Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 7)



Bismillah.

19. Aws & Khazraj

In Yathrib, the tribes of Aws & Khazraj lived
alongside the Jews their relationship stiffed
Anticpated the Prophet with feelings mixed
waiting anxiously for his arrival from Mecca

A saintly Jew named Ibn al-Hayyabin
much revered for his amazing skills
brought rain in times of drought
from Syria he migrated to meet the Prophet

In Yathrib he died
with an unfulfilled wish
"O Jews, what was it, think ye
that made me leave a land
of bread and wine
for a land of hardship and hunger?"
"I came to this country
in expectation of the coming of a Prophet
whose time is near.
To this country he will migrate.
I had hopes that he would be sent
in time for me to follow him.
His hour is close upon you."

Situation in Yathrib was that of a mixture
The Arabs liked Muhammad but not his preaching
The Jews liked his message but not the man
Eager to hear from the Meccan pilgrims

Meanwhile, conflicts were deepening
Three battles had been fought in Yathrib
Aws figthing the Khazraj's clans
Seeked the help of Quraysh was the plan

The Prophet offered them a better scheme
that of his mission and religion
onto them recited the Koran
young Ilyas was impressed and spoke his position
"People, by God, this is better than what ye came for!'
But the Aws leader took offence
Quraysh refused them a helping hand

Ilyas ibn Mu'adh passed soon thereafter
professed words of God's Oneness
praises of Him and glorifications
died as the first man in Yathrib to enter Islam

20. Abu Jahl & Hamzah

In Mecca as believers were increasing
So too hostility towards the Prophet
Mocked at him at Hijir Ismail as he circumambulate
react to their slander, rendered them spellbound
"O Quraysh, will ye hear me?
Verily by Him who holdeth my soul in His Hand
I bring you slaughter!"

One prominent enemy was Abul Hakam
Abu Jahl he was known of Makhzum
The father of ignorance
feared for his ruthlessness and cruelty

Seeing Prophet seated at Safa
he hurled him words of abuse
to his heart's content Abu Jahl poured his hatred
silence was the reaction of our noble Prophet

When Hamza Abu Umarah appeared from hunting
a woman who witnessed Abu Jahl's evil
quickly related how the Prophet was ill-treated
Hamza hastened to confront Abul Hakam
who admitted his ugly reviling

21. Quraysh Make Offers and Demands

As Hamzah began supporting Islam
The Qurayshis became conscious of the implications
Utbah bin Rab'ah offered himself as volunteer
appealed to the Prophet for the sake of their common ancestors
offered him properties, kingship and honor

The Prophet recited unto him words of the Koran
and Utbah was visibly amazed
Muhammad ended his speech with prostration
for Utbah he had won over
returned to his people a different person

The Quraysh clearly unhappy
demanded to see the angels, mountains and gardens
questioned the role of Rahman, a man of Yamamah
how could it be?

The prophet saddened by the opposition
received a new support from one Abu Salamah
the son of his aunt Barrah
then came his rich cousin Arqam
to the believers he offered his house
so they could gather free of fear

[To be continued InshaAllah]

Monday, January 30, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 6)



Bismillah.

16. Worship

After the first few revelations
Muhammad began to share
with Khadijah and trusted companions
about his encounter with the Angel
and the holy words' descent

One day Gabriel appeared again
on a hilltop he made water gushed
washed himself as in the ablution
Muhammad copied the angel and learned

Then Gabriel stood, inclined, prostrated and sat
showed the postures and movements of the prayer
From Allahu Akbar to Assalamualaykum
Muhammad observed and practised
performed before Khadijah at home
then both eventually prayed together

The religion's foundation established
on the two premise
of ritual purification and prayer
Khadijah was first to embrace
Then Ali and  Zayd

Then came Abu Bakar
a man of influence and calibre so good
urged people to follow the Prophet
Abdu Amr and Abu Ubaydah were the firsts to listen
Abdu Amr later changed his name to Abdul Rahman
the slave of the Infintely Good

A man by the name of Khalid
consulted Abu Bakar about his terrifying dream
while on the verge of a fire pit Muhammad saved him
Khalid entered Islam at the hand of the Prophet
a secret kept from his powerful father Sa'id

Uthman too had a dream
a voice told him
"Sleepers, awake,
for verily Ahmad hath come forth in Mecca"
He crossed path with Talhah
who received words from a monk in Bostra
about a Prophet named Ahmad the son of AbdAllah

Talhah and Uthman compared notes
on their return to Mecca they visited Abu Bakar
Talhah's cousin brought them to the Prophet
into the faith the duo committed

Abdullah ibn Mas'ud converted too
for he saw a miracle of Muhammad
who made a ram's udder swelled with milk
said dry and it dried, to his amazement
Ibn Mas'ud entered Islam and proved a good talent
memorized the Qur'an by heart,
a cause of wonderment

Prophet Muhammad was distressed by the heavenly silence
until one night when he was awakened
"O thou art wrapped in thy cloak, arise and warn!
Thy Lord magnify! Thy raiment purify!
Defilement shun!.."

On another night came another warn
"O thou who art wrapped in thy raiment
keep vigil all the night save a little...
and with care and clarity chant the Koran"

The stern revelations were followed with more gentle ones
Onto Khadijah God sent His Salam
so the Prophet conveyed the message from Gabriel
"God is Peace and from Him is Peace,
and on Gabriel be Peace"
was Khadijah's response

As more revelations poured forth
Prophet Muhammad transmitted them to those near
Sacred words were recited, memorized,
and passed from one to another

The Qur'an taught many a subject
of earthly things, death, Resurrection
and the Last Judgement
of Hell & Paradise, of the Glory of God
His Oneness, Truth and  Wisdom
of Goodness, Mercy, Bounty and Power
His Signs, the nature and of harmony
all pointing towards the Sole Originator

Meanwhile, the believers greeted each other
"Peace be on you"; "And on you be peace"
Phrases of gratitude too was practised
So was Bismillahirahmanirahim

17. "Warn Thy Family"

The pioneer believers multiplied
they were mostly young and devout
Then came many more of the Prophet's cousins
Ja'far, Zubayr, AbdAllah ibn Jahsh,
UbaydAllah and Abu Salamah
Sa'd Abu Waqas and his brother Umayr

All his four uncles were reluctant though
with Abu Lahab showing the most resent
But the Prophet was asked to warn
all his family and nearest kin
a task seemed hard to overcome

The Prophet called Ali to prepare a feast
so he could gather the family and said his piece
Ali had brought only a small portion
but Prophet made it enough for all to drink and eat
So Ali witnessed the Prophet's extraordinary feat

They all ate and before he could address them
Abu Lahab said something and made everyone leave
The next day Ali was asked to do the same
Prepared meals and called upon them
"O sons of Abd al-Muttalib,
I know of no Arab who hath come to his people
with a nobler message than mine.
I bring you the best of this world and the next.
God hath commanded me to call you unto Him.
Which of you then will help me in this
and be my brother, mine executor
and my successor amongst you?"

