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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rihla Recordings

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our Actions Live Forever

This is a picture of the grave of Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) the third rightly guided khalif - his great work was mass transmitting the copy of the Quran that was gathered in the time of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). He copied it and sent it to all the major cities to make sure we were all reading the same Quran. As some people had incomplete copies of the Quran. So any Muslim who reads the Quran now has to be grateful for Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) for making sure we are reading the same book. This was his amazing action that will live forever and what an action!
Recently, I was walking in a city that I had not visited for about ten years. It was unusual and perhaps expected that just about everything had changed and it felt very strange to be here after all this time.
The streets were the same, the shops had gone and so had some of it features. In many ways this city had become a stranger to me. As I walked past places that I once frequented I was reminded of the things that I used to do.
The thing that struck me the most was how vivid those memories were. Even though I had not thought about that city or any of these places for many years. It was almost as if the actions that I did were suspended somewhere and I was coming back to visit the remains. I really did not like what I was reminded of. I had, by the grace of Allah, given up listening to music and I was all the better for it. But the fact that I used to listen to a certain type of music did not please me, when I was reminded of it.
Then it struck me.
Our actions live with us forever.
Whatever we do in this world comes with us into the next. Whether they are good or bad they will come with us like companions. If they are sins then we won’t be pleased see them! Did you forget what you said something to a person on that day when you lost your temper? Don’t you remember hurting that person who was trying to help you? All those things that we do not think about will be brought forward, good or bad.
If they are good then we will be happy to see them but if they are not then we will be extremely upset to them and then we will try to distance ourselves from them. Our actions will last forever and we will be rewarded forever or we will be punished forever.
If you tear a page of one of your books, that page is torn forever and no matter what you do, that page will never be the same. Even if you put tape on it so it does not tear more, that page will never be the same again.
So which would you rather have? Good actions or bad actions? Make your choice because whether we like it or not our actions will live on forever even though we have long since forgotten about them. And like that city that we once frequented it will remind us of what we used to do. I don't know about you but I want to be reminded of good things that I used to do not the bad things.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dr Umar Farooq Abdullah

Andalusian Reflections
Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah Wymann-Landgraf
February 2000

In the 10th century C.E, Hroswitha—Saxon princess and earliest known German poetess—wrote of Cordoba, the caliphal capital of al-Andalus, that it was: “the ornament of the world.” In the Age of Hroswitha, Islam and civilization were synonymous. The Abode of Islam had a fabulous beacon in the east: Sunni Persia, and another, more spectacular, in the west: al-Andalus

Christian historians in the Middle Ages spoke of “the two Spains,” one Christian and the other Muslim. They meant by Spain, “Hispania”: the Iberian peninsula—Spain and Portugal—not the political entity called Spain today. There was no doubt which of the “two Spains” was the greater and more splendid. Europeans have called the Andalusians Moors and their culture, Moorish. Our names: Moore, Morris, Maurice, and Moritz, were medieval forms of “Moor” and “Moorish”.

Muslims, on the other hand, spoke of“ al-Andalus,” embracing all parts of Iberia that were Muslim. “Al-Andalus” expanded or receded, as the fortunes of Islam in Portugal and Spain ebbed and flowed. Muslims focused not on the phenomenon of the “two Spains” but on that of the “two banks” [al-‘udwatan]: the northern and southern shores of the straits of Gibraltar. The immense cultural, commercial, political, and military power of al-Andalus lay in the secret its “the two banks.” When the banks were united or well linked, al-Andalus was the richest, most formidable land of Europe. When the “two banks” and their peoples were severed, al-Andalus weakened and faced defeat before the barbarous armies from “the vast land” [al-ard al-kabirah]: Europe beyond the Pyrenees.

Al-Andalus was among the greatest manifestations of civilization Europe has ever witnessed. The Andalusians were consciously European and cultivated that identity in their poetry. An Andalusian poet might depart from norms and speak, for example, of a beautiful woman with green eyes and red hair, not the traditional Arabian beauty with black hair and big dark eyes. Ethnically, Andalusian Muslims did not differ significantly from their Christian neighbors to the north Andalusian civilization was tolerant and cosmopolitan. It embraced Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Its Muslim population was diverse: Iberians [Latins and Celts], Berbers, Arabs, Teutons, sub-Saharan Africans, Slavs, Persians, and others. In its darkest times, al-Andalus knew ugly racial divisions—especially between Berber and Arab—but succeeded rapidly in Arabicizing its population and weilding them into one body. Many Christians and Jews embraced Islam. Maimonides [Musa ibn Maimun]—the great Jewish physician and Talmudic scholar of Cordoba—is reported to have held that the greatest danger before an Andalusian Jew was attraction to Islam. The Muslims of al-Andalus had a sincere and deep attachment to Islam and Arabic. In practice, their society was trilingual. It cultivated a sophisticated Qur’anic Arabic but also used Andalusian colloquial Arabic and “al-‘Ajamiyah” [ aljamiado], a romance tongue close to Castillian Spanish but written in Arabic script.

