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Channeling Anger for the Doing of Good – Nurulain Wolhuter

Anger is one of the more serious diseases of the heart. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, emphasised its severity in numerous ahadith. For example, Abu Huraira, Allah be pleased with him, narrates that a man said to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace: “Advise me”. He said: “Do not become angry”. So he (the man) reiterated (the question) over and over. He (the Prophet) said: “Do not become angry” [al-Bukhari]. And Anas, Allah be pleased with him, asked the Prophet about that which distances him from the anger of Allah, and he said: “Do not become angry” [Ahmad].

But does this mean that one should never feel anger? How should we feel, for instance, when experiencing or witnessing oppression, cruelty or injustice? Or when someone reviles our religion or our beloved Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace? Imam al-Ghazali takes the view that excessive anger, as well as the inability to become angry at all, are reprehensible. However, being angry in moderation is permissible, as long as it is controlled by the intellect. This is in accordance with our Prophet’s instruction to always follow the middle way in everything.

By way of illustration, let us consider the case of Islamophobia. As Muslims living in the West, we have become all too familiar with its subtleties – veiled comments about bomb-carriers, descriptions of women in niqab as letter-boxes – as well as with its more overt forms – women’s headscarves being ripped off, pigs’ blood being spattered on mosques. But how should we deal with the anger that these experiences evoke?

Imam al-Ghazali’s cures for anger are as insightful in this respect as they are in regard to anger more generally. He exhorts us to humility and patience, and to view ourselves as no better than others. Rather than step forward to take on the perpetrators, to insist on our rights above all else, or to retreat to a siege of separatism, we should think of how our response can demonstrate the truth and beauty of Islam. And how better to do this than to emulate the example of Allah’s Beloved, Allah bless him and give him peace. In this way, our moderate anger will be kept under the control of our intellect. For he, when people reviled and hurt him, responded with the best of character. Instead of seeking the destruction of the people of Ta’if who had hurt him so badly, he expressed the hope that believers would come forth from among their descendants. And instead of being harsh to Abu Jahl, he asked Allah to honour Islam with the one whom He loves more: Abu Jahl or Umar ibn al-Khattab [Tirmidhi].

So the anger we feel when we experience or witness things that hurt or offend us in our religion is justified, provided that it is moderate and controlled. But if we go beyond that, and try our best to transform the anger into forgiveness, gentleness and kindness to those who have hurt or offended us, we will be calling them to the truth and reality of Islam. Let us try to emulate our Beloved in this, as we try to emulate him in everything else.


 

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.


 

Acquisition of the Clear Light: Part 3

This is the third 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.clear light

This part explores why a person may not actualise the spiritual sciences that he is learning.

Specific similitude of the heart in relation to sciences:

The mirror may not reflect the image for five reasons:

First: Deficiency within its design, such as the nature of iron before it’s shaped and polished.

Second: Dirt, corrosion and grime.

Third: Being turned away from the angle of the picture towards something else.

Fourth: A veil placed between the mirror and the picture.

Fifth: No knowledge of the direction of the intended picture.

Likewise, the heart is a mirror, wherein the true reality of matters becomes manifest, but can became void of sciences due to these five reasons:

First: Deficiency in its essence, such as the heart of a youth, where the sciences don’t become manifest to him due to its deficiency.

Second: Due to the grime of disobedience and the dirt which accumulates upon the face of the heart caused by numerous desires, so turning towards the obedience of Allah Most High, and avoiding the demand of the desires, is that which cleanses the heart.

Allah says: And those who strive in Our (cause), We will certainly guide them to our paths. (Sura ‘Ankabuut 29:69)

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: The one who acts upon what he knows, Allah will bequeath him with knowledge which he does not know. 

Third: Due to it being turned away from the direction of the intended reality, the obedient and good heart – despite being pure – does not have the clear reality manifesting within it, since it’s not in search of the reality, nor is it parallel to the mirror in the direction intended. In fact, it may be that he is fully aware of the details pertaining to physical obedience or preparations of means to earning a livelihood. He does not pay any heed to pondering about the Divine presence and the subtle divine realities, so nothing becomes manifest to him save that which he is pondering about in terms of the precise details regarding the diseases of the deeds and subtle defects of the soul which he is pondering about or affairs related to one’s which he is pondering about.

Fourth: The veil. As for an obedient individual who has overpowered his desires, confining his thoughts towards a reality from amongst the realities may not have this manifested to him due to a belief since youth which reached him through tradition, which has been a cause for majority of the Muslim theologians and those strictly adherent to specific school of thoughts; in fact, many of the pious, since they are veiled by their traditional beliefs solidified within their souls.

Fifth: Lack of knowledge of the direction from which the sought out matter is discovered, since the seeker of knowledge is not capable of attaining knowledge of that which he is unaware of except by bringing to memory those science related to the sought out matter. The sought out sciences are not found within the natural disposition, and are only caught through the nets of acquired sciences. As a matter of fact, they are only acquired through the 2 previous sciences which are in harmony with each other and paired in a specific manner.

