The Dowra 2020: A Spiritual Lighthouse

With so many plans disrupted this year and put off by Covid-19, the believer knows that nothing is ever purely evil and even the darkest of places will have at least a speck of light.  Tarim is the lighthouse. This year they’re offering their summer course online.

This summer course, or dowrah, has been held annually since 1995 in the valleys of Tarim, Hadhramaut, but due to the global circumstances, they’ve decided to offer it online.

Teachers include:

  • Habib Umar Bin Hafiz
  • Habib Kazim al-Saqqaf
  • and others

They say, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.  Although physical interaction with these scholars isn’t possible, let us at least try to connect with them virtually.

For more information regarding this summer program:

  • Click here for the official page for the dowra
  • Or, check the Facebook page of Muwasala, see here

If you feel you need more supplementary material to go along with this summer program, then SeekersGuidance has courses based on some of Habib Umar’s works, see the following list:

  • Epitome of Love: Commentary on Habib Umar’s Diya’ al-Lami | Click here for this free course
  • Habib Umar on the Path of Spiritual Excellence: An Explanation of Ba’l Faqih’s Treatise The Spheres of Islam, Iman, Ihsan, and `Irfan | Click here for this free course

May Allah accept from us and allow us to purify ourselves.

Saving Our Souls Series | Part 2: Thirty-Two Obligations of the Heart – Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

When we think of obligations we often think of the five daily prayers, fasting, zakah, hajj, being good to your parents, etc; which are all bodily obligations.  We hardly hear of obligations of the heart. Yes, the heart has actions and can commit haram and other vile deeds.

These obligations of the heart are:

  1. Faith in Allah Most High
  2. Faith in all that has come from Allah Most High
  3. Faith in the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace)
  4. Faith in that which the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) has brought
  5. Sincere affirmation:
    • which is the essential meaning of faith
  6. Conviction:
    • which is a lack of doubt in that which one believes
  7. Sincerity:
    • which is acting in obedience to Allah, alone.
  8. Remorse for disobedience:
    • since it is contrary to the command of Allah
  9. Trust (i.e. reliance on) in Allah in matters of provision, safety from harm, and other things:
    • not relying on the means
  10. Constant awareness of Allah:
    • which is to remain aware that Allah Most High knows, sees, hears, and is aware of you
    • so that fear of Allah always prevents you from disobeying
  11. Contentment in Allah Most High:
    • to submit to Him and to abandon objecting to Him
  12. Holding a good opinion of Allah Most High:
    • to constantly bring to mind the blessings that Allah has bestowed on you in the past and to yearn for similar in the future
  13. Holding a good opinion of the creation of Allah Most High:
    • not to assume bad of anyone without sufficient religiously recognized proof
  14. To revere the symbols of Allah Most High:
    • everything that signifies obedience to Allah, like prayer
    • i.e. to revere everything that is revered in the Sacred law
  15. To be grateful for the blessings of Allah Most High:
    • meaning, not to use them in His disobedience
  16. Perseverance in fulfilling what Allah has obligated:
    • meaning, forcing oneself to do that and to hold fast to that
  17. Perseverance in abandoning that which Allah has prohibited:
    • restraining oneself from doing the forbidden
  18. Bearing patiently in the tests that Allah Most High sends your way:
    • that the test does not drive you to the forbidden
  19. Being confident that Allah will provide:
    • knowing that whatever is decreed for you to benefit from will never miss you
  20. Accusing the self:
    • accusing yourself in that which your desires call you towards lest it deceive you and draw you toward the forbidden
  21. Never being pleased with the self:
    • by always keeping in mind its deficiencies
  22. Abhorring the Devil:
    • by inclining to his disobedience
  23. Abhorring the world:
    • by not turning your attention to that which distracts you from the obedience of Allah Most High
  24. Abhorring the people of disobedience:
    • by inclining away from them, being averse to their disobedience, and refusing to follow them therein
  25. Love of Allah:
    • by accustoming the heart to His obedience alone, obeying His commands, and abstaining from His prohibitions
  26. Love of His speech:
    • by venerating its verses, submitting to it, and acting upon it
  27. Love of His Messenger:
    • our Master Muhammad (may Allah bless him and give him peace) by believing in him, honoring him, striving to follow him entirely
  28. Love of all the Prophets:
    • by believing in them and honouring them
  29. Love of the companions:
    • by keeping in mind their virtue; that they surpassed all in their Islam, in honor (by their companionship with the Prophet may Allah bless him and give him peace), their giving Him assistance, and their conveying the religion
  30. Love of the Prophetic family:
    • having concern for them, out of honor for the Prophet, for they are His family and closest relatives
  31. Love of the emigrants and the Helpers
    • those from the people of Mecca and Medina who helped the religion
    • especially the predecessors amongst them. (Loving them) by keeping in mind their uniqueness.
  32. Love of the righteous:
    • by revering them, turning to them, and travelling their path

