A collection of many of my statuses on Facebook in 2016-2017 that I deeply connect with.
If they are not in quotation marks, then they are my own words.

2017:

“Everything has something staining it, and the stain of sacred knowledge is covetousness (wealth, fame).”
-Hasan al Basri

“What is stronger than the human heart which shatters over and over and still lives?”
-Rupi Kaur

“The warrior gives a wooden sword to his son
so that he may become a champion in battle.
Love for a human being is that wooden sword.
When the trial comes to its end, you will love the All-Merciful.”
-Shaykh Rumi

“Imbalanced praise is just as detrimental to us as imbalanced criticism.”
-Imam Omar Suleiman

Do not fear the love that arises in your heart for others, for it is better to love others than to have excessive love of oneself (narcissism).

“God honors a servant with no greater honor than to show him the vileness of his own ego. He humiliates a servant with no greater humiliation than to hide from him the vileness of his ego.”
-Dhul Nun al Misri
That being said, may He protect us from being humiliated, and shade us under His mercy and forgiveness.

“A word not spoken is your prisoner, yet a word once spoken will make you its prisoner.”
-Arabic Proverb

“Be mindful with your self-talk. It’s a conversation with the universe.”
-David J. Lees

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you…don’t go back to sleep.” -Sh. Rumi
‘Part of the reason the Ummah is in the condition it is in today is because they have neglected the practice of starting their day after Fajr and replaced it with sleep.’
-reflection from Ustadha Chiler D.

What ‘I love you’ really means:
I love the manifestation of the Divine attributes that come through you.

“One who guards his/her heart, guards the Deen.”
-Sh. Junayd al-Baghdadi

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”
-Abraham Lincoln

The solar eclipse is a reminder of the ego’s ability to eclipse the light of the spirit.
Every infatuation we have is eclipsing us from the real source of its beauty. Our goal is to identify the veils, habits, and addictions that are blocking us from the sun (light) of truth, from the sun of humanity.

If you turn your status into a complaint, then try to offer at least one solution. It is hope after the expression of frustration that leads us all to a brighter and more productive future.

“My Thoughts: There are so many Black men like Malcolm X (Al Hajj Malik Shabazz) in our communities. The problem is we just don’t reach out to them and support them in their efforts. It is easier to celebrate the deceased than to help uplift the living.”
-Imam Amin Muhammad of Atlantic City, NJ

“Every ‘ism’ is a prism of a mind in prison.”
-Ustadh Hisham Mahmoud

“Art has more power to change a villains heart than all institutions, conferences and lectures combined… art works on hearts and all else works on the mind. And who are saints but perfected divine art works turned artists!”
-Sidi Ali Hussain

Own less, Live more, Learn better, Love best.

“The contemporary obsession with singing songs about practices and rituals I suspect is rooted in a profound disconnection from a personal relationship driven faith and instead viewing the deen as primarily an ideology and a set of systems.
-Ismaeel de Silva

“You don’t have to do a thousand things to make this world a better place. All you need to do to make this world better is one thing, be your truest self. By doing this one thing you can benefit 18,000 worlds.”
-Sh. Muhammad Mendes

“The reason I never felt homesick, was because for me, home was wherever I was. This concept that home is a physical structure stopped making sense to me. How could I place this concept of home on places that kept on changing? On temporary roofs…houses with structures? Home was here (points to her heart). The only constant I had in my constantly changing life was my art, my writing, my expression.”
-Rupi Kaur

“When something is burnt, it loses value, but when a heart is burnt, it gains value.
Mustafa said, ‘Do not adorn your faces, for the adornment of faces has no honor with the Exalted Presence. Do not curl your hair, for curled and knotted hair is of no account in that Court. Do not be proud of your forms, for the form has no measure or worth. The only thing of any use is a heart full of pain [burning/yearn].’ ”
-Maybudi (From Chittick’s ‘Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God’)
Maybudi is not taking away from the fact that we can also admire the Divine through our contemplation of the beautiful outward form, he is emphasizing the worth of the burnt heart in relation to these forms.

“How we value our time is often very related to how we value ourselves. Because as Imam Al Ghazali says, your time is your life. So, I think how we spend time shows what we value, and in a way.. how we value our lives.”
-Amanda Faith

“I had fought so hard and thought that all my battles had been won.
Only to find the war had just begun.
Is He not strong enough?
Is He not pure enough?
To break me, pour me out and start again?”
-Stacie Orrico

Iqbal’s explanation of a ‘Spiritual Democracy’ (which he proclaimed was the goal of religion, and the solution to combating racial, geographic, and language divisions among humanity):
“As an emotional system of unification, Islam recognizes the worth of the individual…and rejects blood relationship as the basis of human unity. Blood relationship is earth-rootedness. The search for a purely psychological foundation of human unity becomes possible only with the perception that human life is spiritual in its origin. Such a perception…makes it possible for man to emancipate himself from the earth.”

