Imam Haddad, the mujaddad (renewer) of his time, and ‘Ramadan Mubarak!’

Dear Readers, Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you,

Hope you are all well.

On this last day before the start of the blessed month of Ramadan (crescentwatch estimates a good chance of sighting the new crescent on the night of Friday May 26th, heralding the lunar month of Ramadan tonight in many parts of the world – hope you will go out to ‘sight’ the moon tonight!), I want to highlight Imam Abdullah bin Alawi Al Haddad (d 1719 CA), who many consider the mujaddid of the 12th Islamic century.

The mujaddid (=renewer), is a title given to a person who Muslims believe renews the faith. The muhaddid is said to be born once in 100 years and by his presence and teaching the message of Muhammed (peace be upon him) is renewed and continued. We are now in the 15th Islamic century, and while some have speculated as to who the present day mujaddid is, it is not for me to relay here who it may be.

The knowledge of the mujaddid is taught in a famous hadith (=narration) from the beloved, the messenger of God (peace be upon him)

“Allah will raise for this community at the end of every hundred years the one who will renovate its religion for it.”

— Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), recorded in Sunan Abu Dawood, Book 37: Kitab al-Malahim [Battles], Hadith Number 4278

 

It is not always only one mujaddid, some centuries there are more than one. The mujaddid attains a stature in the tradition that is unquestioned and generally leaves behind a vast corpus of spiritual and other texts or a body of very famous students who become masters in their own right. As I mentioned in a previous post, they are often leaders who are shunned by or feared by the Islamic political leadership of the time, as they do often ‘call out’ sultans and qaadis (=magistrates) etc. Often they are persecuted by the ruling elite, as has been the case for so many of the great scholars in our tradition. The torture the founders of the four sunni schools of legal jurisprudence; Imam Malik, Ahmed, Shaafi’ and Hanafi is well known in the Muslim world.

In fact the present day descendants of Imam Haddad, who represent one of the oldest unbroken lineages of sound Islamic scholarship in the Sunni tradition, and who still call the city of Tarim in Yemen their home, were and are often still persecuted. If I recall correctly, Imam Habib Omar’s (who is the present day leader of the ‘Alawi scholars, who take their name from Imam Haddad) grandfather himself a great scholar, was tied to a vehicle and dragged through the streets of Yemen not too many years ago by the government of that time, and I believe his father was asked to appear before some government agency and ‘disappeared’ thereafter. So this is nothing new, sadly.

Spiritual Islam has always been attacked by ‘political islam’, constantly seeking to divide Muslims along sectarian lines and use the religion for power-grabbing. In fact, if we Muslims would stop listening to political leadership and start studying the religion we will find little difference among Sunni and Shias, and much that is the same. On those lines, I have often found it striking in my travels to the old Muslim Sunni cities, how deeply a love for the prophet’s family – his beloved daughter, Fathim Al-Zahra (= the resplendent one), her husband, Imam Ali, karamallahu wajha (=may God ennoble his face), Imams Hassan and Hussain – is evinced. For example, in old Morocco, the doorknobs are often shaped after a delicate female hand – said to be the ‘hand of Fathima’, that bringer of gentleness, healing and repose. Here is an image below, the lion’s head may represent Imam Ali who is considered a great warrior in our tradition…karamallahu wajha

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Imam Haddad himself is a descendant of this blessed couple, his lineage below (from www.muwasala.org, where you can read more of the Alawi scholars) Each time you read ‘bin’ think ‘son of’ – it’s like ‘Mc’ in the Scotts traditions:

He is al-Imam al-Habib `Abdullah bin `Alawi bin Muhammad bin Ahmad bin `Abdullah bin Muhammad bin `Alawi bin Ahmad “al-Haddad” bin Abu Bakr bin Ahmad bin Muhammad bin `Abdullah bin Ahmad bin `Abd al-Rahman bin `Alawi `Amm al-Faqih (uncle of al-Faqih al-Muqaddam), bin Muhammad Sahib Mirbat, bin `Ali Khali` Qasam, bin `Alawi, bin Muhammad Sahib al-Sawma`ah, bin `Alawi, bin `Ubaydullah, bin al-Imam al-Muhajir il-Allah Ahmad, bin ` Isa, bin Muhammad al-Naqib, bin `Ali al-`Uraydi, bin Ja`far al-Sadiq, bin Muhammad al-Baqir, bin `Ali Zayn al-`Abidin, bin Husayn al-Sibt, bin `Ali bin Abi Talib and Fatimah al-Zahra’, the daughter of our Master Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets ﷺ.

The Imam’s diwan (=usually used to mean ‘throne’, or ‘government’ or ‘seat’ as in politcal seat ..’Sultan’s diwan’ etc… but here used to mean generally a collection of poetry. For scholars, a diwan generally means their collection of artistic works, often poetry, as all great sunni scholars were great poets), became very popular and a number of his compositions are still sung today. By the way, the presence of a diwan of poetry itself, speaks volumes to the types of people true scholars really are – very much aligned to the spiritual inner workings of man – which all true poetry speaks directly to.

I would like to write of his scholarly works, of which, a very small but profound volume, I had the honor to study. But it would be too much here, so I will continue with his diwan. Among his many poems, one especially ‘Qad kafani i’lmu Rabbi’ (=My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me) I adore, and the words in it, I can relate directly to, MashaAllah! (by God’s grace).

Here it is, with translation!

 

Many of his poems are sung, and you can find whole volumes of them sung by Indonesian Munshidas (=female singer of devotional music) on Youtube. The Alawi scholars have a great following in Indonesia/Malaysia/Singapore, where they are a major cause for the spread of Islam – again testifying to the falsity of the claim that Islam was spread by the sword – the largest Muslim population exists in Indonesia and certainly Islam only went there through scholars and merchants, the same is true for Western Africa, Central Asia, China… etc.

You can find munshidas singing many of Imam Haddad’s diwan at this website http://bukuhariannikita.blogspot.qa/. Unfortunately the translation is only in Bahasa.

And here is another very famous nasheed from the diwan of Imam Haddad, called ‘Ala yallah bi nadhra’

 

I found a rough English translation from http://ummualwi.blogspot.qa

Ala Yallah bi Nadzrah (Imam al-Haddad)

Chorus:

Ya Allah. Send down Your mercy by Your gaze
That will cure all my ailments in me

Oh my friend! Oh my friend! Don’t you be anxious and burdened
Leave everything to fate and you will be praised and rewarded
And be servants who accept what has been decreed by His Lord, which He has fashioned
And reject you not the decree of Allah, The Lord of the Throne

Be those who are patient and grateful
May you be successful and victorious
And be amongst those who have the secrets
That is, those who have hearts of light
Pure from filth; Pristine and refined

This world is dejected,
And the life of this world is insignificant, and life is short
And no one has greed for the world, except those who are blind
No intellect; that if he is of intellect he will reflect

Reflecting that this world does not last
And the sorrows are aplenty
And wealth is scarce
Hence, blessed is he, so blessed is he who is cautious of the world
And divorced himself from it, and prepares himself to obey Allah

Oh my eyes! Pour from you tears that descend
For a lover who had been sent

Slow tempo…

He was with us and now he has gone
Our hearts have become saddened at his departure

But suffice for me, Allah
That all things will return to You
And nothing lasts but You
May Allah pour down His mercy to the occupants of Basshar
And He is pleasured by them and sent glad tidings

There exists our masters and teachers
Our family and those whom we love
And they remain in our hearts
They reside in places where the dusts smelt a sweet fragrance

A resting place for the best of humanity
They are the leaders of mankind
In loving them there is happiness
How blessed are those who visit them with sincerity
And comes with awareness, so all his wishes will be facilitated.

 

Finally, as the ‘dawn’ of Ramadan of 1438 (Islamic year) is a few hours away, and as it is a month of great re-union with the Quran, family and all things delightful in our tradition, and as it is my first time to experience Ramadan living in a Muslim country (! – dear Readers, I moved to Qatar, so if any of you are here, do reach out! 🙂 ), I likely will not reblog to post my wishes for Ramadan unless I do it now.

