On Travelling to Allah in a Bad Environment

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

 

How can I travel the path to Allah when I am in a bad environment which hardens my heart?

 

You can do this by making sure your heart is continually present with Allah and those in Allah’s presence. Thus although your body is in a bad environment, your heart is in a good one. You can only do this by sincerely turning to Allah and by forcing yourself to be present with Him. One of the best means of softening the heart is bestowing abundant prayers upon the Prophet ﷺ and imagining that you are in the blessed Rawdah in front of him.

On Spreading Good Traits

Hb Umar Indonesia

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

The things which you wish for Allah to make a reality in the world – make them a reality among yourselves. According to your perseverance and the degree to which you do this, you have a guarantee that Allah will make them a reality in the world.

We wish that there be harmony in the world – make it a reality among yourselves.

We wish that there be purity in the world – make it a reality among yourselves.

We wish that people prefer Allah over everything else – make it a reality among yourselves.

We wish that there be co-operation in the world – make it a reality among yourselves.

We wish that there be humility in the world – make it a reality among yourselves.

We wish that the Ummah venerates the religion – spread this trait among yourselves.

We want the Ummah to love prayer, remembrance of Allah and the Qur’an – make this a reality among yourselves.

If you make anything a reality among yourselves, Allah will make it a reality in a far greater way in the world, in the Ummah of His Prophet. This is not by us or by our efforts but His pre-ordained mercy dictates this. For that reason He says (to the Messenger of Allah):

You are only responsible for yourself, but encourage the believers.1

This is all you need to do – the rest is not your responsibility – transcendent is the All-Powerful! The attributes that we wish to spread in the Ummah must be extremely firm among you. If they are, Allah will quickly and easily spread them. Take account of your steps and how you move forward – do so with firmness and tranquillity, with ambition and with resolve.

It is Allah’s concern that will be the cause of rectification.

— 

1 Al-Nisa’, 4:84

 

 

Imperatives for the Ummah

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

These are imperatives that it is essential for you to attain and spread (in the Ummah):

  • Making firm the foundations of brotherhood, mutual love and support, respect for others and denial of the self.

  • Focusing on spirituality and raising your goals. Strengthening your attachment to Allah, His Messenger and his household and Companions and to the pious. Truly attaining remembrance, gratitude and perfection of worship.1

  • Broadening the horizons of your vision and understanding. Being serious in your approach and dignified in your conduct. Completing the work which has been entrusted to you and fulfilling your commitments.

 —

1 On the basis of what the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to Sayyiduna Mu`adh bin Jabal: “Truly I love you, so do not leave making (the following du`ā’) after every prayer:

الَّلهُمَّ أَعِنّي عَلى ذِكْرِكَ وشُكْرِكَ وحُسْنِ عِبادَتِكَ

O Allah, help me to remember You, be grateful to You, and perfect my worship of You.”

(Narrated by Abu Daud and al-Nasa’i)

 

 

Love for and Etiquette with One’s Shaykh

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) was asked:

How do we attain true love for our shaykh?”

He replied:

By asking for that from Allah and pleading with Him to be given it. We should also study how the Companions were with the Messenger of Allah, and how the seekers of the past were with their shaykhs. We can find this in their biographies.”

To give an example of this we can look at the biography of Habib Ahmad bin Zayn al-Habashi, perhaps the greatest student of Imam al-Haddad.

Habib Ahmad first met Imam al-Haddad while still a child on a visit to Tarīm with his father. The Imam placed his hand on Habib Ahmad’s head and informed his father that he was a blessed child. From the age of twenty four, Habib Ahmad took Imam al-Haddad as his shaykh and focused all his efforts in receiving from him. He placed himself completely under the Imam’s direction and guidance and exemplified the etiquettes of the seeker with the shaykh. He was, as the saying goes: ‘like a dead person in the hands of the one who is washing him.’

