Archive for March, 2011

Omid Safi: Is Islamic Mysticism Really Islam?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Omid Safi

This is a wonderfully clear and concise article on the subject. Omid has captured the essential points in this ongoing debate and presents them here in a way that is easy to understand. Perhaps not the last word on the subject but sure to get a conversation started/continued. Please feel free to continue that conversation here by contributing a comment.

From the article:

There is a lovely story from the life of the Prophet Muhammad, remembering that a mysterious visitor came upon him and his companions. The visitor, later revealed to be the archangel Gabriel, proceeded to sit intimately next to Muhammad and quiz the Prophet. He asked Muhammad about three increasingly higher and deeper levels of religiosity, which the Prophet answered sequentially as Islam (wholehearted submission to God), Faith and, lastly, Loveliness (ihsan). This third quality the Prophet identified as worshipping God as if we could see the Divine, and if we cannot, to always remember that God nevertheless sees us.

via Omid Safi: Is Islamic Mysticism Really Islam?.


Among the Sufi poets

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Among the Sufi poets

by Veenu Sandhu / New Delhi March 26, 2011, 0:19 IST

Anita Singhvi has been invited to sing at the Urs of Nizamuddin Auliya. She tells Veenu Sandhu about her life in music.

The air is thick with the fragrance of roses. Narrow alleyways lined with colourful shops that sell perfumes or offerings to be made at the shrine of Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya lead to the dargah where the saint and his disciple, Sufi mystic Amir Khusrau, have been resting for centuries. Close by, at Khwaja Hall, a gathering is in place. The hall is filled with men, many of whom are wearing four-cornered bright yellow caps (kulah), the kind Nizamuddin Auliya and his disciples used to wear. There is only a handful of women in this room, and they all sit in one corner. Facing them, at the far end, are the speakers, who, like everybody else, are seated on the floor. Among them is a woman wearing a saree of as bright a yellow as the caps. “That,” she later says, “was a coincidence.”

Read the entire article at: Among the Sufi poets. In it Khwaja Hasan Nizami, the Shajada Nasheen of the Nizamuddin Dargha speaks about women in Sufism. His words, and more importantly, his actions in honoring this wonderful singer, are welcomed by this author. Khwaja Nizami is a friend of my order, where the Darghas of our Murshids lie side by side, our hearts are joined as well.


Khutbah – March 25, 2011 – heart and intention – redux

Saturday, March 26th, 2011
bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

This is a revision of a khutbah I delivered in 2003.

As Allah (swt) says in the Quran Sharif in Sura Ar-Ra’d:





‘alladhena ‘aamano wa- tat ma’inn qulob -hum bi- dhikr ‘allaah  ‘a-laa bi- dhikr ‘allaah tatma’inn al- qulub

Those who believe and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction

And in a hadith reported by Muslim sahih hadith and narrated by Uqbar ibn Amir:

We were entrusted with the task of tending the camels. During my turn, when I came back in the evening after grazing them in the pastures, I found Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) standing and addressing the people. I heard these words of his: If any Muslim performs ablution well, then stands and prays two rak’ahs thinking about them with his heart as well as his face, Paradise will be guaranteed for him.

And in an other hadith Abdullah Ibn Abbas reports that

“He (saw) saw (Allah (swt) with his heart”

The heart (the core of our personality) is the storage place for knowledge and wisdom, and it can guide us along the path towards God’s pleasure.

The heart however can be afflicted by disease that causes it to be preoccupied by the love of life and lust rather than the love of Allah. Each and every one of us needs to inspect his heart carefully to diagnose any affliction, and search for cures.

laa jaram ‘anna ‘allaah ya’lam maa yusirrun wa- maa yu’linun ‘inna -hu laa yuh.ibb al- mustakbirin

Undoubtedly Allah does know what they conceal and what they reveal: truly He loves not the arrogant.

And arrogance is but only one of these diseases that afflict the heart. To clear our hearts of any afflictions we need two things:

First ask for God’s guidance – In Surah Al Fatiha we pray, “Ihdi nas siraat al-mustaqeem,” “show us the straight path”. If we have sincerity in this request it is the key to God’s acceptance. Remember the hadith I spoke of just now “thinking about them with his heart” these words are for us to heed it is a great blessing from Allah (swt)

Second, exert the effort to identify the ailments (IE make the diagnosis) and the effort to avoid the deeds and sins that fill the heart with impurities (the curse).

So read the above again! Two things are necessary, asking AND exertion!

For it is narrated by An Numan bin Bashir that the prophet (saw) said:

Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.

Amongst these ailments that spoil the heart are: Anger (rage), Envy, Stinginess, Ostentation, Love of Jaah (position and power), Arrogance.

