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The virtue of fasting ‘Ashoora’

I heard that fasting the day of ‘Ashoora’ expiates for the past year, is this true?
Does it expiate for everything, even major sins? What is the reason for venerating this day?.

Praise be to Allah
Firstly:

Fasting the day of ‘Ashoora’ does expiate for the past year, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Fasting the day of ‘Arafah I hope Allaah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it, and fasting the day of ‘Ashoora’ I hope Allaah will expiate thereby for the year that came before it.” Narrated by Muslim, 1162. This is by the bounty that Allaah bestows upon us, whereby fasting one day expiates for the sins of a whole year. And Allaah is the Owner of great bounty.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to be very keen to make sure he fasted on the day of ‘Ashoora’ because of its great status. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I never saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) so keen to make sure he fasted any day and preferring it over another except this day, the day of ‘Ashoora’, and this month – meaning Ramadaan. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1867.

What is meant by being keen to make sure he fasted it is so as to earn its reward.

Secondly:

With regard to the reason why the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted on the day of ‘Ashoora’ and urged the people to do likewise is mentioned in the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari (1865) from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashoora’. He said, “What is this?” They said, “This is a good day, this is the day when Allaah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy and Moosa fasted on this day.” He said, “We are closer to Moosa than you.” So he fasted on this day and told the people to fast.

The words “this is a good day” – according to a version narrated by Muslim, “This is a great day when Allaah saved Moosa and his people and drowned Pharaoh and his people.”

The words “so Moosa fasted on this day” – Muslim added in his report: “In gratitude to Allaah, so that is we fast on this day.”

According to another version narrated by al-Bukhaari, “So we fast it out of respect for it.”

The words “and told the people to fast” – according to another version narrated by al-Bukhaari, “He said to his companions, ‘You are closer to Moosa than them, so fast this day.”

Thirdly:

The expiation of sins that is achieved by fasting ‘Ashoora’ refers to minor sins; with regard to major sins, they need separate repentance.

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Fasting the day of ‘Arafaah expiates for all minor sins, in othr words this brings forgiveness for all sins except for major sins.

Then he said:

Fasting the day of ‘Arafaah is an expiation for two years, and the day of ‘Ashoora is an expiation for one year, and if a person’s Ameen coincides with the Ameen of the angels, his previous sins will be forgiven… Each of the things mentioned may bring expiation. If he does something that expiates for minor sins he will be expiated, and if there are no minor or major sins, it will be recorded for him as good deeds and he will rise in status thereby… If there is one or more major sins and no minor sins, we hope that it will reduce his major sins. Al-Majmoo’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, part 6.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The expiation of purification, prayer, and fasting Ramadaan, ‘Arafah and ‘Ashoora’ applies to minor sins only. Al-Fataawa al-Kubra, part 5.

 

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Islam Q&A

http://islamqa.info/en/21775

Good deeds on behalf of others

Is it permissible to perform Tawaaf around the Sacred House (the Ka’bah) for a week, and give the reward for that to a living or a dead person? What are the deeds for which the reward may be given to another person according to Islam?

Praise be to Allaah.

It is not prescribed in Islam to give the rewards for any action to a living person, but with regard to the dead it is permissible within the guidelines set out in the reports (of the Sunnah). We shall look at this matter in detail below, in sha Allaah.

1. Giving the reward of one’s actions to the living. The basic principle concerning acts of worship is that this should not be done, unless there is evidence (daleel) from the sharee’ah which allows doing so. There is nothing in the books of Sunnah or biographies (of the Salaf) to indicate that any one of the early generations (Salaf) of this ummah did any good deed and then gave the reward for that to any of the Muslims, or the Prophet or the Sahaabah.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about giving the reward for reading Qur’aan and naafil prayers to one’s mother who could neither read nor write. He said:

There is no evidence (daleel) in sharee’ah to indicate that one can give (the reward for) prayers and reading Qur’aan to another person, whether he is alive or dead.

