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Grateful Servants of God – Radical Gratitude Series

What is true gratitude, and how can it make a difference in our lives? In this segment, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin explains how having gratitude can positively affect our lives.

It’s important for us to understand gratitude and cultivate it into our hearts, so that we can draw closer to Allah. Imam al-Haddad said that one the main kinds of reflection that we should do, is to reflect on Allah’s blessings, and its fruit is love of Allah. Therefore, gratitude is a direct route to drawing closer to Allah.

With a lot of focus on mental health today, many psychologists are trying to see how gratitude can help us. A psychiatrist told Ustadh Amjad that most of mental illness today is a reaction to the toxicity in the world today, not a sickness.

As Muslims we have a responsibility, first to rectify our own states with Allah, and then to help others in need. Many people are searching for what we Muslims have already been taught by our Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Benefits of Gratitude

One of the many benefits of gratitude, is stronger relationships. One of the largest indicators of happiness is the quality of relationships; family, friends, etc. The Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Whoever does not thank people, has not thanked Allah.”

Grateful people are also known to have better physical and mental health. Studies have shown that grateful people had fewer aches and pains, and felt happier, had less depression and aggression, and more empathy. In fact, the Applied Psychology reported in 2012 that writing in a gratitude journal improved the quality of sleep.

A Deep Connection

More than ever, what we really need is a deep connection to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. As people, we need someone to help us make sense of everything. The world is confusing and challenging, and we need someone to trust. Sometimes we give people more trust than they deserve, and get hurt when they break our trust. But if we connect to the Prophet, he will never disappoint us. He is above and beyond any life coach, mentor or adviser.  His advice will always be the best, as “His character was the Qur’an.” Connecting to him will give us the strength and meaning to continue.

Having gratitude can also lead to an increase and a protecting from deprivation.  Allah says, “If you are grateful for my blessings, I will grant you increase.” (Surah Ibrahim 14.7) The scholar Habib Abu Bakr bin Salim, who used to give away a thousand loaves of bread every day in charity, was once presented with a small gift of wheat. He profusely thanked the woman who had brought it, then said, “Those who are not grateful for small things, are deprived of big things.”


Exploring Tawhid: Islam as a Universal Civilization

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks reflects on the profound meanings and realities of the concept of tawhid, beginning with the words: La ilaha illa Allah.

The defining statement of Islam “La ilaha illa Allah” (there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah), captures the inherent civilization of oneness and unicity upon which Islam is built. This unicity is accompanied with a sense of the sacred ontology of spirituality; that is, the very nature of our reality and our being – when viewed through the lens of tawhid – is that our essence is sacred. It mirrors tawhid. One of our shortcomings is that we have externalized spirituality and abandoned its internalization. There is therefore a dire need to re-inject Islam with this awareness of inner spirituality – a need that demands the re-exploration of the very notion of tawhid.

Allah says:

The one who has indeed succeeded is the one who purifies himself, remembers his Lord and prays. But you prefer the worldly life, while the Hereafter is better and more enduring. Indeed, this is in the former scriptures, the scriptures of Abraham and Moses. (Sura al-A‘la 87:14-19)

The Qur’an promotes purification and tazkiya (cleansing) of the self through dhikr (spiritual remembrance) and du’a (invocation), and states categorically that the Akhira (the afterlife) is better for us than the Dunya (material existence). Yet we as human beings have come to prefer and prioritize the Dunya – some to the point of abandoning the Akhira altogether. The Qur’an then reinforces the universality of this message by stating that it is one that has been confirmed in the earlier scriptures.

However, the “self-image” of the Qur’an is highly pragmatic in that it deals with realities, emotions, people and communities. It recognizes the palpable context of the Dunya – whilst the message is clear that the Akhira is better, it does not condemn the Dunya. On the contrary, it views our earthly existence as a “Dar al-Balah” – as an abode of trials in which we will be tested.

Furthermore, Allah declares:

He who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving. (Sura al Mulk 67:2)

The sequence of this verse (ayat) places “death” before “life”, reminding us firstly that death is both a creation of Allah and a transition to the next life, and not merely a lifeless condition of absolute nothingness. But in its pragmatism, the Qur’an also reminds us of our earthly responsibilities:

Do not forget your portion in the Dunya. (Sura al-Qasas 28:77)

And thus we recognize the profoundness of one of our most oft-repeated supplications:

Our Lord, grant us the best of this Dunya [world] and the best of the Akhira [the hereafter]. (Sura al-Baqara 2:201)

It is in this reflective state of the believers, who ask and seek for the best of both “worlds”, that we find ourselves as an “ummatan wasatan”, a balanced community … a community dynamically located in this world but with a supremacy of focus on the world to come. In this regard, all of us, as men and as women, have two roles to play: that of Ubudiyyah (being the bondsmen of Allah) and that of Khilafa (being representatives/vicegerents of Allah) in this world.

Wasatiyyah thus becomes a balancing act between these two functions, because if we prioritize our Khilafa and forget that we are the servants of Allah, we may become tyrannical. On the other hand, if we immerse ourselves only in Ubudiyyah, then we forget our social responsibilities towards our communities; or even collapse into form of servility unbecoming of our dignity as human beings. To embody these two roles and become communities of equilibrium and justice, we must locate ourselves within a spirituo-moral locus of Islam as a “Way of Being” before our conception of it as “a Way of Life” – which is a somewhat externalised way of viewing and practising the Deen (Religion as a “way of being” and “becoming” in consonance with the Divine Principle of tawhid). As a ‘Way of Being’, it presents us with the potential to change and to transform internally. This perspective finds a powerful resonance within the Qur’an where it states:

Allah will not change the external conditions of a people until they change that which is within themselves. (Sura al-Ra‘ad 13:11)

We often focus excessively on changing the conditions outside of ourselves – and those of others. Immersed in our dunyawi (worldly) delusions, we have externalized and exteriorized change and transformation to our detriment. This attitude constitutes the “heart” of self-righteousness. And so it is that we fail to realize that it is only when we change that which resides within ourselves – within the very core of our hearts and minds and souls – that Allah will change our external conditions and allow us to be the vessels of that social change.

