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Reflections on Sūratu Yūsuf: Lessons For Everyday Life (I)

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BismiLlāhi’r-Rahmāni’r-Rahīm. All praise is due to Allāh subhānahu wa ta’ālā. May the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon prophet Muhammad and his household and companions. Āmīn.
Sūratu Yūsuf is the most interesting story of the Qur’ān. As Imām bn Kathīr rahimahuLlāh puts it:
“It is a story involving both human weaknesses like jealousy, hatred, pride, passion, deception, intrigue, cruelty and terror, as well as noble qualities like patience, loyalty, bravery, nobility and compassion.”
Of all the prophets of Allāh whose stories were narrated in the Qur’ān, Yūsuf was probably the only one whose story was never repeated in any other Sūrah in the Qur’ān.
Sūratu Yūsuf is very important to read and study for the following reasons:
1. It is the best of stories (verse 4). The human soul is created to desire the best of everything.
2. It contains signs for reflection for those who are inquisitive (verse 7)
3. It is one of the hidden information for many that Allāh has chosen to reveal to this Ummah through Muhammad (verse 102). Thus, reading it will strengthen our belief in the unseen.
4. It contains points of reflection and lessons for people of understanding (verse 111).
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What are the most critical lessons in this Sūrah for our everyday life?

1. Dreams have implications and consequences

Dreams are not ordinary events. They are not like the Yorùbá people say, “àlà gọ”. Yūsuf عليه السلام had a dream in which he saw eleven stars, the sun and the moon all prostrating to him. At the time, Yūsuf was a young man who didn’t understand the implications of his dreams. So he narrated it to his father who was gifted the knowledge of interpretation of dreams (Yūsuf would later be gifted this knowledge, too). He perfectly understood both the implications of the dream and consequences of Yūsuf’s brothers knowing about it. So he told Yūsuf to keep it away from them and he did. This dream would later come to pass in verse 100 of the Sūrah:
“And he raised his parents upon the throne and they all (his father, mother, and eleven siblings) bowed to him in prostration. And he said, “O my father, this is the explanation of my vision of before. My Lord has made it a reality.”
Similarly, in verse 36, Yūsuf’s two prison mates had a dream in which one saw himself pressing grapes for wine, while the other was carrying bread in his head from which birds were eating. Yūsuf عليه السلام interpreted both dreams to mean that one or them will become the king’s cup bearer, while the other would be crucified. Both incidents came to pass.
Also, in verse 43, the King of Egypt at the time had a strange dream in which seven fat cows were being devoured by seven lean ones, and there were seven green spikes of grain and others that were dry. When Yūsuf عليه السلام was informed, he interpreted it to mean people will experience seven difficult years in which there will be drought and famine in the land. So he suggested an effective economic template of prudence and saving for the rainy days.
Dreams are not to be taken lightly. It was the medium through which some of the prophets of Allāh received divine guidance and instructions.
For instance, prophet Ibrāhīm عليه السلام received instructions to sacrifice his son, Ismā’īl, through dream.
“And when he reached with him the age of exertion, he said, “O my son, indeed, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you, so see what you think.” He said* “O my father, do as you’re commanded. You will find me, if Allāh wills, of the steadfast.” (Q.37:102)
Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم received the following information through dreams:
* The victory at Badr (8:43)
* The conquest of Makkah (48:27)
In fact, the stanzas of adhān and Iqāmah were revealed through the dreams of two Sahābah (Abdullāh bn Zayd and Umar bn al-Khattāb) and the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم approved of it in his capacity as the Messenger of Allāh.
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‘Ā’isha رضي الله عنها said:
كان أول ما بُدئَ به رسول الله من الوحيد الرؤيا الصداقة في النوم
“The first phase of revelations that came to the prophet were true dreams…”
The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
الرؤيا الحسنة من الرجل الصالح جزء من ستة وأربعين جزءا من النبوة
“A good dream by a righteous man is 1/46 parts of prophecy.”
He also said:
أصدق الناس رؤيا أصدقهم حديثا
“And the truest vision will be of one who is himself the most truthful in speech,.”

