Category Archives: Praiseworthy Attributes

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?

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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.’

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.

 

Returning to Allah in Rajab

 

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Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) describes the state the believer should be as the blessed month of Rajab enters. Summarised from a Khutbah delivered in Masjid al-Rawdah, Tarim, on 27th Jumada al-Akhirah 1433 / 18th May 2012.

O believer, look to see how you end the month of Jumada al-Akhirah, and look to see how you receive the month of Rajab, the month which stands alone among the sacred months. This month was venerated even in the times of Jahiliyyah, and Islam came to reinforce this veneration. O believer in Allah, one of your most important aims in this life is for your heart to be completely focused on Allah and at the same time to be someone that unites people’s hearts.

One of the greatest manifestations of your focusing your heart on Allah is being aware of your shortcomings towards Him, seeking refuge in Him, seeking forgiveness from Him, repenting to Him and pleading that out of His kindness He overlooks your faults.

Seeking forgiveness (istighfar) from Allah is foundational in focusing your heart on Allah. When seeking forgiveness:

  1. you express awareness of your errors and shortcomings towards Him
  2. you express your certainty that you have a Lord Who takes people to account for their sins, Who may forgive them or may punish them; you express your certainty that the affair is in His hands
  3. you express your need for your Lord which leads you to plead with Him to be forgiven

The Prophet ﷺ, the one who was protected from falling into sin, the most pure, would seek forgiveness from Allah one hundred times in one sitting. He would say:

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وتُبْ عَلَيَّ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

Rabbi’ghfir li wa tub `alayya innaka anta’attawwabu’rrahim

My Lord, forgive me and turn to me, truly You are the Oft-Returning, the Most Merciful.[1]

This tells us how the life of the Prophet was, how his gatherings with his Companions were, so seek to resemble them. Beware of gatherings in which Allah is not mentioned, in which His forgiveness is not sought and in which the return to Him is not mentioned. O believer, beautify your gatherings in the same way that your guide, the Chosen One, Muhammad beautified his gatherings. He is the one who said: “Good tidings to the one who finds in his book (in which his actions are recorded) much istighfar (seeking forgiveness).”[2] Seeking forgiveness is a remedy for your sins, and sins are the cause of tribulations in this life and the next. The fire of your sins is only extinguished by seeking the forgiveness of the Living, the Eternal, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.

Throughout your life you have the opportunity to seek forgiveness from Allah but there are specific times when you should do so, during the day and night and during the months of the year. The last portion of the night is one of these times. Allah says, describing the people of taqwa: Those who show patience, those who are truthful, those who worship devoutly, those who spend (their wealth for Allah’s sake) and those who seek forgiveness in the last portion of the night.[3] Allah also says: They were prior to that people of righteousness; they were in the habit of sleeping little by night; and they would seek forgiveness in the last portion of the night.[4]

Another time to seek forgiveness is after performing the prescribed prayer. In doing so, you remember the deficiencies in your prayer and to ask for acceptance.

Even when leaving the toilet your Prophet taught you to say three times:

غُفْرَانَكَ

Ghufranak

I seek Your forgiveness.

If you say this when you go to bed three times your sins will be forgiven even if they are as numerous as the foam on top of the sea:

أستَغْفِرُ اللهَ العَظِيمَ الَّذِي لاَ إِلهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الحَيُّ القَيُّومُ وأَتُوبُ إِليه

Astaghfirullaha’l-`azim alladhi la ilaha illa huw al-Hayya al-Qayyum wa atubu ilayh

I seek the forgiveness of Allah the Most Great, alongside Whom there is no deity; the Living, the Sustainer, and I repent to Him

Among the months, Rajab is the month of seeking forgiveness. Al-Daylami narrates on the authority of `Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah ennoble him) that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Seek much forgiveness (from Allah) in Rajab because in every hour (of the month) Allah frees people from the Fire.” When the month entered the Prophet would say, as Anas narrates:

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا في رَجَبٍ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنا رَمَضَانَ

Allahumma barik lana fi Rajabin wa Sha`ban wa ballighna Ramadan

“O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban and enable us to reach Ramadan!”[5]

It is a blessed month, may Allah bless us and the Ummah in it. In the times of Jahiliyyah the noise of battle would not be heard in this month. This was due to the veneration that people had for the month, even though they were polytheists. Allah revealed concerning this month: They ask you about the sacred months – fighting therein. Say: fighting therein is a grave offence.[6]

Look at the state the Ummah has reached today. Some Muslims have actually declared war in the month of Rajab, not on the disbelievers, but on each other. Some have spilt the blood of their brothers. Look how far the Ummah has sunk when it has left the guidance of Allah and His Messenger and surrendered its reins to corrupt people, to disbelievers, to people deceived by their own philosophies!

Our Master said: “O people, repent to Allah for truly I repent to Allah in every day and night seventy (or one hundred) times.”[7] Allah says in the hadith qudsi: “O son of Adam, if your sins were so numerous that they reached the heavens and then you sought My forgiveness I would forgive you and it is nothing to Me.”[8] If someone allows Rajab to enter and they have no concern for their wrongdoings then they do not truly possess taqwa. The believer sees his sins as a mountain towering over him that he fears will fall upon his head, whereas the hypocrite sees his sins as a fly that lands on his nose which he brushes away with his hand. One of the Followers was told that a group of people were talking about something which did not concern them. He said: “If they were concerned with their own wrongdoings they would not have talked about that subject.”

Seek forgiveness in abundance and seek to unite people’s hearts. Beware of provoking hatred, or tale bearing, for “among the worst slaves of Allah are those that constantly bear tales, those that cause division between those that love each other.” Choose words that unite people: Say to My slaves that they should only say those things that are best, for the Devil sows dissension among them.[9]

Attempt to fast in this month. `Ali bin Muhammad al-Rabi` narrates from a chain of narrators all of whom are reliable that one of the Followers asked one of the Companions: “Did the Messenger of Allah ﷺ fast in Rajab?”

He replied: “Yes, and he would ennoble it.” He would ennoble and honour the month by fasting in it. May Allah awaken our hearts!

Prepare for the first night of Rajab. He said ﷺ: “There are five nights on which du`a’ is not rejected: the first night of Rajab, the fifteenth night of Sha`ban, Thursday night, the night before Eid al-Fitr and the night before Eid al-Nahr (al-Adha).”[10] Sayyiduna `Ali would spend this night in worship.

May Allah purify our hearts and enable us to take advantage of the time that we have left in this life.

 

[1] Narrated by Abu Daud, Ibn Majah and al-Tirmidhi

[2] Narrated by Ibn Majah and al-Bayhaqi

[3] Al `Imran, 3:17

[4] Al-Dhariyat, 51:16

[5] Narrated by Ahmad

[6] Al-Baqarah, 2:217

[7] Narrated by Muslim

[8] Narrated by al-Tirmidhi

[9] Al-Isra’, 17:53

[10] Narrated by al-Suyuti

 

Signs of Allah’s Contentment

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

What are the signs that Allah is content with me?

There are two signs of this:

  1. That you are content with Allah’s commands and do your best to obey them
  2. That you are content with whatever Allah decrees and surrender to that

 

Striving to Attain True Slave-Hood

Seiyun

Advice from Habib Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him)

I counsel you by Allah to do your utmost to consistently perform extra acts of worship, especially the sunnah prayers before and after the compulsory prayers. Beware of leaving them. Give life to your night by rising to pray in it and give life to your day by fasting during it. Perform extra acts of worship in abundance for it is the means of attaining Allah’s love: “My slave continues to draw close to Me with extra acts of worship until I love him.”