Acts of worship are an area in which there is no room for ijtihaad, and we should not do anything except that for which there is shar’i evidence.

But it is prescribed for you to make du’aa’ for her and to give in charity on her behalf, and to do Hajj and ‘Umrah on her behalf, if she is old and cannot do Hajj and ‘Umrah.

Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 9/321.

2. With regard to giving the reward for good deeds to the dead: Islam permits doing this in the case of some deeds, so we should limit ourselves to that – it is not right to make an analogy between these and other deeds, because the basic principle concerning acts of worship is not to do anything unless there is evidence (daleel).

Among the deeds whose rewards we are allowed to give to the dead, or by means of which the dead can benefit from the actions of the living, are the following:

(i) Du’aa’

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And those who came after them say: “Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith…” [al-Hashr 59:10]

It was reported that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us of the death of the Negus, the king of Ethiopia, on the day that he died, and said, ‘Pray for forgiveness for your brother.’”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1236; Muslim, 951)

It was narrated that ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan said: “When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) finished burying someone who had died, he would stand over him and say, ‘Pray for forgiveness for your brother, and ask that he may be made steadfast, for even now he is being questioned.’”

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3221. An-Nawawi classed the isnaad of this hadeeth as jayyid in al-Majmoo’, 5/292).

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“The fact that the dead benefit from du’aa’s is indicated by the consensus of the ummah on offering du’aa’ for him during the janaazah (funeral) prayer, hence we know that du’aa’ benefits the deceased… This is supported by many ahaadeeth and is in fact is the whole point of praying for the deceased. The same applies to making du’aa’ for him after the burial, and making du’aa’ for them when visiting their graves.”

(al-Rooh, 118, 119)

(ii) Making up fasts that were obligatory upon the deceased because of vows, as expiation (kafaarah) and so on

It was reported from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever dies and had any fasts outstanding, his heir should observe those fasts on his behalf.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1851; Muslim, 1147)

It was reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that a woman came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘My mother has died and she one month’s fasting outstanding.’ He said, ‘Do you not think that if she was in debt, you would pay it off for her?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘The debt owed to Allaah is more deserving of being paid off.’”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1817; Muslim, 1148)

There is some scholarly difference of opinion on this matter. Some scholars say that no fasts should be observed on behalf of the dead apart from fasts related to vows, but the correct view is that all kinds of fasts should be observed on behalf of the dead.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said:

The Salaf had differences of opinion concerning this matter:

Fasting on behalf of the dead was permitted by the scholars of hadeeth. Al-Shaafa'i former view was that it was allowed depending on whether or not the hadeeth was saheeh, as was transmitted by al-Bayhaqi in al-Ma’rifah. This is also the view of Abu Thawr and a group of the Shaafa'i muhaddatheen. Al-Bayhaqi said in al-Khilaafiyaat:

“This is a proven matter. I do not know of any difference of opinion among the scholars of hadeeth concerning its soundness, so we must act in accordance with this.” Then he quoted al-Shaafa'i, with an isnaad going back to him: “Concerning everything that I have said, if something different is reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and is saheeh, then follow the hadeeth and do not follow me.”

Al-Shaafa'i’s later view, and that of Maalik and Abu Haneefah was that fasts should not be observed on behalf of the dead.

Al-Layth, Ahmad, Ishaaq and Abu ‘Ubayd said: no fasts should be observed on behalf of him (the deceased), apart from fasts related to vows, because the general meaning of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah should be interpreted within the specific framework of the hadeeth narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas.

However, there is no contradiction between these two ahaadeeth that would necessitate reconciliation. The hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas is an independent matter in which he asked about something which happened specifically to him, whereas the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah is a statement of the general principle. In the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas, this general principle is referred to at the end of the hadeeth, where it says, ‘The debt owed to Allaah is more deserving of being paid off.’

