SeekersHub Blog http://seekershub.org/blog Islamic knowledge, audio, video, songs, and more--at the SeekersGuidance Blog. Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:33:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Revisiting The First Qiblah, by Dr Faraz Mughal http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/first-qiblah/ Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:29:25 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15729 The Holy city of al-Quds (Jerusalem), also known as Bayt al-Maqdis ‘the house of purification’, holds great status in Islam. Dr Faraz Mughal explains why. The Al-Aqsa Sanctuary, where the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah) and the Masjid al-Aqsa reside, is the holiest site in Jerusalem for Muslims. It is a site and space where […]

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The Holy city of al-Quds (Jerusalem), also known as Bayt al-Maqdis ‘the house of purification’, holds great status in Islam. Dr Faraz Mughal explains why.

The Al-Aqsa Sanctuary, where the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah) and the Masjid al-Aqsa reside, is the holiest site in Jerusalem for Muslims. It is a site and space where Prophets walked, worshipped and lived. It has been blessed by Allah and referred to in The Qu’ran:

‘Glory be to Him who took His slave on a journey by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa whose surroundings We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. {Surat al-Isra 17:1} Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, (Jalalu’d-Din Al-Mahalli, Jalalu’d Din As-Suyuti). 

The Prophet Muhammad , travelled in his physical and wakeful state to Masjid al-Aqsa on the night journey (al-Isra) and from there ascended to the highest stations of the heavens (al-Miraj). All of the Prophets (~124,000) prayed behind the Prophet Muhammad in Masjid al-Aqsa on that night. Angels have descended with Allah’s message to chosen Prophets in this land.    

Qiblah

Masjid al-Aqsa was the first qiblah of the Muslims. The Prophet would pray towards Jerusalem during his time in Makkah and for a short while upon entering Madinah. However, through revelation the qiblah was refocused towards Makkah. The choosing of this first qiblah by Allah should encourage us to reflect on the status of Masjid al-Aqsa in the religion. It is a masjid not often spoken about when compared to the Masjid of the Prophet and Masjid al-Haram, but it is a masjid as in the hadith (Tabarani) where prayers can be rewarded up to 500 times.      

Ramadan & Eid

From my time in al-Quds this past Ramadan, it became apparent that the Palestinians were delighted that I was here sharing a portion of this blessed month with them. I was regularly asked in good English where I was from and on my reply I was always greeted with the traditional welcome of ‘ahlan wa sahlan’. The local people were always smiling and went about their business with an air of prophetic contentment in what are extremely challenging circumstances.

The third jummu’ah of the month attracted around 250,000 people for the congregation. Praising of the Prophet occurred after the completion of each adhan and unit of prayer in the daily tarawih, highlighting, the great love the people have for the Prophet ﷺ. Walking through the al-Aqsa sanctuary (35 acres) one feels the blessings of the earth and wonders whether you are walking on where Maryam (peace be upon her) beseeched her Lord or where Prophet Dawud (peace be upon him) praised Allah. One of my teachers, Imam Khalid Hussain, upon asking for some advice before departing encouraged me to spend as much time in the sanctuary as possible. It is prudent to remember that the entire sanctuary is blessed and not only the Masjid.

One stares in awe at the beautiful nature of the Dome of the Rock, built in the time of the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (72 AH). The inscribed Sur’ah Ya’sin on the perimeter of the dome is majestic and results in one marvelling at the construction of one of the most glorious pieces of architecture in the world.

It was a joy to see all of the families and the surrounding area making an effort for Eid al-Fitr. The souk was filled with shops and stalls of pastries, sweets, pancakes and kebabs and the streetlights lit up the evening sky. The laughter of the children playing resonated loudly as you make your way through the souk to the masjid gates.    

Imam-al Ghazali

It was an honour to be able to attend classes on the Ihya ulum al-Din {books of love and condemnation of self-delusion} of Imam al-Ghazali by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad in the Al-Aqsa sanctuary. These were held after fajr adjacent to The Dome of the Rock and near the Golden Gate where it is said Imam al-Ghazali wrote part of the Revival of Religious Sciences.

Visiting Al-Aqsa

It is important that Muslims in the West make a collective, concerted and conscious effort to visit Masjid-al Aqsa. It may be easier to travel in groups with those experienced in visiting the area.

Abdullah ibn Umar relates, I asked the Prophet , ‘Apostle of Allah, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem).’ The Apostle of Allah said, ‘Go and pray there. If you cannot visit it and pray there, then send some oil to be used in the lamps’ (Bukhari).

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Revisiting The First Qiblah, by Dr Faraz Mughal

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Prepare, Before Your Marriage Goes Belly-Up http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/prepare-before-marriage-goes-belly-up/ Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:47:46 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15725 So many of the questions Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil sees on SeekersHub Answer service have to do with marriage. By the time the questions reach her, things have already gone badly. An oft-repeated theme I see is this: parents who are deeply unhappy with the cultural background of the person their son or daughter wishes […]

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So many of the questions Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil sees on SeekersHub Answer service have to do with marriage. By the time the questions reach her, things have already gone badly.

An oft-repeated theme I see is this: parents who are deeply unhappy with the cultural background of the person their son or daughter wishes to marry.

If you’re single and reading this, then it’s likely that you have parents who are actively involved in your lives. If you’re from a very cultural background, then it’s possible that your parents want you to marry from that same culture. Sometimes, even the same village. Parents want what’s best for their children, based on their understanding of the world. Invariably, their version of what’s best is so different to their adult children’s.

Please do something differently. Rather than wait until you meet Mr or Ms So-Right-For-You-But-So-Wrong-For-Your-Parents at your local halaqa, college, or work, please broach the topic from now. Even better – please enrol in and complete this course: Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. (I know how hard it can be to successfully completing an online course. Pair yourself up with an accountability buddy. Discuss lessons after you listen to them.)

Talk to your parents. Ask them what they envisage for you in terms of a suitable marriage partner. They may surprise you, or they may not. They key is to let them talk, and then really listen. Not a “I’m pretending to hear you so then I can get my opinion in”, but a sincere, open-hearted kind of listening. Stay calm. Read between the lines. Try to understand what your parents are really telling you. Is it fear of the unknown? Is it social pressure from their friends and family members? Is it their own baggage from their marriage?

Validate their concerns. Help them feel like you actually care about what they have to say. Then use wisdom and tact to offer your point of view. Ask compassionate scholars and/or elders in your community for support, if need be.

Is talking to your parents a sure-fire way of guaranteeing their blessings and smooth sailing? I can’t guarantee that. But I can hope and pray that it’s a step in the right direction. I encourage you to enrol in The Rights of Parents to get an idea of the tremendous station of parents, and the reward in treating them with goodness.

May Allah soften the hearts of our parents, give us the wisdom and patience to approach them, and bless the ummah of our Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace).

Prepare, Before Your Marriage Goes Belly-Up

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How To Avoid Being A “Know-It-All”, by Shaykh Shuaib Ally http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/know-it-all-intellectual-arrogance-humility/ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 11:09:22 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15686 You should be involved in Islamic learning, argues Shaykh Shuaib Ally. A large reason for that involves a trait that, when lacking, cripples a person’s ability to develop their knowledge base: intellectual humility. A lack of intellectual humility manifests itself, in discussions related to the Islamic sciences, in various forms. A common expression is for me […]

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You should be involved in Islamic learning, argues Shaykh Shuaib Ally. A large reason for that involves a trait that, when lacking, cripples a person’s ability to develop their knowledge base: intellectual humility.

A lack of intellectual humility manifests itself, in discussions related to the Islamic sciences, in various forms. A common expression is for me to arrive at a certain opinion, say, related to a legal matter. I then imagine that I alone understand what the ruling ought to be, and that none others hold a correct view.

However, it is unlikely that my opinion finds no precedent whatsoever in an academic history that spans over 1400 odd years and large swathes of the globe. Such a belief instead derives from my misguided belief in the unique and special nature of my own outlook.

It would be bad enough if this were the lone result of this form of intellectual arrogance. Worse is the nefarious corollary of such a belief, my belief that the fact this unique understanding is not being currently championed must be due to one of two reasons.

One is that the vast majority of scholars are being academically dishonest and are hiding what is the correct opinion for their own ends. The other is that it really is the fact that the understanding I have arrived at has no precedent whatsoever in the inherited tradition. I then take this to be demonstrative of the fact that established scholarship has nothing serious to offer.

This is, of course, wrongheaded.

