Thursday, June 11, 2015

Purification of the heart

(Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed)

Adab for Allah swt
The one who succeeds is the one who brings to Allah a sound heart. (Quran)
Succeeded is he who has purified it, failed is he who has not. (Quran)

Purification of the heart is absolutely farz. The method you use is optional, but the actual purification is mandatory.

You should leave all the sins that you do outwardly and internally. (Quran)
Zahir and batin.

As haram it is to have one morsel of pork, as haram it is to have a feeling of envy, unlawful desire, unlawful anger, etc. Batin sins are crippling.

It is imperative that we leave all the sins that we do.

To adorn your heart with the siffaat of the mumineen. Zikr tawakkul sabr shukr khauf rijaa muhabba khashiya.

Text written by medieval Muslim scholar, poetry: Imam Mawlud.
There are many entry points, there is no one way to begin the process of purification. One person may begin with love for Allah, other with fear for Allah.
The Imam says that the highest and noblest of beginnings is to have adab with Allah swt. To be courteous with Allah swt, the high and the majestic.

What does adab with Allah swt mean?
By practising modesty (haya) and humility (ijz). One aspect of haya is that you will not do something that is vulgar in front of a person you respect. For example, someone won’t smoke cigarettes in front of their father.
Haya is a branch of iman. It is a gift from Allah, it is part of our fitrah.
It is very unfortunate that West teaches us that haya is something wrong.
The first time you did a sin there is hesitation, that was your haya calling out to you.
If you don’t give in to your haya you end up subduing it.
There comes a stage when your qalb is screaming to you to feel remorse, but you suppress it.
What a person does is that they literally shut off their haya.
If you can turn off your haya, you can also turn it on or increase it.
The more you think about Allah, the more your haya will come back.
Humility: to realise that Allah is the Malik and we are the abd. I am aajiz: I will do with my day what you want me to do. O Allah I want to do that, but it is my ijz that I will hold myself back.
In exchange for that Allah grants a person barakah in their married life, wealth, life in general.
Our desires and wishes become tempered (iffat: ability of self control) by haya and ijz.
You shouldn’t have greed for others. How does this relate to adab? Allah is the bestower of nemat. When we are envious of people, we are criticising Allah’s takseem. To think that somebody shouldn’t have something, to have covetousness, to want someone to be deprived of something and to have it yourself, or just wanting for him or her to be deprived, that is going against the ikhtiyaar of Allah.
By hastening to fulfill His command. When you respect your parents, you immediately get them a glass of water, immediately respond to their call. The purpose of haste is not speed, the purpose of haste is showing that we are happy, we are happily being a servant.
By being wary of the subtle encroachment of bad manners. Bad adab doesn’t come glaring in the face, it can encroach upon a person. Part of humility is to watch yourself against being arrogant. Part of adab is to watch yourself against being disrespectful. Mostly this disrespect is in hope of Allah’s Mercy. We go back to sleep after waking up at fajr time without praying fajr, thinking that Allah is Merciful, we can pray later. They negate His siffat of being Malik by focusing on Him being Raheem.
Allah is the eternally besought. There is no being who has been as sought as Him. We have to make ourselves seekers of Allah. Muneeb: to have inabat, yearning.
As much as Allah is intrinsically Rahman, Rahim, Malik, insan is designed for ibadat. When you become the servant of Allah you actually become a proper human being.
The names and attributes of Allah swt. “You should adorn yourself with the attributes of Allah”. Allah is Raheem, Kareem, we should also be merciful and generous. The scale on which Allah is merciful and generous cannot be matched by us, but we say I am going to be merciful to someone, as Abdur Raheem it befits me that I should be merciful, so You may be merciful to me.
If we subdue our lower attributes we will be given such noble attributes that they are the attributes which Allah has given to himself.
Arabic word: fakar. O Humanity you are fukarah, you are needy you are mohtaj, you are fakeer. A lot of us think we are independent of Allah. Anyone who says that I don’t need worship, I don’t need halal haram, is saying that I don’t need Allah.
The Abd-Rab relationship is the asal.
Part of adab is to realise your role in the relationship.
You will gain dignity and wealth from Allah.
There is no salvation like the heart’s salvation, there is no freedom like the heart’s freedom.
The qalb is the control room.
If you have love of dunya in your heart, it will steer your nafs and your aqal. In our heart we have started to fall in love with the material world.
A person will always be thinking, plotting, scheming how to get more in this world, gets locked in this vicious cycle. The purification of the heart enables you to break out of this vicious cycle. Everything else will fall into place.

