Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Clean Heart?

During one of our lessons my Ustadh, Maulana Anwar Sahib, mentioned an incident which he experienced whilst offering Salaah in the Masjid.

My Ustadh would mention this story on many occasions to inform us and educate in regards to the religion and to show us the importance to understand the teachings of religion to ensure that the individual is actually following the true teachings of the religion and not just his whims and desires.

He mentioned, on one occasion when I was offering Salaah in the Masjid I saw an individual whose back was exposed whilst in Sajdah due to the short top he was wearing. I was offering Salaah behind him and when I completed my Salaah and he had completed his I approached him and told him politely, 'brother, I believe that your Salaah has become invalidated because your back was visible during Sajdah. However, it is best if you seek advise from a learned scholar just to confirm.'

Hearing this the brother became very annoyed and said, 'Dil Saaf Hona Chahye', translated as 'the heart needs to be pure'.

By this statement the individual was implying that these 'small' things don't matter, what actually matters is your intentions and the purity of your heart. If within your heart you have a clean intention then these things are trivial.

My Ustadh would relate this story and then inform us how many people's understanding religion is misplaced and through this misplaced understanding how people's actions become invalidated.

Indeed, one's heart needs to be pure and clean. Yet this does not mean that the teachings of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم can be overlooked and misinterpreted. It is therefore essential that one learns the teachings of Islam in light of the Qur'an and Sunnah; an important lesson for any individual but more so for a student of knowledge.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Request or Order?

Alhumdulillah, the religion of Islam has outlined a complete way of life whilst balancing the rights given to each individual.

These rights are distributed and balanced to create harmony between various people, whether it be family members, colleagues, friends, teachers, students etc.

On this point my respected Shaykh, Hadhrat Maulana Adam Sahib, mentioned one of his rights as a father over his children. He mentioned that when he would want his son, my Ustadh, Maulana Imran Sahib, to return home at a certain time or to complete a certain task then he would never command by saying 'do this' as this would be within his rights and require his son to abide; and failing to do so would make him sinful.

Instead he would request through words such as 'can you...' which, whilst not exercising his rights, conveys the message of what he wants.

Alhumdulillah, through informing us of his personal practice, Hadhrat has shown as that the rights in Islam are their as a guidance to ensure that the needs of individuals are not violated and that each person is aware of their rights and responsibilities. However, many a times it is more beneficial to forego your rights to display your love and affection to those you love and also saving them from an obligation which could have lead to the individual becoming sinful.

Alhumdulillah, if we consider our rights in this manner then it will create an atmosphere of love and affection with those close to us. At the same time each person will learn to do things for another not because they 'have to' bit rather because they 'want to'

May Allah give us all the understanding to create an atmosphere of loge and affection within our homes and lives. Aameen.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

True Worship

Recently my Shaykh, Hadhrat Maulana Adam Sahib gave a talk on the auspicious occasion of Shab-e-Bara'ah (Laylat-ul Bara'ah). As usual, many people attended to the talk in order to benefit and take home some form of worship that they may bring into action for that night and earn the rewards that are mentioned for the blessed night.

On this occasion, My Shaykh gave a thought provoking talk on the 'true' form of worship which was iterated over the course of the talk. Following is a brief recollection of Hadhrat's message on this occasion:

The deed which needs to be concentrated on within this night, and in general, is the act of Muraaqabah / Dhyaan, thinking and pondering in general and in particular to the occurrence of death and all matters connected to it.

Allah تعالى has stated in the holy Qur'an

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنْظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونََ

"O you who believer! Fear Allah and let every soul look towards what he has (prepared and) sent forth for tomorrow, and fear Allah. Indeed he is aware of that which you do"

[Surah al-Hashr - 59:18]

In this verse, Allah's reference towards 'tomorrow' is an indication towards death and Qiyamah. Therefore, this verse is a reminder for all the believers that they should ponder over their deeds so that they may assess their deeds which they have prepared for the life that is to come after death.

In the eighteenth Parah Allah تعالى states:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً نَصُوحًا

"O you who believer! Repent towards Allah, a sincere repentance"

[Surah at-Tahreem - 66:18]

In this verse Allah تعالى is telling us 'توبوا' which means repent, and this should be done quickly, yet more so, immediately, as one cannot tell when one's Qiyamah will begin, which is at the time of his death. It could be so that death comes to us in our sleep and we do not have the opportunity to repent on another day.

At the time of death there will be 'Fikr' (worries) of so many different matters and one will not be able to repent at that time. Therefore, the time to repent is now.

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mubarak رضي الله عنه was a great Muhaddith (scholar of Hadeeth) who had students in the excess of forty thousand who would attend his gathering within jungles just to acquire a single Hadeeth with his Sanad (chain of narration).

