Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf - The Jewels of the Quran - Session 1 - Zaytuna College

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf - The Jewels of the Quran - Session 1 - Zaytuna College - 5/6/2021

YouTube :  https://youtu.be/S2NiO6BRK1w

Dive into the ocean’s depths so that you become wealthy by gaining its rubies and pearls.” In his book The Jewels of the Qur’an, Imam al-Ghazali exhorts readers to develop a deeper relationship with the ocean of the Qur’an, uncovering the immense beauty of the sacred words of God. In this live series, President Hamza Yusuf will elaborate on the main topics discussed in this work, focusing on the major themes, aims, and division of the Qur’an outlined by Imam al-Ghazali. The series will bring light to many hidden jewels of the Qur’an, enhancing our relationship with the sacred text in this blessed month.

Sessions with President Yusuf will take place on May 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 at 5:30 PM PDT. Online sessions will stream on both Zaytuna College’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Videos will also be available on our YouTube channel following each session. 

Session 2-  https://youtu.be/H8eWCDsgA6s

Session 3 -  https://youtu.be/LdY7vbaJi6Y

Session 4 -  https://youtu.be/gh_as4dNRAM

Session 5 -  https://youtu.be/fW4BmFxBmLE

The Jewels of Quran - Jawahir al-Qura'n -Imam Ghazali RA - Translated by Dr.Muhammad Abul Quasem - PDF

http://caribbeansacredknowledge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Jewels-of-the-Quran-by-Al-Ghazzali.pdf

The Jewels of Quran - Jawahir al-Qura'n -Imam Ghazali RA - Translated by Dr.Muhammad Abul Quasem

https://www.amazon.com/Jewels-Quran-Al-Ghazalis-Theory/dp/9843360133

This is the first English translation,with introduction and annotation, of al-Ghazali’s book Jawahir al- Qura’n, in Arabic. It shows how a great sufi like al-Ghazali understands the Qura’n. In first 19 chapters al-Ghazali presents his views on various Qura’nic issues: aims of the Qura’n, methods of its understanding, how the Qura’n is source of all sciences, excellence of some parts of the Qura’n over others, the reason why similitude and allegories are used in the Qura’n, the relationship between the perceptible world and the unseen world, etc. Various parts of Qura’n are compared with various types of valuables, like jewels, pearls, rubies. Part II consisting of 2 chapters contains jewel and pearl verses concerned with the two greatest aims of the Qura’n. The jewel verses form the cognitive part of the Qura’n, for they concern knowledge of God’s essence, attributes and works. The pearl verses are the practical part: they describe the straight path and urge man to follow it. The entire book is translated by Professor Dr Quasem very accurately in free-flowing modern English. His translation is evaluated in two reviews: (1) “This is a useful edition to the translations into English of the works of al-Ghazali.... The translation reads extremely well, and should be of great value to readers of English who are concerned with the spiritual message of al-Ghazali”.— Professor W. Montgomery Watt, Head, Dept. of Arabic & Islamic Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK. in The Journal of Semitic Studies, 1978. (2) “The English tanslation of the 'jewels' and 'pearls' is fresh and original...This is an important work, and students of Islam as well as English speaking Muslims will be grateful to Dr M.A. Quasem for this lucid, accurate translation, valuable introduction, notes, and indices”.—Prof. Dr Alford T. Welch, Michigan State University, USA. (in Muslim World, October 1979, PP. 272-274.)



Islamic Perspective of Leadership: A Role Model for Today’s CEOs 

Muhammad Yousaf Jamil Director Quality Enhancement Cell, University of Management & Technology, Lahore (LUMS)

Abstract : The concept of leadership can be approached thorough various points of views including administrative, army, community and spiritual or from business perspectives. The author discusses the concept of Leadership as observed through literature survey about the Leadership qualities of our beloved Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) and his Sahaba (R.A). This paper aims to provide an analysis of a religious aspect of Leadership and its importance in the lives of every Leader especially Chief Executive Officers (C.E.Os). This paper discusses key attributes needed in an effective Leader from Islamic perspective and how these attributes can be made part of the practical lives of today’s leaders like CEOs. The key word “lead” means “to show the pathway”. The leader can drive persons forward with a vision to accomplish the common objectives. A true leader must have some universal inevitable characteristics such as self-confidence, trustworthiness, communication skills, compassion, hopefulness, promising, far sightedness, Passion / Truthfulness, Humility, emotional quotient, Problem solver, Delegating the authority, appraising, training, Succession Management and so on. This paper also addresses at length about the examples taken from Quranic verses and the life of our beloved Holy Prophet (SAW) and the practical examples taken from some of the renowned business empires of the world. Combining all the three sources, at the end of the paper, the author proposes a conceptual framework for an effective leader which can be set as a role model for today’s Chief Executive Officers etc. Objectives of this study are firstly, to define the key attributes of leadership derived from the Holy Prophet (SAW), the sahaba and the Quran. Secondly, to propose a conceptual framework for an effective leader and can be set as a role model for C.E.O’s.

