Victories and Openings from the Isra and Mi`raj

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Habib Ali al-Jifri (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) tells us how victories and openings come through learning about the Isra and Mi`raj. Extracts from a talk delivered at Majelis Rasulullah in Jakarta, Indonesia on the night of the Isra and Mi`raj, Rajab 1439.

The key to attaining divine gifts is showing mercy. When the Prophet ﷺ showed mercy to the people of Ta’if, even though he could have asked for their destruction, Allah bestowed upon him the greatest of gifts on the night of the Mi`raj.

The Prophet ﷺ made his Isra from Makkah, which at that time was the centre of the struggle between truth and falsehood. He went to Masjid al-Aqsa which is now the centre of the struggle between truth and falsehood. Just as the Prophet was given victory in Makkah, likewise victory will be given in Masjid al-Aqsa. If we see how difficult the situation is in Palestine now, we recall how difficult the situation was then in Makkah in the time of the Prophet ﷺ . Victory eventually came in Makkah to people whose hearts had absolute love for the Prophet. Victory will be given in Palestine to people whose hearts have absolute love for the Prophet.

On the day the Prophet ﷺ was given victory in Makkah, he ordered his army not to disturb a dog which was nursing its puppies. This was an army whose soldiers’ hearts were filled with prophetic mercy. In our times armies have no regard for human life, let alone animal life. The army that will be given victory at the end of time must be made up of those whose hearts are filled with mercy. They cannot be people who encourage others to blow up innocent civilians.

 

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Adhkar for Rajab

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Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) said: we would love for our brethren in faith, male and female, young and old to plead with Allah during the blessed month of Rajab by reciting the following Qur’anic prayer for forgiveness which also contains a prayer for the Muslims:

ربَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَإِسْرَافَنَا فِي أَمْرِنَا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

Rabbana’ghfirlana dhunubana wa israfana fi amrina wa thabbit aqdamana wa’nsurna `ala’l-qawmi’l-kafirin

Our Lord, forgive us our sins and our transgressions, make our feet firm and assist us against those who reject faith.’ (3:147)

We hope that we will swiftly see the results of this prayer, as Allah mentioned in the Qur’an regarding the followers of previous Prophets:

So Allah gave them both the reward of this world and the best reward of the Hereafter: Allah loves those who act with excellence (3:148).

We should aim to recite this verse at least 3,000 times this month. Better than this would be 5,000 or even 7,000 and the best would be 10,000 and those who do more will be given more.

May Allah accept us all.

 

Returning to Allah in Rajab

 

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Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) describes the state the believer should be as the blessed month of Rajab enters. Summarised from a Khutbah delivered in Masjid al-Rawdah, Tarim, on 27th Jumada al-Akhirah 1433 / 18th May 2012.

O believer, look to see how you end the month of Jumada al-Akhirah, and look to see how you receive the month of Rajab, the month which stands alone among the sacred months. This month was venerated even in the times of Jahiliyyah, and Islam came to reinforce this veneration. O believer in Allah, one of your most important aims in this life is for your heart to be completely focused on Allah and at the same time to be someone that unites people’s hearts.

One of the greatest manifestations of your focusing your heart on Allah is being aware of your shortcomings towards Him, seeking refuge in Him, seeking forgiveness from Him, repenting to Him and pleading that out of His kindness He overlooks your faults.

Seeking forgiveness (istighfar) from Allah is foundational in focusing your heart on Allah. When seeking forgiveness:

  1. you express awareness of your errors and shortcomings towards Him
  2. you express your certainty that you have a Lord Who takes people to account for their sins, Who may forgive them or may punish them; you express your certainty that the affair is in His hands
  3. you express your need for your Lord which leads you to plead with Him to be forgiven

The Prophet ﷺ, the one who was protected from falling into sin, the most pure, would seek forgiveness from Allah one hundred times in one sitting. He would say:

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وتُبْ عَلَيَّ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

Rabbi’ghfir li wa tub `alayya innaka anta’attawwabu’rrahim

My Lord, forgive me and turn to me, truly You are the Oft-Returning, the Most Merciful.[1]

