Monday, 26 December 2011

Love's Apocalypse, Love's Glory

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Water and Clay, when fed on the breath of Jesus,
Spread wings, became a bird and flew

Your praise of God is a Breath
From Your body of water and clay.

Make it a Bird of Paradise
By breathing into it your Heart's sincerity.

Mawlana Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (q.s.), Matsnawi I, 866-867

Translated by Shaykh Kabir Helminski & Camille Helminski


Thanking God

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

If my thanking God for His Blessings is a Blessing,
Then I must thank Him in the same measure again.

How can one thank Him save by His Grace,
As time goes on, and life goes by?

If a good thing comes, I rejoice heartily,
If a bad one comes, I receive a reward.

In both cases He gives me a Gift too large
For the minds of men, and the land and sea.

From Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.), 'The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith'


No Arrogance in Faith

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

As extracted from ‘The Garden of the Matsnawi - Rumi Selections;’ Hakim ibn Hizam (r.a.) was a relative of Khadijah (r.a.), the wife of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  He was renowned for his mercy and generosity.  Before the rise of Islam, he used to buy the daughters of those families who wanted to bury them alive and graciously assumed the responsibility of taking care of them.  Hakim ibn Hizam (r.a.) asked the Prophet (s.a.w.) about these good deeds which he had done prior to his declaration of faith in Islam.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “These good deeds are but the reasons that brought you the honour of being Blessed with Islam.”

To be a Muslim is an Honour that Allah (s.w.t.) has Dressed us with.  It is not us accepting Him.  We must never take that Divine Dress for granted.  And we must not be arrogant in the faith.  It is sunnah to be kind to all, respecting others’ beliefs.  It is important to remember that Azazil was once foremost in worship.  Until he became arrogant in faith and refused the Divine Command to prostrate before Adam (a.s.).  As such, he was Repudiated and that Divine Dress was torn away.  He became Iblis.

A Muslim must never look down on the non-Muslims.  And never deride their faith, their festivals and their beliefs.  It is not what we see.  It is what Allah (s.w.t.) Sees.  Every Muslim is a da’i, an ambassador of Islam and a representative of Muhammad (s.a.w.).  We must not start a fitnah against Allah (s.w.t.) and disgrace our Prophet (s.a.w.).



We have Honoured the sons of Adam… (Surah al-Isra’:70)

What Allah (s.w.t.) has Honoured, is not for man to dishonour.  Each soul is given a Divine Secret.  That Divine Secret is Veiled from us.  We do not know the fates and the ending of any person.  We do not know their hearts.  And we do not know who is a believer.  The pagan bowing before the idol at the temple, perhaps he sees the Majesty of Allah (s.w.t.).  And when he leaves the temple, he has left his idol behind.  And for that moment of clarity, perhaps Allah (s.w.t.) will Dress him in His Divine Dress and the pagan becomes the best of Muslims.  But the one who thinks himself a good Muslim, perhaps he worships his ego.  He carries the idol of the Self everywhere he goes.  He talks about ‘aqidah and tawhid and shari’ah.  But there is no reality to his Islam until he sees Allah (s.w.t.) in everything and reflects the Divine Attributes he worships in himself.


Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Pearl of the Heart

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

When your heart becomes the grave of your secret,
That desire of yours will be gained more quickly.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said that anyone
Who keeps secret his inmost thought
Will soon attain the object of his desire.

When seeds are buried in the earth,
Their inward secrets become the flourishing garden.

Mawlana Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (q.s.), Matsnawi
Translated by Shaykh Kabir Helminski & Shaykha Camille Helminski


Shaykh Tayfur Bayazid al-Bistami (q.s.) & The Cardinal

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The story was told to us by my shaykh from his shaykh.  The details above are abridged.  In the actual story, Shaykh Tayfur Bayazid al-Bistami (q.s.) had a dream where he was dressed as a Christian.  He was disturbed and went back to sleep whereupon he had the same dream.  This time, he awoke and said that if this is what Allah (s.w.t.) Willed then so be it.

He went to the monastery, which was having a conclave of bishops.  And there, he sat.  The cardinal said, “There is a Muhammadan amongst us,” but although they looked around perplexed, he was not initially identified.  Using a stratagem, the cardinal mentioned the name of Muhammad (s.a.w.), Shaykh Bayazid stood up and loudly said, “Peace and Blessings  be upon him,” and was thus discovered.

He was then questioned.  If he could answer them, he was free to leave.  Otherwise, they would kill him.  The actual story had forty questions.  Much more than this retelling.  At the end, the 5,000 converted to Islam.  And Shaykh Bayazid al-Bistami (q.s.) prostrated and acknowledged that it is Allah’s (s.w.t.) Prerogative to do with His awliya’ as He Wills.  And such is His Love for us that He would sacrifice one of His awliya' for others to find the Truth.


Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hamid Kishk was a renowned Egyptian scholar and preacher.  He passed away on the 6th December 1996 at the age of 63.  He was a renowned preacher and acclaimed scholar who was a staunch opponent of corruption and a fierce critic of the Arab regimes of his day.  Tens of thousands used to attend his sermons and not all of them were Muslims.  May Allah (s.w.t.) Raise him on the Day of Standing in the Shade of the ‘Arsh, in the First Swaff behind His Beloved Prophet (s.a.w.).


Selected Quotes from Shaykh Nazhim al-Haqqani (q.s.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ


“I do not change anyone, I do not add to anyone.  I only pass on Divine Knowledge.  I give from you to you, from within yourself.  I make Connections.”

“If you refuse all and accept the One, You are not proud.  If you accept all and refuse the One, you are proud.”

“We are holders of the Attributes of God, not His partners.”

“The difference between you and your Master is that you are proud.”

“What shall I say about myself?  I am like the moon.  When the sun goes, the light of the moon goes.  If the light of my Master leaves me, I am in darkness.  I am nothing.  Whoever sees me as this one or that one sees me through the Light of my Master.”

“You are burning.  And what burns you is love or it is fire.”

“Whoever refuses to feed his soul is cruel.  Our soul nourishes itself through obedience to its Lord.  If you take away its nourishment, you shorten your life.”

“They say, ‘He died.’  What does this mean?  It means, ‘He was Taken away.  The Divine Spark was Taken from him.’  Then, he is nothing.”

“The Oneness of God is the basis of all prophetic religions.  It is the Criterion with which to distinguish a false prophet from a true one.  He who calls people to the Oneness of God calls them to the True Way and is a true emissary of God Almighty.  He who does not call them to this Way, but who calls them to another or to others, does not follow a Heavenly Way but runs after his ego.”

“I do not say, ‘Follow me,’ for I know who will follow.”

“We claim existence, and we cling to this existence.  Maybe the price for it is high, very high.  It does not Matter.  We keep saying, ‘We will Pay.’”

“Yes, I know all languages.  I understand them all.  There is also a kind of speaking without speaking, and I know what will be said before it is said.  I understand.”

“The love of the believers, of the saints, of the prophets, comes from the Love of God.  At first, God Loves them, then His servants love them.  When does this Love comes to us?  When we begin to obey.  When you dig, you find the water.  It is the same with obedience; it is like digging in the heart.”

“Even if you are photographed in 20,000 poses, You are still one.  Great wisdom lies in this.  To reach your one essence, you must die to yourself while you are still alive.   Die before you die', means to be in connection with the original.”

“It is impossible to understand yourself.  At least, you must look into a mirror.  No one recognises the imperfections in himself.”

“What comes first, the pearl or the shell?”

“Doubt comes from pride.  You doubt when you are not humble enough to believe.”

“Pride is the greatest obstacle standing between us and our Destination.”

“All things except God are like shadows in a mirror.”

“Anger is a big tree in our heart.  It is difficult to uproot it.”

“Knowledge is not as important as transmission from heart to heart.”

“One of the Friends of God said, ‘When I see someone from behind, I know how he thinks.  When I see his face, I read his book of life.’'

“All praise, whatever its source, goes to Allah.  When I praise you, I praise your Creator.  For there is nothing praiseworthy about you, unless it comes from your Creator.”

“We ask to be no one and nothing.  For, as long as we are someone, we are not complete.”

