Archive for May, 2011

Khutbah – 5/27/2011 – Nafs and tricks of Shaytan

Saturday, May 28th, 2011
bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

السلام عليكم

As salaam alaykum. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam. A few years ago I was listening to the radio and I heard a story on the news that I wanted to relate to you because it relates to us. The story is that many of the Catholics in the Boston area had petitioned the bishop there to release them of the rule not to eat meat on Good Friday because there was going to be some kind of sporting event going on and they wanted to be able to eat hot dogs. Now some of us might find this funny, but in truth it is not. And to his credit the Bishop did not accede to this request and instead said, instead, that the scheduling of this game on Good Friday was insensitive to the needs of Catholics in Boston and that he would not be watching the game. So, brothers and sisters why do I bring this up? I am not here to disparage or certainly to promote the Catholic church but rather I am using this to point out to you and to remind myself of the power of our nafs and of Shaytan to fool us into forgetting to obey the commands of Allah (SWT).

You know this comes after many years when the Catholic church prohibited the eating of any meat on any Friday. Then they relaxed this rule and only made it a rule on Good Friday. See how sneaky Shaytan is?

And how does this affect Muslims? Well, we are not that different. How many of us want to bend the rules just a little in order to make life a little easier? And what does that lead to? I will tell you a story about a shepherd guarding the flock of the village. He grazed the sheep in a field that bordered a forest that was the land of a cruel king. Anyone wandering into the forest was arrested and executed after being tortured, and any livestock the wandered in, became the property of the king. The shepard was told to graze the flock in the middle of the field so none of the sheep could wander into the king’s property accidentally. The shepherd was not all that obedient and saw that there was a patch of grass near the edge of the field that looked very good to graze. So he brought the flock over there. Very soon one of the sheep had wandered into the forest and was immediately confiscated by the guards who had been waiting there watching what the shepherd had done. Not only had he lost the sheep, but now the flock was wandering in as well and he had to try and stop them. As soon as each sheep crossed over it was taken and as soon as the shepherd crossed over he was arrested and later executed. If he had kept the flock to the middle of the field none of this would have happened.

So you see, little by little, we enter further and further into the grey areas that are close to our own borders of obedience to Allah (swt) until we no longer know how to stop and eventually find ourselves on the wrong side of the line.

We must use the intelligence that Allah (SWT) has given us. We must avoid even the slightest hint of getting close to the grey areas, because we do not know when to stop.

I once read a tract written by Ayatollah Khomeini (may Allah be pleased with him) on the prohibition of alcohol. It was written in a Q and A form. In it he explained the reasons for the prohibition from the Quranic perspective and from Sunnah and Shariat. One of the questions asked if it was ok to take just a little alcohol, since that did not affect us much but rather made us just relaxed. His answer was that this may be so. And perhaps, if we could stop there Allah (SWT) would have said no more than such and such an amount, but the truth is that we as human beings are weak and cannot stop at that point, that we have the tendency to over do it and do not know when to stop. Because of that it is forbidden altogether.

This is a part of our natural human-ness. We are constantly vigilant for these characteristics within ourselves. Bad habits are far too easy to develop and far too hard to break, and good habits are the opposite, they are very hard to develop and fall away so easily.

I want to remind you and myself again about what Allah (SWT) says in the Quran Sharif

103.001 وَالْعَصْرِ 

103.002 إِنَّ الإنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ

103.003 إِلا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

wa- al- ‘asr
‘inna al- ‘insaan ala- fe khusr
‘illaa ‘alladhena ‘aamano wa- ‘amilo as saalihaati wa- tawaasaw bi- al-haqq wa- tawaas.aw bi- as- sabr

By the time through the ages!

Surely mankind is in loss,

except those who believe and do good deeds; exhort one another to the truth and exhort one another to patience.

And it does not have to be through the ages! It is happening minute by minute now even in every day of our lives. The ticking of the clock tries to wear at our iman all the time.

But the good news is that Allah (SWT) has promised us that if we do keep the good deeds and if we do keep our faith in him then our reward is in this life and in the next.

