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Complete Excellence: The Adab of Each Limb – Faraz Rabbani – Sulami’s Adab al-Suhba on Vimeo

Complete Excellence: The Adab of Each Limb – Faraz Rabbani – Sulami’s Adab al-Suhba on Vimeo

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani of SeekersGuidance.org explains Imam Sulami’s chapter on “The Proper Manners of Each Limb, Outward and Inward” from his work on the proper manners of companionship (Adab al-Suhba). He covers the adab related to the eyes, ears, tongue, hands, and feet in relating to people. Then, he emphasizes why the adab of the heart is the most important, and explains what the key adaab of the heart are, both in relating to Allah Most High and in relating to His Creation.

Complete Excellence: The Adab of Each Limb – Faraz Rabbani – Sulami’s Adab al-Suhba from SeekersGuidance on Vimeo.

Let the Believer Have Three Things From You – Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi

A gem shared by Shaykh Abdallah Adhami on Facebook:

“Let the believer have three things from you: If you are not going to benefit him, do not harm him; if you are not going to bring him joy, do not cause him grief; if you are not going to praise him, do not condemn him.” – Yaḥyā b. Mu‘āẓ b. Ja‘far al-Rāzī, of Rayy, Balkh and then Nishapur (258/872)

Six Steps to Instilling the Attribute of Courage in Muslim Children – Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, SeekersGuidance Instructor

Six Steps to Instilling the Attribute of Courage in Muslim Children – Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, SeekersGuidance Instructor

by Umm Umar (Shireen Ahmed) 

As parents, there are many attributes we want to teach our children. We want them to be kind, upright, humble, thoughtful, well mannered… the list is endless. When it comes to being courageous, there are a few concrete steps we can take to guide our children in this direction:

1. Build confidence. Teach children to keep trying, even when they initially fail. This scenario often comes up when they are playing, especially when building structures, that often can come crashing down. Helping them to increase their determination and see the fruits of their efforts on various small projects, can help them to become more confident about their own abilities.

 

As a parent, we also need to teach them to realize the full meaning of “la hawla wa la quwatta illah billah”, that they have no power

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or ability without help from Allah Most High. This helps them to achieve the balance between being confident, yet not arrogant. When one realizes they only are able to do what they can do, because Allah Most High has granted them that ability (and not through just their own efforts), they in turn become more grateful to their Creator, for His innumerable blessings upon oneself. This type of realization also helps a child to turn more towards their Creator when they need help. When they want to achieve something, it should be a habitual practice to begin with the name of Allah (basmala) and to supplicate that Allah Most High gives them success (tawfeeq) in their efforts.


Parents should also encourage their children to become more independent as they grow older. Giving them new responsibilities, with tasks they can reasonably fulfill – can teach them that their capabilities become much more vast as they age.
2. Overcome fear. Children should be taught to express their fear instead of being paralyzed by it. Help create situations for them where they can gradually “get over” any unfounded fears they have.

For example, if they don’t want to go upstairs alone one could teach them to say “la hawla wa la quwatta illah billah” or “hasbiAllah wa ni`mah wakeel” and to repeat that as often as they feel fear. My mother used to encourage me to recite Ayat al-Kursi whenever faced with fear. This type of turning to Allah Most High when in a state of need, can help them to complete tasks rather than avoiding them.

3. Face the Unknown. Encourage your children to have bravery in new situations. The most common example of this is when meeting new people, especially adults. They need to be taught to smile, speak loudly, and to shake hands when meeting new people when you are with them. They should not be hiding behind you, or whispering so softly that the person cannot hear them. This takes time, but your coaching in this area will help them in the long term.

4. Do the Right Thing. This is perhaps the most important area where we need children to demonstrate courageousness, confidence, and independence. Muslim children need to be able to stand up for their beliefs, despite any negative repercussions it may have. This means if everyone else is dating at their school, they have the confidence to say, “I’m not into that.”

They need to be able to take a stand in the face of peer disapproval, and this will take place when you are not present. This is where many of our youth fall, as they can put up one face towards their parents, and yet a completely different (and often contradictory) appearance in front of their peers. The topic of how to help children in this area is very vast, so I will just give a few brief pointers here. Children should realize that even though their parents may not see them, Allah Most High knows and their actions are being recorded. They should feel a degree of shame to be found in any sort of disobedience to their Creator, when He has blessed them with innumerable blessings in this world. Encourage them to be careful about who they choose as close friends, as this will in turn affect their own character development. One can also use the example of the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) as a role model, how he stood up to a whole society to stand up for the truth.Indonesian Kids Laughing.jpg
Another innovative way this idea of standing up for the truth, and doing the right thing can be addressed with our youth is have them listen to some of the Native Deen songs on this subject, “My Faith, My Voice” “I Am Not Afraid to Stand Alone” and other songs.