An Amal to Get Married

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Once, I visited Maqam Habib Nuh (q.s.), which I do whenever I can.  On that day, I happened to spend the entire afternoon there.  And by the time I finished my homework, it was time for maghrib.  I was going for a majlis and it so happened, that the habib I knew, was also going to that same majlis.  So we they went together and I sat in this habib’s car.

As we drove along the expressway, Habib ThaHa asked me if I was married, and I essentially told him, I was not looking: “I’m happily divorced.”

Habib ThaHa said: “In my time at the maqam, I’ve met so many people.  They come with all sorts of situations.  Once, a lady came and said she was worried that her two daughters are unmarried.  But she was told to recite Surah Thaha:125.  al-Hamdulillah, within a month, both her daughters, someone had asked for their hand.”

They drove along.  It was quiet for a while.  And then Habib ThaHa turned to me and said with emphasis, “I strongly recommend it.”


He will say, “O my Lord!  Why hast Thou, Raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)?”  (Surah ThaHa:125)

I thought about it, and left it.  The ayat is not exactly one I would associate with marriage.  Certainly there is a tafsir behind it that needed pondering.  About a year or so later, I remembered.  I read it once.  I got married soon after.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

How to Drink Zamzam

youبِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was answered by Ustadzah Zaynab Ansari.  The fiqh of drinking Zamzam as much as possible, taking one’s fill of it, and drinking it for the affairs of this world and the hereafter.  So if one wishes to drink it for Forgiveness or recovery from an illness and the like, he faces the qiblah, mentioning the Name of Allah (s.w.t.), then says, ‘O Allah, it has reached me that Your Messenger (s.a.w.) said, ‘The water of Zamzam is for that which it was drunk for.’  O Allah, I drink it so that You may Forgive me.  O Allah, Forgive me.’  Or, ‘O Allah I drink it seeking Healing from illness; O Allah, Heal me.’”

It is recommended that one drink it in three breaths like with any other beverage, and when done, to praise Allah (s.w.t.).  There are numerous ahadits on this issue.  From Abu Dzarr (r.a.) reported that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said of Zamzam, “It is Blessed.  It is nourishing food, and a healing for sickness.”

‘Utsman ibn al-Aswad (r.a.) reported that he talked to someone who had sat with ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.).  This person told ‘Utsman (r.a.), “ibn ‘Abbas asked me where I was coming from.  I told him I had just finished drinking from Zamzam.  ibn ‘Abbas then asked me if I had drunk like I was supposed to.  I asked him, how should I drink?  He said, ‘When you drink, face the qiblah, then mention Allah’s Name, then drink it in three breaths, and drink as much as you can.  When you are done, praise Allah because the Prophet (s.aw.) used to say, '’A major difference between us and the hypocrites is that they do not drink their fill of the water of Zamzam.’’”

To sum up, the etiquette of drinking Zamzam is: To face the qiblah; to mention Allah’s (s.w.t.) Name; to sip it in three breaths; to drink one’s fill; to look at the Ka’bah every time you sip if you are in Makkah; to sprinkle a little water on your head, face, and chest; to say increased supplication; and to drink it for whatever you need of this world or the hereafter; to say “O Allah, it has reached me that your Messenger (s.a.w.), ‘The water of Zamzam is for that which it was drunk for.’  O Allah, I drink it for such and such.”  Then name what you want from this world or the hereafter.  Then say, “O Allah, please Do this out of Your Bounty.”

Alternatively, to say the du'a of ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.), “O Allah!  Grant me beneficial knowledge, bountiful provision, and a healing from every disease.”  And finally, to praise Allah (s.w.t.) when finished.  Additionally, scholars have said that the benefits of Zamzam are not limited to the drinker, meaning that if someone drinks Zamzam for their child or brother for example, the benefits can reach this person if the drinker has sincere intentions.

Scholars have differed over whether one should drink Zamzam seated or standing.  Some have said that it is sunnah to sit, and have said that the hadits of ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) where he gave Zamzam to the Prophet (s.a.w.) while the Prophet (s.a.w.) was standing was just to show the permissibility of standing.  They quote the hadits of ibn Majah (r.a.) from ‘Asim (r.a.) where ‘Ikrimah (r.a.) swore that the Prophet (s.a.w.) could not have drunk Zamzam while standing because he was riding at the time.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A Hadits from Mu'adz ibn Jabal (r.a.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Ya Mu’adz.”

