Tap Into The Light of Muhammad’s Message – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Seeking the Light of Muhammad’s Message ﷺ

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus can’t help but feel nostalgic for his early days as a Muslim.
In this video, from SeekersHub’s 2015 tour of South Africa, Shaykh Yahya shares his story from 1996 and explains what led him to appreciate its blessing. One thing that stood out was how the light of Islam stayed strong through the numerous generations and tragedies, until it reached us.
You don’t need to tell light to radiate, he explains. It just does, and its to the extent that darkness exists that prevents light, but his light is shining.

Secondly, we need to tap into that light until we gain enough to be guidance in their own rights. He gives the example of the area of Silicon Valley, where although things look rosy and materially perfect, the people are mentally and spiritually struggling in unimaginable ways.

Finally, he says that the Prophet us that there is always hope, that every tragedy in the world will be rectified in the end. We can never react in a way which he  would not have liked us to act. This isn’t about us, it’s about God.

Interested in learning more about the Divine message and how it pertains to our generation? Check out Shaykh Yahya’s free online course The Marvels of the Heart, and covers principals of Islamic beliefs and spirituality, such as the place of the soul, spirit, heart and intellect as pertains to their heart.

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Catching the Dunya Is Mission Impossible – Imam Zaid Shakir

What’s the problem with having a materialistic, dunya-centered world view? You become instantly poor no matter how much wealth you have.  You graduate from a Camaro to a Masarati to a Rolls-Royce, going through object after object but never being at peace with yourself, says Imam Zaid Shakir.

In this funny and captivating video clip, Imam Zaid Shakir opens our eyes to the flawed views that we have oftentimes grown up with, and encouraged us to look deep within and search for true and lasting happiness.

We are grateful to Nueces Mosque for this recording.

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Dawud Wharnsby on Struggling for Simplicity

In an increasingly materialistic world, more and more people are finding serenity in simplicity–to the point where minimalism and simplicity are huge money makers to corporations, says Dawud Wharnsby.

However, there are billions of people around the world are living simply because they have no other choice.

What reflections do we find in the Quran about minimalism, and how can it help us live a more peaceful and inspiring life?

Watch this short talk by one of the world’s most popular nasheed artists, Br. Dawud Wharnsby.

We are grateful to ISNA Canada for this recording

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An Unwavering Moral Compass

A woman once had something that was more valuable than all her worldly posessions. Imam Khalid Latif reveals what it is, and shows us how, by looking at the world within the heart, we can change the world around us.

Put it in to practice by taking a free course on Ghazali’s book “The Marvels of the Heart.”

Our thanks to the ICNYU for this recording. Cover photo by Andrea Deeley.

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Shaykh Hasan Le Gai Eaton: “Peace is always in the middle, never at the extremes”

One of the definitions of Islam is that it is the “Middle Way” because it is a religion of peace and peace is only at the centre of things and never at the extremes. There are many ways of understanding the concept of the Middle Way. The first one I want to deal with relates to two different forms of excess: one is fanaticism, violence and terrorism, and the second is consumerism.

Both are forms of self indulgence. It seems odd to define the path of violence as a form of self indulgence. Anger, just like lust, begs to be released and begs to find expression and those who are consumed with anger but must kick it out in the some way or another. This may be apply to suicide bombers who are so possessed with fury and dismay that they must find a way of expressing it and in the end the only way that they it is through self destruction.

I would like to share an example of this from my own experience. As many of you know, in 1982 the situation in the Lebanon took a turn for the worse and Palestinian refugees were massacred in Sabra and Shatila camps. It happens that at the time I was working at the Islamic Cultural Centre and there was a colleague of mine working with me, who was the mildest of men: moderate, gentle and certainly not aggressive. But on the day the news of the massacres broke, he said to me, “I dare not go out into the streets today because I know I am going to hit the first person I pass.” This was a clear demonstration that anger, unless it is thoroughly controlled must find an outlet. That outlet may well be to strike at someone or people who may have nothing to do with the case at hand, hence the very ready and all too frequent killing of the innocent as a way of expressing the anger that some of our brothers feel.

