Nasiha - Advice of Al-Habîb 'Umar bin Hafîz
August, 2000In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
translation prepared by: Br. Khalîl Abû Asmâ
All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the sentient beings, and may peace and blessings be upon His Messenger and upon his family and companions.
We request from your dignified person, may Allah be pleased with you, a comprehensive word and a general advice for the inhabitants of America, especially those that are living in the Washington D.C. area, and our families and friends. (We also would like that you) specifically address how they should interact with the different groups from amongst the Muslims, as well as how they can realize taqwâ (God-Conciousness) within themselves. May Allah grant you a goodly reward.
The Sheikh, Al-Habîb 'Umar bin Muhammad bin Sâlim bin Hafîz, may Allah preserve him, responded:
May Allah bless in us, and in you, and in them, with the greatest of blessings. And may He make us firm upon the truth, and right guidance, in whatever we say, do, and believe. For verily He is the Most Generous of the generous and the Most Merciful of the merciful.
Our counsel and our advice to these, our brothers, the ones whom the rope of "Lâ ilâha illah Allah" (There is no god but Allah) has brought together and the ring of connection has enveloped, by the Sacred Law of Allah, and the revelation of Allah and the Religion of Truth and Right Guidance; the way that Allah raised up His beloved and Chosen One, Muhammad with (peace and blessings be upon him and his family and companions). So upon all of these (my brothers): "As-Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh." We ask the Truth (Allah), may He be glorified and exalted, to fortify their hearts and to make us and them from the people of Iman (Faith) and the people of certainty (yaqîn).
Certainty (yaqîn) is an expression which means the strength of Iman, its firmness and deep rootedness in the heart, so much so that it becomes as if a lofty mountain. Certainty is the noblest thing that has been sent down from the heavens to the earth.
So our advice to them is to have concern for the enhancement and beautification of their certainty. Our master, the Imam, Abdullah bin 'Alawi Al-Haddad said, "You must strengthen and beautify your certainty. For verily, when it is perfected the unseen will become seen without any possibility of rejection." In other words, the unseen becomes as if it is the seen. This is the special feature and characteristic of the one who is ennobled by a connection to the message that Allah has commissioned their Prophet Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, and upon them (the Messengers), and each and every of their families and all of their companions and followers in righteousness until the last day. And upon us (peace) with them and in them. Verily He is the Most Generous of the generous and the Most Merciful of the merciful.
This certainty (yaqîn) is strengthened and beautified by certain causes:
· From the greatest of these causes is perfecting ones attentiveness and careful listening to the "signs" of Allah (the Qur'ân) and the narrations of His Messenger, His Chosen One, with humility, submissiveness, exaltation and reverence.
· Then, reflecting on and looking at the realms of the heavens and the earth and what is contained in them of indicators towards the immensity of the Maker and His awesomeness, majesty, knowledge and encompassment.
· Then, reflecting deeply about the journeying to Him, the affairs of the Hereafter, the affairs of the life in the barzakh, the affairs of the grave and what happens to its people, and the affairs of the gathering and resurrection.
· And pondering on the stories of the prophets and messengers, may Allah bless them and grant them peace.
· And reflecting upon the various (and numerous) blessings that He has bestowed upon us. This should be repeated over and over again in the mind until a light flashes in the heart that causes shyness in front of this Bestower who has bestowed the greatest of blessings, in spite of our boldness in front of Him.
· And reflecting on the fact that we have not upheld the right of His Lordship, while at the same time we have laid ourselves open to His wrath by preferring our desires and lusts in many of our situations and conditions. This will help us to develop brokenness in front of Allah, blessed and exalted is He, and for His sake.
· Then, persevering in the daily Salâh, with the congregation, as well as the supererogatory prayers and Sunnah prayers, especially the Sunnah prayers that are performed before, and or, after every Salâh:
1. Two rak'ahs before the Subh prayer
2. Two or four rak'ahs before and after the Dhuhr prayer (in the hadith it says, "Whoever is consistent in performing four rak'ahs before Dhuhr and four after it, Allah will make his hair and his skin forbidden (haram) for the fire of Hell.")
3. Four before the 'Asr prayer (in the hadith it says, "May Allah have mercy on the person who prays four rak'ahs before 'Asr.")
