Sons of One Religion

April 10, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the Spirit.

-Khalil Gibran

Ya Haqq!


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!


The Prayer of Guidance

January 21, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The Prophet (pbuh) has said:

“If one of you is concerned about some practical undertaking, or about making plans for a journey, he should perform two Rakats (cycles) of voluntary prayer. Then he should say the following dua:”

O Allah! I seek Your guidance by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power; I have none. And You know; I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things.

O Allah! If in Your knowledge this matter is good for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge this matter is bad for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it. And ordain for me the good wherever it may be, and make me content with it.

- Called the Salat-ul-Istikhara, or The Prayer of Guidance, it is adapted from the excellent and beneficial Simply Islam blog.

Ya Haqq!


Answered Prayers

October 28, 2007

The knowledge of You
Comes swift as light
To sit within the circle
Of zekr and gratitude
A presence felt in darkness
The soul’s delight

The knowledge of You
My bones remember
My blood, nerves, sinews
And my eyes, this poet’s sight
That writes only You, who
Are pen and ink and paper

You are love and turmoil
Hope and answered prayers
Fathomless as oceans
Encompassing as night
My heart’s rest as winter comes
And all the leaves take flight.

- Irving Karchmar, © October 2007


Heaven and Hell

October 26, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is more important to find out the truth about one’s self than to find out the truth of Heaven and Hell. - Hazrat Inayat Khan

What are Heaven and Hell? They are the results of action, speech and thought — they are *results* and not self-dependent. Every Hell and Heaven may be different, and the same condition can be Hell to one and Heaven to another. Therefore we cannot understand them until we understand the self — and not just the nafs, but the innermost being.

Sufis willingly surrender Heaven and Hell to God, considering it a joy when Allah is present even in the midst of Hell, and a loss when Allah is absent even in the bosom of Paradise.

- Commentary by Hazrat Samuel L. Lewis (Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti). From the Sufi Family Yahoo Newsgroup.

Note: This idea is part of the Sufi tale, The Judgment of God, which you can read by clicking the Sufi Novel tab at top, from Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel.

Ya Haqq!


Mullah Nasrudin, the Rich Man, and the Poor Man

October 15, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A long time ago when I was still a Mullah, I lived in a small town, just big enough for a real mosque, with a beautiful mosaic wall. I remember one evening, we had finished our prayers. The stars were clear and bright, and seemed to fill the sky with lights. I stood at the window, gazing at the lights so far away, each one bigger than our world and so distant from us across vast reaches of space.

I thought of how we walk this earth, filled with our own importance, when we are just specks of dust. If you walk to the cliffs outside the town, a walk of half an hour at most, you look back and you can see the town, but the people are too small to see, even at that meager distance.

When I think of the immensity of the universe, I am filled with awe and reverence at a power so great. I was thinking such thoughts, looking out the window of the mosque, and I realized I had fallen to my knees.

“I am nothing, nothing!” I cried, amazed and awestruck.

There was a certain well-to-do man of the town, the kind of man who wished to be thought very devout. He cared more for what people thought of him than for what he actually was. He happened to walk in and he saw and heard what passed. I was a little shy at being caught in such a moment, but he rushed down, looking around in the obvious hope someone was there to see him. He knelt beside me and cried:

“I am nothing! I am nothing!”

At the same time, the man who sweeps the floor, a poor man from the edge of the village, entered the side door with his broom to begin his night’s work. He had seen us, and being a man of true faith and honest simplicity, his face showed that he entertained some of the same thoughts that had been laid on me by the hand of Allah (wonderful is He). He dropped his broom and fell to his knees and said softly:

“I am nothing…I am nothing!”

The well-to-do man nudged me with his elbow and said out of the side of his mouth:

“Look who thinks he’s nothing!”

Ya Haqq!


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