Muharram: The Islamic Calendar’s January | A Reader

The new Islamic year is almost upon us and although setting New Year’s Resolutions based on the Islamic calendar isn’t a common practice, there are a few things we should do; reflect over the previous year and take a moment to assess our accomplishments, and think about how we can make the next Islamic year better.

The first month of the Islamic calendar is Muharram; a very special month in Islam. Not only does it mark the start of a new year but it is from what Allah deems “the sacred months”.

Allah says:

God decrees that there are twelve months- ordained in God’s Book on the Day when He created the heavens and earth- four months of which are sacred: this is the correct calculation. Do not wrong your souls in these months- though you may fight the idolaters at any time, if they first fight you- remember that God is with those who are mindful of Him. (9:36)

In this reader, we have compiled for our valued readers most of our articles, questions, videos, and audio segments related to this blessed month.

Articles

Bidding Farewell to this Year and Welcoming a New Year – Muwasala

  • How should we end the year and how should we start the upcoming one?
    • “At the end of the financial year businessmen analyse their year’s trading, but our trade is with Allah and is more worthy of being evaluated. “

Muharram: Mankind’s Memorial – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

  • Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains why Muharram, the first in the Islamic calendar, is an especially auspicious month on many levels.

Sacred Months by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

  • An article highlighting the virtue of fasting in these sacred months amongst other things.

Answers

Can I Purchase Household Accessories in Muharram?

  • Clearing up some misconceptions

Is it Forbidden to Buy New Clothes During Muharram?

  • Clearing up some more misconceptions

Fiqh of The Islamic Month of Muharram

  • A detailed reply to a question posed to Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, “What is the fiqh of the Islamic month of Muharram?”

Can I Combine My Intentions for a Missed Ramadan Fast and An Optional Sunnah Fast?

  • If you’ve decided to fast some days this month but have fasts you still have to make up from Ramadan, can you combine them?

Videos

Muharram: An Opportunity to Transcend Hypocrisy

  • Dr Yusuf Patel discusses the importance of transcending the recurrent partisan and divisive issues of Muharram, and rather focus on following the universal values that Prophet Musa (peace be upon him), Imam Hussain (Allah be pleased with him) and other great personalities stood for.

Audios

Muharram & New Beginnings, by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

  • A Friday sermon delivered by the Shaykh regarding the concept of shahada, commonly translated as “martyrdom.” The term in reality, goes much deeper than its’ simple translation.

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.

One-Year Specialization Certificate in Islamic Theology, Logic and Contemporary Challenges

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

Program Description

This is a one-year Specialization Certificate Program in Islamic Theology, Logic and Contemporary Challenges. It covers Level Four of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum in ‘Aqīda (Islamic beliefs), and Level Three of Manṭiq (Logic). 

This program will encompass a thorough study of three texts. 

  1. The first is Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id al-Nasafīya, one of the most important works ever written in `Ilm al-Kalām, which will take the full duration of the program (50 weeks). 
  2. The second text is Shaykh al-Islam Zakarīyā al-Ansārī’s Commentary on al-Abaharī’s Īsāghūjī titled: al-Maṭlaʻ, an integral part of the Logic curriculum at al-Azhar of Egypt and the Madrasas of al-Shām, which will be taught in parallel to Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id  during the first half of the program. 
  3. The third text is al-Intibahāt al-Mufīda ‘an al-Ishtibahāt al-Jadīda by Imam Muḥammad Ashraf ‘Alī Thānvī, one of the most powerful attempts to revitalize `Ilm al-Kalām in the early 20th century, which will be also taught in parallel of Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id, but during the second half of the program, so after the conclusion of al-Matla`.

Class Format

Two pre-recorded classes per week, an hour and a half each; and one bi-weekly live discussion. 

Students are expected to follow the recordings and attend the live session.

Preparation, participation, questions, and doing recommended readings are expected.

There will be an online forum for questions, discussion, and for related texts, and resources. The PDFs of the assigned texts and other important readings will be provided.

