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Seeking Allah: Finding the Divine in Your Life – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In the beautiful historical mosque called Molla Zeyrek Camii or Zeyrek Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani delivered a talk entitled, “Seeking Allah: Finding the Divine in Your Life” taking concepts pertaining to Arabic grammar and applying them to the heart in what some call, “The Higher Grammar”.  When explaining the famous grammar text al-Ajrumiyyah, Shaykh Ibn Ajibah (d. 1809 CE/1224 h) discusses the five things that are definite (ma’rifa) and mentions that the definite in knowing Allah is also manifested in five matters. 

These matters are:

  1. The pronouns
  2. Proper nouns (names of people and places)
  3. The Ambiguous (al-Mubham)
  4. Seeking to be known
  5. That which is ascribed to one the aforementioned categories

Watch the video to learn about these pertinent points.

Student Testimonial – Tamim Faruk

Sidi Tamim Faruk shares a beautiful testimonial on how SeekersGuidance has had a beneficial impact on his life as a student.

Thinking back on my life so far, the age 15 strikes me so much. When previously I had little self confidence, that was the first year I grew out of my shell and started to realize what it was I actually believed in and stood for.

And a large part of that, I owe to Shaykh Faraz, whose institution, SeekersGuidance I had discovered through my brothers. I decided to enroll in the basics of “Hanafi Fiqh” at their prompting, to better grasp my faith and practice it correctly. Up until this point, I was Muslim, I believed, I cared but it still didn’t sit right with me. Even though I knew I had something deep and beautiful, I was living between two worlds. At high school, most people didn’t have conception of religion. It didn’t envelope them and while I tried to follow, I felt alone and my Muslim identity felt inferior.

But after I enrolled in this course, somehow, everything thereafter just felt like it filled and pervaded with meaning. Praying was no longer just a chore, or empty actions, but a conversation with the Divine. It was from this introduction, I became enraptured with Islam as a whole and became concerned with spirituality.

This started to show in my daily life. As one of the few Muslims in my school, I no longer felt afraid to pray the noon pray outside the little portable where my math class was held. I no longer cared when being gazed upon by my peers, whose opinions had been constricting me and my self esteem for so long. The same people I felt inferior to, it meant nothing. I no longer minded being interrogated about why my foot was in the sink to make ablution, or why I would lower my gaze during a movie or why I needed to pray in the first place.

Because nothing else mattered. I had purpose. I had direction. I learned not to put my faith in “perishing things” but in the One who sustains us all and never dies. I learned the place of good character, and made it my goal to reflect this goodness as much as I could. I strove to embody beautiful qualities, mercy, kindness, forbearance. And after setting my sights to connect with the Divine, I learned to entertain and grapple with the deeper philosophical and sociological realities which plague our society. I saw Islam and its intricate spiritual, political and legal system as a solution.

I fell in love with the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and the people who love him. I learned what to value in my friends and see them for their beautiful qualities – both Muslim and non.

And from this love, I learned to stand up for what I believe in. I was comfortable in my own skin and no one could take that away.

All this, an entire paradigm shift and at such a young age, largely in part because I was pointed to Shaykh Faraz. While others struggle with finding their convictions til their death beds, I was blessed to know who I was at a young age.

I am indebted to so much of my development to Shaykh Faraz since I was 15. The funny thing is that he probably doesn’t even know the impact he has had on me and how my life has changed because of him.

This is because that first course I took was online, along with the other hundreds of courses that Seekers offers for free. Other than that, I only see Shaykh Faraz once or twice a year when I have time to visit. But even if he didn’t see it, I owe him so much and have deep love and reverence for him.

May Allah bless and protect all of our teachers who selflessly sacrifice and work to spread their light. May Allah allow us to take advantage of them, as their heirs, and to be worthy of serving them and furthering their causes.

– Sidi Tamim Faruk, SeekersGuidance Student

Two Year Specialization in Hanafi Fiqh

Attention to all interested students. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani will be teaching:

 

Dars al-Tanwir al-Absar wa Ifadat al-Anwar

 (A Two Year Specialization in Hanafi Fiqh)

In the Name of Allah, Merciful and Compassionate, with blessings and peace upon our Master Muhammad, his folk, and companions

  1. Imam Tumurtashi’s Tanwir, with extensive readings in Haskafi’s Durr
    al-Mukhtar and Ibn Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar;
  2. Imam Haskafi’s Ifadat al-Anwar Sharh al-Manar, in intermediate Hanafi
    usul, with extensive readings from Ibn Abidin’s Nasamat al-Ashar.
  3. Later, we will cover Ibn Abidin’s Sharh Uqud Rasm al-Mufti, and
  4. Select readings from Ibn Nujaym’s al-Ashbah wa’l Nadha’ir.

Class Format

Two live classes per week, 2.5 hours each. Students are expected to attend live, or to follow the recordings.

Preparation, participation, questions, and doing recommended readings is expected.

There will be an online forum for questions, discussion, and for related texts, and resources. The pdf of the commentary, and other important works will be provided.

Purpose of the Class

The goal of the class is to begin the journey of gaining mastery of the fiqh details of the Hanafi school.

We will study the meta-matn (Tanwir al-Absar) that is the basis of the central commentary for legal details (al-Durr al-Mukhtar) in the later Hanafi school–and for the central work for the fatwa positions of the Hanafi school
(Radd al-Muhtar).

We define “mastery” as thorough understanding of the text itself, its legal reasoning, and key details. Fiqh is deep knowledge, with understanding of nuances and implications.

The purpose in this mastery is to seek the pleasure of Allah, through benefiting oneself and others by preserving, acting upon, and transmitting this noble Prophetic inheritance in ways that assist others in seeking the pleasure of Allah by following Divine Guidance with conviction and clarity.

The means to mastery would be through understanding of eight matters related
to the text:

  1. Tawdih (clarification of the text, in expression and indication)
  2. Taqyid (conditioning the text, where essential conditions are needed)
  3. Tafsil (detailing the text, where essential details are needed)
  4. Taswir (describing the text’s issues, through practical examples)
  5. Taq`id (clarifying the legal principles the text’s issues are based on or entail)
  6. Tafri` (important derived rulings, classical and contemporary, that serious
    seekers must know)
  7. Ta`lil (understanding legal reasoning and wisdom underlying text’s rulings)
  8. Tadlil (understanding the legal proofs for the rulings of the text)

Conditions for Joining the Class

This is an upper-intermediate to advanced class in Hanafi fiqh. Students need to have completed at least two complete works in all chapters of Hanafi fiqh, including at least one intermediate-level commentary (such as Sharh al-Wiqaya, or the Ikhtiyar, or Hidaya, or similar), with understanding.

Student Expectations

The expectations from the students would be to:

  1. Prepare for the class, by [a] thorough reading of the matn; [b] careful reading of the commentary–with focus on the legal details and reasoning mentioned in the commentary; [c] preparing properly thought-out questions related to the text and its implications. It is encouraged, especially for more advanced students, to research key issues in the reference works and commentaries. (This is not an expectation. Students are welcome to email the instructor for advice on this.)
  2. Attend the class, with [a] attentiveness, through cutting out distractions (no surfing, messaging, texting, etc); [b] participation when the instructor asks questions; [c] asking questions, from their preparation or from things unclear in the text or the instructor’s explanations.
  3. Review of the class notes and text. Research of issues that arise is encouraged, and asking questions regarding things that remain unclear is essential. The more you can keep reviewing the text (especially the matn), the better. Test yourself, by checking whether you remember the key details. Diagramming the text helps.
  4. Take notes. It is best to write out the matn itself, and essentials from the commentary (such as the key details and reasoning). This is also good Arabic writing practice.
  5. Participate in the Class Forum by asking questions, sharing issues of benefit, and getting involved in the relevant discussions, with the proper manners of a keen seeker of knowledge (talib `ilm).
  6. Seek Allah’s assistance, make this a means of seeking His pleasure, have high secondary intentions of acting upon what you learn with excellence, preserving and transmitting Prophetic guidance, to benefit yourself and to benefit others, and to gain all the benefits mentioned by Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) for those who seek and transmit sacred knowledge for the sake of Allah.

 

And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani


All interested students who wish to take this class need to fill out a brief application by clicking here.


 

Ten Ways to Prepare for Ramadan From Now

With Ramadan just around the corner, many of us are looking for ways to make sure that this will be the year we change, writes Nour Merza. With this in mind, here are ten ways to prepare yourself for Ramadan.

1. Make the right intention

Beginning right now, make an intention that this Ramadan will be a time of great spiritual effort and sincerity. To help turn that intention into reality, make checklists of both daily goals for Ramadan (read a section of Quran or a beneficial lecture every day, etc.) and goals for the overall month (visit a home for the elderly, invite two non-Muslim friends for a chance to experience iftar, etc.).

See What Is the Intention” in The Complete Guide to Fasting

2. Prepare your body

Make sure you are up to par physically by adjusting the amount and quality of your food intake. Start by eliminating snacks and have smaller meals in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. Also reduce your caffeine intake so that the lack of your morning coffee or afternoon tea doesn’t debilitate you in the first few days of the holy month. Of course, if you’re fasting during the month of Sha’baan, you’re halfway there.

See: Ramadan Detox for a Healthy Ramadan – Dr. Rehan Zaidi of MysticMedicine

3. Review all medical situations before Ramadan

Make sure to get your medical business in order before Ramadan arrives. If you suffer from a particular illness, check with a doctor, preferably one who understands the importance of fasting, on whether fasting is a reasonable option for you. If you are taking medication, ask your doctor if you can take your doses during non-fasting hours instead of during the day. Also, check if there are options to take your medication via injection instead of orally, as in the Hanafi school injections do not break your fast.

See: When Does an Illness Allow One To Break The Fast?

4. Observe voluntary fasts

Voluntary (nafl) fasts are a great way to help prepare the mind, body and soul for Ramadan. If you can do it, follow the Prophetic sunna and fast the month of Shaaban, which comes just before Ramadan. If that proves too difficult, try to implement some of these other sunnas: fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, or fasting on the ‘white days’ of each Islamic month: the 13th, 14th and 15th.

See: Should I Fast on the White Days or Mondays and Thursdays?, and Merits of Sha’ban Muwasala

5. Increase Quran recitation

Many people aim to do a complete reading of the Quran at least once during Ramadan. If you don’t have a habit of reading the Quran daily, take this as an opportunity to incorporate that habit into your life. This will enable you to read longer sections of the book during Ramadan. Even if doing a complete reading of the Quran during Ramadan is too difficult, making a habit of reading one page or even a few verses a day will bring many blessings during the holy month and afterwards, as the Prophet (pbuh) said: “The most beloved of actions to Allah are the most consistent ones, even if in little amount.”

See: Our Relationship with the Quran – Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

6. Perform extra prayers

prepare for Ramadan

Credits: Ccarlstead

If you have no missed obligatory prayers to make up, start to pray voluntary sunna prayers to prepare yourself for the extra prayers that take place in Ramadan. If you do have missed obligatory prayers, use the time you would give to the sunna prayers to make some of them up. Don’t feel that you are missing out on the opportunity to do voluntary sunnas, because God says in the famous Hadith Jibreel, “My servant draws near to Me by nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory on him.”

See: Informative to Transformative: How to Upgrade Your Prayer, and Praying the Confirmed Sunnas with Make-Ups: I Feel Overwhelmed.

7. Give charity

Use the weeks leading up to Ramadan to increase your acts of charity, be that in the form of giving money to needy people or worthy causes. These could be anything from sponsoring a Syrian refugee family, to  supporting scholars and students of sacred knowledge through SeekersHub’s #SpreadLight campaign. Giving charity is a way to purify your wealth, and you can enter the month of Ramadan in a greater state of purity. It also opens doors for great good in your life, for the Prophet (pbuh) has told us, “Allah says, ‘Spend, O son of Adam, you will also be spent on.’”

See: How Much Should I Give in Charity?

8. Engage in service (khidma)

Spend some time before Ramadan to find a local charity or community service opportunity to work with, whether it be in an Islamic environment or in the wider community. If you begin well before Ramadan starts, you will adjust to the environment before you begin fasting, so that you can explain to co-workers  why you can’t join them for a coffee break or a meal.

See: The Roots of Fruitful Service and Seven Counsels for Successful Service and Activism – Advice from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

9. Focus on your character

Imam al-Ghazali discusses the inner dimensions of the fast in his Revival of the Religious Sciences , which you can observe before Ramadan arrives. He mentioned that one must learn to fast with all the limbs, from all that harms the heart. You can, for example, avoid certain television shows to keep the eyes from seeing nudity, leave particular conversations to keep the ears from hearing foul language, and control the ego to keep the tongue from argument or backbiting. The inner fast is among the most important aspects of fasting Ramadan and is often more difficult than the physical fast from food, water and sexual relations, so the earlier you begin to practice this, the better.

See: The Inner Dimensions of Fasting – Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

10. Organize your life to minimize waste, overconsumption and the ills that come with this

One of the major concerns about how Muslims practice Ramadan today is the high level of overconsumption and waste that takes place during the holy month – a reality which is completely antithetical to the Prophetic tradition. Imam Zaid Shakir and others have spoken about ‘greening’ Ramadan as practiced today in the Muslim community, while Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has suggested that Muslims use Ramadan to support ethical, fairtrade companies.

prepare for Ramadan

Credits: Mathew Paul Argall

Imam Zaid’s mosque in Oakland, California offers a great model for doing this. With a little bit of extra organization and commitment, communal iftars are served on borrowed crockery and silverware (from friends, neighbors or a local Muslim restaurant) instead of their disposable variation. Washable handclothes are used instead of paper towels. The amount of trash saved by these actions – especially over the course of the month – is enormous, and embodies the Prophetic example of being, as the Quran describes, “a mercy to all the worlds.” See: Global Warming and Wasterfulness

Written by Nour Merza. Cover photo by Oliver Hegenbarth.

10 Steps to Firm-Footedness in Seeking Knowledge of Fiqh

In this brief podcast, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani provides 10 genuinely useful tips on gaining and retaining a firm grasp of your knowledge of fiqh.

See also:

“From knowing nothing to becoming a student of knowledge”
Advice from Habib Ali Al-Jifri for Seekers of Knowledge
The Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge

Habib Umar’s Advice to the Seekers of Sacred Knowledge
Shaykh Áwwamah’s advice for Students of Sacred Knowledge
Importance of Intention in Seeking Knowledge

Fasting: Virtues, Fiqh, and Common Questions – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani delivers a practical primer on the fiqh of fasting touching on three main subjects. The virtues, fiqh and common question of fasting.

He begins by reminding us that the wisdom, the spiritual benefits, and the key fiqh of fasting is found in Sura Baqara 2:183-186.

  • 183: O you who believe, fasting was prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you become mindful [tattaqun: so that you attain taqwa].184: [Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And for those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers more – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.185: The month of Ramadhan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.186: And when My servants ask you, concerning Me – indeed I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided.

From these verses we see that the central aim of fasting is attaining taqwa or mindfulness of Allah. We also learn that Ramadan is a month of reconnecting with the Qur’an.

Finally we learn that the ultimate aim of fasting is the realization of Allah’s closeness ot His servants. This is the reality of our relationship with Allah.

In summary, all the fiqh, all the rulings, all the virtues and wisdoms and common questions with regard to fasting in Ramadan – they all serve one ultimate purpose, and that is closeness to Allah.

This is the heart of Ramadan. May Allah make us mindful of Him in this holy minth and in all months to come.


Support SeekersHub Global 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/

 

Adab of Dua 28: When Praying Is Haram

Allah Most High says, “I am near – I answer the call of the one who calls upon me (2:186).” Yet, many of us wonder: Are my du’as being answered? Is there a certain du’a I have to read for each of my concerns? Do my du’as have to be in Arabic?

In this series of short talks, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the reality of du’a (supplication) and how to turn to Allah. It is based on a classical text on the same subject by the great Shaykh al Islam Zakariyya al Ansari.

He divided this work into the 11 concise, apt sections described below.

In this video, he explains when making du’a is legally impermissible.

1. The reality of du’a
2. Our being called on to make du’a
3. The great virtue of du’a
4. The integrals of supplication, its wings, and its means
5. The conditions of supplication
6. Its proper manners
7. The times of du’a and the state in which it should be made
8. Signs of acceptance of du’a
9. Explaining the religious ruling of du’a
10. Some encompassing supplications
11. Explaining what the greatest Divine Name is

Take a SeekersHub online course. All courses are completely free, and are taught by reliable, qualified scholars.

SeekersGuidance Global, a non-profit Islamic educational portal, makes sound knowledge from reliable scholars available anywhere, at any time, through online courses, on-the-ground seminars, engaging and inspiring Islamic media and direct access to scholars through our Answers service — all for FREE.

Help us continue to provide Knowledge Without Barriers through your ongoing monthly support or a one-time donation.


Resources for Seekers

Adab of Dua 27: Impermissible Duas

Allah Most High says, “I am near – I answer the call of the one who calls upon me (2:186).” Yet, many of us wonder: Are my duas being answered? Is there a certain dua I have to read for each of my concerns? Do my duas have to be in Arabic?