And he has given us clear guidance:

002.002 ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لا رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ 

002.003 الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ

002.004 وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ وَبِالآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ

002.005 أُولَئِكَ عَلَى هُدًى مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

dhaalika al- kitaab laa rayb fe -hi huda(n) li- al- muttaqen

‘alladhena yu’minon bi- al- ghayb wa- yuqemon as-salaah wa- min maa razaqnaa -hum yunfiqon

wa- ‘alladhena yu’minon bi- maa unzila ‘ilay -ka wa- maa unzila min qabli -ka wa- bi- al- ‘aakhirah hum yoqinon

‘olaa’ika ‘alaa huda(n) min rabb -him wa- ‘olaa’ika hum al- muflihon

This is The Book in which there is no doubt. It is a guide for those who are God conscious, who believe in the Unseen, who establish Salah (five regular daily prayers) and spend in charity out of what We have provided for their sustenance; who believe in this Revelation (The Qur’an) which is sent to you (O Muhammad) and the Revelations which were sent before you (Torah, Psalms, Gospel…) and firmly believe in the Hereafter.

They are on True Guidance from their Rabb and they are the ones who will attain salvation.

And what an amazing gift this is. Such a clear light of guidance.

Part 2

And do we ask for Allah (SWT) to relieve us of these obligatory tasks when it is inconvenient for us? Oh Allah, there is a ball game on Friday, can I skip my prayers that day? Oh Allah, I live where it is very difficult to get Halal meats and other food, can I eat pork just once or twice? No!

But you know what? Allah (SWT) has already known about this, he knows what is in our hearts and in our minds, he never tires and does not sleep:

002.255 (part) لا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلا نَوْمٌ
002.255 (part) la ta/khuthuhu sinatun wala nawm
002.255 (part) No slumber can seize Him nor sleep.

and he is vigilant in our cause. He has given us that which we cannot ask from him, when we are traveling, do we not get a dispensation on prayers and even on the fast in Ramadhan? If Allah (SWT) wanted to make it impossible for us to follow our deen believe me IT WOULD BE! But it is not.

And in return for this what does Allah (SWT) ask of us? Simply that we follow that which he has commanded us to do, and to avoid those things which he has forbidden for us and that we worship him with all our hearts and souls.

wa allahu alim

And Allah (swt) knows best.


 

Khutbah – 5/20/2011 – Forgiveness

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

As salaam alaykum!

Islam attaches great importance to the concept of pardoning of sins by Allah (swt) so that we may be saved from Hellfire. On several occasions, The Holy Quran gives such prayers as

002.286 رَبَّنَا لا تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِنْ نَسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا أَنْتَ مَوْلانَا فَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

rabbana la tu-akhithna in naseena aw akhta/na rabbana wala tahmil ‘alayna isran kama hamaltahu ‘ala allatheena min qablina rabbana wala tuhammilna ma la taqata lana bihi wao’fu ‘anna waighfir lana wairhamna anta mawlana faonsurna ‘ala alqawmi alkafireena

Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith.”

Allah assures us that no matter what our sin, if we truly repent and seek His forgiveness, and take steps to put right our wrongs, He will forgive us. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “My heart is clouded until I have asked God’s forgiveness seventy times during the day and night.”

And just as we can depend on the mercy and forgiveness of Allah (swt) we are likewise asked to show mercy to our fellow humans.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran Sharif:

090.017 ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ

thumma kaana min ‘alladhena ‘aamano wa- tawaas.aw bi- as.- sabr wa- tawaasaw bi- al- marhamah

Then will he be of those who believe and enjoin patience (constancy and self-restraint) and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion.

Since God is Himself forgiving, He desires that people should cultivate this attribute and show forgiveness to other human beings.

024.022 وَلا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلا تُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

wa- laa ya’tali ‘olo al- fadl min -kum wa- as- sa’ah ‘an yu’to ‘ole al- qurbaa wa- al- masaaken wa- al- muhaajiren fe sabel ‘allaah wa- li- ya’fo wa- li- yas-fah-o ‘a-laa tuh-ibbon ‘an yaghfir ‘allaah la-kum wa- ‘allaah ghafor raheem

Let not those among you who are endowed with grace and amplitude of means swear to withhold their help from their relatives, the indigent and those who left their homes for the cause of Allah – rather let them forgive and overlook – do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

The Prophet Muhammad (saw) taught his followers that the individual who pardons his enemy, even while having the power to extract revenge, will be nearest to God in the Hereafter. Once the Prophet (saw) was asked, “How many times are we to forgive our servants’ faults?” He remained silent. The questioner repeated his question. But the Prophet gave no answer. But when the person asked a third time, he said, “Forgive your servant seventy times a day.”

