Monday, December 29, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I was looking through my notebook during the break in Shaykh Faraz's halaqa last week and started reading through previous notes I'd taken. I came across many beautiful words from our teachers and journal entries from Hajj.
On our second night in Madinah, once the entire group had arrived, Shaykh Ramzy gathered us all in the lobby of our hotel and gave us some advice. He spoke of forgiving one another for what happened in the past and what for what will come (especially given the intimate nature of the pilgrimage) -- in the city of our Noble Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), we should intend to forgive, as this is his sunnah. Allah pardons and loves those who pardon. We expect Allah to forgive us and yet cannot find it in our hearts to forgive others -- if we do not forgive, our hearts will have something in them that will interfere in receiving the forgiveness of Allah.
The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) has the greatest heart for forgiveness -- on the yawm al-hashr, all Prophets (upon them be peace) will say, "this affair is not for me", but he (Allah bless him and give him peace) will say, "this is for me" and will not rest until each Muslim is forgiven -- and then he will ask for the pardon of other communities, Allah bless him and give him peace.
About Madinah, the blessed companion, 'Umar said, it is the holiest place on earth, and 'Uthman agreed with him (Allah be well-pleased with them both).
The soil mixes with his blessed living body, he hears each and every salam and responds, and Allah sends His salam on each person ten times.
As we watch what we eat and purchase despite knowing the waste they will eventually end up in, we should watch what goes in our hearts, for the heart and its deeds live on in the grave.
This last note that Shaykh Ramzy made is, I believe, of utmost importance. Far too often we neglect to realize, or we brush off, the impact of what we expose our senses to. I remember years ago Shaykh Abdallah Adhami said that whatever our ears and eyes and limbs are exposed to lives on in us forever -- he cautioned us to pay heed to what words we listen to and what scenes we watch. How many conversations to we expose our ears and soul to that our full of backbiting, tale-baring, vulgarities? How many lyrics and sounds to we listen to that perturb the heart and throw us into heedlessness? How many violent, vulgar scenes do we see, even for a split second on television and in movies, thinking we're unscathed, but they live on in the recesses of our hearts forever?
Food for thought.
Strengthening Communal Ties
Wednesday, December 24th, 6.30 to 9 pm
Imam Zaid Shakir
Shaykh Jawad Qureshi (Chicago)
Shaykh Omar Qureshi (Chicago)
Shaykh Zahir Bacchus
Shaykh Ramzy Ajem
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
At the IMO (International Muslim Organization)
65 Rexdale Blvd, Rexdale, ON
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
AsSalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,
Verily, from Allah we came and to Him we are returning.
My mother's last surviving uncle -- my grandfather's brother, passed away a few days ago in Lahore, Pakistan. He was a righteous man in his mid-eighties, and I have fond memories from when I spent time with him as a young girl.
Please make fatiha for him. May Allah have mercy on Him, make easy the trials of the grave and the next world, and make his union with Him, one of intense sweetness. May we be united in Jannah. Ameen.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Insha'Allah, this is the week that many of our dear brothers and sisters who embarked on the noble journey of hajj are to return home to us.
Hajj Mabrur, insha'Allah!
In honour of the hujjaj, the monthly Burda and Dala'il Reading at Risalah will be taking place this Sunday Decemeber 21st, 2008 from 11am-1pm.
Please join us in welcoming back the hujjaj!
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
This earth. Was it created so that we might sin upon it?
The sky. Was it created to watch our heedlessness?
How often have we gone about disobedience of our Lord and not once thought to how we have offended the nature that surrounds us?
How often have we neglected to think how are sinful acts, words, deeds must make the purity of trees, leaves, flowers, the sky, the earth...all cringe at our pitiful state?
How often have we not thought how nature must weep that its destiny was so poor as to be made witness to egos engulfed in sin?
Indeed we are taught that the trees lay in wait of someone to pass them who is in the remembrance of Allah so they may boast to the other trees of the good that they have been made witness to. And so do we not pause to reflect on what shame they must feel when not only is such a person absent, but in their place passes a person who is in opposition to the command of Allah?
On that Day, those trees, those leaves and flowers, that sky, that earth...all will be given a voice and all will cry out to their Lord as witnesses against us for having sinned near, below, or upon them. Pay heed, dear brothers and sisters. Pay heed.
We should not let time pass us by, we should not neglect a moment of life that Allah bestows upon us, but that we retrace those sinful steps, and in each place of disobedience, return in an act of obedience and penitence, seeking Allah's forgiveness and that of each witness. We must humble ourselves. We must weep. We must beg our Lord that He write us from amongst those who were penitent and remembered Him. We must beseech our witnesses to remember only the good that we did before them, and not the evil.
