Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Qasida Burdah (The poem of the scarf)

The reason for writing this poem

The writer HAZRAT IMAAM SAALIH SHARA-FUD-DEEN ABU ABDULIAH MUHAMMAD BIN HASAN AL-BUSAIRI R.A had become paralysed. His doctors and physicians gave up all hope of his recovery. Eventually in this state of complete helplessness and despair he composed this poem expressing the grandeur and excellence of Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam. Using this as his sole means of asking Allah Ta'alaa to cure him from his illness. He isolated himself in a quiet place one Thursday night and with complete devotion, concentration and sincerity/ began reciting this poem. While reciting it sleep overcame him. He had a vision of Sayyidina. Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam. He told Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam of his illness whereupon Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam passed his blessed hand over Imam Busairi's body. Through the barakat and blessing of Sayyidina, Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam Allah Ta'alaa granted him complete cure from his paralysis. When he awoke he found a scarf or shawl on his body which he had seen Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam place on his paralysed limbs. This resulted in the poem being named "Qasidah Burdah" (The Poem of the Scarf).

In the morning when due to some necessity. he went to the bazaar, a pious dervish greeted him with salaam and requested him to recite the qasidah which he had composed in praise of Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam The poet said that I have composed many poems in praise of Rasuluallah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, which one do you wish to hear? The dervish replied: 'The one which begins with, A-min Tazak-kurin (i.e. Qasidah Burdah)". Upon this request the poet became wonder struck and said, "I take an oath that no one knows about this poem. Tell me the truth, from whom did you hear about it?" The dervish replied, "I take an oath by Allah that I heard it from you last night when in a dream you had recited it to Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, whereupon Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam became attentive towards you and because of its blessings Allah Ta'alaa granted you complete cure from your ailment".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ramadan is on its way! Are you ready?

Soorah Al Baqarah 2:185
"Ramadhaan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur`aan
as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and
judgement (between right and wrong) ...."

Success in whatever we do depends on how clear we are on the objectives we want to achieve and how well we plan for it. Even a recreational activity such as going on a vacation takes much planning. It is not feasible for a person to simply just get up and depart to a vacation destination without planning, especially if one wants to have a good vacation or recreational activity. For example, if one is going to Disney World, usually planning is done months in advance for the trip. In addition to making traveling and accommodation arrangements, people consult friends, read literature and research on how to get the most benefit while there. Time and effort is spent deciding which rides and sites to visit, in what order and at what times of the day so that one can get the maximum benefit at minimum cost in a reasonable time. People make significant efforts to plan the trip because it means so much to them to make such a trip.
What does Ramadhân mean to you? Does it mean more to you than going for a vacation or to Disney World? Are you mentally and psychologically ready to attain all the goodness Ramadhaan has to offer? Are you then spending enough time and taking pains to plan how can you get the most benefit from the opportunity Ramadhaan affords you?
Some people do plan for Ramadhaan, but that planning is only to the extent of who to invite for Iftaar and what special foods to prepare or how to get the best deal on dates? But is this the type of outcome that is the objective of Ramadhaan?
The objectives of Ramadhaan are to:

q Increase our Taqwa
q Make us more charitable
q Prepare us for life-long Jihaad, and
q Strengthen our relationship with the Holy Qur-aan.

So, what are the action plans you want to undertake during Ramadhaan so that when it departs, you have seen significant growth in your Taqwa, you are more giving, more involved in Jihaad and more tuned to the Qur-aan?
Ramadhaan is a wonderful opportunity to help us fine-tune our normal patterns of behaviour thereby changing us for the better. We can ask ourselves the question: What areas of our personality, attitude, behaviour, daily routines and lifestyle, etc. do we need to change to bring us closer to the Islamic standard?
What aspect of your life have you decided to improve on during this Ramadhaan and what are your plans for achieving this change?
We all need many changes and many improvements. None of us is perfect and our list of proposed improvements can be exceedingly long if we were being honest with ourselves. Naturally, one cannot pick a big list and work on all those areas in one month. The best approach is to pick only a few items where the most important change is needed and to devise a plan to make a definite improvement in those area(s) this Ramadhaan. Success in making the change would make you a winner this Ramadhaan and the month will be one of great triumph and blessings for you.
If you have decided to make this a meaningful and triumphant Ramadhaan by identifying areas requiring improvement and if you have prepared a plan of action, may Allaah (SWT) assist you and bless you for taking this step in your life. Congratulations on a good start!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cool or Fool?

