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• When the souls of believers come together to a gathering like this (i.e Rihla), it is the feast of the spirits. Your spirit is fed, your spirit is nourished, just by being with everyone here. There is no smaller or greater; all believers are the same and all believer are saints, all believers are awliya, and all awliyas’ have degrees. One of the greatest things about being together is that you open yourself to that transformation, that is the reason why adab is so important.

• Adab is not a formality. Be yourself. Be and say what you feel, but the secret of adab is that in your heart you have a high opinion of God, and a high opinion of your brothers and sisters- Husn ad-Dhann. Having a good opinion of God is the highest forms of worship. Having adab is very important; having a good opinion of everyone around you. By elevating the status in your eyes of everyone around you, only then you will feel benefit.

• We are in much more need of adab then knowledge.

• The Hikam is packed with knowledge and wisdom.

• Ibn Ata’Allah wrote the book as a guide to Seekers in the path.

• The ego is more powerful than 70 satans!

• Allah makes everything perfect, where it’s meant to be.

• The greatest sin is to get the knowledge and not have that take you to the garden (paradise)!

• The awliya live in the present moment.

• Get your beginning right; you cannot walk this path alone- you have to have friends and a guide.

• If you do not know who the people of good company are, you have not been paying attention! Allah placed them in your life- keep good companionship/friendship.

• Have a state that uplifts people.

• Your words reflect your spiritual state.

• Make people happy, elevate them.

• The person who knows God, God becomes their reality.

• When you sit to gain knowledge, you intend to teach knowledge to others; you will transmit what you learn- that should always be part of your intention when seeking knowledge.

• You see yourself as a servant and you serve your duties to Allah.

• Never forget your mistakes, because they keep you humble. Always remind yourself of them, but hide them away with diamonds.

• Our own nafs is constantly saying to us what Pharoah said: “I am your lord most high.” Don’t allow your nafs to be your lord!

• Witness your actions as a gift from Allah, and don’t attach yourself to them. We don’t acquire actions; Allah gives them to us.

• A tree is in perpetual sajda to Allah because of the network of it’s roots resembles a nervous system- a head which is in the ground. That is it’s sajda, and it never breaks; and if it breaks that sajdah it dies.

• In marriage you must look with eyes of mercy and integrity as all your spouse’s defects/weaknesses will be revealed to you.

• ‘God’ is one of the most beautiful words in the English language as it means “He who is called upon in prayer”.

• The disbeliever is bewildered by creation but the believer is bewildered by the Creator.

• Be full of hope and Rijah!

• When you are in a spiritual sate, you have lazaa- deliciousness!

• You must know Allah in all your states and conditions.

• Lack of adab may cause you to lose something.

• You need to be broken so you are not proud and not full of yourself.

• In the end you must praise him for the year of plenty and the year of little. He is Rabb! We praise Him with a praise that is worthy of His Majesty.

• When He takes away, He shows His Majesty!

• Disobedience that leaves with you obedience is better than the pride that leaves you with arrogance.

• Whenever you lose hope, it shows you are spiritually immature.

• Every child is a saint.

• The big gifts Allah gives you are when you are down, and you feel undeserving of it, but it makes you realise that its not from you, it’s from Allah.

• God will save you by His power; you put your trust in Him, not in your deeds!

• Don’t ever think little of yourself; your relationship with Allah is special. He created us perfect, and gave us special attributes.

• The hypocrite never speaks from the heart!

• Allah is the King; He rules all things. Everything is in His control. We are veiled from Him. Allah is not in space or time.

• A moment of thought is worth more than 70 years of worship.

• Watch what you listen to and watch what you see.

~ Dr Umar Abd-Allah, Rihla 2011- Hikam of Ibn Ata’Allah al-Iskandari class (Paraphrased). Photo courtesy: Ghalia Elsolh- please do not re-use without permission first.

I hope the Gems I have been sharing for the last few months, from the 2011 Rihla, were beneficial and you enjoyed reading them. All good things come to an end, alas. But at the same time, “Endings are also beginnings” (I read this in a book and think it’s true!). When one journey ends, another begins. Ultimately, we are all on a journey back to our Lord, and are using whatever means we can, and are provided with, to reach our final destination- which is Allah!  Insha’Allah, may we all continue to be blessed to attend such programmes/events which aid us in our big journey back to our Lord. Please keep me in your lofty prayers.