“Meditation upon Divine Revelation leads to the greatest education: the revealing of your true Self and the unveiling of your true Love.”
-Sh. Muhammad Mendes

“Whoever wishes to see three hundred men in one man has only to look at me, for I have followed three hundred teachers and from each of them I have derived a quality.”
-Anonymous seeker  (From ‘Signs on the Horizons’ by Michael Sugich)

“Our flavoring of the faith cannot be limited to 25 prophets…if we were to see the 124,000 prophets (mentioned in a hadith)…which of those Prophets taught the Native Americans to call out to the Great Spirit? We would see a diversity in Prophetic tradition.”
-Saad Omar

“A man sets out on a journey, dreaming of a beautiful or magical place, in pursuit of some unknown treasure. At the end of his journey, the man realizes the treasure was with him the entire time.”
-Paulo Coelho
“Oh seeker of truth veiled by your own being—the secret lies within you.”
-Al Shusturi

“The eye of a human being is a microscope, which makes the world seem bigger than it really is.”
-Khalil Gibran

“There’s no one way to be in the world as a woman. Our righteousness is most reliant upon our vertical relationship with God.”
-Faatimah Knight

“We have no way to get rid of nuclear waste and no place store it; it remains lethal for hundreds of thousands of years. Do you understand why I remain staunchly opposed to nuclear anything? We are dooming our future generations. We love our children. How in the world do we condone this?”
-Professor Heidi Hutner

“Letting go is not a one-stop shop, with a final destination, but a constant state of being.”
-Joanna Warwick
“I realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.”
-Jeffrey McDaniel

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.”
-Aristotle

“In this world, it is not similarities or regularities that take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insan-al Kamil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.”
-Shams of Tabriz

“The blossoming flower is a symbol of the self disclosure of God.”
-Ali Karjoo-Ravary (PhD candidate in Islamic Studies at UPenn)
He stated this during his presentation on Ibn al Arabi during Dr. William Chittick’s last class of the semester at Stony Brook University.

“Improve your inward aspect until it becomes better than your virtuous outward appearance, for the former is where the gaze of the Real obtains, while the latter is where the envious gaze of creation is to be found.”
-Imam Al-Haddad

“The average human adult is composed of 50-75% water, the average infant is 75-78% water. What are the qualities of water? It changes its shape to the environment it resides in, it is continuous and ever evolving. Thus, the ideas I teach my students today are likely to be different from the ideas I teach them 10 years from now. Knowledge and it’s application are ever evolving.”
-Infectious Disease Physician, and my old coworker

“There is no Major sin in the presence of seeking forgiveness and there is no Minor sin in the presence of persistence.”
-Imam Amin Muhammad

“The delight of the sight is in the outward beauty of the seen, but the delight of insight is in the inward beauty of discernment.”
-Imam al-Ghazali

“Inevitably, each of us will at some point, like the Beloved Prophet (God bless his soul and give him peace with his family), experience our own Year of Grief (‘ām al-huzn). That time in our lives when we are made to face severe poverty, insecurity, and the painful rejection of those we love. If you respond as he did, relying upon God with acceptance of loss, detachment from material means, and empathy for those who harm you, then you too, if God wills, shall receive your portion from his extraordinary Night Journey and Heavenly Ascension (al-isrā’ wal-mi’rāj), and be honored as he was honored according to what has been written for you.”
-Shaykh Muhammad Mendes

“Speak in the tongues of men and angels, make dhikr your destiny, converse with the Awliyah and make your heart resonate and reverberate with the primordial vibrations of the eternal Shahada. Go where the dead can’t follow and find your peace…and recover your soul’s pieces.”
-Yusuf Jones

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”
-Shaykh Rumi

“Sometimes, the things that are deemed popular won’t always align with our God-given purpose.”
-Zainab Ismail

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize that there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
-Lao Tzu

“May you be granted healing for every ill, peace for every unsettled moment, mercy for every mistake, wisdom for every confusion, strength for every challenge, guidance for every fork in the road, energy for every task, good company for every loneliness, contentment in every trial, resolution to every problem, rest for every fatigue, and blessing for every moment.”
-Sr. Kate

“If anyone thinks well of you,
then make his opinion true.”
-Imam Ali, sayings from The Peak of Eloquence (Nahj al-Balagha)

