A collection of words of wisdom and excerpts from the spiritual gatherings of Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

Am I responsible?

Imam Nasa’i and others relates a ḥadīth where it is mentioned that Rasūl Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم led Fajr salah. He was reciting the Holy Qur’an and experienced some difficulties in the recitation. After salah he turned to the congregation and said to ‘Oh people! Make good your wudhu. Some of you do not complete your wudhu and because of that I was being affected in my recitation of the Qur’an’.

Thus, someone failing to perform wudhu correctly had an effect on the Rasūl Allāh’s صلى الله عليه وسلم recitation of the Holy Qur’an, even though he was the Messenger of Allāh سبحانه وتعالى and the recipient of the Holy Qur’an. This ḥadīth shows that before we question others about their behaviour and think anything negative regarding them we should pause for thought and ask ourselves what have I done to contribute to that? Am I responsible for this in any way? For example, if the Imam is making errors in his recitation during salah could it be possible that my own sins and lack of purity (physical and spiritual) may be having that effect?

We always blame the other. We never think about ourselves.We should remember that we cannot change the world as many things are beyond our control. The only person we can change is ourselves. We can change the way we react to any given situation.

[This short excerpt is based on a spiritual gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 17th May 2015].


Pride and Arrogance – Spiritual Gathering February 2015

Pride and Arrogance

Pride and Arrogance – Monthly Spiritual Gathering by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq, Sunday 15th February 2015 at 2.30 PM

 


Brief Sojourn on Earth

Some deny the existence of the spirit but Islam tells us that it is really only the spirit that lives in man and makes us who we are. The spirit is more important than our mind or body. We are not our body or mind rather the spirit as it is our spirit that existed before we came into this world i.e. before our body and mind existed. The body is a container of life but real life is the spirit. The container may disappear but the spirit will live on. The ruh (spirit) has a long journey and this brief sojourn on earth is extremely transient as compared to the great expanse of time before and after (this life). This is why we are told again and again that we are merely travellers on earth and that this life is not everything. When we begin to devote ourselves to our body and mind at the detriment to the spirit, we will begin to perceive our whole existence being only for this brief life on earth. This will lead us to miss the greater picture of life beyond this fleeting journey on earth.

[This excerpt is based on a spiritual gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 16th November 2014].


Guarding Oneself

The most succinct definition of taqwa is to guard oneself from the displeasure of Allah by guarding oneself from the disobedience of Allah.

We must guard our eyes, ears, tongue, hands, feet and even our heart from any act, thought, sentiment and emotion of disobedience and displeasure.

How does a person develop taqwa? There are many ways of developing taqwa and one of them is by fasting. Allah prescribes fasting for us so that it may create this consciousness of Him in us:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ

عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

O believers, fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who came before you so that you may attain taqwa [al Baqarah 2/183]


[This excerpt is based on a spiritual gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 16th November 2014].


A Deadly Disease

Arrogance is such a severe disease of the heart because an arrogant person is not merely objecting to Allah’s division and distribution in His creation, as with envy, but is actually challenging Allāh in His greatness. We learn from the ḥadīth that greatness, grandness and pride are the garments of Allāh سبحانه وتعالى and whoever wishes to claim them is challenging Allāh in His attributes.

Which one of us can say that we are pure and free of pride and arrogance? We may have belittled someone even in thought, held someone in contempt or regarded someone as being beneath us. Each of these actions is a sign of arrogance. May Allah protect us from this deadly spiritual disease.

[This short excerpt is based on a spiritual gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 16th November 2014].


Objecting to Allah’s Division and Distribution

‏In a ḥadīth, related by Abū Dawūd, Rasūl Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم says “Beware of envy for envy consumes up good deeds just as fire consumes up and devours wood or dry grass.” On one hand we work hard to earn the reward of Allāh by praying, fasting and doing other good deeds, but on other hand we harbour envy in our hearts. This envy leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. Any good we do is destroyed by the raging fire of hasad (envy). Which one us of can say we are free from envy?