How Merciful is Allah, that not only did He not take us in such a filthy state, but that He gave us life. Life to repent. Life to learn. Life to return to that very place, a person transformed, a person realized, a person aware.
And which of your Lord's bounties, will you and you deny?
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Today marks the start of Dhul Hijjah!
Subhan'Allah, last year at this time Salik and I were in the most blessed lands on earth. This year as the hujjaj leave -- including Shaykh Ramzy and Shaykh Zahid who were with us, in addition to Shaykh Abdallah who is joining them this year! -- my heart really isn't here right now...it seems to have run off with them. Before they left I asked them to remember us there, as bits of my heart are spread throughout the mubarak lands to which Allah has returned them. May Allah bless their journey and that of all of the hujjaj. Hajj Mabrur insha'Allah.
We must however, remember that even if we aren't able to be in those luminous lands, we should nevertheless, pay heed to the days that are upon us and honour them.
Some advice on what to do the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah from Shaykh Faraz.
Please remember us in your prayers these blessed days.
May He Most High, return us to the sacred sanctuaries again. Ameen.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
AsSalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,
The past three weeks we have been blessed in Toronto with the luminous company of our noble teacher, Shaykh Abdallah al-Haddad of Fez. Prior to his arrival, a dear sister of mine said "get ready to fall in love!" Shaykh came and enveloped us with his love and mercy, and a man we little knew before his arrival has become over the course of a few weeks the most beloved to our hearts. Indeed, we fell in love with his loving smile, his sweet words, his care and concern. Seeing one of our elders, a wali of Allah, a descendant of the Noblest Messenger Sayyidina Muhammad (salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam), a Shaykh, a manfull of humility, give of his time and self completely to the fuqara',has been inspirational.
As he parts us to make hajj before returning home to his family in Fez, we thank Allah for having blessed us with his company and we pray that Allah bless his every moment, make easy his hajj and travels, return him safely to his family, grant him ease, and unite us once more.
Below are some notes I took at the Sunday night dars with Shaykh, where he spoke of the signs of Allah's love upon one.
May Allah love and bless you all. Please pray for Shaykh and those left saddened by his departure.
"I declare war upon anyone who shows enmity towards My friends.... My servant continues to draw close to Me through supererogatory works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing through which he hears, his eyes through which he sees, and his foot upon which he walks."
Three things have been hidden in three:
1) Allah's dispeasure is hidden in disobedience of Him.
- Therefore, do not underestimate even what you deem to be the smallest sin because it could be that Allah takes your life at a moment in which you die in a state of sin. It is said in a hadith that a man may do the actions of the people of Paradise unti there remains between him and Paradise an arm-span. Then the decree will catch up with him and he will do the actions of the people of Hell and will be placed therein. Likewise a man may do the actions of the people of Hell unti there remains between him and Hell an arm-span. Then the decree will catch up with him and he will do the actions of the people of Paradise and will be placed therein.
- Do not underestimate small sins because a large bonfire starts as asmall flame.
2) Allah's pleasure is hidden in obedience of Him.
- Therefore do not belittle any religious act, even the removal of a banana peel from the road, for that could save somebody else a lot of hardship (i.e., if the peel were not removed, they could fall, get hurt, etc.)
- Superogatory works are never equal to obligatory works. Both are a means of drawing closer to Allah. Also, we often leave an easy means of benefit for an action which requires much work and no benefit at all. For instance, commiting adultery and drinking alcohol are mandatory to avoid and you are rewarded simply by not doing anything, whereas doing them requires time, effort, and money.
- Rewards/punishments are eternal except for the one who sincerely repents.
3) Allah's awliya' are hidden amongst the people.
- A hadith speaks of dishevelled one whose du'as are accepted because he is hidden and goes unnoticed. Allah loves the pure and pious whose name nobody knows when they walk in and whom nobody misses when they are not present. Therefore, never disdain any of the creation because you don't know who the awliya' are. You cannot create something better, so do not despise the creation of Allah, lest Allah declares war upon you.
- Do not mock, backbite, or speak ill of anyone.
- Do not wink and laugh with your friends at others because Allah says in the Qur'an that the disbelievers do this to the believers when they see them pass by.
Nafilah (superogatory) works of the limbs:
- Eyes lowered, heart cleansed of ailments, ears from bad language/sounds, lead to external and inner purity. When this happens, a person's system changes and Allah becomes, as the hadith says, the eyes with which they see, the hearing with which they hear, the foot upon which they walk. In such a state, resulting from leaving what has been forbidden, such a person becomes as if controlled by a satellite: he can communicate with Allah as he likes, and He with him.