Categories of Dreams

Dreams are of three categories. The Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
والرؤيا ثلاثة: فرؤيا صالحة بشرى من الله، ورؤيا تخويف من الشيطان ورؤيا ما يحدّث به المرء نفسه فإذا رأى أحدكم ما يكره فليقم فليصل
“Dreams are of three types:
(i) A good dream which is a sort of good tidings from Allah;
(ii) A bad dream which causes pain is from the Shaytān;
(iii) A suggestion of one’s own mind.
So if any one of you sees a dream which he does not like he should stand up and offer prayer.”
Once a man came to the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and said:
رأيتُ البارحة فيما يراه النائم كأن عنقي ضُربت وسقط رأسي فاتبعتُه فأخذته فأعدتُه. فقال رسول الله، إذا لعب الشيطان بأحدكم في منامه فلا يحدّث به الناس
Last night, I had a dream in which my head was chopped off but I picked it up and fixed it. The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “whenever shaytān toys with you in your sleep, do not relate it with anyone.”

What To Do With Dreams/Nightmares

Dreams have no standard interpretation. Two individuals may see a similar thing in their dreams, yet the interpretation might differ. Thus, it is wrong to copy and paste the interpretation of the dream of another person. More importantly, the knowledge of interpretation of dreams is being claimed today by charlatans and fraudsters masquerading as Muslim clerics, hence the need to be extremely careful and cautious.
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The Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم has taught us what to do whenever we have a dream; pleasant or terrible. In the narration by Abū Qatādah, the prophet said:
الرؤيا الحسنة من الله والحلم من الشيطان فمن رأى شيئا يكرهه فلينفث عن شماله ثلاثا وليتعوذ من الشيطان فإنها لا تضرّه (متفق عليه)
“A good dream is from Allāh and a bad dream is from the Shaytān; so if one of you sees anything (in a dream which he dislikes, he should spit on his left side thrice and seek refuge with Allāh from its evil, and then it will never harm him.” (Agreed upon)
In another narration by Abū Sa’īd al-Khudrī, he said: “I heard the Messenger of Allāh saying…
عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِذَا رَأَى أَحَدُكُمْ رُؤْيَا يُحِبُّهَا فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ مِنْ اللَّهِ فَلْيَحْمَدْ اللَّهَ عَلَيْهَا وَلْيُحَدِّثْ بِهَا وَإِذَا رَأَى غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ مِمَّا يَكْرَهُ فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ مِنْ الشَّيْطَانِ فَلْيَسْتَعِذْ مِنْ شَرِّهَا وَلَا يَذْكُرْهَا لِأَحَدٍ فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَضُرُّهُ
“When one of you sees a dream he likes, it is from Allāh so let him praise Allāh for it and speak about it. When one of you sees something else he dislikes, it is from Shaytān so let him seek refuge from its evil and not mention it to anyone. It will not harm him.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6584
He also added in some chains of its narrations:
“فإن رأى رؤيا حسنة فليبشّر ولا يخبر إلا من يحبّ”
“If he seems a good dream, he should only relate it to who he loves.”
فليبصق عن يساره ثلاثا وليستعذ بالله من الشيطان ثلاثا وليتحول عن جنبه الذي كان عليه
“(If he sees a bad dream) he should spit drily thrice to his left, seek refuge with Allāh from the evil of Shaytān thrice, and change the side on which he was sleeping.”
Thus, whenever a Muslim sees a good dream (sees something that’s pleasing to him in his dream), he should do the following:
(i) Thank Allāh subhānahu wa ta’ālā by saying AlhamduliLlāh or other similar statements;
(ii) Pray to Allāh to make it a reality;
(iii) Relate it only to his loved ones (someone you love and is sure loves you);
If, on the other hand, he sees a bad dream that grieves him, he should do the following:
(i) Spit drily thrice to his left;
(ii) Seek Allāh’s protection from the evil of Shaytān by reciting adhkār/suwar of protection. For instance, one can recite the following:
“A’ūdhu bikalimāti’llāhi at-tāmmāt min gadabihi wa sharri ibādihi wa min hamazāt ash-shayātīn wa an yahdurūnī”
Or
“A’ūdhu bikalimāti’llāhi at-tāmmāt min sharri mā khalaqa.”
Among others. Or even āyatul kursiyy or the two qul ‘a’ūdhus…
(iii) Perform ablution and observe nāfilah at least two raka’ah (optional);
(iv) Change the side on which he was sleeping;
(v) Never relate it to anyone (even if it’s to seek its interpretation).
It is important to note that approaching soothsayers or fortune tellers irrespective of whatever name they call themselves (Jalabists) is not of the teachings of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The prophet ,صلى الله عليه وسلم had said that whoever approaches them to seek anything from them, his Salāt will not be accepted for forty days!
If Ya’qūb عليه السلام could warn his son, Yūsuf, from relating his dream to his siblings lest they plot against him, how do you feel safe relating your dream to a total stranger who you call your Alfa.
More importantly, as Muslims, we do not take instructions or religious injunctions from dreams. This is exclusive to the prophets of Allāh ALONE. Thus, we do not take serious the claim by Shaykh Ahmad Tijanni, founder of the Tijaniyyah order that he received certain religious injunctions from the prophet in his dream. This claim is a blatant lie and a satanic fabrication.
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Similarly, even if your late parents were to appear to you in your dream and instruct you to carry out specified acts of Ibādah (other than the obligatory acts), you must NOT do it, as this may be the Shaytān trying to trick and lure you to Bid’ah and Shirk.
It is equally possible for an associate or relative to have a dream about you and relate it to you. Such a person, however, does not have any authority to specify for you any act of ibādah or sadaqah. And even if he did, you must NOT carry it out. As for a total stranger who you have never met before accosting you and telling you that he was sent to you from his dream, such person is a barefaced liar that must be IGNORED.
Do not take your dream to anyone for interpretation. If it’s good, thank Allāh and pray over it. If it’s bad, seek Allāh’s protection from it and be fervent in prayer. The Prophet has said that if you do the above, the evil in that dream will not harm you.

