My Day at Princeton with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

By Yousaf Seyal

Getting there
Thursday night was a very long night, but also a very short one. It was long because I was honored to host a gathering in praise of the Prophet at my house, which ended well past midnight (after people had their share of kheer!). It was short because I only got 3 hours sleep. But, that was fine as I was looking forward to heading out to New Jersey, to once again, sit and benefit from the presence of Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. I accompanied Sidi Adil Sayyidi and his family on this road trip. May Allah reward them for their generosity in allowing me to accompany them.
Upon walking into Princeton I met Imam Suhaib Sultan and was welcomed in by his wife. Shaykh Faraz was upstairs, so I waited by the musallah to greet him. On greeting him I once again fell for the famous ‘Rabbani handshake’, not once, but twice! I think the most awkward moment I had with him later on that day is when he played it on me again, I played it right back on him (I will ensure NOT to do that one again).
The Khutbah
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani was the speaker for the Friday sermon at Princeton. He spoke on taking the high way in all situations. He also spoke on how life was not meant to be easy, but it is only through Allah’s mercy that most of our life is lived in ease.

After Jummah prayer I accompanied a good friend, Ustadh Wasim Shiliwala, around the campus. I was living the Princeton life for a few hours by going to campus coffee shops and hanging out with other students. I learned my lesson that day – do not to buy Mango Lassi from anyone who can’t pronounce it right!
A curious find
While exploring the campus we decided to take a walk to the chapel. Before walking in, we crossed paths with Shaykh Walead Mosaad. It was a blessing to meet him and introduce myself for the first time. He seems like an extremely humble person, filled with love. I was fortunate enough to be headed to Allentown the following day to attend his event with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus. I pray I can benefit from his company some more in the near future.

I had never walked into a chapel before, but I have to say this visit was well worth it. To my surprise, inside the chapel was a stained glass portrait of Ar-Razi. The name of his book and the basmalah, in Arabic, were written right next to it! Even the caretaker wasn’t aware of this and we ended up having a good conversation with her on the basmalah itself. The caretaker said that she would try to find out more about this particular portrait.

The Main Event
It was time for the main event of the night- the Grand Mawlid- which was held at a bigger hall at Princeton. The stage was being set up, kabobs were being served, chairs and sofas were available to sit on, and the Shuyukh were starting to coming in. This ‘party’ held in respect and love for the Prophet Muhammad was about to begin! Everyone was excited and eager to start.

Imam Suhaib Sultan opened the Mawlid at around 8 pm. His gold and white shawl really made him look like a Sultan! The gathering started off with a recitation of the Quran, Qasidah Burdah, a Turkish rendition of the Salawat, and a beautiful performance in Persian.

The key note speaker for the night was Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. In this talk he focused on living up to higher aspirations and correcting your intention in everything you do. He explained how the Prophetic state was to be present with Allah in all dealings, whether in worship itself, or in your work/student life. He said in this regard, “The Prophetic teachings SHOW us how to REACH God through it,” he also said that the Prophet TAUGHT us that with anything we do, we need to SEEK God through it.” To top it off, we received two new ‘Rabbanisms’: BSA – Busy Seeking Allah and BWA – Busy With Allah (which is the Higher Degree).

The event concluded with a few more performances such as spoken word poetry, a poem by Rumi, some Urdu, and finally topping it off with a closing prayer lead by Shaykh Walead Masood.

The difficult part of ending an experience like this is that it usually ends with me departing a teacher. It was finally time to go and that meant departing from Shaykh Faraz, again. I am obviously thankful for my time spent with him, but the heart always yearns for more. Shaykh Faraz has served both as a teacher and a brotherly figure to me ever since my return from the East. His concern for others is based on mercy, embodies mercy, and manifests mercy. His final advice to me was to stay focused, committed, and consistent even if a little. May Allah bless him countless amounts of good for the countless amounts of good he does for our community. Ameen.

Recording Women’s Qur’an Recitation

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it permissible for women to be Qur’an reciters and record a CD? Wouldn’t this involve marriageable (non-mahram) men listening to her voice?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

I asked Shaykh Akram Abd al-Wahhab al-Mawsuli, a leading Iraqi jurist, and he said that unless the recordings were specifically for women—and clearly labelled and distributed as such—then they are to be avoided.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Intention for Sending Blessings upon the Prophet

Intention for Sending Blessings upon the Prophet

From Habib Umar’s Facebook page.

