Making Spiritual Hijrah

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) calls us to make a spiritual hijrah. 

The new year always reminds us of the Hijrah. The physical hijrah is an obligation for those who are unable to freely practise their religion in the place they are in. They must find a place in which they can practise their religion. The angels say to those who fail to make this hijrah: ‘Was Allah’s earth not expansive enough for you to emigrate therein?’1

We can also make a spiritual hijrah which is to leave everything which Allah has forbidden, as the Prophet told us. This is one of the loftiest types of hijrah. We must check our hearts and bodies at the beginning of this year in order to remove everything which Allah dislikes.

If someone is blessed to leave that which is forbidden he should then seek to leave that which is disliked and dubious. If someone is blessed to leave that which is disliked and dubious he should then seek to leave that which is frivolous and of no benefit. If someone is blessed to leave that which is frivolous he should then seek to leave everything other than Allah.

A person may be leaving that which is forbidden in one aspect of his life, that which is disliked in another aspect, that which is frivolous in another aspect and so on. If he perseveres he will eventually attain the greatest type of hijrah. Sayyiduna Ibrahim said regarding this: I am going to my Lord.2 Allah also said: So flee to Allah.3 The Prophet said: “The most truthful word spoken by a poet is the saying of Labid: ‘Indeed everything save Allah is false.’”4

Jihad, like hijrah, has many manifestations but one of the greatest is the one mentioned in the hadith that: “the mujahid is the one who strives against his own caprice.”

…………………………………..

1 Al-Nisa’, 4:97

2 Al-Saffat, 37:99

3Al-Dhariyat, 51:50

4Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim

Talking about Imam al-Husayn on Ashura

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

What should we mention when we talk about Sayyiduna al-Husayn at the time of Ashura?

We should talk about his upbringing and his character – his mercy, compassion and generosity. We should refer to the biographies of respected scholars from Ahl al-Sunnah. As for his martyrdom we can mention the fact that he requested one of three things from his killers: that he be allowed to return to al-Madinah or that he be allowed to go to fight jihad on the frontiers or that he be allowed to meet with Yazid ibn Muawiya. However, they rejected his request. He tried to save the lives of his relatives by telling them to leave but they insisted on staying with him.

What Should be Read on the Last Night of the Year?

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

What should be read on the last night of the year?

You should read the duas of the pious mentioned in the book ‘Kanz al-Najah wa’l-Surur,’ you should seek forgiveness from Allah (istighfar) and bestow prayers upon the Prophet ﷺ in abundance.

Habib Ali al-Habashi composed a special prayer to be read at the end of the year. You can download the prayer with translation here.

 

Commemorating the Emigration of Imam al-Muhajir

ahmad-ibn-isa-tomb

In the month of Muharram, we commemorate the emigration of Imam al-Muhajir il-Allah, Ahmad bin `Isa, to the Hadramawt Valley.

It was on 14th Muharram that he arrived in the region and he was the first of the Prophetic Household to settle there. His progeny, later to become known as the Ba `Alawi, went on to spread Islam to the far corners of the earth. It has been said that the migration of the Prophet ﷺ was from Makkah to al-Madinah, and the migration of his offspring was from Iraq to Hadramawt.

The scholars of Hadramawt, at their forefront Habib Abu Bakr al-Adani al-Mashhur, commemorate this event with a series of lectures and gatherings, culminating in an annual visit.

To learn more about this great Imam, please go to: https://muwasala.org/imam-al-muhajir/

May Allah reward Imam al-Muhajir and allow us to continue to reap the fruits of his efforts.

VIDEO: True Honour and the Events of Ashura

Extracts from a khutbah delivered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz in Masjid al-Rawdah, Tarim, 7thMuharram 1436 / 31st October 2014

The events which took place on Ashura remind us that all honour belongs to those beloved to Allah, even if the opposite appears to be the case.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ  is the most honourable of people in the sight of Allah, although he was the one who tied a stone to his belly out of hunger, he was the one who had camel’s entrails thrown upon him when he was praying and he was the one whose forehead was split and whose tooth was broken. All honour belonged to him while he was in the cave as the disbelievers searched for him.

All physical, material, and military strength was in the hands of Fir`awn, but all honour belonged to Sayyiduna Musa.

His people said to him: “We are trapped!”

Musa said: “No! My Lord is with me and He will guide me!”

Whoever wishes to abase those whom Allah has honoured will be abased, but whoever wishes to honour those whom Allah has honoured will himself be honoured.

When Sayyiduna al-Husayn was martyred, it was not he that was abased, but rather those that killed him. He attained the greatest honour from his Lord. His son, `Ali Zayn al-`Abidin, lived on to be the father of thousands of great imams. There is no honour in commemorating his martyrdom in a way that contravenes his way, the way of his father and the way of his grandfather ﷺ.

