Gnosis, Psychology and the Spiritual Journey.

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I, iconoclast.

How is it that the second I open my mouth, you place me in your box?
and no, I don’t mean the “Muslim box”..that’s obvious.
I mean the “You look white, but something’s different about you” box..
the “Are you from the country, or did you just get hit in the head too many times?” box.

Maybe it’s before I even open my mouth, in a futile attempt to somehow get a point across in a way that will not be received through a filter
a filter of preconceptions of what you think I am..

No, maybe it’s the just the way I carry myself. It may not be words at all..

Maybe you see the constant strained look on my face that I call a “determined stare”, but you call a frown.
Truth is I’m not angry, I’m really just deep in thought.

Maybe you see that at 23 years of age I already have a nice collection of scowl lines and scars etched into my face.
You must be thinking,”This young man must have grown up OVER THERE, in one of those tv shows I saw on Lifetime while I was nice and cozy inside my gated community wondering what that life would be like for one day.”
Or maybe you see the skin on my knuckles, which will forever tell on itself for having punched everything from brick to glass to teeth.
Perhaps you think I’m violent, or maybe just underclass. “A product of my environment”.

The truth is you’ll never know.
You create a barrier, a barrier you will never learn to see past.

And in the end I’m really not complex. I am just a man. A man like any other, trying to live this thing called life and fill the shoes of the man who made him, a man he never knew. And that’s what my challenge is.


A du’a for surrender.

 

 

I seek refuge in God

from my knowledge and acts.

 

I am weak as a moth

to endure the fire.

 

The majesty of glory

has burned all discernment.

I confess I am powerless,

submissive and inert.

 

-taken from a poem by Abu al-Hasan al-Shushtar

 


Letting go

I took this from the brother Abdur Rahim’s blog, may Allah reward him.

 

Bismillah

 

It’s a habit of yours to walk slowly.

You hold a grudge for years.

With such heaviness, how can you be modest?

With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?

 

Be wide as the air to learn a secret.

Right now you’re equal portions clay

and water, thick mud.

 

Abraham learned how the sun and moon and the stars all set.

He said, No longer will I try to assign partners for God.

 

You are so weak. Give up to Grace.

The ocean takes care of each wave

till it gets to the shore.

You need more help than you know.

You’re trying to live your life in open scaffolding.

Say Bismillah, In the Name of God,

as the priest does with a knife when he offers an animal.

 

Bismillah your old self

to find your real name.

-Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi

 

And while you read those last four lines, ponder this ayat:

‎[Kausar 108:2] “So offer the prayers for your Lord, and perform the sacrifice.”

 

May Allah bless you and keep you, ameen.


Be the change you want to see

 

Abu Musa reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “You will not be true believers until you are merciful with one another.” They said: “O, Messenger of Allah, we are all merciful!” He said: “It is not that you should be merciful to each other, but you should also merciful in general.” [Note: Agreed upon, Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab and Muslim in Al-Fada`l]

‘Loving-kindness is drawn to the saint, as medicine goes

to the pain it must cure.
Where there is pain, the remedy follows:
wherever the lowlands are, the water goes.
If you want the water of mercy, make yourself low;
then drink the wine of mercy and be drunk.
Mercy upon mercy rises to your head like a flood.
Don’t settle on a single mercy, O son.
Bring the sky beneath your feet
and listen to celestial music everywhere’
Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi(2.1938-1942)


Rumi

When I am with you, we stay up all night,
When you’re not here, I can’t get to sleep.
Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.


This is why purification of the heart is important.

Purification of the Heart

From the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, and Imam Ghazali

Types of Hearts

Just as the heart may be described in terms of being alive or dead, it may also be regarded as belonging to one of three types; these are the healthy heart, the dead heart, and the sick heart.

The Healthy Heart

On the Day of Resurrection, only those who come to Allah with a healthy heart will be saved. Allah says: “The day on which neither wealth nor sons will be of any use, except for whoever brings to Allah a sound heart. (26:88-89)”

In defining the healthy heart, the following has been said: “It is a heart cleansed from any passion that challenges what Allah commands, or disputes what He forbids. It is free from any impulses which contradict His good. As a result, it is safeguarded against the worship of anything other than Him, and seeks the judgment of no other except that of His Messenger (s). Its services are exclusively reserved for Allah, willingly and lovingly, with total reliance, relating all matters to Him, in fear, hope and sincere dedication. When it loves, its love is in the way of Allah. If it detests, it detests in the light of what He detests. When it gives, it gives for Allah. If it withholds, it withholds for Allah. Nevertheless, all this will not suffice for its salvation until it is free from following, or taking as its guide, anyone other than His Messenger (s). Those who follow the Prophet (s) in observing his Sunnah and the Shari`ah are guides to those who had not met him (s).

A servant with a healthy heart must dedicate it to its journey’s end and must not give precedence to any other faith or words or deeds over those of Allah and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and those who are rightly guided, keeping the Prophetic example. Allah says:

“Oh you who believe, do not put yourselves above Allah and His Messenger, but fear Allah, for Allah is Hearing, Knowing. (49:1)”

The Dead Heart

This is the opposite of the healthy heart. It does not know its Lord and does not worship Him as He commands, in the way which He likes, and with which He is pleased. It clings instead to its lusts and desires, even if these are likely to incur Allah’s displeasure and wrath. It worships things other than Allah, and its loves and its hatreds, and its giving and its withholding, arise from its whims, which are of paramount importance to it and preferred above the pleasure of Allah. Its whims are its imam. Its lust is its guide. Its ignorance is its leader. Its crude impulses are its impetus. It is immersed in its concern with worldly objectives. It is drunk with its own fancies and its love for hasty, fleeting pleasures.

It is called to Allah and the akhira from a distance but it does not respond to advice, and instead it follows any scheming, cunning shaytan. Life angers and pleases it, and passion makes it deaf and blind1 to anything except what is evil.

To associate and keep company with the owner of such a heart is to tempt illness: living with him is like taking poison, and befriending him means utter destruction.

The Sick Heart

This is a heart with life in it, as well as illness. The former sustains it at one moment, the latter at another, and it follows whichever one of the two manages to dominate it. It has love for Allah, faith in Him, sincerity towards Him, and reliance upon Him, and these are what give it life. It also has a craving for lust and pleasure, and prefers them and strives to experience them. It is full of self-admiration, which can lead to its own destruction. It listens to two callers: one calling it to Allah and His Prophet (s) and the afterlife (akhira); and the other calling it to the fleeting pleasures of this world. It responds to whichever one of the two happens to have most influence over it at the time.

The first heart is alive, submitted to Allah, humble, sensitive and aware; the second is brittle and dead; the third wavers between either its safety or its ruin.

Symptoms Of the Heart’s Sickness and Signs of Its Health

“He it is Who sent down calmness and tranquillity into the hearts of the believers, that they may grow more in Faith along with their (present) Faith. And to Allah belong the hosts of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is Ever Al-Knower, All-Wise.” The Holy Quran: 48:4

Four-Symptoms Of the Heart’s Sickness and Signs of Its Health

The Signs of a Sick Heart

A servant’s heart may be ill, and seriously deteriorating, while he remains oblivious of its condition. It may even die without him realising it. The symptoms of its sickness, or the signs of its death, are that its owner is not aware of the harm that results from the damage caused by wrong actions, and is unperturbed by his ignorance of the truth or by his false beliefs.

Since the living heart experiences pain as a result of any ugliness that it encounters and through its recognising its ignorance of the truth (to a degree that corresponds to its level of awareness), it is capable of recognising the onset of decay-and the increase in the severity of the remedy that will be needed to stop it-but then sometimes it prefers to put up with the pain rather than undergo the arduous trial of the cure!

Some of the many signs of the heart’s sickness if its turning away from good foods to harmful ones, from good remedies to shameful sickness. The healthy heart prefers what is beneficial and healing to what is harmful and damaging; the sick heart prefers the opposite. The most beneficial sustenance for the heart is faith and the best medicine is the Qur’an.

