Monday, March 19, 2018

The Expansive Souls of the Ahl al-Bayt


When I first met our beloved guide, Sidi Shaykh Abdellah al-Haddad, what stood out to me was the love and warmth with which he embraced the variety of souls that came his way. I have written previously about how even passersby have commented on the love that emanates from his very being. He gives and gives, yet only grows in what he has to offer.

During our months in the Gulf, we were blessed to spend some time with the Habaib. As I saw what their own cultural and lifestyle are like, and then juxtaposed that with the interactions I've witnessed them having in North America, I was amazed. Although in their own homes they live a very traditional and conservative lifestyle where men and women don't really interact, in North America I have experienced first-hand how naturally they will address questions from sisters, exchange salams, etc. That despite their own limited exposure to the social worlds online and on the ground in the West, the mercy and forbearance with which they field questions from people at various ends of faith. And I've seen the warmth with which they do so: smiling with no sign of being uncomfortable or awkward, but with impeccable adab and respect.

Reflecting on this, it occurred to me that what Sidi Shaykh and the Habaib have in common is that they are all ahl al-bayt -- descendants of the noble lineage of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

I believe with my heart that this is why they are able to take in so many different hearts, personalities, and cultures with such ease, grace, love, and mercy. They have in their blood the expansive soul of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The Mercy to All the Worlds. They look at all of us with the eye of love and mercy. They don't harbour pride because of their piety, knowledge or the stringent positions they may take themselves. They are in practice, hard on themselves, but easy on others. This is the Prophetic way. Take people as they are, and guide them gently, one soul at a time with your love, prayers, sincerity, and example.

We have much to learn from these noble and blessed souls. Salik has often said that the human soul has a sanctity that must be respected. That the feelings of the human being must be considered because far too often in our piety, there is a subtle pride or self-righteousness that causes us to make others feel inferior, awkward and uncomfortable.

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