Keep Good Company in the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan – Imam Khalid Latif

*Originally Published on 25/06/2016

In these last nights of Ramadan, gatherings unlike any other time of the year are taking place. We should make sure we are a part of them, writes Imam Khalif Latif.

Gatherings are taking place in which no individual is turned away. The rich, the poor, the strong, the weak, young and old, male and female, skins of all color, complexions of every shade — gatherings that server as reminders of and truly encompass the presence of the Divine. No one is left out, and everyone is welcomed in.
Men and women from all walks of life remove from themselves the shackles of the material and for a moment seek to feed only their spirits. The pursuit of the world becomes a fleeting thought and in its place is the pursuit of a tranquility and contentment that could never be satisfied by the possession of anything worldly.
Titles and ranks and social class are left at the door. You simply stand as yourself. The worth of your standing is not assessed by anything other than the heart that you bring and how willing you are to let its presence define the moment instead of the tyrannical ego you have battled with for almost a month’s time prior to this moment.
Hearts will tremble. Tears will be shed. Bodies will feel a sense of strength unlike any other as they are relenting towards a soul that they no longer control yields them not weakness, but a power unlike anything experienced before.
Indeed, in His remembrance do hearts find rest.

Our Lord, ya Allah, bless our gatherings and all those who are in them. We stand for your sake, do not turn us away.
Answer our prayers and grant us the courage, wisdom, sincerity and compassion to be the answer to the prayers of others — You Are One Who Responds, Al-Mujeeb, The All-Hearing, As-Sami’.
Free our hearts of any anxiety, anguish, or unwarranted anger, from any bitterness, jealousy, or envy. Detach them from loving anything that causes us harm or gives us simple complacency and fill them instead with a lightness strengthened through gratitude, understanding, tranquility and contentment — You are The Source of Peace, As-Salaam, The One Who Enriches, Al-Mughni.
Envelop us in your Divine Love and help us to build a love for ourselves. We are weak and imperfect, but the perfection of Your Love stems from its embracing of us despite our being imperfect — You Are The Loving One, Al-Wadud, The Compassionate, Ar-Rahman.
Free from us oppression, including oppression by our own selves, and keep us from being oppressive, including oppression against our own selves. Grant justice and ease to all those who are held down, peace and stability to those in conflict. Make us satisfied with all that You have given to us, and make us not amongst those us who unjustly take from others — You Are the Most Just, Al-‘Adl, The All-Seeing, Al-Baseer.
Make us amongst the honest, the truthful, the kind, and the conscious. Help us to honor the rights of all those around us, our families, our neighbors, and the societies in which we live. Free us from arrogance, hatred, and racism and endow us with a sense of respect for the diversity of Your creation — You Are the Creator, Al-Khaliq, the Most Generous, Al-Karim.
Give us leaders who are actually leaders, and make us followers who are deserving of great leaders. Grant us knowledge, wisdom, patience, and sensibility as well as good intention and a strong sense of passion. For organized evil will always triumph over disorganized righteousness, and it is time for us to stand better for those who need to be stood up for. Let our serving be not for our own selves but simply because it is the right thing to do. And forgive us, oh Lord, for not doing everything that we are able to — You Are The Most-Wise, Al-Hakim, the Patron and Helper, Al-Wali.
Shower upon us Your Divine Mercy and make us amongst the merciful ones who are merciful to all people, all creation, and to the earth we walk upon — You Are the Most Merciful, Ya Raheem.
Help us to be gentle with each other. Forgive us for our harshness and the mistakes we have made, and let kindness be found in all of our deeds and decisions. Give us a character that is beautiful in its nature and make us amongst who remind the world that hope, mercy, and compassion do exist. You Are Ever-Gentle, Ya Latif.
Make not the pursuit of this world our goal, but let our goals be for the best in the next world. Help us to sustain the lessons learned in this blessed month and let us not turn back to being those who we were prior to its advent.
Give us confidence that helps us to see our strength as well our weaknesses and protect us from arrogance which lets us only see weakness in the world around us.
Give us the courage to reach our potential and protect us from the fear that keeps us from doing so. Let our growth be gradual and consistent and help us to strive every day, even if it is very little and enrich our lives with a richness of our souls.
Grant us companionship that helps us to reach our best and keep us from companions who hold us back. Grant us friends who encourage us towards all that is good, and keep us from friends who take us towards that which is not. Arrange our hearts with those hearts that are gentle and tender, and make us amongst those whose presence brings benefit and relief.
Accept from us our prayers and our fasting, our bowing, our kneeling, our standing, our prostrating. Grant us and our loved ones only the best in this world and the best in the next.
Forgive all those who love us and those whom we love, all those who have wronged us and all those whom we have wronged.
Protect us from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise, and eyes that have forgotten how to cry.
Make the best of our deeds the last of our deeds and let us not leave this world other than in a state that is most pleasing to You.

Our Lord, ya Allah, accept from us, forgive us, and guide and bless us all. Ameen.

Draw Near to Allah in Ramadan Through Service – Ustadha Umm Umar

Ustadha Umm Umar reminds us of incorporating the aspect of service in Ramadan as a means of drawing near to Allah Most High. She advises to not make Ramadan just revolve around one’s self, rather to also be concerned with others and their needs. Ustadha Umm Umar gives key advice and practical methods on how to engage in service through Ramadan.

