Islamic Classes‎ > ‎2009 Spring‎ > ‎

Purification of the Soul Spring 2009

Purification of the Soul
Sheikh Jamaal Zarabozo
April 7, 2009

Review of the previous sessions
Each session is semi-independent

Chapter 6,7,8 of the textbook will be covered.

Topic of repentance
Repenting to Allah (swt)

Affect of sins, sins cause harm to the wellbeing of the individual. If you commit a sin, it is not the case, that the sin will always be with you. This contradicts with the Christian belief that a sin cannot be forgiven and the rest of their beliefs.

A person who repents for a sin, it is as if he did not commit the sin

Every human being is bound to commit sin.

All human kind commits sin. The best among those who commit sins, are those who repent often to Allah swt.

We should never despair from the mercy of Allah swt.  If a soul gets to the point that there is no hope for the mercy of Allah swt, then there is no point in going further.

Surat Al Burooj where Allah swt talks about those believers who were burnt and thrown in a pit simply because they beleived in Allah swt. Those people who commited that act or persuceted the beleivers and do not repent, for them will be a punishment. So even for those people, the door of mercy was open.  

Turn to Allah with sincere repentance, then Allah will remove from you, your evil sins and grant you to paradise.

Allah is pleased with a believer when he repents to Allah swt.

When you think of repentance, it shows some aspects of your belief in Allah swt
- You believe that Allah swt knows what you did
- You also believe that Allah swt will pardon you

Story of the person who goes in the desert with his animal and provision, sleeps, wakes up and cannot find his animal and provision. He searches and then gives up, rests, and then finds his animal and provision.

Allah swt is more pleased than the person who found his animal and provisions, when a person repents.

what is tauba:  we know it means returning to Allah swt

the aspectsof tauba is:

1. stop oneself from the sin he is commiting
2.the person feels remorse for the sin he committed, you have to feel in the heart youdid something wrong. Some of the scholars have satated do not think about the sin but the one who you sinned against
3. do not commit the sin again
4. atone for the sin if done against others

As soon as you finish your prayers, you say astagfirullah three times. You just finished the prayers and you ask for forgiveness. Why did the prophet ask us to do that?
Even though you just did a good act, you should ask for shortcomings in the act that you have just performed.

One of the important things you have to repent from is any kind of false beliefs about Allah swt.  Removing from your heart, the incorrect believes that you have is essential part of taubah.  The thing that he has in his heart, wrong perceptions can be very harmful.

Is it necessary to make taubah for every sin? Or is it possible that Allah swt can forgive us even without making taubah?
It is mercy from Allah swt that he removes sin from us in many many ways. It should make him appreciate Allah swt more, increase in him his desire to come closer to Allah swt

For example performing good deeds, they wipe away evil deeds. If you did some evil in the past, then good deeds will wipe them away, Inshaallah.

The fitnah that you go through this life, even the prick that you feel from a thorn will wipe away some sins.

Astagfar and taubah are two different things, even though they can be used interchangeably. For example fukrah and masakeen

Astagfar is sincere asking of repentance.  If person asks it sincerely then Allah swt may accept it.

Even the punishment in the grave, is a way of removing sins from the human being.

Hopefully by all of these means...

According to some scholars, major sins cannot be wiped away without sincere taubah to Allah swt.  He quoted the hadith that minor sins committed between two prayers will be wiped away, and between two jumuahs, etc

Taubah makes you think about the sin that you committed.  What are its ramifications, have you hurt somebody by backbitting, even among close family members.

When you stop and think about it, this should soften your heart.  And you will consider your actions before you commit them.

Some scholars says a person is in a better state after he commits taubah, then before committing the sin. That experience should help you and keep you away from committing the sin in the future.

Think about what it means to make taubah.  Begging Allah swt to forgive you.  In the future, we will think before comitting the sin.

April 14, 2009

Most human beings have positive and negative factors working on them. Every human being should work on increasing the +ve factors and reduce the influence of -ve factors.

For example an alcoholic.  If we do not recognize the -ve factors and willing to admit and working to remove them, we cannot improve.

Some Muslims are not willing to realize, for eg customs and cultures are not very Islamic or downright un-Islamic. 

Until we are willing to recognize, we cannot eradicate them.

What do we feed our souls and mind with?  Do we feed something postive or negative. Or neutral, too much of neutral might not be good either.

Ibn Kathir quoted hadeeth - It is better for persons stomach to be filled with pus rather than ... poetry.

Is poetry haram? Poetry is not haram otherwise a lot of Arab/Muslim scholars would be in trouble, because they were poets.

It is mubah (something permissible).  It can be beneficial to a limited extent, if this is what you are focused on entirely or completely, then it is not good.

Hasan ibn Thabit wrote poetry in defense of the prophet.

Imam Shafai wrote poetry.

We will discuss some of the negative factors so that we can be aware of them.

What is best for you among all of the good things?

If you want to excel in night prayers then that door is open for you.  However not everyone has to do tahajud, find out what is good for you

One must find out what is positve and "working" for them, and equally one must identify what is not beneficial, not having a positive impact. The individual has to be able to recoginize weaknesses. 

Allah (swt) only mentions individual desires/lusts/passions when associating it with negativity.  The individual is preventing the soul from desiring what the nafs lust after. 

The Prophet pbuh said "Hell is covered with desires, Heaven is covered with hardships"

drives like the wind...toward hell 

Desires/Lusts/Passions known in Arabic as hawa or shahawat (evil desires)

Ibn Abbas says Allah never mentions hawa except in negative connotation.  

Soul is not inherently inclined to evil. 

Two most dangerous things for a human being are negative desires (shahawat) and doubts.

The desires of the soul are so strong that it can lead the individual to reject the truth.  This is applicable even to people who claim to believe, this can be a grevious disease. 

Allah says about the jews, that everytime a messenger came to you that your soul did not desire, you rejected them, and some you even killed them. Surah Bakarah verse 87

Also Surah Maida verse 70.

Ibn Taimiyyah "What makes people deviate from Quran and Sunnah - which is the real path of purification of the soul. The roots of why people deviate from the straight path - either they gave preference to their own opinion above the quran and sunnah or following your own desires (hawaa)"

Example of the first case, you decide that riba is now permissible because of today's economy.This can be the result of someone making their own itjihaad

Sound knowledge can cure the first case.

Example of the second case, an alcoholic knows it is forbidden but still follows his desires.

Both of them are rooted in essence to hawaa.

Strengthening Iman is important to protect from the disease, because finding pleasures in the hawa when you are disobeying Allah shows that you have a disease

Desire to have wealth or sexual relationships are positive for human beings but they have to be restricted or constrained by the shariah.

When the soul has the disease of Shahawat, then the soul must struggle to give it up. There has to be some limit to human behaviour. 

This is the mistake that capitalism made, by freeing the restrictions or limits on making profit can lead to catastrophes.

When a human being becomes a alave to his desires.  Allah refers to this. Have you not seen he who takes his hawaa as his illah.

He follows or submits to his hawa. His source of happiness is whether or not he has satisfied his hawa. This is real slavery.

His energy and time is spent on his desires, ibn Taimiyyah said this is the real kind of slavery.

Human being is free as long as he is satisfied with what Allah has given him, and the person who is following his desires is a slave - ibn Taimiyyah.

The worst illah and the worst form of shirk is hawaa.

Complete Islam, to love what Allah loves, and hate what he hates.

Another aspect of hawaa as stated by the early scholars, the desires is one of the greatest factors leading to the division of the muslims.

what you have is Quran and Sunnah the clear truth from Allah however that clear truth in the hearts of some people their hawaa is not consistent to that clear truth. Some people will follow the hawaa and not care if the people see the sinsother will try to justify their followingof the  hawaa.

They will try to justify through scientific proofs,etc to try to convince the people it is truth. Rejecting some hadeeths, giving new intrepretations for Quran and Sunnah.

If they see someone clearly going against the Quran and Sunnah you will find  someone opposing it. You may also find some people who will accept it going with their hawaa.

This division is a sort of punishment for following our hawaa. For those who are trying to purify themselves are driven away...this (division amongst muslims) is a great victory for Shaytan.

The Sahaba fought one another based on itjihaad for the sake of truth, the would then come together at night for prayers, marrying their daughters to eachother, not cursing or blaming the other side. Yet they still fought for the truth.  The problem is when the division is from hawah, this is an evil type of division, that affects the community, the purification of individuals. 

It is incumbent upon everyone to identify what the soul likes. Is it halal or haraam, we have to be honest with ourselves.

Some things will be good hawaa doesnt always mean evil but the intention behind it should be good. 

If islam is really important to that person they will see what is really the  Quran and Sunnah instead of giving up and not going to mosque


April 21, 2009

Ignorance, doubts and misconceptions -- shubahat/shahawat
Recognition of evil desires can be recognized and this recognition can save people from shahwhat.

Ignorance/doubts and misconceptions (shubahat) can be more dangerous, because it is compound ignorance.  The person does not realizes the acts they are committing. 

People will be lead to do things that are displeasing to Allah.  One important thing... All scholars warn about the tools of shaytan, bringing doubts and confusion among them.

Unresolved questions left in the mind, lessens the resolve and convictions to the deen.  Also lessens the willingness to sacrifice and ... for the deen. Results in extreme danger for iman itself.  True belielvers are those willing to sacrifice for Allah, "The only true believers are those who believe in Allah and the messenger and then with that they have no doubt whatsoever and they strive with their health and wealth for the sake of Allah." -  Surah Hujjarat # 15

Surah Taubah verses 44 and 45 "Those who believe, they are not going to come to you and ask you for permission not to sacrifice for the path of Allah."  

As in those who asked Prophet Mohammed not to go to Jihad. "The only ones who are going to come to you and ask for an excuse not to make jihad, they are the ones who do not believe and their hearts are filled with doubt and they continue to waiver with doubt."

Only if you really believe in the Haq, will you make sacrifices. If you have some doubt about the rewards, or the day of judgment or the truth of this deen or that this deen needs to be applied now, then you cannot really give up time, wealth for Allah.

Those who are in Shakk, they are in doubt, not that they deny tawheed or islam, but that they waiver in the ability to sacrifice for the truth.

That was the case before with the earlier prophets. If you research the word Shakk you will see the verses of those who have doubt.

Given this danger of allowing doubt to enter the minds, this affliction has a special meaning nowadays.  A believer should do what he can to protect his deen.  You should be willing to protect anything that is dear to you. When it comes to controversial topics, with internet, blogging etc. anyone can express themselves, not just the scholars. Many Muslims do not have enough knowledge; and they expose themselves to having confusion about the deen. 

i.e cartoons, hadeeths, Qu'ran, 

Most times people may be lacking the fundamentals concerning a topic that they should know before getting tothe bottom of the topic. Then once they recieve
the fundamentals they may understand better. But this is how they are exposing person themselves to doubts in the religion then they should not be upset if the people are having doubts in that person's Islam

Hadeeth: Prophet said that if you hear about the dajjal, then you should stay away from him.  People who have doubts will go to him and try to argue with the dajjal and stay away from such fitna.

People admit that they lack knowledge of Islam and they are the people who are going to the internet and participating in things that can lead to doubt and confusion. Eventually, this can break one's deen completely. 

This is not when you are going to learn from a scholar but when you get into debates with others without proper knowledge, because the day might come when it is too late. Because something might come that there is no answer for.

Realize your own limitations and stay away from it is a form of personal jihad. If you are concerned about your soul, your nafs and your own purification then know your limitations and stay away from this fitna.

Another analogy - most young muslim men know not to go to night clubs, they know its going to cause fitna, it might cause some haraam. But when it comes to their mind, doubts can cause you to get into things that are much more harmful. Just like you stay away from bars and nightclubs, you have to stay away from things that can cause doubt.  This does not mean that you do not stay away from learning your deen. You have to learn the deen in the proper way and stay away from involving yourselves in controversial topics that can lead to doubt.

Q: Should people ask questions about deen?
Answer: An injured person was forced to perform wudu and he died from the wounds, when the prophet learnt about it, he said those who did not know whether the injured person should perform wudu or not, should have asked.  It is obligatory to ask in a polite fashion.

Q: There are many times in the Quran that it tells us to enjoin the right and forbid the evil. So shouldn't we do his?
Answer: Mongols accepted Islam and were drinking alcohol. Ibn Taiyima said that there is a right way to stop asking them from performing munkar which does not lead to fights. There are ways we are to enjoin the right and forbid the evil. because we may say something that will be more harmful. if you feel you have the ability and the knowledge then it is your obligation to do this.

Size up your situation, ask yourself, Do I have enough knowledge, what will happen if i say something? You might say something with knowledge,or avoid it by stopping the conversation, or staying quiet

How to stay away from controversial topics?
Build your own foundation, knowledge. Then you can branch out and learn more about the topic and defend Islam.

Many times we have tendency to accept unproven facts and theories as a premise. Sometimes in our discussions with people we accept concepts or theories that  have not been proven.

One marxist theory- Time means progress (i.e. everything is better than it use to be) such as huddud punishment some muslims assume that it is not needed because now we have prisons, etc.

Sheikh was a chaplan in prison, so do not accept that prisons are better than huddud (Islamic punishment for crimes). Could anyone possible prove that modern penal system is better than the huddud? It is impossible. Even if you take statistics it is so many other factors involved thatit is impossible.
However when people get into the debate of huddud it is assumed prisons are better and we do not ask them to prove this assumption.

One of the strongest weapons of shaitan is to put doubt in your mind. For example Islam is backwards with respect to treatment of women, etc. Even during the time of the prophet they had these arguments, the people whether they believe or not call him revolutionary. The time of the Prophet (S.A.W.) the people were saying what you are saying is not for our times

Just because something came previously doesn't mean that it is not better.

The prophet told us that, 'The shaytan will come to a person and whisper "Who created this and who created that?" until he asks, "Well who created Allah?" in order to place doubt in the person.'

