Saturday, January 19, 2013

Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin at Masjid Al-Bukhary | 1st Rabi'ul Awal 1434 Hijri


Alhamdulillah wa skhurulillah that we were able to attend the first mawlid celebration for this year's Rabi'ul Awal

Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid addressed the audience at Masjid Al-Bukhary KL on the 1st Rabi'ul Awal 1434 Hijri saying: 

When Allah loves a servant, He will make it easy for him/her to do good. We would not be here at the House of Allah if the owner of the house had not invited us. It is He who moved our hearts and gave us tawfiq to be here. Also because He wanted to reward us and that is a sign that He is pleased with us. This is a majlis which is pleasing to Him. It's easy for Him to place us somewhere He dislikes but He has brought me and you here. Thus, we are grateful. We pray so that Allah remains to love us. He/she whom He loves, He would make it easy for the person to do zikir. Prophet Musa once asked Allah; "Show me the person whom You love". Allah said: "I love one who makes zikir - one whom I grant the permission to say my name." Why does Allah like people who make zikir? Because the servant knows that it is a bounty of Allah which he/she is grateful for. We make zikir as a sign of our gratitude.

We are present here to honor the person from whom we have received hidayah, he who is the most exemplary of all. That too is a blessing from Allah. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam said, I have been chosen to be your prophet and Allah has chosen you to be my ummat

This majlis is for us to be joyous. Know that actions may fall into one of three categories i.e. mubah (something permissible), ibadah (something that is considered as worship) or transgression when we do the munkar (forbidden). When we are happy to do an action which qualifies as ibadah, our joy may then be considered as ibadah. So happiness depends on who and what it is for.

We learned from a hadith about a woman who makes an intention (nazar) to play drum if the Prophet comes back victorious. The Prophet in his reply to the woman, encouraged her to fulfill her vow. Habib Ali said, the Prophet would not have asked her to fulfill her vow if it's not an ibadah. A vow can only be made for ibadah purposes. If the Prophet had considered playing drums as something mubah, he would not have asked the woman to carry out her vow. That goes to show that playing drum for the purpose of celebrating the Prophet's homecoming is considered as ibadah. Similarly, the Prophet had shown his endorsement towards the children of An Najar who sang for him. The Prophet waited for the children to finish with their performance as a sign of him endorsing their actions. Rasulullah [s.a.w] asked them: 'Do you like me?' The children said: 'We love you!' to which the Prophet replied: "Me too!"

The sahabah expressed their happiness towards the Prophet in their own way. They would sit in the masjid to make zikr. When the Prophet asked them what they were doing, they said: "we are making zikir out of gratitude, that Allah gives us Islam and Rasul." Verily, angels would descend upon people who make zikir so how can we not allow people to gather to make zikir?

Tonight, we express our happiness through zikir, salawat, shamail and listening to tazkirah. All these are ibadah. Allah grant us one bounty after another, hence we must show our gratitude. We should be grateful that we have been chosen to be the ummat of Prophet Muhammad. It's not just about being happy in Rabi'ul Awal but also beyond this special month.

The Prophet had been mentioned before him becoming a prophet and even before Allah created human beings. Rasulullah [s.a.w] became a prophet before the creation of Adam. Rasulullah [s.a.w] was also named as khatam and khatim. Khatam is a ring. Khatim means the ending/conclusion. Why khatam? Because it was Prophet Muhammad who began and ended the prophethood just like a ring where the starting point meets its end.  

Prophet Muhammad was way above the rest of the prophets. His name is inscribed on the throne (arash). All 25 rasul and an even greater number of prophets had made a pledge [bay'at] with him.

It would be a great loss if we do not make an effort to know him well. As his ummat, we should not stray far from him when Rabi'ul Awal is over. Calamities might befall us if we do not keep a good relation/connection with the Prophet [s.a.w]. In the Qur'an, in Surah Al Hadid, Allah warns us on the implications of being distant from Rasulullah, that the heart will become hard and one might even end up being fasiq.

As related by Sayidina Abdullah ibn Abbas, the sahabah during one incident were caught laughing away. The Prophet [s.a.w] upon seeing them sitting together and laughing idly, asked them: "have you been guaranteed a heavenly reward, that you are all laughing like that?" The sahabah instantly realized their mistake and asked Prophet Muhammad: "What is the kafarah? [as in the thing they must do to redeem themselves]. Rasulullah then said: "You must cry just as much as you have laughed."

Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin advised us to get closer to the Prophet here in this world, if we intend to be close to him in akhira. He then explained why we have to make salawat. The word salawat comes from the root word silatun which means relation. The analogy of our relationship or connection with the Prophet is like a telephone. His connection with us is very strong but our connection with him may not be as strong. Every time we make a salawat for him, Allah gives his ruh back so he could answer our salawat. Our connection with Prophet Muhammad is still alive. It is not confined to time and space.

We must endeavor to nurture our love and longing for the Prophet. The sahabah were all known to have a deep desire to be close to the Prophet especially after his demise. When Bilal was on the brink of death, his wife lamented over the impending loss but Bilal stopped her. Bilal said, "Don't be sad. I am happy because tomorrow I'll get to be with the Prophet."

"Those were the words of a true lover," said Habib Ali. It's amazing how a person who is about to meet his death, and we know how painful it could be, yet Bilal seemed oblivious to the pain. He was in fact eager to die so he could be with the Prophet. That was the state of one lover.

Sayyidina Abu Bakar too was like that. When he reached the age of 63, he wished he could also die at that age, as did the Prophet. However, Sayyidina Abu Bakar was reluctant to die on a Monday lest he will die on the same day as the Prophet. Instead, he said: "I will meet the Prophet tomorrow. I want to die on Tuesday." It was evident that he was one of the sahabah who had very good adab towards the Prophet [s.a.w]. When giving khutbah, he refused to stand on the same spot where the Prophet had stood, out of respect for Rasulullah.

Imam Malik too was known to have exceptional adab towards the Prophet.  He refused to ride donkey in Madinah for fear that the animal might step on the traces of the Prophet's footsteps. [MashaAllah!]

Habib Ali ended his lengthy and rousing tazkirah by making du'a so that Allah would enliven our hearts with true longing for Rasulullah; that we get to taste the sweetness of love for him and that we have takzim (glorification) for Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam. And that, all our claims about loving him, will in fact become a reality!


Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions in my note-taking.
Pic credit: Darul

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