Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Hijri Year Resolutions - 1433H

Al Awwal

Bismillah.

What becomes of a bygone year? What has gone into the annual report?

heedlessness | repetitive mistakes | laziness | poor resolve | indiscipline | vain talks | spendthrift | gluttony | rushed salat | lifeless nights | backbiting | overzealous passion | ignorance | lack of adab | selfishness | indulgence | ingratitude | succumbing to nafs | impatience | absence of heart | ........| ........| .........|    

I pray Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala Al Awwal, the First, the One whose existence is without a beginning, the One who created us with His Mercy, just as He has created us in the beginning with His mercy, may He not withdraw His mercy after having seen our transgressions, our misdeeds, our mistakes, our carelessness committed in the previous year and which are bound to recur in this new year.

La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu minaz zalimin.   

"If the previous year has ended and the new year begun, and someone has not thought about increasing his fatih, establishing the Sared Law of His Lord - if he has not sought a meaning of nearness to his Creator; then he is heedless and has joined the ranks of the heedless who are unaware of the passing of days, months and years."
- Habib Umar bin Hafiz, 1st Muharram 1433H

"May Allah make 1433 a season for closeness to Allah, a season of brightness and softness of our hearts, for better relations with Al-Khaliq the Creator and with al-khaluq, the creation. May Allah s.w.t  make our days better than yesterday."
- Shaykh Ahmad Saad, 1st Muharram 1433H
_______________________________________________
Al Awwal poster by Hamid Iqbal Khan
You may purchase it here:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Hijri Year Prayer by Habib Ali bin Muhammad al-Habshi


Bismillah.

Knocking at Allah’s door
Habib Ali bin Muhammad al-Habshi’s supplication for the beginning of the year

In his book, "A Breath of Fragrance", al-Habib Umar bin Ahmad bin Abi Bakr bin Sumeit refers to Habib Ali in the following terms: ‘He is an Imam about whose sublime sainthood there is unanimity, as there was universal witness to the fact he was the rising sun of the horizons, the vicegerent of the master of all Envoys and the incumbent of an exalted station in the ranks of those drawn nigh to Allah, the blessing of existence and the ka’ba of munificence’. Come and share with us the oratory of his soul.


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah the All-Merciful the All-Compassionate.

All praise is Allah’s, Lord of all creations.
O Lord, with all beauteous names (Allahuma),
bestow blessings and peace upon our master Muhammad,
our supreme access to You,
in the answer to what we supplicate for,
the achievement of what we aspire to,
and the forgiving of such wrongdoings as we have committed,
and upon members of his household and his comp
anions
and those who support him.
Indeed, elapsed in our span of life is a whole year.

You have garlanded us in it with Your bounties
for which we are unable to offer gratitude,
and You have protected us in it
from evils and unpleasant things
from which we could not have protected ourselves,
and we have put into it works
of which You are All-Knowing.

Such good deeds which You have enabled us to do in it,
may You please accept that from us,
and may You record them in Your presence as virtuous works,
and may You forgive us the blemishes
of ostentation, and self-glory, and self-embellishment,
and other things as have interfered with them,
and may You make them a means through which
we are led to Your good pleasure and drawn near to You.
And such evil deeds and errors as we have committed.

and actions unpleasing in Your sight,
and intentions which are unrighteous
[such of these that we may have committed]

with our limbs and our hearts
we ask You, Allahuma,
by virtue of Your essence
and Your names and Your attributes,
and by virtue of the sublime Qur'an
and Your revealed books,
and by virtue of our master Muhammad,

Allah bless him and bestow peace upon him
as well as members of his household,
and by virtue of whosoever has rank before You
amongst all Your created beings,
that You will forgive all those wrongdoings
and cover all those defects,
and that You will favour us
from Your ample, magnificent, generosity
with all that we aspire to,
and that You will exchange our evils actions for good ones,
and that You will enable us to attain Your good pleasure
at the highest level of our aspirations
and the uppermost limit of our wishes.
And we, as You know us,
have our forelocks in Your hands
and our entire affair, in all our states, come back to You,
and whatever good opinion we cherish regarding You,

You are well aware of it,
and our absolute dependence upon You,
and extreme need of You,
are not concealed from You,
and here are our hands
stretched out towards You
and our hearts are focused upon You,
do not therefore, turn us away empty handed,
O, the Hope of all aspirers!
And the Refuge of all refuge seekers!

Show mercy unto he who calls You
when he believes that You are his Lord
and comes exclusively to You, when indeed,

You are his sufficiency.
After the outgoing year
a new year has come upon us
while we do not know
what has been pre-ordained in Your knowledge regarding us.
And our hope is
that You will open for us, in this new year,
a door of sincere, genuine, repentance
from which we shall not renege,
and that You will grace us in it
with the ability for virtuous works,
acceptable to You,
that will in turn grace us
with Your good pleasure towards us,
and that You will employ our limbs in obedience

that is well-pleasing in Your sight,
and our hearts with love for You,
and love for whomsoever You love,
and love for whatsoever You love,
and that You will expand our hearts
and grant them the capacity
for Your special knowledge,
with which You have ennobled such of Your servants

that are possessed of knowledge about You
and virtuous saints,
and that You will sustain us with taqwawith which You have ennobled servants of Yours

who are endowed with taqwa[that You will sustain us] with its essence,
its fruit, its main roots and its branches
and may You lodge us in the highest stations of rectitude,
and raise us to certainty at the highest levels of certainty,
and that You may grant us entry to the path of following,
in words, deeds, intentions, and works,
Your beloved,
the most honoured of created beings in your presence,
namely our master Muhammad, may Allah bless him

and bestow peace upon him,
as well as his household,
and that You may make ample our share of love

for this beloved and of following him
in all our states
and that You make us, O our Lord,
among the happiest of people by virtue of him,
and those closest to him,
and among those who cherish the greatest lasting love for him,
and may You honour us with the vision of his honoured face,

