Friday, 21 May 2010

Dark Ages no more but now Golden Ages.....

Dark Ages no more but now Golden Ages.....

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Rumi Poem

“Oh my heart,

Don’t become discouraged so easily.

Have faith.

In the hidden world, there are many mysteries,

many wonders.

Even if the whole planet threatens your life,

don’t let go of the Beloved’s robe

for even a breath.”

~ Rumi

The whole world is a marketplace for Love,

“The whole world is a marketplace for Love,
For naught that is, from Love remains remote.
The Eternal Wisdom made all things in Love.
On Love they all depend, to Love all turn.
The earth, the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars
The center of their orbit find in Love.
By Love are all bewildered, stupefied,
Intoxicated by the Wine of Love.

From each, Love demands a mystic silence.
What do all seek so earnestly? ‘Tis Love.
Love is the subject of their inmost thoughts,
In Love no longer “Thou” and “I” exist,
For self has passed away in the Beloved.
Now will I draw aside the veil from Love,
And in the temple of mine inmost soul
Behold the Friend, Incomparable Love.
He who would know the secret of both worlds
Will find that the secret of them both is Love.”

~ Farid Ud Din Attar (may Allah be pleased with him)

Wisdom of Ibrahim ibn Adham RA

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

A man came to Ibrahim ibn Adham and said, “Advise me!”
Ibrahim replied:

I advise you with five things:

1. If people busy themselves with worldly matters, busy yourself with next-worldly matters.

2. If people busy themselves with beautifying their outward, busy yourself with beautifying your inward.

3. If people busy themselves with building palaces, busy yourself with preparing for your grave.

4. If people busy themselves with others’ faults, busy yourself with your own faults.

5. If people busy themselves with serving created things, busy yourself with serving the Creator. [Mention by Sulami, Muqaddima fi'l Tasawwuf, p. 69]

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Monday, 17 May 2010

Unrequited Love and Shifa by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

“God is with the broken-hearted. When your heart breaks, it’s a good thing – the breaking of the heart is what opens it up to the light of Allah. The dunya is designed to break your heart, to crush it.”
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

I read this story from Sister Sidra Mustaqs blog so I had to post it. It contains such great wisdom.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf told one of the most beautiful stories on love, unrequited love and shifa during the RIS Knowledge Retreat last winter in Toronto, Canada -

Speaking of the generosity of ‘Aisha (Rd.) -

“… she also was very generous – Bareerah was a woman that ‘Aisha (Rd.) purchased and then set free, and the famous story about Bareerah was that she was married to someone named Mugheeth. Now if two slaves were married and then the woman was freed, then she can leave/divorce her husband if she wants to because now she’s free and the husband is not, so there is no parity between them.

So Bareerah wanted to leave Mugheeth, but Mugheeth loved her. He went into total distress, and he literally was walking behind her around Madina begging her to take him back.

Abbas (Rd.) was with the Prophet (saw) one day and they saw Bareerah and the Prophet (saw) said: “Isn’t it strange how much Mugheeth loves Bareerah and how much Bareerah dislikes Mugheeth?”

And the Ulema say when the Prophet (saw) said “Isn’t it strange”, the Arabs use the word “strange” only when the means/cause (sabaab, lit. ‘door’) of/to something is unknown – and that there is no need for something to be called “strange” if the cause is known.

So the Prophet (saw) was calling him to the point the strangeness of love. Love is very strange.

Why do people fall in love?

Why are our hearts are attracted to some people and not other people?

Why love is sometime unrequited (un-returned)?

Because the worst type of love is unrequited love: when you love somebody and they don’t love you – there is nothing worst than that in the world, unrequited love. And obviously the worst type of unrequited love is with God, because we want the Love of God. That’s why Abu’l-Hasan ash-Shadhili (teacher of Ibn ‘Ata’ Illah al-Iskandari ) use to say:

“Oh Allah -
make my wrong actions, the wrong actions of people whom You Love, and
don’t make my good actions, the good actions of people whom You do not Love.”

