Category Archives: Travelling the Path

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.

Your Words Are Like Fruit

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Imam al-Haddad (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him) explains that your speech is a reflection of your inner state.

“Your words are the fruit which you produce. So observe them: are they foul or are they good? What you find is what you are, for they are a part of you. A pure container only pours out that which is pure; and the opposite is true. Likewise, a good palm tree, or any tree, produces good fruit; and a foul tree produces foul fruit. ‘Every container gives of what it is contained within it.’ Allah the Exalted says: The good land produces abundant vegetation by the will of its Lord, whereas the foul land hardly produces anything (7:58).”

Source: Tathbit al-Fu’ad, Vol 1, p.27

A Metaphor for Guidance

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Habib `Abdullah bin Husayn bin Tahir (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him) gives a metaphor for guidance.

“Felicity, guidance and all good attributes are like seeds planted in the heart of the believer. Those that call people to Allah and remind them of Allah and their reminders are like rain. People’s hearts are like the soil. Reminders are directed to the hearts like rain falls upon the soil. If Allah has decreed that it is time for someone to return to Him, the heart will react and submit and follow guidance, just like when rain falls upon fertile soil in which seeds have been planted it yields a good harvest.

Conversely, if the call is directed to hearts which possess no good qualities, it will be like rain falling upon rocky ground. If the call is directed to hearts filled with blameworthy qualities which are destined for wretchedness, they will respond by stubbornly rejecting the call and mocking the callers. This is like rain falling on earth filled with thorn trees. The more the rain falls, the more these trees grow and the more harmful they are. The only way to deal with them is to uproot them and burn them.”

Struggling With Wrongdoing

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

  • Many young people complain that it is difficult for them to leave certain acts of disobedience. When they do manage to repent, they often fall into the same sin again. How are they able to repent sincerely?

Do not deem yourself incapable of repenting even if you keep committing the sin a hundred times a day. Do not forget that you have a Lord Who is completely aware of you. As long as you repent to Him sincerely He will see this, even if you keep repeating the same sin. He will rid you of this disobedience in due course, according to your sincerity.

You must never cut your connection to Him. Never believe what the Devil, your enemy, tells you. Do not say to yourself that there is no hope for me and that I will never be able to stop doing this. No! This is a ploy which your lower self and the Devil use to cut you off from your Lord.

Go back to Him in a state of remorse, and say: “O Lord, help me.” If you fall into it again, return to Allah with remorse once again, repent and resolve never to do it again.

When Allah witnesses your sincerity and persistence, He will have mercy on you. He will strengthen you and you save you from this act of disobedience, whenever He wishes.

Allah says: Those who, when they do something shameful or wrong themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and who never knowingly persist in doing wrong (Al-Imran, 3:135).

Distance yourself from the people, the places and the devices which cause you to sin.

Instead keep the company of the pious and make abundant remembrance of Allah. This will have an effect on you.

The following adhkar are particularly beneficial. Recite the following at least ten times a day:

هُوَ اللهُ الَّذي لا إِلهَ إِلا هو عَالِمُ الغَيْبِ والشَّهادَةِ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ الرَّحِيم

Huw’Allahu’lladhi la ilaha illa hu, ‘Alimu’l ghaybi wash-shahadah, Hu arrahmanu’ rrahim

“He is Allah, there is no deity save Him, Knower of the unseen and the seen, He is the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful.” (Al-Hashr, 59:22)

 

Recite this 100 times a day:

رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لي صَدْرِي و يَسِّرْ لي أَمْرِي

Rabbi-shrah li sadri wa yassir li amri

“My Lord bring tranquillity to my heart and give me ease in my affair.” (Ta Ha 20:25-26)

 

All enabling grace is from Allah.

 

 

Imam al-Haddad Rebukes One of His Students

MakamImamAl-HabibAbdullahbinAlwiAl- (2)

We are blessed to have a large number of letters which 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: the Imam says that it is as if none of the time they spent together has had any effect on him and uses a Quranic verse and one of the aphorisms of Imam Ibn Ataillah to make his point. Finally he warns him against backbiting, which can be done with the pen just as it can be done with the tongue. In spite of the rebuke, the Imam remains compassionate and tells him that he loves him and is praying for him.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

My people, this worldly life is only temporary enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter – that is the everlasting abode.

All praise be to Allah, Who made love of this world and coveting it one of the clearest signs that a person’s heart has become hard and has been plunged into an ocean of darkness in which the raging winds of grief blow against it and the waves of anxiety break upon it from all sides.

Transcendent is the One Who gave no rest and respite to those who avidly seek this worldly life. If only instead of giving them respite, He prevented calamities from befalling them.

May Allah’s prayers and peace be upon our master Muhammad and his Family and Companions at all times.

