Saturday, December 08, 2007

Off we go, insha'Allah!

Assalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,

Insha'Allah, we're off to Hajj tomorrow. Please make du'a that we have a hajj mabrur, that the hajj be a lifelong transformation, and that we return home safely in good health.

May Allah always bless you.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wisdoms of My Nanni Jaan


Assalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,

I often share with Salik the wisdoms of my late Nanni Jaan (maternal grandmother), Allah have mercy on her. Each time I tell him a story of her his face lights up and he says he grows increasingly fond of her.

Nanni was a wise woman with a profound natural insight into the reality of things, and being well-educated in both Persian & Urdu, gave her the unique ability to express herself masterfully in a few chosen words. An inspiration to me, she was someone who without much formal Islamic learning (other than her own reading), lived Islam and was quite advanced spiritually. Much to her father's dismay, she gave up her many riches to help members of my Nanna Ji's (maternal grandfather) family get married and helped countless strangers, letting them into her home and nursing them back to health when they were ill and alone. She taught countless people to read Qur'an, and would herself complete one full reading at least once a month, and fasted Ramadan right up until she was 85 and suffered two strokes a year before passing on. Anyone who knew her, knew that she truly understood that the next life was better than this life -- she was indeed a salikah who lived in accordance to the saying of Isa (peace be upon him), "this life is a bridge...cross over it, but do not build your house upon it".

I thought I would share a few her sayings here (she spoke to all of us in Punjabi - and much is lost in translation, but insha'Allah, khayr):

Upon seeing a elderly person eating a large amount of food heedlessly, she would smile and say,
"oh ho, becharay da rizq anah likhaya hai, tai zindagi anih thori ragi hai"
"oh, the poor soul: he has so much sustenance alloted to him,
and so little of age left [to consume it]".

About prayer on time:
"valay di namaz, qavalay diyanh takranh"
"on time it is prayer, when late it is
merely the banging of one's head against the ground".

On behaving with the best of character:
"banda karay bandagi tai banda, nai teh ganday nalonh vi ganda"
"If man behaves humanely, he is a man, otherwise he is filthier than the filthy."
Upon seeing a person in their youth mistreat an elder, she would look sad and remark:
"Andah vaqt hai"
"It is her time [to be in power right now]".
When viewing a body of water such as an ocean or a lake, she would observe the shore and say:
"Vehkhya, ay jira pani hai, anoo Allah nai jithai takh ijazat diti hai, othay takh anda tai fehr jithai Allah the hukm onoo rok da hai, othonh oh vapus chala janda hai"
"You see this water. Up until where Allah has given it permission to come, it comes, and then where the order of Allah is to stop, it goes back".
Please make a fatiha for her.

Jaan J: Non-Silk Ties and Pretty Pins (for brothers and sisters)

Jaan J: Non-Silk Ties and Pretty Pins (for brothers and sisters)

Sisters: a nice gift ideas for husbands, brothers, fathers! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hajj Tips?

Bismillah. Peace & Blessings Upon the Chosen One.

Assalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,

I'm creating a post to assist all those, myself and Salik included, who are intending to make the hajj this year, insha'Allah (or in the future). If you've made hajj, know people that have, or have advice to would be much appreciated if you could post it here... Things including, but not limited to:

  • How to prepare mentally, physically, psychologically, spiritually, what to buy
  • What to pack (clothes, medications/first-aid, food, *anything important/useful*)
  • How much to pack
  • Tips to help make the most of time delays
  • What to do during long commutes from place to place, esp. Madinah to Makkah
  • Washroom tips (because, well...with that many people things can be a little messy)
  • Health tips
  • Anything you were glad you knew/were ready for
  • Anything you wish you knew/were ready for
  • Anything else...*anything*...
Du'as, please. For a beneficial, successful, mubarak and accepted hajj.

May Allah facilitate the journey for all those whose hearts yearn to go, and may He Most High, accept our efforts out of His Mercy for His creation. Ameen.

Peace and blessings upon the Beloved of Allah, his family, folk, and all those who seek to follow him until the Last Day. Ameen.

Your Sister,

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall...into health :)

Autumn is here!...Go out for a walk among the fallen leaves and expose your soul to nature's spectacular show of colours, courtesy of Allah Most High.

Reading material on healthy living -- a list from our dear brother, Sidi Hakim.