Parents Must Not Prefer A Child to the Other

It is wrong for parents to love and prefer a child to the other. Although love is a matter of the heart which one may not have control over, nonetheless, parents must be mindful of the negative effect of showing glaring affection and prefence for a child over the other. Sometimes, such love may be due to gender of the child, or the one whom he/she was named after, good conduct, brilliance, etc.
It is natural for parents to prefer the well-behaved/intelligent child to the ill-mannered/dull child. However, making such love and preference so glaring, and especially to the disadvantage of the other child/children is not permitted by the Sharī’ah. This is the same way that those with more than one wife are warned against showing more affection to one at the expense of the other. In one’s heart, one may prefer one to the other, but he must not show it in his public relationship with them.
The major reason why Yūsuf was so despised by his siblings was their father’s love and preference for him and his kid brother, Bunyamin. In verses 8, they complained thus:
اِذۡ قَالُوۡا لَيُوۡسُفُ وَاَخُوۡهُ اَحَبُّ اِلٰٓى اَبِيۡنَا مِنَّا وَنَحۡنُ عُصۡبَةٌ ؕ اِنَّ اَبَانَا لَفِىۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِيۡنِ ۖ ۚ‏
“And call to mind when the brothers of Joseph conferred together and said: “Surely Joseph and his brother are dearer to our father than we are, although we are a group of so many. Our father is clearly mistaken.”
It is mentioned by some commentators on the Qur’ān that Yūsuf and his brother were more loved by their father for three reasons:
i. Their mother had died, so it was natural for him to feel more inclined towards them than his other children whose mother was still alive;
ii. They were his youngest children. Parents often feel more inclined to their young and vulnerable children than they feel towards their grown up siblings;
iii. Yūsuf, especially displayed early signs of righteousness and responsibility, at a time when his siblings were somehow rebellious.
However, this love and preference for Yūsuf cost prophet Ya’qūb عليه السلام so dearly, as the brothers executed a well orchestrated plan to get rid of Yūsuf in order to gain their father’s affection and trust. In verses 9-10, they debated their plan and concluded thus:
اۨقۡتُلُوۡا يُوۡسُفَ اَوِ اطۡرَحُوۡهُ اَرۡضًا يَّخۡلُ لَـكُمۡ وَجۡهُ اَبِيۡكُمۡ وَ تَكُوۡنُوۡا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِهٖ قَوۡمًا صٰلِحِيۡنَ‏. قَالَ قَآئِلٌ مِّنۡهُمۡ لَا تَقۡتُلُوۡا يُوۡسُفَ وَاَلۡقُوۡهُ فِىۡ غَيٰبَتِ الۡجُـبِّ يَلۡتَقِطۡهُ بَعۡضُ السَّيَّارَةِ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ فٰعِلِيۡنَ‏
“So either kill Yūsuf or cast him into some distant land so that your father’s attention may become exclusively yours. And after so doing become righteous. Thereupon one of them said: “Do not kill Yūsuf, but if you are bent upon doing something, cast him down to the bottom of some dark pit, perhaps some caravan passing by will take him out of it.”
Prophet Ya’qūb عليه السلام suffered a great deal over this. He cried until he lost his vision. He loved Yūsuf to a fault and his sudden disappearance shattered him.
The Messenger of Allāh has ﷺ warned against giving a child preferential treatment at the expense of another. An-Nu’mān bn Bashīr رضي الله عنه narrated that once his father, Bashīr, took him to the prophet ﷺ seeking to make him a witness over a present that he gave him. The Prophet ﷺ asked him:
أكل ولدك نحلته مثل هذا/أفعلت هذا بولدك كلهم/يا بشير ألك ولد سوى هذا/أكلهم وهبت له مثل هذا
“Do you have a chld other than him? Did you present a similar gift to your other children?”
He replied: “Yes, I have other children. No, I didn’t present a similar gift to the others.”
Thereupon, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said,
فارجعه/اتقوا اللَّه واعدلوا في أولادكم/ لا تشهدني إذاً؛ فإني لا أشهد على جور/لا تشهدني على جور!/أشهد على هذا غيري!
“Take it back. Fear Allāh and treat your children justly. Do not make me a witness. I do not bear witness to injustice. Go get another person to serve as witness.”
This Hadīth clearly prohibits treating one’s children unjustly by preferring some of them to the others. The neglected child may be inspired by the Shaytān to harm the beloved one, or even their parents. This is why the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said:
“Be just among your children in gifting, like you would love them to treat you equally in righteousness and kindness.”

Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin

Opinion

IGP tenure: Police affairs minister goofed, says rights group

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Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba

Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) has faulted Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, for saying the current Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, would not be retiring midway into the general elections.

The IGP was due to retire on March 1 this year. But the minister was quoted last Wednesday after leaving the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that President Muhammadu Buhari had extended Baba’s tenure as IGP, citing Nigeria Police Act 2020 to indicate the current IGP would serve four-year tenure.

But RIFA, in a statement signed by its president, Luqman Soliu, said it viewed the minister’s position as inconsistent with the laws of the land.

It argued that the minister’s position ran contrary to the law and that the quoted Act was being misinterpreted, adding the tenure elongation could create a problem in the police force.

The statement read in part, “Usman Alkali Baba record at Nigeria Police Force showed his date of birth as March 1, 1963 while he enlisted into Nigeria Police Force on March 15, 1988 as Assistant Superintendent of Police and is expected to bow out of active service on March 1, 2023 when he would clock 60 years. Similarly, the IGP by March 15,2023 would clock 35 years in service. As a result, his post would be vacant effective March 1, 2023.

“However, the law is explicit on the tenure of any IGP and those qualified to be IGP.

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“The minister was said to be relying on Nigeria Police Act, 2020 Section 7(3) and (6) to arrive at his position.

“Also, the minister was further quoted to have said the IGP was appointed by the President on April 6,2021 but his appointment confirmed in June 2021 by the Nigeria Police Council in line with the laws of the land and so must spend four (4) years.

“Even though the tenure of the IGP has witnessed improved compliance with the laws of Nigeria and sanctioning/discipline of some errant police officers mostly reported by the media, that cannot warrant elongating his tenure beyond the constitutionally guaranteed period.

“On the issue of the IGP, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is very clear on the appointment and removal of IGP when it states in section 215 (1) (a) that:“An Inspector-General of Police who, subject to section 216 (2) of this Constitution shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Police Force”.

“In addition, section 216(2) provides that: “Before making any appointment to the office of the Inspector-General of Police or removing him from office the President shall consult the Nigeria Police Council”.

“Similarly, Nigeria Police Act 2020 states in Section 7(2)that ‘the person to be appointed as Inspector-General of Police shall be a senior police officer not below the rank of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) with the requisite academic qualifications of not less than a first degree or its equivalent in addition to professional and management experience’; Section 7(3) of same Police Act states ‘The Inspector General of Police shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council from among serving members of the Police Force’. Also, Section 7(6) provides ‘The person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years’. This subsection was what the minister was relying on to make his position. However, Section 18 (8) of Nigeria Police Act, 2020 is explicit on tenure of a police officer when it says, ‘Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the Nigeria Police Force for a period of 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier’. So, the law states that someone who is no longer a police officer or who is not a police officer cannot be IGP. So, if the law says by 60 years of age or by 35 years in police service, IGP Usman Alkali is no longer a police officer, how then can he be eligible to be IGP afterwards when the laws says only a serving police officer can be IGP?

