Monday, September 7, 2009

"I pray God the Omnipotent to place us in the ranks of His chosen, among the number of those He directs to the path of safety; in whom He inspires fervour lest they forget Him; whom He cleanses from all defilement, that nothing remain in them except Himself; yea, of those whom He indwells completely, that they may adore none beside Him."

Imam Al Ghazzali

Purifying Our Souls Written by Imam Noor Salie

C.M.R.M. Claremont. 14th. August 2009
Purifying Our Souls - "Tazkiyatun Nafs".

Almighty Allah exhort us in the Holy Quran: " It is He (Allah) Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves reciting (and Explaining) to them His Ayaah, (Revelation /Signs / instructions) purifying them and teaching them the Book and the Wisdom, and before that they were clearly in manifest error." (Surah Al-Jumu'ah 62:2)
The Prophet (saw) stated: - Verily Almighty Allah Loves A Servant (ABD)- that is Purified - Independent (In this Life) and MODEST (Not doing Things for showing off but only for the sake of Allah).

We will be commencing the sacred Month of Ramadan next week. This Khutbah is a short reminder about the Holy Month. That Ramadan was designed by Almighty Allah to bring "Self-purification" -- how to rely on Almighty Allah and, how can we make the best of Ramadan? And what we should do to get the maximum benefit and purifying the self?
From the Ayah I have quoted - Almighty Allah instructs that among the many aims and Objectives a Muslim should have in this life is to purify his self. (Nafs). This is known as Tazkiyyah Tun Nafs. As the verse indicates, Almighty Allah sent Messengers and Prophets to show us the methodology to purify our selves. (All the Prophets of Allah were Spiritual Physicians who came at strategic times in History when man was definitely on a course of destruction - Let us look at the Pagan Arabs in the time of the Prophet (saw) -- Edwin GIBBON states in his book - "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" - The Arabs were the scum of the earth - fighting over chickens etc -They were surrounded by-- Romans -(most civilized nation) Egyptians (Great Architects / Giants of medicine)- Persians ( Great Literary Giants) - According to Gibbon - The Prophet Of Islam came and moulded this uncouth nation into the most civilized nation of their time.

When we purify our souls, we are benefited. Our success in this world and in the hereafter comes through Tazkiyyah, and our failure comes through corruption of the self. Nafs (pl. Anfus or Nufus) lexically means soul, the psyche, the ego, self, life, person, heart or mind. Although some scholars have classified the Nafs up to 7 stages, there is agreement among most Ulamaah' that in the Quran, Allah (s.w.t.) has described at least 3 main types of the Nafs. And these are in rank from the worse to better: Nafs al-Ammara Bissu' (The carnal self/the Nafs that urges evil), Nafs al-Lawwama (the Nafs that Blames) and Nafs al-Mutma'inna (the Nafs at Peace).

Nafs-i-Mutmaina: This level is called the Tranquil, contented, developed, purified SELF -- Real contentment is based on knowledge and pure obedience in every way to Almighty Allah and to the Prophet (saw) -and all humans should aspire toward such states -- The path to the purification of the soul comes from the Quran and Authentic Sunnah. There is no other way to purification of the soul (not through mystics, psychics, etc). We can purify our soul by understanding and reflecting on the meaning of the Quran. We should not only recite the Quran often but we should contemplate on what Allah is telling us.
"In the (mosques) which Allah has ordered to be raised,- in them His Name is glorified in the mornings and in the afternoons and evenings. Men whom neither trade nor sale diverts them from the remembrance of Allah, or from performing the prayer, or from giving alms (Zakah). They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be shattered. That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills." (Surah Al-Nur 24: 36-38)

Taking this verse as an example, we should examine what Allah is telling us. We should ask ourselves if we are behaving the way Almighty Allah has ordained - and as exemplified and personified by the Prophet (saw). --
Another way to purify our souls is building a relationship with Almighty Allah. -. Through Salaah, Zakaah, Siyaam, (Fasting) Hajj and Knowing Allah's Names and Attributes- as has been described to us in the Quran and Sunnah
"The True believers (people of Taqwah) are those who when Allah is mentioned they feel a fear/ tremor (out of love for Allah) in their hearts and when His Ayah / Signs / Instructions are recited unto them, (and they understand) they increase their Imaan / faith, and they put their trust in their Lord. It is those people Who perform their Salaah (Consistently and regularly) and spend out of what We have provided for them. (In Zakaah and Tattawu) It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades/levels of dignity with their Lord, (Allah) and Forgiveness and a generous provision." (Surah Al-Anfal 8: 2-4)

