Monday, June 30, 2008

Simple Prescriptions & A Curriculum for Regular Muslims

Category: SOUND

Simple Prescriptions

Allah Ta’ala wants that every Believer, every Muslim, you and I, no matter how far away we may be, and no matter how much we may have distanced ourselves from Him to still become His friend. And this is not an impossibility. Do not regard Wilayat (friendship with Allah) as a very difficult thing.

In these times, none of the Mashaa`ikh will prescribe that a person stands on the shores of the ocean, on one leg, and reads one tasbeeh, ten thousand times… nothing of the kind.

The prescription of the times is the simplest and easiest, and the only effort that we really require to make in these times of fitnah (trial) and corruption, is that together with fulfilling those Rights which are Fardh, Waajib and Sunnat, we restrain ourselves from all sins. A little Zikr (Praise of Allah Ta’ala), accompanying this, will then yield great results. We will then, Insha-Allah, see what Ikhlaas Allah Ta’ala grants to the heart, and what rewards follow on Ikhlaas.

Source: Ikhlas - Sincerity, A Discourse by Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (db) [Musjid-e-Noor]

A Curriculum of Study for the Regular Muslim

by Mufti Taqi Usmani,

Section 1: Necessary Beginners Knowledge

"...without which living a life like a true Muslim is not possible."

  • Hayat al-Muslimin (Mawlana Ashraf `Ali)

  • Furu` al-Iman (Mawlana Ashraf `Ali)

  • Ta`lim al-Din (Mawlana Ashraf `Ali)

  • Behishti Gohar [for men] (Mawlana Ashraf `Ali)

  • Behishti Zewar [for women] (Mawlana Ashraf `Ali)

  • Jaza' al-A`maal (Mawlana Ashraf `Ali)

  • Sirat Khatim al-Anbiya' (Mufti Shafi`)

  • Hakayat Sahaba (Mawlana Zakariyya Kandihlawi)

  • Tarikh Islam (Mawlana Muhammad Mian)

  • Usway Rasule Akram (Mawlana `Abd al-Hayy)

Section 2: Broadening the Core

" which such vastness and firmness is produced in religious aspects that a person will not be misguided by those who misguide."

  • Ma`arif al-Quran (Mufti Shafi`) or Tafsir Usmani (Mawlana Shabbir Ahmed)

  • Ma`arif al-Hadith (Mawlana Manzur Nu`mani)

  • Behishti Zewar ke Masa'il (Mawlana Ashraf `Ali)

  • `Ilm al-Fiqah (Mawlana `Abd al-Shakkur Lakhnawi)

  • Aqa'id al-Islam (Mawlana Idris Kandihlawi)

  • Shari`at wa Tariqat (Mawlana Ashraf `Ali)

Source: (Fatawa Usmani, pg. 181-182 ed. Maktaba Ma`arif al-Quran: 2005)

[Some other beneficial works, as recommended by some teachers for personal studies, include [a] the Ihya `Ulum al-Din [b] Tariqat al-Muhammadiyyah of Imam Birgivi [c] Riyadh al-Salihin [d] `Ulum al-Qur'an of Mufti Taqi [e] Shaykh `Abd al-Fattah's works...]

In addition, most all these works can be found in English these days.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Knowledge & Sins & The Disease of Idiots

Category: SOUND


“Useful knowledge is that which makes you grow in the fear of Allah, increases you in awareness of your defects, deepens your knowledge of the worship of your Lord Most High, decreases your desire for this world and increases your desire for the life to come, and opens your eyes to the defects of your actions so that you guard against them.”
-Imam Al-Ghazali (ra)

Tirmdhi relates from Jubayr ibn Nufayr (ra), on the authority of Abu Darda (ra):

“We were with the Prophet(peace and blessings be upon him) and he said, “ There {will be} a time when knowledge will be snatced from the people until they will be unable to benefit from it.” Ziyad ibn Lubayd said, “ O Messenger of Allah, how will Allah seize knowledge from us when we recite the Qur’an.” I swear by Allah, we recite it and teach it to our women and children!” He said, “ May your mother be bereaved of you, Ziyad. I used to consider you one of the learned people of Madinah! The Torah and the Gospel are with the Jews and the Christians, yet do they benefit from them in any way?”
[Tirmdhi no. 2653]

Nasa’i relates a similar hadith from Jubayr ibn Nufayr, on the authority of ‘Awf ibn Malik (ra), from the Prophet (ra). He says in this hadith,

"The Prophet (saw) mentioned the straying of the Jews and the Christians despite their possessing scriptures."
[Al-Nasa’i , al- Sunan al-Kubra(Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi), 8:211; al-Musnad, 6-26-27; al Hakim, al-Mustadrak(Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya, 1990), 1:99-100]

Jubayr ibn Nufayr (ra) also related:

"I met Shaddad ibn Aws and I informed him of the hadith of ‘Awf ibn Malik, and he said, 'He has spoken the truth. Shall I not inform you about the first occurrence of the lifting of knowledge? Humility will be lifted to the point you will not see a single humble person.'"


