Make Progress

This one phrase from my Quran teacher 23 years ago changed my life:

“You’re either striving and moving forward or you’re moving backwards- you’re never at a standstill.

Make sure you’re always making progress in your life and not regressing. You would never want to go from walking to crawling or from high school to elementary. Focus on improving your personality, spirituality and mentality. Every day you should be better, wiser, more patient and more accepting than yesterday. Make it your ultimate goal to improve your character and overcome your shortcomings.

The most comforting thing to keep in mind is that even if you’re struggling and falling into mistakes- Allah sees your effort and rewards you for trying. Stay strong and move forward!💪🏼💞

~Sister Haleh Banani

Happy Strangers!

Bismillah,

In explaining the hadith of “Islam began as something strange and it will return to being strange, so blessed are the strangers,” Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (rA) said the following while talking about the blessings the “strangers” will rejoice in:

“وَلِهَذَا يُوجَدُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ الْمُتَمَسِّكُونَ بِالْإِسْلَامِ فِي بِلَادِ الْكُفْرِ لَهُمْ السَّعَادَةُ كُلَّمَا كَانُوا أَتَمَّ تَمَسُّكًا بِالْإِسْلَامِ فَإِنْ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ شَرٌّ كَانَ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ؛ حَتَّى إنَّ الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَأَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إذَا رَأَوْا الْمُسْلِمَ الْقَائِمَ بِالْإِسْلَامِ عَظَّمُوهُ وَأَكْرَمُوهُ وَأَعْفَوْهُ مِنْ الْأَعْمَالِ الَّتِي يَسْتَعْمِلُونَ بِهَا الْمُنْتَسِبِينَ إلَى ظَاهِرِ الْإِسْلَامِ مِنْ غَيْرِ عَمَلٍ بِحَقِيقَتِهِ.”
“Thus, there are those Muslims adhering to Islam in the lands of unbelief, happiness will be their lot, commensurate with their level of adherence to Islam. If evil befalls them, it would be because of their sins; even the polytheists and the people of the book, when they see the Muslim who truly upholds the teachings of Islam, they elevate him, honor him, and exempt him from the work they demand of those who profess Islam without adhering to its essence.”

Being a “stranger” does not mean being miserable or negative. Rejoice in the bounty of Allah and His mercy. You have an opportunity to actualize all of your potentials in courage, endurance, forbearance, independence, grace, confidence, positivity, wisdom, nobility, and many more. Do your best; your test will soon end – regardless of its nature.

وصلى الله على محمد والحمد لله رب العالمين

-Sh. Hatem al Haj

Believer’s Heart 💖

We often praise the soft of heart. We rightly condemn those who are hard of heart. But the Believer’s heart is somewhere in between.

When too soft, like a sponge, it soaks up all and everything that it sees, hears, experiences, comes into contact with. Worse, it retains it as well. For that is what sponges do.

Ibn al-Qayyim was complaining about doubts and issues once, and so was advised by Ibn Taymiyyah that he should not let his heart be like a sponge retaining all these doubts that he comes across in the seeking and protection of sacred knowledge. But he didn’t tell him to make his heart hard. For that would kill it. No, he told Ibn al-Qayyim to make it *harder*, like glass, clear solid glass. It will then see the issue/doubt and understand it but it will not retain in as it passes over it and goes on its way.

This is excellent advice in the matter of creed and theology (‘aqidah) especially in our modern times with doubts over evolution and genetics and science and secular humanism etc. These matters can be refuted without letting them penetrate us.

But as many as there are people affected by doubts in their ‘aqidah, an equal number are affected by normal day-to-day events that impact on their emotions – that includes how soft or hard to be, how harsh or merciful to be, how much to grieve and how much to ignore and be “heartless” etc.

We all live in difficult times. You don’t need to live in a war-zone and have your children killed in front of you to be the only one deserving to be depressed. Sure, there are varying levels of trials, but we must never dismiss the middle class guy who loses his job or the “First World” sister who gets a divorce. Grief is universal and exists at every loss and turn in life and we need to manage that without denigrating or exaggerating the pain and challenges of others. Everybody hurts. Sometimes.

