]

In a hadīth, the Prophet ﷺ has said,

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِيَّاكُمْ وَالظَّنَّ فَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ أَكْذَبُ الْحَدِيثِ وَلَا تَحَسَّسُوا وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا تَنَافَسُوا وَلَا تَحَاسَدُوا وَلَا تَبَاغَضُوا وَلَا تَدَابَرُوا وَكُونُوا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ إِخْوَانًا

5719 صحيح البخاري كتاب الأدب باب يا أيها الذين آمنوا اجتنبوا كثيرا من الظن إن بعض الظن إثم ولا تجسسوا

2563 صحيح مسلم كتاب البر والصلة والآداب باب تحريم الظن والتجسس والتنافس والتناجش ونحوها

Beware of conjecture (speculation) for indeed speculation is the greatest lie. Do not eavesdrop, do not search for each others faults, do not undercut or harm one another, do not be envious of each other, do not hate each other, do not turn your backs towards each other and be servants of Allāh as brothers.

[Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5719, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2563]

So many different things are mentioned here with the hadīth ending with mention of people turning their backs towards each other which means absolute enmity. There is a beautiful progression in this hadīth; but the first thing that the Prophet ﷺ says is ‘beware of  conjecture (speculation)’. Similarly, the verse of the Holy Qurʾān begins with the same thing.  It all begins in the mind. Before we see enmity and violence, before we see hatred and envy and the effects of that envy, before we begin actively searching for one another’s faults, eavesdropping, trying to harm one another, before all of that the origin is in the mind.

When we first start to indulge in conjecture and speculation of each other, it means we do not think good of each other. That is the very beginning.

[This short excerpt is based on  a talk entitled ‘Be Just in Judgement’ which was delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 21st February 2014].

Filling the Void

The Prophet ﷺ has said, “If the Son of Adam (Man) had a valley full of gold, he would desire a second valley; and if he was given a second valley, he would desire a third valley, and nothing will fill the cavity in Man except the dust of the Earth. And Allah forgives he who repents to Him.” [Bukhari]

لو أنّ ابن آدم أعطي واديا ملأ من ذهب أحب إليه ثانيا، ولو أعطي ثانيا أحب إليه ثالثا، ولا يسد جوف ابن آدم إلاّ التّراب، ويتوب الله على من تاب
(صحيح البخاري)

Visualise the words of the Prophet ﷺ. Gold is worth a lot and is the one solid, stable currency. After the credit crunch the value of gold rose exponentially. People were relying on the safe investment of gold when the property market crashed.

We measure gold by ounces and grams i.e. in small quantities. In this hadīth, we are not talking about one gold ring or one gold bar, or even a tray of gold bars. The Prophet ﷺ says a whole valley between two mountains filled with gold! If man had that, what would he do? He would desire a second valley of gold. If he was given that he would desire a third to add to his two valleys.

The Prophet ﷺ says that nothing will fill the cavity and vacuum in man except the dust of the earth. Man has a cavity or a vacuum in him, which he wishes to fill with material possessions. The possession of highest value is gold but even one, two or three valleys of gold will be unable to fill that vacuum. The only thing that can fill that cavity is the soil of the earth when he is buried.

[This short excerpt is based on Materialistic Greed & Rivalry A Tafsīr Of Sūrat ʾl Takāthur which was delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 24th May 2013].

Social Concerns

One of the beauties of Islamic teaching is to visit the sick, to attend funerals and visit each other for the sake of Allah. These social etiquettes and social concerns are slowly being lost. We should be more social in our daily lives. In fact, one of the the wisdom’s of congregational salāh is it’s social effect.

[This short excerpt is based on a talk delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 19th January 2018].

Selfishness in Religion

We may think that piety and godliness lies only in our relationship with Allāh سبحانه وتعالى . The Qurʾān and hadith tell us that this is not the case. Allāh سبحانه وتعالى says:

لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَـكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَالْمَلآئِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُواْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاء والضَّرَّاء وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

Virtue is not in this that ye turn your faces toward the east and west, but virtue is of him who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the prophets: and giveth of his substance, for love of Him unto kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for redeeming necks, and establisheth prayer and giveth the poor-rate and is of the performers of their covenant when they have covenanted; and is of the patient in adversity and affliction and in time or violence these are they who are proven true, and these they are God-fearing.

[al Baqarah 2/177]

Ritual prayer (salāh) is important and obligatory and it requires that we face the right direction which is what this verse refers to i.e. the Qiblah. However, Allāh mentions so many other things which denote piety and righteousness in this one verse. Allāh mentions that the pious are those who spend for Allāh voluntarily and on their relatives and then mentions salāh. Hence, these voluntarily acts of charity are signs of piety.

Religion is not just prayer, pilgrimage and salah. It is selfish to think of religion as just these things. We can be selfish in religion. When we pray, to some degree we are praying for ourselves. Even when we give in charity, we give with the intention that Allāh will give more to us to that He will forgive us.

[This short excerpt is based on a talk delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 19th January 2018].

Your Last Day

Many scholars have said that you should live your day as if it is your last day.

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