Things Inconsistent With Accepting Fate – Imam Ghazali

Accepting Fate:
“Complaining, no matter what the circumstances, is inconsistent with accepting fate. Criticizing food and finding fault with it is a rejection of what Allah Most High has destined, since blaming what is made is blaming the maker, and everything is Allah’s work.
For a person to say that ‘poverty is an affliction and trial,’ or ‘having a family to support is worry and fatigue,’ or ‘working for a living is a
burden and hardship’ – all this is inconsistent with accepting fate.
One should rather leave the plan to its planner, the kingdom to its king, and say, as ‘Umar did (Allah be well pleased with him), ‘I do not care whether I become rich or poor, for I don’t know which is better for me.’” [Reliance of the Traveller, w59.1]
Imam Ghazali
Purchase the Book:

Reliance of the Traveller: http://www.firdousbooks.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=282
Relevant Resources:
Trust in Allah and Provisions for Seekers of Knowledge
Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life
Affirming Free Will and the Divine Decree
Belief in Destiny, It’s Good and Evil – Shaykh Nuh Keller – Sea without Shore
Can Supplication Change Destiny?
Media: 
IslamCast Daily Hadith – 8. The Muslim as a Source of Safety and Trust
Courses:
Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine Providence with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

The Prophetic Way of Teaching – Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki

For original link: click here

[The Prophet (Peace be upon him) Spoke to People According to Their Level]

