Islamic Studies

Important Advice from Imam al-Sawi al-Maliki [Ra]

Imam al-Sawi said around 200 years ago:

هذا الزمان زمان السكوت ولزوم البيوت ومن يقول الحق فيه يموت

About the author

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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  • Rough Translation:

    “This time is a time of staying silent and acquiring houses [or wealth] and he/she who speaks the truth, in it is his/her demise.”

  • The Imam was speaking during the era of colonialism. He was quite cognizant of what was happening – how the socio-legal structures were being decimated and replaced by colonial insitutions. Only those who conformed to colonialist plans were promoted and heralded as leaders. Whereas those who spoke against and fought colonial designs were killed. In an age of “independence” nothing has changed.

  • How do we understand this statement in light of the prophet's hadith or the meaning of it. That the person who mixes with the people and his patient with regards their (adhaa) or bad treatment is better than the one who doesn't mix with them. Also, the imam is referring to a particular time frame with specific social/political condidtions that are different from ours and his statements lik any other imam should be understood in light of what he was dealing with.

  • Aba Hafs,

    Asalamu alaykum:

    I think it would be impossible to live his words as he understood them. However, there is not doubt that their is great fitna in these days. I'm sure for many of us we have our own fitna. Thus, I would suggest translating his words into your enviorment in a way that preserves your Islam and your dunya.


  • was-salam,

    if you read statements of the scholars from much longer ago than that (like even the time of the tabi'een and the tabi' atba, and the time of Imam Ahmed), one may find similar statements. if one were to really pursue the matter, they'd realize that this statement was true at the time of the jahiliyya when the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was sent, and even prior, when the other Prophets, upon all of them be peace, were sent…

    as charles dickens said: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” if you read the intro to a tale of two cities, one of the reasons it's eloquent is because it suits ANY time – just like statements like these.

    the sunna of Allah is that truth will always be opposed by tyrants and people of sin, and those who stand up for it will always have a hard time:

    “And in this way We have made for each Prophet enemies from amongst jinn and man…”

    “And in this way We have put in each town criminal leaders who plot (against the righteous) in it – and they only plot against themselves!”

    “By the mid-morning light, and the night as it covers over..”

    One of the isharat of the last ayah is that night is much longer than mid-day, and thus the times of joy and providence in the dunya are relatively few and short compared to the fitna and struggle, w'Allahu a'lam, hence the rest of the sura – “and surely the akhira is better for you than what is before it..”


  • لكن أليست هذه الحكمة فب حد ذاتها كلمة حق,فكيف يكون من يقول الحق في هذا الزمان يموت,كما انه لو كان قد لزم بيته عليه ومال قال كلمته هذه كيف كان سيتسني للناس معرفتها والاستفادة بها في اوقات الحاجة وكذا كل علم نافع ,ربما هو قالها في لحظة كان قد فقد فيها الامل او لم يجد من يستمع اليه!!!
    ربما يكون هذا زمن فتن الا انني اري والله اعلم اننا لم نري الفتنة بعد,اوليس الواحد منا يقدر علي اداء فرض الله في بيت الله ,اولست انت يا شيخ صهيب قادر علي ان تتعلم العلم النافع وتعلمه للناس؟؟والله اعلي واعلم واحكمز

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