The monthly word Dhul-hijjah 1428
Refining Character and Rectifying Thought
By: Al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz, Director, Dar al-Mustafa for the Islamic Sciences (Tarim, Yemen)
Translated by: Khalil Abu Asmaa (of www.ReflectOnThis.com)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
PRAISE BE TO ALLAH, Lord of the Worlds. May Allah send blessings and peace upon his servant, the chosen and trustworthy one (al-Mustafa al-Amin), our master Muhammad, the one sent as a mercy to all the worlds, as a warner and a giver of glad tidings, a caller to Allah—with His permission—and a light-giving lamp.
Oh Allah, continuously send Your blessings upon Your chosen servant, the deliverer of humanity from the darknesses and misguidances of shirk (associating partners with God), criminality (ijram), division (shatat), separation from You, and all that which necessitates perpetuity in Your anger. [And may such blessings and peace] be upon his family and companions and all those who tread his path. To proceed:
To our brethren from the members of this religion and the way of truth (Deen al-Haqq) in all the regions [of the world]: We send well-wishes for the blessed Eid al-Adha. May Allah make it of the most blessed Eid’s for us and for the nation of His Prophet Muhammad (may Allah send blessings and peace upon him, his family, and his companions altogether).
In the monthly word for this blessed month of Dhul-Hijjah (1428) we would like to draw attention to two main points: refining character (tahdhib al-suluk) and rectifying thought (taqwim al-fikr). This is because what is received and what is met with in the educational system, in the society at large, and in private gatherings, has proven to be be insufficient in preventing people from being overwhelmed by bad characteristics, outbursts (of passion, etc.), and the causes of corruption (fisq) and dissoluteness (fujur) that emanate from the nafs (lower-self) and from the satanic notions of both men and jinn.
[This is happening] at a time in which there is a densification of that which calls to disintegration (inhilal) and disturbance (ikhtilal), to being carried away with chasing after the causes of decline and ruin, and to being overwhelmed by egotism, greed, and vain desire. [This densification is also taking place with regards to] that which promotes malice, hatred, and the use of deception and trickery in order to obtain selfish goals. At the same time, the obligation of the refinement of character and the rectification [of thought] has become crippled, weakened, or even ignored in the lives of many of us, the Muslim nation.
As a direct result of this, there has been a thrust in the presentation of things written, heard, and seen, causing a crookedness in [character] and conceptualization (tasawwur) and thought (fikr). Both of these matters—that which concerns character and thought—are threatened with great harms, if ignored, and are directly related to the present state of the ummah, which will have an impact on the various aspects of its life, as well as on the affairs of this world and those things that happen in it.
Therefore, this reality must remain actively present in the minds of those in positions of responsibility and the people of intellect and wisdom, as well as anyone that has the power to influence with noble and goodly means. They should constantly be aware of this obligation—one that the ummah is in dire need of—in order to protect the strongholds of this Deen, to fill the gaps of those that wish to corrupt, and to contribute to averting atrocious and disastrous harms from reaching the ummah.
Even though this obligation is not limited to a particular time, there is a greater opportunity during school holidays—specifically with regards to the younger generation. This is an opportunity to sit with them, speak with them, and to organize their time in order to converse with them in a goodly and balanced manner, one that is comprehensive and effective and addresses their convictions, minds, and hearts.
We wanted to remind [everyone] to take advantage of these holiday times concerning these two areas [i.e., the refinement of character and the rectification of thought]. There are many ways in which this can be done, such as dialogues, beneficial gatherings, selecting the right kind of books and tapes [and other recorded material for their edification], organizing halaqah’s, and [providing] various types of teachers and sitting companions.
We would also like to call attention to the fact that it is necessary to see Eid al-Adha as a ripe time to spread the realization of brotherhood, friendship, and love between families and societies, and to bring life to the meanings of Eid that are related to our final destination [the Hereafter] and rejoicing in the forgiveness of God, the Almighty, and His manifesting of vast generosity during this great Hajj season, during which the Eid itself occurs (after the standing on ‘Arafah), along with those things that the Sunnah has informed us of from those divine outpourings [of mercy]. All this is in order that the emotions of the upcoming generation, and the Muslim society [in general], may be focused on the lofty goals of life and how the Muslims are unique in their view of holidays from amongst all the other non-Muslim groups, specifically with regard to how the latter have fallen short of benefiting from this loftier view that is connected with the very nobility of humanity itself and the final and serious destination—matters of permanence, perpetuity, and eternity.
Hence, the holidays (eids) of the people of this religion are connected with salvation from those things that necessitate the ‘great punishment’ and the anger of the Overwhelming (al-Jabbar), the Most High (al- A’ala), along with a hope for attaining His forgiveness and good pleasure, as well as the causes for abiding in His proximity with His beloved and purified ones. Not to mention what the Eid contains of reminders of the good and blessed efforts that are expended in the sphere of noble service to humanity, dedication to high moral principles, and all other such elevated reminders.
We ask the Truth (al-Haqq), Blessed and Exalted is He, to bring life to these meanings in the hearts of the ummah; to make this from the causes for the removal of the tribulations and hardships that have befallen it; to free us from the evils that have seized it; and to change our state to the best of states.
May Allah, the Exalted, make us of those whom He grants long lives in His obedience, under His good pleasure, those whom—during their long lives—He shows a change to what is better on the pages of the condition of the ummah, a removal of affliction, a gathering of the hearts, and sincere truthfulness with Him, Glorified and Exalted is He. He is the knower of the unseen.
May Allah send blessings and peace upon our master Muhammad, his family, and companions. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds.