Heart Melting Traditions: The Temptations of This World

Hadiths to Revive the Heart

Part Two: The Temptations of This World

This is the second article based on the series, The Heart Softeners from ‘Kitab al-Riqaq from the Mishkat al Masabih, presented by  Shaykh Abdullah Misra. In the previous article, we learned about the reality of this world and touched on the two blessings of health and free time. After learning about the insignificance of this world in the eyes of Allah Most High we begin to learn about the temptations and trappings of this world so that we can put them into perspective in our own lives. We are reminded that this world is “the arena of our deeds.” And that “this is the one place that we have to do these deeds.”

We are taking a step further on the slow journey to soften our hearts. A type of treatment of the heart where we realize our true blessings and resources in this life and our treatment of them. With that in mind, we begin exploring desires and pleasures and how to put them into perspective.

Hadith Five

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)  said, “That hellfire is veiled,” or in another narration, surrounded by desires, or lustful desires or pleasures, “and that paradise is veiled,” or surrounded by disliked inconveniences, as narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.

Sometimes what we find that which is beautiful and attractive in this world will actually reveal the hellfire to us, and often those things we find inconvenient actually reveal Heaven to us.  Ustadh Abdullah explains to us that not all pleasures and desires are sinful, and this is referring to those which Allah Most High has made haram, or sinful.

Disliked inconveniences can refer to things such as the discomfort of fasting during Ramadan, waking up for Fajr, or simply holding one’s tongue when our words could possibly hurt another’s feelings. We also learn that there are halal pleasures, such as eating, sleeping, and having relations with our spouse, that when fulfilled for the sake of Allah Most High can actually fall into the second category of lifting the veil to Heaven.

Hadith Six

The messenger of God, (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,  “How unfortunate is the slave of the gold coin, the dinar, and the slave of the silver coin, the dirham, and the slave of fine clothing,” clothing that arrogant people wear, “When he gets and he receives something he is pleased, that slave, and when he does not get, people don’t give him, he is angry.  How unfortunate and how terrible, and when he is pricked by a calamity he cannot remove it from himself.”

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) continues:

“Glad tidings be to the servant who grabs the reins of his horse in the path of God with disheveled hair and dusty feet if he is assigned to the advance guard of the army,”  meaning if he’s on duty and assigned to the front, he fulfills his duty, “and if he’s assigned to the rear guard, sent to the back, he fulfills his duty the same. If that type of person asks permission to join a gathering he will not be permitted, and if he intercedes on behalf of someone else his word will not be accepted.”

This hadith shows us two contrasting types of people in this world. The first is one who is overcome by the objects of this world and acquiring them. This person’s state of completely revolving around the things and money they have, or don’t have, and when the smallest problem befalls them they lack the perspective to deal with it. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) tells us how sorry a state this is to be in –  when a person lacks the meaning in their life to weather the storms it brings.

Then the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) goes on to tell us the opposite of this. This is a person who has no attachment to the things of this world but is the complete slave to Allah Most High. His clothes may be disheveled and dusty, people exclude him from gatherings because he has no status in their eyes and they do not take his world, either. Yet, in spite of all this, this person struggles in the way of Allah Most High seeking only His pleasure. They may not have had the chance to dress nicely, but are clothed in humility and humbleness.

Though people may not take their word, when this kind of person prays to Allah Most High that prayer is accepted because they are asking for Allah’s pleasure, forgiveness, and mercy. This tells us not to look at the standards of people of the world but look at the standards of those who are simple and humble towards Allah and who do their duty for Allah’s sake.

Hadith Seven

Imam Tabrizi is narrating to us the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Of the things that I fear for you after my life is how much will become available, how much will open up to you of the fleeting, dazzling beauty of this world and its charms.” And a man, a man who was there, asked, ” Oh Messenger of Allah, will such nice things bring with them any evil?” And so the prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) became very saddened until the Righteous Companions thought that he would receive revelation, and then he began to perspire.

Sweat began to overcome his face and then he came out of it and then he asked “Where’s the one who asked that question?” As though he was praising him for asking. Then the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘it’s not that the good things of the world bring evil, but that sometimes the amount that sprouts in the abundance of springtime can kill a creature or come close to that if it is overeaten.”

We can learn a great deal from this hadith about wealth. For one, that wealth in and of itself is not bad, but how we approach it. If someone takes what they need and spends it in truth earning it in truth and spending it in truth, how beautiful that wealth is. But whoever takes it without its due right is like the one who keeps on eating but never feels satisfied. That bears witness against him on the day of judgment. It is good to take the wealth we need in halal ways and enjoy it, but overindulgence can lead to our downfall and destruction as an animal that has overgrazed can die or be killed due to that overeating.

Hadith Eight

It is narrated from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah grant him blessing and peace) said, ”Oh Allah, make the provision of the family of Muhammed just enough,” or in another narration, just according to what suffices.

We can find different meanings in this hadith. While the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed that his own family only be granted just enough, this does not mean that we need only live with the bare minimum, but that we can have what we need for our daily lives and for our family and a little extra to enjoy and thank Allah with it. So while the religious leaders, the elect and elite of the pious and righteous, would do with just a little so as not to need to account for anything or be distracted, we may take what we need and a little bit extra and thank Allah, and use that to worship Allah Most High.

We close this second episode by asking Allah Most High to make us realize the meanings of these hadiths and make us live these meanings and change our hearts and soften our hearts in the days and nights. May we apply what is in these hadiths so when we stand in front of Allah in the night, we connect to Allah deeply.

Biography of Shaykh Abdullah Misra

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, into a Hindu family of North Indian heritage. He became Muslim at the age of 18, graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Business Administration, and worked briefly in marketing. He then went abroad with his wife to seek religious knowledge full-time, first in Tarim, then in the West Indies, and finally in Amman, Jordan, where he focused his traditional studies on the sciences of Sacred Law (fiqh), hadith, Islamic belief, tajwid, and sira.

 

Watch full video here:

Hadiths of the Heart Softeners: The Temptations of This World (part two)

 

Living Simply: The Love of Meeting Allah (Part Nine)

Living Simply: Letting Go and Holding Fast

The Joy of the Believer (Part Nine)

door masjid

In order to get through life with ease, the early Muslims (salaf) focused on certain key ways of living that would make it spiritually and practically easier and more fruitful. They coined a term for the variegated rules that they lived by, a term that summarized the system of living for the Hereafter. They called it zuhd: detachment from this world. Other terms to describe zuhd are indifference towards worldly matters or simple or minimal living. This is the ninth article from a series of articles and podcasts by SeekersGuidance scholar, Shaykh Farid Dingle.

 

Introduction to Asceticism (Part One)

Listening More, Talking Less (Part Two)

Entertaining Ourselves to Death (Part Three)

Being Extremely Moderate (Part Four)

Evaluation of the Self (Part Five)

Wronging Others in Word and Deed (Part Six)

Spreading Muck (Part Seven)

Active Minimalism (Part Eight)

 

Since the believer’s ultimate goal and joy is Allah Most High and the next life, nothing fills his heart like drawing nearer to the time when he will meet Him. Naturally, then, we find the lore of the early Muslims replete with expressions of their wish to move on to Allah. All that held them here in this life was their occupation with deeds that would please Him. Besides death itself and good deeds, they also rejoiced at calamities because they knew they were expiations for sins. Ultimately, their joy was in the fact that they were believers because they appreciated how dear the believers are to Allah Most High.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever would love to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him. Whoever would hate to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him. Death comes before meeting Allah.” (Tirmidhi) 

This means that whoever is terrified of dying because deep inside he sees that he has done nothing to establish a relationship with Allah, it is only reflective of the fact that Allah does not love him. The hadith concludes with the poignant mention of death: love of meeting Allah means love of death.

Jalal al-Din al-Rumi said:

O lovers! O lovers! It’s time to depart from the world,

I can hear with the ear of my heart the drum of departure from the Heavens above.

Abdullah ibn Masud said, “The believer has no relief except meeting Allah Himself.” This message was learned and repeated by his student, Masruq, who said, “There is no room that is better for a believer than the grave: he is free from the worries of this life and is safe from the punishment of Allah.” And Rabi ibn Khaytham said, “There is nothing waiting in the wings for the believer that is better for him than death.” This is ultimately because the believer has established a relationship with his kind and caring Lord—he feels how cherished he is in Allah’s eyes. Abu Hurayra said, “The believer is more valuable in Allah’s eyes than even the archangels that are close to Him.”

Those who have not worked on their relationship with their creator are not so keen on death. The Caliph Suleyman ibn Abd al-Malik (d. 99 AH) asked Abu Hazim (d. 140 AH) why we hate to die. He replied, 

“Because you have worked to develop your worldly lives and make it luxurious, and you have left your next life in ruins, so you don’t want to move from luxury to ruin.”

Besides death itself, the believer rejoices at deeds that he has been given the fortune of doing. He loves to see the signs of Allah’s love upon him. Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “Were it not for three things, I would wish that I had gone on to Allah: traveling in the Way of Allah, putting my head down in prostration, and sitting with a group of men who carefully pick out good words just as good dates are selected.” It is noticeable that he put great value in being in the presence of good company. It is an act of worship in itself.

Just as it is a joy to see one’s good deeds, it is also a joy to see what sacrifices one makes for Allah. It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whenever you leave something for Allah’s sake, Allah will give you something else that is even better than it.” This is a comfort for those who feel they are “missing out” in this life, support for those who are facing the difficulty of leaving sin, and a reason to rejoice for those who have made this sacrifice time and time again.

Even the fact of being saddened at one’s mistakes is a cause for joy. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever is pleased by his good deeds, and saddened by his bad deeds—that is what a believer is!”

