“Follow only beauty. Obey only love.”
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
Today is the birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, (born January 15, 1929). I do not have the words to do justice to his life and work, and so I will quote only two paragraphs that may help explain why he is one of this nation’s exemplary heroes.
“The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well being. Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.” – Pilgrimage to Non-Violence, 1960
“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” – Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, December 11, 1964.
God bless his soul and memory, and may we as a people learn from his example. Amen!
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
One day many year ago, when Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order still lived in Iran, he sent for Mr. Niktab, who had been made a Shaykh recently, and instructed him to go to a remote khaniqah in another province. It was a three day journey by bus, so Mr. Niktab set out to go at once, and walked to the door of the khaniqah.
“Wait, where is your suitcase?” the Master asked.
“I don’t need a suitcase. A darvish travels light and trusts in God” Mr. Niktab said.
“Take a change of clothes,” the Master said.
“Really, Master, I will be fine,” Mr. Niktab insisted.
The Master shook his head and walked away. “Nafs!” he said.
And so Mr. Niktab began his journey. It was mid-summer and a long and dusty journey in an old rickety bus without air-conditioning. Finally, after three days of travel, getting off the bus feeling very hot and sweaty, he began the five mile walk through the desert-like countryside to the khaniqah.
About a mile from the khaniqah, he came upon a grove of trees and large pond fed by a nearby stream. Since the area was deserted, he decided to take a swim and cool off before walking the rest of the way to the khaniqah. He took off all his clothes and waded into the water, uttering a sigh of relief at the coolness, and washed off the sweat from the long journey.
Just then he heard the voices of women coming up the road. He swam to a nearby reedbed to hide himself, and heard the women stop and talk among themselves.
“Look, someone has left clothes by the water,” one said. They looked around, and Mr. Niktab had to duck under the water so as not to be seen.
Eventually, the women, who were dervishes on their way to the khaniqah, could not find the owner, and decided to take the clothes with them in case they had dropped out of someone’s luggage.
As they walked off, Mr. Niktab came out of hiding and stood in the center of the pond, naked and alone. “I’m sorry, Master! Forgive me, Master!” he cried.
He broke off a few branches with leaves to cover himself, and stood waiting behind a tree for a long time, until finally a young man came walking down the path. He recognized him as a darvish, and he called him over.
The young man was astonished to find Mr. Niktab, whom they were all expecting, naked and hiding behind a tree. “What happened?” he asked?
“Nafs!” was all Mr. Niktab would say. He told him to run to the khaniqah and bring back clothes for him to wear.
As the boy disappeared down the road, Mr. Niktab sighed, shaking his head at the lesson the Master had taught him.
When the Master tells you to do something, do it.
NOTE: It has been suggested by brother Ruslan in the comments that if Mr. Niktab had taken a suitcase, the women would also have taken it. I repeat that I am certain that if Mr. Niktab had taken a suitcase, no women would have come by. The Master’s lessons are designed in the most succinct way, and always for what is necessary at that moment.
For example, read the post on the Miracle of the Angel, which is also a true story.
And Allah knows best :)
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
And your Lord shall give to you and you shall be satisfied. Did He not find you an orphan and provide refuge? And did He not find you astray and guide you? And did He not find you without means and provide sustenance? So as for the orphan – do not oppress him. And as for the beggar – do not drive him away. And as for the grace of your Lord – proclaim it.
- Qur’an 93:5-11
Thanksgiving is sweeter than bounty itself.
One who cherishes gratitude does not cling to the gift!
Thanksgiving is the true meat of God’s bounty;
the bounty is its shell,
For thanksgiving carries you to the hearth of the Beloved.
Abundance alone brings heedlessness,
thanksgiving gives birth to alertness…
The bounty of thanksgiving will satisfy and elevate you,
and you will bestow a hundred bounties in return.
Eat your fill of God’s delicacies,
and you will be freed from hunger and begging.
- Jalaluddin Rumi
Happy Thanksgiving 2012!!!
O Lord, in these hard times, we thank You for the bounty of our table, when so many in the world go hungry.
