Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Have you packed your suitcases?

Destination the Hereafter - Have you packed your suitcases? Her cheeks were worn and sunken and her skin hugged her bones. That didn't stop her though; you could never catch her not reciting Quran. Always vigil in her personal prayer room Dad had set up for her. Bowing, prostrating, raising her hands in prayer. That was the way she was from dawn to sunset and back again, boredom was for others.

As for me I craved nothing more than fashion magazines and novels. I treated myself all the time to videos until those trips to the rental place became my trademark. As they say, when something becomes habit people tend to distinguish you by it. I was negligent in my responsibilities and laziness characterized my Salah.

One night, I turned the video off after a marathon three hours of watching. The azaan softly rose in that quiet night. I slipped peacefully into my blanket.

Her voice carried from her prayer room. "Yes? Would you like anything Norah?"
With a sharp needle she popped my plans. 'Don't sleep before you pray Fajar!' "
Agh ... there's still an hour before Fajar, that was only the first azaan!"

With those loving pinches of hers, she called me closer. She was always like that, even before the fierce sickness shook her spirit and shut her in bed. 'Hanan can you come sit beside me.'

I could never refuse any of her requests, you could touch the purity and sincerity. "Yes, Norah?"
'Please sit here.'
"OK, I'm sitting. What's on your mind?"

With the sweetest mono voice she began reciting:
[Every soul shall taste death and you will merely be repaid your earnings on Resurrection Day]

She stopped thoughtfully. Then she asked, 'Do you believe in death?'
"Of course I do."
'Do you believe that you shall be responsible for whatever you do, regardless of how small or large?'
"I do, but . Allah is Forgiving and Merciful and I've got a long life waiting for me."

'Stop it Hanan ... aren't you afraid of death and it's abruptness? Look at Hind. She was younger than you but she died in a car accident. So did so and so, and so and so. Death is age-blind and your age could never be a measure of when you shall die.'

The darkness of the room filled my skin with fear. "I'm scared of the dark and now you made me scared of death, how am I supposed to go to sleep now. Norah, I thought you promised you'd go with us on vacation during the summer break."

Impact. Her voice broke and her heart quivered. 'I might be going on a long trip this year Hanan, but somewhere else. Just maybe. All of our lives are in Allah's hands and we all belong to Him.'

My eyes welled and the tears slipped down both cheeks. I pondered my sisters grizzly sickness, how the doctors had informed my father privately that there was not much hope that Norah was going to outlive the disease. She wasn't told though. Who hinted to her? Or was it that she could sense the truth.

'What are you thinking about Hanan?' Her voice was sharp. 'Do you think I am just saying this because I am sick? Uh - uh. In fact, I may live longer than people who are not sick. And you Hanan, how long are you going to live? Twenty years, maybe? Forty? Then what?' Through the dark she reached for my hand and squeezed gently. 'There's no difference between us; we're all going to leave this world to live in Paradise or agonize in Hell. Listen to the words of Allah:
[Anyone who is pushed away from the Fire and shown into Jannah will have triumphed.]

I left my sister's room dazed, her words ringing in my ears: "May Allah guide you Hanan - don't forget your prayer." Eight O'clock in the morning. Pounding on my door. I don't usually wake up at this time. Crying. Confusion. O Allah, what happened?

Norah's condition became critical after Fajar, they took her immediately to the hospital ... Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un....this is what Norah always said to say if she died.

There wasn't going to be any trips this summer. It was written that I would spend the summer at home., i could feel it.

At hospital....
It was one O'clock in the afternoon. Mother phoned the hospital. 'Yes. You can come and see her now.' Dad's voice had changed, mother could sense something had gone deathly wrong. We left immediately.

Where was that avenue I used to travel and thought was so short? Why was it so long now, so very long. Where was the cherished crowd and traffic that would give me a chance to gaze left and right. Everyone, just move out of our way. Mother was shaking her head in her hands - crying - as she made du'a for her Norah.

We arrived at the hospitals main entrance. One man was moaning, another was involved in an accident and a third's eyes were iced, you couldn't tell if he was alive or dead. We skipped stairs to Norah's floor. She was in intensive care. The nurse approached us. 'Let me take you to her.'

As we walked down the aisles the nurse went on expressing how sweet a girl Norah was. She reassured Mother somewhat that Norah's condition had gotten better than what it was in the morning.

'Sorry. No more than one visitor at a time.' This was the intensive care unit. Through the small window in the door and past the flurry of white robes I caught my sisters eyes. Mother was standing beside her. After two minutes, mother came out unable to control her crying.

'You may enter and say Salaam to her on condition that you do not speak too long,' they told me. 'Two minutes should be enough.'

"How are you Norah? You were fine last night sister, what happened?"
We held hands, she squeezed harmlessly. 'Even now, Alhamdulillah, I'm doing fine.'
"Alhamdulillah ... but ... your hands are so cold."

I sat on her bedside and rested my fingers on her knee. She jerked it away.
"Sorry ... did I hurt you?" "No, it is just that I remembered Allah's words [One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death shroud)]
... Hanan pray for me. I may be meeting the first day of the hereafter very soon. It is a long journey and I haven't prepared enough good deeds in my suitcase.'

A tear escaped my eye and ran down my cheek at her words. I cried and she joined me. The room blurred away and left us - two sisters - to cry together. Rivulets of tears splashed down on my sister's palm, which I held with both hands. Dad was now becoming more worried about me. I've never cried like that before.

At home and upstairs in my room, I watched the sun pass away with a sorrowful day. Silence mingled in our corridors. A cousin came in my room, another. The visitors were many and all the voices from downstairs stirred together. Only one thing was clear at that point ... Norah had died!

I stopped distinguishing who came and who went. I couldn't remember what they said. O Allah, where was I? What was going on? I couldn't even cry anymore.

Later that week they told me what had happened. Dad had taken my hand to say goodbye to my sister for the last time, I had kissed Norah's head. I remember only one thing though, seeing her spread on that bed, the bed that she was going to die on. I remembered the verse she recited: [One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death shroud)] and I knew too well the truth of the next verse: [The drive on that day we be to your Lord (Allah)!]

I tiptoed into her prayer room that night. Staring at the quiet dressers and silenced mirrors, I treasured who it was that had shared my mother's stomach with me. Norah was my twin sister. I remembered who I had swapped sorrows with. Who had comforted my rainy days. I remembered who had prayed for my guidance and who had spent so many tears for so many long nights telling me about death and accountability. May Allah save us all.

Tonight is Norah's first night that she shall spend in her tomb. O Allah, have mercy on her and illumine her grave. This was her Quran, her prayer mat and and this was the spring rose-colored dress that she told me she would hide until she got married, the dress she wanted to keep just for her husband. I remembered my sister and cried over all the days that I had lost. I prayed to Allah to have mercy on me, accept me and forgive me. I prayed to Allah to keep her firm in her grave, as she always liked to mention in her supplications. At that moment, I stopped. I asked myself: what if it was I who had died? Where would I be moving on to? Fear pressed me and the tears began all over again.

The first azaan rose softly from the Masjid, how beautiful it sounded this time. I felt calm and relaxed as I repeated the Muadhins call. I wrapped the shawl around my shoulders and stood to pray Fajar. I prayed as if it was my last prayer, a farewell prayer, just like Norah had done yesterday. It had been her last Fajar.

Now and insha' Allah for the rest of my life, if I awake in the mornings I do not count on being alive by evening, and in the evening I do not count on being alive by morning. We are all going on Norah's journey - what have we prepared for it?

My sister has already left on this eternal journey? Have YOU & I packed our suitcases?
Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar R.A says that someone asked the Prophet (pbuh) which man is the wisest.The Prophet (pbuh) said that; the one who remembers death much and is ever engaged in making preparation for it.These are the men who have become masters of this world and the next. (TIBRANI)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar R.A. says that the Prophet (pbuh) putting his hand on his shoulder, said that they should spend life like a traveller.He forbode to wait for the morning in the evening and for evening in the morning.He advised to accumulate the prayers when he is healthy; keeping the period of illness in mind and should do something good for the death when he is ill. (BUKHARI)

Hazrat Shaddad bin Aus(R.A.) says that the Prophet (pbuh) has said that the alert man is one; who takes account of his life and does alot of good actions; which may be useful to him after death. (TIRMIZI)
source: Al Islaah Publications

Birthdays roll by and many years do pass
Countless people use the day to party and celebrate
Few are those that look back and deliberate.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Shaykh Ahmad Ali

Born in Azad Kashmir in 1971 Shaykh Ahmad Ali came to the U.K. at the tender age of 6. Coming from a moderately practicing family, the odds were always stacked against him, but even as a young boy Shaykh displayed a yearning for deen.

His stubborn determination resulted in him completing the memorisation of the Holy Quran at the age of 14 under the supervision and guidance of his teachers at the local mosque, Masjid Quba. Having completed this great feat, the thirst for furthering his Islamic knowledge could no longer be quenched in the confines of the local mosque. Searching for more in 1986 Shaykh enrolled at Darul Uloom Al Arabiya Al Islamiya, Bury, the main nucleus of Islamic study in Europe at the time.
Read more about Shaykh Ahmad Ali

Related reading:
Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq
Shaykh Zahir Mahmood
Shaykh Ibrahim Madani
Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Request for Dua

As-salam Alaykum,
Just a quick request from all the readers to include in your Dua our Muslim brothers and sisters who are going through/ about to take examinations. A lot of worried and tired faces can be seen around at the moment! May Allah grant them success in this life and in the hereafter, Ameen.

Anas (R.A.) narrates that the Prophet (pbuh) said,
"None of you can truly be said to believe until he wants for his brother what he wants for himself." [Bukhari]

Also see Dua for Exam/ Study

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Subscriptions Fisabilillah

During our lifetime we go through at least a short duration where we pay out some form or another of a monthly or annual subscription.

Some are affiliated to a professional organisation, which enables them to use specific designated letters after their name and receive a monthly magazine which keeps them updated with current events/ issues and developments in that particular profession or field.

Others subscribe to magazine or newspaper circulations which keeps them informed of a certain area as a hobby, or updated with current local/ national or world events.

Then there is the subscription paid in the form of line rental for mobile/ cell phone contracts, I’m sure most of us can relate to this one!

As a result of these subscriptions we have to pay a monthly or annual subscription to receive this ‘service.’ The payment of these subscriptions can be quite easily made through utilisation of online payment methods, direct debits and standing orders.

However, when it comes to deen:
- we give no thought as to any costs and sacrifices made by those involved in Maktabs/ Khanqahs/ Academies to bring to us deeni education, yet we quite happily acknowledge the costs providers incur in providing the above worldly services and pay without quibble the price they set.

- despite attending Dars and bayaans, either in person or online, we don’t even consider paying a one off donation, never mind a regular subscription, for receiving this Ilm which is invaluable to us.

- we fail to benefit from gatherings of Ilm in a regular manner but we devotedly receive and make time to read magazines, newspapers and regularly contact friends and family using our mobile phone.

- despite the fact that the same payment methods are available for deeni donations we seem to really struggle to make them. In fact, rather embarrassingly, appeal after appeal, and door to door collections have to be made by the providers of deeni ‘services’ before we place our hands in our pockets. Yet if we want to purchase something from Ebay we have no hesitation in signing up for and sending payments through Paypal etc. instantly.

In light of the above I hope we can all draw some important lessons and take the time out to subscribe at least £1 a week to a deeni institution and inshallah if we can all do this we can alleviate many of the problems they may be facing.

Individually we may not be able to move a heavy boulder, but united together we can move mountains. I pray Allah swt gives firstly me and then you the ability to act upon the above and become regular subscribers fisabilillah, Ameen.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Shaykh Ahmed Deedat

SHAYKH AHMED DEEDAT [1918 - 2005 A.D.]
Born in the Surat District of India in 1918, Shaykh Ahmed Deedat at the age of 9 migrated to South Africa in 1927 with his father. At the age of 16 he took on a job in a retail store. Here he encountered students from a nearby missionary school who tried to convert him to Christianity. At the store he found a book that enabled him to defend his beliefs. This was the first of many books he read on the subject of comparative religion.

In 1940 after acquiring extensive knowledge of both the Bible and the Qur’an, he took to the stage of a local cinema to deliver a lecture called "Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), the Messenger of Peace," to an audience of under fifteen.

Word about his knowledge and amazing ability to quote religious texts from memory spread and he was soon addressing audiences of up to 40 000 in other areas of the country. In 1957 he formed an organisation called the Islamic Propagation Centre together with two of his friends.

He visited Saudi Arabia in 1976, and enthralled television audiences with his witty approach and dynamic personality. This opened the doors of financial assistance to him, and meant that his dream of printing and mass-distributing the Qur’an and other literature soon became a reality.

In 1985, Shaykh Ahmed Deedat agreed to a debate with American missionary, Floyd E Clark, at London’s Royal Albert Hall. He proved to be an instant hit, and was soon visiting other parts of the world on lecture and debate tours. In America he became famous for what is known as ‘The Great Debate’ – eight thousand people watched him debate the topic "Is the Bible God’s Word?" with American Reverend Jimmy Swaggart.

He was awarded the prestigious King Faisal Award in 1986 for his sterling services to Islam in the field of Propagation.

Shaykh Ahmed Deedat delivered his last lecture in Australia in 1996. Shortly thereafter he suffered from a stroke which left him paralysed from his neck down and unable to speak. He was flown to Saudi Arabia on a medical jet, specially flown in by the Saudi Royal family, and received specialized treatment at the King Faisal hospital in Riyadh, where he was taught to communicate using a series of eye movements.

He spent the last nine years of his life, confined to a bed in his home in Verulam, but was visited by many Muslims and non-Muslims from around the world. When asked what his message for the Ummah was, he would usually respond with one statement: "Do Da’wah."

On the 8th of August 2005 / 2 Rajab 1426, Shaykh Ahmed Hoosen Deedat departed from this world to meet his creator.

May Almighty Allah bless his soul, accept his efforts for the cause of da’wah and grant him Jannah, Ameen.

Related reading:
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi
Maulana Abdul Hayy Lucknawi
Shaykh al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Coffee Cup

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university lecturer. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.

"While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress".

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups." "Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change."

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it." So don't let the cups drive you...enjoy the coffee instead.
source: Fee-Sabilillah blog

Monday, May 15, 2006

Zheng He

Many thanks to Muslim Heritage for granting permission to reproduce this article on my blog. Please do visit the Muslim Heritage and 1001 Inventions websites to learn more, discover 1000 years of missing history and explore the fascinating Muslim contribution to present day Science, Technology, Arts and Civilisation.

ZHENG HE [1371 - 1433 A.D.]
The Chinese Muslim Admiral
Little did the famous Muslim geographer, Ibn Battuta know, that about 22 years after his historic visit to China, the Mongol Dynasty (called the Yuan Dynasty in China) would be overthrown. The Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) would begin. A Muslim boy would help a Chinese prince. That prince would become emperor and the boy would grow up to be the "Admiral of the Chinese Fleet."

His name... Zheng He. The ships that he would sail throughout the Indian Ocean would retrace some of the same routes taken by Ibn Battuta, but he would be in huge boats called "junks". He would go to East Africa, Makkah, Persian Gulf, and throughout the Indian Ocean.

Speak of the world's first navigators and the names Christopher Columbus or Vasco da Gama flash through a Western mind. Little known are the remarkable feats that a Chinese Muslim Zheng He (1371-1433) had accomplished decades before the two European adventurers.

The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation retraces the route of China's 15th century admiral, Zheng He, who ranks as perhaps the country's foremost adventurer. A Muslim and a warrior, Zheng He helped transform China into the region's, and perhaps the world's, superpower of his time.

In 1405, Zheng was chosen to lead the biggest naval expedition in history up to that time. Over the next 28 years (1405-1433), he commanded seven fleets that visited 37 countries, through Southeast Asia to faraway Africa and Arabia. In those years, China had by far the biggest ships of the time. In 1420 the Ming navy dwarfed the combined navies of Europe.

Ma He, as he was originally known, was born in 1371 to a poor ethnic Hui (Chinese Muslims) family inYunnan Province, Southwest China. The boy's grandfather and father once made an overland pilgrimage to Makkah. Their travels contributed much to young Ma's education. He grew up speaking Arabic and Chinese, leaming much about the world to the west and its geography and customs.

Recruited as a promising servant for the Imperial household at the age of ten, Ma was assigned two years later to the retinue of the then Duke Yan, who would later usurp the throne as the emperor Yong Le. Ma accompanied the Duke on a series of successful military campaigns and played a crucial role in the capture of Nanjing, then the capital. Ma was thus awarded the supreme command of the Imperial Household Agency and was given the surname Zheng.

Emperor Yong Le tried to boost his damaged prestige as a usurper by a display of China's might abroad, sending spectacular fleets on great voyages and by bringing foreign ambassadors to his court. He also put foreign trade under a strict Imperial monopoly by taking control from overseas Chinese merchants. Command of the fleet was given to his favorite Zheng He, an impressive figure said to be over eight feet tall.

A great fleet of big ships, with nine masts and manned by 500 men, each set sail in July 1405, half a century before Columbus's voyage to America. There were great treasure ships over 300-feet long and 150-feet wide, the biggest being 440-feet long and 186-across, capable of carrying 1,000 passengers. Most of the ships were built at the Dragon Bay shipyard near Nanjing, the remains of which can still be seen today.

Zheng He's first fleet included 27,870 men on 317 ships, including sailors, clerks, interpreters, soldiers, artisans, medical men and meteorologists. On board were large quantities of cargo including silk goods, porcelain, gold and silverware, copper utensils, iron implements and cotton goods. The fleet sailed along China's coast to Champa close to Vietnam and, after crossing the South China Sea, visited Java, Sumatra and reached Sri Lanka by passing through the Strait of Malacca. On the way back it sailed along the west coast of India and returned home in 1407. Envoys from Calicut in India and several countries in Asia and the Middle East also boarded the ships to pay visits to China. Zheng He's second and third voyages taken shortly after, followed roughly the same route.

In the fall of 1413, Zheng He set out with 30,000 men to Arabia on his fourth and most ambitious voyage. From Hormuz he coasted around the Arabian boot to Aden at the mouth of the Red Sea. The arrival of the fleet caused a sensation in the region, and 19 countries sent ambassadors to board Zheng He's ships with gifts for Emperor Yong Le.

In 1417, after two years in Nanjing and touring other cities, the foreign envoys were escorted home by Zheng He. On this trip, he sailed down the east coast of Africa, stopping at Mogadishu, Matindi, Mombassa and Zanzibar and may have reached Mozambique. The sixth voyage in 1421 also went to the African coast.

Emperor Yong Le died in 1424 shortly after Zheng He's return. Yet, in 1430 the admiral was sent on a final seventh voyage. Now 60 years old, Zheng He revisited the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and Africa and died on his way back in 1433 in India.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Imam Mahdi

The coming of Imam Mahdi is one of the major signs of Qiyamah. The term Mahdi means the guided one.

It is narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said,

"This world will not come to an end until one person from my progeny does not rule over the Arabs, and his name will be the same as my name." [Tirmidhi]

"Even if only a day remains for Qiyamah to come, yet Allah will surely send a man from my family who will fill this world with such justice and fairness, just as it initially was filled with oppression." [Abu Dawood]

Features of the Mahdi as narrated in ahadith are:
He will be tall, with fair complexion, facial features similar to that of the Prophet (pbuh), possess character of the Prophet (pbuh), his father and mother will be called Abdullah and Amina, he will have a slight stutter and when he stutters he will hit his thigh with his hand.

The Mahdi will emerge at a time of confusion and dispute and allegiance will be pledged to him in Makkah between Hajr Aswad and Maqam of Ibrahim (A.S). The number of people pledging allegiance to the Mahdi at this time will be 313. When this information is received an army will be sent forth from Syria to fight the Mahdi, but Allah will cause the earth to swallow up this army before they reach Imam Mahdi. After coming to know of this event many people will come to Imam Mahdi and swear their allegiance to him.

Thereafter the Mahdi will have to fight many battles and the rule of Shariah will be established upon earth. During the rule of Imam Mahdi will be a time of peace, happiness and great wealth, so much so that after calls are made on the streets for anybody in need of wealth only one person will come forward.

During the lifetime of Imam Mahdi the Dajjal will appear and Hazrat Isa (A.S) will descend from the heavens. Imam Mahdi will thereafter die and Hazrat Isa (A.S) will perform his funeral prayer and bury him.

I have tried to keep this post brief in order to just give a quick outline of Imam Mahdi. Please visit the links below for further information and detail.

Further reading:
Imam Mahdi by Mufti A.H. Elias and Mohammad Ali ibn Zubair Ali
The Mahdi by Shaykh Ahmad Ali

So you probably already got it that the Bloglet subscribe emails are not working (actually their whole site is down right now). Please be patient and inshallah it will either start working soon or (more likely) we* will switch to another similiar tool.

*by we, I refer to the Muslim bloggers currently using bloglet. It would be nice if any of the other Muslim bloggers had any suggestions for alternatives and we should definitely try and have the same tool to make it easier for our readers.