- When Allah loves a person He tells Jibril, "I love so and so, so love him." Jibril then tells the angels, "Allah loves so and so, so love him" until he is loved by the people.
*Be persistent in du'a and prayers of the heart.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
*Lota (Urdu/Punjabi): watering jug used for cleansing in the washroom.
Yup, that's a real Punjabi saint...wisdom with a sense of humour! : )
A good reminder to those of us with mild symptoms of OCD : )
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Muslim women across the world will be wearing a Pink Hijab or headscarf, to raise awareness for breast cancer and show their solidarity with those who are battling this disease.
So, girls, remember to wear your pink hijabs!
Addendum: I decided to try "Pink Hijab Day" at work (I teach high school). Alhamdulillah, it went well...for practical purposes I extended it to wearing anything pink...but one teacher asked to wear hijab and she kept it on all day, and another man wore one around his neck as as a scarf...tonnes of teachers and students came out in pink and we did a homeroom collection of donations for the Canadian Cancer Society. Overall, it was quite fun -- good dawah, good cause.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
the wounded find the scent of balm:
The memory of you consoles the souls of lovers.
Thousands in every corner, seeking a glimpse of You,
cry out like Moses, "Lord, show me Yourself!"
I see thousands of lovers lost in a desert of grief,
wandering aimlessly and saying hopefully,
"O God! O God!"
I see breasts scorched by the burning of separation from You;
I see eyes weeping in love's agony.
Dancing down the lane of blame and censure,
your lovers cry out, "Poverty is my source of pride!"
Pir-i Ansar has quaffed the wine of longing:
Like Majnun he wanders drunk and perplexed
through the world.
- Abd Allah Ansari's introduction to the Munajat
If I have not been a friend,
I have not been an enemy either.
Although I persist in sinning,
still I confess your oneness.
No matter how much you take away from me,
I take nothing away from you.
- Abd Allah Ansari (Munajat)
That which the gnostics seek from God
is sincerity in servanthood
and performance of the rights of Lordship.
- Ibn Ata'illah (Hikam)
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Know your fiqh! The greatest cause of confusion, argument, and mistakes I saw in people on hajj was a lack of knowing the fiqh of hajj. Alhamdulillah, Sh. Ramzy had prepared us extraordinarily well, but other groups we met were often quite confused.
- Read up! Get a good, reliable book(s) of one madhab.
- Ideally, go with a group that knows what they're doing. Traditionally trained scholars as leaders are indispensible.
- Whatever madhab you follow, Imam al-Ghazali's book on pilgrimage is worthwhile in pointing out points of adab that could make a big difference on your hajj experience.
Try and spend time with your group and group leader – build bonds with them. Talk to people who have gone recently – everyone who goes, longs to go again and their longing will, insha’Allah, increase yours and raise your excitement about going. Take the books that speak to your heart and those that are super mubarak. My favourites:
- Qur’an – Arabic and a good translation like Arberry
- Prayers for Forgiveness
- Dalail Khayrat
- Salat and Salam
- A Sira book
- Take a nice misbaha with you, since you are visiting the most Mubarak sites on the planet. There you can make du’a on them, and get the tabarruk of the kaba and the rawdah.
- Make a lot of istighfar from the heart. Salat al-tawbah. Prayers for Forgiveness helps with tawbah, too.
- Make du’a that Allah make your hajj Mubarak and accepted.
- Send salawat in abundance in preparation for your visit to Madinah.
- Read the accounts of others who have gone, like Malcolm X. There are some such books. Additionally, there is our own account.
Exercise. In the weeks leading up to hajj, try and start walking and doing some exercise to strengthen your body.
What to pack? Pack Light! I definitely over-packed when we went...I’m quite particular about my “needs” and quite sensitive on the whole...so sisters out there who are like me, rest-assured.
- A nice warm shawl, sweater, or poncho. Makkah is hot. Mina is hot, the tents are AC’d. Madinah is hot in the days, very nice at night. All you need by way of keeping warm in terms of clothing is a nice warm shawl or sweater.
- A good sleeping bag. I get cold very easily so I took a nice insulated Columbia sleeping bag with me – because I’m sensitive to hotel detergents, etc. I actually used to lay this out even in the hotels...it became my means of comfort...I could sleep anywhere so long as I had this sleeping bag! In Mina we were give a mattress, sheet, pillow, and blanket – again, I just put my sleeping bag on top! In the tents at Mina I’d often bury my face in it to avoid the AC and various coughs that rang around me.
