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Showing posts from June, 2014

Numbering the Days of 'Iyd

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
How many days of days of ‘iyd, celebration, are there in Islam in total?
As recorded in Swahih ibn Hibban, a man came to Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) and asked, “Do you discourage people from fasting on the day of Jumu’ah?”
Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) replied, “I would not have discouraged people from fasting on the day of Jumu’ah but I have heard Rasulullah (s.a.w.) say, ‘Do not fast on the day of Jumu’ah because it is a day of ‘Iyd unless connected with the days.’”
The meaning being that one should not fast on Friday by itself unless one fast on a Thursday or a Saturday with it.  This precludes Fridays that fall on significant dates, and the fast is for that event.  From the above hadits, we are told that Friday is a day of ‘Iyd and there are about 52 Fridays in a year.
As recorded in Sunan at-Tirmidzi, ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “The day of ‘Arafat and day of sacrifice and days of tashriq are days of ‘iyd for us and these are da…

The Recipients of Zakat

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Zakat al-mal must be paid to the eight categories of Muslims deserving of zakat as mentioned explicitly in the Qur’an:

Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. (Surah at-Tawbah:60)
The fuqara’, the poor, are those who earn less than half their basic needs.  The masakin, the destitute, are those who have less than even that.  The former do not have enough and the latter have absolutely nothing.
The amilun ‘alayha, the workers of zakat, are those assigned by the authorities to collect and distribute the zakat.  They get a share because of the work involved in collecting and distributing the zakat discreetly.  This money may not be spent on their behalf on equipment and utilities as some Muslim or…

An Overflow of Ecstasy

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from Signs on the Horizons by Shaykh Michael Sugich.
“A few days later, we were told that a very great saint was coming to visit.  We gathered together in anticipation.  The gentleman in the passageway arrived.  His appearance was less than impressive.  He had none of the romantic Arabian Nights mystique about him that some of the other Sufi saints we met possessed.  He looked exactly like the shopkeeper that he was.  The only thing I noticed that set him apart was that he seemed to be in a constant state of remembrance, repeating invocations and supplications under his breath from the moment he entered to the moment he left.
He sat before us, eyes lowered.  He sat for what seemed like a long time, lips moving in silent supplication.  The atmosphere became charged, transcendent.  He exhaled the Name of God slowly.  Then, without introduction, he began to speak.  His talk was aphoristic and seemingly random, almost like a stre…

Why Do We Stop Eating 10 Minutes before We Begin the Fast?

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is with regards imsak, the act of abstaining from eating approximately ten minutes before the commencement of the fast.
Most books of fiqh state that the wajib time to begin fasting is at true dawn, the time when the second adzan in pronounced.  Many fasting calendars, particularly of the Hanafi and the Shafi’i, recommend that people stop eating ten minutes before the true dawn.  It is recommended to delay the pre-dawn meal, sahur, to the last part of the night, before fajr, but to stop before about ten minutes, the extent of reciting 50 verses of the Qur’an, because of the hadits narrated by Zayd ibn Tsabit (r.a.).
It is recorded in the Shaykhayn, from Zayd ibn Tsabit (r.a.), “We had sahur with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), and then we got up to pray.”
Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) asked, “How much time was there between the two?”  He was referring to the interval between imsak and fajr asw-swadiq.
Zayd (r.a.) replied, “50 verses.”
There are o…

The Hidden Sweetness

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Mawlana Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (q.s.) wrote:
“There is hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less If the sound box is stuffed full of anything, no music. If the brain and the belly are burning clean with fasting, Every moment a new song comes out of the fire. The fog clears, and new energy makes you run up the steps before you. Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry, Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen. When you are full of food and drink, an ugly metal Statue sits where your spirit should. When you fast, good habits gather like friends who want to help. Fasting is Solomon’s ring. Do not give in to some illusion and lose your power, but even if you have, If you have lost all will and control, they come back when you fast, Like soldiers appearing out of the ground, pennants flying above them. A table Descends to your tents, the Lord’s table. Expect to see it when you fast, this table spread with Other food, better than the b…

Against the Awliya'

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Certainly Allah (s.w.t.) Protects His friends.  Whosoever has hatred for them, has incurred the Wrath of Allah (s.w.t.).  And whosoever honours the friends of Allah (s.w.t.), Allah (s.w.t.) Honours them.  As recorded in Rawnaq al-Majalis, it is said that one day, while Shaykh Bayazid al-Bistami (q.s.) was lying down with his feet outstretched, a man came by and deliberately put his foot on that of Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.) and went away.  Another man who saw it, objected and informed the offender that it was the foot of Shaykh Bayazid al-Bistami (q.s.) that he had trampled.  The man said, ”So what?” and went on his way.  When that man was about to die, both his feet turned black.
As recorded in Dala’il al-‘Arifin, Khwaja Mu’in ad-Din Jisti (q.s.) narrated, “There was a man who hated the awliya’.  When he died and was placed in the grave, the people tried to turn his face towards the qiblah but it would turn away from that direction.  The people were ast…

