Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Khusyu' in Solah (MM 27/4/08)

Muniatul Musolli 27 Apr 2008

There is a hadith regarding being prudent with solah:

A person who takes care of his solah, and pays attention to the rukuns, the solah will ascend from him radiating and shining. And it will say to him: “Allah has taken care of you just like you have taken care of me.”
Another person who takes his solah lightly, the solah will ascend from him all dark and gloomy and will say: “Allah has disregarded you just like you disregarded me.” And the solah will be rolled up just like piece of rags, then smacked to his face.

It also said in a hadith that in a solah, the bodily movement and limbs have to be steady. One has to always be in focus and humble. Once Nabi Muhammad (saw) noticed a sahabah (companion) stroking his beard in solah. So Nabi (saw) said to another companion:

If that man is focused in his solah, his limbs should be focused as well.

So focus (khusyu’) is a perfection of solah.

It has been relayed to us that some of the sahabahs were so engrossed in their solah that passing birds perched on their person. This was because they stood firmly, they bowed and prostrated lengthily that birds thought they were fenceposts.

Another story related to us that some companion of the Prophet (saw) would said to his wife and little children:

Once I start doing my solah, talk and yell as you want because I wouldn’t be bothered (by anything else).

Another of the Prophet’s (saw) companion performed solah in his date orchard. A bird flew from a tree to another, and he started looking in fascination. Later he became conscious of his carelessness and he became very upset, so he gave away that orchard in charity.

Those were the habit of salafussoleh (the excellent generation of early Islamic era) who were awed by the greatness of solah. Indeed the status of solah is very high by Allah and His prophet (saw).

Remarked Ustaz Zakaria:

  • Khusyu’ does not come by itself. We have to work for it by way of daily ‘wirid’ and ‘ratib’ (rememberance of Allah) .
  • Khusyu’ is in the heart, and a hardened heart will not achieve khusyu’. We scrape away the plague of the heart with special wirids. These are tariqah wirids that have established silsilah.

Today Ustaz Zakaria also handed down special wirid to fight off disease and sickness. This wirid is to be recited daily.

Wallahu a'lam

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Arguments for Twenty Sifats (RT 27/4/08)

Risalah Tauhid 27 Apr 2008

Dalils -‘Aqli and -Naqli regarding the Twenty Sifats

Note: Dalils mean ‘proofs’ or ‘evidence’. ‘‘Aqli’ means ‘by reason’ while ‘Naqli’ means ‘by revelation‘. Dalil ‘Aqli refers to proofs that we deduce by reasoning. Dalil Naqli refers to proof that is beyond human intelligence, but relayed to us by means of Al-Quran and ahadith.

Make it known that it is compulsory for each Muslim to produce a general Dalil ‘Aqli on the sifats (characteristics) of God.While it is compulsory for a Muslim community to have at least one person who is able to describe a Dalil ‘Aqli for each sifat in detail. This is also the rule for responsibility of bringing about Dalil Naqli of God’s charateristics.

A ‘general’ Dalil refers to the ability to establish simple proof s of God’s characteristics. Example: ‘God exists’ is proven by His creation of this world. However this is a straightforward evidence, and cannot be used to substantiate an argument.

As opposed to a ‘general’ one, a ‘detailed’ Dalil is strong enough to refute a wrong allegation. And it is able to shed light on certain doubt. A Detailed Dalil is a statement that contains an ‘introduction’ and a ‘conclusion’, which we will explain later.

A Detailed Dalil is also known as ‘Burhan’.

So a Burhan establishes each of God’s characteristics, and refutes the opposition.

Some conclusions from Ustaz Zakaria:

  • We want to have faith that is accompanied by proofs, not faith by following other prople blindly.
  • Some ‘ulama have said: ‘The beginning of deen (religion), is getting to know God’
  • Islamic knowledge has many branches. If we study many of them, but have left out Tauhid, Fiqh, and Tasawwuf, then we are still sinful.
  • Once we master the Detailed Dalil, we achieve a higher station of faith – ‘’Ilmul Yaqin’.
Wallahu a'lam

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sifats Mustahil (RT 13/4/08)

Risalah Tauhid 13 Apr 2008

Continuing with sifats mustahil for God:

11. Somam

Means deaf. The notion that God is deaf, or unable to hear certain things is rejected.

