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

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

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.

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.

 

 

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.

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.’