But we *must* learn not to hurt *so* much. We must learn that grief is natural and permissible but never to the amount that it becomes paralyzing. There is divine wisdom in sanctioned mourning periods. There is divine beauty in those verses which remind us of the negligible value of everything in this world. If our softness when we rule, or our mercy when we judge, or our grief when we try to recover starts to affect our lives so much that our lives are forced to change, obligations are neglected, worship is affected and the rules are changed etc, then we need to re-examine our hearts.

Our hearts are made stronger and more stoic when we reflect that this dunya is but a shooting star, and that every single painful event that occurs in our life is insignificant when seen in light of the bigger picture that is the Akhirah.

So don’t let your hearts become so soft like a sponge. Make it harder. Not like a stone, from which you cannot come back from and there is no room for manoeuvre, but instead like glass. Glass is solid and thus it will allow you to see and feel the pain of others and thus empathize and take care of them, it will not retain grief or the depression of the world just automatically, but it is of course fragile and breaks easily which can then be used to our advantage when it is needed for our hearts to be softer than usual.

We were all given eyes to cry. But we were all born to eventually die. We must focus on our destination, not keep asking why.

~Sh. Abu Eesa

Rain Drop

Rain Drop 💧

✨Your Worth is with whom
You are Associated with✨

🔸Beautiful explanation by Maulana Rumi:

Explaining the meaning of ‘Association’ he said:..

“💦 A rain drop from the sky: if it is caught by clean hands, is pure enough for drinking.

💧If it falls in the gutter, its value drops so much that it can’t be used even for washing your feet.

💧If it falls on a hot surface, it will evaporate…

💧If it falls on a lotus leaf, it shines like a pearl

💧and finally, if it falls on an oyster, it becomes a pearl…

💧The drop is the same, but its existence & worth depends on whom it is associated with.”…

🔸Always be associated with people who are good at heart..You will experience your own inner transformation”…

5 within 5

One of the righteous in the past said, We sought 5 things and found them to be within 5 things:

We sought light in the grave and found it within the night prayer.

We sought the ability to answer the questions of Munkar and Nakir (Angels in the grave), and found it within recital of Qur’an.

We sought the safe crossing of the Sirat, and found it within charity.

We sought salvation from thirst on the Day of Judgement and found it within fasting.

We sought blessing in our provision, and found it within praying Fajr.

The graves are full of people who thought they would practice Islam when they get old. If you have the intention no matter how small your step is, start practicing Islam. Don’t delay it. Today and now is the moment.
Bismillah!
Take one step and inshaAllah Allah will lead you further.

“Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.”-ALLAH
[Hadith Qudsi]

*What* will you exhaust yourself in?

Allah created us with ambitious spirits; spirits bent on toiling, grinding, and scraping to experience satisfaction, tranquility, and peace. The only variable in this equation is *what* we will exhaust ourselves in to experience that, not whether or not we will exhaust ourselves. Most exhaust themselves for a shallow and short-lived immediate return. The wise exhaust themselves a little extra for a sweeter immediate return, and an unimaginable upgrade in Jannah that continues enhancing with every moment without end.

As one of the salaf, “The hearts were made to roam, some roam around the Throne, and some roam around the sewers.”
القلوب جوالة، منها ما يجول حول العرش ومنها ما يجول حول الحش

“The unexhausted spirit only exists when a spirit has rusted or died. The spirit at peace (nafsul muṭma’inna) is actually a spirit that exhausts itself with worthy burdens (the demands of worship), or endures others that are inescapable (calamities) during the trial of life.” -Sh Ahmad Salim

Attitude of Gratitude!


​What does it truly mean to be thankful to Allah for the blessings He has given us? 

Ibn al-Qayyim explains, “To be thankful to Allah (shukr) implies manifesting the effects of Allah’s blessings on you. So the heart witnesses these blessings and loves Him for it; the tongue acknowledges these blessings and praises Him for it; and the body submits and obeys Him because of it.” 
 Sadly, most people are not truly thankful to Allah, as He Himself reminds us: “And few of My Servants give thanks (shakūr) to me” [Sura Saba: 13].
May Allah make us of the thankful!