Yours in faith,

Sidra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Anyone who is in a state of heedlessness, and reads the Ihya, it will take them into a state of presence.
  • Hearts have a colour. Everything we do colours the heart in a certain way. Something about the Ihya is that it grabs you and takes you from heedlessness to presence.
  • Ostentation- a type of ostentation is when you get happy when someone hears/find out you have done good.
  • Reading the Ihya is the process of healing.

 

  • Adab is the essence of our deen (religion).
  • Indeed the Qur’an is the banquet of Allah so benefit from it, and what He gives you.
  • If you let the world overtake you, it will let you. It will eat you up and you will always be constricted.

  • Contentment is a treasure that will never perish, the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam said.
  • The Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam is the way to ultimately judge everything by.
  • The story of the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam’s life should be directly related to our connection to the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam. You can only determine the scholar if they love the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam.
  • You should never increase in knowledge until you also increase in humility. The more in knowledge you increase, the more humility you should have.
  • Reward and punishment relate to the inner realities of human beings.
  • We need to bring back the sunnah of smiling!
  • Allah created everything in existence. He embellished its form and order. He is the One who measured it out and cautioned it in the best way. Nothing is in existence, except It’s wisdom.
  • Knowing how to apply ones knowledge is something, and knowing how to place something in its position is another thing.
  • The greatest crisis of our time is the crisis of adab.
  • Adab is related to wisdom and putting things in their right place.
  • The inward relates to the outward; and the outward relates to the inward.
  • The outward etiquette’s are proprieties. The way of carrying them outwardly is indicative of what is in one’s heart.
  • Nothing is done outwardly for except it stems from the heart, and nothing comes to the heart unless it’s from a thought.
  • Righteous people don’t even backbite people in their thoughts!
  • All behaviour begins with a thought; they have a natural inclination. Then you decide one way or the other on what you are going to do.
  • We are not taken into account for our thoughts or inclinations. We have to struggle- learning to control ourselves.
  • Our deeds that we do is a trait of our character.
  • The Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam is the gifted mercy from Allah to us. The Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam brought guidance to us.
  • Learning is a process; it’s from the cradle to the grave!
  • The hidden secrets of the heart- these are the planting places for seeds. It is the light of these innermost secrets of the heart; these are what shine outwardly.
  • Whomsoever’ heart is not in a state of humility, their outward state will not be in a state of humility.
  • The heart spreads light if there is light in it.
  • Your heart is constantly changing. It’s important to know the state of the heart.
  • The spiritual path is not linear. You will get what you need in the moment you need it but it’s not the way you expected. Everything that comes to you is in reality for your benefit. We accept the Qadr (Decree); not only accepting, but also knowing the lessons Allah has/is teaching us through that. We might learn through by being hurt, or through tribulations.
  • No one served like the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam did. He was in the service of people and His Lord. Anyone who does not serve, will not progress spiritually.
  • Don’t cut off ties with any of your family; doing so cuts off the Mercy from Allah.
  • One is in absolute need of his Lord and there is nowhere else to go!
  •  Knowledge gives birth to other knowledge! Anytime you learn something, you should write it down. Review and revisit notes. You take notes on the basis of teaching others.
  • If we don’t learn from lessons from people, we become lessons to other people.
  • There has to be a balance in everything, except dhikr of Allah which needs to be constant/often.
  • Be patient with everything that afflicts you.
  • If you are the easiest person to please, and the hardest person to get angry then everyone will love you!
  • Don’t be content with what you have achieved, keep going. Shaitaan and Nafs will tell you to stop and hold you down, but don’t you listen to them!
  • If we are not thankful to Allah for small amounts, then how are we ever going to be thankful for great amounts? Gratitude is the key to tawfiq (success).
  • Make big intentions. Allah opens 70 doors of tawfiq for the one who opens up him the door of righteous intention.

