Raising Children Leaves No Time for Seeking Knowledge

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

All my time is spent raising my children and I feel I am missing out on worship and seeking knowledge. What advice can you give me?

For you to raise your children in the best way is an act of worship and is part of acting according to your knowledge. Try to follow a class when you have a bit of spare time. A pious woman from the Amudi tribe (in Hadramawt) wrote out the whole of Imam al-Subki’s three volume fatwa collection. At the end she wrote: ‘Please excuse any mistakes I may have made because I wrote this while I was breastfeeding’. The truthful person continues doing good works however small regardless of the situation.

Photo credit: mahabbah.foundation

The Origins of Dreams

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

How can you tell the origin of a dream?

Scholars like Imam al-Ghazali teach us principles for identifying the origin of the passing thoughts (khawatir) that come to the heart. Those thoughts may be divine (directly from Allah), angelic, satanic (from the whisperings of the Devil) or from the lower self (nafs). The same principles may be applied to dreams. So if a dream is followed by a feeling of tranquillity and presence of heart its origin is divine or angelic. If it is followed by a feeling of unsettledness then it is from the lower self or the Devil. If you dream about something you have thought a lot about in the past then this is from the lower self. When you remember Allah afterwards, the effects of dreams that come from the Devil disappear.

If the dream contains encouragement to disobey Allah, become lazy in acts of obedience or hold a bad opinion about someone or harm them then it is from the Devil. Generally speaking, any dream which contains going against the Shariah or against good etiquette (adab) is from the Devil. Any dream which encourages you to do good, have a good opinion of others and increases you in humility is from Allah.

Allah says: Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty and commands you to do foul deeds; Allah promises you His forgiveness and His abundance: Allah is limitless and all knowing  (al-Baqarah, 2:268).

How Does a Seeker of Knowledge Attain Openings?





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

How does a seeker of knowledge attain openings?

Seekers must abide by the etiquettes of seeking knowledge. They must spend time reviewing what they have studied with fellow students and write down important points which they learn.

They should call upon Allah by His names the Opener, the All-Knowing 100 times a day:

يا فَتَّاحُ يا عَلِيمُ

Ya Fattāḥ ya `Alīm

They should also repeat Ayat al-Kursi followed by this prayer upon the Prophet ﷺ :

اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَ سَلِّمْ عَلى سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَلي آلِ سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ في كُلِّ لَمْحَةٍ وَ نَفَسٍ بِعَدَدِ كُلِّ  مَعْلومٍ لَكَ

Allahumma salli wa sallim ‘ala sayyidina Muhammad wa ‘ala ali sayyidina Muhammad fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasin bi `adadi kulli ma`lumin lak

O Allah, bestow prayers and peace on our master Muhammad and his Family in every instant and every breath equal to the amount of everything known to You

Is Practising Islam Easy or Difficult?

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

Islam is supposed to be easy but I am finding it hard to practise. How can we reconcile between this ease and hardship?

All good things are not beyond a person’s capacity to attain but they are only attained through effort. Even in worldly affairs, effort is required to attain one’s goals. If we look at the religion from the perspective that it does not give us obligations which we are unable to fulfil, we find ease in it. In addition to this, we find that whenever we act upon the injunctions of the religion we receive great openings, gentleness and assistance from Allah. When the spirit begins to find pleasure in acts of worship and the person begins to appreciate the inner beauty of the religion, all physical hardship becomes easy to bear. In fact, the hardship which the lower self experiences – which has been likened to holding on to a hot coal – is transformed into pleasure which the spirit experiences. When Sayyiduna Bilal was asked how he bore the pain of being tortured in Makkah, he said that he caused the sweetness of faith which he was tasting to overcome the pain of torture.

The religion is easy to practise but the soul goes through difficulty in establishing it in the best way. There is no contradiction in this. What makes it seem more difficult is that the majority of people around us do not practise it. The Prophet ﷺ said: “This religion began as something strange and it will return once again as something strange, so good tidings to the strangers who bring life to the affairs of my Sunnah which people had caused to die.”

Intentions for Establishing an Institute

 

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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.

What is the Ruling on Organ Donation?

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

What is the ruling on organ donation?

It is impermissible to take a dead person’s organs. Some scholars allow someone to donate an organ such as a kidney if they can do without it, especially if they are donating it to someone close to them such as their father or mother and doing so would save their life. It would not be permissible to donate your eye or your hand for example because you do not in fact own your own organs but rather they belong to Allah. It is permissible to donate blood because it replaces itself and donating it does not detract from a person’s makeup.

Is it Permissible for a Male Teacher to Teach a Woman the Qur’an?

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

Is it permissible for a male teacher to teach a woman the Qur’an?

This is permissible if the male teacher teaches from behind a veil and as long as the two are not alone together. It has been narrated that: “A man must never be alone with a woman even if he is teaching her the Qur’an and even if she is Maryam bint `Imran.” The Companions would take knowledge from the wives of the Prophet, the Mothers of the Believers from behind a veil.

Defence Against Tribulation

 

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Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) teaches us that our connection to Allah and His Beloved  ﷺ  are a defence against tribulation. He also helps us to understand some of the divisions among the Companions and the concepts of tawassul and service. Summarised from his speech in Dar al-Mustafa at the closing ceremony of the 22nd Dowra, 17th Dhu’l-Qa`dah 1437 / 19th August 2016.

All credit belongs to the Prophet ﷺ, our guide and teacher. The good works of anyone who reached any rank will be recorded in the Prophet’s book – from the Siddiqun and the greatest of them: Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman and `Ali – to the first of the Muhajirun and the Ansar, to the Ahl al-Bayt, the scholars and callers to Allah. Every mosque and institute of knowledge that Allah accepted will be recorded in his book.

