Event Review: Sacred Path of Love 2012 – The Meaning of Servanthood – Day 2
What: Sacred Path of Love 2012 Day 2
Where: Masjid Sultan Auditorium
When: 2 December 2012
Who: Ustaz Amin Md Yusoff, Shaykh Naeem Abdul Wali, Shaykh Afeefuddin al-Jilani, Imam Abdoulaye Ndaw, Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib, Ustaz Feisal, Imam Tahir Anwar,
By: Sout Ilahi
In the Presence of God: Attaining Awareness in Every Action
Ustaz Amin Md Yusoff was the first speaker for the second day of the Sacred Path of Love conference. Ustaz Amin reminded the audience that every action could be dhikr, and quoted a saying of Imam Abdulllah Al-Haddad that we should fear Allah both openly and in secret.
To gain awareness of Allah, Ustaz Amin advised that we perform remembrance through various means, firstly through dhikr of the tongue. Secondly, through following the sunnah of the Prophet (SAWS) as the sunnah itself was a form of remembrance. Thirdly, to perform jihad for haqq (truth). For the third point, Ustaz Amin elaborated that we lived in an age with much fitnah being propagated against Islam, and that we could strive for Islam in the form of ibadah, such as dressing in accordance with the sunnah, and spreading the truth about the religion.
Ustaz Amin noted that it was Muharram, the first month of the Hijri calendar and that we should resolve to improve ourselves and remember Allah.
Islamic Archaeology: Uncovering the Artefacts of Paradise that will lead us to God
In his second talk during this year’s Sacred Path conference, Shaykh Naeem spoke at length on language, stating that humans were creatures of language and that the Qur’an was Divine Speech, conveyed through the vehicle of the Arabic language for the benefit of humanity. At various points, he stressed the importance of learning Arabic as it would facilitate our understanding and help us become better Muslims.
Amanah, for example, meaning safety and security, was related to iman, or belief. Though the two concepts are not obviously directly related, it can be derived that our iman in Allah, His Angels, His Scriptures, His Messengers, the Last Day and Qada’ and Qadr, are beliefs that give us security. Shaykh Naeem had also stated earlier that the word “belief” itself was derived from “beloved” in Middle English, and only later obtained the bad reputation of ideas unsupported by evidence.
Similarly, Islam and salama were related concepts. Shaykh Naeem explained that Janna was Dar As Salam, or the Realm of Security, because it was so safe that death itself could not intrude upon it.
Shaykh Naeem said that a reading of the sirah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) gave us a glimpse of how humanity would be in paradise, for example, how his sweat smelled of musk and his luminous qualities. Therefore, he explained, aligning ourselves with the sunnah of Rasulallah was like aligning ourselves with our future selves in paradise. He gave the example of how the Ka’bah was a mirror of Bayt Al Makmur in the heavens, and how people making tawaf were mimicking angelic activities. Similarly, the positions in prayer such as qiyyam and sujud were all angelic acts, whereas fasha and munkar were imitations of Satanic characteristics.
Ending his talk, Shaykh Naeem advised that Muslims should be mindful of the meanings of du’a, and try to mirror the Prophetic example, wherever possible and however little.
After Shaykh Naeem’s talk, the emcee announced that Sout Ilaahi, as part of its Sacred Text Series, would be holding another session with Shaykh Naeem on 16th December 2012 covering the Hikam of Ibn Ata’illah.
The Servant’s Path to God
For his second talk, Shaykh Afeefuddin asked everybody to reflect that we were all in state of ubudiyyah as we were all servants of Allah, whether or not we submitted.
Speaking on the angels, Shaykh Afeefuddin stated that angels make tasbih like how people breathe, and there were angels who were in constant states of sujd and ruku’. These angels, when yaumul qiyamah arrives, will raise their heads and say how they have not done anything to worship Allah.
Prayers, Shaykh Afeefuddin said, even when performed without khushu’, were accepted, though when performed with khushu’ would bring tranquility and other emotions with it.
Closing his talk, Shaykh Afeefuddin said that before we could witness the beauty of paradise, we had to first bear witness to the beauty of the Creator of paradise. He added that paradise could be found within the confines of our sajadah, or in recitation of the Qur’an. It was important, he said, to listen to our own dhikr and istighfar and truly feel it in order to change.
The first question, directed to Ustaz Amin, asked how a woman could gain the benefits of tahajjud during menses, if an ibadah had to be practiced for at least 40 days continuously in order to stick. Ustaz Amin replied that a woman could still get up during the time of tahajjud but instead of praying make dhikr, istighfar and du’a instead.
Another question asked whether it was wrong to take a tariqa without first knowing fiqh. Shaykh Naeem replied that a sound knowledge of fiqh and aqidah was required before taking on the path of tasawuf, which was meant to internalise the meanings of our worship and beliefs.
Another question on tariqa asked whether an ijazah from tariqa was needed to practice certain wirds. Ustaz Amin stated that for wirds such as the various ratibs or the selawat fatih, it was better to have ijazah for the baraka of the silsala leading back to Rasulallah (SAWS), just as how the knowledge of all the ulama were linked together in a chain leading back to the Prophet (SAWS). However, he stressed that not having ijazah should not prevent us from having a daily litany.
A brother asked a question on the keeping of beards, saying that he had been condemned by others for not keeping a beard and that his good deeds and acts of worship would not be accepted. He wanted to know whether or not this was true, to which Shaykh Afeefuddin replied with a simple “Of course not.”, marking the end of the question and answer segment.