Even calamities are a reason for the believer to rejoice. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The believer is amazing! If good befalls him, he praises Allah and thanks to Him. If an affliction befalls him, he seeks reward and is patient. The believer is rewarded for everything, even the very food he eats!” He is also narrated to have said, “No believer ever slips up, gets a cut, or is scratched for anything except that he committed a sin. And that which Allah overlooks is more.” He rejoices because he knows that it only comes as an expiation for sins or a means to raise him to levels of faith that he could have never otherwise reached.

In general, the believer is happy because he is in good hands: Allah Most High says, 

“Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light.” (Qur’an, 2:257) 

And He says, “There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Heavy upon him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned for you and to the believers is kind and merciful.”

 

About the Author

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language which can be found here. 

The corresponding podcast is due for release soon.

 

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On the Passing of Shaykh Adnan al-Saqqa

There are men among the believers who honored their pledge to God: some of them have fulfilled it by death, and some are still waiting. (Qur’an 33:23)

Undoubtedly, the eyes weep and the hearts grieve out of sadness in our separation from you, our dear teacher. Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we all shall return. There is no might nor power except by Allah.

We mourn the death of one of the most prominent scholars of Syria, the esteemed knower of Allah, Shaykh Muhammad-Adnan Al-Saqa, who passed away today at the age of 79. He was a man who possessed a compassionate heart, a radiant face, and a graceful smile.

Shaykh Adnan continued the scholarly tradition of the city of Homs. After completing high school, he passed up the opportunity to enter medical school and decided to pursue Islamic Law at the University of Damascus instead, where he graduated in 1966. Later in his life, he obtained a master’s degree in Media Studies from the University of Punjab, Pakistan in 1995.

Shaykh Adnan was a man who served the community greatly through his dawah, teaching, and nurturing of students across many public and religious high schools and Islamic seminaries. This is in addition to the numerous khutbahs and lessons he delivered at masjids across the Muslim world.

Shaykh Adnan had a great impact on his students and all of those who were honored by his company, leaving anyone who heard him speak full of spiritual openings and countless blessings.

His speech was impactful, easy to understand, beneficial, and light-hearted. The great love the Shaykh had for Allah manifested through his copious tears, beautiful smile, and gentle words. Beyond loving Allah, Shaykh Adnan also loved every single Muslim, allowing him to connect to everyone, both young and old.

He was gentle and approachable. The Shaykh would visit people in their homes and attend any wedding or celebration he was invited to. He was humble and did not mind eating on the floor with his companions. An advocate of the poor, the Shaykh extended his hand to numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his life.

Some of his students likened him to the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, while others still felt the presence of angels in his gatherings of knowledge.

He called to Allah with deep insight, illuminated by his beautiful, gentle, and moderate approach. He invited Muslims towards unity, always listening with an attentive ear and an open mind.

O Allah, have mercy on Shaykh Adnan, grant him the highest of stations, and resurrect him with the best of creation Your Noble Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). O Allah, reunite us with our Shaykh in the highest levels of paradise, alongside the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous.

O Allah, illuminate the Shaykh’s resting place, widen the expanse of his grave, and remove any feelings of estrangement or loneliness. O Allah, make his grave a garden from the gardens of paradise, forgive him, have mercy on him, and honor him. O Allah, sustain him with the food and drink of paradise and to our Shaykh his final resting place, near You in the highest domains of paradise.

We mourn today and offer condolences to Shaykh Adnan’s family and the entire Muslim community. O Allah, we ask that You compensate the Muslims for this deep affliction.

He left this world, may Allah shower mercy upon his soul, on January 9th, 2021 in the city of Istanbul.

———-

SeekersGuidance was honored to have Shaykh Adnan al-Saqqa teach through the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary in Istanbul. Register for his course and make it a means of ongoing charity for our dear beloved teacher.

Islamic Spirituality: Ghazali’s Dear Beloved Son with Shaykh Adnan al-Saqqa [Arabic Only]

Children’s Books: Reading List From SeekersGuidance Scholars

What is On Your Bookshelf? A Reading List of Our Scholars’ Favorites Children’s Books

 

From their time in the womb, babies are said to be able to recognize certain sounds and music. At the age of forty, our Noble Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was instructed:Read [O Prophet] in the name of your Lord” (Qur’an, 96:1). Reading is an important and beneficial habit that can prove to be a source of great richness for anyone, especially if cultivated from an early age.  

Trying to fill your child’s library with books? This SeekersGuidance Children’s Reading List features some titles suggested by six SeekersGuidance scholars. These books have either been enjoyed by scholars in their youth or by their children. This list was compiled for children twelve years and under but some titles can be enjoyed into teenage years. 

SeekersGuidance scholars recognize the immense importance for young children to read, and to not just read many books, but to read broadly and in a guided way. The list includes titles from a variety of genres – from Islamic to non-Islamic books, educational and real-life inspired stories to fantasy, fiction, and adventure novels. They are books that help develop the mind and the character – books that tickle the imagination and inspire. Included are books that make learning about religion and life fun yet meaningful, and tales of virtues and morals.

Next month’s On My Bookshelf reading list is Fiction Books. 

 

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Stories of the Prophets by Sayyid Abu’l Hasan Ali Nadwi

“This book is clearly written and has an inspiring style.”

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

“It was read to me by a dear uncle during childhood Summer visits to Karachi. My uncle brought the passages to life; which made me keen to read the books on my own. Since my childhood, I’ve read Lord of the Rings at least 8 times; and listened to the audiobooks several times… There are many lessons for children of all ages in great tales like Lord of the Rings. They also cultivate imagination, good writing, build attention spans, and focus… ” 

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome and Arthur Ransome’s books in general 

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and Charles Dickens’ books in general

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling and Kipling’s books in general

“Got me wondering about why the British were the ones telling stories about India…”

 

Shaykh Abdullah Misra

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch

Let’s Talk About Disobeying by Joy Berry

 

Ustadha Shazia Ahmed

“I pray that there is barakah [blessing] and tawfiq [success] in this for everyone. My children’s book suggestions are Hilmy the Hippo five-book children’s set” by Rae Norridge: 

Hilmy The Hippo Becomes A Hero 

Hilmy The Hippo Learns About Vanity

Hilmy the Hippo Learns About Death

Hilmy The Hippo Learns About Creation

Hilmy the Hippo Learns to Share

 

Imam Yama Niazi

“These are books I benefited from a lot. I loved them. Some I taught and found that they are really good for young kids.”

Mercy to Mankind by Dr. Abidullah Ghazi and Dr. Tasneema Ghazi

“I taught this book for younger kids, ages 7-12 and they seemed to really like it.”

Our Faith and Worship by Dr. Abidullah Ghazi and Dr. Tasneema Ghazi

“I taught this and loved the book overall for kids, it covers the essential matters.”

Short Suras by Dr. Tasneema Ghazi and Dr. Abidullah Ghazi

“I first learned my suras with this series. I really think they are done so well.”

Portraits: From the Lives of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad by ‘Abd al-Rahman Basha

“This book is amazing, three volumes. I really, really loved this when I was young.” 

Juz ‘Amma: 30 For the Classroom by Abidullah Ghazi

 

Shaykh Amin Buxton

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

The Ghazali Children’s Book by Fons Vitae

Matilda by Roald Dahl 

365 Days with the Prophet Muhammad by Nurdan Damla 

Beyond the Forest, Adventures with the Awliya by Noor Yusuf 

 

Ustadha Iman Badawi

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Little Women By Louisa May Alcott

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Berenstain Bears Series by Stan and Jan Berenstein

Help Me Be Good Series by Joy Berry

Dragon Tales Book Collection by Dav Pilkey

Warriors Series by Erin Hunter

The Little House Collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Garth Williams

Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

 

Continue Your Search for Knowledge

Questions and Answers Relating to Parenting

Am I Obligated to Look After My Difficult Grandchildren If I Cannot Manage?

Explaining a Hadith on Disciplining Children 

Fitrah and What Happens to Children Who Die Before Puberty 

How Is a Child with Autism Viewed in Islam?

How Do I Protect my Children from Bad Influences in Society?

Hitting Kids?

How Do You Deal With an Overprotective Parent?

How Do We Deal With Parents Who Emotionally Abuse Their Children

How to Counsel a Teenager with Religious Shortcomings?

How to Deal With the Problem of Misbehaving Step-Children

How to Raise Children in Difficult Environments?

How Should I Handle a Teenager Who Wants to Give up on Islam?

I Struggle with My Prayers and Am so Worried About My Family Members Who Do Not Pray. What do I do?

Infertility: Why does Allah Not Bless Some With Children 

Is It Obligatory to Try to Have Children?

Is There a Dua Protecting Children from Bad Intentions of People?

Is There a Supplication (Du`a) to Help Control a Bad Temper?

My Daughter Accused My Husband of Molesting Her, but He Denies It. What Do I Do?

My Husband Doesn’t Want to Have Kids. What Can I Do?

My In-Laws Spoil My Child and Are a Negative Influence. What Should I Do?

My Mother Abuses Her Children. What Do I Do?

My Parents Are Angry with Me and Hit Me What Do I Do?

My Teenage Son Is Not a Good Muslim

My Teenager Is Disrespectful and Has No Empathy. What Do I Do?

Parenting Question of the Week – Shaykh Hamza Karamali

Rights of Children in Detail 

Should I Let My Daughter Spend Time With Her Non-Muslim Father?

Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

Supplications for Having Children and For Dealing With Pain

The Virtues of Having Children and Stillbirth

To What Extent of a Boundary Can I Have with Dysfunctional Parents?

When Should Children Start Praying?

Why Worry About Children If We Know They Will Go to Paradise?