Program Objectives

The objectives of this program are:

(1) to begin the journey of gaining mastery of Sunni theological reasoning; 

(2) to develop a capacity of reading advanced-level theological texts; 

(3) to be prepared and equipped for the study of Philosophical Theology; 

(4) to engage with contemporary theological challenges; and above all, 

(5) to seek the pleasure of Allah through benefiting oneself and others by preserving, acting upon, and transmitting this noble Prophetic inheritance.

Course Teacher

This course shall be taught by Shaykh Ahmed Hussein El Azhary, a Senior Instructor at SeekersGuidance. He is also a teacher of Kalam, Logic, Hadith, and Usūl at Rawdatul-Na`īm under the supervision of Habib `Ali al-Jifrī; and at Madyafat Shaykh Ismaīl Sadiq al-`Adawī (Allah have mercy upon him), a prominent learning center by al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. Shaykh Ahmed began his journey of studying traditional sciences about 20 years ago. In addition to studying with scholars from al-Azhar, he had the privilege of studying with visiting scholars from Algeria and India in a one-on-one format and was thus given an exceptional opportunity to study and discuss advanced-level texts of different sorts and over a long period of time. Formerly, he worked as a Lead Researcher at Tabah Foundation. He was appointed by Habib `Ali al-Jifrī to architect the philosophical framework of Suaal initiative – an initiative concerned with modelling an Islamic philosophical response to contemporary existential questions. Shaykh Ahmed continues to participate in Suaal Initiative through essays, public lectures, and workshops. Alongside five published works on the Art of Deep Reading, Philosophy of Education and Pedagogy, Linguistics and the Art of Scientific Investigation, he has published a commentary on “Kifayat al-Muhaqiq,” Imam al-Arwādi’s Logic manual. He also has two published research papers by Tabah Foundation; one on the permissibility of inquiry in matters of creed and the other is a critical response to Sam Harris’ “The Moral Landscape.”

Conditions for Joining the Program

This is an upper-intermediate to advanced class in `Ilm al-Kalām—the science of Islamic beliefs (‘Aqīda). It covers Level Four of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Studies Curriculum.

Students need to have completed a study of at least two of the following texts or their equivalent: al-Dardir’s Commentary on al-Kharīda, al-Bajūrī’s Commentary on al-Jawhara, and al-Sanusi’s Commentary on Umm al-Barāhīn.

This program will be taught in English, but knowledge of Classical Arabic and familiarity with Classical Arabic texts is necessary.

Student Expectations

The expectations from the students would be to:

Prepare for the classes, by 

[a] thorough reading of the matn; 

[b] deep reading of the commentary–with focus on the theological reasoning mentioned in the commentary; 

[c] preparing properly thought-out questions related to the text and its implications. 

It is encouraged, especially for more advanced students, to research key issues in the various super-commentaries and glosses written on Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id and al-Maṭlaʻ. This, however, is a recommendation, but not a requirement. Students who are ready to engage super-commentaries are welcome to email the teacher for advice on this.

Watch the recordings of the class with 

[a] attentiveness, through cutting out distractions (no surfing, messaging, texting, etc); 

[b] taking notes of essential details, especially matters related to unpacking the text and analyzing its content; 

[c] asking questions based on their preparation or related to anything they found to be unclear whether in the text or the recordings of the teacher.

Review of the class notes and texts. Research of issues that arise is encouraged and asking questions regarding things that remain unclear is essential. The more you can keep reviewing the text and its commentary the better. 

Test yourself by checking whether you remember the key details. Diagramming the text helps.

Take notes. It is best to create your own copy of the texts (‘Aqā’id al-Nasafī and Īsāghūjī) itself and add to it essentials from the assigned commentaries and preferably from the recommended super-commentaries. This is also good Arabic scholarly writing practice.

Participate in the Class Forum by asking questions, sharing issues of benefit, and getting involved in the relevant discussions, with the proper manners of a keen seeker of knowledge.

Seek Allah’s assistance, make this a means of seeking His pleasure, have high secondary intentions of acting upon what you learn with excellence, preserving and transmitting Prophetic guidance, to benefit yourself and to benefit others, and to gain all the benefits mentioned by Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) for those who seek and transmit sacred knowledge for the sake of Allah.