It is unlikely that there is some sort of conspiracy to cover up aspects of scholarship in Islamic history; in fact, scholarly works are quite good at recording non-mainstream opinions, if for no other reason than academic curiosity. It is simply more likely that scholars have chosen another opinion for other reasons, and that is the one that people are most familiar with.

Moreover, my being unaware of a certain opinion within a body of scholarship hardly indicates that the community of scholarship itself is somehow compromised. More often than not, it simply reflects a gap in my own knowledge base. That is, it says more about me than about the discipline I am considering defective.

In this regard, the late 3rd C Shāfiʿī jurist poet, Mansūr b. Ismāʿīl al-Tamīmī, recited:

Those of diminished intellect critique the study of law
Yet their blame does not affect it in the least
The morning sun rising in the horizon remains unharmed
By those without sight remaining oblivious to its light

Let me give you an example. Imagine I believe that astronomical calculations should be used in lieu of naked eye sightings to determine the beginning and end of months in the lunar calendar. I could have very good reasons for arguing this. Classical scholars, I might argue, worked in a medieval period in which the sciences were not as developed, and therefore did not consider astronomical calculations as possible. I might go on to argue that in the modern age, we have precise methods of measurement, and that this should allow for the formulation of new rulings.

This would be an example of intellectual arrogance because classical works do consider astronomical calculations being used for this purpose; these discussions are alluded to in even fairly elementary works of law. When I make such a claim, I am arrogantly making claims about the absence of a discussion in a certain literature, betraying my lack of knowledge of preceding discussion.

My viewing scholars at large with suspicion, and believing them to be unwilling to entertain this discussion, would likewise be intellectually arrogant. This is because they are skirting an issue; they have simply chosen another opinion for other reasons.

The intellectual arrogance here is born out of a misguided sense of my own academic breadth. This arrogance is criticized famously by Abu Nuwas, the 2nd C Abbasid poet famous for the licentious content of his work, who recited:

Say to one who claims a special understanding:
You have gathered a little bit, but even more escapes you!

This lack of knowledge is therefore exacerbated by my lack of intellectual humility. Had I bothered to engage in the disciplines that purport to deal with the subject matter under consideration, I might have found at the very least a suitable starting point for their research.

However, rejecting at the outset anything a scholarly class busies itself with as having little intellectual worth has necessarily restricted me from benefiting from it. Due diligence demands being thorough in researching my claims prior to making them, but my preconceived notions about the undeveloped nature of the Islamic disciplines have led me to bypass that.

These preconceived notions are often coupled by an actual inability to access scholarly discussions on a given subject. That is, intellectual arrogance has blocked me from acquiring the requisite knowledge of the Islamic disciplines, primary or supporting, such that I can actually engage the textual tradition on the issues I purports to have special knowledge of. Indeed, there is often a correlation between lack of learning and intellectual arrogance.

 


 

A lack of intellectual humility can also express itself in my conception of others and their practice. Part of intellectual humility is understanding that while I believe and act in a certain manner, others may have good reason for doing or believing something that is at odds with this. Intellectual humility demands coming to terms with this, even if I do not understand the reason for others choosing another course, or even if I have never come across the rationale underlying their chosen course.

When I am intellectually arrogant, however, I am unable to do this. Instead, I presumptuously think that knowledge begins and ends only with what I myself has come across and understand.This allows me to pompously insist on my own position at all costs, assuming it to be the only correct position. It also allows me to judge others, believing their positions to be inadequate without having actually assessed their merit, and rejecting from the outset anything they could have to say in response as having intellectual worth.

Rejecting something simply because it is unfamiliar is, however, behaviour the Qurʾan criticizes as unbecoming. Imam al- Qurtubī, the famous 7th C Andalusian exegete, mentions that al-Husayn b. al-Fadl, a 3rd C Nishapuri exegete, was asked, Does the Qur’an contain the idea that whoever is ignorant of something opposes it? He said: Yes, in two places: They disbelieve in anything their own knowledge does not encompass (10:39); and If they have not been guided to something, they say, this is an ancient lie (46:11).

