March 17, 2008
Spring Aphorisms Told by a Sunlit Rock
By Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore
If you comb your hair forward over a bald spot
don’t expect the wind to cooperate.
Slick ice horizontal is more fatal than slick ice vertical.
The mane of a rose doesn’t make it a lion
If stairways appeared in your mouth would those who enter
descend into fetid cellars or rise into solariums of light?
Eyes reveal what words conceal.
Words conceal what the heart feels.
The heart feels what distant meadows in
absolute solitude do at the
break of day.
Orange sunlight in shafts of gold hit the
heart’s meadows damp with dew.
The Iron Age was human beings hammering out
a few tools a lifetime.
Does technology have to lead to such gluttonous excess?
The jaws of the desert open wider than the
stomachs of forests.
Each inch of rainforest is kissed by acres of
rainfall leaning into its green mirror.
A mist wipes away cosmetic glamour.
King Midas couldn’t eat a seed, or drink a
drop of water.
At least poverty partakes of the wisdom of the dead —
everyone inhabits a pauper’s grave at last.
The wristwatch is our personal Doomsday Book.
There’s no song like the present
that began before throats first opened
and goes on when the last ear has been sealed.
Death is Spring spelled backwards.
Spring is a sunlit rock.
-Seasons Journal- Zaytuna Institute.
March 16, 2008
Wa rahmatullahi wa barakato!
I hope everyone is doing well, in the best of health and Imaan, in shaa ‘Allah. I had started a book reading for “The Ideal Muslimah” by Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi, via email almost a year ago, and it went on for a time but stopped eventually. Insha’Allah this time I intend to finish the book, sending out a chapter summary once a week or so, so that we may all benefit from one another’s knowledge and texts. Each chapter is about 3 pages long, so take your time reading, and nevertheless don’t forsake reading it all together.
Bismillah, walhamdulillah, wasalaatu wasalaamu ala’Rasulillah, w’ala Barakatullah.
The Muslim Woman and her Soul!
The Muslim woman does not neglect to polish her soul through worship, dhikr (remembrance of Allah), and reading the Qur’an; she never neglects to perform acts of worship at the appointed times. Just as she takes care of her body and mind, she also takes care of her soul, as she understands that the human being is composed of a body, a mind and a soul, and that all three deserve appropriate attention. A person may be distinguished by the balance he or she strikes between body, mind and soul, so that none is cared for at the expense of another. Striking this balance guarantees the development of a sound, mature and moderate character.
1.) She performs acts of worship regularly and purifies her soul
The Muslim woman pays due attention to her soul and polishes it through worship, doing so with a pure and calm approach that will allow the spiritual meanings to penetrate deep into her being. She removes herself from the hustle and bustle of life, and concentrates on her worship as much as she is able to. When she prays, she does so with calmness of heart and clearness of mind, so that her soul may be refreshed by the meaning of the words of the Qur’an, dhikr and tasbeeh that she is mentioning. Then she sits alone for a little while, praising and glorifying Allaah, and reciting some ayat from His book, and meditating upon the beautiful meanings of the words she is reciting. She checks her attitude and behavior every now and then, correcting herself is she has done anything wrong or fallen short in some way. Thus her worship will bring about the desired results of purity of soul, cleansing of her sins, and freeing from the bonds of Shaytan whose constant whispering may destroy a person. If she makes a mistake or stumbles from the Straight Path, the true Muslim woman soon puts it right, seeks forgiveness from Allaah, renounces her sin or error, and repents sincerely. This is the attitude of the righteous Allaah-fearing Muslim women:
“Those who fear Allaah, when a thought of evil from Shaytan assaults them, bring Allaah to remembrance, when lo! They see aright.” (Qur’an 7: 201).
Therefore, the Prophet, asalaatu wasalaam, used to tell his Companions:
“Renew your faith.” He was asked, “O’ Messenger of Allaah, how do we renew our faith?” He said, “By frequently repeating La-ilaha ill-Allaah.”
The Muslim woman always seeks the help of Allaah in strengthening and purifying her soul by constantly worshipping and remembering Allaah azawajaal, checking herself, and keeping in mind, at all times, what will please Allaah. So whatever pleases Him, she does, and what angers Him, she refrains from. Thus, she will remain on the Straight Path, never deviating from it or doing wrong.
2.) She keeps company with righteous people and joins religious gatherings,
In order to attain this high status, the Muslim woman chooses righteous, Allah-fearing friends, who will be true friends and offer sincere advice, and will not betray her in word or deed. Good friends have a great influence in keeping a Muslim woman on the straight path and helping her to develop good habits and refined characteristics. A good friend –in most cases- mirrors one’s behavior and attitudes: “ Do not ask about a man, ask about his friends, for every friend follows his friends.”
Mixing with decent people is an indication of one’s good lineage and noble aims in life: “By mixing with noble people you become one of them, so you should never regard anyone else as a friend.”
So it is as essential to choose good friends as it is to avoid doing evil: “If you mix with people, make friends with the best of them, do not make friends with the worst of them lest you become like them.”
The Muslim woman is keen to attend gatherings where there is discussion of Islaam and the greatness of its teachings regarding the individual, family and society, and where those present think of the power of Almighty Allaah and His bountiful blessings to His creation, and encourage one another to obey His commandments, heed His prohibitions and seek refuge with Him. In such gatherings, hearts are softened, souls are purified, and a person’s whole being is filled with the joy of faith.
So Abdullah ibn Rawaahah radiyallahu anhu, whenever he met one of the Companions of the Prophet, used to say. “Come let us believe in our Lord for a while.” When the Prophet asalaatu wasalaam heard about this, he said, “May Allaah have mercy upon Ibn Rawaahah, for he loves the gatherings that the angels feel proud to attend.”
The rightly guided Khaleefah, Umar al-Farooq (ra) used to make the effort to take a regular break from his many duties and the burden of his position as ruler. He would take the hand of one or two men and say, “Come on, let us go and increase our faith,” then they would remember Allaah, the Exalted!
Even Umar (ra), who was so righteous and performed so many acts of worship, felt the need to purify his soul from time to time. He would remove himself for a while from the cares and worries of life, to refresh his soul and cleanse his heart. Likewise, Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (ra) would often say to his companions, when they were walking, “Let us sit down and believe for a while.”
The Muslim is responsible for strengthening his soul and purifying his heart. He must always push himself to attain a higher level, and guard against slipping down:
“By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; and by its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right—truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!”
(Qur’an 91: 7-10)
“And keep your soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His face; and let not your eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.”
(Qur’an 18: 28)
[Other forms of supplication, duaa, come in the form of remembering Allaah before daily acts & chores, thus instilling the most barakaat in your days and dealings, Insha’Allah.]
There is duaa for leaving the house, and entering the house, starting to eat, finishing a meal, wearing new clothes, lying down in bed, waking up from sleep, saying farewell to a traveler, welcoming a traveler back home, etc. There is hardly anything that the Prophet (s) did that he did not have a duaa for. Through which he asked Allaah to bless him in his endeavor, protect him from error, guide him to the truth, decree good for him and safeguard him from evil, as is explained in the books of Hadith narrated from the Prophet (s). He used to teach these ad’iyah (supplications) and adhkaar (various dhikr) to his Companions and encouraged them to repeat them at the appropriate times.
Thus, in this way, the heart of the true Muslimah will remain focused on Allaah, her soul will be cleansed and purified, and her Imaan will increase.
The modern Muslim is in the utmost need of this spiritual nourishment, to polish her soul and keep her away from the temptations and unhealthy distractions of modern life, that could spell doom for women in societies which have deviated from the guidance of Allaah and sent groups of women to Hell, as the Prophet (s) indicated: “I looked into Hell, and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women.”
Therefore, the perseverant Muslimah who understands the teachings of her religion looks where she is going and strives to increase her good deeds, so that she may be saved from the terrifying trap into which the devils among mankind and jinn in all times and places try to make women fall.
March 9, 2008
Subhan’Allaah, as I am sitting in my room after a long day, reflecting on the day, on my life as I know it, on my understanding of the world, and the expectations for tomorrow, I can’t help but try to plan for the future, no matter it be for next week or for years to come. I sit here thinking and contemplating on life as it is, and how it might turn out in the end, and that’s when I make the realization, maybe today was my last day, maybe I just am not meant to see another sunrise or sunset, and that these past 24 hours really were my last hours in this world, could I know? Could you know? No. We cannot. Alhamdulillah, my life is good, I haven’t seen disease, and I haven’t experienced loss, I am healthy, secure, and on the threshold to the rest of my life, walhamdulillah! But I- like you- do not know what is to come in the next five minutes, or the next 5 years, so I think, has my purpose been fulfilled? Has my job been done, my real job? Is my Creator happy with me? I really do not think so, not only am I not successful, but I am far from it, and this is what has scared me the most in these moments…perhaps you can sympathize in someway or another, but all I’m asking is for you to take a look at this video, and I’m sure you’ll be somewhere along the same lines…
When we are placed in our graves, having to suffice with our white shrouds and 6 feet of dirt, we will yearn, we will implore, if only we could come back, to make one more Istighfar, make one more Salaat, just one, just one more La Ilaha Illalah…! And Allaah, the All Mighty will be waiting with his response; “Kalah!” No!
March 5, 2008
Excellence in Islaam!
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, what translated means,
“A sign of one’s excellence in his Islam, is ignoring what does not concern him.”
Related by Ahmad, Malik & At-Tirmithi
The Status of this Hadith
Ibn Rajab said, “This Hadith is a basic and an important source of good behavior in Islam.” Mohammad ibn Zayd, a great scholar of the Maliki Mathhab, said, “Four Hadiths comprise a perfect code of conduct. One of them is, ‘Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger should say that which is useful or keep silent.’ Another Hadith is when the Prophet said to the man who sought his advice, ‘Avoid getting angry.’ A third is the Hadith, ‘The believer loves for his (believing) brother what he loves for himself.’ The fourth is the above Hadith.”
A Sign of Excellence in Islam
A sign of one’s excellence in the religion, is his ignoring what does not concern him, including all things said or done. The Muslim should only participate in what concerns him, such as anything that is his property, right, obligation or under his control. To be concerned with something entails preserving and taking care of this thing that one is allowed to be concerned with. As for the matters that do not concern one, they are in abundance. Usually, when a person tries to interfere in such matters that do not concern him, the tool frequently used for this is the tongue. Muslims are ordered to utter only good words, for Allah said, what translated means, “Not a word he (man) utters, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).” [50:18] Many people ignore the fact that in Islam, words are considered actions. Such people care not to preserve their tongues from uttering evil or nonsense. Mu`ath ibn Jabal did not know the importance of discretion in the words one utters, so he asked the Prophet, “Are we going to be held responsible for what we say?” The Prophet answered, “May your mother lose you! What else will lead people to be dragged in the Fire on their faces, but the result of what they utter with their tongues.” [Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel]
An-Nawawi said in his book, “Riyadh as-Saliheen”, “Know that everyone should only talk about what might lead to benefit. When talking and being silent are equal in benefit, then the Sunnah is to be silent. This is because to be talkative will usually lead to uttering evil, even if it starts with seemingly harmless words. One should always be on the safe side, a state that is indeed desired.” When a person utters only good words, he gains respect in his community. Likewise, if he is talkative and nosy, disrespect and a bad reputation are the result. This Hadith indicates that ignoring what does not concern one, is a sign of his excellence in the religion. Being successful in working the righteous deeds and gaining an increase in the number of good deeds are all results of this better behavior. The number of sins will also decrease if one protects his tongue from uttering evil. Abu Hurayrah said, “If you improve your Islam, then every good deed you work will increase (and will be multiplied) by ten folds to seven hundred times in reward. On the other hand, each sin is recorded according to its weight, until one meets Allah, the Exalted One.” [Muslim]
Ignoring What Does Not Concern You
The only way to know right from wrong is through the Islamic Shari`ah (Law). What one wishes and desires do not count in this regard. The Prophet has considered the one who ignores what does not concern him to be an excellent Muslim. Therefore, Islam alone must be consulted to define what does or does not concern a Muslim. Because many Muslims do not depend on the Shari`ah to define what they can or cannot participate in, they sometimes abandon their obligations or what they are supposed to do or say, thinking that this is not of their concern. They sometimes defy the rules of the religion by not advising their Muslim brothers, thinking that this also is not of their concern. Or, they indulge in what does not concern them, thinking that this is their concern. To get out of this confusion, one should always consult the Shari`ah to know what he is supposed to do or say.
Benefits from the Hadith
1 — This Hadith encourages Muslims to use the time in a manner that brings about their benefit in this life and in the Hereafter.
2 — Muslims should always be concerned with what is beneficial and constructive, and should avoid what does not bring about benefit and what does not preserve the honor.
3 — This Hadith also encourages Muslims to strive hard to discipline their behavior, and to reject and abandon sins, dishonor and what brings about disrespect.
4 — This Hadith also ordains avoiding interfering with other people’s affairs, for unwarranted interference with other people’s business causes divisions and hatred among Muslims.
–Shaykh Nathim Sultan
Achieving high aims depends upon having a firm intention and a strong will. Whoever loses them will never attain one’s goals, because when one’s intention is firm, it adheres to the plan, and if one’s will is strong, the servant will walk along the right way that leads to that aim. Having a strong will opens the way and a resolute intention focuses one on the aim. If one’s aim coincides with the way that reaches to it, one will be successful. If one’s intention is weak, one will not have a high aim. If one’s will is not strong, it will (also) not lead one to the aim. The whole matter depends upon the will and the intention of the servant, and they will never be achieved without the following: