Why travel for a class when there is so much available online? I asked myself that question yesterday evening when a massive traffic jam delayed our arrival to class. Afterwards, I realised that when I listen to something online my attention is more likely to wander, I tend to multi-task, and even when I can concentrate fully it is easy for the reminders to slip past me. With these in-person classes though, the preparation required to attend the class helps with remembering what we’ve learnt. I have to plan my day so that I can leave work at the right time, during the journey to Missisauga my excitement and anticipation increases, and the lessons and reminders feel that much more beautiful because there are other people participating at the same time.
In addition, though I often resist hearing advice because it means I have to change my habits, Shaykh Faraz’s reminders are mixed with such memorable incidents and funny ancedotes that l laugh and smile throughout the lesson, and then later on realise that I’ve actually been given some very relevant pieces of advice. Because the lesson is offered with so much kindness I don’t mind being shown different areas where I need to improve, and I want to make the effort to be better.
This week’s post is longer because there were so many beautiful gems, but still, this isn’t a full outline of my notes. (For that, you’ll have to come to class!). Till next week insha’Allah…
- Saying the good means saying that which is of benefit. If you don’t know whether speaking is going to be of benefit to others, stay silent.
- Modern spirituality is about you and growing yourself, but true faith is about God. True sincerity is in dealing with others because it is much easier to try and make your ruku straight, but much harder to keep smiling when your spouse is being irritating or unreasonable. True sincerity is about conducting yourself in a way that is most pleasing to Allah.
- In marriage, don’t think about how you feel in a situation, think about what is most pleasing to Allah.
- There are three critical relationships that are barometers of the health of your heart and the trueness of your submission to Allah. You and your parents, you and your spouse, and you and your children. These are not the only barometers, but they are key.
- Don’t make a claim of the inward without corrobating it with your outward conduct.
- If you’re going to say something, have good things to say. You’re not running the world, and if there is no benefit in saying something, it’s not of concern to you. So if you criticize a dish of food (saying there is too much oil for instance) your criticism will not uncook the food, and people will not cease to eat it, so why say anything? The Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) did not correct people directly or in public. He corrected people indirectly, and if he had to do so directly, he did so in private.
- We do not just say the truth, we say what is of genuine benefit.
- Never take on a trust except that a) you have the resolve to fulfill it, and b) you are reasonably sure that you can fulfill it. There is no religion in one who cannot fufill their commitments.
- Gatherings are a trust. What is said when people are gathered for a private gathering, you are not allowed to repeat.
- Our deen is about balanced caution. We are cautious about doing that which is most pleasing to Allah, but it’s not about being “strict.” Because if you take a step back and think about it, if you embarass someone or are rude in your behaviour, how could that possibly be pleasing to Allah? It’s only possible though to act correctly if you know what is most pleasing to Allah, if you know what is not only incumbent on you, but also what is virtuous. You need to know what is clear and the principles by which to judge that which is doubtful. And you can’t be cautious unless you’re in the context of community and see people practising in a balanced way. You need to see people trying to uphold the sunna with excellence.
- A test of faith is to ask yourself: do you really wish for others what you wish for yourself? Virtue is gained by practising it, and so you must train yourself. Once in a while, if you like something, get it for someone else. Or on a lower level, if you want to get if for yourself, get it for someone else also. By exchanging gifts people grow to love one another.
- Shariah is an expression of Divine Mercy and any understanding of Shariah that is lacking in mercy is lacking in understanding.
- There are two types of company. That which is beneficial in and of itself, and that which promotes the good, which is any company kept with a good intention and in a good way. (for example, your relationships with your neighbours, your colleagues, and other people) This second type of company becomes good with the intention of seeking the pleasure of Allah, by fulfilling the sunna, fulfilling the good. Our core company should be with people we want to be like, but we shouldn’t be defensive in our circles. The Prophet would reach out to people and keep company with them in a good way.
- One of the bidah’s of our age is that people only keep company of people of the same age. That was not the way of the Companions.
- Extreme closeness can be a veil. Many of us for example, don’t see the goodness of our parents.
- Some company we should choose purely for religious benefit, even if the person has nothing in common with us. In the mosque for instance, you will meet aunties radiating with light, sit down, spend time with them and benefit.
- It is a sunna that when someone is travelling, you should make dua for them.
- Be careful with what you listen to, because junk sound can desensitize you to the greatest of things, the Qur’an.