This tells us how the life of the Prophet was, how his gatherings with his Companions were, so seek to resemble them. Beware of gatherings in which Allah is not mentioned, in which His forgiveness is not sought and in which the return to Him is not mentioned. O believer, beautify your gatherings in the same way that your guide, the Chosen One, Muhammad beautified his gatherings. He is the one who said: “Good tidings to the one who finds in his book (in which his actions are recorded) much istighfar (seeking forgiveness).”[2] Seeking forgiveness is a remedy for your sins, and sins are the cause of tribulations in this life and the next. The fire of your sins is only extinguished by seeking the forgiveness of the Living, the Eternal, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.

Throughout your life you have the opportunity to seek forgiveness from Allah but there are specific times when you should do so, during the day and night and during the months of the year. The last portion of the night is one of these times. Allah says, describing the people of taqwa: Those who show patience, those who are truthful, those who worship devoutly, those who spend (their wealth for Allah’s sake) and those who seek forgiveness in the last portion of the night.[3] Allah also says: They were prior to that people of righteousness; they were in the habit of sleeping little by night; and they would seek forgiveness in the last portion of the night.[4]

Another time to seek forgiveness is after performing the prescribed prayer. In doing so, you remember the deficiencies in your prayer and to ask for acceptance.

Even when leaving the toilet your Prophet taught you to say three times:

غُفْرَانَكَ

Ghufranak

I seek Your forgiveness.

If you say this when you go to bed three times your sins will be forgiven even if they are as numerous as the foam on top of the sea:

أستَغْفِرُ اللهَ العَظِيمَ الَّذِي لاَ إِلهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الحَيُّ القَيُّومُ وأَتُوبُ إِليه

Astaghfirullaha’l-`azim alladhi la ilaha illa huw al-Hayya al-Qayyum wa atubu ilayh

I seek the forgiveness of Allah the Most Great, alongside Whom there is no deity; the Living, the Sustainer, and I repent to Him

Among the months, Rajab is the month of seeking forgiveness. Al-Daylami narrates on the authority of `Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah ennoble him) that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Seek much forgiveness (from Allah) in Rajab because in every hour (of the month) Allah frees people from the Fire.” When the month entered the Prophet would say, as Anas narrates:

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!”[5]

It is a blessed month, may Allah bless us and the Ummah in it. In the times of Jahiliyyah the noise of battle would not be heard in this month. This was due to the veneration that people had for the month, even though they were polytheists. Allah revealed concerning this month: They ask you about the sacred months – fighting therein. Say: fighting therein is a grave offence.[6]

Look at the state the Ummah has reached today. Some Muslims have actually declared war in the month of Rajab, not on the disbelievers, but on each other. Some have spilt the blood of their brothers. Look how far the Ummah has sunk when it has left the guidance of Allah and His Messenger and surrendered its reins to corrupt people, to disbelievers, to people deceived by their own philosophies!

Our Master said: “O people, repent to Allah for truly I repent to Allah in every day and night seventy (or one hundred) times.”[7] Allah says in the hadith qudsi: “O son of Adam, if your sins were so numerous that they reached the heavens and then you sought My forgiveness I would forgive you and it is nothing to Me.”[8] If someone allows Rajab to enter and they have no concern for their wrongdoings then they do not truly possess taqwa. The believer sees his sins as a mountain towering over him that he fears will fall upon his head, whereas the hypocrite sees his sins as a fly that lands on his nose which he brushes away with his hand. One of the Followers was told that a group of people were talking about something which did not concern them. He said: “If they were concerned with their own wrongdoings they would not have talked about that subject.”

Seek forgiveness in abundance and seek to unite people’s hearts. Beware of provoking hatred, or tale bearing, for “among the worst slaves of Allah are those that constantly bear tales, those that cause division between those that love each other.” Choose words that unite people: Say to My slaves that they should only say those things that are best, for the Devil sows dissension among them.[9]

Attempt to fast in this month. `Ali bin Muhammad al-Rabi` narrates from a chain of narrators all of whom are reliable that one of the Followers asked one of the Companions: “Did the Messenger of Allah ﷺ fast in Rajab?”

