Wednesday, April 23

What seperates us from God?

"In fact, what separates man from divine Reality is but a thin partition: God is infinitely close to man, but man is infinitely far from God.

This partition, for man is a mountain; man stands in front of a mountain which he must remove with his own hands.

He digs away the earth, but in vain, the mountain remains; man however goes on digging, in the name of God.

And the mountain vanishes.

It was never there."

Longest Journey starts from within

“The longest journey is the journey inwards. Of him who has chosen his destiny, Who has started upon his quest for the source of his being.”

Dag Hammarskjold quotes (Swedish Statesman and United Nations official, 1905-1961)

Sunday, April 20

How do you live your life?

By: Muhammad Shaheen

Here is something to think about..

Every single one of us lived our lives a different way.
Some of us grew strong, while others grew weaker by each day.
Some of us were healthy, while others were sick.
Some of us flew through the day, while others watched the minutes tick.
Some of us ran to help those in need,
While others took advantage and strengthened their greed.
Some of us were wealthy, while others remained poor.
Some of the diseases destroyed lives, while scientists searched for the cure.
Some of us were fair, while others were not.
Some of us got away while others got caught.
Some of us were athletic while others remained still.
Some of us treasured life, while others searched for a way to kill.
Some of us were not afraid, while others remained meek.
Some of us were popular, while others were named as "the geek"
Some of us believed in God, while others didn't care.
Some of us believed life was cruel, while others believed it was fair.
Some of us lived life to the fullest, while others threw it all away.
Some of us gave up, while others seized the day.

Though we all lived different lives, we have not lived them in vain.

All we were given was a life to live, with everything to gain.

Ask yourself,

What am I going to do with my life, live with purpose and meaning or live with no purpose and no meaning?

Wednesday, April 16

Ten Virtues to be practised

There are ten virtues to be practiced by those engaged in spiritual struggle and self-examination. If they keep them up and master them by Allah's leave (Exalted is He), they will attain to noble stations.

The servant should not swear by Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), whether truthfully or falsely, deliberately or absentmindedly. If he exercises this kind of self-control and trains his tongue accordingly, it will bring him to the point where he can give up swearing altogether, with or without premeditation. Once he has become accustomed to this, Allah will open a door to His lights, letting him experience the benefit thereof in his heart, and raising him in rank and strength, in his resolve and his patience, in the approbation of his brethren and the esteem of his neighbors, so that all who know him will regard him as a good example, and everyone who sees him will hold him in awe.

He should avoid lying, whether in jest or in earnest. If he practices this self-control and his tongue gets used to being restrained, Allah (Exalted is He) will thereupon expand his feelings and purify his mind. It will be as if he had no knowledge of lying, and when he hears it from another he will reproach and rebuke him for it within himself. If he prays for the person to be rid of it, there will be a reward for him.

He should beware of promising something to someone and then failing to keep his promise. He would do better to stop making promises altogether, so as to gain strength for his task and to keep his sense of purpose, since breach of promise is tantamount to lying. If he acts on this advice, the Lord will open to him the door of liberality and the degree of modesty, and he will be granted love among the truthful and higher esteem in the sight of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He).

He should avoid cursing anything in the realm of creation, or hurting anything from a mere atom upward. This is one of the moral standards of the pious and the champions of truth. It yields a good result for one who observes it, in that he enjoys Allah's protection in this world, along with the spiritual degrees He has in store for him, and He delivers him from the pitfalls of perdition, keeps him safe from people, blesses him with human compassion, and brings him near to Himself (Almighty and Glorious is He).

He should avoid invoking evil on any fellow creature, even one who has wronged him. He should not cut him with his tongue, nor retaliate against him by word or deed. This virtue raises one who practices it to the highest ranks. If he cultivates it, he will achieve noble status in this world and the hereafter, love and affection in the hearts of all creatures near and far, answers to his prayers, popular acclaim, and respect in this world in the hearts of all believers.

He should not assert that he has evidence of polytheism, unbelief or hypocrisy on the part of any member of the Muslim community [people of the Qibla]. This is closer to mercy and higher in degree, since it is perfectly in keeping with the Sunna, very far from intruding on Allah's knowledge and from incurring Allah's wrath, and nearer to the good pleasure and mercy of Allah (Exalted is He). This is an honorable and noble doorway to Allah (Exalted is He), through which the servant is endowed with mercy for all creatures.

He should refrain from contemplating sinful offences, and restrain all his limbs and organs from participating in them. Such efforts bring the quickest reward to heart and body in the present life of this world, as well as the good things Allah holds in store in the hereafter. We beg Allah to bless us all, to educate us in these virtues, and to remove our base desires from our hearts.

He should avoid laying a burden of his, big or small, on any fellow creature. Rather should he relieve all creatures of his burden, regardless of what he needs or does not need, for this is the height of honor for servants and of nobility for the righteous. From this he gains strength to fulfill his duty to enjoin what is good and fair and forbid what is evil and unfair. All creatures should be of equal status as far as he is concerned. When this stage is reached, Allah moves him on toward annihilation [fana'], certitude, and confidence in Him (Almighty and Glorious is He). No other is raised to the same height, yet he sees all creatures as having equal rights. This is quite certainly the cause of honor for the believers and of nobility for the righteous, and it is very close to the gate of sincerity.

