Saturday, December 4, 2010

Still in the Desert.

BismiLLAH,
Was Salaatu was Salaamu ‘alaa Nabiyyinaa al Mustaphaa.
It’s months since my last post on this blog and I have been sent several emails requesting me to post something new as some people enter the blog and find it the same way since their last entry. I love to post about new issues and experiences on the blog as much as possible but there are reasons why I can’t make it happen.
I live in the village in Nabbaghiyyah and only have access to the internet whenever I am in the city. More so, whenever I come to the city, I have so many things on my head and must attend to them before leaving for the village which gives me no time to write out something for this blog.
Apart from these, nothing really has been happening since my last post except the normal daily routine we go throw in the village. Although there have been some changes since my return to the village after my travel to my country home; changes like new structures, new faces, new way of thinking, etc.
When I arrived the village, I was informed by some of the students that before Ramadhan, there was a fight between the Wahhabi and Sufi brothers that led to some of the students being thrown out of the mahdharah. It is high time something of this nature happened. With due respect to my Wahhabi brothers, I think they have been doing more harm than good even if most of those thrown out were the less privilege tasawwuf brothers. The Wahhabis have succeeded in taking over the mahdharah’s mosque as Imaams and Muaththins, they have their weekly lecture activities where they do declare our sufi ways as bid’ah and kufr and insult our Shuyukh, they use their da’awah to recruit our tasawwuf brothers into Wahhabism, etc.
Unfortunately the Shaykh of the mahdharah knowing these issues have refused to react to these ugly insults and embarrassments some of us face. My cry is, why have the Wahhabis come to take ilm from our Sufi Shuyukh when they see them as Kuffaar and people of bid’ah? It is a question that I am yet to get a sound answer to. I have no problem with Wahhabis taking ilm from our Shuyukh but they should mind what they say about our Shuyukh when they are still in their premises.
It is so bad that when some problems happen between students in the mahdharah, we don’t get a just solution to them. For instance, if two people had a misunderstanding that led to a fight, the two will immediately be asked to leave the village without wanting to know the cause of the problem or what led to it. In some cases, it is judged on the bases of race, power and connection which give me pain in the heart.
I know for well that only few students have the kind of opportunities I have in the presence of the Shuyukh and if anything happens between me and other students, I think in most cases I will get away with it because of my connection and ground in the village except in rare cases like race. Does this mean well for me? Yes to an extent but no in light of the shari’ah. I am not saying that I do cause problems in the village and go scot free, but just citing instances.
When the problem between the Wahhabis and Sufi brothers happened, the less privilege brothers were hurriedly gotten cars and thrown out of the village without really checking the root cause of the problem. The hard core Wahhabi who instigated the problem was left alone....reason because of his race. This I don’t agree with and I was forced to speak to one of the Shuyukh about this and the excuse he gave me for them letting him be is not tenable.
So funny, in a mahdharah controlled by a Sufi Shaykh has half or above half of its students Wahhabis. Nabbaghiyyah is the biggest mahdharah in Mauritania having over 400 students from different parts of the world. I can count over 60 moroccan students, all are wahhabis, about 30-40 Algerian students only three are people of tasawwuf, Senegal having the largest number of students have mixed groups like the wahhabis and Sufis. Each day we record new students coming to register in the mahdharah and very few leave after months and years of stay. I know this since I take pictures of the newly registered students for the mahdharah’s record. There has been more pressure on the Shuyukh recently due to large number of students thereby changing the teaching system. Little or no accommodations for students, most poor students coming from countries like Senegal, Guinea and Gambia. Some of these students come with less than $50 to spend for a year....Don’t be surprised or think I am exaggerating...You may ask me, how do they feed and clothe themselves? WaLLAH it is indeed a big problem and pain but I will mention few.
These students don’t bother about getting themselves new clothes since it is the last thing on their list of preference and how do they buy detergents to wash their clothes? It is better he wears his gallabiyya for a full week, it gets completely dirty then sort out how to wash it. Why should he bother about hair cut when it is better for him to use that money to buy something for his stomach. You see him leave his hairs very bushy and untidy till he finds a way out. Some can’t even afford to buy a comb.
How does he feed? Some of them living in the mahdharah’s hostels wait for the lunch and dinner to come from the Shaykh’s house and they get it shared amongst themselves. Does this suffices and fills them? For me, I will say it is better not to even eat. The numbers of students are just too many to feed on the daily food coming from the Shaykh’s house.
For some living outside the hostel, like in the rented houses or tents cook for themselves. Others get out everyday scouting and begging for food from the people of the village during lunch and dinner hours. Can you imagine someone begging for food in the hot desert when the temperature degree is over 46? Walking under the hot sun, in the hot sands? AlhamduliLLAH, we have some caring people in the village giving to the students from their meals everyday without complaining.
Some students engage in menial jobs as labourers in building houses, washing clothes for the women, cleaning houses, washing of dishes, etc. For some of these students, they get little money they can use for the week or two depending on how much work they got and did in the weekends. Meaning, they have to be extremely economical with spending...Those who join in building houses get better pay but you can’t imagine how tiring and weakening that is if you can engage in such. You carry bags of cement, mix them with sand, get water, transfer them, under a very hot condition...Man, you need 20 paracetamol tablets and 12 ibuprofen capsules after such work.
Cleaning the houses and washing of dishes is not a bad idea but how much do you get? And if it happens that a student gets to wash the clothes of the women, then you must face the debasement of your lifetime. I am not saying I can’t wash the clothes of my mother, sisters, nieces or women in general but I have a reason for opposing this done in the village here.
You can’t imagine a student, who will be a Shaykh or a person of guidance in the future, a seeker of the path, wash the clothes and under wears of a no-woman, with her menstrual blood all over them just because he needs a dollar to survive in his pursuit of the aakhirah? What an insult to seeking knowledge! I am not saying this is particular to the whole women of Mauritania or in Nabbaghiyyah but wanting some of us to know what some students of knowledge pass through before becoming what they are. Then you hear a stupid young Muslim boy or girl, not understanding anything on the ahkaam of the shari’ah or opinions of scholars in different issues, just because he or she has managed to attend a lecture or read a small translated book into English refuting a Shaykh who spent many years seeking knowledge with difficulties, no sleep, stress, memorization, etc.
What is the end result of such a student in the sight of these women and people of the village? It results to racism, debasement, abuse and any negative thing you can think of. If a student does such work, every other student from his country are looked in this way.
Just recently, two days to EID, there are two little boys who I always enjoy chatting with came to let me know of their pains. They left their country Senegal since the last three years when they were nine to memorize the Qur’an and ever since, they have been in Mauritania. They complained to me that EID was in two days and they had no money to buy potatoes, onions, etc in order to join others to celebrate. I won’t tell you what happened after that but will only let you know they had a good EID like other children as well, alhamduliLLAH.
Two days to EID was the arrival of Nusuky, Indonesian-Australian...an old student of Nabbaghiyyah. I never met him in his days of studying in Nabbaghiyyah but we have both been contacting each other when he first read from this blog. He stayed with us in our house, took part in the very beautiful EID, eating of meat and what we alone understand as DIPLOMACY.
On the day of EID, the feeling in Nabbaghiyyah was a bit different. It was a day with mixed feelings. After we observed the EID prayer and returned home, it was announced to us the passing away of the father of a friend of ours in the village. He was the director of the mahdharah before he took ill and had remained bedridden till his death.
A day before his death (before the day of EID) when I went to the house of one of the Algerian students that I revise my grammar lessons with, we both talked about the man and he asked me if he had passed away. The weather of the village changed, people were crying and there wasn’t much celebration for some of the people in the village.
In the evening when we were planning to go to the house of the decease to sympathise with the family, especially his son who is a friend of ours, we saw him walking down the lane to his house in a normal mood, LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED. We hugged him, kissed him and tried to console him, but his feeling was the opposite of ours. Masha ALLAH, he is indeed a strong believer in “to ALLAH we belong, and to HIM we return”.
A week before EID, a break was declared in the mahdharah, my friends and I had to run to Nouakchott (Nouakchinton) for some needs before returning for EID. We spent two beautiful days there before returning. On our arrival, we found out that our house was burgled by an unknown person. I quickly rushed into my room in surprise and found all my books scattered, bags here and there and when I opened the inner section of my bag where I left my money, I found it empty. Don’t ask if they also steal in Mauritania...Not all Mauritanians are saint they were people think. Masha ALLAH, that was my everything, my whole me in the village. I was now left with nothing except for the few change left from my Nouakchott spending. I was dumbfounded, I couldn’t cry nor smile, but asking the question why me and why now?
Nothing was taken from my friend’s room except recently he discovered that his watch has been missing ever since the incidence. I went straight to the Shaykh’s house to lay down my complain. Maybe the burglar thought he was going to hit millions since I usually get charity from people to the village especially during celebrations like EID. His guess was correct because I majorly travelled to Nouakchott to receive a western union transfer to buy some Rams for the students and needies in the village for Eid. Anyway, he made away with my money and left me stranded but never thought of the consequences.
AlhamduliLLAH, ALLAH blessed me with a better replacement. Two days later, I was given money from the Shaykh’s house which was given to them by someone who heard of what happened to me. I became again another news in the village.
The EID break is now over, studies have started fully except that some of us taking lessons from Shaykh Mukhtaar are yet to have him with us. AlhamduliLLAH, ALLAH blessed him with the opportunity to take part in this year’s hajj, a cry that ALLAH has answered for me. I can’t wait to have him share with us his experiences in comparison to what he teaches in the chapter of hajj in fiqh...I mean the chances in Makkah unlike what you get in fiqh books, etc. He arrived yesterday before Jumu’ah and I was too happy and gave him a big warm hug and kisses. While I was walking him down to his house, he told me that when he was in Jeddah, he saw some group of people in a bus, they stopped then alighted a lady amongst them who looked like me. He asked her which country was she from and it happened that she came from the same country with me. He further asked, do you know Abu bakr...It sound stupid him asking right? No I don’t think so. He only asked because I informed me that I would love my sister to see him since she also went for hajj this year.
Now going back to my name...Abu bakr, Masha ALLAH a name I love so much. I was thinking recently that it’s high time I got a nickname. Nicknaming is permissible in Islam as long as the meaning is good. The Prophet had, so many companions had, the salafs as well and many others after them. People sometimes think my name Abu Bakr Siddiq is a nick name especially when they think of the first khalifah of Islam or for those who have studied bit of Arabic grammar. So if I got a nickname, no one will get confused any more. I thought of names of great scholars bearing Abu Bakr and about three came to mind...Abu Bakr al Baqillaani, Abu Bakr al Tartushi and Qadi Abu bakr al Arabi...the two later Malikis.
If I choose the last then people have to call me Qadi even if I am yet to become a Mufti...and the first two mean, you either call me Baqillani or Tartushi....Allahu akbar.
I have been feeling somehow weak since my arrival. The himmah to study well has been lost. Do include me in your daily duas for ALLAH’s guidance, ikhlaas in my studies and strength to achieve my goals.
Was salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatULLAHI.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Back to Mauritania (Nouakchinton)