He replied: “Yes, and he would ennoble it.” He would ennoble and honour the month by fasting in it. May Allah awaken our hearts!

Prepare for the first night of Rajab. He said ﷺ: “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).”[10] Sayyiduna `Ali would spend this night in worship.

May Allah purify our hearts and enable us to take advantage of the time that we have left in this life.

 

[1] Narrated by Abu Daud, Ibn Majah and al-Tirmidhi

[2] Narrated by Ibn Majah and al-Bayhaqi

[3] Al `Imran, 3:17

[4] Al-Dhariyat, 51:16

[5] Narrated by Ahmad

[6] Al-Baqarah, 2:217

[7] Narrated by Muslim

[8] Narrated by al-Tirmidhi

[9] Al-Isra’, 17:53

[10] Narrated by al-Suyuti

 

The Rajab Istighfar

It has been narrated: “Seek much forgiveness from Allah in Rajab because in every hour (of the month) Allah frees people from the Fire.”[1]

The following is a compilation of istighfar, known as Istighfar Rajab, compiled by Habib Hasan, the son of Imam Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad. It is traditionally recited every night in the month of Rajab.

Click here to download

Click here to listen to Habib Umar bin Hafiz reciting the Rajab Istighfar

[1] Narrated by al-Daylami

Blessed Forms of Istighfar

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The following formulas have been mentioned by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) and contain great benefit:

أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ لِما يَعْلَمُهُ الله أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ كَما يُحِبُّهُ الله

Astaghfirullah lima ya`lamuhu Allah, Astaghfirullah kama yuhibbuhu-llah

I seek the forgiveness of Allah for everything that He knows; I seek Allah’s forgiveness in the way that He loves.

أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ ذا الجَلالِ و الإِكْرَام مِنْ جَميعِ الذُّنوبِ و الآثام

Astaghfirullah dha’l-Jalali w’al-Ikram min jami` adhunubi wa’l-atham.

I seek the forgiveness of Allah, the Possessor of Majesty and Honour, for all my sins and wrongdoings.

أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ الَّذِي لا إِلَهَ إِلاّ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنَ الرَّحِيمَ الْحَيَّ الْقَيُّومَ الَّذِي لا يَمُوتُ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْه رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي

Astaghfirullah alladhi la ilaha illa huwa arrahman arrahim al-Hayya al-Qayyum alladhi la yamutu wa atubu ilayhi rabbi-ghfir li

I seek the forgiveness of Allah, there is no deity but Him; the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful, the Living, the Sustainer, the One Who never dies and I repent to Him. O Lord, forgive me.

The Maidservant who attained the Greatest Honour

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

While on his Night Journey, the Prophet ﷺ smelt a beautiful scent. Jibril told him that this was the scent of the maidservant of the daughter of Fir`awn. She was someone who believed in Allah and loved Him. She was not affected or deluded by the manifestations of wealth and power that she witnessed while living in the palace of Fir`awn. One day when she was combing Fir`awn’s daughter’s hair, she accidentally dropped the comb.

She said: “In Allah’s name (bismillah).”

Fir`awn’s daughter said: “Who is Allah? Do you have a lord other than my father?”

She replied:“Allah is my Lord, your Lord, your father’s Lord and the Lord of all people.”

Fir`awn’s daughter told her father what the maidservant had said. Fir`awn summoned her and asked her:“Do you have a lord other than me?”

She replied: “Allah is my Lord, your Lord and the Lord of all things.”

Fir`awn said: “If you do not renounce your faith I will punish you and kill you.”

She remained firm and said:“Do what you wish.”

She remained firm in the front of the worst of tyrants. How many people in our times are shaken by the smallest thing?

A cauldron of boiling oil was brought and they cast her first child into it and then her second. She was breast-feeding her third child and out of mercy for the child she tried to stop herself being thrown into the cauldron.

Her child stopped feeding and said to her:“Remain firm, because you are on the right path!”

