Saving Our Souls Series | Part 1: Introduction – Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Everyone has what they deem to be the most important thing in life. However, it could be argued that nothing is more central to the human condition than the very thing that makes us human-our souls. In a world concerned with the physical and the superficial we see that lives remain empty, purposeless. Let us close our eyes to the world and look inward. In these articles we will be looking at the fragile nature of the soul and how to save it from the poison of sin. Topics discussed include the heart, the eyes, the tongue, the ears, the hands, and their respective sins.

These articles are based on the tazkiya (self-purification) section of the book entitled, “The Ladder of Success to the Realization of Love of Allah” by Habib ‘Abdullah Bin Husayn Bin Tahir (the other two sections being theology and law). And who was Habib ‘Abdullah Bin Husain Bin Tahir? Well, he was one of the luminaries of both the legal and spiritual aspects of Islam; a person well versed in the intricacies of the soul and its alignment with the Sacred Law. He and His brother Imam Tahir were exemplars of steadfastness, true brotherhood, and not wasting a single moment of their time. He passed away in the year 1844 (1272 A.H.), may Allah have mercy on him and his brother.

But it doesn’t stop there; we’ll be adding enriching content and benefits from the works of other scholars of the science such as Imam Ghazzali, Imam Haddad, Habib Umar Bin Hafiz and others.

The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) stressed the importance of the heart and its relation to the rest of the body in the famous hadith, “Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh, which, if it be whole, all the body is whole, and which, if it is diseased, all of [the body] is diseased. Truly, it is the heart.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Join us in this journey through our souls to discover Allah and let us learn about ourselves and our hearts, and become better spouses, better parents, better neighbors, and better humans.

SeekersGuidance offers a wide variety of free courses on the topics of tazkiya, the soul, and spirituality:

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

One Year Intermediate Program in Shafi’i Fiqh and Usul

Reliance of the Traveller (Umdat al-Salik) (Level Three) with The Essence of Islamic Legal Theory (Lubb al-Usul) (Level Three) with Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

In the Name of Allah, Merciful and Compassionate, with blessings and peace upon our Master Muhammad, his folk, and companions

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan, a senior instructor at SeekersGuidance, will be teaching live weekly classes covering two key texts in Shafi’i fiqh and usul over the course of one year:

Program Description

This one-year Specialization Certificate Program is an Intermediate Program in Shafi’i  Fiqh and Usul. It covers Level three of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum in Shafi’i  Fiqh and Usul.

This program will encompass a thorough study of two texts.

  • Umdat as-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller) (Level Three of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum), in full–with readings from the commentary of umda, Fath al-Wahhab al-Malik, and Mahalli’s commentary on the Minhaj, Kanz al-Ragibin, with its Hashiyah by Qalyubi  
  • Shaykh al-Islam’s Lubb al-Usul (Level Three)–with reference to his own commentary, Gayat al-wusul.

Class Format

Three live classes per week, 45-60 Minutes each. Students are expected to attend live, or to follow the recordings.

There will be an online forum for questions, discussion, and related texts and resources. 

Preparation, participation, and asking questions is expected – as is the following of recommended readings.

Conditions for Joining the Class

This is an intermediate level class in Shafi’i fiqh (Level Three) which adequately prepares a student to study the Minhaj al-Talibin of Imam al-Nawawi. It is therefore essential for students to have completed the study of the following works or their  equivalent:

Required Text:

  • al-Risalah al-Jami’ah (Habshi’s Encompassing Epistle Explained)
  • al-Mukhtasar (Ba Fadl’s The Short Abridgement)
  • Abu Shuja’ with experience readings from ibn Qasim’s commentary with its’ Hashiyah by Imam Bajuri

Recommended Text:

  • Safina al-Naja 
  • Al-Muqaddima Al-Hadramiyya with experience reading from one of its commentaries such as Bushra Al-Karim 

As this course encompasses Level Three usul, students are required to have completed a study of the Waraqat of Imam al-Haramayn.

For students without this, we recommend that they begin with Level One, then Level Two of the Islamic Studies Curriculum [link].

Although this class is completely free, students are expected to apply for the course and will need to be approved by the SeekersGuidance Academy team.

Language of Instruction

The Arabic text will be studied with English commentary.

