Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

On October 14th, Shaykh Haisam Farache spoke at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra on “Shariah Law: What is it and How is it implemented?” and “Spiritual Development in Modern Times”

These are notes from “Spiritual Development in Modern Times”

  • Without the body the soul cannot exist in this world. The Arabic for intelligence, ‘akal’ means to restrict, as in to restrict us from haram.
  • In the Quran, Allah swt talks to the intellect when He appeals to ‘people who ponder’ or ‘to those that have knowledge’
  • A human being is comprised of a body, an intellect, an ego or nafs and a soul. The body, nafs and akal all exist because of the placement of the soul in this world. So essentially we are souls, spiritual beings on a path to God
  • Given that we are in essence animals with intellect, how are we nourished? The body with dirt (food plant and animal based has origins in dirt). The % of minerals in dirt mirror the % in our bodies. The PH level of blood is same as ocean water. Things that sustain the body come from earth
  • The mind is nourished with knowledge (it is Sunnah to wear perfurme or itr because good smells increase the minds capacity to learn)
  • The Soul comes from God and we don’t know where it is from or how it was made. In that sense it is a mystery and a secret
  • When He decided to make man, God told the angel Gabriel to get dirt from earth and the earth shook and refused. Several angels were sent and returned empty handed till the angel of Death, Azrael came and got a collection of sand collected from the entire earth of different colours which is represented in our skin pigmentation
  • The dirt became wet as it ascended to the throne of Allah and became clay which Allah moulded with his ‘hands’ (not like our hands. This is important as Allah swt says kun faya kun “Be” and it is. But with Adam AS he fashioned him with his hands (metaphorically)
  • The moulded clay sat for 40 years and Shaytan would pass it and kick it. Shaytan was a jinn who had 80k years of ibadah under his belt (there is not a place on earth where Shaytan’s forehead hasn’t touched in ibadah to Allah swt) when he was told to prostrate to this clay. He became arrogant. This story simplifies our challenges and difficulties in our lives
  • When Allah swt made Adam AS, the angels asked if the creation of clay would wreak havoc on the earth. Given that they asked this, we can assume that there were creations before humans that did wreak havoc on earth which is supported by dreamtime stories and stone art
  • All this is a long winded way of saying, we know the origins of the body and thus we nourish it with the same. We don’t know the origins of the soul but we do know it is from God so we nourish it with God
  • Establish spiritual essence by doing what comes from God. The first of these is the Quran. The Quran purifies n teaches hiqmah and wisdom.
  • The soul has a yearning to be illuminated by the noor of Allah swt (the sun) and to illuminate (reflect this illumination like the moon)
  • The Quran is the symbolism of the light or noor of Allah swt and the Prophet is munir (reflected light) the personification noorun mubeen. This is why the Prophet is more often likened to the moon than the sun. tala al badru Alayna. The Prophet had no shadow because he, as the reflection of Allah’s Noor was brighter than the sun.
  • Our Imaan increases and decreases because of our nafs. We are in a constant jihad or battle between the material and spiritual. The angels came to the Prophet 3 times in his life and cut him open to remove his nafs. This is because Prophets are meant to be masoomin without fault, so that we can emulate their goodness. This means he didn’t have to struggle with this nafs. And without the stuggle with nafs, the imaan constantly increases
  • The Prophet constantly made istigfhar or prayers for repentence because each time he ascended the stations of faith imaan his increased understanding or vision (not seeing with eyes, seeing with faith) caused him to repent
  • So how do we fulfil the yearning of our soul?
  • The life of the Prophet is the lowest common denominator. He lived the simplest lifestyle so that anyone can emulate it.
  • When we try to fill our spiritual void with material things, it affects our intellect. When material means in life are limited that’s when the intellect flourishes.
  • “But for the fear that all mankind would follow the same way, We would have made for those who disbelieve in the Merciful God, houses with roofs of silver and gold” – Sura 43 Az-Zukhruf, Ayah 33-35
  • In our day and age, we cannot escape ‘technology’. But we can appreciate what we have by saying alhamdulillah and living a life of gratitude
  • We have forgotten or don’t know how to be grateful. Millennials are known to be ungrateful and have a sense of entitlement and it translates to entitlement with Allah. Far from being grateful we forget to even recognise what we have by saying Bismillah. My sense of entitlement is destroying my spirituality
  • Be mindful in receiving what Allah has given. By saying Alhamdulillah when you wear your clothes and Bismillah when you sit and eat. Eating and walking used to be seen as sign of instability because the two things did not go together.
  • By being hospitable. Arabian hospitality is famous and being a miser is the biggest insult you can make to an Arab. The root of Arab hospitality is necessity because without the hospitality of others, travellers in the Arabian deserts would perish.
  • Hatim Altai was an Arabian man legendary for his generosity whose story is in the Arabian nights as well as told throughout Arabia and Asia. He most famously slaughtered his famous and beautiful stallion to feed his guests. His generosity and detachment from the material was aligned to the values of Islam. When his granddaughter and grandson were captured in war, the Prophet was told who they were and freed them both as a lesson in the importance and value of detachment and generosity
  • Sheikh Hamza Yusuf said, Aren’t we all addicted to the ‘bad movie’ that is the Dunya?
  • The Path of the Believer is shukr gratitude.
  • What do we want? Why do we need more than we have? What are we upset about?
  • We Australian Muslims are not connected to this land. Where is our care and concern for this land and its people? What do you think of when you say aussie? White? The whites are just as imported as us! So why are we not thinking of ourselves when we say aussie? Why are we not thinking of the indigenous aussies? They are the real aussies. Why are we not helping and caring for them?
  • Allah swt said, ‘I have sent u a prophet from amongst yourselves’. If you are not amongst yourselves then it’s all nothing. Till our dawah is amongst ourselves, it all for nothing
  • We acknowledge that it is a generational thing, that our parents are invested in the culture and society they left behind. But we need to be mindful of, educated in and invested in Australian culture, law, policies etc.
  • We need to care for our fellow Aussies. You can’t specifically make dua for the forgiveness of a non-Muslim but you can make general dua. And how do you know who is and isn’t a Muslim and what is in their hearts? Who are you to judge?
  • Adopt the dua of Isa AS, Jesus, who said, ‘You were the Watcher over them, and You are a Witness to all things. If You punish them, they are Your servants, and if You forgive them, verily You, only You are the Almighty, the All-Wise.’ Sura 5 Al-Maidah, Ayah 117
  • When we are not fulfilling our spiritual potential, Allah sends us tests to cleanse our spiritual state. Our spiritual goal should be to see the Prophet in your dream and ultimately achieved a connection to Allah swt.
  • Taqwah is the essence of spirituality and is mentioned over 250 times in the Quran. Taqwah is to be cautious of Allah swt. Taqwah is not khauf or fear Allah. Fear of Allah is a very high state of spirituality that is not easy to attain.
  • Wilaya is when Allah swt elevates you to a position on Earth. Some people ask for it and some say not to ask for it because it is a big responsibility. It’s upto you if you want to ask for it.