(Fath al-Baari, 4/193, 194)

The Hanafis quote weak (da’eef) ahaadeeth as evidence to say that it is not permitted to fast on behalf of the dead. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar refuted this in the source referred to above.

Some of them quote as evidence the hadeeth: “When the son of Adam dies, his deeds come to an end apart from three: sadaqah jaariyah (ongoing charity); beneficial knowledge; or a righteous son who will make du’aa’ for him.” (Saheeh Muslim, 1631). Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim refuted those who quote this hadeeth as evidence, and said:

“When you use this hadeeth ‘When the son of Adam dies, his deeds come to an end’, you are misquoting it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not say, ‘He no longer benefits at all’; what he said is that deeds of the individual come to an end. As far as the deeds of others are concerned, the (reward) is for the one who does them, and if he gives that to him, the reward of the one who did that reaches him, not the reward of his own deeds. What comes to an end is one thing, and what reaches him is something else. The same applies to another hadeeth, which is: ‘What reaches the deceased is his own hasanaat and deeds” – which does not rule out the fact that other things, the good deeds and hasanaat of others, may also reach him.”

(al-Rooh, p. 129)

(iii) Paying off debts

It was reported that Salamah ibn al-Akwa’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

“We were sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when a funeral bier was brought to him and they said, ‘Pray over him.’ He said, ‘Does he have any debts?’ They said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Has he left anything behind?’ They said, ‘No.’ So he prayed over him. Then another funeral bier was brought to him, and they said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, pray for him.’ He said, ‘Does he have any debts?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Has he left anything behind?’ They said, ‘Three dinars.’ So he prayed over him. Then a third funeral bier was brought, and they said, ‘Pray for him.’ He said, ‘Has he left anything behind?’ They said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Does he have any debts?’ They said, ‘Three dinars.’ He said, ‘Pray for your companion.’ Abu Qutaadah said, ‘Pray for him, O Messenger of Allaah, and I will take care of his debt.’ So he prayed over him.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2169)

(iv) Fulfilling vows to do acts of worship

It was reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that a woman from Juhaynah came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “My mother vowed to go for Hajj, but she did not go for Hajj before she died. Should I do Hajj on her behalf?” He said, “Yes, do Hajj on her behalf. Do you not think that if your mother was in debt you would pay it off for her? Pay off the debt that is owed to Allaah, for Allaah is more deserving that what is owed to Him should be paid off.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1754)

(v) Performing Hajj on his behalf

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard a man saying “Labbayka ‘an Shubrumah (At your service, O Allaah, on behalf of Shubrumah).” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Who is Shubrumah?” He said, “A relative of mine.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Have you ever done Hajj before?” He said, “No.” he said, “Do this Hajj for yourself, then do Hajj on behalf of Shubrumah.”

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1811; Ibn Maajah, 2903 – this version was narrated by him. The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel, 4/171).

(vi) Righteous deeds done by the children of the deceased

Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“Whatever righteous deeds the righteous son does, his parents will have a reward like his, without it detracting from his reward in the slightest, because their child is part of their striving and earning. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And that man can have nothing but what he does (good or bad)’ [al-Najm 53:39]. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The best that a man can benefit from is that which he earns, and his son is also part of his earnings.’ (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2/108; al-Nasaa’i, 2/211. Narrated and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi, 2/287. There is a corroborating report in the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr, which was narrated by Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad (2/179, 204, 214) with a hasan isnaad).”

(Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz, p. 216, 217)

With regard to giving charity and reading Qur’aan: the correct view is that nothing from these actions reaches the deceased, because there is no evidence (daleel) to that effect. The basic principle is that this should not be done. Some scholars mentioned that there was consensus (ijmaa’) to the effect that the reward for charity on behalf of the deceased reaches him, but the correct view is that there is in fact a difference of opinion among the scholars concerning this matter.

