The Setting of the Cape Sun: A Tribute to Mufti Taha Karaan

By Dr Yusuf Patel

As the sadness and grief of losing the Cape’s prodigious son sets in, the bitter reality and sequelae of separation between teacher and student inundates scores of graduates of Mufti Taha Karaan around the globe. Incessant and astonishing tributes, reflections, and anecdotal accounts reflect the sordid and sombre emotions that cloud the individual souls and collective consciousness of his close associates and admirers.

The departure of his life has caused eyes to copiously tear rivers for days on end. Perhaps, this is the only avenue for his students and colleagues to ease the burden of his loss and to allow the process of bereavement to take its course. This emotional catharsis is best encapsulated by Shakespeare on the tongue of Richard in his play Henry VI Part 3:

“To weep is to make less the depth of grief.”

There is no shame in weeping, especially over those who made the world a better place through their illuminative existence and diligent work.

We will all miss Mufti Taha Karaan, those who knew him, and those who wish they had. However, despite the great loss that has befallen the Ummah through his passing, let us remember and be inspired by the noble life that he lived. Perhaps, in this, we might find some solace and impetus to continue our own journeys in serving God and his creation.

Mufti Taha Karaan possessed an amazing affinity for knowledge and scholarship. Since his early years growing up, he was known to be an avid reader, voracious bibliophile, and an eloquent poet. Gifted with a photographic memory, he would retain anything he read and would be able to recall it without any mental effort or struggle. Skillful with his hand, he was considered a creative virtuoso in calligraphy and Islamic penmanship. Despite being considered a genius within the Islamic sciences at a tender young age, he displayed maturity beyond his years with his fervent desire to make applicable the knowledge that he acquired.  He was never shy to tackle any contemporary issue, always looking to bridge the gap between the sacred and secular. I remember as if it was yesterday, my first interaction with him as a student. It was in a class scheduled for the senior students of the seminary, where he would be explaining and clarifying specific nomenclature within the Shafi’i school of thought. I sat there as a junior student, hoping I would be able to follow this advanced class. As soon as he commenced, I was in awe of his ability to navigate the Islamic and western traditions with great depth and breadth. He would quote Socrates, Kant, Milton, and Shakespeare, amongst others, to consolidate various teaching points within the class. It was there and then that I realised that our community did not truly appreciate the remarkable scholar that he was. His intellectual ability was second to none and something rare to witness in the modern world. However, as much as we loved to benefit from his classes, it was his magnanimous and generous heart that we treasured the most.

Many people attain greatness in their intellectual endeavours, but very few can match their mental capacities with an exalted character of humility and a genuine concern for others. Mufti Taha was one of those saintly individuals. He would go out of his way to ensure that the personal problems and social quagmires of people were resolved and taken care of. Many a time, he would take from his own finances and gift it to others to ensure that they were not in a position of difficulty or strain. To him, knowledge and action were inextricable. He had a great predilection to act upon what he knew. A lover of hadith, he would find every opportunity to actualise and bring to life a prophetic narration. His ardent love of the Prophetic family and noble companions was evident in his writings, poems, and statements. He was a man who exuded harmony and balance in all of his affairs. As an exemplar of scholarly concinnity, he always acted and advised others to follow a path of equilibrium.

Many people ask what the secret to his erudite and sagacious scholarship was. Many reasons could be proffered, but to me, it was his sophisticated simplicity. Mufti Taha conducted himself in the most unpretentious of ways. He had the opportunity to use his profound scholastic pedigree to solicit fame and monetary incentives. However, he preferred a life of anonymity. He was never concerned about gracing the courts of kings and rulers; instead, he found immense satisfaction in spending time with scholars, his students, and those who sacrificed their time for others. He showed us all what true sincerity means and how it should be applied within our lives. The amount of effort that many of us expend in seeking recognition and social reputation, he would use that same amount and more to shun admiration and praise. His uncontrived humility and sincerity were his divine keys which allowed him to unlock the vistas of knowledge that others only dream of.

He was a principled man who opposed oppression in all its forms. He was never shy or apprehensive to stand and support the meek and oppressed. He had a deep concern for the welfare of all people. Despite the vociferous and vexatious attacks on his character and scholarship from various quarters, he stood firm with his legal edicts of protecting society at large through proactive measures in religious spaces. He called for calm and repose during these challenging times, asking the broader community to trust the medical experts within the South African Muslim community regarding the inimical dangers of Covid-19. He refused to be detracted and swayed by aspersions and ridicule, many a time reminding his students not to respond to those hurling abuse and vitriol at him. As always, he was a man with purpose leading from the front with courage and fortitude. The great void that he leaves is irreplaceable, and it bears testimony to the fact that he made the world a better place with his contributions and knowledge. Even though our teacher has departed, and we will miss him dearly, let us find inspiration and motivation from the sublime path that he walked. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow says in his Psalm of Life:

 

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time;

 

Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

 

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.

 

The life and death of Mufti Taha Karaan are laden with valuable lessons and reminders. He showed us how to live meaningful lives through knowledge and service. His death reminds us that we will all return to Allah; what is important, though, is that we return with a sound heart. That is how Mufti Taha Karaan returned to his Lord.

May Allah elevate his rank and afford him the highest abode in Paradise with the Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him).

