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“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?

Full House at Muslim Marriage Seminar

Seekers hub Toronto - Marriage Seminar“Full house with two of our teachers, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and Ustadha Shireen Fatima Ahmed at SeekersHub Toronto’s Marriage Seminar”, on 14th February 2015. Photo credit: Sadia Qaderi.

Resources for Seekers:
Understanding Marriage – A conversation with Imam Zaid Shakir
Lasting Love: What Makes for Successful Marriage?
When Love is Not Enough
Getting Married Seminar Helped make Marriage A Reality for SeekersGuidance Student
The Intentions of Marriage – Shaykh Ali bin Abu Bakr al-Sakran
Is Marriage Sinful? – Faraz Rabbani
Women, Debts, and Marriage

 

Is it Possible to Do a 'Wird' Without Having Access to a Shaykh?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As-salaamu alaikum,
Is it possible to do a ‘wird’ without having access to a living true shaykh?
I have heard that engaging in a long dhikr can be harmful if I am not connected to a living shaykh to supervise me. How can one of Allah’s names harm me?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
It is possible to have general spiritual routines without a teacher’s specific instruction.
However, it is best to consult a scholar, unless the particular supplication or litany is widely known to be for general reading, or more generally from the sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Sheikh Nuh Keller writes in his Sea without Shore, “Particular divine names such as Ya Hayy (“O Ever-living”) Ya Jabbar (“O Overmastering”) and so forth, like the Supreme Name, require permission to recite, except in limited numbers of short duration. This is because each divine name carries a particular power, and the heart and mind of the disciple may not be prepared to handle an overload of this power, just as an electrical appliance is designed to handle only a certain type of current.” [Keller, Sea Without Shore, 171]
Shaykh Gibril Haddad mentions regarding the exalted Divine Names, “the Ghawth, Sayyidi `Abd al-`Aziz al-Dabbagh said as related from him by his student the learned Shaykh `Ali ibn al-Mubarak in al-Ibriz:
“If they took them (those Names) from a shaykh who is a knower (`arif), it will not harm them; but if they took them from a shaykh who is not a knower, it will harm them.”
“I [`Ali ibn al-Mubarak] said: ‘What is the reason?’ He replied, Allah be well-pleased with him: ‘The Most Beautiful Names have lights from the Real (al-Haqq), may He be exalted and glorified! Whenever you want to mention the Name, if, with the Name, there is Its light accompanying It while you mention It, then such [dhikr] will not harm you; but if there is not, with the Name, Its light accompanying it, which is meant to protect the servant from the devil, it [i.e. the dhikr of the Name] will be a cause for the harm of the servant.
“‘When the shaykh is an actual knower of Allah Most High, meaning someone who is always in the Divine presence, and he wants to give his murid one of the Beautiful Names of Allah, he gives him [with it] that light which protects him, after which the murid mentions It and it will not harm him…. otherwise the murid will be destroyed. We ask Allah Most High for safety!'”” [see: Reciting The 99 Names Under A Guide]
In the meantime, you should learn what is obligatory for you to know, and subsequently work on applying it in your life. Making a lot of remembrance whilst committing much of the unlawful (haram) is not going to have effect it has the potential for. Ask Allah for sincerity, success, and right guidance.
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Death Shaykh Nuh Ali Salman al-Qudat, former Mufti of Jordan and distinguished scholar, on December 19, 2010

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In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

 

Shaykh Nuh Ali Salman al-Qudat, former Mufti of Jordan, died on Sunday, December 19th, in Jordan. Shaykh Nuh al-Qudat was a distinguished Shafi`i jurist, internationally recognized mufti known for his keen insight, caution, piety, balanced understanding, and deep knowledge.

 

In the West, his knowledge was transmitted through Shaykh Nuh Keller, who studied Reliance of the Traveller under him–and he is quoted extensively in the work. (Allah have mercy upon him)

 

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Shaykh Nuh al-Qudat was born in 1358 AH (1939), in the Ajlun region in Northern Jordan, in a family known for knowledge & piety. His father, Shaykh Ali Salman, was a scholar who had studied and gained ijaza (scholarly permission) from some of the foremost scholars of Damascus, including Shaykh Ali Daqar. His son, Shaykh Nuh, followed his father’s footsteps and studied in Damascus from 1954 for seven years.

 

He combined study with leading traditional scholars with academic study. He gained an undergraduate degree from the University of Damascus in 1965, a Masters in Islamic Law (on “Making Up Acts of Worship”) from Al-Azhar in Cairo in 1980 where he studied with the likes of Shaykh Abd al-Ghani Abd al-Khaliq and attended the lessons of Shaykh al-Azhar Abd al-Halim Mahmoud in Islamic spirituality (tasawwuf); and a PhD from the Islamic University in Riyad, Saudi Arabia in 1986.

 

He served as a religious teacher in the Jordanian Army, and was appointed Mufti of the Armed Forces in 1972. He remained in this position until 1992, when we was appointed the Qadi al-Qudat (Chief Islamic Justice) of Jordan. He resigned from this position a year later, to focus on teaching circles of knowledge at his mosque, and at nearby universities.

 

In 1996, he was appointed the Jordanian ambassador to Iran, a position he held until 2001. Between 2004 and 2007, he served as the director of the Fatwa Council for the United Arab Emirates, and an advisor to the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs.

 

In 2007, he returned to Jordan, and was appointed the Mufti of Jordan. [Ref: Biography of Shaykh Nuh Ali Salman al-Qudat in Arabic]

 

He was known to be a true faqih (jurist) and a scholar who acted on his knowledge (`alim `amil). Among his sayings was, “The fatwa of someone who doesn’t recite two juz’ of Qur’an is of no consequence.” When asked why that was the case, he explained that such a person hasn’t truly realized the first point of knowledge: “And the Next Life is surely better for you than this life.” [Qur’an, 93.4]

 

May Allah have mercy upon him, accept his works, and continue their benefit, and grant his family, students, and others steadfastness and the success to continue on his noble example, on the footsteps of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk).

 

His son, Shaykh Muhammad Nuh, is a respected Jordanian scholar, continuing his father’s way of balanced scholarship, Masha’ Allah.

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