Category Archives: #HiraHike #HiraHalqa

A reading from Ma’ariful Qur’ān, Sūrah As-Sajdah, Verse 7

Everything is good in this world. Evil comes through its wrong use

[Sourced from: Ma’ariful Qur’ān (completed in the 1970s) by Mufti Muhammad Shafi, English Translation, Volume 7, Sūrah As-Sajdah, page 69]

الَّذِي أَحْسَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ

 

“Who made well whatever He (Allah) created,” (Quran, 32:7)

In verse 7, it was said “Who made well whatever He (Allah) created”. The reason is that Allah Ta‘ālā has made whatever He has created in this world under the dictate of His wisdom, and under the essential consideration of what is beneficial for the whole system. Therefore, everything has a beauty of its own. And the most beautiful and better than all is the making of man as it was “Surely, We did create man in the best of symmetry,” (Quran, 95:4).

Then there are creations other than man that may outwardly be taken as bad. In fact, dogs, pigs, snakes, scorpions and wolves are commonly considered bad because they are either poisonous or beastly. But, in terms of the expedient benefits of the world as a whole, none of these are really bad. A proverbial poetic observation in Urdu puts it as:

“There is nothing useless in the world
There is no one bad in the workshop of nature.”

The author of Bayān ul-Qur’ān has said, “the text كُلَّ شَيْءٍ (whatever) includes all substances and accidents, that is, also things which have corporeal substance, such as, animals, plants and minerals etc. as well as incorporeal things which include morals and deed. So much so that morals which are identified as bad – anger, greed, desire and the likes – are not bad in themselves. The bad about them emerges when they are used out of place. If they stay in their proper place, there is nothing bad in them. But, the sense being driven home here relates to the objective of their creation (takwīn) and introduction of these things – for that is nothing but good according to divine wisdom. However, the qualities of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are attached to them in relation to the human acts and their effects on individuals. We can call it one’s right or choice employed in doing something. Then, in those terms, everything is not good, in fact, it is circumscribed by a little detail, that is, whatever has not been allowed by Allah Ta‘ālā is not good, but is, rather bad.” Allah knows best.

Green Deen South Africa at the Living Faith Camp, Brits, 2015

– FH Ragie, 2015-12-17

Over the past weekend I was gifted the opportunity of mentoring youth at the Living Faith Camp that took place in Brits. These camps are hosted by the Living Faith Project (http://www.livingfaithproject.org/) and are aimed at reviving faith in the hearts and minds of younger Muslims by equipping them with the understanding of Islam. The camp makes use of mentorship models, workshops and fun activities that are all run on the clock of salaah in Jamaah (congregation), dhikr sessions and tasty meals. It was a space to learn, to form bonds of friendship, to be inspired, and to be at peace at being a Muslim – for both campers and mentors. Self-identity workshops, social activism sessions, eating watermelon, dhikr sessions, bonfire reflections, and hearing Athaan in the middle of the bush on a night hike, were just some of the activities at this camp that have left me humbled and energised.

Living Faith Camp 2015 Brits Photos Green Deen SA 1
I, on behalf of Green Deen South Africa, ran a session that encouraged the campers (and mentors) to get thinking green. The first part of the session was a drawing exercise. With a few clippings of branches, leaves and flowers, and some tree seeds and a few rocks, campers and mentors were asked to be observant of nature and Allah’s creations by drawing them. You would be surprised how crayons turn us all into excited kids!

Living Faith Camp 2015 Brits Photos Green Deen SA 2
The second part of the workshop consisted of brainstorming around the concept of Green Masaajid and Madressahs in South Africa. The groups of campers, who were already divided according to age and gender, were first asked to role play different people on their masaajid committees: Chairperson, Imam/Islamic Scholar, Teacher, Parent, Youth, Caretaker, Treasurer- Finance, Community member and Adviser. This was aimed at exposing them to the difficulties of decision making as well as making them aware on how they need to consider the viewpoints of everyone in their community. Each group was tasked with one of six themes: Water, Energy & Transport, Plants & Animals, Waste & Recycling, Decoration & Design, Tarbiyyah (Education) & Community Empowerment.
It really was an inspiring workshop. May Allah SWT bless both the mentors and campers for their enthusiasm for this rather difficult task. Their artwork was beautiful! Their team spirit was energizing! And their presentations were intelligent, creative and professional! I really would like to thank the camp organisers (who do this without receiveing any rumenration), the mentors and the campers. May Allah SWT bless you all and take you from strength to strength. May Allah SWT make the Living Faith Project continue growing so that it can serve our Muslim girls and boys in South Africa.

As one of the helping staff in the kitchen said – we came, we prayed (in Jamaah) and the rains came!

