Weekly Salat: Ya Zahir

We continue our journey through Sayyidi Habib Umar’s collection of prayers using Allah’s beautiful names.

In this collection, Habib Umar calls upon Allah by His beautiful names one by one and then asks Him to bestow prayers upon His Beloved by those names. Finally, he asks Allah for a portion of those attributes which belong to Allah and which He has bestowed upon His Messenger ﷺ. He thus teaches us about the attributes of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and teaches us how to seek a portion of those attributes. 

اللَّهُمَّ يا اللهُ يا ظاهِر صَلِّ على عَبْدِكَ و حَبِيبِكَ سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ النَّبِيِّ الظَّاهِر و على آلِهِ و صَحْبِهِ و سَلِّمْ تَسْلِيماً وأَرِنا في حَيَاتِنا ظُهُورَ دِينِهِ على الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ و أَظْهِرْ لَنَا بِهِ خَفِيِّاتِ المَعَانِي في الفَهْمِ عَنْكَ و اجْعَلْ أَسْرَارَ عِنَايَتِكَ و عِنَايَتِهِ بِنا عَلَيْنا ظَاهِرَة

O Allah, the Manifest One, bestow abundant prayers and peace upon Your slave and beloved, our Master Muhammad, the triumphant Prophet and upon his Family and Companions, and let us see in our lives the triumph of his religion over all other religions.  By him make manifest to us hidden meanings directly from You and make the secrets of Your care and his manifest upon us.

 

Insights into Purification: Beginning with the Right

Extracts from lessons given by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) on the rulings and etiquettes of purification. Habib Umar is teaching Habib Abdullah bin Husayn Balfaqih’s “Kifayat al-Raghib” in Shafi`i fiqh.

When performing wudu one begins with the right hand before the left and the right foot before the left.

The Messenger of Allah   loved to begin with the right side in all his affairs: when performing wudu and ghusl, when putting on his sandals and when combing his hair. 

You should begin any affair which is worthy of being honoured with the right. You enter your house or the mosque with your right foot and you go out with your left foot. When you enter the toilet you enter with your left foot and go out with your right foot, because it is a place in which there is filth, and is thus not worthy of being honoured.

Thus the believer is connected to his Lord in all his affairs. The Sacred Law teaches him not to act randomly but rather gives him principles to live by. If the pious saw their children entering the house with their left foot they would tell them to go out and come back in again with the right foot first.

You see heedless Muslims holding the cup in their left hands and drinking from it. In doing so they resemble the Devil, who eats and drinks with his left hand. The Prophet once passed an arrogant man who was eating with his left hand. The Prophet told him to eat with his right hand, but out of arrogance the man said he could not, even though he was able to do so.

“You are not able to,” said the Prophet, and from that moment the man’s right arm froze and he was never again able to raise his hand to his mouth. Allah thus taught him a lesson due to his disobeying the order of the Prophet.

When dressing you begin with the right sleeve or the right leg and when you are undressing you begin with the left arm or the left leg.

Habib Ibrahim bin Aqil was sick and one of his grandchildren was helping him to make wudu. When he rolled up Habib Ibrahim’s right sleeve before his left in order to wash his right arm, Habib Ibrahim reminded him that the Sunnah when removing clothing is to begin with the left and not the right. This was an example of his concern for following the Sunnah down to the smallest detail in spite of his illness and old age.

Relief Campaign for the People of Yemen

The political situation in Yemen has led to loss of life, destruction of homes and the displacement of thousands of people. Arrafah Foundation is providing aid to those who have been affected either directly or indirectly.

If you wish to support their work please write to info-eng@alrafh.org for more information.

Arrafah Foundation was established by Habib Umar bin Hafiz and is based in Tarim. It runs a number of projects which include sponsorship of orphans, widows, students and teachers, Udhiya/Qurbani, Zakat and Sadaqah distribution, digging wells, building mosques and providing Iftar in Ramadan. It is working with sister organisations in other parts of Yemen to provide relief to those who have been hit hardest.

Arrafah is completely apolitical and is not affiliated to any group or political party.

We ask that you remember the people of Yemen in your prayers.