BismiLLAH.
Masha ALLAH, it feels great to be back in the desert capital of of Mauritania, Nouakchott (Nouakchinton). Things look the way they were and I found it so easy to fix into the system again. Not too bad weather, no new development, the dirty and untidy streets where people without shame stop at any corners to urinate not minding the people around. I am yet to go to the village but my Shuyukh have spoken to me and are really waiting for my arrival. The first question I was asked by them when I called to inform them that I arrived safely was, did you come with your wife? Masha ALLAH, I said don't worry, you will all know when I get to the village.

AlhamduliLLAH, my friend Yusuf a Yale University PhD student came to pick me up at the hotel after waiting for me for few days since his arrival. Masha ALLAH I was able to convince him to leave his programme for a year in order to drink from the ocean of ilm of the Mauritanian Shuyukkh. I arrived some days back after a long trip from my country to Senegal where I spent an unexpected and unplanned two days in a hotel I regret lodging before coming to Mauritania.

I love to speak about senegal but in different voice people usually speak about it. Whenever you mention senegal, the first thing that comes to the mind of the listener is about their strong affiliation to the Mureediyyah and tijaaniyyah tariqah. People like Shaykh Umar Futi Tall, Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba, Shaykh Ibrahim Niass and others come to the mind because these were righteous people who gave their everything for Islaam to suurvive in senegal.

One of my saddest moment in the hotel I was in Senegal was a day I was skype chatting with my wonderful friend Khalil (from Syria) and a man came into the reception to book for a room for just few hours. He is known to them as I could understand. He was like feeling weird when he saw me with just a small shirt, not looking like a taalib al ilm or Shaykh, speaking arabic unlike for him, wearing a long gown, his topi on, and a beautiful big sibhah.

What was he there for? ALLAH, too bad a purpose. Few minutes, the dirty young young prostitute girl came to join him and they finished what they bargained for and left the hotel. Don't ask me how I knew what they did or who the girl was....I did my findings later and even before that, it was clear to interprete everything.

When he was leaving the hotel with the girl, they had to follow different routes. I still watched him hold his sibhah like a big Shaykh, pulling and counting it, giving back the room key to the receptionist and leaving in shame as I was forced to look at him disgusting. His family would have been there thinking he went out for something good unfortunately, he was there going against ALLAH's orders.

I want angry and wanted to go meet hhim and maybe, talk sense into him but I can't speak his mother tongue Wolof or have the required knowledge of french to reprimand his stupid act. I was warnned not to take such girl into my room incase I want one, ya ALLAH, do I look like such men???.

So unfortunate, senegalese ladies that were usually known to be people of salaah, dhikr and good akhlaaq are now write-offs. Nothing good to see in many their ladies on the streets of dakar. I have been there before this transit and it has gotten worse since my last visit.

The other unforgettable scenario that I captured in senegal was very sad. The morning of the day I left, after using the internet at the reception, I went up to my room and a thought just flashed my mind to open the door and watch things through the balcony and I did. Behold, I saw so many people crowded, looking at a particular direction and when I looked there, ALLAH ALLAH, I saw a man standing on top of a pick up car stack naked, yes stack naked.

obviously you don't need me to tell you such a man is name...speaking in the senegalese language that I don't understand, showing to them a small bag made of leather, turning around, aggressive...The owner of the car I presumed came there asking him to climb down but he refused. Yes, the true mushkilah (problem) started. Since he refused, people came close to bring him down but he had in his hand a small rod that he was flinging from side to side incase anyone dares come close.

So he continued until people came with sticks, wips annd were using them on him but he resisted the pains. And finally, they got him down and held him but when they saw policemen in their van coming, they let him free. The policemen got off and walk down to the scene to ascertain what was happening and to our surprise, the man sprang up and ran straight to the police van flying into the van via the driver's window, 'ajeeb. And before they could rush to him to pull him out, he started moving the van but one of the policemen was so quick that he ran to him and pulled him out. He pulled him on the tarred road and I could see some bruises on his body. He was indeed the Mel Gibson in that scene that looked like a true cinema film.