He must stop expecting human beings to satisfy his greed, and not let himself covet what they have at their disposal. Thus he will achieve the greatest honor, peculiar enrichment, vast dominion, splendid glory, pure certitude, and frank, unequivocal trust in the Lord. This is one of the doors to confidence in Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), one of the doors to renunciation, leading to the attainment of piety and the perfect practice of religion. It is one of the marks of those who are wholly dedicated to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He).

The tenth is humility, for it is with this virtue that the servant's residence is erected, that his station is raised high, that his honor and eminence are made perfect in the sight of Allah (Glory be to Him) and in the sight of His creatures, and that he is empowered to achieve all his worldly and otherworldly goals. This virtue is the root, branch and consummation of all virtues, whereby the servant attains to the stations of the righteous, those who are content with Allah (Exalted is He) in joy and sorrow alike. This is the perfection of piety.

Humility means that the servant never meets anyone without assuming him to be more worthy than himself. He will always say: "Perhaps he is better than I in Allah's sight, and higher in degree." If it is someone young, he will say: "This person has not offended Allah (Exalted is He) as I have done, so he is undoubtedly better than I." If it is someone older, he will say: "This person served Allah long before I did." If it is someone learned, he will say: "This person has received something I have not experienced, and has acquired something I have not acquired. He knows things of which I am ignorant, and he puts his knowledge into practice." If it is someone who is ignorant, he will say: "This person has offended Allah in ignorance, while I have offended Him knowingly. I do not know what end He has in store for me, nor what end He has in store for him." If it should be an unbeliever, he will say: "I don't know; perhaps he will embrace Islam and come to a good end, and maybe I shall become an unbeliever and come to a bad end."

This is the topic of sympathy [for others] and apprehension [about oneself], the first to become familiar and the last to remain with servants of the Lord. When the servant is like this, Allah (Exalted is He) keeps him safe from disasters, and brings him as a reward to the stations of loyalty to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). He then belongs among the chosen ones and friends of the All-Merciful, and among the enemies of Iblis, Allah's accursed foe.

This is the gate of mercy, with the attainment of which gate of pride is demolished and the cords of vanity are severed, and the stage of self-aggrandizement in religious and worldly matters is left behind. This is the very marrow of worshipful service, the ultimate distinction of the self-denying, and the mark of the devout. There is nothing more admirable than this.

The servant should now prevent his tongue from discussing human beings and matters of no importance, otherwise he will accomplish nothing. Malice, pride and spite must leave his heart wherever he finds himself, his tongue should be the same in private as in public, his private and public wishes should be identical, and so should his words. All people should be as one to him in respect of sincere advice. He should not be one of those counselors who speak ill of one of Allah's creatures, or condemn him for some action, nor should it please him to be told of someone's faults. This vice is the bane of Allah's servants, the ruin of the devout and the destruction of the pious, except for those whom Allah (Exalted is He) helps by keeping them safe in tongue and heart through His mercy, His grace and His beneficence.

By Shaykh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani(ra)

Monday, April 14

Problems and Struggles in life are good for us

By: Salma Remani

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.

The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were Allah's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If Allah allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us.

We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!

Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and make us die as those who have surrendered themselves unto You.
~The Holy Quran (7:126)

Sunday, April 13

What makes a Beautiful Heart?

One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley.

A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect.

There was not a mark or a flaw in it.

Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen.

The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart. Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, "Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine."

The crowd and the young man looked at the old man's heart. It was beating strongly ... but full of scars. It had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in ... but they didn't fit quite right and there were several jagged edges.

In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing. The people starred ... how could he say his heart is more beautiful, they thought?

The young man looked at the old man's heart and saw its state and laughed. "You must be joking," he said. "Compare your heart with mine ... mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears."

"Yes!" said the old man, "Yours is perfect looking ... but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love. I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them ... and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart ... but because the pieces aren't exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared. Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away ... and the other person hasn't returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges ... giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too ... and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting."

"So now do you see what true beauty is?", said the old man.

The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands.

The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man's heart.

It fits but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.

The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man's heart flowed into his.

Friday, April 11

Four Aspects of Conduct

'The roots of conduct have four aspects: conduct with Allah, conduct with the self, conduct with creation (i.e. people), and conduct with this world. Each of these aspects is based upon seven principles, just as there are seven principles of conduct with Allah: giving Him His due, keeping His limits, being thankful for His gift, being content with His decree, being patient with His trials, glorifying His sanctity, and yearning for Him.

The seven principles of conduct with the self are fear, striving, enduring harm, spiritual discipline, seeking truthfulness and sincerity, withdrawing the self from what it loves, and binding it in poverty (faqr).

The seven principles of conduct with creation are forbearance, forgiveness, humility, generosity, compassion, good counsel, justice and fairness.

The seven principles of conduct with this world are being content with what is at hand, preferring what is available to what is not, abandoning the quest for the elusive, hating overabundance, choosing abstinence (zuhd), knowing the evils of this world and abandoning any desire for it, and negating its dominance.

