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"The Revival of Faith Against Intolerance", Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

“What we have to understand is that our history is rich and beautiful, and it took on so many different colors. There’s not such a thing as an ‘Islamic Civilization’; there are Islamic Civilizations – plural.”
Dr Umar Faruq AbdAllah - Revival Faith

Revival of Faith – The Great Legacy of Giants

Listen to Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah contextualizes the revival of Islam in difficult, hateful times. Through the stories of giants like Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al Jilani and Imam Abu Hamid al Ghazali, he explains the great legacy that modern Muslims are inheriting, and our role in restoring the true Islamic tradition.
Recorded at SeekersHub Toronto – join us in person or on Livestream from anywhere in the world.

Resources for seekers:

What To Do When You Hear Slander and Backbiting

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When a poor opinion of others occurs to mind, recognize that it is a type of whispering the devil has sent your way. You should consider it a fabrication, as he is the most evil of evildoers, and Allah has said, “When an evildoer brings you news, verify it before you harm others in ignorance and are then sorrowful over what you have done.” It is therefore not permissible to lend credence to the devil.

If there happens to be some circumstantial evidence that indicates impropriety, but it is also possible that the charge is not true, it remains impermissible to harbor malignant thoughts towards another.

Tenuous Threads

One of the signs of having such thoughts towards others is that your heart is no longer the same with respect to them; you flee from them and find their company burdensome; you are unable to give them due consideration, to be hospitable towards them or to feel pain at their situation.

That is simply because the devil tries to convince the heart, with even the most tenuous of threads, of the evilness of another. He even throws into the heart the idea that this observation of another’s state is actually due to one’s own perspicacity, intelligence, and sharpness of mind, and that after all a believer can see clearly with the light of the Divine, while he is really speaking through the deception of satan and his darkness!

Even were one trustworthy person to tell you something about another person, do not lend credence to it, but do not at the same time consider it false. This is just so that you don’t end up thinking badly of another.

Do The Opposite

Whenever a malevolent thought towards another Muslim comes to mind, respond by doing even more to treat him well and honor him. That alone angers the devil and drives him away from you, such that he no longer throws those kinds of thoughts your way, for fear that you would respond by busying yourself with prayers for that person.

Whenever you learn of the misstep of another Muslim, through clear proof that does not admit doubt, advise them secretly. Do not allow yourself to be deluded by Satan, who calls you towards speaking about them behind their backs.

When you admonish them, do not do so happy that you’ve managed to come across a deficiency on their part, such that they have to look up at you in your position of strength, while you look down at them as if they are nothing.

Rather, have as your ultimate goal ridding them of this sin, while being in a state of sorrow, the way in which you would be sad over your own character when it is found to be be in some way deficient.

It’s Not About You

And finally, let it be the case that this person’s leaving off this blameworthy trait without you having said anything is more beloved to you than them having done so due to your having admonished them.


May Allah reward Shaykh Shuaib Ally for unearthing this valuable advice from Imam al-Ghazali, as quoted in Nawawi’s Adhkar.

 

Resources for seekers:

“Signs of the Scholar of the Hereafter” – By Imam al-Ghazzali & Translated by Shaykh Nuh Ha Meem Keller

By Imam al-Ghazzali & Translated by Shaykh Nuh Ha Meem Keller in “Sea Without Shore”


[1] He does not seek this world by his religious learning, for at [the] very least a scholar is someone aware of this world’s wretchedness, triviality, sordidness, and ephemerality; and the next world’s magnificence, permanence, blessings, and vastness – and that the two are opposites.

[2] His deeds do not belie his words, and he does not tell anyone to do something without himself being the first to do it.

[3] He is devoted to knowledge beneficial in the next world, that which increases desire for acts of worship, and he shuns branches of religious learning that are of little benefit, or mainly debate and gossip.

[4] He is disinclined to luxury in food and drink, enjoyment of clothes, and embellishment of furnishings and housing, preferring less therein, emulating the early Muslims (Allah have mercy on them), and inclining towards the minimum in everything.

[5] He keeps as far from rulers as possible, never going to visit them as long as there is any way to evade them.

[6] He is reluctant to give formal legal opinion (fatwa), refrains from verdicts about matters unclear, and avoids giving opinions whenever he can.

