Posts

Living Simply: The Love of Meeting Allah (Part Nine)

Living Simply: Letting Go and Holding Fast

The Joy of the Believer (Part Nine)

door masjid

In order to get through life with ease, the early Muslims (salaf) focused on certain key ways of living that would make it spiritually and practically easier and more fruitful. They coined a term for the variegated rules that they lived by, a term that summarized the system of living for the Hereafter. They called it zuhd: detachment from this world. Other terms to describe zuhd are indifference towards worldly matters or simple or minimal living. This is the ninth article from a series of articles and podcasts by SeekersGuidance scholar, Shaykh Farid Dingle.

 

Introduction to Asceticism (Part One)

Listening More, Talking Less (Part Two)

Entertaining Ourselves to Death (Part Three)

Being Extremely Moderate (Part Four)

Evaluation of the Self (Part Five)

Wronging Others in Word and Deed (Part Six)

Spreading Muck (Part Seven)

Active Minimalism (Part Eight)

 

Since the believer’s ultimate goal and joy is Allah Most High and the next life, nothing fills his heart like drawing nearer to the time when he will meet Him. Naturally, then, we find the lore of the early Muslims replete with expressions of their wish to move on to Allah. All that held them here in this life was their occupation with deeds that would please Him. Besides death itself and good deeds, they also rejoiced at calamities because they knew they were expiations for sins. Ultimately, their joy was in the fact that they were believers because they appreciated how dear the believers are to Allah Most High.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever would love to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him. Whoever would hate to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him. Death comes before meeting Allah.” (Tirmidhi) 

This means that whoever is terrified of dying because deep inside he sees that he has done nothing to establish a relationship with Allah, it is only reflective of the fact that Allah does not love him. The hadith concludes with the poignant mention of death: love of meeting Allah means love of death.

Jalal al-Din al-Rumi said:

O lovers! O lovers! It’s time to depart from the world,

I can hear with the ear of my heart the drum of departure from the Heavens above.

Abdullah ibn Masud said, “The believer has no relief except meeting Allah Himself.” This message was learned and repeated by his student, Masruq, who said, “There is no room that is better for a believer than the grave: he is free from the worries of this life and is safe from the punishment of Allah.” And Rabi ibn Khaytham said, “There is nothing waiting in the wings for the believer that is better for him than death.” This is ultimately because the believer has established a relationship with his kind and caring Lord—he feels how cherished he is in Allah’s eyes. Abu Hurayra said, “The believer is more valuable in Allah’s eyes than even the archangels that are close to Him.”

Those who have not worked on their relationship with their creator are not so keen on death. The Caliph Suleyman ibn Abd al-Malik (d. 99 AH) asked Abu Hazim (d. 140 AH) why we hate to die. He replied, 

“Because you have worked to develop your worldly lives and make it luxurious, and you have left your next life in ruins, so you don’t want to move from luxury to ruin.”

Besides death itself, the believer rejoices at deeds that he has been given the fortune of doing. He loves to see the signs of Allah’s love upon him. Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “Were it not for three things, I would wish that I had gone on to Allah: traveling in the Way of Allah, putting my head down in prostration, and sitting with a group of men who carefully pick out good words just as good dates are selected.” It is noticeable that he put great value in being in the presence of good company. It is an act of worship in itself.

Just as it is a joy to see one’s good deeds, it is also a joy to see what sacrifices one makes for Allah. It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whenever you leave something for Allah’s sake, Allah will give you something else that is even better than it.” This is a comfort for those who feel they are “missing out” in this life, support for those who are facing the difficulty of leaving sin, and a reason to rejoice for those who have made this sacrifice time and time again.

Even the fact of being saddened at one’s mistakes is a cause for joy. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever is pleased by his good deeds, and saddened by his bad deeds—that is what a believer is!”

Even calamities are a reason for the believer to rejoice. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The believer is amazing! If good befalls him, he praises Allah and thanks to Him. If an affliction befalls him, he seeks reward and is patient. The believer is rewarded for everything, even the very food he eats!” He is also narrated to have said, “No believer ever slips up, gets a cut, or is scratched for anything except that he committed a sin. And that which Allah overlooks is more.” He rejoices because he knows that it only comes as an expiation for sins or a means to raise him to levels of faith that he could have never otherwise reached.

In general, the believer is happy because he is in good hands: Allah Most High says, 

“Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light.” (Qur’an, 2:257) 

And He says, “There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Heavy upon him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned for you and to the believers is kind and merciful.”

 

About the Author

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language which can be found here. 

The corresponding podcast is due for release soon.

 

Begin Your Search for Sacred Knowledge

Sign up for a SeekersGuidance course taught by trained and reliable scholars. Over 130 courses. Always free.

 

Human Potential: The Gift of Turning Back

Human Potential: Turning Back

By Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

This is the fourth of a series of articles by SeekersGuidance scholar Shaykh Yusuf Weltch on the amazing human potential. Shaykh Yusuf poses thought-provoking ideas about what humans are capable of; both success and destruction. In pursuit of perfection, many may feel despair and a sense of failure. What does Allah Most High require from His servants?


Good deeds. Lots of charity. Lots of prayers. Lots of fasting. This is what comes to most of our minds when we hear the word piety. No wonder we despair of achieving piety. This is an example of how our perception of the  ‘spiritual journey’ affects our ‘spiritual journey’. The presupposition that Allah Most High seeks from us absolute perfection results in devastating despair and a defeatist mentality.

Did Allah Most High create us to be perfect? In short, no—even though a level of perfection is possible. Allah Most High created the Angels who do not disobey Allah whatsoever, who never tire in glorifying Him, who are not tainted with animalistic human vices. However, He still chose to create human-kind. The Angels, out of sheer curiosity, asked, “Will you put in the land those who will sow corruption therein and shed blood.” Allah Most High replied to them, “Verily I know what you know not.” (Qur’an 2:30)

Angels obey Allah Most High without any internal or external opposition. Whereas, humans have both. Externally we must combat the deception of the Devil, the distracting illusory nature of the world, as well as bad companionship and peer pressure. Internally we must fend off our misguided desires and lusts as well as the fame-seeking ego. This opposition sets us up to either be the best of the best or the lowest of the low.

“By the soul and how He formed it – and inspired it [to know] it’s vice and virtue! – The one who purifies his soul succeeds – and the one who corrupts it fails.” (Qur’an 91:7–10)

By overcoming these obstacles, humans excel past the ranks of the Angels toward the highest levels of spiritual rectitude. But what brings great solace to those who have succumbed to the defeatist outlook on the spiritual journey, is the fact that sinning does not necessitate failure. The Messenger of Allah said, “All of the children of Adam err and the best of those who err are those who turn back in repentance” (Tirmidhi).


About the Author

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied inheritance law, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance teachers team in the summer of 2019.

Start your journey for knowledge: sign up for a free course by reliable, trained scholars. Always free.

Be Prepared: Understanding the Wisdom of Calamities

Be Prepared: Understanding the Wisdom of Calamities

By Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Pain. We cannot escape pain. Pain, in this life, is inevitable. We are here to be tested to determine our unending rank and recompense in the Hereafter. These tests are usually in the broad categories of ease – which demands gratitude – or difficulty – which requires a combination of patience and the expectation of a reward from God. 

The benefits that rain down upon us from these trials are numerous and well worth examining closely. However, prior to this, the difficulties need to be understood, felt, experienced, and processed. 

This is how those benefits dye a believer’s perception with the hues of a deeper faith. This is how one becomes malleable to the trials that hammer down upon us to shape us into better versions of ourselves. This is how the friction of pain polishes us to the point that we glisten and gleam. 

 


The Prophet’s Approach to Pain 

Running from the pain, or blocking it out with distractions, or feigned shows of strength – deny one of the fruits indicated above. Indeed, the greatest being in God’s creation (peace and blessings be upon him) engaged deeply with his human experiences, whilst remaining within the bounds of his slavehood to God. 

When his son, Ibrahim, passed away whilst only a toddler, he said, “Indeed the eye weeps, and the heart grieves – yet we don’t say anything but that which pleases our Loving Lord. We, by your parting – O Ibrahim – are truly saddened” (Bukhari). He felt the emotions and allowed the physical responses Allah created in us to occur and expressed what he felt. This was tempered with limiting the expression of grief to the words that increase one only in closeness to Allah, and not anything that would do otherwise. This is the response of someone who understood the purpose and benefit of tests and pain. 

 

How Do I Process My Pain? 

Besides the points gleaned from the blessed words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), we have other gifts from the Qur’an’s perfect guidance. It gives us an understanding of the inherent – yet occasionally occluded – beauty in the trials, and the foreknowledge of the inevitable occurrence of these events. 

These two matters grant the believer a deep grasp of the wisdom behind trials, and aid one in seeing that one will grow and benefit from them. Without them, one can be crippled with pain, from not understanding the matter as it should be.

 

Working Towards Iron-Clad Fortitude 

Surah al-Hadid is an ocean that gives wave after wave of goodness and guidance. There are two particular verses that light the way in this discussion particularly well. They will be discussed briefly. 

