Open Our Hearts, Before We Open Our Mosques

As mosques around the United Kingdom open their doors for a national ‘Mosque Open Day’, Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said questions whether we have opened our hearts enough to truly receive those who walk through our open doors. Do we see all of humanity as Allah’s creation, to whom He sent the Prophet Muhammad “as a mercy”?

Shaykh Faid SaidShaykh Faid Mohammed Said is a jewel in the crown of traditional Islamic scholarship in the United Kingdom and we at SeekersHub are ever grateful for his friendship, guidance and support. He was born in Asmara, Eritrea, where he studied the holy Qur’an and its sciences, Arabic grammar and fiqh under the guidance of the Grand Judge of the Islamic Court in Asmara, Shaykh Abdul Kader Hamid and also under the Grand Mufti of Eritrea. He later went to study at Madinah University, from which he graduated with a first class honours degree. In Madinah, his teachers included Shaykh Atia Salem, Shaykh Mohamed Ayub (ex-imam of the Prophet’s Mosque, peace be upon him), Professor AbdulRaheem, Professor Yaqub Turkestani, Shaykh Dr Awad Sahli, Dr Aa’edh Al Harthy and many other great scholars. Shaykh Faid has ijaza in a number of disciplines including hadith, and a British higher education teaching qualification. He is currently the scholar in residence and head of education at Harrow Central Mosque, United Kingdom. Read his articles on the SeekersGuidance blog.

Resources for seekers:

The Prophet’s ﷺ Reminder to Allah of His Promise

Ibrahim-Osi-EfaThe Virtues Tour has over the years become a highlight in the calendar of British Islamic events. It’s led by Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa, who is joined by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Shaykh Abdul Karim Yahya, Sidi Amir Sulaiman and Sidi Nader Khan.
In 2015, the tour was focused on the ethics and moral practice of prophecy. In the above recording, Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa reminds us how much love the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has for those who believe in him. He has our back, as the saying goes – so much so that he, peace upon him, reminded Allah, Lord of the Worlds, of His Promise that He would not punish anyone who seeks forgiveness from Allah through the Prophet. SubhanAllah!

Do You Want to Learn More?

Consider taking an online course with SeekersHub. It’s free to anyone, anywhere in the world. There are over 30 titles to choose from, including Meccan Dawn: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Part I), Medinan Nights: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Part II) and Understanding the Prophetic Way: Imam Nawawi’s 40 Hadith Explained. Shaykh Yahya Rhodus himself teaches Principles of Islamic Spirituality, The Marvels of the Heart and Essentials of Spirituality: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance Explained.

Resources for seekers:

Is Asking For Intercession By The Prophet ﷺ Permissable?

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf of Zaytuna College was asked if tawwasul, specifically asking for the Prophet’s intercession is permissable and what the evidence is.

Resources for seekers:

"Sunni and Shia Hatred: A Disease We Must Fight"

Sunni and Shia Hatred with Imam Zaid Shakir

This SeekersHub Study Circle will give you a deeper understanding of the centrality of love and mercy within Islam. Loneliness and isolation, Imam Zaid Shakir argues, have no place in an ummah of compassion and mercy. He also addresses Sunni-Shia aggression and hatred, which he describes as a disease we must fight.

Imam Zaid Shakir shia
Ambassadors of Goodness

Students will be empowered to be ambassadors of goodness through learning about the love of Allah, His Messenger ﷺ, the duties of brotherhood and sisterhood, and the signs of a healthy community in a world suffering from hatred and division, spreading love and respect is needed with the utmost urgency.

Setup Your Own SeekersHub Study Circle

Can’t attend these gatherings in person? We encourage you to set up SeekersHub Study Circle in your own community. It’s easy! Just email us or find more details online.