He states that at one point in life he fell in love with a woman, this was prior to being religiously inclined let alone being a Muhaddith. One day he appointed a time with women and told her to meet him at night at a particular place. As arranged, he went there and waited and waited. However, she never arrived and he waited all night. When Subh Sadiq (Dawn) was upon him the call of Adhaan reached his ears from a nearby Masjid. At this point he was astonished to find that it was already morning and felt great remorse upon the fact that he spent an entire night waiting for a woman that never came. At this point a thought crossed his mind; had I spent this time in the worship of Allah I surely would have achieved the status of a Wali (friend of Allah), whereas if death had taken him in this state he would have been doomed for Hell.

Upon this though he wept and repented to Allah with all sincerity and remorse. Thereafter, after Ishraaq (optional prayers) he set towards the town where many 'Ulamaa (scholars) resided. Whilst he was walking the sun was shining upon him and he could feel the heat on his head. He had just embarked upon his journey when a pious saint, heading in the same direction, accompanied him.

It was at this point that they both experienced a cloud above them which was providing a shade for them from the heat of the sun.

Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak understood that this is a great saint for whom the cloud is providing shade. However, at a point where the saint had to depart to his own destination, he saw that the cloud had remained upon the head of Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak as opposed to his own. This startled him and he questioned Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak as to what deeds he performed and how he obtained such a rank!

Subhanallah. يَا أَيُّهَا الإنْسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ - O people! What has turned you away and deceived from your Merciful Lord? [Surah al-Infitaar - 82:6]. He is Allah, the one that elevates you after so many years of disobedience! He is Allah that raises you to the ranks of a Wali as soon as you turn towards Him and seek sincere forgiveness, توبة نصوحا!

We all know the difference between right and wrong and we are well aware of what is permissible and what is forbidden. In this night we need to remember death and what would happen to us if we were to die tonight.

I am therefore not emphasising the Fadha'il (rewards and blessings) of Salaah, Sawm and Tasbeehaat; instead the emphasis is on Muraaqabah (remembrance of death).

Sa'di says in his Persian poetry:

The path upon which you are treading is that of Turkey,
you will therefore never reach the Ka'ba

I feel pity for these young people of today as they have not seen the Wali of Allah wale. Their talks and deeds would emit from the heart and penetrate directly into the heart.

The likes of Hadhrat Shah Wasi-ullah رحمه الله would be monitored so that a Karaamah (miracles) performed by the Shaykh. They would at times feel disappointed having felt that no Karaamah performed by the Shaykh. However, these were such authorities that had Jilaal and Jalaal, they would be aware of people's though and would correct them in the most appropriate way. On one such occasion Hadhrat Shah Wasi-ullah رحمه الله questioned the visitor as to whether he had seen Shah Wasi-ullah doing any act which was contradictory to the Sunnah. My friends, this is the real Karaamah.

This is also seen and experienced within the company of the likes of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Remember, the Karaamaat of the Auliyaa are Haq (reality and in existence).

Allah continues in the verse mentioned above that if you seek sincere repentance then...

عَسَى رَبُّكُمْ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيُدْخِلَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الأنْهَارُ

"It is possible that your Lord will forgive your sins and enter you in to such a paradise under which rivers flow"

[Surah at-Tahreem - 66:18]

The 'Ulamaa explain that when we say 'it may be possible' then there is a chance of that promise being fulfilled as well as a chance of it not being fulfilled. However, when Allah uses the term 'it may be possible' then the matter is final and it will definitely be the case and Allah will fulfil that which has stated.

The terminology is used here taking into consideration the audience. Allah is thinking of us and talking to us on our level. It is like when we talk to children and babies, we talk in their language and at their level; if we were to talk like that to an adult they would think that we have gone mad!

Look at the mercy of Allah; if we were in a position of authority and someone under our command made a mistake we would at best forgive the individual, but at the same time we would warn him and keep in mind that this individual has already made a mistake. We would not be prepared to forget the mistake that has been made and forgive his mistakes time and again.

However, the mercy of Allah is such that not only does He forgive His subjects, but He further gives you Jannah for seeking forgiveness; and this Jannah will be on such a day when people will be full of regret and remorse. Furthermore, as mentioned in the verse, He will grant you Nur (divine light) on that day also.

My Shaykh, Hadhrat Maulana Adam Sahib then mentioned an incident of a saint (whose name I cannot recall). At the time of the saint's demise he had his students around his death bed; these students were themselves great scholars. The saint instructed the students to make place around his death bed and then place him on the floor.