Introduction Leadership is the capability of a person to lead cluster of individuals for the completion of a certain specified mission, grooming their followers with the aim of succession Management so that no flaw can be created. A true leader is always a man of principle who has effective communication, firmness and dynamism in their personalities. He / She must be sincere to commitments and must have a positive attitude during the conduct of their personal as well as professional lives. Leadership is looked upon as a means of motivating and guiding people in a manner and direction that is planned such that it is in the preeminent concern of the organization; it is basically making a change for the betterment of the organization. The Holy Book, Quran proposes and creates concrete commendations for the potentials that must be there in a leader so as to result in an effective leadership. Our beloved Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW), for the duration of his stay at Madina served as the head of the Executive or the equivalent of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the State, Justice, Controller, Commander-in-chief and Mentor etc. The problems faced by the individuals and the society were being addressed and resolved effectively and in a very well organized manner by the Holy Prophet (SAW). To accomplish the determined probable output anticipated out of a leader, it is vital to sustain a comprehensive compliance and authenticity in the fullest possible sense to the shariah. Also, a leader is continuously required to be able to perform in a way and in accordance to how Allah and His Prophet would want him behave. Trust, responsibility and accountability or Amanah, Taklif and Mas'uliyyah are qualities that guide a leader in his quest. Thus, the leader is one of the most imperative members in any organization. Most prominently, firm characteristics of leadership assimilated into the religion of Islam and best characterized by the Great Prophets, need to be agreed upon and examined. In the Islamic context, leadership means to guide an organization towards realization and the attainment of the common goal, and to create a system where there is contentment, or alfalah, for everybody.A leadership model which is associated with the organizational values can resolve the problems and can stimulate the rest of the purposes of the organization. The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) had all the qualities which if implemented in our real life whether it’s personal, practical or corporate, it can be made successful. There are some universal attributes /characteristics such as self-reliance, trustworthiness, communication skills, compassion, positivity, inspiring, awareness and far sightedness which can be helpful in order to become a successful Leader. Allah SWT has considered Him (SAW) in the Quran in these verses:“There has undoubtedly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an exceptional arrangement for any person whose faith is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] evokes Allah frequently.”i If we summarize the Qualities of Leadership as observed the life of our beloved Holy Prophet and his companions, we may include the followings;  Motivate people  Affectionate and sympathy to devotees  Conviction  Raised self esteem.  Open to recommendations  Aware of accountabilities  Unbiased  Swift decision making powers  Empathize with people undergoing hardships  Effective Communicators  Able to consolidate material  Executing the strategy  Self-motivated  A man of principles  Could plan with long term goals in mind.

Journal of Islamic Thought and Civilization, Volume 5, Issue II,  Fall 2015 -Full Paper PDF

http://admin.umt.edu.pk/Media/Site/UMT/SubSites/jitc/FileManager/JITC%20Fall%202015/03.%20Leadership.pdf

Monday, May 10, 2021

 Decolonizing the Heart from the Mind-Centered Egolatry of Colonial Modernity to Islam's Epistemic Decolonization through the Heart: Mustafa Dustin Craun - The Center for Global Muslim Life 



Excerpts: "To make this shift in the geo-politics of knowledge in the context of Islam, I argue that what is needed is a shift away from Descartes and Western moderniy’s centering of human consciousness in the mind, to a re-centering of consciousness in the spiritual heart (qalb).

This in turn requires a shift back to a Tassawuf (Islamic Sufism) and thus a heart (qalb) centered understanding of Islam in relation to modernity. Since the Islamic spiritual science of Tassawuf has been de-centered and scapegoated in relation to Islamic discourses such as “modern revivalist Islam” (Wahabism/Salafism) and secular modernists, in this paper I will show that as it relates to the Muslim world Islamic Sufism can make an important epistemological contribution to the perspective of decoloniality."

