March 20th, Birthday of the Prophet (pbuh), New Year, Spring

March 19, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“You have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is God and the Final Day.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21).

Alhamdulillah! The moon is full, a reminder that this is Rabi a-Awwal, by the Lunar calendar the month of the blessed birthday (Milad Un-Nabi) of the Prophet Muhammad (the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his family).

According to Sunni scholars, the Prophet’s birthday is observed on 12th Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on March 20, 2008, and 17th Rabi al-Awwal (march 25th this year) according to Shia scholars.

March 20th is also the first day of Spring, and celebrated as Nawrooz, the New Year in Iran and other countries. What a blessing that the birth of the Prophet (pbuh) should fall on the first day of Spring and the New Year, surely a sign of rebirth and love as we contemplate his noble attributes and teachings.

There is a difference of opinion about whether the Milad Un-Nabi should be a time of celebration. There is evidence that the Prophet (pbuh), his Companions, and the early followers after them did not celebrate or otherwise observe his birthday. On the contrary, he was careful to warn his people not to imitate other faiths, whose followers elevated their prophets and added to the religion what was not in the original teachings.

Those who disagree see it as a time to read the Qur’an, fast, pray, and remember the life, teachings, and example of the Prophet (pbuh).

When praising the Prophet (pbuh), we are also warned not to exaggerate in his praise. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not overpraise me as Christians overpraised Jesus, son of Mary. Say [when referring to me], ‘Servant of Allah and His messenger.'”

Servant of Allah and His messenger!

Surely that is a title that needs no embellishment. And so, what will you do to celebrate the Prophet’s (pbuh) birthday? Will you be fasting and praying? Having a celebration and giving gifts to family and friends? Giving to charity, visiting the sick, going to the mosque, helping a neighbor?

“Remember Me and I will remember you!” (Qur’an, 2:152)

May Allah bless you all, gentle readers, and guide you on the straight path of love, compassion, mercy, generosity and kindness.

Ameen.

Ya Haqq!


The Prophet (pbuh) and the Blind Man

March 10, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“He frowned and turned away when a blind man came his way. How do you know if (his heart) might be purified or recall (God) and by recollection be rectified? For those who are called wealthy, you attend to them closely and don’t bother if they are purified! Yet from one who comes to you hopeful, fearful and clearly humble, you let your attention be shunted aside.” - (Qur’an 80:1-12)

This Quranic verse, directed toward the Prophet himself (pbuh), is the harshest reminder in the revelation itself of allowing oneself to be distracted by the affairs of the world, and thereby, even momentarily, losing the insight of its true teachings of love and compassion, kindness and guidance in the worship of Allah, the One who has no partners.

It is further related that Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (pbuh), said that if any chapter of the Qur’an could be wiped out, he had wished it would be this short chapter entitled, He Frowned, that addresses him as the one who frowned and chastises him for his treatment of the blind man.

The old and feeble blind man came seeking some knowledge about the new religion of Islam, but his arrival interrupted an important meeting of Arab tribal elders, powerful and rich men, who, if they had embraced the religion, would have greatly strengthened the community, which was under constant threat.

The Prophet (pbuh) had done what almost any other leader would do in looking out for his community through practical means; he ignored the blind man and continued to talk to the powerful tribal elders.

Alhamdulillah! He admonishes even His own Prophet (pbuh) for ignoring the true seeker, for not taking a moment to answer the old blind man. Most certainly this would have been a real lesson to the tribal elders about the new religion of Islam.

Allah knows the truth.

May Allah bless us and grant us all the insight of this lesson and guide us to what is truly important in life.

Ameen.

 

Ya Haqq!


Being Thought Full of God

January 5, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Thoughts that do not include God are thought less, for all thought arises in response to His world in His universe and in this life He has given you. Saying Bismillah (in the name of God), before eating or performing a task great or small; saying Inshallah (God willing), that His will be done in the future and not your own; saying Alhamdulillah (All praise is God’s alone), that one recognizes that all power and strength and goodness come from Him; all these bring God into our consciousness, into our thoughts and actions. And if these thoughts and actions are done for God’s sake and not our own, it makes of them a true blessing.

