Saturday, February 17, 2018

On Faith and Parental Bonds


The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the perfect model for the universe. He came in a time when people were barbarians and had little respect for family relationships. For today, I chose to speak to you about the importance he brought to the status of the father.

Good character, good behaviour and good advice are qualities that please the Creator. According to a Hadith, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that he who pleases his father, pleases Allah. When the father (who follows the Shariah) is happy, it greatly pleases the Creator. On the other hand, if the father is not happy, it does not please the Almighty. This is the status granted to each father. If such a status has been granted to our father, (then imagine) what is (i.e. how grand is) the status granted to the father of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), Hazrat Abdullah (ra)?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Future of Jerusalem

The city of Jerusalem holds profound significance to the spiritual imagination of billions of people around the world. For the city and its precincts are intimately connected to the sacred memory of a long chain of Divine servants and events mentioned in the Holy Scriptures of three great religions-Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 

For the Jewish people, Jerusalem is the heart of the Promised Land blessed and gifted to their pious ancestors by the Lord Almighty. For the Christians, the city is sacred for being the venue of all the major events in the life and preaching of Jesus Christ (as). For the Muslims, the city holds spiritual significance for a variety of reasons, including one of the most important events in the spiritual life of the Holy Prophet (sa), ie., the Isra’ Mi’raj- the Night Journey and Ascent to the Heavens: when Allah (swt) caused the Prophet (sa), in the space of a single night, to journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and from there to heaven and back again. The Qur’an states: “Glory to Him who made His servant travel by night from the sacred place of worship to the furthest place of worship, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him some of Our signs: He alone is the All Hearing, the All Seeing”. (17:02)

It was during the Holy Prophet’s journey from the site of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem through the seven heavens that he encountered many Judeo-Christian prophets and finally came before the Exalted Presence: “until he was two bow-lengths away or even closer” (53:10). This mystical vision of the Holy Prophet (sa) clearly pointed to the deep connections of Islam to the Jewish and Christian prophetic heritage and Jerusalem came to be the first Quibla, direction of prayer for the Muslim community for many years- contributing to its sacred status in Islam. Through Divine revelation (2: 144-45), later of course, the Sacred Mosque in Makkah became the permanent direction of prayer for the Muslims.    

Friday, February 9, 2018

'Keep Your Compassion Alive'

The Divine Quality of Mercy/Compassion

In Islam, mercy implies the fear of Allah the Almighty. For it is with this fear of Allah the Almighty that the highest degrees (of faith etc.) are reached, torments are dispelled, the evil influence of Satan is repulsed. According to the Quranic verses and various Hadiths, it is clear that life on earth is built on foundations and principles that engender happiness and encourage creatures to help one another with mercy foremost.

Indeed, mercy is a great quality that Allah the Almighty has given to the blessed and deprived the unfortunate. Mercy is implanted in the heart of every creature but it is up to this one to know how to keep this mercy alive for the sake of Allah the Almighty.

According to Abu Huraira (ra) the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, as reported through the pages of Sahih Al-Bukhari: “Truly Allah possesses a hundred mercies and of them there is one mercy through which all creation show mercy to one another and ninety nine are for the day of resurrection... Alhamdulillah!

Mercy is one of the beautiful qualities of Allah the Almighty. For us, the creatures of Allah the Almighty, mercy is a quality of perfection. With mercy, creatures feel tenderness towards one another. He who is strong has pity/ compassion on him who is weak. That's mercy. The rich man never hesitates to help the poor, the destitute and the needy. That's mercy. For us (Muslims) in the Ummah, mercy is even an obligation at the level of the family as well as of society. And that pleases Allah the Almighty Who then sends His blessings on those who grant mercy (to others) in their daily occupations. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mauritius: Freedom from Slavery

Every year, Mauritius observes a national holiday on February 1st. For, this day marks a defining moment in the collective memory of the Mauritian people's struggle for dignity and human rights. Almost two centuries ago, it was on this day in 1835 that the abominable practice of Slavery was formally abolished in the Island State, liberating a mass of humanity from the clutches of an oppressive social order. 