[7] His main concern is knowledge of the inward and keeping watch over his heart, knowing the path of the next world and traveling it, knowing the path of the next world and traveling it, sincerely hoping to be shown it by combating his ego (mujahada) and spiritual vigilance over himself (muraqaba), since subduing the ego leads to beholding the Divine (mushahada).

[8] He perpetually strives to deepen his inward certitude (yaqin), which is one’s capital in religion.

[9] He is somber, subdued, bowed of head, and spare of words, the awe of the Divine being plain in his manner and dress, movements and rest, speech and silence. No one sees him without being reminded of Allah Most High, his mien bespeaking his works.

[10] He mainly seeks knowledge of spiritual works and what vitiates them, what disturbs the heart, what raises baseless misgivings (waswasa), and what provokes evil, for preventing evil is the basis of religion.

[11] He relies in his branches of learning upon genuine insight and what he knows from the bottom of his heart, not merely upon what he finds by reading treatises and books, or blindly repeating what he has heard another say. For the only one unconditionally followed is he who brought us the Sacred Law (Allah bless him and give him peace), in what he commanded and stated. The prophetic Companions are but followed because their deeds indicate what they heard from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).

[12] He shuns spurious matters in religion newly begun [such as, for Ghazali, purely speculative scholastic theology], even if a scholarly majority adopt them, being undeceived by what was inaugurated after the Companions (Allah be well  pleased with them); but rather dedicating himself to learning how they were, and what they did in their lives.”

(Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din [33], 1, 53-70])

Resources for Seekers:

Love & Balance: Following Our Scholars to Allah
The threat to religious guidance – the importance of Spreading Prophetic Light
Is the hadith: “The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets” authentic? If so, what does it mean?

Imam Ghazali’s Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din’s Importance and Value: A Reader

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Imam Ghazali’s Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din ranks as one of the most widely read books in Islam, having earned the praise of the scholars and the general acceptance of the Community.
The Ihya was also strongly criticized for a variety of reasons, among them the number of weak or forged narrations cited in it.
This reader will attempt, through answers and lectures from Habib Ali Jifri, Dr. Umar Abd-Allah, Shaykh Ahmad Saad, Shaykh Nuh Keller and others, to answer these critics and to shed some light on the importance and value of this work.

What Scholars said about Al-Ghazzali’s Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din [Shaykh Gibril Haddad]
Weak (daif) hadith in Imam Ghazali’s Ihya by Habib Ali Jifri

Dr. Umar Abd-Allah answering a question on weak hadiths in Imam Ghazali’s Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din

Dear Beloved Son by Shaykh Ahmad Saad

“Ayyuhal Walad” or “Dear Beloved Son” is a text written by Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, a letter that he sent to one of his students advising and describing to him the path towards Allah. In this book, Imam Al-Ghazali makes clear the importance of sincere repentance, self-control, self-remonstrance, reflection, overcoming negligence and lust in order to be close to God.
Shaykh Ahmad Saad Al-Azhari explained extracts from the text of Imam Al-Ghazali.
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – The Critical Importance of Al-Ghazali in Our Times
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndapcJS5DJs
Dr. Timothy Winter: The life and works of al-Ghazali

Shaikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller: The Place of Tasawwuf in Traditional Islamic Sciences
“These and similar haram inward states are not found in books of fiqh or ‘jurisprudence,’ because fiqh can only deal with quantifiable descriptions of rulings. Rather, they are examined in their causes and remedies by the scholars of the ‘inner fiqh’ of Tasawwuf, men such as Imam al-Ghazali in his Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din [The reviving of the religious sciences], Imam al-Rabbani in his Maktubat [Letters], al-Suhrawardi in his ‘Awarif al-Ma‘arif [The knowledges of the illuminates], Abu Talib al-Makki in Qut al-qulub [The sustenance of hearts], and similar classic works, which discuss and solve hundreds of ethical questions about the inner life. These are books of Shari‘a and their questions are questions of Sacred Law, of how it is lawful or unlawful for a Muslim to be; and they preserve the part of the prophetic sunna dealing with states.”
Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and Sufism by Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf

Scholars appraisal of Imam Ghazali (ra) by Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InAz-_OFY6A
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani: Five Lessons From Imam al-Ghazali

