Victories and Openings from the Isra and Mi`raj

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Habib Ali al-Jifri (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) tells us how victories and openings come through learning about the Isra and Mi`raj. Extracts from a talk delivered at Majelis Rasulullah in Jakarta, Indonesia on the night of the Isra and Mi`raj, Rajab 1439.

The key to attaining divine gifts is showing mercy. When the Prophet ﷺ showed mercy to the people of Ta’if, even though he could have asked for their destruction, Allah bestowed upon him the greatest of gifts on the night of the Mi`raj.

The Prophet ﷺ made his Isra from Makkah, which at that time was the centre of the struggle between truth and falsehood. He went to Masjid al-Aqsa which is now the centre of the struggle between truth and falsehood. Just as the Prophet was given victory in Makkah, likewise victory will be given in Masjid al-Aqsa. If we see how difficult the situation is in Palestine now, we recall how difficult the situation was then in Makkah in the time of the Prophet ﷺ . Victory eventually came in Makkah to people whose hearts had absolute love for the Prophet. Victory will be given in Palestine to people whose hearts have absolute love for the Prophet.

On the day the Prophet ﷺ was given victory in Makkah, he ordered his army not to disturb a dog which was nursing its puppies. This was an army whose soldiers’ hearts were filled with prophetic mercy. In our times armies have no regard for human life, let alone animal life. The army that will be given victory at the end of time must be made up of those whose hearts are filled with mercy. They cannot be people who encourage others to blow up innocent civilians.

 

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Commemorating Badr

On the 17th Ramadan we commemorate the Battle of Badr, which took place on that day in the second year of the Hijrah. It is one of the most important events in the history of the Ummah, and Allah describes it as the Day of Discrimination. Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) places great emphasis on commemorating it and marks the event by completing the Qur’an in Tarawih on the eve of the 17th, after which there are big celebrations in Dar al-Mustafa attended by thousands. The rest of the night is spent in prayer, remembrance and supplication, since prayers are answered when the Qur’an is completed.

Habib Umar reflects upon some of the lessons we can learn from Badr. Extracts from a Friday khutbah, Masjid al-Rawdah, Tarim 12th Ramadan 1432 / 12th August 2011.

He began by praising Allah and bestowing prayers upon the Messenger of Allah. He then enjoined people to have taqwa, attaining which is one of the aims of fasting and the wisdom behind Allah making it compulsory upon us.

The realities of taqwa which the Imam of the People of Taqwa ﷺ and his Noble Companions possessed were made manifest in days such as these in the second year of the Hijrah. In Sha`ban of that year both fasting and Zakat were made compulsory. The Prophet and his Companions then began fasting Ramadan in intense heat. On a day similar to this all those years ago, your Prophet left his family and home and went out to Badr with around 313 of his Companions. Why did he go out? To give victory to the religion of Allah and to convey the message of his Lord. In spite of the heat and the difficulty of the journey he continued fasting on some days but he also broke his fast on other days.

On the expedition he shared a camel with Sayyiduna `Ali and Sayyiduna Mirthad bin Abi Mirthad and they each took it in turns to ride while the other two walked. They said to him:

“O Messenger of Allah, you ride and we will walk.”

He replied ﷺ:

“Neither are you stronger walkers than me, nor am I in less need of the reward than you.”

Here he taught us several lessons. He taught us a lesson in sacrifice and in negation of pride and satisfaction with one’s actions. He displayed his need for the reward of Allah, in spite of the fact that even if he had ridden and let them walk, he would have received the reward for their actions because he was the one that guided them to Allah. O believer, this is the Best of Creation saying: “Nor am I in less need of the reward than you.” Do you think you are not in need of the reward of Allah such that you leave prayers which you are able to perform or gatherings of remembrance which you are able to attend? You are in need of the reward of every action in Ramadan specifically and in the rest of your life. So expend your efforts – try to reflect upon the Qur’an and to attend the gatherings of remembrance. It was the custom of the early Muslims to hold gatherings after praying Tarawih and Witr in which the attributes and etiquettes of the Chosen One were mentioned.

