Friday, April 30, 2010



(Singing a la Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)
Allah Hu...Allah Hu...Allah Hu......
Allah Hu...Allah Hu...Allah Hu......

O son, Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, I have been overwhelmed by love today and thought of  writing about it. Then a dear sister asked a question and the answer to her query has something to do with love too. 
Allah Hu...Allah Hu...Allah Hu......
Allah Hu...Allah Hu...Allah Hu......

I met Sis Rizwana only once, in May 2009. We were lazing around a beautiful home in Malaysia, in between Shaykh Hisham's sohbet. I smiled at her and asked if she was from India. She said yes. I then asked, "I know India is a huge country but do you by any chance know a brother by the name of Syed Mustafa?" Rizwana grinned and said "Of course, he is my cousin!"

Syed Mustafa is another love story to tell - brotherly love. Naqshbandi brotherhood that is. Anyway, Rizwana showed me love when we spoke on the phone today. I thought she was in Madinah doing her umrah so I phoned with an intention to convey salam to Rasulullah (s.a.w). Apparently she has postponed her trip. I inquired her travel itineraries so I know when she would be on holy Madinah grounds; to which she replied, "Sis Ezza, I plan to call you from there anyway." How sweet! O son, you will know love when you feel love.

Today, another sister whose fragrant (rayhan) soul permeates from a farther land, asked for advice on hijab. She keeps thinking about it but cannot seem to do it. I thought, all her worries about wearing hijab only prove her genuine concern for her religion. MashaAllah! But sister, all I can say is from my experience wearing hijab was like falling in love. I wasn't expecting it although I longed for it. 

I might have mentioned in an earlier posting about my hijab experience. It happened when I met someone special - a learned and pious man. I remember sitting at his feet, looking up to his calm face, listening to him speak casually about life, about being grateful for having a house, a car etc. He was like a father chatting affectionately with his children. He then talked about Sufi gurus. "There are gurus who could change you just by glancing at you." So I said half smiling and half pleading, "Oh Baba, please change me!" He just looked at me and smiled back. I left the meeting feeling elated. I had fallen for Baba Aziz! Baba Aziz the man whose 'small talk' epitomized a deeper sense of love for one's religion and Creator.

The next day, a sunday, I woke up like someone who had just fallen in love. I woke up happily and while getting dressed to go out, I had effortlessly and willingly put on a scarf! Although Baba Aziz had not talked about aurat or hijab at all. Honestly speaking, I was not sure what was happening to me then. It just happened. So to me, wearing hijab is like falling in love. You are simply overwhelmed by the feelings. You don't know when it's gonna come but when it does, it is so natural.

My advice to you dear sister: don't worry about not wearing hijab yet. The time will come when you will fall in love, surely. But you cannot hurry love and you won't know when it will come knocking on your heart. So just wait for the day when you fall in love, InshaAllah.

Allah Hu...Allah Hu...Allah Hu...

Allah Hu...Allah Hu...Allah Hu...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Learn your lessons


O son, please take heed.
1. One of our respected Shaykhs said "Half of those who have husnul zan (positive thoughts) towards Allah is a wali (friends of Allah)." So we know husnul zan may not be an easy or common attribute to have and not many people are blessed with such a character even though it is easy on the tongue or for the mind/ego to assume that it has already have the trait.

2. Do not believe anyone who claims that he/she has no ego.

3. Do not believe anyone who are quick to tell you about his/her good deeds for wanting to prove that he/she is a good/pious person.

4. Do not believe anyone who claims that he/she is a spiritually drowned person yet his/her behaviors are the opposite.

5. Do not believe anyone who claims to love and follow the Prophet yet he/she does not even care about the easiest sunnah. And worse still, he/she dares think about gross ideas forbidden by sharia.

6. Do not believe anyone who claims to be spiritual yet drags you away from it.

7. Do not believe anyone who does not respect your guru and all the shuyukhs.

8. Do not believe anyone who does not believe in consulting the pious and the learned.

9.  Do not believe anyone who gets close to you for his/her own pleasures.

10. Do not believe anyone who encourages you to do bad and then justifies it according to his/her own ignorance and blatant disregard of what is permissible or not permissible by God.

O son, know that it is jihad to escape from such people because we are commanded to choose our companions carefully. If you could do that, know that you will have obtained hurruriyah (freedom). Keep having husnul zan towards Allah so you be counted as His friends bi-iznillah. Last but not least, believe that He is your witness, He is watching you and He is with you.
Allahu shahidi
Allahu naziri
Allahu ma'ie
By the blessings of Imam Sahl at-Tustari may we live to believe this wholeheartedly. Ameen.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Leave the irrelevant things


A man said to one of the Sufis,
"I want to make the pilgrimage in a state of deprivation."
He replied:
"First deprive your heart of negligence,
deprive yourself of levity (lack of appropriate seriousness),
and deprive your tongue of vain talk;
then travel wherever you please."

How much time has been lost on account of vain talk? Alhamdulillah, for this realization, for this turn of events and for this conclusion. How much more assurance do we need, that Allah wants to give us something better each day, IF we leave that which is of no concern to us. Thanks to our mothers and our gurus for their never ending du'a, that one after another veil comes down and we learn something useful each day. And get wiser. Bi-iznillah.
(Please excuse me, I just needed a pat on the back for having achieved something I have been wanting to do - leave 'that one particular thing' that which does not concern me. Alhamdulillah. Subhanallah!)