Then they were both cast into the cauldron. She immediately attained the grace, bounty, forgiveness and generosity of Allah. She reached such a high station that the Best of Creation ﷺ smelt her scent on the best of nights, the night of the Isra’ and Mi`raj. Allah wished to manifest the station of this great woman who truthfully sought Allah and remained firm in her faith.

May Allah make us firm!

 

The Night Journey with Habib `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf

Extracts from talks by Habib `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him) on the subject of the Isra’ and Mi`raj.

The Ummah received great gifts from the night of the Isra’ and Mi`raj through the means of the Prophetﷺ . Whenever this night comes round, the Ummah continues to benefit from the legacy which the Prophet left behind which remains as long as Allah remains. It continues to receive gifts, blessings and mercy.

Allah says:

Transcendent is the One Who caused His slave to travel by night.[1]

He praised Himself knowing that mankind does not know the meaning or the reality of praise. He taught us how to praise Him with His praise and how to remember Him with His remembrance.

Allah chose to cause His slave to travel by night and also chose that His Prophet be born in the last part of the night. This is significant because the night is when lovers commune with each other. It is the time when the lover converses secretly with his beloved. This is why Allah said to His Beloved:

In part of the night pray, as an extra obligation for you. Soon will your Lord raise you to a praiseworthy station.[2]

Jibril was an angel but he was unable to ascend to the highest of places with the Prophet ﷺ . He was unable to withstand the intensity of the light in those realms. The Beloved  ﷺ was created from that light so he was able to enter those realms and he merely increased in light, in splendour, in beauty and in closeness. He reached two bow-lengths and even nearer. He was calm and was not shaken by the greatness of where he was.

When the Prophet ﷺ greeted His Lord, and His Lord responded, his Ummah was in his heart. He said:

“Peace be upon us and upon Allah’s pious slaves.”

The people of la ilaha ill’Allah must realise the greatness of this blessing, for through him, you were ennobled. He was the intermediary. In worldly affairs you often need someone to intercede for you or put a word in for you. We have the greatest intermediary. You were mentioned in the divine presence. Is it then fitting that someone ignores this immense blessing by falling into heedlessness or disobedience? If you have been mentioned in the highest realm, why would you wish to lower yourself to the realm of animals?

Every created thing longed to have its portion of Allah’s Beloved ﷺ . It was not until he made his Mi`raj that the heavens got their portion of him.

***

[1] Al-Isra’, 17:1

[2] Al-Isra’, 17:79

Reflections on the Isra’ and Mi`raj

Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects upon the Isra’ (Night Journey) and Mi`raj (Ascension). A summary of several lectures on the topic.

We are approaching 27th Rajab, the night on which the Islamic world traditionally celebrates the Isra’ (Night Journey) and Mi`raj (Ascension) of our Prophet, the Chosen One ﷺ. The Isra’ and Mi`raj was a great sign and an immense miracle which Allah gave to the Master of the people of the heavens and the earth, to demonstrate his superiority over mankind, jinn-kind, angels and the whole of creation. There are great lessons in the events that took place and a means of increasing in belief and certitude. The scholars say that the best night in relation to the Ummah as a whole was the night on which the Prophet was born, whereas the best night in relation to the Prophet himself was the night of the Isra’ and Mi`raj.

Prior to this night the Prophet had displayed great patience in the face of hardship and it is one of Allah’s wisdoms that He bestows His gifts accompanied with hardships. Allah says: They encountered suffering and adversity and were shaken such that the Messenger and those of faith who were with him said: “When will Allah’s assistance come?” Truly Allah’s assistance is always near.[1] At the end of his life, the Messenger of Allah said that the worst treatment that he received from the disbelievers was his violent rejection at the hands of the people of al-Ta’if. Most of the scholars of the Sirah say that that the Isra’ and Mi`raj took place shortly after this, a year prior to the Hijrah on the 27th night of the month of Rajab.[2]

The Prophet ﷺ saw some of the events of the Isra’ and Mi`raj in his dreams as a preparation for them before the events actually occurred. Some people claim that all the events of the Isra’ and Mi`raj took place in a dream state but this is not the case: the Prophet experienced them with his body and soul. Had the Isra’ been merely something the Prophet experienced in his dream, the disbelievers of Quraysh would not have had difficulty accepting it. They would not have asked: “How can you have travelled to Jerusalem last night and be with us in Makkah this morning?”