 

 

الغُصْنُ يُنْبِتُ غُصْنًا حِيْنَ تَقْطَعُهُ

وَاللَّيْلُ يُنْجِبُ صُبْحًا حِيْنَ يَكْتَمِلُ

سَتُمْطَرُ الْأَرْضُ يَوْمًا رَغْمَ شِحَّتِهَا

وَمِنْ بُطُوْنِ الْمَآسِيْ يُوْلَدُ الأَمَلُ

 

A branch when cut

lets a new branch grow

When the night is full

it brings morning forth

The earth will have rain

though it may be scarce

And from the depths of tragedy

new hope is born

–          Translated by Mufti Taha Karaan RA

 

Recommended Readings

  1.  A Tribute to Mufti Taha Karaan
  2. The Passing of a Shining Star – Mufti Taha Karaan

Articles by Mufti Taha Karaan

  1. Guidance on COVID-19 (Part 1) – Mufti Taha Karaan
  2. Adhering to the National Lockdown – Mufti Taha Karaan
  3. Understanding the Trends in Fiqh Literature – By Mufti Taha Karaan
  4. If Only Someone Else Said it | Mufti Taha Karaan of South Africa

 

 

 

 

A Tribute to Mufti Taha Karaan

A Moving Tribute to a Prolific Scholar

By Hasan Labuschagne, Student of Knowledge

I used to keep this incident a secret, due to Maulana Tauha’s request for anonymity during his life, but now after his death, I wish to share a personal anecdote about my own interaction with him. I hope to give everyone reading this a glimpse of who the man was, not just as the principal of an institute of learning, or as an Islamic scholar, but as a human being on an interpersonal level.

During the early days of my 3rd year of study at Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyah al-Islamiyah (DUAI), I was going through a period of financial and personal turmoil. As all Tullāb al-‘Ilm  (students of Islamic knowledge) are no doubt aware, this path towards gaining Islamic knowledge is often a difficult one laden with many emotional and financial obstacles. Most students at Dar al-Ulum know that in this field, bursaries are few and far between, and most married students would rely on their life-savings or on doing business part-time to survive. During the first few months of my 3rd year, I suffered the loss of my aunt and godmother Heila who, in spite of being a Christian, was a major financial and emotional pillar of support in my studies. She would always encourage me to follow my dream and always stick a few crisp R100 notes in my pocket, or hand me her petrol card to fill up my car so that I can drive to the Madrassah every day.  Her support allowed me to pursue my studies without worrying about neglecting my duties as a husband and a son.

With her passing in 2019 however, I realized I would no longer have the financial safety-net that had allowed me to study full-time, and that in order to fulfill my duties towards my wife and my mother, who had been enduring poor health for some time and would likely require expensive medical treatments in the future, I would have to find some form of employment to earn an income. I felt as if my dreams had been shattered. I stopped attending classes without mentioning to anyone the reason for my absence.

I could not see any other solution but to abandon my studies of the Islamic Sciences for the time being, in order to go seek an income and fulfill the greater amānah (trust) of being a breadwinner for my family. I managed to get two potential employment opportunities, teaching English in the Far East. I was notified that I had been successful in my application for both positions (one in Vietnam and one in China). I had already mentally embraced my new reality, and had started the process of obtaining my working VISA, resigned to what I believed was to be my new fate. If Allah had wanted me to continue studying His religion, surely I would not have been placed in this situation.

To my surprise, during one of those trying and hectic days, my father-in-law and teacher, Maulana Sulaiman Abels, came to me and told me “Hajjie, Maulana Tauha wil saam jou praat” (“Hajji, Maulana Taha wants to speak to you”). I was stunned, and didn’t know what to expect at all, as I never imagined that Maulana Tauha was even aware of my existence! At the time, Maulana Tauha had not been teaching at our madrassah, due to health issues he had been facing, as well as a myriad of other responsibilities he had been fulfilling at the time. Therefore, the only interaction I had had with him up until this point was when he performed my nikāh in 2015.

I went to meet Maulana Taha at his home on the following Saturday, having no expectations whatsoever and feeling somewhat puzzled. As I’ve mentioned, I had become resigned to my “fate”. I was determined that I will be heading overseas to earn money for my family, and that my life as a tālib al-‘ilm has come to an end. When I rang the doorbell, Maulana Tauha answered the door and welcomed me into his home, motioning for me to sit down in his living room. This man that I had revered from a distance, someone whose knowledge and accomplishments I had heard about since my very first days of becoming Muslim, was now sitting comfortably across from me in his living room, in a simple white thawb with some stains on and a knitted navy jersey, in what I could only describe as “house clothes”. In spite of the awe inspired by his reputation, his aura beamed with comfort and simplicity, and he made me, a complete nobody, feel as if I am a visiting dignitary in his own home.

What followed is an incident I regard to this day as a miracle, and a personal example of Allah’s direct intervention in my life. I cannot remember the exact words exchanged between us, but I will try to reconstruct the encounter by paraphrasing.  Maulana Tauha said to me: “Hasan, I understand your decision, and yes, your duty to your mother is a priority, but do not make a mistake you will regret for the rest of your life”. Still with a feeling of defeat in my heart, still not realizing what was happening, I replied: “But Maulana, I have no other way. I can’t afford to continue my studies”. What followed next absolutely stunned me, and changed my life, and perception of who this man was forever. Maulana Tauha responded: “As for your debts, all of them, write them down and consider them paid. As for your studies, I will be your sponsor. Whatever your expenses are, they will be covered in full, no strings attached. As for your mother, if you wish, I will have her put on my medical aid, so that her every medical need may be seen to.”

