Preparing and Dealing with COVID-19 – SeekersGuidance Reader

The current Covid-19 pandemic has caused anxiety, fear and chaos across the globe. Many countries have declared state of emergencies with national lock downs in order to contain the transmission of the virus. The lives of millions of people have have come to a standstill. Some people are confused of how to go about their daily activities whilst others are going through existential crises. At this critical time it is important that Muslims have access to sound knowledge which will be able to prepare them for the practical, theological and religious complexities they many face due to the physical, psychological and social effects of Covid-19. Below you will find links to an array of videos, podcasts and articles which will help prepare you to deal and navigate this confusing and uncertain time of Covid-19.

Videos:

Fortifying Faith in an Age of Faithlessness – Dr. Ali Ataie

Why We Suffer: Understanding the Problem of Evil, Tribulations & Suffering – Shaykh Hamza Karamali & Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Tribulations from a Faith Perspective – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Tribulation and Ease – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf:

Understanding Evil: Why Does Allah Allow Suffering – Shaykh Omar Qureshi

Can I Perform Friday Prayer at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic? – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Guidance on COVID19 (Part 1) – Mufti Taha Karaan

Guidance on COVID19 (Part 2) – Mufti Taha Karaan

Guidance on COVID19 (Part 3) – Mufti Taha Karaan

Guidance on COVID19 (Part 4) – Mufti Taha Karaan

Coronavirus Lessons From Its Butterfly Effect – Shaykh Sadullah Khan

17 Benefits of Tribulation – By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

Podcasts:

Tribulations from a Faith Perspective – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Believers and Tribulations: Faith Entails Being Ambassadors of Mercy with Certitude and Contentment – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Tests and Tribulations Are Blessings: The Divine Promise That We Will Be Tested, Explained – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Dealing with the Coronavirus – Mufti Taha Karaan

 

Articles:

Counsel For Students of Knowledge Regarding COVID19 – Dr. Hisham A. Hellyer

The Shafiʿi School On Friday Prayer and Congregational Prayer During Epidemics

The Believer, Futuwwa, & Times of Crisis – Shaykh Salman Younas

Prophetic Guidance in Times of Tribulations – Habib Umar

Are Diseases Contagious?

Concepts of Health and Disease within an Islamic Framework – by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Protection From Disease – Habib Umar

Poem : COVID19 – By Novid Shaid

The Shafiʿi School On Friday Prayer and Congregational Prayer During Epidemics

The Shafiʿi School On Friday and Congregational Prayer During Epidemics by Shaykh Muhammad Salim Buhayrī al-Shafiʿi

Translated By Moulana Zakariyya Harnekar

All Praise is due to Allah and Blessings and Salutations upon our Master, the Messenger of Allah.

These are some points in Fiqh pertaining to the calamity of the coronavirus (covid-19)—may Allah keep it away from the land and the people, and remove its evil—.

The fear of being infected by the coronavirus is a valid excuse to abstain from Jumuʿah and daily congregational prayers. Shafiʿi jurists have stated clearly that fear for the life, limb or use of limb of an innocent person is one of the valid excuses for abstaining from congregational prayers: The fear of being infected by this virus falls within this category.

When this fear becomes prevalent in a city, it cancels the obligation of Jumu’ah for the residents of that city. Imam Shihab al-Din al-Ramli issued a fatwa, with the concurrence of his son Imam Shams al-Din al-Ramli, to the effect that Jumuʿah falls away when an excuse becomes prevalent in a locality.

He was asked: “When a mitigating factor like heavy rain comes to encompass an entire locality, does Jumuʿah fall away for the residents of that place, or not?” He responded: “Jumuʿah falls away for the residents of a place in which the aforementioned excuse is prevalent.”

Hence, the option that some countries have taken of temporarily suspending Jumuʿah and the daily congregational prayers is one that poses no problem in terms of the Shariʿah.

