Friday, 5 September 2014

Etiquette In The Haramayn Shareefayn

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

By Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Is`haq Saheb
(Daamat Barakaatuhum)

When in Madinatul Munawwarah…

We should try and spend as much time as possible in the Masjid and as close as possible to the Roudha-e-Mubaarak, sitting quietly, occupied in the recitation of Durood Sharief. We should think that my Durood is:

1.)    Saying Jazakumullah to Rasulullah (Salallaahu alaihi wa sallam) for all his favours.
2.)    Making Dua for Rasulullah (Salallaahu alaihi wa sallam)
3.)    Praising  Rasulullah (Salallaahu alaihi wa sallam)
4.)    And expressing love for Rasulullah (Salallaahu alaihi wa sallam).

Durood Sharief is a capsule which contains the Ibaadah of Shukr (appreciation), Hamd (praise), Dua (supplication) and Muhabbat (Love).

We should keep in mind that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is not in need of our Durood Sharief. From our side, our Durood Sharief is out of love, as well as seeking the great benefits of Durood Sharief.

When at Roudha-e-Mubaarak, we should also read the Kalimah Shahadah and request Rasulullah (Salallaahu alaihi wa sallam) to give evidence on our behalf, that we had read the Kalimah.

When in Makkatul Mukarramah…

We should take advantage of the wonderful and cherished opportunity to make Tawaafs. Nowhere else in the world is this Ibaadah possible.

We should try to complete as many Tawaafs as possible, but within our capacity. Keep in mind that Allah Ta’ala does not look at the quantity of our deeds, Allah Ta’ala looks at the quality, the sincerity and the attention we give to our Ibaadah,

Care should be taken not to inconvenience anyone, not even oneself. Tawaaf should be done with humility, dignity and concentration – and should not be done in haste or rushing and dashing through the crowd – as is sometimes seen on the Mataaf.

There should be no worldly activities brought into the Tawaaf or into the Masjid – whether Masjidul Haraam or Masjidun Nabawi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) - for example: making calls on one’s cellphone, taking photographs, videoing, engaging in idle and unnecessary conversations, etc. This is totally unacceptable behaviour in any Masjid. To a greater degree, it will be reprehensible in the Masjidul Haraam and Masjidun Nabawi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Keep well occupied reciting the Qur’aan Sharief – with the aim to complete at least one Khatam during one’s stay. Engage in Dua as much as possible – for almost every place in the Haramayn Shareefayn is a place of acceptance of Dua. One should complete one's prescribed Dhikr and try to also bring in the following Tasbeehaat daily:

100 x Istighfaar
100 x Durood Sharief
100 x 3rd Kalima,
100 x 4th Kalima
100 x

All of these Tasbeehaat are very greatly loved by Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu and the rewards are consequently also very great.

Together with the various Ibaadaat that are engaged in, while in the Haramayn Shareefayn, we have to preserve and safeguard the Noor accumulating in the heart and guard the rewards which are multiplying in our spiritual bank accounts. It is therefore necessary to abstain from all sins – and special attention needs be given to controlling the gaze - amidst the thousands of strange women and men who are also present inside and outside the Haram.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq of good, and appreciation for the time we spend in the Haramayn Shareefayn. 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The True Wealth of Madina Munawwarah

By Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel (RA)

My respected Shaykh, Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh), mentioned, in his poetry, that our value is dependent on our Nisbat (connection) with Madina Munawwarah.

When anything is purchased and brought from Madina Munawwarah, then a lover of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)  will naturally appreciate and value it – no matter how small or how cheap. Why? …Because it has a connection with the city of the Beloved (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). It has been touched by the air of Madina Shareef, or it has been produced from the blessed land of Madina Shareef - and this is what has made it special.

The residents of Madina Shareef are the neighbours of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)  and they are the envy of the heavens, because they have such extreme physical closeness to Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). They are the envy of all of us as well – for we too desire the honour of being in such proximity to Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), at all times.

Allah Ta’ala, in His infinite Mercy and Grace, does not want to deprive anyone of us of this blessing of being close to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), so He has given us a simple recourse to always being near to our Beloved Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). This nearness is attained via our Nisbat with the A`maal of Madina Munawwarah – i.e. the Sunnah (way of life) of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Our value, in the sight of Allah Ta’ala, is dependent on our relationship with His beloved  Rasul (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Allah Ta’ala has informed us of this in the Qur`aan Shareef :

 “Say (O Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)) : If you do love Allah, follow me. Allah shall love you and forgive you your sins; And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.”
 [Surah Aal-Imraan 3 : 31]

And my Shaykh had presented the same message in poetry form:

The footprints of the Beloved of Allah,
Nabi Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam),
is the road to Jannat;
The Sunnats of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)
connect one with Allah Ta’ala .

