Archive for April, 2016

1 Rajab Urs Hazrat Khwaja Maudood Chishti, Chisht, Afghanistan 527H/1133 AD

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Maudood Chishti

Khawaja Shaykh Qutb al-Din Mawdud al-Chisti [d.527H/1133CE] ‘alayhi al-rahmah wa’l-ridwan

Hadrat Khawaja Mawdud al-Chishti aka Shams Sufiyaan, Chiraag Chishtiyaan, was a great sufi saint and a learned Islamic scholar of his time. He was a successor to his father and murshid ABU YUSUF NASIR AL-DIN BIN SAMAAN, in the Chishti silsila, and the murshid of KHAWAJA HAJI SHAREEF AL-ZANDANI Rahmatullahi alayh.

He was born around 430 Hijri in the city of Chisht, Afghanistan. He initially received education from his noble father Khawaja Abu Yusuf Nasir al-Din Samaan Rahmatullahi alayh, and by the tender age of seven [7] he had memorised the complete Qur’an al karim. He went on to complete his education at the age of 16. Khawaja Mawdud al-Chishti Rahmatullahi alayh was particularly known for his very strict adherence to observing the shari’ah [Islamic Law]. Whenever he desired to do anything, he always first supplicated in the court of Allah the Almighty. Legend has it that if anybody stayed in his Khanqah for at least three days, all their difficulties were removed, and they became perfect [kamil] sufis by attaining nearness to Allah.

Hadrat Khawaja al-Mawdud Chisti Rahmatullahi alayh became the mureed [disciple] of Hadrat Khawaja Nasir al-Din Yusuf Chisti Rahmatullahi alayh. After he became a mureed, his murshid [master] addressed him by saying, “Oh! Qutbuddin Moudood, adopt of the path of the faqr.” (The word faqr is literally translated as poverty, but in the language of tasawwuf, it means to be rich with Allah. It is for one to have total trust in Allah, and not to be dependant on any other but Allah) faqr is the way of the true dervishes. The more one travels on the path of faqr, the higher one’s status becomes. The Beloved Messenger of Allah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam is the leader of all the ambiya [Prophet’s] ‘alaihim as-salaam and dervishes, and he adopted this path. He said; “Faqr is my pride,” and after returning from the night of mi’raj [ascension], he performed ‘Fajr Salaah’ [dawn prayer] with all the sahaba al-kiram [Noble Companions] behind him, and afterwards made du’a [supplication] to Allah by saying;

“O Allah, let me live amongst the poor, take my life away whilst amongst the poor, and raise me on the day of Qiyaamat amongst the poor.” All our Grand Masters loved the faqirs, and to love the poor is the sunnah [tradition] of Rasulallah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam, “and remember, whoever loves the poor and destitute, is loved and worthy of respect, and whoever shows enmity to the poor, stay your distance away from them because they insult the sunnah of Rasulallah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam.”

Khawaja Mawdud al Chisti Rahmatullahi alayh accepted his murshid’s [spiritual guide] advice. Shortly after he went into seclusion and remained absorbed in worship of his Creator for twenty years. During this period, he rarely ate and was reported to complete two (‘complete’) recitations of the Qur’an during the day, and two during the night. He also used to constantly make the dhikr of “La ilaha illallah.” Due to all his consistent ibadah [worship], everything that was happening in the universe became apparent to him, and nothing was kept hidden.

Some of Qutb al-Din Mawdud Chisti Rahmatullahi alayh’s scholarly work includes two books by the name of ‘Minhaj al-Arifin’ and ‘Khulasat al-Shari’ah’. Khawaja Qutb al-Din Mawdud Chisti Rahmatullahi alayh died around Rajab 527 Hijri and is buried in his place of birth; Chisht, near Herat in Afghanistan.



 

1 Rajab Urs Hazrat Khwaja Abu Mohammad, 411H/1020 AD

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Chishti e Sharif – Afghanistan

1 Rajab Urs Hazrat Khwaja Abu Mohammad, 411H/1020 AD.

Shaykh Abu Muhammad bin abi Ahmad [d. 411H/1020CE] ‘alayhi al-rahmah wa’l-ridwan

Khawaja Abu Muhammad bin Abi Ahmad [331- 411 H] aka Waliyud Deen aka Naasihud Deen was a renowned saint of the Chishti Order. He was a student and successor of Abu Ahmad Abdal [d.356H] and murshid [spiritual guide] of Abu Yusuf Bin Samaan [d.459H] who was also his sister’s son. He was born in the month of Muharram [331 Hijri-940 CE]. At the age of 7, he became a student of Abu Ahmad Abdal. He is also reported to have participated in the army of Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi.

Khawaja Abu Muhammad bin Abi Ahmad Rahmatullahi alayh died on the 4th Rabi’ al-awwal (some say 1 Rajab in the year 411 Hijri), [1020 Common Era]. He was 80 years of age. He is buried in the town of Chisht, near Herat, Afghanistan.

Because of the uncertainty of the date of his death we have decided to post an announcement on both dates.

Rajab Mubarak!