Ali was the first to speak up and pledge
But he was ridiculed, for he was too young a boy
One of the Prophet's aunt - Saffiyah did too
Then Umm al-Fadl and later her three sisters
Then another woman - Umm Ayman
Zayd married her and bore him a son
Usamah grew up in the noble household
as the Prophet's beloved grandson

18. Quraysh Take Action

The Companions often ventured to the Mecca suburbs
pray together in private they would
but one day some idolaters mocked them
Angry Zuhrah instantly injured one of them

It was an isolated incident
for the companions refrained from violence
when the revelation came calling for patience
"Bear with patience what they say
and part from them with a courteous farewell
and also deal gently with the disbelievers
give them respite for a while"

Some of the leading men of Quraysh
confronted Abu Talib
intolerant of Muhammad they had become
threatened to fight both of them

Prophet Muhammad made known of his stand
"I swear by God, if they put the sun in my right hand
and the moon in my left
on condition that I abandon this course
before He hath made it victorious
or I have perished therein
I would not abandon it"

Muhammad stood up to leave his uncle
as tears welled up in his eyes
Abu Talib instantly made a vow
"Son of my brother,
go thou and say what thou wilt,
for by God I will never forsake thee
on any account"

The Qurayshis were upset about Abu Talib's defiance
Muhammad's new religion was becoming a big threat
Their idols would be challenged at the upcoming pilgrimage
no doubt that he was acting like an evil sorcerer
The Qurayshis positioned teams on all inroads of Mecca
Visitors were forwarned of a Meccan persona
one who was loved, whose eloquence unmatched
his majestical presence they tried to mar

Tried they did but to no avail
not to one by the name of Abu Dharr
on hearing from his brother Unays about a Prophet
off to Mecca he went in search of Muhammad
asked him to recite the words of the Koran

Surprised that he was a man of Bani Ghifar
robbers they were as highwayman
"Verily God guideth whom He will"
so he testified as a Muslim man

Then it was the turn of Tufayl
a poet and a remarkable man of Bani Daws
the Qurayshis made a special effort to warn
"O Muhammad, thy people told me this and that
and they so frightened me about thy state
that I stuffed mine ears
lest I should hear thy speech.
But God would not have it but that
He should make me hear thee...."

The religion of Muhammad
was greatly talked about
both the good and the bad
and toward Yathrib the faith then spread

[To be continued InshaAllah]

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 5)



Bismillah.

13. The Household

Muhammad left his uncle to live with his new bride
she was more than his beloved wife
a friend, a confidante and a mother
of two sons and four daughters
basking in happiness of their family life
in joy and sorrow bonded together

Qasim the eldest died before his second birthday
Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Khaltum and Fatimah
all their girls survived
while the last boy passed away

On his wedding day Muhammad had set his slave Barakah free
but he was gifted with a new slave
15 year old Zayd - a present from his wealthy wife
one who was proud of his ancestry

His father Harithah hails from a prominent
northern tribe of Kalb
His mother was from the Tayy
whose chieftain was Hatim, a poet-knight
Zayd had been accidentally captured and made a slave
On seeing a pilgrim of his tribe at Mecca,
Zayd sent a poem home
"Though I myself be far, yet take my words,
Unto my people, at the Holy House
I dwell, amidst the places of God hallowed,
Set then aside the sorrows ye have grieved
Weary not camels, scouring the earth for me
For I praise be to God, am in the best
of noble families, great in all its line"

When news of Zayd reached his father and uncle Ka'b
they both rushed to free him
but Zayd, much to the dismay of his family
had chosen to stay with Muhammad the renowned
from then Zayd ibn Muhammad he became known

The family received these guests regularly
Safiyyah - Muhammad's aunt
Zubayr - her little son
Salma - who delivered all of Khadijah's children
Halimah - Muhammad's foster mother
Then Ali - son of Abu Talib too joined the family
Together with Zayd, the two boys kept their 4 girls company

Those who were also considered family were:
Abu Sufyan - Muhammad's foster brother and cousin
AbdAllah - his cousin from Umaymah & Jahsh
Zaynab - AbdAllah's beautiful sister
Abu Salamah - the son of Muhammad's aunt Barrah

From Khadijah's side were:
Halah - her sister
Abul As - her nephew who later married their daughter Zaynab
While Ruqayyah and Umm Kalthum married the sons of Abu Lahab
Last but not the least one to be among the household
was noneother than Umm Ayman
one whom Muhammad called "the mother"

14. The Rebuilding of the Ka'bah

The Ka'bah's walls were not very high
just slightly above the height of a man
to rebuild it was the intent
adding a roof to protect the Holy House's content
but a snake had prevented the good plan

Until an eagle came to snatch it away
the Qurayshis felt relieved
God had finally consented
Still they were fearful
Abu Lahab attempted to lift the stone but failed

Walid then braved himself
Axed part of the walls and waited for some signs
When it was all clear Walid continued on
all the walls were hacked
but green cobble stones made them stop
no further could they proceed
loud shudder ran through Mecca
as a man tried to uplift the foundation of Ka'abah

Inside the corner of the Black Stone
was a piece of note in Syriac
No one knew until it was shown to a Jew
"I am God, the Lord of Becca
I created her the day I formed the sun and the moon
and I placed round about her 7 inviolable angels
She shall stand so long as her two hills stand
Bless for her people with milk and water"

Another note came under the Station of Abraham
"Mecca is the holy house of God
Her sustenance cometh unto her from three directions.
Let not her people be the first to profane her"

Then it was time to lift the Black Stone
The Qurayshis argued for 4 or 5 days
An arbitrer had to be appointed
one who first entered the mosque
it happened to be Muhammad
what a great coincident

Clever plan he devised
using a cloak, fair for all 4 clans
as he made the final step
placed the Black Stone with his own hands

15. The First Revelations

Muhammad's authority had since then become more apparent
He began to see true visions in his sleep
increasing preference to solitary
a tradition of the Ishmael's family

Years passed by and Muhammad's expedition continued
climbing up to Hira became a routine treasured
coming down only to fetch his meals
Muhammad would be greeted
"Peace be on thee O messenger of God"
though he was alone with the stones and trees

In his 40th year in Ramadhan
Muhammad by himself in Hira Cave
an angel in the form of man greeted
"Recite!"
but he couldn't
The angel embraced and said
"Recite!"
"I am not a reciter" confessed he
The angel hugged again and repeated once more

"Recite in the name of thy Lord who created
He createth man from a clot of blood
Recite, and thy Lord is the most Bountiful
He who hath taught by the pen
taught man what he knew not."

So he recited and the words engraved in his heart
Fearful of being possessed
he fled down the mountain
suddenly a voice filled the air
"O Muhammad, thou art the Messenger of God
and I am Gabriel"
it was the man who visited him in the cave
but he was so huge filling the entire horizon

Ran to Khadijah he did
"Cover me, cover me!"
Obliging and patient a wife she was
until her man calmed down
and related his experience nervously

she consulted Waraqah
who affirmed Muhammad's noble stature
Muhammad then get on with his rites in Mecca
one day he saw Waraqah in the House's vicinity
"Thou will be called a liar and ill treated
and they will cast thee out
and make war upon thee
and if I live to see that day
God knoweth I will help His cause"

Then the time came for the second revelation
So Muhammad was appeased
"Nuun, by the pen and by that which they write
no madman art thou
through the grace of thy Lord unto thee
and thine shall be a meed unfailing
and verily of an immense magnitude is thy nature"

There was a brief silence before the third revelation
so Prophet Muhammad was further reassured
it was clear to him what his roles were
and what his mission must be.

[to be continued InshaAllah]

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 4)



Bismillah.

