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Posts Tagged ‘Tasawwuf’

An important aspect of tasawwuf (Islamic Spirituality/Sufism) is to cultivate those virtues and qualities of character that would encourage a sense of togetherness amongst people. In pursuit of this communal sense of elevated and loving togetherness, symbolised in the very word that defines the nature of the global Muslim community viz. ummah (a word with its etymological roots in the idea of the concept “mother”) one of the virtues Islam encourages to cultivate is that of forgiveness.

To pardon and forgive others for the wrongs done against one is one of the greatest acts of grace any human being is capable of. And why should it not be so? Forgiveness is something we constantly seek from Allah. But it certainly makes little sense if we seek that forgiveness while we, ourselves, refuse to be the well-springs of such forgiveness for our fellow human beings. As Muslims we are often aware and seemingly conscious of observing the laws of Islam. It behoves us equally, if indeed not more so, to embrace its spirit. Laws are there to regulate the affairs of society, not necessarily to create unity. Unity, or oneness of spirit, can only be realised within the spiritual and ethical framework of Islam. Not anywhere else. Those with bad manners – regardless of how erudite they might be or claim to be – are repulsive people. “Manners maketh the man” is a timeless truth.

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The Prophets of Allah did not leave behind wealth or possessions, but they left behind knowledge. Just like the person who dies leaves heirs, i.e. sons, daughters, wives, etc. As for the Prophets, their heirs are the Ahl al-`Ilm – the People of Knowledge. And their shares are in accordance with their following of the teachings of the Prophets. As is the case with the heirs of a deceased person – those who stand in closer relation to such person inherit a greater share.

Similar is the case with the `Ulama: those who follow more stringently and love the Prophet more dearly will earn a greater share of the inheritance. In other hadiths it is clarified that this inheritance does not refer to possessions but rather to knowledge – the Quran, the Sunnah and akhlaq (nobility of character). It includes everything that is part of the Shariah.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), known as the “hafidh of the Sahabah” (the one – amongst all the Companions – who memorized the most hadiths), narrated that he once visited the market-place where he found people engaged in the usual trading. He then told them, “You are here trading while people are distributing the inheritance of the Prophet (peace be upon him ).

“Where is this happening,” they asked excitedly as they were eager to acquire a relic of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for themselves. “In the masjid,” Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) replied. So all of them rushed to the masjid but found none of the Prophet’s (s) possessions there. They asked him, “Why do you say the inheritance is being distributed when none is to be found ?”

“What did you find there?” Abu Hurayrah (r) asked.” We found people in circles studying the Quran and Hadith.” “That is the inheritance,” he replied.

Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki
Radio Interview, South Africa

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The title of the blog, “In the Shadow of Pure Light” reflects the position of the human being – as Being perpetually in the shade of God, a shade that can be both cool and protecting; or dark and isolating – depending on the state of ones soul.

Pure Light is a reference to God, whom the believer is constantly in search of – and who can only be perceived by the realization that being in God’s shade also means becoming the Divine Shadow; and that the human is intrinsically linked to Allah – his/her entire Being is dependent on as-Samad (the independent one), just as a shadow can never be severed from the object of its projection and has no will of its own, but to follow its Reality. It can also metaphorically be seen as a representation of God’s presence around an object, as well speaking to the transient nature of the world – reflecting the waning of Time, as Shadows do.

The themes of Light and Purity also celebrate a state of spiritual felicity, a state where the soul has perceived the brilliance and untaintedness of Divine Love, basking forever after in the sheltering and sweet Shadows of its Shade.

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