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Acquisition of the Clear Light: Part 4

This is the fourth part of a series of translations of Habib Umar’s work, Qabs al-Nur al-Mubin, an abridgment of Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din.Qabs al-Nur al-Mubin

This chapter describes the levels of faith and how to achieve certainty.

Purification of the Heart

The objective of all pious acts and deeds of the limbs is purification, cleansing and clearing of the heart. Allah Most High says: “Success is for he who purifies it.” (Sura al-Shams 91:9). 

The meaning of its purification is “the obtaining of the lights of faith”. Allah Most High says: “As for the one whom Allah wants to guide, he expands his breast towards Islam.” (Sura al-An’aam 6:125). He the Most High says: “Is the one whom Allah has expanded his breast towards Islam, he is upon the Light from his Lord.”( Sura al-Zumar 39:22)

This clearance and faith is of three levels:  

  1. Faith of the laymen, which is implementation through mere imitation.
  2. Faith of the theologians, which is blended with logical reasoning.
  3. Faith of the gnostics, which is clarity through the light of certainty.

An example of this:

Your belief that Zayd is in the house is of 3 levels:

First stage: To be informed about this by a person who you have proved his honesty and not known dishonesty from him, nor have you ever doubted his word. Therefore your heart is tranquil towards him and finds serenity in his information. This is what is referred to as mere imitation, which is the faith of the laymen.

Second stage: To be inside the house and hear Zayd’s words and voice from behind a wall, so it will be a means of proof to you of his presence in the house. As a result, your faith and belief will be stronger than only merely being informed.

Third stage: To enter the house thereafter, and see and witness him with your very own eyes. This is the real understanding and the certain witnessing, similar to the understanding of those drawn near and the truthful servants, because their belief is based on witnessing.

So equip and prepare yourself by purification of the heart, continuous remembrance and blockage of the devil’s entries towards the heart.

He (the Prophet) Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “The unique have advanced.” It was said: “Who are the unique O Messenger of Allah?” He, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Those men and women who remember Allah abundantly.”(Tirmidhi) Another narration says: “Those who absorb themselves in the remembrance of Allah. Those who consistently remember Him.” (Tabarani)

Allah Most High says: “… and those that strive in Our path, We will surely guide them to our path.” (Sura ‘Ankabuut 29:69).

Every wisdom which manifests from the heart after consistent worship, without any seeking of knowledge, arrives by way of inspiration. Allah Most High says: “…and the one who fears Allah, He will create for him a way out.” (Surah al-Talaaq 65:2), meaning from problems and doubt. “…and grants him provision through unperceived means.” (Surah al-Talaaq 65:3). It means that He teaches him Knowledge without studies or though experience and He Most High says: “O you who believe, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion…” (Sura al-Anfaal 8:29). It is said that: It is a light which distinguishes between truth and falsehood, therefore it removes him from doubt.

He, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to frequently supplicate for light by saying: “O Allah illuminate me light, increase me in illumination, illuminate my heart, illuminate my grave, illuminate my hearing, illuminate my sight,” until he says: “a likewise, my hair, my skin, my flesh, my blood and my bones.” This has been mentioned in al-Sahihayn of the Hadith of Ibn Abbas, May Allah be pleased with them both. (Bukhari and Muslim)

  Ali, may Allah be Pleased with him and ennoble his face, said: “We don’t have any secrets which the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, confided in us, except that Allah bestows understanding to a servant of his book. (Bukhari, Nasa’i)  This is not through studying.”

It has been said regarding the exegesis of Allah Most High saying: “He Provides wisdom to whoever He decrees.” (Sura al-Baqarah 2:269), it refers to an understanding in the book of Allah. (Tirmidhi)

He , Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Fear the foresight of a believer, for verily he sees by Light from Allah.” (Tirmidhi) al-Hasan narrated from the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, that he said: “Knowledge is of two types: Knowledge which is located in the heart which is beneficial knowledge and knowledge which is located on the tongue which is a proof against his creation.(Tirmidhi, al-Hakim)

al-Bukhari narrated it from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah and Muslim from the hadith of ‘Aisha that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “There were recipients of Divine inspiration among the nations before you. If it happens that there is such an individual among my nation, it must be ‘Umar.”       


