Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Imam Abdul Aziz Suraqah: The Lives of Man by Imam al-Haddad (RA)- Video Lectures & Excerpts from the Book

Imam Abdul Aziz Suraqah (Religious Director, Muslim Community Center of Greater Pittsburg-MCCGP) : The Lives of Man by Imam al-Haddad- Video Lectures

Translated by Mostafa Al Badawi with a Preface by T.J. Winters.

Based on the Qu’ran and Hadith, in this fascinating book, Imam al-Haddad explains that every human being passes through several “lives:” before conception, life in the world, life in the grave, the Resurrection, and finally, the Garden of the Fire. A complete Muslim must be aware of each of these if he is to be sufficiently prepared for eternal life.

What happens after Death? Who are “Munkar and Nakir?” What will Heaven and Hell be like? What signs should we expect before the day of Judgement? Who is the Dajjal? When will the Mahdi appear?

These and many other questions are answered, on the basis of the Qu’ran and Hadith, in this fascinating book. Imam al-Haddad explains that every human being passes through the “lives:” before conception, life in the world, life in the grave, the Resurrection, and finally, the Garden of the Fire. A complete Muslim must be aware of each of these if he is to be sufficiently prepared for eternal life.

From Timothy Winters preface to the book:

“No culture since Adam has lived in deeper ignorance of what man truly is: a symmetrical, noble form enshrining a soul, an organ capable of such translucence that it can, when the senses and passions which distract it are stilled, form a window onto that Reality of which this world offers no more than a distorted reflection. For those human beings who have been granted this state of awakening, the real world which they survey is truer than anything they had known here-below. All of us will see the real world, the ākhira, at death. But only the Prophets fully know of it before they die, and hence can warn their contemporaries. The revelations which God gives them, and which they give to mankind, are thus the only sources of meaning and understanding which will ever be available. To hold to them is to cling to a rope let down from God, while to let go is to fall ineluctably into chaos.”

Excerpts from ‘The Lives of Man’ by Imam al Haddad:

The First Life: (Life Before Conception)
“The first life began with the creation of Adam, upon whom be peace, and the entrusting of his progeniture to his blessed loins, both the people of the Right and those of the Left, namely the people of the Two Fistfuls. Then God brought this progeniture out from Adam’s loins all at once, to take the covenant that they recognized (His) Unity and Lordship.” “Because of these events there can be no doubt that the progeniture was possessed of existence, hearing and speech; this, however, was at a degree or dimension of existence other than that of this world.”

We must also know that the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alahi wa Sallam) had a more perfect and unique stature in this stage, so much so that his light (peace be upon him) could be heard glorifying Allah while within Adam’s (peace be upon him) loins, making a sound like that of birds.

The Second Life: (“Dunya” – The Lower World.)
“The second life begins when one is delivered from one’s mother’s womb, and ends when one departs from the world in death. This which is the middle of the lives, is also their purpose. It is the period when man is held accountable for (responding to) the divine injunctions and prohibitions, the consequences of which will be reward or punishment, endless happiness in the proximity of God, the High and Majestic, or perpetual torment and remoteness from Him.”

This section of existence is essentially broken down into the stages of Gestation, Childhood, Youth, Maturity, Seniority, Decrepitude, and ultimately Sickness and Death. The Imam beautifully explains the important aspects of each of these sub-stages and gives wise council and advice as to how to understand and succeed in them. Ultimately the key to understanding the gist of this chapter can be summed up in the Hadith which is mentioned at the end of the Afterward stating: “A man dies in accordance with what he had lived in, and is resurrected in accordance with what he had died in.” (Hadith)
In another narration of Hadith the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alahi wa Sallam) stated to Abu Darr: “O Abu Darr! The world is the prison of the believer, the grave his place of safety, and the Garden his end. O Abu Darr! The world is the Garden of the disbeliever, the grave is his torment, and the Fire his end.”

May Allah make us one of those who dwell in the Garden of the Afterlife, Amen!