"Despite the modernist reformers’ arrogance, Sufism is a vital part of Islam, and if we are to make reforms to move away from the oppression of modernity/coloniality, then it must be through a deep engagement with the spiritual as it relates to the destruction brought about by these reformers in alliance with modernity. As Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has written, what is necessary in this context is a revival of the spiritual life within Islam. If it is ever to prosper, the ‘Islamic revival’ must be made to see that it is in crisis, and that its mental resources are proving insufficient to meet contemporary needs. The response to this must be grounded in an act of collective muhasaba, of self-examination, in terms that transcend the ideologised neo-Islam of the revivalists, and return to a more classical and indigenously Muslim dialectic."

The heart therefore is the single most important spiritual aspect of one’s life that we can have a constant relationship with as it relates to God and this process of self-purification. It is also the bodily location of our ruh which is the “underlying essence of the human individual which survives death.” Therefore, if purification of the heart is such a central part of the life of a Muslim, then we must question what type of inclination our existence in the world will lead us towards as it relates to our nafs (self). The Quran mentions three levels of nafs, these being the nafs ammara bi’l-su’ (the soul constantly en- joining evil), Al-nafs al-lawwama (the ‘soul which blames’) and after a long inward struggle, the Nafs mutma’inna (the soul at peace).

This is the nafs that one strives for in the process of the purifying the heart. Therefore from an Islamic perspective Man as it is constructed in Modernity facilitates the nafs ammara bi’l-su’. This is why to make the decolonial shift to the inverted pyramid as constructing the Human, from an Islamic perspective the self should be at the bottom of existence while God is located as the center of all existence. In Islam this would mean a shift from the ego-cogito to Tawheed (God Consciousness) where you are conscious of God in every aspect of your life, while your spiritual existence is centered in your qalb. This is a shift to a God and therefore a qalb or heart centered existence. To facilitate this it is necessary to make central the spiritual sciences of Islam, which have been marginalized by the orientalist discourses surrounding decadence. Using the term “Islamic Psychology” for Sufism here, Sheykh Murad has written that,

Islamic psychology is characteristic of the new ulum which, although present in latent and implicit form in the Quran, were first systematized in Islamic culture during the early Abbasid period. Given the importance that the Quran attached to obtaining a ‘sound heart’, we are not surprised to find that the influence of Islamic psychology has been massive and all-pervasive. In the formative first four centuries of Islam, the time when the great works of tafsir, hadith, grammar, and so forth were laid down, the ulema also applied their minds to this problem of al-qalb al-salim (the heart at peace). This was first visible when, following the example of the Tab’in [the second generation of Muslims], many of the early ascetics, such as sufyan ibn Uyayna, Sufyan al-Thawri, and Abdallah ibn al-Mubarak, had focused their concerns explicitly on the art of purifying the heart. The methods they recommended were frequent fasting, night prayers, and periodic retreats.

Through re-centering Tasawwuf Muslims will be better equipped to respond and create alternatives to modernity, as this heart centered existence will facilitate the possibility of developing the Nafs mutma ‘inna or the soul at peace. From an epistemology centered in Islamic Sufism, then, what is necessary first is to properly understand our consciousness and that it is centered in our heart rather than in our mind. If our hearts are alive, it can be our ultimate center of perception and understanding. Similar to Gloria Anzaldua’s understanding of La Facultad, which she understands to be a form of “inner knowledge,” is the Islamic concept of Al Basira (the spiritual eye of the heart) where one can develop spiritually perception and understand reality much more deeply and thoroughly. As al-Ghazali put it in his masterwork of the inner sciences of Islam, Ihya’ ulum al-din,

“Creation’ refers to the external, and ‘character’ to the internal, form. Now, [the human] is composed of a body which perceives with ocular vision [basar] and a spirit [ruh] and a soul [nafs] which perceive with inner sight [basira]. Each of these things has an aspect and a form which is either ugly or beautiful. Furthermore, the soul which perceives with inner sight is of greater worth than the body which sees with ocular vision.”

In seeing with the eye of our heart we can begin to differentiate between form and meaning, as the outward form of things are not always their internal and spiritual reality. An example is a supermodel who on the outside may look beautiful based on the standards of Western society, but on the in- side she may be stricken with anxiety, eating disorders, drug addiction and any number of maladies from being forced to focus only on their external beauty while not considering the internal realities of the heart and soul. Perhaps building on Aime Cesaire’s understanding of the Western imperiality as a poison spreading throughout the world, the best example is the West’s view of itself, as its most central significations of itself are those of benevolence and innocence. But as the world has seen for far to long, the reality of endless warfare and global genocide is the meaning/ reality behind the form. Perhaps this is best explained by the early female sufi saint, Rabi’a al-Adawiyya, who stated in verse, “O children of Nothing! Truth can’t come in through your eyes/Nor can speech go out through your mouth to find [God]/Hearing leads the speaker down the road to anxiety/And if you follow your hands and feet you will arrive at confusion—/The real work is in the Heart: Wake up your Heart!/Because when the Heart is completely awake, Then it needs no Friend.”