- Three Abayas or Thawbs will suffice. And some shalwar kameez or pajamas to wear underneath. Laundry is very easy and quick to get done!
- A Small Bag. I took a Mountain Co-op shoulder strap bag with me. It was just big enough to put my sandals in, along with hotel cards, etc.
- Money Belt. No need to worry about your passport (since the Saudis hold it), but for credit/debit cards and cash, it’s useful. Better, in my opinion for a woman to wear it underneath the layers of clothes. Men, for whom it’s easier for pick-pockets to get to, might also want to keep their valueables out of sight. Stashed money in a pant pocket that can be buttoned, is pretty safe if kept under a thobe. Take a few hundred dollars in cash, and if you need more you can take it out using the ATM (call your bank/credit card company ahead of time and let them know you'll be travelling). One finds not much cash is needed since most meals are covered by the group.
- Cell Phone. Our group provided us with SIM cards, so all we did is take our SIM compatible cell phones with us and we could all stay in touch with local Saudi numbers. Very useful in case of separation, but be prepared to deal with poor signal reception.
- Cameras. The guards are quite strict about cameras. In Madinah you and your bag are searched thoroughly and even cell phones with cameras are not permitted. In Makkah things are a little less tight, but guards do still search. My camera broke the day we began hajj and I think it was for the best because it prevented me from getting distracted.
- MP3 Player. Nice to listen to Qur’an, hadras, dhikrs, qasidas, and lessons on hajj from the Shuyukh. I also used mine to record the adhan and recitation in the haramayn. Men should be careful about headphones during ihram.
- Undergarments. So I must say, I personally believe that in all the hustle and bustle of hajj, one should not be worrying about washing undergarments. Taking enough old ones to have one for each day, or purchasing enough from a dollar store so that you can simply dispose of them as you go is a really good idea!
- Seal Skin Socks or Khuffs. Very useful, especially during the days of hajj so you can just wipe in public washrooms.
- Comfy Sandals. This depends on you, but it’s rather warm so I preferred sandals (the kind you can wear with Seal Skins on) and even outside of the days of hajj, I like to be able to make wudu and put on my sandals without having to deal with socks). Having something with a heel strap might be more secure.
- Unscented Soap. A few bars worth – something for Mina, as well as to keep with you when you’re moving around during the days of Hajj. Natural Health stores carry them.
- Unscented Deodorant. Really important, especially at Mina since showering isn't always easy, especially since you don't want hair falling out.
- Hand-Sanitizer. For use outside of the days of Hajj.
- Medical Kit. Very important. I packed:
- Vitamin C. Start taking this way before you leave and continue daily!
- Birth Control: For the ladies, as much as I dislike these, it’s a good way to be able to make all the rights of hajj with one’s group. But see your doctor!
- Glucose pills: for when you feel dehydrated, but don’t want to drink a tonne of water).
- Tylenol: good for when you start feeling flu symptoms, are fatigued or feverish.
- Advil: for any other pains, inflammations, etc.
- PeptoBismol: For those times that the food just doesn’t sit too well.
- Tums. Heartburn, indigestion, and the like.
- Gravol: When you really feel like the food didn’t sit well!
- Cough Drops: Whichever ones you like. My preference is Ricola and cough drop-centred Halls.
- Vicks Vapo-Rub: This is good for if/when you do get sick. When I couldn’t stop coughing at night in Makkah, my dear friend and roommate with mommy experience, taught me a great trick so I’ll share it here. Rub Vicks on your neck/chest and then wrap a towel around it...helps the cough go away at nights so you can sleep.
- Band-Aids, alcohol wipes.
- Adab! You are in the city of the Chosen One (Allah bless him and give him peace) – show adab to the ground, to the people, and most of all, to him and Allah. Make ghusl and go to visit him as soon as you can. Thank him for allowing to come to his city, Allah bless him and give him peace, and thank Allah for His Mercy upon you.
- Visiting the Rawdah. From what I know, the Rawdah is always open to brothers. It opens to sisters after fajr until 10am, after dhuhr for one hour, and from 8pm to midnight. The morning and night are the best times to visit since the hour in the afternoon is a short time and most who try to go, don’t get in. If you use that time to eat lunch and rest, you have more energy to go at night. Go early and wait for the gates to open. The guards try to divide you by country of origin – speaking English only helps because they give up on you. Don’t push! Be patient when pushed! Allah will reward your good adab.
- Salah. One’s prayers have 1000 times the reward if prayed at the haram. Unless there is a serious reason one cannot go, one should try to make each prayer in congregation at the masjid of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Most hotels are within a five or ten minute walking distance.of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Most hotels are within a five or ten minute walking distance.
