True Intellect

Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects upon the true meaning of intellect. Extracts from a talk in the mawlid in Dar al-Mustafa 12th Rabi` al-Thani 1434 / 21st February 2013.

To truly possess intellect means to understand the truth that Allah revealed to the Messenger of Truth ﷺ. Whoever does not understand this cannot be described as possessing intellect. Such a person may know how to eat and drink, trade, give and take in this worldly life, but Allah guides even animals to these things. He is the One who apportions and guides. He guides animals to fulfil their worldly needs:

Your Lord taught the bee: make your homes on hills, in trees, and in men’s habitations; then eat of all the produce (of the earth) and follow the ways of your Lord made smooth. There issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, in which is healing for people: truly in this is a sign for those who reflect.1

In spite of this amazing divine order and this precious beneficial substance which comes forth from bees, it does not cause the bee to be considered among those who have intellect; those who are chosen to have direct knowledge of Allah. Only those who understand the message that Allah has revealed are the people of intellect:

Give glad tidings to My slaves – those who listen to the word and follow the best of it: those are the ones who Allah has guided, and those are the ones endued with intellect.2

This is why they say that if you know everything but you were not blessed with knowledge of the Creator, in reality you know nothing. What do you know if you do not know the Creator, His names and His attributes? If you knew this you would venerate Him and be in a position to attain His closeness and pleasure.

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1Al-Nahl, 16:68

2Al-Zumar, 39:17

 

 

On Dealing With Those Who Backbite Us

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

How do we deal with those who backbite us, particularly if it has negative consequences on our dawah efforts?

You should ask Allah that He allows such people to repent. You should rely upon Allah’s bounty and generosity in attaining success in dawah and do not be concerned by these perceived negative consequences. All the Prophets and Messengers suffered backbiting and mockery but this did not prevent them from being successful in their dawah. The Devil often deceives people into making perceived negative consequences an excuse not to pardon and forgive the person who has wronged them. Rather you should follow the Prophet ﷺ and the pious in swiftly forgiving such people. If you are truthful in this, Allah will aid your dawah efforts.

On Carrying a Staff

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

 

Is it a sunnah to carry a staff?

 

Someone may carry one out of need due to old age or poor health. Other than that, it is a sunnah for the khatib to carry it while delivering the khutbah on Friday and for someone travelling. At the age of forty, Imam al-Shafi`i started to carry a staff. When asked about this (since he was still in good health) he said that it was to remind him that he was travelling, meaning to the next life. There is no harm in anyone carrying one unless it is the custom in a certain area that only people of knowledge and piety or older people carry one. In that case, the custom of that area should be respected. A woman should only use a staff if she needs it due to old age or poor health. Otherwise her modesty should prevent her from doing so.