Whoever is killed for the sake of Allah will gain honour. Whoever is killed for the sake of something contemptible such as power, wealth and status, will be abased.

Through obedience to Allah, the slave honours himself. Through disobedience to Allah, the slave dishonours himself.

 

 

VIDEO: Joy and Sadness for Sayyiduna al-Husayn

By Habib Ali al-Jifri (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

According to the Ahl al-Sunnah, the Day of Ashura is a day of joy because of the salvation of Sayyiduna Musa. There is no doubt that it is also a day of sadness since it was the day on which Sayyiduna al-Husayn was martyred along with his relatives and some of the Ansar. At the same time, it is a day of celebration because it was a victory for Sayyiduna al-Husayn. How was it a victory for him when he was killed? It was a victory because he remained true to his principles. It was a victory for truth over weapons and force. When we think of his killers, we think of the fate that is awaiting them. When we remember Sayyiduna al-Husayn, however, our hearts are filled with joy, love and veneration for him and his steadfastness. It is thus a day of victory for Sayyiduna al-Husayn. So if we are joyful for the victory of Sayyiduna al-Husayn and the salvation of Sayyiduna Musa then we are on the right path.

It is natural to feel sadness when we remember the immense injustice that took place. Before dying, Sayyiduna al-Husayn saw all his children killed in front of him, with the exception of Sayyiduna Ali Zayn al-Abidin. He also saw the children of Sayyiduna al-Hasan, the children of his sister Sayyidah Zaynab, and the children of his cousin, Muslim bin Aqil bin Abi Talib, killed in front of him.

There are two extremes, both of which must be rejected. At one extreme we have people who say that it is a terrible day on which no one is allowed to show any joy, and if anyone does so they hate the Ahl al-Bayt. Some people strike themselves and commit other actions which are forbidden in the Sacred Law.

In addition to this, some people think that love for Ahl al-Bayt means showing bad etiquette to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar. This is not the way of the Ahl al-Bayt. Sayyiduna Ali had sons named Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. Sayyiduna al-Hasan had sons named Abu Bakr and Umar. Sayyiduna al-Husayn had a son named Abu Bakr and two sons named Umar.

There is another extreme. Some people among the Ahl al-Sunnah go the extent to say that Sayyiduna al-Husayn was in the wrong. They praise Yazid, whom the majority of the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah regard as a corrupt person.

We believe that people that go to either of these extremes are misguided, but at the same time we do not regard them as disbelievers.

It is fine to be sad on this day, and it is fine to be joyful. We must not allow our hearts to be filled with hatred for the perpetrators of this crime, for Allah will take them to account. Instead, our hearts should be filled with veneration for those who were martyred.

 

The Day of Ashura

 

The Day of Ashura, the tenth of Muharram, is an auspicious day. It has been narrated that it was the day on which Allah forgave our father Adam, the day on which the Ark of Nuh came to rest on the mountain known as al-Judi after six months at sea, and the day on which Allah forgave the people of Yunus (peace be upon him and all the Prophets).

When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ came to al-Madinah, he found the Jews fasting the Day of Ashura. He asked them why they were fasting and they told him that it was the day on which Allah saved Sayyiduna Musa and his people and drowned Fir`awn and his people. Musa fasted out of gratitude to Allah and his people continued the practice after him. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ told the Jews that his nation was closer to Musa than them. He then fasted that day and ordered his Companions to fast (Bukhari and Muslim). He taught his Ummah to commemorate this great day, to reflect upon its connection to the previous prophets and to seek a portion of the immense outpouring of Allah’s mercy that those prophets received on Ashura.

The most important thing he taught us to do is to fast. He informed us that if we do so, Allah wipes out the sins of the previous year (Muslim). Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) said:

“Think of your wrongdoings in the previous year as files saved on a computer. By fasting the Day of Ashura, you press the delete button and wipe out all those files. Respond to this invitation. This is not the work of a software designer, this is the Prophet, the most knowledgeable of creation, who received his knowledge from the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

We may ask: if we have already fasted the Day of `Arafah then Allah has already erased our sins in the previous and coming year so what more can be gained from fasting Ashura? Some scholars mention that continuously fasting both days leads to a deeper erasure of one’s wrongdoings, protection from falling into sin in the future and also has the effect of wiping out the wrongdoings of one’s family and neighbours.

Why does fasting the Day of `Arafah wipe out the sins of two years whereas fasting the day of Ashura only wipes out the sins of one year? One reason, the scholars say, is that the Day of `Arafah is a day attributed to Sayyiduna Muhammad ﷺ which is clearly superior to Ashura which is attributed to Sayyiduna Musa (peace be upon him). The Messenger of Allah ﷺ also taught his Ummah to fast the day before or the day after so that our tradition be distinct from the tradition of the Jews.

