Spiritual Prescription for Shaban – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) recommends reading the following 40,000 times in the the month of Sha`ban:

 

يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ لا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنْ الْظَّالِمِين

Ya Hayyu ya Qayyum la ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu min az-zalimin

‘O Living, O Self-Subsistent! There is no deity other than You. Transcendent are You, truly I am one of the wrongdoers.’

Prayer of Gabriel – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Specifically Merciful.

I delivered an online presentation on the evening of Isra and Mi’raj which coincides with the 27th Rajab. I dedicated most of the presentation to events that took place during the Prophet’s nocturnal journey from the Haram of Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsa.

After the presentation, I received many requests for the prayer that Gabriel taught the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace ) when an Ifrit (high-ranking jinn) tried to cast a blaze of fire upon him. In response to these requests, and seeking Allah’s pleasure and protection, I have translated the hadith, which includes the prayer of Gabriel, as it appears in the Muwatta of Imam Malik. However, different versions of the hadith have been transmitted. The version translated below has been transmitted by a successor directly from the Messenger, peace be upon him, (without mentioning the name of a companion), so, on its own, it may be regarded as weak. However, it is important to know that all the different versions of the hadith corroborate this version, and this corroboration raises the status of the hadith to ‘sound’ or ‘hasan’.

The translation is as follows: Yahya bin Said said, “during the nocturnal journey of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) he saw an Ifrit following him with a blaze of fire. Whenever he looked back, he saw him. Angel Gabriel then said, “Should I not teach you a supplication – if you were to recite it, his flame will go out and he will fall on his mouth?” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied in the affirmative. Gabriel then said:

“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, I seek refuge in Allah, the Most Generous, and by His Perfect Words, the boundaries of which cannot be exceeded by anyone, whether he be devout or a criminal, from the evil that descends from the heavens, or that which ascends to it, and from the evils that are sown within the earth, and that which comes out of it, and from the trials of the night and the day, and from the visitors of the night except those that come in goodness, O Most Gracious.”

Another version of the hadith reads, “the Prophet, peace be upon him, recited it and the ifrit’s flame died out and he fell on his face.”

The Arabic version of the prayer is:

أَعُوذُ بِوَجْهِ اللهِ الْكَرِيْمِ وَبِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّاتِ الَّتِي لَا يُجَاوِزُهُنَّ بَرٌّ، وَلَا فَاجِرٌ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا، وَمِنْ شَرِّ مَا ذَرَأَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وشر ما يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا، وَمِنْ فِتَنِ اللَّيْلِ والنَّهَارِ، وَمِنْ طَوَارِقِ اللَّيْلِ إِلَّا طَارِقًا يَطْرُقُ بِخَيْرٍ يَا رَحْمَانُ

Islamic Time Management During COVID-19 – Sidi Tushar Imdad

With curfew measures and stay-at-home orders in place across the world, most of us find ourselves cooped up at home for much longer than we are used to.

Worse still, trying to work or study with multiple family members competing for space and time is a recipe for distraction!

Politicians liken the fight with Coronavirus to a war – it’s like a battle humanity must win.

Productivity experts like to use the same analogy for time management. You are battling with your life, your week or your day.

Islamically, we have an even better model (because it’s true!). Spiritual masters have described our real battle to be with four: our nafs (selfish ego), our hawa (obsessional tendencies or ‘stubborn, wilful folly’), Shaytan (we all know him!) and the Dunya (defined by Imam al-Ghazali as anything that distracts one from Allah).

Whichever model you look at, the point is the same. If we do not actively battle with the enemies of our time, then we will lose.

Remember what Imam Shafi’i (r.a.) learned from the Sufis:

“Time is like a sword; if you don’t cut it, it will cut you!”
 
What does any military leader do before any battle?

PLAN.

Preparation is EVERYTHING. If there’s just one time management habit you get from all my articles, I hope it is this: plan your weeks and plan your days .

(If you want a deeper dive into the basics of planning, goal setting and other time managements tricks, you could look into my self-study course Time Tactics 101: https://tusharimdad.thinkific.com/courses/time-tactics-101. Before you buy, email me for a massive discount)

If you don’t plan, this is what happens:

You’re right in the middle of an essential task and your son comes in the room to ask for something.