And Allah (swt) is aware of the problems, trials and tribulations that we go through in our daily lives. The pressure of families and of work and living in this world are great. Even then we must remember the kindness and mercy which is shown to us by Allah (swt) should guide our actions towards our family members as well. Allah (swt) says in the Quran Sharif:

064.014 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ وَإِنْ تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

yaa ‘ayyuhaa ‘alladhena ‘aamano ‘inna min azwaaj -kum wa- awlaad -kum ‘adow la-kum fa- ih-dharo -hum wa- ‘in ta’fo wa- tasfah-o wa- taghfiro fa- ‘inna ‘allaah ghafor raheem

O believers! truly sometimes your spouses and your children are like enemies to your faith: so beware of them! But if ye forgive and overlook and cover up (their faults) verily Allah is Forgiving and Most Merciful.

And when we are greeted in our lives with that which makes us angry. Allah (swt) makes it clear in the Holy Quran that a strong, adverse, emotional reaction such as anger does not befit the true believer, and instead cites as a mark of excellence the quality of forgiveness:

042.037 وَالَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الإثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُوا هُمْ يَغْفِرُونَ

wa- ‘alladhena yajtanibon kabaa’ir al- ‘ithm wa- al- fawaah-ish wa- ‘idhaa maa ghad-ibo hum yaghfiron

And those who shun the worst of sins and indecencies and, when they are angry, they are forgiving

We must take these instructions to our hearts, we know that when we are far from Allah (swt) in our actions then our hearts become hardened and our remembrance of Allah (swt) in our daily lives becomes less. We must resolve ourselves to these right actions and behave in accordance to the way Allah (swt) has shown us. Be more forgiving of others just as Allah (swt) is forgiving of us.

Part 2

Some sayings reported from the Salaf that can serve as an encouragement to do good deeds:

Taubah ibn Samat used to take account of himself and is reported to have counted the number of days in his life at the age of sixty. He found there were 21,500 days and shrieked: “What will happen to me if I meet the King with 21,500 sins? What will happen if there are 10,000 sins in each day?”

Al-Hasan al-Basri would say, “From the signs that one has drowned in sins, is lack of delight in fasting in the day and praying through the night.”

Alqamah Ibn Qais asked Abu Nu`aim – who was a devout worshipper – why he was hard on his body. “I want this body to be comfortable later on,” he replied.

Of Al-Ahnaf Ibn Qays it is reported that he was once told: “You are an aged elder; fasting would enfeeble you. But he replied: ‘By this I am making ready for a long journey. Obedience to Allah, Glorified is He, is easier to endure than His punishment.'”

So I remind myself as well as I remind you my brothers and sisters to go from here today, resolved to show forgiveness and raheem to ourselves and to those around us, to shun harsh emotions such as anger and that which comes with it. And to do those good deeds, such as fasting, which we can do to prepare ourselves for this journey to Allah (swt). Wa Allahu alim.

The Hindu : Life & Style / Metroplus : Sufi serenade

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Shye Ben-Tzur

This past February my wife and I spent time in Ajmer with Pir Inam Gudri Shah Baba V. The time we spent with him was a wonderful experience. Part of that wonderful experience was meeting Shye Ben-Tzur and his wife. Two of the most pleasant people I have ever met, they were our greeters when we arrived on the Shatabdi Express and kept an eye on us the entire time we were there. Later on we found out about the wonderful music that he produces with his group. Imagine Qawwali in Hebrew! And the flute, very nice. Now it is a great pleasure to read in The Hindu about a concert. You can find his music at Amazon, just search for his name and you will find it.

From The Hindu:

On the occasion of the 63rd Independence Day of Israel, the Embassy of Israel hosted a reception at The Ashok, New Delhi.

The reception was also an opportunity to bid farewell to Ambassador Mark Sofer and Deputy Chief of Mission Eli Belotsercovsky, who were returning to Israel this summer after a four-year period in India. Over 600 guests arrived to be part of the mega celebrations.

