As a collaboration between the SeekersHub Toronto, the Muslim Chaplaincy at U of T and the U of T MSA, the Muslim Chaplaincy at U of T offered a course during the Fall of 2014 called Living Light with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. The sessions I attended were excellent, and left us with much to think about afterwards. Below, notes from one of the sessions.
- Have a daily point of connection to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him
- The sunna is not just general principles, but practical specifics
- The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him would keep in touch with people for decades afterwards
- Part of goodness to parents is goodness to the friends of one’s parents. To be respectful to their friends.
- Have loyalty in relationships
- We often like to study intellectual things but most important knowledge is that that transforms how we worship and how we are with Allah’s creation. We must constantly ask: what is the right action entailed by the right intention and attitude?
- Sometimes to determine this we need to momentarily disengage. When Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him asked the Companions to come out of ihram and they didn’t respond, there is a methodology we can learn in his response.
- a) Disengage (went inside his tent)
- b) Consult when unclear. Sometimes expressing your problem helps to view it correctly (Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him consulted his wife)
- c) Only respond when sure. Don’t say or do anything hastily. Say the good or be silent.
- Good character is manifest when tested
- With couples/any relationship – tell yourself, i don’t want to respond to how I feel and what he/she saying, I want to respond in way pleasing to Allah
- Attitude and then action. Look at your spouse with mercy and love.
- Opposite of love is not hatred, it’s indifference. If motive is to look with mercy, you are seeking the good.
- Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, did not deal with people on the basis of what they said or did, dealt with people on the basis of heart. What is their underlying concerns.
- Have an eye of love and mercy. Have a good opinion of your spouse.
- Relations are a matter of the heart (emotions), they aren’t rational.
- Relationships are connections of the heart, supported by reason.
- Deal with people on the basis of good chraracter.
- The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, gave us numerous examples – need to renew our connection to him, peace and blessings be upon him.
Yesterday I attended Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari’s lecture on “Building a Spiritual Connection to the Qur’an” at the University of Toronto – Mississauga , and I am so grateful to the Muslim Chaplaincy, the SeekersHub and the MSA for making this lecture possible. It’s been a difficult week, and I came to the class in need of spiritual rain and respite and relief from my own thoughts.
Alhamdullilah, I’m so glad I made the journey! Shaykh Ahmed gave us excellent, practical advice on how to develop a connection to the Qur’an, and his joyful, gentle state, and palpable love for the Book of Allah gave us the encouragement we needed to strive to implement his advice. The class was a reminder that the Qur’an is the medicine our hearts sorely need, and that developing a relationship with the Qur’an is what will heal our hearts. Happiness and contentment is only through proximity to Allah, His Book, and following the way of His Beloved, peace and blessings be upon him.
My notes from last night are not extensive as I listened more than took notes, but you can hear the lecture in its entirety here through the Muslim Chaplaincy Soundcloud page. (I highly recommend listening to the lecture in its entirety – the stories Shaykh Ahmed told us during the class were so so beautiful!) If you’re in the Toronto area though, do make sure to check out Shaykh’s Ahmed’s remaining lectures while he is still in town. He speaks tonight (the 15th) at the SeekersHub, and this weekend at the ISNA Canada Convention. Such gatherings of goodness soften the heart and should not be missed.
The Miracle of the Qur’an
- The Qur’an is the biggest ni’ma (blessing) that Allah has given us. Every Prophet, peace be upon them all, was given a miracle that was enough for people to follow him. Musa peace be upon him, had a stick that turned into a snake. And our Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, told us that what he was given was not a physical miracle, it was the Qur’an. The Qur’an is not time-bound. It proves the message by the content of the message.
- The Quran is an accessible book. Every book is structured with an audience in mind. A primary school book is not written the same as an academic book. The Qur’an is a book that addresses everyone.
- The Quran has always been at the centre of the ummah.
- Allah tells us, “We have made the Qur’an easy for remembering. Is there anyone who wishes to remember?
