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Showing posts from July, 2014

Shah Baha' ad-Din an-Naqshband & the Fools

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is taken from Wisdom of the Idiots by Idries Shah.
Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.), the great teacher of the Naqshbandi dervishes, one day met a confrère in the great square of Bukhara.  The newcomer was a wandering dervish of the Malamatiyyah, the “Blameworthy”.  Shah Baha’ ad-Din (q.s.) was surrounded by disciples.
“From where do you come?” he asked the traveller, in the usual Sufi phrase.
“I have no idea,” said the other, grinning foolishly.  Some of Shah Baha’ ad-Din’s (q.s.) disciples murmured their disapproval of this perceived disrespect.
“Where are you going?” persisted Shah Baha’ ad-Din (q.s.).
“I do not know,” shouted the dervish.
“What is good?”  By now a large crowd had gathered.
“I do not know.”
“What is evil?”
“I have no idea.”
“What is right?”
“Whatever is good for me.”
“What is wrong?”
“Whatever is bad for me.”
The crowd, irritated beyond its patience by this dervish, drove him away.  He went off, striding purposefully in a di…

The Meaning of "'Iyd al-Fithr"

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is taken from al-Ghunya li Thalibi Thariq al-Haqq by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.).
The Festival of Breaking Fast after Ramadhan came to be called ‘Iyd for the simple reason that Allah (s.w.t.) Restores joy and happiness to His servants on their day of festive celebration.  The Arabic noun “‘Iyd” is derived from a three consonant root which conveys the basic notion of ‘returning’.  Many other explanations have been suggested, including the following sayings below.  It came to be called “‘Iyd” for the simple reason that it contains the benefits of goodness Bestowed by Allah (s.w.t.), and the Favours of generous grace Conferred by Him upon His servant.  The explanation is that the servant returns at that time to humble entreaty and weeping, and the Allah (s.w.t.) Returns at that time to the giving of presents and the granting of gifts.
When people celebrate ‘Iyd, it means that they have returned to their previous condition from th…

The Relationship between Fasting in Ramadhan & Hajj

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi.
There is a hidden meaning in the arrangement of the obligations of Islam: kalimat ash-shahadah, swalah, swa’um, zakat and hajj.  Fasting during the month of Ramadhan is our attempt to recognise and practice the Divine Attributes, the Asma’ al-Husna, the Beautiful Names of Allah (s.w.t.) which He Taught our father, Adam (a.s.).  Patience, compassion, love, gentleness and forgiveness, which we may experience during fasting, bring the Creator and the Created closer as we experience aspects, at the human level, of these Divine Qualities.  Through this connection, we strive to truly become the sons and daughters of Adam (a.s.).
During the five daily prayers, especially during the position of prostration, we are in the Presence of Our Lord and we are speaking with Him.  When we become conversant with our Lord, He may Ask us to come and visit His House.  Thus, one is Permitted to perform the hajj.
Hajj embo…

The Aims of the Qur’an & Its Valuables

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is extracted from The Jewels of the Qur’an by Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (r.a.), as translated by Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abd al-Qassim.
The secret of the Qur’an, its purest pith, and its ultimate aim consist in calling people to God, the Most Powerful, the Lord of this World and the Hereafter, the Creator of the heavens above and the layers of earth below, and whatever is between them and whatever is under the moist subsoil.  For this reason the suwar of the Qur’an and its verses are limited to six types of which three are precedents and important principles and three follow them, enrich them and complete them.
As to the three important divisions, they concern the definition of God to Whom men are called, the definition of the straight path, perseverance in which is required in advancing towards Him, and the definition of the condition at the time of attaining to Him.
As to the three divisions which enrich them and complet…

Regarding Letters in the Beginning of Some Suwar

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is extracted from Ruh al-Bayan by Shaykh Ibrahim Niyas al-Kawlakhi at-Tijani (q.s.), and translated by Ustadz Moctar Boubakar.
Letters such as ‘Alif, Lam, Mim’, are most disturbing to the Arabs because they could not comprehend anything regarding their meaning.  Although the Qur’an is a miracle in its fluency, eloquence and in the fact that it informs about hidden matters, the Arabs do nevertheless understand it.  They were Arabs and understood everything that came in the Qur’an until these letters appeared in the beginning of suwar.
They did not get the least bit of taste for their meaning and as a result they became the greatest disturbance to them.  Besides their disbelief and stubbornness, they were nevertheless Arabs and fluent in linguistics.  They were aware of the tafsir for the speech of the Arabs.  Every word in Arabic holds several meanings that are in occurrence with the temperament associated with that word in linguistics.
H…

Do Not Leave the Istighfar

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
A man once came to Shaykh Hasan al-Baswri (q.s.) and complained to him, “The sky does not shower us with rain.”
He replied: “Seek Allah’s Forgiveness.”
Then another person came to him and said, “I complain of poverty.”
He replied, “Seek Allah’s Forgiveness.”
Then another person came to him and complained, “My wife is barren; she cannot bear children.”
He replied, “Seek Allah’s Forgiveness.”
The people who were present, said to Shaykh Hasan (q.s.), “Every time a person came to you complaining, you instructed them to seek Allah’s forgiveness!”
Shaykh Hasan al-Baswri (q.s.) replied, “Have you not read the Statement of Allah:

“Saying, ‘Ask Forgiveness from your Lord; for He is Oft-Forgiving;’  ‘He will Send rain to you in abundance’; `Give you Increase in wealth and sons; and Bestow on you Gardens and Bestow on you rivers (of flowing water)’.” (Surah Nuh:10-12)”
There are two things in the earth that give a person safety and security from the Punishment of Alla…

Regarding the Divine Names in Surah al-Fatihah

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Shaykh Ibrahim Niyas (q.s.), in his Tafsir, wrote regarding the Divine Names in Surah al-Fatihah.
Allah (s.w.t.) has Mentioned five of His Names in the Fatihah: ‘Allah’ is a Name, ‘Rabb’ is a Name, ‘ar-Rahman’ is a Name, ‘ar-Rahim’ is a Name and ‘Maliki Yawm ad-Din’ is a Name.  These are the origin of the five pillars of Islam.  Islam has been built on five pillars.  The shahadah, that there is no deity other than Allah; the meaning of Laa ilaha illa Allah is the Name ‘Allah’.

And establish the swalah... (Surah al-Baqarah:43)
The ‘Rabb’ is used to mean ‘the One Who Corrects’, as well as, ‘the One Who Nurtures’.  The swalat of the servant nurtures his Islam and corrects it.  ‘ar-Rahman’ is equivalent to the pillar of fasting.  It is an exaggerated form of expression for the word mercy.  The mercy of the affluent servant towards the destitute reaches such a level that it makes his ego taste the hunger that the destitute suffers from so that he may there…

Using Perfumes & Medicines That Contain Alcohol

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is a summary of various fatawa on using perfumes and medicines that contain alcohol, specifically, ethanol.
There are several categories of fragrances today including perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, and eau de cologne; each containing a lesser degree of aromatic oils, respectively.  The lower the concentration of aromatic compounds, the shorter the scent life.  Perfumes are highly prized precisely because it lasts from morning until night.  Additionally, perfume wears well, meaning the scent stays fresh as the day wears on.  In fact, good perfume is designed to smell nice throughout its various stages of wear.
Aromatic compounds used in perfumes have complex chemical interactions.  In order for a scent to last throughout the day, tens or even hundreds of ingredients are used so that the perfume continues to ‘bloom’.  Essentially, as one group of compounds is spent, another re-enlivens the scent and adds its own tone.  Perfume i…

Habib 'Ali al-Jifri on Islam in Essence

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Habib ‘Ali al-Jifri said that the essence of our transaction with Allah (s.w.t.) is closeness, qurb.  We realise this when we reflect upon the Qur’an.  The essence of acts of worship is closeness:

…but prostrate in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)! (Surah al-‘Alaq:19)
The essence of vigilance, muraqabah, is closeness:

… for We are Nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. (Surah Qaf:16)
The essence of excellence, ihsan, is closeness:

… for the Mercy of Allah is (always) near to the people of excellence. (Surah al-‘Araf:56)
The essence of repentance, tawbah, is closeness:

…then ask Forgiveness of Him, and turn to Him (in repentance): for my Lord is (always) Near, Ready to Answer." (Surah Hud:61)
The essence of guidance, hidayah, is closeness:

“…but if I receive Guidance, it is because of the inspiration of my Lord to me: it is He Who Hears all things, and is (ever) Near.” (Surah Saba:50)
The essence of supplication, du’a, is closeness:

Jennifer's Bridge over Troubled Water

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is Sister Jennifer Giove’s journey to Islam.  It was a long, painful journey for her and serves as an inspiration for the rest of us.  To understand where she is now, we need to understand where she came from.  Here is her story.
When I was about 10 years old, my mother became a Jehovah's Witness, so from the very start, my religious world was very black and white.  If you were not a member of ‘The Truth’, then you were going to Hell.  Only those people who were Witnesses were going to make it through to the earthly paradise after the end of the system of things.  That is a heavy thing to place upon a child's shoulders: that the rest of your family is bad and is going to Hell because they did not believe in the same things you do; that it did not matter if they were nice people; and that it only mattered how they prayed, how they dressed, how they spoke, and so forth.  When I was 12ish, I heard my mother behaving inappropriatel…