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Know Your Enemy

Extracts from a lesson given by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) in the tafsir of Surat al-A`raf, 24th Jumada al-Akhirah 1436.

After telling us the story of Adam, Hawa and Iblis, Allah calls upon us to learn a lesson from the story. He says:

O Children of Adam, do not allow the Devil to seduce you.[1]

We should thus be wary of the Devil and take measures to protect ourselves from him. When thoughts enter our minds, we should ask whether they are of satanic origin or angelic origin. When you remember Allah, promptings of angelic origin are strengthened, whereas promptings of satanic origin are weakened.

We find the Muslims busying themselves with perceived enemies, fighting each over the material world. Meanwhile they neglect the enemy that Allah has informed them of:

Truly the Devil is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy.[2]

Had they been aware of the Devil, he would not have been able to stir up this hatred and enmity between them.

He is more of a threat because he sees us and we do not see him. We should thus seek refuge in the One who sees both us and the Devil constantly. As long as you are aware that your Lord sees you then the fact that the devil can see you will not harm you. Allah out of His mercy showed us how to seek His assistance and seek refuge in Him.

Imam Muhammad bin Wasi` would often make a supplication which Allah inspired him to compose. The Devil came to him and said:

“Every time I try to approach you I find a barrier in my way. What is the supplication that you make?”

“I say: O Allah, You have given an enemy power over us who sees our faults and who is aware of our weaknesses. He and his tribe see us from whence we see them not. O Allah, make him give up hope of harming us, just as You have made him give up hope of receiving Your mercy; make him despair of harming us just as You have made him despair of receiving Your pardon. Distance him from us just as You have distanced him from Paradise.”

اللَّهُمَّ إنَّكَ سَلَّطْتَ عَلَيْنَا عَدُوَّاً بَصِيرًا بِعُيُوبِنَا، مُطَّلِعًا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِنَا، يَرَانَا هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيثُ لا نَرَاهُم ، اللَّهُمَّ فَآيِسْهُ مِنَّا كَمَا آيَسْتَهُ مِنْ رَحْمَتِك ، وَقَنِّطْهُ مِنَّا كَمَا قَنَّطْتَهُ مِنْ عَفْوِكَ ، وَبَاعِدْ بَينَنَا وَبَينَهُ كَمَا بَاعَدْتَ بَينَهُ وَبَين جَنَّتِك.

The devil said to him:

“I promise to never approach you again if you promise not to teach anyone this prayer.”

Muhammad bin Wasi` responded:

“No, O enemy of Allah! I will teach it to as many people as I can!”

***

[1] Al-A`raf, 7:27

[2] Fatir, 35:6

Weekly Salat: Ya Akhir

We continue our journey through Sayyidi Habib Umar’s collection of prayers using Allah’s beautiful names.

In this collection, Habib Umar calls upon Allah by His beautiful names one by one and then asks Him to bestow prayers upon His Beloved by those names. Finally, he asks Allah for a portion of those attributes which belong to Allah and which He has bestowed upon His Messenger ﷺ. He thus teaches us about the attributes of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and teaches us how to seek a portion of those attributes. 

اللَّهُمَّ يا اللهُ يا آخِر صَلِّ على عَبْدِكَ و حَبِيبِكَ سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ النَّبِيِّ المَبْعُوثِ إلى آخِرِ الأُمَمِ و خَيْرِها و على آلِهِ و صَحْبِهِ و سَلِّمْ تَسْلِيماً واجْعَلْنا بِهِ مِنْ خَواصِّ أَنْصَارِهِ و وُرَّاثِهِ في آخِرِ الزَّمَنِ و مِنْ أَقْرَبِ النَّاسِ إِلَيْهِ و أَسْعَدِهِمْ بِهِ في اليَوْمِ الآخِرِ جُوداً و كَرَماً

O Allah, the Last, bestow abundant prayers and peace upon Your slave and beloved, our Master Muhammad, the Prophet who was sent to the last and best nation, and upon his Family and Companions, and by him make us among the elite of those who support him and inherit from him in the last days. Make us among the closest of people to him and those that the receive the most from him on the Last Day out of Your generosity and kindness.