This love leads to the slave attaining the greatest form of representation of Allah [on the earth] such that his attributes merge into the attributes of Allah, as the end of the hadith testifies: “When I love him, I become the hearing with which he hears, the sight with which he sees..” So drink from this pure spring and don this ample cloak. Strive to remove the faults of your lower self which prevent you from being accepted.

Travel to your Lord in a state of lameness, humility and brokenness. Do not witness your own actions, but say with your tongue and your heart: “What am I and what are my actions?” The one who understands the verse: He is but a slave upon whom We have bestowed Our blessings[1] will be safe from the false claims of his lower self. Had it not been for Allah’s immense generosity, no-one would have witnessed or attained anything. A person’s actions are merely an expression of their slave-hood. Allah’s gifts [are not bestowed in proportion to a person’s actions but] are purely from His bounty and generosity.  Witness your shortcomings, however high your state is. Be a slave to Allah and not your desires. Recite litanies in abundance: a portion of the Qur’an, the litanies of the earlier scholars and the litanies of the heart. You gifts you receive are according to the litanies that you recite.

[1] Al-Zukhruf, 43:59

Making Spiritual Hijrah

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) calls us to make a spiritual hijrah. 

The new year always reminds us of the Hijrah. The physical hijrah is an obligation for those who are unable to freely practise their religion in the place they are in. They must find a place in which they can practise their religion. The angels say to those who fail to make this hijrah: ‘Was Allah’s earth not expansive enough for you to emigrate therein?’1

We can also make a spiritual hijrah which is to leave everything which Allah has forbidden, as the Prophet told us. This is one of the loftiest types of hijrah. We must check our hearts and bodies at the beginning of this year in order to remove everything which Allah dislikes.

If someone is blessed to leave that which is forbidden he should then seek to leave that which is disliked and dubious. If someone is blessed to leave that which is disliked and dubious he should then seek to leave that which is frivolous and of no benefit. If someone is blessed to leave that which is frivolous he should then seek to leave everything other than Allah.

A person may be leaving that which is forbidden in one aspect of his life, that which is disliked in another aspect, that which is frivolous in another aspect and so on. If he perseveres he will eventually attain the greatest type of hijrah. Sayyiduna Ibrahim said regarding this: I am going to my Lord.2 Allah also said: So flee to Allah.3 The Prophet said: “The most truthful word spoken by a poet is the saying of Labid: ‘Indeed everything save Allah is false.’”4

Jihad, like hijrah, has many manifestations but one of the greatest is the one mentioned in the hadith that: “the mujahid is the one who strives against his own caprice.”

…………………………………..

1 Al-Nisa’, 4:97

2 Al-Saffat, 37:99

3Al-Dhariyat, 51:50

4Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim

Defence Against Tribulation

 

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Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) teaches us that our connection to Allah and His Beloved  ﷺ  are a defence against tribulation. He also helps us to understand some of the divisions among the Companions and the concepts of tawassul and service. Summarised from his speech in Dar al-Mustafa at the closing ceremony of the 22nd Dowra, 17th Dhu’l-Qa`dah 1437 / 19th August 2016.

All credit belongs to the Prophet ﷺ, our guide and teacher. The good works of anyone who reached any rank will be recorded in the Prophet’s book – from the Siddiqun and the greatest of them: Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman and `Ali – to the first of the Muhajirun and the Ansar, to the Ahl al-Bayt, the scholars and callers to Allah. Every mosque and institute of knowledge that Allah accepted will be recorded in his book.

The Valley of Hadramawt was blessed by the Companions, the Followers and the scholars that came after them and was then crowned by the arrival of Imam al-Muhajir. From his progeny came forth many shining stars, people of truthfulness and sincerity. This is our source of pride. Neither outward appearances nor empty ceremonies are a source of pride. This path is a path of removing all ceremonies and formalities. The people of this path paid no attention to outward appearances. They paid no attention to things that have no value in Allah’s sight and which are of no benefit in the next life.