“It’s good to leave each day behind, like flowing water, free of sadness. Yesterday is gone and its tale told. Today new seeds are growing.”
-Shaykh Rumi

“So much of the suffering in our world today comes from people not having received unconditional love and attention from their parents and other authority figures in their youth, or worse, from their having being abused and harmed in some way by their guardians, relatives, or family friends.
Be gentle with human souls.
Take care, not advantage, of those under your guardianship. Guide, discipline, and advise your children, grandchildren, and students with wisdom, love, and detachment, not compulsion, violence, and fear. The greatest gift and lesson you can give the human soul is love and forgiveness, and the first recipient must be your own.”
-Shaykh Muhammad Mendes

“One of the greatest manifestations of our freedom…is the lack of desire/need to engage in prohibited things.”
-Imam Zaid Shakir in his commentary on Imam al Muhasibi’s “Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance”

Keep dancing along your path!
You have a beautiful life that is distinct from the rest of us. No, you are not bizarre, eccentric, or weird.
You. Are. Extraordinary.
You are making the world a more interesting place to live in. Your life is a mystery unveiling. Every day is an adventure.
Walk gratefully for the blessings you have been bestowed with!
Above all, your life is for the Divine.

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”
-Cesar Chavez

“If people knew how many secrets and benefits are to be found in need, they would have no other need than to be in need.”
-Sh. Ali al-Jamal of the 18th century
(Taken from ‘Signs of the Horizons’ by Michael Sugich)

True Dhikr (Divine Recollection), is in “the delightful observation of God’s attributes which manifest in the mundane life around us” and not merely in the “chanting of God’s Holy names”.
-Sh. Abdal Hakim Murad

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
-Henry David Thoreau

“Humans have created a fantasy world called anthropocentrism, the idea that all of reality, all of nature exists only for humanity, that we are the only species that matters and human rights take priority over the rights of all other species.

This anthropocentric view of the world has made us selfish, self-centered and extremely destructive to all other forms of life on the planet including our own. Our fantasies have allowed us to destroy the very life support systems that sustain us, to poison the waters we drink and the food we eat, to amuse ourselves with blood sports and to eradicate anything and everything we do not like, be it animal, plant or other human beings. We demonize each other and we demonize the entire living world.”

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
-Lao Tzu

“If you inherently long for something, become it first. If you want gardens, become the gardener. If you want love, embody love. If you want mental stimulation, change the conversation. If you want peace, exude calmness. If you want to fill your world with artists, begin to paint. If you want to be valued, respect your own time. If you want to live ecstatically, find the ecstasy within yourself. This is how to draw it in, day by day, inch by inch.”
-Victoria Erickson

“Some eloquent speech is as effective as magic.”
-Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) [Sahih al-Bukhari, book 76, hadith 81.]

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”
-Buddha

2016:

“I’d rather know less and practice more. But in reality my nafs will want to learn more and practice less.”
-Br. M.H.

“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.”
-Clarence Thomas (Supreme Court Judge)

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover that the prisoner was you.”
-Lewis B. Smedes

“We are captives of our own identities, living in prisons of our own creation.”
Theodore Bagwell

“You are the President of your own states (emotional state, mind state, bodily state). Are your states united?”
Govern wisely! #UnitedStates
(My notes from Shaykh Ahmad Dabbagh)

“Much of this generation’s religious education was gained in poorly organized weekend or Sunday schools in their adolescent years, which is well below the scope of true Islamic intellectualism. Completion of Sunday school leaves a student with a false sense of a monumental educational accomplishment. The theological masterpieces of intellectual giants like Al-Ghazali, al-Razi and Taftazani are never mentioned or referenced. In fact, one would be surprised to even hear their names. This Sunday school education is followed by an occasional knowledge retreat or conference as young adults, which often is more edutainment than education and does little to rebuild the original Islamic culture of constant religious study throughout one’s life. **This has led to a generation of young Muslims who are highly educated in almost every other field but possess a fifth grade level of Islamic education.**”
-Mikaeel Ahmed Smith

“‘I’ and ‘you’ are but the lattices,
in the niches of a lamp,
through which the One Light shines.
‘I’ and ‘you’ are the veil
between heaven and earth;
lift this veil and you will see
no longer the bonds of sects and creeds.
When ‘I’ and ‘you’ do not exist,
what is mosque, what is synagogue?
What is the Temple of Fire?”
-Shabistari

“Americans spend 87 percent of their time indoors and 6 percent in an enclosed vehicle.” (On average)
That only leaves us spending 7% of our time outdoors, and even less than that reaping the emotional and physiological benefits of “forest bathing”-absorbing the natural environment.

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
-Socrates

“These people (the Indians of Hispanola) love their neighbors as themselves; there discourse is ever sweet and gentle. I swear to your majesties, there is not in the world a better nation or a better land.”
—Christopher Columbus

“The inner quality of Moses is like a mirror. This was also true of his staff or whatever he touched. When the Pharoah looked at the staff, he saw a symbol of his lower self, his inflated, horrible ego. Did the staff really become a snake? Yes, it did. But then, what is reality? Your experience of reality depends on your inner state. In the hereafter it is the same. There is really no fire in hell, nor are there treasures in heaven. Everything is brought from here. What you did in this world goes with you. Your deeds become either the bricks of your place in heaven or your firewood in hell.”
—Shaikh Muzaffer Ozak, Love is the Wine: Talks of a Sufi Master in America, 54

“Do not recognize truth through people, recognize the truth and you shall know its people.” -Imam Ghazali

“Journalism based on gossip or rumors is a form of ‘terrorism’ and media that stereotype entire populations or foment fear of migrants are acting destructively” -Pope Francis

“The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.”
-Shams Tabriz

Eid al adha Mubarak!
We celebrate the human willpower and ability to sacrifice what is meaningful to create meaning for others. In other words, we celebrate selflessness, which was so beautifully exemplified by our father Abraham, peace be upon him.

“The believer speaks little, but does much. And the hypocrite talks a lot, but does little. The believer’s speech is wisdom, his silence is contemplation, his gaze is pondering, his actions are righteous. So if this is your state, you shall perpetually be in worship.”
-Fudayl bin Iyyad

“I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple,
but God declared: Go down again – I dwell among the people.”
-John Henry Newman

“He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.”
-Confucius

“God does not like the harshness of the heart and the tongue, that is why He hasn’t placed a bone within them. Keep them soft! The heart through Love and the tongue through good manners (akhlaq).”
-Dr. Muhammad Tahir al Qadri

“Eid is not for the one who beautifies himself by clothes and fine means of transport [shoes], indeed Eid is for the one who has had his sins forgiven.”
-Imam Ibn Rajab al Hanbali
May you have a beautiful celebration. :)

“Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my own soul, which sometimes helps me, and sometimes opposes me.”
-Imam Ghazali
“And God said ‘Love your enemy,’ and I obeyed Him and loved myself.”
-Kahlil Gibran

“The only way to disarm your enemy, is to listen to them.”
-former CIA undercover agent

“Restore a library, restore a civilizational soul…”
-Khalid Yaqub

“Great ideas, great opposition.
Small ideas, small opposition.
No ideas, no opposition.”
-Zen Buddhist master

“Open your hands, if you want to be held.”
-Shaykh Rumi

“I looked at all friends, and did not find a better friend than safeguarding the tongue. I thought about all the dresses but did not find a better dress than piety. I thought about all kinds of wealth, but did not find a better wealth than contentment in little. I thought of all sorts of good deeds but did not find a better deed than offering good advice. I looked at all types of sustenance, but did not find a better sustenance than patience.”
-Umar ibn al-Khattab (May God preserve him)

“The heart is a thousand stringed instrument that can only be tuned with love.” -Hafiz

“Ordinary people may show mercy now and then;
the saint’s mercy is expansive and universal.
His personal mercy has been absorbed in the whole—
the mercy of the Sea becomes the guide.
O you who have just a personal mercy,
come merge with the universal!”
-Shaykh Rumi

“The heart can contain either love or arrogance. Single entry only. The existence of one repels the other.”
-Sh. Salman al Jilani (Direct decendant and khalifa of Sh. Abdul Qadir Jilani)

“Honor the diversity that makes America so great. No terrorist attack — especially one that seeks to perpetuate hate — should be allowed to change that. We can’t fight hate with hate.”
-German Lopez

“There is no doubt that white supremacy has damaged the Muslim psyche. Colonialism bred inferiority complexes into Muslims stretching from the Indian subcontinent to Africa and beyond which includes seeing standards of beauty personified in European features ranging from skin color, eye color and hair texture. This is a fact that has been well studied from from black children desiring to play with white dolls over blacks dolls thinking that the white dolls are more beautiful to Fair & Lovely and other skin bleach creams being a multi-billion dollar business worldwide due to South Asian and African women desiring lighter skin.
Grandparents and parents in our community still tell our girls not to play outside in the sun too long out of fear that they will get dark. Our daughters are also met with microagressions such as ‘You’re so pretty for a dark girl!’ The flawed thought behind this of course is that girls with darker skin are less desirable for marriage thus will be less successful in life.”
-Dawud Walid

“Rumi’s encounter with the enigmatic mystic Shams of Tabriz, believed to have occurred in 1244, altered the course of his life. After Shams’s mysterious disappearance, an aggrieved Rumi wrote much of the love poetry that he is widely known for in the west – couplets that endure in pocketbook versions of his writings, which have made him the bestselling poet in the US.”
-Kareem Shaheen

“We have one life, it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.”
-Muhammad Ali, professional boxer, educater, and community servant, passed away on June 3, 2016
May God have mercy on his soul, make this time easy for his family, and admit him to the permanent abode of peace.

“A woman needs to be maintained financially, spiritually, morally, and above all intellectually because women are creatures of sound, and men are creatures of sight, and above all you must know the art of a relationship, is based upon communication.”
-Imam Malik

It is impossible to know the intention behind a person’s action/post, and this powerful quote from Imam Ghazali’s “Ihya” is a great reminder for that:
“I was prevented from standing for prayer at night for 5 months for a sin I committed. It was said: ‘And what was that sin?’ He replied: ‘I saw a man crying, so I said to myself: ‘This is showing off’.”
-Sufyan a-thawry

“May we speak little words, but with infinite meaning.”
-Dr Umar Faruq AbdAllah
“The default state should be thoughtful silence.”
Gems from ‘Forging an Alliance of Virtue’ in Allentown

“The museum is a modern invention to compensate for the death of art in society. Art is supposed to integrated into every aspect of the society. The highest form of beauty/art, is the saint.”
-Dr. Seyyed H. Nasr

“‘Aql literally means “to bind”, and we are essentially binding ourselves to the Divine through the intellect.”
-Dr Nasr

“If God removes from your heart desire to debate, argue, and dispute with people, then consider yourself extremely blessed.”
-Shaykh Abdul Aziz Suraqah
“The words you speak become the house you live in.”
-Hafiz

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
-Aristotle

“If you wish to be heard in the noise of this world, let your soul be dominated by a single idea. It is the man with a single idea who creates political and social revolutions, establishes empires and gives law to the world.”
-Iqbal

Very eloquent message from Ustadh Salman, please read the whole thing:
“Among our own fellow brothers and sisters whom we may discuss and disagree with publicly on the internet, we fall into the error of reading anger, resentment, hatred, and animosity into their comments and stances. This projection on our part is amplified manifold by the small screen that stands between us. I have found that meeting people humanizes them; it brings about a more respectful, civilized, and beneficial relationship.
Don’t let the internet damage your relationships with others… Recognize the potential of this medium to distort your perception and take the means to make sure that does not happen.”
-Salman Younas

“The secret to success in this dunya (world) and the akhirah (afterlife) is to be connected to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)…Our veneration of him is the reason for the victory in our affairs. His mercy is the key to all goodness for us…
Our maqam (station) in the akhirah elevates with every salawat we recite. We become 10 degrees closer to God, and our home in Jannah (paradise) becomes larger.”
-Shaykh Faisal Abdur Razak

“Tasawwuf (science of attaining ihsan) is found in suhba (good company) and khidma (service). The people of God do not compete in memorization, they compete in the states of the heart.”
-Shaykh Muhammad Al Yacoubi

“The scientific observer of Nature is a kind of mystic seeker in the act of prayer.”
-Muhammad Iqbal

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
-Edmund Burke

“For me the province of poetry is a private ecstasy made public, and the social role of the poet is to display moments of shared universal epiphanies capable of healing our sense of mortal estrangement—from ourselves, from each other, from our source, from our destiny, from The Divine.”
-Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore
Our dear brother, poet, and teacher Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore has passed away. May God make this time ease for his family and grant Br. Daniel a peaceful abode near the beloved Prophet (pbuh) in Paradise. Ameen

“Being a candle is not easy, in order to give light, one must first burn.”
-Shaykh Rumi

“The traveler of this world has blisters on his feet. The traveler of the spiritual world has blisters on his heart.”
-Shaykh Zulfiqar

“Anyone who says he finds no pleasure in sounds and melodies and music is either a liar and a hypocrite or he is not in his right senses, and is outside the category of men and beasts. Those who prohibit music do so in order that they may keep the divine commandment, but theologians are agreed that it is permissible to hear musical instruments if they are not used for (frivolous) diversion, and if the mind is not led to wickedness through hearing them.”
-Hujwiri (d. 11th century CE)

“Pride is concern for your own skin. It is an obsession with how you appear to others. Your pride forces you to constantly think about your position in society, and the style of property in which you live. So what is pride? Pride is lack of concern for what lies beneath the skin. Pride is blindness to the light which illuminates the heart.”
-Shaykh Rumi

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.”
A quick glimpse into the historical beauty of this poem:
The author of “Amazing Grace” was known to be a ruthless, slave trader who didn’t mind throwing slaves overboard (even if they were still in chains) if he feared his ship would sink during detrimental, stormy weather. Despite his outrageous behavior, God’s grace touched his heart and he composed this poem as way of explaining how amazing God is for bestowing an opening into his “wretched” heart.
Moral of the story: Despite how sinful or low a person’s heart may fall, God’s mercy is still vast enough to penetrate it and change its condition.
=) This beautiful story was taught to me by a Presbyterian pastor while I attended a Christian funeral.