10. Bahira the Monk

Abd al-Muttalib didn't leave much wealth for his children
Except Abu Lahab who made his own fortune
Abu Talib the uncle was rather poor
so Muhammad earned a living as a shepherd wanderer

One day his uncle took him to Syria
Their caravan halted at Bostra
near a cell where a Christian monk lived
Bahirah noticed the caravan's extraordinaire
a cloud stopped above and tree branches lowered
some signs he knew of a coming Prophet

Curious Bahirah held a feast
invited each and everyone on the caravan
scanned the faces of all who came
but none seemed to fit the description
apparently young Muhammad had been left behind
to care for the men's camels and baggage
Bahirah summoned his presence at once
only to confirm Muhammad was the wanted man

Bahirah interviewed him knowingly
even asked to see his back
Lo! the seal of the Prophet he behold
To Abu Talib, Bahirah pressed on
"What kinship hath this boy with thee?"
"He is my son," said Abu Talib
but Bahirah knew better: "it cannot be that this boy's father is alive"
"Take thy's brother's son back to his coutry, and guard him against the Jew,
for by God, if they see him and know of him that which I know,
they will contrive evil against him.
Great things are in store for this brother's son of thine."
Thence Bahirah acknowledged the Prophetic signs

11. A Pact of Chivalry

Abu Talib returned to Mecca with his nephew
where the latter mingled with Abbas and Hamzah
Muhammad was an average man, in archery he excelled
a promising bowman blessed with great eyesight
as did his ancestors Abraham and Ishmael
Hamzah was gifted with physical stamina
a good swordsman and a strong wrestler

Muhammad flexed his skills in archery
in the battles between Kinanah and Hawazin
Zubayr and Abu Talib employed him
impressed they were with their nephew's bravery

A time came for the Quraysh to make a pact
to uphold justice and protect the weak
pledged unity to defend the Meccan
at AbdAllah ibn Jud'an's they took an oath
Muhammad was proud to be one of the folks
So was Abu Bakar, a relative of Jud'an


12. Questions of Marriage

Muhammad now in his 20s
travelled ever more frequently
amidst a good life with Abu Talibs 3 sons
Talib, Aqil and Jaafar
and the uncle's 3 daughters
including Umm Hani a special one

Love grew between them
but Abu Talib turned Muhammad down
in favor of Hubayrah
a man of Makhzum Umm Hani to marry

Muhammad's fate took a sudden turn
in the hands of  a rich lady merchant
Al Amin as he had come to be known
Khadijah paid him double for a trade to Syria
honest, reliable and trustworthy were his reputation

Accompanied by Khadijah's Maysarah
their caravan stopped again at Bostra
caught the sight of a monk named Nestor
who spotted Muhammad standing under a tree
"none other than a Prophet" claimed he
Maysarah was not surprised at the monk's words
for he too saw Muhammad's worth
protected beneath two angels' shades
honorable was he

On concluding the trade Muhammad reported to his employer
Khadijah was becoming aware of his charming physique
not just his poised demeanor
At 25, Muhammad was of a medium stature
his broad shoulder framed a proportioned body
his hair and beard were black and curly

lights shone from his forehead and large oval eyes
eyelashes were long, extensive brows adorned
had a beaked nose and lips were wide
and white skin tanned by glorious sun

Khadijah conscious of the 15 years difference
wondered if he would marry a mature woman
Nufaysah was soon appointed as spokeperson
By this time Maysarah related to Khadijah
what the monk had said about Muhammad the prophet
she consulted cousin Waraqah who confirmed the epithet

Khadijah eventually invited Muhammad
expressing her intention:
"Son of mine uncle,
I love thee for thy kinshipwith me,
and for that art ever in the center,
not being a partisan amongst the people for this or for that,
and I love thee for thy trustworthiness,
and for the beauty of thy character
and the truth of thy speech."
So loved up he made her

To begin the sacred ceremony
young Hamzah was given the task
with his nephew Muhammad
off they went to see uncle of the bride
20 camels would be her dowry

[to be continued InshAllah]

Friday, January 27, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 3)


Bismillah.

My summaries of Martin Lings' chapters of  'Muhammad - His Life Based on the Earliest Sources'. Dr. Lings who was also known as Abu Bakr Siraj Ad-Din, was born a Protestant. Born on 24th January, 103 years ago, he died an accomplished Muslim in 2005. One whose body was buried in his England rose garden, whose spirit remained a fragrant flower among prominent Islamic scholars.


7. The Year of the Elephant

Abrahah a viceregent of Abyssinian had ruled Yemen
adorned Sana'a with cathedral so grand
to rival Mecca that was his intent

Kinanah of Quraysh trespassed his church
made Abrahah furious hence fixed a revenge
attack Mecca with a great army
with an elephant leading the men

Arabs of north Sana'a resisted him
failed miserably and lost their leader
Nufayl captured but offered himself a ransom
guide the enemy against his own tribesmen
A man of Tai'f offered a helping hand too
though he died in Mughammis, a blameworthy man

Abrahah sent a messenger to Mecca
Wished not to fight except to destroy Ka'bah
Abd al-Muttalib took the challenge and confronted the foe,
demanded his stolen camels
200 of them altogether
'I am the lord of the camels' said he
'and the temple has a lord who will defend it'
 But Abrahah doubted it, so "we shall see"

Abd al-Muttalib ordered the Quraysh to head for the hills
as he and a select few prayed at the Ka'bah
Abrahah was getting ready to fight
but Nufayl took control of the elephant
made it kneel instead of charge
much to Unays' dismay, the animal refused to obey his guide

Then Abrahah's troop got swarmed by birds too many
each had 3 pebbles killing his army
some survived and retreated to Sana'a
but many died afterwards including Abrahah

Elephant and Unays however, escaped
While Nufayl fled to the Meccan hills
Quraysh became even more prominent
'the people of God' they came to be known
God honored their Ka'bah with His protection

AbdAllah had missed the whole event
as he was busy travelling with a trade caravan
fallen ill while in Yathrib,
died when Harith came to meet
the entire Mecca terribly grieved

Pregnant Aminah was in deep sorrow
found solace in her unborn child
beaming light as far as Syria
for 'thou carriest in thy womb the lord of this people'
some voices whispered to AbdAllah's widow

Muhammad was born a few weeks later
a name suggested by the whisperer
She was also asked to say:
'I place him beneath the protection of the One,
from the evil of every envier'

Abd al-Muttalib came to fetch his grandson
took him to the Holy House in his arms
let his son Abbas kiss the sweet newborn
before sending him back to his mom

8. The Desert

Arabs customarily sent their babies to the desert
escape the town's epidemics
for fresher air and quieter time
let them suckle and wean among the Bedouin

Preferring nomadic life to fixed settlement
tent dwellers they were, free to move
unlike the townsman prisoned by permanency
nobler is one who is lord of his own space
desert life makes one more eloquent

Aminah wanted the same for her child
searched for a nurse of Bani Sa'd ibn Bakar
a tribe reputed for nursing and child rearing
Halimah binti Abu Dhu'ayb was one of them
came to Mecca looking for a nurseling

Halimah was feeling unlucky
a weak ass for travel and her breasts were dry
an old camel deprived of milk was all she had
a poor nurse she was desperate for a rich baby

None was on offer except an orphan
Halimah was initially reluctant
Muhammad's family didn't meet her expectation
no choice she had but to take him home

Her fate suddenly changed with that decision
her ass travelled faster unlike before
breasts overflowed to her son's delight
who shared feeding with Muhammad so both were full
her old camel's udders were milking too

Halimah and husband Harith were very pleased
baby orphan brought them some great gifts
enjoyed bounties for two full years
as Muhammad grew unmatched by others

Boy was taken to her mother
to whom Halimah begged to keep him longer
Aminah agreed to let them go
back to the desert with feelings of wonder

Muhammad was playing with her brothers
when two men in white appeared from nowhere
onto Muhammad they did cut
the brothers all testified

Halimah & Harith searched everywhere
but the men disappeared sooner
leaving neither scar nor traces of blood
found nothing save the boy's birthmark
an oval shape between his shoulders

Three years later Muhammad remembered better
two men in white came with a gold-basin of snow
split his chest and opened his heart
removed a black clot therefrom
then washed them with snow
the men uttered some words he did hear:
"Satan touches every son of Adam
the day he is born
except Mary and her son"

9. Two Bereavements

Halimah and Harith got afraid of that incident
they took him back to Aminah in Mecca
feared for his safety they wanted the boy returned
but Aminah believed her baby was extraordinary

Muhammad lived in Mecca happily
loved by grandfather, uncles and aunts
played with cousins Hamzah and Safiyyah
Mother then took him to Yathrib to visit family
a slave girl Barakah was to accompany

Ill Aminah passed away in Ahwa'
at the tender age of six
poor-fated Muhammad
orphaned yet once more

Barakah took him back to be with Abd al-Muttalib
grandfather loved him very dearly
Young Muhammad given special attention
was even brought to the chief men's Assembly

Doting grandfather left him too
only 2 years after his own mother
in the care of Abu Talib he was entrusted
despite two bereavements
Muhammad continued to be loved
with pride and merriment

[To be continued InshaAllah]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 2)


Bismillah.