Students Evaluation

Students will be evaluated through a variety of quizzes, written assignments, projects and oral exams.  Each class will be accompanied by a quiz. Writing assignments and projects will be demanded periodically (a detailed schedule will be announced). Oral exams are imperative to receive the Ijaza Certificate.

Registration for the live program is now closed. This program will be made available once it’s completed. Sign up for our newsletter below to keep up to date with new classes and programs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Articles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spiritual Activism and the Tradition of Salawat in West Africa

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

 

On Demand Courses

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

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

Islam in Blackamerica

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

 

Answers

How Do I Deal With My Racist Spouse?

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

Hadiths on the “Bad Traits” of Black People

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

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

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

How Do I Deal With Racist Attitudes at Gatherings?

  • Self-hate will lead to a dull fate.

Are the Islamic Rulings Regarding Marriage Racist?

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

 

In These Last Days of Ramadan, Support the Spread of the Prophetic Legacy – Imam Yama Niazi

Imam Yama Niazi discusses the Islamic Scholars Fund and the critical importance of supporting students of knowledge and qualified teachers around the world.

“This is a fund that helps and supports our teachers, our scholars, our da’ees and those who call to Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) ).” – Imam Yama Niazi

We need your help to raise $1 million in Zakat and Charity to urgently support scholars in need around the world.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.” 

But in times of crisis, when our mosques and religious institutions are closed down, our scholars are left unsupported and struggling to survive. Taking up odd jobs to provide for their families, leaving our communities bereft of the light and guidance it’s in utter need of.  Therefore there is no better, more important initiative than the spread of knowledge. 

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan 

Give your zakat and charity to the Islamic Scholars Fund in these blessed last days of Ramadan to help deserving religious scholars and students. In these difficult times, knowledge has even greater impact; and your support will help it spread. 

Through your support and contributions of Zakat and Charity – to the Islamic Scholars Fund – you are directly helping deserving qualified scholars and students.  and becoming a part of the Prophetic legacy.

Purify Your Wealth

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [Quran 2:261]

Donate now to ensure scholars have the support required to continue their priceless service to their communities.

Support the spread of sacred Knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund in these last days of  Ramadan, by giving your zakat and charity to help us raise $1 million for deserving students and scholars in need around the world. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

 

In These Last Days of Ramadan, Help Sustain Sacred Knowledge – Dr. Hadia Mubarak

In the current global crisis, many deserving scholars and students have been left unsupported; knowledge is critical in these testing times, and you can help to sustain it’s spread.

Dr. Hadia Mubarak talks about the Islamic Scholars Fund and the importance of supporting students of knowledge and qualified teachers around the world.

“Whatever crisis we are facing never eliminates our need for accurate and reliable religious knowledge, so it is absolutely critical that we support religious scholars across the world.”  Dr. Hadia Mubarak

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan.

We need your help to raise $1 million in Zakat and Charity to urgently support students of knowledge and qualified scholars in need around the world.

Knowledge is critical in these testing times, and you have an opportunity by donating your Zakat and Charity to help sustain it’s spread.

This Ramadan, help people around the world find light and guidance by supporting deserving scholars. Give your zakat and charity to support scholars who need it, when their knowledge is needed most.

Hadith: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.”  [Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others] 

Faith Pandemic

Islamic Scholars Fund

Support the Spread of Sacred Knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund this Ramadan, by giving your Zakat and Charity to Help Us Raise $1 Million for Deserving Students and Scholars in Need Around the World. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

Capturing the Spirit of Ramadan – Ramadan Playlist

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, Shaykh Adeyinka Mendes and other leading scholars provide lessons on how to embody the values and realities of the month of Ramadan. This video series was recorded during Ramadan 2016.

The Trodden Path (Episode 9): Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Khutani of Turkestan

In this series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed of South Africa will take us on a journey through the lives and biographies of some of the most celebrated and well known scholars of the twentieth and twenty – first century. These historical accounts will provide us with refreshing insights and lessons, and motivate us to follow in the footsteps of our pious predecessors.


