This topic was delivered by Ustadha Umm Abdullah Hayel in Manchester through Quba Initiative on 7th September 2013.

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.

I intend to study and teach, take and give a reminder, take and give benefit, take and give advantage, to encourage the holding fast to the book of Allah and the way of his messenger, and calling to guidance and directing towards good hoping for the countenance of Allah and His pleasure, proximity and reward, transcendent is He.

We praise Allah. We praise Allah. We praise Allah. A praise that is accepted and from the depths of the soul. We have not only gathered but on the first of the sacred months. It is the first days which lead to Hajj (Greater Pilgrimage) and signify the sacrifice of Ibrahim (alayhis-salam). These are the days that we should be thinking of sacrifice. This is a time where there is fitna and people are leaving faith. The fact that Allah (Exalted is He) has brought us, what have we done to deserve that? The scholars says that if you spend your entire life in sujood (prostration), from your first breath to your last breath, you will not be able to thank Him for His Grace. It is solely through His Grace that He has gathered us.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him said), “Everything in the dunya (this world) is cursed save the remembrance of Allah.” These gatherings cause serenity to overtake the soul. If we are not feeling tranquillity, there is something wrong.

In the beginning the path to Allah (Exalted is He) as Ustadha Zaynab said, “it is about light.” He is the Light of the heavens and the earth. It is awesome and powerful. It takes us from darkness to light. When we hold onto the light of Allah an energy boost takes place. All we have to do is attach and often there is no light transported. Often the dark is so overwhelming that in gatherings of light your darkness takes out that light. You cannot hear, you cannot speak, you cannot process light. Hence we come with great intentions to attach to light. No-one can know Allah (Exalted is He) until we understand Him. This light will bring you tranquillity. “Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” [13:28] The light is there but there is no process, if there is process then there is no vehicle. We don’t want it to exact transformation in our homes and in our communities.

When we look at the family of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and these great women of Islam, we need to take something. We need to exact transformation. Otherwise it will be a proof against us. These women influenced. Islam began in the arms of a woman and ends in the lap of a woman. We must be people who exact change instead of waiting for others. We have to be the people and vehicles of change. Women are good mobilisers. You bring everything together so let us use that skill to mobilise the muslimah (female believer).

“Worship until certitude comes to you.” Certitude is death. Sayyidina Ali (may Allah ennoble his face) said, “humanity is asleep, they wake up when they are dead.”

We have a defined path and a human can only aspire to be the best. Allah is Kareem and Raheem. His Mercy has no limits because He is Generous.

You will never be Fatima Zahra but how far can you go? Don’t fake it with Allah (Exalted is He). Allah doesn’t a test person unless He knows he can handle it.

When we look at the lives of the women of God, we should sit in shame. We should take this idea of sacrifice. It is embarrassing that women proclaim a certain state for women and we are too busy chasing the world to understand zuhd (renunciation of this world). When those ten hijabs and those ten jilbabs don’t seem enough, turn to Allah in complete shame.

We see a theme which is constant with the women of God. It is sacrifice and responding to the higher calling; the testification. The soul testifies to a Divine Being that is Pre-Eternal. Through Him as a King, you are a servant and a slave. This makes you acknowledge your position. And then Muhammad Rasul-Allah. That is your calling and now respond. How do we respond? Everybody knows the direction but not how. Knowledge gives you the mechanism.

When Imam Ghazali wrote Minhaj al Abideen, he talks about hindrances in getting to Allah. The first is knowledge, without it you don’t know where to go. You don’t know that to bake a cake you need flour but you keep on saying “I want to bake a cake”, it is just lip service without knowing how. Ilm (knowledge) gives mechanisms. It is light. It will give a sense of direction to Allah (Exalted is He). We need action and then transformation. As long as one is consistent, he reaches tawfiq (divine success). Now you have to carry on walking until you exact transformation. We are not patient one day and not the other. We become firm in this and when it becomes a station it becomes a firm attribute and then we know we are on the right path. We know what we have to be but don’t have a sense of direction. Allah and His Rida (pleasure) is the desired destination.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “if you walk past gardens of paradise; graze.” The Companions asked, “What are the gardens of paradise?” He (peace and blessings be upon him) responded, “circles of knowledge.” When this hadith was said, what was its significance? Grazing is eating and allowing it to become part of your digestive system such that some becomes energy. You go to gatherings and feel full. You do feel complete. You just need dhikr-Allah (remembrance of God), this is how people were.

