Monday, April 24, 2006

Shaykh Rafiq Ismail Week 4/14 – 4/21: “It’s time, it’s time to change!”


Alhamdolilah, our city was blessed this month of Rabbi Awwal with the visiting of Sh. Rafiq Ismail from England. The respected Shaykh visits one of the Madrasahs in my town occasionally, where I believe he has some family and friends. And this time around, they decided to set up a series of lectures given by the Shaykh across the Masajids in our area. It was the first time I witnessed a live lecture of his, and let me tell you, he is a phenomenal speaker, Suhban’Allah. Of course I had heard some of his talks before via Mp3, and in my head I had pictured an older fellow with a whitening beard at least, but my thinking was quite incorrect. Upon further inquiring, I found out that he was a graduate of Darul Uloom Bury, like some of my other much loved current Scholars, Mufti Muhammad Ibn Adam, Mufti Abdur Rahman Ibn Yusuf, and Sh. Riyadh ul-Haqq. I believe he graduated the same year as Sh. Riyadh ul-Haqq as well, so he wasn’t old at all in age, but rather very extensive in his wisdom, Mash’Allah.

His style of speech is one that I usually would not be fond of since he is what I would typically have termed as a “yeller”, but the way he made his points and kept up with himself differentiated his approach from the average “yeller”. The lectures were moving, and while he mentioned countless examples of the past, he always managed to connect them to modern day experiences to which the crowd at hand would easily be able to relate to. The major focus of the talks was related to why we love the Prophet (saw) and implementing this through practicing the Sunnah of our beloved Rasul (saw). Not only did the talks serve to amplify my Imaan, but also Insh’Allah putting into practice what was taught should actually be the ultimate goal. On a side note, my favorite expression used by the Shaykh is his coined term of, “Ajeeb’Ullah!” in addition to his harmonizing styled Arabic discourse, and him saying “hey man” in a casual British accent. You’ll see exactly what I mean if you download the lectures provided below.

It’s also illustrious to mention that through out the lectures there was a group of 10 or so individuals, young and not so young (I don’t want to get in trouble calling anyone old, heh) who followed the Shaykh around the various Masajids for the lectures. This alone should be a sign of the barakah at these gatherings, and his character Suhban’Allah. May Allah accept all the efforts from the Shaykh, as well as granting all those who benefited from his talks the tawfeeq to act upon everything that necessitates our faith, and for the infinite bounty of Allah Most High and Almighty to grant us Jannah Insh’Allah. Ameen, Ya Rabb'il Alameen!

I caught quite a few his talks, so I’ve listed a few lines about some of them below. I’m not 100% sure, but many of these lectures should be available for purchase at
http://www.mihouston.org/ or through Madrasah Islamiah eventually as well.

[4-14-06] Jumuah Khutba at Madrasah Islamiah

  • The pre-Jumuah English Khutba revolved around the concept of Easter and its pagan origins. He also mentioned how in Islam the Muslim should uphold their character in a manner that was taught to us by the Prophet (saw) as opposed to our current condition of being accused of deceit, lying, cheating, etc.

  • The second Arabic Khutba he gave was great Suhban’Allah. I haven’t heard anything too similar to it in quite some while to be honest. The whole speech was recited in a harmonizing manner, leading all the way up to the dua. Any person with even a hint of Imaan or love of Allah and His Messenger (saw) felt it, as there were some people tearing at the eyes.

[4-15-06] Lecture at Madrasah Islamiah

  • I arrived at the Masjid fairly early, and noticed the crowd thickening as Maghrib Salat time drew near. But, from the start of the program up until the end, the place was reasonably packed with a good mix of people Mash’Allah.

  • Qari Ahmed, who is a recent addition to the Madrasah roster, was superb Mash’Allah. Nothing beats a good Qari, other than maybe good Nihari. Next came the Shaykh, and he talked for a good hour and some odd minutes.

  • The essential topic of the day was aspects of why we love the Prophet (saw), and he split this up into three categories: Beauty, Excellence, and Ihsan.

  • In the context of the speech, he focused a lot on the poetry that esteemed our beloved Prophet (saw), such as the poem written by Hasan Ibn Thabit (ra). He also spoke about the poem by Shaykh Jahma, as he went through many verses explaining the significance of them. I found this part of the speech very appealing, especially in our day and age, where love of the Prophet (saw) is something that seems to be only external. And when people praise the status of the Prophet (saw), they’re accused of exaggerating that very status that even Allah himself has ordained. Suhban’Allah, this is the state we’re in.

  • This might have been my personal favorite speech by the respected Shaykh. So many different aspects were covered that I can’t sum up everything in a few lines.

  • After Isha, two individuals completed Al-Quran, upon this there was a Khatam dua. Then dinner was served; it was a light biryani type rice with gosht & potato, along with a quite oily Gosht ka Shorba. I tasted a little, but wasn’t feelin’ it, but Shukr Allah.

[4-16-06] Lecture on Houston Radio Show

DOWNLOAD THE LECTURE [4-16-06] (on Seerat-e-Mustaqeem Radio show)

  • I labeled the lecture, Leading by the example of the Prophet (saw): The ideal role model. The title speaks for itself, and since I recorded the stream, you guys can check it out yourselves and benefit from it Insh’Allah. Keep me in your duas!

[4-16-06] Lecture at Mission Bend Masjid

  • I got to the Masjid and saw Chachoo and Asif, and my pops showed up not too long after that. A few minutes later I saw the Shaykh come in, and boy did his face reek of exertion. [Editors note: driving all over the city, sleep deprivation, lecture here and then there, etc]

  • Today, Qari Hashim opened up the evening, and his Qirat power was very nice Mash’Allah.

  • The topic revolved around implementing Islam and Imaan, and their exclusive differences.

  • Islam is total submission to the will of Allah, and then to act upon it.

  • Imaan is to know, believe, and accept. It primarily consists of conviction.

  • One of the best points he made was how people follow their whims and desires whilst following the easiest fatwas by the most lax of Muftis, thus generally lacking total submission to the will of Allah. People let the nafs control themselves and mold everything according their own conveniences. Suhban’Allah, how many times do we see ourselves or others doing this?

  • We learn that hurting another Muslims feelings is Haram, we believe in it, but one too many times we find ourselves not acting upon it.

  • But the Shaykh of course had plenty of other points worthy to note such as:
  • Story of Abraha and Abdul Mutalib with relation to Surah Al-Fil, and how a non-believer is different from a unbeliever. The unbeliever knows Islam is haqq, but is not ready to accept it (ie. Abdul Mutalib).
  • How a Masjid should not be used for worldly talk, but solely for dhikr of Allah. He also made a point of how one should be quiet during the Adhan and repeat the adkhar after the Mu’adhan for worldly talk will lead their hearts to harden. For people who say, “its only sunnah,” the Shaykh loosely replied, “What kind of an attitude do we have towards the sunnah of the Prophet (saw)? Who do you think you are? Do you think what you’re doing is more important? Saying, it’s only Sunnah, it’s not wajib or fard. La Hawla Quata Illah Bilah.” HARD.
  • He dedicated the latter portion of the talk to people who have problems raising children but don’t take a look at themselves, and a hadith with advice on child rearing from Umar bin Khatab (ra) that puts into stages how you should act with the child.
  • Islam consists of five branches: Aqaid, Ibaadah, Muamalat, Muasharat, Akhlaq.

  • No din din served, Boooo.

  • We got to talk to the Shaykh for a little bit afterwards, and Mash’Allah, he is humble and reciprocates dialogue very well in person. I asked him about the basis of the lectures, and he mentioned that he was trying to revolve all them around the Seerah of the Prophet (saw) since it’s the month of Rabbi Awwal; so that each lecture somewhat ties into the other one. I wanted to talk to him further on a few matters through out the rest of the lectures, but due to him constantly being smothered by “uncles” or always being on the move, sadly derailed my initiative.

