Dua for Hope: What We Should Say When We Feel Despair

* Courtesy of Muwasala – Click here for the original post

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) tells the following story to illustrate the necessity of placing one’s hopes in Allah alone. (The story is narrated by Imam Ibn Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq)

When Imam Hasan Bin Ali agreed to give the caliphate to Mu`awiyah, one of the conditions of the agreement was that Mu`awiyah would send Imam Hasan 100,000 Dinars every year for him to spend on his guests and upon the needy. Mu`awiyah duly sent this amount every year and this continued for some years, until one year the money did not come. As a result, Imam Hasan incurred many debts due to the large amounts that he would spend in charity. He thought about reminding Mu`awiyah of the agreement and he asked for paper and pen so that he could write a letter to him. Then he decided against writing the letter.

That night he saw his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, in a dream and he explained his situation to him.

The Messenger of Allah asked him: “My son, did you ask for a pen and paper to write to a created being like you?”

“I thought about doing this. Then I stopped.”

“Do not do this.”

“What should I do then?”

“Say:

الَّلهُمَّ اقْذِفْ في قَلْبِي رَجَاءَكَ واقْطَعْ رَجَائِي عَمَّنْ سِواكَ حَتَّى لا أَرْجُو أَحَداً غَيْرَكَ

الَّلهُمَّ وما ضَعُفَتْ عَنْهُ قُوَّتي وقَصُرَ عَنْهُ عَمَلِي ولَمْ ْتَنْتَهِ إِلَيْهِ رَغْبَتِي ولَمْ تَبْلُغْهُ مَسْأَلَتي ولَمْ يَجْرِ عَلى لِساني مِمَّا آتَيْتَ أَحَداً مِنْ الأَوَّلِينَ والآخِرينَ مِنْ اليَقِينِ فَخُصَّنِي بِهِ يا رَبَّ العَالمَين

“O Allah, cast into my heart hope in You and cut off any hope I have in other than You so that I have hope in no-one but You!

O Allah, however weak I am, however much my actions are deficient, however far short my desire (for good) falls, and in spite of the fact that I have not asked you, and that my tongue has not pronounced such a request, I ask You for the certainty that You have given any one of Your slaves from the first to the last of them, so bless me with it, O Lord of the Worlds.”

Sayyiduna al-Hasan repeated this du`a, pleading with Allah, for a week. Mu`awiyah then sent him 500,000 Dinars and he was then able to repay his debts and spend freely on those in need.

He then saw the Messenger of Allah in a dream once again and he told him what had happened.

The Messenger of Allah said to him: “My son, this is what happens to those who put their hopes in the Creator and not in the creation.

Habib Umar said: “Look at how the Messenger of Allah completed the nurturing of his grandson from beyond the grave. Although he had left this life, he was still concerned with al-Hasan’s elevation to the highest stations of truthfulness (al-siddiqiyya al-kubra) and absolute certainty (haqq al-yaqin).

Saving Our Souls Series | Part 1: Introduction – Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Everyone has what they deem to be the most important thing in life. However, it could be argued that nothing is more central to the human condition than the very thing that makes us human-our souls. In a world concerned with the physical and the superficial we see that lives remain empty, purposeless. Let us close our eyes to the world and look inward. In these articles we will be looking at the fragile nature of the soul and how to save it from the poison of sin. Topics discussed include the heart, the eyes, the tongue, the ears, the hands, and their respective sins.

These articles are based on the tazkiya (self-purification) section of the book entitled, “The Ladder of Success to the Realization of Love of Allah” by Habib ‘Abdullah Bin Husayn Bin Tahir (the other two sections being theology and law). And who was Habib ‘Abdullah Bin Husain Bin Tahir? Well, he was one of the luminaries of both the legal and spiritual aspects of Islam; a person well versed in the intricacies of the soul and its alignment with the Sacred Law. He and His brother Imam Tahir were exemplars of steadfastness, true brotherhood, and not wasting a single moment of their time. He passed away in the year 1844 (1272 A.H.), may Allah have mercy on him and his brother.