 

Articles Relating to Parenting

A Ragged Shirt and Toast Crust: Raising Successful Children

Daily Qur’an Reflections: (15) Excellence with Parents

Helping our children find the light in dark times, by Hina Khan-Mukhtar

How To Make the Prophet Muhammad Real for Small Children

Ibn Khaldun on the Instruction of Children and its Different Method

Keep Calm and Mother On–Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

On Consistent Seeking of Knowledge in Order to Become a Person of Deep Religious On Parenting: Planting the seeds of prayer in our young ones

Parents Matter More Than Peers – Shaykh Hamza Karamali

Parents Showing Righteousness to Children – Muwasala

Raising a Believing Generation by Habib Umar bin Hafiz: On Marriage

Raising Children With A Sound Heart – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Parents – Your Door to Allah’s Acceptance, by Ustadh Uthman Bally

Playing with your Children – Advice from Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Serve Your Parents Now Before It’s Too Late, by Ustadh Salman Younas

Six Steps to Instilling the Attribute of Courage in Muslim Children 

Supplication of Excellence to Parents – Du`a’ Birr al-Walidayn

The Noble Intention of Parents

The Prophet Muhammad’s Love, Concern, & Kindness for Children

Traditional Methods of Raising Children 

Understanding – Advice to Students in the SeekersGuidance Islamic Parenting Course

 

Videos on Parenting

Islamic Parenting: Ten Keys to Raising Righteous Children – Faraz Rabbani – Vimeo

Parenting in the Age of Social Media, by Ustadha Rania Awaad and Hosai Mojaddidi

How Can I Raise My Children in the West?

 

Podcasts on Parenting

Raising Your Children with Deen & Dunya – Radio Interview with Hina Khan-Mukhtar – & SeekersGuidance Islamic Parenting Course

Raising Muslim Children In An Age of Disbelief-Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Rethinking Our Actions and How They Affect Our Children

How To Talk To Children About Death?

 

Courses from SeekersGuidance on Parenting

Keys to Raising Righteous Children: Eight Lessons on Successful Parenting

40 Hadiths on Parenting: A Prophetic Guide to Raising Righteous Muslim Children

Parenting in Islam: How to Raise Righteous Children

Nurturing Children: Key Lessons from the Prophet as a Parent & Educator

 

Biographies

Shaykh Abdullah Misra

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, into a Hindu family of North Indian heritage. He became Muslim at the age of 18, graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Business Administration and worked briefly in marketing. He then went abroad with his wife to seek religious knowledge full-time, first in Tarim, then in the West Indies and finally in Amman, Jordan, where he focussed his traditional studies on the sciences of Sacred Law (fiqh), hadith, Islamic belief, tajwid, and sira.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto in Arabic and French. She then lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterwards, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she resided for 15 years, and studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences with local and travelling scholars. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her husband and children.

Imam Yama Niazi

Imam Yama Niazi has studied with local scholars in the USA for a number of years which culminated in him becoming an imam of the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara for 8 years. He served the community by teaching and leading prayers. In 2015 he founded “ the blessed tree “ a nonprofit specifically for bridging gaps between the Muslim community and others. He has spoken on many Muslim platforms throughout the USA and Canada and conducted programmes in local communities in North America. He is an instructor at SeekersGuidance.

Shaykh Amin Buxton

Shaykh Amin Buxton was born in London. He converted to Islam in 1999 and read Arabic and Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of London. He also studied the Islamic sciences in a traditional setting in both Syria and Yemen. He has edited and translated a number of books which include Imam al-Haddad’s ‘Beneficial Counsels’ and Umar al-Khatib’s ‘Prophetic Guidance’. Since 2017 he has resided with his family in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is involved in several educational and social initiatives including New to Islam Edinburgh and Rafah International. Shaykh Amin Buxton is one of our esteemed internal scholars.

Ustadha Iman Badawi

Iman Badawi is an American-Muslim female scholar of Egyptian decent. During her undergraduate years, she founded and became the first president of her university’s Muslim Student Association. Upon making the decision to pursue Sacred Knowledge and starting a family, she left her medical career to focus on studying, teaching, and rearing her children.

She has studied in the US, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. She holds an ijazah (license) in the recitation of the Quran. She has studied arabic, poetry, tajwid, aqidah, qur’an & hadith, tasawwuf, shafi’i fiqh and usul. She specializes in hanafi fiqh & usul, but also has deep interest in hadith Studies and quranic exegesis. She continues to pursue more advanced studies.

She has experience teaching adults, youth, and children for over 15 years.  She is the founder of Halaqat-un-Nur (the Circle of Light), a study circle and community service initiative for women. She currently resides in Chicago with her three children.

 

 

 

 

New Year Reflections: Review and Renew

An Islamic Guide to Embracing the New Year 

SeekersGuidance Readers provide the seeker with a purposely curated list of articles, answers, podcasts, and courses from SeekersGuidance on a particular topic. These guides serve as a gateway to knowledge and guidance.

The end of the year usually brings with it a sense of reflection and evaluation. This year has been more challenging, as we experienced the difficulties of a global pandemic. Many have struggled with anxiety, fear, loneliness and loss in many ways. 

Consider the start of the new gregorian year with a sense of renewal—“for indeed, with hardship comes ease. Indeed, with hardship comes ease” (Qur’an, 94:4-5). Reflect on your relationship with Allah Most High and consider the ways in which you wish to deepen it. There’s a special blessing in recognizing this need and in returning to Allah Most High, for in every situation, He has provided a path for us to do so. SeekersGuidance has many resources to help you on this journey.  

This comprehensive guide covers many pertinent topics related to starting anew: evaluation, purpose, repentance and returning, hope, love, responding with faith in difficulty, and improving the self. It seeks to give a sense of renewal—actionable and meaningful renewal of faith through reflection.

Foreword – Shaykh Abdullah Misra

The Passing of Time is a Journey

The new year marks the movement of the Earth circulating completely around the sun in 365 and a quarter days. This is a journey that the entire world embarks on, year after year. And this journey, in the course of a year comes back to where it began. And so these are the signs of Allah Most that He uses the sun, the moon, and the Earth, for example, to have a measure of time so that we as human beings can regulate. Otherwise, we would not understand how to measure the passing of time. So this movement around the sun helps us realize that time is passing in certain increments. When we realize that time is passing in certain increments, we know that anything that is incremental is limited.  We can count discreetly that we’re moving forward and we reflect upon how much we have covered and how much we have left.  Everyone can take stock of their own lives, their own life spans, and their own journeys.

The Opportunity for Review and Self-Accounting

The idea of self-accounting, or taking one’s self to account (muhasiba), has a significant place in Islam because it is the way we review where we are with Allah Most High.  The condition of our hearts – what have we done this past year; our deeds; our improvements; our journey towards Allah Most High; have we let bad habits into our lives? These are all important questions one can reflect on as one increment comes to an end and another begins. Looking back and reflecting is common in the Islamic tradition.

As a Muslim, we look at it with one eye on Worldly Life and the other eye on the perspective of the Hereafter.  So not only what events occurred, but the pictures and the stories of the year, this happened, and this event, and this event.  “It was a very eventful year,” everyone says. 

But where were we with Allah throughout those events?

When a disaster happened – did we pray for those involved?  Did we show concern for them?  If we could, could we help them in any way?  Could we donate in any way? Could we at least make prayer for people? And if there is a pandemic, what did we do in that situation? How did we experience that? How did that bring us closer to Allah? Ask yourself – what did this do for me and my relationship with Allah and the journey of my soul to Allah?

The Opportunity for Renewal 

It is not only a time of review, but it is a time of renewal. And Allah Most High brings us back to the beginning of the cycle. These are signs for those who reflect. The idea of time being cyclical and of coming back again and again and again. Why? So you can renew. Repentance (tawba) is a renewal and a cleansing of one’s sins. It is an opportunity to repent, regret, and have a fresh start.

What can you ask from Allah? “Allah thank you for bringing another year to pass upon me,  forgive what passed that You are not pleased with. And forgive me for my sins, and give me guidance so I may please You, and grant me the best of health and states in the coming year.” 

Renew Your Intentions

A new journey calls for new intentions. And we say ‘Ok Allah, in this year, we intend to do this for your sake. Not only the temporal projects – these are the projects that I tend to do; these are the resolutions I want to make; these are the things I want to get away from, oh Allah; these are things I want to get out of my life; these are things I want to bring into my life; things I want to strengthen myself with” Spiritually, what does that mean? Exploring different aspects of our relationship with Allah Most High, and with the people that Allah wants us to have relationships with, and people who have rights and responsibilities over us.

We bring our intentions towards making and setting new goals and resolutions towards how we can move forward for Allah Most High. 

Anyone who reflects, reviews, and renews their intentions – the passing of the years and the time is a blessing for that person. They have taken advantage of that time

And for those that do not? They are in a constant state of loss. Another year has passed and then another. It is just subtracting from your age. What is the passing of another year except that we’re getting older and going toward our ultimate end?

We recommend each other towards following the truth, and towards standing up for it, and towards enjoining. Enjoining the promotion of preserving deen and preserving truth, and justice, and mercy, and all of the good things that Allah wants us to see.

We need the patience to resist sinful practices but also patience to stay on the straight path because that requires effort. Our souls are on a journey to Allah Most High. Do we stay the course and stay dedicated towards that, or do we pass our time because we want to distract ourselves from the ultimate responsibility we have, which is to face Our Creator? 

Signs For Those Who Reflect 

Every single passing day – the sun rising and the sun setting – it’s a sign from Allah. The moon is a sign from Allah; the sun is a sign from Allah. And the passing of time and the new year passing is a sign from Allah.

Look back at your year in review – your self-accounting.

Renew your faith. Renew your repentance, which is to go back.

And renew intentions and resolutions – setting our intentions so that we come into the year intending to please Allah Most High and intend to live a life that pleases Him. 

 

Articles Relating to a New Year 

Hard Questions for the New Year – Imam Zaid Shakir

We thank Allah Most High for the gifts with which we have been blessed and we seek His forgiveness for our wrongdoings and shortcomings. We also make our New Year’s resolutions for the coming year—what we intend to achieve on our journey to Allah Most High, and the traits which we wish to leave behind.