Related courses:
Purification of the Heart & Praiseworthy Character (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion)
Living Spirituality: Beginnings of Guidance-Shaykh Faraz Rabbani Part 1
Living Spirituality: Beginnings of Guidance-Shaykh Faraz Rabbani Part 2

Marvelling at the Heart – Reflections by Sidi Suhayb

“Verily, in the body is a small piece of flesh that if it is healthy, the whole body is healthy and if it is sick, the whole body is sick. This small piece of flesh is the heart.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

[Marvels of the heart course]
Knowledge of the heart is considered to be fard al-ayn (an individual obligation), and after completing the Marvels of the Heart course with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, I understand why.
This is my first time doing a course with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus. I found him to be a person who reminds you of All Mighty Allah when you look at him. He exudes gentleness and mercy and I was left wanting whatever it is that he has. His character alone would guide people to Islam.
[Transforming and life changing]
The course is nothing short of amazing and to this day remains my favourite Seekers Guidance course, and if acted upon, the most transformative and life-changing. From the beginning of the course to the very end it is full of insight and deep meaning.
I have only done this course once but intend to do it again God Willing. With this course in particular, I bought a translation of the text. I would read the relevant chapter in English before listening to the lesson and then read along again during the lesson, ultimately reading the book twice throughout the course. This really helped me to grasp the concepts.
I converted to Islam around thirteen years ago Praise be to be God, and really just thought that after taking my shahadah that somehow I would be miraculously cured of all the problems I had in life. Somehow without making any effort except saying I believe that All Mighty Allah would grant me a huge spiritual experience and all would be well. Thirteen years later I realise this is not going to be the case for me and that I am going to have to struggle against my ego and my desires, that I need to really strive to seek Allah’s pleasure, All Mighty Allah owes me nothing but I owe Him (God Almighty) everything.
The thing that really hit me throughout the course was the realisation of the state I am in. I am a person who has suffered from addictions in life to one thing and another and doing this course made me realise that even though I am in recovery alhamdulillah, I am still what you might call a suffering addict in my behaviour. I am impulsive by nature and often act on a whim to please myself. This course brought these things to my attention and made me realise that there is a better way to live my life.
[Closeness to God]sh.-yahya-and-cam.png
“The special characteristics of the heart are that by which we draw near to All Mighty Allah. These special characteristics are based on knowledge and will, ‘ilm and irada. The will follows the guidance of the intellect. If the intellect sees something as beneficial it will drive the will to do it. It is different to the animals as the will of the human being can go against your desires based on the judgement of the intellect”.
After hearing this I realised that I have an intellect and that I need to use this to keep my ego and desires in check.  Amazingly, even though the book was written so long ago, the lessons from it are so relevant today, especially in dealing with addiction. When overcoming an urge to use, the addict is encouraged to listen to the rational part of his or her brain to control that urge. Very much like the battle that takes place for the heart with the intellect acting as the advisor to the kingdom (heart) and directing the foot soldiers (our ego and desires) to stay in line. There is a battle underway for this kingdom and we must be ever vigilant.
Perhaps the scariest part is that I have now learned that the heart is ever-changing, and the science of the heart (tasawwuf) is required in every single moment because of this. There is no miraculous overnight cure heading my way, only a lifetime of struggle. But perhaps my miraculous cure is the realisation and acceptance of that.
I recommend this course to everyone and feel that it is perhaps one of the most important things we should learn. From the way it is taught to the teachings it conveys, it will change your outlook on life and how you practise your deen. If more of us are aware of the state of our hearts, its disease and how to treat them then the world will be a better place.
“If you know your heart you will know yourself, and if you know yourself you will know your Lord”
———
Purchase the book, Click here 

SeekersGuidance Course:
The Marvels of the Heart with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus
Relevant Resources:
Habib Umar’s Morning Lessons on Imam Ghazali’s Marvels of the Heart – Day 1 – Select Quotes
The Importance of Study in One’s Spiritual Development – Imam al-Ghazzali
On Knowing Yourself to Know God – A SeekersCircle Reflection

As He Breathed His Last – Imam al-Ghazali’s Last Poem

From the Healing Hearts blog

Imam Al Ghazzali woke up one early morning and as usual offered his prayers. He then enquired what day it was and his younger brother, Ahmad Ghazzali replied,”Monday.”