You’re trying to concentrate but the sound from the kids is driving you nuts!

You are about to finally finish that complex report when your spouse reminds you that you promised to get lunch ready.

It’s like waking up late and spending the whole day fighting fires.

(I contrast a well-planned day with a distracted, ineffective one in a previous article: https://seekersguidance.org/articles/featured-articles/islamic-time-management-series-power-your-day-with-pre-planning-sidi-tushar-imdad/).

Imagine moving city, or starting a new job. Wouldn’t there be so much research and prep you’d do? The unprecedented situation we find ourselves in is no less dramatic – indeed, for many of us, it’s even more disruptive.

The more disrupted your life is, the more you need to plan for it.

So HOW do you optimize your time at home to ensure continued productivity at home.

Below I share 10 pro tips, all of which I practise myself:

1. Sit with your spouse and plan your week.
If you want to be a ‘super couple’ I recommend you do this every week, but for now we ALL need to be doing this. Since you’re both working under the same roof and kids are home, you need to thrash out the following:

  1. Who will home-school/ monitor the kids and when?
  2. Who and when will shop online or locally
  3. Agree meal times, start of work times, end of work times

2. Define and agree clear work times.
You will argue. You will get stressed. It’s all normal and all part of the process. Arguments always happen when expectations are not met. So you need to COMMUNICATE and AGREE what your expectations are for work time and family time. If you are the husband, you need to make sure your family understands when you are unavailable. If you are the wife, you must communicate and discuss any help you need from your husband BEFORE he gets absorbed in his work. Nothing starts an argument like being interrupted from an important task and being asked to help with something not agreed to before!

3. Set up a defined work area.
Hopefully, you have a study or a room which you can designate as your makeshift ‘office’. Even if it’s a bedroom, that’s fine for now. Just ensure your family know that between work hours you are unavailable.

4. Put up a sign.
My coach has us print ‘Do not disturb’ signs and stick them on the door when we are embarking on ‘deep work’. Some office workers will even stick such a sheet on their backs . The point is to communicate deadly seriousness that your work time is sacred. Because it is.

5. Share breakfast or lunch with family.
To make strategy 4 more palatable for your family, give back by being really present for a family meal – either breakfast or lunch. You’d normally be eating alone or at the office. Take advantage of the curfew by enjoying a bonus 30 minutes purely with your family. If you do this with presence, your family will be more than happy enough to then let you work intensively later.

6. Set an alarm for all your salahs.
It’s surprisingly easy to get into bad habits with salah when working from home. Your whole routine has changed and the usual cues – including the chance to pray in the masjid – are gone. You can read my brief LinkedIn post about this point here:
https://www.linkedin.com/posts/tushar-imdad-0a466b13_islamictimemanagement-productivitytips-timemanagement-activity-6648563223773745152-Yo0x

7. Keep to clear boundaries.
As my wife has reminded me on many of the occasions when I’ve slipped up on this point, there’s nothing more frustrating for your family than when you keep working past your agreed end time. If you decide and agree that you will finish at 6, then stop at 6. You’ve given your word. Stick to it. Go and be with your family for Allah’s sake.

When you keep working past your set boundaries, it communicates indifference and disrespect to your family. Your kids and your spouse see that you value your work more than them. Don’t let this happen – especially in these fearful times – when they need you to lead and guide them most.

8 .Go for a morning walk.
I won’t hyperlink again, but I’ve written before about the power of a morning walk. In countries like the UK, we are restricted to just one session of outdoor exercise outside. Ironically, this may help families exercise MORE than before! Make it an unmoveable part of your schedule to go on a 10-30 minute morning walk. If you can bring family with you, then you kill two birds with one stone! A brisk, morning walk can bring wonders to your energy, mood and sleep. Don’t miss it.

9. Schedule time for Islamic gatherings or learning LIVE.
One of the hardest aspects of the current pandemic is our isolation from each other. When in our lives have we ever been prevented from attending the masjid? As such, it is vital we replace this with the best, possible substitute: online halaqas or lectures or lessons where Islamic knowledge is being imparted and pious ‘ulema are present. Try to attend live as there is much more barakah in live sessions. Seekersguidance.org have a whole range of quality courses from absolute beginner to those proficient in Arabic – all completely FREE. Aim for at least one weekly majlis that you attend.