"The Prophet s.a.w is reported to have said: "One of the results of the excellence of the person's Islam is neglecting that which does not concern him." Being busy with that which is of no concern to you is the business of those who are idle and in illusion. The person who is deprived of the pleasure of His Master is he who did not act on what he was commanded but instead occupied himself with irrelevant things. This is deprivation itself, hatred itself and banishment itself. Woe unto you! Obey the commandments, refrain from the prohibitions, comply with the things that require compliance and then surrender yourself to destiny without asking 'why' or 'how'. The care of Allah about you combined with His knowledge of you are better than your care for yourself combined with your ignorance of your Lord. Be satisfied with His giving and occupy yourself with offering thanks for it. Do not ask Him for more, for you do not know where His gracious favor lies."
- Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani

Ya Raqib
Ya Mujib
Ya Wasi'
Ya Hakim
Ya Wadud
Ya Majid

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On not being steadfast (istiqamah)


My apologies to all for not being steadfast in posting 6 Names (Asmaul Husna) a day. One of my guides has instructed us to memorize 6 Names a day. So I started but stopped after the 6th day. BUT I have been traveling, sick and preoccupied with my day-job...(dare I give excuses!) Woe unto me!

The Prophet s.a.w said:
"Be steadfast although you will never be able to be so completely."
Our beloved messenger has also said a verse in Surah Hud has made his hair turn white! He was referring to a command by Allah to be steadfast: "So be steadfast (istiqamah) as you have been commanded."

Ya Kabir
Ya Hafiz
Ya Muqit
Ya Hasib
Ya Jalil
Ya Karim

Monday, April 26, 2010

Being nothing


O son, our much respected guide Mawlana Shaykh Nazim's often repeated phrase is: "I am nothing." What does it mean to be nothing?

"The word 'nothing' indicates freedom from the ego. This is because the first step in realizing a share of the divine secrets begins with rising above egotistical behavior and animal desires. Therefore, a preliminary point in the process of spiritual growth is when one attains to the degree of being "nothing".

One of the purposes of tasawwuf is to prepare a disciple for witnessing his "nothingness" before the glory, kingdom and omnipotence of the divine. Allah occasionally reminds His servants of this truth through various trials. For instance, He left one of His great prophets, Sulaiman (a.s) dead on his throne for a period of time in order to remind him of his powerlessness.

Allah speaks to humans in the following verses:
"I created you when you were nothing..." (Quran, Maryam, 9)
"Every blessing that reaches you is from Allah. Then when harm reaches you, you pray to Allah alone." (Quran an-Nahl, 53)

'Nothingness' pertains to contemplating the meaning of those verses. Otherwise, one will be unable to protect oneself from heedlessly claiming to be a god as has been witnessed in the course of the lives of the Pharaohs and the Nimrods.

The great Sufi, Bayazid Bistami, quddisa sirruh, illustrated the state of nothingness in the following prayer:
"O my Lord! Put aside my self between us so that my self gets lost in You, and I become nothing! This is because, if I am with you, I am with all. Yet if I am wayward and lost in all, I cannot be with you. This would be the greatest shame for me to commit in witnessing your path."

FROM: Tears of the Heart - Rumi Selections
Publisher credit: Ekram Publications
Pic credit: 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How humble are you?


O son, we have been learning plenty of things on Lisan al-Din over the past one year, not to mention some difficult sounding sufi terminologies or concepts such as annihilation (fana), wahdatul wujud (oneness of being) etc. For today, I thought we should just learn to practise one simple thing, that is to go out and consider ourself as inferior to everyone we meet out there. How's that?

Hassan al-Basri said:
Shibli related that Yusuf Ibn Asbat (d. 811/2) was asked to describe the height of humility. He said: "It is that when you leave your house, you consider everyone you see in the street to be better than yourself."

May Allah makes it easy for us to put into practise all that we have been learning.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The bashfulness of the Prophet


O son, I wish I was as bashful as this one friend I know. I am ashamed that the friend is a male because it is better that a woman be more shy than a man. Let's read about the bashfulness of the Prophet s.a.w as written by Osman Nuri Topbas in 'The Prophet of Mercy Muhammad - Scenes from his life'.

According to the description of his companions, the Prophet s.a.w was more bashful than a young girl who covered herself from unwanted eyes. He never spoke with a loud voice. When he passed by others, he used to do so slowly and with a smile on his face. Nevertheless, his face reflected his feelings and thoughts. Thus, people around him were very careful about their conduct when they were near him. He never laughed loudly because of his modesty. The most he did was only to smile. In a hadith it is stated that,
"Bashfulness is from faith. Bashful people will be in Paradise! Shamelessness arises from the hardness of heart. Those with hardened hearts will go to the Hellfire" Another hadith states: "Faith and modesty are together. When one leaves, the other departs too." "Rude talk does not bring anything except shame! Modesty and decency decorate wherever they may be."

Real modesty is gained by "remembering death", which is a means for the removal from the heart of love for this world. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w continuously advised his companions to extend to Allah the profound respect He deserves. Once, they said that they thanked Allah modestly. The Prophet s.a.w explained that real modesty involves cleaning all one's organs from prohibited actions and remembering death. Next he stated that only those who truly desire the next world abandon their love for this world. And only they show true modesty of conduct towards Allah.


Publisher credit: Ekram Publications  

Friday, April 23, 2010

Do not be afraid!


Do not be deceived
O human being,
by the pride and fun of this world!
Do not be afraid,
even if your body is cut to pieces in a dream,
for this world is but a dream!
- Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi

O son, I have been feeling bruised lately but was awakened to my senses when I came across Rumi's words of wisdom. He is right, as usual. So what if you get a hundred cuts, if you can differentiate which is real, which is not. And that you will wake up from your dream eventually and inevitably, at death. So fret not, if you have a bad dream on some days.

