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Appreciation of Beauty – Shaykh Sadullah Khan

 

In this Pre Khutba talk, Shaykh Sadullah Khan reminds the congregation about the value of appreciating beauty. By cultivating beautiful character traits we are able to replicate the most beautiful and complete person, the Prophet (peace be upon him). In a time where only the outer is accepted and lauded, it would do us well to remember the importance of the inner dimensions of human existence. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the epitome of inner and outer excellence. As Muslims, we should try our upmost to beautify our inner states so that we may be able to manifest beauty to others in our actions.

* Courtesy of Masjid al – Furqaan (Cape Town)

Allah Will Never Forget The Good We Do For Others

Even the smallest good we do cannot bypass Allah’s all-encompassing knowledge, and we should feel infinitely hopeful and heartened by this, writes Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said.

“Allah Guides to His Light whom He Wills.”  (Surah An-Nur)

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Allah Most High said in the Qur’an, in Surah Ahli-Imran (195):  “And their Lord responded to them, ‘Never will I allow to be lost the deeds of [anyone] among you, whether male or female…”
From the mercy of Allah Most High, is that He will never forget what we do.  Whatever we do for His sake raises our station with Him and it pleases Allah Most High; and the best way to please Him is by doing good by His creation.
Allah said at the end of Surah Al-Ankabut:  “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good (muhsineen).”
The doers of good are those who not only do good, but also those who love, enjoy and perfect all that is good.
We say to ourselves and to those whom we love, “keep doing good and enjoy it.”  Gravitate from one good to the next.  Whatever you do for the creation of Allah Most High, you are in actuality, doing it for Allah Most High, as He said in a Hadith Qudsi:

I was sick, and you did not visit me, I was hungry and you do not feed me, and I was oppressed and you did not help Me.  They will say:  ‘How is that possible?’  So-and-so was sick and you did not visit them, so-and-so was hungry and you did not feed them, and so-and-so was oppressed and you did not help them!”

Thus, it is a great honor for us to do something for others, and this is how Allah Most High raises our station.
Allah Most High will never forget the good that you offered to someone, the anxiety of someone you helped to ease, the happiness you gave to someone who was broken and tearful, the smile you shone in someone’s face, and your accompaniment of someone lonely!
But, when you feel you cannot help, tell them how much you wish you could help them, and remind them of the One who can help them and Who is always watching them!
Let us live this life by the principle of spreading goodness (ihsan).  Even when we do not get goodness from people, let us still choose goodness, because Allah Most High loves the doers of good.
May your days and nights be those of goodness, and may Allah Most High facilitate for us His Divine Assistance to implement it in all that we do.
Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said
Scholar In Residence and Head Of Education
Harrow Central Mosque, United Kingdom
Interested in learning more about connecting with your Creator? Try enrolling in a free online course, such as The 40 Paths to Paradise: A Prophetic Road Map to Eternal Success

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Cover photo by Aladin Genius.

The Role of the Sunnah & Religion in the Modern World – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (Cambridge Muslim College)

“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day, and who remembers Allah much”
(Surah Ahzab 33:21)
Excellent of Examples:

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was sent to mankind as an “excellent example” for us all to follow. Undoubtedly emulating the Prophetic way will lead to success in this world & the hereafter.

But how do we adhere to the Sunnah in this fast paced modern world in which we all live? How should the Sunnah impact our daily lives & character? How can the Prophetic methodology bring us a sense of peace & meaning to our lives?
What is this lesson about?
This lesson eloquently elucidates how human beings are capable of rising above other orders of creation without exception if they are in sync with their primordial states.
Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad discusses the importance of realising we all have a practical choice and not just a theoretical demand on how we conduct our lives. We have a choice to either descend to the lower depths of our caprices or to rise to a higher level by ascending to reality itself.
The trodden path of the Prophets has been laid out before us and we should strive with urgency to commence the journey and reconnect to the lofty virtues for eternal felicity.
—–
Relevant Resources:

The Muslim Standard of Excellence in Work and Life – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


