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“Misery is only for those without hope”~ Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Have Hope and remind others there is always Hope.

“Everything departs and doesn’t return except supplication: it travels higher seeking hope and returns with gifts beyond expectations” ~ Imam Afroz Ali

Hope. 

“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 and for his community” ~ Imam Zaid Shakir

Hope. 

 We are people of hope. Our Prophet was a person of hope and never gave up despite everything he faced. Draw strength and courage by reflecting on how he coped with difficult situations. ~ Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Hope. 

“Hope is connected to Mercy. A believer has hope that no matter what happens, everything will be okay – because Allah is All-Merciful. It’s important to live with hope always. It is even possible to say, anyone with hope is a believer of some sort!” ~ Bosun Benyamin

Hope.

The only real assurance the heart craves us that there is hope, that there is meaning and there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is: Nur-as-Samawati wal ard, Light of the Heavens and Earth. ~ Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Hope.

“O my Lord, let not my hopes in You be cast back unfulfilled. Nor let my firm conviction (of Your Goodness) be thrown into disarray.” ~ (line 157), Qasida Burda by Imam Al- Busiri

Hope. 

Hope is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me

By Emily Dickinson 

We are people of Hope. 

It’s that time of year again where Pilgrims from all around the world are setting off for the journey of a lifetime: the Hajj. All year round, the heart has this desire of wanting to visit and return back to the Holy Lands; but for some reason, during the Hajj season, that yearning becomes much stronger to visit and in particular to be around the Ka’aba. Well, that most certainly is the case for me as this is a feeling I have noticed within myself over the past few years. If there is one thing we can feel selfish about wanting in abundance is being able to visit the Holy Lands frequently! Then again, that’s just my personal opinion.  Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad sums up this feeling of nostalgia beautifully which I have been reflecting on and wanted to share:

 

“The yearning for the Ka‘ba which sincere Muslims feel whenever they think of it is therefore not, in fact, a yearning for the building. In itself it is no less part of the created order than anything else in creation. The yearning is, instead, a fragment, a breath of the nostalgia for our point of origin, for that glorious time out of time when we were in our Maker’s presence” 

..when we were in our Maker’s presence…

..when we were in our Maker’s presence…

I just get goosebumps reading that part…. the mind cannot comprehend what it must have been like, yet the soul knows what it felt like being in the presence of our Maker in that world…..

May we be invited again and again to the Holy Lands!

(Read the full article here)

 

kaaba

 

Once, all the people in a certain village decided to pray for rain. On the day of the prayer, all the people gathered but only one boy came with an umbrella – that’s faith.

 I love the above anecdote as it illustrates an immense level of confidence, certainty and trust in Allah. The fact the boy walked out to the prayer gathering with an umbrella clearly shows that he had the utmost certainty and trust that after making du’a, Allah will send rain to the village! He went prepared for the rain with an umbrella!

Just like the boy had his umbrella ready to receive what was being prayed for, we should also be prepared to receive the gifts and blessings we are asking for from Allah after making du’a. Be confident and have that complete certainty that Allah will answer our du’a. Allah most High Himself states, “I am in the opinion of My servant.” [Bukhari]; therefore if we believe Allah will answer our du’a, He will!

The great Gnostic, Ibn Ata’Allah al-Iskandari wrote in his Hikam:

“When Allah inspires your tongue to ask, know that He wants to give” 

Allah is the One who places a need in our hearts and wants us to seek that need out by asking Him. He loves it when we ask Him; our asking is His giving. Petition with Allah; place your need in front of Him and have complete certainty and trust that He will answer.

Sayyidina Umar ibn Al-Khattab -radiaAllahu anh- said, “I do not worry about an answer to my supplication, rather I worry about making supplication! I know that if I am inspired [by Allah] to supplicate, then the answer will come with it.”

Keep the faith and keep making du’a fervently!

 

Reflections On My Beloved

By Abd-Allah Friedman

 

And once again I sit in a state of disillusionment from this world, this life, this sensual reality that defines my existence.  It seems that I am forever at a loss in my search for beauty.  I am imprisoned by the requirement to exist within the confines of time and space.  My search for beauty is not confined to this realm; it is no longer fixated on the superficial reality I once held so dear.  The fascination of a transient rose without the adoration of its creator seems insolence.  However, the absence of appreciation for this rose is equally ungrateful.

The physical exists only in so far as to testify to the eternal, and the eternal is intellectual and ethereal, unbound by a corporal reality.  An ephemeral existence is, by its very nature, contingent and cannot be an absolute reality. But an ephemeral existence can and does testify to a higher and absolute truth, one that is not contingent upon the existence of the physical. 

This is the primordial milieu that gives birth to my search; I aspire to arrive at a physical reality that testifies to the Eternal Truth.  The search exposes one truth: that the greatest manifestations of these realities, these ‘signs’, that navigate one to the Sublime are inextricably intertwined with beauty, and so as if by inspiration it dawns on me that ‘The Divine’ is merely a synonym for ‘The Beautiful’.

