With eager desire you are setting out to acquire knowledge, my friend; of yourself you are making clear how genuine is your longing and how passionate your thirst for it. Be sure that, if in your quest for knowledge your aim is to gain something for yourself and to surpass your fellows, to attract men’s attention to yourself and to amass this worldly vanities, then you are on the way to bring your religion to nothing and destroy yourself, to sell your eternal life for this present one; your bargain is dead loss, your trading without profit.
On the other hand, if in seeking knowledge your intention and purpose between God most high and yourself is to receive guidance and not merely to acquire information, then rejoice. The angels will spread out their wings for you when you walk, and the denizens of the sea will ask pardon from God for you when you run.
Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali
- Story about a man in Mauritania who never said anything until he thought about how he would justify it to Allah on the Day of Judgement.
- Islam is a religion that demands personal rectification and social responsibility.
- Charity obliterates sin like water obliterates fire.
- You can know all the rules, but if you don’t have a sound heart they don’t work. If you don’t have something inside of you that tells you something is wrong, will do what you want when opportunity arises.
- Allah demands of us praise
- Muhammad: the meaning is one who is intensely praised
- Wellbeing has 10 parts: 9 parts is silence, 1 part avoiding people
- The heart is Allah’s domain
- Hadith about if you guard tongue and chastity, guarantee of paradise. Teeth are jailbars to keep words in
- Islam is not just about rigid rules, about maqasid (objectives). Oherwise will be a puritanical madman.
- Recommendation: UTNE Reader
- Imam Ghazali said that the most dangerous thing is to ask “how is so and so?”
- Jane Austen had characters who had nothing to say. Don’t be vacuous like Sir Walter Eliot. Though the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never said anything that wasn’t significant, he did speak, he did ask people how they were.
- Diseases of the heart can be obliterated with tawba (repentance).
~Notes from July 3rd Rihla 2012 Live Stream, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf class.
To end an amazing year of events and classes, the Muslim Students’ Association at the University of Toronto held a lecture recently titled “Getting Serious about Religion” featuring the SeekersHub own Dr Bano Murtuja, and Shaykh Abdul Hakim Quick. For me, it was one of the best, most meaningful lectures I’ve ever been to, and I’m enormously grateful to Dr Bano for gracing us with her presence that night! The event had two major lessons. The first was the subject of Dr Bano’s remarks, that intention, knowledge and service are essential, and the second was something we all felt deep in our hearts: female scholarship is something that is sorely needed to build strong communities. When you have people you admire in your life, you want to emulate them, and Dr Bano was a reminder for all the women in the room that academic excellence, community service, seeking sacred knowledge and being a wonderful person are all compatible. So alhamidullah for the blessing of strong female exemplars, it truly changes the way you understand yourself and the things you should be devoting your time and attention towards. Notes below from the event, and the talk in its entirety can be found here.
Selections from Week 2 of this blessed class.
- When seeking knowledge, have to be very careful about what you’re seeking it for. Same applies for anything that is supposed to be sought for Allah alone. For instance activism, if not doing it explicitly for Allah on path of destroying yourself. Why? Because in doing worldly things, nobody really cares (ie-making a better cake or having better car than someone else), these things may be low ambitions and ultimately meaningless, but on scales of eternity does not have eternal consequences. But any pride or envy when it comes to something of religious significance, destroys, because basis of religious activity is that it must be sincere. Submission is the form one does. The reality is the sincerity within.
- Reality is that your life is a transaction. Allah has created us for a purpose, to submit to Him, in exchange for Paradise. We said “I accept” before we were created in the world of form.
- Servants of the most Merciful tread lightly on the earth because they give everything its due. And because they give everything its due, the rest of creation is thankful.
- If want meaningful success, must have good beginnings. The right beginning is making the right intention and directing yourself in the right way. For ex: To get to Makkah, not actually headed there until direct yourself there. Until direct yourself there, either wasting your time or distancing yourself from your destination.
- Can’t be generous until do generosity. Not just about self talk. Saying I’m calm, I’m generous, this is an illusion until you act in the way that trait/characteristic entails. About outward conduct but also need inward seeking of change. Without both, can actually be harmful.
- What is the reality of your religiosity? Is it self-satisfaction or seeking the pleasure of Allah?
- Very easy to gain microphone fever. It’s a cold without a cure. Many people their religiosity is having good Facebook updates, good twitter updates. And every person shall have what they intended. Those tweets and updates may be benefiting others, but you only get that benefit if that is what you intended.
- Someone who is serving others, teaching others, but doing it only to show off…will be taken to task.
- Saying I’m going to be good without doing any good, and doing anything to express that care is delusion.
- Beneficial knowledge gives you a sense of the greatness of God. That gives you the practical sense of the greatness of God. Need knowledge that enables you to have khashya. Knowledge that comes with awe of Allah, it is for you. If not, it is against you. Which is why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed for protection against knowledge that does not benefit.
- Odious to Allah to say that which you are not concerned to do. (Telling someone to pray while you continue to sit and watch television for example)
- Allah answers the call of the needy.
- Will be asked about knowledge that you had, but did not act in accordance with (ex: knowing the etiquettes of how to eat, and not acting in accordance with those Prophetic habits).
- The gift of being put into existence is an gift from Allah that you can never repay.
- Gift of guidance, wealth, health, if tried to count and enumerate that blessings of Allah, could not because your sense of thankfulness is a gift of which thanks and gratitude is due.
- All that you have is a blessing of Allah. And so you must seek the next abode with what you have.
- Do good, as Allah has been good to you.
- All that you seek is with God alone.
- Close with words of Ibn Ata’illah: Let not the intent of your resolve turn to other beside Allah. For the most Generous, the highest of hopes cannot outstrip Him.
- (Dr Umar reminder: Highest is to seek it for Allah and by Allah. That is contentment in life. When seek from other than Allah, in state of delusion).
- Another hikam: Do not lift any need to other than Allah. For He is the One who gave you the need in the first place. And How can another lift something that Allah has placed? How can one who cannot lift their needs lift another’s needs.
- Religion is not about identity, about sophistication, about finding meaning in life, religion is about God.
- Homework: Listen or read to the commencement address that David Foster Wallace, one of the greatest novelists of the later twentieth century gave titled “This is Water”.
- Love of Allah is the axis around which all good revolves.
This summer, I received a beautiful gift in the form of Imam Ghazali’s book The Beginning of Guidance. What I’ve read so far is beautiful, but the book is also very rich, and I’m only able to read a bit at a time. So when I discovered that the SeekersHub is offering a class on The Beginning of Guidance this winter, it seemed like the perfect way to get to know Imam Ghazali’s work a bit better. I was late logging into the class and mostly listened to what Shaykh Faraz was saying instead of taking notes, but below are few pieces from the lesson. (To hear it properly though, you can tune into the class live from the SeekersHub classroom, or attend in person at the Hub) Till next week insha’Allah..