“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) followed, in his way of teaching people and inviting them to goodness, the way of the Holy Quran, in which Allah says: ‘Call you to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful counsel, and dispute with them in the better way. Surely your Lord knows very well those who have gone astray from His way, and He knows very well those who are guided.’ [16:125]
This holy verse gives us a perfect picture of the manifold forms of invitation which must be extended to different kinds of people; and the sound guidance the verse lays out applies to all kinds of people, its manifested form differing according to their different attributes and types. Among the different types of people are: the elite who seek knowledge of higher realities, the masses of ordinary people, and the stubborn opponents.
For each of these types of people, there is a specific way of speaking to them, calling them, and teaching them. He (Peace be upon him) would speak to people on the level of their intelligence, and his words would always be appropriate to the situation. He would use with each group the discourse that suited them, and address them in their own language.
Allah (The All-Mighty) gifted His Prophet (Peace be upon him) with a mighty and awe-inspiring presence, and made his words easy for people’s hearts to love and accept, so that he needed nothing more.
al-Qadi ‘Iyad said:
“Allah (The All-Mighty) cast love into his (Peace be upon him) speech and enveloped it with acceptance, and combined for him both awesomeness and sweetness. He never needed to repeat himself, and those who heard his speech never had to ask him to repeat it. He never spoke a word out of place, nor made a slip, nor found himself lost for words.”
If we consider these three kinds of people, we find that this verse devotes a unique approach to each of them.
[1. Dawah to the Intellectual Elite]
The first group, the intellectual elite, should be called and taught with wisdom; that is, with wisely-weighted words and plain evidence of the truth that leave no room for doubt. This is because they cannot be convinced by anything but plain evidence that removes all their suspicions, and wise words that guide them to the way of their Lord.
[2. Dawah to the Awwam]
The second group, the masses of ordinary people, should be called and taught with beautiful counsel; that is, with convincing speech and beneficial expressions in such a way that they can see without doubt that the one speaking to them is sincere and wants what is best for them. They do not need discourse that is especially wisely-weighted, because they are ordinary people, not intellectuals; and they do not need proofs, because they have no suspicions that need righting.
[3. Dawah to the Stubborn Opponents]
The third group, the stubborn opponents, should be called and taught by means of debate according to the best way, which is the way of gentleness, ease, and the use of well-known preambles, so that their rage is abated and the fire in their breasts is extinguished, and they can then return to the way of Allah.”
[He (Peace be upon him) Would Answer A Question to Teach Everyone]
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) would also import teachings to the Muslims by using a question one of them asked him, which he would then answer for the benefit of all. One example of this is the hadith about righteousness and wickedness. Al-Nawan ibn Sam’an (may God be pleased with him) said ‘I asked the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) about righteousness and wickedness, and he said: ‘Righteousness is good character, and wickedness is that what puts unrest in your heart, and what you would hate for others to discover.’ In the same way, women would often come and ask the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) questions, and he would answer them.
[He (Peace be upon him) Would Teach Men and Women]
Thus you can see the prophetic method for teaching emphasizes in its wisest ways, the importance of teaching women as well as men. This shows that Islam encourages that women be nurtured, refined, and cultured with a proper religious education to help them to uphold its message.
[He (Peace be upon him) Would Teach By Posing Questions] The Prophetic Way of Teaching
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would also teach the Muslims by posing questions – not to learn the answers from anyone, but to rouse their interest and inspire in their hearts and minds a desire to discover the truth of the matter at hand, and cause them to recognize its imoprtance.
Mu’adh ibn Jabal (may God be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Shall I not tell you the head of the matter, and its pillar, and its peak?’ ‘Indeed tell me, O Messenger of Allah’, said Mu’adh. He said: ‘The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is prayer, and its peak is struggle.’
This method of teaching which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) employed is distinguished by the way it inspired interest in this noble Companion, and pointed to the foundations of happiness in this life and the net: Islam, prayer, and struggle. We can observe that this method of teaching – by asking questions – had been adopted by educators, who present scientific concepts in the form of questions and then provide the answers for them.
[He (Peace be upon him) Would Teach By Asking Questions in Order to Test the Knowledge of People]
 He (Peace be upon him) would also pose questions for which he did not provide answers, in order to test the knowledge and intelligence of his Companions.
Ibn ‘Umar (may God be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said ‘There is a tree whose leaves never fall, and which is like the believer. Can you tell me what it is?’ The people began to call out the names of trees of the countryside; ‘and it occurred to me’, said Ibn ‘Umar, ‘that it was the date-palm, but I was too shy to say it’. Finally, they asked the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) to tell them what it was, and he said: ‘It is the date-palm.
[He (Peace be upon him) Would Give Time for Rest So As Not to Over Burden People]
 Sometimes he (Peace be upon him) would be concerned that if he continued to pose question and teach his companions, they would become bored or tired. In such instances, he would give them the opportunity to rest and take some time to gather their thoughts until their interest returned, so that the information they had already gathered would take root and be absorbed by their long-term memories. Modern educational institutions are indebted to this rightly-guided way of teaching, since they have ultimately derived their successful systems from this wise prophetic method.
Ibn Mas’ud said: ‘The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would withhold his counsel from us some days, disliking that we might become bored.’
The Prophetic Way of Teaching[He (Peace be upon him) Would Teach People According to Their Natures and Customs]
It was also part of his (Peace be upon him) wise method to speak to people on the level of their intelligence and in a way that suited their mental faculties, their natures and their customs; and he would impart his goodly counsel with a spirit of tolerance and ease.
[He (Peace be upon him) Would Teach People in Their Own Dialects]
He (Peace be upon him) would also speak to people in their own dialects. ‘Asim al-Ash’ari said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) say laysa min am-birr am-siyam fim-safar’ in the dialect of the Ash’ari clan, whose definite article was am instead of al.
[He (Peace be upon him) Would Emphasize Teachings By Repeating Them Three Times]
 And in order to emphasize these teachings, he would often repeat what he said three times to make sure it was understood.
[He (Peace be upon him) Would Teach Through Gradualism]
 In all the commandments and prohibitions he issued, he followed the correct pedagogical method as his Lord taught him, and as was exemplified in the Qur’an. He would not issue many commandments or many prohibitions all at once, but issued them gradually, bit by bit, so that the people would not become jaded, and so that his teachings would not be overbearing.
An example: When he (Peace be upon him) sent Mu’adh ibn Jabal to Yemen, he prepared him with sufficient instruction, and commanded him to follow the way of gradualism with the people there.
[Conclusion]
 From all this, it is clear that the prophetic method of teaching employed many different ways of directing people to the path of light and perfection, and firmly laid the foundations for a good life. Thus Islamic society, with all its different facets, was bound together by the Shariah it received, and guided by the lessons of its Prophet, the Teacher, and the teachings of its Messenger, the Leader (Peace be upon him), so that the Muslims were then granted a clear victory, and were truly ‘the best community brought out for the good of mankind’ [3:110].
In the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), we have the best example, and in his Companions we have the finest role-models, so that we may follow his way and adhere to his guidance, until Allah sends upon us blessings from Heaven and earth.
In this, we see also that the prophetic way of teaching did not leave any aspect of the affairs of life and religion without paying attention to it and giving it ample consideration. It laid down the sound foundations upon which the best community stood, and from which was formed the great Islamic state, which spread knowledge and civilization across the world, from corner to corner.”
(p 269-272 of “Muhammad (Peace be upon him): The Perfect Man” by Sayyid Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki al-Hasani)
The Prophetic Way of TeachingTo purchase this book: Click here
———-
Relevant resources:
The Virtues of Teaching & Transmitting Guidance – IslamCast

Motifs used by the Prophet Muhammad in Teaching & Guiding Individuals and Communities

