On the Etiquettes of Service

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

What are some of the etiquettes of service (khidmah)?

Any type of service, whether it be service of a shaykh or anyone else, should be conducted with the intention of purifying the soul by means of the benefit that comes about through it. Being a cause of any kind of benefit is in fact a type of service. Assisting the shaykh in implementing his objectives or assisting anyone in implementing any objective which is valid in the Shariah is a type of service. Any action which requires humility is more beneficial for the soul, such as cleaning, washing and cooking. An important etiquette is to keep the private affairs of the shaykh or anyone else being served secret. The person serving should have sincerity at all times and should believe that he benefits himself through his service and not that he is doing a favour to those he is serving.

 

Intentions for Establishing an Institute

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

We are establishing an institute for Qur’an memorisation and teaching Arabic. What intentions should we make in doing so?

You should intend: to elevate the word of Allah; to support the cause of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ according to the methodology of his pure inheritors; to be a means for the downpour of Allah’s mercy, warding off evil and allowing the light of guidance reach people’s hearts; to serve the Three Objectives (knowledge (`ilm), spiritual wayfaring (suluk) and calling to Allah (da`wah); to connect to the Qur’an and its secrets and to the one to whom the Qur’an was revealed ﷺ and to open up the meanings and understanding of the Qur’an and the speech of the Prophet ﷺ through the Arabic language. You should also intend what the pious intended, what Qutb al-Zaman intended and all good intentions which are in Allah’s knowledge.

If Allah blesses a single seed it becomes many seeds: The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears (with) a hundred grains in every ear; and Allah multiplies for whom He pleases; and Allah is Ample-Giving, All-Knowing (al-Baqarah, 2:261).

Habib Muhammad al-Haddar made many great intentions when he founded his Ribat (learning institute) in al-Bayda. As a result, someone saw his father in a dream who told him to tell Habib Muhammad that as soon as he built the Ribat those who were being punished in their graves in the local graveyard were no longer punished.

Advice on Reconciliation

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

What advice do you have for someone involved in reconciling between conflicting parties?

This is a great thing and there is a great reward in it. Someone engaged in this should humbly plead with Allah for success and then he should surrender the affair to Allah. He should take people’s personalities and understandings into consideration so that what he says will be accepted by them.

On Dealing With Opposition Due to Lack of Knowledge

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

There are brothers and sisters who have attended the Dowra or have studied abroad for a short time. They then return to their communities to teach what they learn as they have been encouraged by their teachers to do so but they encounter people (some of whom are connected to this path) who do not support them and even discourage others from taking knowledge from them on the grounds they have not studied enough. What is the best way of dealing with this? 

They should persevere in their dawah and not be affected by what these people say. They should show these people respect, maintain good relations with them and not treat them in the same way as they are treating them. They should emphasise the well-known principle that anyone who has even one piece of Islamic knowledge is an ‘alim (literally someone who knows) and he must act upon it and teach it. They must teach what they know and learn that which they do not know. If the people who are opposing them are aware of Imam al-Haddad then they can tell them what Imam al-Haddad says in the introduction of al-Dawah al-Tammah.

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.

Forbidding Evil, Maintaining a Good Opinion and Leaving What Does Not Concern Us

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

How do we combine between forbidding evil, maintaning a good opinion of others and leaving that which does not concern us?

When we forbid someone from doing something wrong we do not believe that they will have a bad ending or that they will be punished. Rather we believe that Allah will forgive them and replace their bad deeds with good deeds and perhaps they will intercede for us on the Day of Judgement. At the same time we do not spy on them or pry into their private affairs. If we do this we have left that which does not concern us. If we do see someone committing an act of disobedience then it concerns us to stop them from them doing it as far as we are able. The Prophet ﷺ said that if someone falls into an act of disobedience they should seek Allah’s concealment but only if they expose themselves we carry out the hadd punishment.

How Anyone Can Call to Allah

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

If someone is not a good speaker and does not have a lot of knowledge what can he do to call people to Allah?

Someone can be engaged in calling people to Allah through reflection and then giving advice to people based upon what he has reflected upon. He can spend his time and wealth, he can practically assist those engaged in dawah and he can make dua. He can distribute books and recordings to those who will benefit. He can call people to Allah on an individual basis and he can do so by showing good character to people generally.