The appeal of the Andalusian way of life enticed Christians and Jews and many populations on the perimeters. Andalusian Christians and Jews took pride in the Arabic tongue and Arab habits and styles. Several Andalusian Jews wrote on the virtues of Arabic and held it superior to Hebrew. Judah ben Tibbon—a physician and translator of Arabic works into Hebrew—held that Arabic was the richest language in the world and the best suited for every type of writing. He felt Arabic—as opposed to Hebrew—was the supreme poetic language and the perfect language for philosophy, since, by its nature, it penetrated the hearts of matters, made the obscure clear, and expounded subtleties.

People of the Book—especially Christians—were called “musta’ribun” [mozarabes]: “those who imitate the Arabs.” When Alfonso VI reconquered large regions of northern and central Iberia in the 11th century, he had to “Europeanize” the Christians of his new domains and make them “Latin” Christians again instead of the Arab Christians they had become. Alfonso introduced the Roman liturgy in place of the Mozarabic. He patronized Romanesque art instead of Moorish and spread the Carolingian script. From the time of Alfonso VI on, one of the chief offices of the Church and, later, the Inquisition would be to obliterate Moorish culture and replace it with that of Latin Christianity.

The “Arabic speaking” phase of Islamic civilization in Iberia lasted more than eight hundred years from 711 until after the fall of Granada in 1492. But Muslim influence in Iberia lasted longer. Millions of Muslims remained in Iberia after Granada’s fall. Those of them who could not leave freely or flee successfully were forcefully converted to Catholicism in the 16th century and forbidden to speak Arabic or keep their Moorish culture. The Church divided Iberia between Old Christians and New, two distinct and unequal social classes kept under the Inquisition’s scrutiny for centuries. Forcefully converted Muslims were called “Moriscos” [little Moors], while forcefully converted Jews were called “Marranos” [swine]. Often Morisco children were taken away to be raised as Christians in monasteries, cloisters, and other Church institutions.

Large populations of Moriscos were expelled from the south of Spain and from its eastern coastal regions and were resettled in the north. But extreme measures could not kill the spirit of Islam in Moriscan hearts. They rebelled frequently and continually begged Muslim powers to come to their rescue. Ultimately, Spain expelled hundreds of thousands of Moriscos from 1609 to 1614. But this same act helped break the power and wealth of Imperial Spain, which relied on the energies and skills of its Moriscos. It marked the end of Spain’s golden age. Never again would “the Catholic kings” recapture their lost glory. The French cardinal, Richelieu, chief minister of Louis XIII, said of the expulsion of the Moriscos that it was: “ . . . the most audacious and barbarous counsel recorded in the history of all preceding ages.”

The genocide of the Moors and Moriscos, Jews and Marranos contrasts to the Islamic toleration, which had been the hallmark of al-Andalus from its beginning and one of the secrets of its great achievements. The “Grand Inquistion”, which began in 1483, was “the first act of united Spain.” Most European Christians loathed the Inquisition, especially when Spain—in its Inquisitorial spirit—sought to crush Protestant movements. Philip II sent his “Invincible Armada” with such an intent against newly Protestant England in 1588. Spain’s murderous wars against the Dutch Protestants, which went on intermittently from 1579 until 1648, were the Inquisition’s work. European hatred of the Inquisition and reaction against it were among the reasons for the Protestant Reformation’s success. The 19th century French historian, Charles, Comte de Montalembert said: “I grant indeed that the Inquisition in Spain destroyed Protestantism in its germ, but I defy anyone to prove that it has not given it throughout Europe the support of public opinion and the sympathies of outraged humanity.” Yet the Inquisition’s long and grotesque shadow has hung over the West for centuries. The bloody Spanish civil war ( 1936 – 1939 ) was in part the fruit of the brutal division of Spanish social classes that the Inquisition fostered. Even the ku klux klan, the genocidal policies of nazi fascism, and Slobodan Milosevic’s policies of “ethnic cleansing” belong to its bastard offspring.

