Monday, December 26, 2016

Adab of Dua

Bismillah.

Recently, someone dear to me asked me if I was sincerely making dua for a particular need in our lives. I responded "yes, I am". They asked "how hard are you making dua?". 

This led me to reflect on a time in my life some odd years ago when there was something I so desperately yearned for. In particular, I vividly remembered one instance when after salah I was making dua for what I wanted. I was broken, begging Allah, crying, pleading. In hindsight, although I can empathize with that past self, it was undignified.  

In contrast, some years prior to that I had undergone the greatest trial of my life. In those duas, I was dignified. I prayed earnestly, but I was broken, I begged Allah, I wept. I was humbled, but I was dignified.

The difference between those two trials was to be found in my heart. In one trial I fell into despair -- when I asked Allah, part of be had given up on the possibility of the prayer being answered and had conceded to misfortune.  In the other, my heart had hope and trust that Allah would surely assist me and answer my prayer.

When we beseech our Most Generous and Most Loving Lord, we must do so with our neediness manifest, but with the dignity we owe Him---the good opinion He has a right to.

And we should never underestimate the power of a sincere heartfelt dua. Dua is perhaps the most intimate conversation we have with Allah. It is itself a healing for our hearts.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Wealth

Much wealth is rarely a blessing for people. 
It's a zahmat, not a rahmat.

More often than not, it pulls one deeper and deeper into it's world. A world of no satiation, no mercy, no justice.

As the Blessed Messenger (upon him be abundant peace and blessings) remarked, 

If the son of Adam had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys for nothing fills his mouth except dust. Allah will forgive whoever repents to Him.”

May Allah save us and protect us.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

The Language of the Heart


Bismillah.



Many years ago, through the sheer Mercy and Favour of my Lord upon me, for which I will be eternally grateful (had He bestowed no other blessing upon me, this would have been sufficient), I came to meet Sidi Shaykh Abdellah al-Haddad.

Before his arrival, one of my dearest friends had told me I should "prepare to fall in love". He came and from afar, he was beautiful, the words he spoke were pearls, the spiritual presence he brought to the zawiya, palpable.  I needed to speak with him about a spiritual matter and when I went to see him I looked into his blessed eyes and there was a sea of love, merciful, unadulterated love, like nothing I had seen in any eye before. This is the essence of Sidi Shaykh and it never fails to make me weep. Such purity, such wealth that he gives and gives and gives of his love and yet, somehow, each time I lay eyes upon him, there is more love than before.

At the time I first met him, I was going though a trial that I used to pray in earnest for Allah to lift from me. Once he had accepted me as a faqira under his guidance, I had a beautiful vivid dream in which he was leading myself and that friend of mine in salat-ul maghrib. Upon completion of the prayer, I closed my eyes was in earnest prayer until I felt a strong presence with me, and when I looked his hands were beneath my hands. This was perhaps the first lesson the nisbah taught me. We are bound to our Shaykh. When we beseech our Lord, he beseeches with us. His concern for us is sincere and deep, it never leaves us.

Those who know Sidi Shaykh, know that his jalal is reserved only for what benefits. He is otherwise, jamal, jamal, jamal. And this was the nisbah's second lesson to me. I had always been very shadid in my spirituality, very jalali. Yet literally overnight, I came to espouse that immense mercy that characterizes Sidi Shaykh. Suddenly the students dancing and playing the drum didn't inspire within me a dislike for the ghafla, but rather a realization that this is the search of their soul for Allah. That were they to be guided, they would find a far greater peace and tranquility in the dhikr, in the hadra. And this led me to pray that Allah guide them to that knowledge of Himself.

Each year we are blessed from above, with a visit from Sayyidna Shaykh. He comes, I sit with him and ask his nasiha on one thing or another, and either his daughter or Salik translate between us. In truth, I always feel this is the formality of this world, we go through the motions that are the norms of the life of this world. Yet my greatest questions, those I cannot often even articulate, are communicated in the initial silence that follows the salams and exchange of niceties or in the final silence before we depart. When he looks over at me and smiles and I cannot even bring my lowly eyes to look back at him. It is in those moments that our hearts speak. And it is those moments that have taught me that language of the tongue or the pen, is in reality so impoverished in comparison to the language of the hearts.

Recently, Shaykh Yahya was speaking about the dense nature of this world and its resultant pull on us. And spending some moments with Sidi Shaykh is indeed in such contrast to that density. He is subtle, latif. And what a peace that brings the heart in comparison to the unrest of this dense world.

May we empty our hearts of the hardness, harshness, and density of this world so that we may have our hearts filled with the Light, Lutf and Mercy of our Lord Most High. Sidi Shaykh and those like him, they are calling us to the real purpose of our life in this world. We must pay heed, we must answer that call, for the life of this world is but two days -- it is here today and will be gone tomorrow. All that will be left is the light or darkness that we filled our hearts with. Let us fill our hearts with Light that never extinguishes. Ameen.

May Allah preserve Sidi Shaykh, give him health and strength, and grant him a long life by which he benefits many. Ameen.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Facebook, Twitter and The Study Quran

Arabic, Persian, and Urdu tafasir have had divergent opinions available in them for centuries (varying legal opinions, positions of varying theological schools, many sunni tafasir even sound as though they should be shiite), and nobody has had their back up about that or flooded social media about those or argued they should be confined to scholars or academics. 

Why when this has been done in English are people suddenly so afraid? What are people afraid of? Will people read the SQ and leave Islam? Will Sunnis become Shias or vice versa? Will Asharis suddenly espouse Maturidi positions (gasp!). Seriously, folks, I love the 'ulema, I love to sit at their feet, I love to learn from them, but we do have an intellect as lay people.

Nobody is saying don't study tafsir with local scholars or online. The SQ is not intended to be a manual on aqidah, fiqh, tasawwuf -- it's not meant to give you philosophy or metaphysics. It's tafsir -- it is simply meant to present the context of verses/surahs and the varying ways in which the mufasirs have understood them. It's not devotional in the sense that litanies are, its to assist in one's reflection on the various level of meanings contained in it -- because there are various levels of meanings and to think otherwise is to limit the expanse and depth and great heights of Allah's Words.

I logged back on to FB after 5 months (will be deactivating once more) and people are still condemning without reading, spreading without verifying. Get off of this lowest common denominator known as FB, stop reading what other people are saying about a book, or trying to corner the two editors that are on FB about their religious beliefs/positions (even if you "extract" some information -- do you think all the editors have identical positions or affiliations?!), and actually read the book. The first command of the Quran was to read! Muslims have never been afraid of divergent ideas or opinions or even completely foreign ones -- we have a strong intellectual history. Be proud of that, say bismillah and read with a pure heart, this SQ that you are condemning. Or if you don't want to read it, at least get off FB and go memorize the Quran -- Allah knows the amount of time people waste on this waste of time social media, our ummah could be producing huffaz of the Quran by the thousands. Wassalam!