September 30, 2008
The Night of Ei’id: Simple Reflections upon Ramadhan
Bismillahi walhamdulillahi walaa’illaha Illalahu Allahu Akbar,
Subhan’Allahi allee’ul Adheem, the Mubarak month of Ramadhan is officially over and gone upon the sun that has just set. What have I gained, what have I lost? As I have been contemplating this question in constant reflection over the last few days and hours of this Beloved month, every time I get to the latter part of it, what have I lost, I can’t help but fight back the waves of fear.
The Prophet (SAWS) is narrated to have said:
“Jibreel said to me, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by not serving them) and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.’” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, others. Saheeh by al-Albaani)
Although, my Tawaqqul in Allah azawajaal is strong, I can’t help but question my own sincerity, my own purification and discipline that I had hoped to increase and heighten through a one month period of abstinence from petty, base Nafsal- worldly desires. Insha’Allah my sincerity was worthy enough, insha’Allah my fasting and prayers were accepted in form or another, and inshaa’Allah I gained, and I didn’t lose. I can only hope to balance fear and trust in the All-Mighty, the All-Merciful.
Having began this Ramadhan in the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, having had the blessing of being on Umrah for three weeks and experiencing the beginning of our most Beloved month there, I couldn‘t help but let my heart be torn to pieces as I pulled myself back to the U.S. My physical being might have been back on this soil, but I had long ago left my heart, my soul, my spirit back in the city of God and His Rasul (asalaatu wasalaam). So what was I doing here for the last two weeks of Ramadhan, that is exactly what I kept asking myself. It was just yesterday I was preparing to leave, going in a rush to return Home, my true Home, and yet once again, I end up back in this foreign, strange land. Having been born and raised here for a life of 21 years, I only amaze myself in the realization that I now feel nothing for it, see nothing of it after having tasted just slight drops of the two Tabarak cities.
Family and friends look on as I sit there present amongst them, but absent from everything else. My heart in deep longing, in strongest desire and yearning of my only abode on this beautiful earth, the heart of the physical realm, Makkahi Madani. Memories come to pass in wild commotions through my heart and mind, from the first day of Ramadhan in Madinah, breaking Iftar in the Beloved Masjidul Nabawi, to praying Tarawih behind the exalted, God-fearing Shuyukh who would break down into inconsolable sobs every few rakah having come upon some brilliant verses of Quran. Subhan’Allah… it isn’t easy being back, and it gets harder with every passing day as I feel the trip becoming more of the past and less of the present.
I can still see the swarms of white thobes and black abayas before my eyes, Hajji’s rushing from every single direction, everyone running with only one purpose, one direction, one Heart, all pointed in one Qiblah. Peering down from the hotel window onto the Haraam grounds, hours before Maghrib, the white marbles of the grounds are already completely covered with the whites and blacks of men, women and children taking their places upon the colorful mats that would soon hold the sweet dates, breads and yogurts of the long awaited Iftar. As I descend upon the scene, and take it in on ground level completely, it is like nothing I could’ve ever imagined, although I have been coming everyday, with each new Iftar its as if I’ve never experienced such a phenomenon before in my life. It isn’t easy remembering with each step I take that my Beloved salalaahuelaiyhe wasalaam could’ve taken a step upon that exact spot once upon a time, or that my eyes are looking upon the same mountains and hills that the Beloved, Exalted Sahabah radiyallahu anhum wa radu’An looked upon all those years ago. I continue to become overwhelmed, taken over, left standing in absolute wonder. WAllahi, it is like nothing I could’ve imagined. My heart is overtaken by utter joy, astonishing levels of love just looking out onto the immensity of my brothers and sisters of Islam, brothers with brothers sitting shoulder to shoulder, leg against leg, each having come from a different corner of the world, exchanging Salaams, blessings, duas, speaking in the language of the heart. I cannot hold the tears back any longer, I want to just sit and cry, to take in every moment with a long deep breath, I never thought I would experience HUMANITY on such a level. But before I know it, I am being led, taken by the hand by a guard of the Haraam, with a voice of nothing but compassion and love telling me to come sit, to come take my place, Iftar is approaching, Laa illaha Illala!! At this point the tears are free flowing, I feel like I’m standing on the surface of some other world, this is no longer the earth as I know it, for what else could such Love be, such compassion, such generosity, such Mercy that only falls from the ocean of the All-Merciful! The All-Merciful, the most-Merciful.