When all these qualities are found in one person, he is then one of Allah's elite, one of His close bondsman and friends (awliya')'

By Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq(as)

Salma Remani
Muhammad Shaheen

Wednesday, April 9

Being Tried and Tested!

By the Great Master Shaikh Muhyi'd-Diin Abdul Qadir Jilani al-Hasanii al-Husainii(ra)

When the servant [of the Lord] is tested with a trial, his first impulse is to cope with it in and by himself. If his own efforts get him nowhere he looks for help from other human beings, such as people in power, important officials, men of influence and means, or medical experts where diseases and physical ailments are involved. If he still obtains no relief, he then resorts to his Lord through prayers of supplication, humble entreaty and offering of praise.

As long he finds it possible to manage on his own, he will not turn to other people, and while human help is available he will not turn to the Creator.

[Having finally applied to Him], only to find no help forthcoming from the Creator, he throws himself down in his presence, incessantly begging, pleading, entreating, offering praise and submitting his needs in fear and hope. But the creator (Almighty and Glorious is He) now renders him incapable of supplication, and ignores him until he has reached the end of his tether. Only then does he experience the effect of the Lord's decree and the action of His work, and so this servant passes beyond material needs and behavior, to survive as spirit alone.

Since he now sees nothing but the Truth [al-Haqq] in action, he becomes, of necessity, a totally convinced believer in the divine Unity [muwahhid], affirming that in reality there is no agent but Allah, no dynamics or static force apart from Allah,and no good or evil, no loss or gain, no giving or withholding, no opening or closing, no death or life, no honor or disgrace except in the hand of Allah. His status comes to resemble that of a suckling babe in its nurse's arms, of a corpse in the hand of a washer of the dead, or of a ball on the receiving end of a polo-player's mallet-rolled and spun and knocked around, though inert in itself and imparting no motion to other bodies.

Gone forth from his own self, out into his Master's work,he now sees nothing but that Master and His work, and neither hears nor comprehends from any other source. If he perceives at all, if he does hear and learn, His speech is what he listens to, and his knowledge is what he comes to know. His favor he enjoys, through His nearness he prospers, through His proximity he is graced and honored, by His promise he is pleased and reassured. With Him he feels at peace, and His discourse he takes delight, while from all others he recoils and shrinks away.

In remembrance of Him he finds refuge and support. In Him, the Almighty and Glorious, he puts his faith and in Him he place his trust. By the light of His awareness he is guided, as he wraps and clothes himself therein. Strange marvels of His science he discovers, and the secret of His power he is apprised. To Him he listens and from him he learns, then for all this he offers praise, gives thanks, and turns to prayer.

Tuesday, April 8

Bulleh Ki Jaana With English Translation

Loose your Ego and you will be closer to God

Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami (Q) used to worship Allah continually, asking in all his prayers that Allah open for him that beautiful Divine Presence.

And after progressing for many years, he heard a voice in his heart that said, "Ya Aba Yazid, what do you want?" He said, "Ya Rabbi, I want to come to You." Allah (swt) said, "Ya Bayazid, there is a correct way to come to Me.""Ya Rabbi, what is that way?" Allah (swt) said, "You have to be a garbage dump for My servants." What does that really mean?Being a garbage dump means that you have to carry the burdens of Allah's servants in order to come to Him.

You cannot come with your ego to Him. In order to step on your ego and come to Allah, be a garbage dump. So what did Aba Yazid do to become a rubbish dump? How do you do that? You have to leave anger, be patient, you have to be of service to humanity, regardless of what they do to you . Biyazid was thinking and thinking and thinking, "How am I going to be of service to people?" To become a rubbish dump means everyone has to speak badly of you, but you still carry their burdens. Everyone has to say, "This one is bad." And you instead have to be saying, "Ya Rabbi, forgive them, Ya Rabbi, forgive them."

How many times did the neighbor of Prophet (s) dump his rubbish at the door of Prophet (s)? For 7 years. The Prophet (s) did not tell anyone - he took the garbage and quietly threw it away. So to become a dump means you have to forgive everyone. To make people love you is easy. Be a sincere person, and everyone loves you. You are happy when they say, "Masha`Allah, you are a lion." But, if they say to you, "You are a donkey," you will get angry! Both of them are animals - a donkey and a lion. But being a lion makes the ego happy. Being a donkey makes the ego angry. Just as you are made happy by something being said of you that really does not have value, the love of people is something good that makes you happy - but compared to the love of Allah, that love of people has no value. Sayyidina Bayazid had created some problem in the city - we will not go into that story now, but as a result they ordered him killed by stoning. He was given the power to destroy but instead he forgave everyone.

They stoned him continuously, children and adults, until he fainted. And as he was being stoned, he was saying, "Ya Rabbi forgive them. Ya Rabbi forgive them. Ya Rabbi forgive them." Who can do that now? They thought he was dead, so they threw him into the rubbish dump. Seven days he stayed there unconscious. When he woke up he said, "Ya Rabbi, I wish that they had thrown stones until I died, and You brought me back to life, and I could be stoned to death again, my Lord, for Your love. "Make my body as big as hell so that no one can go to hell except me. And let everyone else go to Paradise." That is the saints' approach to the Divine Presence, among them Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami.

The Importance of Sufism in an Era of Globalisation

By Sidi Mounir Qadiri Boutchichi (Morocco)

It is hardly necessary to remind ourselves that industrialisation and technological development have enabled us to explore new dimensions and to reach a high level of scientific and social knowledge. Globalisation, communication and innovation have had an impact on our day-to-day lives in more than one way. Nevertheless, one question, which imposes itself, is, ‘Are we happy?

Whatever the answer, we need to remind ourselves that material and technological achievements have unfortunately been detrimental to our spiritual consciousness. Consequently, we have lost our identities, since we have become truly machines of consumption, feeding the desires of our bodies, but always to the detriment of the true desires of our souls and hearts. This has led us to a ‘spiritual void’, resulting in a state of human disequilibrium. The manifestation of such disequilibrium can be witnessed through the social crisis that characterizes our societies today, which includes family breakdown, drugs, social distrust, hate, hypocrisy, stress and other diseases, all of which are driven by a dangerous spiritual thirst in our hearts and souls.

Into all these insoluble social dilemmas that have kept arising in our societies and amongst our people, comes ‘Sufism’, which specializes in the healing and purification of an essential part of our human creation – ‘the heart’. Sufism focuses on the heart because it is the ‘commander’ of all our behavioural senses and it is the source of all the intentions and reactions of the mind and body. It is also the mirror of our personalities and it is the only place where our Creator, Allah, looks. The Prophet Muhammad, GOD’s peace and blessings upon him, said, “Know that Allah does not look at your face, nor does He look at your body, but He looks at your hearts.�?

Such is the importance of the heart, that Sufism has concentrated all its educational efforts on opening this heart, enlightening its darkness and making it soft after being hard, closed and blind. Sufi spiritual masters, may GOD be pleased with them, as specialists in the ‘medicine of hearts’ (tib al-koloub), orient the hearts of their companions to Allah and reconnect them to their original state of purity and light. “Hearts become softer with the remembrance of Allah.�? Qur’an.

To emphasize the importance of remembrance and invocation of Allah, the Prophet, GOD’s peace and blessings upon him, said, “The example of those who remember Allah and those who do not is like the living and the dead.�?

Remembering Allah in the Sufi path is supported by some necessary educational methods, varying from the companionship of a spiritual master to individual and collective invocation and meditation. Companionship (sohbet/company) of a spiritual master (Shaykh Nazim) is very important in purifying the heart, putting it into communication with Allah after it has been blind without any connection.

Sufism, in purifying the heart, ensures your ‘spiritual safety’, thus protecting you from the various desires of the ego (annafs/al hawa) and of evil. When you feel this state of spiritual safety, you become more productive in your social life, more balanced in your actions and behaviour, looking at yourself and the outside world with the eyes of your open heart. Experience has taught us how Sufism has changed people throughout history by purifying their hearts, connecting them with their GOD and changing them radically from bad to excellent elements of society.

Another question we may ask is how Sufism fits into this new age of Internet and globalization. Before giving an answer, let us correct some misconceptions that have for one reason or another been attributed to Sufism. Some people think that Sufism is simply a philosophy or a culture identified with the early centuries of Islam. Others think that Sufism finished with Imam al-Junayd, Jala-Din Rumi and Ibn Arabi. One may also imagine Sufism as a path encouraging people to isolate themselves or to push themselves towards extremism. Others imagine it is all about poetry and secular dancing. Contrary to all these misconceptions, Sufism is still alive in these times and giving its people their spiritual dimension. Today, only Sufism is capable of holding the torch of the way of peace, the way of good character, and the way of balance and communication with everybody from all over the world.

Because Sufism is interacting with each generation, adapting itself to all its needs and expectations, it is said that the Sufi is “the son of his time�? (assoufiy ibn waqtih). Looking back in history to early Sufi paths, spiritual education (tarbia rouhiya) was known to be based upon long retreats (khalawat) and detachment from the day-to-day material life. Examples of this picture are Imam Ghazali and Rabia al-Adawiya. Early spiritual masters imposed on their disciples (muridin) a number of conditions that had to be met, in order to test their motivation and commitment to following the Sufi path.

Today, however, Sufism accepts without condition people with different levels of knowledge. Everybody, Muslim and non-Muslim, is welcome to the Sufi path, as long as they want to purify and enlighten their hearts and souls. This is exactly what is meant by the ‘University of Sufism’. There is a Sufi saying: “Do not hate a Jew or a Christian, but your own ego (annafs) that is between your sides.�?

It is the new era of Sufism now which is based on flexibility, love and beauty. It is easier to follow now than before but this does not mean that it has lost its value. The addition of flexibility to spiritual education has attracted the hearts of disciples from all over the world. Today, Sufis are more integrated into their social lives. They can enjoy the Sufi experience without it affecting their social rhythm or losing their social identities. One aspect of the Tariqa Qadiriyya Boutchichiyya, as explained by its spiritual master Sidi Hamza, is that the retreat of the Sufi is inside the heart (alkhalwat fi al-qalb). Sufis do not need to isolate themselves in order to find their way to GOD. On the contrary, they can participate in their social activities as much as they can without affecting their beautiful spiritual experience, providing they are ‘happy in their hearts.’

Another aspect of Sufism today is manifested in the companionship of the spiritual master. In the past, disciples seeking spiritual knowledge and purification spent a long period of their lives searching for the right master to follow. Today, the spiritual master himself is looking without condition for new disciples.

While explaining aspects of the Tariqa, Sidi Hamza said that the path is based on ‘beautification then detachment’ (at-takhliya bada at-tahliya). The meaning of this important aspect is that the Sufi first tastes the sweetness (tahliya) of the remembrance of GOD (dhikr) then moves to another stage of purifying the heart and detaching it from its darkness and diseases (takhliya). Sidi Hamza may Allah be pleased with him, gave a beautiful explanation of this aspect: “Stability of Allah’s love inside the heart, then moving to the practice.�? In the past, however, the Sufi needed to purify his heart before entering the path and following the master.

Sufism is a universal spiritual school where thousands are purifying their hearts each day, learning the love of Allah and connecting with their origins. The Tariqa, with its disciples all over the world, is a living example of good character, love, social bonding and spiritual blessings.

We need to look after our hearts in order to attain happiness and spiritual equilibrium. Sufism is all about good character and good manners.

To discover Sufism, it is up to you to take the first step to drink from the sources of divine love. It is like honey - you cannot enjoy its sweetness if you do not taste it. In order to taste it, you have to go through the experience and companionship of the spiritual master. This latter is the guide of hearts - he makes you remember GOD and he teaches you how to love infinitely and passionately.

Monday, April 7

How to let go of guilt and learn to forgive

How to let go of guilt and learn to forgive

From the Qur'an
{It is part of the Mercy of Allah that you deal gently
with them. Were you severe or harsh-hearted, they would have
gone away from you: so pass over (their faults), and
ask for (Allah's) forgiveness for them; and consult them in the
affairs (of the moment). Then, when you have taken a decision, place
your trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who place their trust
(in Him).} 3:159

[Lessons from this verse] It is not the snake bite that kills,
it's the venom that flows through the blood. The antidote is
forgiving people. Don't let anger rent space in your mind and
heart. Forgive and pass over people's faults.

"Strength of character means the ability to overcome resentment against
others, to hide hurt feelings, and to forgive quickly."

"To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the
unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when
everything seems hopeless."

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was

"Do everything. Love as much as you can. it may hurt but it helps us grow.
Give all you may be poor but you will be content. Always
forgive....your heart can not afford not to. Teach what you know and learn
what you don't. Stay open to all"

"Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give."

"Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than
believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive:
forget. Do more than dream: work."

A kindergarten teacher decided to let her class play a game. The teacher
told each child in the class to bring along a plastic bag containing a few
potatoes. Each potato will be given a name of a person that the child hates,
so the number of potatoes that a child will put in his/her plastic bag will
depend on the number of people he/she hates.

So when the day came, every child brought some potatoes with the name of the
people he/she hated. Some had 2 potatoes; some 3 while some up to 5
potatoes. The teacher then told the children to carry with them the potatoes
in the plastic bag wherever they go for 1 week.

Days after days passed by, and the children started to complain due to the
unpleasant smell let out by the rotten potatoes. Besides, those having 5
potatoes also had to carry heavier bags.

After 1 week, the children were relieved because the game had finally ended.
The teacher asked: "How did you feel while carrying the potatoes with you
for 1 week?" The children let out their frustrations and started complaining
of the trouble that they had to go through having to carry the heavy and
smelly potatoes wherever they go.

Then the teacher told them the hidden meaning behind the game.

The teacher said: "This is exactly the situation when you carry your hatred
for somebody inside your heart. The stench of hatred will contaminate your
heart and you will carry it with you wherever you go. If you cannot tolerate
the smell of rotten potatoes for just 1 week, can you imagine what is it
like to have the stench of hatred in your heart for your lifetime???"

Throw away any hatred for anyone from your heart so that you will not carry
sins for a life time. Forgiving others is the best attitude to take! Forget
& Forgive!!!

for a friend when they needed us, or we may have been responsible for
unhappiness in our family. These sorts of past actions can leave us feeling
ashamed and guilty, and we can end up carrying our guilt for years.

Guilt is probably one of the most debilitating and negative emotions there
is - one that can, and often does, destroy a person's life. But if we want
to live happy lives, we need to deal with the consequences of our past
actions and move on, rather than allowing our lives to be wracked with

Feeling guilty should not be confused with taking responsibility for our
past. Responsibility means "the ability to respond", and therefore taking
responsibility means that we actively address the consequences of our
actions in whatever way we can, in particular by changing our behavior
patterns. Taking responsibility also includes moving on by making peace with
the past.

Unlike taking responsibility, which is redeeming and positive, guilt has
absolutely no value. Guilt does not encourage us to change in positive ways
but debilitates us, leaving us unable to take the action we need to bring
about change.

Breaking out of the guilt cycle
As a behavior pattern, guilt often becomes a self-perpetuating cycle: we do
something, we feel guilty about it, we punish ourselves and, because we feel
bad, we end up repeating our behavior at the next available opportunity.

This debilitating cycle continues largely because we do not take full
responsibility for our actions or for changing our behavior. So how do we
start the process of taking responsibility? By considering, with complete
honesty, the part we play in any situation and by accepting our role in
creating the events.

The purpose of this self-examination is to evaluate truthfully whatever
occurred so that we can learn how we contributed. Through learning and
honest self-assessment, we change our thinking and behavior. We can also
forgive ourselves and move on with experience and wisdom.

Real forgiveness
In this process, forgiveness is vital. However, forgiveness is not what we
generally believe it to be.

Real forgiveness has nothing to do with feeling of "sorry or apologizing" -
neither of which actually changes anything. True forgiveness is contained in
its literal meaning. The word "forgive" is very old, and the prefix "for"
means literally "to reject." So the word as a whole means "to reject the

We need "to reject the giving" because, if we think we have wronged someone,
we use our sense of guilt to "give" to that person. By giving, we hope to
make it better, and to exonerate ourselves from our actions. Conversely, if
we feel that someone has wronged us, we will continue to demand payment for
that offense, and thus want the other person to "give" to us.

But giving from a sense of guilt can never lead us to forgiveness. Neither
can forgiveness be bestowed by another; it has to be brought about by
ourselves. In the end, unless we can reject all this giving and truly
forgive ourselves, we can never really move on and be free of the past.

How does forgiveness work in practice? Say that you have had a history of
being abusive towards others, but have started to take responsibility for
your past by changing your behavior. The reality is that you can still have
unresolved feelings about what you have done. The process of forgiveness
enables you to resolve these unresolved feelings so that you can move on.

It is important to remember that feeling bad about the past never really
allows us to move on. What's more, if we indulge in feeling bad, this
implies that we view our past as meaningless and of no value. What a waste!
For, if we have caused harm, surely we should try to learn from our actions
rather than living with a heap of regrets?

Forgiving ourselves involves finding value in our experiences. Instead of
just writing off an experience as a painful episode, and trying to forget
it, we should look for the value in that experience and try to take out of
the experience whatever we can learn.

Toltecs look upon life as a journey of learning, and say that all true
learning or knowledge is experiential. Because we are stubborn and tend to
avoid change, much of our learning does come about through painful
experiences. However, if we wish to grow and to use our experiences as a
learning curve, it is vital that we focus on what we have learned, rather
than the pain.

By searching for learning and value from our past, we ensure that there is
no more need to give or demand payment - we can, indeed, "reject the giving"
and so forgive.

To take meaning and value out of any situation, simply ask, "What has this
taught me? What lessons can I learn: about myself, about others and about my
life? How can I use this new knowledge to change my thinking and behavior
and help others avoid the same trap?"

In this light our past, instead of being meaningless and shameful, has a
positive and life-enhancing value. By learning to handle our past, and by
taking the steps to forgive ourselves in the true sense of the word, we can
let go of the debilitating consequences of guilt, and finally move on.

"Say: 'O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not
of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins for He is Oft-Forgiving,
Most Merciful." Surah Al-Zumar, chapter 39 verse 53-55

Friday, April 4

How not to get depressed?

How to deal with Life's hardships and not be depressed?

We have to admit that sometimes there are difficult stages in our lives. During that time, we are often tested and later realize that test had a great impact on us today.

Sometimes we look at an individual and the first thing that comes to our mind if they are smiling and enjoying themselves is, "I wish I could live that person's life, they seem so happy, free from problems and hardships."

The truth is that nobody has a life free from hardships. It is easy to hide what we have been through and to keep the pain that continually adds up inside without opening up and discussing the problem. One of the most important things I have learned is constantly keeping things to yourself can lead to a more severe anxiety and depression.

Depression has become a very serious and common illness among people in today's society. It is true that depression is very hard to overcome and recover from. You cannot simply wake up one morning, go to a therapist for a 45 minute session, and feel happy and cheerful again. Recovering from depression, anxiety and panic attacks takes a while, for some people it may take weeks, and for others it may take months or even years depending on how hard they are willing to work with the therapist, psychiatrist, and anti depressants.

The hardest part to getting through depression is not knowing who to turn to for help. It becomes very hard for us to trust people and take advice because we have isolated ourselves completely from the people we love. It becomes extremely hard to control our emotions as well. The first step is to discuss your problem with the parent you feel most comfortable with. Letting out your emotions is one way of reducing depression because emotions will eventually control you if you let them build up.

I would just like to say that there is truly nothing worth being depressed over in this world. We need to put our faith in Allah and trust that he will protect us from anything and everything. Let us make the hereafter our main priority and if we focus on that alone, and I can guarantee that depression will not be a problem.

A poem which I read today By Mevlana Rumi(ra)

Love is the cure,
for your pain will keep giving birth to more pain
until your eyes constantly exhale love
as effortlessly as your body yields its scent.”

Please share your comment and views with us.

May Allah Almighty fill our hearts with the Nur of Muhammad(pbuh)

Salma Remani
Muhammad Shaheen

Wednesday, April 2

On Divine Remembrance

So remember Me and I shall remember you. Be thankful to Me and not ungrateful to Me. You who believe, seek help through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patiently enduring. [2:152-153]

Those who remember Allah standing, sitting or reclining; who contemplate the creation of the heavens and of the earth: ‘Our Lord, You have not created this in vain. Glory be to you! Keep us from the torment of the Fire.’ [3:191]

You who believe, remember Allah often. [33:41]

And remember Allah often, that you may prosper. [29:45]

Remembrance of Allah is greatest of all. [62:10]

The “Wine” of Divine Love

Come, let me describe to you a drink on which you may get intoxicated! The cupbearer of that drink is the venerable Sultan of the Prophets, while the drink itself is Divine Love. Its taverns is the assembly of lovers. Its cup is your being. Those who drink it experience no more grief or sorrow; they neither sober up nor separate. They become eternally intoxicated.

Remembrance of Allah

Remembrance elevates mankind to the Truth. Let us repeat: Allah remembers those who remember Him. This is the highest station.

The different kinds of remembrance are: public remembrance, private remembrance, remembrance of the heart, remembrance of the spirit and remembrance of the secret soul.

The best remembrance is: ‘lā ilāha illā-llāh’.

If this Good Sentence were placed in one scale of balance and the seven levels of heaven and the seven levels of earth were put in the other scale, lā ilāha illā-llāh would outweigh all the rest.

Allāh, Knower of all hidden things, tells us that heaven and earth combined are a “mere scrap” against the greatness of His remembrance:

Remembrance of Allāh is greatest of all. [29:45]

That Allāh calls something great, is sufficient proof of its exalted nature. If someone says lā ilāha illā-llāh just once with love, he removes four hundred sins. Sorrow and woe are the offspring of sin. And the greatest sin is lack of faith.

Adapted from Irshad, by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak al-Jerrahi, 1988

The 68 Blemishes of the Nafs

To clean the nafs of the 68 blemishes listed below is the beginning of good adab which is the greater part of Islam and of Sufism.

  1. Ujub - to be proud of one’s spiritual state
  2. Riya - to show off
  3. Kibr - arrogance
  4. Hasad - envy
  5. Bukhul - miserliness
  6. Kin - to be vengeful
  7. Kufr - faithlessness
  8. Bid’at- to distort religion and tradition
  9. Kufran-i ni’met - to deny the giver of gifts or to belittle the gifts
  10. To be disatisfied and complain about one’s state
  11. To cease to have hope for Allah’s Mercy
  12. To be sure of Allah’s punishment
  13. To condone tyrrany and help tyrants
  14. To speak against decent people
  15. To keep the heart attached to this world
  16. To keep wanting to be a leader
  17. To expect approval and compliments
  18. To fear criticism
  19. Not to be able to prevent oneself from wanting
  20. Instead of wishing to learn the truth, being an imitator
  21. To fawn over people for personal benefit
  22. To be happy about disasters that fall upon people, even your enemies
  23. To be a coward
  24. To be angry
  25. To be a tyrant
  26. Not to keep one’s word
  27. To believe in bad luck
  28. To think unjustly about people
  29. To love one’s property
  30. To be overly concerned with the world and the worldly
  31. To be ambitious
  32. To lead an irresponsible life
  33. To mix oneself into affairs that do not concern one
  34. To be undignified
  35. Not to keep the time of one’s devotions due to laziness
  36. To be shameless
  37. To lament the loss of things
  38. To gossip
  39. To be stubborn
  40. To be an egoist
  41. To be a hypocrite
  42. To cheat
  43. To be brutish
  44. To be dishonorable in relations with women
  45. To be lustful
  46. Not to accept one’s error and continue insisting on it
  47. To be afraid of poverty
  48. Not to believe in destiny or to talk about destiny
  49. To make oneself depressed
  50. To take pleasure in belittling others
  51. To be indiscriminately happy
  52. To be insincerely kind and fawning over rich people
  53. To be disdainful of the poor
  54. To boast and be proud of one’s past
  55. To show off one’s physical prowess
  56. To belittle others
  57. To like to talk long unnecessarily
  58. To be self centered in conversation
  59. To forget about one’s own shortcomings and be preoccupied with the shortcomings of others
  60. To exclude from one’s heart the fear of Allah and the shame and sadness of one’s state
  61. In distress to make excuses and to fall back on and encourage the nafs
  62. To decline to help in a struggle for Allah’s sake
  63. To pretend to be friends with one’s enemy
  64. To cheat in one’s work
  65. To set traps for others
  66. To identify with the world to the extent of forgetting Allah
  67. To take pleasure in people’s suffering
  68. Not to suffer because of one’s mistakes


On Parents

“Your Lord has decreed that you shall worship none but Him, and show kindness to your parents; if one or both of them attain old age with you, never say to them ‘Ugh” nor scold them. Speak to them graciously, and lower for them the wing of humbleness, for mercy’s sake, and say: ‘My Lord, have mercy on them, as they raised me up when I was small.” [17:23-24].

In a noble Tradition, the blessed Prophet said: “Paradise lies at mothers’ feet.” What a great tribute to womanhood! This noble Tradition proclaims the high standing of a mother’s approval in the sight of Allah, and declares that only with her approval may one enter His promised Paradise. Furthermore, if anyone should worship his Lord and then make a supplication, praising Allah and His blessed Messenger, but without praying for his mother and father, and without asking divine forgiveness for them, his supplication will not even reach the All-Glorious One.