Aside from the social and spiritual benefits from this, spending time with those beloved to Allah palpably helps your mindset. It’s a soothing antidote to all the fear and negativity from news and social media.

10. Calendarize and timetable all the above.
I can’t emphasize this enough. You must schedule all the above in writing, or on your app. Once you write it down in your calendar, it becomes concrete. It becomes a commitment. So many good intentions float away as they simply weren’t tied down to a written plan.

Try implementing these 10 steps methodically and you’ll experience a profound sense of control and order in the midst of turbulence.

As we enter Sha’ban, our minds will start preparing for Ramadan. Allah has blessed us with a whole month to get to grips with the new unexpected lifestyle changes brought on by Covid-19. One of the best things you can do in this month is to get organized, start mastering your schedule and live optimally as possible.

That way, when Ramadan arrives, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

Praying for barakah and taufeeq in your time,

Tushar Imdad 

P.S. I run an Islamic-oriented online homeschool academy, specialising in quality English teaching suitable to support any Western curriculum. We are due to expand to meet the new demand caused by school closures and also add science and maths to the programme. If you are interested in learning more, please complete this short survey so I can understand your needs: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VHFF356

If you enjoyed this article, you can sign up to Tushar’s mailing list for his weekly Jum’a articles, free content about Islamic Time Management as well as updates for exciting courses or services: https://mailchi.mp/5879bd7982eb/tusharimdad


Biography:
Tushar Imdad (aka Tushar Mohammed Imdad-ul-Haque Bhuiya) is an Islamic Time Management Coach and Educational Entrepreneur. Professionally trained as a high school English teacher, Tushar has taught or managed prominent Islamic schools in Leicester, UK, between 2007-2016. With a flair for managing multiple roles, Tushar is also a GCSE English examiner, a teacher trainer for AMS UK; professional proofreader; former lead instructor at Madrasa Manara; and is currently the Director of Shaykhspeare’s Online English Academy and High Impact Tutors.  
 A long-term student of knowledge, Tushar has studied a range of Islamic sciences at the feet of scholars such as Shaykh Nuh Keller, Umm Sahl, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Maulana Ilyas Patel and Ustadh Tabraze Azam. In 2015 he completed Level 5 of the Classical Arabic Program from the prestigious Qasid Institute, Amman.   
Throughout his varied career, Tushar has always been driven by a passion for time management. Starting in 2009, he has delivered a mixture of workshops, webinars, web-coaching and client visits, attracting delegates as varied as CEOs, corporate professionals, housewives, dentists and scholars from places spanning the UK, US and Middle East. Tushar has published articles and delivered training for ProductiveMuslim.com, SeekersGuidance.org and Qibla.com (now Kiflayn). In recent years he has immersed himself in  productivity systems, learning from world-class experts such as Demir Bentley, the authors of The One Thing, Leo Babuta and James Clear. His recent courses have included  ‘Principles of Islamic Time Management’, ‘Time Tactics 101’ and ‘The Breakthrough Habit’.

Guidance on COVID-19 (Part 4) – Mufti Taha Karaan

* Courtesy of the Muslim Judicial Council

In this fourth and final video of a 4 part series, Mufti Taha Karaan advises Muslims on what they should do when they are in self isolation at home. He asks Muslims to reflect on their internal states and morality, and question themselves honestly if they have contravened the rights of others. Muslims should in engage in sincere repentance and introspection so that they can identify their internal faults and contradictions.  Additionally, he recommends that Muslims use their time constructively so that when this crises ends they are able to contribute positively in society.

 

* We extend our gratitude and appreciation to Mutfi Taha Karaan and the Muslim Judicial Council (South Africa)


Biography of Mufti Taha Karaan

Mufti Taha Karaan is a Shafi‘i scholar born in Cape Town, South Africa, to a family renowned in both its maternal and paternal lineage for Islamic scholarship. His father, the late Mufti Yusuf Karaan, may Allah have mercy on his soul, was one of the most distinguished Islamic scholars in the Cape.