Further emphasizing the importance of our internal realities, Allah says:

Soon will We show them our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. (Sura al-Fussilat 41:53)

We will only be able to read these ayaat ­- these symbols and signs of Allah – through the process of tazkiyatu n–nafs (purification of the Self). Attempting to recognize and understand the signs and symbols of Allah is what forms the foundation of interacting with the Divine – it is what links us with spirituality. Herein lays our “identity” as Muslims. Ours is an internal, spiritually focussed and centred identity. “Identity” in Islamic Spirituality encompasses an ontology of being. It is an existential condition. To fully realise this demands a number of things: that we interrogate ourselves both spiritually and ethically; that we reflect upon and modify our conduct and comportment where necessary; and that we ask ourselves to what degree we are prepared to undergo the requisite transformation. From this point of departure, we may trace the trajectory of our Islamic “identity” along the oft-mentioned triad of the Nafs: from the Nafs al–Ammarah Bi s-Su’ (the Inciting Self) through the Nafs al-Lawwama (the Reproachful Self) to the Nafs al-Mutma’inna (Tranquil self/self at rest). It is only after we have cultivated the ability to objectively criticize ourselves (the Lawwama of the Self) that we are able to attain that serenity and inner peace – that Itmi’nan. Without this tranquillity there can be no peace between ourselves and Allah, ourselves and creation, or that sublime condition of inner peace.

It is therefore necessary that we ask ourselves important questions about the state of our Islamic education – referenced in Arabic as Tarbiyyah (to nurture, enrich, refine and cultivate). It is imperative, too, that we identify the points of reference for such a process. How – in more specific terms – and in a holistic manner, we are able to connect the idea of tawhid with Islam as a universal Din. Allah says,

The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will). (Sura Aal Imran 3:19)

How do we translate this into our educational models. What are the principles that underlie our educational processes?

There are three important aspects to consider:

The individual – how, for example, are individuals and individuality constituted?
Society – how do we understand the histories, the values and the norms of societies?
The content of reality – namely, its relation to both the material and spiritual contexts?

Moreover, and on the one hand, the tensions that may arise between “individuality” and “individualism” (particularly as they are often-times embraced in the contemporary world as ruthless and necessary forms of competitiveness – the corporate world providing just one of the spaces for some of its worst manifestations), and our notions of “collectivity” on the other, need to be urgently addressed. These tensions are fraught with the potential to lead to unrest and wars.

With a view to more fully grasping these complexities we need to understand that the aims and purposes (maqasid) of education are both intrinsically and intimately linked to our ultimate convictions.

We, as Muslims, need to ask ourselves and critically examine what our ultimate convictions are about human nature and society. What Quranic or Sunnic template do we need to foreground in order to express and actualize those ultimate convictions? Again it needs to be re-emphasized that as Muslims we are governed by spirituo-ethical values. These values form the foundation of the concept of adab (right and fair conduct – or virtuosity) and is far more important than ilm (knowledge), without diminishing the exalted station of knowledge in Islam in any way. As the Arabic proverb goes, “al–adab fawq al-ilm”, (adab is above knowledge), because without good conduct and virtuosity, knowledge reduces to mere information. One can be a tyrant and yet be the most learned and informed of people.

We come to realize that Islam is thus based on unity of knowledge and servitude to Allah through service to the creation, as well as the centrality of revelation, because we view the cosmos itself as reflective and symbolic of higher realities.

Islam and tawhid as our aqidah (belief and theological system), are thus synthetic in nature. It is an approach that builds towards a dynamic and regenerative concept of unity (as opposed to being merely deconstructive or reductionist). It continuously strives to inform us of the interconnectedness and wholeness of all things, of the intimacy and meaningfulness of the created order, so that we can transform both ourselves and the world within which we live. This we cannot do without the characteristics of justice, fairness and equality (for example, between males and females). In addition, if we cannot do justice to ourselves how can we do justice to others? If we cannot forgive, how can we expect to be forgiven; if we show no mercy, how can we expect mercy to be shown to us; if we cannot love, how can we expect to be loved? Even more so, the blameworthy attribute “malicious envy” (hasad), for example, is not condemned so much for the pain it causes others, but for its horrific potential to bring spiritual ruin and destruction upon the soul guilty of such envy. Allah cares for all His creation! Said the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him:

Malicious envy (hasad) destroys the goodness (hasanaat) in us in as much as fire devours wood. (Abu Dawud: Hadith 2653).

There ought to be, therefore, several natural consequences for societies who embrace and build themselves on tawhid:

1. Tawhid forces us to embrace and look to the essence of being human rather than the happenstances of our creation in which we played no part. It relegates race, ethnicity, nationality, gender and language – those things for which we are not responsible and have not come by way of acquisition. If we really internalize tawhid, it marginalizes secondary qualities and forces us to recognize the essentials of our existence and obliterate the contingencies.

2. Tawhid engenders love and mutual respect; it urges us to respect all human beings, to argue in the best of ways, and to invite to the way of Allah in the most excellent manner and with wisdom. The Quran is emphatic about this.

3. Tawhid demands from us that we both verify and establish truth. Whenever we view tawhid as an Ultimate Truth, everyday truthfulness becomes symbolic of this higher truth.) This matter of faithfulness to the truth plagues us as an ummah (community of believers). Allah says,

O you who believe! if an evil-doer comes to you with information, then first verify it, lest you harm a people in ignorance. (Sura al-Hujarat 49:6)

This is a Divine imperative, and so if we embrace tawhid we will not be easy victims of falsehood and malicious speculation; and herein lies the safeguards and protection for societies and communities that have the potential to be both wholesome and fructifying.

4. Maintaining purity and clemency in our societies – without clemency we can never establish truth and justice. Only when we internalize kindness, compassion and generosity, will we naturally strive to free ourselves from fitnah, scandals, divisiveness and arrogance. Also included here is the elimination of poverty, as poverty militates against the stability and unicity of our societies, so we should strive to empower the incapacitated and disadvantaged.

5. Respecting the freedom and the dignity of all human beings, including both personal and intellectual freedoms.

6. Implementing consultation (shura), co-operation and mutual assistance.

7. Striving for justice that is vitally alive in valuing both the rights of Allah and the rights of people and the rights owing to ourselves.

Without understanding the inherent diversity that goes along with tawhid, our aqidah becomes another form of totalitarianism and tyranny. Even those people who call themselves “muwahidun” (proponents of the Oneness of Allah) have failed to embrace the importance of diversity.