“No calamity hits in the land, nor in your own selves, except that it has been in a tremendous book before We beautifully created it. Indeed, that, for Allah, is very easy. So you don’t be excessively grieved by what escapes you, nor overly exultant because of what He granted you…”

(Qur’an, 57:22-23) 

There are some Arabic words in the former of the two verses which deserve a closer examination. Seeing the beauty underlying the word choices in the Qur’an eventually gives one certainty that it is from God, and that every single word – in all canonical variants – was specifically chosen by Him. 

“What Hits Was Never Going to Miss” 

The first word of note is asaaba – ‘َأَصَاب.’ It has a root meaning which indicates the occurrence of events in the proper and most fitting manner. Added to this is the nuance of water flowing and settling in a spot, and the usage of a derivative of the root to express an arrow hitting the bullseye. This analysis of the word is not extensive. 

When we factor in the above nuances we see that every trial in our lives is tailor-made for us. It has hit its mark. We can’t escape it, and pondering the “If only…” scenarios is fruitless. 

It came at the right time, in the right way, and with the right intensity. It could not have been escaped, nor could it have been outrun. 

This is beautifully expressed in the hadith, “Know, what hit you was never going to miss, and what missed you was never meant to hit” (Tirmidhi).

This brings great ease to the believer. He takes the necessary precautions but realizes that what came into his life of difficulties, and what he was not affected by, are all matters that were meant specifically for him. 

The result is relief from the paranoia and excessive worry over being affected by the evil eye, black magic, and other matters that are a cause of stress and anxiety to those who don’t realize that Allah is in complete control.

A believer is at ease, knowing that whatever happens is tailor-made to bring him good through some avenue in his life. Everything is perfectly suited for his long-term, ever-lasting benefit. 

 

Perfectly Suited Trials 

We can be sure that everything that happens is perfect, and not just inevitable. What hits is actually perfect and beautiful, as is the missing of the arrows they were not meant to hit the mark. 

How do we know this? In expressing the creation of the calamities, Allah used a verb derived from the root bara – ‘برأ.’ It is understood, generally, to mean ‘creating’. However, a deeper analysis of the word indicates meanings of being devoid of deficiencies and flaws, which gives us the understanding of something being perfected and immaculately formed. 

Infuse these nuances into the reading of the verse, and you get the understanding that all tests are perfectly planned and beautifully designed by God to be the best possible situation for us – with eternity in mind. The benefit of the trial is to elevate, in Paradise, the immortal version of every believer. 

He is the canvas, and the calamity is the paint that alters the immaculate nature of that canvas. Focusing in on the actual point of contact may make one think the paint has stained the perfect white canvas, yet, when one steps back and looks with a gaze that shows the merging on the individual ‘stains’, it present before one an image of striking beauty, nuance, meaning, artistry, and skill. This is how all tests are for the believer, and God is the perfect architect who has designed your life. Reflect on this…

All that remains is the appropriate response. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

[I’m truly amazed] at the affair of the believer. Everything that happens to him is the best possible thing for him – and that’s not for anyone but the believer. If happiness comes he is grateful – and that’s best for him. And if harm comes to him he is patient – and that’s best for Him (Muslim). 

 

All Matters are Decreed 

Everything that afflicts us has been pre-planned by God, the perfect designer. The verse entails guidance about general calamities, such as pandemics, economic instability, floods, earthquakes, and other such wide-ranging trials. It also highlights the personal pain which hits harder and is felt more keenly by the individual. It is all in the right time and place, in the best way. 

Knowing that it is known to God, and preordained is also a huge blessing. With this knowledge, one can process this pain effectively.

Not knowing this can lead one to excessive grief that holds one back, and, in cases of ease, it can lead one to become too fixated on a blessing, such that it can make one forget it came from God. This can then lead people to arrogance and boasting, because they see themselves as intrinsically deserving these blessings, and thereby feel superior to others who don’t have it. But this is a discussion for another time… 

Here, we wish to see that being aware that the slings and arrows of fortune are, in fact, gracious. One need not take arms against the sea of troubles, for it’s waves come to bring benefits to your shores. 

 

Forewarned is Forearmed 

Knowing that all matters are decreed provides a believer to see things differently: the trials of life will come, certainly. But they are carried by wisdom, and they leave gifts and goodness in their wake. 

