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

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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.

Riyaa: Hidden Shirk

Glimpses from the bookRiyaa: Hidden Shirk
By Abu ‘Ammaar Yaasir Qaadi

Linguistically riyaa comes from the root “ra`aa” which means to see, to behold, to view. The derived word ‘riyaa‘ means “eyeservice, hypocrisy, dissimulation; dissemblance.”

From a Sharee`ah point of view, “to perform acts which are pleasing to Allah, with the intention of pleasing other than Allah”. Thus riyaa originates in the heart.

….from page. 25…

Mahmood ibn Labeed reported that the Allah’s Messenger said, “The thing that I fear most for you is the minor Shirk; Riyaa” (Ahmad in his Musnad)

Aboo Sa`eed reported that the Messenger of Allah (saaw) came to us while we were discussing about Dajjaal and said, “Should I not inform you of that which I fear for you even more than the dangers of Dajjaal? It is the hidden Shirk; A person stands to pray, and he beautifies his prayer because he sees the people looking at him.” (Sunan Ibn Majah vol. 2, #3389)

Aboo Moosaa al-Ash`aree reported that Allah’s Messenger delivered a sermon to them one day and said, “O People! Fear this Shirk (meaning riyaa), for it is more inconspicous than the crawling of an ant.” (Authenticated in Saheeh al Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, no. 33)

…from page 45….“The causes of Riyaa”

The primary cause of riyaa is a weakness in Eemaan. When a person does not have strong faith in Allaah, he will prefer the admiration of people over the pleasure of Allah.

There are three symptoms that are indicative of riyaa, and it is essential that a believer avoid all of them.

1] The love of Praise—as mentioned in a hadeeth of the first three people being thrown into the hellfire; the scholar (who taught for fame), the martyr (who faught for fame), and the person who gave his money in charity (so people would say he is generous). All three of these people desired the pleasure of people over the pleasure of Allah. The person who desires the praise of people must feel some pride in himself, for he feels himself worthy of being praised. There is a danger, therefore, of him becoming arrogant and boastful.

Aboo Hurayrah quoted Allah’s Messenger (saaw) as saying: “Allaah, Most Great and Glorious said: Pride is My cloak, and greatness is My robe, so whoever competes with Me, with respect to either of them, I shall cast him into Hell” (Saheeh Muslim, vol. 4 #6349, Sunan Aboo Dawood, vol. 3 #4079)

Aboo Hurayrah quoted Allah’s Messenger (saaw) warning about a person’s adoration of himself: “There are three destructful things: desires that are followed, greediness that is obeyed, and a person’s self-admiration and conceit; and this is the worst of the three”

Allah also warned against falling into the category of those Christians and Jews whom the Qur`an mentions:

“Do not assume that those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done, think not that they are absolved from punishment, (but rather) for them is a painful torment.” (Al-Imran : 188)

2] Fear Of Criticism

No one likes to be criticised. The dislike of criticism regarding religious practices may be divided into two catagories:

a] The first catagory is that of a person who neglects a commandment of Allah in order to avoid the criticism of his peers. However, the true believers are described in the Qur`an as follows: “…They do not fear the criticism of those who criticize. And this is the blessing of Allah; He gives it to whomsoever He wishes. Verily, Allaah is Self-Sufficient, all Knowing. “ (Al-Maa`idah : 54)

b] The second catagory is that of a person who obeys certain commandments of Islaam, not for the sake of Allaah, but because he fears people will look down on him and criticise him if he does not do it. For example, a man may make his formal prayers in the mosque because he does not want people to crticise him for praying at home, or to think that he is not praying at all.

3] Greed for people’s possessions

If a person covets what other people possess, whether it is rank, money or power, then he will wish them to envy him similarly. For example, if he is jealous of a position of a certain person in society, he will try by every possible means to attain the same position. Such desires lead people to spend their lives putting on a show for other people so that they will admire their rank, money, or power.