Mastering the heart’s infirmities is the second stage of purification of the heart. If we try to tackle the illness of the heart directly it becomes difficult. Adab should be established first.
What exactly are the illnesses of the heart?
What causes them and what can remove them?
This knowledge is farz on everyone.
Allah has revealed to Prophet s.a.w that nobody will enter Jannah who will have an atom’s weight of takabbur in their heart. Therefore it becomes incumbent on us to free ourselves from takabbur.
If you’re in danger of getting the illness, of being exposed to it, then this knowledge is wajib.
Is human being inherently pure or inherently a mixture of good and evil? Is human being inherently humble? Ijz is his asal? Even if you don’t have takabbur, you have the potential to have takabbur, then you must learn how to protect yourself against takabbur (Al Ghazali).
Either way me and you have to learn this.
Inner sins incinerate our inner self. Our life becomes empty of barakah, itmenaan and sukoon. We have allowed our heart to become sick.

Bukhl (stinginess/miserliness)
Why is it the very first thing being talked about after adab is miserliness? The word “Zakat” is related to “tazkiyah” and means purification. One way that halal rizq becomes tayyab (pure) is by giving zakat. The system of zakat can bring about poverty eradication.
Supporting dependents means supporting them in the lifestyle they are used to.
Rights due to others: raising wages of domestic staff with increase in inflation.
Relieving the distressed: khairat. Voluntary charity. Maybe there is an earthquake, person is not eligible for zakat, but needs financial relief.
Rights of neighbours: not just financial stinginess, can be generosity in other ways as well.
When hosting guests: being generous. Shouldn’t get worried if someone comes over to visit.
Bukhl in purchasing a burial shroud or sacrificial animal. Tipping the gravedigger.
Purchasing something to give to the needy.
“I want to have money for the sake of money, I want to have money for the sake of enjoying life to the maximum.”
Inability to spend, love for wealth, are two illnesses of the heart.
Batr: wantonness. Being lackadaisacal, carefree approach to life. Irresponsible. Excessive mirth, exuberance. Treat it with hunger and the remembrance of the akhirah. Allah does not love the excessively joyful (those who have batr).

Hatred (bughuz)

Hatred for someone for other than the sake of Allah. Its cure is to pray for the one who is despised.
The only person who seeks a cure is one who recognises that they are sick.
The first step is to stop justifying one’s anger.
Harming a fellow creature without right.
Getting clothing or car should not be the basis of your happiness and sadness.
The rat race.
Consumerism: people want to live beyond their ability. It is caused by desiring other than Allah.
Hasd: you want the other person to lose their ni’mah.
One thing is not to act on envy, other thing is not to feel the envy in the first place. The cure is to act contrary to one’s desire.
When you find fault in someone, you should seek out their virtues and praise them to other people.
Envy never benefits the envier nor does it ever succeed.

Blameworthy Modesty
Blameworthy modesty is that which stops a person from stopping what is condemnable.

Ghazab (anger)
Be humble.
To adorn ourselves with the attributes of Allah. Allah is Al Haleem. I am justifiably angry. I remember Allah’s Hilm (ability to do something but hold myself back out of hikmat), and become Haleem.

