Halaqa Notes

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Contemplation

Wisdom 263:

“Contemplation is the lamp of the heart. When it goes away, there is no light for it.”

 

الفِكْرَةُ سِراجُ القَلْبِ، فَإذا ذَهَبَتْ فَلا إضاءَةَ لَهُ.

 

Wisdom 264:

“Contemplation is of two types: (1) contemplation of belief and faith, and (2) contemplation of witnessing and seeing. The first is for those who are apt to learn lessons [from what they see] and the second is for those that experience the vision [of Allah] and have insight.”

 

الفِكْرَةُ فِكْرَتانِ: فِكْرَةُ تَصْديقٍ وَإيمانٍ، وَفِكْرَةُ شُهودٍ وَعِيانٍ. فَالأُولى لِأَرْبابِ الاعْتِبارِ، وَالثّانِيَةُ لِأَرْبابِ الشُّهودِ وَالاسْتِبْصارِ.

 

 

Wisdom 12:

“Nothing benefits the heart like solitude through which it enters the plain of thought.”

 

ما نَفَعَ القَلْبَ شَئٌ مِثْلُ عُزْلةٍ يَدْخُلُ بِها مَيْدانَ فِكْرَةٍ.

 

Commentary:

Dhikr, or remembrance of Allah, tends to have a cumulative effect on the soul. An analogy to this is that of digging a hole in your backyard where the sand is dry. If you stop in the middle of it and don’t keep digging, the dirt will return and cover the hole up. So to keep progressing, you have to be consistent and also be patient in your dhikr or anything good that you’re doing in life.

There is a quote from Ibn al-Qayyim (rahmatullahi ‘alayh), where he compared our level of dhikr to a light in the heart. Some have a small candle burning, others have the light of the moon radiating from within them.

Dhikr may be uttering words out loud or to yourself as you remember Allah, but there is also the concept of meditation which the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did often. This is called tafakkur, to meditate often. Abu Darda (radiallahu ‘anhu) was described to have spent the majority of his time in quiet meditation.

 

Reflect upon things often, and you will see yourself grow as a person with time.

Seizing The Present

Wisdom 18:

“Your postponement of deeds till the time when you are free is one of the frivolities of the ego.”

 

إحالَتُكَ الأعْمالِ عَلى وٌجودِ الفَراغِ مِن رُعُوناتِ النَفْسِ

 

 

Commentary:

Ibn Ata’illah (rahmatullahi ‘alayh) has advised us to try to observe and remember Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) in everything we do, rather than becoming people who remember Allah "on a later day" when we've achieved certain worldly milestones, like finishing school, engaging in marriage, etc.

 

One of the prominent scholars had come up with the concept of a "time block", where you think of your day as a set number of moments. During each moment, you take out a few seconds or minutes to think of Allah.

 

We think we are busy and we might be. Think of the major activities in your day as large stones inside of a jar. The jar represents your day. To fill that jar further, you could take some smaller pebbles and fill in remaining spaces. After that, you could still fill in more spaces with sand. Even further, you could add water. Therefore, capitalize on seemingly trivial moments, like waiting for an elevator or waiting on hold on the phone, to remember Allah.

Neediness before God

Wisdom 175:

“It may be that you find more benefit in a state of need or poverty than in fasting and prayer [good deeds]."

رُبّما وَجَدْتَ مِنَ المَزيدِ في الفاقاتِ ما لَمْ تَجِدْه ُ في الصَّومِ وَالصَّلاةِ

Commentary:

The state of poverty described above is that of a seeker in relation to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Meaning, she or he should have a similar attitude towards Allah the way a poor person humbles himself to a wealthy individual when trying to show how much he is in need. With this, we are advised to memorize the du’aa of Musa (‘alayhis salaam) as reported in the Qur’an:

 

Surat al-Qasas 28:24

 

فَسَقَىٰ لَهُمَا ثُمَّ تَوَلَّىٰٓ إِلَى ٱلظِّلِّ فَقَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّى لِمَآ أَنزَلْتَ إِلَىَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ

 

‘So he (Mūsā) watered (their animals) for them, then he turned to a shade and said, “My Lord, I am in need of whatever good you send down to me.”’

 

 

We can compare this to another aphorism, which states that:

 

"One should not rely on his deeds or his dhikr to obtain good, rather rely on Allah's mercy alone to obtain that good."