5. Set a Good Example. Children often watch their parents as examples in how they deal with scenarios where they may feel afraid, or sick, or when they experience great loss. They should be hearing you supplicate to your Creator in times of need. Complaining or saying “if only I had done this (or that) this wouldn’t have happened” would be considered to be blameworthy. Rather accept the decree of Allah Most High, and exemplify patience and courage when you are forced to deal with misfortune. May Allah Most High protect us all from this.

Abu Hurayra said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer although there is good in each. Desire that which will bring you benefit, and seek help from Allah and do not give way to incapacity. If something happens to you, do not say, ‘If only I had done such-and-such.’ Rather say, ‘The decree of Allah. He does what He will.’ Otherwise you will open yourself up to the action of Shaytan.” [Muslim]

Anas said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by a woman who was weeping at a grave and said, ‘Fear Allah and show fortitude.’ She said, not recognizing him, ‘Leave me alone. You have not been struck by such an affliction as mine!’ She was told, ‘It is the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.’ She went to the door of the Prophet and, finding no one guarding the door, she said, ‘I did not recognize you.’ He said, ‘The time for fortitude is at the first shock.'” [Agreed upon]

Other good examples we can set before our children are examples from the Seerah. Our Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) demonstrated the attribute of bravery many times, and he is our ultimate role model.

Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنهم ) said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) was the best of the people, and he was the most generous of the people, and the bravest of the people. One night the people of Medinah heard a loud noise and they became overwhelmed with fear. The men went out to see what the noise was, only to find the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) riding his unsaddled horse, and coming from the direction of the noise with his sword wrapped around his neck. He said to them, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid. I found (my horse) very swift”.

The companions also often exemplified courage, and this can be see especially in the examples of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq or Sayyidna Ali (رضي الله عنهم ).

Other beneficial examples we can set before our children is that of our parents or other older relatives who have stories of how they overcame adversity, such as moving to a new country or faced danger, yet succeeded. This in turn helps the children to have greater respect for their elders, and helps them to have more admiration for them.
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6. Avoid Foolish Bravado. Being brave does not mean we should encourage our children towards risky activities or stunts to prove courageousness. One should not take unnecessary chances or neglect safety in a futile attempt to prove bravery to others. Rather, one needs to balance physical courage with common sense.

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The strong man is not the one who throws people in wrestling. The strong man is the one who has control of himself when he is angry.” [Agreed upon]

May Allah Most High give us success in raising our children in the best way, and may we instill good character in their hearts, ameen.
About Ustadha Shireen Ahmed
“The responsibility of raising righteous children is both one of our greatest challenges and opportunities in life.”
Ustadha Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar) inspires her students as a living example example of what is possible when one is committed to gaining sacred knowledge.  Teacher, student, activist, mother, wife — Umm Umar shows that it is possible to balance worldly responsibilities with the pursuit of knowledge.
Umm Umar was born and raised in Canada, where she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. During her university studies, she was actively involved in MSA work at the local and national levels. After graduation, she set out to formally pursue sacred knowledge, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and Islamic studies at Jamia Abi Nour and taking private classes in Qur’anic recitation, Prophetic traditions,, Islamic Law (Hanafi) and the Prophetic biography.
While living in Jordan, Umm Umar helped establish SunniPath’s online courses. At SeekersGuidance, she is the Course Development Manager, bringing years of and insight to facilitate meaningful Islamic learning online.  After ten years abroad she returned to Toronto, Canada, she resides in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and three children. Between continuing her studies of the sacred sciences and homeschooling her children, Ustadha Shireen is working on her first publication, a translation and commentary on a classical Islamic text on parenting, Simt al-‘Uqyan (Thread of Pure Gold).

Contentment, Reliance on Allah, and Pure Intention – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Contentment, Reliance on Allah, and Pure Intention – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Words of wisdom from Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

“What Allah subhana wa ta’ala really wants is good intention: pure hearted, sincere honest people. And when we make that the basis on which we create relationships with others than we will succeed- not is his aqeedah absolutely identical to myself.”

“There is too much judgment of others and not enough judgment of ourselves. There is too much self-righteousness and not enough self-knowledge. And one way in which we can heal that, is to remember that people’s weakness in this age is very much understandable.”

“The message for us if we have ridda and serene acceptance and we don’t just panic and bang at the cell doors, screaming to be let out, complaining about our situation, that Allah in His extraordinary omnipotence and power can turn our situation over, so that from being in the depths of a prison, we become second in command of the most powerful state in the world- which was the position of Sayyiduna Yusuf alayhi-salam. That’s one of the messages of that story.”

Click here to support the work of Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad and the Cambridge Mosque project.

