Saving Our Souls Series

Our teacher, Shaykh Yusuf Weltch, guides us through a journey, a path that ultimately leads to true happiness; the love of Allah.  Join us as we take this trip.  Keep an eye on this page for updates to new articles and podcasts.

Part 1: Introduction | Click here

  • An article on the heart and the need to take care of it

Part 2: Obligations of the Heart

  • We’ve heard of bodily obligations, but what are the obligations of the heart?
    • To be published July 10th, 2020

Part 3: Precious Counsel from a Revered Scholar

  • The believer’s state
    • TBA

Part 4: The Disobedience of the Heart

  • Yes, even the heart can sin, which are the worst of sins
    • TBA

Part 5: TBA

Part 6: TBA

Part 7: TBA

Part 8: TBA

Part 9: TBA

Part 10: TBA

Taking A Non Muslim As A Role Model

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Is it permissible to admire and take non-Muslim as a role model for their humility and good qualities without wanting anything to do with their disbelief?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barkatuh

I pray you are well.

Yes, this admiration of good conduct and character is permissible. The Messenger of Allah said, “Clearly, I have only been sent to complete righteous character.” (Ahmad). This hadith indicates that other nations have good character, but its pinnacle is found in the teachings of Islam.

Follow the Messenger of Allah

Allah told us the He sent us the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, as an excellent role model for us to follow: “Indeed there is for you, in the Messenger of Allah, an excellent exemplar…” (33:21). Make him the person who you emulate, you’ll never be let down.

From amongst the living, there are many righteous people and scholars who embody some aspects of his perfect conduct. No one can embody it all besides him, Allah bless him and give him peace. This is safer, as they are likely to uplift and inspire you in every way. More than someone who does not know or embody the sunna can.

Islam recognizes the virtue of individuals, Muslims, and non-Muslims alike. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, honored the daughter of Hatim al Tayyi’, a man is known for his great generosity, simply because his father was an honorable man.

A sounder approach is to pray for those non-Muslims within whom we recognize virtue. Ask Allah to guide them to Islam, and they’ll have the virtue of iman to add to their list.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

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

Speaking Harshly

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Today after jummah prayer was over I was looking for a women who I had told I would give her money, so I was looking for her and a man came and asked me for money and he claims that he’s the person I “promised”, so he basically lied. I got angered and spoke harshly to him. Am I sinful for speaking to the man harshly?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The answer to this question would depend on the nature of your harshness and what exactly you stated.

Anger is not only a natural human emotion but a necessary one for essential human functioning. However, because it is so easy for a person’s anger to become a “swelling ocean” and exceed the bounds, our religion has placed great emphasis on controlling and moderating one’s anger. Thus, the Prophet (blessings upon him) counselled his companions not to become angry. [Bukhari], and many great scholars when asked to summarise good character said it was to leave aside anger. [al-Ghazali, Ihya Ulum al-Din]

Imam al-Ghazali mentions that anger is acceptable only:

i. at the right time,
ii. in the right place,
iii. for the right reasons, and
iv. with the right intensity.

Falling short in any of these points will lead to imbalance and a type of anger the Prophet warned against – one that is not entailed by religion nor the intellect. This imbalanced and blameworthy anger is dangerous because of what it leads to: mockery, insults, demeaning and abusing others, envy, hatred, backbiting etc.

If your anger involved any of this, it should be considered sinful and you should repent. However, if it was merely an expression of firmness and frustration at this person’s act of lying that did not exceed the bounds, it would not be sinful.

But it is often superior to hold back and put up with people in the type of situation you describe and to still seek the forgiveness of God. Imam Ahmad stated, “Good character is to not get angry or enraged. Good character is to patiently endure what comes from people.” [Ibn Rajab, Jami al-Ulum wa’l-Hikam] The spiritual masters of Islam advise people to resist the impulses of their self (nafs) as a form of training it. In other words, when it gets angry, a person should strive to conquer it through good moral character and a display of gentleness. [al-Qushayri, al-Risala]

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York, graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.

The True Eid – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

“Be Joyful with Allah.” This is what Ustadh Amjad Tarsin heard while he was studying abroad. Here, he speaks about Eid in our religion, and encourages us to see the beauty encompassed in the tradition.