Therefore, ignorance of the sources and their methodology of pairing is a barrier towards the knowledge, similar to what we previously made mention of in terms of ignorance of the picture’s direction, in fact, it’s similar to a person who wants to look at his nape in the mirror, so if he moved the mirror in front of his face, he would be nowhere nearby the direction of the nape and as a result, the nape would not become apparent to him. If he were to lift the mirror behind his nape, parallel to it, he would then have turned the mirror away from his gaze and will not see the mirror, so he is in need of another mirror which he will set up behind his nape which will then be opposite to this one, to a point where he is able to see it and he should pay attention to the relation between the positioning of the 2 mirrors in order for the picture of the name to reflect in the opposite mirror to the nape thereafter this picture from this mirror will reflect in the other mirror which is facing the eye, thereafter the eye will comprehend the picture of the nape, and likewise in the capturing of sciences their exists many strange techniques containing deviances and distortions stranger than that which we mentioned about the mirror.

So these are the causes of obstruction against the heart to know about the realities, so nevertheless, every heart by its natural disposition is suited to know the realities, since it’s a lordly and honorable affair, and is equipped to carry the responsibility.

He, SAW, said: Every child is born upon a religious sound disposition but thereafter, his parents call him towards Judaism, Christianity or Magianism.    


This is part three 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.


 

Acquisition of the Clear Light: Part 2

This is the second 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.

 

A Summary of the Heart’s Qualities

Within a human being’s nature lie four blemishes:

Qualities of beasts of prey, animals, demons and that of a divine nature. When he is overcome by anger, he adopts the actions of beasts such as enmity, hatred, physical and verbal attacks. When he is overcome by desire, he adopts the actions of animals such as gluttony and greed. When within his soul there is something lordly, in accordance to Him Most High saying: “Say, ‘The spirit is my Lord’s affair.’” (Sura al-Isra 17:85) Therefore, he will call towards being worshiped, and has a liking for usurpation, appropriation, sole allocation and exclusive position within leadership, a slow withdrawal from worship, humility and seeking of knowledge. He is different from other animals in terms of his intellect, however if he adopts a demonic anger and desire, he then begins to use his intellect towards contriving ill intentions and attaining objectives by scheming, deception and deceit and carries out evil as if it were goodness, and these are etiquettes of the devils.

So, it’s as if the total urges in the skin of a human being are: a pig, which represents the desire, a dog, which represents the anger, a devil, which stimulates a pig-like desire and beast-like anger. The wise man which represents the intellect that has been assigned to repel the plots of the devil by exposing its deception, to break the pig-like desires, by setting the dog upon it, to repel the dog-like greed by setting the pig upon it, and if he does act in accordance with this, he will find consistency in his affair, state and striving upon the straight path and if he is unable to overpower all of this, it will conquer him and exploit him and as long as he is giving deep thought towards that satiating of the pig and pleasing the dog, likewise, will he continue to be in the worship of a dog and pig.

This is the state of the majority of people and it’s strange that the one who rejects the devoutness of the idol worshipers towards stones, for if the veil was to be lifted from him and the reality of his state was made manifest to him, he would see his soul personified in prostration to a pig on one occasion, and bowing to it in another, awaiting its directions and commands or he would see his soul personified in a dutiful and obedient servitude state to a mordacious dog and this is the peak of injustice.

Thereafter, what results after the obedience of the pig of desire, is the appearance of a quality of impudence, filth, squandering, stinginess, boastfulness, insanity, idleness, greed, covetousness, self-admiration, envy, hatred and pleasure toward another’s pain and the likes. As for what results after the obedience of the dog of anger, is the quality of heedlessness, spendthriftness, haughtiness, boastfulness, exaggeration, arrogance, self-praise, mockery, despising and hatred towards human beings and a desiring of evil and oppression and the likes.

As for the obedience of the devil, is by following the desire and anger and from within it, the quality of scheming, plotting, slyness, indolence, deception, corruption, secretiveness and the likes.

If the affair was to be reversed and all of this was subjugated under a principal of divine characteristics, then the divine characteristics would be established in the heart such as knowledge, wisdom, certainty, precaution towards the reality of matters and the knowledge of the essence of things, taking over everything with the power of knowledge and foresight, worthiness of leading the creation due to complete knowledge and loftiness, becoming independent of being in servitude towards desire and anger and spreading within in him, the control of the pig-like desire, returning it to the point of moderation, honorable qualities such as chasteness, contentedness, calmness, asceticism, scrupulousness, God consciousness, cheerfulness, tidiness, shyness, politeness, helpfulness and the likes.

From among that which takes place within him as a result of the strength of anger, the conquering of it, returning it to the point of necessity, the quality of braveness, generosity, courage, self-control, patience, forbearance, tolerance, forgiveness, steadfastness, nobleness, sagacity, tranquility and the likes.

The heart is like a mirror which has been surrounded by these influential factors and these effects are continuously coming into the heart. As for the praiseworthy effects, they increase the heart in clarity, radiance, illumination and brightness.

As for the blameworthy effects, they are like dark smoke ascending towards the heart’s mirror which accumulate around it, until it turns pitch black and this is known as the seal and the stain. “By no means! but on their hearts is the stain of the [ill] which they do!” (Sura al-Mutaffifin 83:14)

 


This is part one 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 Hadramowt 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.


 

 

Acquisition of the Clear Light: Part 1

This is the first 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.

In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Most Merciful

Praise is due to God, who is all aware about the subtleties of the souls, who is all knowing about the secrets of the hearts. May His Peace and Blessings be upon the master of the messengers, the unifier of the religion and upon his pleasant and pure household.

To proceed, the honor and virtue of a human being is in relation to his inclination towards knowledge about Allah Most High which is that which renders him beautiful, complete and honorable in this world, and is a means of preparation and provision for the Hereafter.

This aforementioned inclination towards knowledge takes place in one’s heart, as the heart is the knower of Allah Most High, that which causes proximity to Allah Most High, serves Allah Most High, strives towards Allah Most High, is the recipient of the manifestations from Allah Most High and the limbs are but followers, helpers, and tools.

The heart, soul, spirit and intellect are synonymous in meaning which is a subtle spiritual substance divinely governed. It is the very essence of a human being and the point of perception for the Gnostics among them. So this subtle, knowledgeable and gnostic substance of a human being is at times referred to as a heart, spirit, intellect, or soul.

At times, the heart is referred to as a piece of flesh like a pine-cone in form, positioned at the left hand side of the chest which is the same heart present in animals and it is from the visible material world.

The soul is sometimes referred to as the container of a human being’s capacity of anger and desire. At times, the soul is referred to as a light body originating from the heart’s cavity, which disperses by means of arteries to the rest of the body.

The intellect is sometimes referred to as the means to knowledge of the true reality, and if what is meant is the comprehension of sciences, then this is the heart, and at times all four of these words share this meaning.

Soldiers of the Heart

The heart has three types of soldiers.

Firstly: a type that is dispatched towards obtaining that which is beneficial and appropriate, such as a desire or a protection from that which is harmful and incompatible, such as anger. His dispatching is referred to as will.

Secondly: That which causes the movement of the limbs towards the obtaining of these objectives which is referred to as capability.

Thirdly: That which perceives and comprehends things similar to the role of spies. This is the power of sight, hearing, smelling, taste and touch which is referred to as knowledge and perception.

Explanation of the Distinct Characteristics of the Human Heart

What distinguishes the heart of a human being, resulting in his great honor and his worthiness of attaining proximity to Allah Most High, is knowledge and will.

As for knowledge: It is knowledge pertaining to affairs of this life, the Hereafter, and intellectual realties. These things surpass the senses and no other animals partake in them.

As for will: If, through the medium of intellect, the end result and rectification of something becomes known, it brings about a strong inclination within one’s self towards that which is beneficial, its respective practical means and yearning towards it, which is neither similar to the desire’s yearning nor the will of animals. In fact, it is opposed to desire, as at times desire could shun a surgical operation whilst the intellect yearns for it.

So the heart of a human being is distinct in terms of its knowledge and will which differentiate it from the rest of the animals, in fact, even from the youth at its prime stage of its natural disposition, as this only takes place once puberty has been reached and one thereafter attain theses sciences through two stages:

Firstly: One’s heart must contain the core and fundamental knowledge, that is the science of the impossibility of impossible things and the possibility of outwardly possible things [logic], without which the speculative sciences are not attainable. However, their proximity is possible. This is like unto someone who, as far as the art of writing is concerned, only knows the inkwell, the pen, and the alphabet. He has gained proximity to the art of writing but has not attained it.

Secondly: To acquire knowledge through experience and contemplation, which is like a storage tool which one refers back to whenever one desires.

The people of this stage have innumerable ranks, surpassing one another in relation to the larger or lesser amount of knowledge, the honor and baseness of such knowledge, the method of attaining it, as some hearts receive it through divine revelation, and others through learning and acquiring it rapidly and slowly, so therefore the ranks of advancement are innumerable and the furthest of such ranks is that of the Prophet to whom most, if not all realities become manifest without effort or difficulty, in fact, through divine manifestation in the shortest possible amount of time.

The most honorable type of knowledge is knowledge of Allah Most High, His Qualities, His Actions, as by it, a human being is rendered complete and this completion results in his felicity and suitability for the Splendored and Perfect Companionship. The body is a vehicle for the soul, the soul is the location of one’s knowledge, and knowledge is a human being’s objective and distinct quality which is the very reason of one’s creation.

A human being is ranked between the animals and angels in that his nourishment and reproduction is like a plant’s, his senses and movement is like an animal’s, and his features and extension is like an engraved picture on the wall. What distinguishes him is his knowledge of the realities of things.

Whoever uses all of his limbs and strength whilst depending on this for attainment of knowledge and work, is similar to the angels and as for the one who directs his concerns to the pursuit of bodily pleasures, eating just as the grazing livestock eat, has as a result, declined to the lowest of animals.

It is possible to use every single limb as a means of arrival to Allah Most High. The one who uses them in this way attains success, however, the one who deviates from this, is lost and is unsuccessful.

A summary of felicity is for one to make his meeting of his Lord his objective, the Hereafter his place of settlement, this life as his temporary settlement, his body as a vehicle and his limbs as helpers.

Ali, Allah ennoble his countenance, described the hearts by saying: “Verily Allah Most High has vessels upon His land and they are the hearts and the most beloved of these to Him, are the most soft, pure and solid, thereafter he explained this by saying: The most solid in terms of religion, the purest in terms of certainty, and the softest towards brothers, which is an indication to Allah Most High saying: ‘Severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves,’ (Sura al-Fath 48:29) and His saying: ‘The similitude of His light is a niche in which there is a lamp.’” (Sura al-Nur 24:35)

Ubay ibn K’ab, Allah be pleased with him, said: “What is meant is, the similitude of the light and the heart of the believer. He Most High further says: ‘Or is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean.’” (Sura al-Nur 24:40) which is the similitude of the heart of a hypocrite.

Zayd ibn Aslam, Allah be pleased with him, said about His saying: “In a preserved tablet” that this is the heart of a believer.