It might of course be maintained that precautions can be taken by having worshippers at a distance from each other, not shaking hands and praying on individual prayer mats; or that the mosque’s carpets could be continuously sterilized, whilst upholding the congregational prayer with a small group; and that difficulty does not absolve one of what can easily be done.

In theory, this is not incorrect. However, in reality, it would be impossible to prevent people from mixing and shaking hands and to force them to bring their own prayer mats.

Anyone in a city where the congregational prayer has been suspended should not deprive himself of attaining its virtue. It is recommended for him to establish the congregation with his family by praying with his wife and children at home. By doing this, they will attain the virtue of congregational prayer by the Will of Allah.

In this respect Imam al-Nawawi said in al-Rawḍa: “If a man prays in his home with his friend, wife or child, he will attain the virtue of congregational prayer.”

Whoever is in a city where Jumuʿah prayers have been suspended should pray Dhuhr. It is not permissible for him to follow an imam via an electronic medium of broadcasting such as a television.

It is recommended to recite the Qunut for calamities in salah, supplicating thereby to Allah to remove the epidemic from us.

Its place in salah is in the iʿtidal of the last rakʿah after saying “Rabbana wa laka l-ḥamd”. One should then recite the supplication: “Allahumma ihdina fi man hadayta…,” and call upon Allah to remove the epidemic.

This is equally recommended for the person praying individually or in congregation, male or female.

I ask Allah to remove from us all epidemics and evils.

Muhammad Salim Buhayri al-Shafiʿi


الحمد لله، والصّلاة والسّلامُ على سيّدنا رسول الله، أمّا بعدُ؛
فهذا فقهيّات تتعلّق بنازلة «كورونا»، صرف الله عن البلاد والعباد وشرَّها.
مخافة الإصابة بفيروس «كورونا» = عذرٌ مُبيحٌ للتخلف عن الجُمَعِ والجماعاتِ، فقد نصَّ الشافعيّة على أنه من أعذارِ التخلف عن الجماعة: الخوف على معصومٍ من نفسٍ أو عضوٍ أو منفعته، ومخافة الإصابة بهذا الفيروس من هذا القبيل.
إذا عمّ هذا الخوفُ بلدةً .. كان مُسقطًا لوجوبِ الجمعة على أهلها، فقد أفتى الشهابُ الرَّمليُّ، وتابَعُهُ ولدُهُ الشمسُ الرمليُّ، أنَّ العُذرَ إذا عمَّ محلَّة .. سقطت عنهم الجمعة، فقد سئل: «سئل عما لو عَمَّ عذرٌ كالمطر، هل تسقط الجمعة عن أهل محله أو لا ؟»، فأجاب: «بأنه تسقطُ الجمعة عن أهل محلٍّ عَمَّهُ العذرُ المذكُورُ».
وعليه فما اتّخذ في بعض البلدانِ بتعطيل الجُمعِ والجماعات .. ليس فيه إشكالٌ شرعيٌّ.
نعم، قد يُقال: يمكن الاحترازُ بالتباعُدِ بين المصلِّين وترك المصافحة والصَّلاة على بساطٍ خاصٍّ، أو تعقيم سجاجيد المسجد بشكلٍ دائمٍ، مع إقامة الجماعة بالعدد القليل، والميسور لا يسقط بالمعسور، لكن هذا نظريًّا لا بأس به، أمَّا في الواقع فإنك لا يمكنك منع الناس من المخالطة والمصافحة، ولا إلزامهم بإحضار سجّادة خاصّة ليصلي عليها.
من كانَ في بلدةٍ مُنعت فيها صلاةُ الجماعة .. فلا يحرم نفسَهُ من جوزِ فضلها، فيُستحبُّ له أن يُقِيمَ الجماعة في أسرته، بأنْ يُصَلِّي بزوجته وأولاده جماعة في البيتِ، وبذلك يَحُوزُونَ فضلَ الجماعة إن شاء الله.
قال النوويُّ رحمه الله في «الرَّوضة»: «إذا صَلَّى الرجلُ في بيته برفيقه، أو زوجته، أو ولده، حَازَ فضيلة الجماعة».
من كان في بلدةٍ مُنعت فيها صلاةُ الجمعة .. صلَّاها ظهرًا، ولا يجوزُ له الاقتداءُ بإمامٍ عبر التلفاز ونحوِه.
يُستحبُّ القنوتُ لنازلة الوباءِ، أي: الدُّعاء بأن يرفع الله سبحانه عنَّا الوباءَ، ومحلُّه في الصَّلاة: في اعتدالِ الرَّكعة الأخيرة، بعد قوله: «ربَّنا ولك الحمد»، يأتي بدعاء القنوت: «اللهمَّ اهدنا فيمن هديت …»، ثمَّ يدعو الله سبحانه برفع الوباء، سواءٌ في ذلك المنفردُ والجماعة، والرجلُ والمرأة.
والله أسألُ أن يصرف عنّا كلّ وباءٍ وشرّ ..
~ محمد سالم بحيري الشافعي