Timings

Monday at 12:00 (GMT +2 | Cape Town)
Wednesday at 12:00 (GMT +2 | Cape Town)
Thursday at 12:00 (GMT +2 | Cape Town)

Location

This class will be offered online only via Zoom

Student Expectations

The expectations from the students would be to:

i. Prepare for the class.

ii. [a] Attend the class, with attentiveness, [b] participation, [c] asking questions.

iii. Review the class notes and text. Diagramming the text helps.

iv. Take notes. It is best to write out the matn itself, and essentials from the commentary (such as the key details and reasoning). This is also a good Arabic writing practice.

v. Participate in the Class Forum–by asking questions, sharing issues of benefit, and getting involved in the relevant discussions, with the proper manners of a keen seeker of knowledge (talib `ilm).

vi. Seek Allah’s Pleasure, and have high secondary intentions of acting upon what

Application Form

The Masters and the Millennials | Part 2: Knowledge – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

This is the second part of a series, click here for the previous article.

Knowledge and it’s virtue
Knowledge is very important. It has a prominent place in Islam. It is one of the primary foundations of the Ba ‘Alawi way. Allah Most High said to His beloved (blessings and peace be upon him): “Say, my Lord, increase me in knowledge” (20:114). When Allah commands His beloved to do something, that thing is beloved to Him. He instructed the Prophet to ask for an increase in knowledge because it is one of the most noble and honourable qualities. So we should ask Allah as often as possible to increase us in knowledge.

Abu Hurayrah once announced in the marketplace, “O people, what is preventing you from taking your share of the Prophet’s inheritance? It is being distributed.” They asked where it was being distributed, so he answered, “in the mosque”. They went to the mosque and returned, saying, “O Abu Hurayrah, you said the Prophet’s legacy is being distributed in the mosque, but we found nothing except people praying, reciting the Qur’an and revising knowledge – the fiqh of halal and ḥaram.” Abu Hurayrah said, “Woe to you, the inheritance of the Prophet is in the gathering of knowledge.” He quoted the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), “Indeed, Prophets did not leave wealth as an inheritance. They only left knowledge as an inheritance.”

The Prophet also said to his companions, “You are living in a time when the jurists are many and the teachers are few, those who ask are few and those who give are many, and action is better than knowledge. But a time will come when the jurists are few and the teachers are many.” This statement is very apt in our time. Many people study merely so they can deliver talks. The Prophet referred to this as a bad development. People are not focused on knowledge, but on how well they are able to speak. He went on to say: “A time will come when many will ask and few will give, and knowledge will be better than action.”

Hasan al-Basri said that, had knowledge taken a form, it would have been more splendid than the sun, the moon, the stars and the sky. Imam Shafi’i said whoever desires this world or the next should seek knowledge because he is need of knowledge in this life and the next. Allah Most High gives worldly things to those He loves as well as those He does not love, but He only gives knowledge to those He loves.

Habib ‘Aydarus bin ‘Umar al-Habshi said knowledge is food for the heart. Therefore he would make the du’a that is made after eating at the end of every gathering of knowledge.

Correct worship requires knowledge
Without knowledge we are not able to worship Allah truly. A man may worship Allah the way angels do, but if he does so without knowledge he will be one of the losers.

‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz said that the one who acts and does good without having knowledge spreads more bad than good. Sayyidina ‘Umar bin al-Khatab (Allah be pleased with him) said that someone who has not studied is not allowed to buy and sell in the marketplace. One who does not study the law of commercial transactions ends up consuming riba unknowingly.

Consider the following telling example: A man from Morocco was known to exert himself in worship. One day he purchased a female donkey that he did not use for anything. Someone asked him why he was keeping it if he was not using it. He replied that it was there to keep him chaste. He was engaging in bestiality not knowing it is haram.

It is really important to participate in classes of knowledge. Learning is a cycle that should never end. Imam Ghazali said one should attend a class every day. We should start by attending at least one a week, and then increase our attendance slowly until we are able to attend a class every day.

The Masters and the Millennials | Introduction – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

This is the start of a series of articles that are based on al-Fawa’id al-Mukhtarah, one of the seminal works of the great scholar al-Habib Zayn bin Sumayt. The book contains advice on a wide range of subjects that are relevant to daily life, drawing on examples from the Habaib from Hadramout. We will be exploring this advice within the context of Muslims living in the West, with the aim of deriving guidance from it on ways to deal with modern challenges.

Click here to listen to their accompanying podcasts.

Introduction

This is the first article in a new series, which is designed to derive benefit from the book Al-Fawa‘id al-Mukhtarah li Salik Tariq al-Akhirah, which contains selected beneficial anecdotes for the wayfarer by Habib Zayn bin Sumayt.

The book covers a vast array of topics. The article series (and podcast series) aims to derive benefit from the ahadith and ayahs quoted in it, as well as to find practical examples from the lives of the pious that assist us in our lives.

We are 1,400 years away from the life of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) so there are very few current prophetic examples for us to follow. However, the scholars of the Ba‘alawiyyah from Tarim in Yemen – the Haba’ib – are real examples from the twenty-first century.
We will draw on these examples and from the comments in the book to derive insight into the challenges, psychological problems, abuses and addictions we face in the west. Although the book is traditional, it provides us with an opportunity to see how we can live in the modern era by following the ways of these giants – the heirs of the Prophet.
Before we begin our discussion of the book, it is important to outline the biography of Habib Zayn bin Sumayt.