None of the Companions that went out expected to go into battle with Quraysh but Allah wished to ennoble those great people. The Angel Jibril later asked the Prophet ﷺ how he and his Companions regarded the people of Badr. He replied “They are the best of us.” Jibril said: “Likewise we regard the angels of the heavens that attended Badr as being the best of us.” They attained this rank because they gave victory to the best of people in the sight of Allah .

People naturally tend to choose that which is easier for their souls to bear but beyond that easier choice there may be something greater awaiting. If Allah then decrees something which is harder for the soul to bear the believer gains felicity by being content with the decree of Allah in the knowledge that this is better for him. Sayyiduna `Ali said: “If the veil were to be removed you would only choose what has already been decreed.”

Allah promised you one of the two groups that it should be yours. You wished that the unarmed group should be yours, but Allah willed to establish the truth according to His words, and to cut off the roots of the disbelievers.1

The Companions succeeded because of they had the love of Allah and His Messenger in their hearts. Twelve nights of Ramadan have passed and you have not yet understood this concept. Ramadan has only come so that you can be elevated. This love is the foundation of victory and of honouring one’s covenant with Allah. We witness this in the words of the Companions on the approach to Badr. The Messenger of Allah wished to hear their opinions after it had become clear what they were confronting.

Sayyiduna al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad said:

“By Allah we will not say what the Children of Isra`il said to Musa: Go, you and your Lord and fight, while we sit here!2 Rather we say: Go, you and your Lord and fight, and we are with you fighting alongside you!”

Sayyiduna Sa`d bin Mu`adh said: “We believe in you and bear witness that your message is the truth. Go forth to perform what Allah has commanded. Perhaps you wished something and Allah willed something else. Make war with whoever you wish and make peace with whoever you wish and we are behind you. Take from our wealth what you wish and leave what you wish, and what you take is more beloved to us than that which you leave. By Allah, if you took us to the sea and then plunged into it, we would follow you. You have left behind people (in Medina). Our love for you is not more intense than their love.” They knew that love of Allah and His Messenger was the foundation of their defence of truth and guidance. “Had they known that there would be fighting not a single man would have stayed behind… perhaps Allah will show you in us that which is a joy to your eye, O Messenger of Allah.”

When the Prophet heard this his face lit up like a piece of the moon.

He said:

“Go forth with good tidings for Allah has promised me one of the two groups – either the caravan or the army. It is as if I can see the exact places where Quraysh will fall.”

He subsequently pointed out those exact places the day before the battle.

Look at the disparity between the two sides. The Muslims only had eight swords, two horses and seventy camels, each of which three people shared. The Quraysh, on the other hand, had hundreds of swords and spears, two hundred horses and they would slaughter nine or ten camels a day for food not to mention the camels that were being used to carry the army. The Quraysh approached arrogantly boasting about how they would defeat the Muslims. This is characteristic of the people of opposition to Allah, and those heedless of Him. The Muslims, however, approached in a state of humility and fear of their Lord, and Allah duly raised them. 

Allah describes those that He loves as being:

Humble and compassionate in their dealings with the believers, severe in their dealings with the rejecters. They strive for the sake of Allah and are unafraid of the reproaches of those that find fault. That is the bounty of Allah, which He bestows on whom He pleases. Allah encompasses all and knows all things. 3

In the second khutbah, after praising Allah and bestowing prayers upon the Messenger of Allah, Habib `Umar once again enjoined people to have taqwa. He said if you clothe yourselves in taqwa you will attain the secrets of fasting, the illumination of the night prayer and the reality of the transaction with Allah.

With true love for Allah and His Messenger you will be able fulfil the commandments of Allah and gain victory over your lower selves, over your desires and caprice, over this deceptive worldly life and over those who disbelieve from the devils of mankind and jinn.

Among the Companions were youths, some of them only fifteen or seventeen years old. One of those was Sayyiduna Harithah, who was one of the fourteen Companions martyred at Badr. His mother came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ upon his return to Medina.

She asked him:

Where is my son? If he is in the Garden I will be content but if not you will see how I behave!”

The Messenger of Allah said to her:

Umm Harithah, do not be foolish – it is not one garden, but many, and your son has entered the highest garden of Firdaws!”

O people who are planning for the future, is there any future greater than this? Let us make firm the foundation of love so that we follow the path of those Companions, may Allah be well pleased with them.

