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Hajj Reflections Print E-mail

Bismillah Ir Rahman Ir Rahim

Salam alaikum pilgrims of the Path. Sidi Muhammad, may Allah sanctify his secret, writes in his book The Deeper Meaning Behind the Pillars of Islam on Al-Hajj, the Pilgrimage, which begins tomorrow. The Mother Center will be hosting its annual Hajj retreat, and will complete it with its annual Eid al-Adha celebration. Everyone is welcome.

Sidi begins the chapter writing, 

"The linguistic meaning in Arabic of the Pilgrimage is the complete intention, which also has a meaning of the journey to Mecca and to Al-Madina which, for the Folk of Allah, is the absolute intention for, and attentiveness to this station. For the Pilgrimage has a station above which there is no other, and because of that there is no way in which to speak about its hidden meaning and its Reality. And there are no words that can help us to express exactly what it is."

So, as the days of Hajj approach and are only hours away, and the magnificent month has already begun, let us turn to two brothers and a sister on the way who have completed their Hajj by Allah, and can express some of what they tasted after setting their intention for Al-Hajj, inshallah.

Dr. Nur Hrabko shares:

1. Please describe Hajj with 4-6 qualities. 

"I think it was the most amazing thing I have ever done, certainly the most amazing trip.  Aziz, Quddus, Majid, Dhul Jalali wa-l-Ikram, Jami, Ghaffar"

2. How can beloveds best prepare for the day of Arafat?

"It is the day to ask Allah for forgiveness and fast. Having been to Arafat and praying with so many others who were also asking for forgiveness was both humbling and unifying."

3. How did attending Hajj change your life, walking and relationship to Allah, and to the creation?

"I felt I was part of the Muslim world for the first time and not just a student of Sufism. I have become much more committed to the tenets of the religion as well as wanting to acquire more knowledge."

4. How did you experience God's unity while on Hajj?

"There were so many people from everywhere all doing exactly the same rituals, and everyone I met was my true brother or sister who was there for me just as I was there for them. Someone gave me water when I had none and someone saw me picking up stones and gave me a bottle full of stones they had gathered."

5. Please describe al-Medina in 1-3 sentences.

"Incredibly beautiful; the visit to the Prophet’s (saws) tomb was the highlight. We went to the tomb one night with the Imam of our group and made two rakas next to the tomb on a green carpet that is considered to be in Paradise. It was quite the experience because while incredibly crowded the men made space for each other by locking arms and creating a blockade. When someone was finished, another took his place. We also toured Medina, attended Jummah in the Prophet’s (saws) mosque, as well as other prayers.  We visited Medina before going to Mecca which I recommend. "

6. Is there anything else you'd like to share with the beloveds for this next week of Hajj, for their lives, their hearts and walking?

"I think it helps complete all the teachings we have had over the years. For example, you can read about dhikr but you have to do it to benefit from it. It’s not as hard and scary as you have heard although it is not easy at times; you will get tired but there is time to rest. I would recommend walking or some aerobic conditioning before going to help with stamina. You will do a lot of walking, and some jogging! It deepened my walking, gave me a huge glimpse at the diversity within Islam and really appreciated the people I was with in my tour group. We all helped each other constantly. The leaders of the group were excellent servants, they were experienced and it showed."


Abd al-Haqq and Jannah Godlas reflect:

"The best way to prepare for the Hajj is to let go of your attachment to the expectation that it’s going to be a spiritual experience. Personally I had moments of spiritual jewels here and there, but overall I was busy containing myself under the stress of the outer ordeal.” (AH)

Qualities:

Wahid              3 million believers, from all walks of life and from all over the world, all worshipping together

Zahir                manifest outward

Batin                unmanifest hidden

Tawwab           accepter of repentance

Sabur               patient one who knows the right time

Jami                 gatherer of souls for Day of Judgment


Preparation for the Day of Arafat
I imagined that I was there when the Prophet, pbuh, gave his farewell sermon. I also imagined that I was standing with all of humanity on the Day of Judgment.