This is also the essence of adab, of courtesy and character and true modesty, that it is done for God’s sake, and not out of cultural habit or shame.

Verily, to surrender to God in thought and deed is the beauty and truth of Islam, and the goal of the Sufi path.

Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me. (2:152)

Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course. (2:157)

 

Ya Haqq!


“Your Lord Has Not Forsaken You”

December 6, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor has He become displeased
And surely what comes after is better for you than that which has gone before
And soon will your Lord give you so that you shall be well pleased.”
- {Ad-Dhuha, 93:3-5}

“Free yourselves from the worries of the world as much as you can, for whosoever treats his worries in this world as his most serious concern, Allah, blessed be His name, will minimize his real loss in his eyes, and He will cause his fear of poverty to broaden and to be constant. On the other hand, whosoever regards the hereafter as his major concern, Allah, blessed be His name, will group his immediate needs together to become manageable, He will fill his heart with richness and broaden his satisfaction and contentment. In fact, whenever a servant turns his heart wholly towards his Lord, then Allah, blessed be His name, will cause the hearts of His believing servants to flow towards him with love, kindness and mercy while abundant divine blessings will flow towards him to serve his immediate needs more swiftly.”
- Narrated by Ummu Darda: ‘Abdu Darda (ra) has said that Allah’s messenger (salla-Allahu’alayhi wa salam) said the above hadith

“You are only guests in this world and what you own is only a borrowed trust.
Eventually the guest will depart and the borrowed trust must be returned to its rightful Owner.”
- ‘Abd Allah bin Mas’ud
Ya Haqq!


Out of Body Experience – Part II

November 9, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Once more, dear readers, thank you for your comments on the previous post about my out of body experience. They have enriched the post immeasurably.

And there is no doubt that some of you have experienced something similar. Here is one true story I was told.

I began dating a very gifted and spiritual woman about a year and a half after my hospital stay, who also happened to be a psychologist. No, I wasn’t seeing her professionally lol. But after some months, I did tell her about my illness, the hospital, and my out of body episode. I thought at the time that it was my own fear of death that caused me to have a dream of confession and redemption.

I said, “What do you make of that?”

She said, “What makes you think it didn’t really happen?”

She then told me that she had also had an out of body experience. At the instant of giving birth to her first child, as the baby was actually leaving her body, she described having a feeling like a tremendous orgasm, and that immediately her consciousness flew out of her body and was enveloped in what she described as a “pure golden light of endless love.” It was so transcendent and beautiful that she never wanted to leave. She thought she might have died, but didn’t care. That light of pure love was all-embracing. Then she heard the far off cries of her newborn daughter, and that forcibly pulled her consciousness back into her body. She had tears in her eyes at leaving that “place.”

I have often wondered if that “place” was the source of a mother’s love, the bond between mother and child. Or perhaps the source of all Love, the sea of light from which our lone drops are formed in this life.

She later did a small, all-woman study about such experiences, and received some surprising results from the study group. Apparently 5% of the women who responded have had similar experiences, sometimes during childbirth and sometimes even during orgasm. But women don’t speak of it, attributing it to the stress of labor, to pain medication, or the rush of hormones during sex. (No wonder the French call orgasm the “little death.”)

We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and only for a short time. We come from that Light, and return to it after our time is over. And since I have come to think that our time in this life is allotted, as the luminous being implied when he said, “It is not your time yet,” I have for many years thanked God each morning for the wondrous gift of my life, for the love He has given me and the mercy He has shown me all the days of my life.

Each day, each moment is a blessing.

As it says in the Koran: “Verily, in the heavens and the earth are signs to those who believe.” (45:2)

Ya Haqq!


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