The Atheist and the Fig – Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat

Belief in God is perfectly summarized by the statement ‘There is no god except Allah’. In past times the prevalent trend of disbelief was a denial of ‘except Allah’, whereas in our times the mantra has become ‘There is no god’.

This sermon explores this trend and shows how the Qur’an directs believers to use deductive reasoning to establish that there IS a Creator, and that this is the only conclusion a sound intellect can lead to, no matter how fashionable Atheism may be. 

The themes of proper reasoning, reflecting on the Qur’an, the Fitra – the default setting – of the human being are discussed here, before an analysis and call for reflection on Sura al-Tin (The Chapter of the Fig). The sura provides a very profound evaluation of human nature, revelation, prophecy, the Fitra and Allah’s plan for humanity; all of which lead to the necessary conclusion of God’s existence, and His wisdom-imbued plan for us all.

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27: Sincerity, Vigilance, Meditation, Reflection on Death – Renewing Religion: Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

In this lesson of Renewing Religion, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, reflects upon the chapters from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya on sincerity, self examination, meditation and reflecting on death.

Ustadh Amjad begins with the chapter on sincerity, explaining that true sincerity can lead habits to be acts of worship if they are done with the right intentions. Many of the companions would actually hide a lot of their acts of good and worship so that they would ensure its sincerity. Thus sincerity is the defining factor of our actions that determine whether our actions will be accepted or not.

The second chapter that is examined in this lesson is that on self examination. Ustadh Amjad mentions that many of the righteous would remember their mistakes years after so that it would push them to improve to the better. The Prophet, peace be upon him, says if you do not feel shame then do as you will. Here, he points to the importance of self examination and understanding that all your actions have a consequence.

Ustadh Amjad gives an overview of the chapter on the importance of meditation and reflection. Spending time in nature calms the soul and really allows our internal sounds to quiet so we can start to think about deeper matters. The second type of reflection that one should seek is reflecting on blessings and be thankful for them. The third, is reflecting upon the nature of the world, life, death and the hereafter. This allows a person to prepare for meeting their Lord.

Lastly, reflecting upon death is the last chaper of the Ihya. Reflecting upon death forces people to get done now what they would have otherwise delayed. That is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, advises us to take advantage of our free time before we become busy. Imam Ghazali likens every breath one takes to a prescious jewel becuase it can never be brought back once it is taken. The fruit of all this will be realized at the time of death if one has lived their life preparing for it then they will welcome it when the time comes but if they have lived their life headless of it they will be terrified of dying.

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/

26: Faith in Divine Oneness & Love and Intimacy – Renewing Religion: An Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson of Renewing Religion, Shaykh Faraz gives an overview of the chapters on faith in Divine Oneness and trusting in Allah as well as the chapters on love, longing and intimacy from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya.

Shaykh Faraz begins by explaining that knowing Divine Oneness in its true meaning entails certitude within your heart and trust and reliance upon Allah when it comes to dealing with all that happens. This begins by realizing that Allah is the necessary existant and everything else is dependent on Him. As such everthing in existance is necesserily in a state of slavehood to Allah; this is the essence of Tawheed and understanding Divine Oneness. This understanding should lead one to complete reliance on Allah.

Shaykh Faraz reminds us that reliance on Allah is not limited to times of difficulty rather it is only if one relies on Allah in all their times including those of ease can they truly rely on Him during times of difficulty. The Prophet, peace be upon him, says know Allah at the times of ease and He will know you in difficulties. You can know Allah both through consciousness of Him and trust in Him. The action required to actualize this is to continually remember Allah in all of your actions and continually engage in words of remembrance.

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 SeekersHub 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/

25: Patience & Thankfulness, Fear & Hope, Poverty & Abstinence – Renewing Religion: Overview of Ghazali Ihya – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

In this lesson, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, gives an overview of the chapters on patience and thankfulness, fear and hope, poverty and abstinence from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya.

In this chapter, Imam Ghazali explains that faith is of two halves: half is patience and half is gratitude and having certainty of Allah is the whole of faith. Ustadh Amjad explains that everything that one goes through in life is neither a blessing or punishment rather our response to it is what matters. That is why the Prophet would pray to Allah not to turn away His decree but to have gentleness in His decree.

The next section of the lesson deals with the chapter on thankfulness. Allah says that if you are thankful then Allah will increase you. Ustadh Amjad advises that we should be especially thankful when we have things to complain about, turn to your numerous other blessings and be thankful for them.

Ustadh Amjad then speaks to the chapter on fear and hope and explains that one should have a balance of both. On fear, he says that some of the most fearful people of are the companions of the Prophet, particularly those that the Prophet had told them that they would enter Paradise. However, one should also have hope in Allah’s mercy. Remember that particularly when you sin and want to return to Allah. But one should never underestimate the gravity of their shortcomings and that should always push us to do better.

