Monthly Archives: April 2013

On the Prophet Taking the Easier Option

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

How do we understand the statement that “whenever the Messenger of Allah 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”?

When it came to himself, the example the Messenger of Allah ﷺ set was to obey the commands of Allah to the highest degree without taking any dispensation. When it came to other people, however, he would generally choose the easier option for them. Furthermore, 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.

On the Prophet’s Awareness of Our Thoughts

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

Is the Messenger of Allah aware of our thoughts, just as he is aware of our sending greetings of salam to him?

He has access to our thoughts, but the question is whether he pays attention to them, since he is completely focused upon his Lord. He pays attention to thoughts which pertain to him or his call to Allah, and thoughts which are of benefit to his Ummah.

On the Prophet’s Knowledge of Every Member of his Ummah

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

Does the Prophet know every member of his Ummah? Does he know my name and does he know that I am Muslim, just as he knew the Companions?

Allah displayed the whole Ummah to the Prophet ﷺ, then He displayed to him all of their actions large and small. Their actions are displayed to him at all times: Say: act, for Allah will see your actions along with His Messenger and the believers. (Al-Tawbah, 9:105)

Today there are tiny chips that can store vast amounts of information but this is nothing compared to the knowledge of Allah. What should concern us is not merely that the Prophet knows us and our names but that he knows us to have truthfulness, to have etiquette, to be acting according to his counsels. Does he know you to be truthful or to be a liar? Does he know you to be sincere or to be ostentatious? We should ask ourselves these questions and remember It is more fitting that they please Allah and His Messenger if they are truly believers. (Al-Tawbah, 9:62)

May Allah bless us with complete and true faith.

On Movements while Making Dhikr

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

Some of the followers of other spiritual paths make movements while making dhikr. Should we take part?

They do this seeking to attain presence with Allah following the instructions of their shaykhs. We should joyfully participate with them in the dhikr without making these movements.

On People Not Connected to the Tariqah Attending Gatherings

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

We have a weekly gathering in which we read adhkar of the Ba `Alawi Tariqah. Is it fine for people who are not connected to the Tariqah to attend?

It is fine for everyone who loves good and everyone who wishes to benefit to attend. Attending these gatherings is not restricted to those who have entered this Tariqah. One of the objectives of the Tariqah is benefiting people. Even non-Muslims may attend if it is likely that they will benefit as long as they do not show bad etiquette and do not cause people to have doubts.

Those who should not attend are those who criticise or have doubts about what is taking place in the gathering. This is to protect them from becoming confused and from committing a wrongdoing by condemning the people in the gathering. It is also to protect the people that attend the gathering from becoming confused and thus not attending.

 

On Seeking Spiritual Assistance from the Ba Alawi Imams

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

How do we seek spiritual assistance from the Ba Alawi Imams?

We do this by loving and revering them for the sake of Allah, regularly reciting some of the Qur’an or some adhkar and donating the reward to them, reading their biographies and sharing what you have read with your family.

Your portion of assistance depends on how truthful you are, the greatness of your perception and the degree to which you emulate them.

Books which clarify the Path

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

 

Which books would you recommend reading to gain an understanding of the Path?

 

The books of Imam al-Ghazali, Imam al-Nawawi, and Imam al-Haddad are good for acquainting newcomers with the Path. The Path is to act on what is in those books and to combine between strengthening one’s faith and performing pious deeds. ‘The Book of Assistance’ by Imam al-Haddad, for example, practically defines the Path.

The definitions of the Tariqah which can be found in the early prints of the Khulasah are sufficient. If someone is looking for more detail they can read Habib Zayn bin Ibrahim bin Sumayt’s book, al-Manhaj al-Sawi or the introduction of Habib `Aydarus bin `Umar al-Habashi’s `Iqd al-Yawaqit al-Jawhariyyah.

 

 

Suggested Readings on the Biographies of the Prophetic Household

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

Can you recommend books compiled by the masters of the Bā `Alawī Path on the biographies of the Ahl al-Bayt (the Prophetic Household)?

You can read al-Mashra` al-Rawī, Ghurar al-Bahā’ al-Ḍawī and Sharḥ al-`Ayniyyah by Imam Aḥmad bin Zayn al-Ḥabashī. These are some of the books that contain biographies of many of the Imams of the pure Ahl al-Bayt of the Bā `Alawī that have been published. These books and similar books (some of which have not yet been published) may be read.

Studying history in general and the accounts of the pious specifically teaches you many lessons and has the effect of rectifying the heart and filling it with love for and attachment to the friends of Allāh and a loathing for those whom He loathes. All of this brings one closer to Allāh.

How is the Ba `Alawi Path inwardly Shadhili and outwardly Ghazalian?

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

What is meant by the statement that the Ba `Alawi path is inwardly Shadhili and outwardly Ghazalian?

Most spiritual paths have a foundation that is either Shadhili or Ghazalian. Both the Ghazali and Shadhili paths are founded upon spiritual striving (mujahadah) but the Ghazalian method begins by focusing on the external aspect and then works towards the internal whereas the Shadhili method begins internally. Both methods agree that obligatory actions must be performed, prohibited actions must be avoided and supererogatory actions should be performed in abundance, but the Shadhili method does not place great emphasis on outward actions. Mujahadah according to the Shadhili method focuses on attaining constant presence of heart with Allah, awareness of His bounty and showing gratitude to Him. The Ghazalian method emphasises seeking knowledge and acting upon it thereby attaining constant presence and the station of gratitude.

It is possible to combine the two methodologies and this is manifested in the Ba Alawi path. This is achieved by being aware of Allah’s blessings, showing gratitude to Him and seeking to be present with Him from the outset while at the same time seeking knowledge and performing outward actions.

Thus the outward aspect of the Ba `Alawi path is to seek knowledge and act upon it and striving outwardly which then has an impact upon the inward. At the same time the inner aspect of the path from the outset is based upon witnessing Allah’s blessings, being present with Him and showing gratitude to Him.

Since the Ba Alawi masters combined the principles of both paths, their path was described as being inwardly Shadhili and outwardly Ghazalian.