Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Vivify life with ubudiyah and vivify Ramadan - Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al-Hamid


Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Al-Hamid
on arrival at a masjid in KL for Zohor Tazkirah

Imarah was the key word for Habib Ali's tazkirah (lecture).

The closest English translation for imarah, in my opinion is vivify which according to Merriam Webster means "to make something more vivid or lively" that is to impart vitality to something. Another synonym for the word is enliven. As we all know, we are to enliven our homes with zikir.

Habib Ali Zainal Abidin says in his tazkirah:
Allah creates man to enliven the earth. A place is enlivened with the presence of man even if there is absolutely nothing there. We must have the attitude of vivifying a thing. We must vivify our age. We must vivify the mosque. Those who play their role to vivify the essentials while living on this earth will find Allah vivifying their grave once they have served their purpose.

We are not just talking about constructing buildings. In fact, people of the past had done better in this respect. They built pyramids. They carved rocks, turning mountains into unique homes. Prophet Sulaiman had a building decorated with diamonds and gems. All these remain as history.

But there are two aspects to imarah - one which is zahir and also batin. The zahir aspect of imarah is not the main objective. What is more important is that of batin that we should enliven the earth, this life with ubudiyah (servitude) whilst taking care of the environment.

Allah says in the Quran in the form of an analogy: He who wishes for gardens in the akhirah will be granted more than what he asks for. He who wishes for gardens in the dunya will be given partial of his request in the dunya.

Take note of the underlying meaning. One who wishes for dunya will not be granted much of the akhirah and only a portion of the dunya. A wise person knows what is the purpose of his/her activities in this world.

We are now in Ramadan, a month which we should vivify. It's a month for us to enliven the time and place i.e. mosque with ibadah. Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam did plenty to impart vitality to his life, places and selected times. It is sunnatullah that Allah creates the changing seasons. Allah accords status to certain places (for example Masjidil Haram); time (e.g. Day of Arafah) and also people i.e. the anbiya so that people could benefit from them. Therein lies Allah's secrets. Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam took full advantage of the blessed Ramadan. So did Saidatina Aishah who secluded herself in the last ten days of Ramadan.

As said the Prophet, Allah would grant three rewards for each supplication made, except for those who ask for a munkar or those who ask to break ties. Anyone who makes a duá will be guaranteed three things: 1) the petition will be fulfilled 2) the request will be reserved and 3) Allah will protect the person from harm.

Upon hearing this, the sahabah remarked: "We shall make more duá then."            

It is as if the Prophet is challenging us to not be contented with our amal. That we should do more, ask for more from Allah because Allah can give us a lot more. Do not be fooled by your amal, thinking you have done a lot already. During the Battle of Badar when there was shortage of camels (transport), the sahabah offered a camel to the Prophet so he could ride while they walk. Prophet Muhammad, however, refused the offer, saying: "I have not gotten enough rewards from Allah and I would as much like to have that which you have (i.e. the bigger rewards of walking as compared to riding a camel)"

One who appreciates the vastness of Allah's bounties would hasten to do more good deeds. Do not be fooled by your own amal thinking it's sufficient to just do the obligatory. Also be wary of the tricks of Shayatin who could make a bad deed appears as good. Be mindful of how smart they were when they enticed Adam and Hawa with khuldi. That Adam and Hawa might become angels or live in the Heavens for eternity. Whereas Allah had forbidden them to go near it.

There is a sign for one who is given the secrets of Ramadan. It is for one who understood well the purpose of Ramadan being a gift from Allah. We are often told to pray and fast so that we become people of taqwa. What does taqwa mean? Taqwa was defined with a gesture (pointing to the chest/heart) and also in words. In relation to taqwa being something that is in the heart, it remains as a secret between the person and Allah. In addition to this batin aspect of taqwa, there are also outer signs of taqwa. Know the criteria of taqwa so that you leave Ramadan as a person who has taqwa:
  1. Those who hasten/compete in asking for pardon from Allah and ask for His Heavens.
  2. Those who give sadaqah/infaq.
  3. Those who control their anger.
  4. Those who are ready to forgive people, especially those who have wronged them.
  • Who do we compete with, in asking Allah's forgiveness? Even if we don't compete, Allah might pardon us. We don't compete with others. We compete with our ajal (death) so that ajal will not reach us sooner than our asking for Allah's pardon. We hasten to fulfill our ambitions/wishes while death hastens to reach us.
  • With regard to infaq, we are encouraged to give when we are in good health during good times; when we ourselves are in need; when we feel challenged and when we fear poverty. It is possible that he/she who gives away 1 dirham could gain more from the infaq than he/she who gives away 1000 dirham depending on the situation of the giver at the point of making the infaq.
  • We are allowed to feel angry but we must have the strength to control our anger. Anger is from shayatin whereas those who are patient exemplifies the character of Allah. People who are angered often do the wrong things. Prophet Musa alaihisalam too expressed his anger on one particular occasion.
  • While it may be easy to forgive people in general, it may not be as easy to forgive people who have hurt us, those who make us angry. To be willing to forgive all is a sign of taqwa.       

Allahu a'lam.
May I be forgiven for any unintentional mistakes in my translation.
On a lighter note, I'd like to think that I am on the same frequency as Habib Ali...cos I wore the same color as he did. We both wore navy blue jubah. Same Pantone code I bet. LOL Need I show proof?

Ramadan Kareem!
: )

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