Knowing that a loved one who passes onto the Hereafter at a particular time was meant to go makes the parting easier. The pain is there, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) expressed. That is the human condition. However, the pain is lessened knowing that matters are being directed by Allah, who has our best interests in mind. More so, than even ourselves. He sees what we do not, and knows what we do not. This knowledge makes his decision better than what we assume to be good for ourselves.

One knows that this life is temporary. Only that which is done for the sake of Allah lasts. One sees that the pain is temporary, and a test, just like the blessings, which are temporary, and a test. 

This doesn’t mean that we don’t feel sadness, or that it negates one’s patience. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) named the year of the passing of his wife, Khadija, and his uncle, Abu Talib, ‘The Year of Sadness.’ He felt grief despite having the perfect spiritual state.

What the verse negates is intense and excessive grief that stems from a lack of understanding of the purpose of calamities. This can be understood from the juxtaposition of the grief with the word that indicates excessive happiness in a blessing that leads to arrogance and boasting. 

Not seeing the wisdom behind trials, and not seeing the benefits they provide for a Muslim, makes detaching from the aspects of this life that we have a strong bond with difficult. One only feels the sense of loss and pain more keenly. 

Knowing that this is the nature of this life allows the believer to prepare himself. Blessings are enjoyed – but they don’t distract one from the Giver of the blessings. The pain of trials is felt, but it develops the believer. He becomes closer to God, and grains further gifts from Him. 

The grief and happiness benefit when one knows it is a trial ultimately designed to raise one higher in Paradise. Happiness and grief devoid of this are – for the believer – dysfunctional. They hinder him from his long-term benefit. That’s why understanding this allows one to be prepared, and so, forearmed.

 

About the Author

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return, he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Do You Want to be Closer to God? – Friday Reminder with Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Do You Want to be Closer to God?

Friday Reminder with Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Many people can differentiate between right and wrong, but find it challenging to do what is right. Why? In this week’s Friday Reminder, Shaykh Yusuf Weltch answers the most crucial question of our age – how do we learn to practice that which we know? How do we rediscover and reclaim our primordial yearning to seek and be with God alone?

As with everything, it begins and ends with sincere supplication. Dua made with certainty in its answering and with neither tiredness or shyness in its asking. God loves this type of dua and He loves the ones who make it. Shaykh Yusuf also reminds us, that we don’t have to walk this path alone. That we must seek the company of those who seek what we seek. Fellow seekers, seeking guidance and seeking God together. That is the secret to becoming closer to God!

 


Support SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

No other Islamic project reaches as many people, so consistently, so easily and with such clarity. 300,000 students have benefited from our courses absolutely free of charge.
Help us to raise $1m to support more scholars and students, provide more courses and reach 1 million students by 2022.

Donate just $10 per month by clicking here. 

Human Potential – The Source of Yearning: The Primordial Purpose

Human Potential – The Source of Yearning: The Primordial Purpose

by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

This is the second of a series of articles by SeekersGuidance internal scholar Shaykh Yusuf Weltch on human potential. Shaykh Yusuf poses thought-provoking ideas about what humans are capable of; both success and destruction. How does one truly and deeply desire what the heart desires – God?


You may be asking yourself, “If transcending to the fulfillment of human potential hinges on the deep desire for God, how does one acquire such a passionate desire?” Reflect on the saying of Allah Most High,

“This is a reminder. Let whoever wishes, take the way to his Lord. But you will only wish to do so if God wills—God is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Qur’an, 76:29–30).

​This verse and many more like it shed light on realities relating to human desire and inclination toward the Divine.

For this reason, the murid (the one seeking) is sometimes referred to as the murad (the one sought). This means that those who seek Allah Most High are merely those who Allah Most High seeks. We see an elite group of Allah’s righteous servants referred to in the Qur’an as the ​muqarrabun​—those brought near. In essence, the reality is that one’s heart, desires, inclinations, and so on are —as the Messenger of Allah tells us—‘between the two fingers of the fingers of the Most Merciful; He turns them as He wishes.’ (Tirmidhi, Ahmed)

This realization, that we don’t have as much control over our hearts as we thought we had, can be quite daunting for those who ponder upon it too much. In fact, this realization should greatly humble us and bring forth from deep within us a great state of brokenness and desperation to Allah Most High.

