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

Why do we gain Knowledge?

❝But those who had been given knowledge said, “Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better for he who believes and does righteousness. And none are granted it except the patient.”❞
{Surah Al Qasas 28: Verse 80}

The blessing and beauty of gaining knowledge is that it keeps its companion grounded when everyone else is distracted and blinded by events, emotions, or hardships. It equips the seeker of knowledge with a foresight when people are blinded or unable to see past this world or that which is temporary. It reminds its companion to have patience, to remember the Hereafter, and to see beyond the strike of a calamity or a call of the Dunya.

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”…

Focus on what truly matters!

It’s not the size of your achievement, but your sincerity in your effort.

It’s not the number of likes from others that matters, but the one like from Allah that matters most.

It’s not about what the masses think of you, but what your spouse, kids and parents think of you.

Instead of being distracted or driven for the wrong reasons, focus instead on personal improvement and interpersonal relationships.

Only a select few will have the wisdom to focus their attention on the things that truly matter. Be One Of Them!

In a beautiful hadith, Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said,

“Whoever is focused only on this world, Allah will confound his affairs and make him fear poverty constantly, and he will not get anything of this world except that which has been decreed for him. And whoever is focused on the Hereafter, Allah will settle his affairs for him and make him feel content with his loss, and his provision and worldly gains will undoubtedly come to him.” [Ibn Majah]

PS: The hadith do not call for abandonment of this Dunya. Rather, Islam teaches us to take the necessary steps and put in the time required to secure our provisions in this world. However, the hadith recalibrates our internal compass and reminds us where our focus and ultimate desires should be.

Soft spot

“They cry out to [the believers, saying], ‘Weren’t we with you?!’ They (the believers) will say, ‘Yes, but you *subjected yourselves* to temptations / trials…’” {57:14}

يُنَادُونَهُمْ أَلَمْ نَكُنْ مَعَكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ وَلَٰكِنَّكُمْ فَتَنْتُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ

“Each of us has a point of vulnerability in our personality; a soft spot that when pressed lightly brings us to the brink of defeat and the abandonment of our principles. A person’s success depends on identifying that “soft-spot”, concealing it, and surrounding it with fences of great caution, so that you do not subject your fortress to being conquered from its weakest wall. Some people unravel in fear, others compromise in greed, others when their emotions are stirred, others when praised, others when guilted, and so forth.”

‎لكل منّا خاصرة ضعيفة في شخصيته؛ تجعله مع الضغط عليها أقرب للانهزام وهجر مبادئه، والخير كل الخير أن تسترها، وتحوطها بأسوار من الحذر؛ فمن الناس من يتراخى عند الخوف، ومنهم من يتنازل عند الطمع، وآخرون عند تحريك العواطف، وقوم عند التبجيل، وأناس عند الحرب النفسية . – كتبه بدر الثوعي

And as our Prophet (sAws) said, “…just like the shepherd who grazes around a preserve; very soon he will trespass into it.” [al-Bukhari and Muslim]

A Means to an End

Everything we do in life is a means to an end.

For a Muslim, the ‘end’ is the pleasure of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) and reserving our place in the highest gardens of Jannah. This is the ultimate goal, and the ‘means’ is simply the way in which one goes about attaining this.

So with this, we can say that:

– the degrees that we study;
– the jobs that we work;
– the knowledge that we seek;
– the decisions that we make;
– the parents that we obey;
– the families that we love;
– and the Islamic daʿwah projects that we volunteer for, are all examples of this.

The problem, however, lies when one gives greater importance to the means, making them lose track of the end. They detach themselves from the end and instead attach themselves to the means.

And now as we are approaching the season of Ḥajj, there is an important lesson we can learn from the life of Prophet Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām).

Upon describing his dream, he said to his son:

‎يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ

“O my son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you.”
(Al-Qur’ān 37:102)

Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām) loved his son, but he loved Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) more. So when the commandment came to sacrifice his son, it was not his son that was to be slaughtered, it was his attachment to him that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) was testing.

And did he pass the test?

‎قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا إِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“You have fulfilled the dream. This is how we reward those who do good.”
(Al-Qur’ān 37:105)

If that Islamic project or daʿwah organisation that you give your time to shuts down, your overall daʿwah or activism should not shut down with it. For that organisation was just a means, and there are other organisations to be part of to serve the dīn.

If you are made redundant in your job, that does not mean you stop providing for your family altogether. For that job was a means, and there are other ways to earn a halāl income.

If the local sheikh, whom you like and attend all of his lectures, moves cities or travels abroad, that does not mean you stop attending ḥalaqas and lectures altogether. For that sheikh was simply a means, and there are other classes taking place in your locality for you to benefit.

Be like Prophet Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām); show your love to your Lord by detaching yourself from the means and re-attaching yourself to the end.

Last 2 Surahs of Quran

So, Allah jalla wa ‘ala says in al-Nas, 1-3:

“Say, ‘I seek refuge with the Lord of men, the King of men, the God of men.'”

It’s only when you study the last two Surahs of the Qur’an do you realise that from all the enemies we have out there in the world, there is little that compares to the enemy within.

Reflect on how in the previous Surah – al-Falaq – how we seek refuge with Allah *once* from three types of evil/enemy:

“Say, ‘I seek refuge with the Lord of daybreak.
From the evil of what He has created,
From the darkness when it gathers,
From the evil of witches who blow on knots.”

But in Surah al-Nas, we are told to seek refuge in Allah *three* times by using three of His different magnificent and mighty Names and Attributes, but now from *one* enemy: OURSELVES.

