Monthly Archives: April 2006

To The Land of Baraka… Continued

(Part 2)

Friday, April 14th was the day Shaykh Faraz decided to hold the mawlid. The previous day, Thursday, was Shaykh Faraz's dars at the University of Toronto. Unfortunately, I could not make it due to transportation problems and I am thus unable to write about it. However, the Shaykh did send me a recording of his lecture and told me to transcribe it. Insha'Allah, if the Shaykh permits, I will try to make it available on this blog.

We were set to meet Shaykh Faraz that day shortly after fajr. However, the Shaykh told us to delay the meeting till Jumu'a prayer so he could prepare for the upcoming weekend SunniPath classes. The mosque that Shaykh Faraz was going to was called Masjid Falah I believe. It was in Mississauga, about 30-40 minutes away from where we were staying.

We left at around 12:50 and arrived at the mosque around 1:30, just before the khutba. The mosque was literally packed. Cars were lined up and finding parking was simply impossible. Me and Mudasser basically drove around in circles. We decided to double park, praying that it would not inconvenience anyone ( ! ). Mudasser had actually told me to stay in the car while he went and looked around for the Shaykh. However, knowing myself, I could not imagine the fact that Mudasser would be spending some time with Shaykh Faraz without me! After all, what if the Shaykh, in that brief moment, gave some valuable advice?

Thus, I left the car, did wudhu' and caught sight of Mudasser. Shaykh Faraz was standing next to him, waiting for his family to come out so as to inform them that he was leaving. We stood outside for 10-15 minutes as Shaykh Faraz met with some people whom he recognized. It was actually pretty weird for us to see the way the Shaykh's old acquaintances conversed with him, referring to him as "Faraz" whereas the thought of calling Shaykh Faraz merely by his first name would be construed as disrespectful and igorance of his position by us. Ofcourse Shaykh Faraz didn't seem to mind it all and so we did not either. May Allah raise his rank further and grant us all love for him.

After meeting with a few people the Shaykh signalled that we should depart for our next destination: a place to eat. Shaykh Faraz sat in the back. He was wearing, on that blessed day, a green kurta-shirt, green pants, a brownish vest whose top two buttons he had closed and the rest left open, and his white kufi (dark blue socks also for whoever is interested). As he sat in the back seat he caught sight of the Imdad al Fatawa by Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Thanvi, a book i had bought a few days prior, picked it up, and said, "Sidi, have you read Hakimul Ummat's (i.e. Maulana Thanvi) fatwa on the Shadhili Hadra?". I answered that I had. The fatwa, putting it simply, states that all forms of loud dhikr are permissible and none of the methods of doing loud dhikr can be forbidden, Alhamdulilah. I plan to translate the fatwa for the benefit of the brothers and sisters who are interested in knowing the position of the Deobandi elders on the issue.

We decided to eat at a Pakistani-Indian restaurant. Mudasser had one in mind but Shaykh Faraz decided on another that was within the vicinity. An interesting discussion evolved when Shaykh Faraz asked Mudasser "Doesn't that place serve alcohol" – referring to the restaurant Mudasser had originally chosen – to which he replied in the positive. Mudasser then went on to ask about the fiqh of eating in a restaurant that served alcohol. In summary what Shaykh Faraz said was:

[1] The blanket ruling would be that it is haram. However, the Shaykh stated that a restaurant such as this one is conceptually akin to a supermarket where pork, wine, and other impermissible products are sold. One merely goes in, buys what he wants, and leaves. Thus, although it would be better for someone to choose a restaurant that does not serve alcohol, it is not impermissible to eat in a place where alcohol is being served (s: although it may be disliked and undignified). At the same time the Shaykh made clear that those who are looked upon as religious figures in the community should definitely try and avoid such places. For more one can read HERE.

Anyway, we went into the restaurant and sat down. We decided to order a few dishes – butter chicken, kebab, some naan, Chicken tikka, some meat shawrba, and lassi. We spoke about a few things over our delicious lunch, including Deoband, the madaris, difference in Arab and Deobandi educational settings, personal suhba and so forth. It was very enlightening. The Deobandi's are well-known for exporting their madaris across the globe on a very large scale. At the same time though, the Deobandi 'Ulema took much from the British, and the way the British organized their educational class structure. I think it is only natural that when something is mass-produced the quality of that thing is not as good as it should be, in comparison to something not mass-produced. This ofcourse does not mean that the Deobandi institutes are not producing solid 'Ulema, but that the amount of "solid" 'Ulema coming out in comparison to the total number of students enterring is not even and balanced. One thing which personally makes me prefer the "Arab" style of traditional education is not that they dont have any institutions (which they do), which are beneficial in their own right, but in the fact that private studies under 'Ulema is a norm. By private studies I do not mean sitting in a class with a hundred other students. What I mean is face to face, one-on-one interaction. Most of my friends who went to the Middle-East had the opportunity to do this. It provides an opportunity for suhba with the masha'ikh and, in my experience, is far more effective.

At the same time though, the Deobandi instituionalization played a key role in preserving the religion in the subcontinent. It further played a key role in spreading knowledge across the globe, especially in the west (such as England). Yet, I believe that we are now living in a time where we need some sort of reform. Please do not get upset at me. I am also a Deobandi, and so is my Shaykh, and therefore I believe it is my right as a Deobandi to discuss and critically analyse such aspects of our manhaj. As far as I'm concerned, my friends who have gone to the Arab lands come out far more stronger in the Islamic sciences, as well as in their encompassing worldview, than my friends who went to the Indian subcontinent, or South Africa, or elsewhere. Why? Our Akabir certainly possessed mastery of the sciences, as did many of their students. However, finding such people now is harder than before. Shaykh Faraz actually has very high praise of the Deobandi's and he considers the akabir to be one of his many inspirations in life as do I. Also, there are Deobandi scholars of high repute put there like Mufti taqi, Mufti Rafi', Mufti Palanpuri etc. We should be producing more of their like.

Shaykh Faraz also told us how it was very easy to access major scholars in the Arab lands, such as Shaykh Adib Kallah, Shaykh Hasaan al Hindi, and so forth. It was even easier to attend their private study groups. All you had to do was buy the book, go, and sit down.

Anyway, while Shaykh Faraz and Mudasser were talking (me being the quiet one as usual), Shaykh Faraz noticed my plate. It was practically empty. I was nibbling on a chicken leg when Shaykh Faraz said "This food is not here for tabarruk!". He actually grabbed the serving spoon, took my plate, and put in spoonfuls (and more) of each dish. I didn't know how I was going to finish it but I knew I had to because the Shaykh had an eye on me. Thus, I listened to the conversation between Mudasser and Shaykh Faraz whilst trying to find some space in my stomach for all the food that the Shaykh had placed on my plate. I did manage to eat it all, comfortably, possibly due to the baraka therein, Alhamdulilah.

After we had finished we decided to order some desert – ras malai. I had a feeling that Shaykh Faraz would, again, try and attempt to pay the bill. This was something I was not willing to let the Shaykh do. I signalled to Mudasser, and passed him my wallet. Unfortunately, Mudasser wasn't a very good actor. As soon as he got up, and Shaykh Faraz asked him where he was going, the Shaykh knew what he was upto. Shaykh Faraz got up quickly, cut him off, and paid the bill. It's actually pretty funny when you imagine it. Subhanallah, as I mentioned before, Shaykh Faraz can easily just be "one of the guys".

While leaving the restaurant, Shaykh Faraz gave another valuable piece of advice. He said:

[2] The Deobandi akabir would say that just because something is possible does not mean that it has occurred or will occur. After mentioning this principle Shaykh Faraz said that a student of knowledge should make it a habit of not only externalizing these principles, but also internalizing them. It is indeed valuable advice. I have seen in my correspondences with Shaykh Faraz that the reason why he is so solid in fiqh and the reason why – to me – he is nothing short of a vast encyclopedia of knowledge is because he is able to recall the usuli principles and the qawa'id and implement them in his teachings, explanations, his daily life and so forth. It is astonishing as to how much a person can now and how much he can recall at will when confronted with an issue.

I remember once I was speaking to the Shaykh about his journey to the spiritual path and joining the Shadhili path under Shaykh Nuh. He said that the minute he had heard him he knew that this was the person who would guide him to Allah.Shaykh Faraz actually gave bayah in 1996, which was not long after Shaykh Nuh was given ijaza by Shaykh 'Abdur Rahman Shaghouri (May Allah have mercy on him). I recall stating, "so you are like one of his early murids." The Shaykh replied, "Not really. A murid is someone who follows their Shaykh. The ulema mention: al-`ibratu bi man sadaq; wa laysat bi man sabaq (what counts is being true; not being first)."

Subhanallah…

Books, Books, and More Books

We left the restaurant around 4-4:30. The mawlid was supposed to start around 6. Me and Shaykh Faraz were discussing the bookstore I had gone to previously and out of the blue Mudasser informed us of another branch of the same bookstore within our vicinity. We decided to go there. Mudasser called one of his friends to get the address and after a while we were parking in front of the bookstore, readying ourselves to get our hands on some beneficial material. From the outside, as well as when we walked in, the store looked small. However, they had some excellent works. I could see that Shaykh Faraz was excited. We walked around looking at various books, picking them up, looking through them, and seeing Shaykh Faraz give his occassional comments. When Shaykh Faraz was interested in a specific work he would tell me to go to the store clerk and ask him for the price. The store clerk allowed me to use his computer to look up the prices, which is what I did everytime the Shaykh wanted a price check. Shaykh Faraz became most excited when he saw Mufti Palanpuri's commentary on Shah Waliullah Dehlawi's Hujjat al Baligha. He commented, "An excellent commentary on an even more excellent work." Shaykh Faraz got quite a few books, including those by the akabir of Deoband. He woulld sometimes go through some books and advise me to get them, and sometimes straight-up hand them to me as if signalling a command for me to purchase them for myself.

We spent almost two hours in the bookstore. The store clerk was a very nice man, and he soon understood that the tall, humble, and modest man that was walking in between his shelves was no ordinary man. He was a scholar of the religion, a faqih, and one of the inheritors of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). He was a person who was not merely buying these books for himself, but in order to benefit the community with them. He was not a man concerned with himself, but concerned also about the students around him. Thus, you would see him say "Get this work sidi" and "This work is excellent" and "This will prove beneficial for you" and so forth. It took only a matter of time for the clerk to realise this and soon he was looking upto the Shaykh the same way we do, referring to him as "Hazrat" and scurrying around to help him.

The Shaykh bought a camel-loads worth of books, many of them being small yet beneficial rasa'il. The Shaykh told me to go over the list of works one more time and see if everything was written down in the clerics register. After doing that, I myself scurried off to shop for some books along with Mudasser. Among the works I got, which include the ones the Shaykh told me to get:

Mufti Palanpuri's Sharh Nukhbat al Fikr entitled Tuhfa al Durur

Shaykh Zakariyya Khandihlawi's Fadha'il Tijarat

Mufti Rafi' Uthmani's Jawahir al Fiqah

Imam 'Abd al Hayy Lakhnawi's Zafar al Amaani

Maulana Thanvi's al Takashaf

Al Fiqh al Islami minal Mukhtasar al Quduri

Imam Razi al Din's Qafu al Athar fi Safwi 'Ulum al Athar

And a number of small rasa'il on the lives of the akabir.

Shaykh Faraz actually handed me both the Zafar al Maani and Qafu personally and told me to definitely get them.

Meanwhile, after Shaykh Faraz had paid for his books, the store clerk calculated my bill. I reached for my wallet and before I knew it, again ( !!! ), Shaykh Faraz just handed him the money. I looked at Mudasser confused and asked "What happened?" and he replied "I think the Shaykh just paid for your books." I really was speechless and could not say anything. I felt as if it wasn't right for me to be taking money from the Shaykh in such a way, but at the same time how could I refuse? I just stayed silent. Shaykh Faraz said that I should, instead, pay seperately for the two books he recommended specifically for me (which I mentioned above) and leave the rest to him. Subhanallah, what a noble teacher, what a blessed student!

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To The Land Of Baraka… With Shaykh Faraz

Part 1

(will be updated and corrections made)

Ever since I came in contact with my Ustaadh wa Habibi Faraz Rabbani, my heart always yearned to meet him in person in order to benefit more from his ‘ilm and taqwa. Thus, when he informed me that he was coming to Canada I rushed to make arrangements to be in his noble presence.

I left from New York around 11 pm and I arrived in Hamilton early morning, after fajr. Accompanying me was my close friend Shuayb Qadri, a murid of Maulana ‘Abd Ar Rahim Motala – successor of Shaykh Zakariyya Khandihlawi and older brother of Maulana Yusuf Motala of Bury. The trip was a blessed one and we arrived, through the grace of Allah, safely and soundly. Our friend, Mudasser (www.molvi.wordpress.com), offered to house us throughout the duration of our stay and proved to be an exemplary host. May Allah reward him and us.

When we arrived at his home, the first thing I did was call Shaykh Faraz in order to arrange a meeting. He was well-spoken, clear, and to the point. One could sense gentleness and humility in his voice. He spoke with kindness and respect making the one being spoken to feel at ease and relaxed. As is the Shaykh’s habit, he would address people as sidi, although it remains true that he was and is our master and not vice versa.

After a brief nap we prepared ourselves to go meet Shaykh Faraz at his parents’ residence in Mississauga which was around forty minutes away from where we were staying. We arrived there an hour before maghrib, prayed ‘Asr, and then stood outside the entrance of the musalla which was located in the centre of the small housing community where the Shaykh lived. The community consisted of many Muslims and, while waiting for Shaykh Faraz, we watched the children engage in a cricket match. It reminded me very much of my own youth in a way.