Osman Nuri Topbas, a Shaykh of Naqshbandi al-Khalidiah tariqa in Turkey said:
"It is ironic that a human being, who has only come to this world as a visitor for a short period, deceives himself in it. Although he may observe funerals daily, he thinks that his meeting with death is always far in the future. In his confusion, he believes that he is the genuine owner of the trust that may be taken away from him at any moment by his Creator. A human being in reality, after being dressed with a body and sent to this world, is a traveller towards death. He is irrevocably on a march towards death although he never reminds himself of this inevitability."

Ten years ago my late Ustaz Shuib advised, "Ezza you should say Inna lillahi wa inna ilai hira ji'un to yourself as often as you can and not wait for other people to die to say it."
Inna lillahi wa inna ilai hira ji'un

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"We are the generation of paradise." - Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani


Ya Rabbee. Madad, Ya Sayyidee. Laa ilaaha illa-llah, Laa ilaaha illa-llah, La ilaaha illa-llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah. For the honor of Your most honored and glorified deputy, we are asking heavenly support and we are saying, As-salaamu`alaykum yaa`ibaadillahi's-saaliheen! As-salaamu`alaykum yaa Rijaalallah. As-salaamu`alayka yaa saahiba'z-zamaan, As-salaamu`alayka yaa Qutubu 'l-Aqtaab, As-salaamu`alaykum yaa `ibaadullahi 's-saaliheen, amidoona bi-madadikoom.

We are looking for your heavenly support and we are saying A`oodhubillahi minash-Shaytaani'r-rajeem. Shaytan is thinking that no one can be more powerful than him and I am saying, it is the lowest level of creatures. No one can be under Shaytan's level. Deepest one! But it is thinking, "I am powerful." And we are running to the Lord of Heavens as He ordered to say, A`oodhubillahi minash-Shaytaani'r-rajeem. And we have been granted heavenly support through the heavenly sword of Bismillahi'r-Rahmaani'r Raheem! Bismillahi'r-Rahmaani'r-Raheem is protecting us here in this life, in our graveyard, in Judgment Day! Bismillahi'r-Rahmaani'r-Raheem. Allahu Akbar!

O our Attenders! As-salaamu`alaykum! How are you today? Collecting too much money? Yes. Everyone is now asking to collect more and more and more from nonsense treasures of this life on this planet. Laa ilaaha illa-llah, Laa ilaaha illa-llah, Laa ilaaha illa-Llah. O our Lord! For the honor of Your most honored one, Sayyidina Muhammad (s)!
O, People! If there was a value of treasures in this world, Allah Almighty is able to make those treasures to fall on His most beloved one as rains! He is able to send from heavens, pearls, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. Yes, He is able!

O our Salafi `ulama! Marhaban! Kayfa ahwaalakum? You like dunya? I think that you may find only a handful of people who hate dunya. You will find that very few people who is not going to prefer rains of pearls, diamonds, rubies, emeralds and so many kinds of precious stones. I don't think anyone who was to be there in that place (where there is a rain of precious stones), who will not run to take something from it. Very, very, very few ones. Ask yourself, don't say to anyone else but you try yourself. Say, "Shaykh Qurani, what would you do if it were to rain from heavens, emeralds, pearls, and diamonds?" What do you think? Say truthfully! Say, "I am not running to take even one." Can you say this? Say, for the honor of the most honored one. Are you thinking to run and to take at least one diamond or one pearl? What do you think?

Our egos are making us say, "If it is raining jewels, how can I stand here? I must carry as much as possible. I must collect and bring a camel with sacks to fill it. But I am not looking to take too much, but they are so beautiful and my wife is going to be so happy! I must put in my pocket some of these pearls or my wife will come to me with a stick if I tell her I was running in a valley of jewels!  (And his wife answers) "O big Shaytan, you are Shaytan! Why didn't you carry for me even one handful? Instead, you are coming to me saying you are zaahid (ascetic)! Why aren't you bringing those jewels of dunya to me?"

O Salafi `ulamas! If Allah Almighty, Qaadirun Muqtadar, the Most Capable Above All Capable, may do anything and everything! Perhaps in deserts, He could send an instant rain of jewels! What are you going to do? O, People! Particularly doctors of Shar`iah, you must hear what Allah Almighty is saying! Bismillahi'r-Rahmaani'r-Raheem. 

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
Wa la-nabluwanakum bi shay’in min al-khawf wa'l-ju`i wa naqsun
mina'l-amwaali wa'l-anfus wa'th-thamaraati wa bashshiri's-saabireen
Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. (Qur'an 2:155)

You know that ayatu'l-kareema? Wala-nabluwanakum bi shay. Allahu Akbar! Allah Almighty is saying, "I am never leaving My servants, I am testing them." Tajruba, test them all, they are mukallaf, responsible adults. Wala-nabluwanakum bi shay "I am not leaving". I am going to try everyone at every level with so many things with different tests."

Do you understand, Salafi `ulamas? Why are you not saying to people and the rest of `ulamas? They are saying they are learned ones of Ahlu’l-Sunnah wa’l-Jama`ah or saying they are Shi`a, and that addressing, that kitab of Allah is for them too. But the Lord of Heavens is looking to His servants, trying and testing them, making some of them to sit on hives of bees, saying, "Stay here but don't touch, that is amaana (a trust)." Is that true? When the Lord of Heavens is saying, "Don't touch it," Shaytan comes around and saying, "What are you doing here?"
"I am the guardian of this hive."
"Have you tasted some of it?"
"It is forbidden for me to taste."
“Why? Yes, if you do not wish to eat, at least taste a little bit, look I am tasting.”
"Don't touch, this is amaana, a trust."
“Put a little bit, like this (in your mouth).”
“I can't.”