ADVICE: Bidding Farewell to this Year and Welcoming a New Year

Dua for Protection at the Beginning of a New Year muwasala.org Habib Ali-AlHabshi.pdf

  

Articles Relating to Renewed Intentions 

10 Reasons Not to Make a New Year’s Resolution This Year – Sidi Tushar Imdad

New Year’s resolutions can be trendy, convenient band-aids to real change. But when you’re truly ready and self-motivated, then set realistic, time-specific, mission-driven and achievable goals in time for the new year. 

 

Articles Relating to People of Hope

Positivity Begets Positivity by Shaykh Muhammad Carr

Despite the ups and downs of everyday life, Shaykh Muhammad Carr refers to the positive psychology of Islam which teaches us to always do our best. The Holy Qur’an and Hadith have given us clear signs and examples of how to inspire people to break any negative cycles within themselves through approaches filled with hope and possibilities. 

Asking From God – The Art of Supplication: A Comprehensive Reader

 

Articles Relating to Making a Fresh Start

Human Potential: The Gift of Turning Back

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch asks the question: did Allah Most High create us to be perfect? In short, the answer is no and the presupposition that Allah Most High seeks from us absolute perfection results in devastating despair and a defeatist mentality.

Leaving Sins, Both Manifest and Hidden

 

Articles Relating to Repentance

The Door of Repentance and Return to Allah is Always Open – Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani encourages us to always remember that we’re dealing with the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate (al-Rahman, al-Rahim). Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an to never lose hope in Him, regardless of how badly we stumble, fall, err, or sin. (Qur’an, 39:53)

Overwhelmed by Guilt?

 

Articles Relating to Having Faith in Testing Times

Coping with Life’s Difficulties by Ustadha Hosai Mojaddidi

When you’re given a tribulation or test, the appropriate response is patience (sabr). If you respond with beautiful patience, which is at the onset of belief, then relief will follow. But if you don’t show patience then your troubles will increase.

Seek Refuge in Allah from Anxiety and Grief – Shaykh Salek bin Siddina

Turning Difficulty into Ease: Reflections from Surah al-Balad

 

Articles Relating to Attaching to Allah

Being with Allah and His Messenger – Habib Umar

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “A person is with the one they love.” Thus you can gauge your love for Allah Most High and His Messenger by gauging how much you are with them.

Our Only Concern is Reliance on Allah – Shaykha Ieasha Prime

Life, The Universe and Everything – Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat

Loving Allah: A Reader

Our transaction with Allah is based upon Closeness – Advice from Habib Ali al-Jifri-Muwasala

 

Question and Answer Relating to Hope in Allah 

Losing Hope and Struggling with the Din

Shaykh Farid Dingle affirms that we should not despair of Allah Almighty’s forgiveness, and that the cycle of sinning and then repenting is part and parcel of our relationship with Him. He loves for us to repent to Him. All we have to do is keep striving.

 

Video on Renewed Intentions

Renew Your Vow With Allah, counsel from Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin mentions that the intelligent person is one who holds themselves accountable and prepares for what comes after death. Thus, we should constantly engage in this practice and strengthen our relationship with Allah Most High.

 

Podcasts on Seeking Closeness to Allah

The Importance of Repentance – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

In this podcast Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said calls the believers to realize that the real wrongdoing is in not repenting and turning to Allah Most High when one errs. Repentance is one of the key traits of the believers. Shaykh Faid emphasizes that Allah is always watching and that we should be heedful of that.

The Reality of Repentance – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

Don’t Fear, Truly God Is With Us: The Unconditional Hope – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Renewing Gratitude Through Reflection – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

Courses from SeekersGuidance for Beginners and as Refreshers

The History of Faith: Islamic History for Beginners

In this course, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives a complete overview of Islamic history, so that you will become more aware of the lessons from past events. You will gain a better understanding of how those events led to and potentially impacted the present-day reality that we face.

The Belief of the Masses: What Muslim Youth Need to Know

Living Hearts: Ghazali’s Book of Watchfulness and Self-Accounting Explained

 

Begin your search for knowledge. Sign up for a SeekersGuidance course. Trained and reliable scholars. Always free.

SeekersGuidance Essential Reading List For Every Muslim’s Bookshelf

On My Bookshelf: Essential Books for a Believer’s Bookshelf

Reliable Reading List from SeekersGuidance

 

What’s on your bookshelf? Are you interested in the core set of books every Muslim should have on their bookshelf? SeekersGuidance provides a curated booklist from ten esteemed scholars. We asked nine SeekersGuidance resident scholars and one guest scholar: What are five books that are essential for every Muslim’s bookshelf? Their recommendations were compiled into this comprehensive list. The top seven books were recommended multiple times.

This list includes books written on the Holy Qur’an, Islamic law (Fiqh), Beliefs (Aqida), Spirituality (Tasawwuf), Sayings and Practices of the Holy Prophet (Hadith), History and Travel, Psychology and Autobiographies of key figures in Islam. Many of these works are timeless and have been applicable throughout the centuries while others have been written particularly for the modern mind. They are positively influential and a perusal of any number of these suggestions can inspire you to further your journey into understanding and practicing this rich and spiritual tradition.

You will find purchase links within many of the book titles. To deepen your understanding of the book, a list of related SeekersGuidance resources is provided alongside the book. Next month’s On My Bookshelf series is children’s books.

Online Islamic Bookstores:  www.firdousbooks.com and www.firdousbooks.ca


1. The Book of Assistance by Imam ‘Abdallah Ibn Alawi al-Haddad

Spirituality (Tasawwuf) – Recommended six times

As a paragon of piety, frugality and an uncompromising thirst for gnosis, Imam al-Haddad produced a guide for Muslims who “earnestly desire to tread the path of the Afterlife.” The reader will find firm foundations for faith and certainty, as well as devotions, prayers and practical ethics towards the path of the Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).  

“This book provides a practical spiritual goal for every Muslim.” – Shaykh Farid Dingle

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available:

Haddad’s Book of Assistance: Complete Guidance for Turning to Allah  

 

2. Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources by Martin Lings

The Prophet’s Life Journey (Sira) – Recommended five times

A comprehensive and authentic biography of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). It is regarded by many as one of the best works of Sira rendered in the English language. Easy to read and inspiring. 

“This book put a real-life perspective for me on the Prophet’s life, his battles, his pain, his obstacles and his community. This is essential to understand how he lived his life, what he did for Islam and how he fulfilled his mission of bringing us this religion.” – Ustadha Shazia Ahmad 

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available:

Meccan Dawn: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad in Mecca

Medinan Lights: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad in Medina

 

3. Lives of Man by Imam ‘Abdallah Ibn Alawi al-Haddad (translated by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi)

Spirituality (Tasawwuf) – Recommended three times

Imam al-Haddad’s work describes the journey and condition of the soul as it traverses through the five stages of human life: before conception, life in the world, life in the grave, the resurrection and heaven or hell. Many scholars cite this book as crucial in order to understand one’s purpose in this world and prepare for the next

“This book is not just informative, but it is structured in a way that calls you to reflect and invites you to change.” – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

Seekers Book Club – The Lives of Man with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

4. Maraqi ’l-Sa‘adat Ascent to Felicity: A Manual on Islamic Creed and Hanafi Jurisprudence by Abu ’l-Ikhlas al-Shurunbulali (translated by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan)

Islamic Law and Beliefs (Fiqh and ‘Aqida) – Recommended three times 

A comprehensive primer in Islamic beliefs and Hanafi Jurisprudence. It covers the five pillars of Islam and beyond. It is an excellent resource for anyone seeking to learn the basics of Muslim creed and correct practice in matters of worship.

“This is an important work that addresses the worship of a Muslim. It is a must to learn how to worship correctly… It is also a book considered to cover the obligatory requirements of learning (fard al ‘ayn).” – Imam Yama Niazi

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available:

On Worship (Purification, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, and Hajj): Shurunbulali’s Ascent to Felicity

 

5. Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law by Nuh Ha Mim Keller

Islamic Law and Beliefs (Fiqh and ‘Aqida) – Recommended three times

An in-depth manual of Islamic Jurisprudence based on the Shafi’i School. The appendices also form an integral part of the book referencing classic works by al-Ghazali, al-Nawawi, al-Qurtubi, al-Dhahabi, Ibn Hajar and others, on topics of Islamic law, faith, spirituality, Qur‘an exegesis and hadith sciences, making the work a living reflection of Islam as understood by some of its greatest scholars. It is an indispensable reference for every Muslim or student of Islam. 

“An example of deep, rigorous, living Sunni scholarship.” – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

 

6. The Forty Hadiths of Imam al-Nawawi Yahya Ibn Sharaf Al-Nawawi 

Sayings and Practices of the Prophet (Hadith) – Recommended two times

A brilliant collection widely regarded as the most popular anthology of hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), which convey the essence of the religion of Islam. It is said that this compilation of forty hadiths is the axis upon which the religion revolves and provides a rich introduction to its fundamentals.

“This book informs us of the essence of Deen (religion) in different aspects.” – Shaykh Abdullah Misra

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available: 

Nawawi’s 40 Hadith: The Essential Guidance of Islam

 

7. The Beginning of Guidance (Bidayat al-Hidaya) by Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (translated by Mashhad Al-Allaf) Revised and Edited by Abdur-Rahman Ibn Yusuf  

Spirituality (Tasawwuf) – Recommended two times 

An essential treatise for anyone seeking spiritual guidance. In this work, Imam al-Ghazali carries the seeker beyond the theoretical knowledge of spirituality into the realm of methodology and practice. He outlines for the seeker an ordering of daily life for spiritual success and advises on etiquette with the Creator and creation.

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available:

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

 

8. Al-Maqasid: Nawawi’s Manual of Islam by Imam Yahya Ibn Sharaf Al-Nawawi (translated by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller)

Islamic Law and Beliefs (Fiqh and ‘Aqida) 

Al-Maqasid is a comprehensive handbook on the Shafi’i School of Jurisprudence. It is a famous fiqh text which contains rulings regarding what is necessary to know of the religion and is compact to facilitate ease of memorization for students and teachers. This translation is particularly valuable as it is updated with notes on a number of contemporary religious issues.

