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The Blessing of Knowledge, by Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said

Allah has promised that He will facilitate the path to Jannah for anyone who embarks on the journey to seeking knowledge. Imagine being in the company of the “pious ones” in the Eternal Garden. Can you afford to lose out on this opportunity? Listen to Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said explain how clear and easy Allah has made this choice for us and start today by taking a free course with SeekersHub from the comfort of your own home.

Protecting Our Inheritance by Protecting Muslim Scholars, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the importance of supporting the inheritors of the Prophets; our scholars.

Abu al-Darda’ (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Scholars are the inheritors of the prophets.” [Related byTirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others] Ibn al-Mulaqqin, Zayla`i, Ibn Hajar, and others seemed it sound (hasan) or rigorously authentic (sahib)]
When Fudayl ibn Iyad (Allah be pleased with him) heard this hadith, he commented, “The people of spiritual wisdom (hukama’) are the inheritors of the prophets,” [Ibn Nu`aym, Hilyat al-Awliya, 8.92] explaining the nature of knowledge that is ultimately sought.
The knowledge possessed by these scholars is the knowledge deemed beneficial (al-`ilm al-nafi`) by Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ). This knowledge was defined by Imam Ghazali as being, “Knowledge of the way to Allah Most High and the next life.”
Brought to you by Ha Meem Foundation in association with Ashford & Staines Community Centre.

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My Journey To Light, by Ibrahim J Long

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When Ibrahim J. Long first converted to Islam there were few opportunities to learn Islam directly from scholars. Mostly, he gathered what information he could from reading articles from various Islamic websites, watching YouTube videos and downloading lectures.

IbrahimJLongI read as much as I could. Though, looking back now I realize just how much I was in need of direction in what I should be reading, learning, and focusing my attention on.
Thankfully, I did have a few people around me who were able to provide me with some direction. However, their recommendations and answers to questions sometimes conflicted with one another; leaving me confused and with more questions than answers. Often when I reflect back on this time in my life, I think about the conversations I had with others about whether wiping over cotton socks is permitted and under what circumstances. This topic often came up while making wudu in my university’s bathroom and often generated more frustration than certainty for me. Those who presented to me their positions were rather adamant that their position was clearly correct; though they often contradicted others who felt just as adamant about their contradicting position.
Interestingly enough, it is for the sake of my socks that I decided to adopt a madhhab. Only a few of my Muslim friends at the time followed a madhhab. Most of my friends followed what they read online from sources they trusted, but I did not find these same sources satisfactory. After learning about the Traditional madhhabs (i.e., Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi’i, and Hanbali) through lectures by various scholars and preachers, I became convinced that the only way I would feel confident in my wudu was to ensure that I was acting in accordance with one of these madhhabs that have been followed by scholars and laymen alike for centuries.
This, of course, was a difficult task as there was very little available at that time on Traditional Islam and the madhhabs in particular. Moreover, the books that were available in English were primarily written for children; which made it a struggle for my learning and my nafs.
Though I continued to take classes that were available in my community, I continued to look elsewhere for more traditional learning. The road to more advanced learning seemed blocked. It appeared as if the only place to pursue a deeper understanding of Islam was overseas, but I was not financially capable of traveling nor did I even know how to go about it.
It was difficult to find scholars trained in a traditional madhhab, and of those who I knew of, I did not know how to reach out to. Eventually I came across an online institute (at that time called SunniPath) that provided courses in Hanafi fiqh. I did not know that much about the institute except that a few students at my university had taken some of their online classes and spoke highly of Sh. Faraz Rabbani. To be honest, despite my interest I had become torn by this point over whether or not I should attend any of his classes. By this time, I had developed some strong friendships with fellow Muslims at my university and there was a general culture amongst them and within our MSA that devalued Traditional approaches to Islam in favor of other approaches. I was also still new to Islam and struggled with the thought of going down what felt like a different path of Islamic learning than my new Muslim friends. I had just experienced the loss of old friends after my conversion, and I was concerned that I might be ostracized by my new Muslim friends for not adopting the approach they follow. Nevertheless, a desire for a deeper understanding of Islam remained. So, I decided to write Sh. Faraz.
I forget if there was anything in particular that finally prompted me to write. Perhaps I was just reaching out to anyone who could provide me with some sound guidance. I don’t know. However, I was impressed with Sh. Faraz’s thoughtful responses and piety and decided to attend his introductory course on Hanafi fiqh.
Over the years I continued to follow Sh. Faraz, paying attention to his Hanafi Fiqh email list at the time, as well as reading his answers to various questions online. After Sh. Faraz established what we now call the SeekersHub, I continued my learning with him; though I consider myself one of his poorest students.
Sh. Faraz has always treated me with a care that stirs a love for deen and knowledge in my heart, and though I have more often been a student of his from a distance, he has always felt within reach. When I was invited back in 2011 to join in the initial formation of the SeekersCircles, I jumped at the opportunity. Volunteering for the Hub was an amazing honor and brought with it amazing blessings. I was able to spend more time with Sh. Faraz and I was invited to serve as a teaching assistant, and it is also through volunteering that I meet my wife (who was also volunteering at the time).
Sh. Faraz, his fellow teachers and SeekersHub’s volunteers have been a shining beacon of light in my life. For me, SeekersHub has been a manifestation of the prophetic concern for others to know their Lord. Not only do they aspire to provide seekers of knowledge with the treasures which they seek; they also nourish the hearts of others to become seekers as well. Like the story of the unknown man in Surah Ya-Sin who came to his people running and said, “O my people, follow the messengers” (Q36:20), SeekersHub is sprinting across the globe to call others to follow the inheritors of the Beloved of God ﷺ.   
I am proud to call Sh. Faraz my teacher. I am inspired by his efforts, and the efforts of those who work together with him in providing a link for me and thousands of others to the teachings and prophetic character that demonstrate the beauty of our deen.
May Allah, the Exalted, preserve and raise in rank our teachers. And, may He bless us through them. Ameen.

