IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL
Praise be to Allah, lord of the worlds, and blessings and peace be upon the Chief of the Messengers – Muhammed , and all his descendants and Companions and those who conformed to him with utmost diligence, till the Day of Judgement!
Thereafter ... it is an occasion of great joy and pleasure for me to write a few lines by way of a Foreword and an Introduction to my dear friend Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Motala's valuable book entitled 'Itaat-Ur Rasul' (Obedience to the Messenger).
As he is busy in rendering the great service of calling people to Islam and Islamic education in the materialistic milieu of Europe, his sympathetic heart has correctly estimated the state of the Muslims' decline and degeneration. Such disgrace and adversity that, ‘He who chose the path contrary to the Prophet’s will never reach his destination."
His perturbed heart felt that the revival of the Islamic millat (community) is impossible without complete submission and obedience to the Holy Prophet . But this can be achieved only when, in respect of faith (iman), action, morals and behaviour, the Muslim becomes a walking specimen of the Holy Prophet's good example, and his life becomes a practical interpretation of the Quran - as that of a true believer (mumin) ought.
Urdu couplet, ‘No one knows this secret that the believer (mumin) looks a qari(reader) but in fact he is Quran himself.’
There are two things in Islam: the Book and the Sunnah. By the Book are meant Allah's commandments that have reached us through the holy Quran. - And the Sunnah which lexically means, ‘the way’ - that way through which the Holy Prophet passed acting upon Allah's commandments. That is, it is his practical example - the picture of which is present in the form of words in the Hadith law. In short, the thing that is necessary for a Muslim's success and spiritual perfection is the Prophetic Sunnah.
The Prophetic Sunnah is in fact an explanation and description of Allah's Book. The concise statements and difficult passages of the Quran cannot be explained fully and implemented practically without knowing the Holy Prophet's sayings, practices and conditions. He is the expounder of the divine purpose.
Allah Most High says: -
"And we have revealed unto thee the Remembrance that thou mayst explain to mankind that which hath been revealed for them, and that happily they may reflect." (XVI.44)
In the holy Quran there are commandments regarding ablution (wuzu), bathing (ghusl), prayer (salat), fasting (saum), surplus- wealth tax (zakat), pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj), recitation of blessings for the Prophet (Durud), invocation (dua), remembrance of Allah (zikr), and similarly, marriage (nikah), divorce, sale and purchase, morals and social life, national politics and settlement of quarrels and litigation. In short, all the religious commandments are present in it in absolute form, stated in a concise manner. But the explanation of these commandments and the details of their minutiae have been given by the Holy Prophet . Hence to follow and obey him is to follow and obey Allah. Accordingly there is explicit clarification in the holy Quran: -
"Whose obeyeth the messenger obeyeth Allah" (IV: 80).
Obedience to the Prophet Muhammad and conformance to his acts is as much necessary after him as it was during his auspicious lifetime. This point has been abundantly insisted upon in the Quran and the Hadith. The Holy Prophet's statement is: -
"I have left two things amongst you. As long as you keep them grasped firmly, you will not go astray. (They are) Allah's Book and my Sunnah." (Jame Bayan al-Ilm, with ref. to Mustadrik)
The Holy Prophet had brought a complete and perfect religion in the world. In his teaching there is a message for the human beings of every period and his Shari'ah (Code of life) gives guidance for every walk of life. From politics and statesmanship to the etiquette of convenience. He has taught the manners of all things.
There is a tradition in the Abu Da'ud Sharif, that a Jew sarcastically inquired of Hazrat Salman Farsi: "Your prophet has taught you the manners of istinja (washing or cleaning the private parts after easing nature) He replied: "Yes, yes. He has taught us not to use less than three clods for instinja and has forbidden us to use the right hand for this work and has also forbidden the use of dung and bones for it. "
The point is that Hazrat Salman Farsi took pride before that Jew upon the comprehensiveness of the Holy Prophet's teachings even to include etiquette of convenience.