4. Two rak'ahs after the Maghrib prayer
5. Two rak'ahs before and after the 'Ishâ prayer
6. Then the Witr prayer, the least of which is three rak'ahs
7. Also, the Duhâ prayer (which is in the morning, after the sun has risen).
All of these prayers should be observed with the utmost concentration and humility.
· Everyone should have a portion of Qur'ân that they recite everyday, as well as a portion of Dhikr, which has been narrated to us from the Sunnah, in the morning and the evening. And from amongst what has been abridged in that regard is Al-Wird Al-Latîf, by Imâm Al-Haddâd. This is a collection of great prophetic traditions and devotions.
· Also, reading the books of the righteous (scholars and friends of Allah).
· (We add to) what we have mentioned, sitting with those whom one's faith is increased by sitting with them, from amongst those who are characterized by praiseworthy qualities.
These are the causes of certainty (yaqîn).
Among the best of the books of the righteous, that are widespread in the Muhammadan nation, are the books of the Imâm Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Ahmad Al-Ghazzali, Imâm 'Abdul-Wahhâb Ash-Sha'rânî, Imâm 'Abdullah bin 'Alawî Al-Haddâd and others from amongst the righteous. Their books have a great effect in procuring certainty and in enlightening and purifying the heart.
Indeed, of the most necessary and emphasized things, which these our brothers should know concerning the greatness of their Dîn, is the acceptance of its people from amongst all those who have born witness that "Lâ ilâha illa Allah, Wa anna Muhammadan Rasulullah", "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah". For it may be that some groups may differ with them in many opinions, yet they shouldn't make from these differences any type of rancor, hatred, intolerance, or enmity. This is not permissible in the Sacred Law.
Whosoever carries on these intolerant campaigns of hatred then he has indeed answered the call of passion and lustful desire, the call of zealous partisanship and the preference of one's own opinion. So it is upon us to revere the sacrosanctity of this immensely blessed statement of "Lâ ilâha illah Allah, Muhammadun Rasulullah". For if the seven heavens and the seven earths were to be placed in one side of a scale and this statement were to be placed in the other side of the scale, "Lâ ilâha illah Allah" would have outweighed it! So we should revere this statement in anyone who believes in it. Furthermore, we should not take them as enemies. Allah, may He be exalted, said, "Verily, the Believers are nothing but brothers" (Qur'an).
Then, when we have become certain about the guidance, the truth and the right way, especially with what the heart is at rest, along with being in touch and connected with Sheikhs that are firmly established in knowledge and certainty, we should call to this way and clarify it to others with kindness and gentleness. So whosoever accepts that from us, then we praise Allah for that and we make supplication (dua') for that person and cooperate with him. And whosoever doesn't accept that from us, we make dua' for him, and we are not pleased to open the doors of argumentation that are not beneficial, neither the doors of enmity, quarreling or dissension. Our Lord has said to us, guiding, teaching and directing us to the right path, "And sow not dissension amongst yourselves, for you will fail and the wind that blows you along will desist. And have patience, verily, Allah is with those that are patient."
So it is upon every true person from amongst our brethren, every one of them that is focused on Allah, to be certain and know for sure that the final end and the ultimate victory is for the people of purity, loyalty, cleanliness of heart and sincerity to Allah; those who are connected and in touch with those who are close to Allah (the Awliyâ'). The goodly outcome will be for them. Therefore, whatever they see of angry arguments and challenges should not frighten them. Rather, they should avoid all of that and seek out the realization of sincerity with Allah, and being colored with noble prophetic characteristics in their interaction with their brethren in a beautiful way, even if they, in turn, are rude and disrespectful.
They should also overlook their mistakes and their spreading of their faults. For indeed, the existence of these groups, with regards to the one who embodies the characteristics of righteousness, is a great blessing upon him from Allah. That is so because these characteristics raise him and make him an inheritor of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. For if it wasn't for the existence of these groups he would not have had the opportunity to show righteousness to those who are rude to him, nor to forgive those who have wronged him.
If the non-Muslims were the only ones who were around, then he wouldn't have found the opportunity to show goodness towards the Muslims, while they are wronging him, nor would he have found the reward for enduring with the people of the Dîn. So, by the existence of these dissenting factions, he can develop beautiful characteristics and amazing qualities. This, in itself, should be considered as a great blessing upon him from Allah, exalted is He.
He should accept this training from Allah. The acceptance of this training is to have kind interaction with those individuals and having patience with what comes from them. So it is not acceptable, in the eyes of such a person, to call someone (from amongst the Muslims) a "kâfir" or a "mushrik" or an "innovator" or a "deviant". At the same time, he manifests his goodly characteristics and he busies himself with those who want to benefit and take heed, all the while avoiding those who oppose him and want to block his way. But he does not react to them with unacceptable deeds, rather, he leaves them so that they come back to the right way or, at least, the Truth (Allah, exalted is He,) will push them away, as well as their evil, with whatever He wills. However, he should not hold anything inside of him except a good opinion (concerning them).
When Allah sees him like this, He will choose him. And if Allah chooses him, He will make him of those upon whose hands this Deen will be renewed in this century that we live in (the 15th Islamic Century). Hence, it is obligatory upon every believer to become overflowed with certainty that Allah will indeed renew His Deen in this century, as He renewed it in the centuries of old, and even greater than that. This is due to the fact that more weakness, division, separation, disruption and harm has occurred in this our century, than has ever happened in previous generations. So it is inevitable that this renewal will be more intense and much stronger, with a special attention from Allah, than what occurred in previous generations. All this in order that the promise of Allah to His Prophet may be realized, may Allah bless him, his family and his companions, and may He grant them peace.
So it is upon every single person to seek his lofty rank within this lordly gift by holding firm to sincerity, truthfulness, striving in the spread of Da'wah and benefiting those around one with whatever is possible. One should also remain in touch and tied to the people of righteousness (amongst the scholars and friends of Allah) and standing firm upon that until the Ultimate Reality (Allah), exalted is He, chooses him and makes him of those who will renew for this nation the affair of their Deen. He will also make them of a force that our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said concerning: "The son of Mary will find a group of people in my nation like his disciples." In other words, like the disciples that helped our master 'Isâ (Jesus, peace be upon him). He will find them in this nation when he comes down from the sky to the Earth. He will rule according to the Sacred Law of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and will take guidance from his way and be lead by his example, just as he was lead by him on the occasion of the Night Journey and the Ascension at Bait Al-Maqdis (in Jerusalem).
He, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "How will you be when 'Isâ, the son of Mary, will descend among you as a just ruler and your Imam is from amongst you?" In other words, you will have a great Imam amongst you. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, refers to him here and he praises him. That Imam is the great awaited Imam, the "Mahdi".
So it is upon our brethren to seek nearness to Allah so that He may choose them. They should not trade this for argumentation with people and excessively discussing: "Who is the Mahdi? When will the Mahdi come? How is the Mahdi?" He will come in his appointed time, as Allah wills. And when he does come he will not be concerned with whether or not you can talk a lot, rather, he will be concerned if you can be upright a lot, upon the right way, and that you have been preparing completely, with the purification of your self, the cleansing of your heart and the strengthening of your faith. It is strong faith that he wants from you, not a lot of talk. The Mahdi is not in need of a lot of talk from us, nor is anyone else for that matter. Rather, he needs from us to have pure hearts, sincere intentions and true striving in the path of Allah, blessed and exalted is He. This striving should be against our lower selves, so that we go against our passions, give good counsel to our brethren, serve the Sacred Law of our Lord (Allah) and benefit the Muslims, and the people of the Deen, by means of it.
This is our advice to them. So everyone that hears it must reap its benefit in this life and the next. And whoever turns away, in such case they are Your slaves (O Allah). "If You punish them, verily, they are Your slaves. And if You have mercy on them, then indeed, You are the Most Strong, the Wise" (Qur'ân). (And as the Prophet Ibrâhîm said,) "And whosoever follows me, then verily he is from me. And whosoever disobeys me, then indeed, You are the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful" (Qur'ân).
O Allah, forgive us and have mercy on us; look upon us and aid us; take care of us and give us success; make us firm and make us of the accepted, amongst those whom you have chosen for this immense good and for this lofty and great goal. And make us of the rightly guided and successful guides towards every good, protected from every evil, O Lord! By the rank of Your Prophet Muhammad, the Chosen One, through the secret of the Fâtihah unto the presence of the Prophet