My summaries of Martin Lings' chapters of  'Muhammad - His Life Based on the Earliest Sources'. Dr. Lings who was also known as Abu Bakr Siraj Ad-Din, was born a Protestant. Born on 24th January, 103 years ago, he died an accomplished Muslim in 2005. One whose body was buried in his England rose garden, whose spirit remained a fragrant flower among prominent Islamic scholars.

4. The Recovery of a Loss

Abd al-Muttalib loved being in the Hijir
sitting and sleeping on the tomb of  Ishmael & Hagar
once upon a time he chanced upon a figure
"dig sweet clarity" he was told by the speaker

The second night it came again
"Dig beneficence"
then disappeared yet again
On the third night the thing showed up
"Dig the treasured hoard" it called out
On the fourth night Abd al-Muttalib heard it at last
"Dig Zamzam, dig her, thou shalt not regret..."

Abd al-Muttalib finally got the clues so clear
Got up and went about the Ka'bah
in search of her
From north to east to west to south
circumambulating around each and every corner
Black Stone - Iraqi - Syrian and Yemeni
going round opposite the sun
7 times until the lights shone brighter

Took the lock on Ka'bah door and said a prayer
when two birds perched on 2 statues a 100 yards yonder
there all the signs laid on the ground
of blood, ants' nest and dung

Abd al-Muttalib began the task
one axe for him and one for Harith
side by side, digging
some people protested, others surprised
Isaf & Na'ilah, two idols had to give way

Allah! He hit the well's covering
loads of treasures the Jurhum did bury
crowd started to gather and be merry
draw lots they did to divide
between Ka'bah and Abd al-Muttalib
none Quraysh to keep despite

5. The Vow to Sacrifice a Son

Abd al-Muttalib was a man so blessed
handsome, wealthy,
generous and wise
restored Zamzam all by himself

but deep down he was despondent
wish he had ten sons
prayed to Allah to make it happen
sacrifice one of them he secretly planned

the boys came along
one after another until the tenth
all grown up but he favored none
save 'AbdAllah the youngest one

Oh, was it time to fulfill the vow?
Abd al-Muttalib's word was his bond
Gathered the young men
and revealed his oath

father and sons headed for the Ka'bah
and the lots were cast as they stood patient
alas it was the one he loved the most
apple of his eye, little Abdullah

Fatimah, the mother came to witness
a pillar of strength for all grief-stricken
"Wherefore that knife?" yelled one after another
Abd al-Muttalib made to explain his intention

Mughirah, the chief of Makhzum
broke his silence
offered everything he owned
so 'AbdAllah would escape from doom

The 9 brothers finally speak up
defending 'AbdAllah, begged for ransom
consult a woman of Yathrib was one solution
hear her say about expiation

Abd al-Muttalib, set the journey
'AbdAllah and other sons kept his company
from Yathrib to Khaybar
in search of that lady

Ten camels against 'AbdAllah
cast lots again, the woman told
so they did, add ten camels each time the boy got hit
until the number increased to hundred camels
at last 'AbdAllah could be freed

But Abd al-Muttalib was still not certain
repeated the process two times more
arrow fell against the camels
hence sealed the score
animals were sacrificed
not 'AbdAllah, for sure!

6. The Need for a Prophet

Abd al-Muttalib never bowed to Hubal
To Allah he prayed
no matter how powerful the idols had become
Three "daughters of God"
al-Lat, al-Uzzah and Manat
Though he revered the Manat somewhat

But his devotion was always in Mecca
hosting pilgrims as best his ability
regardless of who they worshipped
to him God was the great reality

The Hunafa - devoid of innovation
only a few they were
Waraqah most prominent of the four he knew
a Christian, the son of Nawfal, his second cousin

Idols were abound,
in Mecca and houses all around
Christians, soothsayers and astrologers
agreed that a Prophet would soon to come

Waraqah was a learned theologian
with sister Qutaylah he often shared
anxiously waiting for the honorable figure
"he shall not speak of himself,
but whatsoever he shall hear,
that shall he speak"

Abd al-Muttalib intended to marry AbdAllah off
with Aminah daughter of Wahab, chief of Zuhrah
while he married Halah daughter of Wuhayb
who cared for Aminah since her father died

Father and son journeyed to Bani Zuhrah
for the double wedding full of joy
Passing by Bani Asad dwellings, Qutaylah stood by
Immediately she saw the signs in AbdAllah

Having heard so much from Waraqah
'could this charming man be the prophet
or might he be the father of the prophet?'
she quietly thought before speaking out loud

"Take me here and now as thy wife!"
she offered AbdAllah
but how could the man act silly
the two weddings came true as they should be

The day after the big day
AbdAllah crossed path with Qutaylah once more
but she was indifferent unlike before
"The light hath left thee that was with thee yesterday"
So AbdAllah could not offer that which Qutaylah fell for

The marriages took place in 569 CE
the following year was known
as the Year of Elephant
significant and historically weighty


(to be continued InshaAllah)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 1)



Bismillah.

My summaries of Martin Lings' chapters of  Muhammad - His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. Dr. Lings who was also known as Abu Bakr Siraj Ad-Din, was born a Protestant. Born yesterday 24th January, 103 years ago, he died an accomplished Muslim in 2005. One whose body was buried in his England rose garden, whose spirit remained a fragrant flower among prominent Islamic scholars.

1. The House of God

One night,
childless Abraham was called out of his tent
and unto him God gave glad tidings
that his seeds would be as numerous as the brilliant stars,
shining

The first seed it seemed, would come from Hagar
the handmaid of the two - Abraham & Sarah
who fled to seek solace from her Lord
for she had incurred Sarah's wrath and envy

God heard Hagar's plea
An angel comforted her
that a son she will bear
one she must name Ishmael
meaning 'God shall hear'

Thirteen years later
it was Sarah's turn
a second son of Abraham she bore
Isaac was the chosen name by God who destined
that Ismael shall remain blessed still

Sarah made Hagar & Ishmael leave
Mother and son in grief
So was Abraham, who was told by the Lord - let it be
From the two sons
Two great nations would come to be

Down the valley of Becca so barren
on the 'incense route'
Hagar and Ishmael left the caravan
overcame with thirst and without ration
Hagar went back and forth 7 times,
until an angel said:
"Stand up, carry the lad, for I will make him a great nation."

Great it was that water spring forth
from Ishmael's tiny feet, aplenty
making Zamzam well
earmarked for a site of The sanctuary

Ka'bah, a cubic it is
4 corners pointing to compass directions
with a heavenly stone on the East
one that was white and pristine
kept in Abu Qubays hill
blackened by our sins

God summoned Ibrahim:
"And proclaim unto men the pilgrimage,
that they may come
unto thee on foot
and on every lean camel
out of every deep ravine."

