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ShaykhAhmedSaadYesterday (21 June 2014), I attended a course with one of our teachers: Shaykh Ahmad Saad al-Azhari in London. Below are some of my notes from the course which I thought would benefit others inshaAllah ta’Ala.  May we all experience a beautiful Ramadan, a month of companionship with our Lord and may we exit the month in a better spiritual state than when we entered. Allahumma Amin ya Rabb!

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. All praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, mercy to the worlds.

  • Ramadan is a guest which comes from one year to another.
  • Ramadan is the season for Divine connection.
  • For a believer, the spiritual year starts in Ramadan and ends in Ramadan.
  • Ramadan is the season for cleansing. People start a new life after Ramadan.
  • Starting Ramadan on the first day is too late! The Sahaba (companions) used to start preparing for Ramadan 6 months in advance.
  • Ramadan is an important spiritual guest.
  •  Ramadan is the month you make Allah your focus and centre of attention (He should always be your centre of attention, but you make extra effort to do this in Ramadan).
  • In Ramadan, the devil is chained up, but the nafs (ego) is still there. The fight in Ramadan is between us and our nafs, not us and the devil.
  • Ramadan is the month of patience. It’s the month where if someone wants to be patient, will be patient.
  • Allah looks at the state of our heart when we do something good. If there is sincerity in it, He accepts it.
  • Feeding people is not just about offering food, the purpose is to get to know people and there is great merit in doing that. We need to get to know people and who they are as people are intercessors for us on the day of Judgement.
  • Ramadan is the month of philanthropy.
  • The beginning of Ramadan is Mercy, middle Forgiveness and the last part is liberation from the hellfire. If we are merciful to other people in the beginning of Ramadan, we will end up forgiving them in the middle of Ramadan. As a result, nothing remains in our hearts towards anyone, so by the end of the month, we are granted liberation from the hellfire.
  • When Ramadan enters, train well and get rid of bad habits.
  • Muslims are obliged to be like angels during the month of Ramadan (metaphorically speaking i.e angels don’t eat, don’t sin etc).
  • The Prophet  said that there are 5 things my community will get in Ramadan which no other community ever received or will receive:
  1. On the first night of Ramadan, Allah gaze’s at His servants and whomever Allah gazes upon is never punished
  2. The angels seek forgiveness for the believers
  3. Allah says ‘prepare paradise for my slaves’ (those who have fasted)
  4. Towards the end of the fasting day, the breath of the fasting person is better than musk
  5. By the end of Ramadan, all those who fasted the month are forgiven. Workers are granted their full payment.

“He leaves his food, drink, desire for Me. Fasting belongs to Me and I reward for it.” (Bukhari)

 The name Ramadan:

  1. It is driven from Ramd which is extreme heat
  2. It burns sins with good deeds so taken from irmaad
  3. The heart is affected by the heat of admonition in the same way sands and stones are affected by the heat of the sun
  4. It reminds fasting people with the suffering of the hellfire.

 Nature of a cave:

  1. Narrow
  2. Uninhabitable
  3. Tough and full of harm (snakes, creatures, not sure what else is stuck inside)
  4. Loneliness
  5. Teaches you to live with the least means.
  •  The nature of a cave tells us that it’s not easy to live in it. Ramadan in a cave for us is a period of time so it trains us.
  • Ramadan teaches us how to retreat from people.
  • The Prophet loved to retreat, he loved to be secluded.
  • We have to love stillness in our lives, but the way we live our lives these days that is not possible because we are always connected to people and the world, through phones, social media etc.
  • We live in a society where we are just bombarded with too much information (social media). We don’t even know what is true or false anymore. Imagine driving down the road and being given different information from different people. What will happen? You will get lost!
  • We have to take a break to empower ourselves, energize ourselves before coming back to the world. That is why retreating to a cave in Ramadan is good (metaphorically speaking of a cave here).

“The heart needs a seclusion to enter the sphere of reflection” ~ Ibn Ata’Allah al-Iskandari

 The reality of a cave (what we accomplish)

  • Seclusion
  • Serenity
  • Creativity
  • Surrender
  • Trust
  • Mercy
  • Space

What we are missing in our lives:

  1. Wird (daily)
  2. Qur’an
  3. Reading
  4. Dhikr
  5. Reflection
  6. Productivity
  7. Liberation from desires/bad habits
  • People who succeed in life are those who have persevered in doing one or two things, but have really mastered those things. Stick to even just doing 10 Istifgar every morning and every evening, but stick to it and be consistent.
  • A believer should be in a constant state of Mercy.
  • Engage when it’s productive.
  • The solution isn’t with people, it’s with the Lord of people.
  • Do istakhara always- it makes us feel the presence of Allah in our lives.

 “A sensible man should have an hour in which he prays to His Lord, an hour in which he reckons his deeds, an hour in which he reflects, an hour in which he reflects on the creation of Allah. A sensible man should be aware of his time, focussed on his affairs, observant of his tongue”

  • Habib Umar said that if your cries over your sins do not move you into making a plan for yourself then you are deceived.
  • A sensible person should be aware of his time.
  • Any barrier that stops us from journeying to Allah, then it should be removed from our lives.
  • Take this Ramadan to fix ourselves
  • Have mercy on people.
  • Before Ramadan, write down all the problems you have with yourself. Then chose the top 3, then chose the most urgent and work on it.
  • Resort to a cave (metaphorically speaking).
  • Be merciful towards everyone.
  • Seek to be guided.
  • Do not listen- it occupies your mind.
  • Be faithful to your principles.
  • Activate the sense of a cave in Ramadan.
  • Do not fight over the non-beneficial details.
  • Safety of the heart starts with the limbs (keep both protected).
  • Change your habits and become independent.

Please be aware that these are my notes. Any mistakes, errors or misinterpretations of words are from me alone, so please do forgive and overlook my shortcomings. I pray these notes are of some benefit to the readers, insha-Allah ta’Ala.

 

Jaza ‘Llahu anna Sayyidina Muhammadan sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam ma huwa ahluhu
Jaza ‘Llahu anna Sayyidina Muhammadan sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam ma huwa ahluhu
Jaza ‘Llahu anna Sayyidina Muhammadan sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam ma huwa ahluhu

Subhana Rabbika Rabbi l’izzati amma yasifun, wa salamun ala l’mursalin, wal-humdulillahi Rabbi l’alamin.

….Allah is the name without attributes, so He reveals Himself through His attributes but His essence is unknown. We can’t know Allah that’s why Rahman is such an important attribute because it is the single most important attribute of Allah. What He is letting us know is that the essential nature of God is Merciful, it’s not Majestic. He is Majestic and Beautiful, but the quality that He wants to reveal to man is first and foremost Mercy. If you embrace that Mercy, then that is what you get, if you reject that Mercy, He reveals himself with Majesty… (Taken from the clip by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf below.)

“You know that nagging void.

Those moments of emptiness or absolute loneliness.

They are not sad.

They are moments when our Creator calls on us.

To come closer.

They are moments we understand that we have none other than HIM to be with us.” 

 

Trees

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