Hazrat Ali’s Sermon on Eid ul-Fitr

July 16, 2015

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The blessed month of Ramadan is over today, and Muslims around the world will soon be celebrating Eid ul-Fitr on Friday, July 17th this year, 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!

Eid Mubarak!

Ya Haqq!


Rumi’s Poem on Fasting during Ramadan

June 24, 2015

Celebrate! The month of fasting has come.
Pleasant journey to the one

Who is the company of the fasting.
I climbed the roof to see the Moon,

Because I really missed fasting
By heart and soul.

I lost my hat while looking at the Moon.
the Sultan of fasting made me drunk.

O Muslims, I have been drunk
since that day I lost my mind.

What a beautiful fortune fasting has.
What a wonderful glory.

There is another secret moon
Besides this one.

He is hiding in the tent of fasting
Like a Turk.

Anyone who comes
To the harvest of fasting in this month

Finds the way to this Moon.
Whoever makes his face

Resemble pale satin
Wears the silk clothes of fasting.

Prayers will be accepted in this month.
Sighs of the one fasting pierce the sky.

The person who sits patiently
At the bottom of fasting’s well

Owns the love of Egypt, like Joseph.
O the word which eats the Sahur* meal,

Be silent so that anyone
Who knows fasting will enjoy fasting.

Come, O Shams, the brave one of whom Tabriz is proud.
You are the commander of fasting’s soldiers.

– Jalaluddin Rumi, a ghazal from the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, translated by Nevit Ergin.

Note:  * Sahur:  Meal before dawn during Ramadan fast.


A Special Ramadan Prayer from Yemen

June 19, 2015

wadiSalaam and Greetings of Peace:

Ramadan Mubarak!

The following is a du’a that is constantly read in Tarim, a town in the Wadi Hadhramawt, Yemen, throughout the blessed month of Ramadan. This beneficial du’a has been translated and made available through Sidi Amin Buxton (Allah preserve and increase him):

Sayyiduna Salman narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) spoke to the Companions on the last day of Sha`ban. He informed them that they were about to enter a great and blessed month, a month in which there is a night better than a thousand nights. He mentioned some of the merits of the month of Ramadan. Then he said: “Do four things in abundance: two things with which you please your Lord, and two things which you cannot do without. As for the two things with which you please your Lord: your testification that there is nothing worthy of worship other than Allah and your seeking His forgiveness. As for the two things which you cannot do without: your asking Allah for Paradise and seeking refuge in Him from the Fire.”1.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught al-Sayyida `A’isha to say on Laylat al-Qadr:

“O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us.”2.

On the basis of these two hadiths the scholars and people of Tarim repeat the following du`a throughout the month of Ramadan:

أشْهَدُ أن لا إلهَ إلا الله نَسْتَغْفِرُ الله نسأَلُكَ الجنَّةَ ونَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ النَّار (3)

Ashadu alla ilaha illallah, nastaghfirullah, nas’aluk’l-jannata wa na`audhu bika min an-nar

“I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship other than Allah and we seek the forgiveness of Allah. We ask You for Paradise and take refuge in You from the Fire.” (3 times)

اللهمَّ انَّكَ عَفُوٌ تُحبُّ العفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنَّا (3) يا كريم

Allahumma innaka `afuwun tuhibbu-l’`afwa f`afwa `anna

“O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us” (3 times). On the third time say “O Most Generous” (Ya Karim).

1 Narrated by Ibn Khuzayma

2 Narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi with a sahih chain of transmission.

NOTE: Wadi Hadhramawt is a 220-mile wadi (seasonal river valley) which has a collection of 31 small sultanates with Aden in the middle. Hadhramawt is the biggest wadi in the Arabian Peninsula and runs for 99 miles through a stony desert. This area has been settled since at least the 3rd century AD and brilliant green fields ran alongside the wadi.

Ya Haqq!


30 Daily Ramadan Prayers 2015/1436

June 8, 2015

RAMADAN MUBARAK!

Ramadan in the year 2015/1436 begins Thursday, June 18th, so here once again are the 30 Daily Ramadan Prayers (duas), which are posted 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.

