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Adab of Dua 24: The States That Can Change Fate

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 covers the various states when we are called upon to make dua, and when it is particularly likely to be answered.

It also contains many gems about the etiquettes of visiting and being with people.

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.

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Adab of Dua 21: Consistency, Praise, and Blessed Days

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 covers the etiquettes of wiping the face after dua. Praising and thanking Allah when one’s dua is answered. Not allowing any day or night to pass without dua. And seeking out the chosen times of dua.

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.

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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

Step One: Essentials Certificate Launch at SeekersHub Toronto Islamic Seminary
Imam al-Ghazali: The Unlikely Seeker
How Should the Hands Be Held During Supplication?
Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance
The Reality and Etiquettes of Supplication

Adab of Dua 10: Leave All Rhyme and Ask the Divine

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 video, Shaykh Faraz explains the etiquettes of not using flowery, rhyming speech during du’a, and asking Allah for high matters.

It is from a series of short talks in which 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 Shaykh al Islam Zakariyya al Ansari.

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

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

SpreadLight

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.

 

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6 Key Things to Help Ease Stress- Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Stress is a serious and common condition in the world. Muslims of course also face these problems in their workplaces and in their private lives.

In this brief post, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives a comprehensive Islamic perspective on easing stress in our lives.

6 key things that ease stress

There are many beneficial resources online and of. Some of them we have listed below. But Islamically speaking, there are 6 key things to consider when faced with stress and seeking a remedy for it.

1. Always renew intentions.
2. Always turn to Allah before, during, and after all projects and tasks.
3. Operationalize this turning through dua, even if brief.
4. Stay on the remembrance of Allah.
5. Uphold the sunnas of consistency. The sunna is a gradual, sustained striving that is made into good routines and habits.
6. Be active in consulting with others.

Commitment is crucial

The underlying commitment to daily spiritual routines and weekly seeking of knowledge is critical, too. Especially given what most of you, being students of knowledge, are engaged in when it comes to serving the deen of Allah and the way of His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him and his folk.

 

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A Description of the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ Bed – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What did the bedding of the Prophet ﷺ like, and why did he choose it? In this short but inspiring video, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani discusses how the choices of the Most Beloved indicated his ultimate choice: the hereafter.

Why did he choose a mat that didn’t cover his body if he was given the keys to the treasures of the whole earth? What did he choose instead? What were his priorities? 

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Long Days of Fasting? Shaykh Faraz Rabbani on The Prophetic Urge

If these long days of fasting are tiring you out, this talk is for you. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani provides inspiration by discussing the Prophetic urge towards fasting and other good deeds.

He explains how the Prophet and his companions were eager to avail themselves of the Divine assistance alongside commands to engage in these sometimes strenuous acts.

 

We are grateful to the World Islamic Mission for this recording. Photo by Moyan Brenn.

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VIDEOS: Worship, Coffee and the Meaning of Life

The April Focus on Seminar, held at SeekersGuidance Toronto, carried a very special and unique theme, connecting the simple substance of coffee to the ultimate meaning of life. Watch the whole seminar below!

The Purpose of Life in a Cup of Coffee. Shaykh Yahya Rhodus sheds light on how the meaning of life from an Islamic perspective links to all one’s moments in life. He then explains how coffee could perceived through living a life of meaning.

The History of Islam and Coffee. Sidi Abdul-Rehman Malik delves deep into the history and emergence of coffee in the Islamic world. He tells a story of how coffee weaved into the Islamic tradition and then spread to the world and partook in the religious, social, economic and political historical events.

Coffee is a Means to Meanings. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani looks at how coffee relates to meanings in life. He explains that it is only through purpose that coffee could be a means to meanings of life like sincerity, love and gratitude.

Intentions: Coffee and Beyond. Shaykh Yahya focuses on the importance of having intentions for all actions so that even the mundane becomes great. He gives advice on how to make and build our intentions for all actions.

Worship, Coffee and the Meaning of Life Q&A. Shaykh Yahya Rhodus and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani answer some questions that relate to coffee and finding meaning in life.