The Signs of a Healthy Heart

For the heart to be healthy it should depart from this life and arrive in the next, and then settle there as if it were one of its people; it only came to this life as a passer-by, taking whatever provisions it needed and then returning home. As the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to Abdullah ibn Umar, “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a passer-by.”2 The more diseased the heart is, the more it desires this world; it dwells in it until it becomes like one of its people.

The healthy heart continues to trouble its owner until he returns to Allah, and is at peace with Him, and reaches Him, like a lover driven by compulsion who finally reaches his beloved. Besides his love for Him he needs no other, and after invoking Him no other invocations are needed. Serving Him precludes the need to serve any other.

If this heart misses its share of reciting the Qur’an and invoking Allah (dhikrullah), or completing one of the prescribed acts of worship, then its owner suffers more distress than a cautious man who suffers because of the loss of money or a missed opportunity to make it. It longs to serve, just as a famished person longs for food and drink.

Yahya ibn Mu’adh said:

Whoever is pleased with serving Allah, everything will be pleased to serve him; and whoever finds pleasure in contemplating Allah, all the people will find pleasure in contemplating him.

This heart has only one concern: that all its actions, and its inner thoughts and utterances, are obedient to Allah. It is more careful with its time than the meanest people are with their money, so that it will not be spent wastefully. When it enters into the prayer, all its worldly worries and anxieties vanish and it finds its comfort and bliss in adoring its Lord. It does not cease to mention Allah, nor tire of serving Him, and it finds intimate company with no-one save a person who guides it to Allah and reminds it to Him.

Its attention to the correctness of its action is greater than its attention to the action itself. It is scrupulous in making sure that the intentions behind its actions are sincere and pure and that they result in good deeds.

As well as and in spite of all this, it not only testifies to the generosity of Allah in giving it the opportunity to carry out such actions, but also testifies to its own imperfection and shortcomings in executing them.

The Causes of Sickness of the Heart

The temptations to which the heart is exposed are what cause its sickness. These are the temptations of desires and fancies. The former cause intentions and the will to be corrupted, and the latter cause knowledge and belief to falter.

Hudhayfa ibn al-Yamani, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

The Messenger of Allah (s) said, “Temptations are presented to the heart, one by one. Any heart that accepts them will be left with a black stain, but any heart that rejects them will be left with a mark of purity, so that hearts are of two types: a dark heart that has turned away and become like an overturned vessel, and a pure heart that will never be harmed by temptation for as long as the earth and the heavens exist. The dark heart only recognises good and denounces evil when this suits its desires and whims.3

He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, placed hearts, when exposed to temptation, into two categories:

First, a heart which, when it is exposed to temptation, absorbs it like a sponge that soaks up water, leaving a black stain in it. It continues to absorb each temptation that is offered to it until it is darkened and corrupted, which is what he meant by “like an overturned vessel”. When this happens, two dangerous sicknesses take hold of it and plunge it into ruin:

The first is that of its confusing good with evil, to such an extent that it does not recognise the former and does not denounce the latter. This sickness may even gain hold of it to such an extent that it believes good to be evil and vice-versa, the Sunnah to be bida’ and vice-versa, the truth to be false and falsity to be the truth.

The second is that of its setting up its desires as its judge, over and above what the Prophet (s) taught, so that it is enslaved and led by its whims and fancies.

Second, a pure heart which the light of faith is bright and from which its radiance shines. When temptation is presented to pure hearts such this, they oppose it and reject it, and so their light and illumination only increase.

NOTES:

1. It has been related on the authority of Abu’d-Darda’ that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Your love for something that makes you blind and deaf.” Abu Daw’ud, al-Adab, 14/38; Ahmad, al-Musnad, 5/194. The hadith is classified as hasan.

2. Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab ar-Riqaq, 11/233.

3. Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, 2/170 (with different wording).