Allah says,

O humakind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may come to know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah are those of you with taqwa. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Sura al-Hujarat 49:13)

We need to realize that in this context Allah speaks to “humankind” and not just “believers”. That which are ultimately important are not the properties with which we are born and in which we have had no hand, but what we acquire (as mentioned earlier). The best of us and most honored of us therefore – and according to the Quran – are those who have taqwa. Taqwa is that form of higher consciousness of Allah that enables us to become both “personifications” of the highest values enunciated by the Qur’an and representatives of the most endearing qualities of Prophethood.

The most worthy qualities are those which we can acquire, not those which are the accidents of our creation (like the colors of our skins, languages, gender or nationalities). Taqwa is eminently attainable and open to all, from the poorest to the richest – it a kind of spiritual democracy, which, when we align ourselves with tawhid – we may discover and realise within ourselves that spiritual station of becoming muttaqin.

However, we cannot achieve this if we cannot embrace and live with diversity. Taqwa is available to those who are able to both live with and be enriched by diversity. Only in this way can we become the vehicles of tawhid, and hopefully align ourselves with the Will of Allah, the Most High. Unrealized (including crass modes of literalism) and superficial understandings avail nought, no matter how stringently we enact the externals of our ‘ibadah. If we cannot embrace diversity, we cannot fulfil our roles as khulafa and be true practitioners of tawhid. Says Allah, the Most High,

Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky? With it We then bring forth produce of various colors. And among the mountains are tracts white and red, of various hues, and (others) raven-black. And so amongst people, and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors. Those truly fear Allah among His servants who have knowledge, for Allah is exalted in Might, oft forgiving. (Sura al-Fajr 35:27-8)

And yet again,

And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours. Indeed herein are signs for those who have knowledge. (Sura al-Rum 30:22)

Islam is the last of the Revealed Faiths. If we cannot see beyond the walls of our ghettoized cultures; if we cannot see beyond our dress codes (which in essence form a part of the beauty within a ubiquitous diversity). If we cannot see beyond our stubborn social codes (particularly the gendered ones). If we cannot see beyond the many fossilized features of our increasingly regressive religious mindscapes, then we call a lie upon our claim to have embraced the liberating beauty of Islamic universality. We would have called a lie upon our much-professed tawhid that constitutes that axis of Divine unicity around which the many-hued and kaleidoscopic beauty of Allah’s Creation rotates. And we would have called a lie upon ourselves in the face of the verse in the Quran,

And we shall reveal to them our Signs along the horizons and within their own souls until it becomes manifest to them that He is the Truth. (Sura al-Fussilat 41:53)

From the distant edges of our visual perceptions to the very core of our souls, we are called upon to bear witness to the wondrous nature of tawhid encapsulated within the equally wondrous nature of multiplicity. Islam is a universal civilization of Oneness within a universe of diversity. To those who reject or scorn this we say, as the Quran does:

To you your Way and Religion and to me mine. (Sura al-Kafirun 109: 6)

What more need be said?

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks

September 2014.


Adab 08: The Proprieties of Travel

Ustadh Tabraze Azam writes on the proprieties of travel and how one can make even a simple journey an act of true worship.

True, meaningful journeying is found in spiritual wayfaring. In other words, the journey from sin and disobedience to righteous acts and godfearingness, from heedlessness to presence, from distance to proximity, and from everything which Allah hates to everything Allah loves. This is the kind of journey that we will be deeply grateful for when we cast a backwards glance, to here, from the next life. This life is a time of planting the seeds, and the next is when we’ll harvest. Allah Most High says, “It will be as if they had stayed in the world no more than one evening or its morning.” (Sura al-Nazi‘at 79:46)

If things seem bleak for us, then let us be optimistic, as was the prophetic sunna, and make a change for the better today. In an instant, the turmoil and degradation of life in disobedience can be transformed, by His Grace, into something tremendous and everlasting. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, as part of a lengthier tradition (hadith), “One of you would observe the works of the people of the Hellfire until there is only a cubit between him and it, but then the register would forestall him and he would perform an act of the people of Paradise and consequently enter it.” (Bukhari) Whoever strives for Allah will find Him before him, and whoever traverses an upright, trodden, prophetic path will find great blessing, or baraka, in his life journey.

Purpose in Journeys

In the famous tradition (hadith) of intention, the Blessed Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Whoever has migrated to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger. And whosoever has migrated to obtain worldly means or to marry a woman, his migration is for the sake of what he has migrated for.” (Bukhari) What we can learn from this tradition (hadith) is that travel should be to Allah, and by extension, His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace. This doesn’t mean travel only to Makka and Madina, but to travel with Lordly intent, direction and focus.

Realize that all travel is a reminder of the soul’s trajectory from this world to the next, and the successful person is the one who recognizes the need for His Lord, traverses the journey of his life for His Lord, and attains the Pleasure of his Lord for eternity. In deciding to journey, let the intention be clearly for Allah, and naturally, your spiritual compass will be facing the right direction as you proceed. As Ibn ‘Ata Illah al-Sakandari stated, “Whoever’s beginning is illumined, their ending is illumined.” (al-Hikam)

Religious Preparation

A consistent theme in prophetic practice was prayer before any meaningful matter, and travel, in this sense, is no different. It is reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, would regularly perform two cycles (rak‘as) before heading out on any journey. (Tabarani) Make it a point to renew your repentance, pay back anybody that’s owed anything from you and to leave sufficient food and money for your family, if required.

It would be from proper manners and due diligence to ensure that you pack everything you’ll need, both for your worldly and religious affairs. The former is straightforward for most, so let us concentrate on the latter. Thinking ahead would entail traveling with some kind of compass and prayer rug. Compasses are easily available on most handheld devices, but it’s useful to have a backup. Similarly, and depending on the nature of the journey, you should consider taking a smooth stone with you for the purposes of the dry ablution (tayammum). Razors, or anything similar which does the job, and nail clippers should also be carried with you as these are facilitators of personal hygiene, namely, something which is of religious significance.

The Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, encouraged us to leave a bequest or final testament. (Bukhari) This document should expressly state your desire to have your possessions distributed according to the Islamic laws of inheritance. If this document can also be officially recognized in your country of residence, you should take the means to make it as such, not merely for travel, but as a document which you have ready in the case of death. Moreover, you should include any debts owed, whether to other people, or to Allah Most High in the form of missed prayers, fasts and the like. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to make these matters up in your lifetime! Rather, it affirms your commitment to lift your dues, even in the case of death. The general rule is that you should make up anything which requires making up as soon as possible.