Even though creation is existentially in this shattering state of desperation before Allah at every moment, it is in the embracing of this state that draws us nearer to Him. It is narrated that Musa (peace be upon him) asked Allah, “Where shall I seek You out?” He (Allah) replied, “Seek Me out with those whose hearts are broken for My sake,” (Abu Nu’aym, Hilya al-Awliya)

One can find solace, however, in the fact that Allah Most High has given us a profound gift. He has given us a key to unlock His limitless treasures; supplication (du’a). The best of that which you can ask Allah Most High for is the desire to draw near to Him. Ibn ‘Ataillah al-Sakandari said in one of his aphorisms, “The best of what you can seek from Him is that which He seeks from you.” (Hikam Ibn Ataillah, al-Hikma 75)

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would constantly beseech Allah Most High saying, “O Turner of the hearts! Make my heart firm on Your religion and obedience.” (Ahmad)

So, to answer your question, I say plead to Allah Most High to fill your heart with the desire and yearning for His nearness and be certain of His acceptance. The proof that He intends to give you what you ask is that He allowed you to ask. Lastly, strive your best to obey Him and travel the Prophetic path of guidance.

َوإذا َسألك ِعبَاِدى َعنى فإنى قریٌبۖ أجیُب َدْعَوَة ٱل َّداع إذا َدَعانۖ فلیَْستَجیبُو۟ا لِى َولیُْؤِمنو۟ا بى لَعلُهْم یَْرشُدوَن ِِِِِِِِ

When My servants ask you (O Prophet) about Me: I am truly near. I respond to one’s prayer when they call upon Me. So let them respond (with obedience) to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided (to the Right Way).


About the Author

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied inheritance law, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance teachers team in the summer of 2019.

Start your journey for knowledge: sign up for a free course by reliable, trained scholars. Always free.

The Prophet’s Smile – Giving Charity

Giving Charity to Please our Beloved Prophet Muhammad

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

 

In this series, the Prophet’s Smile, we visit the moments where the Prophet smiled and laughed. We also discuss how he was described when smiling and laughing.

By studying his characteristics, we gain insight into what he talked and thought about, and ultimately, the undeniable beauty of his character.

By knowing more about him, we hope to increase our love and longing for him. We also hope to gain his love and pleasure, which cannot be separated from the love and pleasure of Allah Most High.

 

Giving Charity to Please the Beloved

Jarir bin Abdullah narrates that he was sitting in the middle of the day with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) along with some of the Companions when a group of people appeared. They were barefoot and hardly had any clothing. Jarir recognized them to be from the tribe of Mudar. The Prophet’s face went pale when he saw the state they were in. After everyone had assembled and prayed the congregational prayer, the Prophet stood up and addressed the people. He reminded them to have taqwa and to prepare for their meeting with Allah. Then he exhorted them to give whatever they could in charity: gold, silver, clothing or food, even if it was only half a date.

A man from the Ansar then came with a bag of coins so large that he could hardly carry it. From then on, people came one after the other bringing donations. Soon there were two piles, one of food and one of clothing.

When the Prophet saw this, his face shone with joy. He then said: “When someone establishes a good practice in Islam, they will have the reward for it and the reward of those who later act upon it without this detracting in the least from their reward.  When someone establishes a bad practice in Islam, they will bear the responsibility for it and for those who later act upon it without it detracting in the least from their responsibility.”  (Narrated by Muslim)

 

Take Action to Help Your Community

 It pains the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to see members of his nation in a state of destitution and hardship and nothing pleases him more than to see people making sacrifices to help those in need.

When he saw these people in a state of hardship – he was greatly moved. The fact that he shared a common ancestor with them – since he himself was a descendant of Mudar – made him treat them with extra compassion. By helping them the Prophet was also honoring the ties of kinship which was something at the heart of his message.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) could have asked Allah to feed and clothe these people in whatever way He wished, but he wanted his Companions to take action. Once the community had come together for prayer, he called upon them to give whatever they could to help these unfortunate people. But he only did this after reminding them of their relationship with Allah – to show them that their belief in Him and awareness of Him dictated that they act in situations such as this. He wanted each person to give according to their means and their intention. So half a date from one man may have been more significant than another man’s gold or silver.

What made his face shine with joy was to see a man from the Ansar coming forward with a generous donation. He loved the Ansar dearly and Allah Himself testifies to their readiness to sacrifice out of love for Him: “they give others preference over themselves, even if they too are poor” (Quran, 59:9). He was happy that this man had taken the initiative and that others would follow his example. He then clarified an Islamic principle: that when someone establishes a good practice, they will be rewarded for doing so and they will be rewarded for the actions of those that follow that practice. The opposite is also true, as the Prophet stated.

We ask Allah to grant us the ability to do things that please Him and His Beloved (peace and blessings be upon him) and that in doing so we set an example for others to follow.

 


Help protect and preserve the legacy of Islamic scholarship, donate your sadaqah and zakat to the Islamic Scholarship Fund today. 

