Halaqas


In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

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(the minaret of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria, whence Muslims believe the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, will descend.)

During our last halaqah, we talked about the Prophet Jesus, on him be peace, and the Antichrist in Islam. Insha’ Allah, two very beneficial resources that one should consult for more information are

insha’ Allah we pray that they are beneficial.

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In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

namaz

In his seminal work Ihya’ `Ulum ad-Din (‘The Revivification of the Religious Sciences’), Imam al-Ghazali discusses the spiritual subtleties of ritual devotion. Much of his insight has been compiled and translated in Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship, whence the following is extracted:

The Prayer

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The Prophet salawat mentioned about Ramadan, “Its beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness, and its end is salvation from the Fire.”

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Though we have now left that middle portion, the doors of forgiveness are still open. Last week, we recited the famous Lamiyah al-Istighfar, a poem that has been rendered into English as “Seeking Forgiveness.” The verses represent a sincere and comprehensive plea to God for His pardon, and I have uploaded it hoping it will benefit us just as it had benefited our predecessors.

I remember at a retreat, some brothers were reciting this qasidah when Hajji Haroon, one of the most serene people I’ve ever met, asked, “Is this from the Diwan [anthology] of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib?” I was shocked — I didn’t know Hajji Haroon had any idea who the shaykh was. “Can you imagine,” he continued, “the effect this would have if it were recited in the parlours of Harlem?” I would soon learn that he had more insight into the poem than anyone else present…

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In 1928, a great blessing surfaced in Brooklyn, New York with the inauguration of the Islamic Propagation Center of America. Its patron was Shaykh Daoud Faisal, whose devotion to spreading the religion in America is claimed to have earned him the fealty of about 30 000 converts. At the time, New York had a fledgling, incontiguous Muslim community that welcomed the new establishment as the first mosque in the area.

The centre served the Muslims well. Some visitors only had time to attend the congregational prayers before returning to their businesses. But a few lingered after the prayers to accompany the shaykh, in whose gatherings they encountered the Diwan. The appeal to these circles of dhikr attracted several pioneers of Islam in the West, including Hajji Haroon, and imbued their hearts with a sincere passion that would propel the message for decades to come.

Amongst the signs of God’s acceptance of the Diwan is its proliferation: composed in Morocco, it has now spread so widely that its recitation is heard throughout the world, from the Middle East to America (and Edmonton too, I suppose…). And wherever it has gone, it has extended the same effect, transforming the hearts of those yearning for the divine.

Praise be to God who favours us with increase by the rank and station of our forebearers. And may His choicest blessings and purest greetings rest on the Beloved, Muhammad, whose exalted precedent guides to the paths of perfection.