(a) Imaam Ibn Katheer said:

“‘And that man can have nothing but what he does (good or bad)’ [al-Najm 53:39 – interpretation of the meaning]. This means, just as he cannot bear the burden (of sin) of another person, so too the reward for the things he has done can only go to himself. From this aayah al-Shaafa'i (may Allaah have mercy on him) and those who followed him understood that the reward for reading Qur’aan cannot be given to the dead, because it is not something that they have done and earned. Hence the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not recommend or encourage his ummah to do this, and did not command or hint to them to do this. Nothing to this effect has been transmitted from any of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them). If it was a good thing, they would have done it before us. Acts of worship are restricted to things that are indicated in the texts (Qur’aan and Sunnah), and there is no room for analogy (qiyaas) or personal opinions.”

(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/259)

(b) Al-Shawkaani said:

“The ahaadeeth on this topic indicate that charity given by a son reaches his parents after they die without their making a will to that effect, and the reward for that reaches them. These ahaadeeth should be taken as excluding the child from the general meaning of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And that man can have nothing but what he does (good or bad)’ [al-Najm 53:39]. But these ahaadeeth speak only of the charity of the son reaching the parents. It was reported that a man’s son is part of what he does (or his earnings), so there is no need to suggest that the ahaadeeth are stating an exception from the general meaning of the aayah. As far as anybody apart from a man's son is concerned, what is apparent from the general meanings of the Qur’aan is that his reward does not reach the deceased, so we should accept this and not pursue the matter any further, unless we find evidence (daleel) to the contrary.”

(Nayl al-Awtaar, 4/142)

(c) Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

It was not the custom of the Salaf, when they observed voluntary prayers or fasts, or did a voluntary Hajj, or read Qur’aan, to give the reward for that to the deceased Muslims. So we should not deviate from the path of the Salaf, for it is better and more perfect.

(al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-‘Ilmiyyah, p. 54).

Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) had a different opinion to those quoted above. Ibn al-Qayyim agreed with him, and Shaykh Muhammad Rasheed Ridaa refuted their view in Tafseer al-Manaar (8/254-270).

From the Fatwas of the Standing Committee:

Fatwa #2232 – Question #3:

Q#3: Does the reward for reading Qur’aan and other acts of worship reach the deceased, whether they are done by the son of the deceased or by others?

As far as we know, there is no report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to indicate that he read Qur’aan and gave the reward for that to the dead, whether they were his relatives or others. If the reward could reach them, he would have been keen to do that and would have taught it to his ummah so that they could help the dead thereby, for he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was filled with compassion and mercy towards his ummah. His successors, the Khulafaa’ al-Raashideen, and the rest of his companions, followed his guidance (may Allaah be pleased with them all), and we do not know of any of them giving the reward for reading Qur’aan to someone else. The best of all goodness resides in following the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and of the Khulafaa’ al-Raashideen and the rest of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them), and evil resides in following bid’ah and innovated matters. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us about that when he said, “Beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is a bid’ah (innovation), and every bid’ah is a going astray” and, “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) that is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” So on this basis, it is not permissible to read Qur’aan for the dead or to give the reward for this reading to them. Doing that is bid’ah.

With regard to other kinds of acts of worship, wherever there is saheeh evidence to indicate that the reward for them reaches the deceased, then we should accept this, such as giving charity on their behalf, making du’aa’ for them and doing Hajj on their behalf. Anything for which there is no evidence (daleel) is not prescribed until evidence is established for it.

On this basis, according to the more sound of the two scholarly opinions, it is not permissible to read Qur’aan for the dead, and the reward for this reading does not reach them. On the contrary, this is bid’ah.

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.

Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwaas.

I say: we have spoken above about giving charity. The ahaadeeth quoted not include all people, they refer only to the children of the deceased.

