Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Shaythan Wants Us to Forget

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah from  Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 13th April 2010.

We must beware of Iblis and his cunning tricks.  Once we let our guard down, he will make us forget Allah (s.w.t.).

…but Satan made him forget... (Surah Yusuf:42)

This verse of the Qur'an is made up of only two Arabic words but there is an Ocean of Knowledge contained within it.  It is a powerful warning for us to beware of Iblis and his followers.  It teaches us that their cursed mission is to make Man forget about their Lord Almighty.

This state of heedlessness is a worldwide phenomenon today.  Shaythan desires that believers are always preserved in this forgetful state.  It wants believers to forget that Allah (s.w.t.) is constantly Observing them.  He wants believers to forget that Allah (s.w.t.) has Assigned two angels to record down all their words and deeds.  He wants believers to forget that Allah (s.w.t.) has Absolute Power and Control over them.  He wants believers to forget that they have a Creator to whom they are answerable.  It wants them to discard all fear towards the Almighty and do as they please.  So many people today live to do as their egos please.  They reject any form of control upon themselves.  They regard themselves as independent.

This forgetfulness is a powerful weapon against believers.  For as long as believers remember Allah (s.w.t.), they would be careful to walk on the path of sincerity and cleanliness.  Shaythan has placed his reins on the heedless.  He rides on us just as a man rides a donkey and directs it in any direction he fancies.  We are now in a time where almost everyone has forgotten Allah (s.w.t.).  People do not remember Allah (s.w.t.) even while reciting dzikrullah.

Shaythan has caused made scholars to forget to remind their congregations about the dangers of being heedless.  He has made them forget to dispense regular advice.  So why are we here?

I have only Created jinn and men, that they may serve Me. (Surah adz-Dzariyat:56)

Allah (s.w.t.) Created us to be His servants and to serve Him.  Shaythan wants this erased from our minds.  He wants us to live only to serve our egos and desires.  He strives for us to forget Allah (s.w.t.) and his Words, the Qur'an, and that we forget our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.) and his sunnah.  So we must beware.

Shaythan Dangles Freedom

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah by Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 07th December 2009.

Allah (s.w.t.) Sent 124 000 Prophets as warners to Mankind about Shaythan's tricks.  We must take this warning very seriously as millions of people have been duped by Shaythan, and are now in endless regret in their graves.  Once we have been snared in Shaythan's trap, it is very difficult to save ourselves.  That is why Allah (s.w.t.) Sent so many prophets and now, shuyukh to warn us again and again.

Shaythan's first step is to win our trust just like what he did with Adam (a.s.).  He portrays himself as our advisor and friend, inviting us to a life of endless enjoyment and freedom.  Shaythan whispers to us a whisper familiar to us all: Discard old things, and replace them with new ones.  Discard old clothes because they are out of fashion.  Discard old furniture because they are old.  Discard old values because they are out-dated.  Discard our old values and replace them with new ones - his.  Shaythan dangles freedom to Mankind; freedom from the old ways and restrictive beliefs and practices.

In doing so, we forget one very important fact: we are getting older, not younger.  Shaythan wants us to always feel young, to feel that death is far away.  We forget about the approach of death and are concerned with celebrations and new things.  Shaythan has cheated humanity by making them feel younger.  Death is the last day we are on this earth.  After which, our worldly existence and all its contents cease to be of any value to us.  If we had been one who had busied ourselves with worldly playthings, we would be of the heedless ones.  Our life will be Taken by force and we will enter our grave in a tormented state.  But those who had sought to please Allah (s.w.t.) would surrender their souls blissfully and enter into endless felicity.

All of Shaythan's advice has only one intention - that we should be snatched from light and thrown into darkness.  Anyone who obeys Shaythan has lost his honour and anyone who obeys Allah (s.w.t.) has gained everlasting honour and safety.  Allah (s.w.t.) Reminds us:

I have only Created jinn and men, that they may serve Me. (Surah adz-Dzariyat:56)

We must never forget that we are His servants.  The greatest honour for us is to be Allah’s (s.w.t.) servant.  The reality of freedom is to be free of Shaythan's influence and the ego that controls us.  That is real freedom.  In this time, even those who are supposed to be scholars are ridden by Shaythan like a man riding his horse.  They are ruled, not by Allah (s.w.t.), but by their ego.  Shaythan will lead them to Jahannam.  Our Prophet (s.a.w.) said, "Religion is about giving good advice to people."  So this is good advice: Be pure and do not follow Shaythan.  We must remember death and prepare for it.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Searching for the Teacher of the Age

