Humanity Before Religiosity, a series by Habib Ali al-Jifri (English subtitles)

Habib Ali al-Jifri’s Ramadan program Humanity Before Religiosity has been translated into English and Sign Language. SeekersHub will feature each new episode on this page.

Our sincere thanks to Habib Ali’s team, particularly those who manage his YouTube channel and his Facebook page, for making this wonderful resource available to us, Alhamdulillah.

Episode 18: Dealing with Non-Muslims

Episode 17: Citizenship and Rights

Episode 16: When Religion is Violated

Episode 15: Sexual Identity

Episode 14: How to Deal With Wrongdoers

Episode 13: Forgiveness and Pardon

Episode 12: Chanelling youthful passion (part II)

Episode 11: Channeling youthful passion

Episode 10: A Humane Approach to Dealing With Transgressions

Episode 9: “Al-Walaa Wa-l Bara’a” – Is It From Islam?

Episode 8: The Impact of God’s love and the Prophet Muhammad’s love

Episode 7: How Love Affects Humanity

Episode 6: On Human Rights

Episode 5: Ethics and values

Episode 4: Striking the right balance

Episode 3: The Different Types of Desires in Humans

Episode 2: What is Humanity?

Episode 1: The Vessel of Religiosity

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Intentions for Ramadan – Habib Ali al-Jifri

Intentions for Ramadan

1. We intend to fast all the days of this month, beginning from the first night of its inception, and intend to renew this intention every day before sunrise (fajr).
2. We intend: to expose ourselves to Allah’s spiritual breezes (nafahat); a sincere repentance, by having regret for what may have transpired from us, leaving sinful and disliked actions, and having resolve to never return to them; to return people’s rights or dues and if unable, then seek their pardon; to persist in renewing one’s repentance after every sin.
3. We intent to recite Qu’ran in a state of majesty and exhalation towards it’s words, and attain an opening in it from Allah.
4. We intend to call to Allah through good behaviour and virtuous character, particularly when quarrels and arguments might take place during the fast.
5. We intend from the beginning that it be a month of nearness to Allah through mastering our works and actions.
6. We intend to spend the nights of this month in righteous works and take benefit in the Night of Immense Worth (Laylat al-Qadr).
7. We intend to rectify the state of our hearts so they be better after Ramadan than they were before it. We intend to remain in a continuous state of upward spiritual ascent until out meeting with Allah is that of those who are loved.
habib_ali_intentions_for_ramadanScreen Shot 2014-07-20 at 11.58.58 pm
Taken from Habib Ali’s English language facebook page, here.
More from Habib Ali al-Jifri:
Video: The Way of Mercy

