Thankfulness

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Peace and blessings be upon our noble Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and his progeny and companions.

Have we ever painfully select Oxygen from other gases in our lungs, then distribute it to every cell in our body? Then carefully extract the carbon dioxide from every cell, transport it to the lungs to be exhaled?,

Nope, we merely indulge in the pleasure and blessing of taking in clean air.

Have we ever repaired a cell in our body? Maintain it? Protected it from harm?
Have we ever took the pain to digest our own food? Extract the nutrients from it? Made sure it goes into the blood and is distributed to the proper parts of the body? Every single time we eat? Nope, we merely indulge in the pleasure of eating.

How much effort does it take to see?
Did we go through pain to learn to see?
No, we just merely open our eyes by His Will every day and we get clear vision of the world around us. Did we make sure the photons from objects reach our eyes and took measure of its frequency and interpret them into colours? Nope, We merely indulge in the blessing of vision.
Our eyes, the most sophisticated visual instrument that can never be duplicated by man. It can zoom out to distant objects and zoom in to near objects at the speed of thought!

Do we own ourselves then? Surely this body is not ours for not a single moment in our life do we maintain it, but it is lent to us from One Who is Exalted, Intelligent, Loving, Extremely Powerful yet Subtle and Gentle. All Praises be to the Lord of the Worlds.

“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.
Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”

(Surah Ali-Imran 190-191)

When this verse was revealed, the Prophet pbuh. cried and stood for prayer for so long in the night till Bilal came to him to call him to the morning prayer. Our lady ‘Aisha then asked him, “What makes you weep when God has forgiven your sins past and present?” He pbuh. replied, “Should I not be a thankful servant?” Why should I not weep when God has revealed to me,” (the above verse)”

Thus we see the Prophet pbuh. the most thankful servant of God, expressing his gratitude with optional devotions to such an extent. Such is his love and gratitude to God. All good deeds are done on the basis of gratitude and love for God and this very basis makes the deed sweet.

When Imam Junayd al-Baghdadi was seven he was asked by his saintly uncle As-Sari about thankfulness and he said, “Thankfulness is that one not disobey God using the blessing (He has given).” We have mentioned many blessings of God in the beginning. They include our faculties and senses which we often use to disobey God. Thus we should continuously aspire and strive to not use these blessings and others in disobedience to God when we are already doing too little non-obligatory devotions.

In every moment there is a blessing to thank for. Our every breath is a blessing/a gift from God which we should use in a way that can make us attain His Good Pleasure. Every step we took and achieved in becoming better people are all thanks to Him, His guidance. Thus we thank Him for every step closer that we draw near to Him instead of applauding ourselves so that He may increase us in guidance, blessings, knowledge etc.. God Most High says, “If you are thankful, I will give you increase” (14:7)

God gave us parents, teachers and guides so that we may learn to be thankful and be grateful to His creatures. We learn how to appreciate them, not to disrespect and hurt them because in the first place we simply can’t repay their kindness. If we can’t respect the platoon commander how are we going to respect and honour the General of the army?

Back to that point about the fact that there is always something to thank for in every moment. This applies even in the event of adversity and calamity for surely there is good in all that happens. The shakir (thankful one) is he who is thankful for what is, and the very thankful one, shakur is he who is thankful for what is not. The shakir is thankful for a gift, the shakur is thankful for a rejection. The shakir is thankful for blessings, the shakur is thankful for adversity. This is probably as adversity removes attachment and love for the world in the heart and makes the heart easier attached to Divine remembrance. Shouldn’t it be then something we should be thankful for?

Thankfulness is recognizing one’s inability to be thankful. One sees that the act of giving thanks is from God’s enabling and thanks God for that and eventually realises that one has no capacity to give thanks.

The one who is immersed or absorbed in love/Presence of God is described in the words of ash-Shibli, “Thankfulness is awareness of the Giver of Blessings, not of the blessings.”

And God Knows best, and He grants success!