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Ja’far ibn Yahya (q.s.) of Lisbon was determined to find the Teacher of the Age, so he travelled to Makkah as a young man to seek him.  There he met a mysterious stranger, a man in a green robe, who said to him - before any word had been spoken, “You seek the Greatest Shaykh, the Teacher of the Age.  But you seek him in the east, when he is in the west.  And there is another thing which is incorrect in your seeking.”

He sent Imam Ja’far (q.s.) back to Andalusia, to find the man he named: Muhyi ad-Din (q.s.), son of al-‘Arabi, of the tribe of Hatim ath-Thai: “He is the Greatest Shaykh.”

Telling nobody why he sought him, Imam Ja’far (q.s.) found the ath-Thai family in Murcia and inquired for their son.  He learnt that he had actually been in Lisbon when Ja’far (q.s.) set off on his travels.  Finally he traced him in Seville.

“There,” said a cleric, “is Muhyi ad-Din.”  He pointed to a mere schoolboy, carrying a book on ahadits, who was at that moment hurrying from a lecture hall.  Imam Ja’far (q.s.) was confused, but stopped the boy and asked, “Who is the Greatest Teacher?”

“I need time to answer that question,” replied the boy.

“Are you the only Muhyi ad-Din, son of al-‘Arabi, of the Tribe of Thai?” asked Imam Ja’far (q.s.).

“I am he.”

“Then I have no need of you.”

Thirty years later, in Aleppo, Imam Ja’far (q.s.) found himself entering the lecture hall of the Greatest Shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam, Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din ibn al-‘Arabi (q.s.), of the tribe of Thai.  Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din (q.s.) saw him as he entered, and spoke, “Now that I am ready to answer the question you asked me, there is no need to ask it at all.  Thirty years ago, Ja’far, you had no need of me.  Have you still no need of me?  The Green One spoke of something wrong in your seeking.  It was time and place.”

Imam Ja’far ibn Yahya (q.s.) became one of the foremost disciples of Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din ibn al-‘Arabi (q.s.).  We must remember that in everything, Allah (s.w.t.) has Decreed a time and place.  It is His time, His place, His Will.

Allah's (s.w.t.) Vicegerent

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was translated by Dr. Alan Godlas.  This is Shaykh Ruzbihan al-Baqli's (q.s.) commentary on the Qur’anic verse:

Behold thy Lord Said to the angels, “I will Create a vicegerent on earth.”  They said, “Wilt thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?  Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy Holy (Name)?”  He Said, “I Know what ye know not.” (Surah al-Baqarah:30)

Since the angels did not know Allah (s.w.t.) with true gnosis, bi haqq al-marifah, since they were unable to perceive the truth, and since they left the door of Sustainership due to the attack on them of the “imposing of grandeur,” ijlal, from the onslaughts of exaltedness, al-Haqq  turned them over to Adam (a.s.), along with the acquisition of knowledge and manners in serving, so that he could convey them by means of knowledge of the attributes to what they had not reached by means of acts of worship - because they worshipped Allah (s.w.t.) ignorantly, without knowing Him through true gnosis, haqqa marifatih.  And he who knows Allah (s.w.t.) with the truth of knowledge, il-ilm, is the one who knows Him by means of forms of knowledge from Allah's (s.w.t.) Presence, al-ulum al-ladunniyah.  Necessarily, Adam (a.s.) is the angels’ master in the knowledge of gnosis, lm al-marifah, although they precede him with regard to worship.

Also, He did not See in existence a pure lover, muhibb swafi, such as He Desires, so He Appointed Adam (a.s.) for the sake of love, mahabbah, because He had Created the angels for the sake of worship.  So He Informed the angels, during the consultation with them, of their lack of love resulting from their being unaware of Him, preoccupied with worship.

Also, the angels desired to see Allah (s.w.t.).  But al-Haqq knew of their inability to look at Him.  So He Appointed Adam (a.s.) for them in order for them to see Him, because Allah (s.w.t.) Created him by His Hand, Formed him in His Image, and Placed in him the mirror of His Spirit.  When they looked into it, al-Haqq theophanically Displayed Himself, tajalli, to them.