The story of how Mauritius- once a virtually uninhabited Island off the southeast coast of Africa, became home to close to 1.5 million people today; professing various faiths- including Hinduism, Christianity, Islam- and speaking different languages, including Creole, French, English, Tamil, Urdu, Hindi and Bhojpuri and Chinese- is a fascinating chapter in the making of the modern world. There is little doubt that the modern identity of Mauritius as ‘a rainbow nation’ is a tribute to the cultural confluences it inherited from its complex past. 

Originally discovered by the Arabs in the 9th century; successively colonized by the different European powers from the 17th century- the Deutch, the French and the British- in the last four centuries; modern Mauritius is, in many ways, shaped by this Island nation's encounter with the different phases of global capitalism and the trajectories of the European imperial forays into Africa and Asia, including the strategic control of the Indian Ocean region for safeguarding their vital, commercial interests. The detachment of a part of the Mauritian territory- the Chagos Archipelago and offering the same on a virtual, perpetual lease to the United States by the last colonial power- Britain- before the granting of national independence to Mauritius in 1968, continue to remind all of us in the global South about the long shadows of imperial hubris that permanently scar the psyche of nations and peoples. (For a review of the continuing Mauritius-UK dispute over the Chagos Archipelago, click here).

Even as the colonial masters sought to subjugate the nations they conquered through military means, they found it politically convenient to stake the moral high ground of good governance, rule of law and human rights in the shaping of national policies. Hence, the colonial, administrative practices in the Indian Ocean region, including in relation to questions of slavery and ‘rule of law’ in the conquered territories vis-a vis the subjugated peoples, can be seen as a partial concession to the tectonic shifts in the global thinking around questions of human dignity and basic rights. The abolition of slavery in the British colonies and the introduction of the system of ‘contract labour’ with a semblance of rights and privileges for the migrant working class can only be seen against this backdrop.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Inner Peace in A Troubled World

The State of Man in Our Times

The world is developing at breakneck speed. It is constantly modernizing, becoming smaller and less life-size, becoming closer to people like a round table where the whole world can reunite and communicate and share their ideas and lives. But with the race for power and wealth, the rich are getting richer. The poor are getting poorer. And the world continues to exist until the One Creator decides otherwise.

Rich or poor, everyone tries to live in their own way. But how many of us ponder over what health, recreation, food, and tranquillity cost to the inhabitants of a country? But above all, how much of their precious time do they devote in remembrance of the Creator through prayer. The rich have almost no problem in living their lives quietly. The poor, on the other hand, have to work harder to try to make ends meet. This class of population of any country will always remain in poverty with its multiple problems - famine, sickness, housing, unemployment.

However, people, whatever their situation, live. They try to live. Maybe some people want death because they are crushed by poverty and misery. But life or death does not depend on us. It is the exclusive prerogative of Allah Ta’ala.

But then why so much worries, so many misfortunes? ... Does Allah Ta’ala, the Unique Creator, Who knows and controls everything, not love us? Does He not appreciate our way of life, our way of doing things? Not really, according to a Hadith of our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). It is rather that we humans, especially those of the Ummah forget too quickly our obligations to the Creator. So everything turns upside down. When the situation changes, life becomes destabilized. Stress, anxiety, anger, worry, doubt take place.

A World of Dizzying Inequality 

So why the vast majority of the world’s population lives in poverty and a very small percentage, being extremely rich controls everything in this temporal world? Some who feel that they are so powerful because of their fortune, think they are half-gods. But let it be clear. Rich or poor we always live in the same fear, the same anguish, the same anxiety.

We live today in the 21st century, a time of confusion where materialism (i.e. people with materialistic minds) prevails everywhere, including within the Ummah. Material comfort is only useful to us here on earth. What have we prepared for the afterlife? Are we preparing enough for it? Here on earth, it is total confusion leading to wounded hearts, broken with the weakened soul.