But it doesn’t stop there; we’ll be adding enriching content and benefits from the works of other scholars of the science such as Imam Ghazzali, Imam Haddad, Habib Umar Bin Hafiz and others.

The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) stressed the importance of the heart and its relation to the rest of the body in the famous hadith, “Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh, which, if it be whole, all the body is whole, and which, if it is diseased, all of [the body] is diseased. Truly, it is the heart.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Join us in this journey through our souls to discover Allah and let us learn about ourselves and our hearts, and become better spouses, better parents, better neighbors, and better humans.

SeekersGuidance offers a wide variety of free courses on the topics of tazkiya, the soul, and spirituality:

One-Year Specialization Certificate in Islamic Theology, Logic and Contemporary Challenges

In the Name of Allah, Merciful and Compassionate, with blessings and peace upon our Master Muhammad, his folk and companions.

Program Description

This is a one-year Specialization Certificate Program in Islamic Theology, Logic and Contemporary Challenges. It covers Level Four of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum in ‘Aqīda (Islamic beliefs), and Level Three of Manṭiq (Logic). 

This program will encompass a thorough study of three texts. 

  1. The first is Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id al-Nasafīya, one of the most important works ever written in `Ilm al-Kalām, which will take the full duration of the program (50 weeks). 
  2. The second text is Shaykh al-Islam Zakarīyā al-Ansārī’s Commentary on al-Abaharī’s Īsāghūjī titled: al-Maṭlaʻ, an integral part of the Logic curriculum at al-Azhar of Egypt and the Madrasas of al-Shām, which will be taught in parallel to Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id  during the first half of the program. 
  3. The third text is al-Intibahāt al-Mufīda ‘an al-Ishtibahāt al-Jadīda by Imam Muḥammad Ashraf ‘Alī Thānvī, one of the most powerful attempts to revitalize `Ilm al-Kalām in the early 20th century, which will be also taught in parallel of Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id, but during the second half of the program, so after the conclusion of al-Matla`.

Class Format

Two pre-recorded classes per week, an hour and a half each; and one bi-weekly live discussion. 

Students are expected to follow the recordings and attend the live session.

Preparation, participation, questions, and doing recommended readings are expected.

There will be an online forum for questions, discussion, and for related texts, and resources. The PDFs of the assigned texts and other important readings will be provided.

Program Objectives

The objectives of this program are:

(1) to begin the journey of gaining mastery of Sunni theological reasoning; 

(2) to develop a capacity of reading advanced-level theological texts; 

(3) to be prepared and equipped for the study of Philosophical Theology; 

(4) to engage with contemporary theological challenges; and above all, 

(5) to seek the pleasure of Allah through benefiting oneself and others by preserving, acting upon, and transmitting this noble Prophetic inheritance.

Course Teacher

This course shall be taught by Shaykh Ahmed Hussein El Azhary, a Senior Instructor at SeekersGuidance. He is also a teacher of Kalam, Logic, Hadith, and Usūl at Rawdatul-Na`īm under the supervision of Habib `Ali al-Jifrī; and at Madyafat Shaykh Ismaīl Sadiq al-`Adawī (Allah have mercy upon him), a prominent learning center by al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. Shaykh Ahmed began his journey of studying traditional sciences about 20 years ago. In addition to studying with scholars from al-Azhar, he had the privilege of studying with visiting scholars from Algeria and India in a one-on-one format and was thus given an exceptional opportunity to study and discuss advanced-level texts of different sorts and over a long period of time. Formerly, he worked as a Lead Researcher at Tabah Foundation. He was appointed by Habib `Ali al-Jifrī to architect the philosophical framework of Suaal initiative – an initiative concerned with modelling an Islamic philosophical response to contemporary existential questions. Shaykh Ahmed continues to participate in Suaal Initiative through essays, public lectures, and workshops. Alongside five published works on the Art of Deep Reading, Philosophy of Education and Pedagogy, Linguistics and the Art of Scientific Investigation, he has published a commentary on “Kifayat al-Muhaqiq,” Imam al-Arwādi’s Logic manual. He also has two published research papers by Tabah Foundation; one on the permissibility of inquiry in matters of creed and the other is a critical response to Sam Harris’ “The Moral Landscape.”