Our Condition Today: the Disease and the Remedy – Habib Ali al-Jifri

Reposted, with thanks via Habib Ali’s website here.
The Root Diseases of the Ummah, their effects and their remedies according to Prophetic Teachings
We live in a time of struggle. Things happen fast and one event quickly follows another. This leads to an imbalance, impairs people’s judgement and clouds their vision. People are in dire need of some quiet time in which to stop and reflect. They may then attain a moment of truthfulness and Allah will in turn bless him with some insight.
Away from the noise and the disputes, someone who reflects will find that the calamities of the Arab world can be attributed to three diseases.
1. Sectarianism (For example: Sunni versus Shia, Christian versus Muslim)
The roots of this disease lie in what our the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ called: “The disease of nations.” He said: “The disease of previous nations has crept up upon you: envy and hatred. Truly, hatred is a razor: it shaves away not a person’s hair, but their religion.”
The remedy lies in spreading peace and love, as mentioned at the end of the same hadith: “I swear by the One in Whose hand my soul lies, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not inform you of something which enables you to attain this? Spread peace among yourselves.” (Narrated by Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Abu Ya’la)
2. Racism (Arab versus Persian, Kurd versus Turk, white versus black)
The roots of this disease lie in what the Prophet ﷺ called: “The rallying cry of the Age of Ignorance.” A dispute took place between some of the Emigrants (Muhajirun) and the Helpers (Ansar) and each side called for support from their respective group. Another dispute took place between members the Aws and the Khazraj, the two tribes which made up the Helpers and each side called for support from their respective tribe. The Prophet said ﷺ: “Is this the rallying cry of the Age of Ignorance while I am amongst you? Leave this, for it is repulsive!” (Bukhari)
Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I once traded insults with a man. I insulted him by mentioning his mother, who was not an Arab. He complained about this to the Messenger of Allah. He said ﷺ: ‘O Abu Dharr, you are someone who still possesses some of the qualities of the Age of Ignorance!’” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Imam Ibn Hajr and Imam al-Nawawi mention that the man who Abu Dharr insulted was the Companion Bilal bin Rabah. His mother’s name was Hamamah and she was Nubian.
The remedy is in making God-consciousness (taqwa) the criterion in judging a person’s merit. The Prophet ﷺ said: “An Arab only has merit over a non-Arab through taqwa.” (Grading: sahih. Found in Ahmad and others)
3. The relentless pursuit of worldly things (i.e. wealth, power, dominance over others)
The roots of this lie in what our Master ﷺ called feebleness (wahn). He said: “Allah will surely cast feebleness into your hearts.” Someone asked: “What is feebleness?” “Love of worldly things and hatred of death,” he replied. (Grading: sahib. Found in Abu Dawud)
The Prophet ﷺ also said: “This material world is sweet and lush and Allah is placing you in it to see how you act. So beware of the material world.” (Muslim)
The Prophet ﷺ said: “I swear by Allah that I do not fear that you will commit polytheism after I have gone. I fear rather that you will compete over it [the material world].” (Bukhari)
The Prophet ﷺ also said: “I swear by Allah that I do not fear poverty for you. I fear rather that the material world will be opened up to you as it was opened up to those before you and that you compete over it as they competed over it and it destroys you as it destroyed them.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ warned us about what these sicknesses will lead to:
1. Tribulations
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Rush to perform good works before tribulations come like part of a dark night. A man will be a believer in the morning and become a disbeliever by the evening or he will be a believer in the evening and will become a disbeliever by the morning. He will sell his religion for some small worldly gain.” (Muslim)
2. Widespread killing
The Prophet ﷺ said: “I swear by the One in Whose hand my soul lies, the world will not end before people experience a time in which the killer will not know why he killed and the person killed will not know why he was killed.” Someone asked: “How will that be?” He said: “There will be killing: both the killer and the person killed will end up in the Fire.” (Muslim)
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Just before the last hour there will be killing. You will not be killing polytheists but rather you will be killing each other, to the point where a man will kill his neighbour, his brother, his uncle or his cousin.” The companions asked: “Will we still possess our intellects at that time?” He said: “The intellects of the people of that time will be removed. All that will remain will be the dregs of society. Most of them will believe that they are fighting for a cause but in reality have no cause [to fight for].” (Grading: sahih, in Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Abi-Shayba)
3. Conspiring of Others against Muslims
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Other nations will soon summon one another to attack you just as people invite others to share their dish.” Someone asked: “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied: “No, you will be numerous at that time, but you will be like particles of waste that are seen upon a torrent. Allah will remove fear of you from the hearts of your enemy and cast feebleness into your hearts.” Someone asked: “What is feebleness, O Messenger of Allah?” “Love of worldly things and hatred of death,” he replied. (Grading: sahih, in Abu Dawud)
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ informed us that the roots of these calamities lie in diseases in the souls of individuals. The severe consequences of these diseases are like branches which spring forth from these roots. May Allah cure the Ummah of these diseases.
Allah Himself alludes to this in the Qur’an in Surat al-Shams. Firstly, He swears by things which have an effect upon our cosmos: the sun, the moon, the day, the night, the heavens and the earth, then He swears by the human soul as if to say that this too is one of the forces that has an influence in our lives. In the response to these oaths ‘success’ and ‘failure’ are made dependent upon how man deals with his own soul. Allah says: Truly he who purifies it, succeeds, and he who corrupts it, fails.
The Quranic remedy and solution to these calamities is purification of the soul. What we need today is the courage to confront this reality. We must not allow our lower selves which command us to commit evil to make light of this reality. We must not let ourselves flee from confronting it under the pretext of being too preoccupied with solving the seemingly greater problems of the ummah.
May Allah implant taqwa in our souls and purify them; He is the best able to purify them and He is the soul’s Guardian and Master, the Possessor of Majesty and Generosity.

