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Shaykh Asim Yusuf on Living a God-Conscious Life

Nurulain Wolhuter writes an insightful overview of Shaykh Asim Yusuf’s Canada lecture, where he discussed the concept of tawheed, or Divine unity, and how to connect our needs to living a God-conscious life.

Shaykh Asim Yusuf commenced this insightful and moving lecture on the importance of a life conscious of the divine by exhorting the servants of Allah to become people of mercy. His lecture explained process of actualising such a way of living consciously and authentically. This starts when one understands the interplay between the concepts of unity and multiplicity. He stressed mercy being at the core of the call to the student of knowledge. Those who are merciful to others will receive the mercy of Allah, the All-Compassionate.

While mercy is the foundation of the call to Allah, the servants of Allah must strive to become people of God-consciousness and piety (taqwa). The servant must have a pious heart, in order to reflect goodness and light to those around her or him.

The righteous servant must be imbued with God-consciousness. Shaykh Asim says that living a God-conscious life has three aspects, namely taqwa, active remembrance of Allah (dhikr), and worship (ibadah).  Different people achieve this in different ways.

Understanding Taqwa

Understanding God-consciousness requires understanding the human condition, its wider relationship to the universe, and, most importantly, its relationship to the Creator. Humans are distinguished from animals by the capacity for abstraction. They are able to perceive the past through memory and the future through imagination. They can also conceive of abstract concepts out of time, like good or bad, joy or sorrow.

However, a more insightful way of understanding the nature of humanity is to be found by understanding the Arabic word for human, or insan. Insan is derived two meanings, namely uns and nisyan. While uns refers to the need to be loved, nisyan refers to forgetfulness. Shaykh Asim says humanity is driven by the desire to be loved but has forgotten where to find it. So the human journey is one from forgetfulness to love.

God-consciousness is the ability to recognise the this need, and to seek its fulfilment. Allah made this known primordially when He asked the souls: أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ “Am I not your Lord?”  and they answered: قَالُوا بَلَىٰ ۛ شَهِدْنَا “Yes, indeed, we witness.” (Sura Al-Araf, 7:172) While most people have forgotten this, a glimmer of it remains in the primordial memory, generating an existential fear, and a yearning for the presence of Allah.

Consciousness begins from the time the soul is placed into the fetus. The womb, or rahm, is a place of mercy (rahmah) and all the needs of the fetus are met. However, once it is born, it experiences the trauma of separation from its mother and its first need, namely the need for oxygen. When this is met by the taking of the first breath, it experiences the first fulfilment of a need. After that, it experiences many needs that are met from a multiplicity of sources, such as its mother. The baby, at this time, ascribes the fulfilment of need to its mother. It does not yet have the understanding to ascribe it to Allah. 

Allah’s Divine Unity

Shaykh Asim said that Allah is unity, but His acts are manifested in multiplicity, namely in His 99 names or attributes. The universe can also be described as multiplicity arising out of unity. The relationship between man and Allah works against the backdrop of this concept of unity in multiplicity. This relationship can be described as the connection between the unity of Allah and the multiplicity of His acts. These lead to a multiplicity of effects, which are perceived as a multiplicity of experiences by man. It relates back to the self as a unity, because man experiences himself as a unity although, in reality, he is a multiplicity. This relationship is encapsulated in Allah’s exhortation: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ “O mankind, worship your Lord.” (Sura Baqarah 2:21)

Shaykh Asim’s description of God-consciousness as the expression and growth of the soul’s yearning for the forgotten need to be loved by Allah is an insightful tool that facilitates the reflection and introspection that is necessary for the servant’s journey to His Lord. However, students may benefit from engaging with his concept of unity in multiplicity to ensure that it is kept clearly distinct from the vehicle for the infusion of non-Islamic concepts such as the Trinity, or polytheistic notions of multiple deities.


Nasheed Hub: Qasida Burda Part 8 – On His Struggle

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

Qasida Burda, Chapter 8

Imam al-Būṣīrī continues, in this chapter, to mention honours the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was granted. Allah aided him with such might and bravery that he was the best protector of Islam. Enemies only had to hear of him before being immediately immersed in paralysing fear. His companions, eager to support him in all situations, are described as being the true mountains, due to their strength and fortitude. Those in doubt can go ask Ḥunayn, Badr, and Uḥud what bravery and resolve really are.

