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The Festivities of Light

By Zeshan Zafar

 

As we arrive at the end of Rabi al-Awwal, a month where Muslims come together to celebrate the Milad, or the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we feel refreshed by the gatherings we have attended in honour and veneration of the Messenger of Allah. Many express this love through a variety of ways; through the recitation of the Holy Book, The Quran al-Kareem, listening to sermons wherein his life is recounted, almsgiving to the poor or by reciting poetry in praise of him.

Such gatherings are occasions that encourage us to engage in the divine practice of sending blessings and peace on the Prophet: ‘Indeed Allah and His angels shower blessings upon the Prophet, O you who truly believe, ask blessings upon him and greet him with greetings’ (Q33:56). It is the  Qur’anic imperative  and through traditions of the Prophet  that we find words of remembrance that motivate many of us looking to fill that spiritual vacuum that may exist in our lives. When looking for that divine compass, Muslims during this month take advantage from being spiritually recharged and whose celestial impact lasts longer than the results obtained from many bestselling self-help guides that sit on bookshop shelves. The month of the Mawlid is often seen as a time when families, friends and even strangers gather to remember the Prophet in praising him through various means of remembrance. We know that Allah has named his Messenger “The praiseworthy”, and thus it can only be incumbent upon us to follow such a call.

Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent as a mercy to mankind, and it is in this mercy we recognise the importance of his perfection. Historically, even going back to the Fatamid era, gatherings such as the Mawlid have been a vital source and opportunity for individuals to learn more about the salient features of the Prophet’s life, his character, his kindness to those who are needy and  those disadvantaged, his  actions that helped guide individuals with their daily affairs, his ethics and values exemplified in his interaction with various religions and cultures, his honesty in keeping to his word through treaties and promises, his humour to alleviate distress and  his mercy to those that had wronged him, a standard for all of us to aspire to.

One of the great lessons we learn about the character of the Prophet is through listening or reading about his blessed life. Through prophetic traditions, we learn how the Prophet implored us never to judge individuals or form an unfair judgment but to keep a good opinion of others regardless of what we may witness of them. One of these great stories is the story of Julaybib, a companion of the Prophet who was referred to as being ‘damim’ ugly or deformed. Many people shunned him to the point when people learnt he was approaching their homes they would avoid him and close their doors or mock him from afar.

Julaybib was consciously aware of what people thought about him, however once the Messenger of Allah arrived in Madinah,  Julaybib was assiduous in learning from the Messenger of Allah and would sit with humility and in a shy manner at all times in the presence of the Prophet. When the Prophet once asked him about marriage, he assumed he was being teased as this was something he never dreamt was possible because of his physical appearance. However the Prophet did not see it this way and valued him as a person by taking the initiative in asking for the hand of an Ansar girl who was known for her beauty. The girl’s parents initially were ecstatic thinking that the Messenger of Allah himself had come for her hand in marriage. When they heard that Julaybib was in fact the prospective husband they declined the proposal. Upon hearing the proposal from the Messenger of Allah, the daughter was overcome by the verses of the Quran that states the importance of a matter once Allah and His Messenger have decided on it. She had understood this visit to mean much more than what many individuals would go through when getting married and that was the importance of understanding that the man being proposed to her was someone whom the Messenger loved. Henceforth whatever he loved she loved, and in turn the beauty of Julaybib had manifested itself to her in ways that many could not see. After much protestation she was eventually betrothed to Julaybib. They were blessed with the prayers of the Prophet and lived in happiness until the death of Julaybib, which is a fascinating story in itself.

Some important lessons that can be learnt from this is the approach the Prophet had in recognising the worth of every soul on this earth, but also the love that individuals had for the Prophet that they oversaw the blemishes that we all may have physically or internally within our character.

This simple example should encourage us all to reflect on our own deficiencies yet motivate us with aspirations of what we hope to attain from this world, which is being able to praise our Maker through loving the Prophet and what he loved.

We are reminded of the importance of this love through the hadith of the Prophet which states, ‘Teach your children three things: Love of the Prophet, love of his family and companions and love for the Quran’.

Many scholars highlight that celebrating the birth of the Messenger of Allah is an occasion that should be observed throughout the year. With the increasing amount of Mosques in the West many individuals now have the chance to celebrate these gatherings close to their homes. Even if this does not take place where you reside, we all as individuals have a beautiful chance to begin such a celebration in our homes. At a recent Mawlid organised by family members, we had the honour of having a guest who left a deep and lasting impression on the audience through his state and presence. Family members asked me about this and I repeated what I had learnt from this man’s son; that he has been dedicated in celebrating the Mawlid in his home for the past thirty years, once a month. Not only this, but he also operated an open door policy for any individual to attend, and these were the Mawlids that I was aware of.