References :
Al-Qushayri’s Principles of Sufism

Slander and Talebearing – الغيبة و النميمة

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
اللّهمّ صلّ على سيدّنا و حبيْبنا وشفيْعنا رسوْل الله محمّد ابْن عبْد الله و آله و صحْبه و سلّم

Excerpt from Reliance of the Traveller, Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Book R on Holding One’s Tongue

(Nawawi:) Slander and Talebearing are two of the ugliest and most frequently met with qualities of men, few people being safe from them. I have begun with them because of the widespread need to warn people of them.

SLANDER

Slander means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, property, son, father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissoluteness, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else connected with him.

Mention means by word, writing, sign, or indicating him with one’s eye, hand, head, and so forth.

Body refers to saying such things as that someone is blind, lame, bleary-eyed, bald, short, tall, dark, or pale.

Religion includes saying that he is corrupt, a thief, cannot be trusted, is a tyrant, does not care about the prayer, does not watch to avoid filth, does not honour his father, does not spend zakat on what it should be spent on, or does not avoid slandering others.

Everyday life includes saying that his manners are poor; he does not care about others; does not think he owes anyone anything; that he talks, eats, or sleeps too much; or sleeps or sits when he should not.

Father refers to saying such things as that his father is corrupt, his father is an Indian, Nabatean, African, cobbler, draper, carpenter, blacksmith, or weaver (if mentioned derogatorily)

Disposition includes saying that he has bad character, is arrogant, a show-off, overhasty, domineering, incapable, fainthearted, irresponsible, gloomy, dissolute, and so forth.

Clothing means saying such things as that his sleeves are too loose, his garment hangs too low, is dirty, or the like. Other remarks can be judged by the above examples. The determining factor is mentioning about a person what he would not like.

TALEBEARING consists of quoting someone’s words to another in a way that worsens relations between them.

The above define slander and talebearing. AS for the ruling on them, it is that they are unlawful, by the consensus of Muslims. There is much explicit and intersubstantive evidence that they are unlawful from the Koran, sunna, and consensus of the Muslim Community.

Allah Most High says:

1) “Do not slander one another” (Koran 49:12)

2) “Woe to whomever disparages others behind their back or to their face” (Koran 104:1)

3) “…slanderer, going about with tales” (Koran 68:11)

The Prophet s.a.w. said :

1) “The talebearer will not enter Paradise”

2) “Do you know what slander is?” They answered: “Allah and His Messenger knows best.” He said, “It is to mention of your brother that which he dislike.” Someone asked, “What if he is as I say?” And he s.a.w. replied, “If he is as you say, you have slandered him, and if not, you have calumniated him.”

3) “The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not betray him, lie to him, or hang back from coming to his aid. All of the Muslim is inviolable to his fellow Muslim; his reputation, his property, his blood. Godfearingness is here (pointing to his heart). It is sufficiently wicked for someone to belittle his fellow Muslim.”

Mimicking another’s Idiosyncracies

We have mentioned above that slander is saying anything about a person that he would dislike, whether aloud, in writing, by a sign, or a gesture. Anything by which one conveys a Muslim’s (or non-Muslim’s) shortcomings to another is slander, and unlawful. It includes doing imitations of someone, such as by walking with a limp, with a stoop, or similar posture, intending to mimic the person with such a deficiency. Anything of this sort is unquestionably unlawful.

Slander in Published Works

Slander also includes the author of a book mentioning a specific person in his work by saying, “So and so says such and such,” which is unlawful if he thereby intends to demean him. But if he wants to clarify the person’s mistake so that others will not follow him, or expose the weakness of his scholarship so others will not be deceived and accept what he says, it is not slander, but rather advice that is obligatory, and is rewarde by Allah for the person who intends it as such.

Nor is it slander for a writer or other person to say, “There are those [or ‘a certain group’] who say such and such, which is a mistake, error, ignorance, and folly,” and so forth, which is not slander because slander entails mentioning a particular person or a group of specific individuals.

