An Audience with Habib Kadhim As-Saqqaf
I had the honour and privilege of sitting in on a private session with Habib Kadhim As-Saqqaf on his recent visit to Singapore. Despite the brevity of this session, Habib Kadhim illuminated the modest crowd with many enlightening insights into living the sunnah of the Prophet (SAWS).
The Virtues of Visiting
Habib Kadhim began by speaking on the virtues of ziyara (visiting), saying it was a source of baraka (blessings) both for those who visit and those are visited. Relating a hadith, the Habib mentioned that 1000 angels would follow those who visited others for Allah’s sake.
Just as love of the Prophet (SAWS) brings one closer to Allah’s love, so does the love between fellow believers bring closeness to the love of Allah, and visiting and spending on one another is one of the expressions of this love among the ummah.
The Habib returned to the topic of ziyara later on, stressing the importance of visiting the grave of the Prophet (SAWS) as he would bear witness to our iman in the akhirah, and be a source of shafa’a for the believers. He related the words of ibn Hajar al-Haytami, that whosoever visits the Prophet will not die except in a state of iman.
The Benefits of Worship
Habib Kadhim also spoke on the benefits of worship, stating that ibadah illuminates the heart and this light illuminates all things. He mentioned that in solah, there is a light that raises the status of the human being, forbidding him from the fasha and the munkar. Similarly, when fasting the heart is illuminated, the character is raised, the body cleansed and the limbs restrained.
Love of the Prophet
Habib Kadhim spoke on the necessity of Muslims to love our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, saying that love of the Prophet (SAWS) was love for Allah, and that in a similar respect love for the righteous was love for the Prophet.
Such was the love of the companions for the Prophet that on his deathbed Sayyidina Abu Bakr asked to be buried quickly when he died so that he could be close to the Prophet. Habib Kadhim mentioned that when the companions fell sick, the tabi’in would visit them, out of love.
The Importance of the Adhan and the Shahadah
Habib Kadhim related the story of the tabi’in Muhammad ibn Munqadir, who while on Hajj picked up seven stones, recited the shahadah to the stones and asked that the stones bear witness to his shahadah. Upon falling asleep, ibn Munqadir dreamt that angels were carrying him to the gates of the hellfire, and the seven stones he had picked up grew in size to block the seven gates of the hellfire because of his shahadah. This was the power of la illah ha illallah, and Habib Kadhim continued that we too, having listened to his story, bore witness to ibn Munqadir’s shahadah.
Continuing on to the virtues of the adhan, Habib Kadhim mentioned that there were great rewards for the muezzin, as well as for those who reply to the call of the adhan. He emphasised the importance of calling the adhan even when praying in our homes (adding that we needn’t shout or use a microphone, provoking laughter), saying that everything in our houses would bear witness to the shahadah in our adhan.
Habib Kadhim stated that we should call the adhan even if we are praying by ourselves in the middle of a desert, as one who did so was followed by a multitude of angels, the exact number of whom only Allah knows.
On the practice of calling the adhan and iqamah into the ears of a newborn, the Habib said that this was one of the occasions on which a woman, such as the mother, sister or aunt of the child, could give the adhan should the father or other male elders not be available. He explained that this as because this adhan was not recited to call people to prayer, but rather to inculcate iman in the heart of the child.
Habib Kadhim advised that whoever encounters sadness or difficulty should have someone call the adhan in his right ear and iqamah in his left; because the recitation of the pillars of tauhid in the adhan brings tranquility to the soul, and banishes sadness.
Love of Worship: The Sustenance of The Soul
Habib Kadhim spoke on the ruh (soul), saying that the soul is seeking its true, exalted place and closeness to Allah. He mentioned that the true sustenance of the soul was dhikr, Qur’an and other forms of ibadah, saying that the taste of such sustenance for the soul was greater than its taste on the tongue and far greater than any worldly food. Such acts, the Habib stated, fed the soul even if we do not feel it.
Whosoever does not perform his obligations towards Allah, it is though his soul is being strangled. Just as someone who is strangled cannot breathe and may die, our souls wish to breathe and eat from the remembrance of Allah, but are being starved by their owners and may die though their physical bodies are still alive.
Given the comparison of sugar settled at the bottom of a cup of tea, Habib Kadhim noted that it is only when the tea is stirred with a spoon that we can taste its sweetness. Similarly when iman is stirred into our hearts, we will taste true love for the Prophet (SAWS) and we will the taste the sweetness of all our ibadah, without ever feeling boredom or restlessness. This love of ibadah was how the salaf could pray Subh with the wudhu of Isha’, praying two raka’ahs after two raka’ahs throughout the night.
We should be reading the Qur’an day and night until our loved ones tell us to stop and do something else, and should not feel tired from this reading, but rather feel sweetness, as the salaf did.
Habib Kadhim gave the example of how sports fans do not feel boredom or tiredness in watching sporting matches for one or two hours, but complain when khutbas drag on. This is because in their hearts they love sports but not the khutba. Qasidah, nashid, and dhikr are what help lodge iman in the heart and make the soul taste the sweetness of ibadah.
Remembrance of Allah brings tranquility to all things, even water. Habib Kadhim said that when the basmala is recited over water, the atoms in water became aligned, as seen in research conducted by a Japanese corporation. And if non-Muslims could see the effect of dhikr on the world, what about those who testify to the truth as brought by the Prophet (SAWS)?
The Graves of the Shuhada and the Salihin
Speaking on the status of the dead, Habib Kadhim mentioned that the graves of the martyrs and righteous were not like those of others as they were able to return salams and see with the sight of their souls. The Habib stressed that this was not a fabrication of the ulama but came from the Prophet (SAWS) himself.
In a sahih hadith, Rasulallah (SAWS) said, “When a person passes by the grave of a Muslim brother whom he knew when was alive and he offers salam to him, Allah (swt) returns his spirit into his body so that he may return the salam.”
And if this is the case for normal Muslims, Habib Kadhim asked, what then of the righteous? He said that there were great blessings sent upon the righteous, and these blessings did not stop upon their deaths.
The Habib stated that visiting the graves of the righteous was not just to ask for Allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness upon them and remember death. Among the other benefits of visiting their graves was to gain blessings and have our du’as answered by Allah and this is from amongst the sunnahs established by the Prophet.[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 research institute and a part-time writer.