And we thank You for our family and friends, when so many in the world walk alone.
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
The blessed month of Ramadan is over, and Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid ul-Fitr, so it is fitting to post this again:
On the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, Hazrat Ali (A.S.) delivered a sermon in which he said:
“O people! Verily this day of yours is the day when the righteous are awarded and the wretched are losers. It is a day which is similar to the one on which you shall be standing (before your Lord). Therefore, when you come out of your homes to go to places of your prayer, remind yourselves about the day when you (your souls) shall come out of your bodies to go to your Lord. When you stand on places of your prayer, remind yourselves of your standing in the presence of your Lord (on the day of Judgment). And when you return to your homes (after prayer), remind yourselves about your returning to your homes in Paradise. O Servants of Allah! Verily the minimum reward for those men and women who fasted (during Ramadan), is an Angel, who calls out to them on the last day of the month of Ramadan (saying): O SERVANTS OF ALLAH! REJOICE THE GLAD TIDING THAT ALL YOUR PREVIOUS SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN…”
- From the Nahjul-Balaghah.
Eid-ul-Fitr is a unique festival. It has no connection with any historical event nor is it related to the changes of seasons or cycles of agriculture. It is not a festival related in any way to worldly affairs. Its significance is purely spiritual. It is the day when Muslims thank God for having given them the will, the strength and the endurance to observe the fast and obey His commandments during the holy month of Ramadan.
Alhamdulillah! May Allah bless us all and grant that we use this Eid as a lens to focus the sunlight of good works, which have shone so brightly during Ramadan, to light the way through this coming year until the next Ramadan. Ameen! Ameen!
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
Ramadan begins in a few days, so here, for the benefit of all who are observing Ramadan, are two excellent sources of inspiration on the Mysteries of Fasting during this blessed month.
From Imam Al-Ghazzali – The Inward Conditions of Fasting.
From Ibn Arabi – On the Secrets of Fasting.
Ramadan in the year 2012/1433 begins Friday, July 20th, so here once again are the 30 Daily Ramadan Prayers (duas), which are reposted each year. InshAllah, they will enlighten the mind and ennoble the heart, making the fast easier in this blessed month.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 1
ALLAH, on this day make my fasts the fasts of those who fast (sincerely), and my standing up in prayer of those who stand up in prayer (obediently), awaken me in it from the sleep of the heedless, and forgive me my sins , O God of the worlds, and forgive me, O one who forgives the sinners.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 2
ALLAH, on this day, take me closer towards Your pleasure, keep me away from Your anger and punishment, grant me the opportunity to recite Your verses (of the Qur’an), by Your mercy, O the most Merciful.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 3
ALLAH, on this day, grant me wisdom and awareness, keep me away from foolishness and pretension, grant me a share in every blessing You send down, by You generosity, O the most Generous.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 4
ALLAH, on this day, strengthen me in carrying out Your commands, let me taste the sweetness of Your remembrance, grant me, through Your graciousness, that I give thanks to You. Protect me, with Your protection and cover, O the most discerning of those who see.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 5
ALLAH, on this day, place me among those who seek forgiveness. Place me among Your righteous and obedient servants, and place me among Your close friends, by Your kindness, O the most Merciful.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 6
ALLAH, on this day, do not let me abase myself by incurring Your disobedience, and do not strike me with the whip of Your punishment, keep me away from the causes of Your anger, by and Your power, O the ultimate wish of those who desire.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 7
ALLAH, on this day, help me with its fasts and prayers, and keep me away from mistakes and sins of the day, grant me that I remember You continuously through the day, by Your assistance, O the Guide of those who stray.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 8
ALLAH, on this day, let me have mercy on the orphans, and feed [the hungry], and spread peace, and keep company with the noble-minded, O the shelter of the hopeful.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 9
ALLAH, on this day, grant me a share from Your mercy which is wide, guide me towards Your shining proofs, lead me to Your all encompassing pleasure, by Your love, O the hope of the desirous.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 10
ALLAH, on this day, make me, among those who rely on You, from those who You consider successful, and place me among those who are near to you, by Your favor, O goal of the seekers.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 11
ALLAH, on this day, make me love goodness, and dislike corruption and disobedience, bar me from anger and the fire, by Your help, O the helper of those who seek help
Ramadan Dua: DAY 12
ALLAH, on this day, beautify me with covering and chastity, cover me with the clothes of contentment and chastity, let me adhere to justice and fairness, and keep me safe from all that I fear, by Your protection, O the protector of the frightened.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 13
ALLAH, on this day, purify me from un-cleanliness and dirt, make me patient over events that are decreed, grant me the ability to be pious, and keep company with the good, by Your help, O the beloved of the destitute.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 14
ALLAH, on this day, do not condemn me for slips, make me decrease mistakes and errors, do not make me a target for afflictions and troubles, by Your honor, O the honor of the Muslims.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 15
O Allah, on this day, grant me the obedience of the humble, expand my chest through the repentance of the humble, by Your security, O the shelter of the fearful.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 16
ALLAH, on this day, grant me compatibility with the good, keep me away from patching up with the evil, lead me in it, by Your mercy, to the permanent abode, by Your Godship, O the God of the worlds.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 17
ALLAH, on this day, guide me towards righteous actions, fulfill my needs and hopes, O One who does not need explanations nor questions, O One who knows what is in the chests of the (people of the) world. Bless Muhammad and his family, the Pure.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 18
ALLAH, on this day, make me love goodness, and dislike corruption and disobedience, bar me from anger and the fire [of Hell], by Your help, O the helper of those who seek help.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 19
ALLAH, on this day, multiply for me its blessings, and ease my path towards its bounties, do not deprive me of the acceptance of its good deeds, O the Guide towards the clear truth.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 20
ALLAH, on this day, open for me the doors of the heavens, and lock the doors of Hell from me, help me to recite the Qur’an, O the One who sends down tranquility into the hearts of believers.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 21
ALLAH, on this day, show me the way to win Your pleasure, do not let Shaytan have a means over me, make Paradise an abode and a resting place for me, O the One who fulfills the requests of the needy.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 22
ALLAH, on this day, open for me the doors of Your Grace, send down on me its blessings, help me towards the causes of Your mercy, and give me a place in the comforts of Paradise, O the one who answers the call of the distressed.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 23
ALLAH, on this day, wash away my sins, purify me from all flaws, examine my heart with (for) the piety of the hearts, O One who overlooks the shortcomings of the sinners.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 24
ALLAH, on this day, I ask You for what pleases You, and I seek refuge in You from what displeases You, I ask You to grant me the opportunity to obey You and not disobey You, O One who is generous with those who ask
Ramadan Dua: DAY 25
ALLAH, on this day, make me among those who love Your friends, and hate Your enemies, following the way of Your last Prophet, O the Guardian of the hearts of the Prophets.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 26
ALLAH, on this day, make my efforts worthy of appreciation, and my sins forgiven, my deeds accepted, my flaws concealed, O the best of those who hear.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 27
ALLAH, on this day, bestow on me the blessings of Laylatul Qadr, change my affairs from (being) difficult to (being) easy, accept my apologies, and decrease for me [my] sins and burdens, O the Compassionate with His righteous servants.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 28
ALLAH, on this day, grant me a share in its nawafil (recommended prayers), honor me by attending to my problems, make closer the means to approach You, from all the means, O One who is not preoccupied by the requests of the beseechers.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 29
O ALLAH, on this day, cover me with Your mercy, grant me in it success and protection, purify my heart from the darkness of false accusations, O the Merciful to His believing servants.
Ramadan Dua: DAY 30
O ALLAH, on this day, make my fasts worthy of appreciation and acceptance, according to what pleases You, and pleases the Messenger, the branches being strengthened by the roots, for the sake of our leader, Muhammad, and his purified family. Praise be to ALLAH, the Lord of the worlds.
NOTE: To read the duas (prayers) in Arabic, click HERE.
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
A Sermon on the Last Friday of Sha’ban on the Reception of the Month of Ramadan (reposted from last year).