Pray for Acceptance

One of the best things we can do on Eid, is pray for the acceptance of the actions that we performed in Ramadan. Even great deeds are meaningless if they are not accepted by Allah. Imam Ali once said that no accepted action is insignificant. Scholars say that the sign of acceptance of your actions, is that Allah places in your heart a greater commitment to continue those fasts. They also say that a sign that your Ramadan is accepted, is that you are able to fast the six days of Shawwal, which carry the reward of fasting the rest of the year.

Before Ramadan ends, we should try to make intentions to carry on certain acts of worship. Of course, we cannot continue fasting every day, praying 20 rakats at night, and reading a whole juz a day. However, we can try to pray tajajjud, do some voluntary fasts and recite a page of Qur’an a day. Small, consistent actions enable you to stay engaged with Allah’s word.

Be Thankful

Why do we chant “Allahu Akbar” and other words of praise, on Eid day? The answer lies in a very special verse on the Qur’an.

“So that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, so that you may be grateful.” (2:185) 

Therefore, we celebrate the completion of Ramadan by praising Allah. Of course, our celebrating Eid is like an engagement party, with the real celebration is in the next life, when we meet our Lord. Eid is a celebration, and any day that we are able to fulfill our duty towards our Creator, is a cause of celebration.

Remembering the Greatest Eid

As we celebrate this Eid, let’s remember the Greatest Eid; the day we meet our Lord. For some people, their whole lives are like Ramadan, and their day of Eid is when they see Allah.

There was once a righteous man who told one of his students, “When you hear of my death, buy sweets and distribute it to those at the madrassa.” Because he was so eager to meet Allah, he considered his death a celebration, rather than a cause for fear.

Habib Kadhim al Saqqaf on the Last Ten Days of Ramadan

*Originally Published on 7/06/2018

Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf encourages us to maximise our benefit from the last ten days of Ramadan, and offers advice and practical tips.

Step 1: Appreciation & Intention

We can begin by appreciating the gift of these blessed ten days, and learning about what Allah is offering us therein. We can receive it with gratitude and joy, and thankfulness to Allah for His gift.

We can intend to fast happily, do good works and pray tarawih in order to follow the practice of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. Intend to deal with others well this Ramadan.

Step 2: Understanding

We know that the first part of Ramadan is mercy, the middle part of it is forgiveness, and the last part of it is freedom from the Fire. By recognizing that the last ten nights are freedom from the Fire, we can plan to strive harder in order to achieve it.

We can also keep in mind that Allah prescribed the fast to us, just as He did to others before us. It was not meant to be a pointless command to put us in difficultly, but rather to teach us valuable lessons in self-restraint and God-consciousness.

Step 3: Rejoice

Therefore, we can rejoice in the presence of these days, by exposing ourselves to the mercy of Allah, and embodying it by showing mercy to other. This is in the spirit of the hadith, “The merciful ones will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Show mercy to the ones on Earth, and the one beyond the heavens will be merciful to you.” (Tirmidhi) We should pray for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and we should pray that people who are isolated or unaware of the religion, find a connection to it.


 

The Believer, Futuwwa, & Times of Crisis – Shaykh Salman Younas

A few days ago, I visited the local supermarket to stock up on some basic supplies for the home – some rice, canned food, tissues, cleaning items, and medicine. An announcement from the government was imminent, and anticipating a potential decision to close schools, offices, and other public venues and activities, people were rushing to prepare themselves for the worse of the coronavirus crisis. 

Finding some of the items on my list proved a difficult task. Fever reducing medication, such as paracetamol, was sold-out in most places despite efforts to limit the quantity individuals could purchase. I went from store to store until finally I was able to purchase the maximum two packets of medicine allocated to each customer. This was the fifth store I had visited. Earlier, as I walked in the medicine aisle of one chain pharmacy, I saw an elderly couple looking for the same medicine that I was. There was none, of course, and I informed them that the situation was the same at the local supermarket. 

The coming days will prove to be challenging for many of us: increasingly confined to our homes and uncertain of what to expect in the coming few weeks and months. Some people, however, will be faced with difficulties of an entirely different magnitude. The coronavirus, which has gripped the entire world, is particularly dangerous for those above the age of sixty and those with underlying health conditions. Significant numbers will succumb to the virus, while many others will be hospitalized in critical and intensive care. The empty shelves we are seeing as a result of the paranoia that has gripped various nations also means that many will probably find themselves struggling to find basic supplies and medicine, at least until a system is implemented to ensure demand is met.

Islam teachers us that the believer is someone who maximizes benefit and minimizes harm for all those around him. Often, when we speak about our treatment and dealing with other people, the concept of mercy, love, care, selflessness, etc., come to mind. In Islam, there is another concept that is all encompassing of the adab a believer is meant to display: futuwwa, or chivalry.

Its foundation, as stated by Imam al-Qushayri, is “that the servant of God always exerts himself in the service of others.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) This is in keeping with the statement of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), “Allah is in the aide of his servant as long as the servant is in aide of his brother.” (Sahih Muslim) There are several futuwwa traits that we should uphold in these trying times, among them:

  1. Minimizing harm to others. Imam al-Junayd said, “Chivalry means keeping trouble away from others.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) This is an all-encompassing definition. In the current context, keeping trouble away from others entails ensuring that one is not a cause for the spread of this illness in any way shape or form to an interdiction on hoarding, raising prices, spreading false news, and more. The believer is someone who avoids causing difficulties for others, while bearing the difficulties caused by them.
  2. Making active efforts to assist those around us. Imam al-Qushayri said, “Chivalry is that you do not hide from those who seek your assistance.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) The coming weeks will see individuals in our community struggle: financially, emotionally, and in other ways. They will look to the wider community to lift them up and it is the duty of every Muslim to extend them his hand in support. This should be something we do actively without being asked. As Sufyan al-Thawri said, “It is contrary to proper adab to not serve when you are able to.” (Kitab al-Futuwwa)
  3. Giving to people freely. Imam al-Qushayri said, “Chivalry is that you neither hoard wealth nor seek excuses to avoid giving to those in need.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) The past few days have shown that people are concerned about the future, which has resulted in buying goods in bulk often at the expense of others. This is contrary to trust in Allah (tawakkul). Part of chivalry is to have trust that one’s sustenance is guaranteed and not let concern for it prevent from assisting others.
  4. Giving preference to others. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq said, “Chivalry is that if we are given something, we prefer to give it to someone else.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) This only arises from worldly detachment, being satisfied with little for oneself, and wishing much for others. It is expected of the Muslim in good times and is demanded of him even more when hard times fall on people. As the current crisis unfolds, Muslims will have to freely and generously give of their wealth, time, and resources in order to ensure the well-being of wider society.
  5. Showing compassion to all of creation. This manifests in numerous ways: a cheerful smile, a kind gesture, soothing words, tolerating the actions of others, overlooking faults, empathy, and praying for all. Everything we do in these moments should embody prophetic compassion. In times of uncertainty and anxiety, the believer will encounter unsavoury things, but he must confront them not with negativity, harshness, or complacency, but positivity, patience, and decency.

In Islamic discourse, the fata was essentially the word used to describe the ideal, noble man whose hospitality and generosity was so expansive that he left little for himself. The term futuwwa came to denote a code of honourable conduct that followed the examples of the prophets, saints, and righteous. At its core was the notion of not just generosity, but an almost heroic generosity of time, wealth, and spirit where one went above and beyond for his fellow human beings. If there was any time for Muslims to adopt the ethics and traits associated with futuwwa – loyalty, generosity, humility, courage, etc. -, it is this time we find ourselves in right now.

Regarding Sincerity: A Conversation About Truthful Intention and Self Accountability – By Dr. Mahmoud Masri

Dr. Mahmoud Masri

There’s a story in ‘al-Risala al-Qushayriyya’ of a young man who regularly attended a gathering (majlis), when he heard a shaykh discussing sincerity: how is it, how should it be when performing actions, etc. The young man found this heavy upon himself, and from that day forward he made a firm intention that he would not attend the gathering anymore, and refrained from going until the point he was harmed because of that. The Shaykh noticed his absence and asked regarding him. He eventually met with him and asked him why he was absent; he answered, “I heard from your words and was afraid for myself”. The Shaykh replied to him, “My son, that’s not the solution. We point you to sincerity (ikhlas) in actions, not to abandoning actions!”

Act! Thoughts such, “I’m doing this pious act and I fear the interest of people and their interest in my actions” may come to a person. One must not pay attention to this and should correct their intention. Even if he is actually one of the ostentatious, he should remain upon the action, and continue the deed. Like when they said, “We sought knowledge for other than Allah, and knowledge refused to be for any but Allah.”

Every action is such! Just like prayer may not be perfect because of what comes to the person of thoughts and notions; the solution isn’t to abandon prayer all together. Rather, the solution is in rectification, and this is done with training.

It is upon the person to adhere to actions, even if notions, whispers, or thoughts come to him. Thoughts of the self are like whispers of Devil: their remedy is to disregard them.