We only have to follow the medical news - to get information about the world of medicines (pharmaceutical drugs). Scientists only produce drugs of all kinds to combat stress - the disease of the modern world, to combat anxiety, anger, nervousness, etc. The medications prescribed which are used in high doses sometimes have side effects. The situation gets complicated. Whether he is rich or poor, whether he gets treatment at the private clinic or the public hospital, the patient does not find the desired happiness or if he gets it, it is very precarious. He then turn to diabolical, satanic treatments that only worsen the situation, while there is only an effective remedy, very effective indeed, freely offered but neglected, forgotten, cast aside: a CALL TO ALLAH TA’ALA.

Turn to Your Creator

Yes, turn to HIM, The Saviour, The Healer, The Protector, The Merciful. He offers all the remedies. Without fees. Without an appointment. He only asks us one thing: to think of HIM at all times. He is here to listen to us. All we sick people have to do is to have unreserved faith and piety. Believe in Him, in His remedies, in His miracles. Are we ready for this?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

On the 'Super Blue Blood Moon' 2018

'Super Blue Blood Moon', an extraordinary lunar event, dazzled millions of sky-watchers around the world on the night of Wednesday, 31 January 2018. Extracted below are the special remarks on this Heavenly Sign by Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius

A Rare Heavenly Sign

"The world has witnessed an extraordinary celestial sign Wednesday, 31 January 2018. This sign is a Super Blue Blood Moon. What exactly is this super blue blood moon? It is the conjunction of three lunar peculiarities. 

To give a simplified explanation of this phenomenon (or rather divine sign), it is when the natural satellite is at the same time relatively close to the Earth (which gives us a Super Moon), it is also the 2nd full Moon in a month (a Blue Moon) and there is at the same time an eclipse of the moon (a Blood Moon). So it's a super-moon combined with a blue moon and with an eclipse of the moon that was total in some parts of the world and that we call, a blood moon. 

All three phenomena were visible only in certain parts of the earth, in this case in America (after 152 years) and in the countries of Asia and Australia and so on. But for the countries of Europe, like France etc., this phenomenon, this celestial sign was not visible (but was visible in 1982). But here in Mauritius after 152 years, we witnessed this, but only with a partial eclipse of the moon that lasted only a few minutes. (Inset: Seagulls and the blue moon in Portobello, Edinburgh, taken by Matthew Corney, (c) BBC).

Heavenly Signs in the Later Days

This phenomenon/ sign became subject of conversations, with everyone speculating on its meaning. There are those who say that it is an indicator of the approach of the end of the world and that the Saviour will appear soon. But the truth is that we are living the days of the end of the world and the Saviour that everyone is waiting for is already among you. When you see such divine heavenly signs, these are signs in support of the coming of a Messenger of Allah. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Life @ 40: A Spiritual Gaze

I am your Lord. Take off your sandals: you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa.
I have chosen you, so listen to what is being revealed. 
I am Allah; there is no god but Me, so worship Me and keep up the prayer so that you remember Me'. (20: 12-15)

These verses in the Holy Qur’an allude to a time when Allah (swt) directly spoke to a servant of His, intimating him about the great Divine Mission that lies ahead of him; urging him to be detached from the personal relations that come in the way of  remaining engrossed in Divine Remembrance through fervent prayers and other devote supplications. In mystical commentaries of the aforesaid verses, the idea of "taking off the sandals" certainly points to the same: in being asked to remove his sandals, Hadhrat Musa (as) was being asked to cast aside this world by turning his face towards the Ocean of Divine Presence alone, dedicating oneself solely to Allah (swt). In a famous poem by  that medieval polymath Sheikh-ul-Akbar Muhyi-ud-Din Ibn Arabi, the imagery is explained eloquently: 

"Take off the sandals if you come
to this valley, for therein is Our Holiness.
Of the two worlds divest yourself,
and lift the veils of in-betweenness"

It is indeed a perennial practice of the Divine, a Sunnat Allah-according to the Qur’an- that He raises His Elects at places and times of His choice. Allah knows best where to place His Message’. (6:125)  One of the interesting facts about the present Divine Manifestation in Mauritius is this. When Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) began to be a recipient of Divine communications and other messages of an exquisite spiritual variety, the messages from the Unseen reminded him about the need for holding a lot of patience and to ‘forget’ this world and to devote his time in much remembrance of the Divine through prayer and other supplications: the same kind of Divine messages that were revealed to Hadhrat Musa (as) in that sacred valley of Tuwa almost three millennium ago and preserved in the Holy Qur’an for all times! Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

'The Days of Noah are Coming...!'

