Saturday, November 07, 2009

Physical and spiritual well-being...a sign of the times...

"Nice to meet you...due to the H1N1, we won't shake hands...I'm trying to make a point of that".

Sound like a Muslim? Actually, that came from our school public health nurse, who isn't Muslim.

More and more, I hear non-Muslims talking about feeling uncomfortable shaking hands because they are worried about catching the swine flu. So they decline shaking hands, and nobody really flinches -- in fact, they likely feel relieved.

Interesting that when it pertains to our physical well-being, nobody seems to mind, but when it has a spiritual basis, people are "offended". So it isn't really the refusal to shake hands that offends people, it's the impetus. All of this bespeaks the times we live in -- people are ever so concerned that their bodies, their external be healthy and well, but they criticize and ridicule those who have such concerns about their spiritual, or internal health.

How open-minded are we as a society -- really?

Food for thought.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Love what you love, but know that you will part it.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Ways: Abu Hasan al-Shadhili

Imām Abū al-Hasan ash-Shādhilī, may Allah preserve his secret, said,
"Of all the Ways there are two:
the Way of Travelling (Sulūk) and the Way of... Attraction (Jadhb).
Our Way is the Way of Jadhb.
Our beginning is their end. Their beginning is ...our end."

Shaykh Abū’l-’Abbās Ahmad Zarrūq, commenting on this, said,
"The variety in a branch is due to the variety of its origin.
The origin of Tasawwuf is in the station of Ihsān
and it splits into two kinds:
‘to worship Allāh as if you see Him'
and ‘if you see Him not, He nevertheless sees you.’
The first is the degree of the Knower ('Ārif);
the latter is the degree of the Seeker (Sālik).
The Folk of ash-Shādhilī revolve around the first
and the Folk of al-Ghazālī revolve around the other."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Unrequited Love and Shifa…(Kuhlsnotes)

Unrequited Love and Shifa…(Kuhlsnotes)

Shaykh Hamza told one of the most beautiful stories on love and unrequited love during the RIS Knowledge Retreat last winter in Toronto, Canada:

“… she also was very generous – Bareerah was a woman that she purchased and then set free, and the famous story about Bareerah was that she was married to someone named Mugheeth. If two slaves were married and then the woman get freed, then she can leave/divorce her husband if she wants to because now she’s free and the husband is not, so there is no parity.

So Bareerah wanted to leave Mugheeth, but Mugheeth loved her. He went into total distress,
and he literally was walking behind her around Madina begging her (to take him back).

Abbas (Rd.) was with the Prophet (saw) one day and the Prophet (saw) saw Bareerah and he said: “Isn’t it strange how much Mugheeth loves Bareerah and how much Bareerah dislikes Mugheeth?”

And the Ulema say when the Prophet (saw) said “Isn’t it strange”, the Arabs use the word “strange” only when the means/cause (sabaab, lit. ‘door’) of/to something is unknown, and that there is no need for something to be called “strange” if the cause is known.

So the Prophet (saw) was calling him to the point the strangeness of love. Love is very strange.

Why do people fall in love?

Why our hearts are attracted to some people and not other people?

Why love is sometime unrequited (returned)?

Because the worst type of love is unrequited love: when you love somebody and they don’t love you – there is nothing worst than that in the world. And obviously the worst type of unrequited love is with God. That’s why Abu Hasan as-Shadali (teacher of Ibn Ata Askandari) use to say:

“Oh God, make my wrong actions, the wrong actions of people whom You Love,
and don’t make my good actions, the good actions of people whom You do not Love.”

In other words – I would rather have wrong actions and be someone who You Love, than have good actions and be someone who You don’t Love.

So the Prophet (saw) went to Bareerah, who was the free slave of ‘Aisha, and he said: “Won’t you reconsider Mugheeth?” And she said: “are you telling me to do this, because if you tell me, then i have to do it.” He (saw) replied: “I am only interceding on his behalf”

And that’s his Shifa, he finds it difficult things you find difficult. The Prophet (saw) saw M suffering and he wanted to help him. That shows you his ’shafiqa’, even in love he wanted to help this poor man who was suffering from the loss of his love.

So when the Prophet (saw) replied that he was only interceding, Bareerah replied: “I don’t have any need for him”. So there was something arrogant in her answer, as she was free and he was still a slave – there was something there from her nafs.

Now when Mugheeth saw that Bareerah rejected intercession from the one that even God had given intercession, Mugheeth lost all desire for her – just taken out of his heart. And at that point when he lost all desire for Bareerah, suddenly she fell madly in love with him – like a punishment for rejecting the intercession of the Prophet (saw) – he did not want anything to do with her, yet she was now begging him to take her back now!… “

Sunday, August 02, 2009

If the veils were lifted...

"As it's said, if the veils were lifted
you wouldn't choose for yourself other than what God has chosen."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Falls and the Spiritual Path


We went on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara yesterday -- my first time. Subhan'Allah, the Falls are such a majestic Sign of the Creator and a metaphor for the Spiritual Path.

The Falls look stunning from a distance -- one longs to go closer and is certain they can endure that proximity.

As one approaches, the waters get rougher, the ferry begins to shake, one can hardly bare the brightness and the rain upon one and yet there's such a sweetness and desire to go even closer.

And even far off in the distance, the mist touches one. Just as Allah's Mercy does.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Deafness and Blindness on the Path

Last Friday I was fortunate enough to sit in one of the best Jummu'a khutbas that I've heard in a long time. One of the things that made it so wonderful was that the entire talk was about Mercy...Allah's Mercy, the Messenger's mercy (peace and blessings be upon him), and the mercy that we should all have for one another and for all of creation. And our teacher reminded us of something another one of our teachers once said to him,

"He who does not have a little deafness in his ear and a little blindness in his eye, cannot travel with us on this Path".


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Houses: A Reflection of the State of our Hearts

The other day my mother was telling me something she'd heard on a Punjabi show she was watching with my father. A Punjabi aunty (Sikh), was reflecting on families in our times, and what came from her is a testament to the absolute wisdom that people traditionally had ... and when it's Punjabi, wisdom is even more profound! :)

"When we had homes made of mud and clay,
our hearts were soft like them, too.
People sacrificed so much for one another
and were always bound to one another in love and service.
Now our homes are made of bricks and cement,
and our hearts are hard like them.
We don't care for one another
and don't care if relationships are sour or torn."

She went on to talk about how our hearts are so diseased that rather than being happy at the good fortune of others, we are envious and think the worst of how they acquired what they have.

Subhan'Allah. As Shaykh Mokhtar said, "Allah puts wisdom on the tongue of whomsoever He wishes".

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On the "Why" of Sufis: A Reflection

The only real friends, companions, intimates (other than one's family) are the people of Allah. They look upon one with the eye of mercy, not that of blame; they have no self interest, since they're Self-interested; they have no time for the distractions in this world, and, as a result, do not bring one down--they only bring one up, and this is because they aspire to be 'up'; they remember when everyone else forgets--that is, they remember God when everyone else forgets Him, and they remember themselves when everyone forgets themselves; at the same time, the Sufis forget when everyone else remembers--Shaykh Nuh explains that "with every remembrance there is a forgetting"--so when the Sufis remember God, they forget the world and all its illusions, while when the common folk forget God, they remember the world and its illusions. In short, the people of Allah are the real people; their way is the best way, and their striving the purest striving; they don't care about anything but Him, and, by virtue of loving and knowing the Source of the all, they know the all, and can thus care for the all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Subtle Nafs...

A dear teacher of mine was recently talking to us about repentance, and the subtle nature of the nafs that prides itself even in a state of tawbah... "how could I do this?...I'm better than that!" not just sheer regret out of having disobeyed Allah.

Allahu Akbar.

Monday, May 04, 2009

We are in one of two states...

...we're either in ghafla or we're in dhikr.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Seven Questions - Shams-i Tabrizi

"You must bind yourself to knowing this: 'Who am I? What substance am I? Why have I come? Where am I going? Whence is my root? At this time what am I doing? Toward what have I turned my face?'"

- From Me & Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-i Tabrizi. Trans. W. C. Chittick (Louisville: Fons Vitae, 2004), 51.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Lost Generation & the Obama Song

A brilliant composition -- notice your mood at first and in the end.
...and another video, The Obama Song
done as a joint project by students and teachers is also worth watching.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thoughts on the solar anniversary of my entry into this world...

