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Pause. Something which I have not been very good at in my life. But today is a new day to start a new habit.

Pause. Breathe. Reflect. Reframe. Hopefully this will help to regain focus, and bring us back into the “here and now”, or the “present” as you may call it.

May we learn and cultivate the art of being able to just pause.

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“The art of solitude is not only in the solace of your own company, but in enjoying the company of the One you are alone with- Allah.”

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Beyond pretty photographs and bright facades there are bruised hearts that we seldom hear about” ~ Elif Shafak (Black Milk) 

Photo of the day. Iphotography. Instagram: sidra_mushtaq

Photo of the day. Iphotography. Instagram: sidra_mushtaq

“As you struggle with whatever you’re struggling with, understand that the opening will come. The darkest part of the night is just before the dawn. Never despair, never lose hope, be patient, the opening will come, just as it came for the Prophet ﷺ and for his community” ~ Imam Zaid Shakir

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Iphotography at Magrib time, 20 Ramadan 2014

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

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

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

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

 The name Ramadan:

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

 Nature of a cave:

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

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

 The reality of a cave (what we accomplish)

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

What we are missing in our lives:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Healing Hearts

….Salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam…..

According to the most accepted opinion, when nine lunar months of the pregnancy had been completed, the moment for Time’s thirst to be quenched drew near.

On the night of the noble birth, Asiya (the wife of Pharaoh) and Maryam (the mother of Jesus) came to his mother along with the women of Paradise. Her labour pains began and she gave birth to him in luminosity, his splendour radiating:

His face shining like the sun. A clear moonlit night
unveiled him;
a night of a birth that, along with its day, was a joy and a
blossoming for religion.
A birth that brought grief and a plague to the disbelief
that was rising.
A day that the daughter of
Wahb (Amina) became a proud mother, the like
of which no woman had ever attained.
She brought forth to her people he who was more
excellent than the…

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As-salamu’alaykum!

After a much longer (unintended!) hiatus from blogging, I’m back! 🙂

For all those who have taken their time to read this blog and share their thoughts, I thank you for your immense love and support.

Insha’Allah I will start blogging more frequently again. Watch this space…

With love and prayers,

Sidra Mushtaq

 

 

 

 

Meanings and Reflections of Salawat upon the Prophet

By: Yousaf Seyal

By the name of Allah the Gracious the Merciful

Praise be to Allah the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Praise be to Him who created man from clot, and honored man from amongst His creation. O Allah send prayers and peace upon the most honored of creation. The one whom You have praised in the Quran and said : “And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character“(68:4); Our master Muhammad. And send prayers upon his household, his companions, and those who follow him until the day of gathering.

Indeed it is a blessing from Allah that He has blessed us with the blessing of Islam, and that within itself is a sufficient blessing. It is a blessing that He has blessed us to be from the nation of His beloved, for it is reported that His beloved said,‘ I am your portion from the Prophets, and you are my portion from the nations’. And it is great blessing from Allah that we come together to remember Him and His beloved. May Allah make us true lovers and followers of Him and His Habib.

Throughout these blessed days we have been reminded and taught various ways of getting closer and building our connection with the Prophet. Some of these ways include reading his Seerah,reading the Prophetic sayings, singing  praises of him, and following his sunnah. Today I want to focus on one of the very direct and core connections we have with him. Through which if one does, is promised many divine gifts and blessings. It is indeed sending salawat upon the Prophet.

 Allah says in the Quran:  

(إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا)

 Allah and His angles send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (Surah Al-Ahzab;56)

The scholars hold various opinions pertaining the ruling on sending prayers on the Prophet.

 Some of these opinions are:

1- It is necessary to send prayers upon the Prophet.This is in a more general sense without specifying an amount, though once in one’s lifetime suffices.

2- It is a recommended act. They understood the verse not to be a command, but merely a virtuous act.

