Saturday, May 30, 2015

Self Development: Developing Love for Allah

We are working on our hearts and setting up disciplines and practices that will replace any negative things occupying our hearts with positive ones that will develop our love for Allah, subhaana wa ta'ala. We read the following and then did an exercise.

Developing Love for Allah

By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751H)

Ibnul Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullaah) said:
"People have discussed about mahabbah (love of Allaah); its causes and what brings it about, its signs and its fruits and its rulings. The most comprehensive saying about this is what Abu Bakr al-Kattaanee (rahimahullaah) relates about al-Junayd (d.279H).

Abu Bakr al-Kattaanee (d.322H) said:
"A discussion about mahabbah took place in Makkah during the Pilgrimage month. The Shaykhs who were present spoke about this matter and al-Junayd was the youngest of them. They said to him: O 'Iraaqee, what do you have to say? So he bowed his head and tears were flowing from his eyes and he said:

"A servant should overcome his soul;
And be continuous in the remembrance of his Lord;
Establishing the Rights of his Lord;
Focusing upon Him with his heart;
The late of fear setting a blaze upon his heart;
Whilst drinking from the vessel of true love;
And certain realities become unveiled to him;
So when he talks, it is due to Allaah;
When he speaks, it is from Allaah;
When he moves, it is by the command of Allaah;
And when he is serene, then it is from Allaah;
He belongs to Allaah, is for Allaah, and is with Allaah."

So the shaykhs began to weep and said: How can that be increased upon? May Allaah reward you with good, O crown of the knowledgeable ones!" [1]

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) further said:
"The reason which cause the mahabbah (love of Allaah) to develop are ten:

Firstly: Reciting the Qur`aan, reflecting upon it and understanding its meanings.

Secondly: Drawing closer to Allaah through the performance of optional deeds, after fulfilling the obligatory deeds.

Thirdly: Being continuous in the dhikr (remembrance) of Allaah - in all circumstances - with the tongue, the heart and the limbs. The more constant the dhikr, the more mahabbah intensifies.

Fourthly: Giving precedence to what Allaah loves - when being overcome with desires - over what one personally loves and desires.

Fifthly: Causing the heart to contemplate over the Names and Attributes of Allaah. Being a witness to what they necessitate and causing the heart to be enlightened in the garden of this realisation.

Sixthly: Witnessing the blessing and the favours of Allaah; the apparent and the hidden.

Seventhly: Subduing the heart and humbling it before Allaah, causing it to be in awe of Him.

Eighthly: Being in seclusion during the time in which Allaah descends to the lowest Heaven; reciting the Qur`aan, and finishing this recitation with seeking Allaah's forgiveness and sincerely repenting to Him.

Ninthly: Sitting in the gatherings of the sincere and true lovers of Allaah; reaping the benefits of their teachings, and not speaking except when you know there is benefit in doing so and that such speech will increase you in good and benefit others as well.

Tenthly: Keeping clear from all those matters which will cause the heart to distance itself from Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic.

So these are ten matters which cause the lover to reach the station of true love for Allaah, so that he may then reach Allaah - his Beloved." [2]


[1] Madaarijus-Saalikeen (3/9)
[2] Madaarijus-Saalikeen (3/17-18)

Self Development Exercise:

Make a beautiful little summarized reminder of these 10 points - either on an index card, bookmark, daily event on your phone, poster on the fridge, etc. - that will serve as a checklist on a DAILY basis. Use this as a reminder every day to include these things in your day and keep your whole day busy with something from them, trying to cover each thing on the list. 

This is a practical way to occupy your heart with Allah and all that He loves, and bring true happiness to yourself bi idhn Illah, ta'ala.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Self Development: Occupation of the Heart

We read this gem in our hadeeth class, and did a self development exercise afterwards.

An Occupied Space cannot Contain two Opposites

By Imaam Ibnul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751H)

A beautiful example of the contents of the Heart by the great scholar, Imaam Ibnul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah.
It is better for your mouths to be full of pus until it makes it go bad than to be full of poetry.


For a space to accept what is being put in it, it has to be emptied of the opposite. The same way this is relevant with individuals and objects, it is also true for beliefs and wills. So, if the heart is occupied with loving and believing in falsehood, then it has no space for loving and accepting the truth. Just like if a tongue is busy uttering what does not have benefit, then its owner will not be able to utter what has benefit for him except if he stops talking about what is useless. Also if the different body parts are busy doing what is not obedience then it is not possible to keep them occupied in doing what is obedience except if he (the owner) frees them of the opposite. In the same way, a heart full of loving other than Allaah, wanting him, longing to meet him, and enjoying his company cannot be occupied with love for Allaah, wanting Him, longing to meet Him except by emptying it (the heart) from attachment to anything other than Him (Allaah). And the tongue cannot move to remember Him nor can the body parts move to His service except if he (the owner) frees them from mentioning and servicing other than Him. So if the heart is full of occupation with creation and sciences that do not have benefit then there is no space for being occupied with Allaah and knowing His Names, Attributes, Laws. And the secret of that is that the Isghaa (listening in concentration) of the heart is like the Isghaa (listening in concentration) of the ears, so if he listens to other than the Hadeeth (meaning speech , words, subject) of Allaah, then there will be no room to listen to or understand the Hadeeth of Allaah. Just like if he is inclined in love towards other than Allaah then he would have no room to incline in love towards Allaah. If the heart utters other than the remembrance of Allaah then it will not have any space to utter His remembrance by using the tongue. And that is why we find in an authentic narration from the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam):

"It is better for your mouths to be full of pus until it makes it go bad than to be full of poetry." [1]

So he made it clear that a mouth can be full of poetry and therefore it also becomes full of doubts, fictions and unexisting measures. Also the sciences that have no benefit, jokes, comedies, stories and so on. If the heart is full of that, then when the truths of the Qur`aan, and the sciences that can make it experience its full function and happiness, come to him, it will not find any space for itself and no acceptance (from it), so it bypasses it (the heart) and moves to another place. If you give advice to a heart full of its opposite, it will not find a way in and (the heart) will not accept it. It does not enter inside but it only passes by briefly and not from the inside. That is why it was said:

"Clean your heart from other than Us , and you will find Us
For our Highness is compatible with every clean heart
And patience is a chest for the treasure of being associated with Us
He who makes the chest compatible wins its treasure."


[1] Narrated by Sa'ad Ibn Abee Waqqaas in Saheeh Muslim, Kitaabush Shi'ir (Book of poetry) (27/5610).


Self development exercise:

What Occupies your Heart?

List the beneficial and the harmful things that occupy your heart. 

After listing the things occupying your heart, consider what needs to be evicted (kicked out) and what needs to be brought in, in order to make your heart clean and a source of happiness for you.

Friday, May 15, 2015

What we're reading in May 2015

We are reading The Fallacy Detective, as a series of lessons on how to recognize bad reasoning. It is valuable and eye-opening for adults and older children alike, maashaa Allah. Even though we are only on lesson 10, it has everyone going around recognizing red herrings, ad hominems, appeals to false authorities, etc. in each other and in the media. This is a book that will expose invalid excuse makers and enable them to see their own errors bi idhn Illah, ta'ala.

In addition, with it's wide variety of answers to modern issues relating to women and family matters, our girls have been avidly reading/re-reading A Treatise on Hijab.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Preparations for our Permanent Move to Healing Earth

After almost 6 years in Madinah, we are preparing to return to Healing Earth this summer to live there full-time. It is a difficult move in many ways, but for every difficulty there is ease and we look forward to taking our sheep to the hilltops (or in our case, the grasslands). It is a hijrah to Allah, to put ourselves in a situation where sincere and correct intentions with tawakkal (total reliance on Allah) is made real to us every day and in everything we do.

There are so many things to put in place when we arrive. Aside from setting up our temporary housing and purchasing another vehicle, hopefully a 12-15 passenger van with heavy duty towing capability, we have to prepare the following as soon as possible.

- Chicken tractor/housing (egg layers)
- Chicken coops (meat birds)
- Housing and milking shed for cows, sheep, and goats.
- Greenhouse or similar for growing out of season
- Planting immediately for late summer/early fall crops

Once things are in place, we will be going for our dairy cow training and to pick up our dairy cow and a bull calf from Joy and Robert at are making all sorts of arrangements to ensure we will be comfortable and our Islamic faith is respected and catered for during our stay.

We have spent weeks making lists of the seeds to purchase, deciding between heirloom, organic, etc. and the varieties. In addition, we have decided on the various birds we plan to get started with: a mix of laying chickens, meat chickens, ducks, and turkeys inshaa Allah.

Shariyf's resignation was finally accepted yesterday and we are now officially in moving mode! We will keep you posted of the progress inshaa Allah as we proceed on our journey.