After lunch, the young boys who made up Muhibbur Rasul gathered on stage to perform two qasidahs, Tala’al Badru Alayna and Madad, much to the delight of the audience.
The Prophet (Sallahu Alaihi Wa Salam): Guide to Goodness
In his talk, Imam Abdoulaye Ndaw said that to learn the sirah of the Prophet (SAWS) was like learning the Qur’an, as his character was the Qur’an and that to know the Prophet (SAWS) was to love him.
Our love of the Prophet (SAWS) should dictate our lifestyles, Imam Ndaw said, especially in how he dealt with his family and the people around him. He gave as an example how Rasulallah (SAWS) forgave the Qureish upon his return to Makkah, despite their insults, abuse and torment of him.
Imam Ndaw spoke extensively on the need to avoid becoming angry, as anger could cause massacres, heart attacks and strokes, as the Prophet himself taught his companions not to be angry and how to control their anger, and he himself never got angry except because of what transgressed the boundaries set by Allah.
Imam Ndaw said that while many critics of Islam claim that the religion teaches mistreatment of women, the Prophet (SAWS) taught respect, love and kindness towards women through his treatment of his wives. Giving an example of how Rasulallah (SAWS) was romantic towards his wives, he related a hadith related by Sayyidatina Aisha that when they would share a cup, Rasulallah (SAWS) would drink from the exact spot that Sayyidatina Aisha drank so it would be as though their lips were meeting. In an act of love and respect towards his first wife Sayyidatina Khadija, Rasulallah (SAWS) would distribute meat to her friends, even years after she had passed away.
Closing his talk, Imam Ndaw said that those who loved Muhammad (SAWS), would act like him, and this practice would take us to janna.
A Sign from God: Significance of Marriage
Continuing on from where Imam Ndaw had ended with on the topic of love and marriage, Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib mentioned that getting married, and having children, was an act that strengthened the ummah. This, he said, was because children when raised properly, would grow into righteous individuals who were of benefit to their community, and the thawab of righteous children would benefit their parents even after their death.
Shaykh Dr Thaika Shuaib also spoke on using the Prophetic example for marriage, saying that divorce was uncommon during the time of Rasulallah (SAWS) and the Prophet (SAWS) himself never divorced his wives. For those who were hesitant to marry, Shaykh Dr Thaika said that rizq would come with marriage.
In Search of Identity: Understanding Al-Ghazali’s Wasatiyyah
Explaining the topic of wasatiyyah, Ustaz Feisal said that wasatiyyah, or middle path, was a Qur’anic injunction lived through the example of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), and that the closest to Rasulallah (SAWS) were closest to wasat. Ustaz Feisal mentioned a hadith, stating that the best of all affairs was the middle way.
Sepaking of the importance of knowledge and the legacy of our scholars, Ustaz Feisal asked the audience to look within themselves and asked whether we were familiar with works of tafsir, with the names and lives of the saints, with the hadiths and the scholars of knowledge. He also asked all Singaporean Muslims to be familiar with our own legacy, such as the history of Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka, the oldest standing mosque in Singapore, having been in existence since the time of Raffles, and that we build upon the legacy left by our righteous predecessors such as Habib Nuh Al-Habshi and Shaykh Omar Al-Khatib.
Endurance in Challenging Times: The Wisdom in Patience
Imam Tahir Anwar was the last speaker for the conference, and speaking on the topic of patience he said that while there were many difficulties faced by Muslims after the events of September 11th 2001, they were nothing compared to what the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) had to endure. Quoting verse 155 of Surah Al Baqarah, he said Allah would challenge believers with hunger, poverty and other trials, and that even blessings from Allah were trials for the believers. Imam Tahir reminded the audience that the sabirin were those who, when faced with musibah, would remember inna lillahi wa ina ilaihi raji’un, that we belong to Allah and will return to Allah.
Speaking on the difficulties faced by his own family, Imam Tahir said that their response was simply to say “Alhamdulillah”, and said that we had no right to complain when Allah takes something away from us. Imam Tahir said that when Allah takes something away, He gives something in return, even if we are unable to perceive it.
Imam Tahir also said that patience was not only to be practiced in the face of difficulties, but one also had to be patient in fulfilling obligations, and abstaining from evil.
An interesting question posed during the last question and answer segment of the conference was from a non-Muslim who wished to embrace Islam but whose husband was a non-Muslim, who wanted advice for her situation. Imam Tahir said that from a fiqh perspective, the marriage would be invalidated if the husband does not convert. However, he said that a minority opinion of scholars would permit such a marriage. Saying that nothing should stand in the way should one choose to embrace Islam, Imam Tahir advised that the woman should convert, while praying for the guidance of her husband.
The Sacred Path of Love 2012 ended with members of Madeehul Mustafa and Muhibbur Rasul once again taking to the stage, and the various scholars making du’a for all those gathered. The Sacred Path of Love, with its unique focus on Islamic spirituality and its bringing together of scholars both from Singapore and around the world, is a great source of benefit for Muslims in Singapore. May Allah bless Sout Ilaahi for their continuing efforts in the cause of Islam and Islamic spirituality.[divider]
Ahmad Zhaki Abdullah
Ahmad Zhaki holds a degree in English Literature from the University of London. He is a full-time executive at a local training institute and a part-time writer.