Allah bless him and bestow peace upon him and his household
whilst he is well pleased with us,
in sleep and our wakeful moments,
in this world, the world in between and the hereafter,
and may You honour us, O our Lord,
with complete and copious blessing in our works,
our intentions, and our sustenance
and in our movements and stillness,
and may You make the coming years of our lives
rotate around firmness in our religion
and dedication to Your service,
and may You protect us in all this from the evil of Satan,
and his works,
and from the evil of the evil-commanding soul, and its work,
and from the evil of worldly temptation,
and may You protect us from plunging into its gewgaws,
and its decorations,
and from such tests as derive from
it
in the area of wealth and dependents
and things other than these,
and from yielding to ruinous passions,
and may You protect us from being overwhelmed

in the domain of ephemeral desires,
and from evil companions and their companionship,
and may You make our renewed spans of life
all employed in what is well pleasing to You,
and such bounties as You have generously bestowed upon us,
may You enable us to offer gratitude for that,
and may You make us, O our Lord,
among those who hold firm to the firm handhold
of sincerity towards You, in all our pursuits,
and may You embrace in all these supplications

our children and our parents,
and our friends and our brethren in religion,
and endow us with an immense strength
which will [further] strengthen us in obedience to You,
and in the discharge of Your obligation upon us,

in the manner that You like,
and with which You are well pleased,
and may You grant us a plentiful share with which

to strive vigorously in Your service,
and in the constancy of such works as will earn

Your good pleasure,
and may You open for us, a manifest opening,
in the reflection of the magnificent Qur'an,
and in the access to its secrets,
and in the excellent manners at the time of reciting its verses,
and when listening to them,
and may You grant us, O our Lord,
the memorisation of its words
and the fulfilling of its obligations,
and the response to its call,
and the hastening to abide by its commands
and the avoidance of its prohibitions,
and may You make us amongst a people

who are loyally wedded to its rights,
and may You appoint it for us, in Your presence,

a witness of sincerity through fulfilling what it calls us to,
O Most Merciful of the Merciful,
[since every merciful one receives the gift of mercy from You],
and may Allah bestow blessings on our master Muhammad

and his household, and upon his companions in their entirety,
and the praise is Allah’s, Lord of all universes.
________________________________________________
Those deserving our warm gratitude for their help in this work are quite a few. They include Sayyidina al-Habib Abd al-Qadir bin A’bd ar-Rahman bin U’mar al-Junayd for his guidance, Bibi Zainab Ali Foum, Shaikh Nassor bin Maalim Abdalla bin Maalim Mohammed Abu Bakr, Mohammed Ahmed bin Himid Mbaye, Rashid A. Saleh, Maalim Ibrahim Ahmad Musa, Ali & Arif S. Dahoma, Fatima Issa Kara, Ahmad Ibrahim Khalid, A.R., Nuru Adam, Shaikh Abdalla Miraja Othman, Alawi bin Shams az-Zaman al-Haddad – they all look forward to duas for their various connections to this modest contribution.
Quoted from:
Shaykh Abdul Karim Yahya's blog

Wishing all of you an excellent year ahead.
Your brethren in religion,
Ezza
1st Muharram 1433 Hijri

Friday, November 25, 2011

On being forgiving


Bismillah.

We all apologize and seek forgiveness in many ways. We try to redeem ourselves in our own unique ways. Someone from a distant place sent a bouquet to admit a mistake and apologize. Who am I not to forgive? AlHamdulillah Allah make our heart soft enough and our mind sane enough to realize when we have inadvertently transgressed in our speech and actions and hurt people's feelings.

We should know that there's no point in being super-religious in our relation with Allah yet careless about our relationship with people. Many are overly focused on hablum minallah but lukewarm about hablum minannas. I think that stems from one being self-centered on attaining the paradise, of doing something and expecting a reward.

We are all the same, we are all weak. Indeed if Allah reveals our shortcomings, not a single soul would want to be near us. I heard Imam Suhaib Webb said something very frank and candid as you would expect of him. He said everyone has got issues. "The imams too have problems", he said. Yes, I know some shaykhs do too. We are the same in that we all have our own problems. But I think it's not a problem so long as we don't involve people, avoid stepping on people's toes and if we do, just say sorry.

There's one munajat I learned from Al Hikam which really humbles me every time, because I know my past, I know my flaws, I know my warts. I discovered it during my early days of returning to Islam.
Ilahi kam 'asika wa anta tas turuni.
O Lord, I have transgressed yet you cover up my flaws.

I want my Lord to forgive me, so I will forgive those who have wronged me.


Al Afuw

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Remember who you really are." - Habib Umar

Bismillah.

Let's sit down and reflect on who we really are. We are nothing and we started off with nothing. Along the way we pick up all sorts of things and carry with us until we come to the destination. Eventually, we will have to declare our baggage to the rightful Owner cum Accountant who will audit every single thing. If that is the case then we have nothing to be proud of. And those things we amass along the way are ours not because we deserve them or because we are so smart in acquiring them, but they are given solely out of the Lord's generosity. So what's there to be so proud?

That's roughly what the honorable Habib Umar bin Hafiz was saying to a question on how we can purify our lower selves from pride (`ujub)[1]

Sayyid al-Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him) answered: “By remembering who you really are. Your reality is nothingness and your ending is being taken to account by Allah. So what is there to be proud of between nothingness and being taken to account?

Allah says: You have not received any blessing except that it is from Allah.[2] All bounty belongs to Allah; you possess nothing. So witness your Lord’s generosity, and beware: were He to take you to account for your best actions He would punish you. However, out of His bounty He rewards you, shows you His generosity and multiplies your good deeds. Reflecting on this will remove your pride.”

[1]  `ujub can be defined as being content with your own actions and states and seeing them as great, while forgetting that Allah is the One who bestowed them upon you.

