Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Sh Faraz gem: meaning of words

Alhamdaulillah, last wekeend I was walking aorund with Sh Faraz at the ISNA Canada Bazaar when someone approached him with a pesonal issue. I stuck around for a bit and lo behold I heard a real gem from Sh Faraz. He said, when people say things to us we should not only hear what they are saying, but more importantly, we should try to gauge what they are expressing. (we read something similar in that lovely book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus)

So the meaning behind words is not whats in the dictionary but its whats in the heart. So when a husband who promised to be home at 5 PM from work returns at 7 PM only to see his begum (wife) in fury ( with a frying pan in her hand), he should not just see the external fury his wife has, but also see why she is in fury. ( It may be because she loves him and wants him to spend more time with her and the kids).

Sometimes when we respond to words with words we lose the meaning of what we hear and what we say. How many a times we have been between two people who argue for hours only to find that they were essentially saying the same thing using different words.

The other issue is that we sometimes assume the worst when it comes to meanings behind words. If you don't know what someone means then we should ask! The lack of time ( or our perception that we dont have any) means that we like to jump to conclusions about what what the other person is really saying. Plus, perhaps, the communities around us have become so externalized that the meanings of things have lost their value. We like to be judged and like to judge, not based on what we mean but based what we do (or what we have).

May Allah help us understand those around us and help those around us understand us.

Allahuma Ameen!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sh. Nuh recommends: The Inner Ring by C.S. Lewis

In the 1998 Virgina Suhba tapes Sh Nuh recommended the article ( or transcribed lecture) called the "The Inner Ring" by C.S. Lewis. It is a must read for sure.

"...............I have no right to make assumptions about the degree to which any of you may already be compromised. I must not assume that you have ever first neglected, and finally shaken off, friends whom you really loved and who might have lasted you a lifetime, in order to court the friendship of those who appeared to you more important, more esoteric. I must not ask whether you have ever derived actual pleasure from the loneliness and humiliation of the outsiders after you yourself were in: whether you have talked to fellow members of the Ring in the presence of outsiders simply in order that the outsiders might envy; whether the means whereby, in your days of probation, you propitiated the Inner Ring, were always wholly admirable. I will ask only one question-and it is, of course, a rhetorical question which expects no answer. In the whole of your life as you now remember it, has the desire to be on the right side of that invisible line ever prompted you to any act or word on which, in the cold small hours of a wakeful night, you can look back with satisfaction? If so, your case is more fortunate than most. ..........READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Salikah: The Hikma of Hakim Archuletta

A good summary of Hakim Archuletta's talks last weekend posted by Salikah Bajee. Alhamdaulillah it was the first time I saw Sidi Hakim and it was definately worth listening to his words and also to reflect on them. May Allah give us tawfiq to act on his words.

Read details of the Sidi Hakim's wisdom filled words on Salikah bajee's blog:

Sidi Hakim began by saying "Alhamdulillah, Shukrulillah" -- and he said it with his entire being and mentioned that we cannot begin, but with those words of gratitude to the One without whose permission we could not have gathered together. READ ON

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hadrat Umar and Qadar

We were covering Hikam 22 of Ibn 'Ata' Illah's famous Book of Wisdoms (al-Hikam al-'Ata'iyya) during Sh Zahir's Halaqa last week. The commentry of nthe hikam included the followiung incident related to Hadrat Umar and Qadar ( Decree):

Umar bin al-Khatab was travelling with a group of Sahabas during his Khalifah (leadership). They were coming to a town when they heard that it had a contagious/infectious disease i.e. cholera. Umer asked his group whether they should proceed or go back ( to Madinah). The majority of the Sahabahs said they should go back but some said they should proceed. Then one Sahabi said he knew a hadith where the Prophet, sallahu' alayhi wassalam said, "If you hear that this disease exists in a country, don't travel to that country." So Umar decided that they should go back. Another Sahabi ( it seems from the second group) asked him whether he was running away from a qadar. Umar replied that they are moving away form one qadar to another qadar.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sh Faraz: On means, asking Allah and acting

While covering hadiths from Chapter 7 of Riyadu Salihin ( namely : Certainty and Trust in Allah) during yesterday's halaqa, Shaykh Faraz said:

"the most effectve of means is to Ask Allah and the most effective means of asking Allah is to act"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sporting Spirituality : Squash


( note: this article should be useful even if you don't play squash)

After a 2 month lay off ( re: ankle injury), alhamdaulillah, I am back on the squash court again ( though I bruised my forehead today! there is a ball mark on it!).