Acting > Memorizing
Abdullah ibn Masood, the Companion [of the Prophet] said, “It was difficult for us to memorize the words of the Qur’an but easy for us to act by them. After us will be people for whom it is easy to memorize the Qur’an, but hard to act by it.”
May we be among those who both act and memorize. : ) Ameen.

“When you see beauty and perfection in this world, it is nothing but a sign of Him. A beautiful creature is merely a single blossom from the vast garden of God. But remember that a picture fades, a flower dies, and the reflection in the mirror is eclipsed by the real Light. It is God who is real and remains so forever. So why waste your time over something that is here today and gone tomorrow? Go directly to the source without delay.”
-Jami (d. 1492)

“If a man knows not his own soul, which is the nearest thing to him, what is the use of his claiming to know others?”
-Imam Ghazali

The sincere lover of God Rabi’a al adawiyah, confessed, “My love of the all-Merciful leaves me no room for hostility towards Satan.”
Imagine the compassion we would have, if we embodied this type of love, for the beings (living and non living) that aren’t nearly as close to satan, the ultimate representation of distance from God.
We would become living and walking embodiments of mercy for our antagonists, friends, plants, animals, and non living matter.

“He who defines love has not known it, he who has not tasted it by drinking it down has not known it, and he who says that he has been quenched by it has not known it, for love is drinking without quenching.”
-Shaykh Ibn al Arabi, from his Futuhat

“If you wish to discover and possess complete joy and consolation in God, you must ensure that you are free of all creatures and of all the consolation which they provide. Certainly, for as long as the creature can comfort you and does so, you will never find true consolation. But when nothing can console you except God alone, then indeed he will console you with him and with all that gives delight. If you are comforted by what is not God, you will find no consolation either in this life or the next. But when creatures do not give you comfort or pleasure, then you will find consolation both now and hereafter.”
-Meister Eckhart (d. 13th century)

The reality of music is a means of spiritual and intellectual elevation. Inward reflection and outward rectification.

We are fans of our own fans. We enjoy the company of those who praise and agree with our thoughts and reflections. But we remain stagnant when we don’t embrace and contemplate new ideas and perspectives. It is those who expand our minds that truly care for us, and allow us to intellectually and emotionally grow. The true friend is the one who gently reveals to you your own shortcomings, so that you can one day enter into an enlightened and expansive state. May we show more appreciation for the true friends than we do for the fans.

Spirituality is the science of “tasting”.
Come, let us dive into this honey. :)
“Tasting things is not just knowing things mentally. You can know a lot about what “honey” is, you know, everything, all the chemistry, but you can’t replace the real taste of what it is. And that is the real practice of spirituality.”
-Dr. Faouzi Skali of Fez, Morocco.

Gems from one of the lighthouses of NY:
“The annihilation of the self is the subsistence of the Real self.”
“The point is not to reach intoxication and remain in that state, the goal is to reach the state of sobriety AFTER intoxication (the higher level)…that is the state the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was in.”
-Shaykh William Chittick

“Poeman said (d. 450 CE), ‘If a man appears silent in speech, but is condemning other people in his heart, he is really talking incessantly. Another man may seem to talk all day, but is keeping silence since he always speaks in a way that is right with his heart.”
-The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks, trans. B. Ward (London: Penguin, 2003), 101

“Do good consistently to your mother and father. Visit your kin, do not see the faults of others, keep secret their wrongdoings, and advise them only when no one can hear. Pray for the sinners and pardon their wrongdoings. Feel the evil and terror of your ego, and the shame of going along with it. Show consideration to people with compassion, kindness and goodness [...] Be modest before people of knowledge. Discern the truth in what you hear and accept it. Save your tongue from lies and slander [...] Be sincere and pure in your actions. See what is good and beautiful in creation. Avoid those of an evil disposition and befriend the good. Leave your wants, and throw away the desire to be praised for your achievements.”
-Imam Sulami (d. 11th C CE) Kitab al-Futuwwah

“Any understanding and interpretation of the sacred texts (Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah) that is not based on unconditional compassion is an illegitimate interpretation!”
-Shaykh Muhammad Ninowy

“They say there is a doorway from heart to heart, but what is the use of a door when there are no walls?”
-Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi
“For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.”
-Kahlil Gibran

Marriage is not limited to a union of two bodies, of which sensory comfort is derived.
Marriage is not limited to the union of two souls, of which imagination, ambitions, and dreams, are shared.
Marriage is complete when there is a union of two spirits, of which the intellectual/spiritual energy and endeavors are merged in such a way where each derives energy from the other – supporting and fostering the growth of the other to reach the infinite realm of Divine gnosis and witnessing.