What would I do to take just one more breath, one more scent, one more sight of that world, of that realm that I cannot compare to anything else on this physical earth of ours. Ei’id has been announced for tomorrow, and I find myself sitting and weeping, my last iftar walhamdulillah is with my family back here at home, but I can only think back to my first Iftar in Madinah, sharing it with my beloved brothers and sisters of Islam, those nights of standing for Tarawih in the midst of the warm nightly winds of Makkah and Madinah, wanting the Salaatul Qiyaam to last all night, all month, just for forever, taking each moment as it came, and letting it seep and settle within the depths. Subhan’Allah, I find myself tonight wishing for nothing but to be back in Makkah, celebrating Ei’id upon the blazen white grounds of the Haram-I-Sharif, amongst the blessed black and white masses, in an environment pure of much, much worldly filth. If I began there, I would only wish to end there.
Alhamdulillahi Rabbul Alameen for such a chance, such a taste of something I surely did not deserve on my own accord but only could’ve afforded on account of the Mercy of the All-Forgiving, All-Encompassing, All-Merciful Rabb!
Thus, on an ending note, I would just like to add that throughout the whole of this Umrah, I kept all of you in my duaa and supplications, all of my brothers and sisters of SB MSA, all those who have come and gone, leaving the impression of their footsteps upon the heart of this place, as for all those who are to come, as well as all those abroad and beyond. May we increase in our efforts and strengthen our unity, most importantly may we be given the capacity to exemplify true humanity through the radiance of the only Light, of Islam. My continuous last dua, may each and every one of you be granted that ultimate Journey of a lifetime, very, very soon, inshaa‘Allah. Allahumma Ameen, ya Rabbul Alameen!
September 28, 2008
~ The manner in which Maulana teaches through this letter of his, to draw a clear moral can be seen plainly.
For a time you were the four elements, for a time an animal. Now you have been a spirit, so become the Beloved! Become the Beloved!
The root of bounties descended from heavens to the eart and became the food of the pure spirit.
Why should it be surprising that the spirit does not remember its previous abodes, wherein it resided beforehand and it was born? For this world, like a dream, covers over all things, as clouds veil the stars.
September 18, 2008
Bismillahi walhamdulillahi walla’illaha illalahu Allahu Akbar,
(I received this information, and thought it extremely benficial and useful, ESPECIALLY in this Mubarak month of Ramadhan, may Allah azawajaal give us by His Rahma the ability to use our lives; our youth, and our free time on the path to His Rahma and His Forgiveness, and His guidance only. Ameen)
Time is of the essence, it is too precious to be wasted or neglected. The wise person is the one who pays attention to his time and does not treat it as a vessel to be filled with cheap things and vain talk. Instead, he limits it to worthy efforts and righteous deeds that please Allaah and benefit other people. Every minute of a person’s life carries the potential to raise his own status and to make his people happier, little by little.
If you are keen to attain the highest position, and bring the most happiness to your people, then forget about relaxing and keep away from empty amusement.
In one minute you can do a lot of good and earn much reward. In just one minute, by giving in charity, studying, memorizing, or striving to do good deeds, you can make sure that this minute of your life is not wasted. One minute may be recorded in your book of good deeds if you know how to make the most of it and take car
e of it:
Strive to make the most of each minute
If you forget it, you forget the most important thing, the truth.
There follows a list of things that can be done in one minute, by the permission of Allaah:
1. 1. In one minute you can recite Soorat al-Faatihah 3 times, reciting rapidly and silently. Some scholars said that the reward for reading al-Faatihah is more than 600 hasanahs, so if you read it 3 times you will, by the permission of Allaah, gain more than 1800 hasanahs – all of that in one minute.
2. In one minute you can recite Soorat al-Ikhlaas (Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad) 20 times, reciting rapidly and silently. Reciting it once is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’aan. If you read it 20 times it is equivalent to reading the Qur’aan 7 times. If you read it 20 times in one minute each day, you will have read it 600 times in one month, and 7200 times in one year, which will be equal in reward to reading the Qur’aan 2400 times.
3. You can read one page of the Book of Allaah in one minute.
4. You can memorize a short aayah of the Book of Allaah in one minute.
5. In one minute you can say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in
qadeer (There is no god except Allaah alone with no partner; to Him be dominion and praise, and He is Able to do all things) – 20 times. The reward for saying this is like freeing 8 slaves for the sake of Allaah from among the sons of Ismaa’eel.
6. In one minute you can say Subhaan Allaahi wa bi hamdihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah) 100 times. Whoever says that in one day will be forgiven for his sins even if they are like the foam of the sea.
7. In one minute you can say Subhaan Allaahi wa bi hamdihi Subhaan Allaah il-‘Azeem (Glory and praise be to Allaah, glory be to Allaah the Almighty) 50 times. These are two phrases which are light on the lips, heavy in the balance and beloved to the Most Merciful, as was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.
8. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When I say ‘Subhaan Allaah, wa’l-hamdu Lillah, wa laa ilaah ill-Allaah, wa Allaahu akbar (Glory be to Allaah, praise be to Allaah, there is no god except Allaah, and Allaah is Most Great)’, this is more beloved to me than all that the sun rises upon.” (Narrated by Muslim). In one minute, you can say all of these words more than 18 times. These words are the most beloved words to Allaah, the best of words, and they weigh heavily in the balance of good deeds, as was narrated i
n the saheeh ahaadeeth.
9. In one minute you can say, Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (there is no strength and no power except with Allaah) more than 40 times. This is one of the treasures of Paradise, as was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim. They are a means of putting up with difficulties and of aiming to achieve great things.
10. In one minute you can say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah approximately 50 times. This is the greatest word, for it is the word of Tawheed, the good word, the word that stands firm. If these are the last words of a person, he will enter Paradise, and there are other reports which indicate how great these words are.
11. In one minute you can say Subhaan Allaah wa bi hamdih, ‘adada khalqihi, wa ridaa nafsihi, wazinata ‘arshihi, wa midaada kalimaatihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah, as much as the number of His creation, as much as pleases Him, as much as the weight of His Throne and as much as the ink of His words) more than 15 times. This words bring many more times the reward for other forms of tasbeeh and dhikr, as was reported in saheeh ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
12. In one minute you can seek the forgiveness of Allaah more than 100 times by saying “Astaghfir-Allaah (I seek the forgiveness of Allaah). The virtues of seeking forgiveness are no s
ecret, for it is the means of attaining forgiveness and entering Paradise, and it is the means of being granted a good life, increasing one’s strength, warding off disasters, making things easier, bringing rain and increasing one’s wealth and children.
13. You can say a few brief and concise words in one minute, and Allaah may bring about some good through them that you could never imagine.
14. In one minute you can send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 50 times by saying Sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (May Allaah bless him and grant him peace). In return Allaah will send blessings upon you 500 hundred times because one blessing brings ten like it.
15. In one minute you can motivate your heart to give thanks to Allaah, to love Him, to fear Him, to put hope in Him, to long for Him, and thus travel through the stages of ‘uboodiyyah (total enslavement to Allaah). You could do this when you are lying on your bed or walking in the street.
16. In one minute you can read more than two pages of a useful book that is easy to understand.
17. In one minute you can uphold the ties of kinship by calling a relative on the phone.
18. You can raise your hands and recite any du’aa’ you wish from the books of du’aa’, in one minute.
19. You can say salaams to and shake hands wit
h a number of people in one minute.
20. You can forbid an evil action in one minute.
21. You can enjoin something good in one minute.
22. You can offer sincere advice to a brother in one minute.
23. You can console someone who is depressed in one minute.
24. You can remove something harmful from the road in one minute.
25. Making the most of one minute motivates you to make the most of other periods that would otherwise be wasted.
Al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
When people go to sleep, I let my tears flow, and I recite a verse of the most eloquent poetry
Is it not a waste that nights go by and I do not increase in knowledge, yet this time is counted as part of my life?
Finally, the more sincere you are towards Allaah and the more aware you are of Him, the greater will be your reward and the more your hasanaat will increase.
Note that most of these actions will not cost you anything; they do not require tahaarah (purity) and they will not tire you out or take much effort. On the contrary, you can do them whilst you are walking, or in your car, or lying down, or standing, or sitting, or waiting for somebody.
These actions are also among the greatest means of attaining happiness, expanding the chest (i.e., bringing relief and joy) and removing20stress and anxiety. May Allaah help us and you to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.