12. ‘Amma
Means blind. This is rejected. Allah is all-seing.

Means mute. This is also rejected because God speaks. He speaks without words, voice, or tongue.

14. Kaunuhu-‘Aajizan
Means his condition is ‘weak’. This is totally untrue as explained under ‘’Ajzun’. From now, we reiterate the previous sifats under different perspective - ‘Kaunuhu’ which means ‘his condition’.

15. Kaunuhu-Kaarihan
Means his condition that is ‘without will’ or ‘forced’. This has been rejected as described in ‘Karahiyyah’.

16. Kaunuhu-Jaahilan
Means his condition is ‘without knowledge’. This is totally untrue.

17. Kaunuhu-Maiyyitan
Means his condition is ‘dead’. This is also untrue.

18. Kaunuhu-‘Asomma
Means his condition is ‘deaf’. This is also totally untrue.

19. Kaunuhu-A’ma
Means his condition is ‘blind’. This is also totally untrue.

20. Kaunuhu-Abkam
Means his condition is ‘mute’. This is also totally untrue. God speaks and has speech (Al-Kalam).

Up to this point, we've explained the 'MUST HAVE' and 'NEVER HAVE' sifats of God. Next is the 'MAY HAVE' sifat.

The ‘POSSIBLE’ sifat of Allah Ta’ala

There is only one such sifat under this category – Sifat Harus. He is under no obligation to ‘do’ something or ‘not do’ it. Indeed Allah Ta’ala is the supreme ruler of his dominion. It is up to Him to make something good or bad. Even something bad has a justice side to it, as we understand from what He says in the Qur’an surah Fussilat ayat 46:

And your God (O’ Muhammad) is never a tyrant to his servants.

This means those who have not sinned will not be punished.

Added Ustaz Zakaria: If we start to label certain affliction as 'bad', that means we accuse God as being incompetent. And we ask Allah's protection from making such accusation.

Wallahu a'lam

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sifats Mustahil (RT6/4/08)

Risalah Tauhid 6 April 2008

We continue with sifats mutahil for God insyaAllah.

7. 'Ajzun
Which means weak. This is opposed to 'Al-Qudrah'. It is impossible that God is weak. If he was, then he would've been incapable to create all things.

8. Karahiyyah
Means ‘undesired’ or ‘forced’. In this context, we refer to God who did something without his own desire. This is impossible, because God has ‘iradah’, which we already defined as ‘God wills’.

As an example, he created this world (or anything else) with full reason. To stress this further:

  • It is impossible that God created this world unwillingly.
  • It is impossible that God created this world and then he forgets about it.
  • It is impossible that God created this world while he’s in ignorance of it.
  • It is impossible that this world is created as a cause of something else.
  • It is impossible that this world is created as a by-product of something else (incidental or accidental).

Make it known that ‘forget’ is defined as ‘you know it once, then time makes you lose the knowledge’. While ‘ignorance’ means ‘you have never had that knowledge’.

Said Ustaz Zakaria: Studying religion is a form of jihad (holy war) because sometimes you have to push your brain to the limit to understand a lesson.

9. Jahl
Means ‘lack of knowledge’. This in untrue. Further it is impossible that God even had the following ‘unsure’ characteristics:

  • Syak - 50-50 situation; maybe or maybe not.
  • Dzonn – 80-20; his surety is more than not.
  • Waham – 20-80; his surety is less.

10. Maut
Dead. It is totally untrue that God is dead. He is alive even though He does not breathe, eat or drink.

Wallahu a'lam

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Be Prudent with Solah (MM 13/4/08)

Munyatul Musolli 13 April 2008

Said Hasan Basri (rh): Those who performs solah but his heart is somewhere else, then he is closer to torture of Jahannam.

It is also said in a hadith that we gather as follows:

Reward in a solah for a (God's) servant is not much more than how long he is in presence with his God.

So it is said that when a muslim performs solah, it is written only 1/6, or sometimes not even 1/10 of the reward. On the other hand, it is also promised that another muslim who is totally immersed in his solah will reap the full reward.