~ Shaykh Yahya Rhodus– The Life Conduct the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam, Rihla 2011, Bursa, Turkey (Paraphrased)

More gems to follow inshaAllah ta’Ala……

(Photos’ courtesy- Rihla Student Please keep them in your prayers. Please do not re-use or save the photo without permission. )

  • Sometimes when you are given things, you are not given them a second time, so cherish what you have!
  • You have to manage your time. You have to reflect on what you have missed.
  • If you are person who reflects, be sincere in that.
  • Guard your heart against anything other than Allah.
  • Make your heart the dergah/house of Allah, make the name Allah the sultan of your heart.
  • Guard your tongue from excessive speech.
  • Always be the person who makes tawba and istagfir.
  • Understand the value of every moment. You are only born with a number of breaths!
  • Let not any moment be wasted, make every moment be beneficial.
  • Afflictions are many, but the greatest affliction is the passage of time without any benefit.
  • You have to have thirst for knowledge as a means for your salvation. What are you going to do in that moment Allah has given you?
  • Take your cup and fill it with beneficial knowledge, and also for others who are in this stage- others can benefit from.
  • Your intention should be that you want to revive the deen when seeking knowledge.
  • Books are not the same as people who carry knowledge.
  • You want to be a means of knowledge through your tongue and actions.
  • If there is place of ‘Rida’, (Contentmemt), it’s al-Jaanah (paradise) where death does not even enter.
  • By saying Bismillah in front of everything, you attach it to the Eternal! Allah is the All-Living. The simplest things can go far so intend to say Bismillah before you begin or do anything.
  • Missing prayer is a big thing, it’s like missing an appointment with Allah! Would you miss an appointment for a job interview?
  • You yourself will become a source of guidance to other people.
  • There is an inward and outward aspect of knowledge.

 

  • Sometimes ignorance is a good thing; sometimes knowledge is a curse for people because they acquire it and then don’t implement.
  • Knowledge is as the tree, and worship is the fruit of knowledge.
  • The beginning of your knowledge has Shariah and Tariqa. Shariah is what the Law giver gives you. Shariah is there to align you with Paradise!
  • The best good you’ll ever have is Allah’s contentment with you, so obtain it through implementing the shariah.
  • Cling to the Qur’an and Sunnah, instead of being like a cheap post it note that, before you know it, has fallen off.
  • The best thing you want is Rida of Allah!
  • Adab is everything; the meaning of ‘Adab’ is how you carry yourself.
  • You must never lose expectation or hope that you can be someone you are not in terms of adab.
  • Ikhlaaq is about transforming yourself.
  • Your nafs is there to be trained. Nafs wants to be like spilled water and pour over everything, but you need to channel it through Shariah.
  • Your whole life is about renewing character traits and molding yourself. Look at the character of the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhi waslam and mold yourself.
  • Don’t be like a candle whose light benefits all yet it does not benefit itself from its own light. Work on yourself first!
  • A companion never leaves you.
  • An imtihaan (test) is a moment of exposure from Allah. He wants us to see our fracture points in our life. As long as we are in the realms of brokenness, there’s potential for completeness.
  • When you are alone, in solitude you know your relationship with Allah. When you are alone, there should be a state you are in with Allah, if you are bored, it shows your relationship with Allah.
  • Be a positive, optimistic kind of a person; don’t be one of those “doom and gloom waiting for the Mahdi” kind of a Muslim.
  • All organs are passageways to the heart.
  • Be humble.
  • Focus attention on Allah, make one objective and that is Allah!
  • What is inside you comes out. If there is stillness of Allah in you, it will come out! If you are agitated inside, it will come out in your speech.
  • Don’t put all your trust on things or people, they’re no more reliable than you are. Rather, rely upon Allah!
  • If there is a divine command, you fulfill it.
  • The more you avoid harm, the higher you rise.
  • Success is getting through the door of al-Jaanah (Paradise).
  • Don’t justify your sins by blaming it on Divine Decree.
  • You have to have constant remembrance of Allah.
  • Every thorn thrown by the Beloved becomes a rose in the eye of the lover.
  • Marriage reveals who you really are and it’s up to you if you accept that truth and grow. And if you never grow you never bear fruit.

