Yesterday evening I had the great pleasure and honour to once again spend some time in the presence of my dear friend and brother Sheikh Habib Omar bin Muhammed who many believe to be the greatest living Sufi scholar in the world today. Some years ago, for a far too short a period of my life, I had the opportunity to live and study with the great Sheikhs of Dar al Mustafa in Tarim, Yemen. I had never before experienced Islam lived so traditionally and so completely. I was given the opportunity to taste the sweetness of Islamic life as it might have been among the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Medina fourteen hundred years ago. In addition, besides also being blessed with the opportunity to teach Khalifah knowledge to some of the senior students of Islamic science at Dar al Mustafa, in my studies there I gained a more full and complete understanding of the traditional perception of nur (light) within Islamic scholarship which has coloured my lectures and writings ever since that most intellectually invigorating experience.
The time I spent living and studying with the Sheikhs in Tarim, Yemen will remain forever one of the highlights of my life and of my progressive Islamic development. The dear Sheikhs were so unbelievably kind, considerate, humble, knowledgeable, and wonderful in the way of the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that my heart is bound to them forever. Although I am not a follower of any Sufi tarika, I have great respect for the deep and extensive knowledge brought to the Muslim Ummah by the magnificent Sufi scholars of the past and the present. That I was led to association with the great Sheikhs in Tarim is one of the many wonderful blessings granted me by Allah. How undeserving I sometimes feel, but how appreciative I forever remain.
I say to you my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, in your lives many opportunities will arise, some of those opportunities will be specifically destined by Allah to take you to heights greater than you may ever have imagined possible. Do not ever let those most special moments pass by without striving your utmost to fully express the finest human characteristics placed within you by Allah. The battle between good and evil is at a crucial point, this is the time when we need strong and fearless Muslim brothers and sisters who can, within the peaceful and right limits of Islam, stand firm against the fearfully wicked onslaught which is to come. We are the generations who must decide the future of the human race, the final battle against evil is coming ever nearer. The outcome of this battle will determine whether the children of the future will enjoy a life of Paradise on Earth or if they must endure a life of Hell on Earth.