These ayah mentions Taqwah consciousness- fear and love for Allah, Tawwakul - placing our trust and reliance on Allah - necessary attribute of a believer, Salaah - establishing the prayer, and Zakaah and Sadaqaah -spending our wealth for the Cause of Allah. Let Us try to go over one aspect, which is having Tawwakul - trust and reliance on Allah.
"And put your trust and reliance in Allah, and sufficient is Allah as a Trustee." (Surah Al-Ahzaab 33: 3) One aspect of Tawwakul is Isti'aana, which is seeking only Allah's help. Muslims recite this daily in Surah Al-Fatihah: "You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help." (Surah Al-Fatihah 1: 5) We do not need to go to a graveyard to ask somebody dead for help, or pray to a dead person, since Allah is sufficient and Allah is the only One who will never die. Almighty Allah tells us in the Holy Quran -"And trust and rely on the Living One (Allah), Who will never die, and celebrate His praises and thanks. And Sufficient is He to be acquainted with the sins of His slaves." (Surah Al-Furqaan 25:58) -

We should have the following components to fully trust and rely upon Allah.
1. Proper Knowledge of Allah. Since Tawwakul is a way to purify our soul, it also involves having the proper knowledge of Allah and His Attributes. If we rely on Allah then we should know His characteristics. In addition to the ones stated previously, Allah is also the One Who is Living and does not die, the All-Mighty, All-Wise, Most gracious, Most Merciful (Al-Aziz, Al-Hakim, Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem), and He can do whatever He wants.

2. Using Tawwakul to Earn One's Sustenance. Tawwakul is one of the Asbaab (causes) of bringing about the desired result such as Rizq (sustenance). Rasulullah (S) said, "Were you to put your complete trust and reliance on Allah, He would provide for you as He provides for the birds. They issue forth hungry in the morning and return filled in the evening. (Tirmidhi)

3. Understanding Tauheed (Oneness of Allah). UNICITY / INDIVISIBILITY Having the correct understanding of Tauheed helps to increase one's Tawwakul. One who thinks it is all right to pray to some one besides Allah does not have the correct knowledge of Tauheed; therefore they are not properly trusting and relying upon Allah. - Confirmation of TAUHEED every Day in Salaah - "Thee ALONE do we worship and Thee alone do we ask for help"

4. The Heart's Complete Reliance and Calmness. Our heart should be content and satisfied that Allah will bring a good result. We should remember that the Prophet Muhammad (S) stated, "Nothing happens to a believer except that it is good for them." Allah has given us much, and with Sabr/patience Insha'Allah we will see the results of our deeds.

5. Have Good Expectations of Allah. We trust and rely in Allah, We turn to Him in DUA - knowing He will bring about good.

6. Put Our Matters completely with Allah. Whatever Happens We Accept It. We know what Allah brings about is the best, and we are pleased with that. We should not use our having Tawwakul as an excuse to not work. Some people just sit down and expect things to happen to them, but they do not do anything to achieve their goal. Some people might expect money to come to them, but they just sit and do not seek sustenance. The bird goes and follows the Asbaab (cause) and seeks food.

7. Sabr (Patience). There are often times that we face what seems to be difficulties and hardships. In these situations it is important to have Sabr. Allah has described to us in Surah-al-Asr: "Verily through the declining day, man is in loss, except for those who believe and do good deeds and strongly advise one another to truth and strongly advise one another to patience." (Surah Al-Asr 103) "O you who believe! Seek help in patience and the prayer. Truly Allah is with those who are patient." (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:153) We need to be patient in performing the things which Allah has made obligatory upon us, and we need to be patient in staying away from the unlawful (Haraam) things as well. Prophet Muhammad (S) said the road to Paradise is paved with hardships, while the road to Hell is paved with desires.