The intention of Imam al-Haddad for sending blessings upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم:

O God, I intend by my sending blessings upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم fulfilling Your command, and professing belief in Your book, and following the way of Your Prophet, our liege lord صلى الله عليه و سلم Muhammad and (declaring) love for him, yearning for him and venerating his right and to ennoble

him, and due to the fact that he is deserving of that صلى الله عليه و سلم, so accept this from me by virtue of Your grace and excellence.

Remove the veil of heedlessness from my heart, and make me from the righteous. O God, increase him in eminence beyond the eminence with which You have preferred him, and increase him in honour beyond the honour which You have given him صلى الله عليه و سلم, and raise his station in the stations of the Emissaries, and raise too his level in the levels of the Prophets.

I ask of You Your Divine pleasure and for Paradise, O Lord of Creations, with well-being in religious and worldly life and in the Hereafter.

I ask of You death upon the Book, the Prophetic Way and Community and upon the testament of faith, without change or alteration.

By Your grace and excellence towards me, forgive me for what I have sinned. Indeed You are the Oft- Returning, the Most Merciful, and may God send blessings upon our liegelord Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم and on his folk and his Companions.

Fasting During the First Nine Days of Dhu’l Hijja

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: Is it a sunnah to fast the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah? I have heard some people say that it is not a recommended practice, and some say that it is a Bid’a. Can you please clarify?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The first ten days and nights of Dhu’l Hijjah are considered to be blessed and virtuous, and thus it is highly encouraged to carry out as much acts of worship as possible in them.

Sayyiduna AbdAllah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “There are no days in which righteous acts are more beloved to Allah than in these days – meaning the ten of Dhu’l Hijjah.” They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the way of Allah?” He replied, “Not even Jihad in the way of Allah, except for the man who goes out with his life and his wealth and does not return with either of them.” (Bukhari no: 926, Tirmidhi no: 757, Abu Dawud no: 2430 and others; the wording is Abu Dawud)

This hadith indicates that there is added significance and extra rewards for carrying out ‘all’ types of righteous deeds and acts of worship during the first ten days and nights of Dhu’l Hijjah, without any exception. This includes fasting, since it is a righteous deed; in fact, it is one of the highest forms of worship. As such; this hadith indirectly establishes the recommendation of fasting for the entire first nine days of Dhu’l Hijjah, as fasting is included in the general context of this hadith.

Furthermore, there are some other narrations that make specific mention of fasting the first nine days of Dhu’l Hijjah.

Sayyida Hafsa (Allah be pleased with her) says, “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would not leave four matters: Fasting on Ashura [10th of Muharram], the ten days [of Dhu’l Hijja, with the exception of the 10th], three days of every month; and performing two Rak’ats of prayer before dawn.” (Nasa’i no: 2416 & Ahmad)

Hunayda ibn Khalid relates from his wife, who relates from one of the wives of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), who says, “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would fast the [first] nine days of Dhu’l Hijja, the day of Ashura and the three days of every month: The first Monday of every month and the following two Thursdays”. (Nasa’i no: 2417 & Abu Dawud no; 2429; the wording is of Nasa’i)

Note that the ‘ten days’ in the various hadiths refer to the first nine days of Dhu’l Hijja, since it is agreed upon that it is prohibitively disliked and sinful to fast on the tenth day which is the day of Eid al-Adha. Imam Ibn Sirin used to dislike the phrase “fasting the ten of Dhu’l Hijja”; since it gives an impression that the tenth day is also included. However, the majority of the scholars do not see any problem with this phrase, saying that “ten” refers to fasting those days in which it is permitted to do so – i.e. the first nine days. The phrase “ten” is used in a metaphorical sense. (See: Nawawi, Al-Minhaj sharh Sahih Muslim & Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lata’if al-Ma’arif p: 330)

Moreover, to fast during these first nine days was a common and known practice during the era of the Companions and early Muslims (Allah be pleased with all of them). Those who would fast or encouraged these fasts include Abu Hurayra, AbdAllah ibn Umar, Qatada, Ibn Sirin, Hasan al-Basri, Mujahid and others (Allah be pleased with them). (See: Sunan al-Bayhaqi 8395 & Lata’if al-Ma’arif p: 329)

As such; classical scholars generally agree that it is recommended (mustahab) to fast during the first nine days of Dhu’l Hijja, with extra significance for fasting on the Day of Arafah (9th of Dhu’l Hijjah). This is the position of all four Sunni Schools of Islamic law:

1) For the Hanafi School, it is stated in Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, “It is recommended (mustahab) to fast during the first nine days of Dhu’l Hijja, as stated in Al-Siraj al-Wahhaj.” (Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 1/201; see also: Bada’i al-Sana’i 2/108 & Al-Mabsut 3/92)

2) As for the Maliki School, it is stated in Hashiyat al-Sawi, “It is recommended to fast on the Day of Arafah (9th of Dhu’l Hijjah) for the one not performing Hajj, but disliked for the pilgrim (haji) – since not fasting will give the pilgrim strength in executing the standing (wuquf) in Arafah. And it is recommended to fast [both for a pilgrim and a non-pilgrim] during the eight days before the Day of Arafah.” (Hashiyat al-Sawi ala ‘l-sharh al-Saghir 1/691; also see: al-Khurshi, Sharh Mukhtasar Khalil 3/16-17 & Minah al-Jalil sharh Mukhtasar al-Khalil 2/119)

3) In the Shafi’i School, Imam Nawawi states, “It is a Sunna to fast during the first ten days of Dhu’l Hijja, with the exception of the Day of Eid [i.e. the 10th].” (Nawawi, Rawdat al-Talibin 2/388; see also: Kifayat al-Akhyar 1/207)

4) In the Hanbali School, Imam al-Mardawi states, “It is recommended to fast the ten of Dhu’l Hijja, without any disagreement. Of these, the most virtuous is the 9th which is the Day of Arafah, then the 8th which is the Day of Tarwiyah. This is the position of the [Hanbali] Madhab, as affirmed by the Imams.” (Al-Insaf fi Ma’rifat al-Rajih min al-Khilaf 3/345; also see: Abu Bakr ibn al-Athram, Nasikh al-Hadith wa Mansukhihi p:153)

Finally, there is a hadith which seems to indicate that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did not fast the days of Dhu’l Hijja. Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) says, “I did not see the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) fast during the ten days [of Dhu’l Hijja] ever.” (Muslim no: 1176, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi & others)

Classical scholars offer various explanations of this hadith. Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states, “This hadith will be interpreted, for there is no dislike in fasting these nine days; in fact it is strongly recommended to do so, especially the 9th which is the Day of Arafah… As such, her statement will be understood to mean that he (Allah bless him & give him peace) did not fast due to illness, travelling or some other reason; or that she did not see him fast, which does not negate him observing the fast…” (Al-Minhaj sharh Sahih Muslim 8/320 no: 1176)

Some other scholars state that A’isha’s (Allah be pleased with her) account negates the fact that he (Allah bless him & give him peace) fasted, whilst other narrations affirm; and the general principle is that affirmation (ithbat) takes precedence over negation (nafi’). (Lata’if al-Ma’arif p: 330)

In conclusion, it is recommended and highly virtuous to fast during all or some of the first nine days of Dhu’l Hijja. Of these, it is particularly recommended to fast the Day of Arafah (9th of Dhu’l Hijjah).

Abu Qatada (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Fasting the Day of Arafah expiates for two years, one prior and one forthcoming. And fasting the Day of Ashura (10th of Muharram) expiates for the past year.” (Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah)

This, according to the Hanafi School, applies even for the one performing Hajj – if it does not weaken the pilgrim from spending the day in worship. As for the hadiths in which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) commanded against fasting this day for the pilgrim at Arafah, this was understood by the Hanafi Imams to refer to those who would weaken or tire because of the fast. This is due to the numerous hadiths that have come in praise of this day in particular and fasting in it. (See: Tahawi, Sharh Ma’ani al-Athar 2/82-83 & al-Kasani, Bada’i al-Sana’i)

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester, UK

How Do I Raise My Resolve to do Good & Overcome Hardness of the Heart?

Answered by Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish

Question: When I began practicing, I used to be very motivated to perform the good. Now, I feel a hardness in my heart and less motivated to do good deeds. Can you please give some advice on how I can raise my motivation?

Answer: Bismillah

Allah Most High says,

“O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful.” [Qur’an 9.119]

Thus, with our taqwa (God-consciousness), it is necessary to keep the company of the truthful and righteous.

With this, we should supplicate often with the words of the Best of Creation (peace and blessings be upon him),

“O over-turner of hearts, make my heart firm on your religion.”