Needless to say, after the initial shock, a wave of relief, gratitude, and pure ecstatic joy washed over me. My dream of treading the path of the scholars of the past was reinvigorated by this one meeting. This is the kind of man that Maulana Taha was. Someone who would be concerned over the state of someone as low and insignificant as myself. His love for this religion and for sacred knowledge made him empathize with anyone pursuing this journey of talab al-‘ilm. It is through Maulana Tauha’s generosity and his tireless financial assistance that I have managed to reach my 5th year of study at Maulana’s Dar al-Ulum. I know I am not the only person who received this kind of honor from Maulana Taha, I happen to know of a few families whose bellies Allah has filled through the generosity and compassion of this man, but it was always his wish to remain anonymous.

I could continue mentioning the extent of Maulana’s knowledge and academic accomplishments, but I would not be able to do him justice in such a way, and many of his students more knowledgeable and more pious than myself have already mentioned anecdotes about him and his knowledge. I wanted to simply emphasize that Maulana Tauha, in spite of the aura of reverence and mystery that surrounded him, was a down-to-earth humanitarian. A true human being who empathized with people and had a deep perception of people’s struggles and pain. I will forever be grateful to Allah for the opportunity of having known this man, not only as my teacher, but as a benefactor in my personal life, as someone who cared about me, and saved me from throwing away my hopes and dreams.

Oh Allah, do not test us too severely in the wake of Maulana’s death. Oh Allah, raise from his offspring his successor, the way You made Maulana a successor to Maulana Yusuf. Oh Allah grant this man the highest place in Jannah, and the company of the Prophets!

From the mediocre student of knowledge, Hasan Labuschagne

The Passing of a Shining Star – Mufti Taha Karaan

Mufti Taha Karaan, a prolific Islamic scholar, visionary, and leader of the South African Muslim community, has returned to his lord in the early hours of the blessed day of Jumuah, Friday the 11th June 2021. Known for his encyclopedic knowledge in the Islamic sciences and western tradition, he contributed for more than three decades in the preservation and transmission of sacred knowledge via various avenues which includes the prestigious Islamic seminary he founded in Strand, South Africa. Mufti Taha was regarded as a scholar’s scholar and was well respected amongst many of the senior scholars in the Muslim world. It is no suprise that he was given the appellation al Shafi’i al Saghir (the junior al – Shafi’i) due to his prowess and mastery of Shafi’i fiqh amongst other sciences. He provided clear and beneficial guidance on many matters and contemporary issues affecting Muslims around the world.
Mufti Taha Karaan contributed to Seekers Guidance with various articles, reflections and videos over the past few years. We extend our condolences to his family, his community and his students who loved him dearly.

Dr Yousuf Patel, a student of Mufti Taha Karaan writes a moving poem honoring his teacher, who himself was known to be a gifted poet in Arabic and English.

The Perfect Inheritor

A heart so tender, a mind so bright
A symbol and emblem of scholarly light
From modest beginnings you blazed a noble path
Unmatched and unequalled in your scholastic craft

From a garden of knowledge and piety infused
You brought clarity to all those who were confused
The needs of others you made your own
Your true state with Allah is by Him only known

The fruits of your labour are evident to all
The students you inspired now stand tall
So much you attained in such a short span
The light of your guidance has spread beyond our land

You were pensive in thought and graceful with words
In the companionship of the Prophet you are assured
Our thoughts and memories of you only increase our love
For the gift that you were, bestowed on us from above

 

The Importance of Good Character – Habib Umar Bin Hafiz

This article series is based on the course delivered by Ustadh Amr Hashim – Our Character. Refining the self, improving one’s character, and beautifying one’s practice of Islam are quite daunting tasks for the average person. However, there is no need to strive on this path alone, when one can benefit from a great work that will explain all of this and more.

Our Character is a text by Habib Umar bin Hafiz. In this class, Ustadh Amr Hashim will explain and summarize this text and the practical implementation of it in on’s day-to-day life.

This class is an ideal weekly check-in as to one’s state of the heart, and the state of one’s progress in becoming a better believer from week to week. You can access all lessons here. 

The Author: Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Habib Umar bin Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafiz grew up under the communist government in Southern Yemen, which meant it was very difficult to seek knowledge. Many scholars were kidnapped and tortured, the students would have to seek knowledge secretly. 

This did not deter Habib Umar from seeking knowledge, even after his father was kidnapped when he was just nine years old. Many people thought that he would not be able to study and be like his father or the scholars of his family.

His upbringing revolved around him growing up as a scholar, his parents and forefathers were all scholars. But none of this prevented him from his study of religion. Habib Umar traveled to Bayda’ around age 19 to study under Habib Muhammad al-Haddar and this is when the author wrote this book.

The Goal of This Book

This book sparks our interest and desire in seeking out good character. The author wrote this work at his young age during difficult times; politically and personally as an orphan. This work reminds us to live with good character, in the good times and the bad times, in the times of ease and in the times of difficulty – in all states. 

We see this through the example of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, even when people tried to inflict distress and hurt on him; he did not let their actions impact how he treated them in return.