Cover photo by Yasmeen

Resources for Seekers on Worship, Coffee and the Meaning of Life

Coffee, Worship and the Meaning of Life

If I ever shied away from coffee for worldly reasons, I embraced it for spiritual reasons, never realizing that it would point me to the meaning of life.

“The first time that you drink coffee because of caffeine, it’s slightly euphoric.”said Shaykh Yahya Rhodus.  I distinctly remembered the first time I drank coffee. I’d never liked the taste before, and, for some reason, was always proud that I was a tea-drinker rather than a coffee drinker.

I distinctly remember the pre-dawn atmosphere during last year’s SeekersRetreat. We stumbled to the hall alongside immense pine trees that blended with the darkness of the lake, lapping away in the cool blue darkness. The hall was emulating both physical and spiritual light to the whole campsite. It was a feeling I could never describe properly, with so many other Muslims reciting the Wird al-Latif with Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, chaplain at the University of Toronto.  It was like getting light beamed straight to my heart.

Light or not, I was still exhausted. Having a history of succumbing to physical upheaval at instances of disturbed sleep patterns, changed day scheduled, and diet changes, I wasn’t feeling my best physically, was feeling exhausted and sick physically and was afraid that I’d have to sit out on a session or two for fear of falling asleep during class, displaying atrocious adab and thereby slamming more than a few metaphysical doors against myself.

My only solution was coffee. Hesitantly, I approached the percolator, poured myself a cup, drowned it in sugar and cream, and braced myself for the impact.

meaning of life

To my surprise, it wasn’t bad. Not only that, it was like my body was getting poured with energy. My drowsiness and the accompanying dull headache began to slowly fade away. Not only that, but another rigorous day of classes seemed actually possible.

Back then, I didn’t know what markahah was, but this was my first taste of it.

Worship, Coffee, and the Meaning of Life

“The smallest of things have great meaning.” Shaykh Faraz Rabbani introduced the seminar, held at the new location of SeekersGuidance Toronto.

That explained a lot, as I was wondering about the connection between coffee and the meaning of life. After the retreat ended and my first semester of college had begun, I’d grown used to the many uses of coffee in an academic setting: as a wake-me-up before early classes, an appetite suppressant during the later ones, as a treat after exams.

But then I began my internship and went from purchasing my coffee from the campus’s Tim Hortons, to getting it from a non-profit affordable café in one of the sketchier, downtown parts of a Canadian city close to my new office.

I still didn’t really know good coffee from bad, but all of a sudden, removed from the company of generally well-to-do, educated people on campus, and instead forced to stand in a line with the poverty-stricken, the homeless, the fragments of broken families, not to mention a fair few drug dealers and gang members, made me think.

Was it really about coffee? What about the world around me, and the pain that flowed through it? Was there any way to connect them?

And most importantly, what was I supposed to do about it?

Coffee: A Spiritual Ritual

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus began the seminar speaking first a little bit about the origins of coffee in Yemen, and how it spread through the regions to become a part of spiritual tradition. For example, there would be duaas composed, to be recited while preparing coffee. These duaas would include prayers for not just the ones who had grown the coffee, the ones who would drink the coffee, and the ones living in Yemen, but extended to include all the Muslims throughout time. This way, a mundane and everyday task-making coffee-became a spiritual connection to Allah, His Messenger, and all of humanity.

Coffee was used as a substance to help with worship, when people’s aspirations were low. Coffee was considered a blessing, he continued, because it was served to the people who would wake up a couple hours before Fajr to pray Tahajjud, causing Imam al-Haddad to say that Shaitaan would run away when the coffee cups started to jingle in the morning, because it meant that the people would be energized by it and not as easy to tempt.

It was the quality that these people had, that made something as simple as coffee, into a spiritual experience. By taking something seemingly mundane casual, and linking it to prayers and worship, it made the action all the more meaningful, on a wordly and spiritual level.

For me, things were slowly beginning to make sense.

Coffee and Politics

The next session was given by Sidi Abdul Rahman Malik, currently a journalist with the BBC and Global Programs Director for SeekersGuidance.

“A lot of us are searching for markahah, the euphoric, sprightliness that we get from coffee.”

