Monday, 30 July 2012


بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is text from a lecture on self-purification by Mawlana Waffie Mohammed.

Every person should concentrate on the removal of undesirable growths and impurities from the personality.  It involves the self-imposition of efforts for eradicating those tendencies that are obstacles in the path of moral development.  In this way, it puts an end to the conflict of good and evil that rages in the human breast.  Theologically, the process for do doing is called tazkiyyah.  To abide by the requirements of attaining self purification is one of the most important ingredients for success in both the worlds physically and spiritually.  When practiced, it brings spiritual health, morality, love for Allah (s.w.t.), love for the Prophet (s.a.w.) and engaging in dzikr, to be God-conscious at all times.  When this is done, one becomes a model of compassion, piety and truthfulness.  This is one of the reasons why Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

Truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!. (Surah ash-Shams:9-10)

Tazkiyyah an-nafs is the purification of the physical self by subduing the evil desires that may be plaguing a person.  Such desires come from the whispering of Satan in the breast of men; and because it is from Satan, it is evil.  In this connection, Allah (s.w.t.) Says, the nafs, the physical desires, orders one to commit sins.  The result of self-purification is love.  The person cultivates love for Allah (s.w.t.), for the Prophet (s.a.w.), and for mankind at large.  Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah ― of the prophets (who teach) the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the righteous (who do good): Ah!  How a beautiful fellowship! (Surah an-Nisa’:69)

Tazkiyyah or self-purification is a comprehensive program, as, in addition to the purification of the body, one also has to focus on the purification of the heart. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

But those will prosper who purifies themselves.  And glorify the name of their Guardian-Lord, and (lift their hearts) in prayer. (Surah al-A’ala:15)

Self-purification is an individual matter, and every person will benefit based on his effort. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

… whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own soul ... (Surah Fathir:18)

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) used to pray to Allah as follows: “O Allah, Grant my inner soul piety and Purify it, for You are the Best Purifier; You are the Guardian and Master.”

One of the best ways of developing tazkiyyah both physically and spiritually is to keep fast, as in fasting one has to restrain himself from all the negative things, and during fasting in Ramadhan he engages himself in extra acts of worship, charity, patience and reading of the Holy Qur'an.  It is now left for the individual to continue practicing tazkiyyah in the daily life and also as special acts of worship in order to be a successful person.  And Allah (s.w.t.) will Bless him.  Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

But those most devoted to Allah shall be Removed far from it ― Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification, and have in their minds no favour from anyone for which a reward is expected in return, (Surah al-Layl:17-19)

We remember that it is because the purification of the personality, both physical and spiritual is so important that Allah (s.w.t.) Swore seven times to emphasize the culminating promise that it is tazkiyyah that plays a significant role in success.  Here is verses 1 through 10 of Surah ash Shams with the English translation.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour; by the Moon as it follows him; by the day as it shows up (the Sun's) glory; by the night as it conceals it; by the firmament and its (wonderful) structure; by the Earth and its (wide) expanse; by the soul, and the proportion and order Given to it; and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right; ― Truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it! (Surah ash-Shams:1-10)

Let us all strive with our wealth, health, education. to purify ourselves, because it should never be forgotten that Allah (s.w.t.) Says, “Whoever purifies himself does so for his own benefit.”  May Allah Forgive and Bless all believers.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Station of Contentment

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) said, “Years ago, as I was walking with my Grand Shaykh in Damascus, a football that some boys were playing with hit me on the head and knocked my turban off.  I got very angry and turned around, shouting, “O you miserable brat!’

Grand Shaykh said, ‘Oh Nazhim Effendi, you have just lost your faith.  How can you claim to believe that everything comes from Allah Almighty when you are ready to blame someone for something that hits you on the head?  Do you not know that Allah is the Original Cause of that event?  So why are you blinded by secondary causes?  When that ball hit you why did you look to see which one threw it in order to quarrel with him?  Do you not know that it is from Allah?’  Then I recited the confession of faith to renew my faith.”

The level of faith that our Grand Shaykh was referring to is the level of prophets and saints.  We are trying to attain to that level and when men reach that level, peace will reign on earth.  The reason for all trouble on earth, for all wars and suffering is that people have lost sight of their Lord’s Will behind all events.  They have lost sight of the Hand of the One Who is Testing them through those events.  They have stopped seeing events as Tests from their Lord.  Therefore they continue failing those Tests.