I wanted to talk about another aspect of Ramadan that sometimes we forget. Often people think of Ramdana as my month. It‘s between me and Allah. Then they sort of annihilate the idea of doing goodness to others. It’s about me and my time with Allah. About how much time I can put in with the Qur’an. And then when we talk about service some people get a little bit bitter.

Especially the sisters. They’re like, well, why do I have to be the one to do this? why do I have to be the one to cook the iftar? I’d like to spend all day reading Qur’an. It’s sort of losing sight of what Ramadan is really about. And what the the scholars today talked and emphasized a lot is the love of Allah Most High. And rectifying the self. Turning to Allah and asking for His forgiveness.

But these two concepts do not contradict each other. Rather they run in parallel. Because it’s when we turn help each other, help fellow believers, and it’s all done out of love for Allah, that we manifest that love. That we love to have His creation turned to Him. And if there is anything we can do to help other people turn towards Allah we should run to that opportunity. Whether that be to people in our own family, whether it be our children, whether it be members of our community. We should be avid to do what we can to help other people.

Balance Service and Self

That being said, it needs to be balanced of course, because you can’t just spend all of your Ramadan running around serving other people with neglect to oneself. One needs that personal time where you’re turning to Allah. Reading the Qur’an with reflection and understanding. Spending time reading other beneficial material or listening to beneficial lectures. Benefiting the self.

But there are a lot of things, there is a lot of extra time in the day, in which one can do things for other people. And as our teachers say, it’s almost as if there’s a sale during Ramadan, because now actions that you do are multiplied. Good actions that you do, even reading the Qur’an – all the good things that you can think of doing are multiplied. So it is best to take advantage of this time .

And doing what you can to help other people is also part of making the most of one’s time. It is not that one spends a little time in intensive worship and then closes the book and goes to relax, and just sort of vegetate for part of the day. Or one decides to go to sleep for another part of the day. One strives to make the most of every moment. As we should on every other day of the year.

We should make the most of all parts of our day on a daily basis. Even when we get up from this gathering we should be striving to make the most of our lives as believers. To make all of our moments count for us and not against us.

Primary Benefits of Service

There are three primary benefits of service. One is that it erases your past sins. When you do things for other people these things get erased. So there is nothing better you can ask for. We’ve all made mistakes in the past and would do anything to not face Allah with those on our record. And by His mercy He can forgive a lot of those things when you’re serving other people with that intention.

Another benefit of doing service at this time is that you get the dua of fasting people. When you’re doing things to benefit them you’re earning their dua. And Allah knows whose dua is accepted. When you’re doing it for a number of people, that includes even small children, know that when we do things for other people they make a dua for you.

The Hidden Secret of Service

And perhaps that single dua from one single person, child or adult, known or stranger, is the reason for your success. It might not be all of these customs that you’ve done in the past or all of these other things. It might be the dua of one elder in the community that you helped in a real time of need. Allah has this knowledge. It is with Allah Most High.

It’s a hidden secret in our service to other people that we don’t know where where our ultimate success will lie. And with what action and with what person. That leaves us continuously striving to do our best at every moment.

And finally the third aspect of service is that the deeds are multiplied during Ramadan. So one might be doing things for other people at other times of the year but in Ramadan these deeds are actually multiplied. They weigh heavier on your record. So strive in this regard and in sha Allah the reward for your service will be multiplied.

 

 

Prayer of Gabriel – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Specifically Merciful.

I delivered an online presentation on the evening of Isra and Mi’raj which coincides with the 27th Rajab. I dedicated most of the presentation to events that took place during the Prophet’s nocturnal journey from the Haram of Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsa.

After the presentation, I received many requests for the prayer that Gabriel taught the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace ) when an Ifrit (high-ranking jinn) tried to cast a blaze of fire upon him. In response to these requests, and seeking Allah’s pleasure and protection, I have translated the hadith, which includes the prayer of Gabriel, as it appears in the Muwatta of Imam Malik. However, different versions of the hadith have been transmitted. The version translated below has been transmitted by a successor directly from the Messenger, peace be upon him, (without mentioning the name of a companion), so, on its own, it may be regarded as weak. However, it is important to know that all the different versions of the hadith corroborate this version, and this corroboration raises the status of the hadith to ‘sound’ or ‘hasan’.

The translation is as follows: Yahya bin Said said, “during the nocturnal journey of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) he saw an Ifrit following him with a blaze of fire. Whenever he looked back, he saw him. Angel Gabriel then said, “Should I not teach you a supplication – if you were to recite it, his flame will go out and he will fall on his mouth?” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied in the affirmative. Gabriel then said:

“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, I seek refuge in Allah, the Most Generous, and by His Perfect Words, the boundaries of which cannot be exceeded by anyone, whether he be devout or a criminal, from the evil that descends from the heavens, or that which ascends to it, and from the evils that are sown within the earth, and that which comes out of it, and from the trials of the night and the day, and from the visitors of the night except those that come in goodness, O Most Gracious.”

Another version of the hadith reads, “the Prophet, peace be upon him, recited it and the ifrit’s flame died out and he fell on his face.”