O Allah we love them for Your sake so show us their faces on the Day of Judgement and in Paradise.

Let there be nothing in our houses which displeases Your Prophet Muhammad, whether it be on our screens or in our behaviour. Help us to give this month its due and enable us to follow the Chosen One, honouring the covenant between us and You.

Invoke abundant blessings upon him because this is what will bring you close to him on that day. As he said:

The closest people to me on the Day of Judgement are the ones who invoke the most blessings upon me.”

 

1 Al-Anfal, 8:7 What is meant by the “two groups” is the caravan led by Abu Sufyan, which the Muslims had originally set out to intercept, and the army which Quraysh sent out from Mecca. The Muslims naturally did not wish to come up against a fully equipped army.

2 Al-Ma’idah, 5:24

3 Al-Ma’idah, 5:54

 

Commemorating the Life of Sayyidatuna Fatimah al-Zahra

On 20th Jumada al-Akhirah we commemorate the life of Sayyidatuna Fatimah (peace be upon her), the day on which she was born.

Here are some episodes on her life, presented by Habib Muhammad bin Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf (may Allah protect him) as part of the series, “The Perfected Women.”

The Perfected Women is a series presented by Habib bin Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf. He discusses the best women to have ever lived in this world, and shows how Muslim women of today can emulate them.

 

Teaching People About the Hijrah

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

What are the most important themes to focus on when teaching people about the Hijrah?

We should teach people about the truthfulness and patience of the Prophet ﷺ in giving victory to Allah’s cause and leaving one place for another. We should also talk about how he interacted with the things that Allah has decreed to take place in this life, such as people harming us and being given power over us.

We should then highlight the fact that if we have taqwa, the schemes of those who oppose the truth will eventually come to nothing. The disbelievers who possessed power plotted to either imprison, expel or kill the Prophet ﷺ but their plot failed. Likewise they came to the cave but did not find him ﷺ .

 

What can we learn from the two hijrahs to Abyssinia?

We learn the need to choose places in which we are able to establish the religion and practise it in safety and freedom.

Reflecting Upon the Hijrah

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Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) derives lessons to be learned from the Hijrah of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ . Extracts from a Friday khutbah.

Should you not reflect on why the Prophet ﷺ made the Hijrah? Why he bore those hardships? Why he was forced to migrate? He looked at the city of Makkah upon leaving it and said: “Allah knows that you are the most beloved of cities to me. Had not your people driven me out, I would not have left.” How can you live as a believer in him without realising what drove him to bear these hardships?

The most noble of creation in the sight of the Creator is our Master Muhammad. Allah was capable of making the life of the Master of His creation a life of ease and tranquillity. If Allah wished, the Prophet would not have suffered, he would not have had a camel’s entrails thrown on his back, he would not have been pelted with stones, he would not have been driven out of his own city, he would not have tied a stone to his stomach out of hunger and he would not have fought in battle. But Allah chose all of these things for our Prophet.

Tell me, where are you going in this life and what are your thoughts focused upon? What is the level of your understanding of Allah’s religion? Have you understood the wisdom behind your creation? If the purpose of man’s creation was to relax and experience comfort, then the most worthy of creation of experiencing that was the Prophet, the possessor of the highest rank in Allah’s sight. If you realise this, how can you then find comfort in base things? How can you be distracted by things with which the enemies of Allah distract you such that you possess no concern for the Ummah and no desire to benefit it, no desire to make sacrifices and no reliance upon Allah, no trust in Him and no certainty? Is this the life of someone who believes in and follows the Chosen One? Was he the only one who made these sacrifices, or did all those who believed in him from that first generation do the same? Allah Himself commends them in the Qur’an. They were people of steadfastness and sacrifice, strong in their reliance upon the All-Powerful, people of complete trust in His promises. They had complete faith in that which had been revealed to the Prophet. Do we find these attributes in ourselves? Do not leave this Jumu`ah without resolving to expend your efforts to emulate the foremost, the first of the Emigrants and the Helpers. You will then be one of those who follows them with excellence and you will receive what Allah has promised: As for the foremost, the first of the Emigrants and the Helpers, and those who follow them with excellence this includes anyone who follows them in excellence up to this day and up until the Day of Judgement Allah is pleased with them and they, too, are pleased with Him. He has prepared for them gardens under which rivers flow, in which they will abide forever. That is the supreme triumph.1

