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The video clip posted below is taken from one of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s lectures: “The Critical Importance of Al-Ghazali in Our Times”. Shaykh Hamza in this 2:25 min video clip touches upon what Imam al-Ghazali meant when he spoke about Trust in God and Tawhid. I would encourage you to listen to the clip (and the whole lecture if you can, but this clip in particular). For me, this clip pretty much sums everything up. I think once we get our heads around this thing Imam al-Ghazali wrote about and Shaykh Hamza narrates (which doesn’t happen overnight), we will be able to deal better with the situations and circumstances God places us in. It’s not an easy thing, but hey, who said this life was meant to be easy? But we strive, and strive, and persevere, and try to build our understanding which ultimately gives us the strength and spiritual energy we need to carry on in our journeys back to our Lord.

I have transcribed the video clip (well most of it!) which I have pasted below. Hope you find it beneficial. 

 

Transcript
“…Realising that, the destination that you’re on is the one to your own death. And he ends this, he has fear and hope and trust in God, and he puts Trust and Tawhid in the same chapter which is very interesting. Because to him, Tawhid is not a theoretical construct which it is to most Muslims, this idea that God is One. No, to him, God is doing everything at every instant. That is Tawhid. And Ghazali is arguing that if you really understand this, you will have utter trust in God. You will put all your trust in God because it’s all God. God is doing everything in every instant. And this is why if you’re not content with your circumstances, he argues you’re not content with God because it’s God that put you in those circumstances but what God is asking you to do is to respond to them appropriately. That’s the challenge. It’s not the circumstances. The challenge is the power that God has given you in your will, your irada, to actually take your circumstances and respond appropriately. And there are only four circumstances and four requisite responses. You’re in tribulation, and he says the response to that is patience. You’re in a situation of blessing and you have to respond to that with gratitude, and that will increase you. And if you don’t do those things, what he says is, if you are in a state of gratitude and you respond by heedlessness, the blessings will be taken away from you. Not as a punishment, but as a reminder to pull you back. One of the things he says is, there are only two types of people (from a hadith):
1. People in tribulation
2. People in good situations
He said, if you are in a good situation, God will send the people of tribulation to you. And if you reject them and close the door on them, He will make you the people of tribulation. He will take away your blessings because your blessings are to serve the people in tribulation. These are the awakenings that he is trying to instill and inculcate, and this is why as you read this book, a transformation should occur. If it doesn’t, you haven’t read the book.”  

 

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20130827-232930.jpgA few months ago, one of my best friends Nausheen and her husband Vaseem were blessed with their second child, a beautiful baby girl whom they named Hafsa. The meaning of the name Hafsa in Arabic means “young lioness”, and she has been quite a fighter masha’Allah. Baby Hafsa was born with a unique heart condition and was kept in intensive care for the first month of her life. For any parent, having to witness your child in such a condition is an immense tribulation and a complete test of faith. Although my friend will not agree with this when I say it, but despite the magnitude of her trial, she has shown an incredible amount of forbearance. As a way of expressing her anguish, she penned a beautiful poem dedicated to her daughter.

After seeking her permission, I’m sharing her poem on here in the hope that it inspires and brings much solace, comfort and healing to all those other parents who may also be dealing with tribulation relating to children.

It’s true how real love, tribulation, the loss of someone dear, yearning for something or someone is the natural driver to poetry. You have to be inspired by something significant that has happened, or is happening to you in order to write deep, meaningful and heartfelt poems. Just as Mevlana Rumi wrote his poems after being separated from Shams, Imam al- Būsīrī wrote the Burdah in loving memory and longing for our Rasul sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam. Poetry is a powerful expression of the human experience.

Baby Hafsa has a operation in the next few months. Please keep her and the parents in your prayers. 

Born on the edge, on a blade, on a thread.
Born with a time bomb, between life and death.
Born into love, born of passion and heat.
In the home that is built between two hearts that meet.

Born on a hope, based on trust and on faith.
Born with acceptance, yielding to fate.
Born into battle, born of pain and relief.
In the arms of two people who chose joy not grief.

