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Some of the Proper Manners of Service (khidma) Ones Teachers—and in All Religious Activism – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Some of the Proper Manners of Service (khidma) Ones Teachers—and in All Religious Activism

Muwasala—an excellent resource for reliable Islamic guidance—share the following response from Habib Umar bin Hafiz:

What are some of the etiquettes of service (khidma)? [Muwasala]

[The Intention in Serving]

Any type of service, whether it be service of a shaykh or anyone else, should be conducted with the intention of purifying the soul by means of the benefit that comes about through it

[All Benefit Is Service]

Being a cause of any kind of benefit is in fact a type of service.

[The Reality of Service]

Assisting the shaykh in implementing his objectives or assisting anyone in implementing any objective which is valid in the Shariah is a type of service.

[What Service is Most Spiritually Beneficial?]

Any action which requires humility is more beneficial for the soul, such as cleaning, washing and cooking. An important etiquette is to keep the private affairs of the shaykh or anyone else being served secret.

[Sincerely Seeking The Pleasure of Allah in Serving is the Key]

The person serving should have sincerity at all times and should believe that he benefits himself through his service and not that he is doing a favour to those he is serving.

Muwasala is an online repository for the scholarly teachings of the blessed tradition of Ḥaḍramawt. The word muwasala simultaneously means “connection” and “continuity.” These two words explain the underlying purpose of this website: to open the doors for seekers to benefit from one of the great scholarly traditions of the Ummah, firstly by establishing a connection to its teachings, and secondly by embarking upon a continual path of study.

More from SeekersGuidance

Playing with your Children

Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz’s advice on duas to read during pregnancy and labour

The Radiant Intentions of the Pious

I’tikaf: When The Aching Bones of Your Wives May Testify Against You

[cwa id=’cta’]

I’tikaf is intended to be a blessed time for those who have the opportunity to engage in it so why is it causing so much marital discord between couples who Jazmin Begum-Kennedy is counselling?

Iʿtikāf (Arabic: اعتكاف‎‎, also i’tikaaf or e’tikaaf) is an Islamic practice consisting of a period of staying in a mosque for a certain number of days, devoting oneself to worship during these days and staying away from worldly affairs. The literal meaning of the word suggests sticking and adhering to, or being regular in, something, this ‘something’ often including performing supererogatory (nafl) prayers, reciting the Qur’an, and reading hadith.

Every year, I read wonderful social media updates from brothers preparing to go to i’tikaf followed by others praising them and requesting them to make dua. This ought to be a beautiful thing but unfortunately for the wives left behind, it is often a nightmare.

Few men make enough fanfare or even mention who will

  • pack their things for them,
  • do grocery runs,
  • cook fresh food each day,
  • send the fresh food to the men in i’tikaf each day, twice a day – for iftar and suhoor,
  • take care of the children and the school runs,
  • serve their parents,
  • serve their in-laws
  • take care of her own health, while pregnant or otherwise

All this on often little to no resources.
For these women, engaging in more prayer, Qur’an reading and quiet reflection during the blessed 10 nights of Ramadhan are a remote possiblity.
Don’t get me wrong- I am all for i’tikaf but men need to make provisions for their womenfolk first before they set off. Every year I am left counselling mothers who have been left to take care of young children and demanding inlaws, as well as send freshly cooked food to their menfolk at the mosques. Often, they are not left with much money or resources to barely feed the children and elderly in their care, let alone send food to their men in i’tikaf.

“But My Wife Doesn’t Mind”

I don’t just listen to the women’s side of the story. I have spoken to many men about this. Last year, one brother messaged me saying how the companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  often left for months and years and no one complained. He insisted that his wife didn’t complain either. When I asked him if he had asked her, he did not reply.
We do not live in societies that allow for such privileges. When the companions of the Prophet ﷺ went away, they left their families in a community with extended families and friends. They had maids as well as wet nurses for support.
These days, women have to do school and mosque runs, shopping, take children to appointments, chores for in-laws etc. Everything is done by one person – the mother.
On top of the daily grind of life, there’s the added stress of arrange the delivery of fresh, pipping hot food because she doesn’t want to upset or anger her husband who has gone to get closer to Paradise.

Is This The Path To Paradise?