After a brief wait, while we were speaking to the Imam of the musalla, I saw Shaykh Faraz approaching from a distance. He walked quickly with his head down embodying the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). He stood at the bottom of the staircase leading to entrance of the musalla with his hands in his pockets and after a while signaled to me to come down to the side of the musalla. There we exchanged greetings. He was a man of medium height, brownish complexion, dark hair, and a lengthy beard. He wore a white kurta-shirt that hung down to just above his knees, black pants that rose above the ankles, and a black jacket. He donned his white kufi (skull-cap) which we, his students, are accustomed to seeing in our classes with him. He wore black New Balance sneakers and smelt of musk.

All three of us went and sat down on a bench with me sitting right next to the Shaykh. We spoke about general matters such as our trip, how the Shaykh was finding Canada, Maulana ‘Abd Ar Rahim Motala, and so forth. Then came time for maghrib and we all headed towards the musalla. Shaykh Faraz signaled for us to walk in front of him, moving aside to allow us to go first, out of humbleness and respect. I, however, would intentionally slow down so as to let the Shaykh walk ahead of me. Who am I to be walking in front of the Shuyukh, my back towards them, especially those whom I consider my teachers and guides!

I sat down in the second row and Shaykh Faraz came and sat next to me. It was a great feeling and even though not a word was said I felt spiritual upliftment merely due to his presence. This is indeed the benefit and affect of companionship with the righteous and learned.

We prayed maghrib and stood outside the side entrance of the musalla waiting for Shuayb to come out. As people walked by they would greet the Shaykh, shaking his hand, and gaining the blessings of his companionship even if that companionship was merely for a moment. We then walked towards the car. There I showed the Shaykh a number of books I had purchased for him which he had requested, and I also presented the Shaykh with a copy of Maulana Salimullah Khan’s commentary on the Mishkat al Masabih as a gift. When he saw the work he exclaimed Allahu Akbar which brought joy to my heart. May Allah benefit him tremendously through this work and reward all of us.

Shaykh Faraz then proposed that we go out and grab some coffee and doughnuts. The Shaykh, on request, sat in the back of the car, on the left side, right behind the driver’s seat. We drove to the nearest Tim Horton’s which can be considered the Dunkin Donuts of Canada. I did not talk much during the duration of the drive, and it was mostly Shuayb and the Shaykh speaking about common people they knew, in particular Shuayb’s cousin who went to Qasid.

At Tim Horton’s we ordered some bagels, a muffin, some coffee and juice. I attempted to pay for the lite meal but failed when Shaykh Faraz replied “Don’t you dare”. We decided to eat the food in the car. While driving back Shaykh Faraz gave us some valuable lessons, among them:

[1] The principle that one should do unto others what one expects others to do unto himself. He brought this up while we were discussing Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmani’s Takmila Fath al Mulhim a completion of Shaykh Shabbir ‘Uthmani’s commentary on Sahih Muslim. Shaykh Faraz actually had a signed copy of the Takmila given to him by Mufti Rafi’ ‘Uthmani, which he gave to a scholar believing that it would benefit him. The reasoning is essentially the same as it is for giving sadaqa. Wealth does not decrease when one gives it in charity, rather, it comes back to benefit one. The same is the case with books and other things of benefit.

Shaykh Faraz also told us what Shaykh Adib Kallas told him personally regarding spending money on books which was in essence the same as what was mentioned above.

[2] Shaykh Faraz explained that one should keep suhba with the scholars by sitting with them, and also suhba with them and the past scholars by reading their works. At the same time, we should be aware regarding what should be read and what should not. For example, reading the works of Ibn ‘Arabi is “destroying ones dunya and akhira” according to Shaykh Faraz, except by one who is qualified. Shaykh Faraz actually mumbled “like an ignoramus like me” when speaking of those who shouldn’t read Ibn ‘Arabi’s works or works that are confusing and high-leveled in general. Subhanllah, humbleness and humility the likes of which are seen rarely these days!

[3] Shaykh Faraz told us how it was a habit of the scholars to write small works, then medium-sized ones, then fairly larger ones. He gave examples of Imam Ghazali, Ibn Qudama, and Imam Shurunbulali and others.

Every time I would put the bagel to my mouth to eat it Shaykh Faraz would start advising and teaching us and I would place the bagel back down. This happened a number of times. Respect for the scholars is essential and paying heed to what they say falls within this category of respect.

We then carried the Shaykh’s books to his house, said our salams, and headed back home.

