Ibn al-Qayyim (rA) writes: Shaykh al-Islam (may Allah be pleased with him) once said to me, as I presented him with one antagonist’s argument after another:
“Do not allow your heart to become like a sponge towards the arguments and doubts [posed by others], soaking them up and then becoming unable to champion anything but them. Instead, let it be like solid glass, whereby the doubts pass by it without ever settling in it. It sees [the doubt] by virtue of its pure transparency yet also rejects it by virtue of its toughness. Otherwise, if your heart soaks up every doubt presented before it, it will became a nesting ground for all doubts.”
His words were something to this effect, and I do not know that I’ve benefited from any advice with regards to repelling doubts as much as I have befitted from this one. [Miftar Dar as-Sa’adah: 1/443]
قال لي شيخ الإسلام – رضي الله عنه – وقد جعلت أورد عليه إيراد بعد إيراد: لا تجعل قلبك للإيرادات والشبهات مثل السفنجة، فيتشربها؛ فلا ينضح إلا بها ولكن اجعله كالزجاجة المصمتة، تمر الشبهات بظاهرها ولا تستقر فيها؛ فيراها بصفائه ويدفعها بصلابته، وإلا فإذا أَشربت قلبك كل شبهة تمر عليها صار مقراً للشبهات، أو كما قال، وما أعلم أني انتفعت بوصية في دفع الشبهات كانتفاعي بذلك) ((مفتاح دار السعادة)) (1/ 443).
Barakah = minimum provision, Maximum Benefit.
Barakah is a very powerful factor which not only boosts productivity in life, but also makes your lifestyle peaceful, contentful and powerful!
We have Given you Al-Kawthar (Surat AlKawthar v. 1)
“Al-Kawthar is a pool that his nation will drink from,
On the day of Judgment,
And the one who drinks from it will never be thirsty again,
And so everytime they sip on something in paradise,
It will never be to quench their thirst,
But always for the pleasure of the drink,
Some said that Al-Kawthar is Islam,
Or Al-Kawthar is prophethood, or Al-Kawthar’s the Quran,
Or al-kawthar’s the greatness of his nation,
Their numbers and population,
And some said that all of this can be understood,
By saying that Al-Kawthar is simply great good,
And in every way that’s what the prophet was given;
The raising of his remembrance, or his sins that were forgiven,
the blessed Night of Power, or mankind being his mission,
the entire earth a place of prayer, concise expressive diction”
~Sh. Ammar AlShukry
I’ve learned something amazing. Ramadan is such a powerful and comprehensive metaphor of life. As with life, in Ramadan we must struggle hard. We must let go of things we love (food, drink, intimacy) in order to attain things we love more (mercy and pleasure of God). Our greatest day of joy is at the End–at the Final breaking of the fast. In Ramadan, that day is Eid. In life, that day is in the hereafter. And although this greatest day of joy is at the end, Allah allows us small joys along the way. In Ramadan, He gives us daily celebrations at iftar, before the Final celebration at Eid. In life, He gives us glimpses of pleasure, before the Real joy in the hereafter. In this life, He gives us the peace of prayer, the coolness of the eyes of family. A loyal friend. The beauty of a sunset, or full moon. Majestic trees. These are the small iftars, before the True Feast.
And this is why we know that for the one who fasts (from both food and what displeases Allah), there are two joys. One joy is at the time of breaking the minor fast (from food) at iftar. And the other joy is at the breaking of the major fast (from haram) at the meeting with Allah.
But, of all the life lessons of Ramadan, there is one we forget most. When we mess up the beginning, when we feel suffocated by the weight of wasted opportunities and unfulfilled plans, we still have a chance. A chance to come back. A chance to rise up from our spiritual crawl, and walk–maybe even run–to the finish line.
No matter what we’ve done, He still gives a chance to leave strong, by giving us the mercy of the night of power and the last 10 nights.
And in life, the same.
No matter how much suffering you see around you, there is also joy. No matter how dark it is for you right now, this isn’t the end; you can still leave strong. You can still rise up.
May Allah make us among those who, despite our beginnings, leave only with strong endings.
Husn ul khaatima, ya Allah.
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Once, all the people in a certain village decided to pray for rain. On the day of the prayer, all the people gathered but only one boy came with an umbrella – that’s faith.
I love the above anecdote as it illustrates an immense level of confidence, certainty and trust in Allah. The fact the boy walked out to the prayer gathering with an umbrella clearly shows that he had the utmost certainty and trust that after making du’a, Allah will send rain to the village! He went prepared for the rain with an umbrella!
Just like the boy had his umbrella ready to receive what was being prayed for, we should also be prepared to receive the gifts and blessings we are asking for from Allah after making du’a. Be confident and have that complete certainty that Allah will answer our du’a. Allah most High Himself states, “I am in the opinion of My servant.” [Bukhari]; therefore if we believe Allah will answer our du’a, He will!
