The Path

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar radiyalaahu anhuma had mentioned, "Whoever wishes to follow the way of another, should follow the ways of those who have passed away. These were the companions of Muhammad sallalaahu alayhi wassalam, who were the best people of this Ummah. Their hearts were most pious, their knowledge was deepest and they were least pretentious. They were people whom Allah Ta'ala had chosen to be companions of His Nabi sallalaahu alayhi wassalam and for the transmission of His Deen. You people should emulate their character and mannerisms. By the Rabb of the Kaabah! The Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam were correctly guided."

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Close Encounter of the Tablighi Jamaat: Part 2 - Sect or Group?

The idea of joining any so-called Islamic groups or sects had never appeased me at all. I do not like the branding of Islam. I tried as much as possible to distant myself away from those people who, I believe, more concern of calling people towards their leaders, parties or organizations. It's bad enough that people are using Islam to hide behind the evil and corrupted self-benefits, when all the real intent and purpose is to fulfill their own desires. Shouldn't a Muslim only concern towards calling people to Allaah Ta'ala and His Rasul sallalaahu alayhi wassalam instead?

Alhamdulillah, I did not see those undesirable and distasteful attributes among the many people that I had met and mixed around at Markaz Masjid Jame', Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, throughout the years. Though it used to bother me a lot that the people who are attached to the effort of dakwah and tabligh are regarded by many as belonging to a separate grouping or sect by giving the 'brandname' of Tablighi Jamaat. However, I told myself that perhaps people are used to the notion of branding others by what is being perceived. I mean, is it not true that people tend to call a man delivering newspapers to houses 'newspaper man', and those who sell ice-cream are called 'ice-cream men'? I suppose 'Tablighi Jamaat' got its name when people see them travelling or visiting from house to house, alley to alley, street to street, town to town or city to city in groups in the course of conveying the message of Islam. The word 'tabligh' itself literally means to convey, and 'jamaat' means a group of people. Alhamdulillah, I have yet to hear people call the muazzeins or the callers for prayers as Muazzein Jamaat!

The reviver of dakwah and tabligh in this specific form, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas rahmatullahi alayhi is reported to have said, "If I have to give this effort a name, I would have given it a name 'Tahrikul Imaan' (the reviver of imaan). Maulana Muhammad Ilyas rahmatullahi alayhi expressing his concern for the Ummat and the objective of this work states, "The object of this work is to create zeal and thirst in the hearts of those who have no zeal and thirst for Deen and its practices.When this is created in them, they will rush to the fountains of ilm (knowledge) i.e. to the Ulama." He also states, "The actual aim of this work is to teach the Ummat everything with which Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam came with i.e. to get the Ummat attached to a complete system of thought and practice of Islam." His predecessor, Maulana Muhammad Yusuf rahmatullahi alahi states, "The aim of this work is to achieve the level where Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam had left for this Ummat." What is the level? 100% of this Ummat, men and women, are dai'e of Allah Ta'ala, 100% of this Ummat, men and women, safeguard the solah, tilawah, zikir, du'a etc.

In the meantime, although I had managed to come out with some lame and silly excuses, still numerous tasykeel had been asked for me to spend my time for 3 days in the path of Allah again and again. For each tasykeel that had been made upon me, I began to think harder what harm could it be done against me? Until one day I ran out of excuses.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Close Encounter of the Tablighi Jamaat: Part 1 - Exotic Strangers

All praise is for Allah. I praise Him and seek help from Him. I believe in Him and have complete trust in Him. There can be none to misguide the person whom Allah has guided and there can be none to guide the person whom Allah has caused to go astray.

To you and the rest of the world, they are known as "Tablighi Jamaat". To me, they are simply the people that had completely changed my life through the blessing and mercy of Allah Most High.

They had come to visit me at least once a month at home for almost six months. Headed by my elder brother, they came in group of four to six persons. They were all my seniors in age, most of them were childhood friends of my brother. Prior to that, I only knew them by names. Most of them were from my hometown. The first thing that I noticed about them were their unique dresses and long flowing beard. Being part of ethnic pushtun family, I had been familiar with kurta and shalwar, but recalled only occasionally put on the dress during my childhood days. Their beards were in different colours. My brother had grey black beard, another persons had mat black and dark brown beard, while the other one's was red. Amusingly, it was like 'United Colours of Benetton'.

I received them with warm heart. When they talked about Deen, I listened to them attentively but with some degree of caution. I was cautious that they would say something that was unacceptable to me, something totally different from what I knew about Islam, albeit my very limited knowledge of Deen. But what had been said during those visits simply fascinated me, especially when they told me the stories of, and narrations about the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum - about their lives with Rasulullah Sallalaahu Alayhi Wassalam

From all those nights that they visited me, not a night passed by without me feeling awestruck at the stories of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. Their lives and actions simply astonished me. At that point of time I began to question myself how could I had only heard of a handful of them like Sayyidina Abu Bakar, Umar, Usman, Ali and Abu Hurayrah radiyalaahu anhum before this? How could the textbooks that I read at school failed to mention a great many more of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum

In this manner, we engaged in Deeni talks and discourses sometimes until fajr during those blessed nights. Then whenever they were around, I began to frequent Masjid Jame' Sri Petaling, the central markaz of dakwah and tabligh effort in Malaysia which also host Madrasah Miftahul Uloom where hundreds of youngsters studying hifz and aalim. The Deeni environment there was so overwhelmed to me, as I began to mixed around with thousands of people that gathered there on weekends - talking, eating, joking, and more importantly sharing their concern for Deen. 

I observed that they not only look alike with one another, but they shared the same thing - one mindset and one heartfelt. Never had I witnessed anyone talked more about the bounties and greatness of Allah anywhere before - not just the discourses in the Masjid but also on the streets, in shops, at restaurants, while eating, while selling, while buying, by elderly men and youngsters - it was a whole new enlightening experience to me.

For about six months, I was like someone who wandered on a journey in the darkest of night, with thunder and lightning - every time the light (helped) me, I walked therein, and when the darkness grew on me, I stood still. And during this vital period, numerous tasykeel had been asked for me to spend my time for 3 days in the path of Allah.