This is part four of a translation of al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz’s abridgment of Ihya Ulum al-Din by Imam al-Ghazali entitled Acquisition of the Clear Light, not only provides the reader with a concise understanding of the Ihya but also serves as clear guideline to the main themes and focal points within the actual book.

Translator: Abdullah Salih, converted to Islam in 2003 and thereafter, embarked on a journey of seeking knowledge in the Valleys of Hadramouth in the beautiful city of Tarim. He was fortunate enough to sit in the company of Habib Umar, where he studied under him various sciences such as, but not limited to, some of the original works of Ihya as well that of the abridgment. He now resides in Namibia with his family and is engaged in Dawah activities locally as well as internationally.


 

6 Steps to Self-Change – Living Hearts Series

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani covers a critical topic; how to gain nearness to Allah through personal reformation. In this segment, he discusses 6 practical steps to self-change. steps to self-change

Allah tells us in the Qur’an:

By time, humanity is in loss. (Sura 103:1)

The key to avoiding loss is committing to change, which happens through an active choice to make things better. Imam Ghazali outlined how to get closer to Allah through personal accountability. In book 38 of his Revival of the Religious Sciences, he mentioned six steps to achieve this:

Step One: Goal-setting, or musharata. One should commit to upholding the obligatory acts, such as prayer, fasting, and worship. In addition, one should leave all the prohibited acts. After these basics have been established, one should then move onto bringing in the sunnas, and leaving the disliked acts. Doing this properly require knowledge of beliefs, worship, social relations, and transactions.

Step Two: Watching over oneself, or muraqaba. It’s easiest to begin by watching over one’s prayer, and one’s tongue. Prayer is one of the central aspects of the deen, and most of life’s problems happen through toxic speech. Having these standards will bring caution and concern into one’s life.

Step Three: Taking oneself to account, or muhasaba. One should sit down once a day, week, or month, and look over what they did. They should identify the positive and negative, and deciding what could be done better.

Step Four: Self-penalty, or mu’aqaba. This refers to positive self-discipline, as the nature of humans is that they will continue to push boundaries unless there is a consequence.

Step Five: Spiritual struggle, or mujahada. The easiest way to do this, is to strive to be constantly in remembrance of Allah.

Step Six: Self-reproach, or mu’ataba. Nothing harms the self as much as self-satisfaction, and one should remain humble. Scholars would ask themselves, if they died shortly, would they be satisfied to meet Allah? Was there any harm, negligence, or sins on their record? Are there many good deeds on record? It was said about Imam Hamaad, the teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa, that if he were told he were to die tomorrow, he could not possibly increase in good deeds.

About the Series

In this engaging and inspiring series Shaykh Faraz Rabbani covers Imam Ghazali’s brilliant explanation in his Renewal of the Sciences of Religion (Ihya Ulum al-Din) of how one could become God conscious through watchfulness (muraqaba), and self-accounting (muhasaba). This series will give you keys, insights, and timeless wisdom on how to change oneself, through setting goals and conditions, watching over oneself, taking oneself into account, and spiritual striving.


Can A Sinner Love the Prophet? – Ustadh Salman Younas

Allah has commanded all believers to love the Prophet. However, can a sinner claim to have love for him? What about someone who justifies their bad deeds in the name of love?

 

Love of the Prophet & Disobedience

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, said, “None of you believe until I am more beloved to him than his parent, child, and all people.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Love of the Prophet is a fundamental requirement in Islam that no Muslim is devoid of in some measure. Every individual who has truly acknowledged the Prophet as the final messenger sent by God to humankind, seldom fails to discover some element of this love in himself at particular moments. The degree and intensity of this love varies between people due to various factors. The tradition mentioned above has been commonly understood as a reference to the perfection of one’s faith and belief. In other words, no one has perfected their belief until the Prophet is more beloved to him than all of creation.

What is Love?

Love is a terribly difficult reality to describe. Imam al-Qushayri stated that it cannot be “defined by any clear and understandable description or definition” due to its complex nature. (al-Risala) Generally, love is identified as a feeling of the heart that draws an individual to some object of affection that is found to be pleasing and agreeable. Being a matter of the heart, it is easy for a person to believe that he possesses love and lay claim to it. Indeed, all people lay claim to love, but as the poet said:

Each person claims to have united with Layla

But Layla does not acknowledge this for any of them.

In the same vein, Imam al-Ghazali warns that it is necessary for a person to avoid being deluded by the Devil and the self (nafs) when it comes to claiming love of God and His Prophet. Rather, love is akin to a good tree whose roots are firmly in the ground, its branches in the sky, and its fruits manifest on the heart, tongue, and limbs. In other words, any claim to love must be tested in light of specific signs and proofs to see if it is true. (al-Ghazali, Ihya’ ʿUlum al-Din)

Signs of True Love: Following the Prophet (blessings upon him)

Qadi Iyad mentions the signs that manifest in an individual whose love for the Prophet (blessings upon him) is true as opposed to a mere claim. These include:

  1. Following the Prophet in his words and actions, submitting to his commands and steering clear from what he prohibited, and letting oneself be guided by his moral example.
  2. Giving preference to the shariʿa brought by him over one’s own passions and desires.
  3. One’s anger against others being only for the sake of God’s pleasure.
  4. Mentioning and remembering him often.
  5. Yearning to meet him. 
  6. Exalting the Prophet (blessings upon him) when he is mentioned and displaying humility upon hearing his noble name.
  7. Loving those whom the Prophet (blessings upon him) loved and hating those who display enmity towards them. Avoiding those who undermine his sunna and innovate in the religion.
  8. Having love for the Qur’an.
  9. Having compassion for the community of the Prophet, giving them sincere counsel, and striving for their best interests. (al-Shifa’)

From the aforementioned signs, it is obedience to the Prophet and following his sunna that constitute the core of love and the clearest sign that it is true. Abu ʿAli al-Rudhabari said, “Love means compliance,” while Sahl al-Tustari said, “Love means to embrace obedience and parts ways with disobedience.” (al-Qushayri, al-Risala)

Qadi Iyad mentiones that one of the signs of love for the Prophet is letting oneself be guided his moral example. Similarly, Imam al-Junayd stated that love is “the substitution of the attributes of the lover for those of the beloved.” (Ibid) In other words, the true lover is one whose heart burns so passionately for his beloved that he divests himself of his own attributes. He wishes to be like his beloved in his inward and outward state.

The evidence for this is found in the Qur’an, where love is associated with obedience and submission. In one well-known verse, the Prophet  says, “If you love God, follow me.” (3:31) This verse was said to have been revealed in response to a people who claimed that they loved God. The Prophet was commanded by God to tell these people that if their claim was to be beleived, they would submit to God and His command to love and follow the Prophet. 

Similarly, it is related that one of the companions approached the Prophet (blessings upon him) and stated, “You are more beloved to me than my child, family, wealth, and even my own self.” He then wept and when asked by the Prophet (blessings upon him) what caused this sadness, he replied, “I remembered that you will pass away and so will we, then you will be raised with the prophets, and if we enter Paradise, we will be lower than you.”

God then revealed the following verse, “Whoever obeys God and the Messenger will be among those He has blessed: the messengers, the truthful, those who bear witness to the truth, and the righteous- what excellent companions these are.” (4:69) In this Qur’anic verse, it is not simply a feeling of love alone that unites a believer with the Prophet (blessings upon him) in the next life but actual obedience to him.