In other words – I would rather have wrong actions and be someone who You Love, than have good actions and be someone who You don’t Love.

So the Prophet (saw) went to Bareerah, who was the freed slave of ‘Aisha, and he said: “Won’t you reconsider Mugheeth?” And she said: “are you telling me to do this, because if you are telling me to, then I have to do it.” He (saw) replied: “I am only interceding on his behalf”.

And that’s his Shifa – ‘he finds it difficult things you find difficult’. The Prophet (saw) saw Mugheeth suffering and he wanted to help him. That shows you his shafaaqa, even in love he wanted to help this poor man who was suffering from the loss of his love.

So when the Prophet (saw) replied that he was only interceding, Bareerah replied: “I don’t have any need for him”. So there was something arrogant in her answer, as she was free and he was still a slave – there was something there from her nafs.

Now when Mugheeth saw that Bareerah rejected intercession from the one that even God had given intercession, Mugheeth suddenly lost all desire for her – it was just taken out of his heart.

And at that point when he lost all desire for Bareerah, suddenly she fell madly in love with him – like a punishment for rejecting the intercession of the Prophet (saw) – he did not want anything to do with her, yet she was now begging him to take her back now!”

Friday, 14 May 2010

Pearls From Shaykh Ramdhan al Bouti (God preserve him)

Habib Ali bin Jaafar Al Idrus - Batu Pahat's Jewel in the Crown


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah with the grace of Allah I finally made it to the abode of Habib Ali bin Jaafar al-Idrus in Batu Pahat, Johor, Malaysia. About three weeks before the journey, a mu'aleem whose audience I seeked for a private counsel, mentioned Habib Ali. That was the first time I heard of the blessed name. He said he once brought someone to see Habib Ali with an intention to get some 'healing' from the man many believe to be a saint of great stature. Although that mu'aleem had only mentioned Habib Ali in passing, he sure sparked an interest in me.

I then shared with a few people myniyyat of visiting Habib Ali. Surprisingly they all had some valuable information to offer. Signs were everywhere telling me that I must pay him a visit despite knowing that he almost always would refrain from seeing women unless they are deemed to be 'special' or if there is an absolutely urgent need.

Regardless of the tips on the do's and don'ts when visiting Habib Ali, I had set out the journey with tawakkal and a couple of reasonable expectations. I thought if I could locate his house given the limited clues I got; if I could see Habib Ali's face and just be there for barakah-sake, I would be delighted.

But I must say barakahs were already coming our way even before my friend, my mother and I headed south. N is originally from Semerah which is about 20 minutes drive from Habib Ali's house, but she has not heard of Habib Ali until two years ago when one ustaz suggested that she visit him. Apparently, Habib Ali is more well-known among the outsiders. Regular visitors include admirers from Indonesia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Yemen and not to mention renowned scholars like Allahyarham Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki, Habib Zain, Habib Umar, Habib Yusuf Bakhour al-Hasani and Yusuf Islam.

We arrived fifteen minutes after Asar. Thanks to a Singapore car parked in front of the house, we knew that it was our destination. As we got onto the compound we discovered that the pulasan tree clue was actually arambutan tree. It was not too difficult to find the place actually. At the traffic light (from Batu Pahat town) we turned left alongside Batu Pahat Mall and then made a right turn and then left onto a narrow street parallel to the mall.

Inside a humble looking house (picture above) lives an extraordinary 95 years old man. To many, he is one of the venerable saints of this region. Allah knows best of his maqam. And certainly he is not only a jewel in the crown of Batu Pahat but a much bigger wilayat (area) of which a saint is usually assigned as caretaker.

We can only speculate on his role in the unseen realm but to the mortals we know he now spends a week for himself and a week to receive guests albeit for limited hours. When he was done speaking to the male guests in the front part of the house, he retired to his room which was adjacent to the room where the female guests were seated. As we sat there talking to his eldest child and only daughter Umi Khadijah and the wives of his grandsons, we tried to catch a glimpse of him through the curtains separating the rooms.

Habib Ali despises people peeking at him. Despite having a poor vision he could tell if anyone was secretly watching him. However, he did not seem to mind when we pierced through the curtains to look inside his chamber, after getting permission from a family member of course. I saw him sitting cross-legged on the floor, his eyes were fiercely looking at a great distant towards the qibla as his hand was busy counting a tasbeeh.His room did not look comfortable at all but he did not seem to care about comfort anyway. Unlike before, he was not bothered when we pulled the curtains slightly.
We had earlier written a note introducing ourselves. His great grandson was supposed to read it out to him and asked him to make du'a for us. I sure hope he did!
I wanted to take photos of Umi Khadijah and pictures of habaibs adorning the room reserved for ladies but she politely declined. Being the only girl in the family, it's understandable that her father allowed all her siblings to have their photos taken except her. Habib Ali is a strict father and very particular about adab (manners). Up until four years ago, Habib would attend to people's requests for healing. They would be asked to write down their situations on a piece of paper which was to be pasted face down on water bottles. There were times when Habib Ali would call Umi to help him figure out some of the illegible handwritings but he covered up the paper with his hands and only revealed the few words that he could not read. Habib Ali would remind Umi that 'people trusted me with their personal problems, not you. This is amanah (trust) for me to keep.'
According to Umi Khadijah, Habib Ali used to recite Yaseen and al-Mulkafter Subuh and Maghrib, and al-Waqi'ah after Asar. Nowadays he does not recite the Qur'an as much due to poor vision and memory but he is continually doing zikir day and night. He sleeps very little and when he does he could even hear if a lizard had fallen from the ceiling.
Umi recalled the year when her mother Sharifah Allawiyah passed away. Sharifah was 35 and Habib Ali was 36. When people asked him to remarry, he said, 'even before my wife died I had already made a pledge that I would not marry again, so I wish to keep to my words.'
Umi was indeed kind to want to share stories about her father. We were grateful to be given such a warm welcome. She had madedu'a for us not once but three times while we were there. When I candidly asked if Habib had any old tasbeehs, she went searching around the house and came back with two tasbeehs for us. Alhamdulillah!
From Sister Nora, the wife of one of Habib Ali's grandson, we learned about Habib Ali's diet. He neither eats beef nor chicken, she said. Habib would only eat fresh mutton. He would not eat anything that has been frozen. The same applies to eggs, so the family gets their eggs supply from the local village. Habib Ali is also particular about the person who cooks for him and she's glad that she's among the preferred ones.

According to Sister Nora, Habib Ali chose the names for all of his grandsons. As for baby girls, the parents are allowed to propose names for his consideration and approval. She's happy to be part of the al-Idrus family and enjoyed entertaining the stream of guests who came to visit Habib Ali.

I must say that we were well entertained and very happy to get to know the wonderful women of Habib Ali's family. At one time Umi Khadijah had squeezed my hands and with so much warmth and love in her eyes she said, 'we will meet again InshaAllah!'
Bi-iznillah, by the permission of Allah, we shall visit you and your family again O Habib Ali, O jewel in the crown. It did not matter that we ladies did not get to speak to you in person for we believe that you could hear all our whisperings and all the Fatihahs and al-Ikhlas presented to you from the bottom of our hearts. May Allah s.w.t grant you good health and a long life for you are a mercy to all who know you and all who may not be aware of your presence. In any case we do not know what your real worth is in the eyes of Allah. All we could do is pray so that we derive much benefit from your barakah and emulate the qualities of zuhud, waraq, aleem, abid and areef in you, bi-iznillah

Monday, 10 May 2010

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi on the Passing of Shaykh Muhammad Tantawi

The Manners of Scholars: Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi on the Passing of Shaykh Muhammad Tantawi

Recently, Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi published an article on the passing of Shaykh Muhammad Tantawi. It is a beautiful example of love and respect between two scholars who disagreed with each other, and something we can all learn from, insha’Allah (God willing).

Translated, with slight modifications, by Jinan Bastaki



“Blessed is He in whose hand is the dominion, and He is over all things competent; Who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed; and He is Exalted in Might, the Forgiving -” [Qur'an, 67:1-2]

We pray that our beloved brother and dear friend, the Grand Imam Shaykh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, Shaykh al-Azhar, who passed away in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday morning, March 10th, 2010, is with Allah.

I have known Shaykh al-Azhar since he was a student at the college of Usūl al-Dīn,[1]which he joined after my graduation in 1953. He had mentioned that he knew me before I knew him. I’d once visited the religious Institute in Alexandria, where he was a secondary school student. At the time, I was the head of the Students Union at the college of Usūl al-Dīn and gave a speech that the students at the institute, including Tantawi, liked.

After he graduated, he began to give the Friday sermon at one of the mosques in Shubra. He’d visit me from time to time when I lived on the city’s outskirts and would consult with me on various matters of the religion. After he got married, he would visit with his family, and our wives had the opportunity to build their acquaintance.

I remember when I was arrested in 1962 in a case that had nothing to do with me, he’d come to visit me and was surprised to learn of my arrest. His family offered to support my wife and take care of anything she needed.

When he was preparing his doctoral dissertation, entitled “The Children of Israel in the Qur’an and Sunnah,” he would consult with me often, discussing issues related to his topic. He continued this even after he was posted to Iraq for a few years to give the Friday sermon at a mosque in Basra. I had asked for him to be a visiting professor at theShari’ah college in Qatar University when I was the dean there, but shortly thereafter, he was appointed as a Mufti[2] at Dar al-Ifta’ in Egypt.

Our relationship remained as it was, until the Shaykh began taking a new approach in issuing edicts that neither I nor most Muslim scholars in Egypt or elsewhere, agreed with. This was particularly in the context of banks and interest, and it compelled me to refute his views forcefully – especially in my book: Bank Interest is the Forbidden Interest. I did so because truth is stronger than friendship, and knowledge takes precedence over brotherly love.

We parted ways for a while, and during that time, conflict arose between him and our dear brother and beloved friend, Dr. Ali As-Salūs, a teacher at the Shari’ah college in Qatar University. Dr. Ali had attacked him aggressively in articles and letters, provoking Shaykh Tantawi to take the matter to court on the grounds that Dr. Ali had crossed the line in his attacks. On the day of the hearing, Shaykh Tantawi brought his witnesses and Dr. Ali brought his (and I was one of them). We all went to court – two groups of Azhar scholars, one with the Shaykh and the other against him. However, the wise ones amongst our brothers, which included Dr. Ahmad Abu Kamal Al-Majd, realized the gravity of the situation and convinced the Shaykh to drop the case. He agreed (may Allah have mercy on his soul) in order to protect the reputation and unity of the scholars. Everyone was pleased with this decision.

After Shaykh Tantawi was appointed as Shaykh al-Azhar, we met at a conference in Kuwait, and the Shaykh began with greeting me and shaking my hand. He overlooked the antagonism that had transpired between us, and even refused to walk in front of me when entering and exiting places; this was his conduct with me until he passed away, out of his refinement and humility. Once, when he allowed me to precede him, I said, “The Shaykh [Tantawi] respects elders, for I am four years older.” Shaykh Tantawi corrected, “Actually, two years older.” I said, “You entered college four years after me” – to which he replied, “Yes, but I began Azhar when I was 16.”

On another occasion, I had said “You are Shaykh al-Azhar, the most eminent and recognized religious authority in the Islamic world; we have a duty to respect this position, and place it above all else.” He had responded, “I would be embarrassed to walk in front of you when you have always been our teacher!” No doubt, this is an embodiment of courtesy, humility and good character.

Shaykh Tantawi was well-mannered, with a gentle disposition, but he was also a true son of the Sa’īd (Southern Egypt). He did not decorate his speech, and his tongue spoke of everything in his heart. He was kind-hearted and amicable. However, if he was provoked in matters of right and wrong, he would lose his temper.

He was a distinguished professor of Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir), dedicating his life to its study and even publishing a book on the subject (al-Wasīt). I nominated him to take my place giving tafsir in a program with the famous radio host Muhammad at-Tookhi. A group of senior scholars were involved in this effort: Shaykh al-Ghazali, Shaykh Abdel-Mu’izz Abdu’l-Sattar, Dr. al-Ahmadi Abu Nour, Dr. Abdullah Shahata, Dr. Eesa Abdu’l-Dhahir, Dr. Muhammad al-Mahdi, and [myself] the one in need of the All-Mighty. I had helped with the tafsir of the first quarter of the Quran, but circumstances prevented me from continuing with the second and third quarters. I nominated Dr. Tantawi to take my place, and he took up the task. Unfortunately, the Shaykh found himself in – or was pushed into – the vast seas of jurisprudence, which he had not prepared himself for—neither by studying it, putting it into practice, or writing about it. He had not trained to swim its depths. Thus, he betrayed agreed-upon positions with his own audacious opinions. This is the crux of our disagreement with him – despite our friendship. This situation is similar to that of Imam Ibn al-Qayyim and his disagreement with Shaykh al-Islam Isma’īl al-Hurawi al-Hanbali, author of Manāzil As-Sā’irīn ila Maqāmāt Iyyaka Na’budu wa iyyaka Nasta’īn. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim explained this text in his sufi compendium, Madārij al-Sālikīn, but he often differed with Imam al-Hurawi in his commentary on the text, where he responds to his views and clarifies his mistakes. When asked about this, he said, “Shaykh al-Islam is beloved to us, but the truth is more beloved to us.”

This is how the relationships of scholars should be – friendship and enmity should not affect their scholarly opinions. Allah says, “And when you testify, be just, even if [it concerns] a near relative” (Qur’an, 6:152). He also says, “Do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just” (Qur’an, 5:8).

I disagreed with Shaykh Tantawi on many different issues, particularly those concerning the Ummah’s relationship with the world. For example, I disagreed with him receiving the most senior Rabbis of Israel in his office, and his absolving France of any blame for preventing Muslim schoolgirls from wearing the headscarf at school. His opinion stemmed from his belief that every country was free to create its own laws, but he forgot that no country has the right to enact laws that negate freedom of expression and freedom of religion, which are two of the most sacred human rights. There were also other positions on which I disagreed with him, and which roused up controversy in Egypt, and other Muslim and Arab countries.

Today, death separates us, just as it separates brothers, children and their parents, friends and contenders. Allah will bring us together on a Day about which there is no doubt—a day in which secrets will be revealed and Allah will judge between us with truth, for He is the best of Judges. Allah has willed that his time would come in Riyādh, and that he would be buried in Baqī’, near the graves of the companions (may Allah be pleased with them) and the righteous; and this is a good sign.

We offer condolences to ourselves; condolences to al-Azhar and its institutes, university and research centers; condolences to the Egyptian people; and condolences to the Muslim Ummah on the passing of the great Imam of al-Azhar, and we ask Allah to reward us for this affliction, and compensate us with something better.

We also hope that Egypt will take this opportunity to comply with the requests of scholars, thinkers and reformers of Egypt and the Islamic world in appointing the new Imam by election, or at least by a nomination of three scholars, from among whom the President of the Republic would choose.

We do not harbor anything for our brother and friend, Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, except prayers for Allah to forgive him and have mercy on him; to excuse him and pardon him; to encompass him with His kindness and goodness; to purify him of sin as a white robe is purified of filth, and to enter him into Paradise, for He is the Forgiving, the Merciful, the Appreciative, the Forbearing.


“Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and leave not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, You are indeed full of Kindness, Most Merciful.” [Qur'an, 59:10]