Friday, January 30

On the Self and It States

There is Allah, and there is your own self [nafsuka], and you must address the situation. The self is the opponent and enemy of Allah. All things are subordinate to Allah, and the self really belongs to Him as a creature and a possession, but the self entertains presumptions and aspirations bound up with carnal appetite and sensual desire. So if you ally yourself with the divine Truth in opposition and hostility toward the self, you will be for Allah's sake an adversary to your own self. As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) said to David (peace be upon him): "O David, I am your indispensable support, so hold fast to your support. True servitude means being an adversary to your own self."

It is then that your friendship and servitude to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will be confirmed in reality. All that is allotted to you will then come to you for your enjoyment and pleasure. You will be held in honor and esteem, and all things will be ready to serve you with dignity and respect, for they are all subordinate to their Lord and in conformity with Him, since He is their Creator and Originator and they acknowledge their servitude to Him. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

There is not a thing that does not celebrate His praise, and yet you do not understand their celebration. (17:44)

[Then He turned to the heaven when it was smoke] and said to it and to the earth: "Come both of you, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We come, obedient." (41:11)

Thus servitude-all servitude-consists in opposing your own self. Allah (Exalted is He) says:

Follow not desire, lest it lead you astray from Allah's path. (38:26)

To David (on him be peace) He said:

Renounce your passionate desire, for it is vexatious.

There is also the well-known story of Abu Yazid al-Bistamii (may Allah have mercy upon him). When he saw the Almighty Lord in a dream, he asked Him: "How can I find the way to You?" The Lord said: "Abandon your self and come here!" In response, the Saint tells us: "I shed my self as a snake sloughs off its skin."

Thus all good lies in waging total war against the self under all circumstances. If you are in a state of true devotion, therefore, you must oppose the self by not getting involved with people, whether their behavior be unlawful, merely dubious or even well-intentioned, not depending or relying on them, neither fearing them nor pinning any hopes on them, and not coveting any worldly advantages they may enjoy. Do not solicit gifts from them in the form of presents, of alms or charity, or of votive offerings. Get rid of all interest in them and in material concerns to the point where, if you had a wealthy relative, you would not want him to die so that you could inherit his wealth. Separate yourself from creatures in all earnestness. Regard them as a door that swings open and shut, or as a tree that sometimes bears fruit and at other times is barren, all in accordance with the action of a Doer and the management of a Planner, namely Allah (Glorious and Exalted is He), so that you may be one who affirms the Unity of the Lord.

At the same time, however, we must not forget the proper role of human endeavor, to avoid subscribing to the fatalistic doctrine of the Jabariyya. Believe that no human action is accomplished without Allah. Do not worship His creatures and forget Allah, and do not maintain that our actions are independent of Allah, for that will make you an unbeliever, a subscriber to the [extreme free-will doctrine of the] Qadariyya.* You should rather assert that our actions belong to Allah in point of creation, and to His servants in point of 'acquisition' [kasb], this being the traditional Islamic statement on the subject of requital by reward or punishment.

Obey Allah's command in dealing with your fellow creatures. Keep from them what is your allotted share by His command, but do not go beyond this limit. Allah's verdict in this matter will be imposed on you and on them, so do not be the judge yourself. Your being with them is a decree of destiny, and destiny is shrouded in darkness, so expose that darkness to the Lamp, meaning the Book of Allah and the exemplary practice [Sunna] of His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). Do not step outside these two. If some idea occurs to you, or if you receive an inspiration, check it against the Book and Sunna.

By this criterion, you may find that your idea or inspired notion is declared unlawful. Suppose, for instance, you have received an indication to commit fornication, to practice usury, to consort with dissolute and immoral characters, or to behave in some other sinful manner. This you must repudiate, renounce, refuse to accept and refrain from acting out. Be convinced that it is from Satan the accursed.

Perhaps what you find there will be a license, such as that granted to normal appetites for food, drink, clothing or matrimony. This you should also refuse and decline to accept, recognizing that the suggestion stems from the lower self and its animal cravings, which you are under orders to oppose and combat.

It may also happen that you find nothing in Book and Sunna to show that what has occurred to you is under either prohibition or license. Maybe it is something you are at a loss to understand, like an urge prompting you to go to such-and-such a place to meet a certain good man, although you have nothing to gain there or from the good person concerned, since your needs are already taken care of through the knowledge and wisdom Allah has graciously bestowed on you. In a case like this, you should pause and not react immediately. Instead of saying, "This is an inspiration from the Truth [al-Haqq] (Glorious and Exalted is He) so I shall act upon it," prefer to wait for the full potential benefit. The divine Truth works in such a way that the inspiration [ilham] will be clarified through repetition, and you will be told what steps to take. To people with knowledge ['ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), a sign will be revealed, intelligible only to saints of mature understanding and confirmed Abdal.

The reason for not being in great haste to act is that you do not know the consequences and the ultimate purpose of the affair, nor the snares and pitfalls it contains, with cunning tests devised by Allah. So be patient until He is the one at work within you. When the action is absolutely stripped of self, and you are borne toward that destination, you will be carried safely through any trial that may still confront you, because Allah (Exalted is He) will not chastise you for His own doing; no penalty can apply to you unless you get personally involved.

If you are in the state of reality [Haqiqa], which is the state of sainthood [wilaya], you must oppose your passions and obey the commandments in their entirety. Obedience to the commandments is of two kinds:

One kind means taking just enough from this world to supply your genuine personal needs, forsaking extravagant indulgence, performing your religious duties, and making efforts to get rid of your sins, both outwardly and inwardly.

The second kind is obedience to an inner command, one by which the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) orders or forbids His servant to do something. Such commands apply only in the sphere of 'neutral' matters, which are not covered by any positive injunction in Islamic law, in the sense that they belong neither to the category of prohibited things, nor to the category of things that are obligatory; since they are legally indifferent, the servant being at liberty to handle them according to his own discretion, they are called mubah [neutral/indifferent/permissible]. Rather than taking any initiative in this area, the servant should wait to receive instructions, then obey the order when it comes. He will thus be with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) in all his doings, whether in movement or at rest, through his respect for the rules of sacred law where they apply, and that inner commandment in other cases. At this stage he genuinely belongs among the People of Reality [ahl al-Haqiqa].