While tea was a strong part of his home life growing up, it was coffee that was considered something to have when outside of the house, during an outing or get-together. This made drinking coffee an occasion rather than a casual thing, something attributed to gathering and spending time with others.

This was part of the reason, he said, that coffee was banned in the 15th century in the Arabian Peninsula, and again in Cairo during the Mamluk dynasty, because it encouraged people to engage with each other, share ideas, and converse actively, thereby creating a potential for political rebellion.

meaning of life

So coffee had come from a simple drink to fuel for revolution.

Coffee, Consumerism, and a Believer’s Ethical Concern

But how did coffee connect to the meaning of life?

The seminar turned serious as Shaykh Faraz gave us a reality check.

“Who is selling us the coffee? What conditions do they harvest it? How much are the workers paid? Who cares? A believer cares!”

He went on to remind us that much of the modern consumer culture was creating a massive effect of horror and pain around the world.

Many of us choose to turn a blind eye at the companies using our desire for a constant stream of new clothing, exotic foods, and the latest technology gadgets, profiting off the blood, sweat, and tears of the grossly underpaid workers procured to service them. Not only that, but multinational companies often destroy poorer countries’ industries that are run at the local level. He gave the example of Nestle, which destroyed Pakistan’s milk industry. Using their multi-billion dollar funds, they were able to invest in advertising, as well as offer their products at a much lower cost than the locals did. When they had monopolized the industry and ousted the local farmers and shopkeepers, they raised their prices much higher—and left a country dependent on outsourcing its dairy from Nestle.

This is only one of countless parts of their lives that a believer needs to be careful about. From sweatshop clothing producers to smartphone-and-tablet factories, we need to look beyond these seemingly everyday choices, and make an effort to seek Allah in them.

“Our ethical concern isn’t just because we’re a bunch of hippies. Buy things that you know are pleasing to Allah.”

Even if it made things a little more complicated and expensive, that could be solved by simply training the self to desire less.

“Make those choices meaningful, you’ll find meaning in it.”

In essence, meaning is what we all are searching for. Consumerism is just us getting sidetracked.

From the Mundane to the Experiential

Shaykh Yahya’s second session tied everything together perfectly.

“Make the mundane spiritual, you will have a constant experience with the Divine.”

He referenced Imam Ghazali’s book The Beginning of Guidance, which outlines how to live one’s life as productively as possible, fulfilling all one’s obligations to the Creator and creation. The book contains a vast amount of duaas, for things as seemingly mundane as putting on clothes in the morning. When these duaas are repeated on a constant basis, he explained, they begin to have an immense effect of the heart in terms of connecting with the Divine. This runs counter-intuitively to our desires, as many of our egos dislike regulation and routine, and want to jump to the next interesting thing.

Again, it’s in connecting with the mundane, that you can begin to connect with the Creator.

Coffee, Clothing, Custom…and God

Whereas I can now say that I do have a better understanding of what coffee is (and also now cannot remember the last time I got it from Tim Hortons’), I now know that that’s not the point.

In everything, there is an opportunity to connect with Allah. While people look for some sort of a “spiritual buzz,” as the only sign of a strong connection, that can be misleading. The meaning is much, much deeper.

Tomorrow, next week, and next year, I hope that everything will have a deeper meaning. Not just coffee, but my entire life.

meaning of life

Now when I cradle a cup of coffee in my hands, I will remember to pray for the ones who grew it, the ones who harvested it, and the ones who prepared it. When I seek refuge in its warmth, I will remember the ones on the street with no shelter, and pray for them too. When unintelligible shouting meets my ears, when homeless teens look at me sideways from hollowed eyes, when refugee newcomers ask me if I can speak their language, when another drug deal or robbery happens a few feet away from me…

…maybe I will be able to dig deeper, and go from witnessing the mundane to witnessing the One.

Cover photo by Maria Keays. Fire photo by Mark K. Street photo by Daniel Lobo.

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Four Reasons Your Dua Isn’t Answered Yet – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Adab Of Du’a 26

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 Shaykh al Islam Zakariyya al Ansari.