He asked him to bring his white shroud, kissed it, stretched himself full length and saying “Lord, I obey willingly,” breathed his last.

Underneath his head rest they found the following verses; composed by him, probably, during the night:

“Say to my friends, when they look upon me, dead,

Weeping for me and mourning me in sorrow,

‘Do not believe that this corpse you see is myself,

In the name of God, I tell you, it is not I,

I am a spirit, and this is naught but flesh,

It was my abode and my garment for a time.

I am a treasure, by a talisman kept hid,

Fashioned of dust, which served me as a shrine,

I am a pearl, which has left it’s shell deserted,

I am a bird, and this body was my cage,

Whence I have now flown forth and it is left as a token,

Praise to God, who hath now set me free,

And prepared for me my place in the highest of the Heavens,

Until today I was dead, though alive in your midst.

Now I live in truth, with the grave – clothes discarded.

Today I hold converse with the Saints above,

With no veil between, I see God face to face.

I look upon “Loh-i-Mahfuz” and there in I read,

Whatever was and is, and all that is to be.

Let my house fall in ruins, lay my cage in the ground,

Cast away the talisman, it is a token no more,

Lay aside my cloak, it was but my outer garment.

Place them all in the grave, let them be forgotten,

I have passed on my way and you are left behind,

Your place of abode was no dwelling place for me.

Think not that death is death, nay, it is life,

A life that surpasses all we could dream of here,

While in this world, here we are granted sleep,

Death is but sleep, sleep that shall be prolonged

Be not frightened when death draweth nigh,

It is but the departure for this blessed home,

Think of the mercy and love of your Lord,

Give thanks for His Grace and come without fear.

What I am now, even so shall you be,

For I know that you are even as I am,

The souls of all men come forth from God,

The bodies of all are compounded alike,

Good and evil, alike it was ours.

I give you now a message of good cheer

May God’s peace and joy forever more be yours.”

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On Knowing Yourself to Know God – A SeekersCircle Reflection

by Ustadha Leila Adam 
Imam al Ghazzali, may Allah have mercy on him, said: Know that the key to knowing God is to know your own self.
Therefore, says Imam al Ghazzali in “The Alchemy of Happiness”, you must seek out the truth about yourself: What sort of thing are you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? What is the purpose of your creation? What is happiness and where does it lie? What is misery and where does it lie?
The Four Natural Drivers
In the journey of self discovery, it is useful to find out some aspects of what to look for. For example, our nature will have one or more of the following four attributes as a major driving force in it:

  1. Bestial (pig-like)
  2. Predatory (dog-like)
  3. Demonic
  4. Angelic/Lordly

A bestial nature will be preoccupied with satisfying the urges of sleeping, eating and copulating, and generally be driven by bodily pleasures. It uses the faculty of appetite to get what it wants.
A predatory nature will be dedicated to freedom of the self to think and do as it pleases. It uses the faculty of anger to get what it wants.
A demonic nature will derive pleasure from deception, treachery, slandering and corruption of truth. It uses the ego to get what it wants.
An angelic or lordly nature enjoys peace and contemplation, and has a sense of yearning for higher states. It uses knowledge to get what it wants.
The bestial quality is good for caring for and strengthening the body so that it is able to do good works, but it must be kept under careful check.
The predatory quality is good for self defence when attacked, but it must not be allowed to drive us to do injustice. The demonic quality will drive a person to think negatively about everything and everyone, valuing only their own self.
The angelic quality is that little voice in the head that suggests doing a valuable act, but one should also beware of the lordly tendency to be too clever and take advantage of others.
The Four Virtues
A person who has allowed their bestial qualities to dominate will be overtaken by greed, gluttony and passions. They will always be chasing their desires. A person who has their bestial qualities in good check will be contented, chaste; and moderate and balanced in behaviour and life habits. This can be termed ‘Temperance’.
A person who has allowed their predatory qualities to dominate will be overtaken by enmity, detesting, slandering and cursing others. They will always be arguing and getting angry at people who disagree with them. A person who has their predatory qualities in good check will be courageous, generous, chivalrous and patient with others. This can be termed ‘Courage’.
A person who has allowed their demonic qualities to dominate will be self-centred, and have a sense of superiority and arrogance over others. They will dislike others and look down on them. A person who has their demonic qualities in good check will be charitable and compassionate, having sincere concern for others. This can be termed ‘Justice’.
A person who has allowed their lordly qualities to dominate will be clever and might use cunning and guile to get what they want. A person who has their lordly qualities in good check will have insight and discernment, and a sense of certainty of what is good and right. This can be termed ‘Wisdom’.
From this understanding come The Four Virtues: Courage, Temperance, Wisdom and Justice. These are four virtues we should try to cultivate in ourselves.
The Heart is Our Kingdom
The heart is the kingdom of the person. We have to protect this kingdom from the ‘vandals’ that will capture and harm it. The heart was created for the Hereafter and its happiness is in knowing God. We get to know God through His Signs (His words and creation). The heart feels joy when it sees the wonder of what God does.
The heart ‘hunts’ for this knowledge of God through the 5 outward senses and the 5 inward mind processes. The body is the vehicle of the heart. It is the only way that the heart can access what it needs. The 5 outward senses are of course: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. The 5 inward mind processes are: visualising (seeing something in the mind’s eye), cognitive thought and understanding, memory (remembering), recollecting and reusing (dhikr), and reflecting and pondering (tafakkur).
These 10 faculties can be thought of as the ‘armies of the heart’, and should be under its command. If the heart is overtaken with desires, passions or egotism, the armies will be misused. If a person doesn’t strive to develop the Four Virtues, the heart will get ‘captured and imprisoned’ by the base natures. It then has to ‘bow to the idols’ of dogs, pigs or demons.
Diseases of the Heart
If we let our behaviour go unchecked, the cumulative result of repeatedly following our desires, emotions or egos will be the development of diseases in the spiritual heart. Just as the body will get diseases if we don’t eat properly or sleep well or exercise regularly, so the heart will suffer if our behaviour isn’t controlled. 
A person who submits to the bestial urges of appetite will manifest diseases of greed, shamelessness, foul behaviour, flattery, envy, rejoicing in other people’s misfortunes, and miserliness.
A person who submits to the predatory urges of anger and emotion will manifest diseases of hastiness, impulsiveness, impurity, lawlessness, loudness, boasting and flaunting themselves. They will also be scornful and attacking of others.
A person who submits to the demonic urges of negativity and arrogance will manifest diseases of treachery, deception, fraud, meanness and spoiling of the good, as well as callousness and lack of empathy.
The angelic or lordly nature of humans is linked with their superior intellect, over and above the animals. This quality makes us able to understand things deeply and drives us to aim for higher states. Human life provides a limited time to achieve the higher states that the heart yearns for. When we die there is nothing left of appetites, passions and egos, but the damaging effects of the disease and scars they leave on our hearts can last for eternity.
Related links:
Purification of the Heart Video
SeekersGuidance free online courses: 
Purification of the Heart & Praiseworthy Character (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion)
The Marvels of the Heart

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

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

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

Download: Kalam Jadid, Islamization and Worldview of Islam

Kalam Jadid Islamization & Worldview of Islam by Adi Setia

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus Videos from SoCal Tour

Shaykh Yahya Videos from SoCal Tour

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

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


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

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

Watch the recorded video here


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

These events were powered by Knowledge without Barriers.

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

Travelling Light – Spiritual Wisdom from Imam al-Ghazzali – Mishkat Media

Travelling Light
www.mishkatmedia.com

Travelling Light presents the timeless spiritual wisdom of Imam al-Ghazali’s The Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya ‘ulum al-din), brought alive for today by the teaching of leading scholars of the Muslim community, including Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus.

Lectures on this Islamic classic are now available as MP3s to download or on DVD accompanied by beautiful films shot at historic sites around the Muslim world, among the communities nourished by the teachings of the Imam. Each film also includes examples of the sacred music local to the setting.

The inspirational insights and blessings of the Imam’s work are not the only benefit of this project. All profits go to support the building of the new mosque in Cambridge. To find out more about the mosque project or to make a donation, please visit http://www.cambridgemosqueismoving.org.uk/

To purchase the DVD set, click here.