Sinners May Be Lovers but Sin Never Arises from Love

Love is a powerful emotion, and it is also one required of all believers in their relationship with God and His Prophet. The combination of these two elements makes love a potent tool in the hands of the Devil. Disbelievers  may be driven to commit sinful actions out of an actual hatred for God and His Prophet. However, a Muslim may be driven to such behavior because it is cloaked in the guise of prophetic love. The very real passion and attachment the believer possesses for the Prophet is, therefore, a means by which he may be exploited. Indeed, the self and the Devil often trap the religious through religion itself by justifying sin as being an expression of faith. This is nothing but deception and delusion.

The Islamic tradition has a word for this: hawa, or caprice. If love is an inclination towards the truth, caprice is often used to refer to an inclination towards falsehood: “Do not follow capricious desire (hawa) for it will lead you astray from the path of God.” (38:26) Sin is a result of caprice, not love, even if the former may feel like the latter. The signs of love are clear. They are submitting to the Prophet, while every act that contravenes his noble way is from capricious desire. “None of you truly believes until his desires are subservient to what I have brought.” (al-Nawawi, al-Arbaʿin)

For a person to couch sin in the language of love is falling into the trap of the Devil. It minimises the gravity of sin and asserts a connection with the Prophet that does not exist. Indeed, anyone professing love for someone is forwarding an enormous claim as Imam al-Ghazali states. Thus, Fudayl ibn ʿIyad is reported to have said:

If you are asked, “Do you love God?” then remain silent. For if you reply in the negative, you have disbelieved. And if you reply in the affirmative, the attributes of true lovers are not found in you. So avoid being the object of detestation. (al-Ghazali, Ihya’ ʿUlum al-Din)

Similarly, it is related that some people were discussing love in the presence of Dhu’l Nun al-Misri. He exclaimed, “Refrain from this matter. If your selves fail to understand it properly, they might lay claims to it.” (al-Qushayri, al-Risala) The early Muslims were quite conscious of what it meant to declare someone the object of their love. This was especially in a religious context, where the weight of one’s claims would hang heavily in the next life. The true lovers of the Prophet (blessings upon him) were those who gave themselves completely to their beloved. Despite this recognised that all they could offer was an imperfect love. As al-Harith al-Muhasibi said:

Love means you are inclined toward someone in your entirety, then you give preference to this someone over yourself and your possessions, then you comply with his wishes openly and secretly, whereupon you acquire awareness of your love’s imperfection. (al-Qushayri, al-Risala)

A Mistaken Sense of Love

Imagine  those who appeal to this love in order to explain or justify sinful actions that they or others might be engaged in. Instead of framing the issue in a false light, individuals need to be made to realise that love for the Prophet (blessings upon him) can never manifest as sin. In this way, they can recognise the true nature of their actions, repent, and make sincere emends. Indeed, people who engage in anathematising other Muslims, murder, the destruction of property, spreading corruption in the land, and other enormities, as a result of of what they view as ‘defending’ the Prophet (blessings upon him) and his honor, are in reality involved in actions that are heinous to God and His Prophet

While the actions of such people can be described as the result of a mistaken or misguided sense of love for the Prophet in an attempt to better understand their state of mind and ameliorate it, their sinful actions can never be identified as an expression of true love for the Prophet itself. To present such actions in this light is to delude oneself and others.

Those who commit sins, however, are not necessarily deemed to be completely devoid of love for the Prophet. A sinner can still be characterised as possessing love for the Prophet in a general sense despite his sins and slips. This is evidenced in the tradition of the companion who repeatedly got intoxicated. He was punished, but his love for God and the Prophet was still affirmed. (Bukhari)

There is a difference, though, between  negating love entirely from a Muslim who may commit sins and between identifying love as underpinning a specific act of sin. In the former, al-Ghazali indicates that the basic feeling of love that all Muslims are said to be characterised with as believers in God and the Prophet. But the moment one is engaged in sin, such love has been corrupted and discarded in favor of one’s own desires. In such situations, the obligation of sincere counsel (nasiha) requires that a person be told in no uncertain terms that his actions contravene the way of the Prophet, and the more egregious the sin, the more resolutely this needs to be pointed out.