And Mu’adz (r.a.) said, “Yes, O my Prophet.”

They rode on and the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Ya Mu’adz.”

“Yes, my Prophet.”

Again the Prophet (s.a.w.) did not say anything, indicating that what he was about to say was extremely important.  Again the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Ya Mu’adz.”

And again Mu’adz (r.a.) said, “Yes, yes, my Prophet, at your service.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Know this: For anyone who says ‘Laa ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad ar-Rasulullah’, there will be no Punishment, and all will be Forgiven.”

Mu’adz (r.a.) quite excitedly said, “Is this something I can tell everyone?”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “No, do not tell it, because they will ease off on their work, and they will ease off on their prayers.”

Mu’adz (r.a.) remained silent until, on his deathbed, he repeated what he had heard.  Then it became a hadits, something actually heard from the mouth of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).


Monday, 19 December 2011

The Forest, the Book & the Journey

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There was once where we were in a state so we spent much of the nights in prayer.  There was a fever and for three consecutive days, there were very vivid dreams.

The First Day

On the first day, I saw a forest with very tall trees.  There was a path through the forest made of paved stones.  At some parts, there were shallow drains near the stones.  Everywhere, there were beautiful, coloured snakes of all sizes.  Some wee smaller.  Some were as big as pythons.  I knew they were deadly and poisonous.

As I walked, some snakes I carefully avoided.  Others, I carefully used the staff I carried to push them away from the path.  And then there were those I leaned on my staff and crushed their heads.

Behind me were a multitude of people.  I kept calling them to stay on the path.  Not only were they running all over the grassy forest, some of them were actually picking up these snakes, saying they were beautiful.  I saw someone I knew pick up a snake and I took it from his hand and cut it to pieces.

I awoke at that point frustrated.

The Second Day

I saw a book in front of me.  It was a huge book that blocked my line of sight but it was not too thick.  But I knew that there were many people sitting in front, all listening.  It was a book I had written.

I was reading from a page and expounding.  There are three types of people in the world.  The first are those who know only of one door and that is the door of dunya.  And then there are those who know that there is another door.  And that is the door of akhirah.  And sometimes, they even touch it but have yet to go through.  The third are those who have volunteered.  And they have walked through the door.  They are the ones who are flying in the Divine Presence.

I was speaking of states that I knew not.  Of places and things I could not possibly know.  My head felt like a cup and oceans of knowledge were being poured inside.  It was astounding, it was beautiful and it was the loss of the Self.  I was spewing Divine Secrets like giving candies to eager children.

When I woke up, I was still talking but I felt the knowledge fade away and I was grabbing at it but it was like holding smoke.

The Third Day

It was in the desert after dawn.  A man came up to me and told me to follow him.  It was ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.).  We came to a man sitting on the dune.  He was dressed in white.  And he had a cloth that covered his face so I could not see the eyes.  But I remember that he had the most beautiful beard I had ever seen.  The hair was straight and neat and it was greying but still had black.  That was Rasulullah (s.a.w.).  Such as it was, the hearts immediately recognise.

I was to the side.  To the left of ‘Umar (r.a.) and to the right of Rasulullah (s.a.w.).  They were speaking and either ‘Umar (r.a.) asked or Rasulullah (s.a.w.) ordered since that part was not clear to me: “Fetch Salman!”  And they were speaking of Salman al-Farisi (r.a.).

 ‘Umar (r.a.) told me to follow him.  He was not like the ‘Umar (r.a.) I had read of in the books.  He was like a child skipping away.  When I asked my shaykh, he said, “In the Presence of Rasulullah (s.a.w.), aren’t we all children?”  ‘Umar (r.a.) turned to me and said excitedly, “Salman is a great fighter.”

When we went to Salman (r.a.), he was packing his belongings and he had so little.  Only a sajadah to wrap it all in, perhaps an extra set of sandals, some dates, other small things I do not remember and a sword.  I had the impression we were going for war.

The next part of the dream was of a long journey.  There were thousands of men and camels and horses.  The swahabah of Rasulullah (s.a.w.).  They were all there.  I saw ‘Umar (r.a.) and Salman (r.a.) was the expedition leader.  I knew them all and they knew me.  It was the most wonderful feeling to amongst them.  We were going to al-Mada’in and Salman (r.a.) was going to be the governor and to get married.

In some parts of the dream, I was myself and in some parts I saw myself in the third person and I was Salman (r.a.).  In the last part, we were outside al-Mada’in.  I was Salman (r.a.) and I was holding his sajadah.  It is then that I noticed it was woven from reeds.”

Thursday, 15 December 2011

D' Apprentice: You Don't Have to Be an Ustadz to Do Da'wah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

On the 10th and 11th December 2011, we held an event called D'Apprentice: You don't have to be an Ustadz to do Da’wah.  It was held at the Marina Barrage's Courtyard Room.





I was one of the presenters for Session 1: “Intention of performing Da’wah” along with Shaykh Amin Teo.  The title of my presentation was The Concept of Da’wah - Marketing a System of Belief.  This was a summary of many of my previous posts in this blog.  The following is a short summary.  The actual presentation had some stories to illustrate various points and much time was devoted to questions.

We believe that Islam is the best religion; it is indeed, more than that.  It is the complete way of life, here and beyond.  It is a system of belief and we are ambassadors of faith.  What is da’wahDa’wah basically means an invitation.  In this case, it is an invitation to the Ultimate Truth.  It is a call to return to the Path and the Caravan of Hope that is Islam.  It is akin to missionary activity but different.  As a matter of fact, what the Christians do is also based on the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) although they may not realise so.

Da’wah is to shine the Light of the Prophet (s.a.w.), to be a lamp in the deserts of spiritual darkness.  It has little relations to what is said as opposed to what is done.  It is the wisdom of applying the living faith of Islam to events that may occur as they occur.  People have to realise that the Prophet (s.a.w.) took thirteen years to educate the swahabah on the nature of Allah (s.w.t.) and to build their relationship with Him.  Too many Muslims talk about Shari’ah and what the Qur’an says or what the hadits say.  They forget that the shari’ah does not apply to non-Muslims and the Qur’an and hadits have no relevance if they do not believe in Allah (s.w.t.) and His Prophet.  They have to know God before there is subscription.  And there has to be subscription before there is submission.

Da’wah is not conversion.  Conversion is a process and never an event.  It continues from the moment the heart is inclined to long after the shahadah is actually said.  Da’wah is the introduction to the process of inclining the heart.  But it is done with the humble understanding that we are only Instruments of Allah’s (s.w.t.) Will.  No man has ever converted or reverted another person to Islam.  Man may move mountains, but it is Allah (s.w.t.) that Moves the hearts.  The heart is and has always been His Domain and it is n the heart of the Believer that He Resides.

Is comparative religion necessary for da’wah?  Not only is it unnecessary, it may also be a hindrance.  Spirituality is a continuous Path to Enlightenment by all vehicles.  You do not slap people and ask them presents.  We are speaking of God and His Truth.  We are not concerned with the vehicles they have to come, be it Christian, Buddhist, Jew or any other.  Too many people who engage in debate do nothing but feed the ego, engaging in meaningless discourse to show what they know without realizing that they are only showing what they have failed to realise.

Likewise, do you have to be an ustadz to do da’wah?  If the asatidzah were so successful in conveying the religion, the world would be overwhelmingly Muslim.  Too many times, the learned come with their knowledge without understand that we are speaking the language of the heart.  Religion is of the heart.  They may be conversant with the letter of the law but ignorant of the spirit of the law.  They have come to the non-Muslim with the idol of the Self.  They speak of worshipping God, but they are already worshipping their ego and their knowledge.

Someone who wants to engage in da’wah must not have two things.  He must not have an inferiority complex, for the danger is that he will lose his religion.  And he must not have a superiority complex for he is in danger of making others lose their religion.  He must be confident enough to speak.  And humble enough to listen.  We are people of the Middle Path.  We are wearing the shoes of a Prophet (s.a.w.) so Beloved by Allah (s.w.t.) that all Creation was for him.