Two sites where Hagar had wandered
became a pilgrimage rite
of Safa & Marwah
when she told him of her past plight

And Abraham prayed in Canaan
amidst His bounties plentiful
of rich pastures of wheat and corn
"...incline unto them men's hearts,
and sustain them with fruits
that they may be thankful."

2. A Great Loss

From Arabia and beyond
great gifts were taken to Mecca
through pilgrims who kept coming by
for greater and lesser pilgrimage
honoring the Ka'bah

Ishmael's clans grew so many
some left Mecca taking stones from the holy sanctuary
performed rites over them
which later evolved into idols, one too many

God became remote and truth blurry
in His place were idols as mediators
The Jurhumites led the idolaters
controlling Mecca and Zamzam
eventually with sand they did bury

Then came Khuza'ah
forgetting the Holy Well too
no better he was than Jurhum
made Hubal a new Meccan idol

3. Quraysh of the Hollow

The chief of Khuza'ah
married his daughther to Qusay,
a Qurayshi
leader and guardian of Ka'bah

Quraish of the Hollow
were his close relatives
resided near the Sanctuary
Quraish of the Outskirts
his distant families
stayed in the outer rings
far from Qusay the new king
living in his grand House of Assembly

His first born was made to inherit
all privileges and entitlement
'Abd ad-Dar - the least promising of all four
leaving Abdul Manaf the pre-eminent
and son Hashim, who had more merit

But majority of the Qurayshi
soon gathered devising a plan
for Hashim to contest the ad-Dars
claiming rights for the stronger clan

The women of the Abdul Manaf
thought of a unique pact
in a perfume bowl, family and allies dipped their hands
marking the stones of Ka'bah
the Scented Ones thus pledged unity
against Abd ad-Dar - the Confederates of minority

The two almost fought a battle
forego enmity and settled
Abdul Manaf got hold of the tax levy
and food & drinks for pilgrims
The ad-Dars retained the Ka'bah's key
and remained in the House of Assembly

Hashim became increasingly popular
established the Caravan of Winter
and the Caravan of Summer

An oasis of Yathrib
in the north of Mecca
was a major stopover in the summer
where the Jews co-existed in harmony
alongside the Arabs - the children of Qaylah
Aws & Khazraj none other

Hashim married Salma
an influential Khazraj woman
who insisted that she kept her controls over Yathrib
together with their son, Shaybah
while Hashim was occupied with his travels
until he died in Gaza

Muttalib - Hashim's younger brother
had been managing the clan's duties in Mecca
made Shaybah his young nephew, a protege
groomed to be the next Quraysh leader
'Abd al-Muttalib as he was now known
surpassed both uncle and father

(To be continued with His tawfeek, bi-iznillah)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcoming Rabi' al Awal


Bismillah.

Rabi' we learned, means the beginning of Spring. It is undoubtedly the spring of mercy on account of the birth of the special creation upon whom Allah and the Angels send salutation - Muhammad Rasulullah s.a.w. The one whose name comes right next to the testimony of faith - There is no God but Allah. We learned and by the grace of Allah, He made us profess Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. So we know about the existence of Allah who has a messenger, who lived between 570 to 632 CE.

He whose maqam is in Madinatul Munawarah is in fact alive among us. He is 'living' with us, omnipresence with us, through his sunnah (his acts and words and other acts which he endorsed). One thing we heard Habib Ali Zainal Abidin said which impressed upon us: 'He is close to you. He is with you, if you upon leaving home carry his sunnah with you. He is with you as you leave your house when you recite Bismillahi tawakkaltu 'alallah....So carry his sunnah with you" said Habib Ali Zainal Abidin once upon a time.

May we, in this special month of Rabi' al-Awal, make an intention and resolution to increase our salutation to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. If we were among those with high himmah (spiritual resolve), Habib Umar bin Hafiz has recommended that we recite this salawat 10, 000 times within this blessed month.

"O Allah,
Bestow Your prayers and peace
upon the possessor of all praiseworthy attributes,
the one through whom
tribulations are removed
and hardships relieved;
our master
Sayyidina Muhammad
wa 'ala alihi wa soh bihi
Ya Hayyu
Ya Qayyum
Ya Wahid"
__________________________________________
May it be a beautiful and refreshing Spring for us all.


Reference:
http://abdulkarimyahya.com/2012/01/24/note-the-rabi-al-awwal-letter-and-salawat/

Monday, January 23, 2012

Al-Yaqoubi on the realities of His Unity

Bismillah.

O Lord,
Let me drink from his cup of love, again
Shaykh al-Yaquobi, the sweet musk of Damascus
my heart veins would rupture
unless You take me to his chamber
so he could bring me to the Quarter!
_______________________________________________

THE REALITIES OF HIS UNITY
"Take the drink of love
It is indeed your medicine and cure
And walk through the way to be nearer
To the people of this Quarter

Be absent from all the universe
And fold in your absence the distance
Protect this secret from all
Save the people of this Quarter

Negate the other oh man!
And annihilate to all forms
Witness the transparency of wine
You will then enter this Quarter

Our words are divine gifts
Our silence is merely a cover
Our door is open for anyone
Who is heading for this Quarter

Our tastes are delicacies
Our secrets are attributed to the Essence
Our moves when we shake
May wake the dead in this Quarter

The Lord made us stand
At His Door for only a year
He then said, who is more entitled
other than you to this Quarter!

When we entered the house
And the cup went around
And all worries were removed
No one of us remained alive in that Quarter

Indeed all other than Him
Are perishing no doubt
There is not anyone there but Allah
Loved by the people of this Quarter

Witness His Unity
In the Unity of the Existence
And do not see existent beings
Other than Him but shadows

In the Hadith of the Shadow
There is indeed a secret that should not be averted
By Allah I swear
Nothing alongside Allah will ever last

See His Unity with no incarnation
And stand by at the remains
Act upon what I have said
To witness the beauty of the All-Living

And in the station of separation
He will bring you back to your senses after annihilation
As East is different from the West
As the dead is not like the living

This is the reality of Tawhid
A distinct unmatched meaning of it
There is no way but to grasp it
If you are heading to this Quarter"

- Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi
3.1.2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rain of mercy | Love is messy?

KL Sunday 5.35 pm

Bismillah.

Allahumma soyyiban nafi'a. May Allah pour that which is beneficial.

It's Sunday, it's been hot and humid and suddenly He pours His generosity. Subhanallah.

It's weekend, it's a long weekend in Malaysia as the country celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year. To me, it's time to enjoy some quiet time after several hectic weeks at work, and it's a good opportunity to catch up with this blog. Alhamdulillah, I am grateful to have received words of support from some righteous personalities. I am humbled and ashamed to be honest with you because I am not what many of you think I am. Still I pray Allah will make me better than what you may perceive. And that Allah will reward you for having an excellent opinion of others.

While busy with work and running around, I seeked comfort in, among others, Garrett's popcorn of Chicago. I kinda like their tagline printed on their brown serviette - "Love is messy." Love is perhaps like a corn kernel popping in the hot oven, so full of energy, and you'll never know which direction it would make you go. You just let it overcome you and it doesn't matter what happens, it cannot matter because it's so overpowering, you just have to go with it.



I think love is not messy to those enraptured by it, as in the case of Layla & Majnun, it could be messy to those who do not experience it, those who are outside looking in. I read a tweet by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and it put a smile on my face - "Majnun would stare at the full moon. When asked why, he said, maybe Layla might look too, and our glances meet."

Does that sound like messy to you?
To each his own.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Practices for Rabi'ul Awal by Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Bismillah.

Something special to memorize in anticipation of the coming Rabi'ul Awal, from Habib Umar bin Hafiz. This salawat was taught by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w to Habib Ali bin Salim al-Ada'j bin Shaykh Abu Bakar bin Salim when the latter had an encounter with the Prophet s.a.w at his maqam.



اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ على سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ حَبِيبِ الرَّحْمَنْ
عَدَدَ ما يَكوُن و ما قَدْ كَانْ


Allahumma salli `ala sayyidina Muhammad Habib al-Rahman
`adada ma yakun wa ma qad kan
“O Allah, bestow Your prayers upon our Master Muhammad,
the Beloved of the Most Compassionate
to the number of things that will be and that were.”

In his lesson, Habib Umar enlisted several things that we could do that would please the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. Not that anything we do could benefit him, rather he would be pleased if we do something that is beneficial to ourself.
  • That we understand his speech and his teachings.
  • That we become the source of guidance to other people.
  • That we establish the Sunnah in our homes and teach the children.
  • That we do good to the creation, the believers and the elite of the believers.
  • That we stengthen our love for the believers, ahlul bayt and the companions.
  • That we make intention to gather and attend lessons.
Habib Umar also urged us to keep inspiring people to long for the Messenger of Allah s.a.w by "mentioning the Prophet's virtues, qualities and life; by embodying the Prophet's character and dealings; and by deepening our love, longing and veneration for Him."

Reference:
http://abdulkarimyahya.com/2012/01/21/advice-preparing-for-rabi-al-awwal/
________________________________________________

May Allah, with the shafaat from Rasulullah s.a.w make it easy for us to memorize and practise the above salawat. We do not have the capacity to embody the Prophet's character and emulate him in his dealings, for we are constantly sinning and lacking adab. In fact our mouths and lips are too dirty and unworthy to be speaking about and mentioning the most honorable of creation, and to be quoting lessons from the elite of his servants, alas...may it suffice that Allah knows that we have got a heart and there in our heart is a spot where we acknowledge Muhammad Rasulullah s.a.w. that we know his mercy for his ummah encompasses all, not just for the righteous among us but  for the weak ones among us too! And who says the wrong-doers and sinners cannot have affection for him too?

Weak one,
E

Friday, January 20, 2012

"What is this forgetting?" - Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Habib Umar bin Hafiz
19 Safar 1433 H

Bismillah.

"There is no one greater to you. There's no one greater to you than your Orginator. Those who are near to you, your friends, the people of your house, who knows what the soul whispers to you? He knows that prior to you being created, prior to your spirit being made, prior to the semenal fluid entering the womb of your mother. He is nearer to you than yourself. No particular occurs except in accordance to what He knows. He cared for you when you were in the womb. He cared for you in the realm of sipirit. Who is to care for you and nourish you when you are still a foetus - through the various phases? When you were at the phase of alaqah, who developed you? Who moved you? Who transformed you to the next foetal phase? So who is nearer to you than Him?
...However, we are heedless, we forget! We close our eyes. We deny this radiant Sun. We forget Allah's power. We forget the One who makes us move. He is the One who makes us move in the land and in the sea. What is this forgetting?!"

- Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Watch the full video here:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The writings of the venerated persons



Bismillah.

This is a reminder to ourself as is each and every posting. It is Allah who makes our hearts inclined towards the names and the sayings of the venerated persons. These great people are alive, they are able to come to us and make themselves known. We were heedless yet they appeared to us, somehow. They are real. "There are people just by saying their names, your heart becomes alive. There are also people, by mentioning their names your heart becomes dead" said Shaykh Ninowy in one of his lectures. It is true. Sometimes I think we are so pathetic that the great venerable people from the past had to come to our rescue even if it's through their simple sayings. Imagine if they had been self-centered with accumulating knowledge and keeping it to themselves? Imgine if they had been silent and let their wisdoms unheard?

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the righteous and the pious of His servants from the past and present whose very beings and sayings are able to save, inspire and illuminate us to a certain degree.

We learned from Tarbiatul Ushaq (The Training of Divine Lovers) by Maulana Syed Mohammad Zauqi Shah (1877 - 1951) about the etiquette while reading the writings of venerated persons. He said: "The reader should have done his wudhu, should not be reclining and what is most important, he should tune himself with the soul of the writer and should make himself receptive as the words of such persons are a result of their ecstacies (hal). If these writings are read under such conditions they reproduce the same ecstacy or state. If you tune yourself to the spirituality of these great people, they too turn towards you. This is what happens in the soul world, just as it happens in this very world. If you call out to a person at a distance, he will at once turn towards you. If that person says he is busy, even then he will have turned towards you. These great persons have an eye with the glance from which one gains."

May Allah forgive us, we do not simply quote these venerated people for show or to indicate that we know something. We know nothing. We are not worthy enough to be associated with these great people. All we have is respect, awe and love for them. We only wish to be good and do good by learning from them although we are not able to do as much or reach their state, at least Allah knows of our intention of wanting to be good and that we try. All we can do is to keep trying. InshaAllah.

Refrerence: page 109 of Tarbiatul Ushaq
Publisher credit: A.S Noordeen

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What choice have we got?


Bismillah.

I wish I had done what I thought would have been better for me to do. I wish I had gone to many more majlis ta'lim and was able to learn, practise and blog about what I learned, as usual. But lately I have been busy with other worldly duties and not to mention my own laghah (heedlessness). Whether I liked it or not, that was decreed for me.

Several years ago I fell into a severe spiritual dilemma, that I did not even want to work so that I could just go to the zawiya and do zikr and suluk. But apparently that was not good for me. We often have rigid ideas how Allah can be attained, how knowledge can be acquired, but in truth Allah teaches us in the way He knows best and sometimes it's not through the perceived "obedience" but through lack of it.

I learned from the wonderful and credible Ashrafiya website about Shaykh Ibrahim bin Adham being conscious of his worship and anxious about missing his supererogatory and obligatory duties. It was related that he then heard a voice from within himself: "O Ibrahim! Become Our slave (abd). By doing so you will find spiritual serenity. When We make you to oversleep then sleep. And when We command you to get up then rise. Between these two extremes you have no choice of your own."

Glory be to Allah who creates us and our actions. Subhanallahi 'amma yushrikun.

Poster credit: Reza Jamshidi/www.todayposters.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shaykh Ninowy on Aqidah Tahawiyyah (Lesson 1)


Al Ahad
Artist: Hamid Iqbal Khan
Bismillah.

For 11 days in Ramadhan of 2011, the much adored Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Bin Yahya Al-Husayni Al-Ninowy had given lectures on Aqidah Tahawiyyah - lessons of tawhid based on the teachings of Imam Abu Jaafar Al Tahawiy who was born in the southern desert village of Egypt in 229 Hijri. Shaykh Ninowy's lectures took place at the Islamic Peace Varsity of South Africa.

At outset of his first lesson, Shaykh Ninowy asked the audience to be free thinkers, to be as critical as they can be on who is Allah and why He is worthy of being worshipped. The shaykh's lesson was based on two textual evidences namely the Qur'an and Sunnah, both of which "are shuyukh and imam of everybody. The lesson was about aqidah, a definitive subject and not something that can be based on 'maybe' or 'maybe not'."

Aqidah, said Shaykh Ninowy was a created terminology. It is not a term that you could find in the Book or Sunnah. It means a set of belief that you tie your heart on. It comes from the word aqadah or uqdah meaning to tie something using a rope. In reference to the same term, Shaykh Ninowy said he preferred to use imaniyat as iman is a more common phrase.

Then he went on to elucidate the meaning of key terms such as iktikad ahlul sunnah wal jamaah. Iktikad refers to articles of iman. Sunnah means what the Prophet s.a.w said, did and approved of. Ahlul sunnah refers to people who embody the Prophet's sunnah and follow it. It is a term that was crystalized around the 3rd century. Al jama'ah means a group that follows the haq even if it be one man alone by himself as was Prophet Ibrahim. In the Quran Allah has referred to Ibrahim an ummah by himself. Therefore Jama'ah does not necessarily mean the majority. And haq is not determined by the number of people who follow it. Haq is bigger than all.