With regard to the Tawaaf referred to in the question, it is not prescribed to do a voluntary Tawaaf and give the reward to the dead, because no evidence (daleel) to that effect has been narrated. But if it is Tawaaf of ‘Umrah or Hajj, then it is included in those ahaadeeth and is permitted.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked:

Sometimes I do Tawaaf for one of my relatives or parents or grandparents who have died. What is the ruling on that? Also, what is the ruling on completing the Qur’aan for them? May Allaah reward you with good.

He replied:

It is better not to do that, because there is no evidence (daleel) to that effect… With regard to praying (salaah) on their behalf, doing Tawaaf on their behalf and reading Qur’aan for them, it is better not to do that, because there is no evidence (daleel) to that effect.

Some scholars have permitted that, by analogy with charity and du’aa’, but to be on the safe side, it is better not to do that. And Allaah is the source of strength.

Fataawa Ibn Baaz, 8/344, 345).

And Allaah knows best.

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10.Important guidelines for reading[How to read a book-Sheikh Salih Al Munajid]

Removing hard and unknown words should be through using dictionaries and summarized lexicons: Such as Mukhtasar As- Sihaah, which has small publications that are easy to carry around, which mention each word along with its meaning. Further, something more comprehensive is Al-Mu`jam Al-Waseet, and for someone who wants a book specifically for unknown or difficult words that are in Prophetic Ahaadeeth, they can use An-Nihaayah fi Ghareeb Al-Hadeethwa Al-Athar, to know the meaning. The process will take time in the beginning, and the reader will find it difficult, however, after a while it will become customary, and if they come across hard words, they will not need, usually, to look at its meaning another time. In doing so, their linguistic capability will strengthen in stages and with extensive reading.

Learn the fundamentals of the Arabic language: This is an important issue in understanding the material being read. One should know the difference between various aspects in the Arabic language, all of which are important to understanding the meaning. In general, understanding the conjugation of the word is important, and its absence might lead to disastrous mistakes, such as distortion or changing of the meaning. It is also important to precisely conjugate words, as that helps in understanding the various usages of speech, and so forth.
From this, we can know the danger of calling for the use of colloquial language. There is no doubt that it would have a negative effect on understanding the clear Arabic tongue that the Qur’aan and Sunnah are in.
Something that helps in this matter is reading books that are verified in a very good, scientific manner, as well as books that are conjugated with all of the markings on the words.


Reading to Shaykhs or well-versed students of knowledge: Especially in matters of fundamentals of sciences. There are benefits to this, such as:
• Setting specific and set timings for reading encourages continuity and prevents fatigue.
• It also serves as a protection from misreading and making mistakes in reading.
• It serves as protection from misunderstanding.
• It provides the opportunity to ask someone when one is confused.
This is the meaning of the statement of the one who said: “Knowledge used to be in the chests of men, then it was transferred to the books, and its keys are in the hands ofmen.”
The irregular opinions and strange views that become widespread among people many times are only the result of deprivation of the blessing of reading to the people of knowledge. If you are in area wherein you cannot find a Shaykh or student of knowledge, then the least you can do is read with some of your brothers, because a group is further from error that an individual.

One should completely avoid describing themselves as “not loving reading” or “hating books” or that they are quick to fall asleep when opening a book: These types of phrases convince a person that they are indeed as such. This makes the cure harder and more complicated. Rather, a person should make themselves feel that this hardship can be overcome and that it is not going to persist always or remain constant. Also, they should make themselves feel that through practice and struggle, these difficulties will be overcome, that their love of reading is something very plausible, that soon, they will become attached to books and the paths of reading and devotion thereto will become opened for them, and that they have the capability and ability to do so. This method, even if some called it self-suggestion, is tried and beneficial, and is one of the techniques that helps in the cure.

Borrowing books or sharing one book: Likewise, one should frequent charity-based and public libraries if they cannot buy books, in order to counter the problem of soaring prices.