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!

Patience.

 

Practising patience is as important in the good times as it is in the tough times. And we will only have patience in the tough times – when we so desperately will need it – if we’ve established it during times of ease, or at least reflected over it, or indeed lived it with others in *their* time of need – something which is truly the sign of a blessed individual.

We should all prepare a place in our hearts and minds where we can accommodate all the tragedies which will sooner or later come to our lives, but this is an economy that few people care to practice.
I’m not trying to be pessimistic. Our Prophet ﷺ was not seeking forgiveness all the time because he was a sinner, and neither did His Lord command him regularly to patience because his entire life was a tragedy. It wasn’t. But it would be a real tragedy for us if we were only to think that to be in a blessed state of humbling ourselves before Allah, or to be told to be patient, is only applicable when we are in a bad moment, or a rut in life, or a mid-life crisis.
Patience is realism. It is understanding that whatever we are experiencing at the moment – whether we perceive it to be good or bad – is all ultimately a test on whether you stay *real* or not, whether you attribute your blessing correctly to the One who gave it to you. 
That’s why being patient and worshipping your Lord in a consistent, deep, quality manner during your good times is far more difficult than in the bad times. You can’t see the problem. You can’t feel the grief you need to be patient with. The heart doesn’t feel enough pain to kick in the patience reflex. You don’t feel the need to thank Allah because things are so good “without Him”.
That’s why Ibn Taymiyyah termed this type of patience the more challenging and the more rewarding. Think about it: the majority of the world’s population have failed in this type of patience. And worse, Allah tells us that He continues to bless them with the dunya and good times and that they’ll continue in their heedlessness and leave this life whilst actually being content with their disbelief.
That is why when we see those who have been blessed with so much in this life and yet they still preserve their values, their Deen, their thanks to their Creator, and their thanks and connection to the normal folks around them, then we still call this “patience” even though it may not seem so. And what do we say about this person? “He still keeps it *real*.” That’s why patience is a permanent state we must incorporate in our lives, and we must create that space where we are always alert and aware. As I said, patience is realism.
This is thus the development of patience. This is why anyone who truly understands patience, has truly understood Islam, reality, and life itself.

~Ustadh Abu Easa

Wise Sayings of Imam ash-Shafi’ee (rahimahumAllah)

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Wassalatu Wassalamu ala Rasulillah

Imam Ash-Shafi’ee (rahimahumAllah)

 Imam Ash-Shafi’ee was born in Gaza and moved to Mecca when he was two years old. He went to Madeenah and was as a student of Imam Malik who was very impressed with this young student.

 

 

Some quotes by him  

___________________

 

“When my heart was hardened, and my courses constrained; I made my hope a stairway to Your forgiveness. My sins burdened me heavily, but when I measured it by Your forgiveness, Lord, Your forgiveness was the greater.”

 

“Whoever slanders to you about others, will slander about you. And whoever reports to you, will soon report about you.”

 

“Knowledge is that which benefits, not that which is memorized.” 

 

“Let not your tongue mention the shame of another For you yourself are covered in shame and all men have tongues. If your eye falls upon the sins of your brother Shield them and say: “O my eye! All men have eyes!”” 

 

“I wish that people learnt this knowledge from me without ascribing one letter of it to me.”

 

“Whoever wishes that Allah will illuminate him, let him leave that which doesn’t concern him.”

 

“When the foolish one speaks, do not reply to him, for better than a response (to him) is silence, and if you speak to him you have aided him, and if you left him (with no reply) in extreme sadness he dies.”

 

“To admonish your brother in private is to advise him and improve him. But to admonish him publicly is to disgrace and shame him.”

 

“Three things will increase your intellect: sitting with the scholars, sitting with righteous people, and leaving off speech that doesn’t concern you.”

 

“Intercession is only sought by one of a lower status before a superior and no one is superior to Allah.” 

 

“All humans are dead except those who have knowledge. And all those who have knowledge are asleep, except those who do good deeds. And those who do good deeds are deceived, except those who are sincere. And those who are sincere are always in a state of worry.”