These three catagories are implied in the following statement of the Prophet Muhammad (saaw). Aboo Moosaa related that a person came to the Prophet (saaw) and asked: “A person fights to defend his honor (i.e. to avoid criticism), another to prove his bravery (i.e. to be praised for it), and a third to show off (i.e. so that his position can be seen); of these three, which one fights in the way of Allah? ” He (saaw) answered:

“Whoever fights to make the word of Allaah prevalent [i.e. to bring honor to Islaam, and to establish it in the land], he is the one who fights in the way of Allaah”
(Saheeh al-Bukhari vol. 4 #65)

Some scholars advised:

“Remove the causes of riyaa` from yourself by considering the opinion of people as important to you as animals and small children. Do not differentiate in your worship between the presence of people or their absence, or between their knowledge of your actions and their ignorance. Rather be concious of the infinite knowledge of Allaah alone.”

….lastly, from page. 77…(summarized)

The Ways to Avoid Riyaaa

1] Increasing knowledge of Islaam
2] Du`aa
The prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa salam) taught the specific du`aa for riyaa:“Allahumma innaa na`oothu bika an-nushrika bika shay`an na`lamuhu, wa nastagfiruka limaa laa na`lamuh. [O Allaah, we seek refuge in you from committing shirk knowingly, and ask your forgiveness for (the shirk that we may commit unknowingly”]
3] Reflecting upon Heaven and Hell
4] Hiding one’s good deeds
5] Reflection of one’s shortcomings
6] Accompanying the Pious
7] Knowledge of Riyaa`

Effects of Sin

Bismillah

Sometimes we fall into sin, sometimes we fall short in our duties, sometimes we forget and make mistakes, sometimes we lose sight of the ultimate purpose of our existence, sometimes we lose track of our sincerity and intentions, sometimes we suffer a spiritual loss without realising it, and sometimes our Deen spirals downwards and we do not even acknowledge it. We slowly begin to lose out on the Akhirah (Hereafter), but we remain in complete obliviousness.

Seeking forgiveness and repentance is hence crucial for the human who has these short-comings. By nature and by definition we are a creation prone to forgetfulness; and naturally we forget our sins and forget our shortcomings. For many of us, we do not even acknowledge when we fall into the wrong and this is perhaps the scariest thing.

The effects of sin are many, but I just want to focus on a few:

1. One effect of sin is that a person will find themselves prevented from knowledge. I guess we’re all aware of the famous poem by Imam al-Shafi’i wherein he said,

“I complained to Waki’ regarding my poor memory
So he guided me to abandon all sins
And he said to me ‘The Knowledge of Allah is a Light
And the Light of Allah is not given to a sinner.’”

2. Another effect of sin is that a person will find themselves prevented from their rizq (provisions) or restricted in their livelihood. Do you ever find yourself in financial constraints without knowing why? Do you find that there is no barakah (blessing) in your money; the pay check arrives and within a few days or weeks you’re down to restricted means again? Maybe you keep seeking avenues to make a living but find every door closes on you and frustration just keeps building up? Perhaps this is a time to sit with your soul and seek forgiveness.
“… And whoever fears Allah, He will make a way out for him and provide him from whence he did not expect.” [al-Talaq:]

“… Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send rain to you in abundance and give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” [Nuh: 10-12]

3. Another effect of sin is that one’s supplications are prevented from being answered. In Sahih Muslim, there is a hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) where he mentioned the case of a man who: “… having journeyed far, is dishevelled and dusty and spreads out his hands to the sky saying, “O Lord! O Lord!” (crying out in du’a) – while his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing is unlawful, and he is nourished from the unlawful, so how can he be answered?”

One of the greatest dangers we face in the West is the consumption of Riba’ (interest), the effects of which are deadly and tremendous. If things are not working out in your life, if despite your good job and family, there always seem to be problems and discontentment in life, then seek forgiveness; perhaps major sins such as this have come between you and Allah so you no longer find peace and happiness in your provision.

