On the Best Month in Which to Get Married

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

What is the best month in which to get married?

The best month in which to contract the marriage is Shawwal, because it was in this month that the Prophet ﷺ married Sayyidatuna `Aishah. He later consummated the marriage in the same month. The next best month is Safar, in which Sayyidatuna Fatimah married Sayyiduna `Ali.

On Intentions for Sport

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

What intentions should we make when we play sports?

You should intend gaining strength to worship Allah and obey His commands and to use it to gently call people to Allah. You should remember Allah while taking part.

On Involvement in Protests

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

Should those involved in dawah take part in protests which condemn things like police brutality or the oppression of the Palestinian people?

Oppression must be condemned whatever form it takes as long as this does not lead to greater oppression or some other kind of evil. Ordinary people are free to get involved in such protests if they wish, but the role of those involved in dawah is to clarify the Islamic position on such matters. They should not be directly involved in protests because this may have political and social implications and may lead them to neglect aspects of their dawah.

On Working With ‘Salafi’ Groups

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

Can we work with ‘Salafi’ groups?

If these groups truly follow the Salaf (the Pious Predecessors) in the realm of tenets of faith then we are in agreement with them. If, however, they claim to follow the Salaf but in reality go against their methodology then we should avoid mixing with them so that confusion does not arise regarding how we call people to Allah. It may be possible to work with the moderate elements among them on things on which there is scholarly consensus and which benefit society. We may also work with them on projects which are run in the name of all Muslims in the region, not in the name of a specific group.

Is it better to fast Monday and Thursday or the White Days?

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

Is it better to fast Monday and Thursday or the White Days?

If you are able to do so, it is better to fast every Monday and Thursday because if you do so you will fast eight days in every month, as opposed to only three days if you fast the White Days. One of those Mondays or Thursdays is also likely to coincide with the White Days. If you are able to fast the White Days and another five days in addition to this, this would also be good. We cannot say categorically that one type of fasting is better than another. If someone finds that a certain type of fasting has more effect on their heart and helps him on his path to Allah then this is the best fast for that person.


The Definition of a Scholar (`Alim)

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

When can someone be said to be an `alim (scholar)?

Linguistically anyone who has even one piece of Islamic knowledge is an `alim (literally someone who knows). Technically speaking there is consensus that an `alim is someone who is qualified to make ijtihad (independent legal reasoning) and issue fatwa (formal legal opinion). Someone who has attained a large amount of knowledge but has not reached this level may also be called an `alim, but there is not consensus on this.

Criteria for Showing People Respect and Veneration

Hb Umar with Hb Salim

 Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) explains the criteria for showing people respect and veneration. Summarised from a Rawhah lesson in Dar al-Mustafa, 18th Shawwal 1437

It is praiseworthy to show respect and veneration to someone who the Sacred Law commands you to show respect to, such as a scholar, an elder or your parents. Kissing someone’s hand and standing up for them when they enter is an expression of that respect and veneration.

This is how the Companions expressed their veneration for the Prophet ﷺ and for one another. When the delegation of the tribe of Abd al-Qays came to visit the Prophet ﷺ in Madinah they rushed to greet him and kiss his hand (Ahmad). The Prophet did not rebuke them for doing so. He did not say they were being excessive or that they were committing shirk.

On the other hand it is blameworthy to show respect and veneration to an oppressive ruler or to someone who is openly disobedient to Allah.

You find someone is prepared to lower himself to his boss at work in the hope of some worldly benefit but he refuses to show respect to his mother and speak kindly to her. Such people have got their priorities the wrong way round because the Prophet ﷺ said that the person most deserving of good treatment is your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father (and then other people) (al-Bukhari).

So you should show respect and veneration to people for the sake of Allah and not for the sake of worldly benefit.

As for the person who is being shown respect, they should dislike this and see themselves as being unworthy of it. Many of the pious would tell people to sit down if they stood up for them.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “If someone loves for men to stand up for him out of veneration, let him take his place in the Fire (Abu Daud).”




Reflecting on Your Own Self

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) emphasises the importance of reflection (tafakkur). Extracts from a lesson in the Book of Reflection from Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din. Dar al-Mustafa, 16th Shawwal 1437

If someone’s reflection is sound and their heart is pure, their reflection increases them in faith, tranquillity, certainty and knowledge of Allah. It leads them to perfect their transaction with Him. They will then receive spiritual assistance (madad) from everything that they gaze at.

Everything you see around is a source of mercy for you if you turn to Allah but it is a curse if you turn away from Him. If all you reflect upon is how to gratify your desires, then you are in reality in constant prostration to the idol of your lower self without realising. The majority of people are in prostration to their lower selves and their caprice. That is why Allah says: Were you to obey most of those on the earth they would lead you away from the path of Allah (6:116).

Everything around us is a manifestation of Allah’s action and it is through His actions that we come to know Him.

Imam al-Ghazali says:

“The closest thing to you is your own self. In you are wonders which point to the greatness of Allah. It would take lifetimes just to reflect upon one small aspect of your makeup but in spite of this you are heedless and ignorant of your own self.

If someone were to sculpt an extremely life-like image of a human being, people would marvel at the sculptor’s skill and deftness, in spite of the fact that he did not create any of his materials or tools or his own will and knowledge. Allah, however, brought each human into existence from a drop of semen and then created its body, its senses and its organs with the utmost precision and perfection. In spite of this, people look at their own bodies and are heedless of the One who created them and fashioned them and are not startled by His majesty and wisdom.

Look at how His mercy accompanies His power. When the embryo becomes too big for the womb, He guides it to turn upside down and come out of that narrow opening as if it knows exactly what it is doing. Then He guides it to suck the mother’s breast so that it receives the exact amount of nourishment that it needs. When the milk is no longer sufficient, He causes the teeth to appear so that the baby can begin to eat solid food. Throughout this period Allah places mercy in the hearts of the parents so that they care for the baby who is completely unable to take care of itself.”