Mufti Taha completed his Qur’anic memorization in one year at the Waterfall Islamic Institute, the oldest Islamic seminary in South Africa. During his stay, he assisted in the editing of the Qur’anic prints that the Institute has become famous for the world over. After finishing four years of the ‘alim course in two years, he journeyed to the Indian sub-continent and Dar al Uloom Deoband, graduating from there in 1991 with the highest of distinctions, as did his father, in a class of over 700 students. He then travelled to the Middle East and completed a two-year graduate diploma at the Higher Institute for Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt.

Mufti Taha is the recipient of numerous chains of transmission (ijazaat), from well-respected scholars in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, among others, in numerous fields of the Islamic sciences.

Currently, Mufti Taha is the Mufti of the Muslim Judicial Council. He is a sought-after speaker at Islamic symposia and conferences but attends them sparingly, preferring to spend most of his time at the Islamic seminary, Dar al Uloom al Arabiyyah al Islamiyyah, that he founded in 1996. The educational thrust of the seminary reflects Mufti Taha’s own pioneering vision and commitment to squarely interface with the challenges of the modern age through the twin objectives of preservation and progress.

In his teaching, writing and legal verdicts (fatawa), Mufti Taha regularly addresses contemporary issues such as the challenges of post-modernity, feminism, Islamic economics and finance, the old and new Orientalisms, and fiqh issues affecting Diaspora Muslim communities.

His students describe him as divinely-gifted with encyclopedic knowledge; possessed of a near photographic memory; an insatiable bibliophile within the Islamic sciences and without; a teacher that never ceases to inspire; endowed with an elegant calligraphic hand and a penchant for poetry; thoroughly unassuming, pleasant, brilliant and tender-hearted.


Guidance on COVID-19 (Part 3) – Mufti Taha Karaan

* Courtesy of the Muslim Judicial Council

In this 3rd video of a 4 part series, Mufti Taha Karaan discusses what the concept of reliance on Allah really means. There are many individuals advocating for Muslims to shun social distancing and isolation because of their understanding of relying Allah. Mufti Taha explains that relying on Allah entails following and adopting the means that He has created in the world. Therefore, not taking the necessary means of social distancing to curb the rate of Covid-19 transmission is in fact not relying on Allah. Mufti Taha also emphasizes that now is not the time to dispute and bicker amongst ourselves as Muslims because this one of the reasons where mercy and blessings are removed from communities.

 

* We extend our gratitude and appreciation to Mutfi Taha Karaan and the Muslim Judicial Council (South Africa)


Biography of Mufti Taha Karaan

Mufti Taha Karaan is a Shafi‘i scholar born in Cape Town, South Africa, to a family renowned in both its maternal and paternal lineage for Islamic scholarship. His father, the late Mufti Yusuf Karaan, may Allah have mercy on his soul, was one of the most distinguished Islamic scholars in the Cape.

Mufti Taha completed his Qur’anic memorization in one year at the Waterfall Islamic Institute, the oldest Islamic seminary in South Africa. During his stay, he assisted in the editing of the Qur’anic prints that the Institute has become famous for the world over. After finishing four years of the ‘alim course in two years, he journeyed to the Indian sub-continent and Dar al Uloom Deoband, graduating from there in 1991 with the highest of distinctions, as did his father, in a class of over 700 students. He then travelled to the Middle East and completed a two-year graduate diploma at the Higher Institute for Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt.

Mufti Taha is the recipient of numerous chains of transmission (ijazaat), from well-respected scholars in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, among others, in numerous fields of the Islamic sciences.

Currently, Mufti Taha is the Mufti of the Muslim Judicial Council. He is a sought-after speaker at Islamic symposia and conferences but attends them sparingly, preferring to spend most of his time at the Islamic seminary, Dar al Uloom al Arabiyyah al Islamiyyah, that he founded in 1996. The educational thrust of the seminary reflects Mufti Taha’s own pioneering vision and commitment to squarely interface with the challenges of the modern age through the twin objectives of preservation and progress.

In his teaching, writing and legal verdicts (fatawa), Mufti Taha regularly addresses contemporary issues such as the challenges of post-modernity, feminism, Islamic economics and finance, the old and new Orientalisms, and fiqh issues affecting Diaspora Muslim communities.

