Halal Money Guide!

Bismillah

Such was the importance of ensuring their financial matters were halal, Umar ibn al Khattab introduced an inspector in the market of Madinah to check the weights, measures and transactions. Although we have lost this practice today, we now have to take the initiative and responsibility on our shoulders and educate ourselves, and those in our care, on the specific rulings and regulations.

The Prophet (saw) said:
“The feet of the son of Ādam will not move on the Day of Judgement until he is asked regarding how he earned his wealth and how he spent it.”
(Tirmidhi)

Many people are under the misconception that their earnings will be affected if they decide to follow the Sharī’ah and do away with haram earnings, contracts, riba and transactions. In fact, Allah promises us the opposite:

“And whoever fears Allah, for him Allah brings forth a way out, and gives him provision (rizq) from where he does not even imagine…”
(Surah At-Talaq: 2/3)

How much easier will be our meeting with Allah if we know that our transactions and wealth were pure and used in halal ways!

Download our new 8-page Halāl Money Guide today, which covers a wide range of important financial matters from a practical and Islamic perspective:

http://www.1stethical.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Halal-Money-Guide-2012.pdf

Click here for a list of Sharī‘ah-compliant solution providers:

Shari’ah-compliant solution providers

Complete our 2-minute Sharī‘ah Check here to ensure your finances are Sharī‘ah-compliant:

http://www.1stethical.com/2011/09/04/muamalatearning-halal-two-minute-shari‘ah-check/

Courtesy: 1stethical.com

Al-’Izzah: Forgotten Concept, Lost Virtue

“We were of the most disgraced of people, and Allah granted us honor with this Islam. Now if we are to seek honor in other than that which Allah honored us with, Allah shall disgrace us”- Umar ibn Khattab (rA)

The problem is that we have forgotten the concept of ‘izzah (honour). We have forgotten that no matter what our physical or financial state is, Allah has placed us in a position of superiority over all other creation.

The Arabic word ‘izzah is from ayn-zay-zay, which means might, honor, respect, dignity, prestige, fame and glory. It also means to have the upper hand; sometimes ‘izzah is used positively for praise, and sometimes it’s used negatively for arrogance (such as surah Saad āyah 2).

عز/ العزة

Azz/ ‘Izzah

‘Azz
• The root word for I’zzah, Azeez and Uzzah is ‘Azz which means to be or become strong, powerful or/and respected.

• ‘Azz’ can also mean to overpower/defeat.
…and He overpowered Me In speech. [Saad 23]

‘Izzah
• Al ‘Izzah is a state which prevents a person from being overcome. When the Arabs call a land عزاز [‘azaaz’] they mean it is hard, solid, stiff and rigid.

• Linguistically this term means: might/ power/ standing/ strength/ force/ honour/ glory/ high rank/ fame/ pride.

In the Qur’aan, ‘Izzah is sometimes mentioned in a praiseworthy sense and at other times it is mentioned in a blameworthy sense as the examples below illustrate:

But honour, power and Glory belong to Allāh, his Messenger (Muḥammad Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam), and to the believers’ [Al Munaafiqoon 8]

‘Do they seek honour, power and Glory with them? Verily, then to Allâh belongs all honour, power and glory.’ [Al Nisaa 139]

When ‘Izzah is mentioned with regards to Allāh, His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and the believers, it’s an everlasting honour, power and glory – it’s the true [haqiqi] ‘Izzah. On the other hand, when ‘Izzah is mentioned with regards to the disbelievers, its used to denote both disgrace and dishonour:

‘Nay, those who disbelieve are in false pride and opposition’. [Saad 2]

To the Muslim, honour is something which Allāh has blessed us with. It’s the knowledge that in humbling ourselves to Him and Him alone, He has raised us above all other creation. It is the knowledge that by fearing Him and seeking reward from Him alone, no one and nothing else on Earth can inspire within us fear or interest in what they have to offer us. It is something which is attained by truly loving, believing, and acting upon the words of Allāh’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when he said:

“Be mindful of Allāh, and Allāh will protect you. Be mindful of Allāh, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allāh; if you seek help, seek help of Allāh. Know that if the Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allāh had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allāh had already prescribed for you”.

Izzah is attained by worshipping Allāh alone, obeying His commands, avoiding what He has prohibited, and placing our entire reliance upon Him and Him alone. Thus, its loss occurs when we do the opposite: when our emaan weakens, and our tawakkul fades, and we allow into our lives that which Allāh hates for us. What kind of ‘izzah can we have when we abandon the very actions which are the cause of this elevated status? How can we have honour of any kind when we humiliate ourselves by neglecting the ṣalāh, replacing the Words of Allāh with the Qur’an of the Shaytaan (music), and place more importance in political activism than spiritual strength?
Izzah is borne of action, and is manifested as attitude. It is an attitude of superiority and of confidence, an attitude which we need to reclaim.

Allāh has stated repeatedly that He has chosen al-Islam as the only acceptable religion and that the true believers are those whom He has chosen as the khulafaa‘ of this Earth.

‘The (only) religion with Allāh is Islaam, but if they dispute with you, say, “I have submitted myself entirely to Allāh.”’ (3:19 – 20)

“So, do not become weak or sad, and you are superior if you are believers.” [Al ‘Imran; 139]

Once this is recognized, then we must go back to what we said in the beginning – this superiority and honour, this ‘izzah, comes only
from studying, understanding, and implementing Islam correctly in every sphere of our lives.

‘So whoever hopes to see his Lord and be rewarded by Him, then let him make his worship correct and make it purely and exclusively for Him; and let him not give any share of it to other than Him.’ [Surah al-Kahf 18:110].

If we obey Allāh as we are supposed to, we will feel the peace, the tranquility, the strength and the confidence that befits those whom Allāh is pleased with. And once Allāh is pleased with a people, and He has promised them victory, is there anyone or anything on the face of this earth which could possibly stop them?

“Say: ‘O Allāh. Lord of Power (And Rule), You give power to whom You please, and You strip off power from whom You please: You endow with honor whom You please, and You bring low whom You please: In Your hand is all good. Verily, over all things You have power.’” (3:26).

Courtesy: muslimmatters.org

Keeping it real in the Prayer

By Ustadh Abu Eesa Niamatullah

It’s probably one of our most common and indeed biggest individual problems that we face in our salah/namaz/prayer every day and that is to actually know what you’re doing, where you are, what you’re saying, what’s going on, feeling the presence and making it a real act of worship.

And by keeping it real, I mean keeping it real. Not false. Not a waste of time. Proper. Correct. Beneficial. Rewarding. Insha’Allah.

I was recently reading something beneficial on this subject from the late Shaykh al-’Uthaymin (rahimullah) who used to mention that one of the great benefits of utilising all the various different Sunnah wird/du’a/dhikr that has been narrated from the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) in the different parts of the prayer is that it leads to hudhur al-qalb i.e. makes your heart feel more alive and present in the moment.

This increased awareness and presence of the heart and thus the mind stems from changing our normative behaviour in any action, let alone the prayer. For example, when you stand for prayer and have made your niyyah and then say “Allahu Akbar”, the first thing that happens to all of us (except that lucky one upon whom is the mercy of Allah) is that we go into cruise control.

This really is the reality behind our prayers as they become the monotonous acts of ritualism they sadly turn into. Except if we change it up a little here and there and start to feel more alive and with it.

Try some of the following:

1. Change the position of your hands slightly, a little bit up or a little bit down. Physical changes like this, within the range of legislated acceptability, have a marked effect on ones mental state as well.

2. Change the exact height of where you raise your hands to whilst making the opening Takbeer, i.e. from your thumbs being level with your ears or touching them, to the finger tips being level with the ears instead. Both are acceptable and authentic derived understandings.

3. If you’re struggling learning some new Istiftah du’as ( “Subhanaka Allahumma wa bihamdika…”),leave out your current Istiftahon a very rare occasion, just to show yourself that it is not an obligation and shock you into a change of routine, and also to instill its importance in you the next time you recite it and realise how beautiful a wisdom it is to be able to praise Allah in the most excellent manner before you are about to beg Him for salvation in al-Fatihah.

4. Study a tafseer of al-Faithah. You’ll wish you never recited anything else in the prayer after that.

5. Learn some new surahs, and chop and change regularly. Practise the new ones in the prayer as well, knowing that you can always fall back on something you know if you get stuck.

6. Instead of saying takbeer and going down for ruku’, stop. Add another surah to the one you just recited. Which one? Any one, especially al-Ikhlas but others are ok too.

7. Just getting into your rapid threesome of “Subhana Rabbiyal-’Adheem”? Well, make it a single for the sake of reminding yourself that only once is an obligation. In the nextruku’, make it a 9 or 11.

8. Add a bit of spice. The du’as for the ruku’ are many, and although not taking the place of “Subhana Rabbiyal-’Adheem”, they make a great addition such as “Subbuhun, Quddusun…”

9. In your standing position again, change your du’a a bit, add a bit as well and make it a nice long standing of contemplation as you praise Allah ‘azza wa jall with “Mil-assamawati…”

10. The next time you get up from ruku’, go straight down with no time wasted. You’ll appreciate the previous time more and you’ll look forward to using your new du’a again next time.

11. Well, now that you’re all the way down here, you might as well add some new du’a and dhikr in your prostration. There are loads to choose from – its open house down here minus the reciting of the Qur’an.

12. And open house means your own personal du’as. Plenty of it. And here’s a gift from my school and their scholars: whilst you’re learning the Arabic equivalent, you can make your personal supplication in your own language so that you can really feel the moment. Don’t over abuse this though because you’ll just get greedy!

13. Whilst sitting between the two sajdahs, try learning one or two supplications for this position.

14. Back into the next sajdah, why don’t you do the exact opposite of what you did in the first one – make it long and personal if it was a quick one first time, or do the opposite. At least you’ll know where you are and your prayer will be anything but monotonous.

15. The Tashahhud has also got various versions that can help bring it to life. Learn them.

16. You see that finger? Use it. If you don’t believe in moving it all the way from the beginning, make sure you take great spiritual strength from the very moment you do when you declare that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah. Feel it. Live that witnessing, and don’t let it just be a flick of the finger.

17. The sending of salutations upon our Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) should be a great moment, not just because we can change the versions between those authentically narrated but also because those who are too lazy or forgetful to do this outside the prayer, have a real opportunity to focus and pick up a bargain right here during your obligatory prayer. May Allah grant our beloved Messenger the very highest station in Paradise, ameen!

18. You want to change the ritual? You’ve come to the right place folks. The moments just before the salam-giving is a treasure trove for those who know how to dig. Utilise this moment to express yourself with a huge variety of du’a and dhikr, even that which you’d normally say outside the prayer – bring them in from the cold and let them give you company in your nice and warm house!

This list really could go on and on, but the point is that although we might know all these variations and versions of du’a, know all of Shaytan’s armoury, know how much we like to wander in the prayer, know how easy it is to fall into the routine and get the job over and done with – although we know all this, we all need to increase our presence of mind in the prayer and these are just some suggestions to help us all do that insha’Allah.

The Fiqh of Hajj and Practical Advice for Hajj

The Fiqh of Hajj and Practical Advice for Hajj- Shaykh Yasir Qadhi

“…we must understand and realize that Ḥajj is one of the greatest actions of worship. In fact, some scholars say that the most blessed action that any Muslim can do is the Ḥajj. The most blessed action of a non-Muslim is to accept Islam, but from within Islam, the most blessed action is the Ḥajj…”

READ or LISTEN:
http://muslimmatters.org/2012/10/05/mm-treasures-yasir-qadhi-the-fiqh-of-hajj-and-practical-advice-for-hajj/

The 80-20 principle

Aisha (radiyallahu anha) narrarated;
“The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], whenever he is given the opportunity to choose between two affairs, he always chooses the easiest and the most convenient. But if he is certain that it is sinful, he will be as far as he could from it.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/503]

Do you always go about doing a task efficiently and effectively?
The 80-20 Rule has helped me tremendously in the personal effectiveness area. Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80-20 rule states that 20% of a task’s effort accounts for 80% of the value of that task. This also means that 80% of a task only yields 20% of the value of that task. I apply the 80-20 Rule at home, the masjid, the university, and especially at work. Following the Sunnah on personal effectiveness yields great benefits.
Simply put, The 80-20 Rule requires that you:
1. Do it now!
2. Do what matters the most first.
3. Be efficient and effective.
4. Take the easiest and most convenient path to getting things done.
5. Work without interruption to get that 20% done.
Find out what parts of your life belong in the crucial 20%, and focus your efforts there. Be absolutely ruthless in refusing to spend time where it simply cannot give you optimal results. Invest your time where it has the potential to pay off big. The first thing is to list out what you have to get done for that day.
Let me give you a few personal examples.
At Home:
1. Tahajjud/Study/Fajr
2. Household Chores
3. Family Time- helping with homework, teaching Islam, time with spouse, board games etc.
4. Grocery Shopping
5. Check personal email.
6. Update Blog
7. Check personal voice mail and return calls.
8. Work out if I didn’t get a chance to during the day.
9. Personal Reading and study
10. Watch TV, catch up on news etc.
There are ten tasks on this list. 20% of 10 = 2. So 2 tasks on this list is more important and will give me the greatest yield on my time and give me fulfillment as well. Just because I underlined two tasks, doesn’t mean that I don’t get anything else done. Most days I accomplish what I set out to do. If something doesn’t get done, it carries over to the next day until it gets done. These two tasks are just what I feel will give me the greatest benefit and sense of accomplishment at home for this day inshaAllah (Azza Wa Jal).
You will ALWAYS have too much to do and too little time. It is said that the average person has about 300 hours of projects to take care of right now. We have books to read, surahs to learn, Arabic studies, projects at work and home, along with everything else. The fact is that you will NEVER get caught up. However, I was able to get caught up because I stopped doing things. By making a list of ten things and then highlighting the top 20%, this will be worth more than the other 80%.
So select your most important task right now and discipline yourself to complete that task right now. Stay on it until it’s done. If you start out doing small things first, then you will find as I have experienced that small things tend to multiply. You will then spend your entire day doing small things. If you prioritize the big things, these will double your productivity.
This post was taken from Muslim Fit for Life

Wise Sayings of Hasan al Basri

Hasan al Basri -Allah have mercy on him- said:
“The good of this world is knowledge and worship, and the good of the hereafter is Paradise.”

“You will not meet a believer except he is evaluating himself.”

“What is this world but a dream that a sleeper sees, he delights in it for a few moments, and then wakes up to face reality.”

“In this world the believer is like a stranger, he does not despair when it humiliates him and neither does he covet its grandeur. The people are in one state, and he is in a totally different state.”

“Stay away from the busying aspects of life, and surely, life has abundant busying aspects. Every man who indulges in an aspect of life that fills his time, then the door he opened will open ten more doors of busying aspects for him.”

“The intelligent person’s tongue is behind his heart: when he wants to speak, he first thinks. If [his words] will be in his favor, he says them, and if they will be against him, he does not speak. And the ignorant person’s heart is behind his tongue: when he merely thinks of saying something, he says it, whether it is for or against him.”
-[Abû Bakr Al-Daynûrî, Al-Mujâlasah wa Jawâhir Al-’Ilm article 2049]

•”Do not detest the misfortunes that befall you, for what you detest may be the cause of your salvation and what you like may be the cause of your ruin.”

It is reported from Al-Hasan Al-Basri – Allah have mercy on him – that he said:
“The life of this world is made up of three days: yesterday has
gone with all that was done; tomorrow, you may never reach;
but today is for you so do what you should do today.”
-[Al-Bayhaqî, Al-Zuhd Al-Kabîr p197]

•Faith is firm belief and good actions

Al-Hasan Al-Basri – Allah have mercy on him – said:
Faith (iman) is not by embellishment or wishful thinking, but it is what settles in the heart and is verified through your works. Whoever says good but does not do good will have his words compared to his deeds by Allah. Whoever says good and does good will have his words raised by his deeds.
This is because Allah ‘azza wa jalla said:
To Him ascends the good word, and the righteous deed
raises it. [Sûrah Fâtir: 10]

•”Those who were before you used to often consider the nearness of death. One of them would often take water for purity, fulfill the call of nature and perform ablution, fearing that Allaah’s Command (death) might come to him while he is not in a state of purity.”

~ Az-Zuhd, by ‘Abdullaah bin Al-Mubarak, p99

‘Ibaad ur Rahman

Servants of the Most Gracious
Lessons from Surah Furqan
By FAJR

Although they may be seen to be few, true servants of Allaah will never cease to exist. In every place, there will always be righteous and obedient believers who have taken it upon themselves to fulfil their promise to Allaah. They are the ones who are engaged in working righteousness and in constant personal reform – developing and improving themselves, never content with their current state. They are the sincere Muslims who exert themselves in their submission to Allaah, regularly keeping in check the contents of their heart, the reality of their thoughts and the course of their actions. They are from amongst the ‘Ibaadur-Rahmaan – the true servants of the Allaah, the Most Gracious.

“And the slaves of the Most Gracious (Allaah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness and when the foolish address them, they reply back with words of peace.”

[Surah al-Furqan: 63]

Throughout the Qur’aan, Allaah regularly mentions their characteristics. Characteristics such as patience and piety, gratitude and steadfastness, humbleness and courage, justice and equity to name but a few.

“And those who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing.” [v.64]

The night prayer also termed ‘the prayer of the righteous’ is never found missing from the life of the believer. The servants of Allaah are those who are found awake when the masses are asleep, they are found engaged in prayer and supplication, out of their love for their Lord at a time when He descends to the lower heaven. They realise the great opportunities that lie here and so they hasten to perform much good. Their imaan has taken them beyond establishing the obligations of Islam in their life to establishing and being steadfast upon the performance of the nawaafil (supererogatory deeds) – and as Allah mentions “My slave continues to draw near to me with supererogatory works (nawaafil) until I love him”. [Al-Bukhari]

“And those who say: ‘Our Lord! Avert from us the torment of Hell. Verily, its torment is ever an inseparable, permanent punishment.” [v.65]

Recalling the humbleness of such ‘ibaad (servants of Allah), it is only a natural quality of theirs that they never feel safe from the punishment of the Hereafter. Despite the good deeds they have sent forth for themselves, they never reach a state of false self-confidence wherein they are at ease with regards to the Aakhira (Hereafter). They realise that deeds alone do not guarantee one a dwelling place in Paradise as is narrated from the Messenger of Allaah (s.a.w) when he said, “Know that the deeds of one of you will not save him (from the hell-fire)” The sahaabah replied, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allaah?” He (s.a.w) said, “Not even I, except if Allaah bestows upon me His Mercy and Favour”. [Al-Bukhari]

“And those who when they spend are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium way between those.” [v.67]

“And those who invoke not any other god along with Allaah, nor kill such life as Allaah has forbidden, except for a just cause, nor commit fornication – and whoever does this, shall receive the punishment.” [v.68]

“Except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [v.70]

“And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.” [v.72]

Inner strength often needs to be developed to keep our soul away from doing injustice to ourselves or to others and also to keep it away from engaging in idle or evil talk which it may be unsurprisingly attracted towards. The servants of Allaah naturally find dignity in their faith which allows them to not only avoid evil, but to be unaffected by it altogether.

“And those, when they are reminded of the Ayaat of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat.” [v.73]

The characteristics of the servants of Allaah in the passage of Surah Furqan draw to an end with:

“And those who say: “Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqoon” [v.74]

“Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.” [v.75]

May Allaah make us from amongst His true, believing ‘Ibaad.