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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Four Traits


Four Traits

Imam Ghazali mentions in his Ihya’ that Imam Junaid said,
“Four traits lift a person to the highest ranks, even if their works and knowledge are little:

(1) Forbearance (hilm)

(2) Humility (tawadu`)

(3) Generosity (sakha’)

(4) Good character (husn al-khuluq)–and this is the perfection of faith.”

[Imam Ghazali, Ihya' `Ulum al-Din]

The Signs of Fear of Allah; Its Reasons; Its Fruits and Some Poems




The Signs of Fear of Allah; Its Reasons; Its Fruits and Some Poems

Imam Ghazali, Imam Ibn Qayyim and Ibn Rajab Hanbali
The Signs of Fear:

Know! Dear Muslim brothers and sisters. We can find out whether we fear Allah or are oblivious of him through some simple tests. Here are some of them:



The tongue informs us: if we talk evil, backbite and engage in frivolous gossip, it shows that there is very little concern. We should engage our tongues in the remembrance of Allah, in the recitation of the Quran and in circles of knowledge.
In the heart we should expel hatred, enmity and jealousy and replace them with well-wishing and care for Muslims
We should be careful of what we put in our stomachs.
Our eyes should not wander off to look at haram objects.
Our feet should not walk towards haram places.
We should not extend our hands for haram purposes.
We should be concerned in our good deeds that we don't perform them for anyone else except Allah.
The Reasons For Fearing Allah:


O servants of Allah, there are many reasons why we should fear. The following is a list of a number of them;


the fear of death before repenting;
the fear of not living up to one's repentance and breaking one's promise;
the fear of not being able to fulfil Allah’s obligations;
the fear of losing one's softness in the heart and its hardening;
the fear of losing consistency;
the fear of allowing temptations to dominate;
the fear of Allah making one's self responsible for doing goods deeds because of conceit;
the fear of becoming arrogant and egotistical due to the abundance of bounties;
the fear of being distracted from Allah by other creation;
the fear of being led to an evil ending through excessive bounties;
the fear of being punished early (i.e. in this world);
the fear of being disgraced at the time of death;
the fear of being beguiled by the glitter of this world;
the fear of Allah revealing one's secret in one's state of oblivion;
the fear of being stamped with a bad death at the time of death;
the fear of the pangs of death;
the fear of the questions of Munkar and Nakeer in the grave;
the fear of the punishment of the grave;
the fear of the horrors of the horizon (at the time of resurrection);
the fear of the awe during the presentation in front of Allah;
the fear and the shame of being naked (at the time of resurrection);
the fear of being questioned about every little thing in life;
the fear of the bridge (over Hell) and its sharpness; the fear of the fire, its chains and its torment;
the fear of being deprived of Paradise, the Eternal and everlasting kingdom and abode and
the fear of being deprived of seeing Allah's tremendous visage.
The jurist of Samarkand says that the person who does one good deed should be weary of four things (imagine what a person who commits a sin should be afraid of):


The fear of not being accepted because Allah says:
‘Allah only accepts from those who fear.’ [Maidah: 27]
The fear of showing off, for Allah says: ‘They have been instructed to worship Allah sincerely; religion is for him Alone.’ [Bayinah: 5]
The fear of preserving the good deed because Allah says: ‘Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times its reward.’ [An`am: 161]
The fear of being deserted in performing good deeds, for Allah says: ‘My reconciliation (with good) is only through Allah; it is upon Him that I trust and it is to Him that I resort.’ [Hud: 88]
The Fruits of Fear:


Ghazali (rahmatullahi `alayhi) sais: ‘Fear rips away desires and muddens luxuries so that cherished sins become reprehensible, just as a honey lover is repelled by it when he learns that it has poison in it. This is how fear burns desires; disciplines the organs; subordinates the heart and gives it tranquility. It also enables the heart to rid itself of pride, hatred, and envy; and it leaves it absorbed in it (fear). Hence, the heart becomes preoccupied with its own worries and looks towards its best interest in the long run. It is then engaged in only matters like meditation, self-analysis and struggle. It cherishes its time and moments.’ [Ihya: 4/160]


Poems:


Abdullah ibn Mubarak (rahimahullah) said about fear:


When night befalls, they endure it
and see it through bowing in ruku.
Fear has released their sleep, so they stand
and acquire security in vigilance.