[2] Al-Nahl, 16.53

Source:
http://abdulkarimyahya.com/2011/11/15/advice-a-cure-for-pride/
Translated from the Arabic by Ustadh Amin Buxton
Al Mutakabbir poster credit: Hamid Iqbal Khan
Purchase here: http://hamidsart.redbubble.com/works/5741274-al-mutakabbir

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Al Mumit | The One who renders the living dead


Bismillah.

We all know the one Name of His which really none make zikr on. It's one Name which we never repeat over our tasbeeh. We just don't do it. So when do we remember Al Mumit then? How exactly are we supposed to remember the One who renders the living dead, the Creator of death? When do we remember death - the thing that cuts off all pleasures? In a hadith by Tirmidhi the Prophet s.a.w said: "remember frequently the thing that cuts off all pleasures" i.e. death.

I think it's ironic. You might think it's weird. But it's true that I am inspired to reflect on Al Mumit after reading the eulogy for Steve Jobs [THE man behind Apple, in case you didn't know]. His last words, according to his sister, were: "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."

I know as Muslims, surely we hope our last words would be la ilaha illAllah. We want to die in tawhid, while proclaiming His Oneness. Remember the one unforgiveable sin is shirik (polytheism). Who knows if indeed we truly proclaim His Divinity, that we are a believer of One God, none other than Allah? Allah is the name of His Essence. There is no God but Allah, that's our belief. Steve had probably called his God by some other name but who knows if Steve might have actually believed in one God?

If you watched Shaykh Hamza's lecture, the one recorded in Makkah and Madina ('Rihla 2008' produced by Sandala), you will see how open Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's thinking is towards "non-believers". I can appreciate his perspective and I completely agree with him that we should not be too quick to label the non-Muslims as kuffar in that we should not easily judge them or make a holier-than-thou verdict, 'oh he is kaffir!' Really we know not! Shaykh Hamza also said that we should appreciate the presence of the non-Muslims because they are part of the Divine plan. They co-exist with the 'believers' for a reason.

Just yesterday, a friend of mine was telling me about a book he read. It's about an experiment where a group of 'religious' people and 'non-religious but good samaritans' being given a certain test to ascertain their true values, so to speak. And the outcome was that not all of those who were 'religious' actually passed the test. The results were in fact quite balanced.

Of course, this reminded me of my own negative experiences with at least four 'shaykhs'. They all had some kind of followings (i.e. students), all carried a religious persona, all had a good degree of Islamic knowledge, Allahu a'lam. But they projected enough negative traits to make people doubt their calibre. So I could relate to Shakyh Hamza when he mentioned spiritual pathologies and people who become victims of their own imbalanced spiritual devotion and/or extremism. 

In any case, Allahu a'lam, but I think when we die, we would want people to remember us for our good actions, not so much our preaching, our image, not our long jubbah etc. You may or may not agree. I think it would be nice if  we are remembered at least as someone who heals, who loves, who gives, who helps, who smiles, who spread happiness, who contributes in a good way.

Many of you have all those traits, I know. So perhaps I should take this opportunity before death comes to me, and you, I say thank you for being you, for being one who heals, who gives, who helps, who smiles and who spread happiness. You have contributed in a good way, in your own way InshAllah. For that I say, O wow, O wow, O wow!

By the way, do you reckon Allah only see your acts and not Steve's acts? Remember, we are just human; death is inevitable; and we all want a good ending, don't we?
_________________________________
Al Mumit poster credit: Hamid Iqbal Khan
To purchase his art:
http://hamidsart.redbubble.com/works/5705525-al-mumeet

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi on how to supplicate to Allah


O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You
what is Yours lest I misbehave.

O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking for what
You did not decree to happen;
lest I transgress my boundaries.

O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from supplicating You
while I am in a state that is unpleasant to You
lest I be rejected.

O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from calling upon You
in a time when You do not allow it,
lest I be prevented.

O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You
for what You did not predestined for me.

O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You
for what You predestined for others.

O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You
for what has already been decreed to happen
from pre-eternity and has been determined
regardless of my actions.

If I do, it is only in obedience to You,
and for supplicating and beseeching You;
not to object or suggest, and not to hasten
the execution of Your decree
or make it happen.

O my Lord! I supplicate You only to show
my state of powerlessness
and to remind myself of its inherent flaws;
as You my Lord love the servant who supplicates
in a state of humility and need,
but do not love the servant showing sufficiency and will.

O my Lord! I ask You while I am aware
that You predestined my supplication,
just like You predestined Your grants.

O my Lord! I ask You while I am aware
that You made it appear that my supplication
is the cause of Your grants,
only to allow me to witness the course of Your action
in what is being done;
and to allow me to see with my heart
the transcendence of Your Attributes in motion and stillness.

O my Lord! I ask You while I am aware
that You predestined my supplication
inasmuch as I am aware that You predestined not to grant it
in order for me to come back to You with full submission;
and to acknowledge that You are
the Omniscient and the Wise;
and to witness the oneness of Your Authority
and Dominance over the world of things
and the world of spirits;
and to allow my heart to witness all Your Attributes.

O my Lord! I ask You and call upon You
to obtain the honor of being included amongst
the ones You call to You;
and to attain the quality of servitude
when You call me "O my Servant" when I am before You;
and to get the pleasure of hearing Your address to me
when You say, "I am answering your call."

So, my Lord, make all my supplications to You
a door for me to get to You,
and a key for bringing me close to You,
and a ladder for me to climb the steps of servitude to You.

O my Lord! I ask You for guidance in all my affairs,
as You have recommended;
and ask You of Your boundless Bounties as You commanded
while I am aware that the Pens have been put aside,
and the books have been closed.

My aim is to bring my intellect
out of reflecting upon what it wants
to reflecting upon what You want;
and in hope of changing the course of my actions
from what You do not like to what You like;
so that time is saved and I stand
in full submission before You.

Since bringing about what You do not want
belongs to the realm of impossibility,
thinking about it brings exhaustion and busying with it
is a cause of distress.