Also, in the world, there was no beautiful “being to witness,” shahid jamil, whom al-Haqq could Love, so He Created Adam (a.s.) by His Hand, Clothed him in one of His Attributes, and Loved him by means of His Attributes for the sake of His Attributes.

Also, al-Haqq Desired to Display Himself to them in the truths of the Creation.  Then they left al-Haqq and went toward people, al-khalq.  It was said, “They disobeyed Allah (s.w.t.) by blaming Adam (a.s.) and praising themselves when they said, ‘Are You Appointing there someone who will spread corruption there and who will shed blood?  While we, we declare Your Transcendence - with gratitude to You - and affirm Your Sanctity;’ because Allah (s.w.t.) Named Adam (a.s.) a representative (khalifah) at the beginning of the address.”  And the representative neither acts unjustly nor deviates, la yahifu wa la yajuru.  So they were ignorant of one whom Allah (s.w.t.) Described as His representative, whom He Taught the particularities, khaswaısw, of His Love, Whom He Praised as the representative; while they reproached, ayyaru, him for depravity, fisq, and ignorance, on account of their pessimism and lack of manners.  So Allah (s.w.t.) Unveiled the veil of holiness, quds, from Adam’s (a.s.) face and Illuminated - by his beauty - the world.  Then they became embarrassed on account of their pretension and acknowledged their ignorance.

They said, “Glory to Thee: of knowledge we have none, save that Thou hast Taught us: in truth it is Thou who art Perfect in Knowledge and Wisdom.” (Surah al-Baqarah:32)

And after the angels addressed Allah (s.w.t.) with, “Are You Appointing there someone who will spread corruption there and who will shed blood?”, they then said to Allah (s.w.t.), “We declare Your Transcendence - with gratitude to You.”  They are moved, taharraku, with regard to deeds, ‘amal; while the status of Adam (a.s.) is with regard to states.  So they became Veiled by the vision of the act, fiil, veiled from the witnessing of Chosenness that occurred previously, in the form of beauty, bi naat al-husn, for Adam (a.s.).  And also, they offered - in the form, bi naat, of servanthood, facing the pavilion of Majesty – praise, minnah, to Lordship, rububiyah.  So Allah (s.w.t.) Caused them to fall from the station of the truth of gnosis and put them in need of acquiring knowledge of their states from Adam (a.s.).

One of them said, “When they witnessed their acts and became proud of them, Allah (s.w.t.) Repelled their faces from Himself toward Adam (a.s).  And He Commanded them to prostrate before him, informing them that for Him, worship carries no weight.”

One of them said, “Whoever becomes arrogant about his knowledge and his obedience, ignorance is his homeland.  Do you not see them when they said, ‘We declare Your Transcendence - with gratitude to you - and affirm Your Sanctity’?  That made it necessary, for them to say, ‘We have no knowledge except what You have Taught us.’”

Shaykh al-Wasithi (q.s.) said, “Whoever says, ‘I’, disputes with al-Qudrah.  The angels said, ‘We, we declare Your Transcendence - with gratitude to You - and affirm your sanctity.’  Their having made that statement is on account of their distance from ‘experiences of gnosis’, while they are the lords of pride and objection to Lordship, which they expressed by saying, ‘Are You Appointing there someone who will spread corruption there and who will shed blood?’”

Shaykh ibn Athaillah (q.s.) said, “The angels made their pretensions to be a means to reach Allah (s.w.t.).  So Allah (s.w.t.) Commanded Hellfire and burned in one hour thousands of them.  Then they acknowledged their helplessness and said, ‘Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what You Taught us.’”

Imam Jafar asw-Swadiq (q.s.) said, “When they boasted of their deeds, glorification and sanctification, He Struck them, all of them, with ignorance, to the extent that they said, ‘We have no knowledge.’”

One of the Iraqis said, “The conditions for being a representative consist of seeing the beginning of things with regard to separation and union.  Since there is no separation and union, nothing has become separate from Him; and how can there be a union of createdness and eternality?”

One of them said, “They reproached Adam and belittled him, without knowing the particularities of creation in him.  So they were Ordered to prostrate before him.”