I have been reflecting on what I should be thinking at each moment ( as a Muslim) on the squash court. Because essentially, the events on a squash court do represent what life is all about. Its about trails and tribulations-and how well you deal with them. And if you are a true Momin, if you are a true Muslim and if you are a true Mohsin, you should know that success or failure in those trails and tribulations will only bring you closer to Allah SWT.

Of course by stating the following I make no claim to be doing what I am saying, but in fact I am saying what I should be doing and also pointing to the reality of what I don't do. May Allah help me realize what I say. Allahumma Ameen

Well, recently when I re-entered the squash court after a long lay off, I realized how much I had been missing and how ungrateful I had been about playing the game. The game is good physical exercise, helps one sleep better and also a great stress reliever. So the first state when one enters the squash court should be one of thankfulness to Allah for giving us the ability of playing squash.

Intentions and Goals:
When one enters the squash court, one should be clear as to what one's intention is. Your intention in all permissible actions should ( ideally) be that it is for the sake of Allah. Why is it for the sake of Allah? How can you intend that? Well that intention is related to your goal. The goal is to get fit, that one sleeps better and ultimately the goal is that one does all of this so one can worship ALlah better. So goals and intenetions for playing squash, are both that you do it for whom?You do it for Allah.

You might enter the court and already think your better then your opponent. While it is good to have confidence, the confidence should not be expressed in a derogatory way ( even internally) to your opponent but know that all ability you have is due to Allah SWT and he could take that ability away form you at any moment so you better be thankful for it and also not be proud of it because that ability is not yours. It is a gift from Allah. And what is the best way to express thanks for a gift. It is by not saying Alhamdaulillah wa shukrillah verbally but also to use the gift to the best of one's ability while not looking down at others because of it.

On the contrary the other player could be better then you. However you do not enter the court thinking that he is better because of himself . In fact, you know it is Allah who has given him this gift. Instead of asking Allah to decrease him, you ask Allah to increase you, so you can compete with him for His sake.

Once you start the game, you should be content with the general proceedings of things. As in: you should be regretful for past points and games. Things happen for a reason and if you lost a point, your job is to move on ( after learning form your mistake) but not to negatively lament at your fortune.

Leave that which does not concern you:
Your opponent will try his best. You watch out for him but you dont watch out for him to the extent that you lose focus of what your doing yourself. You keep playing and only focus on the other player to the extent that it affects you.

There are many opportunities before, during and after game where you can make numerous dhikrs. It can be a simple as a Bismilah. Or it can be Alhamdaulillah after a great shot. Or it can Subhanallah after a great shot by your opponent.

More Shukr:
No matter what part of the game we are in, we should make sure that we are in a state of thankfulness. Know that even being on the court is a blessing. And playing a game and being able to exercise is a blessing. In a few years you will struggle to walk. So make use of your time and resources the best you can for His sake and be thankful for everything that you have so that he may reward you and increase you.

If you lose a point or if you want something to happen in the match. You might have a strategy to achieve what you want to achieve i.e. the means. However, it is important that you precede the strategy or plan with dua and sustain it with dua and end it with dua. The one who makes dua knows that its a win win situation. At the very least Inshah Allah you will be reward in the hereafter for just making a dua!

Tawakul/trust in Allah:
While taking the means, make sure that you trust in Allah and not in your ability. What was meant to miss could not have hit and what was meant to miss could not have hit. Your job is to hit the squash ball and try your best, the rest is all upto Allah. You will see sometimes you or your opponent will get lucky bounces or breaks. That is by the will of Allah like everything else that happens on the court. So don't be over awed, no matter what happens. Trust in Allah!

End Result:
Don't be haughty if you win. Know that it is Allah who bestowed you with the win. He could make you lose all your ability at the very moment you display your pride. It is he who gave you the ability so thank Him and thank Him for letting you thank Him. Thank your opponent for giving you a good game because it takes two to play a squash game and who so ever has not thanked people has not thanked Allah.

On the other hand, Don't be distraught if you lose. Instead take lessons from your loss and know that at the very least you will be rewarded for your noble intention and noble aims/goals. . Don't be bitter and go congratulate your opponent for a good game. Moreover, Inshahallah make dua that you get more chances. Inshaha Allah it might be that you will win against another opponent on another day or that you will win against the same opponent on another day, if Allah gives you Tawfiq. Also your intention/ goal was to stay fit for His sake, so you did actually achieve your goal by getting some exercise. And inshahAllah, the Rahman and the Raheem rewards you for it.

May Allah help implement what I say cause I only say it through his will and I can only implement it through his will. Allahhuma Amen!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sh Faraz: 2 Principles of excellence

At last week's halaqa, Shaykh Faraz mentioned two hadiths which lay the basis of the two principles of excellence:

1."...........Be avid for that which benefits...." (Related by Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurayra – God be pleased with him)

Din reflects: Benefits being from this world and the next world. But we should keep in mind that the benefit of this world are at their best when they are a means for the next world. How do we do that with normal worldly actions? We do that via intention.

2. "From the excellence of a man's Islam is to leave that which does not concern him." [A sound (hasan) hadith, transmitted by Tirmidhi and others]

Din reflects: That would include lowering one's gaze in public and not looking to see what all others are doing, unless one can benefit them or oneself. It would also entail avoiding pointless gossiping about others or tale bearing. "Oh, so and so is doing such and such"......"Oh guess who had a fight with whom". Or even having thoughts about what others are doing when it is of no benefit to oneself. Its about maximizing one's benefit by focusing on things that matter for one self in this world and the next.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Episodes of the Pious: Imam Junayd's student

A student from the Attaining Good Character course on SunniPath, wrote this assignment about one of Junayd's students ( printed with permission from the student):


Alhamdaulillah, there are many lessons one can learn from the pious of the past. The knowledge they had was realized into actions, which in turn transformed their states, which in turn transformed the states of those around him.

One such person we read about recently is Abul Qasim al-Junayd. The following biography is taken from Sections x51 of Reliance of the Traveler ( Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Revised Edition, 1994, Amana Publications):

Abul Qasim al-Junayd ibn Muhammad ibn al-Junayd, Abu-al-Qasim al Baghdadi. Imam of the Sufis, he comprehensively joined between law and way, outward and inward, one the most renowned mystics of Islamic History and at the same time an outstanding scholar of the Sacred Law in school of Abu Thawr. The historian Ibn al-Athir described him as the “the Imam of the World of his time”. Junayd once defined Sufism as “dissociating the beginingless eternal from that which originates in time (ifrad al-qadim ' an al hadith),”and on another occasion simply as |the experience (al-dhawq),” both of which are typical of his succinctness. Though he left few written works his sayings are preserved among the Sufis yo whom he remains an important authority of the path. He died in Baghdad in 297/910 (Al-A\lam(y136), 2.141; and n).

The following incident relates to one of Junayd's disciples and the impact his teachings had on his students. (Episodes from
Tadhkirat al-Auliya’
(Memorial of the Saints) by Farid al-Din Atta Translated A.J. Arberry, Omphalokepis Publications, Iowa, 2000):

The shaikh Jonaid had a disciple whom he loved above all the others. The other disciples were moved to jealousy, a fact which the shaikh realized by his mystic intuition. “He is superior to you in manners and understanding,”he told them. “That is what I had in view; let us make an experiment, so that you may also realize it.”Jonaid commanded twenty birds to be brought to him. “Each of you take one,” he told his disciples. “In a place where no one can see you kill it, then bring it back.”

All the disciples went off and killed and brought back the birds—all, that is, except that favorite disciple. He brought his bird back alive

Why did you not kill it?” Jonaid asked him.

“Because the master said it must be done in a place where no one can see,” the disciple answered. “Wherever I went, God saw.”