Shaytan will never leave him until he cheats him or put a trap for him and using its countless tricks, saying, "Put a little bit (from that trust)." He will not be aware that it is from Shaytan and when he looks, he sees Shaytan takes it and nothing happened, so he also takes (from what is forbidden).

O People! O Salafi `ulamas! I have never heard from Salafi `ulamas or other doctors of Shari`ah or `ulamas from al-Azhar saying in their speeches or addressing to people, warning people and saying, "O People, do you know that we were Nasl al-Jannah, the generation of Paradise?" Yes. We don't know because you are not saying such things, Salafi `ulamas! Are you saying this? Address and declare to people! Did you ever say, "O Mankind, you were a generation of Paradise?" Is it true? We are nasl, generation of Paradise, and how did it happen, we were thrown out of Paradise? Why are you not making clear what happened to Adam and Eve? Why are you not speaking of their generation? 

Allah Almighty is asking that honor to come into existence, and He appointed Mankind deputies, the highest rank of all Creation. This is an ocean of knowledge; what is coming to me to speak about such things is a reality and ocean of knowledge opening to Adam (a) whom Allah Almighty had created by His divinely hands. 

O Salafi `ulamas! Allah Almighty  jalla jalaaluhu, is giving hands to His deputies, what do you think? Does He have Hands? He is without hands and only giving us hands? Yes? Give me an answer. Say, is there a Hand for Allah jalla jalaaluh? But you are not able to know about the real being of the Hands of the Lord of Heavens.

Who is giving from His endless treasures of everything, Who is granting? Who is sending from the skies rains and giving countless pleasures to Earth? And you, mankind, eat and get endless pleasures. Without a hand, Allah (swt) is sending? Do you know such things? I don't know but now it is coming and I am saying. I don't claim that I know such things, I know nothing! But the Lord of Heavens, according to His Divinely Will, is sending to His beloved one and that beloved one is sending to someone in his ummah and no one knows them, only that most well-knowing one knows as much as his Lord is giving to him, the Seal of Prophets (s). How is He giving? Salafi `ulamas, say! Say the reality because some people are asking! And people, from beginning up to the end, are drunk now and they are asking such a question!

Yes, Adam and Eve were in Paradise because their ranks were so high and it was impossible with that honor to be sent to Earth, full with troubles, everything giving trouble to people, to mankind. But the Lord of Heavens was asking that new Creation for them in a place according to maqaam, station, according to their honors. Therefore, Paradise was in existence and Allah Almighty created Adam there. Then what happened, because Man was tested to be under imtihaan, `inda 'l-imtihaan yukramu al-mar'u aw yuhaan (from a test, whether we succeed or not). Allah Almighty asking to give much more to Adam (a), to give to him higher Paradise's stations, but first testing and he fell down. Saying, "No, you must get out." What was the reason, O Salafi `ulamas, do you know it?

وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَـذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِي
wa laa taqrabaa haadhihi 'sh-shajarata fatakoona mina 'zh-zhaalimeen
Don't approach this tree, for you will be of the sinners. (Qur'an 7:19)

Ayatul-kareema. Holy order of the Lord of Heavens, "I am giving everything, but I am preventing you from that tree. And I am Lord, you are My servant. I have My right to test you and every test is going to be a reason for a person either to get up or to fall down."

Yes, they are making me speak on a hive of bees! Shaytan coming, saying, as it comes, entering Paradise and saying, "Don't eat, but taste, taste! I am happy! I am coming to you to give much more honor and to know much more from the secret knowledge!" That is a tree from secret things that no one knows but the Lord of Heavens. But they are hearing and listening and following shaytanic advice, shaytanic suggestions, "Come! Don't eat, but taste just a little bit." When you put it here (Mawlana Shaykh points to mouth), that rain from Divinely Existence that was coming on them gets cut off immediately and they stand naked!

O People! Say such wisdoms. Holy Qur'an is not a book of histories but you must take hikmat, wisdom. Say to people, "You must not run after dunya but you must run after heavenly grants. But the `ulamas are not saying such things. I am nothing but they are making me address all people from east to west, from book-given people (ahlul kitab) and those who are granted Old Testament and Injeel Shareef (New Testament), to all of them. I am bombarding shaytanic aspects! That is my mission and this is very, very, very simple (spiritual) bombardment. Heavy (spiritual) bombardment coming after me. O people, look, listen and accept or heavy bombardment coming (to take away dirtiness). May Allah forgive us for the sake of the most honored one, Sayyidina Muhammad (s)! 
Tawbah yaa Rabbee, tawbah yaa Rabbee, tawbah yaa Rabbee.

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim sohbet on 19 April 2010, Lefke, Cyprus

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Zindabad Mawlana Shaykh Nazim!


Zindabad, long live Mawlana Shahykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani! Our much revered Shaykh is a year older today 21st of April. May Allah grants him a long, healthy life blessed with increasingly holy maqam befitting his stature.

Dome dome dome dome...!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Etiquettes and manners of a good writer - Sayyid Alawi al-Maliki


Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam in his opening remark for a new lecture series on Kitab al Targhib wat Tarhib authored by Sayyid Alawi al-Maliki said:

Sayyid Alawi in his attempt to author a lecture (sharah) from an abridged version of the said kitab was doing one of 8 things that were common among the ulama during the old days. That they would either expand a particular kitab by expounding on it in greater details; or summarizing its contents to ease reading; or collate some scattered theories into a more structured version; or extract and expand on a given chapter of a bigger volume; or re-write texts into poetry format or translate a poetry into a narration.