Law & Love, A Short Story by Novid Shaid, 2014

“We have three reliable witnesses,” explained Mullah Ameer, “who are ready to testify that Azmat Khan consumed whisky and consorted with an unknown courtesan during his nephew’s wedding.” And with that, he gazed across the bare room, where Mullah Ghazi sat against the wall, resting against a cushion. The latter looked worried, like his heart was aching.
“So, he will face the judges and he will feel the penalty. This district will see how serious we are; they will see the law of Allah ruling over them.”
After some silence, Mullah Ghazi looked up at Mullah Ameer and sighed. His large, deep eyes swelled with remorse:
“You know that he is sorry and you know that this has not become public knowledge yet.”
Mullah Ameer sat up from his diwan, which he had been resting against, “what are you saying Ghazi Khan?”
“I am saying that the man has repented, his sin is a secret and he is not proud of what he has done.”
Mullah Ameer’s voice hardened, “how can you be so sure?”
“Because he came to see me personally; he shed tears, he knows it was a mistake.”
“So you think this is good enough.”
“Do you think what he has done for us is good enough?”
Mullah Ameer shook with anger: “don’t speak to me like this Ghazi Khan. I know Azmat Khan’s generosity to the poor is without comparison, but why have you become so soft all of a sudden? Even Nabi Mohammad peace be upon him said if his own daughter were to steal then he would be the first to present her hands. The justice of Allah is swift… and it will be better for him to serve his punishment there…Why am I even telling you this? You know all of this yourself.” He stopped and regarded Ghazi Khan, who had stood and listened to him with a mournful look in his eye.
“Ghazi Khan, spit it out. What troubles you?”
Mullah Ameer noticed that tears shimmered and glistened in Ghazi’s eyes. And for the first time for many years, Ameer, who had seen Ghazi fight off a whole troop of occupying soldiers single-handedly, felt like his old friend was suddenly losing his resolution, like a withering flame.
“I had a dream and I saw a vision.”
Mullah Ameer laughed out briefly: “You saw a dream…And what did you see?” Incredulity was creeping into his voice.
Ghazi Khan spoke vividly: “I saw Nabi Mohammad, Allah bless him and grant him; I saw him as clearly as the full moon in the clear night sky. His beauty took my breath away. I have not stopped weeping ever since. And there was a look in his eye…It penetrated my core, so much, and that I saw something which makes me cry even more.”
Unimpressed, Ameer responded: “And what was that?”
“I saw my ignorance and I saw the hardness of my heart…” Suddenly Ghazi’s haunted expression transformed into an undeniable intensity:  “My brother, the sharia is the very reason that I breathe, but let me tell you clearly, you are wrong to pursue this case. For I have learned that mercy is the fountain from which our Prophet drinks. And you show no mercy by punishing Azmat Khan,” Ghazi stopped momentarily, noticing Ameer’s growing fury clouding over his face, but he was unperturbed: “and it does not stop with Azmat Khan…We have no right to wield the sword of justice unless we have been fully drenched in Mustafa’s bottomless ocean of mercy.”
Ameer could not hold himself back: “Ghazi Khan! Stop your blabbering like a two penny dervish and come back to reality!”
“No, Ameer Khan, you look at what is within you and look into the heart of the Prophet, then evaluate what we really are.”
Novid Shaid is an English teacher from the UK who shares short stories and poetry on his website: www.novid.co.uk. He has written a play called “The War, the Lift and the Separatists,” which explores the separatist mentality and he is also writing a novel based around three hidden saints and their trials and tribulations in modern-day Britain.

When You Hear, You’ll See – Umm Ibrahim retells the story of Prophet Musa

By Mehded Maryam Sinclair
About fifteen years ago the thought occurred to me that I had never seen a careful telling of the entire story of Prophet Musa and a desire took root in me to produce one, though at the time I never believed I would be able to do it. However as the years passed I found Allah bringing the story to my attention again and again, and my fascination grew.
Later I began telling parts of the story and I remember in one of those early groups was a little girl who burst into tears when I told of the baby Musa being carried down the river in a basket. How amazing now to reflect that her father’s name was Musa, and that he now lies buried in the old section of alBaqa’ Cemetery in the city of his first love, Madina. It is to him that this work is dedicated.
Allah has gifted me with nearness to some amazing generous scholars, and my work has been entirely informed by them alhamdulillah. I have learned that most of what has been written about the extraordinary series of events of the life of Musa aleyhisalam is inaccurate or distorted, so I feel especially grateful to have had the participation of these scholars in the work, because the truth of the story is brilliantly fascinating, alhamdulillah.
Allah has also gifted me with the opportunities, over the past three years, to tell this story in all its evolutions to many hundreds of eager children and adults in the US, the UK, and Jordan. Their profound listening and their longing to touch and taste and experience the events as they happened so long ago have contributed immensely to the development of the work. May Allah bless and protect each and every one of these listeners, and draw them ever deeper into knowledge of Him.
This has been a year of bounty, and I am grateful. It is the year of the completion of this project, alhamdulillah, and also the year in which the entire first printing of When Wings Expand – the Journal of a Muslim Girl was sold out and a second printing was made. If a single word of this work can increase a single reader’s or listener’s love for Allah and all that is His, I will be so grateful.
Hear a sample of the story HERE.
The full audio story is available to buy from www.stories-of-light.com.