Out of Your wisdom and justice, You hid the secrets
of the inaccessible knowledge from most people;
and out of Your Mercy and out of Your Bounty,
You revealed signs of the inaccessible knowledge
to an elite group of Your servants;
yet You revealed the secrets of Divinity in what You hid,
and concealed the Lights of Lordship in what You revealed.

O my Lord! make me, when, upon supplication,
I receive the grants, rejoice that Allah guided me
to ask for what was decreed;
and do not make me when seeing the grants
rejoice that Allah answered my call
and gave me what I asked for.

Make us rejoice for being guided to ask of You
what You have permitted to happen from pre-eternity;
and do not make our rejoicing limited
to the favours You just granted us.

The guidance You grant to Your servant,
to direct him to ask for what You like is a bounty
that You bestow only upon those You select,
while others become attached
only to the gifts given to them
upon their supplications,
which makes the gifts a veil
detaching them from You
and pulling them towards the created beings.

Our Lord! Pour on us the various aspects
of Your bounties and mercy;
and make us a target of the manifestations of Your Wisdom;
and include us in the people You love,
regardless of what You decree upon us;
and of the people who are attached to You,
whatever You bring to us.
 
As he who knows You does not need others;
and he who seeks You will travel through all orbits.












The above is quoted from:
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi's Facebook - 9 Nov 2011.
I will die with regrets if I didn't 
copy and share this amazingly profound du'a.
________________________________________________
Bismillah poster credit: Hamid Iqbal Khan
To purchase his art:
http://hamidsart.redbubble.com/works/4311190-bismillah-hirrah-man-irrahim

Monday, November 21, 2011

No room for created things

"If the heart and its consciousness
—which is the inner sight (basira)—
is filled with images of created things,
its attention is focused on them
and it is dependent on them,
from where will spiritual lights dawn
in the midst of this heart
that is occupied with
spiritually opaque forms?"
- Habib Umar bin Hafiz


Bismillah

Allahu Akbar! This hit me hard. Very often our hearts are filled with created things, creations, creatures, lower nafs and the like. Things which could make one confused and lost to the bottom of one's soul. Created things, creatures all can be extremely deceiving. Opaque forms they are, said Habib Umar. They can make the heart very murky.  Recently, I discovered, sadly, even creatures who have just performed hajj can deceive you! Astaghfirullah, what can we count on then? So what remains as a sane, acceptable, basic yardstick in dealing with people? Seriously, I don't know anymore.

Still, in Allah we find the strengths to move on and to keep our hopes.

To all the wonderful visitors/readers/friends (you know who you are), thank you for your kind words and du'a. May Allah keep us in the company of good people who bring out the best in us. May Allah protect our hearts from unbefitting attention.
Ameen.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Friday! Something to smile about.


Bismillah.

A day to feel shukur and smile.

"Smile for smiling is a sunna, not an artificial business smile but with the intention of following the beloved (peace be upon him)."
- Mufti Muhammad's tweet


There is a fine lesson hidden in that tweet, that we should not just simply smile but to smile with  a good intention. I think that's important because we often smile very naturally without thinking and oftentimes, without thinking means without a conscious intention.

Jumaah Mubarrak!

_______________________________
Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
is a teacher and lecturer of the Islamic sciences,
author of several books, and Director of Darul Iftaa, UK.
http://daruliftaa.com/
https://twitter.com/#!/Mufti_Muhammad_

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Habib Umar on muraqaba


Bismillah.

We cannot avoid but quote the venerable habib again, subhanallah his succinct definition of muraqaba seems like a phrase one should consider memorizing and have it engraved in one's heart so that its meaning reverberates with each heart beat and breath. Because it is very easy to be absent from such consciousness as one tends to lose one's awareness of Him in a split second. Astaghfirullah! We are putting it here for our own good and for the benefit of our loved ones. May we remain close-knit in our common concern - Allah s.w.t.

"Being mindful of Allah (muraqaba) is feeling His observation of you, His encompassing you, His seeing your innermost soul, His knowledge of what flows in the depth your being, and that you are before Him—every part of you exposed to Him, Glorious and exalted is He. Mindfulness causes constant presence [with Allah] as well as the realization of humility (khushu') in worship."
- Habib Umar bin Hafiz
via his Facebook

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Allah is fair and all-knowing


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, I just wanted to record my witnessing of how fair Allah is and all-knowing. This is a bit personal but it's worth sharing as we reflect upon life's drama and Allah's af'al

Alhamdulillah, my parents trained me to respect guests especially if they are spiritually learned, InshAllah. One ustadh once offered and promised to bring a renowned shaykh to my house for a majlis. Needless to say I got very excited so for weeks I spent time and energy cleaning the house, moved the furniture around, polished the glasswares, rearranged some heavy plant pots and what not, and even stood in the hot sun to paint the front gate and fence all by myself. Alas, the shaykh didn't turn up, but he was not to blame. I later learned that the ustadh was actually known for being careless and unreliable in his words. That was in fact my third experience being misled by a 'pious' man.

Then recently a shaykh said he would visit our family on a specified date. So I baked some cakes, decorated the house and bought a bouquet of lillies and his favorite tea etc. Alas he didn't turn up.  I excused him the first time. Then he set a date again, so I baked cakes and bought some lillies again. But he failed to turn up! But I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he's a shaykh. Then he promised to come for the third and fourth time, so I baked cakes and bought lillies yet again. But again for the third and fourth time he broke his promise! I finally let go!

For several days my mind boggled why a shaykh would do such a thing. Alhamdulillah, Allah gave the strength to move on. Alhamdulillah amidst the thorns, Allah gives us some beautiful roses - genuine friends whose prayers and support we could benefit from. Friends whose very being simply soothe our heart.

Today, a friend who has just got back from hajj, a hafiz who never boasted about his spiritual knowledge but whose actions speak louder (volunteers as imam and teaches Quran to children in his spare time) one who lives 10,000 miles away, today, this friend of mine surprised me with a bouquet of lillies! Allahu Akbar!