As part of the celebrations, Israeli qawwali singer Shye Ben-Tzur, together with Rajasthani and Israeli musicians, performed Sufi music renditions in three languages — Hebrew, Hindi and Urdu — and dazzled the audience. The music lovers swayed to popular compositions like ‘Dil ki bahara banke’ and ‘Dama dam mast kalandar’ and many songs in Hebrew.

Ben-Tzur is an acclaimed Israeli composer, producer and performer who has been living in India for the past decade, creating music that brings together traditional Sufi qawwali and Rajasthani rhythms with Western elements.

Shye, who gave up the rock band Sword of Damocles, which he himself initiated in the early stages of his musical journey, said, “I was looking for sacred and meaningful music. When I attended a concert in Israel by Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain, I was seduced. I came to the Ajmer Dargah and fell in love with qawwali.” At Ajmer Dargah, he learnt qawwali from qawwals, and in 2004 performed at Jahan-e-Khusrau, the prestigious international Sufi music festival held annually in the spring since the year 2001.

via The Hindu : Life & Style / Metroplus : Sufi serenade.


 

Kutbah 5/13/2011 – Prepare for Hajj and for Life

Saturday, May 14th, 2011
bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas narrates, “When Islam entered my heart, I went to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘Give me your hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you.’ The Prophet (SAW) spread his hand, but I withdrew mine. He said, ‘What is wrong ‘Amr?’ I said, ‘I want to make a condition.’ ‘And what is that?’ he said. I said, ‘That Allah will forgive me.’ Then the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘Did you not know that Islam wipes out what came before it, and that Hijrah wipes out what came before it and that Hajj wipes out what came before it!” – Sahih Muslim

The ultimate reward. Rasul Allah (saw)- said, “And there is no reward for an accepted Hajj … except Jannah! (the garden)”

But we must know that the end times will come and we must prepare our lives just as we prepare our selves for Hajj. What is the first verse that you read in Surah Al-Hajj? It does not speak of Arafah, nor does it pronounce the pillars of Nahr day. It simply says …

yaa ‘ayyuhaa an- naas ittaqo rabb -kum ‘inna zalzalah as- saa’ah shay ‘az.em

O mankind! Have fear of your Rabb; the catastrophic quaking of the Hour of Doom will be terrible indeed.

yawm tarawn -haa tadhhal kull murd’iah ‘an maa ard.a’at wa- tad.a’ kull dhaat h.aml h.aml -haa wa- taraa an- naas sukaaraa wa- maa hum bi- sukaaraa wa- laakin ‘adhaab allah shadeed

On that Day you shall see that every nursing mother will forget her nursing-babe and every pregnant female will miscarry, and you will see people as if they are intoxicated, though they will not be drunk: such will be the horror of Allah’s chastisement.

Hajj is not a journey of the body such as one may take to a vacation spot or tourist attraction. It is a journey of the soul and heart.

When one pays a careful eye to the verses speaking of Hajj, they will find that verse after verse concludes with a commandment of being conscious of Allah’s presence, or a reminder of Allah’s bounteous favor upon us, or a link between Hajj and the final day.

The Destination

In the not-so-far-away days of old, whenever a journey was to be undertaken proper provisions had to be prepared. The deserts were long, hot, and harsh. Unmerciful. There were no gas stations to fill up with chips and refreshments, or rest stops to slurp water from a fountain. In fact, there was not a human in sight for miles upon miles of barren sand dunes. Losing the way meant losing your life.

Thus, you had to have the provision with you before you made the journey. Enough food, enough water, enough everything to carry you to your destination.

From here, in the verses dealing of Hajj, when everyone shall have to make some sort of journey to reach the Ka’bah, Allah tuned the attention of His slaves to another journey, a journey every soul is traveling, whether they know it or care to just remain heedless. Allah turned their attention to the journey to the Hereafter, to Paradise or Hell.

wa- tazawwado fa- ‘inna khayr az- zaad at- taqwaa wa- ittaqo -ni yaa ‘ole al- albaab

And take sustenance (with you) for the journey; verily the best sustenance is Taqwa (God inspired piety and righteousness)

On the day Buhaym Al-‘Ajlee set out with his companion for Hajj, he looked toward the endless desert awaiting them both and wept, his chest soaking from the tears. “This is something,” said Buhaym, “that has made me understand the most certain journey I must one day take to Allah!”

Hajj is a journey of hearts.

