‘for those involved in remembrance and devotional practices’

Those treading the Path should strive to follow the method of the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) in everything. Following the Sunna creates much light in the heart. Have patience when anyone says something that displeases you. Do not say anything in haste, especially in anger. Be very careful in the state of anger. Never consider yourself to be perfect or one who possess excellence. Think before speaking.

When you are convinced that in what you intend to say there is no harm, and in it is some benefit or need regarding the world or religion, then only proclaim it. Never speak ill even of an evil person. Do not listen to evil. Do not criticise a dervish who may be overwhelmed by some ecstatic condition and may be saying something that, in your opinion, seems to be in conflict with the religion. Never despise any Muslim even if he happens to be a sinner. Never yearn nor have greed for wealth and honour. As much as is possible remain in the company of those who engage in remembrance. Such association creates light, courage, and love in the heart.

Do not expend much effort in worldly affairs. Do not meet people unnecessarily. When necessity compels you to meet others, meet them kindly and display good manners. As soon as the need has been fulfilled withdraw from company. Remain aloof especially from acquaintances. Search for the companionship of the people of Allah (the pious and saintly ones) or meet with such persons who are not well known to you. Harm from such people is slight. If some spiritual condition occurs in your heart or some amazing knowledge enters the heart, inform your shaykh. Do not request your shaykh for some special devotional practice. Do not inform anyone besides your shaykh of the effect remembrance produces in you. Do not deceive nor beat about the bush when you have realised your error. Confess immediately. In all circumstances have trust in Allah and present your needs only to Him. Request Allah to grant you steadfastness in the religion.

From The Path to Perfection: an edited anthology of the spiritual teachings of Hakim Al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (California: White Thread Press, 2005), pp. 121-122.

Companionship of the Group

May God grant you the grace of good company! A very important need of the disciple is to associate with these people. Such association makes a deep impression. It is a total attack on a person’s temperament and habits, to such an extent that a falcon, by associating with men, becomes wise, and a parrot learns to speak, while a horse, because it associates with men in its training, loses its animal traits and takes on those of men! […] Association overcomes not only innate habits but also one’s created temperament. […] Continue reading

Can You Swim?

In the old times there were only rowboats to cross the Straits of the Bosphorus in Turkey, not the large boats of today. If you wanted to go from one side to the other, you hired a boat with five or ten other people and paid the boatman to take you across. One day, a professor of geography stepped into one of these boats to cross the straits. Just as the boat set out, the wind started to kick up, and the boat began to sway from side to side. Continue reading

Ramadan

O moon-faced Beloved,
the month of Ramadan has arrived
Cover the table
and open the path of praise

O fickle busybody,
it’s time to change your ways.
Can you see the one who’s selling the halvah?
how long will it be the halvah you desire? Continue reading

Islamic Finance

Islamic Banking has been increasing in popularity over the past decade but has also been of particular interest due to the global financial crisis. However, the Islamic banking industry is still small compared to the conventional system (accounting for 1% of total assets), and indeed the main criticisms are that the banks are not really ‘Islamic’, but rather a marketing tool to attract deposits from the Muslim population that deal with conventional banks, and to offer Islamic loans and investments that are merely labelled as being ‘Shari’a compliant’. Furthermore, the largest segment of the Islamic banking industry is in sukuk (bonds) issued by governments, large corporations and indeed the Islamic banks themselves and is used to finance their operations. Again these instruments have been viewed with much scepticism – none other than by leading Shari’a scholars involved in reviewing their structure and legality from a strict Shari’a compliance perspective. Continue reading

The Mercy of Water

And he it is who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before his mercy, and we send down pure water from the sky,

That with it we may give life to a dead land, and slake the thirst of things we have created, cattle and men in great numbers.

And we have distributed the water among them, in order that they may celebrate our praises, but most men are averse to anything but rank ingratitude. Quran 25: 48-50

Water is one of the earths most precious and threatened resources which has not been allowed to return to its natural cycle and is over-used. Drinking water is now often contaminated with chemicals and contains bacteria and viruses. Vital aquifers are becoming toxic. Once an aquifer is contaminated, it’s not likely that it can ever recover. Continue reading

Sustainable Living

Guardians of the Natural Order

God created the Earth in a perfection and beauty that demonstrates an unequivocal balance and harmony. Tawheed, the fundamental statement of oneness of the Creator, from which everything else follows, is the primordial testimony to the unity of all creation and to the interlocking grid of the natural order. Islam teaches us to understand the naturalorder anddefines our responsibility towards it.

Continue reading

Sufi Medicine

My understanding of health, and in particular, of how the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the body connect, was revolutionised by The Book of Sufi Healing. [1] I found this in a local bookshop, and as soon as I picked it off the shelf, my heart started to hurt. A sign not to be ignored: without further ado I bought it. The book introduces the medicine system of Unani Tibb, established by Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Continue reading

Making Supplication (dua)

Supplication, making a request, to Allah can be made both within and after the conclusion of the prayer as well as any other appropriate time. The necessity of performing regular supplication is established in a hadith related by Abu Huraira, where the holy prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Whoever does not supplicate to Allahinvokes His wrath’ (Tirmidhi). This because supplication implies an attitude of humility and reliance on the part of the supplicant, towards the Almighty. Continue reading