The Signs of Good Character

Of the most manifest and clear signs in following the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is having excellent character traits and qualities. This is because good character is of our inner garments. Unlike our outer garments when we pass from this world we take our inner garments with us and leave the former in this world.

If the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, has come for our next worldly salvation, then he is preparing us inwardly to be in high stations, and this is done by being inwardly sound. Good character traits are the inner garments that last forever and go with us into our graves. 

And so their consequences is that if our inner garments are beautiful and pure, then our next worldly result will be beautiful and pure. If our inner garments are filthy and dirty, then what can one expect in their next worldly result?

The Importance of Good Character

Imam Haddad would nurture and teach his students one character trait at a time over several years. He would wait patiently, why? Because instilling good character traits in oneself is worth the work and struggle; it brings change to one’s actions and lifestyle.

Why is instilling character traits important? We possess positive traits that are easy to implement and negative traits that we cannot easily implement. We selectively implement traits when it is simple, convenient, or easy.

For example, a person may only give charity when life is going well but may forget when they enter financial strain. Or a person may give some time to worship when they feel “spiritual” or when they feel bored, but they forget when they have something entertaining to do.

Would anyone consider the person who gave charity when it was easy to be “generous” in of themselves? Is that the reality of generosity? 

Instilling good character traits means we go above and beyond what is merely convenient and go towards what is more pleasing to our Lord most high. As we learn from the author’s own example; he forgave the people who killed his father just as our noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, forgave those who killed members of his family and followers.

When one has a character trait instilled in them, it has become their nature. It is not a periodical or occasional trait. One of Imam Malik’s students sat at his feet for twenty years. He spent eighteen of those twenty years learning good character traits from Imam Malik, and the last two years learning law (fiqh) after which Imam Malik passed from this world.

After his passing, the student said “I wished I spent all twenty years learning good character from Imam Malik.” The special nature of learning good character at the feet of our teachers, we observe and learn from their example. The goal is to have these traits embedded and imprinted into our hearts.

One of the objectives of sending the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to us was for his purifying us and to teach us how to act. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Our Lord! Raise from among them a messenger who will recite to them Your revelations, teach them the Book and wisdom, and purify them.” [Qur’an, 2:129]

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “I have only been sent to complete the virtues of character.” [Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad; Bayhaqi, Shu’b al-Iman] If we are the followers of the Prophet, and he calls us to follow his character, should we not follow him?

The sign of true love for one’s beloved is to do whatever they say and to try to be like them. 

Points of Self-Reflection

Where is our character in regards to who he was, peace and blessings be upon him? Did we try to embody his traits? Did we try to carry ourselves like him? Did we try to be patient, kind, and generous as he was? Where should we be? 

When was the last time we gave in the way of God when it was hard to? When did we control our anger when we wanted to explode? And this is one of the greater areas of inheritance from the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and one that is open to all of us!

May Allah grant us the strength to seek his character, peace and blessings be upon him, and act upon it.

 

 

Fasting Six Days of Shawwal – Ruling, Whether Consecutive, Combining Intentions, Wisdoms, and What if Unable to Fast? – Faraz Rabbani

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful.

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Fasting Ramadan and following it with six days from Shawwal is like continual fasting.” [Muslim, on the authority of Abu Ayyub (Allah be pleased with him)]

This is because the reward of actions is multiplied (at least) ten-fold. So Ramadan is like fasting 300 days, and the six days of Shawwal like fasting 60 days. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself stated this explicitly: “Fasting Ramadan is like fasting ten months and fasting six days [of Shawwal] is like fasting two months. That is like fasting a full year.” [Ahmad; Nasa’i]

1. Religiously recommended. Based on the outward purport of this hadith, the majority of the scholars—including Imam Shafi‘i, Imam Ahmad, and Imam Abu Hanifa consider it a recommended sunna to fast six days in Shawwal. There are narrations from Abu Hanifa indicating that it is disliked, but these are understood to relate to considering it a duty to fast these days. [Nawawi, Majmu‘; Ibn Qudama, Mughni; Ibn al-Humam/Marghinani, Fath al-Qadir ‘ala al-Hidaya; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

2. Consecutive or not? Some of the scholars considered it recommended to fast these days consecutively after Eid al-Fitr, including Imam Shafi‘i. They based this on a hadith related by Tabarani and others in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported to have said, “Fasting six consecutive days after Eid al-Fitr is like fasting the entire year.”

Dates and man.jpg

Other scholars, including both the Hanbalis and Hanafis, considered it the same to fast consecutively or not—because they deemed the above hadith to be excessively weak.

However, they caution that one shouldn’t put it off such that one ends up missing the great reward of fasting six days. It is also a consideration that avoiding difference of opinion is religiously recommended—so trying to fast the six days consecutively would appear to be superior.

3. Combining intentions with missed fasts. It is valid to combine the intention of making up missed Ramadan fasts and the sunna of fasting the six days of Shawwal, though performing both separately is greater in reward.