Setting Out: When and How

Our Master Ka‘b ibn Malik, may Allah be well-pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to “like setting out on Thursdays.” (Bukhari) And Sakhr ibn Wada‘a, may Allah be well-pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to supplicate by saying “O Allah, bless my community in their early mornings.” (Abu Dawud) From these and other traditions, the scholars explain that there is a secret of increase, or baraka, in setting out in the morning times, particularly on Thursdays. When this isn’t possible, some of the scholars recommend Mondays, then Saturdays – which has also been related, and then any other day (avoiding Fridays as much as possible).

In setting out, it is also from the sunna to bid farewell to family and loved ones in order to attain the blessings of their supplications for safety, facilitation and otherwise. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is reported to have bidden farewell by saying, “I entrust your affair to Allah who doesn’t allow his trusts to go to waste.” (Ibn Majah) Upon leaving, he, Allah bless him and give him peace, would often supplicate with the following: “Glory be to the One who has subjected these to us, for we could have never done so on our own. And surely to our Lord we will all return. O Allah, we ask You in this journey of ours for piety and godfearingness, and action which is pleasing to You. O Allah, make this journey of ours easy for us, and fold up its distance. O Allah, You are the Companion in the journey and the Protector of our family. O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the hardship of this journey, any sight which brings sorrow, and a harmful return in [our] wealth, family and children.” (Muslim)

It is also established to say the takbir (Allahu akbar) often, and to supplicate as much as you reasonably can as the supplication of a traveler is accepted. (Abu Dawud) For example, you could ask Allah to facilitate your purification and prayers, and not to reject even a single supplication on your journey. More often than not, reciting various remembrances (adhkar) and supplications in such a manner sets the tone for the remainder of the journey. Be the believer who thanks Allah sincerely for the blessings of facilitated travel.

Traveling in a Group and Appointing a Leader

One of the sunnas of travel is to choose righteous companions. The Blessed Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, cautioned against lone travel by saying, “If people knew what I know about the harms of being alone, no rider would travel alone through the night.” (Bukhari) Unsurprisingly, the point is about the harms of loneliness in travel, and issues of riding or otherwise, and doing so during the night, are secondary. What the scholars explain is that among the reasons for the interdiction of being alone is that you don’t have anybody to assist you in your affairs, particularly in the case of great harm or injury. Similarly, you cannot fulfill your religious duties fully, such as prayer in congregation, for example. Further, it is known that the devils come out at night, spreading their harm and whispers so it’s best to be with others in order to ward off such matters with greater strength. It’s a lot easier to fall into sin when nobody else is looking.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, also said, “If three people head out on a journey, let them appoint one of them as a leader.” (Abu Dawud) There is great, prophetic wisdom in this because travel is “a piece of torment,” namely, emotionally, psychologically and physically draining, and thus, it is far easier to fall into disagreement with others, get upset with people and to generally fall short in upholding noble character. When there is a chosen leader, ideally the person who is most senior in religiosity and most experienced in travel, then the others are bound to follow his decisions in matters related to travel. When that happens, there is less likely to be discord, or fitna, and any form of argumentation between the traveling companions.

Gracious character entails looking out for your fellow travelers, sharing with them what you have, spending on them – both financially and emotionally, preferring them to yourself, consulting with them, encouraging them to the good, smiling at them, assisting them, checking in on them once in a while, and supplicating for them.

Knowledge of Acts of Religious Devotion

It is important to recognize that different life circumstances have different rulings, and that “the strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer.” (Muslim) Strong believers put Allah first, learn what He has commanded and then strive to implement those Commands, and by extension, Prohibitions, as best they can wherever they find themselves. Although it’s not a condition to know all the details, the general rulings which pertain to your situation should be known as they fall under that which is personally obligatory knowledge or ‘ilm al-hal.

Accordingly, you should make it a point to ensure that you know well the rulings relating to the acts of religious devotion which are altered by travel. The most significant of these, because of its regularity, is the prayer. The basis is that the four cycle (rak‘a) obligatory prayer is shortened to two cycles (rak‘as), and the sunset prayer (maghrib) is left as it is. However, you don’t begin shortening until you have left the city limits, or if not designated, the customarily accepted boundaries of a particular town or city. In the same way, you are only legally considered to be a traveler (musafir) when you are staying somewhere for less than fifteen complete days. If you are staying longer, you’d pray as a resident prays, without shortening any prayers.

During the journey, you would pray the emphasized sunna prayers if you aren’t in an active state of travel. Active travel means that you are hurrying to get to a boarding gate, for example, or are doing something which requires your full attention. In our times, the matter of praying in travel is very much facilitated as you can pray voluntary prayers (except the sunna of fajr) in your seat, in the direction of travel, in almost any mode of transport. In doing so, you would pray with head movements, keeping your head upright for the standing position (qiyam), bending slightly for the bowing (ruku‘) and slightly more for the prostration (sujud). Praying in this manner on modes of transport is an established sunna of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.

As for fasting in Ramadan, it is superior to fast unless it will cause you hardship or difficulty. If you choose not to fast, then you must ensure that you have left your city limits by the entrance of dawn (fajr). In the case that you’re still in your hometown at this time, you’d need to fast that day.

Returning with Adab

The general sunna was to return home after the need had been fulfilled, and not to remain in a state of journeying and travel when there was no need for it. Abu Huraira, may Allah be well-pleased with him, reported that the Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said as part of a longer tradition (hadith), “So, when one of you fulfills his need, let him return to his family.” (Bukhari) Similarly, he, Allah bless him and give him peace, disliked for somebody to return home in the middle of the night lest he surprise his family in a manner which will cause him harm. Rather, his practice was to return in the morning or afternoon. (Bukhari) Of course, when you have no choice, or when you inform your family of your precise return, then there is no issue. Note that to return after having performed the ritual bath (ghusl) is also meritorious.

Another sunna was to recite the aforementioned supplication [of setting out] on return, with the additional phrase, “Returning, repenting, worshiping and praising our Lord.” Other traditions explain that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, would repeat this just before and until entering Madina, indicating the merit of expressing one’s gratitude for the blessing of returning home safely. The Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, would then proceed to pray two cycles (rak‘as) at the mosque before heading home. (Bukhari) This can be done at any mosque in your city, if reasonably possible without inconvenience and hardship. Otherwise, you can pray it at home in your designated prayer space (musalla) or anywhere else. Why? So that you begin and end your journey with worship and prayer; and secondarily, use it as an indication of a new point of departure in your spiritual life, seeking Allah at the very beginning and every point thereafter.