Gratitude, Celebration & Mercy as Sunnah of the Believer: Allah’s basis of dealing with creation is the overflowing tremendous good that he has bestowed on us, says Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this uplifting and lofty reminder, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani calls the community to gratitude and contemplation of the sheer gift of being alive. “Allah’s basis of dealing with creation is the overflowing tremendous good that he has bestowed on us,”  says Shaykh Faraz, and these blessings culminate and manifest in the life of the believer.

The life of the believer highlights the tremendous  gifts of life,  guidance and mercy.  Mercy encompassing over every moment and event for the believer is one who looks at reality and sees not only form and the temporary and the fleeting nature of things, the believer is one who sees meaning and recognises that all is from Allah.  Shaykh Faraz explains that, “the believer sees that it is all Mercy and Allah sent it and the blessing in it is how one responds to it.” When one responds to affairs in ways pleasing to Allah then that opens the door of Mercy.  “Wondrous is the life of the believers, ” proclaims the Messenger of God, ” for when pleasing things happen to them they are grateful and if distress comes to them they remain contentedly patient.”  It is not what comes to you, but how you respond to it and the response itself is mercy; that is why the believer sees everything in a positive attitude.

Resources for the Seekers

How To Be Like The Prophet Muhammad In His Gratitude to Allah
A Reader on Thankfulness to Allah and True Gratitude
The True Cause of All Happiness and Good is Turning to Allah
Invite Allah’s Generosity into your Life – Shaykh Muhammad
Understanding the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah: Al-Rahman
“His Mercy is our only constant”, by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said
The Believer’s Clarity When Tested: The Power of Patience
Clarity in Crisis: How Believers Look at Trials
Worship, Coffee and the Meaning of Life

Cover Photo by Anita Anand. Video courtesy of Seekershub

The Beginning is Allah; the End is Allah~ Imam Amin

The Beginning is Allah; the End is with Allah.

Join Safina Society and leading contemporary teachers and scholars in the premiere of the Converts Conference  as we visit essential themes and issues facing the awakened community and how to benefit and enrich the faith within every heart.

Imam Amin  begins our conversations with a moment of reflection. Imam Ghazali in his magnum opus indicates that there are two fundamental aspects ,that if properly understood by the individual would lead them to the purpose of life.   Take a moment and reflect on what is your beginning? and  what then is your End? If you can answer these then you have your purpose at hand. sTherefore,  the ultimate purpose of paradise is not itself , it is Allah.

When you are with Allah, there is no End; and when you start with Allah there is no Beginning.

 

Why knowledge?
The purpose of life is to know Allah. Since knowing Allah is the Ultimate goal, how do we go about this? What then is beneficial knowledge?

It is that which leads you to Allah; that which leads you to realisation of Allah.

everything other than Allah is truly false; and when you understand that you will never get trapped in any other than Allah.

Whatever you imagined ; it is not Allah.
When you are no longer in the forms of words, sounds and imaginations…you are in reality.
Why beneficial knowledge? So that we may possess what we need to fulfil our purpose. We are travelling, on a journey to get back to our location; back to our Lord. It takes knowledge to get there.

everything other than Allah is truly false; and when you understand that you will never get trapped in any other than Allah.

when you have a hard time with worship, good deeds or kindness to others…know that you are cut off from Allah.

Allah commanded Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, in the Quran–” My Lord, Increase me in Knowledge.”
The prophet will teach us, increase us  in knowledge and purify us so that we may receive the gift of a Sound Heart : Qalb Saleem.

Seeking the knowledge of the religion is an obligation on every Muslim.Knowledge is that which is necessary for your existence at your present condition.

What do I need to know right now to get right with Allah?

There are 3 basic  types of knowledge:
1) knowledge of tenets of faith that will help you know Allah — what am I supposed to believe as a Muslim?
because if the belief is firm and established then you will make a connection with Allah
The Prophet (SAW) was asked, which knowledge is superiour? Faith that is not shaky– faith that is firm.
Think of big mountains–do you notice that they do not crumble? but if they are faced with something that is unshakeable.

Your faith needs to be unshakeable

2) The knowledge of how to serve Allah; Islamic Jurisprudence  opens the doors to practice what you learn and strive to fulfil what your personal responsibility is to Allah. Within yourself you need to be One. ‘You need to have a faith that if everything else was gone, I would still stand on La Ilaaha Illallah’, states Imam Amin; for our Lord is truly , ” with you everywhere you go.”

3) Spirituality. This is where  you taste the sweetness of Faith; for faith has a sweetness like nothing else in the world.

All of our sciences lead us to our purpose…to please our Lord.