[4-18-06] Lecture at Masjid Maryum

  • It was my first time embarking on a journey to this Masjid, and what better company to have than my bro. We found the place without any difficulty, but we did end up by some farm looking house that reminded me of something straight out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre… DUN DUN DUN!

  • Granted this place isn’t a complete Masjid as of yet, but more of a mid sized shack (a nice one), the community there was very congenial, Mash’Allah. I saw Brother Hasan after a very long time as he used to come to our Masjid prior to Masjid Maryum’s inception, as well as another individual or two who I thought were MIA, but turns out they go there.

  • Sadly, there was no Qari today, so the lecture commenced after the Sunnah of Maghrib. The main issue that was dealt with on this day was not to ridicule the Sunnah or make light of it. The crux of the discourse was related to the eating manners of the Prophet (saw), but he also talked about learning from authentic sources from qualified Alims, since every street corner Moulana nowadays wants to give a “bhatwa ka fatwa” in other words “fatwa from their pockets”.

  • He told us a funny story about three saints being punched by an individual who was testing their initial responses to see what kind of people are found in Masjids. The first one completely ignored it as inquiring about it would take him away from dhikr, the second one turned around and made sure the individuals fist was ok and that the one who punched him wasn’t hurt, and the third one struck the individual back with the same strength, no more, no less. Each of them showed a different reaction or personality, and the point was that last one did strike back, BUT he did it so the person would be punished for it in the dunya and would not be held accountable for it in the hereafter by Allah. This ultimately related to the instance of the Prophet (saw) cursing at the individual who was eating with his left hand rather arrogantly. The Prophet (saw) being the ultimate mercy would not have cursed at anyone, but he did so to this individual to save him from the punishment of Allah in the Akhira, Allah Akhbar.

  • “Man, Houston loves asking questions,” the Shaykh said. Some of the questions people have asked him in the past were rather humorous, such as “which way does one face and pray if they’re on the moon?” or “how do I pray in the south pole since it receives variant sunlight or darkness throughout the year?” Basically it came down to asking questions that pertain to situations you will act upon.

  • The night ended with dinner, there was a type of mutton biryani for the elders and Papa Johns pizza for the kiddos, not shabby.

[4-19-06] Lecture at Synott Masjid

  • I’m not digging this no Qari trend… today’s focus was on the dealings of the Prophet (saw) with others, and how we should ascribe to this particular Sunnah due to its importance.

  • He talked about how the word religious is often misconstrued with serious. People come to the Masjid with mean faces or seclude themselves from everyone, when in actuality the Prophet (saw) used to always smile and stayed within the people Mash’Allah.

Shammail Tirmidhi: Hadith #229

  • One of the Hadith he referred to was from Shammail Tirmidhi about the how our beloved Prophet (saw) used to joke with people. The story related to Zaahir (ra) also shows us the importance of the remembrance of Allah, and more subtly that color is not of importance, but it is taqwa that Allah looks for.

  • At one point, the narrative that he was illustrating involved a karamaat, even though the point of the story was the depiction of a husband and wife in more of a witty approach. It was attention grabbing since the Imams of our Masjids for some odd reason usually divert such talk, even though it’s part of our Aqeedah to believe in the karamaats of the righteous awliyah. Just something I noticed.

  • As I mentioned, a lot of the focus was on Muamalat, the way we deal with others. In a hadith, it’s roughly mentioned that the Prophet (saw) said that when someone detaches himself or herself away from you, one should then go towards them and one step more in order to bridge that gap and do ihsan.

  • As Muslims we need to have mercy on others, and not discontentment in our hearts. The Shaykh mentioned it’s difficult sometimes, and I agree with him because it really is, but we have to overcome our nafs al-Amara.

  • I don’t want to say it was cheesy, but he ended the talk with a poem he found on the wall while he was at the Dentist’s office. It was about how we should smile, and it struck him as a Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) so he asked for a copy. He then recited it to us… ok ok, the poem was actually funny.

