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Since it’s Ramadan, I thought I’d share some notes relating to the benefits of fasting, eating less etc, from “Breaking the Two Desires” class we had with Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad on the Rihla this year.
- The way of the fitra is to keep things in balance.
- The 2 main desires are: gluttony (obsession with food) and lust (sexual desires)
- The dangerous of sins is gluttony, for by means of this desire, Allah expelled Adam and Hawa from the abode of permanence to the abode of humiliation and neediness. In so far they had been forbidden the tree, but their desires overcame them and they ate from the tree. Desire for food is the primal desire which kick starts the whole process of what expelled Adam out of al-Jaanah in the first place.
- The belly is the fountainhead of desire and the seabed of sickness and defect. It is followed by the desire by sexual relations. The desire for food and physical relations is followed by strong desire for status and wealth, as these provide more opportunities for sexual enjoyment and gluttony. Once we have stuffed ourselves with food, we fill ourselves with other desires. By acquiring wealth and prestige, the vice of ostentation, boasting, pride and arrogance then follows. This then leads to hatred, rancor, envy and other things; which then leads the person who has these vices into oppression and other ugly acts. All of this comes from not paying attention to the stomach and what goes in it.
- The halal we eat, the adab and attitude towards food is very important. We need to get our attitude right towards food and then the other things will all fall into place.
- Get two things right:
1. Eat what is in front of you and be less fussy
2. Don’t be obsessed by food and desire less
If you get these two things right, you will find the rest of the deen will become a lot easier.
- Imam al-Ghazali talks about the sunnah of food and eating in the Ihya, but its something which we do not want to think about.
- We are not designed biologically to eat in a 5 star hotel! We are designed to eat less…
- The holy Prophet salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam shows us the alternative. His way is a way of zuhd, and not being very interested in a whole lot of food.
- Fasting helps, eating not too much helps, and not being inwardly attached to food helps overcome the beast within us.
- We need to be less interested in what is provided, and more grateful for what Allah ahs provided us, i.e being in that maqam of shukr.
- Allah created our bodies in balance, but we have eating disorders and dieting disorders. People over-eat for many reasons, such as anxiety, fear. The disorder in this world is to do with gluttony.
- Allah created enough for us to eat but due to greed, we are destroying the planet by eating too much!
- The holy Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalams’ hunger was so great that he would tie stones to his belly. The sacrifices he made when he could have been the lord of the Queresh are unimaginable, and he only made those sacrifices for us. Where as we can be in this hotel and all we do is complain about the buffet!
- The lives of the awliya have always been focused on the principle of eating less. It’s the quality of the awliya.
- Through fasting, we are constantly knocking on the door of paradise.
Imam al-Ghazali talks about the benefits of fasting/eating less and making the stomach hurt (Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad went through these benefits in detail but I have summarised only a few below)
1. Purification of the heart and helping one’s perception to be more penetrating. If you don’t eat so much, you will be more perceptive; your basira (insight) will go much further. Ramadan is hard work, but towards the end of it, we do feel that things in deen are coming to us with more ease. We can feel we are detached from duniya and the hunger you feel, you get used to it so you don’t even notice it much or think about it. You are no longer distracted by hunger, and are in a state of greater purity.
2. Brokenness, humbleness and ending of pride and exuberance. The pride we get into after eating good food, if we are hungry our pride is broken. We experience this in Ramadan. In Ramadan if you have been fasting for 10-12 hours, it is harder to be proud, we are broken a little bit. Pride is deadly of the deadly sins and hunger helps suppress that.
3. Through hunger we do not forget Allah’s trials and tribulations. The one who is always full ignores the one who is hungry and ignores the reality of hunger. However, when we fast, we empathise with those who are hungry.
4. Breaks everyone of the desire for sins, and helps control the nafs- the beast that is within us.
5. Helps us worship more.
6. No need to earn so much if we eat less. If you eat less, you can spend less, and that extra money you are saving can go towards sadaqa.
- Imam al-Ghazali talks about rejecting the imbalance, he doesn’t say abandon food completely but instead watch what we eat.
- Ramadan is all about sabr- patience.
- To be in a maqam of aboodiya (servanthood) shows us that we are always in need of Allah.