“Say, ‘I seek refuge with the Lord of men,
The King of men,
The God of men,
From the evil of the withdrawing whisperer.”

Reflect on how the focus isn’t even so much on the whisperer himself, and whether it is just Shaytan himself or indeed other humans (hence, “Who whispers in the breasts of men, from Jinn and Men”), and indeed the focus isn’t even so much on the waswas/ideas/desires themselves either, but rather the *evil* of those whisperings.

And that evil, or that lack of control, or lack of knowledge, or weakness that allows even the simplest thought to become a bad one that leads to the consequence of being played out through a statement or an action, is something entirely from *you*. You won’t be able to blame Shaytan for that later. That is the human condition. That is the human reality. And that is our true enemy: our enemy within.

Ramadhan is a great example: with all the devils still merrily chained up, we all failed so many times to control our anger, or suppress our feelings, or do the right thing, all because we succumbed to our desires or waswas in our hearts and minds. The end of the month and what we said to each other in trying to establish Eid whilst still fasting is proof enough.

How we express our thoughts, words and actions every single day is a *direct* result of how successful our refuge in Allah has been from our desires or evil being elicited within ourselves. Allah jalla wa ‘ala made this abundantly clear in the Surah He chose to complete His Book with, and what every person who practises Islam will end up memorising.

That’s because Allah knows what we should repeat to ourselves every single day: our enemies are many, but none deserve more focus than the enemy within.

#QuranicART
#ChapterThirty
#WeDidIt

-Sh. Abu Eesa

“Amidst family”

** It’s special when your spouse praises you **

I’ve been contemplating the sheer amount of praise that our mother ‘Aisha heaped onto her husband – the Prophet Mohammad PBUH – with respect to his conduct, manners, and worship, particularly in the month of Ramadan.

She said: كَانَ يَعْتَكِفُ العَشْرَ الأوَاخِرَ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ، حَتَّى تَوَفَّاهُ اللهُ تَعَالَى

“He used to seclude himself in the Mosque for worship in the last 10 nights of Ramadan till the day he died.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)

She also said: كَانَ إِذَا دَخَلَ العَشْرُ أَحْيَا اللَّيلَ، وَأَيْقَظَ أَهْلَهُ، وَجَدَّ وَشَدَّ المِئْزَر

“When the last ten nights of Ramadan arrived, he would wake up his family to pray, exert himself and prepared for hard work.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)

She also said:

كان يُصَلِّي أرْبَعًا فَلاَ تَسْألْ عَنْ حُسْنِهِنَّ وَطُولِهِنَّ ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي أرْبَعًا فَلاَ تَسْألْ عَنْ حُسْنِهِنَّ وطُولِهِنَّ

“He used to pray four units, but don’t ask about how long and beautiful they were. Then, he’d pray another four, but don’t ask about how long and beautiful they were [..]”
(Bukhari and Muslim)

I don’t want you to necessarily focus on the rulings contained within these narrations as much as I wish to draw your attention to something else that can be sensed between the lines;

The undertone of admiration that she had for her husband.

Can your spouse say the same about you?

You see, the praise that one receives by colleagues at work, training partners or friends isn’t that special, as it’s so easy to put up a front in public that everyone loves. We all do it.

It’s at home, however, when the mask falls off, and where you are seen for who you truly are.

Perhaps this is one of the secrets why the people of Paradise will eventually say, listing the qualities that brought them to Paradise:

إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ

“Before, we used to be people who were afraid (of Allah) amidst our families.”
(Al-Qur’an, 52:26)

Notice how they didn’t say;

“amidst our friends”
“amidst the community”
“amidst our brothers/sisters in the Mosque”, no –

Their fear was amidst their “families”

An indication of just how sincere and genuine they were, for a person who’s cautious of Allah in private – “amidst family” – will most certainly be likewise in public. But the opposite is not always true, hence consider the precision of their words!

In the initial phase of marriage, we all try to hide certain negative traits about ourselves, be it stinginess, a short temper, laziness, as well as pretending to be things that we’re not.

We may pull it off for a week, month, perhaps even a year, but whether you like it or not, the façade has to eventually deteriorate, uncovering the person you truly are. If, despite this, your spouse can still say;

“s/he is unbelievably dedicated to Allah”
“I’ve never seen a person who keeps a distance from sins like him/her”
“The example s/he is setting is putting me to shame”
“I’ve become such a better Muslim since marrying him/her”

Then you truly are a special person.

Just like the Prophet Mohammad PBUH did at home, be an example, raise the bar, and let your presence always be that reminder of Allah and the Home of the Hereafter, both during Ramadan and beyond.

– Ust. ALI h.

Positive thinking

When the enemies of the Prophet (sallAllāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) twisted his name to “Mudhammam” (meaning the “dispraised” instead of praised one), he said to his companions,

أَلاَ تَعْجَبُونَ كَيْفَ يَصْرِفُ اللَّهُ عَنِّي شَتْمَ قُرَيْشٍ وَلَعْنَهُمْ يَشْتِمُونَ مُذَمَّمًا وَيَلْعَنُونَ مُذَمَّمًا وَأَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ

“Doesn’t it astonish you how Allāh protects me from the Quraish’s abusing and cursing? They abuse “Mudhammam” and curse “Mudhammam” while I am Muḥammad.” [Bukhari]

This is absolute genius thinking from the Prophet (sallAllāhu ʿalayhi wasallam), he flipped the propaganda and attacks on him through positive thinking. Similarly, we should strive to think in an optimistic manner in situations that could harm us emotionally.