I have witnessed repeatedly how Allah is fair, for every wound He inflicts on you, He sends a cure.
SubhanAllah!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Prophet Muhammad's lineage (s.a.w)


Bismillah.

"Ma'in shahin 'aqin kamin kalaghfa min
Kakhmin ‘amin ma'in, to here they are known."

Ma - mim - Sayyidina Muhammad s.a.w
'In - 'ain - Abdullah
Sha - shin - Shaybah
Hin - ha - Hashim
'Aq - alif - Abdul Manaf
Qin - qaf - Qusay
Ka - kaf - Khilab
Min - mim - Murrah

The above are lines from Qurrat al-Absar by Shaykh Abdul Aziz al-Lamti, a Morrocan scholar born in 1475 CE. Translated into English by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf in "The Discerning Eyes' Delights", it consists of 397 lines of poems on the life and virtues of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

They are mnemonics crafted by Shaykh Abdul Aziz to aid the memorization of the Prophet's (s.a.w) ancestors.
(to be continued InshAllah)

Credit: Sandala.org

Monday, November 14, 2011

Habib Umar bin Hafiz on being present and near with Allah


Art by Hamid Iqbal Khan
Bismillah

"I counsel you to have a present heart and submissive limbs in all your acts of worship for that is how you attain the fruits of those acts of worships and become invalid in their lights."

"I counsel you to be conscious of Allah or mindful of Allah in every state. Your heart should be unceasingly aware that he is watching you and near to you."

"Remind and admonish your lower self/nafs and call it to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good teaching. Acquaint it with the reward eternal bliss, honor and elevation and great fortune it will gain through obedience. Acquaint it with the painful torment and great shame that it will receive by abandoning obedience and committing the acts of disobedience." 

"I counsel you not to spend any portions of your time or a single breath except in doing something which will benefit you in the hereafter or in your life here, which will assist you in the hereafter or in your place of return."

"So this beneficial counsel that bear fruit, that of are beneficial and they can produce the result of turning to Allah and exposing oneself to forthpouring of divine grace."

"I counsel you to have a present heart. The meaning of presence is that its feeling some meanings of Allah's Attributes or the meanings of His Name Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the attributes of His Greatness. When the heart reflects upon Allah's beautiful Names and Allah's sublime attributes and the meanings of His greatness and magnificence. Then at that point, the heart is present and for this reason presence with Allah only occurs in the various types of worship and acts of obedience."

"The cause of distant from Allah is heedlessness or unawareness."

"The cause of nearness is presence. As long as the heart is present with Allah, that person is increased in nearness and whenever a person is unaware of Allah, heedless of Allah, that person is severed and distant."

"Presence of heart then is its feeling the greatness of Allah, the meanings of His Names and Attributes and its reflectiing the sign of Allah, the magnificence and pondering on that which has been narrated from Allah and His Messenger."

"I advise you to have a present heart. The presence of heart and the submissiveness of limbs in all of your acts of worship. It means tranquility of the limbs."

"Submissiveness, khushuq means both presence, magnificence, reflecting on the meaning and pondering on the meaning and also the meaning implies fear, hope and shyness."
- Habib Umar bin Hafiz
As interpreted by Shaykh Abdul Karim Yahya

Click at the link below to watch the full video:
http://abdulkarimyahya.com/2011/10/11/lesson-beneficial-counsels-lesson-4/
To purchase above art:
http://hamidsart.redbubble.com/sets/155690/works/6503178-allah-art

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shaykh Hamza's tears of love


Bismillah.

SubhanAllah. He is simply a beautiful being, a beautiful soul - Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Listening to his beautiful voice, watching his beautiful gestures, articulating his vast knowledge of the deen with great eloquence, that is a common sight to many of us who follow him. But, SubhanAllah to see such a beautiful being trying to hold back his tears as he spoke about love and love of Rasulullah s.a.w, mashaAllah!

Watch and listen to Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's lecture on Qurrat al-Absar, courtesy of Sandala here:
A recording done in 2008 in Madinah al-Munawwarah.

I have witnessed some very rare and beautiful moments in the video when Shaykh Hamza tried to hold back his tears as he talked about people weeping over places where the beloved Prophet s.a.w used to be, quoting a poem 'I passed the houses of Layla and kissed the walls of the houses....' he paused and as tears welled up in his eyes, he said - "It's just so beautiful!...You kiss the walls of the houses...but it's not the walls...have enraptured my heart...but love...the one that lives between those walls..."

MashaAllah. TabarakAllah!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

O Light upon lights


Jabal Nur - Nov 2, 2011
Credit: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
Bismillah.

O Allah, I beseech You
Just as You had honored me with the tawfiq
to walk up the mountain
to walk into the holy chamber of Hira'
honor me with moments of peace, nearness, gratitude
and amazement at Your Beauty
again and again....
as breathtaking as it was
atop Jabal Nur

O Allah, I implore You
that the gravels, the dust, the sand, the rocks
and the sheeps
all those that once witnessed
my footsteps on the mountain
my lonely presence
my standing still
the string of Al-Ikhlas recited
the fond remembrance of Ummul Mukminin
the mountain of hope for Al-Amin
the trust in Your promise for the Reunion
O Allah, I beg You
make me hold firm to Your deen

O Light,
I am contented with the dark
though in fear and despair
lest I yearn not for Your lights
O You who teach by opposites
so long as I see You
with it, before and after...

O Mui'zz
still I beseech You
don't keep me long at the bottom
raise me to the top
So I could marvel at Your lights again
Nur,
Majestically beautiful You are
O Nur!

-E-

Friday, November 11, 2011

Zikr for hard times - by Habib Umar bin Hafiz


Al-Latif
by Hamid Iqbal Khan

Bismillah.

This was taken from the Interpreter's Path blog by Shaykh Abdul Karim Yahya. It was like a glass of cold water for thirsty me. It's very simple to do yet with barakah of Habib Umar bin Hafiz the effects will be tremendous bi-iznillah. I sure hope you would find it useful and benefit from it too InshAllah.