Sometimes, we recognize it is from the shaytan but it still bothers. We have to realize this is from the shaytan to confuse us. If we recognize it, then we cannot let that doubt affect us. Don't allow yourself to become overcome with doubt because then you fall into despair and give up. That is the ultimate joy for shaytan. Even if it is good, he will make you doubt.

Sound knowledge will let you understand the fallacies in this doubt, as well of course in turning to Allah.

Avoid those things which will make you doubt, like people that may place doubt in your mind. To protect your deen, stay away. This doesn't mean we shouldn't study but we should study it through trustworthy means, not getting into debate with people of no knowledge.

Q: Is science education secular? (According to the Sheikh this question is not clear)
A: Every science has a philosophy behind it (mostly not disclosed until higher degrees), so when you say is science secular, not in the sense that Allah created everything, but with those "disciplines" they are man made.

Q: If a priest is asked about his religion and he says it is something that we shouldn't know, we would say that he is trying to hide something and this is wrong.
A: We shouldn't avoid knowledge, but to go away from sources that are bringing about fitnah. 
Example: Orientalists who discuss ulum al hadeeth and if you don't have knowledge or background of hadeeth, then you have to be careful. Sheikh is emphasizing that we should learn the deen.

Another example, sheikh debates with his mother who is Catholic about what catholicism says and she says that she does not believe in it either.



April 28, 2009

Question about doubt?
If you are traveling you can shorten your prayers, if you are sick you are exempt from fasting. There should be no doubt in this area.

Doubts and misconceptions that cause you to have less conviction about the deen of Allah swt. This is what the shaitan wants. These are the doubts we are talking about.

Doubts about halal or haram, whether you have wudu are not the kind of doubts that we are talking about.

Subject at hand is the doubt that leads to misconceptions.

Today's topic: Heresies and Innovations (Bidah)

What is bidah?

Some religious practice that was not done by the prophet

When we think of the word bidah, we think of an isolated sense of something not practiced by the Prophet, true. This kind of action is in fact harmful for the purification of the soul. However, there is another kind which is much greater.  Referred to as, Ahlal Bidah, much more dangerous than the concept above.

Some foundation or basic elements in the beliefs that go against the Qur'an and Sunnah and leads to a different path.  Goes against the basic beliefs, understanding.  If you believes, the foundation of the deen is incorrect, than you may eventually follow a path that is something contrary to the Qur'an and Sunnah. Especially when it comes to the purification of the soul, people have taken a path inconsistent with the Quran and Sunnah.  Bidah clouds the understanding and creates harm by leadind to another path away from the basic Islam.

Invented path in the religion that competes with the path of the Shariah and it has behind it the same intent that the Shariah has.  It is an incorrect, invented path. Even if the goal is to please Allah(swt), this is not based on Quran and Sunnah and therefore not pleasing to ALlah (swt). 

The dangers are very clear. The differences between Sin and Bidah?  When a person commits a sin, he knows he is doing something that is angering Allah; when a person commits bidah, he thinks he is doing an act that is pleasing to Allah. Therefore the Bidah is pleasing to Shaytan.  People do not repent for Bidah. They believe it to be true, so they do not make taubah.  The foundation is wrong and this is a dangerous situation, one will not change their ways withour great difficulty.  The only way to turn it around is to show the offender that their act is not consistent to the Quraan and Sunnah.

As in the case of the Shia, whom come to the US from another place (i.e. Iran), get exposed to the true path then convert to Sunni Islam. It takes change of perspective such as locating to the US and learning more about the religion to give that act up.  

Question: When one follows a fabricated or weak hadeeth, is it considered Bidah? 
We will not be discussing the causes of bidah, in today's lecture. If he is acting out of ignorance, maybe Allah swt may forgive him.

You cannot say that everybody who commits bidah will be in hell fire. But its really an exception, because we know from hadeeth that every innovation is in the hell fire.

Narrated by Ibn Tammiyyah: Story of person who was afraid of his sins and asked his children to cremate him. When he was resurrected, Allah swt asked him for his reasons for committing this sin.  He replied that he wanted to escape the punishment of Allah swt that he might have committed. According to ibn Taymiyyah, this is kufr, but because of his ignorance, he was forgiven.

We are told that Islam will be divided into 72 sects and all of them will end up in hell fire except one, that is the group that follows Qur'an and Sunnah. 

Our deen is complete, there is no need to add anything to it, or remove anything from it.

It is very arrogant on the part of human being to come to the religion of Allah which He has declared as complete and then claim that somehow it can be improved! We human beings have to realize our limitations. Especially with the deen, we HAVE to know our limitations. We have NO knowledge how to worship ALlah except in a way He has taught us, i.e. through Quran & Sunnah. Bidah, therefore is incorrect, improper and clear arrogance and ignorance.

In religion, the worst of matters are the newly created ones.  All heresies are innovations and every innovation leads us to stray away from the truth. Even someone who commits a great sin is not described as "(duhh...sp?)" being astray, away from the correct path. This is reserved for those who committ bidah.   

Extreme case, like the prograssive movement. One of their bidah ..... can lead to abandonining of the prayer. Instead of pleasing Allah, we end up angering ALlah and abandoning His path. So we can understand why the prophet says all bidah leads to being astray.

Question asked by the Sheikh: Is there any such thing as a good bidah?
Linguistically you can say that there is such a thing as good bidah but religiously speaking there is no such thing. If there was a good bidah, it would have been included in the deen, so there is no such thing.

Umar made an exclamation, "What a good Bidah!" What was Umar refering to when he made this statement?

Prophet prayed taraweeh for three nights but did not pray on the fourth night, because he was afraid, it would be made obligatory. Taraweeh was established by prophet. But it was revived by Umar when he saw many Muslims praying individually. Umar was talking about reviving the practice of praying taraweeh prayers in jamat. Hence a good bidah, from its linguistic meaning.

Sunnah and bidah have the same meaning. Sunnah means to establish a practice. Sunnah of the prophet was a new way as opposed to the path of their forefathers.

Bidah also means to establish a new path. However once sunnah of the prophet is established, there is no need to establish a new path. Many times when a bidah is created, a sunnah is going to die. Bidah creates hatred for the sunnah.

Question: Bidah creates division among ummah, how does it create division?
It is obligatory upon Ahl-us-Sunnah to oppose a monkar (i.e. bidah). People who follow the bidah will respond to that criticism.

So the statement of the prophet in the beginning of his sermons (all innovations are in hell fire) is a great warning to every individual. So that every Muslim should realize the danger of bidah. That it will be rejected by Allah, even if the person was trying to please Allah from the bidah action. 

Q: Would Rafidah/Shia be labeled as Ahle-Bidah or something else?
A: Yes, without any doubt Ahle-Bidah!


Question: how would one respond to the claim that "every" in this context is not absolute generalization?

Answer: there is no other way to understand this statement of RasoolALlah. This is general and applies to ALL actions of innovation.