The Third Life: (The Intermediate Realm)
“The third life extends from the time a man leaves the dunya at death until the moment he rises from his grave at the blowing of the Horn. This is the Intermediate Realm (Barzakh). God the Exalted has said:
And behind them is a barzakh until the day when they are raised. (23:100)

In this section Imam Al-Haddad breaks the chapter into several useful categories, namely; a Description of the Torment of the Grave and its Aspects, How the Living May Help the Dead, and Visiting the Graves.

Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of this chapter appears in the Afterword in which it is stated: “Created beings may, however, know about those signs and conditions which indicate its imminent advent. Many of these, which are described in many sound hadiths, have already come about, and only the major ones such as the sun rising from the West, the Dajjal (God curse him!), the Beast, and the coming of Jesus remain.”

The Fourth Life: (Judgement Day)
“The fourth life extends from the time when a person leaves his grave for the Resurrection and Gathering, until the moment when mankind enter the Garden or the Fire.”
Imam Al-Haddad uses this section to highlight the dire situation of the last day and the different events which will occur. This section is broken down into the sub-sections of; The Balance and the Bridge, The Hawd, and The Intercession. Each of these areas are dealt with in the necessary details with mention of why we would be in our specific predicament at that time and the ways to avoid bearing the sorrowful and difficult punishments and trials on that day. Perhaps one of the most riveting quotes from this chapter is a quotation from the Holy Qur’an relating to after the animals are given their judgment and due and God says to them “Become dust!”
“At that the disbeliever will say, would that I were dust!”(78:40)

The noble Imam goes on to highlight in detail, the respect, honor, and elevation that the Holy Prophet Muhammed (Sallallahu ‘alahi wa Sallam) will have on that day, and the relief that will be permitted to the believers through his intercession (shafa’a)

The Fifth Life: (The Fire and the Garden)
“The fifth life extends from the time the people of the Fire enter the Fire and the people of the Garden enter the Garden, and continues into unending, limitless eternity.

This is the longest of all lives, the best, most pleasant and most joyous for the people of the Garden, and the worst, hardest, and most hateful and wretched for the people of the Fire.”

This section outlines details pertaining to the Fire, admonitions, and advise as to how to avoid spending time in this wretched and painful place. To give a taste of the severity of this place the Imam relates Quranic verses and hadith including the following: “O people! Weep! And if you cannot weep then make as though you were weeping, for the people of the Fire shall weep in Jahannam until their tears run over their faces like streams. Then the tears will stop, blood will flow, and eyes ulcerate, so that if ships were launched therein they would float.” (Hadith)

The Imam goes on to elucidate aspects of the Garden and its countless pleasures, the foremost being the beatific vision of Allah. Relating to one of the beautiful aspects of the Garden, Imam Al-Haddad quotes the Hadith stating: “The area of the Garden which could be surrounded by a whip is better than the world and all that it contains. Should one of the women of the Garden appear to the people of the earth, she would illuminate it entirely, and render it fragrant with musk. The scarf which is upon her head is better than the world and all it contains.”

The treatise is concluded in accordance with classical Islamic tradition, with a description of the vision of God, and His overwhelming Mercy. In the final section Imam al-Haddad quotes the Hadith stating: “God has a hundred mercies, one of which He has sent down to be divided between humans, jinn, birds, cattle, and insects, and by which they have compassion and mercy towards each other. And He has saved ninety-nine mercies, with which He will be merciful to His slaves on the Day of Rising.”

The above is simply a brief taste of the Lives of Man, and after reading this we hope that one of two things occur: One, if you had never heard of Imam Al-Haddad and the Lives of Man, that you will read it and take heed, and two, that if you had heard of the book, or had already read it, that you will read it again to refresh yourself on the true reality of:

“The Way to Remember and Learn From the Lives of Man that Wane and Perish.”

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and countless blessings upon the Holy Prophet Muhammed (Sallallahu ‘alahi wa Sallam), his family and companions. May Allah be pleased with, and may we benefit from Imam Al-Haddad and his legacy. Any mistakes in this work are assuredly mine and may Allah forgive us all. Amen.


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