If you would like to:

  • have a look at the Green Massajid workshop plan, please feel to drop us an email on info@greendeensa.org.
  • learn more about the Living Faith project including their different sessions hosted by mentors, please drop them an email on team@livingfaithproject.org. Their camps consists of spiritual building (salaah, dhikr, quraan, reflections), practical education sessions (self-identity, arts, social activism, history) and fun and games.

Living Faith Camp 2015 Brits Photos Green Deen SA 3

 

#HiraHike reflection from an EarthWatcher, Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, Rustenburg

#HiraHike reflection from an EarthWatcher, Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, Rustenburg

This article was written by a an anonymouse sister who attended the #HiraHike hosted by the

Zinniaville Go Green team in Rustenburg. The team took a group of girls, boys and adults for a trip to the Kgaswane Nature Reserve on the 23 August 2015.

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu

I pray that all is well with everybody. I would like to highlight our special trip to the Rustenburg Nature Reserve. For me, the trip was nothing out of the ordinary as I am a regular visitor. To join a group of amazing people was highlighted when their eagerness to explore the wilderness was so striking. To go out into nature is humbling. To witness the creation of Allah Subḥânahu wa ta’âlâ (The Exalted) in all it’s natural beauty is breathtaking and to engage the youth to appreciate this even more promising.

#HiraHike reflection from an EarthWatcher, Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, Rustenburg 3Let me tell you something about going into the mountains; it is a place of absolute peace and serenity. A place where one finds solace in the soul. Once you are up there, all the stresses of life disappear for that time. I write this from my personal experience. Being faced with many challenges, I personally did a lot of soul searching and received lots of solace and answers from there.

Another thing I would like to bring to your attention is that almost all the Prophets ‘Alayhimus-salâm (Peace be upon them) received divine intervention in the mountains. Most of the Prophets  ‘Alayhimus-salâm (Peace be upon them) served as shepherds at some time in their lives. There was a purpose behind it. To find solace. To find Allah Subḥânahu wa ta’âlâ. Our Beloved Nabi Muhammad Şalla-Allâhu ‘alyhi wa sallam (Blessings and peace be upon him) was in the cave of Hira when Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala sent down the first revelation of “Iqraa”.

Coming back to our trip, it was a joy to see the eagerness of the kids. New friendships were formed,  kids brimmed with excitement as we climbed up the rocks and breathed in the essence of the view before us. Everyone was absorbed at the marvel that lay before them. Alhamdulillah. The Zikr on Surah Faatiha brought appreciation to ‘Ihadinas Siraatul Mustaqeem’. May Allah Subḥânahu wa ta’âlâ instil ‘Ihadinas Siraatul Mustaqeem’ firmly in our hearts. Aameen.

A big thank you to Aadil, Naazneen and Fatima from all who participated in the field trip. May Allah bless you abundantly and may this exercise grow from strength to strength. Aameen.

#HiraHike reflection from an EarthWatcher, Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, Rustenburg 2

#HiraHike: The Prophet Muḥammad (SAW)’s practice of ‘taḥannuth’ or ‘taḥannuf’ (Haykal)

#HiraHalqa readings

from “The Life of Muḥammad” (pp 70-72) by Muḥammad Ḥusayn Haykal (first written in Arabic in 1933, translated in to English from the 8th Arabic edition by Isma’īl Rāgī A. al Fārūqī, 1976).

The Arabs’ Annual Retreat

It was Arabia’s custom at the time for the pious and thoughtful to devote a period of each year to a retreat of worship, asceticism, and prayer. They would seek an empty place far away from their people where they could concentrate on their prayers and genuinely seek a new level of seriousness, wisdom, and ethical goodness through meditation. This practice was called taḥannuth or taḥannuf. Therein Muḥammad found the best means of satisfying his will to thinking and meditating. In its solitude he could find a measure of spiritual detachment and peace that would enable his consciousness to screen the whole universe for inspiration and to pursue his thoughts wherever it might lead. At the head of Mound Ḥirā, two miles north of Makkah, Muhammad discovered a cave whose perfect silence and total separation from Makkah made of it a perfect place for retreat. In that cave Muḥammad used to spend the whole month of Ramadān. He would satisfy himself with the least provisions, carried to him from time to time by a servant, while devoting himself uninterruptedly to his spiritual pursuits in peace, solitude and tranquillity. His devotion often caused him to forget himself, to forget his food, and, indeed to forget the whole world around him. At these moments the very world and his existence must have appeared to him like a dream. Through his mind he would turn the pages of all that he had heard and learned, and his search could only whet his appetite for the truth.