Imam Ghazali on Health

Sunday, September 30, 2007

800 Years of Mawlana Rumi

The roar of Rumi - 800 years on
By Charles Haviland BBC News, Balkh, northern Afghanistan

For many years now, the most popular poet in America has been a 13th-century mystical Muslim scholar.
Translations of Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi's - better known as Rumi - verse are hugely popular and have been used by Western pop stars such as Madonna.
They are attracted by his tributes to the power of love and his belief in the spiritual use of music and dancing - although scholars stress that he was talking about spiritual love between people and God, not earthly love.
Rumi, whose 800th birth anniversary falls on Sunday, was born in 1207 in Balkh in Central Asia, now part of Afghanistan.
I came here to see whether he has much resonance in his native country which, under the Taleban, went so far as to ban music.
Still standing
A young Afghan archaeologist, Reza Hosseini, took me to the ruins of the mud-and-brick-built khanaqa - a kind of madrassa or religious school - where Rumi's father taught and the young boy is believed to have studied, lying just outside the old mud city walls and probably within yards of his birthplace.
It is a quiet and melancholy place, the structure eroded and encroached on by shrubs and bushes.

An amazing amount of the madrassa is still surprisingly intact
But an amazing amount of it is still standing - the square structure, its four arches with pointed tops, in the Islamic style, and half of the graceful dome.
Mr Hosseini says the floor was originally constructed of baked bricks and lined with carpets donated by those who came to share the learning.
Sufism - or Islamic mysticism - was already enshrined here before Rumi's time and Mr Hosseini imagines that this corner of the town, by the madrassa, would have echoed to the sound of Sufi singing and prayer.
But, he says, it is unclear how widespread, or acceptable, practices such as music and dance were in the wider population.
When Rumi was barely out of his teens, Balkh was reduced to rubble by Genghis Khan's marauding Mongol invaders.
Rumi had fled in advance with his family and settled in Konya, now in Turkey.
After the murder of his close friend, a Persian wandering dervish called Shams-i-Tabriz, he was depressed for years but later wrote his greatest poetic work, the Mathnawi.
It describes the soul's separation from God and the mutual yearning to reunite.
With his injunctions of tolerance and love, he has universal appeal, says Abdul Qadir Misbah, a culture specialist in the Balkh provincial government.
"Whether a person is from East or West, he can feel the roar of Rumi," he says.

To Read Entire Article, Click Here

The Wisdom of Creation

In his intimate conversation with God, one of the early Sufis said:

'My Lord, what is the wisdom behind my being created?' He replied, 'It is so that you may behold Me in the mirror of your soul, and have love for Me in your heart."
(Tamhidat, 272).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ramadan Mubarak!

Ramadan Mubarak!

I just wanted to take a few minutes to wish you all a joyful and heartfelt Ramadhan Mubarak. May Allah Most High open for each one of you the doors of mercy, forgiveness and reward in the month we all cherish and look forward to. May we emerge with enlightened hearts, refined characters and experience an ever-increasing closeness to Him. May He grant you all a forgiveness from today to the last day....and may the doors of Janaah be opened for you and may you all be granted eternal bliss in the company of those whom you love. May Allah accept and increase in a measure only He can all your works this blessed month and may you all be granted the taufiq to continue your works for the rest of your lives.

I ask those who know me to forgive me for my shortcomings and mistakes and please remember me and my family in your dua's.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

UK Suhba Notes

Alhamdulillah, some of the UK murids compiled their suhba notes and posted them online. Excellent for those of us who couldn't be there.

Click here to read them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor (CE 121-180), was also a philosopher with no intention of publication...

"In writing and reading you must learn before you can teach. Yet more so in life."

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Salikah Guide to the Greater Amman Area

AsSalamu'alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,

Alhamdulillah, back from our trip to Jordan, Syria, and Paris. Hoping to capture some of the experience over three posts (one for each place) -- insha'Allah, I hope to complete my blogging of this trip, although unfortunately, I never completed my posts of Turkey or California.

Our Jordan trip consisted mainly of seeing Shaykh Nuh and Umm Sahl, and visiting the maqams of various sahaba and awliya, and historical places (some of which are contested, I know), for a week.

Of course, the beautiful Zawiya:

Masha'Allah, modern architecture at its best. Beautifully decorated and well-maintained is the mubarak zawiya in which our Shaykh, Sh. Nuh Keller teaches almost daily in addition to daily dhikrs.

