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Full moon

By Farhat Khan

I  was asked by my friend and blogger Sidra Mushtaq to write a few lines about Prophet Muhammad sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam that I find inspiring. It has been really difficult and challenging to narrow it down to a few lines as I think that all phases of his life are inspirational in their own ways and we can learn from his life no matter which situation we are in our lives. His relations as husband, father, neighbor, friend, guide, leader and employee among many are all guidelines for us in our different roles in life no matter which culture we belong to.

Much can be written about how he sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam conducted social justice and practiced human rights, taking care of different groups in the community including even the disabled and marginalised.  He would take care that the needs of the poor, orphans and widows were fulfilled. With his sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam wisdom he sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam created a community centre in his mosque in Medina and established the fundaments of proper education, spiritual inspiration, healthcare, and charity and built the first Muslim community that proved to grow as one of the strongest communities. And most of all he sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam was a spiritual inspiration for those around him sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam continues to be so centuries after his sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam death.

Learning about the wise, just, kind and merciful prophet of Allah, the seerah and shamail both are full of insightful examples of how he sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam dealt with people around himsallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam no matter which religion they belonged to.  When reading about such a personality one would wonder how it would be if you had met him sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam.  I have always imagined that such a person would have a peaceful and calm radiance around him.  And when reading about his sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam noble features in Shamail I came to know that his companions had described the beauty of prophet Muhammad sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam as the full moon.  It is his inner beauty that attracted so many towards him sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam. And there is no doubt that this inner beauty was shown outwardly as well:

It is related from Jaabir (Radiallahu anhu) that he said: ” I once saw Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) on the night of a full moon. On that night he wore red clothing. At times I looked at the full moon and at times at Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) . Ultimately I came to the conclusion that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) was more handsome, beautiful and more radiant than the full moon.”

I think about this hadith every time I see the full moon, especially the radiant full moon of Rabi ul Awal that that has a special shine and radiance over it. I imagine our beloved prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam to be even more radiant and I think of the mercy he brought to mankind.  His teachings are guidelines for every one of us in every aspect of life. This describes his wisdom and depth of teachings.

May we all have tawfiq to follow his steps and create strong and including communities for all wherever we are and may we live upon the values and principles he sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam brought to us from Allah so that inner beauty is created in our hearts, homes and communities and we become a radiant ummah that reflects our real values to our surroundings and shine like the full moon.

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

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Intention when reciting Salawat

By Naadiyah Ali

Imam al-Haddad preferred to make the following intention when reciting salawat:

Allahumma I intend by my invocation of salat and salam upon the Prophet to conform to Your Command, to comply with Your Book, and to follow the Sunnah of Your Prophet Muhammad salallahu alaihi wasallam out of love for him, longing for him, and in exaltation of what is due to him; to honour him because he is deserving of this; so accept this from me; by Your Favour and Kindness, and remove the veil of heedlessness from my heart and make me from amongst Your righteous servants.

Allahumma increase him in honour, in addition to the honour You have already conferred upon him, and increase him in glory, to supplement the glory You have given him. Elevate his rank from among the ranks of the Envoys, and his degree from among the degrees of the Prophets. I ask You for your Pleasure and for Paradise, O Lord of the Worlds, and for contentment in the religion, in this world and in the hereafter; and to die whilst living in accordance with the Book, the Sunna and the Jama’a, and by the testimony of faith, without changing or altering it. And forgive me, by Your Favour and Kindness towards me for what I have committed. Indeed, You are the Forgiver and the Merciful.

And bestow salat and salam upon our master Muhammad and his family and companions and give them peace”. 

Ameen.

How is your love for me?

By Hatice Baltacı Çolakoğlu

“O Messenger of God, whom do you love most in the world?” He did not always give the same answer to this question for he felt great love for many for his daughters and their children, for Abu Bakr, for Ali, for Zayd and his son Usamah. But of his wives the only one he named in this connection was Aishah. She too loved him greatly in return and often would seek reassurance from him that he loved her.

Once she asked him: “How is your love for me?”.Like the rope’s knot,” he replied meaning that it was strong and secure.

Every so often ‘Aisha would playfully ask, “How is the knot?”. The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam would answer, As strong as the first day (you asked).

This is such an inspiring conversation. We know that the knot in a rope can be very strong so it is almost impossible to untie. Maybe this is what our Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam wanted to  show us when he answerd Sayyidah Aisha that his love for her was like a knot. Unfortunately, these days we are not that patient in our relationships and do not pay a lot of attention to it, which is maybe the reason for the unhappiness that we go through.

