Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Steps to escapism

Bismillah.

O son, know that I rushed home to catch up with you on this space which serves as  my escape from the worldly madness. I was at a uni campus blessed with abundant greeneries, a uni in Kedah (a state in North Malaysia). It was serenely green that Khidr came to mind the moment I passed through the main entrance. Khidr, the mysterious being who is associated with the color green (deriving from Arabic khadir), whose being represents the elixir of life; whose presence is like mushkil gusha - one who evades troubles; whose barakah could make a barren land sprout vegetation and a dull life turns vibrant just like the dead fish which regained its life and swam into the sea, as narrated in Surah al-Kahfi.

To escape to a divine space which we often yearn for requires effort but it's worthwhile. It demands an awakening like the fish who became alive and rushed to its home. The verse in at-Talaq gives a clue. If you want a way out, have taqwa. And we want a way out from so many things, from difficulties, from a restless mind, from ignorance, from loneliness, from a knotty relationship, you name it.

So I cherished the break I had yesterday, walking around the green campus in the rain; to be 500 km away and out of the hustle and bustle of the capital city; walking up 144 flights of staircase only to be welcomed by the uni's tranquil masjid atop the hill. Alhamdulillah for the joy of escaping to the house of Allah, escaping to Him. Maybe it's not an escape but rather a homecoming, coming home to a divine consciousness that He exists and is always waiting for souls who tend to wander from its eternal resting place.


144 steps leading to the entrance of Masjid Sultan Badlishah
Universiti Utara Malaysia
 
p/s Thanks Prof for showing me around, for lunch and everything.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Make us guides and guided" - The Prophet's prayers

Bismillah.

Ata' bin as-Sai'b related that his father told him, "Ammar bin Yassir led us in the prayer one time and made it very short. I remarked, 'You have been short in the prayer, Abul Yaqzan,' He answered, 'There is no fault in this because I offered God a supplication I heard from the Messenger s.a.w." 


"O God,
by Your knowledge of the unseen
and by Your power over all creation,
give me life so long as long as You know
that life holds goodness for me
and end my life when You know
that death holds goodness for me.
O God,
I ask You that I may be fearful of You
in all matters, known and unknown.
I ask You for [the ability to speak] just words
when I am pleased and when I am angry.
I ask You for moderation in wealth and in poverty.
I ask You for unending tranquility and happiness.
I ask You for contentment
with whatever is determined for me [in this world],
and I ask You for a blessed life after death.
I ask to be able to gaze upon Your sublime countenance.
I ask You for longing to meet You
without coming to harm or [being prey to]
delusive temptations.
O God, adorn us with the beauty of faith.
O God, make us [both] guides and guided."
Quoted from: 'Principles of Sufism' by al-Qushayri 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Good character













Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for lovely friends with good humor, good character, cheerful face; who are a generous giver and who does not impose problems on you.

I absolutely agree with Hassan al-Basri who said:
"Good humor and character is manifested in a cheerful face, generous giving, and not imposing one's problems on others."

But surely good friends would not mind listening to your problems. But more importantly one should not be a cause for people to shed tears on account of one's bad character. If one cannot make others smile, at least try not to make them cry.

p/s
Thank you N, A, M & T for the yummy cake, lovely flowers, gifts, great laughter and more than a decade of friendship. You made me realize that I should not be bothered that one person made me cry when more than a dozen friends made me happy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Love and hate moderately

Bismillah.

"Be my sons, the clear meaning and the living example of the saying of Hudba bin al-Khashram al-Udhri:
Be a home for the good and shun the mean,
For verily you will see and hear (of such)
So long as you live.
Love when you love moderately,
For you never know when you may change.
Hate when you hate moderately
For you never know when amity may return."
- Al-Wasiyya of Shaykh Abd al-Mahmud al-Hayfan

O son, this serves as a new lesson to me, although I have heard of it before and despite learning from experience that loving or hating excessively could be harmful in the end and that we should love and hate only for the sake of Allah.


I also think that it is quite easy to 'be a home for the good' but I have always had difficulties to 'shun the mean', somehow. May Allah keeps us in good company always and protect us from evil men.

May Allah also give us the ability to see that good is good and give us the strength to do it. May Allah make us recognize that bad is surely bad and give us the strength to avoid it. Many a time, we know something is wrong, yet we are still tempted to do it or persist in doing it. La hawla wala quwwata illah billah.

O Lord, keep us on the Straight Path and most importantly make us love the one You love most Sayyidina Rasulullah s.a.w and love all who love You.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thank you Allah for my mother

Bismillah.

Thank you Allah for my mother
Who brought me to this world
Taught me how to be strong
Prays so I prosper
My loyal and loving companion for four decades already
One who is bright and witty
Who cooks for me even in her 70s
The shield around my heart and mind
So no ugly words can bring me down

She taught me how to say no
So I know when to make a stand
She taught me how to love
By showing her affection so grand

We had stood on Uhud together
Walked the Safa and Marwah hand in hand
Prayed at Raudhah,
shared many laughter
and love the same man,
my dearest father

O Allah
My witness is the Kaabah
that we shall stand by each other
till the Hereafter!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani in New York













Bismillah.

I noticed some visitors from NY and New Jersey. I hope and I pray you could make it to Shaykh Hisham's sohbet/lectures today and tomorrow InshaAllah. Details as follows:

Friday, September 24
Jumuah Prayer at about 1 pm
Muslim Majlis Of Staten Island
104 Rhine Avenue, Staten Island,
NY 10304

Sohbet: 6:30 pm
Somerset, New Jersey
*for address information please email: nynj@sufilive.com

Saturday, September 25
Starting at 7:00 pm
Church of the Holy Apostle
296 Ninth Avenue (at 28th Street),
New York, NY 10001-5703

JUMAAH MUBARRAK!
Please include me in your du'a.
Salam warahmatullah.

On Sustenance & Surrender

Bismillah.

Astaghfirullahal-Azim, so what are we afraid of?  What is it about aging that we are afraid of? Sustenance? Well Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani said in Jila' al-Khatir (Purification of the Mind):
"Sustenances are in the hand of Allah: the sustenance of the bodies, the sustenance of the hearts and the sustenance of the innermost beings. So request them from Him, not from someone else. The sustenance of the bodies is food and drink; the sustenance of the heart is the belief in the oneness of Allah; and the sustenance of the innermost beings is the private remembrance of Allah."

And Allah Exalted is He said: "And remember Allah much so that you may be successful."

Still, we are not trusting Him enough that we think we must do something about how things should unfold, that we should participate in the management of our affairs, how we age, that we should control our lives to a certain extent.

Al-Jilani said:
"O young man, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam, and the reality of Islam is surrender! You have to achieve Islam first and then fulfill surrender. Purify your outwards through Islam and purify your inward through surrender. Surrender yourselves to your Lord and be satisfied with His management of your affairs. Give up your will and accept the destiny that your Lord has decreed. Consider all that which destiny brings as acceptable to you. Your Lord knows you better than you know yourselves. Accept His words with certitude. Receive His commandments and prohibitions with total acceptance. Receive His religion with all of your hearts and make it your outer cover. Take full advantage of your lives before the advent of 'a day from Allah which cannot be turned back' (Quran 30:43) which is the Day of Resurrection."

Twenty, 30, 40, 54 or 90, all will return to Rahmatullah and all will be accounted for in the Hereafter because we are servants and He is Master.


Translator Credit: Jila' al-Khatir/Purification of the Mind - Al Dargazelli and Fatoohi. 
p/s Thanks Kak Mastura & Sister R for your love, understanding and words of encouragement. Love you too!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Aging

Bismillah.

Oh I don't know how to begin this. I have never really thought about my age until now. It's kinda scary, wallahi! I never realized that I am aging until now as I am turning 40 soon. Oh Ya Allah! It feels like I've been cut into pieces by the sword of time. Oh no my age is not a secret, never a secret. Two important decades - my 20s and 30s are hovering over my head like a big question mark, where did they go? What was I doing? Astaghfirullah al-Azim!

Suddenly I feel like I am selfish. My mother is 71 and she is still playing her role well, mothering me. Her life is about giving her all to her children especially me. What about me? Who benefits from me? You know the saying that parents are wali, because of them you get to see the moon and the stars. Yet all I am thinking about is what else do I want to see? I, me? Astaghfirullah al-Azim!

O people, I am sorry  this entry is a bit personal but I am open. I speak my mind, truthfully InshaAllah.  

Forty is a crucial age. How you live your life after this age will sum up who you truly are. That's what many wise men say. If I were to be given another decade how would I spend it? Oh Ya Allah show me the way.

O Allah, if I could have one wish granted, it is to let a few souls have the opportunity to see the moon and the stars, so he/she knows that You exist, so he/she knows who You are.
Allah hummaj 'al au sa'a rizqika
'alaiya 'inda kibari sinni wan qitho'i 'umuri

O Allah! Expand for me Your provision
till my old age
and till the end of my life.


 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Learning how to love

Bismillah.

Unfaithful lover,
that's what I have been.
He has been giving so much
yet my eyes wander elsewhere,
the heart seeks another partner,
desiring for more and better.
In the end, the One loyal lover remains
when no one seems to care,
when others break promises,
He is still there,
waiting to give more,
lets me breathe,
appease my hunger,
accepting my flaws.
How many times more will I be unfaithful
to the One I should be thanking and loving?
Maybe I should learn how to love the right way
so I could finally
seal my belief and sign
'Yours faithfully'.


"The lover of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) is he who forgets his own self, remains engaged in Allah's remembrance with due regard to all its requirements; sees Allah with the eyes of his heart, which is burnt by the heat of Allah's fear; Allah's remembrance affects him like a cup of wine, he speaks the word of Allah as if All-Mighty Allah speaks through his mouth; if he moves, he does so under the command of Allah; he gets peace of mind only through the obedience of Allah; and when such a stage is reached, his eating, drinking, sleeping, awakening and, in short, all his actions are for the pleasure of Allah; he neither pays heed to the worldly customs, nor does he attach any importance to unfriendly criticism by people."
- Junaid Baghdadi

O Allah,
teach us how to forget ourselves
and remember You instead,
and love You the right way 
"The way of those
on whom
You have bestowed Your Grace." 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ikhwan Muslimin

Bismillah.

How many friends have you got, at the mention of whose name, you and other people would instantly say MashaAllah, MashaAllah he is such a good person. And when you are told he is leaving the country for good, your heart just sank and you felt a deep loss immediately. He is Azeem - a Naqshbandi brother, a Muslim revert, an Aussie. MashaAllah Tabarakallah. I am still speechless upon hearing the news, that he is leaving us behind.