Ya Haqq!

NOTE:  To read the duas (prayers) in Arabic, click HERE.


The 15th of Sha’ban – June 2, 2015

June 1, 2015

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 is the 15th of Sha’ban this yearthe 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 Recordsthe Night of Assignment and the Night of Deliverance. 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)

SUPPLICATION ON THE NIGHT OF 15th SHA’BAN

O Allah! You shower favours on everyone
And no one can do You any favour.
O The Possessor of Majesty and Honour,
O The Distributor of bounty and rewards,
There is no one worthy of worship except You.
You help the fallen
And provide refuge to the refugees And give peace to those who are in fear.

O Allah! If in the Mother of All Books that is with You
You have written me down as someone who is
Doubtful of achieving salvation, or deprived,
Or rejected or without enough sustenance,
Then, O Allah, with Your Grace
Remove all of these misfortunes from me
and in the Mother of All Books that is with You,
establish me as someone who is
blessed, with abundant provision and charitable good deeds.
Indeed, what You said in The Book You sent
Through the tongue of Your Blessed Prophet is true
That Allah changes and establishes what He wants
And with Him is the Mother of All Books.

O My Lord! For the sake of Your Divine Manifestation
On this fifteenth night of the blessed month of Sha’ban
In which You issue all Wise and Irrevocable Decrees
Remove from us all calamities and hardships,
those that we know about as well as those that we don’t,
while You know everything.
Truly, You are the Most Powerful, Most Generous.

And may Allah the Exalted shower blessings and peace on
Sayyidina Muhammad, and on his family and his companions
And all praise is for Allah, Lord of the worlds.

Ameen!

Ya Haqq!

Note: To read the supplication/prayer in Arabic, click HERE.


Lessons in Love: Essays and Spiritual Exercises for Modern Life

February 25, 2015

Lessons.in Love.coverSalaam and Greetings of Peace:

Here is my latest Ebook, Lessons in Love: Essays and Spiritual Exercises for Modern Life :)  The book is a collection of writings from the Darvish blog, and I hope it will be of some small benefit to those who read it.

To Order a Copy from Amazon for $2.99, click HERE.

To Order a Copy from Google Books for $1.99, click HERE.

To Order a Copy from Smashwords for $1.99, click HERE.

Ya Haqq!

PS:  To read a review of the book, click HERE.

 


Jesus was a Palestinian

December 24, 2014

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Merry Christmas, and in the spirit of true understanding, and to begin a hopefully fruitful and honest discussion without rancor or religious intolerance, I am reposting the following, with permission:

Jesus was a Palestinian and Why it Matters!

Because of modern alarmist reactions to the word “Palestine,” many non-Arabs and non-Muslims take offense when it is argued that Jesus was a Palestinian (peace be upon him). Jesus’ ethnicity, skin color, and culture often accompanies this conversation, but it is interesting how few people are willing to acknowledge the fact he was non-European. A simple stroll in the Christmas aisle of your local shopping store will show you the dominant representation of Jesus: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, White man.

Islamophobia and anti-Arab propaganda have conditioned us to view Palestinians as nothing but heartless suicide bombers, terrorists, and enemies of freedom/democracy. Perpetual media vilification and demonization of Palestinians, in contrast to the glorification of Israel, blinds us from seeing issues such as the Palestinian refugee crisis, the victims of Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza last winter, the tens of thousands of homeless Palestinians, and many other issues that are constantly addressed by human rights activists around the world. To speak from the perspective of the Palestinians, especially in casual non-Arab and non-Muslim settings, generates controversy because the minds of many already associate Palestinians with violent stereotypes. So, how could Jesus belong to a group of people that we’re taught to dehumanize?