How To Attain Focus, Patience And Stillness In A Chaotic World

“The scholars sacrifice immediate benefit for long-term benefit,” Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Today, the modern world lives in convenience, expecting to be served, rather than to serve. Although some may argue that convenience and technology save time and reduce physical labor, we continue to complain that we do not have time or energy, reducing ourselves to potatoes sitting on the living room’s couch.

Focus: a salient virtue within Islamic mysticism

Traditionally, focus — a salient virtue within Islamic mysticism — was regarded as a core characteristic of the aspirant, especially among the Sufis. As such, the saints were focused individuals who, despite the calamities they faced, were depicted in the Qur’an as, “Those who are neither fearful nor sad.” In simple words, the saints enjoy the present moment, leaving their past to the will of God and their future to His decree. Hence, the seeker of knowledge is, essentially, a seeker of God, striving, with discipline, practice, and patience to maximize his benefit in every moment while taking the most excellent of ways to do so.

Impatience: Your place is where God has positioned you

Patience is a trait that the seeker should inculcate to facilitate depth in knowledge. In his lexicon on Sufi terminology, Ibn Ajiba defines patience as, “An imprisonment of the heart in submission to God’s command.” Impatience, if understood by the contrary (mafhum al-mukhalafa), would be to release the ego in contradiction to God’s command.
To understand this better, my math teacher, Dr. Yousseif Ismail, once told me that impatience was the desire to cross the current moment that God had willed for you to be in, for a moment that you believed to be better for yourself. In practice, patience is significantly important to the student for a number of reasons.
Firstly, our teachers say, “Your place is where God has positioned you,” suggesting that one should be content with one’s condition, wherever God has decreed him to be. The student of knowledge should recognize that he is a student and must act according to the etiquette of one.

Unstable premises lead to faulty conclusions

As for the second, in order to have depth in knowledge, the student of knowledge should not speak without internalized and externalized foundations that inform his speech, unless a need arises to do so or he is given permission by his teacher(s). The reason given for this is closely related to the he first: a student should not speak in the place of a scholar, fooling the community and inciting his own ego — a celebrity preacher. Unstable premises lead to faulty conclusions; hence, the true aspirant takes the time to ground himself in knowledge, submitting to his current instant, and follows the lead of his teachers throughout.

Prioritise your objectives

To maximize my own time and focus, Shaykh Faraz advised me to have a clear objective of my studies, so I applied the categories of need to my own studies. The scholars divide need into three categories:

  • necessities (dharuriyat)
  • needs (hajiyat)
  • perfections (takmilat)

For example, when considering a new home, you ensure that its foundations are strong, since the house will collapse without solid ground. Then after, you may inspect the ceiling and walls for cracks, because a house is incomplete without these secondary things. After ensuring the house is livable and safe, you might begin to think of ways to beautify your living space with artwork, curtains, rugs, although such adornments are not essential to a house — you can live without them. Similarly, like any profession, one needs to take the proper means to acquire his goals; otherwise, means become ends.
Lastly, in taking steps towards focus, the individual must seek the counsel of God, a metaphysical correspondence to his subjective reality, and the advice of masters, an earthly exchange from experts for an objective assurance (istikhara wa istishara). Thus, remember that you are the present; the future passed a moment ago, but take from those who have passed and know that God is ahead — you are in between the two.
Yousaf Seyal

 Photo by Frida Eyjolfs

Knowledge is the lost property of the believer. Deepen your understanding by taking a short course with SeekersHub.

 

Resources for seekers:

 

Creating & Sustaining North American Muslim Scholarship

Muslim Scholarship

One from the archives! Shaykh Faraz Rabbani at the 2007 Muslim Students Association National Continental Conference, with Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, on fostering home grown Muslim scholarship.

Creating & Sustaining North American Muslim Scholarship

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi (left) and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

One from the archives! Shaykh Faraz Rabbani at the 2007 Muslim Students Association National Continental Conference, with Shaykh Yasir Qadhi (who can be heard in the question and answer session towards the end).

“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?