Reading and listening about how Mawlids are celebrated, we soon learn the richness of such gatherings. Annemarie Schimmel in her book ‘And Muhammad is His Messenger’ has some beautiful descriptions of how this month is celebrated, from the country that they are celebrated in; the decorations that individuals place in their homes, to the food and sweets that are served to guests and children, the poetry and songs that they often recited and how the local culture impacts they way they celebrate the Mawlid.

We are fortunate, of late, in the West to read exceptionally translated texts into the English language that aid us in such veneration. Such translations include the Qasidah al-Burda  of Imam al-Busiri by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad which offer many individuals the chance to read the beauty of poetry composed in praise of the Prophet. Other works such as the Dala’il al-Khayrat, the Barzanji Mawlid and ash-Shama’il al-Muhammadiyah by Imam Tirmidhi are a few of the many that can also be read at such gatherings.

As we move on in preparation for our ultimate journey of felicity, I pray that we are able to carry the festivities of light in holding Mawlids all year around, inviting friends and family, establishing a positive environment for children to experience loving the Prophet, his family and the Qur’an al-Kareem, and most importantly, being able to carry this torch of light to next year in greater preparation than the year that has passed. After all, emulating the Prophet in his character is something that we all yearn to increase, and the Mawlid is one avenue that aids us in our expression of loving the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

© Zeshan Zafar, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

This concludes the Light Reflections series on Healing Hearts. Hope you have enjoyed reading all the daily posts. Please recite a special prayer for all the contributors, their families and teachers.


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The Beloved

By Taslim Rashid

This work shows how when one begins to deepen their spirituality they are made aware of the great character and status of the Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him. Hence an individual begins to work towards an understanding and appreciation of this great man that once walked this earth. Contained within the work are some symbolic references to this high esteem that he is held in:

 The piece presents itself as a ‘cloud’ almost. This is a reference to how the clouds shaded the Prophet Alaisalam.

The centre name ‘Muhammad’ is covered in mesh known to artists as ‘angel hair’. Here, one of the references is to the fact that the name of the Prophet is written on the eyes of angels.

The name of the piece itself ‘The Beloved’ is a reference to how there were titles associated with the Messengers of God; for instance Prophet Ibrahim Alaisalam is known as ‘The Friend of God’. This title shows the unique status of the final Messenger as the Beloved of God Himself.

In line with most Tranquilart work, the theme of change is reflected in the piece through colour. The shades of light and dark paint depict our spiritual transcendances in this world. The darker shades represent the chaotic life of a spirit in search for peace, meaning and depth. The lighter shades represent the goals acheived once the being sets out looking for change. I have always affirmed that Tranquilart is about change. Here, the name of the Prophet indicates that he is the light guiding the spirit towards the harmony it desires.

An Urdu poem surrounds the piece. This poem is about the Prophet of Islam. A translation is given here:

Tere Hoteh By Dr Tahir-al Qadri

Tere hoteh janam liyaa hota

Phir kabi toh tujhe milah hota

Kaash mein sung -e dar tera hota

Tere kadmon ko chuma hota

Lartah pir tah tere adhuon se

Tere hatir mein marr gaya hota

Tu chala karta mere palkhon par

Kaash mein tera rasta hota

Tu kabhi toh mujeh bhi tak leta

Tere takne pe biq gaya hota

Katra hota mein tere aasoon ka

Ghameh-ummat mein behh gaya hota

Tu joh aata mere janazeh par

Tere hoteh mein marr gaya hota

Hota Tahir tere fakiron mein

Tere dehleez par kara hota.

Being born in your presence

Would that, I have ever met you

 Had been the floor of your house

Would that, I had been kissed by your feet

I would have fought any one of your enemies

For your sake, I would have died

You would have walked on my brow

Had I been your path

Would, that sometimes you’d laid an eye on me

Upon your gaze, I would have been sold

A drop of your tear if were I

Would have flown in the nations’ sorrow

Had you come to my funeral

In your presence would I have died

If were Tahir from your sages

On your doorstep, would he have stood .

The reason for using an Urdu poem is reflective of Identity as a Muslim woman born and living in England. Neither myself, nor most of my siblings learnt to read or write Urdu as a child. I never really thought I would need it. As an adult I learnt to speak Urdu in the various environs I found myself in. My use of the Urdu poem in the piece reflects my own search for identity; my mother-tongue is a dialect of Punjabi and thus not a ‘recorded’ language – this makes Urdu the closest written language to my roots.

Fusing the Arabic, English and Pakistani allowed me to demonstrate that the Message of the Prophet was not limited to one nation or time.