What blessing is there in striving for Paradise, off the back of another human being?
I acknowledge that being in service to those in worship is a form of worship itself, and may Allah reward all who engage in this to the best of their abilities. However, on the flip side, there is a disturbing element of injustice and oppression.
Just before I wrote this, I was consoling a mother who is experiencing a very difficult pregnancy and has a toddler to attend to. She can barely keep her head up due to the sickness and exhaustion. Her beloved husband set off for iti’kaf leaving her with strict instructions on making sure his two meals are delivered at the right temperature.
I try not to aggravate situations like this. I try to hold my tongue, for what it’s worth. I advised this woman to go to her parent’s home so she can get some much needed respite. She is drained. She is carrying life in her womb. It is her God-given right to be nurtured during this fragile time and her God-given right to request her husband stay home and make himself useful. I told her to print this profound hadith and hang it in her home so all can see what our beloved Prophet ﷺ had to say:

The best of you are those who are best to their wives.

SubhanAllah, it is time to reflect on why we do things and how our actions, even if it’s to do something good can be so damaging for our hereafter. I was reminded by a fellow mother, Sumayyah Omar on Muslim Mamas that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to the people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to feed his hunger. That I walk with a brother regarding a need is more beloved to me than that I seclude myself in this mosque in Medina for a month. Whoever swallows his anger, then Allah will conceal his faults. Whoever suppresses his rage, even though he could fulfill his anger if he wished, then Allah will secure his heart on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever walks with his brother regarding a need until he secures it for him, then Allah the Exalted will make his footing firm across the bridge on the day when the footings are shaken.”

Scholars and Imams, Insist On A Checklist

Wouldn’t it be great if the imams in all our mosques would read this hadith out during Friday sermons in Ramadan? And then advise the men to follow basic protocols before packing their bags? Moni Akhtar, another mother from Muslim Mamas made a great suggestion: the masjid should give out a form of prerequisites before men are accepted into i’tikaf:

  • Have you asked your wife if she can cope without you?
  • Have you left her with provisions?
  • Have you paid for a cleaner to come and help?

Guidance and prompting from the ulema is sorely needed to raise greater awareness.
I would love to leave on a good note but instead I am forced to leave a warning. Your women and those in your care may not utter a word  now but their aching bones will testify against you on the Day of Judgement. May Allah have mercy upon us all, ameen.

Photo credit: Juliana Cunha

[cwa id=’cta’]
Jazmin Begum Kennedy (JBK) is a ‘Qualified Housewife.’ By day she is a mother, wife and teacher; by night she wages war against oppressors and writes books. She is an experienced teacher of primary and secondary education, an acclaimed professional artist (JBK Arts) and published author of Mercy Like the Raindrops, Blessed Bees, No School Today and the upcoming novel, Fifteen. Jazmin is an online counsellor specialising in domestic abuse, rape and child abuse. She also physically helps victims of domestic violence flee their abusive marriages. She is the co-founder of the Nisa Foundation, working as a women’s aid worker for victims of domestic violence. JBK currently homeschools her three children, whilst managing a network for Home Educators in the Greater Manchester area of the United Kingdom.

Let’s Make an Impact. Can you Volunteer Some Time?

Volunteer your time to call your friends and family to Allah

What does it take to get 300, 500 or even 700 people out for an event?
The answer is simple: rallying.
Join us for this month’s Impact Meeting on April 17th.
Time:
1pm  on-ground at SeekersHub Toronto (for lunch)
1:30pm online [live-streamed]
[Convert to your timezone]
Online guests, pleae join us at 1:30pm
Rallying friends and family, spreading the word and creating a buzz, are proven to be of the most successful ways to bringing people out to an event.
volunteer
For us, it’s about reaching out to people to come to SeekersHub Toronto – one of the most worthy of places to call people to. It has exactly what we need today: the beauty, mercy and radiant guidance and teachings of our beloved Prophet ﷺ .
Here are three reasons to attend on April 17th at 1pm at SeekersHub Toronto and Online:
1. Be the first to hear about what the Hub is planning for the next few months and which visiting scholars are invited and coming!
2. Be part of immense good; the prophet ﷺ teaches us:
“Whoever points to the good has the reward of the one who performs it.” [Muslim]
3. If you’re local, join us for a lunch with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to spread the word about this gem in Toronto far and wide, for everyone to benefit from.
Whether you are in China, Malaysia, Egypt or right here in Toronto, join us and help spread the immense benefit to everyone, everywhere.
Where’s This Awesome Meeting Happening?
ON-GROUND: 5650 Tomken Rd, Unit 16-17, Mississauga, ON, L4W 4P1
ONLINE: Click here to bookmark the URL for access on Sunday

How Can Muslims Become More Effective Community Members?