I hope and pray for a better time for the Ummah, where we are trying to reach the love and mercy of our Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi waalam and his belowed wife Sayyidah Aisha.

© Hatice Baltacı ÇolakoğluRabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

By Asma Gill

Allahumma salli ‘ala Sayyidina wa Mawlana Muhammadin wa ‘ala alihi wa sahbihi wa barik wa sallim.

I wanted to share this poem that I feel inspires a love only a true ‘ashiq-e-Rasul can have:

 Al-Qadi Yusuf An-Nabahani’s poem praising the Prophet salla-Llahu alaihi wa sallam

 I am the slave of the Master of Prophets
And my fealty to him has no beginning.

I am slave to his slave, and to his slave’s slave,
And so forth endlessly,

For I do not cease to approach the door
Of his good pleasure among the novices.

I proclaim among people the teaching of his high attributes,
And sing his praises among the poets.

Perhaps he shall tell me: “You are a noted friend
Of mine, an excellent beautifier of my greatness.”

Yea, I would sacrifice my soul for the dust of his sanctuary.
His favor should be that he accept my sacrifice.

He has triumphed who ascribes himself to him
Not that he needs such following,

For he is not in need of creation at all,
While they all need him without exception.

He belongs to Allah alone, Whose purified servant he is,
As his attributes and names have made manifest;

And every single favor in creation comes from Allah
To him, and from him to everything else.

 ALLAHUMMA BARIK ALA MUHAMMADIN WA ALA ALI MUHAMMADIN KAMA BARAKTA ALA IBRAHEEMA WA ALA ALI IBRAHEEMA INNAKA HAMEEDUM MAJEED

A du’a from the Dala’il al Khayrat: Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah. Peace be upon you, O beloved of Allah. Peace be upon you, O our master Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah. Peace be upon you and your pure, good family. Peace be upon you and your wives, the Mothers of the Believers. Peace be upon you and all your Companions. Peace be upon us and on the righteous slaves of Allah.

 So, I ask Allah to make my love for His Beloved, a love that is a true love, a sincere love, an everlasting love, an uplifting love, a living love, a love beyond love. Amin!

© Asma GillRabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

Loving the Beloved

By Tun Wildan

The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said that “None of you will believe until I am more beloved to him than his father, his children and all people.” We hear of this hadith repeatedly and strive to achieve this. This is especially pertinent in this month of the birth of our beloved Prophet.  We learn from our teachers that this love needs to shine from within ourselves and spread to its surroundings.  Ibn Ataillah Al-Askandari mentioned that the things which are embedded in the recesses of our heart, are manifested in the testimony of our limbs.

Appropriate to this month of the mawlid, I leave you with this beautiful qasida which are sung as a lamentation of the lovers of the beloved throughout the muslim lands – Talama ashku gharami.

For so long I complained my yearning of you, O light of existence,

And I keep calling O Tihami, source of excellent and sublimity.

 My hope, my utmost goal is to see you,

As i see As-Salam gate, O He whose essence is purity.

O my brothers, I am a lover, I am infatuated,

Guilty of it, and the praise not-befitting.

O Israfil  what a death, the love exhausted me,

I have a strong expectation of the promise, O the loyal of promises.

 O light of the prophets, O summit of purity,

O leader of the people of taqwa, my heart is one with you.

 Allah invoked peace upon you,

My Lord, Master of all majesty.

It’s enough for me O light of Allah, the separation  is too long,

My master, all my life you are my beloved, hasten my meeting with you.

© Tun WildanRabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

The Resplendent Birth

By Idris Kamal

In the Turkish tradition, the best-known early mevlût was written by the venerable Shaikh Süleyman Chelebi (may Allah sanctify his secret) of Bursa around 1400 CE. It is written in rhyming couplets, a literary form adopted from the Persian.

Its rhythm is simple; the meter is the same as that used primarily in Persian mystical and didactic epics such as Imam Faridu-d Din ‘Attar’s Mantiqu-t Tair and Mevlana Jalalu-d Din Rumi’s Mathnawi. The language is plain, almost childlike, and therefore the poem has not lost anything of its charm even today.

Shaikh Süleyman’s mevlût was often imitated, so that there are about a hundred different versions of mevlût poetry in Turkish; but no other Turkish religious poem can compete with it for the favour of all classes of society. Its first part tells the momentous story of the Prophet’s birth (Allah bless him and give him peace) as Lady Amina (may Allah be pleased with her) experienced it. Full of amazement, she recounts (using traditional imagery) what happened to her at the end of her pregnancy:

Amina Khatun, Muhammad’s mother dear:
From this oyster came that lustrous pearl.

