Thursday, November 18, 2010

O Allah!

[From Imam Ghazali's My Dear Beloved Son]
“O my Allah! I desire from You the completion (abundance/perfection) of Your blessings and from purity (inner and outer) I desire its permanence and from Your mercy [I desire] its inclusion [in all matters] and from health [I desire] its attainment and from sustenance [I desire] its increase and from life [I desire] its happiness and from life [I desire] its real success and from good qualities [I desire] their completion and from your rewards [I desire] the reward which is the most common and from your plenitude [I desire] the plenitude which is the sweetest and from your favors [I desire] the favor which is the most plentiful and from deeds [I desire] the deed which is the best and from knowledge [I desire] the knowledge which is the most beneficial and from the sustenance [I desire] the sustenance which is the most plentiful.

O my Allah! You become ours (grant us benefits) and do not burden us (protect us from harms). O my Allah! Grant us salvation when we die and reform our deeds and grant us safety in your days and nights and grant us your mercy in our houses and in our possessions and cover our sins and fault with the cover of your forgiveness and do us favors by correcting all our faults [inner and outer] and give us confidence and reliance on You.
O my Allah! Grant us perseverance and persistence in our Deen (religion/Path to God). Save us from such deeds in the world that will become a source of shame (humiliation) on the Day of Judgment and lessen the burdens of our sins on us and grant us a life of the pious ones and be sufficient to us in all our affairs and protect us from the evil of the evildoers. Liberate us and our ancestors, from the fire of Hell, from loans, and from oppression O You the Victorious One (Ya Aziz)! O You the Forgiving One (Ya Ghaffar)! O You the Generous One (Ya Kareem)! O You the Coverer of faults (Ya Sattar)! O You the Tolerant One (Ya Haleem)! O You the Powerful One (Ya Jabbar)! O You the Magnificent One (Ya Azeem)! O You the One Who Punishes (Ya Qahhar)! O Allah! O Allah! O Allah! O You the Compassionate One (Ya Rahman) in this world! O You the Merciful One (Ya Raheem) in the life hereafter! O You the Supreme Merciful One (Ya Arhum ur-Rahimeen)! You are the Grantor of the Excessive Mercy! And may the mercy and blessings of Allah always descend on Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who is the best of all [of God's] creations [from eternity to eternity] and on his descendants and on his companions. All praises are solely due to Allah the Lord of all the Universes (Rabb ul-’Alameen).”

The Basis of Inner Peace or Peace of Heart by Sayyidi Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani

Taken from Qur'anic Psychiatry
"Know that in the thikr of Allah (also following the guidance in the Holy Qur'an) lies the peace of quloob (heart)."
In this ayaat the Creator of the physical and non-physical bodies, Allah Ta'ala, has declared the very basis of the immutable law governing a person's health.
Therefore, the very structure of spiritual health rests on "peace of heart." If this does not exist many psychological disorders, such as nervousness leading to neurosis, and other similar disorders will develop.

