*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

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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?

A Believer’s Attitude towards Calamities

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Wassalatu Wassalamu ala Rasulillah

There are things which, if the one who is stricken with calamity thinks about them, that will make the calamity easier for him to bear.

In his valuable book Zaad al-Ma’aad (4/189-195), Ibn al-Qayyim has mentioned several things, including the following:

1 – If he looks at what has befallen him, he will find that what his Lord has left for him is similar to it or better than it, and if he is patient and accepts it, He has stored up for him something that is many times greater than what he has lost through this calamity, and if He willed He could have made the calamity even greater.

2 – The fire of calamity can be extinguished by thinking of those who have been hit even harder. Let him look to his right, does he see anything but calamity? Then let him look to his left, does he see anything but loss? If he were to look at the people around him, he would not see anything but people who are tested, either by missing out on something that they like, or by having happen to them that which they dislike. The pains of this world are like dreams or like a passing shadow.

3 – It should be noted that panicking will not make the calamity go away, and in fact it makes it worse. Panicking makes one’s enemy rejoice and makes one’s friend feel sad; it makes Allaah angry and makes the shaytaan happy; it destroys reward and weakens resolve.

4 – It should be noted that what comes after being patient and seeking reward is pleasure and joy that is many times greater than what he could have got from keeping what he lost. Sufficient for him is the “house of praise” that will be built for him in Paradise as a reward for his praising his Lord and turning to Him (by saying Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return)). So let him decide which of the two calamities is greater: a calamity in this world, or the calamity of missing out on the house of praise in eternal Paradise. In al-Tirmidhi it is narrated in a marfoo’ report: “On the Day of Resurrection people will wish that their skins had been cut with scissors in this world, when they see the reward of those who were struck with calamity.”
One of the salaf said: Were it not for the calamities of this world, we would come empty-handed on the Day of Resurrection.

5 – It should be noted that the One Who is testing him is the Most Wise and the Most Merciful, and that He – may He be glorified – did not send this calamity in order to destroy him or cause him pain or finish him off, rather He is checking on him, testing his patience, acceptance and faith; it is so that He may hear his du’aa’ and supplication, so that He may see him standing before Him, seeking protection, filled with humility and complaining to Him.

6 – It should be noted that were it not for the trials and tribulations of this world, a person could develop arrogance, self-admiration, a pharaonic attitude and hardheartedness which would lead to his doom in this world and in the Hereafter. It is a sign of the mercy of the Most Merciful that He checks on him from time to time with the remedy of calamity so as to protect him from these diseases, to keep his submission and servitude sound, and to eliminate all bad elements that may lead to his doom. Glory be to the One Who shows mercy by means of testing, and tests by means of blessing, as it is said:

Allaah may bless us with calamities even if that is hard, and Allaah may test some people with blessings.

7 – It should be noted that the bitterness of this world is the essence of sweetness in the Hereafter, as Allaah will turn the former into the latter. Similarly the sweetness of this world is the essence of bitterness in the Hereafter. It is better to move from temporary bitterness to eternal sweetness than the other way round. If this is still not clear to you, then think of what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Paradise is surrounded with difficulties, and Hell is surrounded with desires.” End quote.

Hardships…Trials…Tests!

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Wassalatu Wassalamu ala Rasulillah

Surah al-Anbiya’, the Chapter of Prophets. In this profound Surah we go through passages where the lives of some of the Prophets are recapped. But it’s not their entire life that is detailed here; instead, Allah `azza wa jall alerts us to their moments of hardship, their trials, and their tests.

About Ibrahim: ‘They said, “Burn him and support your gods – if you are to act.” Allah said, “O fire, be cool and safe for Abraham.” –
“And remember Nuh, when he cried (to Us) aforetime…”
“And remember Dawud and Sulaiman, when they gave judgement…”
“And remember Ayub, when he cried to his Lord: “Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.”
“And remember Isma’il and Idrees and Dhul-Kifl; all were of the patient.”
“And remember Dhan-Nun (Yunus), when he went off in anger…”
“And remember Zakariya, when he cried to his Lord: “O My Lord! Leave me not single (childless), though You are the Best of the inheritors.””
“And remember she who guarded her chastity (Maryam)…”

And so the passages unfold, each one giving us an insight into the lives of the Prophets and legends before us. They were tested, and so they called out to Allah for help. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) was once asked ‘Who from the people are the most tested’, and he said: “The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of religious commitment. If his religious commitment is strong, he will be tested more severely, and if his religious commitment is weak, he will be tested in accordance with his religious commitment. Calamities will keep befalling a person until he walks on the earth with no sin upon him.” [al-Tirmidhi, sahih]

Hence it’s no surprise that in the Chapter of the Prophets, these tests are mentioned. But immediately after each mention, Allah `azza wa jall says, “So We answered his call…’ ‘So we saved him…’ etc. And in the end, He says, “Truly! This Ummah of yours is one Ummah, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me.” [al-Anbiya’: 92].

We are slaves of Allah following trails set by Prophets before us. They encountered hard times, and so we will encounter hard times. They were tested, and so we will be tested. They bore patience, and so we must bear patience, because we are one Ummah, with one religion. It’s truly uplifting when we take these legends and towering figures as our role-models and guides, because despite the struggles, they remain the best men to walk the face of this planet and this is something to truly look up to and be proud of.

May Allah keep us firm on His Path and keep us strong within the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), ameen.