Why do I marry? I want this person to help me to reach Allah
Why do I have friends? I have friends to help me know Allah
These righteous people have ” no fear and no anguish”; Allah takes care of all of their concerns.

Society has taken  the soul of the religion; and the body without a soul is just a hollow form. We need to put the soul back into the body.

How do we get there?

Knowledge is required by an active process of learning.
Islam is the religion preserved by the relationship based on the framework of the  teacher and student transmission of knowledge.
The one who acquires knowledge comes to the realisation that they have no knowledge to speak of; and humility sets in.

Humility of the heart is to be able to say ‘I do not know’ in its own proper place.’ explains Imam Amin.

for knowledge to transform you need 3 matters:
1) Sources and evidences: ask yourselves where do we get it from? Our primary resources in the whole world are the Quran and Sunnah.
The true wayfarer finds all his sources from the Quran, if you are getting things from somewhere else then you are without.
2)  Now that we have connected to the Quran and the Prophetic Traditions; you need a methodology of how to extract rulings and understandings from these sacred sources.  If you do not have a way, then you will be caught up in opinions.
3) You need someone with the ability and the  divine gifts from Allah to understand the received knowledge.

I’ve learned enough to know that I don’t know anything…knowledge is a journey that never ends.

A student is not a student who doesn’t learn from those who know more than him,  from the  one  equal  in knowledge and the one less  in knowledge.
Traditional learning is defined as the studying with a teacher; so no book without a teacher. The framework set in place, requires a deep respect and love for the way of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Knowledge is vital and ‘ learning is from the cradle to the grave, ‘reminds Shaykh Yahya Rhodus.

We are grateful to Safina Society for this video. Cover Photo by  Al Maaida

 

 

Resources for Seekers:

Worship, Coffee and the Meaning of Life

Habib Hussein Al Saggaf on Beneficial Knowledge and Intentions

Audio & Notes: What is Beneficial Knowledge

How does Islamic knowledge transform us and why?

The Treasure of a Sound Heart, Surat al-Shu’arā’ (verses 83-89)

The Rights of Our Hearts 

On Knowing Yourself to Know God

Keys to Successful Seeking of Islamic Knowledge: Advice from Teachers and Teaching Assistants

Bringing Certainty to the Heart: A Step-by-Step Guide

Who is looking out for Muslim converts this Ramadan?

How Can A Convert Follow A School Of Thought Correctly?

Family Problems, Islamic Support, and Marriage Preparation for Converts

What Role Does Culture Play in Islam?

What Is The Difference Between God’s Will And His Love And Mercy?

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: What Is The Difference Between God’s Will And His Love And Mercy?

Answer: Dear questioner,

Thank you kindly for your question, and may Allah increase you in light, knowledge and ambition.

Short answer:

Allah’s will is what we term one of Allah’s attributes [sifat], and its role is to specify how and when things come into existence. This is an attribute of His essence, and which He does not acquire by using it. He has always had a will.

His love and mercy, in technical terms, are simply a combination of His will and power when they result in something describable as loving or merciful from the slave’s point of view.

Fuller answer:

The use of theology (Ilm al Kalam)

Theology developed to clearly define exactly what we believe as Muslims, and to defend those beliefs. Because it is based on debate, it is purely academic, and puts aside much of the spiritual side of the Qur’an and its rhetoric. This is necessarily so because when things are not spelt out very pedantically, it defeats of the object of the science, which is precisely being very clear and pedantic.

This kind of approach is excellent when engaging in debate with a trinitarian, materialist, or agnostic, etc. : both sides define their terms, and work with some logical reasoning, and actually get somewhere. This is what Islamic theology does.

As such, the science of theology does not help us understand the nature of Allah’s love and mercy vis-a-vis our experience of it, because it is not the subject that it deals with.

Contextualising theology (Ilm al Kalam)

Since Islamic theology is just one among many traditional Islamic sciences, it is not necessary the only way to talk about Allah, nor it necessarily the more direct way to get to know Him in all His glory.

Reading the Quran and applying its teachings in one’s life — come weal or come woe — would probably be more helpful. (That’s not to say that there is anything un-Qur’anic about Islamic theology.) So too, losing a child, and working on one’s contentment with Allah’s will would teach things about Allah that no theologian could either put a definition to. Getting to know Allah on a spiritual level, is completely different knowing how to say certain very exacting things about Him in a technical way.

Islamic theology, like many other sciences such as grammar, hadith criticism, inheritance law, has a certain function in the preservation of the whole religion, and is not so useful outside of that function.