Reflecting on Hadiths of Justice and Mercy – Muslimology blog

Reflecting on Hadiths of Justice and Mercy – Muslimology blog

The following is something I wrote about a year back while reflecting on Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad “Forgiveness and Justice: meditations on some hadiths

Forgiveness and Rahmah is the best argument against people who think justice means, just-us. There’s a connectedness there in all our actions, even being connected with Allah- like, if a Muslim forgives someone else and shows clemency and mercy, than Allah looks upon that person’s action and says, “I am more merciful than my servant. I am the most merciful of the merciful” and then shows even more generosity in forgiving that person and making things easy for him. Allah commands us to adl’ wal ihsan- justice and excellence (forgiveness/mercy/clemency/compassion) because I think, it is more fitting of God’s Majesty, and perhaps more beloved to Him, to be associated with that mercy, more than simple mechanical justice.

I think just about everything in Islam has this in it: God wants us to be something more than just a creature (like the horn/hornless animals) demanding it’s “human rights,” (the allusion is intentional), to just demand justice with a sense of privilege and entitlement, he wants us to be worthy of Jannah, and that is why He pushes us to Islam, to tazkiya, to ihsan, “God only desires good for mankind,” and “Allah has no intention of oppressing the universe” (Surah Ale Imran) and “He who purifies himself has succeeded” (Sura al-’Ala). And to purify oneself is to come to know oneself- weaknesses, tendencies, and fragility of life. Maulana Rumi says this is why there are difficulties, so that God can call man with a title of merit, of virtue, and rightly do so. So that perhaps, we won’t feel like a bunch of free-loaders, leechers, and scam artists entering Jannah, we’ll feel worthy of it, like the martyr/saint mentioned in the hadith, who has earned his place.

“For those who believe not in the Hereafter is an evil description, and for Allah is the highest description. And He is the Almighty, the All-wise.” (An-Nahl 16:60)) We will feel like we belong there and see something of ourselves, our actions, the vision of good, in that blessed place. I think in that, we come to actually know God. Otherwise, its like what Shaykh Hamza Yusuf said, “the sign of the righteous is they are grateful and love those who do good to them while the sign of the hypocrite is to hate the person who does good to them.” We don’t come to God as someone asking for welfare or unemployment payments, but as the king that Adam once was in Jannah. We’ll be back at our place once again. So, I think in a sense, it comes back full circle- if Allah is to show His mercy, so should we. His mercy to us is contingent upon our performance/merciful nature- like the hadith, man la yarham la yurham, that whoever does not show mercy, will not be shown mercy. Maybe that is why it remains a mystery as to the status of nonbelievers, believers, and the tension between justice and forgiveness remains in Islam, and in a ghayb, because its a work in progress that is unravelling with our existence; that if we ultimately fail to recognize God, and to recognize the goodness emanating from Him, than we fail to recognize ourselves and are doomed to hellfire, wherein we continue to remain ignorant, questioning and lamenting our sins, how we failed and where now is God’s mercy and hope? There is a possibility not simply of the chance of God’s “soft-heartedness” overpowering His wrath, but of also man’s soft-heartedness overpowering his wrath, towards himself, others and by extension, God. And that can have a deciding factor in the justice Allah serves.

In this way, justice and mercy becomes connected to fate and free-will- whether what is written in the Lawh al-Mahfuz is changed, how much is changed, as a work in progress (“In a book, that ONLY the purified can touch,” Quran) and what it will ultimately come to mean on Yawmul qiyamah. Questions of free-will/destiny are reified when in fact, they are more of a mechanism/condition that allow for man to work, and yet be protected/insured by God. What if Justice and Destiny are not a dichotomy, but rather one in the same? “Is it these poor believers that Allah has favored from amongst us? Does not Allah know best those who are grateful?” (Anam, 6:53) “Had Allah known any good in them, He would’ve made them listen.” (Anfal, 8:23)

There is divine mercy insofar as we are capable in our meek condition of seeing it and witnessing it, upon a continuum, everything beyond that to us seems like justice, when in fact it may really be mercy.

