As-Salaam Wa Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatahu,

Hope this post finds you all in the best of health and happiness, Insh’allah.

Recently, I returned to the States from my place of education and found myself in the midst of a series of undesirable situations. I was being tested, truly. But it’s difficult to face adversities of a spiritual nature all by yourself. No doubt, Success and Barakah is with the Jama’at. Where to find such a Jama’at?

I began my search by making a sincere intention, and dua to Allah asking for good company and a rightly guided teacher. Good company, because the Hadith of the Prophet, talking about how you will be judged and raised with those who you keep company with. Time and time again, I heard the hadith of how, in the akhirah, “…you will be with those you love”. This narration always had me thinking, be careful of the love of temporary baubles, trinkets and gadgets(Trans: Rubbish). Be careful of the love and desire of that which takes you far from Allah, lest you be raised with the Ahle-garbage in the akhira.

Shortly thereafter I found myself being taken to Dhikr sohbet in Manhattan with Shaykh Abdul-Kerim el-Kibrisi, deputy of GrandShaykh Nazim al Haqqani of Naqshabandi order. Subhan’Allah!

Dhikr = The task of scrubbing the accumulated grime of sins from the heart. The manner of the dhikr i took part in that day, was so beautiful in it’s practice, in delivery, in it’s recitation. Afterwards, when I had the honour of meeting the Shaykh*, I was instantly drawn to his gentle and fatherly demeanor. The power of his presence. The message he was teaching was the closest to how the Prophet behaved and lived. No scholarly theory or exegesis, but practice, and teaching by example.

*Make no mistake O’ detractors, naysayers and doubters: Anyone who remembers Allah is honored by Allah. Anyone who does so regularly is raised even higher. Those who not only commit to making Dhikr themselves, but encourage and influence others as well…well, it only gets better.

When he looked at me directly in the eyes, and told me, “You need to work harder on yourself. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?” Indeed I did.

That was a month ago.

I took bayt(pledge) with Shaykh and was initiated into the Naqshbandi Osmanli-Haqqani Order. Alhamdulillah. It is Allah alone who Guides. Subhan’Allah, W’Alhamdulillah, Wa La ilaha Ill’Allah, W’Allahu Akbar. Wa La Hawla Wa La Quwwata, Illa Billa Hil Alliyyul Azeem! The first step is taken. Now, to be true to my oath, this is the task set for me. I ask Allah to give me strength and good character and patience to face the trials ahead. Ameen.

We must be loyal and firm and give value to the oaths we take by fulfilling them. I ask Allah to guide all of us, and unite us, family and non-family, friends and strangers, not in the name of bloodshed or hate, but in the name of Love. For the Love of Allah and his Prophet! Ameen, Ya Rabbil Alameen.

All Roads Point…

As-Salaam Wa Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatahu,

Hope this post finds you in the best of health and conditions, Insh’Allah. Although I most certainly may have lost my readership by now, I at least owe an explanation as to where I’ve been to those who perchance may come across this blog, and to that instant when their curiosity and concern may get the better of them.

Well, it’s been a while. For the past few months I’ve found myself dead center in the eye of a swirling storm of upheavals persistent on evolving and reshaping the scenery of my life. So much has happened, it was getting difficult to classify what was Bad and what was Good. Often times people find themselves questioning their faith when tragedy strikes. Most of us in fact. It’s easy to praise Allah when everything’s going your way. Parents will often get down to their hands and knees and praise Allah if they find their child saved from near death. Why? Because of the sense that one was protected from certain disaster. This would seem to be the normal reaction from a large consensus of people.

However, from the point of view of a Wali – a friend of Allah, what we deem “normal” is seen as folly. What we see as sense, becomes egotistical and Self-ish. Not in touch with reality says you? Quite the opposite says I. Think about it: Not many parents would have the same reaction if the child indeed did die. But to do so, would be an act of one submitting his/her will, to the will of Allah. What? But isn’t that what Islam is all about? Hmmm.