Habib Ahmad kept his company as much as he could, and could hardly bear to part with him. He complained of this once to Imam al-Haddad, who said that he also found difficulty in parting with him but Habib Ahmad’s being apart from him strengthened his longing for him (Imam al-Haddad) and enabled him to receive more from him. Habib Ahmad often accompanied the Imām on his visits to the Prophet Hud (peace be upon him). When they were on the road he would walk directly behind the Imam “so that his heart would be in line with my heart. I knew that Allah’s gaze was upon his heart so I hoped to receive Allah’s gaze at the same time. I would imagine that my heart was an empty vessel placed under a vessel that was full, ready to receive the spiritual assistance that flowed forth from that vessel.” He had such veneration for his shaykh that he based his words and actions on his example.

He said:

We only give preference to the speech of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger over his speech and actions. As for other scholars, if one hundred scholars held one opinion and he (Imam al-Haddad) held another, I would only follow his opinion because he is the Imam and Renewer of this time.”

He also said:

Were he to bring the dead to life in front of me this would not increase my belief in him in any way, because I see him constantly bringing to life those who have died from ignorance and heedlessness through the light of knowledge and wisdom.”

Habib Ahmad studied around seventy books in various sciences at his hands, and was studying Imam Malik’s al-Muwatta’ with him when the Imam passed away.

 

 

On The Root Cause of Tribulations

Advice from Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him)

Allah says:

Let those who disobey his order beware lest tribulation befall them or a painful punishment be inflicted upon them.1

I swear by Allah that every tribulation that befalls any part of the Ummah in any place and at any time or any punishment that is inflicted is the result of disobedience to the Beloved ﷺ. Likewise the only cause of receiving the mercy of Allah and experiencing bliss in this life is following him, loving him and sacrificing everything in support of him.

 

1   Al-Nur, 24:63

 

On Time Thieves

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

Regarding the events that take place around us we find that people ask other people much more than they ask Allah. If only they asked Allah every night and shed tears they would play a part in saving the Ummah. But no, they spend five or six hours on the internet or watching the satellite channels and most of what they hear is lies.

They ask all these forms of media and they do not ask Allah. In whose hands are our affairs? Who is the One who is capable of changing our state? Why do you not present your problems to Him and trust in Him? May Allah guide the Muslims and give them the ability to stand at His door so that He rectifies their affairs.

We must beware of “time thieves” who use various means to steal our precious time. As a result of the work of these time thieves, many Muslims in the East and the West waste their time doing things which will be a cause of regret on the Day of Judgement, things which lead to a bad ending, things which will prevent them from being under the banner of the Prophet ﷺ and drinking from his pool. Had they listened to the call of Allah and His Beloved they would have chosen something better. We all know that He sees us, so why is there no awe for Him in our hearts?

The Secret behind the Tears of the Prophet ﷺ

Sayyiduna `Abdullah bin Mas`ud narrates:

The Messenger of Allah said to me: “Recite [the Qur’an] to me.”

I replied: O Messenger of Allāh, you wish for me to recite to you and you are the one to whom the Qur’an was revealed?”

The Messenger of Allah said: Yes, I like to hear other people recite it.”

So I recited Surat al-Nisa’ until I reached this verse:

فَكَيْفَ إِذَا جِئْنَا مِن كُلِّ أمَّةٍ بِشَهِيدٍ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ عَلَى هَـؤُلاء شَهِيدًا

How will it be when We bring from each people a witness, and We bring you as a witness against these people?1

At this point he said: “You have read enough.”

[I looked at him and saw that] his eyes were flowing with tears.’2

Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) was asked: what is the secret behind his crying upon hearing this verse?

He replied: the scholars talk about this. They say that he was crying out of fear of Allah, and of course there was no-one more fearful of Allah than him. Beyond this, however, Allah is ennobling His Prophet in this verse. The fact that he is a witness over the whole of creation, that only Allah’s testimony is above his, is an awesome fact. Also the fact that he is a witness over the nation for whose welfare he is concerned is a cause of joy and celebration. His tears were thus tears of joy upon receiving this gift and upon being raised by Allah to this station. It is only fitting that someone sheds tears of joy upon receiving Allah’s bounty.