The Valley of Hadramawt was blessed by the Companions, the Followers and the scholars that came after them and was then crowned by the arrival of Imam al-Muhajir. From his progeny came forth many shining stars, people of truthfulness and sincerity. This is our source of pride. Neither outward appearances nor empty ceremonies are a source of pride. This path is a path of removing all ceremonies and formalities. The people of this path paid no attention to outward appearances. They paid no attention to things that have no value in Allah’s sight and which are of no benefit in the next life.

Our Prophet ﷺ said: “A sign that a person has perfected his Islam is that he leaves that which does not concern him.” This is the path a person should take in this life, knowing that which concerns him in his religion and worldly life in the light of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. That person then frees himself from the domination of disbelief which has numerous manifestations on the face of the earth. The Prophet ﷺ mentioned that tribulations will be presented to people’s hearts and this is exactly what we see today –in the name of movements or revolution or progress or other things.

When we study the lives of the Companions and the divisions that took place we only accept the narrations which are in accordance with how Allah describes them in the Qur’an. We do not allow anyone to tamper with our history. People tamper with our recent history and much of what is said is false. What the Prophet ﷺ informed us of is sufficient. He saw people having their faces torn with hooks made of fire. He asked who they were and he was told: “A man from your Ummah who lies and his lie then reaches the horizons.” Look at the precision of the Prophet’s description!

Sayyiduna `Ali said after the Battle of the Camel: “I hope that I and Zubayr and Talhah are among those who Allah described: We will remove from their hearts all rancour  – they will be brothers facing one another on couches.”[1] Sayyiduna `Ali made sure that Sayyidatuna `Aishah received the best treatment. He would pass by her tent to check up on her and he would address her as his mother. When she decided to return to al-Madinah he personally bid farewell to her. He arranged for his female relatives to accompany her and he walked not a few paces, but two miles, to see her off.

This is consistent with how Allah describes the Companions in the Qur’an: They are merciful to one another.[2]  This is appropriate for those who were taught by Muhammad. We do not accept other versions presented to us to divide us.

If we receive Allah’s light it cannot be extinguished regardless of the tribulations that come. The greatest tribulation will be the Dajjal, but the people of truthfulness, sincerity and humility and the people who love Muhammad will be safe from it. When Sayyiduna `Isa descends he will inform them of their stations in Paradise. The problem is that we have exposed ourselves to tribulations and we are deluded by what is presented to us.

If you want to be safe, enter the fortress of Muhammad. He brought us the fortress of la ilaha ill’Allah. Allah says in the hadith qudsi: “La ilaha ill’Allah is My fortress. Whoever enters My fortress will be safe from My punishment.” According to the strength of our connection to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, we will be safe from the greatest tribulation, not to mention the tribulations that come before and after it.

It is as Sayyiduna al-`Abbas said: “Tribulations only descend due to sins and they are only lifted by tawbah.” He said this when Sayyiduna `Umar put him forward to seek rain for the people at a time of drought. `Umar said: “O Allah, we used to use Your Prophet as an intermediary and now we are using the uncle of Your Prophet as an intermediary, so bless us with rain!” The whole region was then blessed with rain and Sayyiduna al-`Abbas became known as ‘the one who brought rain to the Haramayn.’ No-one said that this was an innovation or shirk. They knew that al-`Abbas was merely a means for the rain to come.

May Allah bless those who attended this Dowra, especially in the current conditions. Why did they come? Many people suffer hardships and long journeys for the sake of a qualification or a job but what was it that brought these people here? What do they want? “The one whose hijrah was for Allah and His Messenger..” Did they come to enjoy the parks or play games?

We also cannot forget the people involved in service, which is an arena of jihad. They will gain a greater reward than many people involved in jihad in our times and in previous times. Sayyiduna Abu Darda’ said: “If someone thinks that going out to seek knowledge is not jihad then his intellect is deficient.” These people served without expecting any worldly reward. Do you think that this will come to nothing? Allah says: We do not allow the reward of those who perfect their actions to go to waste.[3] Success is in truthfulness with Allah and working together to please Him.

May Allah bless the institutes of knowledge in Yemen and Sham and bring back their strength and vibrancy. May He bless al-Azhar al-Sharif and all the places and people of knowledge in the East and West. May He revive true knowledge among them. May He unite the Ummah and protect it from all harm.

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[1]  Al-Hijr, 15:47

[2] Al-Fath, 48:29

[3] Al-Kahf, 18:30

On Dealing With False Claims About the Parents of the Prophet ﷺ

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

How should we deal with those who claim that the blessed parents of the Prophet are destined for the Fire ﷺ?

The first thing to mention is that we should avoid pointless debate with these types of people. They should be ignored unless it is hoped that they will return to the truth, in which case the correct position should be clarified to them. It is enough to say that the evidence of the Qur’an is given precedence over solitary hadith reports (ahad). The Qur’an clearly says that: We do not punish until We send a messenger.[1] If this is not sufficient proof for such people then there is no hope that they will be guided so they should be left.

We should remind people that verbally abusing a person’s parents hurts their children. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Do not verbally abuse the dead so that you harm those who are alive.”[2] These people should ask themselves: who is the son of the people they are abusing? We should also remember the Prophet’s etiquette when `Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl came to accept Islam. The Prophet told his Companions not to mention anything unpleasant about his father, in spite of the fact that Abu Jahl was the Fir`awn of this nation, a disbeliever destined for the Fire.

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[1] Al-Isra’, 17:15. At the very least, the parents of the Prophet would be considered to be Ahl al-Fatrah, meaning people living in a time and among a people to whom no messenger had been sent.

[2] Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and al-Tabarani

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.