Ramadan-a metaphor of life

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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Happiness is Found Here

In no era in history has the means of comfort and welfare ever been so within reach like they are today. Never has the knowledge of the world’s complex mysteries and the ability of subduing nature’s unfriendly elements ever been attained like it has today. Online shopping, laser eye surgery, electricity, central heating, the list continues. Despite these remarkable achievements, and in spite of possessing all the means for a better life, the goal of a pleasant life and happiness has never drifted further away like it has today.

The 21st century has taught us how to fly in the air like birds and how to swim in the oceans like fish, but many of us still do not know how to walk as happy and content individuals. And yet, when such an individual sits down to work out where the problem lies, he cannot pinpoint the problem.

Let us take a look at the life of a Muslim whose way of life has equipped him with a completely unique perspective which keeps him smiling at all times.

When cash is a little low, the believer is able to remain happy because he reads in the Qur’ān,

“And there is not a moving creature on earth except that it is upon Allāh to provide for it.”[1]

When somebody tries to degrade him, he is able to remain happy because he reads in the Qur’ān, “and dignity is for Allāh, His messenger and to the believers.”[2]

When he finds himself alone and without companionship, he is able to remain happy because he reads in the Qur’ān, “Do not be sad, Allāh is with us”,[3] and he reads, “Your Lord has not forsaken you nor does He hate you.”[4]

When he feels under threat and vulnerable, he is able to remain happy because he reads in the Qur’ān, “Is Allāh not sufficient for His servants?”[5]

When he feels no one understands him and no one is willing to listen to his problems, he is able to remain happy because he reads in the Qur’ān, “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allāh”.[6]

When any difficulty arrives at the doorstep of a believer, he is able to remain happy as he reads in the Qur’ān, “with difficulty is ease.”[7]

This is the peace of mind which Islām gives its people, just as the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

“How strange is the affair of the believer, as all of his affairs are good! If he is struck with goodness, he shows gratitude and this is good for him, and if he is struck with difficulty, he shows patience and this is good for him” [8]

Thus, if someone asks you to summarise the happy life of a Muslim, respond by saying: “Gratitude during times of ease, patience during times of hardship, and the gardens of paradise in the end.” This is the beautiful life of a Muslim we wish to share with the entire world.

The life of a practicing believer is one of unexplainable bliss because he is pleased with every one of Allāh’s decrees. Happiness cannot be attained in the least without firm belief in Qadar/predestination, it is a cornerstone to happiness. The Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) also taught us what to say in various situations.

When the Muslim wakes up in the morning, he has been taught to say:

All praise and thanks are due to Allāhwho gave us life after our dying and to Him will be the resurrection.”[9]

When the Muslim goes to bed at night, he has been taught to say:

“All praise and thanks are due to Allāhwho has given us food and drink, and given us enough and refuge, for how many people have neither.”[10]

When a Muslim puts on new clothes, he has been taught to say:

“All praise and thanks are due to Allāh, You clothed me with this.”[11]

When the Muslims exits the bathroom, he has been taught to say:

“All praise and thanks are due to Allāhwho removed harm from me and gave me wellbeing.”[12]

When the Muslim sees a person with a disability, he has been taught to say:

“All praise and thanks are due to Allāh who has spared me from what He has trialled you with and has favoured me over you and over many whom He has created a great favouring.”[13]

When the Muslim achieves a matter he wished to accomplish, what has he been taught to say?

“All praise and thanks are due to Allah, whom, by His favour, all good things are achieved.” [14]

And when a Muslim fails to achieve a matter that he wanted to accomplish, he has been taught to say:

“All praise and thanks are due to Allāh in all circumstances.”[15]


And so the Muslim finds himself shifting from one form of gratitude to another, from one form of contentment to another, regardless of the outcome or situation at hand.