Insights into Purification: the Siwak

Extracts from lessons given by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) on the rulings and etiquettes of purification. Habib Umar is teaching Habib Abdullah bin Husayn Balfaqih’s “Kifayat al-Raghib” in Shafi`i fiqh.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

“Had I not feared hardship for my Ummah, I would have ordered them to use the siwak for every prayer.”

He also said ﷺ:

“Praying two rakats with the siwak is better than praying seventy rakats without it.”

If the siwak is dry it is recommend to wet it. The Prophet ﷺ would give his siwak to Sayyidah `Aisha and she would seek barakah from it by putting it in her mouth before wetting it and returning it to him.

It is recommended to use the siwak for wudu, prayer, tawaf, recitation of the Qur’an, reading the hadith and for the remembrance of Allah. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Purify the pathways of Allah’s remembrance with the siwak,” meaning the mouth and the tongue.

It is also recommended to use it to freshen your breath, especially upon waking up. The Prophet ﷺ would do this only to teach his Ummah, since his breath smelt sweet when he was asleep and awake. When he spoke it was as if the scent of musk was emanating from his blessed mouth.

A sunnah which is neglected is to use the siwak when you enter your house and then to give greetings of salam to the angels and pious slaves present in the house.

When someone is on their death bed they should be given the siwak. The Prophet ﷺ requested a siwak in his final hours.

Among the many benefits of the siwak are that it reminds the person dying of the shahadah and it eases the exit of the soul. It purifies the mouth and pleases Allah, as the Prophet ﷺ informed us. It increases one’s intelligence and eloquence, strengthens one’s gums, strengthens one’s eyesight, aids digestion, gives relief from headaches and toothache and increases one’s provision.

Some people say: “I always lose my siwak.”

“Why do you lose your siwak and not your money? If you were concerned with the siwak you would not lose it. Buy three or four and put them in different places so you can find one when you need one. This will confound the devil.”

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Secrets of Seeking Forgiveness

Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects on the topic of seeking Allah’s forgiveness in the month of Rajab and some of the secrets therein. Extracts from a talk delivered during the Mawlid in Dar al- Mustafa on Thursday 3rd Rajab 1433/ 24th May 2012.

Rajab is a time of seeking forgiveness. It has been narrated in the Prophetic hadith:

“Seek much forgiveness from Allah in Rajab because in every hour (of the month) Allah frees people from the Fire.”1

Those who have been freed from the fire hate the deeds of the people of the Fire and the attributes of the people of the Fire and only find tranquillity performing the deeds of the people of Paradise. If they slip up, they immediately return to Allah:

Those that when they commit an act of indecency or wrong themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and they do not knowingly persist in (the wrong) they have done.2

Look in yourself for the signs that you have been freed from the Fire. People who allow themselves to look at things which are forbidden, on their screens or elsewhere, will not find these signs. If you have not refrained from falling into the deeds of the people of the Fire then you have not yet been freed from the Fire. The people of Paradise, those who are preparing their eyes to look at those who have been drawn near to Allah, obey Allah’s order:

Say to the believing men that they must lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That will be purer for them. Allah is well aware of what they do. And say to the believing women that they must lower their gaze and guard their modesty.3

There should be nothing in your house in Rajab which displeases Allah. Rajab is one of the sacred months, about which Allah says:

Do not wrong yourselves therein.4

You should not be in the same state in Rajab as you were before it.

One of the signs that you have been freed from the Fire is your hatred of sins and acts of disobedience. Look how Allah describes the first generation, and these are the attributes of every truthful person that comes after them:

Allah has made faith beloved to you and has made it beautiful in your hearts and He has made hateful to you disbelief, corruption and disobedience. These are those who are rightly-guided.

These people are safe from the Devil, from their lower selves, from their caprice, from attachment to the material world. How did they achieve this? It was a bounty and blessing from Allah.5

One of the greatest signs that you have been freed from the Fire is that you take pleasure in seeking forgiveness from Allah in the last portion of the night, and at other times of the day. You raise your hands to him saying:

My Lord, forgive me and turn to me, truly You are the Oft-Returning, the Most Merciful!”