The Arabic version of the prayer is:

أَعُوذُ بِوَجْهِ اللهِ الْكَرِيْمِ وَبِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّاتِ الَّتِي لَا يُجَاوِزُهُنَّ بَرٌّ، وَلَا فَاجِرٌ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا، وَمِنْ شَرِّ مَا ذَرَأَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وشر ما يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا، وَمِنْ فِتَنِ اللَّيْلِ والنَّهَارِ، وَمِنْ طَوَارِقِ اللَّيْلِ إِلَّا طَارِقًا يَطْرُقُ بِخَيْرٍ يَا رَحْمَانُ

Protection From Disease – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) was asked if there is any dhikr that could be recited for protection from disease. He advised doing the following:

  1. Giving charity
  2. Seeking Allah’s forgiveness abundantly (istighfar)
  3. Bestowing abundant prayers upon the Prophet ﷺ
  4. Reciting the following verses of protection in the morning and evening:

وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ

[He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them]

فَاللَّهُ خَيْرٌ حَافِظًا ۖ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

[God is the best guardian and the most merciful of the merciful]

وَحِفْظًا مِّن كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ مَّارِدٍ

 [And there is a safeguard against every rebellious Shaitan]

وَحَفِظْنَاهَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ رَّجِيمٍ

 [And We have guarded them From every evil spirit]

وَحِفْظًا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ

 [That is the measured determination of the All-Glorious with irresistible might, the All-Knowing]

إِنْ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ لَمَّا عَلَيْهَا حَافِظٌ

[There is no soul but has A protector over it]

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ * فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ

[But this is an honored Qur’an; in a Preserved Slate]

وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ ۖ وَيُرْسِلُ عَلَيْكُمْ حَفَظَةً

[And He is the subjugator over His servants, and He sends over you guardian]

فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا

 [We have not sent you over them as a guardian]

وَمَا أَنَا عَلَيْكُمْ بِحَفِيظٍ

[I am not a keeper over you]

إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ

[Indeed my Lord is over all things a Guardian]

لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِّن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّه

[For each one are successive (angels) before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah]

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

[Indeed it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed We will be its guardian]

وَكُنَّا لَهُمْ حَافِظِينَ

 [It was We Who guarded them]

وَرَبُّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ

[And your Lord over all things is Guardian]

اللَّهُ حَفِيظٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِوَكِيلٍ

[Allah is Guardian over them; and you are not over them a manager]

وَعِندَنَا كِتَابٌ حَفِيظٌ

 [With Us is a comprehensive book]

لِكُلِّ أَوَّابٍ حَفِيظٍ

[For every returner and keeper]

We ask Allah for protection, pardon, well- being, safety and continuous ability to do what He loves and is pleasing to Him.

Rajab is the Month of Allah – Habib Umar

Rajab, the seventh month of the Muslim calendar, is the month of Allah. It is singular as it is neither preceded nor followed by another holy month. For this and many other reasons Habib Umar encourages the Umma to ask for forgiveness and strength in this blessed month.

Habib Umar’s Message

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz, may Allah protect him and benefit us by him, said:

We would love for our brethren in faith, male and female, young and old to plead with Allah during the blessed month of Rajab by reciting the following Qur’anic prayer for forgiveness which also contains a prayer for the Muslims.

ربَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَإِسْرَافَنَا فِي أَمْرِنَا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

Rabbana ’ghfirlana dhunubana wa israfana fi amrina wa thabbit aqdamana wa ’nsurna ‘ala ’l-qawmi ’l-kafirin

Our Lord, forgive us our sins and our transgressions, make our feet firm and assist us against those who reject faith. (3:147)

We hope that we will swiftly see the results of this prayer, as Allah mentioned in the Qur’an regarding the followers of previous Prophets:

So Allah gave them both the reward of this world and the best reward of the Hereafter: “Allah loves those who act with excellence” (3:148).

We should aim to recite this verse at least 3,000 times this month. Better than this would be 5,000 or even 7,000 and the best would be 10,000 and those who do more will be given more.

May Allah accept us all.

Some Virtues of Rajab

The virtues of Rajab are many. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha‘ban is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my Umma.” (Suyuti)

When Rajab entered he, Allah bless him and give him peace, would say:

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا في رَجَبٍ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنا رَمَضَانَ

Allahumma barik lana fi Rajabin wa Sha‘ban wa ballighna Ramadan

O Allah bless us in Rajab and Sha‘ban and enable us to reach Ramadan. (Ahmad, Bayhaqi, Tabarani)

May Allah bless this Umma with forgiveness and strength and deliver it to Ramadan in the best of health and faith.

Source: Muwasala.org


Resources for Seekers

Daily Checklist for the Spiritual Traveler to the Divine – Compiled by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Sha‘ār

Any individual wishing to turn to Allah on a daily basis should try their upmost to implement the following checklist and advice.This daily checklist was compiled by Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Sha’ar, son of Sidi Abu Munir, the longtime personal attendant of the great Damascene scholar of Islamic spiritually, Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri.

صلاة ركعتين في السحر
1. Performing 2 units (rak‘a) of prayer in the last part of the night

أداء الصلوات الخمس جماعة وخصوصاً الفجر مع الخشوع والحضور في الصلاة
2. Performing the five obligatory prayers in congregation, especially Fajr, with presence and humility before God ﷻ

المحافظة على الوضوء
3. Consistency upon ablution (wudū’)

المحافظة على السنن الرواتب وأربع ركعات الضحى
4. Consistency upon the supererogatory prayers (sunan) associated with the obligatory prayers and four units of the morning prayer (duhā)

قراءة جزء من القرآن مع قراءة (الواقعة, الملك, أواخر البقرة والحشر) كل ليلة
5. Reciting a juz’ of Qur’ān every day, as well as al-Wāqi‘a, al-Mulk, and the endings of al-Baqara and al-Hashr every night

وقراءة (100) استغفار – (100) صلاة على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم –       (100)  لا إله إلا الله – (100) سبحان الله وبحمده صباحا ومساء
6. Reciting 100x istighfār, 100x prayer on the Prophet ﷺ (salawāt), 100x lā ilāha illā Allāh, and 100x subhān Allāhi wa bi hamdihi every morning and evening

صلاة ركعتي التوبة كل يوم قبل النوم مع البكاء من خشية الله
7. Performing 2 units of the prayer of repentance (tawba) every night before sleeping, crying out of humility before God ﷻ

التصدق ولو بشيء يسير كل يوم
8. Giving in charity, even very little, every day

صيام الاثنين والخميس على قدر الاستطاعة
9. Fasting Mondays and Thursdays as much as one is able

الجدية التامة وقلة الخلطة وعدم الانشغال بسفاسف الأمور
10. Maintaining complete solemnity, spending little time intermingling with people, and not wasting time in trivial matters

حسن الخلق والتزام الآداب الشرعية
11. Having good character and maintaining the etiquette (adab) of the sacred law

الاضطرار والحرقة للوصول إلى الله تعالى وإشغال الفكر بالتقدم في السلوك وترقية الحال
12. Having a deep, burning need to arrive at God ﷻ and busying one’s thoughts with spiritual advancement and the elevation of one’s state

إحكام الصمت الشرعي واغتنام الوقت
13. Staying silent in accordance with the law and taking advantage of one’s time

النصيحة لكل مسلم
14. Advising every Muslim

محاسبة النفس كل يوم
15. Taking oneself to account every day

مسامحة الخلق أجمعين
16. Forgiving all people

التواضع والشعور بأنك أقل الناس قدراً
17. Being humble, feeling that one is the least worthy of people

الحرص على تتبع السنة في كل الأمور
18. Covetousness in following the Sunnah in all matters

التفاني وبذل النفس للدين
19. Spending and exhausting the self in service of the religion

ملازمة مجالس العلم
20. Constantly attending gatherings of sacred knowledge

قراءة أصول الطريق كل أسبوع مرة على الأقل
21. Reading the foundations of the spiritual path at least once a week

الابتعاد عن الأمور التالية
Avoiding the following matters:
– Love of being seen and of leadership | حب الظهور والرياسة
– Anger | الغضب
– Tale-telling | النميمة
– Backbiting | الغيبة
– Lying | الكذب
– Deceit | الغش
– Ostentation | الرياء
– Letting others hear of one’s religious works | السمعة
– Conceit | الغرور
– Mentioning immoral acts | الخوض في الباطل
– Arguing | الجدال
– Reliance on oneself | الاعتداد بالنفس
– Being intimate and delighted with the people of heedlessness | الانبساط والاستئناس مع أهل الغفلة
– Satisfying one’s hunger beyond filling one-third of the stomach | الشبع بمجاوزة ثلث المعدة
– Looking down upon other people | التعالي على الخلق
– Coveting this world | الحرص على الدنيا
– Sloth in acts of worship | الكسل في الطاعات

The Etiquette (Adab) of the Visitation (Ziyara) of the Prophet ﷺ – Dr. Hisham A. Hellyer

The Sacred Signs of God

The sages and scholars of this religion have agreed that veneration for the sacred signs (sha’ir) of God is from the virtues of the heart – likewise, lack of proper etiquette (adab) with those signs is evidence of an unhealthy heart. Allah says in His Book: “If someone venerates the sacred signs of Allah, this is truly a sign of piety in the heart”. (Qur’an 22:32)

The scholars note that from among these signs are the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the house of God (the Ka’aba in al-Makka al-Mukarrama), the Divine Word (the Qur’an), the five daily prayers (al-salawat al-khams), and the month of Ramadan. Without the Prophet, we would know nothing of the reality of any of these things. There are many evidences to note in this regard from the Qur’an and the Sunna – for this tract, it suffices to present this sacred tradition (hadith qudsi) which is mentioned in the compendium of authentic narrations, compiled by Imam al-Bukhari: The Prophet ﷺ said, “Verily Allah, the Most High has said: ‘Whosoever shows enmity to a friend (wali) of Mine, then I have declared war against him. And My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved to Me than the religious duties I have obligated upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to me with supererogatory (nafil) deeds until I Love him. When I Love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge.’

The Excellence of the Prophet ﷺ

It is the only via the Prophet ﷺ that we know what those religious duties are. It is only via the Prophet ﷺ that we know what the supererogatory deeds are. He is, thus, the means by which we are given the knowledge to draw near to God.