After she conceived from ‘Abdallah
Came the time of birth with days and weeks.

As Muhammad’s birth was drawing near
Many signs appeared before he came!

In the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal then
On the twelfth, the night of Monday, look,

When the best of humankind was born-
O what marvels did his mother see!

Spoke the mother of that friend: “I saw
A strange light; the sun was like its moth.

Suddenly it flashed up from my house,
Filled the world with light up to the sky.

Heavens opened, vanquished was the dark,
And I saw three angels with three flags.

One was in the East, one in the West,
One stood upright on the Ka’ba’s roof.

Rows of angels came from heaven, and
Circumambulated all my house;

Came the houris group on group; the light
From their faces made my house so bright

And a cover was spread in mid-air,
Called ‘brocade’ – an angel laid it out.

When I saw clearly these events
I became bewildered and confused.

Suddenly the walls were split apart
And three houris entered in my room.

Some have said that of these charming three
One was Asiya of moonlike face,

One was Lady Mary without doubt,
And the third a houri beautiful.

Then these moonfaced three drew gently near
And they greeted me with kindness here;

Then they sat around me, and they gave
The good tidings of Muhammad’s birth;

Said to me: ‘A son like this your son
Has not come since God made this world,

And the mighty one did never grant
Such a lovely son as will be yours.

You have found great happiness, O dear,
For from you that virtuous one is born!

He that comes is King of Knowledge high,
Is the mine of gnosis and tawhid [monotheism].

For the love of him the sky revolves,
Men and djinn are longing for his face.

This night is the night that he, so pure
Will suffuse the worlds with radiant light!

This night, earth becomes a Paradise,
This night, God shows mercy to the world.

This night, those with heart are filled with joy,
This night, gives the lovers a new life.

Mercy for the worlds is Mustafa,
Sinner’s intercessor: Mustafa!’

They described him in this style to me,
Stirred my longing for that blessed night.”

Amina said: “When the time was ripe
That the best of mankind should appear,

I became so thirsty from that heat
That they gave me a sherbet in a glass.

Drinking it, I was immersed in light
And could not discern myself from light.

Then a white swan came with soft great wings
And he touched my back with gentle strength.

[As this verse is recited, every participant ever so gently touches his or her neighbour’s back.]

And the King of Faith was born that night:
Earth and heaven were submerged in light!”

Then begins the great Welcome, which all creation extended to the newborn Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), whose coming they had expected with such longing, a welcome to the Friend of God in whose intercession at Doomsday all can trust:

Welcome, O high prince, we welcome you!
Welcome, O mine of wisdom, we welcome you!

Welcome, O secret of the Book, we welcome you!
Welcome, O medicine for pain, we welcome you!

Welcome, O sunlight and moonlight of God, we welcome you!
Welcome, O you not separated from God!

Welcome, O nightingale of the Garden of Beauty!
Welcome, O friend of the Lord of Power!

Welcome, O refuge of your community!
Welcome, O helper of the poor and destitute!

Welcome, O eternal soul, we welcome you!
Welcome, O cupbearer of the lovers, we welcome you!

Welcome, O darling of the Beloved!
Welcome, O much beloved of the Lord!

Welcome, O mercy for the worlds!
Welcome, O intercessor for the sinner!

Only for you were Time and Space created…

Adapted from: Schimmel, A. And Muhammad is His Messenger. Kuala Lumpur: Islamic Book Trust, 2008.

© Idris Kamal, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

Muhammad the Beloved

By Mazen Attasi

Ummati, ummati. My nation, my nation. This will be the response of that great lofty being, of whose light consists of the initial essence of all creation, on that most-certain Day. He will step in and intercede for his brothers and sisters in a time where there is naught time, nor anyone to turn to; he is the one that will supplicate in a way that no other being has ever supplicated before. He will on that Day pray for you and your salvation. He will implore your pardon and your acceptance into the Garden. He will petition for his brothers out of the mercy and compassion that permeates the very principle of his soul. This man is Muhammad and he is a man most unlike other men. Salla Allahu alayhi wassalam.