This is how your Lord addresses you. How can you then allow your lower self or the Devil to make you live in heedlessness? How can you allow year after year to pass without having any awareness, any desire to draw closer to the Most High? Do you not want to be among those mentioned in the verse? Even before the Hijrah, some of the first Muslims had been martyred, such as Sumayyah, the first martyr in Islam; some had been tortured, like Bilal; some had migrated to Abyssinia; some had been enclosed in the valley of Abu Talib for three years until they were forced to eat the leaves of trees. All of them suffered and made sacrifices. On the night of the Hijrah, Sayyiduna `Ali bin Abu Talib sacrificed himself by sleeping on the Prophet’s bed. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr was with the Prophet, sacrificing himself and his wealth. He was with him in the Cave of Thawr, not for an hour or two, but for three nights. Every night you sleep in a house on a bed. Can you not imagine how the Beloved of Allah spent his nights in that cave?

Whose body was it that lay on the rocks of the cave patiently seeking Allah’s reward? It was the body of the one who was taken above the seven heavens, beyond the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary. When will you understand the wisdom behind your creation? When will you realise what your belief in Muhammad dictates? If you entered a cave with a stone floor with creatures living in it and sat there for an hour or two you would know the degree of the Prophet’s striving and steadfastness. The forces which call us to evil have distracted us so that we do not reflect on these realities. A believer may live his whole life and not reflect once upon these things. He rushes to attain comfort in his life, as if He has not received any directions from Allah.

The Ansar in Madinah expressed their love for those that made the Hijrah and made sacrifices to accommodate them. None of them asked: “Why have they taken our land, our homes and our wealth?” On the contrary: They love those who have sought refuge with them; they entertain no desire in their hearts for what the latter are given, but rather prefer them over themselves, even though poverty became their lot.2 They were worthy of being praised by Allah in His Book. There are people who are deluded by the praise of the media and are prepared to make sacrifices to gain some fame. They are not interested in aiding the cause of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and they have no realisation of what their mission is in this life. Say to them that a time will come when not a single letter will remain of the words written in those newspapers. The people who wrote those words will no longer remain, nor will those who were written about. However, the words of Allah which contain praise for those people and those who follow them in excellence will remain. Should our ambitions not be higher? Should we not seek to be mentioned in the Book of the Lord of the Mighty Throne? He praises you with those words and that praise remains until the Day of Judgement and beyond that into the Abode of Ennoblement. Our enemies have distracted us such that we have forgotten the wisdom behind our creation, but in reading and reflecting upon the Prophetic Biography in general, and the story of the Hijrah in particular, we come to realise this wisdom. We also come to know that we have a duty to make sacrifices and have complete trust and reliance in Allah.

Some Muslims believe it is impossible to convey the message of Islam to the world in this time and that power is in the hands of the disbelievers. We say to them that the events of the Hijrah are enough proof of the falsehood of this belief. Is not Allah enough for His slave?3 Look at the state of the Chosen One when he was in the cave with Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and the disbelievers were at the mouth of the cave.

Abu Bakr said:

O Messenger of Allah, were one of them to look down at his feet he would see us.”

The Messenger of Allah replied:

What do you think of the state of two people and Allah is their third? Do not despair, for truly Allah is with us.”

We say to those in doubt, even if our state resembles the state of the Prophet ﷺ in the cave: “What do you think of the state of a group who still possess the light of faith? Truly Allah is with them.” Allah will cause tranquillity to descend upon them: Then Allah sent down His peace upon His Messenger4 and He will assist them with troops that cannot be seen, neither with the eye, nor with the help of any form of modern technology. Allah will lower the word of the disbelievers while the Word of Allah is transcendent.5 Have no doubt in this.

1 Al-Tawbah, 9:100

2 Al-Hashr, 59:9

3 Al-Ahzab, 39:36

4 Al-Tawbah, 9:40

5 Al-Tawbah, 9:40

 

Indeed with Hardship Comes Ease

 

At the most difficult of times and in the most testing of circumstances, while the Muslims were being besieged by the Confederates (al-Ahzab), the Prophet ﷺ gave his Companions the good news that Syria and Yemen would be opened to Islam.