Finally, the piece was one of the first pieces which I did mostly without the aid of a paintbrush. The main process has been painting with my fingers directly and this was then aided with the beadwork. Each bead has been taken individually by my fingers and stitched into the canvas. The entire process was extremely peaceful and encouraged me to ponder deeply into the title: The Beloved.

© Taslim Rashid has contributed this beautiful article to the Light Reflections series on Healing Hearts. The article was originally published on her awesome blog  back in 2004.

A Smile

By Umm NoorBilal Petersen


“A Smile”

His laughter was a smile.

His steps hallowed the dust.

His saliva sweetened the world of waters.

His gestures reflected heavenly hierarchy.

His voice a mellifluous melody.

His perspiration; beads of lustrous pearls.

His breath a charismatic breeze.

His glance; impassioned arrows piercing souls.

His hair a shimmering aura rippling the skies.

His silence a captivating rhapsody.

His sanctuary a haven of serenity.

His laugh was but a smile.

Radiating till this day.

I have not seen anything more beautiful than the Messenger of Allah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. It was as if the sun was shining in his face. When he laughed, it reflected from the wall. His laughter was a smile….his companions smiled rather than laughed in his presence out of respect for him and to imitate him. When he was happy he looked downwards. Generally his laughter consisted of a smile and he showed his teeth which were as white as hailstones. I did not see anyone who smiled more than Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. The laugh of Sayyidina Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam was but a smile. A collection from two indispensable books: Muhammad, Messenger of Allah and Shamaa’il Tirmidhi.

Insha’Allah by reading the numerous Ahadith on the occasions when our beloved Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam smiled we too can smile and recall the various feelings that made him SallAllahu alaihi wasallam smile, whether due to happiness, delight, astonishment, wonder or any other reason.

The Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam was on a journey with his slave Anjashah driving the camels carrying his women RadhiAllahu anhunna, Anjashah began chanting a song to them to go faster, when the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam smiled and said to him: “O Anjashah, wayhak! (may Allah be merciful to you) Be gentle with the glass vessels.” (The women. Some narrations translate glass as crystal)

Once the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam was sitting while two sheep were fighting each other with their horns and one of them butted the other and overcame it. Thereupon the Messenger SallAllahu alaihi wasallam smiled and was asked: “What is it that you are smiling for, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “I am astonished at the case of this defeated sheep. By Whom in Whose hand my soul is, the other sheep will be punished for butting it on the Day of Resurrection.”

Abdullah ibn Mas’ood RadhiAllahu anhu said, “I know the person who will come out last from the fire. He will be such a man who will crawl out (due to the severity of the punishment of Jahannam he will not be able to walk). He will then be ordered to enter Jannah. He will go there and find that all the places therein are occupied. He will return and say, ‘O Allah the people have taken all the places.’ It will be said to him. ‘Do you remember the places in the world?’  He will reply, ‘O my creator, I remember well.’ It will be commanded to him. ‘Make your wish in whichever way your heart desires.’ He will put forward his desires. It shall be commanded. All your desires are fulfilled and in addition ten times the size of the world is granted to you. He will reply, ‘Are you jesting with me O my Allah, and You are the King of the Kings? (There is no place in Jannah and You are granting me a place ten times greater than the world).” Ibn Mas’ood RadhiAllahu anhu said, “I saw Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam smile till his mubarak teeth showed, when he related this portion of the man’s reply.”

Abu Dhar RadhiAllahu anhu says, Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam said, “I know that person well who will enter Jannah first and also that person who will be the last one to be taken out of Jahannam. On the Day of Qiyaamah a person will be brought forward to the court of Almighty Allah. It shall be commanded that all the minor sins of that person be put forward to him and the major sins be concealed. When the minor sins are disclosed to that person, he will accept that he had committed them, as there will be no room for refuting them. (He will begin to tremble and say in his heart that these are only the minor sins, what will happen when the major sins are exposed.) During this happening it shall be commanded that for every sin of that person he be given the Ajr (thawaab-reward) of a good deed. Upon hearing this person himself will say I still have many sins left to account for, that are not seen here.”
Abu Dhar RadhiAllahu anhu says, Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam while narrating the words of that person began smiling until his mubarak teeth began to show.” (The reason being that the person himself disclosed the very sins he was frightened of.)

Jabir ibn Abdullah RadhiAllahu anhu says, “After I accepted Islam, Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam never prohibited me from attending his assemblies. Whenever he saw me he smiled.”

