Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sirath vs. Tariq


I've been listening to a talk by Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowy on 'Sirathal Mustaqim' over and over again. As always, there's something fresh and profound that came out from this gnostic soul many of us admire, love and respect.

Oh, when will I get to sit in his majlis? But I have one reason to be happy. That a friend had conveyed my salam to him while they were on umrah together. (Thank you Sister N). Alhamdulillah, one salam and I'm happy. As happy as knowing that I'd sat before Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi Al-Maliki (rahimullahu ta'ala) just once, and that's enough to be deeply grateful.

Shaykh Al-Ninowy said sirath is not the same as path. It is more than path because tariq means path too. Many people tend to interpret sirathal mustaqim as 'straight path'. Sirath linguistically means to be swallowed or covered up or colored/dyed entirely by something. When you are colored by something completely, you'll naturally lose your own color. There can't be two colors. There can't be two things. There can't be two ways. Just one way.

As-sirath is not the same as at-tariq because at-tariq alludes to many paths. It is as though Allah is saying this is 'My sirath, so follow My sirath, just one sirath.' Whereas tariq is plural, there are many paths and these might take you away from the sirath.

So, what color to put on if there is going to be just one color, the shaykh asked. The color to take on is rabbani, not insani and never shaytani. We must be absorbed in the sirath which is mustaqim, that is straight and which will take us to Allah. It does not incline to the east nor west, neither right nor left, so you won't swing here and there but go straight ahead. It is "well-paved, short and is not curvy."

And we are given examples in the following sentences in Surah Fatiha on what to follow, that is the sirath of those whom Allah has favored i.e. the anbiya, the solehin NOT those who dholal or deviate from the sirath. Shaykh Al-Ninowy further said we need to be guided constantly to the sirath, that's why we are required to repeat the surah so many times in our daily prayers.

Concluding his short but weighty tausiyah, Shaykh Al-Ninowy said the Qur'an is not just for tabarruq. We must live the Qur'an and love it! And he prayed so that Allah would grant guidance to us all. [Ameen]

Watch the full recording of his lecture here:
Credit: Masjid Jamia Al-Madina, Middlesborough UK &

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