Bismillah. And it begins…
Imam Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad b. Marzuq al-‘Ayyashi (may Allah have mercy upon him) was asked if it is proper to send prayers upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) while walking through the marketplace. He replied: “This practice is ‘against what is superior’ [khilaf al-awla].”
The questioner then asked him, “If that is so, then why have we been encouraged to remember Allah in the marketplaces—as is mentioned in a number of hadith traditions?” The Shaykh replied,
“It is because our prayers upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) are presented to him in their exact form, including the time and place in which they were uttered, so it behooves the invoker of prayers to actively seek out a wholesome, pure, and clean place for them.”
(Shaykh Muhammad Tahir al-Kattani, Matali’ al-Sa’ada fi Iqtiran Kalimatay al-Shahada, pp. 239–240)
Here is the second and final talk in the Hydration of the Soul program. In this part I discuss the following:
- What is the meaning of salat when we send salat upon the Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allah ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam)?
- Does the Prophet (Salla Allah ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) benefit from our prayers upon him?
- What are the Worldly and Afterworldly ascensions that Shaykh Muhammad al-Qandusi’s speaks of in The Drink of the People of Purity?
- Can a person be so attached to the Prophet (Salla Allah ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) that he becomes a veil for them?
Please recite al-Fatiha for the author.
The Hujra of the Prophet (Salla Allah ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam)
Here is the first talk in the Hydration of the Soul program where I discussed the background and some of the keys and themes of Shaykh Muhammad al-Qandusi’s book The Drink of the People of Purity. Please recite al-Fatiha for the author.
(Shaykh Muhammad al-Qandusi’s Maqam in Fez)
Here is the cover to a much anticipated book I had translated a few years ago for the good folks at Ihsanica Media in South Africa: A Just Word: The Life and Legacy of Imam Ahmad Rida Khan al-Barelwi. In sha’ Allah this work will be available in early 2015.
What does it mean to be a man? What is masculinity? Is it everything? Is it nothing? Many people are troubled by discussions about masculinity. Ibn ‘Arabi (Allah have mercy upon him) said that there is no proper definition for love that is more obvious that what the word evokes.
Masculinity and its counterpart femininity are similar in that regard.
The words masculinity and femininity both suggest traits and qualities that are found in every culture (so no, they are not all culturally determined and relative). Ontologically, a man and woman are equal—equal in the sense that they are both “human” and created to fulfill the function of vicegerent on earth (khalifa).
Man-as-vicegerent therefore represents the qualities of vigor, rigor, majesty, force, activity, etc., and Woman-as-vicegerent represents the qualities of nurturing, beauty, softness, passivity, etc.
What we need to understand is that masculinity and femininity are complementaries, not oppositions. They are unitive and not separative like positive and negative. Masculinity involves elements of femininity, and femininity involves elements of masculinity—jalal (rigor) with jamal (beauty) and jamal with jalal (just as every Yang has an element of Yin, and every Yin has an element of Yang). Each has an ideal expression, and each faces the possibility of assuming a negative function. For masculinity there is a danger of contraction and hardening, and in femininity there is a danger of dissolving and indefinite exteriorization. (On a purely physical level, a man runs the risk of injury if he goes too hard too long without restoration and recovery, just as he runs the risk of being doughy and soft if he spends too much time lying around and inactive.) A very simple way of defining masculinity is to say that it is the ideal manifestation of jalal and activity, tempered by a degree of jamal and passivity. A masculine man possesses the universal virtues shared between men and women, but expressed in a manner that is consistent with the rigorous and active nature of masculinity. Likewise, a feminine woman possesses the universal virtues shared between men and women, but expressed in a manner that is consistent with the passive nature of femininity. If you define masculinity as just a collection of virtues that women also have, you are missing the point. And if you define masculinity solely in biological terms, you fail to define Man-as-vicegerent. The masculine jalali expression of the universal virtues shows up in all areas of a balanced man’s life—or at the very least he acknowledges them and tries to move in their direction. He does not join the cacophony of voices that call for a “rethinking of masculinity.”
Questions on the Spiritual Path that Pertain to Knowledge of the Ultimate Reality, by Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din b. ‘Abd al-Salam
At the request of my Shaykh, I translated this relatively obscure book by the Sultan of the Scholars, Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din b. ‘Abd al-Salam. In this slim volume, Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din provides answers to sixty-two questions on the Spiritual Path. To read this work, download it here.
A general covenant has been taken from us by Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that we follow the Muhammadan Sunna in all of our statements, actions, and beliefs. So if there is a practice for which we do not know a supporting proof in the Book [the Quran], the Sunna, scholarly consensus [ijma’], or analogical deduction [qiyas], we refrain from practicing it and wait until we give it further consideration. If it has been deemed positive by some scholars, we seek the permission of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in it and only then do we act upon it—out of propriety [adab] for those scholars. This is because of our fear of innovating [something] within the purified law [Shariah], which would result in us being among the leaders of misguidance.
I had once sought the Prophet’s counsel (Allah bless him and give him peace) regarding the opinion of those who say that a praying person should utter during the prostration of forgetfulness [sujud al-sahw] “Glorified and exalted is He who neither sleeps nor forgets!” and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “It is good.”
It should also be obvious that seeking permission from Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) depends on the servant’s spiritual station in the moment he wishes to carry out an act: if he is from those who enjoy the Prophet’s presence (Allah bless him and give him peace) directly and in a wakeful state [yaqzatan]—as is the station of the people of spiritual unveiling [kashf]—then he should seek the Prophet’s permission [directly], and if he is not from them he should seek the Prophet’s permission with his heart and await what Allah Most High will create within it, whether inspiring him to consider the act good or to leave it.
I once heard my master ‘Ali al-Khawwas (may Allah have mercy upon him) say, “When the senior masters encourage [others to] act in accordance to the Quran and the Sunna, their intention is only that one should be with Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) in that action, for they know that the Real [Allah] only keeps their company within actions that are legislated by Him and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). As for actions which have been innovated, neither Allah nor His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) keep their company within them—those who innovate them, whether scholars or an ignorant people, sit by themselves.”
A general covenant has been taken from us by Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that the greatest portion of our love for fasting be because Allah Most High has said “Fasting is Mine,” and not for any other reason, such as the pursuit of reward or the expiation of sins and the like. For whosoever does an act for Allah Most High, Allah will suffice him in this world and the Next, and will give him what no eye has ever seen, what no ear has ever heard, and what has never occurred to the heart of man—not to mention divine rewards and expiation of sins and other personal desires in this world and the Next. It has not reached us that Allah Most High has said regarding any act of worship that it “is His” in particular save the act of fasting, so were it not for the fact that it contains extra uniqueness He would not have ascribed it to Himself.
I heard my master ‘Ali al-Khawwas (may Allah have mercy upon him) say, “The meaning of Allah’s words ‘Fasting is Mine’ is that it is His insomuch as it is an attribute of infinite plenitude [sifa samadaniyya], hence He is not described with eating or drinking. That is why the fasting person is commanded to abstain from sexual intercourse, sinfulness, and impolite speech—namely out of propriety [adab] with the attribute of infinite plenitude, whose name he has taken on [when fasting].”