Lastly, Ustadh Amjad speaks to the chapter on poverty and abstinence. Our deen advises us to have less, and the Prophet would often praise the poor people of the community. The Prophet would continually warn of worldliness. Ustadh Amjad counsels us to not be attached to the things of this world but attached to the things that one can do in this world that will yield results in the hereafter.

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/

24: Worldliness, Pride, Conceit, Delusion & Repentance – Renewing Religion: An Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, gives an overview of the chapters on condemnation of the Dunya; pride; conceit and delusion; and on repentance. These chapters are part of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya and a series of sessions on renewing religion.

Shaykh Faraz begins by explaining that each person has a self that requires affirmation and that affirmation can manifest in the form of pride or delude oneself into thinking that you are doing well. It is common for people to be heavily concerned with the progression of their worldly matters and along with it with their selves, however, when it comes to matters of the deen they don’t feel the urgency and the need to change to improve. For that reason, the condemnation of the dunya in this chapter refers to everything that busies you from Allah. One should strive in this dunya but consider what you really need of this life to get you to the hereafter. Thus one should always remember the lowliness and fleetingness of this life and the vastness of the Hereafter in comparison.

On pride and conceit, Imam Ghazali defines pride is to think oneself great and conceit is to be self satisfied and impressed with oneself. Imam Ghazali explains that the basis of all damndest is pride, because it is the original sin of Iblees (Satan) and that’s why we have to be very weary of it. As for arrogance, the signs of it is to look down on people and reject what is true. That is why the sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is grounded in humility, both in outward actions and inward consciousness.

Shaykh Faraz advises that the best way to guard oneself from pride is to attribute all good in your life to Allah and praise Him for it. That stems from an understanding that you are a servant of Allah and every blessing you have is from Allah.

The next vice Shaykh Faraz discusses is delusion and that refers to a satisfaction one has with themselves or their lives, it is a fake satisfaction that is fleeting and does not lead to contentment. One can fall into various type of worldly and religious delusion that are explained in the lesson. Shaykh Faraz recommends that one reads more on this topic in particular through Shaykh Nuh Keller’s Reliance of The Traveller book.

The last portion of the lesson is devoted to the chapter on repentance. Repentance has three integrals:
[1] leaving the sin
[2] feel remorse for having sinned
[3] have resolve to never return to it

The fuel of repentance is having good opinion of Allah and rejoicing in your return to the one you love. Allah has made repentance obligatory because it is mandatory to enter paradise, unless you refuse it, so make it a habit to continually repent. Shaykh Faraz explains in the lesson the various levels of repentance that one can aspire to.

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/

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/

22: Guarding Speech, Condemnation of Envy & Rancour – Renewing Religion: An Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

In this lesson, visiting scholar, Shaykh Walead Mosaad, reviews the chapters on holding one’s tongue and condemnation of rancour and envy. These chapters are originally written by Imam Ghazali in his book Ihya Ulum al-Din.

Shaykh Walead begins with the chapter on holding one’s tongue and the criteria for one should or should not speak. One should know that there speech is significant and has an effect. In addition, speech is not limited to what we say, but also what we propagate on social media. We have gotten into the habit of naming and shaming online in order to showcase that they’ve made a mistake. However, the sunnah of the Prophet was about having wisdom, and his speech was always measured. As such, we should follow his example and not what we have become used to in our cultures or current state of affairs.

The Quran and Sunnah give us very vivid descriptions of the punishments people are given for the sins of the tongue because of the gravity of those actions in the eyes of Allah. Imam Ghazali lists the sins of the tongue from the least worst to the worst:
[1] Talking about what doesn’t concern you.
[2] Talk that is trivial or repetition of something that isn’t important
[3] Talking about (or watching) sins even if one doesn’t partake in them
[4] Aimless disputation and arguing about things that may in and of themselves wrong to argue about
[5] Say something about someone that you feel has wronged you or taken your right but what you talk about is irrelevant to the situation
[6] Trying to talk very poetically to get people’s attention
[7] Using vulgar language
[8] Damning and cursing others (even animals)
[9] Singing songs with bad meanings
[10] Joking excessively
… there are 10 more mentioned in the chapter that were not covered in the lesson due to time constraints.

The second chapter, Shaykh Walead reviews relates to the condemnation of rancour and envy. The desires of the human are divided into two types: appetites and anger. These desires are there to support a person’s survival. For this reason, anger can be both justified and unjustified. Unjustified anger stems from entitlement and ego, when one isn’t recognized for that which they are deserving of that makes them angry. When that is left to fester it develops into enmity and envy. The cure to it is a combination of knowledge and practice. Knowing that this is wrong and harms you more than the other person. In addition, practicing patience and suppressing anger; there is great reward in that.

Lastly, remember that anger and envy stem from an objection to Allah’s decree and Allah’s giving to you and to them.

