Travelers on the Path of Knowledge

Knowledge is an ocean and a few drops just aren’t enough. -Unknown

BACK Biting May 31, 2007

Filed under: Funny,Islam — musaafir @ 10:21 pm

Thanks Geeta for pointing this out to me- one of the funnier SunniPath questions I’ve seen (right up there with the MSA girls are so stupid question):

If I literally bite my brother on his back, would that be considered backbiting? Would I have t
Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, SunniPath Academy Teacher

If I literally bite my brother on his back, would that be considered backbiting? Would I have to restart my muraqaba dars?

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

If he enjoys it, it is fine in private, but unmanly in public.

If with desire, haram.

If he does not like it, then it is disliked.

If it causes pain, it would be prohibitively disliked.

If it causes serious harm, it would be haram.

In none of the cases would it be considered backbiting, unless it uncovers something about your brother that he does not like uncovered (such as a phobia or physical/emotional weakness).

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

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Gems of Wisdom May 30, 2007

Filed under: Islam,Reflections — musaafir @ 10:30 am

“…again the past is important, ‘because it tells you what level you can reach, but you can’t hang on to that and assume thats gonna get you into Jannah, your current state is the most important thing that you should be reflecting on…” Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

For which is He more to be praised: for His blessings, or for His forbearance in the face of our refusal to give thanks for them? [From the Contentions by Shaikh ‘Abdal Hakim Murad]

“When a thing for which you ask is slow to come, know that through delay gifts are received”Ali bin Husayn al-Habshi

It is useless to have a learned tongue but an ignorant heart. [Shaykh Abdal Qadir al Jilani]

From Qisas.com

 

The Best of Sinners… May 24, 2007

Filed under: Forgiveness,Islam — musaafir @ 12:52 pm

are those who repent.- Hadith

When I was on Hajj two years ago (December ’05- January ’06) I brought along with me a book entitled, “Prayers for Forgiveness.” It is a collection of seventy prayers for forgiveness said by Hasan al-Basri and translated by Mufti Abdur Rehman ibn Yusuf. It’s an amazing collection that I would recommend everyone to get. prayers_full.gif

Remembering this experience though reminded me that I used to recite these addiyah (prayers) in front of the Kabah, I haven’t recited those addiyah with the same fervor as I have been back. The sheer eloquence and manner in which these duas were moving and required a certain inner reflection that I feel is different from those addiyah I make in English. I feel like I personally put more into reading those words (obviously coupled with the fact that I was on Hajj) and decided that insha’Allah I would pick this book up again and remind myself that self-reflection is necessary more often.

I thought I might decide to share these addiyah with the few readers of this blog online, but realized besides copyright restrictions maybe your desire to have these in front of you would urge you to buy the book yourself (if you do not have it) and maybe have it count as sadaqah and insha’Allah you could benefit from having the text in front of you.

Allah loves the oft-repentant and the advice in the book is that these seventy prayers should be attempted to be read every day.

As Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar says in the foreword,

“Perhaps the simplest form of istighfar is to reflect on our daily routine and to seek forgiveness for the errors that are apparent. This was the Sunna of the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) and has been the way of the righteous who follow in his footsteps.”

Mufti Abdur Rehman also says in his introduction,

” Cleansing the heart is achieved through the remembrance of Allah (dhikr), repentance (tawba), seeking forgiveness (istighfar), and humbly turning to Him in penitence (inaba). The Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon Him) did this seventy to a hundred times a day, despite being inerrant and guarded from sin (masum).”

Insha’Allah we can do the same. To this end, while some of you order the book, there is a way to listen to these addiyah. On the publisher’s page for the book there is a tab in the lower left that links to the audio version of the prayers. Insha’Allah we should make the effort to listen to them.

The links are here:

Prayers 1-10

Prayers 11-20 

Prayers 21-30

Prayers 31-40 

Prayers 41-50

Prayers 51-60

Prayers 61-70

Concluding Prayers 

 

“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.”- Seneca May 22, 2007

Filed under: Islam,Reflections — musaafir @ 10:46 pm

A few days ago, I went to a rehabilitation clinic and held in the tears that threatened to flow down my cheeks.

Just a few moments earlier, I was reflecting on hardships that I was facing and how preposterous certain situations were. As the person I was with parked the car, I walked out and entered a building that wasn’t extravagantly built. It looked like a small apartment building. As we walked towards the elevator, I couldn’t help but notice a strange smell- not quite the hospital smell, but there was something in the air that told the visitor this was not a place of pretty fragrances and perfumes. As I looked behind me, I saw the “recreation room”- a bunch of tables with bingo cards, a TV, a few bookshelves. All around the room were people in wheelchairs (the normal kind), crutches, beds that were on wheels.

I turned back waiting for the elevator. As we entered the elevator, I began to get a bit nervous. It’s been years since I volunteered at a hospital. And even then, I never faced anything remotely scary. I worked in the mother/baby unit, and the most heartbreaking thing I ever saw was babies who were deaf- but I never saw those in intensive care (all but once) or anything that might hurt my heart.

As the woman beside me walked into the “cafeteria”- another simple room with tables and a TV- I hesitated a bit. She strode up to a man whose back faced us and leaned over the edge of the chair-“Ya Mohamed- Salam Alaikum.”  The man seemed to be sleeping in his wheelchair. I stood outside of the room, not knowing what to do. She eventually woke him up and said she was going to take him downstairs to the nurse in the room. She looked at me and said to him- “Salim ala Munzareen.” She motioned for me to come over in front of him because he could not turn all the way to where I stood. I smiled and said salam. Wondering if he would be confused as to who I was. Wondering if he felt as awkward as I did. I was a visitor he did not know. Someone completely foreign. Would he be upset? “Wa alaikum as salaam wa rahmatullah,” he said. His eyes sparkled and instantly I thought he was a beautiful man. You could see his beautiful spirit lying in that chair. It was amazing.

We took him downstairs to play bingo. I didn’t want to sit down but the woman I was with asked me to. I sat in that chair, wanting to cry. How was I so insensitive and selfish? A few days earlier I was telling my sister on the phone that I was so bored that day because I had no siblings that lived close by to play volleyball with or go biking with. My friends were at work or busy with their families. My father was sleeping in his room and my mother was at work. I was bored and longed to do something. And I at that moment didn’t want to read the books on my shelf or listen to a lecture. I wanted to have something more. I wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather. And I snapped back into reality and saw those around me and wondered how I could ever think my life was boring. I have so much around me to do. What did these people have? Some couldn’t walk. Some had emotional disorders. None of them had family living with them. Did their families visit every day? Did they enjoy watching tv? I have been reacting negatively towards tv especially recently because it’s just there to fill a void- but it still leaves me empty. How did they feel when they could not really enjoy the outside world but were playing bingo inside? What did they do when “bored?” And I had the audacity to claim I was bored? My life- Alhamdulillah- has so much in it. So much I could be doing. And on top of that, I live in America. I have everything I could desire. I can walk. I can ride a bike. I can drive. I can get to places I want to- for the most part. I can watch tv, go to the movies, read books, go to the library, surf the Internet. I have so much to do.

I looked at the woman talking to Mohamed. She was calling his family back home so he could talk to them. It broke my heart. How can I ever complain when I have much more than other people? I felt silly. I felt completely worthless because on the car ride to this place, the woman had asked me a question and in my head I was thinking about a hardship that wasn’t really hard- it just required more effort to be put into it. I felt like the most ungrateful servant because I did not think in my head- Alhamdulillah. Allah put me in this situation so I can strive harder. For that moment in the car, had I died- I would not have been thanking my Lord. I would have been thinking, “Why me?” Or maybe “Why now?” Or anything else- but not “Thank God!” I was not thinking that my Lord was only testing me and my faith. I was not thinking that a soul is never given more than it could bear. And it made me want to get up and leave. How arrogant is the one who does not thank the one who gives him gift after gift, blessing after blessing without decrease?

My Lord has given me the strength to live every day. He has maintained my body in equilibrium so that my heart beats properly, my limbs function correctly, my brain receives signals and responds correctly. He has given me intellect. He has given me family, has given me wealth. He has bestowed upon me bounty after bounty and I am ungrateful. Should not we lament our states? Our tears may shed because we feel we have been wronged. But we wrong no one but ourselves. Let us not look at our sadness and lack of having everything we desire. Let us become proactive and take what we have and work with it. Let us not be ungrateful.

The Prophet (may peace and blessings upon him) used to pray and fast and do supererogatory works. He was GUARANTEED Paradise. “Should I not be a grateful servant?” was his answer.

What guarantee do we have? None!

Should we not recognize the opportunities we have been given and use what we have to our advantage?

Later on that day, I saw a picture of Mohamed when he was younger. Beautiful man. The picture was only 20 years old ( I think he was 30 something in the picture). I thought that this is exactly what I am. I am in my youth. I need to use this opportunity to do the work that I can. I have more mental acuteness than I will when I am old. I have more physical strength. I have much more now than I will 30 years down the road.

When we were in the elevator, Mohamed told the woman I was with that I was his daughter. He had not lost his memory. It was not as sharp as it once was, but he referred to me as one of his own. It moved me so much. A man who didn’t know me yet he already sensed a bond. The woman later told me that he has never referred to anyone as his daughter like that. When we parted, he didn’t want me to leave. As I felt the whole day.. I wanted to cry. This man had nothing compared to what I had, yet he made do. He barely spoke to me, yet he appreciated that I was there. He was content and happy with whatever little he had. Yet, so many of us have everything we want and we’re still not satisfied. Our appetites cannot be satiated when we do not have self fulfillment and when we ignore the blessings that have been bestowed upon us.

“Which of the favors of Your Lord will you deny?”- Surah Rahman

Insha’Allah we can all realize the amazing gifts we have been given and be possessors of grateful hearts and thankful tongues.

 

Gardens of Paradise

Filed under: Hadith,Islam — musaafir @ 9:38 pm

Anas bin Malik (radi ta’Allah anhu) relates the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salam) said:

“When you pass by pieces of the garden of paradise sit down.”

He asked “What are these gardens?”

The Prophet (sallalhu alayhi wa salam) replied “Circles of dhikr (remembrance of Allah).”

Be with those who remember Allah often.

 

Contentions

Filed under: Abdal Hakim Murad,Contentions,Islam — musaafir @ 7:23 pm

By Abdal-Hakim Murad

—-> Note: Any comments are just thoughts that went through my head and definitely not a qualified commentary. And some of this goes way beyond the superficial first glance and really makes you ponder. SubhanAllah.

1. Activism will only succeed when it remembers that history is in good hands.

–> So true! History is something that has happened in the past. We cannot alter it not solely rely on it to propel us forward. Allah has decreed what has happened and the status of a people will not change until they change themselves. We have a great legacy and of course there are periods in time where people will criticize the Muslims. But we should not make the same mistakes that others did, nor can we dwell on them. We must move forward and create new projects and endeavors to build on that history and not depend solely on the acts of our predecessors.

2 We must not overestimate the calamities of our age. A misplaced rigorism is less dangerous than an improper liberalism.

3. This sin of the Muslim world: menefregismo.

4. In senescence, religions have two possibilities: Alzheimers (the amnesiac option of the secular elites) and manic-depressive (the false Salafism).

5. Aid for ‘moderate’ Middle Eastern regimes is meals on wheels, because it does not expect to rejuvenate.

6. Postmodernism is Jahiliyya. Each tribe has its own story.

7. The modern West shows that without a Shari‘a there can only be scattered hunafa’.

8. ‘There is no God at all, and Atatürk is His prophet.”

—> Secularism is often seen as man’s created religion. Often it abandons the existence of God or at least takes a more Deist perspective. Regardless, Ataturk was the father of secularism in Turkey. He spread the outward abandonment of Islam at least in terms of banning hijabs and now we can see how deep seated this secularism is with the controversy brewing in Turkey right now.

9. The Umma without its Law is like a man without his Prayer.

10. The East is content without form; the West is form without content.

See Sidi Yursil’s personal commentary on them.

 

True Success May 14, 2007

Filed under: Islam,Reflections — musaafir @ 11:55 am

An Answer on SunniPath.com:

The idea of striving for success is a central theme of both the Qur’an and Prophetic teachings. It is something ultimately sought by every human. But how is success achieved?
Shaykh al-Islam Shabbir Usmani, one of the great Muslim scholars of the 20th century and a leading voice in the Independence Movement in the Indian subcontinent, said we can understand from the Qur’an and Prophetic teachings that, if the following four conditions are present, success is guaranteed.

The Four Keys

1) One’s intention must be true;
2) One’s goal must be true;
3) The means one takes must be true; and
4) The way one takes the means must be true.
How are these four conditions made “true”?


First: True Intention

A true intention is for one’s action to be sincerely for the sake of God.
God Most High says, “They were only ordered to serve God, making their religion sincerely His.” (98:5)
And, “Whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work, and make none sharer of the service due unto his Lord.” (18:110)
The Messenger of God (God bless him and give him peace) said, “Actions are by intentions, and each person shall only have that which he intended.” (Related by Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Umar – God be pleased with him)
The second Islamic century scholar and Sufi, Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak (God have mercy on him), said, “How often is a small action made tremendous through its intention, and how often is a tremendous action rendered small through its intention.” (Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala, 8.400)

Second: True Goals
Having a true goal entails that one’s goal is something that is pleasing to God. What pleases God is seeking to make good one’s relationship with Him and to seek the good for oneself and for all creation.
Third: True Means
The Prophet (God bless him and give him peace) said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to God than the weak believer, though there is good in both. Be avid for that which benefits. Rely on God, and don’t deem yourself incapable.” (Related by Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurayra – God be pleased with him)
The “strong believer” in this hadith has been explained in various ways, but perhaps the best explanation is that the strong believer is the one who is able to take the best of means – outward and inward – in each situation.

Some sunnas in planning the right way of action include:
[1] Considering all options;
[2] Consulting those worthy of consultation;
[3] Carefully weighing the choices based on the greatest likely benefit;
[4] Consigning the matter to God by suspending one’s judgment before acting and performing the prayer of seeking guidance (istikhara); and
[5] Acting in the way one then feels is of the greatest likely benefit. It is a Prophetic promise that such action will be blessed.

Fourth: True Way of Taking the Means
This entails that the way one takes the means be in accordance with the spirit of excellence, wisdom, gentleness, dignity and forbearance that are the essence of the way of the Beloved Messenger Muhammad (God bless him and give him peace).
It entails striving to promote the good – for oneself and others – in one’s action and as one acts; and to strive to respond to all challenges that arise in the best way possible.
May God inspire us to all that is best and most pleasing to Him.
And God alone gives success.