A Difficult Time in Mauritius

We never punish (a people) until we have sent a messenger. (Al-Isra, 17: 16).

My brothers and sisters, reflect well. 

From the beginning of this year 2018, Mauritius is going through a difficult situation. When you think that from the first day of the New Year (01 January 2018) a great accident happened where two brothers died, and then the next day an ex-husband killed his ex-wife with a revolver (when she came to visit her child in the home of the ex-husband) and then killed himself.

Since the 1st of January, the rain has not stopped falling; heavy downpours except on Sunday 07 January 2018. At the beginning of the school activities for the new year, on 08 January 2018, heavy rainfall continued to flood, destroying the agricultural fields (fruits and vegetables) and amenities of thousands of houses and cars. Then a dangerous cyclone, named Berguita, came to make matters worse since Tuesday 16 January until 18 January 2018 and for the first time in Mauritius (after many years) more than five thousand people, men, women and children have gone to seek refuge in the shelter centers, leaving their homes and all their furniture, food and other amenities, taking only their own persons and their family members to shelter from the cyclone. Social workers and even the government only distributed biscuits and bottled water to support all those people.

After the passage of Berguita, vegetables and fruits have almost disappeared from the shelves of the markets and for the fruits and vegetables remaining, prices have skyrocketed and it has become very difficult for the Mauritian nation given the rise in prices at all levels. These torrential rains, lightning and cyclone Berguita caused quite a lot of damage nationwide, blocking drains/ canals, flooding the streets and destroying cars too. Afterwards we saw a lull in the density of the rains in some parts of the country, but in other regions the rain did not cease to cause misfortunes.

The situation became alarming when on Wednesday and Thursday, 24 & 25 January respectively, the notice/ warning of heavy rain forces the government and the organizations concerned to close schools, universities and even some workplaces. The panic was felt here in Mauritius with the rising waters and the continual torrential rain. Given the situation, the Ministry of Health advised people to boil water before drinking to stay healthy and avoid diseases such as gastroenteritis and other health problems. Despite the precautions many have also caught conjunctivitis.

It is impossible for me to list all the problems that Mauritius is facing because our little island is consecutively going through trials.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Musings from a ‘Da’wah’ Journey

Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius, the Divinely-raised renewer of spirituality in our times (Muhyi-ud-Din/Mujaddid),  and the Holy Founder of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, often goes on Da’wah journeys to distant places and various countries. The purpose of these spiritual voyages is to convey the essence of the Sublime message being vouchsafed to him from the Unseen through pious dreams, true visions and Divine revelations. Like all Divine servants who preceded him throughout Islamic history, Hadhrat Saheb’s mission- the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam- strives to urge people to embrace a life in awe of the Exalted Almighty, the unique and singular God through finding the beauty of equity and virtuousity in all spheres of everyday life; performing good deeds in service of fellow beings, regardless of their station and status in society. Inspired by this personal example of their beloved Imam (atba), Hadhrat Saheb’s disciples in India also go on Da’wah journeys, whenever opportunities present themselves. In a recent such episode, Mukarram Amir R. Jamaludeen Saheb of the South Kerala Jamaat, accompanied by brothers Sulfikar Ali Saheb and Sadiq Ali Saheb of Kaliyikkavila, visited the border areas of Kerala-Tamil Nadu and went all the way to Kanya Kumari, the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula. The present writer had the pleasure and privilege of accompanying this band of Divine servants on trip, Alhamdulillah. From the sights and sounds we encountered and through the conversations and interactions we have had with a number of people during the journey, it is humbling to realize that we became far more self-aware, Soumma Alhamdulillah.  