I recalled fondly our group outings to Pulau Besar and Janda Baik. Conversations revolved around our experiences being in tariqa, how he had embraced Islam and his devotions to our gurus. Throughout the long journey and our casual chats, his most frequently used phrases were Bismillah, MashaAllah and InshaAllah. We never heard him say ok, ok dokie, allright, allrighty, no nothing of the sort!

Yesterday at a farewell luncheon hosted by a dervish friend of ours, the room was filled with extraordinary fragrant from nowhere! Subhanallah! His sweet scents shall remain with us, friends who are deeply touched by his presence.

May Allah, facilitate your hijrah or rather homecoming, and grant you the best of bounties that you so deserve! May we meet again, InshaAllah.


At Janda Baik, Pahang, Malaysia during Shaykh Adnan's visit

Monday, September 20, 2010

The wrath of Indus

Bismillah.



Oh Ya Majid
The Indus once streamed languid
Life was fine
Then You awakened its water
and they drifted asunder

Oh Ya Allah,
You showed your Jalal
while we weren't looking
In the blink of an eye
they lost it all

Oh Ya Rahman
You make them hungry beyond Ramadhan
while some of us feast to our heart's content

Last night I saw them from afar
from the comfort of my sofa
Others brought basins and bowls
queued for food
but two little boys...
had rice scooped onto their kurta!

Oh Ya Ghaffur
forgive me
for I ate from Christopher Stuart plates
forgive me
Oh Ya Afuw
for my Eid was elaborate
while many are desperate

Oh Ya Allah
by the virtues of your gentle Names
lift their pains
lift their pains!


Our love and du'a for the hungry and displaced Pakistan flood victims.
We entrust your affairs to Allah Al-Wakil.
InshaAllah all will be fine again.
InshaAllah.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Changing of Masters

Bismillah.

Someone had expressed interest in Naqshbandi gathering and our shaykhs so I thought this could be the best write-up to share -- words from Mawlana Shaykh Nazim himself InshaAllah.

THE CHANGING OF MASTERS
- by Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani

Insha’allah, we are about to speak on a very important subject. We are going to talk on Tariqa Orders (Sufi Orders). So many people come to Damascus from different countries in order to visit us. Some of them already belong to a sheikh and a tariqat order. They are now asking for new bayyat from us. One of them, Sheikh Salahuddin, is finding conflict in himself about this. This is why we have to make clear to everyone all over the world so they may know as to what is tariqat, who is a sheikh, how many Sheikhs may one follow, and what the relation of Sheikhs to each other is.

Allah Almighty will ask from everyone on the Last Day, “What did you bring today, oh My servant? Did you bring Qalb-us-Saleem, a pure heart, a golden, precious heart?” Allah Almighty is asking from everyone to have a clean heart. You may make it pure only through tariqat orders. Those without tariqat are only occupying themselves with the outer life and leaving out the heart.

There are 41 tariqats (Sufi Orders). Forty of them springing from the heart of Imam Ali, and one, the Naqshbandi order, coming from the heart of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, (may Allah be pleased with them). The Prophet had 124,000 companions. Who was the grand companion? It was Abu Bakr. The Prophet said, “The whole of what Allah entrusted to me on the Night Journey, I put into the heart of Abu Bakr.” Sayyidina Ali was connected to Abu Bakr in such a way as to make Ali the entrance of the City of Knowledge. This is well known among the real tariqat Sheikhs. They respect the Naqshbandi Order as the first one. I am talking about the real Sheikhs, not of those giving titles to themselves.

All of the great Sheikhs, Jilani, Rumi, Darqawi, Rifai, knew the real station of the Naqshbandi order. If a person is following one of these other tariqats, they may take Tariqat Naqshbandiya also and remain free to follow those exercises or follow the Naqshbandiya exercises. If they only follow the Naqshbandi exercises it is enough. It doesn’t matter whether you are coming from another tariqat into the Naqshbandi Order. Some fear that their first Sheikh will hear they have taken a second tariqat and be angry with them. If he is a real Sheikh, how can he be angry? A real Sheikh must know if his mureed was given to him on the Day of Promises or not. A shepherd knows his sheep, even one from a thousand and even if they are all white. He has light in his eyes and recognizes them without mistake.

In tariqat there is no sorrow or anger if any mureed goes to another Sheikh. We are thankful to the first Sheikh for training him until he reaches his real Sheikh. Abu Yazid Al-Bistami said, “During my search, I met 99 sheikhs before reaching my Grandsheikh.” You may meet so many Sheikhs and take exercises, but you may not find satisfaction until you find your Grandsheikh and then it is like a river meeting the ocean. So many Sheikhs are only trainers, but finally a Grandsheikh must call you. Not by letters but from heart to heart. There are ways. If a Naqshbandi Sheikh is giving tariqat, he must tell the mureed who the Grandsheikh for the Naqshbandi Order is in this time. He must point out to him.

So many people from the West are coming now invited by the way of hearts, to our Grandsheikh. The chain of Sheikhs ends in one. Our Grandsheikh is the last link in the Golden Chain and he is holding that position. I am only his servant. As for the other Naqshbandi Sheikhs, we are waiting for them to renew their bayyat with us or else they are only putting on titles for themselves.

Sayyidina Muhammad Al-Mahdi alaihi salam and his seven Grand Wazirs, his 99 Caliphas and the 313 Grand Murshids are all from the Naqshbandi Tariqat. In this time, there is no power for other tariqats to carry people all the way to the ultimate goal. All are invited to renew bayyat to our Grandsheikh and then they may observe their improvement. In our time, there may be 1000 Naqshbandi Sheikhs, but there is only one Grandsheikh bringing them all together and he is the Imam. If you bring the 124,000 sahaba together, who is the Imam? It is Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (ral).

