Gems from Prohibitions of the Tongue, Class 1 with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

It’s a busy time of the year at work, and at such times, as we launch new campaigns and strive to create resources for healthy communities, I become very aware of how I communicate, the faults in how I express myself, and the ways the words of others impact me.  I want to be kind and gentle in my speech – and I still have a long way to go. Recently I discovered a class through Sandala called Prohibitions of the Tongue with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf that was taught at the 2012 Rihla and I’m hoping the course can be a resource in improving my speech.

The description of the course (found on the Rihla website) is as follows:

Prohibitions of the Tongue

A famous hadith details several saving virtues and ends with the Prophet (pbuh) summarizing, “Shall I not tell you how to achieve all of this?” He took a hold of his tongue and said, “Restrain this.” Restraint of the tongue has been considered by scholars to be a central prerequisite to character development. This course, based on the famous text “Prohibitions of the Tongue” by Imam Muhammad al-Mawlud, will provide students with a deeper understanding of moral and immoral speech, its effects, and ways to protect one’s self from spiritual harm. Designed to help students to developed restraint of the tongue, this course is timely preparation for Ramadan – a time in which speech has the deepest spiritual implications.

I’ve started listening/watching to the class on my commute, and have heard one (there are fifteen classes so far. Notes from the session are below. The first class was an introduction/opening to the Rihla and because the points about making the most of the Rihla are important self reminders about how to spend holidays, weekends,’ free time’, I’ve included them below. If you’re interested in the course, access through the Sandala website is $10. 

  • Dua is the weapon of the believer. The foundation of speech is literal, you take the literal meaning first. So the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, literally meant that the dua is the weapon of the believer.  The Prophet’s dua was also, ‘give us the yaqeen (certainty) that makes all of the tribulations of this world insignificant.
  • Because if you have yaqeen in your heart, then calamities of this world are exactly that, calamities of this world.
  • Here there are calamities, but they are limited. Akhira is not like that.
  • Ibn Abbas said, 3 blessings in any tribulation.
  1. Could have been worse
  2. In the world
  3. In worldly matters, not in religion.
  • Ulama say it’s the fool who makes dua against rulers. Fool because the ruler’s tawfiq is your tawfiq. If s/he doesn’t have tawfiq, everyone suffers.
  • Language and meaning are transmitted. Tradition is what is transmitted from one to another. Tajwid is an example. Incredible how tajwid is transmitted, and how the same rules can be found everywhere.
  • In the Qur’an, there is a prohibition to become sectarian.
  • Allah has reasons for everything. He gave us intellect, He made us rational creatures.
  • Itibar is the ability to look at a thing and understand another thing by it. When meaning is understood get tears. When meaning penetrates the heart, eyes often well up because overwhelmed. It fills the heart and overflows. Which is what tears are, an overflowing of meaning. Whether it’s negative, positive, spiritual, material –> it’s meaning.
  • People want to reduce Islam to one dimension, but you need to have islam, iman and ihsan.
  • All of us are on a journey. All of His Names are manifesting before us. Whether you like it or not you are on a journey. The journey has stations and there’s a road in front of you, and then there are diversions. And the problem with diversions is that they won’t get you to your goal. You just end up going on a final journey without being prepared. Diversions will put you without provisions to make your journey. And Shaytan is there on the road. This is his heyday. Never has he and so many tools at his disposal. Before, in order to do giba (backbiting) you needed another person. Now you just need a cellphone and the internet. Can do giba anywhere.
  • It’s amazing how much time people spend on the internet. You should clock yourself and see how much time you spend on these things. When people say they don’t have enough time, I never believe them because I know how much time I waste. Seriously, we are master time wasters, human beings. Even the most efficient people waste time. You can’t avoid it. A machine has an efficiency rate. Human beings -33% at the optimal level. We dissipate a lot of energy.
  • Allah has put signs in His creation that in its very nature, it is falling apart.
  • Everyone needs lahw (recreation).  The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him permitted it in certain times. Sahaba used to have recreation. Recreation is an important part of life. Everyone needs downtime, but it’s about how much time. Everyone needs to sleep. Eat. Can’t read all the time, will get sick. Serious reading is much more tiring than reading for simply entertainment value. Thinking about what you’re reading takes a lot of energy.
  • Don’t be a waster, consumer. Brethren of the shayateen. (At the same time, arrogrant to view people with superiority). This is a time when the tools of the shayateen are immense.
  • All of us are blessed to have leisure time, in the traditional sense of the world. Leisure time is time to cultivate the mind and spirit. It is time to think. This is what the Rihla is, leisure time.
  • Leisure comes from a Latin word which means license, permission. It is time when you have the permission to do the things that you were created to do, fully. Utilize this time, it is time of great benefit.
  • You are people of leisure right now.  Try to get closer to Allah. What a gift to have this time! Be in a state of gratitude to Allah because it is such a  blessing to be afforded this time to cultivate the mind and spirit.
  • Nisf Shabaan= big night.
  • There is a khilaf (difference) about it, which is fine. Imam Malik himself did not observe the 15th of Shabaan, but his students did.
  • Ibn Rushd said – if there is ever an ikhtilaf among the ulama about the rahma of Allah err on the side of rahma (mercy).
  • Islam is all mercy.
  • Reminder: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him never criticized food. If you have a valid complaint (with the program), raise it with adab.
  • Have to have happiness in your heart that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him was born. Have to love the place that he was born.
  • Problem of provincial Islam to impose own’s own view of something on everybody.
  • Qawa`ida fiqhiyya (principle of legal rulings) that if something is an area of valid ikhtilaf, can’t do that.
  • In general, we need to go for more compassion. If look at the maqasid of the shariah, the first one is the preservation of the deen. And there are things that if you applied them today would have the opposite effect it did previously.
  • Allow for a lot of rahma, otherwise you drive people out of the deen.
  • The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said, “the hypocrite looks for faults, the believer looks for excuses (70) for his brother.
  • Munafiq (hypocrite)  immediately goes to the worst assumption.
  • If try and get these sciences without a teacher will go astray. Books are a reminder for scholars who already know. In books what is right and what is impossible is mixed together.



2 thoughts on “Gems from Prohibitions of the Tongue, Class 1 with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

  1. Pingback: Gems from Prohibitions of the Tongue, Class 2 with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf | Immersing in the Sea

  2. Pingback: Your Lord is a Generous Lord (Gems from Prohibitions of the Tongue, Class 3 with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf) | Immersing in the Sea

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