In this series of short talks, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the reality of dua (supplication) and how to turn to Allah. It is based on a classical text on the same subject by the great Shaykh al Islam Zakariyya al Ansari.

This video looks at the five different legal rulings that a dua can take, including when it is haram.

He divided this work into the 11 concise, apt sections described below.

1. The reality of dua
2. Our being called on to make dua
3. The great virtue of dua
4. The integrals of supplication, its wings, and its means
5. The conditions of supplication
6. Its proper manners
7. The times of dua and the state in which it should be made
8. Signs of acceptance of dua
9. Explaining the religious ruling of dua
10. Some encompassing supplications
11. Explaining what the greatest Divine Name is

Take a SeekersHub online course. All courses are completely free, and are taught by reliable, qualified scholars.

SeekersGuidance Global, a non-profit Islamic educational portal, makes sound knowledge from reliable scholars available anywhere, at any time, through online courses, on-the-ground seminars, engaging and inspiring Islamic media and direct access to scholars through our Answers service — all for FREE.

Help us continue to provide Knowledge Without Barriers through your ongoing monthly support or a one-time donation.

Resources for Seekers

Adab of Dua 26: Why Is My Dua Not Answered

Allah Most High says, “I am near – I answer the call of the one who calls upon me (2:186).”
Yet, many of us wonder: Are my duas being answered? Is there a certain dua I have to read for each of my concerns? Do my duas have to be in Arabic?

In this series of short talks, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the reality of dua (supplication) and how to turn to Allah. It is based on a classical text on the same subject by the great Shaykh al Islam Zakariyya al Ansari.

In this video, Shaykh Faraz explains some of the reasons why one’s dua appears to not have been answered.

This work is divided into 11 concise, apt sections described below.

1. The reality of dua
2. Our being called on to make dua
3. The great virtue of dua
4. The integrals of supplication, its wings, and its means
5. The conditions of supplication
6. Its proper manners
7. The times of dua and the state in which it should be made
8. Signs of acceptance of dua
9. Explaining the religious ruling of dua
10. Some encompassing supplications
11. Explaining what the greatest Divine Name is

Take a SeekersHub online course. All courses are completely free, and are taught by reliable, qualified scholars.

SeekersHub Global, a non-profit Islamic educational portal, makes sound knowledge from reliable scholars available anywhere, at any time, through online courses, on-the-ground seminars, engaging and inspiring Islamic media and direct access to scholars through our Answers service — all for FREE.

Help us continue to provide Knowledge Without Barriers through your ongoing monthly support or a one-time donation.


Resources for Seekers

Adab of Dua 25: Are My Duas Being Answered?

Allah Most High says, “I am near – I answer the call of the one who calls upon me (2:186). Yet, many of us wonder: Are my duas being answered? Is there a certain dua I have to read for each of my concerns? Do my duas have to be in Arabic?

In this series of short talks, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the reality of dua (supplication) and how to turn to Allah. It is based on a classical text on the same subject by Shaykh al Islam Zakariyya al Ansari.

This video, Shaykh Faraz discusses the nature of Allah’s acceptance of duas. He goes through the signs of acceptance, the various ways that dua can be accepted, and the etiquette of asking from Allah.

The text is divided into the 11 concise, apt sections described below.

1. The reality of dua
2. Our being called on to make dua
3. The great virtue of dua
4. The integrals of supplication, its wings, and its means
5. The conditions of supplication
6. Its proper manners
7. The times of dua and the state in which it should be made
8. Signs of acceptance of dua
9. Explaining the religious ruling of dua
10. Some encompassing supplications
11. Explaining what the greatest Divine Name is

Take a SeekersHub online course. All courses are completely free, and are taught by reliable, qualified scholars.

SeekersHub Global a non-profit Islamic educational portal, makes sound knowledge from reliable scholars available anywhere, at any time, through online courses, on-the-ground seminars, engaging and inspiring Islamic media and direct access to scholars through our Answers service — all for FREE.

Help us continue to provide Knowledge Without Barriers through your ongoing monthly support or a one-time donation.

Resources for Seekers

Why Doesn’t Allah Answer My Supplications?
Is Making Dua in My Heart Enough?
How Can I Make Dua Without Implying Discontent?
Why Is Everything Going Wrong in My Life? 
Why Is Allah Not Answering My Supplications for a Good Husband