 


 

Another form of intellectual arrogance can manifest itself when I have acquired some knowledge, and suddenly consider myself intellectually superior to all others, even those who are far above me in their level of scholarship, including my own teachers. Al-Jāhiz, the 3rd C Abbasid polymath, recited these famous lines from the perspective of a teacher complaining of such a situation:

How curious, the one I reared from childhood; I would feed with the tips of my fingers
I taught him to shoot; when his arms became strong, he fired at me
How often I trained him in verse; when he began to recite, he attacked me
I taught him manliness, daily; when his mustache began to grow, he abandoned me
When I act in such a manner, I become the instantiation of the warning that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, as it has contributed to my inflated sense of worth, instead of increasing my humility.

 


 

The good news is that the cure to intellectual arrogance is fairly straightforward. It is to actually engage in sincere learning. This is why I think you should engage in Islamic learning.

The bad news is that doing so isn’t particularly easy, in that it is much easier to simply be pompous. Acquiring real knowledge takes work.

There is an indication of this difficulty in that the Prophet Muhammad – peace and blessings of God be upon him – said that whoever embarks upon a path of knowledge, God facilitates for them a path to Paradise.

He does this, scholars say, in two ways. One is worldly, in that he makes it easy for them to do good, and difficult for them to do otherwise. The second is a reference to the afterlife, in that he facilitates for them their crossing of the bridge to Paradise, a task otherwise fraught with difficulty.

There is a general principle when it comes to how reward and punishment is meted out for a specific action; it tends to be commensurate, or similar in kind, to a person’s action, good or bad. This is encapsulated in the maxim: actions are rewarded in kind.

In the case of our knowledge seeker, he has undertaken what is actually an onerous task – knowledge seeking can require, beyond cost, countless hours of attending classes, listening to lectures, recording and reviewing notes, and putting up with teachers with different personalities and teaching methodologies that may not accord with his own.

All of this is near impossible for the intellectually arrogant, as he cannot see why he needs to humiliate himself before knowledge in this manner. But for one who does take it upon himself to traverse this difficult path, they are rewarded in kind, in that God facilitates for them what would have otherwise been an intractable journey.

 


 

It has been said that whoever has not tasted the humility of learning for a short time, tastes the bitterness of ignorance for a lifetime. That is, humbling oneself to a sincere knowledge quest can serve to quell many of the pitfalls that come with being intellectually arrogant.

One who does so sincerely will become aware of the kinds of discussions that scholars are engaged in, their range and extent, and the methods they employ to reach their conclusions. A large part of this is because engaging sincerely will provide one with the tools to properly participate in scholarly discussions.

Being apprised of this intellectual heritage protects one from thinking that an entire tradition is undeveloped in that it has little to offer. This awareness also prevents one from viewing the scholarly community with disdain or suspicion, even if one disagrees with their conclusions.

The knowledge that one gains will allow one to develop their intellectual humility in other ways too. At the personal level, it allows one to realize the contours of their own knowledge base; that is, an awareness of what they know and how that roughly fits into the available body of knowledge. For the vast majority of people, this is a humbling experience, as one realizes the limited nature of their grasp, even after years of study.

At a larger level, this humility forces a certain level of tolerance for others’ beliefs and practice, as one no longer pompously believes themselves to have an exclusive grasp of truth in the Islamic tradition. Such a person no longer has the internal urge to object to what others are doing or saying, as he knows that there can be schools of thought or credible scholarship that holds as such. This is why many scholars say: the more one’s knowledge grows, the more his objections diminish.

 


 

This is – to finally get to the point – why I think you should be involved in Islamic learning. Aside from the normal reasons for pursuing what is generally considered ‘religious’ knowledge – which are themselves good enough – doing so will allow one to pursue this special knowledge related virtue, that of cultivating intellectual humility.

A community that demonstrates knowledge related virtues, premier among them being a healthy dose of intellectual humility, is the kind of knowledge community we want to build. This is the kind of community that, aside from simply being engaged with knowledge, can build a native tradition of scholarship.

This is because its collective intellectual humility and academic integrity has allowed for the raising of intellectual discourse across the community, beyond the clamor of theories divorced from preceding scholarship and the vague insinuations that often pose as informed comment in popular discourse today.

I want you to be part of this building process, even if in a small way.

It is difficult to approach a knowledge quest sincerely. Yet I encourage you to approach it as sincerely as you can, and pray that your sincerity, even if somehow currently compromised, is perfected over time. Some past scholars used to say, musing on their intentions becoming corrected over time: we started out seeking knowledge for reasons other than God, yet it refused in the end to be for any cause other than God.