Groping after the Truth

Muḥammad did not hope to find the truth he sought in the narratives of the rabbis or the scriptures of the monks but in the very world surrounding him, in the sky and its stars, moon, and sun, and in the desert with its burning air under the brilliant sun—its impeccable purity enclosed by the light of the moon or that of the stars in the balmy night, in the sea with its countless waves, and in all that which underlies this existence and constitutes its unity of being. It was in the world that Muḥammad sought to discover the supreme truth. He sought to unite his soul to it, to penetrate it, and to grasp the secret of its being. He did not take much thought to realize that his peoples’ understanding of the nature of this world, of their religiosity and devotion, was all false. Their idols were mere stones—speechless, thoughtless, and powerless. Hubal, al Lāt, and al ‘Uzzā, as well as every one of these idols and statues inside or around the Ka’bah, had never created even so much as a fly and never did Makkah any good. Where was to be found the truth in this vast universe of infinite skies and stars? Is it in the brilliant stars which give men their light and warmth and sends them rain? Is it in their water, the light and warmth and sources of life to all mankind throughout the world? No! For all these are creatures like the earth itself. Is the truth then behind the sky and their stars, in the boundless space beyond? But what is space? And what is this life which is today and is gone tomorrow? What is its origin and source? Is this world and our presence therein all a mere accident? The world and its life have, however, immutable laws which cannot be the product of circumstances. Men do good and they do evil. But do they do it willingly and deliberately, or is their action a mere instinct which they are powerless to control? It was of such spiritual and psychological problems that Muḥammad thought during his solitary retreat in the cave of Ḥirā, and it was in the totality of spirit and life that he sought to discover the truth. His ideas filled his soul, his heart, his consciousness, indeed all his being. This paramount occupation diverted him from the commonplace problems of everyday. When at the end of Ramadān, Muḥammad returned to Khadījah, his perturbed thoughts showed on his face and caused Khadījah to inquire whether he was well.

In his devotions during that retreat, did Muḥammad follow any one of the known religious schools? That is a question on which scholars disagree. In his Al Kāmil fī al Tārīkh, ibn Kathīr reported some of the current views in answer to this question. Some claimed that Muḥammad followed the law of Noah; others, the law of Ibrahīm; others, the law of Moses; others the law of Jesus. Others claimed that Muḥammad had followed every known law and observed it. Perhaps this last claim is nearer to the truth than the others, for it agrees with what we know of Muḥammad’s constant search for answers and for ways to the truth

from “The Life of Muḥammad” (pp 70-72) by Muḥammad Ḥusayn Haykal (first written in Arabic in 1933, translated in to English from the 8th Arabic edition by Isma’īl Rāgī A. al Fārūqī, 1976).

#HiraHike – The Basics

Tawassum, tadabbur and tafakkur – the understanding , remembrance and reflection of God through his signs scattered across the world.
(Read more about the three Ts)

Throughout the Qura’an, mankind is reminded and called upon to witness the universe and its contents. We are reminded to use these ayah, these signs, as a source of spiritual inspiration. This spiritual nourishment by meditating on the creation of AHira Hikellah (God) is an essential part of being a Muslim.

In our everyday lives, we tend to get cut off from the remembrance of Allah (God) through his creations. In light of this , the Green Deen SA would like to invite you to have your own #HiraHike. “Hira” refers to the Cave of Hira where our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to retreat every year in the wilderness before receiving prophethood to contemplate on the creator and his creation. The Cave of Hira was where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received the first Quraanic revelation – the first five verses of Surah Al-Alaq:
“Read in the name of your Lord who created -created man from a clot. Read: for your Lord is Most Bountiful, who teaches by the pen, teaches man that which he knew not.” (Quran 96:1-5) Read more…

 

So how to have a Hira Hike?
  1. Remember why you are undertaking this journey, define your intention e.g. to witness Allah (SWT) ‘s creation, remember him and contemplate.
  2.  Choose your location. It could be in your back garden for ten minutes, the local botanical gardens or park for an hour or two, or a day trip to a hiking trail or fishing spot.
  3.  Take a friend or two with, your family, or somebody you know who has not really been out in nature.
  4.  Do not forget essentials (especially if you are going for a serious hike). Good walking shoes, snacks, sunscreen lotion, a sunhat, water and lunch.
  5.  And yes, especially for a full day hike – do not forget your musallah! Use your smartphone or the sun (with your analog watch) to locate Qiblah.

Have a #HiraHike anytime, anywhere! May Allah (SWT) forgive us all and guide us in our attempts at being a better Muslim. Ameen

Please do share your experiences with us through email, or on facebook or twitter or Instagram. Send through your photos of your#HiraHike!