Part 2: To The Land Of Baraka Continued

We spent the night at Mudasser’s place and planned to have dinner with Shaykh Faraz the next day. Since we had the whole day to ourselves, Shuayb went to meet his murshid, Maulana ‘Abr Ar Rahim Motala at Masjid Taqwa in downtown Toronto. We drove up there before dhuhr, hoping to catch prayer in congregation. Masjid Taqwa is actually the mosque of Maulana Zakariyya, a young scholar of the Chishti path who has ijaza from Maulana Yusuf Motala of Bury. I met Maulana Zakariyya for the first time. Shuayb had known him for a while since he frequented his masjid whenever he visited his murshid. Maulana Zakariyya was a slender, average-height scholar. He had a large thick beard with a trimmed moustache. He wore a green thobe, a black turban over which he had wrapped a red and white ghutra. We were expecting Maulana ‘Abd Ar Rahim to be there as well, however, Shaykh Zakariyya informed us that he was at Masjid Medina which was only a block away.

We drove towards Masjid Medina and parked our car across the street from the masjid. the masjid was actually quite spacious and there were alot of people. Dhuhr prayer had just ended and me and Shuayb waited near the entrance to see if Maulana ‘Abd Ar Rahim would show up. We saw him from a distance and Shuayb went and sat behind him, waiting for him to complete his sunan prayers. After Maulana prayed, he rose up and greeted Shuayb with a hug and salams. Shuayb then introduced me to him, and he embraced me as well, Alhamdulilah.

Maulana ‘Abd Ar Rahim, was an old man. He was slender and not to tall. He had a long white beard mostly growing from the chin and lesser from the sides. He walked with a slight limp. Shuayb told me that Maulana was given the choice of having surgeory done on his leg. However, he refused to do so because the doctors had informed him that he would not be able to do sujud for some time, something Maulana was not willing to give up. This is the rank ofe the mashaikh and the love they have for that which is dear to Allah. The examples of such mujahada is well known amongst the Akabirin. وأين مثل هؤلاء السادة! (Where are the likes of such masters now!!)

Our meeting with Maulana was brief though as he had to go to the doctor for a check-up. Thus, he informed Shuayb to meet him again after ‘Asr, which was the time allocated for the daily dhikr of the murids.

Me and Shuayb thus headed out to eat since we had a few hours to burn. One good thing was that halal food was easily accessible. The road where Masjid Medina was located was filled with Indian-Pakistani restaurants. We chose one of our liking, grabbed some biryani, and munched down. We then decided to head down to Scarborough to the Al Nour bookstore. Books are my passion. If there are two things which I do not hesitate to spend money on, they are books and thobes. After Shaykh Faraz’s advice to us (see above) I was even more willing and less-hesitant to spend money on beneficial material.

The bookstore was small, yet it had a nice colelction of books. I bough a number of books including:

– Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanvi’s Imdad al Fatawa (5 vols) which is truyl a gem of legal verdicts covering various topics.

– Sharh Usul Al Shashi, a book on Hanafi methodology primarily taught in the Indian-subcontinent. I also bought the original matn in Arabic.

– Ashraf al Nuri ‘Ala Sharh al Quduri, an Urdu commentary on Imam Quduris Mukhtasar in one thick volume.

– A book on hadith methodology (Arabic) by Imam ‘Abd al Hayy Lakhnawi, edited by Shaykh ‘Abd Al Fattah Abu Ghudda, whose name I cannot remember right now!

They also had a number of other books such as Maulana Khalil Saharanfuri’s Sharh on the Sunan Abu Dawud in 10+ volumes entitled Badhl al Majhud, Ashraful Hidaya, Imam Kashmiri’s Faydh al Bari sharh Sahih Bukhari, Ibn ‘Abidin’s Rad al Muhtar in 16 volumes, and more.

After spending atleast an hour in the bookstore, we finally bought what we wanted and left. We went straight back to Masid Taqwa and waited there till ‘Asr time. Masjid Taqwa also had a number of books which I indulged myself in reading while Shuayb took a nap. In particular I read the introduction of Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmani to ‘Ila al Sunan, a work which I am curently studying with Maulana Kashif. It contained a biography of Maulana Thanvi and the reason why he commissioned the writing of the ‘Ila. It was truly an inspiring read which I hope to share with others on this blog in the future.

Our original plan was to have dinner with Shaykh Faraz after maghrib. I received a call from Mudasser to meet him at the train station at Kipling from where he would pick me up and then head off to Shaykh Faraz’s place. Shuayb was unable to come due to the fact that he had a meeting with his Shaykh after ‘Asr. I prayed ‘Asr and headed to the train station from where I went to Kipling and waited for Mudasser to pick me up. While waiting i did my daily awrad and read Maulana Thanvi’s mawa’iz entitled Haqiqat al Ibadat. Mudasser was a little late and so I prayed maghrib at the station.

Mudasser finally arrived accompanied by his friend Munawwar who had brought his car. Munawwar was truly a gem of a brother. Very nice, kind, good to converse with, and had a good collection of nasheeds to play in his car as well! Our plan was delayed due to the fact that Shaykh Faraz hit heavy traffic while returning from the Niagra Falls. Me, Mudasser and Munawwar thus went to a nearby coffee shop and talked about general issues. It was interesting to find out that Munawwar had visited Syria a few years ago to study Arabic. He briefly mentioned some of his experiences including his first look at the hadra, and then me and Mudasser had a converstaion regarding Deobandi establishment, madaris, and possible changes for the better.

I called Shaykh Faraz to check up on his plans. He stated that it was too late for dinner and that, if possible, we should come over to his place. Two of our friends, Ahsan Irfan and Taha ‘Umar were already there (they were actually waiting to pick the Shaykh up and come to dinner with us). We drove over to the Shaykh’s place. It was around 11 pm when we arrived and the Shaykh graciously invited us into his home. There we sat in his living room and Shaykh Faraz ordered some tea for us. Shaykh Faraz seemed to be in a very jolly mood, as he always is. The one thing that I have noticed about the Shaykh is that he really does have a sense of humor. Not only that, but when infront of him he easily makes him self seem as “just one of the guys”. This should, however, not make us lose sight of the fact that he is one of the inheriors of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and thus deserves our utmost respect. Mudasser described it perfectly when he said:

Also, anyone who meets Shaykh Faraz will realize that he has an excellent (and I mean excellent) sense of humour. He had me laughing on plenty of occasions (Salman of course, being the obedient and respectful student controlled himself and limited himself to a smile everytime). The vibe that I got from him was that of happiness. To me, he was the perfect example of a man who chose to do with his life what his heart truly desired. I think that anyone present in his company would agree that we saw someone who enjoyed waking up in the morning because he chose to pursue his dreams. In him, we can find an example worthy of following. (www.molvi.wordpress.com)

Mudasser and Munawwar asked Shaykh Faraz a few questions, among them:

[1] The reason as to why earrings are forbidden for men although customary practice in western societies does not look upon it as something “exclusive” to women alone. Shaykh Faraz replied that the legal cause for its impermissibilty was the fact that the law had established all jewlerry as against the natural disposition of man, save the silver ring which was used by the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as a seal. Although it is true that custom does play a role in determining specific rulings, the shari’a also takes into account “sound” versus “unsound” custom. Thus, not all custom is considered to be effective. Further, custo plays a role in rulings which are themselves based on custom, not rulings that are decisively proven through legal texts such as the Qur’an and sunna. The explanation was excellent, and my sumamrisation ofcourse does not do justice to the eloquence of the Shaykh’s reply.

[2] General guidance on interactions with the opposite sex, especially as it relates to our Msa’s and societal interaction in general. I believe this is one of the points where Shaykh Faraz is very solid in as he understands the framework of the west and our contextual state. Shaykh Faraz said that although one should take precaution with interactions, at the same time one should not go to such extremes wherein he makes other Muslim’s feel isolated and “turned-off” to the religion. He gave us a few examples of such extreme occurrences even during his college days. Shaykh Faraz made it a point to distinguish between interaction with complete strangers and interaction with people whom we see on a regular basis. The difference is important. There is a reason, he explained, why the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) stated that “The in-laws are death” because a large amount of married women and men commit adultery with those whom they are alreayd close to, such as cousins or close friends and so forth. However, in terms of total strangers, such a thing is not likely. Rather, Shaykh Faraz said that in our society there is no harm in smiling, saying thank you, being courteous to, lets say, a female cashier whom you know you will never or hardly ever see again. This is also a good da’wa tool as opposed to outright strictness which may reinforce all the negative perceptions she had of the Islamic religion to being with.

We talked about this for a while and then decided to step outside and continue our conversation so as not to disturb the people in the house. Shaykh Faraz further mentioned some very important lessons that we should all bear in mind. The main lessons were:

[3] Imams in western society and how we should be getting imams who are able to deal, understand, and communicate with members of our communities in an effective manner. It is becoming all to common that we “import” imams from abroad without paying heed to the fact that their are plenty of scholars born and bred in the west who could do a more efficient job in filling these vacancies.

[4] The fact that we should have respect for all the Ulema whether they agree with us on all points or not. Shaykh Faraz told us a story of Imam ‘Abd Al Hayy Lakhnawi and the leader of the Ahly Hadith at the time Siddiq Hasan Khan. Between them, he stated, they had six written refutations of each other back and forth. Siddiq Hasan was actually married to the Raja’s daughter and thus commanded immense rank and position. Yet, when Imam ‘Abd Al Hayy passed away at the young age of 39, after authoring dozens of works, Siddiq Hasan Khan actually ordered all markets closed out of mourning.