Part 2

To understand a deed we have to understand the role of intention,Umur bi mukhasibiha which means “actions are known by their intentions” or “intentions determine the worth of a person’s deeds.”

Intentions reside in the heart and Intentions are the sole determinant of the worth of one’s deeds – the same act can be judged as a neutral, or a sin or a good deed depending on intention.

Bukhari and Muslim both report a hadith of Rasul Allah (saw) “He who is inclined towards an evil deed but does not carry it out is rewarded by Allah for one full measure of good deed.”

This is the person just about to commit a sin but is interrupted from doing so. – He or she is prevented from actually committing the sin by an external factor, not out of any fear of Allah (swt). Therefore this person has still earned a sin because of the intention, as if he or she had actually completed his sinful deed

I leave you with the following advice:

Always look into your heart and inspect your real intention before performing an act.

May God help us restrain our anger and pardon people.

May God help us do good and be charitable.

May God help us forgive and overlook

and Allahu Alim – Allah knows best

ADDENDUM – on Anger

A minimum level of anger should exist to protect oneself and belongings, this anger should however be tempered. To succeed in moderating anger one should always be reminded of three points:

First – Train yourself not to get too attached to worldly possessions and keep your necessities to a minimum.

Second – Remember that Allah is the boss. His will dominates. For instance, if you wanted a certain job, but was not successful, remember that this is God’s will and there must be a good reason for that, though it might not be obvious to you at the time, in any time frame, we only see a small part of a bigger picture.

Third – On a physical level you could help moderate this anger by following the prophet’s advice (pbuh) (as narrated in Al Tirmithi & Al Bukhari):

If one feels anger becoming him he/she should:

If standing – sit down

If sitting – lie down

If lying – make abolution or have a shower

This is good advice for all of us. When anger afflicts a person, he/she tend to move forward – by addressing this motion you curb the anger.

wa- saariiu ‘ilaa maghfirah min rabbkum wa- jannah ‘ard-haa as- samaawaat wa- al- ‘ard. U’-iddat li- al- muttaqin
‘alladhena yunfiqun fi as- sarraa’ wa- ad.- d.arraa’ wa- al- kaaz.imin al- ghayz. wa- al- ‘aafin ‘an an- naas wa- ‘allaah yuh.ibb al- muh.sinin

Al Imran verses 133-134: “Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord and for a garden whose width is that of the heavens and the earth prepared for the righteous. Those who spend freely in prosperity or in adversity Who restrain anger and pardon all men. For God loves those who do good.”

Said Ali Ibn Abu Talib asked a slave for warm water to wash his hands. The girl who was young and inexperienced poured boiling water onto his hands which burnt them. He got very angry and was about to strike her when she reminded him of this aya and he restrained his anger, pardoned her and set her free.

Rasul Allah (saw) said:

“One who, in spite of having the ability to avenge, controls his anger, will be singled out, and called by Allah, the Holy, the Exalted, over and above the multitude on the Day of Judgement.”(Al-Boukhari)

A man asked the prophet for advice. He (saw) said

“Do not be overpowered by anger”, the man repeated that three times and the prophet’s answer was the same three times (Al Boukhari)

Abu Baker (ra) was being insulted by a man and he kept quiet until he could no longer take it and answered back.

Rasul Allah (saw) got up and left at that point and later, when Abu Bakr asked why he left he said:

“When you were silent the angels answered on your behalf, but when you started answering the angels left and Satan came and I could not sit in the same place as Satan”

Islam does not advocate turning the other cheek, but it strongly advocates the control of tempers and the cleansing of anger which is a disease of the heart.


Festival of the lamps: Madhu Lal Hussain’s urs starts today – The Express Tribune

Saturday, March 26th, 2011


Devotees and spectator started visiting the shrine of Shah Hussain, also known as Madhu Lal Hussain, on Friday night for the Mela Chiraghan_the three-day annual urs.

Thousands of devotees from across the country are expected to arrive in the city today to attend the urs which will continue till March 28.

The urs is traditionally characterised by lighting of candles and clay lamps, sufi music and devotional dance. Monday is set aside for women visitors.

via Festival of the lamps: Madhu Lal Hussain’s urs starts today – The Express Tribune.


Earth Hour – Today at 8:30PM (20:30) your local time

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Find Your Earth Hour Home Page

It is important that as many people as possible take part in this worldwide action. The Qur’an tells us that there is a balance that Allah (swt) has set up in the earth. We are the vicegerents here and are charged with helping to maintain that balance, not to undermine it. I encourage you to participate, we will be turning our lights and all “plugged in” devices will be unplugged for this hour here at Khankha Chishti.

At 8:30 PM on Saturday 26th March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.

via Earth Hour – Home.