Practical tips to attain spirituality:

  • Feed the akal to know what to feed the soul. In the Quran, Allah swt appeals to our akal when He tells us what is halal and haram. Once you know this, your soul needs you to implement it
  • The real jihad is learning what is halal and haram by acquiring knowledge and then implementing that knowledge to change your spiritual condition.
  • To free the heart from sin, we have to dispel our preoccupation with dunya, power, status and material things. To do this you need to change your external and internal conditions.
  • The external conditions are the 5 pillars (rulings of Allah) that tell you what is halal and haram. What to Do. The internal conditions are the fundamental things you believe in. There are 6 fundamental beliefs; to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His prophets, the Day of Judgment (life after death), and in destiny (qadar), that the good and the evil are from Allah.
  • Spirituality is embodied in the Prophet so we must all try and emulate him. Through excellence of character ihsan. We need to be disciplined in how we spend our time. What we do, see, touch and say. The success of spirituality is based in time management
  • Do wudu and brush your teeth before bed, recite the last two verses of Sura Baqarah, make intention for tahajjud and to see Rasul SAW in your dreams and sleep on your right side.
  • Set yourself minimum goals and as you achieve consistency in them, increase your minimum. To begin you can set yourself the minimum goals of:
    • Read one line of Quran a day
    • Read one bio of a pious person a week
    • Do 100 dhikr a day
    • Do 100 Istigfar a day
    • Pray Tahajjud
    • Make Dua
    • Perform Khidmah of any kind (familial, social)
  • It is recommended that you get yourself a shaiykh or mentor that can give you specific advice to your life and situation. If you don’t have one, recite 10k salawat on the Prophet every day and he will be your guide
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

On October 14th, Shaykh Haisam Farache spoke at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra on “Shariah Law: What is it and How is it implemented?” and “Spiritual Development in Modern Times