In the absence even of this inner commandment, there is nothing for it but spontaneous action in a state of surrender. If you are in touch with the truth of truth, this is the state of obliteration [mahw] and annihilation [fana'], the state of the Abdal who are broken-hearted on account of Him, the state of pure monotheists, men of enlightened wisdom, endowed with knowledge and power of understanding, the commanders-in-chief, the wardens and guardians of mankind, the vicegerents of the All-Merciful, and His intimates and helpers and friends, peace be upon them.

To obey the commandment in such matters means going against your own self, emptied of any power or strength, utterly devoid of all will and ambition for anything of this world or the hereafter. You come to be the servant of the King, not of the Kingdom, of His commandment and not of whim and passion. You come to resemble a babe at his nurse's breast, a corpse receiving its ritual wash, a patient lying sprawled for treatment by the doctor, in all that is not subject to the injunctions and prohibitions [specified by the sacred law].

Only Allah is All-Knowing!

Thursday, January 29

Signs of End of Times

Source: Book of The End - Great Trials and Tribulations

- 'Abdullah ibn Abee Aoufaa ra related that he heard the Messenger of Allah saw say, "There will come upon the people a night that is equivalent to three of these nights of yours. When that happens, those who are praying voluntary prayers will know. One of them will stand and pray his Ahzub (portion that he normally recites), and then he will sleep. Then he will wake up, stand, read his Ahzub, and then sleep (again). While they are upon that state, some people will shout out to one another, saying, "What is this?" Frightened, they will hurry to the Masjids. Upon them the sun will rise until it is in the middle of the sky; it will return and rise from its place of rising. At that juncture no good will it do to a person to believe (if he believed not before)." -- (Related by Al-Haafiz Abu Bakr ibn Mirdawai, in his Tafseer)

- Hudhaifah ra said, "I asked the Prophet 'What is the Sign regarding the sun rising from its west?' He said, 'The night will be prolonged until it will be the measure of two nights; those who were praying in it will take notice of it. They will do (in terms of worship) during it as they used to do before it. And the stars will not be seen; it (the sun) will spend the night in their place. They will sleep, and they will wake up and pray. Then they will sleep (again), after which they will wake up and pray. Then they will sleep (again), after which they will wake up and stand. The night will be prolonged and people will be alarmed, not seeing the morning. While they are waiting for the sun to rise from its east, it will rise from its west. When the people will see it, they will believe, but no good will it do a person to believe (if he believed not before)." -- (Related by ibn Mirdawai)

- 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn Al-'Aas ra reported that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "Indeed Hijrah is of two qualities: one of them is to leave evil, and the other is to migrate to Allah and His Messenger. And it will not be cut off as long as repentance is accepted; repentance will continue to be accepted until the sun rises from the West. When it rises (from the west), each heart will be stamped with what is inside it, and it will be enough for people to do (good deeds)." -- This chain is good and strong, though none of the compilers of books related it.

- Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudree ra related that the Messenger of Allah saw. said, "Near the time of the Hour there will be many Sawaa'iq (could mean much fainting, or could mean much lighting that will strike people), to the degree that a man will go to a people, and say,' has fainted (or perhaps, who has been struck by lightning) bef you this morning?" They will say, "Such and such person, such and such person, and such and such person has fainted (or has been struck by lighting)." -- (Ahmad)

- Abu Hurairah ra related that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "The Hour will not arrive until the people vie with one another in constructing tall buildings. And the Hour will not arrive until two huge groups, each having the same claim, fight, and between them there will be a great amount of killing; and the hour will not arrive until knowledge will be seized, earthquakes increase in frequency, time converges[1], trials appear (or become widespread), and killing increases in frequency; and the Hour will not arrive until lying Dajjaals are sent, almost 30 of them, and each one of then will claim that he is the Messenger of Allah. And the Hour will not arrive until a man passes the grave of another man and says, 'Would that I were in his place.' And the Hour will not arrive until the sun rises from its west, and when it does rise (from the west) and people see it, they will all believe, except that that is when 'no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before, nor earned good (by performing deeds of righteousness) through his Faith.' And the Hour will not arrive until there will be much wealth among you, to the degree that the owner of wealth will be distressed to find one who accepts his charity." -- (Bukhaaree Muslim related it from Abu Hurairah 4 as well, but through a different chain of narrators.)

- Abu Hurairah ra, Abu Buraidah ra, Abu Bakrah ra, and others related the following Hadeeth: "The Hour will not arrive until you fight the Turks,[2] (people with) wide faces and Dhulaf noses (i.e. the bridges of their noses are low), as if their faces are (smooth and wide) shields, and they will wear shoes made of hair."

- Arias ra reported that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "Indeed, from the signs of the Hour is that knowledge will be raised, ignorance will appear (and become widespread), fornication will spread, alcohol will be imbibed, men will depart, and women will remain, to the extent that for 50 women, there will be a single guardian." -- (Bukhaaree and Muslim)

- Abu Hurairah ra related that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "Days and nights will not depart until pastures (greenery and meadows) and rivers return to the land of the Arabs and until the Furaat lays bare a mountain of gold. They will fight over it, and out of every 100 (people), 99 will be killed, and one will be saved." -- This narration is related by Sufyaan Ath-Thauree and by Muslim, with another chaitt from Suhail.

- 'Aaishah ra, said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah saw say, 'The night and the day will not depart until Al-Laat and Al-'Uzzah are worshipped (again)."' -- (Muslim)

- In another Hadeeth, the following is related: "When the affair is trusted to those who do not deserve it, then wait for the Hour." And in another Hadeeth, "The Hour will not arrive until every tribe is led by its most ignoble members."

