Category Archives: Living in the West

Advice in Times of Hardship

Answered by Sayyidi al-Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him)

These are difficult times for Muslims in America. Recently young Muslims have been killed and an Islamic centre has been burnt down. What advice do you have for us?

These are some of the tribulations that occur at the end of time. Following the correct moderate path is what deflects these tribulations.

Muslims should follow the example of those that Allah describes in the Qur’an:

“Many a prophet was killed[1] with a number of devoted men beside them but they never lost heart due to what befell them in Allah’s way. They were not weakened and they did not give in. Allah loves those who are steadfast. All that they said was: ‘Our Lord, forgive us our sins and our transgressions, make our feet firm and assist us against those who reject faith.’ So Allah gave them a reward in this world and the best reward of the Hereafter, and Allah loves the people of excellence.” (3.146 -8)

Just as Allah gave the previous nations the reward of this life and the next, Allah; out of His generosity, will give a similar or even better reward to someone who says the same thing and attains the same state.

Muslims should beware of doing anything that contravenes the Sacred Law or of denying anyone their rights. Their actions should reflect the true teachings of Islam. Allah will give them support in the face of what they are suffering. Those who are involved in calling to Allah should remind people of what we have just mentioned and try to make people’s faith firm. They should aim to prevent things like this happening.

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[1] Another reading of the Qur’an would translate as: ‘Many of the pious fought with the Prophets..’

Responding to Attacks on the Prophet ﷺ

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

What is the best response to attacks on the Prophet ﷺ?

The best response is to educate people about the Prophet ﷺ through public talks, conferences and social media. The perpetrators wish to divert the Muslims from doing that which benefits them, so we should ignore them and show the falsehood of the cartoons without mentioning the cartoons and those who drew them. The fact that people pay attention to the cartoons helps them to spread.

We should look at how Allah responded to those who abused the Prophet ﷺ. Rather than directly reporting their words and mentioning their names, Allah asserts the greatness of the Prophet:

‘You are not, by the favor of your Lord, a madman. You shall have a reward that is unlimited. Yours is indeed a tremendous character.’ (68:2-4)

There is no better response than Allah’s response. If we respond to everything which they do in the way they want us to respond then we will lose our way. Many of us act as if we do not have an example to follow. So let us follow the teachings of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and this will be a means of success and victory.

 

On Using Interest Payments

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

What should I do with interest payments that have accumulated in my bank account?

You should give the money to the poor and needy or some public project such as repairing roads, providing medication for the sick or feeding the poor. You cannot use it yourself or consider it your property. When you give it, it cannot be considered charity but you will have the reward of preserving it and using it in a way that pleases Allah.

On Protecting Our Children in Western Society

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

 How do we protect our children from bad influences in the society in which we live? We fear for their faith.

It is good to have fear for our children since corruption is everywhere, especially in societies the values of which are distant from Islamic values. This fear must not, however, lead to despair but rather should lead us to take action. Allah gave the believers a model in the life of the wife of Fir`awn. In spite of the fact that she lived with Fir`awn in his palace, she will be rewarded by being a wife of the Prophet ﷺ in the next life due to her truthfulness, patience and firmness.

This fear should lead us to create environments which protect our children and to shut the doors to corruption as far as we are able. We should arrange group activities for our children according to their age. These activities should be enjoyable and safe from any harm. We should also give them a portion of adhkar to read and give them that which illuminates their minds.

If it is possible to move to an environment which is better for our children then we can do that as long as that does not lead us to neglect any responsibility we have in the place where we are currently living. Otherwise we should remain where we are and follow the principles mentioned.

 

Should we send our children to a better environment?

We should send them at an age where they are mature enough to live in that environment are able to receive knowledge.

On Preventing Excessive Use of the Internet and Mobile Devices

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

How can we prevent excessive use of the Internet and mobile devices?

This can be done by focusing the heart on remembrance and reflection. You should remember Allah until His remembrance dominates your heart. You should reflect upon the life of the Prophet ﷺ. This engenders a longing to be in his company and a longing to meet him. You should also avoid keeping the company of those who spend a lot of time using the internet.

Our use of mobile devices must be governed by taqwa, knowledge and intelligence. We must use them in the best way, be in complete control of them and avoid any evil that their use may entail. Making light of a small part of evil leads to a great amount of evil. By using them correctly we are supporting the cause of Allah. One of the first manifestations of victory is in our use of these devices. This is related to our victory in our use of our limbs which points to a victory in our battle with our lower selves. Anyone who is in control of their body and lower self will receive assistance from Allah. Allah says: If you assist Allah, He will assist you and make your feet firm.[1] He also says: Allah will truly assist whoever assists Him.[2] Allah then mentions the signs of those who assist Him: they are those who establish the prayer, pay zakat, enjoin good and forbid evil.

 

[1] Muhammad, 47:7

[2] Al-Hajj, 22:40

On Raising Children and Mobile Devices

 

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

 

How do we raise our children in an open society in which they have access to mobile devices?

Firstly we should plant veneration and vigilance of Allah in their hearts through talking to them, spending time with them and taking them to attend gatherings of knowledge and remembrance. We should also tell them about the people of the past who had fear of Allah and show them videos and talks by scholars that will increase their fear of Allah.

We should put some restriction upon their use of these devices and upon their interaction with society so that they learn to take that which is of benefit and leave that which is not.

 

On Attending Gatherings in which Forbidden Musical Instruments are Used

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

 

Can we attend gatherings in which forbidden musical instruments are used?

If there is scholarly consensus that they are forbidden then there is no way we can attend. If the scholars differ over whether they are permissible or not, we should assess what benefit there is in attending. If there is great benefit to be had in attending, we can overlook the fact that the scholars differ over the permissibility of these instruments. If there is not great benefit to be had, it is better not to attend.

On Praise and Criticism of Western Society

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

 

How do we strike a balance between criticising the bad sides of Western society while at the same time recognising the good sides? Please clarify for us the principles here.

Any culture, understanding and moral character in agreement with the Sacred Law should be praised. We cannot accept for ourselves anything that is contrary to the Sacred Law in Western society. We have to clarify the bad sides of Western society in the best possible way. Our call to Allah should not, however, focus on this. Rather it is founded upon knowledge of Allah and prophethood. When someone accepts this, we gradually introduce legal aspects and we clarify things with the best words and best intentions.

The Ruling on Working in a Bank

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

 

What is the ruling on working in a bank which deals with interest?

If the bank conducts other financial dealings in which there is no interest then it is dubious to work there. If it only deals with interest then it is forbidden to work there. Working in such an institution constitutes recording and assisting transactions in which there is interest.[1]

 

 

[1] The Prophet ﷺ cursed the two parties involved in usurious transactions, as well as the one who records those transactions, and the two people who witness them. (Narrated by Muslim, Abu Daud and al-Tirmidhi)

On Listening to Music

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

Is it permissible to listen to music?

This depends on the instrument which is being listened to. If it is an instrument which the sacred texts forbid, such as the mizmar (a flute which has a reed) then it is impermissible to listen to it. If it is an instrument which is not prohibited, such as a daff (tambourine) or a nayy (hollow flute) then it is permissible, although there is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars regarding the nayy.