Friday, January 19, 2018

On How To Ward-off the Evil Eye

“Evil eyes”

The evil eye is a reality against which we can protect ourselves. Thus, it is our duty to be aware of this fact in order to be able to fight it, Insha-Allah. So we will explain what the evil eye is before addressing the ways in which we can protect ourselves, Insha-Allah.

What is the evil eye? The evil eye is defined as the consequence when the soul arouses a persistent or malicious desire to meet or to see (stare at) a person. So the evil eye takes place when one looks with envy and insistence on a person. The evil eye can even reach a good, even a being or an entity belonging to the mineral, animal or agricultural world. Moreover, the look that one carries with insistence and wonder on a person or a thing has an effect on them. Allah says: “The disbelievers would almost cut you down with their eyes when they hear (you recite) the Reminder (i.e. the Quran).” (Al-Qalam, 68: 52).

A Quranic verse can have many connotations and for our present subject, it also affirms that it can mean the evil eye. The disbelievers wished to touch the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) with the evil eye, and besides our beloved prophet (pbuh) has left us an enriching inheritance by warning us against the evil eye and the evil of the evil one (i.e., Satan the accursed one).

According to a Hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas (ra), the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “The evil eye is a truth, if there is one thing that precedes predestination, it would be the evil eye ...” (Muslim, Ahmad & Tirmidhi).

It is very important to emphasize the importance of protection against the evil eye. We know that this reality is dangerous for us because the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to seek divine protection from the evil eye. Indeed, Abu Said (ra) reported, “The Prophet (pbuh) used to ask for protection from the evil eye of the human being.” (Tirmidhi). This proves to us that the evil eye is a reality that represents an evil for us and from which we must preserve ourselves.

The 10 ways to protect yourselves from such harm are:

1.   The first way is to take refuge with Allah and ask for His protection against the evil of the envious. In Surah Al-Falaq (Chapter 113), we find the request for protection against the evil of the envious. Indeed, Allah says: “Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn, from the evil of that which He created; from the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads; and from the evil of those who spit on the knots, (i.e., perform malignant witchcraft). And from the evil of the envious when he envies. The last evil against which we can seek the protection of Allah is evil linked to the evil eye. It is up to us to implore divine protection against such evil!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Islamic Precepts on Controlling Anger

 Anger/ Wrath

Anger/ Wrath - not to be confused with the divine wrath or the wrath that Allah makes appear on the features of His Messenger as a sign of disapproval of the actions of believers and also that of the unbelievers - is a factor through which the Devil brings men to commit sins such as insult, breaking relationships, physical aggression, or even to commit the irreparable, i.e. murder. So we have to be able to control our anger so that we do not commit such serious sins.

 Forgive Those who Wrong You

Allah says about the “Muttaqi”, i.e. those who repress their anger, in Chapter 3 (Al-Imran), Verse 135: “[...] those who restrain (their) anger and forgive the people [...]”.

Therefore, the Muttaqi - those to whom Allah will offer paradise - are those who control their anger, who despite their strength and courage manage to forgive those who have wronged them.

To control our anger is to preserve Islam. The repressing of our anger allows us to practice Islam in the best way. As long as a person manages to control his anger, his faith will be preserved. However, if the person gets carried away by anger, it will bring him nothing but regrets. “Why did I say / do that?” he will ask himself.

The Holy Prophet's Precepts

It is reported by Abu Hurayrah (ra) that a man had said to the prophet (pbuh): “Counsel me”. The prophet (pbuh) replied, “Do not get angry.” He repeated (the question) several times, and the prophet (pbuh) answered him: “Do not get angry.” (Bukhari)

“Strong” people do not hit others. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “The strong man is not the one who triumphs over the opponent in a fight/ battle, but is the one who controls himself when he has a big anger.” (Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah said, “Whosoever represses his anger when he can give free rein to it, Allah will call him on the Day of Resurrection before all creatures and invite him to choose one of the Houris who shall please him.” (Abu Dawud).

Sunday, January 7, 2018

'No Compulsion in Religion', says Qur'an

Islam's normative injunctions are all designed to foster freedom and justice and to promote a just social order. Its moral universe is informed by the Living Presence of Allah (swt), to whom people are responsible individually and collectively as a group- sect, religion, tribe, clan, nation, community, etc. - and are bound to account for their acts and omissions on the Day of Judgement. Several verses in the Qur'an affirms the inherent freedom of choice in people: "Had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. So can you (Prophet) compel people to believe? It is not for a soul to believe , save by God's Leave" (10: 99-100). 'Say, Now the truth has come from you Lord: let those who wish to believe in it do so, and let those those who wish to reject it do so' (18: 30).

Life in Arabia during the Holy Prophet's time also produced within its varied contingencies complex questions of freedom of choice in faith matters. Some of the Muslim parents had a dilemma: whether to force their children to join the then nascent Muslim community; or to respect the children's choice of joining their foster- parents' clan (Jewish tribe- Banu Nadir that was leaving from Madinah and some also wishing to join Christian merchants going to Syria). It might seem astonishing to some; but the Qur'anic verse-"There is no compulsion in religion" (2: 257) was  originally revealed to ensure the freedom of choice of the people who wished to leave Islam against the wishes of their Muslim families!

Even as Islam commands freedom of conscience and respects the right of people to make choices, it also allows resistance to oppression and injustice and to wage wars in self-defence in compelling political circumstances. What is not required or unjustified in general conditions of life, may gain validity of law and practice in exceptional circumstances. Necessity, proportionality, fairness and even-handed dealings are central to Islamic ethics, and the 'text' of moral injunctions need to be seen in the 'context' of the evolving circumstances of the Muslim life. Muslim Ulema who celebrate the 'cult of sword' in the name of Jihad/preaching of Islam are grossly misguided in reading the text without knowing its context. Their ill-considered views are detrimental to the fair name and legacy of Islam as a religion that appeals to human conscience and secular reasoning in equal measure. In his first Friday Sermon of the New Year- on 5th January 2018, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) expounds profoundly on freedom of choice from a Qur'anic perspective and corrects the doctrinal mistakes of the Muslim Ulema on this vital question.  

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

7th Jalsa Salana in Kerala: A Report

Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam- South Kerala organized its Seventh Jalsa Salana at Noor’ul Islam Masjid, Mathra, 22-23 December 2017. Brothers from Alappuzha, Kaliyikkavila and also from Delhi, reached ahead of the commencement of the two-day programme.

The first day of the Jalsa, 22nd December 2017, all brothers and sisters collectively offered the Tahajjud prayers and it was followed later by the Namaz-e-Fajr. Mukarram Amir Jamaluddin Saheb conducted a Dars-e-Qur’an, immediately after the Fajr Namaz.

At 11.00 a.m, the members assembled for the Inaugural Session, with Hazrat Mukarram Fazil Jamal Saheb delivering a speech “on the importance of Jalsa Salana”. The discourse was based on  a sermon delivered originally at the opening session of the Mauritius Jalsa earlier this year, by our beloved Imam Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba), containing useful advices to think through our spiritual duties and practical ways to create a new world of spirituality with the advent of the new Divine Manifestation.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Human Soul: States of Being

The spiritual journey is a life-long journey. Various stages of progress and development during the course of this journey may be described as achievements but the fact is that ultimate distinction and goal of this journey is never to be achieved in its totality. There is always a stage beyond the highest point of achievement and there is always a peak higher than that we set our feet upon. This has to be like that for the simple reason that in this spiritual journey we travel and ascend towards God whose infinite Being is, strictly speaking, beyond human comprehension.

Allah clearly states: Eyes cannot reach Him but He reaches the eyes. And He is the Incomprehensible, the All-Aware. (Al-Anam 6: 104).

Man discovers God according to his own limited knowledge and ability and along with the increase in his faculties of understanding God, his realisation of God goes on attaining higher stages. This point is well-epitomised in the Holy Quran. It says:
Every day he reveals Himself in a different state. (Ar-Rahman 55: 30).