Ramadan is a preparation

** Preparing full-timers **

Now that we’re three days into Ramadan, it’s usually around now where the initial hype of Ramadan begins to dampen.

Tonight, cast a quick glance around you at the Masjid during the night prayer, and you’ll probably realise that numbers have in fact started to dwindle.

It therefore comes as no surprise why Laylatul Qadr/The Night of Decree – the most rewarding night of the year – hasn’t been placed in the beginning of Ramadan, but during its end.

This, on its own, is a treasure of a lesson that Ramadan teaches its students year in year out;

Being a *consistently* practicing Muslim, during both Ramadan and after Ramadan, is what Allah wants from us.

As Imam Ibnu Taymiyyah said,

أعظم الكرامة لزوم الاستقامة

“The peak of *all* honour is in Istiqaama/ steadfastness”

It’s true.

So many started off with the Hijab then later abandoned it, and many started planning for an Islamic project then gave up, and many started as very adherent Muslims then their views changed. Similarly, many start Ramadan with huge enthusiasm, then it changes.

Ramadan is a preparation –

A preparation of full-timers.

O Allah, allow us to live and die upon Islam, and allow this Ramadan to seal the deal.

-Ustadh Ali H.

Distractions & Diversions

When you sit to recite the Quran, your phone will ring.
When you stand to pray two rak’ah, a message will ping you.
When you intend to do a righteous act, a distraction or disturbance will surface.

Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمه الله)said, “When the servant embarks on a devotional act, Allah sends diversions to him to test his truthfulness. If he fights, endures, and stands his ground, these diversions are soon replaced by that which assists him in devotion.”

Shaytan’s traps

The 6 Affairs Shaytān attempts to cast mankind into… Ibn ul-Qayyim رحمه الله

• Take Note: If Shaytān cannot cause you to fall into evil, he attempts to minimise your good at least…So beware & strive to your best in Knowledge, Understanding, & Practice of Islām!

Protect your tongue

Al-Imam Al-Shiraazi once said: Once, I stayed up the night with my father, while everyone around us remained asleep.
I said to him: Not a single person got up to even pray two rak’ahs?

He responded: It would have been better to sleep, my son, than to speak negatively of others.

Omar ibn Abd-Aziz once said: We lived in a time when we considered righteousness, not in fasting or prayer, but in withholding oneself from speaking poorly of others, for a person who spends his nights praying and days fasting will have his deeds go bankrupt on the Day of Resurrection if he doesn’t protect his tongue.

Fruitful Habits

من شب على شيء شاب عليه

‘Whoever spends his youth on something, will spend his old age in it’

Habits are hard to break and they follow us for more years than we ever anticipate! But imagine establishing a good habit, like reading a portion of Qur’an every day or giving charity every Friday, or regularly visiting your grandmother, or passing the orphanages and hospitals once a month. These are fruitful habits that you never want to see stop and their reward lasts beyond a lifetime.

🌟🌸

💎Pearls of Wisdom: Gentleness

In today’s class of الرفق واللين , i understood the concept of gentleness is very vast and covers almost every aspect of life. We usually think the gentle is the one who speaks gently. Gentleness and عجل are inversely proportional. Gentleness and patience are interconnected. And gentleness and hikmah are interconnected.

A person is considered gentle when his or her affairs are properly planned with wisdom. (H)She has given proper time to grip the task and knows how to perform the task. There is hikmah in the processes of the task.

We claim to be gentle but what we actually do whenever there is some work or task, we jump into the task without planning step by step. For example our day to day routine, most of us just jump into the day and go with the flow whatever come at front we start doing it. We do not plan our days properly. How much time for home, how much for Dawah, some days are wasted because of our mood swings, laziness.

Amna Irfan

✨🌟Easy Deeds, Massive Rewards!

✨Easy Deeds ➡Massive Rewards📈

🏆Reward of 50 Righteous Ones 💎

Rasul Alllah ﷺ said:

“Ahead of you there lie days of patience, during which being patient will be like grasping a hot coal. 🔥

The one who does good deeds then will have a reward like that of fifty men who do such deeds.

– And someone else added – They said: O Messenger of Allaah, the reward of fifty of them?

He said: “The reward of fifty of you.” 💎

📜 Abu Dawood (4341);
📜 Tirmidhi (3085) and he said: it is a hasan hadeeth.

🎖It was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (494).

📌In some reports of the hadeeth it says: “They are the ones who will revive my Sunnah and teach it to the people.”

May Allahﷻ add us to this category, آمــــــــــين

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

Quran Gem: Flee to Allah

When Allah speaks about our pursuit of worldly matters, He uses the term, فَامْشُوا / “Walk”
{Surah Al Mulk 67: Verse 15}

When speaking about our pursuit of Salaah, Allah uses the
term, فَاسْعَوْا / “Proceed”
{Surah Al Jumu’ah 62: Verse 9}

When speaking about our pursuit of Paradise, He uses the
term, سَابِقُوا / “Race!”
{Surah Al Hadid 57: Verse 21}

But, when speaking about our pursuit of Him, Allah uses the term, فَفِرُّوا / “Flee!”
{Surah Adh Dhariyat 51: Verse 50}

Not every ambition in life deserves the same amount of effort.

With the above said, consider your own life, your own aspirations and what you invest most time in.

Is the above an accurate reflection of us?

Or have we flipped this Qur’anic standard upside down, where we ‘walk’ towards Allah, but ‘flee’ towards everything other than Him?

Let your slogan in life be the words of Prophet Musa عليه السلام who said,
وَعَجِلْتُ إِلَيْكَ رَبِّ لِتَرْضَى

” .. and I *rush* to You, my Lord, so that You be pleased.”
{Surah At Taha 20: Verse 84}

Ya Allah help us prioritize our affairs in a way that is pleasing to you – ameen ya rabbi.

Souls Assorted: “What’s YOUR spiritual personality?”

One of the most beneficial papers I’ve read has been the paper on spiritual personality, uniquely combining faith and psychology. Now we bring you a spiritual personality test. Both the paper and the quiz have been in the works for over 6 months. Take your quiz below, and don’t forget to read the paper thoroughly 🙂

“Say: Everyone will act according to their nature, and your Lord knows best who is rightly guided.” (Qur’an 17:84).

https://myspiritualpersonality.yaqeeninstitute.org

https://yaqeeninstitute.org/en/zohair/souls-assorted-an-islamic-theory-of-spiritual-personality/

Sh. Omar Suleiman

Top 10⭐

✨ My Top 10 blog posts ✨

🍃1. Sweetness of Iman:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/sweetness-of-iman/

📖2. Surah Al Kahf 💎:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/surah-al-kahf-%f0%9f%92%8e/

⏳3. Turning Habits into Worship:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/turning-habits-into-worship-2/

😇4. The Barakah Effect:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/the-barakah-mindset-2/

😕5. Mastering the Art of Patience:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/mastering-the-art-of-patience/

💕6. Devotion with Certainty:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2017/12/29/devotion-with-certainty/

✔7. 10 things to *be* in the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/10-things-to-be-in-the-10-days-of-dhul-hijjah/

✨8. Blessings of Tahajjud Prayer:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/blessings-of-tahajjud-prayer/

👑9. Ramadan Reflections #19:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/ramadan-reflections-19/

🌹10. The Real Challenge:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-real-challenge/

Bonus 💜♥!

Keeping it real in Prayer:

https://liveforallah.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/keeping-it-real-in-the-prayer/

Ibn Taymiyah Gems

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).

Be different to see a difference!

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 

Actions & Intentions 

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”

[al-Baqarah 2:225]

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?

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

Salah n Sabr

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

Optimism: I am as my Servant thinks of Me

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]

Click to read more: http://productivemuslim.com

Upbringing of Sons 

Guiding Principles for the Upbringing of Sons 
Upbringing of sons is a difficult and tiresome task . Many a parent suffer grief due to the transgression of their offsprings and are in agony because of it . 
In respect of this issue Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawzi [may Allah be pleased with him] comments : 
” Sometimes the grief faced by man due to his children is the expiation of some of his sins and nothing else ! Hence there is glad tiding for the one who tried to bring up his children on the ways preferred by Allah The Glorious and Exalted. And good news is for the one who endured the ordeal  of bringing up his children and it becomes expiation for his sins. So, if you experience fatigue in rearing of your offsprings seek from your Lord forgiveness of your sins ” .
Maqatil bin Suleiman [may Allah have mercy upon him] visited Abbasid Caliph Mansur the day of his pledge of allegiance. Mansur said to him:
“O Maqatil! Admonish me about something.”
To which Maqatil said: “Do I advice you from what I saw or from what I heard?”
Mansur said : “From what you saw.”
Maqatil said : “Listen, O Amir ul Momineen!”
“Omar bin Abdul Aziz had eleven sons and he died leaving only eighteen dinars out of which five dinars were

 used to shroud him, four spent to buy his grave and rest were distributed amongst his sons.
And Hisham bin Abdul Malik too had eleven sons. He left for each son inheritance worth ten lac dinars.
By Allah! O Amir ul Momineen! In just one day I saw one son of Omar bin Abdul Aziz giving away sadaqah in the way of Allah one hundred horses and I saw the son of Hisham begging in the bazar (markets)!!!”
When Omar bin Abdul Aziz was on his death bed people asked him,”what are you leaving behind for your sons?”
To which he replied :
” I have left behind for them Taqwa [piety/fear] of Allah The Glorious The Exalted, so if they are righteous, Allah The Glorious and Exalted is Friend / Guardian of the righteous and if they are otherwise, I shall not leave wealth for them which is helpful for them in the ways of disobedience of Allah.”
Point to Ponder:
People usually work extremely hard to secure their children’s future; striving at great lengths; assuming, after their demise their offspring will only be well and at peace because of the wealth. Whereas they remain ignorant of the larger security which is in the Taqwa [fear / piety] of Allah.  They don’t gift their children the piety which Allah The Glorious, The Exalted has mentioned in His book by saying: [And let those fear as if they had left weak offspring behind and feared for them. So let them fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice]. [Al Nisa:9] 
When a man would see decline in the character of his son he would do sadaqah / charity, would feed people reciting this verse: [take from their wealth sadaqah to cleanse them and to purify them with it].

And would pray,”O Allah! this charity from me is so that my son develops purity in character because this distortion of his is more cumbersome/ painful for me than his physical disease would be.”
Similarly it is said about another person whenever he couldn’t do sadaqah due to his poverty and his son would annoy him, he would stand in nightly salah, recite Surah AlBaqarah and invoke saying:

“O Allah ! This is sadaqah from me. Accept it from me, and because of it, make him righteous.”
Turn towards Allah by worshipping him with the intention for the righteousness of one’s offspring . Even if they overcome your efforts still they are not able to overcome your intentions.
Our Lord! grant us from among our wives/ spouses and offspring, comfort to our eyes, and make us a leader/ example for the righteous.

Ameen .

