Monday, August 8, 2011

Medicinal Properties of Dates

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaikum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

(This is taken from the Yemen Times)

Medicinal Benefits of the Dates:

1- The great worth of dates is also indicated in the Quraan,” And shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates", so eat and drink and be comforted”. (Surat Mariyam, Ayaat 25-6). According to Medical studies, the ripe date contains a substance that urges uterine spasms and increases contractions especially in the time of delivery. This substance resembles ‘oxytocin’ that is secreted by the interior lobe of pituitary gland, which encourages contractions of the uterus. Dates contain some stimulants which strengthen the muscles of the uterus in the last months of pregnancy. This helps the dilation of the uterus at the time of delivery and reduces post-natal bleeding. This was the sacred prescription, for the mother of Messiah at the time of delivery, to make the delivery trouble-free and easy.

2- It enhances the manhood; removes the weakness, if taken with milk, before sleep.

3- Dieticians consider Dates the best food for breast-feeding mothers. This is because Dates contain elements that assist in alleviating depression and enrich the breast milk with the nutrients needed to make the child healthy and resistant to disease.

4- Another factor making dates the ideal food is their digestibility. Within half an hour of eating them, the tired body regains new vigor. The reason for this is that low blood sugar is the main cause of hunger, not an empty stomach as is often assumed.

5- When the body absorbs the nutritional essence of a few dates the sensation of hunger is abated.

6- Eating dates in the morning on an empty stomach kills intestinal worms and other parasites, for dates have an antidotal potency which restrains their growth.

7- Dates contain calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium, volatile oils, Vitamin-B6, folic acid, Potassium, Iron and Magnesium, proteins, sugars, vitamins and are rich in natural fibers.

8- Magnesium is very important element to the pregnant women and is hard to find as natural source.

9- We shall recommend that they try dates for the new born for the relief of pain. It is important to the function of the heart and blood circulation. (1-“Clin Obstet Gynecol”:1999Dec; 42(4):802-19, 2-“Controversies in Tocolytic Therapy”. Katz VL, Farmer RM, 3-, Center for Genetics & Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Sacred Heart Medical Center, Eugene, Oregon 97401, USA).

10- Placing a sugary substance inside the mouth of a new-born baby ,it also radically reduces pain sensation and heart rate. An interesting scientific medical study proved beyond any doubt the benefit of giving a new-born child sugar, in order to reduce the feeling of any painful procedure like heel pricking for a blood sample or before circumcision, (British Medical Journal, No. 6993, 10th June 1995, 2-“The analgesic effect of sucrose in full term infants”, by Nora Haouari, Christopher Wood, Gillian Griffiths & Malcolm Levene, Leeds General Infirmary, England). Abu Buradah reported from Abu Musa, who said: "I had a new-born baby; I took him to Prophet Mohammed , who called him Ibrahim. He chewed a date then he took it and rubbed the inside of the baby’s mouth with it."

11- The date contains a very high percentage of sugar (70-80%); it has both fructose and glucose which have high calorific values, it is easily and quickly digestible, and very helpful to the brain.

12- The date contains 2.2% protein, vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2 and nicotruic acid (against Pellagra) it has traces of minerals needed for the body.

13- Potassium, of which the percentage is very high, has been found to be very effective for cases of bleeding, such as the occasions of birth or circumcision.

14- Dates are recommended for removal of dizziness. It is now well known that low blood sugar and low blood pressure are among the causes of dizziness.

15- While the level of trace elements in the body falls, the health of the blood vessels is affected, that leads to increased heart rate and a consequent inability of the heart to perform its functions with normal efficiency.

16- As dates are rich in calcium, they contribute to healthy bones. For this reason it is recommended that children and older adults, especially women, eat plenty of dates to strengthen their bones.

17- Dates are also important in maintaining good vision and are effective in guarding against night-blindness.

18- It is highly recommended for those who have any kind of hear problem. It is a sacred medicine to treat respiratory disorder, as well as a salve and a heart stimulant. In the early years of Islam, dates were served as food for Muslim soldiers. As the best stimulant of the muscles, it is a best tonic for one about to engage in battle.

19. Dates are also rich in natural fibers.

20- Modern medicine has shown that Dates are effective in preventing abdominal cancer.

21- In short words, one date satisfies the minimum requirements of a balanced and healthy diet.

Selected varieties out of uncounted range:

There are approximately 552 different varieties of dates; the best dates are very rare. Orange-brown, very transparent with a caramel taste. It is an Iraqi Date, from the oasis of Mandali, east of Baghdad. In Iraq, Dates are sometimes filled with clotted cream.” Nubut Saiyf, which is a long date, shaped like a sword (Sayf), from the Riyadh region on the Najd plateau in central Arabia; Sukkari, meaning “sweet one,” from the Qasim region north of Riyadh; the rare and very expensive Anbar or Anbara date from the Madinah region; and finally, the Khlas (quintessence), of Al Hasa. “Khalal, Busr and Saraban are different names, from different parts of the Arabia. The most popular Dates of Hijaz include Khunaizi, Bukayyirah, Gharr, Shaishi and Ruzaiz, Sufri, Barhi, Sullaj and Khudhairi. People of Madinah mainly loved Anbara, Ajwah, Rothanah, Baidh, Rabiah, Barhi, Hilwah, Hulayyah, Safawi, Shalabi, Khlas and considered them as “the perfection of the Date.”

Pressed dates( Ajwah) , the Gift of Heaven :

The word Ajwah is a noun from the verb Aja, which means to pacify an infant who is still being breastfed, but who is in the process of being weaned. “Al Dawau Bil Ajwah” is very famous phrase in Arabia, which means treat diseases through Ajwah. It was a common practice among mothers in Arabia to use dates—especially the dry, chewy types, one of which is Ajwah—to wean their infants. They would let their babies chew on the date to pacify them, strengthen their gums and overcome their teething pains. Most likely, Ajwah got its name from this use, as it has the right texture and sweetness for the purpose.” Prophet Mohammed took all varieties of dates, but preferred the Ajwah. “Ajwah date, from Madinah, was the favorite of Prophet Mohammed because of its chewy texture and flavor”. Cured dates are called Ajwah in Arabi.

1- "Ajwah date is an excellent remedy". (Bukhari & Muslim).

2- "Ajwah date is certainly an excellent and sufficient food."

3- "Ajwah is from Jannat ( heaven) and contains an antidote against poison" (Tirmizi).

4- I suffered from an illness. Prophet Mohammed visited me. He put his hands between my nipples and I felt its coolness at my heart. He said: You are a man suffering from heart disease. Go to Al Haris Ibn Kaladah, brother of Saqif. He is an expert who gives medical treatment. He should take seven Ajwah dates of Madinah and grind them with their kernels, and then put them into your mouth. (Sunan Abi Dawood, Book 28, No. 3866: Narrated Saad).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Seeking Forgiveness

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaikum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh

I read a beautiful book "The Most Excellent Way to Attain Salvation" By Ibn Al Qayyim, mashaa'Allah. One of the things in there that was very important and useful was that the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is reported to have said, "AstaghfirAllah wa atoobu ilayk" over seventy times in just one sitting talking with his companions. In addition, it was reported that he would seek Allah, subhaana wa taala's, forgiveness over 100 times each day. This has made a huge impression on me because the Prophet's sins were forgiven already by Allah, subhaana wa taala. What an amazing example.