Fatima Zahra (alayha-salam) sacrificed until she was starving. Sacrifice is to give up that which we need. Allah (Exalted is He) will in return grant you paradise and openings. States don’t come from just sitting on a prayer rug. It is about zuhd (renunciation of this world). Having lots of clothes is an alien concept to Islam. Sayyidina Umar ibn al Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was affected by seeing the marks on the back of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and asked him to let them build a bed like the kings of Persia had who were sitting on fine thrones. He (peace and blessings be upon him) responded, “Isn’t it enough that we have the akhira (next world) and they have the dunya (this world)?” They saw victory in sacrifice; victory in this life and the next.

At Uhud, the Muslims ran because they though that the Prophet had passed on and one companion asked where they were going as he smells jannah (paradise) over there and runs to the battle. His sister came to identify him after as she couldn’t find him. He was the one amidst all the Quraysh and she recognised him from his fingertips as he had afflicted seventy wounds. May Allah be pleased with him.

We are too busy trying to cater for our own needs. Stories just become stories. They are supposed to inspire the future generations; us. Islam came to bring light on earth. What is happening is an absolute tragedy!

“What affliction befalls you is through the harvest of your own actions.” – Qur’an

We shy away from abortions and drugs. Individuals who are in this situation have righteous parents. Why has this happened? You gave up sacrifice and giving. Women used to send their children to battles. Their husbands went. Nusaybah’s son fell and his arm was injured, the Prophet called her and she bandaged him and said to him, “go and be a man!”

Faith is no longer spreading at a rate that it did at the time of the sahaba (companions of the Prophet). There is no sacrifice. Those who enter don’t feel true Islam. Islam can not be understood in the context of an individual but a context of a community.

Our Mother, Khadija, never complained to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). She was wealthy and then she was living in a mountain. The hallmark of a believing woman was that when she was there, she never complained. Shame on us.

We live in a different time and we don’t have him (peace and blessings be upon him) but we have his message. That is a blessing. Other faiths do not have an intact message. Inspiration is not about the wow factor! You realised and what? Inspired is to take and transform hence we have the idea of sanad (chain of transmission). They took, embodied and taught, they took, embodied and taught, they took, embodied and taught and so forth.

We are too busy chasing this world. What do you hope to achieve? Any achievement from this world is temporary. We have signed up to the shahada (testification of faith), Let us live, give, sacrifice according to it. Allah doesn’t need you. Great problems are happening and He is trying to tell us something. It is time to exact greater change and beautify the inner self which in turn beautifies others and so forth until Lo and behold the land is beautified.

The dunya (this world) is an attack. If your weakness is clothes, don’t go clothes shopping. If your weakness is food, don’t go food shopping. Look at us on Eid and this is why Sayyidina Ali (may Allah ennoble his face) said, “Eid is not for the one who wears new clothes but for the one who increases in worship.”

At the first sign of sacrifice and hardship, we flee. No wonder Allah didn’t pick us for the battles. Some people had their souls to offer but they were pure.

What is my part in this great plan; Islam? Teachings, Qur’an, Islam will be preserved. I want to be a tool in this. I want to be the torchbearer to the houses of believers and disbelievers. We have to get beyond this lethargy of “I can’t be bothered” as life is supposed to be hard.

“Are not the goods with Allah expensive?” Women of the past are women of the past. What is sad is we are not leaving a legacy. We complain about the absence of living examples but we aren’t willing to be one. We aren’t willing to be the change that we want to see. Change will come from knowledge. Seeking it is fard (obligatory). Period! So let us seek knowledge because the level of Islamic literacy is poor.

Allah has given us years of glory and we haven’t even shown shukr (gratitude).

When the ayahs (verses) of hijab were revealed the women were in the marketplace and they ripped the cloth in order to cover themselves. They didn’t even wait to go home. Perhaps our problem is over-thinking such that we forget Allah is central to our life. The Hajj (Greater Pilgrimage) and the Qiblah (direction of prayer) remind us that our life revolves around Allah (Exalted is He).

A bus used to travel from Tarim to the capital Sanaa for the twelve hour journey and it would only stop for a toilet break. Habib Umar would say, “SubhanAllah, strange is a people who hold importance to their urine but not their salah (prayer).”

The scholars say, “Hope in Allah’s Divine Promise if not paired with action is wishful thinking.”

We ask Allah to allow us to rise above the levels of concern of ourselves. Let not this gathering or any be just gatherings but moments of life where we are reminded of what we need; see beyond. Allow your vision to expand.

Allahumma Amin

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