reflections on celebrations [abu Hasan] --- new-year days, birthdays and anniversaries...milestones on a path that leads to a deep and rotting pit or a beautiful garden. ----------------- i can see the joy and hastening fervent of those, who go home triumphant a warrior, valiant - returning from the front a diligent student, with accomplishment, and a lover ardent for a welcome fragrant a thriving merchant with his fortune present but does it warrant to rejoice frequent, for those errant - whose failure patent? a student, truant, and a fleeing tyrant insolvent vagrant or a lover peccant? ----- yet, we celebrate our birthdays and have parties on new year's day. for what? for wasting another year? with the knowledge that we inch towards our graves which shall be a garden of comfort for those who strive, and a pit of darkness for those who spend their lives in heedlessness, ghaflah. truly, we have built skyscrapers for our dunya and not even a tattered thatch for our akhirah. may Allah ta'ala help us amend our state. ---- when this milestone of a new year came around, i thought of starting afresh and to pick up the shambles that we call life. and where best to start other than imam ghazali? so i started reading it'Haf as-sadah al-muttaqin, an exegesis of the book iHya ulum ad-din. the preface by the exegete imam murtaDa az-zabidi is a concise and beautiful biography of imam al-ghazali. in the 9th section, he copies a letter by imam ghazali to one of his contemporaries wherein he says: "verily, i advise him to spend his efforts upon [gaining] the hereafter; that he account for his own self, before it is called into account. that he examine his character, his inward and outward behavior, his aims, his striving, his deeds, his speech and all his actions and intentions - whether he wishes to attain the nearness [qurb] of Allah ta'ala by them, and thus attain endless bliss [sa'adah al-abad] or whether he spends them collecting and establishing for mundane goals [dunya]; whether he is busy building for and caring for, tending for and worrying for success in this world? is he drowning in the swamp of worldly entanglements? does he live for this dunya and Allah forbid, and then die away in wretchedness and misery [shaqawah]? if it is the latter, then let his sight be awakened and eyes be opened; and let him check what he has prepared for tomorrow. let him understand that there is no one who loves him more than himself, and no one who knows him better than himself. let him ponder, reflect upon his ways - if he is busy constructing that which shall fall into ruin, then does he not know how many cities were destroyed by Allah, since their inhabitants were oppressing ones - and they fell into utter ruin after being prosperous, flourishing and opulent." it is not just moving, it is shattering. we make a song and dance about tasawwuf, but the real tasawwuf as elucidated by imam ghazali seems to be so far, as if it is a fairy tale... ---- imam sha`arani [perhaps from shaykh ibn `arabi] said: the likes of ghazali have made these wonderful embroidered garments; where are those who want to wear it? ---- what prompted this rant were videos i saw on a 'nasheed' site meemmusic.com. it is nothing less than a concert; you can also hear the screaming of girls. all of this is an excuse; hiding behind the ruling that sama'a is permissible. nobody bothers to inquire or heed which kind of sama'a is permissible and for whom. ask yourself, did you feel spiritually closer towards the sunnah after all the swaying and crooning, mindful of death and afterlife? did the awareness about your sins and indulgence in this dunya stab or prick you? did you feel like crying on the futility of worldly pursuits and the hollowness of all the glitter and shine? if it did not, then i am afraid this sama'a is another indulgence of this dunya - another kind of entertainment. another distraction. Allah ta'ala knows best.