As well as destroying their good deeds, envy also consumes the envious person. It destroys their quality of life. A poet says ‘May the wisdom of envy belong to Allāh. It begins with the envious person and kills him’. The envious person is not only deprived of the thing that they are envious of, but at the same time they destroy the quality of their own life, peace of mind and contentment of their own heart by harbouring envy. It consumes and kills them before it harms the person whom they are envious of.

When a person is envious, he is merely objecting to Allāh’s division and distribution. Allāh says in the Qur’an:

أَمْ يَحْسُدُونَ النَّاسَ عَلَى مَا آتَاهُمُ اللّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ

Do they envy the people for what Allah has bestowed upon them of His grace? [An-Nisā, 4/54]

Differing grades and divisions amongst the people are part of His distribution and by being envious of others we are objecting to that. Everyone is unique in their own way. But no one is no greater than the other person. This is Allah’s wisdom in His creation.

We should not waste our time and consume ourselves trying to be like someone else.

[This short excerpt is based on a spiritual gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 16th November 2014].


Create provisions of Taqwa

We are so obsessed with physical health and fitness with no regard for our spiritual health, yet anything can happen.

A poet says:

Oh son of Adam
Prepare for death
Create provisions of Taqwa
For indeed you do not know
When the night falls with its complete darkness
Whether you will survive until the morning
There are many young men who spent the morning and evening smiling and laughing
And unknown to them, their shrouds have already come down from the heavens
And there are many brides who have been beautified for their grooms
And the souls of both the bride and the groom have already been claimed on the night of Qadr
And there is many a little child
Whose clothes have been sewn (for the future)
But already their little bodies have been entered into the darkness of the graves
And there are many healthy people who have died suddenly without cause
And there are many ill people who have lived on for a great length of time

(note the poem was translated by the respected Shaykh from the original Arabic).

[This excerpt is based on a spiritual gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 16th November 2014].


Abstention

Fasting in Arabic originally means abstention, therefore we should not only abstain from food and drink but from anything that displeases Allāh سبحانه وتعالى. Thus the fast of speech will mean abstention from all foul, offensive and sinful speech which is ḥarām (forbidden). Otherwise, if a person remains hungry and thirsty while continuing to do sinful acts, he/she would not have fulfilled the purpose of fasting.

[This excerpt is based on a majlis (gathering for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq].


Staying Afloat

There is no concept of remaining stagnant in deen. We are either rising or falling, progressing or deteriorating, but we never remain at a constant level of spirituality and devotion. In order to remain afloat in water, we have to do something proactive or else we will sink. Similarly, the greatest benefit of attending gatherings of learning is that they provide the environment, link and connection with the ulama in order to check any decline. We may not necessarily learn something new all of the time, but such gatherings keep us afloat in our religion.

[This excerpt is based on a majlis (gathering for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 30th May 2006].


Who are your True Friends?

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Holy Qurān,

الْأَخِلَّاء يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا

الْمُتَّقِينَ

The intimate friends on that Day will be hostile unto one another save the God-fearing.

[Az-Zukhruf 43/67]

This verse tells us that the best of friends will be enemies of each other on the Day of Judgement except those with taqwa. In reality, there are no friends. Often our so-called friendships are our enemies as we do things because of these friendships and relationships, for which we normally have no inclination. We sometimes sin and change our behaviour for the worse because of our friends. A characteristic that is deeply ingrained in human nature is that we want to be liked and loved and as a consequence we feel too weak and embarrassed to say ‘no’ when with friends.

Your only friends are those few friends who have taqwa. This is because they stop you from sinning and help you improve spiritually. So-called friends will never be around in the dunya when you need them, let alone in the akhira. We should be our own person, recognise the truth and follow it even if it is contrary to the behaviour of our friends. Everybody has to go to his or her own grave.

[This short excerpt is based on a majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 17th September 2003].