SLANDER BY ALLUSION AND INNUENDO

When the person being spoken to understands whom one is referring to, it is slander and unlawful to say, for example, “A certain person did such and such,” or ” A certain scholar,” “Someone with pretensions to knowledge,” “A certain mufti,” “A certain person regarded as good,” “Someone who claims to be an ascetic,” “One who passed by us today,” “One of the people we saw.” This includes the slander of some would be scholars and devotees, who make slanderous innuendos that are as clearly understood as if they were plainly stated. When one of them is asked, for example, how So-and -so is, he replies, “May Allah improves us,” “May Allah forgive us,” “May Allah improve him,” “We ask Allah’s forbearance,” “Praise be to Allah who has not afflicted us with visiting oppressors,” …and the like, from which the listener understands the person’s shortcomings. All of this is slander and is unlawful, just as when one says, “So-and-so is afflicted with what we all are,” or “There is no way he can manage this,” or “We all do it.”

We seek refuge in Allah from falling into any of the above. Indeed safety lies in remaining silent, safety lies in remaining silent, safety lies in remaining silent!

May Allah guide us all. Amin!

Delusions of Would be Sufis…

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem, Allahuma solli wa sallim wa baarik ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammadin wa ‘ala aalihi wa sohbihi ajma’in.
I remind myself and others especially those in the various Thuruq…

The deluded among them are of various types. Some are deluded by the dress, terminology, or demeanor of the Sufis. They imitate the sincere Sufis externally, but do not tax themselves with spiritual struggle or self-discipline. Rather they pounce upon and quarrel over wealth (it may not always be wealth though…) that is unlawful, doubtful, or from rulers, rending each other’s honour whenever they are at cross purposes. The delusion of these is obvious. They are like an old woman who hears that the name of the courageous, valiant soldiers are inscribed in the official roster and they are ceded whole tracts of land. Feeling a longing within herself, she dons hauberk and helmet, learns a few heroic stanzas and the details of their apparel and characteristics, and then sets out for the camp. Her name is duly entered in the lists, but when she reports for inspection, she is ordered to take off the helmet and armor to see what is underneath, and to be tried in combat. When she complies, it turns out that she is a feeble old crone, and she is told, “You only came to mock the king and his court! – Take her away and throw her under the elephant’s feet.” And she is flung under it to be trampled. … Thus will be the state of pretenders of Sufism on the Day of Judgement, when they stand revealed and are brought before the Supreme Judge, who looks at hearts, not patched clothes or Sufi dress.

…Other students of Sufism proceed on the right path, engage in spiritual struggle, begin to actually travel in the way, and the door of gnosis, contemplative knowledge of the Divine, opens to them. But when they sniff the first traces of this knowledge, it surprises them and they exult in it and are pleased by the strangeness of it, until their hearts become fettered with turning to it and thinking about it, and how it was disclosed to them but not others. And all of this is delusion, for the wonders met with in the Path of Allah Glorious and Exalted are endless. If one stops with a particular marvel and becomes enamored with it, one’s progress falters and one fails to reach the goal. Such a person is like someone going to see a king, who notices a garden at the palace gate with flowers in it, the like of which he has never seen, and who stops to look at them until there is no longer time to meet the king…

excerpts from Reliance of the Traveller, Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Nuh Ha Mim Keller

Courtesy

A’uzubillahi minashaitonir rojeem, Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem, Allahumma Solli wa Sallim wa Baarik ‘ala Sayidina Muhammadin wa ‘ala aalihi wa sohbihi ajma’in…

Jabir ibn ‘AbdAllah al-Ansari relates that the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said, “It is part of the good behaviour of the prophets and the truthful that when they see each other they are filled with joy, and when they meet they shake hands. The man who visits for the sake of Allah has a right over the person he visists- namely, that he be treated generously.”

