Sunday, August 24, 2008

Turning to Allah & the 15th Night of Sha'ban

Another episode which my Hadhrat chose to mention during his talk on the 15th of Sha’ban is the one that follows. As mentioned previously, Hadhrat mentioned the reality of the 15th night of Sha’ban by stressing the importance of forgiveness and its power to convert a sinner into the friend of Allah within a blink of an eyelid.

The following incident is an indication of Allah’s love and mercy and how His slaves and creation should turn to Him at all times.

Hafidh ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله is a great scholar whom many great Muffasir and Muhaddith quote and refer too.

He states that once I was going past a village when I saw a child being thrown out the house by his mother and he was being scolded at and receiving a good beaten. The scholars have even mentioned that this boy was the age of eight or nine. The mother threw the child out and closed the door on him telling him not to return. Hafidh Ibn Qayyim رحمه الله states that when I saw this I felt that I should interfere but then decided to watch what the child decides to do and how the matter continues.

The child remained in the veranda of the house and thereafter he strayed a little down the street and returned back to the house. The child seemed to be tired and therefore he placed his head on the doorstep of the house and fell asleep. After a short time the mother came out to see her son sleeping on the doorstep; she again kicked him and told him to leave and then again closed the door.

Hafidh Ibn Qayyim رحمه الله states that he continued to watch what happens to the child and how the child and mother both respond to the incident that was occurring. After a few moments, the mother once again opened the door to find the child still sitting there. Seeing him the mother asked him, have you not left yet? The child replied, O mother, when you first threw me out I wandered around for a while thinking that what is there at home apart from shelter and food and therefore I realised I could get a good job and fulfil these requirements. I wandered in the streets looking at jobs that I could possibly acquire. However, I could not find the motherhood which I find here neither the love of my mother or her mercy. Hearing this the mother burst into tears and took her son in her arms.

After seeing this incident Hafidh Ibn Qayyim رحمه الله says O you who believe in Allah and the mercy of Allah; that Allah who is so forgiving and so merciful. If you leave His doorstep then you will remain wondering around being pushed around from here to here. Now is the time, hold steadfast to his doorstep by seeking His forgiveness.

This is the reality of the 15th Night of Sha’ban.

May Allah give us all the inclination and strength to hold steadfast to His doorstep and through the medium of a sincere forgiveness. Aameen.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The 15th Night of Sha'ban (ليلة البراءة)

Amongst the many virtues of the month of شعبان (Sha'ban) is the fifteenth night; which is commonly known as ليلة البراءة (Laylatul Baraa'ah - The night of freedom from the Hell fire).

There are many evidences of the blessings and auspiciousness if this night within the Ahadeeth of our Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم. A leaflet, by my respected teacher, highlighting a few of these can be found here.

On this auspicious night my respected teacher gave a talk followed by the talk of my honourable Shaykh, Hadhrat Maulana Adam Sahib حفظه الله. I feel it necessary to highlight some of the points he made and outlining the gist and content of his talk. Here is a summary of his talk:

The blessed night of Sha'ban is that night within which we seek sincere forgiveness from Allah for all of our sins; a night within which we make a change and revere that forgiveness by upholding it not for this night along but for eternity.

If we think that by praying tonight we will be forgiven regardless of our actions tomorrow then we are in a great misconception. If we pray all night and then forget the morning prayer (Fajr) then this night of prayer has been futile and wasted. I have mentioned many a times that the saints have explained that when we offer Salaah for Allah then the sign of its acceptance is the offering of the following Salaah; if we offer the following Salaah then we should assume that Allah has accepted our first prayer and if not then the first prayer has not been accepted.

In the same manner, if we worship Allah through this night and then we follow this worship with dedication to gain His proximity then we can assume that this night of prayer has been accepted by Him. Let us remember that the Religion is that which Allah has outlined and not that which we have invented ourselves. Our belief that this night will cleanse us all sins is rejected by Allah if we fail to follow Him and worship Him at all times.

If we want to make this night one of acceptance then we should aim to sincerely turn to Allah asking for His forgiveness from all those sins which we have committed with a firm intention to leave all the sins; those which we can leave immediately should be shunned at that point and those which take time (example interest related loans) we should aim to seek out a solution which will free us from such sins.

You may have heard of the great scholar and saint Hadhrat 'Abdullah ibn Mubarak رحمه الله. A great personallity and ولي الله (friend of Allah). He is known today as one of the greatest Muhaditheen (scholars of Hadith) and he is quoted in many books of Ahadith and commentaries of the Arabs. Listen to his story of sincere forgiveness:

Hadhrat 'Abdullah ibn Mubarak was a ordinary man who had not acquired the realisation of Allah. At one point he fell in love with a women for whom he waited an entire night and even then the women did not show. He waited for her for such a long period that he heard the Adhan (call) for Fajr being called. At this point he felt such remorse within his heart at the time he had wasted in anticipation of this women; if he had spent that time for Allah he would have surely been rewared. With this thought in mind he entered the Masjid with the sincere intention of mending his ways and seeking a Shaykh's company who would guide him towards acquiring Allah. To fulfill this he travelled with a saint some time after leaving the Masjid.

Whilst on this journey with the saint they both noticed a cloud over their heads shading them from the heat of the son. Hadhrat 'Abdullah ibn Mubarak assumed that this was the saints position in the sight of Allah and was pleased from being saved from the sun. They travelled to a point where they had to split up; upon doing so the saint had assumed that the cloud would accompany him. However, seeing that the cloud had parted from above him and shaded Hadhrat 'Abdullah ibn Mubarak inspired him to make an inquest of the matter.

Upon questioning Hadhrat 'Abdullah ibn Mubarak the saint learnt his story and proclaimed, by Allah, you have become a ولي الله (friend of Allah) from the moment you stepped out of the Masjid. You may be travelling to acquire a Shaykh but I can assure you that you will find none with an equal status to yours.

Look at this incident my respected brothers! The power of sincerity and true forgiveness can turn a person into the friend of Allah in a split second.

We have become negligent and unaware of this matter; we have chosen to sit in a lighted room like the one we are in now, full of tube lights, yet the tube light of our heart has been switched off. If we just switched on the light within out hearts we would find no need to sit under the hundreds of tube lights to feel enlightened. Look at Hadhrat 'Abdullah ibn Mubarak, he switched on the light within his heart and became the friend of Allah in a blink of an eyelid.

We all know of the famous saint Hadhrat Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله; let us listen to an incident that took place in his time.

There was once a boy whose father had passed away during his early age. The mother decided not to marry again as she was in certainty of remaining chaste and was hoping for the child's welfare by not remarrying. The child however grew to become mischievous and misguided. He had wealth and youth which he used both without any limits and consideration of right and wrong.

The mother was a pious woman and when she learnt of her son's behaviour she turned to her teacher, Hadhrat Hassan al-Basri to have a word with him. Hoping that this would make a difference, Hadhrat Hassan al-Basri on many occasions talked with the young man and advised him and called him towards Allah. However, the boy remained engrossed in his lifestyle and ignored the saint's advice.

It so happened that the boy became ill, as is the case with sins; it sickens the physical and spiritual body, and it reached a stage where he was bed bound. It was not that he realised his mistakes and turned to Allah knowing that his time had come to an end. In anticipation of repenting and turning to Allah he asked his mother to approach Hadhrat Hassan al-Basri and inform him of his condition and to implore him to visit her dying son. He also told her that if the saint refused to visit him then to ask him to lead his Janaza prayer upon his death.

The mother approached her teacher, Hadhrat Hassan al-Basri, narrating to him what her son had stated. On hearing this Hadhrat Hassan al-Basri became angered and said it is my time to teach and I will not leave my students who are eager to learn for someone who ignored my advice time and again. The mother then informed him of her son’s request for Hadhrat Hassan al-Basri to lead his Janaza prayer upon which, whilst in his anger, he said I shall not offer his prayer as he never offered prayer whilst he was alive and never turned to Allah.

The mother returned to her dying son with tears in her eyes; she told her son of the conversation that had taken place. Her son consoled her and instructed her to tie scarf around his neck upon his death and to drag him outside the house so that the onlookers could see the state of such a person who does not turn to Allah and follow his commands. He also stated that upon his death he should not be buried in the Muslim graveyard lest his punishment would descend upon them also; instead he should be buried in a corner of the garden of the house.

A short while later the son passed away leaving his mother in tears. During this time a knock was heard on the door. Hearing this the mother exclaimed, who is the one who knocks the door at this time to which she heard, it is me, Hassan al-Basri. The women hurried to open the door and informed the saint of the final request of her son as well as to enquire as to why the saint had decided to come. Hadhrat Hassan al-Basri informed her that he had never been privileged to see Allah except at that moment in which she had left. When Hadhrat Hassan al-Basri went to rest in the afternoon Allah came to him in his dream and said are you, being the friend of Allah, not going to lead the Janaza prayer of another friend of Allah? At this moment I realised the status of your son who, with his broken heart, has acquired the position of a ولي الله.

So you see my friends, it takes just a few moments to become the friend of Allah if one has the sincerity in his heart and the ability to seek a sincere forgiveness. Let us all turn to Him, seeking His forgiveness and making a promise that we shall immediately leave all sins and should we make an error we shall turn to Him immediately. If we do this then this night will truly be a blessed and auspicious night for us.

May Allah give us all the inclination to seek sincere forgiveness and to leave all sins immediately so that by doing so we can attain the rank of ولي الله. Aameen.