How did Hajj change my life? The biggest take-away was the realization that I was born into a life of privilege and ease. Therefore I had a greater responsibility to use my comfortable circumstances to give more and to work for humanity. Out of 3 million people, the majority may have never owned a pair of good fitting shoes, or may have never seen a dentist.

I can’t say that I experienced God’s unity during the Hajj, or ever.

Medina is soft and Mecca is hard. I had my deepest spiritual experience near the tomb of the Prophet, pbuh. Being in Medina was easier because we did not have the stress of having to perform the rites according to the complicated schedule and geographic complexities of the Hajj. I felt freer to settle into “just being there”. I felt assured that the Prophet, pbuh, knew that I was there at his tomb.

After the Day of Arafat, we were supposed to go to Muzdalifah and spend the night. There were 60,000 busses arranged to take the 2,800,000 pilgrims from Arafat to Muzdalifah. This is a logistical impossibility. When the traffic gets backed up, the police simply close the roads. We were stuck on a bus for 14 hours in the middle of the desert. We did not get to Muzdalifah until after fajr the next morning. Some people on the bus were upset because we didn’t do it right and they were worried that their Hajj would not be accepted. I was not concerned because this is what Allah had made for us. The ability to get there on time was taken completely out of our hands. This experience helps me to have mercy for myself when I don’t do it right. Whatever has passed is what Allah made for me. If I made a mistake then I can stand on the Mount of Arafat again at any moment.."

Jannah Godlas shares, "As Abd al-Haqq reminds me, the First and the Last Day are not in the past or in the future; they are the ongoing creation. With every inhalation Allah is asking us “Am I not your Lord Sustainer?” and with every exhalation we are in the Day of Judgment."

All praise is to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds!

-Compiled by Elise Salam Guillot

 
What's New in 2010-11? Print E-mail

Things are moving all over the country from Sidi's visit!  Al hamdulillah!  Here's an update on what's been accomplished, what's in process, and what's coming in 2011!

Shadhiliyya Sufi Communities or SSC (formerly Shadhiliyya Sufi Center)

This year the National Administration Council proposed that the SSC Board change the name of the national organization to better reflect it's true role.  The use of "center" in the name has led to confusion between the SSC and the retreat center, since the word "center" implies a physical location.  Ten years ago when the California center was our primary location it was accurate, but much less so today. 

We're happy to report that the Board's proposal of "Shadhiliyya Sufi Communities" as the new name of our

Read more...
 
Community News, December 2010 Print E-mail

The Mother Center
 
We were blessed to host Sidi at the Land more than usual this year!  A new bathroom facility is planned and all the funds for it have been raised, thanks to support from Sidi and generous beloveds!The gift store is working hard on opening up new avenues for sales of recordings as downloads, as wells as an ongoing auction site for donated items.
 
 
Farm of Peace/MidAtlantic

www.suficentereast.org

We had a full house for our annual potluck Thanksgiving celebration with beloveds and friends! The CSA had successful summer and fall seasons, al hamdulillah.  We expanded from 1/3 to 3 acres of cultivation and supplied most of the produce for our Sufi School.   We are hard at work on plans to turn our teaching barn into a four-season building and our mosque, as well as adding bath, dining and kitchen facilities, inshallah.  ♦ 
 
Palo Alto/San Francisco

This year the Palo Alto Sufi community has been blessed and honored to receive teachings from Salima, Ibrahim, Rahima, Wadude, Sidi, Rahim, Nura, and Ihsan!  Thank you Sidi and all our beloved teachers! Please watch for our announcements for the teaching schedule for 2011. Thanks to Allah, we now have eleven new USHS graduates (2009-2010)!  A few more members are currently either in their 2nd year or have just begun the Masters Program!   Al'humdillilah!
 
 


Our community got to experience first hand the truth of what it is like to work as one heart, one hand while putting on our sufi school event this year.  All of the communities in the SW region took pieces to work on.  The project was not only much easier to implement - the stress factor was much lower too! 
 
 
Los Angeles

We have been successfully working to pull our community together with the help of Abd al Qadr Davies, who has guided us in defining roles and responsibilities, and setting up meetings and elections. We are currently in transition as many of our beloveds have moved away from the city; but Allah has blessed us with the addition of some new members to our group! 
 