The creation sighed a sigh of anxious relief at the hearing of his coming. Mountains trembled, clouds gathered, the trees swayed in their yearning. Beasts roared and birds soared, their shrills exponentially magnifying as the praises catalyzed more praise throughout the realms. The sun set and the moon rose in honor of Ahmad, the pure of the Adamic race. He was always a sight to see and a delight to hear, but it was the unfelt and unspoken truths one felt in his presence that drew near so many of his family, friend and foes’ hearts. All was captivated by his disposition. Medium build, wide shouldered, brawny. Not too tall nor too short. Wide hands and firm feet, a mouth full of pearls- physically and vocally. His speech perfected in humble strength, sweet and succinct. And his fragrance… oh his fragrance like that of the Garden. Always clean and always scented, as if freshly bathed in the finest musk. Always anointed in the best of oils and to feel him walk by was to whiff the scent of heavenly ambrosia.

Yet even in his beauty, lay an indescribable presence of majesty. Living the life of a warrior, his quarters reflected that reality of his message. The truth must be spread, the mission must be accomplished; thus his humble home decorated with the finest shields, swords, bows and arrows. Coming out of his house dressed for battle, he had the conviction of an emboldened falcon cruising comfortably, coolly and patiently planning for divine Providence to lead him and his saints across the threshold into the testing ground of hearts. Warrior monks was what he produced, manifesting alongside him ranks and ranks of men who would train by day and pray by night, head humbled low in the remembrance of the Most High.

There was a perfected balance about him and everyone who saw the Praised One could not help but join the melodious ode of the creation to him. ‘Ahhmmaaad’ was what the angels sang and the resonance of their tune engulfed the entire world, anyone joining the song during his blessed 63 years on Earth instantly transformed and illumined. This was the Ahmadi affect. This was the Muhammadan light. The frequency of love, reaching into the hardest and darkest crevices of souls and reorienting the mirrors therein so light became refracted in it ever so wholly; this was only a touch and a caring that one appointed by God as the ‘Mercy of the Worlds’ could muster. He would move killers, highway robbers and drunken fornicators to become worldly ascetics and otherworldly gnostics; transform baby-murderers to romantic desert wanderers, intoxicated in the knowledge of the Truth-this was what our Master did.

This is the Muhammadan reality. The light created before all lights; the very quintessential manifestation of the Names of the One, tying together all the highest attributes of the Almighty into a package that merged the very heavens and earth into his purified soul. Commander of the stars, patron of the hearts. Willing leader of the faithful. Salla Allahu alayhi wassalam.

This is our glory. This is the reality that is Ahmad which all souls call for and all lights derive from. Remember him now in all that he is, so that on that day when you journey through the firmament onto the platform of the Scale, you will know your intercessor. And he will know you. And you will love your intercessor. And he will love you. And God loves the love and so through him, He will accept you.

Love him as he deserves to be loved, surely the Loving loves the Beloved.

© Mazen Attasi, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

Rabi’ al-Awwal Reflections

By Jamilah Bashir

Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem

Allahumma salli ala Sayyiduna Muhammad wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa sallam

I cannot remember when I first came across the burdah but it feels like it has been part of me for many years.  Chapter one has always captured my heart even in English because of the yearning Imam Busairi has for his beloved. This love is not a material one, it is an unbreakable bond, a tie that as believers we all feel.  For It is the love of the last and final Prophet Muhammad  sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. It is the celebration of faith that is rooted deep in the hearts. It is the love that binds us, it is the love that heals, the love that gives us hope, the love that has shown us the way to live our lives and a love that we never knew existed until we heard his name ‘Muhammad’ sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.

Sayyiduna Hassan Ibn Thabit (radi’Allahu an) one of the companions and poets who was honoured with the title ‘poet of the prophet’ sallallahu alaihi wa sallam due to him standing in defence of the prophet, the companions and the religion of Islam against the idolators summed it up in the following verses. 

“A glorious Prophet has come to us, after years without hopes and prophets,

after years of worship on this world in idols.

He has come and illuminated us like a light

that guides us into the right path and shines all so bright.

Like the blazing, blinding glimmer of the sharp end of a sword,

against fire he warned, and he gave good news of Heaven….

A light that shines all so bright – for his face was more beautiful than the moon…..

He (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has come to us, after years without hopes, after years wandering in the dark, aimlessly.

Do we think we can survive without this great mercy?

Do we think we are exempt from needing his love sallallahu alaihi wa sallam?

What door will we knock at if it is not his sallallahu alaihi wa sallam?

Ya Imam al- Rusli …..

O leader of all Prophets, o you my Support,

You are the door to Allah, the one on whom I rely.

 In this my dunya and in my afterlife,

O Messenger of Allah, take me by my hand…..

And never let go ……

There was a time when the burdah would be recited in every house, echoing in the streets and written on the walls of the masjids throughout the world. It has been translated into over 90 different languages and Alhamdulillah is being revived once again in the hearts of the believers. Many given as gifts with the intention of shifaa and barakah, to remove hardships and to draw closer to the messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.