- Walks. Some of the most peaceful moments I had in Madinah were each night after midnight when the Rawdah closed. I would walk once in the courtyard around the entire masjid, alone – take your misbaha and just make dhikr. One never feels alone or frightened in and around the masjid.
- Ziyarah. Your group will likely plan the ziyarah to key sites for you. Places such as Masjid Qiblatayn, Masjid Quba, Jannat-ul-Baqi’, Uhud, Khunduq, and the well of ‘Uthman ibn Affan.
Dhikr and Suhba. Mina is a good time to talk to one another about things that are of benefit. Do private dhikr, little mawlids, etc. This is where one really develops a bond with brothers and sisters. We had a yummy doughnut stand outside our tents and chicken nuggest place, too!
- Dhikr, Istighfar, Du’a. This is the best day of the year and the best place. Make use of it with earnest du’a for forgiveness and salvation. Bust out your awrad books. Remember Allah. Pray.
- Jabl Rahmah. Try to get to Jabl Rahmah – the place where our Master Adam (peace be upon him) made tawbah, and where the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) gave his final blessed sermon.
- Walk to Muzdalifah! I say this with complete sincerity and seriousness. Walking from Arafat to Muzdalifah is generally not something on the itinerary of one’s group. The scholars always mention its merit, and for us, by Allah’s Mercy, a group of us became separated from the rest and ended up having to walk. Alhamdulillah, that we did because it was by far, the best day of my life! One really feels that they’ve left the world behind and are marching for Allah Ta’Ala. Nothing is sweeter than the sounds of every tongue shouting “Labayk, Allahuma Labayk!” (At Your Service, O Allah, at Your Service!), on foot, in and on buses. The truth is that on a bus one generally falls asleep or feels separated from the blessed earth and the other hujaj, but on foot one feels connected to the earth, the sky, and the people, and experiences what the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) did. The himmah comes from another realm and one doesn't even become fatigued!
- Sleep at Muzdalifah. Even if it’s for an hour, this sleep is unlike any other.
- Jamarat. Be aware of your surroundings. It’s quite safe now. Once you’ve stoned, just be careful not to run into the crowd head-on, lest you be hit by a stone!
Salah. One’s prayers have 1000 times the reward if prayed at the haram -- you can also fast a day or two if you feel up to it. Unless there is a serious reason one cannot go, one should try to make each prayer in congregation at the haram -- and remember there is more than one floor! Go about three hours eary for Jumuah. Praying Fajr/Maghrib on the roof is stunningly beautiful...with the sun coming up or setting, the melodious voice of the imam seems as if it is coming straight from the heavens and into your heart. Subhan'Allah.
- Don’t waste too much time shopping. Set aside one or two trips to the market, but that’s it. One doesn’t know when and if they’ll ever return to these Mubarak lands. Markets and items can be found everywhere – there aren’t any “great deals” during hajj and they’re not worth giving up “eternal deals” for, anyways.
- Be patient! Know that everyone is coming from different places with different social norms. They are guests of Allah as much as you are, so show them love and respect even if they do not. They love Allah.
- Smile! Really!
- Have something to do during delays which can happen anywhere at any time. Shaykh Faisal once suggested that if one has a goal to read the entire Qur’an, one welcomes delays! Listening to the khayr on your MP3 or better yet getting everyone to sing together is another great idea.
- Know that you will get to where Allah wants you to be and has destined you to be. You may have plans, but Allah’s plans are better.
- Keep us in your prayers.
If you're making the journey, and have questions, please feel free to email me or post them here. Also, if you're going please email me :)
I pray insha'Allah, that these were of benefit. Please remember Salik and I in your du'as. That Allah allow us to really know Him in this world and the next, grant us salvation, a high station in Paradise with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give peace), bless our parents, families, and loved ones, and give us good health, happiness, and tawfiq. And du'a that He answers our prayers.May Allah accept your hajj, Hajj Mabrur, insha'Allah. Ameen.
Hajj Tips Posted from Readers on My Blog Last Year
My Hajj Account
Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller: 2 files on Hajj > Free Lessons > The Hajj
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf: Hajj – Journey to the House of God
Shaykh Murad on 10 Good Manners for Hajj
A Poem for Arafat > Remember the poet in your du'as.
Travel Medicine for Hajj > Remember the doctor in your du'as.
Maliki Fiqh (Malikis, be prepared for the one time you might be forced to take a rukhsa.)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Salik: "Hmm. Salafi spelling, though -- Ya Hoo."
