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Q&A

2018-08-29
August 29, 2018

 

 

DISEMBOWELLED CURIOS

 

Who lived longer, Shu`ayb or Nūh, peace upon both of them?

 

According to a narration in Ibn at-Tallā`*’s “Gharā’ib al-Hadīth”, it would be Shu`ayb, peace upon him, who allegedly lived 3000 years and had 12000 shepherd dogs at his service. However, the narration is open to question, as with most of the narrations in “Gharā’ib al-Hadīth”.

As for Nūh, peace upon him, he died at the age of 1004 according to Ibn Jarīr, and at other ages according to others, 995 of which were spent inviting his people to the truth, after being sent as a Prophet at the age of 50.

 

*He is the renowned Mālikī savant, mufti and muhaddith from al-Andalus Muhammad b. Faraj al-Qurtubī.

 

How long did Ādam and his wife live in the Gardens; how long was their total lifespan, and who died first?

 

  1. It is disputed. Ibn ‘Abbās, may Allah be pleased with him, related that they spent in the Gardens half a day of the days in the Hereafter, the equivalent of 500 days of this world, and al-Kalbī endorsed that, whereas al-Hasan al-Basrī mentioned that they spent one hour in the morning, the equivalent of 130 years of our world, and Wahb b. al-Munabbih and Ibn Jarīr that they spent 34 years of our own time.
  2. Adam lived 1000 or 998 or 940 or 930 or 960 years.
  3. Adam died six or three days before Eve.

 

If a man marries a sea-woman (or sea-Houri, a fish whose hair, head and face is in the shape of a woman), will she be with him in the Garden?

 

A sea-woman falls under the category of animals, marrying whom is not permitted, and sexual cohabitation with whom is judicially punishable. On the Day of Rising she will turn into dust, like the rest of animals.

 

Does ‘Īsā, ‘alayhis-salam, eat and drink in heaven? If his food and beverage there is that of this world, would he then answer the call or nature, or he has become like the angels who need not eat or drink?

 

The learned exegetes [not the present-day self-styled scholars of apologetic reformism] disagree as to whether he was taken to heaven alive or dead: in the latter case, the question would fall way.

In the former case, it has been mentioned inter alia in al-Baghawī’s Tafsīr (“Ma`ālim at-Tanzīl”), on the authority of Qatādah, that ‘Īsā, peace upon him, said to his apostles: ‘Which of you will have my semblance cast upon him, as he would then be killed?’. One of them stepped forward, so he was killed and Allah the Exalted protected ‘Isa, peace upon him, and lifted him to Him, clothing him with feathers and dressing him in light, and wresting from him the appetite for food and drinks, so that he flies with the angels and is with them around the Throne: he thus became an angelical man, earthy and heavenly at once.

 

Which is better, the moon or the sun?

 

Some of the Arabs prefer the moon to the sun, because the moon is masculine and the sun feminine, while others prefer the sun, since Allah mentioned it first in a number of Signs, such as: «By the sun and its morning brightness, and the moon when it follows it» (Sūrah as-Shams: 1-2), and yet a third group prefers neither of them over the other.

The sounder view, mentioned by Judge Abū Muhammad b. Sa`īd b. ‘Umar as-Sunhājī in his book “Kanz al-Asrār wa-Lawāqih al-Afkār”, is the first (i.e., preference for the moon), because the masculine is root and the feminine branch, and reliance on mere antecedence of mention is weak, since the less noble may be advanced in speech and the nobler retarded, as in His statements, may He be Exalted: «It is He who created you. Yet among you are those who are kāfir and those who have īmān» (Sūrah at-Taghābun: 2); «The Companions of the Fire and the Companions of the Garden are not the same» (Sūrah al-Hashr: 20); «For truly with hardship comes ease» (Sūrah ash-Sharh: 6)

 

Which is better, the earth or the heaven?

 

There is a dispute on that, some saying it is the heaven, since no disobedience, not even Satan’s, occurred in it, or it seldom occurred and is thus negligible, others contending that it is the earth, being the settled abode and burial place of the Prophets, peace upon them.

Each of the two views has been said to be the majoritarian one.

There are those who ascribed soundness to the first view, while the Shafi`i mufti, teacher and author of books al-Birmāwī (Muhammad b. ‘Abdid-Dā’im an-Nu`aymī al-‘Asqalānī originally then al-Qāhiri) quoted his teacher, ‘Allāmah as-Sirāj al-Bulqaynī, as stating that the bone of contention between the earth and the heaven is to the exclusion of the graves of the Prophets, peace upon them, which are unanimously deemed superior.    

 

Which is better, day or night?

 

There is a dispute on that as well.

Some have asserted that the night is better because:

  • It is rest, and rest is from the Garden, whereas exhaustion is from the Fire;
  • The Night of Power (Laylatu’l-Qadr) is better than one thousand months, whereas the like of it is not found in the daytime;
  • A surah has been revealed called Sūrah al-Layl, the Surah of the Night;
  • It is mentioned before daytime in most of the āyāt (e.g..: «A Sign for them is the night: We peel the day away from it and there they are in darkness» (Sūrah Yāsīn: 37); «We made the night a cloak. We made the day for earning a living» (Sūrah an-Naba’: 10-11);
  • Its creation preceded the creation of daytime, as per His statement, Exalted is He: «the night is antecedent to the day (وَلا اللَّيْلُ سابِقُ النَّهار)» (Sūrah Yāsīn: 40), since the letter (لا) in the ayah is a letter of augmentation (harf za’idah) rather than one of negation, and the nights precede the days in calculating a 24 hours’ unit, which begins with sunset;
  • Throughout the night there is an hour, nay, hours, when invocations are answered;
  • Prayer is not disliked in any part of the night;
  • The horizontal journey from Makkah to Jerusalem (isrā’) took place during it;
  • «Certainly rising at night has a stronger effect and is more conducive to concentration» (Sūrah al-Muzzammil: 6).

 

Another group of scholars have accorded precedence to the day, because the bulk of obligatory actions (fasting, jihād, Subh, Zuhr and ‘Asr prayers, seeking out Allah’s Bounty, may He be Exalted), are only performed in the daytime, and if some warfare takes place during the night, in the form of a raid, is a rare occurrence compared to jihad during the day.

Lending preference on the strength of the obligatory acts (farā’id) is better than doing so on the strength of voluntary acts (nawāfil), the more so as it is in the daytime that we perform the middle prayer (Salat Wusta: Subh or ‘Asr) and engage in the fast, about which Allah the Exalted said [in a hadīth qudsī]: “Every action by the son of Adam is for him, except for the fast, as it is for Me and I reward it” [agreed upon].

 

While some scholars deemed the former view sound, others, like the Egyptian polymath al-Munāwī,

 

Is the Prophet’s grave, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam, better than the Throne?

 

Tājud-Dīn as-Subkī has quoted from Ibn ‘Aqīl al-Hanbalī that he said it was better than the Throne, while al-Fākihānī was explicit as to its superiority over the heavens, and Judge ‘Iyād, al-Bājī and Ibn ‘Asākir mentioned the existence of scholarly consensus (ijmā`) on the fact that it was superior to all places, Ka`bah included.

 

 

Imām az-Zurqānī, with editing

 

 

 



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