Archive for March, 2010

Miracle of Kaaba

March 27th, 2010 No comments
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Imam al-Haddad on the meaning of La hawla wala quwwata illa billah

March 22nd, 2010 3 comments


You should know that the most comprehensive and inclusive formula for expressing the repudiation of one’s own claim to power and ability is La hawla wala quwawata illa billah (there is neither power nor ability save by God).

The Proof of Islam (Imam al-Ghazali), may God be pleased with him, said:
“Power (hawl) is motion and ability (quwwa) is aptitude.”

No creature possesses either ability or power over anything save through God, Who is Able and Capable. It is incumbent upon believers to have faith in whatever God permits them to do or abstain from – as for instance, in conforming to an injunction, whether by acting or abstaining, or in seeking their provision by resorting to action in the form of crafts and professions, and so on – it is God the exalted Who creates and originates their intentions, abilities and movements, and that the acts they choose to perform will be attributed to them in the manner known as ‘acquisition’ (kasb) and ‘working’, and shall be, in consequence, liable to reward and punishment; but that they exercise volition only when God Himself does so, and can neither do nor abstain from anything unless He renders them able to. They possess not a single atom’s weight of the heaven or the earth, nor do they attain to any partnership in its governance, or become supports to Him.

It is on the ability and power to make choices, which God has granted to His servants, that commands and prohibitions are based. Things which are done intentionally and by choice are attributed to them, and they are rewarded and punished accordingly.

Hence the meaning of la hawla wala quwwata illa billah is the denial of one’s possession of autonomous power and ability, and the simultaneous confession of the existence of that (relative) power and ability to make choices that He has given His servants to be their own.

He who claims that man has no choice or ability, that the acts he selects are identical with the acts he is compelled to do, and that he is in all circumstances coerced is a deterministic (jabri) innovator whose false claim would deny that there was any purpose in sending Messengers and revealing Scriptures. By contrast, he who claims that man possesses the will and power to do whatever he does by choice is a Mu’tazili innovator. But he who believes that a responsible (mukallaf) man possess power and choice to allow him to comply with God’s commands and prohibitions, but is neither independent thereby nor the creator of his own acts, has found the Sunna, joined the majoritarian community, and become safe from reprehensible innovation. There is a lengthy explanation to this, which follows a rugged road where many have slipped and gone astray; and beyond it is the secret of Destiny, which has always perplexed intelligent minds and into which the Master of Messengers has commanded us not to delve. So let the intelligent be content with hints and let it suffice them to believe that everything was created by God, and nothing exists without His will and power. Then let them require their selves to conform to the commandments and prohibitions, and take their Lord’s side against their selves in every circumstance. A hadith says that is one of the treasures of the Garden.’ Understand the indication contained in terming it a ‘treasure’ and you will know that its meaning is among the mysteries; for reward is of the same species as the act. The Prophet s.a.w has also said ‘Two raka’ats in the depths of the night are one of the treasures of goodness.’ Their reward comprises a hidden treasure because the time of their occurence, namely the night implies this.

It is also reported that ‘La hawla wala quwwata illa billah is a remedy for 99 ailments, the least of which is sorrow.’ It is a remedy for sorrow because grief mostly occurs when one misses something one loves, or when a distressful thing occurs; and whenever either of these things occurs people perceive their helplessness and inability to achieve their desired aims; hence they feel sorrow. If at such times they repeat in their heart and with their tongues words which mean that they disavow the possession of any ability or power of their own, then this gives them certitude in their knowledge that they are helpless and weak except where God gives them power and ability, with the result that their sorrow is banished, and their knowledge of their Lord is increased. This can be clearly understood from the Prophet’s s.a.w saying: ‘When one believes in destiny, one’s sorrow departs.’ And in attributing ability and power to His Name, Allah, which is the axis of the Names and the most supreme of them, and in following it on most occasions with the two noble Names which indicate two of the attributes of the Holy Essence, namly those of Exaltation (Al-‘Ali) and Magnitude (Al-‘Azim), lies a sign that He totally transcends and is absolutely holier than the illusions of those who have strayed from the path, are blind to the evidence, and have delved without insight into the secret of destiny and the acts of God’s creatures. So take heed!

– Imam Abdullah Ibn ‘Alawi Al-Haddad
in ‘Gifts for the Seeker’
Translated from the Arabic by Mostafa Al-Badawi
Publisher credit: Fons Vitae

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In The Club – Q&A with Sh. Jamal ud-Deen Hysaw

March 19th, 2010 1 comment

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University of Nottingham on Thursday 22nd October 2009.

view the complete lecture here at LikeMedia TV

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Islam and Ego

March 17th, 2010 No comments
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Excellent reminders for reflection …. really, all should listen to this one.

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1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets

March 12th, 2010 No comments
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Oscar-winning actor and screen legend Sir Ben Kingsley has taken the starring role in a short feature film about the scientific heritage of Muslim civilisation. The mini-movie, entitled 1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets, accompanies a global touring exhibition that this currently open to the public at the Science Museum in London. The exhibition runs till 30th June 2010 and then goes on an international tour.

In the movie, Sir Ben takes on the role of a mysterious and cantankerous librarian who takes a group of school children on an enlightening journey to meet pioneering scientists and engineers from the history of Muslim civilization. The librarian is then revealed to be 12th century engineering genius Al-Jazari.

official page

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When the Moors Ruled in Europe

March 2nd, 2010 No comments

Join British historian Bettany Hughes as she examines a long-buried chapter of European history–the rise and fall of Islamic culture in what is now Spain and Portugal.


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What has knowledge done for you?

March 1st, 2010 2 comments

al Hasan, the son of ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, mentioned the following story:

A man died, leaving his wife, son, and a servant. Before passing, he implored his servant to take good care of his son. The servant did, raising him to be a good person, and, when he was of age, he helped him to get married. Then the son wanted to seek knowledge, so he asked the servant to help him in that regard. The servant prepared a mount and got him ready, and he went off.

He found a scholar, whom he questioned about knowledge. The scholar told him: “When it is time for you to leave, then tell me – I will teach you all that you need to know.”

A short while later, the man said to the scholar: “The time has come for my departure, so teach me.”

“Be mindful of Allah, have patience, and do not rush.” said the scholar.

– and in these three things there is the sum total of goodness, said al Hasan –

The man set off to return home, unable to forget what the scholar told him – how could he, when they were only three things? – when he got back, he came down off of his mount and walked into the house.

His wife was lying asleep, and beside her there was another man, also sleeping. “What should I be patient for here?” thought the man, and he rushed to his horse to get his sword. But when he was about to take up his blade, he said to himself “Be mindful of Allah, and have patience, and do not rush.” So he walked back to the house.

When he went inside and saw them still sleeping, as before, he said “No! There’s nothing to wait for here!” And he rushed back to his sword. Then he said to himself: “Be mindful of Allah, and have patience, and do not rush”. So he went back.

But when he saw them the third time, he said “There’s nothing to wait for!” and he went back. Then he said: “Be mindful of Allah, and have patience, and do not rush”. So he returned.

When he went in, the man woke up, and rushed to him, hugging him and kissing him and congratulating him on his return. “What have you learned after leaving us?” (The man was his son, i believe… travel took a long time back then.)

“By Allah!,” said the man, “I have learned great things – I have walked back and forth between your head and my sword three times this night, wanting to kill you, and it was only what knowledge I learned that prevented me.”

(Narrated by al Bukhari in al Adab al Mufrad).

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