Our Prophet ﷺ said: “A sign that a person has perfected his Islam is that he leaves that which does not concern him.” This is the path a person should take in this life, knowing that which concerns him in his religion and worldly life in the light of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. That person then frees himself from the domination of disbelief which has numerous manifestations on the face of the earth. The Prophet ﷺ mentioned that tribulations will be presented to people’s hearts and this is exactly what we see today –in the name of movements or revolution or progress or other things.

When we study the lives of the Companions and the divisions that took place we only accept the narrations which are in accordance with how Allah describes them in the Qur’an. We do not allow anyone to tamper with our history. People tamper with our recent history and much of what is said is false. What the Prophet ﷺ informed us of is sufficient. He saw people having their faces torn with hooks made of fire. He asked who they were and he was told: “A man from your Ummah who lies and his lie then reaches the horizons.” Look at the precision of the Prophet’s description!

Sayyiduna `Ali said after the Battle of the Camel: “I hope that I and Zubayr and Talhah are among those who Allah described: We will remove from their hearts all rancour  – they will be brothers facing one another on couches.”[1] Sayyiduna `Ali made sure that Sayyidatuna `Aishah received the best treatment. He would pass by her tent to check up on her and he would address her as his mother. When she decided to return to al-Madinah he personally bid farewell to her. He arranged for his female relatives to accompany her and he walked not a few paces, but two miles, to see her off.

This is consistent with how Allah describes the Companions in the Qur’an: They are merciful to one another.[2]  This is appropriate for those who were taught by Muhammad. We do not accept other versions presented to us to divide us.

If we receive Allah’s light it cannot be extinguished regardless of the tribulations that come. The greatest tribulation will be the Dajjal, but the people of truthfulness, sincerity and humility and the people who love Muhammad will be safe from it. When Sayyiduna `Isa descends he will inform them of their stations in Paradise. The problem is that we have exposed ourselves to tribulations and we are deluded by what is presented to us.

If you want to be safe, enter the fortress of Muhammad. He brought us the fortress of la ilaha ill’Allah. Allah says in the hadith qudsi: “La ilaha ill’Allah is My fortress. Whoever enters My fortress will be safe from My punishment.” According to the strength of our connection to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, we will be safe from the greatest tribulation, not to mention the tribulations that come before and after it.

It is as Sayyiduna al-`Abbas said: “Tribulations only descend due to sins and they are only lifted by tawbah.” He said this when Sayyiduna `Umar put him forward to seek rain for the people at a time of drought. `Umar said: “O Allah, we used to use Your Prophet as an intermediary and now we are using the uncle of Your Prophet as an intermediary, so bless us with rain!” The whole region was then blessed with rain and Sayyiduna al-`Abbas became known as ‘the one who brought rain to the Haramayn.’ No-one said that this was an innovation or shirk. They knew that al-`Abbas was merely a means for the rain to come.

May Allah bless those who attended this Dowra, especially in the current conditions. Why did they come? Many people suffer hardships and long journeys for the sake of a qualification or a job but what was it that brought these people here? What do they want? “The one whose hijrah was for Allah and His Messenger..” Did they come to enjoy the parks or play games?

We also cannot forget the people involved in service, which is an arena of jihad. They will gain a greater reward than many people involved in jihad in our times and in previous times. Sayyiduna Abu Darda’ said: “If someone thinks that going out to seek knowledge is not jihad then his intellect is deficient.” These people served without expecting any worldly reward. Do you think that this will come to nothing? Allah says: We do not allow the reward of those who perfect their actions to go to waste.[3] Success is in truthfulness with Allah and working together to please Him.

May Allah bless the institutes of knowledge in Yemen and Sham and bring back their strength and vibrancy. May He bless al-Azhar al-Sharif and all the places and people of knowledge in the East and West. May He revive true knowledge among them. May He unite the Ummah and protect it from all harm.

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[1]  Al-Hijr, 15:47

[2] Al-Fath, 48:29

[3] Al-Kahf, 18:30