4. The wisdom of fasting these six days. Among the benefits of fasting the six days of Shawwal is:

  1. Sign of acceptance. It is a sign of the acceptance of one’s Ramadan fasts. This is because a sign of Allah’s accepting a good deed is to be granted the success to perform similar good deeds, with consistency.
  2. Consistency itself is beloved. The actions most beloved to Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) are those done most consistently.
  3. Sign of thankfulness. Fasting these six days is an expression of thankfulness for the reward of fasting that Allah grants on the day of Eid. Continuing to fast is a sign of being, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) described himself, “A truly thankful servant.” Thankfulness is the key to increase, and a means of securing one’s blessings and good.
  4. Sign of commitment to continue. Fasting these six days is a sign of one’s commitment to continue in worship and submission to Allah, willingly—and not merely out of obligation.

5. If unable to fast the six days of Shawwal due to some genuine excuse, one should make the firm intention that if this excuse didn’t exist one would have fasted. If one is sincere and true in one’s intention, then one will—by Divine Grace—have the full reward of fasting these days, because, “Actions are by their intentions, and each person shall have whatever they intended,” as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) explained. [Muslim] The signs of being true in one’s intention is that if one’s excuse is lifted, one hastens to fulfill the intended matter.

[Ref: Ibn Rajab, Lata’if al-Ma‘arif; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Hamawi/Ibn Nujaym, Hashiyat al-Ashbah; Nawawi, al-Majmu‘ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab; others]

And Allah alone gives success.

 

Faraz Rabbani

 

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Eid al-Fitr: A Time to Be Thankful

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Eid al-Fitr (Post-Fasting Festival) is one of the central days of celebration and festivity in Islam. It is a time to be thankful to Allah for the blessing of fasting the month of Ramadan, and the extra worship and good deeds performed in that blessed month. This day is also meant to be a recognition, thankfulnesss, and rejoicing for the material and spiritual favors of God to His creation.

The word Eid itself is an Arabic word, whose root connotation is ‘that which comes back, time after time, and rejoicing.’ Its particular usage in Islam, for the two major holidays, is because these two days are meant to be days of rejoicing. [Raghib, al-Mufradat]

The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “They are days of eating, drinking, and remembrance of God.” [Bukhari]

In this same spirit, the Qur’an mentions that, “Jesus, son of Mary, said: ‘O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast (eid) for us, for the first of us and for the last of us and a sign from You. Give us sustenance, for You are the Best of Sustainers.’” (Qur’an, 5:114)

On this day, Muslims all over the world thank God for the gift of fasting, in which they avoided food, drink and intercourse from dawn to dusk, out of obedience and servitude. The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of faith, seeking its reward, shall have all their past sins forgiven.” [Bukhari]

The many lessons in Ramadan are acted upon on this day of festivity, in order that they not be forgotten:

1. Devoting oneself to God: Muslims start the day by showering after dawn on Eid day, then go to the short Eid prayer and sermon that takes place early in the morning.

2. Recognizing one’s blessings and thanking God for them: Muslims are encouraged to wear their best clothes, give gifts (especially to children) and celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors.

3. Remembering the plight of the poor and giving in charity: On Eid day, it is especially recommended to give in charity, the best time of which is before going to the mosque or prayer hall in the morning.

It is said, “True rejoicing is not (merely) in wearing new clothes, but in becoming true in one’s devotion to God.”

As a result, it is encouraged for Muslims to fast another six days after Eid during the month of Shawwal, in order to keep alive the lessons learned during the month of Ramadan, and to become of those devoted to God. It is because of this that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever fasts of Ramadan then fasts six days in the month of Shawwal shall have the reward of having fasted the whole year.” [Muslim]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “For every people there is a feast and this is our feast.” [Bukhari]

May Allah grant you and us, and the entire community of faith and humanity days of true rejoicing and returning to our Lord.

Sincerely,

Faraz Rabbani
Educational Director, SeekersGuidance

SeekersGuidance (www.SeekersGuidance.org)

Ten Ways to Benefit for Menstruating Women in Ramadan

Dread your period during the blessed month of Ramadan? Feel like you’re missing out on all the worship? Nour Merza gives women ten practical ways to spiritually benefit from this blessed month.

Every Ramadan, most women will have about a week in which they are unable to join in the major religious practices of the holy month: fasting and praying. When their menstrual period begins many women find that their level of engagement with the high spiritual atmosphere of the month drops. The same goes for those whose postnatal bleeding coincides with Ramadan. For many of these women, frustration and a sense of lacking spirituality sets in. This, however, shouldn’t be the case.

Menstruation, postnatal bleeding, and other uniquely feminine concerns are all part of Allah’s creation, which He created in perfect wisdom. They are not a punishment for women wanting to draw near their Lord. They are just part of the special package of blessings, opportunities, and challenges that Allaj has given uniquely to women. To refrain from ritual prayer (the salat) and ritual fasting (the sawm) during this time is actually considered a form of worship, and, if done with the intention of obeying Allah, it earns women good deeds.

In order to take full advantage of the blessed month of Ramadan, however, menstruating women and those with postnatal bleeding can do more than refraining from ritual prayer and ritual fasting to draw near Allah. Below are ten ways that women unable to fast can boost their spirituality during this special month.