- Al-Hasan said, "I went forth, seeking knowledge. I reached Kufah, where I met 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood ra, and I said, '0 Abu 'Abdur- Rahmaan, does the Hour have a sign that it is known by?"' He answered, "I asked the Messenger of Allah about that, and he said, 'Indeed, from its signs is that a child will be coarse and the rain will be oppressively hot. Secrets will be revealed, the liar will be believed, the treacherous one will be trusted, the trustworthy one will be distrusted, and every tribe will be led by its hypocrites and every marketplace by its wicked ones. The Mihraabs will be adorned and hearts will be ruined. Men will suffice themselves with men, and women will suffice themselves with women. Alcohol will be imbibed. There will be an increase in Ash-Shurat (perhaps referring to guards, and Allah knows best), in those who slander, and in those who backbite." -- Al-Haafiz Abu Bakr Al-Baihaqee related this in Kitaab Al-Ba'th Wan-Nushoor.

- In another narration related by Abu Sa'eed the Messenger of Allah el said, "By the One Who has my soul in His Hand, the Hour will not arrive until predatory animals speak to human beings and until the side of a man's whip, and his shoestring speak to him; and his thigh will inform him of what his family did after him." -- (Ahmad)

- Anas ra said, "We used to relate that the Hour will not arrive until the sky stops giving rain, until the earth (its crops) does not grow, until for every 50 women, there will be a single guardian, and until a woman passes by a man, who looks at her and says, 'this woman used to have a man."' -- (Ahmad)

- Abu Hurairah ra related that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "The Hour will not arrive until time converges[3] , and so one year will be like a month, a week will be like a day, and a day will be like an hour. And the Hour will be like the burning of palm leaves." – (Ahmad) Suhail claimed that this chain fulfills the conditions of Muslim.

[1] Some scholars understand the literal meaning of this phrase; others say that it is referring to the nearness of the Hour; and yet others hold that it is referring to the apparent quick passage of day and night, whereby people will not be blessed in their time.
[2] The Turks (the Turks mentioned here are not the Turks we know of today, but rather they are the Tatars) are from the progeny of Qantoorah, who was the female slave of Ibraaheem as

[3] Some scholars hold to the literal meaning of this phrase; others say that it is referring to the nearness of the Hour; and yet others hold that it is referring to the apparent quick passage of day and night, whereby people will not be blessed in their time.

- Abu Hurairah ra reported that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "The world will not depart until there will be Lakai ibn Lakai' (ignoble one son of an ignoble one)." The chain of this narration is good and strong.

- Abu Hurairah ra reported that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "Before the Hour are treacherous years; in them, the truthful person will be disbelieved, and the liar will be believed; the trustworthy one will be distrusted, and the treacherous one will be trusted. And the base, ignoble one will speak in that time (i.e., he has a voice that is heard by the people)." -- (Ahmad) The chain of this narration is good.

- Abu Hurairah ra reported that the Prophet saw said, "Indeed, from the signs of the Hour are that the shepherds of sheep will be the heads of people (i.e., they will have status and power); the barefooted, naked, and hungry ones will vie with one another in construction; and the female slave will give birth to her master." The chain of this narration is good, and it has been related in this form only

- Abu Hurairah ra reported that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "The Hour will not arrive until wealth will be abundant among you, to the degree that the owner of wealth will be distressed to find one who accepts charity from his wealth; nor until knowledge is seized, time converges, trials become widespread, and Al-Haraj will be in abundance." The Companions asked, "Which Haraj, 0 Messenger of Allah?" He said, "Killing, killing." -- (Ahmad)

- Abu Hurairah ra related that the Prophet saw said, "By the One Who has sent me with the Truth, this world will not come to an end until they are afflicted with Al-Khasf (the swallowing of the earth with those who are on it), Al-Qadhf (strong winds that cause rocks to fly), and Al-Maskh (transformation of humans into apes and pigs)." The Companions asked, "And when is that, 0 Messenger of Allah?" He L4 said, "When you see women riding private parts, when there will be many female singers, when there will be much false testimony, when men will suffice themselves with men, and when women will suffice themselves with women." -- Al-Haafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bazzaar related this narration.

- 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar ra reported that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "Indeed from the signs of the Hour is that minds will disappear (i.e. people will rule according to their desires) and Al-Ahlaam (those who do things in a deliberate and thought-out manner; the sagacious ones) will decrease in number." -- At-Tabaraanee related this narration.

- Taariq ibn Shihaab said, ...Some among us said to the others, 'Did you not hear how he responded to the man, saying: Allah has said the truth, and His Messenger has conveyed? Who among you will ask him?' Taariq said, 'I will ask him.' Taariq did ask him when he came out, and in response, he mentioned that the Prophet said, "Indeed before the Hour Tasleem (greetings of peace) will be given to Al-Khaasah (those who have status or those whom one knows), trade will become widespread, to the degree that a women will help her husband in (his) business; ties of relation will be broken off; people will make false testimony; truthful testimony will be kept hidden; and ignorance will become widespread." -- (Ahmed)

- Anas ra reported that the Messenger of Allah saw said, "The Hour will not arrive until it is no longer said on earth, Laa ilaaha illallaah (none has the right to be worshipped save Allah)." -- (Ahmad) Muslim related the same Hadeeth, through different narrators, and with the following wording: "The Hour will not arrive until it is no longer said on earth, Allah, Allah."

Wednesday, January 28

Importance of Enduring Troubles - Shaykh Nazim

This post is dedicated to folks around us who are going through troubled times. Whether it be the war around us or loosing your jobs during these tough economic times. This is a sohbet from Shaykh Nazim to his students on enduring problems in life and being patient.

If you happen to be one of the people facing problems, remember opportunity usually comes wrapped in the garb of adversity. It is from Allah and it is just a test - it will pass. Keep your faith strong in Allah.

Our Grandsheikh was saying about trials: everyday they are coming afresh and the mureed must be ready and careful each time for that trying, that his faith may become real faith. Everyone may improve his station. For one still under his ego’s rule, he will be tested by that which his ego will never like. From everything, family, friends, work and neighbours, may come to you what you don’t like. The way of development is the way of patience. There is no quick development. Onemust be agreeable to all happenings to and around him-self. That is the sign of development, to endure peoples’ troubling you. It is not important to fy in the sky or to walk on the sea or to be seen in several places at once or to dream good dreams.