 


Born and raised in New York, Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman.  There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

His teachers include: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Salah Abu’l Hajj, Shaykh Ashraf Muneeb, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Snobar, Shaykh Ali Hani, Shaykh Hamza Bakri, Ustadh Rajab Harun and others.

Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government,  media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveller and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.


 

Ramadan Mubarak – It’s time for Renewal #RamadanRenewal

Ramadan Mubarak from all of us at SeekersHub Global!

This Ramadan at SeekersHub, the Qur’an is once again our closest companion. However, this year we will see it afresh through the lens of the Ihya, widely regarded as the greatest work on Islamic spirituality ever written.
We will broadcast our Ramadan program live from SeekersHub Toronto. Catch up on recordings via YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Google Play and SeekersHub.com

  • Daily Quran tafsir, on podcast and Youtube
  • Daily resource list to accompany each chapter of the Ihya on the SeekersHub blog
  • Daily group recitation and commentary on a new dua
  • Meaningful reminders from various scholars throughout this holy month, on the podcast and SeekersHub.com
  • And so much more 

We’ll be live-streaming the entire month of programming right from SeekersHub Toronto so you don’t miss a thing.

Tarawih Prayers with Ustadh Tabraze Azam

This year we are honoured to have with us special guest qari, Ustadh Tabraze Azam from with whom we will complete the Qur’an.
Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England.
His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16.

Looking for more?

Choose from a list of short courses. Enter your email address and the audio will be sent directly to your inbox. Take a look at what our academy team has specially selected for you this Ramadan.
Visit the Ramadan Resources page here.
May Allah accept all your acts of worship during this blessed month,
Was salaam,
Erin
P.S. This Ramadan, our goal to raise $75,000 in monthly donations so we can build a Global Islamic Seminary, so that students all over the world can pursue the path of Islamic scholarship, free of charge. Details coming soon insha’Allah. We’re counting on your support!

SeekersHub Resources #RamadanRenewal

Welcoming Ramadan In The Best Way, by Shaykh Naveed Arif
Ramadan and its Blessings
The Complete Guide to Fasting
Hypoglycemia and Ramadan
Who is looking out for Muslim converts this Ramadan? Imam Khalid Latif

How To Benefit from Remembering Death?

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: Asalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

I know that remembering death is beneficial but how does one remember death? Is it simply by thinking about it?

Answer: Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah,

The Importance of Remembering Death

It is important for people to consider their mortality by thinking of and remembering death, because doing so allows one to distance themselves from this temporal existence and turn towards the hereafter.

Conversely, neglecting the reality of death causes one to immerse themselves in the pleasures of this life. The Qur’an reminds: Every soul is certain to taste death: We test you all through the bad and the good, and to Us you will all return (21:35). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Frequently remember what ends all pleasure! (Tirmidhi).

The Importance of Preparing for Death

It is likewise important to prepare oneself for death, because of its certainty and proximity.

The Qur’an says: Believers, do not let your wealth and your children distract you from remembering Allah: those who do so will be the ones who lose. Give out of what We have provided for you, before death comes to one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if You would only reprieve me for a little while, I would give in charity and become one of the righteous.’ Allah does not reprieve a soul when its turn comes: Allah is fully aware of what you do (63:9-11).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: An intelligent person takes himself to account and works for what follows death (Tirmidhi).

Al-Ghazali on How to Remember Death

Imam al-Ghazali, in his Ihya’, includes a section on how to accomplish the foregoing:

An Explanation of the Manner of Bringing about the Recollection of Death to one’s Heart:

Know that death is horrible, its importance significant. People’s neglect of it is due to not thinking about and remembering it. Even those who do remember it, don’t do so with an unoccupied heart, but rather with one that has been occupied with the worldly desires, such that the remembrance of death does not actually affect their hearts.

