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Showing posts from August, 2014

Rebuking the Unjust Ruler

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is taken from Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yahya at-Tadhifi’s (q.s.), Qala’id al-Jawahir, as translated by Shaykh Muhtar Holland.
Shaykh Abu al-’Abbas al-Khadir al-Husayn al-Mawswili (q.s.), who said, “One night, we were in the schoolhouse of our shaykh, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.), in Baghdad.  While we were there, along came Imam al-Mustanjid bi-Allah Abu al-Muzhaffar Yusuf, the son of Imam al-Muqtafi li-‘Amrillah Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad al-’Abbasi.  He saluted the shaykh with the salaam, and told him that he had come to seek his wise advice.  He then set down before him a large sum of money, contained in ten vessels, borne by ten of his personal servants.
‘I have no need of this,’ said the shaykh, but the visitor insisted that he must accept it, and pressed the matter with great urgency.
The shaykh then grasped one vessel in his right hand, and another in his left.  They were the best and finest of vessels, by the way.  He squeezed th…

The Authority of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) Verdicts

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Imam Ahmad Ridha al-Qadri (r.a.) commented on is the authority of the verdicts given by the Prophet (s.a.w.).  He said the Prophet (s.a.w.) possessed the power to give a verdict on the external and internal reality of a case, azh-zhahir wa al-bathin, but he often gave a verdict on the outward condition.  This is so because the shari’ah governs the external aspect of our lives.  
As recorded in Sunan al-Bayhaqi, there was once a person was caught stealing and he was brought to the sacred court of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  He said, “Behead him.”
Abu Bakr (r.a.) said, “Ya Rasulullah!  He was caught only for theft.”
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Cut off his hands.”  His right hand was amputated.
After some time, the same person stole again, and his left foot was cut off.  He stole again and his left hand was cut off.  The fourth time he stole again, his right foot was cut off.  On the fifth occasion, he stole something with his mouth.  Abu Bakr (r.a.) then said…

Finding the Ocean

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
“When it comes to religion, paths and faith; Each one of us is as if a homeless waif. We all begin at the same house on a hill. And seek a return to the ocean until, We are dissolved in it an encompassing embrace. Yet we have turned that sojourn into a race.
There are many paths that take us home, But people argue on roads best to roam. And supposing there is a group that agreed a route, They would bicker on the method of return to boot. And supposing they all agreed to take a car, Surely a fight on the colour and make by far.
And if that all be done and tried, And the vehicle of choice they did decide, But every single one wants to take the wheel. A meaningless title they want with zeal. And by this time, they did forget the return. And that Loving Embrace they did truly spurn.”
Terence Nunis

Adab of the Sincere Seeker

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is taken from Adab al-Murid asw-Swadiq by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Buzaydi (q.s.), and translated by Ustadz Mokrane Guezzou.
Of the proper manners of the seeker is not to convey repugnant words which would change the hearts of the brethren or of any ordinary persons, let alone the hearts of those who make remembrance of Allah (s.w.t.) from amongst his brothers or the heart of his shaykh.  This is the case even when the seeker sees a certain necessity in conveying these words.  He should avoid such words and consign the matter to Allah (s.w.t.) and be convinced that Allah (s.w.t.) has already Informed the shaykh of them.
Whosoever is not convinced that his shaykh is informed of this, and of what is even greater, will never be illumined about the secret of the path, even if he remains with the folk of Allah (s.w.t.) for years.  The door of spiritual illumination is veneration and it is through this door that propriety originates.
The p…

Imam ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad (q.s.) on Intention

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Imam ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad (q.s.) wrote the following on intention.  “You must, O my brother, improve the soundness and sincerity of your intentions, examine them, and reflect well before embarking on your actions.  For intentions are the bases of deeds; according to them your deeds will either be good or ugly, sound or unsound.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) has said, ‘Deeds are only according to intentions; each man has that which he intended.’
You must, therefore, utter no word, do not action, and decide no matter without the intention of drawing nearer thereby to God and seeking the Reward He has Assigned, through His Beneficence and Grace, to intended act.  And know that drawing nearer to Him can only be done through the obligatory and supererogatory devotions that He has Indicated through His Messenger (s.a.w.).
A sincere intention may change the merely licit into the devotional, for means are judged according to their ends.  For example, one m…

The Muslim Convert Pledge

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Here are a few simple rules I keep to maintain sanity in a messed up ummah.  It would be especially useful for new converts to Islam.

Converting to Islam means I am a Muslim. I did not leave my cultural and ethnic heritage and become Arab, Pakistani, Somali, Turk, Malay, Kurd or whatever nationality.
As a Muslim, the myriad cultural and historical baggage of the community are not suddenly my issues.  I have personal, family and immediate religious needs to be addressed.  Whilst I understand there are tragedies in the Muslim world, I am not going to leave everything behind and get involved in things I do not fully understand because ‘everybody’ is doing it.
I understand religion to be like a car.  And every driver is a soul.  I will not judge the car on the basis of the driver.  I do not see Islam on the basis of Muslims.  Rather, if there is any doubt, I try to find a reference in the Prophet (s.a.w.).
I will try my best to find a good teacher and ask …

Finding God First

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Many years ago, one of the sisters I barely spoke to contacted me and asked me out for tea.  She had just converted to Islam but encountered some severe issues and the husband to be left.  She said that she thought I was easy to talk to.  Several weeks later, she informed me that she had decided to leave Islam and asked me how to go about it.  And I helped her.  And then she asked if we could still be friends if she was not Muslim, and I said I had no problem with that.
And then months later, she contacted me and said she believed in God but could not accept the prophet.  It was the usual issues: the marriage to ‘Aishah (r.a.), the polygamy issue, the hijab and so forth.  And I said believing in God is good enough.  And then I never heard from her for a year or so.  And then she contacted me and asked me for a good book on sirah.  And I recommended Shaykh Martin Ling’s (q.s.), ‘Life of Muhammad’.
And this pattern continued regarding the odd questions…

Guarding the Heart & the Tongue

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following section on guarding the heart and the tongue is by Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) and extracted from his Ihya’ ‘Ulum ad-Din.
This is an exposition of Satan’s mastery of the heart through insinuations, waswasa; the meaning of insinuation, and the cause of its subdual.  It has been seen that the heart is affected by information brought by the five senses, and by internal faculties such as imagination, appetite, anger, and character traits.  The most important influence, however, comes from those random thoughts, promptings and ideas which are projected by the devil into the mind, and distract or confuse it: these are termed khawathir.  To ward these off, man should engage in remembrance, dzikr, of Allah (s.w.t.), and continue with the process of self-discipline and inner purification.
And this is an exposition detailing Satan's entrances into the heart.  The heart is like a castle, and man must guard its entrances against the enemy, who is th…

The Notion of Certainty

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is extracted from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani’s (q.s.) al-Ghunya li-Thalibi Thariq al-Haqq.
As for the notion of certainty, khathir al-yaqin, this is the spirit of faith and the source of true knowledge, for it comes from Allah (s.w.t.).  It is peculiar to a special few of sure conviction who are champions of the truth.  It comes to those who are loved, to those who are sought, to those who are specially selected, to those who pass beyond their own existence because of Allah (s.w.t.) into Him, out of them, to those who are absent from their outer beings, to those whose outer worship has been transformed into the inner kind, apart from the observance of the obligatory duties and those custom based on the exemplary practice of the Prophet (s.a.w.) that are firmly established.
Such people are always in a state of vigilant awareness of their inner beings, while Allah (s.w.t.) is Taking Care of the development of their outer beings, as He…

Is Damnation Permanent?

