Abu Lahab, enemy of Islam, meets his fate

Updated 07 May 2015
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Abu Lahab, enemy of Islam, meets his fate

Abu Lahab is the only person from the enemies of Islam who has been cursed by name in the Holy Qur’an. Although he was an uncle of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), he staunchly opposed Islam from the very beginning. When the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) climbed Mount Safa and addressed the tribes and his clansmen saying: “O Banu ‘Abd Al-Muttalib, O Banu Fihr, O Banu Lu’ay; would you believe me if I say that there is an enemy at the foot of this mountain behind, ready to launch an attack on you”; will you believe me?” They said: “Yes. You are Al-Ameen (trustworthy) and Al-Sadiq (truthful) and we have never seen you speak lies. Soon, he declared Prophethood. The people dispersed murmuring silently, but Abu Lahab, who always loved his nephew Mohammed (S.A.W.), vehemently opposed him because he saw the message as a challenge to his leadership. He cried: “Perish be you... Did you gather us just for this?”
It was a great shock on the first day of the declaration of Prophethood and invitation to the true religion of Islam. Almighty Allah sealed Abu Lahab’s fate and later revealed Surah 111 in the Holy Quran reading:
“Perished be the hands of Abu Lahab and ruined he be,
Neither his wealth nor what he has earned shall avail him.
He shall shortly roast in a flaming fire.
And his wife — laden with faggots, Shall have a rope of palm fiber round her neck. (Al Qur'an 111:1-5)
Abu Lahab lived for 12 years after the declaration of Islam and saw many leading personalities like his brother (amir) Hamza and (amirul-momineen) Umar bin Khattab embracing Islam, but he never did. It was a good chance for him to embrace Islam and thus challenge the words of the Holy Qur’an. And how could he do that when Almighty Allah had proclaimed it. It is this verse which led a westerner to embrace Islam in our times.
Abu Lahab, son of Abdul Muttalib, was born in Makkah. His original name was Abdul Uzza. In the beginning, he loved his nephew, Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.) and sent his maid named Thawbiyah to suckle the child. Later, he also contracted Nikaah of two of his sons with the two daughters of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) named Ruqayya and Umm Kulthum but they were not sent home as they were minors. But after the Qur'anic revelation against him, so furious was he that he instructed his sons to divorce the two daughters.
Later, the Prophet's first daughter was married to Uthman bin Affan, the third caliph of Islam. Uthman married the Prophet's other daughter when one passed away. Once Utaibah, one of his sons, tried to disgrace the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) who prayed: “May Allah set upon you one of His dogs.” So scared was Abu Lahab with the Prophet’s words that while on a journey, he placed his son in the middle of the people out of fear of the Prophet’s words. However, a lion came by midnight, went straight to his son and sank his teeth in his neck killing him on the spot.
When the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) invited people to Islam by saying: O People, say there is no god but Allah and be prosperous, Abu Lahab would follow him and tell the people not to believe him. He was nicknamed Abu Lahab for his red face but Islam termed him as ‘father of the flames.’ When the Pagans boycotted the Holy Prophet, the whole clan of Banu Hashem, including Muslims and non-Muslims, supported him and suffered in Shoab Bani Talib for a long time. But Abu Lahab was the only member of Banu Hashem who supported the pagans and separated himself from the clan.
His wife, Arwa bint Harb, nicknamed Umm Jameel, was the sister of the then enemy of Islam, Abu Sufyan. Although real aunt, she used to throw thorny bushes in the path of the Prophet (S.A.W.). The Holy Qur’an chastised both Abu Lahab and his wife in Surah Masad and both of them died a miserable death as disbelievers.
He could not join the famous Battle of Badr but sent in his place Abu Jahl’s brother who owed him 4,000 dirhams, and promised to waive the debt. When the news of pagans’ defeat reached Makkah, he fell ill. Later, he developed the contagious disease of smallpox. He died a week later in 02 AH. His family left his decaying body in his home for two or three nights until neighbors rebuked his sons. “It is disgraceful. You should be ashamed of leaving your father to rot in his house.” They hired slaves to remove his body. It was washed from a distance, then pushed with poles into a pit outside Makkah and stones were thrown over it.
Abu Lahab’s elder son, Utba, embraced Islam after the conquest of Makkah. He was well received by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). He spent his life as a good Muslim and received the honorable title of Sahabi. Abu Lahab’s daughter Durrah also embraced Islam and became a narrator of Hadith. She narrated a Hadith, which has been reported by Imam Ahmad Hanbal in his Musnad: “A man got up and asked the Prophet (S.A.W), ‘who is the best of the people?’ He answered, ‘The best of the people is the most learned, most God-fearing, most to be enjoining virtue, most to be prohibiting vice and the most to be joining the kin.’”
There were five staunch enemies of Islam — Abu Jehal, Abu Lahab, Hind bint Utba, Wahshi slave and Abu Sufyan of Makkah. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) dealt with profound love and mercy with their descendants. Ikrema bin Abu Jehal embraced Islam and fought for Islam. Utba bin Abu Lahab embraced Islam and spent a good life. Hind embraced Islam and his son Ameer Muaviyah founded the Muaviyah ruling dynasty in Islamic history.
Wahshi, the killer of Ameer Hamza, embraced Islam and killed the imposter Musailma Kaddab in Najd. Abu Sufyan embraced Islam and fought for Islam till the Battle of Yarmuk. His daughter, Umm Habiba, was married to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W). Khalid bin Waleed and Amr bin Aas embraced Islam and fought battles for Islam. Their descendants also served for this noble cause. At a later stage, the warrior nations of Tatars and Turks, who fought Muslims for centuries, finally embraced Islam and fought in favor of the religion. They established the powerful ruling dynasties of Mughals and Turkish caliphate.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016
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The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.