It is a misconception that a person’s repeated performance of Hajj and Umrah and repeated visits to Madina Munawwarah is to be taken as the yardstick of piety. The yardstick of piety is not how many Umrahs or Hajj, a person has made.

The present day scenario is saddening to say the least, since Umrah and Hajj have become a holiday, a shopping spree, and a “tour” for the majority. …The deficit is in “sincerity of intention”. As has been said: “The visitors are many, but the pilgrims are scarce.”

For many, these trips are now for business and trade. And for others, each trip is another “feather” in their caps – which must be made known and announced to the world. There are those that boast of their yearly trips, whether for Hajj or ‘Umrah, or both, updating us on the number of visits they make to Makkah Mukarramah and Madina Munawwarah.

We have heard people say : “I have made Umrah/Hajj for the past 20 or 30 years and have never missed out one.” …Yet, the reality is that we cannot count our Umrahs and Hajj. We cannot say how many have been performed, because we do not know how many have been accepted. Those Umrahs and Hajj that are accepted are the only ones that we can count. And we will only come to know of their acceptance on the Day of Judgement.

Despite the frequent visits to the Haramayn Sharifayn, there is generally not much improvement in our spirituality. If we have not brought a reformation in our lives: If we have not fulfilled the rights of people, if we have not returned to people that which is their due, if we have not asked forgiveness from those whom we have wronged, if we are not punctual with Salaah, and if our zaahir (external condition) and our baatin (internal condition) do not reflect the purity and spirituality that come with visits to the Haramayn Sharifayn, then we should truly be concerned as to the quality and acceptance of our Hajj and Umrah.

I have mentioned many times that the “maal” (wealth/material goods) of Madina Munawwarah is not what is available in its market places, bazaars and shopping complexes. Unfortunately, when we visit Madina Munawwarah, then more often than not, the objective is the “maal” of Madina Sharief.

The majority of those visiting Madina Munawwarah forget the purpose of their visit once their gazes fall on the commercial centres of Madina Sharief. Many who do know about the material commodities being sold, plan in advance – that there will be an exchange or purchase of gold, there will be this commodity and that commodity bought. …Whilst in Madina Sharief, the talk is the latest technology, the cellphones, the best gold shops, cloak shops, and so forth. 

The intention and pursuit becomes the “maal” of Madina and not the A`maal of Madina Munawwarah. And this is how our stay of seven or eight days passes : “mauled by the malls” . Our Imaan, our love for Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), our time, our energy, our money are “mauled” in the obsession we have of shopping. We forget, and sometimes we do not even care to give any kind of attention or express any kind of appreciation to our host, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)  because we are so caught up in material purchases.

Instead of filling up the pockets of our hearts with the wealth of the Love for Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)  and with the wealth of his noble characteristics, we fill up suitcases and suitcases – many a time, even purchasing more suitcases – for filling up the material commodities of Madina Sharief.

I am not saying that it is Haraam to shop there. It will be meritorious if a person makes purchases with the intention to support the businessmen and traders of Madina Munawwarah.

The Hadith also makes mention that when we are on a journey, we should bring back gifts for our families no matter how small or how cheap – because there is always an expectation from those who remain behind, at home, that the person on a journey will remember his loved ones and bring back something for them – but this should not be misconstrued.

Shopping is not meant to be the “be all and end all” – especially of our visit to the Haramayn Sharifayn. The person should purchase a few gift items a day or two before departure. And the gifts that we should be appreciating most are the Duas of the Haramayn Sharifayn, Salaam at the Raudha Mubarak, the Zam Zam of Makkah Mukarramah and the Kajoor (dates) of Madina Munawwarah.

Almost everything else is made in China, Taiwan and Japan and can be purchased anywhere else in the world, including our own country, or city or town. However, the Haramayn Sharifayn offer a different “market” where such spiritual bounties are obtained, which cannot be obtained anywhere else in the world.

The true lovers of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)  make this trip to fill their hearts and lives with the ‘A`maal’ of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)  - with his beautiful Seerat and Soorat, with his kindness, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, generosity, abstinence and the treasure trove that we know of his noble life.

The visit should be purely to visit Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), to make Salaam to our Beloved Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), to spend time in his Mubarak city and glean from our visit, those virtues, those qualities that will be the medium of bonding with him and being the means of our own value increasing in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.

If all the visitors to Madina Sharief were to return home with the true “maal” and wealth of Madina Sharief – i.e. the Akhlaaq (character) and A`maal of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), then the value of the entire Ummah will increase.

The Sahabah were the “stars” of mankind – guides and leaders for all nations and people. They had to thus make the great sacrifice of leaving Madina Sharief to spread the religion of Islam. Despite them being distanced from their beloved Madina Sharief, they traveled with the Nisbat of Madina Sharief. This was the key to their success. Wherever they went, there was progress and success.