3- It is obligatory to say it at least once in one’s lifetime. This is because the commandment is general without specification of a number ie: excludes repetition. This position has been said to be held by Imam Abu Hanifa,Malik,Thawri and Owza’

There are many different ways of sending prayers upon the Prophet. Here is one of the more famous forms known as Salatul Ibrahimiyyah. The following narration is from Imam Malik’s Muwatta.

وَحَدَّثَنِي عَنْ مَالِكٍ، عَنْ نُعَيْمِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الْمُجْمِرِ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ زَيْدٍ، أَنَّهُ أَخْبَرَهُ عَنْ أَبِي مَسْعُودٍ الأَنْصَارِيِّ، أَنَّهُ قَالَ أَتَانَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي مَجْلِسِ سَعْدِ بْنِ عُبَادَةَ فَقَالَ لَهُ بَشِيرُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ أَمَرَنَا اللَّهُ أَنْ نُصَلِّيَ عَلَيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ فَكَيْفَ نُصَلِّي عَلَيْكَ قَالَ فَسَكَتَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَتَّى تَمَنَّيْنَا أَنَّهُ لَمْ يَسْأَلْهُ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ قُولُوا اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَبَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي الْعَالَمِينَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ وَالسَّلاَمُ كَمَا قَدْ عَلِمْتُمْ”‏ ‏.‏

Abu Masud al-Ansari al-Badari says,‘The Messenger of Allah came to us and we were in the gathering of Sa’ad ibn Ubadah. Bashir ibn Sa’ad said to the Prophet,’Allah has commanded us to send prayers upon you O Messenger of Allah,so in what manner shall we do so?’ The Prophet then kept silence until we wished he had not asked. Then the Messenger of Allah said,’Say: O Allah send your prayers upon Muhammad,and the family of Muhammad, as you have sent prayers upon Ibrahim, and the family of Ibrahim. And send blessings upon Muhammad, and the family of Muhammad as you have sent blessings upon Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. In the worlds You are worth of praise and glory’ and send peace as you have learnt.

In this Hadith the Prophet teaches us how to send prayers upon him. Many of us have memorized these words and repeat them in our 5 daily prayers. But what do these words mean? What does it mean for Allah and His angels to send prayers upon the Messenger of Allah? This is what I would like to touch upon next.

Salah-Prayer linguistically means:

1) to Invoke-Allah says in the Quran:

( وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ صَلاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَهُمْ)

“Of their goods, take alms, that so thou mightest purify and sanctify them; and pray on their behalf. Verily thy prayers are a source of security for them: And Allah is One Who heareth and knoweth.” (Surah At-Tawbah;103) The Prophet’s prayers were invocations on their behalf.

 2) to Worship

A formal meaning of prayer in relevance to Salawat:

Imam Qurtubi says in his tafsir: Prayers from Allah are the descending of His mercy, and indication of His pleasure to the Prophet. From the Angles they are invocations and seeking forgiveness on his behalf. And from His nation invocations and honoring his command.

It is important to note that the Prophet is sinless. He is protected from Allah and does not sin. The angels seeking forgiveness for him is a raise in his rank and honor.

Another interpretation of Allah’s prayers upon his Prophet is His than’a -praise. Allah mentions His Prophet amongst the angels whilst the angels invoke for blessings upon him.

It has been said the prayer of the tongue is reverence. The 5 daily prayers are referred to as ‘Salah-Prayer’ for what it entails of bending ones back (Salaa in Arabic means the middle part of the back). A child when greeting an elderly person bends down in honoring him. Salah entails a person to bend his back in ruk’u and sujud in reverence and awe of Allah. Then the scholars of language expanded this meaning and referred to every Dua-invocation as prayer for what it entails of honoring the One being sought. As well as honoring the seeker for what he seeks from the virtues of Allah and His pleasure.