The Khulasa Project

The Mughal Script Khulasa Project began in -the summer of 2011, with a group of brothers from the United Kingdom, who came together upon on the permission and instruction of Sayyidi al-Habib Umar bin Hafidh.
What is the Khulasa?
The book has been compiled by Sayyidi al-Habib Umar b. Muhammad b. Hafiz (may Allah Almighty elevate him). The text contains duas, invocations, litanies and qasa’id (spiritual odes) which are used in Tarim, Yemen. As a daily companion, the book is further read across the world by those who follow the Prophetic methodology and those who seek the closeness of Allah Almighty.

It is a book of Prophetic invocations that are read by millions of Muslims worldwide, to connect to Allah Almighty and the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi Wa Salaam)  from the beginning to the end of the day.

 

Why a Mughal Script Khulasa?
The current Khulasa was solely written in the Usmani script and appeals to those who are competent with Arabic. However, around the world a significant percentage of Muslims are unfamiliar with the Usmani script. In the West, a substantial proportion of the Muslims are from the Indian Subcontinent and are unaccustomed to the original script. For this reason, many Muslims across the world find it difficult to read the book in its current edition.
A Khulasa written in the Mughal Script would aid many Muslims and facilitate ease for them to read it in a more familiar style

 

Ijaza (Permission)
The Mughal Script Khulasa proposal was presented to al-Habib Umar bin Hafidh and he approved of the suggestion.

Final Edition
Once the book is complete, it will include:

1. A Spiritual and Blood Sanad (chain of lineage) from Sayyidi al-Habib Umar bin Hafidh (Hafidhullah) back to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi Wa Salaam)
2. An Arabic Forward by al-Habib Umar bin Hafidh
3. An English Forward by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
4. Specialist Illuminations and design work page by page.
5. A text in the Mughal Script (more reader friendly for non Arabs)

Cost of the project
Calligrapher – £4,200
Printing – £1,500
Total = £5,700

Financial Position
Alhamdullillah, through generosity & support of the community they have managed to raise ALL of the funds to pay the calligrapher & the first round of printing.
A few dear friends and contacts have helped to collect financially in Ramadan and with the blessings of the month, the project can now really push forward with the final stages of this book release.
They would firstly like to express their utmost gratitude to Allah Almighty for allowing us to embark on such a noble project & furthering its progress.
Secondly, they would like to thank EACH & EVERYONE OF YOU who helped financially, raise awareness, promote and assist in any other way to help them achieve their goal to print a book that will inshaAllah benefit generations to come.
The details on the expected release of the book will be updated soon and what work remains to be completed.
For more information please contact the Khulasa al-Madad al-Nabawi Team at [email protected]

Nur Sacred Science Publications Presents: Gatherings of Illumination

Nur Sacred Science Publications Presents: Gatherings of Illumination
Gatherings of Illumination in Sending Blessings upon the Best of Creation

“Truly gatherings of sending prayers upon the Prophet PBUH are gardens of paradise and sources of purification for hearts that long for their beloved PBUH. Among them is this noble assembly compiled by the esteemed scholar, Ustadha Samar al-Asha, a lover of the Messenger of God and a servant of his sira and sunna. I ask God for divine openings for the people of this gathering and for those who assemble and attend this. Amin!”-Habib Ali al-Jifri

Gatherings of Illumination in Sending Blessings upon the Best of Creation (Majalis al-Nur fi Salati ala al-Rasul) is a rich compilation of some of the most beautiful supplications, litanies, and odes (qasidas) presented in Arabic script, transliteration, and English translation. Included in this book are: The Prayers of the Lovers (a set of 34 powerful prayers upon the Prophet PBUH), Supplications of Visitation to the Sacred Precint in Madina, the Latifiyya Supplication, and Shaykh Shadhili’s Litany of Victory. This book also offers a glimpse into the works of the many female Islamic scholars who have been pivotal to a women’s revival in Islamic spiritually and scholarship in the past decades. The author, Ustadha Samar al-Asha, is one of the few contemporary women hadith transmitters in the world who is also a scholar of Qur’anic recitation with mastery in the ten canonical readings. She is also distinguished for her written contributions to the fields of Qur’anic and Hadith sciences. This book is essential for the thirsty soul and the ailing heart whose cure lies in the remembrance (dhikr) of the Divine.
Now available for purchase from our e-store at: www.createspace.com/4030539

Glimpses of the Life of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Wakil al-Durubi

Glimpses of the Life of Faqih ‘Abd al-Wakil al-Durubi

Taken from Sea without Shore by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller.

His Personality

“As-Salam ‘alaykum,” I said.

“Wa ‘alaykum as-Salam,” he answered. He stood behind the door for a moment to let me in, and let it lock behind me.

