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Format of Traditional Arab Islamic Names

July 18, 2016 Leave a comment

(The following is an extract from an introduction to Imam an-Nawawi.)

A traditional Arabic name consists of many things. The parts are:

 1 . Your name and the name of your fathers before you.

 The name of Imam Al-Nawawi is: Yahya ibn Sharraf ibn Mooree ibn Hasan ibn Husayn

 2 . A kunya, which means nickname.

 The kunya of the Prophet (saI AIIahu alayhi wa saIIam) was Abu Qasim.

Every person of the Arabs will take a kunya even if he did not have a son or child by that name.

Generally speaking, some names have intrinsic kunyas. For example, the name Ali is generally given the kunya Abu Hasan. If your father called you Ali, it was understood you would take the kunya Abu Hasan when you grew up. Why? Ali ibn Abi Talib’s son was called Hasan. Sometimes people with the name Ali are called Abu Husayn or Abu Hasanain. Similarly, the kunya of someone named Yasir is Abu Ammar because of Ammar ibn Yasir.

What do you think the kunya of Imam AI-Nawawi would be? Abu Zakariyyah. Yahya was the son of Zakariyyah, but the Prophet Yahya did not have any children. Imam Al-Nawawi himself approved of this kunya and called himself by that name.

 3 . An honorary title.

The students of a scholar would give this title. Ibn Taymiyyah was called Shaykh Al-Islam, and very few people reached this status.

The title of Imam Al-Nawawi was muhyadeen, which means the reviver of the sciences. He was given this title during his lifetime, but he did not like it and said: “Anyone who calls me muhyadeen

I will not forgive him. ” His statement shows how strict he was about this title. He was strict with this because of his modesty. Muhya means someone who revives something that was dead, and Al-Nawawi did not like the connotation that the religion was dead and he brought it back to life.

 4-. ‏لقب‎ (Laqab): where you are from / place of origin / profession

 Sometimes it includes both the profession and the place of origin.

Imam AI-Nawawi was given a Iaqab for the place. He was born in a village called Nawa, which is a village outside of Damascus.

[Taken from: Class Notes on Sacred Scrolls, 40 Hadeeth Nawawi, Qabeelat Hosna, July 2008]

Categories: Imam Nawawi, Uncategorized

Shariah Law, Islamic State & Jihad

May 3, 2015 Leave a comment
Shariah Law, Islamic State & Jihad
Taught by Shaykh Akram Nadwi
(8 Feb 2014 at Queen Mary University, London)



The shaykh began the topic by highlighting how much he respects and admires Imam Hasan al-Banna Shaheed, Maulana Maududi and Sayyid Qutb Shaheed. Nadwatul Ulama movement actually pioneered the translation of Maulana Maududis works to Arabic which then had a big impact on Sayyid Qutb Shaheed. Shaykh Akram respects the efforts of these great thinkers, he has read their works many times, memorised parts of Milestones and he mentioned how he has been moved to tears reading some of their writings. The purpose of mentioning this was so that people do not think he is speaking from biased perspective when criticising.

It is important to unite despite of differences. The purpose of teaching is not to make everyone follow you. [Shaykh Akram regularly mentions this in his seminars emphasising that if someone feels they have a better argument then they can discuss, but people should think properly and then either agree knowingly or disagree knowingly].

Maulana Maududi, Imam Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb were the first to present political Islam as a focus Read more…

‘…I will do hijra although I have left my parents in tears.’

May 3, 2015 Leave a comment

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr said, “A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, ‘I have come to make you a pledge that I will do hijra although I have left my parents in tears.’ The Prophet said, ‘Go back to them and make them laugh as you made them cry.’

 Reference: Al-Adab al-Mufrad, Hadith 19 [Grade: Sahih]


(notes from a lesson by Ustadh Abu Eesa Niamatullah)


Of the benefits of this hadith is that the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam has clearly shown the importance of prioritisation. Hijrah is one thing very important, yet recognise that the priority of looking after your parents and being in their service is greater. The latter is a greater obligation. Here we recognise that the fard ul-kiffayah (the communal obligation) has been superseded by the fard ul-ayn (the individual obligation)- the obligation of looking after the parents.

This establishes a principle in the deen for us, often we are caught between two different situations and decisions, one should not just say this is the easier one, or this is the harder one, or this one makes more sense to me so I will do that. No. It does not go by your sense, or easy or harder one; the decision goes by what is more obligatory, what is more correct taking into consideration the benefits and harms according to Islamic principles of the shari’ah not ones own opinions.

Another benefit of this hadith is that if you upset someone which is really easy to do, then the remedy for this is to go back and make them laugh. That is a form of sadaqah (charity), go back and make some effort to make them smile again. By doing this you can try and recover some of the harm that you have already caused.

