A Woman’s Wealth and Duty in Her Home and Community

Whenever I hear of the wealthy and rich like Sayyidatina Khadijah al-Kubra r.a. giving in charity, I rejoice.

Whenever I hear of the poor like Sayyidatina ‘Aisha as-Siddiqa r.a. giving in charity, I weep more in joy.

When Sayyidatina Khadijah r.a. inherited her wealth, she gave it up for the way of Islam for Rasulullah ﷺ in his first 25 years of his life. She showed us how women can be independent and self sufficient yet supportive. While Sayyidatina ‘Aisha r.a. on the other hand, after having raised with tarbiyah by the Prophet salallahu alaihi wassalam himself since she married the Prophet and lived with him since she was young, inherited his ﷺ knowledge and spread it to the ummah. Both men and women sat in her company, to learn from her, after their beloved Prophet ﷺ passed on.

Rasulullah ﷺ said “The scholars are the successors of the prophets. Verily the Prophets do not pass on gold and silver coins, but rather they impart knowledge”

The Prophet ﷺ also said, “Indeed, the prophets do not leave money as an inheritance. Rather, they leave knowledge. Whoever seizes it has taken a bountiful share indeed.”

So it’s beautiful how there’s hikmah in why Sayyidatina ‘Aisha didn’t bear descendants from the Prophet ﷺ although Sayyidatina Khadijah had children with him ﷺ .

There is also a wisdom and encouragement that for those who are not from the descendants of the ahlul-bayt can still be his ﷺ successor, and that is to revive and teach his ﷺ sunnah.

The messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Verily, I have only been sent to perfect righteous character.”

So if you treat your spouses and children with adab, you are too teaching them about Love. That’s killing two birds with one stone. Practicing it yourself and imparting the state of the Prophet ﷺ to the community, and every community starts from home.

The Prophet ﷺ said, “The best of you is he who is best to his family, and I am the best among you to my family.”

That we see too when a woman becomes a man in the path of God, she is a man and one cannot any more call her a woman.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: Sadaqah Jariyah (ceaseless charity), a knowledge which is beneficial, or a virtuous descendant who prays for him (for the deceased).”

May Allah ﷻ make our homes and our hearts as a zawiyah.

[Photo of SAYYIDA FATIMATOU ZAHRA NIASSE (RA), KNOWN AS YAFATOU, daughter of Shaykh-al-Islam Ibrahim Niasse (RA), the wife of the Complete Khalifah Saydi Ali Cisse, and the Mother of Imam-al-Faydah Shaykh Hassan Cisse (RA), Shaykh al-Tijani Cisse (RA) and Shaykh Muhammadou Mahy Cisse (RA)]

Path of Shukrulillah

When people ask how are you? They meant to ask about your soul. The question is really, how is the state of your soul right now?

A lot of people asked me, and I can’t help but to reply “down”.

Because what’s more worrying than the state of our souls.

“Pray for me”, greatly appreciate a dua instead.

7 different mistakes, doesn’t seem to be a good thing especially in this holy month of Ramadan.

And I can’t tell if I placed my standards high for a weak soul like mine.

But in all due, even having passing through this 7 doings, it’s important to be in a state of gratitude for every each of it.

Alhamdulillah.

Not because of the bad. But because the bad makes you see that the good comes from Him.

Let the awareness of our faults be a veil from our stations but not a veil from Allah and the need of Him.

This is the path of shukrulillah. Path of gratitude.

Were we mere blank slates?

In a tale of human progress and a defence of progress, people learn from their parents and their parents’ parents, and who, after trials and tribulations, wind up committed to each other. Unrecognizing that our life is a story of fellowship. Because when you look deeper into the unconscious, the separations between individuals begin to get a little fuzzy. It becomes ever more obvious that the swirls that make up our own minds are shared swirls. We become who we are in conjunction with other people becoming who they are.