Once, Shaykh Faraz said, a big Naqshbandi Shaykh was passing through Siddiq Hasan’s town. Siddiq Hasan invited him to his house but he refused to come. After a few tries and more refusal’s Siddiq Hasan asked him for anything from him that would benefit him on which the Naqshbandi shaykh stated “Do plenty of Istighfar“. It is related by those close to Siddiq Hasan that after that and at the end of his life he had increased his istighfar immensel. This is the respect the scholars have for each other.

Similarly, Shayh Faraz also brought up Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and the respect the scholars had for him across the globe. He made mention of how Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmani, whom he stated was possibly the greatest Hanafi faqih present today, on occassion went against ths Hanafi position due to the fact that he found the position of other schools stronger. However, this does not take away from his rank, and nor does it take away how we view his ‘ilm and position.

We decided to let the Shaykh go as it was 1 am. Shaykh Faraz led me and Mudasser outside (Ahsan and Taha’s car was parked on the other side). While we were walking Shaykh Faraz spoke to me about my visit to the bookstore and advised me on what books I should get. It is truly a blessing to have someone at your side to advise and guide you every step of the way.

Shaykh Faraz invited us for breakfast and a “chill out session” next morning after fajr. We told him that we would try our best to come. With that we said our salams and parted.

(Next: Lunch with Shaykh faraz, shopping for books with him, and a special gathering!)

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To The Land Of Baraka…

No, I am not going to Mecca or Madina or Syria. I am going to … Canada. Why Canada though?! Mainly because my beloved teacher and master Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is there. I will thus have the honor of gazing upon his nurani face, although I may just lower my eyes out of reverance and awe, Alhamdulilah.

I leave tonight after 'Isha and will return on Saturday. I plan to write my experiences with the Shaykh when I return.

Request for Du'as

Salman

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An Interesting Dialogue: Lunch With Maulana Kashif

Salamu ‘Alaykum

Every Saturday I have a one and a half our class with Maulana Kashif, a truly excellent and solid Deobandi scholar who studied in Karachi, wherein we cover the ‘Ila al Sunan of Maulana Zafar Ahmad ‘Uthmani (Allah have mercy on him). The ‘Ila is a two volume book covering the various topics of worship with its central aim being presenting the Hanafi hadith evidence for legal rulings.

After our class today, I invited Maulana Sahib to come and have lunch with me and a few other brothers to which he happily agreed. The time spent, as expected, turned out to be extremely beneficial and I took due advantage by asking Maulana about various issues that were currently in the limelight or in the back of my mind. Amongst the questions I asked were:

[1] The legality of the Mawlid and the reason for the Deobandi prohibition. Maulana Kashif explained that the reason for prohibition was indeed the fact that innovative practices had crept in, such as the belief of the general public that such a celebration was necessary, and not the fact that it was fi aslihi impermissible. When I mentioned the various Arab scholars across the land who celebrated the Mawlid on a regular basis he took it with good will, Alhamdulilah. Further, an interesting point he mentioned was that the reality of the subcontinent is quite different than other countries and thus meaningless generalizations cannot be made nor can such rulings be applied to all people. He made this remark specifically in reply to my question that many non-Deobandi brothers get agitated when such rulings are thrust on them. Yet, he maintained that the people in the subcontinent had fell into a type of extremism, but did not agree on passing such irrational judgments over others of this ummah.

Rather, he made clear that the Deobandi scholars do indeed hold dhikre wiladat in high esteem and they see no harm in majalis increasing during Rabi’ Al Awwal, which is only natural for us as lovers and followers of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

However, the mawlid as it is customarily done is not permitted by the Deobandis.

[2] Regarding the vision of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in a wakeful state. Although he said he would not go into much detail regarding this, he did mention Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmani writing about such occurrenced – in specific he related the event of Imam Suyuti – and thus stated that such visions were indeed possible (mumkin).

[3] Regarding the ‘aqida of the Salafis. He stated that Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah was guilty of tajsim and the Salafis followed him in this by holding onto his books such as the ‘Aqida al Wasitiyya and so forth. He went into detail regarding the Maturidi explanations of specific Qur’anic verses, such as the ones mentioning yad, ‘ayn, wajh etc.

[4] The Rifa’i’s and knife-piercing. He gave precisely the same answer that Sayyidi Yusuf Rifa’i gave, that such acts were not innovations but are counted among the miracles of the saints that were done out of a sense of need to bring people to the path of Islam. For Sayyid Yusuf Rifa’i’s answer one can see SunniPath.