Born and raised on Sydney’s North Shore, Shaykh Haisam attended Marist College North Sydney and commenced his undergraduate university studies at the University of Montana, USA. He attained a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Sydney, a Diploma in Shariah (Hons) Dar al Mustafa, Yemen and a Master of Applied Family Law from the College of Law, Sydney. Shaykh Haisam holds numerous Ijazas (Licenses) in Islamic Law from scholars in Yemen, Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Previously he has held posts as an Imam at Imam Ali Mosque (Lakemba Mosque) and Artarmon Mosque. Currently, Haisam is the principal solicitor at Garrison Lawyers predominantly practicing in family law. He also teaches at Charles Sturt University, Arts Faculty in Islamic Studies, a Minister of Religion (Islam) and is an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. Shaykh Haisam has played semi-professional rugby league and college basketball in the USA. He is a keen surfer.

Below are my notes from “Shariah Law: What is it and How is it implemented?” Note: I missed a fair bit of this one.

Differences between Shariah and Common Law

  1. Shariah is Immutable – The Quran is the equivalent to the constitution but it cannot be changed
  2. Shariah is both moral code and law – Shariah is based on Quran and Sunnah which dictates not only the laws but also the morals and code of ethics we abide by
  3. Shariah is for this life and the next – Common law applies to this life and this environment only

Similarities between Shariah and Common Law

  1. Cannot be arbitrary – Both establish that there is one rule of law in black and white
  2. Adversarial system – Both have a defendant and plaintiff
  3. Burdens of proof – Both establish “Beyond reasonable doubt”. In Islam, “Once it’s in doubt we throw it out”
  4. Due process – Court proceedings
  5. Innocent till proven guilty. Canon derived from Arabic ‘qanoon’ which means law. The Church took this from Islamic jurists to their court and then in 13th century jurists adopted it into secular law
  6. Precedent and legal reasoning
  7. Contracts are a direct derivative of shariah
  8. Evidence law, Trusts, Torts, Powers of attorney, Guardianship laws and much more.
  • Islamic law and common law have commonalities due to shared history of Roman law.
  • Criminal law – Besides fornication all punishable crimes are the same. Where we differ is in morals and code of ethics. Social norms have changed and legality focuses on regulation of taboo practices
  • Therefore the main point of difference between shariah and common law is that common law allows the loosening of morality but shariah does not
  • The rule of law then focuses on regulation vs prohibition of actions
  • Islamic law also takes into account ‘darora’ or necessity of law and punishment based on circumstances.
  • Tariq Ramadan calls for a moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and the death penalty in the Islamic World because society is not ready
  • When laws are not based on morals or ethics, people will do what they desire. Laws may change to regulate the changes in society and there may be a practical benefit to society but it has spiritual and philosophical implications
  • Regulation should abide by moral codes. E.g. prostitution occurs primarily women need money. In Islam it is the responsibility of all men (as primary caregivers) to provide for all women. If this is not possible or not occurring, then it is the responsibility of the Government to provide for them from government coffers, ‘baitul mal’ and if this is not occurring then it is permissible to marry another wife on the condition that the man has consent from his previous wife and is equipped to fulfil the roles and responsibilities (physical, mental, financial, social etc.) to both/all wives
  • The point of corporal punishment is to NOT punish. In Sharia, even if a person admits to a crime they are given four chances to renege on their admission. If they do, the matter is closed and no punishment is meted out
  • Detailed retribution is a denouncement of misconduct which exists in both law systems in order to scare people to following the rule of law and thereby applying a code of ethics and morals to their daily lives and action
  • Adoption is not permissible in Islam due to inheritance laws but we can and should foster. The only issue is mahram which there are guidelines for.
  • Australian law and Sharia law do not contradict each other. What we can do in Sharia law we can do under Australian law. The problem is not Australian law. The problem is we as Muslims do not know what we are entitled to as Australians. How blessed we are to live in this society and enjoy its freedoms. Our parents and their parents live here but are emotionally invested in the politics and social issues ‘back home’. We send money ‘back home’ but this is our home now and we need to look after people here. Charity begins at home and Australia is home.
  • Our laws are not just from today, they are a product of centuries of reform. English is the global language today, before that it was French and before that it was Arabic. Much of today’s law, medicine, science etc. comes from the Arab enlightenment which was appropriated by the West and has religion or religious basis (Islamic or otherwise) at its core. Religion is driving factor in life and acceptance in any shape or form essentially comes from religion
  • Laws exist to protect human beings. The most important thing about human beings is the soul. So in essence, laws exist to protect the soul

Read Full Post »

I would like to share with you the history of Ramadan – the Muslim month of fasting. In the year 610 AD, the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed on the night of Laylatul-Qadr which is also known as the Night of Power. This night falls in the month of Ramadan and as a result, fasting was prescribed to Muslims for the duration of this month in celebration. So, while the concept of fasting is and was practised by other faiths, and even by the prophet, the concept of Ramadan is specifically tied to the revelation of the Quran.

