Maulana Shaykh Nazim and Shaykh Abdul-Kerim in Cyprus

February 13, 2008 § 2 Comments

Go to Osmanli Naks-i’bendi Hakkani Photos‘ to see more…


Sema: Traditional Sufi Worship and Whirling

February 3, 2008 § 13 Comments

For over 700 years Muslims have performed a devotional worship, a form of sema, whirling in continual remembrance of their Creator. This tradition of whirling became commonly known through the sufi poet Maulana Jalal’ud-din Rumi. The word sema, which is arabic for “sound” is described best by Shamsi Tabriz, Maulana Jalal’ud-din’s master and shaykh saying,

“There comes a Sound, from neither within nor without,
From neither right nor left, from neither behind nor in front,
From neither below nor above, from neither East nor West,
Nor is it of the elements: water, air, fire, earth, and the like;
From where then? It is from that place thou art in search of;
Turn ye toward the place where from the Lord makes His appearance.
From where a restless fish out of water gets water to live in,
From the place where the prophet Moses saw the divine Light,
From the place where the fruits get their ripening influence,
From the place where the stones get transmuted to gems,
From the place which even an infidel turns in distress,
From the place to which all men turn when they find this world a vale of tears.
It is not given to us to describe such a blessed place;
It is a place where even the heretics would leave off their heresies.”

The place Shaykh Shamsi Tabriz discusses here is the aim of sema, hearing that which all men seek when the World and its pleasures become monotonous. Sufi whirling is a way, a form of sema, to approach Allah Almighty’s Divine Presence and if He is accepting, sufi whirling becomes a means to hearing that “Sound”.

It is interesting to note here that like all forms of worship, there is no guarantee of Allah’s acceptance of our worship. Indeed, the acceptance of our worship is really unknown to us and this is mentioned concerning sema in the passage above. One way we try to secure the acceptance of our worship is by pleasing Allah Almighty. And the best way to accomplish this is to do as he asks of us. Allah Almighty has sent the Shariat and allowed the lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) to identify what is pleasing to Him and what is hated by Him; what is recommended and what is disliked, respectively.

In other words, Allah Almighty has sent manners for our conduct and messengers as examples of these manners. And as in most forms of supererogatory Islamic worship, the various forms of sema should only be attempted given proper conditions, such as under the guidance of a shaykh, ritual purity: ablution (wudu’), a clear intention (niyyah), following Divine Laws and proper etiquette (adab).

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November 8, 2007 § 4 Comments

Alhamdulillah! MashaAllah! This is a mile-stone, this blog has been through a number of transitions since its inception and throughout the ups and downs of the Islamic community, the blogging scene and my own personal life, readership has steadily increased, shukr ya Rabbi. I pray that this blog has been beneficial to us, to all of us, you; me irrespective of religion, race or resources (wealth).

I am making intention to our Lord; our Rabb. Ya Rabbi, may you continue to send support to this blog as long as it is in the way of Haqq. Ya Rabbi, I am asking that you discontinue this blog if it ceases to represent Haqq. Ya Rabbi, place your choicest blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family. Ya Rabbi, give long life to our grand shaykh, Shaykh Maulana Nazim al-Haqqani. Ya Rabbi, give long life to our shaykh, Shaykh Abdul-Kerim al-Kibrisi, grant them the heavenly power and authority to help and support this ummah, the Ummah of our master Maulana Muhammad (alayhi as-salatu wa sallim). Ya Rabbi, allow the followers of sayyidina Maulana Muhammad (alayhi as-salatu wa sallim) to be in the awakened station, allow us to follow true guidance. And if we are weak ones, allow us to accept that we are weak ones and look for support in your beloved ones. Ya Rabbi, draw the sincere ones closer to you, so that they may find the safety they seek, inshaAllah ar-Rahman wa min Allahu taufiq bihurmatil Habib bihurmatil Fatiha.

Proper Greetings in Islam

September 25, 2007 § 47 Comments

I have on occasion come across Muslims who are sincere but ignorant of some of the finer points of Islamic lifestyle according to the traditions of the Holy Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him). This however, is easy to do in this day and age where there are so many forgotten traditions of the Holy Prophet which if we saw today we may think they are some strange bidat! One of these forgotten traditions is one of the most basic and fundamental elements of our dear religion, the Islamic greeting. The Islamic greeting, as-salaamu ‘alaikum; God’s Peace be upon you, is an element of good Islamic manners. In the proper conduct of greetings one may find keys to good social behavior and the proprieties of friendship and exchanges in Islamic framings. God says in the Qur’an (BismillaharRahmanirRahim),

“When you are greeted with a greeting, greet with better than it or return it. Allah takes count of all things”. (004:086)

So clearly it is preferred to return a greeting by adding to it. But there have been so many times where I have greeted a Muslim and received no greeting at all! And perhaps times where a Muslim has greeted me and received only an equal greeting in return, or worse. These days we greet people we know, and only people we know. When we receive a greeting from someone we don’t know we are silent looking oddly as if someone has violated an unwritten code of ethics. But this unwritten code of ethics is un-Islamic by nature and egoistic at best.

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