I followed him to the office and took off my shoes below the raised platform that he and his guests sat upon inside. It was spread with a carpet, pallets, and cushions for guests to lean on against the bookcases. Patches of paint hung down or were already fallen from the centuries-old vaulted celing, and the whole narrow chamber was filled with books, some on shelves nearby, others at the far end in disorderly stacks or in cardboard boxes. From his seat facing the door he could keep an eye on the court-yard and gates of the mosque. He lived most of his later life there, sitting with his right knee drawn up, reading books of Shafi’i jurisprudence, his back to a cushion on a wooden panel against the wall. The small table before him was heaped with books and pamphlets, and he had his tea things below.

This morning, as he read out the pages I had brought, he raised the point that in one’s financial dealings with other Muslims, if part of their money is illicit, the Hanafi school stipulates that more than 50 percent of their wealth must be lawful (halal) in order for it to be lawful to deal with them, while the Shafi’i school merely requires that one know that any part of their income, no matter how little, is lawful.

I thought for a moment, and said, “Then how can you take a wage from this government?” –meaning with its illicit taxes, its plundering of people’s money, its bribes and confiscations. He received a monthly salary as imam of the mosque.

He said, “It is permissible in the Shafi’i school to have dealings with someone whose income is admixed between the lawful and unlawful, since one may presume that the part one is taking is from the lawful portion of his income.”

“What portion of their income is lawful?” I wondered.

“Don’t they provide a service,” he asked, “by selling people stamps at the post office?”
I had to admit that they did.
What he did not tell me, and it was only after his death I found out, was that he gave away his entire salary each month in charity, and only ate and supported his family from his own trade in books. Though he could have easily vindicated himself by mentioning this in the lesson, he preferred to hide it, because it was his way to keep such things between himself and Allah.

When he came to Damascus in 1950, he sold coffee, and printed and sold limited editions of books in traditional Islam for those who wanted them, especially works of Sufism, which he made available to Sheikh al-Hashimi’s disciples when the sheikh was teaching from them in his mudhakara or lessons. He attended the lessons of a great many ulema in this period, sometimes to the neglect of his small shop, and was finally appointed imam of the Darwishiyya, and married and settled in Damascus for the rest of his life. He lived simply, dressed well but not sumptuously, trimmed his own hair, ate sparingly of plain fare, and never changed from this, even after his sons grew up and found good jobs abroad. He disdained the government, and fell silent when ulema were mentioned who had connections with it.

Darwishiyya Mosque in Damascus (Flickr)

His Generosity

On an early visit to Damascus all my money had been stolen in a street restaurant, and finding myself at wit’s end, I came to his office where he was sitting with his friends, and I told him what had happened.

He sympathized with me verbally, but offered little other help. The time passed, and I was wondering what would become of me, and I finally got up to leave. The sheikh followed me out the door of the office, beyond sight of his friends, and gave me a sum of money to get back to Jordan. He had merely wanted them not to know.

His Humility

A man came in one morning and told him of a dream he had purportedly had, saying, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) gives you greetings of peace, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Wakil.”

“You’re a liar,” said the sheikh. I later thought that perhaps the man had been leading up to ask him something. After he had gone, I asked, “How did you know he was lying?”

“I know how I am,” he said, meaning not someone who deserved such a greeting. He reminded me of words of the Sufi Ibn Munazil “Whoever lifts away the shade from himself in his own eyes, men thrive in the shade of.”

He was a very private man. More than fifteen years passed after he left this world before I learned that he had been of Al al-Bayt, of noble descent from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He had never seen the need to mention it. Nor for that matter can I remember either of us asking the other about family or kin.

His Teaching

I asked him for example about the hadith that “the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to sleep half the night, rise and pray for a third of it, then sleep a sixth of it” (Bukhari [17], 2.63: 1131), and he said, “The period termed ‘night’ here begins whenever one goes to sleep, and ends at dawn.” It was rare to find such details with others. When I asked him about a verse of poetry I had heard from him “Whoever finds no teacher, let him travel,” he said, “Travelling for knowledge is obligatory when one can’t find instruction in something that is obligatory, and recommended when one can’t find instruction in something that is recommended.”

When I asked one day about the benefits of visiting graves, a practice deplored by Wahhabi “reformers,” he said: “There are seven benefits to it. First, it is sunna to do so [as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I had forbidden you to visit graves, but now go visit them” (Muslim [74], 2.672: 977. S]. Second, sober reflection on death (i’tibar) softens the visitor’s heart: how many a stony-hearted person was altered by visiting the dead and realizing that he too would someday die. Third, realizing that the deceased is alone in his grave without family or friends, with only his works, waiting for Judgement Day, makes the heart less attached to worldly things. Fourth, the dead hear their visitors and like to be visited. Fifth, if one recites something of the Koran and donates the reward of it to the deceased, [all four Sunni schools of fiqh concur that] it benefits him. Sixth, the visitor too has the reward for reciting the Koran. Seventh, the light of the deceased is reflected in the hearts of those whom Allah benefits with it.”