Author’s Biography
He is a member of the Prophet’s family. He is Ḥusayni. His lineage goes through many pious forebears, such as al-Faqih al-Muqqadam and al-Imam Ahmad ibn ʻIsa al-Muhajir, through Sayyidina Husayn to the Prophet Muhammad. He is Hadrami because his family hails from Hadramaut although he was born 79 years ago in Jakarta.
He is an authority on Shafi’i fiqh and taṣawwuf. He was born of pious parents and his father ensured that he sat in the company of the pious, such as Habib ‘Ali bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad. After he reached puberty he went to Tarim to study at the hands of various scholars and in various institutes. His most senior teacher was Habib ‘Alawi bin ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Aydarus bin Shihab. He was also taught by Habib Ja‘far bin Ahmad al-‘Aydarus, who manifested many miracles and who loved horses. Habib Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafiz was another of his teachers.
After he had been in Tarim for eight years, Habib Muḥammad told him to go to Bayḍa’ to teach. He did so and joined the ribat of Habīb Muḥammad al-Haddar. When Sayyid Habib ‘Umar bin Muḥammad al-Hafiz went to Bayda’ he studied under Habib Zayn.
Interestingly, both Habib Zayn and Habib ‘Umar married daughters of Habib Muhammad al-Haddar. Habib Muhammad observed Habib ‘Umar’s inner light and wanted him as a son-in-law. He told Habib ‘Umar that he had two daughters, one who had been married previously and had a daughter, and another who had never been married. He said Habib ‘Umar was free to choose to marry either of them.
Instead of deciding quickly, Habib ‘Umar consulted Habib Zayn. He said he was looking for a wife who would help him call people to Allah. Habib Zayn said the daughter who had been married previously was the one who would aid him best in that endeavour, so he married her.
Habib Zayn taught in Bayda’ for thirty years. Thereafter he moved to Madinah and opened a ribat. It attracted many students, so the government ordered that it be shut down. Habib Zayn had to decide whether to leave Madinah to continue teaching, or to remain there without teaching. He decided to remain there because of his connection to his grandfather (blessings and peace be upon him).
His wife passed away a few years ago, and this caused him much sorrow. This was because he was very attached to her, much like our beloved Prophet was attached to Sayyidah Khadījah (Allah be pleased with her).

Summary of the Book
The book begins with a chapter on the importance of knowledge. It delves into the etiquette between students, on the one hand, and shaykhs and imams, on the other, as well as the relationship between laypeople and scholars. These issues are foundational to Muslims.
Habib Zayn’s anecdotes span a broad spectrum of issues, including calling people to Allah; the importance of the Qur’an; halal and haram; the rights of one Muslim over another; enjoining the good; the tongue and it’s being a source of harm in the world; sincerity; humility; the disparagement of haughtiness and ostentation; hope in Allah; and following the sunnah.
With the aid of Allah, we will be traversing some of these issues in this series of articles (and podcasts). Our focus will be on how we can ensure that our lives in the West resemble the life of our beloved Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).

 

Black Lives Matter: Racism, Social Activism, Justice | A Reader

SeekersGuidance is always committed to provide clarity, answers, and guidance, especially when new issues emerge.

We feel that in these times it is important for us to listen to our black leaders. In this reader we are featuring the voices of some of our most impactful black Muslim leaders, including Imam Zaid Shakir, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Imam Dawud Walid, Shaykha Zaynab Ansari, and others.

May Allah make us of those who stand up for justice, truth and equity with principles. In the spirit of the Quran:

People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware. (49:13)

You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly- if you distort or neglect justice, God is fully aware of what you do. (4:135)

Articles

Blackness, Racism And How The Arabic Language Rises Above It All

  • When “Black” is good. An insight to what “blackness” truly means in the Arabic language

Black Lives Matter: If You’re Right With God, You’re Right – Imam Zaid Shakir

  • Imam Zaid Shakir has led funeral prayers (janazas) due to blue-on-black crime and black-on-black crime. In this video he touches on the history of the black struggle and sheds some spiritual light on the issue. Allah tells us our lives matter, we don’t need a movement.

Race To The Top – Imam Zaid Shakir – New Islamic Direction

  • It’s okay to get involved. Racism existed, and still does. Let us talk about it.

