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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.


Queen Aminatu –15 Centuries of Female Scholarship

In this series, Shaykha Tamara Gray narrates the stories of great Muslim women through the centuries, who excelled in fields of Islamic knowledge, science, and philanthropy. This segment features Queen Aminatu from the 10th century.

Queen Aminatu ruled a place called Zaria, which is now a province of Nigeria. Queen Aminatu’s mother ascended the throne when Aminatu was 16. She learned to ride horseback for military campaign, to wield weapons, and military strategy. When her mother and brother died, Aminatu took the reign at age 34.

Leading Zaria was very difficult at the time, because there was a lot of tribal unrest and very little unity. Queen Aminatu is credited as being the first ruler to unite the area and bring peace and security to the land. She did this not through just the military expeditions that she led, but also through her strategy. When settling up a military camp, she would build a clay wall around the boundaries of the camp. After the military left, cities would form within those protective walls.

The political stability that Queen Aminatu’s leadership, allowed the opportunity for safer trade and new imported goods, including the cola nuts which came from Sudan. She is known as being a fierce leader, who bought peace to the Hausa land, bringing safety and economic prosperity. She ruled Zaria for a total of 34 years.


With gratitude to Shaykha Tamara Gray and Rabata.


https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/inspiring-women-inspire-us/

Nasheed Hub: Ya Imam al Rusli

The Nasheed Hub, an initiative of SeekersGuidance Global, aims to showcase the traditional Islamic art of nasheed, or Islamic devotional songs.

Ya Imam al Rusli-O Leader of the Messengers

“Ya Imam al Rusli,” is a nasheed with origins in the Levantine tradition. The writer expresses his need for the Prophet’s guidance as he, Allah bless him and give him peace, is his connection to Allah. He refers to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, as “the door to Allah, and the one on whom I depend,” and asks him to take him by the hand.

He continues by mentioning the Prophet’s virtues, Allah bless him and give him peace. He speaks about his care and guardianship for all people, and his vast knowledge.

The author also used various examples and metaphors to express his love and longing. He swears by the falling star, to equate the knower of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, as someone who is in good health, as opposed to someone who doesn’t know him, who he compares to someone who is ill.

Click on the image below to scroll

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilizations of Islam, the vocal tradition, sometimes known as nasheed or devotional songs, were penned as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to Allah for the message of Islam, as well as for the Messenger himself.

These nasheeds were a way for people to turn towards their Lord in joyful celebration, rather than stringent routine. They were also tools to spread the message of Islam in a non-confrontational way. These nasheeds were able to reach out to those who were alienated or indifferent to the religion and the Muslim community, as well as to teach children who were too young for academic study.

These nasheeds originating from all corners of the Muslim world – from West Africa to Malaysia, from Turkey to Great Britian – mirror their own culture but all carry a common thread: love of Allah and His Messenger.

This series will explore the different nasheeds, penned by some of the great historical Muslim figures, poets, and scholars.

Resources for Seekers

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Amazing Muslim Women: Fatima al-Fihri

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 5-part series about the amazing Muslim women who paved the way for others after them.

Fatima al-Fihri lived in Fez, Morocco in the mid-9th century. She lived in a time where the women were very involved in the development of infrastructure. At that time, public institutions were supported by an endowment, or waqf. Because women, under Islamic law, are not obliged to supported their families, women with large fortunes would choose to channel them into waqfs. Whether it was a mosque, school or hospital, the waqf would ensure that the institution could be funded long-term. Fatima al-Fihri

Fatima was heir to a large fortune, and promised to build a university. At the time, there were no other universities in the world. In fact, the first European university wouldn’t open until the 11th century. In the year 859, Al-Qarawiyin (also spelled Al Quaraouiyine or Al-Karaouine) was opened. It was the first institution to offer standardized degrees at the graduate, post-graduate and doctorate level. In addition to a vibrant campus, she also added a mosque and a huge library. Many brilliant minds flocked to al-Qarawiyin, including the famous sociologist and historian Ibn Khaldun, to present-day Shaykh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, faculty at Zaytuna College.