1. Increase the Remembrance of Allah

In the Hanafi school, it is recommended for menstruating women to make wudu, wear their prayer clothes, and sit on their prayer mat while doing dhikr during the time they would normally be praying. This would be especially good to do in Ramadan, a time of special focus on worship. In addition to the adhkar that are well-known sunnas – such as subhan Allah, alhamdulliLlah and Allahu akbar. If you have a litany from a shaykh and are allowed to repeat it more than once a day, try to do it twice or three times for increased blessings. Dhikr has a special way of touching the heart, and by invoking Allah’s names whenever you can during this unique month you create the space, insha Allah, for beautiful spiritual openings. See: The Effects of Various Dhikr – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

2. Increase Supplication 

Supplication (dua) is something we do very little of these days, but speaking directly to your Lord is one of the most intimate ways to connect with Him. The beauty of supplication is that you can make it in any place or time. Take this opportunity to ask your Lord for all that you need in your life, and to draw near Him through either repeating the beautiful supplications of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, or reaching out to Allah with your own unique words. See: Ten Powerful Duas That Will Change Your Life

3. Feed Others

Whether it be your family, neighbors, community members, or the poor, use the time you are not fasting to make meals that fill the stomachs and souls of those around you. Recite the peace and blessings  (salawat) on the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, while making the food, as this imbues the food with spiritual benefit as well. Consider sponsoring iftar at your local mosque one evening with some other women who are in your situation, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen. 

4. Gain Islamic Knowledge

Use the extra time and energy you have from not fasting and praying to increase your knowledge of the faith. Listen to scholars discussing timely issues on our SeekersGuidance podcasts, form a small circle of non-fasting women who can commit to reading a book on Islam and discuss it together, or take some time to read articles on the religion from trusted online sources, such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s blog or Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s article collection at masud.co.uk. See also: Importance of Intention in Seeking Knowledge.

5. Increase your Charity

We are surrounded by countless blessings, so make sure to spread those blessings in the month of Ramadan. Give money to a good cause, such as supporting Syrian refugees, helping a local poor family with school fees, or supporting students of Islamic knowledge through SeekersGuidance. In a very busy world, we may have little opportunity to give our time to help others in charity – giving money takes minimal time, but brings great benefit. See: Eligible Zakat Recipients, Giving Locally vs. Abroad, Charity to a Mosque, and Proper Handling of Donations.

6. Make Your Responsibilities a Form of Worship

Sometimes, women are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the home and young children, and cannot make time to do things like study or sponsor an iftar. In these circumstances, renew your intention regarding your role as a mother and a wife. See these demanding and time-consuming roles for what they are: responsibilities that you are fulfilling to please Allah, which makes them a type of worship. Ask Allah to accept all your work as worship, and approach all that you do in this way. This will make even the most mundane of tasks, such as changing another diaper, cleaning up another spilled cup of apple juice, or making yet another dinner a way for you to gain the pleasure of your Lord. See: Balancing Worship and Caring for a New Child.

7. Listen to the Quran

Although the Hanafi school holds that women cannot touch the mushaf or recite the Qur’an while experiencing menses or postpartum bleeding, they are able to listen to the recitation of the Qur’an. Doing so offers much benefit in a month that has such a heavy emphasis on reciting the book. You can take special time out of your day to listen to it, such as while children are napping, or you can listen to it while in the midst of cooking or cleaning the house. See also: Listening to Qur’an While Occupied With Other Tasks

8. Increase Repentance

Ramadan is an excellent time to increase repentance to Allah. Use moments when others are praying or breaking their fast to ask Allah to forgive you and your loved ones and to keep you from returning to sin. All we have is a gift from Allah, so even forgetting that for a moment is a deed worth asking forgiveness from. Know that Allah is the Forgiving, and trust that, as our scholars have said, the moment you ask for forgiveness you are truly forgiven. See also: Damaged Inner State? Imam Ghazali on Repentance

9. Babysit to Help Mothers Worship

Mothers with young children often find it difficult to go to the mosque because they worry that their kids will disturb others who are praying. Since you don’t need to be at the mosque, volunteer a night or two (or more) to babysit the children of a young mother who would love to go pray tarawih. If you have young children of your own, you can tell the mother to bring her kids to your house before the prayer. By helping this woman worship, you will gain the same good deeds she gets from going to that prayer. See: I Love Being A Woman.

10. Spread Love and Light

Use the extra time and energy you have to share the joys of Ramadan and Eid with your non-Muslim friends, peers, and neighbors. Invite a work colleague for an iftar, make a special Ramadan dish and give it to a neighbor, or take time to make special cookies or gift bags for peers at the office or in school to hand out during Eid. By sharing these happy moments with friends and colleagues in the non-Muslim community, you counter the negative narratives about Islam in the media. More than that, however, you become someone who creates bonds in an increasingly isolated world, reflecting the beauty of the Prophetic light to all those around you. See: How Can Muslims Become More Effective Community Members?

 

Prayer on the Fifteenth Night of Shaban – Muwasala

* Courtesy of Muwasala.org

It is the practice of many of the pious people of the Ummah to recite Surah Ya Sin three times on the 15th night of Sha`ban.

The first time they read it with the intention of being blessed with a long life spent in obedience to Allah, the second time with the intention that calamities are diverted and the third time with the intention of not being in need of people and being blessed with a good ending.