Shaykh Nuh mentioned that among the benefits of visiting the graves of righteous people are the following:

  • Paying heed - creates less of a desire for dunya.

  • Take admonition of one's own impending death.

  • Softens the heart, making way for tawbah and thus, change.

  • The haal or spiritual state of the one burried.

  • It is sunnah.

  • Recite surah Fatiha and/or Ya Sin to benefit the person.

Our daily taxi driver, Muhammad, took us to visit various places in and around Amman. Below are photos that give a glimpse into what we saw:

Dirar ibn al-Azwar (Allah be well pleased with him), Sahabi

A simple little masjid, with the beautifully simple tomb of one of the companions of the beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). Very peaceful, masha'Allah.

Abu 'Ubaydah (Allah be well pleased with him), Sahabi, One of ten promised Paradise

One of the most beautifully done masjids we saw, complete with a little courtyard garden. The place had a very tranquil feel to it that had us not wanting to leave it, despite the fact that our taxi driver Muhammad told us "Quiggly, quiggly!!" when we were going in.

Sharhabil ibn al-Hasana (Allah be well pleased with him), Sahabi

If you look out across the hills from the front gate of this masjid, you see the hills of a Palestinian town. Being so close and yet so far away is really sad...especially when our phone got a text message saying "Welcome to Israel" -- Muhammad got a real laugh out of that when Salik translated the message on his cell phone for him. For the photo of the Palestinian hills, see below.

Palestine in the hills:

Amar ibn Abi Waqas (Allah be well pleased with him), Sahabi

Amidst beautiful palm trees was the resting place of this great companion. Muhammad took our coke bottles here and placed them nicely in the corner so that the local children could come pick them up and get a few cents in exhange for them at the store - a simple act of love that really resonated with us.

Mu'adh ibn Jabal (Allah be well pleased with him), Sahabi & his son, Abdul-Rahman ibn Mu'adh ibn Jabal (Allah be well pleased with him)

Shaykh Muhammed Sa'eed al-Kurdi (Allah have mercy on him) who gave ijaza to our grand-Shaykh, Sh. Abdul-Rahman al-Shaghouri (Allah have mercy on him)

Tucked away in an alley in the city of Irbid, was a small masjid that is the final resting place of our master, Sh. Kurdi. We met an old Shaykh here whose face, masha'Allah, was so illumined by the dhikr of Allah that it was inspiration just seeing him. What I love most about some of these small towns in the Muslim world is that you meet some people you've never heard of that are just living their lives away from everything, and yet their luminosity tells you they are anything but ordinary in their spiritual states.

Ja'ffar ibn Abi Talib (Allah have mercy on him), the cousin of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and Zayd ibn Haritha (Allah have mercy on him), the adopted son of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)

Abdullah ibn Abi Rawaha (Allah have mercy on him), poet to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)

Karak Crusader Castle:

Karak castle is not far from where we went to see the tombs of Ja'ffar ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and Zayd ibn Haritha, the adopted son of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The castle was definately worth the stop -- not only did it offer a beautiful view of the mountains, but it's in good condition so we were able to walk around it, see the view from the "look-out" points, and even go inside and walk through the tunnels. Very cool :)

Site claimed to be that of Ahl ul-Kahf:

One of at least three sites said to be that of Ahl ul-Kahf (the others being in Turkey and Syria), Allah knows best of its authenticity, but what we found worth coming here was the new masjid :)

Husseini Masjid in Amman:

The inside of this masjid reminded Salik and I of the masjids we saw in Turkey (but not really as nice!)

Abu Darwish Masjid:

This masjid actually made it's way into my Lonely Planet guide to Jordan for it's peculiar choice of colours and design...the book describes being there as an 'Alice in Wonderland' experience. It really was a strange place, but as you'll see below the view of the city from inside is quite nice.

Jabl Nebo - The site where Seyyidina Musa (Peace be upon him) is said to have gotten the vision of Promised Land. Beautiful view. The site seems to have more significance for Christians - there was a project by the Pope done a few years ago and at the top of the mountain there's an ancient Byzantine church.