Fatima’s piety and social concern was evident in her planning. During the two years of construction, she took a vow of fasting, keeping the fast every day until the day of completion. In addition, she specified that the building materials be locally sourced. This allowed the surrounding community to benefit, and ensured that the building suited its natural environment.

Fatima al-Fihri is an example of what happens when women in a society are empowered. Al-Qarawiyin is the one lasting example of that society.


Resources for Seekers

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Amazing Muslim Women: Umm Ma‘baad

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 5-part series about the amazing Muslim women who paved the way for others after them.

Umm Ma‘baad, whose real name was Atiqah bint Khalid al-Khuzaiya, was a very fascinating woman. She is most famous for being the first woman to narrate a comprehensive description of the Prophet in a hadith.

Unexpected Guests

Umm Ma‘baad was an archetype of the Bedouin people. She was strong, intelligent, and possessed a mastery of the Arabic language, which the Bedouins were known for. She lived in a tent outside of Mecca, and she would make a living by operating a “rest stop.” She would distribute dates, meat, and milk to the travellers passing by. Umm Ma‘baad

One day, she was sitting in her tent, when two men appeared. They seemed to be in a rush, but Umm Ma‘baad saw something very special.

Because all her sheep had gone out to pasture, there was no milk to feed to the guests. One of the men asked for an old sheep, which was not giving milk. He passed his hand over her udder and it became filled with milk, which everyone drank from.

The Hadith of Umm Ma‘baad

Of course, these two men were the Prophet and Abu Bakr, on their migration from Mecca to Medina. When her husband returned, she told him what had happened. She described the Prophet as very radiant, and handsome. She described his luminous eyes and beautiful speech, and how the ones in his company deferred to him with so much respect.

Umm Ma‘baad was just trying to tell her husband about her visitors, but her description became one of the most famous hadith about the Prophet. Anyone learning about the characteristics of the Prophet, or learning about the Prophetic biography, is sure to come across her narration.

Although this was the first and last time she met the Prophet, her description was so concise and eloquent that it became immortalized in history.

Resources for Seekers

Trump Glitch – A Historical Recap by Ustadh Salman Younas

Ustadh Salman Younas offers some perspective as the controversial property and media mogul, Donald J. Trump assumes his position as the President of the United States of America.

This is a very brief history recap.
The Muslim community endured the death of the greatest creation (peace and blessings upon him). This community then witnessed the Ridda wars. During the caliphate of Umar, the community experienced extreme drought and a virulent plague that killed thousands in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. This was followed by the assassinations of Umar ibn al-Khattab and Uthman ibn Affan, the second and third caliphs respectively. The community then went through a period of prolonged civil war where thousands of people died, including numerous Companions, and which concluded with the assassination of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph. A brief reign of peace under Mu’awiyah was interrupted by the massacre of al-Husayn and his family, the siege of Mecca where the Ka’aba was destroyed, and the events of Harra where hundreds of Muslims were killed in the holy city of Madina. All of this, and more, occurred within seventy or so years of the establishment of the Muslim community.
Following the consolidation of Ummayad rule, the situation was no less difficult. Tyrants like al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf were given free reign to oppress the community: exorbitant taxes, mistreatment of non-Arabs, imprisoning and killing political opponents was common. The grievances in many segments of the population ran high. Consequently, political unrest and rebellion became a constant feature during this period: the Berbers of North Africa, Ibn al-Muhallab, al-Harith ibn al-Surayj, and Zayd ibn Ali, all led armed revolts against the government within a span of three decades or less. This is not to mention the severe financial crisis during the last two decades of Ummayad rule, the depletion of the army, and more. Eventually, the dynasty collapsed after the Third Fitna and a series of bloody battles over a span of five years that saw the Abbasids come to power.
This was also the experience of the Muslim community during the reign of the Abbassids. While there were a number of positive developments and years of intense prosperity, there was also continued political instability. There was the Fourth Fitna. Then there was the Fifth Fitna and the Anarchy of Samarra that saw four caliphs violently come to power and fall in the span of ten years due to the intense power plays of rival military groups. Then there was the nearly 15 year long Zanj rebellion, which was described as “one of the bloodiest and most destructive rebellions which the history of Western Asia records.”
Right now we have only reached the year 270 A.H./883 A.D and have only focused on internal Muslim problems. After the Zanj rebellion, the Qaramita engaged in a rebellion that lasted years and years and killed many. They ended up stealing the Black Stone from the Ka`ba. We still have twelve hundred years to go, which include the Mongol invasions that wiped out the eastern Muslim lands, the collapse of the caliphate, colonialism, and more.