If our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to make this supplication, it behooves us to follow his example (peace and blessings be upon him) and have fear of the overturning of hearts. And Allah Most Glorious is the Overwhelming over His creation, and He decrees whatever He wills for whoever He wishes. Thus, we ask Him to make us with the truthful and righteous, and to give us a good ending. And we seek refuge in Him from deception and being led astray, for He is the Hearing and Answering.

Worshiping Allah for His sake, not for illumination

When a believer obeys Allah Most High, they do so in obedience to the command of Allah. This good deed gives fruit to a light in the heart, and an increase in one’s spiritual resolve (himma). However, if our good deeds do not give apparent fruits, it is not allowed for us to leave them, because whenever we do the good, we will have obeyed the command of Allah—this is our duty.

Then, [having done our duty] if we find the apparent fruits of our deeds, then so be it. Otherwise, we at least obeyed the command of Allah, and we ask Him for acceptance. We are the servants of Allah, not the servants of illuminations that result from our deeds. The one who worships Allah for the fruits of their worship, such as the light and softness they find in their heart, are in need of sincerity to Allah alone in their worship.

What to do about hardness of heart and weakness of resolve

As for when one fears non-acceptance when they find hardness of heart and weakness in resolve, then one should make remembrance of Allah and istighfar (seeking forgiveness). It has been related in a hadith from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he said,

“Truly, hearts rust just as iron rusts, and their polishing is La ilaha illa Allah (‘There is no god but Allah’) and seeking forgiveness.”

Thus, if a Muslim seeks to polish their heart, they should adhere to the remembrance of Allah until their heart is purified and illumined. If one makes remembrance of Allah but finds no light therein, then they should make themselves in a position to benefit from the winds of Allah’s beneficence.

It has been related in hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“You Lord has in the days of your lives winds of beneficence, so benefit from them.”

Among these winds of beneficence are the blessed days mentioned in the Prophetic hadiths, in which worship is especially virtuous.

Among them is to search for truthful and righteous believers and to keep their company.

Among them is to establish night worship at the end of the night, and to supplicate at that time.

Among them is to remain constantly in the remembrance of Allah. Sayyidi Ibn `Ata’illah says,

“Do not leave the remembrance because of your lack of presence of heart with Allah therein, because your heedlessness of the remembrance of Allah is more harmful than your heedlessness during the remembrance of Allah. It may well be that He take you from remembrance in which there is heedlessness to remembrance in which there is consciousness; and from remembrance in which there is consciousness to remembrance in which there is presence of heart; and from remembrance in which there is presence of heart to remembrance in which there is obliviousness to all but the One Remembered, “And that is not difficult for Allah.””

Loss of motivation and the importance of moderation

As for loss of motivation, this is natural to the human temperament, and is the reason why the acts of good and worship are variegated—so that the lower selves of creation not get weary. Thus, if one finds weakness in one’s resolve, then move to another type of good, while being wary—when given success—not to take on too many voluntary acts of worship, lest this lead to loss of motivation and a sense of being fed up. Allah Most High enjoined upon us certain obligations which we cannot leave. After this, He encouraged us to supererogatory works from which we should take that which our selves can handle, sustain, and remain avid for the good.

Imam Muslim related in his Sahih, in the chapter on ‘Moderation in Exhortation,’ from Shaqiq that he said,

“We were sitting before the door of Abdullah [ibn Masud (Allah be pleased with him), the great companion of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)], waiting for him, when Yazid ibn Mu`awiya al-Nakha`i passed by us. We said to him, “Tell him about our presence.” He entered. Soon after, Abdullah [ibn Mas`ud] came out. He said, “I have been told about your presence. The only thing preventing me from coming out to you is my dislike of boring you. Verily, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to carefully choose when to give us exhortation, out of fear of us becoming weary.”

We ask Allah to make our days rich with His obedience, and to increase love and desire of drawing closer to Him in our hearts, until we meet Him and He is pleased with us. Amin.

