Sunday, 31 July 2011

The month of Ramadhan

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah has been kind and merciful to us in that He has allowed us to have the weekly Zikir sessions continuously thus far; and now we will give way to the blessed month of Ramadhan and resume thereafter, insha Allah.

Keep in mind that the hall mark of Ramadhan is restraint. We restrain ourselves from food, drink, martial relations etc. Why? Because Allah says that there are two paths;

‘and shown him the two highways?’

One is full of ease and comfort but it leads to your inevitable destruction; the other is a bit steeper and difficult to journey on, but this one will lead to your Lord. Therefore to make sacrifices such as in Ramadhan will insha Allah take us closer to Allah .

He has made this month truly blessed for us in that He has given us a special night where there would be special visitors who bring with them great blessings from their Lord. This month is a gift and not a burden. And even thought there will be trails and tests try your best to do as much good deeds as possible because the blessings are truly immense; as reported in a Hadith Qudsi:

“Allah said - ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.’

Fasting also necessitates patience and Allah has given great comfort to those who exercise patience;

“Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!’ (39:10)

Let us insha Allah restrain from indulging in evil and use Ramadhan as that milestone where we will strengthen our relationship with our Lord because we are doing it all for His sake. And when Eid-ul-Fitr will come around we will be happy not because Ramadhan has ended but because of the achievement you would have attained, insha Allah.

One of the gems of Ramadhan is to read the Holy Qur’an. Yes we have to work and go about our daily activities but we have to sacrifice a little in order to utilize this great gift.

and it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. (2:184)

The previous Messengers use to fast but what are their followers doing today? We are truly blessed by Allah. None of us are aware of whether we will ever see another Ramadhan so let us utilize whatever Allah has allowed for us.

We beg Him to bless us and to make this Ramadhan a monumental success and may He allow us to benefit from it in this world and use it to send a huge balance in the next. May Allah allow us to rise with the righteous where we will be please and anxious to meet Him and He will be pleasing to meet us, Ameen.

Ramadhan Mubarak!!!

Monday, 25 July 2011

A Goodly Loan

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah says in Surah Baqarah

“who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan so that He may multiply it to him many times? And it is Allah that decreases or increases (your provisions), and unto Him you shall return.” (2:145)

When Islam started the Israelites were already established. They had so many Messengers that came to them, they had their Books and Allah had blessed them in a special way; for example their food came down from the skies. So their outlook was different to that of the Muslims. When Prophet Muhammad (saw) started preaching Allah wanted the Muslims to be a part of the whole human family and as a result they were to interact in some way.

One way of being a part of society was to help others in whatever capacity and to live a selfless life. In this context Allah enjoined us to give charity and help others; Muslims as well as non-Muslims. He refers to this these acts of selflessness as a goodly loan. Why? If you give something in the way of Allah, such as offering charity to those in need of helping out in a different faculty, it is His obligation to return what is better to you. He will multiply the rewards of your charitable deed many times over.

When the Israelites heard this they began mocking and ridiculing the Muslims. They began saying that the God of the Muslims was a poor God and He required a loan from His servants. The Israelites looked at every opportunity where they could embarrass the Believers in an attempt to make them despondent.

After some time Allah revealed the following ayat;

“O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of All praise.” (35”15)

Allah is announcing to all of mankind that we are the ones in constant need of Him. Everything we will ever own is a gift from Him. He permits us to act and to seek out our livelihood. Even the insignificant task of simply blinking your eye is a blessing from Allah.

This is why the Allah says in His Holy Words;

“And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them” (14:34)

Never will we be able to compute all the bounties that Allah provides. Some of us may only think in terms of financial blessings but what about your health? What about the protection He provides when we travel? Even the ability to thank Allah for His blessings is a great gift from Him.

The wise Muslim understands that Allah has been and will always be Kind and Mercifully. This is why we pray;

‘My Lord inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.’

Even when we receive blessings we are taught to remain humble and grateful not like the fellow Allah mentions in Surah Kalf who was so filled with pride and arrogance that he boasted of the wealth and power he amassed. He was so proud of his garden that he never openly said it will never perish. The next day Allah says that He ‘encircled the crops (with ruin). And the man remained clapping his hands with sorrow”.

Don’t wait to learn the hard way like this fellow did and don’t think like the Israelites. Understand that whatever you have is from the Mercy of Allah. The important task is to use it in a manner that will bring about benefit in this world and great returns in the next.

May Allah inculcate in us the ability to always recognise His blessings; the ones we can see as well as the ones we can’t. And may He always guide us to be thankful to Him, insha Allah.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Centre of The Personality

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said “there is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoiled, the whole body gets spoiled – and that is the heart” (Bukhari)

Also Hazrat Aisha (ra) reports that “when the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) awake at night, he said: There is no God but Thou, glory be to Thee, O Allah, I ask Thy pardon for my sin and I ask Thee for Thy mercy. O Allah! advance me in knowledge: do not cause my heart to deviate (from guidance) after Thou hast guided me, and grant me mercy from thyself; verily thou art the grantor.” (Bukhari)

Biologically speaking, we know that the heart is the most important organ in our body. If the blood supply is cut from reaching the brain we can suffer a stroke, likewise if the blood fails to reach certain limbs of our body those limbs will start decaying.