Salikah: "Hmm. Yeah, that's it! Must have been a Salafi that became Sufi, but never left the Salafi transliteration system."
Monday, October 06, 2008
SeekersGuidance.com presents three new courses are now available as live classes:
1) Understanding the Halal & Haram in Islam (6pm);
2) Imam Nawawi’s Gardens of the Righteous (7:15pm);
3) The Absolute Essentials of Islam - (Beliefs/ Hanafi Fiqh) (8:15pm).
Online classes available: www.SeekersGuidance.com
What: Classes with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
When: Wednesday nights (Oct. 8 - Dec. 31/08)
Where: Shalimar Community Centre: 3024 Cedarglen Gate; Mississauga, ON
Time: 6pm - 9:15p.m.
Cost: 1 course: $80; 2 courses $130; 3 courses, $150 (12 week session until Dec. 31st)
Other: For more information please contact Umm Umar at email@example.com
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
AsSalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,
Insha'Allah you are well and benefited much from the mubarak month that has now nearly departed.
The other night I was sitting at Risalah feeling really sad that with Ramadan over I wouldn't be going there each night, hearing the Qur'an and the sweet dhikr in between rakats...last night I felt even more broken-hearted because I knew it was likely the last tarawih since it seems that Eid will probably be tomorrow, and I felt full of regret about how much more I could have done with the month...how many lost opportunities! Then I remembered that a few days ago Shaykh Ramzy was telling Salik that it is better to be in such a state of broken-heartedness, than to feel content with oneself -- Allah is with the broken-hearted.
As I was pulling in from work today, listening to Shaykh Murad's "Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife", I thought, subhan'Allah, Allah is so Rahim. He could have made it so that we would fast for 30 days in Ramadan and then it would be over without any celebration or Eid. Yet, in His Mercy, He gave us Eid, so that we wouldn't be overcome by sadness at the parting of Ramadan and instead we could busy ourselves with festivities and gifts, friends and family.
O which of your Lord's bounties will you deny?
Although we await the sighting of the moon to determine Eid, Salik and I wish each of you a very blessed Eid. We pray that Allah accept all of our fasts, prayers, supplications, and good deeds, even though they be deficient. We pray that Allah bless us with another Ramadan and make us better servants as a consequence of the Ramadan that is soon to leave us. Ameen.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
AsSalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,
Alhamdulillah to the One who has given us life to experience Ramadan once more.
May Allah Most High open for each one of us the doors of mercy, forgiveness and reward. Ameen.
May we emerge with enlightened hearts, refined characters and experience an ever-increasing closeness to Him. Ameen.
May He grant us all a forgiveness for our shortcomings, transgressions, and faults - those we do knowingly and unknowingly, openly and in secret, once or oft. Ameen.
May we be given the good of this world and good of the hereafter. Ameen.
May we cross happily over a widened bridge, drink from the hands of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) a drink that will forever quench our thirst, and may we then be with our loved ones and our Lord in eternal bliss. Ameen.
We ask that you forgive us if we have wronged you and we both wish you a very blessed Ramadan. May Allah accept your prayers and grant us all that is khayr. Ameen. Please remember us in your mubarak du'as.
Peace & blessings be upon our beloved master Muhammad, his family, companions, and all those who follow him until the Last Day.
Salik & Salikah
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
AsSalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,
Yesterday Salik came home and said, "you know, I'm really feeling the barakah of this Ramadan already...it just feels like it will be even more mubarak than it always is".
Alhamdulillah, this morning we woke up the news that we in Toronto will be blessed for at least half of Ramadan, with the blessed company of Shaykh Yahya Rhodus!
Below is the flyer with information about the various masjids he will be speaking at in the mubarak month of Ramadan.
Click here for details.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I dont know if this is the place to ask this but i need to know...if a person wants revenge for the things done to him, it is still wrong to carry it out?
AsSalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu OmegaZero,
Insha'Allah, I pray you are well. I'm simply a blogger and wayfarer, but I can share something of what I have read:
Sayyidina Ali (may Allah honor his face) was fighting a kafir in one of the battles. During the battle Sayyidna Ali knocked him down and raised his sword to kill him. As soon as the kafir knew that he was going to be killed he spat in Sayyidna Ali's face, so immediately Sayyidna Ali left him and went on his way. He was later asked, "Why did you leave him when Allah clearly gave you power over him?!" Sayyidna Ali replied, "I was fighting him for the sake of Allah, and when he spat in my face I feared that if I killed him it would have been out of personal revenge and spite." Therefore, the understanding of jihad is to establish the means for the guidance and salvation of the kuffar, not merely to just fight them. Fighting them happens in a few cases, and the goal behind it is to save others from the oppression of the ones who are preventing the guidance from spreading. We do not fight out of revenge and spite. The Muslim doesn't fight because the kafir is my (personal) enemy, because the kafir is conspiring against me, because the kafir has killed and slaughtered other Muslims. The Muslim fights the kafir because he has prevented and has become a barrier for the guidance to reach others. Again, the Muslim doesn"t fight out of revenge and only because the enemy has killed other Muslims. Think about what is being said deeply!