He is the ‘Perfect Human’ (al-insan al-kamil), which also is the title of a famous contemporary work by the traditionist of the Hijaz (al-muḥaddith al-hijaz), the shaykh of our shaykhs, Sayyid Muhammad b. Alawi al-Maliki, may God have mercy upon him. The Prophet ﷺ is the Messenger of Mercy (raḥma), whom God sent as a mercy to all created things, which is mentioned in the words of God: “And We have not sent you except as a mercy to all the worlds”(21:107).

And this same attribute of mercy is the attribute of God that is mentioned time and again in this religion, whether it be in the sacred narrations, or in the word of God. Indeed, consider that the basmala (the saying of bismillah al-rahman al-rahim), which opens every cycle of prayer, and is recommended before every action, includes not one, but two attributes relating to mercy (raḥma): al-Rahman, al-Rahim.

It is for this reason and many others that the scholars said that out of all of the sacred signs of God, the Prophet ﷺ is the most sacred indeed – and why the visitation to him is so recommended. The below includes some of the most pertinent recommendations included therein – and there will be many others, but one hopes this will suffice for the ease of memorising and remembering, particularly for those for whom the visitation to Madina is their first time.

The Visitation of the Prophet ﷺ – (Be Merciful to One Another)

Our teachers reminded us, therefore, that in the event we were considering the visitation (ziyara) of the Prophet ﷺ, we should do so in a way that is befitting of the occasion. His essence is mercy – our essence, at all times, but particularly as we embark from our homes to pursue the visitation, should be a complete emulation of that sacred attribute. Our mercy with our families, our friends, those that we know and those that we do not – it is mercy that we should focus upon in our character. If we are genuine in our desire to follow his practise (Sunna), then we should know that this is his Sunna: being a mercy to all the worlds.

As one approaches al-Madina al-Munawwara (the Illuminated City), one should remember – they are visiting the city in which the mercy to the worlds lived, taught, and passed from this world. When one visits the city, one should not be surprised if they feel this overwhelming feeling of serenity (sakina) within it, and this subtle sweetness (jamal): rather, this is entirely natural, considering who is buried therein. There is an awesome-like (jalal) nature to Makka, which cannot be mistaken – and there is a subtle sweetness-like nature (jamal) to Madina, which cannot be mistaken.

Imam Nawawi, one of the foremost authorities of the Shafi’i rite (madhhab), in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, one of the most authentic compilations of Prophetic narrations (ahadith), said:

“The scholars have differed regarding the meaning of the above exception in the same way that they have differed concerning Makka and Madina: which of the two is better? The way of Shafi`i and the vast majority of the scholars is that Makka is better than Madina and that the mosque in Mecca is better than the mosque in Madina. The opposite is true for Malik and a group of scholars”.

So, even though we may follow the opinion that Makka is better, the opinion that Madina is better is clearly of great merit, and well respected, as Imam Malik and others declared it as such.

Indeed, many of our scholars declared that irrespective of the above, the site of the Prophet’s tomb is the holiest place on earth – holier than that of the Ka’aba. Some even compared the nobleness of its location to the nobility of the Throne itself.

And Allah knows best.

The Importance of the Visitation

The visitation, according to most of our scholars, is legally recommended (mandūb); some of our scholars emphasised it so much, that one should be concerned about not making that visit, due to the immense benefit that comes from the visitation. Indeed, the Prophet is narrated as having said:

“Whoever visits my grave, my intercession becomes obligatory for him.”

“Whoever visits me and has no other motive, has a right over me that I intercede on his behalf.”

“Whoever visits me after my death is like he who had visited me during my life.”

“Whoever undertakes a journey specially to visit me, will be my neighbour on the Day of Judgement.”

Be sure that when you visit the Prophet ﷺ, you do not fall into poor etiquette by saying, ‘I am visiting the tomb of the Prophet’ – for you must be aware you are the guest of the Prophet ﷺ, who is aware of you and responds to you. And thus, show it the due respect.

Likewise, be sure to formulate your intention properly – that you intend to visit the Prophet ﷺ, visiting his mosque, praying therein, and thereby drawing closer to the Divine.

Litanies and Practices

The litany (dhikr) that is recommended once your intention has been made is the sending of blessings and prayers (salawat) upon the Prophet ﷺ – any one that you prefer.

Ensure you are clean, fully washed (with a complete bath (ghusl)) wearing good clothes, perfumed, as you would when visiting an honoured dignitary. This should preferably done before you enter Madina, or immediately upon your arrival and before your visit to the Prophet ﷺ.

When you enter Madina, continue your sending prayers upon Prophet ﷺ, and say the following supplication:

اَللهُمَّ هَذَا حَرَمُ نَبِيِّكَ فَاجْعَلْهُ وِقَايَةً لِيْ مِنَ النَّارِ وَآمِنَّا مِنْ الْعَذَابِ وَسُوْءِ الْحِسَابِ.
Allāhumma hādhā ḥaramu nabiyyika faj’alhu wiqāyatan lī mina n-nāri wa amānan mina l-‘adhābi wa sū’a l-ḥisāb

“O Allah, this is the Sacred Precinct of Your Prophet, so make it a protection for me from the Fire and a security from punishment and a bad reckoning.”