Imam Al Ghazali on Dunya and “pleasure”

The highest pleasure in food is the vomit of bees–- honey.
The highest pleasure in cloth excrement of worms–- silk.
The highest pleasure in smell is the mucus of a gazelles–- musk.
The highest pleasure in drink is the most abundant thing in the world–- water.
The highest pleasure in pleasure is the meeting of the two urinary tracks–- sexual intercourse.
Imam al Ghazali 

Devotional Music in Singapore.


Daily Wird (devotion) example

A general outline of my own daily Wird, in hopes of inspiring the reader that they may also benefit inshallah.

Upon waking: “Alhumdulillahil lazi Ahyana Ba’da ma Amatana Wa Ilaihin-nushur” (All praises due to Allah, who revived us to life after giving us death, and to Him we shall have to return)

“Alhumdulillahi Rabil ‘alamin” (All praise due to Allah, Lord of the worlds)

After Fajr: Yaa ‘Azizu Yaa Allah (100 times)
(‘O The Mighty, ‘O Allah)
After Zuhr: Yaa Karimu Yaa Allah (100 times)
(‘O The Generous, ‘O Allah)
After ‘Asar: Yaa Jabbaru Yaa Allah (100 times)
(‘O The Compeller, ‘O Allah)
After Maghrib: Yaa Sattaru Yaa Allah (100 times)
(‘O The Concealer of faults, ‘O Allah)
After ‘Isha: Yaa Ghaffaru Yaa Allah (100 times)
(‘O The Forgiver, ‘O Allah)

Also before bed, after witr prayer:

Zikr ul-Fatima (Subhanallah, Alhumdulillah, Allah hu akbar) x33

“Allahuma bismika amuta wa ahya” (Oh Allah, with your name I die and I live)

“Bismillahil lazi la ilaha illa huwa” (In the name of Allah, there is no god except Him)

“Allahuma Anta hassanta khalqi fa-hassin khuluqi” (Oh Allah, you have made my physical shape beautiful, so beautify my character too)

“Allahuma a’inni ‘ala zikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatika” (Oh Allah, help me at your rememberance, thanks, and good worship)

“Bismillahi a’uzu billahi wa qudratihi min sharri ma ajidu wa uhaziru” (In the name of Allah, I seek refuge with Allah and with His power from every evil that I may find or the fear of which ever haunts me)

“Ya Rabbi lakal hamdu kama yanbaghili jalali wajhika wa’azimi sultanika” (Oh my Lord, all praises be to You as it should be due to your Might and the Greatness of your Power)

“Rabbigh-firli waliwali dayya walil mu’minina yauma yaqumul-hisabu Rabbir hamhuma kama rabbayani saghiran” (Oh my Lord, forgive me, my parents, and Muslims in the hereafter. Oh Lord, show mercy on them as they have nourished me when I was young)

Surah Fatihah

Surah Kafirun

Surah Ikhlas

Surah Falaq

Surah Nas

Rabbana ( Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil ‘akhirati hasanatan waqina ‘adhaban-nar.”

“Our Lord! grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire.” (2:201) )

Ayatul Kursi (2:255)

Durud Sharif (sending prayers to Prophet Muhammad saws and Prophet Ibrahim as)

astagfirullah (Allah forgive us) 100 times
la illa ha illallah (There is no god but Allah) 100 times, Muhammadur rasulallah (Muhammad is the messenger of Allah) 1 time
Yaa as Salam (Oh Giver of Peace) 100 times
May this benefit you.

Reflection on the 99 beautiful names of Allah-#17, Ar-Razzāq.

Just a few things I’ve been thinking about lately..I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a little while now, but I’ve been very busy. Yet as always, the show must go on.

Disclaimer: I am not, I repeat, I am NOT a scholar of Islam. Please do not take this as an official statement of Islamic doctrine. This is just some of my own reflecting, in relation to my own practice of Islam. I hope this benefits whoever reads it.

Bismillah Ir Rahman Ir Rahim, In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

The first name I would like to reflect on is  #17:

الرزاق

Ar-Razzāq

The Ever Providing

I had a discussion with my fiancé about how over-eating and being miserly with money are diseases of the heart the other day. To be fair, this wasn’t all based on original thought. I had the general idea, but seeing a video a good friend of mine made on the topic helped to put the thoughts into words.