- Allah is active in every moment. He is constantly creating and re-creating. Everything is the unique consequence of Him.
- Allah didn’t just wind the clock at the beginning of the time and sat back to see everything unwind; our needs which we are not even aware of, He fulfills them.
- The benefits of physical discomfort like eating less is that we are in a constant state of absolute need, absolute dependence on Allah. He doesn’t need us, but we need Him for everything!
- When we start to recognise everything is from Allah and He is al-Wakil, we will find tranquillity. People who have always been in hardship will always be in a state of calmness and ease, then those who always have things their way.
- Sometimes to be woken up, we need to be slapped!
~ Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad, ‘Breaking the Two Desires’ class, Rihla 2011, Bursa, Turkey (Paraphrased)
More gems to follow inshaAllah ta’Ala……
(Photos courtesy- Ibrahim Varachia. Please keep him in your prayers. Please do not re-use or save the photo without permission. )
I pray you all are well and in the best of states. Firstly, I would like to apologise for not updating the blog or Facebook page with quotes as frequently as I used to. Alhumdulilah, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend this year’s Rihla in Turkey. Initially, I intended to blog some of the gems our Scholars were providing us with on a daily basis whilst on the Rihla. However, I then had a change of heart and wanted to completely disconnect myself from everything whilst on the Rihla, and simply enjoy being in the company of, and sitting at the feet of the Scholars to learn Sacred Knowledge.
I usually take my camera with me to most places, but this time, I even left that behind! At the RIS retreat last year, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf said something to the effect of how sometimes we should just put away our cameras and experience the moment, and everything around us in that moment, rather then focus all our efforts in capturing the best picture! (paraphrased). I can attest that the experience is really different, if not, much better when you do not have a camera to take shots with! You really can enjoy and cherish those special moments in a more profound and reflective way.
The Rihla is an experience, which you won’t fully understand or realize the worth of it until you actual experience it. This year’s Rihla was very special as it focused on the vision and works of Imam al-Ghazali (d. 505 AH/1111 CE). The programme took place in the famous Uludag mountain of Bursa. Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad said that Mount Uludag has it’s own relationship with the people of hearts!
Shaykh Yahya Rhodus mentioned in one of his final lessons that it’s important to share the knowledge we gain with others so they can benefit inshaAllah. With this in mind, I will be posting some of my notes/quotes from this year’s Rihla on the blog over the next few weeks. I will not be able to share all my notes, but what I do share, I hope it benefits the readers. I will also try posting some photos to complement the notes/quotes, but will have to ask other students to provide some photos as I did not take any!
The Deen Intensive Social Media team did a fantastic job of tweeting quotes from each lesson, which I hope you all were following. In addition, the Live Stream provided people around the world the opportunity to be part of the Rihla. I would strongly recommend signing up to the Live Stream as you still are able to view the videos from all classes, that is if you haven’t already signed up! Please keep the Deen Intensive Rihla Team in your blessed prayers as they worked really hard to provide a wonderful programme.
To be continued……..
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” [Tirmidhi]
“The Cambridge New Mosque Project needs to raise funds in order to move forward with the building the UK’s first eco-friendly and the first ever purpose-built mosque in this historic city. We need your help and support in our endeavor.”
Support Cambridge Mosque’s live Ramadan Appeal: One Night. One Million. 30th August 2010.
For those who are not aware, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has been doing a daily Ramadan Travelogue. Please read, benefit and remember to donate towards the Cambridge Mosque project. No better month to give charity than in Ramadan!!
“Whoever builds a mosque, desiring thereby Allāh’s pleasure, Allāh builds for him the like of it in paradise” Hadith
Please help and spread the word!
”Each perception of beauty is a prayer upon the Prophet.” (Contention 13.87, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad)
May we all be blessed with His gaze on the first night of this month, may He forgive all of our sins, accept all of our fasts and worship, and may this month be a means of gaining nearness to Him and His beloved salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam. Amin ya Rabb! Please keep me and my loved ones in your blessed prayers.
(Picture by Peter Gould)
Some very useful and beneficial links about Ramadan below:
The Moon sighting papers from Zaytuna. Very important as it teaches one the basics of usul al-fiqh (legal methodology).