Great Journeys

Some of the scholars explain that there are some journeys which are truly worth making. From among them, the sacred pilgrimage for either Hajj or ‘umra. The former, especially, is an act of great virtue by which, according to tradition, a person is able to return “like the day his mother gave birth to him,” (Bukhari) namely, cleansed of the lowliness of sin and heedlessness.

In the same vein, great journeys include traveling to redress wrongs, to repay debts, to seek sacred knowledge which cannot otherwise be reasonably attained, to seek safety and protection from oppression and strife, to free oneself from the shackles of habit and sin, to take a break from the rigors of worship and to follow the Divine Command: “Travel throughout the land and see how He originated the creation, then Allah will bring it into being one more time. Surely Allah is Most Capable of everything.” (Sura al-‘Ankabut 29:20)

As for the tradition (hadith) of not journeying to other than the three sacred mosques (Bukhari), this means that you should not travel to pray in other than these mosques in light of their immense, established virtue. It does not mean that you shouldn’t travel at all except to travel to one of these mosques. This is what many scholars have explicitly explained, such as Munawi, Ghazali, Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Suyuti and others.

Finally, and just as we began, the greatest journey of all is the journey of your soul into eternity. As each moment passes, we’re all a single moment closer to leaving this worldly life. It is there, in the hereafter, that actions will take forms and provisions from this life will be required. Let each of us look well to their own lives and how much it corresponds to what Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, called us to. “Whoever finds great good, let him thank Allah. And whoever finds other than that, let him blame none other than himself.” (Muslim) A complete change of direction takes a single moment of sincere repentance, and in that moment, all sin and its traces can be completely wiped away. We ask Allah Most High to bless us with journeys He is eternally pleased with.

And Allah alone gives success.


Reflect on the Signs Around You – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this Friday khutba Shaykh Faraz begins by reminding the believers to appreciate the signs around one. There are verses about those signs that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would recite regularly upon waking for his night prayer.

“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the day and night there are signs for people of reason. ˹They are˺ those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth ˹and pray˺, “Our Lord! You have not created ˹all of˺ this without purpose. Glory be to You! Protect us from the torment of the Fire.”  [Sura al-Imran: 3:190-191]

All of Allah’s creating should remind one of The Creator. He is kind, caring, just, and all-knowing. One of the basic proofs of God is everything besides Allah is given to change. Anything given to change points to a creator. People of insight look at not just forms, but look at the reality of things. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was constantly in the remembrance of Allah. Make a habit to pause and look with the eye of reflection. The prophetic gaze was reflecting.

 

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The Reality of Gratitude – Radical Gratitude Series

What is true gratitude, and how can it make a difference in our lives? In this segment, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani helps us understand the reality of gratitude.

All Gratitude is for Allah

As Muslims, our perspective on gratitude is very different from the commonly accepted definition. We practice gratitude for every situation we come across, not just the ones that we enjoy. This has a radically transformation effect on our mental state, spiritual state, and standing with Allah. This is the reality of gratitude.

The word for gratitude in Arabic is shukr. It’s essential meaning comes from the word “increase,” which gives it the meaning of a response to something with increase. A shakira was a type of bush that would grow in very dry environments, and would produce a lot of vegetation despite the difficult circumstances. Camels and other animals were also referred to with that word, because of their ability to give much benefit despite the little they ate and drank.

Outwardly, gratitude is a spiritual act. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “Whoever is not grateful to people, is not grateful to Allah.” This teaches us that even our gratitude to others is a means of showing our gratitude to Allah, since ultimately all gratitude is for Allah.

Imam Ahmad Zarruq defined gratitude as, “the heart’s rejoicing at the Bestower of blessings, not merely the blessings. This is manifest on one’s limbs, such that one’s tongue actively praises Allah, and one’s limbs express good works and leave contraventions.”

This is why sometimes blessings can be a more difficult test than sadness. When in a difficult situation, it’s easy to turn to Allah with sincerity. However, in times of ease, people tend to forget Allah.

For Every Situation, A Sunna

Allah says, “If you are grateful for my blessings, I will grant you increase.” (Surah Ibrahim 14.7) There are two levels of gratitude; gratitude, and true gratitude. Gratitude is to respond to blessings with joy and thankfulness to Allah. But true gratitude is to see all situations, good or bad, as coming from Allah.

The bridge to love to Allah is true gratitude. Allah says, “Few of my servants are truly grateful.” When Imam Junayd was asked about it the reality of gratitude, he said, “To do your utmost in the presence of your Lord.” Gratitude is not just to say “alhamdulillah,” but to use the blessing well. He also said, “Gratitude is to not disobey Allah with what He has given you.” Since Allah has given us all our facilities, true gratitude entails doing our best to never disobey Allah.

About the Series

“If you are grateful, We shall surely grant you increase,” Allah promises in the Qur’an. “Should I not be a truly grateful servant?” said the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In this seminar, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and Ustadh Amjad Tarsin explore Radical Gratitude: How Thankfulness Transforms Our Life and Religion.


Adab 07: The Proprieties of Earning a Living

Ustadh Tabraze Azam dives deep into the proprieties of earning a lawful income, its virtues, and its rewards in this life and in the life to come.

The trustworthy, honest trader will be with the prophets, the truthful, and the martyrs [on the Day of Judgement], said the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. (Tirmidhi)

When we live up to the ideals and deep, moral standards of the religion, we can be hopeful of something tremendous from Allah in the hereafter. After all, this life is merely a means to the next, and not an end-goal in and of itself. Earning a livelihood is something that most of us can probably relate to, but our fast-paced lives, however, can sometimes hinder our ability to simply pause for a moment and review our trajectory into eternity. Seldom is a moment of contemplation void of any lasting benefit when it is for Allah.

As we try to reconnect with our faith and live it more faithfully, with propriety, we should recall the words of Allah in which He informs us that He “made the day for livelihood.” (Sura al Naba’ 78:11) Thus, it is Allah’s favor upon us by which we are blessed with days in which we can fulfill the purpose of that time. A believer is a “son of his moment,” namely, somebody concerned with being in the right places at the right times, and doing what will be most pleasing to Allah therein. With gratitude, we can come to appreciate the most menial of tasks, and with gratitude, Allah increases us in ways we couldn’t otherwise imagine.