“And We have charged man concerning his parents – his mother bore him in weakness, and his weaning was in two years – Be thankful to Me, and to your parents; to Me is the homecoming” [31:14].

Thus, Allah links gratitude to parents, to mother and father, with the gratitude to Himself. Anyone who offers thanks, yet is not grateful to his parents, has not really thanked at all. As our blessed Prophet said, “If anyone pleases his parents, my Lord is certainly pleased with him. If anyone offends his parents, the Creator certainly takes offense. Allah’s approval is linked to that of one’s parents. If they are pleased, Allah is pleased also. If they are offended, Allah is offended too.”

The Mother’s Due is Three Times Greater than
the Father’s

One day, a noble Companion asked: “O Messenger of Allah, who has the greater right over children, the mother or the father?” The Chief of the Two Worlds vouchsafed this reply: “The mother’s right is greater than the father’s.” The question was repeated three times, and each time the reply was the same. Only at the fourth asking did the answer change to: “The father’s right is greater.”

The companion then enquired: “O Messenger of Allah, why do you give the mother three rights to the father’s one?” To this he replied: “Your mother carried you for nine months and ten days in her womb, then gave you birth. After that she gave up her sleep for you, suckled you, carried you in her arms for three years, and cleaned up your mess. For seven years she carried you on her back. She did your laundry. She cooked and served you food for eighteen years. When you were forty, fifty, sixty she still followed your progress with interest. As for your father, he sowed you in your mother’s womb, provided your food and made sure you had clothes to wear. Can this be compared with your mother’s role?”

The Companion then went on to ask: “Well, O Messenger of Allah, I wonder if I could ever repay my mother for all the help and service, however much I might do for her?” The Messenger replied: “You could not repay so much as one night’s due!” – “But suppose I carry my mother on my back for years, clean up after her, cook for her and feed her. Suppose I attend to those same services as long as she may live?” – “There will still be this difference between you: your mother looked out for you to live, while you are waiting for her to die.”

The Meaning of “Mother”

A mother means pure tenderness. A mother means the source of compassion. A mother means loyalty and hospitality. How can she be paid her due? A man dies once, but a mother dies each time she gives birth. The venerable Ali (ra) tells us that giving birth is as painful as death. Is it not she who shields you from all misfortune when you are helpless? Is it not she who spends long sleepless nights for your sake? Is it not she who breaks her rest at least three or four times to feed you at her breast? Is it not she who does without clothes to clothe you, who conceals from you the pains she has to bear? Is it not she who quickly hides her tears with a smile, lest her children notice and feel sad? Is it not she who cannot bear to wake her children when they are sleeping, who does not see their faults, or does not draw attention to them when she does see them, who promptly pardons her children for the pain they cause? How could you repay what you owe your mother? Is it possible to do so? Mother, such is mother. A partner in our grief, a balm to our wounds…Is it not she who is ready to sacrifice her very life to save her children?…

Adapted from Irshad, by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak al-Jerrahi, 1988

The beauty of Colours

This was passed down to me by Salma Remani.

Salaam Alaikum to you all...

The variation of colours reminded me of the signs of Greatness of Allaah

Today as i was walking home i lifted y heads and looked at the things around me and saw how beautiful the colours are that they have, i especially noticed the sky-- the blue sky........

And among His Signs Is the creation of the heavens And the earth, and the variations In your languages And your colors; verily In that are Signs For those who know (The Romans 30:22)

Truly, colours are the signs of Allah.

I pray to Him that as we look at the magnificent colours around us today, we are able to think and reflect upon His Creations and not be the people whose hearts are blind as what He mentioned in His Verse below,

Have they not traveled about the earth and do they not have hearts to understand with or ears to hear with? It is not their eyes which are blind but the hearts in their breasts which are blind. (Surat al-Hajj: 46)


Ya Allah, I beg of you to open up our hearts so that we are able to see and understand the signs of your Greatness, the Truth of Your Existence from the glorious colours You created, ameen…

Let us hope that now we would be able to see more than colours. Let us pray that from now, the colours of thousands of shades that we see everyday would make us closer to Him, that we are able to see the magnitude of Allaah’s Brilliance and Creativity, that we would be mesmerized and astonished with His Greatness and fall in Love with Him; and praise Him as how He deserved to be praised…

SubhanAllaah wa Alhamdulillaah,
Allaah is The Most Glorious and All Praise is for Him…

Think about it….

May we learn to dissolve the illusions of separateness
so that we may know, as deeply, as intimately as we are known. Ameen

Tuesday, April 1

Seven Internal Disciplines

Discipline is of the utmost importance. There are two types of discipline relating to one?s Sheikh, which the mureed must bring into existence:

i) Internal
ii) External.

In this section we will outline the Seven Internal Disciplines.:

1. Sit with your sheikh with sincere intentions and firm belief.
2. Listen to your sheikh?s speech attentively through the ears of your heart.
3. Keep any hidden issue about your sheikh concealed within yourself
4. Accept and be patient upon any expression or utterance that your sheikh communicates to you.
5. Do not internally object to or criticise your sheikh for any of his actions, conduct or speech.
6. Seal your eyes from glancing at and your mouth from expressing any defects, in deed or in character, within your sheikh.
7. Do not internally question or analyse any command given to you by your sheikh