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“With the above, the law is very clear on the tenure of a serving IGP and which the President or a Minister cannot override as the law is superior to occupant of any post in the land. Therefore, instead of the minister dissipating energy to seeking the extension of tenure of IGP Usman Alkali, he should focus his energy on searching for the next IGP before the end of February 2023 when Usman Alkali would cease to be a police officer.

“Similarly, the minister should occupy himself with how to convene the next Police Council meeting that would recommend a new IGP for appointment before March 1, 2023.

“Therefore, the minister and the government should stop contemplating on tenure elongation for the current IGP. Rather, the government should strive for improved policing that meets the yearnings of the populace and restore public confidence in the Force.”

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Opinion

Old age comes with aggression: Be patient with your parents (an appraisal of Qur’an17 : 23-24)

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Bismillaahir-rahmaanir-raheem (In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful) 
Indeed, longevity of life is one of the greatest favours of Allāh that He bestows upon whomsoever He wills from amongst His servants. In Allah’s hands lies the power to create life and to take life; He rations it as He deems fit. Sometimes, He takes the life of the infant and the youthful, and grants respite to the aged and weak. Who dare questions His actions?  (لا يسأل عما يفعل وهم يسئلون)
Old age is a blessing and a curse. A popular adage in my mother tongue goes thus: “Rayi kpalo e wo gbata takechi”; meaning: (Long life heals all wounds). That’s the blessing part. Conversely, in Yoruba, the adage is, “o’ fe pe l’aye, o si fe k’oju re oribi, o f’owo mu kan ni” (You desire a long life, but hate to face travails; you would have to chose either of the two). That’s the curse. What will make us understand this theory better are the following verses:
a.
 وَمِنْكُمْ مَنْ يُتَوَفَّى وَمِنْكُمْ مَنْ يُرَدُّ إِلَى أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ لِكَيْلَا يَعْلَمَ مِنْ بَعْدِ عِلْمٍ شَيْئًا
“And of you is he who is caused to die; and of you is he who is brought back to the worst part of life, so that after having knowledge he does not know anything… ” Q. 22:5
b.
 اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ ضَعْفٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ ضَعْفٍ قُوَّةً ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ قُوَّةٍ ضَعْفًا وَشَيْبَةً يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْقَدِيرُ
” Allah He is who created you from a state of weakness, the  He gave (you) strength after weakness, then He ordained weakness a d hoary hair after strength; He creates what He pleases, and He is the Knowing, the Powerful.”  Q. 30:54
c.
وَمَنْ نُعَمِّرْهُ نُنَكِّسْهُ فِي الْخَلْقِ أَفَلا يَعْقِلُون
“And  he to whom We grant long life We reverse in creation (physical and mental capacity); so will they not understand?” Q. 36:66
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It is natural, therefore, that at times, or most times, old people reason and behave like toddlers; the more they get old, the worse they become. Some old people now wear pampers like infants; Some are fed like babies; Some defecate and urinate in their clothes; and almost all lose their memory of things that they hitherto knew. However, the worst form disposition that comes with old age is anger, harshness, and aggression. More than 2/3 of old people get aggressive at the slightest provocation and, sometimes, even without provocation. Like babies, old people feel vulnerable and unsafe due to their physical weakness. Most times, they feel lonely and abandoned; which is why they often turn talkative when they finally get someone to talk to.
Just before you feel bored by their oft-repeated, boring, meaningless, unnecessary and never-ending discussions; just before you start feeling like to throw up from the odoriferous smell oozing from the excreta of your mother in the potty; just before you get tired of bathing her all the time; remember how she endured all of these for you for several years.
[20/01, 06:51] Abdulfatai A. Ibrahim: It is based on the physical and mental weaknesses that characterized old age that Islam commands us to be gentle, decorous and compassionate while dealing with our parents. These injunctions, as we shall later explain apply to all manners of parents: non-Muslims, deadbeats, addicts, insane, nominal but non-practising Muslims, etc. No matter how lazy or lackadaisical or insensitive one’s parents are to one’s needs; even if they (both or one of them) abandoned one to struggle for survival, one MUST observe the provisions of these injunctions with them. Allah says:
وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَاناً إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِنْدَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُلْ لَهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُلْ لَهُمَا قَوْلاً كَرِيماً * وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُلْ رَبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيراً
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship not except Him, and give your parents good treatment. Whether one or both of them attain old age (while) with you (while you’re alive), say not to them uff (an expression of disapproval or irritation), and do not repel (shout at them) but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of compassion and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up (when I was) small.” (Q. 17:23)
To underscore the significance of treating one’s parents with utmost respect, the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned disobedience to one’s parents as part of the most heinous crimes in Islam.
و عن عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي بَكْرَةَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ رَضِي اللَّهُ عَنه قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: أَلَا أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِأَكْبَرِ الْكَبَائِرِ ثَلَاثًا؟ قَالُوا: بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، قَالَ: الْإِشْرَاكُ بِاللَّهِ وَعُقُوقُ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَجَلَسَ وَكَانَ مُتَّكِئًا فَقَالَ: أَلَا وَقَوْلُ الزُّورِ قَالَ فَمَا زَالَ يُكَرِّرُهَا حَتَّى قُلْنَا لَيْتَهُ سَكَتَ
“The Prophet (pbuh) said: Should I inform you about the most heinous crimes (he said it thrice)? We said, yes, please. He said, “ascribing partners to Allah, disobedience to one’s parents (and he was reclining, so he sat up and continued) and making false statements. He said it so repeatedly that we wished he had kept quiet.”
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The verse quoted above has the following injunctions:
i. It is forbidden to say #uff to one’s old parents: According to Qur’ānic exegetes, uff means showing irritation at their excesses; such as  urination, excretion or the likes. Tabari wrote:
 قال: ثنا سفيان، عن ليث، عن مجاهد، في قوله) فَلا تَقُلْ لَهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلا تَنْهَرْهُمَا (قال: إن بلغا عندك من الكبر ما يبولان ويخرآن، فلا تقل لهما أف تقذّرهما.حدثنا القاسم، قال: ثنا الحسين ، قال: ثني حجاج،عن ابن جريج، عن مجاهد إما يَبْلُغانَّ عِندك الكبر فلا تَقُل لهما أف حين ترى الأذى، وتميط عنهما الخلاءوالبول ، كما كانا يميطانه عنك صغيرا، ولا تؤذهما.
(Summary) “When your parents have attained old age, do not show any sign of displeasure, discomfort or irritation at their excesses; even when they defecate or urinate on their body. You should gladly wash them with gentleness and tenderness like they washed you at your tender age.”
ii. It is forbidden to shout at them: According to the Mufassiruun, shouting at one’s parents include: raising one’s voice at them, interrupting them while they are talking, talking before them without the permission to do so, walking out on them when they are talking to one, showing displeasure at the way they address one harshly or shabbily, not paying attention to their discussion (such as receiving calls, pinging, or turning your back at them), etc. All of these are Haram.
iii. It is compulsory to address them in the most honourable way: Imagine what some of us would have done to our fathers if we were in Prophet Ibraheem’s shoes. In spite of the fact that his father was a Mushrik, Ibraheem was never harsh to him in his speech. In fact, he didn’t address him as يا أبي: my father; rather he said, يا أبت: my dear father! لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم! What a role model he is for us all!
Our parents are more honourable than any other being on earth. Yet, when we address them, we do so crudely in a manner that we can never address our teachers or even political godfathers. In fact, some people respect their friends more than they respect their parents! أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم!
iv. We must humble ourselves before our parents: No matter how rich, famous, knowledgeable, or highly-placed we are in the scheme of life, we must suspend all of those shenanigans while treating our parents. Our wealth must be put at their disposal anytime, any day. One day, a young man came to report his father to the Prophet (pbuh) saying:
عن جابر رضي الله عنه أن رجلاً قال: يا رسول الله إن لي مالاً وولداً ، وإن أبي يريد أن يجتاح مالي، فقال: “أنت ومالك لأبيك”.
“O Messenger of Allāh! I have wealth and children, and my father wants to take (from) my wealth. The Prophet replied him saying, “YOU, & YOUR WEALTH BELONG TO YOUR FATHER.”

Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin

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Towards understanding your religion: A short treatise on Sujūd as-sahw

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Introduction

Sujūd as-Sahw (prostration of forgetfulness) is a corrective measure legislated by Allāh to rectify certain unintended mistakes in Salāt. It is necessitated by any of the following 3 things:

1. Omission of an action of Salāt
2. Addition of an action of Salāt
3. Doubt over the performance or non-performance of an action of Salāt.