The reason I say they are diseases of the heart is that these behaviors stem from fear and uncertainty. It’s often been said that fear and faith cannot live in the same heart. This fear comes from a lack of faith, uncertainty that Allah will provide for your needs. We are told in the Qu’ran ul kareem that Allah is our only sustainer, and that everything we will gain in this dunya is already alotted for us before we’re even born. And yet, we worry about where our next buck or our next meal is coming from. We all do it, don’t get me wrong. I’m not writing this to place myself on a high horse. I’m simply trying to show how these behaviors come from a lack of faith, and harden the heart to Allah. Doesn’t this mean that avoiding these behaviors will then help to soften the heart?

Consider this Hadith:

On the authority of Al-Miqdaam ibn Maadiy-Karib who said: I heard the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying:
“No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.”
[Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa’I, Ibn Majah – Hadith sahih]

Now think of all the vessels on this earth.  There’s some very bad ones, filled with some very bad things. And of all of these, our stomach is the worse. There’s a lot to be said about that.

Is it not safe to assume that Rasulallah (Saws) had deep wisdom in proclaiming this? I find it a bit shallow to assume the reason he said this had no spiritual benefit whatsoever. Nor does he speak from whim. It is nothing but Revelation revealed. (Surat al-Najm: 3-4)

Let us all reflect on this aspect of our Lord. Isn’t saying “Ash hadu la illa ha il Allah” saying we believe in ALL his attributes? I find that for myself, part of growing in this deen is applying this reflection to my daily habits. I’m not 100%, I’m human, I’m fallible. However, I make the effort. I do the work, and when I do I see the benefits.  So why not try this way of eating, keeping in mind that it’s to increase our belief, to increase our trust in Allah? That he is our only sustainer, and Ar-Razzāq, The Ever Providing?

Same goes for the hoarding of money. Now of course, this does not mean to be frivolous and irresponsible, after all we will be asked how we spent our money on the day of Qiyam. However, to withhold money from our dependents, go hungry, and otherwise inconvenience ourselves out of fear of poverty is another effect of a lack of faith in this aspect of Allah.

In the Qu’ran, Allah tells us that some of the unbelievers used to kill their own children for fear of poverty! Though  as Muslims we would not do the same, this same fear afflicts many of us today.

“kill not your children because of poverty — We provide sustenance for you and for them”

[al-An’aam 6:151]

“And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin”

[al-Isra’ 17:31]

I do not have to go too far back to recall stories in the news about single mothers dropping their babies in dumpsters and the like, based on the fear that they could not provide for them.  As Always, Allah’s wisdom is endless, and the Qu’ran once again proves itself and its validity.

Also,

“Verily, Allaah is the All‑Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong”

[al-Dhaariyaat 51:58]

“And no moving (living) creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allaah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterus or grave). All is in a Clear Book (Al‑Lawh Al‑Mahfooz — the Book of Decrees with Allaah)”

“Who is he that can provide for you if He should withhold His provision? Nay, but they continue to be in pride, and (they) flee (from the truth)”

[al-Mulk 67:21]

“And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At‑Tayyibaat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment”

[al-Isra’ 17:70]

Now consider this news story:

a report on the BBC website on 1/9/2004 said:

Official statistics show that thirty-three thousand people killed themselves last year in Japan. Japanese officials say that one of the reasons for this rise in the suicide rate is the economic recession that Japan is facing, which is regarded as the worst in fifty years. This has led to an unprecedented rise in unemployment as well as a rise in cases of depression, especially among middle-aged men. End quote.

We must integrate this belief into our life, for obvious reasons.

Sufyan Thawri said: “The strongest weapon of Satan to entrap man is the fear of poverty.”

Au’zu billahi min ar shaitan ir rajim. I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the accursed one. I ask Allah to cleanse our hearts and to increase our iman. Ameen.

May this benefit you and Jazak Allah khair, may Allah reward you for reading.