Sahl stated: “The similitude of the heart and the chest is like that of the Throne and the Chair. These are likenesses of the heart.”

 


This is part one 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.


 

New Translation of the Abridged Ihya Ulum al-Din

Mokrane Guezzou has completed a new translation of Salah Ahmad al-Shami’s abridgement of the Ihya Ulum al-Din.

Given the title, Revival of the Religious Sciences: An Abridgment, this new translation of Salah Ahmad al-Shami’s abridgement of Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din will be available in January 2019.

Translated by Mokrane Guezzou, the author and translator of such works as The Adab of the True Seeker by Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Buzaydi (2013); Red Sulphur by ‘Abd Allah al-‘Aydarus (2015); and The Onlooker’s Delight: The Biography of Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Jilani by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (2016), this beautifully produced new work published by Serenity Productions is a must have for all Muslims who wish to build their relation to Imam al-Ghazali’s seminal and timeless masterpiece.

Revival of the religious Sciences An Abridgement

With its four major sections dealing with Acts of Worship, Norms of Daily Life, Qualities Leading to Perdition, and Qualities Leading to Salvation, a Muslim can gain a better understanding and appreciation of what it is that makes firm our relationship to Allah Most High and His Chosen Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, and how to manifest that relationship to everyday life and thereby make our way to the Hereafter brighter and blessed with ease and grace.

As Imam Taj al-Din al-Subki remarked: “If people had no concern for any of the works authored by scholars save the Revival, it would suffice them.”

For more information visit Serenity Productions.


What Ghazali’s Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din Means to Me

Sister Tuscany Bernier offers an insightful reflection on the very personal impact that the Ihya Uloom al-Din had on her.

The Ihya ‘Ulum al’Din ( The Revival of the Religious Sciences) is a 40-volume work, the mangus opus of the great scholar Imam Ghazali. The Imam also compiled a Mukhtasir, or abridgement, which captured the essence of each volume into a chapter, making it a single, 40-chapter book.

The Ihya and I met in unique circumstances.  In April 2015, I bought a copy of the Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din…or at least I thought it was the whole Ihya. It wasn’t until last year that I realised it was actually the Mukhtasir, or abridged version.

As it happened, I did not open the book for several months. Looking in its direction, I would sigh at how much dust it was collecting.

Eventually, I joined a small women’s group, designed to explore leadership, feminism, and spirituality. Participating in the group inspired me to stretch my mind to explore what I didn’t understand. Thus, I picked up the book I had desired to read the most – the Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din. Before opening its pages, I made dua that Allah Most High grant me understanding and I aimed to clear my intentions.

Over the next nine months of the program, I poured over the 470+ pages in front of me. On the very first page, there was a hadith narrated from Allah’s Messenger, Blessings and peace be upon him, that said, “Belief is without clothing: its dress is piety, its beauty is modesty, and its fruit is knowledge.”

I was hooked.

The first quarter is titled “Al Ibada”, or worship, and the first chapter covers the virtues of seeking and imparting knowledge.The book then takes you through the second quarter based around or religious practices and onward into the third quarter, al-Muhlikat or moral vices. The final quarter brings the text to a close by focusing on the saving virtues, or al-Munjiyat. The final chapter is a reminder to take the time to remember death, which ultimately brings the entire book to a earnest, yet beautiful closure.

My mind felt simultaneously calmed by the constant invocation of Allah Most High, and stimulated by the diverse concepts brought up in each chapter.  I finished it over those nine months, but I often try to revisit the text that brought me so much happiness.

However, reading a translation by myself was nowhere as exciting as reading the original, or learning about it with esteemed scholars  through SeekersHub’s free on-demand course, Renewing Religion: Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya. But at the time I was reading it, I had no clue any of these resources existed.


Last year, I had the pleasure of reading a different translation – one much closer to the full Arabic original. It was at this point I realised that the book I’d initially read was only the Mukhtasir, and that every chapter of the Ihya could be considered a book on its own! In fact, the book I was reading was the first one of these books. It was called “
The Book of Knowledge” and was considered the backbone of the methodology course at the seminary that I was studying at.

The Ihya brought me closer to my understanding of the religion on a different level and for that, I thank the scholar who wrote it in the 11th century, Abu Hamid al Ghazali. Almost every topic within its pages was relevant to the human experience and thus, touched my heart centuries later.


Tuscany Bernier is from Indiana where she lives with her husband and two cats. She is passionate about cultural diversity and women’s studies. She published her first book in 2015 and hopes to write more in the future. You can visit her website for more information.


Living the Ihya in South Africa – Shaykh Seraj Hendricks Full Interview

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks sat down with Mishkat Media to talk about the Ihya, Al Zawiyah mosque, the Muslims of South Africa, and our need of the Ihya today.

Mishkat Media: Assalam alaykum. Today we are present at Al Zawiyah in Cape Town. With us is shaykh Seraj Hendricks, who is of the third generation of shaykhs who have been teaching the Ihya Ulum al Din of Imam al Ghazali. Shaykh Seraj, assalam alaykum.

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.

MM: Tell us something about the the tradition of the Ihya at this institution called Al Zawiyah. You are of the third generation that has been teaching this very beautiful book of Imam al Ghazali, Allah be pleased with him.