The more science is advancing, and scientific discoveries and inventions are coming to the fore, the truth of his teachings are further coming to light. It is because his teachings are meant to last till the last day, and have within them the provision for living life for all people of every period. His teachings abrogated all the previous laws (shari'ahs). Now there is absolutely no need to turn towards any other direction nor to go anywhere for cleaning instructions and guidance.
Hazrat Khwaja Muhammad Masum Sirhindi Naqshbandi describes the innovation (bid'ah) in a letter in the following manner; -
"Accordingly, the more a man tries in his conforming to the Sunnah and refraining from innovation, the more he will receive internal light, and the path towards the Holiest Presence will open up for him. The conformance to the Sunnah is indubitably the cause of salvation; it is beneficial in every way and a promoter of ranks; there is no probability of contradiction in it. But in all other things besides this there is danger upon danger; there is rather a satanic path in them. So abstain much from them and be fully cautious: because, after truth, what remains there but deviation? The firm religion, which has been proven through categorical revelation, cannot be forsaken merely because of absurd things and superstitions. The messenger's responsibility is to convey - and that is all."
The earliest bearers of the Holy Prophet's call to religion i.e. the holy Companions, who accepted his message and call and preserved it forever through their practice, inheritance and narration, were the practical embodiment of every feature and every aspect of his sacred life. According to them, the secret of their success and prosperity was hidden in submission and obedience to him; they had fully realised the fact that to deviate even to a hair's breadth from the Holy Prophet's way of life was conducive to failure and unhappiness in both the world and the Hereafter.
In battles, worldly affairs and on every occasion of life, the holy Companions held conformance to the Sunnah as an indispensable act, and thus they fully discharged the dues of their love for the Messenger of Allah.
It is stated within the Quran: -
"Of the believers are men who are true to that which they covenanted with Allah. Some of them have paid their vow by death (in battle), and some of them are still waiting; and they have not altered in the least." (XXXIII: 23)
Urdu Couplet: -
"We used to assert that we would not remain alive without you. Now we are going, fulfilling this vow too."
As a result of believing in him and obeying and following him such a revolution was wrought among the backward Arabian nation that within a short time the world witnessed magnificent personalities who were the wonders of their time and who have left indelible marks on the pages of the world history. This is Umar ibn al-Khattab. He used to graze his father's goats and the father often used to rebuke him. In respect of strength and ambition he was among the middle class of the Qurashites. He had had no unusual distinction to his credit and his contemporaries would not give him any extra-ordinary importance. But the same Umar, all of a sudden, sprang a surprise upon the whole world by his greatness and capability; he deprives Caesar and Khosroe of their thrones and crowns, and leaves behind such a specimen of justice and equity, piety and righteousness that will remain proverbial till the world lasts.
This is Waleed's son, Khalid. He is reckoned amongst the ambitious young men of the Quraish. He had earned a name by taking part in local battles but had no reputation outside the Arabian Peninsula. But after believing in the Holy Prophet and after adopting obedience and submission to him, he shines out as a heavenly sword (a sword amongst the swords of Allah). This divine sword falls as a bolt of lighting on Rum and Iran and leaves behind a trail of talk over the length and breadth of history.
These are Abu Obaydah bin al-Jarrah, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, and 'Amr bin al- Aas who proved to be so great commanders-in-chief and conquerors of the world that the awe of their victorious exploits still dominates the world. Khalid and Abu Obaydah drove out the Romans from Syria and assigned the trust-land of Abraham to the Muslims. 'Amr bin al-Aas forcibly seized Egypt, the Pharoah's land from the Romans. Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas took off the royal crown from Iran and Iraq and laid it at the feet of Islam.
This is Bilal the Ethiopian. In superiority, honour and venerability he reaches such a status that Hazrat Umar, the Commander of the Faithful calls him "my chief." These are Ali ibn Abi Talib and Hazrat Ayesha and Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud and Zaid ibn Thabit and Abd Allah ibn Abbas. Nutured in the unschooled Prophet's lap, they are counted amongst the greatest scholars of the world; rivers of knowledge flow from them and wisdom becomes current on their tongues.