Hasan ibn Hani (rahimahullah) composed the following (it has been credited to Imam Shafi`ee (rahimahullah)):


Fear Allah and hope for every good thing from Him;
Don’t follow your adamant self, lest you regret it;
Remain in between hope and fear
and you will rejoice with the Pardon of Allah if you submit.
[Muajjamul Udaba: 17/303 credited to Imam Shafi`ee and also in the Divan of Hasan.]

Friday, August 12, 2011

On Reflection (fikr) - Imam al-Haddad (Book of Assistance)


On Reflection (fikr)
Glowing Mosque
from: The Book of Assistance, Imam ‘Abdallah Ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad (Allah have mercy upon him)
Translated by: Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi, Madina
You should have a wird of reflection in every twenty-four hours, for which you should set aside one or more hours. The best time for reflection is the one in which are the least pre-occupations, worries, and more potential for the heart to be present, such as the depths of the night. Know that the state of one’s religious and worldly affairs depend upon soundness of one’s reflection.
Anyone who has a share of it has an abundant share of everything good. It has been said : ‘An hour’s reflection is better than a year’s worship.’ ‘Ali, may God ennoble his face, has said: ‘There is no worship like reflection.’ And one of the gnostics; may God have mercy on them all, said: ‘Reflection is the lamp of the heart; if it departs the heart will have no light.’



