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?”


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:

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

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.


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).


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: The Soul’s Estrangement

Preserving the Light of Ramadan – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

How do we preserve the light of Ramadan once the month has ended?


One of the keys to preserving what we have attained is in the intentions we make before the month ends. We should make firm intentions to do good in Shawwal and beyond. We also need to beg Allah to preserve and increase the gifts He has given us. We need to be consistent in our attendance of gatherings and classes, consistent in our recitation of the Quran while reflecting upon its meanings and consistent in our recitation of the adhkar with presence of heart. We must also choose the best company and sit in the presence of people who have been given light.

Spiritual Prescription for Shaban – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) recommends reading the following 40,000 times in the the month of Sha`ban:


يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ لا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنْ الْظَّالِمِين

Ya Hayyu ya Qayyum la ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu min az-zalimin

‘O Living, O Self-Subsistent! There is no deity other than You. Transcendent are You, truly I am one of the wrongdoers.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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