This video covers some reasons why certain du’as may not be answered.

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

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.

SeekersHub Global is 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.

Never an Empty Shell: The Purpose of Guidance

Islam is a difficult word for many to grapple with these days. Associated with some of the ugliest images we see in the media, both Muslims and non-Muslims today have found themselves confused by what this term means and what set of values it represents. While most Muslims argue that the greatest value it represents is mercy, some – be they extremists or news pundits – make very different claims regarding what Islam is about, seeing it either as a fascist philosophy promoting violence or an empty shell of rules and regulations meant to control society. Frustratingly, these people use and interpret Islam’s own texts to promote such views, leading to much confusion and doubt among Muslims and their non-Muslim peers.

Beyond sensationalism

So what is Islam really about? In SeekersHub course The Absolute Essentials of Islam (Hanafi), Shaykh Faraz Rabbani offers some insight into this question.

Shaykh Faraz begins to discuss Islam by moving beyond the sensationalism and spectacle of the media, saying that, ultimately, Islam offers what all serious religions and philosophies attempt to provide: an explanation for the miraculous and jarring fact of our existence.

“If you look at human beings in this life, their example is like someone who wakes up on a train that’s moving really fast,” said Shaykh Faraz. “Those of intelligence, if they suddenly woke up and found themselves on a train that is moving, they’d ask themselves certain urgent questions… How did I get here? Where am I going? What’s going to happen? Then, given all that, what am I supposed to be doing while I’m [here]?”

These questions have weighed on some of the greatest human minds, from ancient philosophers to modern quantum physicists, and the discussions emerging from them among Muslim scholars, under the subject of creed (aqidah) are the foundation on which Islam rests. Ignoring them means building a religion on shaky ground, and ultimately makes religion collapse in on itself.

Such topics are completely off the radar of the fanatics and Islamophobes who put forward a shallow and contorted image of this faith. They prefer to focus on the laws of Islam as the ultimate manifestation of religiousity, but even then their focus on the law is imbalanced.

Sharia as the ethic of mercy

The shari’a, or legal system, of Islam is one that has always been founded on the ethic of mercy, said Shaykh Faraz. Any legal rulings that are not founded on mercy cannot be considered true to the tradition of the Prophet (pbuh), who was a fount of mercy.

“Every teaching of Islam is a manifestation of divine mercy, and any understanding of Islam that is lacking in mercy is lacking in understanding,” said Shaykh Faraz, quoting well-known scholar Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad.

The root of extremism

Man reading Quran learning studentThe lack of mercy present in the Islam put forward by extremists often stems from two things. The first is when people not properly trained by qualified teachers begin to take rulings from old books of law without understanding the context those rulings were used in nor the context in which they must be interpreted and applied today. This is contrary to much of Islamic history, when scholars underwent decades of training in vast subjects so they could appropriately understand how the law could fit into the cultures and expectations of their time.

The second reason the brand of Islam expounded by extremists lacks mercy is that it is completely cut off from what has traditionally been the heart of the faith: ihsan, or spiritual excellence. Throughout the centuries, it was well-accepted that as a Muslim one had to constantly strive against one’s ego. Sins like greed, jealousy, lust and a hunger for power – present in many extremist ideologies – had to be continuously purged from the heart. If they were not removed from the heart of the one representing Islam or putting forward Islamic law, then what would come from that person is spiritual poison merely coated with an Islamic veneer. This is far from what the Prophet ﷺ taught.

Never an empty shell

“The teaching of the Prophet ﷺ was not merely to transmit guidance,” said Shaykh Faraz, “but also to explain to us and manifest to us the very purpose of guidance, which is… how to be characterized by excellence in your relating to God and your relating to God’s creation.”

Islam, when understood and practiced correctly, was never an empty shell of rules and regulations that could be twisted to conform to the destructive desires of extremists. It was and remains a path to reflecting God’s love, mercy and beauty as we make good our relationship with Him and serve Him in this world.
Nour Merza

To learn more about what Islam truly represents and how it functions as a practical source of wisdom and mercy in a Muslim’s life, sign up for our Absolute Essentials of Islam (Hanafi) course today! 

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