Sayyid Alawi in coming up with his sharah of Kitab al-Targhib wat Tarhib whose original author was Imam Al-Munziri (581 - 656 Hjjriah) said: "succeeding authors should rectify whatever mistakes that the original author has made and be sure to commend him for initiating the kitab. Succeeding authors cannot challenge the original author because being the first to initiate a study, he would have received greater barakah for his effort. It is important to keep adab and not criticize the original author. He must be praised because Allah does praise three groups of people: the faqir muhajirin, the Ansar and those who follow them (tabi'in wat tabi'in). So the adab is to praise people who came before us and to seek forgiveness for their misgivings if any."

Sayyid Alawi, therefore, made a du'a in his version of Kitab al-Targhib wat Tarhib that the readers of his kitab will gain the benefit at the same degree of barakah obtainable from reading the original Kitab al-Targhib wat Tarhib  by Al-Munziri.

Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam, highlighted the barakah and everlasting-ness of classic kitabs written by honorable writers such as al-Munziri and Imam Malik. Imam Malik was asked why he had chosen to write Al-Muwata' when there had been many other authors writing on the same. Imam Malik said: "that which will last a long time is that which Allah has redha upon." And as it turned out, his Al-Muwata' was the one that lasted many hundred years! SubhanAllah! So did prolific authors like Hidayatus Salikin's which lasted more than 200 years. Other examples include Imam Bukhari's Sahih and al-Ghazali's Ihya Ulumuddin. These kitabs became valuable classics because they were written with great sincerity, said Shaykh Fahmi.
"If you want something to last a long time i.e. istiqamah, all it takes is just sincerity (ikhlas). Those great kitabs were written from a pure sincere heart hence, they were effective in waking up dead hearts. It is not just about creative writing techniques, delivery methods, etc. but it is all about the waraq (piety) of its authors - who keep their ikhlas in check, ibadah, qiyamulail and salawat. The strengths of these author's spiritual acumen (ruhaniah) are what made the lessons effective, leaving a distinct impression on its readers.

Allah has clearly stated that there is a great difference between one who has iman and one who doesn't have iman; and one who has the knowledge and one who doesn't have much knowledge. Shaykh Fahmi also said that one who is capable of taking heed of advice and counsel is one who is blessed with a good intellect. They are the ulul albabs. Imam Ghazali said, "the best of God's gifts is your intellect". A sign of one who has intellect is that he feels good at doing good and embarrassed to do bad. One's intellect must be nurtured continually.

According to Imam Shafie, there are 6 pre-requisites to be an 'alim (knowledgable person):
1. zaka'un - one must have basic intelligence.
2. hirsun - one must be thirsty for knowledge.
3. sabr - one needs to be patient for one has to struggle with a lot of things in the process of acquiring knowledge.
4. enough funding - a student should not be burdened about money matters. Imam Nawawi had eaten only food which was provided by his father and wore clothing that was sewn by his mother so that he need not worry about his needs.
5. irshad - one needs to have a good guide/guru
6. time - one needs to invest plenty of time to master a particular subject. Imam Shafie had spent 14 years with his guru Imam Malik.

Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam said that of all those pre-requisites, the most important factor is adab with one's guru, adab in handling kitabs, even in arranging kitabs on the bookshelf, adab with other students and adab at majlis ilm. Imam Shafie said: "If you have su'ul adab (bad manners) with your guru, you must then be patient with your ignorance. If you have su'ul adab with your doctor, you must then be patient with your illness."

One also needs to acquire knowledge with sanad (lineage) for barakah sake. And make du'a Rabbi zidni ilma like the Prophet s.a.w on a daily basis! Daily! A mukmin's thirst for knowledge shall not be quenched until he is at the door of the Heavens. One of Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam's guru by the name of Shaykh Abdul Kadir Hassan had lost his voice when he was 90 so what he did was, he went to study (listen) to the lectures of his own murid!

This world will be cursed by Allah if there is none of us who pursue knowledge or has anything to do with knowledge. A hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah stated that: "The world shall be cursed if not for zikrullah, for the sake of the pious and those who seek knowledge."
Wallahu 'alam.

FROM lecture by Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam at KL Ba'alawi on 18 April 2010.
May I be forgiven for any errors in transmission and my apologies for the delayed posting

Monday, April 19, 2010

Al targhib wat tarhib (Encouragement & Warning)


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, yesterday Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki led the jemaah at KL Ba'alawi to a new kitab (book) called Al targhib wal tarhib.

Al targhib means encouragement and wat tarhib means warning. The kitab was originally written by Imam al-Munziri (581 - 656 Hijriah) but the one that Shaykh Fahmi used was actually an abridged version authored by As-Sayyid 'Alawi al-Maliki (the father of As-Sayyid Muhammad bin ‘Alawi al-Maliki whom he referred to lovingly as Abuya).

Al targhib wat tarhib is a book containing selected hadith that encourage (targhib) the readers to do good and hadith that serves to warn (tarhib) us  from doing anything bad.
The original kitab Al targhib wal tarhib written by Imam al-Munziri comes in 4 huge volumes. Some scholars have summarized it while others wrote explanatory kitab on it. As-Sayyid Alawi al-Maliki had written a sharah (notes) of one summarized version of the original kitab. Sayyid Alawi had used the text to teach at Madrasah al-Falah in Makkah.

Shaykh Fahmi started his lecture on the subject of taqwa.
The best of all garments or adornments is taqwa. The khatib during Friday prayers would always remind the jemaah to increase taqwa by adhering to God's commandment and leaving the munkar (the forbidden). There are actually four things that you must do:
i. Do what is required by Allah zahir-wise e.g. as salat, fasting
ii. Do what is required by Allah bathin-wise e.g. shukur (thankfulness), sabr (patience)
iii. Avoid doing what is forbidden in zahir terms such as zina (unlawful sex), stealing
iv. Avoid doing what is forbidden in bathin terms such as takabbur (pride), ujub (self-glorification)

For example, if you missed your salat, you will end up getting 15 punishments - five in dunya, five in the grave and 5 in akhira.