One of the Baghdadis said, of Adam (a.s.), “He Adorned him with the particularities of the robes of honour.  And He Made Manifest the attributes of eternity upon him.  So humility before him became nearness to al-Haqq; and arrogance toward him became distance from al-Haqq.”

Shaykh Abu Utsman al-Maghribi (q.s.) said, “There is no affliction of people except through pretensions.  Do you not see that the angels, when they said ‘We declare your transcendence - with gratitude to you - and affirm your sanctity,’ do you not see how they were cast into ignorance to the extent that they said, ‘We have no knowledge’?”

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Reaching Allah (s.w.t.) without a Guide

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 31st January 2010.

We must be aware of what Allah (s.w.t.) Wants of us.  Allah (s.w.t.) has Said in the Holy Qur'an:

O ye who believe!  Do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach unto Him, and strive (with might and main) in His cause: that ye may prosper. (Surah al-Ma’idah:35)

We have been Created to know our Creator.  We must seek a means of approach, a wasilah, to Him.  This is also known as asbab, a reason, for something to occur.  What is a wasilah?  If a person wants to fly, he would be unable to do so because of his physical limitations.  So he has to use an aeroplane.  By means of using an aeroplane, he is able to achieve his previously unattainable goal.  That aeroplane is the asbab, the wasilah.  We cannot attain our goals, except by wasilah.  This worldly life is one where everything is achieved through reason, asbab.  We take medicine to get well.  We go to school to learn.  We work to earn money.  We jog to get fit.  We drink to quench thirst.  We plant crops in order to reap the harvest.  In order to reach any goal, there is a process to get there.  That is wasilah.  If merely to reach this worldly sky, we need a wasilah, what about traversing the seven heavens to reach Sidrat ul-Muntaha, to the Divine Presence?  That requires a wasilah.  We need a wasilah to reach Allah (s.w.t.) and anyone denying this fact is actually denying the Holy Qur'an.

Only Allah (s.w.t.) Fulfills the deep spiritual needs that are hidden in our soul so we should seek a means to approach Allah (s.w.t.).  This is taught in the Holy Qur'an, as Allah (s.w.t.) did not leave any matter out of the Holy Book.  No matter what we seek, whatever problem we face; the answer lies within the Holy Qur'an.  To attain any goal, whether physical or spiritual, one has to seek a means to it, and the means may be zhahir or bathin.

…Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end. (Surah al-An’am:38)

There are some who claim that they have sought an answer from the Holy Qur'an, but found none.  Such people are spiritually blind.  Just as a physically blind man cannot see the sun and the moon, spiritually blind people cannot see the Light of Guidance from the Holy Qur'an.  Whatever we seek that will bring us spiritual happiness and contentment, is to be found in that Holy Book.  When we understand that Allah (s.w.t.) is our goal and His Pleasure is our destination, we will be content.

There was a time in which we did not exist.  Allah (s.w.t.) Created us from nothing along with the rest of creation.  Did Allah (s.w.t.) Create us to seek Him, or to seek Creation?  Creation is but a shadow, an illusion.  We must seek Reality.  When we look into a mirror, we are merely seeing an image.  It looks real enough but though it resembles us; it does not have flesh and bones, it does not have life, and we cannot touch it.  There is a distinct difference between the real and the image in the mirror – one is reality and the other is just an illusion.

Just as Allah (s.w.t.) Created the mirror for us to see ourselves, Allah (s.w.t.) Created the whole of Creation as a mirror for us to see His Attributes and His Beautiful Names since we cannot understand the being of Allah, Dzat Allah.  We can understand Him through his Names and Attributes.  That Mirror is a wasilah.  When all that we see in this Divine Mirror is Allah (s.w.t.), we have reached mathlab ul-`ala, the endless fulfillment of the highest desire.  That is a never-ending vision of satisfaction for Man.  At that state, we realise we are part of that Manifestation of Divine Attributes and Names, and would then fana' into that Reality.

We need a wasilah, a Divine Mirror, to look at ourselves and to understand ourselves.  There are so many stations, many stages and realities and levels to pass through before our personality becomes naught and there is none but He.  It is Shaythan's aim to take us in the opposite direction, away from Allah (s.w.t.).  That is why we need a Guide.  And that is why we ponder His Names and Attributes.  We must seek a Way to draw near to Allah (s.w.t.) relentlessly.