With this in mind, let us now turn our attention to some of the proper manners to be upheld in seeking a living for Allah.

Righteous Intentions (Niyya Saliha)

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, reminded us that a believer’s intention is better than his action or work itself (Bayhaqi, Shu‘ab al-Iman). Accordingly, getting our intentions right will ensure that we receive a splendid, unspeakable reward from Allah Most High even if we’re not prosperous, even if we don’t fulfil our hopes and dreams and even if it simply wasn’t meant to be. This is a huge mercy.

What, then, should we intend? Above all, to seek the pleasure of Allah Most High as this is the point of life itself. When you have such a noble intention, the most mundane of tasks can transform into something sacred. But given the difficulty of maintaining such a lofty state, the scholars recommend having secondary intentions which act as the pathways to the central intention.

Thus, intend to:

    1. 1) abstain from begging,

 

    1. 2) abstain from coveting what others have,

 

    1. 3) become financially strong and independent,

 

    1. 4) provide for your dependants,

 

    1. 5) uphold the values and ethics of the Sacred Law of integrity, commanding the good and otherwise,

 

    1. 6) fulfil a personal and a communal obligation (fard ‘ayn/kifaya),

 

    1. 7) make regular charitable donations,

 

    8) be of service to Allah’s creation, and similarly any other intention that comes to mind of virtuous matters.

Reliance (Tawakkul) upon Allah Most High

Our Master ‘Umar, Allah be pleased with him, reported that Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “If you relied upon Allah as He should be relied upon, He would give you sustenance just as the birds are given sustenance: they leave hungry in the morning, and return satiated in the evening.” (Tirmidhi) He, Allah bless him and give him peace, also told the Bedouin man who asked about the manner of true reliance (tawakkul) to “tie the camel, and then rely upon Allah.” (Tirmidhi)

Reliance, as defined by Jurjani in his Ta‘rifat, is confidence and contentment with what is Allah’s, and despair with respect to what is in the hands of people. Namely, realising that Allah alone is the sole doer, and consequently, that it is not people who will prevent your livelihood from reaching you as they are intrinsically incapable and needy. Rather, He is the Sufficer (al-Wakil), and He alone gives and constricts as He wills. So what’s the point of taking the means? Because the lawgiver commanded it.

True reliance upon Allah isn’t negated by taking the means as the two matters are distinct. Reliance upon Allah is a state of the heart whereas taking the means (asbab) is an action of the limbs. When the two are conjoined, the fullest and truest meaning of reliance is realised. And this is why Imam Birgivi wrote, “Taking the outward means which normally lead to the outcomes desired doesn’t negate reliance at all, and this is why earning a living is an obligation.” (Al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya)

Practizing a Lawful and Dignified Trade

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, instructed us, “No one eats any food better than the one who eats from what he earns by work of his own hands. The Prophet of Allah, Dawud, peace be upon him, used to eat from what he earned by the work of his own hands.” (Bukhari) Note that this is a metaphor for earning a living and not that the best line of work is carpentry, baking or any other work in which the hands are directly used! Moreover, the Prophet Dawud, Allah bless him and give him peace, wasn’t in need of such work and wealth as he was the Caliph of the entire earth at the time. However, the tradition (hadith) informs us of the nobility of the rank of working and his desire to do what was superior and more pleasing to Allah Most High.

When choosing a line of work, look for the kind of opportunities which you are deeply interested in, and also allow you to fulfill your potential, yet at the same time, don’t infringe upon any of your religious obligations. Primarily, this latter point entails that your very line of work needs to be lawful. Engaging in, encouraging or abetting sin is destructive to your hereafter. Keep such lines of work at a healthy distance so that you don’t have to explain yourself, or worse, bear the consequences, later. If you’re unsure regarding the legality or otherwise of your work, you should consult a reliable scholar before making any serious decisions.

Avoiding the Unlawful (Haram) and Offensive (Makruh)

The basis in transactions is the verse of the Qur’an, “You who believe, do not wrongfully consume each other’s wealth but trade by mutual consent.” (Sura al Nisa’ 4:29) The masterful Ottoman Qur’anic exegete, Abu al-Su‘ud Effendi, clarified that “wrongfully” means anything that is contrary to the Sacred Law, whether that is by way of theft, misappropriation, deception, gambling, engaging in usurious dealings, or anything else that the Sacred Law interdicted.

Our religion encourages us to engage in trade, but it is imperative that we avoid the kind of unethical behavior that many, unfortunately, fall into, let alone sin. The recognition that lack of clarity in transactions leads to unnecessary disputes and argumentation, for example, should move us to do something about it. Appreciate that things sometimes go wrong so be clear with one another about the terms of your agreement so that you don’t lose each other in mere worldliness. The way out, then, is to be grounded in sufficient law, or fiqh, which will ensure that you don’t fall into the religiously blameworthy or unlawful altogether.

As part of a longer tradition, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Do not be resentfully envious of one another, do not artificially inflate prices against one another, do not loathe one another, do not give a cold shoulder to one another, do not undercut one another in business transactions, but be, servants of Allah, brothers.” (Muslim)

Learning A Trade Well (Itqan) and Doing A Good Job (Ihsan)

Allah Most High says, “Indeed, We granted David a great privilege from Us, commanding: ‘O mountains! Echo his hymns! And the birds as well.’ We made iron mouldable for him, instructing: ‘Make full-length armor, perfectly balancing the links. And work righteousness O family of David! Indeed, I am All-Seeing of what you do.’” (Sura Saba 34:10-11) Something we can take away from this latter verse is the Divine injunction to the Prophet Dawud, Allah bless him and give him peace, to perfect his trade and not simply to produce something that others couldn’t.

Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, continually guiding us to what Allah loves, is reported to have once stated, “Allah is pleased when any of you does some action and perfects it.” (Tabarani) One of the hallmarks of believers is that they work, not only to produce, but to beautify. The trait of excellence, or ihsan, is deeply rooted in tradition and a foundational principle of the prophetic way. Practically, if you’re doing something, do it well. Don’t sell yourself short, and be an example to others in the trade, particularly when you are noticeably religious in societies where Islam is something unfamiliar.