“This is a book on the most basic creed and religious obligations.” – Shaykh Farid Dingle

 

9. The Creed of Imam Tahawi by Imam Abu Jafar al-Tahawi (translated by Hamza Yusuf)

Beliefs (‘Aqida)

Every Muslim is obliged to learn sound Islamic creed. In an age of bewildering spiritual and intellectual confusion, this book is a must. This text can be considered the simplest, most effective and least controversial.

“This is a must as it relates to the most important subject for any Muslim which is to have a sound creed.” – Imam Yama Niazi

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available:

An Intermediate Look at Tahawi’s Creed: Faith and Belief for Muslim Youth 

(Intermediate – Youth)

 

10. A Thinking Person’s Guide to Islam by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad 

Beliefs (‘Aqida)

This book is an attempt to positively say what Islam actually is—and always was—as well as what it is not.” It is an authoritative, edifying and accessible work written to help the modern individual understand Islam. As such, it is quite useful for both Muslims and non-Muslims seeking clarity on some of the most salient yet misunderstood topics in the religion—topics of present-day interest.

“This book helps the modern man understand Islam.” – Shaykh Farid Dingle

 

11. The Etiquette with the Qur‘an by Imam al-Nawawi 

Qu’ran

This work was designed and written to explain to men and women how best to benefit from the Book of Allah. The methodology can be found in the etiquette (adab) and only when this is adopted, can the reciter be changed by the blessings of the Qur’an to imperceptible degrees.

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available:

Keys to the Qur’an: Imam Ghazali’s Proper Manners of Reciting the Qur’an Explained

Connecting to Guidance: Building a Lasting Connection with the Qur’an

 

12. The History of the Qur‘anic Text: From Revelation to Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments Paperback by Muhammad Mustafa al-Azami 

Qu’ran

Beginning with a catalogue of ancient and contemporary attacks on the Qur‘an, this expansive book provides unique insights into The Holy Text’s immaculate preservation throughout its history, as well as exploring many of the accusations levelled against it. 

“The introduction to this book really sums it up. Do we blindly believe that the Qur’an is the final book of Allah or do we have certainty regarding its revelation and immediate compilation? This gauntlet was thrown and Muhammad Mustafa picked it up. An academic masterpiece providing you with the careful and painstaking way that the Qur’an was revealed and sent down to us. A must read.” – Shaykh Muhammad Carr

 Free SeekersGuidance Course Available:

From Revelation to Preservation: Proving the Qur’an is from God and it is Perfectly Preserved

 

13. Revelation: The Story of Muhammad, Peace and blessings be upon him by Meraj Mohiuddin

The Prophet’s Life Journey (Sira)

The author draws on eight of the most influential works of Prophetic biography in English including Martin Lings, Hamza Yusuf and Tariq Ramadan. Revelation is designed to help readers remember the smallest details of the Prophet’s life (peace and blessings be upon him) without losing sight of the big picture. 

“The author ties in revelation to the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to the revelation of the Qur’an. He places the Sira as the primary and ultimate context of the revelation. It is written in a manner that will assist readers with memorizing the Sira and the timelines. As the companions were touched by Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) when their paths crossed, this book draws you into that orbit in order for your paths to cross.” – Shaykh Muhammad Carr

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available:

Meccan Dawn: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad in Mecca

Medinan Lights: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad in Medina

 

14. Muwatta Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani

Sayings and Practices of the Prophet (Hadith)

Transmitted by one of Imam Abu Hanifa’s leading students, this is one of the most authentic works of hadith which covers a vast array of topics in Islam. It is a great introductory book for those interested in both fiqh and hadith as it captures some of the main fiqh discussions and their proofs. 

“This book gives a picture of the main fiqh discussions and their proofs.” – Shaykh Farid Dingle

 

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available

Hadith Study: Malik’s Muwatta’ – Reading and Understanding a Key Text of Hadith

 

15. The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (translated by Abdassamad Clarke) 

Sayings and Practices of the Prophet (Hadith)

This masterwork is a comprehensive collection of fifty hadith, including the ‘forty’ of Imam al-Nawawi. Every hadith chosen is considered by the Scholars to be essential for students of knowledge and the commentary is very detailed.

“This is a wonderful work that gives you a really good commentary on a wonderful collection of hadiths originally compiled by Imam Nawawi. I really love this book because it gives you a really good understanding of the ahadith collection and the translation is spot on. I have used it a lot to teach from and it is one of my favorites.” – Imam Yama Niazi 

Free SeekersGuidance Courses Available

Learn more about Hadith and Hadith Studies by registering for one of SeekersGuidance free courses.

 

16. The Name and the Named by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti

Spirituality (Tasawwuf)

This is a contemporary presentation of the ninety-nine Divine attributes or names of God according to the Islamic Sufi tradition. In this volume, Shaykh Tosun explains how to use these Names for the transformation of the soul into its original and primordial nature. It is a must for anyone who really wants to learn about Divine Beauty.

“This is a really nice book on the Divine Names and Attributes of Allah Most High. I really enjoyed reading and teaching from this book to both teenagers as well as adults. It is quite beautiful and very detailed as well.” – Imam Yama Niazi

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available

Understanding the Most Beautiful Names: The 99 Names of Allah Explained in Detail

 

17. Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart by Imam al-Mawlud’s Matharat al-Qulub (translated by Hamza Yusuf)

Spirituality (Tasawwuf)

This exploration of Islamic spirituality delves into the psychological diseases and cures of the heart. Diseases examined include miserliness, envy, hatred, rancor, malice, arrogance, lust, and other afflictions that assail people and often control them. The causes and practical cures of these diseases are discussed, offering a penetrating glimpse into how Islam deals with spiritual and psychological problems and demonstrating how all people can benefit from these teachings.

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available

 

Purification of the Heart for Youth: Diseases of the Heart and Their Cure

 

18. The Forty Principles of the Religion by Imam al-Ghazali

Spirituality (Tasawwuf)

This is a comprehensive distillation of Imam al-Ghazali’s, Ihya Ulum al-Din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences). This condensed book presents Imam al-Ghazali’s profound insights regarding man’s lifelong struggle to draw closer to Allah in a simple framework, providing the reader with a step-by-step tried and proven method for spiritual development.

“This book will give the true seeker everything they need to achieve proximity to the Divine.” – Shaykh Jamal Ud-Deen Hysaw

 

Free SeekersGuidance Course Available

Renewal by the Book: Explanation of 40 Key Themes of the Qur’an Based on Ghazali’s Ihya

Renewing Religion: Thematic Overview of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya’

 

19. The Mysteries of Purification by Imam al-Ghazali

Spirituality (Tasawwuf) 

In Book 3 of the 40-book Ihya Ulum al-Din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences), Imam al-Ghazali reminds us of the sayings of the Noble Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “Religion was founded on cleanliness” and “Purification is one half of belief.” In this book, we are further awakened to the fact that purity is not only physical but spiritual as well.

“This book opened my eyes when still in university, to the reality that our devotional works have realities and meaning far beyond and far deeper than their mere forms and formalities.” – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

20. The Marvels of the Heart, Science of the Spirit by Imam al-Ghazali (translated by Walter James Skellie)

Spirituality (Tasawwuf) 

Book 21 of the 40-book Ihya Ulum al-Din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences) is considered to be one of the key volumes which uses the theme of the heart as a mirror to illustrate key tenets of Islam. This is a classic Sufi manual in which Imam al-Ghazali reminds mankind that everything has a polish and the polish of the heart is the remembrance of Allah Most High.

 

21. Al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul and on Breaking the Two Desires: Books XXII and XXIII of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ghazali series) by Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (translated by T.J.Winter)

Spirituality (Tasawwuf)

This is a translation of Books 22 and 23 from Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences). The Imam illustrates how the spiritual life in Islam begins with ‘riyadat al-nafs’, the inner warfare against the ego and highlights the importance of discipline. As such, he provides an account of various diseases of the heart to pay attention to and its remedies in order to attain spiritual realization. 

“This book is meant to inspire and help us understand that we have much to learn and apply if we ever want to approach the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his companions.” – Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

 

22. Inner dimensions of Islamic Worship by Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

Spirituality (Tasawwuf)

Selections from his Ihya Ulum al-Din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences), Imam al-Ghazali in this work shows how to bring together the inner states of the heart and outer forms of worship for sincere action.

“This book helps one see the depth and reason behind one’s worship and how it affects the soul. The Arabic du’as (with translation) in it are essential for every Muslim and this is a great way to boost one’s faith and fuel oneself to renew one’s practice of Islam.” – Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

 

23. The Book of Sufi Chivalry by Imam Muhammad Ibn al-Husayn al-Sulami 

Spirituality (Tasawwuf)

Spiritual Chivalry (Futuwwa) is a code of honourable behaviour and etiquette (adab) that follows the examples of the Prophets, Saints and Sages, which if adhered to, detaches one from their ego. In this book, Imam al-Sulami illustrates that it is from spiritual chivalry, for example that one’s wealth is measured by what is given.

“A book about what being a Muslim entail of virtuous, noble conduct and choices.” – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

24. The Book of Wisdoms by Imam Ibn ‘Ata‘Allah al-Iskandari 

Spirituality (Tasawwuf) 

Sufi master Ibn ‘Ata‘Allah chose an aphoristic and rhythmical style to surmise the Spiritual way from one who experienced it himself and who wished to make it known to others. This book has a timeless quality for those seeking the path leading to Allah, the Absolute.

“A book about what being a Muslim entail of virtuous, noble conduct and choices.” – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

Listen to SeekersGuidance Podcast on The Hikam (Book of Wisdoms)

 

25. Sea Without Shore: A Manual of the Sufi Path by Nuh Ha Mim Keller

Spirituality (Tasawwuf) 

This is a practical manual for those travelling the path of Sufism. Shaykh Nuh relates the life of the Sufi; how he lives, how he marries and how he earns a living in the modern world. 

