Thursday 30 September 2010

Engaging in silent zikir

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Surah Araaf, translated as The Heights, tells us a lot of how to get closer to Allah . In the 205th ayat Allah says;

‘and remember your Lord within yourself (your nafs), humbly and with fear, without loudness in words in the mornings, and in the afternoons and be not of those who are neglectful’. (7 : 205)

Zikir is usually translated as remembrance of Allah , and in this context Allah is commanding us to remember Him with the nafs. The nafs is basically the energy that is derived from the workings of the physical body. It also denotes the lower self of man.

Hazrath Anas Bin Malik narrated that Hazrath Rasoolallah (SAS) says that he who sits after Fajr prayer remembering Allah till sun rise and says two rakats of prayer will be rewarded like a person who has performed Hajj and Umrah.

Allah is commanding us to make zikir in the mornings and evenings and to do so silently. One technique that is usually taught in the discipline of tassawuf is to cultivate your nafs, i.e. your physical organs to makes zikir. And one discipline teaches the students to cultivate their personalities to resound ‘Allahu’. i.e. you actually hear your heat-beat saying Allahu

If done properly you will actually hear your organs saying Allahu, when they are cultured to do so after perfecting this zikr with your heart. (qalb).

Hazrat Abu Bark reported that the Sahabas used to sit so silently in front of Prophet that the desert crows used to pick their heads. What do you think they used to be listening to? The Ashabus Suffa were those blessed companions who used to learn directly from Prophet and they used to actually live in the masjid and only leave out of necessity. What do you think they used to be doing night and day? They were learning the technique of making zikr.

Those who are true believers will truly understand how close Allah is, and how merciful and Compassionate He is. They will begin to develop a special kind of love for Him and it will continue to grow and grow. Remember Allah says He is our Wali; ‘Allah is the wali of those who have faith’. A wali is a person’s closest, most senior, protecting friend. Part of our mission in this world is to realise how close our Lord is to us. Develop the right concept. Don’t think of Him as a vengeful God who will issue punishment at the first chance; instead know that He is every-ready to help with compassion and love.

By engaging in zikir in this manner we can actually culture the heart to make zikir, even when we are pre-occupied with other things. For example it has been reported by Jabir bin Abdullah (ra) that some angels came to the Prophet while he was asleep. Some of them said, “He is sleeping.” Others said, “His eyes are sleeping but his heart is awake.”

Make your organs resound Allahu. This isn’t impossible for us to achieve. It is based on our effort. No material things can help you achieve this. It is a real Jihad and proof can be found in the narration where Prophet told his Companions “I have returned from the small Jihad (Jihad Asghar) to the big Jihad (Jihad Akbar)”. The Sahabas enquired “what is the big Jihad?” Prophet said “the Jihad al nafs (inner desires).”

Satan will try to divert you but try to take control of yourself. Make proper usage of your time and try to benefit from what is being offered. Forget about the baseless argument of those who will argue that zikir is haram. Take control of the nafs and cultivate it to make the zikir of Allah and insha Allah you would have achieved something of great benefit in this world and the next.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Allah’s Barakat

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Always remember that evil cannot go back to Allah . It cannot go beyond the skies. Allah says;

We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars,- (for beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits, (so) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted assembly but be cast away from every side’ (37:6-8)

Satan had a taste of Paradise and he also had the good experience of attaining closeness to Allah so he knows how beautiful it is. He would therefore have some sort of inclination to go back there. Besides he likes to know what is going on or taking place in the heavens. As such Allah has protected the lower heavens from Satan and his minions.

‘but those who reject Our Signs and treat them with arrogance,- they are companions of the fire, to dwell therein (for ever)’ (7:36)

Allah has given so many indications that He is ‘in charge’. For example in the Qur’an a lot of chapters are named after things of nature, and this is one of the means by which we can understand the Greatness of Allah . He showed so many signs to Pharaoh and his followers but still they took no heed. Pharaoh never thought that Allah was giving them signs. And even today we see that some groups of people feel as though that they don’t need God.

About them Allah says that they will be confined to the earth. When Pharaoh and his followers did not take heed to the message of Moses Allah sent His wrath upon them. Meanwhile the Bani Israel was prospering.