SH: Yes, of course. It started with our grandfather Shaykh Muhammad Salih Hendricks, who is reputedly the first ever to bring The Ihya to South Africa. And because, of course, he also belongs to the Ba Alawi Tariqa and was one of the the chief shaykhs within that order.

It is a custom of the Ba Alawi Tariqa to teach the Ihya as one of the staple texts at all of the institutions. Throughout the world, whether it is here, or at Dar al Mustafa and so many other institutions. He was the first, but he started teaching it long before Al Zawiyah. In fact he met considerable opposition against teaching the Ihya here.

MM: The reasons for that?

SH: There was a lot of ignorance at the time. There were particular social, political circumstances that are in fact and contributed to that sort of ignorance. But the relations relations have all mended and there is no hard feelings about this. That was one of the reasons why he got together with a number of sympathizers and decided to build Al Zawiyah in 1920.

He arrived in Cape Town in 1903 as The Cape Times shows. His arrival is on the front page. For about 17 years he was teaching The Ihya at various mosques throughout the Cape particularly up in the Bo-Kaap. Also, he had private classes at home.

But I think that the opposition he encountered became somewhat discouraging and, prompted by his students, he decided to build this place with their assistance. And in 1920 it was founded.

MM: What has been the the impact and influence of the teachings of the Ihya on the students of Al Zawiyah? There must have been many people who have been affected by it.

SH: Immense. There’s a large body of students. It continues in that way up to today. We are operating on what I would call a reserve tank of the baraka of the blessings left behind by his efforts and his commitment to the religion. But it does inspire generation after generation. As I mentioned in my talk on the Kitab al Halal wa al Haram, my first exposure to the Ihya was in fact that at age of 18. I was fascinated by this book which he taught on Sunday mornings, and that went on for years. As an undergraduate, before I left for Makkah, I did my my majors in psychology.

We had a project on that here, dealing with the aged. I selected four members of the mosque committee and Shaykh Maghdie as the fifth one. In my interview with him I spoke about his relationship with the unseen and the akhira, because he was a man of about 70, 71 at the time. Invariably the issue of the Ihya came up. The influence and impact it had on him as a person. Towards the end of the interview, he mentioned to me that he had completed his 20th reading of the Ihya. I was astonished when I heard that.

Many years later coming back and after having received my own copy of Tuhfat al Labib from our great, late Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi Maliki, I read within the Tuhfat of Abu Bakr ibn Sumayt, that it is part of the wirds of the Ba Alawi Tariqa to complete the reading of the Ihya 20 times. I was completely amazed.

MM: Can one safely say that for at least 800 years the Ihya has been transforming the inner soul of humanity?

SH: Oh, yes. I think it has obliterated virtually everything else that has been written on Islamic ethics, islamic spirituality. What we have to recognize, to understand, is that the Ihya has gained its fame not specifically because of the legal aspects. The Kitab al Baya for example, which I did as part of this program.

If you compare that to his Al Wasit, which is on our shelves, it is a condensed, distilled version of that particular work. I suppose that he selected those few because they were the most practiced aspects of trade during that particular time. His examination of that particular aspect is immense, also.

But where [the Ihya] excels is in dealing with the human condition. That is what so profoundly influenced, altered and changed the dynamics, the course, and even the history of Islamic thought. I like what Cyril Glass says in the encyclopedia of Islam. He says that at the time that Imam Ghazali lived there were so many factions and sects, confusion, useless debates going on, vying for rank and status.

Islam to [Imam Ghazali] was, in Glasse’s vision, a scattered puzzle lying around. Imam Ghazali came along and saw all the bits and pieces. And with his acumen, his intelligence, and his connection with the essential message of Islam, which is spirituality and the purification of the soul. He had seen this and realized and recognized the cause of all this dissension, conflict, and animosity, was that people had lost sight of the greater and deeper purposes of Islam.

That is, I think, what compelled him to the point where he in fact left his family and went on this long spiritual odyssey to reconnect with the spirit of Islam. So the Ihya should not be read as a work of fiqh, but one that, in the tradition of the spiritual alchemist, tries to transform the inner nature of the human being: the heart, the soul, the mind, the spirit. Up till today, there are various works of akhlaq and spirituality, but in my opinion he remains unequaled in that particular project.

MM: You have not given us the context of who Imam Ghazali is. Now, how do you place him within the context of the traditions of Al Zawiyah itself?

SH: I think its message is one with which my grandfather connected very profoundly. It is no coincidence that when he returned to Cape Town, that was the very first work that he taught.

MM: As a matter of interest, give us some examples of the kind of works that Shaykh Muhammad Salih the founder of Al Zawiyah taught in his day.

SH: It is quite mind-boggling. I will quote this from my thesis on him. I was staggered when I did the research and realized after my research how little in fact I knew. Let me just give an example of the fiqh works that he taught here.

For example in fiqh he taught or Risala al Jami‘a by Shaykh Ahmad ibn Zayd al Habshi. A work that is taught across the world – in Indonesia, Malaysia, the entire Southeast Asia. He taught the the Matn al Ghaya wa al Taqrib, commonly known as Matn Abi Shuja. And also a commentary on Matn Abi Shuja by Shaykh Ibrahim al Bajuri. And the Mughni al Muhtaj by Mohamed al Khatib al Shirbini, another staple text at Al Zawiyah.

Then the Minhaj al Talibin of Imam Nawawi. Maraqi al Falah, the commentary on Nur al Idah by Imam Shurunbulali which is a Hanafi text, because [Shaykh Muhammad Salih] was instrumental in trying to defuse the Hanafi conflict that had emerged at the end of the twentieth century.