We should also renew our repentance on Ashura. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that it is a day on which Allah allowed a certain people to repent and He will continue to allow others to do the same (Tirmidhi).

The Prophet ﷺ also taught us that if someone spends generously on their family on the Day of `Ashura’, Allah will treat them with generosity for the rest of the year (Bayhaqi).  Sufyan bin `Uyaynah said, “We tried this for fifty years and all that we saw was good.”

Habib Umar said: “The purpose of this is that you show extra compassion to them. This is then a means of protecting your family from the forces of corruption that attempt to encroach from all sides. This does not just mean buying them food. You need to show them the compassion of Muhammad ﷺ through his teachings. Show them that the Prophet has taught you to laugh with them and to make sure they are well. He has taught you that it hurts you to see them suffer in any way in this life or the next. Let them experience the compassion of his teachings and show them that after 1,400 years his teachings are alive in your home.”

It has likewise been narrated that the one who gives charity on this day will have the reward of a whole year’s charity.

In Tarim, people gather in Masjid Ba`Alawi on the eve of Ashura to read and reflect upon the merits of the following day and to pray to Allah. The day itself is a day of joy. Although the adults are mostly fasting, it is a day of Eid for children. They wear their best clothes, amusements are provided for them and gifts are given to them.

Photo by Scott Ruzzene on Unsplash

An End of Year – New Year Message

Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) calls us to reflect on the passing of time and the arrival of a new year. Extracts from a talk delivered in Jalsat al-Ithnayn, Jami` Tarim, the night of 25th Dhu’l-Hijjah 1429.

We bid farewell to another year of the Hijrah of the Messenger of Allah , a year which contains a number of days and nights which are what makes up your lifespan. If a day passes then a part of you has passed. You are but a body and spirit existent in a limited time period. When that period comes to an end you come to an end. It is only those of sound intellect who realize the true value of these days and nights that pass. They know that it is He Who made the Night and the Day to follow each other: for the one who wishes to reflect or to show gratitude.Whatever anyone has achieved in these days and nights that has not increased them in reflection and gratitude has missed the purpose and fundamental wisdom for which these days and nights were created and for which mankind was created.

We witness the passing of time and the alternation of seasons and changes and events. Things which are agreeable to us; things which are unpleasant – all of which test us. We witness the passing away of those who live alongside us, some of it expected, some of it unexpected. All of this is by the decree of the All-Powerful Sovereign.

Likewise we welcome a new year. Every individual must look at their level of reflection and gratitude so they may obtain their provision from these days and nights. One of the meanings of reflection is removing the veils from the spirit to allow it to remember the original covenant which it took with its Lord and clearing away the dust to enable it to extend its gaze to its eventual destination. As for gratitude, everything which is of any benefit to creation comes into its sphere. The Master of Creation said: “Should I not be a grateful slave?” He is the most grateful of creation to the Creator, and through his gratitude we show gratitude to the Creator. May Allah connect us to him in this life and the next.

It is He Who made the Night and the Day to follow each other: for the one who wishes to reflect or to show gratitude.

What are the signs and the attributes of the people of reflection and gratitude? Read the eleven attributes that follow this verse, beginning with:

The slaves of the Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” (They are) those who spend the night in worship of their Lord prostrate and standing..2

Reflect upon these attributes and ask yourself what portion you have of them. Do not be content merely to pass over them superficially. Delve into them deeply, hold firm to them and embody their meanings. Each of these attributes has a residing place in your inner being. If each attribute finds its place you will, in your inner being, be one of the slaves of the Most Gracious and every day and night you will increase in reflection and gratitude, and He will prepare you for an indescribable reward. “I have prepared for My righteous slaves that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and what no man can imagine.”

The majority of the people of Islam and Iman have made no preparation for the vision of the face of the Best of Mankind, accompanying him on the day of Crowding and then in Dar al-Salam, the Abode of Peace. Does this warrant you giving anything less than your all? How much have you put towards this: of your thoughts, your actions, the attributes of your heart, of the hours of your day and night?

After the death of the Messenger of Allah , Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq would spend his nights crying out of his longing for him. Do we allow the ups and downs of this fleeting life and the desires of our enemies to tear these feelings away from us?

Will you exchange that which is better for that which is worse?3

All you who believe, accompanying him is greater than anything we can imagine. There is no gift more exquisite with which the Lord of the Throne may bless than his companionship and the vision of his face and addressing the possessor of that face. He is a man like no other, the Beloved of the Creator.

If these feelings were alive in the hearts of the Ummah, all causes of evil inward and outward would be removed and the Ummah would be safe from every tribulation. The level of tribulation in which we find ourselves is according to our deficiency in our love for Allah and His Chosen One .