Allah’s saying: “Indeed with hardship comes ease” was thus manifested in his noble state.

Similarly, the believer finds deep certainty within himself at times of crisis, and his inner state proclaims:

‘If tribulations increase in severity, they will then depart and the coming of dawn is close.’

—Habib Ali al-Jifri (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him)

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The Badr Khutbah

“O people of faith, most of the days and nights of the month of Ramadan, the month of mercy and forgiveness, of salvation from the Fire, have passed by in succession.

They have passed by and each of you is in a different state; a different degree of progress and readiness. Now the eve of the Day of Discrimination has approached, the day on which the two forces met. It is an event which brings good tidings to everyone who is truthful and honours the covenant of his Lord and is a reminder and a warning to everyone who is heedless and fails to honour that covenant.

O believer, scrutinise your aims and objectives, your beliefs and intentions, your character traits and qualities. Ask yourself to which of the two groups you are closest, and to which of them of you belong.”

The Badr Khutba is a sermon composed by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) and is recited on the night of Badr.

The Badr Khutbah has been published along with the poem, Jaliyat al-Kadr, by Manaqib Productions.

Removal of Distress

For more on the merits of the blessed day, please see:

 

 

 

 

Reflections on the Isra’ and Mi`raj

Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects upon the Isra’ (Night Journey) and Mi`raj (Ascension). A summary of several lectures on the topic.

We are approaching 27th Rajab, the night on which the Islamic world traditionally celebrates the Isra’ (Night Journey) and Mi`raj (Ascension) of our Prophet, the Chosen One ﷺ. The Isra’ and Mi`raj was a great sign and an immense miracle which Allah gave to the Master of the people of the heavens and the earth, to demonstrate his superiority over mankind, jinn-kind, angels and the whole of creation. There are great lessons in the events that took place and a means of increasing in belief and certitude. The scholars say that the best night in relation to the Ummah as a whole was the night on which the Prophet was born, whereas the best night in relation to the Prophet himself was the night of the Isra’ and Mi`raj.

Prior to this night the Prophet had displayed great patience in the face of hardship and it is one of Allah’s wisdoms that He bestows His gifts accompanied with hardships. Allah says: They encountered suffering and adversity and were shaken such that the Messenger and those of faith who were with him said: “When will Allah’s assistance come?” Truly Allah’s assistance is always near.[1] At the end of his life, the Messenger of Allah said that the worst treatment that he received from the disbelievers was his violent rejection at the hands of the people of al-Ta’if. Most of the scholars of the Sirah say that that the Isra’ and Mi`raj took place shortly after this, a year prior to the Hijrah on the 27th night of the month of Rajab.[2]

The Prophet ﷺ saw some of the events of the Isra’ and Mi`raj in his dreams as a preparation for them before the events actually occurred. Some people claim that all the events of the Isra’ and Mi`raj took place in a dream state but this is not the case: the Prophet experienced them with his body and soul. Had the Isra’ been merely something the Prophet experienced in his dream, the disbelievers of Quraysh would not have had difficulty accepting it. They would not have asked: “How can you have travelled to Jerusalem last night and be with us in Makkah this morning?”

Allah says: Transcendent is the One Who caused His slave to travel by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa.[3] Allah tends to express His transcendence before mentioning a great affair which is beyond what people are accustomed to.

When Allah wished to speak to Sayyiduna Musa, He told him to wait thirty days and then a further ten days: We appointed for Musa thirty nights and we completed (the period) with ten more.[4] Allah, however, did not tell His Beloved to wait. Rather His order came suddenly, without any warning. The Prophet’s chest was split open and his heart was washed and filled with knowledge and forbearance. The Buraq was then brought to him. Allah could have caused him to travel without the Buraq, but it was a means of honouring and ennobling him. Jibril said to the Buraq after some initial obstinacy: “Are you not ashamed, O Buraq? By Allah, no one more noble in the sight of Allah has ever ridden you!”