We have inherited an image of ourselves as Homo sapiens, as thinking individuals separated from the other animals because of our superior power of reason. This is mankind as Rodin’s thinker – chin on fist, cogitating alone and deeply. In fact we are separated from the other animals because we have phenomenal social skills that enable us to teach, learn, sympathize, emote, and build cultures, institutions, and the complex mental scaffolding of civilizations. Who are we? We are like millions of sensations, emotions, and signals interpenetrate every second. We are communications centres, and through some process we are not close to understanding, we have the ability to partially govern this traffic – to shift attention from one thing to another, to choose and commit. We become fully ourselves only through the ever-enriching interplay of our networks. We seek, more than anything else, to establish deeper and more complete connections.

In psychotherapy, it is believed that the original trauma of disconnect often stems from parenting. This produces the wound, and our reaction to the wound. From how we encode the information, to how it creates chaos. What defence mechanism we use to cope and how our outdated defence mechanism leads to breakdown or occasionally breakthrough. Whether we choose to shift our life to a new healthier paradigm that allows healing and expresses unity, this system above is intended to help psychotherapists connect the dots and understand the blueprint. When we do this, we can adopt a more logical and linear approach to it all. A logical and linear approach helps us move from the amygdala (the emotional center) to our frontal lobe (where we can problem solve, make peace or accept and let go of past events).

Thomas Kuhn states that “awareness is prerequisite to all acceptable changes of theory.” Kuhn believes that it all begins in the mind of the person. The mind is central to your health. Disturbed mind gives rise to a disturbed body, and when the body is disturbed, it disturbs the mind further. However, a man’s innermost reality and center of consciousness, the mind, is governed by the heart. The Prophet ﷺ said “Indeed there is in the body a piece of flash which if it is sound then the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt then the whole body is corrupt. Indeed it is the heart.” Imam An-Nawawi used this hadith as a proof that the seat of the mind is the heart (al-aql fi al-qalb) and not the head.

The sound and truthful heart is that which is secure from every carnal desires, it is secure from any doubt and uncertainty. It is secure in preferring what pleases Him in every circumstances and distancing itself from everything that would displease Him in every possible way. It is secure from seeking the ruling of other than His Messenger ﷺ . This is the reality of ubudiyyah (servitude), which can be directed to Allah, alone. And this is the deen al-fitrah that creates a love for deen al-Islam. Allah swt has given every child Qalb-e-saleem (a sound heart) and that “None of you will come to Allah in a state of happiness unless if it is in a state of salim (whole and healthy).” Now this enlightens both the mentally ill and the spiritually diseased that the search for a healthy heart is able to help them.

Kuhn further states that what we perceive, whether normal or metanormal, conscious or unconscious, are subject to the limitations and distortions produced by our inherited and socially conditional nature. However, we are not restricted by this for we can change. For example in some cases, our dreams, being misinterpreted as a spiritual message, may actually come from our subconscious desires (nafs). Or bad dreams which alludes to our subconscious fears. What we nurture in our minds determines the results. Therefore our minds, if filled with the zeal for the Prophet ﷺ or our Lord, are able to manifest expansion and revelations in our dreams or even in our awaken states.

Pulling it from an Islamic spiritual perspective, how this identifies with our relationship with Allah ﷻ , the Ultimate One who created us. Our disconnection with our Creator and our religious ancestor salallahu alaihi wasallam leads to all sorts of trauma.

“The great tribulations that we see in our age is because we have distanced ourselves from the life of the Prophet Muhammad

-Habib Kazim al-Saqqaf

We are, being the descendants of Prophet Adam alaihi salam and the ummah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ , enjoys this benefit, His intercession. And this definitely doesn’t only limit to Arabs.

In 1981, Andrew Meltzoff ushered in a new era of infant psychology when he stuck his tongue out at a forty-two minute old infant. The baby stuck her tongue out back at him. It was as if the baby, who had never seen a tongue out back in her life, intuited that the strange collection of shapes in front of her was a face, that the little thing in the middle of it was a tongue, that there was a creature behind the face, that the tongue was something other than herself, and that she herself had a corresponding little flap that she too could move around.

The experiment has been replicated with babies at different ages, and since then researchers have gone off in search of other infant abilities. They’ve found them. People once believed that babies were blank slates. But the more investigators look, the more impressed they have become with how much babies know at birth, and how much they learn in the first few months after.

The truth is, starting even before we are born, we inherit a great river of knowledge, a great flow of patterns coming from many ages and many sources. The information that comes from deep in the evolutionary past, we call genetics. The information revealed thousands of years ago, we call religion. The information passed along from hundreds of years ago, we call culture. The information passed along from decades ago, we call family, and the information offered years, months, days, or hours ago, we call education and advice.

Relevant to how all of our souls, in its purest forms are connected to the message of Islam from our Creator through His messenger Prophet Muhammad ﷺ , his beliefs (hadiths) and actions (sunnahs). Also, as his ummah, our inheritance of his salallahu alaihi wasallam’s characteristics, and finally our tarbiyah on our path towards Him.

But it is all information, and it all flows from the dead through us and to the unborn. The brain is adapted to the river of knowledge and its many currents and tributaries, and it exists as a creature of that river the way a trout exists in a stream. Our thoughts are profoundly moulded by this long historic flow, and none of us exists, self made, in isolation from it. So even a newborn possesses this rich legacy, and is built to absorb more, and to contribute back to this long current.

How an infant is born in a state of fitrah (purity), with the knowledge of God, and the purpose of worshipping Him. But as we grow and we start communicating with the world, it instils in us memories, habits, which later becomes our nafs. Similarly, to an innocent child that helplessly attaches him or herself to the nurturing ways provided by his or her own parents, a seeker seeks to form a rabita (connection, attachment) with his own shaykh or murrabi, diminishing its own personality (nafs) and unifying it with what God or the Prophet ﷺ wants through surrendering. While the world, in its corruption, contributes to the nafs, the seeker seeks purification.

The heart, when has been renewed, now has turn alike a child, pure and innocent. The soul in its awareness of the need for social interactions, seeks the knowledge of adab (etiquette) in preventing harm to its character. However, through the struggles, it presents the lack of surrender of the salik (seeker). The mind still clings onto logic and reasoning and it doesn’t understand what the spirit is capable of understanding. This entails the emptying. The unlearning of what you have learned, in order to reach a state of equanimity and eventually, humanity.

“Allahumma Muqallibal quloob thabbit qalbee ‘alaa deenik” (Oh turner of hearts, keep my heart firm upon your religion)

Sayyidatina ‘Aisha (radiallahu anha) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to recite this dua a lot. So she asked, “Oh Messenger of Allah, you make this dua a lot, are you afraid?” He said: “Yes. Who would keep me safe, Oh ‘Aisha, while the hearts of the servants are between two fingers from the fingers of The Most Merciful?”

Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas said that he heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ saying,

“All the hearts of the offspring of Adam are between two fingers of Ar-Rahman’s Fingers, as one heart. He turns it (in any direction) as He wills. Then Allah’s Messenger said, “O Allah! The Turner of hearts, turn our hearts towards Your obedience.”

Now let’s look at the bigger picture, what is our purpose in life?

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Now act accordingly.

via Daily Prompt: Descend

This topic was explored with the help of some authors. Most of the psychological aspects of this writing came from David Brooks’ book called ‘The Social Animal’. I do not claim it to be mine.

The art of Jihad – Internal War

“Every criminal, miser, abuser, scoffer, embezzler, and hateful person does what he or she does because of a diseased heart. If hearts were sound, these actions would no longer be a reality. So if we want to change our world, we do not begin by rectifying the outward. Instead, we must change the condition of our inward. Everything we see happening outside of us is in reality coming from the unseen world within. It is from the unseen world that the phenomenal world emerges, and it is from the unseen realm of our hearts that all actions spring.

The well-known civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. said that in order for people to condemn injustice, they must go through four stages. The first stage is that people must ascertain that indeed injustices are being perpetrated. In his case, it was injustices against African Americans in the United States. The second stage is to negotiate, that is, approach the oppressor and demand justice. If the oppressor refuses, King said that the third stage is self-purification, which starts with the question: “Are we ourselves wrongdoers? Are we ourselves oppressors?” The fourth stage, then, is to take action after true self-examination, after removing one’s own wrongs before demanding justice from others.”

– Signs, Symptoms, and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart, translation and commentary of Imam Mawlud’s Matharat al-Qulub by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

One painful reality that we can see now is Trump being elected as a leader by its own people.

Even our homes will be a more peaceful and harmonious place if each one of us plays a part in subduing our own egos (nafs).

Our journey is one that is inward. It is neither about the place nor the people, it is one’s state.

BeFunky Collage 2

Relationships in Sufism 

  

“The ethical rules of the Sufi in his relationship with others include: When a person seeks him he accepts him; when a person is away from him he does not forget about him; when a person associates with him he shapes his conduct; and when a person refuses to associate with him he will not force him to be his companion.”
 – Futayma, wife of Abu Salih Hamdun ibn Ahmad b. ‘Ammara al-Qassar {ninth century}, who introduced the malamatiyya order to Nishapur, attained a high rank in her spiritual state and was very highly regarded as one of the Sufi woman


I’ve always admired the independent soul, who doesn’t limit him or herself to this dunya (relations, possessions), instead with her heart empty she goes around and seek and seek and seek, and with her heart full, she goes around and give and give and give 

Non-linear thinking and its spirituality

A ‘ba’ is not a ‘dza’, a non-linear thinker is not a linear thinker.

Here’s a quick quiz I’ve gotten from a website to determine your thinking style. Imagine yourself facing a challenge. Does column one or column two feel like the best way to proceed?

Column One                                             Column Two

1. Define the goal                                   1. Gather and welcome everyone affected

2. Develop a strategy                             2. Think about the questions to be asked

3. Make a plan                                       3. Interactively share information

4. Set time lines, costs, tasks                 4. Recognize a pattern, get an idea

5. Activate the plan                                 5. Create a prototype and try it

6. Measure progress                              6. Respond to the information and redesign

I find this article in explaining non-linear thinking interesting, in this case, fragmented thinking;

http://www.akidjustlikeme.com/id79.htm

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There’s the frustration in trying to be somebody we were not created to be in the course of a setback and then there’s the leniency we place on ourselves while being complacent. Maybe that’s where, like Shaykh Mendes said in prophetic parenting, that we should stop reacting to our parents. Maybe that’s where going back to our deen al-fitrah is important. Maybe that’s where we should dig our own well and find our inner strength. Maybe that is why our spiritual gurus treat some of us with Jamal (beauty) and some with Jalal (majesty). But how often can we find that ‘potential’ in us, without Love? Even our teachers have a love for us and have mercy over us while at the same time keeping the balance, they keep on telling us to just do, to keep on going.. to keep on striving…

Having sat with people who are autistic, dyslexia and tutored children from orphanage homes with dysfunctional backgrounds, made me realize one thing. How often, when we are placed in a difficult situation, we give up on others. We react to the other’s frustrations as if it was ours. We demolish the independent thinking we should teach in the people around us, and we limit the unconditional love we should instead express. We subconsciously teach the other learned helplessness when we tell them that there is nothing you can do about it and that you should avoid it. Maybe that’s where the teachers who specialize in special needs come into play to turn the weaknesses of the students into skills. Maybe that’s where coaches or career counselors take the place to help those who are grappling to find their potential. Maybe that’s where psychotherapists help the regress individual to cope in life and to integrate back into society.