Muhammad Qaylish

(Translated by Faraz Rabbani, a student of Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish)

3- حينما بدأت ألتزم كنت أجد دافعاً قوياً في نفسي نحو الخيرات ونوافل العبادات وكثرة الذكر . وكنت أجد رقة في قلبي .. الآن لا أجد ذاك الدافع وأشعر بقسوة في قلبي وضعف في همتي .. لا أقع في معاص ظاهرة … لكن أخاف أن يزداد ضعفي … كيف أقوي عزمي نحو الخير وتنوير قلبي؟

الجواب: يقول الله تعالى : [يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله وكونوا مع الصادقين]. فمع التقوى لا بد من مصاحبة الصادقين . ومع هذا وذاك علينا أن نكثر من دعاء سيد الوجود e : “يا مقلب القلوب ثبت قلبي على دينك” . فإذا كان نبينا e يدعو بهذا الدعاء فعلينا أن نقتدي به e ونخاف من تقليب القلوب . والله سبحانه هو القاهر فوق عباده يحكم بما يشاء على من يشاء . فنسأله أن يجعلنا من الصالحين وأن يختم لنا بخاتمة الحسنى . ونعوذ به من المكر والاستدراج. إنه سميع مجيب.

والمؤمن حين يطيع الله عز وجل فإنه يفعل ذلك امتثالاً لأمر الله . فتثمر هذه الطاعة نوراً في القلب، وزيادة في الهمة . ولكن إذا لم تثمر الطاعة ثمارها فلا يجوز أن نتركها، لأننا حين نعمل الخيرات فإننا نكون قد امتثلنا أمر الله. وهذه هي وظيفتنا. ثم إذا أتت ثمار الطاعة فأهلاً وسهلاً. وإذا لم تأت نكون قد امتثلنا أمر الله. ونسأله سبحانه القبول. فنحن عباد الله ولسنا عباد الأنوار التي هي ثمرة عبادتنا . وإذا كان المسلم يعبد الله لأجل أن ينال ثمار العبادة من نور في القلب ورقة فيه فإن عبادته تحتاج إلى إخلاص النية لله وحده.

وأما إذا كان يخاف من عدم القبول حين يجد في القسوة في قلبه والضعف في همته فعليه بذكر الله والاستغفار . وقد ورد في الحديث عنه e : إن القلوب تصدأ كما يصدأ الحديد وجلاؤها لا إله إلا الله والاستغفار .

فإذا أراد المسلم أن يجلو قلبه فعليه بذكر الله حتى يصفو ويتنور. وإذا كان يذكر الله فلا يشعر بالنور يدخل إلى قلبه فليتعرض لنفحات الله سبحانه . فقد ورد في الحديث : إن لربكم في أيام دهركم نفحات . ألا فتعرضوا لها. ومن النفحات الأيام المباركة التي وردت الأحاديث في فضل العبادة فيها . ومنها البحث عن الصالحين الصادقين والبقاء معهم . ومنها قيام آخر الليل والدعاء فيه…. ومنها المداومة على الذكر . يقول سيدي ابن عطاء الله السكندري : لا تترك الذكر لعدم حضورك مع الله فيه فغفلتك عن وجود ذكره أشد من غفلتك مع وجود ذكره . فعسى أن ينقلك من ذكر مع وجود غفلة إلى ذكر مع وجود يقظة ومن ذكر مع وجود يقظة إلى ذكر مع وجود حضور ومن ذكر مع وجود حضور إلى ذكر مع غيبة عما سوى المذكور وما ذلك على الله بعزيز .

وإن السآمة من طبع النفوس البشرية . ولذلك تنوعت الطاعات والعبادات كيلا تمل نفوس العباد . فإذا شعر المسلم بشيء من الضعف في الهمة فلينتقل إلى نوع آخر من الطاعة . وليحذر الموفق من حمل نفسه على كثرة النوافل حتى لا تمل وتسأم . فإن الله سبحانه قد فرض علينا فروضاً لا يجوز لنا أن نتركها . ثم ندبنا بعد ذلك إلى نوافل نأخذ منها ما تحتمله نفوسنا وتبقى معه راغبة في الخير . وقد أخرج الإمام مسلم في صحيحه في باب الاقتصاد في الموعظة عن شقيق قال: كنا جلوساً عند باب عبد الله – بن مسعود – ننتظره، فمر بنا يزيد بن معاوية النخعي فقلنا: أعلمه بمكاننا. فدخل عليه، فلم يلبث أن خرج علينا عبد الله فقال: إني أُخْبَرُ بمكانكم، فما يمنعني أن أخرج إليكم إلا كراهية أن أُمِلَّكُمْ. إن رسول الله e كان يَتَخَوَّلُنَا بالموعظة في الأيام مخافة السآمة علينا. نسأل الله أن يجعل أيامنا بالطاعات عامرة وأن يزيد في قلوبنا محبته والرغبة بالإقبال عليه حتى نلقاه وهو عنا راض . آمين.

MMVIII © Faraz Rabbani and SunniPath.