The Visiting of the Mosque

The resting place of the father of the Prophet ﷺ, Sayyidina ‘Abdallah b. Abd al-Muttalib (may Allah be pleased with him) is to be found within the enclosure of Masjid al-Nabawi; there is a space near to the Prophet ﷺ that is specified for the resting place of the Prophet Jesus, Sayyidina ‘Isa b. Maryam (upon whom be peace); the original site of the house of Sayyidina Ali b. Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), may God pleased with him, and Sayyidatuna Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her) is to be found in where the mosque now stands; the Mihrab al-Tahajjud, where the Prophet ﷺ would pray the night vigil (tahajjud) prayer, is in the same precinct; and the ‘Bench’ of the ‘People of the Bench’, who were particularly renowned for their piety (Ahl al-Suffa) is in this same precinct.

With a full awareness, one should proceed to the Prophet ﷺ, reciting salawat, and giving some charity. Recall and remember that you are visiting the Beloved of God, al-Habib, and that you have been chosen and selected to do so by the grace of God.

It is preferable (mandūb) to enter the mosque from the door of Jibril (Bab Jibril) because that was the practice of the Prophet ﷺ – but you may enter through any door.

Following your entrance into the Mosque, ensure you follow the regular etiquette of entering the mosque:

  1. Enter with the right foot
  2. Recite the supplication:                                                                                                                                                                           بِسْمِ اللهِ، اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ. اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَافْتَحْ لِي أَبْوَابَ رَحْمَتِك
    Bismi-llāh, Allāhumma ṣalli alā Muhammad. Allāhumma-ghfir lī wa-ftaḥ lī abwāba raḥmatik.
    In the name of Allah, send blessings upon Muhammad ﷺ. O Allah, open for me the doors of Your Bounty.
  3. Make the intention for spiritual retreat (i’tikaf)

It was the practice of many of the righteous that they would go straight to the Prophet ﷺ, and send him greetings, before anything else, including before they would pray two units (raka’tayn) of prayer to greet the mosque (tahiyyat al-masjid). One should focus solely on the purpose of the visit, which is to greet and visit the Prophet ﷺ. However, if the area in front the Prophet ﷺ is busy, then pray 2 units of prayer as noted below at the Rawda, and then continue to the Prophet ﷺ.

One should proceed to the area of the Rawda, which is in the centre of the mosque, marked by a light green floral carpet. The Prophet ﷺ said of this place: ”The area between my house and my minbar is one of the meadows of Paradise, and my minbar is on my pond (al-Hawd)”. Many of our scholars said that this means, literally, that this area is from Paradise.

In the Rawda, one should pray two units of prayer for greeting the mosque – it has been narrated it is preferable that sura al-Kafirun and sura al-Ikhlas are best to read in the first and second raka’ats respectively. If one cannot do so in the Rawda itself, then pray as close as you can. Remember that it is your intention that is rewarded.

Following this, recall the immense blessing that God has bestowed upon you for this incredible opportunity, as a guest of the Prophet ﷺ. Supplicate to God tremendously – this is one of the most special places on this earth.

You will then eventually exit the mosque from the south, near Bab al-Salam – and in so doing, you will be passing in front of the Prophet ﷺ. Remember: as you walk through this area, you are walking on the ground that was walked upon by the Prophet ﷺ, by his family, by his companions, by his followers, by their followers, by the scholars and sages of this umma.

Read salawat in abundance and be aware you are approaching the physical nearness of the Final Messenger of God; be humble, be aware of your faults, and be hopeful of attaining forgiveness.

The Prophet ﷺ, Sayyidina Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and Sayyidina Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) are all buried in the middle enclosure that you can see among three enclosures. Stand a little away from the enclosure, facing it, with your back towards the Qibla, and turn slightly left so your face is facing directly to the Prophet ﷺ, who is directly behind the first hole of the middle enclosure that you will be able to see. Invoke prayers and send blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ, in abundance, and request what you will via his intercession (wasila).

And after you have done so, give the Prophet ﷺ your greetings of peace, the minimum of which is:

اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ
‏As-salāmu ‘alayka yā rasūlAllāh.
Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah.

Do not do so loudly, without decorum – do so with dignity and humility, envisioning the Prophet ﷺ in front of you. Indeed, keeping your voice low at all times in the presence of the Prophet ﷺ is warranted, in due respect of him.

Then, recite more salawat upon the Prophet ﷺ;

repeat the testification of faith;

invoke God for His forgiveness (istighfar);

thank the Prophet ﷺ;

and then do not neglect asking the Prophet for his intercession:

يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ، أَسْأَلُكَ الشَّفَاعَةَ وَأَتَوَسَّلُ بِكَ إِلَى اللهِ أَنْ أَمُوْتَ مُسْلِمَاً عَلَى مِلَّتِكَ وَسُنَّتِكَ
Yā rasūla llāh as’aluka ash-shafā’ata wa atawassalu bika ila llāhi ‘an ‘amūta Musliman ‘ala millatika wa sunnatik.
O Rasul Allah! I request your intercession, and I ask Allah, through you, to enable me to die on your religion and your Sunnah.

If you do not know the supplication by heart, do so in whatever words you choose. Do not neglect sending greetings to Sayyidina Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and Sayyidina Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) facing them – which means stepping a little to the right, twice – and then you may return to facing the Prophet ﷺ to make more supplications, before you leave the mosque. Do not give the resting place of the Prophet your back, at any time.