The method for participating in this process is up to you; it can and should involve a number of different options. These include attending classes on the ground with those who do embody intellectual humility; taking online courses (such as those offered through Seekershub), listening to lectures, and reading widely.

We don’t lack for resources in learning. We do lack for commitment to learning, a problem that derives largely from arrogance of the intellect.

This is why, in a roundabout way, I think you should involve yourself in sincere Islamic learning.

How To Avoid Being A "Know-It-All", intellectual humility, by Shaykh Shuayb Ally

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Do You Respect The Women Around You? – Habib Ali al-Jifri http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/respect-women-habib-ali-al-jifri/ Wed, 20 Jul 2016 16:52:16 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15705 Islam has done a favour for women; the oft-repeated rhetoric about the status of women in pre-Islamic Arabian society seems to suggest, but how true is this statement today? Habib Ali al-Jifri invites the male listener to reflect and ask timely questions regarding the role and status of women Islam. Do you respect her? What is the relationship between […]

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Islam has done a favour for women; the oft-repeated rhetoric about the status of women in pre-Islamic Arabian society seems to suggest, but how true is this statement today? Habib Ali al-Jifri invites the male listener to reflect and ask timely questions regarding the role and status of women Islam.

Do you respect her? What is the relationship between you and the women in your life? Do you respect them? What examples do you have in building and maintaining your relationships?

Take Care Of Your Women

In his final sermon, the Messenger of God ﷺ, after the express call to hold fast to prayer, urged the community to take care of the women.  Habib Ali explores this statement along the central theme of worship; he invites us to explore the lives of the  female companions surrounding the Prophet ﷺ to guide us on our way.  What were their roles in society? What was their voice and what impact did they have at an individual and communal level? What was their relationships with the Prophetﷺ?

Call to Rabita

Rabita constitutes building a wholesome relationship with others; specifically women. The foundation is cultivating a relationship with Allah by becoming the true worshipful servant. A journey of body, heart and spirit that illuminates our external relationships.

 

We are grateful to Al-Madina Mosque Barking for this recording.

 

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Respect the women around you, Habib Ali al-Jifri

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What You Need to Know About the Fiqh of Burial, by Imam Tahir Anwar http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/fiqh-of-burial/ Wed, 20 Jul 2016 12:51:13 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15645 How much do you know about the fiqh of burial? Do you know what is the first call to make when someone dies? What sort of preparation do you need to make? Is there a religious significance to washing the shroud in Zamzam water? What sort of instructions should you give to your relatives? Is […]

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How much do you know about the fiqh of burial? Do you know what is the first call to make when someone dies? What sort of preparation do you need to make? Is there a religious significance to washing the shroud in Zamzam water? What sort of instructions should you give to your relatives? Is it really true that we must encourage a dying person to recite the testimony of faith? And is organ donation permissible?

In this video, Imam Tahir Anwar discusses what we possibly consider the most difficult subject to think about: death and dying. However, it’s also one of the most important subjects, not to mention a situation that we are all absolutely guaranteed to face, sooner or later.

“Life has no guarantees. A person could pass away at any time.”

 Resources for Seekers

We are thankful to Al-Maqasid for this recording.

fiqh of burial

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Unseen Realm: Shaykh Yahya Rhodus on the Nafs http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/nafs/ Wed, 20 Jul 2016 00:00:42 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15678 We are all well familiar with the many aspects of our physical being. But what about our inner spiritual selves, the nafs? Shaykh Yahya Rhodus delves into the inner dimensions of the human; the part that is intangible yet the most important in deciding the nature of our eternity. We are grateful to the Islamic Society […]

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We are all well familiar with the many aspects of our physical being. But what about our inner spiritual selves, the nafs? Shaykh Yahya Rhodus delves into the inner dimensions of the human; the part that is intangible yet the most important in deciding the nature of our eternity.

We are grateful to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Centre for this recording.

Want to know more? Register for Shaykh Yahya’s SeekersHub course, The Marvels of the Heart, which covers the many aspects of the inner dimensions, such as the heart, the spirit, the soul, and the intellect. This course is offered completely free as part of SeekersHub’s commitment to Knowledge Without Barriers.