The Perfume of a Saint

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from Signs on the Horizons by Shaykh Michael Sugich.
Shaykh ibn ‘Atha’illah as-Sakandari (q.s.), author of al-Hikam, Taj al-‘Arus and other seminal Sufi treatises, is one of the greatest Sufi saints in history.  He is buried in the City of the Dead, the vast cemetery that stretches for miles along the Northern edge of Cairo embracing the tombs of some of the most illustrious saints and scholars of Islam, including Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.), Shaykh Dzu an-Nun al-Miswri (q.s.), Imam ibn al-Farid (r.a.), Shaykh Muhammad Wafa’ (r.a.), Shaykh ‘Ali Wafa’ (r.a.), and many, many others.  As with so many of the tombs in this awesome burial ground, Shaykh ibn ‘Atha’illah’s (q.s.) grave site had deteriorated almost to the point of being lost.  There was a broken down marker in the general area where the saint was supposed to be buried but no indication of an actual tomb.
During his tenure as Shaykh al-Azhar, Dr. Abdul Halim Mahmud (r.a.) …

The Serenade

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from Signs on the Horizons by Shaykh Michael Sugich.
“When I was young, the most arresting Sufi singers were from Algeria.  The Algerians brought with them a distinctive pulsating rhythm to the Andalusian tradition of song that never failed to electrify their listeners.  A delegation of Algerians would come to Morocco to celebrate the hawl of Shaykh ibn al-Habib (q.s.).  This was before the borders were closed between the two countries with the onset of the Polisario War between Morocco and Algeria.
The lead singer of the Algerian fuqara’ was a stout, cherubic gentleman with shining eyes behind thick spectacles.  Hajj ‘Umar hailed from the town of Boufarik, inland and south of Algiers.  I first met him in Morocco at the hawl of Shaykh ibn al-Habib (q.s.), and then later in England when he came to visit.
Years later, he came to Makkah and we spent time together.  As I recall, he was staying near Masjid Jinn, about two kilometer…

Dead Hearts & Empty Supplications

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
It is reported that Shaykh Ibrahim ibn Adham (q.s.) once passed through the market of Basra.  People gathered around him and asked, “O Abu Ishaq, Allah the Exalted Says in his Book, ‘Call on me; I will Answer your prayers’, but we have been calling on Him for a long time and He does not Answer our prayers.”
Shaykh Ibrahim ibn Adham (q.s.) replied, “O people of Basra, your hearts have died in respect to ten things: First, you know Allah but you do not give Him His Rights; second, you have read Allah’s Book but you do not act by it; third, you claim to love Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) and yet you abandon his sunnah; fourth, you claim to be enemies to Shaythan but you conform to his ways; fifth, you say you desire Paradise yet you do not work for it; sixth, you say you fear the Fire yet you put yourselves closer to it; seventh, you say death is true but you do not prepare for it; eighth, you busy yourselves with the faults of others and disregard your o…

Work for This World & the Hereafter

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is extracted from The Counsel of Shaykh Ahmad az-Zarruq (q.s.).
We must work for this world as if we will live forever, but work for our next life as if tomorrow we will die.  In other words, we must not neglect the externals of our worldly needs, all the while keeping in mind our end and final resting place.  And we must be extremely vigilant about avoiding positions of leadership, but should we be tried with such matters, we must know our own limitations.  We must be absolutely sincere to Allah (s.w.t.) with the sincerity of one who knows full well the One Who is Placing Demands upon him, and surrender completely to His Decree with the submission of one who knows he can never overcome Him.  Once we have a firm foundation in all of our affairs, and we will be safe from their pitfalls.  Organise our devotional practices, and we will find our time is extended due to the grace that pervades it.
We should never be fanatical about anything,…

Pruning the Human Personality

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is a transcript of discourse delivered by Mawlana Waffie Mohammed.
One of the greatness of the mission of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is that he was able to help and teach us how to trim off all the unwanted habits and desires of the human personality.  This process is referred to as tazkiyyah an-nafs or purification of the baser self.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) was Commanded to rehearse the Signs of Allah (s.w.t.), to teach the people everything about the working of the Allah (s.w.t.); to sanctify them and to teach them the wisdom of the Book.  His mission therefore is to develop the entire all round personality of a believer and to make him a true representative of Allah (s.w.t.) on earth.
Now, the nafs has some peculiar habits and qualities.  Because the nafs is the energy produced from working of the human’s physical self, it is inclined to all things material.  At its baser self; the nafs does not care about morals and ethics.  Instead it j…

Shaykh David Rosser Owen: No Less a Christian

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
This is the short biography and conversion narrative of our Naqshbandi khalifah, Shaykh David Rosser Owen, also known as Shaykh Daoud.
“I was born in Swansea in South Wales.  My paternal great-grandfather had been a Church of England curate in Northamptonshire but he changed to the Congregationalist Church and became a well-known Minister in the port, marrying the daughter of the harbour master.  My maternal grandfather was an Elder of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Wales, a local church in the west of the city – this was somewhat strange as most of the congregation were Scots from the Islands and West of Scotland who had drifted down the coast and settled for one reason or another and were presumably attracted to the church because of its name.  I grew up in that church, and in my grandfather’s Presbyterian household.
I was always a fairly devout and practicing Christian, but there were a number of issues that I had problems with.  Some of these…