So Ramadan Mubarak to all my dear readers, of all faiths, backgrounds, creeds and places – I wish you all a month of peace, blessing, generosity, re-connection with your inner soul and great harmony. May God, bring you all peace and prosperity and heal all our many wounds and bring peace to all countries at war, and especially bless and protect our children.

I will end with the Quran, as Ramadan is the month of the Quran. Here is a recitation from the very famous Qaari (=reciter of Quran), Sheikh Abdul Basit Abdul Samad – a great of the greats, Allah irhamhu (=God have mercy on his soul). He is reciting many verses from many different surahs (=’chapters’ roughly). I will not say which ones in order not to be tedious. The translation is given. He is reciting in the slow style, and using ‘makams’, which I blogged about before and here. I don’t know enough to say which makamaath he uses, but the effect is very beautiful mashaallah.

Peace be with you all

 

 

Ramadan Mubarak!

Assalamu alaikum dear readers, peace be with you,

I haven’t been able to blog at all since this beautiful and precious month began. And now we are in day 18 already! Trying very hard to hang on to this amazing time…but it goes so quickly. We say about Ramadan, ‘The days are glorious and the nights are magnificent’!

So for my Muslim readers – let’s make the most of the last ten days which we will soon enter. The honored guest now with us, needs to be treated with the most reverence and love we can show her before she departs our company, inshaAllah (God willing) to return to us next year. I blogged this last year about the special significance of the last ten days, sharing the link again. It’s called ‘looking for laylathul Qadr’

And two more old posts on laylatul Qadr…they bring back nice memories. On this one, yes this year too, my same jasmine plants that gave me nary a bud the whole year burst into bloom with the arrival of Ramadan. And then this magnificent du’a for these special nights (for my non-Muslim readers, du’a is usually what people understand to mean by ‘prayer’…it is a sincerely spoken supplication to God)

I saw this nice clip on CTV news and since it is so rare that the media reports any nice thing about Muslims (I am seriously considering a page just to capture news items that don’t paint Muslims as terrorists or what not – For example, I am not sure how much people know that a mosque group raised 5000$ in one day to help a Catholic church that had been vandalized, or that Nigerian Muslims last christmas linked hands and stood in front of church on christmas eve to prevent any ‘Boko haram’ types attacking the congregation insde, or about the crazy person who was arrested a few weeks ago in a US airport for carrying a machete in his bag – only after he killed a security guard (God rest the soul of this security guard and help his family) – he was not Muslim, imagine the news coverage if he was!!, and I can go on. But I will stop now, it is Ramadan), here it is.

To end as they say in Indonesia –
” it is as if one’s life is a series of Ramadans, with only a moment passing between them”

How strange it is, that with no food and no water, I feel more alive than when I am satiated. As our spiritual masters teach us, it is because now the stomach is shrunken and the heart has room to breathe! The heart is alive and so you feel more alive than at other times. Thanks and praise to God for giving us Ramadan.

Here is the clip. Unfortunately I can’t embed it. Please click here

The honored guest has arrived! and my attempts to sight hilal ur-Ramadan

Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you!

My dear readers, Ramadan Mubarak! (= congratulations on Ramadan/wishing you a blessed Ramadan/Happy Ramadan…any of these will work, again its a phrase hard to translate). Thanks and praise to Allah for the felicity to meet another Ramadan. I pray you are all well and in good health to meet her, in happiness and ease.

Of the many things I am in love with in this way of life – deen ul-Islam (the religion or way of Islam) is the way our lives are tied to the natural phenomena. I love it that the five prescribed ritual worship cycles or salat (some call it prayer but prayer is what we do at anytime) are tied to the position of the sun in the sky. These are obligatory ritual acts of worship. The word ‘salat’ comes from a root that means to ‘do good’, ‘to align rightly’, ‘to recalibrate’. It has all these meanings. It is the daily 5-time reminder of who we are, where we came from, where we are going to, and who we belong to. It’s that one-on-one meeting of the slave with his or her Maker that is the most precious thing in the world.

