On the Etiquettes of Service

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

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. Continue reading Returning to Allah in Rajab

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

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.”

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1 Al-Nisa’, 4:97

2 Al-Saffat, 37:99

3Al-Dhariyat, 51:50

4Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim

Defence Against Tribulation

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

Reflecting Upon Muhammad ﷺ

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) calls us to reflect upon the greatest of Allah’s signs

 

Allah says: Do they not reflect? Their companion is no madman. He is but a clear warner.[1] 

Allah invites us to reflect on the greatest of His signs: Muhammad ﷺ.

Imam al-Busayri says in the Burdah:

He is the greatest sign for those who seek to reflect

And the greatest blessing for those who seek to gain

Reflecting upon Muhammad will lead to knowledge of Allah.

Anyone who looks at his life cannot say that he is mad. Is his immense character, his humility, his truthfulness or his trustworthiness evidence of madness?

Have the statements of any person been recorded more than his? To this day whenever a discovery is made we find that the concept has already been mentioned either in Allah’s revelation or in the statements of Muhammad.

He establishes a principle and centuries pass and that same principle continues to spread while other ideologies come and go. We still find in his words the solution to our problems. Do we find this in anyone else’s words?

Who can be compared to him?

 

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[1] Al-A`raf, 7:184

On Intentions for Sport

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

What intentions should we make when we play sports?

You should intend gaining strength to worship Allah and obey His commands and to use it to gently call people to Allah. You should remember Allah while taking part.

Criteria for Showing People Respect and Veneration

Hb Umar with Hb Salim

 Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) explains the criteria for showing people respect and veneration. Summarised from a Rawhah lesson in Dar al-Mustafa, 18th Shawwal 1437

It is praiseworthy to show respect and veneration to someone who the Sacred Law commands you to show respect to, such as a scholar, an elder or your parents. Kissing someone’s hand and standing up for them when they enter is an expression of that respect and veneration.

This is how the Companions expressed their veneration for the Prophet ﷺ and for one another. When the delegation of the tribe of Abd al-Qays came to visit the Prophet ﷺ in Madinah they rushed to greet him and kiss his hand (Ahmad). The Prophet did not rebuke them for doing so. He did not say they were being excessive or that they were committing shirk.

On the other hand it is blameworthy to show respect and veneration to an oppressive ruler or to someone who is openly disobedient to Allah.

You find someone is prepared to lower himself to his boss at work in the hope of some worldly benefit but he refuses to show respect to his mother and speak kindly to her. Such people have got their priorities the wrong way round because the Prophet ﷺ said that the person most deserving of good treatment is your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father (and then other people) (al-Bukhari).

So you should show respect and veneration to people for the sake of Allah and not for the sake of worldly benefit.

As for the person who is being shown respect, they should dislike this and see themselves as being unworthy of it. Many of the pious would tell people to sit down if they stood up for them.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “If someone loves for men to stand up for him out of veneration, let him take his place in the Fire (Abu Daud).”