Tests and Tribulations Are Blessings: The Divine Promise That We Will Be Tested, Explained – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Why do trials and tribulations happen in our lives? Why does Allah allow earthquakes, floods, and other disasters and destructive events?

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains two verses of the Qur’an (2.155-156) on the Divine Promise that all people will be tested–with life itself being nothing but a test. Allah Most High promises, “We will certainly test you with some fear and poverty, and loss of property, life, and crops…” [Qur’an, 2.155]

The key to right response to tests is to be steadfastly patient (sabr). Patience is not passiveness, Shaykh Faraz explains, but rather, “Remaining firm on what is pleasing to Allah.”

The reality of tests is that they are opportunities to respond with faith and good deeds. As such, tests are opportunities to seek Allah’s Pleasure, Love, and Closeness. That is why Allah tells us, “And give glad tidings to the steadfast.” [Qur’an, 2.156]

This arises from consciousness that, “Truly we are Allah’s, and truly it is to Him that we are returning.” [Qur’an, 2.157]

The consequence of such steadfast response to tests is true success: “They are the ones who will receive Allah’s blessings and mercy. And it is they who are truly guided.”

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنْفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ

We will certainly test you with some fear and poverty, and loss of property, life, and crops. But give glad tidings to those who remain steadfast —

2:155

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

who, when faced with a disaster, say, “Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we will ˹all˺ return.”

2:156

أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ

They are the ones who will receive Allah’s blessings and mercy. And it is they who are ˹rightly˺ guided.

2:157

This Friday khutba was delivered at Sayeda Khadija Centre (http://www.skcentre.com/) in Mississauga, in September 2017.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/.

 

Cover photo by Julien Parent

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Beholding the Glory of Allah in All Things Through Remembering the Light of the Example of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this Friday sermon, Shaykh Faraz reminds us that everything in creation glorifies Allah — not just things, but also actions and events, both good and bad. In all matters, the believer beholds Allah’s Glory (tasbih).

How? By recognizing that everything is from Him, and in everything, there is the opportunity of turning and returning to Allah.

In everything, one can find the light of Allah’s Glory by considering the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and how he would respond–with beauty, mercy, justice, resolve, and excellence.

Shaykh Faraz shared the beautiful example of Ka’ab ibn Zuhair who spent much of his life attacking Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) with vicious poetry. Yet, after the Opening of Mecca, when he came seeking the forgiveness of the Prophet, the Prophet (peace be upon him) not only accepted but also enveloped Ka’ab in his beautiful mantle (Burda).

This Friday sermon was delivered in August of 2017 at the Jamiat-ul-Ansar (http://www.jamiatulansar.ca/).

Check out all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

The Reality of Religion and the Purpose of Life – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this Friday sermon, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani reflects on Surat al-Ma’un (Qur’an 107), and how it points to the reality of religion and the purpose of life. He highlights that the purpose of life could be found in religion. Shaykh Faraz calls to reflect on the purpose of life through reflecting on death, not in a morbid way. Rather as believers we view death as a higher reality through which our souls transition to another life. The purpose of religion is to provide clear guidance, by which we can realize our full human potential and enter paradise.

This Friday sermon was delivered in August of 2017 at the Brampton Islamic Centre (http://www.bsia.ca/).

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

The Virtues of Jerusalem & the Believer’s Five Duties Towards It – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Masjid al Aqsa is one the holiest mosques for Muslims. It was once the direction of prayer and is the place where the Prophet ﷺ lead all the prophets in prayer and ascended to heaven to meet his Lord.

The noble sanctuary has had numerous conditions set upon it since the occupation began and has now been closed for the first time in 48 years. Shaykh Faraz explains the Virtues of Masjid al-Aqsa and the Muslims Duty of Concern for the Furthest Sanctuary

May Mercy and Justice prevail, in the ways resulting in the greatest ultimate good for all people, in the ways most pleasing to God. Truly, God is our sufficiency and He is the best of guardians.” – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani has made the slides from this talk available, you can download them here.

See also:

Nasiri Dua: So Powerful, Rulers Would Ban It From Mosques

Prayers for Victory (Hizb al-Nasr) of Imam Haddad

Supplications for the Oppressed and Distressed

Check out all of the SeekersHub podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

The Abundant Good: Reflections on Surat al-Kawthar and Its Message of Gratitude, Faith, and Contentment – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this Friday sermon, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani reflects on Surat al-Kawthar (Qur’an 108), its meanings and what it entails. He extracts from this short sura, which is three verses long, meanings and lessons in faith, affirming Divine Oneness, gratitude, and contentment. Shaykh Faraz calls to and counsels everyone to connect with the Qur’an, which nurtures our souls.