Resources for Seekers

nafs

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Knowledge: What, How and Why We Study http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/path-seeking-knowledge/ Sat, 16 Jul 2016 23:32:41 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15638 The Path of Seeking Knowledge: What, How and Why We Study In this three part video series, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani tackles the confusion that surrounds seeking knowledge. This set is key for anyone wanting to tread the path of knowledge. Over the three parts, Shaykh Faraz will address the key question of “what to study?”. […]

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The Path of Seeking Knowledge: What, How and Why We Study

In this three part video series, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani tackles the confusion that surrounds seeking knowledge. This set is key for anyone wanting to tread the path of knowledge.

Over the three parts, Shaykh Faraz will address the key question of “what to study?”. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani provides a break down of the key and supporting sciences. He lays out the structure of a curriculum to follow, with the names of the texts to study. He also provides the texts needed in the essentials, understanding and mastery levels.

Register now for SeekersHub Global’s free online courses.

Resources for Seekers:

Ten Adab of Seekers

Importance of Intention in Seeking Knowledge

The Etiquette of Seeking

Seeker’s Expectations – How to Seek Knowledge

VIDEO: The Urgent Obligation To Take Care Our Scholars – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

VIDEO: How to Seek Islamic Knowledge – Imam Subki’s Counsel by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

VIDEO: Whom Should I Take My Islamic Knowledge From? – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

knowledge

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Dr. Ramon Harvey’s “The Secrets of Hajj” Now Online http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/secrets-of-hajj/ Thu, 14 Jul 2016 20:28:54 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15400 Dr. Ramon Harvey’s exposition of Imam Ghazali’s Book 7 of the Ihya Ulum al-Din, The Secrets of Hajj, is now online, thanks to Travelling Light. The Hajj is very much the final frontier for the Muslim; the only pillar of Islam that requires a single execution. Yet the journey to the House of Allah symbolizes man’s true […]

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Dr. Ramon Harvey’s exposition of Imam Ghazali’s Book 7 of the Ihya Ulum al-Din, The Secrets of Hajj, is now online, thanks to Travelling Light.

The Hajj is very much the final frontier for the Muslim; the only pillar of Islam that requires a single execution. Yet the journey to the House of Allah symbolizes man’s true end: a return to the Divine Creator. Dr. Ramon Harvey explores Imam Ghazali’s “The Secrets of the Hajj” explaining the pilgrimage’s essential elements, its properties, its merits, and its mysteries. The lecture is delivered from the Trebbus Mevlevihane in Germany. For more lectures on the Ihya Ulum Al-Din, please visit Classes | Travelling Light.

Resources for Seekers

Photo by Azfar Ahmad.

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What Can SeekersHub Offer You Even If You Are Comfortably Muslim? Farihah Akram’s Story http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/farihah-akram-seekershub-comfortably-muslim/ Wed, 13 Jul 2016 18:07:28 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15622 Farihah Akram came from an educated, spiritually connected family. What could SeekersHub possibly offer someone like her?   While growing up, Farihah Akram’s religious education began at the heart of her home: with her mother, a learned woman who is active in their local mosque and community. “If I had a question, I’d turn to […]

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Farihah Akram came from an educated, spiritually connected family. What could SeekersHub possibly offer someone like her?

 

While growing up, Farihah Akram’s religious education began at the heart of her home: with her mother, a learned woman who is active in their local mosque and community.

“If I had a question, I’d turn to my mother first because she is so knowledgeable. If she didn’t know the answer, she knew a learned woman who did.”

A fierce believer in the education of her children, Farihah’s mother immersed her family in gatherings of learning and remembrance. As the children grew older, she encouraged them to get out there to give talks and spread their knowledge.

A Patchy History

“I realised then that whatever knowledge I had was patchy because I hadn’t systematically learned any aspect of the deen from A to Z, with order and structure. I went online to search for answers and it genuinely scared me to see how many different views and answers there were. And then, I came across SeekersHub.”

Structured But Not Rigid

Farihah began with a SeekersHub course on Hanafi fiqh. All SeekersHub courses come in bite-size parts and are structured but not bound by rigid schedules.

“I have really busy weekends and evenings so the SeekersHub option of downloading the lessons and getting through several in one sitting suits me perfectly. I am allowed to move at my own pace. I don’t grow frustrated that I am not being some kind of ideal student.”