Shaykh Ninowy then talked about the significance of learning tawhid. The usul or foundation/origin of tawhid is Allah's saying fa'lam 'annahu la ilaha illAllah. Fa'lam means to acquire knowledge. He didn't say faqul [say]. Quoting Imam Ghazali, he said, "ibadah is not valid until you know who you worship and worship is not valid until you know who you are worshipping." Ilm of Allah is obligatory on mukallaf, those who are accountable in the sight of shariah (those are sane, who have reached puberty and who has heard the dakwah of Islam). The usul (foundation) of deen is knowing who Allah is i.e. knowledge of tawhid. Rasulullah s.a.w had spent 13 years in Makkah focusing on tawhid. The most honorable of ulum is ilm tawhid. And how do we know Allah? We know Him through His attributes.

What does tawhid mean? Many people think of tawhid as oneness or unity but what tawhid really mean is the absolute uniqueness of the Creator. That nothing is the same as Allah. He is the One that nothing else is like Him. Al Ahad is often translated as the One but Ahad means nothing is like Him. Nothing you can or cannot imagine is like Him. It is not the mathematical number one. Al Wahid is also one of His Beautiful Names, but Allah is not like the number one which is subject to division. Nor is he matter that occupies space. Allah is the creator of matter. Qul huwallahu Ahad is the most often repeated surah and we should know its meaning properly. So Al Ahad is the One that nothing else is like Him.

Allahu Samad. What is Samad? Is it eternal? No. As Samad is the one not in need of anything for anything yet every thing is in need of Him for everything. Everybody knows lam yalid walam yulad. Walam yaqul lahu kufuwan Ahad. Take note of the term 'kufu' it means nothing is simlar to Him as in the pharse laisa kamislihi syai'. The surah is called Al Ikhlas. It has got two other names i.e. Surah Tawbah and Tawhid. Tawhid means ikhlas, having absolute sincerity and transparency in believing that nothing is like Him. People who associate other things which have similarity to Allah has no ikhlas and no tawhid.

Again, the shaykh reiterated on knowing Allah through His attributes Ar Rahim and so on and so forth. Still the creation is incapacitated to comprehend the Creator in a way that is encompassing, yet knows that He is the only Creator, the only one worthy of being worshipped. How can we know the Creator when we cannot even know the creation? Do you know how Jibril looks like? Do you know what is going to hapen to Cape Town 300 years from now? We don't know. We are incapacitated in knowing the creation. We are limited by what we know. Your knowledge is limited. We are subject to change and anything that is subject to change is imperfect. It is Allah who subjugate change. And He has no partners.
________________________________________________
Allahu 'alam. May I be forgiven for any errors or omissions. The abve is not a verbatim transcript. It is based on my sketchy notes of the video produced by Omar Esack Digital Productions. Credit: Sister N for bringing the valuable DVDs all the way from Cape Town. Jazakillahu khair.
You may purchase the above art piece here:
http://hamidsart.redbubble.com/sets/155690/works/5694131-al-ahad

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Have good opinion of others" - Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Bismillah.

"Raise your tongue and heart from attacking Muslims and from having bad opinion of them. If you dislike someone and if you are able to give them sincere advice then do so. Purify your heart and tongue, stop them from attacking Muslims, by mentioning their faults. And in your heart by thinking bad of others. Beware of having a bad opinion of a Muslim even if he disobeys Allah because you don't know how his ending will be. Backbiting and bad opinion is not the deen of Allah, nor it is the deen of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, but the deen of devil. The deen of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w is that believers are all brothers. Avoid backbiting and do not mix with people who backbite."

"Don't make fun of others. Avoid suspicion as much as possible for it is a sin. Would you like to eat the flesh of your brothers? What tells you that he is going to die in the state of disbelief? Have etiquette with Allah concerning His creations. If you backbite then you will have committed two sins.  Firstly,  you are guilty for not sincerely advising them, secondly, you are guilty of attacking them."

"Have  good opinion of others. You are not responsible for them. Don't make judgments of people. You are a reminder and not a controller."

Habib Umar then quoted Imam Al-Haddad's teachings:
"Do not see yourself as superior to any Muslims. Reflect upon how your ending would be. Don't be proud or arrogant. Think about how your ending will be. You cannot be certain about other people's misdeeds but you can be certain about yourself and your sickness in the heart. Why leave this certainty about yourself in favor of assumptions on other people? Don't be happy about people's praise when you know your own true state with certainty. The more increase in knowledge you may have, the more you should feel conscious about your ignorance. No one can be certain about other people's faults but one can be certain of one's own faults. You have to take yourself to account. As for your brothers, you should excuse them thinking maybe they do this/that for this/that reason. Do not be judging or attacking other people. Have etiquette with the One who hides people's ending. Have etiquette with Allah concerning His creations."

- Extracts of Habib Umar's lesson as translated by Ustaz Amjad Tarsin
Reference: http://abdulkarimyahya.com/

p/s
I remembered reading a tweet by Samah Al-Nachawati: "I don't like what you are doing but I respect who you are. Because maybe who you are tomorrow will be better than who I am today."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Be not judgemental

Al Hakam by Hamid Iqbal Khan
Bismillah.

Have we been too judgemental? That's why all the lessons that came our way lately were mostly about being judgemental. We live in a society that judges one another, maybe. We all like to play judge maybe because we think we are better than others. Even if we are shy about judging others, we often feel that we are being judged for this and for that. And those who judge other people, perhaps they are seeking conformity. They expect people to conform to their way because their way is the only correct way. And that does not necessarily mean they know better.

In relation to this matter, we heard Shaykh Ninowy quoting Sayyid Alawi Al Abbas (father of Abuya/Sayyid Muhammad Alawi Al-Maliki, Rahimallahu ta'ala) and we cannot let it slip from our notes without posting it here:

Sayyid Alawi Al Abbas said:
"Those who know less, judge more.
Those who know more, judge less."

And Shaykh Ninowy said: "Unity does not mean conformity, The imam mahzab didn't conform to each other but they were united. Today we strive for conformity instead of unity."

Let's think about it. 
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Purchase above art piece here:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Faithful Slaves of South Africa | Mausoluem of the Western Cape


Bismillah

First and foremost, I would like to bid welcome to one respected reader of Lisan al-Din. Sister N, welcome to Kuala Lumpur! She, (gorgeous she) is from Cape Town and when a faithful Muslim travels she/he tends to bring along her/his faith along. Because of that I got to learn more about Islam in South Africa. Because faithful believers who were forced to come to South Africa in the 17th century had brought along and defended their faith, Islam got firmly established as solid as Table Mountain.

They had been brought to the southern tip of the African continent as slaves or prisoners, but in reality they were devouts slaves of Allah and their faith escaped all physical imprisonment. Certainly, no matter what the circumstances they were thrown in, the awliya Allah neither feared nor grieved. And surely Allah fulfills His words, He has honored them, they who honored His deen, by making us aware of their presence, so many of them in a relatively concentrated location in beautiful Cape Town.

If I may have the honor of stating their names and in so doing, let's pray for their barakah, and may Allah make us hold strong to Islam as they did.