In the absence of this mentality pains become unbearable, calamities become intolerable and life becomes like the one who consumes salty water; theirs is a thirst that can never be satisfied. Such a person finds himself desperately alternating from one avenue of sin to another, from one bed to another, from one drink to another, from one relationship to another, from one online video of obscenity to another, in desperate search for peace and lasting happiness, but his distance from Allāh only causes his heart to further tighten and his life to further darken. He craves to fill the gaps within his heart, but this is not how they are to be filled.

Imām Ibnul Qayyim said,

“In the heart of every human being, there is a sense of scattering which can only be gathered by turning to Allāh, and in the heart there is a sense of loneliness which can only be filled by being close to Allāh, and in the heart there is a fear and anxiety, which can only be removed by escaping to Allāh, and in the heart there is a sense of regret, which can only be removed by being content with Allāh.”

By looking at these examples, we discover something profound. We realise that true peace of mind and the fullest meaning of happiness is in one’s closeness to Allāh and distance from His prohibitions. It is that simple, as Allāh said,

“Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life.”[16]

And Allāh said,

“… then whoever follows My Guidance he shall neither go astray, nor shall be distressed. But whosoever turns away from My Reminder, then for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.”[17]

We can read all the mainstream theories, take every medicine on the shelf and try knocking on every door in search for this gem called happiness, but it will not be found anywhere except where the Creator of happiness has taught us to find it. That is because,

“It is He who grants laughter and tears.”[18]

We are happy; happy that we know Allāh, happy with Him as our Lord. We are happy that the Qur’ān is our guidance in life and that we have not been left at the mercy of the ideas of man. We are happy that we will be the first to be held accountable on day of Judgement and the first of all nations to enter Paradise.

 Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’an, Surah 11, Ayah 6

[2] Al-Qur’an, Surah 63, Ayah 8

[3] Al-Qur’an, Surah 7, Ayah 40

[4] Al-Qur’an, Surah 93, Ayah 3

[5] Al-Qur’an, Surah 39, Ayah 36

[6] Al-Qur’an, Surah 12, Ayah 86

[7] Al-Qur’an, Surah 94, Ayah 5

[8] Muslim, on the authority of Suhaib

[9] Bukhari, on the authority of Hudhaifa

[10] Muslim, on the authority of Anas

[11] AtTirmidhi, on the authority of Abu Sa’eed

[12] Musannaf Ibnu Abi Shayba, on the authority of Abu Dharr (Mawqoof)

[13] Musannaf Ibnu Abi Shayba, on the authority of Ibnu ‘Umar (Mawqoof)

[14] Al-Adkhaar of Imam AnNawawi, on the authority of ‘Aisha

[15] Ibid

[16] Al-Qur’an, Surah 16, Ayah 97

[17] Al-Qur’an, Surah 20, Aayaat 123-124

[18] Al-Qur’an, Surah 52, Ayah 43

Our love of beauty a Sign..

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.

~Ammar

Ramadan Reflections #14

Day 13 / Juz 13 (Ramadan ’17):-
“They said, ‘We are missing the king’s goblet. Whoever brings it shall receive a camel’s load; that I guarantee.'” [12: 72]
There’s something very fascinating about the story of Yusuf (AS). Certain things that were negative at the beginning of Yusuf’s life and which he had no control over, come back at the end but this time in a good light with him given control and power over it. Take the fact that his brothers threw him into a well; a place holding water, and this was a plot they devised as a team to get rid of him. In the end, Yusuf devised his own plan to get his beloved brother back by using the king’s cup; an instrument which holds water (the symbolism here shouldn’t escape you!) and which caused the brothers stress and divided them.
Consider Yusuf’s shirt that the brothers doused in sheep’s blood in order to hurt their father and cut off his heart and hope from Yusuf. In the end, Yusuf used his own shirt which not only brought back his father’s sight, but also removed the hurt and despair in his heart and reconnected them. Consider the fact that as a boy, Yusuf was bought as a slave with mere coins but just a few years later, he is the financial minister and no-one could dare put a value on him. Instead they all humbled themselves to him as a master of his field.
This is not just a story and these are not just coincidences that Allah is mentioning. He is teaching us realities that He’s set in the life of this world. A negative thing that happens in your life may very well open up doors of positivity later on. Something that you’ve no control over may soon fall within your control and you get to use it for your benefit. Life is dynamic and constantly changing, tables turn and events come back on themselves and arrive on your shores again. You may not have had control before, but now you do. You may not have known what to do before, but now you do. As Yusuf says later on, O Allah You are the Originator of the Universe… You return and repeat things. O Allah bless us with the understanding and ability to do what You want us to do and is beneficial for us in this life and the Next, ameen.