I do not say those words of istighfar anywhere near 100 times a day and I should be saying them far more times than our beautiful example of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Now I'm looking for a way to incorporate at least 100 astaghfirAllah wa atoobu ilayk utterances in my day, as well as 100 subhaan Allah wa bihamdihi, subhaana Rabbi al atheem (to erase my sins insha'Allah). I'm thinking of a daily Islamic checklist on a white board; I can tick off when I finish something I want to include in my daily routine and dhikr/dua'/quran recitation. In this way, I can keep track and insha'Allah push myself to complete them every day. If I can get into the habit of saying the 100 istighfars while I am cooking, perhaps that will help. Then maybe the subhaanah's while I wash the dishes.

15 years ago, I used to sit with a dear friend who was an older sister and she would say astaghfirAllah over and over again. I wondered why she said it so much. Now I understand! May Allah forgive her and grant her the ultimate success and may we all benefit from this reminder - ameen.

Bi ithn'Allah our efforts to include this in our day will be met with success - ameen.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Olives and Olive Oil


The olive, a sign of peace and friendship throughout the world, is described in the Holy Qur'an in Surat At-Teen.

Found extensively in Asia minor, Palestine, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Italy, North Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, the state of California in America, Mexico, Peru and southern Australia, the olive plant stretches up to three meters in height. Its leaves are bright green and very attractive; and its fruits are bright bluish or violet in color. Although olives consumed straight from the plant are very nutritious, they are not usually eaten due to their metallic taste. A pickled version is consumed largely in Europe. Olives are preserved in vinegar and imported from Spain, Italy, France, Turkey and Greece, and are favored in Europe and Arab countries. Olive oil is a good preservative for other foods such as sardines and other fish.

The use of olives goes back to ancient times. Vessels full of olive oil have been found, among other articles, during the excavation of ancient Egyptian graves. According to the scholars of Hadith, when the Great Flood subsided, the first thing to be seen on the earth was an olive tree.

According to Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, Sayyid Al-Ansari narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Eat olive oil and massage it over your bodies since it is a holy (mubarak) tree."

According to Ibn Al-Juzi, Zanbi, Alqama Ibn Amir narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "There is olive oil for you; eat it, massage it over your body, since it is effective for hemorrhoids." Basoor reported that Aqba Ibn Amir narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) stated, "You have the olive oil from this Holy (mubarak) tree; treat yourself with this, since it cures the anal fissure." Abu Na'im reported that Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) stated, "Eat the olive oil and apply it (locally), since there is cure for seventy diseases in it, [and] one of them is leprosy."


Olive oil has a place in pharmacology in the U.S.A. and Britain. Both of these countries have attributed prime importance to olive oil in the treatment of various ailments, and have fixed standard parameters to evaluate its purity.

It contains palmatic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, steanic acid, myristic acid and glycerides. In this case, it is not dissolved in water but in alcohol, ether, chloroform and liquid paraffin.
The adulterant very often used in the olive oils found on the market is the seeds of the tea plant, arachis oil. Sometimes machine gun oil and refined machine oil are also found in it.

According to Ibn Al-Qayyim, the red colored oil is better than the blackish one. Its therapeutic uses are:

-It gives exuberance to the facial complexion.
-Prevention against poisons.
-Regulates the digestive process.
-Expels intestinal parasites.
-A good tonic, making the hair healthy, shiny and makes it stronger. Adds luster.
-A massage of olive oil with ordinary salt over the gums is a remedy for several diseases of the gums and teeth.
-Local application of olive oil or the water extracted from the crushed olive oil leaves is effective on boils, rashes and itching.
-Chronic ulcers and boils, which are difficult to heal, are healed with olive oil when applied locally.
-According to Zahbi, it strengthens the hair and body; hence can be used as a good tonic and for delaying the aging process.
-It helps raise a low libido.
-A combination of normal saline and olive oil is highly effective in burns.
-A soak of olive leaves in water is effective against mouth and lip ulcers, and dermatitis due to allergies.
-The concentrated watery solution of the extract of olive leaves and fruits is very effective against dental cavities and leukoplaquea in the mouth.
-This solution is applied along with vinegar for alopecia to enhance hair growth.
-It is also stated that the local application of this extract removes the scars of small pox and boils.
-Ground olive seeds mixed with butter is effective on brittle nails.
-Pickles prepared from olives are a good appetizer, and stop constipation.
-Its crushed leaves can be applied locally to check excessive perspiration.
-The water extracted from the leaves along with honey is used for ear drops and is effective in various ear ailments. The oil procured by burning the wood of the olive branch is effective against all fungal infections, e.g., ringworm, tenia, versicolor in addition to eczema, psoriasis, dandruff and alopecia.
-Applying olive oil on the scalp is highly effective against dandruff.
-It causes hair growth and reduces hair loss. The application of olive oil in the eyes relieves inflammation.
-A massage of olive oil all over the body tones up the muscles and organs, and relieves muscular pain.
-Some physicians also advocate a massage of olive oil for epilepsy.
-It relieves the sciatica and arthritis.

Ointment prepared from olive oil has very good healing agents:

-It heals the sinuses and fistuli very quickly.
-If taken internally, 25ml of olive oil mixed with 250ml of barley water is highly effective against chronic constipation.
-It is a good diuretic; hence is used in ascites.
-It removes kidney stones.
-In view of the research carried out in the U.S. and Britain, one concludes that it is good nourishment, particularly for kidney ailments where an intake of nitrogen containing protein is contraindicated.
-We mentioned already that the Prophet (pbuh) stated that it is a good remedy for anal fissure. Hence, patients were advised to take two spoonfuls of olive oil at bedtime and an ointment was applied on the fissure locally before sleeping and in the morning. The ointment is prepared from eight spoonfuls of olive oil and two spoonfuls of ground henna leaves.
-Its combination with other prescribed drugs of Prophetic Medicine is a good remedy for psoriasis and eczema.
-The impressions of several doctors practicing in Middle East and North Africa reveal that gastro-intestinal cancer is not detected among those who are used to consuming olive oil. Japanese doctors also endorse this, and have the opinion that olive oil prevents the incidence of cancer in the gastro-intestinal tract.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Manners of Welcoming the Newborn Child

Our Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was a living example, educating, cultivating the Muslims upon the practices of Islaam, teaching them how to worship their Lord in the best of ways.

Children are a source of delight and an adornment for the world granted by Allaah to their parents, they give vigour to the hearts, joy to the souls, pleasure to the eyes. They are the fruit from whom good is to be hoped for when they frequently supplicate:

"Our Lord! Bestow on them your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small"

and they are the ones in every nation upon whom hope for the future lies, and they are the youth of tomorrow upon whose shoulders the call to Islaam is carried. Indeed Islaam has indeed elevated the status of children and has laid down manners for their treatment relating to all their affairs and each stage of their and from these are the manners for welcoming their arrival in this life.