 

 

Seeking Allah: Finding the Divine in Your Life – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In the beautiful historical mosque called Molla Zeyrek Camii or Zeyrek Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani delivered a talk entitled, “Seeking Allah: Finding the Divine in Your Life” taking concepts pertaining to Arabic grammar and applying them to the heart in what some call, “The Higher Grammar”.  When explaining the famous grammar text al-Ajrumiyyah, Shaykh Ibn Ajibah (d. 1809 CE/1224 h) discusses the five things that are definite (ma’rifa) and mentions that the definite in knowing Allah is also manifested in five matters. 

These matters are:

  1. The pronouns
  2. Proper nouns (names of people and places)
  3. The Ambiguous (al-Mubham)
  4. Seeking to be known
  5. That which is ascribed to one the aforementioned categories

Watch the video to learn about these pertinent points.

Regarding Sincerity: A Conversation About Truthful Intention and Self Accountability – By Dr. Mahmoud Masri

There’s a story in ‘al-Risala al-Qushayriyya’ of a young man who regularly attended a gathering (majlis), when he heard a shaykh discussing sincerity: how is it, how should it be when performing actions, etc. The young man found this heavy upon himself, and from that day forward he made a firm intention that he would not attend the gathering anymore, and refrained from going until the point he was harmed because of that. The Shaykh noticed his absence and asked regarding him. He eventually met with him and asked him why he was absent; he answered, “I heard from your words and was afraid for myself”. The Shaykh replied to him, “My son, that’s not the solution. We point you to sincerity (ikhlas) in actions, not to abandoning actions!”

Act! Thoughts such, “I’m doing this pious act and I fear the interest of people and their interest in my actions” may come to a person. One must not pay attention to this and should correct their intention. Even if he is actually one of the ostentatious, he should remain upon the action, and continue the deed. Like when they said, “We sought knowledge for other than Allah, and knowledge refused to be for any but Allah.”

Every action is such! Just like prayer may not be perfect because of what comes to the person of thoughts and notions; the solution isn’t to abandon prayer all together. Rather, the solution is in rectification, and this is done with training.

It is upon the person to adhere to actions, even if notions, whispers, or thoughts come to him. Thoughts of the self are like whispers of Devil: their remedy is to disregard them.

Section:

In the issue of the person who doesn’t like notoriety, and in this state, thoughts of people noticing this come to him.  This is from the hidden and intricate matters that are warned against in spiritual training.  As mentioned earlier, the approach here is to disregard these thoughts and to continue the actions he was doing. This is how these thoughts and things which resemble them go away.

One thing that helps the person in this is clarity (as-Safaa) and of the means of obtaining it are:

  • remembrance of Allah (dhikr)
  • good companionship (suhbah)
  • self striving (mujahadah)
  • self training and exercise (tadreeb wa riyadhatu-nafs)

You cannot remove darkness, but you can bring light. When light becomes present, darkness disappears. 