 ~ Shaykh Naeem Abdul Wali – ‘The Beginning of Guidance’ lesson, Rihla 2011, Bursa, Turkey (Paraphrased)

More gems to follow inshaAllah ta’Ala……

(Photos courtesy- Rihla Student Please keep them in your prayers. Please do not re-use or save the photo without permission. )

 

 

 

Gems from Rihla 2011- Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (Part 2)

  • Imam al-Ghazali is a giant; he is a mountain. And the more you learn about him, the bigger the mountain becomes.
  • The Iyha was Imam al-Ghazali’s magnum opus. He wrote it with the intention of giving the Ummah the book that besides the Qur’an will be enough for the educated Muslims. Some argue that the Ihya is all you need as your guide back to Allah.
  • The Ihya has immense impact. First thing tells us that the Ihya is in 4 parts. In each section/part Imam al-Ghazali put 10 books. There are 40 books in the Ihya. 40 is a special number.
  • The Qur’an is central to Imam al-Ghazali’s teaching.
  • If God can make a house holy, you don’t think He can make a heart holy? If He can sanctify stones, He can sanctify a human heart.
  • If you’re knocking at the door, the knocking is itself the opening of the door; if you are journeying, your start is your beginning, don’t worry if you don’t get there. Stop wasting time. Death is waiting for you. This was the key message of Imam al-Ghazali
  • Only thing that reduces anxiety is by certainty (Yaqeen), and knowing that everything that happens is only because of Allah, and you’re in good hands.
  •  Wudu is ibadah. It’s independent worship. You can do wudu just as a form of worship. If you are not doing any practices to prepare for prayer, you will probably not feel anything in prayer. Sidi Ahmed Zarruq said “The degree of your presence in prayer is dependent on your wudu”
  • Wudu comes from Wada’a which means to make bright. The wudu is how the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam recognises his Ummah on the day of judgement, i.e by the light of their limbs.
  • Don’t let shaitaan take the light away from your prayer.
  • You have to have time between you and your Lord.
  • The greatness of the creation of the mosquito is no less than the greatness of the creation of the elephant. Everything that happens is a cause for marvel.
  • The whole world is a metaphor; we are all travellers in this world.
  • The world can reject you, but Allah will never reject us. His door is always open.
  • Allah created a world of expansion and contraction. The heart contracts and expands. Natural state of human is that he is in-between contraction and expansion.
  • Allah creates death and life to try us to see which of us is best in virtue and action.
  • If you are in blessing, you have to be very grateful.
  • The easiest thing in this world is not very beneficial. The hardest thing is very beneficial. The struggle is what makes us stronger and gets us closer to Allah.
  • In the lifting up of our feet, even the act of walking is indicative of our fitra desire to yearn for a return to al-Jannah.


  • The Van Allen belt is formed by Earth’s rotation and serves as a protection barrier from radiation. This is the secret behind the power and protection of making tawba and our turning to towards Allah.
  • The recording Angel on the left doesn’t record our sins until the end of the day. So hasten to make tawba.
  • Our aspirations should always be in the celestial. That’s why almost all of the early scholars of Islam were astronomers.
  • Every civilization in power has been obsessed with astronomy and law. Astronomy equals law of the heavens; Law equals law of the land. 
  • If the stars ever go out in the night sky, how will men come to know God?
  • Just as the sun rises bit by bit, it’s the sunnah of God for openings from Him to also come bit by bit. So, be patient

Allah created the stars:

1. As a way to ornament the sky with the lamps- stars so we would marvel at them.

2. To strike down the shaitan.

3. Signs that we are guided by.

4 Levels of patience:

1. Patience with ibada (worship).

2. Patience with avoiding sins.

3. Patience with tribulations and we show this by being content with the decree of Allah.

4. Patience with blessings, we show this by thanking Allah for all the blessings He has given us.

  • When things get really bad, know that things will get better. The Sahaba (companions) of the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam used to say that when they were in trepidation, they knew bad/hard things will be coming their way, and when bad things happened, they knew that good things will be coming their way.
  • If someone commits to the practice of surrendering and sabr (patience), over time the tribulations become easy and they no longer feel the tribulation. You are in paradise whilst in duniya then!
  • ‘We will test you until we see who is patient’- to see what you are made out of. The struggle and patience go together. The best attitude to have is patience.
  • Patience takes time and effort. Over time you can acquire this natural state.