And I love it that the way we count the months is tied to the phases of the moon. There is something very magical about the moon. And something more magical about how this moon and sun tie into each other. About the passage of day and night. About the light and dark. The Quran talks of these often in many many places. Again, I love these passages too much not to share, so here is one instance below. Where Allah SWT swears by these immense creations…and scholars of Quranic interpretation say, that whenever Allah SWT swears by something that is a mark of the greatness of that thing, and also a mark of the import of the message that is sworn upon – in this case, to have a pure upright character or soul or self.

These are the first 11 ayat (=signs) from surah Shams (=sun). Unfortunately the English does not capture the cadence, rhyme or rhythm of the Arabic. Also there is no ‘neuter’ gender in Arabic. Everything is either male or female.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the name of Allah the most Loving, the One showing Love

91:1
By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour;
91:2
By the Moon as she follows him;
91:3
By the Day as it shows up (the Sun’s) glory;
91:4
 By the Night as it conceals it;
91:5
 By the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure;
91:6
 By the Earth and its (wide) expanse:
91:7
 By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it;
91:8
And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;-
91:9
 Truly he succeeds that purifies her (meaning one’s soul)
91:10
And he fails that corrupts her (meaning one’s soul)!

Now the fact that it is the moon that determines the count of the months is significant also for religious reasons. Since the third main pillar of the deen is the obligatory fast during the month of Ramadan. So much has been said about this that I won’t repeat anything here, except to say briefly that during this month Muslims are obligated to fast from dawn to dusk. The fast entails keeping away from all usual pleasures – definitely of lawful eating, drinking and marital relations and also (though less strictly observed) of too much of the sensual pleasures such as movies, music, TV etc. even if lawful. It is a time one removes the ‘creature-pleasures’ to free the soul to experience divine realities. The spiritual masters say that a too satiated body is heavy on the soul and so cannot be tuned into the call of the Creator. So then, removing those creature comforts paves the way for those heart-valves to open. In addition to this there is exoteric cleansing of course and much charity and feeling for the poor is an outcome.

One of the results of this tying between the deen ul islam and the natural phenomena was the necessitated great feats in astronomy and mathematics that were part of the Islamic golden age. Precise calculation of time became increasingly more important as the Muslim world expanded. There is divine wisdom in action.

So I went out to see if I could sight the hilal ur Ramadan (=crescent of Ramadan). It is a magical experience. Something very special about seeing that new moon during the few minutes it appears before it sets close upon the heels of the sun. I was not blessed with that sight this month though, as it was too cloudy. But I caught a mesmerizingly beautiful sunset instead.

While some Muslims rely on astronomical tables to determine the month, other opinions favour the need to sight the moon with naked eye. Some scholars hold a local sighting is necessary and others say a global sighting suffices. Two witnesses are required. I was tracking crescentwatch.org that tells when there is a chance to see the moon (as in astronomical possibility) and tracks user sightings. I felt greatly elated to hear that the moon was sighted in Sydney that morning and so waited to see if I too would catch a glimpse of her that night. Being in Western Canada we were among the last to see her, except for Hawaii which would be much later. Also for my non-Muslim readers to know – for us, the ‘day’ begins with the night. So when the hilal ur Ramadan is sighted thus marks the first ‘day’ of Ramadan. Great joy then! as mosques began the special night prayers and people gather to celebrate this most special of special times.

May her stay with us this year bring much peace and tranquility to all people, especially in those Muslim lands torn apart by bloodshed and hatred. God have mercy upon us all.

Here is a screen capture from crescentwatch tracking the crescent’s march across the globe.

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And here is a image of the crescent announcement

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And finally the beautifully peaceful sunset I encountered, though I did not see the hilal ur-Ramadan

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Ramadan nights

Ramadan nights are penseive
Waiting for the angels to arrive
Bearers of glad tidings
To souls who never lost hope in the promise of their Lord.

Ramadan nights are peaceful
With a peace beyond man’s realm
Descends a greater good
To tranquil the wayward ego and
souls then in grateful joy.