“The Sentence that comes from Me cannot be changed” (Qaf 50:29) But God is also All-Knowing and so the finality of it all, rests with Him, all that is with us is the temporary present, the escaping moment to grab the valuable good deeds, before the house of our existence collapses.

God’s Messenger, upon him be peace, said: ‘I smile because of two men from
my nation, who shall kneel in the presence of the Lord of Power. One of them
says: ‘O my Lord, grant me retaliation for the wrong which my brother did to
me.’ And God says: ‘Give your brother that in which he was wronged.’ ‘O
Lord,’ he says, ‘none of my righteous works remain.’ Then God the Exalted
says to the man who made the demand: ‘What shall you do with your brother,
seeing that none of his righteous works remain?’ And he replies: ‘O my Lord!
Let him bear some of my burdens in my stead!’ And God’s Messenger wept, as
he said: ‘Truly, that shall be a fearsome Day, a Day when men have need of
others to bear their burdens.’ Then he said: ‘God shall say to one who made
the request: ‘Lift up your head, and look to the Gardens.’ This he does, and he
says: ‘O my Lord! I see high cities of silver, and golden palaces wreathed about
with pearls. For which Prophet shall they be, or which saint or martyr?’
And he said: ‘They belong to whomsoever pays me their price.’ ‘O my Lord,’ he
says, ‘And who possesses such a price?’ ‘You possess it,’ he replies. ‘And what
might it be?’ he asks, and He says: ‘Your forgiveness of your brother.’ ‘O my
Lord!’ he says, ‘I have forgiven him!’ Then God the Exalted says: ‘Take your
brother’s hand and bring him into Heaven.’ Then God’s Messenger recited His
word: ‘Fear God, and make reconciliation among yourselves.’ (Qur’an 8:1)
26 al-Hakim al-Nïsaburi, al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-sahihayn (Hyderabad, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif al-
‘Uthmaniyye, 1915), IV, 576. (From Abdul Hakim Murad’s essay, “Forgiveness and Justice“)

Perhaps the best way to summarize the question then is that the real question of justice/mercy lies with us, not with Allah. “What! Can there be a doubt about Allah?” (Ibrahim 40:10) Do we want to be constrained by Justice or liberated by it or do we want to be constrained by Mercy or liberated by it? Or at the end of it, will we just become frustrated with human justice and give up and simply want God to decide because He is the only One capable of deciding?

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, ameen.

‘Should Muslims Be Concerned About Haiti?’ by Shaykh Jihad Brown – The National (Abu Dhabi)

Should Muslims be concerned about Haiti?

by Shaykh Jihad Hashim Brown

(The National, Abu Dhabi)

Shaykh Jihad Hashim Brown is director of research at the Tabah Foundation. He delivers the Friday sermon at the Maryam bint Sultan Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Eleven-year-old Anna St Louis was going to be a lawyer. For three days she lay trapped beneath the rubble of a building in Haiti, her right leg crushed by a steel beam. “Lord God save me. I don’t want to die,” she cried out. Far from the capital Port-au-Prince, far from assistance, neighbours tried desperately to cut the beam with a hacksaw, while others gave her water. Her final rescue was covered by international news agencies, the town celebrated, Anna was grateful. With nothing more than painkillers to give her, the Cuban doctor volunteering in that area advised that she must be taken three hours away where more sufficient medical care could be given. Anna was brave enough to suggest her readiness to have her leg amputated. “I may lose my feet, but I will always have my life,” she has seen saying. But within 24 hours of being rescued, Anna had expired due to severe internal bleeding.

The first statement of the Prophet Mohammed to be taught to every student of Sacred Knowledge is: “Those who show compassion to others, compassion will be shown to them by the All Compassionate; show compassion to those in the Earth and those in the heavens will show compassion to you.”

Some will inevitably say that this does not apply to the non-Muslim. “We should only give our assistance to Muslims,” they will say. But an analysis of the above mentioned narration does not bear this out.

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