Dzu al-Qarnayn (r.a.), the Two-Horned One mentioned in Surah al-Kahf, was one such servant Allah (s.w.t.) Opened the Way to.

Verily We Established his power on earth, and We Gave him the ways and the means to all ends.  One (such) way he followed, (Surah al-Kahf:84-85)

That the verse above is the secret that holds the key to all knowledge.  It is the knowledge of the heavens and the earth.  Everything is linked to a reason, a wasilah.  Dzu al-Qarnayn (r.a.) was on a journey.  He chose the right Way and relied on it Way.  He stepped on the Way of asbab, wasilah, to attain success.

Maintaining a Direct Connection with Allah (s.w.t.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is a transcript of discourse given by Mawlana Waffie Mohammed.

Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

O ye who believe!  Give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He Calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah Cometh in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to whom Ye shall (all) be Gathered. (Surah al-Anfal:24)

The first part of the ayat has a lot of implications and importance.  When the Call comes from Allah (s.w.t.) and His Messenger (s.a.w.), we must respond.  Once Prophet (s.a.w.) called out to a companion who was at the time in swalah.  The companion did not respond but instead waited until he completed his swalah and then went to Prophet (s.a.w.) and informed him why he did not respond initially.  To this the Prophet (s.a.w.) reminded him about the first part of the ayat quoted above.

Prophet (s.a.w.) is reported to have said “Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart.  He Turns that to any (direction) He likes”.  Allah (s.w.t.) can Guide us to righteousness or cause us to deviate.  This is why Prophet (s.a.w.) prayed:

Allahumma yaa muqallib al-quluub tsabbit qalbii ‘alaa diinik

Oh Turner of Hearts, Keep our hearts Firm on Your Religion”

We need to understand why Allah (s.w.t.) says our wealth and our children are only a trial, fitnah.  It is because they can come between Allah (s.w.t.) and our heart and divert our focus.  The verse quoted above tells us that we should give nothing more preference than Allah (s.w.t.).  And not let anything come in the way and hinder our connection to Him.  A true believer will carry out all the necessary undertakings of the world but his heart remains engaged in remembrance of Allah (s.w.t.).  We have to get involved in the world for our livelihood but not be consumed by it to the extent that we give preference to it over our religious obligations.

We must not put a curtain between Allah (s.w.t.) and our heart and never forget that any time we do wrong, a black spot will appear on our hearts, as Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

By no means! But on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do! (Surah al-Muthaffifin:14)

Our goal should be to maintain a direct connection to Him.  It is not easy but possible.   Insha’Allah, let us all try to make this jihad for ourselves and not put spots between Him and ourselves.  And leave this world in a clean and pure state, insha’Allah.

Explaining Quthbanniyyah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from the teachings of Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.).

The scholars are the inheritors of the prophets.  This does not refer to those scholars who gained their knowledge from books, but rather those aqthab to whom Allah (s.w.t.) Opened these six powers in their hearts, and the knowledge of their seven personal names.  The five highest levels of aqthab are, Quthb, Quthb al-Bilad, Quthb al-Mutaswswarif, Quthb al-Irshad and Quthb al-Aqthab.

A quthb is the one whom Allah (s.w.t.) Granted the power to bring forth from the Nur of Muhammad (s.a.w.), to extract knowledge from non-existence of the Prophet (s.a.w.) into this dunya.  He extracts new knowledge from the heart of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  This is the first level aqthab.  The Quthb al-Bilad is responsible for the order of this world and to hold it together.  He knows the needs of every creatures.  The Quthb al-Irshad advises the 124,000 awliya’.  The Quthb al-Mutaswswarif is authorised to channel Allah’s (s.w.t.) harbingers of delights to different people and creatures, and is responsible even for the smallest worm that dwells inside a rock.  The Quthb al-Aqthab supervises and is responsible for all the other aqthab.  Above all five aqthab is the ghawts.  He is the channel.  Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.) was one of them.  Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) was another.  From era to era, they differ.