I don’t mean to sound preachy, because I’m in no position nor do I have the authority to do so. I’m definitely no Wali, though I aspire to be in my heart of hearts. I’m merely ‘click-clack’ing my thoughts on to digital paper. But I’ve come to a lucid moment amongst all of this. The one with authority to Shape and Evolve(Al-Bari’, Al-Musawwir) has taught countless individuals innumerable lessons in coming to grips with essential reality and the core of what submission should be. Death is real. Why should it be any less real than the Ipod on your table, or the ice cream in your freezer? Why don’t we think about it until a loved one breathes their last? And not long after, the idea of ‘death’ meets the same fate. Others, no matter what the effort, can not seem to get away from it. Just ask a Tsunami, Earthquake or ‘War on Terror’ victim.

People like to say, “I’ll deal with it when it’s on my plate”. Guess what? It’s on your plate. Who are we to say things like ‘certain disaster’? What are you so certain about? Can you predict your next heart attack? No, of course not. Then how can you be so sure that your problem is a disaster? We proclaim to be Muslims. Muslims are those who totally submit to the will of Allah. Is this submission? You may die within the next minute of reading this sentence. What then? Where is your reality now? We cannot come to face the fact that this, the job, and the mortgage, and the bills, and the night out at the movies, is all less than the span of a sneeze in compared to what awaits us after death. This is what I realized. So, I’m doing it. I’m going to submit, Insh’Allah. Allah knows best, where I’ll be 5 minutes from now, but I’ve made my choices. When we submit, the death of our loved one becomes a reminder, not a tragedy. There is no calamity when there is certainty. There is a Hamza Yusuf lecture on this same subject matter, with the exact same title. No doubt, He might’ve articulated all this in a lecture, much better probably, than I can. Don’t forget, however, that this concept has been articulated by every prophet sent by Allah, from the time of Adam to our Beloved Messenger(Peace and Blessings be Upon Him). It behooves us to remind ourselves.

So there is no Good or Bad. It is all from Him. It must instead, be nothing but Perfect, because He is Perfect. Lost your job? Not Good, Not Bad. Perfect. There may be something better for you. Trust in the One Whose Hand holds your Life. Lost your wife and kids in a car accident. Not Good, Not Bad. Perfect. Let it teach you that the pleasures of this world no matter how wholesome and cathartic, are temporary. The road is taking you somewhere. Watch the Signs, Take the Right Exits.

So we musn’t try to stand in judgement of Allah’s decisions. You can’t judge something until you know all the facts, say we(but seldom practice), the Ahle-Hujjat(People of Evidence). So realize. We don’t have all the facts. The only thing we can say for sure is that each one of us will perish. When one of us does die, we should thank Allah. Thank him profusely, with every breath we have that He spared us long enough to do something about our condition. For tomorrow it most certanily will be us. One day it’ll be time to finally wake up from this Bi-polar dream. For if we are true to Truth, and we take the blinders of this world off, and try to live the way that the Creator’s Most beloved, our prophet(peace and blessing be upon him) lived, every single day,…., then we are promised something from Allah. Then, Which of the Favors of your Lord will you Deny? This is what I found while I was away, and I value it more than all the riches this world has to offer. Was-Salaam.

“If you become beloved to Allah in this world, then this World becomes Paradise for you… Don’t support your Shaytan. Either you are a servant of Allah, or you are a Slave to Shaytan. And anyone who is a slave of Shaytan, is going where he is going.

It looks very dark. Yes. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. It looks like it’s going to get worse. Yes. But, It’s going to become better. Always better for Believers. Allah promises that tomorrow, life will be better than today. And holy Prophet (is) saying, today must be better than yesterday. Tomorrow must be better than today. If it’s not, you’re doing something wrong. Correct yourself. ”

– Shaykh Effendi Abdul Kerim el-Kibrisi