On Women Praying in the Mosque

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him). 
Should a woman go out to pray in the mosque or is it better for her to pray at home?

As long as she finds people to pray with her in congregation in her house, and there is no other sound reason for her to go to the mosque, such as acquiring knowledge, serving the religion or calling to Allah, then her prayer at home is better. The Prophet ﷺ taught us that a woman’s prayer in her house is best. In fact, it is better for her to pray in an inner chamber inside her house than to pray in a larger more open room. She should not, however, neglect the congregational prayer, whichever room she prays in. She can pray with one or two other people according to what is easy for her.[1]

However, if she does have the opportunity to call people to Allah or acquire knowledge of the Sacred Law that she does not have access to at home, then her leaving the house would be better. This is all in regard to seeking that which is best. As regards permissibility, then as long as she does not mix with men, dress immodestly or contravene the Sacred Law, then her going to the mosque is permissible, since there is nothing prohibiting women from going to the mosques of Allah.

[1]In the Shāfi`ī school a woman may lead another woman in congregation

The Effects of Allah’s Remembrance

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects upon the effects of Allah’s remembrance. Extracts from a talk delivered in Dar al-Mustafa on 16th Shawwal 1434 / 22nd August 2013.

Let us make use of our time, for it passes very quickly. The only regret that the people of Paradise have is over time which passed by in which they did not remember Allah. If the believer remembers Allah with a heart full of veneration, Allah will remember him with mercy and kindness: So remember Me and I will remember you.1 The more someone’s heart is broken, the more pure that person’s inner state will be with their Lord. The more humble and repentant the person is, the more powerful the effect of their remembrance. If that person’s heart is connected to the hearts of those who are present with Allah and with the chain of connection going back to the Chosen One , the gifts will be greater. For that reason it is recommended that we gather together to remember Allah. Anyone of us can remember Allah alone, but the Master of All People said: “It is more beloved to me to sit with a group of people who are remembering Allah after the dawn prayer until the sun rises than to free four slaves from the descendants of Ismā`īl. It is more beloved to me to sit with a group of people who are remembering Allah after `Aṣr until the sun sets than to free four slaves from the descendants of Ismā`īl.”2

When people’s souls are focused upon Allah, remembering Him with truthfulness and veneration, they benefit each other, as the hadith states: “Whoever sits with them will not be deprived.”3 The gatherings of remembrance purify people’s hearts and enable them to be present with Allah. May Allah bless us with the precious gifts which are bestowed in these gatherings. Allah purifies by them whomever He wishes. The person whose company you keep has an enormous effect on you, as the Messenger of Allah emphasized: “A person is as his companion is” and “A person is upon the religion of his close companion.”4 If someone remembers the Messenger of Allah with love, longing and veneration, he will be their companion. If they then remember Allah, perfectly following our Master Muhammad, Allah will be their companion. He said in the ḥadīth qudsī: “I am the companion of the one who remembers Me.”5 Their companions are thus Allah, His Messenger, the angels who have been drawn near, and those who are in Allah’s presence. Since “A person is as his companion is”, realities are then made clear to them and they become firm in doing that which is most beloved to Allah.

As for those who keep the company of the corrupt, the heedless and those who are veiled from Allah, either physically or through the internet, what effect do you think this has on their hearts? They allow their precious hearts to be polluted and darkened so it is no surprise that they cannot see things with any clarity. The Prophet Dāūd said: “My Lord, if You see me passing by the gatherings of those remembering You then break my legs so I cannot go past them.”

The Lord of Lords said to His Beloved : Remain patiently with those who call upon their Lord morning and evening, seeking His pleasure and do not turn your eyes away from them in quest of the adornment of this worldly life.6 When this was revealed, the Prophet went and sat with some of the best of his Companions, people who were poor and were looked down upon due to their outward appearance. He said: “Praise be to Allah Who has shown me members of my Ummah with whom He has ordered me to remain patiently.”7 He was happy that there were people in his Ummah that he was ordered to sit with, so that Allah could pour forth His blessings upon them. These people were thus honored by the presence of the Chosen One, and his gaze was upon them.

1 Al-Baqarah, 2:152

2 Narrated by Abū Dāūd. ‘Slaves from the descendants of Ismā`īl’ were Arab slaves who were the most valuable. Freeing four of them would have amounted to a big financial sacrifice.

