Seeker’s Retreat ’13: 40 Counsels for Seekers of Guidance by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
As an introduction in close relevance to the theme of the retreat, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani shared the story behind the hadeeth, how when Rasulullah salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam gave counsel to Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, Abdullah was still a child. He, salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam placed his hand on Abdullah’s shoulder and said, “Kun fid-dunya ka’annaka ghareeb aw ‘aabir as-sabeel”, which translates as “Be in this world as a stranger or a wayfarer.”
Shaykh Faraz then relates the term “stranger” used, to being a seeker.
“Be a seeker. Be a stranger,” he says.
His sessions was intended to cover 40 counsels for seekers of guidance.
10 Counsels on Seeking:
1) Life isn’t about you. Life is about Allah SWT.
Surah At-Talaq: Verses 2-3
And when they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or part with them according to acceptable terms. And bring to witness two just men from among you and establish the testimony for [the acceptance of] Allah . That is instructed to whoever should believe in Allah and the Last day. And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out [65:2]
And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent. [65:3]
2) The meaning and purpose of life is seeking Allah, by Allah.
– The worshipper
– The Worshipped
– The act of worship
– What is expressed by that act of worship
3) To seek Allah – seek knowledge.
“To seek right, you must see right.”
4) The purpose of knowledge is Allah and not knowledge itself.
“Means are by their ends. The point of knowledge is WHY you seek it.”
5) Beneficial knowledge draws one closer to Allah SWT.
– Beneficial knowledge is knowledge of Allah; submission of Allah, outward and inward – of character, conduct and of those states pleasing to Allah.
6) True knowledge increases one in Muhammadan character and concern.
– Knowledge, remembrance, spiritual routines and spiritual striving.
7) True knowledge is sought through the Prophet’s inheritors. Seek them out, and seek in them Muhammadan character.
“Read on the character of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam and choose a teacher that reminds you most of him.”
8) True knowledge is sought in steady steps.
– Seek purposefully : with consistency
– Seek gradually: with sustenance
Knowledge is what remains, not what was sought.
9) Seek Allah in your knowledge, through your knowledge and by your knowledge.
– Through acting upon it, through preserving it, and transmitting it.
10) Never stop seeking.
– Remain steadfastly committed
– Do the best that you can
– Be of glad tidings
– Strive for perfection & complete uprightness
10 Counsels on Faith (Iman)
1) God is the One free of need of any other, whom all are in absolute need of.
– The Alone worthy of worship: The Creator, The Unique, The Sustainer – The Necessary Existent
2) Oneness entails absolute transcendence.
– Beyond time, beyond space, beyond similitude.
3) Affirm and negate what Allah has affirmed and negates about Himself.
– Leave excessive literalism = Over-affirmation
– Leave excessive rationalism = Over-negation
4) Learn faith with clarity. Nurture faith through devotion.
– Mere study does not nurture faith. Iman is nurtured through Islam.
5) Neediness is your essential reality.
“Know yourself and you’ll know God.”
Know your reality. Existing state in all of reality = Perishingness.
6) Destiny is affirms. Responsibility is confirmed.
Eye of Iman: How does this relate to Allah?
Eye of responsibility: What are the right choices to be made?
If we’re only looking with one eye, we’re not looking at the full reality.
7) Acquire the qualities of faith: Hope & fear, reliance & trust, love & thankfulness.
Qualities of faith = Character with Allah
8) Remembrance nurtures faith. Supplication expresses faith.
Remembrance: affirmations, conformations and realizations.
Supplication: affirmations, neediness, certitude and contentment.
9) True faith is beholding.
“To worship Allah as though you behold Him.”
– To realize that He is with you wherever you may be
– That He is close to you than you are to yourself.
10) Beholding is attained through watchfulness.
– Watchfulness requires mindfulness.
– Mindfulness requires sound submission.
Levels of faith:
– Mere faith: Accepting Truth
– True faith: Living Truth
– Perfected faith: Beholding Truth
10 Counsels on Submission (Islam)
1) Seek Allah through submission of the heart and limbs.
