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Imam Zaid Shakir’s khutbah on the Chapel Hill shooting

Imam Zaid Shakir addresses the Chapel Hill shooting in his Friday khutbah in Michigan.

See also, his comments shortly after the tragedy unfolded,

“May the deaths of these beautiful young people, and all others who have perished as a result of senseless, inexcusable violence, anywhere, not be in vain. May they motivate us all to do more to stop this insanity, because all of their lives do truly matter.”

…and advice for parents who are struggling to explain the incident to their children

Resources for Seekers:

Injustice Cannot Defeat Injustice
As He Breathed His Last – Imam al-Ghazali’s Last Poem
Do Something about it!
Anger, Restraint, Wisdom and the Prophetic Message in Our Times (Interview with Habib Ali)
The Soul’s Journey after Death and The Day of Judgement
On the killing of three young American Muslims

Seeker’s Expectations – How to Seek Knowledge

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

Seeker’s Expectations

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Three keys:
(1) Prepare carefully for class
(2) Attend attentively
(3) Review regularly

How to Prepare for the Class
Minimally:
(1) Read the text
(2) Prepare your questions

Ideally:
(1) Do the related readings
(2) Take notes
(3) Note/Look up the verses and hadiths mentioned
(4) Note/Look up definitions of key terms

How to Attend Class
(1) Cut out all distractions
(2) Have high intentions, ask Allah for facilitation
(3) Take careful notes
(4) Ask your questions

How to Review
(1) Have a schedule of review
(2) Have a study partner or group
(3) Review both text and your acting on the text
(4) Follow up questions
(5) Research issues that come up

Strive for Mastery
(1) Acting on what you learn
(2) Know the core material
(3) Know all definitions, key terms, concepts
(4) Be able to teach the text, as you learned it, and answer 90% of likely questions, without having to prepare
(5) Know when to say “I don’t know”

And Allah alone gives success.

Some further reading on Seeking Knowledge:

Find many more resources on our website but using the search option above.

Register for our online courses. All our courses are completely FREE as part of Knowledge without Barriers. Your generous donation allows those who cannot afford to, to have access to Knowledge Without Barriers.

Shaykh Áwwamah’s advice for Students of Sacred Knowledge – al-Miftah Blog

Shaykh Áwwamah’s advice for Students of Sacred Knowledge – al-Miftah Blog

My Honourable teacher, Al-Muhaddith Shaykh Muhammad Áwwamah (may Allah protect him) delivered an address several years ago in which he briefly poured out his sincere counsel for students of knowledge. I took his permission to reproduce it in English.

These are advices of a giant in the field of research, one who has spend over 50 years benefiting the ummah with his priceless gems. Recently, He wrote a 500 page book on the same issue in Arabic. My translation is of the brief version.

Download here

The arabic audio of that night’s lecture can be downloaded here:

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Image from: Anas Akkawi

Advice to Western Muslims on Visiting Jerusalem – al-Habib Ali al-Jifri

Advice to Western Muslims on Visiting Jerusalem – al-Habib Ali al-Jifri – al-Habib Ali al-Jifri

When visiting Jerusalem your soul should have a connection with the visit – if that is there, victory will come.

It is the only land on earth where Allah, Most High, united over 124,000 Prophets upon it, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the elect of Allah’s creation.

It is also the only place on earth that has a gateway and opening from the lower sensory world to the higher celestial realms.

The Dome of Rock,which has the famous golden dome on it- this is where the Prophet (peace be upon him) ascended the seven heavens from, to the Lote tree, and beyond it. Gabriel stopped at the Lote tree, and the majestic character of the Prophet (peace be upon him) went beyond. And through this same gateway, the Prophet (peace be upon him) descended.

When he descended, as soon as his blessed feet touch the earth – the blessed feet of the Prophet left an imprint on the rock. That’s why when you enter the Dome of Rock – you will find a bronze frame, and under it is a space to put your hand, and through it you can feel the blessed footprints of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

When you go to the cave under the rock, and you stand in prayer, you will feel that you are praying somewhere where your sprit can transcend your body, pierce through the sensory world, to go through the upper worlds through that gateway.

That’s what words can describe of the meanings of visiting Jerusalem.

As for anything else, the only thing I can say in summary to you is: Go to Jerusalem!

Every time you go to Hajj, Umrah and to visit the Prophet (peace be upon him), go to Jerusalem.

Go to the Palestinian hotels, and eat in the Palestinian restaurant, and buy from Palestinian traders – since of the 50,000 of the native Jerusalemites both Muslim and Christian, 70% of them live below the poverty line. 40% of them are now forced to leave the city go to the West Bank in order to be able to earn a morsel to survive. When people stopped visiting al Aqsa, it affected their businesses and their livelihood, which was lost. The students of the extremist Zionist seminaries, whose Rabbis have sanctioned the killing of Palestinian children – not a week goes by but they go into the courtyard in the haram of al-Aqsa mosque and dance. If the courtyard and haram was filled with people praying all year round, like in Mecca and Madina, then do you think that they will be able to do this? If it was filled with pilgrims?

It is expected that if you start going in large numbers, sooner or later you may be barred. But insist on going. This is your right. Raise your voices and seek your right. When you go, then, don’t go in a state of agitation or conflict. Some may find that as a justification to bar you. What we have to do, is learn how to resist tyranny and oppression with what is at hand.

Go there with your hearts, connected to the reality of the visit. Advise your Christian friends to visit to “Church of Resurrection” and “Bethlehem” – make this a point of common spirituality between you.

This will be the beginning of change, which will even start affecting the political arena.

May Allah enable us all, and grant us the opportunity to pray in Masjid al-Aqsa

13 May 2012 – Cardiff, UK

(first 2 pics from Habib’s facebook page)

How Can I Give Islamic Advice to My Family When They Know About My Sinful Past?

Answered by Ustadha Rukayat Yakub

Question: I’m a college student and in my past I did some bad things.  However, I have repented so much and have completely stayed away from the deed for more than a year and a half now and hope to stay away from it for the rest of my life. The problem is that my sister, who is now in high school, continues to remember my past and blames me all the time for it. Anytime I mention anything that is regarding Islam she mentions my past. Because of this we have many arguments and I don’t like arguing with her because she is still young and doesn’t not understand the depth of the problem of American society. I don’t know how I should deal with these situations and what I should say to her. Also, my mother is not very Islamically minded and doesn’t see how detrimental following certain things in American society can be bad, so it is even harder trying to explain to my sister what she shouldn’t be doing. What should I do?

Answer: Bismillah

Assalaamu alaikum,

How to Approach Your Sister

Dear Questioner, I think you need to speak frankly to your younger sister, children are very in tune to what is going around them, you sister was paying close attention to what you were doing two years ago. So my advice is to sit her down and tell her, ” Yes, what I did was wrong. I recognized this and this is why I changed. I asked Allah ta’ala to forgive me and with his aid I have stayed away from such destructive behaviour, Allah is kind, Allah is Generous and Allah is forgiving. and because I love and care about you I do not want you to repeat the same mistakes I made.”

Tell her about the seven shades and how you want better for her. Tell her stories of the sahaba and other righteous ones who changed, tell her stories of mistakes people made and how Allah ta’ala forgive them. Let her know that it is hard to heal the wounds caused by your old behavior if she keeps dredging up the past , just like a physical wound needs to be treated and left to heal and how peeling a scab makes it next to impossible for a physical wound to heal without a scar, her dragging up the past is making difficult you all to move on as loving siblings in a family.

People make mistakes and part of helping others is to acknowledge it and move on.  She is in high school so I do not consider her too young to show generosity and kindness to you by letting this go. Let her know that you understand how she feels (i.e that you are being a hypocrite), but let her know that since you have turned away from these acts with the intention to never return to them, Islamically you are doing what is required and you want her help and support to make your family and your relationship a strong one.

You can also talk to her about the importance up family unity and how there are bigger problems out there that perhaps you both can do something about. This could be raising money for a local charity, volunteering with organizations like habitat for humanity, or getting out and seeing how you both can put your energy together in the service of others. Do you presently spend any quality time together?  It looks like you need to strengthen you sibling relationship.  Do things for her, do things together, make dua for the healing of your relationship with your sister and strengthening of the faith and practice of your entire family.

How to Approach Your Mother

With your mother you could look at studies that show the detrimental effects of the things you are concerned about, sometimes people listen better when they read an academic paper or study on a subject than when someone tells them about it. Many parents do not understand the challenges of growing up in America in the age we live in, it is very different even from growing up in here twenty years ago. Try to have patience with your mom, but do try to educate her the best you are able.

May Allah ta’ala bless you and assist and strengthen you and your family.

Your sister
Rukayat Yakub

Related Answers:

Family Problems: Maintaining Conviction in Allah During Difficulty & Tribulation

Can One Lie About Past Sins?

Ramadan Advice from Shaykh Salek

Ramadan Advice from Shaykh Salek

Shaykh Salek is from Mauritania, West Africa, a country known for producing some of the Muslim world’s most knowledgeable scholars. He studied for over 17 years in the famous mountain region of Taganat, from numerous accomplished scholars including Murabit al-Hajj, one of the greatest scholars of our age. In addition to memorizing the entire Quran in two of its recitations, he has studied and mastered some of the most advanced texts in the disciplines of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), arabic grammer (nahu), doctrinal creed (aqida), prophetic narration (hadith), and the study of the life of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (seerah). From a family tracing its lineage back to Jafar ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be well pleased with him, he is respected and widely regarded amongst his peers as a scholar of the highest caliber. He currently runs a school in Mauritania teaching the Quran, Islamic law, and numerous other subjects to children and adults of all ages.

SeekersHub Answers on Coping with Stress and Anxiety

A Reader on Calling to Allah, Giving Advice, and Commanding the Good

Guiding One’s Family Towards the Good: Advice & Tips

Changing Those Around One: Attaching One’s Self to Allah & the Prophetic Sunna

Attracting the Youth to the Religion

Calling People of Other Beliefs to Islam

How Do I Motivate Someone to Perform the Good?

Guiding One’s Family Towards the Good: Advice & Tips

Changing Those Around One: Attaching One’s Self to Allah & the Prophetic Sunna

My Husband Doesnt Pray: How Do I Advise Him?

A Meeting with a Great Scholar of This Age: Mufti Taqi Usmani by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra

A Meeting with a Great Scholar of This Age: Mufti Taqi Usmani by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra

Last night, six members of the Seekers Guidance team who reside in Amman, Jordan had the opportunity to meet Shaykh Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmani. Considered by many people of knowledge to be one of the foremost scholars of our age, and especially known for his pioneering work in the field of Islamic Finance, the shaykh was visiting Amman to attend a conference of scholars regarding Islam and the Environment. Other scholars that the group had the chance of greeting that night included Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi, Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah and Dr. Ingrid Mattson.

After some hours of anxious waiting, we had the chance to spend a few minutes with Mufti Taqi Uthmani in the lobby of his hotel after the day’s proceedings. Being aspiring students of knowledge, we asked what advice he had for those seeking to study the Islamic sacred sciences. He responded in Arabic, to the effect that:

1) Sacred knowledge is of no use or benefit to the aspiring student unless they act upon their knowledge and bases their works upon it. And the most beneficial of works is that which brings one closer to the obedience of Allah Most High.

2) A student must purify their intention as to why they are seeking knowledge. Their intention must be purely and sincerely for the sake of Allah Most High.

3) A student should firmly adhere to the Sunnah (life-example) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in every aspect and circumstance of their life.

4) A student must be constantly turning back to Allah Most High through their life journey, in all situations. Returning means to seek help from Allah against all difficulties and challenges, to seek to please Him, to seek protection and forgiveness from Him, and to be grateful and humble to Him.

5) A student of knowledge must be make lots of supplication (dua’) to Allah Most High, for every single one of his needs, whether they be needs of this world or the next.

Then, the Shaykh answered two questions briefly and returned to his room to rest for the next day’s events. We noticed how the greatest of scholars such as Mufti Taqi always gave the most comprehensive advice when asked, which was most relevant to everyone and reflected their deep wisdom. We were thankful for the opportunity to meet this erudite and wise scholar of our times, even if it was for a short time, and we hope that we can all act on these advices. We ask Allah Most High to bless all of the students of knowledge and give us tawfiq and sincerity.


Ustadh Anik Abdullah Misra is currently teaching Meccan Dawn: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad at SeekersGuidance this semester.

The Personal Arrogance Checklist

The Personal Arrogance Checklist by Abdul S. Ahmed

“The kettle only fills the cup when its spout is lowered
A teacher can only benefit others when he lowers himself before Allah.”

A person might be arrogant, proud, ostentatious or have elements of those qualities if (PLEASE note I have said MIGHT – make your own decision) if:

0. You saw the above list and was proud to see that you are among it and feel that you are actually responsible for that.

1. Reading the above lines makes you roll your eyes or feel uncomfortable that the topic has been brought up.

2. You feel that the majority of the people you speak to have less Islamic knowledge than yourself.

3. You find yourself giving more advice than asking for it, and don’t feel that you need any right now.

4. You don’t agree that that having the above qualities is a indication of a possibility of arrogance.

5. Think of five people you are almost or absolutely sure have less Islamic knowledge than you. Was that easy for you to do?
5a. Now imagine them correcting you in your Salah, or in something you just said in front of a group of friends. Would your heart feel strange if such a thing happened?
5b. You automatically go into “I know what you do not know” mode whenever you speak to these five people and cannot consider speaking to them as intellectual equals or learning something from them or getting advice from them.

6. You have recently started a sentence in public with: “In my humble opinion…”

7. You openly declare your sinfulness in front of people when praised [not to lower yourself in your own eyes, but to show everyone how humble you are], or have strange forced reactions when complimented because you are not sure how to react and want to seem humble before people.

8. Think of a Muslim brother or sister whom you think has said some uninformed things about Islam, but is overall a good person and sincere. Think of someone praising and complimenting that person’s knowledge in front of you. This makes you slightly uncomfortable because you think it is undeserved and you have a better understanding.

9. Assume that there is someone who is/was in a position above you in some way shape or form (jama’ah, msa, masjid, work, school). You automatically assume that they got there through some means, not because they are worthy/competent/knowledgeable but because of shadiness.

10. You can think of at least a few instances where you have been corrected/advised in public and reacted with anger or sarcasm rather than gratitude. It is hard for you take accept advise from people who are younger than you, in your age group, or people who cannot be classified in one or more of the groups listed at the title of this post.

11. Think about all of the places in which you are important: MSA, work, Jama’ah, community work, masjids, etc. You feel that if you were to remove yourself from your activities there, that those groups would actually be at a loss, not realizing that if you were to leave – Allah can easily replace you with someone much more qualified.

12. Your Salah (prayer) is faster in private than it is in public.

13. When you read Quran in private, you imagine what it would be like if other people heard you recite.

14. You say things to people you know they will not understand in order to assert your intellectual superiority over them.

15. You automatically assume that you do have such knowledge that you actually have something so deep that some people won’t understand.

16. You look at brothers or sisters who are not involved with Islamic work or community activism, and feel that you are better than them because you are “useful” to the community while they are not.

17. You are more concerned about making a mistake in a khutbah because of what people would think, as opposed to making a mistake in calling to Allah (swt).

18. When you make a mistake in regular conversation, you find yourself covering up for it by pretending you “knew that..but…”

19. Whenever the reference to sinners is made in the Quran, you don’t wonder for a second, “what if that is me?”

20. Whenever a reference is made to those people who speak without knowledge – you do not immediately think of yourself.

21. Imagine that a major community volunteer leadership position has opened for a young muslim adult. It will be the most influential position in the entire city/community and the decisions made in this position will be able to impact thousands of youth and how/where they receive knowledge about Islam and do youth activities and the ideologies by which they are led.

You cannot think of five people who are two years or more younger than you who should definitely be in this position more than you.

22. A fifteen-year old comes up to you, and tells you that your khutbah/speech/event you organized – sucked. That it didn’t connect to him, that you made mistakes in it, and that you should work on your speaking/organizing skills. but he does it in a nice way – without using the word “sucked”. What do you feel like? Anger?

23. You think about compliments other people give you and feel happy about them. You find yourself drawing nearer to the people who complement you and farther from the people who do not.

24. You don’t think people deserve the effort you put in sometimes.

25. You hear an old person who doesn’t know tajwid recite Quran, terribly. You laugh/cringe and think to yourself that you know what he does not know, rather than realizing that he simply was never taught properly. If he is young, rather than seeking to help him or offer lessons, you just shake your head and leave.

26. You think that scholars who don’t entirely agree with your teachers/leaders have less of an understanding of Islam than you do; and you’ve criticized them publicly without explicit permission from your teachers/leaders.

27. It makes you irritated when people assume that you do not know something which you do.

28. The idea that the only reason you have been given what you have been given (quran, islamic work, etc) is because without it you would be come the greatest sinner on the earth doesn’t really cross your mind. When the time comes for someone to lead any salah and the jama’ah is selecting an imam, you are so used to being pushed up there that you don’t even think about it anymore nor think about how many sins you are hiding from the people behind you.

29. Saying “my teacher” fills you up with just a little ounce of pride that you have a teacher, while the person you are speaking to does not.

30. There is a brother wearing earrings, gold chains, the ghetto-est clothes imaginable, swearing left and right, listening to obscene music, and always hitting on girls. There is also a sister who dresses in revealing clothes, makes obscene remarks, is always looking for a laugh, always makes sarcastic, biting remarks towards other sisters, and is dating two guys.

In reading the above, a feeling of superiority over them already entered your heart. The idea that perhaps they want to change and might be spending more time asking for forgiveness in secret than we spend sinning didn’t enter mind until you read this sentence.

“Modesty, to appear lesser than we are, is commendable. Yet, the exaggeration of humbleness to the extent of appearing abject, is a sin. Mu’adh ibn Jabal reports that the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) said, “Showing excess attachment and appearing abject, reducing oneself to the state of a beggar, does not suit the character of a believer.” The only exception is the humbleness of a student towards his teacher, seeking to receive knowledge. Only knowledge is worth begging for, and worth humbling ourselves to receive. Another example of unlawful humility in Islam is to beg if we have shelter and food, even for only one day. To give someone a small gift with the hope of receiving a greater good is like begging.”

During his Caliphate, Umar (RA) was marching upon Damascus with his army. Abu Ubayda ibn Jerrah was with him. They came upon a little lake. Umar descended from his camel, took off his shoes, tied them together, and hung them on his shoulder. He took the halter of his camel and together they entered the water. Seeing this in front of the army, Abu Abayda said, “Oh the Commander of the believers, how can you be so humble in front of all your men?” Umar answered, “Woe to you, Abu Ubayda! If only anyone else other than you thought this way! Thoughts like this will cause the downfall of the Muslims. Don’t you see, we were indeed a very lowly people. Allah raised us to honor and greatness through Islam. If we forget who we are and wish other than Islam, which elevated us, the One who raised us, surely will debase us.”

“One will not enter Paradise, if one has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his/her heart.” a man then asked, “One may love his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good?!” The prophet replied, “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty, arrogance is: rejecting the truth and looking down on people.”

Faghfirlanaa, fa innahu laa yaghfiru adh-dhunooba illa Anta.