Exhibiting Mercy (Rahma) and Other Praiseworthy Traits in Dealings

Whether you run your own business or work for another, you should always try to keep your heart in the right place, and at the same time, exhibit what you can of lofty, prophetic character traits. Taking it easy with people, particularly with those of lesser means, is a sure way of attaining the great good foretold by the Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah reported that Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “May Allah show mercy to a man who is generous and easy-going when he sells, when he buys and when he asks for settlement.” (Bukhari)

Use the opportunity of work to remember your Lord and reset your intentions. Imam Sha‘rani related that his teacher and guide, ‘Ali al-Khawass, used to supplicate to Allah upon opening his store every morning, “O Lord, make this a means of benefiting your creation.”

Likewise, there is great virtue in remembering Allah in the marketplaces or in places of general heedlessness. Make it a point to say the takbir (Allahu akbar), tahmid (Alhamdu li Llah), tahlil (La ilaha illa Llah) and tasbih (Subhana Llah) at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon in seeking the closeness of Allah Most High. If you have more motivation, you can recite the blessed words of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, “There is no god but Allah. He is alone and has no partner. To Him belongs sovereignty and to Him belongs all praise. He gives life and He gives death. He is alive and does not die. In His hand is all good, and He has power over all things.” (Tirmidhi)

Giving from What You Love: Charity (Sadaqa) and the Afterlife

Allah Most High says, “You will never achieve righteousness until you donate some of what you cherish. And whatever you give is certainly well known to Allah.” (Sura Al-‘Imran, 3:92) Further, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, informed us that charity is a “proof.” (Muslim) A proof of what? Faith. When you give, you are showing your deep certitude and faith in Allah Most High, in the truth of the prophetic message, in the veracity of the hereafter and everything that entails.

The best of giving is when it is selfless, sincerely for Allah and swiftly forgotten. Consistent donations, even if only slight, are superior to sporadic payments, even if large. Charity wards off calamities, wipes out sins, cleanses and purifies wealth and draws you nearer to your Ever-Merciful Lord.

Finally, it behooves us to recognize that the reality of earning a living is that it is Allah Most High who is the Provider (al-Razzaq). The wage which you earn is merely a means which He has created, and, at the end of the day, He is the one who creates sustenance (rizq) through it. So although wealth may sometimes come and go, know that it doesn’t intrinsically aid one.

The ultimate objective is to be ever-cognizant of the Divine, and to travel toward Him with a deep desire to live an ethical, pleasing life: the kind of life the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) directed us towards. “Say, O Prophet, ‘If you sincerely love Allah, then follow me; Allah will love you and forgive your sins. For Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’” (Sura Aal ‘Imran, 3:31)

And Allah alone gives success.


Yearning for History

Sayyid Muhammad ‘Alawi al-Maliki writes on every Muslims’ desire to connect with the great events in our history and why it is meaningful to do so through commemoration and celebration.

Of the accepted and established principles among the people of knowledge (ahl al-‘ilm) is that a particular moment in time is made remarkable or auspicious by the events associated with it. The event, in other words, forms the source of the values and the estimation ascribed to that moment.

The magnitude of the event determines the magnitude of the occasion; likewise, the ascribed blessings of the event determines the ascribed blessings of the occasion.
Moreover, the stronger the identity, and the greater the impressions made by the events on people, the stronger and greater will they identify with the time during which the events occurred.

From this point of view it will become evident that the essential purpose of this book, Madha fi Sha’ban (What is in Sha’ban?), is to focus on the links that connect the umma (the global Muslim community) to their history with the aim of deepening their perceptions and religious experience of Din-related events and occurrences.

Methods and Aims of Commmoration

While it is true that some differ with regard to the method and manner of presenting these events to people, namely, that they are not in agreement with respect to their arrangement and organization; there can nonetheless be little doubt that even two people – on their own – would not differ with regard to the aims and objectives of organizing and commemorating these events.

This is so for the reason that whenever we set out to strengthen these connections that bind the umma to its history by utilizing the events and occurrences through and by which these moments become exalted; then we are at once inviting them to a reality that is pure, a belief system that is correct, a path that is straight, and a way that is natural. This indeed constitutes, at once, the essence of our history and our ennoblement as a people. From this foundation we are able to proceed to all that is good, righteous and beneficial.

The commemoration of all these events and exalted moments are – through the permission of Allah – acceptable and legitimate. For it is through this fundamental principle, viz. the undeniable interconnectedness of the event and the moment, that we are able to take advantage of these opportunities that have the force to stimulate our minds into a recollection of these momentous events. In this way the mind, the heart, and the emotions return to the distant past with a sense of yearning for our history – a yearning that enables us to examine that past for the lessons it may provide.

The Experience of Remembrance

This is what constitutes the genuinely “informed lesson” (al-dars al-‘ilmi). It is this that the universities with their lecturers and lectures, and the madrassas with their programs and prescribed works cannot transfer to people in a way that would allow them to live, perceive, and experience this history in a holistic manner – with their hearts, minds and emotions.

Indeed, whenever, we celebrate by commemorating the birth of the Prophet, blessing and peace be upon him, or the Hijra (his flight from Makkah to Madinah), or the Isra and Mi’raj (the Night Journey and Ascension), or the month of Sha’ban, then we invite people to connect with their minds, hearts and emotions to the realities and the events that fill the vast spaces of these moments.

However, these commemorations are not meant to venerate the event as such or to deify it; nor are they commemorated in a manner that expresses an article of our faith. On the contrary, these commemorations are designed to express our ultimate veneration of Allah, the Exalted, who is the ultimate Creator of both space and time.

These commemorations, therefore, essentially represent the veneration of a slave to his/her Lord, the Creator. But, at the same time, they are also designed to celebrate and laud the one who has played a seminal role in these events – the one who at once formed an intrinsic part of, and for whom these events were established; and who, moreover, forms the axis around which these events are all connected. This latter veneration is the veneration of the one who loves for the sake of the beloved … for that possessor of grace whom Allah has chosen to be at the center of these events.

Beyond Space and Time

I am astonished at those petrified and fossilized minds, those minds of stone, that ignore the central figure of these events – the figure through whom, for whom, with whom, and from whom these events emerged in the first place; and then proceed to focus on the event in so far as it is merely an event. This perspective, without a doubt, constitutes the essence of bid’ah (a reprehensible innovation). Indeed, and even beyond that, it signifies the epitome of ignorance and short-sightedness.

