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

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.

Criteria for Benefiting from Other Shuyukh

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

There is a shaykh in our area. Can we benefit from him?

He must be someone of truthfulness (sidq) and taqwa. A sign of his truthfulness is that he praises the pious scholars of the Ummah and does not attack any of them. His taqwa can be gauged by looking at his dealings with women and with electronic devices.

Dowra Gathering

 

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Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) recently met with a number of students who have been attending this year’s Dowra from South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The students spoke of the sacrifices they had made coming to Tarim and what they had learnt in the Dowra. A student from Thailand said that all he possessed was three cows but he had sold them in order to buy a plane ticket to Yemen. A student from South Africa talked about the difficulties he had experienced on the journey to Tarim. He said that every hardship had been a means of purification and that in one of the first lessons he attended, Habib Umar explained the meaning of Allah’s saying in Surat al-Balad: We have created mankind in hardship.

Habib Umar then said:

“In all that we have heard from you is a reminder and a source of insight. These words connect us with higher goals and with the best of people. They show us that there are people in our time who resemble the truthful people of the early generations. They are not slaves to customs, to their desires or to the trends that are prevalent in the world today. This is a reflection of Allah’s statement, addressing the Devil: ‘As for My slaves, you have no power over them.’

What we have heard tells us that the opportunity is there for anyone who wishes to be elevated. Through knowledge, wisdom and truthfulness we may have an effect on others, rather than being affected by others.

May Allah bless you and bless your counsels to hold fast to the truth and to remain steadfast. It has been said that anyone who holds on to the rope of truthfulness will be called a siddiq (someone of immense truthfulness).

This is reflected in the statement of the Prophet ﷺ :

“A man will continue to be truthful and strive to be so until he is recorded by Allah as being a person of immense truthfulness.”

 

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Balancing Seeking Knowledge and Remembrance of Allah

A Tunisian scholar asked Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him):

How does one balance between seeking knowledge and spending time in the remembrance of Allah (reading awrad or litanies)?

Habib Umar replied:

“The key to seeking knowledge is the soundness of one’s intention. If one’s intention is sound and pure, then seeking knowledge is one of the best acts of worship and one of the best forms of remembrance.

If you would like to continue reading your awrad but are considering reducing them to focus on seeking knowledge, not out of laziness, then this is a sign of sincerity. In this case you may reduce the amount you read, but you should not leave your awrad completely. If, however, you find yourself wanting to leave your awrad out of laziness, then it is a sign that you are not sincere, so you should persist in reading them.

Soon after I left Hadramawt, when I was based in al-Bayda, I visited one of my teachers, Imam Abu Bakr al-`Attas bin `Abdullah al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him). He said to me: “Do not read a lot of awrad since you are busy seeking knowledge and calling people to Allah. The Wird al-Latif of Imam al-Haddad is sufficient. If this is too much, then just read the second half of it from ‘hasbiya Allah..’ onwards.” He was indicating that there should be a balance in one’s affairs.

May Allah take us by the hand and rectify our outward and inward state.”

On Taking a Wage for Teaching the Islamic Sciences and the Qur’an

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

 

Should someone take money for teaching the Islamic Sciences?

Earning money should not be the intention and objective of the one teaching. Teaching the Islamic sciences should not be turned into a business. Rather, the teacher should be concerned about conveying the Sacred Law to people. If someone gives you something and he is happy to do so and it is easy for him to do so then you can accept it. If you need it, you can keep it and if you do not then you can give it to someone in need. You should not accept money if the person who gives it has gone through difficulty to obtain it – such as if he had to borrow the money. The highest level of sincerity is not to stipulate a fee, not to be concerned with the fee and to accept whatever comes your way regardless of how much it is and then spend it in a way which is pleasing to Allah.

The sign of the teacher’s truthfulness is that he does not differentiate in the way he teaches and cares for his students between those who pay him and those that do not and those that pay him a little and those that pay him a lot. Rather he treats them all equally.

 

Should I take a wage for teaching the Qur’an?

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The best thing to take a wage for is the Book of Allah.” Some scholars use this hadith as evidence for the permissibility of taking a wage for teaching the Qur’an. Your intention should be good and the sign of your sincerity is that you would continue teaching even if you stopped being paid. You should use what you earn to pay for your needs and you should give any extra money away in charity.

On Academic Studies

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

 

What should our perspective be on academic studies?

Academic studies should be seen merely as a means of attaining knowledge. We recognise that this is the system in place and that it encompasses various philosophies. There is no harm in using it as a means to attain knowledge as long as we do not contravene the Sacred Law in doing so. It is important to emphasise that academic studies do not take the place of Islamic studies. Thus anyone who enters into academic studies must also devote some time to studying the Sacred Law at the hands of those who are worthy of teaching it and possess sound chains of connection in the Islamic sciences.

On the books of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani

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

Do you recommend we read the books of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani?

Yes, the Shaykh was one of the greatest knowers of Allah as well as being one of the descendants of the Prophet ﷺ. He has benefited people throughout the world. One of his best known works is al-Futuhat al-Rabbaniyyah, which is a collection of transcripts of his speeches. It has a good effect upon the reader and brings about purification and illumination. Another work of his, al-Ghunyah, is also beneficial but a few parts which are not his work have been added to it.