Whoever knows Allah is not the slave of fame nor of obscurity; rather, he will be a slave of Allah. Whatever state Allah places him in he submits to Him, outwardly and inwardly, and he doesn’t pay attention to anything else.  If he places him in one situation he is content, if he places him in another, he is content. He doesn’t look back on these matters.

As for the issue regarding people venerating a person for his work in da’wah while he doesn’t see himself deserving such treatment from them since there are people more knowledgeable than him, deserving something comes from Allah. If we were to look at worthiness then none of us would actually qualify by ourselves. What occurred is that which the divine will selected, so it’s from Allah’s decree and we have no control over the matter.

Furthermore, don’t look at the external and apparent. Rather, look at the fact that Allah is the one who moves them and their hearts; and that you are similar to them in that you are in Allah’s possession. You exchange the same love and respect. See in everything that it is from Allah, and say, “All praise is due to Allah” and this will push you to many things.

It is said, “Whoever has good opinion of you, work towards realizing it.”

Not by saying, “You spoke the truth” or “What you said regarding me and your good opinion of me is true, I am exactly what you say and think of me”.

Rather, the meaning is to act in accordance with their good opinion, make them truthful by actually doing the actions; that you are actually like that!

It has also been said:

When a rumor spread that Abu Hanifah used to pray Fajr with the wudu of ‘Isha he forced that upon himself and took it as a sign for himself from Allah. 

O Allah grant us sincerity.

 

Taken from the words of Shaykh Dr. Mahmoud Masri, click here to read the Arabic original.

Translated by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

SeekersGuidance Launches the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary in Istanbul

In Partnership with the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University — and Classes Begin

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate 

For a number of years, SeekersGuidance has been supporting displaced Syrian scholars based in Istanbul (Turkey) through the Islamic Scholars Fund. 

This support has enabled them to dedicate themselves to teaching and spreading balanced, mainstream Islamic knowledge and guidance in a dignified manner.

However, our senior scholars felt there was still a clear gap: these scholars were dispersed across Istanbul and neighbouring areas—and it was difficult for students of knowledge to access them, and to have a clear program of traditional Islamic studies.

The Next Step: The Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary Launches—and Begins with Hundreds of Students

To address this, Dr. Mahmud Masri, our Senior Academic Advisor, proposed the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary, and the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University embraced the proposal and partnered with SeekersGuidance in January 2020 to launch this visionary program.

The Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary connects leading mainstream, traditionally-trained senior scholars with students of Islamic knowledge from around the world, completely free—at the beautiful Ottoman Madrasa, the Yenikapi Mevlevihanesi, founded over 420 years ago.

Launch of the Ijaza Program

Classes began on January 25, 2020, the Ijaza Program began with 15 weekly classes—each at the maximum 100-student capacity—with leading scholars including Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i, Shaykh Khalid Kharsa, Shaykh Ismail Majdhub, Dr. Mahmud Masri, and many others. 

This program is meant to revive the classical system of scholarly authorization (ijaza) in a meaningful way: students who complete a text, or level of study, or program with understanding and mastery will receive specific scholarly authorization (ijaza) in what they have completed.

The Specialization in Islamic Law and Method

These classes—in a wide range of classical Islamic studies disciplines—will culminate in a Specialization in Islamic Law and Method (Takhassus fi’l Fiqh wa’l Usul). Details of the current weekly schedule and the Specialization can be found below.

The goal of this Specialization in Islamic Law is to produce scholars who can address the critical challenges facing Muslims and humanity in our times—through deep training in both classical texts and contemporary issues, under-trained, qualified specialist scholars.

These classes are open to students from across the world. Already, there are students from several dozen countries attending the Ijaza Program—despite it not being widely announced yet. Alhamdulillah.