Our Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was a living example, educating, cultivating the Muslims upon the practices of Islaam, teaching them how to worship their Lord in the best of ways. But a number of Muslims have strayed from his pure teachings and have substituted that which is gold for that which worthless.

So here are the manners the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) taught us with regards our new-born.

Encouragement to have Children

Allaah says, "So now have sexual relations with them,, and seek that which Allaah has ordained for you."

And the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Marry the loving and fertile because through you, I will compete with the nations for superiority in numbers"(Abu Dawood)

And it is important that the Parents bring up their children upon righteousness, so that the Parents will benefit from them during their lives and after their death. Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said,

"A servant will have his rank raised and will say, 'O my Lord how has this come about for me?' He says, 'through your sons after you seeking forgiveness for you'"(ibn Maajah)

Know that what has preceded applies equally to both boys and girls, and indeed Islaam has encouraged the bringing up of girls, and Allaah condemns those that are distressed at the birth of a girl, and the Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) came elevating the status of this gift from Allaah,

"whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood - he and I will come together on the Day of Resurrection (like this) - and he interlaced his two fingers"(Muslim) meaning in Paradise. So can their be a greater honour given to daughters?!

Giving the good news of the Birth

The near of kin who are anxiously waiting should be informed so that they can stop worrying and congratulate the parents and supplicate for the baby. Allaah mentions this good news being conveyed to a number of His Prophets, from them Zakariyyah of his son Yahya,

"Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in a private room (saying), 'Allaah gives you glad tidings of Yahya'"

The Tahneek

This means to softening a date and then rubbing the palate of the new-born with it just after the birth or soon after. This is done by putting a piece of the softened date on the finger and rubbing it from left to right in the mouth of the baby.

Ibn Hajr said, "if one is not able to find a dry date, then a fresh date should be used, and if that is not available then anything sweet." (Fath 9/588)

It is not essential to chew the date rather it may be softened in any way. The action of chewing as reported in the sunnah was something specific to the Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) due to the blessings that
Allaah had placed in his saliva.

It is done by the father or the mother or anyone from the People of Knowledge whose supplication is hoped would be accepted. So he should perform tahneek and supplicate for the child as was the practice of the Companions.

Imaam Nawawee says, " scholars are agreed upon the recommendation of performing tahneek upon the baby after it's birth." (Sharh Saheeh Muslim 4/122)

Aaishah (ra) reports, "new-born children used to be brought to the Messenger of Allaah and he would supplicate for blessings for them, and rub a chewed date upon their palate." (Muslim)

Naming the child

The baby may be named on the day of it's birth or later on the seventh day or past the seventh day, as this is what is clear after study of all the evidences from the sunnah.

It is the father or the mother who chose the name for the baby. If they differ amongst themselves then it is the father who has the choice, he may name it himself or give his wife the right to choose. The fact that this is the right of the father is shown by the principle that the child is ascribed and attributed to the father, as Allaah says,

"Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just in the Sight of Allaah"

It is also allowed for the parents to allow others to name the child, since our Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to name some of the children of his Companions.

The name should carry a good and praiseworthy meaning as the Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said,

"On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and your fathers names, so make your names good." (Abu Dawood)

It is recommended to call oneself a servant of Allaah (Abdullaah) or the servant of any of the names of Allaah. Then it is recommended to name a child after a prophet, due to the hadeeth,

"call yourselves by the names of the Prophets" (Abu Dawood)

and the hadeeth,

"a son was born to me this night and I called him after my forefather Ibraaheem" (Muslim)

Then it is recommended to name the child after any pious person in the hope that it will become like him/her. Then it is recommended to name by any name which has good meaning.

It is forbidden to name a child with a name that denote servitude to other than Allaah, for example Abd an-Nabi, Abd ar-Rasool etc, just as it is forbidden to name them with names that are particular to the Unbelievers like George, Michael, Susan etc.

The names of tyrants and evil personalities should be avoided such as Fir'awn, Qaroon, Abu Lahab etc.. Likewise it is disliked to name with the names of the Surahs of the Qur'aan like 'Taa Haa' or 'Yaa Seen' as is reported from Imaam Maalik and others. There is no authentic hadeeth which ascribes the above two as being names of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).

The Aqeeqah

After the seventh day of the arrival of the new-born, as a form of welcome for it and to give thanks to the One who gave the blessings, it is prescribed to slaughter a sheep. The Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said,

"Every child is in pledge for it's Aqeeqah which is sacrificed for it on its seventh day, and it is named on it, and its head is shaved" (Abu Dawood)

If the new-born is a boy then two sheep are to be sacrificed, and if it is a girl then one sheep. This is the position of the majority of the scholars and Companions. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said,

"for the boy two equal sheep, and for the girl, a single sheep." (Ibn Maajah)

So it is permissible to sacrifice the male or female sheep or goat, and this is best. As for sacrificing other animals then the scholars have differed over this.

The sacrifice should be done by the father or a close relative, for our Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) performed the Aqeeqah for his two grandsons. It is also obligatory to mention the name of Allaah over it while sacrificing, and if a close relative is performing the Aqeeqah then he should add, 'this aqeeqah is the Aqeeqah of so and so' mentioning the name of the person on whose behalf he is performing the aqeeqah, as is reported in the hadeeth related by al-Bayhaqee.

The meat of the sacrifice may be distributed cooked or uncooked,, but it is preferred that it should be cooked as this leads to greater blessing as mentioned by a group of the scholars.

Shaving the baby's head

On the seventh day after the birth the head of the baby should be shaved. So when al-Hasan was born the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) told his daughter, Faatima (RA),

"shave his head and give the weight of his hair in silver to the poor" (Ahmad)

The right side of the head should be shaved first, then the left as mentioned in the hadeeth,

"shave, and he indicated to the right side of his head, and then the left" (Muslim)

It is not permissible to shave a part of the head and leave a part, as this was prohibited by the Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) as reported by al-Bukhaaree. The strongest view seems to be that the head of the boy or the girl should be shaved, as is reported that Faatimah weighed the hair of her daughter (Muwatta) but the scholars differ on this, and Allaah knows best.

The shaving should be done after the sacrifice, and our pious predecessors liked to rub some perfume over the baby's head after the shaving.Then it is prescribed to give the value of the baby's weight of hair in silver in charity, and it is recommended to give this charity on the seventh day also, but it is not necessary to do so, and may be delayed.


It is prescribed that the boy be circumcised, it is recommended that the circumcision take place on the seventh day, but it is obligatory to circumcise before the boy reaches puberty.

Friday, March 11, 2011

E-Book: Minhaj al Muslim in Arabic

Bism Illah wa as salaam alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

We have the English version of the beautiful book, Minhaj al Muslim. It is a treasure chest outlining how we can live according to the Sunnah in virtually every aspect of our lives. For those who read Arabic, here is the link to the book in Arabic. Over time, I will be posting different sections of the book in English, so we can all benefit bi ithn Illah, taala.