This leads us to the third benefit which is a very interesting point that the ulama mention. This hadith establishes like a system that if you do something wrong, if you cause someone some kind of problem, if you make a mistake then you should go and deal with it. It doesn’t matter what level it is on or what the situation is, the principle is the same. Like here in this hadith you made them cry so go back and make them laugh. Likewise, if you did gheeba (backbiting) of someone, spoke bad about someone, now go and when he is not there speak good about that person, praise him and make dua for him when no one is around- when it is only you and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make dua for him. If you do a sin then find out what expiates it. If you make a mistake, give some sadaqah (charity). This principle is established from this hadith. If you do something wrong then fix it, this is Islam.


Now a few points about hijrah because hijrah throughout history has always been a point of discussion and dispute regarding the issues surrounding it. Therefore lets look at it a bit more closely to try and understand what it is and what is the Islamic ruling.

What is hijrah?

What is hijrah? First of all we need to understand that Read more…

…how can one know Him and not love Him?

January 2, 2015 Leave a comment


What a wonderful thing it is to know Him (i.e. Allah)!

But how can one know Him and not love Him?

How can one hear the caller but fail to respond?

How can one know the profit that shall be gained in dealing with Him but still prefer others?

How can one taste the bitterness of disobeying Him but still abstain from seeking the pleasure of obeying Him?

How can one feel the severity of engaging in trivial speech, but fail to open your heart with His remembrance?

How can one be tortured by being attached to other but not rush toward the bliss of turning to Him in repentance?

Perhaps it is most surprising to know that while you are in need of Him, you are still reluctant to move toward Him because you seek others.

(Imam ibn al-Qayyim, al-Fawa’id, pg72)

The Simple Pious Labourer, the Son of the Wealthy King….

September 7, 2014 Leave a comment


Imam Abu Bakr al-Ajurri (d.330AH) mentions the following incident his treatise Sifatul Ghuraba….

It has reached us that Abdullah ibn al-Faraj, the worshipper, said, ‘I was in need of someone to make something for me so I went to the marketplace looking for a suitable person. At the end of the market I found a pale young boy before whom was a large basket, he wore a garment of wool and had a woolen towel.

I asked him, “Do you work?”

He replied, “Yes,”

“How much do you charge?” I asked.

“One and one-sixth of a dirham.”

I said, “Stand and come to work.”

He said, “I have one condition..”

“What is it? Read more…

Three Levels of Piety

August 16, 2014 Leave a comment

3 levels

Piety has three levels:

One– protecting the hearts and limbs against sin and forbidden actions.

Two– protecting them against undesirable matters.

Three– protection against curiosity and whatever is not of one’s concern.

The first will grant life to the servant, the second will grant him health and power, and the third will grant him happiness and joy.

[Imam ibn al-Qayyim, al-Fawaa’id, pg56]

The Walk of the Prophet ﷺ

May 28, 2014 Leave a comment

It is reported from Ali (radhiallahu ‘anhu): “Rasulullah ﷺ was neither very tall nor short. The soles of both feet were fully fleshed (this quality is considered praiseworthy for men as it denotes strength and courage.) He had a large head, the joints of the bones were also large. There was a thin line of hair from the chest to the navel. When Rasulullah ﷺ walked, it appeared as if he was descending from a high place.” Ali (radhiallahu ‘anhu) also added: “I did not see anyone like him, neither before him, or after him.” 

Hasan bin Ali (radhiallahu ‘anhum) mentions in a lengthy hadith where he describes the Prophet ﷺ as he learnt it from his maternal uncle Hind bin Abi Haalah (radhiallahu ‘anhu): “…… when he walked, he lifted his legs with vigour, leaned slightly forward and placed his feet softly on the ground. He walked at a quick pace and took a rather long step. He did not take small steps. When he walked it seemed as if he was descending to a lower place. When he looked at something, he turned his whole body towards it. His blessed sight was focused more to the ground than towards the sky…..”

Anas bin Malik (radhiallahu ‘anhu) reports: ” Rasulullah ﷺ was of a medium stature, he was neither very tall nor short. He was very handsome, of medium built and his hair was neither very curly nor very straight (but was slightly wavy). He had a wheat coloured complexion. When he walked, he leaned forward slightly.” 


In the hadith the word ‘yata-kaf-fa-foo‘ is used regarding the walking of Sayyidina Rasulullah ﷺ. The ulama interpret this word in several ways. Some say it means to walk at a fast pace. Some are of the opinion that it means to lean forward a bit while walking. Some say that it means to lift the leg with force. All three explanations are correct because the walk of Sayyidina Rasulullah ﷺ fulfilled all three descriptions and the word also conveys these three meanings. 

Sayyidina Rasulullah ﷺ walked quickly and not like the Romeos of this age who walk like women. It was also the noble habit of Rasulullah ﷺ to walk with a slight forward inclination of the head and shoulders. He did not walk with his chest pushed out in pride. He lifted his legs as men do while walking and did not drag his legs on the ground. 


[Hadith compiled from Shama’il Tirmidhi (Chapter on the Noble Features of Rasulullah ﷺ) with commentary from Khasa’il-e-Nabawi by Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhelwi]

Categories: Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
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