Ramadan nights. Oh what will I do
My Lord if I have to live past them
Grant me then
The witness of another Ramadan
Let the hours between be as if an inconsequential moment.

***
Joymanifest (c)

Frangrance to greet laylatul qadr

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Here is a little snapshot of my jasmine plant corner. Jasmine is not an easy plant to grow in rainy cold Vancouver, but MashaAllah my two jasmine plants have survived and thrived over five years of some pretty cold winters and gloomy summers. I took this picture and am sharing because my heart is delighted by the bounty of flowers…rarely do so many bloom at the same time. They are by the corner where is my rocking chair and favourite spot to recite quran. And indeed it is as if their blooming is a special gift to greet these blessed last ten nights of Ramadan. My Lord is most generous to me. Subtly watchful in His love and care. May we all have hearts aware of Allah’s rahma that is ever upon us.

Peace be with you all

oh the Quran!

The beautiful sounds of the recitation of the quran during the long prayers of these peaceful Ramadan nightsease my soul and energize my heart.

They waft over me like waves of incense,are as solid as my mother’s arms that held me in infancy. Their timeless rhyme and profound rhythm captures my attention and controls my heart.

Turning, turning, turning back to the One, back to where I came from, Reminding, reminding, reminding…sounds of home ease my soul’s on its foray in to this transient world. Reminding me of my eternal home. Reminding me of who is waiting there for my return.

The above prose is my simple way of trying to communicate the deep peace and joy of listening to the Quran. Last night we were blessed by such a profound and beautiful recitation during the prayer. The prayer was conducted by students on campus, so it was a student who recited (students take turns to lead the prayer), and only a short passage was recited. But it was soulful, slow, melodic, profound, each word pronounced correctly, each word felt. Ah, this is how to honour the Quran! All who listened were transported, and the veils on the heart were lifted. We had found our way home. I wish I could share a recording of it. Since I can’t I’ll post a youtube below. I chose the chapter 12, ‘Yusuf’ (the arabic version for Joseph) one of my most beloved chapters, and telling the beautiful story of Joseph (peace be upon him)

Peace be with you all

***

Joymanifest (c) 2013.

The month of the Quran

Glory to God, to be alive to witness another Ramadan inshaAllah! My heart is overjoyed and at the same time bathed in an ocean of great peace. This month is the blessed month, I am humbled to enter it again. The month of the Quran, when it was first revealed and when it is celebrated. So here, to herald Ramadan, leaving you with the recitation of Surah Maryam (the chapter entitled ‘Mary’). This recitation is especial to me, listening to the words kept me going through a very dark half an hour. May it illuminate and pacify your heart as well.

Peace to you all and Ramadan Mubarak (May you have a blessed Ramadan!)

Several realms of gratitude

Alhamdulillah, alhmadulillah, alhamdulillah, Subhahanallahi wabihamdihi, la ilaha illallah!

Now half this beautiful blessing of a month has flown by. How swiftly it goes. These precious hours, each more gracious than the one past, oh they come to us one after the other and leave us breathless. They raise us higher and higher as we go closer and closer to the divine. This training of the body, opens up vistas of the mind and soul, cleans the heart and purifies the ego. Oh, what a wise blessing this obligatory fast is. Praise be to God, praise be to God, praise be to God, there is no God but God and God is the most pure, sublime, worthy of all praise, to whom is due all thanks.

 

Everynight now, after a long day of heat, we are blessed with a sip of cool water to drink…and as the prophet (Allah bless and elevate him) said;

ذَهَبَ الظَّمَأُ وَابْتَلَّتِ الْعُرُوقُ وَثَبَتَ الأَجْرُ إِنْ شَاءَ اللهُ

Dhahab az zamaa’u wab tallatil urooqu wa thabat al-ajru Insha-Allah

The thirst has vanished, the veins have been wetted and the reward is established – Insha-Allah. [Abu Dawud]