These were some of the fiqh books that were taught from morning to night. He had an entire entourage of the helpers, twenty to thirty of them, whom he taught from eight in the morning to ten at night. In tafsir, the famous Tafsir al Jalalayn, and of course the famous Tafsir al Kabir of Fakhr al Din al Razi. In Usul al Fiqh he taught the Waraqat by Imam Juwayni; the Mustasfa of Imam Ghazali, another staple text; and Minhaj al Wusul ila ‘Ilm al Usul by Imam al Baydawi.

In grammar, of course, the Ajurrumiyya and also the Alfiyya of Imam Malik. In theology, he taught Aqida al Awamm of shaykh Ahmad Marzuqi; Umm al Barahin and Jawhara al Tawhid. In tasawwuf he taught Tuhfat al Labib by sayyid Ahmad ibn Sumayt. Al Nasaih, which I taught on Thursday nights, by Shaykh Abd Allah ibn Alawi al Haddad. And of course Ihya Ulum al Din.

These were some of the staple texts that were taught. But students were also graded depending on the rank and the understanding of Arabic. They had the general classes and the the more specific classes in which he taught smaller groups.

MM: The more elect of students in other words?

SH: Yes, the more elect of them I would say. Most of them went on to become Imams at Al Zawiyah or elsewhere.

MM: Let’s have a look at the amazing tradition of Al Zawiyah through Shaykh Muhammad Salih Hendricks, its founder. Your uncle, Shaykh Maghdie, Shaykh Ebrahim – unfortunately Shaykh Ahmad passed away in Makkah. Now yourself, Shaykh Seraj, and of course your brother Shaykh Ahmad. But Al Zawiyah does exist in a wider context, doesn’t it? It was founded almost before the days of apartheid. Give us something of the history of Islam at the Cape. Where do we basically come from?

SH: From all over basically. Mainly from India and Southeast Asia. Although the impact of course of the Indonesians and Malaysians has been much more significant than in any other country. Most of them initially arrived as slaves.

MM: And how many years ago did the first Muslims arrive in South Africa?

SH: Apparently the first number of Muslims of whom we have no record whatsoever, in terms of the background, who they were, their descent and where they came from, was in fact in 1657. That was before the arrival of Tuan Mahmud and Shaykh Abdurahman Matebe Shah and others in 1667. So, the history goes back quite a long way. But there is no evidence unfortunately to show what sort of impact that first group of Muslims had.

MM: There’s something that seems to make Cape Town’s history slightly more unique. That is that we have a lot of Awliya or Saints buried in our environs. It seems that these people have played a major role in shaping Cape Town’s community. Who are some of these personalities and how does that shape our lives?

SH: In a major way. In fact professor Mason did a comparative study – and he interviewed me on this – between the three slave-holding societies: Cape Town, Brazil, and the United States. To his absolute amazement he found that in both countries [Brazil and the US] Islam had been annihilated – obliterated completely.

MM: Any reason for that?

SH: Well, I have. And I share, partly, with him, his reasons. One of the reasons I believe Islam survived at the Cape is the presence of the Awliya. The quality of Muslims who came here was probably much higher in terms of learning than those who went over there.

MM: Are you saying that they were actually scholars of Islam that came?

SH: I think they made a mistake to bring them here. Ironically, the Cape is called the Cape of Good Hope. Why is it called the Cape of Good Hope? Because Henry the Navigator had the Good Hope that Islam would be destroyed from here. So he called it the Cape of Good Hope. The name stuck, of course. Very few Muslims are aware of that. But that’s a reason why.

The mistake I think they made was to bring people like Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar, like Tuan Mahmud, like Shaykh Abdurahman Matebe Shah, Sayed Tuan Alawie, Biesmillahi Shah [Bawa], a whole host of them. Some of the students of Shaykh Yusuf who stayed behind, like Shaykh Hassen Ghaibie Shah up at Signal Hill. These people kept Islam alive.

MM: How did it survive?

SH: It survived within the homes of people or the musallas. There were special, dedicated rooms in Muslim households which was called a langa. Taken in derived from the Malay word linga which has no spiritual connotations, but in terms of a culture of those people it had. For us it would be obscene to even translate the word, but it was taken from that form of worship. Even the term Puasa that we use is a Malaya-Hindu term.

MM: That does not mean Ramadan?

SH: It means some sort of sacrifice, but not Ramadan. It’s got nothing to do with Ramadan as we understand it in Islam as such. But this shows the sort of cross-pollination and the way in which the Muslims here almost Islamized certain words. Words with which they could identify.

It was in these langas, these spiritual retreats within the homes of people, that the adhkar, the dhikrs, of of people like Shaykh Yusuf [a Khalwati], of Tuan Mahmud [a Qadiri], of Biesmillahi Shah, people like Tuan Sayed Alawie who was a missionary for the Ba Alawi Tariqa [were held]. There they practiced the mawlids. These were the practices that kept Islam, because it was done outside the reach of the colonial state and government and the rulers.

In fact one of the lecturers I spoke to at Umm al Qura believed that Islam had survived in Russia in a similar way. And also in China where both possession and distribution of the Qur’an were banned. Islam they in Russia had also survived through the Sufi orders.