What subsequently ensues is an appreciation for the Artist who is by definition the creator of the ‘beautiful’.  The main aim of art has always been to conceal the artist while revealing the art and so my sight permeates the objects in my line of vision and settles on their Creator.  I drift through the physical realm attempting to translate His impressions, attempting to identify the signature of the Artist.

And this becomes my existence, blindly wondering through the cascade gazing at the diversity within the celestial spheres.  Each instance allows me to attain a brief glimpse of the Divine. However, each glimpse is veiled and so I am left longing for unity with the Creator.   What I desire most is a physical manifestation that facilitates this union by incinerating the veils.

And so in my helpless state I stumble upon my beloved, as if a gift from the realm of the spiritual; the masterpiece of the artist, without doubt His greatest creation.  At this instance the physical reality dissipates into insignificance, and all that remains is my beloved, carrying the signature of the Artist in every instance of his existence, al-Mustafa.

I am reminded of the moment of creation when the Divine breathed into man His own breath and thus endowed him with the potential to truly reflect Him.  And so my beloved exists, the actualisation of that potential, the crowning endorsement of the Divine’s command to the angels to prostrate to man. 

I am asked who this beloved is that I speak of, I pause and reflect.  My soul recollects the statement of the Divine addressing my beloved: “If not for you, I would neither have created the Heavens nor the Earth”.  And so I close my eyes and the perfume of my beloved immerses my soul, I am emancipated, transported to a transcendental reality.  I am in the presence of my beloved, a dust particle in his light, and he addresses me, “I am the messenger of God without boasting.  I shall bear the banner of praise on the Day of Resurrection.  I am the first to intercede and the first whose intercession will be granted.  I am the first to move the knocker at the gate of Paradise.  It will be opened by the Divine and I will enter along with the poor among the faithful.  Thus, I am the most honoured among the leaders of the earlier and the later days.”

But alas, I am hesitantly drawn back from this state of primordial adoration to my material reality, and I respond with a whisper, ‘The Divine was a hidden treasure and desired to be known, and thus He created the light of my beloved. This lantern was lit from the flame of the Divine, nurun ala-nur, and predates The Preserved Tablet, The Pen, the Heavens and the Earth.  An understanding of his true stature is beyond the ability of mortals as his praise originates in the realm of the Divine and is bequeathed in the Divine Book.  He is the simorgh that elucidates the path to an audience with the Divine’.

Deliberating on his status delivers me once more to the realm of imagination, in which I exist merely as an unworthy visitor attempting to observe with the mind’s eye.  I stand, silently, engulfed in the mist of dawn in front of the lote tree. The point that demarcates the limit of even the angelic beings, where the intellect surrenders itself to the translucent heart, and I find my beloved beyond this limit.  He approaches the Divine, at a distance of ‘two bows’ length or even nearer’ and so I realise that this proximity leaves upon him the Divine ‘seal’, an imprint that allows him to crystallise the characteristics of the Divine.

And so the reality that my beloved was a prophet even when Adam was between water and Clay, no longer seems fanciful. He was present when Adam was brought down from the garden, and when Noah boarded his ark and when Abraham was thrown into Nimrod’s fire. Even before all this he was the most perfect and complete of creation.

My beloved is not merely the cup bearer who offered the world the wine of Divine wisdom, but is the vessel through which this wine was offered.  And so is it any wonder that to commemorate his entrance into this world, the skies were decorated and the angels moved about in continuous processions.  And upon his birth radiance illuminated the horizon so much so that the castles of Damascus were visible from as far as the Sacred Sanctuary.

The ‘shining light’ of my beloved is not in rejecting the transient world, but rather transcending it by the establishment of a harmony founded upon the quest of the Absolute.  The nucleus of this existence is the appreciation that ‘All that exists dissipates, save the face of The Lord’.  The culmination of his status rests not with his intimate discourse with the Absolute, but with his return to beautify the corporeal world.

Upon his return he is adorned with the greatest attribute of the Divine, His mercy.  It permeates into his very essence and becomes his defining characteristic. The Divine Himself bears testimony to this trait and designates him a “mercy to all of the worlds”.

This eternal flame which is the symbiosis of the light of the Divine refracted through my beloved has illuminated the world.  This light is encapsulated by his interaction with the corporeal world and penetrates his every moment.  His compassion and benevolence to the orphans and the poor becomes the validation of his mission, and so it is that he is adorned by humility. The trivial instances are more indicative of the authenticity of this reality that any grand gestures could ever pay homage to.  The enduring of a bitter taste so as not to the hurt the feelings of a poor man or accepting the criticism from a departing old lady while quietly carrying her bags.  Or maybe even refraining a father from collecting his children to avoid highlighting a father’s absence to the orphans present.  If all the oceans were made into ink and all the trees were made into pen, I could not do justice to the praise that is due to my beloved, the ‘perfect model’.  He is praised by the Divine Himself outside the realm of time.  And so I persist through time intoxicated with love, testifying that my beloved is indeed the ‘best of creation’.