“O People! Indeed ahead of you is the blessed month of Allah. A month of blessing, mercy and forgiveness. A month which with Allah is the best of months. Its days, the best of days, its nights, the best of nights, and its hours, the best of hours. It is the month which invites you to be the guests of Allah and invites you to be one of those near to Him. Each breath you take glorifies him; your sleep is worship, your deeds are accepted and your supplications are answered. So, ask Allah, your Lord; to give you a sound body and an enlightened heart so you may be able to fast and recite his book, for only he is unhappy who is devoid of Allah’s forgiveness during this great month. Remember the hunger and thirst of the day of Qiyamah (Judgement) with your hunger and thirst; give alms to the needy and poor, honour your old, show kindness to the young ones, maintain relations with your blood relations; guard your tongues, close your eyes to that which is not permissible for your sight, close your ears to that which is forbidden to hear, show compassion to the orphans of people, so compassion may be shown to your orphans. Repent to Allah for your sins and raise your hands in dua during these times, for they are the best of times and Allah looks towards his creatures with kindness, replying to them during the hours and granting their needs if he is asked …
“O People! Indeed your souls are dependant on your deeds, free it with Istighfar (repentance) lighten its loads by long prostrations; and know that Allah swears by his might: That there is no punishment for the one who prays and prostrates and he shall have no fear of the fire on the day when man stands before the Lord of the worlds.
“O People! One who gives Iftaar to a fasting person during this month will be like one who has freed someone and his past sins will be forgiven. Some of the people who were there then asked the Prophet (s): “Not all of us are able to invite those who are fasting?”
The Prophet replied: “Allah gives this reward even if the Iftaar (meal) is a drink of water.” “One who has good morals (Akhlaq) during this month will be able to pass the ‘Siraat’ … on the day that feet will slip … “One who covers the faults of others will benefit in that Allah will curb His anger on the day of Judgement … “As for one who honour an orphan; Allah will honour him on the day of judgement, “And for the one who spreads his kindness, Allah will spread His mercy over him on the day of Judgement. “As for the one who cuts the ties of relation; Allah will cut His mercy from him … “Who so ever performs a recommended prayer in this month Allah will keep the fire of Hell away from him … “Whoever performs an obligatory prayer Allah will reward him with seventy prayers [worth] in this month. “And who so ever prays a lot during this month will have his load lightened on the day of measure. “He who recites one verse of the Holy Quran will be given the rewards of reciting the whole Quran during other months.
“O People! Indeed during this month the doors of heaven are open, therefore ask Allah not to close them for you; The doors of hell are closed, so ask Allah to keep them closed for you. During this month Shaytan (Satan) is imprisoned so ask your Lord not to let him have power over you.”
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
Thursday, July 5th, 2012 is the 15th of Sha’ban this year, the 15th day of the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The preceding night is known as Laylatul Bara’ah or Laylatun Nisfe min Sha’ban in the Arab world, and as Shab-e-barat in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, and Afghanistan. These names are translated to the night of records, the night of assignment and the night of deliverance, and the observance involves a festive nightlong vigil with prayers, feasting and illumination.
Muslims observe Mid-Sha’ban as a night of worship and salvation; it is a night noted for its great blessings and virtues, when Allah determines the destiny of all people, including whether a person lives or dies in the coming year. For this reason it is sometimes called the “Night of Emancipation.” The date also may commemorate the saving of Noah’s followers from the deluge by Allah.
The Qur’an describes it as the blessed night, and fortunate indeed are those who attain the full blessings and benefits of this night by spending it in performing good and refraining from evil.
‘Ali (pbuh) narrates that the Prophet (saws) said, “When it is the fifteenth of Sha’ban, then stand (in worship) at night and fast during the day. Because Allah subhanahu wata’aala descends in this night at sunset to the first heaven and says: ‘Is there any seeker of forgiveness, that I may forgive him? Is there any seeker of sustenance, that I may sustain him? Is there anyone in affliction, that I may remove his affliction? And so on. This continues until Fajr, the dawn prayer.” – (Ibn Mãjah)