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 reasons...my apologies.

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