The meaning of Islam is peace or total surrender , meaning thereby surrendering one's own will before the Will of the Almighty. The foundation for inner peace rests on the following:  
1.      One must acknowledge that he has a Creator who has created him for some purpose in this earthly life.
2.      One must follow the manual of the Creator which the Almighty sent for His creatures-the guidance in the shape of the revealed books, i.e. the Holy Qur'an, and earlier books (now no longer valid).
3.      One must acknowledge that the Creator has been sending guidance and Messengers (peace be upon them) to lead mankind towards physical and spiritual prosperity and the life hereafter.
4.      One must believe that the Almighty has created many other intelligent beings such as angels and jinn beings.
5.      One must believe that his/her earthly life is very short, so much so that it has been compared with a short nap which one traveler might take under the shadow of a tree while traveling on the road and then goes on his way.
6.      One must believe that this worldly life is full of tests and trials. All these hardships must be borne with patience, steadfastness, taking all calamities, losses, adversities from the Almighty as a test of his Iman (belief). Therefore, he should not grieve over losses or show joy over any gain.
7.      One must not believe in any man or deity as his/her creator. Nor should he deny the existence of the Creator. No one can deny Allah without first affirming Him. By saying "I don't believe in Allah" can only mean that Allah does indeed exists, but one refuses to believe in Him. It also amounts to saying "I don't believe in the sun" --though the sun is there. Therefore all such persons can be compared with bats whose eyes don't open before the sun.
Denial of the Creator takes away peace, and the light of reason and intellect from the heart of a person and fills it with doubt. This is the worst disease of the qalb (heart), which causes every imaginable psychiatric (spiritual) malady.
Those who doubt the existence of the Almighty Creator will manifest all or some of the following characteristics: arrogance, anger, cruelty, cowardliness, miserliness, jealousy, hatred, hypocrisy, greed, ignorance, stubbornness, dissension, sloth, lying, selfishness, ill manners, despair, mischievousness, craftiness, lewdness (lack of modesty) perversion, and overpowering sexual despairs, etc.
Thus when the qalb is diseased then some, or all, of the aforementioned characteristics will be manifested in the conduct of any individual, depriving him of peace, tranquillity, sleep, and good health. Deprived of peace, a person will try to find solace in drugs, alcoholic drinks, sexual activities, hoarding wealth or getting power. Ultimately, they fall victim to the most horrible physical and psychiatric (non-physical) diseases.
Look at the fate of many of the world's multimillionaires, Hollywood film stars, rulers of the world, and even "psychiatrists." What a miserable end they usually have! As long as people keep doubting the existence of the Almighty there will be no end to their psychiatric diseases. The Almighty will keep on increasing their miseries by subjecting them to the control of the messengers of darkness, ignorance and deniers of the truth-the Freudians, pseudo-psychiatrists, and other atheists.
In order to have inner peace one must believe in the hereafter, raising of the dead, accountability, judgment, hell and paradise, and the eventually meeting with the One and Only Lord Almighty of Hazrats Adam, Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, Daood, Sulaiman, 'Isa bin Maryam, and Muhammad the Last and Final Messenger (peace be upon them all!). Even if the non-Muslims follow the Ten Commandments in letter and spirit they will be saved.
The following will give, in a nutshell, the teaching of all the Messengers mentioned above. Those who wish to have perfect physical and spiritual health, as well as those who are suffering and want to be cured of their diseases, will have to follow this code as explained by the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad
"You should believe:
1.      In Allah, i.e. in His Person and Attributes and
2.      The Last Day, and
3.      The Angels, and
4.      The earlier (Divine) Books (no longer available with original content), and
5.      All the Messengers, and
6.      The rising after death, and
7.      The destiny, i.e., all that is good or bad is from Allah, and
8.      That you bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, and
9.      That at the time of each salat you establish the salat it is proper time after performing a perfect wudhu. (Perfect Wudhu is one performed with due regard to ever 'adab [due respects] and mustahibbat [desirable action])
10.  Pay the zakat (obligatory charity on wealth exceeding a prescribed limit), and
11.  Fast during the month of Ramadhan, and
12.  Perform Hajj if you have wealth. (The availability of wealth has particularly been mentioned because want of wealth is generally made an excuse for non-performance of Hajj. Otherwise, evidently, the other prerequisites that make the Hajj obligatory should also exist.)
13.  You should perform the twelve rak'at sunnat-e-mu'akkadah salat every day. (According to other Hadith, the twelve rak'at are detailed as two rak'at before the two fard (obligatory) rak'at of Fajr Salat, four before and two rak'at after the four fard rak'at of Zuhr, two after the three fard rak'at of Maghrib and two after the four fard rak'at of 'Isha).
14.  You should never miss the Witr salat at night, which is wajib (compulsory, but less than fard and more important than sunnat) and is, therefore, specially emphasized.
15.  You should ascribe no partners unto Allah.
16.  You should not disobey your parents (if they obey the Almighty).
17.  You should not devour the property of orphans unjustly. (Unjustly implies that there is no harm in using the belongings of an orphan in a lawful manner as in the case under certain circumstances.)
18.  You should not drink wine.
19.  You should not commit adultery.
20.  You should not indulge in false oaths.
21.  You should not give false evidence.
22.  You should not yield to your base desires.
23.  You should not backbite a Muslim brother.
24.  You should not bring a false charge against a chaste woman (or a chaste man).
25.  You should not bear ill-will towards your Muslim brethren.
26.  You should not indulge in useless amusements.
27.  You should not join the idle spectators.
28.  You should not call a short-statured person "O, you short-statured one!" with the intention of finding fault in him.
29.  You should not indulge in jokes at the cost of others.
30.  You should not indulge in slandering others.
31.  You should be ever grateful to Allah for His bounties.
32.  You should be steadfast in suffering and calamity.
33.  You should not sever your ties of kinship with your (believing) relatives.
34.  You should discharge your obligations to your relatives.
35.  You should not curse any creature of Allah.
36.  You should remember and glorify Allah by repeating SubhanAllah (Glory belongs to Allah), Al-Hamdu lil-Lah (All Praises is for Allah), La ilaha il-Lallah (There is no god but Allah), Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) with frequency.
37.  You should not miss the Friday and 'Id salat.
38.  You should believe that whatever good or bad lot befalls you was predestined and could not be avoided, and whatever you have missed, you were predestined to do so, and,
39.  You should not give up the recitation of the Holy Book under any circumstances."