Full Paper PDF https://medium.com/ummah-wide/decolonizing-the-heart-1b5b8f949df5

Mustafa Dustin Craun : https://www.globalmuslimlife.com/about-dustin-craun

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Effects Of Spirituality In Shaping The Human Behaviour (An Islamic Perspective) 

Adamu Zakiyu Ubal, Abdul Hakim Abdullah -Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia

Abstract This study focused to identify how the sources of Islamic spirituality influenced in shaping the human behaviour. It also meant to determine the role of Islamic spirituality in modelling the behaviour. The study is conceptual review, content analysis of the qualitative approach were used to accumulate information about the subject matter. From the report finding, The study revealed that the Islamic spiritually undoubtedly shapes the human behaviour in the sense that it touches and encompasses the whole aspects of the human life. In addition, the preferable sources of Islamic spirituality seem to be positively effective in providing as well as preserving the human behaviour. The study has implication for research on Islamic spirituality that is associated with Islamic ideas and institution, whereby Islamic ideas and system fundamentally base to develop human in all aspects of his life. This study will also help parents, leaders and entire members of the society to strive to inculcate it in their community. For this reason, the study will contribute immensely in the sense that it will determine the sources of Islamic spirituality that if been utilised adequately will help to combat immorality among the people. 

Conclusion By realising what Islam all about and its profound understanding of human beings, one can understand that Islamic spirituality is the solution to the present behaviour disorder. Islamic spirituality was fundamentally built on links one by his creator, the lord of the universe in a situation whereby all his actions will be in accordance with the provision of Islam so as to save himself here (the world) and hereafter (the day where the wealth he gathered and children benefit nothing unless those came with good heart). Furthermore, several of verses as well traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) that encourage and also inculcate on Islamic spirituality and its value here and hereafter have been stated. It indicated that victory and prosperity are whole behind the Islamic spirituality.However, the sources of Islamic spirituality that also helps to preserve spirituality have been highlighted where it found to be effective in shaping human behaviour which entails the capacity of whole the human’s activities encompassing his mental, emotional, physical and social interaction.

Full Paper PDF:

 https://hrmars.com/papers_submitted/1793/The_Effects_Of_Spirituality_In_Shaping_The_Human_Behaviour_(An_Islamic_Perspective).pdf

Understanding the Concept of Islamic Sufism : Shahida Bilqies Research Scholar, Shah-i-Hamadan Institute of Islamic Studies University of Kashmir, Srinagar-190006 Jammu and Kashmir, India. Journal of Education & Social Policy Vol. 1 No. 1; June 2014