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Rajab Mubarak

Quran Before, During and after Ramadan

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

By KN Gratwick     Some of us excel in math, some in fine arts (and there is of course the rare talent who does both). Our interests may be equally if not more so disparate, as environmental activists and coin collectors. And our professions may differentiate us still further, as neurosurgeons, homemakers and school…

Source: Quran Before, During and after Ramadan

Some of us excel in math, some in fine arts (and there is of course the rare talent who does both). Our interests may be equally if not more so disparate, as environmental activists and coin collectors. And our professions may differentiate us still further, as neurosurgeons, homemakers and school principals. Nonetheless, there is a clear, singular goal for Muslims: aspiring to the character of Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). At the end of the day, and the beginning, life is not complicated if we follow this prescription. Few of us will play the esteemed role of sheikh, but each has the capacity to model our lives along that of God’s blessed, final messenger.

Too often we take this prescription literally, arguing about the merit of the miswak over the toothbrush, or insisting that our turban is a closer approximation to what Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wore. Disagreements ensue all too often about beard length. Reliving his life is not, however, our mission; instead, replicating his behavior is, and that is why he is as relevant to men as he is to women. Of course, at times, in aiming to replicate behavior we may venture into history and its minutiae.  Yet it is incumbent on all of us to constantly question form, content and the wisdom underlying them. Does, for instance, our use of miswak, donning of the turban and measuring beard length ultimately help us model prophetic qualities of cleanliness, modesty and taqwah, or are there alternate forms that are equally viable to help achieve these same prophetic characteristics?

And what relevance does this daily exercise in modeling behaviors, and struggling with form and content, have to do with preparing oneself and one’s Qur’an for the holy month of Ramadan? Otherwise stated, how does the act of trying to replicate prophetic character relate to our engagement with our mushaf for 30 days and nights while fasting?

Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has been described as a living Qur’an; his thoughts and actions were all guided and inspired by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and he proved among the most obedient and perfect servants of us all. This perfection was in turn intended as a mercy and guide for humankind: to help navigate life, peacefully, productively, and in constant remembrance of the Creator. The Qur’an was sent down with the same purpose. Thus we received both living model and book, complements of each other, and a complete strategy for how to approach life (regardless of what time period we may live in, or the interests and the professional paths we choose). We were gifted a truly universal message embodied in the person of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the Qur’an.

If the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is a compliment of the Qur’an and vice versa, then, to reiterate, what should we do specifically during Ramadan to engage with both the living model of the Qur’an and the Qur’an itself? There are well documented accounts of communal and individual ibaadah for Ramadan, from the taraweeh prayer to the i’tikaf, all of which were undertaken by the living Qur’an and his companions. It is not the goal of this short essay to replicate those efforts.

Ramadan is meant as intense character training and its lessons are applicable year-round. Therefore what follows is a short and hopefully simple series of recommendations to consider as we approach Ramadan. These recommendations seek to build on the main points above and are informed by elders and teachers modeling the Sunnah; the points are potentially relevant to ‘reading’ the Qur’an in Ramadan, but go beyond a mere literary experience to one which seeks embodiment of prophetic character Insha’Allah:

In the month leading up to Ramadan, throughout all the holy month and thereafter, may we attempt to focus our gaze on both the wisdom of the Qur’an and the living model of Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and recognize that they are in fact compliments of one another.

  • For some, meditation and study may occur best in the early hours of the morning; for others, it will be mid-day; whatever may be the time and its duration, may we attempt each day to engage with the two greatest miracles of our life, through prayer, tilawat, reflection and action.
  • Just as the Qur’an is matched with a perfect example and teacher, our own reflection and growth is enhanced by an instructor. May we therefore seek out a trusted and qualified teacher and guide, in an effort at striving toward the actual character of Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), the living Qur’an.
  • Related, every time we interact with the Qur’an and the model of Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), may we do so in an effort to improve our own character, not the character of our spouse, our non-Muslim neighbor, or our co-worker etc; the journey is one of inward perfection, and not outward judgment, as we each aspire in our own right to be living Qur’an as well.
  • To the world, may we be of service, for that was the Sunnah of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and that is what is outlined ayah after ayah in the Qur’an. Just as we excel in different ways, service may take myriad forms. The nurses among us may heal; the artisans, craft; the architects, design; the relief workers, rescue etc. Regardless of what form it may take, striving toward the ideal of service, as a way of life, is what is key.

I pray that we are always in remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and that our striving to become living Qur’ans ourselves is unceasing. I pray that all our ibaadah are accepted and that there is profound healing and enlightenment before, during and after the blessed month of Ramadan, Insha’Allah.

KN Gratwick, aka Umm Muhemmed, has been actively studying the deen for more than a decade, and prior to her own conversion in 2003. She began a more focused study of hifdh Al Qur’aan starting in 2010. She works as a development economist and is based in Texas. She is also the author of A Qur’aanic Odyssey: Towards Juz Amma (Greenbird Books, 2012) and Ya Sin: Towards the heart of the Qur’aan (Mindworks Publishing, forthcoming 2015), which describe a home-based hifdh experience with young children. Among her favorite activities is gardening.