Each Sheikh must appoint one deputy. Mevlana Khalid Baghdadi appointed Sheikh Ismail, but so many Naqshbandi Orders lost him in their silsila (Chain of Spiritual Transmission) and lost also the secret of our Grandsheikh. Now there are so many Naqshbandi Sheikhs in Damacus, Aleppo and Homs who can’t find a successor. Except for our Grandsheikh, no one has pointed to a deputy. This is because we have Sheikh Ismail in our silsila.

If my Grandsheikh’s power would fully appear, no one could be sitting here; but that tremendous guiding and directing power (Irshad) is being stored up for the time of Sayyidina Al-Mahdi. At that time, all other tariqats will be engulfed by the huge irshad – power carried through the Naqshbandiyya Tariqat – they will be engulfed like inland seas being absorbed into a great ocean. Other tariqats are already all slowly grinding to a halt, not moving forward. Since no Grandsheikhs are appearing among them, all that is left of them is their saying, “Follow this tariqat or that one.” Since no Grandsheikhs are now appearing among them, they are only imitating what they found their predecessors practising, without being able to improve – like soldiers marching in place.

(Someone in attendance commented): “Some of the Sheikhs of the other tariqats are angry at you for making such statements; they think that you are making Naqshbandi politics, trying to take away their disciples.”

(Sheikh Nazim replied): Don’t speak foolish words. They may scream, “Politics!” and they may be angry, but they must know that what we are saying is reality, not politics; for we hate politics. If they have real spiritual knowledge (Maanawi Ulum), then they may see the reality of what we are saying; if not, they may be angry – but their anger is useless. Now, the Last Prophet, Muhammad (sal), is present in the spiritual realm and for the Awliya there is an assembly with the Prophet’s Presence every night. If they are there, they may realize and know; if not, then they are only with us – not seeing what will happen and not seeing the reality of what happens now. If the latter is the case, then they are only looking at books and talking, and you can’t know these things like that – no, that knowledge is distinct, it comes by way of the hearts.

When you are mentioning the names of persons, we may know whether they are inside or outside. In the time of Abdul Qadir Al-Jilani, a great Grandsheikh, there was another sheikh who heard about him and said to his pupils: “I have heard so much about this Sheikh Abdul Qadir, but I have been waiting at the entrance of Allah Almighty’s Power Castle for thirty years, and up until now I haven’t seen him entering or leaving, so how is it that they are saying he is such a huge Sheikh?” When Abdul Qadir heard this, he laughed and said: “How can a doorkeeper know who sits in the presence of the King, in the proximity of the Majestic Lord?” And so, you may find so many tariqat Sheikhs, but their levels are different. So why are they angry? Do they claim to know everything? What we have stated we know from the Heavenly Assembly, and that knowledge is coming to us from the ‘central power station’, so that if they bring forward a statement, claim or knowledge, we know from where they are bringing it. If anyone is angry because of these things, he is providing proof that he is not from the Assembly of Awliya; but he who says, “I believe in this and more,” you must know that he is from within.

All tariqats teach people humbleness and to accept the truth. Who accompanied the Prophet when he made his migration (Hijra) from Mecca to Medina? – Abu Bakr. And what did the Prophet say about Abu Bakr? – “Everything My Lord put into my heart, I have put into the heart of Abu Bakr.” Which Sheikh can come to argue with us saying, “Abu Bakr is our father in tariqat”? (Only the Naqshbandiyya Tariqat traces its lineage back to the Prophet through Abu Bakr, the rest of the tariqats came through Sayyidina Ali). Grandsheikh is the inheritor of Abu Bakr – only ignorant people can deny this.
(Quoted from: Mohamed Saud Hussain Facebook)

p/s Brother WF: Thank you for your interests in Naqshbandi gathering, Shaykh Hisham and Shaykh Adnan. Thank you also for your words of encouragement. I needed that reminder, that I should renew my faith and keep renewing my intention that all this sharing is lillahi ta'ala. Though one of our gurus would be quick to correct - it's li wajhillah - to seek His Holy countenance. Bi-iznillah. All that is good is due to barakah from our guides. By the way, it's raining tonight and if I may make a du'a with this blessed rain, may Allah guide you to the rightful master. InshaAllah.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

In my annihilation, I found You

Bismillah.


Credit: Haqqani Fellowship

"I saw the Lord with the eye of my heart
I said no doubt, It's You! It's You!
You are the one who encompassed every 'where'
So that is no 'where' except You are there
'Where' has no 'where' in regards to You
for 'where' to know where You are

Nor can imagination, imagine You
for imagination to know where You are
Your knowledge encompasses everything
So that everything I see is You
And in my annihilation
is the annihilation of my annihilation
And in my annihilation
I found you!"
_________________________

May with the barakah of our gurus who are al-kaamil (perfect) and al-mukammil (one who can perfect others) we are able to reach the state of annihilation.
Bi-iznillah.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flowering heart

Bismillah.


The Imam of the Naqshbandi Order said:
 طريقتنا الصحبة والخير في الجمعية
Tariqatuna as-suhbah wa'l-khayru fi'l- jam`iyyah
Our way is fellowship, and the goodness is in the gathering.