3 Narrated by al-Tirmidhī

4 Narrated by Abū Dāūd and al-Tirmidhī

5 Narrated by al-Bayhaqī

6 Al-Kahf, 18:28

7 Narrated by al-Ṭabarānī and Ibn Mardawayh

 

Habib Mundhir al-Musawa

 

Habib Mundhir bin Fu’ad bin `Abd al-Rahman al-Musawa was born in Cipanas, West Java, Indonesia in 1973. After completing his elementary Islamic education at the institute of Habib `Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf (may Allah have mercy on him) in Bukit Duri, Jakarta, he was selected in 1993 to join the first group of Indonesian students to study under Habib `Umar bin Hafiz in Tarim. This was before Dar al-Mustafa was housed in its current building, and Habib `Umar would teach his students in his house in Mawla `Aidid. He developed an intense attachment to Habib Umar which was a key to his later success.

Upon completing his studies in 1998, Habib Mundhir returned home and expended his energies calling people to Allah. He established ‘Majelis Rasulullah ﷺ,’ a gathering which began with six people but became one of the largest gatherings of remembrance and knowledge in Indonesia. Prior to his passing, over 30,000 people attended his weekly gatherings at Al-Munawar Mosque in Jakarta and up to a million people would attend his special mawlid events held at Istiqlal Mosque and the National Monument Complex. Most of them were young people and many came from troubled backgrounds that were neglected by society. In his early days he would go from door to door calling people to Allah and would send out hand-written invitations to young people known to be drug users inviting them to attend his gatherings.

From Banten to Bali to the most remote regions of Papua and even neighbouring lands such as Singapore and Malaysia, Habib Mundhir would tirelessly reach out and convey the message of our beloved Prophet ﷺ with complete gentleness and kindness. He is known for his noble disposition and wisdom, and his ability to transcend barriers in his efforts to unite the Ummah.

Habib Mundhir had been plagued by illness for long periods of his life and eventually passed away on Sunday 15th of September 2013/ 9th Dhu’l-Qa`dah 1434 at the age of 40, leaving behind his wives and three children.

The funeral prayer was held after Zuhr prayer the following day and was attended by thousands, including scholars, artists and officials. Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono delivered a eulogy. He was laid to rest at the al-Haddad (Kuncung) burial complex in Kalibata, South Jakarta.

“Indeed, a reunion with the Beloved ﷺ, is the remedy,” Habib Mundhir once said.

May Allah Most High have mercy on him and unite him with his beloved grandfather, Sayyiduna Muhammad ﷺ. May He allow us to benefit from his legacy.

The Shaykh and the Murid gives a unique insight into Habib Mundhir’s life.

 

Is it Sunnah to wear the Niqab?

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

Some people claim that it is not from the sunnah for women to wear the niqab and gloves. What should our response be to this?

Allah legislated the hijab to conceal women’s beauty and to prevent any type of temptation or fitnah taking place. It is sufficient for us that the Prophet ﷺ chose that the women of his household cover their faces on the Farewell Pilgrimage in spite of the fact that they were in ihram (pilgrim sanctity). Sayyidah `A’ishah said: “When men on horseback approached, we would lower our veils over our faces and when they went away, we would lift our veils.” This prophetic choice is sufficient as an instruction to the Ummah. However, we should not blindly stick to one opinion nor enter into argumentation. There is no way we can condemn a path which is more modest, nor can we condemn a woman who is deficient in covering herself.

On Dealing with Objections to Tasawwuf

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

 

My husband does not agree with the way of tasawwuf and does not like my attachment to this way. What can I do?

You need to deal with him according to the principles of tasawwuf: being patient, treating him well and not arguing with him. If you do this he will be completely immersed in tasawwuf. Treat him well and treat him gently and ask Allah in abundance to expands his heart.[1] All that the people of tasawwuf need to do in every situation is to deal with people according to the principles of tasawwuf. The realities of tasawwuf are, however, hard to attain and its stations are lofty and we ask for a great portion of it.

 

[1] Meaning he becomes convinced of the correctness of the way of tasawwuf

On Responding to People Who Interfere in our Dawah

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

 

People affected by innovative beliefs are interfering in our dawah. How should we respond?

 

You should increase in dignity, serenity, humility and sincerity. You should want good for those who are in that state and ask Allah to improve their state. Do not get involved in debate and argumentation. Ignore their efforts to discredit you when this is more effective. If need be, clarify controversial issues without mentioning individuals and groups and their perspectives. If you are forced to mention individuals then do so as little as possible, only mention them briefly and avoid doing so in public. Reading the following repels harm:

 

حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيل

Hasbunallahu wa n`am al-wakil

Allah is enough for us and He is the best One in whom we place our trust.