Who is the happiest person in this life?  Who is the most satisfied?  He, who is satisfied with that station in life in which his Lord Put him.  It is the station of contentment to look at everything and see that it is most suitable for him, and also for all.  We must say: “This situation is most suitable for me because my Lord Put me in this situation.”  Were it not good for us, He would not have put us in it.  We must believe that Allah (s.w.t.) Desires Goodness for us always.

We must never be a teacher to Allah (s.w.t.).  He Knows best and we do not know anything.  We must not objection to anything; we are servants, we are slaves to Him and He is the Absolute Master of Creation.  We must realise that all actions, all events, are not going to happen as we like them to happen.  No one can be as we like them to be.  It is impossible.  When we realise this, we keep ourselves far away from anger because anger is the result of thinking that we have a say in everything as we want it to be.”

The Adab of Return

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 14th October 2010.  In it, we are told to return to Allah (s.w.t.) as a servant, and He will Honour us like a king.

Prophet Solomon (a.s.) began his letter to the Queen Balqis (r.a.) of Sheba as follows:

“It is from Solomon, and is (as follows): ‘In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful …’” (Surah an-Naml:30)

We are all weak.  We all wish to be more powerful and more honoured in faith.  We wish to be Forgiven by Allah (s.w.t.) and to be amongst the best in His Eyes.  If that is the desire, then recite Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim at least 100 times daily.  At any time we feel threatened by a situation or by the problems in this world, the answer is to recite Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim and we will be Under His Shelter and within His Protection.  Such are the asrar of Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, if an ‘arif were to attempt to speak about them, he would be unable to finish, even if he started talking when Allah (s.w.t.) began Creation until the end of time.  So much has been given by Allah (s.w.t.) within the Basmallah to Rasulullah (s.a.w.) for us.  The Qur’an Contains countless lessons leading us to countless Grants of Honour from Him.  The recitation of the Basmallah upon food as we eat, converts the food into nur within our bodies and Allah’s (s.w.t.) Blessings descend on that person.  The Basmallah is the door to safety and pleasure.  That is why Shaythan works so hard to make us forget to recite it at the beginning of all our actions, especially eating.

The Qur’an Mentions the throne of Solomon (a.s.).  It is not a worldly throne sat upon by worldly kings.  This is a heavenly throne.  What makes this throne special is the value of the one who sits upon it.  The value of that one is Judged Divinely by the servanthood to Allah (s.w.t.) he practiced in his life.  A throne in which sits a wicked and cruel tyrant has no value in the Divine Eye.  There is no honour to be on it since it is only a burden for one who sits on it.  But a throne on which sits a humble and obedient servant of Allah (s.w.t.) becomes Holy, Honoured and Blessed.  We must beware of worldly kings and followers from the Wahhabi school of thought, who feel jealous when they see people love and honour Rasulullah (s.a.w.).  These are people who have the disease of jealousy in their hearts and anyone who has such ill-feelings towards Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), has no iman.  The Wahhabis frown upon people who stand up to honour Rasulullah (s.a.w.), those who perform swalawat and those who respect him.  These people must realise, that if Allah (s.w.t.) has Honoured Rasulullah (s.a.w.), then we must also honour him.

… soon will thy Lord Raise thee to a station of Praise and Glory! (Surah al-Isra’:79)

Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) felt ashamed to refer to Rasulullah (s.a.w.) as a servant though indeed, our Prophet (s.a.w.) is the Most Glorified of servants, being the pinnacle of perfection in servanthood.  As a sign of his immense respect for Rasulullah (s.a.w.), prefers to refer to him, as the Khalifat Allah, for indeed, he is the representative Mentioned in the Qur’an:

Behold thy Lord Said to the angels, “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” … (Surah al-Baqarah:30)

In reality, only an Appointed king may sit on a throne.  Earthly kings should, out of humility, sit on an ordinary chair placed beside their thrones for their thrones are meant only for the Seal of Prophets (s.a.w.) to sit on.  That should be the adab.  Solomon’s (a.s.) throne was built by jinn and it was made of gold, not from earth, but from the Heavens.  It was a wonder to behold.  Anyone who looked at it would fall into prostration in astonishment.  Allah (s.w.t.) Dressed the throne and the one sitting on it with Magnificence, Majesty and Greatness so that no one could look at Solomon (a.s.) and not be mesmerised by his commanding presence.  No one in his court, could raise his head, to look at Solomon (a.s.).  Allah (s.w.t.) Dressed him with one spot of His Greatness, Majesty and Glory.  These were necessary attributes as Solomon (a.s.) was to be the commander of men, animals and jinn.

Allah (s.w.t.) has a throne for each prophet.  Certainly our beloved Rasulullah (s.a.w.) also has one.  But Rasulullah (s.a.w.) was not sent with a throne, for certainly, it would have been a throne more glorious and majestic.  Rasulullah (s.a.w.) did not want such a throne.  He said, “I sit as a servant sits, and I eat as a servant eats.”  Rasulullah (s.a.w.) had been shown that his ummah would be one that would be filled with people who wanted fame, glory and power.  He wanted to show the example of servanthood to his ummah by rejecting such a throne and living simply and with the best of adab.  He wanted to show us, that we must not be proud of owning something in dunya whether it be fine clothes, expensive furniture, palaces, sports cars or designer goods.  Honour does not come from these.  It comes from being a servant to Allah (s.w.t.).  He showed us the best example of servanthood by sitting, eating, walking; by living as a servant.  The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) message was not seek glory, majesty and honour through our thrones, our worldly possessions.  Those are Granted by Allah (s.w.t.) to His servants according to His Wisdom.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) taught us to say that we are but weak servants of our Master.

Rasulullah (s.a.w.) taught us how to be accepted in the Divine Presence.  Shaythan teaches us to be arrogant, to be proud of what we have and to aim to make people notice us.  Shaythan tells us to sit on his throne and to be seen.  A man poisoned by this would say, “If I can find a throne to sit on, I would.”  If Rasulullah (s.a.w.) had indeed showed us his position of honour by virtue of owning a majestic piece of furniture, members of his ummah would have dedicated their lives to attaining the finest of decorations and dressings of dunya.  Eventually, we will become an ummah of Fir’aun and Namrud, sitting on our thrones.  Because deep in every man’s heart, is the desire to be worshipped by the rest of creation.  This desire, to be a worshipped leader, to be a self-centred tyrant, is the highest aspiration of our egos.  It is a disease that has infected the world today.

There are only two categories in life.  There is the Creator, and there is Creation.  Since we are not the Creator, we must be of Creation, the servants.  If we do not act as servants, that means we act as the Master.  Allah (s.w.t.) is displeased with those who do that for Allah (s.w.t.) has no partners.  There is only servanthood.  There is no other category for us except that.  We must live for three days in this dunya as a servant.  In the eternal life, Allah (s.w.t.) will Grant us majestic thrones and palaces and place us in them.  In dunya, we must be humble servants to Him.  Return to him as servants and He will Grant us never-ending honour and glory.  We must not strive to return to Him as a king.  Only as a servant.

Three Pieces of Advice

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following story was told by Nuruddeen Lemu.

There was once a baker in a small village who had a neighbour who owed him some money.  One day, the baker decided to ask for his money back and went to the neighbour’s shop at the market.  The neighbour gave excuses which made the baker very angry and he snarled loudly to the neighbour, “Watch out!  I will teach you a lesson!”

When he reached home, the baker’s wife tried to pacify him when he told her what happened at the market.  Everything went back to normal.  They both retired to bed for the night.  The next morning, when the baker stepped out of his house, he tripped.  Looking down at the steps of his door, the baker saw the dead body of his neighbour.

The baker panicked and remembered that he had threatened his neighbour in public the day before.  He thought the villagers would definitely accuse him of murder.  Without hesitation, the baker ran into his room and started packing his bag.  His wife asked him what he was doing.  He merely said he would be away for a couple of days.  After kissing her and telling her that he loved her, the baker ran out.  He did not stop when he reached the next village.  Neither did he stop at the village after.

Finally, the baker reached a village where nobody knew him and he knew no one.  He then decided that this is where he would settle down and went about looking for a job.  In this village, there lived a wise old man named Sulayman who was looking for an assistant.  People came to Sulayman for advice on almost everything.  He was acknowledged as the wisest person around.  The baker approached Sulayman and offered to work for him in exchange for food and shelter.  They both agreed that Sulayman will pay the baker only when the baker decided to go home.

The baker stayed with Sulayman and worked for him for a month.  Then a year went by.  And then ten years.  And finally, after a decade of working for Sulayman, the baker felt that it was time to go home.  He missed his wife so much after leaving her that he no longer cared what the villagers would do to him with regards the dead neighbour.  The baker then approached Sulayman and told him that he was going home.

As agreed, Sulayman then gave the baker three large gold coins for his twenty years of service, and the baker was overjoyed at his fortune.  However, before the baker could leave, Sulayman asked the baker, “In all the twenty years that you have worked for me, you have seen people come to me and pay for my advice.  Yet not once have I ever heard you asking for my advice.  So, before you leave, I will give you three pieces of advice.”

Thinking about it, the baker felt there was no harm in asking Sulayman for advice before he left, so he asked for the first piece of advice. “Ah, that will cost you a gold coin,” grinned Sulayman.

The baker was taken aback, but after some consideration and for old time’s sake, the baker gave Sulayman a gold coin.  “First advice, stay on the path home,” instructed Sulayman.

“What?”  In his mind, the baker was angry.  He had spent a gold coin to be told to stay on the path back home.

Sulayman then asked the baker if he wanted the second advice, and after a while the baker thought that he might as well hear what Sulayman had to say.  Again Sulayman told him it would cost a gold coin.  Exasperated, the baker gave Sulayman another gold coin.  “The second advice: leave what doesn’t concern you.”

The baker felt defeated; “What kind of an advice was that?” he thought.

Sulayman again asked the baker if he wanted the third advice, and at this point the baker told himself that Sulayman was merely getting his three gold coins back.  The baker resigned himself to leaving without any fortune, so he gave Sulayman his third gold coin.  “The third advice: save your anger for tomorrow.”

The baker was dejected.  He did not know how these three pieces of advice given to him would benefit him.  Before he left, Sulayman went into the kitchen and came back with a loaf of flavoured bread.  “Take this flavoured bread and eat it with your family once you reach home,” smiled Sulayman.  And with that, the baker left the village and walked homewards.

Soon along his journey the baker came across a group of care-free young men who invited him to walk together with them.  Feeling the need for companionship, the baker accepted their offer and walked with them, sharing in their jokes and laughter.  The group then reached a fork in the road, and the young men decided to go left and stay for the night at an inn just down the road.  It was already dark and the baker was inclined to join the young men for he loved their company, but at that point of time he then remembered Sulayman’s first advice: “Stay on the path home.”

After thinking about it, the baker decided to listen to the advice and bade the young men farewell and he turned right and continued his journey.  A few moments later, he heard gunshots and screams from behind and the baker ran back and a horrible sight greeted him.  There, on the road to the inn, the group of young men had been ambushed and killed by highway robbers.  “Wow, Sulayman’s advice saved me!” the baker was sad to see his companions’ passing but he was glad that he stayed on the path home.  After some prayers, the baker then continued his journey.

Then the sky was filled with clouds and thunder roared.  Not wanting to get wet, the baker saw a house in the distance and decided to ask for shelter from the rain and the night.  Upon reaching the house, the baker knocked the door and a huge bear of a man opened.  The baker was feeling uneasy but he politely asked the big man if he could spend the night on the porch where he would be sheltered from the rain.  The big man then motioned him to enter his house.

Gingerly entering the house, the baker was ushered to sit at the table in the kitchen.  The big man then poured hot soup onto three plates and set them on the table.  The baker started thinking, “There was only him and the big man in the house.  Why are there three plates?”  The big man then sat down and told the baker to eat, and like a scared little mouse, the baker did as he was told.

The big man knocked twice on the wooden floor and a trap door lifted up.  A beautiful woman emerged and took the third plate of soup from the table and went back down and closed the trap door.  The baker was stupefied!  “Just what is going on here?” he thought.  He was bursting with questions but he remembered Sulayman’s second advice: “Leave what doesn’t concern you.”

So the baker and the big man continued eating in silence until the big man asked the baker what he thought about what he just saw.  Suppressing his natural curiosity, the baker merely answered that it was none of his business.  At this, the big man then took out a huge ax from behind his seat and placed it on the table, which scared the baker.  “You would have been the fortieth to taste my ax had you answered differently.  I killed the rest before you for saying I was a monster for treating that woman like an animal.  Well, that woman is my wife.”  Shocked, the baker just stared at the big man as he continued his story.

“I found out that she was having an affair with a young man and they had decided to kill me by giving me poisoned food.  But I gave the food to my dog and that was how I found out it was poisoned.  My dog died.  I killed the young man and locked my wife in that cellar as punishment.  Now, do you think I’m a monster?” narrated the big man.

The baker was glad that he listened to Sulayman’s second advice.  Had he been inquisitive and made his own assumptions, he would have surely been killed.  “The two gold coins I paid Sulayman were really worth it,” thought the baker.  The baker spent the night in the big man’s house without any incident.  The next morning, he set off on his journey home.

The baker reached his village and he was surprised to see a lot of changes.  He braced himself for whatever was going to happen and made his way back to his house, but there was a huge celebration outside.  He then saw his wife and he became teary-eyed.  However, he saw she was kissing a young man.  His anger rose and he took out his knife and wanted to kill his wife and that young man she was kissing and hugging.  After much effort, the baker remembered Sulayman’s third advice: “Save your anger for tomorrow.”

“I will go away now and rest for the night.  Tomorrow, I will come back and then I will kill both of them,” the baker reasoned with himself.  So he went off and slept and the next morning, he woke up and immediately strode to his house.  Just as he was about to enter the gate, an old man saw him and immediately recognized him.  “Oh you’re the baker whom everyone thought was dead!  You disappeared a decade ago.  The whole village tried to find you because we found the person who killed your neighbour and dumped the body on your steps.  We wanted to tell you we knew you’re innocent but no one knew where you were!” the old man excitedly told the baker.

The baker was stunned.  He had been staying away from my family for ten years for nothing.  He was happy that his name was cleared but he felt sad for the years he was away.  Then the old man continued, “Where had you been?  You missed the celebration we had last night in honour of your son who had passed the national exams and came in first.  Your wife was so proud of him that she couldn’t stop kissing and hugging him last night!”

The baker went white with shock and fell to the ground.  Sulayman’s third advice prevented him from killing his wife and his grown son.  Crying uncontrollably, the baker ran into the house and hugged his wife and son, and like any fairy tale, everyone lived happily ever after.  Then, the baker remembered the flavoured bread that Sulayman had given him and he took it out from his bag and began to cut the bread.  To his astonishment, three large gold coins rolled out.  Sulayman was not that stingy after all.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Recite the Basmallah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 27th March 2010.

It is important for us to spare some time daily for our spiritual development.  We must focus on this aspect of our lives, and try to attain an understanding of Divine Knowledge and gain Divine Support.  We must constantly seek refuge from Shaythan for he represents all that is filthy, ugly and evil.  Every single evil and every unacceptable trait of the worst possible behaviour exists within him.  These are dangerous weapons in his arsenal, each capable of causing great harm to us.  We must always be wary of him.  A single poisoned arrow from Shaythan is sufficient to destroy us.  Everything within Shaythan and emerging from him is poisonous.  These warnings must be repeated as Allah (s.w.t.) Commanded Rasulullah (s.a.w.):

But teach (thy Message): for teaching benefits the believers. (Surah adz-Dzariyat:55)

This advice is also directed at those who inherit from Rasulullah (s.a.w.), the awliya’.  We must take every opportunity to advise one another, so that we do not forget to be on guard against Shaythan.  Man must always be reminded of how dangerous an enemy Shaythan is, so that he will always seek Divine Protection and be aware.  A single hit from Shaythan’s poisoned arsenal would bring a profound change in our spirituality.  Often, it is without us realising it for it is often a subtle and well-disguised attack.  After such a calamitous hit, we still look like a human externally, but spiritually, you have become a devil in disguise.  It is Shaythan’s aim to dress every human being in such poisoned clothes, so as to cause them to be caught in a web of difficulties and suffering.

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Rahiim

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All greatness is hidden in this recitation.  If any wish for goodness in this world and in the hereafter, they should recite it and drink from the Ocean of the Basmallah.  Each recitation brings Blessings from Allah’s (s.w.t.) Divine Names: ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim.  These two Names contain endless blessings that are Poured into our hearts, the magnitude of which is beyond human comprehension.  To give us a glimpse of its treasures, whoever recites it twenty-one times before sleeping, would be sent to Paradise, if he died in his sleep that night.

People ask help and du’a of those they think are closer to the Divine because they are stressed.  It is advised for them to read the Basmallah.  We ask our shuyukh for help, only because we have yet to understand the power of the Basmallah.  Had we understood, the Basmallah would have brought peace and tranquility into our hearts.  It would have been sufficient for us, for all our needs in this world and in the hereafter.  It is an Ocean of Light that has no shores, Placed by Allah (s.w.t.) in this dunya, especially for our needs.

If anyone recites the Basmallah a hundred times daily, Allah (s.w.t.) Bestows upon him more power, an enhanced understanding and renews his strength.  He also Sends His Protection and Grants all hajat for the afterlife.  That is why the tongues of believers are always reciting it.  If any were to fall into a problem, or if anyone is trying to remove some evil from himself or if any seeks to ascend the ladder of spirituality, it is important to recite the Basmallah constantly.

It is strange that people chase this temporary life, which is worthless, despite knowing that each action in this life will be repaid.  The recitation of the Basmallah guarantees one will be Bestowed strength, honour, pleasure, support, protection and success.  It unlocks an Ocean of Divine gifts.  Within the Basmallah is hidden the Ism al-A‘azham, the Greatest Name of Allah.  We were Created with Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.  It strengthens us against evil influences.  It removes fear from us and raises our maqamShaythan tries his utmost to make us forget the recitation of the Basmallah.  He tries to remove our faith in its power so that we would not be motivated to recite it.  Shaythan teaches us to disregard and to disrespect the Basmallah.  A believer begins every act with Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim and evil cannot touch him in dunya and in akhirah.  Every act that is started without the Basmallah is cut off from Allah’s (s.w.t.) Help.