So that is one of the reasons why it is so difficult for these people who come here and who try to charge us with the sin of shirk, of polytheism, and bida and malicious innovations in our religion. They will have an enormous task in trying to obliterate these practices, because these are the practices that kept Islam alive in the homes of people.

Why specifically do I say that? Because by the end of the 20th century there were a number of mosques already built. But they were built in opposition one to the other. One Imam took the other Imam to court. There was enormous animosity. The mosques in Cape Town became the center points of conflict and not of unity among Muslims. This is well known.

Dr Ahmad Davids has written extensively about this. Each and every Muslim knows this. Look at the archives. You will see one lawsuit after the other to the point of embarrassment. So it was not the mosque that played this vital role in sustaining and protecting Islam. It was the home. And within the homes, the langas or the spiritual retreats, where the mawlids continued, the adhkar continued, the recitals of surah Ya Sin, and the Thursday night recitals took place. These were the vehicles and the channels through which Islam sustained itself right up until today.

But I have to remind you that while we might describe ignorance to particularly the 19th century, Islam after the death of Tuan Guru in 1807 and in the banning of slavery in 1834, and its final implementation in 1888, the slave trade stopped. There were no more Muslims coming in. And there was this massive vacuum that appeared with him Muslim culture.

Imagine any society without education for a hundred years. We need hardly think to understand how catastrophic those consequences could be. I have here a letter found in the archives along with the assistance of our late brother Dr Ahmad Davids. [The letter] is by Shaykh Abdul Kader Biesmillahi Shah to show the suffering that these people went through.

MM: This is a shaykh who is buried very, very close to Al Zawiyah.

SH: It’s just across from here.

MM: Up on the mountain side.

SH: They were from the Buginese clan in Indonesia. There were a number of Buginese out in Stellenbosch. They scattered the Muslims widely. Some of them in Macassar, as you know, Shaykh Yusuf. Across Constantia which at that time was probably quite far from the scent of things in Cape Town. Swellendam where my grandfather came from and where he was was born. And then places like Stellenbosch where they could control them.

But listen to this letter. It’s such a moving one. A number of them wrote to Biesmillahi Shah because he was a highly respected individual within Buginese society. They write:

This letter comes as a message from Stellenbosch. You sent me, brother September. I announced that I’ve been sick for two months and that no human medicine can cure me. [Brother September refers to Biesmillahi Shah. The slaves are called by months. If they arrived in September, they disembark: “Your name is September.” If they arrived on a Friday: “Your name will be Friday,” etc.]

I seek encouragement from you because I know you care our Buginese people. I request from you, brother, if you have compassion, actually, for your Buginese race. Because I know from the time we spoke with our fellow Buginese people you said we were suffering, and that this concerned you. For we are a broken, suffering people in miserable conditions. Thus my request to you, brother September, if you are compassionate to your suffering Buginese compatriots. Will you lead the children who came from this place of Bulu Bulu and Sungai?

SH: It is such a moving piece that they wrote him. They appealed to him. This letter unfortunately landed up in the wrong hands. In the hands of the state. He was either farming or tending to sheep along the slopes of Devil’s Peak. With this letter they went out they arrested him. They undressed him. He was naked. There were four or five of his followers who were there to do the burial afterwards.

They tied him to the wheel and they stretched him limb by limb and until his entire body split and tore apart. Those who stood they looked at him with all the misery and compassion and pain in the trauma of having to watch their leader being torn apart in this way. But what amazed them that for as long as they stretched him – and this is one of the most painful deaths imaginable – the man did not utter a single word of pain.

These people, like the others who had been incarcerated on Robben Island, and in the Castle [of Good Hope] where you can still see the fingernails on the walls of those dungeons. These are the people who stood for Islam. Who lived with their dhikrs and their mawlids and their love for tasawwuf, who made Islam possible and as strong as it is for us today in the Cape.

MM: Very briefly, our last point in this interview. Islam survived slavery. It managed to get its way through colonialism. But then there’s also been the Apartheid era, the Post-Apartheid era, and of course the impact that its had on the the townships. Your your quick take on that.

SH: Yes of course. Muslims were really vital in the fight against Apartheid. In fact, they are disproportionately represented in government, up till today, because of the immense contributions that Muslims made.

We can think of so many organizations. The Call of Islam, Ebrahim Rasool, our past premiere of the Western Cape Province, was the head of The Call of Islam. Dr Farid Esack, another great activist. All these muslims played enormous roles in breaking down the rather tight scaffolding of this monster called Apartheid.

Al Zawiyah, in its own way, played a very important role. For example, in 1947, my father along with your father-in-law, Shaykh Ebrahim Hendricks, and my uncle, Shaykh Maghdie, who taught me the Ihya, were offered white identity because they were trying to garner votes. The voting took place in 1948 and the Apartheid State was instituted then.

That radicalized Shaykh Ebrahim tremendously. He rejected it completely and went on a campaign of which we have documents here as witness to that. In 1955 he had his passport removed. He had to smuggle out people like Abu Bakr van der Schyff – someone I was pleased to meet in Makkah because he never returned to South Africa.

One night when I came up to class, I saw these people trying to record what Shaykh Maghdie was saying. They were hidden behind the door and when they saw me coming up the steps – they were skulking in the dark just scattering. They had their radio equipment with them and they rushed out. They were plants right in the Masjid and Shaykh Maghdie was of course aware of that.

I was probably one of the most activist and I had the good fortune of landing up in prison for a short while. But it was all done in good faith. There was no hostility, no animosity. I remember when I was asked to talk by members of The Call of Islam.