In this ninth episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Khutani  of Turkestan.

The Trodden Path Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Khutani 1314-1389=1896-1969 (Turkestan)

Muhammad Ibrahim ibn Sa’d Allah ibn Abdur Rahim ibn Abdul Alim Al-Fadli Al-Khutani was a famous scholar. He was born in Qaraqaash, Turkistan in 1896 (1314). He was born into a home with a history and legacy of knowledge and piety.

He memorized the Quraan at a young age under his paternal uncle and teacher, Qari Rozi Muhammad Al-Andajaani. He studied the basics under his father and his cousins, Shaykh Muhammad Sharif Al-Khutani and Shaykh Muhammad Esa Al-Khutani. 

When he completed his initial education, he desired to travel to Lucknow, but as per instruction from his teachers, he travelled to Kashghar. He settled at Madarasah Taj Hakim Bik where he studied under Shaykh Muhammad Yaqub and Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul Baqi Al-Artuji. With the latter he studied Talkhis Al-Miftah. In Kashghar, there was a scholar from Tripoli-Lebanon whose name was Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id Al-Asli under who he studied Hadith. Thereafter the Russians deported this Shaykh to Khawarizm. 

However, he did not remain in Kashghar for more than eight months, after which he moved to Samarkand in 1914 (1332), where he settled in Madrasah Umar ibn Abdul Aziz. He studied under the Imam of the school, Shaykh Hadi ibn Fadl, Shaykh Muhammad Akram and Shaykh Burhan Al-Din. With Shaykh Burhan Al-Din he studied Al-Jazariyah and Al-Shatibiyah.

In 1920 (1339), he completed his studies, then went to Andajaan where he studied under his cousin Shaykh Rozi. He again read and studied Al-Shatibiyah with its commentary. He then received Ijazah from his Shaykh in Qirat. He then proceeded to Namnakaan where he studied Hadith under Shaykh Muhammad Thabit. He sought Ijazah from his teachers who granted it to him. Many of them narrated from Shaykh Ali ibn Zhahir Al-Watri (d. 1904 -1322).

In 1929 (1348), he traveled to Istanbul, thereafter he went to Hijaz to perform Haj after which he settled in Madinah. In Madinah, he was closely attached to Shaykh Abdul Baqi Al-Laknawi and Shaykh Abdul Qadir ibn Towfiq Al-Shalabi. Both were renowned Hanafi scholars of Hadith. He studied under them and heard the Musalsalaat and various other subjects.

He sought Ijazah from a number of other scholars in Hijaz. They included:

  • Shaykh Umar Hamdaan Al-Mahrasi
  • Shaykh Al-Sharif Ahmad Al-Sanusi
  • Shaykh Ali Al-Maliki
  • Shaykh Habibullah Al-Shanqiti
  • Shaykh Muhammad Al-Khidr Al-Shanqiti
  • Shaykh Ahmad Al-Fayd Abadi
  • Shaykh Idroos ibn Salim Al-Baar
  • Shaykh Umar Ba Junaid

In Madinah, he taught in Al-Madrasah Al-Nizhaamiyah with his teacher Shaykh Abdul Baqi Al-Laknawi, who had appointed him as a teacher. He taught between the years (1351-1354). When this institute was closed due to Shaykh Abdul Baqi’s ill health, he moved to Madrasah Torah Gul Al-Turkistani. When Shaykh Ahmad Al-Fayd Abadi learnt of his brilliance, he requested that he teach students at Madrasah Al-Uloom Al-Shariyah in the senior level.

In 1962 (1382), he moved to the library that was attached to the Prophet’s Mosque and was known as the Al-Mahmudiyah Library. He was very well acquainted with books and manuscripts and wrote a book where he mentioned the manuscripts that he read. He was also involved in translating works from Turkish, Urdu, Persian and the Uzbek language. He did conduct lessons in some of the smaller schools.

He taught in the Prophet’s Mosque, where he taught Al-Muwatta with the transmission of Imam Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan, Alfiyah, Al-Kawaakib Al-Duriyah in grammar and Tafseer Al-Jalalayn. His practice was to repeat these books once he had completed it and he may have even taught Mishkaat Al-Masabih.

Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim travelled extensively. He travelled to Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Najd (Riyadh), Kuwait and Jordan. In these countries he met and benefited from the scholars who included:

  • Shaykh Muhammad Zahid Al-Kawthari
  • Shaykh Mustafa Sabri
  • Shaykh Mustafa Abu Sayf Al-Hamami
  • Shaykh Muhammad Jameel ibn Umar Al-Shatee

In 1379 he visited Damascus and was Shaykh Abu Al-Khair Al-Maydani’s guest. Many benefited from him during this trip.

Over and above his travels, he loved performing Haj and must have performed Haj about forty times either by walking or by camel, even though it was tough.

He was a very warm person, who welcomed the scholars who arrived in Makkah and Madinah from other countries. In this way he met many and sought Ijazah from them. Some of them were:

  • Shaykh Abdul Hay Al-Kettani
  • Shaykh Alawi ibn Tahir Al-Haddad
  • Shaykh Muhammad ibn Iwad Al-Tarimi
  • Shaykh Umar ibn Sumait, Mufti of Zanzibar

Shaykh Ibrahim was affectionate to his students and would encourage them to increase their knowledge. If he observed signs of brilliance in a student, then he took special care of him and guided him. Many gained from him. Some of his students were:

  • Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id Daftar Dar
  • Shaykh Hamid Mirza Khan
  • His son, Muhammad Yahya
  • Shaykh Umar Muhammad Falatah
  • Shaykh Muhammad Yasin Al-Fadani
  • Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah

Even though he worked tirelessly, he wrote a number of books namely:

 

  • Tuhfat Al-Mustajizin bi Asanid A’laam Al-Mujizin
  • Fath Al-Rauf Zhi Al-Minan fi Tarajim Ulama Khutan
  • Al-Risalat Al-Fadilah fi Thubut Al-Tawaafeen li Al-Qarin bi Adilat Al-Qati’yah
  • A book on the laws of Jumuah, Eid and Janazah in Turkish
  • A compilation of his teachers Fatawa

 

He was a person known by many to have avoided the luxuries and pleasures of the world; he was simple in his dressing. He was an orator and a person who maintained and upheld the recitation of the Quran. He was very punctual and particular in performing his five Salat in the Prophet’s Mosque. Outwardly, the respect and dignity of the ulama was clearly apparent. He was very fond of gathering books and manuscripts and his own library contained about fifty-two manuscripts. 

He took ill in 1969 (1389), for about six months and succumbed to this illness in the same year. The Janazah was performed in the Prophet’s Mosque and he is buried in Al-Baqi’.


Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed is a well respected South African Islamic scholar who lives in Pretoria, South Africa. He studied at the King Saud University in Riyadh and the faculty of Shariah at the Islamic University of Madina. He has attained a M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of South Africa. Through his extensive travels he has met and benefited from many senior scholars from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, India, Turkey etc. He has received numerous Ijazahs from the various scholars that he has met, studied with and served. He is currently a senior educator at the al – Ghazzali College in Pretoria.

He has authored two books:

  1. Muslim Scholars of the 20th Century.
  2. Muslim Scholars of the 21st Century.

He was one of the translators of Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al – Maliki’s work: The Way of the True Salaf.


 

Are You Making the Most of Your Wuḍūʼ? (Podcast Transcript) – By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The following is a transcription of “Are You Making the Most of Your Wuḍūʼ?” podcast.

 

People ask: “What are the spiritual meanings of our ritual ablution?” – the wuḍūʼ. 

Very often people forget that the ritual ablution – wuḍūʼ – is an act of worship. Very often our wuḍūʼ turns into a routine: “I need to pray, so let me do my wuḍūʼ, let me finish my wuḍūʼ.” So sometimes it just becomes routine: “I’m doing this, so I can now go and pray.” 

And this is true, in that wuḍūʼ is a means to be able to pray, but it is at the same time an act of worship. So one needs to pay attention to it. 

Other people make a mistake with respect to the wuḍūʼ, in that they become excessive and fall into misgivings about it. They put all their focus on worrying and that is a mistake, because the Prophetic teachings give us a balance, that we do things in a right way, as best we can, but we attach our hearts not to our actions but to the One we are doing the actions for. 

So what is the wuḍūʼ? The word wuḍūʼ in Arabic, comes from waḍā’a, from radiance, and naẓāfa, cleanliness. So the purpose of wuḍūʼ is to clean oneself in a ritual manner to be ready to pray, and it is a means of radiance, because the outward washing has a sense of spiritual purification and spiritual illumination. 

So when we make wuḍūʼ we have to keep in mind that we begin the wuḍūʼ with intention: “Why am I making wuḍūʼ?” For the sake of Allāh. This is an act of worship. It contains a beautiful reminder that God loves purity, God loves beauty. So you are readying yourself for the encounter with your Beloved. 

So you begin with the intention. In fact, some of the great masters of spirituality, like Imām Aḥmad Zarrūq, he says that presence of heart in prayer begins with presence of heart in the ritual ablution, in the wuḍūʼ. So you begin with intention: “I am seeking Allāh through this action,” and you behold the meaning that each of the limbs that you wash, that you are seeking to rid it of blameworthy qualities, and to adorn it with the qualities of spiritual illumination, the qualities beloved to Allāh. So that when you wash your hands, intend to wash yourself of all acts that are sinful that you may have committed with your hands, in your dealings, in your actions. And to acquire with your effort, and your actions all those qualities that are beloved to Allāh. When you rinse your mouth, you intend to rid yourself of vile speech, and the consumption of anything that is displeasing to Allāh, and to characterize yourself with speech that is beloved to Allāh, of remembrance and supplication and recitation of Qur’ān, and speech that inspires others, that encourages others, that assists others. Likewise, when wash your face, you intend to wash away directing yourself in life towards all that is displeasing to Allāh, and to characterize yourself with those radiant concerns, the concerns for God Himself and for all that is beloved to Allāh in your life. When you wash your arms, the same meanings, that you be of those who receive their book of good deeds in their right hand, the hand in which the righteous receive their book of good deeds on the Day of Judgment, not to be of the people of perdition, those who receive their book of deeds in their left hand. That you perform the actions of the servants of good, not the actions of those who turn away. Likewise, with your feet, that you direct your feet towards all that is pleasing to Allāh, and that you rid yourself of directing yourself in life towards all that is displeasing to Allāh. 

In the ritual ablution, in the wuḍūʼ, not only is it from the Prophetic example to begin in the name of Allāh, by saying bismiLlāh, but it is also from Prophetic practice to remain in remembrance of Allāh throughout the wuḍūʼ, So with each of the actions that we perform, before you wash your mouth engage in remembrance, before you wash your face engage in remembrance. You can say lā ilāha illa Allāh, or subḥān Allāh, or to make a du’ā, make an interactive wuḍūʼ. With each action ask Allāh for meanings related to that particular action. This was not only from the broad Prophetic practice, but the early Muslims used to engage in frequent supplication at each of the stages of wuḍūʼ. In some of the great books of Islām, like the Beginning of Guidance by Imām al-Ghazālī, are suggested particular supplications that you can recite at each stage of your wuḍūʼ, and this is the kind of wuḍūʼ that results not just in physical cleanliness and then to be outwardly ready to pray, but it results in inward purification, inward radiance, and a spiritual readiness to pray. And this is why when we finish the wuḍūʼ, we take a sip of the water source from which we are making wuḍūʼ, and then we look up to the Heavens, we raise our finger, and we make the testification of faith, and we make the du’ā: 

“رَبِّي اجْعَلْنِيْ مِنَ التَّوَّابِيْنَ وَ اجْعَلْنِيْ مِنَ الْمُتَطَهِّرِيْنَ”

Oh Lord, make me of the oft-repentant and make me of those who purify themselves completely!” 

And these are the two meanings of the ritual ablution: complete repentance and complete purification, illumination, and readiness for the prayer.