Definition of Fellowship:
1. The companionship of individuals in a pleasant atmosphere.
2. A close association of friends sharing similar interests.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the opportunity to gather with the Naqshbandis tonight. I am so happy, my heart feels like it's flowering. Subhanallah. I pray so that with the barakah of our imam, Allah keeps me with the jemaah for the rest of my life and that a Naqshbandi will be my loyal and loving companion here and now, and the hereafter. Ameen Ya Allah Ya Wadud.

Happy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Needing You


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah to be back in KL. It's a humbling experience when we realize our neediness. That we are fearful of our safety while traveling. That we have a thousand needs. We will never know if we would reach the next bend of the road. We are fearful, hopeful and needy.

Before leaving Penang, I took the opportunity to visit a special little mosque - Masjid Maqbul. I have heard so much about the masjid from my mother but was never inspired to visit until yesterday. As you may have guessed, I was drawn to the masjid because I had a need and was unsure if it would be granted.


The masjid is one of the oldest mosques in Penang. It started as a musolla and later rebuilt as a proper masjid in 1850s by the Malays and Indian Muslims. It had survived heavy bombings during the Japanese occupation in Malaya in 1940s. Clearly it is a masjid that was built on taqwa, by a renowned ulama, Abdul Ghani of Madura. The masjid served as an important stop-over for Achehnese (Indonesians) traders who sailed up the nearby river. As its name suggests the masjid is well known to have people's du'as maqbul.

When I realized my neediness for barakah of ulama and saints from olden times, only then did I discover the richness of the deen. That the rijalul ghayb (the hidden helpers) are always around to assist. That the deen is rich with mercy. All we need to do is humble ourselves and connect to the spiritual realm, though unseen, reachable by a believing heart.



Ibn Ata’illah said in his magnum opus Al-Hikam:
“Become realized in your neediness,
and He will assist you through His richness.”

May Allah grant maqbul to my petition and yours too.
Ameen.
Al-Fatihah to the founder of Masjid Maqbul - Allahyarham Tuan Guru Abdul Ghani.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Burn our hearts (if you dare!)

Bismillah.

O son, nobody likes a stale idea. Like the joker who wanted to burn the Qur'an, he sure has a rotten mind. Doesn't he know that the Qur'an is embedded in the breast of millions of Muslims? He may destroy a million copies, so what? Come burn our hearts! And he might as well burn up the world because the universe is in fact a Qur'an too, His words, ayah (signs) are everywhere. So go ahead light the fire!


p/s
A respected friend urged that I took a break while being home in this island in the sun. He said:
"You have walked your miles; many miles
Even in many pouring rains
Even when the sun comes back
We understood your messages
In their simplicity, in their honesty..."
Thanks Prof for the kind thoughts and wishes. You have no idea how much I appreciate your views, they are always fresh and inspiring.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sources of knowledge

Bismillah.

O son, I cannot help but worry about you for I might not be around long enough to hold your hand and guide you. But sufficient is Allah and Rasul for you. InshaAllah.

I worry about the sources of knowledge that you seek. You could learn plenty of things on the internet but do not let it be your primary source of knowledge. You must seek the audience of real guru from whom you listen to with your own ears and learn from heart to heart. Gurus whose countenance and akhlaq make your heart incline towards Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w.

The reason I am bringing this up yet again is because I noticed some blogs quoting one zikir which I am familiar with. I was concerned because that particular zikir (or any prescribed-zikirs for that matter) should only be taken from a credible source, in a respectable manner, not from one who merely quotes/borrows from secondary sources. It's also worrying because I doubt the character of the person trying to impart such sacred knowledge online.

I sincerely pray so that Allah will guide you to solehinmu'aleem, ariffeen and genuine murshid just as we have been blessed to meet and learn from one as honorable as Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki (Alhamdulillah), whose teacher was one as highly esteemed as Almarhum Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki (whom I had met once, Alhamdulillah) who learned from his venerable father Sayyid Alawi bin Abbas al-Maliki, who learned from Sayyid Ahmad al-Mujahid, who learned from Imam Muhammad al-Sanusi, who learned from Sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi who learned from Sayyid Ahmad bin Idris who learned from Rasulullah s.a.w, one zikir which came to be known as zikir of Tariqa Idrisiah or Ahmadiah.

I earnestly pray that you will meet and learn from gurus whose knowledge all trace back to Rasulullah s.a.w. This is our way. There is no other way. There is only one source of knowledge.

You may go to any universities to study anything you like, but never forget the more important branches of knowledge which stem from the tree of Muhammad s.a.w. Go search for it and by all means stand in the shade of that one blessed tree.

Sallu alan Nabi.



Monday, September 13, 2010

Insha Allah

Bismillah.

O son, there are days when you just need some soulful songs that give you hope to move on. Thank you Allah for such a beautiful creation manifested through Maher Zain. Allah Jameel yuhibbul Jamal.

"Everytime you feel like you cannot go on
You feel so lost
That you're so alone
All you is see is night
And darkness all around
You feel so helpless
You can’t see which way to go
Don’t despair and never lose hope
Cause Allah is always by your side
Insha Allah
Insha Allah you’ll find your way

Everytime you commit one more mistake
You feel you can’t repent
And that it's way too late
Your’re so confused, wrong decisions you have made
Haunt your mind and your heart is full of shame
Don’t despair and never lose hope
Cause Allah is always by your side
Insha Allah
Insha Allah you’ll find your way

Turn to Allah
He’s never far away
Put your trust in Him
Raise your hands and pray
Oh Ya Allah
Guide my steps don’t let me go astray
You’re the only one that showed me the way
Showed me the way
Insha Allah
Insha Allah we’ll find the way"
Credit: Awakening Records


Insha Allah you will find the perfect mate Allah has created for you in heaven
Insha Allah the child that you have been waiting for, will come along
Insha Allah your sickness will be gone
Insha Allah everything will turn out fine!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good du'a for us

Bismillah.

