Bab, the Door to Knowledge and Understanding

November 17, 2017

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

From our brother, Suhaib Webb:

Years ago, I sat at Dar al-Ifta in Cairo reading with a teacher, and he asked,

“Have you ever thought why the scholars use the word bāb (door) to title what you call chapters in English?” I responded, “Yes, but I did not give it a lot of thought.”

What followed was eye opening:

The Sheikh said,
“The word bāb is used because it reminds the student that he is entering a new realm. The field of knowledge; that he is leaving a place of ignorance and coming into a place of understanding. Thus, he needs to have the proper character, so the knowledge will touch his heart and mind.

The word bāb is used because it reminds the student that, just as you enter a person’s home and are careful to make sure you have the right location: to knock with respect, to come with humility, to sit gracefully, not complain about the food, if served, or the home, he has to seek knowledge, approach it with humility and be satisfied with whatever is given to him, being thankful for what is given, polite and kind to his hosts.

At the same time, it reminds the Shaykh to be gracious to his student, to treat him like his own, welcome him with a generous heart and serve him the best he can, seeking God’s pleasure alone. In short, this one word contains every adab (etiquette) that al-Ghazzali mentioned in the etiquette of the student and the etiquette of the teacher. Amazing!

Finally, it reminds the student to be sincere, seeing God alone, since the bāb in the book reminds him of the abawāb (Eng.doors) of Paradise! You see, there are gems to be found in these old works. Be patient, and God will show you more!”

Allah! Please grant us sincerity in learning!

Ameen!

Ya Haqq!

 

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The Etiquette (Adab) of Reciting the Quran

October 24, 2017

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“These are the secrets of the angelic servants of those who recite the Quran. It behooves the reciter of the Quran to uphold the highest standards of good etiquette when he wishes to begin his recitation. Let him be in a state of complete ritual purity and bring to presence the attendance of the angels. Let him remind himself of the angels’ sanctity and place his spiritual focus on contemplation of and reverential awe for the Quran. Whilst he is reciting, let him not cast a furtive glance toward anyone or anything that is lesser in stature than the Speech of Allah, such as interrupting his recitation with created speech, even if it is the obligatory reply to greetings of peace (salam). It is unlawful for him to reply to greetings of peace whilst he is engaged in recitation of the Quran, because in doing so he drops himself from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low. This is what results when someone interrupts the divine speech by replying to the greetings of peace. As for interrupting the divine speech with worldly speech, it is loss upon loss—manifold loss!

When someone is reciting the Quran, he shouldn’t even glance to see who comes in to see him, no matter what occasions it. It is problematic enough that one should turn and look at someone entering even if he doesn’t stop the recitation of the Quran. Should a person remember a worldly matter after starting his recitation, he mustn’t get up and attend to it, for if he does that he will be included among those who preferred the ignoble and base over the Presence of his Master, and as a result he will be cast from Allah’s divine pleasure and denied the Quran’s blessings.

When someone stops his recitation of the Quran to attend to someone or something, he should consider the secrets of the angelic soldiers who seek forgiveness for him as he recites, and then he should weigh their prayers for forgiveness against whatever he attends to—can or can’t he distinguish light from darkness?

Many students who sell their goods in the market fall into these errors. Whilst in the market, they are busy reciting the Quran, but their focus is really on the people walking by. They say to themselves, “Is this person going to come and buy something from me or not?” or “Is this person going to come over to me or not?” until finally, when someone approaches to purchase a small quantity of this-or-that, they stop their recitation and immediately begin tending to the transaction until it is complete, after which they go back to their recitation without the slightest concern. Quite often they will go back to their recitation without seeking refuge [in Allah from Satan], as if they never stopped reciting. The show no care or concern. Many of them, because of the intensity with which they prefer commerce over recitation, when re-starting their recitation, don’t even remember where they stopped at, and start reading from a different location without invoking the prayer for seeking refuge from Satan.

Because of this lassitude with the Quran, many students are barred from its secrets; the lights of the angels do not connect with their recitation (as we detailed earlier). These secrets are for none but those with complete etiquette and presence. So long as a person is mired in heedlessness of this reality, no matter how hard he tries he will not attain unto the lights of the angels. As much as he may aspire to their lights, their secret will be cut off to him.

When one wants to recite the Quran, he must enter a sanctified state just as he does when offering the ritual prayer. Let him attend to any business or pre-occupations before starting his recitation; then let him ensure he is in a complete state of ritual purity; then, with presence of heart and reverential awe, let him focus on the sanctity of divine speech, even if all he is to recite is a single verse, or two verses, or a hizb. As these are conditions of quality and not quantity—being, as they are, conditions of good etiquette—they are applicable whether one recites a single verse or recites longer portions of the Quran. Even if one only recites a single verse while upholding the aforementioned sanctities, he will attain immense blessings through it.