From the depths of your eyes,
To the depths of our love,
To the boundless Mercy above.
From the fervour of prayers,
To the watchful eyes,
To the blood that makes these unbreakable ties.

It takes everything,
And takes nothing at all,
The sage and scientist,
To make your chest rise and fall.

Life fills your body,
My heart fills with pride,
A thousand whispered pleas fill the sky.
Wires fill your body,
We take it in stride,
These are your lifelines, we cannot cry.

The statistics aren’t wrong,
But your grip is so strong,
You want to stay with us,
Your fingers hold on.

Your patience,
I’m awestruck, there’s barely a sound,
Despite all their poking and prodding around.
Benevolence,
I’m moved, the blessings abound,
Love of strangers and family through you we’ve found.

From holding on tight, we’ve learnt letting go.
From reading and reading ’til there’s nothing to know.
From keeping feet grounded we’ve learnt how to fly.
From trusting God’s wisdom we’ve learnt not to ask why.

He made you, He shaped you with the simple word Be.
He made you perfect, rare, unique,
I’m honoured, so honoured, He entrusted you to me.

Al-Jabbar- Mending the Broken Heart by Jinan Bastaki

Taken from Imam Suhaib Webb’s blog

In our journey to gain tranquility of the heart, we explored what we need to know when faced with difficult situations. We need to understand that Allah has told us we will be tested, that these tests are for a reason, and that there will be relief insha’Allah (God willing). When we are worried thinking about the future, we need to work hard but have full trust in Allah that He will not leave us, and we must always think well of Allah because that is what we will find.

Yet in certain circumstances we just feel… broken. Perhaps it is the death of someone close, perhaps a hurtful word, or perhaps a reason we can not pinpoint. Yet this feeling of brokenness can be an invitation to be better acquainted with al-Jabbar.

But isn’t al-Jabbar one of the Names that indicates Majesty and Strength, not Mercy and Beauty?

The root of al-Jabbar is ja-ba-ra and has a wide variety of meanings indicating Allah’s strength and majesty, which Sr. Amatullah explained to us in this excellent article. One of the basic meanings of this name is the One who compels and restores, and demonstrates Allah’s Majesty and Strength over His servants. This is a Name for the tyrants and oppressors to be aware of, because their misdeeds will not go unpunished.

Yet this Name has another dimension: al-Jabbar is the One who is able to restore and mend what is broken. Some of the great scholars would supplicate “Ya Jaabir kul kaseer” when they were faced with overwhelming difficulty, meaning “Oh You who mends everything that is broken.” The Arabic word for a splint that is used to help an arm heal when it is broken is “jibeera” from the same root ja-ba-ra. Thus, when we feel broken, we need to go to the only One who can mend our state–al-Jabbar. Sometimes when we get this broken feeling, shaytan (satan) tells us not to go to Allah because we are being hypocritical by only going to Allah when we are down. Yet this is untrue– Allah has named Himself al-Jabbar and given Himself this attribute; you cannot go to the One whose attribute is mending what is broken, and not be healed by Him.

The example of the Prophet ﷺ is a beautiful one. Imagine being 50 years old, having just lost both your wife of twenty-five years and your uncle who took care of you as a child. Imagine walking into a town in order to ask people for their protection, and instead have them throw stones at you until your feet bleed. How would you have felt? How exhausted, both spiritually and physically, would you have been? And yet, the Prophet ﷺ calls out to Allah in one of the most beautiful and heartfelt du`a’ (supplication):

“O Allah! To you alone I complain my weakness, my scarcity of resources, and the humiliation I have been subjected to by people. O Most Merciful of those who have mercy! You are the Lord of the weak, and You are My Lord too.

To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair?

But as long as You are not angry with me, I do no care, except that Your favor is a more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descend upon me.

Yours is the right to reproach until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You.”