"At the Question and Answer session of Red Sulfur tazkiya lesson 7 (May 9), a couple of beneficial questions were raised regarding trials and tribulations to which Sayyidi Habib Umar (may Allah preserve him and spread his benefit among us) responded with the following Prophetic prescriptions:

One should read:
يَا لَطِيف
Ya Latif
129 times in the morning and evening.
Increase the number to 133 in times of difficulty.

(Al-Latif is one of Allah’s names and is sometimes translated as “gentle” or “subtle.” Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf (may Allah preserve him) said it encompasses all the names of Allah which express His beauty. By reading this name morning and evening one will be constantly in the realm of Allah’s care and gentleness. The meaning of “lutf” is Allah bringing benefit and deflecting harm from an individual in a manner that that individual is unaware of)."

Click here
http://abdulkarimyahya.com/hu-tazkiya-lessons-red-sulfur-and-the-greatest-elixir/dhikr-in-times-of-hardship/
for another zikr prescribed by Habib Umar
for times of great distress.
To purchase above poster: Hamidsart at gmail dot com
http://hamidsart.redbubble.com/sets/155690/works/5729845-al-latif

Jumaah Mubarrak!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

They who ignite the light of our hearts


Bismillah.

Al-Hamdu lillah, to be present at the recent 300th Haul of Imam Al-Haddad held in Shah Alam, Malaysia, but my heart felt an awkward void from that day until today, feeling guilty for not being able to record anything from such a grand majlis. I was choked with frustration hearing the voice of Habib Ali Zainal Abidin making some brilliant speech, yet the ears could not register a single word due to bad echo.  I thought circumstances might be different if the honorable Habib Umar bin Hafiz was present. He was the guest of honor at last year's haul and it was amazing, SubhanAllah!

But today the heart suddenly got re-ignited upon discovering this spark of brilliance at the Interpreter's Path, thanks to Shaykh Abdul Karim Yahya. Someone asked Habib Umar 'What is the best way to give life to the heart if its light has been extinguished?' And here is the answer given by Habib Umar, quoting Imam al-Haddad the Haddad al-qulub, the purifier of hearts. 

"What Imam al-Haddad mentioned about taking knowledge from the Qur'an and Sunnah (Prophetic Way), with the attributes he mentioned, is the path to giving life to the heart. These attributes are: performing acts of obedience without influence of the ego and caprice, and not having expectations from people and having presence with Allah and remaining in a constant state of dhikr (remembrance)."

"In the text Imam al-Haddad summarises how we should prepare ourselves for the Divine forth-pouring. He says it is through spiritual struggle which cuts off the roots of desire, while maintaining unceasing directedness towards Allāh in the outward forms of worship. This is expressed in one’s consistency and keenness in reading one’s regular litanies (adhkar) and praying one’s prayers and reciting the Qur’an with presence of heart. The Imam mentions in this counsel and in the counsels that come after it, many means through which the hearts are brought to life."

"Another important foundation in bringing the heart to life is having a strong attachment to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) who Allah chose to be our Prophet and was sent to teach us and purify us and take us to Him. We must nurture our longing to meet him and accompany him and we must invoke abundant blessings (salawat) upon him."

"May Allah bring your heart and ours to life and the hearts of all of those watching and attending, and all of those connected to us and all the believing men and women seeking this goodness. May Allah give life to our hearts by the sanctity of the one who was sent to give life to the hearts. You said to us: answer the call of Allah and His Messenger when He calls you to that which gives you life."

Ameen Allahumma ameen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Timeless and precious hajj advice by Shaykh Sohail Hanif

Bismillah.

Today, 13th DhulHijjah is the last of Tashrik days. One thing I learned to appreciate about Eidul Adha is that we get to recite the tahmid/takbir not just on the Eid day but for four days altogether, from the 10th to the 13th of DhulHijjah. I only realized this fact quite late in life, thanks to my late father for trying to impress it upon me year after year.

AlHamdu lillah, Eidul Adha is becoming more meaningful than it used to be. Thanks to the advent of technology, those who are not performing hajj could still get a feel of the ritual and many could fantasize how their own hajj might be like: I would do this here, I would do that with my partner, I will see this and I might feel that. But Shaikh Sohail Hamid said "the hajj is not a romantic picture," it is going to be loaded with things which are beyond our control. Our submission to the Will of Allah and our claim of slavehood will be put to the test. So no matter what happens, the shaykh said we must be pleased with whatever Allah chooses for us, over any romantic pictures we might have chosen for ourselves.  

http://qibla.com/resources/hajj-advice-from-shaykh-sohail-hanif
Shaykh Sohail has for many years been giving talks on hajj and the one most important advice that he would give is not about action but of attitude. He said it's something that we need to sprinkle over everything we do on hajj. This attitude is taken from the attitude of the person who inaugurated the rite of pilgrimage, the one who sacrificed his family, whose voice spread over the land. People have been responding to his call for hajj for thousands of years already. It is the attitude of Prophet Ibrahim a.s.

Shaykh Sohail asked, what was the state of Prophet Ibrahim's attitude? What did it represent? In a verse in Surah Baqarah, Allah said whoever turns away from the way of Ibrahim makes himself a fool. And Allah has selected him for this world and will grant Ibrahim an equally good ranking in the next world. So what is the secret of his way? When the Lord said to him, submit, he said "aslamtu li Rabbil 'Alamin" I have surrendered to the Lord of the world. The state of Prophet Ibrahim a.s is in fact identical to Islam. His name is the only name that is conjoined to the word Islam. Throughout the Qur'an he was referred to as a Muslim. Islam is the secret. 

