Our Condition Today: The Disease and The Remedy

Sayyidi Habib Ali al-Jifri (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) assesses the condition of the Ummah.

We live in a time of struggle. Things happen fast and one event quickly follows another. This leads to an imbalance, impairs people’s judgement and clouds their vision. People are in dire need of some quiet time in which to stop and reflect. They may then attain a moment of truthfulness and Allah will in turn bless him with some insight.

Away from the noise and the disputes, someone who reflects will find that the calamities of the Arab world can be attributed to three diseases:

  • Sectarianism (Sunni versus Shia, Christian versus Muslim)

The roots of this disease lie in what our the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ called: “The disease of nations.” He said: “The disease of previous nations has crept up upon you: envy and hatred. Truly, hatred is a razor: it shaves away not a person’s hair, but their religion.”

The remedy lies in spreading peace and love, as mentioned at the end of the same hadith: “I swear by the One in Whose hand my soul lies, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not inform you of something which enables you to attain this? Spread peace among yourselves.” (Narrated by Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Abu Ya’la)

  • Racism (Arab versus Persian, Kurd versus Turk, white versus black)

The roots of this disease lie in what the Prophet ﷺ called: “The rallying cry of the Age of Ignorance.” A dispute took place between some of the Emigrants (Muhajirun) and the Helpers (Ansar) and each side called for support from their respective group. Another dispute took place between members the Aws and the Khazraj, the two tribes which made up the Helpers and each side called for support from their respective tribe. The Prophet said ﷺ: “Is this the rallying cry of the Age of Ignorance while I am amongst you? Leave this, for it is repulsive!” (Bukhari)

Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I once traded insults with a man. I insulted him by mentioning his mother, who was not an Arab. He complained about this to the Messenger of Allah. He said ﷺ: ‘O Abu Dharr, you are someone who still possesses some of the qualities of the Age of Ignorance!’” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Imam Ibn Hajr and Imam al-Nawawi mention that the man who Abu Dharr insulted was the Companion Bilal bin Rabah. His mother’s name was Hamamah and she was Nubian.

The remedy is in making God-consciousness (taqwa) the criterion in judging a person’s merit. The Prophet ﷺ said: “An Arab only has merit over a non-Arab through taqwa.” (Grading: sahih. Found in Ahmad and others)

  • The relentless pursuit of worldly things (wealth, power, dominance over others)

The roots of this lie in what our Master ﷺ called feebleness (wahn). He said: “Allah will surely cast feebleness into your hearts.” Someone asked: “What is feebleness?” “Love of worldly things and hatred of death,” he replied. (Grading: sahib. Found in Abu Dawud)

The Prophet ﷺ also said: “This material world is sweet and lush and Allah is placing you in it to see how you act. So beware of the material world.” (Muslim)

The Prophet ﷺ said: “I swear by Allah that I do not fear that you will commit polytheism after I have gone. I fear rather that you will compete over it [the material world].” (Bukhari)

The Prophet ﷺ also said: “I swear by Allah that I do not fear poverty for you. I fear rather that the material world will be opened up to you as it was opened up to those before you and that you compete over it as they competed over it and it destroys you as it destroyed them.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ warned us about what these sicknesses will lead to:

1. Tribulations

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Rush to perform good works before tribulations come like part of a dark night. A man will be a believer in the morning and become a disbeliever by the evening or he will be a believer in the evening and will become a disbeliever by the morning. He will sell his religion for some small worldly gain.” (Muslim)

2. Widespread killing

The Prophet ﷺ said: “I swear by the One in Whose hand my soul lies, the world will not end before people experience a time in which the killer will not know why he killed and the person killed will not know why he was killed.” Someone asked: “How will that be?” He said: “There will be killing: both the killer and the person killed will end up in the Fire.” (Muslim)

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Just before the last hour there will be killing. You will not be killing polytheists but rather you will be killing each other, to the point where a man will kill his neighbour, his brother, his uncle or his cousin.” The companions asked: “Will we still possess our intellects at that time?” He said: “The intellects of the people of that time will be removed. All that will remain will be the dregs of society. Most of them will believe that they are fighting for a cause but in reality have no cause [to fight for].” (Grading: sahih, in Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Abi-Shayba)

3. Conspiring of Others against Muslims

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Other nations will soon summon one another to attack you just as people invite others to share their dish.” Someone asked: “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied: “No, you will be numerous at that time, but you will be like particles of waste that are seen upon a torrent. Allah will remove fear of you from the hearts of your enemy and cast feebleness into your hearts.” Someone asked: “What is feebleness, O Messenger of Allah?” “Love of worldly things and hatred of death,” he replied. (Grading: sahih, in Abu Dawud)

Analysis

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ informed us that the roots of these calamities lie in diseases in the souls of individuals. The severe consequences of these diseases are like branches which spring forth from these roots. May Allah cure the Ummah of these diseases.