We do not venerate or exalt time for time’s sake, nor space by virtue of it being space, for this is in fact, and in our estimation, an act of shirk (idolatry).

On the contrary, our focus is upon that which is beyond, greater and more exalted than mere time or space. Nor do we venerate particular personages for what they possess of body and bones. What we in fact do is to look at their station, their standing, their rank, and their love and belovedness … so is there any sin or falsehood in this? [sh: italics mine].

“Glory to Allah, this is indeed a serious slander!” (Sura al Nur 24:16)


The above is an extract from Madha fi Sha’ban? (What is in Sha’ban?), pp. 4-6, by Sayyid Muhammad ‘Alawi al-Maliki, Allah show him mercy. The translation is by Shaykh Seraj Hendricks [sh]. It was first published in 2011 on Shadow of Pure Light, and is reproduced here with Shaykh Seraj’s permission.


Appreciating the Gift of Allah – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this Friday khutba Shaykh Faraz Rabbani begins by reminding the believers to appreciate the gift of Allah. Allah’s blessings are beyond imagination. He then comments on the verse from the Qur’an from Surat Ibrahim: “ If you were to count the blessing of Allah, you would be unable to innumerate them.” Sura 14:34. The believers should pause and reflect on the Qur’an. There is a distinction between reflecting on the Qur’an and interpreting the Qur’an. Reflecting on the Qur’an is a take the Qur’an as a mirror, and ask what is this verse saying to me. Some reflection can be personal. One should reflect on the reality of Allah’s blessing upon you. If Allah is not blessing you in your life you would not exist. If Allah stops sustaining you for a moment you would stop existing. Nothing exists except that it is a blessing from Allah. Existence itself it a gift. Even trials and tribulations are a blessing. When one is sick and grateful and turns to Allah it is a blessing. Allah calls one to have a higher standard of gratefulness. Being truly grateful is to view pleasure and displeasure, ease and difficulty, and success and failure as all being a blessing from Allah. A believer responds to everything with faith. Everything that comes, is only from Allah.

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Introduction to the Mawlid al-Barzanji – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this video, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives a background of the Mawlid al-Barzanji. He speaks about the life of the author, Imam Ja’far al-Barzanji, and his life and works.

Everyone thinks about whom or what they love. For the believers, however, our rejoicing is in Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace. This imperative to rejoice is a means to sustaining life of faith. One of the best things we can possibly find joy in, is the gift of the Prophet.

When we recite mawlids, or poetry in praise of the Prophet, it rejuvenates our faith and gives us joy. This is why scholars have written poetry throughout the ages, teaching the readers about the life of the Prophet. One of the best-known such poems, is the Mawlid al-Barzanji.

About Imam al-Barzanji

Imam al-Barzinji was an Imam originating from a town called Shazur in Kurdistan. He was born on Friday, the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal in the year 1040 after hijra. He was raised in Shazur, where he studied the Islamic sciences. Islamic knowledge in his hometown.

At the age of 63 he moved to Medina. This was the habit of many scholars, who would spend their lives teaching and calling to Allah. Then, in the later part of their lives, they would devote their lives to devotion and writing.

Imam al-Barzanji, however, was a Shaf’i mufti. Although he came to Medina as a foreigner, he was made the Chief Justice in Medina because of his knowledge, piety, and virtue. He died in Medina and is buried in Jannat al-Baqi’.

His Mawlid

His mawlid is very unique,  mainly focused on the birth of the Prophet and its coming. Some parts of the mawlid are composed in poetry, while other parts of it are written in prose form.

Much could be said about it, but one of its characteristics is that it speaks about the Prophet in language that is eloquence, yet is clear and easily accessible to the common person. It has been translated in many languages, including Java, Urdu and Swahili, and is widely read across the Muslim world.


Influential Muslim Women – A Reader

This reader gathers various SeekersGuidance resources on inspiring Muslim women, where Companions, scholars, or community leaders, both past and present.

Women Documented in the Qur’an

 Hawa, the First Woman

Sarah, Wife of Prophet Ibrahim

 Aasiyah, Wife of the Pharoah: A Brief Biography

Lady Asiya and the Mother of Musa

Lady Asiya – Her Life of Faith and Trials 

Bilkees, Queen of Sheba

Maryam, Mother of Isa: A Brief Biography

Lady Maryam – Her Virtue and Merit

Lady Maryam – Her Favor and Blessings

The One Who Complained (Al-Mumtahina)

Women from the Family of the Prophet

Khadija bint Khuwaylid: A Brief Biography

Lady Khadija – Before Revelation

Lady Khadija – After Revelation Until Her Passing

The High Rank of Sayyida Khadija

Lady Aisha: Most Knowledgable of All

Slander Against Lady Aisha

 The Love Between Lady Aisha and the Messenger of Allah

What Are Some Resources on the Life of the Mother of the Believers?

Fatima az-Zahra: Introduction and Virtues

Fatima az-Zahra – Prophetic Care and Concern

The Life of Umm Salama

Umm Salama – The Knowledgable Women’s Rights Activist ..

 Umm Ayman – The Prophet’s Mother After His Mother

Female Companions of the Prophet

 Sumayyah, the First Martyr 

Umm Ma’baad: Hadith Narrator

Fatima al-Fihri: The Visionary

Who Was the Companion Sayyida Furay’ah (Allah Be Pleased With Her)?

Khansa’ – The Poetess of Islam

Nusayba – Defender of the Prophet

Women Through the Ages

Amra bint Abdurrahman

Nafisa al-Tahira

Fatima al-Fihri

Maryam al-Istirlabiyya

Karima bint Ahmad

Fatima bint Saad al Khayr 

Razia Sultan

Al Adar Al Karima

Bibi Raji

Queen Aminatu 

Nana Asma’u 

Amina Assilmi

The Death of a Star – On the Passing of Aminah Assilmi

Women: Agents of Change – Dr. Ingrid Mattson 

“I Love Being a Woman!”

SeekersHub’s Female Teachers

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Dr. Ingrid Mattson

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Shaykha Noura Shamma

Ustadha Mariam Bashar

Ustadha Nagheba Hayel

The Power Of Storytelling with Ustadha Mehded Maryam Sinclair