Which of the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan Isn’t Laylatul Qadr?

file000386365548Which of the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan Isn’t Laylatul Qadr?

Despite knowing that the Blessed Night of Power falls somewhere in the last ten days of Ramadan, the question continues to pop up: Which night is Laylatul Qadr? But before we ask such a question it would help to step back and look deep into the spirituality of Islam.

Rather than mechanistically looking at the last ten nights as a gambling of a limited supply of worshiping energy, scarcely interspersed here and there, and wrestling with ourselves on whether tonight is an odd night or an even night depending on which moon-sighting system was used, we can save ourselves some stress by considering Laylatul Qadr and what it means to be a sincere worshiper. At the heart of any act of worship is sincere intention (ikhlas) and in skewing our ibadah in only a few of the last ten nights, hoping to bump into the blessed Night of Power by chance, not effort, we risk damaging that crucial sincere intention, so that even if we do perform ibadah on the Night of Power, we run the risk of a diminished reward.

How does it appear to our Lord, Allah subhana wa ta’ala, to see His servants knit-picking over which of the last ten nights is the Night of Power? Is not the reward generous enough that we should rush to it? If we are being stingy with our worship, then do we truly yearn to seek the Face of our Lord? If we find weakness in our hearts, then these are the tough questions we need to ask ourselves.

We can also ask ourselves: “If tonight were the Night of Power, and I did happen to pray this night, but I neglected worship on all the other of the last ten nights- is this proper adab towards my Creator? Do I expect my Lord’s generosity while I am greedy with my worship? Even with my poor adab, if I were to gain the reward, what sort of relationship is this to have with my Lord? Don’t I desire closeness (qurb) with my Most Merciful Lord?” No matter how tired you are, you will be fully rested the next day, so what does it matter if you are feeling tired in worship when the reward is worth a 1,000 months?

And whosoever honors the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety (taqwa) of the heart. (Qur’an, 22.32)

The Night of Power is undoubtedly a tremendous symbol of Allah, and the question of which of the last ten nights is the Night of Power can be answered through the meanings of this verse. Honoring the Night of Power entails not simply worshiping during it, but honoring all of the last ten nights. Seen from this perspective we can ask our nafs rhetorically, “Which of the last ten nights of Ramadan isn’t Laylatul Qadr?” And as Ramadan greets us goodbye in honoring the last ten nights with due worship, we honor the greater blessing that is Ramadan.

May Allah bless us with the fullest reward of Laylatul Qadr, ameen.

Habib Ali al-Jifri – Lessons on Anger, Forbearance, and Disciplining the Soul Through Prophetic Wisdom – from the RIS Knowledge Retreat

قبس النور المبين من إحياء علوم الدين – دروس وخطب – موقع الداعية الإسلامي الحبيب علي الجفري

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Lessons by al-Habib Ali al-Jifri on explaining “The Ray of Clear Light of the Revival of the Religious Sciences” written by al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz, delivered at this year’s excellent Reviving the Islamic Spirit Knowledge Retreat.

Lesson One: The Blameworthiness of Anger
Download: Lesson One (right click to save)
* Renewing intention when attending gatherings of knowledge
* The rank of knowledge & scholars
* Terms and the science of purification of hearts
* The rank of the sciences of excellence and purification
* Answers to issues arising regarding Imam Ghazali and his Ihya’
* An overview of the “Book on the Blameworthiness of Anger, Malice, and Envy”
* The contemporary importance of this Book
* The harms of anger

Lesson Two: The Reality of Anger
Download: Lesson Two (right click to save)
* The wisdom behind the creation of desires
* The true understanding of freedom
* Freedom of expression, and anger when sacred symbols are violated
* The reality of anger in a human
* The principles of dealing with anger and the way of balance

Lesson Three: Can Anger Be Extinguished Through Spiritual Discipline?
Download: Lesson Three (right click to save)
* The outward and inward effects of excessive anger
* The harmful inward results of anger: malice, envy, thinking ill of others, etc
* Looking with insight at the tricks of the ego is a great means to Allah
* Spiritual discipline isn’t possible without anger
* The praiseworthy balance
* Anger and how it is directed: the case of the Danish cartoons

Lesson Four: The Virtues of Restraining One’s Anger
Download: Lesson Four (right click to save)
* Beginning with questions from the students
* The cure for the misgivings that lead to anger
* Allah has made us responsible for that which is closer to the Sacred One (al-Quddus) and not to lower selves (nufus)
* The vitues of restraining one’s anger for the sake of Allah
* A poem in praise of Imam Ali Zain al-Abidin and the meanings of forbearance it contains
* The contiguously transmitted (musalsal) hadith on love