The Launch Ceremony

At the launch ceremony in mid-January, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (founder and Executive Director of SeekersGuidance) emphasized that this Dar al-Fuqaha’ Seminary, and the Ijaza Program seeks to connect seekers of knowledge with leading mainstream, trained scholars, through the system of direct study (talaqqi) that is the key to recognize traditional Islamic learning. 

He stated that the hope and aspiration is that the Specialization in Islamic Law and Method will facilitate the transfer of the Prophetic inheritance that these leading scholars have to a new generation of upcoming scholars—around the world—who will be able to uphold, live, and transmit this life-giving Prophetic legacy, and spread knowledge, guidance, and good.

Abdüs Samet Koçak, representing the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University, made clear the esteemed institution’s commitment to facilitate the success of this globally-impactful project, as part of fulfilling its own vision of being a leading institution of higher learning.

Dr. Mahmud Masri introduced the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Seminary project, as a collaboration of SeekersGuidance and the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University

He explained why the classes were beginning under the title of the Ijaza Program (Dawrat al-Ijaza). The point of Islamic knowledge isn’t scholarly authorization (ijaza). Neither the scholars teaching nor the students are in this program for mere authorization. Rather, the purpose of Islamic knowledge is drawing closer to Allah, through seeking and spreading the good, for oneself and others. 

However, the ijaza system requires revival as part of the revival of traditional Islamic studies—through rigorous curricula of Islamic studies, with high standards, and careful, conditional granting of qualified authorizations that can be trusted and relied upon.

Dr. Mahmud explained the full Specialization in Islamic Law and Method, with its stages and levels. You can read its details below. This is, insha’Allah, a truly Ummatically-impactful project.

Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i and Shaykh Isma’il Majdhub Emphasize Mastery, Roundedness, Sincerity, and Truly Benefiting From One’s Teachers

Two of the seniormost scholars in the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Seminary, Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i and Shaykh Ismail Majdhub spoke about their great joy at the launch of this project.

They both highlighted how “ijazas” (scholarly authorizations) have become in danger of losing their significance—with people giving and receiving “baraka ijazas” or ijazas without complete, rigorous study and training under qualified scholars. 

Thus, a revival of sound scholarly authorizations that are (1) through rigorous, complete study; (2) limited to the text or level of study completed; and (3) demonstrated uprightness of the one receiving the authorization is a significant step forward.

These senior scholars reminded students of the need to (1) take their studies seriously and to strive towards mastery; (2) to have well-rounded study of all components of a complete curriculum of Islamic studies; (3) to ensure that their knowledge is sought sincerely for the sake of Allah; and (4) to make the most of the opportunity of direct benefit from their teachers’ example and wisdom.

Classes Began on January 25, 2020, With 15 Classes—All At Capacity

By the grace of Allah Most High, the Ijaza Program of the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary began on January 25, 2020, with 15 weekly classes. Every class is at the (100-student) capacity. Over 400 students—Turkish, Syrian, Western, and other—had applied. Already, it is clear that this program is addressing a critical need, both locally and globally.

All these classes are being recorded. These classes will be offered as complete online courses through the SeekersGuidance Arabiyya (Nur al-Huda) online portal, insha’Allah.

“I have spent over five years studying in Istanbul, but I haven’t found any opportunity that offers the level of scholarship that Dar al-Fuqaha offers.” said a student from Italy.

“This is an Ummatically-impactful project,” said Shaykh Mumin al-Annan (Syrian scholar, now in Sweden).

This program is open to both men and women, and over 40% of the students are women.

“Whoever pursues a path seeking knowledge therein, Allah facilitates for them a path to Paradise,” said the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). 

We ask Allah Most High that the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary be a means of His facilitating a clear path of seeking and spreading such knowledge—for seekers everywhere—and a part of a global revival of the light of Prophetic guidance, in an authentic, relevant, merciful, balanced, transformative manner.

The Summer Program: the Ijaza Intensive

This Summer, SeekersGuidance has announced the Summer Ijaza Intensive—one of three Summer Intensive Programs in Istanbul. 

