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?

We intend to be among those whose entire year is Ramadan

We intend that our connection with 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 and recitation of the Quran and the adhkar

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

Preserving the Light of Ramadan

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

How do we preserve the light of Ramadan once the month has ended?

One of the keys to preserving what we have attained is in the intentions we make before the month ends. We should make firm intentions to do good in Shawwal and beyond. We also need to beg Allah to preserve and increase the gifts He has given us. We need to be consistent in our attendance of gatherings and classes, consistent in our recitation of the Quran while reflecting upon its meanings and consistent in our recitation of the adhkar with presence of heart. We must also choose the best company and sit in the presence of people who have been given light.

Photo credit: Mahabbah Foundation

Etiquette of Sleep and Wakefulness

Hb Umar C Town 19 1

 

If someone neglects the etiquette of being awake, their wakefulness becomes sleep. If someone abides by the etiquette of sleep, however, their sleep becomes wakefulness.

Much harm is caused to Muslims by their hearts being asleep. Being distracted by other than Him is, in reality, sleep. If we realised the truth, we would wake up.

Sleeper, wake up! Muslims are in a deep sleep. That is why disbelievers being given power over Muslims can be likened to the animals of the jungle playing around a sleeping lion.

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

Source: Tawjih al-Nabih, Page 292

 

Understanding Commands and Prohibitions

Hb Ali Qubbah

Habib Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him) discusses the meanings and implications of commands and prohibitions.

The commands which are found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah can be divided into that which is obligatory (wajib) and that which is recommended (mustahabb). That which is obligatory must be performed. Not performing it entails a punishment, while performing it entails a great reward and leads to the pleasure of the Lord. Performing acts which are recommended is a path which leads to the pleasure of the Lord and entering into the sphere of those who have drawn close to Allah, act with complete sincerity and love Him. Those who are wholeheartedly seeking Allah do not differentiate between actions which are obligatory and those which are recommended because all their efforts are expended doing that which draws them close to Allah and gains His pleasure.

Every act of obedience draws the servant to his Lord if he gives it its due, performs it as it should be performed, performs it is with a pious intention and desires only the pleasure of Allah in doing it. The purity of the servant’s actions and intentions is according to the purity of his heart.

Prohibitions can also be divided into two categories. The first is that which is forbidden (haram). Doing this entails a punishment and leads to the displeasure of the Lord. The second is that which is disliked (makruh). Leaving it entails a reward. Avoiding that which is prohibited is a huge obstacle which requires great strength and effort because what is at stake is being cut off from Allah. The more a person performs actions that are forbidden the further he is distanced from Allah.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was asked: “If someone has illicit sexual relations is he a believer while he is doing so?”

“No,” he replied.

“If someone steals is he a believer while he is doing so?”

“No.”

This hadith implies that committing acts of disobedience causes the slave to be cut off from Allah. Thus the believer should be extremely careful to avoid that which may lead to his destruction, and extremely steadfast in this battle. If Allah knows that he is sincere, He will assist him with His own strength, and defend him from the scheming of his enemy and his troops. The slave must flee to his Lord in every situation.