Relying on other than Allah (Tawakkul)
Fear of and desire for other than Allah is against tawkkul. (fear=khawf and hope=rijaa).
The only Being Whose Love you fear losing is Allah’s.
Hope: absolute yakeen: the only hope you have is from Allah.

Reliance of ghair Allah that leads to leaving something that is mustahab is makruh.

True Love in Islam

(Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed)

True love in Islam
Allah sent down Quran, deen of Islam, Muhammad s.a.w, to teach us how to feel, and where we should direct these feelings. Allah has given everyone the feeling of love. Any and every form of misguidance trying to counter the guidance of Allah, every one of them also followed the same path, that rather than us learning from Allah, Quran, deen and Nabi s.a.w, the misguided force wants to teach us how to feel and what to feel and who to feel it for. You can call it fashion, media or society, but all of it is trying to be a rival to Allah in deen. The strongest feeling is love, and they also know that. In our deen Allah ultimately wants to teach us how, when, what, who to love, they also want to teach us. It's a direct opposite to deen. This is what we simply call, there is true love and there is false love. The problem is if it was so easy, if we could finish the discussion there, that all Muslims are on true love and others are on false love. But it's not like that. So many believers have so many kinds of false love in their heart. This is not just for youth. We have cases in front of us in their teens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, and one case came to me even in his seventies. Caught up in false, haram love. There's one thing in common in all of them: every single one of them, as soon as they made the decision to go for false love, they immediately lost the sweetness of true love. It doesn't matter whether they were in this country or that country, or how old they were, they lost the sweetness of their faith (iman).  
This is a topic we need to understand. Let me tell you something from my heart, truly. There are people sitting in this masjid who are guilty of this disease and others who are not guilty. I want to make you scared. You should feel that I am not guilty "yet". When people tell me stories, I thank Allah that I have been saved from this and supplicate that I be protected from it. We should know if we have any dignity, honour and grace, it is because Allah kept us in His protection. This is a day when so many people in this world are calling people towards false love. It's a rival love to true love with Allah. We should also repent on this day, from false love.  
What is false love?
Qalb, heart is where you feel true love. What are the objects of that love?
Fake love: two things, either creation (non mahram), or wealth and this world. Everything out there is trying to pull everyone in here in that direction. Sometimes people don't even realise how they are affected by it.
It's happening on all levels, in all types of institutions, in every community, no matter how many Muslims live in that community.
This is what Allah did with the hypocrites: He hid their hypocrisy so well that the companions didn't know who they were. This meant that Allah will punish them most intensely. We should be scared that if Allah has hidden any sin of mine as perfectly as Allah has hidden the hypocrisy of the hypocrites. If they had hypocrisy in faith, we have hypocrisy in deeds.

This is the sin that we have to make the strongest repentance from.

Women and Gender in Islam

Women and Gender in Islam
(Alimah Sobia Hasan)
Are men and women equal in Islam?
Men and women are not equal to each other. Men are not superior to women, women are not inferior to men.
Women and men are mutually superior to each other.
They have the same spiritual potential and same opportunity to gain knowledge of deen and dunya in Islam. Men and women both can become scholars of all the sciences of deen, and become close to Allah (wali of Allah).
The purpose of life is to worship Allah.
Allah has placed a division of labour in dunya. This does not mean that Allah wishes to deprive women.

Are men guardians over women?
Men are caretakers of women 4:34
Qawwamoon=caretaker, guardian
There will always be more barakah in following the advice of the husband and the father.

Inheritance: do women get half as much as men?
Three types of cases:
  1. Woman gets half as much as a man
  2. Equal shares
  3. Woman gets twice as much as a man
verse 4:11
A woman is supported by her father or husband. Even if you are a neurosurgeon you have the right to stay home and do nothing the whole day and have your husband provide for you.
A woman’s money in shariah is 100% her own money.
The woman gets mahr when she gets married.
  1. Son/daughter: son gets double compared to daughter because he has to support his parents, wife and children. He has to give mahr. He has to earn.
  2. When deceased leaves behind children and parents, both parents receive equal share (one third).
  3. When a son dies, mother gets ⅓ and father ⅙. If there are only parents left and no children. Because women usually live longer than men, and men earn.
Parents can give children equal amounts by gifting them equal amounts in their lifetime. (You can’t do it on your deathbed.)
You can make a will for up to ⅓ of your wealth, the rest is distributed Islamically.

Testimony of a woman
The greatest testimony a person can give in our deen (after the shahada) is to say that I heard a saying from the Prophet s.a.w.
Testifying in court to a crime or a financial transaction.
To prevent a woman from going to a court of law alone. And to cut unnecessary intergender interaction if there were one man and one woman only as witnesses. The two women can mutually support each other.
Four types of cases:
  1. A woman’s testimony is half (in court, crimes, financial transactions).
  2. A woman’s testimony is equal (for a hadith, for testifying to a will.)
  3. A man’s testimony doesn’t count (childbirth, number of menstruation cycles after divorce, wet nursing).
  4. Only a man can testify

Deen of fitrah
Zeenat (beautification)
Khimar (head cover)
Jilbab (outer garment)
Hijab (literally means barrier)

Lowering the gaze 24:30-31
The cosmetic industry focuses on the face. Concealer, primer, base, dark circle remover, blush-on, contouring brush, different brushes, eye shades, eye liner, eye pencil, eye gel, mascara and neverending!
We have to be honest with ourselves as to what is considered beautiful, when we understand the command to cover our zeenat.
Dress simply, wear sombre colours (of abaya).
Don’t fall for the belief that nobody falls for a girl in hijab or abaya. See what happens in MSAs.
The burial shroud of a man and a woman is different; women’s shroud is more covered.

Khimar: hair cover, chest cover.

Jilbab: Wrapped from head to feet, face and nose covered.

Covering the hands is mustahab, not farz.

State of Ihram
The cloth can’t touch your face in ihram, but you are still supposed to cover your face such that the cloth does not touch your face.

Intergender Interaction
The Prophet s.a.w used to address women on Wednesdays.
It is appropriate to sit in a car with a driver because the windows are see-through and you can exit the car any time (fatwa).
When the purest of women are told to guard themselves against the purest of men, then who are we to say that we do not need to follow these guidelines.
The precautions are necessary for the purity of the hearts.
Do we think we are purer than Amma Ayesha r.a?

Are men allowed to beat their wives?
If men fear “nushuz” from their wives, i.e. disobedience to Allah and to the husband. For example, adultery. “Faizuhunna”, counsel her, admonish her. Then separate your bed from her. Another step not mentioned in the ayah is to call people to reconcile the couple. Finally, hit her. Does this mean husbands are allowed to beat their wives?
The maximum limit is to hit with a miswak, three times.
The Quran is best understood through the example of the Prophet s.a.w.

Impermissible to beat wife out of anger. It is haram.

Physical and spiritual health

Physical and spiritual health
(Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed)

Allah has made human (insan) in a very incredible way. Physicians are well versed with the incredible nature of human creation. There are different aspects of health: physical, mental and spiritual. A truly healthy person is healthy on all three counts.

Spiritual health is something in the heart, is has to do with the qalb and nafs of a person. Inside the person is a ruh, and the heart of the ruh, called the qalb. The spiritual heart is the most critical part of a person’s ruh. If someone has spiritual heart disease, it’s a serious matter.

If I showed up to you with a blood test, and all the levels of blood substances are beyond the normal range, you would think it was a very serious matter. Same with spiritual health.

Suhbah: The Prophet s.a.w did the tazkiyah of the Companions through Suhbah.

Ashab us suffah.

The Companions asked questions from the Prophet s.a.w.