“Women are the main cause for tranquility and calmness in a household. No other factor can be as strong to influence a man to have more God-consciousness (taqwā) than a pious woman. A mother is a school. Therefore, when you perfect the school, a good and noble generation will arise from that school.”
-Shaykh Habib Umar

“People of action, minimize small talk
People of action, leave cluttering mental noise
People of action, their light guides them to more people of action”
-Sarwar N.

“Sayyidna Isa عليه السلام passed by a people who reviled him with ugliness to which he responded with kind words and gentleness. When asked about this he said, ‘Each of us can only give to others from what we possess.’”
-Omair Syed

“The doors of spiritual knowledge open through the teachers
The strength of the knock depends on one’s spiritual features
How we think in private tells the truth of each creature
If it opens then it opened from the past to the future
Witness timelessness through the opening of the teachers!”
-Wajiha Khalil

Gem note series from our beloved teacher: Dr. William Chittick.
The first gem (paraphrased by me) that I will share is on Love (Ishq):
The term ‘ishq (love) is derived from the noun ‘ashaqa [a vine which grows tighter and tighter around the tree until the tree shrivels up and dies]. This is the reality of Love. Love consumes you stronger and stronger until your sense of ego and self dies…you die while being fully wrapped by the Vine!
(Of course, this level of love, and the ultimate reality of love, is between the servant and the Divine)

“If it’s still in your mind, it is worth taking the risk.”
-Paulo Coelho

“The diversity of life forms in the outside world provides only the barest hints of the unbounded realm of the soul. Indeed, Ibn al Arabi tells us that the world of imagination is by far the vastest realm in existence, “because it exercises its ruling property over everything and non-thing. It gives form to absolute non-existence, to the impossible, to the Necessary, and to possibility. It makes existence non-existent and non-existence existent.”
(F. I 306. 6)
-Dr. William Chittick’s “Ibn Arabi, Heir to the Prophets”

“Bury yourself in the land of anonymity. A seed that is never buried underground will never produce.” -Shaykh Ibn Ata’illah
Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, asked his companions, “Where does grain grow?” They replied, “In the earth.” He said, “It is the same for wisdom. It only grows in the heart which is like the earth.”
One of the gnostics said, “Whenever you bury your nafs (lower self/ego) in earth after earth, your heart rises heaven after heaven.”
Second passage taken from:
The Hikam of Ibn ‘Ata’llah, Commentary by Ibn ‘Ajiba
Translated by Aisha Bewley

“There are two kinds of yogis, the hidden and the known. Those who have renounced the world are ‘known’ yogis: everyone recognises them. But the ‘hidden’ yogis live in the world. They are not known. They are like the maidservant who performs her duties in the house but whose mind is fixed on her children in the country.’”
-Sri Ramakrishna

“In the time of the Companions, the question never arose concerning the validity of learning directly from women. If we were to consider, for example, the books of prophetic tradition (Hadith), in every chapter you will find women narrating as well as men. Imam Hakim Naisapuri states: “One fourth of our religion depends on the narrations of women. Were it not for those narrations, we would lose a quarter of our religion.” -
See more at: https://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/notes/a_glimpse_at_early_women_islamic_scholars

“Don’t be in a hurry to condemn a person because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”
-Malcolm X

We are the temporary vessels emanating light from a Permanent Being:
“When you look in the mirror, you see yourself, not the state of the mirror.
The fluteplayer puts breath into a flute,
and who makes the music? Not the flute.
The Fluteplayer!
When you eventually see
through the veils of how things really are,
you will keep saying again and again,
‘This is certainly not like we thought it was!’”
-Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi in his Mathnawi
We are the flutes; all our actions, creative expressions, talents, etc., belong to the Fluteplayer and come through us, thereby allowing us to reflect/manifest His beauty and power. We are the temporary vessels emanating light from a Permanent Being.

