Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Branch 6 - Belief in the Last Day & the Hereafter


AsSalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Alhamdulillah, The Razi Institute's 77 Branches of Faith program held this past weekend at the University of Toronto was wonderful -- insha'Allah, some of you also attended. The Shuyukh all compliment each other very well -- Sh. Talal, Sh. Ramzy, Sh. Faraz, Sh. Jamal, Shaykh Zahir and his wife, Ustadha Saima...the dynamic between them all was one of wonderful reverence and utmost love for one another, with a shared concern for the ummah.

The program provided a lovely notebook with the text as well as space to take notes for each session. Insha'Allah, I will try to share small parts of the notes I took for branches that I feel are key or where something was said that may of be particular benefit insha'Allah. I pray that I convey the message of the Shuyukh correctly -- if anyone finds any error, please do correct me (and if any of the Shuyukh read this, please forgive me in advance for doing such injustice to the wisdom you were kind enough to share with us).

Branch 6 - Belief in the Last Day.
This includes belief in the questioning of the grave; resurrection; standing; reckoning; scales; bridge; Heaven; and Hell.
This session was led by Sh. Ramzy Ajem. Imam Ghazali (may Allah have mercy on him), who wrote so much on the topic of death, said that "the Reality of death, is the Reality of Life". Our physical death is simply entry into the third stage of our existence -- the stage called barzakh (an intermediary between our worldly existence and the Day of Judgement).
Our first stage was before conception, when the Qur'an speaks of our testifying to the Oneness of Allah (the day of alast, as it is referred to in many texts). The second stage is our worldly life in this dunya -- the world of accountability and responsibility to seek God and obey Him. The third is the barzakh mentioned above. The fourth is the life of the Day of Judgement. And the 5th stage is the life in heaven or hell (may Allah protect us from the Fire and grant us Paradise, ameen).
He also spoke of the bridge that will be thinner than a knife, from which evildoers will slip and which will be made easy for the righteous to cross over, after which, they will be reunited with their loved ones and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), drinking from the fountain that will quench all thirst, and finally there will be ma'rifa.
  • Remember often the destroyer of pleasures (death).
  • Reflect on death and prepare for it. One who remembers death twenty times each day and night will be raised with the martyrs.
  • Be in the world as a wayfarer.
  • Love what you will, you will part it.

Finally, Sh. Ramzy shared with us, Four Keys of Help in preparing in this life for tawfiq in the next life insha'Allah. They are as follows:

  1. Standing in prayer before Fajr when the angels and Mercy descend from the Heavens. Doing wudu and praying some rakats of salah. Some of the scholars say this is better than praying in the haram itself. Imam Junayd the great sufi (Allah have mercy on him) was seen in a dream after his death, saying that all that benefited him of his works in this world were the two rakats he always made before fajr.
  2. Surah Tabarak (I believe after Isha).
  3. Du'a (supplication), seeking refuge from the torments of the grave and Hell.
  4. Developing a relationship with Rasul Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), turning him for guidance and intersession and sending peace and blessings upon him.

Also related to these Keys, Sh. Talal spoke of making room for Allah, His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), and prayer in our daily lives. Actually setting aside time in our schedules so it's not the first thing that gets cut when we're tired or busy. And Sh. Ramzy reminded us to make dhikr all day long, to start each act with the basmala, sunnah du'as, saying Alhamdulillah, Subhan'Allah, Astagfiruallah, Allahu Akbar, the shahadah, and salawat and to always have the right intention -- that everything we do is for Allah. As Sh. Nuh says, if you can't say Basmala before an act, you shouldn't be doing it.

Insha'Allah, I pray that Allah give us all tawfiq in applying these keys. By Allah, when we take time to consciously remember Him in the hustle and bustle of our day to day lives, He fills it with a peace and a light that we can otherwise never know.

And Allah knows best. May peace and blessings be upon our noble Prophet - the Chosen One, his family, companions, and all those who seek to follow him until the Last Day.



Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Birth of the Beloved of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) The need to love, venerate,and praise him (SunniPath)

The Birth of the Beloved of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) The need to love, venerate,and praise him (SunniPath)

Making Du`a for the Umma of the Beloved of Allah (peace and blessings unlimited be upon him, his family, companions, and followers) Ma`ruf al-Karkhi, one of the righteous imams of the early Muslims (salaf), said,

"Whoever says, 'Allahumma aslih Ummata Muhammad Allahumma farrij `an Ummati Muhammad Allahumma Rham Ummata Muhammad [salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam]
(O Allah, improve the state of the Umma of Muhammad O Allah, grant ease to the Umma of Muhammad O Allah, have mercy on the Umma of Muhammad),'

ten times every day will be written down as one of the highest of elect believers (abdal)." [Abu Nu`aym, Hilyat al-Awliya , 8.366]

اللهم أصلح أمة محمد اللهم فرج عن أمة محمد أللهم ارحم أمة محمد

Why? The Prophet of Mercy (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

"Have mercy on those on earth, and the Lord of the Skies will have mercy on you." [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Bukhari in his al-Adab al-Mufrad from Abd Allah ibn Amr (Allah be pleased with him)]

GTA in March

Alhamdulillah, lots going on this March in the GTA.

Plus, the Mawlid of our Blessed Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) should correspond to the 20th of March this year...and there are a host of Mawlid celebrations across the city on and around that date...so keep your eyes open -- and let me know of the ones you find by posting a reply to this post or emailing me.