The Provider

In the early days, when someone decided to perform the journey for Hajj, it was synonymous with bidding farewell to life on earth. This was due to the treacherous obstacles of traveling in the desert – trials such as sickness, starvation, and the struggles of the separate situations. An entire village might gather to bid those people farewell.

When someone would go through such a remarkable journey and return alive, they would dedicate their lives to the worship and obedience of Allah. Gone was the cheating, or the lying, or the missed Salah. He was now a Hajji.

Today, with the Jumbo jets and ocean liners and Mercedes busses, the facilitation of performing Hajj has taken away the luster of the title Hajji. Some might complain that there are no queen-size mattress beds in Mina, or that the air conditioning motor is a tad too loud.

But dear brothers and sisters, who is it that provided us with all the blessing that we are living in? It is the same Allah that has tested us here on the plains of Arafah. The slave of Allah can only truly understand the favor of Allah upon him when it is taken away.

[There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord (during Hajj). But when you depart from Arafat, remember Allah at AlMash’ar AlHaram. And remember Him as He has guided you, for indeed you were before that among those astray.]

Alhamdulillaah. Indeed the greatest blessing that Allah has favored us with is Islam, and it alone suffices as favor.

Allah knows we are going to get dusty during Hajj, Allah knows it. So don’t be surprised when that dust blows, instead turn to Allah and steadfast with patience and a whisper of gratitude to Allah. And this also when the dust blows in our lives.

[Then let them end their untidiness, fufill their vows, and perform Tawaf around the ancient House.] – Surah Hajj 22/29

Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote a Qasidah about this journey of the hearts, here is only a glimpse of some of the Arabic verses:

He says, my slaves have come to me (for Hajj) out of love for me
And I am merciful to them, bounteous and loving
Glad tidings O participants of that stand (on Arafah)
a moment when Allah forgives all sins and showers His mercy

Abu Hurayrah narrates: I heard the Prophet say, “Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any Rafath (obscenity) or Fusooq (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother bore him” – Bukhari

Getting the heart in shape same for life is the same as for Hajj.

Many years ago, as the Hujjaj swept through the valley of Muzdalifah, a man remarked out loud, “My look at the number of Hujjaj!” The wise man replied, “Nay, the passengers are many, but the Hujjaj are few.”

I once heard the story of a man who was blessed with the opportunity to join the caravan for Hajj regularly. However, his shortcoming was that he could never control his anger during the days of Hajj, and would snap cursing others.

Well, one person had an idea for him. His inspiration: Instead of cursing Muslims during Hajj, write all your bad comments on a piece of paper – fold it – and then when you get mad at someone, just hand him the paper. On the top of the tiny envelope write, ‘Do not open until after Hajj’. The man agreed.

As incident after incident assailed him, the man would simply smile, then frown and hand out the tiny envelopes to the provoking party.

Everything was going smoothly until the day when he was walking to the Jamarat and someone stomped his toes. He lost all control. Teeth gritting, he snarled and took out his briefcase of envelopes and dumped it on that poor guys head.

In Hajj we see people who snatch for patience and the reward of Allah during those trying moments, like a man pan handles for gold. We ask ourselves, what is different from them and those who spend their breath in criticism and argumentation? It finally dawns that it was not the body that we are witnessing, but it was the hearts.

Some people come to hajj prepared financially. Others come with a prepared heart – that is what’s essential. Whether the grindstone grinds us to dust or polishes us up depends on what we are made of, and the same is true in life.

Part 2

Now – How to get that heart in shape for Hajj or life?

Firstly: Gain knowledge.

Hajj is one of the pillars that Islam is built on. When someone intends to perform this rite it a must upon them that they learn it well. Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.”

Imam Bukhari writes in his Saheeh, ‘Chapter: knowledge comes before statements and actions.’ He then quoted the verse of Allah:

fa- ‘ilam ‘anna -hu laa ‘illaha ‘illa allah wa- istaghfir li- dhanb -ka

So Know, that there is no God except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin.

Secondly: Establish Salah and perform Qiyaam ul-Layl

When Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – was preparing his heart for the mission of conveying this Deen, Allah ordered him to prepare using Qiyam ul-Layl.