Andalusian Muslims were generally conservative. New developments in the eastern Islamic world were not readily received in al-Andalus. But its civilization was not rigid. Rather, it blended a profound understanding of Islamic tradition with unique originality and improvision when circumstances required. Andalusian legal scholars allowed their Christian minorities to erect new churches, for example, whereas other Islamic lands only allowed them to keep their old ones.

Cordoba and other great Andalusian cities were brilliant centers of learning. Students from as far away as England and continental Europe came there to study. Roger Bacon was among them and held that learning Arabic was essential to scientific progress. Like their counterparts in the east, Andalusians made intelligent use of waqf properties, which supported free hospitals and free schools, maintained roads and bridges, quartered armies and garrisons, provided for official journeys into Europe to free captives and prisoners of war, and even provided mercifully for beasts of burden too old to labor. The legal precedents of Islamic Iberia are an important source of minority fiqh for Muslims in Europe and America today, and the discipline of minority fiqh in Islam may probably be said to have had its origin in al-Andalus.

Al-Andalus produced many of the greatest minds of the Islamic and Arabic sciences. Their works remain unmatched even now. Andalusians also mastered mathematics, geometry, the physical sciences, and medicine. They put down the foundations of the history of science. Even Moorish music was an advanced science, Andalusian music being among the most highly developed music forms the world has known and one of the sources of our classical music. Andalusians did not just use their music for enjoyment but also to cure the insane. Moorish architecture and fine arts developed traditional models with distinctive originalilty. The profound developments of Andalusian art may be traced through the centuries from the great mosque of Cordoba to Granada’s al-Hamra’ in its silent majesty.

During its illustrious centuries, al-Andalus was powerful on land and sea. Like Spain in its golden age, the force of Andalusian arms was based on sea power. Formidable strength in arms was matched with cultural, economic, and political prowess. For centuries, al-Andalus enjoyed an economic prosperity that eclipsed the former achievements of Roman Spain. Andalusian economic power effected continental Europe, Britain, Ireland, and Scandinavia and altered earlier trade patterns. The powerful Andalusian economy brought prosperity to those within and around Iberia, but it triggered unwittingly centuries of poverty and backwardness in northern Europe by siphoning off the flow of its traditional commerce.

Throughout the world, Andalusians were famed as craftsmen, agrarians, and breeders of horses and livestock. For centuries, the Andalusian Arabian was the finest horse known to Europe. It was also the ancestor of the American Indian pony, which descended from horses the Spanish had brought to the New World. Andalusians mastered waterworking to a degree not thoroughly understood even today. They produced brilliant steels and alloys, fashioned excellent swords and weapons. They built ships worthy of the Atlantic and mosques and other edifices that will be admired until the end of time.. They fashioned silks and made quality textiles, leather goods, ceramics, furnitures, lamps, chandeliers, perfume burners, and jewelry. It was said that in Moorish Seville, one could find anything imaginable, even “sparrows’ milk.” The Muslims of al-Andalus introduced oranges, lemons, cotton, and mulberry trees to Europe and led the medieval world in an agricultural revolution. Olive trees last for centuries, and it is said many of those on the hills of Spain today were planted by Moorish hands.

The Spanish and Portuguese identities are linked inseparably to the heritage of al-Andalus, although, even today, few Iberian historians have been able to come to terms with that legacy. But they are not the only heirs of the Andalusian past. The histories of Europe and the Americas are also tied to al-Andalus in subtle and unexpected ways. The emergence and dominance of the vikings from the 9th till the 11th centuries is a profound part of western European and Russian history. This complex phenomenon had several causes, but the powerful Andalusian economy of the time, which sapped economic growth in northern Europe, was among them. The Norman kingdom of 10th century France, which conquered Britain in the 11th, is among the critical developments of medieval history. The Normans originated as Danish vikings whom the Andalusians defeated on the Atlantic in one of the greatest naval battles in history. Victory saved al-Andalus from predations but sent the defeated viking remnants to northern France, where they cut out for themselves their new “Norman [northman] kingdom”. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Muslims had a small governance in Switzerland and eastern France. Toynbee regarded this presence as one of the crucial developments of the Middle Ages prior to the crusades. Swiss Muslim power was related to al-Andalus, directly and indirectly. The Swiss were the only Muslims ever to make the Roman Pope pay jizyah. It took the combined armies of Byzantium and continental Europe to defeat them.