For others, their heart is like stone now.  They are indifferent towards the Basmallah.  In reality, the stones, together with all the plants and the animals recite the Basmallah.  Only the heedless do not do so.  Every meal begun with the Basmallah is sweet and tasty, strengthens us and lengthens our life.  There is no need for expensive supplements to keep one young and healthy or to prolong life; Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim suffices.

If anyone were to believe in the power of and perform the recitation of Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, his world would be transformed.  Hunger and thirst are removed by its recitation, even anger and darkness of the heart.  Our enemies are powerless before us when we recite it.  The door to the solution of every problem opens with Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.  It must be performed to be known and it is known by taste.  A believer must perform it to taste for himself, its blessings and develop an understanding of its treasures within the soul until eventually; he is overcome by the Glory and Splendour of Allah (s.w.t.) and falls into prostration in awe of Him.

Instead of complaining and worrying, we should recite Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.  There is no problem that is big in comparison to its blessings.  Even if one were penniless, and all that was had was a piece of dried bread, and he recites Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim with sincerity and understanding and ate the bread, Allah (s.w.t.) would Remove the cares and make him happy and contented.  People today chase after Shaythan instead of running from him.  They take his advice and teachings, not realising that all his advice is evil.  All that is Allah’s (s.w.t.) Guidance is a Blessing for us.  The advice for the seeker: recite Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.

The History of Islam in South America

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following article was taken from ‘Islam in the Caribbean and South America in Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.’

The terms Caribbean and South American refer to aggregations of countries, not to specific areas within legally defined boundaries.  Thirty-one countries form the Caribbean, which is divided into English, French, Spanish, and Dutch linguistic regions.  The majority of the countries are English-speaking.  The total Muslim population by country varies from 4 to 15 percent.  The largest Muslim populations are in English-speaking countries such as Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.  There are small communities made up of Muslims of African descent, but the greatest number of Muslims are descendents of immigrants from India and Indonesia who came as indentured servants.  In French-speaking countries, such as Guadeloupe, Guyana Françoise, Haiti, and Martinique, the Muslim community is mainly composed of African Muslim immigrants from West Africa.  Martinique is also home to a very wealthy immigrant Palestinian Muslim community supported by Saudi Arabia.

Muslims on the Spanish-speaking islands - Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico - claim an Islamic heritage in the Americas dating back to the days of slavery and trace their history prior to slavery back to Islamic Spain during the eighth to fifteenth centuries.  Thus, many trace their ultimate cultural ancestry to northern Africa and the Moriscos - Moors who were forcibly converted to Christianity.  These Muslims are aware that Moriscos were enslaved with other Africans during the Atlantic slave trade.  There are also much Islamic and Moorish retention in this sector of Caribbean society, especially in language and names.

In the Caribbean, Muslims continue to experience life as minorities.  Christian missionaries continue to try to convert Muslims - though there is also increasing evidence that Muslims are trying to convert Christians.  In 2002, reports in local newspapers asserted that of the few conversions that take place, most are from Christianity to Islam.

The history of Muslims in Mexico is difficult to trace.  Spanish conquistadors from both Cuba and Spain came to pillage Mexico’s resources in the early 1500s.  The indigenous population was subdued and forcibly converted to Catholicism during this time.  Many in the native population died as a result of the importation of European diseases and from starvation, as Europeans devastated the farming land and depleted water resources.  Mexicans themselves regained control only in the 1900s.

Historians are divided over when Islam came to Mexico and who brought it.  Some claim it was introduced by Syrian immigrants, whereas others point to Turkish immigrants.  One 2002 study estimated that 10 percent of the Syrian-Lebanese immigrant community were Muslim.  Today this community is one of the richest and contains more than 250,000 people.  The history of Islam in Mexico is largely undocumented, with the exception of a sixteenth century book called Un Herehe y un Musulman.  Written by Pascual Almazan, this recounts the exploits of Yusuf ibn Alabaz, who came to Mexico after expulsion during the Reconquista in Spain.  Today, Islam is a recognized entity following the establishment of the Muslim Center de Mexico in 1994 in Mexico City.  There are also centers in Monterrey, Torrion, Guadalajara, and San Cristobal de las Casa.