They asked me to deliver talk in the [unclear] prison. It was a risk I took. But I just reminded them, in the spirit of Islam, that people should not be judged by their color. And that we should show no hostility to the guard standing there at the door who was taking care of us. Not taking care of us, but ensuring that we were in line, obeying orders, and behaved ourselves.

I turned to him in my speech and I said: Remember that oppression is not the the provenance of a particular group of people or a particular race or ethnicity. It’s a mindset. It’s built on conditioned prejudices. And that he, as much as everyone else engaging in oppression of this country, is a dehumanized being. He needs our help as much as everyone else needs our help when it comes to freeing people from the shackles of the oppressive attitudes.

He was very angry about what I said and turned the stungun on me and then threatened to shoot us. and He was running around. People started to panic. He closed the windows. But he didn’t go beyond that. So that is a little experience I had.

I’m thankful for the fact that I could have a say in the destiny of this particular country. But the focus of course was not on revolution as such. Here it was more on education. Educating people in the ethics and in the morality of Islam. Because without that morality we could hardly call a revolution a revolution in the first place.

MM: Would you say that the major impact of Al Zawiyah on the Post-Apartheid landscape reaching out to other South Africans as well. Has in fact actually been education – an education based on the the ethos of the Ihya?

SH: I think it will always be that. I am inspired by it. My brother Shaykh Ahmad is inspired by it. All of us are inspired by that. That is a project that will never end. In the post apartheid era I think there is a need for an even greater emphasis on the spiritual and moral spiritual aspects of Islam – the ethical aspects and the genuine and authentic teachings.

Living in a society as open as it is today, when we are confronted by the cost of the sorts of ignorance that we that we are witness, it is important as Muslims that we focus on these issues. That we support institutions that have Islamic education at heart. And not only just institutions but Ihsan-excellence within those institutions.

As Muslims we are all commanded with Ihsan. And Ihsan is determined by our consciousness of Allah Most High. Consequently a consciousness to determine the quality of education and attitudes that we assist in trying to engender within our Muslim community, and also with equal respect to the non-Muslim society.

MM: Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, thanks for chatting to us.

SH: Shukran. Jazak Allah khayr. It was a pleasure to be here.

 


This interview was originally done by Mishkat Media in cooperation with Travelling Light, where Shaykh Seraj Hendricks teaches the Ihya as it was taught to him.

Shaykh Seraj also has a personal blog: In the Shadow of Pure Light.


How the Ihya Overcame Apartheid–Shaykh Seraj Hendricks

Mishkat Media have produced a wonderful interview with Shaykh Seraj Hendricks on the deep influence of Imam al Ghazali in Cape Town, and the Shaykh’s own role in the struggle against apartheid.

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks is among the third generation of scholars who have been teaching the Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences) in South Africa. The Ihya is a 40-volume work on Islamic ethics, spirituality, and religious practice, written by the great Imam Ghazali. It has gained fame not as a manual of Islamic law, but because of its essential focus on spirituality and purification of the self. Shaykh Seraj’s grandfather was reportedly the first man to bring the book to the lands, where he was delegated to teach it.

Shaykh Seraj’s first exposure to the Ihya series, was the Book on Halal and Haram, which was when he was eighteen. He found himself fascinated by it. While studying psychology in university, he interviewed a scholar called Shaykh Mahdie, who was in his seventies. Shaykh Mahdie mentioned that he had just finished his 20th reading of the Ihya. Later on, Shaykh Seraj learned that it was part of the litanies of the Ba’lawi spiritual path, to do 20 readings of the Ihya in a lifetime.

In this interview, he speaks of the Ihya and its effects on the South African communities. Religious scholarship was established when the Dutch colonisers exiled many Muslims leaders to South Africa. Rather than cutting off the spread of Islam, ot served to establish a small community, whose leaders painstakingly kept up their religious practices. They dedicated rooms in their houses for worship, and kept up the readings of Sura Yasin and the litanies of the B’lawi tariqa, with their love for spirituality and connecting with Allah. In this way, Islam survived through slavery and colonialism. However, it still had to suffer through apartheid.

The Muslims were heavily involved in the struggle against apartheid. Shaykh Seraj himself was imprisoned briefly for his role in the movement. While in prison, he was invited by other prisoners to give a talk in the prison square. He began preaching that Muslims should not harbour hostility to others, even to the prison guards. He then turned to the prison guard in charge, and reminded him that oppression is not limited to a particular group, but is a mindset build on prejudice, and that the guard, a dehumanized being, needed their help as much as anyone else to overrule oppression. The guard got angry and threatened to shoot.

Shaykh Seraj finishes the interview with encouraging all Muslims to support institutions that teach Islam, in order to overcome personal and societal barriers.

 


Posted with gratitude to Mishkat Media. Connect with Shaykh Seraj Hendricks at Azzavia Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa.


Resources for Seekers

Loving the Books of Imam Ghazali is a Sign that Allah Loves you

“You open the books of Imam Ghazali and your basking in the favours of Allah”  says Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa, while introducing Imam Ghazali and the book Breaking the Two Desires from his work Ihya Ulum Al-Din.

Shaykh Ibrahim emphasizes the importance of the books of Imam Ghazali by relating insightful dreams people have had with the Imam in them and also gives a beautiful summary of how the Ihya is broken down. We thank Greensville Trust for this video.

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Resources for Seekers

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