1 Al-Nisa’ , 4:41

2  Narrated by al-Bukhari

 

On Emulating the Beloved ﷺ in Our Homes

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) encourages us to emulate the Beloved  in our homes. Extracts from a talk delivered in Dar al-Mustafa 22nd Safar 1434 / 3rd January 2013.

As the month of Rabi` al-Awwal comes, may you gain an attachment with the one born in Rabi` al-Awwal . Connect to him through loving him and following him. Raise the banner of following him in every room in your house. Remove anything that goes against his teachings. Do not raise the banner of someone abased in your house.

When your children enter the house teach them to enter on their right foot and say:

بِسْمِ اللهِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْألُكَ خَيرَ الْمَوْلَجِ وَخَيْرَ المَخْرَجِ

(In the name of Allah. O Allah, I ask You the best entrance and the best exit).

Beautify your house with the banner of following the Best of Creation. Anything that takes place in the house should be based on the teachings of the Qur’ān or the Noble Sunnah or Prophetic Character. We should interact with our children and with our women folk on the basis of the Prophetic model. He said:

“The best of you is the one who treats his family best and I am the best of you to my family.”

Act upon every sunnah in the household: sweep the house, help with the cooking, serve your family. Your example (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to serve his family, he used to milk goats, carve the meat, patch up his clothes, mend his sandals and sweep the house. If something needed to be cleaned he did not say: “Why have you not cleaned this?” Rather, he went and took the broom and swept up the dirt with this noble hand, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

They said to Sayyidah `A’ishah, the Mother of the Believers:

“He has such an awe-inspiring presence. If someone meets him in the street it is as if there is an army approaching. How were you able to speak to him normally in the house? Was it not difficult being in his presence?”

She replied:

“No, by Allah. He would mix with us, he would laugh and joke with us. We would sit with each other and speak to each other. His character was so beautiful that we would not notice him. The exception was a lamb that used to live in the house. It used to come and go, but if the Messenger of Allah entered, it would sit in the corner and remain motionless. He would be with us until the time for prayer came and then he would go out to the prayer as if he did not know us and we did not know him.”

If people’s human faults became exposed, he would conceal them with his forbearance and his generosity. He once had guests when he was in Sayyidah `A’ishah’s house. Sayyidah Umm Salamah sent a plate of food to the Prophet. `A’ishah was furious that Umm Salamah had sent food to the Prophet on her day with him. “How dare she send food try to impress the Prophet? I am the one who will honour the Prophet and his guests!” Her nature got the better of her and she threw the plate on the ground, causing it to break. The Prophet saw what had happened. He got up, brought another plate and picked up the food and put it on the plate and then served it to his guests, saying: “Your mother has become jealous.” His face did not change and he did not make a commotion. When they had finished eating he told `A’ishah to keep the broken plate and give another plate to Umm Salamah, even though both plates belonged to him. He told `A’ishah to take the broken plate as a reward for her behaviour. This was how just and fair he was in his dealings, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This was how he lived.

Allah says to you:

“If you want to gain My love, I have shown you how to do so by following My Beloved.”

So whether you are speaking or eating or sleeping or using the toilet or getting dressed or speaking to your family, just follow his example. Look how easy Allah made it for us! Had Allah wished, He could have brought forth the reality of Muhammad in another form – not in the form of a human or a jinn or an angel – but He decided to bring him forth in human form. Allah brought him forth in human form and placed in him unique attributes, so he came into this world as a human, but unlike any other human, a light which dazzled people’s intellects. He then passed through the different stages – from infancy to childhood to youth. He bought and sold and herded sheep. He set the example so that his Ummah could follow in his footsteps.

Allah says to us,

“Be aware of Me and follow My Beloved. Do not allow the things which I have created to cause you to forget Me. If you do this I will love you: So follow me and Allah will love you.”