 

Meaning, if you are on time to Fajr prayer every day at the masjid while feeling the pride of having done that good deed, that is worse for you than having missed a good deed or sinned followed by a feeling of humility about it in your heart as a result. (This is an explanation of the states of the hearts of the two individuals, and that one state (humility) is better than the other (pride); this should not be taken as something used to encourage sinning).

 

The best path to Allah is to show Him your state of poverty, your desperate need for Him. Empty your container of ego as you approach Him, so that He may fill it with mercy and forgiveness.

Humility before God

Wisdom 238:

"He who attributes humility to himself, then he is truly the proud one, for humility only comes from a sublime state. And if you attribute yourself to a sublime state, then you are truly arrogant."

 

 

Wisdom 239:

"A humble one is not the one that sees himself above his deeds, rather sees his deeds as being above him."

 

 

Wisdom 240:

"Real humility is the one that arises from witnessing His attributes."

 

 

 

Wisdom 96:

"Disobedience that leads to humiliation is better than obedience that leads to infatuation with oneself and pride"

Commentary:

True humility is achieved by observing the greatness of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).

 

If you do something and think you are humble, then you truly are not, because to think that you are humble means that you think you are something.

 

In addition, observing Tawheed is to understand that only Allah is something. If you think you are something, then you haven't understood what true Tawheed is, as Allah is the only One that is worthy of that praise.

 

Umar (radiallahu ‘anhu) used to tell himself, "Everybody is better than you."

 

Imam as-Shafi (rahmatullahi ‘alayh) used to say, " I love the righteous people, and I am not from them."

 

One of the scholars in Syria used to stay for half an hour at the masjid after all the students left before he would head home. One time, a student stayed behind and in seclusion observed the Shaykh cleaning the bathrooms in the masjid before leaving to go home. This story became public only after the Shaykh passed away.

 

The search to obtain true humility may sound abstract, but if we can focus on striving to understand and know Allah, we can achieve His pardon.

Benefits of Tests from God

Wisdom 63:

"Whoever doesn't draw near to God by the gentle acts of His grace, he will be drawn near to him by a chain of tribulations."

 

 

Wisdom 64:

"Whoever is not thankful for the graces is at risk of losing them, while he who is grateful ties them down from escape."

Commentary:

 

Adversities may appear to be very harsh, but in fact they are blessing from Allah. (An ayah from Surat al-An'aam was quoted)  left in for now so this can be filled in by Shaykh Basem

 

One of the scholars in Syria once said about one of his students that he had observed that the student was always walking into one test after having just gotten out of another one. This is a sign that Allah loves him, as his heart continued to point in Allah’s direction through all of it.

 

We may get tested with a reward. If being rewarded does not bring you closer to Allah, then a privilege may be removed as a pathway to Him. If that does not work, then it may be through punishment. The silver lining in this process is to realize that you are streaming down a current, and a bump here or there is meant to keep you flowing in the direction that will get you to your destination: some bumps will hurt, while other pathways will be of ease. The purpose is always arriving to Allah, the Almighty.

 

The biggest loss in this life is that your sense of God consciousness is removed from you. When there is a test, try to look at it as a gift from Allah.

Righteous Companionship

Wisdom 43:

"Do not keep company with anyone whose state does not inspire (elevate) you, and whose speech does not lead you to Allah"

Commentary:

 

Companionship (suhbah) is an important concept for the one who is seeking Allah. The haal (temporary spiritual state) if one person can transmit to another: meaning, a person who is internally a good person and close to Allah will influence another person positively just by way of being with them.

 

The Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) provided an example where he compared good company to the one who is selling perfume. If you visit him and sit with him, you either acquire some of the perfume, or at the very least you find there to be a good smell. The bad friend is like a blacksmith who may burn your clothes, and at the least you found there to be a bad odor while you were with him.

 

There are people that will do their dhikr, read Qur’an, and perform other forms of worship. However, because these people are also keeping bad company, all of the good from the worship will drain away within a short period of time.

 

The "easiest" way to Allah can even be thought of as just having good company.

 

An individual may visit a person who is quite advanced spiritually, and be influenced by him in an overwhelmingly positive way without the former having even said a word to him. The haal (temporary spiritual state) is a state that transmits from one to another as if by "osmosis". The haal is more important than the maqaal (words or actions). Shaykh Rajab (rahmatullahi ‘alayh) would stress the haal before the maqaal - working on your soul before working on your words. Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (rahmatullahi ‘alayh) would stress this heart/limb synchrony as well.

 

You want to achieve a level also where you're no longer affected by others in a bad way - rather, you want to be effective in a good way towards others.

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