Qualities & Characteristics of the Caller to God by Habib Ali al-Jifri

Linked from Habib Ali’s website:  Click here 
The Beginnings of Success
The relationship one has with their self and the ties they have with others should be established on the account that there will be an attendance before God on the final day; when all of creation will be in a state of despair and desperation. 1
Muslims testify that everything in existence maintains a perpetual state of remembering God. It is God Himself who mentions in the Quran that “There is nothing in existence except that it glorifies Him2 Just as we cannot cognise how inanimate objects glorify God, if we suffice ourselves with only our tongues glorifying Him and our spiritual states remain empty, inanimate objects won’t understand how we don’t glorify Him either.3
God says in the Quran, “And We wanted to reveal our favours upon those who are meek on the Earth, and make them leaders.”4  If you see impotence and weakness manifest intensely in a people who are recipients of a divine message, then know that it is the beginning of them having leadership (imama) conferred upon them. Before this authority is conferred outwardly it manifests evidently to the senses; it is seen, it is heard, it is felt. It resides in the heart and begins with subtle meanings that are implanted in the inward beings of people who have been appointed by God for it. God chooses the people who take charge of this responsibility, whom He described in His book as “A people who God loves and they love Him; gentle towards the believers and strong before those who disbelieve.5 This is their state whether they are in conflict or otherwise. It resides in their hearts and does not change even when they have no choice to resolve a conflict except by armed means. God mentions “It has been prescribed for you that you must fight even though you may hate it.”6 Their hate to go into conflict and fight is an attribute of their inward state. 7
We read in history that a victory was held back for an army who had Umar b. al-Khattab amongst its ranks for the reason that members of the army had neglected the customary practice (sunna) of using the siwak. How much of the community lie? How many betray one another? How many steal? How many are content with retreating at night and they are consumed with hatred and rancour for others? How many retreat at night and they feel a sense of superiority over others? Who take themselves to have better understandings than others and a loftier rank, thinking that they will be saved and everyone else is doomed. How many think in that state?8
The Power of Truth
A battle always has two sides: a side that thinks they have a right to might, a right to exert power; and a side that sees that their right is truth itself. Those from the first side see that as long as power is in their hands they possess all the rights, while the other side sees that their strength and their power lies in their standing with the truth. The world which we occupy is a stage for this battle, and it is the custom of God that those who side with the truth and see their right as truth itself, it is them upon whom God will confer custodianship of this Earth. 9
If a Muslim thinks like the one who has aggressed upon him, what is then the difference between them? How can he await success from God? God’s success is bestowed upon those who side with the truth, uphold it and remain steadfast with it. His way is not given success through violating His law. Remaining in adherence to these principles in our day and age is a jihad10
Once the companion Imam Ali b. Abu Talib, may God be pleased with him, was fighting against someone who transgressed against him. At the moment when he overcame his opponent and was about to strike him, the man spat in his face. Imam Ali paused momentarily and then walked away from the situation; he did not do anything to his opponent. When he was asked why he said “Up until the point he spat in my face I was fighting him for the sake of God. When he spat I feared that I would kill him out of anger and selfishness for what he had done to me.” Every action that is performed to help the oppressed and rectify injustice should proceed from this principle: walk on the part of truth by the truth itself. We should observe ourselves with deep insight and check ourselves and see if we are doing this for the sake of making the truth a victor or whether we’re doing this for the fervour of ignorance (jahiliya).11
By the degree that the hearts are made receptive to receive from the heart of the Messenger of God, upon him be peace, and from his characteristics, God will elect victors of the truth on the Earth. If wrongdoers inflict defeat temporarily in one’s wealth, person, and possessions, the day should never come when they defeat one in the heart, because the hope for giving victory to the truth, possessions and one’s honour begins in the heart. They must let God succeed in the heart, and if He does He will elect them to give success to truth on Earth.12
Divine Election 
Divine election, from its outset, is an affair of the unseen. However it has hallmarks, and these ultimately rest in one’s heart. To know if God has elected one, just as He chose His beloved ones , one need only to look towards the heart. Does the idea of being divinely chosen for good works resonate? Does the heart incline towards those whom God has chosen? Is the heart avid in desiring this rank from God? If these subtle signs or even some of them are discovered, then this is the beginning of the process. The Arabs say, birds of a feather flock together, so if the heart is moved at the mention of those who have been graced with being divinely chosen, then it is a sign that you are one of those people.
One of the companions came to the messenger of God, upon him be peace, and said, “I travelled through the day and night and I am filled with thirst and my mount is tired and fatigued, and it was just because I wanted to reach you before you leave this world to ask you a question.” The Prophet asked him, “What is it that you want to ask me about?” He replied, “My question is, what is the sign of those whom God chooses, and what is the sign of those whom God does not choose?” So the Prophet asked him, “In what state did you awake this morning?” Note here that the man asked about divine election and the Prophet asked him what his state was. He said, “I awoke this morning loving goodness, and joyous with any goodness I do, and saddened by any goodness that I missed….” “Enough,” said the Prophet, “these are the signs of God in those whom he chooses. If He wanted you for something else he would have prepared you for it.13 Therefore, you doing the actions which prepare you for being chosen by God are like a herald to tell your heart that God is saying to you “Come”.
Possessing a love of those whom God has chosen is a sign of being divinely chosen for the Prophet Mohammad said “A person is with the one whom they love.14 15

1 (1) Manchester 2001
2 Chapter “Al-Isra”, verse 44.
3 (12) London 2008.
4 Chapter “Al-Qisas”, verse 5.
5 Quran: Chapter: al-Ma’ida, verse 54
6 Quran: Chapter: al-Baqara, verse 216
7 (13) London 2009
8 Ibid
9 Ibid
10 Ibid
11 Ibid
12 Ibid
13 Hadith: in al-Mu’jam al-Kabir of al-Tabrani, 10/249:10312
14 Hadith: in Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Etiquette (Adab), Chapter: Signs of the Love of God, 8/39:6169 & 8/40:6167, and also in Sahih al-Muslim, The Book of Righteousness and Etiquette (al-Birr wal-Sila wal-Aadab), Chapter: A person is with the one whom they love, 4/2032:2639 & 4/2034:2640.
15 (15) London 2008

Seek, Act and Strive – Advice from Habib Ali Al-Jifri for Seekers of Knowledge

“The blessing that Allah Most High has sent to you all (SeekersHub Global students) is an immense one – that He created for you those whom you can take sacred knowledge from through a continuous chain of narration so that you are confident of its authenticity. With respect to its transmission– its understanding, and its ability to purify the soul, with excellent delivery, coordination, organization, and gradualness in learning– Through the hearts of those teachers, some whom I know many good things of from their inner purity and their love to do good.
And for this I ask Allah, mighty and majestic to make hearts feel the meaning of truly beholding this favour of Allah, how he placed this favour in a certain time and place in which it is perhaps difficult to otherwise enjoy this opportunity to learn.
1-habib_aliFirst Advice
The first possible thing that a seeker of knowledge should begin with in this situation of learning and discipleship is to strive to feel the immense bounty, to behold the immense bounty of Allah Mighty and Majestic to extoll his immense bounty. You should extract the essence of praise and thankfulness, from within the heart, with verbal praise and an active thankfulness. Verbal praise being the glorification of Allah and be continuous in the glorification of Allah. And show thankfulness for the fact that He allowed us to praise him.
Active thankfulness is by taking advantage of the opportunity that exists in a place like (SeekersHub Global)
Allah says “If you show thankfulness, then we will certainly give increase to you.”
So from the tools, or, from the important things one can do to protect this blessing, is that the servant who has been blessed should act according to the gratitude due, to the extent of their ability. And from the active thankfulness that is due in this situation is to have high aspiration.
Aspire to organize oneself for real commitment, then value the time that has been spent for the sake of the student. The Shaykh or the teacher that teaches you has sacrificed a great deal of time in the preparation of each lesson, in making the lesson ready, then in teaching that lesson, then in the research put into this lesson for your sake… this time is precious because the most valuable thing the scholars have is their time. So if they put in all this time for your sake, then it is befitting that you show thanks to Allah in a proactive way and realize the value of this time and prepare in advance of each lesson and do extra readings before each lesson then after that, when you attend the lesson, our entire being should listen attentively. You should have complete focus while keeping the correct intention for this act at the forefront of your mind.
Then after each lesson, go back and memorize and review. Make sure you’ve understood everything correctly, verify what you’ve understood from the explanation if you aren’t sure that you’ve understood anything correctly. And acting upon that knowledge, which is the second point.
Be actively thankful:
1. Give thanks to Allah proactively
2. Prepare for your classes in advance
3. Do extra reading before each lesson
4. Do extra reading after each lesson
5. Listen attentively
6. Focus
7. Correct intention in the forefront of your mind

The Second Advice
The first point was approaching learning properly, with the tools of learning. Now the second point is to act upon what you learn.
Our teacher used to say to us, “Knowledge calls out to action, if action will respond to it, and if not, then knowledge leaves.” So the memorization of knowledge, or preserving it in the soul of the seeker of knowledge after correcting ones intention, is pledged upon by acting on that knowledge.
To be keen on acting on what you learn, then, be keen on teaching others. Those people who have children or a wife, or a husband, or they have friends or siblings at home. Or whoever is around them. Every one of you should be keen that when you learn a single point, that you should teach it.
“The best amongst you are those who learned the Qur’an, and then teach it.” (Hadith) Then bring forth, from Allah Mighty and Majestic, the essence of connectedness to the prophetic Muhammadan standard of noble character. This knowledge is the knowledge of the True way, the knowledge of Islam. It is a great light. It is not just the letters read in the books and memorized and explained.
These letters are but forms, but these forms have no intrinsic value, they are dead, when no light is put into them, if no spirit is breathed into them. And its spirit is the fruit of genuineness in acting upon it and adorning oneself with the prophetic character traits when you act upon it.
Knowledge into action:
1. Act
2. Teach
3. Live the Prophetic Standard

Further Advice
Instill brotherhood between yourselves; do not become busied when you interact with one another, by other than the matter for which you all originally came for. Live the prophetic manner in your interactions; between the young men amongst each other, and the young women amongst each other, and between the man and woman. It is important for each person in ensure that they see everyone else as though they are their brothers and sisters. And that it is a duty to be concerned for them, and to be protective of them and to watch over them and to pray for them, and feel for them, for their problems, for what happens in their lives and to extend a helping hand in a way that is appropriate.
If anyone is in need of help, he should be supported. You should feel as though you are one body, the likeness of the believers in their affection for each other, and mercy for each other, and feelings for each other is like a single body. If a single limb complains, the rest of the body expresses fever and sleeplessness. This is what the beloved (upon him be peace) said.
Knowledge is the inheritance of our master Muhammed (Upon him be peace)
Also, each seeker of knowledge amongst you all should strive to have the understanding, the experiencing and realizing of what? Of the fact this this knowledge is the inheritance of our master Muhammed (upon him be peace) and the transfer of inheritance is always according to the relationship with the one who it is inherited from. It is not possible for anyone to inherit from another person if there is no relationship between them. So there should be a strong relationship of the heart between every one of you and the Beloved Prophet (upon him be peace) to the utmost extent possible. Established through love, attachment, and sending plenty of prayers upon him. Be guided by his guidance and hold steadfast to his Sunnah (life example). And to look at all of creation the way he looked at it – with the eye of mercy. Mercy for the lover, and the hater, for the one who does good, for the one who does bad, for the one who is friendly, and for the one who is hostile. Think the best of those who are around you. This is strength that is supported by him to the extent of the connection and love for his noble person. For truly these are key, if only you grasp them, the realities of knowledge would become manifest to you and the fruits of knowledge and Allah Most High’s benefiting you.
I ask Allah, for myself, and for you all, for perfect divinely-gifted ability.
Indeed His is One who is the one takes care of that, and is All Able to grant it.
May the peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammed, and his family and companions.
And all praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds of being.”

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