Habib 'Umar ibn al-Hafidz on Dzikr & Qiyam al-Layl

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Habib ‘Umar ibn al-Hafizh spoke at Al-Falah Mosque, Singapore, during one visit.

Praise be to Allah (s.w.t.), by the mention of Whose Name, the heart comes alive. Allah (s.w.t.) has Said:

“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” (Surah ar-Ra’ad:28)

So, we begin this majlis by mentioning His Name in our hearts.  We must have yaqin in our hearts that every time we mention His Name, He will Reciprocate.  The Qur’an Says so.  We learned from a hadits narrated by Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) that, “The likeness of the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not remember Him is like that between the living and the dead.”  Likewise, a house in which there is dzikr and one which lacks is like one who is alive and dead.  This is a hadits recorded in Swahih Muslim.  When one’s heart becomes alive by way of dzikrullah, Allah (s.w.t.) will Make his dwelling lively.  In a hadits qudsi, Allah (s.w.t.) Said He would refrain from punishing a community if there are people who frequent His House; people who love one another, and make istighfar during sahur.  We have learned how Allah (s.w.t.) would Honour us and our homes if we made dzikr.

A house is nothing more than a plain building.  To Allah (s.w.t.), there is nothing special about the contents of a house because everyone owns basically the same thing.  What makes a house extraordinary is when it is furnished with iman and dzikr.  A home which is enlivened with the teachings of Rasulullah (s.a.w.) will not only have life but it will stand out from the others and serves as a saviour to its neighborhood.  As reported by Shaykh Hasan al-Baswri (q.s.), the dwellings of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) wives were so small that one could even touch its ceiling.  When their houses had to be demolished, the entirety of Madinah cried.  We certainly appreciate such special homes which Allah (s.w.t.) Granted Distinction.  His Emphasis on this matter is evident in the Qur'an where He Named one chapter, Surah al-Hujraat, which means, “An Apartment”.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered his wives to make dzikr and read the Qur’an in their respective homes.  How about us?  What do we fill our homes with?  Instead of reading the Qur’an and hadits, people fill their houses with words of the fasiqin and pictures which Allah (s.w.t.) Dislikes.  This is a big mistake.  This is a cause for marriages and the ummah to fail.

A visitor to Tarim related his experience of hearing houses occupied with the Qur’an and dzikr from the moment he went on the street early in the morning until he reached his destination.  He counted a total of forty homes in Tarim filled with dzikr recited by the women, the elderly and the children while the men performed swubh at the masjid.  This is the right culture.  These homes are real homes.  People were astonished when a young boy could memorise Surah YaSin.  They asked him how he did it.  The boy replied, “I hear my mother recite YaSin early in the morning after swubh every day.”  Imam al-Haddad (q.s.) said, “Whoever recites YaSin, will have his hajat fulfilled and avoid any serious untoward incidents.”

Imam al-Haddad’s (q.s.) home was very small yet his knowledge spread to the far East and West during his lifetime and even after he had passed on.  His house is 350 years old now and that shows how incredible this man is.  His murid, Habib Ahmad ibn Zain al-Habshi (q.s.) had studied in the middle of the staircase yet his ‘ilm was par excellence.  He passed away while studying a kitab of Imam Malik (r.a.).  The room of Imam al-Haddad (q.s.) had played host to countless majalis al-‘ilm. The imam was Gifted with plenty of knowledge not because he befriended the learned.  He earned it through his pure heart and his habit of praying in the middle of the night.  Someone wanted to seek knowledge from Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.).  One night, the Imam (r.a.) placed a bowl of water outside of the student’s room for ablution.  But he found out later in the morning that the student had not used the water until it was time for swubh.  Having observed that, he refused to teach the man because knowledge of hadits can only be studied by one who shuns his bed at night.  Habib ‘Abdullah ash-Shathri (q.s.) once said, “One is not a student if he doesn't get up in the middle of the night.”

Knowledge of Islam is acquired through tasting and amal, not just shi’ar, symbols.  ‘Amir Swalah ad-Din al-Ayyubi (r.a.) succeeded in reconquering Bayt al-Maqdis due to him paying special attention to the night prayers.  He placed a strong emphasis on this particular amal among his armies.  Doing ‘ibadah during the early hours of the morning has a tremendous impact to change things for the better.


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