The aqthab and the ghawts must be ashraf from both the paternal and the maternal lineage, from the Ahl al-Bayt, al-Hasani and al-Husayni.  If they are not from the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and Allah (s.w.t.) has Brought them to that level, they inherit from Salman al-Farisi (r.a.).  The Prophet (s.a.w.) included him as a member of the Ahl al-Bayt.  Every matter of the universe is in the hands of the aqthab.  Authority comes from Allah (s.w.t.) to the Prophet (s.a.w.), and from the Prophet (s.a.w.) to the aqthab.

The aqthab are always five in number.  When one passes on, he is replaced by another.  Allah (s.w.t.) Created then unique.  The essence of the aqthab extract Knowledge through the beautiful Names of Allah (s.w.t.).  From every unique Name, they experience 700,000 levels of ecstasy, from which they can pull out for humanity 700,000 levels of  wisdom.  They have drowned in these Oceans of Wisdom and Knowledge.  Their veils are Removed.  They are in the Divine Presence at a place where they observe the verse:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth ... (Surah an-Nur:35)

And they cannot see except by that Light.

Most people think that the rank of Quthb al-Ghawts is the highest since they have no knowledge of the Sulthan ul-Awliya’.  The station of Quthb al-Ghawts entails the function of arranging the needs of the physical bodies of the people.  The station of Sulthan al-Awliya’ deals with the hearts and the soul.  He is the one who brings them to Allah Almighty in the place where the Prophet (s.a.w.) made sajdah on the night of Mi’raj.

The Sulthan al-Awliya’ is the Khalifatullah of the time and he represents the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).  The other awliya’ represent one of the other 124,000 prophets.  As all the other prophets are also represented by the Seal of Prophets, Sayyidina Muhammad (s.a.w.).  The Sulthan al-Awliya’ of the time also has the tajjalli of all the 124,000 prophets.

The Sulthan al-Awliya’ possesses the secret of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).  This secret was Put in the heart of the Prophet (s.a.w.) by Allah (s.w.t.).  Thereafter, the Prophet (s.a.w.) transmitted this secret to the heart of Abu Bakr asw-Swiddiq (r.a.).  This secret has been transmitted down the Golden Chain.  From the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to now, there have only been forty Sulthan al-Awliya’.  This secret was passed down from the heart of Abu Bakr asw-Swiddiq (r.a.) to Salman al-Farisi (r.a.), from Swiddiq to Swiddiq, down to Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.), the possessor of this secret.  This Divine Secret of Allah (s.w.t.) Given to the heart of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to be transmitted is the Divine Secret and Divine Breath which Allah (s.w.t.) Blew into Adam (a.s.).

Everything in this universe has been Created for the honour of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  Everything that has been Created in this universe is Created from the Light of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  Everything that we see in the first instance is the Light of Allah (s.w.t.).  And that is why we say, “Laa ilaha illa Allah.”  Thereafter, Allah (s.w.t.) Reduced these lights to the Light of the Prophet (s.a.w.) for there to be intermediate stages between all that we see and Allah (s.w.t.).  This is why we also say, “Muhammadar Rasulullah” in the kalimah.  During every age, there is a wali responsible for all these lights and that is the Sulthan al-Awliya’.

When the Prophet (s.a.w.) was on Mi’raj, he reached a certain point with Jibril (a.s.) when he said to the Prophet (s.a.w.), that only he had Permission to travel beyond that point.  Our Prophet (s.a.w.) went beyond this point to the utmost limits.  He was annihilated and he became a Light of Allah (s.w.t.).  By becoming this Light, he arrived at Allah (s.w.t.).  Every human being is a light from the Light of Allah (s.w.t.) and from the Light of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).

Clarifications Regarding Tijani Awrad & Wazhifah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following are some clarifications regarding the Tijani awrad and wazhifah as answered by Ustadz Fakhruddin Owaisi at-Tijani for those new to the Path.

For those who have begun reciting the wazhifah but have not memorised the Jawharat al-Kamal, they may replace the twelve Jawharat al-Kamal with twenty Swalawat al-Fatih.

With regards the place of recitation, the condition of having room for six people when reciting the Jawharat al-Kamal is a recommendation, not an obligation, according to most of our shuyukh.  As long as the place is clean, it is suitable.  For those who do not have a suitable environment to recite the wazhifah, they may recite it at the mosque.