Conditions for Joining the Program

This is an upper-intermediate to advanced class in `Ilm al-Kalām—the science of Islamic beliefs (‘Aqīda). It covers Level Four of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum.

Students need to have completed a study of at least two of the following texts or their equivalent: al-Dardir’s Commentary on al-Kharīda, al-Bajūrī’s Commentary on al-Jawhara, and al-Sanusi’s Commentary on Umm al-Barāhīn.

This program will be taught in English, but knowledge of Classical Arabic and familiarity with Classical Arabic texts is necessary.

Student Expectations

The expectations from the students would be to:

Prepare for the classes, by 

[a] thorough reading of the matn; 

[b] deep reading of the commentary–with focus on the theological reasoning mentioned in the commentary; 

[c] preparing properly thought-out questions related to the text and its implications. 

It is encouraged, especially for more advanced students, to research key issues in the various super-commentaries and glosses written on Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id and al-Maṭlaʻ. This, however, is a recommendation, but not a requirement. Students who are ready to engage super-commentaries are welcome to email the teacher for advice on this.

Watch the recordings of the class with 

[a] attentiveness, through cutting out distractions (no surfing, messaging, texting, etc); 

[b] taking notes of essential details, especially matters related to unpacking the text and analyzing its content; 

[c] asking questions based on their preparation or related to anything they found to be unclear whether in the text or the recordings of the teacher.

Review of the class notes and texts. Research of issues that arise is encouraged and asking questions regarding things that remain unclear is essential. The more you can keep reviewing the text and its commentary the better. 

Test yourself by checking whether you remember the key details. Diagramming the text helps.

Take notes. It is best to create your own copy of the texts (‘Aqā’id al-Nasafī and Īsāghūjī) itself and add to it essentials from the assigned commentaries and preferably from the recommended super-commentaries. This is also good Arabic scholarly writing practice.

Participate in the Class Forum by asking questions, sharing issues of benefit, and getting involved in the relevant discussions, with the proper manners of a keen seeker of knowledge.

Seek Allah’s assistance, make this a means of seeking His pleasure, have high secondary intentions of acting upon what you learn with excellence, preserving and transmitting Prophetic guidance, to benefit yourself and to benefit others, and to gain all the benefits mentioned by Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) for those who seek and transmit sacred knowledge for the sake of Allah.

Students Evaluation

Students will be evaluated through a variety of quizzes, written assignments, projects and oral exams.  Each class will be accompanied by a quiz. Writing assignments and projects will be demanded periodically (a detailed schedule will be announced). Oral exams are imperative to receive the Ijaza Certificate.

Application Form

Black Lives Matter: Racism, Social Activism, Justice | A Reader

SeekersGuidance is always committed to provide clarity, answers, and guidance, especially when new issues emerge.

We feel that in these times it is important for us to listen to our black leaders. In this reader we are featuring the voices of some of our most impactful black Muslim leaders, including Imam Zaid Shakir, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Imam Dawud Walid, Shaykha Zaynab Ansari, and others.

May Allah make us of those who stand up for justice, truth and equity with principles. In the spirit of the Quran:

People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware. (49:13)

You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly- if you distort or neglect justice, God is fully aware of what you do. (4:135)

Articles

Blackness, Racism And How The Arabic Language Rises Above It All

  • When “Black” is good. An insight to what “blackness” truly means in the Arabic language

Black Lives Matter: If You’re Right With God, You’re Right – Imam Zaid Shakir

  • Imam Zaid Shakir has led funeral prayers (janazas) due to blue-on-black crime and black-on-black crime. In this video he touches on the history of the black struggle and sheds some spiritual light on the issue. Allah tells us our lives matter, we don’t need a movement.