  • Dinner you ask? Some kinda biryaani, the better of what I’ve had outside wise at these talks, and there was that yellow sweet rice for dessert, Shukr Alhamdolilah.

[4-20-06] Lecture at South Zone Masjid

DOWNLOAD THE LECTURE [4-20-06] (courtesy of Chachoos Mp3 recorder...that i might have messed up)

  • No Qari today either unfortunately, a huge bummer since this was the last complete lecture the Shaykh had scheduled for his trip to the US. There was a solid crowd in effect though, Mash’Allah. It was nice to see our Masjid full on a non-Ramadan day, heh.

  • The Shaykh began with a recap of the lecture he did at MI with why do the Muslims love the Prophet (saw), and went into the three aspects of this issue which Allamah Einy categorized as: 1. Beauty. 2. Excellence. 3. Ihsan. He went through some of the poems again as well.

  • He then talked about the many rights the Prophet (saw) gave to different entities, whether it be Muslims, Non-Muslims, Jinns, Animals, and even inanimate objects, while delving into each issue to an extent. In regards to the inanimate objects, the Shaykh related the hadith of the stone that said Salaam to the Prophet (saw), and the branch of a tree that wept for the Prophet (saw). Once again, basically the type of stories that are not often mentioned in our Masajids here for some odd reason. I know some of these are for a fact related in Qari Iyad’s Al-Shifa, and more than likely in some of the main Ahadith books as well.

  • A very beautiful narration that exemplified the merciful trait of the Prophet (saw) was of the Jewish woman who poisoned the goat to kill the Prophet (saw). In the end, He (saw), the Muhsinun Alameen forgave her with no due punishment, Allah Akhbar.

  • In he end he suggested the need for an intellectual dialogue with the west about the Seerah of the Prophet (saw) and how it’s time for us to change and value the Sunnah.

  • Of course I’m not going to forget to mention dinner, since it was provided. What we had today was bhagaray rice with gosht ka shourba, and a piece of oily fried chicken (better have been Zabiha because I saw some sketchy boxes after I ate it!).

  • And let me leave you with a few lines by Shaykh Isamail that he ended many of his lectures with:
    I feel proud being from the Ummah of Muhammad (saw)
    I don’t care what people say, I’ll follow Muhammad (saw) in every way
    There’s nothing in this world that will keep me from
    Following the holy and blessed ways of Muhammad Mustafa (saw)
    Only if the world was to stop and ponder
    Then they will realize there was nobody greater than the man, Muhammad (saw)
    I don’t care what people say, I’ll follow Muhammad (saw) in every way
    I’ll follow Muhammad (saw) for in the brilliance of his life
    Is the way to the Garden of Paradise
    I don’t care what people say, I’ll follow Muhammad (saw) in every way
    Ridicule me if you care, call me crazy, and I’ll love him (saw) anyway
    I feel proud of saying I love Muhammad Mustafa (saw)
    I don’t care what people say, I’ll follow Muhammad (saw) in every way

[4-21-06] Jumuah Khutba at Madrasah Islamiah

  • Suhban’Allah, such a beneficial pre-Jumuah English Khutba. He ended up talking a lot longer than he had intended to and basically went into the scheduled time of the Jumuah Salat, but who cares, he was leaving for the UK right after that! In one line, the gist of the talk was about how nominal Academic education is compared to Islamic education, for the latter benefits the whole community more than the prior will. His balance was very well laid out, and I agreed with it for the most part, because he did put a lot of emphasis on the Academic spectrum, since we all well know how some Scholars totally disregard it in their talks when they get all fired up about the deen.

  • Now, I loved what he said, but let me allude to a more personal matter that correlates with his talk. Now, he mentioned “what” we should do, but as far as Houston is concerned, there isn’t a plausible “how” if you ask me. I’d get more into it right now, but it’d make for a better blog if I pute my mind on pause for now.

  • Once again the Shaykh got people tearin’ up during his Arabic Khutba Mash’Allah. Seriously, such a blessed and touching style.