Our friends can either be the rope that ties us to our faith in Allah, or the knife that cuts any connection we had with our Creator. They are blessings, they are tests. Ask yourself, who are your friends? And more importantly, what kind of friend are you?

“You can do it!”

“I have faith in you!”; “C’mon don’t be a wimp”; "Here, try one”; “If you say no, people will think you’re weird”; “Don’t hang out with those boring, ‘religious’ guys!”

Whether you are in school, college, university, or working in the corporate world, these are the voices of many of the people you interact with. In our teenage culture, which exaggerates the idea of personal freedom and excessive entertainment, you are exposed to Peer Pressure.

You know You are a Victim of Peer Pressure when….

Most teenagers fall into flirting, clubbing, smoking, cursing, cheating, stealing, bullying, gambling, drinking, drugs, pornography and other immoral practices due to negative peer pressure. You know you are a victim of this pressure when you:

  • are curious to try something new because "everyone's doing it";
  • want to be liked, to fit in, to look cool;
  • worry that others will think you are weird or a coward if you resist;
  • say and do things in the group which you would not do on your own;
  • wish your parents should stay out of your ‘social life’;
  • do something without questioning the outcome.
Compiled From:
"Cool or Fool? Choosing the Right Friends" - Young Muslims Publications

Studying The Quran in a Group

Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, related that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "A group does not gather in one of the houses of God Most High reciting the Quran and studying it together, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy envelops them, the angels encompass them, and God mentions them to those in His presence." [Muslim]

The superiority of studying the Quran gathered together is related from many among the illustrious scholars of the early generations and the grand legists of old.

Your journey through the Quran requires that you seek and join a community of quest and study. No doubt you will read the Quran individually, but your benefits will multiply, if you join in fellowship with other believers and seekers after the Quran. In collective study, the states of the heart may be intensified, and many minds joined together may understand the meanings better and more correctly. And, only by joining with others can you live fully the lives inspired by the Quran and discharge the mission that reading it enjoins upon you.

Compiled From:
"Etiquette With The Quran" - Al-Nawawi, p. 52, 53
"Elements and Dynamics of Quran Study" - Young Muslims

Reality Vs. Imagination

Al-Shuara (The Poets)
Chapter 26: Verses 224-226

"As for the poets, only those who are lost in error follow them. Are you not aware that they roam confusedly through all valleys, and that they say what they do not do?"

A person with a well-defined message who wants to see it implemented in people's lives has a totally different perspective. He has an objective, method of action and a line to follow. He goes along his line, pursuing his method to achieve his end, keeping his heart and mind open and alert. He will not accept myth, or be satisfied with visions and dreams. He is only satisfied when his message becomes a practised reality in human life.

Thus the methods of God's Messenger and poets are poles apart. The two can never be confused. Poets follow their own moods, whims and desires, which means that they are followed only by those who similarly roam about confusedly with whims and passions, having no defined objective or clear line. Moreover, poets pursue every feeling, idea or statement according to that which takes hold of them at any particular moment.

Furthermore, poets say what they do not do, because they live in a world made of their own imagination and sentiment. They prefer such an imaginary world to real life which does not particularly impress them. Hence, they exaggerate and claim things that they themselves do not fulfil. Thus, what they say has no reality in practical human life.

Since Islam is a complete life system, devised for implementation in real life, and since it has a strong bearing on people's conscience and on all aspects of life, it is by nature incompatible with the overwhelming majority of poets. A poet creates a dream in his own world and feels content with it. Islam, on the other hand, wants the dream to become a reality and works for its implementation. It transforms all feelings so that they work together to produce in the real world a perfect model for humanity.

