October 15

‘Philosophy of Hajj’ by Sheikh Safdar Razi

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In Hajj Allah is calling you, it’s like death, as when the Angel of death comes, it is because Allah is calling you to Him.

When you are doing Ghusul, remember that one day you will be washed. You are washing yourself from your sins.

When you wear your ihram it’s like wearing your shroud.

In Tawaf you walk in the anticlockwise direction. Everything in the universe goes Anticlockwise, the solar system goes anticlockwise, the atoms go anticlockwise. The whole universes circulation is anticlockwise.

We are promising Allah, O God, my focal point is you, you are the centre of my life, I will always 7 days of my week for my whole life be around you, worshipping you. I will not deviate left or right I will always be in an orbit around your existence.

You then pray behind the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim, what message do you get here? O God, Prophet Ibrahim sacrificed, he did not follow Shaitan, he did not let his ego come, so I will follow him, I will try to do my best to be your friend O God. I will try and pelt my ego with my intellectual stones, whenever anything comes I will sacrifice for your sake I will keep you above my ego.

When you are praying behind someone you are following that person you are listening to that person, so when we are praying behind Prophet Ibrahim’s footsteps that are engraved on the stone, it means we are following in HIS footsteps.

The walk between Safa and Marwa. When Prophet Ibrahim came with Hajar and Ismael, Prophet Ibrahim was order to leave by Allah. Ismael was thirsty, so Hajar started to look for water, she was walking from Mount Safa to Marwa, and again she was struggling just to take care of her child. After the 7th round at Marwa Allah brought forth a miracle – a spring of water started to gush and gush this was zam zam, which means ‘stop stop’. If Ismael hadn’t said stop stop they would drowned, when he said stop stop, the springs became slower. When water is present birds start to come, so the distant tribes saw the birds which meant water is there, so the tribes came and Makkah was established as a city. The next visit of Prophet Ibrahim, him and Ismael built the holy kaaba.

Arafat – the land of resurrection. On the Day of Judgement you will be accounted, and you will read your book. This is an opportunity to remember all the sins you have done in your life and ask forgiveness. On this day you can account yourself and seek forgiveness, but on the Day of Judgement you will be accounted but can’t ask for forgiveness, account yourself before you are accounted.

The Day of Arafat means Marifa, when you die you come into the realm of knowing Allah there is no material barrier. Whoever knows his soul will know his Lord. Contemplate.

In Muzdalifa there are no tents. There are no barriers.

When you pick your stones ask Allah to protect you from the biggest devil, which isn’t Iblis or Shaitan, it is our ego.

From Muzdalifa to Mina You see the light, you are back to the world and it is as if you are newly born. Just as a new born baby has their hair shaved, you shave your hair.

Just as you pelt the Shaitan with 7 stones, pelt your ego whenever it comes 7 days a week.

The are 3 Shaitans, the big one, medium one and small one. These places are where Shaitan came to Prophet Ibrahim, Hajar and Ismael trying to deceive them and they pelted Shaitan with stones.

So when Shaitan comes to us telling us not to obey Allah, take the stones of your will and pelt the ego and Shaitan and don’t let him distract you. The big pillar is like shirk. Rely on Allah not people. Medium Shaitan is like the sins of the rights of the people and the small Shaitan is like the Sins of yourselves. Make promises to Allah in Mina.

The sacrifice has a big meaning, imagine the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim. He waited for about 80 years to have a son, then he was blessed with Ismael. What a difficult test for Prophet Ibrahim, he waited 80 years for a Son, and he has to give his son back to Allah. Prophet Ibrahim controlled his desires, and said to Allah everything is for you.

When we go and sacrifice, whenever there is a conflict between Allah and your desires, Allah and your ego, Allah and your material entertainment, prefer Allah, prefer your salaat, prefer Fasting, prefer Allah in every single moment of your day and night.

There is another sacrifice which is the sacrifice of the holy Prophet with his grandson Imam Hussain. The Prophet knew before Imam Hussain was born what was going to happen in Kerbala, imagine the test of the Prophet. He told Imam Hussain about being martyred in Kerbala, he didn’t tell Imam Hussain not to go to Kerbala. Imam Hussain was be-headed there was no ram replaced there instead, the Holy Prophet and Lady Fatima and Imam Ali were all watching how difficult it was for them. Imam Hussain has to witness all his family being slaughtered in front of his eyes.

To appreciate the blood of Imam Hussain, avoid committing sins, avoid your ego, just remember did Imam Hussain give his life for us commit sins? Keep the values of Imam Hussain alive.

This is like the journey of the dead, you die when you go from Makkah to Arafat, you are basically in your grave. Then you are resurrected in Arafat the land of resurrection. After accounting and seeking forgiveness you come back to life as you have been given another opportunity of life.

Reference: http://www.awaitedone.org/resources/videos/hajj-lessons-sh.-safdar-razi.html

February 3

The Greatest Role Model

By:  Huda Jawad

rawla_202How can we describe a personality so great that history has not been able to contain it? What of the presence that has survived limitless attempts to demean its greatness? How does one pay due respect to the Mercy of Mankind and its greatest teacher? Indeed, as the season of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) unfolds, many Muslims find themselves seeking the best method we can honour our beloved Prophet.

This is where the immense contradiction the Muslim world faces today manifests itself. The Prophet Muhammad was a man of gentleness, and yet, Muslims continue to suffer from harshness towards themselves and others. The Prophet was a man of forgiveness, and yet we hold grudges and seek revenge. The Prophet was a man of the hereafter, and yet we are individuals concerned with this world. Above all, the Prophet Muhammad is the most outstanding exemplar of a man of God, and yet we are surrounded with men of materialism.

The character of the Prophet Muhammad is the standard by which we should all conduct ourselves. But although we have recognized his greatness and perfection, we have yet to implement his examples and teachings into ourselves. Indeed, the Holy Qur’an mentions the status of the Prophet Muhammad before Muslims: "Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, excessively solicitous respecting you; to the believers is he most kind and merciful." (9:128)

It now becomes apparent that the beauty of Islam is found in its teachings being practical and implementable. God did not just list commandments for us to follow and laws to obey. Instead, He blessed mankind with the most esteemed leaders and teachers who practically implemented every single one of those commandments and laws.

The Prophet forgave and showed patience towards the shortcomings of others. It is well-known that even those who mistreated the Prophet were visited by him during their illnesses or times of grief, including the woman who tormented the Prophet every day on his way to prayer. He said, "Forgiving is the best of all deeds. Pardoning is incumbent upon you, for verily pardoning [others] only increases the servant’s honour, so pardon each others’ faults, and God will grant you honour." (al-Kafi)

Meaningful and Kind Speech
The Prophet Muhammad was the first to greet others. The Prophet of Islam spoke in short, meaningful sentences and never disrupted the speech of others. The gatherings in which the Prophet was present were dignified, with a clear level of modesty, dignity, truthfulness, and pleasantness. He advises us "Say a good (word) to derive benefit, and avoid speaking evil words to be safe."

Sublime Morals
The Prophet said, "The first thing that shall be put in the Scales (on the Day of Judgment) are good morals." The morals and ethics of the Prophet were recognized by God in the Qur’an: "And truly you (Muhammad) possess great morals." (52:4) It is through the exalted morals of the Prophets that God was able to lead otherwise ruined and corrupt societies towards the ark of salvation. Consider then the impact of our morals and behaviour on ourselves, our communities, and our social spheres.

Attaining Honour Through Humility
When attending gatherings or entering a room, the Prophet did not seek out a specific place to sit and instead sat anywhere. The Prophet Muhammad held the status of prophecy and divine leadership, and yet his humility and modesty in dealing with the people and his way of life were so simple and gentle that when he was among the people and a newcomer wanted to speak to him, he would need to inquire and ask, "Which one of you is the Prophet?" During journeys and trips, the Prophet would do work just like everyone else, including collecting firewood. He declared, "I do not like to be treated as if I were privileged, because God does not like any of His creatures to consider himself privileged or to be treated as if he were privileged over others."

He also reminds us, "Humility adds nothing to God’s servants but dignity. Be humble, therefore, and God will grant you dignity." The Prophet also said, "There are four distinguishing marks of the humble ones: they pay constant attention to Allah in private and in public, they carry out good works, they contemplate about the Day of Resurrection, and they engage in intimate supplication with God."

Respect: A Sign of a Muslim
The Prophet respected everyone, regardless of their social class, profession, religion, or race. He was patient, loving, and peaceful with everyone he met, and through his great conduct Islam spread throughout Arabia. Our Prophet stayed away from things that lacked value and listened attentively to the speech of others.

A Perfect Exemplar
The perfection of the Prophet Muhammad cannot be expressed by the writer, poet, historian, scholar, or observer. Instead, we must turn to the most perfect divine book, the Holy Qur’an to understand the superiority and status of the Prophet Muhammad: "Certainly you have in the Messenger of God an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in God and the latter day and remembers Allah much." (33:21)