Don’t attach to dunya because:

1. It’ not permanent

2. It is the tests you will go through due to it

  • ‘With hardship comes ease’ The ease will overwhelm the hardship!
  • In tribulations, things come slowly. The night is peeled away. Just as the night is peeled away slowly, tribulations move away slowly.
  • The opening is there, but will only come when the time is right!
  • The clouds of goodness contain rain; when the time comes, it will pour. Allah sends down rain to dead lands; He does it at the appropriate time. When the appropriate time for openings come, it will come. He does things in His time, not our time. This is part of being content with the Qadr and what happen has been apportioned for you.
  • A person is not a Sufi until the angel does not record a sin for 20 years!!
  • A person on a path will change 40 times in a day where as those who do not have a path stay in the same state for 40 years!
  • Your spiritual life is not curvier linear; it should be constantly moving up!
  • A life is made up of building blocks and how you move through the knowledge block.
  • Every believer is a wali.
  • Shariah = outward path to Allah, Tariqah= inward path to Allah and only joining the both together will give you Haqiqa- reality.
  • Seeing the Creator in all of creation and seeing the Provider in all provision is Tawheed in a nutshell.
  • When doors of guidance open for you, hasten up. Don’t try to get to the end before the beginning.
  • ‘Practice makes perfect…’ no it doesn’t, it makes permanent. If you practice wrong, it doesn’t make perfect. You need a Teacher.
  • Don’t follow books; follow the people who know the books.
  • Often times people are deficient in one area, but are made up for it in another area. Historically, Muslims recognised this.
  • One of the great mysteries of the Qur’an is that no matter how often you read it, you always find something new in it.
  • So many verses in the Qur’an relate to being patient. Being patient with people in Iman/faith. Some are naturally born more tolerant, but you can change that.
  • Patience is a sign of sincerity and its from Taqwa you show patience.
  • Even the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhi wasalm was commanded to be patient!
  • Allah loves the patient; part of the reason the tribulation comes is to draw the quality of patience out of them- He loves this quality. Allah is with the patient one.
  • When tribulations hit you, patience (sabr) is actually when you are accepting something. This also relates to having a good opinion of Allah. When you have a good opinion of Allah, the tribulation you know happen for a reason, although it might not seem so at the time.
  • The one who submits their entire being. This means that the future is not a concern for them, and the past is not a worry for them. They are living in the present. There are people of good and those who do good; they are not in fear and nor do they grieve.
  • Children are very much in the moment, they do not worry or care about their past or future. The Arifs’ (Gnostic) heart is like the child. Childrens hearts are in submission. They are in Tawhid.
  • Trusting the past is over, and doing Tawba that its over. If you truly made tawba, you don’t remember your sin as it obliterates the past. Tawba is like editing a video. You go and edit the parts of the video you do not like so on the day of Judgement, you can see the film without any blunders. Just say Astagfirullah, the angels will cut the bad thing!
  • Hold onto Allah! He is your Lord, He is the One who takes care of your affairs.
  • Some people focus on reliance on Allah, others only focus on means; but a balance of both is all that will save the ship of humanity.
  • If you make all of your concerns of the akhira (afterlife), Allah will take care of everything for you.
  • The benefits of your Lord are many; all the benefits of your Lord are for your nourishment. It has a beautiful fragrance- seek it out.
  • The blessings of Allah are countless.
  • Sometimes there is a fail that comes that brings you to life; there are great waves/ocean that come to you. Creation is all in the hands of Allah; some are being elevated, some being debased; some are being difficult or tested in blessing.
  • Media is one of the tribulations of our life, they make things worse!
  • Single most difficult limb is the tongue. Its one of the great wonders of Allah. You have to discipline the tongue. The tongue is a great tribulation.
  • The world is not cursed. The world is also the cosmos. When we talk about the blameworthy aspects, we mean the duniya. This mountain (Uludag) is not cursed, it’s an incredible testimony of Allah. 
  • You should worship Allah because He is worthy of worship!
  • Allah is Wahid- al-Qahr. Everything in the heaven and earth are acknowledging this at some level. He is calling us to reflect on this. The events that happen in our lives are purposeful; there is always a reason behind it.
  • The best sleep is immediately after Isha and the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam said not to engage in too much entertainment at night.
  • Nawafil night prayers protect the body from diseases and wrong actions. But you won’t be able to get up if you sin a lot.
  • Contentment with the decree of Allah is appropriate- this should be your reliance. The Contentment with Allah’s decree is a very high Maqam. Rabia al-Adawiya was asked how do you know if someone is content with Allah’s decree. She replied by saying ‘ When you feel the same joy in periods of tribulation as you do during periods of blessing’

~ Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Jewels and Pearls of the Qur’an lesson, Rihla 2011, Bursa, Turkey (Paraphrased)

More gems to follow inshaAllah ta’Ala……

(Photos courtesy- Rihla Student Please keep them in your prayers. Please do not re-use or save the photo without permission. )

  • Duas are very powerful; they are conversations between you and Allah.
  • Raise your hands and communicate to Him. We have many needs, we need to ask Allah.
  • Never mention anyone’s faults in front of them, by doing so you hurt their feelings and doing it behind their back is backbiting.
  • Don’t pry on other people and ask their affairs, they may be forced to lie because they didn’t want to tell you in the first place!
  • When someone tells you a secret, keep it that way,  it’s an amanah (trust)
  • Slander is haram (forbidden). Focus on the good that people have and not their faults. If you feel speaking evil of someone, then think that you have faults as well so focus on them. Higher level is not even allowing your heart to think bad/evil about someone.
  • As well as inheriting good, we can also inherit bad from them so be careful with the company you chose to keep.
  • Never say no to others when giving charity; even if it is a little bit, Allah never says NO to you when you ask!
  • Life is a journey; we go through different states. People have different spiritual states. We need to learn how to dislike the sin not the sinner. Never let them feel you are judgemental.
  • Allah gives you the tawfiq to repent; so when you repent, know that Allah is going to forgive you.
  • When someone comes and apologise to you, accept their apology!
  • Rights with Allah is easy; when you do something wrong, you ask for His forgiveness. When you wrong others, you need to ask them for their forgiveness.
  • Dress nicely for Allah when you pray, go to a masjid etc. You dress nicely so others notice you, but dress nicely for Allah. Dressing nicely but humbly at the same time. You should feel comfortable in good clothes in public
  • Little good manners is better then a lot of good actions
  • Retail therapy is not therapy, it is a disease!
  • Haya (modesty) is in the heart; our physical movement is what attracts us to the opposite gender.
  • When you are sincere in giving a gift to someone, the recipient will value and treasure it due to your sincerity, regardless of what the gift actually is.
  • If you are the youngest, remain silent in front of elders.
  • Never interrupt people when they are talking!
  • Do not sit amongst sinning people and do not sleep where people are talking.
  • A promise is a responsibility so fulfil promises you make.
  • Manners are based on common sense.
  • Be around good people and good people will teach you good things; be around bad people and you will pick up bad things.
  • When travelling, wherever you stop, pray 2 rakats so that place testifies for you on the day of Judgement, and it won’t be you reminding Allah but that place reminding Allah that you prayed here.
  • There are very few people in this world who want you to succeed more than themselves, and among them are your parents. Even if your parents are wrong, don’t argue with them. Allah is watching every argument. If you please your parents, you will succeed in life.
  • Pray for your departed loved ones; Prayers for the dead are on the same footing as gifts for the living.
  • Pray for your brothers and sisters. When you pray for your brother, an angel replies, ‘and for you the same.’ It’s like buy one, get one free deal!
  • When an elder member dies, it means one of your doors of duas is closed so when they are alive, build your relationship with them and seek their duas.

~ Imam Tahir Anwar– ‘Adab- Virtuous Character and Conduct’ Class, Rihla 2011, Bursa, Turkey (Quotes above are paraphrased)

More gems to follow inshaAllah ta’Ala……

(Photos courtesy- Rihla Student Please keep them in your prayers. Please do not re-use or save the photo without permission. )