-Ustadha Dr Farhat Hashmi 

Ramadan Reflections #16

Someone asked me today about what they should do tonight in terms of worship. I suggested a couple of things (other than Tarawih since they were going to the masjid anyway) but here is what I want to tell you:
You may be running out of steam but keep going and finish strong. Just like a work out: the last few seconds are the most difficult, painful and exhausting, but you have to muster up all the energy and force you have and keep going. You cannot afford to give up. If you drop 10 seconds too early from your plank you might as well start all over again. The last two dead lifts might make you feel like you will drop dead, but you cannot step away. You MUST pick that bar up and do your thing!

“When you think you are done you’re only 40% of what your body is capable of doing. That’s just the limit that we put on ourselves.” – David Goggins

Taiymiyyah zubair

Ramadan Reflections #11

#HalfwayThru #FinishStrong #DoRamadanRight
Ibn al-Jawzi (rA) said:
“When the race horse knows that it is nearing the end of the track, it expends all of its effort to win the race. Do not allow the race horse to be more clever than you. For certainly, deeds are judged by their conclusions. So if you didn’t do well with welcoming Ramadan then perhaps you will do better bidding it farewell.”
Ibn Tamyiya (rA) said:
“What really matters [with Allah] is the perfection of the finale, not the deficiency of the beginning.”
Hasan al-Basri (rA) said:
“Enhance your performance in what is left (of time) and you will be forgiven for that which has passed. But take special care of the time you have left because you do not know when your soul will be turned over to Allah’s Mercy.”

Sh. Mohammad elshinawy

Ramadan Reflections #10

The word shaytan comes from “shatan” meaning rope, which is the rope used to control one’s animal. This points to the chief desire of Shaytan: to control people. In contrast, Allah wants us to be liberated, hence the goal of the Sacred Law to eradicate intoxicants and usury. 
‘Shatana’ also means ‘to be far from,’ i.e. to be far from the mercy of Allah. One notes that the Prophetic way is to be near. Near to family, near to community, not to cut oneself off. Shaytan loves break away movements, because it makes his job easier when one is a lone sheep. 
Allah tells us that Shaytan wants us to be in constant fear. But what is the difference between this fear and taqwa, the fear of Allah. Taqwa is more akin to a warning; a fear of a known thing, the protection from which is in our control. Sdna Ubayy b Kab said, “It as if saying there are thorns on the road so walk carefully.” It’s known and it’s in your control. However satanic scare tactics are from unknown things that are not in your control, so you are completely paralyzed and can’t change it. He wants you to turn to him for help. 
Lastly, if dhikr of Allah expels Shaytan then how can worshippers who make dhikr every day be misguided? Two reasons. One, there is a certain shaytan assigned to all of us who is immune to dhikr. Second, there are Shayateen al-Ins, human beings who have embodied all of these satanic ways and can influence the unlearned worshipper. Hence the value of knowledge. Knowledge protects us from misguidance, while worship purifies us and raises our heavenly ranks. Both are essential. 
We ask Allah protection from the human and non human shayateen.

Sh. Mohammad Elshinawy

Ramadan Reflections #9

“So where are you going?” [Qur’an: Chapter 81, Verse 26]
Stop in your tracks. Reflect. Where are we heading towards right now with our life? Look at your life from a 50,000 ft view and tell me, where are you going?

The Power of Pause 🙂 Ramadan, a blessed month providing us such a wonderful opportunity ❤️

Ramadan Reflections #8

“The example of a believer, who recites the Qur’an and acts on it, is like an orange (utrujjah) which tastes nice and smells nice.

And the example of the believer who does not recite the Qur’an but acts on it is like a date that tastes sweet but has no smell.

And the example of the hypocrite who recites the Quran is like a sweet basil which smells good but tastes bitter.

And the example of a hypocrite who does not recite the Qur’an is like a colocynth (bitter apple) which tastes bitter and has a bad smell.”

[Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim ].

The One Thing that took my Prayer to the next level

RASHIDOON

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Like everyone else I have had my challenges with the Prayer. For quite a while I was frustrated with the level of focus and khushu’ that was at best slim. Therefore, I understand the dissatisfaction some of you feel towards their level of khushu’. At one stage of my life I came to a tentative conclusion that some people were destined to have more khushu’ than others, that some were born with the tendency to develop khushu’ while others were not. Unfortunately, I thought I was among the latter!

However, Allah has blessed me with a persistent and annoying dissatisfaction with lack of focus and khushu’ in my Prayer, that it was easier for me to do something about it than just to live with it. When that point of transformation tipped I found myself gravitating to lectures and books that focus on one’s inner experience of the acts of…

View original post 1,197 more words

*Real* Fitnah

With Trump becoming America’s President today, I think that Muslims fear further oppression in the world, and for life to get far more difficult for them specifically in the USA – and perhaps they even fear they might lose their Deen too due to the pressure on them from the Administration and society at large. 
This fear is understandable and not far-fetched. The threat is easy to see and hear, and gives folks clarity as to the danger and its source. Also, external threats are always easier to spot and focus on. 

I just wonder whether we see *internal* threats the same way.
I’ll be honest with y’all, I’m bored of Trump-terror and the super focus on the nightmare it will be (even though we should never get lazy and apathetic of course to resisting external evil with everything we have and enjoining good and forbidding evil), because I think our personal disobedience of our Creator is far bigger, more serious and more important a problem than *any* external threat. Especially Trump the plum. So I guess I am using this historic day for a personal reminder to myself whilst sitting on the train. 
The most blessed of mankind are those who fear sin and stay well away from it. 

Those less fortunate fall into that sin they feared but are blessed enough to recognise it when it happens and make amends. 

Those even less fortunate fall into that sin they feared but carry on living in that sin and don’t make amends

The most wretched of all are those who don’t recognise sin, don’t care for it, and whether in sin or not, they carry on with life without a care in the world. 
We should fear disobeying our Creator – in any single thing or way – more than anything else in the world. And we should fear its consequences even more. 
The worst consequence of all? For us to then be punished by being allowed to go astray from our Deen, to turn away from our Lord, and to take this life as our only objective. 

This is a reality that we don’t think about much when it comes to our personal sins. But we often visualise it easily with external threats, even when it isn’t likely or sure to happen. 

That’s what happens when we lose focus. That’s what happens when we make external threats bigger than our internal ones. And this, is the *real* fitnah that we should be terrified of. 
Allahumma sallim ya Rabb. 

-AE

Connotative meanings of Patience- Ibn Qayyim

Patience takes on the name what it refers to. Different names may be applied to patience in different situations. Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) has beautifully mentioned few examples here:

 

Patience is called chastity if it is associated with restraining a sexual desire.

 

Patience is called self-restraint if it refers to controlling one’s stomach.

 

When referring to refraining from disclosing what is better to keep secret, it is calledkeeping one’s secret.

 

If it consists of being content with what is sufficient for one’s needs, it is calledasceticism.

 
If it consists of being content of what someone has of worldly life, it is called self-content.

 

If it refers to controlling one’s nerves when angry, it is called forbearance.

 
When it refers to detesting from haste, it is called gracefulness.

 
If it refers to not fleeing or running away, it is called courage.

 

If it refers to refraining from taking revenge, it is called forgiveness.

 

If it refers to not being stingy, it is calledgenerosity.

 

When it refers to abstaining from food and drink for a specific period, it is called fasting.

 

If it consists of refraining from being helpless and lazy, it is called discretion.

 

If it refers to refraining from loading other people’s burden it is called chivalry.

 

In conclusion, patience has various names according to the situation it applies to, but all of them are included under patience. This indicates that all tenants and rites of Islam are associated with patience.

 
[Taken from “The way to patience and gratitude”, by Ibn Qayyim, pg. 21-22]

Ref website: Tawheedmovement.com

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

“Mera jina mera marna…”

Bismillah,

These are a series of lectures by Ustazah Dr Farhat Hashmi on the topic ‘Fiqh of Life and Death’, very beautifully explained..I hope you will benefit from it insha Allah 🙂

Mera Jina Mera Marna

Podcast:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/mera-jina-mera-marna/id583325371?mt=2

Modern Stress And Its Cure From Qur’an

by Shahid Athar , M.D.

Stress is the most common aliment of modern age. It has been implicated in the causation of peptic ulcer disease, coronary heart disease, depression, auto immune disease, hypertension, diabetes and even cancer. In milder form it manifests in form of unrest, violence, at work, school and home. Common medical problems like tension headache, insomnia, and obesity are also attributed to unusual stress. None of us are free from stress but some deal with it better than others.

Stress results from the following factors:

a. Fear of the unknown and trying to see through and control the destiny.
b. Losses in our life of people and things dear to us and our inability to recover those losses.
c. Inner conflict between our heart and mind between what is known to be the truth and our failure to accept it as truth. Acceptance of truth may require changing our habits and way of life which we may adhere to for some reason like pleasure, joys, taste, pride in race or heritage etc.

Let us examine how Quran deals with such situations.

Our losses are a trial for us:

“Be sure we will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, but give glad tidings to those who are steadfast, who say when afflicted with calamity: To God we belong and to him is our return. They are those on who (DESCEND) blessings from God and mercy and they are the once that receive guidance. 2:155

Thus in Islam, we do not have concept of the ownership of goods and life. Everything belongs to God and returns to him. So if we don’t own that thing why mourn our loss? 

a. Our destiny is predetermined. We do not have control on that part. What we have control over is a limited free will, that is our actions, our choice to do good or bad, to believe in God or not to believe in Him, but we have no control over tomorrow’s event not related to our actions i.e. whether my wife will have a son or daughter, whether his/her eyes will be brown or black, or whether I will have an accident or not tomorrow. worrying over such things is of no use.

b. Rejection of faith in Quran is called a disease. This denial of truth is due to arrogance.

“In their heart there is a disease and God has increased their disease and grievous is their penalty because they lie to themselves.” (Qur’an 2:10)

Therefore after lying to ourselves, we set up an inner conflict – between heart and mind. In order to contain that conflict the mind sends signals to glands for secretion of hormones like adrenaline which leads to rapid heart rate, perspiration, tremor, the basis of lie detector test.

This lying conflict could be due to “SMALL” crimes like theft or adultery, or big crimes like rejection of God.

3 stages of spiritual development of soul age

a. Nafsul Ammara: -The Passionate soul “I do not absolve myself Lo the (human) soul is prone to evil, save that whenever my Lord has mercy. Lo, Lord is forgiving; merciful.”  (Surah Yusuf 12:53)

This soul inclines toward sensual Pleasure, passion and self gratification , anger, envy, greed, and conceit. Its concerns are pleasure of body, gratification of physical appetite, and ego.

Hadith “your most-ardent-enemy is your evil self which resides within your body” (Bukhari).

If this evil soul is not checked it will lead to unusual stress and its resultant effects. 

– b. Nafsul Lawanunah (The Reproaching Soul). “Nay, I swear by the reproaching soul” (Qur’an 75:10)

This soul is conscious or aware of Evil, resists it, asks for God’s grace, and pardon, repents and tries to amend and hopes to achieve salvation.

“And (There are) others who have acknowledged their faults. They mix a righteous action with another that was bad. It may be that Allah will relent toward them. Lo! Allah is relenting, merciful.” (Qur’an 9:102)

Hadith “These are two impulses within us. One spirit which calls towards good and confirms the truth. He who feels this impulse should know that it comes from Allah. Another impulse comes from our enemy (Devil) which leads to doubt and holds untruth and encourages evil. He who feels this should seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil.”

This soul warns people of their vain desire, guides and opens the door to virtute and righteousness. It is a positive step in spiritual growth.

c. The satisfied soul (Nafsul Mutmainnah). “O (you) soul in (complete) rest and satisfaction. Come back to your Lord, will pleased (yourself) and will pleasing unto him. Enter you then among my devotees, enter you in my heaven.” (Qur’an 89:27-30)

This is the highest state of spiritual development. satisfied soul is the state of bliss, content and peace. The soul is at peace because it knows that inspite of its failures in this world, It will return to God. Purified of tension, it emerges from the struggle with obstacles blocking the peace of mind and heart.

What should we do in panic and despair? In panic non-believers behave differently than believers. They have no one to return to, to ask for mercy and forgiveness, their life is this life, which they cannot control, thus get more depressed and increase in their state of wrong doing. Then we will see that if they are used to casual drinking will start drinking more and become alcoholic, or a barbital criminal.

On the other hand a believer should do the following:

a. Increase dhikr (Remembrance of God)
“who have believed and whose heart have Rest in the remembrance of God. Verify in the remembrance of God, do hearts find rest.” (Qur’an 13:28)

b. Increase their prayer.
“O you who believe, seek help with steadfastness and prayer. For God is with those who are steadfast.” (Qur’an 2:1530)

c. Ask forgiveness
“And I have said: seek forgiveness from your Lord. Lo He was ever forgiving.” (Qur’an 71:100)

In addition to above we are also asked to continue to struggle to up-grade ourselves.
” surely God does not change the condition in which a people are in until they change that which is in themselves.” (Qur’an 13:11)

In summary, I conclude that stress results from lack of inner peace due to conflicts within us and leads to external disturbances in our behaviour and health. Inner peace can only be achieved by believing in God, the All Mighty, and remembering him frequently and asking for his help and forgiveness in times of difficulties.

Taqwa

 

Taqwa is one of those unique words in the Arabic language that cannot simply be translated into a word or two in English. As a result, many translators struggle to bring out the real meaning of the word taqwa.

Literally, taqwa means to protect and could be that one protects himself from the Wrath of Allah by protecting himself from indulging in things that Allah forbids. In the Shariah, taqwa as used in the Quran repeatedly, signifies the obedience to the Rules of Islam while avoiding Haraam, and additionally abstaining from unsuitable things in life.

Taqwa in the Qur’an

Taqwa is mentioned in the Qur’an many times over and Allah has ordered each and every Muslim to have taqwa.

A couple of verses that mention taqwa are presented below:

“It is not taqwa that you turn your faces toward East or West, but it is taqwa to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book and the Messengers, to spend of your substance out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts you have made; to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity. Those are the truthful and those are the muttaqun.” [Qur’an 2:177]

“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has Taqwa. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Qur’an 49:13]

Taqwa in Ahadith

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “The most common thing which leads people to Paradise is taqwa of Allah and good conduct, and the most common thing which leads people to the Hell Fire is the mouth and the private parts.” [Tirmidhi]

Tafseer ibn Kathir mentions that Atiyah As-Sa’di said the Propeht (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “The servant will not acquire the status of those with taqwa until he abandons what is harmless out of fear of falling into that which is harmful.” [Ibn Majah, Tirmizi]

Sayyiduna Ali (R.A) defined Taqwa as being the ‘fear of Jaleel (Allah), acting upon the tanzeel (Quran), being content with qaleel (little), and preparing for the day of raheel (journeying from this world).

Hadrat Umar ibn Khattab (R.A) once asked Hadrat Ibn Ka’ab (R.A) the definition of taqwa. In reply Hadrat Ibn Ka’ab asked, “Have you ever had to traverse a thorny path?” Hadrat Umar replied in the affirmative and Hadrat Ka’ab continued, “How do you do so?”

Hadrat Umar said that he would carefully walk through after first having collected all loose and flowing clothing in his hands so nothing gets caught in the thorns hence injuring him. Hadrat Ka’ab said, “This is the definition of taqwa, to protect oneself from sin through life’s dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey unscathed by sin.”

Hadrat Hasan Basri said, “Taqwa is the basis of Deen. Desire and greed destroy this basis.”

Hadrat Maulana Hafiz Ghulam Habib (r.a.) used to define taqwa as the shunning of everything and anything that causes a deficiency in one’s relationship with Allah.

May Allah give all the Muslimeen the ability to cultivate taqwa in our lives and grant us paradise, Ameen.


Source: Haqislam.org

  

Which One are You?

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Wassalatu Wassalamu ala Rasulillah

Here’s an interesting read with an important life lesson…worth adding to my collection 🙂

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied. “Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.

Which one are you? When problems come (and they will) how will you react? Will they make you weak, hard hearted or will they cause you to change into something worthwhile?

Qualities of an Ideal Worker

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Wassalatu Wassalamu ala Rasulillah

Primary assets of an Ideal worker:

I’lm (Knowledge): al-Qur’an, al-Hadith, Islamic Literature

Iman (Faith): taqwa (consciousness of Allah)

A’mal (Deeds): salah with khushoo (humility), night prayers, remembrance of Allah, du’a (supplication), infaaq (spending in the way of Allah), voluntary fasting, etc.

Basic qualities of an ideal worker:

Courageous
Sincere (ikhlaas)
Humane
Organized
Determined
Hard-working
Punctual
Good conduct
Good habit
Good in lecture and writing

Assets to improve qualities of an ideal worker:

Sabr (Patience)
Hikmah (Wisdom)
Tawakkul (Reliance on Allah)
Bai’yah (Allegiance)
Ihtisab (Accountability)

Basic Qualities:

Ability to command with respect
Trusted on sincerity of purpose
Confidence on ability
Approachable for suggestion
Acceptability as a leader
Ready to sacrifice
Open-minded
Understanding of responsibilities
Optimism

Practical Qualities:

Ability to help understand efficiently
Ability to answer questions adequately
Ability to acquire love and affection of the members
Habit of making decisions after consultation
Courage to encourage criticism
Dynamic
Serious
Keen perception

Technical Qualities:

Planning balance between idealism and realism, target and resource
Organizing utilizing the resources to achieve target
Implementing guidance, supervision, and control.

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Iqra. Qum. Qum

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Wassalatu Wassalamu ala Rasulillah

What were the first 3 Surah’s revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam? And what can the Ummah learn from them?

1. Surah 96 commands the Prophet salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam: “Recite in the name of your Lord.” From this, we learn the importance of having a relationship with Al-Qur’an Al-Kareem. And we learn the importance of having relationship with knowledge itself!

2. Surah 73, which says in the beginning, “Arise [to pray] the night.” From this, we learn the importance of sincere and devoted ‘ibadah. It’s not enough to just say “I believe.” Rather, we must demonstrate faith through action and specifically by doing what Allah (subhana wa t’ala) asked us to do. Allah asked us to worship him alone (‘ibadah). ‘Ibadaat are not just rituals and traditions. Rather, true ‘ibadah is the worship of Allah alone, a sincere desire for guidance, and a sincere desire to know and have a relationship with Allah (aza wa jal).

3. Surah 74, which says in the beginning “Arise and warn.” From this, we learn about the importance of da’wah, activism, speaking the truth, and standing for justice. How productive are you in the community and Ummah? How many people have you helped? Knowledge is a virtue and makes us more effective individuals. Get involved in the community and help spread and establish Al-Islaam.

So, how can you remember this all? Iqra. Qum. Qum.

-Dr. Reda Bedeir, AlMaghrib Institute

The Real Challenge

Having the stamina to do good *continuously* is the sign of true excellence, and the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) confirmed that by saying,

“The best of actions are those which are done regularly, even if they are few.”

The real challenge is when your conditions change. And thus the true righteous ones are those who maintain that standard. Reflect on the statement of Allah:

إِنَّا نَرَاكَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“We can see that you are a righteous man.” (12:36 and 12:78)

This statement was repeated twice to Sayyidinā Yūsuf (‘alayhis-salām).

The first time, he was in prison: poor, powerless.

The second time, he was one of the leaders of Egypt: rich, powerful.

The two scenarios couldn’t possibly be more different, but he maintained his excellence and that’s why he deserves all the accolades he gets as one of the close friends and Prophets of Allah jalla wa ‘alā. It doesn’t need to be a huge action, it just needs to be sincere and continuous.

So whatever good you start, just keep on going.

-Ustadh Abu Eesa Niamatullah

Seerah of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) – Shaykh Yasir Qadhi

  Why study the Seerah:   This is an obligation that Allah has put upon us, we have to know this person. There are over 50 verses in the Qur’an that command us to take the Prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam as an example.  لَقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِىۡ رَسُوۡلِ اللّٰهِ اُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَنۡ كَانَ يَرۡجُوا اللّٰهَ […]

Victory Comes With Patience

The Messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said to his cousin:

“And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.”

Even in the battle of Qadisiyyah, after fighting through the whole day, the Muslim leader said “just be patient, and keep fighting.” Even into the night, when most armies stop fighting at night! But subhanallah, what happened? By the next morning, the Muslims had won.

With anything you do, there’s this one moment everyone is tired, and if you push through that moment, endure a little more, then you make it. A winner mentality. Losers are like “no, I can’t do it, I’ll just quit.” Ask people who are black-belts–they’ll tell you the same thing. There’s this one moment where you feel like quitting. But if you push through that moment, you’ve succeeded–the rest you can do on cruise-control.

So whatever you’re trying to do–whether succeed at a project, or change a habit, or achieve a goal, or conquer an enemy, remember that victory comes with patience.

And of course, patience is an active quality, not a passive quality–don’t just sit back and expect things to go your way. Work for it, strive for it, and remember that results are from Allah (سبحانه وتعالى)

And Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says in the Qur’an:

وَاسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلاَةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلاَّ عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ

And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones.

[Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 45]

Lessons from the Salaf

Naseehah (Advice) from Shaykh Hasan Abdul-Wahhaab Al-Bannaa

Once, I entered the masjid for our class with our Shaykh Hasan Abdul-Wahhaab Marzouq Al-Bannaa (may Allah preserve him, and his family upon good), I found him praying. After I offered my prayer of greeting the masjid, I greeted the Shaykh, and kissed his head. We talked about how each of us spent our Eid and the conditions of our families. After this the Shaykh began to drink his tea, which was prepared for him.

Read More »

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

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

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`

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.