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Wakil came to mind when in after years I visited Aden, and a scholar got up after a meal and spoke about the conduct of the shari’a scholar (adab al-faqih). He mentioned four things: ‘izzat al-nafs or self-respect, meaning a certain personal level of manliness and chivalry; da’wat al-majlis or waiting until one has been invited to teach rather than imposing oneself on others; niyya or having the proper ‘intention’ of teaching for Allah; and talaqqi or having first been ‘directly imparted’ the knowledge one teaches from a living teacher, not only so the knowledge may be correctly understood but so the hal or state of the teacher may affect one. I have since seen a number of enterprising students who first took their knowledge from books perhaps admixed with some lessons with scholars, but no long apprenticeship in the crafts of the faqih, and who then began to teach others. They were looked up to for their wide readings, but because of little learning by talaqqi, they lacked the hal of the faqih, and were often haunted by prior character traits such as anger, pride, and envy, which are unaffected by reading. Those who took knowledge from such students were misled into believing these normal; and many acquired obsessive doubts (waswasa) about their own religious practice, not realizing this had to do with the state of their teachers.

About the Author: NUH HA MIM KELLER was born in the northwestern United States in 1954. He read philosophy and classical Arabic at the University of Chicago and UCLA, and became a Muslim in Cairo in 1977. He was a disciple in the Shadhili order of the Sufi master and poet Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri of Damascus from 1982 until the latter’s death in 2004, and was authorized as a sheikh in the order by Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman in 1996. He has studied Shafi‘i and Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith, and other subjects with traditional scholars in the Middle East, and in the 1980s, under the tutelage of Islamic scholars in Syria and Jordan, produced Reliance of the Traveller, the first translation of a standard Islamic legal reference in a European language to be certified by al-Azhar, the Muslim world’s oldest institution of higher learning. Among his other works and translations are Becoming Muslim, Sufism in Islam, al-Maqasid: Imam Nawawi’s Manual of Islam, Invocations of the Shadhili Order, Port in a Storm: A Fiqh Solution to the Qibla of North America, and an illuminated calligraphic edition of Dala‘il al-Khayrat. He has travelled and lectured on Islam extensively, and he writes and teaches in Amman, where he has lived since 1980.

Glimpses of the Life of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri

Glimpses of the Life of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri

Taken from Sea without Shore by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller.

His Personality

Twenty-two years before we had come out of this mosque together after visiting the shrine of Sheikh Muhyiddin. I had watched for a moment as he stopped to buy some apples from a cart in front of the mosque. He took the plastic bag from the seller and filled it with the worst apples he could find–nicked, bruised, and worm-holed–which he chose as carefully as most people choose good ones, then paid for and with a smile shook hands with the man before we went up the hill to the sheikh’s home. Small and lithe, he had a light  complexion, penetrating eyes, aquiline features with expressive lips, and trimmed mustachio and full beard. He dressed elegantly, wearing a few turns of white and gold cloth around a red fez on his head, a knee-length suitcoat and with its vest over a shirt without a tie, and trousers tapering to the ankles. As we climbed higher and higher, I wanted to carry the bag, but he wouldn’t let me, saying that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had said, “He who needs a thing should carry it.” When I reflected on his strange “shopping,” I realized that it had been to save the apple man from having to throw any out. The incident summed up the sheikh’s personality and life, which was based on futuwwa or putting others ahead of oneself.

His Teaching

He never stopped teaching. He once entered the head office of a small religious academy in Damascus with a group of his students and sat down to talk to the director, who bade him wait until he finished some things that were apparently urgent. One thing seemed to lead to another, and the phone kept ringing. Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman waited patiently, while his disciples, as the minutes drew on, became less and less so. Finally, the principal of the school set aside his work, looked up at the sheikh and apologized with a smile, and put himself at the sheikh’s service. The sheikh thanked him, asked him how he was, and then said, “I just wanted to make a phone call.” After a short call, he got up, thanked the principal, and left with his disciples. They had needed a lesson in patience and manners, and the sheikh had given them one.

Practice was the aim of the sheikh’s knowledge. Imam Abul Hasan al-Shadhili (d. 654/1258), whose order the sheikh belonged to, would not let his disciples beg, but had them earn their own livelihood, and Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman emphasized the importance of having a trade to earn one’s living by the work of one’s hand. He used to say, “I hope to pass on from this world without having taken a single piaster from anyone: I don’t even take from my own children.”