  • Path to Allah is through struggle. That struggle brings its own reward and bliss.
  • Seeing Allah in al-Janaah is better then anything else in this world.
  • A person who arrogates themselves won’t go much higher but the one who humbles himself before Allah, Allah elevates him.
  • Allah has power over all things; He does whatever He does. Don’t limit the Qudra (power) of Allah. If Allah wants to give you that gift, He will give you that gift. We should have good etiquette with Allah.
  •  Increase the love for the Messenger salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalm through knowledge, Seerah and the Shamail. Learn about his struggles and tribulations, and the knowledge he brought to us. Salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam.
  • A Muslim’s compassion is a form of dhikr.
  • Human have aspects of beasts and angels within themselves. The more we pray, the closer we get to angels.
  • Salah bequeath light to us.
  • Expose yourself with the gentle breezes of Allah; Allah blesses the night with His gentle breezes and in the early hours in the morning. What Allah gives through Gentleness, He doesn’t give through harshness.
  • Allah is good and pure and only accepts that which is good and pure.
  • Fasting has an internal and external reality. It’s a powerful form of Ibadah, and it’s reward is unlimited. Fasting is a manifestation of patience, and the reward for patient people is unlimited.
  • Greatest act of taqwa is fasting. We give up things which are lawful and pure, therefore we cannot manifest insincerity in fasting.
  • The prophet salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam was asked why he fasted on Monday, he salla’Allahu alayhi wasalam replied because it’s the day I was born. So fasting is a mawlid!
  • Always ask Allah for sincerity. Once you have done the act, move on, don’t let shaitan whisper to you.
  • Struggle in the way of your Lord. Hardship brings ease. The one who does not struggle, does not get ease.

~ Imam Zaid Shakir– ‘Forty Foundations of the Religion’ Class, Rihla 2011, Bursa, Turkey (Quotes above are 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. )

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. )


* The holy Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam passed through so many situations of abandonment, loss, disappointments. But “with hardship there comes ease” As individuals we may feel as if we are in a state of crisis. The holy prophet has already been there; we are in very good company and should not despair. Allah brings the greatest good out of those times of darkness. We only experience true light when we have been through the tunnel. Its only when we have been right down, we can appreciate the beauty of being in the light. It’s part of the human condition. It’s only through the dark times the good times come.

* Allah’s creation is beautiful. Ugliness is only the creation of human beings.

* Our lives are His gifts; everything is His gift.

* Allah protects us. He veils our frustrations, our inward desires, our faults. Allah knows everything! He hides them. Allah has prevented us from seeing the inward ugliness of others.

* Our security shouldn’t come from anyone else or our deeds, but it should come from Allah’s Mercy.

*Serenity opens the door to paradise….

~ Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad , 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. )

* If you seek something false, Allah will make you fall so you restore yourself- this is out of His mercy for you.

* Allah gives to whom He pleases, and  constricts whom He pleases. He is aware of His servants and knows them well. Allah blesses them with constriction even though its hard, people of Allah will see the constriction as a blessing. There are people that can do without, and people that can’t do without. Allah knows exactly what to give you to help you return to Him. The events in your life are purposeful, appropriate & non random.

* The world is a thing by which you know your Lord. The entire cosmos is designed for life in the universe. 

* Good and evil are both in the providential nature of Allah and in His will. The evil is disliked; don’t judge a thing because you are judging based on your own judgement. If you do Istikhara, whatever happens is good for you. Even if the marriage didn’t work out, the experience was good for you. There is always good in His trials/tribulations.

~ Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Jewels and Pearls of the Qur’an lesson, 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. )

When the souls of believers come together to a gathering like this (i.e Rihla), it is the feast of the spirits. Your spirit is fed, your spirit is nourished, just by being with everyone here. There is no smaller or greater; all believers are the same and all believer are saints, all believers are awliya, and all awliyas’ have degrees. One of the greatest things about being together is that you open yourself to that transformation, that is the reason why adab is so important. Adab is not a formality. Be yourself. Be and say what you feel, but the secret of adab is that in your heart you have a high opinion of God, and a high opinion of your brothers and sisters- Husn ad-Dhann. Having a good opinion of God is the highest forms of worship. Having adab is very important; having a good opinion of everyone around you. By elevating the status in your eyes of everyone around you, only then you will feel benefit……. We are in much more need of adab then knowledge…..

~ Dr Umar Abd-Allah, Rihla 2011- Orientation session (Paraphrased)

More gems to follow inshaAllah ta’Ala……

(Photos courtesy- Ghalia Elsolh. Please do not re-use or save the photo without permission)

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