The Discomfort of Avoiding Pleasurable Sins

“The discomfort felt after not committing a sin is like an everlasting feeling of springtime. This discomfort is actually beneficial and more virtuous compared to that feeling of temporary tranquility felt by the nafs after committing a sin. The reason behind this is that the curses of Allah descend on the person who acquires haram pleasures of the nafs, whereas the mercy of Allah descends on the person who feels discomfort for leaving sins.”

[‘Ataa-e-Rabbaani pg.34]

Comment of Abu Yahya

This malfooz of Hazratwala is actually the essence of his teachings. Hazratwala does not emphasise anything as much as he emphasizes tolerating the “pain” of abstaining from sins; such as casting evil glances at beautiful and handsome faces, watching pornographic pictures, etc. And in this day and age, this is a very unique and rare thing to propagate.

Unfortunately there is a great misconception which is becoming widespread in the Ummah (and this is due to our separation from the company of the Ulama and Auliya)which is: wear hijab, wear a kufi, go to a couple of Islamic conferences and lectures, and lead whatever type of life you wish. If it is too hard or difficult for you to do, then no problem… there is definitely some scholar who has given a fatwa permitting it. Surf the net and you’ll find Mufti Google answering all your queries!

The problem is that no one can comprehend that the pain in abstaining from sins is something good. We think: how can pain be good? But as they say: NO PAIN, NO GAIN!

It hurts to guard your eyes and follow the sunnah when you’re surrounded by kufr and mockers of the sunnah… but it is from this pain of not being accepted and not allowing the nafs haram pleasures by which Allah is attained.

We have mixed up the “ease” that shariah offers to us at times of dire necessity with the ease desired by the nafs in order to shy away from mujahadah. Whereas there is a clear and explicit difference. When the malfoozat and noble utterence of the Ulama-e-Rabbaniyeen such as the one above is applied to one’s life… then one truly experiences peace and traquility.

Indeed, just like when working out to develop bigger and stronger muscles when weight-training. Working out the soul is the same. The pain and 'burn' come from avoiding sins and especially the pleasurable ones, and engaging in good deeds, particularly the difficult ones. Just as the frequent trainee of bodybuilding begins to love the feeling of what is essentially harm coming to his body from the soreness and 'burn' of the muscles, because they understand what it signifies, so too will a seeker in the spiritual path come to even enjoy the discomfort from not sinning, because they'll understand what that signifies.

Source: An-Noor

Tricks of Shaitan

1. The first thing Shaytaan does is, he takes out the importance of obedience out of us and puts the importance of the dunya within us.

2. The second thing Shaytaan does is he delays the good actions, ex. praying, following the Sunnah, acquiring good company, making taubah etc.

3. The third thing he does is that he makes you rush through any good deed.

4. The fourth level of Shaytaan’s trickery is that he puts riyaa’ in those actions.

5. The fifth level of Shaytaan’s trickery is that he puts vanity in us - ‘ujb, i.e. conceit.

6. The sixth level of Shaytaan’s trickery is that he injects you with the poison of doing things for fame.

Any one of these is sufficient to destroy the reward of the action as well as serve as a means of destruction for the person.

May Allah save us from shaytaan and his evil ploys. Aameen!