Read those words carefully. The du`a’ of  the Prophet ﷺ was not “O Allah, please give me x and y.” It was literally the call of someone broken– complaining to Allah of his situation and expressing to Allah how he felt. What did Allah give him? A young boy by the name of Addaas saw the Prophet ﷺ, came to him with some grapes and kissed his bleeding feet. That is al-Jabbar. Imagine how the Prophet ﷺ must have felt after that, the relief he must have felt after the cruelty he was subjected to. And al-Jabbar healed the broken heart of the Prophet ﷺ  in another way – He bestowed upon him the miraculous journey of al-Israa wal Mi’raaj (when the Prophet ﷺ traveled from Makkah to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to the Heavens in one night).

If we think about the journey, it did not accomplish a great victory nor did it help to convince the Quraysh that he was a rophet. Rather, Allah honored him after all the hardship he had gone through. Think of the resolve the Prophet ﷺ must have had in his heart and the tranquility he must have felt after such an experience.

Therefore, we have to always remind ourselves of this blessed name al-Jabbar; Allah will mend your broken heart. It may be through a kind word from someone that brightens your day or it may be a talk that you attend. It may even be something greater. But call on Allah like the Prophet ﷺ did, recognizing this attribute, and know that He will manifest this Name in your life.

Highly recommend reading “How to Achieve Tranquility of the Heart Series” on Imam Suhaib Webb’s blog.

shhy_17_tn17 Benefits of Tribulation” is a remarkable talk given by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf many years ago, based on the treatise of the seventh century scholar Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam – Sultan of the `Ulama’ (may Allah be pleased with him).

This must be one of the talks I actually listen to quite often, especially when I’m feeling down. All of Shaykh Hamza’s talks leave a strong impact on one’s heart; however after listening to this specific talk, it leaves the person with a deeper sense of inspiration and himmah to snap out of the “feeling low” state and to invigorate the high aspirations one has set themselves.

One of the profound analogies Shaykh Hamza makes in the talk, and which I love is:

…we/you are all in the ocean of this duniya; if you panic or have anxiety about things or situations, you will drown. Just RELAX, and you will float because you are in good hands!…. [Paraphrased]

Shaykh Hamza focuses on the hardships the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam went through but never allowed any of those afflictions to perturb him. After listening to this lecture, I can say for sure that one will have a different attitude and outlook on calamities and hardships; and it will heal the broken or agitated heart no doubt.

The 17 Benefits of Tribulation are listed below:

  1. You realize the power of Lordship over you.
  2. You realize your object servanthood and your complete state of resignation and brokenness before the will and power of God.
  3. Sincerity to God; one has no place of return in putting off or defending against the calamity except to Him.  It makes you sincere because the muhsin is the one who call on God without any shirk. A moment of ikhlas in this world is enough to save a person.
  4. He returns to God and suddenly is fervent in his desire of his Lord.
  5. It leads to a humbled state before God and it leads to prayers (du’a) that you call on God.
  6. You’re forbearing towards the One who has afflicted you.
  7. You forgive the one who has wronged you.
  8. To be patient during the tribulation.
  9. To be happy about what’s happening because of those benefits.
  10. To be grateful for it.
  11. Purification that these calamities have towards peoples’ wrongs and sins.
  12. Compassion that God enables you to show to people who are in tribulation and to help them.
  13. Tribulation gives you the blessing of having true knowledge of the extent of well-being.
  14. God has prepared rewards for the calamities that you’ve beared patiently or with contentment.
  15. What is hidden inside the folds of these calamities are blessings.
  16. Tribulations prevent you from arrogance.
  17. Contentment.  Tribulation afflicts the good and the evil (people), whoever doesn’t like it, it’s on Him, he’s lost the dunya and the akhira.  Those who are pleased with it, it’s because he knows it, because paradise is better than anything in this world and if these tribulations are what it takes for him to get to paradise, then he’s content with it.

[Courtesy of ihsaan.wordpress]

I strongly recommend everyone to buy a copy of this lecture and listen for themselves.

May Allah elevate Shaykh Hamza’s rank in both worlds, and protect him from all harm and evil. May we use each trial and tribulation as a means of reaching closer to Him Ta’ala.

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