It is important to note that the action of Salāt that necessitates Sujūd as-Sahw is one that falls under any of the following categories:

1. Arkān
2. Wājibāt

The Arkān (pillars) of Salāt are:

1. Standing (for the one that is capable)
2. The opening Takbīrah
3. Recitation of Fātiha
4. Bowing
5. Rising from it
6. Being straight after rising
7. Prostration
8. Rising from it
9. Sitting in-between the two prostrations
10. Performing each pillar with accuracy
11. The last tashahhud (in a 3 or 4 raka’ah prayer & the only one in a two raka’ah prayer)
12. Sitting for the last tashahhud
13. The taslīm
14. Sequential order of the pillars

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The wājibāt (obligatory actions) of Salāt are as follows:
1. Any other Takbīrat apart from the opening Takbīrah
2. Saying of Sami’Allāhu liman hamidah
3. Saying of Rabbānā laka al-hamd
4. Saying of Subhāna rabī al-adhīm in bowing
5. Saying of Subhāna rabī al-A’lā in prostration
6. Saying of Rabbi ighfirlī in the sitting between sujūd
7. The first tashahhud
8. Sitting for the first tashahhud

These are the actions that necessitate the observance of Sujūd as-Sahw should one omit, add, or doubt their performance in Salāt forgetfully. It doesn’t matter if the Salāt were fard (obligatory) or nafl (supererogatory).

It’s important to note that this Sujūd applies to all persons observing Salāt (male/female, old/young, Imām/follower of an Imām/lone worshipper). It’s a compulsory action that’s needed to rectify an unintended mistake in Salāt.

A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW

Forms of Sujūd as-Sahw

Sujūd as-Sahw occurs at the tail end of Salāt after recitation of the final tashahhud. Depending on the incident that warrants it, it may be performed before the Taslīm (salutation of peace that ends Salāt)or after it.

‎If it is performed before the taslīm, it is termed ‘Qablī’, and if it is performed after taslīm, it is termed ‘Ba’dī’. The Arabic words قَبْلُ and بَعْدُ connote before & after respectively. Thus, the terms قَبْلِيٌّ & بَعْدِيٌّ are shortened forms of قبل التسليم/بعد التسليم.

Sujūd as-Sahwi is like the normal Sujūd of Salāt. It’s not special in any way. It consists of two Sajdah (prostration) with the normal adhkār of Sujūd; “Subhāna rabbiya’l-A’lā wa bihamdihī” or any other known adhkār of Sujūd (check Sifatu Salāti’n-Nabiyy by Al-Albānī)

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It is important to note that Muslim Jurists have expressed divergent views on whether Sujūd as-Sahw must be observed before the taslīm or after it, irrespective of whether the case was an omission, an addition or that of doubt. The summary of the views is as follows:

Hanafiyyah: All Sujūd as-Sahw must come after Taslīm.

Shāfi’iyyah: All Sujūd as-Sahw must come before Taslīm.

Hanābilah: All Sujūd as-Sahw must come before Taslīm save in 2 cases:

(i) If one makes Taslīm before completion of Salāt e.g. saying Taslīm after 2/3 raka’ats in dhuhr

(ii) If one doubts the exact number of raka’ah that he has prayed but decided to settle for the dominant number in his mind. In both instances, he must make the Sujūd after Taslīm.

Mālikiyyah: Sujūd as-Sahw can occur either before or after the Taslīm, depending on the case. Thus, if it’s a case of omission, it must come before Taslīm, and if it’s a case of addition, it must come after Taslīm. If, however, both omission & addition occur in the particular Salāt, then, the Sujūd must come before the Taslīm. These are the various views of the Jurists.

Sometimes, some people find themselves in a situation where they can not independently determine whether to do the Sujūd before Taslīm or after it. Before I go into specifics in the next thread, know this: Whichever if the Sujūd you do suffices, irrespective of the case.

Do not worry about whether the Sujūd was done before the Taslīm in a case of addition or that it was done after the Taslīm in a case of omission. What matters is that one does the Sujūd in order to rectify and make up for the unintended error committed in any of the acts of Salāt mentioned in the introduction to this treatise. That’s it. Your Salāt remains valid. Don’t let anyone confuse you & do not torture yourself trying to figure out what to do at when. Do I even need to go into specifics again? This is clear enough. I think.

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In conclusion, it’s important to note that after the Sujūd as-Sahw, there’s no need to repeat the tahiyyāt. One should immediately conclude the Salāt by uttering the Taslīm. If, however, one repeats the tahiyyāt either knowingly or unknowingly, his/her Salāt remains valid.