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The Qur’an and ahadits are explicit that there is Hell, that it is indeed filled with fire with flames the size of castles and of such heat that a rider 70,000 years horse journey would feel its heat.  It has both a literal and metaphorical meaning.
On the issue of damnation, there are several opinions of the scholars.  Many scholars, including Imam Ash’ari (r.a.) himself, say that there are those who are Sent to the Fire without hope of Salvation.  And there are opinions that state that the disbelievers, the hypocrites and the polytheists abide in forever.
There are verses in the Qur’an that may be read such.  The words “ila al-abad” is translated as “forever”.  However, it may also be understood as a very long time, beyond human reckoning.  Also, we must also consider the following verses, the Shaykh ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali (r.a.) translation:

Those who are wretched shall be in the Fire: there will be for them therein (nothing but) the heaving of sighs…

Imam al-Qushayri (q.s.) on Sincerity

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is taken from Imam al-Qushayri’s (q.s.) “Principles of Sufism”, and translated by Dr. Barbara R. von Schlegell.
Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

Is it not to Allah that sincere devotion is due? ... (Surah az-Zumar:3)
Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) related that the Prophet (s.a.w.) declared, “Rancor will not invade the heart of the Muslim if he conforms to three things: sincerity toward Allah in actions, giving honest counsel to those in command, and keeping to the community of Muslims.”
Sincerity is having Allah (s.w.t.) as one’s sole intention in worship.  It means that one desires nearness to Allah (s.w.t.) by one’s worship, to the exclusion of all else, whether it be making a show before man, trying to earn their praise, or loving to receive glory from them — anything other than desire for nearness to Allah (s.w.t.).  It is said correctly, “Sincerity means purifying actions of any awareness of fellow creatures.”  It is also said, “Sincerity means protectin…

The Preoccupations of the Aspirants of the Path

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is taken from Qawa’id at-Taswawwuf by Shaykh Ahmad az-Zarruq (q.s.).
Any aspirant of this path who inclines toward the following preoccupations will perish: horseback riding; general self-interests; occupation with changing social wrongs or with fighting in military jihad while neglecting the acquisition of personal merit and virtue believing that he is in no need of rectifying his own soul or that he can obtain all of the virtues; seeking out the faults of his brothers and others; excusing himself by claiming abandonment of the world; spending all of his time in religious devotion; spending a good deal of time in public gatherings or seeking company, not for teaching or learning but simply for human companionship; inclining toward the people of wealth, claiming he is doing so for religious reasons; preoccupying himself with spiritual matters of the heart before learning the basis of sound transactions or the rectification of his fault…

The Mu’adzin of Sefrou

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from Signs on the Horizons by Shaykh Michael Sugich.
“I would never have noticed Hajj Muhammad al-Khidhra’a (q.s.) had not one of my companions pointed him out to me in a large gathering of Sufis in Meknes in 1975.  He did not have an imposing appearance.  He was an elderly man in his 70s or 80s, white bearded, with a high forehead and wearing the dark green turban of the Darqawa, lost in the crowd, head bowed, reciting Sufi odes, qaswa’id.  We somehow expect men of spiritual attainment to have an obvious beatific presence.  This is sometimes the case, but more often than not the saints are wrapped in anonymity.
He had been the mu’adzin, the one who delivers the call to prayer, of Sefrou, a small village outside Fes.  He was, I was told, a very great saint.  For many years he had lived in a state of extreme dread, khawf, of God.  This is an exalted and terrible spiritual condition on the Way in which the Sufi is overwhelmed w…

The Mu’adzin of Sefrou III

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from Signs on the Horizons by Shaykh Michael Sugich.

“As we climbed up the steep hill from the Old Town to the Nouvelle Ville, I found myself thinking about Hajj Muhammad (q.s.).  I thought to myself, ‘I hope we meet him and I hope he invites me to lunch.’  The moment this thought came to mind – I am not exaggerating – we turned a corner, and standing before us was Hajj Muhammad.
He beamed, kissed our hands and said, ‘Salamskum!  Would you like to come to lunch with me?’  I was overjoyed.  Hajj Muhammad (q.s.) asked us to come the next day and showed us where his house was in the New Town.
I asked Musthafa to join me for lunch the next day.  I needed him to translate for me.  He was not enthusiastic.  He said he was not sure if he could.  I pleaded with him.  In my excitement and to convince him to come with me I said, ‘He is a great saint.’
At this, Musthafa stopped suddenly and scolded me, ‘You mustn’t say that!  If he’s a wa…