Today I found an old notebook of preparation notes for the 2007 Rihla with the Deen Intensive Foundation. To prepare, we were sent a lecture by Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaquobi titled Visiting the Messenger of Allah. It’s been several years since I’ve heard this lecture, but it is one that I remember being very helpful in becoming mentally ready to visit Madinah, and that I’ve recommended to others preparing to go on Umrah or wanting to learn more about the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. In his talk, Shaykh Muhammad Yaquobi stresses that we are only able to visit Madinah when we receive an invitation to do so, and though I was scheduled to go on the 2007 Rihla, at the last moment my visa application was unsuccessful. In 2007, this lecture was a great comfort when I realised I would be unable to make the journey, and made my visit to the cities of Makkah, Taif and Madinah in the 2008 Rihla that much sweeter. As always, all mistakes in notetaking are my own.
- When we come to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) we come with nothing other than loads of sins, and forgetfulness, shortcomings, deficiencies. We have no knowledge, no claims, other than being lovers.
- We are here as neighbours of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and it’s a great honour to be neighbours here in Madinah. We come with intention of visiting him, to live in this city.
- Sayyidina Umar was one of the sahabas who believed it was better to live in Madinah than Makkah. Dying in Madinah is a great honour. On its tenets may blessings be. Anyone who dies in this city, the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him comes to testify that that person is one of the ummah.
- Be happy that you have reached here, this city is the Messenger’s sanctuary. In order to reach it, must have received an invitation. We are his guests. You have received an invitation. One can only can be welcomed on his behalf, peace and blessings be upon him.
- He was most generous of all human beings. You are here as guests of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
- His generosity includes granting us his company, giving us drinks from his basin on the Day of Judgement, coming to us in visions.
- What we are asking from him is much more than dunya – akhirah. Worry about akhirah! Don’t worry about your job, your degree, your children, your studies, your income. Worry about the Day of Judgement. Nobody will help us except what we have prepared for that Day, our good works in this life. The Prophet. This is why if you don’t have feelings for him, you will not benefit a lot. If you’re coming to visit a noble man, and don’t know why he is noble, will come and go the same.
- The adab you need with the Prophet starts in the heart.
In the second session of the class Embodied Light with Sidi Amjad Tarsin from the Muslim Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto, the physical description of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him was discussed. (The subject of the first session was the Prophet as light and the names of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him). Below, notes from the first half of the class. What I love about this class so far is that even listening from afar, learning about the Prophet creates a happiness in the heart. There was a moment in the class where the teacher described a story where the Prophet wore a red garment, and hearing that story really does make you long to see the beauty and light of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. What a gift to have teachers who make you want to be a better person and be someone who is loved by the Beloved! To learn more about supporting this mubarak class and other excellent programming, please see here.
- What is love? How does love manifest itself, express itself in human interaction? Some ways:
- Doing things that make the person you love happy.
- Want to know everything about that person. You want to immerse yourself in that person.
- Want to emulate that person.
- People around the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, were lovers.
- The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, was physically the most beautiful person, even more beautiful than the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him. No one before him or after him was given that appearance, peace and blessings be upon him. He was neither exceedingly tall or short. He was in between, but inclined to tallness. His hair was neither fine nor coarse. His skin was neither white to the point of paleness nor was he dark, peace and blessings be upon him.
- One of the miracles of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was that everything about him was moderate.
- When he brushed his hair it would part and also curl.
- Allah has told us in the Qur’an, “We have made you a middle nation”. If you look at Islam, one of the amazing things about it is that everything is in moderation. Extremes in the religion are to be avoided. If you look at Islam, you have rules and you have spirituality.
- The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had thick hands and feet. Prophet was manly, peace and blessings be upon him and was the most beautiful expression of manliness you can find. One of the plights we have today is that men are not manly. The Prophet,peace and blessings be upon him, exuded strength.
- He had a large head, but not exceedingly large. He had big limbs and bones. He was sturdy, peace and blessings be upon him. He had light hair on his chest in a line to his navel, peace and blessings be upon him.
- When he walked, his whole body was involved in the process of walking. When you saw the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, knew that he was not a lazy person, peace and blessings be upon him. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, never dragged his feet. The Prophet’s actions and habits have wisdom. There is always something to do. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had determination in his life. He had things to do. And if you look at his life, in the span of 23 yeras, the Arabian Peninsula and the Quraysh went from being unknown to being world powers on a global scale. And of course the point of Islam isn’t to become a world power, but it goes to show how the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, transformed people. He did this (with the attitude) that I don’t have time to waste. Nowadays we have people playing videogames into their thirties, have people watching movies all day long, but we should say, I don’t have time for that. I’ve got to change the world. I’ve got to connect people with Allah. I’ve got stuff to do. That’s how the Prophet was, peace and blessings be upon him. They say that when the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was walking and had something to do, just get out of the way. Nobody could stay in his way, sallallahu alayhi wasalaam.
Continuing on with the Qalam Institute Seerah Podcast, here are notes from Episode 3.
- Unless you understand the circumstances that were present at the time of the Prophet, you can’t understand the impact that he made, peace and blessings be upon him.
- Understanding the Arabs help answer the question why the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him was sent to these people.
- Basic understanding of this word is that it is something that runs, something that flows. The word Arab would refer to clarity of speech. The opposite is a person who when they speak, they babble. An Arab is someone who speaks clearly.
- The Arabs believed that their speech was superior because it flowed. The word Arab is never used in the Qur’an. Forms of the word Arab are used.
- The Arabs were very clear in their speech, very articulate in their language. Very passionate people. Had great admiration for hilm, being calm and serene.
- Also had chaos around them. Did not a systematic form of economics, government, religion.
Notes from an amazing lecture on dua and Talking to Allah by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda. Really really beneficial reminders here and I highly recommend hearing the two part lecture in its entirety. To hear the actual lecture, you can find the first part here.
- Dua means to call out, to speak, to address. Supplication is a very big word.
- Talking to Allah gives someone the spiritual nourishment & emotional fortitude to do what is right & what is better.
- We don’t just need to study the seerah, we need to mine the seerah. The seerah is a goldmine, it’s a treasure chest.
- Abu Hurairah is the outcome of a dua the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, made 10 yrs earlier when he prayed for the guidance of the people of Daws.
- “Dua is something very real, very practical. It is a means to talk and communicate with Allah in whatever situation we’re dealing with.
- There are three main etiquettes of dua.
- The first one is to talk to Allah from your heart with sincerity. When you make dua to Allah, just be honest. Be sincere. Be real. Pour your heart out to Allah. Allah accepts dua from a heart that is attentive, that is open, that is turning to Allah. Allah does not accept a dua from a heart that is empty and disconnected.
- The second etiquette is to praise and glorify Allah. Show some appreciation and gratitude for the blessings we have. Start with basics – look around you. One powerful way to show gratitude is through Allah’s Names. Allah instructs us to use His Beautiful Names. Take a few moments to learn some names of Allah and what they mean. Whether stocks, sports stats, we have so much useless information in our heads. We can take a few moments to learn some Names of Allah. So the second step is to use the Names and Attributes of Allah to praise and glorify Him.
- Third step is to send peace and blessings on the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Ingratitude is a disease of the heart & it spreads. So it’s very important to show some appreciation for what the Prophet did. Look at how much the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him sacrificed for us.
- So to recap: be real, talk to Allah, praise and glorify Allah, and send blessings on the Prophet.