In the Quran in Surah 2, Ayah 185, Allah says, “The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.”

Thus began the Islamic ritual of fasting on the month of Ramadan. This ritual fast known as, Sawm, and is one of the five pillars of Islam. It requires that individuals abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse between the hours of sun up and sun down. Beyond the physical abstinence, the reason Ramadan is known as the month of detoxing or training is explained to great effect by Nouman Ali Khan who explains that the ayah in Sura Baqara says fasting has been prescribed for you so that you may gain Taqwa. Taqwa means piety, but its literal meaning is also protection. Ramadan is the month in which you train and protect your heart to become stronger, more pious and closer to Allah by controlling your body and physical and material desires. My favourite takeaway from his video is min 14 to 16 when he says inna zalika min taqwal kuluub – the heart is the place of taqwa – which is a reference to sura Al Hajj ayah 32 where Allah swt says, ‘zalika waman yuaththim sha’aira Allahi fainnaha min taqwaalquloob’ which translates to ‘he who respects the Symbols of Allah, surely shows the piety of his heart.’ Nouman Ali Khan’s video about Ramadan I highly recommend and linked here.

Now – to answer some frequently asked questions.

What’s the point of Ramadan? In general, the practices of Ramadan are meant to purify oneself from thoughts and deeds which are counter to Islam. By removing material desires, one is able to focus fully on devotion and service to God. Many Muslims go beyond the physical ritual of fasting and attempt to purge themselves of impure thoughts and motivations such as anger, cursing, and greed.

Do all Muslims fast? Most Muslims believe Ramadan fasting is mandatory, but there are some groups that do not. In the Quran in Sura 2, Al-Baqara, Verse (ayah) 256 it includes the phrase that “there is no compulsion in religion”. So each person practices in the way they wish. I personally believe it is the intention rather than the act that is important. You can abstain from food and water all day but if you are cussing, angry and mean spirited during this fast then how much have you achieved the goal of Ramadan which is self-purification to attain closeness to God.

How do you fast in Islam? During the month of Ramadan, most Muslims fast from dawn to sunset with no food or water. Before sunrise many Muslims have the Suhur or predawn meal. At sunset families and friends gather for Iftar which is the meal eaten by Muslims to break the fast. Many Muslims begin the meal by eating dates as the Prophet Muhammad used to do.

Why is charity such a big part of Ramadan? Charity is an important part of Ramadan because the fast emphasizes self-sacrifice and using the experience of hunger to grow in empathy with the hungry. During Ramadan, Muslim communities work together to raise money for the poor, donate clothes and food, and hold iftar dinners for the less fortunate and or with interfaith and other community organisations.

Do you spend Ramadan studying the Quran? Many Muslims use Ramadan to read the entire Quran or read the Quran daily. Many communities divide the Quran into daily reading segments that conclude on Eid ul-Fitr at the end of Ramadan. To tie this back to my earlier reference about tawqa – protecting the heart can only come from a closeness to and an understanding of the Quran. Therefore the importance of studying the Quran in Ramadan cannot be emphasised enough.

I am not Muslim but I want to fast – can I? Non-Muslims are free to participate in Ramadan. Many non-Muslims fast and even pray with their Muslim friends or family members. Non-Muslims are often invited to attend prayer and iftar dinners. Those wishing to be polite to someone who is fasting for Ramadan may greet them with Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem, which means have a Blessed or Generous Ramadan.

Do you have to fast if you are sick? Fasting during Ramadan is discouraged for those who are not of sound body or mind. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, people who are seriously sick, travellers, or those at health risk should not fast. Children that have not gone through puberty are also not required to fast during the month Ramadan.

Because the cycle of the lunar calendar doesn’t match the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan shift approximately 11 days each year. This year Ramadan began on 26th May 2017 and will end in 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon. The end of Ramadan is marked by the holiday of Eid ul-Fitr. On Eid ul-Fitr, morning prayers are followed by feasting and celebration among family and friends. This year Eid ul-Fitr will most probably fall on Sunday 26th June and my video on Eid is here!

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

A great article and a picture of me in the Canberra times! Click HERE to read it now!

A short video by me of the day below.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »