Arguments

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does not argue when he is in the wrong will have a home built for him on the edge of Paradise. Whoever avoids it when he in the right will have a home built for him in the middle of Paradise. And whoever improves his own character, a home will be built for him in the highest part of Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]

 

What an amazing hadith – avoid argumentation whether you are in the wrong or the right – and there is a greater reward if you avoid it when you are right. How difficult do we find it to leave an argument when we have a point to prove or make? And if one avoids getting involved with argumentation and instead focuses on perfecting their character – which is what we are told the Prophet peace be upon him was sent for (Indeed I was only sent to perfect character) – then there is the greatest jihad (struggle) and greatest reward. I love Islam.

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God’s Wiki-Leaks – Ready or Not, All Secrets will be Revealed.

To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and the day on which the end of time will happen, a day on which prattlers will lose out. And you will see every people kneeling; every people will be summoned to its record: “Today you are being repaid for what you used to do. This record of Ours speaks about you in truth; for We have been transcribing what you have been doing.” As for those who believed and did good works, their Lord will admit them into divine mercy. That is the evident success. And as for those who scoffed, were not My signs recited to you, yet you were arrogant, and were sinning people? And when it has been said that the promise of God is true, and there is no doubt about the end of time, you have said, “We do not understand what the end of time is; we suppose it merely speculation, and we cannot be sure.” And the evils they did will be manifest to them, and what they used to sneer at will have surrounded them.
– Qur’an, 45:27-33

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s blog post on “transparency” and the Day of Reckoning.

Intentions for Tahajud – The Night Vigil

I was sent this in an email recently, it is taken from the Book of Intentions by Habib Muhammad bin Alawi al Aydarus.  It is also a reminder to me to get on with transcribing the translation, something I have been very lazy about.

Intentions for Tahajud

That by doing so Allah swt will grant a special sainthood

To act in compliance with the command of Allah swt and His Prophet saw

That rising at night will  lift the affliction from the people on the earth

To partake in the struggle against the nafs

To follow the example of the Prophet saw and the Pious Salaf

That Allah will give me an opening of the Gnostics

To minimize sleep

To pray for the believing men and women

To recite the Holy Quran

To supplicate to Allah, humbly and with fear

That one’s rising at night will coincide with the hour of acceptance (Ameen)

To be an act of worship that is more likely to be sincere

To revive the sunnah

To ask for forgiveness

To gain the Haq thatAllah swt bestows on the Arifin

Sadaqa – Voluntary Charity

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet answered: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms–all of these are charity prescribed for you.” He also said: “Your smile for your brother is charity.”

Ramadan Advice – Part 1

This is a beautiful lesson given on the meanings and wisdoms of Ramadan in Tarim, Yemen by one of the amazing female scholars there. It’s rather long so I’ll post in stages for ease of reading.

Bismi’AllahiRahmaniRaheem, AlhamdulillahiRabil’alamin,

 Wa salAllahu ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammadin wa ‘ala alihi wa sahbihi wa sallim

 The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam has informed us that every action is judged according to its intention.

 So in terms of the action we are about to undertake, i.e. the seeking of knowledge and the preparation of Ramadhan, the hadith is clear. So we begin with good intentions, good intentions in order that the etiquettes are found in this class and in order that the light that we search for is found in this class. And from what the scholars have taught us, we should intend to learn, to implement, and to teach others. To not just take this light, but to allow this light to eminate into the depths of our souls, and to allow it to eminate to our families, and into the depths of our homes, ameen.

Infinite is the native land from whence Allah has created the soul… the soul was made to reside in this infinite, ultimate, beauty of the native land. And this is where the soul wants to return to. Our lives are journeys that are about returning from exile, to our native land. The soul always feels like a foreigner, it always calls out for something greater, the infinite, the infinite space where we belong, it is always in turbulence, but once the soul becomes comfortable with this life, there is something seriously wrong. Ramadhan serves as one of life’s reminders of where we belong, where we are heading, where we long to be and helps us in our return journey. It is said that in the grave we call out, “How I wish that I prepared for my life” – the real living – in the permanent abode.

The Muslim sees this life as a temporal zone, and The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam said, live your life as a wayfarer. Meaning pass through it, don’t build in it.

‘Isa alaihi salam said the world is like a bridge, so don’t build upon it, just cross it.

 “And I did not create mankind or jinn, but to worship Me” – adh-Dhariyat – The Winnowing winds, Verse 5:

The Ulema tell us that this is the reality behind the creation of man and jinn. The understanding of life upon earth, is worship. We are part of this reality. The Ulema tell us that we cannot worship Allah unless we know Him. So we seek knowledge to know Him, so that we can fulfil this purpose – realising existence and that your very existence is based on worshipping Allah. But how can you, without understanding, without knowing?

 “There is no good in worship that is not understood” – Imam Ali, may Allah ennoble his face

 Imam Ali is known as the gate to the city of knowledge – the city of knowledge is The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam. Yet if you worship without understanding, there is no good in it. Why? Because the act of ibadah would be reduced to just getting it done, rather than knowing or experiencing the connection contained within it, which is only accessed through understanding, and which comes from knowledge.

 “Fasting is enjoined upon you as it was enjoined upon those before you, so that you may become God conscious” – Baqara – The Cow, Verse 183.

 This is the command on fasting, and Allah has told you that it is nothing new – every nation from the beginning of time till the end of time has done it, because it has such a powerful affect on the soul and the mind. There are so many wisdoms behind fasting, and it is potent with respect to strengthening that connection with Allah subhanuwata’ala which becomes severed if there is no God consciousness. When we lose that connection, we are no longer conscious that He exists, that He is watching, that He Sees you. The tie is severed and it is very easy to fall back on your wayward ways. The fasting helps with consciousness. This is why The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam used to fast constantly -although his connection to Allah was of a different type. But in essence, this is why fasting just for a month, is prescribed for us, because of the powerful affect it has on our connection to our Lord. And it is because of this our teachers tell us that the obligatory fast is only for the stingy.

Ramadan Advice – Part 2

DEGREES OF FAST:

 Imam Al Ghazali teaches us that the fast has levels. Part of our journey to Allah subhanuwata’ala is to realise who we are, and what we want to be, and once we become knowledgeable of who we are and what we want to be, we can leave the old self, and practice how we wish to, accordingly.

 Imam Al Ghazali teaches us that there are three levels:

 THE FAST OF THE AWAM (layman)

To abstain from food, drink, and marital relations, by guarding the stomach and genitals, from that which they desire. The fast of the layman does not go beyond this, and every one of their actions is exactly like it was before Ramadhan. The layman fasts to save himself from Hell. It’s not about love, it’s not about commitment, and it’s not about fasting because Allah deserves to be worshipped. The layman is not concerned with that. This is the vast majority of our community.

 THE FAST OF THE HAWAS (elite)

To abstain from sin by guarding the hearing, eye sight, tongue, and limbs from evil acts. Those of the elite, guard their external limbs to protect their internal senses. They consider lying during the fast, breaks it. To say a bad word, breaks the fast, and often they would repeat their fast because even though their outward form of the fast is perfect, they felt that their inner reality stripped the reward of the fast, and so they would fast again in hope that this would compensate the inner-indiscretions. Their focus is Allah’s Pleasure, to be in His Rahma, in His Light. The elite go beyond the wajib – they make the Sunnah, wajib for themselves. Many say that the elite are the saaliheen and are those that have devoted their life entirely to Allah subhanuwata’ala.

 THE FAST OF THE HAWAS OF THE HAWAS (the elect from the elite)

To abstain from all other than Allah, Exalted be He, by guarding the heart from worldly thoughts. These people are chosen from the baraka of their good deeds – they are the auliya. Their concern is to rid the heart completely, of any thought concerning the world. The fast of the elect would consider their fast broken if their heart glanced at anything other than Allah and took pleasure from it. Their fast would break if anything other than Allah crossed their mind and heart. Their lives are all about the Divine, in everything they do. Their lives mean nothing to them if it is not attached to Allah subhanuwata’ala.

 FASTING; OUTER FORM, INNER REALITY:

 THE OUTER FORM is the fiqh taken from the Sunnah (covered in the next class)

 THE INNER REALITY, scholars tell us that when the inner is rectified, the outer rectifies by default. If done the other way around, it becomes two jihads because the correction of the outer does not correct the inner. The secret of the outer, is its inner. The outer does not last and the inner is who we are. While our bodies are being eaten in the grave, our soul continues to live. The outer, is the fast of the layman.

 Imam Al Ghazali tells us to, ‘take care of our soul, take care of our soul, take care of our soul’. It is our soul that makes us human, not the body. We share our form with everything else that has form in creation, animals, trees, etc, but we have been made for more and when you neglect yourself, you either become abase, ruled by your appetites, or you become empty. The inner form manifests on the outer, so your love and attachment and your sincerity to Allah subhanuwata’ala, manifests on the outer. The fast of the elite and the elect, are from the inner realities of fasting.

 Ibn Ata’illah in his Kitab al-Hikam said “Actions are erect forms and their soul is the existence of sincerity within them”. Meaning, without sincerity, you are like a statue, cold, lifeless, without feeling for Allah subhanuwata’ala. Take a look at the prayer in our lives; it is erect like a statue. The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam said that there will come a time that the only benefit the prayer will bring is exercise.

 How is it that we rid ourselves of this sadness and this emptiness of form? By infusing sincerity, proximity, and having God consciousness. This would not allow you to get it wrong. Your actions are nothing except outer forms, without this.

“Many of those fasting take nothing from their fasts except for hunger and thirst” – The Messenger salAllahu alaihi wasalam (Ahmad and Ibn Majah).

Ramadan Advice – Part 3

SO WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE FAST? :

When we understand the act of Ibadah, then you will find the light and the beauty of the act of ibadah and it becomes a pleasure to perform;

 THE WISDOM:

 It protects the senses:

Look at the fast of the elite. The senses are protected from ugliness on a personal and collective level – yourself, your families are protected, your neighbour is protected, your community is protected. And it is through this protection, you start to beautify what goes in – through your tongue, your eyes, your ears, etc.

 It teaches one patience and fortitude:

“Patience is half of faith” – The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam. The Deen is acquired through patience. Through patience we learn fortitude – both are learned through the virtue of the other.

 Increases one in gratitude:

“Half of faith is gratitude” – The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam. The scholars say that because of both narrations, whoever has conquered both patience and gratitude, has conquered the Deen in its entirety. Fatema Az Zahra visited her father salAllahu alaihi wasalam one night, and she visited him with a heavy heart because she put her sons to bed crying, because they were hungry. She did not visit her blessed father to complain, but to take advice. The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam asked her to harness to patience and to return home, and everything will be good, because the faithful are tested. But after she leaves, the Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam comes out of his house and raises his hands and asks Allah, “O Allah, You bear witness that the house of Muhammad is hungry”. The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam says nothing but this, because the Knowledge of Allah is sufficient for him. It is narrated that either Angel Gibrael alaihi salaam or one of the Angels under him in charge of provision, descends and says to the Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam, “Allah asks you to choose” – to choose between wealth or poverty. And there is nothing wrong with either as Prophets have been sent having both – Sayyidina Suleiman and Dawud alaihi salaam had vast worldly kingdoms and command over them, and over the unseen – the jinn, and even the winds. Whereas Sayyidina ‘Isa alaihi salaam was reported to have had only two things – a comb and a cup. And when walking by a man who was combing his hair using his fingers, Sayyidina Isa looked at his comb and gave it to him. When he came to a well and saw that someone was drinking out of it, he looked at his cup and gave it to him. It is narrated that when Allah subhanuwata’ala took ‘Isa alaihi salaam back, he left this world without actually owning anything. The Messenger salAllahu alaihi wasalam was given a choice, and he said that he chose to fast the fast of Dawud alaihi salam, so that he could experience poverty on one day, and gratitude on the other. It is very difficult in the 21st century world that we live in, to experience either, but as soon as something is taken away, like our health or our wealth, only then we appreciate. But the Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam teaches us balance through patience and gratitude – not complete abstinence so that we can never know what it is to be grateful, and not complete indulgence, so that we can never know patience. The prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam said that there are two happinesses for the fasting one; the first elation is when he breaks his fast, and the second elation is when he meets Allah subhanuwata’ala knowing that he has reached Him having fasted for His sake.

 Increases one in generosity:

Why? Because when you come to break your fast, you are ashamed for the person you have become – that you are so dependent on food when the vast majority of the world is in abject poverty. At least you get to break your fast on food, and clean water, and you are healthy. That is why it is a fard to pay the Zakat at the end of the fast because by that time, you should have increased in generosity through realising how lucky you are and how much provision you have compared to most people around the world. Therefore, observing the fard of the zakat shouldn’t be a problem because your soul should have awakened to the fact that you don’t need as much as you thought and therefore surely, you have enough to give. Your nafs will tell you that you need the excess that you have and the shaytan puts poverty in your mind – in case, in case, in case, and you become essentially, miserly on false ideas.

 Helps one experience poverty:

Practice is very different to theory. Experiential knowledge is vastly different to theoretical knowledge. Even if you see poverty on TV, you can return to your full plate of food (if not eating it while watching) and you go back to your usual ways of the self, your heart doesn’t really move. But with fasting, you have food in your fridge, but you cannot eat it; there may be food on the table, but you cannot eat it. Even water – you can’t have it at all. Fasting brings you the experiential knowledge.