Alhamdulillah 'ala kulli haal.

How many a blessing that Merciful Lord has bestowed on this unworthy servant? How many a second chance has He provided? How much Love has He poured forth out of nothing, but His Pure Bounty and Largess?


The other day I spoke to my beloved sister on the Path of God and she mentioned that her family celebrates birthdays by getting together and reciting surah waqiyah and singing anasheeds. How mubarak a way of showing gratitude for life! May we all implement this blessed way, and on our birthdays, recite in praise of the Merciful Lord Who has bestowed us with life so that we may draw closer to Him.

Allahu Akbar!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Alhamdulillah, it's almost here...!

Date: Sun. March 8, 2009
Admission: Free

Risalah Foundation -

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost

Bismillah. Strange how another's words can often express one's own experience so well that it is as if one had written them oneself!

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood,and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Fear of God - Robert Frost

Bismillah. I'm currently listening to Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's Refinement of the Heart CD set. Masha'Allah, as Salik commented, "classic Shaykh Hamza!" Anyhow, he mentions the following poem by Robert Frost which is just beautiful!

The Fear of God

If you should rise from Nowhere up to Somewhere,
From being No one up to being Someone,
Be sure to keep repeating to yourself
You owe it to an arbitrary god
Whose mercy to you rather than to others
Won’t bear to critical examination.
Stay unassuming. If for lack of license
To wear the uniform of who you are,
You should be tempted to make up for it
In a subordinating look or toe,
Beware of coming too much to the surface
And using for apparel what was meant
To be the curtain of the inmost soul.

- Robert Frost

Night among the ‘Alawiyya - The Wandering Troubadour

Bismillah. Our city was recently honoured by a visit by the noble master, Shaykh Nuh Keller. Among his many students, was our dear brother, the Wandering Troubadour. Below is his poem for the fuqara...yet another beautiful composition!

Night among the ‘Alawiyya

Paradise is in your company
O brethren hearts of ‘Alawi.

I came to your perfumed garden,
Your wandering cousin of Hashimi.

You took me in a full embrace.
Sweet love burned between you and me.

Paradise is in your company
O brethren hearts of ‘Alawi.

We poured our hearts into the air,
Loosed all chains, and set them free.

You took me and lowered my hood
And pure love was all I could see.

Paradise is in your company
O brethren hearts of ‘Alawi.

In your tender gaze, I was a
Virgin bride unveiled and ready.

We shared more than words understood.
Words danced in speechless ecstasy.

Paradise is in your company
O brethren hearts of ‘Alawi.

Hand-in-hand and hand-in-sleeve
We danced and roared our love fully.

With your eyes you pointed our hearts,
Your breath was ours, a living sea.

Paradise is in your company
O brethren hearts of ‘Alawi.

Wave upon wave pounded until
No cruel shore could resist our plea.

Allah. Allah. Allah, Sidi!
This port of love was destiny.

Paradise is in your company
O brethren hearts of ‘Alawi.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's that special time of year...Mawlid Season!

Bismillah. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah ta'Ala, the Mawlid al-Nabi is just around the corner!

Mark Sunday March 8th @ 5pm on your calendar for a great mawlid celebration at Risalah Foundation. Click here for details.

See you there, insha'Allah!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ottawa / Montreal Dhikrs?


Does anyone know of any dhikrs in Ottawa or Montreal?

Please reply here or email me at


Monday, February 16, 2009

SeekersGuidance Spring 2009!


SeekersGuidance's Spring 2009 Courses are Open for Registration!

I attended the Fiqh of Life: The Essentials of Halal and Haram course live the past few months in Mississauga and can say that it is well worth signing up for!

Accessible AND affordable knowledge from the convenience of your own computer.

Other particularly excellent and relevant courses are: Money Matters and Commercial Transactions.

For the complete course catologue, click here.