Skepticism

Two years and several courses on, Farihah now keeps up with daily visits to the SeekersHub Answers section, where a panel of scholars answer the public’s questions.

“I feel really comfortable with the ethos of the scholars at SeekersHub. And the questions and answers make me realise I had wondered about the same things but always forgotten to seek the answers.

“My mother was initially skeptical of what benefit there might be from an online but she has changed her opinion a lot. I now summarise my SeekersHub lessons for her regularly and this helps me test my own understanding of what I have learnt. She’s my sounding board and she’s so pleased this has been a good influence on me.”

What Can SeekersHub Offer You Even If You Are Comfortably Muslim? Farihah Akram's Story
Seclusion Amidst Like-Minded People

As someone who loves quiet, reflective time, Farihah signed up to attend this year’s SeekersHub retreat in Toronto.

“Canada is a foreign country, I didn’t know anyone there and this kind of appealed to me. It offered the prospect of seclusion while surrounded by like-minded people, who are also seeking Allah and a connection to the Prophet, peace be upon him.

“My brother accompanied me – initially reluctantly because he had a 7 month old baby and wife at home but he absolutely loved it too. It was an incredible experience for us both and I now crave those kinds of connections back at home and seek to re-create them at every opportunity.”

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The Dangers of Labelling Other Muslims As Sell-Outs, by Ustadh Salman Younas http://seekershub.org/blog/2016/07/labelling-other-muslims-sell-outs-ustadh-salman-younas/ Wed, 13 Jul 2016 16:38:14 +0000 http://seekershub.org/blog/?p=15615 There is a trend amongst Muslims to label individuals who do not conform to their political strategy as “sell-outs”. Ustadh Salman Younas warns us of the danger in doing so. When Shaykh Hamza Yusuf went to the White House after the events of 9/11, he was labelled a “sell-out”. When certain Muslims went to a White House […]

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There is a trend amongst Muslims to label individuals who do not conform to their political strategy as “sell-outs”. Ustadh Salman Younas warns us of the danger in doing so.

When Shaykh Hamza Yusuf went to the White House after the events of 9/11, he was labelled a “sell-out”. When certain Muslims went to a White House iftar, they were also labelled “sell-outs”. Now, Shaykh Omar Suleiman who participated in the Dallas Memorial Service may also be a “sell-out”.

Is it accurate to say that there are certain leaders in the Muslim community who may fit the definition of being sell-outs? Sure. But people need to recognize what that definition is: it is someone who knowingly betrays his principles for reasons of expedience. This is a grave accusation to make against anyone much less a believer, and people will be held accountable for such accusations when they level it against others.

The strategy employed by a scholar or activist may be ill-advised; it may be mistaken, harmful, naive, or wrong. You and I may disagree with it. But none of this necessary entails that such a person is a “sell-out”. People who cannot make this distinction are better off staying silent lest they be held accountable by the Lord of the Worlds for slander, backbiting, and false accusations against others: “You received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things which you had no knowledge; and you thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of God.” (24: 15)

While this applies to all people, it is especially shocking to see such accusations thrown around regarding scholars who have tirelessly served the Muslim community in very precarious and tough circumstances. May God preserve them and us.

Do you want to see an example of someone who actually “sold-out” the Muslims? Hatib, the famous Companion of the Prophet (God bless him). He would inform the polytheists of the Prophet’s affairs. Do you know what his explanation was when the Prophet (God bless him) inquired as to why he did this? Hatib said that he did it for his family and not “because of any unbelief or apostasy.” Do you know what the Prophet (God bless him) said when Umar interrupted and said let me strike the neck of this hypocrite? He said, “Is he not among those who fought for us at the battle of Badr? Perhaps God has pardoned him and has said: do whatever you will because I have guaranteed for you Paradise.” Umar wept. [Ahmad, Musnad with a rigorously authentic chain]

SubhanAllah. How quick our tongues are to accuse people without inquiry into their reasons, without discussing their intentions, without seeking their clarification, without exercising any husn al-dhann in light of their track record and work for the religion. And how sad is it that we see such accusations hurled against reputable scholars who have shown nothing but true concern for our community and who have carried this community on their shoulders through thick and thin.

God is our sufficiency and He is the best of Judges.

 

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The Dangers of Labelling Other Muslims As Sell-Outs, by Ustadh Salman Younas

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