The ways of reflection are many.
One, which is the most noble of them, is to reflect on the wonders of God’s dazzling creation, the inward and outward signs of His Ability, and the signs He has scattered abroad in the Realm of the earth and the heavens. This kind of reflection increases your knowledge of the Essence,
Full moon over the sea
Attributes, and Names of God. He has encouraged it by saying:Say: Look at what is in the heavens and the earth! (10:101)
Reflect on the wondrous creations He has made, and on yourself. He has said: In the earth are signs for those who have certainty, and in yourselves; can you not see? (51:20-21)
Know that you must reflect on the favors of God, and His bounties which He caused to reach you.
Remember the favors of God, that you may succeed. (7:69)
Should you (attempt to) number the favors of God, you would not be able to do so. (16:18)
All good things that you possess are from God. (16:53)
This kind of reflection results in the heart filling with the love of God, and continuously rendering thanks to Him, inwardly and outwardly, in a manner that pleases and satisfies Him.
Know that you should reflect on God’s complete awareness of you, and His seeing and knowing all about you.
We have created man, and We know what his soul whispers to him; and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (50:16)
And He is with you wherever you are, and God sees what you do. (57:4)
Have you not seen that God knows what is in the heavens and the earth, and no three (persons) converse but that He is their fourth?(58:7)
This kind of reflection results in your feeling ashamed before God should He see you where He has forbidden you to be, or miss you where He has commanded you to be.
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Know that you must reflect on your shortcomings in worshipping your Lord, and your exposing yourself to His wrath should you do what He has forbidden you.
I created jinn and men only to worship Me. (51:56)
Do you think We created you in vain, and that to Us you will not be returned? (23:115)
O man! What is it that has deceived you concerning your Generous Lord? (82:6)
This kind of reflection increases your fear of God, encourages you to blame and reproach yourself, to avoid remissness and persevere in your zeal.
Know that you must reflect on this worldly life, its numerous preoccupations, hazards, and the swiftness with which it perishes, and upon the hereafter, and its felicity and permanence.
Thus does God render the signs clear to you, that you may reflect on this world and the hereafter. (2:119-220)
But you may prefer the life of this world, when the hereafter is better and more abiding. (87:16-17)
The life of the world is but distraction and play; while the Last Abode is indeed the Life, if but they knew. (29:64)
This kind of reflection results in losing all desire for the world, and in wishing for the hereafter.
Know that you should reflect on the imminence of death and the regret and remorse which occur when it is too late.
Say: The death that you flee will indeed meet you, and you will then be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will inform you of that which you had been doing.(62:8)
Until, when death comes to one of them he says: ‘My Lord! Send me back that I may do good in that which I have left!’ No! It is but a word he says. (23:99-100)
O you who believe! Let not your wealth or your children distract you from the remembrance of God! up to: But God will not reprieve a soul whose time has come. (63:9-11)
The benefit of this kind of reflection is that hopes become short, behavior better, and provision is gathered for the Appointed Day.
Know that you should reflect on those attributes and acts by which God has described His friends and His enemies, and on the immediate and delayed rewards which He has prepared for each group.
The righteous are in felicity, and the depraved are in hell.(82:13-14)
Is the one who is a believer like the one who is corrupt? They are not equal. (32:18)
As for the one who gave, had taqwa, and believed in goodness, We shall ease him into ease, (92:5-7)up to the end of the sura.
The believers are those who, when God is mentioned, their hearts tremble, up to: they will have degrees with their Lord, and forgiveness, and generous provision. (8:2-4)
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God has promised those among you who have believed and done good works that He will make them rulers over the earth as He made those before them rulers. (24:55)
Each we took for their sin; on some we sent a hurricane, some were taken by the Cry, some We caused the earth to swallow, and some We drowned. It was not for God to wrong them, but they wronged themselves. (29:40)
Hypocrite men and hypocrite women proceed one from another; they enjoin evil and forbid good, up to: God curses them, and theirs is a lasting torment.(9:67- 68)
Believing men and believing women are helping friends to each other; they enjoin good and forbid evil. up to: and good pleasure from God which is greater; that is the supreme gain. (9:71-72)
Those who do not expect to meet Us, are content with the life of the world and feel secure therein, up to: and the end of their prayer is, Praised be God, the Lord of the Worlds! (10:7-10)
The result of this kind of reflection is that you come to love the fortunate, habituate yourself to emulating their behavior and taking on their qualities, and detest the wretched, and habituate yourself to avoiding their behavior and traits of character.
Were we to allow ourselves to pursue the various channels of reflection we would have to forgo the brevity which we intended. That which we have mentioned should suffice the man of reason.
You should with each kind of reflection, bring to mind those verses, hadiths and other narratives relating to it. We have given an example of this by quoting some of the verses related to each kind of reflection.
Beware of reflecting on the Essence of God and His Attributes in the wish to understand their nature and how they exist. No one ever became enamoured of this without falling into the abysses of negation (ta’til) or the traps of anthropomorphism (tashbih). The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ‘Reflect on the signs of God, and do not reflect on His Essence, for you will never be able to give Him His due.’
Source: Imam Abdallah Ibn Alawi al-Haddad, The Book of Assistance, translated by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi.
Book of Assistance
There are many books in English which present Sufi doctrine, but few which can be used as practical travel guides along the Path. Originally written in Classical Arabic, the aptly-named The Book of Assistance, is today in widespread use among Sufi teachers in Arabia, Indonesia and East Africa. Presented here in the readable translation of Dr. Badawi, this manual of devotions, prayers and practical ethics will be invaluable to all who love the Prophet and the Sufi way.
The author Imam Abdallah Ibn-Alawi Al-Haddad (d. 1720), lived at Tarim in the Hadramaut valley between Yemen and Oman, and is widely held to have been the ?renewer? of the twelfth Islamic century. A direct descendant of the Prophet, his sanctity and direct experience of God are clearly reflected in his writings, which include several books, a collection of Sufi letters, and a volume of mystical poetry. He spent most of his life in Kenya and Saudi Arabia where he taught Islamic jurisprudence and classical Sufism according to the order (tariqa) of the Ba’Alawi sayids.