Indeed, even lions in their own den’s would retreat on facing a person  whose aid is from the Messenger of Allah. Yet, his knowledge – despite being unable to read – and his excellent character – despite growing up an orphan in era of decadence – are more than enough to prove his greatness and prophethood.

Click on the image below to scroll. 

[pdf-embedder url=”https://seekersguidance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Chapter-8.pdf” title=”Chapter 8″]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilisations 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.nasheed hub
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.


With gratitude to The Winterspring Mawlid and Dr. Asim Yusuf.


Resources for Seekers

Nasheed Hub: Qasida Burda Part 7–On The Ascension

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

Qasida Burda, Chapter 7

Having praised the Qur’an, and thereby, indirectly, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless and him give him peace), Imam al-Busiri now addresses his beloved and eloquently praises him for the the Night Journey and the Ascension. These two events were of the greatest honours Allah granted His beloved Messenger.

Here he is praised for being the best of all creation who seekers turn to when in need; and why would this not be the case? Is he not the one who was singled out for the Night Journey and Ascension? Is he not the one who was raised to such a rank that none before or after him will reach?

Is he not the one whom all the prophets honoured and followed on that night? Is he not the one who – unparalleled – attained such favours that cannot even be described? Of course he is. And what good news there is for us – his umma – who through his virtues have become the best of nations. May Allah bless him with the best of what He gives to His beloved servants.

Click on the image below to scroll. 

[pdf-embedder url=”https://seekersguidance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Chapter-7.pdf” title=”Chapter 7″]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilisations 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.


With gratitude to The Winterspring Mawlid and Dr. Asim Yusuf.


Resources for Seekers

Nasheed Hub: Qasida Burda Part 6–On The Qur’an

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

Qasida Burda, Chapter 6

After alluding to the plethora of miracles granted to the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), Imam al-Busiri now proceeds to praise him through his beautiful description of what is arguable the greatest miracle bestowed upon any prophet: the Qurʾan. The greatness of its verses is more manifest than the bonfires the generous Arabs would lite in the darkness of the desert to invite weary travellers.

With the most beautiful of expressions and words, its meanings indefatigably pour forth with the persistence of the waves of the sea. Admitting no boredom despite frequent recitation, its wonders cease not; without exception, all who venture to challenge it cast down their arms after seeing the folly of their way.

Yet – despite its being the perfect source of purification, guidance, and justice – some feign ignorance of its greatness. The blame lies in them, and not with it; just as the sun cannot be blamed for the sick eye’s inability to see its light.

Click on the image below to scroll. 

[pdf-embedder url=”https://seekersguidance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Chapter-6.pdf” title=”Chapter 6″]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilisations 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.


With gratitude to The Winterspring Mawlid and Dr. Asim Yusuf.


Resources for Seekers

Nasheed Hub: Qasida Burda Part 4–On His Blessed Birth

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

Qasida Burda, Chapter 4

No longer caring about criticism, and completely unable to contain his praise for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), the poet now proceeds to share his lovestruck eulogies regarding some of the greatest blessings the Messenger of Allah  was given by Allah. He starts with the blessed birth.

Having stated at the end of the last chapter that his fragrant body had infused the soil of his grave with an unmatched scent, he now tells us that his miraculous, fragrant purity was even attested to by his birth. Just like perfumes eliminates odours, and light eliminates darkness, his birth was infused with great signs that he would eliminate all misguidance.

Fires, worshipped and lit incessantly for centuries, were put out; meteors chased devils away from the sky; false religious were made aware that their days were numbered; disbelievers were in panic…

The signs, foretold for millennia, were clear: his manifest light would efface the darkness of disbelief. There was no changing that.

Click the image below to scroll.

[pdf-embedder url=”http://seekershub.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Chapter-4.pdf” title=”Chapter 4″]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilisations 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.


With gratitude to The Winterspring Mawlid and Dr. Asim Yusuf.


Resources for Seekers

 

An Original English Mawlid – coming soon

Noor-Yusuf-English-Mawlid

The Soliloquy of the Full Moon is the first English mawlid work ever written. An 1000 line panegyric, it is a fully metered, rhyming, epic poem celebrating the virtues of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the signs preceding his advent, the wonders of his birth and nursing, the first revelations and his night journey and ascension. For the first time, English speakers can enjoy the full experience of traditional mawlid. Classical in form, Shakespearean in cadence, it was composed over twelve nights by the author, Noor Yusuf, at the age of only 15. It is a must for every home.

Available from Nur-al-Habib Productions.