What is the point of relaying the above?

What is the point of relaying the above? The Muslim community endured all of this. This community is still here. Not only are we still here, but we are a billion strong and growing. The same periods that saw such horrible and intense strife, killing, oppression, and distress also saw the creation of people like Malik, Abu Hanifa, Shafi`i, Ahmad, and righteous people committed to God, to justice, to worship, to knowledge, to hope, to love, to good, to helping the poor and oppressed, and more.
Trump is another glitch and in the context of what we have endured as a community he is a minor glitch. We will continue to do what we have always done: move forward and strive to spread the good and truth trusting in God in whose power all things are. God is the one in charge and this being the case we must firmly believe in His promise to preserve this message and the religion brought by His beloved Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).
Shock, anger, and sadness are all natural responses we have as humans to events we experience. Yet, our community does not despair. Rather, we recognize our challenges and face them the way the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) taught us to face them. So long as there is one person who says la ilaha illa allah, one person who places his forehead on the ground in prostration, or one person who invokes blessings on the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), etc. the struggle for truth and righteousness will go on with the aid of God, Today, there are a billion plus people who fit the above description. Muslims are here to stay and our religion is here to stay by the promise of God.
Let’s get to work.

Ustadh Salman Younas is a teacher at SeekersHub Global. Check out his writings and fiqh answers on the SeekersHub website and also follow him on his own page on Facebook.

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Are Culture and Religion Mutually Exclusive? Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (3-part series)

What is the connection between religion and culture? What does Islam say about the place of culture in our lives? Do cultural norms conflict with religion, or do they have some sort of authority? And what do art, science, and history have to do with it all?

In this illuminating three-part series, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah debunks some of the most commonly perpetuated myths on the supposed clash of culture vs. religion.

We are experiencing a crisis of knowledge, he says. The Muslims historically all sought knowledge with vigour, and that was what solidified their identities. This led to the wealth of culture and civilization that they became famous for.

But how do we translate that identity into modern life? Watch now and find out!



Interested in learning more about Islamic thought and civilization? Sign up for Ustadh Ali Ataie’s course The Bible Through a Muslim Lens, offered completely free as per our commitment to Knowledge Without Barriers.

Resources for seekers on culture verses religion

Photo by Daniel Mennerich

The Myth of The Golden Age of Islam, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Catch yourself thinking wistfully about Islam’s golden age? In this brief clip, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains how this way of thinking can hinder us from seeing the current glories of our faith. Despite the challenges, we should not feel overwhelmed, as Allah has granted many great leaders to every generation.

Video: Continuity and Community: Eid al-Adha 2012 Khutbah – Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

Video: Continuity and Community: Eid al-Adha 2012 Khutbah – Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah delivers Eid al-Adha 2012 khutbah.

Shaykh Muhammad Emin Er – The Last Ottoman Scholar by Imam Khalil Abdur Rashid

SHAYKH MUHAMMAD EMIN ER – THE LAST OTTOMAN SCHOLAR BY IMAM KHALIL ABDUR RASHID

Note: Shaykh Muhammad Emin Er will be present at the Islamic Center Prayer Room on Tuesday, May 8th 6:30pm – 8:30pm – 238 Thompson Street, 4th floor -NY, NY 10012

It is with deep humility and honor that I sit to transmit a snapshot of the

life of my teacher whom I spent 8 years of my life studying under; who
would refine me, educate me, advise me, and transmit ijaaza to me thus
becoming the father of my spiritual life, Shaykh Muhammad Emin Er.