Minhaj Al Muslim (Arabic)

E-Book: Some of the Manners of the Prophet

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Whenever I come across a decent e-book on the Sunnah, I will post it on the blog. Inshaa'Allah, we can build up a nice library over time, to refer back to and draw beneficial guidance and reminders from.

This is a short book, only 32 pages, about some of the exemplary and beautiful manners of our beloved Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Some of the Manners of the Prophet

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Sunnah of Water Usage

As salaamu alaikum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh

A few years ago, we had a problem with our water heating system and had to boil water to wash with for a week or so, mashaa'Allah. Although we did fill the bathtub for the children initially, I had a little brainwave that we could fill a couple of two gallon containers with water mixed to the right temperature and use a cup to pour it over our bodies. From the first time I did it, I felt I was going back to a strong Sunnah of our Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Oh, my container wasn't a earthen jug or bowl  - it was plastic - but the amount of water I used and the way I made my ghusl reminded me of the ahadith I had read of our beloved Prophet making ghusl from a jug... in fact, sharing the jug with his wife, mashaa'Allah.

Anas said, "The Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to perform ghusl (the complete bathing) with a sa'a of water (1.616 cm) 3 to 5 madd (each 4 madd equals one sa'a). He also used to make ablution with one madd (404 cm) of water." (Related by al-Bukhari and Musim.) Complete bathing would use about 1 bucket of water and ablution, 2 handfuls inshaa'Allah.

'Ubaidullah ibn Abu Yazid narrated that a man asked Ibn 'Abbas, "How much water is sufficient for ghusl?" He answered, "One madd." "And how much is sufficient for ghusl?" He said, "One sa'a." The man said, "That is not sufficient for me." "Ibn 'Abbas said, "No? It was sufficient for one better than you, the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace." (Related by Ahmad, al-Bazaar and at-Tabarani in al-Kabeer. Its narrators are trustworthy.)

'Abdullah ibn 'Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah passed by Sa'd while he was performing ablution and said, "What is this extravagance, Sa'd?" He said, "Is there extravagance in the use of water?" He said, "Yes, even if you are at a flowing river." (Related by Ahmad and Ibn Majah with a weak chain.)

Extravagance is to use water without any benefit, like washing the parts more than three times. Ibn Shu'aib's hadith, quoted earlier, illustrates the point in question. 'Abdullah ibn Mughaffal narrated that he heard the Prophet say, "There will be people from my nation who will transgress in making supplications and in purifying themselves." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i.)

Says al-Bukhari, "The scholars do not like one to use water beyond what the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used for ablution."

Well, our water issue was fixed and we crept back into the usual way of using a good 15-30 gallons of water in the shower to bathe and leaving the water running to make wudhu. But I was never the same again about it; Allah, subhaana wa taala, had put an awareness in my heart about my use of water. I not only understood that it was wasteful, but I saw the worldwide situation where we have wasted water to such an extent that it is in short supply in many places and we are constantly told by environmentalists to conserve it. Subhaan Allah! Following the Sunnah is the most effective way to save our precious resources for the generations to come.
Since then, we have changed our approach to water usage. We can easily use the recommended amount of water to make ghusl. Periodically I keep a bowl beside the sink to regulate the use while making wudhu, too. I put two handfuls of water into the bowl and find my wudhu complete before the water is finished! Every now and then I take a bath, or have a long shower, but it is a luxury and I am conscious of the extravagance. Extravagance in comparison to my neighbors, friends, sisters, or relatives? No. Extravagance in comparison to our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, and what he modeled for us.

There are a few other things I've done to curb my water wastage. I wash the dishes with a soapy sponge and  then rinse them off with slow running cold water. I turn on the shower for a moment to wet myself, then suds up and turn the water back on just to rinse off. I set the tap to a slow trickle, to minimize waste during wudhu and hand washing. If one of the children doesn't finish their water and it hasn't been covered over, I use it for watering plants instead of simply throwing it down the drain.

Oh, you will find plenty of information on the Internet about the importance of water conservation and how to conserve. The issue is, it is Sunnah.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Neem Tree

As salaamu alaikum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Had I not thought it difficult for my Ummah, I would have commanded them to use the Miswak (tooth-stick) before every Salat.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Hudaifah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) got up (from sleep), he would rub his teeth with Miswak (tooth-stick). [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Here is an article from Natural News on Neem (also called siwak and miswak in stick form). Subhaan Allah, even the West is encouraging us to follow the Sunnah! I'm guilty of leaving my miswak collection in their packs on the shelf... but I think it's time to set an example and get one out! Who wants to join me? Also, let us know if you try any of the other uses listed here inshaa Allah.

Why You Should Get To Know Neem: The Tree of Life

* By Katherine East
Natural News, October 27, 2008
Straight to the Source

(NaturalNews) The Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica) is an incredible plant that has been declared the "Tree of the 21st century" by the United Nations. Also known as the Margosa and native to the Indian subcontinent, it has been revered for centuries in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine. Ancient Hindu manuscripts contain chapters on medicinal plants to have near one's house and the Neem tree is highly recommended. The seeds, bark and leaves contain compounds with proven antiseptic, antiviral, anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and anti-fungal uses.

Traditional Medicinal Uses:

The entire tree can be used medicinally to treat a whole lot of ailments - probably why it is affectionately known as "the village pharmacy"

.The young twigs are chewed for keeping gums and teeth healthy.
.The rich and potent margosa oil is obtained from crushing the ripe seeds. This amazing oil has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-viral properties. It has even been used to treat leprosy.
.The bark and roots can be made into a tea and has been used for centuries to treat jaundice and liver ailments, intestinal parasites, stomach ulcers and malaria.
.A tea made from the leaves and mature seeds is still a popular remedy today for treating bladder, kidney and prostate ailments. This brewed tea can be added to a base cream and used as a healing, soothing treatment forhaemorrhoids.
.A strong tea of the leaves is used as a lotion for sprains, bruises and swollen glands – a bandage or cloth soaked in the hot tea is applied to the area and held in place, often with a banana leaf wrapped around it.
.As a wash and lotion the same tea is used for eczema, rashes, grazes and scrapes and to wash out wounds. Leaves heated in boiling water are applied to boils, sprains, infected wounds, bites, stings and infected grazes.
.Neem leaf tea (pour 1 cup of boiling water over ¼ cup fresh leaves, stand for 5 minutes, strain and sip slowly), is taken to reduce blood sugar levels, lower fevers, and to treat tuberculosis, bladder ailments, arthritis, rheumatism, jaundice, worms, malaria and skin disease.Neem is also used cosmetically and in toiletries. In India, Neem sprigs are boiled, and the water is then used as a hair wash. Neem hair treatment clears scalp infections and dandruff and stimulates both the growth and texture of the hair and rids the scalp of nits, dry itchy scalp and excessive oiliness. It is very effective in clearing up fungal infections like athletes foot, ringworm and Candida.