Source: An-Noor

The Aim of Life

If we live in the company of the pious ones, we will attain the aim of life. What is the aim of life? When we go from this world wrapped in our kafans, we will not be able to take our jewellery, wives, children, carpets, mobile telephones, or any currency. This is proof enough that these items are not the aim of life. Tell me, is this a proof or not? Since the time of Adam (Alaihis salâm) till today, have you seen anyone taking his house, carpets and telephone with him? Have you seen anyone telling the angels, “O angels, come and help me. I cannot carry my carpets and my house alone. Please assist me.” Then the angels come down and say, “This janazah has requested Allâh Subhanahu wa Ta’la that his chairs, carpets, telephone, cellphone, cars and goods should reach the hereafter.” Has any dead person gone with his house and material possessions? This shows that these things are not the purpose of life. These are the means of life. Means are taken away while aims are not snatched away. This is proof enough that our purpose is worship. We take the nûr (illumination) of our worship to Allâh Subhanahu wa Ta’la. Another proof is that Allâh Subhanahu wa Ta’la grants us the ability to take His name till the time of death because this is the aim of life. Many powers terminate after sixty to seventy years. Hadhrat Hakeemul Ummat (Rahimahullâh) states that when the strength is finished, the old man tells his old wife, “Throw sand on taking and giving, let’s have pure love.” Friends, all strengths terminate in old age except the ability to take Allâh’s name. To the extent that some people became blind and deaf but their tongues were moving. Those who were in the habit of taking Allâh’s name, only they took His name. While those who were not in the habit of taking His name, who secretly went to the sewerage area and committed lewd acts had a disastrous end.

Source: "Purpose of Life" by Arif Billah Hazrat Molana Shah Hakeem Mohammad Akhter Sahab (db)

Overpower The Nafs (Self)

Do not company those who have becom Overpowered, O Rebellious one. Accompany one who has overpowered his nafs so that you may also become dominant and be able to practice upon the knowledge that you have acquired. and if one always stays in the company of those who are overpowered by their nafs then he will also remain a slave of his base desires. This because the one who himself is enslaved, how can he free someone else? one prisoner cannot release another prisoner. only if one of them is released will he be able to bail the other out. These people are the Ahlullah who have freed themselves from the slavery of Nafs.

Source: -Connection with Allah- by Arif billah Hazrat Molana Shah Hakeem Mohamamd Akhter sahab (db), Ahl-e-Dil

The Disease of Idiots

“One lustful gaze leads to another, just as one sin leads to another and also one good deed to another.”
-Arif Billah Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Akhtar Sahib (db)

Hakeem ul Ummah, Hazrat Thanwi (RA) says, “To cast lustful glances is the disease of idiots. You neither give, nor receive. All you do is put your own heart in turmoil. You can stare at a girl forever, but you will never get her. You will only get the person that Allah has decreed for you as halal. Since this is a matter which has already been decided by Allah, that is why this is the disease of idiots.”
[Anwaar-e-Haram pg. 45]

Note: This applies for females as well. Just because the example given by Hazrat Thanwi (RA) involves men, it does not mean that women are exempt. The ruling for lowering the gaze has been given to men first, and then specifically to women separately.

"Casting lustful galnces at beautiful girls and young lads is nowadays not even considered to be a sin. Hadratwala said that one who casts lustful glances at girls and young lads is stupid. And there is no FIX for stupidity. People, who have zero tolerance to Ahlullah, argue that 'we don’t know'… Hadratwala has said IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE FOR SINNING. Islam doesn’t work like this. It’s obligatory on every Muslim to know the difference between Halal and Haram. One should attend the Majalis of the Ahlullah and Ulama."

Source: Ahl-e-Dil

What is Dunya? & The Cure For Depression

Category: SOUND

What is Dunya?

Maulana Rumi (RA) explains the reality of the dunya by posing the question, “What is dunya?” Some ignorant people say, “Kick the dunya aside, kick the dunya aside!” Our Shaikh Hazrat Hakeem Akhtar (DB) says, “If you do not have money, and if you do not have food, then you will not be able to even lift your leg up to kick the dunya aside.” From this we can understand that wealth is not necessarily dunya. Then what is? Maulana Rumi sums it up in one line, where he poses the question, and then answers it. He says, “What is dunya? It is to be unmindful of Allah.”

Clothes, silver, gold, money, wealth, wife and kids are not necessarily dunya, provided they do not make a person unmindful of Allah. In other words, all these things are kept according how Allah wants them to be, and he does not use any of these things in disobeying Allah, then this person is a man of God, and is not materialistic. On the other hand you have a person who is broke. He spends his life hungry and goes through financial difficulties, but is negligent of Allah, and disobeys Allah, and then this person in reality is materialistic even though he has nothing. We understand that even living in luxury and affluence, a person can be a wali of Allah, and contrary to this, in poverty and hunger; a person can be distant from Allah and materialistic. That is why Maulana Rumi (RA) has defined dunya as negligence towards Allah, not wealth, and prominence.