May Allah give you much success in your studies and may He bless the shuyukh and people at SeekersGuidance. Ameen


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Toronto Suhba with Shaykh Nuh Keller: February 26th-March 1st

Alhamdulillah wa Shukrulillah, we are pleased to announce that the Toronto Suhba with Shaikh Nuh Keller will take place from Thursday February 26, 2009 to Sunday March 1, 2009. everyone is invited to attend. Only those of you who plan to attend for the entire suhba are encouraged to preregister in order to make the appropriate khidmah arrangements

Toronto Suhba 2009 with Shaykh Nuh Keller

Speaker Bio:

Dates: Thursday February 26, 2009 to Sunday March 1, 2009

Islamic Society of York Region (Stouffville Masjid)1380 Stouffville Road Richmond Hill, Ontario

Registration and further info:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monthly Mawlid at Risalah - Sunday February 1st, 2009

The monthly mawlid gathering at Risalah Foundation is this
Sunday February 1st, 2009 at 11am
If you haven't yet attended, we highly recommend taking part in this mubarak gathering - the revival of a very traditional practice.

Burda Sharif & Dala'il al-Khayrat

Dalail al-Khairat is the famous collection of litanies sending blessings and peace upon the Prophet Muhammed (S), authored by the great scholar and Gnostic Imam abi-AbdilLah Muhammad bin Sulaiman al-Jazuli (RA) The majlis will include recitations of The Holy Quran, the Dala'il text and a reading of the renowned ode of praise to the Prophet (S), Qasida al- Burda of Imam al-Busairi. In addition, the majlis often includes readings from the grand compositions of various Awliya and Imams of Islamic tradition.

Risalah Foundation will endeavour to hold this gathering on the first Sunday of every month, insha Allah. You can find details on our website,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Love Post-Hadra

So many warm smiles that care.
So many shoulders to lean on.
So many to share in our happiness.

...So many that love us ever so sincerely.

But why? What does it mean?

Perhaps it is that Allah's Love, so Intensely Powerful and Strong, in its Purest form, is a Love that we cannot bare -- one by which, enraptured, we would cease to live.

Perhaps this is why our Loving Lord has put these people in our lives. The warm smiles of loved ones and passing strangers. The counsel and support of shoulders we lean on. The joy-lit eyes of well-wishers. The love in all forms, shapes, sizes, and means.

Perhaps this is the way by which Allah lets the Rays of His Loving Light come to us in a way that we can bare.

They are His Smiles, His Support, His Joy...His Love. Glory be to Him.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

One of the Greatest Afflictions of Our Ummah

Salik and I were reading a little booklet from Shaykh Yahya, and something the author says really stood out for us as a very poignant remark about the ummah in our times.
"One of the most dangerous things that has afflicted the youth of the community is their ignorance of the life and pure, fragrant characteristics of their Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), such that, were you to say to one of them, 'write what you know about your Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)', their knowledge would not exceed a page!"
May Allah protect us from ignorance of our beloved and noble Messenger; the Chosen One; the Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
- Wamadat min hadyi al-Nabi al-Khatam (alayhi salat wa salam) by 'Abd al-Majid al-Bayanuni

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Human Heart and Gaza

It is indeed sad that the same heart that, when nurtured and cleansed, is capable of knowing Allah and saving the lives of strangers, can, when hardened, become blind and inhumane.

It is indeed sad that the offspring of those who suffered, can inflict such horror on others.

BBC Story on the hospital in Gaza

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Koran is like a Bride - Mawlana Rumi

The Koran is like a bride. Although you pull the veil away from her face, she does not show herself to you. When you investigate the Koran, but receive no joy or mystical unveiling, it is because your pulling at the veil has caused you to be rejected. The Koran has deceived you and shown itself as ugly. It says, "I am not that beautiful bride." It is able to show itself in any form it desires. But if you stop pulling at its veil and seek its good pleasure; if you water its field, serve it from afar and strive in that which pleases it, then it will show you its face without any need for you to draw aside its veil.

Translated in William Chittick, The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983), 273.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Shaykh Habib Umar bin Hafiz - A Message for the New Year

By: Al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz, Director, Dar al-Mustafa for the Islamic Sciences (Tarim, Yemen) Translated by: Amin Buxton

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

The following is summarised from a talk given by Habib Umar bin Hafiz (Allah preserve him):

[1] We bid farewell to a another year of the Hijra of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), a year which contains a number of days and nights which are what makes up your lifespan. If a day passes then a part of you has passed. You are but a body and spirit existent in a limited time period. When that period comes to an end you come to an end. It is only those of sound intellect who realise the true value of these days and nights that pass. They know that it is He Who made the Night and the Day to follow each other: for the one who wishes to reflect or to show gratitude.