Keenness on reading religious books: That is because they contain what a person needs in their heart, intellect, and body, as well as that religious knowledge which has an aspect of being based on actions that the Muslim must know, such as the characteristics of worship, dealings, and etiquettes. When a Muslim implements what they read, finds benefit and feels the return and effect, it causes them to increase in reading and perusing. This is contrary to books that contain philosophy and intellectual garbage, and do not contain knowledge or blessed implementation, so, they result in dullness and boredom, and drive people away from reading.

Following reading with action: Getting an immediate advantage is what makes a reader feel that they are benefitting from their reading. That is why reading action-based topics such as jurisprudence and following that with action and implementation is one of the important means that one becomes attracted to reading. For example, if you read about Hajj then go to Hajj, you will feel that you benefitted from your reading. Likewise, if you read a book regarding the description of ablution or prayer and you implement that daily, you will feel the love of reading, because its output is real, visible, and quick. Also, if you were to come across an issue or scenario that you have read about previously, in terms of its ruling, you would feel a certain pleasure.

Writing important benefits and beautiful gems: This is something that makes the reader feel as though they are benefitting, and this occurs if they begin gathering whatever grabs their attention and which evokes beautiful reflections in their soul, such as a comprehensive maxim, an emotional story that has an effect, a ruling they were looking for, or an educational aspect or view. After a while, they would have a very valuable collection and a very precious treasure, in terms of these benefits. If they gather and index them, they would be in a notebook, and every time they refer to it, they would consult them, remember, and taste those delicious fruits. There are many books written by scholars that are mere presentation of benefits that they gained while seeking, researching, and reading, and that they collected and wrote. Also, there are many admonishments that they wrote and authored. The people mention the best things they memorize, and memorize the best things they write. It is possible to write the benefit by writing the title and beginning of the benefit, along with the page number, then making a general index thereafter. Yahya ibn Ma`een, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “The ruling forthe one who seeks knowledge of Hadeeth is that they should never part from their scholar of Hadeeth or their pen. Also, they should not belittle anything they hear; they should write it. So, tie knowledge down with writing.”
The student of knowledge should be shrewd, because memory is truly treacherous. Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “None ofthe Companions ofthe Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, knew more Hadeeth from him than me, except what `Abdullaah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas knew, because he used to write, while I did not.” The tablet that `Abdullaah ibn `Amr, may Allaah be pleased with him, used to write on was called As- Saheefah As-Saadiqah (the Truthful Tablet).
It is also important for the student of knowledge to memorize some of the important phrases, maxims, and summaries and to inform them to others, seeking the Countenance of Allaah the Exalted through benefitting others and making what they have memorized firmer.

Variety in reading and perusing: That occurs by changing the book that they are reading, or changing the topic; it is mentioned that Ibn `Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, whenever there would be any boredom in his class would say: “Bring me the divans of the poets.” Also, Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan, may Allaah have mercy on him, used to rarely sleep at night, and would have notebooks besides him. If he would become bored from one topic, he would look and read into another one. He used to place water besides him that he, may Allaah have mercy on him, would use to remove sleepiness.
Further, reading books that have many details and issues, such as books of difference of opinion, would, perhaps, result in hardness of the heart. At that, it would be appropriate to mix that with some heart softening topics.
Repeating what one reads to make the information stick: Al- Bukhaari, may Allaah have mercy on him, was asked about the reason behind his memorization, and he said: “I do not know of anything more beneficial for memory than desire of a man and constant referral and reading.”
Of the benefits of repeating what one reads is that they benefit new meanings that they did not know before, especially when pondering and reflecting on the Noble Qur’aan, because it has amazing benefits that never cease, and the scholars never become satisfied when reading it. So, whenever the reader reads with reflection and knowledge, they become aware of new meanings.
Repetition of reading books of knowledge makes firm what has previously been memorized, increases new memorization, and opens new fields of understanding. Some have said that if they read a new book or the first time, they feel as though they have acquired a new friend, and when they read it a second time, it is as if they meet an old friend.