muslim-making-dua-by-the-ocean
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani shares seven principles principles for making our work an act of worship. These are seven principles understood clearly from the Qur’an and Prophetic Sunna:
1. Purpose
Make your life, career, and work truly a means to seek Allah Himself.
2. Seeking benefit
Seek Allah in work by seeking true benefit: for yourself and others, both worldly and spiritual benefit.
3. Excellence in work
Strive to work in the best of ways, as excellence is beloved to Allah.
4. Upholding Being True and Trustworthy
These are two qualities central to what it means to be a believer. It isn’t an accident that these are two qualities that the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) was known by even before Revelation: the True (al-Sadiq) and Trustworthy (al-Amin).
5. Upholding Sincere Concern
Seek the good for others, as you seek it for yourself: “None of you believes until they wish for others the good that they wish for themselves,” said the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). And religion itself was defined by the Blessed Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) as being sincere concern: “Religion is sincere concern (nasiha).” This sincere concern applies to one’s employers, fellow workers, one’s customers or clients, and for all God’s creation.
6. Upholding Excellence of Character
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Deal with people on the basis of good character.”
7. Knowing and Upholding Limits, through sound contracts
Without observing the Limits of Law in one’s dealings, one will invariably fall into wrong and wrongdoing; harmed relationships; and grave sin. “The Lawful is clear and the Unlawful is clear,” said the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Learn the limits of the Law related to your work. Learn about how to have sound and virtuous contracts and dealings. And uphold your commitments with excellence and steadfastness.
mic_hub_sfrShaykh Faraz Rabbani closes this important lesson by mentioning some of the keys to succeeding in upholding these principles.
Listen to the full audio here.
Related posts:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani recently also spoke on Fair Trade, the talk can be found on the IslamCast here.
This talk was delivered at an Islamic Living fair in Toronto, as part of SeekersHub Toronto’s community outreach. For SeekersHub Toronto’s programs, see: http://www.SeekersHub.org
Please support SeekersHub Global / SeekersGuidance as it reaches over 10,000 students each term through its completely free online courses, through Knowledge Without Barriers. Make a donation, today. Every contribution counts, even if small: https://seekersguidance.org/donate/

Ghazali: The Importance Of Character – emel – the muslim lifestyle magazine

Reflections Of Imam Ghazali – The Importance Of Character | Feature Articles | Features | February 2011 | emel – the muslim lifestyle magazine

 

Subscribe to emel magazine: www.emel.com

Reflections of Imam Ghazali - The Importance of Character

 

Imam Ghazali may have lived over 900 years ago, but in the true spirit of Islam his work, analysis and thoughts are as relevant today as they were when the scholar waited for his ink to dry on the paper he wrote on in the 11th century.

We may like to think of ourselves as continually evolving over hundreds of years as the world around us also transforms, but essentially, we are the same as our ancestors. We have similar hands and feet, eyes and ears, a heart, lungs, a mind and a soul.

Ghazali’s analysis of people and society is based on the Qur’an, the hadith and Islamic history. His ability to break down complex information and ideas about our very nature make his books a powerful tool, which are breathtaking to read. People of all faiths have over the centuries talked about Ghazali’s brilliance, but the impact can only be fully felt when his books are opened and his thoughts are shared.

On the basic subject of a person’s character, he writes: “Goodness of character was the attribute of the master of messengers, and is the fruit of the pious and self-discipline of the people of constant worship. Bad character is a mortal poison, which set a distance between man and the proximity of the Lord of the Worlds, and induced him to follow the path of Satan the accursed. Foul characteristics are the very sickness of hearts and the diseases of the soul, constituting an illness which deprives man of everlasting life. It is reported that the messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace) was once told that a certain woman fasted all day and prayed all night, but was possessed by bad character, so that she injured her neighbours with her words. ‘There is no good in her,’ he said, ‘she is of Hell’s people’. It is also reported that the last of God’s prophets said ‘You will not be able to suffice all people with your wealth; suffice them therefore with a cheerful face and a goodly character.’”

So what is good character? In his search for the answer, Ghazali turns to a host of ahadith, including, ‘A man once asked the Prophet of God about character, and he recited His statement: Hold to forgiveness, and enjoin kindness, and turn aside from the ignorant ones. Then he said, ‘It is that you should seek reconciliation with those who avoid you, give to those who withhold from you and forgive those who deal with you unjustly.’

“Therefore the fundamental good traits of character are four in number: wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. By ‘wisdom’, we mean a condition of the soul by which it distinguishes true from false. By ‘justice’, a condition of the soul by which it controls anger and desire. By ‘courage’, we refer to the irascible faculty of the intellect, while by ‘temperance’ we have in mind the disciplining of the intellect and the Law. It is from the equilibrium of these four principles that all good traits of character proceed. When the intellect is balanced, it brings forth discretion, excellence and an understanding of the subtle implications of actions and the hidden defects of the soul. When unbalanced, in excess, then cunning, swindling, deception and slyness result. An example is thus: ‘Courage’ gives rise to nobility, endurance, dignity and suppression of rage. When unbalanced, this same trait came give rise to recklessness, arrogance, conceit, pride and quickness of anger. ‘Temperance’ is a quality that gives rise to generosity, modesty, patience and tolerance, but in excess it leads to greed, cupidity, ostentation and immorality.”