We had sat on the edge of a pallet on a narrow wooden bed in a room with a single window, whence light shone down on us, and the sheikh was answering a few questions I had on the last day of my first khalwa. “Will we be together in the next world?” I had asked. “All those who attained marifa, gnosis of the Divine, in this life,” he said, “shall have a special place in paradise by a white dune of musk. Our Lord shall manifest Himself to them once a week, and they will remain drunken with the vision of it for the entire week, when He shall appear to them again, and hence ever shall it be.”

“We never speak of three things: this world, women, or politics.”

His Activism

Born in Homs in 1910 of a noble family descended from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he came to Damascus and worked first as a stableboy, then running errands, then as a weaver, then as a foreman, then as a supervisor of textile mills. He had been instrumental in unionizing workers in the twentieth century in Damascus, and served on the committee that led the Syrian Textile Workers’ Union in a successful forty-day strike for workmen’s compensation. He had represented Syria in the United Arab Workers’ Union, and led an active public life. When the textile industry was nationalized under socialism, he was but two years away from retiring and receiving his pension, and he was now asked to head the industry. He replied that “nationalization is theft,” and preferred to be fired and forfeit his pension than have anything to do with it. He later found a position as a teacher of tenets of faith at a religious academy, where he taught until he was over eighty years of age and could no longer walk to work.

His Firasa

When I first took the tariqa from him, thoughts would come to me about the lucre of evangelists and gurus back in the West, and I would wonder, “What if he asks for money?” For a space, every time I visited him he would ask me how much my fare had been from Jordan, how much the hotel was, whether I had spent anything else, and then give me the whole sum. The day came when I saw what he was getting at, the thoughts went away, and he never mentioned money again.

Too, I once came to Damascus to complain about one of the brethren in Jordan, and after checking into a hotel, went to the tiny office and bookshop of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Wakil al-Durubi off the courtyard of the Darwishiyya Mosque. Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman would drop in there after the noon prayer each day to visit with his friends, where I found him and gave my Salams. Before I could say anything, he said, “How is your ego getting along with So-and-so?” mentioning the person I was thinking of by name. I was stymied for a moment, then said, “Allah be praised.” The sheikh replied, “Allah be praised,” then talked about the importance of being with true and honest people, and avoiding those who spoke badly of others.

About the Author: NUH HA MIM KELLER was born in the northwestern United States in 1954. He read philosophy and classical Arabic at the University of Chicago and UCLA, and became a Muslim in Cairo in 1977. He was a disciple in the Shadhili order of the Sufi master and poet Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri of Damascus from 1982 until the latter’s death in 2004, and was authorized as a sheikh in the order by Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman in 1996. He has studied Shafi‘i and Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith, and other subjects with traditional scholars in the Middle East, and in the 1980s, under the tutelage of Islamic scholars in Syria and Jordan, produced Reliance of the Traveller, the first translation of a standard Islamic legal reference in a European language to be certified by al-Azhar, the Muslim world’s oldest institution of higher learning. Among his other works and translations are Becoming Muslim, Sufism in Islam, al-Maqasid: Imam Nawawi’s Manual of Islam, Invocations of the Shadhili Order, Port in a Storm: A Fiqh Solution to the Qibla of North America, and an illuminated calligraphic edition of Dala‘il al-Khayrat. He has travelled and lectured on Islam extensively, and he writes and teaches in Amman, where he has lived since 1980.

The Effects of Various Dhikr – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

The Effects of Various Dhikr – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

The effects of dhikr are immense and it is hard to fully understand them. Often, one can feel a effect but not be too sure as to what sort of change is taking place in himself/herself. Perhaps there is a wisdom in that, that it keeps one focused in the dhikr and not self-aware.

Some of the effects of the dhikrs mentioned explicitly in the Sunnah are mentioned below, taken from Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad’s “Keys to the Garden.” Its not easy to find literature on this but nonetheless, its fascinating to read and gives direction and motivation for increasing one’s adhkar.

Tasbih- Subhana Allah (Transcendent is God) is an affirmation of the transcendence and holiness of the Real. It is to believe in His exaltation and His being totally beyond comparison as regards His essence, attributes, and actions, so that He is above anything which might suggest a flaw in His highness and perfection. Its result is to make one’s Tawhid clear and unblemished, and to fill the heart with the glory of God and the uniqueness of His perfection. “To Him is the highest analogy in the heavens and on earth.” (Quran 30:27)

Tahlil –La ilaha illa’llah (There is no god but God) brings forth a renewal of the kind of Tawhid and faith proper to the elite. Ordinary Tawhid is an attribute of every believer.

Takbir- Allahu Akbar (God is Greater) inspires the reverence and magnification of Him who is the Possessor of Majesty (dhu’l jalal wa’l ikram).

Tahmid- Al-hamdulillah (Praise be to God) and invoking the names which denote His benevolence and mercy, such as the Compassionate (ar-Rahim), the All-Merciful (ar-Rahman), the Generous (al-Karim), the Ever-Forgiving (al-Ghaffar), and other similar names lead to three stations, gratitude, firm hope, and love, for it is inevitable that one who does good will be loved.