The proof of this statement can be found in the Tafseer Ruh-ul-Ma’aani under the verse where Allah says, “And the life of this world is nothing but capital of deception.” Allah uses the Arabic word manta’, so what really is mataa’? Allamah Aalusi (RA) (the author of the above mentioned Tafseer) mentions that mataa’ actually refers to a cloth that women normally use in the kitchen to wipe and clean the kitchen area. So it is something very low and worthless.

Allamah Aalusi (RA) poses a question in his Tafseer that when is the dunya considered lowly and bad? He answers by saying that the dunya is only bad when it makes you unmindful of the Aakhirat. The dunya is carrion, and its seekers are dogs. But this is with a condition, and the condition is that it should make one unmindful of the Aakhirat. Allamah Aalusi (RA) mentions that if the dunya does not make one unmindful of Allah and the Aakhirat, and the dunya is made as a means to attain the Aakhirat, then it is a great capital and saving. One person uses his wealth to serve the Ulamaa. He donates his wealth to masjids, and madrasahs. He makes utilizes his wealth for Islamic publications. He feeds students of deen and pious people. So is this person’s wealth merchandise of deception? Is it lowly and degenerate? No, rather it is a great capital that he has saved up, which is being sacrificed for the sake of Allah. That is why it is mentioned in a hadith, “No one but a pious person should eat your food.” The reason for this is that the pious person after eating will get strength and energy and he will do good deeds. So the one who fed him will also have a share in the reward and this will be a form of Sadaqah Jaariyah (continuous charity). So this form of dunya is not debased because it is being used as a means to build the Aakhirat.

This type of wealth is not given to everyone. Everyone is not so fortunate that their wealth does not make them unmindful of Allah. My Shaikh, Shah Abdul Ghani (RA) used to say that Allah does not disclose the secret of His love to every heart. He then would recite some poetry in Farsi with great enjoyment. The meaning of the poetry is as follows:

Allah does not disclose the secret of His love to every heart.
And every eye is not always fit to guide one on His path.
Every pearl is not given the honor of being part of the king’s crown.
And every messenger was not blessed with the ascension (Mi'raj).
Not everyone is chosen for the service of the Deen.
One out of a thousand is blessed with this honor.

I pray that Allah gives us the taufeeq to utilize whatever dunya we have for the sake of Deen, and also that Allah include us amongst those that He has chosen for the service of His Deen. Aameen.

-Dars-e-Mathnawi pg. 20-24
(Shaykh Hakeem Akhtar)


The Cure For Depression

This article can be found here on An-Noor. It's a bit too lengthy to repost here, but InshAllah it will remain available on that site. It's a very good read.

Giving Up Sins: An Easy Prescription

Category: SOUND

by Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel

There are many, many Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world who due to various negative influences and bad elements, find themselves 'de-railed' from Deen. Many others sit on the fence, wanting to enjoy or benefit from both sides of the fence - engaging in sins as well as being practical on certain teachings of Deen. However, deep in their hearts is the desire to get back on track, and once again become good, practical Muslims; to jump off the fence and enjoy the green pastures of Islam. So they write, e-mail, phone, fax seeking guidance and direction.

The main weakness is indulgence in sins; sometimes many sins and excessive indulgence in those sins. A standard prescription that I give as a reply, is as follows. Alhamdulillah, many who followed through with the prescription have found a whole new life - of peace, happiness, blessings and mercy. On tasting the sweetness that comes with obedience, there is no desire to return to any form of disobedience.

  • The ideal is that we abstain from sins, out of love for Allah Ta'ala. He has granted us so much - He has granted us everything and it is the nature of human beings that we love the person that is kind and generous to us. Then what of Allah Ta'ala who has provided us with plentiful - with everything? The sight, hearing, speech, the organs that are functioning in such an amazing manner, the limbs - all in our service - for eating, drinking, walking, sitting, etc. The gifts of wealth : the clothing, shelter, transport, food, drink, and so many other comforts. We use them all, but do we keep in mind, the Generous Benefactor? Do we give thanks for these bounties or show any appreciation to the Giver?

  • Developing the conscious awareness that Allah Ta'ala is with us : He is watching us, He is hearing us, He knows all and everything about us; We cannot hide from Him; We cannot conceal our actions from Him. Then should we not feel ashamed that in His Presence, we are disobeying Him? Are we not showing ingratitude to the Benefactor, when engaging in sins in His very Presence ?

