Brother, as I explained in my email, my adab is very poor, I am a revert to Islam and have been a mureed for years so I often feel that I don’t understand the etiquette and the manners of approaching Mowlana. I am very concerned to improve my adab so that I set a good example of a mureed, this is for the benefit of myself and others. Any general advice concerning good manners in the presence of a shaykh would be really appreciated and I will use that as a topic of discussion with my revert group.
I have recently been asked to set up 2 different groups, both with different needs. The first group is a study/focus group predominantly for new Muslims. We meet weekly in a coffee shop for a 2 hour session and at the moment we are studying Imam Ghazali… This group is in a small working class city which has a large Muslim community, it is predominantly Asian and the small amount of support available for new Muslims is very culturally influenced. This is why I was asked to set up a group to support New Muslims, with the intention of providing a non-judgemental atmosphere based on learning with a social aspect.
The second is a spiritual meditation group for non Muslims, we meet monthly in the evening. It is for women who are interested in relaxation, listening to a light spiritual topic and meeting other like minded people. They are looking for a deeper meaning to their lives. This group is open to everyone, no matter what their belief, it is an opportunity to connect with others for the purpose of focusing on love and sending that energy out to to the surrounding environment. My intention with this group is inshAllah to open their hearts to the possibility of the existence of God and to inshAllah build a connection with their soul. This group is in a white middle-class seaside town, which has only a very small Muslim community. The majority of women here have no knowledge of Islam, other than what they know from the television.
Both groups know that I am a mureed of a Sufi shaykh. I have shown a picture of Mowlana and given a brief explanation of who he is, but neither groups are set up as Sufi groups or in anyway have I tried to insinuate that I am a teacher or representative of Shaykh other than if I say anything beautiful or truthful it is from the teachings of my shaykh, anything else is from myself.
At the moment there are about 12 women in each group, they are women only groups. I just thought it was important to give you some background on the people I’m working with and also myself so that you can get an idea of the spiritual level we are working at and give your answers accordingly. My intention in setting up these groups is to be of service to people spiritually and if Allah SWT wills to open a door for people to come and visit Mowlana. I believe it is Him there hearts are looking for, I can provide nothing spiritually for them other than a door to him inshAllah.
In my revert group, the following questions came up last week and I didn’t want to give my own opinion as I would be guessing… I wanted to check with Mowlana as His is the only opinion I trust.
1) We were discussing the formal prayer and I compared the formality of it to the formality and etiquette of being in the presence of a king, except in fard prayer you enter the presence of The universal king, so just like in a worldly kings court you follow certain rules and good manners, ie in UK a woman courtsies or a man bows to the king, you can’t speak first etc. I said this to emphasise the difference between du’aa and fard prayer. The question I was asked was ‘Are Muslims allowed to bow or courtesy to a king.’ They were told and I also have heard that we only bow to Allah. The reason I couldn’t answer is because Mowlana has created a love in me for kings as he teaches that monarchy is the correct rule, where those kings serve Allah. So myself personally would bow, but not do sajda. I did not say this, because I wanted to check the legal ruling or the difference of opinion .
2) We have a number of women who believe shahada in their heart and want to be Muslim, but they have children with a man who they have separated from and they are worried about his reaction. We also have some women in this group who have become Muslim and the fathers of their children and their in laws have become really angry and make like very difficult for the women and their children. So the question is in the eyes of Allah, before God what should they do. Is it enough that there heart accepts Allah, but they are secretive about it, or should they practice openly with no fear. And what about there children, does she have to bring them up as Muslim if there father is a practicing another religion.
3) About the head scarf, some reverts really strongly want to wear it. They feel ready to as a sign of there Islam and as a submission to the will of Allah, but there revert husbands do not want them to. This is for different reasons for some his family doesn’t know they have converted, some don’t like the look of the scarf, some don’t believe that a woman has to wear one. If the woman’s heart wants to wear it, but her husband says no, what is expected of her in front of her Lord? Vice versa, we have a lady who’s revert husband really wants her to wear a scarf, but she is not ready to do it. Should she obey her husband or do it when she feels ready?
Wishing you a peaceful day.
wa `alaykum salam,
May Allah grant you enormous success in your endeavor to spread the Nur of our Shaykhs.
Mawlana Shaykh Nazim always says, “intend big, for you are granted whatever you intend. When I first set foot in England I intended to bring all of England to Islam.”
As to the first question, the scholars had different opinions. However al-`Ayni from Abu al-Mansur al-Maturidi (one of the two Imams of Doctrine in Sunni Islam), said that it is not kufr to kiss the earth in front of a king, to bow before him or incline the head before him, as long as the intention is not worship, but rather respect (ta`zhim), for Allah ordered the angels to make sajda to Sayyidina Adam (as) thus it cannot be kufr when no worship is intended, and the Holy Qur’an mentions that the brothers of Yusuf prostrated to him out of respect and awe and were not reprimanded for that.
However, if the ladies to whom you are calling are put off by this, I would not emphasize it at all.
Regarding the 2nd and third questions, keep in mind our masters teach that Islam is not imposed in one “blast” but rather incrementally, as the heart of the Muslim opens more and more to submission and seeking to obey the Divine commands.
For the second question, it is permitted to hide one’s Islam out of fear of harm so they may do so, until their *own* hearts insist to make their Islam known, which will happen at some time or another. So let them keep secret as long as they feel it necessary and teach their children Islam’s beliefs without giving any name. Once they begin to proclaim their faith, then they should also inform their children that what they have been taught is Islam.
For the third, the same principle as 2 applies, for if wearing a scarf might result in physical or economic harm, they can avoid it for now, it is not unbelief, but rather a sin. In place of hijab they can put their hair up in a bun or wear 2 braids and wear something symbolic of cover, whether a hat, a ribbon or a small scarf.
And Allah knows best.