O people who crave sweeteness of communicating with God, may God’s mercy be upon you. So work hard to attain khusyu’ in your solah:

  • Be sincere that your solah is for God alone.
  • Understand and pay attention to all recitations. Do not hasten them.
  • Be firm in your ruku’, sujud and toma’ninah. Do not hasten them and make yourselves look like a chicken pecking on its feed.

Solah is not valid without toma’ninah. What we understand from a hadith:

Those who are not khusyu’ in their solah, and who hasten their ruku’ and sujud are the worst of thieves.

Wallahu a'lam

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Pondok Hj Salleh Sik 11 Apr 2008

Overwhelming turnout at Haji Salleh's lesson. Can't say people don't go to traditional lessons anymore can we? People overflowed the prayer hall. They were sitting under the pondoks, rambutan trees, in the stalls... Mothers fanning their babies under the shade... The olds with their "jawi" kitabs while the young ones with the "rumi" version.

The syaikh read 2 kitabs: Tafsir Nurul Ihsan and Aqidatun-Najin (Tauhid).

Kitab Tafsir Nurul Ihsan

During the Day of Judgement, there'll be a group called 'Ashabul-A'raf'. They're sitting at this place where they can see people in Paradise (Ashabul-Jannah) as well as the people in Hell (Ashabun-Naar). They look at those in Paradise, and see their faces glowing with delight. Then they turn to look at those in Hell, whose faces are dark with sorrow.

They are prevented from entering Jannah, yet they are not in Naar. Only after some time Allah says 'GO', and they are admitted into Jannah with his mercy.

Ulama of old differed on who 'Ashabul-A'raf' are. The more established opinion is that these are the people who committed virtue and vice in the same ratio in their lifetime. They did both good and bad.

Kitab Aqidatun-Najin

One of the twenty sifats God has is 'hayyat' - which is 'alive'. This is important for us to establish since without it, the other sifats ma'ani (sama', basor etc) would not be of any impact.

Kitab Bahrul-Mazi

Syaikh Haji Salleh's son Mohammad Muslim gave the commentary (syarah). It is a common neglect these days to follow guidelines in choosing a husband/wife. Among the advise given by ulama as concluded in this kitab:

  • Choose the one without physical defects.
  • Choose the one who belong to the same ethnic group to reduce chance for cultural conflicts.
  • A person who obeys Allah is not compatible with a person who is defiant.
  • Choose the one within the same profession. Examples: Family of someone who sweeps the street is not compatible with family of a tailor. A tailor is not compatible with a businessperson, a businessperson is not compatible with a religious scholar.
  • Wealth does not count as a factor because people with knowledge tend to not show off their wealth.
Mentioning the above criteria would invite controversy these days, but they would serve as a guide for most people.

Wallahu a'lam

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sifats Mustahil (RT 30/3/08)

Risalah Tauhid 30 March 2008

5. Ikhtiaj-ilal-ghair
Means 'reliance on other things'. It is impossible that God is in need of others because He is sufficient by itself.
Said Ustaz Zakaria: On the other hand, all things in need of God for their existence.

6. Al-la-yakuna-wahidan
Means 'God is not singular'. This is mustahil. In fact we learned previously that he possesses quality of 'Al-wahdaniah' . God is one in being, and there is no other like Him. He is not even a combination of multiple instances.

Said Ustaz Zakaria:

  • A human being is is not singular in essence since it consists of the 4 elements: water, wind, fire, earth. Nor he is singular in parts; there's head, arms, leg etc.
  • Ulama of old had a saying: God is not 'tiered', 'layered', or 'cascaded' in being.
  • We must learn these 'sifats mustahil' to avoid attributing something false to Allah.
On unrelated matter, Ustaz Zakaria added:
  • What made Allah ignored welfare of our society these days? Because we have stopped practising ways that He commanded to us.
  • It is permissible for a man to wear a bracelet for medicinal purposes. A hadith that said Rasulullah (saw) specifically disallowed men wearing bracelet should be taken in the right context. During that time, people believed that bracelet or amulet in itself cured disease. In the present time, we wear bracelet (with medicinal properties) as a mean, yet we believe Allah cures the disease. The concept is no different than swallowing tablets to cure a headache. Bear in mind that fiqh rulings are never made to make life difficult.