(To be continued InshaAllah) 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Self Existence of Allah


Allah is ever Self-Existent (Al-Qayyum) and Eternal (Al-Baqi). The attribute of Self-existence and eternity is one of the divine names of Allah, meaning that He is self-existent with no beginning and end, and that He is free of any need from creation. Rather, everything needs Him for existence. The Qur'an says:
"O you men! It is you that have need of Allah, but Allah is the One free of all wants, worthy of all praise." (Qur'an 35:15)
"Allah is free of all needs from all creation." (Qur'an 29:6)

As these Divine messages clearly put, Allah does not need any agent for His existence. That is why it is stated that Allah is permanently self-existing. 

If a person does not perceive this Divine attribute of Allah, and if he/she does not have a complete faith in this regard, his/her faith is ranked as insufficient and void, because by doing so, he/she reduces Allah to the level of creation. Thus Allah is exempt from the attributions that belong to all else besides Him. However, those hearts having mature faith constantly invoke the Divine name of "Self Existent  and Eternal" and with the blessing of this invocation, they, heart and soul, bind themselves to the bond of Allah and annihilate themselves in Allah. Namely, the servants enjoyment of the invocation of the Divine names of Allah is to do with how much he/she is independent of all else besides Allah.
- Osman Nuri Topbas in 'Islam Spirit and Form'

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Celebrating life


O son, this posting came late because I was away visiting several blessed octogenarians (men and women who are between 80 to 89 years old). They were all relatives to a dervish friend of mine who is in her 70s. Alhamdulillah for the opportunity and the heartfelt lessons learned.

One of them was very well dressed. She had a nice watch on her wrist and a beautiful gold pendant around her neck. She talked animatedly about making preparations for a Majlis Zikr at her big house where there is a large hall meant for religious gatherings. She spoke with great enthusiasm as her husband read the newspapers (without a reading glass, mind you). They were both in their mid-80s. I commended her on her pleasant appearance, she just smiled and said "Oh I had 17 babies delivered through here.." while pointing at her belly! "Six of them are waiting for me in Heaven, InshaAllah." She got married at the age of fourteen, I was told. I found it hard to believe at first but not after looking at their wedding picture. Sweet, raw 14 she was!  MashaAllah.

One of them, Hajjah Nong Chek was bedridden. Her daughters seemed very distraught about their mother's condition but she was wearing a smile for her guests. The smile on her face somehow reminded me of a hadith qudsi:
'Allah will say on the Day of Judgment: “O son of Adam I was sick and you did not visit Me. He will say: O Lord how can I visit You. You are the Lord of the worlds? He says: Did you not know that My servant so and so was sick yet you did not visit him? Did you not know that if you had visited him you would have found Me with him?” (Muslim).'

We understood that moment why one of our gurus said that when you visit the sick, you are actually celebrating His af'al (actions). Allahu Allah!

O son, make it a habit to visit the elderlies and the sick. This I learned by example from my late father. May you follow what's good from us and leave what's not.

“There is not a Muslim who visits another in the morning except that 70,000 angels ask forgiveness for him until the night, and if he visits him at night then 70,000 angels ask forgiveness for him until the morning, and he will have earned a garden in paradise” (At-Tirmidhi).
May Allah keep us all on the Straight Path.
Pic credit:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friends in faith (1)


MashaAllah! Alhamdulillah! I am humbled by the support and encouragement I have been getting from some of you, Lisan al-Din visitors. If you were a Naqshbandi brother I would plant a rose in your Taj. And for the ladies, only a bouquet of flowers could speak of my appreciation and respect. 

Hassan al-Basri said:
"My spiritual brothers are dearer to me than my family and children,
for the former are my friends in faith
but my family and children are friends in the world."

Someone sent me a meaningful quote on friendship today.
"If you wish to befriend someone, do not let it be based on his/her strengths, for one day you might be turned off by one of his/her weaknesses.
If you wish to befriend someone, do not let it be for the sake of his/her goodness, for one day you might hate him/her because of one flaw.
If you wish to befriend someone, do not let it be for his/her cheerfulness, for one day he/she may fail to make you happy and you might blame him/her for it.
If you want to befriend someone, let it not be for his/her knowledge, for one day he/she may not appear as smart and you might speak ill of him/her.
If you wish to befriend someone, simply accept him/her as a friend who is just an ordinary person. Do not expect him/her to be perfect because you are not sure if you are perfect yourself, in the eyes of God."

Wallahi, I think most of the readers know a lot better about the deen and sufism than I do. The only difference between you and I is that I speak my mind and heart about my faith and vulnerability openly. And sometimes I do get to hear yours when you leave a comment or email me. Thank you so much!

So know that I am also like many of you - a sinner who's trying to make amends with her Lord.
A transgressor who tries to keep husnul zan (positive thoughts) about her Creator.
A repenting servant who hopes that her Lord will replace her bad deeds with good deeds.
A student who is trying to catch up and learn what she has missed.
So please do not be a fan.

There's one du'a I learned from Hikam of Ibn Athaillah:
Ilahi kam 'asika wa anta tas turuni
Lord, I am so flawed and yet You cover up my weaknesses.

Bismillah, I pray that we will remain to be friends of faith for the longest time and that we love each other for the sake of Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. InshaAllah.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Remembering who?


O son, woe unto us for wanting creations (that someone special perhaps) to remember us when we should be remembering the One who remembers us and never forget us. If He had forgotten us, we would have been vanished, died, maybe. But even then, dying and everything that befall us are all in His Knowledge and  amr (management) so effectively speaking, He never leaves us in His remembrance. And yet our lower nafs is distracted from the real remembrance that we still think of someone else, wondering if 'he/she is thinking of me as I think of her/him'. While we may be thinking of him/her, we cannot be sure if it's reciprocated. However, the Creator has promised us: "So remember Me, I will remember you." (Qur'an 2:152)

When do we really remember Him earnestly? When illness overcomes us (hopefully) and when we receive unexpected bounties (perhaps). Oh then we would do the lipservice and proclaim Alhamdulillah out loud. But how much of that gratitude sinks in our deepest heart? Do we say it for people to hear? Perhaps, for a change we should say Alhamdulillah quietly in our hearts and whisper meaningfully to the Greatest One as often as possible and be grateful that we are still breathing. That is why Habib Yusuf al-Bakhour once said, "those who truly know and love Allah, they watch their breath. On each inhale and exhale, not a single breathing is wasted without mahabbah  - a deep sense of love, bonding, remembrance and gratitude for Allah."

Al-Qushayri said in Principles of Sufism:
"Among the qualities unique to remembrance is that it is not limited to appointed times. Indeed, the servant is commanded to make remembrance of God, whether as a duty or as a recommendation, at all times. The daily prayers, however, even though they are the noblest act of devotion, are not permitted at certain times. Remembrance of the heart is continual, in all conditions. God Most High commends "Those who make remembrance of God standing, sitting, and lying on their sides" (Qur'an 3:191)

The prophet s.a.w said:
"O people, graze in the meadows of the Paradise."
We asked, 'what are the meadows of Paradise?'
He s.a.w replied:
"The gatherings formed for making remembrance of God.
Go forth, morning and evening, in remembrance of God.
Let he who desires to know his standing with God,
look at the rank he accords God.
The rank God Most High grants to His servant corresponds to the rank his servant accords Him."
Translator credit: V. Schlegell

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Civilisation of Virtues


"In order for us to attain to the superior virtues that will make us acceptable to Allah, we must nourish heartfelt love for the friends of Allah and the Blessed Prophet s.a.w to whom they are devoted. And it is him that we must follow. For this reason it is hoped that as we become truly acquainted with the Prophet s.a.w and take as our model his superior characteristics, which have been praised by Allah, we will have the honour of being amongst  those 'brothers' that the Prophet gave glad tidings of. If we recognise him today, he (s.a.w) will recognize us tomorrow in that great gathering on the last Day. If we reach a state in which we see him in reality then he will see us. If we listen to him and do as he says, then he will hear our cries and take us by the hand. In this way, we will become for others, an exhibition of his beautiful example. This is the greatest virtue of all."
From 'Civilisation of Virtues'
by Osman Nuri Topbas (pic above)

MashaAllah! Tabarakallah! The above is actually a blurb from the said book. By far, it's the best blurb I have ever read! But it's not a surprise at all. Sollu alan Nabi!

And now let's get on with our memorization of 6 Names a day:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fighting the lower soul (nafs)


The lower soul (nafs) is always engaged in inspiring your imagination to pursue evil acts or thoughts, every moment striving to cast you down into the abyss of pride, hypocrisy, and egotism. Each moment thus demands that you overcome and repulse such evil thoughts and false conceptions, constantly regaining your faith afresh and reaffirming your belief, and never imagining yourself safe from the lower soul's deceit even for a second. Every fantasy which oppresses you - driving you to infidelity and being veiled (kufr u ihtijab), casting you down from your sublime station into the deepest pits of passions and carnal nature - must be met and opposed with fresh faith, lest the citadel of your religion to be destroyed by the lasso of lust and the saber of wrath.
- Lahiji in Mafatih
From: The Wisdom of Sufism
You should not be sad if you lost a friend who has the tendency to drag you down with his lower nafs. You might feel sad at first at losing such a friend, but know that the part of you who is sad for the loss is actually your lower soul (nafs) because it could no longer fulfill its fancies. So keep fighting and be strong. When you leave anything munkar (forbidden) for the sake of Allah, He will reward you with something better and far more worthwhile. Bi-iznillah.

Moving on, let's memorize 6 Names a day.

Ya Rahman
Ya Rahim
Ya Malik
Ya Quddus
Ya Salam
Ya Mukmin

Monday, April 12, 2010

His Attributes & Essence


Below are my sketchy notes on wahdatul sifat (oneness of attributes) and wahdatul zat (oneness of essence) taken from a lecture given by a mu'aleem last weekend. Bismillah.
Each and every attribute that the creation has e.g. speaking, walking, sitting down, etc. is drawn from the attributes of the Lord - this pertains to wahdatul sifat. Wahdatul zat means that you understand and believe in your heart that the essence of everything which your eyes fall upon, all go back to the One Essence of God. So if you found someone to be having attractive attributes e.g. good looking, intelligent, rich, etc. you must not stop at appreciating or adoring him/her alone. You must be able to see in your mind and heart that his/her attributes and essence as originating from the One Essence of the Creator. He/she is merely a receptacle of God's attributes of beauty, intelligence, and richness. If you understood this to be the correct attitude that you should have in regards to people's attributes and essence, you will not miss, love, fear or hope for anyone because you know it is not him/her who has all those attributes. Instead, you see the real source of the person's attributes and essence which is the Lord, so that, the person becomes transparent to you. Try to get rid of the aghyar from your heart and keep the right aqidah (religious stand) by seeing His attributes and essence only.

You must learn to have the right aqidah as the Sufis and the ahlillah (People of Allah). If you truly understood this, you would not be bickering and arguing with people due to differences amongst you because you are able to recognize the real doer of all actions and the owner of all attributes. The attributes that the creations possess are borrowed (majazi). Their attributes (all attributes) belong with the Essence, whose name is Allah.

If you understood the oneness of actions (wahdatul af'al) it would be easy for you to understand the oneness of attributes (wahdatul sifat) and consequently, the oneness of essence (wahdatul zat). God's actions are related to His Attributes and accordingly, His attributes are derived from His Essence. His essence is 'eternally eternal' (qadim azali).

You must strive hard so as not to be blinded by the beauty of the creations' attributes. You must nullify the essences of the creations completely until what is left in your witnessing and understanding is His Essence. This is tawhid (unity).

Know that the evidence (dalil) for wahdatul zat is:
Qul Hu Allahu Ahad
"Say He is Allah, the One and Only." (Qur'an 112:1)
The evidence for wahdatul sifat is:
Wallahu kholaqakum wama taqmalun
"Allah created you and your deeds" (Qur'an 37:96)

Once you have a firm aqidah on this tawhid, your shariat will naturally be firm too. How will you know if your shariat is strong? There is some 165 sunnah practiced by Rasulullah s.a.w. You must strive to do at least 40.

Additionally, there are 5 things you must do in order to get to the presence of the Lord.
1. Leave your wishes and attraction towards the world.
2. Leave all that your lower nafs desire.
3. Always be in remembrance of Allah in your heart and say it with your tongue. 
4. Be quick in repenting (tawba) each and everytime you err.
5. Stop fantasizing. Forget the past and don't dwell on the future either, even on matters of the akhira, but just make full use of the present moment.

You should be amazed at how focused and determined the ahlillah are in walking towards the Lord. Allah loves you. He loves all of us but how can He grant you anything if your heart is full of dunya? He will not accept deeds that are motivated by your nafs. As imam of prayer you purposely recite with your best voice so that people would praise you. You must get rid of such nafs amarah bissu. Fight it. Do not succumb to it. Strive (mujahadah) and then leave the rest to Allah. But how do you fight this nafs? You can only combat it by becoming a salik and by performing your ibadah (religious duties). These are like 'armies of the Lord' that would help you battle with nafs amarah bissu. God's armies are the only force that could defeat God's enemies. Know that! And don't blame other people. Blame yourself for lacking in ibadah.

We all made that pledge in alam ruh when the Lord asked us Alastu birabbikum ("Am I not your Lord?"). We made a vow to Him that He was our first and only beloved. But when we come to this world, we forgot all about it. We 'marry' the world instead. You should know that a promise is a promise. We must fulfill our promise to Him. Our aim is to win His redha (mercy). If you got married to someone else (dunya), how can you ever go back to your first lover? You must keep sailing towards your goal even if your ship's mast is broken. He is your goal. 

Kaifa? How could (you) enter the Lord's presence when you are not cleaned from janabah (impure state). Cleanse yourself zahir and bathin with continuous istighfar or else you will not be able to be steadfast (istiqamah) in your ibadah. Oh when will the believers fear Allah?

Learn tasawwuf, it will take you back to the Lord. It will train you to be obedient to your guru, obedient towards Rasulullah s.a.w and obedient towards Allah. This is tariqa. It is not about the amount of knowledge you amass but it is about the test of obediency. And you must be sincere. If you want to go back to loving Allah truthfully, you must be sincere. You must not have any other hidden motives. A wife may claim that she loves her husband sincerely and likewise a husband claims to love his wife - but deep down, they all have their own agenda in loving each other. Know that sincerity is a secret that lies with Allah. Only He knows!

- Wallahu a'lam
This lecture by the mu'aleem was based on Kitab Qatrul Ghaisiah

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Heart connections


O son, one of the best moments in the life of a seeker is to be in the presence of a sufi guru or the habaib. And the best moment of those moments is when you get to hold up your palms for their du'a. But today, it soothed my heart (no I should say my heart melted) when a guru murabbi said he would make a du'a for me without me asking for it. MashaAllah...I am humbled by the sort of love and generosity that ahlillah show us! May Allah increase their maqam and give them a long healthy life filled with a lot more ma'rifah. Ameen!

O son, know that keeping a heart connection with ahlillah (People of Allah) is very important. You don't need to be very close to them physically as an indicator of your love and bonding because we are restricted by time, distance and circumstances. All there is to do is to have love for them in your heart and the beautiful thing about love is that you yourself know how deep your love is and you know how infinite the heart space is! 
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thinking of You


"If you are heedless of remembrance of Allah 
(if you slack in your zikr)
while you are here in this world,
you would have very few opportunities
to look at Him
and to be near Him
in the hereafter."

This saying of the venerated Habib Umar bin Hafidz had moved me to tears today.
O Habib, I would love to be in your presence again
I am grateful for that one chance...
and I am living on the barakah of that one meeting,
desperately clinging on it!
Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Pic credit: Ustadh R bin FaroukHaqqani Fellowship

Friday, April 9, 2010

Radiance of delight


I thought Lisan al-Din should just be quiet but merry today,
so I looked for a picture that says joy
and found this lovely...lovely...
photo of Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. MashaAllah!

"Among the Sufi's noble traits of character is the freshness of face, cheerfulness, and joviality.
On the pages of the Sufi's face, one can see reflected the effects of that paradisiacal youthful virility which tomorrow, on Judgment Day, shall be evident and manifest...
"You will see in their faces the radiance of delight" (Qur'an 83:24)

- Kashani in Misbah al-hidaya
Pic credit: Malik Manzoor Naqshbandi/Haqqani Fellowship