When I’ve spoken to people about this, I’ve noticed the following responses: “No, Jesus was a Jew,” or “Jesus is not Muslim.” The mistake isn’t a surprise to me, but it certainly reveals how ignorant much of society still is. Being a Palestinian does not mean one is Muslim or vice versa. Prior to the creation of Israel, the word “Palestine” was a geographic term applied to Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, and Palestinian Jews. Although most Palestinians are Muslim today, there is a significant Palestinian Christian minority who are often overlooked, especially by the mainstream Western media because the agenda is to simplify the conflict as “Muslims versus Jews.” To learn about many Palestinian Christians opposing Israeli military occupation, as well as Jews who oppose to the occupation, is to reveal more sides to an immensely one-sided story. Professor Jack D. Forbes writes about Jesus’ multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment:

“When the Romans came to dominate the area, they used the name Palestine. Thus, when Yehoshu’a [Jesus] was born, he was born a Palestinian as were all of the inhabitants of the region, Jews and non-Jews. He was also a Nazarene (being born in Nazareth) and a Galilean (born in the region of Galilee)… At the time of Yehoshu’a’s birth, Palestine was inhabited by Jews—descendants of Hebrews, Canaanites, and many other Semitic peoples—and also by Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks, and even Arabs.”

Despite these facts, there are those who use the color-blind argument: “It does not matter what Jesus’ ethnicity or skin color was. It does not matter what language he spoke. Jesus is for all people, whether you’re Black, White, Brown, Yellow, etc.” While this is a well-intentioned expression of inclusiveness and universalism, it misses the point.

When you see so many depictions of Jesus as a Western White man with Euro-American features, the ethnocentrism and race-bending needs to be called out. No person is superior to another based on skin color, but to ignore the way Jesus’ Whiteness has been used to subjugate and discriminate against racial minorities in the West and many other countries is to overlook another important aspect of Jesus’ teachings: Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Malcolm X wrote about White supremacists and slaveholders using Christianity to justify their “moral” and “racial superiority” over Blacks. In Malcolm’s own words, “The Holy Bible in the White man’s hands and its interpretations of it have been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of non-white human beings.” Throughout history, whether it was in Jerusalem, Spain, India, or Africa, so-called White “Christians” cultivated a twisted interpretation of religion that was compatible with their colonialist agenda. And racism was a key component of their atrocities.

And here we are in the 21st century where Islamophobia (also stemming from racism because Islam gets racialized) is on the rise; where people calling themselves “Christian” fear to have a Black president; where members of the KKK and anti-immigration movements behave as if Jesus was an intolerant White American racist who only spoke English despite being born in the Middle-East! It is astonishing how so-called “Christians” like Ann Coulter call Muslims “rag-heads” when in actuality, Jesus himself would fit the profile of a “rag-head,” too. As would Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and the rest of the Prophets (peace be upon them all). As William Rivers Pitt writes:

“The ugly truth which never even occurs to most Americans is that Jesus looked a lot more like an Iraqi, like an Afghani, like a Palestinian, like an Arab, than any of the paintings which grace the walls of American churches from sea to shining sea. This was an uncomfortable fact before September 11. After the attack, it became almost a moral imperative to put as much distance between Americans and people from the Middle East as possible. Now, to suggest that Jesus shared a genealogical heritage and physical similarity to the people sitting in dog cages down in Guantanamo is to dance along the edge of treason.”

Without acknowledging Jesus as a dark-skinned Middle-Eastern man — a Palestinian — who spoke Aramaic — a Semitic language that is ancestral to Arabic and Hebrew — the West will continue to view Islam as a “foreign religion.” Hate crimes and discriminatory acts against Muslims, Arabs, and others who are perceived to be Muslim will persist and they will still be treated as “cultural outsiders.” But what about Christianity and Judaism in America? Aren’t these religions “cultural outsiders” according to the racist logic of xenophobes and Islamophobes?

Jesus would not prefer one race or group of people over another, and I believe he would not encourage today’s demonization and dehumanization of the Palestinian people or the misrepresentations of him that only fuel ignorance and ethnocentrism. As a Muslim, I believe Jesus was a Prophet of God, and if I were to have any say about the Christmas spirit, it would be based on Jesus’ character: humility, compassion, and Love. A Love in which all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation are respected and appreciated.

And in that spirit, I wish you all a merry Christmas. Alaha Natarak (Aramaic for:  God be with you).

– From Jehanzeb’s most excellent Muslim Reverie blog.

Ya Haqq!



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