The heart filled with love for Allah

“Truly in the heart there is a void that cannot be removed except with the company of Allah.  And in it there is a sadness that cannot be removed except with the happiness of knowing Allah and being true to Him.  And in it there is an emptiness that can not be filled except with love for Him and by turning to Him andalways remembering Him.  And if a person were given all of the world and what is in it, it would not fill this emptiness.”
Imam Ibn ul Qayyim

Attar's Seven Valleys of Love

The Valley of the Quest
When you enter the first valley, the Valley of the Quest, a hundred difficulties will assail you; you will undergo a hundred trials. There, the Parrot of heaven is no more than a fly. You will have to spend several years there, you will have to make great efforts, and to change your state. You will have to give up all that has seemed precious to you and regard as nothing all that you possess. When you are sure that you possess nothing, you still will have to detach yourself from all that exists. Your heart will then be saved from perdition and you will see the pure light of Divine Majesty and your real wishes will be multiplied to infinity.One who enters here will be filled with such longing that he will give himself up completely to the quest symbolized by this valley. He will ask of his cup-bearer a draught of wine, and he has drunk it nothing will matter except the pursuit of his true aim. Then he will no longer fear the dragons, the guardians of the door, which seek to devour him. When the door is opened and he enters, then dogma, belief and unbelief--all cease to exist.

The Valley of Love
 The next valley is the Valley of Love. To enter it one must be a flaming fire--what shall I say? A man must himself be fire. The face of the lover must be enflamed, burning and impetuous as fire. True love knows no after-thoughts; with love, good and evil cease to exist.
 But as for you, the heedless and careless, this discourse will not touch you, your teeth will not even nibble at it. A loyal person stakes ready money, stakes his head even, to be united to his Friend. Others content themselves with what they will do for you tomorrow. If he who sets out on this way will not engage himself wholly and completely he will never be free from the sadness and melancholy which weigh him down. Until the falcon reaches his aim, he is agitated and distressed. If a fish is thrown onto the beach by the waves it struggles to get back into the water.
 In this valley, love is represented by fire, and reason by smoke. When love comes reason disappears. Reason cannot live with the folly of love; love has nothing to do with human reason. If you possessed inner sight, the atoms of the visible world would be manifested to you. But if you look at things with the eye of ordinary reason you will never understand how necessary it is to love. Only a man who has been tested and is free can feel this. He who undertakes this journey should have a thousand hearts so that he can sacrifice one at every moment.

