Will you join the fight of the century? #FightwithLight

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Here’s Shaykh Faraz Rabbani kicking off the #FightWithLight campaign.

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This is the fight of the century

We’re being attacked by religious extremists who are committing unspeakable crimes in the name of our religion and our Prophet (peace be upon him).
Every generation of Muslims faces challenges. The challenge of our times is to defeat the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge and guidance.
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What is Spirituality, and Who Are Sufis? by Yusuf Latif

The concept of spirituality is rather vague and is used to describe any number of views and practices among peoples. Whether it has always been this way is a question that is difficult to answer, especially as it is posed, argues Yusuf Lateef Zanella.

When the question is general in nature, as if spirituality were one concrete thing among other things, like chairs, dresses, automobiles, and so on. It is not at easy to answer as, say, a question like: Has the use of ankle-length skirts among women of a certain background become more or less widespread?

When we talk of spirituality in relation to Islam, in order to make sense of it, we need to be more specific as to what we mean by the word. Here the word is meant to cover what is traditionally known as Tassawwuf. Now many will not find that distinction to be very helpful, for what is Tassawwuf? The answer that Tassawwuf is merely Islamic spirituality, more commonly known as Sufism, leaves us treading the same water while trying to get a grip on the rope of understanding. It does not answer the question. Because, as we said, there are many views and opinions on what Tassawwuf is. Its use, though not as common, is almost as diverse and wide-ranging as that of the word spirituality. So, whose view should be taken into serious consideration when seeking an answer to that question?

In his concise yet profound article “The Place of Tasswwuf among the Islamic Sciences” (1995) Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller makes it clear that, in order to answer the question: What is Tassawwuf? one must ask those who know, namely, traditional Muslim scholars who are knowledgeable in the science itself and practice it. Justification for this is found in the Qur’anic verse: “Ask those who know if you know not” (16:43). But is this also not, as Shaykh Nuh himself alludes to in recounting his own search for knowledge, what one would do in any matter of great importance?

One Who Knows the Object and the Science

To draw a material analogy, one could say that if one wanted to know what a combustion engine is one would ask a person who not only knows how to repair certain builds or types of engine, but also the principles of combustion and the science behind engine construction. Not only that, the person must have an understanding of the point of combustions engines, their purpose, and the roles these play in human life. For no one (for the sake of argument) wants a combustion engine in and of itself, rather it is a means toward some goal, toward something one wants to attain.

The Heart’s Desire

Anyone who professes Islam will, upon reflection, know that the ultimate goal in the life of a Muslim is Allah Most High. He, alone, is the true heart’s desire. For what, really, could be more rewarding, more awesome in the truest sense of the word, than to stand in His presence. Can one truly imagine being more alert, more awake, more present and aware other than in the presence of one’s Lord and Maker? Common synonyms of the word awesome as can be found in any reputable dictionary are words such as wonder, reverence, and dread. It is for the purpose of awakening this sense of awe that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the Hadith of Muslim stated that “the perfection of faith” (ihsan) is “to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you see Him not, He nevertheless sees you.” The presence of mind in worship entailed here lies in realising that one is always in the Presence of one’s Lord. For instance, when one stands in prayer, but not only then, for worship is not limited to prayer.

In a related Hadith of Muslim, which precedes the one mentioned above in Imam Nawawi’s Arba‘in, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) says that “Actions are according to intention. And every man shall have what he intended. So whoever’s emigration (hijra) is for the sake of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), his emigration is for the sake of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). And whoever’s emigration is for worldly gains or for a woman to marry, his emigration is for the sake of that for which he emigrated.” It is clear that the question of intentions and acts spoken of here can be generalised to include all acts and states in the life of any one Muslim—that any one of our acts with the proper intention is an act of worship.

This state of presence in all acts is also alluded to in the Qur’an, where Allah Most High says: “Truly, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the variation of night and day there are signs for the people of understanding” (3:190). The people of understanding Allah Most High goes on to define as “Those who mind Allah while standing, sitting and lying down” (3:191). The word “mind” here is a translation of yadhkurun, from the verb dhakara (to remember) in the sense of keeping something or someone in mind. They strive to be or are constantly in and aware of His presence. For they know that although they do not see Him, He nevertheless sees them.