Important in our way is to be patient, resisting every wave of evil like a mountain in a storm, not being pushed back. That is development. Or like the ocean, not becoming dirty from the rivers pouring into it. People with extraordinary powers may fly, but may in the end lose their faith when Iblis rushes on them. We must be able to endure every harmfrom everyone. Our Grandsheikh says, we must be awa-
kened for everything coming contrary to our liking and be ready to tolerate it. This is the real station of faith.

Three times a day a sheikh looks to his mureeds, but not with a looking to give them pleasure, instead they are looking to send something to the mureed that he will never like. Are you patient, or giving up? When you are patient, your heart is given satisfaction, and a light comes on your real eyes and is coming more faith.

At each opportunity you may advance or come down. This time is particularly filled up with unliked things, the world full of evils and devils. The Prophet said, to keep religion in this time is more diffcuIt than to keep fire in one’s hand. We must be patient. Allah gives to those enduring unliked things endless reward. It is the way of real faith, like the way of Prophets and of Awliyâ’, to endure the badness of people.

Tuesday, January 27

Friendship for Allah's Sake

Man is liable to imitate and copy those whom he befriends.
If one's friends engage in virtuous deeds,
this would prompt him to imitate their good qualities.
Whereas, if one's friends indulge in bad practices,
then it is very likely for him to get accustomed with their bad characteristics
and eventually incorporate them in his behavior, knowingly or unknowingly!

Such is also true concerning one's religion and beliefs
as Allah's Messenger * is reported to have said,
'Man is on the religion of his companions,
so let one of you choose whom he befriends.'
[Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Tirmidhee]

We are commanded to be very careful when choosing associates. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) cited an extraordinary comparison between righteous company and evil association. He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) mentioned, 'Verily, the example of a good companion in comparison to an evil one is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith's bellow. From the first you would either get a gift of his musk's scent, buy some from him, or enjoy its good smell, while the bellow will either burn your clothes, or give you a bad, nasty smell thereof.' [Agreed upon]

We, thus, find our pious predecessors so concerned and careful about their friends that they would invoke Allah to grant them righteous associates. It is
related in Saheeh al-Bukharee that Alqamah said, I went to ash-Shaam and offered two Rak'ahs prayer and then I said, 'O Allah, bless me with a good pious companion.' Then I went to some people and sat with them. An old man came and sat beside me. I asked, 'Who is he?' They replied, 'Abu ad-Darda.' I said to him, 'I prayed to Allah to bless me with a pious companion and He sent you to me. He asked me, 'From where are you?' I replied, 'From the people of al-Koofa.' [Saheeh al-Bukharee (5/86)]

Along these lines, a Muslim should be very much concerned to understand the Islamic perspective of friendship and characteristics of a good companion, in order to choose the right person to associate with. Following are some guidelines deduced from the teachings of the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, which designate the characteristics of a Muslim's friends.

Friendship for Allah's Sake
A Muslim's primary concern before choosing friends should be to seek the Pleasure of Allah in the friendship. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'Whoever loves for Allah, and hates for Allah, gives for Allah and withholds for Allah, has completed his faith.' [Abu Dawood]

Friendship that is based upon the sincere purpose of seeking Allah's Pleasure brings about the love of Allah for the slave. Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) narrated that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'A man
went to visit a brother of his in another village. Allah sent an Angel to wait for him on the road. When the man came, the Angel asked him, 'Where do you intend to go?' He said, 'I am going to visit a brother of mine who lives in this village.' The Angel asked, 'Have you done him any favor (for which you are now seeking repayment)?' He said, 'No, I just love him for the sake of Allah.' The Angel told him, 'I am a messenger to you from Allah, sent to tell you that He (Allah) Loves you as you love your brother for His sake.' [Saheeh Muslim]

From the benefits of such a virtuous friendship is that on the Day of Judgment, when, '…the sky will be like the boiling filth of oil (or molten lead, etc.) and the mountains will be like flakes
of wool. And no friend will ask of a friend.' [(70): 8-10] 'That day shall a man flee from his brother. And from his mother and his father, and from his wife and children.' [(81): 34-37] 'Allah, the Exalted, will declare on the Day of Resurrection, 'Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My Grace? This Day, I shall shade them under My Shade, when there is only My Shade.' [Saheeh Muslim]

Monday, January 26

Believe in the divine source

Imagine you are going into the unknown. It is dark. Terrifying. It holds all your fears; yet all that you desire lies a little yonder. Imagine you are in a tunnel and the light is beckoning to you from the other side. You have a choice to hold on to the walls; to remain cooped up in your self made prison; or take the first step. The catch is, you never know if the step will ever land. There are no guarantees. You might fall deep, deep, down into an abyss or fly. You might first fall then fly. You might not fall at all.

Or imagine it’s a maze. There is a tangle of bushes all around you and a path barely decipherable for you to walk on. You have a theoretical map that tells you how to get out of it. It’s not enough though. You know there is a way out; you know the base laws are constant; yet there are many surprises along the way. The theoretical map is just one tool you have. You also have your senses and instincts to guide you. The thing is, you always have to keep a clear head and a placid heart and this will take up most of your energy. When things flip up, and the unexpected (and usually what you perceive to be unpleasant) occurs; you absolutely have to go with the flow.

At any moment, you have to be willing to let go of what doesn’t work. You have to be a lover of leaving; even if that leaving requires you to abandon pieces of you that are holding you back. There is no meaninglessness here; everything is purposeful. Every thought matters. The actions that follow are deliberate. To proceed in this journey you must both master your self and let go at the same time.

For example, if the path is straight and relatively easy; then all of a sudden a huge wall appears out of nowhere; you can not bang your head against it. You must take a deep breath; collect yourself; and find a way around it. Sometimes the wall is an illusion; you poke it and it crumbles. Sometimes it’s brick. You have to either walk around it; or scale it. Sometimes, it requires you to stop. To just stop and look around a little.

Other times, the only way out is to crawl on all fours; taste a measure of humility. Sometimes you kiss the ground and the path miraculously unfolds. Miracles happen when palms open too. Letting go is key.

Resistance is futile. Resistance is death. Everything is fluid. Nothing is what it seems. Stressing for the path to bend to your will; is ridiculous. It’s as if someone is perched on a swollen wave, either wholly complacent that it won’t crash or striving to hold on hoping that they won’t be flung off. We are all perched on that swollen wave.

When you are flung into deep waters, you must master the art of letting go. Limb by limb, you must relax, let your self go limp; and then miraculously you are floating. You are one with the water. Alternatively you can learn how to swim and practice, practice, practice; so that when you are flung off, you master the water. Panicking and thrashing about is death. Cursing the fate that had you thrown off is pointless.

Remember reading all the maps in the world (alone) will not get you anywhere. You can argue and compare who has the best map; you can burn other maps to prove your loyalty; that still won’t get you anywhere. You can get on a podium and chant MY MAP IS THE BEST AND ONLY MAP THERE IS; you’ll still be in place. You can have study circles and discuss the map; you haven’t gone anywhere either. You can judge/condemn others or use them as a pretext for why you haven’t done anything about yourself yet; it won’t help. You might spend all your time trying to instruct others on what you know (theoretically) of this journey, it will be hollow. You might try to save others from drowning, but the likelihood is you will all sink.

Memorizing the twists and turns of other people’s journeys might give you a clue as to what to expect. But at the end of the day, you must take the first step, and the next, and next… At the end of time, all the mazes, walls, water and illusions dissipate and you are left in stark aloneness wondering what held you back.

May Allah (SWT) grant you all soundness of belief, goodness of character, forgiveness of sins, and Your eternal pleasure in the Hereafter. Ameen

Credit: Salma Remani



He said, "What brings you the most fulfillment?"
I said, "The company of the Emperor."
He said, "What do you find there?"
I said, "A hundred miracles."
He said, "Why is the palace deserted?"
I said, "They all fear the thief."
He said, "Who is the thief?"
I said, "The one who keeps me from -you.

He said, "Where is there safety?"
I said, "In service and renunciation."
He said, "What is there to renounce?"
I said, "The hope of salvation."

He said, "Where is there calamity?"
I said, "In the presence of your love."
He said, "How do you benefit from this life?"
I said, "By keeping true to myself

Now it is time for silence.
If I told you about His true essence
You would fly from your self and be gone,
and neither door nor roof could hold you back!

Saturday, January 24

After Gaza: How the Prophet Coped With Loss

Posted in Original Compilations & Writings on January 21, 2009 by Abu Sabaya
In the Name of Allah, we invoke peace and blessings upon His Messenger.

Going back and thinking of the emotions felt over the last 25 days, one word which found a constant presence in our hearts was ‘helpless’ – the reality that we were helpless, and that we were silently witnessing a helpless people – our helpless people – trapped as Israeli killers patiently bombed them to bits while seated comfortably in the cockpits of American F-16s, as if to fulfill former IDF Chief of Staff Raphael Eitan’s April 1983 wish to see them “scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”

The images of the charred bodies of infants, blood-soaked hijabs of sobbing mothers, mosques turned into rubble, stockpiles of food being fed to white phosphorous flames instead of the starving people they were meant for, fathers frantically and tearfully pulling corpses of family from the remains of bombed out homes – these images will forever remain in our conscience. From a material perspective, this was defeat and loss at its worst. What befell our brethren in Palestine has caused, and will continue to cause, much pain, anxiety, and sorrow in our hearts.

This reality mirrors one experienced by none other than the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and his Companions 1,427 years ago following their military defeat at Uhud. When reviewing the events surrounding this defeat, one cannot help but be affected by the helplessness felt by the Muslims the moment they realized just how deep their material loss was in this battle, just as we are feeling at this moment when reflecting on what was taken from us as a result of the Israeli attack on Gaza. However, in reviewing these events, one can also not help but to take his feeling of helplessness and despair and transform it into firmness and strength.

First, let us examine the magnitude of the loss at Uhud.

Uhud affected the Muslims on many fronts. First of all, in what was possibly the most dangerous hour in the life of the Messenger of Allah, he found himself unprotected and exposed to the enemy on the battlefield, except for the presence of Talhah and Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas. This led to the disbelievers rushing to take advantage of the opportunity to inflict as much physical pain on him as they could, and they followed through by pelting him with stones (breaking his tooth and cutting his lip), cleaving his forehead, striking his shoulder with a sword, and striking him in the face so forcefully that his helmet pierced his cheek and caused a gaping wound. This audacity of the disbelievers so affected the Prophet that while wiping the blood from his face, he asked: “How can people who cut the face of their Prophet and break his incisor tooth - he who calls them to worship Allah - how can such people thrive or be successful?”

Imagine also the emotion felt by the Prophet and the Companions at the sight of Mus’ab bin ‘Umayr - who was personally appointed by the Prophet to bring Islam to Madinah in the first place - as both of his hands were amputated by the disbelievers in his attempt to secure the banner of the Muslims before they killed him. Picture in your mind the disbelievers mistaking the corpse of Mus’ab for the Prophet, yelling “Muhammad has been killed!” and sending a wave of disbelief through the Muslim ranks that demoralized many of them and caused them to give up the fight and turn back for Madinah.

Imagine the sadness that swept over the Companions as they assessed the aftermath of the battle to find the corpses of seventy of their brethren scattered around the battlefield, mutilated and disfigured by the spiteful disbelievers. Imagine then the shock and pain of the Prophet as he recognized the body of his beloved uncle, the Lion of Allah, Hamzah, as he lay among the casualties. Ibn Mas’ud said: “We have never seen the Messenger of Allah weeping so much as he was for Hamzah bin ‘Abd al-Muttalib.” To make matters worse, Hamzah’s burial was not quick and easy such that the Prophet could quickly put behind him the immense personal loss he had just experienced, as Khabbab bin al-Arrat said: “No shroud long enough was available for Hamzah except a white-darkish garment. When they covered his head with it, it was too short to cover his feet. Similarly, if they covered his feet, his head would be revealed.”

Imagine how the army returning to Madinah must have felt as they had to inform the family members of each of those seventy Companions killed that they would not be seeing their loved ones again in this life, one of whom was a woman who had lost her husband, father, and brother that day.

Imagine the dismay the Muslims must have felt that after their groundbreaking victory at Badr only a year earlier, they had now lost seventy of their brethren compared to the disbelievers’ casualties that amounted to only 22 men – less than a third of the Muslims’ losses. Such a loss would not only demoralize the Muslim army, but would also leave their military reputation, credibility, and dignity damaged in the eyes of the people.

All of this was the result of one single avoidable act of disobedience to the Prophet on the part of the archers stationed on the hill…all of this death, loss, sadness, and sorrow was easily avoidable had they simply obeyed a single command…

Undoubtedly, such circumstances would bring down any group and cause them immense pain, helplessness, and dismay. Undoubtedly, such circumstances would leave any group feeling that they had just experienced a loss from which they would not recover. However, the Prophet and his Companions were not just any group. They were a group who lived by the slogan {“And do not despair or be sad, as you are the most superior so long as you are believers.”} [Al ‘Imran; 139] They were a group who knew how to take advantage of their situation and hold their heads up high no matter what the odds were stacked against them, and no matter what their enemies did to intimidate them. They were a group who were able to emanate honor and power despite material loss.

Now, let us examine the attitude of the Muslims who had just experienced this loss firsthand.

When the disbelievers had completed their attacks and mutilation of the corpses of the Companions, Abu Sufyan scaled Mount Uhud looking for the Prophet, Abu Bakr, and ‘Umar. He called out to them and taunted them, but ‘Umar did not give the response of a defeated, dismayed, weak, and submissive victim. Rather he replied: “O enemy of Allah, those whom you have just mentioned, I tell you that they are still alive. Allah has maintained what you hate!”

Abu Sufyan replied: “The mutilation of your dead is something I did not order. However, it did not displease me. May Hubal be sublime!”

At the behest of the Prophet, ‘Umar replied: “Allah is more Sublime, Exalted, and Mightier!”

Abu Sufyan then shouted: “al-’Uzza is ours, and you have no ‘Uzza!”

‘Umar then made his famous statement: “Allah is our Helper, and you have no helper (الله مولانا و لا مولى لكم)!”

Frustrated, Abu Sufyan muttered: “Today is revenge for Badr, as war is conducted with alternating successes.”

Unrelenting, ‘Umar yelled back: “No, we are not the same. Our dead are in Paradise, while your dead are in Hell!”

The honor, strength, and confidence with which ‘Umar stood up to the leader of the army that had just inflicted defeat upon his own speaks for itself. This shows that material victory or loss meant very little to these people compared to the true victory of the honor associated with being a believer. He was not intimidated or dismayed in the least despite directly conversing with the man whose happiness and joy was in seeing the Muslims tortured and eradicated, and despite the fact that this conversation was taking place directly on the heels of the first military defeat ever experienced by the Muslims.

This shows that no matter how demoralizing a loss may be for you, the Muslim - no matter how many mosques are bombed to rubble, how many children are made into orphans or are themselves burned to a crisp by white phosphorous bombs, how distressing it is that even basic food and medicine are held back from our brothers and sisters by those who have no regard for human life – no matter how cruel a hand you as a Muslim are dealt, you always keeps your head up, your boldness intact, and put aside your anxiety and dismay.

Then came Hamra’ al-Asad.

While the disbelievers were still on their way back to Makkah, the Muslims had arrived back in Madinah in a state of exhaustion, pain, and sorrow. They were also in a state of alert, as they were expecting the disbelievers to turn back and attempt to invade Madinah in light of the perceived weakness of the Muslim army.

However, none of these hindrances prevented the Prophet from what he was about to do next: he went around and gathered all of the injured Muslims who had fought at Uhud the day before in order to lead them in pursuit of the army that had just defeated them. Many fresh, uninjured fighters were available and desperate to join, such as ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy and Jabir bin ‘Abdillah. However, the Prophet only wanted those injured and exhausted soldiers who were still recovering from their wounds to join him. This was unheard of: an army composed exclusively of crippled fighters who had just experienced a major military defeat?!

With the Prophet still recovering from his own wounds, they marched to an area outside of Madinah called Hamra’ al-Asad, only to receive word that their assumptions were true – the disbelievers had turned back and considered attacking Madinah. They still haven’t recovered from Uhud, and they now have to defend Madinah against the same enemy? However, the Prophet’s ability to take advantage of the situation was now going to reverse the psychological loss the Muslims had suffered at Uhud.

He sent a messenger to relay to Abu Sufyan and his troops that the Muslims had regrouped, recovered, and were hot on their heels. Abu Sufyan could not believe his ears, and the anxiety and panic that had gripped the Muslims only the day before was now spread among his own troops. He then decided that it was in his best interests to retreat to Makkah and cancel his plan to attack Madinah.

However, in an attempt to frighten and intimidate the Muslims from pursuing him, Abu Sufyan sent a message back to the Muslims that he had gathered the ranks of all the Makkans to lay waste to the Prophet and his army: {“Those to whom the people said: “Verily, the people have gathered against you a great army. So, fear them.””} [Al ‘Imran; 173] What was the response of the injured Prophet and his small group of crippled fighters to this threat from the man who had just dealt them defeat the day before? {“…But it only increased them in faith, and they said: “Allah is sufficient for us, and He is the best disposer of affairs.””} [Al ‘Imran; 173] And the injured Prophet stayed at Hamra’ al-Asad with his crippled group, waiting for three whole days to confront this great army that Abu Sufyan had supposedly gathered against them. In the end, when it became clear that Abu Sufyan and the disbelievers were simply bluffing and were too afraid to pull through with their threats, he decided to turn back and return to Madinah. Would anyone have expected the disbelievers to act so cowardly only a day after Uhud?

Reflect on how the Prophet was able to so effectively reverse the devastation of Uhud in just a matter of days:

He revived the morale of the crippled Muslims who had just experienced loss and defeat by insisting that they be the ones to accompany him in pursuit of the very enemy that had just defeated them.

He decreased the morale of the disbelievers who had just experienced victory by showing them that no matter how devastating a blow the Muslim is dealt, he still has his honor, bravery, and the will to face those who challenge him.

He restored the military reputation and power of the Muslims that had temporarily suffered as a result of te ev
s at Uhud.
The effectiveness of the Prophet as a leader in times of crisis cannot be overstated. It is often said that a person can be judged by how he handles crisis and disaster, as anyone can be calm and composed in times of ease. This concept can be applied to groups and nations as well as individuals. Therefore, this episode in the Sirah teaches us that even at the worst times and in the midst of the most depressing crises, it is possible to reverse the loss, psychologically if not materially. All it takes is a sharp mind to observe the situation and see what holes in the wall there are from which one may take advantage and turn the tables to be in his favor, thus turning defeat into victory.

Let us now examine the bounty Allah granted the Muslims as a result of the attitude they showed in the face of loss and defeat.

It should be noted that even after the events of Hamra’ al-Asad, the Muslims were once again dealt tragic losses at ar-Raji’ (where a group of Muslims were betrayed and captured, leading to the famous crucifixion of Khubayb in Makkah) and the Well of Ma’unah (where, in a painful repeat of Uhud, seventy more of the best Companions were killed, this time as the result of betrayal). Victory is not a stagnant condition that remains once it is achieved. Rather, Allah gives and takes it even from the best of people (صلى الله عليه و سلم), and He intertwines it with loss and defeat in order to see how we will deal with each of the respective situations.

The Muslims whose act of disobedience to the Prophet was the single precursor to the devastating loss at Uhud undoubtedly learned their lesson and repented for their error. As a result, when the Prophet laid siege to the fortresses of Banu an-Nathir only a few months later, the Muslims were able to achieve victory without any fighting even occurring. Allah had directly used the weapon of fear and intimidation by placing these into the hearts of Banu an-Nathir, as He Said: {“…and He cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers…”} [al-Hashr; 2] The same blessing was granted to them by Allah only a few months later when the second battle at Badr took place, with the Muslims waiting eight whole days for Abu Sufyan and his army to show up while he meanwhile had decided to return to Makkah instead of taking his chances in facing the Prophet and his Companions. Such blessings were partly the result of the Muslims learning from their mistakes at Uhud and reviewing what it was they had done to contribute to the loss and defeat that had affected the Ummah as a whole. Their unconditional obedience to the Prophet in going out to Hamra’ al-Asad despite their crippled state, as well as the faith, certainty, and bravery they displayed even when threatened by Abu Sufyan’s army, were among the many reasons for the swift victories at Banu an-Nathir and the second Badr.

Similarly, it is upon us to examine ourselves as individuals and groups and see if we are reacting to the devastation and loss experienced in Gaza in the proper way and with the proper attitude. The bravery of the Prophet at Hamra’ al-Asad, the post-defeat boldness of ‘Umar while speaking down to Abu Sufyan, the cleverness of Khalid bin al-Walid in reversing the flanks in the face of an imminent loss at Mu’tah – these should all serve to strengthen us and teach us that despair, pain, anxiety, and victimization should not be in the dictionary of the Muslim. Rather, we should always maintain our honor and confidence following defeat, keep our heads raised high in the face of loss, and face those who continue to challenge us in a bold, smart, and effective way.

{“And do not despair or be sad, as you are the most superior so long as you are believers. If a disaster befalls you, be sure that a disaster has likewise befallen them. And such are the days, we rotate them between the people…”}

Self Worth - True Self Worth

"Not only were we taught to be victims of people, places, and things, we were taught to be victims of ourselves, of our own humanity. We were taught to take our ego-strength, our self-definition from external manifestations of our being.
Our bodies are not who we are - they are a part of our being in this lifetime - but they are not who we Truly are.

Looks deteriorate, talent dissipates, intelligence erodes. If we define ourselves by these external manifestations, then we will be victimized by the power we give them. We will hate ourself for being human and aging.

Looks, talent, intelligence - external manifestations of our being are gifts to be celebrated. They are temporary gifts. They are not our total being. They do not define us or dictate if we have worth.

We were taught to do it backwards. To take our self-definition and self-worth from temporary illusions outside of, or external to our beings. It does not work. It is dysfunctional.

As was stated earlier, Codependence could more accurately be called outer or external dependence. Outside influences (people, places, and things; money, property, and prestige) or external manifestations (looks, talent, intelligence) can not fill the hole within. They can distract us and make us feel better temporarily but they cannot address the core issue - they cannot fulfill us Spiritually. They can give us ego-strength but they cannot give us self-worth.

True self-worth does not come from temporary conditions. True self-worth comes from accessing the eternal Truth within, from remembering the state of Grace that is our True condition.

No one outside of you can define for you what your Truth is.

Nothing outside of you can bring you True fulfillment. You can only be fully filled by accessing the transcendent Truth that already exists within.

This Age of Healing and Joy is a time for each individual to access the Truth within. It is not a time for gurus or cults or channeled entities, or anyone else, to tell you who you are.

Accessing your own Truth is remembering.

It is following your own path.

It is finding your bliss.

Codependence does not work. It is dysfunctional. It is backwards.

IN - dependence is the answer.

Looking outside of ourselves for self-definition and self-worth means that we have to judge people in order to feel good about ourselves. There is no other way to do it when you look outside.

We were taught to have ego-strength through judgment - better than, prettier than, smarter than, richer than, stronger than, etc., etc.

In a Codependent society everyone has to have someone to look down on in order to feel positive about him/herself. This is the root of all bigotry, racism, sexism, and prejudice in the world.

True self-worth does not come from looking down on anyone or anything. True self-worth comes from awakening to our connection to everyone and everything.

The Truth is that we are like snowflakes: Each individual is unique and different and special and we are all made from the same thing. We are all cut from the same cloth. We are all part of the Eternal ONENESS that is the Great Spirit.

When we start looking within and celebrating the Truth of who we Truly are, then we can celebrate our unique differences instead of judging them out of fear."

Friday, January 23

Imam Mahdi - Series - Part 1 of 2

Al Mahdi's Lineage, Physical Appearance and Characteristics:

- Prophet Muhammad, praise and peace be upon him, said: "Al Mahdi is (descended) from me. His forehead will be radiant, and his nose prominent. He will fill the earth with both fairness and justice just as it will have been filled by oppression and injustice, and he will govern for seven years."

