Islamic Studies

Imam al-Muhasibi: 5 Obligations The Qur’an Has Upon You!

The obligations of the Qur’an are five:

1. To act according to its rulings, its orders and prohibitions

2. To [act] with fear regarding its threats

3. To [act] with hope in its promises

4. To [act with] belief in its ambiguous verses

5. To [act] regarding its stories and parables

Imam al-Muhasibi [may Allah have mercy upon him] stated, “Know! That if you’ve accomplished this [these five principles] that you have escaped the darkness of ignorance and entered upon the light of knowledge, from the torment of doubt towards the expanse of certainty. Allah says, “Allah is the protector of those who believe. He takes them from darkness to light.”

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

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  • AS

    Imam Muhasibi (r) was indeed a thorough psychologist of the highest rank. He had an all encompassing method of dealing with the psyche. He was a forerunner of Hujjat Allah Imam Ghazali (r) as is known.

    Imam Muhasibi (r) personified a deep spirituality rooted in a relationship with the Book of Allah (Azza Wa Jal) and he embodied the tasawwuf of the early generation of Sufis. This generation of Sufis took the Book and the Sunnah to heart and were the people of superogatory acts legislated by the Sunnah. Allah (swt) taught them because they acted on His (swt) Shar’iah and it was there primary concern. They did not understand the ayat of the Qur’an: ” …worship Allah until you attain certainty (Surah Hejr)” to mean worship Allah by the Shar’iah until you reach the Haqiqa to mean worship Allah (swt) by the Shar’iah until you reach spiritual enlightenment then you are free from the obligations of Shar’iah. Far from that was their understanding. What they understood from the ayat was worship Allah (Jalla Wa Jallahu) until “DEATH” came to you. In other words, hold firm to the Shar’iah –practice and live it– till death.

    If we want a place for Sufism (tazkiyyah) in the West then we need a grounding in the Book and the Sunnah and to learn how to practice them. Imam Muhasibi (r) teaches us the Qur’an has a place in everyone’s life and it is central to real spiritual cultivation and in fact one has no relation to Allah (swt), to Revelation, to things Divine if he or she is not attached to the Qur’an and does not act upon it or read it or study it or pay attention to its reality.

    One thing that is amazing as more books flood into the West on the spiritual life is that little mention is made about memorizing the Qur’an or reciting it correctly. What is the use of dhikr and other practices if we have not fulfilled what is obligatory?

    There is no madhab that sanctions Salah without correct recitation (tajwid) in fact they all say one’s salah is void if one s capable of reciting correctly and does not.

    Where is the Qur’an in our life is the question?

    It is as if Imam Muhasibi (r) is telling us today (we Muslims in the West -you and me-) –aim to understand the Qur’an and worship Allah (swt) with it you poor one.!

    And then it is as if he says:

    Real Sufism (tazkiyyah, spirituality, inner growth) is in living with the Qur’an this is where enlightenment comes.

    He said: “Know! That if you’ve accomplished this [these five principles mentioned above] that you have escaped the darkness of ignorance and entered upon the light of knowledge, from the torment of doubt towards the expanse of certainty. Allah says, “Allah is the protector of those who believe. He takes them from darkness to light.”

    Certainty then comes in acting upon the Qur’an and living with it. The question is how can we practice this reality if most of us do not have a connection with the Qur’an and few can read with correct tajwid and even less understand it (the Qur’an is Arabic).

    Imam Muhasibi (r) teaches us here also that a successful revival and rebirth of the Muslim Ummah is in learning Arabic for the sake of the Qur’an and in setting up schools to teach the Qur’an and in reading the Qur’an daily and in learning tafsir and most of all in Qiyam al Layl with the Qur’an (Kalam Allah, the uncreated Speech of Allah).

    It is not enough to have wudhu when touching the Qur’an and arguing for this opinion in fiqh but we must have fiqh of the Qur’an (understanding) and this is what our Imam Muhasibi (r) is teaching us here.

    Imam Malik (r) Imam Dar al Hijra, Imam Ahl Sunnah said:
    The last of this Ummah will not be rectified except by that which rectified the first of this Ummah (that is by the Book and the Sunnah)

    May Allah (swt) open our hearts to the Qur’an and energize our limbs to practice it and guide our intellects to analyze it and our soul to be nourished by it and for the Qur’an to be the source of our strength and that of the revival of the Ummah.

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