Readings from Miftah al-Ma`ani – 1

I. Abu Hurayra (ra) reported the Prophet (saws) as having said, “Allah says, ‘If My slave loves to meet Me, I love to meet him; but if he dislikes to meet Me, I, too, dislike to meet him.” (Bukhari)

Commentary

Nawawi wrote: The ‘dislike’ of this mention is that which is felt at the time of death, when death pangs begin to strike – the situation in which repentance is not accepted. That is the time when every man knows what it is that he is going to encounter. The fortunate ones welcome death and the meeting with their Lord – ready to journey to what Allah has prepared for them. Allah also likes to meet them in order to grant them His bestowals and mete out an honorable treatment. As regards the wretched ones, they dislike to meet Him out of realization of the evil to which they would be subjected. Allah, too, is averse to meet them; that is, He distances them away from His mercy wishing no good for them.

Khattabi has added: The word Liqaa’ (meeting) has several connotations. One of them is ‘resurrection.’ Allah said,

Losers, indeed, are those who cried lies to encounter with Allah.’ (Al-An`am, 31)

It can also carry the meaning of ‘death.’ Allah said,

‘(Know) that the term (appointed) by Allah is coming.’ (29: 5)

Another meaning is ‘sighting.’

Ibn al Atheer has said that the word ‘Liqaa’ as used in this hadith has the meaning of journey to the Hereafter in search of what is with Allah. It is not the fear of death which generally and naturally everyone dreads. But rather, he who abandoned the world and hated it, will love to meet Allah, while he who gave it preference and tilted towards it, will loath to meet Allah, for, he realizes that when he meets Him after death (he will not be treated well). ~ [Badruddin `Ayni, `Umdatu al Qari fi Sharh Sahih al Bukhari]

The above is based on another report (in the Sahihayn) which says that when the Prophet narrated Allah’s words above, `A’isha sought clarification by asking, “Every one of us dislikes death, after all.” He explained, “It is not that ‘dislike.’ But rather when death appears before a believer, he is given glad tiding of Allah’s approval of him and the promise of an honorable treatment from Him. With that, there is nothing more beloved to him because of what he sees as forthcoming, and so, he loves to meet Allah, and Allah loves to meet him. As regards the unbeliever, he is given the tiding of punishment and His retribution, consequently, there is nothing more hateful to him, because of what is to come forth, and so, hates to encounter Allah and Allah hates to meet him.” (Zarqani, Shrah al Muwatta’)

Abu `Umar (Ibn Abdul Barr) wrote: The Prophet (asws) has prohibited his followers from wishing death because of a calamity that fell on him; consequently, he who wishes death is then, not a lover of Allah, but rather, a sinner in his wish for death, especially, if he knew its sinful nature. The Prophet has said, “Let not one of you wish for death because of a calamity befalling him. If it is absolutely imperative, then he might say, ‘O Allah, let me be living so long as life is better for me, and deal me with death if death is better for me.’”

It might also be allowable for a man to wish death if he is subjected to severe torture. Imam Malik says that `Umar b. `Abdul `Aziz would not hear of what `Umar ibn al Khattab did, except that he would wish to do the same himself; so that when he heard that `Umar had wished for death, he too expressed the wish to die. The next Friday did not come but he was dead. We have explained this in view of the hadith in which the Prophet said, “The Hour will not be struck until a man passes by another’s grave and says, ‘O that I was in his place’ (Al Tahmeed, Fath, Tarhub al Tathreeb, and others).

It may be mentioned in this context that when death approached Bilal b. Rabah (ra), his wife said, “Woe unto me.” Bilal retorted: “Don’t say ‘woe.’ But rather, tomorrow we shall meet our friends.” (Au.)

II. Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrates the Prophet (saws) as having said, “Allah says, ‘Son of Adam torments Me1 by cursing the Time.2 It is I who is the Time.3 The affair is in My hand. It is I who alters the night and day.” (Sahihayn)

Commentary

1. Since Allah cannot be tormented, the hadith has been declared by some scholars as one of the consimilar type (mutashaabih), which cannot be further explained. However, some have treated the word as a metaphor and should be understood as something that He disapproves. (Mulla `Ali Qari, Sharh Mishkat)

2. “Dahr” in Arabic covers the time which began from the moment of creation of the world and will last until its extinction (Mir`aatu al Mafaateeh). That is, men curse the Time out of their belief that good and bad are caused by the vicissitudes of Time. (Mulla `Ali Qari, Sharh Mishkat)

3. “Anaa al-Dahr,” that is “I, the Lord God of the universe, am the creator of Time, the cause of its vicissitudes, the Alterer, the Molder.” The unbelievers apart, even some of the uneducated believers, unable to blame Allah for evil things that happen to them, blame and curse the Time. (Mulla `Ali Qari, Sharh Mishkat)

Ibn Hazm and his followers believed that Al-Dahr is one of Allah’s Names; but Qadi `Iyad and other scholars have refuted him (Ibn Jawzi, Kashf al-Mushkil, and Zarqani in Sharh Muwatta’) – because the words of some narrations are, “I alter its night and day,” that is, night and day of the Dahr, which would mean He alters Himself, which is absurd.

Man’s cursing the Time torments Allah: Imam Shafe`ee commented that during pre-Islamic times, the Arabs often cursed the Time when a calamity befell them. They would say, ‘Time destroys us,’ meaning the nights and days, or would say, ‘they were struck by the vicissitudes of Time,’ or, ‘the Time extinguished them.’ In short, they blamed the turns of night and day for the happenings. Consequently, they blamed the Time for ruining them and doing things unwelcome. So the Prophet said, ‘Do not curse Time,’ because it is Allah who ruins them and does things to them. Your cursing of Time is like cursing Allah Himself who is the prime-mover of the happenings (that affront you).” – (Mulla `Ali Qari, Ahadith al-Qudsiyyah al Arba`eeniyyah)

Dahriyyah: This is a group of unbelieving people from among the philosophers, believers in transmigration of the soul, deniers of a Creator, believers in the idea that every sixty-three thousand years everything in creation returns to its original state (and the cycle restarts). They believe that the cycle of creation and annihilation goes on unendingly. It is they who said, ‘None but Time destroys us’ (24: 45)’” – (Mir`aatu al Mafaateeh)

Dahr is the root word of “Dahriyyah” which is applied to a freethinker or atheist, or, in our times to Naturalists, that is, those who attribute events to Nature’s actions. From this, we have Darwinian Theory which claimed that it was Natural Selection which was responsible for the appearance of newer species, culminating with Man. But, after a brief popularity, it seems to be packing up its bits and pieces for departure. The very concept of Natural Selection is being questioned. Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan attack the concept of Natural Selection in their work Acquiring Genome (Basic Book, USA, 2002):

“What does the selecting in natural selection? Just as many modern evolutionists permit themselves an unscientific vagueness about the role of natural selection in evolution, they also remain vague about the identity of the natural selector. It is all too easy to wave one’s arm and say, “the environment selects, the fittest survive.” What does “fit” really mean? What part of the environment selects? How far does the environment extend? Questions like these tend to be answered only in generalizations or in an ad hoc manner, case by case. A staunch resistance to any systematic effort to identify the agent, or agents, of natural selection takes place.”

Many realize that if there is a selection, the Selector is none else than God, but it is a term which is taboo in the scientific community (Au).