Allah says: Transcendent is the One Who caused His slave to travel by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa.[3] Allah tends to express His transcendence before mentioning a great affair which is beyond what people are accustomed to.

When Allah wished to speak to Sayyiduna Musa, He told him to wait thirty days and then a further ten days: We appointed for Musa thirty nights and we completed (the period) with ten more.[4] Allah, however, did not tell His Beloved to wait. Rather His order came suddenly, without any warning. The Prophet’s chest was split open and his heart was washed and filled with knowledge and forbearance. The Buraq was then brought to him. Allah could have caused him to travel without the Buraq, but it was a means of honouring and ennobling him. Jibril said to the Buraq after some initial obstinacy: “Are you not ashamed, O Buraq? By Allah, no one more noble in the sight of Allah has ever ridden you!”

The Prophet stopped in a number of places on the Isra’ to emphasise the importance of visiting the places in which Allah bestowed His bounties upon His pious slaves. He was ordered to seek to draw close to Allah by praying near the tree where Allah spoke to Musa, by praying at Mount Tur, where Allah gave revelation to Musa, and at Bayt Lahm, where Isa was born. The whole earth was made a place of prayer and prostration for the Prophet so what was the significance of him praying in those places if it was not seeking blessings (tabarruk) and spiritual assistance from them? It is also narrated in Sahih Muslim that he visited the grave of Musa and witnessed him praying in his grave. He said to his Companions: “If I was there I would have showed you his grave.” He was thus teaching his Ummah the importance of knowing the location of the graves of the Prophets and thus the importance of visiting them.

While on his journey, someone called him on his right side but he did not respond. Jibril informed him that this was the caller of the Jews, and had he responded, his Ummah would have followed the way of the Jews. Then someone called him on his left side and once again he did not respond. Jibril informed him that this was the caller of the Christians, and had he responded, his Ummah would have followed the way of the Christians. Thus, in spite of all the efforts of the Christians to convert people to Christianity, the Ummah remains in Allah’s care and protection due to the steadfastness of the Prophet ﷺ.

He was called a third time, and once again he did not respond. Jibril informed him that it was the dunya or the material world calling him, and had he responded, his Ummah would have chosen this life over the next. The dunya then appeared to him in the form of an old woman. Jibril informed him that all that remained of the life of this world before the Day of Judgement is like the time this old woman had left to live. We witness all the wars and struggles that take place and in reality this life is like an old woman on the verge of death and ahead of us is the next life! May Allah give us the best of endings! Due to the Prophet’s refusal to respond to the callings of the dunya, there remain to this day people who know its worthlessness.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ led the Prophets in prayer in al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Jibril informed him that the soul of every prophet sent by Allah from the time of Adam to the time of Isa was brought to pray behind him so that they would come to know the station of their master, Muhammad. He was the imam who led all the prophets and angels in prayer. Why do we not make him our imam?

The Prophet then ascended from heaven to heaven. The angels in the heavens had been informed that he would come and it was their opportunity to be honoured by meeting him just as his Companions had that honour on the earth. The people of the earth threw stones at him and insulted him but the people of the heavens gave him the warmest of welcomes. In the Prophet’s meeting with his father Adam and the other Prophets in the various heavens there is a lesson. In spite of the Prophet’s superiority over them, he was still ordered to greet them. There was no-one less in need of anyone else than him but he met them and displayed great etiquette and manifested his slave-hood to his Lord.

Among the things he witnessed was people who turned down freshly cooked meat and chose to eat putrid rotting meat. He was told that this was like those who leave that which is lawful and choose that which is unlawful. He saw people’s heads being smashed with rocks. As soon as their heads were smashed they would be restored and then smashed again and so on. He was told these were the people who were too lazy to pray the obligatory prayer.