Anger is a form of drunkenness. Alcohol is prohibited because it makes us drunk but we often forget that there are many forms of drunkenness and they all have something in common. The drunkenness of anger is just as misleading as the drunkenness of alcohol. It is just as liable to upset judgement, to make us incapable of effective action, because effective action relies on sober judgement. In practice, those who are seized by such anger, lose logic and rationality. They become ineffectual and less effective in achieving their ends.

le-gai-eatonThat leads me to a digression. When I look back on the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, I often shock people when I say that it was like a pinprick – no more than a pinprick. It is extraordinary to me that people have forgotten that a short time ago all of us lived under the greatest threat that human beings have ever faced: the very real and very actual threat of nuclear war. And this is why I tend to dislike the term “terrorism” and references to “terror” because I think that it is extremely important to use words with their correct meaning.
Terror is a big word. If somebody is terrified, they are trembling, they are sick in the stomach, they turn white, they cannot sleep, they cannot eat. Do we know anyone who is ‘terrified’ by the prospect of a possible bomb on a bus or in the Tube? There are people who worry but they are not terrified. Terror is too strong a word for this. Again the comparison is obvious.

When we lived under the threat of nuclear war, and especially during the Cuban Missile Crisis, where we came – as is well recognised now – within a whisper of nuclear destruction, were we terrified? We had good reason to be, but were we? We were not. People went on with their lives normally. The misuse of words is dangerous and because terror is a big word, it can justify a big reaction. 9/11, which I have suggested was a pinprick, has been used as an excuse for the invasion of Iraq and the above all curtailment of liberties dear to British people and the American people. If you can persuade people that something absolutely dreadful is threatened then you can make them complacent, as you deprive them of their liberties.

So on one hand we have the extreme of violence. On the other hand we have consumerism. The world, especially the West, is consumed by consumerism. The Quran refers to the greed for more and more and condemns it absolutely. We today are encouraged to be greedy through advertising. The government wants us to spend, spend, spend, because that, we are told, is good for the economy. The world is flooded with unnecessary goods which we are encouraged to buy. One reason that we have people, particularly in England, working appallingly long hours, with little chance to be with their families or energy to be spend time with their children is not only to “make ends meet” but also to buy a better television, a better this and better that – things that are not essential and not necessary.

Islam clearly condemns excess and excessive greed is certainly and very powerfully condemned. But we don’t recognise that we have become greedy people. It has become normal to want to better things. But in demanding them and buying them, we are contributing to the depletion of the resources of the planet and this is something that is easy to forget because we will not see the disaster of this course of action – it is our children and grandchildren who will suffer. We have used up the world’s resources in the past century in a way that has never happened in the past and yet we continue to pollute the earth. One example is travel, as we dash from one place in the world to another in aircraft. During the war, I remember, there were notices posted all over the place saying “is your journey really necessary?” I wish those signs were still there. Most journeys are probably not necessary and yet every aircraft that is taking off is adding to the pollution that is so dangerous to the planet.

This all means that There is another characteristic of the Middle Way which people will mention and that I am going to challenge. That is tolerance. It struck me recently because we are always telling people that Islam is a tolerant religion. So I looked up the word in the dictionary and found out that it comes from a Latin word which means “to endure evil” and in classical English usage it means to put up with things that we don’t like, but also to put up with things that we put up with that we shouldn’t put up with. That’s not what most people today understand as tolerance. As Muslims we are commanded to be compassionate, to be understanding, and to use our intelligence in understanding other peoples. We are certainly not commanded to take an entirely helpless attitude in the face of evil.

One of the terms use to describe the Quran is “the Criterion” – the criterion of good and evil. We, as Muslims, are required to make judgements. That is a delicate task as we are human and our judgement can be fallible and often unreliable. Nonetheless, we must have some opinion when we face what is palpably evil, because we are commanded that if we can change it by hands, then we ought to use our hands. If we can change the evil by speech, then we must use speech. If we are so powerless as to only change it by our hearts, nonetheless we must change it by our hearts by condemning it.