The great Gnostic, Ibn Ata’Allah al-Iskandari wrote in his Hikam:
“When Allah inspires your tongue to ask, know that He wants to give”
Allah is the One who places a need in our hearts and wants us to seek that need out by asking Him. He loves it when we ask Him; our asking is His giving. Petition with Allah; place your need in front of Him and have complete certainty and trust that He will answer.
Sayyidina Umar ibn Al-Khattab -radiaAllahu anh- said, “I do not worry about an answer to my supplication, rather I worry about making supplication! I know that if I am inspired [by Allah] to supplicate, then the answer will come with it.”
Keep the faith and keep making du’a fervently!
Most Muslim parents will naturally, upon hearing of some kid’s misguidance or misfortune, say from the bottom of their heart, “Ya Allah, don’t let that be my kid one day.”
However, if you’re not willing to be a little different in your parenting, be certain your children will most likely not be any different in their outcome.
Yes, believe from the core of your heart in destiny, but also commit with all your might to the Sharia. Otherwise, you’ve basically bought into into the modern secular notion of God being some cosmic superbuddy that will magically intervene in your favor no matter how many times you kick His instructions aside; you will be disappointed.
Don’t do that to your children. Don’t sell yourself a lie. Be different to see a difference. It will not be free. It will be received with some criticism. It will sometimes cause awkwardness. But you know what? “Glad tidings to the strangers.”
-Sh. Muhammad elshinawy
⛈WINTER, THE BELIEVER’S SEASON ⛈
“It is said that winter is a time when people suffer fromSeasonal Affective Disorder, also known as ‘the Winter Blues’ or winter depression.
However, it is interesting to see how the early Muslims welcomed winter, as it is clear that they saw it in a totally different light.
[One of the ways] they would benefit from winter is through [Qiyamul-Layl and Siyam]
It was reported by al-Haythami in ‘Majma’ az-Zawa’id’ (3/203) with a hasan chain that the Prophet (pbuh) said:
🍃 “Winter is the best season for the believer. Its nights are long for him to pray in, and its days are short for him to fast in.”
And Ahmad reported in ‘az-Zuhd’ (p. 118) with an authentic chain that ‘Umar bin al-Khattab said:
🍃“Winter is the prize (Ghaneema) of the worshippers.”
Ibn Rajab al-Hambali said in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 276):
“🍃Winter is the best season for the believer because…Allah strengthens his practice in it by making worship easy for him.
This is because in winter, the believer can fast during the day with ease without suffering from hunger and thirst. The days are short and cold, and he therefore doesn’t feel the hardship of fasting…
PRAYING AT NIGHT
As for praying at night in the winter due to its long nights, one can have his share of sleep and then get up to pray afterwards and recite all that he usually recites of the Qur’an while he has had enough sleep.
So, he can combine between the sleep that he needs and the usual amount of recitation of the Qur’an that he completes in a day. So, he fulfills the interests of both his religion and the comfort of his body…
And it was narrated that Ibn Mas’ud said:
🍃“Welcome to winter! Blessings descend in it, its nights are long to pray in, and its days are short to fast in.”
It is also narrated from him and al-Hasan:
🍃“Winter is a wonderful time for the believer. Its nights are long to pray in, and its days are short to fast in.”
When it was winter time, ‘Ubayd bin ‘Umayr would say:
🍃“O people of the Qur’an! Your nights are now long for you to recite in. So, recite! Your days are now short for you to fast in. So, fast! Night prayer in the winter equals fasting during the day in the summer.”
This is why Mu’adh wept on his deathbed and said:
🍃“I weep because I will miss the thirst I felt when I fasted, praying at night during the winter, and sitting knee to knee with the scholars during the gatherings of knowledge.””
It was reported by Ahmad (4/335) with a chain authenticated by al-Albani in ‘as-Silsilah as-Sahihah’ (1922) that the Prophet said:
🍃“Fasting in the winter is the easy prize.”
Ibn Rajab commented on this in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 276):
“🍃And the meaning of it being an easy prize is that it is a prize obtained without any battle or effort or hardship. So, the owner of this prize has been given it as a favor without any effort on his part.”
Allah SWT will reward a person for what they intend and what they act upon. In the following hadith, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“[People] in this world are of four types:
1) A person to whom Allah grants wealth and knowledge, so he fears his Lord with regard to it, upholds his ties of kinship with it, and acknowledges the rights of Allah concerning it – he is of the highest status.
2) A person to whom Allah grants knowledge but He does not grant him wealth, so he is sincere in his intention and says: If I had wealth, I would do the same as So and so does. He will be rewarded according to his intention and their reward will be the same.
3) A person to whom Allah grants wealth, but He does not grant him knowledge, so he squanders his wealth without knowledge; he does not fear his Lord concerning it, he does not uphold his ties of kinship with it and he does not acknowledge the rights of Allah concerning it – he is of the worst status.