 

 

وأُفَوِّضُ أَمْرِي إلى الله إِنَّ اللّهَ بَصِيرٌ بِالعِباد

 

Wa ufawudu amri il’Allah inn’Allaha basirun bi’l-`ibad

I surrender my affair to Allah – surely Allah is ever watchful over His slaves

 

 

On Dhikr to Strengthen Resolve to Wear the Hijab

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

What dhikr can a woman read to strengthen her resolve to wear the hijab?

 

Firstly she should remember that in wearing the hijab she is obeying the command of Allah. She should read the following ayah 70 times a day if possible, or at least ten times:

وَهُوَ اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَفِي الأَرْضِ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّكُمْ وَجَهرَكُمْ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَكْسِبُونَ

Wa huwa-llahu fi’ssamawati wa fi’l-ardi ya`lamu sirrakum wa jahrakum wa ya`lamu ma taksibun

And He is Allah in the heavens and on the earth. He knows what you hide and what you reveal and He knows what deeds you perform. (Al-An`am, 6:3)

On the Concept of Khilafah and the Reality of Political Power

At a time of political turmoil in the Muslim world, Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) expounds on some of the meanings of khilafah and clarifies the reality of political power. Extracts from a Rawhah lesson in Imam Abu Talib al-Makki’s book, Qut al-Qulub in Dar al- Mustafa on 21st Ramadan 1434 / 30th July 2013.

There are two types of khilafah. The first is the outward khilafah which relates to political power, which is not noble and honourable in itself. Anyone may attain political power, whether they be pious or corrupt, whether they be a believer or a disbeliever, whether they be a Prophet or a wretched person.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Had this material world (dunya) weighed even the wing of a gnat in Allah’s estimation, He would not have given a disbeliever a glass of water from it to drink.”1

The second type is the khilafah of prophet-hood, which is a noble and lofty thing. It relates to understanding the speech of Allah, to our connection with Him, to attaining a pure heart and attaining His pleasure. It is the preserve of the Prophets and their followers, the pious people in every time and place. No disbeliever or corrupt person may come close to it, nor someone with arrogance or pride in their heart. It began with two people on the face of the earth: Adam and Hawa’ (Eve) and it continues to this day. If there were only two of us on the earth and we obeyed Allah’s commands in a state of truthfulness and sincerity we would be the khulafa’ of Allah on the earth, without anyone calling us a president or a minister or a leader. This is the khilafah we should seek. Many Muslims have no desire to attain it, although it is the greatest form of khilafah.

Sayyiduna `Ali combined the inward and the outward khilafah, and after him Sayyiduna al-Hasan, until he relinquished power. At this point the inward khilafah, which cannot be affected by evil, became separated from the outward khilafah, which is subject to oppression and misguidance. Those who possess the inward khilafah will intercede for others on the Day of Judgement, whereas those who possessed the outward khilafah will await judgement. If they were just, they will be saved and if they were oppressive, they will be destroyed. Shaykh al-Sha`rawi said that one of the wisdoms behind the existence of oppressive rulers is that they cause people to hate oppression.

If we study history we find that more often than not political power over the centuries has been in the hands of disbelievers and corrupt people. Many of the Messengers were sent to their people while political power was in the hands of disbelievers. Sayyiduna Nuh spent 950 years amongst his people as the khalifah of Allah while political power was in the hands of disbelievers.

The inward khilafah was in the hands of Sayyiduna Musa and the outward khilafah was in the hands of Fir`aun. Musa said to his people: seek Allah’s assistance and be patient, for the earth belongs to Allah, and He bequeaths it to whomever He wishes from among His slaves – whether they be believers of disbelievers. However, the end is only for the people of taqwa.2 So be someone who possesses taqwa and do not concern yourself with the outward khilafah. The tyrants may threaten you and try to kill you, but the people of the inward khilafah seek Allah’s assistance and rely on Him alone.

Look at the life of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, the master of the people of khilafah, and the imam of all people. For forty years before receiving revelation he was not in a position of leadership or power. He was, however, presiding over the inward khilafah and was known as al-Amin, ‘the Trustworthy One.’ People trusted him and consulted him in their affairs. After receiving revelation he spent thirteen years in Makkah, during which time power was in the hands of people like Abu Jahl. Outwardly he was under their rule but inwardly he was the greatest khalifah of Allah on the earth. In al-Madinah he was confronted by hostility from the Jews, the Hypocrites and the polytheists. It was only after eight years that he finally entered Makkah at the age of sixty-one. He only ruled over Makkah for two years before his death. This did not, however, detract from his khilafah. He is the greatest khalifah and every other khalifah from the time of Adam to `Isa will be under his banner.