Narrated Abu Hurairah RadhiAllahu anhu: Once the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam was narrating a story, while a Bedouin was sitting with him. “One of the inhabitants of Paradise will ask Allah to allow him to cultivate the land. Allah will ask him, ‘Are you not living in the pleasures you like?’ He will say, ‘Yes, but I like to cultivate the land.’ ” The Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam added, “When the man will be permitted he will sow the seeds and the plants will grow up and get ripe, ready for reaping and so on till it will be as huge as mountains within a wink. Allah will then say to him, ‘O son of Adam! Take here you are, gather the yield; nothing satisfies you.’ “On that, the Bedouin said, “The man must be either from Quraysh, a Muhajiroon or an Ansari, for they are farmers, whereas we are not farmers.” The Prophet smiled at this.

Narrated ‘Amr bin ‘Auf Al-Ansari RadhiAllahu anhu: Allah’s Apostle SallAllahu alaihi wasallam sent Abu ‘Ubaida bin Al-Jarreh RadhiAllahu anhu to Bahrain to collect the Jizya. Allah’s Apostle SallAllahu alaihi wasallam had established peace with the people of Bahrain and appointed Al-’Ala’ bin Al-Hadrami RadhiAllahu anhu as their governor. When Abu ‘Ubaida RadhiAllahu anhu came from Bahrain with the money, the Ansar heard of his arrival which coincided with the time of the morning prayer. When the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam finished the prayer, the Ansar approached him, and he looked at them and smiled on seeing them and said, “I feel that you have heard that Abu ‘Ubaida RadhiAllahu anhu has brought something?” They said, “Yes, O Allah’s Apostle’ He said, “Rejoice and hope for what will please you! By Allah, I am not afraid of your poverty but I am afraid that you will lead a life of luxury as past nations did, whereupon you will compete with each other for it, as they competed for it, and it will destroy you as it destroyed them.”

Narrated ‘Abdullah RadhiAllahu anhu: A (Jewish) Rabbi came to Allah’s Apostle SallAllahu alaihi wasallam and he said, “O Muhammad! We learn that Allah will put all the heavens on one finger, and the earths on one finger, and the trees on one finger, and the water and the dust on one finger, and all the other created beings on one finger. Then He will say, ‘I am the King.’ Thereupon the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam smiled so that his pre-molar teeth became visible, and that was the confirmation of the Rabbi. Then Allah’s Apostle SallAllahu alaihi wasallam recited: ‘No just estimate have they made of Allah such as due to Him.’ (39.67)

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri RadhiAllahu anhu: The Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam said, “The planet earth will be a bread on the Day of Resurrection, and The Resistible, Allah will topple turn it with His Hand like anyone of you topple turns a bread with his hands while preparing the bread for a journey, and that bread will be the entertainment for the people of Paradise.” A man from the Jews came to the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam and said, “May The Beneficent, Allah bless you, O Abul Qasim! Shall I tell you of the entertainment of the people of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection?” The Prophet said, “Yes.” The Jew said, “The earth will be a bread,” as the Prophet had said. Thereupon the Prophet looked at us and smiled till his premolar tooth became visible. Then the Jew further said, “Shall I tell you of the udm (additional food taken with bread) they will have with the bread?” He added, “That will be Balam and Nun.” The people asked, “What is that?” He said, “It is an ox and a fish, and seventy thousand people will eat of the caudate lobe (i.e. extra lobe) of their livers.”

Peace and blessings upon you O my master. O Messenger of Allah, O Prophet of Allah, O master of the messengers. O seal of prophets, O favour of Allah upon the believers.
Peace and blessings upon you O protection of the world and its people, O refuge of the nation, the one whom we pin our hopes, O mercy of humanity.
Peace and blessings upon you O kind, merciful, smiling affectionate Prophet, O you with whom needy and troubled people seek a means to Allah the Exalted. Here I am O Messenger of Allah, seeking help and sanctuary in the vastness of your magnanimity, seeking a hint of your smile as I behold your Dome of Felicity.

Every good deed of a Muslim is charity; meeting your brother with a smiling face is one of the good deeds. Such a bounteous Hadith from our beloved SallAllahu alaihi wasallam.

His laugh was but a smile.

Radiating till this day.

 
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. Ameen.

© Umm NoorBilal Petersen has contributed this beautiful article to the Light Reflections series on Healing Hearts. The article was originally published on her awesome blog in 2006.