Dua for Hope: What We Should Say When We Feel Despair

* Courtesy of Muwasala – Click here for the original post

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) tells the following story to illustrate the necessity of placing one’s hopes in Allah alone. (The story is narrated by Imam Ibn Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq)

When Imam Hasan Bin Ali agreed to give the caliphate to Mu`awiyah, one of the conditions of the agreement was that Mu`awiyah would send Imam Hasan 100,000 Dinars every year for him to spend on his guests and upon the needy. Mu`awiyah duly sent this amount every year and this continued for some years, until one year the money did not come. As a result, Imam Hasan incurred many debts due to the large amounts that he would spend in charity. He thought about reminding Mu`awiyah of the agreement and he asked for paper and pen so that he could write a letter to him. Then he decided against writing the letter.

That night he saw his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, in a dream and he explained his situation to him.

The Messenger of Allah asked him: “My son, did you ask for a pen and paper to write to a created being like you?”

“I thought about doing this. Then I stopped.”

“Do not do this.”

“What should I do then?”

“Say:

الَّلهُمَّ اقْذِفْ في قَلْبِي رَجَاءَكَ واقْطَعْ رَجَائِي عَمَّنْ سِواكَ حَتَّى لا أَرْجُو أَحَداً غَيْرَكَ

الَّلهُمَّ وما ضَعُفَتْ عَنْهُ قُوَّتي وقَصُرَ عَنْهُ عَمَلِي ولَمْ ْتَنْتَهِ إِلَيْهِ رَغْبَتِي ولَمْ تَبْلُغْهُ مَسْأَلَتي ولَمْ يَجْرِ عَلى لِساني مِمَّا آتَيْتَ أَحَداً مِنْ الأَوَّلِينَ والآخِرينَ مِنْ اليَقِينِ فَخُصَّنِي بِهِ يا رَبَّ العَالمَين

“O Allah, cast into my heart hope in You and cut off any hope I have in other than You so that I have hope in no-one but You!

O Allah, however weak I am, however much my actions are deficient, however far short my desire (for good) falls, and in spite of the fact that I have not asked you, and that my tongue has not pronounced such a request, I ask You for the certainty that You have given any one of Your slaves from the first to the last of them, so bless me with it, O Lord of the Worlds.”

Sayyiduna al-Hasan repeated this du`a, pleading with Allah, for a week. Mu`awiyah then sent him 500,000 Dinars and he was then able to repay his debts and spend freely on those in need.

He then saw the Messenger of Allah in a dream once again and he told him what had happened.

The Messenger of Allah said to him: “My son, this is what happens to those who put their hopes in the Creator and not in the creation.

Habib Umar said: “Look at how the Messenger of Allah completed the nurturing of his grandson from beyond the grave. Although he had left this life, he was still concerned with al-Hasan’s elevation to the highest stations of truthfulness (al-siddiqiyya al-kubra) and absolute certainty (haqq al-yaqin).