“All human traits constitute branches of Wisdom, Courage, Temperance and Justice and a perfectly just equilibrium in these four has been attained by no one but the emissary of God; other people are of divergent degrees of proximity and distance from them.”

Even though Ghazali identifies the various aspects of character, he also considers the excuses people use for not adopting good character and changing traits about themselves. He tackles this issue head on.

“Know that the man who is dominated by sloth will consider unpleasant any spiritual struggle and discipline, or any purifying of the soul and refinement of the character. He will claim that the traits of a man’s character cannot conceivably be altered, and that human nature is immutable. Firstly, he will say that character is the form of the inward in the same way that the created form of man is the form of the outward. No one is able to alter his external appearance: an ugly man cannot render himself handsome, and vice versa; and thus a person who is ugly on the inside, cannot change. Secondly, he will assert that goodness of character proceeds from suppressing one’s desire and anger, and that he has tested this by means of a long inward struggle which demonstrated to him that these things are part of one’s character and nature, so busying oneself with such struggling is profitless and a waste of time.

To such an objection we would say: Were the traits of character not susceptible to change, there would be no value in counsels, sermons and discipline, and the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) would not have said, ‘Improve your characters!’ It is possible to improve the character even of an animal: a falcon can be transformed from savagery to tameness; a dog from mere greed for food to good behaviour and self-restraint, and these constitute a change in character.”

Ghazali practically informs us that certain human traits like anger and desire cannot be entirely suppressed or dominated, but we can make these characteristics obedient and submissive through means of self-discipline and struggle. He says we must endeavour to control these traits as “we have been commanded to do, for it constitutes the means of our salvation and our coming to God.”

However, Imam Ghazali believes we have been weakened when it comes to dealing with ourselves because we have been “plunged into the desires of the world and fallen into slumber.” This was his view of Muslims over 900 years ago, since then we have seen the rise and fall of a Muslim empire; Muslim scientists and philosophers leading the world through their knowledge; and Islam spreading to every part of the world.

It is evident that Ghazali was able to identify the tiny roots of a widespread problem centuries before it would take root in the form we have today. The world may be a very different place to the one it was hundreds of years ago, but our personal challenges and distractions have remained enclosed within us, still waiting to be challenged – with the help of the books we are still fortunate to have.

Extracts taken from Al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul and on Breaking the Two Desires. Books XXII and XXIII of The Revival of the Religious Sciences, first published by the Islamic Texts Society 1995.

A Vision for the Muslim Community – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani at the Muslims United for Change Conference 2009

YouTube – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani – A Vision for the Muslim Community:

http://www.unitedforchange.com/

Lecture from United For Change event, “United Against Malaria,” 2009. It emphasizes the need for Muslim organizations (and individuals) to have a commitment to excellence, and to strive to uphold the best of standards and practices, as that is essential to the sunna of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk).

The Spirit of Cooperation: Al-Madinah Institute Contacts SeekersGuidance to Promote SeekersGuidance Courses

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

Al-Madina Institute Logo.jpg

Allah Most High calls us to, “Cooperate in righteousness and piety,” [Qur’an] but humans naturally have a competitive spirit that makes this spirt of cooperation the exception rather than the rule in our relationships. And this is especially true at the organizational level.

 

A group that we have found to be committed both to excellence in their own educational projects and keen to cooperate with others is our dear brothers at Al-Madina Institute (www.almadinainstitute.org/).

 

Yesterday, Ustadh Moutasem Atiya, one of Al-Madina’s teachers and main organizers, emailed us at SeekersGuidance, asking for some information about the latter’s Online Courses, so that Al-Madina Institute could send it out on their mailing list–in order to help promote the Winter 2010 courses.

 

While SeekersGuidance and Al-Madina Institute have a good cooperative relationship, what resonated was that this wasn’t a “corporate” kind of request. Ustadh Moutasem didn’t negotiate a “mutually agreeable” set of arrangements (“we’ll promote your courses in exchange for xyz from you”). This was done in the spirit of cooperation, brotherhood, and sincere concern.

 

This is a reminder and lesson of how Muslim organizations should work. We should view other organizations as brethren with common concerns and aspirations. We should actively strive to cooperate with them and to assist them in their goals and projects–not because this may be “strategically” advantageous, but because it is a means of pleasing Allah Most High and upholding the example of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk).

 

Al-Madina Institute’s Excellent Programs

This request from Al-Madina was just another example of Al-Madina’s commitment to excellence: their programs are some of the best Islamic educational programs you can attend. They not only have some of the best Islamic scholars teaching for them–such as Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy.jpgNinowy and Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui–but their organization and execution of their programs is impeccable. It also reminds us that commitment to excellence and the highest standards of execution isn’t at variance with having a cooperative spirit with respect to other projects. Their mission is, “Enriching individuals by cultivating the capacity for inward excellence and outward service to the community.”