He ascended to al-Bayt al-Ma`mur, which resembles the Ka`bah above the seventh heaven. It lies directly above the Ka`bah, and every day 70,000 angels enter it. The Prophet entered it and prayed in it, along with the spirits of some of the elect of Allah. Then he came to al-Sidrat al-Muntaha, a tree whose size and beauty is indescribable. Were one of its leaves to fall it would cover the heavens and the earth. This is the end point of the knowledge of creation. It was here that Jibril stopped. He said that if he went any further, he would burn but he told the Prophet to continue his journey alone. He duly ascended to the Throne of Allah and fell into prostration. Musa had been ordered to remove his sandals when Allah spoke to him, but the Beloved was not ordered to do so. Allah then ordered him to raise his head and he addressed Allah: “Greetings, blessings and the best of prayers to Allah.”

Allah responded: “Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.”

At this point, when Allah was manifesting Himself to him, the Prophet wished to remember the pious members of his Ummah and the previous nations. He said: “Peace be upon us and upon Allah’s pious slaves.”

The angels of the heavens then cried out: “We testify that there is no deity other than Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.”

When Allah spoke to him, He said: “I have taken you as My beloved and I have expanded your heart and raised high the esteem in which you are held so that whenever I am mentioned you are mentioned with Me. I made your nation the best of nations and I made them the last and the first on the Day of Judgement. I made you the first prophet to be created and the last to be sent.” Allah thus spoke gently to His Beloved and reminded him of His blessings upon him. He said things to Him which only He knows.

He made fifty prayers compulsory on his nation. This was eventually reduced to five with the reward of fifty. Are those who are unable to perform the five not ashamed of their Lord? What would they have done if it was fifty prayers that they had to perform? Allah made five prayers compulsory upon His slaves, in which there is the opportunity to converse with Allah and draw close to Him. “The closest the slave is to his Lord is when he is in prostration.”

The Prophet was blessed with the vision of his Lord, a blessing which no-one else will receive until they enter Paradise. The vision cannot be understood in a conventional way since Allah is transcendent and cannot be limited to a place or direction. Some Muslims deny that the vision of Allah is possible and we agree with them that the vision of Allah in a conventional sense is impossible. However, we understand the vision of Allah to be something far greater than that, a pure manifestation of Allah’s light, which is indescribable.

Sayyiduna Musa was keen to receive some of the light that was on the face of the Prophet ﷺ who himself had just seen his Lord. Musa had asked to see Allah while on the earth but his request was not granted. He thus took as much light as he could from the Prophet’s face. The Prophet ﷺ informed us that there will come a time when the Muslims will seek victory through people who had seen him, and later through people who have seen people who have seen him.[5] This shows us that secrets are transmitted through the vision of people’s faces.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺremained firm while witnessing all the things that he witnessed: His vision did not stray, nor did it go wrong[6]; His heart did not lie about what it saw, for truly did he see, of the signs of his Lord, the greatest.[7]

All of this took place in a few instants. So little time had elapsed that the place where he had been sleeping was still warm. All of these are amazing examples of divine power. We are so accustomed to the pattern of cause and effect and the laws of creation that we tend to forget the presence of divine power in everything. In reality the things which we regard to be normal are miraculous – our sitting and standing, our eating and drinking. Allah says: Do you see the water which you drink? Did you bring it down from the clouds or did We?[8]

May Allah bestow prayers upon the one who made this awesome journey and may He resurrect us with him. Make us among those who are truthful in their following of him. Do not deprive us of the vision of him in this life, the Barzakh and the next life. Allow us to see the face of the one who You allowed to see Your countenance so that we are ready to see Your countenance in the abode of Your pleasure.

***

[1] Al-Baqarah, 2:214

[2] In the Islamic calendar the night precedes the day, so what is meant is the night before the 27th day

[3] Al-Isra’ 17:1

[4] Al-A`raf, 7:142

[5] Narrated by al-Bukhari

[6] Al-Najm, 53:17-18

[7] Al-Najm, 53:11

[8] Al-Waqi`ah, 56:68

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.