His students describe him as divinely-gifted with encyclopedic knowledge; possessed of a near photographic memory; an insatiable bibliophile within the Islamic sciences and without; a teacher that never ceases to inspire; endowed with an elegant calligraphic hand and a penchant for poetry; thoroughly unassuming, pleasant, brilliant and tender-hearted.


 

Guidance on COVID-19 (Part 2) – Mufti Taha Karaan

* Courtesy of the Muslim Judicial Council

In this second video of a four-part series on COVID-19, Mufti Taha Karaan explains the religious rationale and reasoning on why the Friday congregational prayer should be suspended. Additionally he provides evidence from the rich Islamic legacy of when congregational prayers should be prayed at home. By analogy, the COVID-19 poses a greater risk to the well being of the community and therefore becomes a valid reason to pray at home. Mufti Taha emphasizes that such reasoning is not a distortion of Islamic law, but rather a means to preserve life which is an objective of Islamic law.

 

* We extend our gratitude and appreciation to Mufti Taha Karaan and the Muslim Judicial Council (South Africa)


Biography of Mufti Taha Karaan

Mufti Taha Karaan is a Shafi‘i scholar born in Cape Town, South Africa, to a family renowned in both its maternal and paternal lineage for Islamic scholarship. His father, the late Mufti Yusuf Karaan, may Allah have mercy on his soul, was one of the most distinguished Islamic scholars in the Cape.

Mufti Taha completed his Qur’anic memorization in one year at the Waterfall Islamic Institute, the oldest Islamic seminary in South Africa. During his stay, he assisted in the editing of the Qur’anic prints that the Institute has become famous for the world over. After finishing four years of the ‘alim course in two years, he journeyed to the Indian sub-continent and Dar al Uloom Deoband, graduating from there in 1991 with the highest of distinctions, as did his father, in a class of over 700 students. He then travelled to the Middle East and completed a two-year graduate diploma at the Higher Institute for Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt.

Mufti Taha is the recipient of numerous chains of transmission (ijazaat), from well-respected scholars in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, among others, in numerous fields of the Islamic sciences.

Currently, Mufti Taha is the Mufti of the Muslim Judicial Council. He is a sought-after speaker at Islamic symposia and conferences but attends them sparingly, preferring to spend most of his time at the Islamic seminary, Dar al Uloom al Arabiyyah al Islamiyyah, that he founded in 1996. The educational thrust of the seminary reflects Mufti Taha’s own pioneering vision and commitment to squarely interface with the challenges of the modern age through the twin objectives of preservation and progress.

In his teaching, writing and legal verdicts (fatawa), Mufti Taha regularly addresses contemporary issues such as the challenges of post-modernity, feminism, Islamic economics and finance, the old and new Orientalisms, and fiqh issues affecting Diaspora Muslim communities.

His students describe him as divinely-gifted with encyclopedic knowledge; possessed of a near photographic memory; an insatiable bibliophile within the Islamic sciences and without; a teacher that never ceases to inspire; endowed with an elegant calligraphic hand and a penchant for poetry; thoroughly unassuming, pleasant, brilliant and tender-hearted.


Guidance on COVID-19 (Part 1) – Mufti Taha Karaan

* Courtesy of the Muslim Judicial Council (South Africa)

In this first video of a four-part series, Mufti Taha Karaan advises Muslims to practice social distancing with immediate effect in order to prevent and reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission. The unfortunate reality is that places of worship such as mosques are communal places where transmission can spread. In light of this, Mufti Taha advocates for the Friday congregational prayer to be suspended in the mosques, and the five daily prayers to be prayed at home. This is a difficult decision, but a necessary one for us as Muslims. We all have to play our role in curbing the spread of the novel Coronavirus

* We extend our gratitude and appreciation to Mufti Taha Karaan and the Muslim Judicial Council (South Africa)


Biography of Mufti Taha Karaan

Mufti Taha Karaan is a Shafi‘i scholar born in Cape Town, South Africa, to a family renowned in both its maternal and paternal lineage for Islamic scholarship. His father, the late Mufti Yusuf Karaan, may Allah have mercy on his soul, was one of the most distinguished Islamic scholars in the Cape.