 

If Al-Madina Institute holds a program in your community, or if you can travel to any of their programs, you’ll find great benefit: excellent teachers, excellent program, and excellent organization. And if you are an activist, strongly consider asking Al-Madina Institute to come to your community. They come with light of Prophetic excellence and wisdom, Masha’ Allah.

 

A program we’d highly recommend is their upcoming Pearls of the Qur’an retreat this April:

 

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And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

Executive Director, SeekersGuidance

Characteristics of a Successful Muslim – Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

 

Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi (Allah have mercy upon him), one of the great imams of the spiritual path from the early Muslims (salaf), said:

 

“Glad tidings be to a servant who has:

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1. Made their occupation worship (`ibada);

2. Neediness (faqr) their longing;

3. Spiritual seclusion (`uzla) their desire;

4. The Hereafter their concern;

5. Seeking a living their means [f: rather than an end in itself];

6. Death their reflection (fikr);

7. Their intention busy with renunciation (zuhd);

8. Killed through abasement (dhull) their self-consequence (`izz);

9. Making their Lord their sole need;

10. Remembering their errors in their solitude (khalwa);

11. Sending forth in ecstasy their contemplation;

12. Complaining only to Allah regarding their strangeness (ghurba);

13. And asking through repentance for Allah’s Mercy.

 

Glad tidings be to one for whom these are their traits; whose regret is over their sins; ever-yearning in need by night and day; weeping before Allah in the depths of the night; calling upon the All-Merciful; seeking the Gardens of Paradise; and fearing the Fires of Hell.” [Related by Abu Nu`aym, Hilyat al-Awliya, 10.58]

 

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A True Hajj – Amazing Explanation by Imam Junaid al-Baghdadi

It is said that the one who performs Hajj, or the ritual pilgrimage, comes back free of sins. But are mere actions enough? This story illustrates what makes a true Hajj.

A man, whose life reflected no change after having performed Hajj, came to visit Imam Junaid al-Bagdadi.
Junaid asked him: “Where are you coming from?”

“Sir, I have returned after performing Hajj of the House of Allah,” was the reply.

“So, have you actually performed Hajj?”

“Yes, Sir, I have performed Hajj “, said the man.

“Did you pledge that you would give up sins when you left your home for Hajj?” asked Junaid.

“No, Sir, I never thought of that”, said the man.

“Then, in fact, you did not even step out for Hajj. While you were on the sacred journey and making halts at places during the nights, did you ever think of attaining nearness to Allah?”

“Sir, I had no such idea.”

“Then you did not at all travel to the Ka’bah, nor did ever visit it. When you put on the Ihram garments, and discarded your ordinary dress, did you make up your mind to abandon your evil ways and attitudes in life as well ?”

“No, Sir, I had no idea of that.”

“Then, you did not even don the Ihram garments!” said Junaid ruefully. Then he asked; “When you stood in the Plain of Arafat and were imploring Allah Almighty, did you have the feeling that you were standing in Divine Presence and having a vision of Him?”

“No, Sir, I had no such experience.

Junaid then became a liltle upset and asked: “Well, when you came to Muzdalifah, did you promise that you would give up vain desires of the flesh?”

“Sir, I paid no heed to this.”

“You did not then come to Muzdalifah at all.” Then he asked: “Tell me, did you happen to catch glimpses of Divine Beauty when you moved around the House of Allah?”

“No, Sir, I caught no such glimpses.”

“Then, you did not move around the Ka’bah at all.” Then he said: “When you made Sa’i (running) between the Safa and the Marwa, did you realize the wisdom, significance and objective of your effort?”

“Sir, I was not at all conscious of this.”

“Then you did not make any Sa’i!” Then he asked: “When you slaughtered an animal at the place of sacrifice, did you sacrifice your selfish desires as well in the way of Allah?”

“Sir, I failed to give any attention to that!”

“Then, in fact you offered no sacrifice whatever.”

“Then when you cast stones at the Jamarahs, did you make a resolve to get rid of your evil companions and friends and desires?”

“No, Sir, I didn’t do that.”

“Then, you did not cast stones at all”, remarked Junaid regretfully, and said:

“Go back and perform Hajj once again, giving due thought and attention to all the requirements, so that your Hajj may bear some resemblance with Prophet Ibrahim’s Hajj, whose faith and sincerity has been confirmed by the Qur’an :

“Ibrahim who carried out most faithfully the Commands (of his Lord).” (53:37)


With gratitude to the Islamic Studies Research Academy.


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