The awrad are the pillars for the wazhifah.  The wazhifah is considered the greater due to the presence of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in it.  For reciting the wazhifah and the awrad, wudhu is required.  The reciter must also face the qiblah.  If the awrad and the wazhifah are interrupted, they have to be done all over until completion.  For expiation of breaking either, a hundred istighfar is recited with one Swalawat al-Fatih before and after.

The best timing for the haylalah is after maghrib.  If, for some reason, it cannot be done at that time, it is recited after ‘aswr.  This also applies when travelling.  During travel, the wird after ‘aswr may be recited earlier, or even directly after zhuhr.  The wazhifah may be recited, but without Jawharat al-Kamal, whilst riding or in a vehicle excluding ships on a long voyage.  The Jawharat al-Kamal is replaced with twenty Swalawat al-Fatih.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Perverted Priorities

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from Perverted Priorities: Who is and Who is not Muslim by Ustadz Suheil Laher.  The author is the Muslim Chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a lecturer at Brandeis University.

“‘If you don't convert to my sect, you might as well not convert to Islam!’ exclaimed the ‘uncle’ to the young Christian lady.  The lady’s husband, a Muslim, had requested his elder friend to come and help explain to her why Islam is so important to him, and why he would like her, too, to share in its joy.  The husband was startled by this narrow-minded bombshell.  The shocking words of the ‘uncle’ highlight a lack of priorities plaguing some of those who profess themselves to be Muslim.  It is understandable for someone to feel passionately about a cause which, rightly or wrongly, they believe to be true.  I remember a rabbi relating how he went home after his first year at rabbinical seminary and began self-righteously passing judgement on and correcting what seemed to be a plethora of misdeeds and mistakes of his family.  But passionate belief, even when correct, becomes problematic if it results in a narrowed vision of reality and truth, and even more so when it leads to behaviour that turns others away from the Path to God.

The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was once leading prayers when he heard a man in the congregation saying, ‘O Allah, Bless Muhammad and I alone.’

After the congregational prayer was over, the Prophet (s.a.w.) remarked, chastising him, ‘You have restricted something capacious!’  This is narrated in Swahih al-Bukhari and others.

The Blessings of God, and especially the spiritual blessing of right guidance embodied in the Final Revelation, should not be confused with human constructions of group identity and boundaries.  More specifically, some Muslims are sometimes, and any frequency is too often for something this important, too quick to declare someone to be outside the fold of Islam due to imperfect practice, or disagreement on a non-core belief.  It is essential to realise that the believer's life is an ongoing journey of struggle to become a better person.  None of us, including those born and raised as Muslims, are perfect.  It is grossly unreasonable, or even evil, to deny a neophyte entry to his newly-found faith, merely because he is not living a totally sinless life.  The priority, for someone who has understood the basic message of Islam and voluntarily resolved to embrace Islam, is to help him to say the shahadatayn, the Declaration of Faith: “I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but God, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God,” without delay.  Anything else, be it taking a bath, ghusl, for ritual purification, or giving up a personal vice, can wait.  Anything else on your own to-do list can wait too.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) once even halted his Friday sermon to respond to a man who came to ask critical questions about belief.  This is narrated in Swahih Muslim and others.

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.), the Shafi’i jurist, wrote in his encyclopedic Majmu’ that his school’s official position is that a Muslim is sinful for telling the ready convert to go and take a bath before having him say the shahadah; indeed some Shafi’i jurists such as Imam al-Mutawalli (r.a.) and Imam al-Baghawi (r.a.) considered the one who gives such an order himself to have committed unbelief by not realising the importance and priority of the shahadah.

Similarly, the hopeful, ready to submit to God, should not be denied the shahadah merely on account of what we might consider as his or her sinful behavior, be it an attachment to alcohol or drugs, or involvement in an immoral or prohibited type of relationship.  The priority is to help them aboard the ship of Divine Grace by helping them say the shahadah; they can work on themselves in due course.

Even after the shahadah, the new convert should not be overburdened with duties and requirements.  Give them time to grow, to learn, to discover, realise and make decisions and changes from their own conviction and at a fitting pace.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) rebuked one of his companions for cursing a man who would repeatedly be found drinking alcohol, and declared that the drinker ‘loves God and His Messenger’.  Again, this is narrated in Swahih al-Bukhari and others.  And he would instruct emissaries and teachers, before sending them on their mission, with the advice, ‘Make things easy, and do not make things difficult.  Give people good news, and do not drive them away.’  This is found in Swahih Muslim and others.

