Bad Decisions and the Lower Self

Kill Yusuf or banish him to another land, and your father’s attention will be free to turn to you. After that you can be righteous” (12:8).

This was Yusuf’s brothers’ plan but what did they gain? The years passed and they didn’t achieve their goal. Their father was not happy with them. He remained in a state of sadness and their life remained difficult. In fact, they only got what they wanted when they recognised Yusuf’s status and submitted to him decades later. Continue reading Bad Decisions and the Lower Self

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.”

Imam al-Haddad Rebukes One of His Students

We are blessed to have a large number of letters that Imam al-Haddad wrote to his students. Each letter contains many lessons for us and paints a picture of the methods the Imam used in nurturing his students and guiding them along the path.

In this letter, Imam al-Haddad issues a strong rebuke to one of his students. Before even addressing him personally, he eloquently reminds him of the worthlessness of this life and warns him against being attached to anything worldly. He asks Allah to rectify his heart and bless him with contentment. Then comes the rebuke: Continue reading Imam al-Haddad Rebukes One of His Students

On Following the Sunnah and Avoiding Ostentation

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

I want to follow the Sunnah but I feel pride and ostentation in my heart when I do so. What should I do?

You should try to remove those blameworthy qualities while continuing to follow the Sunnah. The Devil may try to make you leave the Sunnah by making you fear falling into pride and ostentation. If he succeeds in doing that, he may then succeed in making you leave the prayer.


See these classes delivered by Habib Ali al-Jifri on ostentation and how to deal with it


On Becoming Aware of Diseases of the Heart and Dealing With Them

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

Whenever I think I have dealt with one of the diseases in my heart I find I have other diseases. What should I do?

This is a sign that the remedies you are using are working. Continue to seek to purify yourself of these diseases. The more you search and put the spotlight on these diseases, the more you will be aware of them and the better you will be able to deal with them. The fact that you have been made aware of these diseases is a sign that Allah wants good for you and wants to rid you of them. You should continue seeking remedies for these diseases and never despair and abandon good actions.

On the Cause of Harm Befalling You

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

When harm befalls you, how do you know whether it is from the effects of the Evil Eye or due to one’s sins?

Generally speaking, anything that befalls you is due to your sins, although it can be to raise your station. If it is due to the Evil Eye it usually occurs suddenly and it leads to a state which is not your normal state.

The Worst Type of Pride

Habib Ali al-Jifri said: “I asked my teacher, Habib Umar bin Hafiz: which is more dangerous – being proud of one’s actions or being proud of one’s understanding?”

Habib Umar replied (may Allah protect him): “Being proud of one’s understanding is more dangerous than being proud of one’s actions and its outcome is more serious. Look at the response of Iblis (may Allah protect us from him): I am better than him – You created me from fire and You created him from earth. Continue reading The Worst Type of Pride

On Differentiating Between Wisdom and Caprice

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

How can I differentiate between when I act out of wisdom and when I act following the caprice (hawa) of the lower self?

Caprice and wisdom are in opposition to each other. Someone driven by his caprice rushes to gratify the desires of his lower self in a state of heedlessness of Allah. Someone who acts out of wisdom, on the other hand, rushes to seek that which pleases Allah and His Messenger ﷺ, and this is hard for his lower self. He experiences tranquillity, especially when he remembers Allah, and increases in humility and abasement in front of Allah.

On the Role of the Shaykh in Purification of the Heart

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

What is the role of the Shaykh in purification of the heart?

The Shaykh is the most important means of removing the seeker’s blameworthy traits. The Shaykh is not someone who makes false claims or performs miracles but rather someone who is upright in his religion and has a sanad (chain of connection) in purification of the heart. If the seeker is truthful, Allah will cause him to meet a shaykh who will purify him.