Sans Mustachio Brother: "Well, I mean, maybe once or twice, nothing serious."
Other Brother: *Chuckles*
Sans Mustachio Brother: "Definitely not like the other kids, some of them got beat 20-30 times a day!" *Chuckle chortle*
That's ALL I heard, instantly, I knew what he was talking about and what he was referring to. I could immediately tell that this Sans Mustachio Brother attended a madrasa, he was a Hafiz (Masha'Allah, God Bless Him for that), but even if his appearance suggests that, you can't be 100% sure, but this conversation proved my previous assumption to be accurate. Since the way he described the "beatings", the frequency or lack thereof, definitely suggests the Madrasa Life, where students are beaten regularly, even for petty mistakes, sometimes I guess there is sufficient reason for it, but in general, there should be no beating whatsoever. That's my opinion on the matter. Teach people with love, not anger or hate. That is the way of our Prophet Muhammad (S).
For some reason, Madrasa living always reminds me of the movie "Annie" Haha.
"It's a Hard Madrasa Life For Us."
Today's Jummah Khutbah was superb, I am supremely grateful to God for such a wonderfully uplifting and enlightening khutbah. First off, the khutbah was delivered by Shaikh Yahya Rhodus, this was my first time hearing about him. When he was announced by one of the MSA brothers, the brother said Shaikh Yusuf, so I immediately thought Shaikh Hamza Yusuf would be delivering the khutbah, someone I love and respect a great deal. Unfortunately it was not him, but fortunately, it was Shaikh Yahya. What he spoke about really touched my Heart and I appreciated it a great deal. I actually learned something good and was able to reflect on his words and reflect on my own inner state.
I will start by describing his appearance and demeanor. He was clearly a convert, White American. He had a subtle beard and mustache. He was slender and of medium stature. He spoke very softly and with intellect. It was a pleasure to hear him speak. The way he spoke and about what he spoke reminded me of the way Shaikh Hamza Yusuf speaks. I guess that makes sense since Shaikh Yahya was a student of Shaikh Hamza Yusuf.
On to the khutbah itself.
Shaikh Yahya started out by reflecting on "La Illaha Ilallah"
He then spoke about the day of Jummah (Friday), commenting that it is a day of gathering and recollection. He commented on the basement in which we were all gathered to pray, he said that it was seemingly "insignificant," yet, the meaning behind the gathering was great. He said that "Quality is the most important, more important than quantity." The quality of the inner states, and believes in general is most important. A quality person has a "spiritual, metaphysical, religious, and knowledgeable" state.
He continued by commenting on language, saying that all language comes from God, although Arabic is the supreme language, (definitely as far as our tradition and faith is concerned). He said that all languages can be "Islamicized" and that nowadays people are pushing for nationalism and trying to remove traces of "Islamization" from their languages ("de-Arabization"), that it's already happening in the areas of Khorasan, Turkey, and Pakistan.
This is certainly true, Turkey is the most blatant example of this. With the abolition of the Caliphate and the rise of Ataturk, Ottoman Turkish (written in Arabic script, using MANY Arabic and Persian words) was no more. A Westernized script was established and words were removed from the vocabulary. This was done in an attempt to secularize the country, which was more or less successful, fortunately there are many Muslims in Turkey today that uphold the old traditions of Islam and keep the faith alive. May Allah Bless Them.
He continues by saying that Arabic is a sacred language and that this "de-Arabization" of languages and Muslims in general is a tragedy for all Muslims. It's the situation in which now people are placing nationality over religion, placing politics and borders over one's commitment to God. It's the sad truth.
He continued by commenting on the differences between the scholars of Islam and the common people.
"Two rakats of a scholar is worth 1000 rakats of a common person." Why? Because the scholar knows better, so he should act on his knowledge, he knows the subtleties in the Sunnah and must invoke them. People should not be offended when referred to as "common", if that is your station, you must accept it. I am amongst the "common" people, I am not a scholar. Which is why, I derive my knowledge and opinions directly from scholars, as those who are not scholars should do. To claim your actions are right based upon the wisdom and knowledge of a scholar of Islam is not ignorance, it is only ignorance if you misunderstand or misinterpret what is being said, in that case we ask God for Hikmah and Guidance.
Shaikh Yahya continues by saying, "We hear about 'The Call to Sunnah', but what does that mean?" Aha! Great point, subtly pointing a disparaging finger at the Wahabis. "Align yourself and your heart to everything the Prophet (S) did, internally and externally."
"In order to be a person of quality, you need a Heart that knows how to receive mercy and light, opening your Heart to guidance. This is not just a metaphorical phenomenon." I capitalized the 'h' in 'heart' to distinguish between our physical organ which pumps blood throughout are entire body with the concept of the "Intellectual Heart" which is our spiritual organ that receives Nur (Divine Light), inspiration, and guidance from above.
"When Allah's name is spoken, light descends, places where people are making dhikr, the angels look down and see light." Light is associated with people who performed dhikr and places in which dhikr is performed.
Shaikh Yahya continues by talking about how not just anybody is capable or allowed to interpret the Quranic doctrine or Hadith. He says that in order to be a Mufassir, or exegete, there are 12 prerequisites that MUST be fulfilled. Among them are knwoing the Arabic language, this is an obvious one but is really the basis behind everything, knowing the science behind the rhetoric, knowing the science of theology, knowing the Asbab al Usool, being a Muhadith, someone who knows the science of the Ahadith as well as several others. The last and most important of these 12 prereqs is the "Ilm al Mawhiba," which is a God given ability, it's something some of us possess and the majority of us do not possess. This is well accepted and known amongst our traditional Islamic scholars. The Wahabis act like the Protestants and think if they can read it they can know it. That's incorrect and leads many people astray. People who are capable of being a Mufassir need to have "a connection to the inner state of the heart."
"It is not enough to know knowledge, you need light." Shaikh Yahya told a story about Imam Bukhari.
"Why did Imam Bukhari title this specific Hadith in this specific manner?"
His teacher responded with,
"You need a heart lit with a 2000 watt light bulb in order to begin penetrating the meaning behind his reason for titling it so."
"People of Muraqabah know that if we cannot see Him [Allah], know that He sees us. Watch over your heart. You're not imagining God, nor will you ever, kn ow He sees you and need to control your heart."
He quotes one of his teachers, Shaikh Abdul Hakim Murad, as saying:
I agree mostly with the message trying to be relayed, but I am of the opinion that praying in public places like that is not always wise, if the situation is open to it, sure, if it is not, then make up your prayer later, God is truly merciful.
He said that our Prophet (S) is the Khatm an-Nabiyyin, the last of the Prophets, "The Last Train Home." He told the congregation to be strong and keep courage to stand up and recognize that we are part of a tradition, he said, "My teachers, and my teachers teachers, and my teachers teachers teachers, all the way back to the Prophet (S)" is an important tradition to maintain, the tradition of having teachers. This is clearly a Sufic practice, the Master-Disciple relationship, I was pleased to hear about this.
He said these traditions and having proper teachers are necessary for the renewal of the faith and knowledge.
"Our honor is being slaves of God."
"People incline towards light, be a light for people by being true Muslims."
A beautiful khutbah, thank God.