Already, several hundred students have applied, to study classical Islamic texts in Arabic, at various levels, directly with trained, authorized traditional Islamic scholars. This program, like all SeekersGuidance offerings, is provided completely free—as part of our Knowledge Without Barriers commitment and ethos. 

In total, almost 2000 students (yes, almost 2000) have applied for the three Summer Intensive Programs. You can still apply, till the end of February.

These programs are supported through the SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund—which you can support through your zakat and charity and help support the scholars and students who will preserve, revive, and spread the light of Prophetic guidance across the world, now and in upcoming generations. 

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation. 

Istanbul Summer 2020 Ijaza Intensive – Postponed Until Further Notice

ISTANBUL SUMMER 2020 IJAZA INTENSIVE 

This program is especially designed for students of knowledge that want to build strong foundations in the basic Islamic Sciences in both rational and transmitted, such as Theology, Islamic Law, Sacred Legal Theory, Islamic Spirituality, Sciences of Hadith, Logic and others, in a manner that builds upon each other

ISTANBUL SUMMER 2020 IJAZA INTENSIVE –  Postponed Until Further Notice

 

 

 

Including Our Children in the Halloween Discussion – By Hina Khan-Mukhtar

Sister Hina Khan-Mukhtar shares some practical advice and tips that other parents can implement when discussing tricky issues such as Halloween with their children.

From a young age, we taught our children some simple rules in the practice of our religion. Serendipitously, some of those rules then went on to later frame our family’s discussion around Halloween.

Rule 1

We don’t make fun of death. We treat the topic — which includes the grave and our eventual reduction to bones — with reverence and contemplation since it is a reality that we will all eventually face and since the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us to think about it (i.e. death) at least twenty times a day.

Rule  2

The unseen world — which includes demonic forces and the dark arts — is real, and we don’t make light of Satan, our avowed enemy. As the saying goes, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” In our worldview, Iblis is not a fictitious cartoon character meant for our amusement. Instead, he is seen as a constant reminder that this world is an abode of danger, and we must remain vigilant and focused until our very last breath.

Rule 3

Frightening people or deliberately causing them any grief or anxiety is prohibited for Muslims.

Rule  4

We cleanse our homes of all things ugly and unclean (including bones and cobwebs and dirt) so that we attract angels and the Divine Light into our lives. It is part of a human being’s fitra, or primordial nature, to want a home environment that is pure and pleasing to the eye and to the soul. A healthy human nature is attracted to light instead of darkness.

We never said anything trite like “Halloween is Shaytan’s birthday” or “trick-or-treating is like begging” or “candy is bad for you.” We only tried to get our children to look at the world around them with “the eye of discernment.” Once they had this perspective, it was no longer necessary to have to explain why we chose not to celebrate Halloween. They were able to differentiate between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, fun and heedlessness for themselves. A parent’s greatest task is not necessarily teaching their children what to think; rather, it’s teaching them how to think.

Having said all of that, when the kids were younger and more likely to care about these types of culturally popular events that were rooted in tradition and celebration, we did make sure that they got tons of candy, a fun outing called November’s Eve on October 31 (we didn’t call it a “Halaloween”), and discounted costumes (the non-spooky kind) the day after. Understanding that there is an allure to dressing up, our homeschooling co-op organized a Costume Day for the kids to enjoy during another month. 

For our November’s Eve event, we gathered on a friend’s ranch with other families and had a potluck dinner, face painting (nothing morbid or macabre), inspirational and amusing story-telling, nighttime hayrides, pony rides, anasheed (devotional songs)-singing around a bonfire, and hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows on sticks. We returned to our neighborhoods long after the local trick-or-treaters had retired to their own homes for the night. A wise teacher once told us, “For every haraam (prohibited act) that you stop your children from, you have to give them two halals (permissible acts) that they can enjoy.” That particular philosophy requires a lot of creativity and hard work on the part of the parents (especially in the early years), and November’s Eve was just one example of that philosophy in action. 

