Purifying Our Hearts at U of T (Session 2 with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani)

On Tuesday we had our second dars with Shaykh Faraz studying Imam Haddad’s Poem of Counsel, and it was beautiful. It’s a busy time of term, and given all the places people could be instead, it was lovely to sit in the MultiFaith centre and look around at all the students who came (despite many students having a long commute home!) to talk and learn about spirituality and their own heart.

In this lesson, we learnt about the importance of propriety (adab), about the treasures in the 40 Hadith of Imam Nawawi, about the stages of education, and were introduced to Syed Muhammed al-Attas. As always, these are not complete notes, but they do give you a flavour for the class. Please do keep the note-taker in your duas!

  1. We strive to be of the foremost, to outdo each other, but Allah is the One who brings us close.
  2. Definition of Ikhlas: To seek Allah in all that you do and be true.
  3. 5 ways of beginning something. Three are devotional, but 2 are practical and can be observed from the ways of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). They are to mention what you’re talking about and why it’s important. These seem simple, but people forget to practice these etiquettes in daily communications.
  4. Believer does the right thing but is aware of their surroundings. It’s makruh to inconvenience other people. (For example: saying alhamidullah loudly, and causing a meal to end quickly before people are done with their food)
  5. Wasiyya is practical advice because it is related to actions.
  6. We should be familiar with the Forty Hadiths of Imam Nawawi.  (Many hadith were mentioned in class that we should be familiar with). 2 hadiths in particular are: the hadith narrated from Ibn Umar (radiyallahu anhuma) who said: The Messenger of Allah took me by the shoulder and said: “Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a traveller.” (Bukhari) and Hadith 19 about being mindful of Allah.
  7. The 40 Hadiths are an important toolkit. For any situation, are hadith in this collection to deal with situation.
  8. Book recommendation: A Year of Living Biblically (hilarious and insightful)
  9. Fadl is an increase in good. Virtue is good someone possesses that wasn’t there in their normal temperament. If you see someone who exhibits a virtue, know that there is always an underlying reason, whether good upbringing, education, or that they have worked on that specific quality.
  10. The word for propriety is adab. Adab is the right way of doing things. Literature is adab (good way of expressing oneself). There is the adab of people of dunya which is the right dress, the right appearance. Adab of religious is proper religious conduct and adab of the elect of the religious is proper conduct with God.
  11. Adab is praiseworthy traits acquired through knowledge and discipling oneself.  Goal of adab is to instill the capacity to respond correctly in each circumstance. Need awareness of self and context to respond correctly, so adab is related to culture.
  12.  3 means of education. a) Ta’dib (discipline). The ongoing effort of upholding knowledge and orienting oneself toward goal is ta’dib.  b) Ta’lim (learning) This is the formal acquisition of knowledge, the means to give one the capacity to discipline oneself.  c) Tarbiya. Tarbiya is the gradual, intellectual, moral edification. It is to take things stage by stage in a gradual manner towards that which is purification for it.
  13. Adab is at the heart of all of this. At the heart of spirituality is upholding all radiant traits and adhering fast to propriety.
  14. Believers best in faith are those best in character. Worship is pretty straightforward. You pray, you benefit. But daily life is much more complicated. Dfficult to deal with people in a manner that is pleasing to Allah, it is easy to deal with people in a manner pleasing to them.  Early Muslims were concerned not just with virtue, but with the highest of virtue. All of religion is propriety. Everything has a right way to do it.
  15. Hasan al Basri said that deep understanding of religion is renouncing worldliness and leaving attachment to it, and awareness of other’s rights over you.
  16. Homework Recommendations: Read Syed Muhammed Naqib al Attas work Islam and Secularism. He talks about the reality of adab. After you’ve done that book, another work is Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of Islam. Also, search on Seekers Guidance for Al-Attas, and a Youtube interview with Shaykh Hamza and Syed Muhammed al Attas that is in several parts.
  17. Islam rejects most dichotomies. Answer in situations is to have adab.
  18. This poem is asking the reader: What is your purpose? What are you seeking?
  19. Taqwa has different levels. The first which is leaving sin by embracing obedience. The final which is leaving all that distracts you.
  20. The point of all of this is not self-growth, self-development, spiritual path is about Allah.
  21. We are veiled from Allah by our heedlessness. Point is not to get shiny, that is Iblis, point is Allah. You are not the point. You can become spiritually beautiful, but if it is not directed to Allah, destructive.
  22. Most of us are at are at the level of “I worship You”, but really, reality is, “You, we worship”.
  23. Purifying your heart is readying yourself to experience the realities of the Oneness of Allah. Remember the names: al-Wahid (the One) and Al-Ahad (the Unique).
  24. Operationally, mindfulness means we need to leave sin, hold fast to obedience and take the means of drawing close. If haven’t taken first step (of doing what is obligatory) not on spiritual path. (Recall the Hadith Qudsi about this).  On the spiritual path, you strive and your effort is directed to Allah through superogatory works.
  25. A comprehensive view of taqwa is to guard oneself from all that harms your religion and standing with Allah.
  26. The big picture is that if you want to transform yourself. figure out what you’re seeking, and then everything else is a means.
  27. In all your devotions, don’t forget the One you’re devoted to.

One thought on “Purifying Our Hearts at U of T (Session 2 with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani)

  1. Pingback: Discovering the treasure that is Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas | Immersing in the Sea

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