Allah Himself alludes to this in the Qur’an in Surat al-Shams. Firstly, He swears by things which have an effect upon our cosmos: the sun, the moon, the day, the night, the heavens and the earth, then He swears by the human soul as if to say that this too is one of the forces that has an influence in our lives. In the response to these oaths ‘success’ and ‘failure’ are made dependent upon how man deals with his own soul. Allah says: Truly he who purifies it, succeeds, and he who corrupts it, fails.

The Quranic remedy and solution to these calamities is purification of the soul. What we need today is the courage to confront this reality. We must not allow our lower selves which command us to commit evil to make light of this reality. We must not let ourselves flee from confronting it under the pretext of being too preoccupied with solving the seemingly greater problems of the ummah.

May Allah implant taqwa in our souls and purify them; He is the best able to purify them and He is the soul’s Guardian and Master, the Possessor of Majesty and Generosity

 

Weekly Salawat: Ya Wadud

Sayyidi Habib Umar (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) teaches us to ask Allah for the greatest thing: His love and the love of those beloved to Him. He does this by asking Allah through His beautiful name, al-Wadud, the Loving One, and through His Beloved ﷺ , the one who loved his Lord and his Ummah more than anyone else.

 

اللَّهُمَّ يا اللهُ يا وَدُودُ صَلِّ على عَبْدِكَ و حَبِيبِكَ سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ النَّبِيِّ الوَدُودو على آلِهِ و صَحْبِهِ و سَلِّمْ تَسْلِيماً و أَذِقْنِي بِهِ لَذَّةَ وِدادِكَ و اجْعَلْ لي في قُلُوبِ أَوْلِيائِكَ مَوَدَّةً أَكِيدَة

 Allāhumma yā Allāhu yā Wadūdu ṣalli `alā `abdika wa ḥabībika sayyidinā Muḥammad an-Nabī al-wadūd wa `alā ālihi wa ṣaḥbihi wa sallim taslīman wa adhiqnī bihi ladhdhata widādika wa’ja`l lī fī qulūbi awliā’ka mawaddatan akīdah.

O Allāh, O Loving One, bestow abundant prayers and peace upon Your slave and beloved, our Master Muḥammad, the loving Prophet and upon his Family and Companions, and by him allow me to taste the sweetness of Your love and place firm love for me in the hearts of Your friends.

 

Reflections upon the Function of Mosques

Habib Ali al-Jifri (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects upon the function of mosques. Extracts from a lesson in Ihya Ulum al-Din delivered in Abu Dhabi, on 10th September 2014/ 15th Dhu’l-Qa`dah 1435.

Mosques are essentially established for the worship and remembrance of Allah. Some people say: “Is that all they are for?” We should beware of saying this because one of the root causes of our problems is the absence of Allah’s remembrance in our lives.

It is true to say that the mosque has many other functions. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would receive delegations in his mosque and he would send out armies from it. However, some mosques are so full of politics they are like parliaments. You never hear anything in the mosque which softens your heart.

We should be aware of the greatness of the mosque. Allah says in the hadith qudsi:

“Mosques are My houses on the earth. Those who frequent them are My visitors. Good tidings to a slave who purifies himself in his house and then visits Me in My house for it is the duty of the Host to honor His guest.”

The mosque is like a piece of Paradise. Entering it allows you to return to Allah. It should be a place which unites people’s hearts. This is one of the benefits of praying together in congregation. When people line up to pray together it gets rid of the distance between them.

Unfortunately this is not always the case. At one mosque in a city in the West a dispute broke out over the permissibility of remembering Allah aloud after the prayer. The dispute led to a fight and someone called the police. When police officers entered the mosque, an old man asked them to remove their boots out of respect for the place. One of the officers responded by saying: “If you people had any respect for this place we wouldn’t be here!”