-Habib Ali on Jihad in the Way of Allah (applies to revenge in general)
The example from Sayyiduna 'Ali (May Allah ennoble his countenance) is often cited to illustrate to us the seriousness with which the early Muslims and gnostics treated the impulse for revenge -- and how they took great care to avoid ever acting on that impulse. In this is a great lesson for us to avoid acting out revenge or taking the law into our own hands. Revenge can really harden the heart and this is the opposite of our purpose in life.
A good book to read is: Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart, translation and commentary by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. The accompanying tape set is also excellent.
Shaykh Hamza`s Content of Character is also excellent, as is Sufism and Good Character, translated by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ultimately, the best way to rid oneself of such states of the heart is to take a spiritual path in which one`s Shaykh systematically helps ones purify the heart.
Also see this video by Shaykh Hamza on ethics.
And Allah Alone gives success.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
May Allah bless little Shaikhah and make her from amongst the salihin and awliya. And may Allah bless her, her parents, and loved ones with all that is khayr in this life and the next. Ameen.
With all the news about rising food costs, you may be wondering if the organic milk you've been putting in your cart is worth the extra cash. It is. Organic food is more expensive, but when it comes to the staples of your diet, organics are a worthwhile investment, with payoffs that might surprise you. The benefits influence your health today — and long-term. Here, why certain foods are worth the splurge, plus tips to save you money while keeping your diet nutritionally and ecologically sound.
[Read the rest...]
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
thou wouldst have seen it humbled, split asunder
out of fear of God.
And those similitudes--We strike them for men;
haply they will reflect."
Yesterday after an intense dhikr, a visiting Shaykh quoted this verse and said that this is what Allah says about the Qur'an descending upon a mountain. What then, when the Divine Name comes upon the lips of the mu'min?
Subhan'Allah. A fear often overcomes me when I reflect on the amount of mubarak people Allah has put in my life... shuyukh, awliya, real believers and salihin... and the knowledge of what I am despite all these beautiful people. Allah, forgive me that which others know not of me, and make me better than what they think me to be.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Below are select quotes from the article with my sharh (commentary).
"The amount of love you get from an investment in love is correlated, if only roughly, to the amount of yourself you invest in the relationship. If you invest caring, patience and unselfishness, you get those things back."
Indeed -- the amount of ihsan you put into your relationships (in marriage and in general), you get back. And from an Islamic point of view, not only do people generally reciprocate ihsan, but the reward with Allah is even greater.
"Stay with high-quality human beings. And once you find that you are in a junk relationship, sell immediately. Junk situations can look appealing and seductive, but junk is junk."
Yes. Spiritually high-quality. This applies not only to one's spouse, but also friends and teachers. Here junk relationships are those with no other-worldly aspirations or shariah-sanctioned purpose. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) warned us that if we spend time with a people, we eventually become one of them, "A Man follows the religion of his close friend". So be careful who you befriend.
"Research pays off. The most appealing and seductive (that word again) exterior can hide the most danger and chance of loss. For most of us, diversification in love, at least beyond a very small number, is impossible, so it’s necessary to do a lot of research on the choice you make. It is a rare man or woman who can resist the outward and the surface. But exteriors can hide far too much."
True enough. Brothers and sisters looking to get married: do your research and have others research for you as well...the outward can be deceiving. Find out about the person's friends, actions, interests, and character. The outward bespeaks something of the inward. And do istikhara.
"The returns on your investment should at least equal the cost of the investment. If you are getting less back than you put in over a considerable period of time, back off."
This is a very nafsi approach. Ihsan always pays off. The "returns" one will see in the next life will suffice one even if nothing was "gained" in this life. This again is true for all of one's relationships. Give everyone their due and then some, but don't always expect yours. Allah says in Surah Rahman, "Is the reward for ihsan other than ihsan?".
"You need expectations that match reality before you can make some progress."
Indeed. Many relationship problems are caused by the fairytale Hollywood/Bollywood ideas that are planted in the minds of people. Marriages require love and effort. Don't expect that your spouse will never have a bad day at work or that life will be a never-ending, wild romance. Nor should it be -- the beauty of love is its ability to endure at all times. Find a believer in the true sense of the word, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "Wondrous is the affair of the believer: if an affliction visits him, he is patient, and if good visits him, he is thankful" -- thus all that comes to the believer is good.