Sending salawat on our Prophet (peace be upon him)

By Nayyar Ddin

“The affair of love cannot be tallied. You are compelled, you want nothing in return. Whether you get or not, is not in question. Make salawat until your heart shatters like a pomegranate,  until there is nothing. And you will see things that you didn’t even aspire to. Things that you didn’t even think of……”


These were the words of the poet Amir Sulaiman at the recent Virtues tour in London. Reference was being made to sending blessings on our Prophet peace be upon him. Ofcourse it is recommended to have a set daily litany, however brother Amirs words came straight from a lovers  heart where there are no rules. A heart in which there are no boundaries. He spoke of an absolute immersion, no concept of numbers. Just an outpouring of love and remembrance. A desire to give with no return needed. To sit and yearn, and love and remember and long with no idea whether it has been minutes or hours. Whether it has been 100 or a 1000 or 1.

© Nayyar Ddin, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

Muhammad, the Praised One

By Shaykh Walead Mosaad

He is the oft-praised one, Muhammad in the earthly realm
            And Ahmad as he is known by those who command the angelic helm

He is the one sent by his Lord as a mercy to all
            To every creature, rock, sea, sparrow, and mistral

He is the one whose intercession is desired by the pious and all trespassers
            “Myself Myself!” – the refrain of all others, but as creation swelters

He is the one who is the delight of our eyes and the courage of our wit
            Proclaiming when all seemed lost, I am the one for it!

He is the one who took the Quran as his character
             Compassionate, wise, and gentle, knowing no anger

Except in matters where Providence’s boundaries were crossed
              But even then his inner beauty and lustre were never lost

All told, the world would not have been save for God’s favour
             By sending His messenger the most noble of saviours
 
Praise Him much and implore Him to offer His blessings and salutations
            On the best of all creation by whose virtue
                      Made us the best of all nations

© Shaykh Walead Mosaad, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

Prophetic Optimism

By Adil Hussain

The battle was over. On that solemn day, the Ummah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) was decreased by about seventy of some of its greatest members. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) lost not only many of his close companions, but his precious uncle as well. Hamza (Allah’s blessings be on him), who supported the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) during his difficult years in Makkah, aided and protected him on and off the battlefield, and was a close mentor and friend, was martyred. Hamza (Allah’s blessings be on him), one of the dearest people to the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him), was killed on the battlefield by Wahshi Ibn Harb, an Ethiopian slave. Years later when Wahshi would become Muslim, the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) accepted him, but asked him to stay away, as the memory of his uncle continued to remain too painful to bear. This illustrates the deep love the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) had for Hamza (Allah’s blessings be on him), and how difficult the loss must have been for him.

When anyone of us is faced with such a dismal condition, it becomes exceedingly difficult to remain optimistic. We all know that optimism is highly encouraged in our deen. We are told to remain hopeful until the very last breath for the mercy and forgiveness of Allah. It is easy to be optimistic during times of blessing and plenty, but during times of hardship and distress, optimism is the last thing on one’s mind. However, it is during times of misfortune that being optimistic really bears its fruit.

The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) was a master of remaining optimistic during times of difficulty. No matter how troubling the situation was, he would always find a way to encourage his companions to look at the bright side. After the Battle of Uhud,  during this difficult moment in the Prophet’s (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) life, one would expect perhaps an inkling of negativity, or of hopelessness. However, when Abu Sufyan climbed over the mountain after the dust of the battle settled and shouted, “The luck of war alternates. One wins today (referring to the Muslim victory at Badr), one wins tomorrow. Show your superiority, Hubal!,” The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) swiftly responded, “Allah is the most High and Majestic. We are not the same. Our dead are in the Garden of Paradise and your dead are in the Fire!” SubhanAllah, even at this dreary moment in his life, the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) used his optimism to completely turn the tables on the Quraysh. What would have perceived to any onlooker as an obvious loss to the Muslims, the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him), with the right frame of mind, turned into a clear victory.

Optimism is therefore a picture of the state of one’s mind. No matter what happens in the outside world, it cannot harm or hurt you, if you have the right mindset. That is exactly what optimism is all about; to have a positive outlook during any occurrence in life, and the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) was the master of staying optimistic. If he had not remained so, there was no way that his companions could have had the everlasting willpower to continually beat the odds and spread Islam all across Arabia and beyond.

This lesson from the life of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) can be applied to our lives every single day. Whenever Allah tests us with some calamity or hardship, always remember that at the end of the day, alhumdulillah, you are Muslim, and that’s really all that matters. This is what the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) did when faced with those who stated that he and his companions were defeated. He knew that despite their passing, they were believers, and as such, their reward is in the Hereafter, whereas the survivors amongst the Quraysh may live for a while longer, but would then suffer the eternal punishment of the Hellfire. He did not view the outcome of Uhud as having lost seventy of his companions in this life, but as gaining seventy companions to be with him in Paradise.