source: SeekersGuidance

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Refining the heart


“O Allah! aid, guide and grant me (tawfiq) success to refine the qualities of my soul and clarify its density; through spiritual exertion that overcomes and effaces egoistic (nafsi) frivolities and subdues desirous motives; which is adorned by constant presence with Allah, Mighty and Majestic and the quality of good manners on the carpet of lowliness, brokenness, poverty and absolute need; thus realizing slavehood and fulfilling the rights of Lordship. Indeed You have power over all things."
Du'a by Imam Abdullah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad
(may Allah have mercy and be well-pleased with him)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Imam al-Haddad on Fasting

Condensed Excerpts from 'The Book of Assistance' by Imam al Haddad:

Imam al-Haddad on Fasting (Chapter 19)

Increase your good works, especially in Ramadan, for the reward of a supererogatory act performed during it equals that of an obligatory act performed at any other time. Ramadan is also a time when good works are rendered easy and one has much more energy for them than during any other month. This is because the soul, lazy when it: comes to good works, is then imprisoned by hunger and thirst, the devils who hinder it are shackled, the gates of the Fire are shut, the gates of the Garden are open, and the herald calls every night at Allah’s command: ‘O you who wish for goodness, hasten! And O you who wish for evil, halt!’





You should work only for the hereafter in this noble month, and embark on something worldly only when absolutely necessary. Arrange your life before Ramadan in a manner which will render you free for worship when it arrives. Be intent on devotions and approach Allah more surely, especially during the last ten days. If you are able not to leave the mosque, except when strictly necessary, during those last ten days then do so. Be careful to perform the Tarawih prayers during every Ramadan night. In some places it is nowadays the custom to make them so short that sometimes some of the obligatory elements of the prayer are omitted, let alone the sunnas. It is well known that our predecessors read the whole Qur’an during this prayer, reciting a part each night so as to complete it on one of the last nights of the month. If you are able to follow suit then this is a great gain; if you are not, then the least that you can do is to observe the obligatory elements of the prayer and its proprieties.


Watch carefully for the Night of Destiny [Laylat’ul-Qadr], which is better than a thousand months. It is the blessed night in which all affairs are wisely decided. The one to whom it is unveiled sees the blazing lights, the open doors of heaven, and the angels ascending and descending, and may witness the whole of creation prostrating before Allah, its Creator.


Most scholars are of the opinion that it is in the last ten nights of Ramadan, and is more likely to fall in the odd numbered ones. A certain gnostic witnessed it on the night of the seventeenth, and this was also the opinion of al-Hasan al-Basri. Some scholars have said that it is the first night of Ramadan, and a number of great scholars have said that it is not fixed but shifts its position each Ramadan. They have said that the secret wisdom underlying this is that the believer should devote himself completely to Allah during every night of this month in the hope of coinciding with that night which has been kept obscure from him. And Allah knows best.


Hasten to break your fast as soon as you are certain that the sun has set. Delay suhur long as you do not fear the break of dawn. Feed those who fast at the time when they break it, even if with some dates or a draught of water, for the one who feeds another at the time of breaking the fast receives as much reward as he without this diminishing the other’s reward in any way. Strive never to break your fast nor to feed anyone else at such a time except with lawful food. Do not eat much, take whatever lawful food is present ‘ and do not prefer that which is tasty, for the purpose of fasting is to subdue one’s lustful appetite, and eating a large quantity of delicious food will on the contrary arouse and strengthen it.


Fast on the days on which the Law encourages you to fast, such as the day of Arafat for those who are not participating n the pilgrimage, the ninth and tenth [‘Ashura] of Muharram, and the six days of Shawwal, starting with the second day of the Feast, for this is the more effective discipline for the soul. Fast three days in each month, for these equal a perpetual fast. It is better if these are the White Days, for the Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him, never omitted to fast them whether he was at home or traveling. Fast often, especially in times of special merit such as the Inviolable Months, and noble days such as Mondays and Thursdays. Know that fasting is the pillar of discipline and the basis of striving. It has been said that fasting constitutes half of fortitude. The Messenger of Allah, may blessings and peace be upon him, said: ‘Allah the Exalted has said: “All good deeds of the son of Adam are multiplied ten to seven hundredfold, except fasting, for it is Mine, and I shall reward a man for it, for he has left his appetite, his food and drink for My sake!”’ ‘The one who fasts has two joys, one when breaking his fast, the other when meeting his Lord.’ And; ‘The odour of the fasting man’s mouth is more fragrant to Allah than that of musk.’