Inshallah, in a few months I will be in possession of 'the best object of benefit in the world'...
please make du'a for me


Monday, May 08, 2006

Etiquettes of Knowledge

Etiquettes for the Seeker of Sacred Knowledge and the Snare of Shaytan
Shaykh Nazim Mangera, sunniforum.com

For a long time I have wanted to discuss some etiquettes about reading Islamic literature and listening to speeches delivered by scholars. We should read and listen with the intention of benefiting from their writings and their speeches. Whatever our intention is, that is what we will get from it. If we read and listen with the intention of increasing our knowledge and trying to act upon it, Insha Allah that is what we will gain. If we read and listen with the intention of criticizing and taking out mistakes and finding faults, then we will find mistakes and faults and that is the only thing we will get from it. It’s very easy to criticize destructively and it is often said that it’s easier to haul down than to build.

Scholars elaborate this by citing the following example:Two types of animals are set free in a garden; one is a bird and the other is a swine. The bird will look for clean and pure sustenance, whereas the swine will look for filth and dirt. Whatever intention they have, they will get. So the bird enters the garden and finds clean and pure sustenance and the swine/pig enters the garden and searches for filth and garbage and dirt and finds it because no garden is filth free. They both got what they wanted.

Another point the scholars make is that we should read and listen with the desire and urge to increase our knowledge and act upon it and propagate it to others. If we have no desire to increase but rather we think we know everything, then we will hardly benefit from their writings and speeches and eventually we will only be harming ourselves.

The following example is cited:
If an empty glass is put under a tap, and the mouth of the glass is facing down, then it does not matter how fast the water is coming out, the glass will never get full for obvious reasons. But if that same glass is facing the correct way and the mouth of the glass is facing up, then it does not matter if the force of the water is low, but a time will come that the glass will be full of water.

If we have the intention of benefiting, then we will benefit tremendously. And if we have the intention of finding faults and mistakes, then we will find them. For sure, there will be times when there will be grammatical mistakes in the writings. There will be mistakes of wrong word usage. But is that a good reason to get happy over the mistake? That is nothing but the Shaytan’s method of preventing you from benefiting from a scholar’s advice. Being happy over a person’s mistake is either a sign of pride or jealousy- two of the most devastating sins of the soul. If we get happy at a mistake of another, it is a sign of a spiritual sickness. There will be times when your writings will be better than a scholar’s writings; there will be times when you will speak better than the scholar. But that gives us no reason to be put off by the scholar’s advice.

There could be many reasons why your writings or your method of speaking could be better than a scholar’s writing. One reason is usually in the Madrassah’s run by Asian scholars, very little attention is paid to the English language. The majority of our lectures were either in Urdu or Arabic. That trend is slowly changing though. Another reason could be that the scholar does not spend much time in English speaking countries. Now when the scholar will speak, there might be a stutter or an accent or the pace will be slow. But that should never be a reason to ignore the scholar’s advice. It is the content of the speech which really matters. Just because a person is an eloquent speaker does not mean that the content of the speech is correct as well. Being eloquent is one thing, and being correct is a completely different matter.

Another point I wish to clarify is that after reading an article or listening to a speech, some things might not be clear to us or go against our prior view on the matter. In this case, in a polite manner, ask the scholar that this is what I understood from your speech but I thought it was supposed to be like this. Am I correct in my understanding or not? I’m sure the scholar will not mind if we have any questions on the topic. Never hesitate to ask questions because two types of people never increase in their knowledge: A proud person and a shy person.

Also, if we think that the scholar has made a mistake somewhere, then bring up the point with the scholar in a polite manner and discuss it. We all are prone to mistakes. Only Allah is free of all blemishes and faults.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Attain the Ranks of the Pious

Hadhrat Ibraheem Bin Ad`ham said to a man who was making tawaaf:
“You will never attain the elevated ranks of the pious (i.e. the Auliyaa) as long as you have not traversed six difficult valleys.

First Valley - The closing of the door of bounties and the opening of the door of hardship.

Second Valley - Closing of the door of honour and opening of the door of disgrace.

Third Valley - Closing of the door of comfort and opening of the door of toil.

Fourth Valley - Closing of the door of sleep and opening of the door of wakefulness during the night.

Fifth Valley - Closing of the door of wealth and opening of the doorof poverty.

Sixth Valley - Closing of the door of wishes and opening of the door of preparations for Maut.”

source: Orchards of Love published by Mujlisul Ulama