Race To The Top – Imam Zaid Shakir – New Islamic Direction

  • It’s okay to get involved. Racism existed, and still does. Let us talk about it.

Spiritual Activism and the Tradition of Salawat in West Africa

  • Imam Dawud Walid discusses the inspiring story of a west African scholar, Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba

 

On Demand Courses

Social Justice In The Islamic Tradition: How to Approach Justice and Uphold Truth with Wisdom and Principle

  • Islam is a truly complete religion; a way of life. Does it lay down foundations for social justice? Of course!

Islam in Blackamerica

  • BayanOnline, an online Islamic seminary, is offering this insightful course for only three easy payments of free, yes, FREE.  Check out this beneficial course with Dr. Sherman Jackson.

 

Answers

How Do I Deal With My Racist Spouse?

  • It’s easier to avoid problems outside your home, but what do you do when the problems lie within?

Hadiths on the “Bad Traits” of Black People

  • How do we understand hadiths which seemingly describe black people negatively?

Would it Be Wrong To Avoid Interracial Marriages For Cultural Considerations?

  • Are you racist if you don’t want to marry someone from outside your race? The following answer discusses some prophetic direction in marriage.

How Do I Deal With Racist Attitudes at Gatherings?

  • Self-hate will lead to a dull fate.

Are the Islamic Rulings Regarding Marriage Racist?

  • Islam doesn’t teach us to be racist. Many people, including Muslims, are simply misinformed.

 

Spiritual Activism and the Tradition of Salawat in West Africa – Imam Dawud Walid

In this reminder, Imam Dawud Walid discusses the benefits of sending benediction and praise on the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), relating it to Sacred Activism and Centering Black Narrative.

Imam Dawud tells the story a great 19th-century West African scholar, saint, and activist, Sidi Touba, Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba, whose mother, a scholar herself, was descended from the Prophet.

Shaykh Bamba wrote a great number of works in many Islamic sciences, but when exiled by the French, he devoted all of his time to writing poetry and praise on the Prophet as a means for his liberation and that of his people. Shaykh Bamba was a believer in “virtue ethics”—that the way you take means is more important is the end. Imam Dawud highlights a commonly recurring benediction in these poems, called the salat al-fatih.

Imam Dawud concludes that while at looking the issues is important, so, too, is the means we take. In addition, to keep ourselves centred and spiritually grounded, sending benedictions on the Prophet is extremely important, whether through traditional formulas, the salat al-fatih, or reading a chapter of Jazauli’s Dala’il al-Khayrat.

 

Chaos in My Life

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: How to know if Allah is unhappy with me or if it is a trial? Life has been challenging throughout but right now I am in utter chaos. What should I do?

Answer: First, I thank you for reaching out to us in your time of need and I pray that things turn around for you, in all respects. That being said, there are important things to bear in mind.

It is not the job of the servant to figure out whether Allah is pleased or displeased with him. Nor is it his job to figure out why Allah has sent what he has sent upon him. Rather reflect on the hadith of the Prophet, Allah bless him and send him peace, “I am what my servant thinks of me, and I am with him whenever he mentions me….” Think of your Lord has merciful, kind, and compassionate and He will be that for you!

In terms of your difficulties in life, I recall one of my teachers saying that you should always compare yourself to one who is better than you in matters of religion (din), but always compare yourself to one who is worse off than you in this-worldly matters.

I believe you should do three things. First and foremost, be sure that you are applying your personally obligatory knowledge? Are you purifying and praying correctly? Fasting and paying zakat correctly? Do you guard your tongue against the enormities? Take a moment to assess this and feel free to take a free course at Seekersguidance to be sure that Allah is #1 for you and not #2 or #3 or further down the list.

Second, I would figure out some methods to de-stress. Some thoughts that come to mind are: exercise regularly, eat healthily, take your supplements, get enough sleep, and recite a daily invocation or devotional act (wird).