Turning to Allaah the Exalted when one’s understanding is closed off: Of the things that alienates a reader from books is that whenever they pass over something they do not understand, what should they do? In the biographies of the people of knowledge, it is mentioned that if their understanding was closed off and they could not understand an issue, or they passed over a hard issue that they found problematic, they would turn to Allaah the Exalted, humble themselves to Him, and ask Him the Exalted to make the matter clear and open what had been closed off. Whenever this would occur to Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on him, he would call on his Lord and say: “O Teacherof Ibraaheem, teach me, and O You who allowed Sulaymaan to understand, help me to understand.” This is because Allaah the Exalted Said (what means): {And We gave understanding of the case to Solomon} [Qur’aan 21:79] This calling on Allaah the Exalted is one of the reasons that what had been closed off was opened in a hard issue, word, or phrase in the book.

Going back to the people of knowledge to ask about problematic matters: Because Allaah the Exalted Said (what means): {So ask the people of the message if you do not know.} [Qur’aan 16:43] Also, the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “Would they not ask if they do not know? The cure of ignorance is asking.”

It might be wise, sometimes, for the reader to pass over what they cannot understand, and go back to it later: This is so that they do not waste time or feel boredom due to contemplating about something that they did not understand for a long time. They could go back to it or read it in another instance with another type of style, or they could ask and get the meaning clarified. It is not correct to acquit the author always and to insult or accuse the understanding of the reader, because the writer might not have presented the idea in a good manner, or was not given the aid to be clear as necessary, due to their lack of eloquence and ability to express.

Reading the introductions to scientific books: Many times, the terms that the author uses in their book are clarified, so, for example, it is not possible for someone who is reading Taqreeb At- Tahtheeb by Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy on him, for example to be unaware of what “Second; third, fourth, etc.” refer to when mentioning the levels of the narration. Also, one must know the meaning of “acceptable; covered,” and so forth in mentioning the levels of the narrators. They cannot come to this knowledge without prior awareness regarding the terms of the book. If they were to read the introduction of the book written by Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy on him, they would come to know of the meaning, and there would be no confusion and obscurity.
Likewise, in some books of the jurisprudential schools, some authors that wrote have specific terminologies that can only be understood through a definition. For example, it might be a letter that is used, or a number, or when they say: ‘The five narrated it,’ or: ‘The six narrated it,’ for example. It might also be a part of a word, or a word itself, such as saying that a particular Hadeeth is ‘Strange.’ Also, in books of jurisprudence, some phrases such as: ‘They have agreed,’ ‘The two have agreed,’ ‘By agreement,’ and ‘In difference,’ and each school of jurisprudence has its own terminologies that are specific to it. Sometimes, the term might be composed of two words, such as when At-Tirmithi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Hasan Saheeh,” or: “Hasan Saheeh Ghareeb,” and when some jurists say: ‘The Shaykh said,’ ‘The explainer said,’ ‘The judge said,’ ‘In difference with him,’ and: ‘In difference of both of them.’
The silence of some scholars about a particular issue in their books might point to a meaning, such as when Abu Daawood, may Allaah have mercy on him, remains silent in his Sunan, when Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy on him, remains silent in some Ahaadeeth in Talkhees Al-Habeer, and when Ibn Abu Haatim, may Allaah have mercy on him, remains silent regarding some narrators in Al-Jarhwa At-Ta`deel.
Some scholars might clarify their terms in the introduction to their books, some during the book, and some at the end of the book. Some terms used by scholars are only known through constant reading and investigation. There are some books that clarify the terms used by authors in their books.