Ramadan Reflections #13

Day 16 / Juz 16 (Ramadan ’17):-
“He said: “My Lord! How can I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I have reached the extreme old age?”” [19: 8]
“She said: “How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, nor am I unchaste?”” [19: 20]
I’ve always found it intriguing to read the above two verses in Surah Maryam. When Zakariya and Maryam were both independently told the news of a child to come, they were naturally shocked and questioned it even though they knew the order was coming from Allah the Most High. This of course didn’t mean that they didn’t believe it could happen or that Allah was not capable (معاذ الله), but what it said to me was this: they had a habit of talking to Allah from the depths of their heart. 
They knew He could do it and they knew it was going to happen because He said so. But that didn’t stop them from being vulnerable and totally honest with Him regarding their thoughts and their fears and hopes. It’s a beautiful habit to have; conversing with Allah about yourself and situation. Talk to Him regularly, not just in du’a and to ask of Him, but *just to talk*… To offload your issues, to find support, to clear your mind, to reconnect. He is more than just a God Who gives; He is your Wali (friend, supporter, protector, and yeah, your therapist) 🙂

Ramadan Reflections #7

When we first experience this world (dunya), we become so impressed by its’ glitter. So we love it. Then once the glitter falls away, we become disappointed, so we hate it. Eventually we grow up further and begin to see, and interact with, dunya for what it really is: Something we don’t need to hate–or love. Just something we need to *use*. Allah describes dunya as a ‘mata’a’. Among other meanings, ‘mata’a’ is a resource, a tool. A tool is what you make of it. It can help you–or it can kill you. Dunya is simply the bridge you must cross to take you back Home. And who gets attached to a bridge? Don’t miss the point by either loving or hating it. 
The focus isn’t the bridge. 

The focus is what’s on the other side!

-Yasmin Mogahed

Ramadan Reflections #5

Day 3 / Juz 3 (Ramadan ’17):-

“She said, “My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?” The angel said, “Such is Allah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [3: 47]
In all your du’as and hopes, your thoughts and views on life, and your ups and downs, don’t forget Who it is you’re conversing with. You’re dealing with the Most Powerful who has split seas for His slaves, resurrected the dead, and stopped time. You are not too insignificant for Him to grant you your own miracle. Ask Him whatever it is you long for, and never lower His power and capabilities in your mind. 
Sometimes we rationalise du’a too much because we are focused on *ourselves*. We doubt and question. We overthink and are uncertain over the ‘how’ and ‘when’, but that’s not how it should be. The righteous before us used to say, ‘O Allah, I swear to You to do this and that’ and whilst that may shock you, they did it because they were certain of Him and they knew that you can’t push Allah against His Will. He is Majestic and Powerful and He is also Kareem – generous. So how can you not walk away with precious gifts from a Powerful and Generous being? How can you not walk away with your very own miracle in life? Try it 

Fajr

Ramadan Reflections #4

Asalamu Alaykum All!
The Loving Series

“When Allah Loves You” part I
You will probably never meet a Muslim who says they don’t love Allah. Even if they don’t pray and they commit haram they will tell you they love Allah.
So everybody loves Allah, but the bigger deal is, “Does Allah love you”?
Allah is loving and He does love His servants. That’s why one of His names is Al Wadood. “The loving”.
The scholars say love is the essence of our worship and the focal point of our relationship with Allah. Contemplate the following verse:
‎يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ

“Oh you who believe whoever of you abandons his religion, then Allah is going to bring a people that He LOVES and they LOVE Him…”

Al Ma’ida 5:54
Why didn’t Allah say people who will WORSHIP Him? Or OBEY Him ? Or FEAR Him?
The verse started with Allah’s love towards them and then the love He gets in return. That is the essence of our relationship with Allah.
Allah loves the believers! Contemplate verse 14 from Surat Al Burooj where Allah says:

‎وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الْوَدُودُ

And He is the forgiving, the Loving.
69 times in the Quran “Ghafour” (forgiving ) is followed by “Raheem” (merciful), because pairing mercy with forgiveness makes more sense. But this time Allah mentions that He is forgiving yet loving. Why?

Because you might forgive someone yet still dislike them or even hate them.
But Allah wants you to know that he will forgive you and still keep loving You!
Contemplate the effect of worshipping a God that hates you. Would you be energetic in worshiping Him? Would you love to spend hours talking to Him?
A Christian scholar conducted a study and discovered that more Christians love God the Father (according to them) more than God the son. Because God the Father is the angry one who couldn’t forgive for thousands of years, while God the Son was the merciful loving one that offered to die for their sins.
People naturally gravitate towards a loving God.
Another Bonus of when Allah loves you, you become loved by the angels and you will be granted acceptance on earth.
Allah’s Messenger (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “If Allah loves someone He calls (angel) Jibreel and says: ‘I love so-and-so, so love him.’ Jibreel loves him and calls the other angels in Heaven to love that person. They love him, then his love (acceptance) is made upon earth, and he becomes loved…”

Sahih Muslim
May Allah grant us His love. Amen
Wasalam!

Sh Kamal mekki

Ramadan Reflections #2

Loving Allah:
Even though speakers and Khutab (sermons) tend to focus more on fearing Allah, the scholars say that love of Allah is stronger and better than fear.
What are the fruits of fearing Allah? You stay away from sinning!
But the fruits of loving Allah are greater in that you also stay away from sins but because you love Allah, you go above and beyond in worship and in performing voluntary acts. When you love Allah:
* it’s easier to give up bad habits.

E.g. Guy can’t quit smoking for years but he suddenly quits. You ask him how he did it and he says, “My fiancé told me that if I wanted to marry her I’d have to quit”!

He couldn’t quit for years but love made him do it in no time! If you love Allah, giving something up for His sake becomes easy.
* you love His speech!

True story…a guy spoke to his fiancé from Isha’ until dhuhr!

Another story…a guy spent three hours in the cold speaking to his fiancé over the phone!

When you love Allah you love His speech (the Quran) and you never get tired of it. For some it’s five minutes of Quran and then ….Zzzzzzzzz!
* you love Qiyyam (night prayer).

One of the early Muslims cried on his death bed, so his friends thought he was crying because he’s going to miss his children. He said, “I’m crying because I’m going to miss qiyyam al layl”!

He loved talking to Allah for hours into the night and more importantly he knows that for thousands of years he will not be able to seek forgiveness once or mention Allah a single time. So rightfully so that he cried!
* love to meet Allah.

“Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah will love to meet them and whoever hates to meet Allah, Then Allah hates to meet them”.
* you accept His decree
All the above are more attainable with love than with fear.
The more you know Allah and study His attributes you naturally love Him more.

The more you recognise and contemplate His many blessing you love Him more.
Wasalam

-Sh. Kamal El Mekki

On Death & Dying

​With the current year drawing to a close, I wanted to share some personal thoughts on an inevitable journey all of us will embark upon: death. 
I have seen many people in my wider circle of friends/acquaintances express how death has seemed so much closer to us this year than previous ones. We have witnessed the passing of many a parent, teacher, sibling, friend, and child. Some of us directly suffered these losses; others suffered through seeing these losses endured by people they knew, such as friends; yet, other losses were so global and impactful that all of us were effected by them.
I was never particularly fearful of death until my daughter was born. After her birth, the fear kicked in. It was in most ways a worldly fear. I wanted to see my little one take her first steps, speak her first words, start school, become a rebellious teenager, go to college, and have a family. I wanted to live to see my child grow. 
This all changed after my father passed away. I remember standing with some of my close friends after a Quran recital telling them about how the birth of my daughter led to an increased fear of death on my part. But my attitude had changed now. I knew my father had moved into another room that was out of my sight. But I was no longer afraid to have the door to that room opened for me because I knew that he would be there. It was the first time in a long time that I was not afraid to leave the room my daughter was in for the room my father had gone too.
This taught me an important lesson. We often understand death in negative terms: we will be questioned, there is a thing called Hell, God will take us to account for everything, and so forth. The motivating factor in death for many is the fear factor. This is important, of course. Yet, the passing of my father taught me that it is also a motivator because of a love factor, a love and desire for reunion.
This was the perspective of Fatima (God be well-pleased with her). When the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was in his final illness “he said something secretly to Fatima and she wept. Then he said something secretly to her and she laughed.” [Bukhari] When asked later why she wept, she said it was because the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was moving to the next life. But when asked what made her smile, it was because she was told that she would join him in Paradise.
This was the perspective of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). In one of his final sermons, he mentioned how “God had given a slave the choice between immortality in this world or meeting his Lord, and he had chosen to meet his Lord.” He was speaking about himself. His last words according to A’isha were, “to the highest Companion!” He had chosen to move on and unite with God. [Bukhari]
To all of my brothers and sisters who have lost someone, to those saddened by separation, and to those still grieving, do not forget the union that death brings. A union with a merciful and compassionate Lord. A union with a most beautiful and perfect Prophet who will not cease pleading to God until each and every one of his followers is in Paradise with him.
Remember that your loved ones from this community wait for you, and that you have the opportunity to be with them in a place where time has ceased, where there will be no separation, nor grief, nor sadness, nor pain. It is a place where all of you can be together in utter bliss, love, and happiness.
This is the hope and trust we place in our Lord. This is why we worship and engage in righteousness: so we can reunite with those whom we love – God, His Prophet, our parents, children, siblings, friends, and others. So, do not despair, do not lose sight of the bigger picture, and make your life a road to reunion.
We ask God to renuite us in the eternal garden with those we love in the company of our Prophet (blessings upon him) and all the righteous.

-Salman Younas

Ibn al-Qayyim’s Advice for the Believer 

The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim RA gave some amazing and life-changing advice for the believer:

“A friend will not (literally) share your struggles, and a loved one cannot physically take away your pain, and a close one will not stay up the night on your behalf…so look after yourself, protect it, nurture it…and don’t give life’s events more than what they are really worth…Be certain that when you break no one will heal you except you, and when you are defeated no one will give you victory except your determination…your ability to stand up again and carry on is your responsibility…Do not look for your self worth in the eyes of people; look for your worth from within your conscious…if your conscious is at peace then you will ascend high…and if you truly know yourself then what is said about you won’t harm you.

Do not carry the worries of this life… because this is for Allah…and do not carry the worries of sustenance because it is from Allah…and do not carry the anxiety for the future because it is in the Hands of Allah..

Carry one thing: How to Please Allah. Because if you please Him, He Pleases you, fulfils you and enriches you. Do not weep from a life that made your heart weep…just say “oh Allah…compensate me with good in this life and the hereafter”.

Sadness departs with a sajdah…happiness comes with a sincere du’a…Allah Does Not forget the good you do…nor Does He Forget the good you did to others and the pain you relieved them from…Nor Will He Forget the eye which was about to cry but you made it laugh..

Live your life with this principle: Be good even if you don’t receive good…not because of other’s sake but because Allah Loves the good doers”.

Subhanallah!