How can people venerate political power when this is the example of the Master of the Prophets ﷺ? Leave the rulers to their corruption and their oppression. We do not condone their oppression or follow them in committing evil. We advise them if they are ready to accept sincere advice. Meanwhile we are in a position of khilafah, the pure khilafah mentioned by Allah: Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely grant them inheritance of power (khilafah) on the earth as He granted it to those before them; that He will make their religion firm, the religion which He has chosen for them; and He will replace their fear with security. They worship Me and do not associate partners with Me.3 We are allowed to make the call to prayer, to pray, to openly teach these lessons which are broadcast to the East and the West. We do not deserve any of this. It is only through the blessings of Muhammad and his steadfastness. Makkah was only opened to him in the final years of his life, but he opened up the whole world ﷺ. We used to teach and study in a state of fear but Allah promises: He will replace their fear with security.4 The years passed and the regime changed and now we find ourselves in a state of ease and safety.

They offer you political power and status but we have found something pure and lofty so why do they want us to enter into something filthy? When Imam al-Husayn, the son of Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Salim was offered political power he said: “Had it had been fitting to give authority to animals we would not be content for it to be given to our horses.” This is the perspective of the pious people on political power.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “You will greedily seek positions of leadership and it will be a cause of regret on the Day of Judgement.”5

We fear that anyone who seeks power and then attains it will be left to it (without Allah’s assistance) and then be destroyed. So if you have a position of responsibility have taqwa of Allah and rule by the Sacred Law of Allah and fear Allah in the way you treat people. If you heed this advice we hope you will be saved. If not, you have chosen your own fate. Sayyiduna `Umar would say: “I wish to leave power with the bare minimum – with nothing for me or against me.” He was not proud of his position. He also said: “It is enough that one descendant of al-Khattab be asked about his position. Do not make `Abdullah bin `Umar the Khalifah after me.” This was his understanding of the outer khilafah and the responsibility it entails.

The hadith inform us that the inward and outward khilafah will not be combined until the end of time. Prior to this there will be a period in which people heart’s and states with Allah are rectified which prepares the way for the coming of al-Mahdi. The foundation of his rule will be pure hearts. Without the presence of these hearts he will not be able to achieve anything. Someone once asked Sayyiduna `Ali why problems had arisen during his rule, whereas there had been stability during the time of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna `Umar. He replied that it was because Abu Bakr and `Umar ruled over people like me, whereas I am ruling over people like you.”

It is possible for any individual to reach the highest of ranks whatever situation they are in and whatever government they are under. Why miss out on these opportunities? We say we want to rule, we want power. Let your Lord rule. The hadith states: “If you seek it you will be left to it, but if you are sought to rule, you will be assisted in it.”6 Even when the people attempt to put al-Mahdi in power, he will refuse until they force him to do so. Even though he is worthy of assuming power, he does not desire it and does not attempt to gain people’s votes. Rather he is sought out and placed in power and then he receives Allah’s assistance.

Merely speaking about this issue has taken a long time, which tells you how much harm is done by entering into these struggles. So much time is lost and so much blood is spilt. So do not get involved with struggles which lead to harm and bloodshed.

May Allah unite the Muslims and remove these tribulations. May He not allow their enemies to take advantage of them by giving them weapons and then watching them kill each other. May Allah awaken the hearts of this Ummah. Let them not place their trust in anyone in the East or West. Let their trust be in You. If this is the case then everything in the East and the West will be made subservient to them.

Allah has decreed that power be in the hands of disbelievers and corrupt people. This is the way of Allah in the past and you will find no change in the way of Allah.7 We, however, have the opportunity to establish the rule of Allah and the Law of Allah in our homes, in our dealings with our families and friends and our neighbours. We shall shortly meet Allah and we shall return to Him. Nothing on the face of the earth will benefit us other than that which we have performed truly for Allah.

1 Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim

2 Al-A`raf, 7:128

3 Al-Nur, 24:55

4 Here Habīb Umar is referring to the years of socialist rule in South Yemen, during which time the regime attempted to eradicate Islam from society. Scholars were persecuted and religious institutions were forcibly closed.

5 Narrated by al-Bukhari

6 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim

7 Al-Fath, 48:23

 

 

 

On Praise and Criticism of Western Society

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

 

How do we strike a balance between criticising the bad sides of Western society while at the same time recognising the good sides? Please clarify for us the principles here.

Any culture, understanding and moral character in agreement with the Sacred Law should be praised. We cannot accept for ourselves anything that is contrary to the Sacred Law in Western society. We have to clarify the bad sides of Western society in the best possible way. Our call to Allah should not, however, focus on this. Rather it is founded upon knowledge of Allah and prophethood. When someone accepts this, we gradually introduce legal aspects and we clarify things with the best words and best intentions.