We should be encouraged to constantly stay positive in the light of any circumstance that may come our way. It reminds me of another beautiful hadith of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him): “Wondrous are the affairs of a believer. For him there is good in all affairs, and this is so only for the believer. When something pleasing happens to him, he is grateful, and that is good for him; and when something displeasing happens to him, he is patient, and that is good for him.” (Muslim). Therefore, no matter what happens in your life, whether perceived as good or bad, in the end it is good, if you hold fast to your Islam and remain a firm believer in Allah and His Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him).

You just have to be optimistic.

© Adil Hussain, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

The Prophet’s dua at Ta’if

By Zakiyah Arouj Khan


A gentle reminder to those who think they may have it bad; the best of all creation sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam had it worse. Yet, he sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam always was, is and forever will be, the most beloved to Allah and the Dua’a at Ta’if affirms why. 

In the year in which two of the most closest and dearest to the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam had passed away, his wife Khadija radiAllahu anha and uncle Abu Talib, the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam underwent what could be considered the lowest point of his life.  With no longer having the tribe of Quraysh as protection or support in his mission, he struggled as he travelled to Ta’if seeking its leaders, hoping that they would accept Islam and help him. However, they proved to be even more vociferous than the Quraysh. He sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam was set upon by the slaves and children of Ta’if with stones, he ran, his feet cut and bleeding into a garden where he sought refuge within its walls. Taking shelter under a tree he turned to his Lord for ease and guidance with this beautiful dua: 

“O Allah! Unto You do I complain of my weakness, of my helplessness and of my lowliness before men.  O most Merciful of the merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. Into whose hands have you entrusted me?  Unto some far off stranger who receives me with hostility? Or unto a foe whom you have empowered against me? I care not, so long as You are not angry with me.  But Your favouring help, that were for me the broader way and the wider scope.  I take refuge in the light of Your countenance whereby all darknesses are illuminated and all things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest You make descend Your anger upon me or lest Your wrath beset me. Yet it is Yours to reproach until You are well pleased. There is no power and no might except through Thee.”

Whilst under immense heartache and pain his only concern was that His Lord was not angry with him. This was the haal (state) of our Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam. May we too attain such states in times of tribulation. Ameen

© Zakiyah Arouj Khan, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

On Praising the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)

By: Mas’ud Ahmed Khan

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Allah (ta’ala) says in the Glorious Qur’an (Surah 33:56):

“Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet; O you who believe call for (Divine) blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation.”

The very name “Muhammad” means “the one who is praised, often praised” and the name of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is also known as “Ahmad” meaning “the one deserving of praise”.

Imam Jalaludin as-Suyuti mentions:

His name is Muhammad and Ahmad; his people are the people of praise (hamd)- and his prayer rite and the prayer rite of his people is opened with praise (hamd). In the Preserved Tablet in God’s abode it was written that his Caliphs and his Companions in writing the Sacred Volume, should open it with praise (Surah 1:1). And in his hand on the Resurrection Day will be the banner of praise. And when he then prostrates himself before God in intercession in our behalf and it is accepted he will praise the Lord with a new song that shall then be revealed to him, for his is the Heavenly Station of Praise (al-maqam al-mahmud, Surah 17:79)-and when he rises up in that Station all the assembly shall praise him, Muslims and misbelievers alike, the first and the last, and all meanings and modes of thankful praise shall be gathered up and offered to him. [quoted from And Muhammad is His Messenger by Annemarie Schimmel p. 107]

There are those naysayers that may object on the grounds that too much praising will lapse Muslims into the major sin of shirk, to this Imam al-Busiri in his amazing Qasidah al-Burdah says:

Leave what the Christians have said about their Prophet!
And then affirm what you will in praise, and do so with excellence.

It is clear that sending praise, blessings and salutations on the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is a general obligation on each and every Muslim as mentioned by Qadi Iyad in the Shifa, and if we keep Imam al-Busiri’s principle in mind then there is no danger of falling into the trap that the Christians have fallen into with Sayyidina Isa (AS).

Unfortunately, we live in an age where very few Muslims actually know their Prophet. He is the fountainhead of our guidance and the light by which we tread the straight path, and yet Muslims in general and Muslim children in particular, know more about their favourite pop star, footballer or film actor and our Prophet is as a stranger to them. How can this be? Why have we forgotten the one whom Allah has commanded us to send salutations and blessings upon? Again it comes down to the age in which we live; no more are there special chairs in our masajid where the Sirah or the Shifa’ of Qadi Iyad or the Shama’il of Tirmidhi are read in perpetuity to the faithful as was once the practice throughout the Muslim world. The Mawlid-celebrations of the birth and life of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)-are frowned upon by certain sections of the community. Our mosques are ill equipped to teach our children anything besides the reading of the Holy Qur’an and the very basics of the faith, which, while important, are insufficient to the long term spiritual and religious development of our community and especially our children who are our future. We have to look at ways in which we can help to nurture the love and familiarity that are missing. From hadith literature we know how important it is to love the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace): Bukhari and Muslim report- “None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves his children, his parents, and all people.” In another hadith in Bukhari the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves himself.”

