Travelers on the Path of Knowledge

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

Beautiful Simplicity January 7, 2012

Filed under: Dhikr,Islam,Reflections — musaafir @ 6:48 pm

As I knelt to pray Maghrib this evening, I heard a quiet shuffling behind me. In the library, I pray in a secluded hallway in which there are two vacant spaces- one in which females pray and one in which males pray. Of course, these aren’t clearly designated- the location is just convenient because often the males come with a friend or two to pray in congregation and the larger space is more appropriate for that. However, there’s been numerous times where we pray in the other’s space just for convenience. But this digression takes away from what inspired me to write this entry.

While I was completing my prayer, I felt someone pass me into the other vacant space and heard various sounds. Something being dropped, something being unzipped. I tried to clear my mind as I finished my prayer. When I said the final salams, I turned behind me to see who was in the other space. An unfamiliar face greeted me. She was consumed in her ritual of sorts. She was clothed just as an other ordinary person I would see in the library, but I was aware that the unzipping was the sound of her removing some articles from the bags she carried. As she laid out a prayer rug, I turned back around to begin my Sunna prayers. When I finally completed, I could not help but to turn around again. This female had put on a beautiful, luscious, black abaya and a hijab with different hues of gray. I wasn’t able to take my eyes off of her. Something about the sheer simplicity of her just drew me to her. And as she prayed, she looked like she was in complete serenity. The movements of prayer were beautifully executed, no rigidity in her movements, complete and fluid movements. It looked like a beautiful art form. And as I continued to sit on my prayer rug, it was me praying that I could as well be graced with some of that beauty. I long to pray as I mean it- with complete focus and uninterrupted by any sounds, movements or thoughts other than my focus on the One.

For some reason, her abaya was just so perfect. I wondered why people couldn’t see the beauty of the abaya. It looks so beautifully feminine. Compare it to my denim skirt and pink sweater, she- this unknown stranger- was the one who exuded confidence and beauty. She was the one giving up the conventional idea of beauty and while doing so looking even more radiant. And to think.. this girl brought in an extra bag with clothing in it specifically for her prayer, subhanAllah. Having been blessed to have started wearing hijab in my teenage years gives me an immense amount of respect for people that carry around these extra articles for prayer. It’s not easy- but they, too, are making a dedication to God. When she packs her bag, carrying in it items for prayer, she is consciously reminding herself that she needs to pray and to do so she needs to humble herself before her Lord. What do I do when I go to pray? I walk down the hallway and I pray in whatever I’m wearing. Jeans, a sweatshirt, fancy clothes or not– it doesn’t matter. It’s such a mindless act and when I dress in the morning, I don’t remind myself that my clothing and the way I dress is for the One who Created me. But I should- this hijab isn’t mindless. This is an active expression of my faith and it is up to me to determine how cognizant I am of it.

Someone once told me that when you make the opening takbir for prayer, there is beauty in the way you lift your arms up to your shoulders/ears. The back of your hands are brought up as if to throw all your cares and worries behind you- and as you say “Allahu Akbar” you are reiterating that God is indeed great(er) than anything else going on in your life at the moment. And this prayer, this ritual form of worship is a further acknowledgement of that fact and your utter dependency on God. It’s so utterly beautiful that I can’t adequately explain it. Seeing this person perform her prayer just instilled in me a greater feeling of love and desire to be closer to the Beloved.

May we be blessed with the ability to see our own deficiencies and blessed with the strength and determination to correct our inadequacies. May God accept it from us and bring us good in all that we do. May we appreciate Him and love Him. May our obligatory and non-obligatory acts of worship be accepted from Him and bring us closer to Him. May we be truly active in our acts of faith. Ameen.

 

Illuminating Hearts through Prayer April 22, 2010

Filed under: Blogs,Dhikr,Gems — Lena @ 3:08 pm

Absolutely beautiful, motivational, inspiring, and heart-touching. mashaAllah.  May Allah ta’ala allow us to benefit from those who came before us and left bits of their wisdom behind.  May He grant Sh. AbdurRahman al-Akhdari the best of the aakhira.  Ameen.

SeekersGuidance blog:

The pious Maliki scholar Abdur Rahman al-Akhdari who died in the 10 century A.H mentions in his famous work known as al-Akhdari :

Prayer beholds an illuminating divine light which illuminates the hearts of those who perform prayer and none obtain it except those who humble themselves in fear before Allah (during prayer). If you therefore, come to perform prayer, empty your heart form all worldly matters and engage yourself in seeking awareness of your Lord for Whose Countenance you pray.

Keep in mind that Prayer in fact is a act of awe and humility before Allah, The Exalted by standing, bowing, prostrating. Likewise, unequalled respect and esteem for Him is shown by means of takbir, glorification (tasbih) and remembrance and adoration (thikr).