– Actions are lifeless forms whose reality is in the subtle reality of sincerity they’re in.
– Sincerity: Seeking Allah (in it)
2) Submission of the heart is through sincerity in worship, conduct and states.
– Beware of limiting Allah through your prayer mat and prayer beads.
3) The first step of submission is to enter into a state of obedience in all of one’s states.
Abu Hurayra said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah Almighty said, ‘I have declared war on anyone who shows enmity to a friend of Mine. My slave does not draw near to Me with anything I love more than what I have made obligatory on him. And my slave continues to draw near to Me with superogatory actions until I love him. When I love him, I become his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. If he were to ask Me for something, I would give it to him. If he were to ask Me for refuge, I would give him refuge.’”[al-Bukhari]
4) True submission is embracing Prophetic excellence in all one’s actions and states.
The reality of the Sunna: Every Sunna is a form of seeking Allah.
5) Seek to make your worship valid, sound and proper – outwardly and inwardly.
“There is a Sunna of following the Sunna.”
– Validity & Soundness
– Propriety & Perfection
– Outward & Inward: Sincerity & Remembrance
6) Know the Limits of Allah and Prophetic excellence related to all actions and life situations before you act.
– Knowledge: Gives you clarity, dispels confusion
-Action: Not only what you do, but how you respond
7) When unsure, ask… Before you act.
– Consideration, Consultation, Clarification & Confirmation
– Asking is strength, not weakness.
8) Caution is a virtue. Caution requires knowledge.
– Caution: Being careful to do what is more likely to be pleasing to Allah.
Part of caution is to know when to be cautions ; when there is sufficient cause to be cautious.
9) Learn a madhhab. Follow it. Avoid dispensations unless there is a clear need, benefit or hardship.
-Following a madhhab gives you a general statement of conduct.
– Never give absolute answers. Actions have considerations.
10) Excellence in submission entails seeking the greatest, widest, and most lasting benefit in life – for yourself and others’.
The strong believer:
– Does not second guess
– Is an ‘abid of all that is benefits (most-lasting benefits)
– Seeks Allah’s Assistance
-Does not deem themselves incapable
Shaykh Faraz covered 10 counsels on spirituality (Ihsan) without specific reference to counsel points due to the lack of time.
A spiritual path is the path of Ihsan, the path of seeking good.
Spiritual excellence is the counsel on seeking.
It is to recognize your neediness to Allah and to strive to attain the path of Allah SWT.
Islamic spirituality: Know Allah, then be as you wish.
Knowing Allah – is the ma’rifah of Allah SWT, to have active consciousness which is also the purpose of life. Everything else are approximations.
“Do that which will nurture your presence with Allah.”
To transit into speaking about the love for Allah, Shaykh Faraz shared the story of a righteous who dreamt of Majnun after Majnun had died.
He asked Majnun, “What did Allah do with you?”
And Majnun replied, “He Forgave me and made me a proof of love for the lovers.”
Shaykh Faraz defines true belief as love.
Love for the Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam is a love from Allah.
“Anything lovable should be loved for Allah.”
Ihsan is making Allah, your one love.
The paths to Allah SWT vary in their spiritual emphasis.
“The point is to be righteous, not be with the righteous. You want to attain what they attain.”
“What do you seek from a Shaykh? To seek Allah and the prophetic way.”
In conclusion of his sessions during the retreat, Shaykh Faraz leaves us with an invaluable tip:
“Live the Sunna and seek consistency. Establish spiritual routines in a spiritual manner.”[divider]
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani delivers knowledge with much clarity and compactness. His humorous stories of the fictional characters, “Zubair & Zubaidah” while discussing relevant topics were energizing and would bring about laughter from the seekers. Certainly these compilations are an injustice to the elaboration and tactfulness Shaykh Faraz has included with each and every counsel for the seekers.
May Allah Guide and Assist us in implementing them in ourselves as seekers of Him, and may He Forgive me for all that is lacking.[divider]
A flawed servant with a voice to and for trust. Your sister in faith, your friend in deen and your Ummah in congregation.