indeed, the veins are refreshed by this. But oh, so many in the world are in an involuntary fast, and have no means of breaking it. Water is such a precious precious gift. Such a miracle. How easily we waste it. A few days ago I was hurrying to a meeting, having parked my car along a residential street. This was in the middle of a hot day and mashaAllah I was feeling the blessing of water, being thirsty with the fast. I noticed a water-sprinkler in full swing on someone’s lawn. It is a silly time to water one’s lawn, as in the mid-day heat, the water evaporates sooner than it can be absorbed and therefore it is not good etiquette to water one’s lawn at this time, rather it is better to water the garden/lawn early in the day or in the evening. So I was thinking of all this at the back of my mind while hurrying, and then forgot all about it. But it was very sad, for an hour and a half later, returning after the meeting…I saw the same sprinkler still working. This was very sad indeed! What a waste of a precious resource and so many in the world suffer so without water to drink. God forgive us all for the way we squander the resources of this precious earth. Now writing this out, I get to thinking about this wisdom I learned back home on what time is best to water the garden. It was always done either early after dawn or just before sunset. Since my home country is poor, it was always done by a person who doubtless did not want to toil in the hot sun watering the garden, so there was more than one benefit. I wonder though, had my country been rich and there was an automatic water sprinkling system…would the ancient wisdom of ‘do not waste’ have prevailed?

 

God knows best the condition of the human and our weaknesses. And indeed we are forgetful creatures. I know there is a thousand things I do that are wasteful now, that I did not do before when I had less. So Allah forgive me for my countless sins and mistakes and forgetfulnesses. Indeed, our real sin is that we forget. Even the great prophet Moses (may God bless and elevate him) forgot as is mentioned in the beautiful and profound story of his encounter with Khidr-

قَالَ لَا تُؤَاخِذْنِي بِمَا نَسِيتُ وَلَا تُرْهِقْنِي مِنْ أَمْرِي عُسْرًا
Sahih International translation

[Moses] said, “Do not blame me for what I forgot and do not cover me in my matter with difficulty.” (Quran 18:73).

 
But look at the etiquette of Moses (peace be upon him) who stated his deficiency and asked for leniency with dignity and sincerity. This is a lesson to us. There is no way we will not be forgetful, there is no way we will not sin. Indeed if that were the case, we would be angels or we would be in heaven! So do not despair of the loving kind protection of your Lord and that you have someone, always there, for you to turn back to. Indeed the beauty of the sin, if I may call it that, is that it brings us back to our Lord. And that we all need. So there is a wisdom in everything created. And God alone is the only true reality.
 
Remember His name…you inhale and exhale it with every breadth, your heart beats to the rhythm of Allah, of expansion and constriction…this is your Lord, everywhere Manifest and everywhere Hidden. Glory to Allah, the most Beautiful, the most Majestic, the One, Everlasting.
 
I began this post really to document the great blessing of water and also to acnowledge with humble thanks, the ‘lovely blog’ award that my beautiful sister, Rosa Noor, bestowed upon me sometime ago. I was trully bowled over by it and super happy 🙂 MashaAllahu ta’ala! And I praise and thank my gracious Lord that this blog began so many months ago, has been able to reach out in such a way to my larger family. As we Muslims believe, if there is any good in it, it comes from God and God alone. InshaAllah, I will soon be able to aknowledge the award as it should be and complete the post. But now it is late and there is much to do and learn these precious Ramadan nights so please Sr. Noor (what a lovely name you have!), forgive me for the delay. Please do check out her amazing blog, ‘Greetings from England’.    MashaAllah such an active blog and here I am scarcely able to pen an entry in a fortnight! 🙂 Truly, God distributes His blessing in the best way.
 
To end, today was a blessed day of being on the water kayaking (one of my favourite things to do)…and since I began with water here’s a picture of a favourite lake where I was blessed to kayak with my God daughter when she was here (how I miss her). Do make du’a for her and all the children in the world who suffer and bear so much. Allah, help us all!
 
 
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Welcoming the month of months…Ramadan Mubarak!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahma Allah wa barakatuh!

O my dear brothers and sisters fortunate enough to witness another Ramadan, I greet you with joy and hope and pray that the light of Allah shines upon you and your loved ones this blessed month.