To Strive Is No Easy Thing…

This state of presence before Allah Most High is something one can experience or come to an awareness of at any moment. From my own experience I can definitely say that there is a difference, in taste almost, between a prayer prayed alone or behind someone when  in Allah’s presence, that is when mindful of Him, and a prayer in which this is not the case. This is not meant as a slight to anyone or to myself, but rather to say that to strive towards this state is no easy thing. That, however, does not mean it is something one should not strive towards. A sure way of attaining this state, as Shaykh Nuh emphasises, is by keeping the company of the people of understanding mentioned by Allah. That is, the people of the spiritual path.

This Desert Life: Not Even Shoes

In Islam (in Arabic) the word for the Sacred Law is al-Shari‘a and is related to the noun shari‘a (without the definite article) which commonly means water hole or drinking place or the approach to it. Like many things in Islam it is derived from the context of life in the desert. This image of life in a desert, dependence upon water, and the trope of nomadic existence in this world permeates our religion through and through. The first line of the Hadith of Bukhari that rounds off Imam Nawawi’s Arba‘in reads: “Be in this world as if you were a stranger [foreigner] or a traveller on the way.”

In many cultures and languages the words “way” and “law” are often used interchangeably, in the sense of how one properly goes about things, or right conduct. What is sometimes lost sight of in our mode of life is the peril of not acting according to the law. In the context of life in a desert this becomes more apparent, for e.g. the way to water or sustenance is of vital importance for survival, and not acting in accordance with it can have grave consequences. Every word, indeed every action, is a matter of life and death. When viewed from this perspective what one says and does, the meanings of one’s words and actions, are not mere abstractions. The attention and care accorded to them must be commensurate with the situation at hand. To fall short here is not only to risk one’s own life but more importantly the lives of those is one’s care and protection. A true child of the desert will learn how to survive and thrive, where to find sustenance and safety, where to go and when, and to stay put and when, from those who know, through instruction and through imitation. Knowledge in this context is not book learning, but knowing what to day at any time of the day, in any place or situation. Books and diplomas and other things are useful, but as Imam Ghazali said: That which is of greatest value is what you will not lose in a shipwreck.

The point is that, being a traveller in this desert life is so much more that buying a train, boat, or plane ticket and having oneself transported from one point to another. It often means not even having the shoes on which to get through the day, much less the comfort of hot tea on the back of a camel. It also means that one’s goal is ever present to one’s mind, and that is Allah, Most High and Transcendent. We are only passing through this world that is not our “country of origin”. Finally it means that in order to get through this world safely, to make the best of this desert life, it is incumbent upon us to ask those who came before us and who have spent countless hours of their lives learning at the feet of those who came before them the best ways and means of crossing this empty quarter of creation and to make it back home to Allah Most High. To ask those who live this desert life.

They are the people of understanding. The Masters of the Way. The one’s who know the Shari‘a like they know their own hearts. They are those about whom one can say: They have already departed. Their exemplar is of course none other than he “whose character was the Qur’an” (Muslim), who said of himself “I have been sent to perfect righteous character” (Musnad Ahmad), the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). They are the heirs not only of his knowledge (Allah bless him and give him peace) but also of his states. They are the Sufis.

About the Author

Yusuf Latif became Muslim in 1998 at the hands of Shaykh Abd al-Baqi al-Husayni al-Naqshband. The Shaykh sent him to Jordan to learn from Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller in 2001, from whom he took the Shadhili tariqa in 2003. He spent four years in Amman where he studied tasawwuf, fiqh and aqida, and worked for Islamica Magazine. Now, besides working for Seekers Hub, he writes childrens’ books that he one day hopes to see published. 

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Why Did The Prophet Love Madinah? by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

What was it about the city of Madinah that the Prophet Muhammed loved so much? Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said sheds some light.