Sufism, being the marrow of the bone or the inner dimension of the Islamic revelation, is the means par excellence whereby Tawhid is achieved. All Muslims believe in Unity as expressed in the most Universal sense possible by the Shahadah, la ilaha ill’Allah. The Sufi has realized the mysteries of Tawhid, who knows what this assertion means. It is only he who sees God everywhere.1 Sufism can also be explained from the perspective of the three basic religious attitudes mentioned in the Qur’an. These are the attitudes of Islam, Iman and Ihsan.There is a Hadith of the Prophet (saw) which describes the three attitudes separately as components of Din (religion), while several other traditions in the Kitab-ul-Iman of Sahih Bukhari discuss Islam and Iman as distinct attitudes varying in religious significance. These are also mentioned as having various degrees of intensity and varieties in themselves. The attitude of Islam, which has given its name to the Islamic religion, means Submission to the Will of Allah. This is the minimum qualification for being a Muslim. Technically, it implies an acceptance, even if only formal, of the teachings contained in the Qur’an and the Traditions of the Prophet (saw). Iman is a more advanced stage in the field of religion than Islam. It designates a further penetration into the heart of religion and a firm faith in its teachings. Ihsan, the third quality, is the highest stage of spiritual advancement. At this stage the devotee has such a realization of the religious truths which amounts almost to their direct vision. This quality of Ihsan, which was later termed as Mushahidah (Direct seeing) by the Sufis, is described in the Tradition by the Prophet (saw) as: “Ihsan is to adore Allah as though thou do see Him for even if thou do not see Him, He nonetheless sees thee.” According to these three stages of religiosity, Sufism may be defined as the Spiritual Progress of a devotee from the initial stage of Islam to the final stage of Ihsan. 2 Macdonald in his book,” the Religious Attitude p. 159, writes, ‘From the earliest times there was an element in the Muslim church which was repelled equally by traditional teaching and intellectual reasoning. It felt that the essence of religion lay elsewhere; that the seat and organ of religion was in the heart. In process of time, all Islam became permeated with this conception, in different degrees and various forms. More widely than ever with Christanity, Islam became and is a mystical faith.3 Sufism in the sense of ‘mysticism” and quietism”, was a natural development of the ascetic tendencies which manifested themselves within Islam during the Umayyad period.4 To understand Sufism, we must understand mysticism. The Greek root myein, “to close the eyes,” is also the root of “mystery”; the mystic’s goal is not to be reached by the intellect or by ordinary means. Fundamentally, mysticism is love of the Absolute, the One Reality, also called Truth, Love, or God. According to Sarraj’s classic definition of Sufism, “The Sufis are people who prefer God to everything and God prefers them to everything else.”5 Sufism is necessary because it is to Islam what the heart is to body.6 There is no Sufism without Islam because Sufism is the spirituality or Mysticism of the religion of Islam.7 It is said that science deals with the universe outside us, and spirituality with the universe inside us.8 Thus, Sufism can be said to be a movement which aims at making people good and better Muslims. It is a call to them to actualize truly and internally those teachings of Islam they have accepted only formally or intellectually as part of their inheritance. 9 A Sufi relinquishes the worldly pleasures, the cheap sensations, the materialism and the corruptions, but not in theleast withdraws from the worldly living. He earns his own bread and is never a parasite or a menace to the society.He abides by the Shari’at, the cannon law of Islam, goes by Tariqat, the Spiritual Path, to achieve Abudiat i.e. The Unity with the Allah, his beloved.10

Full Paper PDF:https://jespnet.com/journals/Vol_1_No_1_June_2014/9.pdf

PART 2 : SHAIKH SERAJ ON HOW TO THINK ABOUT TASAWWUF AT THE CAPE

Dr Auwais Rafudeen is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Arabic at University of South Africa (Unisa). Dr Rafudeen studied fiqh under Shaikh Seraj Hendricks.



SHAIKH Seraj starts by providing an overview of the background and principles of those Sufi tariqahs that had a significant impact on the Cape Muslim landscape, namely, the Qadiri, Suharwardi, Khalwati, Rifai, Chisti, Shadhili, Ba-Alawi and Naqshbandi tariqahs.

As per his method, Shaikh Seraj is not only interested in tracing the genealogies of these orders but also in delving into the principles and practices that sustain them; principles and practices which ultimately converge in one aim: the individual’s realisation of the Divine in his or her life.

Among the noteworthy aspects which emerge in his description of these orders is that the Khalwati tariqah (the order of Shaikh Yusuf) has a sub-branch, the Sammaniya. It is this sub-branch which is the source of the well-known Samman dhikr in Cape Town.

He also shows interesting connections between the Ba-Alawi and the Shadhili tariqahs, in that the former, whose influence tends to be underrated because of their deliberately cultivated indistinctiveness, actually follows the spiritual methodology of the latter.

Shaikh Seraj quotes Sayyid Ahmad ibn Abu Bakr Sumayt who says: ‘The outer teachings of them (the tariqah of the Ba-Alawis) are based on the knowledge and practical principles as expounded through the wise guidance of Imam Ghazali and the inner teachings are based on the realisation of the spiritual realities and the purification of Tawhid as expounded by the Shadhiliyyah…’

The direct historical origins of Islam at the Cape are, of course, found in the Malay/ Indonesian archipelago. The character of Islam in the Archipelago was, in turn, significantly shaped by the nature of Islam in Hadramawt, Yemen.

Here Shaikh Seraj agrees with Naquib al-Attas, that the Arabic language and Islamic culture of Hadramawt was channelled into an Islamised Malay language which, in turn, shaped the literature, thought and culture of the archipelago with a distinctive South Arabian stamp.

This, together with the impact of Arab missionaries, trade links with South Arabia and the fact that South Arabia had also impacted on Islam in Kerala, India (another influence on Islam in the archipelago), shows that the ‘dominant influences [for Islam in that region] were Arabian, and particularly South Arabian, in origin’.

If we recall that Hadramawt is the spiritual centre of the Ba-Alawi tariqah, and plays a critical role in shaping the character of Islam there, then the importance of the tariqah’s influence in the archipelago, and by extension in the Cape, is significantly magnified.

And there is no doubt that from the 15th to the 18th centuries, via this tariqah and others, Islam in the archipelago was suffused with Sufism and this is how it reached the Cape.