What is important to note is that, even in your personality the heart is also the most important organ. It can lead to a person being good morally, emotionally and spiritually. The heart responds faster than the brain hence you find that in human beings, there tends to be firstly, a display of emotional responses rather than logical ones. The reason for this is because the heart has the capacity to control our emotions.

Allah refers to the heart in a special way in Surah Al Mu'min;

“Warn them of the Day that is (ever) drawing near, when the hearts will (come) right up to the throats to choke (them); no intimate friend nor intercessor will the wrong-doers have, who could be listened to”. (40:18)

Allah is not referring to the physical heart but instead all the emotions that are generated from the heart. Man would be one that Day ‘dumb-founded’, in a state of shock, awe and every other possible emotion. All these emotions come from the heart and not the brain as some believe.

Again Allah says in Surah Ar Ra'd

“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah; for, without doubt; in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” (13:28)

Stress, peace, tranquillity; etc. they all come from the heart and Allah is the One Who will put peace and comfort in the heart. And with reference to the ayat quoted above; engaging in His remembrance will lead to ones heart attaining satisfaction.

Allah also makes mention of the different categories of people whose hearts are concealed;

"In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: and grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves)". (2:10)

It us He who sends down tranquillity in the hearts of men

"It is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers, that they may add Faith to their faith; - for to Allah belong the forces of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is full of knowledge and Wisdom" (48:4)

The best thing one can have is a peaceful heart and engaged in non-beneficial things. Through this you will understand the meaning of Surah Naas

from the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after His whisper), (the same) who whispers into the hearts of mankind, among Jinns and among men.

The heart controls out intentions and our emotions. It is a truly important dimension of the personality. This is a vast topic and much more can be said of it. Always remember to fill your heart with peace and love, and insha Allah, Allah will keep any ‘disease’ away from the heart.

We beg Him to guide us and to bless our hearts just as our beloved Messenger (saw) use to pray. And may He keep us far away from those thoughts, actions and emotions that can lead to our hearts becoming hard and concealed.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Mir'aj Lecture by Maulana Dr. Waffie Mohammed - delivered on 01.07.2011

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

The ascension of Prophet Muhammad (saw) holds great lessons for us. It shows us the importance of his mission, the relationship between him and his Lord and the connection he has with his followers.

Prophet (saw) is reported to have said;
‘When the dwellers of Paradise will enter Paradise, someone will proclaim: ‘O Dwellers of Paradise, God wishes to fulfil what He promised you’. The companions asked: ‘What is that promise? Has He not filled up our Balance? Has He not brightened our faces and admitted us in the Garden? Has He not saved us from hell?’ At that time, the screen will be lifted and they will be gazing at the Glorious Lord. Nothing will be dearer to them at that time than His sight. This is the greatest reward. At that time they will forget every enjoyment and happiness. There is no limit to this happiness and no example.’

The dwellers of Paradise will be in such awe and amazement, more than what was experienced when the women of Jospeh (as) saw him for the first time and unconsciously cut the palms.

Why make mention of this? The understanding is that we will only be blessed with the vision of Allah when we are firstly purified, forgiven all our sins and placed in a special place. Only then will we be qualified to gain access to this great blessing.

On the other hand the Mir’aj showed us that Prophet (saw) had qualified himself here in this material world where he was absolutely pure and clean. So much so that upon the invitation of Allah he was able to visit Him up there and have divine audience with Him. He had no kind of impurities and all he lived for was to show the people how to connect themselves to Allah and how to remove all the material trappings of this world.

We know Allah says in His Holy Words; ‘He moves between a man’s heart and chest’. Why then was it necessary to physically take up Prophet (saw)? On one hand the Mir’aj demonstrated the Greatness of Allah and on the other hand the importance of Prophet Muhammad (saw).

There is a verse in the Qur’an in which Allah says ‘No vision can grasp Him but He sees everything’ (6:103). Again we see when Moses (as) requested to see Allah he was told by His Lord “You cannot see me”. Hazrat Ayesha (ra) is also reported to have said “Anyone who says that he saw Allah is a liar.”

In this dimension of space and time we have some shortcomings. For example when Prophet (saw) saw angel Jibreel for the first time his personality was far greater than the skies, hence wherever in the sky Prophet (saw) looked he saw Jibreel. He was only able to realize the true personality of Jibreel when he was outside this dimension of space and time; which was accomplished on the night of the Mir’aj.

You cannot see Allah with your naked eyes. Instead you have to be in a proper state of purity and only then, as when insha Allah you’ll go to Paradise. But Prophet Muhammad (saw) was in this physical dimension and his personality was so cultivated that matters of the unseen were known to him and also Allah wanted to show the status of Prophet and His Greatness.