- "At the end of Time, a stern trial from their governor will come upon my nation - never before will they have heard of a trial such as it. The wide earth will shrink before them and the earth will become full of oppression and injustice so that believers find no refuge from harm. So, Allah, the Mighty, the Purified will send a man from my pure musked descendants who will fill the earth with fairness and justice, just as it was filled by oppression and injustice. The inhabitants of Heaven and Earth will be pleased with him. The earth will not withhold any of its seed -- all will be produced. Nor will the Heaven withhold any of its showers except that Allah pours it upon them in abundance. And he will live among them seven, eight or nine years; the dead will wish for life because of that! Allah, the Mighty, the Glorified will give the inhabitants of the earth from His Goodness."

- "I bear good tidings for you concerning Al Mahdi. He will be sent when people differ and the earth quakes!"

(The preceding narrations were reported by Abi Said Al Khudri in the reference of Abi Dawood, Al Hakim, At-Tirmizi, Ahmad, ibn Hibban, Muslim, Al Tabarani (in his middle dictionary), Al Barudi and Abu Nuaym in his forty Hadith concerning Al Mahdi.)

The Certainty of his Appearance

- "Even if there remained only one day left to be lived, Allah will prolong that day until He sends a man from me. His name is like my name, and his father's name is like my father's name. He will fill the earth with fairness and justice just as it was filled by oppression and injustice."

- "The days will not end and life will not vanish until the Arabs are governed by a man from the Family of my House -- his name is the same as mine."

- Ibn Masood reported: "We went to the Messenger of Allah, praise and peace be upon him, and he came out with good news and happiness was easily recognizable upon his face... until a party from the Bani Hashim passed by amongst whom were Al Hasan and Al Hussain, peace be upon them. When he saw them he hugged them with tears in his eyes, so we asked: 'O Messenger of Allah' we see something has changed your face which distresses us.' Thereupon he replied: 'We are a Family of a House for whom Allah has chosen the Hereafter rather than the present. After me, my family will be refugees, driven out of countries until the Black Banners are raised in the east.

They will ask for the truth but they will not be given it, so they will ask again for it, and they will not be given it, so they will fight and be given victory. Those of you or your descendants who live during that time go to the Imam of the Family of my house even if you have to crawl over ice to him. Indeed, they are banners of guidance. They will deliver it to a man from the Family of my House his name is the same as my name, and the name of his father is the same as my father, and he will fill the ground with fairness and justice."

(This hadith is in found in the references of Abu Dawood, Al Hakim, At-Tirmizi, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Majhah, Au Ash-Shaykh, Ibn Adiy, Abu Dhabi, Ibn Asakir and Abu Nuaym.)

When and Where Al Mahdi is given Allegiance (Bayat)

- "Differences will occur after the death of a caliph and a man from the people of Medina will escape to Mecca. Then, some of the people of Mecca will come to him and drag him out against his desire and give him their allegiance between Ar-Rukn and Al Makam. An army will be sent against him from Syria that will be swallowed up in Al Bayda - desert between Mecca and Medina. When people see this, the Abdal of Syria will come to him as well as a group of people from Iraq and pledge their allegiance between Ar-Rukn and Al Makam. Then a man from the Koraysh will come whose cousins are from Kalb, and he will send an army to them that will overcome them and this will become known as the Battle of Kalb.

Whosoever does not witness the spoils of war from Kalb is lost! And he (Al Mahdi) will distribute wealth and practice the Sunnah of their Prophet, praise and peace be upon him, with the people. And Islam will spread throughout the earth. He will remain seven years then die, and the believers will pray for him."

(This hadith was reported by Lady Ummu Salamah, wife of the Prophet, Mother of the Believers, may Allah be pleased with her, and is found in the references of Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Al Hakim, Ibn Hibban and At-Tabarani.)

The Black Banners

- If you see the Black Banners coming from Khurasan go to them immediately, even if you must crawl over ice, because indeed amongst them is the Caliph, Al Mahdi."

- "The Black Banners will come to you from the East, their hearts are like iron. Whosoever hears about them let them go crawling -- even over ice!"

(The preceding Hadith was reported by Thawban and is found in the references of Ibn Majah, Al Busiri, Al Hakim, Ahmad, Nuaym, Ad- Daylami, Al Hasan, son of Sufyan, and Abu Nuaym. )

- "A man named As-Sufyani will come from the center of Damascus. The majority of his followers will be from the tribe of Kalb. He will kill until he rips women open and kills children. So the tribe of Kays will rise up in retaliation and he will slaughter all of them! Then a man from the Family of my House will come in Al Hirrah and the news will reach As-Sufyani. Then he will send his army but it will suffer defeat. As-Sufyani will march with his followers to him until they reach a desert and the ground will swallow them up. None will be saved except the one bearing the news."

The Emergence of the False Messiah

- "The Romans will surround a leader from my pure musked children. His name will be the same as mine. They will fight each other at a place called Al Imak and one third, or thereabouts, of the Muslims will be killed. They will fight again on another day and again one third or thereabouts of the Muslims will be killed. On the third day they will fight again and the Romans will be defeated. And they will remain there until they open Constantinople. It is whilst they are distributing the spoils of war that a messenger will come informing them that the false messiah is in their home town with their children."

(Reported by Abu Hurayrah in the reference of Ibn Hibban, At-Tirmizi, Abuya'li, at Tabarani, Al Bazaar, Abu Nuaym and Al Hakim.)

Thursday, January 15

Oh Soul!

Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.”

~ Jalal ad-Din Rumi 

Tuesday, January 13


Once Jibrail (alaihissalam) came to Prophet (sulallah alaih waalihe wasalum) said: Allah has given me the knowledge to count every leaf on earth, every fish in the sea, every star in the sky and every particle of sand on earth, but there's only one thing i cant count. Prophet (SulAllah alaihe waalhe Wasulum ) asked Jibrail {Alaihe Salam}:what is it? Jibrail {Alaihe Salam} replied..."When one of your Ummati recited Durood ow Salaams to you the blessings Allah showers upon him becomes impossible for me to count."