May Allah attach you to His Beloved and make you firm on his way. Make us among those who perfect our following of him inwardly and outwardly. Make us people that embody his noble character. Beautify us with taqwa, with love and with following of Your Beloved.

 

Yearning for the Beloved ﷺ

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects upon the yearning of the Companions for the Beloved ﷺ. Extracts from a talk in the mawlid in Dar al-Mustafa 13th Rabi` al-Awwal 1434 / 24th January 2013.

Our Lord has not permitted us to love anyone in creation as much as Muhammad, because He Himself does not love anyone in creation as much as He loves Muhammad . If the King of Kings, the One True God, does not love anyone as much as He loves him, how can I, as a slave, love anyone as much as I love the Chosen One or prefer anyone over him?

Where are those who know these truths and give them their due? The Noble Companions drank from these cups. Look at their words and actions, and look at how they spent their days and nights. Look at how Allah’s light spread to mankind at their hands. They loved him, were attached to him and their hearts were filled with his love. Had a single hair from the head of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq or any one of the Foremost, the first of the Emigrants and the Helpers been divided up among those in this gathering none of us would be able to sleep for a month. This is because every single hair on their heads contained such true, complete, perfect, sincere, deep love. For this reason they could not sleep. They would leave their beds, their families, their food and drink in order to see his face. They could not contain themselves until they had seen his face, even though they had seen it a few hours earlier. One of them said: “O Messenger of Allah, I remember you at home when I am with my wife and children I become like someone insane.”

Do you see how they loved him? How they were attached to him? What they experienced? They loved the earth upon which he walked. No eye has seen anyone who venerates anyone as much as the Companions venerated Muhammad. No heart has known anyone who loves anyone as much as the Companions loved Muhammad.

O Allah, bestow prayers upon him and give us a portion of this love and this veneration. So much time has elapsed between us and them, and so many tribulations have befallen the Ummah and so many voices call us to attach our hearts to people other than the Beloved , but in spite of all this, Allah continues to allow people to drink from these cups.

On Attaining Closeness to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ

Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) tells us how to attain closeness to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Extracts from a lesson in Dar al- Mustafa on 8th Ramadan 1432 / 8th August 2011.

We have to always remember and remind each other that our closeness to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in the next life is according to the level of our character. He said ﷺ: “The most beloved of you to me and the closest of you to me on the Day of Judgement are the best of you in character.”1 Only the one who possesses noble character is fit to be in the presence of the Possessor of Awesome Character ﷺ.

نَبِيٌّ عَظِيْمٌ خُلْقُهُ الخُلُقُ الَّذِي

لَهُ عَظَّمَ الرَّحمنُ فِيْ سَيِّدِ الكُتْبِ

An awesome Prophet, whose character the Most Compassionate has venerated in the Master of all Books2

Good character is inextricably linked to knowledge and to one’s connection to the Messenger of Allah. This link dictates that the one who possesses noble character bestows abundant prayers upon the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Look at the relationship between these three hadiths:

The most beloved of you to me and the closest of you to me on the Day of Judgement are the best of you in character.”

The closest people to me on the Day of Judgement are the ones who bestow the most prayers upon me.”3

The closest people to the station of prophet-hood are the scholars and the martyrs. The scholars guide others to that which the Messengers brought, and the martyrs sacrifice their lives for that which the Messengers brought.”4

The heart of anyone with good character is connected to the Messenger of Allah and this connection drives such a person to spend a portion of his time bestowing prayers upon the Messenger ﷺ. Likewise anyone that bestows abundant prayers upon him will receive a portion of that Prophetic character. Then through his character and connection, Prophetic knowledge will be clarified to him so that he sacrifices himself for the sake of the religion and busies himself conveying and clarifying the message that the Prophet brought.

1 Narrated by Ahmad, al-Tabarani, Ibn Hibban, who classified it as sahih 

2 From a poem by Imam al-Haddad. This verse is inscribed on the wall of the enclosure in which lies the grave of the Messenger of Allah

3 Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban

4 Narrated by Abu Nu`aym