© Mas’ud Ahmed Khan has contributed this beautiful article to the Light Reflections series on Healing Hearts. The article was originally published as a foreword to Inayat Petker’s “Salutions” Album by Meem Music back in 2004

On Love of the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him

By Mohamed Ghilan

يا خير من دفنت في الترب أعظمه *** فطاب من طيبهن القاع والأكم

نفسي الفداء لقبر أنت ساكنه *** فيه العفاف وفيه الجود والكرم

أنت الحبيب الذي ترجى شفاعته *** عند الصراط إذا ما زلت القدم

لولاك ما خلقت شمس ولا قمر *** ولا سماء ولا لوح ولا قلم

صلى عليك إله العرش ما طلعت *** شمس وحن إليك الضال والسلم

O best of whose bones were buried in the earth

Giving from their blessings to landscapes and hills

I give my soul in sacrifice to the grave you occupy

Within it is chastity, generosity, and liberality

You’re the Beloved whose intercession is sought

On the narrow path towards heaven if my foot slips

Had it not been for you, nor the sun nor the moon would’ve been created

Nor the sky, Tablet or Pen

May the Lord of the Throne pray upon you as many times

As the sun rises and as those astray and whole yearn for you

These beautiful lines of poetry come from a poem that Imam Ibn Katheer narrates in his commentary on verse 64 from chapter 4 where Allah says:

ولو أنهم إذ ظلموا أنفسهم جاءوك فاستغفروا الله واستغفر لهم الرسول لوجدوا الله توابا رحيما

And had they when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked for forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had also asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful

A bedouin came to the grave where the Prophet peace be upon him is buried and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I’ve committed a grave sin. But I’ve heard Allah say in the Quran (and he recited the above mentioned verse), and I’m here to ask Allah for forgiveness and ask you to ask Him as well for me to be forgiven”. He followed this by reciting the poem where the above lines of poetry come from, weeped, and walked away. Al Utbi was watching this happen and after the bedouin left he fell asleep and saw the Prophet peace be upon him in his dream and was told to go catch up with the bedouin and give him glad tidings that Allah has forgiven him.

The more I reflect on this story the more overwhelming I find it. It’s all about love and connection with the Beloved peace be upon him. The lines of poetry can only come out of love for the Prophet peace be upon him. The concern our Prophet peace be upon him has for us can only be from his love and mercy. The love of Allah for His Messenger peace be upon him that He guarantees forgiveness and mercy for those whom His Messenger peace be upon him is interceding for.

One of the things I really yearn for is to have love for our Messenger peace be upon him as the love his companions may Allah be pleased with them had for him. There is a narration by Anas Ibn Malik may Allah be pleased with him in Sahih Al Bukhari where he says that the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings be upon him said:

By the One who my soul is in His hand, none of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his self, his wealth, his children, and all people. Umar Ibn Al Khattab may Allah be pleased with him replied to this by saying:

“O Messenger of Allah! By Allah you are more beloved to me than everything else, except my own self.”

To this the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said:

“No O Umar. Not until I’m more beloved to you than your own self”

So Umar may Allah be pleased with him quickly recanted his initial response by saying:

 “O Messenger of Allah! By Allah you are more beloved to me than everything else, even my own self”

 The Messenger of Allah peace be upon replied:

 “Umar, now you have it!”

To have that kind of love is truly magnificent. This type of love that brought people to sacrifice their own lives quite literally in defence of the Messenger peace be upon him during battle. It’s the type of love that brought a companion to pray to become blind after the passing of the Beloved peace be upon him from this world so that the last thing his eyes saw would’ve been the Prophet peace be upon him’s face. It’s a love that brought the toughest of the companions to their knees weeping after the news of his passing peace be upon him from this world. 

I want you to picture this scene with me for a few minutes. Close your eyes and take a trip to Medina and watch Umar Ibn Al Khattab may Allah be pleased with him at first getting furious and waving his sword threatening to kill anyone who says “Muhammad is dead”. Then Abu Bakr As’Sideeq may Allah be pleased with him getting up and declaring the passing of the Prophet peace be upon him and reciting the verses from the Qur’an that relate to his human nature peace be upon him. This is when Umar, a man whose size from a far gives the illusion as if he’s riding a horse when in fact he would be walking, collapses on the ground and weeps intensely.

Bilal Ibn Rabah may Allah be pleased with him, the muezzin of the Prophet peace be upon him, left Medina to Syria because he could not stay in a city where everything reminds him of something about his most Beloved. After a couple of years of not visiting, the Prophet peace be upon him appears to Bilal in a dream and says:

ما هذا الجفاء يا بلال؟ أما آن لك أن تزورنا؟

What’s this coldness towards us O Bilal? Isn’t it time for you to visit us?

As soon as Bilal may Allah be pleased with him sees the city of the Prophet peace be upon him, he starts to weep before he enters. He continues to cry until he reaches the mosque of the Prophet peace be upon him and collapses in tears by his grave. The Prophet peace upon him’s grandsons Al-Hasan and Al-Husayin may Allah shower them with peace and mercy came to Bilal may Allah be pleased with him and they all hugged for a long time. They asked him to get up and call the Athan, which he hasn’t called ever since the passing of the Prophet peace upon him. He initially refused the same request from Abu Bakr and Umar may Allah be pleased with them because it was too difficult for him and he couldn’t bring himself to do it. But he couldn’t refuse the request from the grandchildren of the Prophet peace be upon him and finally agrees.

Bilal may Allah be pleased with him makes it to the roof of the mosque and starts calling: Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! 

 At an instant everyone in Medina, young and old, men and women, all begin to cry. It’s been a few years since they heard the same voice call for the prayer that the Prophet peace be upon him would lead. Everyone’s minds are now flooded with all kinds of memories of the times when the Prophet peace be upon him was among them. They even thought that he peace be upon him was brought back to life. As for Bilal may Allah be pleased with him… well, he got to the part where he bare witnessed that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and choked up at the name; he couldn’t finish calling the Athan.

I’ve been reflecting lately on something that I’ve come to realize. Most of us when we raise our hands in prayer, we usually ask for Allah’s blessings, help in our needs, facilitate our affairs, make our difficult circumstances easy, etc. But it seems that very few of us ask Allah to throw love of our Messenger peace be upon him similar to his companions’ love in our hearts. I’ve asked a few people if they’ve ever prayed to Allah to grant them the vision of the Prophet peace be upon him in their sleep. Sadly, the majority said they never even thought of it.

In the collection of Imam Ahmed is a narration by Anas Ibn Malik may Allah be pleased with him where he relates that the Prophet peace be upon him said to Abu Bakr may Allah be pleased with him:

O Abu Bakr, I wish I could meet my brothers. I wish I could meet my brothers, for I love them!

Abu Bakr may Allah be pleased with him said:

O Messenger of Allah! We’re your brothers!

He peace be upon him said:

You’re my companions. My brothers are a people that haven’t seen me, believed in me, and loved me so much so that I’m more beloved to them than their parents and their children.

It’s all about love. So close your eyes for a minute. Imagine that you’ve been granted a chance to meet the most Beloved who called you his brother or sister and said he wished he could meet you. You’re so important to him that he was concerned about you even though he came over 1420 years ago. The most caring, loving, merciful gift from the Most Merciful is giving you his undivided attention for as long as you’d like. What you say to him? 

May Allah throw love of the Him and His Messenger peace be upon him into our hearts, and may He grant us seeing him peace be upon him in our dreams and having his company in the highest heavens in the Next World. 

 With love 

© Mohamed Ghilan, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

 


My Beloved

I read and hear much about you

Yet I feel I lack knowledge of you.

To know you is to love you.

 I look for your approval in everything I do

always asking myself what would my

beloved Muhammad do?

 None can ever amount to you

the walking Quran

Joy it is emulating you

for fear of not seeing you

What a blessing it is to be from your ummah

though most of us are headless of your Sunnah

so consumed in this Dunya but

I don’t want to trade it for Akhiirah

I stop and ponder for a moment

words so miraculous that move the soul

I realize my goals – limited to materialism

empty life, lived and lost, but from now

I make my goal to be with you in the next life

I love thee

Oh I love thee

but I question my sincerity in this claim

Some choose to speak ill of you

create displeasing images of you

they don’t know how much we love you

their efforts are meaningless

your image remains changeless

My heart pains infinitely

to have been able to protect you we aspire

to have been in your company we crave and

to be with you in the hereafter we live for.

Visiting you was when my life turned a corner.

the feeling of unworthiness being in your house.

how can a slave full of sins be giving salaams to the sincerest?

Your example leaves me breathless

how you would get up and kiss Fatima

your love for Hassan and Hussein

indeed you are the best of creation oh beloved

And while I write this, my prayers continue in my quest to be with you,

I am just a sinful servant who thinks much of you

© Lover of the Prophet, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

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