Lesson Five: Forbearance (hilm)
Download: Lesson Five (right click to save)
* Why forbearance is superior to restraining anger
* Knowledge is through strudy and forbearance is through forcing oneself to be forbearant
* Forbearance is a sign of complete intelligent and the submission of one’s capacity for anger
* Correcting the understanding of strength for the sake of Allah Most High
* The meaning of malice (hiqd) and its harmful consequences

Lesson Six: Problems in Contemporary Muslim Life
Download: Lesson Six (right click to save)
* Lesson for Questions and Answers
* The reason behind the crimes of both terrorism and the fight against it
* Are we fulfilling our responsibilities as bearers of a Divine Message?
* The role of forbearance in our contemporary context
* The reason for the weakness in Islamic discourse: the weakness of the institutions of sound traditional Islamic learning
* Caution in whom one takes one’s religious understanding from
* The dangers of declaring other Muslims disbelievers (takfir) and of accusations of polytheism (shirk)
* Remembering priorities

From Habib Ali’s site.
In Arabic: قبس النور المبين من إحياء علوم الدين – دروس وخطب – موقع الداعية الإسلامي الحبيب علي الجفري
In English: http://www.alhabibali.com/en/news/

Lessons conducted at the RIS Knowledge Retreat: Knowledge Retreat 1430

The text in Arabic: The Condemnation of Rage, Rancor and Envy (pdf)

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Habib Ali al-Jifri, with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

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Habib Ali at Shaykh Talal Ahdab’s House, with a number of scholars and activists.

Pictures taken from Habib Ali al-Jifri’s web site. The first two pictures are (c) Reviving the Islamic Spirit, 2010, and taken by Umar Shahzad.

“To Mothers” – Moving Poem by Baraka Blue

To those mothers who buttered sandwiches
and lit loves lanterns when
sweet dreams turned into nightmares-
and cloaked us in radiant safety net bear hugs under covers and
sacrificed many a-night sleep like a coat over a puddle so our pillows stayed dry
and evaporated tears when we would cry, and
smiled at the clouds till they bowed gracefully to a blue sky
and answered all the times we asked, “why?”

 

to all those mothers who allowed faces to hide in pant legs
when we were shy
from strangers or neighbors or distant
family members who just wanted to say, “hi”
and who explained with true amazement
the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly

Read more

Keeping Appointments, Delays, and Cancellation – Excerpt from the book “Islamic Manners” by Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah

The following excerpt is from the book “Islamic Manners” by Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him). Although the book is short and concise, one can nonetheless acquire very deep meanings by reflecting upon its structure and themes. It is unlike other works of adab (etiquette) which often go into the particular details of the Sunnah.

Rather, “Islamic Manners” focuses on key principles and practices of the Sunnah and gives special attention to those that are often neglected by believers in the modern era. If each us were to live up to the lessons contained in this short work, we would witness remarkable transformations in ourselves, our families, our communities, and within broader society. This following section explains the spiritual importance of keeping appointments and the etiquette of dealing with delays and cancellations.

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Keeping Appointments, Delays, and Cancellation

By Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah

In the first verse of Surat Al-Mai’da, Allah called upon the believers “O you the Believers, fulfill your promises.” In Surat Maryam Allah also praised Prophet Ismail (may peace be upon him) “He was true to his promise. He was a Messenger and a Prophet.”

To keep an appointment is vital to our lives, since time is the most precious commodity, once wasted it could not be replaced. If you made an appointment, whether to a friend, colleague or for business you should do your utmost to keep this appointment. This is the right of the other person who gave you part of their time and may have declined other appointments. Not only have you disrupted their schedule but you have marred your image and personality.

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The Proper Manners of Keeping Allah’s Company – Imam Ghazali

Imam Ghazali states in his work, The Beginnings of Guidance:

The Proper Manners of Keeping Allah’s Company

Know that the companion who never leaves you whether you are resident or travelling, whether asleep or awake, both in your life and after your death is your Lord, Master, Protector, and Creator.

And whenever you make remembrance of Him, He is your intimate partner–for Allah Most High says, “I am the intimate partner of one who makes remembrance of Me.”

And whenever your heart is broken in sadness over your shortcomings in fulfilling your religious responsibilities, then He is your companion and indeed close–for Allah Most High says, “I am with those broken-hearted for My sake.”

And Allah alone gives success.

10 Steps to Firm-Footedness in Seeking Knowledge of Fiqh

In this brief podcast, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani provides 10 genuinely useful tips on gaining and retaining a firm grasp of your knowledge of fiqh. Listen to it now.

See also:

“From knowing nothing to becoming a student of knowledge”
Advice from Habib Ali Al-Jifri for Seekers of Knowledge
The Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge

Habib Umar’s Advice to the Seekers of Sacred Knowledge
Shaykh Áwwamah’s advice for Students of Sacred Knowledge
Importance of Intention in Seeking Knowledge