As Salam Alaikum Everyone,
Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. [Noble Quran 2:156]
I hope that you are doing well with Allah’s remembrance.
May Allah help the people of Turkiye during this heartbreaking calamity. May Allah give them patience, peace and hope. Ameen.
Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Gambia, in West Africa.
My sister asked me to go with her and her family as she was going to see her shaykh there and attend an Islamic conference. I immediately said yes.
Before this trip, I hadn’t seen my own shaykh in over 6 years. It was a hard time because my shaykh is my inspiration. Truly, to be a Happy Muslim, one should have a shaykh who they learn from. I had been praying to Allah to give me a sign that I was still connected with my shaykh.
“And when my servants ask you about Me, then tell them I am near. I answer the call of every believer when they call upon Me so let them also answer My call and believe in me so they may find rightful guidance” (2:186).
Well, it turned out that my shaykh was in Gambia the exact time we were in Gambia. (My shaykh is originally from Senegal but has lived in America for many years). It turned out that my shaykh was just 10 minutes away from our hotel. Allah is so Kind.
So I got to see my shaykh, Shaykh Harun Rashid Faye (picture attached–me, his wife and him), after all these years. I cried out of joy and awe of Allah’s mercy. I gained renewed spiritual strength and happiness.
Gambia is a beautiful country too. Our hotel was near the Atlantic Ocean so I got to walk on the beach in January. The people of Gambia are truly smiling people, which is why Gambia is called “Africa’s Smiling Coast.” The fish of Gambia is the best, freshest fish I’ve ever tasted. I drank coconut water from a coconut with a straw.
At the Islamic conference, I gained heartwarming knowledge. I asked one shaykh, “What should we do when we feel bored doing ibadah/worship?” The shaykh answered:
“The more you develop in your Ibadah then Shaytan comes to trouble you. He’s the one that puts this into your mind, to get you to think it’s boring. When that feeling comes, just do something small to push back. That’s the jihad.”
Another great reminder:
“Rabbana atina fiddunya hasana, wa fil akhirati hassana, wa akina adhabannar” (Oh Allah give us the good of this world, and the good of the hereafter, and protect us from hellfire.)
“We have forgotten the jewel of this dua. Its meaning tells us that if you have this you have everything.”
Another person asked this shaykh, which part of the seerah (Prophet’s life story) do you love?
The shaykh’s answer:
“Love and forgiveness. Being pushed away from Makkah and cast away. And when the beloved messenger returns, he (pbuh) shows such forgiveness to those that wronged him. He (pbuh) said, “Go and you are free.”
Another question was, “How can we increase our feeling of connection to the Prophet (pbuh)?
Answer: “If someone loves someone they will remember them. Do as much salawat of him (pbuh) as you can.”
The shaykh’s final advice at this meeting: “Try this: when you go to bed, before you close your eyes, forgive everyone in your heart and you will feel your heart being polished. You will realize the generosity of heart in forgiving. And is there anyone more generous than Allah?
When someone has wounded you, make dua for them and Allah will give them your request and He will also give this to you too and through this your wound will be healed.”
This shaykh was speaking from personal experience. He grew up in the desert with his father and saw people oppressing his father. They used to be horrible to him and he would still forgive them. Allah gave his father a long and good life as a result. And sometimes by this way of forgiveness a beautiful reconciliation would come, even long after he died.
When you have a shaykh you are connected to, this shaykh is your teacher and friend. He cares about you and prays for you. He advises you to do dhikr of Allah.
May Allah give all of you a shaykh who inspires you to keep moving towards to Allah (swt).