Inner Dimensions of Fasting by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, trans. from the Ihya’ by Mukhtar Holland
Ramadan Mubarak! A Message From Imam Zaid
Ramadan Address by Habib Ali Jifri
Approaching Ramadan By Imam Zaid Shakir
Seeking His gaze in Ramadan by Shaykh Abdulkarim Yahya
Pre-Ramadan reminder :: Sheikh Ibrahim Osi-Efa(You need a Facebook account to access these notes by sister Fadhila Bux)
Maliki Fiqh on Ramadan (click on the relevant links)
Ramadan advice by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
What do we do in Ramadan Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller
Ramadan by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
Imam Al-Haddad On Fasting By Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ahmed.
Khutba: Ramadan: The Month of Seeking Closeness to Allah by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ramadan Advice – Where is Your Heart? by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
Ramadan lectures by Shaykh Faisal Abdur-Razak
Ramadan and Charity by Imam Zaid Shakir
The Fast of Ramadan & the Furious Shaitan by Imam Zaid Shakir
Ramadan Resolutions by Imam Suhaib Webb
Many thanks to A.Tariq, S.Aslam and S. AlMuslim for their assistance in helping me collate the list above. May Allah reward them in abundance. Please keep them and their families in your blessed du’as also in this month.
Yours in peace,
(The below anecdote is taken from the lecture entitled ‘Reliance on Allah’ which is currently available for purchase on the Apple iTunes Store and on www.meccacentric.com. I was hoping to upload the short excerpt where Shaykh AHM narrates the story, but for some reason it doesn’t allow me to upload it here, therefore I’ve transcribed (to the best of my ability) what Shaykh AHM said. It’s more or less word to word, but I refrained from using speech marks in case I’ve missed a few words out! Jazaka’llahu khayran to the very kind soul who emailed me the lecture details!)
There is a story which Sayyidina Jalaluddin Rumi tells of an ant that’s creeping across the carpet in a mosque, and the ant complains to God saying: “what is this, these bumps, and strange colours, and patterns, this must have been created just as a meaningless obstacle course, what a futile thing to have made.” But of course the carpet maker, looking at it from above can see the patterns and the purpose of it, and can see that the whole thing is perfect and is good. And Allah is often like that. We often can’t make sense of the misfortunes because we are two dimensional, we are at ground level, we can’t see what it all means, but the khalifa of Allah subhanahu wa’tala knows even if he can’t always see that this is a manifestation of Allah’s will which is always good and always perfect and always beautiful. ~ Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
I found this anecdote truly amazing. Life takes us through so many unexpected hurdles and obstacles, difficult and painful situations and experiences, all of which we often cannot decipher why these things are happening, or have happened to us. Just like the ant in the story, I guess, we are only tiny ‘beings’ in this big world where our vision and understanding is very limited. We do not have the full view like Allah does; He knows what has happened, what is happening and what is yet to come; He can see how everything fits together and what the ultimate result shall be. ONLY HE KNOWS!!
May He grant us true reliance and trust in Him alone, with whom no trust or reliance is lost. Allahumma amin!
“O Soul! Despair not of a major fault! Great sins resemble little ones, in God’s forgiveness. It may be, when my Lord distributes His mercy, that it will come in proportion equal to our sins. My Lord! Let not my hope in You be overthrown, nor let my credit with You be void of worth. Deal kindly with Your slave in both worlds, for when terrors call to him, his patience is weak.
~ The Mantle Adorned (Imam Busari’s Burda), 155-158, translated by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
A great sermon by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad which is well worth the listen (as are all his lectures mashaAllah!)
“In this sermon, Sheikh Abdal Hakim discusses the difference between having patience (sabr) during the struggles of life, and taking pleasure or having contentment (rida’) in them. By Allah’s Mercy, accepting what He decrees with patience for us is a route to salvation, but it is a higher degree for us to embrace and love that decree. By another inspiring aspect of Allah’s guidance, the latter is initially harder but actually makes the path toward Him easier. Instead of religion just being a set of duties or things we have to put up with, it becomes an on-going source of wonder and contentment. May Allah grant us the state of being contented with His Decree.”
May Allah increase and bless Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, and may we continue to benefit from his teachings. Amin.