On the other hand, we put price tags on ourselves by looking at our material possessions. What are material possessions? …Fanaa (annihilation and destruction) will come over them.

Let us introspect and consider our value in the light of the Nisbat that we have with Madina Sharief. …The reality is that we have discarded our nisbat with Madina Sharief, and as such our value has decreased. Today, the Ummah as a whole is being sold very cheaply in the markets of the kuffaar. This is our own doing and downfall.

If we have to re-connect with the way of life, the actions and characteristics of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), then most definitely, we will fetch a high price in Allah Ta’ala’s esteem, and we will be successful in both worlds.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Special Guidelines

Special Guidelines for those performing Hajj and Umrah

From the noble teachings of our Shaykh and Mentor, Aarif Billah Hazrat-e-Aqdas Maulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb  (Daamat Barakaatuhum)

1.   One should safeguard one’s gaze. In other words, do not look at any man or woman with lustful gazes. People from all around the world are present at the Holy Sanctuaries of the Haramayn Sharifayn. Therefore, one should always be alert and on one’s guard not to glance at any ghayr-mahram, even from the corner of one’s eyes.

When leaving home, one should leave with this firm intention : ‘I will not cast evil glances at anyone.’ Over and over again, one should renew this intention in one’s heart or else the nafs will involve one in casting evil glances.

2.   One should safeguard one’s heart. Meaning one should not entertain evil desires in the heart. Neither should one derive unlawful pleasure from fantasizing about unlawful beauties. Similarly, one should not recall and reminisce past sins and derive pleasure therefrom. If, however, evil thoughts do come into the heart and mind, then one should remember one important point:

If thoughts come on their own, then there is no sin in this. However, if one intentionally fantasizes and brings evil thoughts into the heart, then this is a sin. Occupying oneself in evil thoughts and fantasies is sinful.

3.   Physically, one should not come close to any ghayr-mahram or handsome lads (such lads who are beardless and one is sexually attracted to them).

4.  One should abstain from unnecessary conversation. Busy oneself with useful and beneficial activities such as Tawaaf, Tilawah, Durood Shareef. If one feels tired, then one should look at the Ka`bah Shareef. (This is also an Ibaadah and a means of attaining spiritual reward).

5.    One should not debate over controversial issues, neither should one get into arguments.

6. During Tawaaf, one should not look at the Ka`bah Shareef. When addressing the King, it is disrespectful to stare at him.

7.    If one’s glances unintentionally fall upon a ghayr-mahram woman and the heart becomes attracted to her, then meditate upon the fact that she is the guest of Allah Ta’ala and due to this she is more worthy of respect than one’s own mother.

If one’s gaze unintentionally falls upon her in Madina Munawwarah, then meditate that she is the guest of Allah Ta’ala as well as the guest of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi waSallam).

Similarly, if one’s gaze unintentionally falls upon a young lad and the heart becomes attracted towards him then one should meditate that he is more worthy of respect than even one’s father. This is because, in Makkah Mukarramah, those who are there are the special guests of Allah Ta’ala, and in Madina Munawwarah, they are the special guests of Allah Ta’ala as well as Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi waSallam).

8.  If one becomes inconvenienced in any way in the Haramayn Shareefayn, then one should never complain. Imagine that those who are in the Haramayn are princes and royalty. All they have to do is perform one Tawaaf and ask for forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala. We are not even equal to the dust which settles upon their feet.

9.   If the food is not to one’s liking, then one should not complain about it. One person had complained, saying : “The yoghurt of Madina Munawwarah is too sour, whereas the yoghurt of India is sweet.” He saw Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi waSallam) in his dream telling him immediately leave Madina Shareef. One should perceive everything of the Haramayn with eyes of respect, reverence and love. One should not find faults.

10. One should consider oneself a servant and not one who deserves to be served. One should be a means of giving comfort to others and consider serving them one’s honour.

11. When the gaze falls upon the Ka`bah Shareef for the first time, then one should ask Allah Ta’ala to grant His Sublime Being. Ask Allah Ta’ala to grant you Himself. Supplicate to Allah Ta’ala, saying : ‘O Allah Ta’ala, I am unworthy and underserving but You are Kareem, You are the One Who grants to even the unworthy.’

12.    If one happens to see a dream then one should not mention it to anyone other than one’s Shaykh. If one’s Shaykh is not there, then one should mention it to a caring friend who has understanding of Deen. One should not mention one’s dream to just anybody.

13.   Those who are performing Hajj and Umrah should take great care that even one breath should not be taken in the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us all the ability to practise upon the above-mentioned guidelines.