Allah ta’ala says: [O you who wraps himself / Arise (to pray) the night, except for a little] – Surah Muzzammil, 73/1,2

A student once slept over at Imam Ahmad’s house, rahimahullah. Imam Ahmad had left a vessel of water for him, and upon arriving at Fajr time, found the vessel still full of water. He was shocked and remarked, “How can a person be a Talib Al-‘Ilm (student of Islam) and not stand for Qiyam ul-Layl!”

Some said to Ibn Mas`ood, may Allah be pleased with him, “We are unable to wake up to perform Qiyam ul-Layl.” He told them, “You are distancing yourselves from it by your sins.”

Thirdly: Repentance to Allah and Dua

It was during the days of Tashreeq when Jirbreel – alayhis salam – came to Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – with the words of Allah:

‘iza jaa nasr allahi wa fath
wa ra’aytann asayad khuluna fi din illahi ‘afwajaa
fasabihamdi rabbika wastaghfir innahu kana tawwaba

When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest / And you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes / Then exalt Him with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance.

This was the culmination of 23 years of Da’wah, Jihad, and work; here now was the farewell pilgrimage. What did it end with? [Then exalt Him with praise of your Lord (Tasbih) and ask forgiveness of Him]

The conquest of Allah is in our hearts, remember that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the US now Alhamdulillah!

Subhaanak Allaahumma wa bihamdika, Allahumma ighfir-lana / Glory be to you O Allah, and may You be praised. O Allah, forgive us!

Wa allahu alim – and Allah knows best.

Peace and Blessings


 

ORIENT 2011: The International Festival of Oriental Music

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

ORIENT 2011: The International Festival of Oriental Music

May 11, 2011

By Laurence Boyce

TALLINN – The only festival in Northern Europe dedicated to authentic Asian music brings singers from far flung regions such as India, Tibet and Burma to (rather strangely) Tallinn Zoo for a feast of sound quite unlike anything that you may have heard before. This year the event is entitled ‘High Cultures’ which celebrates musicians who originate from some of the most inhospitable places in the world.

Sufism is the inner, mystical, esoteric, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam which has inspired poetry and traditional sufi dancing. One of the most well-known sufi orders is The Mevlevi – also known as the whirling dervishes due to their famous whirling dances – whose monastery in Istanbul allows the public to view the sacred sema ceremony. The festival will celebrate sufi music by playing host to multi-instrumentalist Fakhraddin Gafarov, who is considered one of the best in his country. He will be joined by the Azerbaijani Jafar Gafarov and the Semazen (whirling dervish) Sedar Adem Uslan who, since 1991, has been performing the ritual dance of sema as a dervish in the ancient music group of the Turkish Ministry of Culture. This brand of music and ritual is an intense and unique experience – those used to more sedate forms of performance will get something of a wonderful surprise. And there’ll even be another performance later on in the festival with sufi dancwers from Damascus.

Odissi is the traditional style of dance which originated in the temples of the state of Orissa in Eastern India and is one of the oldest surviving forms of dance, with depictions of Odissi dancing dating back as far as the 1st century BC. The themes of Odissi are almost exclusively religious in nature and most commonly revolve around Lord Krishna, and it’s famed for its unique and fluid movements. Renowned Odissi dancer Smt Bindu Juneja, whose skill in the form has taken her all over the world will perform at the festival alongside some maestro musicians from India.

Whist several Buddhist texts state that monks should renounce singing, music making, dancing and poetry, Buddhist music and dance is still an important means of striving for the higher spiritual goals. The mask dance festival is a widely celebrated event in Tibet that celebrates the birthday of Padmasambhava – the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Monks and nuns dance in masks depicting either animals or Buddhist deities, accompanied by wind instruments and drumming. It’s a glorious spectacle that celebrates both the power of religious devotion and its links to music. There’ll also be a performance by musicians who are linked to the Drukpa Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Alongside the performances, there’ll be special workshops and exhibitions exploring many of the rich traditions and cultures that will be presented at the festival.

For those well versed in traditional Western styles of music, the Orient Festival will certainly provide something new yet strangely familiar. Estonians know only too well that music is far from a simple form of entertainment: it’s a vital form of expression that can often say so much more than words. The festival is a celebration of devotion and skill that weaves the mastery of singing with the spectacle of dancing.

For more information about the Orient Festival, which runs between May 11 – 15, please visit the site

via ORIENT 2011: The International Festival of Oriental Music.