The Prophet stopped in a number of places on the Isra’ to emphasise the importance of visiting the places in which Allah bestowed His bounties upon His pious slaves. He was ordered to seek to draw close to Allah by praying near the tree where Allah spoke to Musa, by praying at Mount Tur, where Allah gave revelation to Musa, and at Bayt Lahm, where Isa was born. The whole earth was made a place of prayer and prostration for the Prophet so what was the significance of him praying in those places if it was not seeking blessings (tabarruk) and spiritual assistance from them? It is also narrated in Sahih Muslim that he visited the grave of Musa and witnessed him praying in his grave. He said to his Companions: “If I was there I would have showed you his grave.” He was thus teaching his Ummah the importance of knowing the location of the graves of the Prophets and thus the importance of visiting them.

While on his journey, someone called him on his right side but he did not respond. Jibril informed him that this was the caller of the Jews, and had he responded, his Ummah would have followed the way of the Jews. Then someone called him on his left side and once again he did not respond. Jibril informed him that this was the caller of the Christians, and had he responded, his Ummah would have followed the way of the Christians. Thus, in spite of all the efforts of the Christians to convert people to Christianity, the Ummah remains in Allah’s care and protection due to the steadfastness of the Prophet ﷺ.

He was called a third time, and once again he did not respond. Jibril informed him that it was the dunya or the material world calling him, and had he responded, his Ummah would have chosen this life over the next. The dunya then appeared to him in the form of an old woman. Jibril informed him that all that remained of the life of this world before the Day of Judgement is like the time this old woman had left to live. We witness all the wars and struggles that take place and in reality this life is like an old woman on the verge of death and ahead of us is the next life! May Allah give us the best of endings! Due to the Prophet’s refusal to respond to the callings of the dunya, there remain to this day people who know its worthlessness.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ led the Prophets in prayer in al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Jibril informed him that the soul of every prophet sent by Allah from the time of Adam to the time of Isa was brought to pray behind him so that they would come to know the station of their master, Muhammad. He was the imam who led all the prophets and angels in prayer. Why do we not make him our imam?

The Prophet then ascended from heaven to heaven. The angels in the heavens had been informed that he would come and it was their opportunity to be honoured by meeting him just as his Companions had that honour on the earth. The people of the earth threw stones at him and insulted him but the people of the heavens gave him the warmest of welcomes. In the Prophet’s meeting with his father Adam and the other Prophets in the various heavens there is a lesson. In spite of the Prophet’s superiority over them, he was still ordered to greet them. There was no-one less in need of anyone else than him but he met them and displayed great etiquette and manifested his slave-hood to his Lord.

Among the things he witnessed was people who turned down freshly cooked meat and chose to eat putrid rotting meat. He was told that this was like those who leave that which is lawful and choose that which is unlawful. He saw people’s heads being smashed with rocks. As soon as their heads were smashed they would be restored and then smashed again and so on. He was told these were the people who were too lazy to pray the obligatory prayer.

He ascended to al-Bayt al-Ma`mur, which resembles the Ka`bah above the seventh heaven. It lies directly above the Ka`bah, and every day 70,000 angels enter it. The Prophet entered it and prayed in it, along with the spirits of some of the elect of Allah. Then he came to al-Sidrat al-Muntaha, a tree whose size and beauty is indescribable. Were one of its leaves to fall it would cover the heavens and the earth. This is the end point of the knowledge of creation. It was here that Jibril stopped. He said that if he went any further, he would burn but he told the Prophet to continue his journey alone. He duly ascended to the Throne of Allah and fell into prostration. Musa had been ordered to remove his sandals when Allah spoke to him, but the Beloved was not ordered to do so. Allah then ordered him to raise his head and he addressed Allah: “Greetings, blessings and the best of prayers to Allah.”

Allah responded: “Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.”

At this point, when Allah was manifesting Himself to him, the Prophet wished to remember the pious members of his Ummah and the previous nations. He said: “Peace be upon us and upon Allah’s pious slaves.”

The angels of the heavens then cried out: “We testify that there is no deity other than Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.”