Respect your friends and show your respect for them…. A man entered the mosque when the Messenger s.a.w. was alone. The Messenger s.a.w. got up to show him respect. When the man protested, the Messenger s.a.w. responded that to be paid respect is the right of the beilever. (al-Sulami, The Way of Sufi Chivalry)

Courtesy is based on the recognition that the dignity of the human state is not limited to oneself, nor to those who are great or fascinating or powerful in worldly terms. Every human being is an expression of the human essence, the fitrah; therefore every human being is, potentially, khalifah, Allah’s fully-empowered representative in this world, whether or not he or she is faithful to this Trust.

We can never know for sure whether a particular person is living up to their responsibility as a khalifah, or betraying it. When after the Prophet s.a.w. took Mecca, his former sworn enemies like Abu Sufyan and Hind, embraced Islam, no one could be blamed for wondering their sincerity. Yet to openly question that sincerity would have been the height of discourtesy. We can never know the secret of the relation between another human soul and its Creator; this is the origin of the Muslim blessing “may Allah preserve his secret”. In the words of the Prophet: “Do not look for the faults of the believers. Whoever seeks after the faults of his brother, then Allah will seek after his faults; and whoever Allah looks for in search of his faults then He will discover, even if he is hidden in his house.”

During gatherings begin your own meal only after everyone else has started eating. Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al-Asamm reports that the father of Ja’far ibn Muhammad said, “Whenever the Prophet s.a.w. ate with others, he was the last one to begin eating.” The Prophet s.a.w. said, “You will never be able to meet the demands of people with your wealth, so mee them with your courtesy and manners.”

Dhu’l Nun al-Misri said, “A person who does in secret what he would be ashamed to do in public has no self respect; in fact, he does not even consider himself a living being.”

(From the Book of Character by Camille Helminski)
Wallahu ‘alam….

The Life in this World

بسْم الله الرّحْمن الرّحيم، اللّهمّ صلِّ على سيّدنا محمّدٍ وآله

 وصحْبه وسلِّم

They used to enjoy eating, sleeping and having intercourse just like you. They hardly thought of their impending deaths just like you... Imam Hasan al-Basri ra. said, "Death exposes the lowliness/reality of life in this World, leaving no joy in the hearts of men with intellect"

“And present to them the example of the life of this world, [its being] like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and [then] it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability.Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope.” al-Kahfi:45-46     (Remember to recite al-Kahfi on Friday(today) for protection against the fitnah of Dajjal)

Allah ta’ala inspired to Moses upon whom be peace, “O Moses, if I love a servant, I will keep the World away from him, this is how I treat my lovers, O Moses! If you see wealth drawing near, say, “This is a punishment, hastened, for our sins.” If you see poverty approaching, say, “Welcome to the signpost(poverty) of the pious.”

Allah Most Exalted is He said, “The most lightest of punishment that I inflict upon a man of knowledge who becomes attached to the World is I remove the sweetness he experience in intimate conversation with Me.”

Allah ta’ala inspired to ‘Isa/Jesus upon whom be peace, “O ‘Isa, relate to the Children on Israel to remember these two phrases : “Tell them to be content with little wealth for the benefit of their religion, like how the lover of the world/wealth are content with little of religion for the benefit of their worldly life.”

  Imam Hasan al-Basri said, “May Allah bless the one who wears old clothes, eats dry bread, whose bed is the ground, who weeps over his sins and is in continuous Divine worship.”

Indeed this is the way of The Prophet Jesus and The Prophet Muhammad they are the foremost of ascetics. May we not claim to be their followers if we have greed for the world and wealth in our hearts!

Abu Hazim al-Madani said, “Whatever has passed from this world(your life ) was just a dream while whatever is left (in the future) are also just dreams(that are not certain). When his wife told him, “Indeed winter is coming, we should prepare storing food, clothes and firewood,” he replied, “All of that is not certain, but what is certain for us is death, the Resurrection after that, standing, facing Allah ta’ala after which is either heaven or hell.”

Malik ibn Dinar said, “If the heart is overpowered by attachment to the world, all advice you give to it will be in vain.” 

