Monday, May 22, 2006

Sh. Adhami on how we should pray (Sakeenah)

Excerpt from Shine: A Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love

How should we pray?

There are two forms of “prayer” in Islamic tradition. One is the realm of remembering and exaltation of the Divine through supplication, invocation and benediction. This can be a continual process that only requires the presence of heart and mind. The other is the salah, from the Arabic “to connect.” It is akin to the Aramaic (shelayvah) and Hebrew (shalah) for "to be at ease; to have quiet; [and also] to prosper.” It is the distinctive physical act of kneeling and genuflection at prescribed times of the day. It is a cosmic “connection” with one's world. It involves the same physical limbs that one utilizes in her earthly, temporal world. These faculties are gifts that one is entrusted with, and how one chooses to use them can either honor or debase. The ritual washing preceding the Muslim Prayer is a spiritual cleansing of one's limbs to prepare the mortal human to connect with the eternal, heavenly realm.

Women are endowed with a spiritual preeminence that stems from their devotion to genuineness and belonging. It is a yearning for what is viscerally authentic in all their connections and relationships—especially with God. It is this very essence that makes woman profoundly soulful in her giving and at once so insatiable in her yearning. It is also what makes her so bewilderingly enigmatic, so disarmingly incomprehensible—even to herself. Ironically, it is also this gift that makes her appear tentative, often uncertain—when all that she wishes is for everything that she ever does to be meaningful, authentic and pure. Women usually need privacy when they pray to replenish their formidable repertoire of giving, though their very essence is a form of prayer; their speech is prayer; and— (as distinct from their whims)—their feelings are prayer too. Devotion is the secret behind a woman's eloquence and the essence of her virtue. This is epitomized by Mary in the Quran, and Fatimah in the prophetic tradition.

Excerpt from Star Jones Reynolds, Shine: A Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love
(New York: HarperCollins, 2006), 270.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

All Together Now (Sunni Sister)

All Together Now (Sunni Sister)

Salaam ‘Alaikum
“The Ummah is like one body…”(Muslim)

Bring up the idea of all humanity being connected as one organism, and most people, Muslim or not, will probably look at you like you followed the Grateful Dead on tour for too long…

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said that this Ummah is like one body. When one part of it complains, the rest of it responds with fever and wakefulness. But what I was thinking about last night is simply how people are in tune with each other, outside of empathy or sympathy for pain and suffering.

Some people say that this “psychic abillity,” but I think what it is is simply human instinct. Some are more attuned to their inner voices than others. A lot of people are taught to ignore their instincts, esp. women (we talked about this last year). But when you think of all the “strange” things, those funny “coincidences” you’ve experienced…

I know I’m not the only mother out there who is doing something, say, cooking, or reading, when I suddenly have the feeling that I must go now b/c the baby is about to wake. And sure enough, as soon as I step into the room or sit down next to where he is, his eyes pop open. This must happen to me at least twice a day, maybe more.

Or how many times do you pick up the phone to call your husband and he’s there on the other end? This happens to us all the time. I also, almost all the time, know when he’s coming down the street, even though I can’t see or hear his car unless I’m standing right at the window (which I’m too busy to do). It isn’t a coincidence. It’s being part of the same body of humanity. There is some connection there, through the hearts or through blood, something that ties us together, mash’Allah.

Is this connection stronger for the Muslimeen, because our hearts are inclined a certain way? I don’t know, but so, so many people, throughout the centuries, have attested to special connections like these among the people who are close to a particular teacher or who are in a tariqa, and especially among those who are close to the Prophet (sallalahu aleyhi wa salaam) in terms of sending salawat on him and loving him as Allah commands us to, and those who are close to Allah because His Name is never far from their lips. Asra Adiba talks about this connection between the Muslimeen, between family, between students and teachers, and between the Muslim, Allah, and His Messenger in the halaqa entitled, “Boundaries of Love.”

Anyway, I just wish that we could be more conscious of this than the things that preoccupy us. We are supposed to compete in doing good works, but so often, we compete in one upmanship. Even da’wah workers are not immune to this. People get caught up in having control, authority, leadership, and exclusivity. We lose sight of the big picture; sometimes temporarily, and sometimes until it’s too late. Being aware of our human and Muslim connection would lead to things like courtesy, like a real unity… It’s a small thing, but you have to start somewhere.


I remember Shaykh Hamza saying that if you have even one friend whom you sincerely love, and who sincerely reciprocates that same love -- without condition, unbound by time or place, you should make shukr to Allah...or as some scholars have said, actually make two rakats of the prayer of thankfulness.

May Allah bless our friends, our companions in deen that help us on our journey through this world, increase the love between our hearts, and make us neighbours in this life and in Jannah, insha'Allah. Amin.

As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give peace) said, "the believer is a mirror to his believing brother".

Friday, May 19, 2006

What We Should Be Teaching Our Children - Imam Zaid Shakir

When we talk about Islamic education and our children, the discussion usually revolves around strictly academic issues related to technical aspects of curriculum development, testing standards and methodologies, balancing between secular and religious education, and similar concerns. Sometimes we miss the greater objective of an Islamic education. That objective, in terms of what is necessary for the immediate success of our children in this world, and their ultimate success in the next, is nurturing balanced, wholesome, honest human beings who live lives based on principle and who exemplify good character in their dealings with other people. [Read More...]

Monday, May 15, 2006

Theory without practice (Imam Hujwiri)

Practice what you have learned, for theory without practice is like a spirit without a body. One who is content with learning alone is not learned, for the truly learned seek more than mere words. Divine guidance entails self-mortification, without which contemplation is unattainable.

- Al-Hujwiri, Kashf al-Mahjub

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mawlana Rumi on Doubt

Doubt is a precipice on the way to God. Blessed is he who is freed from its bonds. He who fares without any doubt, adhere to his footprints if you do not know the way. Cleave to the footprints of the deer and advance with care that you may reach the musk-gland. By means of such trekking, even if you walk on fire, you will reach the luminous peak.

- Mawlana Rumi

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Nature of Vessels, Our Hearts -- Shaykh Adhami

Shaykh Abdullah Adhami on the Nature of Vessels and Our Hearts...

Every vessel, every container will only pour out what is contained in it, and that's very obvious.

And, so your tongue is your ability to express what lies in your spirit. Television, movies, the friends you hang out with, the music you listen to -- everything around you [are] environmental forces that shape how your being is and how your heart is. And when you open your mouth to speak, it's like your heart is like a sponge that absorbs all of this material from around you.

Essentially, what you're doing is squeezing what is in you, and what comes out is going to be what has been compiled in your mind and in your memory. Obviously, you can only express in your heart, what has been placed in it. And so in order for the outcome and the output from the tongue to be positive, the input in that needs to be positive in spirit, in silence, in talking, and throughout our lives.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Patience is in the Moment...Sh. Hamza Yusuf

If I recognize it correctly, this an earlier video excerpt of Sh. Hamza at the University of Toronto.

Three minutes of your life will be very well spent if you listen to this, insha'Allah :)