When Allah spoke to him, He said: “I have taken you as My beloved and I have expanded your heart and raised high the esteem in which you are held so that whenever I am mentioned you are mentioned with Me. I made your nation the best of nations and I made them the last and the first on the Day of Judgement. I made you the first prophet to be created and the last to be sent.” Allah thus spoke gently to His Beloved and reminded him of His blessings upon him. He said things to Him which only He knows.

He made fifty prayers compulsory on his nation. This was eventually reduced to five with the reward of fifty. Are those who are unable to perform the five not ashamed of their Lord? What would they have done if it was fifty prayers that they had to perform? Allah made five prayers compulsory upon His slaves, in which there is the opportunity to converse with Allah and draw close to Him. “The closest the slave is to his Lord is when he is in prostration.”

The Prophet was blessed with the vision of his Lord, a blessing which no-one else will receive until they enter Paradise. The vision cannot be understood in a conventional way since Allah is transcendent and cannot be limited to a place or direction. Some Muslims deny that the vision of Allah is possible and we agree with them that the vision of Allah in a conventional sense is impossible. However, we understand the vision of Allah to be something far greater than that, a pure manifestation of Allah’s light, which is indescribable.

Sayyiduna Musa was keen to receive some of the light that was on the face of the Prophet ﷺ who himself had just seen his Lord. Musa had asked to see Allah while on the earth but his request was not granted. He thus took as much light as he could from the Prophet’s face. The Prophet ﷺ informed us that there will come a time when the Muslims will seek victory through people who had seen him, and later through people who have seen people who have seen him.[5] This shows us that secrets are transmitted through the vision of people’s faces.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺremained firm while witnessing all the things that he witnessed: His vision did not stray, nor did it go wrong[6]; His heart did not lie about what it saw, for truly did he see, of the signs of his Lord, the greatest.[7]

All of this took place in a few instants. So little time had elapsed that the place where he had been sleeping was still warm. All of these are amazing examples of divine power. We are so accustomed to the pattern of cause and effect and the laws of creation that we tend to forget the presence of divine power in everything. In reality the things which we regard to be normal are miraculous – our sitting and standing, our eating and drinking. Allah says: Do you see the water which you drink? Did you bring it down from the clouds or did We?[8]

May Allah bestow prayers upon the one who made this awesome journey and may He resurrect us with him. Make us among those who are truthful in their following of him. Do not deprive us of the vision of him in this life, the Barzakh and the next life. Allow us to see the face of the one who You allowed to see Your countenance so that we are ready to see Your countenance in the abode of Your pleasure.

***

[1] Al-Baqarah, 2:214

[2] In the Islamic calendar the night precedes the day, so what is meant is the night before the 27th day

[3] Al-Isra’ 17:1

[4] Al-A`raf, 7:142

[5] Narrated by al-Bukhari

[6] Al-Najm, 53:17-18

[7] Al-Najm, 53:11

[8] Al-Waqi`ah, 56:68

Sayyiduna Ja`far: A Tale of Love and Sacrifice

jaafar at tayyar

 

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

When Sayyiduna Ja`far’s right hand was cut off, he seized the standard with his left hand until that too was cut off. He then clasped the standard with both arms until he was mortally wounded. His companions took the standard from him and took him to the side. They found that he had been struck eighty times (by swords, spears and arrows) but all these wounds were on the front part of his body, not on his back or his side. This was because he remained firm and did not for a moment turn his back to the enemy. He was offered water but he refused to drink it, saying that he was fasting.

“You are fasting on an extremely hot day while being in the midst of this battle?” they asked.

“I desire to break my fast in Paradise,” Ja`far said.

They took the water away from him and at sunset he duly broke his fast in Paradise, as the Messenger of Allahﷺ testified.

On the same day the Prophet was in al-Madina. He raised his head and said: “Wa alayka al-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh” and he began to speak. A group of his Companions were sitting around him observing what was happening with humility and etiquette.

When he had finished speaking, they asked him:

“Who were you speaking to, O Messenger of Allah?”

“That was Ja`far bin Abi Talib in front of me with a group of angels. Allah replaced his arms with two wings with which he can fly wherever he wishes in Paradise.”

