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Friday, May 30, 2008

Sheikh Hamza yusuf

Sorry guys this is in Arabic. Its an interview with him on Mauratian television.
Part one

Part two

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sheikh Yahya Rhodus

Kitab An-Nafs

Part two of two


Second session


We’ll have twenty five minutes of spiritual food before we have physical food

One scholar whose family would give him food after Dhikr, he said, “I’ve already had dinner.”

He Quran states, “Surely, you are of tremendous character.”

The heaviest thing to be placed in the scales is piety and good character

The woman who prayed all night and fasted during the day had no good in her because she harmed her neighbours

This is dangerous

Satan worshipped Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala but could not bow to Adam (Upon him peace)

Inward

There are several aspects of good character and its fruits

We need to understand the outward appearance – it could be ugly

Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala look at you hearts

It does not matter what the outward looks like

Superstars have facelifts

They place a focus on the outward

Inward beauty last and goes on into the next world

A trait of the character is when one reaches a state that they naturally do things

Character is a condition of the inner soul

People know that they should pray but don’t

The Prophets (upon them peace) have firm resolution

He had the ability to overlook the human being

The extremist Fatwa says to kill any American, this is something that need to be dispelled

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never did this

One man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and wanted to make fornication legal and after the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) talked to him it became the most disliked to him. He (peace and blessings be upon him) drew out his true nature

Some people are saying we are going to eliminate religion and have reason

We will not be able to have concessions

Its already there in the Deen

If someone cuts us off on the road, what would your reaction be? Drive up beside him and swear at him

You can see this in hajj - someone steals your shoes

It all comes out in the test

Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala is just and tries people different tribulations

Some people are born with good aspects, others have to work it on it

Most people have been born good or bad

On the day, no wealth or children will be of benefit except the one who comes with a sound heart

In the time of the caliph Mumin, Greek works were translated

In the house called “Bait al hikma” (in Baghdad)

There are positions that took people out of Islam

Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy) used what was beneficial and left behind wasn’t

Revelation is there to check the intellect

One of thins that effect the way a person thinks is desire

They say, “A drop of desire can destroy an ocean of knowledge.”

He (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Wisdom is the lost property of the believer.”

“Seek knowledge even in china.”

This sets down the guidelines

Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy) took the breakdown of the human being from Plato

If all the facial aspects are equal then a person is beautiful

Likewise the inner aspect

Rational (thinking) + Irascible (anger) + appetite (desire)

These three things need to be in order – some know wrong but do it

Some don’t know

Others know and leave it

These need to be balanced

When the rational or apparent

Courage can be reckless by putting himself and others in danger

You need to know the proper time to do something


Third session


We are not supposed to uproot the desires but what we do is re-channel them

The ego calls to evil – there is an earthly element that’s low and a soul which is high

The lower soul is called luwma

If you want to climb a mountain you have to struggle

The Quran has 6600 verses and only 500 deal with rulings

Your desire hasn’t move its changed

We don’t have to re-channel our desire, we have to re-channel them

We see beautiful examples in his life (peace and blessings be upon him)

Sloth is a spiritual laziness

Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy) mastered the arguments to such a point he brought out points that they did not know

A short man cannot render himself tall – in principle

Goodness in character is part of ones character

The reality of good character is suppressing desire

There was hadith about improving characteristics was mentioned by him – you can tame some animals

Falcons, dogs

Desire and anger are like seeds, if you allow it to overcome you, it becomes ugly

Desire is created in children before anger – anger comes later

If you do something over and over again it becomes easier

It was said that satan has left channels open – for people when they do bad things in Ramadan

A simple man who responds well to treatment will be reformed in a short time

There is a man who recognised evil acts but he knows he isn’t acting as he should

He has a far harder task, at first

People live how they die

Reforming a man is work and reforming a wolf is torture

The vast majority of the companions were youth

The middle point is from excess and deficient

In a lot of questions that are asked, theres always a middle way

The Muslim world has yet to overcome the colonial period

One of things that the occupying forces undermined was the traditional sources

From 800 – 1600 the Muslims were the dominant force

People respond in different ways

The Quran can be implemented in every time and place

You cannot negate the sacred law

We need to reapply the sacred law

We need to call people to the middle way, the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

One of the agreements of the treaty of huddabiya was to send anyone who came from Mecca back.

Its easy to lash out and not let your anger or desire overcome you

Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala will not allow the Muslims to put over by the non-Muslims – only up to what the Muslims allow

The self is not pure

It takes struggle to contain yourself.


Fourth session

There are times when you should be angry

His (peace and blessings be upon him) would blush with anger but he wouldn’t speak

A person who finds themselves angry, make wudu, if standing, sit down

Look what people say when they are angry, this turns into a feud

He (peace and blessings be upon him) anger was only for the sake of Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

If we had to uproot anger then how could we respond?

A man may be controlled by his desire

Its not good to be extravagant or stingy

Theres is no need for extravagance

Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah show him mercy) said, “No rich man enjoys his wealth that a poor man suffers.”