Follow the example of the Beloved (may Allah bless him and grant him peace); follow him in seeking forgiveness. Make sure you do so with a heart that is present, for perhaps Allah will open you a door to connect you with the Beloved. If you received even a portion of one of his prayers for forgiveness you would bathe in the light of that prayer for eternity. He sought forgiveness and he knew the One from Whom he was seeking forgiveness. How great is your knowledge of Allah in relation to his?

Keep seeking forgiveness after `Isha’ and after Fajr and throughout the days and nights, then perhaps before the end of Rajab, Allah will have opened the door to you and your heart will be filled with light.

You must take from Rajab the secret of connection to Allah. You must realise the secret of seeking forgiveness. Follow the example of Muhammad, for he is the greatest of those that seek forgiveness. Allah ennobled you by extending the light of his prayers for forgiveness to you:

So know that there is no god but Allah and seek forgiveness for your sins6 and for the believers male and female.7

Allah says:

If only when they wronged themselves, they came to you and sought Allah’s forgiveness and the Messenger sought forgiveness for them they would have found Allah Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.8

It is as if Allah is saying: “Allow them to enter through your door. When they come via you, the door is open to them.” Is it not enough that they sought Allah’s forgiveness? This is good but far greater than that is that the Messenger himself sought forgiveness for them. Then they will find Allah, and whoever has found Allah has not missed out on anything. They will not just find Allah, but furthermore He will manifest His beauty and bounty to them. Whoever finds Allah Oft-Returning and Most Merciful will live in a state of bliss, constantly experiencing Allah’s mercy until the days of everlasting bliss in the next life.

O Allah, You are the One that said to Your Beloved:

When you complete (your immediate task) stand up (to perform another) and to your Lord turn all your attention.9

We ask You by the secret of his worship and his seeking You and asking You, to make us amongst the elite of this Ummah and amongst those who receive the greatest portion of his intercession and amongst those who are closest to him.

 —

1 Narrated by al-Daylami

2 Al `Imran, 3:135

3 Al-Nur, 24:30-31

4 Al-Tawbah, 9:36

5 Al-Hujurat, 49:7-8

6 This is a literal translation but should not be understood literally, as the Messenger of Allah is free of any sins

7 Muhammad, 47:19

8 Al-Nisa’, 4:64

9 Al-Inshirah, 94:7-8

Getting the Most out of Rajab

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

There are a number of ways to get the most out of Rajab. Some of the most important are as follows:

  1. Seeking forgiveness in abundance and making sincere repentance;
  2. Making a sincere resolve to seek to approach Allah through performing acts of obedience and avoiding acts of disobedience;
  3. Assessing your state, rectifying it and striving to follow the Prophet ﷺin all that you do
  4. Improving your performance of the prayer by making sure that you implement the sunnahs pertaining to the prayer and pray with presence of heart. Also strive to pray in congregation in the first row without missing the opening takbir;
  5. Improving your relationship with the Qur’an by increasing the amount you read and reflect upon daily and seeking to act upon it;
  6. Being consistent in reading your adhkar in the morning and evening, after the prayer and in your varying states (such as eating, entering the house and preparing for sleep);
  7. Improving your interaction with your family, friends, relatives, neighbours and with Allah’s slaves in general and the elect of His slaves specifically;
  8. Fasting whatever days you are able to, especially Monday and Thursday and the White Days (13th, 14th and 15th days of the month);
  9. Giving a portion of charity and doing what you can to help those in need and treating them kindly;
  10. Worshipping Allah in these nights, especially in the last portion of the night. Improve your state at this time so as to enter into those who Allah praises in the Qur’an: Those who spend their wealth (in charity) and seek forgiveness in the last portion of the night.

We ask Allah to give us a great portion of the gifts bestowed in this month and that He makes us among those who attain acceptance and felicity in this life and the next.

O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Shaban, allow us to reach Ramadan and assist us in fasting and praying in the night.

