In light of the recent passing of Shaykh Yaqoubi’s wife, Umm Ibrahim, as well as other occurrences in the days surrounding the birth of the beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him abundant peace) who was sent as a Mercy to the Worlds, a surge of introspection has come about. The other night my teacher, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani who has been a source of much guidance for me over the last few years, gave a talk at the University of Toronto, entitled: “Alive in our hearts: Lessons from the Prophet (peace be upon him)”, and I’ve decided to record some of the notes I took, so that some benefit may be gained by those who were unable to attend, insha’Allah.
We find ourselves in life, in desperate need of guidance of what to do in this finite life. The scholars often mention the example of someone who suddenly awakes to find himself on a moving train. What will you do? Besides having fear, panic, and being mesmerized, upon waking, your immediate questions will be:
- How did I get here?
- Where am I going?
- What must I do while I’m here?
All of creation has this intrinsic yearning to know where to go in life, with every heartbeat there is this need for guidance, finding the Creator, and doing the right thing. This fundamental need is found in the Fatiha, “Guide us to the straight path”, for we are essentially lost and bewildered: what are we to do and how are we to do it? And in reality, the entire Qur’an is an answer to that request, to help us, to save us from crashing so that we arrive at our destination in the best of states. It provides the way of living this life in the best way, and being granted the best of the next life.
Guidance involves turning to the Creator in our worship and in our human relations: our dealings and conduct (our transactions and how we comport ourselves). What are the sources of guidance? -- The Qur’an and the Sunnah, both of which are preserved.
What is the key to the Sunnah? – Turning to Allah in all of one’s affairs.
A man of the Quraysh mocked one of the companions (sahaba) about being taught everything by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), even mannerisms related to the using the toilet. The companion replied without any hesitance or shame, that this was indeed the case because the Rasul (Allah bless him and give him peace) was sent to show us the best way to live in every aspect of our life, and to perfect the most noblest of character.
In our race for success in the world, we often forget the hereafter. The Sunnah shows us how to re-connect with Allah and our ultimate purpose – khalwa, reflecting privately on one’s life, conduct, and dealings. After writing an exam one studied hard for, for instance, rather than wasting time twiddling one’s thumbs or talking to others and speculating, one should instead turn to Allah and supplicate, asking for His assistance. In the first moments of marriage when husband and wife are alone, praying two rakats before setting out on their path of married life.
In short, remembering Allah, and following the example of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), can make the mundane the sublime. For every action, do the “what/why analysis”: “What am I doing? Why am I doing it?” For instance, when putting on one’s shoes, starting in the name of Allah, putting the right shoe on first, and intending gratitude towards Allah for the mercy and blessing of being able to walk and wanting to walk to that which is pleasing to Allah. Visiting friends for the sake of Allah, to deepen love.
These were just a few of the things that Shaykh Faraz touched on. Insha’Allah, they’ll remind us all to bring the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to life in our hearts and lives by implementing his Sunnah, his noble character, and his beautiful presence in our daily lives.And Allah knows best.
May Allah grant us all good in this life and the next. Amin.