“You see the measure of his understanding!” Jonaid exclaimed. “Compare that with that of the others.”

All the other disciples begged God’s forgiveness.

Alhamdaulillah, we learned in Lesson 4, that we as believers should have sincerity in intentions, words and deeds. The above incident shows how a truthful person knows that, truthful is not only being truthful in front of people, but also being truthful when we are alone. So if we say that we will -or wont -do something, the purpose and aim should not be to do it so others see it but it should be because Allah sees it, regardless whether we are with people or without them.

May Allah make us of those who use this knowledge to improve our actions which in turn inshahAllah raise our states. Allahumma Ameen!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Quotes from Drops of Wisdom

Recently, I browsed through Drops of Wisdom, a collection of wonderful inspiring quotes (definitely worth a visit). Here is a few we liked among many others:


Its about You, Your Lord and the Grave – nothing else matters. [Shaykh Nuh Keller]


Sometimes in order to help He makes us cry
Happy the eye that sheds tears for His sake
Fortunate the heart that burns for His sake
Laughter always follow tears
Blessed are those who understand
Life blossoms wherever water flows

Where tears are shed divine mercy is shown
- Rumi


al-Imâm ash-Shâfi'î said to one of his students: "Do not speak about things that do not concern you, for indeed, every time that you speak a word, it takes control of you and you do not have control of it!"


"…It is unimaginably different, and unimaginable, eternal bliss. Worry about getting there: then, you'll have no worries…" [Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (may Allah increase him) giving a description of happiness in Jannah in a QnA on SunniPath]


Heres a beautiful story that Mawlana Ar-Rumi tells :
Once a man was making duaa and he was doing ill-hah, like begging Allah. A
cynic passed by and he said to him, "how long have you been asking?"
The man replied, "for many many years."
"have you recieved an answer yet?"
The man replied, "no."
"Then why are you still asking?"
Then Rumi said, the man fell into a confused sleep-because the cynic had put
shak (doubt) in his heart. Then the man said in his sleep he had seen
Al-Khidr, and Al-Khidr said, "why did you leave your supplication?"
he said, "because i realized i had been doing it all these years and i never
got the answer."
and Al-Khidr said, "dont you realize? the supplication was the answer."
For more quotes visit Drops of Wisdom

RIS EVENT: Islam and the Environment

Alhamdulillah, quite excited about this upcoming event inshahAllah! :-D

The youth organizers of the largest Muslim gathering in Canada, RIS Convention, are organizing a public lecture entitled "Faith and the Environment" on May 17, 2008. The lecture will be held at the Medical Sciences Building at University of Toronto (St. George Campus) from 6PM - 9PM. This lecture is part of RIS's Revival Series that is committed to engage its participants with relevant and challenging issues facing us in Canada.

Environment has been a focus of our discussion in Canada for last many years but has taken a main stage over the recent past due to alarming signs of Global Warming and Natural Disasters. The theme of the event is chosen to reach out to a diverse audience, including the religious community, to educate people on the importance of preserving our environment and providing awareness of how religion, and more specifically Islam, promotes this concept.

The evening panel will include distinguished speakers Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Mr. Hakim Archuletta. Both speakers have been chosen based on their expertise on this subject. Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr (( is a professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University and one of the leading experts on Islamic science and spirituality. Mr. Hakim Archuletta ( is an expert in homeopathic medicine and has worked within the healing arts profession for over 30 years.

Public Lecture information

Medical Sciences Building
McLeod Auditorium - University of Toronto
St George Campus
Toronto, Ontario

6:00PM TO 9:00PM
May 17, 2008

Registration: $10 per person for the public lecture


One Day Intensive Program information

Living Arts Centre
Mississauga, Ontario

10:00AM TO 4:00PM
May 17, 2008

Registration: $15 per person for the one day intensive program

We invite you to take part in these unique programs and help spread information about it to friends and family. Details are attached and are also available on our website

Please feel free to contact us at for further assistance. We look forward to seeing you at these programs.

To register and for more information please visit:

There are limited seats for these events, so please register at your earliest convenience.