 

Weekly Salawat: Ya Hakim

Sayyidi Habib Umar (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) teaches us the value of wisdom (hikmah) and how to ask for it. Allah says: “He gives wisdom to whom He wishes and whoever has been given wisdom has been given great good.” (2:269)

اللَّهُمَّ يا اللهُ يا حكيمُ صَلِّ على عَبْدِكَ و حَبِيبِكَ سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ النَّبِيِّ الحكَيم و على آلِهِ و صَحْبِهِ و سَلِّمْ تَسْلِيماً و آتنِي بِهِ الحكمة و خيراً كثيراً

Allāhumma yā Allāhu yā Ḥakīmu ṣalli `alā `abdika wa ḥabībika sayyidinā Muḥammad an-Nabī al-Ḥakīm wa `alā ālihi wa ṣaḥbihi wa sallim taslīman wa ātinī bihi ‘l-ḥikmah wa khayran kathīran

O Allāh, O Most Wise, bestow abundant prayers and peace upon Your slave and beloved, our Master Muḥammad, the wise Prophet and upon his Family and Companions, and by him give me wisdom and great good.

Advice for Those Not on Hajj

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

What can we do at this time if we are unable to go on Hajj?

  • We should focus on the objectives of Hajj and seek to realise them. For example, we should seek to attain humility before Allah and servitude to Him.
  • On Hajj we leave behind some of the things which we are accustomed to. Those who are not performing Hajj should try to do the same by, for example, performing different types of worship.
  • We should try to strengthen love and brotherhood between ourselves.
  • We should try to assist the poor and perform the sacrifice (udhiyah/qurbani).
  • We should take advantage of the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah by fasting as many days as we can and by standing in prayer during its nights. We should encourage our family members to do the same.
  • We should try to assist and support those going on Hajj and their families who are left behind. The Prophet ﷺ said that the one who assists someone going out for the sake of Allah has the same reward as that person.
  • We should pray for those performing Hajj and thereby receive a portion of the reward which they are receiving.
  • We should try to gather together when everyone is gathered together at Arafat to pray to Allah and seek to receive the mercy which is descending there. We should gather together on that day even if it is not the Day of Arafat (9th Dhu’l-Hijjah) where we are.

Weekly Salawat: Yā Wāsi` (2)

This is the second of two prayers invoking Allah’s name, al-Wasi`, ‘the Vast.’

Sayyidi Habib Umar (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) teaches us to seek an expansion in our vision and perception (mashhad) which is crucial on the spiritual path. He also teaches us to seek a vast portion of Allah’s gifts and praiseworthy qualities.

اللَّهُمَّ يا اللهُ يا واسِعُ صَلِّ على عَبْدِكَ و حَبِيبِكَ سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ النَّبِيِّ الوَاسِع و على آلِهِ و صَحْبِهِ و سَلِّمْ تَسْلِيماً و اجْعَلْنِي بِهِ عَبْدَاً وَاسِعَ المَشَاهِدِ و العَطَايا و المَحَامِدِ و المَزَايا يا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ

 Allāhumma yā Allāhu yā Wāsi`u ṣalli `alā `abdika wa ḥabībika sayyidinā Muḥammad an-Nabī al-wāsi` wa `alā ālihi wa ṣaḥbihi wa sallim taslīman w’aj`alnī bihi `abdan wāsi`a’l-mashāhid w’al-`aṭāyā wa’l-maḥāmid w’al-mazāyā yā akrama’al-akramīn

O Allāh, O Vast One, bestow abundant prayers and peace upon Your slave and beloved, our Master Muḥammad, the vast Prophet and upon his Family and Companions, and by him make me a slave who possesses immense vision, gifts and praiseworthy qualities, O Most Generous!

The White Days of Dhu’l-Qa`dah

We are now approaching the “White Days” of the blessed month of Dhu’l-Qa`dah, in sha Allah. The “White Days” are the days which follow nights in which the moon is full, namely the 13th, 14th and 15th days of each lunar month. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ encouraged his Companions to fast three days in every month and to fast these days specifically.

He said ﷺ: “If you fast three days in the month then fast the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasa’ī). The reward for fasting these days in Dhu’l-Qa`dah will also be multiplied because it is a sacred month.

Sayyidi al-Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) encourages his students in Dar al-Mustafa to combine these two sunnahs. Please check the moon sighting in your locality to be sure that your fast coincides with the “White Days.”