This is why when you turn to Quran and Sunnah, it is Very important that you sincerely take from it and follow that path. So that you dont end up following a path that is different than Quran and Sunnah. You may make mistakes, have misunderstandings.. but at least in this case we hope that ALlah will forgive us for our shortcomomings. Because we went to Quran and Sunnah with the right premis. But when we go and take from ity what we like and construct other things from our own, then that is the bidah we are warned from.


May 5, 2009

Review from last week's topic on Bidah & Heresy: 

Sheikh is answering questions about last week.

Q from student: Modernists belief that one does not need to pray to be close to Allah swt.
Answer: The correct path has prayer, is obligatory, anything less is bidah. The definition is adding something and removing something.

Explanation of the term Tajdeed - a kind of renewal, bring back something that existed before.  Only renew things that existed at one time, some people think of this a reform, but if you make it different, this is different, rather it existed before and you make it come back. 

Example if there was a community that performed salah but after some time it lapsed, it was done before in previous generations and if you were to revive this practice, it would be Tajdeed. 

Harmful effects of Sin is today's topic.
Ultimate goal behind purification of soul is to become a true abd of Allah swt. If we disobey Allah swt then fail in our goal.

Shirk and Kufr negate our servitude to Allah (swt). When we disobey Allah, we are actually going against our claim of being a servant to him. The proper servant doesn't disobey his/her master.

Having the correct attitude towards sins. We sometimes belittle sins, that they are not harmful, specially if the sin is common in our society, we think it is not a big deal. If we take that attitude, then we forget what that sin really represents.

An act is a sin, if Allah swt dislikes it; and is disobedience to Allah swt
Don't look at the act or the sin, rather look at whom it is that you are displeasing/disobeying (Allah). This makes the sin greater/more important and will drive a motivation to do something about correcting it.

Ibn Masud narrated, "The believer sees their sins as a mountain crashing down upon him. His sins are the cause of his own destruction." Sins are something significant.

"The disbeliever sees it as a fly on their nose that they swat away." - ibn Masud

These deeds are sinful and yet, we get pleasure out of it. One of the first steps to develope change is to create a dislike for that sin. As is the technique for quitting smoking in the old days, to develop hatred for the act of smoking, one would fill the room with lot's of smoke, so much some smoke that it is sickening.

Man came to the prophet and ask permission to commit zinna. Guidance was not just to say that it was haraam. Develop hatred for zinna. To develop a hatred for Zinna by reflecting upon how it would be if someone committed it with your sister or mother, one then realizes just how distasteful it really is.

Not only does one realize it is displeasing to Allah, but not becoming to oneself either - when it come to any sin. How seriously have we taken our sins. Have we ever cried over the sins that we have committed.

Prophet said: "There are seven types of people, whom ALlah swt will shade, when there is no shade except the shade of Allah swt. 1) Individual who remembered Allah when he was alone and his eyes filled with tears."

Prophet said: "Two categories of eyes that hell fire will not touch. Eye that cries out of the sins"

For most Muslims there are many aspects/sins they committed that they in fact recognized as sins, and upon reflection it would probabaly drive them to tears. This might be the action that would move Allah to remove those sins for you. Since it is in the past, you cannot undo what is already done, you can only hope in Allah.  

Litmus Tests:

Compare our public lives with our private lives. How do we behave when we are seen by others and how we behave when we are not seen by others.

Quran verse repeated at the end of every khutbah (though not sunnah, it is part of practice today): "Allah is ordering you to have Adl (justice) and Ihsaan (excellence), give to close relatives, Allah has prohibited Fahsha and Munkar".

True sign of hypocrite is one that is something in public different than in private. But we are exmaining somehting deeper, that taqwa to keep one from committing the sin in the first place. To make the public and private ways equal...Alternatively make the private life better than the public life, i.e. giving charity as the Salaf used to.

Adl - Private and public life is equal
Ihsaan - Private life better than what people say in public

Sins of the heart is one of the most dangerous of the sins. It can become a source for sins. One of the worst sins of the heart is the sin of kibr - arrogance and pride. Do we have it in our hearts? What it means from the .... perspective.

Prophet said: "Whoever has a grain's weight of kibr in his heart will not enter paradise".

Kibr is not the samething as pride. Everything that Muslim does, he should be seeking Ihsaan in whatever deed he is doing. ie Coming out of the house with good appearance, smelling nicely.

Have disdain for evil.
Kibr is disease of the heart, where you refuse to follow the truth, because you think you are above applying the truth. Classic case is the Shaitan, kibr led him to be where he is today.

Allah said: "We said to the Angels bow down to Adam, except Iblees who said he is better than Adam".

Iblees thinks he is somehow better than what Allah swt has commanded him to do.

Allah said: "What is it that kept you from prostrating? Iblees said, You created me from fire and Adam from earth. I am better than him"

When this disease enters the heart, it is serious danger, because it can lead someone to believe he is better than the command of Allah. "In reality, it is the antithesis of the way of the ..." - Hadith

Allah describes the believers, when they are called, they say, "We hear and we obey."

The difference between kibr and a sin - is that with a sin, the person understands it is a weakness and sees it as a sin. Not with kibr, which is directly challenging or rejecting the authority of Allah.

When the truth comes from a source the person doesn't like, they will reject it.  When a believer accepts truth it may come from anyone, maybe someone they dislike and even a disbeliever.

Having disdain for people is another form of Kibr. Due to the arrogance, thinking one is better than the other.

Our attitude towards minor sins.
Some scholars, like....are of the opinion that there is no such thing as major and minor sins, they are all major sins. No such thing as minor. Is this simply terminology?  Is there anything about this in Quran?  Yes, there is such a thing in Quran as major and minor sins.  But the point is that all sins are important and even the accumulation of minor sins are impactful.

The Prophet said, "Be aware of the paltry sins, it is like the people that stop in the valley and each person brings a small piece of wood to create fire."  All the small pieces still create a great burning fire, that can burn hotly and destroy. Sins are the same, all the small ones can add up and burn/destroy the person.

It is not the sin itself, but something that goes along with the sin, that can make it a major sin. If you belittle a sin, this attitude that you do not care about it, now you have made a minor sin into a major sin.

On the other hand, somebody can commit a major sin; and have this feeling of remorse, in reality Allah swt might consider it to be a minor sin.

Example of how a minor sin becomes major and a major sin can become a minor because of the apathetic attitude of the sinner. That the sin is small and doesn't really matter.

Another way a minor sin can become major, is to boast about it and broadcast it to others.

Prophet said: "Those who make their sin open will not be pardoned. Allah swt had concealed his sin but the person went and boasted about his sin to others. Allah swt will not pardon him because of what he has done."

Sin can become a major sin, if there is no reason or motive to commit the sin. There are circumstances when the desire is not that strong to commit the sin, but he still goes ahead and commits the sin.

This is derived from the following hadeeth of the prophet. Prophet said: "Three groups of people to whom Allah swt will not look at, will not speak to,  and will not pardon them, they are: An old man who commits adultery, A king who is a liar, and a poor person who is arrogant."

A king already has authority, he doesn't have to lie, there is no need because he has the power, so this is simply a drive to be arrogant. 