 A few of the many virtues of sending Salawat upon the Prophet:

1) Abu Hurayrah says: The Prophet said: ‘Whomsoever sends prayers upon me will be granted in return ten prayers from Allah.’-Muslim

2) Ali says: The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Allah has angels whom roam the earth. They report to me the prayers of the one who prays on me’- Darqutni

The angles carry the invokers name to the Prophet wherever that person may be. It has also been reported the Prophet himself returns these salawat with prayers from him.

3) It is narrated the Prophet said,‘Send abundant prayers upon me on Friday and it’s night. For I will be a witness or interceder for him on the day of rising.’

Imam as-Shafi’i said,’I love sending prayers upon the Prophet abundantly in every moment, but I love to do so more increasingly on Friday and it’s night.’

To conclude:

One of the most beautiful things I witnessed in my days in Damascus was the constant remembrance of the Prophet in every moment. You would walk into the souk and hear shopkeepers as well as the layman shouting out,’Sallu alal Habib’’. When ending an argument between two people, the first thing said to calm a person was,‘Salli alan Nabi’. Mawlids are held constantly throughout the week in the masajid. And the streets are decorated with banners in praise of the Prophet throughout the month of Rabi al’Awwal. May Allah bring peace to it’s people. (Amin)

An essential advice my Shayukh and teachers would always point out and remind us with, was constantly sending prayers and peace upon the Prophet. For it does not only build ones connection, but leads to a relationship with him. Picture yourself right now, standing in front of the grave of the Prophet, with awe and serenity, saying,‘As salatu was salamu alayka Ya Rasulallah.’ but the picture is not yet completed until Allah,His Prophet and angels invoke for you. You are gifted ten good deeds and ten sins have been forgiven. Your rank has been risen by ten and the virtues of just one prayer upon him is endless. And Allah multiplies in reward as He wishes.

I ask Allah to bless the nation of His Habib. To make us true Lovers of His Habib. And to raise us on the Day of Rising with His Habib.

I would also like to thank Sr.Sidra Mushtaq for blessing me with the opportunity to write for her blog in such blessed days. May Allah accept her efforts and grant her better than what she seeks in this world and the hereafter.

Walhamdu lillahi rabbil a’lameen

Yousaf Seyal

Rabia al-Awwal ,1433 H. (January 2012) 

Light Rhymes

by Nausheen Pervez

We hear of Heaven’s first lady and fair maidens frequently,
Of faith’s first martyr and faithful mothers stories we retell,
This month, the first of Spring, in which we celebrate joyfully,
Let our thoughts on the blessed mother of God’s Last Prophet dwell.

Through a pure, noble lineage Prophetic light reached Abdullah,
For a wise lady among the Jews that light was plain to see,
What she desired and was denied passed on to Amina,
Allah chose Amina to give birth to the Prophet of Mercy.

Four doulas from another realm came on that momentous night,
Out went a flame of falsehood lit since a thousand years before,
And the palaces of Basra could be seen there was such light,
Amina’s newborn baby knelt in prostration on the floor.

Amina has honour that no other woman ever can,
The baby she gave birth to became the greatest man.

Light Reflections

  • Respect and admiration are given to people based on what they do and achieve, how they look, what they have, and what they know. Yet some people deserve them simply for being who they are.
  • Destiny will bring you what is meant to be yours even without you foreseeing or pursuing it.
  • In Sayyida Amina’s (as) birth story, she tells of four mothers of previous Prophets visiting her that night; one of them was Asiya (as) the wife of Pharoah. She did not give birth to Musa (as) but she was his mother. You don’t have to carry your baby in the womb and give birth to her in order to love her and be a mother.
  • The Prophet, salallahu alayhi wasalam, was supported by miracles from before his birth.
  • The Prophet’s, salallahu alayhi wasalam, first action upon entering the world was to worship Allah ta’ala; immediately demonstrating perfected ubudiyah.
  • Remember the Prophet’s, salallahu alayhi wasalam, words when he was asked who deserves dutiful treatment more than any other: “Your mother… your mother… your mother.”
  • What greater honour than a connection to the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wasalam?

© Naosheen Pervez, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/January 2012

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