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: The Heart & Breaking Desires – Renewing Religion: An Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

In this lesson, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, gives an overview of three books from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya: Marvels of the Heart, Discipling the Soul, and Breaking Desires. Struggling against one’s lower self is an obligation that Allah talks about in the Quran, that whoever purifies their heart is successful and whomever doesn’t is at loss. The importance of this purification is displayed in the example of the Shaytan, despite his certitude of the existence of God, his lower self and ego still got the best of him and pushed him to disobey Allah.

Ustadh Amjad explains that by treating the diseases of the heart it becomes purified and by leaving it to its devices it becomes ugly. The path to purifying the soul is through beautiful character and that is why the Prophet was sent to perfect noble character. In addition, there are some characters that are naturally innate to a person and others that need to be cultivated. So one should be mindful of their innate good characters and cultivate others that they might not have.

Allah tells us that He sent us the Messenger to teach us the scripture and to purify us. As such the Prophet was able to teach the companions by example how to purify our souls and trained the companions how to do so as well. This is exemplified most in the way the Prophet, peace be upon him, responded to his enemies and those who have wronged him with beautiful character. Ustadh Amjad reminds us that the path to beautiful character begins with small consistent steps that will lead to larger changes in character.

The next book of Imam Ghazali’s is breaking the desire. Ustadh Amjad explains that this book can be summed up in not giving yourself everything it wants, even if that which is permissible. Such is the example of fasting, where one withholds from the permissible because of the command of God. Even then Imam Ghazali says that one should not give in to all it desires of food after you break your fast.

Ustadh Amjad concludes by reminding us that it will be a struggle to control our desires but we must start from where we are at right now and work slowly towards change. Our nafs may resist that change but it is important to be in control of it and not let it be in control of you.

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/

20: Prophetic Living – Renewing Religion: An Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

In this lesson, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin gives an overview of the chapter from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya on the etiquette of living and the prophetic mannerism. This chapter is the last in the section on worship and it details main life skills that one should utilize on a daily basis.

One of the most damaging things to a community is people following the outward actions of religion having bad character. This is due to the self’s inclinations when first seeking the spiritual path and for this reason it is important to study and connect to the Prophet, peace be upon him. That is why Imam Ghazali says that having outward etiquette is a sign of having inward etiquette; and your deeds are the consequences of your character; and your etiquette is the sprinkles that come out of the knowledge of Allah; and the secret areas of the heart are the planting ground for good deeds; and the lights that are in the heart are the things that emanate on the limbs.

Ustadh Amjad advises everyone to study the Prophetic character to understand his normative sunnah and exceptional situations. One of the most interesting aspects of the Prophet’s life is his character and habits at home because it is the most intimate and it is where a person’s true character manifests. For example, the Prophet, peace be upon him, never used a harsh word and never insulted any of the believers and he never cursed a woman or a servant with any form of curses.

Imam Ghazali focuses part of the chapter on the way the Prophet, peace be upon him, dealt with his enemies and times of difficulty. Many times the Prophet asked the companions to have patience during times of great and grave injustices and the Prophet did not curse his people, instead, he asked Allah to guide them. The Prophet did not return to Mecca victorious except after 21 years of serious problems and injustices from the non-believers. Even after all that, the Prophet, peace be upon him, still forgave them. With that the Prophet teaches us that even the worse of people need Allah and even the worst of people can change and become one of the best.

Ustadh Amjad concludes with a reminder to always live the Prophetic character because that is what has the greatest impact in our interactions with others, not through our words but actions.

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/

19: Spiritual Music – Renewing Religion: An Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz, gives an overview of the chapter on spiritual music from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya. In this chapter, the Imam’s reference to music is constrained only to spiritual music and should be understood as such for the remainder of the lesson. This is music that inspires to seek Allah and His messenger. WIthin the Islamic tradition there is a broad permissibility of singing.

There are numerous examples of the companions singing spiritual poems as they dug trenches or during weddings. That is also the reason why the Prophet had his own poets. Thus there was a general understanding of the permissibility of spiritual singing. The Prophet also encourage beating the ‘duff’ at weddings. Conversely, however, many scholars believe that other musical instruments are not allowed within Islam. There are a minority of scholars that allowed music as long as the environment in which the music is, is not associated with other sinful acts such as dancing.

Shaykh Faraz outlines in the lesson the etiquettes of listening to music:
[1] Music is powerful so be cautions of what you listen to. Thus listen to music that inspires you to yearn for the Divine.
[2] Actions are by their intentions, so you need to be clear as to why you are listening to something and what you hope to gain from it
[3] There is a rich tradition in Islam of appreciating beauty and beautiful things.
[4] The sunna of music is listening to that which praises Allah and Messenger or that which inspires one to turn to Allah and his messenger; or that which allows one to relax.

Shaykh Faraz concludes by reminding us to uphold caution and stick to what is permitted to music and continue to listen to it with purpose and intention. Lastly, remember that the greatest of what you can listen to is the Quran.

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/