So many other things happened there but finally, I left Senegal for Nouakchinton...lol. I stayed at the senegal Airport for about hours since I left the hotel room very early. We took off and arrived NKC safely. The flight was my worst one I would say. It got to a level, it was shaking and shaking, people were just discussing not minding what was happening, I was observing my dhikr hoping we don't crash in the big Atlantic ocean. Who would save us that night? I thought of my parents, my siblings and friends.

See me now in Mauritania, not too happy being here but still happy. It is a contradiction but I understand its balance. My parents were crying night before my departure and the day of my departure. It caused me cold and weakness, my sisters were not smiling either. How long will I be away this time? What would I have said except to make them happy and calm them down. Insha ALLAH I won't be staying up to four years before returning back him this time around but I need to study.

Thanks to all the people that have been very supportive in my studies, first of all my parents, brothers and sisters for their understanding, duas, etc then to my very good brother and sisters sidi Irfaan, Fadhilah and Asmaa. My appreciation and gratitude to my Shuyukh; Shaykh Muhammad al Yaqubi, Shaykh Mukhtaar, Shaykh Baa, and many more to mention. My love to my friends who have supported me in one way or thhe other like sidi Waathiq, Qaasim Khan, Usmaan Ali, Aftaab, Waseem, Muhammad Omari, Sidi Abul Wafaa, those whose names are not mentioned know that you are all in my mind, those who ask me long and tiring questions on studying abroad especially in mauritania without finally making any effort to come down, those who advise me via this blog and other well wishers. I say JazaakumALLAH annaa Kulla al khair.

I leave to the village today, always remember me in your duas for my heart is weak, I need to be strong in my studies, do it sincerely for ALLAH and his Ummah....

was salla ALLAHU 'alaa Habeebinaa wa sallam tasleeman.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Returning to Mauritania.

BismiLLAH,
Was salaatu was salaam ‘alaa An Nabiyyil Mustafaa.
AlhamduliLLAH, so fast how the days run so fast and we are short of the blessings of ALLAH each day that passes us by. It is so surprising to me how the three month of my holiday will be coming to an end in few days. I now have less than 180 hours in my country before leaving for Mauritania again. It feels weird and very unusual for me. At the same time, it feels bad and perturbing since I am going to leave behind the unsolved problems.

I am yet to come to term with the fact that I will be leaving my family again for thousands of miles: leaving the comfort that I have been enjoying for the true Bedouin life in the desert lands of Mauritania. One thing still baffles me to date; none in my family except my brother knows that I was living in a desert with no electricity, no good shelter, sleep on a mat, etc and will be returning to it in few days. I have refused to show my family the pictures I took of myself and friends in Mauritania in order not to put fears in their hearts. And when they get to seeing them, I take away my camera and tell them there are things I don’t want them to see. So funny uh? But I have my reasons. But this is the choice I have chosen and I see light in it in the future so may ALLAH azza wa jall put HIS blessings in it.

The last time I left my family to study sacred knowledge, I spent almost four years before my decision to come back home for a visit. It felt nice meeting the family but also bad meeting things the way they are. It was difficult for me to accept the reality of things but I fear I may not be able to make any significant change even if I study for another 20 years. Things are just bad, people are becoming animals, things that used to be good are now seen as bad, values, morals, virtues are things for our trash bags while immorality, evil, promiscuity, hatred, jealousy, distance from the deen, etc are now the order of the day.

All of these happened within a short time interval of my departure and what a drastic change! This is the society where I will still come to live in, teach all that I have learnt, and raise my children if ALLAH wills. My coming back is a recorded failure as I couldn’t make any difference. People kept their distance from me because I wear Gallabah, ‘imaamah, jubbah, etc and when I try to wear something that is in agreement with them as long as it covers my awrah, it becomes a different discussion.

They think the only kind of discussion I have is Religion. I asked a person recently that why has the person kept a distance from me and before the response, I said to the person, you think I will only discuss religion with you right? Or boring things? The person answered me in the affirmative. I went further to explain that I can talk politics, sports, religion, life and every other thing more than you.

I can’t make the friends I want to, I can’t sit in gatherings that have worthwhile discussions in them, I can’t choose for myself a sister that suits me because they have a different perception of who I am and make them behave artificial or disguise themselves, I can’t play football the way I used to because it is not seen like what football should be, I can’t enter a bank with my ‘imaamah because they think I am a JIHADIST like one of the bankers told me so I am subjected to an extra search.
I am not happy leaving this kind of society for another long time because I am studying the deen to get myself closer to ALLAH and also help these people in correcting the bad notion they have about it and putting them on the right track. We need study to teach people about the beauty of this deen, help the ignorance, inculcate the love of ALLAH and HIS prophet in the hearts of people, etc.

I am happy that I am leaving for Mauritania again where I will be with people that have like minds with me, sit, drink, eat and laugh with them, spend ample and lovely time with these people that makes me remember the hereafter and again I feel sad that I couldn’t do anything to change some of these problems I am faced with before my departure for Mauritania.

Insha ALLAH with our collective efforts, duas and good teachings, we will surely make the world a better place for us and our yet unborn to live and dwell in with joy and tranquillity. Just like the beautiful saying of our righteous scholars; a dua can move a mountain so don’t look down at it.

Mauritania, here I come again. My teachers, I can’t wait to see them, feel their love and kindness. I can’t wait to start wearing my dira’ah everyday, pass through the sands, drink zirig and eat my unbalanced diet food every day. Make duas for my safe arrival and pure intention for seeking knowledge.

Insha ALLAH more pictures will be posted when I return to Mauritania and send your questions. I am ever ready to answer them before entering the desert.

I love you all.
Was salaamu ‘alaykum warahmatULLAH.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Asking Deeni Issues.

BismiLLAH wal HamduliLLAH.

Was salaatu was salaamu ‘alaa an Nabiyyi al Mustaphaa.

Masha ALLAH, after years of being away seeking knowledge, ALLAH has blessed me to be with my family this year to enjoy this beautiful month and insha ALLAH celebrate the EID with lovely people again.

Ramadhan has made me very busy and it feels as if my original intention of coming back home to have a break has been defeated. Everyday, it is one thing or the other and this makes it impossible for me to do things I have planned to do before my coming. I hardly have time for myself and can’t even revise things I have studied in the past.

Just like one of the usual things I do here, I ask questions of people who come to me. Those who are uncomfortable asking, the bold ones, the sincere ones and those who want to mock me with their questions. I try as much as much possible to defeat the shaytanic whispers before answering the questions and bring forward humility and sincerity as my watch words.

But some times people ask question they are not supposed to ask or maybe they should have answers to without asking. This is my reason for having this post today. Recently I was with a brother who usually comes to sit with me and ask questions. What a nice brother he is!

His question was, if it is permissible for a Muslim to have coitus with his wife when fasting. I wasn’t expecting someone older than me in Islam to ask such a question. Because this is something you hear Imaams and ordinary Muslims mentioning during the month of ramadhan.

Well, not showing him my surprise, I decided to answer the question. He went further to ask me why my answer was the way it was. I decided to explain to him the essence of fasting, its importance, etc. he tried to put up a small disagreement but I came up with logic to answer everything.

He said he heard that it is “completely” wrong for a man to have coitus with his wife in the whole month of Ramadhan…This I didn’t blame him for not knowing because it is a misconception many Muslims have based on their own logic of if it is not permissible during the day, then it must be so after sunset. I explained that as well.

The surprising one is, is it permissible for a man to have coitus with his girlfriend while he is fasting…this is so shocking because the answer to his previous two questions should have solved the whole confusion but it got worse.

Then I decided to ask him, when is it permissible for a man to have coitus with his girlfriend…Then he remained shut and wanted to go further before I stopped him.