Teaches you about yourself (one’s ability to submit):

The strange thing about fasting is that it is very difficult to fast outside of Ramadhan. But Ramadan throws you into obligation which is the only time you learn that your life outside of Ramadan, is essentially, excessive and unnecessary. Ramadhan breaks you, and teaches you about your ability to submit. We must ask ourselves then, why can’t we perfect acts of worship outside of Ramadhan? You know it can be done, because you have the ability to do it when it is prescribed.

Helps one conquer the nafs – the carnal desire through discipline:

The nafs will tell you; O I can’t be bothered, or, let me have one last slice of that chocolate cake; etc. The carnal desire will call to impatience during times of hardship and ingratitude in times of ease. It calls to evil. And it’s not just one of the many callers, it is THE dominant caller and it goes on, round the clock, 24 hours. It is in your sleep, in your day to day living, in everything you do. Fasting subsides your nafs. The stomach and genitals are the two hardest desires to break. RE – Imam Al Ghazali’s volumes on these two carnal desires, despite all other carnal desires. But fasting teaches you.  The stomach and genitals are deprived and weakened, and when they are weakened, they cannot be bothered to satisfy themselves. This should teach you that you can overcome any issues you may have for the rest of the year, ie your bad habits of lying, etc, etc, that, you can conquer your bad habits because you abstained from the most essential part of your physical survival, food and water.

A Ramadan Message

Here is Habib Omar’s Ramadan Message to the Muslims of Australia.

Preparing for Ramadan

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.

Praise is for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May Allah bless and grant peace to our liegelord Muhammad as well as his folk and companions

 Dear brothers and sisters from the nation of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),

 As we wait in eager anticipation of the noble guest who approaches, the blessed month of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed, we undoubtedly are making physical and spiritual preparations therefore.

 Among the preparations that the scholars of Islam have encouraged is preparing our hearts for Allah’s gaze. Baihaqi relates, “When it is the first night of the month of Ramadan, Allah, Mighty and Majestic, gazes to them and the one to whom Allah looks, He does not punish him, ever.” The place to which Allah looks is the heart. So what will Allah see in your and my heart if He were to look to us on the first night of Ramadan?

 One of the qualities that would prevent us from this blessed gaze (and from many other opportunities for forgiveness) is malice. The Prophet, May Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught us of the Night of Power and the Half Night of Sha’ban that those who harbor rancor, mistreat parents, severe bonds of kinship or drink are prevented from Allah’s merciful gaze. Do we want Allah to look to His servants on the first night of Ramadan and overlook us because we are bearing ill will against each other? Is whatever anyone has done to hurt us so important that we can not overlook it in exchange for an opportunity for eternal salvation from Allah’s punishment? What about all of those whom we have wronged? Do we not need Allah’s pardon as well as theirs?

 We can purify our hearts in preparation for this gaze from our Merciful, Forgiving Lord and also expose ourselves to an opportunity for His pardon when we need it most, by pardoning His servants. Allah said, “The one who pardons and reconciles his reward is upon Allah;” Quran (42:40). Tabarani relates that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “A caller will call [on the Day of Rising], ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise’ Then he will call a second time, ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise’ It will be said, ‘Who is the one whose reward is upon Allah, Mighty and Majestic?’ He will say, ‘Those who pardon people.’ Then he will call a third time, ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise.’ Then so and so many thousand will stand and enter paradise without reckoning.” Imagine being among that fortunate group and having all of our many sins forgiven and receiving our reward directly from Allah!

 In preparation for the blessed first night of Ramadan, Insha’Allah, and that day in which each of us will meet Allah, let us pardon one another and all of Allah’s servants. I will begin with my own sinful self. O Allah, if any of Your slaves have transgressed the rights You have prescribed to me, they are excused. I ask you to grant them and me Paradise, and that You make us among its dwellers whom You have described in Your saying, “We have removed what was in their breasts of rancor, brethren on couches facing one another;” Quran (15:47). I also ask anyone who I have wronged to seek their due from me and to forgive me.

 “Our Lord forgives us and our brethren who preceded us in faith and do no place in our hearts ill will towards those who believe. Our Lord, indeed you are compassionate and merciful.” Quran (54:10)

 And Allah alone grants tawfiq (success),

Abdul-Kareem Yahyaa

Interpreter’s Path

Good Character

The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said,
The dearest and nearest among you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the best of you in conduct.”
(Bukhari)
The most perfect man in his faith among the believers is the one with the best behavior.”
(Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
Verily, the worshipper will ascend the higher ranks and superior grades of the hereafter through his good character, even though he is weak in acts of worship.”
(Al-Tabarani)

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