King Abdullah Masjid in Amman.
A stunningly beautiful masjid, complete with a beautiful garden, some Cordoban arches...absolutely beautiful...unfortunately, there's very high security here and the guards are very serious about not letting anyone take video or photos. When we asked why they said it's because it's near a military base and the King's offices are nearby. After all the explaining one guard told us to go ahead and take a shot or two as we left, from the outside.

The Dead Sea:

The lowest (and hottest!) point on earth was also worth coming to. The water felt like nothing else we'd ever been in, no worries about drowning :) and we found little salt crystals all over the place.


Along the highways of Jordan we saw many, many Bedouins. There's something about nomads that is inspiring: their distance from the rest of society, their total reliance on and trust in Allah for provisions...their...simplicity of being. Muhammad sang a Bedouin love song to Salik for humour that translates rougly as (a man saying to his wife), "I love you more than the sound of the hooves of my mule" :)

So comes the end of the Salikah guide to the greater Amman area.

Fatiha for all those burried there...and a du'a for my family and I, please :) and that I actually get around to posting about Syria and Paris!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Something of a Confession...

Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within me and I was in the external world and saught you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrent, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.

(St. Augustine, Confessions)

Born in 354, St. Augustine was before Islam and here utters words that speak well to us as Muslims. It is rare that I quote a non-Muslim figure on this blog, but Allah indeed puts beauty on the lips of whomsoever He wills.


AsSalamu'alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,

I pray you are all well. Just wanted to post a message sending you greetings of peace...very few posts this past year, for a number of apologies.

The greatest intellects are stymied in the face of love.
(Unknown, Longing for the Divine calendar)


Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Truth - Spiritual Tendencies

The Spiritual Tendencies Blog is back after a year off...

Sayyidinā Alī Ibn Abī Tālib—may Allāh exalt his face—said:

Your cure is within you, but you do not know,
Your illness is from you, but you do not see.
You are the “Clarifying Book”
Through whose letters becomes manifest the hidden.
You suppose that you’re a small body
But the greatest world unfolds within you.
You would not need what is outside yourself
If you would reflect on ’self’, but you do not reflect.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Zaytuna Institute - Hayward, California

Bismillah. Salla Allahu 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad

Assalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

Photos of the Zaytuna Institute...unfortunately, pictures cannot capture the immensely mubarak feeling one experiences by being there.

A poem outside the classroom:

"As minutes and seconds pass by and times takes its toll on a place
An age brings an end to all things built upon stones without grace"

The outside of the classroom/musalla:

The seat of the scholars, may Allah preserve them and allow us to benefit by them:

The inside of the classroom/musalla:

The beautifully kept Zaytuna grounds:

Zaytuna flower:

Masha'Allah, a beautiful place with beautiful people. Anyone that can go and visit/study there, really should. May Allah bless the people at Zaytuna. Ameen.



Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Busy? Evaluating Your Time: Food for Thought.

Assalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,

Apologies for the lack of blogging the last little while...had too much on my plate. Recently, Salik and I took a week long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area -- we wanted to go somewhere close for Spring Break and just enjoy good weather, beautiful nature, dhikrs, and see some of our shuyukh. Alhamdulillah, we got a good dose of all of that and some yummy organic crepes made with nutella to top it all off :)

All kidding aside, the trip really threw me into an introspective state. We attended a dars with Ustadh Yahya Rhodus on Prophetic Characteristics -- it was a beautiful lesson in which we learned du'as, learned about the character and habits of the noble messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), and grew in our love for him. Ustadha Yahya, reflecting on the days soon after his conversion at the age of nineteen, commented that in attending some of the lessons Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was delivering at the time along with visiting shuyukh, he thought to himself, "the stuff I'm studying in college, if I die today, it doesn't matter if I know it or not, but this stuff [knowledge of the deen], this is what matters -- I can't go to my grave without knowing this".

Simple enough, but reminders are indeed beneficial to the believer and this was definately the case for me that day. Like many of you likely are, I like to 'do' as much as I can with my time -- work, study, take courses to upgrade my professional standing/qualifications, be a good wife/ daughter/sister/friend/person, serve the ummah, and still be a devoted to Allah on a personal level. People often ask me how I manage to do so much all at the same time and look so calm -- my answer is always that I use all my time productively...but Ustadh Yahya's words got me thinking.