"When you have a winner, stick with your winner."
Again, true for marriage, friendships, and teachers. Sh. Hamza Yusuf once said, "if you have one good, sincere friend make shukr to Allah. If you have two like this, make the sajdah of shukr because it is rare!".
"They say that falling in love is wonderful, and that the best is falling in love with what you have."
Probably the best thing he says in the entire article. In a word, this is shukr and acceptance of what Allah has destined for one.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sayyidinā Alī Ibn Abī Tālib (karrama Allāhu wajhahu)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The Strong Man
The strong man is the one who is happy when this world leaves his hands, departs from him and flees from him, and he is happy when people blame him and accuse him. He is content with it because of his knowledge of God. Shaykh Ibn ‘Atā’Illah, may God be pleased with him, said in his Hikām, “If you are pained because people do not turn to you or direct blame towards you, then go back to the knowledge of God in you. If you are not content with His knowledge. then your affliction by your lack of contentment with His knowledge is worse than your affliction by their abuse. Abuse is channelled through them so that you will not rely on them. He wants to rouse you and move you away from everything so that nothing distracts you from Him.”
- Shaykh Muhammad al-’Arabī ad-DarqāwīRasā’il Mawlāy al-’Arabī ad-Darqāwī
Friday, July 11, 2008
I remember first meeting Omer at my nikah -- he was a very quiet, reserved brother. The next day as Salik and I sat looking through our gifts we came across a card with $300 in it, but no name. We began making a list to see who was at the wedding, but had not given a card and I remember Salik saying "wait a minute, Omer!". We checked and couldn't find anything with his name on it, so Salik was sure it was him. When Salik called to ask him, he started laughing and finally admitted to it upon Salik's insistance to know. This is how kareem a man he was. May both he and Allah forgive our shortcomings towards such a pure person. Ameen.
At the janazah today, his body did not reflect the means of its death. Masha'Allah, his skin was still radiant.
May Allah have mercy on him, forgive his shortcomings, and multiply his many good deeds. May Allah grant him a high station in Jannah with our beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give peace). Ameen.
And may Allah make this difficult time easier for his wife, parents, siblings, and loved ones. Ameen.
Omer had a restless mind.
He devoured books. He challenged the norm.
He pushed himself and those around him to test the waters outside of their comfort zone, say friends.
So it came as little surprise to those close to him that Omer's last moments were spent enveloped in a book, gleaning wisdom from the written word.
He died Tuesday while seeking shelter from a rainstorm under a large tree in Toronto's Christie Pits Park. Lightning struck the tree and travelled down the trunk to his body, Toronto Police said. He was declared dead in hospital.
The 28-year-old Waterloo man leaves behind a wife, two younger siblings and his parents.
Omer recently moved to Toronto from his family's home in Waterloo to cut down on the commute to his job at a construction company, where he worked as a civil engineer.
His responsibilities with the company had grown quickly -- he was handling major projects usually given more to senior engineers, said longtime friend Firas Mansour.
Spirituality mattered a lot to Omer, who absorbed religious literature and became a mentor for other youth, he said. But his interests were broader, stretching from outdoor pursuits and world travel to the study of philosophy and economics.
"He was 10 years ahead of his time," Mansour said.
Abdul Mannan Syed, imam at the Waterloo mosque which Omer attended, remembers a man who would give him lifts around town, dispensing advice on how to speak to Muslim youth.
Many within the local community simply can't believe he's gone, especially through such a strange accident, said the imam.
"Everyone is in a state of shock. They can't understand how this happened," Syed said.
Omer lived in Waterloo Region for much of his life, moving to the Canada from Kuwait with his mother, brother and sister in his youth.
Many considered him a "brother" and a "soulmate," his sister Maryam said in a statement.
"His memory will never leave us," she said.
Omar Nafees met him while both were undergraduates at the University of Waterloo.
There, they were work-out buddies, challenging each other in the gym to reach new milestones. Omer became a "spring board" for his friend, a motivating reminder to keep striving for improvement.
Omer also had a knack for pushing people just outside the familiar and gravitated toward ideas that were outside the mainstream.
"It was like having the feeling that, 'I'm going to come out a better person because of this encounter,' " Nafees said. "That was one of the things I felt with Omer. It's very tough to find people like that."
Prayers will be held today at the Waterloo Mosque on Erb Street, after the jummah prayer. A burial will follow at Parkview Cemetery at 2:15 p.m.