4) A person to whom Allah does not grant either wealth or knowledge, so he says: If I had wealth, I would do the same as So and so does. He will be requited according to his intention and their burden of sin will be the same.”
[Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah – Classed as saheeh by Sheikh Albaani]
“Their reward will be the same” refers to the reward which is the basic reward for actions, but not with regard to the multiplication of that reward. Multiplication of reward is only for the one who actually does the deed.
Allah SWT says in the Quran: “Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward” [an-Nisa’ 4:95]
Ibn ‘Abbaas and others said: Those who sit (at home), above whom those who strive hard are preferred in grades are those who have excuses, and those who sit (at home), above whom those who strive hard are preferred by a huge reward, are those who do not have excuses.
Furthermore, Allah SWT will reward you for what you intend as mentioned in Surah Baqrah:
“but He will call you to account for that which your hearts have earned”
In another hadith, the Prophet SAW said:
“Verily Allah has written down the good deeds and the evil deeds”, and then explained it [by saying]: “Whosoever intended to perform a good deed, but did not do it, then Allah writes it down with Himself as a complete good deed. And if he intended to perform it and did perform it, then Allah writes it down with Himself as from ten good deeds up to seven hundred fold, up to many times multiplied. And if he intended to perform an evil deed, but did not do it, then Allah writes it down with Himself as a complete good deed. And if he intended it [i.e., the evil deed] and then performed it, then Allah writes it down as one evil deed.”
[Reported by Bukhari & Muslim]
Therefore, always be sincere in your intentions when you wish to do a deed, so that you may receive the reward for it, even if you don’t get the chance to actually take action on it.
May Allah SWT make us from those who are sincere in faith ameen.
Who is a scholar?
We often translate the word Alim as a religious scholar or simply a scholar. But there is more to it than just the process of retaining or even analyzing information that say an academic scholar would be good at.
We even demoted the requirement of a religious scholar in the last decade or two. If someone is able to tell a story (granted from Quran or authentic Sunnah), we call him/her a scholar. In the old days, they called those people Qussas (you guessed right, storytellers). Mind you, those people weren’t taken seriously at all. In fact, in many cases they were avoided altogether esp. by the Muhadithoon (scholars of Hadith)
Or we may think a scholar is someone who’s able to pull anecdotes from the Quran. Oh look if you add the letters here, look what you get. If you read this verse backwards, look what you get. I’m not denying the numerical miracles of the Quran, but I wouldn’t call something a computer can do better than me knowledge.
In fact, if you were to ask me for a good definition of Islamic knowledge I would say, anything that Google cannot find. Yes you read it right, CANNOT! This could take an article, but let me try to explain briefly.
Sacred knowledge trickles in very slowly. This is why our predecessors used to say, “if you seek knowledge at once, you will lose it at once. Knowledge comes through countless days and nights”. This is because it takes time to think through something. It takes time for a critical concept to sink in. Imagine if you have been thinking about the same verse for 30 or 40 years? Many so called scholars haven’t even lived that long!!
Sacred knowledge is something you internalize. It becomes part of you. This is why when you read the description of a “true” scholar of the past, your see something like “اختلط العلم بلحمه ودمه”. Knowledge became his flesh and blood. This is a far cry from knowledge on the tongue, which the Prophet AS even warned from ” منافق عليم اللسان”.
In fact, have you noticed how some Companions faith and knowledge (because they’re not that much separate) were described? They would say “بشيئ وقر في قلبه” or “Something settled in their hearts”. Yes, knowledge eventually settles in the heart and turns into wisdom. It gives you peace and coolness of the heart. But we don’t even have the patience to wait. Like everything else, we want knowledge as immediate gratification.
Knowledge and fame don’t have to go hand in hand. Some scholars became famous only after their death. Take for example ibn Taymiyah. His books were banned during his lifetime. His students had to write his articles in other books in order to hide them. Imam Sarkhasi wrote an entire book while he was jailed down a dried well. Many stories like that BTW.
I hope from this post (or short article) you have gathered some idea about what true scholarship in Islam is. To sum it up, I can’t think of anything better than what Imam Ahmad said, “رأس العلم خشية الله”. Something to the effect, “the peak of knowledge is fear of Allah”. So when you see someone who’s called a scholar but doesn’t fear Allah, I hope you now have a better answer than just getting all confused.
-Sh. Anas Hlayhel
Read carefully… Allah revealed: “Guard strictly the (five obligatory) prayers, especially the middle Salah and stand before Allah in obedience.” (alBaqarah 2:238)
حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِينَ
The verses before deal with divorce. The verses after it deal with divorce. Why was this verse placed in the middle? The Ulama’ have suggested, Wa Allaahu a’lam, that in the hard times that a person goes through, they should not forget the remembrance of Allah – the Salah. And it is that Salah coupled with Sabr that will pull them through. (Al Baqarah 2/153)
-Sh. Muhammad Alshareef
Today marks the beginning of one of the *best* days in the year! Alhamdulilah we lived to witness the 10 days of dhul Hujjah!