Environmentally Safe Natural Insecticide:

One of it's most useful properties is its remarkable powers for controlling insects. The leaves are used in libraries and in government and university documents to protect against insect damage. The chemical azadirachitin is the main ingredient for fighting insects and pests and has been found to be up to 90% effective. This chemical is present in the wood, leaves and seeds and works by disrupting the life cycle of the insect as well as repelling them.

Neem is not an instant killer like we've become accustomed to with chemical pesticides. It works differently and more slowly, so some gardeners may question its usefulness. Neem repells insects and acts as an anti-feedant so an insect would rather starve to death than eat a Neem treated plant. If they do eat the plant, the Neem acts as a contraceptive and the insects do not mate or lay eggs so their life-cycle is broken.
Insects must feed on plant tissues to be affected so Neem-treated plants are safe for beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. Neem oil makes an effective insect repellent for the home. To get rid of mosquitoes, flies and crawling insects from your house, make a strong tea made by boiling the leaves and twigs for 20 minutes in enough water to cover them (alternatively use 1 teaspoon pure neem oil to 1 cup of water), place in a spray bottle and then spray all around.

Dr. Ram Prakash Srivastava, Neem and Pest Management, International Book distributing Co., 2001
Dr. H.S. Puri, Neem the Divine Tree, Harwood Academic Publishers. 1999

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Sunnah of Giving

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaikum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Often we talk about clearing out unwanted and unnecessary things, something termed these days as decluttering. We may have even more decluttering to do when turning to more natural materials and products in our homes. Often we give those things to Goodwill or some type of charity. Well, charity reaps huge blessings.

Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: for He loves not creatures ungrateful and sinner.” (Qur‘an, 2: 276)

“That which you give in usury for increase through the property of (other) people, will have no increase with Allah: but that which you give for charity, seeking the Countenance of Allah, (will increase); it is those who will get a recompense multiplied.” (Qur‘an, 30:39)

Abu Hurairah (r.a.) reported Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) as saying: “Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).” (Muslim Vol. 4, Hadith 6264)

It is always wonderful to give charity to a fellow Muslim, and I pray that we will be able to benefit others in the Ummah with our charity first. However, giving charity to any person in need is a blessing. Not only that, it can be a beautiful form of da'awah. Lately, in an attempt to find good homes for many unwanted things, I had some ideas that branched beyond dumping bags off at the Goodwill. Insha'Allah, these may be of benefit to others and you may reap the rewards.

- Women in Crisis Shelters (they usually have a wishlist of things they need for their safehouses and also for helping women set up new homes on their own.
- Homeless Shelters (they will often welcome certain items like toiletries, food, clothing, etc.)
- Children's Homes/Orphanages (these always have a wishlist of things they need for the children - and a visit to them is usually a wonderful treat for them.)
- Pediatric and Long-term Care Hospital Wards (often will accept certain games, toys, etc.)
- Retirement and Nursing Homes (you never know until you ask...I've been to one which wanted crafting supplies.)
- Free Clinics (they may welcome some children's books and magazines to occupy patients as they wait, especially as they don't have funding for such luxuries.)

Here are some lesser known ahadith on the practices of the salaf, which really encourage us to give in various ways, insha'Allah

Abdullâh b. Al-Zubayr said, “I have never seen two women more generous than ‘Â`ishah and Asmâ`. They had different ways of being generous. As for ‘Â`ishah, she used to gather things, until she had a collection, then she would distribute it. As for Asmâ`, she would never keep anything until the next day.”

Urwah b. Al-Zubayr – Allah have mercy on him – said: ‘Â’ishah - Allah be pleased with her - gave seventy thousand (dirham) in charity, while her own skirt used to be patched.
‘Abdullah b. Mubârak in Al-Zuhd wa Al-Raqâ’iq Vol. 1 p588, no.705.

Al-Bukhârî, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad. Shaykh Al-Albânî grades its chain of transmission sahîh in Sahîh Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Vol.1 p123. It is reported that there used to be poor people in Al-Madînah who didn’t know where they were getting their food from. When ‘Alî b. Husayn passed away, they started missing what they used to be given at night.

Abû Hamzah Al-Thumâlî narrates that ‘Alî b. Husayn used to carry bread on his back in the darkness of the night and follow the poor people (to give it to them). He used to say, “Charity in the darkness of the night extinguishes the Lords anger.”

‘Amr b. Thâbit reports that when ‘Alî b. Husayn died, they found marks on his back from the sacks of provisions he used to carry at night to the houses of the widows.

Shaybah b. Nu’âmah narrates that when ‘Alî b. Husayn died they found out that he used to provide for a hundred (poor) families.
Al-Dhahabî in Siyar A’lâm Al-Nubalâ’ under the biography of ‘Alî b. Husayn Zayn Al-‘Âbidîn.

So, insha'Allah we will remember in more and more areas of our lives to give what we don't need and try our best to benefit others as effectively as possible - ameen.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Following the Sunnah

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum.

These are some key ayaat from the Qur'an and ahadith that clarify the critical importance of following the Sunnah. It is only in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunnah that a Muslim will have his deeds accepted.

Allah the Almighty has said in the Qur'an:

It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter, that they should have any option in their decision. (Surah 33, Ayah 36)

Allah also says:

Whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it. (Surah 59: Ayah 7)

The obligation to follow the Sunnah is from Allah, subhaana wa taala.

Furthermore, Allah's Messenger, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said:

"None of you truly believes until his desires are subservient to what I have brought." (An-Nawawi - Forty Hadith)


"Whoever performs a deed that is not in accord with our affair shall have it rejected." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to teach the Sunnah to his companions in word and deed, and urged them to follow it, as he said in his hadeeth: “Adhere to my Sunnah” and “Whoever neglects my Sunnah does not belong to me.” ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is no Prophet whom Allaah sent to any nation before me, but he had disciples from among his nation, and companions who followed his Sunnah and obeyed his commands.” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 71).

Please don't take the Sunnah as a side dish in your life or an accessory in your wardrobe. It is something that we should learn and live, bi ithn Illah taala.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Etiquette for Eating and Drinking

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaikum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

As the recent translation of the book Minhaj Al-Muslim by Abu Bakr Al-Jazairy is only available as a hard copy, I have typed out this section because it is thorough and truly a Sunnah we need to work hard to emulate inshaa'Allah. I have tried to go through my typing to ensure no mistakes are there, but please forgive me if you spot an error. I plan to expand on certain aspects herein in future posts, inshaa'Allah.
Etiquette for Eating and Drinking

A Muslim considers his food and drink means to something else. They are not a goal and pleasure in themselves. He eats and drinks in order to keep his body healthy so that he may worship Allah the Almighty. This is the worship that will make him qualified for the honor of the life and happiness of the Hereafter. He does not eat and drink for the sake of eating and drinking and its desires. Therefore, if he is not hungry, he does not eat. If he is not thirsty, he does not drink. It is narrated that Allah's Messenger said:

"We are a people who do not eat until we are hungry. And if we eat, we do not eat to our fill." Thereby, a Muslim must adhere to the manners of eating and drinking that the Sharia'ah has issued. These include:

Etiquette Before Eating

1. A Muslim should try to make his food and drink pure by preparing them from the permissible, pure sources that are free of any taint of the forbidden or doubtful.
Allah the Almighty said:
"O you who believe! Eat of the lawful pure things that We have provided you." (2:172)

The pure things are the lawful things that are free from any filth or being noxious.