In a hadith, ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir r.a. said, the Messenger of Allah said, “I am not afraid that you will associate anything with Allah in worship after (my demise, but I apprehend that you will vie with one another for the life of the world.”

The world is bound for destruction, (the signs of which is everywhere) and the most destroyed is the heart of those who indulge in it. The Hereafter is full of indulgences and the heart of those who seeks it glows with life.

May our remembrance be the remembrance of Death and the Hereafter. May our hearts long for the eternal abode of peace in the company of the martyrs, men of Truth, men of piety and Prophets of Allah. May the destructions, the disasters, accidents, corruption, the racism, the hatred, the oppression, the injustice, the greed, the suffering of the life in this world make us long for the Hereafter and work towards it for it is eternal. May we be in the morning as if we are going to die in the afternoon and be in the afternoon as if we are going to die in the evening and be in the evening as if we won’t live to see the sun rise, for death is certain and no one knows when it’ll come. 

The Messenger of Allah upon whom be the blessings of Allah forever said:

  • “Love of the world(the wealth, the fineries etc.) is a sin that cannot be forgiven.”
  • “Whoever loves the Life after death will sacrifice his Life in this world, and whoever loves his Life in this worldwill sacrifice his Life after death, therefore prioritise the eternal (the life after death) from the impending destruction (life in this world).

May Allah make us among those whose hearts are disgusted by the attractions/allurement/adornments of this world!  Imam asy-Syafi’i ra. said, “If the Life in this world were to be sold in the market, I would not purchase it even at the meagre price of a piece of bread as I see ugliness/repulsiveness in it.” Fudhail ibn Iyadh r.a. said, “The world is as repulsive to me as a carcass is repulsive to you such that you avoid getting your clothes soiled by it.” Subhan Allah!

Sayings to remember…

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem, Alhamdulillahi Wasolatu Wasalaamu ‘ala Rasulillah…

  • Rasulullah s.a.w. said, “The most beloved of people to Allah is the person who bring most benefit to the people.”
  • al-Habib Abdullah bin Alwi al-Haddad said, “None can bring a better benefit to the people than a person who preaches and calls people to the Door of Allah. He teaches the obligatory, that is Oneness of Allah and obedience to him, reminding people of  His Signs and Bounties,giving good news of His Mercy and reminder of His Wrath that strike those that turn away from Him among the disbelievers and corrupters.”
  • If an advice comes from the bottom of the heart, it will enter to the depths of the heart. If it (advice) is from the tip of the tongue, it will not enter beyond the ear.
  • Good is abundant but the doers are few – Rasulullah s.a.w.
  • The elite are patient when calamity befell them, while the elect are thankful when calamity befell them.

Excerpts of Habib ‘Umar Bin Hafidz’s lectures 1

 On the loftiness of Dzikir (Remembrance of Allah)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem…

…Keep remembrance of Allah every moment. Recall what Allah mentioned in The Qur’an : “O ye who believe, keep remembrance of Allah, abundant remembrance”.

Some of the companions asked The Prophet s.a.w., “Ya Rasulullah, among those who fight in the way of Allah who are the ones who obtained the greatest benefit?”

The Prophet s.a.w. replied, “They are those who keep remembrance of Allah the most among them.”

The companions asked again, “Ya Rasulullah, among those who pray who are they who reap the greatest benefit?”

The Prophet s.a.w. replied, “They are those who keep remembrance of Allah the most among them.”

Some of the companions asked again, “Ya Rasulullah, among those who give alms to the needy, who will reap the greatest benefit?”

The Prophet s.a.w. replied to them, “The ones who keep remembrance of Allah the most among them.”

… upon hearing these, Saiydina Abu Bakar and Sayidina ‘Umar both said to The Prophet s.a.w., ” This means that those who remember Allah the most are the ones who obtain the best of this world and the hereafter!”

The Prophet s.a.w. then said, “Yes, the people who keep remembrance of Allah the most obtains the best of this world and the hereafter.”