This is a huge responsibility. In the early days of Islam, it is said that those who were called upon to act as judges for the community, when asked to make judgement, often trembled when required to give one, fearing it might be the wrong one and be condemned by God for not exercising their responsibility properly. We must acknowledge an element of doubt, but seeing a scale between yes and no we must dwell in the centre and in all humility make judgement as best as we can.

Finally, an essential feature of the Muslim soul and mentality is a sense of proportion and we are helped in this by the example of Messenger of Allah as this was one of his great characteristics: a perfect sense of proportion, to put things in the right order and where they belong. That is extremely difficult and to do that we need his example, just as we need the counsel and guidance of the Quran.

Much then is required of us as Muslims. But that is the price we pay fro the privilege of being Muslims. We cannot shrug our shoulders and we have to hold firmly to the Middle Way which is Islam. In doing so to hope that we will please our Creator. n

This is the edited transcript of a lecture delivered by the late Shaykh Hasan Le Gai Eaton at Radical Middle Way’s program in Kensington Town Hall on 16 December 2005. Shaykh Hasan (1921-2010) was a renowned Muslim intellectual, writer and broadcaster. He was the author of Islam and the Destiny of Man, King of the Castle – Choice and Responsibility in the Modern World, Remembering God: Reflections on Islam, The Book of Hadith: Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad from the Mishkat Al Masabih among others.

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Our Condition Today: the Disease and the Remedy – Habib Ali al-Jifri