Hence seeking forgiveness is not just for the sinner, but it is a habit of the righteous and pious. Allah opens doors and bestows many blessings upon a person by virtue of their istighfar and remembrance.

Let’s make it our daily habit insha’Allah!

Student of Knowledge

The student of knowledge is known for being cheerful and plentiful in smiling
The noble scholar, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah stated:

And it is befitting for the student of knowledge that he be a person of beautiful manners and temperament, constantly (a person) of happiness, constantly (a person) of relaxedness – because (this) was from the characteristics of the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam which Allaah created to be in his natural disposition and with which He blessed him.

And He said about him:

And indeed you (Muhammad) are of exalted manners, the manners of the Qur-aan.[1]

Soorah al Qalam (68) aayah 4

From his characteristics was that he was constantly (a person) of joy, plentiful in smiling – may Allaah’s salaat and salaam be upon him.

And there is no doubt that if a person is always joyful and plentiful in smiling then the person who meets him will feel happiness from (meeting) him.

But if you were to meet a man, frowning and gloomy, would you be happy due to meeting him? No. Therefore my brother, be always happy, plentiful in smiling, with a bright and cheerful face.

And therefore from the characteristics of Eemaan is that you meet your brother with a cheerful face. And know with the knowledge of certainty that if you possess this characteristic, you will be a person who is calm and relaxed, (both when) standing or sitting, in your house and in the market. And be constantly happy with your brothers, with a cheerful face and plentiful in smiling.

(Quoted in Wasaayaa wa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ilm p49 of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)

The Prophet’s Character

This is a short piece translated from Ibn Qudamah’s Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasidin. It distills a picture the Qurʾān and ahadeeth build up of the Prophet’s virtues and character, peace be upon him: integrity, honesty, steadfastness, courage, kindness, compassion, courtesy, and other qualities too numerous to list. To say the Prophet’s is a life well documented is an understatement. There is hardly an aspect of his life which did not come under the scrutiny of his close companions, who left for posterity all that they saw him do or hear him say. The reason: to know what the Prophet, peace be upon him, did, is to know what we all should do. The Qur’an describes him as a beautiful example [54:23], and so the Prophet’s sunnah, Qur’an aside, is the very notion of Islam itself – emulation of which becomes the life work of a believer in his or her journey to God and the Afterlife.

‘God’s Messenger, peace be upon him, was the mildest of people and also the warmest and most generous of them. He would mend his own sandals, patch his own clothes and help his family with the daily errands. He was very shy; shyer than a virgin in her chamber.
He would respond to the invitation of slaves, visit the sick, walk alone [without guards or fanfare], allow others to saddle-up with him on his mount, accept gifts, eat food that was sent as a gift; though he never consumed anything that had been given as charity. He did not have enough dates with which to be sated, nor was he sated with barley-bread for more than three consecutive days. He would eat whatever food was readily available and he never criticised food. He never ate reclining, and ate from what was nearest to him.
He loved perfumes and disliked foul odours. He honoured people of virtue, and kept affectionate ties with nobles and dignitaries. He never snubbed anyone and would accept the excuse of those who presented excuses.
He would joke, but never would he utter anything untrue. He laughed, but not loudly. He would not let any time pass without being in the service of God, exalted is He, or being engaged in whatever was essential for his own self-development.
He never cursed women, nor abused servants. Nor did he strike anyone, except for in jihad in God’s cause. He did not exact revenge for his own sake, but did so when God’s limits had been transgressed. If he was presented with two options he took the easier of the two, unless it entailed disobedience or the severing of ties – in which case he would be the furthest away from it.
Anas remarked: “I served him for ten years and he never once rebuked me in the least; nor did he say about anything I had done, ‘Why did you do it?’ or anything I had not done, ‘Why did you not do it?’”
His description in the Torah is: “Muḥammad, the Messenger of God and My Chosen Servant. He is neither harsh nor severe. He does not shout in the market places, nor repay evil with evil, but instead he pardons and forgives” …
He would sit in an assembly wherever it was convenient and would mingle among his Companions as one of them, such that when strangers came they couldn’t distinguish him from others, save after inquiring as to who he was. He would take to long periods of silence, but when he did speak he did so measuredly and clearly, repeating himself so that he would be understood. He used to pardon, even when he was in a position to punish, and he would not confront anyone with what they did not like.
He was the most truthful of men, one who most fulfilled his trusts and commitments; the easiest going of people, the most affable, and the most generous in friendship. Whoever gazed upon him unexpectedly, was awe-stricken by him; whoever knew him, loved him. His Companions, whenever they spoke about worldly affairs, he would join in with them; and when, in recollecting their pre-Islamic days, they would laughed, he would simply smile. He was also the bravest of men. One Companion recalled: When the fighting became intense, we would seek shelter behind God’s Messenger, peace be upon him.’1

1. Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasidin (Damascus: Maktabah Dar al-Bayan, 1999), 157-8.

The Secret Worship

Many people complain that their iman is low and the sweetness of actions that they once tasted as they did when they first started their journey upon the Deen, is no longer there. The prayer has decreased to obligatory ones only, the effort to memorise the Quran is nonexistent. The Quran is only read during the month of Ramadhan. Acts of worships reduced to mechanical actions and now falling into sins is much easier as time goes by. These are all symptoms of weak iman. So what is the solution?

One answer is to sit by yourself and think about an action that no one, not one’s spouse, family or friends know except Allah. The Prophet (Sallahu ‘alayhi wa salam) said ‘whoever among you can afford to have good deeds stored in secret, let him do it.’ In a time when it is difficult to do actions away from the sight of people, whether it be on the streets, in the masjids, with our children at home or even on social media, there is always an avenue for us to hide our actions even if people are around us and that is through the actions of our hearts. While someone may see us do an act of worship outwardly, they cannot see the internal worship we may do as a result. This is best explicated by the example given by the scholars who said that perhaps two people pray besides each other performing the very same action, however their reward is like the difference between a mountain and a molehill based on their levels of sincerity.

So in this perspective – this open act can still have a form of anonymity which is the ibadah of the heart. However, this is not what is being discussed here as this is something that we should all be doing anyway. But the hidden deed we should strive to attain is the one in which we do a physical act that is far from the sight and expectations of the people, an action that no one knows except Allah. It is this action that gives rise to sincerity. It is this action, which we are offering to Allah alone that is in no way diluted with the disease of ostentation (riyaa). It is this action that could ignite the fire of iman that is within us. It is this action that will renew our relationship with Allah. It is this action that will rejuvenate the sweetness of worship. It is this action in which there is no barrier between the slave and the Master. This is the secret worship.

The reward and special place that secret worship has is mentioned in a number of ahadith.

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Indeed Allah loves the pious, self-contented and hidden servant.”

“There are seven whom Allah will shade with His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His… a man who remembers Allah when he is alone, and his eyes fill up.”

Anonymity

Sufyan Ath-Thawri said: ‘I advise you to remain unknown, since this is the age for remaining anonymous (khumul).’ This is advice to live by. However, this statement can be misunderstood. Despite the anonymity that Imam Ath-Thawri and others mentioned here, it did not contradict them doing actions publicly, being productive and being involved in various aspects of da’wah. Perhaps their popularity after their deaths is a testimony of their sincerity. But the real emphasis is that in a time when it is very difficult not to know what others are doing, we should reserve at least one action that no one knows but Allah. As one of the Arabs said: Put your treasure in a place where you will not lose it.

Source: Islam21c.com

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Names & Attributes of Allah

He is Allah; al-Shafi, al-Ra’uf, al-Qahhar, al-Raqib, and more…

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

“… Not a leaf does fall
but by His Knowledge.” [6:59]

He is al-Shafi – the Curer.
He heals and cures the sick ones when they fall ill, and He looks after them during their physical weakness. He is al-Shafi Who has sent down for every illness its cure, and has measured out for every sickness its duration. His medicine never fails us nor misses us because He is the Creator and Curer Who knows these bodies of ours very well. He is the only One who can truly heal us, and the only One who can guide us to the persons and places in which He has placed our cure.