The Valley of Understanding
 After the valley of which I have spoken, there comes another--the Valley of Understanding, which has neither beginning nor end. No way is equal to this way, and the distance to be travelled to cross it is beyond reckoning.
 Understanding, for each traveller, is enduring; but knowledge is temporary. The soul, like the body, is in a state of progress or decline; and the Spiritual Way reveals itself only in the degree to which the traveller has overcome his faults and weaknesses, his sleep and his inertia, and each will approach nearer to his aim according to his effort. Even if a gnat were to fly with all its might could it equal the speed of the wind? There are different ways of crossing this Valley, and all birds do not fly alike. Understanding can be arrived at variously--some have found the Mihrab, others the idol. When the sun of understanding brightens this road, each receives light according to his merit and he finds the degree assigned to him in the understanding of truth. When the mystery of the essence of beings reveals itself clearly to him, the furnace of this world becomes a garden of flowers. He who is striving will be able to see the almond in its hard shell. He will no longer be pre-occupied with himself, but will look up at the face of his Friend. In each atom he will see the whole; he will ponder over thousands of bright secrets.
 But, how many have lost their way in this search for one who has found the mysteries! It is necessary to have a deep and lasting wish to become as we ought to be in order to cross this difficult valley. Once you have tasted the secrets you will have a real wish to understand them. But, whatever you may attain, never forget the words of the Koran, "Is there anything more?"
 As for you who are asleep (and I cannot commend you for this), why not put on mourning? You, who have not seen the beauty of your Friend, get up and search! How long will you stay as you are, like a donkey without a halter!

The Valley of Independence and Detachment
 Then there comes the valley where there is neither the desire to possess nor the wish to discover. In this state of the soul a cold wind blows, so violent that in a moment it devastates an immense space; the seven oceans are no more than a pool, the seven planets a mere sparkle, the seven heavens a corpse, the seven hells broken ice. Then, an astonishing thing, beyond reason! An ant has the strength of a hundred elephants, and a hundred caravans perish while a rook is filling his crop.
 In order that Adam might receive the celestial light, hosts of green-clad angels were consumed by sorrow. So that Noah might become a carpenter of God and build the ark, thousands of creatures perished in the waters. Myriads of gnats fell on the army of Abraham so that the king would be overthrown. Thousands of the first-born died so that Moses might see God. Thousands of people took to the Christian girdles so that Christ could possess the secret of God. Thousands of hearts and souls were pillaged so that Muhammad might ascend for one night to heaven. In this Valley nothing old or new has value; you can act or not act. If you saw a whole world burning until hearts were only shish kabab, it would be only a dream compared to reality. If myriads of souls were to fall into this boundless ocean it would be as a drop of dew. If heaven and earth were to burst into minute particles it would be no more than a leaf falling from a tree; and if everything were to be annihilated, from the fish to the moon, would there be found in the depths of a pit the leg of a lame ant? If there remain no trace of either of men or jinn, the secret of a drop of water from which all has been formed is still to be pondered over.

The Valley of Unity
 You will next have to cross the Valley of unity. In this valley everything is broken in pieces and then unified. All who raise their heads here raise them from the same collar. Although you seem to see many beings, in reality there is only one--all make one which is complete in its unity. Again, that which you see as a unity is not different from that which appears in numbers. And as the Being of whom I speak is beyond unity and numbering, cease to think of eternity as before and after, and since these two eternities have vanished, cease to speak of them. When all that is visible is reduced to nothing, what is there left to contemplate?

The Valley of Astonishment and Bewilderment
 After the Valley of Unity comes the Valley of Astonishment and Bewilderment, where one is a prey to sadness and dejection. There, sighs are like swords, and each breath a bitter sight; there, is sorrow and lamentation, and a burning eagerness. It is at once day and night. There, is fire, yet a man is depressed and despondent. How, in his bewilderment, shall he continue his way? But he who has achieved unity forgets all and forgets himself. If he is asked: "Are you, or are you not? Have you or have you not the feeling of existence? Are you in the middle or on the border? Are you mortal or immortal?" he will reply with certainty: "I know nothing, I understand nothing, I am unaware of myself. I am in love, but with whom I do not know. My heart is at the same time both full and empty of love.