The students were reluctant to do this but upon the saint's persistence they had no choice but to abide. When the saint was placed on the floor he would rub his beard on the ground and seek Allah's mercy by saying, O Allah! Have mercy upon this white beard. He would say this repeatedly and it is in this state that his death came to him.

Death can come at any time and to anyone. Once a person came to me (meaning my Shaykh, Hadhrat Maulana Adam Sahib) for an illness which they had. The person was accompanied by another person who mentioned to Hadhrat that I am not in need of the Taaweez as I am quite healthy and drink gallons and gallons of milk per day (to maintain my health). It was a few days after they had come to see me that I was informed that this same person who was healthy and drinking gallons and gallons of milk had passed away.

Similarly, Rabiya Basariyah رحمة الله عليها was once busy in Dhikr when a man went past and rested upon a nearby tree. He opened his food that he had brought within him took out some roasted chicken.

On seeing this, Rabiya Basariyah began saying, O Allah, O Allah. The man offered her some food assuming that she was hungry and therefore showing remorse upon seeing the food. However, Rabiya Basariyah proclaimed, I don't need the food, I am crying and showing remorse because we slaughter the chicken and roast it in this world, but in the Hereafter we are the ones that will be roasted.

As mentioned in Surah al-Humazah, نَارُ اللَّهِ الْمُوقَدَةُ الَّتِي تَطَّلِعُ عَلَى الأفْئِدَةِ (the fire of Allah kindled, that which mounts upon the hearts)

Hadhrat ibn 'Aws رحمه الله was in the last Saff (row) behind Hadhrat 'Umar رضي الله عنه who was reciting Surah Yusuf. When the recitation reached the verses of إِنَّمَا أَشْكُو بَثِّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَى اللَّهِ (I complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah alone) he was overcome and could not continue his Salaah.

Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani رحمه الله called for his son at the time of his death. When his son arrived Shaykh Abdul Qadir gave him Naseehah and said, if u leave your Faraaidh for Nawafil then you have achieved nothing; if you do Haraam and forbidden acts then there is no point in your worship.

Remember the Hereafter! At the time of dead the deceased can hear the footsteps of those on the ground. If we have performed good deeds then it will not bother or trouble us when those who have buried us leave us.

Sa’di says that:

The world is a time-pass, don't commit to it and depend upon it.
Don't become deceived and free of fear by the game of every day.
Don't take for granted whatever Allah has given you,
All that you have today have already passed before
and will come again after they perish from you.

Let us be frank and straight forward, you will one day go from this world and so will I. Therefore, there is no need to be 'beat around the bush'... Remembrance of death in this night is essential.

May Allah give us all the inclination and strength to act upon what has been said and heard (and what has been written and read). Aameen

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Reality of Praise

Whilst I was with my respected teacher, Maulana Imran Sahib, we began to discuss the topic of praising one another due to a letter.

Whilst on the topic my respected teacher, Maulana Imran Sahib, gave an example of people who praise one another without the sincerity that should accompany it. He said:

There was once an individual that came to the king's court to meet him. Whilst in his presence he began to praise the king by attributing many qualities to him. The king continued to listen to the individual until he had finished and then told him to come the following day for his reward.

Upon hearing this, the man was extremely pleased and returned on the following day. When the king saw him in his court once again he asked, 'what brings you here?' The person reminded the king that he was here to collect his reward for the praising the king the day before.

On hearing this, the king replied, 'you praised me yesterday to please me and in return I pleased you by telling you come and collect a reward; we have both pleased each other with the tongue'.

After narrating this incident my respected teacher highlighted a few points:

  1. Praise should not be for the sake of merely pleasing another individual and therefore it should be sincere from the heart.

  2. When someone praises you never get too happy. Remember that true praise is from the sincerity of the heart and not just uttered through words.
Alhumdulillah, this example, which has also been given by my Shaykh, Hadhrat Maulana Adam Sahib حفظه الله, made me think of a few points which Shaykh used to advise us with:

  1. Refrain from praising people in their presence as this is forbidden by our Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم.

  2. When any person praises you then do not cross the boundaries of pleasure and satisfaction, instead evaluate whether such qualities are within you and be thankful to Allah. In the same manner, when an individual criticises you then again do not cross the boundaries of disappointment and displeasure, instead evaluate if such qualities are present within you, if they are then thank the individual for bringing them to your attention and if they are not then thank Allah that He has saved you from such qualities.

  3. Finally, do not confuse being thankful to being praising another. Our Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم has stated that a person who is not thankful to people is not thankful to Allah. Therefore, thank individuals and Allah by not mere words but also in action.
May Allah give us all the correct understanding of Deen and save us from the evil disease of pride and arrogance which stem from the praise and criticisms of people. Aameen.