Shaykh Muhammad Emin Er was born in 1909 in the village of Kuluyan
(recently renamed Kalash) in the province of Diyarbakir, in the southeast
of what is now Turkey but was at that time the Ottoman Empire. Shaykh
Emin’s family belonged to a Kurdish tribe called Miran. His father, Haji
Zulfikar, was a wealthy farmer who took a great interest in science and
education, and happened to be a person of some wealth. There being no
school in the village of Kuluyan, Haji Zulfikar employed a private tutor to
educate his two young sons, Muhammad and his elder brother Ali. Then just
as his sons were learning to read and write in the Arabic script (at the
time still the official script of the Ottoman language and state), Haji
Zulfikar passed away. The future Shaykh had already lost his mother Hawa
while he was still a young child of the age of three or four and thus (like
the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace) he was left
an orphan. To this day, Shaykh Emin travels to the graves of his mother and
father in the village of Kuluyan at least once per year. **

At this time, Muhammad Emin was 10 years old, and the Ottoman state still
stood as one of the largest in the world extending from North Africa to
Yemen, and from the Balkans to the frontiers of Persia. It faced
coordinated attacks on many fronts, east and west. Because of the war, the
economic situation became ruinous, as the Ottoman state was increasingly
forced to deplete its already overextended financial resources in the
defense of its territorial integrity. The resulting economic hardship was
severe throughout the country and the young Muhammad Emin passed through
the remainder of his early life in much straightened circumstances, first
under the care of his stepmother and later under the care of his elder
brother. He contributed to the support of his family by shepherding goats
in the high mountains surrounding the village. All the while, his desire to
learn to read and write, ignited both by his late father and his former
tutor, persisted and grew. Having neither paper nor pen, he used stones to
scratch words and sentences on flat rocks, while tending his goats on the
mountainsides. This striving to improve his reading and writing skills
despite great deprivation gave rise to the legend in his village that
Khidr, the companion of Moses and saintly figure who comes to the aid of
the destitute, provided the young Muhammad Emin lessons in his sleep. **

So great was his passion for knowledge that he would cry bitter tears wile
imploring Allah to help him learn to read the Quran. He missed no
opportunity to seek out people whom he thought might help him. He would
journey on foot for several days at a time simply to visit knowledgeable
people in the vicinity of his village. He would eventually learn how to
write letters and read books in the Ottoman script. As for the Arabic
language and knowledge of the traditional Islamic disciplines, there was at
the time no one in the region able to introduce him to this type of
scholarship. Thus he sought what he could from books. However, as the new
Turkish Republic was established, the traditional Ottoman script was
abolished and its use outlawed altogether with all Quranic and Islamic
education. Families began to fear the consequences of teaching the Quran to
their children even in the privacy of their own homes. As Shaykh Emin
recalls: “…at that time, everything was forbidden in Turkey. Even to read
and to learn the Quran was forbidden in those days. It was not easy, like
it is today. We had very hard times, so I resolved at my first opportunity
to seek religious learning in Syria.” This was not to be. Reaching the
border city of Gaziantep, Muhammad Emin was not permitted to cross into
Syria. He resolved instead to travel first to Adana, and soon thereafter to
Istanbul. Knowing no one in Istanbul, he soon ran out of money, and thus
went on foot to Bursa where he worked as a servant for a wealthy family in
order to make a living.

At the age of 25, Muhammad Emin made his first of many trips of pilgrimage
(hajj) to the Sacred House, in Mecca. Upon his return, his desire to seek
scared knowledge undiminished, he undertook extensive travels in eastern
Anatolia to seek out scholars and ask them to teach him. He later resolved
once again to cross into Syria in search of scholars who could instruct
him. By now, World War II had begun, and although he succeeded in crossing
the border, he was detained by security forces who suspected him of being a
spy. He spent some time in prison in Syria before being cleared. Set free
by authorities, he returned to Turkey, particularly to Diyarbakir. There he
was able to study the remaining subjects in the foundational curriculum of
the traditional Islamic sciences, many of them concerned with Arabic
linguistics. These included propositional logic (mantiq), historical
semantics (ilm al-wada’), figurative usage (isti’ara), etiquette of debate
and argumentation (munazara), literary meaning (ma’ani), rhetoric (bayan),
refined usage (badi), fundamentals of Islamic creed (usul al-din),
methodology of Islamic jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh), Islamic jurisprudence
of both the Hanafi and Shafi Legal Schools (fiqh), and Islamic spiritual
psychology (tasawwuf). The teacher with whom he spent the greatest part of
this time was Molla Rasul, a classmate of the famous Bediuzzaman Said
Nursi. Shaykh Emin would later meet Said Nursi and study briefly with him
as well.

