Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Our Rihla to Allah (swt) and His Messenger (s)

The day began with Fajr prayer followed by the recitation of the litany (wird al-Lateef) and Yasin, and each subsequent day would also commence this same way. After the recitation of Yasin, Imam Zaid did the opening class, Introduction to the Rihla, in which he defined rihla as a journey. He said that when we realize this world is not our home, this is the beginning of the journey to Allah. This world is not our home. Our home is Paradise. A hadith says to exist in this world as a stranger or wayfarer.

Another hadith states that if you detach your heart from the world, Allah will love you. And if you detach yourself from the affairs of people, they will love you. The believer has two qualities: humility and consciousness of Allah (taqwa). The higher journey (hijrah) to Allah is rooted in love, of which there are two types:

1) moving away from that which is hated to that which is loved
2) moving from that which is loved to what is more loved

What we get from Allah is what we give. Imam Zaid then spoke about the journey (rihla) to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. There are two categories of this rihla:

1) the physical journey to Medina
2) the higher journey—following the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in all he brought.

According to a hadith, the world is the prison for the believer and the paradise of the disbeliever. Imam Zaid ended the class with some prayers, and said, “There is no refuge nor shelter from You [Allah] except to You.”

Though Imam Zaid’s class was early in the morning, it was a pleasure to attend, as so much was gained: his humor and levity kept the students engaged, and they left with a sense of warmth in their hearts, happy to start their day with Imam Zaid.


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