What is the value of everything I'm doing? And how are my job and the extra courses effecting the quality of my life and my being and my worship? How is it hindering the internalization of all that we hear from our Masters? I'm still pondering over these questions -- and it's made me even quieter than usual, prompting family and friends to ask "what's the matter, you miss California that much?". I've also been reading In Praise of Slowness and the combination of all of these things has led me to conclude that I need to cut down on my load. Advancement in the world is never-ending -- you finish one course, and there's another, and another...and before you know it, you've spent your youth and vitality for that which is parishing and lost all that time that you could have spent walking towards your Creator. Imam Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) says in various writings, that one should spend one's time with what they would do if given a week to live -- everything else really doesn't matter all that much. This is what Ustadh Yahya was talking about. This is what Shaykh Nuh is talking about when he says, may Allah preserve him, that in the end, it's all about You, Your Grave, and Allah Most High.

Food for thought insha'Allah. Pictures to follow.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Walk on Water - The Wisdom of Jesus (Sh. Hamza Yusuf)

Walk on Water - The Wisdom of Jesus (Sh. Hamza Yusuf)

Once someone asked Jesus (peace be upon him), “How are
you able to walk on water?”
Jesus replied, “With certainty.”
Then someone said, “But we also have
Jesus then asked them, “Are stone, clay,
and gold equal in your eyes?”
They replied, “Certainly not!”
Jesus responded, “They are in mine.”

(for the full article, please click on the link above)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Knowledge without Action

O disciple, knowledge without action is madness and action without knowledge is void. Know that the knowledge which does not remove you from sins today and does not convert you to obedience, will not remove you tomorrow from hellfire. If you do not act according to your knowledge today, and you do not make amends for days gone-by, you will say tomorrow on the Day of Resurrection, ‘Send us back and we will act virtuously!’ And it will be replied, ‘Fool! You have just come from there!’

- Imam al-Ghazali in Letter to a Disciple

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Serving others...

From the new SunniPath Blog, a reflection...

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah is in the assistance of His servant as long as His servant is in the assistance of others.” [Muslim (2698) and others, on the authority of Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him)]

This is one of the tremendous Prophetic hadiths about the virtue of service others. The scholars have mentioned, however, that the degree of Divine Assistance (`awn) for a person serving others is to the degree that this service is purely for the sake of Allah.

Serving others is often a seemingly thankless matter, as people often don’t appreciate what is done for them or even respond to the good with the bad or unreasonable conduct. This often discourages people from continuing their service, or weakens their resolve.

However, this should not be the case. Why?

Because one’s service of humanity and creation should be solely in pursuit of the pleasure of Allah. This is a key to consistent, fruitful, excellent, and transformative service.

May Allah bless us with the rank of being of those who serve His servants for His sake alone, in the spirit and light of the radiant example of His Beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Characteristics of Traditional Diets - Even Unto China

Even Unto China - A new blog on acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, organic farming, traditional dietary wisdom, somatics and body-oriented psychotherapy...

Characteristics of Traditional Diets
  1. The diets of healthy primitive and nonindustrialized peoples contain no refined or denatured foods such as refined sugar or corn syrup; white flour; canned foods; pasteurized, homogenized, skim or low-fat milk; refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils; protein powders; artificial vitamins or toxic additives and colorings.
  2. All traditional cultures consume some sort of animal protein and fat from fish and other seafood; water and land fowl; land animals; eggs; milk and milk products; reptiles; and insects.
  3. Primitive diets contain at least four times the calcium and other minerals and TEN times the fat soluble vitamins from animal fats (vitamin A, vitamin D and the Price Factor) as the average American diet.
  4. In all traditional cultures, some animal products are eaten raw.
  5. Primitive and traditional diets have a high food-enzyme content from raw dairy products, raw meat and fish; raw honey; tropical fruits; cold-pressed oils; wine and unpasteurized beer; and naturally preserved, lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, meats and condiments.
  6. Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened in order to neutralize naturally occuring antinutrients in these foods, such as phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, tannins and complex carbohydrates.
  7. Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30% to 80% but only about 4% of calories come from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, pulses, nuts, fish, animal fats and vegetables. The balance of fat calories is in the form of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
  8. Traditional diets contain nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
  9. All primitive diets contain some salt.
  10. Tradtional cultures consume animal bones, usually in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths.
  11. raditional cultures make provisions for the health of future generations by providing special nutrient-rich foods for parents-to-be, pregnant women and growing children; by proper spacing of children; and by teaching the principles of right diet to the young.