Islam in Cuba has not been documented before the twentieth century.  At the start of the twenty-first century, Muslims in Cuba continued to pray at home because there was no mosque where they can freely congregate.  There is an Arab House built by a wealthy Arab in the 1940s, which houses an Arab museum, a restaurant, and a prayer space for diplomats.  Monies are currently being solicited for the building of a mosque.  In the late twentieth century, a representative of the Muslim World League making his own solicitations on behalf of Cuban Muslims referred to the example of a small town, Pilaya de Rosacio, which has a Muslim population of 40 percent.

If the number of Muslim organizations and centers is any indication, there are Muslims all over other areas of South America.  The origins of Islam in Chile have not been researched, but census reports show that in 1854 two Muslims from the Ottoman Empire came to Chile.  Given that the Ottoman Empire, the last Muslim empire, which fell in 1929, covered a great deal of the Arab world, it is difficult to state ethnic origins of these immigrants.  It is also only presumed that they were Muslim, for religion was not noted in the Chilean census of 1865.  However, by 1895 the census did note the presence of 58 Muslims who lived in Tarapaca, Atacama, Valparaiso, and Santiago - all in the north of the country.  By 1907 there were approximately 1,500 Muslims, all of them immigrants.  The first Muslim institution in Chile was the Society of Muslim Union of Chile, founded in 1926.  Interestingly, the numbers of Chilean Muslims rises and falls throughout the twentieth century for reasons that are unaccounted for in any reports.  Through the 1970s and 1980s there were no religious leaders or mosques in Chile.  In the 1990s the construction of as-Salam Mosque was begun, following which, other mosques were built in Temuco and Iquique.  At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is estimated that there were 3,000 Muslims in Chile, many of whom are Chilean by birth.  Muslims as a small minority group, generally face great pressure to convert to Christianity.

In times past, Rio de Janeiro was one of the disembarkation points for those millions abducted or sold from Muslim Africa.  The native population learned about Islam primarily through Muslim behavior - prayer and abstention from pork and alcohol.  Islamic revivals are reported to have occurred frequently enough over the centuries to leave a permanent mark.  In 1899 the Cairo-based magazine al-Manar published in its August issue an article entitled “Islam in Brazil.”  Here it was noted that the Muslim communities in Rio were made up of direct descendants of Muslim slaves.  During the 1920s, Arab immigrants and traders added to Brazil’s Islamic presence.  Now, university students lead the way in teaching about Islam.  There are currently five large Islamic organizations in Brazil: in Sao Paulo, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Boa Vista, and Florianopolis.

Venezuela currently has fifteen Islamic civic associations in ten states.  Arab immigrants, Venezuelans, and Creoles have come together to make Islam a known tradition.  The closest estimate of when Islam came to Venezuela is “centuries ago.”  Estimates of the number of Muslims range from 700,000 to almost a million.  Venezuelan Muslims have many of the same problems as Muslims in other countries where Muslims are a minority and Islam is a potentially competing faith - issues revolving around dress, political participation, civic concerns, and Christian missionising.

Muslims in Peru trace their ancestry to the Spaniards and the Moros.  As Moros fled persecution in Spain, they settled in many South and Latin American countries.  In Peru they have had a lasting influence on dress, food, architecture, and both the social and political systems.  Women who covered their hair were called las tapadas Limenas, ‘the covered ones from Lima.’  There are also the famous balcones lumenas, which are protruding balconies done in a style known as Arabescos - a term clearly referring to an Islamic heritage.  Twentieth-century Islam in Peru is dominated by Palestinian Arabs who arrived in the 1940s, fleeing Jewish persecution.  Today, after several aborted construction projects, Peruvian Muslims (there are no estimates of their numbers) still have no mosques, but they do have the Asociacion Islamica del Peru in Lima and a school.

Argentinean Muslims currently number between 900,000 and one million.  If Arabs and other ethnic groups are included this number increases to three million.  It is reported that Muslims first arrived in Argentina around 1870 from Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.  Today, there are mosques all over the country, as well as nine Islamic centers.  Bolivia traces its Islamic heritage to immigrants from the Ottoman Empire, but as with Chile the ethnicities of the Muslims who came is unknown.  The first mosque however, was not commissioned until 1992, in Santa Cruz.  There are already three civic organizations, known as Centro Islamico Bolivanos.

What is significant about the Islamic presence in the Caribbean and South America is that it has survived for so long.  The patterns that lie behind the introduction of Islam into various countries appear to be multifold: in some countries the Islamic presence can be traced to the Atlantic slave trade; in others it is due to the influx of refugees caused by the Spanish persecution of non-Christians in Spain; in yet others it is the result of Muslims fleeing a ravaged Ottoman Empire in search of opportunities or of Arab refugees fleeing persecution by Jews in Palestine; and in others still it is attributable to the arrival of Muslim Indians, both indentured servants and immigrants seeking better opportunities.  Regardless of the origin of the Islamic presence, it has endured and is currently growing.