Mufti Taha completed his Qur’anic memorization in one year at the Waterfall Islamic Institute, the oldest Islamic seminary in South Africa. During his stay, he assisted in the editing of the Qur’anic prints that the Institute has become famous for the world over. After finishing four years of the ‘alim course in two years, he journeyed to the Indian sub-continent and Dar al Uloom Deoband, graduating from there in 1991 with the highest of distinctions, as did his father, in a class of over 700 students. He then travelled to the Middle East and completed a two-year graduate diploma at the Higher Institute for Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt.

Mufti Taha is the recipient of numerous chains of transmission (ijazaat), from well-respected scholars in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, among others, in numerous fields of the Islamic sciences.

Currently, Mufti Taha is the Mufti of the Muslim Judicial Council. He is a sought-after speaker at Islamic symposia and conferences but attends them sparingly, preferring to spend most of his time at the Islamic seminary, Dar al Uloom al Arabiyyah al Islamiyyah, that he founded in 1996. The educational thrust of the seminary reflects Mufti Taha’s own pioneering vision and commitment to squarely interface with the challenges of the modern age through the twin objectives of preservation and progress.

In his teaching, writing and legal verdicts (fatawa), Mufti Taha regularly addresses contemporary issues such as the challenges of post-modernity, feminism, Islamic economics and finance, the old and new Orientalisms, and fiqh issues affecting Diaspora Muslim communities.

His students describe him as divinely-gifted with encyclopedic knowledge; possessed of a near photographic memory; an insatiable bibliophile within the Islamic sciences and without; a teacher that never ceases to inspire; endowed with an elegant calligraphic hand and a penchant for poetry; thoroughly unassuming, pleasant, brilliant and tender-hearted.


 

17 Benefits of Tribulation – By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this video, Shaykh Faraz Rabanni goes over a brief treatise by al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salam listing the various benefits of trials and tribulations. Now more than ever do Muslims need to understand the divine meanings and wisdom in the trials and tribulations that humanity is facing in the Covid-19 pandemic. Whatever difficulty befalls us is an opportunity to remember the majesty of Allah, and to show gratitude for the innumerable blessings he has bestowed upon us. This trial of Covid-19 is an opportune time for us to increase in our connection with Allah.

Counsel For Students of Knowledge Regarding COVID-19 – Dr. Hisham A. Hellyer

In this article, Dr Hisham Hellyer advises students of knowledge how they should navigate their thoughts, studies and daily responsibilities amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Divine Wisdom

Verily, in every situation, there is a divine wisdom, because in every situation, God is the One who Permits; in every situation, he is the One who Benefits; in every situation, he is the One that is the all-encompassing Mercy. This situation that we are in, resulting from the pandemic, is no different. In reality, we always exist by the permission of our Lord, in every instant and every blinking of the eye. And so does this pandemic – and so will its end also be brought forth by God, the most High.

From the outset, this is not a time for panic, nor for anxiety. This is a time for recognising that our situations remain completely subject to the workings of the Lord of all that is, all that has been, and all that will be. It is a time for recognising that He has provided us with all that is required in this world, and that our orientation in engaging with life in this world (al-dunya) should always be the life to come (al-akhira). If at the end of this tribulation – and this tribulation will end – we will have realised more of the truth of that kind of recognition, then we will have learned something of the truth of ‘there is no might nor power except by God’ (la hawla wa la quwatta illa billah) – and that is worth a weight we cannot imagine.

 

Advice: Time Management 

My advice to you is very simple. As one of our teachers said: the way to God (al-tariqa) is ‘time management’. Verily, life itself is about putting things into their right places, in those different times, during the day and the night. We should all take a reminder of that, as we proceed to learning, by force, new routines at present. What a boon and benefit it is to us that we are able to be conscious about this, in a way that perhaps we might never have been before.

Do not allow your routines to become aimless and unstructured – on the contrary, take this opportunity to structure your time properly, and apportion everything its correct due.

 

Counsel: seeing beyond the usual in suhba

Owing to the health advisories, that I do advise you follow, we will all be engaging in a level of ‘social distancing’ that we are unaccustomed to. It will come to an end. When it does, God willing, we will all have learned the value of different types of true companionship; both in terms of seeking our Lord in isolation; as well as being with people of goodness. And there is beautiful benefit in both.