One of the consequences of not submitting humbly to Allah is that such people will be denied of Allah's blessings. He says:

'Verily, those who reject Our Signs and treat them with arrogance, (for them) there will be no opening of the gates of the skies, nor will they (be able) to enter Paradise, until the camel can pass through the eye of a needle'. (7:40)

It will be impossible for the materialistically inclined to penetrate the skies in order to go back to Allah . It is reported in one commentary that when the souls of the inhabitants of hell are being taken up to the heaven the angels will block them from proceeding any further.

In our meditation there are some who can sit and actually experience paradise. This is difficult to explain since it is outside the realm of scientific reason and logic. Ordinary human beings can experience something of paradise.

Worry not of those who argue by saying such a thing is ‘haram, bidah or shirk. These things are difficult to explain because they are outside the realm of reason and logic. It’s something that you have to experience.

If we aspire to do good Allah will open up the skies and bestow His barakat upon us. Allah tells us about this in the following verse:

'If the people of the town had but believed and feared Allah; We should indeed have opened out to them all kinds of blessings from the skies and the earth. But they rejected the truth, and We took them to task for their misdeeds'. (7:96)

It is up to us to make an effort. Remember every day we must ‘hasten to ask for forgiveness from our Lord’. Our life-span in this world is fixed and our mission is to manage it properly in order to attain maximum benefit in both the worlds.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Cover not truth with falsehood

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

The blessed month of Ramadan has come to an end and, Insha Allah, we would have all had a successful and beneficial one. It means therefore that we would have put into our ‘account’ something of good and it also means that we would have polished our hearts and removed some of the stains and spots that would have been on it.; we should not try to add new stains on it. Instead of doing so we should endeavour to keep on polishing it and keeping it shining.

In order to do so we need to keep reminding ourselves of what Allah says in His Holy Words;

‘and cover not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth when ye know’ (2:42)

If we extend this ideology to our own deeds it indicates that we should not nullify the good that was done by reverting to the old, sinful ways. Every time we do, say or think something, be it good or bad, it creates an impression on the ruh. Besides the fact that all our thoughts and actions are being recorded in our book of deeds; they either contribute to the polishing or staining of the ruh. If you commit wrong it is as the ayat says above; you are clothing or covering the good with what is not beneficial here in this life nor in the next.

In contrast to this Allah says in Surah Huud

‘Verily; good remove those that are evil: that is the word of remembrance to those who remember (Their Lord)’ (11:114)

The stains and spots on the ruh can be removed by doing good, and in the same process we are also polishing it. So the choice is ours. We can either clothe it or have it bright and shining. This is our daily challenge; purifying our thoughts, words, and deeds because it impacts on our qalb.

Those things that clothe and conceal may appear beautiful and desirous but always remember that Satan decorates the evil. Take for example the festival of divali. Look at how beautiful the Hindus will make it and in reality what they are doing is committing shirk. So we need to understand that Satan will try to divert our focus by tempting us on a daily basis.

So, as the month of Ramadan is over let us make a strong resolution to keep engaging in all the good and refraining from the evil, so when the next Ramadan comes around our status will keep rising higher and higher.

This has to be an individual effort; no one else can do it for you. Keep in mind the importance of the intention because all actions are judged on intentions. May Allah make it easy for us and may He purify our thoughts and our actions so that we can continue drawing closer and closer

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Eid ul Fitr (2010)

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allahu Akbar

Allah says in His Holy Words:

Verily, this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood; and I am your Lord and Cherisher; therefore submit yourselves (to Me). (21:92)

Islam came to re-establish the principle that mankind is one nation, as all human beings came from one parent, Adam and Eve. One of the ways of demonstrating this fact is that all believers; regardless of race, colour or locality, practice all the fundamentals of the Faith. They all pray, fast, give charity and go for Haj. A good example is the fact that today you are all here as one big family, gathered for the purpose of celebrating Eid.

