theconsciousmuslim

“You are very important. If you weren’t, then you would not be here. You matter. If you tap into your potential, you are among the best of all creation. You are the one that if you mention Allah, He mentions you among His highest angels - Gabriel, and Michael - He is mentioning you to them. The scholars say if you could hear the scratch of the pen as it writes your name, you would die from ecstasy.

Then, who are you? You are very special.

When you realize how important you are, you will then realize why you will be judged. You have a purpose. You have importance. You will be judged based on how you used the gifts Allah has given you.

Most people live their whole life without knowing themselves. To know yourself, is to know God.

—  Dr. ʿUmar Farūq ʿAbd-Allāh

#CelebrateMercy -— Rabiʾ al awwal 1438: Never seen anyone comparable to him (ﷺ)

ʾIbrāhīm‎ ibn Muḥammad, who is from the grandchildren of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib reported that when ʿAlī used to describe the Prophet (ﷺ), he would say, “The Messenger of Allāh was neither very tall nor very short, but of a medium stature amongst the people. His hair was neither very curly nor completely straight; rather it was in between these two description.”

He (ﷺ) did not have a fleshy body or a fully round face, his face was slightly round (ﷺ). His skin was colour white with some redness. He had extremely black eyes with long eyelashes (ﷺ). He has large joints and broad shoulders (ﷺ). There was no hair more than normal on his body and he has a thin line of hair running from the chest to his navel (ﷺ). He had think hands and feet (ﷺ). When he walked, he lifted his legs with vigour and his steps were firm and strong as if he was descending down a slope (ﷺ). When he wished to look behind, he would turn his whole body, and not just the face (ﷺ). The Seal of Prophethood was situated between his shoulders (ﷺ). He was the seal of Prophets, and he has the most generous of hearts and the most truthful tongue (ﷺ). He was the most kind-hearted and tolerant person ever (ﷺ). He was the best to spend time with due to his awe-inspiring character and kind treatment; anyone who came across him unexpectedly would become awestruck; and whoever came in close contact with him would love him (ﷺ).

One who describes him can only state, “I have never seen anyone comparable to him (ﷺ).”

Shaykh Ḥamza Yūsuf, “One of things about the ʿulamāʾ they say maḥabba (love) for most human beings arises out of three things. The first is the physical love. You see something beautiful and your heart inclines towards it. So He put the love of beauty in the hearts of human beings. If you see something beautiful, you incline towards it. Your eye delights in it, if you see a human being that is beautiful, you can fall in love, it can happen just from sight. The ʿulamāʾ have maintained the physical description of the Prophet (ﷺ) because that is a level of maḥabba – to actually hear how beautiful he was (ﷺ). He was the most beautiful human being. He was more beautiful than Yūsuf.  One of the gifts of this ummah is that we have an exact description of the Prophet (ﷺ), it is as if you are looking at him (ﷺ). There was a desire to keep the description of the Prophet (ﷺ) so people could have a physical attraction to him as well as the first stage of love.”

Beautiful, Subḥān’Allāh!

Muḥammad ʿAlī (1942-2016) 

“So what I’m gonna do when I get out of boxing? Is to get myself ready to meet God.” -— Muḥammad ʿAlī

Words cannot do justice to Muḥammad ʿAlī, he was a champion in the ring, and hero outside of it. He was not just the greatest boxer, but a civil rights activist, a great orator, exuded confidence - the epitome of manhood. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest Muslim Americans that has lived. He is an inspiration for all, and will continue being one, even in death - this is his lasting legacy.

Slowly but surely the lights are going out. May Allāh cover him with Mercy, fill his grave with Light, forgive him any and all wrong actions and raise him up on the Last Day. May He raise his rank and unite him with the Prophet (ﷺ).

The greatest truth is re-revealing itself: ʾInnā Li-llāhi Wa ʾInnā ʾIlay-hi Rājiʿūn. “Truly! To Allāh we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.”

We seek His Mercy, and His Gentleness.

al-Fātiḥah

“Allāh is the Greatest. I’m just the greatest boxer.”

Since hijab signifies the higher statement of gendered humanity, the woman in hijab finds herself on the frontline in a war against the monoculture. So, as traditional modesty is made to buckle under the pressures of modernity, the woman in hijab stands out either as a witness to revealed difference, or to her own charms. She stands out either as a witness to her life lived for God, or to identity politics or egotistical fashion statements. And while inappropriateness for a lady in hijab isn’t always clear; and while she strives to guard and nurture her sense of modesty against modernity’s intrusions of immodesty, she remains the great global sign of dissent. In such a battle she must be supported, counselled and defended; but never dictated to. For a woman in hijab is a shieldmaiden of Islam.
—  Shaykh Abū Aaliyah
Be true in your relationship with the Sovereign Creator, for He is the greatest one with whom you could relate in all your affairs and states.
Know that He cares for those who turn to Him; relieves difficulties for them; is there for them in every circumstance, condition and change; and He shelters them in His Mercy, Grace, Pardon and Forgiveness.
—  Habib Umar bin Hafiz
There are five stages in the growth of love: first is to think someone pleasant, that is, someone thinks of someone else as being nice or is charmed by their character. This is part of making friends. Then there is admiration; that is the desire to be near the person that one admires. Then there is close friendship when you miss the other one terribly when they are absent. Then there is amorous affection when you are completely obsessed with the loved one. In the special vocabulary of love this is called ‘ishq, “the slavery of love”. Finally, there is passion, when one can no longer sleep, eat or think. This can make you ill to the point of delirium or even death. Beyond this, there is absolutely no place where love ends.
—  Ibn Ḥazm, Morals and Right Conduct in the Healing of Souls.

