Category Archives: Travelling the Path

On Good Signs and Indications

The Prophet ﷺ used to love optimism and positivity and dislike pessimism and negativity. He would tend to see things around him as good signs and not as bad signs. What is meant by this is that you hear or see something and interpret it to be a good sign of things that are happening or will happen in the future.

One of the practices of the pious is to open the poetry collections of the Imams of the past with the intention of seeking guidance regarding a matter facing them at that time (for example, whether to travel or not). They would use the first verse of poetry their eyes would fall upon as indication or a sign as to how to proceed.

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

What is the difference between Allah loving the believers and being with them?

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

Allah is with all of His creation in a general sense but He is with certain categories of His servants – such as the people of taqwa and sabr – in a special sense and this is manifested in Him giving them His direct aid and support. This being with Allah in a special sense is one part or one aspect of His love for His servants, which is more expansive and comprehensive than His being with them.

 

Imam al-Haddad on Steadfastness

In this short poem, Imam al-Haddad counsels us to be people of sabr (steadfastness or patience). He extols the virtues of steadfastness, gives glad tidings to those who possess this trait and points to its connection to other lofty spiritual stations. He reminds us of the nature of tribulations and their connection to the divine decree. Finally, he calls upon us to emulate the steadfastness of the pious who have gone before and their master, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

Habib Umar bin Hafiz is explaining the poem line by line at the beginning of his daily Rawha sessions as part of this year’s Dowra

Download the poem with translation here

 

Photo credit: thanks to Zach Reiner for sharing their work on Unsplash.

Dealing With Thoughts of Disbelief

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

Thoughts of disbelief sometimes come into my mind. Does this take me out of the fold of Islam?

No this does not take you out of the fold of Islam. We are only taken to account for the thoughts which we are content with and agree with. We will not be taken to account for the thoughts which you dislike and ignore. This is a manifestation of Allah’s bounty. The Prophet said ﷺ : “Allah has overlooked for my sake my nation’s mistakes, forgetfulness and thoughts as long as they do not talk about it or act upon it.”

One way of driving these thoughts away is to repeat Allah’s name lengthening the ‘a’ (Allaaaah) and raising the head upwards towards the sky.

There is nothing better than imploring Allah for His assistance and remembering Him constantly. Anyone who feels that they are unable to purify themselves should turn to Allah and say (as Imam al-Haddad says):

يا رَبِّ قَدْ غَلَبَتْنِي    وَبالأَمَـانِي سَبَـتْنِي
وَفِي الْحُظُوْظِ كَبَتْنِي   وَقَيَّــدَتْنِي بَالاكْبَــالْ

قَـدْ اسْـتَعَنْتُكَ رَبِي    عَلَى مُــدَاوَاة قَلْبِيْ
وَحَـلِّ عُقْـدَة كَرْبِـي    فَانْظُرْ إِلَى الْغَـمِّ يَنْجَـالْ

My Lord, my lower self has overpowered me

And deluded me with false hopes,

It subdues me with worldly pleasures,

and shackles me in chains.

I seek Your support, my Lord,

in curing my heart.

Release me from distress and look

(kindly) on my sorrow and dispel it.

How Do We Avoid Backbiting?

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

How do we avoid backbiting (ghibah)?

We do this by bringing to mind the ugliness and danger of backbiting. We should also reflect on the punishment for it in the next life. In the Quran, Allah likens the person who backbites to someone who eats the flesh of his dead brother. We should see backbiting as a lightning bolt which destroys our good deeds. We should accustom ourselves to only mentioning a person’s good deeds and qualities if there is a benefit in doing so.

If we are tempted to backbite someone due to a perceived fault, we should do two things instead: pray for them and give them sincere advice either directly or indirectly.

Instead of allowing yourself to backbite, you must hold your tongue and use it to remember Allah. Instead of talking about worldly things, use wisdom in choosing a topic of conversation which is beneficial, such as stories of the Prophet, the Companions, the pious or the next life. In this way you will be acting upon the hadith: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say what it is good or remain silent.”