A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW

Categories of Worshippers With Regards to Sujūd as-Sahw

There are 3 categories of worshippers with regards to the Sujūd as-Sahw. They are:

1. The lone worshipper
2. The Imām
3. Follower of the Imām. This category is further divided into two:

a. The one that observed the prayer in full with the Imām
b. The one that missed a part of the prayer. This category is further divided into two:
a. The one that witnessed the mistake of the Imām
b. The one that joined the Salāt after the mistake has been made.

If a lone worshipper remembers after recitation of Fātiha but before observing rukū’ that he did not make the takbīrat al-Ihrām (opening Takbīrah), he must make the Takbīrah & continue his Salāt. In this situation, he’s not to make Sujūd as-Sahw. If, however, he remembers while on rukū’ or subsequent acts, he must return to the standing position, make the Takbīrat al-Ihrām, complete the Salāt and make the Sujūd as-Sahw after Taslīm.

Also, if he remembers after standing for the 2nd raka’ah, he must discard all that he has prayed immediately & start the Salāt afresh. After Taslīm, he must perform the Sujūd as-Sahw. This same rule applies to if the forgotten pillar were recitation of Fātiha. If he hasn’t reached the rukū’, he should recite Fātiha & no Sujūd as-Sahw is on him.

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If he has reached the rukū’, he must return to the standing position & recite Fātiha. After the Taslīm, he must make the Sujūd as-Sahw. If the lone worshipper recites Fātiha twice forgetfully, there’s nothing on him. If he recites loudly in a Salāt of silent recitation or vice versa, there’s no Sujūd on him. If he remembers in the middle of the recitation, he should continue from that verse without repeating all that he has recited earlier. If he unintentionally recites Fātiha twice, he’s not obliged to observe Sujūd as-Sahw according to the most authoritative view.

A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW

‪If the lone worshipper rises to an extra raka’ah (i.e. rising to a 3rd in Subh, or to a 4th in Maghrib, or to a 5th in Dhuhr, ‘Asr, or Ishā’), he must sit down immediately he realizes the error, recite the tahiyyāt, make Taslīm and prostrate twice thereafter. If he continues‬ ‪without sitting, his Salāt becomes invalid & he will start afresh.

If the lone worshipper forgets to make iqāmah before commencement of Salāt, his Salāt is valid & he doesn’t need to do any Sujūd. The iqāmah is neither a rukn (pillar) nor wājib(obligatory act) of Salāt.‬

‪If the lone worshipper forgets to say سمع الله لمن حمده or ربنا ولك الحمد, he must do the Sujūd before Taslīm. Once he has left the position where those statements are made, he needs not return to make it up. The Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm will take care of it.‬

‪If the lone worshipper forgets to say the adhkār of rukū’ or Sujūd at least once, he must do the Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm (in the view of the hanābilah). The majority of scholars regard those adhkār as Sunnah & as such no Sujūd is required. ‬

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‪A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW

If the lone worshipper remembers in the last raka’ah that he unintentionally omitted a pillar of Salāt (recitation of Fātiha or Rukū’, etc) in any of the previous raka’ah, he must discard that raka’ah and start counting from the one next to it. After the Taslīm, he must perform‬ ‪the Sujūd as-Sahw. Also, if he remembers in the last raka’ah that he omitted Fātiha in the first & rukū’ in the second, then, he must discard both raka’ahs & start counting from the raka’ah he’s on. In all of these, he must performs the Sujūd as-Sahw after Taslīm.‬

‪If the lone worshipper forgets to sit for the first Tashahhud but instead rose to the third raka’ah, here, there are three situations:‬

‪a. If he intends rising but is yet to rise. In this instance, he sits & recites the tashahhud & is not obliged to do Sujūd as-Sahw.‬

‪b. If he were on the rise but was yet to rise fully. In this instance, he must return back to the sitting position & recite the tahiyyāt.‬

‪c. If he had fully risen. Here, he must not return back to sitting. If he does, his Salāt becomes invalid (according to a view, another view is, he may return so long as he was yet to commence recitation of Fātiha. I favour the former view that he should not return once he’s fully risen). In both cases, he performs‬ ‪the Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm.

If the lone worshipper forgets to recite sūrah after Fātiha, his Salāt is valid & he doesn’t have to make any Sujūd as-Sahw. Recitation of sūrah after is not compulsory. If, however, he does the Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm, his Salāt remains valid.‬

Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin

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