The correct manner of remembering death is for a servant to empty their hearts of everything except for remembering the death that is before them. This is similar to the manner in which a person, who wants to travel to a desert, or to embark upon a nautical voyage, cannot think of anything else. When the remembrance of death actually touches their hearts, and makes an impression upon them, their happiness and pleasure with respect to this world diminishes, and their hearts break.

The most effective manner of bringing about this change is for them to frequently call to mind their peers and contemporaries, those who have passed away before them. They should reflect on their deaths, as well as their decomposition below the earth. They should remember how they looked in their former positions and circumstances, and consider how the earth has now effaced their external beauty; how their limbs have become dispersed in their graves; how they left their wives widows, their children orphans! How they have lost their wealth; how their mosques and their gatherings have become empty of their presence; how all traces of them have been erased!

To the extent that people remember others and call to minds their circumstances and how they died; imagine their forms; remember their activities; how they used to move about; the way they planned their lives and its continuation; their neglect ofdeath; how they were deceived by the facilitated means of life; their reliance on strength and youth; how they inclined toward slaughter and amusement; their neglect of the quick death and destruction that lay before them; how they used to move about, while their feet and joints have now rotted away; how they used to speak, while worms have now devoured their tongues; how they used to laugh, while dirt has now eaten away their teeth; how they used to plan for themselves what they hadn’t actually needed for another ten years, when all that lay between themand death was a mere month; they were ignorant of what had been decreed for them, until death came to them at a time they have not expected; the angel’s form was revealed to them; the call rang in their ears, Heaven or Hell! At that point, a person can engage in self-reflection, and see that they are like them, and that their neglectfulness is similar to theirs, and that their end shall be one.

Abu al-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) said: When you think about the deceased, count yourself amongst them. Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: A happy person is one who can derive lessons from the situation of others. Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz said: Don’t you see that every day you prepare a traveller, by morning and night, to Allah (Mighty and Sublime is He), placing him in a hole in the earth? He has made dust his pillow, left behind his loved ones, and cut himself off from the means of this life!

Continuously thinking about this and similar thoughts, as well as going to graveyards and seeing sick people, renews the heart’s remembrance of death, until it takes control of it and is constantly at the forefront of one’s mind. At this point, one will be nearly ready for death, and will leave aside the world of delusion. Lacking this, remembrance with the mere superficial aspects of the heart, and the saliva of the tongue, will be of little benefit in warning and alerting oneself.

No matter how pleased one’s heart may become with something of this world, one should immediately remember that they must at some point part ways with it. Ibn Muti’ one day looked at his house and was pleased by its splendour. He then began to cry, saying: By Allah, were it not for death, I would be overjoyed with you! Were it not for what we are headed towards, the narrowness of graves, we would be contented with this world! He then began to cry intensely till his voice rose loudly.

Sources: Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din; Dalil al-Falihin; al-Adhkar

Shuaib Ally

Good and Evil – An excerpt from al-Rahman / al-Rahim – Allah’s Most Beautiful Names Explained ~ Imam Ghazali

Al_Rahman_by_samirmalikYou might say: what does it mean for Him, the most high, to be merciful and to be the most merciful of those who are merciful?
For one who is merciful does not see people afflicted or injured, tormented or sick, without hastening to remove that condition when he can do so. But the Lord-praise be to Him most high- has the power to meet every affliction, to stave off every need and distress, to eliminate every sickness and to remove every harm, even though He leaves His servants to be tried by disasters and hardships while the world is overflowing with disease, calamities and tribulations, yet He is able to remove them all.
The merciful one certainly wants good for the one who receives mercy. Yet there is no evil in existence which does not contain some good within it, and were evil to be eliminated, the good within it would be nullified, and the final result  would be an evil worse than the evil containing the good.
The certain amputation of hand* is an evident evil yet within it lies and ample good: the health of a body. If one were to forego the amputation of the hand, the body would perish as a result – a worse evil still. So amputating a hand for the health of a body is an evil which contains good within it. But the primary intention which comes first in the consideration of one amputating is health – an unadulterated good. Yet since amputating the hand is the way to achieve it, amputation is intended for the sake of that good; so health was sought for itself first, and amputation second for the sake of the other and not for itself.
They both enter into the intention, but one of  them is intended for itself and the other for sake of the first, and what is intended for its own sake takes precedence over that which is intended for the sake of the other: here the saying of God- great and glorious – is a propos: ‘My mercy precedes My anger” (Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari).
His anger is His intending evil so evil is by His intention, while His mercy is His intending good (so good is by His intention). But if He intended good for the good itself, yet intended evil not for itself but because there is some good within it; then good is accomplished essentially but evil  is accomplished accidentally and each according to divine decree. So nothing here goes against mercy at all.”
Note:
*if it was afflicted with gangrene, for example
Related Materials:
Course: Allah’s Most Beautiful Names Explained
Purchase Book

Things Inconsistent With Accepting Fate – Imam Ghazali

Accepting Fate:
“Complaining, no matter what the circumstances, is inconsistent with accepting fate. Criticizing food and finding fault with it is a rejection of what Allah Most High has destined, since blaming what is made is blaming the maker, and everything is Allah’s work.
For a person to say that ‘poverty is an affliction and trial,’ or ‘having a family to support is worry and fatigue,’ or ‘working for a living is a
burden and hardship’ – all this is inconsistent with accepting fate.
One should rather leave the plan to its planner, the kingdom to its king, and say, as ‘Umar did (Allah be well pleased with him), ‘I do not care whether I become rich or poor, for I don’t know which is better for me.’” [Reliance of the Traveller, w59.1]

Purchase the Book:

Reliance of the Traveller: http://www.firdousbooks.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=282
Relevant Resources:
Trust in Allah and Provisions for Seekers of Knowledge
Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life
Affirming Free Will and the Divine Decree
Belief in Destiny, It’s Good and Evil – Shaykh Nuh Keller – Sea without Shore
Can Supplication Change Destiny?
Media: 
IslamCast Daily Hadith – 8. The Muslim as a Source of Safety and Trust
Courses:
Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine Providence with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Kalam Jadid, Islamization & The Worldview of Islam: Operationalizing the Neo-Ghazalian, Attasian Vision by Adi Setia

Kalam Jadid, Islamization & The Worldview of Islam: Operationalizing the Neo-Ghazalian, Attasian Vision by Adi Setia

Adi Setia is Assistant Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, Department of General Studies, International Islamic University Malaysia. Shared with permission from the author.

Download: Kalam Jadid, Islamization and Worldview of Islam

Kalam Jadid Islamization & Worldview of Islam by Adi Setia

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus Videos from SoCal Tour

Shaykh Yahya Videos from SoCal Tour

Last month, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus visited four cities on the SeekersGuidance SoCal tour.

In L.A, Shaykh Yahya delivered the khutbah at UCLA, you can watch the video here


Later, during a lecture on Connecting with Allah in College, Shaykh Yahya discussed Imam Al-Ghazali’s hierarchy of desire. He explained that the human being, at successive stages in his life, has various desires which form within him, the fourth and strongest being the desire to know. Like the other three, we have to have a balanced perspective on how we seek what we know and what we do with what we know.

Answering a UCLA student’s question about prioritizing, Shaykh Yahya explains that it’s about the golden principle of balance, and explains that “you have to be gentle in your times of seriousness and you have to be serious in your times of gentleness”.

Watch the recorded video here


Over 200 people came out for the Fajr time event in Orange County.
Listen to the recording of the talk here.

These events were powered by Knowledge without Barriers.

Registration is open for the Spring 2012 semester. Through Knowledge Without Barriers, SeekersGuidance has made all of its courses and educational services completely free.

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

 

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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.