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem

“Allah Guides to His Light Whom He Wills.” (Surah An-Nur)

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has blessed everything with the Baraka and Nur of Rasulullah ﷺ, but from places, there is one city, one place, one piece of land that whenever we go back to it we become lost in its aja’ib (wonders):  Madinah!

Maybe it is because Rasulullah ﷺ make dua for Madinah more than double that of Ibrahim (alaih salam) for Makkah.

But why did Rasulullah  love Madinah?  Rasulullah  loved its people, its land, its sand and its fruits; but why Madinah?

Why did Rasulullah  make the sign of iman connected to loving the Ansar (the people of Madinah), and one of the biggest signs of nifaq (hypocrisy) in disliking or hating them?

Why did Rasulullah ﷺ threaten anyone who targets Madinah with any harm to be dissolved like salt in water?

Why did Rasulullah ﷺ curse the one who commits a crime in Madinah or the one who tries any evil design on Madinah or its people?

Why did Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) not make another  portion of Rawdat-ul Jannah (garden of paradise) for Rasulullah  in any place other than Madinah?

Why did Rasulullah tell us that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) made the ajwa of Madinah (a special date) a protection, shifa’a and cure from sihr (black magic) and poison?  Why not any other ajwa?  Why?

Why did Rasulullahﷺ say that the land and the sand of Madinah isshifa’a?  Why did Rasulullahﷺ that even the dust is shifa’a!?  Rasulullah ﷺ upon his arrival of Madinah used to uncover his face to the dust of Madinah, as if it were the air-conditioning or freshening agents we enjoy in this time!

Why did Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) choose the people of Baqi to be the first to be resurrected?

Why did Rasulullahﷺ say that he would be the intercessor for everyone who dies in Madinah?

Why did Heﷺ encourage people to die in Madinah?

Why does Madinah have more than one-hundred names?  It is said that the number of names that something possesses is a sign of its greatness!

Why did Rasulullahﷺ stay in Makkah for thirteen years and a numbered set of people became Muslim, but when he went to Madinah, the people of Madinah received him and believed in him?

Why did Rasulullahﷺ say during the Battle of Hunan to Syedina Abbas (radiallah anhu) to call the Ansar, His Family, and the people of Bayt-ul Ridwan?  Why did Rasulullahﷺ call the Ansar?

Why did Rasulullahﷺ say that if everyone was to go one direction and the Ansar were to take a different direction that He would take the direction of the Ansar?  Why?

Why did Rasulullahﷺ say to the Ansar that should it not make you happy that others live with money, camels and sheep, but your life is with Rasulullahﷺ?

Why did Rasulullahﷺ say that Uhud is a mountain that He loves and Uhud loves Him?  Why Uhud and why not any other mountain?

Whenever we visit Madinah, we do not want to leave!  Every corner of every part of Madinah has attached with it emotions, feelings and things that can be seen that no one can imagine or dare describe.

In Madinah, you cry, read, smile and you even forget to rest!  Maybe because all of the barakat that was given to this City, and it is suffices that Rasulullahﷺcalled this city “Al Madinah”, “the City!”  When Rasulullahﷺ called it “the City” then that means after that there is no city other than Al Madinah, and that indeed that is the real city.

Al Madinah is a direction.  When Madinah is mentioned, the heart of the mu’min flutters to this City.

Al Madinah is also “Munawarah”.  For the people that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has opened the Nur for, they see this City belit!  Zaid ibn Thabit (radiallah anhu) said that when Rasulullahﷺ came to Madinah, every corner end every street became Nur, and when he departed, everything became dark.  These are the people that do not see except with the eyes of Nur and baseera(insight).  Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in Surah Al-Hajj (46):  “Indeed it is not the sight that goes blind, but rather it is the heart that goes blind.”  Zaid ibn Thabit (radiallah anhu) is telling us that the people of Madinah were the people who saw Nur, in each and every corner what they saw was Nur!

May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) make us from the people of Madinah, end our life in Madinah, and may He make us from the people of Baqi, from the people of the Rawdah, from the people of Uhud and the Shuhudah of Uhud.

May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) fill us with the love of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam), the Ansar, the Muhajireen, the Ahlul Bayt, the Sahaba and all the Saliheen.

