Study Seerah:Your Intellectual Quest begins at Cave Hira

Asalamoalaykum warahmtullahi wabarakatuh,

For a certain research paper, I have been going through a lot of books on European Intellectual history in the last 24 hours partly because I had to formulate a thesis statement. And partly because I just need an excuse to do that due to my childhood educational background. However that’s not the point. The point is I’m taking a history course which is all about ‘Great Explorations’ particularly because the whole idea of oceanic voyages in the context of time and space blows my mind away. My Prof, may Allah SWT make him a Muslim (ameen), has a very well-balanced approach towards it. He advocates the Muslims and gives them the credit when needed. Not that any Muslim needs anyone’s approval. It just makes it easy to take a course that’s all, no mental conflicts Alhamdolilah.  We covered Portugal and the usual train of European key promoters of voyages such as Henry the Navigator. I don’t really trust non-Muslim accounts of history anymore but it’s always good to be informed what they know and to be able to counter-attack my version of radicals: the Orientalists, who are on a mission to make a fool of themselves. Seriously they have great determination, as great as the Shaytan. May Allah SWT protect us all from them and protect them from themselves! Ameen.

My Prof is fascinated by the Seerah of the Portugese. He claims (and I sort of believe him because of  the evidence) that the reason why Portugese , a small forgotten little place, became the center stage of European economic trade is because they thought ‘out of the box’. And I don’t want to talk about the geographical history as interesting as it is but I want to point out that as he talks, his face lights up as if that’s his greatest treasure…the Seerah of Portugese. No offence but I didn’t hold the Portugese in high regard because I remember studying about them going to Africa and enforcing slavery. And I remember I was so upset when I read that. The mutiny and the scurvy and the lack of sanitation. I guess I was probably 10 or 11 yrs old back then so it is natural for a child that young to make judgements. It all seemed amazing but ugly. Allahu ‘Alam really. But the thing I want to highlight is that even though my Prof agrees that the motives of Portugese were selfish, he still loves them and coats their whole exploration as being a means of furthering learning and empowering trade. He’s ready to talk about them, he knows what they thought, how the sailormen survived, how many ‘biscuits’ they ate everyday etc. He brushes away the negative aspect and only concentrates on the positive side, which is good. But he goes further and asks us all to learn ‘lessons’ from these voyages. I wouldn’t mind doing that…I’m open to diversity of opinions which do not contradict Quraan and Sunnah. However, the real question is were they men of integrity? Were the explorers, traders and sailormen of Portugese, the Spanish, the Venetians, the Genoese men who had their morals in place? And I have a strong feeling that they weren’t because of what they did, so really how can a sane person find inspiration from these people in the first place? Fine, they did what they did. As much as I am totally intrigued by it, I would never ever follow someone like that and learn from them. My mind just doesn’t comply.

So here comes the most heart-breaking part of my realization. We have been blessed with the Seerah of our beloved Prophet SAW and honestly, how many parents teach their children about him? How many fathers model the Prophet SAW and share stories over dinner? If I didn’t have the right Islamic morals, I would’ve taken these integrity-less men as my model. That’s what happens to the lot of population of young people who by the Utmost Mercy of Allah SWT somehow dodge the corrupted role models in the Entertainment industry. They end up taking their object of study as their ‘Prophets’. Astaghfirullah! And this is partly why Inshaa’Allah I’m going to focus my research paper on the ‘Dark side’ of explorations, its negative impacts on the society besides slavery and its parallels with another subject which I love bashing: Darwin’s evolution, in the light of the fact that corrupt motives/intentions may result in exciting discoveries but overall corruption of the society. I don’t want to put my hand in the fire for making such a huge claim and I known I won’t find ‘good’ resources for my research but I just want my Prof to know that those who give birth to a goal to worship its desires  and not care about morals then they cannot be deemed ‘great’ explorations. Of course, I’m going to mention all that in light of evidence and in a much gentler tone. May Allah SWT help me with that.

BUT here’s the deal, I want young Muslim men to study Seerah of Prophet Mohammed SAW  instead of knowing the ins and outs of useless people out there. The most greatest moment in the history of mankind is not when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon(or did he?) or when Vasco da Gama landed wherever he had to or who is the best basketball/cricket player. It was when Jibreel AS came to the Prophet SAW…when the revelation began. Prophet SAW, a man of integrity even before Prophethood. Jibreel AS, a beloved Angel, highest in the hierarchy of all Angels. And still people boast about wars in the name of patriotism done in the past. I don’t care about them. If it was in the name of Islam, you can make me listen. Islam gave me an identity which nationality didn’t. I can hardly connect much with my nationality anymore. Islam gives you a colour that no other thing does and it makes me alive. Why should I look for other things?