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Wash Cycles for the Heart

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

By Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘Alayh)

Once, on viewing the Mataaf from one of the upper levels of Masjidul Haraam, the scene of thousands of people engaged in Tawaaf, brought to my mind the following analogy:

The sight of those thousands of people moving around the Baitullah reminded me of the wash cycles of the washing machine.

And indeed, we find that parallels can be drawn between the Tawaaf and the work of the washing machine.

The purpose of the washing machine is to wash our clothes clean. …We place dirty clothes into the drum of the machine and we add the detergent, bleach and softner. With a press of the Start button, the drum starts to spin, water pours in and the machine does its work of extracting the dirt, repeatedly, until the final rinse.

Once the drum stops, the clothes are taken out, hung up to dry, and when dry, they are ironed – with the end result being well pressed, crease-free, clean clothing.

Tawaaf has some resemblance to the purpose and work of the washing machine; except that we are not washing dirty clothes; rather we are washing our hearts – our spiritual hearts.

Like dirty clothes are placed into the washing machine, we place our dirty hearts into the Tawaaf – hearts which are stained with all kinds of sins, including the ‘tough’ stains of major sins. …What is not found in this heart? So much has soiled and spoilt our hearts : Pride, Jealousy, Malice, Vanity, Hubbe Dunya, Hubbe Jah and the deep, dirty stains of lustful gazes, backbiting, and other such evils have blotted our hearts, have smeared and blackened them.

Before washing badly stained clothing, a stain remover is used. Accordingly, the stain remover of regret and remorse over our sins, and the sincere intention that what is past being really past, is applied to our hearts.

The Hajre Aswad can be likened to the ‘START’ button. The intention of Tawaaf and the raising of the hands with ‘Bismillah Allahu Akbar wa-lillahil Hamd’, signify the commencement of the Tawaaf. Simultaneously the washing of the heart commences. The detergents of Istighfaar, Durood Shareef, and Zikrullah, then contribute to the cleansing of the heart.

Just as water gushes into the drum, Allah Ta’ala’s Tajalli, His Special Mercy and Noor, which is cascading onto the Baitullah, drench those who are in Tawaaf. These are the ones who are the first to benefit and they benefit more than all others. Their hearts too are being soaked with this Noor, similar to how the dirty clothes become soaked with water.

The detergent of sincere Istighfaar and Taubah wash the heart. …The amount of detergent a person needs for washing his clothes, depends on the size of the load. So if our hearts are heavily loaded with sins, then naturally, the demand will be of plenty of Taubah and Istighfaar.

If we want our hearts to be white, the bleach of Zikrullah is added to the Tawaaf, just as bleach is used when a person wants his white clothes to be as white as possible.

If we want our hearts to be soft, then the softner of Durood Shareef is also released into the washing of our hearts.

Each round of Baitullah is similar to the wash and rinses that the dirty clothing go through for a good, clean wash. Round and round, each cycle is completed with Istighfaar and Taubah, Durood Shareef, Dua and Zikrullah. Together with that Tajalli, the dirt of the heart is being extracted, until the final rinse and spin – the 7th round. Now the heart is clean and purified.

…If we entered the Tawaaf with full concentration on Allah Ta’ala, and complete focus of the great privilege of Tawaaf of Baitullah – which is in reality Tawaaf of Rabbul-Bait, then we will experience that beautiful Noor and that Tajalli.

Naturally, for the full benefit of Tawaaf, the gaze has to be controlled. If a person has ‘khauf-e-Khuda’ and he has ‘Azmat’ of Baitullah, he will not raise his glance towards strange women; he will not cast an evil gaze – in the Tawaaf and out of Tawaaf. …If during Tawaaf, the person is engaging in lustful gazes and other sins, there will be just an accumulation of darkness and dirt.

Once the heart is washed, it is taken out of the Tawaaf – clean and bright and white. After completion of the 2 Rakaats of Waajibut Tawaaf, the person proceeds to the Multazam, where he places his chest against the wall. That pressing of his chest, is akin to pressing and ironing the “creases” of his heart;  similar to how clothes are ironed, making them ‘crease-free’.

The tears shed at the Multazam are like droplets of sweet musk which now fragrance that heart. SubhanAllah, what a sparkling heart, emitting the sweetest of scents… Whilst we will sense it, Insha-Allah - we will have to thereafter look after this cleanliness and this sparkle.

We have to make sure that we fulfill the rights of that Taubah, by making amends on our shortcomings in Huqooqullah (the rights of Allah Ta’ala) and Huqooqul Ibaad (the rights of the servants of Allah Ta’ala). Whatever is outstanding of Salaah, Zakaah, fasts, will have to be made up for, and whatever is due to people will have to be returned to them, or forgiveness secured from them.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us all the Taufeeq of making such Tawaafs, which only increase our hearts in purity and whiteness, which increase that Qurb (proximity) to the Owner of the House.