If something happens, or occurs, or arises, that requires one to stop his recitation, let him stop it in a manner that reflects good etiquette. The very best that the imams have inaugurated in this regard—Allah be pleased with them!—is the practice of saying “Allah Almighty spoke the truth” (Sadaqallahul-‘Azim) and reciting the verse Verily Allah and His angels send prayers upon the Prophet; O you who believe, send prayers and abundant salutations upon him! (Quran 33:56), followed by sending prayers upon the Prophet s and sealing it with invocations of divine pleasure for the noble Companions, the Successors, and the entire Umma of our master Muhammad s, followed by asking Allah Most High that He not make that his final recitation, and that his spirit not leave his body except that he is reciting the Quran—meaning that he first brings it to presence and recites of it what is easy for him before uttering the two testimonies of faith [There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah], so that his testification is upon the foundation of the Quran’s light, sealing his life with the testimony of faith until Allah raises his spirit…”

Shaykh Muhammad al-Qandusi  (Cipher of the Spirit, translated by Abdul Aziz Suraqah)

Ya Haqq!


The Trust of Mankind

October 10, 2017

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“In our revelation, the world is portrayed as something surpassingly beautiful. To take our due place within it, we are to act with a beauty that has to be commensurate. Considering the beauty of the stars and the seas, that is not a very easy commandment for us poor beings of mud to obey. But man, despite having been proved a tyrant and a fool, has taken this trust upon himself. He is to be custodian of the same natural world of which he is fully a part. Hence our Perfect Man thus balances within his soul the perfect balance that we see in nature.”

– Sheikh AbdulHakim Murad (may Allah grant him long life)

Ya Haqq!


Love is Life

September 4, 2017

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the universal and eternal source.”
Leo Tolstoy

Ya Haqq!

What Love Demands – Eid al-Adha Mubarak :)

August 30, 2017

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Eid Mubarak!

May Allah bless you all this Eid, dear Brothers and Sisters, with generosity of hand, sincerity of speech, kindness in action, and love and joy in remembrance of Him, who is the Source of all Generosity, Sincerity, Kindness, Joy, and Love. Ameen!

“O Lord! Let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us, but grant us mercy from Your own Presence; for You are the Grantor of bounties without measure.” (Quran: 3:9)

This is the time of Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, which celebrates the faith of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice even his son Ishmael as God had commanded. Now,what are we willing to sacrifice in order that our prayers may be accepted?

That is the question I ask myself every year. Jesus (pbuh) kissed the leper, the whore, and the thief, out of love and forgiveness and healing. Because of the great expansiveness of his heart, miracles were possible. What have we done, what can we still do, to be worthy of the love and forgiveness and healing we ask of God? The answer that comes to my heart is always the same:

Do what love demands.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

According to a hadith, the Prophet (SAW) once said, “A true believer is one with whom others feel secure. One who returns love for hatred.”

Alhamdulillah! Indeed, Love is the greatest miracle of God. There have been Spiritual Masters of the past who would not let an aspirant be initiated until they had gone to everyone whom they had wronged in their life, and begged forgiveness, making amends in any way that was required. And until they had gone to everyone that had wronged them in their lives, and granted them forgiveness without asking, and with a whole heart. Only then could such a one be initiated on the mystic path.

And so we come to the great task of our lives, brought into focus on this day of Eid al-Adha: To sacrifice our fear and hatred, our envy and greed and all the other works of the fearful and self-absorbed nafs, in the certain knowledge that anyone who forgives a debt will be repaid tenfold by God, and anyone who forgives a wrong will be forgiven by God a hundredfold, and anyone who returns love for hatred will make of this life a paradise. That is what love demands.

Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
– Rumi

Ya Haqq!

 

NOTE: This essay from 2008 will be edited and reposted every year :)


‘Silence!’

August 16, 2017

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“The servant reaches a place in remembrance where the tongue reaches the heart, the heart reaches the spirit, the spirit reaches the inner core, and the secret core reaches the Light. The heart says to the tongue, ‘Silence!’ The spirit says to the heart, ‘Silence!’ The secret core says to the spirit, ‘Silence!’ God says to the wayfarer, ‘My servant, for some time you have been speaking. Now I will speak, and you will listen.'”

– Maybudī, cited in Ahmad al-Ghazali, Remembrance and the Metaphysics of Love by Joseph Lumbard

Ya Haqq!


FREE EBOOKS for a Month Starting July 1st on Smashwords :)

July 2, 2017

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Smashwords is kicking off the July Summer Ebook promotion, and as a Smashwords author, I am participating by giving all my six Ebooks away FREE for the month :)

The Ebooks are free at Smashwords only, not at retailers served by Smashwords. Use the code SW100 at checkout for your FREE Ebook!

And here they are!

Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel

El Maestro de los Jinn (Spanish Translation) 

Lessons in Love: Spiritual Exercises for Modern Lif

Love Songs to God: 30 Poems of Love and Longing 

Puerto Diablo: A Tale of Good and Evil

Master of the Jinn: Aaqa-e-jinnat آقائے جنات (Urdu)