In 1951, Shaykh Emin completed the last of his studies, completing the
study of discursive theology (kalam) and received his full license (ijaaza)
in all of the rational and traditional Islamic disciplines which have
constituted the curriculum of the greatest of scholars of the Islamic
tradition since the time of Imam Ghazali in the 11th and 12th centuries. In
addition, Shaykh Emin mastered and received ijaaza in the sciences of
exegesis of Quran (tafsir), religious laws of inheritance (fara’id) and the
sciences of the prophetic traditions (usul al-hadith).

Shaykh Emin has devoted his entire life to emulating the example of his
teachers and teaching the inner and outer discipline to student, issuing
ijaaza to those who successfully complete their study under him – efforts
he continues to this day. Central to this is his position within a chain
(isnad) that is within an unbroken lineage of transmission of knowledge
extending back to Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him
peace. And, according to the custom of Muslim scholars of this mold, he in
turn passes on the knowledge transmitted to him by his mentors, bequeathing
a place in this unbroken chain to students in the 21st century. Even if
seldom encountered, it is nevertheless true that such an isnad persists to
the present day. Shaykh Emin has six children and 40 grandchildren. A
seventh child of his passed away as a toddler. Having retired from many
years of service as imam in several cities, he continues to live a life of
rigorous worship. He has little free time, but uses it when it comes to
read and contemplate the Quran and consult the commentaries of the great
scholars on questions that occur to him in his reading. Shaykh Ein sleeps
very little –by his own estimate, perhaps three hours during the night, and
an hour or two before noon if possible. He always sleeps in a state of
ablution, in emulation of the sunna of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, and mindful that, should he die in his sleep, he would
want to face his Lord in a state of purity. He rises every day at around
3a.m. for the night prayer called tahajjud, remaining awake in a state of
contemplation until the time of the prescribed dawn prayer (fajr). He then
remains in the place of prayer and reads Quran until the sun has risen, and
then remains for a bit longer, finally offering a voluntary cycle of prayer.

He passes the rest of the morning in scholarly writing, sometimes receiving
visitors. Shaykh Emin writes only in Arabic, always facing the direction of
prayer (qibla) in a state of ritual purity (wudu). When his work is
interrupted for some reason, he performs ablution and two cycles of prayer
before resuming his writing, a demonstration of profound reverence, typical
of the foremost representatives of the Islamic scholarly tradition but
seldom encountered in the present day, before the grave responsibility of
transmitting knowledge.* *

His modest home in Ankara, Turkey witnesses a steady stream of guests, and
he never refuses any request of learning, regardless of the level of the
student. Shaykh Emin and his guests sit on carpeted floor of a room lined
with shelves of books from floor to ceiling. The students and visitors are
always served tea and sweets, and even a complete meal at the appropriate
times. He teaches his students on an individual basis, through the pace and
method of instruction best suited to each person’s aptitudes and
constraints. Although it is his habit to fast whenever possible, he goes
out of his way to accommodate those guests who are not fasting in order to
set them more fully at ease in his company. This observance, far from being
merely the exemplary of the manners of his generation, is the living sunna
of all the Prophets. The importance of this for people in his company is
tremendous, and not to be overlooked. It is possible to learn a great deal
about exemplary conduct from books, and even to some extent to imitate what
one reads. But not everything we need to know on this matter is written,
nor could it be. It is by keeping the company of those who know it that we
acquire the essentials of exemplary conduct in both its written and
unwritten aspects. Shaykh Emin’s conduct exemplifies what was transmitted
to him from his teachers, and they from theirs, and so forth along lineages
extending to the teaching and example of Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace. All of this gives us a greater sense of what could
be lost to us forever if the last chains of transmission of this tradition
were ever to be broken.