“It is very well written, easy to read, yet, very scholarly and deeply spiritual in a very disarming manner. Suitable for the non-initiate as well as the initiated. One does not necessarily have to be a Shadhili to take benefit from the book. The book also talks to the core of the challenges that beset the western mind.” – Shaykh Muhammad Carr

 

26. A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaikh Ahmad al-Alawi by Dr. Martin Lings

Spirituality (Tasawwuf)

This book is applicable to anyone who is sincerely interested in the Spiritual Way, both as an intellectual tradition and a living reality. The work gives insight into the spiritual legacy of Shaykh Al-Alawi’s teachings on Sufism and life in a North African Sufi Order.

 

27. In the Early Hours: Reflections on Spiritual and Self Development by Khurram Murad

Spirituality (Tasawwuf)

This is an inspiring and engaging read that provides an introduction to spiritual and self-development. Ustadh Murad reinforces in the reader the ultimate desire to seek the good pleasure of Allah Most High and outlines the methods by which one can attain it in their daily life.

SeekersGuidance Resources:

Learn more about Islamic Spirituality by registering for one of SeekersGuidance FREE courses. (Click here) 

 

Free SeekersGuidance courses on Al-Ghazali’s Ihya

Renewal by the Book: Explanation of 40 Key Themes of the Qur’an Based on Ghazali’s Ihya

Renewing Religion: Thematic Overview of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya’

Purification of the Heart for Youth: Diseases of the Heart and Their Cure

 

Free SeekersGuidance Podcast on Al-Ghazali’s Ihya

SeekersGuidance Podcast: Renewal By The Book – Daily Qur’anic Tafsir based on Ghazali’s Ihya

 

28. Man and the Universe: An Islamic Perspective by Dr. Mostafa Al-Badawi 

Beliefs (‘Aqida)

A book about what human beings are, where we stand and what we can do about it. In this work, Dr. Al-Badawi presents a penetrating diagnosis of the illnesses of humanity today, together with a fascinating overview of the Islamic metaphysic, unearthing its spiritual and moral values and its timeless relevance and applicability.

 

29. The Science of the Greater Jihad, Essays in Principial Psychology by Charles Upton

Psychology and Spirituality (Tasawwuf) 

The spiritual life must take psychology into account; if we want to do good and know the truth, we must understand what in the human being supports this intent and what stands in its way. Author Charles Upton explores psychology and the spiritual path.

“This book will give the true seeker everything they need to achieve proximity to the Divine.” – Shaykh Jamal Ud-Deen Hysaw

 

30. Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness & the Essential Self by Kabir Edmund Helminski

Psychology and Spirituality (Tasawwuf)

This work draws heavily on traditional Sufi works and experience to highlight the importance of developing presence to improve one’s life and awaken the higher potentialities of one’s soul. It integrates ancient wisdom with the needs of contemporary life. This is a very relevant read.    

 

31. The Travels of Ibn Battuta by Ibn Battuta

History and Travel

Shaykh Ibn Battuta set out as a young man on a pilgrimage to Mecca that ended 27 years and 75,000 miles later. His account of the journey, written on his return, not only provides vivid accounts of an odyssey that took him to exotic lands, but also describes in great detail Muslim maritime activities in the Middle and Far East. A rare and important work covering the geography and history of the medieval Arab world, this primary sourcebook will be welcomed by students and scholars for its inherent historical value. 

“This book gives a multicultural and pluralistic picture of the classical Muslim world.” – Shaykh Farid Dingle

 

32. The Road to Mecca by Muhammad Asad

Autobiography

Part travelogue, part autobiography, this is a deep, poignant, insightful autobiography of a journey into Islam. It is a compelling story of a Western journalist’s initial rejection of all institutional religions, his entree into Taoism, his fascinating travels as a diplomat, and finally his embrace of Islam. This is the story of Muhammad Asad, a prominent english translator of the Holy Qur‘an.

 

33. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X 

Autobiography

Malcolm X, also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz tells of his life’s journey through racism, injustice and a deep personal quest for God. This journey culminates with his conversion to Islam and his resolve to place reliance on Allah Most High.

“Another journey into Islam, through racism, injustice, a question for truth, justice, and a deep, personal quest for God.” – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

34. Abdus Sattar Edhi, An Autobiography: A Mirror to the Blind-narrated by Tahmina Durrani

Autobiography

This is an important read for anyone with an interest in the field of charity-based work and humanitarianism. It guides the reader through the life journey of one of modern day’s most important humanitarians: Abdul Sattar Edhi of Pakistan.

 

35.  Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi: Life and Works by Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi

Autobiography

This book presents a comprehensive study of the early life, family and education of the scholar Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi. His major writings seriously consider the dynamic role of Islam in a multi-religious society, detailing a coherent approach to the diversity issues in the twentieth century.


Biographies

Shaykh Amin Buxton

Shaykh Amin Buxton was born in London. He converted to Islam in 1999 and read Arabic and Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of London. He also studied the Islamic sciences in a traditional setting in both Syria and Yemen. He has edited and translated a number of books which include Imam al-Haddad’s ‘Beneficial Counsels’ and Umar al-Khatib’s ‘Prophetic Guidance’. Since 2017 he has resided with his family in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is involved in several educational and social initiatives including New to Islam Edinburgh and Rafah International. Shaykh Amin Buxton is one of our esteemed internal scholars.

 

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.

 

Shaykh Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language at SeekersGuidance.

 

Shaykh Jamal Ud-Deen Hysaw 

Shaykh Jamal Ud-Deen Hysaw is a SeekersGuidance instructor. Shaykh Jamal accepted Islam in 1992 in Chicago, Illinois. He has a degree in Political Science from Southern Illinois University, and has studied Islamic studies in Damascus, Syria for 3 years. In 1995 he studied for 2 years at Abu Nur Islamic Institute and 1 year at the University of Damascus Language program for Foreigners. In 1995 Shaykh Jamal moved to Tarim, Yemen and studied in Dar Al-Mustafa for 5 years. He returned to the USA in 2003 and began an Islamic studies program that lasted for 1 year, and held courses in Fiqh, the 40 hadith, and beginning Arabic around the Atlanta area.

 

Imam Yama Niazi

Imam Yama Niazi has studied with local scholars in the USA for a number of years which culminated in him becoming an imam of the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara for 8 years. He served the community by teaching and leading prayers. In 2015 he founded “ the blessed tree “ a nonprofit specifically for bridging gaps between the Muslim community and others. He has spoken on many Muslim platforms throughout the USA and Canada and conducted programmes in local communities in North America. He is an instructor at SeekersGuidance.

 

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto in Arabic and French. She then lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterwards, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she resided for 15 years, and studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences with local and travelling scholars. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her husband and children.

 

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. Subsequently, he travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying at Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied inheritance law, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

 

Shaykh Abdullah Misra

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, into a Hindu family of North Indian heritage. He became Muslim at the age of 18, graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Business Administration and worked briefly in marketing. He then went abroad with his wife to seek religious knowledge full-time, first in Tarim, then in the West Indies and finally in Amman, Jordan, where he focussed his traditional studies on the sciences of Sacred Law (fiqh), hadith, Islamic belief, tajwid, and sira.

 

Shaykh Muhammad Idris Watts (Guest Contributor) 

Born and raised in Kent, Muhammad Idris Watts accepted Islam in 1998. He travelled to Fez, Morocco to embark on an intensive period of study. He attended classes at the Qarawiyeen University in the Old City studying with the likes of the adept grammarian Shaykh Abdel-Hayy al-‘Amrāwī and many other teachers. He studied classical texts including the Ajrumiyah, Lāmiyat al-Af’āl, Matn az-Zanjānī, Alfiyah in Grammar and Morphology, Ibn ‘Ashir, al-Akhdarī, Risālah of Ibn Abī Zayd and sections of the ‘Asimiyyah in Mālikī Fiqh, as well as Jawharat at-Tawhīd in Creed. He also had the opportunity of sitting with the students of the late Shaykh Makkī bin Kīrān, (may God bless his soul), who was a master of the ten variant recitations of the Qurān and studied Tajwīd and four of the variant recitations with them. the etiquette (adab) and only when this is adopted, can the reciter be changed by the blessings of the Qur’an to imperceptible degrees.

 

Shaykh Muhammad Carr

Shaykh Muhammad Carr has dedicated his life to studying and transmitting our beautiful deen; his studies have taken him around the globe, where he has benefitted from many luminaries including Shaykh Taha Karan, Shaykh Yaseen Abbas, Shaykh Muadh Ali and many others. He completed his memorization of the Quran at Dar al-Ulum Zakariyyah in September 1997 and received an Alimiyya Degree in 2006. He is also affiliated with Masjid Auwal in Bo Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa (the oldest mosque in South Africa), where he serves as a co-imam, along with Dar Al-Safa, where he has taught since 2018. As a teacher, he imparts the wisdom of our heritage and tradition by opening the door for students and facilitating their affairs. As an imam, he has the unique opportunity to serve his community in daily life. He continues to pursue traditional Islamic Sciences, possessing a keen interest in Islamic Contract Law and Finance. His passion for learning & teaching is matched by his appreciation for the diversity of scholarship, and attention to the value of good character. His contributions to SeekersGuidance are welcomed, as we strive to grow as righteous believers under the guidance of qualified scholars such as Shakyh Muhammad Carr.

 

Blessings of a Lockdown Wedding

Hidden Blessings in Weddings that Took Place During Covid-19

 

Before Covid-19, weddings were different. For many of us, the consideration of a small wedding is not an option given that we tend to invite those from our close, secondary and distant circles. As with all tribulations, we find blessings hidden therein. These numerous blessings are spiritual and pragmatic. Has your wedding been delayed? Has the opportunity for marriage arisen in this uncertain time? Did you have a pandemic wedding? In this collaborative piece, SeekersGuidance offers some reflections on why modest ceremonies may be amongst the most fruitful. 