The Masters and the Millennials | Part 3: Nothing is Better than Knowledge – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

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

The Prophet’s Knowledge
We are continuing our discussion of the importance of knowledge. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) was the most knowledgeable of Allah’s creation. He received his knowledge directly from Allah.

According to a hadith regarding the knowledge of the Prophet, one morning he was late for fajr and did not lead it at the start of its allocated time. The companions (sahabah) waited for him because the prayer only commenced when he entered. He arrived before the allocated time of Fajr had passed, and led the prayer. After the prayer, he turned and faced his companions, explaining that he had ascended to the heavens. He said that Allah asked him three times what the Angels were discussing and that he responded three times by saying ‘Allah knows’. Then Allah placed His hand (not a literal hand) on the Prophet’s back and thereafter he knew everything. He knew what was in the heavens and on the earth. Then Allah repeated the question and the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) replied that the angels were discussing the different expiations for crimes and the different rewards for good deeds. (Reported by Ahmad and others)

Thus we come to know that the Prophet’s knowledge is beyond our comprehension. Our teachers often stated that only Allah knows the extent of his knowledge (blessings and peace be upon him).

Similarly, one who exerts oneself in the acquisition of knowledge, Allah will open a door to special knowledge, directly from Him, like the knowledge with which Khidr (peace be upon him) was honoured.

Knowledge vs worship
Knowledge is essential. In our time, it is more important than worship. Many a worshipper’s life will be wasted due to his lack of knowledge.

The virtue of seeking knowledge is great. Today we find that people turn to gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) much more than to classes of knowledge. The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) entered a mosque and found two circles. One was making dhikr and the other was discussing fiqh. He said both gatherings are doing good, but the gathering of knowledge is more virtuous than the other one. He said, “As for me, I was sent as a teacher”, so the circle of knowledge is better.

This does not mean that gatherings of remembrance are not important. Both gatherings are important, but if you attend gatherings of remembrance and you are not part of a gathering of knowledge, you are doing yourself an injustice. The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said that if people knew the reward of attending gatherings of knowledge, they would fight each other to attend them. Leaders, governors and kings would leave their positions, and business people would leave their businesses to attend these gatherings.

Habib Ahmad bin ‘Umar bin Sumayt said that if the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) were to enter a home and there were two circles – a mawlid and a fiqh class – he would attend the fiqh class before he attended the mawlid. This is not to detract from the value of the mawlid and circles of dhikr. They are very important, but we must observe the actions of the scholars. They spend more time on the acquisition of knowledge.

Anas ibn Malik narrated that the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, whoever leaves home in search of knowledge is in the way of Allah until he returns. So the merit and virtue of seeking knowledge are great.

Imam Haddād said a person who is intellectually challenged should stick to worship, but anyone who has deep understanding should be driven by knowledge.

Habib ‘Ali al-Habshi had a great passion for the science of grammar. He would start his class every morning with a discussion of grammar. One of his students had a dream in which he saw three students with shining faces attending the class. The first one was the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), the second was Sayidina ‘Ali (Allah be pleased with him), and the third was Sayidina Hasan (Allah be pleased with him). They said they had come to attend Habib ‘Ali’s class. When he was informed about the dream, Habīb ‘Ali said, as long as the Prophet attends our grammar class we will continue to teach grammar.

The scholar vs the worshiper
It has been said Allah regards that a lazy student of knowledge as more virtuous than 700 worshippers who exert themselves in worship. ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas said that scholars will be elevated above believers by 700 degrees in rank, and that between each degree there will be a travelling distance of 500 years.

According to Habib ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Aydarus al-‘Aydarus, when the demise of the Prophet was approaching, the earth began crying to Allah, saying, “The Prophet used to walk on me. Who is going to walk on me now? There will be no Prophets after the Prophet.” The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) responded, saying “The scholars of my ummah are like the Prophets of Bani Isra’īl.”

