Interview with Habib Umar by Mark Davis

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

Praise is for God, the Creator, the One who ordains and also the Sovereign and the One who manages His creation. He is the One that brings things forward and causes them to recede. From His wisdoms there are things that intellects comprehend and things the intellects cannot reach. We bear witness that He is Allah, the One who there is no Divine Being other than Him. He is singular and without partner. He sent to His creation Messengers to guide them to that in which is of interest and benefit of both this life and the place of return. They begin with Adam and ended with the Prophet Muhammad. May God send prayers, peace and blessings upon all of them as well as their families and their companions and all of those who follow them in goodness until the Day of Rising.

To proceed, indeed the nature of this created universe is that it changes and events come and go. And, some human affairs fall within the human power of choice and some things are outside of the human being’s choice and outside of his being influenced by his power and abilities. And in accordance to the things that he does that are within his choice or the choices he makes in those areas where he can make choices and influence those areas that are outside of the realm of his choice.

Questioner asked Ali bin Abi Talib about human choice and those things in which he was compelled. The man was standing so he said lift your feet. So he lifted one of his feet. He said lift the second. He said I’m unable to do so. And he said, “Here is your answer.” He said there are things that are within the realm of your choice and of your capabilities and there are things in which you have no choice and no ability to influence.

And everyone of intellect and the world would differentiate between the in deliberate movements of someone for instance who has palsy due to an illness and someone who made a deliberate movement. And one of the things that is within the realm of the human being’s choice is their preparing of the source of their support or thing that they depend on and rely on. And the stronger the thing upon which the person depends on the more tranquil they will be and comfortable in difficult circumstances. And no matter how strong the thing upon which the human being depends if there is something that is stronger then there will still be a lack of complete tranquillity that the human being will have. For this reason faith and having a conviction in the God who is the Creator of Everything and the One who has disposal over everything is the strongest thing upon which a believer can depend. So this believer is convinced that everything other than God is from His creation and is entirely beneath His power and under His control and also that the believer is convinced that this Divine Being has surrounded everything or dominates everything in His power and also has numbered every single one of His creatures. And, the believer is also certain that as long as or the degree to which he depends on this Divine Being and obeys Him that this God is more merciful to him or her than even his parents are or even more merciful than he is or she is to himself. For this reason one of the Gnostics said, “My heart was cooled,” meaning I felt tranquillity and coolness and calmness due to the saying and this is a Prophetic invocation: “Whatever God wills is and whatever He does not will, will not be.” And the person of this belief and dependence upon God, the Strong, the One of firm strength, he also has a divine path or method through which he or with which he deals with the various events that confront him/her.

So any benefit he is able to give or harm he is able to remove or general service he is able to. He must do so and use the abilities that he has and use his opinions and anything at his disposal to support these good causes. He should not be a pathetic nor should he be lazy nor should he neglect doing those beneficial things to humanity that are within his or her capability. And, also the believer is not charged with that which is beyond his capacity nor does he have to bear that which he or she cannot withstand. Along with this the believer should have in his or her heart a desire for good and to give benefit to all of His creation.

The Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace and blessings) said, “All of the creation are the dependence of God and the most beloved of them to God are those who are most beneficial to His dependants.”

And, when the mistreatment of a man who was nicknamed the father of ignorance was an enemy of the Prophet Muhammad, this mistreatment inside it a certain believer in the Prophet Muhammad who was a leader of a place called Yamama, this caused great difficulty for the people of Makkah. And there was a Prophetic companion named Thamama bint Uthaal after having embraced Islam came to the noble city of Makkah and was circumambulating the Ka’bah and the mistreatment of Abu Jahl infuriated him and incited him. So when this man, Abu Jahl, belittled him and was arrogant to him and threatened him. He said, “No more grain will reach you from Yamama.” They depended for their food upon this region so due to his influence over his people he prohibited from selling any food to the people of Makkah. They were harmed by the lack of food nourishment in Makkah. So in this circumstance they corresponded, they sent a letter to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and informed him that his companions has embargoed them in Makkah and this was during where they were making a war on this Prophet and they were actually following him to the place where he had settled seeking him out. And, they also mistreated the Prophet’s companions who lived with them in Makkah. However, they knew him very well because he had been raised among them and they were the ones who he initially invited with his message prior to taking it to others so they deemed it likely that he might offer them assistance in this circumstance. So when the correspondence reached him, he wrote to Thamama and he said, “Don’t prevent your people from trading with them.” And, this was fulfilling his obligation in difficult circumstances and the state that people were in. So this is how he dealt with those who attacked him and fought him and harmed him so then how should the treatment be with those who make peace. And, also the experience that this very man, Abu Jahl, had from the Prophet and is that he dug a hole/pit in the path the Prophet customarily walked down and broadened the pit and also covered it with something that was very shear or weak. And, God’s wisdom dictated that he himself pathed down this road and forgot that he had dug this pit so the Messenger of Allah then passed down this road and he heard the voice of a person from this pit. So then he came close and he saw this enemy of his in this hole. He said, “What is wrong with you?” and he said, “These wicked people, they’re digging holes and covering them to harm people.” So he stretched his hand down to him and brought him up from this pit.

So they knew how the thinking of this individual was and how he dealt with even those who mistreated him. So after this the human being does fulfil their responsibility, they are tranquil and depending upon that which is their source of support. And, Abu Ubayda Amr bint al Jarah who was in Old Syria, north of the Arabian Peninsula wrote a letter to Umar bin al-Khattab  explaining to him that thousands of the enemy had prepared to attack them. And the area where they are falls presently in Jordan. So when this letter reached him, Umar bin al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) responded to his correspondence. He said that “one difficulty will not overcome two amounts of ease.”

And God said, “O you who believe have patience and endure and persist.”

And in the Prophet’s tradition when the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) was concerned about a given affair he would stand up and perform the prayer.

So this depending upon the strength of the strong and firm produces an inward calmness and tranquillity and it assists the mind to reflect well and come to a decision.

May God give us good reflection or a good view of that which is of benefit in both this world and that place of our return meaning the hereafter.  And we thank our brethren who prepared this meeting and we also thank the administration of this university and also we thank Mark Davis who liked to come and organise this meeting/discussion. And we ask God that He makes this of benefit and a source of gain/profit for all of us and also for those people that surround us because the best of humanity is the one who is most beneficial to humanity and tawfiq (God creating in the servant the ability to serve) is from God.

Any mistakes, errors or misinterpretations of words are from me. Please correct me when you spot any mistakes.