May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) make this a year of Rahma and hidayah (guidance).

2 Muharram 1438

Al Madinah Al Munawarah

 Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

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What Happens When You Die? Shaykh Ahmed Abdo

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, encourages us to make a journey to the graveyards for verily when you visit this place it reminds you of the next life; and truly reminders benefit the believers. In this beautiful commentary of the Prophetic narration Shaykh Ahmed Abdo takes us on a journey of reflection on death, reality and the ultimate reunion.

What is death? Is it the end of life or the beginning of new one? Your soul lives in this earthly address and your home is your body; but the time will come when you will change addresses and move into a new home.

Are you ready for this move?

The extraction of the soul starts at the feet, moves up to your ankles, then your knees and along your lower body towards your upper body. During this process, the soul can turn to its Creator in repentance. When the soul reaches the throat, repentance is no longer accepted. Why? It’s because at this moment every disbeliever becomes a believer for the veil is removed from the eyes and Reality is perceived.

A life in the Grave

There is a life in the grave, and every person shall have their provisions availed to them and the best of provisions is the Quran which illuminates the abode. As a believing soul, you will be reciting Quran and there will be a window to the Garden of Bliss. Within this life, the souls are mobile, visiting one another, and they are received by their loved ones who departed before them. That is why the righteous predecessors would seek to be buried with their loved ones so that they may be reunited in the next life. Ultimately though, the greatest of companionship is with Allah.

Those who long to meet Allah; Allah longs to meet with them.

Death is a means of reuniting with your beloved. Death for the believing soul is a union and it was cemented by love and loyalty to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and to Allah, our Creator.

Sheer Gratitude

Allah, Mighty and Majestic, grants us gifts each day, and when we perceive this we no longer sees the gifts, we see the Giver. Allah gave us without asking in this life and in death and the greatest gift is His beloved and messenger, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. In life, we receive guidance through him and in death we receive his greatest concern, intercession and salvation. What is the response to such generosity? What can one truly do or say for these gifts?

Resources for the seeker:

We are grateful to Shaykh Ahmed Abdo for the video. Cover photo by Captain Nikon.

The Decay of Our Da’wa, by Ustadh Salman Younas

Ustadh Salman Younas laments the way Facebook, Twitter and other social media have destroyed our connection to how the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and our pious predecessors conveyed the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

In his work “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, Neil Postman explains the dissolution of public discourse in America through an approach rooted primarily in the nature of human communication. The basic hypothesis he forwards is that the ideas expressed by a society will be dictated by the forms/mediums through which said ideas are communicated. The forms and mediums of discourse, in other words, necessarily dictate the type of content found in a discourse. In the Age of Television, all communication takes the form of entertainment and so all discourse will necessarily be presented as if the world were a stage for the amusement of others.
In traditional circles, this is nothing new. Our teachers, such as Sh. Nuh Keller, Sh. Hamza Yusuf. and Sh. Abdul Hakim Murad, have recommended the works of figures like Postman, Mander, and Nicholas Carr for quite some time now. But there is reading and then there is learning from what one reads. Many of us recognize these ideas when we complain about the increasingly low standards of study, the selfie-culture, the celebrity shaykhs, and the increasing commercialization of knowledge. Here, we are more than happy to invoke Postman, Mander, and Carr to explain our countercultural move against television, the internet, and technology in general. But there is a real and serious problem that all of us suffer from including those who self-identify as the upholders and defenders of tradition: the decay of our da’wa especially to other Muslims.