O son, I think you would agree with me that the simplest yet the best and the most important gesture a believer could ever do is hold up her/his hands to make du'a. Better still if the du'a was recited by habaib or venerable shuyukh. It is the richest nourishment a soul could get. Life would be meaningless without this simple act that distinguishes a believer from non-believers.

One habit I learned from one pious man is to place the palms touching each other on its side when making du'a. So that the two major lines on the palms would form a single line that looks like the letter ba. And for it to actually symbolize ba you should hold your hands near your chest just above the heart. If they were lower than the heart, it would look like a letter nun as the heart represents a dot below/above ba and nun. I hope you understand what I am saying as it is difficult to explain this without using a diagram.

Ba is a significant letter as it is said to contain the secrets of basmalah. Al-Fatihah is concentrated (for lack of a better word) in basmalah while the Qur'an in its entirety is condensed in Al-Fatihah. Ba is the key to your du'a (so to speak) when you hold up you hands as described.

I was inspired to share this when I received a very beautifully crafted Eid greeting from one sufi shaykh of Iran. I thought it's very meaningful and that I should extend the du'a the shaykh made for me to all of you. It's a good du'a for us, bi-iznillah. It goes like this:

"BismilLah al-Rahman al-Raheem
Salamun 'Alaikum
I pray that this email finds your esteemed noble-self in the best of healths and spirits. I wish to hereby express my humble Eid greetings to you and your noble family. May the Almighty place you among the 'Aa'ideen (those that return to His Proximity). May He also accept all your noble devotions and enable you meet so many other such months so that you are able to soar higher and higher and behold exalted realms of reality. On this Yawm al-Jawa'iz (Day of Divine Gifts) we humbly pray that Allah bestow you with all your physical and spiritual needs - Aameen. Keep us in your du'as and may the Almighty prolong your life and fill it with His Blessings. Salams and Du'as"

Ameen Allahumma ameen.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eight is enough

Bismillah.

What is a typical 1st Shawal for me? For the past ten years since I live in my present home in Penang this is how it has been. Morning after subuh is like madness in the kitchen, getting all the dishes ready before going to the masjid for Eid prayers. After the morning ritual and back at home, it's time to be mushy when the young asks for forgiveness from the old, followed by big smiles when the old gives some cash-gifts to the young. Then we'll have a big breakfast together. Then my sister would leave for her in-law's and the house would be quiet for just about 15 minutes before the neighborhood's children drop by in batches for several hours until late afternoon. On average there would be 100 to 150 kids swinging by to collect "Eid-money" (literally in Malay duit raya). Most of them refused to come in for a drink because that's not what they are after. 

Today, it started to rain around noon so a party of eight asked if they could stop by and have some food. "Of course," I said, "all are welcome but many of you are reluctant," I said half complaining. So they came in and made themselves comfortable, too comfortable I guess that they asked me if I would adopt them! One of the elder girls said, "You've treated us well, so please there's no need to give us any money. Actually all we want is attention." Ohhh! And then another girl said, "Yes, she is right, can we come by again on 3rd Shawal at 1 pm?"

Hah hah hah, what would you have said to them? In any case, may Allah make our hearts as innocent and truthful as little children.


My "children". I think 8 is enough!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eid Mubarak 1431 Hijri | Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri 2010


Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

I wanna wish all of you respected visitors of Lisan al-Din, a blissful and joyful Eid. May Allah grant us a tranquil heart so we may spread peace and love to everyone around us on this joyous occassion. I also wish to seek forgiveness if my writings had inadvertently twitched anyone's feelings. 

Ucapan Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri serta maaf zahir & batin kepada semua sahabat dan pengunjung setia Lisan al-Din. Semoga anda semua berbahagia di samping yang dikasihi.

Kullu 'Am wa antum bil Khair
Minal A'idin wal Faizin.

Yours sincerely,
E. Ismail
1 Syawal 1431 Hijri




Thursday, September 9, 2010

30th Ramadhan 1431 Hijri

Bismillah.



O Allah,
let our nourishment be
Your remembrance,
and let our wealth be
Your nearness.
- Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, Ramadhan 545 AH

p/s I remind myself and all to not forget to make tahajjud prayers on the eve of Eidul Fitri so that our hearts will remain alive on the day when all hearts will be dead. InshaAllah.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

29th Ramadhan 1431 Hijri

Bismillah.

Barikillah humma lana fi shahri Ramadhan
Barikillah humma lana fi shahri Ramadhan
Bless upon us O Allah in this month of Ramadhan

It is almost gone. May Allah grant us long life so we could embrace the holy month again next year bi-iznillah, inshaAllah.

Some of us (me included) thought that last night could have been laylatul qadar (bi-iznillah). May Allah answer all our prayers and accept our fasting and all other deeds. But let's not depend on our deeds for they are tainted with flaws as we cannot be sure of the degree of our sincerity and we will never know which ones are being accepted.

May Allah forgive our sins. May we become a better person post-Ramadhan InshaAllah.