When my eldest son started attending public high school, I asked him if he ever felt that maybe he had missed out on something fun and crucial in his childhood by not participating in Halloween while growing up. He thought about it for a moment and then replied, “If we hadn’t had November’s Eve to enjoy, then maybe yes, I might have felt that way. But we always had somewhere fun to go on October 31st. When other kids asked me what I was going to do that evening, I was always able to tell them that we were going somewhere fun and we were going to have a good time too. In the end, that’s all that mattered anyway.”

This is a crucial reminder that most children aren’t interested in proselytizing to or lecturing other people about their beliefs, even if they are sincere in the practice of their faith. They simply want to fit in. Young people just want acceptable alternatives for the things they are being told that they can’t or shouldn’t do. It’s the responsibility of the adults to provide those alternatives and to include their children in the discussion of what kinds of alternatives are acceptable for all.

Rule  5

And the last rule we taught our children was that no one should be contemptuous of those Muslims who do choose to celebrate Halloween. The attitude we tried to teach was that we should be hard on ourselves but easy on others. Nothing is more off-putting than a self-righteous and judgmental “religious” person. Our job is simply to try to protect our own hearts and souls while also setting a good example and praying for the safety and success of everyone else for whom we feel any care or concern. “Wish people well while sticking unapologetically to your own principles” was the mantra in our home. Alhamdulillah.

Welcoming Rabi al-Awwal by Seeking the Pleasure of Allah and His Messenger – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafīz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) teaches us how to welcome the month Rabi al-Awwal by. The following is an extracts from a talk in the mawlid in Dar al-Mustafa, 3rd Rabi` al-Awwal 1433 (26th January 2012)

The new moon of Rabi al-Awwal has appeared, the month in which Allah brought forth His best and most perfect slave, His Chosen One, His Beloved, the Most Noble of the First and the Last in the sight of the Lord of the Worlds. His uncle al-`Abbas addressed him at the end of his life, on their return from Tabuk, his last expedition, with the following verse:

وأَنْتَ لَمَّا وُلِدْتَ أشْرَقَتْ الأَرْضُ وضَاءَتْ بِنُورِكَ الأُفُق

ُفَنَحْنُ في ذلك الضِّياءِ وفي النُّورِ وسُبْلِ الرَّشَادِ نَخْتَرِق

When you were born the earth and the horizons were illuminated by your light

We remain bathed in that glow and it continues to light the path as we travel it

Every mawlid composed later is merely echoing what the Companions said to the Chosen One. They were the first people to celebrate the mawlid.

Our Master `Isa will descend to the earth and you will see how he will be ennobled by following Muhammad. Any of you that are with him at that time will see how he mentions the Master of Creation. His heart and the hearts of those present will be filled with veneration when they mention his name. He knows our Master Muhammad better than us, for a Prophet knows a Prophet. No member of this nation knows him in the way that the Spirit of Allah knows him.

The Master of the Followers, Uways al-Qarani, said to the greatest of the Companions, our Masters `Umar and `Ali, who knew the Beloved better than anyone: “All that you knew of the Messenger of Allah was his shadow.”

They said: “True, all that we knew of the Messenger of Allah was his shadow.”

Direct your hearts to attain His pleasure and a portion of His gifts. In every day and night there are gifts, and in every month, and in this month in particular. You attain these gifts according to your connection to the one who taught us, the unique one. Take a portion of his vast, noble, priceless teachings, with sincere desire, to attain the reality of:

It is more fitting that they please Allah and His Messenger if they are truly believers.

Strive in this noble month to please the Chosen One, seeking to please Allah. Please him with your intentions, your ambitions, your words and deeds. Allah is pleased with those that praise his Prophet, those that venerate His Prophet, those that support His Prophet. He is pleased with that which pleases the Prophet.