After each reading of Surah Ya Sin they read the following supplication:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين

اللهم صل على سيدنا محمد و آله و صحبه و سلم

اللهم يا ذا المَنِّ ولا يُمَنُّ عَلَيْهِ يا ذا الجَلالِ والإكْرام ياذا الطَوْلِ والإنْعام لا إلهَ إلا أَنْتَ ظَهْرَ اللاَّجِينَ وجَارَ المُسْتَجِيرينَ وأَمَانَ الخائِفِينَ

اللهم إِنْ كُنْتَ كَتَبْتَنَا عِنْدَكَ أَشْقِياءَ أَوْ مَحْرومينَ أَوْ مَطْرودِينَ أَوْ مُقَتَّراً عَلَيْنَا في الرِّزْقِ فَامْحُ اللهم بِفَضْلِكَ شِقَاوَتَنا وحِرْمَانَنا وطَرْدَنا

وإِقْتَارَ أَرْزَاقَنَا وأَثْبِتْنَا عِنْدَكَ في أُمِّ الكِتابِ سُعَداءَ مَرْزوقينَ مُوَفَّقِينَ لِلْخَيْراتِ

فَإِنَّكَ قُلْتَ وقَوْلُكَ الحَقُّ في كِتابِكَ المُنْزَل على لِسَانِ نَبِيِّكَ المُرْسَل (يَمْحُو اللهُ ما يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ وعِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الكِتَابِ)

إلهَي بِالتَّجَلِّي الأَعْظَمِ في لَيْلَةِ النِّصْفِ مِنْ شَعَبانَ المُكَرَّمِ الَّتي يُفْرَقُ فِيها كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ وَيُبْرَمُ نَسَأَلُكَ أَنْ تَكْشِفَ عَنَّا مِنَ البَلاءِ ما نَعْلَمُ

وما لا نَعْلَمُ وما أَنْتَ بِهِ أَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الأَعَزُّ الأَكْرَمُ

وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم

Translation:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate.All praise is due to Allah Lord of the Worlds.

O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his Family and Companions.

O Allah, the Bestower of favours. No one has favour over You. O Possessor of Majesty and Nobility, the One Who constantly bestows His bounties. There is no god but You, the One who grants safety and refuge to those that seek it and to those in fear.

O Allah, if You have recorded us as being wretched, deprived, cast out or if You have recorded that our provision be restricted then erase this by Your bounty. Instead record us in “the Mother of the Book” as being felicitous, as having plentiful provision and grant us the ability to do good works. Truly You have said, and Your word is true, in Your revealed Book, on the tongue of Your Prophet: Allah erases and confirms what He wishes and with Him is the Mother of the Book.1

O Allah, through Your most mighty manifestation on the fifteenth night of Sha`ban the Ennobled, in which every decreed affair becomes distinct and unchangeable, we ask You to remove all tribulations, those that we know and those that we do not know and those about which You know more, truly You are the Most Mighty, the Most Generous.

O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his Family and Companions.

Resources for Seekers:
The Fifteenth Night of Shaban – Muwasala
Merits of Sha’ban – Muwasala
The Blessings of the Night of Mid-Sha’ban | Nur Sacred Sciences
It is Recommended to Perform Extra Worship on the Night of the 15th of Sha’ban?

The Night Journey & Ascension – Layla al-Isra wa al-Mi’raj – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

Allah Guides to His Light Whom He Wills [Quran, 24:35] 

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Beneficent 

“He certainly saw of the Greatest of Signs of His Lord.” [Quran, 53:18]

In describing what the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saw on the Night of Ascension, Allah (Most High) says that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saw the “Greatest of Signs”!  

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saw beyond everything to the Light of Allah Most High; whilst Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) had only seen the mountain!

“The heart did not lie [about] what it saw.”  [Quran, 53,11]

Speaking about the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), Allah (Most High) calls Him ‘Fuad’ or ‘Heart’; and in describing His experience on the Night of Ascension, Allah Most High said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) did not lie in what He saw. 

Normally, we would say that ‘he did not lie in what he said’, thus describing for us that what was seen cannot even be described by words or even comprehended by us. 

“The sight [of the Prophet] did not swerve…” [Quran, 53:17]

On that night, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) did not even blink upon seeing what He saw, but Syedina Musa (Peace be upon him) collapsed upon seeing what he saw!

 The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saw the Greatest of the Signs (ayat) of Allah (Most High) – Al Kubra. 

Hell is a sign, Paradise is a sign, the Throne is a sign, but if you see the Greatest of Signs, the rest becomes nothing; when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saw Gabriel (peace be upon him) from where he had ascended, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) described him as a small bird, and then as a worn and tattered cloth. 

In what the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saw there is a secret: He did not tell all that He saw, and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saw what He saw as it is – He saw the reality of it!  the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saw with his heart, and He saw reality and how it works.

For us, the baraka (blessing) we take from the journey of Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), and what he saw is that when he came back and after seeing the Greatest of Signs, Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) cried when the young baby died. Then, he carried stones to build his masjid, he asked about the black woman who used to clean the masjid and he was told: “you claim to be a Prophet!”

And all this despite having seen the greatest of signs.

Hence, for us, if the Greatest of Creation after seeing the Greatest of Signs humbled himself to come back and be with us, to whom else should we look! 

“…Follow Me and Allah will love you…”  [Quran, 3:31]

Allahumma salli alaa Nur.

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

 

Courses Offered by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

Your Faith in Challenging Times: Turning to Allah in all One’s States

Articles, Podcasts, and Answers from Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

 


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Raising a Believing Generation by Habib Umar bin Hafiz: Intentions and Supplications

(Four) Intentions and Supplications

Shaykh Amin Buxton

Children are a trust (amanah) that Allah most High has gifted us with. Raising believing children is a huge challenge and every pious parent passionately prays that they will be able to do so. We are blessed to have such guidance from one of the most illuminated scholars of our time; Habib Umar bin Hafiz. We will explore insights from Habib Umar bin Hafiz on how to raise the next generation of believers.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz is a master of the science of tarbiyah – nurturing of the human soul in the pursuit of perfection. Here, he turns his attention to tarbiyah as it applies to raising the next generation of strong believers.

Exploring Abdullah Nasih Ulwan’s work “Child Education in Islam”, he gives important insights and principles that any parent, carer, or educator can make good use of. The journey starts with considerations to be taken before embarking on the journey of parenthood and even marriage itself.

Intentions have a huge impact on our actions and have consequences both in this life and for eternity. We examine the effect intentions have when it comes to having children and what we intend and wish for our children. We look at the supplications which God’s pious servants make either to be blessed with children or to bless the children they already had.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Marry a woman who will bear many children and one who will be a loving wife because your number will be a source of pride to me in front of the other nations on the Day of Judgement.” [Abu Dawud]

 This hadith teaches us that one of our intentions in getting married should be to have children who will be a source of pride and joy for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). We know that the pleasure of God and the pleasure of the Prophet are one and the same, so if you please the Prophet you please God Himself. This makes us realize the greatness and significance of having children.

Podcast Series based on the same topic – Believing Future

Sayyidah Hanna’s Intention

God tells us about the intention of Sayyidah Hanna – the mother of Maryam (may Allah be pleased with her). Sayyidah Hanna dedicated the child in her womb to the service of God and her words are recorded in the Quran: “Lord, I have vowed to You, in dedication, what is in my womb for Your service. So accept this of me, for You hear and know all things” [Qur’an, 3:35].

Assuming that it would be a male child, she dedicated it to the service of the scholars and worshippers in the Temple in Jerusalem. She did not want the child to bring her any worldly benefit, to bring in an income, or to support her. She wanted its only role to be one of service.

When she ended up giving birth to a female child she wondered how a young woman could serve in the Temple, having to come and go amongst the men who taught and worshipped there.

But Allah accepted her intention due to its sincerity and caused her to be remembered in the Qur’an until the end of time. She said: ‘I name her Mary and I commend her and her offspring to Your protection from the accursed Satan.” Her Lord graciously accepted her and made her grow in goodness’ [Qur’an, 3:36-37]. 

But Maryam is not the only fruit of her dedication: from Maryam comes Prophet Jesus and all the blessings which he brings. In fact, it is he who will save this nation from the Antichrist at the end of time. Thus the very fate of not just the Children of Israel but also the nation of Muhammad is tied up in that one intention.

  

The Prayer of Zakariya

Allah then tells us how He entrusts Maryam to the charge of the Prophet Zakariya (peace be upon him). Zakariya witnesses the miracle of this young girl receiving provision directly from God. Upon witnessing this, he prays then and there that he be blessed with a child:

‘Lord, from Your grace grant me virtuous offspring: You hear every prayer .’ [Qur’an, 3:38]

This is a prayer which we should use to call upon God with repeatedly, not just if we wish to have children, but also if we already have them, in the hope that they are pure and virtuous. It shows us that the desire of God’s chosen servants is for good, pure, and virtuous children. Unfortunately, this purity is not a concern for many Muslims whose main concern is for their children to be successful in a worldly sense. 

 

The Supplication of God’s Chosen Servants

Another important supplication that should be often on our tongues comes at the end of Surat al-Furqan where we find a beautiful description of God’s chosen servants. The final quality mentioned is that they say repeatedly:

“Our Lord, let our spouses and children be the delight of our eyes. Make us good examples to the pious” [Qur’an, 25:74].

The request of the people that God loves is that their spouses and their children be a source of joy to them in this life and the next. We know from how they are described in the previous verses that they would not take delight in anything worldly regarding their children.

Their joy is in the piety and uprightness of their children which will allow them to be reunited in Paradise. They do not only want them to be a joy to their eyes but also to the eyes of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the pious. 

 This is not to say that good intentions are sufficient on their own. Parents must also fulfill their responsibilities in raising their children for which they will be accountable: “Allah will certainly ask every person about what was placed in their care – did they take care of it or did they neglect it. He will ask a man about his household” (Ibn Hibban).

But when the parents have good intentions when having children and are prepared to give children the best upbringing, the children are a source of great blessings.

 


About the Author

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 producing a podcast for SeekersGuidance and is one of our esteemed internal scholars

 


Continue Your Journey for Knowledge

All SeekersGuidance offerings are free. Convenient and reliable knowledge taught by trained and reliable scholars, delivered over a decade.

Sign up for an on-demand course, or engage in a structured live course.

Browse relevant articles, discover answers to your questions or listen to podcasts anywhere and anytime on inspirational and useful topics.

Visit seekersguidance.org for more.

Help Preserve the Spread of Beneficial Knowledge and Guidance

Through the efforts of our generous supporters, we have spread beneficial knowledge and guidance to thousands. Join the community of supporters and gift generously to preserve and transmit Islamic Scholarship – donate now by clicking here.