In addition, the Ba-Alawi order also penetrated India, East Africa, Madagascar and Comores: slaves from the Cape were sourced from all these areas and, undoubtedly, brought those influences here to some degree or other.

The hallmarks of Hadrami Islam, namely immersion in tasawwuf and adherence to the Shaafi’i madhhab, become embedded features of Islam at the Cape.

The first known Sufis to have arrived here are the Orang Cayen (men of stature) in 1667, namely, Tuan Mahmud al Qadiri, Tuan Abdul Rahman Matebe Shah and an unknown third. They were, in all likelihood, Qadiri shaikhs, and there is evidence to suggest that the Qadiri order in Cape Town traces its roots to that period.

Among the evidence in this regard are certain Qadiri forms of dhikr characteristic of the Cape milieu as well as the historical popularity in that milieu of the following supplication by Shaikh Sayyid Abdul Qadir al-Jilani:

‘O Allah! To You belong all praise as an expression of gratitude, and all favours as an overflowing blessing, and through Your grace righteousness is secured. We ask You, O Allah, a quick relief from all anxiety, for indeed You never cease to be near.

‘(We ask You, too) for strength of courtesy in forbearance, for protection during all times of tribulations and for safety from all forms of calamity. O Allah, bind our gathering with the bonds of mercy, and when we depart, let us depart with our honour and virtue protected.

‘Cause not a single one of us to suffer misery and deprivation, and do not abandon us to anyone other than You, nor deny us the vastness of Your grace.’ (As quoted by Shaikh Seraj)

Shaikh Seraj then traces the history of the majestic Shaikh Yusuf from his birth in Sulawesi, to his education and travels in the Middle East, to his teaching in Java, to the conflict with the Dutch and the resulting exile of the shaikh, first to Ceylon, and then to the Cape, in 1694.

However, the description goes beyond an exciting narrative. Shaikh Seraj, drawing from the texture of tasawwuf, is effectively able to show that his journey and travails should be viewed in the light of four concepts: sabr (patient perseverance), qada (recognition of the decree of the Almighty), duah (beseeching the Almighty) and adab (proper courtesy to Him).

Beseeching the Almighty for protection and patient perseverance in the face of what He has decreed shows proper courtesy towards Allah.

Far from fatalism, this is an active and almost joyous engagement with the Divine decree, realising its higher purposes, conscious that it is a test, perceiving that constant struggle and activity is also part of the Divine decree, and knowing that, ultimately, all is to return to Allah and to their real abodes.

It is telling that Shaikh Yusuf was a firm follower of the ‘Wahdatul Wujud’ (Oneness of Existence) school, associated with the great Andalusian Sufi, Shayk Muhiyudin ibn Arabi.

In ‘Wahdatul Wujud’ there is a realisation that while Allah transcends the world, the world manifests His existence, power and attributes. A person sees Allah in all things. This state is only realised after purification of the self, which, in turn, is premised primarily on the practice of dhikr.

Of course, Wahdatul Wujud is not the only path that brings one to this realisation, and it does appear that its apparent difference with some other schools, such as the Wahdatul Shuhud, may be largely a question of terminology.

The realities arrived at are the same. Yet, Shaikh ibn Arabi, because of the difficulty of his work, has sometimes been misinterpreted and misunderstood as one who stands in conflict with the shariah. This is, needless to say, far from the case.

Aside from Shaikh ibn Arabi’s well-known and profound expertise in the shariah, the fact that great ulama, like Shaikh Yusuf and many others – the very guardians of the shariah among their own constituencies – have taken the shaikh as a principal spiritual guide, is sufficient to dispel any suspicion regarding the orthodoxy of Wahdatul Wujud.

More generally, the whole trajectory of Shaikh Yusuf’s life effectively dispels the prejudiced perception that ‘otherworldly’ Sufis do not engage in the cut and thrust of the world.

Did Shaikh Yusuf establish a legacy for his tariqah at the Cape?

Shaikh Seraj does not believe that this was the case. The social conditions at that time simply did not allow a full flourishing of the ijazah irshad system (a full investiture to guide others along the path) that is so essential to the perpetuation of tariqah.

The system requires that disciples be trained in a comprehensive way for an extended period of time before being granted permission to teach – a harsh colonial context simply did not make this possible. Yet, Shaikh Yusuf’s considerable imprint on Islam at the Cape is unmistakeable.

This imprint was felt via the litanies, devotional practices, basic legal and theological teachings, as well as practical ethics that appear to be Shaikh Yusuf’s legacy to that community.