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
“There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allah, nor greater in reward, than a *good deed* done during the ten days of Sacrifice.”
*Planning* increased acts of worship and good deeds like we do in Ramadan is essential to reap the multiplied rewards and blessings;
1. Be a Mukhlis taa’eb (*Sincere repentant*) someone who decides that today also marks the beginning of a new leaf in my book of deeds!
2. Gain taqwa through *fasting*! If one can’t fast the 9 days; fasting the day of arafah shouldn’t be missed! (expiates the sins in previous year and upcoming one!)
3. Be charitable and love it more than you love money spent on anything else! know that you give yourself when you give to *charity*…it all comes back to you invested and in the best of ways! try giving daily in these 10 days (whatever you can give!)
4. Enlighten your heart and soul with the words of Allah: Recite the *Qur’an* with reflection and a present heart… even if a few pages…
5. Humble yourself before your creator and make *dua* knowing with certainty that all you ask for will be answered! Write a list of dua (idea> 10 for the 10 days!) and recite these dua everyday as much as you can > in your sujood, driving, after salah, etc
6. Be visible in the Sight of Allah when most are sleeping in *Tahajud / Qiyam*… Alone, with family or a group of friends – just like in Ramadan!
7. Be from the best of Ibaad of Allah; the ones who constantly *remember Him* (swt)… busy your tongue with thikr (and avoid backbiting at all costs!)
8. Be an active believer > *Help* those who need help in your community (visit a sick person, babysit a new mums baby or kids while she rests, cook dinner for a family grieving a death, comfort a person struggling with anxiety or depression, etc)
9. Purify your heart by forgiving those who you imprisoned inside it! Let them go… This is the best time for *forgiveness* and letting go (of how others should’ve been when they weren’t > leave everyone to their own journey…we are all flawed… forgive and be free)
10. *Breathe and reflect* consciously everyday in those ten days daily and see how much this will reflect on your mood, dealings with others, khushu in salah, etc
May Allah accept hajj from those who are in Hajj now, forgive the ones who aren’t performing hajj, and facilitate and grant a hajj next year to whoever hasn’t been yet!
The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Allah, the Most High, said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’ ” [Hadith Qudsi]
Positive thinking is a great quality of any human being. In order to be stress-free and more effective, we will have to start thinking positively. Positive thinking does not mean that we should ignore life’s less pleasant situations. It means that our attitude towards unpleasant situations will be more positive and we will deal with them in a more productive way. We should think the best is going to happen, not the worst. There is a negative attitude that has spread across the Muslim world. If we have trouble finding a job, we will blame society around us for being racist. If someone is going through hard times, we will assume Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) is punishing them because they are bad Muslims. Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an at many places that we should always expect the best of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He), meaning He subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) will have mercy on us and will relieve us of hardship. He subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) will forgive us if we seek forgiveness, will accept our repentance if we repent, will answer us if we supplicate, and will suffice us if we ask for something. We should call upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) while we are certain that we will be answered by Him. The mindset for us, and for our children, must be to fulfill our obligations while we are certain that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) will accept our actions and forgive our sins and make our matters easier for us. So, whoever performs such a deed and believes and expects that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) will not accept it and that it will not benefit him, this is despair from the Mercy of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) and is from the greatest of the major sins. Sometimes we assume the worst. We start to think that we are deprived of our rights, have bad luck, deserve more than what Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) gave them, and it is as if they are saying: ‘My Lord has wronged me and deprived me of what I deserve,’ and our soul bears witness to this while our tongue denies it and refuses to openly state this. So, let us ask ourselves, are we protected from this type of mindset? This type of attitude is very destructive and we should try our best to keep our children from negativity and always think positive in all situations.
‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: “By the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, the believer is not given anything good better than his good expectations of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He), and by the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, no servant of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) expects good of Him except that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) gives him what he expected, since all good is in His Hand.” [Reflections: Expecting the Best From Allāh, P.No:6]
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Have you ever seen a dog stunned by the sunset,Or a bear marvelling mountains capped by snow?Or a camel enamored by a starry desert night, Or a bird breathless by the scenes it sees below?And if you’ve never seen a cat gaze fondly, in the eyes of another with resolution impressed,
then maybe something extra has been placed, in our souls, that is not be by evolution addressed,
For if we are animals just like all others, then why are our souls so easily captured,
By beautiful places and beautiful things, by beautiful moments enraptured,
May be The Beautiful made us and left, our love of beauty a sign,
that we believe in Him and recognize, that beauty points to the Divine.