You have spent so much of your time and thoughts seeking to please yourself, your family, your relatives and your friends. This may have caused you to travel from one country to another. Have you sought the pleasure of the Beloved? How much do you think about this? How much do you worry about this? How far have you travelled seeking his pleasure? How much hardship have you borne? How much have you sacrificed? There is nothing on the earth or in this life whose pleasure is more worthy of seeking than Muhammad.

According to your faith you strive to please Allah’s Beloved. Seek his pleasure! When the Companions saw that he was pleased, when his face shone with happiness, they said: “It was more beloved to us than red camels.” Nothing was harder for them to bear than seeing him angry, seeing the vein between his blessed eyes swell up.

Look for the true meaning of seeking his pleasure in this month. You will not find it on the satellite channels. Seek it from its source, connect to the light of his message. This will show you how to seek his pleasure, in which is the pleasure of the Most High. If you have in your heart an attribute which does not please him, then strive to rid your heart of it. He is not pleased with arrogance, so do not be content to show arrogance, even to inanimate objects, let alone animals or humans, for the Lord of all things dislikes you doing this.

Seek it by giving life to the sunnah in your house in Rabi al-Awwal! If your family are heedless of Allah between Maghrib and `Isha, joking or watching TV then bring to life the sunnah of venerating this time. Teach them at home at this time. If they are young, teach them the Arabic letters so that they are connected to the Qur’an. If they are older, go over with them the parts of the Qur’an that they have memorised.

If the sunnah of seeking forgiveness before Fajr is absent, bring it to life in Rabi al-Awwal. Let there be at least one person seeking forgiveness before Fajr in the house, one person saying to the Oft-Forgiving “forgive me!” at the time which Allah loves for people to seek His forgiveness, at the time when delegations came to the door of the Bestower.

If no-one in the house prays in congregation then teach your wife, your sister, your daughter to only pray in congregation. Bring life to these sunnahs. Remove anything that displeases your Lord from your house, anything that displeases your Prophet, audio or visual. Let the house be filled in Rabi with the remembrance of the Beloved, with the mention of his attributes, his life, his birth. You will be enlightened and so will your family.

Allah bless the people of good who are striving in the East and West, the people who are remembering and reciting the mawlid, for they are the keys to removing tribulation. People raising their voices with the remembrance of Allah and His Messenger in their houses, in the mosques and in the streets are a cause for hardships to be relieved. So many Muslim groups have lost the way. They do not know how to rectify themselves or those around them. They do not seek it from the door that Allah has opened:

Allah will not change what is in a people until they change what is in themselves.

Let us change what is in ourselves. Let us make our children feel that Rabi al-Awwal has entered, and that it is connected to the Beloved. Make them feel that their lives are founded upon loving him, venerating him and following him. This is the foundation of the whole religion. May Allah grant you strong ambition and high intentions! May the end of the month not come before some of the rays of the Beloved’s light bring some relief to the suffering of the Muslims.

O Lord, bless us in this month. Bless us in our remembrance of You and Your Messenger. Make us among those who are mentioned in Your presence, and among those who are mentioned in his presence. Bless our hearts with noble intentions that raise us to the ranks of those beloved to You, so that on the Day of Judgement we are with those that you mentioned:

The Day on which Allah will not humiliate the Prophet and those who believe with him.

Make us with him, and our families, our children, our friends, our neighbors, our students.

Their light will run before them and by their right hands, while they say: “O Lord, perfect our light for us, and forgive us, for You have power over all things.”

If anyone has anything in their heart that prevents them from seeking Your pleasure and Your Messenger’s pleasure then remove it so that they prefer You and Your Messenger over everyone else.  So that when we sleep tonight nothing is more beloved to us than You and Your Messenger. Increase us in love tomorrow and in the coming days until we meet You, O Most Generous.


 

An Evening in Istanbul: Under the Dome of the Righteous – Sidi Abu Ayyub