What scholar is greater than the worshiper
It is important to realize that the kind of scholar being referred to in all these narrations is not one who merely increases in knowledge but does not increase in closeness to Allah. Allah poses a rhetorical question: Are those who have knowledge the same as those who do not have knowledge? The point is that they are not the same. Allah describes the scholar: He is someone who is submissive to his Lord, who stands in prayer at night and prostrates to his Lord, who fears the afterlife, who fears Allah, who cries in the early hours of the morning.

In other words, the scholar is one who acts on his knowledge. The scholar who has knowledge but does not act on it will be the first to be thrown into the fire.

Acquisition of knowledge has no end
The cycle of knowledge should never end. The scholar is always a student and a teacher. For instance, Habib ‘Umar used to attend the fiqh classes of Habib Salim al-Shaṭiri at least once a week even though he has his own very large classes. This should be an encouragement to students of knowledge.

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:

Are Protein Supplements Halal?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam Aleykum, My question is regarding Whey protein. As a person who workouts I need to take protein supplements. In most protein bars or powder, it contains whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate which are often byproducts resulting from the manufacture of rennet types of hard cheese. Are these halal?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

The basis is that rennet is permissible according to Imam Abu Hanifa, irrespective of whether or not the animal was slaughtered correctly. His two Companions (sahibayn), however, disagreed and held that rennet extracted from non-slaughtered animals is impermissible due to its proximity and contact with filthy moisture in the stomach. This is a safer and more precautionary position to follow.

Whey is a by-product of the cheesemaking process in which initially rennet is added to milk in order to curdle it. The resultant liquid which is released from the coagulum is termed whey; accordingly, this would also be permissible according to Imam Abu Hanifa regardless of the source of the rennet, with the obvious exception of a swine which is unconditionally impermissible to use or consume altogether.

Commercial Methods of Rennet Extraction

However, many contemporary methods of rennet extraction wherein the entire stomach of the animal is treated in order to chemically extract the rennet are religiously problematic when the animal has not undergone a correct religious slaughter. The reason for this is that the stomach itself is not deemed to be legally pure in such a case, nor is it thus permissible to consume anything extracted from it.

What this means is that the process of extraction undertaken by means of using something religiously filthy, through a filthy solution and the like, would cause the by-product to also be filthy and impermissible to consume. This is something which deserves caution and our attention lest we fall into a situation of consuming that which is prohibited. An easy way to find out is to simply ask the company in question what the source of the rennet is.

Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives in our times to animal-based rennet such as GM, microbial, plant-based, and the like which would generally be permissible to use in the cheesemaking process, and the cheese produced thereby would be legally permissible to consume, barring any other impermissible ingredients. Similarly, plant-based whey protein may be used as an alternative to commercial whey protein powders unless the process used in the latter is clearly known to be permissible or the animal has been correctly slaughtered.

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar/Minhat al-Khaliq ‘ala al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, quoting Ibn Amir Haj; Halabi, Multaqa al-Abhur)

Please also see: Is Rennet in Cheese Halal or Haram to Consume? and: A Guide for Consuming Various Meats, Foods, Alcohol, Animal By-Product Ingredients, and Cosmetics

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan, and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based on his family.

Changing my Intention While Fasting

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: If I begin a make-up fast, then change my intention to a voluntary fast, does that affect the type of fast?

Answer: Jazak Allah Khairan for your question.

Your change of intention, after having started a fast, will not harm or alter your fast, whatsoever. The original intention upon which the fast was started will remain.

“…the fasting person, who is making up an obligatory fast, if after having started the fast, he intends to start a different fast, it would not harm (the original fast).” [Maraqi al-Falah]

Allahu ‘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 the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Forms of Charity Not Permissible in Islam

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Amongst subcontinental Muslims, there is a practice of “sadaqa utarna” which is done when someone is suffering from sickness, or there is a suspicion of black magic. Something used for charity is cast over the affected person thrice, The object is then discarded or given to the poor for their use. Is this permissible or a bidah?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

This practice does not have any basis in the sunna as far as I know and should be avoided. There are many sunna supplications, suras, and collections of verses which are effective in such matters. It is better to refer to them.