Next week, the harmful affects of sins, inshallah.


May 12, 2009

Harmful effects of sin

Think about what you are disobeying and not major/minor sins. All sins have ramnifications.

People look at plight of muslim ummah, there is lot of room for improvement.

Even in their personal lives, people make dichotomy about what is important and not so important.

We do not know what sins we commit that might have a long term effect upon the society. For example: Making lines straight in your prayers. You see that the line is not straight. Do you say that right now this is not important. We do not know the impact of this minor sin.

Prophet said: "To make the lines straight, if they are divided then your hearts will also be divided".

If we disobey Allah swt, we know that we are doing something wrong. We should expect some consequences. Our minor sins become major because of our attitude. Allah brings upon us division which is one of the biggest shortcomings of our ummah. Emphasized in conferences and in talks - unity of the ummah.

If you ask most people, not straightening the lines, is it a minor sin or major sin? A number of them will say it is recommended, it is not that important. If they hear about this hadeeth, the ramnifications of it, what do you think?  Then it is something major. It is not something difficult to do, but our attitude towards it is that it is not so important.

If you don't close the gaps then you allow the shaitan to occupy it. The Prophet used to walk line by line to check that the rows were straight.

We should never belittle any sin because we do not know what the consequence will be.  

The prophet SAW described in a Hadith: "Whenever a servant commits a sin, then a black mark/dot is put on his heart.  If he stops that sin and asks for forgiveness, then his heart is polished.  If he doesn't then that stain becomes bigger and overtakes his heart." ~The stain of the ill of which they do.  

Alhamdulilah repentance is always available to us... Try to seek Allah's forgiveness. How many sins does a person make per day that they do not realize? 

Any sin that we commit will have an effect on our soul. The heart and soul becomes rusty and dead.  One is putting the health of the soul in danger.  The stains on the heart become bigger and bigger without repentence, until those stains take over the heart completely.  One should feel the distance between themselv and Allah, when they commit a sin.  The closer one is to Allah, the stronger these feelings are.

Ibn Qayeem has a lengthy passage about the results of sin. Sins are harmful without any doubt. Their harm to their heart is like poison to your body. Is there any harm or evil that occurs in this life, that is not the result of disobedience to Allah swt? The thing that led our parents (Adam & Huwa) to leave Jannah was a sin. The thing that led humankind to be swallowed by flood was their sins, people to be defeated by Pharaoh was their sins. 

This ummah will be there until the day of judgement. Allah swt will not wipe this ummah due to their sins. One of the bounties that Allah swt has bestowed upon his ummah, in general our punishments will occur in this world/duniya and not in the hereafter. The sins we commit will result in punishment, unless of course we make repentance/taubah.

In a hadeeth, prophet said: "Verily, Allah is pure and he only accepts that which is pure, and we are commanded to eat of the good things." Then he mentioned someone who was on a long journery and he is covered in dust and he looking poor. He stretches out his hand to Allah and asks for his help Ya Rabb, Ya Rabb. This person's livelihood is from haraam sources. Then how is Allah swt going to respond to his prayers?"

"If they ask about me, tell them  I am close and I repsond to the one whom calls upon me." - Ayah   In general, if we turn to Allah sincerely, he will respond.  There are also other conditions in which he will surely respond.

There are three categories of prayers that will be accepted by Allah swt:
1) the duah of the traveller 
2) the simple people (who don't have much but have developed a relationship with Allah swt and developed a sincerety with Allah swt) if they swear by Allah about something, Allah swt will fulfill their promise
3) Allah is magnificent and generous, if one raises his hands to him, he will respond.

The prophet described that man who said, "Ya Rabb Ya Rabb", supplicated to Allah while meeting all the above conditions (that Allah would surely respond). The man is on a long journey, spreading/raising his hands and saying, "Ya Rabb, Ya Rabb". He is doing all these things. Yet, how is that Allah will not respond to a person like this?  This man is doing haram as well as meeting all the conditions, so how can we expect that Allah will respond to him, despite meeting the aforementioned conditions?  This is the effects of sins.  Though meeting all the conditions, the sins wipe away the promises and distances oneself from Allah.

This story also shows how the prophet was guided by Allah swt to explain the harmful effects of sin.

As in money, investments, that is haraam, these are sins that take us away from Allah and his responding to our supplications.  Sins can even wipe away some of the good deeds we've done.  "The good deeds wipe away evil deeds" - hadeeth

This is one the ways we wipe away our sins. We recognize, make taubah and follow up with good deeds.  Some sins wipe away previous good deeds, like kufr and shirk.

"Do not raise your voice above that of the Prophet, do not call out to him as you call out to one another, unless you render your good deeds invalid." - Not just the physical raising of the voice, but also putting your opinion over that over the Prophet.

Just like Imaan increases and decreases. If we allow ourselves to increase committing sins, Allah swt allows us to continue increasing our sins.

Sins can lead to our hearts being sealed.

Hadeeth: "People who refrain from Jumuah prayers or three Jumuah prayers in a row, Allah swt will put a seal on their heart and make them heedless"

Whether Allah swt gives this ummah victory or disgrace depends upon their sins.

Umar: "The strongest weapon that we have over our enemies, is because of our lack of committing sins, Allah swt will give us victory over our enemies".

Clear example is the battle of Uhud. Muslims were weaker than the kufar, in terms of number, camels, etc. But he gave them clear victory until the time a sin was committed. Disobidience to the prophet led them to defeat. After they disobeyed, the clear victory became partial defeat. 

Prophet said: "In reality, this kind of disgrace goes to the one of disobeys my command and rejects Allah".

Prophet said: "If you begin to take part in a business transaction that involves ribaa, then Allah will inflict you with a disgrace until you return to your deen." It also has two more examples, taking care of camels or farming and not participating in Jihaad. This preoccupation with even a halaal thing when you disobeyed the command of Allah, then it is equivalent to haraam (ribaa).

Allah says, these inflictions that you suffer are due to your own hands, and Allah swt overlooks many sins. The evil that comes to your life is from your own doing.

Allah says, "Evil has spread over land; and sins are due to what people have earned."

For us as an Ummah, we realize the importance of what we are doing to ourselves when we commit sins.  Until we reform oursleves, as a people, then we should not expect our situation as a people to change very much. We have to understand ourselves as individuals and remind each other. We are not doing eveything that we could do to help ourselves, change ourselves, reform ourselves.  This is because we lose sight of our goal, to worship Allah.  We are distracted from this, we are not concentrated or reminded of this to the extent that would lead us away from the disobediance to Allah.  No matter how weak we are, mistakes we've made, wrong we done, the door of taubah is always open to us.  

We so easily forget, but should always remember:
NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ALLAH azza wa jall.

Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Verily Allah is oft forgiving, most merciful. 

Ed: Alhamdullillah this ayah is like a calming in a storm.

Q&A
Q: How can we find out or know if a certain fitnah or calamity that befalls us is due to a sin we committed (so its a punishment for it) or it is a trial (not punishment)?
A: There is no dividing line between fitnah/test and adhaab/punishment.  You will never know it completely.