Is it wrong for me to get worried when people ask me such questions? It baffles me if our communities don’t know the very basic things they should know about Islam. The same brother again asked me if ALLAH and His messengers are living together in the same place. This is a Muslim beyond 25 years of age asking such questions. I only told him that he needs a few lessons on aqeedah.

May ALLAH azza wa jall continue to guide us and shower upon us His mercies. May we be among those who will benefit from the last phase of Ramadhan.

Was salaamu alaykum warahmatULLAHI.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sufi Adherent loved by the Wahhabis...

BismiLLAH was salaatu was salaamu ‘alaa ashrafil anbiyaa was mursaleen.

It has been a very busy week for me with so many things happening recently. Despite the sadness and pains I feel everyday, I take solace that by ALLAH things will be fine in the nearest future.

In the last two weeks, so many things happened but I can’t mention but few. One that still remains and keeps ringing in my mind is the recent crisis that befell a very good family friend and neighbor of ours.

This crisis makes me remember the ayah of the Qur’aan that says ‘’everything will be destroyed except HIS ennoble face’’I don’t want to talk about the part of the ayah that comes after the exception because of the differences in interpreting some unclear verses in the Qur’aan. According to the school of the salaf as saalihin, we let them be the way they are but in a case where there is need for an interpretation, our venerable Shaykh: Muhammad al Ya’qubi said that such must be figurative.

My major concern is on the first part before the area of exception which says that everything will be destroyed. Yes, in this dunya, some things will surely be destroyed over and over again then later comes the final destruction which will be in a whole and complete way. This includes the angel of death who comes to take the lives of people. So we can bear witness to how so many things are destroyed day in-day out but we are yet to witness the final destruction that we will be involved in, ALLAHU akbar.

Some days back while we were asleep, I was able to witness one of these destructions that we see before our own destruction. We heard loud cries from a lady, running to our next door neighbor and some people following and pulling her down. As I got up from my sleeping point to go to the door, my dad was already up with a guest we have in our house about opening the door. When we got out, it was the daughter of our next door neighbor crying and been consoled by some men around her. She also lives less than 100 meters away from our house with her husband. What was happening? Her house gut fire and it was burning down.

I quickly dashed to the scene to see what was happening and behold, the house was really in destruction, burning down. Some boys around were trying to put off the fire, throwing buckets of water at the house. They were being scared to enter and do the main thing but were also expecting the fire fighters to come to our aid. This incidence was happening as late as 1:30AM when everyone was fast asleep.

I went to my house with a Ferrari speed to also get my bucket filled with water since they were getting short of water and see me arriving back to the unbelievable scenario, throwing my water at the fire but a difference wasn’t made. And so it continued. Before realizing, the fire started transferring to the next house, the house of a very good family friend where I come once in a while to sit and discuss with people. We were looking at how this was happening with our useless efforts not making any difference. No one entered the house except for a small boy whose stubbornness paid later in the day. He broke in, got about two boxes of his aunty from the room the fire has reached and got out with them. He repeated the same thing until he got two televisions out.

And when the fire fighters came, it was as if their efforts in putting off the fire made things worse and it was our presence that the second house completely burnt down and nothing was done. ALLAH, two complete houses with materials worth so much gut fire, burnt down and nothing was taken out of them. We only saw smoke decorating the beautiful cumulus cloud about to rain. That was how these houses burnt down, the little children in these two houses lost everything they had, books, clothes, jewelries, electronics and other valuables got DESTROYED. This is the kind of first destruction we see before the true destruction that will consume us later.

From some of the things that happened during the week were the lectures I delivered in about three gatherings. All the gatherings were on the theme of celebrating knowledge and Qur’aan. I’ll say delivering lectures is what I am trying to acquaint myself with. Usually, my lectures take a maximum of thirty minutes and I get exhausted with my points and that brings my presentation to an end. But in these previous cases, I was able to deliver very long lectures without having prior highlights of what I will mention in the lectures. It all works like a magic, I start with pressure and anxiety and as it goes, it begins to become smooth and smoother and like the sailor sails in his ship with a beautiful parallel wave not disturbing him till he arrives his destination so was my state.

The last of the three I delivered was yesterday. I was invited by Wahhabi brothers to take the place of a wahhabi Imaam who was not going to meet up with the appointment as agreed with the brothers. They got pained and had no option but it was suggested to them by another brother that insha ALLAH I will be able to replace the place of the failed imam. The person who suggested this is a close friend who was like an Ustaadh to me but automatically became a student of mine since my arrival.

He loves me so much and believes in my ways. He thinks I subscribe to their school of thought in creed and other areas of differences they have with those who follow the sufi schools. This is the kind of thing I get worried about in recent days. Many of the wahhabi brothers tend to show me more love and draw closer to me than even my brothers we share the same opinions with as adherents of the Sufi way. I do not know why these people think I am like them and whenever some of them speak to me, they condemn the sufi ways, slander them and insult them without ever thinking if I support their ways.

After my lecture yesterday, the Chairman of the occasion requested that I be brought to his house to chat with me. He praised me and told me how he enjoyed my lecture. I used to know him as a no-too-bad wahhabi in his presentation or maybe because I have not had time to share views with him. I was taken to his house and he started by introducing himself and wanting to know me. Funny enough, he knows my family members, I mean from my brother to sister to my grandfather but has never heard of me.

Then he asked me about someone who is an uncle of mine if I know him: the younger brother of my father. After confirming that to him, he got so surprised and shook his head in dismay and said ‘’the only problem with him is his aqidah’’. I already knew where he was pointing at. My uncle is a staunch follower of one of the sufi tariqahs and engages in so many of their activities. Even if I may not agree with him in some cases, I still prefer him as an adherent of the sufi school than to a wahhabi.

So unfortunate or fortunate I would say on how the wahhabis love me more than my so called sufi brothers. My sufi brothers describe me as a wahhabi if I am forced to tell them how they err in some of their acts. I am not a Shaykh or in the position to tell what is wrong and right in the sufi school but to the level of what I have learnt, you see our brothers and sisters doing things that go against the shari’ah all in the name of tasawwuf and when you tell them that what they are doing is wrong, they join you with the wahhabis.

I wonder, when will I be accepted amongst the people whom I belong to? Surely, even if the wahhabis love  and believe more in me, there will ever be differences between us. As for me, I don’t really care about these things people busy themselves with. We must all come together to promote this deen, do what is right and leave what is wrong. If I am able to teach and also benefit from the wahhabis let it be so but that doesn’t pull me out of my being an adherent of the sufi ways. I will also continue to work with my sufi brothers until they learn to accept the facts.

Insha ALLAH in few days we enter the month of ramadhan, more activities will keep us busy. I have already been booked like a ticket for lectures but I intend on my own to start teaching the shamaail in my local masjid till Iftaar time and we all have iftaar together in my small local mosque.

Remember me all in your duas.
Was salaamu ‘alaykum warahmaULLAH wa barakaatuHU.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How Do You Feel as a Student of Knowledge? 2

BismiLLAH was salaatu was salaamu ‘alaa ashrafil anbiyaa was mursaleen.

After my last post, I was so surprised how so many people reacted to the subject expressed in the post. I was so glad to receive emails from different brothers and sisters sharing with me their views and advices, sharing in my pains and trying to put themselves in my shoes.

I decided to post some of these emails sent to me and comments on the blog. I think it will be nice for some of the readers of this blog to also benefit from these beautiful advices and observations from amazing brothers and sisters at the aid of this sinful slave.

The first I will put here is the email sent to me by my dearest friend, my old house mate in my days in Damascus, sidi Waathiq from UK.
Asssalamu alaikum sidi,

I’m sending you this email right away after I read your 'sadness' post on the blog.