The Miraculous Night Journey | 

Isrā’ is the famous night journey of the Prophet ﷺ, he ﷺ was accompanied by the archangel Gabriel and the heavenly steed named Burāq, he ﷺ was taken in spirit from Mecca to Jerusalem and from there the ascent (mi‘rāj) began. He ﷺ traveled through the seven heavens ascending to the utmost limit.

This is one of the reasons why Jerusalem holds such importance for Muslims, as Ḥabīb Alī al-Jīfrī said, “…it’s the only place on earth that has a gateway and opening from the lower sensory world to the higher celestial realms.”

While reflecting on this journey, I remembered that the Prophet ﷺ didn’t tell everyone about the journey on his return, he disclosed it to a few close friends, namely Abū Bakr, a far cry from us today updating our statuses and tweeting our every movement! Subḥān’Allāh.

I had a long long piece written about the journey, but I came across one thing that Imām Ja‘far b. Muḥammad said and decided no to.

Once a man came to Imām Ja‘far and asked him to describe the ascent (mi‘rāj) Imām Ja‘far replied “How should I describe a station which even Gabriel, with all the magnitude of his rank, was not able nor permitted to enter?”

Subḥān’Allāh. As it says in the Qurʾān [53:18]:

“Truly he saw some of the greatest signs of His Lord.”

 ___

اللهم صل وسلم وبارك على سيدنا ومولانا محمد خير البرية، وعلى اله في كل لمحة ونفس عدد ما وسعه علم الله

The only one who’s going to judge us is Allah. Thank God. Thank God all these people on twitter are not my judge. Did you open his heart? Did you look into his heart? Did you determine what his niyyah was? There are two qualities, there are no better qualities than these two qualities: having a good opinion of Allah, and having a good opinion of the servants of Allah. We’re all trying, and we hope that Muslims just…we need to unite, at least be united in acknowledging that people come to different conclusions about situations. We’re all trying.
—  Shaykh Ḥamza Yūsuf 
Love |

For some reason my inbox is often filled with questions about love and marriage. I get questions that are about love for a man, or a woman and how it will kill them if they don’t marry. A tad dramatic. 

They often make me chuckle, I shouldn’t, but it does.

In my humble opinion people rarely understand what love means, what it entails and what it evokes. Loving someone simply for yourself isn’t really love, love is pain. Love can be test of endurance, of patience and sometimes even the mind. It is a longing, it isn’t always suppose to work out. For this I blame films and TV culture, it has allowed people to get carried away from reality and more importantly meanings. I met Amir Sulaiman a couple of weeks ago and he was speaking about loving the messenger of Allāh ﷺ he explained that learning to love him ﷺ had broken his heart, it had caused to him to want to meet the Messenger ﷺ so much that he was besides himself. Subḥān’Allāh.

Shaykh Ḥamza Yūsuf once explained that Arabs of the jāhilī period had a better grasp and understanding of what love is than many people today, and he quoted some poetry from Layla Majnun. I too will share my favorite passage from their tale, move over Romeo and Juliet! Let me just set the scene. Majnun loves Layla dearly, his father takes him on a pilgrimage to “get over” her and this is what enfolds.

“They say, ‘Crush the desire of Layla in your heart.’ But I implore Thee, oh my God, let it grow even stronger, Take what is left of my life and add it to Layla’s. Let me never demand from heras much as a single hair, even if my pain reduces me to the width of one. Let her punish and torment me. Let her wine alone fill my cup, my name never to be spoken without her seal. My life shall be sacrificed for her beauty, my blood shall be spilled freely for her. Though I burn for her in agony, like a candle, none of my days shall be free from this pain. Let me love, oh my God, love for love’s own sake, and make my love a hundred times as great as it was and is.”

Such was Majnun’s prayer to the Almighty as his father silently listened. What could he say? He knew now that he could not loosen the fetters binding his heart, could not find a cure for its ills. There was nothing to do but leave Mecca and start on the voyage home, where they waited impatiently in sorrow and fear. And when they arrived, his entire family surrounded the Sayyid. “How was it?” they cried. “Tell us, has Allāh helped? Is he saved?”

But the old mans eyes looked tired and sad, “I have tried, I have told him how to ask God for relief from this curse, this Layla. But he clung to his own ideas.”

“What did he do?” they asked.

“He cursed himself and blessed Layla.”

Malcolm and ʿAlī |

Two Black Muslim American giants, more than that they were vessels of wisdom whose words were filled with lessons that each of us, irrespective of faith, can take something from.

Malcolm on ʿAlī,

“I liked him. Some contagious quality about him made him one of the very few people I ever invited to my home. Betty liked him. Our children were crazy about him. Cassius was simply a likeable, friendly, clean-cut, down-to-earth youngster.”

Unfortunately they had a falling out, Malcolm had denounced the Nation of Islam and was now an orthodox Muslim, but ʿAlī was still affiliated with them, perhaps it was due to his youthful vigour, but his connection with Malcolm was now tethered, broken - never to be the same again.

Later in his life Muḥammad ʿAlī states,
“Turning my back on Malcolm was one of the mistakes that I regret most in my life. I wish I’d been able to tell Malcolm I was sorry, that he was right about so many things. But he was killed before I got the chance. He was a visionary ahead of us all.

…I might never have become a Muslim if it hadn’t been for Malcolm. If I could go back and do it over again, I would never have turned my back on him.”

Two luminaries that have changed countless lives, they in there own unique ways epitomised what it means to be Muslim,

Malcolm ends his autobiography with this,

“…if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help to destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America-then, all of the credit is due to Allāh. Only the mistakes have been mine.”

Malcolm and ʿAlī brought so much light, so much, to this day we are in need of it. We pray now that Allāh, the Exalted, expands their graves and fills it with light. al-Fātiḥah. 

And Allāh alone knows best.

Grief |

This is one word that comes to mind today along with heartbreak. Today I woke up to the news that my niece, only 1 week old, had taken her final breath and departed from this world. Doctors had worked tirelessly to try and save her, but medical complications and more importantly the will of Allāh, the Exalted, would prevail - exactly how it is meant to.

Trying to let the reality sink in - I just felt numb. It then dawned on me that at sometime today I would have to face members of my family and would have to try and offer words of consolation and condolence. This filled me with a sense of dread, it’s easy to write things - then edit, google and alter - but words that are uttered matter. I felt my words would be empty, lacking in worth, I wrangled with my inability to intellectualise the phrases that mattered - when I needed them most, it seemed I would be betrayed by my own heart and mind. I mean what does one say to a mother that has lovingly carried her child for months, only to be left with an empty cradle? For some reason I remembered a poem by Heaney called ‘Mid-Term Break’ where an older brother shares his own grief at the lost of his baby brother. My heart sank, and the grief intensified. Grief stems from an Old French word grever meaning ‘to burden’ - and when something burdens something or someone they begin to contract, emotionally, and at times physically too. So I did what I always do when in dire need for help, I closed my eyes started with a Fātiḥah and then a ṣalawāt - I then recalled that it wasn’t about me at all, it never was. I was reminded that our tradition is not one of contraction but expansion - “Have We not expanded for you your breast?” [94:1], I was reminded that our Majestic Lord does not burden a soul with more than it can bear, I was reminded that our beloved Prophet (ﷺ) would console others even when his own heart was broken. Subḥan’Allāh.

The thing about mercy, particularly Prophetic mercy is that it is ceaseless - it continually churns out mercy for all - at every single moment of our lives: joy, distress, anguish, pain, bliss - it’s present in every moment of our lives. Jabir ibn ‘Abdullāh said, “I heard the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), say, ‘If anyone has three of his children die young and resigns them to Allāh, he will enter the Garden.’ We said, ‘Messenger of Allāh, what about two?’ ‘And two,’ he said.” Maḥmūd ibn Labīd said to Jabir, “By Allāh, I think that if you had asked, ‘And one?’ he (ﷺ) would have given a similar answer.” He said, “By Allāh, I think so too.” [Bukhārī, al-Adab al-Mufrad]

Khālid al-Absi said, "A son of mine died and I felt intense grief over his loss. I said, ‘Abū Hurayrah, have you heard anything from the Prophet (ﷺ) to cheer us regarding our deceased?’ He replied, 'I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) say, 'Your children are roaming freely in the Garden.’” [Ibid]

Our scholars mention that children who pass away at a young age will intercede for their parents and lead them into the Garden on the Day of Judgement. This life is cluttered with infirmity and trials, but the next is one of prodigious bounty, and perpetual joy for those that attain the Garden. It is so vast and astonishing that when the believer is asked if they experienced any difficulty in this world they will reply "No, O Lord.”

At our darkest, deepest and bleakest of moments the words, teachings, and way of our Prophet (ﷺ) shine through, always. They are truly a gift from Allāh, Exalted be He, of His never decreasing Bounty, a reminder of our ignorance and an affirmation of His Limitless Reality.

May peace and blessing be upon the Prophet (ﷺ) - do remember my family in your prayers, especially the parents. And Allāh alone knows best.