The last thing that comes to mind is time management. Building up a business takes time and effort. Have you done all the consulting necessary? Are you rushing into things or taking it a step at a time? Are you checking your work and details with excellence (Ihsan) or doing things haphazardly and expecting great results? Are you taking out enough time to study for the exam while working on the business? Which takes priority of your time?

Last of all, intend the pleasure and remembrance of Allah in your studies, your work, and in your worship and you will have success from whence you never expected it.

Wassalam,

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Accidental Mistake

Answered by Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: As-salam Alaykum, If someone accidentally consumed alcohol through ignorance such as eating Dijon mustard without knowing it was made with alcohol, do the 40 days apply to them as well? Would it be impermissible for someone to pray behind them?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

No, it wouldn’t apply to them; the wording of the hadith about their prayer not being accepted seems to imply that it is referring to a deliberate act.
It would also be permissible for someone to pray behind them; the books of fiqh do not mention not having consumed wine for forty days as a condition of being an imam. (Shurunbulali, Maraqi al Falah).

Mistakes Are Overlooked

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Allah has overlooked for my umma mistakes, forgetfulness, and what they are coerced to do.” (Ibn Majah)

In any case, the hadith about the prayer not being accepted for only applies to someone who does not repent from that deed. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever drinks wine none of his prayers will be accepted for forty days. If he repents Allah will accept his repentance…” (Tirmidhi).

Also, it’s worth noting that not all types of Dijon mustard have wine in it. Some have vinegar as an ingredient, which is permissible.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Best Order To Study The Step One Courses

Answer by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: What is the best order to study the step-one courses?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

The step one courses are best studied in the following order:

1. Absolute Essentials of Islam (Hanafi or Shafi’i)

2. What Muslims Believe and Why: Dardir’s Kharida al-Bahiyya

3. How Islam Works: What is Religion, and How It Is Preserved, Transmitted, and Interpreted

4. On Worship (Purification, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, and Hajj) – Hanafi, or Shafi’i

5. On Spirituality: Living the Sunna, Leaving Sin, and Acquiring Good Character: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance

6. Living Right: Halal and Haram and Living Prophetic Excellence (Hanafi or Shafi’i).

7. On Spirituality: Living the Sunna, Leaving Sin, and Acquiring Good Character: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance

The supplementary, self-study courses can be taken in any order. Whatever works best for you.

We only provide these courses in English, but you are welcome to study them elsewhere in Arabic if you have the opportunity. We also have a number of courses in Arabic in our Arabiyya catalog.

For spirituality, in addition to the courses in this step, there are a number of courses in our On-Demand library. Please consult those. You ask to contact your course instructor for more information.

I hope that helps. May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Preserving the Light of Ramadan – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

How do we preserve the light of Ramadan once the month has ended?

 

One of the keys to preserving what we have attained is in the intentions we make before the month ends. We should make firm intentions to do good in Shawwal and beyond. We also need to beg Allah to preserve and increase the gifts He has given us. We need to be consistent in our attendance of gatherings and classes, consistent in our recitation of the Quran while reflecting upon its meanings and consistent in our recitation of the adhkar with presence of heart. We must also choose the best company and sit in the presence of people who have been given light.

Intentions For After Ramadan – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

What intentions should we make for after Ramadan?

 

We intend to be among those whose entire year is Ramadan

We intend that our connection with Allah is expressed in our actions throughout the day and the night

We intend to serve the Ummah in the best way by focusing on the Three Objectives (knowledge, devotion and service)

We intend to seek the pleasure of Allah and to make His Messenger ﷺ happy in all that we do

We intend to attain an increase in presence of heart with Allah at all times but especially during the prayer and recitation of the Quran and the adhkar

We intend to establish gatherings with our brothers and sisters who we love for Allah’s sake

We intend to fast the Six Days of Shawwal and other blessed days such as Tāsūā’ and Ashura (9th and 10th Muharram) and the Day of Arafah and at least three days in every month