How many of these involve a relationship? A teacher, a coach, a counselor, a psychotherapist, or even a spiritual guru, which we can see are all working relationships.

In our attempts to escape into our form of coping mechanism, like detachment and avoidance, before we lash out in anger and verbally abuse others due to our low-stress threshold. Are our non-linear thinkers able to turn these victims into capable geniuses instead? and are our mothers strong enough to be patient in redeeming it?

Maybe that was what I meant when I typed the post; Tolerance back in 2016.

I guess I found my strength, but the water to grow that strength, isn’t strong enough. But how can we say it isn’t strong enough when I understand that we as humans are weak ourselves.

Shaykh Ahmad Saad Al-Azhari once said, “An orphan is not when one doesn’t have a mother or a father, a true orphan is one whose both mother and father are always busy.”

A mother and a father play a very important role in the development of a child that even Shaykh Abdul Aziz Fredrericks said that we should not be sending our children to any preschool until the age of 7, but that we should be the sole nurturer and teacher to our own children because they should be learning from you. You should be the one setting a prophetic environment for your children, show them Ihsan. Like what Shaykh Mendes said, be like a murrobi, you are gifted a child, it’s an entrusted responsibility on you to rear a ruh (spirit).

Maybe we try to compensate for what we lack and maybe that’s what we are learning to stand up for.

Isn’t it interesting though, our dear messenger salallahu alaihi wasallam himself was an orphan, this was how the Prophet ﷺ was. The hidden blessing of being an orphan is that the one who teaches you adab and raises you is Allah swt Himself. There is wisdom in Allah’s separating the prophets from their parents, and this has happened to some of you too. Sometimes we are amazed at how our mothers are orphans themselves yet they express Ihsan and generosity towards people. In this case, Ar-Rabb is the one who nurtures and forms them into a spiritual being, Masya Allah. In addition to that, our dear Prophet Muhammad salallahu alaihi wasallam was also illiterate. How is it that Allah wants to show us that knowledge and revelations can come from Him ﷻ Himself.

Maybe as fragmented our thoughts, hearts and souls are, the cracks are meant to be filled with God’s light.

May we learn from the prophet ﷺ and be people of Ihsan when we deal with His creations and His gifts such as our spouses and children. Aameen.

Purpose of place: finding Allah through life’s mission

I really love the approach of Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes when it comes to spirituality. Imbuing spirituality with social issues, which I find personally relatable when it comes to the teaching or therapeutic lines like counseling or psychology. It was a privilege to have him here all the way from the US and to remind us once again to use our gifts and our skills in service to Allah swt and to know our true purpose with our spouses and our children.

Last year on his more intimate ‘Youth Activism: Unlock Your Potential Being’ workshop, Shaykh Mendes asked us to look within and to recognize what are the things you are most mad about and what are the things you stand up for. That will be the clue to figuring out your life mission in bringing about change in the community. Then to think of what you’re going to do for the next 6 months to bring about that change. A brother bravely shared with us that he had experienced losing himself in drinking and smoking, so he plans to open up a boxing training center for people who struggles with similar issues to divert their attention to a healthier lifestyle and also to provide a space to release pent up anger. Syabas! 😀

This year in his ‘Purpose of Place: Finding Allah through Life’s Mission’ workshop, it reminded me again of what I believed in. 3 years ago, I found peace, authenticity and Allah ﷻ through that although it wasn’t something religious. And I too wondered why were there a lot of people who opened up to me with their stories. Not only people of my age but also people who were older than me and they’d always expressed gratitude and ease after our conversations. This non-religious complicated thing that I had a passion for yet resonates with the sentence “man ‘arafa nafsahu faqad ‘arafa Rabbahu”, which means “he who knows himself knows his Lord” which Allah has said in the Quran. I then find it interesting how he mentioned in his ‘The Way of Love: Joys and Realities of Marriage’ workshop about the 4 temperaments, which is a proto-psychological theory that suggests four fundamental personality types and that each of the 4 temperaments is connected 4 basic fundamental energies such as hot, cold, dry and wet. But what I found interesting was that he states that as our nafs. You have to understand your nafs, your spouse’s nafs, your children’s nafs. The positive sides of the temperaments are his or her strengths and if is compatible, achieve goodness while the negative sides of the temperaments are what you have to work on as a couple. However, marriage is like a spiritual path. With humility, it can make you a saint. What I meant by that is maybe the difficulty is not in embracing our differences after all. Maybe it is in overcoming our pride and opening our minds beyond what is comfortable. And it has a way of crushing our ego and conjure us to learn how to love unconditionally. And with patience, it promises you paradise. “So be patient, with a beautiful patience” [70:5]. How can we say we are marrying for our deen and for the purpose of purifying our nafs, if following the words of the Quran itself is a hard thing to do. With true love, strong marriages teach you Rahmah, Mawaddah, and Sakinah. Make time for Allah, give yourself space to just be with Allah, even if it’s in a marriage.

You were born together, and together you shall be forever more.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your
days.
Yes, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of heaven dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but each one of you be
alone–even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver
with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not in each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the Cyprus grow not in each other’s shadows

– Kahlil Gibran, on Marriage from The Prophet

because in a physical world where zahir is usually more important, Allah will allow a sincere heart to reach something it longs for, if not in zahir, in batin. The beauty of it is that contradicting as it sounds, it will grow two hearts closer. This, however, will be hard, if we do not take responsibility for our selves. The wounded child that helplessly attaches itself onto others out of anxiety or loneliness. Connecting intimately with a greater entity, in another word, learning tasawwuf, helps us control these negativities.

Shaykh also said that we as Muslims are meant to go back to our deen al-fitrah in order to find out our purpose. Which then in his ‘Prophetic Parenting: Raising God Conscious Children in the 21st Century’ workshop, he brought up the meaning of Rabb as “to nurture one up to its perfected form”, which comes from the root word yurrabi, meaning to raise a child. Masya Allah.. Just like the concept of tarbiyah, in counseling, we have our inner child to raise in order to complete each of its needed developmental stages so that one can grow mentally. How many times do we hear people say ‘grow up’ and then be perplexed at how childish and irresponsible we were at that point. And how at times we feel like we are torturing ourselves from the pain we have to face while losing ourselves mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. We had a break out session and we were told to share what our dreams are to our group mates. I shared with my group that I aspire to open up a center where people can seek both professional counseling/psychological therapy and just like what Sout Ilaahi is doing, providing lectures, workshops, activities, and events on spirituality and traditional Islamic sciences for the masses. Therefore my greatest wish is to put the two together.

Just like what Shaykh Mendes said, it doesn’t mean we give you the hasbunallahu wa’nimal wakeel to recite, that will cure you. That hasbunallahu wa’nimal wakeel is to turn you to a solution and that not all kinds of illnesses can be cured with awrad. But that awrad is a means of attaining aspirations for the disciple at the same time discipline the soul to be in the remembrance of Allah. Thus my idea is to provide such a resource for people by collaborating with spiritual events, reveling the Prophetic teachings. He too, pointed out a very good point for all of us in his closed-door session ‘Wisdom in Action: Dealing with Contemporary Social Issues’, quoting Theodore Roosevelt;

“They don’t care about what you know, but they want to know whether you care.” – Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

He reassured me, that just like the Prophet ﷺ , he catered to the needs of his sahabahs who came to him with worldly issues and did not dismiss them.

Alhamdulillah for such RE-flections. His visit here was extremely beneficial and his words just healed me. I am writing this to show that your deepest inner struggles can be your light, and sometimes Allah gives you such pain in your early life so that sooner or later it knocks on your heart to find that mission. Remember that the job that is earning you money doesn’t necessarily be your purpose. ❤️

May the things we do be in service to Allah swt.