The Delusion of Praise

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam ibn ‘Atha’illah as-Sakandari (q.s.) said, “People praise you for what they imagine you are, so be sure that you blame yourself for what you know you are.”

Shaykh ibn Abbad ar-Rundi (q.s.) commented. “For a servant to blame himself and look at himself with disgust for the faults and defects that he knows he possesses is something that is sought from him because it helps him avoid having delusions about himself, which, in turn, allows him to improve his good deeds and his spiritual states.  If he does not look at himself in this manner, people’s praise will cause his deeds and states to wither away.”

The awliya’ have said that whoever rejoices when others praise him has allowed Shaythan to come into him.  If someone tells you what a wonderful person you are and you love this more than for them to tell you what an awful person you are, then by Allah (s.w.t.) what an awful person you have become.

With a proper understanding of tawhid comes the realisation that all praise Belongs to Allah (s.w.t.) alone.  All that happens and all that is accomplished is by His Will.  If someone sees something good in us, it is a reflection of Divine Attributes.  No one can claim knowledge when Allah (s.w.t.) is al-‘Alim.  And who can claim strength when He is al-Qawiyy?  The delusion of believing praise leads to the danger of hidden shirk.

Discard the Ways of the Unbelievers

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 08th October 2010.

All over the world, there is hatred and wickedness.  Man is plotting to do his worst to his neighbour, to hurt one another and to disregard the rights of others.  Humans have lost their humanity, they have become like wild beasts; they slay, maim and devour each other, there is not a shred of pity left in the hearts of many.  Allah (s.w.t.) Created Mankind to be Dressed in robes of honour.  Instead Mankind has followed Iblis and he has been dressed in Iblis’ ruinous traits.  Instead of blossoming into a receptacle of Divine Love, he has become a pit of hatred.

We have read so many stories in the Holy Qur’an of former umam who incurred the Lord’s Wrath, and who were then Destroyed by Divine Anger.  Each one of these umam were reduced to dust.  None of the defiant one survived what befell them.  There is a lesson in all these stories.  To each ummah was Sent a prophet to guide them, and each prophet brought a way of life that was pleasing to Allah (s.w.t.).  It is the duty of every man to follow the way of life that his prophet had brought and showed him.

Any way other than that shown by the prophets is unacceptable to Allah (s.w.t.).  Any person doing that which displeases Allah (s.w.t.) is in grave danger of being overwhelmed by His punishment, for Allah (s.w.t.) is indeed Capable of terrifying punishment.

Allah will Punish him with a mighty Punishment. (Surah al-Ghashiyah:24)

Do they not travel through the earth, and see what was the End of those before them (who did evil)?  Allah Brought utter destruction on them and similar (fates await) those who reject Allah. (Surah Muhammad:10)

When we follow the Prophet (s.a.w.) and arrange our life accordingly, Allah (s.w.t.) is Pleased with us and He will Dress us in Honour.  The defiant incur His wrath and He Dishonours them.  Look at what shame befell the Children of Israel, when they defied Him:

When in their insolence they transgressed (all) prohibition, We Said to them: "Be ye apes, despised and rejected." (Surah al-A’araf:166)

Say: "Shall I point out to you something much worse than this, (as judged) by the treatment it received from Allah?  Those who incurred the Curse of Allah and His Wrath, those of whom some He Transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped Evil;― these are (many times) worse in rank and far more astray from the even Path! (Surah al-Ma’idah:60)

Each time the residents of a town or village defied Allah (s.w.t.), He Sent them punishment.  But what if the entire world is in defiance and turns deaf to His Warnings?  An example, is the people of Noah (a.s.).  Allah Sent a massive flood to wipe them away.  This world is on the verge of such a calamitous punishment now.  Allah (s.w.t.) will Send upon us a flood – not of water – but of fire, which will bring a flood of blood.  The world is filled with humans who are only seeking personal pleasure.  They arrange their lives according to what pleases them, not according to what pleases Allah (s.w.t.).  They show no reverence towards their Creator.  The ways of the unbelievers are completely unacceptable to Allah (s.w.t.).  Everything about how they live is repugnant to Him.

O ye who believe!  Truly the pagans are unclean... (Surah at-Tawbah:28)

We must discard their lifestyle completely in the same manner we discard rubbish and excrement, najasun.  And the key to this is adab.