Wallahu a'lam

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Sifats Mustahil (RT 2/3/08)

Risalah Tauhid 2 March 2008

The 'impossible to have' attributes of God

It is obligatory to know the sifats that shall never be attributed to God. While in previous lessons whe learned the 20 sifats that God must have (sifats wajib), now we about to learn the 20 sifats God is completely free of (sifats mustahil).

A muslim has to be able to identify this one by one. It is serious error if one fails to do so, and is liable to be labeled as an unbeliever (kafir). In comparison, if one fails to follow a fiqh (jurispundence) ruling correctly, he is merely labeled sinful.

1. 'Adam
Means 'non-existent'. It is impossible (mustahil) that God does not exist.

2. Huduth
Means 'new'. It does not make sense to say God only came to existence recently. In fact God had no beginning (as we learned before this).

3. Thuru-wul-'Adam
Means 'desist from existence'. It is impossible that God will die off.

4. Al-mumathalatul-hawadith
Means 'similar to those that are new (created)'. Unlike all things created, God is not a bodily matter, nor has a place or dimension. He is not big or small in size or anything comparable to its creations. God doesn't take benefit from the things He created, and He created things not because He needs to derive benefit from them.

Said Ustaz Zakaria:

  • Nowadays people tend to spot wrongdoings committed by others, while overlook their own.
  • Those teaching religious lessons should stress the danger of being ignorant in Ilm Tauhid.
Wallahu a'lam

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Terms and What They Mean #2

Reference table #2 to assist readers with the words. Next time you need to refer, just click on "Glossary of Terms" label to the right.

Group of people. Ashabul-A'raf = 'Those (group of people) on the elevated place'
AsrAsarOne of the 5 daily solahs. Performed after noon.
DalilDaleelProof, evidence, citation, argument.
Dalil 'Aqli
Proof by reason or intelligence.
Dalil Naqli
Proof by citing arguments from divine sources (al-Quran or hadith).
Isya'IsyakOne of the 5 daily solahs. Performed after the sun has completely set.
Full of concentration
One of the 5 daily solahs. Performed exactly after sunset.
As opposed to Muafiq.
A person who is able to complete al-Fatihah recital before the imam ruku's.
Someone who performs solah alone, not in congregation.
Same meaning with wirid.
SilsilahSalasilahChain of transmission. Usually presented to establish authenticity of a wirid or ratib.
One of the 5 daily solahs. Performed before sunrise.
Recite the words carefully and in full understanding.
TarawihTaraweehOptional (sunnah) solah done during nights of Ramadan.
TariqahTariqatSufi order.Among the famous ones are Naqsyabandiah, Rafi'iyyah, Ahmadiyyah, Syaziliah, Syatariah.
Sitting after the 2 sujuds at selected raka'ahs of solah. The first tasyahhud is always during the 2nd raka'ah. While the final tasyahhud is during 3rd or 4th raka'ah. Sometimes a person joins the congregation late, so he ends up with more than 2 tasyahhuds.
The method of sitting during final tasyahhud, where both legs are folded backwards. The left then is crossed and inserted underneath the right. The posterior ends up on the floor. The body inclines slightly to the left.
WiridWirdSupplementary prayers or chant recited outside of solah. Usually recited for specific purposes.
WitirWitrOptional (sunnah) solah done after Isya'.
ZuhurZuhr, ZohorOne of the 5 daily solahs. Performed at midday.

Wallahu a'lam.

Sunnah Hi'ah (MM 6/4/08)

Munyatul Musolli 6 April 2008

Continuing with sunnah hi'ahs in solah:

16. It is sunnah to say the tasbih "Subhana-robbiyal-'Azimi-wabihamdih" 3x in ruku'. For a munfarid (someone who prays alone), there is a lengthier tasbih that he can add further.

17. It is sunnah to say "Subhana-robbiyal-A'la-wabihamdih" 3x in each sujud.

18. It is sunnah to say "Sami-'Allahu-liman-hamidah" when raising the head from ruku' to return to standing position. When in proper standing (i'tidal), it is further sunnah to say "Rabbana-lakal-hamd". Again there's a lengthier optional do'a for a munfarid.

19. It is sunnah to recite the do'a qunut during i'tidal. Do'a qunut is recited for the following solahs:

  • Second raka'at of every subuh.
  • Second rakaat of witir done in the second half of Ramadan.
  • In cases of affliction or calamity to the muslim community, qunut can be recited in the last raka'at of every obligatory (the 5 daily) solahs.
20. It is sunnah to say "Rabbighfirli-warhamni-wajburni-warzuqni-wahdini-wa'afini-wa'fu'anni" in sitting between the 2 sujuds.

21. It is sunnah to recite a do'a after the final tasyahhud and salawat.

22. It is sunnah to sit in the 'tawarruk' position during the final tasyahhud.

23. It is sunnah to sit in the 'istirahah iftirasy' position during non-final tasyahhuds or sitting between 2 sujuds.

24. For all tasyahhuds, it is sunnah to place each hand on respective knee (right-on-right and likewise). The fingers should be aligned with each knee-cap. Furthermore:
  • The right palm should be clenched with 3 last fingers curled downwards. The index finger is rested forward while the thumb rests beside the index.
  • The index finger is raised to be level when tasyahhud recitation comes to "...illallah" (as in "Asyhadu-alla-ilaha-illallah"). Do not move it further and keep it leveled until completing the tasyahhud.
25. It is sunnah to look at place of sujud at all times in solah and maintain khusyu'. Furthermore:
  • Be mindful of all activities in solah
  • Do not perform unnecessary bodily movement
  • Tadabbur - pay attention to -and understand - all recitations.
Said Ustaz Zakaria: Look at place of sujud at all times, but some ulamas recommend these instead:
  • During ruku', look at your legs.
  • During sitting between sujuds, look at your knees.
26. It is sunnah to be prudent when it comes to solah. Also, do not busy oneself with worldly matters.

27. It is sunnah to picture the greatness of Allah Ta'ala while performing solah.

Keep it in yourself that a solah without without khusyu' and khudu' (concentration and humbleness) will not be of any benefit. Instead it invites Allah's wrath.

Wallahu a'lam

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Talaqqi method in Islamic Learning

Translated and adapted freely from (document by Ustaz Haji Zamihan Haji Mat Zin al-Ghari; copyright of Khazanah Diniyah)

Talaqqi learning is Islamic lesson conducted in a halaqah (small group). It is led by a qualified teacher and guided by a certain book in order to attain a certain spiritual status. It covers all aspects of Islamic knowledge in particular aqidah (creed - tauhid), syari’ah (jurispundence - fiqh), and akhlaq (manners - tasawwuf).

Allah inspired wahyu to Rasulullah (saw), who transmitted the knowledge to his companions, who in turn passed it on to the tabi’in, who coveyed it to the tabi’ tabi’in, and to the later generations. This chain was not limited to the content of lesson per se, but also included understanding, practice, and appreciation of the knowledge. This whole process is open and widespread so that there is no room for corruption.

Any deviation or corruption is easily corrected such that we have been left with a clear and true wisdom.

Talaqqi learning consists of 6 main elements:

1. The syaikh (teacher) is thoroughly knowledgable.

2. The syaikh should possess a clear chain of transmission from his syaikh until Rasulullah (saw). This would ensure originality and blessings (barakah).

3. The kitabs used are of consensus among ulama. Kitabs to be used also depend on level of learning. Examples for jurispundence (fiqh) kitabs used in Malaysia:

  1. a. Ibtida’i (preliminary level) : Kitab Perukunan (Book of Pillars), Munyatul Musolli, Safinat al-Naja etc.
  2. b. Thanawi (intermediate level): I’anah al-Tholibin, Kifayah al-Akhyar, al-Iqna’ fi Hal al-Fadz Abi Syuja’.
  3. c. ‘Alli (higher level): Hasyiatan li Umairah wa Qaliubi, Minhaj al-Thalibin, Raudhah al-Talibin etc. Students should be able to derive branch (furu’) rulings based on dalils presented.
  4. All are based on fiqh mazhab Syafi’i and evaluated through methods of Syafi’iyah ulama. Comparative fiqh (between the 4 mazhabs) also taught but not in depth.
4. Students (murid) meaning those who want the knowledge. This group of people should be committed and bound to certain learning manners (adab).

5. Place to accommodate lessons are usually owned by the syaikh. Most of the time facilities are basic due to the limited resources. The place is financed by charity (from the syaikh himself or the surrounding community).
6. Intention of study is to formulate the true muslim from the basis of true understanding.

Among the distinction talaqqi lesson has over other methods are sincerity (both syaikh and murids), length of study, selection of kitabs, and spiritual status of the syaikh.

Talaqqi lessons, as financially-challenged as they are, still gain respect due to the discipline, comprehensiveness, combination of theory and practice, blessings, and formation of good manners.

Talaqqi lesson to South-East Asian nations is like the taproot to a tree. With it, the nations have been able to weather all kinds of storms for many centuries. In Malaysia and Thailand talaqqi lessons are called “pondok”, while in Indonesia “pesantren”. “Zawiyah” and “ribat” could be the names used in other parts of the world.

Wallahu a'lam

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Terms and What They Mean

I'm including some kind of reference table here to assist the readers with the words I use. Next time you need to refer, just click on "Glossary of Terms" label to the right.

Servant. Example: Abdullah = 'Servant of Allah'
AdabAdaabThe proper way or etiquette.
AminAmeen, Amen
Invocation at the end of Al-Fatihah or do'a meaning "O God please accept".
AqidahAqeedahCreed or conviction.
Inner or hidden side of things (as opposed to Zahir).
Do'aDu'a, doaSupplication, prayer.
Fardu Ain
Obligatory thing imposed on each person. Leaving it makes it sinful.
Fardu Kifayah
Obligatory thing imposed on a community. At least one person from that community has to do it.
Defiant. Someone who regularly commits sin.
HajHajj, HajiPilgrimage to Mecca.
Not allowed.
Relaxed. Sitting in istirahah means sitting with both legs folded backwards.
I'tidalIktidalThe standing up position after returning from ruku'.
Ja'izHarusVoluntary thing that you may or may not do.
MauludMaulid, Mawlid
Birth of prophet Muhammad (saw).
Impossible. Does not make sense.
QiblahQiblatDirection of the Ka'bah in Mecca. To perform solah, one has to face the approximate direction of Ka'bah.
QiyamQiamStanding up (during solah).
A special supplication done during Subuh solah.
Bowing during solah.
Obligatory elements of solah. Skipping any of it nullifies a solah.
SolahSalah, salaah, solat, namazAction of praying or worshipping for a Muslim.
SujudsujoodProstrate during solah.
Non-obligatory things that you do in solah, zakah, or everyday life. Doing it will get you reward, but leaving it is not harmful.
Saying "Allahu Akbar" meaning "God is greater"
Takbir to signal beginning of a solah.
Takbir during transition between elements in a solah.
Following somebody else's opinion.
The white robe used by women in South-East Asia to cover during solah.
Pause or stay still between actions in solah.
Scholars or knowledgable people.
Outer or visible side of things (as opposed to Batin).

Wallahu a'lam (means "Allah knows best").

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Maulud in Jenderam 29 March 08

Saturday night Yayasan Jenderami held a maulud gathering.It was full house, people were praying outside. Masya Allah tabarakallah.

Not many places left in Malaysia where people cannot fit into the masjid to pray Maghrib and Isya’.

Maulid Simthudduror and few other qasidahs were recited. Then notable syaikhs gave speech until like 11pm:

  • Syaikh Abdul Aziz al-Kelantani urged muslimin and muslimah to get in the habit to ask forgivenes from friends and people they know. We make mistakes and offend people without knowing it.
  • Syaikh Afifuddin Al-Jailani made excellent point that we all need to cleanse our heart. One way to do that is by having Rasulullah (saw) close in our hearts – not simply showing it with words.
  • Syaikh Habib Hassan Al-Attas from Singapore mentioned that once he arrived in vicinity of this zawiyah (Jenderam), he felt a strong sakinah descending. He reminded the congregation that Prophet Muhammad (saw) is sent to mankind to show good behavior. Many a cases where the unbelievers embraced Islam solely due to akhlaq of the Prophet (saw).
Wallahu a'lam