The Merits of Rajab

Rajab is one of the four sacred months. It stands alone, unlike the other three (Dhu’l-Qa`dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram) which come one after the other. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ himself would venerate this month. When the month entered he would seek its blessings, saying:

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا في رَجَبٍ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنا رَمَضَانَ

Allahumma barik lana fi Rajabin wa Sha`ban wa ballighna Ramadan

O Allah bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban and enable us to reach Ramadan!”1

Rajab is the key to the months of goodness which follow it. For that reason Imam Abu Bakr al-Warraq said: “In the month of Rajab you sow the seeds, in Sha`ban you irrigate them and in Ramadan you reap the harvest.” He also said: “Rajab is like a wind, Sha`ban is like a cloud and Ramadan is like rain.”

Rajab was the month in which the Prophet’s blessed parents were married, and the month in which Sayyidah Aminah became pregnant with the Best of Creation ﷺ. Most of the scholars say that the Isra’ (Night Journey) and the Mi`raj (Ascension) took place on the 27th night of Rajab. This was the night on which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ received the greatest ennoblement that a created being ever received from Allah.

When one of the pious scholars became ill he said: “I have asked Allah to delay my death until the month of Rajab because I have heard that those that die in that month are saved from the Fire.” Allah answered his supplication and he died in Rajab.

The First Night of Rajab

It is recommended to turn to Allah in the first night of Rajab. It has been narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “There are five nights on which du`a is not rejected: the first night of Rajab, the fifteenth night of Sha`ban, Thursday night, the night before Eid al-Fitr and the night before Eid al-Nahr (al-Adha).”2 Sayyiduna `Ali, may Allah be well pleased with him, used to spend four nights in worship: the first night of Rajab, the nights before the two `Eids, and the 15th night of Sha`ban. For this reason the scholars of Tarim hold a special gathering of dhikr on the first night of Rajab and a large mawlid the following morning.

Rajab, the Month of Istighfar

The best way of preparing the heart to receive divine gifts is purification and repentance. It has been narrated: “Seek much forgiveness from Allah in Rajab because in every hour (of the month) Allah frees people from the Fire.”3 For this reason the scholars say that Rajab is the month of seeking forgiveness, Sha`ban is the month of bestowing prayers upon the Prophet, and Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an. Thus it is recommended to seek much forgiveness in Rajab. Some of the scholars compiled special collections of istighfar, among them Habib Hasan, the son of Imam `Abdullah bin `Alawi al-Haddad – download here.

In Tarim the following formula is read 70 times in congregation immediately after the `Isha Prayer every night in Rajab. The one reading it raises his hands while doing so:

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لي وارْحَمْنِي وَتُبْ عَلَيَّ

 “Rabbi ‘ghfir li w’ arhamni wa tub `alayya.”

“O Allah forgive me, have mercy upon me, and grant me repentance.”4

Good Deeds in Rajab

The reward of our good actions is multiplied in the sacred months, so it is recommended to do as many good deeds as possible. The Messenger of Allah  recommended fasting at least some days in each of the sacred months. Some of the Companions, among them Sayyiduna `Umar and his son `Abdullah and al-Sayyidah `A’ishah, liked to make `Umrah in Rajab.

At the same time bad deeds are also more serious in the sacred months so we must do our utmost to avoid any wrongdoings.

A sacred month is similar to a sacred place. It is recommended to bathe and purify oneself before entering the haram of Makkah and while in it one is more conscious of the weight of one’s actions. Likewise with a sacred month – we try to enter it in a state of purity and we try to maintain that purity throughout through doing good and avoiding evil.

O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban and enable us to reach Ramadan. Peace and blessings upon the one who guided us to all good and warned us of all evil, our Master Muhammad and his blessed family and Companions and all those that follow his guidance until the end of time.

From Kanz al-Najah wa’l-Surur by Shaykh `Abd al-Hamid Quds and Lata’if al-Ma`arif by Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali.

1Narrated by Ahmad, al-Bayhaqi and al-Tabarani

Narrated by al-Suyuti.

3 Narrated by al-Daylami.

4 Narrated by Wahb bin Munnabih who said that if someone reads this every morning and evening in Rajab the Fire will not touch his skin.