How can Muslims be effective community members? Is it possible to step outside the framework and associated pitfalls of identity politics? How can Muslims be more grounded in communities where they live? These are some of the questions Dr. Ingrid Mattson asks and then answers by providing an alternative framework with five key areas that Muslims can focus on to be purposeful contributors in their localities.

Muslim Communal Obligation: Stories That Will Have You In Tears

Imagine spending years saving up for hajj. And then imagine, not being able to go because you gave all your money away, but Allah accepts your hajj anyway. This is the story of Ali, a humble cobbler from Damascus whose random act of sacrifice fulfilled the Muslim communal obligation – fard kifayah – of hundreds of thousands of others.
Imagine facing Allah on the Day of Judgement, while standing next to a man, woman or child from your community who suffered neglect, abuse, injustice hunger and deprivation. What will our excuse be? “I thought someone else would take care of it” might not cut it.

Every single Muslim needs to hear this khutbah by Imam Khalid Latif.


Imam Khalid Latif - Muslim Communal ObligationImam Khalid Latif is a University Chaplain for New York University, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU, and a Chaplain for the NYPD. He is also the co-founder of Honest Chops, the first-ever all-natural/organic halal butcher in NYC, the Muslim Wedding Service, an agency specializing in providing charismatic and inspirational marriage officiants for wedding ceremonies. Sincere thanks to ICNYU for the recording of his Friday prayer sermon on Muslim communal obligation, or fard kifayah.

Resources on Muslim communal obligation:

Show The World What It Means To be Muslim – Linda Sarsour

At a recent UMMA-Centre gala dinner, American-Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour says the time has come for us to show people what it means to be Muslim. She asks her audience, Allah has given each of us so much – homes, families, livelihood and much, much more so what will we say when Allah asks us on the Day of Judgement, what have you given back? We all love the countries our families come from, our “home-countries” or where Muslims are suffering but what does it say about us that we have done so little for those suffering on our very doorsteps?
Watch her passionate call to a live of service and hopefulness.

Linda-SarsourLinda Sarsour is an American-Palestinian activist best known for her media appearances, campaigns for human rights and in particular, her efforts toward  greater justice for those unfairly treated by the American legal system. Sarsour is currently the Executive Director of the Arab-American Association of New York, USA. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Resources for seekers:

“Only The Dead Stand Still” – Dr Bano Murtuja on Muhammadan Activism

Dr Bano Murtuja on Muhammadan Activism

Bano-MurtujaDr Bano Murtuja argues that being an ‘activist’ is the natural state of a believer, the one Allah ‘brings to life’ – and being alive is to change as necessary. However, Dr Bano warns that we have collectively failed in this responsibility. Find out what she means in the above video.

Dr. Bano is a co-founder and the first managing director of SeekersHub Toronto. Her training includes successfully completed the three-year Micro Madrasa Program in the United Kingdom, with direct study under Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa, Ustadha Nagheeba Hayel, and Shaykh Haroon Hanif.

Dr Bano is the mother of several young children and is the Managing Director of Nader Khan’s First Spring Records company. She is a contributor to the SeekersHub Answers service and has extensive experience as a counselor and mentor, as a community leader and activist and is an experienced public speaker. She is an engaging and effective teacher, whose intelligence, insight, commitment, and concern have benefited countless troubled and sincere souls.

Dr Bano Murtuja’s writings on SeekersHub include

Resources for seekers:

Do You Want to Learn More?

Consider taking an online course with SeekersHub. It’s free for everyone, anywhere in the world. There are over 30 titles to choose from, including Understanding the Prophetic Way: Imam Nawawi’s 40 Hadith Explained.

Service – A powerful khutbah from Imam Zaid Shakir

Service, with Imam Zaid Shakir

In this khutbah (Friday sermon) about service (khidmah), Imam Zaid Shakir advises is to ask ourselves what we can do for the state of Islam.

Imam Zaid Shakir, a gifted scholar, author and lecturer, is fast becoming one of the most influential voices for Islam in the West, as well as a compelling force for the improvement of race relations in America. Read his full biography here.

Service mosque

Resources for Seekers:
The Struggle and Strife Of A Believer’s Life
Giving to Humanity in Islam
Imam Zaid Shakir in conversation
Imam Zaid Shakir’s khutbah on the Chapel Hill shooting
Seven Counsels for Successful Service and Activism
Special Release: Purpose of Activism