Al Fatihah
  • Sayed Abduraghman Motura (Tuan Matarah)
  • Sheikh Yusuf (1626 - 1699)
  • Tuan Dea Koasa (Indonesian origin)
  • Tuan Ismail Dea Malela (Indonesian origin)
  • Sayed Abdul Aziz
  • Sheikh Abdurahman Matebe Shah (a Malaccan Sultan)
  • Sayed Mahmud (Malay of the West Coast Sumatera)
  • Sheikh Abdul Mutaleb
  • Sheikh Noorul Mubeen
  • Sayed Jaffer
  • Sheikh Ali Sayed Bassier
  • Sheikh Mohamed Hassen Ghainie Shah
  • Tuan Kaape-ti-Low
  • Imam Abdullah ibn Kadi Abdus Salaam (Tuan Guru)
  • Tuan Sayed Alawie (Yemen origin)
  • Tuan Numruman (a slave)
  • Sayed Abdul Malik (a slave from Batavia)
  • Sayed Abdul Haq (a descendant of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w)
  • Sayed Moegsien bin Alawie (a descendant of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w)
  • Sheikh Abdurahman ibn Muhammad al Iraqi (from Basra Iraq)
  • Sheikh Abdul Kader
  • Moulana Abdul Latief (from India)
  • Shaykh Hazrat Khwaja Sayed Mehboob Ali Shah Chishti Nizami Habibi Faqiri (d. 2005)
  • Tuan Masud
  • Sayed Abdul Kader
  • Sheikh Suleiman
The above mentioned saints formed the 'Ring of Islam' - an imaginary ring of mausoleum (kramats) surrounding Cape Town. For those of you who could afford it, visit spiritual South Africa!

Reference:
'Guide to the Kramats of the Western Cape' 
- a publication by the Cape Mazaar (Kramat) Society

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Habib Munzir Al-Musawa at Darul Murtadza


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, it was my first time to sit in Habib Munzir's majlis. It was a majlis organized by Darul Murtadza under the tutelage of Habib Ali Zainal Abidin.

Habib Munzir counselled the audience on the functions of our senses. The eye's function is to witness the source of blessings. In a hadith of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w we learned about one of the seven groups of people who would be granted mercy are those who remember Allah with tears in their eyes.

And make the tongue honorable through recitations of the holy verses. Again in a hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w we learned about the virtues of reciting Subhanallah wabihamdih Subhanallahil Azeem 100 times a day. One's sins shall be made to vanish even if one's sins is as plenty as the sea foam. But in truth Allah needs no purification. It all goes back to ourself. It is Allah who purifies us from sins. It is He who purifies us from abasement. It is Allah who purifies us from shameful characters. So people, purify your heart from having evil intentions. Be of those who are inclined to make glorifications, to honor Allah as in the zikr SubhanAllah.

Recite Al-Ikhlas 100 times a day and praiseworthy attributes shall spring forth from you. Allah will thereby lift any hijab (veils) and He will open the doors of mercy to you. In each moment He reserves the light of His mercy for those who call upon Him. Make du'a: "O Allah in each moment make me nearer to you." Who among us, make such a petition? Verily Allah may convert one's wrong-doing into a good reward. He is All-forgiving and He even forgive us without us begging for mercy. Know that between each prayer lies His pardon. He forgives us more than we could ever ask Him.

The heavens are of less meaning compared to being in His presence - maiyyah. The context of presence here is not one which  is zahir (physical) nor it is zatiyah (in essence). It is about being conscious of His presence through His love and His gentleness. It [the station of maiyyah] is for those who constantly remember Allah and make much mention of His Name. La ilaha illAllah is our pledge of allegiance towards Allah. It is also the pledge of allegiance of Allah towards His servant. O people, say it with sincerity and you shall be saved from the torments of the Fire.
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Allahu a'lam. The above is neither verbatim notes nor it is a full transcript of Habib Munzir's speech at Darul Murtadza. May I be forgiven for any unintentinal errors and omissions. Please take note that from 20th January 2012 onwards Darul Murtadza's majlis will be conducted at a new location - Masjid Mu'adz bin Jabal at Setiawangsa KL. I ask for your prayer so that Allah grant the tawfik to attend many more majlis ta'lim and benefit from them. InshaAllah.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Omnipresence vs secularization


 Bismillah.

I have been extremely busy since the start of the new year, and will continue to be burdened with office workload until the end of January. So that explains my absence from this space. I apologize to those who have been checking this blog regularly yet got turned down.

A couple of days ago I had been working for 36 hours non-stop, Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal. A part of me doubted myself and to a certain extent regretted, that due to work demands, I have slacked in the "religious" department. It is as though my job has nothing to do with my religion or religion in the general sense of the word. But why should we secularize ourself i.e. separate religious matters (Islam) from our working life. We often hear people lament about a secular world, but it dawned upon me that we are actually guilty of secularizing our faith from our daily worldly duties. When we work for very long hours, it is He who makes it possible, it is He who gives the strength, it is He who allows and enables us to finish our project/task/assignment on time. He is with us all the while. He is present with us and He is omni-present. So I think it's wrong to say that He only exists whenever we do something "religious", else we are distant from Him. Surely, in each and every circumstances, He is near and is ever present. 
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Purchase the above artpiece here:
Art Credit: Sumbal Qureshi in Digital Arts, Grafix, Typography

Monday, January 2, 2012

Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam on Kitab al-Hikam (Lesson 1)


Bismillah.

The jemaah of Ba'alawi KL was blessed to have started the new year with a majlis ta'lim, not just another majlis but one where its resident mu'aleem Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki has begun a series of lesson expounding the gems from Kitab al-Hikam by Ibn Atha'illah As-Sakandari.

I had arrived late at the majlis and only managed to jot these points below. He said:

Those who worship Allah with any other intentions i.e. of wanting the reward of Paradise; those who perform Salaat Hajat in order to get their wishes fulfilled; those who recite Surah Yaasin for a specific purpose; those who perform prayers out of fear of the hellfire, verily he/she lacks adab towards Allah!

Those who perform the obligatory duties while aiming for the rewards of Heavens are like those who are still in Primary School. Know the difference between them and students who are in High School/Secondary School. Know the difference between abrar and muqarabeen in relation to the phrase: Hasanatul abrar, sayyiatul muqarabeen. A good deed performed by a righteous may well be a sin for those who are near to Allah. Makrifatullah (gnosis) is given to His chosen people. It's an honor only given to a select few.

Those who are sincere, the mukhliseen may conduct very few good deeds, yet the quality of their worship easily surpass the value of the deeds performed by the ordinary folks. Similarly, a contemplation of an arifbillah is worth a lot more than a thousand years of worship.

Concerning the aphorism on 'tasting', Shaykh Fahmi said Allah enables us to taste a variety of experience rather to experience a variety of taste. When He destined us a misfortune, we are able to taste the virtue of patience. Whenever He grants us a blessing, we are able to enjoy such blessings. Hence, we get to know Allah through various means such as obligatory prayers, fasting, misfortune, Asmaul Husna and so on and so forth.

Allah reveals Himself in myriad ways through Asmaul Husna. In each and every action of His, He makes us understand Him better so we gradually become cognizant of His aspects of Jabbar, Qahar, Jalal etc. As such, those who know Allah are sensitive to taste. Those who are able to discern His actions tend to have positive thoughts about Him. The taste that one experiences or feel in the heart is priceless for it is a sign of a heart that recognizes His af'al (actions).

When Allah witholds, He manifests His Qahar, that He is the ultimate Planner and He does not subscribe to our plans or wishes. When we are afflicted with calamities, we make du'a but that does not mean that we are telling Allah what needs to be done. He tests us with a purpose to acquaint Himself to us. We make du'a as a sign of servanthood that we must be asking from our God, our Master noneother. Allah is khairul raziqin, He is the best of Providers, He will fulfill our petition, but according to His terms and plans. Verily His giving and witholding are both a blessing.
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Wallahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors or omissions.
The majlis was hosted by: