On the Intention for Reciting Surat al-Waq`iah

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

With what intention should we recite Surat al-Waq`iah?

We should recite Surat al-Waq`iah with the intention of increasing in certainty and increasing in inward and outward provision. The Surah mentions the states of the hereafter, reflecting upon which is one of the foundations in strengthening one’s certainty. Allah also calls us to strengthen our certainty by looking at the created things around us: Do you see the seed that you sow in the ground? Is it you that cause it to grow or are We the cause? Do you see the water which you drink? Do you bring it down from the clouds or do We?

On the Method of Seclusion (Khalwah)

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

 

How do I go about secluding myself for the purpose of worship (making khalwah)?

Any time in which you are alone focusing on Allah is a type of khalwah. At that time you should recite the Qur’an or adhkar which have been transmitted. The purpose of khalwah is focusing oneself on Allah, being present with Him and purifying your heart. The most beneficial dhikr for the majority of Muslims and those at the beginning of the path is la ilaha ill’Allah. The utmost benefit in times of seclusion is obtained through the permission and observation of your shaykh and through his giving you adhkar which are appropriate to you.

Differentiating Between Being Proud of One’s Religion and Between Being Arrogant

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

 

  • How do we differentiate between being proud of one’s religion and being arrogant?

 

Being proud of one’s religion is coupled with humility, fear of the return to Him and good action according to the Sacred Law and in veneration of it. At the core of our religion is humility, fear of Allah, being good to people and wisdom. The two greatest signs that point to someone being arrogant are that they look down upon others and do not accept the truth when confronted by it. Arrogant people are certain that they are better than others and do not live in fear of a bad ending.

On Scholars Taking Political Stances

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

Many of the scholars of whom we have a high opinion of have taken political stances in these times of discord. How should we deal with this?

If they have taken political stances we should firmly believe that they have taken these stances on the basis of understanding given to them by Allah. We accept their stances but do not follow them in them and do not publicise those stances. We should follow them in other things.

On General Dhikr

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

 

What type of dhikr can someone make if they are not affiliated to any tariqah?

The dhikr of Allah is beneficial in whatever form is it made. If it is taken from someone with a sanad (unbroken chain of connection) to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ it has more effect and is more likely to be accepted and this is essentially the meaning of tariqah. Furthermore, if it is taken from someone with a sanad in travelling the spiritual path then it will have a more illuminating effect and be more effective.

On the Difference between Fearing to Meet Allah and Disliking to Meet Him

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

What is the difference between someone who dislikes to meet Allah and someone who is fearful of meeting Him?

There is a big difference. The one who dislikes to meet Allah has no connection to Allah and he attempts to flee from Him. The one who is fearful of meeting Allah may also love Him. He is fearful of not being accepted by Allah or being punished by Him.

On Helping to Educate New Muslims

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

 

How can we best educate those who have recently accepted Islam in our community?

The best thing we can do is to teach new Muslims a sound understanding of the religion. We need to teach them how to perform the most important acts of worship and we need to teach them about Allah, His Prophets and Messengers, the angels and the next life. We should encourage them to show people noble character, especially their parents and families. We should direct them to be a cause of guidance of others. We should hold gatherings for them or establish a place of learning for them.

 

On Prayer and Vigilance

If the prayer is correctly established, it is a means for seekers to take themselves to account (make muhasabah) and be in a state of vigilance (muraqabah). Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) expounds on this in this extract from a lesson in Imam al-Suhrawardi’s book, `Awarif al-M`arif. The lesson took place in Dar al-Mustafa on 19th Safar 1434 / 1st January 2013.

One of the wisdoms of the prayer is that it enables us to be in a state of vigilance and to constantly take ourselves to account. By being in control of your body you prepare your heart to attain this. Your prayer then puts light into your time so that the time between each prayer becomes illuminated. The Prophet ﷺ pointed to this when he said: “One prayer to the next; one Friday prayer to the next and one Ramadan to the next – all of these wipe out the sins a person commits between them, as long as grave sins are avoided.”

So if someone is alert, knows the purpose of the prayer, and does not allow himself to fall into grave sins, then all his time becomes illuminated by his prayer and he will constantly receive gifts from his Creator.

Sayyiduna `Ali Zayn al-`Abidin showed us in what state we should enter the prayer. When he approached the prayer his colour would change. When asked about this he said: Do you know in front of Whom I am about to stand and with Whom I am about to converse?”

Sayyiduna Ja`far al-Sadiq would carry on repeating one verse in his prayer until he would fall unconscious. When asked about this he said: I continued to repeat it until I heard it from the One Whose speech it is.”

He also said: “Allah manifested Himself to His creation in His speech but they are unaware of this.”

This is the state of those who constantly take themselves to account. Our prayers should have an effect on us. If they are correctly established they should enlighten us and purify us. We should not enter them in a state of heedlessness, unaware of their greatness, nor should their performance become a mere habit.

One of the pious people would take himself to account by writing the prayers down on a piece of paper and leaving a gap between each prayer. Whenever he committed a wrong action he would draw a line in that gap. Whenever he spoke about something that did not concern him he draw a dot. This enabled him to take account of his time between each prayer and thus constrict the Devil and his lower self which constantly orders to evil.

A shaykh once saw one of his students carrying a subhah (prayer beads) and remembering Allah.He said to him: “My son, you are obeying Allah a fixed number of times but you are disobeying him countless times! You do not take account of how many times you disobey Allah with your eye, your tongue, your hand and your intention. You are counting the number of times you remember Him but you are not counting the number of times you disobey Him. Being aware of your wrongdoings is more important.”