From the one in most need of Allah the All Powerful, Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad al-Alawi al-Husayni, to the one who he loves him for Allah’s sake, the one who is connected to the people of Allah: Ali bin Umar Uqbah. May Allah give him relief through contentment with the bitterness of Allah’s decree. May Allah sever his attachment to this ephemeral contemptible world and allow his heart to focus on the next life which is far greater and more enduring. Amin.

Salam alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

Be certain, my beloved brother, that we have received your letter but we did not take any comfort from it other than from the praise of Allah which it contained and your greetings.

I am astonished: it is as if you do not know how Allah described this world in His Book and on the tongue of His Messenger!

I really wonder what effect those gatherings had upon you, gatherings that were filled with priceless pieces of wisdom. Was your heart not softened by them? Did your mind not find tranquility in them? It is as if you have no heart and no mind! If you had them they would have benefited:

Do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are only like cattle; rather, they are further astray.

Everything that has happened to you or will happen is as one of them said: “Whoever does not turn himself to Allah due to the gentle manifestations of His kindness, will be dragged to Him with the fetters of severe trials.”

I have no preference in whether you travel or not. Had you not gone against our teachings, you would not have experienced what you are now experiencing.

Never write to us again mentioning something bad about a fellow Muslim. Do you not know that the most disliked of people to us are those who backbite others?

Do not send a letter without a seal.

We are praying for you.

Wassalam.

Mukatabat, Vol 1, Letter 72

Can I ask to be the Renewer (Mujaddid) of this Time?

Hb Umar Cape Town 17

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

Can I ask Allah to make me the renewer (mujaddid) of this time?

Allah has guaranteed that He will continue to renew the religion in people’s hearts and He uses various means to realise this. There will generally be one principle figure who is like the head. He is supported by others who make up the rest of the body. We should ask Allah to be among those who are involved in this renewal.

On Tasting the Sweetness of Worship

Hb in salat

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

How can I taste the sweetness of worship?

Not tasting the sweetness of worship is mainly due to the heart not being fully focused on Allah and being preoccupied by other than Allah. It may also be due to a veil in the heart such as pride or hatred for someone. By standing at Allah’s door and attempting to purify your heart, you will no doubt taste the sweetness of worship. `Utbah al-Ghulam said: “I forced myself to perform the night vigil prayer for twenty years until I tasted its sweetness.”

Obedience of the Heart

Seiyun

 

Habib Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him) teaches us to seek for our hearts to be in the highest of states. Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz recommends reciting this awesome supplication regularly:

اللَّهُمَّ أَوْصِلْنِي إِلى حَالةٍ لا يَعْمَلُ فِيها قَلْبِي مخُالَفَةً ، ولا يَهَمُّ بِها

ولا تُقَارِفُ فيها جَوارِحِي مَعْصِيةً

وبَلِّغْني إلى مَقامٍ لا يَفْتُرُ فِيهِ قَلْبِي عَنْ طَاعَةٍ لَكَ ، مَرْضِيِّةً لَدَيْكَ ، مَقْبولَةً عِنْدَكَ

ولا تَنْفَكُّ جَوارِحي فِيهِ عَنْ عَمَلٍ صَالِحٍ خَالِصٍ لِوَجْهِكَ ، مَقْبولٍ لَدَيْكَ يا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمين

‘O Allah, raise me to a state in which my heart does not commit any acts of disobedience, or even thinks of doing so, and to a state in which my body parts do not commit any acts of disobedience. Raise me to a station in which my heart remains constantly in acts of obedience to You, which are pleasing to You and accepted by You; enable my body to continue to perform pious actions sincerely for your sake which are accepted by You, O Most Merciful.’

The Rays of the Soul

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Habib Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf (may Allah have mercy on him and benefit us by him) explains how we are affected by the spiritual state of those around us.

Every person has rays which emanate from their soul. You receive these rays when you come close to them or sit in their presence. Each person’s rays differ in strength according to the state of their soul. This explains how you become affected by sitting in the presence of great people. They are people who follow the way of the Prophets in their religious and worldly affairs. When they speak, they counsel people. Their actions guide people. When they are silent they are like sign posts which guide people along the path, or like lighthouses whose rays guide ships. Many of them speak very little, but when you see them or visit them you are affected by them. You leave their gatherings having been enveloped in their tranquillity. Their silence has more effect than the eloquent speech of others. This is because the rays of their souls enter you.

On the Etiquettes of Service

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

What are some of the etiquettes of service (khidmah)?

Any type of service, whether it be service of a shaykh or anyone else, should be conducted with the intention of purifying the soul by means of the benefit that comes about through it. Being a cause of any kind of benefit is in fact a type of service. Assisting the shaykh in implementing his objectives or assisting anyone in implementing any objective which is valid in the Shariah is a type of service. Any action which requires humility is more beneficial for the soul, such as cleaning, washing and cooking. An important etiquette is to keep the private affairs of the shaykh or anyone else being served secret. The person serving should have sincerity at all times and should believe that he benefits himself through his service and not that he is doing a favour to those he is serving.