Saturday, July 21, 2012

Days of Mercy: Part 1- Pictures

Alhamdulillah, Allah has let us live long enough to embrace another Ramadhan. The hadeeth below outlines 7 excellences that comes from fasting during Ramadhan.

Seven Excellences of Ramazan Fasting:

Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny)
has stated: There is no Mu'min, who fasts for a day in the month of
Ramadan with the intention of attaining its rewards, except that
Allah, The Exalted, grants him seven excellences:

  1. The forbidden food that had entered into his body melts away.
  2. He moves closer to the Mercy of Allah, The Exalted.
  3. Allah expiates his sins.
  4. Allah reduces for him the agony of death.
  5. Allah protects him from the hunger and thirst of the Day of Judgment.
  6. He is granted pardon from the fire (of Hell).
  7. Allah provides him the good and pleasant food of Paradise.

Mustadrak al-Wasaail al-Shia'h, vol. 7, pg. 395
We're currently in the first 10 days of Ramadhan- the days that are meant to seek the mercy/rahmat of Allah. So how should we utilise these 10 days?

Many of us don't realise that our homes or rooms, or any space that we may be in might actually be in a state which keeps out the angels of mercy from entering. These angels are in fact bringing us the mercy of Allah. So if they are unable to enter, how are we supposed to get Allah's mercy?

Hadith -Bukhari 4:47, Narrated 'Aisha

I stuffed for the Prophet a pillow decorated with pictures (of animals) which looked like a Namruqa (i.e. a small cushion). He came and stood among the people with excitement apparent on his face. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is wrong?" He said, "What is this pillow?" I said, "I have prepared this pillow for you, so that you may recline on it." He said, "Don't you know that angels do not enter a house wherein there are pictures; and whoever makes a picture will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked to give life to (what he has created)?"

Hadith - Bukhari 4:448, Narrated Abu Talha

I heard Allah's Apostle saying; "Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal)."

From both hadeeths, it is clear the angels of Mercy do not enter the houses with dogs and pictures of living creatures. InsyaAllah, not many Muslims keep dogs. And it must be noted that guard dogs are exempted from this hadeeth. However, all of us need to take a closer look around our living spaces. Do we have posters of celebrities?
Do we put up pictures or fridge magnets with images of animals?
Do we have any picture at all of humans or any other living creatures (including butterflies or birds which may be in pictures of sceneries)?

If our answer is yes to any of these then we have some work to do..We have a few options.

One is to just throw them away. This is especially the case for those pictures of celebrities as putting their pictures up may be a sign of idol-worshipping, even if that may not be our main intention.

Second, we can remove them and keep them in a way in which the picture is not exposed. Though personally, i would say getting rid of them would be a better option as the above hadeeths does not specifically indicate pictures which are only put up and exposed. Thus, this may actually include pictures which are being kept.

Third, we can scribble on the images to make it imperfect. This is practical when there are small images of butterflies or birds in pictures of sceneries.

Now there is still the question about family pictures and family portraits. Surely our purpose of putting these up is not to worship them, rather, we put them up cos we want to always look at them and remember them. There are various fatwa (please not this is fatwa and not syarak-syarak holds a higher position than fatwa because fatwa is mostly the views of ulama' and scholars based on their understanding of the Quran and Hadeeths as well as their evaluation of current day situations) that allows family pictures. However, it will be wise that at least for this month, we keep away these pictures in order to truly ensure that we get Allah's mercy through His angels of Mercy. Let's just take a moment and think, which is more valuable- the pictures or Allah's mercy?

It wont be easy to get rid of all pictures (i've tried). I looked around my home, tahnkfully, we dont have any frames of living creatures up. However, upon closer inspection i realised how there were picture of people on newspapers, food products and book covers (not justmagazines). Sigh!!!! I can try to scribble/content all these faces but i doubt i'll ever be able to remove or make imperfect all of these pictures. So, what i did was to try to the best of my abilities, to just keep this things out of sight when they're not in use. But if it's just not possible, all I can do is to pray that Allah understands my (and all the rest of us) situation and still asks His angels to enter my house. One thing that may work is to ensure that our room, or the space we use to pray in is free from such images. In that way, InsyaAllah the angels will still enter that space and we can still receive His mercy while we're there. InsyaAllah.

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