One should be keen on noticing mistyping, distortion, and printing errors: All of this confuses the understanding and changes the meaning. It is the result of the copier distorting some things, of the printing press making an error, or of the heedlessness of the reader. There have been many meanings that are mistaken, as well as much confusion and blindness, and what follows will be some examples of mistyping and distortion regarding which, some scholars have wrote specific books in order to unveil them.
A man came to Al-Layth ibn Sa`d, may Allaah have mercy on him, and said: “What did Naafi` report to you regarding the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, and the one whose father had a story spread about him?” Al-Layth, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Woe to you, it is regarding the one who drinks out ofutensils made of silver is swallowing Hellfire into theirstomach.” So, because of the spelling in Arabic, all the words were distorted into meaning something else!
Abu Al-`Aynaa', may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “I attended the lesson of some heedless scholars of Hadeeth, and they gave the narration from Allaah the Exalted. He said: ‘Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, reported from Jibreel, who reported from Allaah, who reported from a man.’ I said: ‘Who is this person that is fit to be the teacher of Allaah the Exalted? They then searched and found that in his paper, it was written, ‘the Exalted.’” So, because of the distortion, the words were changed to give the wrong meaning.
One of the reasons behind mistakes in the past was the absence of dots on the Arabic letters, and lack of precision of words with conjugation. When they put the dots on the letters and placed conjugation, these errors decreased. Examples of what is present in some chains of narration and texts in terms of mistyping is when they change Shu`bah to Sab`ah (because they are spelled the same), news (Khabar) to bread (Khubz), Kharzah to Jazrah, Jareer to Khurbuz, and `Anazah to `Anzah. In a narration, it is mentioned that the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, placed `Anazah before him in prayer. Muhammad ibn Al-Muthanna Al-`Anazi said: “We are an honorable people, we are from `Anazah, and the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhiwa sallam, prayed in our direction!” The true meaning of `Anazah is a spear or a short staff that the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, used to place before him while praying in travel. There are also mistakes in recitation of the Qur’aan that change the meaning, and that render the meaning to be distasteful and reprehensible. There are also many other examples of mistyping and distortion. The intent is that one must be precise and cautious especially in books that have no accuracy checks, verification, or revision done to them.
One should correct the strange and irregular meanings that come to one’s mind as a result of ignorance and lack of knowledge of the intent of the phrase: This is a matter that requires caution and attention. One must quickly research and ask when such matter happens. Let us give some examples, to show what the intent is:
What can some people understand from when the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “Whoever believes in Allaah the Exalted and the Last Day should not give their water to another person’s vegetation.” It is true naivete to understand from this Hadeeth, for example, that the farmer must prevent water from passing to the land of their neighbor! This is a false meaning that the legislation does not condone, since among its principles is that one should show good conduct and be a good neighbor, and that one should not cause harm to anything. When going back to the explanations of the scholars, we find that the intent of the Hadeeth is that one should not have intercourse with a pregnant woman who was impregnated by another man, and that the one who purchased a slave-girl, for example, must be acquitted from her womb through menstruation before having intercourse with her. This is a necessary process to preserve lineage from being mixed.
Another example is what some people understand from the Hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, when he said: “Allaah does not accept the prayer of a menstruating woman unless she wears covering.” Whatever we say the different interpretations are, there is no doubt that Allaah the Exalted does not accept the prayer of the menstruating woman with or without a covering. If the reader goes back to the explanation of the Hadeeth, the confusion will be cleared in knowing that the intent behind the menstruating woman here is the woman that has reached the age of menstruation and is not responsible.

Some beginners would be in confusion and uncertainty when reading some books of jurisprudence, for example, the phrase: ‘The blood money (`Aql) is due on the relatives from the father’s side.’ One of the reasons they would be in confusion is that they would not know the meaning of the word `Aql here, and would think that it refers to intellect. Likewise, the word Islaam is used at times to refer to a type of sale. When a person is aware of this, they do not become confused when such word is used, such as: ‘Islaam is permissible in such-and-such situation,’ and so on.

Overcoming absence of mind and lack of concentration: This is a problem that results in alienating people from reading, and gives them the feeling that they do not benefit anything. You might notice yourself that you complete a page without understanding anything, and that is because the eye works in a systematic and programmed manner, while the heart is inattentive and heedless. Due to the importance of this problem, we must speak about it with some details.

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