Allah says the truth and He guides to the way. [XXXIII:4]

The Ten Directives of Imam Ghazali



In the name of Allah, most merciful, most generous

The Ten Directives

From the Gathered works of Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy)
Translated by Arfan Shah

Proofread by Adnan Tariq


All praise is for Allah, the giver of success, who gathered the hearts of the lovers, the ability to practice the prophetic way and the rulings of the Quran. The Opener who opens the insight of their eyesight, so they see the place of sublime in the battle of the veiled. The Inspirer who inspired bright proof through overwhelming evidence then affected it soundly. Called them with a tongue to the order of love, from the garden of affection, how can the lover sleep when he sees the beloved ones...?!

****
To begin: may Allah blow on us a breeze of closeness; quench our and your thirst from beakers of his love. This is an explanation of our way and a proof for peoples’ realisation. Built upon ten directives that awaken those in slumber so they can establish these directives.

The First Directive 

Is a truthful intention that does not waver because he said (upon him peace and blessings), “The recompense for the intender is their intention.” (Muslim) intention means the determination of the heart. (To do or not do something).



The definition of intention is the determination of the heart and truthfulness is completing an action or leaving an action for the Lord. In reality is it continuing on this natural effectiveness because one of the signs of an unchanged determination is that his resolve towards the goal is unswerving; remaining on his determination. As the action is for the Real (Allah) and this is the necessary truth so do not leave that which you have intended for the Creator.

The Second Directive 

To perform an action for Allah without a co-sharer or partner because he said (upon him peace and blessings), “Worship Allah as if you see him and you cannot then as if he sees you.” (Muslim)

A sign (of this) is that you are not pleased with anything but the Real (Allah) and you see nothing other than him. You avoid creation as the Chosen Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Cursed is the slave of the gold coin.”

He should leave, for the sake of Allah (the All-mighty), all his aspirations; because he said (upon him peace and blessings), “Form the perfections of one’s Islam; is to leave that which does not concern him.” (At-Tirmidhi)

It is passions so avoid if they afflict you because of his speech (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “Leave that which gives you doubt for that which does not.” (At-Tirmidhi 2520 and An-Nisa'i 5711)

So if these principles are sound then the branches will give fruits of closeness. So be like this in the world and in meaning in the afterlife; upon the extent of your aspiration and steadfastness upon action. Leave error like in the famous prophetic narration, “Be in the world as if you are a stranger or a wayfarer.” (Bukhari) and “Consider yourselves inhabitants of the graves.” (ibid)

A sign of satisfaction and sufficiency with hot, cold and hunger is his speech, “Sufficient for the son of Adam are some morsels which keep his back straight.” (At-Tirmidhi 2380 and Imam Ahmed 17186)

So do not incline to wheat, barley or to the pit of the date stone. Be satiated with pure things and do not desire the impermissible. Do not lower yourself to minor desires. A sign of a stranger is having less and using little and the opposite is being agreeable to much. Not questioning as he is under the shelter of the stranger. The sign of a traveller is his fast response and satisfaction with what came to him of comfort. And the sign of the dead is altruism to his religion as well as questioning, most of the time.

Third Directive
Accepting the Real (Allah) totally and in conformity. Oppose yourself with patience upon separation, hardship; abandonment of whims, distancing (oneself from) passions, places and disagreements. Whoever goes back to him leaves the veil and enters the disclosure. Then he sleeps late; mingles isolation; is satisfied with hunger; his honour is low; his speech is silence and abundance is little.

Fourth directive

Action is by fellowship and not by innovating lest he becomes a follower of his passions. Do not be proud of your opinion as there is no success in he who takes himself as a protector because he (upon him peace and blessings) said, “It is upon you to hear and obey, even to an Ethiopian slave.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Fifth directive
High aspirations delay your corruption. As they say, “Do not leave the action of today for tomorrow.” As some actions are part of others and only those who are satisfied with little are prevented from much. The correct group to follow is the Sunni's not the Shia, not the Mutazilites and not the innovators because of his speech (upon him peace and blessings), “O’ my beloveds, be with the majority.” They asked, “O’ Messenger of Allah, who are the majority?” He replied, “What I and my companions are on.”

Sixth directive

Weakness and lowness. Do not be lazy in the acts of obedience and refraining from striving. Rather be weak in all actions except those for the Real, the Generous. See the Creator through generous and respectful eyes; as some it is means to others; in reverence to the owner of the glory and honour. As the way of Allah (mighty and majestic) is if he desires something; it does not exceed by negating the means. When the Glorious desires to show you his greatness, more than others, the auspices of his order become clear. If you know that everything is under the control of Allah (mighty and majestic) and returns to him; then be grateful for it as it reached you from Him. So make your weakness in a corner and your habitation to him is with apology and do not conceive your ability as there is contention in ability.

Seventh Directive
Fear and hope mean lack of tranquillity in the Majesty of excellence except according to the evident. So be good by showing generosity and excellence.

Eighth directive
Constant worship, this is either the right of the Real or the right of the servant. As the one without a constant action does not have a constant support. Be constant without suffering boredom; be not he who is absent in his actions and words. As the ego is excessive with this in public and in secret. Take into account the rights of the servant as good or occurs from them. He loves or abhors for them what he loves or abhors for himself of good or evil. Know that Allah (the exalted) is not satisfied if he likes that which Allah does not.

Ninth directive
Is constant vigilance of himself and he is not absent from Allah (mighty and Majestic) for a blinking of an eye. Whoever is constant upon being vigilant, in his heart, for Allah (mighty and majestic) negates everything other than Allah, finds Allah and perfection. Then knowledge of certainty will be arrived at by his beauty. He will not see movement, stillness, eye movement or calmness without the power of the All-Mighty being free from it. So increase your vigilance for it will be raised to the level of certain knowledge then to annihilation after that and that is the reality of certainty. So say, “I do not see anything except I see Allah (mighty and majestic) through it. He is the Everlasting that established everything. That is something he established by his order and his power; according to witnessing and presence.” So show etiquette with the Creator and mix with excellent associates. He said (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “My Lord gave me etiquette and then perfected me in it.”

Tenth directive
Know, what is necessary for you to be occupied with striving internally and the externally. As whoever thinks that he is free from obedience is a bankrupt fool because he has no Lord other than him. He said, “Say, if you love Allah then follow me; Allah will love you.” (The Family of Imran 4:31)


So these are founding principles that castles are based, unlike any other castles. Base it upon large rocks; for the heads of the charges; cultivate your fields; sow seeds of happiness; plant in paradise remembrance; receive gardens of flowers and rivers; its bedding is red anemones of struggle; its bed gardens of enduring reality; in hope of reaping the field by scythes of endeavour; intended for the rich giving of a generous giver and Allah (the exalted) purifies and brings them forth. Indulge freely in the manifest and enjoin from what is shameful. He is the Generous, the Munificent and the merciful.

Peace upon those who follow guidance. Do not innovate, benefit and be beneficial and join the righteous servants of Allah, their party is successful, blessed and shown mercy. Allah send blessings and peace upon our master Muhammad one of the lights of gnosis and the secret of knowledge of God; and upon his family, his companions; whoever follows his path and party. All praise is due to Allah who completed the favour of righteous actions and spreads his blessings. Ameen. (O' Allah please respond.)

Translated from Mujmua Ar-Risail Al-Imam Al-Ghazali. Printed by Maktabah At-Tawfiqqiyyah, Egypt, Cairo.