It covered the walls in masjid nabawi but now only one line remains at the Rawdah of RasulAllah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam which say;

“He is the beloved whose intercession is hoped for, for every fear and distress that is going to come on the day of agony and fear.”
Are we ready for that day, that hour?

What have we prepared for it?

In Sahih al-Bukhari, there is a Hadith which states that a Bedouin asked the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) about the Hour. He said, “It will surely come to pass. What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have not prepared much in the way of prayer and good works, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, “You will be with those you love.” The Muslims had never rejoiced as much they did when they heard this Hadith.

So hold onto this love and hold onto the words of Imam Busairi – the weighty, beautiful, powerful words that will revive your heart and help you realise where you need to turn, for Imam Busairi lived by these words and was cured by these words. SUBHAN ALLAH… as he wrote:

‘Whenever time caused me any distress and I took refuge in him.

I received a shelter from him which was not misused.

I did not ask for the wealth of the two worlds from his hands.

But I received a great gift from the best hand that was ever kissed.’

We make salawaat and read these blessed poems not because he sallallahu alaihi wa sallam is in need of us, no, because we are in need of him sallallahu alai. He is our shelter and guide and we will receive more than we could ever deserve because of his mercy for us – The Ummah. No gratitude can ever suffice but we beseech Allah subhana wa ta’ala to be amongst those who remember the Messenger of Allah in abundance, to use these precious pieces of time and to strive with sincerity to follow his way as much as possible. Sallallahu alaihi wa alihi wa sahbihi wa sallam. Ameen 

© Jamilah Bashir, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

“The worst thing to be stingy with is the Prophet. God described him as a “mercy to every realm” -which I think includes a pretty large group of people!” ~ Aaron Sellars 

© Aaron Sellars, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

Embracing the Prophet  ﷺ After Embracing Islam: A Converts Reflection

By Ibrahim J. Long

We were sitting together in a circle in the masjid and today’s talk was about the Prophet Muhammadﷺ. Young men and women, many of whom not born Muslim, moved to sit with us after performing the ‘asr prayer. We had come together to speak about the man whose life was dedicated to teaching us our religion.

One of the young men among us, Jacob, had only embraced Islam a few months earlier and had become immediately passionate about his new faith. As we all sat together Jacob revealed a secret: “I remember when I first embraced Islam,” he said, “I didn’t know that much at all about the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And, I would see all these people around me just in love with him… I loved Islam… but I did not know why people were so obsessed with him?”

A few other attendees nodded their head in agreement, and a few others cracked a smile. “I know what you mean,” said Nancy, “at first I wondered the same thing.” Nancy, also a convert to Islam, had embraced the religion only a few months prior to Jacob. Having always been interested in religion, she had become interested in Islam after meeting some Muslims, and became open to learning more. Like Jacob she had found in Islam a religion that she could embrace. She liked the dignity that Islam afforded women, the emphasis upon prayer, and the direction that it gave her life; though, like Jacob, at the time of her conversion she knew very little about the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

Although I was asked to lead them in the discussion, I was no different from them. When I embraced Islam it was due to the beauty and depth of the Qur’an, which nothing but a light placed in my heart had convinced me to firmly believe to have a divine origin. And, like Jacob and Nancy, I had only known initially that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was the one to whom the Qur’an was revealed, and perhaps a few stories about his blessed life.

As we sat there together and continued to share our stories, I realized something I had not before: In each of our personal stories, including my own, the example of the Prophet ﷺ had increasingly taken on a more critical role in our daily lives and in the strength of our faith. Though we did not know that much about him initially, when we were going through a trial a Muslim friend would relate to us a story about Muhammad ﷺ going through a more difficult trial, and so we would try harder to be patient. When we were having difficulties with friends or family, someone would inform us about how the Prophet ﷺ treated other people and we would try harder to be like him. And, as we were learning how to properly worship God, we realized how perfectly the Prophet ﷺ worshiped Him.

Though we each had known little about the Messenger ﷺ when we first embraced Islam, by following Islam his example became increasingly important at each step along the way; and so did our love for him ﷺ. In fact, his life and example taught us, and still teaches us, how to follow the faith we had been moved by God to embrace. While we had known little about the Prophet ﷺ, by embracing Islam we had come to discover–through our striving to achieve (as close as possible) a resemblance to his exalted level of character–that he truly is the one worthy of praise and emulation.

May the peace and blessings of God be upon him and his folk.

© Ibrahim J. Long, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/January 2012

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