Shaikh Seraj makes some informed speculations about the ‘Sufis of the Forest’ – those Sufis whose shrines dot the mountainsides of Cape Town – despite the difficulty of locating substantial evidence regarding their lives (except, perhaps, with the case of the tuans buried in Simonstown, where their families still possess documentary evidence).

He agrees with Adiel Bradlow that the influence of such Sufis on Cape Islam was considerable and that they were vital conduits in spreading and perpetuating Islam at the Cape – and at that time, Cape Islam simply meant ‘Tasawwuf’.

However, the role of these shaikhs was again not in the perpetuation of the tariqah disciplines (of which there is little evidence) but as conduits for practical ethics, maxims, Islamic teachings and, vitally, the litanies that characterise Cape Islam. In this way, they appear to have continued Shaikh Yusuf’s legacy.

Source Link:http://muslimviews.co.za/shaikh-seraj-hendricks-and-tasawwuf-at-the-cape-2/

PART 1: SHAIKH SERAJ ON HOW TO THINK ABOUT TASAWWUF AT THE CAPE

Dr Auwais Rafudeen is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Arabic at University of South Africa (Unisa). Dr Rafudeen studied fiqh under Shaikh Seraj Hendricks.


SHAIKH Seraj Hendricks’s dissertation, Tasawwuf: its role and impact on the culture of Cape Islam, is a profound meditation on how this field, described as the very essence of Islam, unfolded and manifested itself at the Cape.