2. The intention for eating should be to strengthen oneself for the purpose of worshipping Allah and to be rewarded for one's eating and drinking. The permissible act then becomes and act of worship that is rewarded by Allah due to the good intention.

3. One should wash his hands before eating if they are not clean or if he is not sure that they are clean.

4. The food should be placed on a spread on the floor and not on a table. This makes the act more modest. Anas said:
"Allah's Messenger did not eat upon a table or from a platter." (Al-Bukhari)

5 One should sit and eat in a modest fashion. He should rest on his knees and sit with the top of his feet on the ground (and his body resting on the bottom of his feet). Or he should put his right leg erect and sit upon his left leg, as in the manner that Allah's Messenger would sit. Allah's Messenger said:
"I do not eat while reclining. Instead, I am a servant, so I eat like a servant eats and I sit like a servant sits." (Al-Bukhari)

6.He should be satisfied by the food that is presented in front of him and he should not find fault with it. If he likes it, he should eat it. If he does not like it, he should leave it. This is based on the statement of Abu Hurayrah:
"Allah's Messenger never found fault with any food. If he desired it, he would eat it. If he disliked it, he would leave it." (Al-Bukhari)

7. One should eat along with others, either a guest, family member, son or daughter or servant. This is based on this Hadith:
"Eat your food together, for you will thereby be blessed in it." (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi who said it is Sahih)

Etiquette While Eating

1. The person should begin his eating by saying, Bismillaah "In the Name of Allah." Allah's Messenger stated:
"If any of you is about to eat, he should mention the Name of Allah. If he forgets to mention the Name of Allah at the beginning, he should say, "In the Name of Allah over the beginning and the ending." (Abu Dawud)

2. He should end his meal with the praises of Allah. Allah's Messenger also said:
"If a person eats any food and then says, "Praise is to Allah who fed me this and provided for me without any strength or power on my part," all of his previous sins will be forgiven." (At-Tirmidhi)

3. The person should eat with three fingers of his right hand. He should take small portions and chew them well. He should eat the food that is close to him and not take from the middle of the plate. Allah's Messenger told 'Umar bin Salamah:
"O young man, mention the Name of Allah, eat with your right hand and eat from what is close to you." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah's Messenger also said:
"The blessings descend from the middle of the food. So eat from the edges and do not eat from the middle." (At-Tirmidhi)

4. A Muslim should chew his food well and he should lick the plate before he wipes it with a napkin or washes it with water. This is based on the Prophet's statement:
"When one of you eats, he should not wipe his fingers until he licks them or has them licked." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Jabir stated that Allah's Messenger ordered the fingers and plates to be licked clean. He also said:
"You do not know in which part of your food lies its blessing." (Muslim)

5. If a person drops some food, he should remove the dirt from it and eat it.
Allah's Messenger stated:
"If a morsel of food falls from any of you, he should take it and wipe it clean of any dirt and then eat it. He should not leave it for the Shaytaan." (Muslim)

A Muslim should not blow over hot food; instead, he should wait until it cools down. He also should not blow into a glass of water while drinking from it. Instead, he should breathe three times outside of the vessel. Anas narrated that Allah's Messenger would breathe three times while drinking. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Abu Sa'id narrated that Allah's Messenger forbade blowing into a drink. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn 'Abbas narrated that Allah's Messenger forbade breathing into a drinking vessel or blowing into it." (At-Tirmidhi)

7. A Muslim should avoid eating to his fill or overeating. Allah's Messenger said:
"A human does not fill any container worse than his stomach. It is enough for a human to have some morsels to strengthen his back (keep his back straight). If he must eat more, then it should be one-third of his stomach for food, one-third for drink and one-third for breathing. (Ahmad)

8. Food and drink should be served first to the eldest in the gathering. Then it should go to those on the right. Allah's Messenger said:
"(Begin with) the eldest, the eldest."
That is, one should begin with the eldest at the gathering. However, the Prophet asked permission of Ibn 'Abbas to pass a drink to the older people who were on his left. Ibn 'Abbas was on his right and the older people were on the Prophet's left. The fact that he asked permission of Ibn 'Abbas shows that the one on the right should be given first. Indeed, in another Hadith, Allah's Messenger said:
"(Begin with) those on the right, and those on the further right." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Allah's Messenger also said:
"The one who gives drink to the people should be the last of them," (Ahmad) that is, the last of them to drink.

9. One should not begin to take food or drink of there is someone else present who should go before him, such as an older person or a virtuous person. This is considered impolite behavior. The person may then be though of as greedy. A poet once said, "If the hands are stretched to the food, I will not be the quickest among them, as the greediest of the people is the quickest among them."

10. He should not burden his friend or companion by making them tell him, "Eat." Instead, he should eat what he needs to eat without shyness or trying to be shy. In that case, he troubles his companion or guest and it may also be a type of acting for show, which is forbidden.

11. He should be compassionate with his eating companion. He should not try to eat more than him. This is especially true if there is not much food. In that case, he may be eating the food that someone else has a right to.

12. He should not look at his companions while he is eating. He should not watch them, such that they may become shy because of him. Instead, he should lower his gaze to the food that is around him. He should not look at them as this might harm them and may make them mad, in which case he would be sinful.

13. He should not do anything that the others generally consider gross behavior. He should not shake his hand off over the plate. He also should not put his head close to the food such that if something falls from his mouth, it will land in the people's food. Similarly, if he bit off a part of his bread, he should not put the rest of that bread back into the food. he also should not discuss disgusting things while eating. In that way, he might harm one of his companions and it is forbidden to harm a Muslim.

14. When he eats with poor people, he should give them preference over himself. When he eats with his brethren and friends, there should be friendliness and happiness. When he eats with people of rank and respect, he should eat with the proper manners and respect.

Etiquette After Eating

1. One should stop eating before he becomes full, thereby following the example of Allah's Messenger. This will keep him from suffering debilitating indigestion and gluttony that takes away one's intelligent thinking.

2. One should lick his hand and then wipe it or wash it. it is best and preferred to wash it.

3. He should pick up whatever has fallen from his food while eating, as he has been exhorted to do. This is a way of expressing gratitude for one's bounties.

4. He should floss between his teeth and rinse his mouth in order to clean his mouth. This is because he uses his mouth to remember Allah the Almighty and talk to his brothers. Furthermore, cleaning the mouth will keep the teeth healthy.

5. He must praise Allah after eating or drinking. If he drank milk he should say:
"O Allah, bless us in what You have provided for us and increase it for us." (Abu Dawud)
If he breaks his fast at a people's place, he should say:
"May the fasting break their fast with you, may the pious eat your food and my the angels invoke blessings for you." (Abu Dawud)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

How To Distinguish Between Sunnah And Arab Culture

Bism Illah wa as salaam alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.


This is required reading for anyone who wishes to embark upon following the Sunnah of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It will enable us to understand the difference between the Sunnah which is a form of worship, those things that were his customs but played an integral role in his worship, those customs that were simply from his time and the time before him, and those customs that were of the time and nothing to do with the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Not only will it make clear what we should be following, but also will set the stage for all the posts that will follow, where we will learn about the Sunnah of worship and those Sunnan that facilitate the correct worship, inshaa'Allah. It's a chunk to read, but well worth it wa al hamdu l'Illah.


The following is a summary translation taken from

May Allah bless you, what is the criterion according to the Islamic legislation for distinguishing between the Sunnah which is considered custom and the Sunnah which is considered worship?
Shaykh Albani:
The criterion requires a level of knowledge as relates to the one who wishes to distinguish between a Sunnah that is worship and a Sunnah that is a custom. And it has been mentioned that there are actions of the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him, that came from him and he did them seeking to get closer to Allah the Blessed and Exalted; this category is the Sunnah that is worship.

Its opposite is another category that also mentions actions of the Prophet, peace and blessings are upon him; and the least we can say is these actions don't have the ruling of worship, rather they have the ruling of customs or that the affair returns back to the desire of the person and they have no connection to worship. This category is clear that it has no connection to worship so it will be in the category of customs; and between these two are doubtful matters.

If we look at these doubtful matters from a particular angle then the person might lean towards connecting an action to worship, and if we look at these doubtful matters again we might lean towards connecting them to a Sunnah that is only a custom; according to the student of knowledge (who is investigating these issues). And it is sufficient for the student of knowledge to stop at the second category that is opposite the first category.

For example: The Prophet used to have sandals that had two straps1 , so what appears at first glance is that if the student of knowledge has sandals with one strap then they are opposing the Sunnah!! And the Sunnah is to have sandals with two straps!! It appears that this has a connection to worship, but it is only a custom of the Arabs, they used to wear this type of sandals. And they didn't wear the type of footwear known today as 'shoes' or what resembles that with the different names according to the different countries.

And what is left as relates to the student of knowledge is the category that can be linked to the first group or the second group, and this requires knowledge to distinguish or to determine that it is from the first group and not the second group or the opposite, such that it is from the second group and not the first group.

And with this we find the Scholars agreeing upon affairs that they are from the Sunnah of custom but differing upon the particulars of it, is it from the Sunnah of custom or from the Sunnah of worship.

An example of this is what is connected to the Hajj, and soon we shall be greeting the Hajj inshaALLAH. It is related that the Prophet prayer and peace are upon him, descended at Al Batha2 so some of the companions said, and I think it was Aisha, 'Staying at Al-Mahassab in not the Sunnah.'

And they only agree that he pitched a tent there and rested, but some of the people who arrive believe that resting at Al Batha is from the completeness of Hajj. And here there could be a difference of opinion because this affair requires something extremely clear in order to connect it to the first category or the second category.

Now we shall mention some current examples, because many of the youth and all praises belong to Allah, shorten their garments and don't allow their garments to flow long and they intend by this to follow the Sunnah, so is this a Sunnah that is custom or a Sunnah that is worship?

If we looked at this action (shortening the garment) of the Prophet, prayer and peace are upon him, separately from some of his statements then perhaps we would waver between connecting this action to the Sunnah that is worship or the Sunnah that is custom.
But when the hadith containing the statements of the Prophet, prayer and peace are upon, came such as the hadith where he said, 'The izaar of the believer is to the midway point of the shin and if it is longer then let it go to the ankles and if it is longer then it is in the fire.'

This (hadith) cuts off the wavering between whether this action is a Sunnah of worship or a Sunnah of custom and it is certain that this is a Sunnah of worship because when he described the method of clothing as it relates to the believer he said it is to the midway point of the shin and if it is longer then it is no problem, if it goes to the ankle but as for what is longer than that then it is in the fire.

Opposite to this is a Sunnah that has been establish for the Prophet prayer and peace are upon him, and it is that he used to have long hair.

Sometimes his hair would reach his earlobes and if it was longer then it would reach the top of his shoulders. Rather, it has been confirmed that when the Prophet, prayer and peace are upon him, entered Mecca he has his hair in four braids. Therefore is growing the hair long firstly, and then putting it into braids secondly, a Sunnah of worship or a Sunnah of custom?
The answer as I see it, there is nothing here that calls to or justifies or can be construed to cause any wavering concerning this Sunnah of custom.

Why? Firstly, because the Prophet, prayer and peace are upon him, was not the one who started this Sunnah. Rather this was present before the Messenger was born, not to mention before he became a Prophet, prayer and peace are upon him!!!

This was the custom of the Arabs; they used to grow their hair long. And some of the youth to this day, some of the youth in the deserts of Syria that we have witnessed, some of them bunch their hair and put it into braids.

So this is a custom that was not started by the Prophet, peace and blessings are upon him, rather he just continued upon the customs of the Arabs, and he let his hair grow and when he entered Mecca he put it into four braids.

There is nothing here that would hurt us if we considered this Sunnah a Sunnah of custom, as opposed to a Sunnah of worship.
Another example: The Prophet peace and blessings are upon him used to wear white; is this Sunnah of custom or a Sunnah of worship?

If his statement had not been narrated, "The best clothes for you are white clothes, therefore dress your living in white clothes and bury your dead in white clothes;" if it were not for this statement we would have said this was his preference. And the Messenger used to love white clothes just as he used to love honey for example and he used to hate lizard meat, this was his preference.

But when his statement came, 'the best clothes for you are white', and then he ordered with wearing it and at the least a command shows that it is recommended, so he said dress your living in white clothes and bury your dead in white clothes, then this left from being a Sunnah of custom and it became a Sunnah of worship.

And with this standard and with this criterion it is obligatory for us to weight the actions of the Prophet, prayer and peace is upon him. Therefore what he started and there is nothing in the context of it that can make us believe it is a Sunnah of custom then it is a Sunnah of worship.

But as for his actions prayer and peace are upon him, which are consistent with the customs of the Arabs then these actions are from the Arab customs and it is no problem for the one who does them and it is no problem for the one who leaves them.

And also his actions peace be upon him, that dealt with his disposition or his personal taste then this also has no connection to the affairs of worship.

And as for the aforementioned example, the Prophet peace and blessing are upon him, used to love honey and it's possible that we will find some people that hate honey, but we don't say they have opposed the Sunnah! Because eating honey in its origin is not worship. Therefore if it is not easy for a person to eat honey or if they have no desire to eat honey then we don't say he has opposed the Sunnah, but he has opposed the disposition of the Prophet which was that he loved honey.

But from a different angle the Prophet peace and blessing are upon him, used to hate lizard meat and the Arabs used to find it pleasant. And when it was put on the table of the Prophet peace be upon him and it was said that it was lizard meat he didn't touch it.