Sometimes the Greatest Miracle is within You

It was physically impossible for Maryam (as) to be pregnant. It was ‘impossible’ for the sea to split in half for Prophet Musa and his people to escape the army behind them. It was ‘impossible’ for Prophet Ibrahim to emerge unscathed from the fire that his people threw him into. It was ‘impossible’ for the Prophet Muhammad to travel to Al-Aqsa and ascend to the heavens all in one single night.

May peace be upon them all.

Sometimes we read about these miracles but we fail to connect them to our own existence. 

‘These miracles only happened in the past,’ we might thinks. ‘It’s not realistic for us to hope for miracles in our own lives,’ we might say.

Then, perhaps one day you’ll think that you’ll never experience happiness again after losing someone you loved deeply. But you will feel joy again – and then you’ll understand how miraculous that feels. It’s as though Allah (swt) split your heart in two like the Red Sea, and allowed hope to emerge against all odds.

He will prevent the fire of your pain from consuming you.

He will fill your mind with ideas and your heart with love and appreciation when you thought you had nothing left to give. He will fill your mind, body, and heart with the kind of life that can only be explained asmiraculous.

He will take you to places in your dreams and in your realities that you never imagined possible.

And yet we sometimes believe that miracles are all in the past.

We aren’t meant to read about the miracles of Allah and then just move on as though they’re stories of the past. We are meant to understand that the miracles of Allah are happening all the time, all around us and within us as well.

When you cry out in the middle of the chaos of life – My Lord, show me a sign! – look within yourself. Remember every difficulty He saved you from. Remember when He healed you. Remember when He gave you a light to carry in the middle of the darkness.

Remember how you’ve survived so much – only because of Him. You are a miracle.

“We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?” (41:53)

-Asma Hussein

Actions of the Heart💜

​Abu Bakr wasn’t poor like Abu Dharr or Abu Hurayrah, but he was better than them. He wasn’t perpetually tortured like Khabab and Bilal, or Sumayyah and Yasir, but he was better than them.  He wasn’t severely injured in battle like Talha or Abu Ubaydah or Khalid, but he was better than them. He wasn’t martyred like Hamza or Umar or Uthman or Ali, but he was better than them! 
So what was the secret that made Abu Bakr better than everyone?  
Bakr ibn Abdullah Al-Muzani said, “Abu Bakr didn’t precede them due to offering a lot of prayer and fasting, but because of something that settled in his heart.”
It’s the actions of the heart you see.  That’s what made his faith outweigh the faith of the entire ummah.  
We learn that faith (iman) is actions of the heart combined with statement of the tongue and actions of the limbs, but we ignored the actions of the heart even though that is its essence and core.  
Every act of worship has an essence and a physical manifestation.  
So the manifestation of the prayer is the standing and bowing and prostration, but its essence is the khushu’ (the humility, awe, reverence, concentration) of Allah.  
The manifestation of fasting is to withhold from everything that breaks the fast from sunrise to sunset but it’s essence is taqwa (consciousness) of Allah.  
The manifestation of hajj is the tawaf and sa’ee and standing on Arafat and..and..and..but it’s essence is honoring the symbols of Allah. 
The manifestation of du’a is the raising of hands and praise and request but it’s essence is the brokenness and need of Allah.  
The manifestation of Dhikr is saying Allahu Akbar and AlHamdulillah, and La illaha ila Allah etc, but it’s essence is the remembrance, reverence and love of Allah.
For on the day of Judgment it is the hearts that will be exposed, and only those who come with a serene heart, and a heart that is repentant who will be saved on that day. 
Let us then remember to monitor our hearts as severely as we monitor our actions and remember that in this world we traverse distances with our feet, but in the hereafter distances are only traversed by our hearts. 
-Adapted from the page of Shaykh Alaa ElSaadawi

Oh Allah make us among them.