The Scholar Who Worked as a Waiter

One of our teachers was Habib Muhammad bin Alawi al-Attas, a scholar and a true worshipper. He was known as ‘al-Zabidi’ because he spent some years studying with the scholars of Zabid (once a great centre of knowledge in Yemen). During his time there he chose to work as a waiter in a restaurant, not because he needed the money, but in order to refine his lower self (nafs): running round taking people’s orders, bring this, do this..

We visited him in his home in Huraydah at the end of his life with a group of scholars: among them Habib Mashhur bin Hafiz, Habib Umar bin Alawi al-Kaf, Habib Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Shihab and Habib Salim al-Shatiri. 

He said: “Last night someone saw the Prophet ﷺ in this very room.”

May Allah have mercy upon him – a scholar who knew the importance of refining the nafs.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) during his commentary on Ihya Ulum al-Din, Dar al-Mustafa, 28th Dhu’l-Qa’dah 1440.

Seek Forgiveness for the Believing Men and Women

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) marvels at Allah’s command to His Beloved ﷺ to seek forgiveness for the believing men and women and the Beloved’s request for us to do the same.

Be certain that there is no deity except Allah and seek forgiveness for your sins and for the sins of believing men and women (Muhammad, 47:19). In this we observe Your mercy and compassion for the believing men and women as You address Your servant, the one You made absolutely compassionate and merciful to the believers.  You say to him, “seek forgiveness for them, ask Me to forgive them, for I wish to forgive them. Turn to them, intercede for them and act as their intermediary, for you are the most beloved of all My creation to Me.”

Allah says to the one He loves the most: “Seek forgiveness for the believing men and women.” This is an amazing manifestation of Allah’s compassion and mercy for the believing men and women! Before we even gathered together and sought His forgiveness, Allah said to the greatest of all leaders: “Seek forgiveness for them – those who live in your time and those who will come after you. The subtle manifestations of My will have preceded such that I show mercy to them with the most noble of My creation in My sight acting as an intermediary: and seek forgiveness for your sins and for the sins of believing men and women. And he duly sought forgiveness for us.

Every day and night he would seek forgiveness for the believing men and women and he commanded all those who love him and follow him to do the same along with him: “Whoever seeks forgiveness for the believing men and women every day twenty-seven times will be among those whose prayers are answered and those by whom the people of the earth receive provision and rain.” (Tabarani)

If the person who responds to the Prophet’s invitation to do this becomes someone whose prayers are answered and someone by whom the people of the earth receive provision and rain, then what about the Prophet himself? Just by following the Prophet, obeying his command and seeking forgiveness for believing men and women, this person receives something directly from the Prophet. He attains such a state in Allah’s sight that through him provision, rain and goodness is apportioned. But what about the source of all this – the Prophet himself? The individual follower reaches this state as a result of the Prophet. What does this tell us about the station of Muhammad in the sight of the King of Kings?

Extracts from a talk delivered in Dar al-Mustafa, 18th Shawwal 1440

In order to act upon the hadith we should say 27 times every day:

أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ والمؤمِنَات

Astaghfirullaha lil-mu’minina wa’l-mu’minat

I seek forgiveness for the believing men and women

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).

Intentions For After Ramadan

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

What intentions should we make for after Ramadan?

It is good to make these intentions before Ramadan is over so that the reward for our intentions is multiplied.

We intend to be among those whose entire year is Ramadan

We intend that our connection to Allah is expressed in our actions throughout the day and the night

We intend to serve the Ummah in the best way by focusing on the Three Objectives (knowledge, devotion and service)

We intend to seek the pleasure of Allah and to make His Messenger ﷺ happy in all that we do

We intend to attain an increase in presence of heart with Allah at all times but especially during the prayer, recitation of the Quran and remembrance

We intend to establish gatherings with our brothers and sisters who we love for Allah’s sake

We intend to fast the Six Days of Shawwal and other blessed days such as Tāsūā’ and Ashura (9th and 10th Muharram) and the Day of Arafah and at least three days in every month