Innovations

An innovation, bid’a, is a practice that contradicts the spirit of the sunna. In a sense, it opposes and attempts the replace it. Otherwise, new practices are not automatically problematic. (Nabulsi, al Hadiqa al Nadiyya).

This is understood from the hadith of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, “Whoever initiates in this matter of ours that which is not of it, it is completely rejected.“ (Bukhari) So, any matter which embodies the spirit of the sunna, and strives to achieve one of the higher aims of the Sacred Law, is not blameworthy – as long as it doesn’t contradict an established practice.

Seeking Protection and Healing

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace would seek healing and protection through the recitation of the last two chapters of the Qur’an and various other supplication which can be found in Imam Nawawi’s Book of Remembrances. He also sought out conventional means of treatment when he was ill.

It is better to adopt this approach than to take up superstitious actions. Always remember the words of our Maker, “If Allah afflicts you with any harm then there is no one who can remove it save Him.” (Qur’an; 10:107)

The practice you described is not rooted in Islam, nor in any form of medicine. It’s the best shunned.

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 many erudite scholars. 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. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Is It Obligatory to Participate in the Tabligh Movement?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: Is it obligatory to participate in the Tabligh Jamat Effort? Should I feel bad for not participating? How do I deal with the criticisms I face for not joining the Tabligh Effort?

Answer: Wa Alaikum al-Salam

May Allah continue to bring you closer to His good pleasure and make you a conduit of guidance.

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Tabligh Jamat is indeed a praiseworthy effort and was founded with great intentions of rectifying the state of the Muslims. They are indeed fulfilling a communal obligation of calling to Allah and forbid the evil.

It is, however, not an individual obligation. To consider this effort individually obligatory, such that one is sinful or shameful for not participating, is innovation and strictly prohibited.

Allah, Most High says, “Let there be amongst you a people who summon toward good, command what is right, and forbidding the prohibited. They are the successful.” [Qur’an; 07:104]

Calling to Good and Forbidding from Evil

The Believer is responsible to call to good and forbid evil on a general level within their one capacity. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever amongst you sees a wrong, then let him change it with his hand, and if (that is) not (possible), then with his tongue, if not, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim] However, to do so, in the form or way of the Tabligh Jamat is not an obligation.

What do I do?

If you experience hardship when you go to such a masjid then if you have another option it may be best to go there instead. That is, if the alternative masjid, is proper and teaches the correct Islamic Understanding. If you are not able to go to another masjid, just explain to the people that you don’t wish to participate anymore.

You should not blame yourself and you should not feel that you are any less of a Muslim for not participating in that effort. There are many ways to gain the pleasure of Allah and you should search what works best for you.

Allah, Most High says, “Verily those who strive for Us, We will certainly guide them to our ways.” [Quran: 29;69]

Allah, Most High in this verse, mention ways, in the plural.

May Allah continue to bless you
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 the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Is It Permissible for a Woman to Travel Accompanied by Her Young Son?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: Is it permissible for a woman to travel accompanied by her young son?

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

Conditions of a Chaperone

It is permissible for you to travel with your 12-year-old son. A woman must travel either with her spouse or non-marriageable kin (mahram) who is trustworthy, mature (i.e. reached puberty), and of sound intellect. The pre-pubescent child is allowed as well, like the mature. [al-Hadiyah al-Alaiyah]

The Age of a Pre-Pubescent Child

A male child is considered pre-pubescent (murahiq) when he reaches 12 years of age. This is because 12 is the earliest age that a boy can reach puberty. [al-Hadiyah al-Alaiyah]

Hope this helps
Allahu A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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