​I wonder how Mu’adh ibn Jabal felt when he heard the Messenger of Allah saying, “Mu’adh, by Allah, I most certainly love you.”
And how did Abdullah ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, feel when the Messenger of Allah embraced him and said, “O’ Allah teach him the Book.”
Or what Ali ibn Abi Talib felt when he heard the Messenger of Allah saying, “Tomorrow, I will definitely hand the banner to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger, and whom Allah and His Messenger also love,” and then he found out that he was the one? 
Or Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas’s feelings when the Messenger of Allah said to him, “Throw it, Sa’d, *may my parents be ransomed for you.”*
 And how did ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan feel when he fully supplied the army heading to Tabouk, and the Messenger of Allah said, “Nothing ‘Uthman does after today could ever harm him.”?
Or how Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari felt when the Messenger of Allah said, “If you could have only seen me while I was listening to your recitation yesterday.”?
And how did Al-Sa’ib ibn Yazid feel when only the patch of hair that the Messenger of Allah wiped on his head remained black, when the remainder of his hair turned white to old age? 
And what emotions did the Ansar experience when the Messenger of Allah said to them, “If all people were to go one way, and the Ansar were to take another, I would choose the path of the Ansar.”

(Arab expression meaning that the adressed is even more beloved than one’s own parents.)
And how did the Ansar feel when the Prophet of Allah spoke about them saying, “The sign of belief is love for the Ansar, and the sign of hypocrisy is feeling animosity toward them.”
And what were the feelings of Al-Siddeeq when the Messenger of Allah said, “If I were to take a bosom friend, I would have taken Abu Bakr as my bosom friend.”
How did Aaisha feel when the Messenger of Allah replied unhesitatingly with her name when asked who was the most beloved person to him? 
And what were the feelings of Bilal ibn Rabah when Allah’s Messenger said to him, ” O’ Bilal, tell me about the deed in which you place most hope, for I have heard the striking of your shoes in front of me in Jannah.”
And how did ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab feel when he sought permission to enter upon the Messenger of Allah, and he (s) told the doorman, “Allow him to enter and give him glad tidings of Paradise.”

How did ALL the Sahabah feel while seeing the Messenger morning and evening? 
And how are WE going to feel when we see the Messenger of Allah, and he says to us, “You are my brothers for whom I have cried in my anticipation to meet; you are my brothers who have believed in me without ever seeing me.”
Oh Allah make us among them. 
اللهم صَلِّ  و سلم على محمد و آله

~Sh. Waleed Basyouni 

Paradise…

“And He will admit them to Paradise, which He has made known to them.” [Muhammad 47: 6]
One of the things about Jannah that we don’t realise is the striking familiarity that it will carry. You have never seen Jannah and it will be nothing like the earth but somehow you will know it, and it will feel so comfortable and familiar, like it’s a part of you and your existence – it’s your Home that you’re coming back to. This why Allah calls it Dar al-Salam; the Home of Peace, because a Dar (home) is a place you always return to after some absence. 
Some of the scholars said that the verse also has another meaning… the word ‘arrafa which is translated as being ‘known’ can also mean ‘to be fragranced’. Now imagine Paradise… wherever you go there’ll be beautiful scents – not the type that annoys you or gives you a headache or sets off your allergies, but the type that hits the right senses and lifts you off your feet. Paradise – it doesn’t just look good, cozy, and familiar, but it smells good too.
The juz then ends by describing the people of Paradise, and Allah says that before entering it, they were Muhsinin – people who made effort to reach a level of righteousness in their faith. But what is that? Well, what unfolds next is a description:
– They used to sleep a little by night, i.e. they devoted some of the night to worship
– In the early morning they were found seeking forgiveness, i.e they weren’t perfect and they recognised that through humble worship
– They dedicated a portion of their wealth to the beggar and the deprived, i.e. they sacrificed and they realised that life was not just about them
– They were attentive to the Signs of Allah on earth, and the Signs within themselves.
And whatever is described in the Qur’an has a purpose. It is our hope to live up to these descriptions insha’Allah! May Allah bless everyone reading this with a beautiful home in Paradise, and may we all meet there, ameen.

~Fajr Blog