Petty, Simplistic, Angry and Demeaning

Our da’wa is increasingly becoming a social media da’wa that is unfortunately taking on the form of the medium through which its content is disseminated: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Youtube.. The consequence of this is not difficult to predict and even easier to see: it is petty, simplistic, angry, demeaning, aimed at riling up the mob, snappy, witty, and meant to entertain. We laugh at the mistakes of people. We talk about people as opposed to speaking to them. We try hard to speak in catch phrases and whimsical statements. We love to point out the wrong through sarcasm. We secretly revel in conflict and debate.
None of this is prophetic and none of it is what we saw from our teachers. The Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) was not laughingly saying, “Lol, look at these misguided Muslim women supporting X.” He was not referring to people with offensive descriptions like “Hojabis” and slut shaming. He was not someone speaking sarcastically, “Next to come, topless Hijabis!” He was not condescending, demeaning, or scornful. He stood up for truth when he had to in the best and most effective manner he could. Sometimes this involved speaking frankly, showing clear discontent, even being “harsh”, but none of it was in the form we see today.
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None Of It Is Like The Prophet ﷺ

Yet, today people use the anger the Prophet (God bless him) sometimes displayed to justify acting like annoying, irritating, condescending, sarcastic children. No, your anger is not like the Prophet, nor is your harshness, and nor is your da’wa. The way the Prophet corrected others incorporated a holistic approach: it was not simply a one-off pointing out of the wrong but also du’a for others, concern, care, love, and sincerity for all that the community around him could see.
God identified the Muslim community as the best community because it “enjoyed commanding the good and forbidding evil.” (3:110) But any da’wa that is non-prophetic is not da’wa. It is nafs, misguidance, and a cause for this community to lose divine aid. This salient feature that God identifies as a defining factor for our community being the best of all communities is slowly being eroded away from within. The failure to instill a sunnaic spirit in our da’wa unsullied by the anti-sunnaic features of the social media medium will only lead to the spiritual death of our community. This is a serious issue and all of us would be wise to consider how the new technologies of our age are altering our religious discourse.
And God is our only refuge.

Resources for seekers

How Not To Let Stress Get You Down. Lessons From The Sunna – Dr. Rania Awaad

Ustadha Dr. Rania Awaad guides us through stress reduction strategies and techniques drawn from the way of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Reducing stress in our lives can put our minds and bodies in a better state, God willing, to take advantage of the manifold spiritual opportunities life offers.


Ustadha Dr Rania Awaad has received a traditional license (ijazah) to teach Qur’anic recitation (tajwid) in both the Hafs and Warsh recitations from the late eminent Syrian scholar, Shaykh Abu Hassan al-Kurdi. In addition to completing several advanced texts of the Shafi’i school (madhhab), she is licensed to teach texts of Maliki jurisprudence (fiqh), literature (adab), and spirituality (ihsan). She is also a physician. Her medical interests include addressing mental health care concerns in the Muslim community, particularly that of Muslim women. Other on-going endeavors include the compilation of a manual addressing female-related medical issues from a fiqh-oriented perspective as well as a manual on raising Muslim children in the West.
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Dhikr for the Month of Sha’ban – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

*This blog is sourced from Muwasala. Click here for the original post.

Sayyidi al-Habib Umar bin Hafīz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) said:
We would like our brethren to make the following dhikr in Sha`bān, 4000 times if possible:

لا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنْ الْظَّالِمِين                                               

La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu min az-zalimin

‘There is no deity other than You. Transcendent are You, truly I am one of the wrongdoers.’

They should also read the following prayer upon the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in abundance:

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّمْ على سَيِّدِنا مُحَمّدٍ و على آلِ سَيِّدِنا مُحَمّدٍ ، صَلاةً نَكونُ بِها

مَحْبُوبِينَ لَكَ و مَحْبُوبِينَ لَه فِي عَافِيَة

Allahumma salli wa sallim `ala sayyidina Muhammad wa`ala ali sayyidina Muhammad salatan nakunu biha mahbubina laka wa mahbubina lahu fī `afiyah.

O Allah, bestow Your prayers and peace upon our Master Muhammad and upon the family of our Master Muhammad, and by these prayers make us beloved to You and beloved to him in a state of wellbeing.


Merits of Sha’ban – Muwasala

Welcoming the Month of Sha’ban – Interpreter’s Path Blog

The Blessings of the Night of Mid-Sha’ban | Nur Sacred Sciences
It is Recommended to Perform Extra Worship on the Night of the 15th of Sha’ban?
Preparing For Ramadan Advice from Habib Umar bin Hafiz