Practically speaking, the shaykh said, it does not make any difference what it is for. A believer's reaction to calamities should be the same in any case. i.e. patience, perserverance, strong belief and not despairing of the mercy of Allah. etc. Therefore we should take this practically and not approach it in a theoretical way to determine the cause of the fitnah. The shaykh says that this is not a black and white issue with a clear answer from Qur'an and Sunnah.

May 19, 2009

Things that can be harmful on your path to the purification of the soul.

Discuss positive as well as negative aspects of the company that you keep.

Pious friends, good company or impious friends. 

Company of righteous people, Surat Kahf verse 28 "Keep yourself content with those people .. and let not your heart be overtaken by those whose case is gone beyond all bonds" This is a command from Allah swt. 

If you put the Prophet in the presence of any kind of people, his strength will protect him.  This guidance is for us, not really the prophet because he is protected.  The prophet explained to us in hadeeth the benefits of being in a congregation and being careful with our associations.

Prophet said, "The individual is on the deen of his close friend, so be careful about who you take as your close friend (khalil)."  

We need to take a look at our close friends and their influence upon us. If that person is in good character, that person will sway is to do good things, if he is of taqwa, we will do good things together.  If our Khalil (good friend whom we love), is of bad character then out of our love will will do haraam, though we know its wrong.  The person is following the way (or path or deen) of his close friend.

Hadeeth: Similitude of good company as opposed to evil company, the one who has good company is like the one who sells musk and the one who has evil company is like the blacksmith. If you compare the musk seller, you will get a good smell either by buying the musk or at the very least by hanging around the shop and the smell covering you, if you hang around the blacksmith, one's clothing can become burnt (the ultimate price) or at the least a displeasing smell will result. 

Without question those people you hang with have influence over you.  The reasons we spend time with the people of our choice is only from superficial commonalities; we work in the same place, we are from the same neighborhood, share a common language, share culture etc.  These aspects lead to people befriending one another.  For example, my Hindu friend is getting married, celebrating a festival etc, so the question is how to interact, how much time to spend with that friend? (You have to deal properly with your neighbors and interact with them) Don't let your friends be chosen for you just by circumstances.  Choose by reason, choose consciencely, because that person will have a positive affect upon you.

Similarly for marriage, on how you choose your partner. Choose your partner, if it is going to be better for your deen. It is a conscience decision. 

If you are a parent, and if someone who is pious comes to you and wants to marry your daughter, his character is good. Sometimes they are turned off due to their caste/tribe. Prophet said, if you reject a person with good character then fasaad will spread on the earth.

Hadeeth: "You should not accompany or befriend anyone except a believer and no one except a pious believer should eat your food." This is a command from the prophet.

You have to choose who you befriend and also the environment to the best of your ability. Choose environment that is good for your deen. What impact will it have on you as an individual and as an abd. This is the concept of Hijrah (migration) to a land that is best for you to practice your deen.

Hadeeth: "Individual killed 99 people and asks a scholar 'if there is repentance for me?', and he kills him because the scholar says there is no repentance for him. He asks another scholar, if there is any repentance for him, the scholar says, 'yes there is, if you want to repent then you should go to such and such land, because in that land they worship Allah swt, don't return to your land because there is evil'." (Ed: the hadeeth continues with the death of the individual and the angels disputing about his status and Allah swt asking the angels to find out how far he was from the land where they prayed to Allah swt, etc)

The above hadeeth shows the importance of the environment

Q: About converts or even muslims who grew up with non-muslims.
A: you can explain that I am different now and explain to them about the limits of interaction. Friends of the opposite sex you have to be very careful about. There could be difficult situations where you have muslim friends who are not pious and it could be difficult to deal with that situation and you have to deal with it very diplomatically and give nasiha to them. However no one can tell you have to deal with every case. Not all of the cases will end up positive, for example the relatives of the prophet who rejected him after he started preaching the deen.

Q: Can you say something about the balance between growing personal iman versus helping community growth?

A: You have to gauge the situation very carefully, the options are two ways to jannah. If the option is between living in a place where you can do halal and grow, or living in a place where you only disobey, then the choice is obvious.  But if you live in a place where you attend mosque and learn deen and have an easy life or can choose to live in a place without compromising your deen, can make efforts for dawah at the risk of iman going down somewhat, with the intention to please Allah with your efforts.....in any case one must set aside some time for increasing iman (as AbuDawud used to say, "Let us sit and increase our iman for some time"), and in the best case can still strive to make dawah if possible. It's not an easy question, but the important thing is to always strive to increase knowledge, balance the dawah piece with increasing iman. There is one straight path, but that path is accomodating, whether it be concentration on salaat, on dawah etc. The goal is to become closer to Allah.

Q: What does one do if they are being called back to their home country either to support family or being forced back for visa issues?
A: If going back to a certain place is harmful for the deen of you and your children, then you cannot say automatically I will go back (for sake of dawah). But if everyone was to escape the obligation of jihad, struggle, dawah then this isn't good either, this is like losing imams/leadership.

Benefits of being conscience when choosing friends. First, that action in itself, to befriend someone, have love for them, be close to them, this act in itself is an act of ibada to Allah (swt.)  and this act may be sufficient to be shaded by Allah (swt)on the day of Judgment when there is no shade. Seven categories of people who will be shaded on the day of judgement, among them one category is of two men or people who love one another for the sake of Allah, they come together and part from eachother for the sake of Allah.  

Choosing pious friends can be a source of guidance, advice adn strength for you from Shaytan.  Being in the presence if Muslims is a strting point for protection from Shaytan. The Prophet said, " You should stick with the congregation...." "The wolf attacks the sheep which strays by itself."  

The Muslim friends can advise on matters, where to live, work, whether to move etc.

We have a hard time realizing our shortcomings, and compared to our less pious friends our shortcomings might look like great traits, i.e. attending jummah, when choosing less pious friends, we compare ourselves to be better.  But to make ourselves closes to Allah, then don't look to people who are poorer quality, but look for friends of equal or higher quality so you can compete in good deeds or strive to emulate the better ones.  

"The Mumin are to be the mirror for the believer (mirror for each other)."

The only friendship that is lasting is the one that is established for the sake of Allah.  

Quran: .............on the day of judgement they will be enemies of each other. 

Quran: "Woe to me, if only I had taken so and so as a friend of mine." On the day of judgment, we will be cursing ourselves for not haven taken righteous people as friends.

When we accept non-pious people as those close to us, as our friends then there will be lots of negative ramifications.  At the least, we will acquiesce and be silent to the wrongs that they do, as in sitting in the presence of a friend that is drinking alcohol.  Sitting in front of munkar and not saying anything, or even accepting it. Both of these are grievous situations and a consequence of choosing your friends.  

Quran: "The disbelievers from BaniIsrael that cursed Jesus, out of disobedience........, evil indeed is what they have done."

Evil friends might encourage you to do something haraam and something that would not even occur to you. For example this friend could be media which could implant ideas which would not normally occur to you. It is your choice to watch TV shows or programs that are harmful. 