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was given a choice between being a Prophet king or poor – he chose to be poor because he wanted to close to Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

Moderation

Eat and drink and don’t be extravagant. Allah doesn’t like the extravagant

In the battle of Badr, the Muslims took seventy prisoners and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told his companions to treat them well
The companions gave them bread because bread was more filling and retained the dates, all they had was dates and bread

The middle way is like lukewarm water that is neither warm nor cold

The teacher must make all anger disliked

Anger needs to be balanced

You have to balance things out, you have to give until it becomes easy

The point of class today is to reflect on the classical works

Sacred knowledge is sweet and you don’t want to do anything else

Expose yourself to the breezes in the gatherings of sacred knowledge

That desire to get closer to Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala


Q+A


Attend regular gathering of knowledge

How do you deal with a person who brings out your bad character?
Depends on the situation, you cannot do anything haram, maintain ties, brief visits

Its difficult for people here in these countries who fall into sins, show them mercy

Have a relationship with them and give them an alternative

Don’t do that act no matter how many times it comes to your heart

You have to rely on Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

Love of Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala and his Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) burns up other things. This is the light of love

If your rights have been taken then you can demand your rights, but they might ask you for their rights

The higher thing is to forgive. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) forgave people rather than ask for his rights

Find someone to read the book with, if you can but you can read it on your own, read it and ask someone

Umar Ibn Khattab (may Allah show him mercy) used to eat nine morsels of food a day, when you want to take two more bites – stop and that’s hard to do.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sheikh Yahya Rhodus

Kitab An-Nafs from Imam Gazali Ihya Uloom udeen

Part one of two


Imam Ghazali (may Allah be pleased with him) was the renewer of the fifth century

He died 505 Hijri, this text is 930+ years old

It is a text that has remained unchanged

This faith has been transmitted from generation to generation until it reached us

The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, “There will always be a portion of my nation steadfast upon the truth.”

The depth and constricts of English means you have to chose one meaning, the original word has infinite meanings

You are rendering it – this is what a translator does

You can’t get much better than Sheikh Abdul-Hakim translation (breaking the two desires)

This is one of the great works

He mastered several sciences

When he approaches this science he brings out the points

Imam Harramyn Al-Juwayni (may Allah show him mercy) was his teacher

Theology, foundations of principles, logic – he has a number of treatise

Some have criticized his lack of study of hadith

This is not fair

Hafiz Al-Iraqi (may Allah show him mercy) used to write “la Isal lha”, it has no source. When he was trying to find the hadith

Even great scholars differed from their teachers but with manners

How do we understand it, we say it for a warning then you can inform

Some scholars have stated that the hadiths weren’t found to be fabricated until later on

The Quran is tawatr qattai (conclusively known)

The hadiths can be used for fiqh is hasan (good) or sahih (sound)
Some scholars say to throw out weak hadith

Imam Ahmed (may Allah show him mercy) would use a weak hadith as proof

What are the instances that you can use weak hadith? In supererogatory works (fadail Al-Amal) to encourage people to good

It won’t harm you to take it

The only one that said you couldn’t is Qadi Abu Bakr ibn Arabi (may Allah show him mercy), everyone else agreed

Why am is saying this? Because people question him

There was people who opposes the book – you can’t understand the work and the context of his times

He was born in Tus

He finally realised he was studying for other than Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

This was an eye opener

Allah will not support the Deen with a promiscuous man

We can take benefit from non-Muslims work, hans wehr and lane lexicon

We make righteous intentions

We see a lot of outward progress but outward soul

The only way to feel tranquil is to submit to Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

Are there happy sinners?

Haram is haram you have to be patient

Imagine, leaving everything when you are at the top

Many people are caught up in the desire for food and drink

The majority of people do what they do because of recreation, as long as you follow your desire

You will move from one to another until you are bankrupt

In some areas in America you have to 55 or over to live there

They are bankrupt at the end of their lives

Look at our great scholars - the later part of their lives

Their hearts are one with Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

They are receiving physical substance

Some people work on their yards to keep themselves busy

The DNV have a queue at 5am in the morning because they had something to do that day

Imam Ghazali (May Allah show him mercy) was at the top

Understand before you lead

Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy) lost his voice and left everything and went on a ten year inward journey

After he completed this journey, he wrote write books

Our Deen cannot be marginalized

This is a technique to polarize people into groups

A fundamental part of our Deen is the middle way

In reality, you agree and disagree in the same group

We have a holistic teaching

You have to go to separate sections

The leadership qualities, the best of them are all found in the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

Tasawwaf is a third of Islam

To worship Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala, as if you see him although you cannot but he can see you

Indeed he is successful who purifies it

You can it what you want

What are we talking about it? Eliminating greed, miserliness, etc

The third volume (Ihya) talks about the vices of the hearts

He mentions the exposition of good character

After we understand it generally, he will talk about it specifically

We have to have a basic knowledge about the Halal and haram

Some people emphasise this over other sciences

Someone moves from I’llm Al-Yaqin to A’yan Al-Yaqin and finally Haq-Al-Yaqin

In the globalised society we live, there are lot of doors to tribulation (fitna)

Traditionally speaking, these societies would have been preserved – without contact from the outside world

The assimilation that has taken place

Some Muslims act like non-Muslims

They’ve had exposure from all these influences

We have to find practical solutions to these problems

Haq Al-Yaqin is the level of the awliya

Like people who hear about the class and people who see the class and the people who are in the lesson (all their understandings are different)

Fire: you see people running, you go closer you smell smoke, you go into the house and it burns your skin

All these are different levels

There will always be disbelievers – this is a decree

We do not know the divine will

Why did he do that? You do not know this, you are imposing your intellect upon him

Both are mentioned in the Quran Sura Al-Takhir “Mutual rivalry diverts you, Until you visit the graves.”

