Saturday, May 19, 2012

Humility via humidity.

I think our AlMaghrib instructor brought Louisiana with him this weekend. This is the only explanation for it being so hot and humid in our classroom today. I mean I know it can be hard to leave your home but we are not ready for this yet in Minnesota! My glasses were fogging up. If it wasn't homesickness, maybe he asked them to crank up the heat so his points about how you have to go through some work to seek knowledge would hit home with us a little bit more. That's fine, but he shouldn't have been surprised when we all started falling asleep in our chairs.

Stay hydrated, Barack!

The class turned out to be totally worth staying awake for.

These classes occupy about 12 hours of each day Saturday and Sunday between getting up early to run for donuts for the food team, 9 hours of class, cleanup, and driving. This makes it tough for me to put too much effort into blogging about it. And since so many others are putting the effort into tweeting through the class, I can take that and pass it along to you. I posted the best tidbits from our Friday night preview session this morning, and now I'll lay down some good stuff from today.

Again, the class is about purifying your intentions, crushing pride and other diseases of the heart, and using these tactics to become closer to Allah and really FEEL your worship instead of just going through the motions. Today was a wake-up call for all of us who have found ourselves getting big in the head when it comes to the religion or daily life. May Allah protect us from that.

We started with the importance of seeking knowledge. It's how all tazkiya (purification of the soul) books begin. He mentioned first that the terms "shaykh", "scholar", and "mufti" are so totally overused these days it's not even funny. One of the greatest contemporary scholars in Medinah (sorry, I didn't catch the name) was being recognized at an event and he said, "I don't feel like a scholar. I am like a "baby student".

Here's the first and maybe the best one to reflect upon:

"The more you know, the more ignorant you feel." Basically, if you want to humble yourself, never stop seeking knowledge. Your ego will slowly die out as you learn what you don't know.


"Knowledge won't give you part of it until you give it your all." This can't be a casual pursuit. You have to really invest in your education to benefit.

More on the difference between lip service and true 'Ilm: 

"Knowledge is not that which is memorized but instead that which benefits [the person]." So many people, including little kids as young as 6 or 7, memorize the entire Quran (a noble accomplishment) but too often they don't know the meaning. We must learn AND understand to get anything out of our hard work.

Some thoughts on the company you keep and how to be a good friend: 

"The worst type of friend is the one that flatters you and they expect you to praise them in return."
-Ali bin Abu Talib

This one explains itself. How can you improve if you never get any criticism?

"If you humiliate people, Allah (swt) will humiliate you. But if you conceal their faults, Allah will conceal your faults." And we all have faults.

"Mockery is born out of a greater sin and that is pride and arrogance." So when you mock someone, it's like a double-whammy and you will be punished twice.

"Backbiting is like eating the flesh of your dead brother (or sister). The worst part is, since they're dead, you're not hurting them at all. You only hurt and disgust yourself."

"The greatest form of ribaa (usury, from injustice) is to take away the honor of your brother." This means that it's worse to slander someone else than to pay or collect interest—one of the most hated of all sins. Allah says in the Quran:

O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains
[due to you] of interest, if you should be believers. 
And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal - [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged.
Surat al-Baqarah 2:278-279

How to purify yourself without anyone even knowing:

The Prophet ﷺ said: "A secret charity extinguishes the anger of your Lord." (Saheeh ul-Jami' no. 3691)

Don't get comfy: "The mark of a pious person is that he/she is constantly worried if they are a hypocrite."

On that last note, I am reminded of a story about 'Umar Ibn al-Khataab, the leader of the believers, and second only to Abubakar Siddique among the companions of the Prophet ﷺ.

After Allah revealed to Muhammad ﷺ the names of 17 hypocrites in the city, the Prophet ﷺ shared the list with Hudhayfah, a companion known for his ability to keep a secret. He asked him to keep an eye on them so they couldn't harm the people (but he didn't expose them to everyone, which was a wise strategic move). 

'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was so worried about his own soul that he asked if he was named among them. Can you imagine? If he wasn't secure in his faith then we never should be either.

To put an American baseball season spin on it, we have to keep our eye on the ball.

I need to work on many of these character flaws for sure. I tease people way too much and sometimes it may hurt them but they don't want to say anything. I sincerely apologize if I have done this to you.

Also, we all have a problem with backbiting (saying something about a person that they wouldn't like you to say). It's the most common and accepted form of sin but its consequences are dire—when you backbite someone, you are giving them your good deeds which could easily bankrupt you on the Day of Judgement. If you are a witness to it and don't stop it or leave the room, you are just as guilty as the person doing it. May Allah help me to suppress the desire to talk this trash and also to stand up for others who may be the subject of such idle discussions.


I regret to inform you that I didn't exercise today. I hope 9 straight hours of Islam helps cover the 20 minutes missed. I did walk to and from Chipotle for our lunch today, and while it was a nice walk I don't think it took 20 minutes. But it was pouring rain when I left class and all I could think about was getting home and not exerting myself at all. My cold is over but the sinus pressure is still there—it hurts every time I stand. Since I can't be bothered to exercise sitting down, you will just have to give me some latitude here.

I promise to have some more material for my non-Muslim readers after the class is over—until then, maybe dig into the archives. There's some silly stuff in there that might just satisfy your urge for reading some total nonsense. If so, I'm glad I could oblige. If not, you sure are picky about your nonsense.

Goodbye friends!

1 comment:

  1. A good friend will remind us of Allah, a bad friend will remove us from remembrance of Allah.