The period covered by his study stretches from the very emergence of Islam in that region to the year 1945. In doing so, Shaikh Seraj provides a penetrating examination of what has been written in the area so far, illuminating many aspects, otherwise obscured, by dint of his considerable training in the Islamic disciplines. A word on this training is necessary since it helps explain the significance of the learning that Shaikh Seraj brings to his subject matter. He, along with his brother, Shaikh Ahmad Hendricks, pursued intensive, formal studies in Islam for at least eighteen years. Seven of these years were spent studying at the feet of their illustrious uncles at the Azzavia mosque, and a further ten in Makkah, where they completed not only the demanding Ummul Qurra University programme but also the rigorous curriculum of the renowned scholar of Makkah, Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi ibn Abbas al Maliki. In this, they followed a family tradition as their forbears had similarly drunk from the immense scholarly and spiritual fountains of Sayyid Muhammad’s forbears. Moreover, their training did not only cover one disciple or one set of disciplines but all the key areas that a well-rounded, classically trained scholar ought to know. (And this is crucial since a particular scholar may be quite skilled in one area, such as fiqh, but be radically deficient in another, such as tasawwuf – a problem that, unfortunately, appears to be all too common nowadays.) And this training is apart from the ‘secular’ tertiary studies that they both successfully pursued.  Shaikh Seraj states that what moved him to study tasawwuf at the Cape was his family legacy as well as the scholarly works in the area by Achmat Davids, Adil Bradlow, Yusuf da Costa and Suleman Dangor.It was, in particular, the latter’s translation of Shaikh Yusuf’s Zubdatul Asrar – The Essence of Secrets – that transformed his perceptions. Zubdatul Asrar was firmly lodged in the ibn Arabian perspective – one with which Shaikh Seraj was already acquainted – and this spurred a desire to study the legacy of Shaikh Yusuf beyond his well-known image as political exile and freedom fighter. An attention to texts is, in fact, central to his broader project. This attention allows him to get under the skin of the subject he is studying, to really get to the heart of why the subject thinks and acts in the way he does. Shaikh Yusuf’s commitment to fighting the Dutch incursion into his homeland cannot be divorced from his commitment to the seemingly abstract and esoteric philosophy of Shaikh Muhiyudin ibn Arabi. On the contrary, the intensity of his jihad correlates with his immersion in the higher realms of tasawwuf and the perfect respect that all tasawwuf accords to the requirements of the shariah.The focus on texts is also indicative of Shaikh Seraj’s concern with the ‘texture’ of tasawwuf: the way it impacts in an existential way on the life of the spiritual traveller. Tasawwuf is, after all, individual: it is the human response to the sacred, navigated through the prism of Islam. And in this regard, Shaikh Seraj finds the phenomenological approach of Friederich Heiler conducive to his project.It is Heiler who ‘tries to enter into the heart of religion by studying first the phenomena and then deeper and deeper layers of human responses to the Divine until he reaches the innermost sacred core of each religion, the centre, the Numinous’.Yet, tasawwuf in Cape Town is also located in a firm history, and took on a myriad of hues in its unfolding through the years. We cannot simply confine ourselves to the meanings of individual spiritual experiences but need to locate those experiences against an objective backdrop, one provided by the normative Islamic tradition and the trajectory of Cape Muslim history.This will also circumvent the issue of solipsism (the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist) and ensure that those experiences are open to evaluation in the light of that tradition and history.It is this combination of keen historical sense, penetrative and empathetic understanding of individual spiritual experience and profound insight into the normative Islamic tradition that is characteristic of Shaikh Seraj’s work as a whole.A thorough understanding of normative Islam makes imperative the reconceptualisation of categories used by social scientists to study the impact of tasawwuf in Muslim society.Here Shaikh Seraj takes issue with the anthropological distinction between ‘great’ (scholarly) and ‘little’ (people’s) traditions and between ‘high’ (scriptural/ ulama) and ‘low’ (popular/ Sufi) Islam.He believes that these categories reduce Islam to behaviour and readable gesture, without seeking to hear why Muslims do what they do.They do not penetrate beneath the surface in order to unearth the texture of people’s spiritual experiences.When this texture is penetrated, seemingly ‘high’, scripturalist Islam may be quite folklorish while seemingly folklorish Islam may be quite sublime and cultivated.Moreover, the practitioners of tasawwuf do not understand themselves in these terms, and any meaningful insight into the phenomenon must take their own self-understanding into account.A clue to this understanding is the statement of Marshall Hodgson as quoted by Shaikh Seraj: ‘Always the ground of mystical life in this historical sense, is a striving for clarity and sincerity; whatever the level is they have reached, mystics, both Sufis and others, have spoken persistently in metaphors of Light and Truth. To this sort of clarity, the touchstone of relevance to everyday life will apply.’In this regard, he also takes to task those who wish to manufacture a tension between shariah on the one hand and tasawwuf on the other.This is a tension generated by a puritanical trend within Islam. It ignores both history and the complexity of Islamic law on issues like bid’ah, where shariah clearly validates the vast majority of popular religious practices associated with tasawwuf. These popular religious practices, in turn, are more than just a social or psychological reflex; they are responses to the Ultimately Real, that infinity that transcends the finitude of the human condition.The normative way to see the relationship between the two is complementarity: the shariah is responsibility (the law is what counts); tasawwuf is responsiveness (the Numinous is what counts).Sufis respond to the centrality of the Numinous while cognizant of their responsibility to the shariah at all times. And so someone like Shaikh ibn Arabi could apply the principle of al-adah al-Muhakkamah (customary usages legislated by the shariah) in the light of this Numinous, leading to a flexible and wide-ranging application of this principle.And it is here that the popular tasawwuf practices of the Cape needs to be located: not as something that operated at the margins of the law but something that flows in full fashion from that shariah in order to help actuate the very goal of existence itself, namely, reaching Allah.Shaikh Seraj makes the critical observation: ‘It is precisely at this level – a sensitivity to the numinousness as ‘responsiveness’ – that we discern the contours of tasawwuf in Cape Muslim culture.’There are also those who seek to locate the roots and perspectives of tasawwuf in other religions or mystical traditions. While Shaikh Seraj believes that a comparative study of mystical texts has benefits, it fundamentally misses the point.Such comparison ‘has little or nothing to do with the way ordinary Muslims, or for that matter, ordinary Jews and Christians, read their texts.‘While it may be true that an inter-textual study of comparative mysticism will inevitably generate its own and possibly different sets of meaning and value…it is equally true that a devotional reading of those same texts will render a completely different set of meanings and value.’Here again, Shaikh Seraj’s concern with texture, with how the Sufi himself or herself experiences the path, comes to the fore.Another misreading that he seeks to correct is the sequentialist discourse on tasawwuf. In this discourse, tasawwuf is seen as moving from one stage to another in history, from asceticism, then to love and then to gnosis etc.But, of course, this is far from the reality of tasawwuf.Within the individual spiritual journey, no matter what the historical era, all these aspects are to be found.However, Shaikh Seraj does find helpful Osman Bakar’s distinction between tasawwuf as historical unfolding and tasawwuf as individual experience.In the former, the intellectual exposition of its doctrines and methods has creatively interacted and adapted itself to the needs and demands of a historical period without eroding the primacy and multi-faceted nature of individual experience.Having made these critical reconceptualisations, the stage is now set for exploring the trajectory of tasawwuf in Cape Muslim history, which will be covered in part two.

Source Link : http://muslimviews.co.za/shaikh-seraj-hendricks-and-tasawwuf-at-the-cape/