As you leave the mosque, you’ll be facing Janna al-Baqi’, where many of the righteous are buried – it is appropriate to send them the gift of the reward of reciting Sura al-Fatiha by reading it with that intention.

Farewell to Madina

One hopes that one makes the best use of their time in Madina while they are there. Spend your time well, plan it well, use it well. As you pass in front of the mosque of the Prophet ﷺ, ensure you always give him greetings.

Before you leave Madina, ensure you visit him ﷺ one last time before departure. Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani recommended we supplicate: “O Allah, don’t make this the last of my visit to the grave of Your Prophet, and if you cause me to die, then make me die loving him and his Sunna. Amin, O most merciful of the merciful!”

Our teachers said: leave your heart and soul in those blessed places, and only let your body take the return trip. May God bless us all with the secrets of the ziyara.


Ustadh Dr. Hisham A. Hellyer

Dr Hisham A. Hellyer is Professorial Fellow of Cambridge Muslim College (UK) and Senior Scholar of the Azzawia Trust & Al-Zawiya Institute (South Africa). As a widely published academic and commentator focusing on politics and religion in the West, the Arab world and Muslim communities globally, he concurrently serves as Senior Fellow at RUSI (UK) & the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (USA).

Born to an English father and to an Egyptian mother of ʿAbbāsī-Sudanese & Ḥasanī-Moroccan heritage, he was raised between London, Cairo and Abu Dhabi, before becoming educated at Sheffield and Warwick universities to post-doctoral levels in law and the social sciences. He studied – and studies – the Islamic intellectual tradition in the UK, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and elsewhere, keeping the company of traditionally trained-scholars, including the likes of the Malaysian polymath, Tan Sri Professor Sayyid M. Naquib al-Attas, and Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, the khalifa of the Makkan sage, Sayyid Muhammad b. Alawi al-Maliki.

With previous positions at and affiliations with the Brookings Institution, Harvard University, the American University in Cairo, and the RZS-Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilisation (CASIS), he is a frequent commentator and columnist in various media in the United States, Europe and the Arab world. Included in the scholarly section of the annual global ‘Muslim 500’ list of Georgetown University (USA) and RISCC (Jordan), he is also a council member of the British Board of Scholars & Imams. Among his written works are ‘Muslims of Europe: the ‘Other’ Europeans’ (Edinburgh University Press), ‘A Revolution Undone: Egypt’s Road Beyond Revolt’ (Oxford University Press) and “The Islamic Tradition, Muslim Communities and the Human Rights Discourse” (editor) (Atlantic Council)


Further Resources:

Information on the Sites of the Holy City of Madina (pdf) – ‘Madinah Ziyarah Guide

Visitation of the Prophet

Advice from Habib Umar

The Etiquette of the Ziyara (Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyya)

 

Selected Further Reading:

Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din, by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

al-Ghunya li talibi Tariq al-Haqq, by Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani

Al-Arba’in, by Imam al-Nawawi

al-Majmu` Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, by Imam al-Nawawi

al-Idah fi Manasik al-Hajj, by Imam al-Nawawi

What is Special About the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah? – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

* Originally Published on 1/09/2016

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains why the first ten days of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah are so special, and what actions we can take to benefit from them.

The life of a Muslim is very special as it is full of opportunities to get closer to Allah ﷻ‎ by doing the various forms of worship that Allah ﷻ loves.  These forms of worship turn the life of a Muslim into a life of righteous action, speech and continuous activity for the benefit and goodness of everyone.  This means that the life of Mu’mins should be devoted to worship, obedience, righteous deeds and absolute connection with Allah ﷻ in every part of their life, and in all their affairs.  They do not need to go to the mosque, in particular, to approach Allah ﷻ, as He is with them all the time, as He said in the Qur’an (Surah Qaf: 16):  “…and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.”
From this we know that our life cannot be cut off from the Mercy of Allah ﷻ.  So, from having this connection, during the five prayers that are spread over twenty-four hours, the special day of jummah once a week, fasting during the month Ramadan once a year, fasting the six days of Shawwal, fasting on Monday and Thursday every week, fasting the three bright days every month, and then, add to this, the ten days of Dhul Hijjah; those days in which every good deed we do, not only are we rewarded, but Allah ﷻ loves good deeds in these days more than any other time of the year.

What is Special About the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah?

The special worship, hajj is particular to these ten days, and Rasulullah ﷺ said if Allah ﷻ accepted the hajj of someone, they go back from their Hajj as a new born baby. Umrah is also performed in these days.  For those who do not go for hajj, they can fast for the first nine days, give charity, and they can do a lot of forms of worship. Ibn Hajr (radiallah anhu) said that “during these ten days you can do all the major forms of worship, but this is not possible to gather in any other set of days.”
So our life and our striving does not stop anywhere, and neither does are ability to get closer to Allah ﷻ.  There is no limit to qurb!
Speaking of having no limit to closeness with Allah ﷻ, Surah Alam Nashrah alludes to the station of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ:

Did We not expand your breast? – the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is absolutely Rahma (mercy)!

And raised high for you your repute. – Whenever Allah ﷻ is mentioned the name of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is mentioned

And to your Lord direct [your] longing!  Keep striving in your connection with Allah ﷻ as there is no limit to closeness

The Virtues of the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah in the Qur’an and Sunnah

Qur’an

In Surah Fajr (1-2), Allah ﷻ swears by the time of fajr and by the ten days, and for Allah ﷻ to swear by something is to make it great.  Ibn Abbas, ibn Zubayr, Mujahid and others (radiallah anhum) all agree that the mention of the ten days is those first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
In Surah Al-Hajj (28), Allah ﷻ says:  “…remember the name of Allah ﷻ in the known days…”  ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu) mentions that the days referred to in this ayah are the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.

Sunnah

In a Hadith narrated by ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that “The best days that Allah ﷻ loves good deeds the most in are these days, meaning the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.” (Abu Dawud 2438)
And in a Hadith narrated by Syedina Jabir (radiallah anhu), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:  “[of] the ten best days, the tenth is the day of  sacrifice (Adha), and the uneven numbered day is the day of Arafah, and these are the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.”  (Imam Ahmad)
And in another Hadith, Syedina Jabir (Radiallah anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that there are “no days better than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.”  (ibn Hibban 3853)
Ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:  “the best of deeds to Allah ﷻ, that which He loves and rewards greatly and generously, are those actions performed in the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.  (Sunan al Darimi 1774)
In a Hadith, the Sahaba (radiallah anhum) asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ if the mujahid could compare to the one who worships in these ten days, to which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ responded that no one can compare to the person who worships in these ten days except for the mujahid who gives away everything he owns and takes what remains with him and leaves it all on the battlefield, including his life.  Only this person can compare to the one who worships in these ten days!

Best Actions for the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah

1)      Nawafil: try to do as many supererogatory prayers as you can, as it is a mentioned in a Hadith that a person’s station is raised and that bad deeds are erased with each prostration.
2)      Fast as much as you can.  It is mentioned in a hadith, when a companion asked what the best of deeds was, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to fast.
3)      Qiyam ul Layl.  Night prayers should be encouraged in these ten days.  Abdullah ibn Salam (radiallah anhu) mentioned that when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ came to Madinah with all his radiance he mentioned three things to the community:  spread peace, feed people, and pray while others are asleep.  Normally, after such a migration, people would be sceptical and cautions of others, but instead the Messenger of Allah ﷺ summarized the deen upon his arrival in Madinah al Munawarrah.  The great tab’ee Said ibn Jubayr (radiallah anhu) said in the first ten nights of Dhul Hijjah, do not turn off your lights!
4)      Tahlil, Tahmeed, Takbeer:  To repeat La ilaha illallahAlhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar – La ilaha illallah – wAllahu Akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd.  Abdullah ibn Omar and Abu Hurrairah (radiallah anhum) were known for reciting takbeer in the market place.  Abdullah ibn Omar (radiallah anhu) would keep reciting his dhikr, and would only return salam in these ten days.
5)      Day of Arafah:  The day of Arafah should be occupied with dua and tawbah.  The life of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was dua, to remember Allah ﷻ with every action in every moment.

Dua on Day of Arafah of Sayyidina Ali 

In making dua on the day of Arafah, Sayyidina Ali (RA) used to repeat the following dua:

Oh Allah! Free me from the hellfire.

Ya Allah! Grant me abundant halal rizq.

Ya Allah! Keep away from me the disobedient ones, whether they be jinn or human.

Practically, on the day of Arafah, you should try to take off from work if possible, that way you can spend your day in dua.  In addition, sleep directly after isha the night before, and wake up a hour before fajr in order to be present at the time Allah ﷻ loves to accept dua.  Make the intention to make this a different day of Arafah; make it a day that is different from all the rest.
In closing, it is important to remind ourselves of the purpose of our deen, as is stated in Surah Anbiya:  “We did not send you other than to be a Mercy to all the Worlds,” speaking about the Messenger of Allahﷺ.  So we can never stop striving, we must be that mercy.
May Allah ﷻ grant His Mercy and the company of His Mercy ﷺ, and may He make these ten days those of forgiveness and acceptance of our duas.

How Does a Seeker of Knowledge Attain Openings? – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

* Courtesy of Muwasala.org

Habib Umar bin Hafiz advises seekers how to attain openings in their studies.

Seekers must abide by the etiquettes of seeking knowledge. They must spend time reviewing what they have studied with fellow students and write down important points which they learn.

They should call upon Allah by His names the Opener, the All-Knowing 100 times a day:

يا فَتَّاحُ يا عَلِيمُ

Ya Fattāḥ ya `Alīm

They should also repeat Ayat al-Kursi followed by this prayer upon the Prophet ﷺ :

اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَ سَلِّمْ عَلى سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَلي آلِ سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ في كُلِّ لَمْحَةٍ وَ نَفَسٍ بِعَدَدِ كُلِّ  مَعْلومٍ لَكَ

Allahumma salli wa sallim ‘ala sayyidina Muhammad wa ‘ala ali sayyidina Muhammad fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasin bi `adadi kulli ma`lumin lak

O Allah, bestow prayers and peace on our master Muhammad and his Family in every instant and every breath equal to the amount of everything known to You

Farewell Ode to Ramadan – Hafith Abdullah Francis

* Originally Published on 3/07/2016

Hafith Abdullah recites odes of farewell to Ramadan after the Tarawih prayers, in the Cape Malay tradition. He concludes with supplications asking for God’s mercy, forgiveness and His emancipation from the hellfire.