He was thus knows as ‘al-Tayyar’ or ‘the Flyer’ long before aeroplanes were invented. He did not merely fly in the sky but in Paradise. He came from Mu’tah in Jordan to al-Madinah. What need was there for him to come to al-Madinah if he was already one of the people of Paradise? What was the purpose of him coming to al-Madinah? The purpose was to visit one person who was more beloved to him than Paradise. His name is Muhammad, your Prophet ﷺ. Had it not been for this love there would have been no need for him to go to al-Madinah to give greetings to the Messenger of Allah. Even Paradise did not cause him to forget Muhammad because he knew that he was only entering Paradise due to the fact that he was a follower of Muhammad. He knew that the true sign of his faith was for Allah and His Messenger to be more beloved to him than anything else, including Paradise.

When will you ascend to these degrees, my brother? Will you allow your life to pass by and the meeting with Allah to come without attaining this station? What effect have the passing of the days and nights, your actions, your prayer, your charity, your fasting, your hajj had on you?

 

Martyrs of Mu’tah

 

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

مؤتة

The Battle of Mu’tah, in modern day Jordan, took place in Jumada al-Ula in the eighth year of the Hijrah. The Prophet ﷺ had sent al-Harith bin `Umayr Al-Azdi with a letter for the ruler of Busra in Syria. On his way, however, he was intercepted and killed by Shurahbil bin `Amr Al-Ghassani. As a result, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ sent an army to discipline the transgressors. He appointed Sayyiduna Zayd bin Harithah to lead the army and gave him the standard. Sayyiduna Ja`far bin Abi Talib would replace him if he was killed, and Sayyiduna `Abdullah bin Rawahah would succeed Ja`far in case the latter fell. These were among the greatest of the Companions.

Sayyiduna Zayd bin Harithah was the beloved of the Messenger of Allah and preferred him over his own parents and family.

Sayyiduna Ja`far bin Abi Talib was the older brother of Sayyiduna `Ali. He made hijrah twice: to Abyssinia first and then to al-Madinah. He was the one to whom the Messenger of Allah said: “You resemble me in your physical appearance and in your character.”

Sayyiduna `Abdullah bin Rawahah was one of the Prophet’s poets. He used his poetry to praise and defend the Messenger of Allah . Before departing on this expedition he wept. He explained it was not out of fear of going into battle, but rather due to his reflection upon Allah’s statement, referring to the Hell Fire: Every one of you will pass over it.1 He wept out of fear that he would not be among those saved from it.

In the Battle, the Companions came up against vastly superior forces made up of Byzantine soldiers and Arab tribes loyal to them. When the fighting started, Sayyiduna Zayd was the first to be martyred. Sayyiduna Ja`far then assumed leadership and carried the standard in his right hand until it was cut off. He seized the standard with his left hand until that too was cut off. He then clasped the standard with both arms until he was mortally wounded. He was offered water but he refused to drink it, due to the fact that he was fasting. Sayyiduna `Abdullah bin Rawahah then took the standard until he too was killed. Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid later assumed leadership and managed to inflict losses upon the enemy and then withdraw safely with only a few losses. The Messenger of Allah described him as one of the swords of Allah.

The Messenger of Allah , meanwhile, was in al-Madinah watching events unfold. He informed his Companions that Allah had given Sayyiduna Ja`far two wings to replace his hands and allowed to him fly wherever he wished in Paradise. He also informed them that Sayyiduna Ja`far, out of his love for the Messenger, came to give him greetings of salam before entering Paradise.

Upon learning of the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Ja`far, the Prophet went to his house. He counselled Ja`far’s wife, Sayyidatuna Asma’ bint `Umays, to remain steadfast and he treated Ja`far’s sons, `Abdullah and Muhammad, with immense compassion. He kept them with him for three days until things had settled in their house. When the army returned to al-Madinah, he went out to meet it with `Abdullah riding with him on his camel.

Every year in Jumada al-Ula, Sayyidi al-Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) travels to Jordan to visit Sayyiduna Ja`far and the other martyrs of Mu’tah. In doing so, he encourages the Ummah to strengthen its connection to that blessed generation and to emulate them in their love for Allah and His Messenger and their readiness to sacrifice everything for them.

Taken from Sayyid Ahmad bin Zayni Dahlan’s al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah and some of Habib `Umar’s lectures.

1 Maryam, 19:71