What is Islam? There is a lower level and a higher level to the meaning of Islam. The lower level is when one enters the religion to become a Muslim. The upper level of the meaning Islam is one who is in total surrender to the will of God. Prophet Ibrahim a.s. in many occurences have submitted to the will of Allah. He was willing to slaughter his son Ismail, he was willing to leave the baby in the dessert, he left his people and was thrown into the fire unperturbed, said Shaykh Sohail. This is Islam - surrender. It is the highest station for a person to attain. Again there is an inner and outer manifestation of Islam. Outwardly, we follow the religion's instruction such as solat, fasting etc. Inwardly, we are supposed to taslim or surrender to the will of Allah. To perform the hajj successfully, we are required to do both.

Imam Ghazali said the rites of hajj contain actions that the mind can't quite figure out. Why do we do the tawaf 7 times; why do we throw 7 pebbles at the Jamarah on diferent days, why do we wear three pieces of clothing; why do we have to go to different locations to do certain things. In this regard, hajj is powerful. We need to do the rites, deeming it sacred. We feel honored to do it for Allah even though the mind may not be so familiar with it. We feel blessed to do because those are the rites of hajj.

Hajj requires our submission to circumstances that are outside of our control. Hajj is not just about doing the tawaf, sai'e etc., it is the entire journey. We might have to face a rude immigration officer; maybe we will be made to wait very long; our accomodation may not be as what we expect it to be for the price we have paid. We must realize that all of these is the worship of hajj. Therefore, we can't be angry, upset or miserable, else we will waste the opportunity.

Why do we go for hajj? We go for hajj for Allah to forgive our sins; because we are slave of Allah; we go with the realization that we are not important, we are nobody, we go to lose our identity in the sea of everyone, we are not important to ourselves - I am a slave so who am I to be complaining when I am here to be slave of Allah? Allah will test our claim of servanthood. We may have a romantic picture of what we are going to do on hajj. We may have our doa book for tawaf but we might get pushed and end up not being able to read, so are we going to be frustrated about it? We should be feeling, 'This is what Allah wants from me.'

The day of Arafah is real hajj. It is a sacred moment. It is a real day of mercy so you may plan in your mind what to do on that special day. But you may get a headache and feel feverish so you can't concentrate. If Allah chooses you to be sick on that day, be happy with His choice for you. If you get sick then that is your nature of worship that moment. Worship him with your headache. You must think, 'I am not important. What You want from me is better than what I want for myself. I am Your slave.' So really the hajj is not a romantic picture. Hajj is the example of this life, a life for the sake of God.

What does the Qur'an tells us about hajj? The Qur'an says no arguing. The sunnah tells us other requirements about hair etc. In hajj we have to deal with people and this is where Allah will test our servanthood. Therefore, Shaykh Sohail advised us to be patient, relaxed, content and calm, and to surrender to what Allah gives us, and to be pleased with it. This is not to scare us but things do happen. Hajj is not a holiday.
 
Concluding his talk, Shaykh Sohail quoted a poetry about surrendering to 'Salma' or the Divine Will. It says 'go wherever she goes, follow the winds of destiny and turn however they turn.' So, go with what Allah gives you and be content. But the shaykh is not telling us to be passive, we can do something to fix a situation but we must not do it with passionate anger and bitterness.
__________________________________________
Wallahu a'lam.
The above is a sketchy transcript of Shayk Sohail's lecture.
Please click on the link Qibla.com to view his video.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tashrik Days 1432 Hijri

Bismillah.

Some of our more fortunate and blessed brothers and sisters, though wheelchair-bound were praying at the best of all masajid, some of them, both young and old were seen reading the Qur'an,  some were stoning away their bad attributes at the Jamrah, some with every step they took circumambulating the Kaaba, purified their souls and uplifted their spirits. And here we are waiting for the Divine invitation, longing for the much awaited call, for the golden opportunity to be hujjaj, someday bi-iznillah, Insh'Allah. Allah hears, Allah answers, at His appointed time and at His Will.


Pic Credit: http://www.youtube.com/hajjlive

p/s Subhanallah, I was overjoyed and overcome with emotions
when my best friend who is on Hajj
texted me saying
she was almost done with the Jamrah
and that she had dreamed of me twice!
Al Hamdu lillah.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Allah hears | Allah answers

Bismillah.



Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar
La ilaha illAllah
Allahu Akbar
Allahu Akbar walillah hil Hamd

_________________________________________

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eidul Adha 1432 Hijri | Eid Mubarrak!

Imam Masjidil Haram
Solat Eidul Adha 1432H

Eid Khutbah
Bismillah.

Wishing all of you a blessed Eid. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala keep you and your family in His mercy and protect you from bala' and fitnah. May He grant you much joy and happiness.

The Imam at KLCC mosque where I attended this morning spoke about Prophet Ibrahim a.s. as a role model for all hujjaj. Towards the end of his khutbah he mentioned a du'a attributed to the Friend of Allah: 
“O our Lord, in You alone we trust,
and to You alone we turn for help,
and to You is the final return."

Rabbana 'alaika tawakkalna
wa ilaika anabna
wa ilaikal masir

A du'a many of us are familiar with but it's most meaningful when the heart has become really tired and hopeless and only wants to turn for help from Him alone. And du'a becomes very meaningful when it's uttered with tears as did the Imam at Masjidil Haram when delivering the Eid Khutbah today.

WaSalamu 'alaykum warahmatullah,
Yours sincerely
E

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Kaaba Kiswah | Gone with the old | In with the new

Bismillah.
5.25 am Fajr Prayer 9 ZulHijjah 1432H
Before the Kiswah change
6.26 am - New Kiswah about to be rolled down
6.27 am - First glimpse of the new beautiful piece
6.29 am
7.03 am Close up of the new piece
7.12 am Stitching the final touches
After Zuhur - In with the new

Just as Allah has beautified the Kaaba
with a new covering,
may He replace everything that is old, worn out
and less attractive about us;
May He garb us with a fresher, cleaner
and more beautiful adornments
zahir and batin.
Ameen.

Pilgrims of life

http://www.youtube.com/hajjlive

Bismillah.