Hawqala and hasbala- La hawla wa la quwatta illah billah (There is neither power nor ability save by God) and Hasbuna’Allahu wa ni’ma’l wakil (God is our sufficiency and the Best of Guardians) result in reliance on God, surrendering the management of one’s affairs to Him, and placing one’s trust in Him.

Names carrying meanings of knowledge and awareness, such as the Omniscient, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the Near, and the Witness, lead to vigilance (muraqaba).

As for the invocation of blessings on the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam), this yield a strengthening of one’s love and nearness to him and greater scrupulousness in following his sunna.

Istighfar- Astaghfirullah (I seek God’s forgiveness) results in steadfast piety, care about the conditions necessary for repentance, and extricating oneself from the snares of sin.

If you wish to obtain all of these benefits, and attain to the highest ranks then you should search for a litany which includes all these kinds of invocations and prayers. You are such to find them in the litanies of our master Imam Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad, such as al-Wird al-Latif, al-Wird al-Kabir, al-Ratib, Hizb al-Fath and his Hizb an-Nasr. Similarly, you should use the Ratib of Habib Umar ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Attas, the litanies of Imam Abu’l Hassan al-Shadhili, Imam Nawawi (including the contents of his book al-Adhkar), the Hisn al-Hasin of Imam bin al-Jazari, Hizb al-Akbar of Mulla Ali Qari, and many other litanies of great benefit that may be found- praise to God- throughout the nation.

I shall now present to the reader of this treatise some words of wisdom that were given to me by one of the great saints regarding the invocation of Subhan’Allah wa bihamdih. He said:

To feel and perceive the meaning of wa bihamdih makes the invoker enter a vast space of gnosis, in which he comes to know the secret of the multiplication, growth and blessings of deeds. That is because the personal pronoun in wa bihamdih relates to God, the Majestic and High. When you say, Subhan’Allah wa bihamdih you mean, “I extol Him with His own praise of Himself, which is an ancient and everlasting as Himself and which is circumscribed by no limits or boundaries.” Thus, you are praising Him in a way with which He praises Himself. Similarly, in invoking blessings on the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam), you are asking God to bless His Prophet with His blessing, which is as eternal and everlasting as Himself and which has no limit short of the extent of His knowledge. Thus the reward for this is infinite and without limit.

Invocation and prayer are founded on being attentive, collected, and able vividly to sense their meanings. This will lead to the delight of the harvest and the flashing of lights.

–”Keys to the Garden” by Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad’s, pg. 122-3

Taken from Muslimology

Calligraphy imagery from Divine Collections

Shaykh ‘Umar al-Yafi’s Supplication for Rain – Nur Sacred Sciences

Shaykh ‘Umar al-Yafi’s Supplication for Rain

Shaykh Umar al-Yafi b. Muhammad al-Husayni was born in the city of Yafa (Jaffa) in Ottoman Palestine in 1759/1173.  His family settled there after leaving Mecca for Morocco and then residing in the city of Dimyat in Egypt for a period.  He memorized the Qur’an with its proper recitation (tajwid) before the age of ten.  Afterwards, he set on the path of learning and spent many years in pursuit of sacred knowledge.  Upon completion of his foundational training under the important figures in his region, he traveled to Nablus and then to Egypt where he sat at the feet of the some of greatest scholars of his time.  After completing both his formal training in the Islamic Sciences and his spiritual training at the hands of his Shaykh al-Murshid Abu al-Fattah Kamal al-Din al-Siddiqi, he settled in Damascus where a section of the Umayyad Mosque was devoted to him and to this day is known as Mashhad al-Yāfī. He was a Ḥanafī who had a deep knowledge of Islamic Law (fiqh), hadith, Arabic grammar, and morphology.  He was also a great spiritual guide who had a profound impact on the lives of the great many who were transformed by his teachings.   He expressed much of his divine love and wisdoms in the many lines of poetry he composed, which were later collected by his students in what became known as Diwan al-Yafi.  Amongst his most famous compositions is the short prayer for rain below.  In a region where water is scarce and rain is considered a blessing whose abundance or scarcity correlates with the good actions and sins of the community, this composition became sung far and wide.  Perhaps, what has distinguished this poem over others is the deep humility and sense of submission to God conveyed in Shaykh al-Yāfī’s plea, “If you are the Helper of only those who are obedient, who will then help those [of us] who are sinful?  The mercy of the Most-Merciful is absolute without any restrictions.  If none could hope for Your provision other than those who are obedient on Your path, in whom can those [of us] who disobey You seek refuge?  For, You are the Guide for those who are astray.”  If the elite who have devoted their entire lives to God implore Him as such, we are reminded of how much more we are utterly dependent on God’s mercy and guidance.

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