Example of friend who kept encouraging him to go to a nightclub. He fought it many times, but due to circumstances he did go to a nightclub.

Real close friends, even though they know you pray and fast but since they are close to you, they might encourage you to deeds that are not good.

You have to let your friends know that you do not agree with their deeds. Otherwise, your silence seems to the friend/family members as permission. The person rationalizes your silence as acceptance.  Especially Family whom have rights upon you to save them from hellfire.


May 26, 2009

What is the goal and process of purifying the soul has been the focus of the class so far.

One of the things that can harm you the most is that you might think you are on the path but in reality it might be harmful.

Allah says in Kahf# 103-104: 
قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُم بِالْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَالًا
الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا
Say (O Muhammad SAW): "Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? 
"Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds! 

If somebody has intention to purify his soul but he lands on such a path, however prophet has said all actions are driven by intention and everyone will receive what they intended.  

Would his intention be sufficient to protect the individual from the wrath of Allah swt?

He also has obligation to follow haq/truth. It could be the case that the individual has good intention, his heart is pure, he wants to worship Allah swt, but he is never able to come across the knowledge to show him that clearly.

For example, somebody who has never heard about the prophet or Islam versus an individual who has heard of the prophet but rejected him. 

An error due to ignorance or due to ijtihaad does not mean this individual should be punished; but if the person does not have the intention to purify his own soul, then intention is not sufficient to protect an individual from Allah's wrath. One must have the intention while performing acts of worship. 

One of the most dangerous things that can happen to an individual is to land on the wrong path that will not lead him to purify his soul. 

One must follow the two conditions for acts of worship - 1) intention that the act is purely for the sake of Allah, and 2) the act is along the path of sunnah.

Q:Will there be people who NEVER received the Last Message (Islaam) on the Day of Judgement? If yes, what will happen to them?

A:When it comes to people whom haven't yet heard about the message, it is uncertain what exactly will happen to them, this is a question of dawah.

Claims about the path of purificiation must be analyzed for correctness according to Allah.  Regardless of source, if the message is not correct according to Quran and Sunnah, then it must be rejected.  This is because there will be no benefit to you. There is no insult to Sheikhs or Imams if you leave behind acts that are not correct.  If the path as a whole is confused and has problematic issues, the effects can be great and have long reaching consequences, which elimination thereof will be difficult.

We will discuss sufism. It is a very sensitive issue, to discuss any bidaah is a sensitive issue, because you will be attacked that you are trying to cause division.

Our obligation is to believe in the truth, follow the truth, implement the truth, and not be silent when we see something that is incorrect.

Prophet corrected people such as person who said that he will not marry or somebody who will worship all night, he corrected them.

You don't want to cause something that will cause harm, but sometimes being silent might cause great harm.

Class on jinn discussed spiritualism - story about women who heard knocking on the door and then developed into spiritualism and led to a large movement called spiritualist movement all based on a small incident and some false belives.

Similar with sufism, it began with something that was incorrect or something that was correct but not followed properly.

Original sufis, Zuhaad, had given up material things due to affleunce of the muslim society or indulgences of the upper class, led the sufis to comment on these people and exort others not to get involved in wordly things.

Overcorrection of errors is a slippery slope. When people overcorrect, they miss the mark and the true message becomes obscurred.

To go to either extremes (rely on charity and not work for your living or conversly, living in exuberence) is wrong.

Detaching yourselves from duniya was the origin of sufism. 

You can take the same example to Jihaad, some individuals have taken it to an extreme.

However, the ultimate (objectionable) issue with respect to sufism was when new practices and new beliefs entered into the system during the later stages of the movement. It finally, like the stories of the girls communicating with jinn, sufism took on a theology of its own.

There are many people who are attracted to sufism, the sheikh is not talking about all sufis, in fact there are many people identifying themselves as sufi, though they do not know all the history or have studied the tareeka/orders.  

However, a scholar who has studied many books, at least 40, has found that there is something of bidah in each and every one of them. The reason for so many orders, is the need for distinction, uniqueness, differentiation.

Tonight's discussion and the references in the book, Purification of the Soul, use mostly English books that are readily available. They are recognized authors, important sources of MODERATE sufism. People who are widely respected and undoubted, i.e Al Ghazali.

Sufism tends to start around a personality, a teacher (Idrissi, etc.). 

Q: Don't die without doing this... is one of the ways the sufi followers plead with you.
A: One of they key you have to ask yourself, does the Quran and Sunnah point to it, explicity? As in the cas of Tauheed, the signs and evidence is clear and abundant. When you examine the merit of these claims, look for the evidence.

Do the sufis have a path of purification or something meritous? 
According to Ghazali and ..., they declared the path of the sufis was the best path for purification. "I learnt certainly, it was above all the sufis who walked an the ....of God.  There...."  (Ed: Ghazali was praising the path of the sufis and their intellect and their knowledge)

He is saying if the ulema was brought together, they could not possibly improve upon the way of the mystics.  This is a dangerous statement, because he is referring to the sufis, not the sahabas.  The best way to intrepret this is that the way of the sufi was in fact the way of the prophet.  But this is not the case.

The sufis are clear about a path of purification moving from state to state ONLY with the aid of specific spiritual exercises. 

The issue of sufism has not been dealt by our scholars and this vacuum has been taken up in a way that is not proper.

For example, al Ghazali says that at the beginning stage you only perform obligatory deeds and not perform voluntary deeds because you have to focus on things that are more important.

Tustari, an early well respected scholar of sufism, advocated the concept of Zuhad, a kind of a distance/dettachment from this world. He preached starvation and not feeding yourself even (for strength) to perform the obligatory deeds. One of the response is that eating for the sake of Allah swt is sunnah, prophet never asked the sahaba to starve that they could not perform obligatory deeds.

Another concept of monacestism - giving up on your wife and children.  Shawkani pointed out that ibadah is interaction with others, you have to fulfill your relations properly as part of ibadah.

They also have special form of dhikr, (not the extreme dervishes, but rather a moderate order) a concept of saying "hu, hu, huwa".(he, he, he - not even the full form of "AllaHU") There is no concept of saying something that has no meaning. It is not found in Quran or Sunnah. It is more like chanting found in other religions.

Suhravardi (Sufi scholar): "Our purpose is not to mention Allah but to get our heart ready for what appears" Chanting or repeating makes you loose your self and then something appears. Worship through music and singing. Goals or purpose is that if you do this then you will witness Allah.

These things are found in all of the orders of sufism. These are not extremist opinions of sufism.

Stop and think about these practices.

We have salat and siyam as path of purification. it should not take a genius to figure out that the path of the sufism is not the path of the prophet. Eventually you will see that all of these actions have nothing to do with the sunnah of the prophet.

If there is any path other than the Quran or Sunnah then we must reject it, does not matter who is proposing it.

To continue to use the word sufism is a problematic. Supporters says that they are humans and make mistakes. But they continue to make mistakes after mistakes. Maybe we should call them tazkiyah (purification).