Reposted, with thanks via Habib Ali’s website here.
The Root Diseases of the Ummah, their effects and their remedies according to Prophetic Teachings
We live in a time of struggle. Things happen fast and one event quickly follows another. This leads to an imbalance, impairs people’s judgement and clouds their vision. People are in dire need of some quiet time in which to stop and reflect. They may then attain a moment of truthfulness and Allah will in turn bless him with some insight.
Away from the noise and the disputes, someone who reflects will find that the calamities of the Arab world can be attributed to three diseases.
1. Sectarianism (For example: Sunni versus Shia, Christian versus Muslim)
The roots of this disease lie in what our the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ called: “The disease of nations.” He said: “The disease of previous nations has crept up upon you: envy and hatred. Truly, hatred is a razor: it shaves away not a person’s hair, but their religion.”
The remedy lies in spreading peace and love, as mentioned at the end of the same hadith: “I swear by the One in Whose hand my soul lies, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not inform you of something which enables you to attain this? Spread peace among yourselves.” (Narrated by Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Abu Ya’la)
2. Racism (Arab versus Persian, Kurd versus Turk, white versus black)
The roots of this disease lie in what the Prophet ﷺ called: “The rallying cry of the Age of Ignorance.” A dispute took place between some of the Emigrants (Muhajirun) and the Helpers (Ansar) and each side called for support from their respective group. Another dispute took place between members the Aws and the Khazraj, the two tribes which made up the Helpers and each side called for support from their respective tribe. The Prophet said ﷺ: “Is this the rallying cry of the Age of Ignorance while I am amongst you? Leave this, for it is repulsive!” (Bukhari)
Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I once traded insults with a man. I insulted him by mentioning his mother, who was not an Arab. He complained about this to the Messenger of Allah. He said ﷺ: ‘O Abu Dharr, you are someone who still possesses some of the qualities of the Age of Ignorance!’” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Imam Ibn Hajr and Imam al-Nawawi mention that the man who Abu Dharr insulted was the Companion Bilal bin Rabah. His mother’s name was Hamamah and she was Nubian.
The remedy is in making God-consciousness (taqwa) the criterion in judging a person’s merit. The Prophet ﷺ said: “An Arab only has merit over a non-Arab through taqwa.” (Grading: sahih. Found in Ahmad and others)
3. The relentless pursuit of worldly things (i.e. wealth, power, dominance over others)
The roots of this lie in what our Master ﷺ called feebleness (wahn). He said: “Allah will surely cast feebleness into your hearts.” Someone asked: “What is feebleness?” “Love of worldly things and hatred of death,” he replied. (Grading: sahib. Found in Abu Dawud)
The Prophet ﷺ also said: “This material world is sweet and lush and Allah is placing you in it to see how you act. So beware of the material world.” (Muslim)
The Prophet ﷺ said: “I swear by Allah that I do not fear that you will commit polytheism after I have gone. I fear rather that you will compete over it [the material world].” (Bukhari)
The Prophet ﷺ also said: “I swear by Allah that I do not fear poverty for you. I fear rather that the material world will be opened up to you as it was opened up to those before you and that you compete over it as they competed over it and it destroys you as it destroyed them.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ warned us about what these sicknesses will lead to:
1. Tribulations
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Rush to perform good works before tribulations come like part of a dark night. A man will be a believer in the morning and become a disbeliever by the evening or he will be a believer in the evening and will become a disbeliever by the morning. He will sell his religion for some small worldly gain.” (Muslim)
2. Widespread killing
The Prophet ﷺ said: “I swear by the One in Whose hand my soul lies, the world will not end before people experience a time in which the killer will not know why he killed and the person killed will not know why he was killed.” Someone asked: “How will that be?” He said: “There will be killing: both the killer and the person killed will end up in the Fire.” (Muslim)
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Just before the last hour there will be killing. You will not be killing polytheists but rather you will be killing each other, to the point where a man will kill his neighbour, his brother, his uncle or his cousin.” The companions asked: “Will we still possess our intellects at that time?” He said: “The intellects of the people of that time will be removed. All that will remain will be the dregs of society. Most of them will believe that they are fighting for a cause but in reality have no cause [to fight for].” (Grading: sahih, in Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Abi-Shayba)
3. Conspiring of Others against Muslims
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Other nations will soon summon one another to attack you just as people invite others to share their dish.” Someone asked: “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied: “No, you will be numerous at that time, but you will be like particles of waste that are seen upon a torrent. Allah will remove fear of you from the hearts of your enemy and cast feebleness into your hearts.” Someone asked: “What is feebleness, O Messenger of Allah?” “Love of worldly things and hatred of death,” he replied. (Grading: sahih, in Abu Dawud)
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ informed us that the roots of these calamities lie in diseases in the souls of individuals. The severe consequences of these diseases are like branches which spring forth from these roots. May Allah cure the Ummah of these diseases.
Allah Himself alludes to this in the Qur’an in Surat al-Shams. Firstly, He swears by things which have an effect upon our cosmos: the sun, the moon, the day, the night, the heavens and the earth, then He swears by the human soul as if to say that this too is one of the forces that has an influence in our lives. In the response to these oaths ‘success’ and ‘failure’ are made dependent upon how man deals with his own soul. Allah says: Truly he who purifies it, succeeds, and he who corrupts it, fails.
The Quranic remedy and solution to these calamities is purification of the soul. What we need today is the courage to confront this reality. We must not allow our lower selves which command us to commit evil to make light of this reality. We must not let ourselves flee from confronting it under the pretext of being too preoccupied with solving the seemingly greater problems of the ummah.
May Allah implant taqwa in our souls and purify them; He is the best able to purify them and He is the soul’s Guardian and Master, the Possessor of Majesty and Generosity.

Islamic Perspective on Fairtrade by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Islamic Perspective on Fairtrade by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you’, a tried and ancient wisdom shared across all great societies and civilizations, is often expediently discarded by many businesses lured by higher profit margins and greater shareholder returns.

Unfettered and unchecked international trade has produced billionaires and great prosperity in the developed world all the while exploiting and marginalizing much of the developing world. In this radio interview on BFM, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains how seeking mutually beneficial relationships mirrors the Prophetic example of building healthy bonds and a fair balance of trade.[Duration 32 min 16 sec]

IslamCast —IslamCast is a quick and easy way to connect seekers to knowledge-
Support SeekersHub Global / SeekersGuidance as it reaches over 10,000 students each term through its completely free online courses, through Knowledge Without Barriers. Make a donation, today. Every contribution counts, even if smallIslamCast —IslamCast is a quick and easy way to connect seekers to knowledge-

The SeekersHub Global podcast is a quick and easy way to connect seekers to knowledge.