Until that time, put structure into place as much as possible; whether in terms of your learning, your studying, your health, your work. Learn how to do so, and make the most of your time in being conscious about how you use it.

 

Recommendation to teachers and those who counsel
To that end: the advice I have received and the advice I impart to anyone else who is teaching: continue your classes. We live in a time when we can use technology for good, and for bad. Let us consciously use it for good, and take benefit from it, as a tool that God has permitted for us, even if we are far from one another. There are different systems for this. Be very grateful you have this ability and capacity. Not everyone does – there are people of this ummah who have been kept from each other due to war and conflict, and could not use the boons and benefits you have. Be grateful, and remember that gratitude is shown by using the gifts of God in ways that are pleasing to Him.

To those who impart counsel and guidance to others, as part of their responsibilities placed upon them by their teachers: your services are going to be needed. Your skills will be tested. Have faith that if you were given this task to fulfil, you will be given the strength to fulfil it. Be charitable and generous with those who reach out to you, and be grateful for the opportunity to assist them. It is a noble and praiseworthy act, rewarded by God, to be able to bring comfort to those who seek guidance and counsel.

 

Health Precautions and classes

There may be some of you who are considering attending classes in person: I strongly advise you do not do so, unless you can be completely assured that the appropriately strict health precautions are taken by the providers of those classes. We typically, for example, pray our daily prayers in teaching areas; which means that we are exposing our faces to the ground, where the virus can very easily spread.

Remember: people with COVID-19 can be completely absent of symptoms, and still pass it on. Even if you’re not worried about yourself, you must consider the threat to others that you might inadvertently infect. In general, I advise you to keep at least 7 feet distance between yourself and others; and that you pray at home in a clean space. The health measures that are recommended by the World Health Organisation are reasonable: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

 

Congregational prayers

In my capacity as Senior Scholar of the Azzawia Trust in Cape Town, led by two of the khulafa’ of Sayyid Muhammad b. Alawi al-Maliki, and a member of the Council of the British Board of Scholars and Imams, I assisted in the drafting of two pieces of advice on congregational prayers and other issues arising from the changes due to this pandemic. Azzawia issued a strong, straight-forward and short document, which can be accessed here, referencing the advice from the Higher Council of Azhar Scholars in Egypt.
https://www.facebook.com/AzzawiaTrust/posts/10157742959026357

A more comprehensive document is the BBSI, which sought to cover the range of issues the BBSI thought necessary, and the views of its membership. [http://www.bbsi.org.uk/coronavirus/]

In short, it is generally best you stay away from public places of prayer; and that you generally consider that the usual obligatory nature of the Friday prayer has been lifted.

 

Students abroad:

Some students who are away from their homes and families overseas are wondering if they should travel back home. This is a decision that depends on a great number of factors. As for my own students, I have not advised that they travel. I do advise that those who are resident in any particular local to note that foreign students may need assistance, if only to receive funds from their families overseas: if you can help them by allowing their families to transfer funds to your local bank accounts, then do consider it, so that they may have support in buying essentials periodically.

 

Generally and particularly: be grateful

In general: be grateful. Yes, this is a time when a lot of our usual comforts are disrupted. But we are not in a state of war and suffering, unlike numerous refugees that are fleeing conflict areas like Syria or Yemen. If you begin to be tempted into feelings of anxiety, take those feelings, and turn that energy into supplicating your Lord to give lutf to those who are suffering in far worse situations than us. You are all in a state of tremendous privilege – do not forget that.

Remember also: every trial and tribulation has the opportunity to mean the raising of one’s spiritual station with regards to their Lord. Ponder on this, and reflect. It’s a reality of every situation. As Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him) said:

“… For those trials have the effect of making their hearts pure and free from sinful association, and from attachment to creatures, worldly means, wishes and self-willed desires. They are instrumental in melting them and smelting out the pretensions and passions, and the expectation of returns for obedient behaviour, in the form of high degrees and stations in the hereafter, in paradise and its gardens…

The sign that the trials are for the sake of spiritual progress is the presence of contentment, harmony, self-composure, quiet trust in the working of the God of the earth and the heavens, and annihilation within them until their eventual removal with the passage of time.”