Accepting Allah’s Will 

A marriage that falls during Covid-19 was decreed by Allah Most High. “I am amazed by the believer. Verily, Allah does not decree anything for the believer except what is good for him” (Ahmed). By accepting Allah’s will, the couple prioritizes the cornerstone of success in this life: Allah. The couple understands that delaying this sacred bond for the sake of numbers or luxury may not be beneficial. For many, this may be an undesirable circumstance, but if performed with sincerity (ikhlas), it may receive Allah’s pleasure. 

 

Fulfilling the Sunna of Marriage 

Furthermore, marriage itself entails reward and blessings. It is a source of barakah and a means of sustenance. By choosing to continue with your marriage and not delaying, you are pleasing Allah Most High and following in the Sunnah of the Best of Creation (peace and blessings be upon him).

Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among yourselves, male or female: if they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His grace: for Allah encompasseth all, and He Knoweth all things (Quran 24:32).

It was narrated from A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) that: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Marriage is part of my sunnah, and whoever does not follow my sunna has nothing to do with me. Get married, for I will boast of your great numbers before the nations. Whoever has the means, let him get married, and whoever does not, then he should fast for it will diminish his desire” (ibn Maja).

 

Simplicity and Lower Costs

Lockdown weddings have been reduced in numbers in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. When you remove the 400 people guest list, you may realize that the ones that attend pray for nothing more than to see the couple happy. An intimate atmosphere is created, removing the pressure of pleasing your guests through fancy favors and photoshoots. 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) advocated for lower costs and less extravagance. According to a sahih hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said “The best marriages are the easiest” (Ibn Hibban). 

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The most blessed marriage (nikah) is the one with the least expenses” (Bayhaqi). 

Many lockdown weddings have taken place in mosques instead of grand halls and luxurious settings. It is not possible to quantify the blessings of such a union sanctified in the House of God. The masjid itself is beautiful – no decor is needed.

By simplifying a wedding, we might reduce the number of considerations that need to be made. This simplification is closer to the essence of the marriage ceremony. Fewer decisions give rise to harmony by reducing areas of disagreement.

Another unexpected blessing is the financial saving. Some couples may begin their marriage in debt as they struggle to pay for a large and lavish wedding. Others spend generously on the hall and catering, only to realize later that the money would have been a valuable saving. 

Again, the intention is important. A lavish wedding of two pious believers may be more pleasing to Allah Most High than a small & simple wedding between two vain Muslims.

 

Blessings in Tribulation 

For someone who has been planning a wedding for years, a lockdown wedding may be a letdown — a source of dejection and disappointment. Despite hearing all of these hadiths, one may still feel upset and dismayed because of not being able to hold a large wedding where guests can embrace one another without fear of infection and disease. 

For any person facing tribulation, sorrow, or disappointment, there is much goodness awaiting them at the end of the tunnel. Allah Most High tells us, “And if Allah touches you with hurt, there is none to lift it except him” (Qur’an, 6:17). 

One of the countless blessings of tribulation is that one is made aware of the Divine Lordship and overwhelming Power of Allah; a realization that all things are in His grasp. 

There are times when we begin to imagine that we are in charge and that we have built this and that we have done that, Allah will send us things to call us back to Him that show us who is the Lord. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect and turn back to Allah in thankfulness and gratitude for all the blessings He bestowed upon us. 

 

Having Sincerity

This time allows us to reflect on the purpose of our marriage. If it is for Allah, then certainly Allah is with us and watches and our reward will be intact, if it is for other than that, then we will feel the loss of barakah and acceptance.

Covid-19 may end, God Willing, but a believer will face many unexpected trials. Sailing through these trials and accepting Allah’s decree, will build strength in the believer’s ability to handle tribulations. 

“Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good befalls him [and] he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him [and] he is patient and that is good for him” (Muslim). 


Have a Question? Trained and reliable scholars have been providing trusted answers for over a decade. Submit a question or browse previously answered questions.


Related SeekersGuidance Resources

Courses. Always free.

Marriage in Islam: Guidance for Successful Marriage

Keys to Successful Muslim Marriages: Practical lessons that explain the Prophetic Spirit of Marriage

 

Questions and Answers by Trained and Reliable Scholars

Love and Marriage – All Your Questions Answered

Ettiquette of Marriage – A Comprehensive Reader

Feeling Discouraged by Marriage

Supplication for Getting Married

Dealing with Tribulations – A Comprehensive Reader

Prayer of Seeking Guidance – Ultimate Guide to Istikhara

 

Living Simply: Evaluation of the Self

Part Five: An Internal Audit

By Shaykh Farid Dingle

In order to get through life with ease, the early Muslims (salaf) focused on certain key ways of living that would make it spiritually and practically easier and more fruitful. They coined a term for the variegated rules that they lived by, a term that summarized the system of living for the Hereafter. They called it zuhd: detachment from this world. For the purpose of this article series, we have found the best match in terms of meaning to be asceticism. Other terms to describe zuhd are indifference towards worldly matters or simple or minimal living. This is the fifth article from a series of articles and podcasts by SeekersGuidance scholar, Shaykh Farid Dingle.

Introduction to Asceticism (Part One)

Listening More, Talking Less (Part Two)

Entertaining Ourselves to Death (Part Three)

Being Extremely Moderate (Part Four)

In this episode, Imam Waki sheds light on the necessity of being very frank with oneself and measuring one’s life, inwardly and outwardly, against the clear standards of the Sacred Law. This requires introspection, determination, and honesty, which results in a tremendous increase in faith. The consequences of letting oneself live one’s life with no checks and balances are sins and regrets.


“A man is not considered to have fear of Allah until he audits his life as he would his partner’s accounts: he has to know exactly where his clothes, food, and drink come from” (Maymun ibn Mihran).

 

These opening words of this chapter summarize the whole topic of monitoring and evaluating oneself on a religious and spiritual level. Firstly, it introduces the concept of self-accountability and the need to critically review one’s life on a regular basis. Secondly, it tells us of the objective and non-partisan stance one must have in order to make any constructive criticism of oneself: one must step outside oneself and demand one’s rights from oneself with absolute transparency, just as if one were a partner in business. Thirdly, it defines the most important items to be assessed: one’s food and drink. They are crucial, as what one consumes has a direct effect on one’s actions. Allah Most High says, 

“O messengers, eat of the goodly and do righteous deeds” (Qur’an, 23:51).

 

Imam Waki then moves on to a hadith that explains the need for self-assessment. The hadith that he mentions breaks down everyone who has ever lived on earth into four categories: two are good, and two are bad. The hadith states: “In this life, there are just four people: a slave whom Allah gives both money and knowledge who then acts according to his knowledge and spends what is due in [his wealth]. The next is a slave whom Allah gave knowledge but did not give wealth. He says to himself, ‘If I only had money like this one, I would have done what [the first] did.’ The two will have the same reward. [The third] is a slave for whom Allah provided money but did not give knowledge, so he flounders around wasting his money in ignorance and does not spend what is due in [his wealth]. [The last] is a slave whom Allah neither gave wealth nor knowledge. He says to himself, ‘If I only had the money, I would do everything that [the third] does. So the two are alike in sin” (Ibn Majah). Now besides the obvious relationship between monitoring oneself and doing good or bad, this hadith highlights an important point, and that is how important and significant intentions are. By having the same intentions, two people had exactly the same reward. It is only prudent, therefore, that when we monitor our record of good and bad deeds, we are to be exceptionally careful about our intentions. Intentions are the source of all actions, and ultimately of our being saved or damned.

Being honest with oneself and taking a frank look at how one spends one’s days and nights is at the heart of faith. Waki cites Ammar ibn Yasir, “

Whoever has three things has true faith: being honest with oneself, spending when poor, and giving greetings of peace to scholars.”

 

In this context of being frank with oneself, the author mentions a hadith, “Whoever wants to be saved from Hellfire and be entered into Paradise, let him die believing in Allah and the Last Day, and let him do unto others what he would have done unto himself.” How often it is that we do things that are technically halal, but we would never wish that they be done to us? Such actions require a critical moral eye to be sifted out of our lives.

To complete this portrait of self-criticism that Waki has drawn for us from the early Muslims, it is worth adding some other complementary quotes:

Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “Take yourself to task while things are easy before things get tough. Whoever does so will be in keeping with Allah’s pleasure and his matter will be in an enviable position. Whoever just lets his life distract him and his whims busy him, his matter will be regret and loss.”

 

Hasan al-Basri said, “A slave will be well as long as there is a voice within him admonishing him to do good, and as long as his concern is keeping himself in check.”

Abu Yazid al-Bustami said, “For twelve years I was the blacksmith of my self, and five years the polisher of the mirror of my heart, and for one year I was looking in that mirror and I saw about my waist the girdle of unbelief. I tried hard to cut it and I spent twelve years in that effort. Then I looked in the mirror and I saw a girdle within me. I spent five years cutting it. Then I spent one year looking at what I had done. Then everything was shown to me and I saw all people as if they were dead. I prayed ‘Allahu Akbar’ over them four times.” That is to say that he no longer saw any point in fearing them or trying to earn their approval, and no longer saw them capable of harming or benefiting him. His long years of refining his soul paid off and his faith reached the highest level it could.

 


About the Author

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language which can be found here. 

The corresponding podcast is due for release soon.

 

Begin Your Search for Sacred Knowledge

Sign up for a SeekersGuidance course taught by trained and reliable scholars. Over 130 courses. Always free.

 

Prayer Reader: The Ultimate Guide To Prayer in Islam

A Comprehensive Guide to Prayer

SeekersGuidance “Readers” provide the seeker with a purposely curated list of articles, answers and other content on a particular topic.