The Valley of Deprivation and Death
 Last of all comes the Valley of Deprivation and Death, which is almost impossible to describe. The essence of the Valley is forgetfulness, dumbness and distraction; the thousand shadows which surround you disappear in a single ray of the celestial sun. When the ocean of immensity begins to heave, the pattern on its surface loses its form; and this pattern is no other than the world present and the world to come. Whoever declares that he does not exist acquires great merit. The drop that becomes part of this great ocean abides there for ever and in peace. In this calm sea, a man, at first, experiences only humiliation and overthrow; but when he emerges from this state he will understand it as creation, and many secrets will be revealed to him.
 Many beings have missed taking the first step and so have not been able to take the second--they can only be compared to minerals. When aloe wood and thorns are reduced to ashes they both look alike--but their quality is different. An impure object dropped into rose-water remains impure because of its innate qualities; but a pure object dropped into the ocean will lose its specific existence and will participate in the ocean and in its movement. In ceasing to exist separately it retains its beauty. It exists and non-exists. How can this be? The mind cannot conceive it.

 Farid al-Din Attar (1142-1220)
 [Translated by C. S. Nott] 

Good Manners - Imam al-Haddad

Know disciple, that the beginning of the path is patience, and its end is thankfulness. 
Its beginning is difficulty, and its end is bliss. Its beginning is toil and weariness, 
and its end is opening, unveiling and arrival at the ultimate goal 
which is gnosis of God, arrival to Him, being comforted by Him, 
and standing in His noble presence with His angels standing before Him.
The one who makes gracious patience 
the foundation of all his affairs turns to every goodness, 
reaches everything that he hopes for, and wins all that he seeks.

Taqwaa: The key to Learning

Sheikh Abu Anas Hamad Ibn Ibrahim al-'Uthmaan

Short reminder to those seeking knowledge concerning the aspect of taqwaa, since this is a useful tool long forgotten by many of those who enter themselves into the various sciences of this noble, pure Religion.
Whosoever loves that Allaah should open-up his heart for him and grant light to him, then let him abandon speech about that which does not concern him, and abandon sins and turn away from disobedience.
Allaah – the Most Perfect, Most High – said:
"O you who believe! Have taqwaa (fear) of Allaah, and believe in His Messenger; and He will bestow upon you a double portion of His Mercy, and He will provide you with a light by which you will walk." [2]

Allaah – the Most High – also said:
"O you who believe! If you have taqwaa of Allaah, He will give you a Furqaan (criterion to judge right and wrong)." [3]
Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer (d.777H) – rahimahullaah – said:
Ibn ’Abbaas, as-Suddee, ’Ikrimah, ad-Dahhaak, Qataadah, and Muqaatil Ibn Hayyaan all said about "Furqaan" that it means: a way out (from difficulty). Mujaahid added: A way out (from difficulty) both in this world, and in the Hereafter. In a narration from Ibn ’Abbaas, he said: It means: salvation; and in another narration from him: being helped. Muhammad Ibn Ishaaq said that it means: a criterion to judge between truth and falsehood. This explanation from Ibn Ishaaq is the most general of what has preceded, and it is a necessary consequence of it. Since whoever has taqwaa of Allaah by obeying His Commands and abandoning that which he has prohibited, will be given the ability to recognize the truth from falsehood. This will be the cause for his salvation, his being helped; and the cause for his worldly affairs being made easier, and his happiness on the Day of Judgement. It will also be the cause for his sins to be expiated by Allaah, and his being granted forgiveness and Allaah shielding him from the people. It will likewise be the cause of him being a recipient of a great reward from
Allaah, as He – the Most High – said:
"O you who believe! Have taqwaa (fear) of Allaah and believe in His Messenger; and He will bestow upon you a double portion of His mercy, and He will provide for you a light by which you will walk."[4] [5]
Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ’anhu) said:
"Indeed I hold that a person forgets knowledge that which used to hold because of sins that he commits." [6]
Wakee’ Ibnul-Jarraah (d.197H) – rahimahullaah – said:
"I seek help in memorization by abandoning sin and disobedience." [7]
Imaam Maalik Ibn Anas (d.179H) – rahimahullaah – said to ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204H) – rahimahullaah – when the two of them met:
"Indeed I see that Allaah has placed a light upon your heart, so do not extinguish it with the darkness of disobedience and sin." [8]
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Idrees ash-Shaafi’ee said:
Whosoever loves that Allaah should open-up his heart for him and grant light to him, then let him abandon speech about that which does not concern him, and abandon sins and turn away from disobedience. Then there will be between him and Allaah a hidden treasure of good actions. So if this is done, then Allaah will open up such knowledge for him, that will pre-occupy him. And indeed in death is the greatest pre-occupation. [9]
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) – rahimahullaah – said:
Allaah – the Most Perfect, the Most High – has made as a punishment for people’s sins, the absence of guidance and beneficial knowledge, as He says:
"They say: Our hearts are wrapped-up (and we do not understand). Rather, Allaah has put a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief." [10]
And He said:
"They say: Our hearts are wrapped-up (and we do not understand). Rather, Allaah has cursed them for their disbelief." [11]
And He said:
"And We shall turn their hearts and their sight away from guidance, as they refused to believe therein for the first time." [12]
And Allaah says:
"In their hearts is a disease and Allaah increases their disease." [13]
And He says:
"So when they turned away, Allaah turned their hearts away." [14] [15]

[1] Taken from an-Nubadh fee Aadaabit-Talabil-’Ilm (p. 12-15) of Shaykh Abu Anas.
[2] Sooratul-Hadeed [57:28]
[3] Sooratul-Anfaal [8:29]
[4] Sooratul-Hadeed [57:28]
[5] Tafseer Qur‘aanul-’Adtheem (2/301-302) of Ibn Katheer.
[6] Related by Wakee’ in az-Zuhd (no. 329), and its isnaad is saheeh.
[7] Related by Ibn Hibbaan in Rawdatul-’Uqalaa (p. 39)
[8] I’laamul-Muwaqqi’een (4/258) of Ibnul-Qayyim.
[9] Related by al-Bayhaqee in Manaaqibush-Shaafi’ee (2/171)
[10] Sooratun-Nisaa‘ [4:155]
[11] Sooratul-Baqarah [2:88]
[12] Sooratul-An’aam [6:110]
[13] Sooratul-Baqarah [2:10]
[14] Sooratus-Saff [61:5]
[15] Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (14/152) of Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah.

Seeking Knowledge

by a Muslim sister
Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur'an in Surah Al Baqarah, "He granted wisdom (Hikmah) to whom He pleased; and to whom wisdom (Hikmah) is granted received indeed a benefit overflowing; but none will grasp the Message but men of understanding" (2:269). This ayah, as well as others in the Holy Qur'an, illustrates to us the importance of knowing and understanding our beautiful religion. Without knowledge of our Deen we run the risk of falling into misguidance and innovation, and that misguidance could ultimately lead us to the Hellfire. Allah's Messenger (SAW) used to say in every Friday khutba, "The best discourse is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, and the worst matter is that of innovation and every innovation is misleading." 

Thus it is imperative we know that what we are practicing and passing along to our children comes from the Qur'an and the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Allah has made it obligatory upon every believing individual, male and female alike, to have a basic understanding of our religion. Without possessing knowledge of our faith we ultimately harm ourselves and those whom we try to teach about Islam. We live in a time in which there is so much wrong information circulating about Islam and Muslims and within the Muslim world itself. It is therefore our responsibility as believers to make sure we are on right guidance for ourselves and for those who may want to know about our perfect Deen.

We must first and foremost set out on the pursuit of religious knowledge for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone, because the sin of an insincere seeker of knowledge is great. Call to mind the first three people to be thrown into the Hellfire. Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA): "...Then there will be brought forward a man who acquired knowledge and imparted it (to others) and recited the Qur'an. He will be brought, Allah will make him recount his blessings and he will recount them (and admit having enjoyed them in his lifetime). Then Allah will ask: What did you do (to requite these blessings)? He will say" I acquired knowledge and disseminated it and recited the Qur'an, seeking Thy pleasure. Allah will say: You have told a lie. You acquired knowledge so that you might be called "a scholar", and you recited the Qur'an so that it might be said: "He is a Qari" and such has been said. Then orders will be passed against him and he shall be dragged with his face downward and cast into the Fire..." (Sahih Musilim: Book 19, #4688).

A sincere seeker of knowledge, however, receives great blessings from Allah (SAW). Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA): Allah's Apostle (SAW) said, "He who treads the path in search of knowledge, Allah will make that path easy, leading to Paradise for him and those persons who assemble in one of the houses(mosques) of Allah, recite the Book of Allah and learn and teach the Qur'an (among themselves). There will descend upon them tranquility, mercy will cover them, the angels will surround them and Allah will mention them in the presence of those near Him. (Sahih Muslim: Book 34, #6518).

Acquiring sound knowledge of Islam takes a lifetime of study, but the benefits gained from the sincere pursuit of that knowledge are immense. In a Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) it is said that if Allah (SWT) wants to do good to a person, He makes him comprehend the religion, the understanding of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. In another Hadith of the Prophet (SAW) we learn the superiority of a person who learns Islam and then teaches it to others.
Seeking Islamic knowledge is of great importance. We must do so sincerely, however, and with a pure heart. If we seek to gain religious knowledge sincerely, and only for the sake of Allah (SWT), He will reward us with a great and generous reward. We must always remember that we not only have a responsibility to ourselves to learn our Deen, but we are responsible for teaching our children Islam, and for bringing Islam to non Muslims. 

That is why it is so important we teach only sound, reliable information from the Qur'an and Sunnah. If we cannot bring forth reliable evidence to enforce a piece of knowledge, then we must be silent. We have to then seek answers from a person who has already acquired such knowledge, and make sure that person is fully capable of imparting religious knowledge to others. One of the signs of the Last Day is that religious knowledge will be taken away, and we will be taught by those who have no knowledge. Narrated Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Aas (RA): I heard Allah's Messenger (SAW) saying, "Allah does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away from (the hearts of) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray" (Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari: Book 3, Chapter 24, #86).

I know that none of us wants to stray from the Straight Path, or lead anyone else from the Straight Path either. So we must try our best to acquire knowledge that is of benefit to ourselves, our children, and others. We must strive to be from the knowledgeable. Narrated Ibn Masud: I heard the Prophet (SAW) saying, "There is no envy except in two: A person whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way, and a person whom Allah has given wisdom (i.e. religious knowledge) and he gives his decisions accordingly and teaches it to others" (Sahih Al-BukhariL Volume 2, Book 24, #490). Remember, once we have learned something we must pass it on to others. Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA): Allah's Messenger (SAW) said: "When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (the deceased)" (Sahih Muslim: Book 12, #4005).

Say..."O my Lord advance me in knowledge: (Qur'an, 20:114). I pray Allah (SWT) makes it easy on all of us, and guides us all ever closer to the Straight Path. Amin.

The Keys to Humility

by A Muslim Brother

Many of us, Islamic blog writers, students of knowledge, activists, khatibs, or any of the groups of people in between who’s Islamic activities are public affairs, find ourselves in a difficult situation. We know the importance of humility and know that it is constantly under attack.

From khutbah compliments, to blog comments, to proving a young brother or sister’s incorrect point of view to be incorrect and helping them understand a point of fiqh or arabic or ‘Aqidah - true humility is the part of our castles.. We take the steps towards being humble, and then…recognize to ourselves that we have taken these steps, thus causing us to become proud of ourselves. It is a vicious cycle. More knowledge, more wisdom…
more to lose in the battle for humility. And on top of this, how do we keep our “humility” from turning into a destruction of our self-confidence and sense of self worth? Where is the balance? How do we keep from shows of self-demeaning: “brother, if you know me you’d know I was a pile of…” types of extreme responses to compliments.
How do we protect ourselves? How do we truly remove the pride from our hearts? Is hearing the Hadith about pride really sufficient? Is that enough fuel for us to do the job?

1. Remember why humility is important. The Prophet said: “No one who has an atom’s worth of pride in his/her heart will enter Jannah.” Humility makes us beloved to Allah (swt) and makes us kind with people. It allows us to enter Jannah. It allows us to live out our deen well, because not having an inflated opinion of ourselves allows us to accept mistakes, and move forward to correct them.

2. The classic advice of: “There are people who are more qualified than you” is good, but not comprehensive. We will discuss the good first - For anyone who has studied some arabic, quran, tajwid, or fiqh, you can rest assured, unless perhaps you are one of the few mujtahid-level ‘ulama alive today, that there are thousands of people out there, if not millions, who know more than you do. They are far more qualified in the deen, and many of them are younger than you. There are people more dedicated than you, more active than you, and smarter than you.
This should not dissuade us, but should bring us back to Earth. Remember, Musa was not the least bit discouraged by his conversation with Al-Khidr. Rather, he went forward after this lesson, to build his nation into a great Ummah for the sake of Allah (swt) and establish the Shari’ah.
However, this by itself is not comprehensive. Because as many people as there might be who are more qualified than you, there will also be many who are less qualified. They will hear your khutbahs, speeches, articles, advices, and see your Islamic work and benefit. They will look up to you, ask you questions, and you will try to help them. You will teach tajwid, Quran, and many other things.
Thus, point 2 is not sufficient for us, and will still keep us in the vicious battle for our humility.

3. The comprehensive answer, often overlooked in this discussion, is simpler than we think, but easier said then done.
The answer, the key to humility - is an acknowledgment, a true, deep acknowledgment, that any accomplishment that you have ever made in your entire life of any kind, is NOTHING more than a grace and mercy of Allah (swt) that you really have not done much to deserve.
Everything you have done, you could only do because He let you.
Everything you have gained, you only gained because He gave you.
When a beggar receives 10 dollars from a rich man, he does not go to the rich man and pretend that he has earned this money. Nor does he go into the streets haughtily and pretend that he himself is rich. His clothes, his hair, his countenance, testify to his true state.

Similarily, when we, the fuqara (the poor), have received such a charity from Allah, the Rich, of life, knowledge, deen, and rizq - our hearts and our actions testify to our true state as beggars. We thank Allah (swt) that he hid that from the people such that people cannot see that we are just beggars. But on the Day of Judgement, that state will be easily seen if we do not rectify it.

So brothers and sisters, the key to humility is not found only in looking above you to examples of people who are better. Rather, it is looking to your Lord,and recognizing your state when placed before him. It is in recognizing that the differences of human beings before Allah, are like a 4 yr old and a 4 yr and 1 month old arguing about who is older and thus, better. All of this talk of humility comes down to this relationship with Allah (swt) at the end, and realizing what His Rububiyyah (Lordship) over you, really means.
Be humble with Allah (swt) - that this Infinitely Knowledgeable Lord is always watching you, and humility with people will come. But if you try to be humble with people as the end and means, brushing off compliments and making false statements to try and seem humble, we will lose ourselves in our insincerity.
4. Lastly - do not let humility become a lack of self-confidence of source of self-degradation. Allah says:
“Wa la qad karramnaa bani Adam” - Verily, Indeed we have honored the Children of Adam
Bani Adam is a mukarram creation. It is honored. Allah fashioned Adam Himself and blew the Spirit into Adam. We are honored by Allah with Islam and as human being. Do not brush off this honor, nor seek honor in anything else except Islam.

Recognize the balance in the first verse ever revealed:
“Read in the Name of Your Lord who created; created Mankind from a clinging piece of flesh” (96:1) and“He who taught Man by the Pen. Taught Man that which he did not know.”
See how Allah shows us an honor that we were created by Allah, our Lord, Himself! How special we should feel that we were fashioned by Allah personally. How honored that He (swt) taught us and our father Adam what he did not even teach any other creation?

Then how Allah balances this with “a clinging piece of flesh” showing us the lowly origin of our creation.
So let us seek our humility not through external gestures, but through a relationship with Allah. Let us keep balance in our humility, that we remember we are honored, but that before Allah we are dust. And let us pray that Allah makes us better than what the people think we are.

wa alaikum assalam