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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Sidi Yahya Rhodus, Sheikh Ibrahim Osi Efa

The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi – May 20, 2007 Birmingham
بسمِ الله

Shaykh Ibrahim
Referring to putting effort into seeking knowledge: ‘He who does not have a burning desire at the beginning will not be illuminated in the end.’

The emphasis on Sidi Yahya’s talk will be on practice and this is the most important thing to take out of the event: the need to act.

Sidi Yahya Rhodus

Intention
Hamd/Salawat

Allah’s Subhanu wa ta’ala promise of victory in the Qur’an is predicated by the Muslims not differing amongst themselves.

When making intention, it is best to make multiple intentions, and such was the importance placed on making intentions that students would be taught how to make the correct intentions for acts.

A easy and comprehensive intention is that which Imam Haddad (may Allah show him mercy) taught; I intend:
1. Learning and teaching
2. Receiving and giving admonition
3. Giving and receiving benefit and gain
4. Encouraging adherence to the Qur’an and the Sunnah
5. Calling to right guidance
6. And leading to goodness
7. [This is] out of a desire for Allah’s countenance, His pleasure, and nearness to Him and reward His reward.

Sidi Yahya added that other praiseworthy intentions can be simple, such as meeting your brothers and sisters in faith, visiting a masjid (with associated intentions), etc. Particularly commendable is the desire to bring life to Islam.

Indeed, one who dies seeking knowledge in order to bring life to Islam will have but one degree between them and the Prophets (upon them peace) on the last day.

When you come to someone’s house it is the hosts responsibility to take care of you, thus when you enter a house of Allah, you should know that your affairs will be seen to.

[From later: If you have a good opinion of your Lord, He will give you what you need; conversely, if you enter with pessimism Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala will confirm that: So have high hopes wherever you go!]

Introductory Remarks on Aqida


Offer some introductory remarks on the work being studied, and on the relationship between creed and certainty.

One of the great things of Islam is that it can be expressed in differing levels according to those involved in the discussion.

Any changes that will occur in the Ummah must centre on the three spheres of Iman, Islam, and Ihsan.

Aqida comes from the word ‘knot’, i.e. tying a knot around one’s belief to secure it.

Extremely important to remember that Aqida differs from belief as one can memorise books on Aqida and not believe anything in them.

Aqida is the first science a person must learn: one needs to know what they believe in.

Shaykh Nuh has written an article on Aqida, found here http://www.livingislam.org/k/ki_e.html , in which he elucidates different aspects (or levels?) of Aqida: personal theology, discursive theology, and speculative theology.

The science of Aqida can be divided into three categories:
1. Ilahiyaat – that which relates to Allah
2. Nabuwaat – that which relates to the Messengers
3. Sami’aat – those things of which we have been informed (Regarding eschatology- the latter days)

Traditionally in certain areas of the Muslim world, such as Mauritania, the ulema tended not teach the more complex forms of theology. For example, a man came to Murabit al-Hajj (May Allah preserve him) and asked to be taught Aqida; the Shaykh delayed doing so, but the man persisted so the Shaykh taught him Surat al-Ikhlaas as it was all he really needed.

However, in the West now, it is perhaps more appropriate for some. Nevertheless, still potentially problematic avenue; hence, Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy) related discursive theology to medicine: little if needed.

The necessity to develop higher forms of theological discourse is apparent in history as the later texts on Aqida went beyond the initial discussion of theology from the Companion as the needs of the Umma changed.

Important to remember that saying, ‘I don’t know’ is half of faith.
The Importance of Iman

Only through Iman can the world be cultivated in due measure, kufr leads to the destruction of the world.

Thus, we are not anti-modernists, but we have the understanding that all progress must be rooted in the idea that we are the vicegerents (deputies/servants) of Allah on Earth (which entails responsibility with our rights).

This vicegerency has three aspects:
1. Our relationship with our Lord, recognising that we are the means of implementation of the Divine will on Earth.
2. Our relationship with the rest of humanity.
3. Our relationship with the rest of Creation (which was created for our benefit).

The disastrous impact of acting without the responsibility found in this correct understanding of our place in the world is most apparent now, with the threat of Global warming, etc. (Sidi Yahya mentioned a number of facts from Al-Gore’s documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’).

Thus, we must realise the fragility of our affair and a fundamental aspect of our vision to the world, as Muslims, must be how to address these critical issues as custodians of the Earth.

Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala promises that those who have taqwa (piety) will receive aid from where it is least expected/not expected, thus if we have taqwa, perhaps Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala will provide us a new form of renewable resource that can provide energy in place of fossil fuels, etc.
Disbelief

Kafir means ‘farmer’ as they are those ‘who cover’ the seed with soil; the human is therefore one who covers the Adamic potential/fitra.

The greatest proof of Allah’s Subhanu wa ta’ala existence is fitra.

Many people ask why there are so few believers, or why people refuse to believe: the refusal to submit or the fear to submit is a reason for so many people’s disbelief. So it is not necessarily a question of faith always; rather, arrogance, pride, and the unwillingness to submit.

In addition, people will not believe as Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala has stated in the Qur’an, that he has placed, ‘Yokes around their necks,’ and that a barrier has been placed, ‘before and behind them,’ so they won’t believe. Faith is a gift.

Thus, arguably the best faith is the faith of the elderly people: who simply submit and believe.

It is the Sunnah of Allah to place His gifts where they are least expected so it is important never to belittle anyone (even the simple person).

Action from faith is the very important as faith is like sugar in tea à must be stirred to be tasted.

The Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that, ‘Believers are sweet and love sweet things’

Aqida, Iman, and Certainty (Yaqin)

Creed (Aqida) differs from belief (Iman), but there is a relationship between certainty and belief.

Thus, Iman can only be based on certainty, not on probability.

The Qur’an mentions those who are, ‘firmly planted in faith’ (rasik ul ‘ilm), and the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) explained that these people are not the ones who have know everything, rather:
1. They are always true to their word
2. Their tongues always speak the truth
3. Their hearts are in an upright state
4. They are temperate (balanced) in relationship to their stomach and private parts.

Thus, those planted in faith are not necessarily those who are the most learned, but the ones who acts on their knowledge.

In addition, their characteristics are:
1. Taqwa with Allah
2. Humble with people
3. Zuhd (Abstain) with dunya
4. Striving against his/her self

Regarding treating other people well, there is a Hadith which states that if you make space in your gatherings for other people (even if things are tight), Allah will make space for you.

Knowledge is both earned and given as a gift from Allah. The latter is greater.

Hadith: All of you will find easy that which you were created for. (Imam Suhaib: so everyone can contribute in their own way).

Coming back to the importance of action, there is a Hadith that when people are discussing the decree of Allah, refrain from doing so and instead act.

Hadith: When answering questions about who created Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala and His decree, say: “I believe in Allah and His Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).” Amantubillah warasul

So the crux of this science is the centrality of action/practice as it relates to theology.

The Introductory quote of Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy)

The reasons Shaykh Hamza included this at the very beginning of the book (and the very beginning of the Zaytuna Curriculum Series), is that speculative theology cannot take you anywhere: practice is key and faith is Allah’s mercy.

Imam Haddad (may Allah show him mercy) mentioned three things to increase certainty:
1. Reflection on the Qur’an and the Hadith: not just flicking through, but true though, what is Allah telling me? Implementation should follow this reflection.

2. Reflection on the Signs of Allah: Allah mentions in the Qur’an that He will show His signs to man in the horizon and within until it is apparent that this is true. Science has contributed immensely to expanding our knowledge of both the external and the internal worlds. Also, it is important that just as we explore the earth for all its treasures, we need to explore our hearts as well (look within).

3. Acting upon one’s knowledge: This is how learning is actualised in a person’s life. Luqman the Wise said that, ‘None of you will act except based on his certainty’, this is a good test for everyone: death is certain, so how much are you preparing? Some people wouldn’t change a thing if they knew they were going to die in a few hours as they have filled their time with activity and devotion to Allah, for example, a Shaykh in Hadramawt was given a watch that he had to wind up every day for it to function. The person who gave him the watch later asked him if he was using it; the Shaykh replied that he couldn’t find time to wind it every day as he was so busy all the time. These aren’t fairytales; these are real people and real examples.

There are three levels of certainty:
1. ‘Ilm ul Yaqeen: Knowledge of something; ‘There’s going to be a talk in the masjid’

2. Ain ul Yaqeen: Eye of (Witnessing something; ‘I can hear the talk coming from the masjid’)

3. Haq ul Yaqeen: Truth of (Experiencing something; ‘I’m at the talk in the masjid’)

Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) said that, ‘Were the Veil lifted from me, I would not increase in certainty.’

So in the East, there has traditionally been less focus on discursive theology and more on personal theology (which is sufficient); this should lead to action, which in turn, will lead to true certainty.

Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy) mentions in the quote that those who believe speculative theology will increase them in certainty are at fault, only action will lead to certainty. His entire life can be seen as proof of this, and his realisation of the importance of practice is the reason for the Ihya being written.

Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy): If you find yourself hastening to action, you are seeking guidance; if you find yourself ignoring it, then you are focussed on dunya, and if you are procrastinating, you are in between the two. [Missed part of this]

There is a verse in the Qur’an in which Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala discusses the light given to a person, and how this light emanates form him and pervades those around him when he walks. Thus, it is important to ask for light in one’s life, as the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did in his famous du’a before fajr:
‘O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and to my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light and make me a light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and in my skin light. O Allah, make for me a light in my grave... and a light in my bones.’
(From: http://survivorsareus.com/index.cfm/Spiritual_Warfare_Prayer_Ruqyah_III)

Light is amazing, Albert Einstein was reported to have said that he wished he could spend his whole life just reflecting on light.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:49 pm

    JazakAllah khair....

    do you have notes for Sh. Hamza?

    I stopped taking notes... and i really wished i took my recorder..

    do you have notes about the details of the miracle of the fire and the lava flow avoiding madina?

    wassalam

    ReplyDelete
  2. All the notes for Sheikh Hamza are there. These were notes given to me, I was not present at the event.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11:44 pm

    shukran

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous6:41 am

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

    ReplyDelete