At the end of this year may Allah grant us the ability to please His Beloved through seeking to improve our states and our transactions and what takes places in our houses and what is in our hearts. Nothing should be more beloved to us than Allah and nothing in creation, not even Paradise, should be more beloved to us than Muhammad. No created thing can take precedence over Muhammad, because Allah Himself gave him precedence over all of creation.

For this reason the Companion Rabi`ah ibn Ka`b could think of nothing better to ask from the Messenger of Allah than his companionship in Paradise. The response of the Messenger of Allah was to order him to make abundant prostration. The closest a slave is to Allah is when he is in prostration. If you desire to be close to the one who is closest to Allah, make abundant prostration. One of the meanings of this prostration is to rid our houses of anything which contravenes his Sunnah . Let this Hijri year finish and with it any contravention of the Sunnah. This is prostration. You want to accompany him but you do not want to live in accordance with his teaching?

Let this year finish and you are in a state of preparation to meet the best of Allah’s slaves .

 

Al-Furqan, 25:62

2 Al-Furqan, 25:63-74

3 Al-Baqarah, 2:61

 

Bidding Farewell to this Year and Welcoming a New Year

We are fast approaching the end of this Hijri year. There remain a few days of the blessed month of Dhu’l-Hijjah for us to benefit from. We should try to round off the year with acts which draw us closer to Allah, as “actions are judged by their endings.”1

At the end of the financial year businessmen analyse their year’s trading, but our trade is with Allah and is more worthy of being evaluated. We thank Allah for the gifts with which we have been blessed and we seek His forgiveness for our wrongdoings and shortcomings. We also make our new year’s resolutions for the coming year – what we intend to achieve on our journey to Allah, and the traits which we wish to leave behind. We should bear in mind that both Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, the first month of the new year, are from the four inviolable months so the reward of our actions is multiplied. Our bad deeds are also more grave in these times.

At this time those who have made hajj are returning to their families and communities like newborn babies with a strong resolve to preserve the purity that they have attained in those blessed places. The Messenger of Allah taught us to benefit from those who have returned from hajj by asking them to pray for us and to seek forgiveness for us.

He said “O Allah forgive the one who has made hajj and the one for whom he seeks forgiveness.”2

This forgiveness lasts through Dhu’l-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar and for the first ten days of Rabi` al-Awwal. Sayyiduna `Abdullah bin `Abbas said that if those who did not make hajj knew the right of those who had made hajj over them, they would go out to meet them up on their return and kiss their feet. This is because they have travelled to Allah as representatives of the whole Ummah.

We should open the new year with good works. Among the best of these works is fasting. The Messenger of Allah said:

“The best (month) to fast after Ramadan is the Month of Allah which you call al-Muharram. The best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer.”3

The Messenger of Allah called Muharram “the Month of Allah” which points to its nobility, just like the Ka`bah is “the House of Allah.” One of the wisdoms behind the merit of fasting in the month of Muharram is that both are attributed to Allah – Muharram is the “the Month of Allah” and fasting, as in the hadith qudsi, “is Mine, and I will reward accordingly.”4

The greatest day in Muharram to fast is of course the tenth, `Ashura.’ Fasting on this day wipes out the sins of the previous year. Read more about it here.

Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz welcomes in the new year by taking his students to visit the Prophet Hud (peace be upon him). This was the way of his father and some of his forefathers. Thus the first few days of the year are spent in a blessed place away from distraction with the focus purely on Allah. The days are filled with acts of worship and gatherings of knowledge and remembrance.

We ask Allah to bring great good to the Ummah in this new year, rectify its affairs and bring relief to those who are suffering. Peace and blessings be upon the one whose Hijrah marks the beginning of our calendar, our Master Muhammad and his blessed family and Companions and all those that follow him until the last day.

Habib Ali al-Habashi composed a special prayer to be read at the end of the year. You can download the prayer with translation here.

  1. Narrated by al-Bukhari
  2. Narrated by al-Bayhaqi and al-Tabarani
  3. Narrated by Muslim
  4. Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim

Photo credit: Photo by Federico Respini on Unsplash

On Ashura Gatherings

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

 

What should we do if our Shia friends invite us to one of their gatherings on Ashura?

We tell them that there are sunnahs which the grandfather of Sayyiduna al-Husayn taught us to implement on this day. If there is anything prohibited that takes place in the gathering, such as people hitting themselves or cursing the Companions, then we cannot attend. This goes against the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt. If not, it is fine to attend merely to remember al-Husayn. We do not involve ourselves in anything that will cause dissension.

Some people make false claims that Ashura is a day of sadness in Tarim and that this was the way of Imam al-Haddad, but this is completely false. Such people only have to witness what takes place in Tarim on that day.