It is of course necessary for an intending convert to have a general understanding of the core beliefs and practices of Islam, often called pillars: belief in God, prophets, scripture and the Hereafter, and performance of the shahadah, the prayer, fasting Ramadhan, prescribed charity and the pilgrimage.  They are not required to know all the details, as these take time to learn, and in some cases are non-essential, or are not clear cut and hence open to different interpretations.  The kernel of Islam, acknowledging the Oneness of God, that God Alone should be worshiped, and that the Qur’an is the book for human guidance Revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), is simple, despite its profundity and universality.  Edward Montet described it as, ‘A creed so precise, so stripped of all theological complexities and consequently so accessible to the ordinary understanding might be expected to possess and does indeed possess a marvelous power of winning its way into the consciences of men.’  This is found in La Propagande Chretienne et ses Adversaries Musulmans, as quoted by Sir Thomas Walker Arnold, in ‘The Preaching of Islam’.

Someone with whom this profound truth has resonated should not be denied admittance to the House of Islam, nor expelled from it after entering, merely because of their not understanding, or having difficulty accepting, a more peripheral or secondary point of belief or practice.  It pains me for an overt Muslim to be declared an unbeliever, or to be frightened away from Islam and I have seen such cases personally because of their not being convinced with the prevalent view about the place or otherwise of certain punishments and regulations in Islam, such as whether and when capital punishment is mandated for apostasy, or stoning for adultery, or the legal status of hijab.

This is not advocating complete relativism, nor denying the value and importance of Muslim scholarly endeavour and its opinions, nor saying that opposing views are always legitimate or correct.  What is pled for is tolerance; of giving the benefit of doubt, whenever possible, to other professed Muslims who seem to be misinterpreting a sacred text.  We are entitled to believe that a particular interpretation is wrong, even potentially sinful, but that does not justify excommunicating a person who holds to that interpretation, unless it involves something clear-cut and essential to Islam.  Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) in al-Umm termed such core issues public knowledge, ‘ilm al-‘ammah, and examples he gave to illustrate it are: the obligation and form of the five prayers and of fasting Ramadhan, and the prohibitions of fornication, murder, theft and wine, and other such things, ‘in which error is not possible, nor is it open to interpretation or dispute.’  Imam ibn Abi al-‘Izz, in his commentary on Imam ath-Thahawi’s (r.a.) creed, discussed how a person may not be excommunicated on the basis of a shubhah, a genuine misunderstanding has reached on the basis of a sacred text.

Renowned theologian, Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari (r.a.), who studied, debated and refuted many heterodox Muslim sects, declared on his deathbed to one of his students, ‘Bear witness that I do not judge any of the People of the Qiblah to be unbelievers.’

Imam Shams ad-Din adz-Dzahabi (r.a.), in Siyar A‘alam an-Nubala’, after quoting this account, mentions that his own personal belief is along these lines, and that he heard similar words from his teacher, Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) towards the end of his life: ‘I do not declare anyone of the ummah an unbeliever.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘None but a believer takes care of his wudhu’.’  So, whoever adheres to the prescribed prayers in a state of purity, wudhu', is a believer.’

The problem, as one of our shuyukh remarked to us, is that today we want to be muftiyyun and judges declaring a person to be inside or outside Islam, whereas the Prophet (s.a.w.) was an inviter to God’s Way, da’iyah.  So, rather than worrying about the credal judgment on a particular person, we should be more interested in asking ourselves, ‘How can I help him understand that he is mistaken?’  Indeed, in some cases it might even be a case of, ‘How can I correct or fine-tune my own understanding of this issue?’

A believer is expected to be humble, and part of humility is acknowledging the limits of our individual knowledge: both of details of the religion, as well as of the inner workings of other people’s hearts.  If we consider ourselves a Caller to God, then we should be calling to those things that are unambiguously and centrally part of God’s Revealed religion of Islam, and not to our own sect or interpretations of Islam.  By all means, let us continue meaningful dialogue, and furthering the education of ourselves and others.  But let us realise the kernel and the priorities, so that we do not hinder or expel others who are genuinely seeking or attempting to navigate the Path to God.”