الشافي

He is al-Khafidh – the Abaser. And He is al-Rafi’ – the Exalter.
He is al-Mu’izz – the Giver of Honour. And He is al-Mudhill – the Debaser.
He raises whom He Wills and lowers whom He wills. He hands the kingdom to whoever He wishes and seizes it from whoever He wishes. And such are the days that He gives to Mankind; days weighed upon scales that tip according to the Decree of al-Khafidh al-Rafi’, al-Mu’izz al-Mudhill. Don’t you see how civilizations rise only to fall after some time? Don’t you see how the oppressed of yesterday become the leaders of tomorrow? Don’t you see how the famous disappear into anonymity and the unknown one becomes the well-known and remembered? The Scale of Allah tips and so we see extraordinary days, incredible history, and ironic happenings. He is al-Rafi’ al-Mu’izz Who raises His humble Slaves, and He is al-Khafidh al-Mudhill Who lowers every arrogant head. He turns tables as He turns the earth, and He does so with Wisdom in a Supreme Law which cannot be surpassed.

“Say: ‘O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is all good. Verily, You are Able to do all things.’” [Aal ‘Imran: 26]

الخافض الرافع المعز المذل

He is al-Ra’uf – the Kind.
Not only does His Rahmah (Mercy) surround all things, but His Ra’fah (Kindness) also has a strong presence in the life of the believer. He is al-Ra’uf Who pities the slave and shows him ways out of every difficulty. He is al-Ra’uf Who inspires the slave towards deeds which He then accepts so kindly. He is al-Ra’uf Who gives us more than we deserve and blesses us daily. His Kindness to us is many times greater than the kindness of a mother to her own child. It is what spares us from His Punishment, it is what pushes us towards seeking forgiveness, and it is what saves us when we blindly rush to things that will only ruin and destroy us.

“And indeed, Allah is to you Kind, Merciful.” [al-Hadid: 9]

الروؤف

He is al-Qahhar – The Irresistible and Supreme.
He is the one Whom souls recognise and stand in awe of. His Strength is overpowering and dominating; it breaks and defeats forces you can see and forces you cannot see. He is al-Qahhar who causes the backs of the oppressors to break, the necks of the Mushrikin (polytheists) to lower, and the soul of every Man and Jinn to submit at the time of death. He is al-Qahhar to Whom everything in the heavens and the earth pays heed to, prostrates to, respects and fears so deeply. The King of Kings. The AlMighty and Supreme. Nothing can break away from His Grip when He seizes and nothing can escape His Sight or Knowledge.

“He is the Irresistible, Supreme over His slaves, and He sends guardians over you, until when death approaches one of you, Our Messengers take his soul, and they never neglect their duty.” [al-An’am: 61]

القاهر القهار

He is al-Mubdi’ – the Initiator.
He initiated the creation and began it from nothing. He originated the heavens and the earth when they were non-existent. He is al-Mubdi’ who initiates new things in your life, and creates new circumstances – some as a blessing, some as a test, and some to just bring change into your life and a different direction. He creates you and creates your way and all that you will meet therein.

But just as He is al-Mubdi’, He is also al-Mu’eed – the One who repeats. As He created the first time, He will repeat it. As He constructed existence once, He will repeat it. But also, that smile He once placed on your face, He can certainly repeat that. Those days of joy He caused to take place, He can certainly bring those back. And just as He created certain things in your life, He can certainly repeat them. The Dunya encircles, and comes back on itself, history repeats and comes back on itself, all because of the Hand of al-Mu’eed… will we then be steadfast?

المبدئ المعيد

He is al-Raqib – the Watchful.
You’re never really alone, and you’re never really free to do as you please. The eyes of Mankind may be diverted away from you but the Eyes of Allah never sleep. He is al-Raqib Who watches His servants, each and every one of them; He watches over you and never does He lose sight of you. He watches your actions, and watches what goes on inside you. Blessed is the person who remembers al-Raqib and in turns develops within themselves what is called ‘al-muraqabah’ – to act under the watchful Eye of Allah and constantly be in a state of awareness.

الرقيب

He is al-Fattah – The Opener.
He creates a way when there seems to be no way and opens a door when there seems to be no key. He is the Judge Who decides what is best, and guides you when confusion overtakes you. Whenever you reach your dead end, don’t stand there wondering what’s happened, instead call out to the only One who can create a path from absolutely nowhere: ‘Ya Fattah, iftah ‘alayya!’ (O Opener of ways, open up my way).

He is al-Fattah, and as He opens up the skies upon the dead earth, and breaks away the darkness with the dawn, so too can He open up upon your dead heart, open your eyes to solutions, remove your obstacles, and grant you a way out.

He is al-’Aziz – The Honourable and AlMighty.
No amount of transgression can tarnish His ‘izzah (glory) and no amount of disobedience can lower His Might. He is al-’Aziz. To Him belongs ultimate ‘izzah and as such, He grants it only to those of His slaves who seek it through Him Alone, who do not seek it in other than Him, and are thus saved from the dark depths of hypocrisy.

“… And all honour, power and glory belong to Allah, His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites do not know.” [al-Munafiqun: 8]

He is al-Sabur – the Patient.
Every day we transgress His limits, we fall short of His Rights, and we forget Him. But in patience He remains and forbearance does He show, for He is al-Sabur. Don’t you see how they ascribe partners and a son to Him, how they blaspheme against Him, how they deny His very Existence, but still He keeps them alive, still He provides for them, still He gives them Signs and gives them more time.

He is al-Mu’akhir – the Delayer.
He delays certain things out of Mercy for us, but out of ignorance we become impatient. Instead of having a good opinion of Him, a deeper certainty in His Power, and more trust in His Ways, we instead become anxious, resentful, and unhappy. Our Iman (faith) then takes a dip because we’ve failed to understand. But He is al-Mu’akhir. He delays out of goodness. Does He not delay punishing the creation for their sins, so that they can come to repent?

Life is a Test

Bismillah,

 

Verily, We created man from a drop of mingled sperm so that We may test him; and therefore We made him hearing and seeing. We have indeed showed him the way, now he be grateful or ungrateful. (76:3)

 

Some Reasons Why Allah Tests Us by Problems :

The problems we face will either defeat us or develop us – depending on how we respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how Allah wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring.

Here are five ways Allah wants to use the problems in our life:

  1. Allah uses problems to DIRECT us. Sometimes Allah must light a fire under us to get us moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is Allah trying to get our attention? “Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.”
  2. Allah uses problems to INSPECT us. People are like tea bags…if we want to know what’s inside them, just drop them into hot water! Has Allah tested our faith with a problem What do problems reveal about us? “When we have many kinds of troubles, we should be full of joy, because we know that these troubles test our faith, and this will give us patience.”
  3. Allah uses problems to CORRECT us. Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It’s likely that as a child our parents told us not to touch a hot stove…. But we probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something… health, money, a relationship,… by losing it. “It was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to Allah’s laws.”
  4. Allah uses problems to PROTECT us. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents us from being harmed by something more serious. “You intended to harm me, but Allah intended it for good…”
  5. Allah uses problems to PERFECT us. Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. Allah is far more interested in our character than our comfort. Our relationship to Allah and our character are the only two things we’re going to take with us into eternity. “We can rejoice when we run into problems…they help us learn to be patient.. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust Allah more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.”

Here’s the point:

Allah is at work in our life – even when we do not recognize it or understand it. But it’s much easier and profitable when we cooperate with Him.

“Success can be measured not only in achievements, but in lessons learned, lives touched and moments shared along the way”

Allah Knows Best…