It is not possible to clean out all of the mistakes from the literature of sufism and it is not really worth it.

If you say something about sufism in some cultures then you cannot perform any dawah.

We can all agree that we have quran and sunnah. Inshallah if we learn the quran and sunnah then we can be rightly guided.


June 2, 2009

Discuss the question of sufism and the most well known path of purification even among Muslims. It is an emotional topic. However purification of the soul for the individual, the community, the ummah is one of the most important topics and it is one of the most important reasons why the prophets were sent.

Quran: He teaches you the book and purifies your soul.

So we should not take chances with it.

One of the most dangerous things that can happen is if an individual thinks he is on the path of the purification but it is not according to the Quran & Sunnah and therefor not pleasing to Allah (swt).

We should not venture into a path even if there is something good, if there also exists some evil on that path as well. 

Conclusion after the discussion last week, Sufism is a later historical innovation, there are some aspects that are very alien to Islam. Historically lot of scholars emphasize outward actions of fiqh, they left vacuum in the field of purification of the soul.  Thus opening the door for other, wrong, approaches for inner purification.

Approach has to be consistent with the Quran and Sunnah.

Core principles or beliefs are ignored by the debaters (shia, roman catholicsm), they will say that they do not believe in it.

Our dawah material is also based on outward actions and not focused on the actions of the heart. Aqeedah articles are very dry they do not focus on the heart.

American converts to Islam who have been attracted to sufism. After some time it's hard to recognize followers are Muslim because of the over emphasis on the sufi rituals.

Within the various and unique orders/tareekat there are different stages of sufism that an indiviual is supposed to go through.

Typical stages or 7 steps:
1. Search - Individual is hoping to find their inner self, to detach soul from worldly desires, multi year practice to cleanse the soul. Hawa (desire) is always used in negative sense in the quran
2. Love - The seeker realizes the hardships in purifying the heart and soul; and pursuit of the divine union. You are fulfilling your purpose when you become a true abd of Allah, this is the goal of the Sunnah of purification of soul. However the goal of purification in Sufism is something different.
3. Knowledge - (Sunnah is the knowledge of quran and sunnah which is ilm) Sufis talk more about ma...fa??? intuitive knowledge and less about ilm.
4. Detachment - Seeker should relinquish on world and put total trust in God
5. Unification - Divine Oneness what they call tawheed - remove distinction between here/there, you/i, this/that, no creator/no creation, everything dissolves, all in god and god in all
6. Wonder - Person becomes confused and loses the concept of time and space, wonder and bewilderment
7. Extinction Fana - Lower self dies and the higher self becomes united with ... State of final union, realizes god within by knowing himself

Goals/Sub-Goals of Sufism
One of their goals is witnessing of Allah swt in this life
Getting knowledge directly from Allah swt (then you no longer need Quran and Sunna)
They also claim a chain or a silsila going back to the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)
Early scholar of sufism says "those poor souls are going back to the dead" about the scholars of hadeeth
Temporary unification with Allah swt - become one with Allah swt by losing oneself
They distinguish between the "Ultimate Reality", haqeeqah, and the Shariah, people on a lower level who must follow shariah.
Elites know the haqeeqah and the common folks have to follow the shariah
Ibn Arabi (560 Hijri) has a book about the iman of pharoah. The mistake that pharoah make was not that  he was committing shirk but he was mentioning the haqeeqah.

Their beliefs are not from the Quran and the Sunnah
We don't find this kind of approach or this kind of reality in the sunnah or even in the sahaba.

Sufis talk about tawakkal and taubah as stages. It is not permissible to perform actions from the other stations or stages until one has mastered the stage (repentence to renunciation to trust in God). However if true repentance should be accompanied by having trust in Allah.

(Ed: This is depressing)

WHen you meet your goal then you do not have to do anything. They quote the Quran: "Worship your lord until you have reached certainty." Tafseer says: Certainty means death but it is misrepresented by the sufism.

Ghazali: "unveiling" refers to the light that appears when ... it is the result and process of tazkiyah, knowledge of prophecy, all of the dominions of the heaven and earth will become obvious. This knowledge is forbidden to be written down, it is not supposed to fall ino the hands of the individuals who are not ready for it.

Once the unveiling comes to you, then there are no longer any oblgations upon you, there is no longer any halaal and haraam.

ibn Taymiyyah was questioning one of the sufi sheikhs - "everything becomes halaal, it is contradictory to the quran and sunnah", the man said to him, "Quran does not contain tauheed". And he further went and justified sexual relationship with anybody. 

If iblees can keep a person ignorant of quran and sunnah, then he has succeeded in misleading the individual.

If person just gets knowledge from sheikh and not from quran and sunnah then it should be a clear sign and warning to you. You should get suspicious. However a murid (student) has to follow his sheikh. You cannot question or acquire knowledge from anybody else. Like that of a dead person in the hands of the caretaker. They quote a famous hadeeth - that if a person does not have a sheikh then the shaytan is his sheikh

They believe that since they have the correct ilm, then there is no need to turn to quran and sunnah.

If you dont understand these secrets then you are not from among the chosen. Just like if nothing happens during the seance then there must be a disbeliever among them, or like the case with the Christians, trinity is a mystery, and if it is not clear, then you are not intended the message.  If you do not understand it then the fault lies in you.

Any criticism of their beliefs is that this haqeeqah is beyond the quran and sunnah. The quran and sunnah only apply to the common people and not to the elite who have knowledge of the haqeeqah.

Some of the sufis do not believe in these principles but they have found something in it which they like. Or if you reach the level then they have to use these books to interact or deal with the awam or common people.

Q:Does the Quran and Sunnah at all allude to or point to an alternate reality, haqeeqah?
A.There is no alternate reality or haqeeqah in the Quran.

These principles came into sufism from among other belief systems. All mystics (islam, judiasm, buddhism etc.) have commonality. There is only one essence and we are all part of this essence. Strarvation and dhikr are in all kinds of mysticism.

These principles are not traced back to the prophet or sahaba.  There is no record of this knowledge passed down from Ali ra or Abu Bakr ra. They contend that it is not written knowledge.

Repentance: You should repent from repenting. It sounds very heavy but it is a logical fallacy and it does not make sense. it is impossible.

Conclusion
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What is the goal and what is the path?
Balance between outward and inward actions. What is within you and what are your actions. Pure heart and pure actions. Understand salat and its impact on you. 

ibn Qayyim has a commentary on a sufi book.

Converts are looking for inward or purification and they fall into the trap because there no books or guidance for them in English.

Hadeeth: There is a piece of flesh if it is sound then the whole body is sound. It is the heart.

Solution: Get guidance from the Quran and Sunnah

Healing for the heart

Ghazali - Some of the books attributed to him are not from him. Ahl ud-deen (Ahyaa uloom ad-deen) is a good book. 30 volume. It is not recommended for a beginner. He had some important books on Shafie before he went on the path of sufism.

There are some sufi groups that have nothing to do with Islam. Steven Schwartz: You dont have to be a muslim to be a sufi.




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