I want to 'knock' some senses into you. I feel your pain sidi, you may remember me telling you how things changed here when I returned and guys doing this and that, and the brother who got shot, etc. Sidi, remember one thing you have improved and advanced in your deen and spirituality even if you don't feel it, that's why you can see all the stuffs around you and it pains you. You spent so much time with the awliya that you became light, and can see darkness and I tell you here, darkness is a synonym for problems, and it is said A problem known is half solved.

So first is like you said, 'studying the environment', you have got that now, its expected that you'll feel sad, but don't stay in that mode! If it makes you feel better, then remember that Sayyiduna Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wasallam) was in an environment of kufr, and idolatry, and sinful doings, my God they used to bury children alive, women walking bare-chest, etc! But He (sallaa Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wasallam) over 23 years, 23 YEARS, with 13 years of suffering REFORMED the whole society. Remember the Shuyukh who have reformed thousands of lives who are alive today!

Therefore remember, that you too can make an effort and changes. And remember changing of hearts is in the hands of the Great One, not in yours, therefore, do what you must and need, but don't allow your heart to become attached to the people, keep it connected, unwaving, with your Lord and the Prophet, the awliya and their aid that comes to you. Now it’s about putting all your knowledge into experience and practice.

Sidi, don't forget to speak to people on the level they are on. Some people you cannot speak about intricate fiqh issues with because they're on another planet! You need to bring them into masjid first. I believe your most beneficial weapon is good character & mercy. See them as victims, not perpetuators. The society, media, people have caused them to 'mess up'. Many of them are ignorant, and just need correct knowledge to make a change and strong irrefutable daleel (remember that sidi, we are people of burhaan! like you used to say to me, baarakaAllahu feek), and sincerity in dealing with them. I try to speak to people on a heart to heart level, so they are accepting of you first and you develop a connection that allows it to be easier, have mercy but don't compromise.

Remember Sh.Muhammed told us once that Sh.Ibrahim al-Ya'qoubi had a man who was coming into his home who had long hair, was wearing even a gold ring, basically he was a 'chiller'. After he spoke to Sh.Ibrahim, and asked him questions, he was happy, the man went. Sh.Muhammed said I said father, you never admonished him on his gold ring?? He said, wait, give him time, let his heart become attached to us. Slowly, the man time after time kept coming, and eventually he removed his gold ring, cut his hair short, he loved Sh.Ibrahim & become much more better without the Shaykh even telling him! Just remember Sayyiduna Shaykh Muhammed's way of dealing with people when you were around the Shaykh and the type of people who came to him and the way of the Shaykh himself.

You certainly have a lot of challenges but this should give you more himmah and stronger desire to study even harder for Allah ta'la's deen! People who quote useless things to justify their positions, remember that once you show the truth, like Allah ta'la said, when truth comes falsehood vanishes, so its simple, truth needs to be apparant. Remember sidi, this is the making of an alim, and a da'ee, and murshid and a true slave of Allah ta'la. Infact i'll go as far as to say that, the more obstacles you are facing the more potentially closer you are to Allah ta'la! Because the truth is always there, its only you who needs to seek it and then present it to the one who shows falsehood & lo you'll see his falsehood vanish, this is strengthening your knowledge, and the truth and causing you to do more research, memorizing and other student of knowledge duties to make you a real tool and benefit. At least, before you return back to Mauritania inshAllah, you have got an idea, and you have a stronger himmah to work harder. The changes have to come from somewhere and someone, otherwise they carry on, remember the ulama who reformed the world at a time when there was death of the society, spirituality and deen, such as Sayyiduna al-Qadir al-Jaylani and Imam Ghazali, therefore let it strengthen you and not sadden you. May Allah ta'la grant you tawfeeq.

And remember one thing sidi, if there is anything you take away, that Allah ta'la says if you give his deen victory he will give you victory. Don't forget that everytime you step out of the house.

Please keep this faqir in your duas, your brother, companion & friend, wathiq.

And the one below came from a dear friend and brother from the UK

Yes Sidi .... i was reading the blog and it all makes sense now. It’s a sad state that many of us are in Sidi and it needs many more like you to leave home, sacrifice your life and learn the deen, before returning home and try to rectify the state of our affairs. Its very easy to follow the trend go to school, college, universities and become doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers etc. We are very selfish as a muslim community. As we do not look at the needs of the community rather we simply look to fulfil our selfish desires and aspirations. Our community has enough doctors, lawyers, engineers etc yet our parents want their children to become doctors, lawyers, engineers! We do not have enough scholars, qari, hafiz, muftis, qadi. In the past scholars use to practice medicine, law, engineering etc.

But the educational system is not here to serve the muslims. It has partitioned religion and society. It does not allow for both to be done at the same time. One would have to complete one set of studies before moving onto the other. For example if you finish becoming a doctor only then can you leave and learn the deen. However many of our doctors, engineers etc once completing their studies are too immersed in the dunya that they cannot just abandon everything and leave to become scholars. I feel this is the roots of our problem. The fitna that we see are its fruits! Sidi its not just your country that you see these problems.

Unfortunately this is the state everywhere in the world where the Muslims have abandoned their identity, inherited legacy, heritage and beautiful history and have traded it for the lifestyle and culture of another people and nations. When we Muslims take on the clothing, lifestyle, priorities, social life's, jobs, jokes, speech, language etc of the western world then we automatically take on board the diseases that come with it. Sisters and brothers wearing inappropriate clothing, structuring our lives so that prayer, fasting, zakat and hajj are no longer important, our no. 1 priority becomes dunya, many brothers and sisters take jobs that does not allow them to practice their religion many times the job entails wearing haram clothing and uncovering of the hair, we take part in jokes that can sometimes take us out of Islam without us knowing it, we have abandoned our mother tongues and so disconnected ourselves from our forefathers and this is the cause for a partition between our elders and youth ... tools for communication lost and so the only people that can communicate with our youth is the people that speak the language! etc ..... These are just observations that a simple mind makes when i look around me. Maybe i'm too naive and certainly i do not have knowledge to speak in this field. Also sadly i am one of these people that i have mentioned above. May Allah help us all to tawfiq to correct our ways before its too late.

Sidi people like you are fighters struggling against shaytaan in defending your people, this ummah. I pray your eagerness and enthusiasm remains always with you and you continue with this dawah work till your last breath inshaAllah. Maybe you can get hold of a few brothers and form a group so that the sunnah lifestyle can spread between our brothers and sisters in your home town. Forming a group simply gives the youth an identity, objective, goal and is more tangible. What im trying to say is that it gives them a sense of belonging. For example, you have a group weekend camp where you live for two days according to the sunnah of our beloved Prophet praying tahajjud, five times prayers, the supererogatory acts. Also this allows them to learn all the practical aspects i.e., how to do wudhu properly, how to pray solat properly etc.

Meanwhile to give them entertainement in forms of nasheed's and stories of the friend of Allah in the past ... the awliyah ... this gives them motivation. I feel all in all our hearts need to be reconnected with Allah which is only done through following our Beloved Prophet. Anyway Sidi i did'nt realise i have written so much ... simply emptying my heart and mind as i too worry many times on this topic. The difference between me and you is that i am part of the problem whereas you are on the otherside ... the one with the solutions. Take care Sidi ..... sorry about the length of the email and sorry for talking about this which i have no qualifications to talk about.
Wasalaam

Another beautiful email is that sent to me from my brother Abu Ayyub who is presently seeking knowledge with his family in Egypt.

I also wanted to write to you and let you know that your recent post has touched me deeply.

When the Rasul (saaw) described Islam, he (saaw) said, "Islam will enter as a stranger and depart from this world as a stranger, so glad tidings for the strangers." (Muslim)

So often I have felt that few people will understand true thirst for ilm and true love and longing for the Rasul (saaw). It has been two years since I came to the Middle East and the longer I stay away from my home in the West and even see the state of Muslims here, the more I feel isolated and misunderstood, the more I feel alone and saddened. Even those closest to you cannot fully grasp the sheer need to study so far away and so often for so long. But how can one turn away from noor when one has sat at the feet of the inheritors of the Rasul (saaw)? How can one reject the purest lifestyle in emulation of our beloved Prophet (saaw) for one that is more concerned with this world and all its temptations? How does one return to a state of darkness when one was eclipsed in light?

You will be a stranger to this world, a stranger to those around you, but in this strangeness Allah All Mighty will guide you to others like you; alone, but not lost, seemingly far from people and yet on the other hand, close to Allah and His Messenger (saaw).

I remember the night, upon completing As'Shamail Muhammadiyyah when Shaykh Muhammad al Yaqoubi told those gathered, "Now the responsibility lies on you. Now that you have this knowledge a greater burden awaits you. (That is teaching it to others)" You have embarked on a daunting task, a heavy burden and an inescapable duty to your family. But I believe that what you are feeling is the reality of the student of Sacred Knowledge. These feelings inside you should only convince you that you are on the right path, for once you begin to compromise certain dealings or relationships, or no longer ask your friends to stop their music, or your heart stops crying for our lost brothers and sisters then you should see that you are no longer a stranger but like everyone else.

May Allah continue to guide us on the Path of the Righteous and bring our ummah to guidance and obedience. Ameen. You will be in my duas.

Your brother,

Abu Ayyub

I couldn’t leave out this email coming from my big sister; Sarah

Dear Brother in Islam,I was moved by your blog today to write, but couldn't work out how to reply, since I neither have the patience nor himmah to work out electronic stuff. So please forgive me for writing by email, if indeed this still works...Sincerity is not an easy thing; many think it is very easy, that they are being honest, but no; sidq is a hard maqam, and to me your words are those of the sadiq. Alhamdulillah for that.

Your pain sounds like bereavement, having left what is true and light for that which is false and dark. I have Rahmah for you and inshAllah Allah Azawajal in His Infinite Mercy will make the transition easier for you. I don't know about these things but I would imagine that that ease might be manifest through obedience, obedience in teaching everything that you have learned. May you taste His Satisfaction with you through your obedience, may you feel the faraj through Him, and leave the yearning for the place in which you found Him and His Deen.We are in the Middle East, and for ten years; I imagine if I were to have to return to the West I would be in a much worse state than you. That is why I feel for you, because I don't want this test for myself or my children.

May you pass the test that I would certainly fail.May Allah Azawajal give you all the tawfiq and ease in spreading the Deen, which is obedience to His Command, and not following one's own opinion, which is something so prevalent as you have seen.

your sister in Islam, Sarah

Monday, July 12, 2010

How Do You Feel as a Student of Knowledge?

BismiLLAH.
Was salaatu was salaam.

Indeed for a person like me who left his family for almost four years to seek sacred knowledge then returns to meet them all in good health must be happy and grateful to ALLAH for HIS mercies showered upon them all. This is the case with me and at the same time it is a contradiction that I am yet to come to terms with.

It is two weeks since I arrived and I have used all my days to study this environment that has been like an alma Mata to me if I have to describe it like a school. I have seen so many things that my eyes can’t bear, I have heard so many things that are too heavy for my ears, I have forcefully absorbed in my mind so many things that my mind can’t absorb.

I now live a life of an unhappy young man having so many plans in the inside but feels they could die inside of him if things continue the way they are. I feel sad and regret why I ever came back and thought I shouldn’t have thought of ever coming back.

I ask myself if it was a crime for me to make the decision of coming back home to have a little break with my family before continuing my studies again. My heart aches, it bleeds and shed tears everyday I wake up and find things the way I saw them the previous day. So I pray for night everyday to come so that when I sleep, I forget about all these things but when the day breaks, it brings back the sad moments I run away from.

I look at all of these as tests from ALLAH but wonder if I can bear and carry them. I take solace to the fact that ALLAH tells us that ‘’He will never place a burden on any soul except that it can bear and carry it’’.

I shouldn’t be writing and posting this on this blog as it is something personal but how long will I keep these and kill myself softly? A friend who came welcoming me yesterday after hearing of my arrival asked me how am I and how I feel here. I told him I am unhappy and sad. He was the first person I told about how I feel since I came. He wondered why I should be feeling the way I feel but couldn’t understand. I told him that this is a kind of feeling I can’t explain nor put into writing. The only word I could use to let him know how I feel is that I am sad and in pains. He pressed on to know what thing in particular hurts me. For me, it’s not about a particular but everything has turned too bad for me.

My writing this is just to ease myself of this unhappiness and sadness that I have been nursing since my arrival. This is the only way I can really express how I feel in few lines without going into details.

Can I really mention all that has been causing this unhappy state of mine? It is so difficult to express how much I feel and trying to explain this will be like stabbing myself in the back if I try to start listing everything or discussing about them. Just wanting my readers to have a clue of what I am passing through so I have decided to put it down in a way that one can have an idea of this unfortunate state.

How can you imagine your friend you left in a very beautiful Islamic state and when you return, he gives you justification for why he shakes hands with ladies in his new place of work and why hugging may even be necessary.

You hear that boys who used to be small but now grown and big living around your neighbourhood have suddenly turned hardcore smokers and consumers of beer.

You hear that flirting around by both boys and girls is a norm and trying to preach against it, you are seen as old school.

Older women come to you to welcome you and they start by hugging you and when you try to tactically keep away from it and smile over it, they think you are stupid and tell you that we are like mothers to you even if they are non mahrams. When you try to explain shari’ah rulings on such issues to them they see you as extreme.

You try to preach true deen and keeping away from innovations since Islaam is so flexible and fits in time, space and states but they think you are wahhabi.

You dress in your turban, nicely sewn jubba and burdah they just call you Taliban and a suicide attacker especially when you try to hug your old time friends. How unfortunate this is when a fellow Muslim says it to the other and when they do such mockery they laugh it off.

You try to advise people on how to use their time, love the best of mankind than anyone else especially like football stars they think you are making football haraam.

You find young people who were supposed to be prospective da’wah experts or make beautiful Islam homes left the deen for another deen.

You see ignorant people are now source of references for Islamic issues. They become Muftis of their own standard and no one question them of their authorization. They sell the deen for money.

You sit with a friend and he starts blasting Bob Marley and you tell him to do you a favour by turning it off, he tells you he doesn’t believe listening to such Music is haraam because the lyrics are so meaningful. He says if you think it is haraam then provide him with proofs since he has unable to get proofs from the local Shuyukh.

You listen to people talk about Islaam and try to shun textual evidences since their logic surpasses these evidences and feel they should apply their personal rulings according to their own rational mind and the way their interpretation soothes their minds.

You see people you try to show love look down at you and think you feeling shoulder squared because you traveled abroad to seek knowledge.

You see people think after your studying sacred knowledge, you have no better future for yourself. Those who appreciate your seeking sacred knowledge are those that are not ready to work with you.

You see young boys and girls been very disrespectful to their parents and address them in high tone.

You go to your local mosques and see the newly selected Imaams have no knowledge of qira’ah and how to apply the rules in their solah or even the pillars of solah. You are forced to go back home to repeat a solah that you have already prayed in the mosque except you are fortunate to be made Imaam because you have studied small books on fiqh.

I can go on and on mentioning so many of these things but when I attempt it, it only but hurts. I smile but inside of me I cry, I laugh but inside of me I weep. Must things continue this way? Will my little contribution I intend or I try to put in count? Can a one man correct all of these flaws?

I sent a friend we studied together with in Syria an email informing about my arrival and the response I got is:
Im happy that yr back with yr family , alhamdulilah. yeah i can understand the happiness yr feeling at the moment. and the sadness that shortly comes with it as you realize that you have changed so drastically that you can’t relate to yr family or friends anymore. you see that they are exactly where they were and the same people with the same ideas or atleast thats how i feel. ive just started to get back on my feet, believe it or not since i came i didn’t even go out side my house , i just slowly started to 2 weeks ago. i was upset that i was here and sad i couldnt leave to where i was happy, frustrated fighting peoples’ ideas if right, wrong ,islamic and unislamic and most times it was just ridiculous.i didnt talk or socialize with people......i was just in my room holding on to what little memory i had of syria and my life before i came here. but you get over things even the most saddest with time like i have. i try to give back and make some impact on people and ive started with the youth.

For this person, a new page has already been pulled out. I am trying to learn from this example because it is a picture of how I feel though not exactly. I said maybe this is not something peculiar to me but maybe happens other places. The only happiness I have now is when I try to explain the deen to few friends who spend little time with me everyday.

AlhamduliLLAH, I have been able to start a small fiqh class, my class on shamaail will start soon, my Arabic class begins in few days. Insha ALLAH may HE makes these that which will bring succour, joy and happiness to my life and many others around us.

Your duas and nasiha will surely be of help. May ALLAH join us all with those we love.
Was salla ALLAHU ‘alaa Muhammad wa aalhi was sallam.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back Home After Studies.

BismiLLAH,
Was salaatu was salaamu ‘alaa al Nabiyyi al Kareem wa aalihi was sallam.

Almost fours year ago, I left my country and family to seek knowledge of the Islamic sciences without knowing when I will be visiting my family after my departure. AlhamduliLLAH, I took the decision of returning home some weeks back and here am I, back to my family. Surely I enjoyed my stay all through my study days in Damascus and the Mauritania but was it like home away from home? I think no place can take the place of our homes. For me I say, there is no place like home.

It was so nice leaving Mauritania for my country home. The few days before I left the village, it was me and different kinds of arrangement. I was feeling so anxious and in a state of unrest. I was wondering what kind of things will I be meeting back home. Many have traveled after spending long time away from home and after their arrival, they tell you so many things and that kept me thinking and thinking.

When I first posted on this blog on the issue of my intention to travel, one of the comments was that, I should be expecting a bitter sweet experience. I sat wondering what it means for one to have a bitter sweet experience. This is no different from what I am experiencing now.

The day before I left the village for the Mauritania’s capital where my flight will be taken off, I went around giving salaams to my friends and people in the village I have good acquaintance with. My teachers were worried that if I left them, I may not remember calling them or coming back to the village. I had to convince them that I was only going for a short visit after which I will be back. I informed my fiqh teacher that it was high time people benefited from the little I have studied all these years. He agreed with me and gave some important advices.

I went around collecting my books I gave to brothers, saying farewell and other necessary stuffs. Before I realized, it was about 2:00AM in the morning and the cars that leave from the village to the city take off by 5:30AM. I was yet to complete arrangement for my journey. It was unlike me seen in the middle of the night in the village since no one goes out during the hour I was alone wondering about.

I got home, got my remaining bags ready then went to bed. Before having a good sleep, it was the athaan and before I could get ready, prayer was recited and I missed the car leaving for the city. Was it a good omen? I believe it was due to my bad sleep and carelessness.

Notwithstanding, I observed my fajr solah and got set to wait at the exit of the village to see if cars from the neighbouring villages were passing by for the city. So fortunate I was after waiting for less than five minutes with a friend from the village who is not what I will call a sane person, I got a pickup that we both joined. How nice it was and easy unlike other days!

I got to the city, met with friends, announced to them my intending travel and did visit some places. I spend about five days in the capital before the day of my departure. A day before, I met with my room mates who were already in the capital and other friends we study together at the village. We arranged to go to the beach to relax ourselves. It was a sweet but bitter experience. It was nice having a wonderful bath in such a very salty water but too bad to see some people not properly dressed and the mixing between sexes. What is wrong with Mauritania? So new to this. We rounded up with swimming and took off for a friend’s house where we prayed maghrib. From his house, we left for the traditional bath (HAMMAAM). The last time I had such a bath was during my early days in shaam. It was a nice bath as I was advised by a Yemeni brother to do that before I leave in order to remove all the dirts and thick stains from my body due to the sun toning and desert dirts.

I couldn’t ask for a massage due to time but sure was satisfied with what I had. The next day was short as I was rounding up my arrangement and other necessary things. Before knowing, it was two hours to my flight take off. I went to the airport with my friend, joined the queue for clearing and there came the problem of excess luggage. After little arguments, I ended up paying for the charges and returning to my friends outside the airport waiting. Before going out, I saw the nephew of my Shaykh who was arriving from Shaam. We had a very warm hug. Masha Allah, he is such a nice person and I remember during my days in shaam, I would go to his house during the weekends to have couscous and other Mauritanian delicacies well prepared by his wife who is the daughter of our teacher Shaykh Baah.

It wasn’t a bad flight to Senegal where I was taking another flight for my country. Before an hour, we arrived and I got on with normal flight bookings and stuffs. I was again charged for excessive luggage. I pleaded with them to see reasons with me, that I am a student bla bla bla but it didn’t help issues. I paid again then joined the other passengers.

It wasn’t a nice flight to my country as there was two stops at two different countries, I had a very bad stomach upset and I wasn’t comfortable because I didn’t have enough to eat and drink the day of my taking off from Mauritania.

Finally, it was me arriving my country. My brother had informed me that he will be the one to pick me after convincing my old father to stay back. I got off the plane, got my bags, pushed through the immigration and the processes were so easy seeing me in my long gown, my imaamah cloth around my neck, my walking stick by my side. Now me walking out of the airport to meet my elder brother waiting.

Coming out, he wasn’t of sight so I kept wondering where he was sitting or go buy phone credit to call. I had no sim card and the Mauritania network doesn’t work in my country. While I was waiting, I was caught by my greatest surprise. I saw a young my with a bag walking towards my direction answering a call who I was thinking was my brother. After a deeper look, I was shocked to see that he is a friend of mine I met in shaam traveling to Qatar but his flight was canceled. I called him and he was so surprised, he came forward and hugged me. After a short discussion I collected his phone and dialed my brother. He came out of the airport where he was waiting answering a call from my sister and behold, it was him. After years, he changed so much. With a loud shout and cry hugging me.

Before knowing, it was another of my sister calling then my Mum and followed by my father and sisters. ALLAHU akbar.

So we took off for a park where we could get a car for the place where I live. It was a long drive as I remained silent and hungry in the car thinking of so many things and looking at the things around.

Finally we arrived my place and to the park where we were going to alight. My sister, her husband and children were already waiting there for us. Masha ALLAH it was a sight to behold. My nephews and nieces have grown so big that I almost couldn’t recognize them. They were very happy to see me and that was how we took off for my house where my parents kept calling and calling.

Getting closer to my house I saw old friends standing, sitting and chatting. My parents and siblings were already on their feet walking towards our direction as we were about to stop. What a hug from my mum! My dad couldn’t control himself, my sisters grabbed me and who owned me was something to decide at that point.

They ushered me in and that has been how far it went for me from Mauritania to my home. What a beautiful welcome I had!. It wasn’t a red carpet one but I can say a white carpet description suffices.

Since my arrival, my mother has been treating me like a baby, friends have been visiting and I am trying to study the environment. Well, I am not happy with the state of people that I have met meaning; there are lots to be done.

My first lesson was yesterday in my old local mosque about knowing the Prophet (SAW) instead of loving Kaka and Ronaldo, etc. like taking him as our mentor and exemplar. By next week insha ALLAH I will start the teaching of Shamaail Muhammadiyyah of Imaam Tirmithi and fiqh. Friday lessons will also begin soon at our local jumu’ah mosque insha ALLAH.

Make duas for my success as you read this and tell your family and friends to pray for my sick mother and sister, pray for my family for an improvement in their state and don’t forget the ummah.

I love you all.
Wa sallaa ALLAHU ‘alaa Muhammad wa aalihi wa sahbihi was sallim.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

FINISHING A TEXT.

BismiLLAH was salaatu was salaamu 'alaa khairi al bashar wa aalihi tasleema,

It has been a recorded tradition and practice in the traditional madrasahs in West Africa that whenever a student of knowledge finishes a hizb or juz'u of the Qur'aan or a text in any of the sciences of Islaaam, he/she celebrates with his/her mates in the school by slaughtering a chicken, goat, ram, cow or even cook food and share it amongst the students of the school or people living around in shukr to ALLAH azza wa jall for HIS mercies extended to HIS slave, enabling him/her to give time to studying the deen and the beautiful texts. This I can recall as I was told by my Shaykh and a senior student friend of mine who said it was the sunnah of Ibn 'Umar who slaughtered a cow after memorizing surah al baqarah.

In the mahdharahs of Mauritania, students still practise this beautiful traditional whenever they finish studying a text to its end. I was once joking with a friend of mine the day he completed the grammar text al Aajurumiyyah when I said it to my Shaykh that he had to make him slaughter a Ram and distribute it amongst the students. The Shaykh smiled and said maybe an egg or biscuits will suffice but when he finishes standard grammar text like Turrah (only read in Mauritania studied after alfiyyah) then he has to slaughter a cow.

My friend wasn't ready to celebrate but I pushed him to a shop to buy for us food stuffs so that we can cook and celerate to the joy of the day. We went and got the food stuffs and did have a good day.

For me, I was also blessed about two months ago to finish a text of fiqh that has taken me months studying. I started this text during my first visit to Mauritania but couldn't finish because of the time limit I had to spend. When I came this time around, I continued from where I stopped till I finished. It was a great day for me having waited all this long.

I informed my Shuyukh and they jokingly said to me that I have to celebrate it. I wasn't taken by surprise because I had already been planning over how to celebrate the long waited day. It didn't take me much time to start with the arrangements as I spoke to a friend in the village to assist me in food preparation and buying of soft drinks. He hurriedly got things ready and the day started. I got a goat to the butcher and made available necessary things needed for the meal.

Sh. Mukhtaar, Muhd Lamin , Sh AbdaLLAH, Muhd Lamin (Shaykh's son-ln-law)
I informed some of the students around, three of my teachers and three people around and we gathered for the celebration. We ate, drank, discussed and relaxed. It was indeed a good day and moment spent in the gathering of my teachers and wonderful students.
Sh. AAba on the left, Sidi Ameen from Algeria and other students.

Without delay, I started a new text on fiqh which insha ALLAH is the highest text in the Maaliki school. I don't know how long it will take me to finish it if I have to memorize it as I am doing at the moment. I also have the option of not memorizing it but will take me shorter time to finish. As a Shaykh said, it took them 5 years to study it. I was asked if I finish such a text what will I slaughter? I jokingly said maybe I get myself a car, marry a wife then slaughter a cow, masha ALLAH.


May ALLAH makes it easy for all students of knowledge, purifies our intentions and guides us all to the path of truth.
Was salaLLAHU 'alaihi was salaam.




Friday, June 18, 2010

SEEKING SACRED KNOWLEDGE

BismiLLAH
Was salaatu was Salaamu 'alaa an Nabiyyi al Mustaaphaa.

So fast how time runs and the days count. When I look back at my yesterdays, I realized that it is almost four years since I left my family and country trying to seek sacred knowledge. AlhamduliLLAH, it has been a very smooth but rough path or I will say vice versa. Before planning this long trip I call adventure, I never knew it was going to take me this far before thinking of returning to visit my family.

It has not been so easy for me being the second youngest in my family and the only one who has completely chosen this path. It took me time to summon courage and accept that this is the way I will life for the rest of my days in this wordly life. AlhamduliLLAH, when I decided that this was it, my parents had no objections but gave me their total support and blessings. While they had no objections, they also had fears. Fears like my going farther from the family without anyone known to them having a direct contact with me.

No doubt that their fear was the same fear I have been nursing in my heart. For instance, things happen to me, I hardly let them know in order not to put more fears in their hearts except that I inform my older brother little about it. The same way they do when any thing bad goes wrong in the family, they tend to keep it away from me in order not to distract my studies or increase the fears I nurse in my heart.

It is almost four years so far. What have I been able to achieve! With joy and gratitude to ALLAH, I can proudly say that I am not left out of those who ALLAH showers HIS blessings upon in this life as we hope for more in the next one. Prior to my travel, I had no knowledge, I mean no knowledge of the arabic language except that I could read the Qur'aan with other chapters I had memorized. Arabic words I knew at that time are those common vocabularies you hear every Muslim talk about like Eemaan, Ihsaan, taqwa and their likes.

Today, I cannot only read the Qur'aan but can speak if not fluently the Qur'anic language, write letters or articles in arabic, translate sentences and phrases, teach the ritigrities of the language like grammar, morphology, semantics, etc.

Within this short time spent, I have been able to study a little bit of the major Islamic sciences like the three sciences of Rhetoric (Balaghah; Bayaan, badii', ma'aani), Usul al fiqh, Fiqh, Grammar, Sarf, Seerah, Mantiq, Meeraath, Aadaab, Hadith, Tasawwuf except for Tafseer that I have not really had the opportunity to sit with a teacher who can give me an insight of what this science entails. Although I have revised some books of Tafsir like the tafseer of Abdul Qaadir al Jeelaani, Jalaalayn, Zamakhshari, but that doesn't suffice just like the saying goes ''knowledge is not taken from pages but from the hearts of men''.

Last month after having some thoughts, I arrived at a conclusion that it was high time I gave myself a break and visited my family. I was realizing how weak I am and couldn't give in my best because the zeal and determination in is dying. Indeed, visiting my family I thought will be a renewal of this zeal that has carried me all along these years.

I spoke to my Shuyukh about this and they had no objection but praised my patience for this long stay. My mum was over excited when I informed her of my decision to spend a short break home before returning as she keeps asking me when will I return for her to see me.

I know obviously that during my absence, many has changed so lots of expectation from me and others. Will I be welcomed by those who I left, how will they look at me, can I share with people what I have been able to cover during my absence, am I a failure having chosen this path instead of medicine, Engineering, etc like others say??? So many questions I keep asking myself.

My older sister who got married when I was away said to me last week in joy, ''my twin will finally know their uncle''. Yes, I hope and pray so. She was put to bed when I left, they are now grown and can speak to me but I have no idea how they look like.

My older nephews and nieces are now grown having heard their voices and pictures. But surprising to me is that I never saw the picture of my immediate family nor did they since my departure except for the pictures I sent two months after my arriving shaam. I wonder why such happened. It is still a mystery to me.

Next week, My flight will be taking off and home I come. Who will collect me at the airport, I don't know. I am so anxious and enthusiastic. I love to be home again. Can I say, Mauritania and Syria have been '' home away from home''? It's difficult to say yes.

I hope readers of this blogs will make duas for me for a safe trip and meeting my family in good health. More postings and pictures when I arrive my country home. I will spend three months insha ALLAH enjoying myself with my family before returning to Mauritania.

wal hamduliLLAHI Rabbil 'aalamin.