[2]Whatever anyone has achieved throughout the days and nights that has not increased them in reflection and gratitude has missed the purpose and fundamental wisdom for which these days and nights were created and for which mankind was created. We witness the passing of time and the alternation of seasons and changes and events. Things which are agreeable to us; things which are unpleasant – all of which test us. We witness the passing away of those who live alongside, some of it expected, some of it unexpected. All of this is by the decree of the All-Powerful Sovereign. We welcome likewise a new year. Every individual must look at their level of reflection and gratitude so they may obtain their provision from these days and nights. Amongst the meanings of reflection is removing the veils from the spirit to remember the original covenant which it took with its Lord and clearing away the dust to extend its gaze to its eventual destination. As for gratitude, everything which is of any benefit to creation comes into its sphere. The Master of Creation said (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), “Should I not be a grateful slave?” and he is the most grateful of creation to the Creator, and through his gratitude we show gratitude to the Creator. May Allah bind us to him in this life and the next. It is He Who made the Night and the Day to follow each other: for the one who wishes to reflect or to show gratitude . What are the signs and the attributes of the people of reflection and gratitude? Read the eleven attributes that follow this verse, beginning with: And the slaves of the Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, "Peace!" Those who spend the night in worship of their Lord prostrate and standing

[3] Reflect upon these attributes and ask yourself what portion you have of them. Do not be content merely to pass over them superficially. Delve into them deeply, hold firm to them and actualise their meanings. Each of these attributes has a residing place in your inner being. If each attribute finds its place you will, in your inner being, be one of the slaves of the Most Gracious and every day and night you will increase in reflection and gratitude, and He will prepare you for an indescribable reward. “I have prepared for my righteous slaves that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and what no man can imagine.” The majority of the people of Islam and Iman have made no preparation for the vision of the face of the Best of Mankind, accompanying him on the day of Crowding and then in Dar al-Salam, the Abode of Peace. Does this warrant you giving anything less than your all? How much have you put towards this: of your thoughts, your actions, the attributes of your heart, of the hours of your day and night? After the death of the Messenger of Allah Sayyiduna al-Siddiq would spend his nights crying out of his longing for him. Do we allow the ups and downs of this fleeting life and the desires of our enemies to tear these feelings away from us? Will you exchange the better for the worse? All you who believe, accompanying him is greater than anything we can imagine. There is no gift more exquisite that the Lord of the Throne may bless you with than his companionship and the vision of his face and addressing the possessor of that face. He is a man like no other, the Beloved of the Creator. If these feelings were alive in the hearts of the Umma all causes of evil inward and outward would be blocked and the Umma would be safe from every tribulation. The level of tribulation in which we find ourselves is according to our deficiency in our love for Allah and His Chosen One. At the end of this year may Allah grant us the ability to please His Beloved through seeking to improve our states and our transactions and what takes places in our houses and what is in our hearts. Nothing should be more beloved to us than Allah and nothing in creation, not even Paradise, should be more beloved to us than Muhammad. No created thing can take precedence over Muhammad, because Allah Himself gave him precedence over all of creation.

For this reason the Companion Salama ibn Rabi`a could think of nothing better to ask from the Messenger of Allah than his companionship in Paradise. The response of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was to order him to make abundant prostration. The closest a slave is to Allah is when he is in prostration. If you desire to be close to the one who is closest to Allah make abundant prostration. One of the meanings of this prostration is to rid our houses of anything which is contravenes his Sunna, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Let this Hijri year finish and with it any contravention of the Sunna. This is prostration. You want to accompany him but you don’t want to live in accordance with his teaching? Let this year finish and you are in a state of preparation to meet the best of Allah’s slaves.
[1] Jalsat al-Ithnayn, Jami` Tarim, the night of 25th Dhu’l-Hijja 1429
[2] Sura al-Furqan, 25.62
[3] Sura al-Furqan, 25.63-74