When faith strengthens due to witnessing them with the eye of your heart

We enter into Islam by witnessing we say I witness (Ashadu)

We believe in Allah, his angels, books, messenger and his decree good and bad.

Whilst he was praying he would see heaven

Companion who used have angels greet them

There are people of this time who have seen these things

This is what we are referring to

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked Harith, “How are you?” He replied, “I have become a complete believer.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “O’Harith look at what you’re saying.” Harith said, “I have no desire for worldly things . Gold and dirt have become one to me. Its as if I am looking at the throne of Allah, right now and I can see the people of heaven and hell.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Now you know stay on it.”

He didn’t tell him to fix his Aqida

Its impossible that all of them are not true

When you combine that, you realise the truth

The people who believe in the unseen are the first characteristics of the believer

If you call someone in Asia, you can talk to someone but you cannot see them

This is the same as your relationship with Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

Imam Ghazali (may Allah show you mercy) attended a Khutba he was rousing the crowd for jihad and was concerned to where their hima was gone

He wrote the Ihya and there is no chapter on Jihad, you work on your lower soul

Imam Ghazali (may Allah show him mercy) wrote the book for that reason

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had the best character of anyone who walked the earth

This is a trust upon us

Muslims are the last people of revealed truth

What we need as believers is a commitment to others

We want to make our contribution to the next generation

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The right that learnt knowledge has over you

These are things I need to put into place

The right of knowledge has over the learner is that he remember it or remembers the general or specific piece of the knowledge that has been learnt. He/she has now learnt something and if it is internal knowled€ge they need to inculcate it, if its information then the person must remember for future reference and teach it to others.

First and foremost the knowledge must benefit the learner, if it does not then there is little benefit knowing something that you are not going impliment yourself.

Worse than that your knowledge is not benefitting you in any way, you must not content to be a donkey by passing on knowledge that you yourself do not benefit. Then how can you expect others to, people will only benefit from your knowledge if you do.

When you are passing information on make it easy to understand and teach it in a way that they can easily understand. Also know that some people who you wish to advise may not take kindly to what you are telling them because of various reasons.
So inform them in a nice way and then don't expect them to follow up.

You should not look at others to be less than you when you know they do not have the knowledge on a subject that you do, you should look at yourself as less. As keenly as you search knowledge as keenly you should preserve the knowledge that you have learnt.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sheikh Abdul-Hakim Murad

From the following website

Seeing with Both Eyes

By Abdal-Hakim Murad

Text of a Lecture given at a Cardiff conference in May 2000

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. The Dajjal, as everyone knows, has only one eye. Those ulema who are concerned to understand and apply their intuition rather than simply to act as historical relay stations have sometimes interpreted this attribute as a reference to the characteristic sickness of decadent religious communities; a sickness that will necessarily be at its most prevalent as the end of time approaches. The human creature has been given two eyes for reasons of obvious biological utility: the capacity for focussing so splendidly produced by the ciliary muscles in the eyeball (a superb technology most of us never pause to give thanks for) is nonetheless not a perfect instrument for the gauging of distance. Human beings need perspective: for hunting and for fighting; and for the efficient monitoring of children. And hence we have two eyes, as the Qur’an notes, asking for our faith and our thankfulness: ‘Have We not given him two eyes’?
The Dajjal, however, has one eye only; for he is sick. He represents, in human form, a cosmic possibility which occurs throughout history, gathering momentum as Prophetic restorations are forgotten, until, for a time during the last days, he is the one-eyed man who is king. There are several esoteric interpretations of this, but one in particular is perhaps the most satisfying and profound. It points out that the latter days are the time of a loss of perspective. Distances and priorities are miscalculated, or even reversed. The name of Adam’s ancient enemy, Iblis, signals his ability to invert and overturn: yulabbis, he confuses and muddles mankind. And the Dajjal is in this sense a physical materialisation of Iblis: he is the Great Deceiver insofar as he dresses virtue up as vice, and vice-versa. Examples spring all too readily to mind. For instance: once the old were respected and admired more than the young; today, it is the other way around. Once unnatural vice was despised, now it is the only practice that cannot be criticised in the films or in polite society. Once humility was praised, and pride was a sin; today there has been a complete inversion. No longer are we asked to control ourselves, instead we are urged to ‘discover’ ourselves. The nafs is king of the millennium. Those of you who saw the Queen forced to watch the orgy at the Greenwich Dome, a celebration of mindless erotic and athletic display that had nothing to do with the man whom the Millennium supposedly marked, will know this well enough.

It is the principle of the Dajjal that brings about this kind of evil. It is an evil that is worse than the traditional sort, which was simply the failure to practice commonly-respected virtues; because the new evil yulabbis: it inverts: it turns virtue into vice. It is, in this sense, one-eyed and without perspective. The sight by which we observe the outward world is composed of information from two separate instruments. When we speak of religious understanding, we speak of basira, perception guided by wisdom. And it is characteristic of Islam that wisdom consists in recognising and establishing the correct balance between the two great principles of existence: the outward, that is, the form, and the inward, that is, the content: Zahir and batin, to use the Qur’anic terms.

The Dajjal sees with one eye. In this understanding, we would say that he is therefore a man of zahir, or of batin, but never of both. He is a literalist, or he is free in the spirit. The most glorious achievement of Islam, which is to reveal a pattern of human life which explores and celebrates the physical possibilities of man in a way that does not obstruct but rather enhances and deepens his metaphysical capacities, is hence negated. The miscreant at the end of time is, therefore, the exact inversion of the Islamic ideal.