Understand that Prophet (saw) is truly special. He is reported to have said “I was a Prophet while Adam was still between water and clay”. The first thing that Allah created was the light of Prophet Muhammad (Nur-i-Muhammad). His soul was from the command of Allah, not a part of Him. And every other soul came from his light. This is the connection we all have with him. In the night of the Mir’aj it was proven that Prophet (saw) has the highest status in creation. He was able to go higher then even angel Jibreel. He even went further then the Lote tree, the pen and tablet; to a point where there was nothing between him and His Lord.

Allah says in Surah Ahzab;
Truly, We did offer Al­Amanah (The Trust) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it but man bore it. Verily, He was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results). (33:72)

‘The Trust’ is sacred mission entrusted to man. Allah gave man that spark of light which is non-physical, the soul (ruh) to keep it pure, clean and shinning and to spread it throughout the earth. He has however not left us alone. He is connected to all believers, not physically but through the Prophet (saw). He says in His Holy Words;

‘Verily Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! send ye blessings on him, and salute Him with all respect.”

“He it is who Sends salaat on you, As do His angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of darkness into Light: and He is full of Mercy to the believers.”

Allah wants us to keep our light bright and shinning and He has made His Beloved our model. On one hand He took him up on the night of the Mir’aj and connected the light and sent him back to earth to spread the light; and this is possible why he is called a 'Rahmatul Lil Alameen’ - mercy to the worlds.

This is why we are special. Our mission is to receive the blessings from Allah and demonstrate that we are all ‘Sirajum Munirah’ – a lamp that gives light. We get our connection from Prophet (saw) who is in turn connected to The Source. And when one practices Tassawuf he can gain connection through the Mashaeikhs and Prophet (saw) ; and if Allah wills you can have ‘religious experiences’. And Allah makes mention of these categories of people in His Holy Words; ‘Allah bears witness to the fact that there is no god but He, and the Angels and those who are endued with knowledge, also bear witness to this fact. (3:18)

Prophet Muhammad (saw) was not a ‘postman’ as some believe. He has an important role even up to present time. Allah strengthens this in Surah Baqarah; “and say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah "they are dead." Nay, They are living, though ye perceive (it) not”. He demonstrated this on the night of Mir’aj when all the Messengers gathered in Masjid ul Aqsa to pray behind Prophet Muhammad (saw). To understand these things using scientific reason and logic is impossible.

Our success in life depends on our outcome in the next. If we are blessed to enter Paradise is means our life in this world was a success. On that Day Allah says that ‘their salutation on the Day they meet Him will be "Peace!"; and He has prepared for them a generous reward’ (33:44). The Believers will greet Allah and He will return the greeting.

Just like the greeting between Prophet (saw) and Allah on the night of the Mir’aj. This great occasion has been preserved for us in the form of the Attahiyat in our Salaat.

What we are seeing is that the Mir’aj is more than just a trip. It was an expression of the Greatness of Allah by causing a ‘lump of mud’ to become so refine and spirituality uplifted to the extent where he returned to meet and converse with his Lord; and preserved it for his followers. For example each posture we perform in Salaat Prophet saw angels performing a particular posture in each level of heaven.

Allah has given us a small eye-opener. Understand that life is a process of coming and going; ups and downs. Prophet Muhammad (saw) went through immense hardships before the event of the Mir’aj. He lost people who were close and supportive of him, he was continuously ill treated and finding little success in carrying out his mission.

Always remember if you want to get close to Allah you’ll have to be by yourself. The event of the Mir’aj has shown us that only good will return to Allah. Therefore it’s imperative that we hold fast to what Allah says in Surah An'am; ‘It is those who believe and do not clothe up their beliefs with wrong - that are (truly) in security, for they are on (right) guidance.’

We can create problems for ourselves by clothing up our iman with wrong. The Mir’aj has shown us the status of Prophet Muhammad (saw) by highlighting the achievement attained in this physical life. He has the blessing of physically returning to his Lord. He is our exemplar and out of wisdom his Sunnah was preserved.

As Muslims we are taught to pray;
‘Our Lord! perfect our light for us, and grant us forgiveness: for Thou hast power over all things.’

We are expected to cause the light to spread to every cell of our body and one important way of attaining this is by abstaining from impurities. Every time you indulge in impurity your spark of light is prevented from spreading to other parts of your body.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) has shown that the spark of light can illuminate the body because in is recorded in many narrations that his physical self was much brighter and beautiful than the full moon. How bright are you? Are we making sufficient effort to uphold the Sunnah? Do you think your spark of light is permeating the cells of your body? Mir’aj shows us that the material became so perfect that he was taken right up to his Lord.

Strive to grow your light. It’s not easy it takes a lot of effort, patience and charity. Never forget that you are special in the sight of Allah . He is so desirous of us to get closer to Him that He says if we walk to Him, He runs to us.

May Allah forgive us, enlighten us and cause us to understand more the true status of Prophet (saw). May He encourage us to perfect our light and make the journey back to Him successful, insha Allah.

The audio version of Dr. Waffie’s lecture can be accessed on the Markaz’s website.