Best wishes,
E. Ismail

p/s Today, my best friend since I was 17, visited and she had her hijab on. MashaAllah. And she is going for hajj next year. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.  

29th Ramadhan 1431 Hijri

Bismillah.

O son, please excuse me, I am doing several postings in advance as I need to spend time cleaning almost every corner of the house. And for this year's Eid, I have pledged to mom that I will do the cooking in addition to my usual duties of decorating, entertaining guests and washing the dishes. So in the meantime, please ponder over this valuable message from noneother than Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani. He is making a few salient points here. The most important one is "cease to exist and come into existence through Him." If I may summarize it in my own words - let go and let God.

"In total trust (tawakkul) there is no attachment to material means (sabab) and in the affirmation of Unity (tawhid) there is no question of regarding anybody as the source of harm or benefit. You are total self (nafs kulliyaa), total passion (hawa kulli), total habit ('ada kulliyya). You do not have a clue about total trust and the affirmation of Unity."

"Bitterness then sweetness; then breaking then mending; then death then everlasting life. Humiliation then honor. Poverty then wealth. Ceasing to exist (in'idam) then being brought into existence (ijad) through Him, for sure."

"If you endure all this with patience, you will truly obtain what you wish from the Lord of Truth. Otherwise, nothing will come true for you. Anything that distracts you from Allah is unfortunate for you, even if it is fasting (sawm) and prayer (salat) beyond the performance of obligatory religious duties (fara'id) as those recommended by the Sunna. If you keep the fast to the extent that it is an obligatory duty (fard), then afterwards the hunger and thirst experienced in superrogatory (nafila) fasting distracts you from keeping your heart in the presence the Lord of Truth, from remaining vigilantly aware of Him, from living comfortably through Him and in His company and from nearness to Him, then you are the servant of the obstacle ('abd al-hijab), the servant of creatures, of your lower self and of your passions."

"The knower ('arif) stays with Allah beneath the banner (liwa') of His nearness, together with His knowledge ('ilm) and His secret (sirr) and he moves in accordance with His judgment and His decree. When he is incapable of action, he is turned without making himself turn, moved without making himself move, and brought to rest without bringing himself to rest. He comes to be numbered among those concerning whom Allah has said: "And we turned them over to the right, then over to the left." (Quran 18:18)



RAMADHAN KAREEM!
May Allah grant us the honor of witnessing Laylatul Qadar.
Ameen.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

28th Ramadhan 1431 Hijri

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the opportunity to pray teraweh at my favorite hometown masjid - Penang State Mosque. I never thought it would be possible this year, Alhamdulillah, Allah Kareem.

What's so special about this masjid? The imam's recitations are not only beautifully soothing to the ears but more importantly they are full of ruh and leave a lasting impression on the heart.

A few phrases recited by the imam tonight made me think hard: wallahu wasi'aun alim 'Verily Allah is vast in His knowledge'; 'Allah is the light of heaven and earth'; nurun alan nur  'light upon Light', and one line from Al-Fatihah - malikiyau middin - which I often take for granted.

He is Malik, he is Master on the Day of Recompense, in the hereafter. Many can accept that but sometimes we forgot that He is also Malik here and now. At times we become heedless and make some other beings or things as our kings. Now, can you answer this question honestly? Who is your king in this world? Could it be your job, your bank, your man (or woman), or your 'self'?

Maliki yau middin.
Master of the Day of Judgement
You [alone] we worship, and You [alone] we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path:
The path of those whom You have favoured,
not [the path] of those against whom there is wrath,
nor of those who are astray.


28th Ramadhan 1431 Hijri

Bismillah.

O son, I rejoiced at watching these lovely photos. MashaAllah, tabarakallah.


Seated - Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani

Standing next to Habib Ali is our beloved Shaykh Raja Ashman.

O son, you have no idea how delighted I was to see these lovely photos!

"You must make friends with the believers (mu'minun), the convinced (muqinun), the righteous (salihun). Listen patiently to what they have to say, take instruction from them and put it into practice, then you will prosper. You must hear the words of the Shaikhs and put them into practice. You must have respect for them, if you wish for success (falah). I once had a Shaikh. Whenever I had a problem and it weighed upon my heart, he would talk to me about it without requiring me to say anything. This was due to my respect for him and my good behavior in his company. I never behaved in the company of the Shaikhs with anything but respectfulness and good manners."
- Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, Ramadhan 545 AH


Credit:  Mohamed Saud Husain facebook
All translations on Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani are from
respected brother Muhtar Holland.
Publisher credit: Al Baz Publishing

Sunday, September 5, 2010

26th Ramadhan 1431 Hijri

Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. We plan, Allah too plans and He is the best planner. I was actually planning to come home on 2nd Shawal but here I am, at home in Penang - a world heritage city. Somehow, my two weeks leave got approved. Unbelieveable but needless to say I am grateful. Allah Kareem.

O son, know that this home was built to fulfill the request of my late father. He had ordered me while on his death-bed, 'go ahead build a new home for your mother.' He had given me a plot of land and I was to construct a house. I was 25 years old then. I was very naughty while in my 20s but I tried my best to please my beloved parents InshaAllah. I can safely say that the house was built on love, bi-iznillah. And I think my love shines through because it has won plenty of praises although it's just a plain house and it has quite a number of flaws. May Allah acknowledge this little deed of mine.