Thus, guard your prayer for it is the greatest form of worship. Do not allow Shaytan to play with your heart and distract you from your prayer thereby obliterating your heart and depriving you from tasting the divine light that prayer provides. Be forever mindful; humbling yourself in prayer because it protects from all shameful and blameworthy deeds. Seek help through Allah for He is the best to seek help from.

Abdus Shakur Brooks

May Allah ta’ala grant us khushoo’. Ameen. Peace and blessings upon the best of creation, His beloved.

 

Keeping Time Alive March 11, 2010

Filed under: Dhikr,Gems,Imam Al-Haddad,Islam — Lena @ 2:09 pm

“The time following the dawn prayer, when kept alive, has a powerful and specific effect in attracting material provision, whereas, the time following the afternoon prayer, if kept alive, has a powerful effect in attracting provisions of the heart.”
Imam Al-Haddad (rahimahuAllah) in his treatise on Good Manners

Something I need to improve on, inshaAllah. May Allah ta’ala grant us the tawfiq to make the most of our time. Allahumma salli ‘ala sayyidina Muhammad wa ‘ala aalihi wa sahbihi wa sallimu tasleema. Allahumma ameen.

 

Pause when you pray June 7, 2009

Filed under: Dhikr,Islam,Qur'an — musaafir @ 12:17 pm

BismiLlah.

One of the things that the Prophet ﷺused to do when heﷺ prayed was to pause in between the verses of the Qur’an heﷺ recited.

This is something we often neglect- we rush through our prayer so mindless and in a rote and repeated fashion. Stand up, recite, bow, stand, prostrate… It’s just this exercise we do, without contemplating and reflecting. One way to encourage a more meaningful prayer is to actually understand what it is we are reciting.

We recite Surah Al-Fatiha (Chapter of The Opening) in every single rakat (unit) of prayer. This Surah is by its very nature, a request, a supplication to God.

In a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, it mentions that when one recites Surah Al-Fatiha, there is a response for every verse that is read.

When one recites:

الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
Praise belongs to Allah (God), the Lord of all the worlds

Allah (God) says: “My servant has paid his homage to Me.”

الرَّحْمـنِ الرَّحِيم
The All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful

Allah says: “My servant has praised Me.”

مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّين
The Master of the Day of Judgment

Allah says, “My servant has proclaimed my greatness.”

إِيَّاك نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِين
You alone we worship, and to You alone we pray for help

Allah says, “This verse is common to Me and My servant. He shall be given what he has prayed for.”

اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيمَ
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين
Guide us to the straight path.
The path of those on whom You have bestowed your grace, not of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who go astray.

Allah says: “All this is there for My servant.-He shall be given what he prays for.”

Every single verse has an answer given by Allah. Yet, we rush through this surah as if it means nothing, as if it is just a something we do by habit and we rob of it its right. Truly though we are depriving ourselves. If we are sincere and earnest in our turning towards Him and in seeking His Help and Guidance, then we should mean what we say. It is not enough for us to superficially understand the translation of the ayah but never mean it.

Many people value sincerity. Sincerity in this sense means valuing and recognizing what we are reciting in our prayers. The first example that comes to mind is when someone asks their child to apologize. When the child says , “I’m sorry” sometimes the parent says “Say it like you mean it.” The child knows what an apology is, but without meaning, it is nothing. Similarly in salah, when we ask Allah for something, we should truly mean it. If Allah says that He will give us what we ask for, but we are wishy-washy in our asking, then what do we really expect of the response?

One of my parents’ friends was sitting at dinner one day, and he said that we were told by Allah to ask Him for what we need and want. But if we don’t even approach prayer and we don’t even ask from the One who Gives, then why should we expect to receive?

 

O worries… February 24, 2008

Filed under: Contentions,Dhikr,Islam,Reflections — Lena @ 2:14 pm

“Don’t say: ‘O Allah, I have worries.’ Say: ‘O worries, I have Allah.'”

 

Dhikr August 19, 2007

Filed under: Dhikr,Hadith — musaafir @ 5:55 pm

One of the blessed dhikrs the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) taught his wife Juwairiya was to say each of the following three times:

subhan’Allah ‘adada khalqihi (praising Allah the number of His creation)

subhan’Allah rida nafsihi (praising Allah until He is pleased)

subhan’Allah zinata ‘arshihi (praising Allah to the level of the beauty of His throne)

subhan’Allah midada kalimatihi  (praising Allah to the extent of His words).

If someone can help me transcribe the Arabic, that would be much appreciated (I’m terrible at typing in Arabic!).

JazakAllah Khair!