- The scholars are particular about every sound of the Qur’an and how it is pronounced. They wouldn’t be particular in the same way about spoken Arabic, but this isn’t just spoken Arabic, it is Qur’anic Arabic. It’s not dialectical variation. The scholars even discuss the validity of the prayer for someone who makes a mistake in recitation.
Stories of people who had a spiritual connection to the Qur’an
- There was a Companion who was on night duty in Madinah, and was reciting the Qur’an in his prayer, and as he was praying, he heard some noises, and saw some lights. In the morning, he asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him about what he saw. And the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said that those were angels who came down to hear his recitation, and if he had continued till morning, people would have seen the angels on earth.
- I have always wondered: what was different about his recitation that it brought angels to earth, and our recitation doesn’t hit our hearts? That we don’t even have presence of heart in our recitation?
- Abdullah ibn Mas’ud – he was asked to recite to the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him and his recitation brought tears to the eyes of the Prophet. What was unique about his recitation that it invoked the tears of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, the person who actually received the Qur’an? He was reciting the Qur’an to the person who received the Qur’an, the person who already knows everything that is in the Qu’ran. Was it just the sound of his voice?
- Very few of the Companions were asked by the Prophet to recite the Qur’an to him.
- There was another companion who had a beautiful voice, and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him would sit for hours outside his tent listening to his prayers. And one day he came out and saw the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him there, and he was surprised. He asked, “Oh Messenger, how long have you been sitting there?” And the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said “You have a beautiful voice like Dawud alayhis salaam”.
- Why did the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him mention Dawud alayhis salaam, when all the Prophets had beautiful voices? Allah has mentioned the voice of Dawud alayhis salaam in the Quran, and told us that when he recited, the whole universe was listening and chanting with him. The mountains and birds were chanting with him, the animals were accumulating to listen to him. Allah subjugated the mountains to him, and they would praise Allah.
- After 40 years of marriage, The father of Imam Jazari did not have kids. And then he went for Hajj, had a lot of ZamZam water and prayed for a child who would be a great scholar. 9 months later, Imam Jazari was born, and he was someone who was separated from his kids, stopped from doing Hajj, went through incredible persecution, and throughout it all, he was writing and teaching texts about the Qur’an. He had an unimaginable connection and devotion to the Qur’an. He even taught his kidnappers, so much saw that they delayed his release in order to get ijaza from him. And Imam Jazari is to the sciences of Qur’an the way Imam Bukhari is to hadith.
- The best of you is the one that learns and teaches the Qur’an. – Hadith.
- Why? The Qur’an has always been central to the ummah. The Qur’an cuts khilaf (difference). When you have a Qur’an teacher, you care about their knowledge of recitation, not about other issues of difference.
- The Qur’an is the strong rope of Allah that binds us together.
Several weeks ago, Shaykh Faraz had a series on Twitter about the etiquette of dua. Today, I was in need of this reminder and found my notes in my draft folder! The second part of the post is notes from a SeekersHub Global answer to a question about delayed response to duas.
A Twitter Primer on Dua
- Ask, don’t demand. And don’t fail to ask.
- Ask, keeping in mind the Prophet’s words ﷺ, “And each person shall have whatsoever they sought.”
- Ask in accordance with Allah’s Generosity and Mercy, not your worth (or perceived lack thereof).
- Ask, for Everything.
- Focus on the meanings of what you’re asking *before* you ask.
- Magnify your neediness and expressiveness in dua by repeating your dua–three or more times. #sunna
- Magnify your neediness, by calling on Allah by His Names. #YaHayyuYaQayyum #YaArhamArRahimin #YaLatifuYaKhabir
- Allah’s Response is certain: when He wills, not when you wish; in the way He wills, not in the way you wish.
- A sign of concern for others is praying regularly for them.
- Key Adab of #Dua: Absolute certainty in Allah’s Response. “Call on Me: I will indeed answer you.”
- Express concern for the Umma by a lot of dua–more effective than watching a lot of news.
- The best words to call upon Allah with are the words His Beloved ﷺ used to call upon Him with.
- Ask Allah that you fulfill your duties of slavehood and His rights of Lordship.
- The best of what you can seek in supplication is God Himself.
- Levels of dua: (1) ask for your worldly needs; (2) express your neediness; (3) realize Allah’s Lordship and Attributed.
- Duas aren’t demands. They’re expressions of need –and realizations of Divine Favour.
- When Allah inspires you to ask, know that He has willed to give.” (Ibn Ata’illah)
On November 3rd 2012, the SeekersHub held a seminar titled “Lasting Love: What Makes for a Successful Marriage”. The course was live -streamed, and I logged on from Vancouver to hear the sessions. It was masha’Allah, a day that was well worth the investment in time. In summary, what I learnt from the course was that the core of marriage is good character, and that marriage is a long term opportunity for you to strive to be a better person. It is a means for you to work on the lifelong task of returning back to Allah with a sound heart. When two people have that intention, insha’Allah that leads to lasting love and a successful marriage, but really the seminar was not so much about marriage as about being a good human being. The video of the event is now available, and can be accessed here. And they are by no means comprehensive, but below are my notes from the event.
Online on Facebook this morning, I saw that SeekersGuidance had opened up the final live session for their marriage course to general attendees. I wasn’t able to attend the whole class, but below are notes from the part of the lesson I was able to hear. Also, the new SeekersGuidance semester with courses on a variety of topics begins soon! Don’t miss out the chance to study from wherever you are, with qualified, reliable teachers.
- (Some)Quranic supplications for getting married:
- People will come with 48 points that they are looking for in a spouse. One example: Your husband must like reading! Not really. Discuss books with someone else. You are reading, he might be doing something else. Not such a big deal. Just have essential characteristics as your criteria.
- Have a good opinion of Allah. Your Lord has said, call upon Allah with certitude in His Answer. How and when the answer comes is up to Allah. It may be that the dua is answered now, it may be that Allah wards off harm from you, it may be that the answer is given in the akhira, but He always answers.
To find a spouse: Most effective means to is go to people who are connected, who have influence and experience. That person might be relative, might be community leader, might be scholar, might be parents.
If want to study, need to choose someone who understand and is supportive of those long term goals
If someone wants something, they should ask a lot. Sunna to ask a lot, but in state of slavehood, not in a state of demanding Allah.
~Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Dec 16th 2012.
I was in Toronto a couple of weeks ago for a visit, and had the blessing of being able to visit the SeekersHub for the Friday night Surah Yasin class and Family Potluck. It had been at least several months since I had last been to the Hub, and in the interim, the Hub had only increased in light. It’s beautifully designed, there is dignified segregation with equal space for both genders, and it feels like a community space. I met family friends I hadn’t seen for a while, and was warmly welcomed by others who had never met me before. While there is good in both, the visit was a reminder that there is a world of difference between studying online, and changing your routine to get on a train and journey to a class. It was also a reminder that really, if you want to study in a way that takes into account your local context, and you value healthy communities, this is a project to support. Below, some of my notes from the evening.
- Thankfulness is a sign of intelligence and the secret of increase.
- Allah is the Fulfiller of all needs. All neediness should be with Allah. If your reliance and seeking of assistance is with Allah,you’ve directed your needs in the right direction. Remember whose servant you are. If you know that, nothing whatsoever to worry about. Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will be Mindful of you. He will grant you assistance. If ask, ask Allah. If seek, seek Allah. Remember Hadith 19 of Imam Nawawi.
- Don’t let anything in created universe shake you up. Know who to turn to. Things have a reality in the knowledge of Allah. In eternity.
- Remember the verses of Surah Imran 190-194. The Prophet used to pray them at Tahujjud.
- Have shyness before your Lord. Slavehood entails turning.
- Just as plan worldly life, plan your spiritual life too. Use walking time to listen to Quran, to recite and review what you’ve learnt. Don’t waste a moment.
~Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, November 16th 2012, SeekersHub, Final Surah Yasin Class.
These notes are from a lecture Shaykh Faraz and Shaykh Yahya gave during Shaykh Yahya’s visit in Sept 2011. For greater clarity and as a self-reminder, am reposting this section of the talk here.