Support SeekersGuidance Global / SeekersGuidance as it reaches over 10,000 students each term through its completely free online courses, through Knowledge Without Barriers. Make a donation, today. Every contribution counts, even if small.

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Habib Umar – Cautioning Against Greed and Materialism in Australia

Greed and materialism blamed for world woes – The National Newspaper

Conquering the pernicious greed that has savaged the global economy and curbing rampant materialism have been among the key messages brought to Australia by one of the eminent scholars of Islam, Sheikh Habib Umar Bin Salim Bin Hafiz.

Sheikh Umar has spoken to packed mosques and halls in Sydney during a hectic and much anticipated week-long Australian tour that also includes events in Brisbane and Melbourne.

To his supporters, the Yemeni-born cleric is a charismatic and revered descendant of the Prophet Mohammed.

To an enthralled audience of mostly Muslim students crammed into a lecture theatre at the University of Technology, Sydney, he emphasised the critical importance of self-control in suppressing the demons of selfish consumption.

“Those people who believe that this life is just a material existence will find that history has recorded many failures from them in the past and also in the present,” said the softly spoken religious leader, his words in Arabic translated by a colleague.

“They have lost their values and in so doing have lost their very humanity and need to be emancipated from this material cage into a realm which is vast and more sublime.

“The greed for money that is unchecked will produce the likes of the current financial crisis that we see now, just as it has in previous times.”

Speaking after his 40-minute address, he insisted that an insatiable desire for wealth was a cancer that had to be removed.

“When greed and avarice exist within a human being and they don’t have control over them, this person will try to devise ways to bring wealth by any means. So, perhaps they won’t mind if they have to be treacherous or plotting nor will they mind if they harm others. These are powerful causes that lead to any crisis,” he said.

Tyranny, he said, along with Aids, were the result of “the diseases of the human soul” and he was waiting for “a spiritual rain to descend” to wash away such ills.

His ideas have fallen on fertile ground. Australia’s 350,000 Muslims have often felt victimised at the hands of mainstream society following the attacks in New York and the Pentagon on September 11, and, for some, Sheikh Umar’s tour has been an opportunity to re-energise their faith.

“I’ve heard so much about this wonderful, wonderful person,” said Farah, a 23-year-old arts student. “He is a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. The way he talks is just so amazing, it is so humble, so beautiful and to be in his presence is just an inspiration. He is someone we can learn from.”

Ghassan Baghdadi, 31, who is studying ancient history, was equally enthusiastic about Sheikh Umar’s visit. “I have come seeking more spiritual knowledge and guidance. He is a very different type of Sheikh to what we usually get from other imams. His message is deeper, more spiritual. It’s been a privilege to be here.”

“The world needs more spiritualism,” Mr Baghdadi added. “When you are at peace with yourself, you can accomplish more when you have a clearer mind, a clearer view of life.”

Sara, a 19-year-old law student, said, “Spirituality is not just important to Muslims but even non-Muslims can appreciate the messages he sends across because it is all about humanity and love for the planet, so it is pretty good. Everyone can get something out of it.”

Sheikh Umar lives in the community where he was born in southern Yemen, the ancient town of Tarim that sits in the Hadhramaut Valley, which is steeped in rich theological and academic history.

As a young man, he saw his father, a distinguished scholar, abducted by communist forces. He has never been seen since, and Sheikh Umar has assumed the
responsibility of continuing his father’s work in the field of Da’wah, which promotes and spreads the word of Islam.

His missionary fervour has taken him to all corners of the globe, from the House of Lords in Britain to Africa and the Gulf States as well as Pakistan and Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim democracy.

Islamic groups in Australia regard his lecture tour as a chance for Muslims to reaffirm their beliefs that can often weaken under the pressures of modern, western life, according to Ramzi Elsayed, president of the Islamic Council of Victoria.

“He is in the business of connecting people with our creator and god and reviving their spirituality. In a day and age when people are spiritually malnourished, he brings out in people a feeling they don’t often get and that guidance is being embraced.”

“We do find that when we get speakers and scholars of his calibre, it is a big morale boost to the Muslim community. It is uplifting and these messages will linger.”