So be of those who would have quiet trust in the working of the God of the earth and the heavens. This, too, shall pass.

Allah bless you, draw each of you and us nearer to Him.

 

Wa al-salam,

Dr Hisham A. Hellyer


Ustadh Dr. Hisham A. Hellyer

Dr Hisham A. Hellyer is Professorial Fellow of Cambridge Muslim College (UK) and Senior Scholar of the Azzawia Trust & Al-Zawiya Institute (South Africa). As a widely published academic and commentator focusing on politics and religion in the West, the Arab world and Muslim communities globally, he concurrently serves as Senior Fellow at RUSI (UK) & the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (USA).

Born to an English father and to an Egyptian mother of ʿAbbāsī-Sudanese & Ḥasanī-Moroccan heritage, he was raised between London, Cairo and Abu Dhabi, before becoming educated at Sheffield and Warwick universities to post-doctoral levels in law and the social sciences. He studied – and studies – the Islamic intellectual tradition in the UK, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and elsewhere, keeping the company of traditionally trained-scholars, including the likes of the Malaysian polymath, Tan Sri Professor Sayyid M. Naquib al-Attas, and Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, the khalifa of the Makkan sage, Sayyid Muhammad b. Alawi al-Maliki.

With previous positions at and affiliations with the Brookings Institution, Harvard University, the American University in Cairo, and the RZS-Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilisation (CASIS), he is a frequent commentator and columnist in various media in the United States, Europe and the Arab world. Included in the scholarly section of the annual global ‘Muslim 500’ list of Georgetown University (USA) and RISCC (Jordan), he is also a council member of the British Board of Scholars & Imams. Among his written works are ‘Muslims of Europe: the ‘Other’ Europeans’ (Edinburgh University Press), ‘A Revolution Undone: Egypt’s Road Beyond Revolt’ (Oxford University Press) and “The Islamic Tradition, Muslim Communities and the Human Rights Discourse” (editor) (Atlantic Council)


 

Protection From Disease – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) was asked if there is any dhikr that could be recited for protection from disease. He advised doing the following:

  1. Giving charity
  2. Seeking Allah’s forgiveness abundantly (istighfar)
  3. Bestowing abundant prayers upon the Prophet ﷺ
  4. Reciting the following verses of protection in the morning and evening:

وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ

[He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them]

فَاللَّهُ خَيْرٌ حَافِظًا ۖ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

[God is the best guardian and the most merciful of the merciful]

وَحِفْظًا مِّن كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ مَّارِدٍ

 [And there is a safeguard against every rebellious Shaitan]

وَحَفِظْنَاهَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ رَّجِيمٍ

 [And We have guarded them From every evil spirit]

وَحِفْظًا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ

 [That is the measured determination of the All-Glorious with irresistible might, the All-Knowing]

إِنْ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ لَمَّا عَلَيْهَا حَافِظٌ

[There is no soul but has A protector over it]

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ * فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ

[But this is an honored Qur’an; in a Preserved Slate]

وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ ۖ وَيُرْسِلُ عَلَيْكُمْ حَفَظَةً

[And He is the subjugator over His servants, and He sends over you guardian]

فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا

 [We have not sent you over them as a guardian]

وَمَا أَنَا عَلَيْكُمْ بِحَفِيظٍ

[I am not a keeper over you]

إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ

[Indeed my Lord is over all things a Guardian]

لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِّن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّه

[For each one are successive (angels) before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah]

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

[Indeed it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed We will be its guardian]

وَكُنَّا لَهُمْ حَافِظِينَ

 [It was We Who guarded them]

وَرَبُّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ

[And your Lord over all things is Guardian]

اللَّهُ حَفِيظٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِوَكِيلٍ

[Allah is Guardian over them; and you are not over them a manager]

وَعِندَنَا كِتَابٌ حَفِيظٌ

 [With Us is a comprehensive book]

لِكُلِّ أَوَّابٍ حَفِيظٍ

[For every returner and keeper]

We ask Allah for protection, pardon, well- being, safety and continuous ability to do what He loves and is pleasing to Him.