Section:

In the issue of the person who doesn’t like notoriety, and in this state, thoughts of people noticing this come to him.  This is from the hidden and intricate matters that are warned against in spiritual training.  As mentioned earlier, the approach here is to disregard these thoughts and to continue the actions he was doing. This is how these thoughts and things which resemble them go away.

One thing that helps the person in this is clarity (as-Safaa) and of the means of obtaining it are:

  • remembrance of Allah (dhikr)
  • good companionship (suhbah)
  • self striving (mujahadah)
  • self training and exercise (tadreeb wa riyadhatu-nafs)

You cannot remove darkness, but you can bring light. When light becomes present, darkness disappears. 

Whoever knows Allah is not the slave of fame nor of obscurity; rather, he will be a slave of Allah. Whatever state Allah places him in he submits to Him, outwardly and inwardly, and he doesn’t pay attention to anything else.  If he places him in one situation he is content, if he places him in another, he is content. He doesn’t look back on these matters.

As for the issue regarding people venerating a person for his work in da’wah while he doesn’t see himself deserving such treatment from them since there are people more knowledgeable than him, deserving something comes from Allah. If we were to look at worthiness then none of us would actually qualify by ourselves. What occurred is that which the divine will selected, so it’s from Allah’s decree and we have no control over the matter.

Furthermore, don’t look at the external and apparent. Rather, look at the fact that Allah is the one who moves them and their hearts; and that you are similar to them in that you are in Allah’s possession. You exchange the same love and respect. See in everything that it is from Allah, and say, “All praise is due to Allah” and this will push you to many things.

It is said, “Whoever has good opinion of you, work towards realizing it.”

Not by saying, “You spoke the truth” or “What you said regarding me and your good opinion of me is true, I am exactly what you say and think of me”.

Rather, the meaning is to act in accordance with their good opinion, make them truthful by actually doing the actions; that you are actually like that!

It has also been said:

When a rumor spread that Abu Hanifah used to pray Fajr with the wudu of ‘Isha he forced that upon himself and took it as a sign for himself from Allah. 

O Allah grant us sincerity.

 

Taken from the words of Shaykh Dr. Mahmoud Masri, click here to read the Arabic original.

Translated by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

The End of a Crucial Decade in Human History – Shaykh Sadullah Khan

* Courtesy of Masjid al – Furqan

In this Pre Khutba talk, Shaykh Sadullah Khan discusses the importance of valuing and utilizing one’s time appropriately and constructively. He reminds the congregation that it is critical to reflect on how time has passed us collectively. With the completion of a decade, Shaykh Sadullah highlights the various local and global issues and events that have affected human beings around the globe. From the Arab spring to the fascist laws being passed in India, the past decade has shown the degradation of morality within human beings. Despite the wonderful technological and scientific advancements, we as human beings have failed in truly making a positive change in our societies. It is critical for us to be aware of what is happening around us so that we as Muslims may be able to engage in actions of virtue and benefit.

Appreciation of Beauty – Shaykh Sadullah Khan

 

In this Pre Khutba talk, Shaykh Sadullah Khan reminds the congregation about the value of appreciating beauty. By cultivating beautiful character traits we are able to replicate the most beautiful and complete person, the Prophet (peace be upon him). In a time where only the outer is accepted and lauded, it would do us well to remember the importance of the inner dimensions of human existence. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the epitome of inner and outer excellence. As Muslims, we should try our upmost to beautify our inner states so that we may be able to manifest beauty to others in our actions.

* Courtesy of Masjid al – Furqaan (Cape Town)

The Scholar Who Worked as a Waiter – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

One of our teachers was Habib Muhammad bin Alawi al-Attas, a scholar and a true worshipper. He was known as ‘al-Zabidi’ because he spent some years studying with the scholars of Zabid (once a great centre of knowledge in Yemen). During his time there he chose to work as a waiter in a restaurant, not because he needed the money, but in order to refine his lower self (nafs): running round taking people’s orders, bring this, do this..

We visited him in his home in Huraydah at the end of his life with a group of scholars: among them Habib Mashhur bin Hafiz, Habib Umar bin Alawi al-Kaf, Habib Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Shihab and Habib Salim al-Shatiri.

He said:

“Last night someone saw the Prophet ﷺ in this very room.”

May Allah have mercy upon him – a scholar who knew the importance of refining the nafs.

– Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) during his commentary on the Ihya Ulum al-Din, Dar al-Mustafa, 28th Dhu’l-Qa’dah 1440.