And in front of him was one of the famous companions, none other than Khalid ibn Walid. And Khalid ibn Walid used to eat with enormous desire such that it would cause people to look at him; he would eat and the juices would stream down his beard. So when saw that his Prophet was not eating he said, "Oh Messenger of Allah is this (lizard meat) haram? Because he felt a shock inside of himself, he's eating ravenously and the Prophet is not reaching his hand towards the food; so he said, 'is this haram'.

The Prophet said, 'No, but this was not in the land of my people so I find that I detest it.'
Therefore we don't say to the person that loves lizard meat, 'You have opposed the Sunnah', because the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him, used to hate lizard meat and we also don't say this to the one who does not like honey.

And you will find those who don't like honey, and I have found that one of my sons does not like honey. I love honey and I love all sweets in general, but one of my sons hates honey; but I don't say to him, 'You have opposed the Sunnah', because this has no connection to worship.

And like this, it is incumbent upon us to look at the actions of the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him, and many of the people especially the students of knowledge during this time period are heedless of these specifics and some of them go to extremes.

So you find some of the youth intending to grow their hair long believing that this is the Sunnah of the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him. Yes I say this is from the actions of the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him, but there is no proof that this is better. Rather the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him, announced as is found in Sahih Muslim, 'Shave it all or leave it all'.

Therefore if the hair is grown long then it is not a Sunnah of worship rather it is only a Sunnah of custom. So if a person continues to shave his head his entire life it can not be said that he is opposing the Sunnah of the Prophet because the Prophet grew his hair his entire life; with the exception being during the Hajj and Umra because he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to shave his head during this time.

And you know the hadith that appears in Sahih Bukari and Muslim where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, 'Oh Allah forgive those who shave their heads, oh Allah forgive those who shave their heads, oh Allah forgive those who shave their heads, they said and those who cut their hair short oh Messenger of Allah, and he said 'and those who cut their hair short. But those who only cut their hair short receive a lesser reward, and to shave the head in more virtuous.

Therefore if the person grows their hair long out of habit or because this is just his natural disposition then there is nothing preventing this, but as for the one who intends by this to get closer to Allah because the Prophet, peace and blessings are upon him, grew his hair long then we say verily this is in opposition to the Sunnah of the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him.

And there is a detail that attention has to be given to, by the one who grows his hair long because the Prophet peace be upon him grew his hair long, so he believes that he is following the Prophet peace be upon him by growing his hair long. But I say with all frankness that he is opposing the Prophet.

But his opposition is not apparent rather it is hidden on the inside. So from what is apparent it seems that he is following the Prophet by growing his hair long, so what is the opposition?
The opposition: It is obligatory upon us to pay attention to the statement of our Prophet peace and blessing be upon him, 'Verily Actions are (judged) by intentions, so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated.'

So the one who goes out with the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him, as a mujahid then the apparent is what? The apparent is that he is a mujahid in the path of Allah; but in reality he went out for some worldly gain or to marry a woman therefore he opposed the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, in his intention.

So will he be rewarded as a mujahid, when he opposed the best of the mujahids; opposed him in what, in his intention, the answer is no.

Now the one who grows the hair on his head long, emulating his Prophet, his example is like the example of the mujahid that went out with the Prophet as a mujahid, but his intention was opposed to the intention of the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him. (So the question may be) how is this related to the one who grows his hair long?
We say to him: Do you know that when the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him, grew the hair on his head long that his intention with this was to get closer to his Lord? If you believe that then your action is a blessing and if you don't believe this then you opposed the Messenger in his intention.

He did not seek to get closer to Allah by loving honey, and he did not seek to get closer to Allah by hating lizard meat, and also he did not seek to get closer to Allah the Mighty and Majestic by growing his hair long!! So you seek to get closer to Allah (by growing your hair long)? Then you have opposed the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him, in the strongest condition from the conditions of worship.

The first condition: The intention must be sincerely for the face of Allah the Blessed and Exalted.

The second condition: It must be in accordance with the action of the Prophet.
You are in accordance with him in his action, but you opposed him in his intention.
As relates to the Fajr prayer, both the Sunnah for Fajr and the Fajr prayer itself both are two rakats. So if a man prayed the two Sunnah rakat for Fajr with the intention that they were obligatory, was he in accordance with the Sunnah?

The answer is no.

And from the misguidance of the Qadianis is that they believe the two Sunnah rakats for Fajr are obligatory. So when they pray these two rakats the appearance is as though they are in accordance with the Messenger peace and blessings are upon him. But their heart and their intention opposed the Messenger peace and blessings are upon him. So the one who prays the two Sunnah rakats of Fajr with the intention that they are obligatory, this one is like the one who opposed the Messenger in his intention but agreed with him in the appearance. And the appearance doesn't have any value because the deeds are by the intentions. And the meaning of the hadith is the righteous deeds are only by righteous intentions.

Therefore if we don't know that the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him, sought to get closer to Allah by growing his hair long then it's not permissible for the Muslim to seek to get closer to Allah by something that the Prophet peace and blessings are upon him did not seek to get closer to Allah with; this is innovation in the religion.

As you all know the hadiths that warn with a severe warning against innovation in the religion. Whoever invents something into this affair of ours that is not from it then it is rejected. Therefore this is a newly invented matter because the person seeks to get closer to Allah by something that the Prophet did not seek to get closer to Allah with, peace and blessings are upon him. And this is the nature of the innovator, because they bring actions that the Prophet peace be upon him, did not seek to get closer to his Lord with.
And like that, we distinguish between the Sunnah of worship that which we emulate the Messenger in and between the Sunnah of custom, that which we have a choice to do it or to leave because it is only a Sunnah of habit.

Shaykh Albani continues, may Allah have mercy upon him.
This point, it is incumbent that we separate between this and that; meaning our following the Messenger peace be upon him, is in the affairs of the religion not in the affair of the worldly life.

And in this there are mistakes, severe mistakes from some of the ignorant people, those who do not separate between the Sunnah of habit and the Sunnah of worship.

The Sunnah of worship does not accept anything extra and for this reason the Messenger peace be upon him said, 'every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the fire'.

The Sunnah of custom accepts an increase and it accepts a decrease and it accepts everything, because it's a custom. I will strike for you one example from the Sunnah of custom, from the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him.
He (the Prophet) entered Mecca with four braids, what do you all call them; Braids? (Translator's note: Here the Sheikh uses the word in Arabic for braids.)

Those present respond: Braids (using the same word in Arabic)
Sheikh Albani: Braids (Arabic word), or braids (using the other word in Arabic for braids)
He entered Mecca, opening Mecca the day Allah helped him against the people of Mecca, and he had four braids. This is the Sunnah of the Arabs, to this day you find this Sunnah with some of the youth from the Bedouin. I have seen them in the desert; until today this custom is present with them.

You are free with regards to this, if you see that it is suitable for you then you do it, and if you want you can leave it, and you have not opposed the Sunnah of the Messenger with regards to this. Why, because it is a Sunnah of custom not a Sunnah of worship.

This categorization is from the completeness of comprehension and understanding in the religion where many of those beginners in calling to knowledge and they are not scholars.