We discussed many other topics, including what entails moral responsibilty as it relates to knowing Allah Most High and the Maturidi interpretation of the verse “We do not punish until we send a Messenger”, Tabarruk, commentaries on hadith books, the Majalla which is a Hanafi law code written in Ottoman times, and more.

We topped that off with some biryani, haleem, chicken karhai, and mango lassi.

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Shaykh Hamza Yusuf: Allah And His Messenger In Our Lives

See: Alexandalus

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Poem In Praise Of The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)

By Shaykh Yusuf Nabhani (Allah have mercy on him)

I am the slave of the Master of Prophets
And my fealty to him has no beginning.

I am a slave of his slave, and of his slave’s slave,
And so forth endlessly,

For I do not cease to approach the door
Of his good pleasure among the beginners.

I proclaim among people the teaching of his high attributes,
And sing his praises among the poets.

Perhaps he shall tell me: “You are a noted friend
Of mine, a truly excellent beautifier of my tribute.”

Yes, I would sacrifice my soul for the dust of his sanctuary.
His favor should be that he accept my sacrifice.

He has triumphed who ascribes himself to him!
– Not that he needs such following,

For he is not in need of creation at all,
While they all need him without exception.

He belongs to Allah alone, Whose purified servant he is,
As his attributes and names have made manifest;

And every single favor in creation comes from Allah
To him, and from him to everything else.

(Translated by Shaykh Gibril)

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The Adab of Salawat: From Ibn Salah’s Muqaddimah

The Prophet of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The miser is he in whose presence I am mentioned and he does not send blessings on me.”

The ninth point in the chapter of the writing of hadith

[The student] should observe writing the prayer and blessings on the Messenger of Allah upon his mention, may Allah, Most High, bless him and his family and grant them peace, and [he should] not tire of repeating this at the repetition [of his name] for this is of the greatest of benefits that the students and writers of hadith rush by, and whoever is oblivious of this, he has been prevented from an immense fortune. We have narrated from the people of this [ i.e. the salawaat] noble dreams.

That which the student writes is a prayer which he affirms, not wording which he narrates. Hence, [the writing of the prayer] is not restricted to narrative or limited to [the wording] which is in the original [book]. Likewise is the case with the praising of Allah, Most Glorious, when His Name is mentioned, such as: “Mighty and Majestic” (‘azza wa jalla), “Blessed and Exalted” (tabaraka wa ta’ala), and what is similar to these. Therefore, if something of this is found which has come in narrative, the concern for its documentation and precision is greater.

What has been found in the writing of Abu ‘AbdAllah Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him, of omitting this at the mention of the name of the Prophet, prayer and blessings of Allah upon him – perhaps it is because he was of the opinion of confining [oneself] in this [matter] to narration and it was difficult for him to attribute [the sending of prayer and blessings] to everyone above him from the narrators. Al-Khatib Abu Bakr said, “And it reached me that he [Imam Ahmad] used to pray on the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, by mouth, not by pen.” He said, “And others from the early scholars differed with him in this.” It was narrated on ‘Ali ibn al-Madeeni and ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Azheem al-‘Anbaari that they said,” We never left the prayer on the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, in each narration we heard and perchance we rushed so we would leave a blank for each narration until we could return to it [later to fill it in].” And Allah knows best.

Furthermore, [the student] should keep away from two flaws when mentioning the prayer:

The first: To write it [in an] abbreviated form, indicating it by two letters [i]or the like.

The second: To write it by an incomplete meaning, by not writing, “and blessings” (wa sallam), even if this was found in the writing of some of the early [scholars].

I heard Abu al-Qasim Mansur ibn ‘Abd al-Mun’im and Umm al-Muayyad bint Abi al-Qasim, through my reading, say: “We heard Abu al-Barakaat ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Furawi, by word say: ‘I heard Al-Muqri’ Zhareef ibn Muhammad sayd, ‘I heard ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Hafiz say: ‘I heard my father say: ‘I heard Hamzah al-Kinani say:

I used to write a narration and I used to write at the mention of the Prophet ‘May Allah pray upon him’ (salla Allahu ‘alaih) and I wouldn’t write ‘and bless him’. So I saw the Prophet, may Allah pray upon him and his family and grant them peace, in a dream and he said to me, “What is wrong with you that you do not finish the prayer on me?” He said, “So I never wrote after that ‘May Allah pray upon him’ except that I wrote, ‘and bless him.'”

I, [Ibn al-Salaah] say: It is [therefore] also disliked to shorten the saying [of the prayer] to: “upon him be peace” (‘alayhi al-salaam), and Allah knows best.
(Translated by Ustadha Shaista Maqbul)

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