Wayfarer's Rest

Some assorted ramblings and occasional thoughts from Talib al-Habib. Updated randomly and irregularly (if at all). Talib takes no responsiblity for anything that he may write, as responsiblity implies capacity, and capacity implies a sound mind...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Knowledge is Light (and hearts are candles)

salams to whoever reads...

I phoned my Grandma in South Africa yesterday for Mi'raj - kind of a family tradition, though I really should phone more often! The formidable old lady, now 81 and going strong, was my very first teacher of deen - may Allah reward her abundantly for teaching me 'alif, ba tha,' and, 'awwal kalima tayyab.'

She was - of course - deliriously excited to speak to me and, between informing (several times each) about the whereabouts and circumstances of our ever-widening family diaspora, she imparted some precious information.

Nothing that you or I would call spectacular - simple advice like, 'say bismillah before you do anything,' 'sleep and wake up with the shahada,' and so forth. Yet it had a profound effect on me - as much as the words of any shaykh.

Strange thing was, I repeated what she had said to my wife not a few hours later, and it fell flat. It just didn't have the same 'zing' to it when I retold it. And - being me - I gots me to thinking why... How many times have many of us experienced this? You can't tell it the way the shaykh/imam/teacher did? Your words don't have the same impact on others that their's did on you? You just had to be there?

The way of acquiring spiritual benefit from people is not through their words; but from their states. It is a two-fold process: our connection to them, and their connection to their Lord. The latter is a pathway for Divine wisdom; which is knowledge that melts hearts and enraptures souls, whose traces fundamentally affect behaviour. Their hearts are candles lit by the Divine out of His blessed providence.

The former requires that one's own heart be open to theirs. When Allah's rain is falling, we cannot benefit if the containers of our hearts are sealed shut. There are many people - if not most - to whom our hearts are closed, for we have no connection to them - connections such as love and respect. But those to whom they are open, will affect us with the simplest of their words - no, even their stillness and silence, their looks or gestures, their very presence or absence.

My heart is open to my beloved grandmother; and her's - after a lifetime of worship and unfailing service - is open to Allah's. She is not learned by the standards that most of us have. She does not quote hadith; she has forgotten most of her Quran; she was taught her fiqh 70 years ago. But she has a state with Allah, a secret so secret that perhaps even she does not know it. And she told me to say 'bismillah.'

Mi'raj Mubarak. May Allah bless you, and her, and forgive me, and her.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aameen to your du'aas :)
And yeah, I too find it's hard to tell something to others in the way your teachers have told you and get the same impact.
May Allah(SWT) bless your grandmother, yourself, the rest of your family and the whole of the Ummah of Nabi S.A.W, Aameen

12:12 PM  
Blogger Epoppie said...


7:35 PM  
Anonymous seekerofwisdom said...

Beautiful, points.

May Allah reward you greatly, for sharing such insight, ameen.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Shabnam said...

Assalamu alaikum bro,
(Can u say salams to non-mahrem men, i wonder? Me being every inch of a woman and all....)
I have something dat needs clarifying. This comment bears no significance whatsoever to da entry posted on your blog. This is about da video of da nasheed on da site nuralhabib. I think its titled 'Songs of innocence' if i'm not mistaken. Didnt know how else to get thru to you so i'm posting a comment on ur blog and i hope you reply cuz it's been bugging me for long.
Well, somewhere along da video da little girl goes to her father in the night cuddling a teddy bear.
Isn't the use of paintings and sculptures forbidden in islam?
Doesn't a teddy bear then come under the title of sculpture since it bears resemblance to an animal with eyes and ears and all other similarities?
But then again i remember a hadith read out in my islamic class dat detailed the prophet encouraging Aayesha(ral) to keep on playing with dolls with her friends when they(her friends) tried to leave when the prophet walked into da house. Dat is da story in dat particular hadith to da best of my knowledge.

Please help.
And a link perhaps to getting my questions answered. I live in Sri Lanka and we dont have many resources here dat i trust to be devoid of biddah.

3:03 PM  
Blogger talib said...

salams sister Shabnam

thank you for your question - though I am not a scholar to be answering such questions, however, according to my teachers:

Yes, it is permissible to greet and speak to a non-mahram if there is a worldly or spiritual need. Refer to: http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=3620&CATE=128

Regarding children's toys:

(Shafi'i): http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=3&ID=3181&CATE=382


There are, of course, differences of opinion, and the way of the Ahl as-Sunna is that we do not condemn those who hold different but followable opinions.

The website, www.sunnipath.com is probably the best resource for Islamic knowledge online.

May Allah bless you and forgive me. Ramadan Karim


12:51 AM  
Anonymous Umsalih said...

That was a beautiful story about you and your grandmother, especially the end where you mentioned about how her relationship with Allah was a secret she didn't even know....
Keep writing and making Nasheeds, Allah has blessed you with these gifts.
And they comfort and inspire others to love Allah more.

3:53 PM  
Blogger mummy frog said...

Such a lovely story :) How is your grandma?
May Allah SWT bless you both with lengthy, healthy, wealthy and happy lives, Aameen!

12:53 PM  

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