Itiba. Following the Prophet s.a.w

If you don’t know, ask the people of zikr. (Quran)

First things first. Fix your salah! Salah is the daily check. Prayer is when the lover is talking to the Beloved. Can a lover say that when I am alone with my Beloved, and talking with my Beloved, I feel no love at all?

If someone says they can’t taste sweet flavour, no matter how much sweet you give them, that means that they are ill.

Why don’t we pray a goal oriented prayer? The goal of salah is to love, remember Allah. Salah is a test of our spiritual health.

We have to get busy. It would be so tragic if someone is so talented in dunya but has no talent in deen.

Not everyone of you will be able to reach the height of your profession in dunya. However, every single one of you has the potential to be the wali of Allah.

You can be a Jannati Sahabi.

You can take one shukr candy a day. Open your fridge, do shukr to Allah.

Find an opportunity to have sabr towards Allah. The only thing that happens when you are not patient, is that you lose out on Allah. It’s about changing your heart.

If you give a fellow believer an unexpected happiness, Allah’s Mercy will come on you and you will be forgiven by Allah.

Ramadan is not the month to change your schedule. Ramadan is the month to change your heart.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The importance of zikr (remembrance of Allah)

"The person gets the noor of this ilm through mujahida. Imagine if you try to fly an aircraft without fuel. The aircraft is going to crash. This is what happens to us. When we try to acquire knowledge of the deen, also trying to keep our parents and family happy, all of a sudden we feel like we are crashing. You are not going to be able to do this mujahida if you do not do this zikr. If you don't give the fuel you need you are going to crash and everyone else on the aircraft is also going to crash with you. Zikr is the ruh of everything, it is the ruh of ibadat, the ruh of ilm, the ruh of khidmat."
(Alimah Sobia Hasan)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summary of 9th juz of the Quran

Recap Juz 9
After narrating these incidents Allâh says, "When your Rabb extracted from the backs of the children of Âdam their progeny and called them to witness over themselves saying, 'Am I not your Rabb?' They replied, 'Certainly! We attest to it.'" (verse 172)
Allâh then says that those people who are greedy and live only to fulfil their desires are like dogs that pant with their tongues hanging out. Allâh has made Jahannam for these people because "They have hearts with which they cannot understand, they have eyes with which they cannot see and they have ears with which they cannot hear. (In fact) They are like animals, but even more deviated." (verse 179)
Allâh tells Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam it that if the Kuffâr call him a wizard or a madman, he should not heed their taunts and should tell them that he is a warner to them and a bearer of glad tidings to those who will accept his message.
Allâh also explains to Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam that he should bear the harassment of the Kuffâr with tolerance so that any reaction of his should not obstruct the propagation of Islâm.
In verse 199 Allâh enjoins Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam saying, "Adopt forgiveness, enjoin what is right and ignore the ignorant." In addition to this, Allâh also commands Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam to engage in dhikr morning and evening in the heart as well as verbally.
We should pray to Allâh to grant us the ability to accept the Prophethood of Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam both verbally and practically.
May He also grant us conviction in the Âkhirâh and make us among those who can sincerely ask from Him.
Allâh opens Sûrah Anfâl by discussing the distribution of the spoils of war. Allâh says, "The spoils of war are for Allâh and His messenger." (i.e. Rasulullâh would distribute one‑fifth of the booty among those who were deserving).
Thereafter Allâh invokes man saying, "So fear Allâh, correct your mutual relations and obey Allâh and His Nabî if you are believers." (verse 1).
Allâh then described the true Mu'minîn when He says, "The Mu'minîn are those whose hearts tremble when Allâh is mentioned, whose faith [Imân] increases when His verses are recited to them and they trust only in their Rabb. They are those who establish Salâh and spend from what We have provided for them. These are the true Mu'minîn! For them shall be ranks by their Rabb, forgiveness and bountiful sustenance." (verses 2-4)
Allâh then mentions the assistance that He rendered to the Muslims during the Battle of Badr when He sent thousands of angels to fight with them. Allâh also cast fear into the hearts of the Kuffâr despite their overwhelming numbers.
Allâh then declares that there awaits a severe punishment for those who oppose Allâh and Rasulullâh.
Thereafter, Allâh exhorts the Mu'minîn to fight in Jihâd with fervour. Allâh says, "Oh you who believe, when you meet the disbelievers in battle, do not turn your backs to them" (verse 15).
Allâh says that the person who flees from the battlefield because of cowardice shall draw Allâh's wrath upon himself.
Towards the end of the Juz, Allâh says, "Fight them until no anarchy [kufr] exists and all religion (worship) is for Allâh. So if they desist (from kufr and shirk), then indeed Allâh is watchful over what they do. If they turn away, then know that Allâh is your Protecting Friend. What a terrific Friend and what a terrific Helper!' (verses 39 and 40).
End of the ninth Juz

Summary of 8th juz of the Quran

Recap Juz 8
Allâh commands Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam to announce to the people, "Certainly my Rabb has guided me to the straight path ... Surely my Salâh, all my acts of worship, my life and my death are for Allâh, the Rabb of the universe. He has no partner. With this have I been commanded and I am the first of those who surrender." (Sûrah An'âm, verses 161-163)
The following aspects have been emphasised in this Sûrah:1. Never ascribe any partner to Allâh.2. Treat parents kindly.3. Never slay your children for fear of poverty because Allâh sustains everyone.4. Never even come close to acts of promiscuity and immodesty.5. Never take the life of any person without a legal right to do so.6. Be just when weighing and measuring.7. Always speak the truth and implement justice even though it may impact negatively on one's relatives.8. Keep your word to Allâh and to fellow man.
Much of Sûrah A'râf concerns about the Âkhirah.
In this regard Allâh instructs man to"Follow what has been revealed to you from your Rabb and, leaving Him aside, do not follow other companions" (verse 3). Allâh also says, "We shall definitely question those to whom Ambiyâ were sent and We will surely question the Ambiyâ." (verse 6)
People will be questioned about whether they followed the teachings of the Ambiyâ and the Ambiyâ will also be asked whether they fulfilled the task of propagation and about the attitude of their people.Every person will definitely have to pass the scales to have his/her acts weighed.
Allâh draws man's attention to the fact that rejecting the truth like Qiyâmah and Risâlah [prophethood] is an act of Shaytân.
To illustrate this point, Allâh mentions the disobedience of Shaytân when he refused to prostrate to Hadhrat Âdam when Allâh commanded him to do so.
Allâh warns man not to act in a similar manner. Allâh also mentions that He granted man many favours when He settled him on earth and also granted him honour by commanding the angels to prostrate before his father Hadhrat Âdam Alayhis Salâm.
However, despite all these boons, man is still ungrateful.
Later in the Sûrah, Allâh cautions man not to transgress the limits that Allâh has set because "Allâh does not like those who transgress."
Allâh declares that He has forbidden all acts of immodesty, be they secret or public.
He has also forbidden people from ascribing partners to Him and from ascribing false statements to Him. This is referred to in verse 33 where Allâh says, "And that you say against Allâh what you do not know."
In verse 40 Allâh says, "Indeed those who deny our verses and are arrogant towards them, the doors of the heavens will not be opened to them and they will not enter jannah until a camel enters through the eye of a needle." It will therefore be impossible for them to enter Jannah.
On the other hand, the righteous ones have been promised entry into Jannah. Therefore, the Mu'minîn should respond to Allâh's call with hope in His mercy and fear for His punishment because Allâh's mercy is definitely close to the righteous ones.
Thereafter Allâh relates the incidents of several Ambiyâ and states how the nations of these Ambiyâ refused to accept the truth, thereby inviting Allâh's punishment to annihilate them.
These incidents are intended to be lessons for people so that they accept the message of Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam.
End of the eighth Juz