Spiritual Activism and the Tradition of Salawat in West Africa

  • Imam Dawud Walid discusses the inspiring story of a west African scholar, Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba

 

On Demand Courses

Social Justice In The Islamic Tradition: How to Approach Justice and Uphold Truth with Wisdom and Principle

  • Islam is a truly complete religion; a way of life. Does it lay down foundations for social justice? Of course!

Islam in Blackamerica

  • BayanOnline, an online Islamic seminary, is offering this insightful course for only three easy payments of free, yes, FREE.  Check out this beneficial course with Dr. Sherman Jackson.

 

Answers

How Do I Deal With My Racist Spouse?

  • It’s easier to avoid problems outside your home, but what do you do when the problems lie within?

Hadiths on the “Bad Traits” of Black People

  • How do we understand hadiths which seemingly describe black people negatively?

Would it Be Wrong To Avoid Interracial Marriages For Cultural Considerations?

  • Are you racist if you don’t want to marry someone from outside your race? The following answer discusses some prophetic direction in marriage.

How Do I Deal With Racist Attitudes at Gatherings?

  • Self-hate will lead to a dull fate.

Are the Islamic Rulings Regarding Marriage Racist?

  • Islam doesn’t teach us to be racist. Many people, including Muslims, are simply misinformed.

 

Conversion And Abusive Mother

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: How do I deal with the difficulties I face from my non-muslim mother?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

May Allah bless you for embracing Islam and may He make easy your relationship with your mother and soften her heart toward Islam.

Your responsibility to your mother is to treat her with good character and the utmost respect. At the same time, if she demands from you anything that is against your faith, refuse with kindness and dignity.

The Challenges a Convert Faces

Dealing with non-muslim relatives is one of the main challenges for the convert. It proves much more difficult when that relative is one’s mother. This is not something new. The Companions [may Allah be pleased with them] – many of whom were converts – faced very similar issues, sometimes far worse.

Obtaining the Pleasure of Allah

Islam is a relationship with Allah, Most High, in which we seek to obtain His divine pleasure. That is achieved by doing what Allah wants from us, in whichever situation He puts us in. We are all tested in different ways and your test is your relationship with your mother. Although challenging this may be how you obtain the pleasure of Allah, Most High, it may be your ticket to Jennah, per se.

Islam commands us to be righteous to our parents while holding to our principles. We are commanded to be humble, respectful, and not to utter any words on disrespect. If they ask of us, that which is permissible in our faith, we strive to fulfill that request. But if they ask of us that which is displeasing to Allah, we refuse with respect and kindness.

Allah, Most High, says:

And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to me will be your return, then I will inform you of what you used to do. [Qur’an: 31.15]

In matters such as these, one should turn themselves to Allah, Most High, in supplication. Allah, Most High is the possessor of the hearts. If He wishes, He can change your mother’s heart. Allah, Most High, says:

Perhaps Allah will put between you and those you have enmity with, from them, love. And Allah is All-Able. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful [Qur’an: 60.7]

May Allah make easy your affairs

Allahu A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Are Muslims Allowed To Be On Television?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Is it okay to have a YouTube channel if you are a Muslim and you cover properly? Are Muslims allowed to be on television?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

It would be permissible to have a YouTube channel you make videos for, if:

a. you are covered properly, and

b. the content you are producing is clean – meaning it has no impermissible elements to it, and it does not promote what is clearly impermissible.

If there is anything impermissible on the channel then think of it as getting a fresh sin with every view. It’s simply not worth it.

Benefitting Others

Although this won’t affect the permissibility directly, it should be a major factor in your decision. If there is a particular benefit you can provide for people, religious or otherwise, then the channel may be a good idea, and, with a proper intention, rewarding.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give peace, said, “Whoever is able to benefit his brother, let him do so.” (Muslim) Good deeds that benefit oneself and others are better than good deeds which only benefit yourself.

If the content is just the owner’s views on Brexit, chocolate, and fashion, then it’s probably better to direct oneself which will be more beneficial. The ruling would be the same for TV too.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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.

The Soul’s Estrangement : A Beautiful Intimate Prayer and Conversation – Habib Muhammad al-Saqqaf

* Courtesy of Muwasala – Scholarly Teachings of Hadramawt

 

Habib Muhammad al-Saqqaf shares an intimate conversation at a blessed time in a blessed place with his own soul. My Generous Lord honored me to be at the Ennobled Kaaba during the last part of the night on a Friday. Heralds of longing began to stir in my heart for the reality of what Allah has created us for. I penned some of that in the following words, which I ask Allah the Exalted to make a means to direct the reader with truth and sincerity to Him the Exalted. I ask you, dear reader, to read it in a calm and serene place.

I said:

         I know you…but I don’t know you. 

         It’s as though I’ve forgotten you.

Download here: https://muwasala.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Estrangement-Habib-Muhammad-Saqqaf.pdf

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.