Advice for Students of Knowledge

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

What advice do you have for students of knowledge?

The most important thing is that they have exaltation for the Sacred Law and sacred knowledge. They should also bring to heart the greatness of seeking knowledge in the sight of Allah and how beneficial it will be to them in the next world.

On Distance Learning

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

I live in a region where there are very few scholars. How can I continue my studies?

You should make use of the internet and recordings of scholars’ commentaries on books.

On Convincing the Self of Ignorance

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

How can I convince myself that I am ignorant when I have studied fiqh and hadith?

How much fiqh have you studied? A quarter of it, half of it, all of it? How much hadīth have you studied? A quarter of it, a fifth of it, a tenth of it? You are ignorant even of the subjects you have studied. Even the very hadīths that you have studied contain vast oceans of meanings of which you are ignorant.

Furthermore you have responsibilities concerning the knowledge which you do possess (which is nothing in relation to that of which you are ignorant). Your foremost responsibility is to perfect your action according to your knowledge. One form of acting according to your knowledge is to learn of your ignorance. The more someone increases in knowledge the more they increase in knowledge of their own ignorance. Allāh said to the most knowledgeable person in His creation of Him, His secrets and His attributes:

Say: “O my Lord increase me in knowledge!”1

He also said to the Angels:

“Inform Me of the names of these if you are truthful.”

They replied:

Transcendent are You! We have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Truly You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”2

The Prophet (may Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said:

“The one who thinks he has knowledge is ignorant.”

The role of knowledge is to teach us our own ignorance. The more we increase in knowledge which is sound and beneficial the more we increase in knowledge of our own ignorance. Over all endued with knowledge is the All-Knowing3 The knowledge of all the creation comes under: You have only been given a small amount of knowledge.4 If you add to your knowledge the knowledge of the scholars of your time and those that came before you and those that will come after you it is still a small amount of knowledge. That which we are in ignorance of is greater than that which we know. So what knowledge do you really possess?

May Allah grant us good etiquette (adab) with Him.

 —

1Ta Ha 20:114

2Al-Baqarah, 2:31-32

3Yūsuf, 12:76

4Al-Isrā’, 17:85

 

 

 

On How to Remain Joyful while Organising a Mawlid

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

I am responsible for organising a mawlid. Sometimes I am so busy with the organisation that I am not actually joyful during the mawlid. What should I do?

You should make the preparations for the mawlid while in a state of joy and at the same time following the Sunnah. The preparations should not be excessive and there should not be any ostentation. While organising you should have love for the Prophet ﷺ in your heart and be conscious that you are following him. While busy with the organisation you should be bestowing prayers upon him.

Translator’s Note : these principles can be applied to anyone involved in organising or serving gatherings of knowledge or remembrance.

On Moving Weekly Gatherings from Place to Place

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

We have a weekly gathering that moves from place to place each week. Should it continue to move or is it better that it should it be in one place?

Whatever is more beneficial: if it is easy for everyone to come together in one place and more people are able to attend then this is better. You should not neglect to visit other places from time to time though.

On Attending the Mawlid With Sincerity

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

How can we attend mawlid gatherings sincerely for the sake of Allah?

We should attend seeking the pleasure of the Creator through loving and venerating His Prophet ﷺ and mentioning his attributes. We should then think about how we can act upon what we hear, and improve our following of the Prophet and making a firm resolve to attain the attributes that we hear mentioned. If we do this in every mawlid we attend we will be connected to the spirit and aims of the mawlid.

On Seeing the Prophet ﷺ

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

I am now over 30, and I have never seen the Prophet in a dream state. Does this mean that I am destined for wretchedness in the next life? What are the means by which I can see him?

May Allah make you firm and may He make your heart tranquil and attach it to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Your heart’s attachment to the Messenger of Allah and your desire to see him in this world and the next is one of the signs of felicity and goodness. If his vision has been delayed for you, this is not a sign that you are destined for wretchedness in the next life. Rather there are a different wisdoms and reasons behind this delay. Among these reasons may be: your own shortcomings, not following the Sunnah, acts of disobedience, a lack of love and attachment to him, falling short in remembering him and bestowing prayers upon him ﷺ. Then there may be other reasons and wisdoms behind this which only Allah knows. Thus it is not a sign of wretchedness, and if you sincerely turn to Allah and follow the path of the Beloved, while yearning for him and being vigilant in following him and serving his religion, then these are signs that you will attain felicity and all good in the next life. So be sincere with Allah and continue along the path, and surely He will unite you with His Beloved in this world and the next ﷺ.

The most important thing is that love and adoration for the Prophet ﷺ dominate your heart and that he is in your thoughts constantly. Try to increase your yearning, love and attachment to him, remember him and bestow prayers upon him abundance and strive to follow him. These are the most effective means of attaining a vision of him. If all of this is combined with serving the da`wah, and his Ummah, then it will bring a person closer to having the veils lifted, and to Allah honouring him with the vision of the Best of Creation, the Master of the People of Witnessing, the Leader of the People of Prostration, the one granted the praiseworthy station, Muhammad, the one who said to us, as narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari: “Whoever has seen me, has seen me in truth,” and “Whoever sees me in a sleeping state has truly seen me, for the Devil cannot take my form,” and “The one who sees me in a sleeping state will see me in a waking state.” May peace and blessings be upon him, his Family and his Companions. Let him be constantly on your mind, let him occupy your thoughts night and day, and in all your states, and by this surely you will be shown mercy and be honoured with his vision.

Another means of attaining a vision of him is by comforting the broken-hearted and needy of his Ummah. If these people are pious, or from the People of the Prophetic house (Ahl al-Bayt) or callers to Allah then you are more likely to attain the affection of his purest of souls and thus be granted the vision of the face. One of the pious said:

If only He blessed me with the vision of a face,

Wretchedness has been removed from anyone that sees it.

 

 

On Seeing the Prophet ﷺ and Obeying his Commands

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

If someone sees the Prophet in a dream and he commands them to do something how should they respond?

If he commands someone to do something which is praiseworthy according to the Sacred Law and is in accordance with the Sunnah then they should obey that command.

If he commands someone to do something which is contrary to the Sunnah or the Sacred Law then this should be interpreted as a mistaken impression on the part of the person who had the dream.

If he commands someone to take someone as a spiritual guide then if that person is upright in following the Sunnah and the Sacred Law then this is an indication of the truthfulness of the dream.

If he commands someone not to keep the company of someone then if that person is not upright and contravenes the Sacred Law or if the person having the dream’s faith and certainty are weakened by keeping his company then this is an indication of the truthfulness of the dream.

The opposite is true. Someone may understand that they have been told to take someone as a spiritual guide and if that person is not upright then this is an indication of the falseness of the dream.

Someone may understand that they have been told not to keep the company of someone and if that person is upright then this is also an indication of the falseness of the dream.

In general dreams that contain good tidings or good signs should gladden us but not delude us. They should increase us in energy and aspiration.

On the Prophet (Ṣ) Taking the Easier Option

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

How do we understand the statement that “whenever the Messenger of Allāh was given the choice between two things he chose the easier one, as long as this did not entail a sin, in which case he was the furthest of people from it”?

If there was nothing to distinguish between the two things in terms of the harm or benefit they entailed and if both things were merely permissible he would choose the thing which was easier and lighter.