Islam wants people to face up to the facts of life, and not to escape to an imaginary dream. If the facts of life are unsatisfactory or inconsistent with the way of life Islam wants people to implement, it urges them to change these aspects so that they can pursue its way of life.

Nevertheless, Islam does not suppress poetry and art altogether, as some people may take the statement to mean. It simply disapproves of the line followed by poetry and art, giving full rein to uncontrolled whims and reactions, as well as fanciful dreams that absorb the energy of the dreamers so that they cannot fulfil them. When the human soul adopts the Islamic system, and interacts with Islamic values, it produces poetry and art while working at the same time to see its noble feelings realized in practice.

It is perfectly possible for the human soul to achieve an Islamic objective, looking at life from an Islamic viewpoint, and at the same time express all this in poetry and art. In such a situation, Islam approves of poetry and art, indeed encourages poets and artists.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 13, pp. 98, 99

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shariah and Fiqh

Fiqh is the legal science and can sometimes be used synonymously with Shariah. The two are, however, different in that Shariah is closely identified with divine revelation (wahy), the knowledge of which could only be obtained from the Quran and Sunnah. Fiqh has, on the other hand, been largely developed by jurists and consists of rules which are mainly founded on human reasoning and ijtihad. Shariah is thus the wider circle, and it embraces in its orbit all human actions, whereas fiqh is narrower in scope and addresses mainly what is referred to as practical legal rules (al-ahkam al-amaliyah). The path of Shariah is laid down by God and His Messenger; the edifice of fiqh is erected by human endeavour.

Muslim scholars have generally regarded fiqh as understanding of the Shariah, and not the Shariah itself; a certain distinction between them had thus existed from the formative stages of fiqh. Note, for example, that the leading schools of law that were developed in the first three centuries were all known as the schools of fiqh. They were not known by any such terms as the Hanafi Shariah, or Shafii Shariah but consistently as Hanafi fiqh, Shafii fiqh and so forth. The underlying message was one of unity in reference to Shariah but of diversity with regard to fiqh.

Compiled From:
"Shariah Law - An Introduction" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 15, 16

Good Word ..!!

On the authority of Abu Huraira who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "A good word is a charitable act." [Bukhari, Muslim]

In this hadith one finds an excellent but easy means by which to spread happiness and perform a charitable act. Very few humans are without the physical and mental means to perform this act that is beloved to Allah and that should be performed as an expression of gratitude to Allah.

The expression, "a good word," includes many things. Sindi defines it as "any word by which Allah is remembered or any word which benefits any of Allah's creation."

The words used in making remembrance of Allah (dhikr) are good words. Verbally ordering what is good and eradicating what is evil are considered good words. Advising one's brother forms part of this concept. Speaking to the people in a way that makes them pleased and happy is also a charitable act for the person.

An advanced form of speech is one of the aspects that distinguish humans from the animal world. One should use the very important power of speech for what is good. A believer should either speak what is good or remain silent. To use one's tongue in any other way is a gross misuse of this great blessing of speech that Allah has bestowed upon humans.

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 1002

The Poor

Al-Shuara (The Poets)
Chapter 26: Verse 111

They said, "Are we to believe in you, even though only the lowest of the low follow you?"

The nobility always speak in a derogative manner about the poor. They say that their habits and values are not acceptable to those who are in the higher echelons of society. They have nothing of their refinements. What Prophet Noah's people meant was that it was only the poor who followed him.

The poor are normally the first to accept divine messages and messengers. They are quick to believe in God and submit themselves to Him, because they are not deterred by any hollow status or fear of losing any interest or position as a result. The chiefs and nobles of society often fear for their interests that are based on false considerations, as also myths and legends that are given religious status. Moreover, they are unwilling to accept complete equality with the masses as a result of believing in God's oneness.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 13, p. 60