This is an image of the moon of sha’ban 2012. May the new moon of Ramadan be as beautiful and may we get to see it. Remember to make the prayer our beloved messenger did when he beheld the moon; ‘O moon, as thou dost worship my Lord, so do I’! – I love this du’a 🙂

I have been meaning to write a long while, first to share all the beautiful events that I was a part of since my last posting. Not all pleasant mind you, but full of the teaching of Allah, as I journeyed through hurdle upon hurdle and learned much along the way. It is not easy to summarize and indeed I began this post to share some of the joy and pleasure of knowing it is once more, ramadan. But shortly put, as we continued upon our journey through the countryside of Sri Lanka, we came across many interesting and diverse scenes that spoke to much. A sad visit through what used to be a pristine mountain village by a famous waterfall now full of a type of tourism that unnerved me much…it was tourism for drugs it looked like. All these people in the middle of nowhere looking drugged and senseless…the local women staying off the streets and simple village men now stoned and with blood-shot eyes. It was telling, this never existed a few years ago. I guess when the war was on, this type of tourists did not visit the island. Now we hear, coccaine is grown in the jungles and it has become a hotspot. Or so the driver of our vehicle informed us later on as he reported being solicited by locals to bring more of the ‘right type’ of people through. Thankfully we were not the right type, and we were pretty quick to exit the place. There were other things that happened to us along the way, including a rather bizarre and incredibly memorable encounter with a wild elephant! MashaAllah Sri Lanka really is an incredible country.

Then that night we were staying a small guesthouse, with rooms by a paddy-field…mashaallah it was very pretty, when we heard that my beloved grandmother had suffered a bad fall. Alhamdulillah for the salah and the comfort of putting one’s trust in God. May it always be so for all of us! So then in the morning we rushed back to the city and it took us the day to get there. Thereafter began some good work, as that was the main reason I was in the island. MashaAllah we visited many a social service organization and medical center and learned a lot about what is needed and what needs to be done. Allah bless the brave and tireless people working to help all who need help. I have forgotten much about service, now living in this affluent western world removed from the constant reminder of need. I miss this, for in it there is a great healing and great blessing. There is a reason for suffering and want…I believe it brings us closer to being good people and open our hearts to be merciful…this when one is a sincere seeker or truth or a humble human being. These are some brief thoughts I am sharing, there is of course much more to be said. I pray that these experiences stay cemented in me and I am able to contribute in whatever way God wills. Please include me in your prayers too.

Then it was about leave-taking and coming back home again. Then about settling in and preparing for the month of months just around the corner, and now so swiftly upon us all. I am wordlessly happy! I will end with sharing a lovely youtube time-lapse video featuring one of my favourite anasheed, and this du’a

‘O Allah, please remove oppression from all those oppresed in the world and ensure a peace based on justice and mercy to everyone in the world. Bless us, forgive us and increase us in your light upon light. And bless and elevate our beloved Muhammed, the chosen one’

Trust

Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you! It has been a long long while since I last wrote. I have been on a journey, not just external but also internal as many life events took their toll. But this joy that we are all born with, the light within, never abated…only I could not see it sometimes, blinded by tears. Aren’t we all at some point in our lives and is not the benefit of the tear to wash the dirt from the soul? to clean the eye so it can see again, what is important and essential.

Here is a poem I wanted to share, I found it writen some time ago, during Ramadan I believe.

Taught to trust
through hours
when my feet swell
and my body sways
gently to the rhythm of the recitation
rising and falling
as my breaths
joined to the rhythm of the universe
this reverberation
Ramadan night resonation
With the soul
for a moment, split second divine
worry leaves and the heart is re-born
The soul’s polish
reaches that first sparkle
when polishing cloth leaves its surface
and before dust can settle
split second glimpse
of the Divine
Light upon Light
so heavy, yet so ethereally weightless
so substantial, everywhere yet nowhere
It explodes, this light
in a quiet spreading
beyond physics…beyond the created
It is just there. And polished mirror soul
I reflected it. Till it was everywhere.
And I was nothing, in a sea of light

There I found trust, implicit absolute immaculate trust
My Lord will look after me.

***