O Layla, even your rejection of me is beautiful
For I love not with selfish need
I admire you unbeknownst to you
And my rays of care emanate with speed.
My love is generous, I care for no return
I am alive in my continuous burn.
God cares with eternal boundless depth,
Like the sunshine that feeds without care for thanks
And the oceans that nourish life forms of all ranks
The trees that give life to lungs thirsty for air
And the silkworms that strive hard to produce garments to wear
God is not limited to loving those who take heed
He envelops all in His merciful lead!
Humans give love in hopes for return
God gives freely without need for your yearn!
He cares well and provides, for even those who deny
Think clearly now, my friend, and be wise!
How can you sit there, measure, and confine?
God’s blessed provision for all mankind?

“Reading books is the poor man’s form of travel”
-Fawzia Syed
Creativity arises from within; one doesn’t need to search for enlightenment farther than the lengths the mind takes during deep contemplation. The human heart is the microcosm of the universe.

Professor William Chittick will be teaching from his translation and commentary of Shaykh Jalaluddin Rumi’s poetry this semester at Stony Brook University. Come on down! Ahlan wa sahlan!
Some gems from Day 2:
“The heart is the throne of God in the microcosm.”
“Riyada in modern Arabic means ‘sports’, however in classical Arabic it means ‘disciplining the soul.’”
-Dr. Chittick
My reflection: interesting how through the progression of time and integration into modern paradigms of thinking, the definition of ‘Riyada’ was altered to a more tangible, less serious and less metaphysical reality.

“When a man’s “I” has been naughted from existence, what then remains?” (Rumi, Mathnawi VI 2095)
“This ‘I and we ness’ is a ladder that all men climb-in the end, they all must fall.
Whoever goes higher is a greater fool, for his bones will break the worse…as long as you have not died and become living through Him, you are a rebel seeking a realm for your copartnership.”
(Rumi, Mathnawi IV 2763-65)

Yes, Selena Gomez. I feel you. “I’m so sick of that same old love!” Come, let’s empty the cup of Ishq Majazi (illusory love) and drink deep into the cup of Ishq Haqiqi (Real Love, love directed toward the Divine)…

“When God blesses you financially, don’t raise your standard of living, raise your standard of giving.”

‘The Messenger of God ﷺ said that when a boy is born, he brings one nur (light) with him, and when a girl is born, then she brings two. It is also said that when parents rejoice at the birth of a daughter, that this is greater than making tawaaf of the Ka’aba seventy times. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (God ﷻ sanctify his secrets) would say, “Congratulations, the Prophets were mostly fathers of daughters.”‘
-my cousin Imraan Khan

“On average 22 veterans commit suicide every day. That’s about 8,000 every year. That’s twice the number of Americans killed in the World Trade Center every year for the past decade. So it’s like the devastation of 9/11 happens twice a year but in the lives of veterans. More veterans have died from taking their own lives than in combat in Afghanistan. I don’t any feel any safer, I just feel like we have a suicide epidemic.”
-Faatimah Knight

Our debt of gratitude to You is overwhelmingly large and infinite that were we to spend every moment of our existence enunciating thankfulness, it would never be enough to compensate for one cell of our bodies. Therefore we live, breathe, eat, and die in the state of gratitude. We love in gratitude, sleep in gratitude, get “drunk” on gratitude, read in gratitude, celebrate in gratitude, work in gratitude. May we never lose the ecstatic bliss of gratitude: the perennial consciousness of Your constant bestowing of love and gifts.
And is there any other state to be in other than gratitude?

“Half of life is lost in charming others. The other half is lost in going through anxieties caused by others. Leave this play, you have played enough!”
-Shaykh Rumi

Sentient beings will come and go,
Don’t hold on for too long it will stifle your growth.
Burn a hole through your skin, denting your bones.
Before it’s too late, be wise and let go.
Appreciation is key, to maneuver destiny.
Each person is a guide, a veil, and a key
To unveil your life’s beautiful mystery.
You must learn to grasp, then release and be free.

There are three dimensions within the Prophetic legacy (sunnah):
One is tangible, two are intangible:
1. A’maal : External actions (acts of worship, clothes, food, etc)
2. Akhlaq : Internal Qualities/Character traits (Tolerance, forgiveness, generosity, etc)
3. Ahwaal : States of the heart (Humility/awe in prayer, love, fear, God consciousness, etc.)
(Notes from a talk by Sh. Zulfiqar Ahmad)

“If you are wise, pick out the pearl from the shell!” – Master Rumi
And how many times do we judge and dismiss a person based on their form, their shell, without ever giving a chance to know their essence?
Try not to fall captive to the veils of social media profiles. Become acquainted with the essence of the people you encounter, for the mysteries of the soul, the pearl, are as deep as an infinitely descending sea.