As Muslims we must have patience in dealing with adversity as well as success. About having patience in dealing with adversity: Prophet Muhammad (saw) said everything that happens to a true believer is decreed by Allah and is good for the believer.
"Do men imagine they will be left because they say, "We believe," and will not be tested (with afflictions?) And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known those who are true, and will certainly make known those who are liars." (Surah Al-Ankabut 29: 2-3) These are the times when we need to have Sabr in our lives, and we need remember Allah and place out trust and reliance on during these times, and remember, Allah has said: - "But with hardship comes ease, with hardship comes ease." (Surah 94: 5-6)

Umm Salama (RA) narrated that she heard Prophet Muhammad (S) say: "No slave is afflicted with an affliction and says: "We belong to Allah and unto Him everything will return. - O Allah reward me for my affliction and grant me something better than it in exchange.",. She reported when her husband, Abu Salama, passed away she made this Dua and she was married to the Prophet Muhammad (S). Umar (ra) said, "I was never afflicted with any trial except that I had to thank Allah for four blessings related to it (1) it was not related to my (Deen) religion,(2) that it was not greater than it was, (3) that I am not kept from being pleased of it, and (4) that I hope for a reward from Allah for it."
When we encounter good success we also need to be patient and be thankful for what Allah has given us. We can improve ourselves by working on increasing our Iman and Ammal (DEEDS). We can think of how temporary this world is and we can think of the Hereafter and what will be the penalty for those who did not obey Allah and the reward for those who did obey Allah and Insha'Allah we can increase our knowledge and practices to obey Allah correctly, because Allah has indeed created us to worship Him.

The last verses of Surah Al Fajr, are indeed the words we would all like to hear from Allah, when we die and return to Him: "O Purified Soul, well pleased with yourself, and well-pleasing to Me, enter you among my devotees, enter you into my garden."
Many of us are of the opinion that Ramadan is a time to ‘go slow' and to avoid exerting ourselves. Some of us, if we had the opportunity, we would want to sleep all day until iftaar. This is completely wrong. Ramadan is not a time for hibernation. That's for the polar bears and grizzly bears in the cold North American winter. It's not for Muslims! -
Ramadan is the time we should be busy reading-understanding and internalising the Quran, studying our faith and trying to improve our knowledge and above all our character. It's a time of spiritual renewal and revival.
Some of the important events that took place in Ramadan:
The Holy Quran was revealed in Ramadan.

The Battle of Badr took place in Ramadan.

Makkah was conquered in a bloodless battle by Prophet Muhammad sws during Ramadan.

Tauriq bin Ziyad conquered Spain during Ramadan. -- The list goes on and on...
I pray that every one of us here will use this Ramadan as an opportunity to fight this most important of all struggles, the Greater Jihad of taking control of our lives, control of our lower passions and desires. This struggle to cultivate self-discipline is not only for Ramadan. It's a lifelong struggle. .
We must constantly keep in mind that Allah will hold us to account for our actions. We do not want to be among the losers, the ones whose end is hellfire, -We want to be among the winners, the ones who will enter paradise. We want to spend our lives, purifying our thoughts and words and actions, so that when we die we have a purified heart and soul. We want our Ruh, our soul to be pure and unblemished as the day when we were born.
Ramadan is not an excuse for laziness. It is a time for improving ourselves, improving our mind -body and spirit. We must welcome Ramadan like a long lost friend.
May Allah accept our fasting which we are going to do only for His sake.
May Allah spread His richest blessings on all of us, and on all those who fast during Ramadan, purely out of love for Him. May He help us to purify ourselves, by forgiving our sins.

O Allah, help us to purify ourselves in body, mind, heart and spirit. Help us to seek and find your good pleasure, and O Allah, remember us in the company of your beloved friends - the Auwliyah Allah the Prophets -the Martyrs and the righteous people on the day of resurrection.

Rabbana laa tuzigh quloobanaa, ba'da ith hadaytanaa wahablanaa milla dunka Rahma. Innaka antal wah-haab. "O Allah, do not let our hearts deviate from the Truth now that we have been guided , but grant us Mercy from Your very Presence, for You are the Grantor of bounties without measure.
..Rabbi ja'alni muqeemus salaati, wamin dur-riy-yati, Rabbanaa wata qabbal du'aah..." My Lord, help me to perfect my prayer, and of my descendants, Our Lord, accept this prayer
Rabbigh firlee wali waali dayya, walil Mu'mineena yawma yaqoomul hisaab...My Lord, forgive me, and my parents, and all Believers until the Day of Reckoning..
"Soob' haanaka Rabika Rabbil-‘'izzati 'Ammaa yasifoon, wasalaamun 'alal Mursaleen, wal Hamdu lil-Laahi Rabbil Aalameen."---Glory to Allah, Lord of Majesty and Honour, and Peace on the Prophets, and Praise to Allah, Lord of all creation!