There seems to have been a friendly connection between al-Andalus and medieval Ireland. At the time, Ireland was a land of learning and had the most advanced civilization in northern Europe. The Andalusian period of Jewish history was Judaism’s golden age. Arabized Andalusian Jews studied Hebrew grammar and lexicology in the light of the great Arab grammarians and cultivated other Arabic and Islamic sciences. Andalusian Jews produced many of the great books of Judaism. The banishment of Jewry from Spain and Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries dealt Judaism a blow from which it never recovered. Zionism also has roots in al-Andalus, and it has been said that the Zionist movement should be dated from the destruction of Andalusian Jewry. Formerly Andalusian Jews were behind the principal intellectual developments of Judaism in its post-banishment period.

Andalusians may have reached America before Columbus discovered the west Indies in 1492 He claimed to have seen populations there dressed like Granadan Moors. The discovery of the Americas should not be separated from the Andalusian background and the broader relation between medieval Europe and the Islamic world at large. Moriscos built Columbus’ ships in Moorish dry docks. The theory that the earth is round was Moorish, not Christian. Muslims had elaborated the idea and measured the earth’s circumference seven hundred years before Columbus. Columbus brought an Arabic translator to the Caribbean—Luis Torres [a Morisco or Marrano]—hoping to find and communicate through Muslim populations in the Far East which he imagined he had found. Thus, Arabic was the first language Europeans used on American soil to try to speak with the native populations.

Even the brutal Spanish conquests of native Americans from the late 15th until the mid 16th centuries must be understood against the backdrop of the “Moorish problem” of Catholic Spain. Ponce de Leon’s Caribbean battle cry was: “Santiago mata Moros” [Saint James, kill Moors]. It was the old battle cry against the Moors. Ponce de Leon and his Iberian soldiers had been galvinized by the genocide they and their forefathers perpetrated against the Andalusian peoples. The American conquests enacted the reconquest of Spain. But it is also said the conquistadores sought to outdo the great deeds of the Islamic conquerors of the 7th and 8th centuries. Sometimes they imitated them, as, for example, when they founded Lima (Peru) and Popayán (Columbia) after the model of the Arab garrison cities, al-Kufah and al-Basrah. The spirit, techniques, and treacheries of the Spanish campaigns in America had been honed in the long and difficult campaigns against the Moors. Officially, Moriscos were forbidden to emigrate to the Americas, but in reality they came in large numbers, especially to Mexico, Guatamala, Cuba, Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia. Moreover, the Jesuits spread in Latin America a special type of indolent and indulgent Catholicism, which the Inquisition had tailored to depoliticize and control the Spanish Moriscos.

Many Andalusians—Moors and Moriscos—were able to escape Iberia and the Inquisition. They had a tremendous influence on the Islamic world, to which they emigrated. Andalusians helped Arabicize many parts of Africa, especially what are today the Sudan and Mauritania. Andalusian soldiers and sailors made up powerful contingents in the Muslim forces of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and other Islamic lands. Many of the corsairs and “Barbary pirates” were Andalusians, some of whom saw themselves not as pirates but as worthy fighters trying to get back the Andalus their forefathers had lost.

Today, the legacy of al-Andalus has many lessons for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. We, Muslims, think of al-Andalus as an Islamic “paradise lost.” In reality, it was not a paradise on earth. It had beautiful and ugly sides. It accomplished great achievements but had terrible failures. We must not romanticize al-Andalus but ponder what of its legacy was good and what was bad. Had it not been for its dark side, al-Andalus would have never ceased to exist.

Among the greatest lessons al-Andalus teaches is the nobility of toleration and harmonious coexistence between peoples and faiths. But it also narrates a tale of oppression and genocide that must be told to the world. Today, the Spanish and Portuguese governments have changed and taken praiseworthy stances toward Muslims in their countries. They have also opened the Inquisitorial files. A modern Tunisian scholar tells of going to Spanish municipalities and requesting their Inquisitorial records. In some cases, women officials would bring them to him and hand them over with tears in their eyes, asking the Muslims to forgive them. The history of al-Andalus also shows the absolute necessity of unity and cooperation: a lesson we refuse to learn. Our fledgling Muslim communities in Spain, Britain, and America are as divided as they are small and the nation states of the Muslim world are no better. Indeed, they sometimes work against each other in a manner that would have shocked even the “petty factional kings” [muluk at-tawa’if] of al-Andalus.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Examples of how he was like the Quran

Examples of how he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was like the Quran

Previously we have spoken about the greatness of the character of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and we want to comment on the narration of Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) when she stated that the Prophet’s (May Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) character was like the Quran. Now we wish to look deeply into this by showing some examples.


From Hadith:
In the hadith Gibril (upon him peace) he asked, “Inform me about faith.” He replied, “It is to believe in Allah, his angels, his books, his Messengers, the last day and to believe in the divine decree; the good and the bad.”

From Quran

“Messenger believes in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and the believers; each one believes in God and His angels, and in His Books and His Messengers; we make no division between any one of His Messengers. They say, ’We hear, and obey. Our Lord, grant us Thy forgiveness; unto Thee is the homecoming.” The Heffer 2:285


From Quran
“The people will question thee concerning the Hour. Say: ’The knowledge of it is only with God; what shall make thee know? Haply the Hour is nigh.” The Clans 33:63

From Hadith

Also in the same narration Gibril (upon him peace) he asked, “Inform me about the hour.” He replied, “The questioner does not know more than the questioned.” (Muslim 1/36, Abu Dawood 5/69 4695, Ibn Majah 1/24 and Ahmed 1/51)


From Quran
“O’ Messenger, convey all that has been sent down to you from your Lord. If you do not, then you shall not have conveyed His message (at all). Allah shall protect you from the people. Surely, Allah does not lead the disbelieving people to the right path.” The Table Spread 5:67

From Hadith

After the speech given at the farewell pilgrimage he delivered a speech in which he asked, “Have I given the message?” They said, “Yes.” “O’ Allah, be my witness.” (Bukhari 1623, 1626, 6361, Muslim 98, at-Tirmidhi 1628, 2046, 2085 and Imam Ahmed 19774).


From Hadith and Quran
Abdullah ibn Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that a man said, “O’ Messenger of Allah, which sin is greatest sin according to Allah?” He replied, “To call an idol other than Allah yet he created you.” He asked, “Then which?” He replied, “To kill your child out of fear of provision.” He asked, “Then which?” He replied, “To commit fornication with your neighbour.” Then Allah send the verse, “Who call not upon another god with God, nor slay the soul God has forbidden except by right, neither fornicate, for whosoever does that shall meet the price.” The Criterion 25:68


From Quran
The Heights 7:158
“Say: ’O mankind, I am the Messenger of God to you all, of Him to whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth. There is no god but He. He gives life, and causes death. Believe then in God, and in His Messenger, the Prophet of the common folk, who believes in God and His words, and follow him; haply so you will be guided.”

From Hadith

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “I was given five things that no one was given before; I was sent to the red and the black, the Earth was purified place of prostration for me, I was given victory over my enemy through fear over a month’s travelling distance and I can partake in the spoils of war. It was said, ask and it is given and my intercession is concealed from my nation.” Muslim 521 and Ad-Dayrami 2468


From Quran
“Then let them laugh a little: they will weep much, as the reward of what they used to earn.” (Repentance 9:82)

From Hadith

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) said, “If you knew what I know; you would’ve laughed less and cried much.” Tabarani


From Quran
“Warn your relatives.” (The Poets 26:214)

From Hadith

Ibn Abbas said that when this was sent down the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) when onto the mount of Safa and warned his tribe. (Dalial An-Nabuwwa Imam Al-Bayhaqi p.64 Vol 1)

See Previous article on this...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Seven Awliya of Marrakesh

The word Marrakesh was known to come from two words Murra and Kesh. Mura meaning to pass by and Kesh meaning quickly. It was given this name due to the amount of thieves that were active in the area. Never did I possess an inclination to visit this city until I read about the seven Awliya of Marrakesh then from that moment I was determined to visit them.

What is a Wali? Who are the Awliya?

Awliya is plural of the word Wali. A Wali is someone who is blessed with a rank among the Muslims that only religious folk can understand.We have three levels of Wali.
1. The average believer
2. The special Muslim
3. The elite.
A wali can be either level 2 or 3.

They are people who Allah has blessed with a special rank amongst the Muslims in their time. This level is nothing like Prophethood but is a level that a person can be blessed with. Prophethood is a rank that is sealed and closed by our Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). For prophetic proof that there can be wali or awliya look to hadith about whoever declares war against my wali; I (Allah) declare war on him.

Morocco, like other countries, is a place filled with the graves of such men but this rank is not limited to men. The female Awilya are hidden unlike their male counterparts. There are Awliyas who are hidden for a reason, even in our time.

So why pray at their graves?

For a start we are not praying to THEM we are seeking their aid in our supplication. When one of the Awliya says ameen to your supplications it carries a weight that you cannot add on your own. We remember someone mentioning that they supplicated at the grave of an author of a particular text that they were having trouble with. After the supplication they found that they had no problem with the text.

The famous aesthetic called Ma’rrof Al-Kharki (may Allah be pleased with him) grave is known is the tested elixir/Triaq Al-Mujarab as many people have supplicated to Allah in its vicinity and seen it accepted.

Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (may Allah be pleased with him) had an ailment in his arm which no doctor could treat. He went to Ma’rrof’s grave and wiped his arm upon his grave and his arm was healed. So the visiting of graves of the Awliya is something that has been done for centuries.

Unfortunately, in some countries unislamic practices have become prevalent like fairs, dancing and other acts of ignorance. This type of behaviour is of course wrong and the sacredness of these places needs to be maintained.

The Awliya, in the grave, experience a breeze from paradise according to the hadith and if you visit a well known Awliya you should experience tranquillity. So don’t you think that your supplication will be different when it is done within the proximity of the breeze of Paradise?

Famous Awilya

Try it yourself, go to a grave of a well known Awliya and pray to Allah (the Exalted).You should know the difference and you should realise in your heart that these places are different to other graves.

So amongst the famous Awliya of Morocco are the Seven Awliya of Marrakesh. These are seven men who shone in their times as lights of guidance because of the blessings that Allah (the Exalted) showered upon them.

Imam Jazouli

Is one of the most famous of the Seven Awliya as he is writer of the book Dalail Al-Khairat. Who wrote this after witnessing a girl invoke supplications upon the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and scoop some water out a well that was totally empty previously.

See more on Imam Jazuli here

The story behind Dalial Al-Khairat

Each Wali has a secret and Imam Jazuli’s secret was invoking supplications upon the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).

Imam Suhayli

Was one of the great Maliki jurists and scholars of his time. He wrote many works that benefited the Muslims including Raud Al-Unuf which is an invaluable work on the Sirah of Ibn Hisham. His secret was knowledge and through this he served the Muslim Ummah.

His grave can be found outside the city walls. Where you will see this sign and his name on a wall, when you enter a walled graveyard and walk towards the other side of it you will see a masjid like structure and the Imam is buried there.

Qadi Iyyad

Some people will be familiar with the book As-Shifa bi tarif Al-Huquq Al-Mustafa/The Remedy by realising the rights of the Chosen one. This work of love towards the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) which has transcended and filled many hearts with love for the final Messenger (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).

He was a scholar and Prophetic narration expert. His secret was love towards the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).

Sidi Abu l-Abbas As-Sabti

One of his founding principles was al-wujud yanfa ilu bi'l-jud which very roughly means existence moves through generosity or existance is in motion through generosity.

His secret was the giving of charity he was known to give whatever he had to whoever asked. He once gave the shirt off his back to someone who asked and waited in the cold. Then unexpectedly the ruler sent ten sets of clothing to him.

Sidi Abdulaziz Al-Tebaa

Who was one of the leading students of Imam Jazouli and worked to proliferate spiritualism in Morocco. Even though his secret was not told to me it appears that it was a service to the spritual path and his teacher.

His biography can be found here

A picture of his grave

Sidi Abdullah Al-Ghazwani

Was one the students of Sidi Abdulaziz and he worked further to disseminate the spiritual path. His secret may have been service to the Muslims and the spiritual path. For some unknown reason none of our party took a photo.

A picture of his grave can be found here.

Sidi Yusuf ibn Ali

He was not known for his learning. He was instead known for his patience and acceptance of the divine decree. He had leprosy and would lose parts of himself which made people flee from him in fear of contracting the disease. He would seclude himself from the people and invoke Allah (the Exalted) through his patience he was given a great blessing.

His seclusion was a small building in which there was an underground room in which he spent his days and where he was buried. Despite having this disease he would throw parties when he would lose a body part.

He was an exemplar of accepting the divine decree and this was his secret patience and acceptance.

Each Wali has a secret in which they can approach Allah (the Exalted) by performing a specific action frequently.

This is not the same for all people as you have seen from the Awilya above each one has a different in which he approaches. Remembrance of the divine and serving the Muslim nation are one of many doors.

We had intended to write more but unfortunately due to time constraints this was not possible but this will suffice for the meantime. Anyone who desires to visit Morocco should consider going to Marrakesh and visiting these men. And if you do then don’t forget that you should make your supplications and leave. Rather than hanging around, as there are lots of crazy things going on (in Marrakesh not at the graves)! So pay your respects and move on, Fez is another place full of Awliya.

For Gps location of the seven awliya  please click here with thanks to Junaid and Yaqub

 With belated thanks to Hamza W. and Ibrahim.

If you wish to visit these places then please see attached links:

Who are the Awilyah?
Please click here

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Discovering the Ottomans By llber Ortayli

This was a book that I picked up whilst browsing in a book store a few months ago. History is one of my favourite subjects and I like to delve into the past every now and then. Sometimes looking back is difficult because of the things that have occurred and sometimes it is interesting because the past can indicate to the future, as well as explaining the present.

The book is aimed at the average Turk who is ambivalent to the great Ottoman past. The author makes a real effort in trying to engage the reader into looking into this past and bringing out its many jewels.

The Europeans had been telling the Ottoman Empire that it was outdated for many years. When the empire ‘fell’ at the hands of the Mustafa Kamel, he re-enforced this idea. What then spread was a rabid type of secularism much like what we see today in Turkey. Islam was pushed into the background as other government systems and policies were sought.

Ilber paints a picture of an Istanbul that you would love to be in. He speaks about the family unit, how they used to be together and united. He speaks with great nostalgia about the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. This really encourages the reader to look back at the Ottoman heritage and ponder is there something that they have missed?

Turkish people must wonder why they have so many visitors to Istanbul. Why are they coming? What are they going to see?

He ends with something that had a profound effect on me, “As writers, educated people and ordinary citizens, the Turkish people are expects at misunderstanding and misinterpreting the Ottoman Empire, and believing that things were the exact opposite of the way they actually were. Let us hope that we will make up for this in the future.”

Turkish people should be rightly proud of the Ottoman Empire as the greatest manifestation of the Islamic caliphate system. It is not without truth that the Ottoman Empire was the single longest lasting caliphate, some six hundred years.

Misunderstanding the past is not just a Turkish problem we as Muslims need to accept the blame as well. Just about every country that was occupied by European or Western forces, sing this same refrain, that Islam is backwards etc. If that was true then the West is backwards as well because the basis for the Western system of almost everything lies with Islam! So they are actually calling themselves backward as well!

So read your history start with life story of the Beloved (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) then read selected works that have been recommended to you by someone who has read them.

This book is a good place to begin to understand the legacy of Islam and the most successful manifestation of this was the Ottoman Empire.

(The picture is the grave of Muhammad Al-Fatih or Mehmet; the famous Ottoman Sultan (may Allah show him mercy)).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Geoffrey Chaucer’s debt to Islam

Geoffrey Chaucer’s debt to Islam

Is the title unbelievable? Well the truth is stranger than fiction and in this case because of the truth there would be no fiction! Chaucer is described as one of the most important figures in English language. Here are some interesting quotes that you should consider.

“Geoffrey Chaucer is remembered as the author of Canterbury Tales, which ranks as one of the greatest epic works of world literature. Chaucer made a crucial contribution to the English literature in writing in English at a time when much court poetry was still composed in Anglo-Norman or Latin.” (

“Lilius Giraldus, one of the foremost humanists of Italy, in a survey of European letters, recognises the eminence of Chaucer in English.” (

“He is called the great translator.” (ibid)

There is a more tenable or tangible link to his work and we shall explore here. He was well educated and well travelled in a time in which the renaissance was flourishing innovating thought in Europe.

“In 1387, he began his most famous work, 'The Canterbury Tales', in which a diverse group of people recount stories to pass the time on a pilgrimage to Canterbury.” (


His sources claim to be: “Chaucer took his narrative inspiration for his works from several sources, such as the Romance of the Rose by Guillaume de Loris, Ovid's poems, and such Italian authors as Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio.” (

Giovanno Boccoccio is a famous author and his major work was the Decameron which is a work that contains one hundred stories. Also look at Dante’s work the Divine Comedy which is work that was influenced by hadith and the stories found in Islam.

To understand this we need to realise that it was Italy not Spain that was where the renaissance brought Europe to life. This was due to them being open to trade with the Islamic world and also the openness of receiving ideas from the Muslim world. Despite Islam being present in Spain it did not transfer as much knowledge to Europe as Italy did.

So even these Italian links mean that they were direct influences from the Islamic world but hang on there isn't there an even more interesting link?


Chaucer wrote a treatise on the Astrolabe for his son and used Arabic terms in it. Why? Because that was the language of science!

“But natheles suffise to the these; trewe conclusions in Englissh as wel as sufficith; to these noble clerkes Grekes these; same conclusions in Grek; and to Arabiens; in Arabik, and to Jewes in Ebrew, and to; Latyn folk in Latyn; whiche Latyn folk had hem first out of othere dyverse langages, and writen hem in her owne tunge, that is to seyn,in Latyn.” (Part one p.29-36)

Here are the Arabic terms and their equivalent Latin terms:
Alkab Iota Aurigae
Alpheta Alpha Corona Borealis
Alramih Arcturus
Alkaid Eta Ursae Majoris
K.Alasad Alpha Leonis
Algomisa Procyon
Alhabor Sirius
Alghul Beta Persei
Alnath Beta Tauri
Markab Alpha Pegasi
Alradif Delta Cephei
Alnasir Alpha Andromedae

He must have known Arabic or else he could not have used Arabic terms this is the proof. If he had not known the terms then he could not have used them!

The astrolabe is an Islamic invention by Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Fazari (d. 796 or 806).

1001 nights

There is at least a tangible link to his work and the Islamic legacy. 1001 nights was a famous text, by Masudi, that Europeans were reading and as they had not read anything like it it had an influence on Europe that we cannot imagine. Mostly the influence was upon the literature that was written subsequent to the reading of this text.

Look at the similarities between the Canterbury tales and 1001 nights. Both have a grand narrative that runs separately alongside other short stories. In 1001 nights we have the King and his wife Scheherazade as the story runs alongside the other stories that are told in it.

In the Canterbury tales we have the Monks on their way to Canterbury amusing each other with stories. Is that just coincidence?


We consider there to be more than a tangible link to Islamic/Arab culture in the Canterbury tales. In fact if there was no link then there would be no Canterbury tales and if there was no Canterbury tales then there would be no English literature and there would no luminaries like Shakespeare or Dickens. Ponder the fact that all English root meanings are sourced from words in Middle English the very time of Chaucer. Look in any good dictionary or many online dictionaries and you will see them source almost all words from Middle English. They had no dictionaries in the West until Islam came and taught them the meanings of words! It was only then that they began to write down the meaning and thus they began to preserve their language.

The whole cause of western literature a direct result of the book that was sent to a Prophet who dwelled in vast desert plains. The book was the first book in the history of Arabs because they had no books until the Quran came and as a direct result nowhere else had books like the Muslims did. The influence developed into books on Islam and literature which then gave birth to 1001 nights. This influence ran into Europe and into the books that we have now, because people like Chaucer who was directly influenced by works of Islam.

So even though some fools burn our book, its because of our book that they have books or else they would not have any books to burn!!

Canterbury cathedral

Look at this pulpit and tell me how it looks like a minbar.

Look at this roof and tell me that there is no Islamic influence.

Habib Umar Ibn Hafiz

Various parts of Tazikah series
Part two

Part five

Part six

Part seven

Part eight

Part nine

Monday, October 04, 2010

Still want to pray at home?

One of my most shameful moments as a Muslim was when I saw something in Turkey that I will never forget. I was outside Masjid Al-Fath where, close by, the great Ottoman leader Muhammad Al-Fatih is buried.

Then I saw something that will stay with me forever. The call to prayer was being made and there were people entering the Masjid then out of the corner of my eye I saw a man in a wheelchair. Approaching the stone steps there was no lift or any ramp that he could use to allow him to enter the masjid. He had one complete arm and the rest of his limbs where amputated. He was able to move out of the wheelchair using his stumps and onto the floor before the stairs.

These stone steps are about eight or nine inches in height and there were at least forty or maybe even fifty steps. Forty cold stone steps without a rail on either side. This man proceeded to use his stumps and his complete limb to climb up the stairs as best as he could. Within a very short space of time he reached the top and entered the masjid. At the bottom of the stairs there man who put his wheelchair into a place that it would not move.

I was really shocked about this event and it made me want to find him. I went up the same set of stairs but there was no more room. So I entered the masjid from the other entrance and I looked for him but I was unable to find him because of the amount of people there. After the prayer I went to the other entrance but I could not find him. A short while later I saw him go down the stairs as he went up then crawl back into his wheelchair and leave.

I was ashamed to speak to him and what would’ve I have said? When I sit at home and don’t attend the congregational prayers out of laziness. What could I say? Do I have an excuse? He has an excuse to pray at home and I do not have any excuse. Do we know how it feels to have such great trouble in taking one step. Have we ever felt that every step we take is like a mountain?

Even writing this and contemplating is making me ashamed. How lazy I am and how great is this man.

In Arabic the word for man is Rajal which comes from the word Rijal meaning leg. So they say a man is he stands upright on his legs but this man was more of a man than most of us.