Friday, August 5, 2011

5th Ramadhan 1432H


Oftentimes we came across the term 'nearness'. It is, to an average believer like us, a lofty station. We read, again from our book of choice 'The Sublime Revelation' that Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani in one of his Ramadhan tausiyah briefly described "one who is in the state of nearness (qurb) has no language, no prayer of supplication (du'a) and no remembrance (dhikr). Prayer, remembrance and speech are in distance (bu'd). In nearness there is only silence, quietness, contentment and enjoyment of the vision." And he went on to conclude with a meaningful du'a especially for  ordinary seeker like us who wish to attain such an extraordinary state: "O Allah let us be among those who see You in this world with the eyes of the heart, and in the hereafter with the eyes of the head, and give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire."


As we read this, a certain feeling reverberated in our heart and it heightened upon listening to Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Husayni Al-Ninowy spoke about the meanings of Surah Al-Tin and the noble characters of an exemplar ahlul bayt - Sayyidina Ali (karamallahu wajhah).

By Allah, we had shed tears reading about Sayyidina Abu Bakar As-Siddiq before. How he had to bear the pain of a snake bite, all for the love of the Prophet s.a.w when they both hid in Jabal Thur. And subhanallah, Shaykh Ninowy, the remarkable speaker that we all know, last night made us shed a tear when he described the noble characters of Sayyidina Ali with intense admiration. MashaAllah!

In reference to Surah Al-Tin, he said, Allah swore "By the fig and the olive, and [by] the Mount Sinai and [by] this secure land, Verily We created man in the best of forms. Then, We reduced him to the lowest of the low, except those who believe and perform righteous deeds, for they shall have an unfailing reward..."

He said, we were way high (ahsani taqwim) when we were born and then as we journeyed through life we become way low (asfalasa filin) because we got tainted by so many factors. One reason is because Allah endowed us with plenty of blessings - financially, physically, good education, religious/spiritual knowledge, honorable family etc. but how do we use those endowments?

Allah has created us in the best of forms and that does not mean our physical forms. We can't do much with our good forms/looks. We can't reform society based on good looks alone. But we can positively contribute to the world, we can help reform society with the capacities that is within us yakni with your soul, your spirit you can.

"So do good just as Allah has done you good!" said Shaykh Al-Ninowy.

A polished self would use the endowments in a good way versus an unpolished self. Some people seek perfection through money. They think money can make people look better, that it can cover up their deficiencies. Use those endowments to seek darul akhirah without forgetting your share of dunya. Know the difference between your essence and endowment. The beauty is in the self. The person whose self is devoid of beauty don't see beautiful things.

And Sayyidina Ali...what is the essence of Ali? He was beyond compare in that he was raised by the Beloved of Allah. Despite his endowment being a caliph, being the person he was, Ali was one who honored the working hand. He would refuse to eat anything unless he had earned it. He refused to depend on people. He preferred labor to asking or taking from people. When someone commented on him doing things they thought he shouldn't be doing, he said, the shame is in taking without putting in the effort.

We know how he managed the Baitul Mal, he worked so hard for the people. And his companion at the Baitul Mal said Ali would come when the night was at its darkest, that's when he would start going around giving out food to his community, and mind you he knew his neighborhood well. He knew which house had orphans. His companion said he noticed how Ali would place butter and honey (a prized food item during those days) on selected doorsteps. He reserved the best for the orphans!

By the time Ali got home just before fajr, what's left for him was only a piece of dry wheat that he had to break it into two with his own weight before he could take a bite from it.

What is the clothing of Ali? He had just one set of garments which he would clean every other day and it was in a bad condition that he was embarrassed he had to go to different taylors to get it fixed. Certainly Allah garbed him with a better garment of taqwa (piety) and garment of hamd (praise). These garments remained while other garments no matter how good would perish.

What is the house of Ali? He lived in a low ceiling hut. Yet the glow of gold and silver didn't fool Ali. But if you noticed after his death gold appeared to be wanting to be close to Ali. At his grave, you will have to step on a golden doormat before you could enter. Gold stayed at the doorstep of Ali, one who didn't let it distract him.

His position as khalifah didn't change him. He was honorable yet so accessible. People sometimes simply addressed him as Abul Hassan. But people nowadays seek kursi (position) and when they are in a high position, they would have a long list of titles and we will not be able to see them as easily as before. Ali has a kursi in the heart of every Muslim.

What is the sleep of Ali? The nights witnessed Ali standing in prayers and crying. He said the more I live, the more I sin. Ali felt ashamed before His Lord.

He was killed while in sujud in the month of Ramadhan. And he was smiling! Ali was going with a smile that you can even see that on his grave. Ali, one who was familiar with the roads of heaven left with a smile, he who seeked perfection through his endowments. Though outwardly he seemed superior, we looked at his house, his clothing...was the reverse, a misery.

Shaykh Al-Ninowy ended his tausiyah saying, "O people, use your endowments for the right purpose. Do not use them to cover the deficiency of the unpolished self!" 

Watch Shaykh Ninowy's video here
and you might shed a tear as I did,
listening to him speak about Sayyidina Ali so very affectionately.

Ramadhan Kareem!


  1. Salam,

    Saya rasa ada kesilapan sikit:
    Para 4, " ... Allah had cursed"

    should be "swore/swear", right?


  2. Salam Hazbu,

    Thanks for pointing out the mistake. It has been corrected. What would I do without constructive comments/guidance from visitors/readers like you.
    Thanks again.