Seattle/Tacoma

Allah has been Generous with His Blessings in Washington state over the past year. We have four small and growing pockets of Sufi Community in the state in Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle and Walla Walla. ♦ In Tacoma, A'isha Sherie McGuffey hosted the first khalwa, led a first zhikr of over 20 people, and spoke to an interfaith council at a local university. In Seattle, Amina Melody and Latif Beau Schurich are leading zhikr twice a week with a growing group of attendees and laying plans for local workshops. In Olympia, Abdul Qadr Fred Klemmer holds weekly teachings and zhikr and on-going workshops. In Walla Walla, Sumayyah Lisa Salemme holds teachings and al-wird on Sunday evenings. In addition to our own activities, we are building a network across the state, learning to work together as One Hand One Heart with regular state-wide community meetings and supporting community on all levels.  Our community sponsored Ibrahim Jaffe for a series of Introductory evening events in September and a full weekend workshop in October, at which nine new beloveds took the Promise. To support new beloveds and the growing community, local teachers are supporting students in Ibrahim's Foundations 1 tele-course.
 
Northeast/New England
www.suficenternortheast.org

Beloveds and teachers from Canada, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York worked together for months to host the annual Sufi School NE in October. Almost 200 beloveds and newcomers gathered at the Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts to listen to Sidi and guest teachers and to be in community. Local teachers Naila Baloch (Muslim chaplain at Tufts University) & Zahra Lee recently hosted a special gathering for a group of Muslim women students at Tufts University to receive support from each other, to experience Remembrance and to make jewelry.  They spent a fun day sharing, laughing, creating and praying together. Two beloveds, Ayyub Tillinghast of Vermont and Saffiyah Miller of New York City just returned from making Hajj with a group of beloveds. They both are very happy they have completed their holy journey! 
 
 
 
South Florida
www.suficentersouthflorida.org

South Florida was blessed to have Sidi for a 5th year this past October.  One highlight that we've had lots of feedback on was from Sidi's Saturday talk about Isa and Maryam.  The love in the room was palpable and we're still moving with it today, insha'llah.  We also celebrated a most successful children's program during the event which we plan to continue next year.  We followed the Sidi event with a "Sufism 101" weekly class that ends next week.   December 28-29 we are thrilled to host special guest lecturer, Alan Godlas (Abdu Haqq), professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Georgia, Athens. 
 

 

 
Reflections on a Year of Transformation Print E-mail
Written by Wahida Kass   
Monday, 15 December 2008 16:08

 It was just one year ago that I was stunned to hear that our national organization was in grave financial trouble. The Shadhiliyya Sufi Center Board invited everyone t

“By Allah’s grace, many people…stepped forward to offer their assistance, ideas and vision.  As a result, we are now in a very different place financially, organizationally and spiritually.”
o a series of national meetings (conference calls) to explain the situation and ask for help. By Allah’s grace, many people, including myself, stepped forward to offer their assista nce, ideas and vision. As a result, we are now in a very different place financially, organizationally and spiritually. While there is still a lot to do to implement the changes which have been put in motion, there is also much more hope and movement forward into a new way of working together to fulfill our vision. Things that have felt stuck are beginning to un-stick. Things that have felt hidden are becoming transparent. Things that have felt constrained are becoming free. Truly Allah is oft-returning to give us so many chances to get this right!
Read more...
 
About our Community Print E-mail
Most of our local communities offer teachings and spiritual practices designed to purify our hearts so that we can be better vessels of love and service to our brothers and sisters everywhere. 

 

In addition, we have been very blessed to have our Guide visit us annually for several years and we gather in larger communities or “Sufi Schools to experience his presence directly, receive his teachings, and share loving fellowship. 

 

We warmly welcome newcomers to both our smaller community gatherings and our larger regional Sufi Schools.  We hope that if you are nearby, you will visit us soon.  In the meantime, please enjoy your exploration of these pages and feel free to contact us with any questions.  We’re eager to hear from you. 

 

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