  • Well, this ended a brilliant week of my Imaan rushing up and motivating me to follow the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (saw). Can’t wait for more Ulema of this nature to come to Houston, Insh’Allah.


DOWNLOAD THE LECTURE [UK 2006]: Shaykh Rafiq Ismail – Sacrifice in Islam (courtesy of Brother “Baminbo” on Sunni Torrents)

Walaikum Asalam



Written below is advice that Imam Abu Hanifa gave to one of his students, Yusuf Ibn Khalid as-Samit for his leave to Basra. The views depicted are that of deep insight and wisdom if we all take a few minutes to reflect on them, as well as being particularly important counsel for ones who disseminate knowledge of the deen to others. I was literally left with a smile on my face at the respected Imam’s great level of understanding, Suhban’Allah. Sometimes we all fall short of such acts even though we know Muslims should act with the best of Akhlaq, and I do not exempt myself from this either, for the advice below is that what a true believer should possess at all times:

Know that if you harm ten people, you will have enemies, even if they are your mothers and fathers, but if you do good to ten people who are not your relatives, they will become like mothers and fathers to you. If you enter Basra and oppose its people, elevate yourself over them, vaunt your knowledge among them, and hold yourself aloof from their company, you will shun them and they will shun you; you will curse them and they will curse you; you will consider them misguided and they will think you misguided and an innovator. Ignominy will attach itself to you and us, and you will have to flee from them. This is not an option. It is not an intelligent person who is unsociable to the one who is unsociable until Allah shows him a way out.

When you go to Basra, the people will receive you, visit you, and acknowledge your due, so put each person in his proper position. Honor the people of honor, esteem the people of knowledge and respect the shaykhs. Be kind to the young and draw near to the common people. Be courteous to the impious but keep the company of the good. Do not disregard the authorities or demean anyone. Do not fall short in your chivalry and do not disclose your secrets to anyone or trust them until you have tested them. Do not socialize with the base or the weak. Do not accustom yourself to what you disapprove of outwardly. Beware of speaking freely with fools.

You must have courtesy, patience, endurance, good character and forbearance. Renew your clothing regularly, have a good mount and use a lot of what is good. … Offer your good to people: a miser never prevails. You should have your confidants those you know to be the best of people. When you discern corruption, you should immediately rectify it. When you discern righteousness, you should increase your attention to it.

Act on behalf of those who visit you and those who do not. Be good to those who are good to you and those who are bad to you. Adopt pardon and command the correct. Ignore what does not concern you. Leave all that will harm you. Hasten to establish people’s rights. If any of your brethren is ill, visit him yourself and send you messengers. Inquire after those who are absent. If any of them holds from you do not hold back from him.

Show affection to people as much as possible and greet even blameworthy people… When you meet others in a gathering or join them in a mosque and questions are discussed in a way different to your position, do not rush to disagree. If you are asked, tell the people what you know and then say, “There is another position on it which is such and such, and the evidence is such and such.” If they listen to you, they will recognize your worth and the worth of what you have. If they ask, “Whose position is that?” reply, “One of the fuqaha”….

Give everyone who frequents you some of the knowledge they are expecting. Be friendly with them and joke with them sometimes and chat with them. Love encourages people to persevere knowledge. Feed them sometimes and fulfill their needs. Acknowledge their worth and overlook their faults. Be kind to them and tolerant of them. Do not show them annoyance or vexation. Be like one of them. …Do not burden people with what they cannot do.

Abu Zahra, Muhammad. The Four Imams: Their Lives, Works and their Schools of thought. London: Dar Al Taqwa Ltd., 2001.


Lately I've had much time on my hands due to certain extenuating circumstances in my life. And while "surfin" the nerd, I came across some really beneficial blogs and was somewhat motivated to write one myself. I never thought I'd be making my own… but here it is. The aim of this particular blog has already been provided in the "about" section, so check that out if you'd like. Other than that, leave some input or suggestions if you've got any once the blogging commences.