Dissecting the unfathomable

To make things very clear, the Muslim theologians breakdown Allah’s attributes into categories — with full knowledge that no one could ever understand His true reality.

They say that He has attributes that are eternal and that He never acquired. These describe His being. They are:

His existence
His beginninglessness
His endlessness
His oneness
His self-substistance (not needing anything, place, time, or determiner)
His utter dissimilarity to other beings
His power
His will
His knowledge
His hearing
His seeing
His speech
His life
(Jawharat al Tawhid, Laqqani)

Every other attribute or name of Allah can be categorised, technically speaking, into one or two of these attributes. So, for example, when we say and acknowledge tha Allah is forgiving: His forgiveness can be reduced to three attributes: knowledge, will, and power. He knew that the slave sinned, repented, and will enter Paradise; He willed that the slave sinned, repented, and will enter Paradise; and created the slave and his actions (the sin and the repentance) and entered him, by His omnipotent power, into Paradise.

Such attributes really describe what Allah does, and not what attributes He has. For this reason, they are called attributes of action.

So no one is claiming, or ever claimed, that Allah was not merciful or not loving, but it just served certain academic goals to reduce everything to the simplest level for our own human understanding.

Allah’s names and how He shows himself

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, ‘And Allah’s are the most beautiful of names, so call on Him by them.’ (Qur’an, 7:180)

And the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Verily Allah has ninety-nine names. Whoever grasps them, will enter Paradise.’ (Bukhari and Muslim) Hakim narrates the same hadith with two different chains that mention the ninety-nine names that we are all familiar with. For more detail, please see: Understanding the Most Beautiful Names: The 99 Names of Allah Explained in Detail

Contemplating upon these beautiful names, calling upon Him by them, and seeing and feeling them in one’s life, this is the really way to know Allah.

When you get you your paycheck, for example, and you thank Allah for providing you with a livelihood, He is showing you how he is al-Razzaq [the Ever-Providing]; when you see someone who does not worship Allah, He is showing you His names al-Khafid and al-Mani [the Abaser and the Withholder].

The more you recognise His names, the stronger this sense becomes, and you see that He is al-Qarib [the Close]. Even though you were not aware of Him, He was never unaware of you, and you feel the meaning of His name al-Wadud [the Loving-One].

‘Grasping’ Allah’s names has been explain by Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi his book on supplications to mean one of four things:

1. to recount the names so that one calls upon Him by each name.

2. to master them so that you ‘keep them in mind, and keep to their limits.’ meaning that one, for example calls upon Allah by His name al-Rahman [the Merciful One] bearing in mind that He is actually merciful, hoping for His mercy, and never giving up hope of his forgiveness.

3. to comprehend them and take them as a firm belief.

4. to recites the whole Qur’an thereby reading out each of Allah names. (Shan al-Dua, Khattabi)

All in all, the comprehension and internalisation of His beautiful names is not an academic process, but rather a journey of putting them into practice, and deeping one’s appreciation of who and what He is.

Allah the Loving

In his book, Khattabi explained what Allah’s name al-Wadud means. He said that is derived from al-wudd [love], and has been understood in two ways:

The first is that is that has the sense of the passive participle, in that Allah is ‘the object of love of those who are close to Him by dint of their unceasing receipt of kindness and benefits from Him.’

The second acceptation is that it has the sense of the active participle in that ‘He loves His righteous slaves, in as much as He is content with them and accepts their deeds.’ (Shan al-Dua, Khattabi)

Raghib in his work on Qur’anic vocabulary adds another side to His love: His care and nurture of them. He quotes unknown hadith qudsi in which Allah says to Musa (upon whom be peace), ‘Never am I heedless of the small just because they are small, nor am I heedless of the elderly because they are elderly: I am the Loving [al-Wadud] and the Appreciative.’ (Mufradat Alfadh al-Quran, Raghib)

Conclusion

Although we do not technically count Allah’s love and mercy as one of His attributes, both stem from His names, and He is most definitely Merciful and Loving.

Our experience and appreciation of the names grows by learning about them, and keeping to their practical and spiritual implications.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Preserving the Light of Ramadan – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

How do we preserve the light of Ramadan once the month has ended?

 

One of the keys to preserving what we have attained is in the intentions we make before the month ends. We should make firm intentions to do good in Shawwal and beyond. We also need to beg Allah to preserve and increase the gifts He has given us. We need to be consistent in our attendance of gatherings and classes, consistent in our recitation of the Quran while reflecting upon its meanings and consistent in our recitation of the adhkar with presence of heart. We must also choose the best company and sit in the presence of people who have been given light.