"The angels are keeping watch over your outer selves (zawahir), while the Lord of Truth is keeping watch over your inner beings (bawatin). O you who build castles and palaces, while your life is spent on the cultivation of this world! Do not build anything without a righteous intention (niyya saliha), for the foundation on which one builds in this world must be righteous intention. You must not build with your lower self (nafs) and your passions (hawa)."
- Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, Ramadhan 545 AH.


p/s When our house had just completed, my mom dreamed of my late father showing the house around to one gorgeous houri! And recently my elder sister saw him in her dream, he looked handsome standing in front of some very beautiful curtains. May Allah bless his soul eternally - Ismail, a great father with a great name.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

25th Ramadhan 1431 Hijri

Bismillah.

O son, about four years ago I learned this lesson the hard way, that as advised by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, "we must set aside our own planning in favor of His planning."

Indeed the road to Allah requires real life lessons, we cannot simply learn from books and think we have mastered tasawwuf. We need to walk, fall, get up, learn our lesson and walk some more. About four years ago, I had planned to master a subject, work at a certain organization in a specified country. Everything was carefully thought out and planned. So I executed my plans but to no fruition. I tried vey hard but my efforts seemed futile. It took me a couple of years to realize that Allah wanted it differently. In hindsight, I could now see that I was motivated by my nafs, that I wanted to be successful exactly the way I wanted it to be. 

It took me so long to change from being headstrong and learn to submit myself to the will of my Creator. Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani said in Ramadhan 886 years ago: "You must erase your own knowledge in favor of His knowledge, set aside your own planning in favor of His planning, cut off your own will in favor of His will, and put your own mind out of the way on the arrival of His judgements and decrees. You must act like this with Him, if you wish to have Him as Lord, Helper and Savior. You must be calm in His presence, if you wish to attain Him."

As far as Islam is concerned, the path of least resistance is the path where you resist your own nafs, your desires, your planning etc., and follow the path set out by the Creator instead. Surely, the One who created us, knows better about us. "Allah knows and you know not."

Friday, September 3, 2010

24th Ramadhan 1431 Hijri

Bismillah.

O son, I am still perplexed that there are men who have the nerve to say: "Oh I am attracted to what you are sharing on your blog. I am a spiritual person. I have done this, donated that..." And later said,  "Come, let's go spend some time together in private."

How rude is that? This is what Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani has to say to these shayatin disguised as man. And I seek the barakah of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani so that Allah will protect me and all women, from animalistic men.

"O wretched failure, if you had any light in your heart you would be able to distinguish between what is unlawful (haram), what is legally dubious (shuhba) and what is indifferently permissible (mubah); between that which blackens your heart and that which illuminates it; between that which brings your heart near (to your Lord), and that which keeps it at a distance."

But how can you have light in your heart if you avoid the company of shuyukh? You think you are good on your own. Fine! Just don't bother other people who are trying to be a good person, who are trying to purify themselves. A'uzubillahi minas syaitan ni rajim!



Thursday, September 2, 2010

23rd Ramadhan 1431 Hijri

Bismillah.

As I am writing this, the country is on the eve of Merdeka celebration (Independence day). Never have I imagined I would be stuck here in Sibu, Sarawak tonight. Astaghfirullah, it's rude of me to say so. It is His Will that I am here and Alhamdulillah I am lying down on a comfy bed in this chic hotel room, have had a wonderful dinner and enjoying quiet time after having worked so hard the past few weeks. Alhamdulillah indeed.

By the grace of Allah, on Merdeka day of 2005, I flew to UK to pursue my ambition. On Merdeka day of 2006, I flew out from UK to Dubai after having achieved my ambition. Alhamdulillah. Glory be to the ultimate Planner.

Merdeka to me is the removal of veils layer by layer as we plod on the path towards knowing Allah. The purpose of our creation as has been quoted oftentimes is 'servitude to Allah'. Contemporary sufi scholars like Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi and Habib Yusuf Bakhour al-Hassani have all interpreted 'servitude' as knowing Allah - makrifatullah. I heard them said that with my own ears. So believe me. That He has created us so that we know Him - that we become ariffbillah.

We are veiled from knowing Allah in the true sense or in reality (haqiqah) until death comes to us. Rasulullah s.a.w the exemplar beyond compare, seeked forgiveness 70 times a day for being veiled. What about us, sinners beyond  repair (almost)?

What do we know about Him? We know His Names (asma') though many like I still struggle to memorize them in order. But InshaAllah, more importantly we are able to recognize Ar-Razaq, Al-Halim, Al-Wadud and so on and so forth. So we know His attributes (sifat) too bi-iznillah. We could see His actions (af'al) - sometimes He puts us in qabdhu state (hardship), sometimes in basthu state (ease). However, we have been cautioned not to contemplate on His Essence (zat).

Because He is limitless, Huwal awwalu wal akhiru, wa zahiru wal bathinu, He is beyond imagination. Therefore, the veils are unlimited. Henceforth, the struggle for merdeka (freedom) from being veiled is an ongoing process.

Being veiled means being engulfed in darkness. Our struggle is a struggle to leave darkness and move towards the light. Verily we will never know what light is until we come out of darkness.

May Allah increase us in makrifatullah. May we become better in knowing Him. Let's pray (one of my most favorite du'a):
Rabbana atmim lana nurana
waq firlana
innaka ala kulli syai'in qadir

"Our Lord, perfect our light for us
and grant us forgiveness.
You have power over all things."
(Qur'an 66:8)

Happy Merdeka to all Malaysians.
Happy Merdeka to all Muslims.
- 31st August 2010