 

“I have never debated with a knowledgeable person, except that I won the debate, and I have never debated with an ignorant person, except that I lost.”

 

“I never once argued with anyone hoping to win the debate; rather I always wished that the truth would come from his side.” 

 

“The foolish one addresses me with words of disgrace, but I hate to respond to him in a similar manner. The more ignorant he proves, the more patient I become. Just like the incense; the more it’s burnt, the more it releases its fragrance.”

 
 

“O my soul! It is not, except a few days of patience; As if the extent were but a few dreams. O my soul! Pass quickly on through this world; And leave it, for indeed life lies ahead of it.”

 

“I complained to Imam Waqee’ of my weak memory; he advised me to abstain from sins; for, verily, knowledge is a light from Allah; and this light of Allah is not awarded to sinners.”

 

“When I see a man from the Adherents of Hadith, it is as if I have seen the Prophet – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – alive.”

 

“Be aware of your tongue, its dangerous! It’s like a snake and so many people have been killed by their tongues.”

 

“I heard Ash-Shafi’ee say, “A man does not become complete in this life except when he has four [qualities]: religiousness (al-diyanah), trustworthiness (al-amanah), safeguarding [from sin] (al-siyanah) and sobriety (al-razanah).” – Imam Al-Buwayti (rahimahumAllah)

 

“Be hard on yourself, easy on others.”

 

“Do you mock the supplication and belittle it? While you do not know what it has the power to do! The arrows of the night (du’a) do not miss target But they have a set limit, which shall come to end. So if my Lord wishes, He holds it back. And if the decree is to be fulfilled, He sets it forth.”

 

“Were this world to be sold on the market, I would not buy it for a loaf of bread, for all the troubles it contains.”

“Knowledge without action is arrogance.”

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Reflections!

(1) Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen:

“It is fitting that a person always asks Allaah to purify his heart. He should devote his attention to the actions of the heart. The care a person gives to the actions of the heart must be more than the care he gives to the actions of the body–because everyone performs bodily actions, the believer and the hypocrite.”

(Tafseer Surah al-Maa’idah, vol. 1, p. 410.)

(2) ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab said to Mu’aawiyah bin Abi Sufyan:

“If I slept during the day I would have neglected the people, and if I slept during the night I would have neglected myself. How can I sleep when I have these two concerns, O Mu’aawiyah?

[Futooh Misr Wa Al-Maghrib, p.105]

(3) Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim:

“Grief weakens the heart and determination, & hurts the will; and nothing is more beloved to Shaytan than a sad believer”

(4) Ali (ra):

“All that you expect to come will soon come.’ For this reason, be optimistic!”

(All that you fear may very well end up happening to you if you keep thinking about it. Think positively. Expect good from Allah. And work towards this).

(5) Ibn Rajab al Hambali (may Allah have mercy on him):

“Whoever is mindful of Allah when he is young and strong, Allah will take care of him when he is old and has become weak, and will bless him with good hearing, eyesight, strength and intellect. One of the scholars who lived beyond the age of one hundred years and enjoyed good strength and reasoning jumped up in a lively manner one day, and was asked about that. He said: ‘I kept these physical faculties from sin when i was young, and Allah has preserved them for me now that I am old.’ The opposite also applies. One of the Salaf saw an old man begging from people and said: ‘ This is a weak man who ignored Allah when he was young. So, Allah is ignoring him now that he has grown old.’”

(Jami’ al-ulum wal Hikam)

(6) Imam Al-Hasan Al-Basree:

“To endure short-lived difficulties that are followed by long lasting ease, is better than hurrying for a short-lived ease that is followed by ever-lasting hardship.”

(Al-Hilyah, 2/134)

(7) Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Masud (radia Allahu anhu):

“It befits the bearer of the Qur’an to be known by his night when the people are asleep; by his day when the people are feasting; by his caution when the people mix [the lawful and the unlawful]; by his humility when the people are proud; by his grief when the people are happy; by his weeping when the people are laughing; and by his silence when the people chatter.”

(8) Imam Abu’l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi:

“Knowledge and action are twins whose mother is high motivation.”

(al-Yawaqit al-Jawziyyah, p. 95)

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