Prayer is an integral part of Islam. It is the second of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. Allah Most High has made prayer an obligation on the believer.

O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer (Qur’an 2:153).

It is essential for a believer to seek out answers in order to pray correctly and pray with presence. How to pray? When to pray? What makes my prayer invalid? This is a comprehensive guide for prayer and prayer-related questions.


SeekerGuidance Articles on Prayer

Presence in Prayer:

  1. SeekersNotes: Nine Keys to Presence of Heart in Prayer – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
  2. Informative To Transformative: How To Upgrade Your Prayer
  3. SeekersNotes: The Prayer of The Prophet ﷺ – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus
  4. Daily Qur’an Reflections: (21) Prayer as the Ascent of the Believer
  5. Illuminating The Heart with Prayer – Ustadh Abdus Shakur Brooks
  6. Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali On Bringing The Heart To Presence During Prayer

 

Eid Prayer:

  1. How to Pray the Eid Prayer – A Illustrated Explanation
  2. Friday Prayer Remains Obligatory if Eid Falls on a Friday – Faraz Rabbani

 

The Prayer of Glorification (Salat Al-Tasbih):

The Prayer of Glorification (Salat Al-Tasbih)

 

Prayer on the Fifteenth Night of Shaban

Prayer on the Fifteenth Night of Shaban – Muwasala

 

SeekersGuidance Courses on Prayer

Fiqh of Prayer

Hanafi Fiqh: 

On Worship (Purification, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, and Hajj): Shurunbulali’s Ascent to Felicity

Shafi’i Fiqh:

On Worship (Purification, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, and Hajj): Ba Fadl’s The Short Abridgement

Fiqh of Worship for Youth: 

The Fiqh of Worship for Youth: Rules of Purification and Prayer

Perfecting Prayer

1. Perfecting Prayer: Khadimi’s Treatise on Presence in Prayer Explained

2. Praying with Presence: Practical Advice on Improving Your Prayer

 

Questions and Answers Related to Prayer

  1. Reciting the Qur’an in the Ritual Prayer
  2. Intending the Wrong Prayer
  3. Making the Intention for Missed Prayer
  4. Forgetfulness Prostration In Prayer
  5. Urge to Relieve Oneself During Prayer
  6. Does Incorrect Pronunciation of Recitation Break The Prayer?
  7. Are My Prayers Valid If I Don’t Recite the Opening Chapter?
  8. The Night Vigil Prayer
  9. Making up Years of Missed Prayers
  10. Leading Group Prayer At Home
  11. Excuses For Missing Prayer
  12. Cultivating Love for the Prophet and Thinking of Him in Prayer
  13. Can a Group of Muslims Perform the Friday Prayer in a Camp?
  14. Are Tahajjud and Tarawih Different Prayers?
  15. Validity of Prayer
  16. Making Up Missed Prayers
  17. Anxiety Regarding Missed Prayers
  18. Is a Restricted Friday Prayer Valid?
  19. Past Mistakes in Prayer
  20. What Should I do If I Forget During the Prayer?
  21. My Dawn Prayer Entered Into the Sunrise
  22. Pausing in Prayer
  23. Pronouncing the Integrals of the Prayer Incorrectly
  24. In What Circumstances Is One Permitted to Break Their Prayer?
  25. Proper Method of Performing the Supererogatory Prayers Before Midday and Afternoon Prayers
  26. How Do We Deal With Blameworthy Thoughts, Especially in Prayer?
  27. Can I Make Personal Supplication During My Prayer After the Fatiha?
  28. Is the Friday Prayer an Individual Obligation or a Communal Obligation?
  29. Is It Permissible to Perform Al-Ishraq Prayer Prior to Eid Prayer?
  30. What Are Some Recommended Supplications and Suras to Be Read in the Night Prayer?
  31. What is the ruling regarding repeating prayers?
  32. May I Continue Praying Friday Prayer at Home even after Mosques Open?
  33. Delaying prayer due to OCD
  34. Joining prayers at work
  35. Shortening Night Prayer Behind Someone Praying Sunset Prayer
  36. I Fear I Will Laugh in My Prayer
  37. Are All My Deeds Void for Deliberately Missing Prayers?
  38. Does Mistakes During Recitation Invalidate My Prayers?
  39. Are the Supererogatory Prayers of Morning Prayer to Be Done After the Call to Prayer
  40. What Is the Proof That Prayer Is Not Permissible When the Sun Is at Its Zenith?
  41. Is It Permissible to Pray in Multiple Friday Prayers in the Same City?
  42. Movements In Prayer
  43. Witr Prayer And Travel
  44. What Should I Do If I Hear The Prayer Call After Finishing My Current Prayer?
  45. Friday Prayer
  46. Prayer Of The Traveler
  47. Prayer Timings In Places Far From the Equator
  48. Joining Prayers
  49. Prayer and Pictures
  50. Leading the Prayer Sitting.
  51. Latecomer Recitation in Prayer
  52. Wrong Number of Cycles During Prayer
  53. Swaying in Prayer
  54. Keeping Wudu in Prayer.
  55. Intention and Prayer.
  56. Stains of Filth and Prayer.
  57. Illegitimate Children and Leading the Prayer.
  58. When Should I Start Shorten My Prayers?
  59. Is My Prayer Valid If I Recite Silently?
  60. Qibla Direction and Prayer Validity
  61. Are Prayers Repeated If Hair Is Showing?
  62. Ishraq, Chasht, and Awwabin Prayers
  63. Saying the Final Salams in Prayer behind an Imam
  64. Is a Lecture a Valid Excuse to Delay the Prayer?
  65. Prayer and Tayammum in Unclean Spaces
  66. How Should I Go About Establishing an Intention for My Prayer?
  67. Is It Valid for a Hanafi to Pray Behind a Shafi’i Joining Prayers?
  68. Is the Witr Prayer Mandatory?
  69. Does a Short Back and Sides Haircut Prevent My Prayers from Being Accepted?
  70. I Struggle with My Prayers and Am so Worried About My Family Members Who Do Not Pray. What Do I Do
  71. Does the Intention of Breaking the Prayer Invalidate It?
  72. How Should I Go About Establishing an Intention for My Prayer?
  73. Is My Prayer After Its Time Invalid If I Didn’t Have the Intention of Making It Up?
  74. Is the Prayer of a Bride Wearing Make-up Containing Impure Substances Invalid?
  75. What Should I Do If I Sit at the End of the First Cycle of Prayer?

 

Begin your search for knowledge. Sign up to a SeekersGuidance course. Trained and reliable scholars. Always free.

How Do I See Prophet Muhammad in My Dreams? by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Four Keys to Invite Our Beloved Messenger into Our Dreams

By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In the Name of Allah, the Encompassingly Merciful, the Particularly Merciful. All praise belongs to Allah. May the best of blessings and most perfect of peace be upon our master Muhammad ibn Abdullah, and upon his followers, his companions, and all those who are guided by his teachings.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us about the possibility and reality of seeing him in our dreams. This article is based on a video by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani on seeing our Beloved Prophet Muhammad in our dreams. 


Whoever has seen me in a dream has seen me, for Shaytaan does not appear in my image. -Prophet Muhammad 

(Bukhari)

We can find a number of these hadith in the closing chapter of Imam Tirmidhi’s wonderful work on the description of the Prophetic character called al-Shama‘il al-Muhammadiyya.

 

How to See the Prophet in Your Dreams

The scholars gave the beautiful example of a cup, that if one wants to fill the cup with something one desires, the first thing that one needs to do is empty their cup because a full cup cannot be filled. Here are some of the habits one can adopt in order to be fortunate enough to see the Prophet in their dreams if Allah wills.

 

One. Read about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

How can one empty one’s heart from other things? By having intense yearning and longing for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). How does one have intense yearning? By making a regular habit to read about him – his conduct, his character, and his life.

Our teachers particularly recommend the book “Our Master Muhammad” by Imam Abdallah Sirajuddin al-Husayni, one of the greatest scholars of hadith and a true lover of the Prophet.

 

Two. Strive to Follow the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

Make a firm life commitment to strive to follow the Prophet in every aspect of your life gradually and consistently. How? By committing to learning as a lover; learn about faith because you want to mirror some of the faith of the Prophet, learn about prayer so that you can strive to pray like the Prophet prayed, learn about halal and haram so that you can strive to conduct yourself in life with dignity, principle, justice, and with the excellence exhibited & exemplified by our beloved Prophet. Learn as a lover. Be a lover. 

 

Three. Send Abundant Prayers and Blessings Upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The closest of you to me in the Hereafter shall be those who send most blessings upon me.” Scholars say that there is no specific number mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah with respect to how many blessings we should send on the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

However, some scholars suggest that the least that would be considered sufficient would be three hundred per day. Begin with one hundred. One of the beautiful works on blessings and prayers (salwaat) that has been highly recommended is the “Dalail al-Khayrat” – the pathway to all good by Imam Suleiman Al-Jazuli. You can read one chapter per day. This is an expression of sending prayers and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad. 

 

Four. Strive to be in the Company of the Lovers of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him)

Be in the company of the people who tremble with the love of the Prophet. If there are gatherings of remembrance and learning in your city, by the people who exhibit Prophetic character and love, connect with those gatherings and keep connecting with them. 

Connect with scholars in your community who exhibit that Prophetic character and if you don’t have people of learning in your city then go to the programs of people who have that Prophetic mercy because when you see them, you’re reminded of the beautiful way of our beloved Prophet.

Invite such scholars to your communities, because it is by the love of the Messenger and the spreading of that love, that the hearts, communities and families are brought to life.

About the Author

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age.

He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.

 

 

SeekersGuidance Courses on Seerah and Shama’il:

Meccan Dawn: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad in Mecca

Medinan Lights: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad in Medina

The Beautiful Character of the Beloved of Allah: Tirmidhi’s Shama’il Explained – On the Prophet’s Description, Character, and Conduct

Always free.