Reflecting on any instant of his being attests to this mercy, the quality that penetrates to the core of his very existence.  This is the incandescent light that emanates from my beloved; the niche wherein is the lamp.  This lamp is the vessel that is able to contain the Divine, when the heavens and earth acquiesce.  His heart is the lamp that is encased in a glass, that which reflects the light of the Divine, as if it were a star shining like a pearl.  A radiant candle encircled by innumerable souls like spellbound moths.  I accompany these souls in the hope of tasting the ecstasy of annihilation, a moment of coalescing with the apex of creation, to be set ablaze, to finally be emancipated.

And so I now reside in this new reality that is ameliorated by his luminosity.  My solitude in this ephemeral existence no longer causes me any distress.  I view creation merely as a reflection, allowing me to transpose everything onto the creator.  I seemingly exist in a dream-like state which intermittently recollects remnants belonging to another dimension.  My beloved has become my soul’s sanctuary. So I struggle with the distractions that constitute my engagement with the corporeal reality.  Nothing equals a blissful moment engulfed in adoration of my beloved and I realise that my extensive agitation is merely the result of longing.  So I retrace my steps and once again begin circumambulating my beloved.  His fragrance envelops me and I return to my serene silence, my state of tranquility.  It begins to permeate my being and liberates my soul, and once more I am at peace.

© Abd-Allah Friedman, January 2012

 

Sayyidah Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her and elevate her rank) was an incredible figure in Islamic spirituality. Her love for the Divine and poetry is truly captivating. Thought I’d share some of her amazing poetry here, as she is a great inspiration for many of us no doubt.

” O God the stars are shining;
All eyes have closed in sleep;
The kings have locked their doors,
Each lover is alone, in secret, with the one he loves,
And I am here too; alone, hidden from all of them – With You”


“The true knower looks for a heart that comes from God alone.
As soon as it is given to him, he gives it back again
So that God can hold it hidden in His Mystery,
Safe from the tampering of human hands”


“Your hope in my heart is the rarest treasure
Your Name on my tongue is the sweetest word
My choicest hours
Are the hours I spend with You —
O Allah, I can’t live in this world
Without remembering You–
How can I endure the next world
Without seeing Your face?
I am a stranger in Your country
And lonely among Your worshippers:
This is the substance of my complaint.”


“In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?”

“Let me hide in You
From everything that distracts me from You,
From everything that comes in my way
When I want to run to You.”


Subhan’Allah, may we aspire to be like Sayyida Rabi’a and follow in her footsteps by increasing our devotion and love for the Divine!

palestinian-ribbon1A very beautiful and moving song sung by Sami Yusuf about Palestine.  Here are the lyrics; and you can watch and listen to the actual song below.

Palestine Forever

Mother don’t cry for me I am heading off to war
God almighty is my armour and sword
Palestine, Forever Palestine

Children being killed for throwing stones in the sky
They say to their parents don’t worry, God is on our side
Palestine, Forever Palestine

Mother don’t worry when they come for us at night
Surely they’ll be sorry when God puts them right
Tell me why they’re doing what was done to them
Don’t they know that God is with the oppressed and needy
Perished were the nations that ruled through tyranny
Palestine, Forever Palestine

Children of Palestine are fighting for their lives
They say to their parents we know that Palestine is our right
They to say to their parents we’ll fight for what is right
They say not to worry God is on our side
They say we’ll die for Palestine
Palestine, Forever Palestine


Imam Ghazali (rahmatullahi alayh) woke up one early morning and as usual offered his prayers and then enquired what day it was, to which his younger brother, Ahmad Ghazali replied, “Monday.” He asked Ahmed to bring his white shroud, kissed it, stretched himself full length and saying “Lord, I obey willingly,”

“Say to my friends, when they look upon me, dead

Weeping for me and mourning me in sorrow

Do not believe that this corpse you see is myself

In the name of God, I tell you, it is not I,

I am a spirit, and this is naught but flesh

It was my abode and my garment for a time.

I am a treasure, by a talisman kept hid,

Fashioned of dust, which served me as a shrine,

I am a pearl, which has left it’s shell deserted,

I am a bird, and this body was my cage

Whence I have now flown forth and it is left as a token

Praise to God, who hath now set me free

And prepared for me my place in the highest of the heaven,

Until today I was dead, though alive in your midst.

Now I live in truth, with the grave – clothes discarded.

Today I hold converse with the saints above,

With no veil between, I see God face to face.

I look upon “Loh-i-Mahfuz” and there in I read

Whatever was and is and all that is to be.

Let my house fall in ruins, lay my cage in the ground,

Cast away the talisman, it is a token, no more

Lay aside my cloak, it was but my outer garment.

Place them all in the grave, let them be forgotten,

I have passed on my way and you are left behind

Your place of abode was no dwelling place for me.

Think not that death is death, nay, it is life,

A life that surpasses all we could dream of here,

While in this world, here we are granted sleep,

Death is but sleep, sleep that shall be prolonged

Be not frightened when death draweth night,

It is but the departure for this blessed home

Think of the mercy and love of your Lord,

Give thanks for His Grace and come without fear.

What I am now, even so shall you be

For I know that you are even as I am

The souls of all men come forth from God

The bodies of all are compounded alike

Good and evil, alike it was ours

I give you now a message of good cheer

May God’s peace and joy for evermore be yours.”

Source:The Winds of Mercy

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