These are Abu Zer, Miqdad, Ammar bin Yasir, Ma'az ibn Jabal and Ubby ibn Ka'b. A gust of the vernal air of Islam touches them and before long they come to be reckoned amongst the illustrious ascetics and glorious divines. All this was a blessing, of cherishing one’s love and obedience and submission to the Holy Prophet's beloved personality that made these men of ordinary rank to be the leaders and imams of the world. Urdu couplets: -
‘No wonder if the moon and the Pleiades become my quarry, for I have tied my head to the saddle-strap of a fortunate man - that Sagacious One of the Ways, the Last of the Messengers, the Master of all, who bestowed the splendour of the valley of Sinai on the dust of the path.’
History is a witness to the fact that whenever a misfortune has befallen the Muslims individually or collectively, the cause, thereof, is some anti-sunnah practice of theirs or their indifference to the Sunnah. In the Battle of Uhad the Holy Prophet had posted fifty archers at a pass and had warned them not to leave their station whether the Muslims were victorious or defeated in the battle. But when Allah Most High bestowed success and victory upon the Muslims, the archers deserted their post in spite of their commanders' insistence. The result was that the victory changed into defeat. In every age false powers and the agents of Satan (Iblis) have achieved success in their anti-Muslim expeditions only when they could succeed in deflecting the Muslims from the Holy Prophet's path.
During the present age, particularly the way modern education is creating an atmosphere of disgust with religion amongst the new generations of Muslims, Infidelity (kufr) and Falsehood (batil) are succeeding in their purpose. Religious consciousness has become weak and the sparks of faith (iman) have been extinguished. Materialism, profiteering and derision at the religion and the Sunnah are the order of the day. Urdu couplets: -
"There is not a single Husain in the caravan of Hejaz, although the tresses of the tigris and the Euphrates are still curly." lqbal).
The young author's heart is restless and perturbed over this present pitiable plight of the Muslims. Hence he is calling the Muslims to religion with all the force at his command through this book. It says in a Hadith that walking on the same path, which the earliest people of the ummah had trodden, will reform the last people of this ummah. Hence in this book he has described in detail the blessings of conforming to the Sunnah and the failure and loss of both the worlds on cold-shouldering or avoiding it. By the perusal of this book, Insha Allah, the Holy Prophet's love and glory and the fervour for acting upon his Sunnahs will be created in the hearts, and there will be augmentation in the faith.
Maulana Yusuf Motala completed his education with great diligence, eagerness and zest at Madrasah Mazahir-e Ulum, Saharanpur. He is reckoned amongst the distinguished graduates of this institution. Here he passed his educational career under the kind shadow of my murshid (spiritual director), master and respectable teacher, Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana Muharnmad Zakariya. Because of his dutifulness and gentility, the Shaikh al-Hadith reserves an affectionate spot for him and hence it is but inevitable that some of the Shaikh's particulars and statements find their way in this book.
The lauded Maulana is at present principal of a religious madrasah in Bury Lancs. Many things are hoped from and expected of his person and his madrasah. If it is so willed by Allah, and the sympathisers of the community show interest and appreciation, his personality will prove true and his madrasah will become a great Islamic centre.
This is the first work of this young author. If it pleases Allah, with ageing and extensive reading maturity will appear in his knowledge and writing.
May Allah Most High bestow success on this first attempt of his and accept it! May He make this book beneficial for the Islamic community and exalt it (the community) with the wealth of conformance to the Sunnah! At the end I invoke as under. –
"0 Lord! Bestow upon the Muslim's heart that live longing that may agitate the soul and warm up the heart! Drive this aimlessly loitering deer towards the Haram (Sanctuary) again, and again give the expanse of the desert to this city- habituated one!”