At the beginning of our story, the balance between the zahir and the batin was perfect. The Messenger, upon whom be the best of blessings and peace, was the man of the Mi‘raj, and also the hero of Badr. He loved women, and perfume, and the delight of his eye was in prayer. The transition between moments of intense colloquy with the supreme archangel, and of political or military or family duty, was often little more than momentary; but his balance was impeccable, for he showed that body, mind and spirit are not rivals, but allies in the project of holiness, which means nothing other than wholeness.



The Companions manifested many aspects of this extraordinary wholeness, the traditional Islamic term for which is afiya, and the proof of whose accomplishment is the presence of adab. The luminosity of the Prophetic presence reshaped them, so that where once there had been the crude, materialistic egotism of the pagan nomad, there was now, barely twenty years later, a unified nation led by saints. It seemed that the crudest people in history had suddenly, as though by a miracle, been transmuted into the most refined and balanced. The pagan Arabs seem almost to have served as a preview of the temper of our age, and the man who came among them, unique among prophets in the unique difficulty of his mission, is the alpha amid the omega, the proof that an Adamic restoration is possible even under the worst of conditions, even in times such as ours.

The superb human quality of the Companions is one of the most moving and astounding of the Blessed Prophet’s miracles. Receiving alone the burden of revelation, and bearing virtually alone the responsibilities of family and state, he maintained such sanctity, humour, and moral seriousness that his world was transformed around him. Had you spent all that is upon the earth, you would not have reconciled their hearts, the Revelation tells him; but Allah has brought reconciliation between them. The political unification of Arabia, itself an unprecedented achievement, was only made possible by the existence of a spiritual principle at its centre, which melted hearts, and made a new world possible.

The Companions, as the most perfect exemplars of the Islamic principle of seeing with both eyes, were, as the saying goes, fursanun bi’l-nahar, ruhbanun bi’l-layl: cavalrymen by day, and monks by night. They united zahir and batin, body and spirit, in a way that was to their pagan and Christian contemporaries extraordinary, and which, in our day, when balance of any sort is rare, is hard even to imagine. Their faces radiated with the inner calm that comes of inner peace: ala bi-dhikriíLlahi tatma’innu’l-qulub: ‘it is by the remembrance of Allah that hearts find peace.’

Among the Companions’ own miracles was the creation of an astonishingly new language of beauty. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, built while many Companions were still alive, triumphantly announces the divine will to save humanity through a new religious order. Under Islam, the world was made new. The war on the flesh, manifested in the new and strange shape taken by Christian celibacy, was at an end. The Sunna, emerging as a barely imaginable climax of human flourishing, became the ideal for the ancient world; an ideal all the more impressive for having been achieved.

When Islamic civilisation was buoyant, everything touched by the hands of believers turned to gold. The Dome of the Rock is probably the world’s most beautiful building, the subject of countless studies by astounded art historians. Through its octagon, the square outline of the ancient Solomonic temple is resolved to a circle, and thus to the infinity of heaven. It announces the supremacy of the Muhammadan moment, the time out of time when the Station of Two Bows’ Length (qaba qawsayn) was achieved. No earlier religion had preserved the memory of so exalted and so purely spiritual a climax to its story, as a mortal man ventured where even the highest angels could not step.

And yet he returned to earth; and this is the secret of the Sunna’s majesty. He had been redolent in the splendour and power of the Divine presence, but he nonetheless returned to the lower ranks of the created order, to reform his people. Not because he preferred them, but because he loved them. He had seen with his purified heart, as the Qur’an reveals: The heart did not deny that which it saw. He bore a truth which hitherto they had only dimly intuited: the core of the human creature is the heart, and the heart is the locus of a vision so transcendent that even the Revelation speaks of it only allusively: He saw, of the signs of his Lord, the greatest.

When we take on the Sunna, and reject flawed patterns of behaviour which have been shaped and guided by the ego and by fantasies of self-imagining, we declare to our Creator that we accept and revere the profound revelation of human flourishing exampled by the Best of Creation. Every act of the Sunna which we may successfully emulate declares that our role model is the man who had no ego, and to whom Allah had given a definitive victory over the forces of darkness. Modernity holds out lifestyle options centred on the self, and on the lower, agitated possibilities of the human condition. Every word of every magazine now breathes the message of the nafs: explore yourself, free yourself, be yourself. Buy a Porsche to express your identity; dress in a Cacharel suit to make a statement about yourself; be seen in the right places. The result, of course, is a society which pursues happiness with great technical brilliance but which puzzles over spiralling rates of suicide, drug abuse, failed relationships, and ever more aberrant forms of self-mutilation. It is a society in denial, a society in pain.



By taking on the Sunna, a human being accepts a deep and total reorientation. For the Sunna is not one lifestyle option among many, simply an exotic addition to the standard menu. The Sunna tears up the existing menu by defying its assumptions. By living in the Prophetic pattern one pursues a paradigm of excellence that demonstrably brings serenity and fulfillment, and hence silences the babble of the style magazines. Living in credit, knowing one’s neighbours, and holding the event of the Mi‘raj constantly in view, confers membership of Adam’s family of khalifas. Living in debt, chasing mirages, and serving the nafs, renders the human being a definitive failure. We can be higher than the angels, or lower than the animals.

The Sunna, as the uniquely efficient vehicle of human improvement and illumination, hence embraces every aspect of man. Outward serenity is impossible without inward peace; and inward peace, conversely, is impossible when the body is behaving abusively.

The Muslim, who sees with both eyes, and hence sees the modern world for what it is: a naive victim of the oldest of all illusions, which is the belief that human flourishing occurs when the needs of the outward are met, and that inward excellence is nothing but the vague myth of intangible religion, is hence truly Muslim to the extent that he rejects imbalance. Loyal and loving adherence to the details of the fiqh will change to obsessive and neurotic behaviour when the inward meaning of the sunna is absent. Hence the Dajjal is often an exoterist. But he may be an esoterist also, when he falls prey to the fatal myth that religion is about inward perfection alone, and that this can be achieved even when the outward conduct is deeply flawed by a failure to be shaped by a pattern of courteous human life manifested by the supreme figure of a more contemplative and dignified age.

In our times, thanks to a dajjal-type lack of perspective, some Muslims are suspicious of the traditional talk of a zahir and a batin. It seems too esoteric, mysterious and elitist. The word batin itself appears faintly heretical: one thinks of extreme antinomian groups such as the medieval Ismailis, for instance. And yet the concept is purely and entirely Qur’anic, and was never controversial among the classical ulama.

In fact, an important part of the healing that the Qur’an offers can be found in its insistence that religion includes, and unites, an outward and an inward dimension. Let me give you some examples, which no-one in his right mind could describe as controversial. For instance, Allah says: Wa-aqimi’s-Salata li-dhikri: ‘and establish the Prayer for My remembrance’. He tells us that the prayer is not an arbitrary command, a set of physical movements which earn us treats in the hereafter. It has a wise purpose, which is to help us to remember Him. The believer at prayer is not just offering his physical form as a token of submission to the divine presence whose symbol is the Ka‘ba. He, or she, is worshipping with the heart. The body of flesh bows towards the Ka‘ba of stone; while the invisible spirit bows to the invisible divine. Only when both of these take place is worship truly present.

Another example: Allah says: ‘Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those who came before you.’ Why? ‘La‘allakum tattaqun’ - ‘that you might learn taqwa.’ Fasting has a zahir and a batin, an outward and an inward. And neither is of any use without the other. As a hadith says: ‘Many a fasting persons gains nothing from his fast, apart from hunger and thirst.’ In other words, without a batin fast, an inward fast, the fast is only formally, mechanically correct. It is like a body without a spirit, which is nothing more than a corpse. The one who fasts, or prays, or performs any other religious act, without his spirit being in it, is like a zombie, whose mind and spirit has gone away from the body, to another place. And this is not how Allah wants us to be when we worship Him.

Another example. Regarding the sacrifices on the day of Eid al-Adha, Allah says: ‘Their flesh and blood will not reach Allah; but the taqwa that is in you reaches Him.’ Without correct intention, and presence of mind, in other words, without a proper disposition of the batin, the sacrifice is just the killing of an animal. In a sense, it is worse, since a slaughter that did not pretend to be religious would at least be sincere; whereas one that purports to be for God, but in its inner reality is not, is a kind of hypocrisy.

In fact we could say that the zahir without the batin leads fatally to nifaq. If we are not enjoying the divine presence during our worship, if our minds are elsewhere, if we have switched on a kind of autopilot, then we are practicing rusum: outward forms, a husk without a kernel. To any visible or invisible onlooker we are proclaiming by the outward form of the act that we are worshipping God; but in our inward reality we are doing nothing of the kind. Riya’ - ostentation - is possible even if we are alone. Even if we know that no-one knows we are praying, or fasting, we can still commit riya’. How? By showing-off to ourselves. By going through the motions of the prayer, we gratify our own self-image as pious, superior people. To the extent that the prayer lacks a batin, that will be a mortal danger. Even if our minds are concentrated on the meaning, our souls may be disengaged. And to the extent that the prayer, or the fast, or the Hajj, or the qurbani, does have an inner reality, we will be less interested in showing-off to ourselves, in taking the nafs as our real qibla. The act will lead us, we will not lead the act.

This is what sayyiduna ‘Umar, radiya’Llahu ‘anhu, meant when he said: ‘The thing I fear most for the safety of this Umma is the learned hypocrite.’ When asked how one could be both learned and hypocritical, he said: ‘When his learning does not go beyond verbal knowledge, while his heart remains untouched.’

Another example, from the Qur’an - and remember, this teaching of the interdependence of zahir and batin is purely Qur’anic. ‘And they give food, for love of Him, to the poor, the orphan, and to captives. We feed you only for the sake of Allah; we desire for no reward or thanks from you.’ Here the revelation is insisting that charity, too, becomes ibada only when it has an inward reality as well as an outward form. And that inward reality is not primarily mental: as in ‘Fine, it’s zakat time, bismi’Llah, I make the intention to do this for Allah’. That is only the most basic requirement. The passage states that charity is to be done ‘ala hubbihi - out of love for Allah. That requires far more than the simple silent formulation of a niyya. It can only be achieved when one’s heart is in it, since love, hubb, resides in the heart, not the mind. Charity without love is heartless.

Hence part of the brilliance of the Qur’an is its insistence that Allah is not worshipped by outward forms; but that He has established certain outward forms as a context within which we can do ibada: since ibada, as an expression of devotion and servitude to our maker, reposes in the heart. A disposition of the heart is always true; a disposition of the body may be true or false.

The Qur’an’s message is unmistakeably that the human creature is a composite whose dimensions must be brought into harmony with each other if our Adamic possibility as true worshippers may be realised. So ours is a religion of zahir and batin. Our enemies see only the outward forms, and assume that this is hypocrisy, ‘Pharisaic formalism’. Some use the traditional New Testament language by which St Paul attacked Judaism: ‘the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’ In fact, this is a common theme of a certain kind of traditional Christian criticism of Islam. As such, it clearly represents the borrowing of an even older theme in Christian theology: that of antisemitism, as a weapon which will serve in the battle against the Saracen. Muslims, inconveniently, are not mentioned in the Bible, but some Christians have instead used the anti-Law polemic of Paul as a stick with which to beat Muslims, by situating us in a Biblical context. It is evident, however, that this will not serve. There are some Muslims, it has to be admitted, whose preoccupations are mainly or even exclusively with outward form - a Pharisaic Islam, we might say - but that is not the way of traditional Muslims. For traditional Islam has always cultivated in a rich and profound way the inner dimensions of faith. Most of our poetry, for instance, is about the batin, not the zahir. If Islam was as they suppose, then most of our poetry would be about wudu, or the rules for inheritance. But it is not.

I hope that the Qur’anic insights I have cited are quite enough to explain why the traditional ulema of Islam speak of the religion’s having a zahir and a batin. Shaykh Shahidullah Faridi, the great English saint of the 20th century, put it as follows:

‘If it is necessary to observe the outward ordinances of the faith, it is equally necessary to develop within ourselves those qualities which are their soul. These two are complementary and one cannot exist in a sound state without the other.’

Shahidullah Faridi himself, like virtually all the educated converts to Islam in this country, was attracted to the religion primarily because of its inner riches. Those Muslims who today spend most of their time talking about shari‘a, and regard the batin as peripheral, are unlikely to make many such converts: there is no reason why sensitive, educated people should be attracted to the husk, if the kernel is so well-hidden that it might as well not exist. They may even, by wild, merciless and hikma-less behaviour, repel thousands.

Zahir and batin are the terms I have used. They are concepts clear from the Qur’an. There are other terms which convey roughly the same distinction. For instance, the terms shari‘a and haqiqa. Outward act, and inward state. Again, the distinction is Qur’anic. According to Imam Abu Ali al-Daqqaq, it can even be derived from the Fatiha. Allah asks us to say: iyyaka na‘budu wa-iyyaka nasta‘in: ‘You we worship’: this is shari‘a; and ‘You we seek for help’: the divine response, which is from haqiqa. The pairing of the principles gives us this fundamental distinction: the initiative from man, which is shari‘a, and the generous outpouring from Allah, which is haqiqa.

Imam al-Qushayri makes a still more subtle point. He says:

‘Know that the Shari‘a is also haqiqa, because He Himself made it obligatory. And haqiqa is also shari‘a, because the means of knowing Him were made obligatory by His command.’

In other words, this bifurcation, indicated in the Fatiha, which we repeat every day without pondering its depths, is in reality two sides of one coin. Shari‘a is not Shari‘a without haqiqa; because without an inward reality and an approach to Allah the outward forms are useless; and haqiqa is nothing without shari‘a, because shari‘a is the set of forms by which haqiqa can be known. Each is sound only when it points accurately to the other.

Imam Abu Bakr al-‘Aydarus, rahmatullahi ‘alayh, explains it in terms of the Qur’anic verse: ‘Those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide to Our ways.’ He writes: The ‘striving’ is the Shari‘a, and the active response to its injunctions, which will cause one to be led to His ‘ways’, is in turn a reference to the Haqiqa.’

Imam al-Qushayri drives home this vital point by saying: ‘Every shari‘a which is unsupported by haqiqa is unaccepted. And every haqiqa which is not controlled by shari‘a is unaccepted.’

Imam al-Haddad, in one of his most famous poems, says:

Wa-kullun ‘ala nahj al-sabili’s-sawiyyi lam

yukhalif li-amrin akhidhan bi’sh-shari‘ati

Wa-inna’lladhi la yatba‘u’sh-shar‘a mutlaqan

‘ala kulli halin ‘abdu nafsin wa-shahwati

‘All of the righteous were on the straight path,

never violating any command, holding to shari‘a

For truly, the man who does not follow shari‘a,

Is in every case the slave of his nafs and his own desires.’

Imam al-Ghazali, rahmatullah alayh, spent much of his life making this point, in some very sophisticated ways. Let me read to you his very passionate defence of this Qur’anic principle:

‘f you are educating yourself, take up only those branches of knowledge which have been required of you according to your present needs, as well as those which pertain to the outward actions such as learning the elements of prayer, purification, and fasting. More important however, is the science which all have neglected, namely, the science of the attributes of the heart, those which are praiseworthy and those which are blameworthy, because people persist in the latter, such as miserliness, hypocrisy, pride and conceit, all of which are destructive, and from which it is obligatory to desist. Performing these outward deeds is like the external application of an ointment to the body when it is stricken with scabies and boils while neglecting to remove the pus by means of a scalpel or a purge. False ulema recommend outward deeds just as fake physicians prescribe external ointments [for virulent internal diseases]. The ulema who seek the akhira, however, recommend nothing but the purification of the nafs and the removal of the elements of evil by destroying their nursery-beds and uprooting them from the heart.’

A key component of the Ghazalian agenda is the restoration of balance between outward and inward. And the Imam himself realised that the balance comes about primarily through cultivating the inward. For a balance, which is the true meaning of al-sirat al-mustaqim, is a subtle thing, and requires wisdom, and wisdom only exists when the soul is illuminated.

The crisis of the modern world is a crisis in both zahir and batin. It takes different forms amidst the ruins of different civilisations. In what was once the Christian world, zahir has been lost or even turned on its head: homosexual marriages in church, the approval of the lottery by bishops, and other symptoms of collapse. The symptoms are more advanced in formerly Christian countries than elsewhere, because, as St Paul believed, Christianity has no shari‘a. It is always reinventing itself as something that can be believed, as T.S. Eliot put it, and nowadays this inevitably takes place under pressure from secular ethics. In the Islamic world, there are also deep problems. But these arise not through lack of shari‘a as such, but through a lack of balance between outward and inward. Much Muslim revivalism today focusses on the outward, and appears to regard the inward as of secondary importance. The result is wild behaviour and consistent failure, for Allah proclaims in the Qur’an that the success in the world of religious communities depends on their spiritual condition. He does not change us until we change what is within ourselves. The failure of any Islamic movement is decisive proof that that movement has not gained the required inward harmony, wisdom and spiritual depth.

The modern world therefore offers, in mad abundance, both of the Dajjal’s aberrations. There is preoccupation with form, and there are also, in increasing varieties, a preoccupation with ‘spiritualities’ which require no irritating moral code. In the West, New Age spirituality is replacing Christianity as the faith of many young and educated people. It promises a typical Dajjalian deceit: the gifts of the spirit may be had without paying a price, or changing one’s treasured ‘lifestyle’.

The Sunna is the Dajjal’s great enemy in the modern world, because it rejects both of his promises. No human being can flourish on the basis of pure Law, or pure physical satisfaction, or of spiritual practices devoid of implications for society and personal conduct. For us, religion is about integrity and completeness. And yet, there are no grounds for complacency. The Sunna itself is today a contested concept. A materialistic world necessarily influences the forms of religion which grow within it; and some Muslims today adopt forms of Islam that define the Sunna in a one-eyed way. Either such advocates are pure esoterists, with a cavalier attitude to the formal duties gifted by revelation; or (and this is among mass-movements more frequent) they mutilate the Sunna by minimising or even negating its inward dimensions. Any following of the externals of religion which is not made profound, compassionate and wise by an active and transformative spiritual life, will be a mere husk without a kernel: abrasive, hostile, self-righteous, lashing out at the innocent, and thriving on schism and controversy.

May Allah enable us to open both our eyes, and hence to see things in due proportion, and to respond in a way that brings reconciliation, light, and wisdom among the descendents of Adam.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Choice of teacher

In our time, having a choice of teacher is a real luxury. If you have this luxury then chose the one with the best character then learn from him.

If you learn from the who has more knowledge but has bad character know that you too will be infected by his character and may or may not pass it on or even emboy it.

Religion is not just knowledge it is character as well, remove your soul from the bad actions of people and the bad practices of the culture.

Your teacher should inspire you to be like him because he is a reflection of the Prophetic character.

If you are unable to find any other teacher locally, travel to places where you can obtain knowledge, if you are unable to so, learn the teacher and guard yourself and don't let your heart incline to bad character, for one second.

If you can only find one teacher and he has bad character then study with him but do not copy them except in knowledge.

Be careful what you share with your teacher and likewise never share anything personal of his with other people.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sheikh Yahya Rhodus

The means of arrival to the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)

Three of three

Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala chose the Arabs over all the other people

The majority of the companions (may Allah be pleased with them) were Arab

The love of the Arabs is from faith

Some Arabs are doing what they should be and other what they shouldn’t, we shouldn’t hold it against others

The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) had the strongest lineage on earth, all his ancestors were believers

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) is known as the Quranic translator

When Umar (may Allah be pleased with) used to ask the companions (may Allah be pleased with them), he wanted to prove a point

He wanted to show the stature of companions

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that Sura Nasr indicted to the passing away of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him)

The whole region was entering Islam, this was a sign

We don’t say that the hadith, “Do not make me master.” Is fabricated

(When we have others like) “I am the master of the Adam’s children.”

We should have no problem saying Syeduna Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him)

The great grandfathers of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) possesses a light

Abdul-Muttalib (may Allah be pleased with him) never drunk wine, he was also known as Fayyad

When a king came to attack the Ka’aba he was taken by the Abdul-Muttalib, he came and sat next to him. Abdul-Muttalib wanted his stolen camels back, stunned the king said that he had come to attack the Ka’aba and you want your camels back?
Abdul-muttalib said, “I am the owner of the camels and the owner of the house will look after it.” (The remainder is recorded in the Sura of the Elephant)

The Deen of Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala will be given victory in the next world

Hisham was offered a daughter of the king of Rome

Preparing of the Kaba and giving water to the pilgrims

There are signs and miracles of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him), (in his forefathers)

Kalab one of his forefather, the word is a masdar (gerund) it means to attack, his name was Hakim ibn Murra ibn Ka’ab ibn lawab

Ilyas used hear Talbiya (labak) coming from his loins

His (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) lineage is the most noble

Many Arabs own liquor stores in America

He (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) never did anything haram or Makruh

If he did then it was in order to clarify that it wasn’t haram

When the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) recited a piece of poetry of Labid, he said it incorrectly, the companions couldn’t understand. Abu Bakr and the companions were witnessing the verse, “Nor have we taught him poetry, or was it worthy for him.” Yasin ayat 69

We should have concern for the oppressed, we should speak out

Cultural tendencies have crept into our Deen

There is a reason why he (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) kept company of the poor and oppressed

They are also the one believed in the Prophets and Messengers (upon them all peace)

Imam Nawawi says that Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala has 1000 names and the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) has 1000 names

The book called “The truth about Muhammad.” is one of the worst books about him (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him)

Only 1000 people died in all the wars

He (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) said, “Do not wish to meet your enemy, if you do meet him remain.”

Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) used to love to fight because of his self-control, he was also able to fast in the hottest of weather

Karen Armstrong says the greatest proof is the Treaty of Hudaybiya

When he (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) agreed to the conditions

He (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) took people from what doesn’t deserve to be worshipped to what deserves to be worshipped

We should read his Sira, at least once a year

We are in a difficult time

We should try to bring his (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) practice to life

If we are seen as strange then we should be happy

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Dr Gary Miller

Modern history of Christanity

Sheikh Yahya Rhodus

The means of arrival to the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)


Second session of three

In reality we want quality not quantity

The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The best of actions are continuous even if little.”

Our true strength comes from him (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)

Once we realise this we will be able to understand

We pray that Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala manifests his name al-Mughani (the enricher)

What a great day to meet him,
he (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) was born in the time of fajr

We should rejoice in his birth because he (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) is the greatest creation

Yusuf An-Nabahni (died 1350) left a great work called “Sharf Mua’bad”, this is all about the family of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and his companions

There are people who love one, but not the other (companions and the family)

The scholar refers to the character, at a deeper level

The meaning and the reality

The companions (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) detailed his (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) life to the finest detail from how he ate grapes from a stem, Melons

How he (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) used to sit

He is the means to Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

All the law of the sacred law of the previous Prophets was cancelled when he received Prophethood

Every good deed you receive is a difference between the heaven and the earth

Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala has preferred some over others and in the afterlife this is greater

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that there is a difference of five hundred degrees between an teacher and an worshipper

Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would circling his horse in a place as he (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) once did

They (companions) had a connection to him (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)

By serving the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) who approach Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

He (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) is the best of creation

An-Nabahni has gathered a book about different prayers that others have written (about him (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).)

What we see here is the etiquette and Adab (manners) with the Messenger (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)
Even the slightest affection to him (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) is the greatest

Anything that attains distinction is linked to him (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)

The best of water was? The water that came from his hand (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)

It is mentioned in the Shafi books

Then Zam zam, Khathar, nile and then the remaining water

His (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) heart was washed with Zam zam water

He (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) is unconditionally the best in all human character

The dua of light

He (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) was concerned about having light – so should we be

If there was complete darkness, we wouldn’t be able to see and if there was complete light we wouldn’t be able to see

We can see now because of the mixture of light

You can feel something darker over there, its brighter here but gloomy outside

Light – knowledge

Every act we practice is done in light

Knowledge is light cast into the heart, there are different aspects attached to light

The average person has access to knowledge, in a week that doesn’t equal what people had in a lifetime

(I think this was about publications of some kind)
1960 – 260
1970 – 2000
2000 – 200,000

Information overload

Within three years they are going to integrate television and internet, 5000 channels

Before the end of time three things will be rare
1. Sincere person
2. Permissible substance
3. Beneficial knowledge – Knowledge that takes you to Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala

What do you really want?

The doors of heaven are open, what are you asking for? A Scholar said, “Why are you asking for something worldly?”

If you’re asking Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala ask for something more

Ask for the pleasure of Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala and his Messenger (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)

There is a relation between both

The pleasure is one

Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala will not allow the heart of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) to be happy with anything else

The sign of the pleasure of the Messenger (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) is the pleasure of Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala and this is a means to enter into his service

Abdullah ibn Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) used to hold his (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) shoes, siwak

We have to make a contribution to the Ulema

People sent time working so we could get this Deen

He (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) saw himself as a person who had to work endlessly

When we think about our shortcomings that should cause us to have extreme fear

Umar ibn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to wish he wasn’t born

There are attributes we should think about that remain with the arabs

It pains the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) to know we are in difficulty

He (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) is concerned about us

Why aren’t we, concerned about us?

When was the last time we thought about others, we have to be concerned for people
We should want the Muslims to increase – for non-Muslims to enter Islam

Some the bedions showed the worst of manners and he (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) responding with patience, he is the best of creation

There harshness was replaced with his mercy

What about someone who came with manners, if this is what people without manners attained

You have to study the sacred law with a soul

There are Muslims who are unable to show good character to the people

Wrong is wrong

Where are the people who want to change something

We have forgotten the greatness of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)

His grandson Sheikh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi is more worthy to talk about his grandfather (go to his Shammil course)

Shammil means natural disposition in Arabic

The foundation of this word is linked to his (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) character

The reasons for studying, is not only to hear

Its not a type of academic type of study

Its is to seek pleasure by through its meanings

There is a pleasure (ladtha) in mentioning him (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)

When the true servants are mentioned, mercy descends

What about the most righteous of true servants (sahileen) (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)?

It’s a means to draw closer to the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)

Without a doubt

Hasan ibn Tahbit (may Allah be pleased with him) used to have a Minbar where he recited poetry about the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) asked Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala to help him with the holy spirit (Jibreel)

What about the one who gathers his (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) character?

Learning about his (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) character, makes us learn to love him

Faith (Iman) increases with love of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)