  • Keep in mind that the angels too are witness to all our actions; that the earth is recording our behaviour and that all of it is also noted in our books of deeds - that we are accountable to Allah Ta'ala on the Day of Judgement. Added to this, our actions are also presented to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), so we should give thought to whether our actions are a source of joy or grief to him. .In this manner, we will develop that shame and modesty which will make it easy to restrain from Haraam.

  • Muraqabah is meditating on the actions engaged in during the day : We should reflect over our deeds for the day and seek forgiveness for shortcomings and resolve not to return to those bad deeds. We should also express gratitude on good deeds and make dua for an increase in them.

  • Ponder over the fact that the Angel of Death does not give respite. It must not be that whilst obeying the nafs in sinful pleasure, the Angel of death visits; and departure is in disgrace, and return to Allah Ta'ala is at a time when He is angry, and that death is an embarrassment to the person, family and community who find out that death came in sin. May Allah Ta'ala protect us all from death in a state of transgression, but this is very much a reality. .Death visits - more often, very unexpectedly, and no true Muslim would want to be seized by the Angel of death when Allah Ta'ala is displeased. I often say : We now have instant tea, and instant coffee, and instant cereal and instant pudding and so many other things on the market are instant - we are also living in times when death is just as instant. So any sin is too much of a risk in the face of the reality of death. .The Hadith is explicit : That we will be resurrected on the day of Judgement as we have died and we will die as we have lived. Would any Muslim want to rise up on the Day of Judgement in sin, for all of mankind to witness what kind of life he led?

  • Ponder over the fact that Allah Ta'ala has blessed us with the gift of sight, hearing, health, wealth, and so much else - and has also granted us the gift of respect. However, what He gives, He can also take away. He has explicitly stated that ingratitude for His Gifts will draw very severe punishment. So is sin not abuse and ingratitude for the gifts of sight, of heart, of mind, of limbs ? A little contemplation on the consequences of such behaviour and a little bit of mujahada - which entails 'not doing' and Alhamdulillah, the sicknesses are cured.

  • Together with this :

  • Attend the talks of the learned Scholars of Islam whenever possible, or listen to recordings of their talks and read their books to gain benefit of pious, righteous company. Join and participate in the Deeni activities with those who follow the Qur`aan and Sunnah. On will, Insha-Allah, find a great improvement in one's condition by keeping the right company.

  • Make the effort to read Salaah punctually. Men should make every effort to read their Salaah in Jamaat.

  • Read good, Islamic literature. Abstain from magazines or books that have filthy and indecent contents and pictures.

  • Give up television viewing. .90% of the content is Haraam. If a person offers a full glass of clean and pure water, and mentions that there is just one drop of urine, would any sensible person, drink it ?

  • Then when the major content of television is Haraam, what would we then say ? When the gaze, heart and mind are consuming and digesting so much of Haraam viewing, what else would be the end result except indulgence in the same Haraam.

  • Lower the gaze from the opposite sex.

  • Dress as a Muslim should - Wearing the pants above the ankle and keeping the beard, one fist in length must not be considered as insignificant actions. These are teachings of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which he has emphasized. Although it is permissible to wear the shirt and pants, the dressing of the righteous has a speciality which benefits in different ways. A person with this appearance will think a hundred times before engaging in an open sin, when he is being recognized as someone who must be very pious. So this attire and appearance will offer a protection, Insha-Allah. Women too should dress modestly as is prescribed by Shariah.

  • By doing these few things, you have won more than half the battle. And it is not as difficult as Shaytaan and nafs will whisper. A little courage, a little effort and a little sacrifice are all that is required.

Of course, these are just basic aspects of Deen, which everyone can implement immediately and easily. There is a need to fulfill the Obligatory Injunctions such as Salaah, Zakaat, Fasting in the month of Ramadaan, etc. and to fulfill the rights of family, neighbours and others. There is a need to read the Qur`aan Sharief regularly, together with some authentic commentary - a little at a time, as well as giving time to studying some book on Islamic Jurisprudence and reading the life and teachings of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) , etc.

A reading of the books of virtues of actions such as Salaah, Fasting, Haj, Sadaqaat, Zikr, etc. by Hazrat Shaykhul Hadith Maulana Zakariyyah Saheb (Rahmatullah 'alayh) will create enthusiasm in the heart for action.

May Allah Ta'ala grant us His Love and the Love of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) , such that it becomes easy to give up all sins and submit to His Obedience. May He protect us all from the mischief of nafs and Shaytaan. May He fill our hearts with Love for this beautiful Deen and inspire us in being a practical and good Muslims and be true role-models to our community.