We are all pilgrims. All kinds of pilgrims we are - a wanderer, a traveller, a wayfarer, towards a distant place which is purer, holier, a more promising and tranquil place; towards a clearer consciousness of our existence and that of our Creator's. As we make the journey we walk alongside many other pilgrims. As selfish as we may become in taking steps toward our destination we cannot deny the other equation of life. It is not just about our relationship with the object of our journey, our Creator, there is also the other aspect of our relationship with fellow creatures. Can a pilgrim so self-centered and focused on getting a better view of the Light trample upon others along the way? No, one cannot simply push people aside and hurt them, no one, not anyone from any sections of the society, especially if he has some degree of knowledge above others. 

I wish to expose a story of a pilgrim who was in Madinah last Ramadhan. He supposedly have mingled with renowned shuyukh because he himself is a 'sheikh'. This learned 'sheikh' while in Madinah had approached a handful of women on the internet with the intention to marry. But Allah knows best his true intention. Picture this: a good looking 30-something bearded Caucasian male, with blue eyes, wearing white jubbah and imamah and carrying a stick, so very sunnah in outer appearance, wandering about the world meeting other 'shuyukh' and 'mureed' while actively pursuing women on the internet only to mislead and cheat them.

Imagine if your sister were to cross path with such a pilgrim? One who claimed to be living on constant consultation with his guru - a Qadiri Tariqa guru based in Chechnya, a guru who emphatised with his obedient mureed thus 'allowed' the lonely mureed to sleep with woman prior to nikah. Imagine the pilgrimage of such a 'guru'? Allah Hu Allah. Imagine the many kinds of pilgrims of life! Sisters around the world, especially those in England, beware! If he was a true 'sheikh' the other shuyukh in the U.K would surely know him, but unfortunately no.

In the lesser pilgrimages I was privileged to make, the pilgrims who had touched my heart didn't appear overly religious at all. I cherished an old Indian lady pilgrim who prayed next to me, who out of the blue leaned over to kiss my cheek. I cherished a Bangladeshi woman who patted on my head like I was her daughter. I cherished a Malaysian brother who conversed with me very politely and we have remained friends for 6 years now. Al-Hamdu lillah.

In this blissful season of hajj, let's ask ourselves what sort of pilgrims are we? Do we put a smile on people's face or do we plant a thorn in their hearts?

May Allah let us mingle with beautiful men and women. May Allah protect us from evil pilgrims.
Ameen.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wukuf | Arafah | Ma'rifah


Bismillah.

I remembered one most-often repeated advice given to me by one tariqa murshid - "be in wukuf". What that meant was to theoretically forget oneself (annihilate) and focus one's mind on Allah and get on with zikr.

Just about now as our friends are getting ready to make their way to Arafah, we can only imagine what's playing in their minds and hearts as they approach the area. And here we are.

Here I am on the eve of Eidul Adha weekend, feeling emotionally slaughtered by one recent event. My pride and dignity may have been slaughtered but does it really matter if or when I "be in wukuf". Things only matter when there is "I". In Arafah there shouldn't be anymore "I-s" but Thou O Allah. As depicted in the photo above, the "I-s" become blurry and insignificant.

That brings me to this du'a as practised by Sheikh al-Akbar Sheikh Muhyiddin Ibn al-'Arabi. O friends, if you knew the price I have had to pay to be given this du'a, you would be crying with me...wallahi!  

Nas 'alukallahumma
bi nuuri wajhikallazii
mal 'a-arkaana arshika
an tazra'a fii-qalbi ma'rifatika
hatta a'rifaka haqqa ma'rifatika
kamaa yambaghii 'an tu'rafa
Ya Allah.

I ask You (O Allah)
by the light of Your Countenance
which fills every corners of Your Throne,
that You cause to grow in my heart knowledge of You
until I know You, with true gnosis,
in what should be known about You,
O Allah.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Imam Zaid Shakir on successful days of Dzul Hijjah and beyond


Bismillah.

Al-Hamdu lillah, we are still lingering in the first ten blessed days of Dzul Hijjah. On a personal level the days have been very challenging. But that is the nature of our world says Imam Zaid Shakir in his Dzul Hijjah address. He said, "Imam Ali said, 'whoever knows the nature of this world, trials become easy to deal with.' So we should not be surprised by it. Nor should we be waylaid by it. We should just "take it on with patience and dignity because there is tremendous reward in it."

Earlier today,  we learned from the booklet gifted at the recent Haul of Imam al-Haddad that there are four weapons for a mukmin to face the Iblis (shayatin): seek solace in a masjid, read the Qur'an, perform solah and gaze the countenance of the 'aleem and zahid.

And yes, al-Hamdu lillah, we felt a little better after watching Imam Zaid Shakir spoke very succinctly, reminding us on the fundamentals of our existence and doing the basics to make the Dzul Hijjah days as successful days, InshAllah.

He said, "we should continue to do the work we are here for that is striving to attain Jannah and to behold our Lord and to serve others. We should be asking ourselves, am I serving Allah? Am I depositing my trust in Allah? Am I serving humanity? Am I doing anything to push people to become better?" He encouraged us to take advantage of the first ten days of  Dzul Hijjah because scholars have agreed that the days of Dzul Hijjah are better, while the nights of the last ten days of Ramadhan are better.

"We should be reading the Qur'an with the same himmah (enthusiasm) we may have in Ramadhan. A day where the Qur'an is left untouched on the shelf is not a successful day. Make the days successful by saying a kind word to people, by removing a harmful thing from the path, by smiling and meeting people with a cheerful countenance. If we could do all that, then that's a good day."

Imam Zaid Shakir further said that "a successful life is merely a succession of successful days. So worry not about having a successful life. Instead, let's worry about our days and let it be successful because we take the time to remember Allah, to read the Book of Allah, to counsel our brothers and sisters and to extend a helping hand to someone in need of assistance. If we could do all that day after day, we'll have a successful life. May our lives, may our days, may our hours, our moments be successful. And may they be filled with remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala..."

Wallahu a'lam. The above is not a verbatim/complete transcript. Please watch the full video here.