Allah informs us that when the human family was established on the earth, they were all one people; it is their own selfish desires that caused them to become disunited. He says:

Mankind was one single nation; and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed. But the People of the Book, after clear Signs came to them, did not differ among themselves except through selfish contumacy. Allah, by His Grace, guide the believers to the Truth, concerning that wherein they differed. (2:213)

So Islam came to remove the barriers that keep the people apart, and to again make them live like one big human family. Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

We Prophets are brothers from different mothers and our Religion is one. (Fath al Bari, 6:550)

All the Believers are brothers and sisters in Faith. But every human being is an individual, with his or own temperament, etc. and may not necessarily agree with one another in every matter. When ever a disagreement comes up, there is no need to fight or quarrel, but one should try to sort it out in a refined way. Allah says:

The Believers are but a single Brotherhood; so make peace and reconciliation between two contending brothers; and fear Allah; that you may receive Mercy. (49:10)

Allah also says:

Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations; after receiving clear Signs; for them is a dreadful penalty. (3:105)

Every Muslim is like a strand in a rope. All put together make the rope strong. But if the strands begin to get loose the rope will get weak and may burst. Allah says:

Hold fast, all of you tighter, by the Rope, which Allah (stretches out for you) and be not divided amongst yourselves. (3:103)

There is no doubt of the fact that Ramadan brought most of the believers together. Only those who stayed away did not feel the blessing of being like one big happy family.

If, for one reason or another; a person could not have attended the Taraweeh prayers, or even keep the fast, that person should still have hope, as Allah connects Himself to us with the Attribute of Compassion. He says:

My Mercy I extend to all things. (7:156)

Brothers and sisters, as human beings, we are separate units, but we can feel like one people if we develop love in our hearts for each other. About this Allah says, as a reminder to the Arabs who were tribal before Islam, and as an eye-opener to all of us the following:

Keep in mind, with gratitude, Allah's favour on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love; so that, by His Grace, you became brethren. (3:103)

The heart in the human being is like the pearl in the oyster. No mater what colour, size or shape the oyster may be, the pearl of every one looks alike, and is beautiful if kept bright and polished.

But how can we develop love for one another, when someone may want to destroy his believing brother for some material benefit; or may show envy and hate for things that may not have any value in the next life. Allah gave us the golden principles for establishing loving brotherhood and a good society. He says:

Do not be proud of your wealth, for Allah does not love those who are proud of their riches. But seek, with that which Allah has bestowed on you, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget your portion of this world. Do good to others, as Allah has been good to you, and do not make mischief in the land; for Allah does not love those who make mischief. (28:77)

Instead of trying to ridicule or belittle others, a Believer is enjoined upon to show compassion. Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

Be merciful to those on earth, and receive Mercy from Him Who is in the Heaven.

Today, as we have gathered to celebrate, let us resolve that we are going to make the earth a better place in which to live, for our selves and posterity.

O our Lord; forgive us for our faults and mistakes; forgive our brethren who have gone before in faith; forgive those who are to come, and cause us all to rise with the righteous on the Day of Judgment.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Performance of Jummah & Eid salaat on the same day

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ


Should a person perform the Jumuah Salaat if Eid and Jumuah should fall on the same day, i.e. on a Friday?

According to the Hanafi, Shaafi and Maliki Mazhaib, if Eid and Jumuah should fall on the same day, the two cannot be combined; so the Eid Salaat will have to be performed separately from the Jumuah Salaat.

One of the reasons given is because the Jumuah Salaat is an Obligatory one, and is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an. The Eid Salaat is not mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, and is Waajib. So that preference must be given the Obligatory over the Waajib.

Imam Hanbal is of the view that if both Salaat should coincide; then only the Eid Salaat has to be performed and the Jumuah Salaat may not necessarily be performed, although the Imam must be present at the time of Jumuah in the Masjid.

Imam Hanbal's reason for giving such an opinion is based on a Hadith reported by Abu Huraira in which he reports that the Prophet (pboh) said to the Bedouins on the day of Eid after the Salaat: Whoever wishes he may perform the Jumuah Salaat; and whoever wishes he may return; we shall soon meet again.

According to the Scholars, the Prophet (pboh) was giving permission to all those who came from far off to perform the Eid Salaat, and can be classified as travellers. For them Jumuah was not compulsory, so that they had the option, if they wanted, to remain for the few hours to get Jumuah, or to return back to their homes. When he said that they were to meet again soon, he was referring to the meeting for Jumuah.

The same thing happened in the time of Hazrat Uthman, and he gave the same concession to those who came from far off. However, the people of the city performed Jumuah afterwards.

The conclusion is that if the two Salaat should fall on the same day, the two must be performed separately.

Allah knows best.