[1] (إِنَّا أَعْطَيْناكَ الْكَوْثَرَ)

Truly We have granted you the abundant good.

[2] (فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ)

So Pray to your Lord and sacrifice.

[3] (إِنَّ شانِئَكَ هُوَ الْأَبْتَرُ)

The one who derides you, they are the one who is cut off.

Check out all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

Look At Everything as a Blessing from Allah and Nurture Gratitude – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this Friday sermon, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani calls Muslims to recognize the blessings that Allah bestowed upon us. Sometimes we may take some of the daily blessings for granted or not notice them at all. However, the way of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was to recognize the blessings of Allah and express gratitude to Allah for them.

Shaykh Faraz reminds us of the multiple blessings that Allah has granted us and how great they are. He points out the great blessing of being Muslim, having clean water, and many of the daily facilitation that we have. Shaykh Faraz recounts the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who ate the leftover vinegar from food and expresses great gratitude for it by saying: “what excellent sauce vinegar is”.

Shaykh Faraz then urges everyone to express gratitude for the blessings we have. He highlights that if we are having difficulty in worship, that it may be a result of lacking gratitude. He advises us to say “Alhamdulillah” while thinking of specific blessings, especially when faced with hardship. So we should recognize the blessings of Allah and express gratitude to Him for it so that we may attain the love of Allah.

This Friday sermon was delivered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani at the International Muslim Organization of Toronto (IMO) on the last Friday of Ramadan 2017.

23: Condemnation of Love of Wealth & Status – Renewing Religion: An Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

In this lesson, visiting scholar, Shaykh Walead Mosaad, gives an overview of Imam Ghazali’s chapters on condemnation of miserliness, love of wealth, status; and the condemnation of ostentation. These chapters fall in the third quarter of Imam Ghazali’s opus magnum that focuses on the vices of person.

All these vices are primarily about how one interacts with these things, wealth status, etc. Wealth in and of itself is not wrong, however, it can’t be all consuming such that it distracts you from everything else. One of the principal objectives of zakat to force you to give something you love for the sake of Allah.

Shaykh Walead counsels us to make a regular habit of taking stock of our shortcomings and identifying ways to improve upon them. One is either on a path of increase or decrease in their deen and iman and as such one should always strive to improve because if you stand still you will inevitably be on a downward trajectory. The nature of the world is that one is never satiated of it and thus one has to be content through other means that are not materialistic.

The remedy to this is a combination of knowledge and practice, to be content in your heart with Allah’s decree and to only be in need of Allah and that is the true wealth. Shaykh Walead explains that research has shown that one has a minimal threshold of needs that one needs to be fulfilled but beyond that any additional wealth doesn’t make you happy.

The chapter following that is on the condemnation of status and ostentation. How one is viewed by others is one of the most ingrained inclinations in a human and thus only those of truly high status are those who let go of their love of status and leadership. Seeking fame for the sake of fame has become central to our society today and that is blameworthy. Imam Ghazali comments that one should be famous only if Allah has made them known not through any effort or objective of their own.

Shaykh Walead concludes with a reminder that first and foremost one should seek roots through cultivating ourselves and character. If then Allah decides that we should be known to others and for us to bear fruit and benefit to the community then that should be but one should not seek it out.

 

In this brief overview of Imam Ghazali’s opus magnum, Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences), this series will serve as blueprint for how the believer can bring to life their religion. It will aim to help the believer to not just practice the form of the religion properly, but to also practice it with excellence.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: http://seekershub.org/ramadan2017.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

21: Condemnation of Dunya – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

In this lesson, visiting scholar, Shaykh Walead Mosaad, gives an overview of select verses from the Quran that correspond with the chapter on condemnation of the dunya (worldliness) from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya.

This chapter is the only chapter in the Ihya where Imam Ghazali says there are too many verses to mention on this subject, as if hinting to the fact that most of the Quran points to this theme in general. The Dunya intended in this chapter is not to condemn one’s living in this world but the Dunya here is in reference to the heart’s love for appetites and desires. Thus the point is to question one’s relationship to the Dunya and be aware that you are in it but not of it.

Shaykh Walead explains that this is why at a time of calamity one is enjoined to say we are from God to Him we return as a reminder that this Dunya is not our final abode. As we go along in life Allah sends us reminders of the pershing nature of the Dunya.

اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ ۖ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا ۖ وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ ۚ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ

Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion. [Quran, 57:20]

The verse begins with an acknowledgement that the world is adorned with various objects that everyone wants to have some possession of that is not shared with others. Our love for beautiful things is part of our nature, however we can reorient that love towards the inner beauty of quality as opposed to the outward beauty of material things. The person with the most inner beauty is that of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

The parable given in the verse is that of a farmer who is happy with his crops but then it goes away with the change of seasons and then it turns into ash, such is the dunya, it may be pretty now but is inevitably destructed.

Shaykh Walead concludes by reminding us that the dunya is all which gets in your way from pursuing the afterlife. The dunya was made for you to take from it what you need to sustain your journey, not to make it the end goal in and of itself.

In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: http://seekershub.org/ramadan2017.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekershub.org/podcasts/

18: Marriage & Good Character – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, gives an overview of select verses from the Quran that correspond with the chapter son marriage and good character from Imam Al-Ghazali’s Ihya. The two chapter have been enjoined in one lesson because marriage is highly dependent on good character. The lesson will overview the verse 20-21 from Chapter 30 of the Quran on the purposes of marriage.

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ إِذَا أَنتُم بَشَرٌ تَنتَشِرُونَ
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

And of His signs is that He created you from dust; then, suddenly you were human beings dispersing [throughout the earth].
And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. [Quran, 3:20-21]
Marriage is not just a sign of Allah but it contains within it numerous signs of Allah. The purpose of marriage is thus is a means to Allah. However, one must be careful because through marriage one can either draw closer to Allah with their spouse or further away by busying themselves with worldly matters that pull them away from Allah. In addition, marriage is a sign of Allah because He places in it the serenity, caring love and mercy that is needed for the marriage to function and are all gifts from Allah.

Shaykh Faraz explains that there is also a general meaning to the verse above, that is not specific to spouses but rather applies to all human relations and that is the mercy and deep care that allows for human interactions to be sustained; this is one of the signs of Allah. The mercy and deep care spoken about in the verse were integral to the Prophetic Character that we are all encouraged to emulate. As such, at the heart of a good marriage and knowing how to interact with others is good character.

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

“And truly you are upon tremendous character” [Quran, 68:4]

One’s character is most manifest in their choices, particularly the difficult ones. Good character also requires a higher purpose and that is to respond for Allah.

In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: http://seekershub.org/ramadan2017.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

16: Travel: Purpose, Reflection, Gratitude – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, gives an overview of select verses from the Quran that correspond with the chapter on travel from Imam Al-Ghazali’s Ihya. This chapter focuses on the purpose of travel, reflection in travel, and gratitude from it. The lesson will overview the verses 12-14 from Chapter 43 of the Quran on the duaas one should recite when travelling.

وَالَّذِي خَلَقَ الْأَزْوَاجَ كُلَّهَا وَجَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ الْفُلْكِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ مَا تَرْكَبُونَ
لِتَسْتَوُوا عَلَىٰ ظُهُورِهِ ثُمَّ تَذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ رَبِّكُمْ إِذَا اسْتَوَيْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ وَتَقُولُوا سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ
وَإِنَّا إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا لَمُنقَلِبُونَ
And who created the species, all of them, and has made for you of ships and animals those which you mount.
That you may settle yourselves upon their backs and then remember the favor of your Lord when you have settled upon them and say. “Exalted is He who has subjected this to us, and we could not have [otherwise] subdued it.
And indeed we, to our Lord, will [surely] return.” [Quran, 43:12-14]
Saying this prayer, even if one may not understand the arabic phrasing, is of benefit to you. Because, everything in the sunnah we are encouraged to do is of benefit to us both worldly and spiritual. The first verse, reminds us of the vehicles that Allah has facilitated for us to put to use. The purpose of the blessing is not to enjoy it but to be grateful for the Bestower.

Scholars remind us that there are spiritual benefits to travelling. Planning for travel should not simply be the logistics of travel but the intentions behind travelling. We are reminded of this in the hadith of the Prophet on intentions “migration to Allah and His Prophet”. However, some of the companions had migrated for various reasons and intentions other than that. And the Prophet, peace be upon him, said that their migration was “for whatever they migrated for”.

What intentions should one have when travelling?
[1] Neediness upon Allah
[2] Reliance upon Allah
[3] Worship
[4] Upholding good character
[5] Have good company when travelling
[6] Doing good while travelling
[7] Calling to Allah
[8] Remembrance and devotion

Shaykh Faraz concludes by reminding us that we should seek to appreciate the blessings of the modes of transportation that we have been provided. We also should appreciate the opportunities for the acts of remembrance that we’ve been provided with at various instances during the day, including during travel. Lastly, Shaykh Faraz ends with council from Imam ibn al-Banna on purposeful travel.

In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: http://seekershub.org/ramadan2017.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/