As for Muslim women, please stop reading those useless romance novels. It won’t make you go anywhere. It might give you false hopes about what is out there but won’t equip you with real practical ways to equip yourself should things go not as smoothly as those lame stories. And yes that includes all the trashy fiction that’s out there. You may learn a thing or two from  a few novels but most of them are not worth wasting time on because trust me, they brainwash you and you won’t even know. Non-fiction on the other hand is healthy, intellectually stimulating and sometimes refreshing as well. I was a historical fiction and Victorian novels addict and I couldn’t imagine holding a non-fiction book. Now, I can proudly say I’m a convert and I strongly urge those who waste their time on TV to READ ‘good stuff’.

I am a beginner myself and I have started my Seerah study from a wonderfully written set of volumes by Dr. Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee. The set has 3 volumes and it’s called, ‘The Noble Life of the Prophet SAW‘. What the cool thing about these volumes is that it’s not just a compilation of history. People like me, who are interested in history, wouldn’t mind reading a book of dates and history. But people who have trouble reading history would most probably put the book down and vow never to touch it again. This set has chapters ending with lessons learned! And that too in a very reader-friendly manner. I feel even a 10 year old would be able to read it, it’s that easy on the mind. You can probably say that the writer collects gems from the Seerah and directs the reader’s attention towards it. I’ve only started it but I intend to commit to it seriously BECAUSE there are so many benefits in studying the Seerah(and these are my personal reasons):

  • it’s about trustworthy people unlike so many other humans in the past who lied, cheated and did God knows what
  • it has deliciously inspirational stories such as those of Salman Al Farasee RA in pursuit of knowledge
  • you can learn from the tactics in battles and how the Prophet SAW was a great leader…so you can read all about great leadership tactics in one place without reading all those books on Self-Development in the Business section
  • it equips you with Tawakul
  • it is easy to follow (Occam’s Razor: the right explanation is the simplest explanation–> I believe this was stolen from the Seerah :) )
  • it heals your heart because of the many tribulations and trials the Prophet SAW and Sahaba ,may Allah SWT be pleased them all, faced
  • it appeals to your intellect
  • learn awesome lessons to better your dealings with society, the Adab and the Ikhlaq are rare commodities in today’s society (the remaining traces have been painted with suffocating culture)
  • it is enjoyable and is an excellent companion when you feel alone, you feel as if you’re in the company of the Prophet SAW
  • strengthens your relationship with the Quraan
  • you get rewarded…isn’t that amazing? First you get a perfect God, perfect religion, then a perfect Book and now a perfect Seerah all so well preserved and on top of that you get rewarded for acquiring knowledge…SubhanAllah!

Bring back the legacy! We have to adorn ourselves with it first and then start with our family members. People may laugh at you but so what? You are not doing it for people anyway. If you were then you can whine all you want.

I think it’ll solve a lot of problems that parents face today as well. Most complain that children do not respect them etc. Well, whatever you feed an innocent child, that’s what they’re going to output! It’s so logical. Build their base on Sunnah and preserve the deterioation of their hearts by encouraging them (not forcing them) to memorize the Quraan…and if you do that, inshaa’Allah you’ve made the best investment ever! If you don’t have kids, teach others kids or gift kids with books which make them love the Quraan and Sunnah. That’s the least we can do. Dawa’h to children is so crucial especially in today’s society!

Please don’t feed young minds with high aims/hopes for dunia. It is counter-productive and destroys their future dunia life and Akhira. I thought I had to say that because it breaks my heart into a million pieces when I talk to my peers who are disappointed in dunia for not being able to achieve a certain degree/position/job/spouse etc.  They are so hung onto their disappointment that they can’t move on. And for such people, it’s very easy to follow the footsteps of Shaytan.

Life is never going to take the course YOU want it to take. So please, don’t expect much from it. Expect from the Lord on the Day of Wages (Last Day).

May Allah SWT heal the hearts of those which have been broken in the pursuit of His Pleasure and the pursuit of their high hopes for dunia. May Allah SWT guide them to His Glorious religion.ameen.

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Start your intellectual pursuit in the right direction today! It began in the Hira Cave for our beloved Prophet SAW, who had to go through heart-shattering trials. You can read all that in the comfort of your home. What’s stopping you then? Don’t let Shaytan steal away your precious moments of life!

And Allah SWT Knows Best.

May He guide me for I stand nowhere.  With the insignifance of my being and with hardly any provision for Akhira, a beggar I am and a beggar I shall always be. I badly need to seek knowledge actively to protect myself. May Allah SWT make it easy for me because if He doesn’t, I fear my destruction with the ostentatious words I use which are devoid of action. O Allah only You I devote my hopes to and only You can fulfill them. O Allah please make me of Ahl al Dhikr. Ameen.

[Resource for Seerah for non-readers: for starters–>http://www.audioislam.com/?subcategory=Seerah and for those who are more ambitious for detailed lectures: http://kalamullah.com/anwar-alawlaki.html]

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KICKSTART: This topic interests people regarding Seerah so I’ll share it so that it begins your journey towards Seerah. But by no means this should be the ONLY part of Seerah one should study about:

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