by Shaykh Salman al-Oadah

I went on an outing with my children. Our main intention was to swim and for the children to have their fair share of recreation and of my quality time. It was also a chance for me as a father, to have my rightful share of the joy of being with my children, for truly we need our children as much as they need us, if not more. I found myself busy on that day with all sorts of little tasks – like making sandwiches, setting the picnic table, and handing out sweets. It was a beautiful day to harvest some of the fruits of happiness just by enjoying ordinary activities in total relaxation and familiarity.

That day made me think about how much we, as people, speak about happiness. Hundreds of books are published every year to address the issue from a dry, philosophical standpoint. These works strive to define happiness and reveal its connection with factors like prosperity, pleasure, and our state of mind. There is considerable controversy about what brings about happiness and, more essentially, what it actually means to be happy. This leads to the more mundane questions of role that health, wealth, one’s job, one’s marriage, and being successful play in our chances for happiness.

We might fail to see that happiness is an inner state of our being, which comes into its being within ourselves, and is often connected with the most ordinary and seemingly insignificant events of our lives. It is the normal state of a person’s mind when that person is enjoying an experience or an activity. Those of us who disdain engaging in some pleasant activities, or simply fail to admit our enjoyment of them – due to our preconceived notions of what is suitable for us as adults, or as elderly people, or as people of social prominence – need to rethink some of our ideas. We should not rob ourselves of life’s small but significant pleasures.

Be like a small child and really enjoy that cup of tea you are drinking. Take time to taste it. The same goes for a piece of chocolate or your ordinary daily meal. Enjoy it. Enjoy eating alone and in the company of people you care about.

Allah says: “There is nothing wrong with you eating together or by yourselves.” [Sûrah al-Nûr: 61]

Be like a child who looks forward excitedly to taking a ride. Look forward to pleasant things. Laugh at a funny joke without first examining it to deduce whether the humor of the joke holds up under close scrutiny. Look forward to your sleep. Recognize it as being Allah’s blessing and a refreshment for your body and mind. Maybe you will dream about those you love.

Look forward to the activity that is ahead of you. Take pleasure in the accomplishment – however small – that completing your task provides you with. This can be said of reading a book, preparing a letter, a lesson that you attend, or a social event that you participate in.

Try to see the beauty of a flower in bloom, the fields of crops, a flowing stream, the sparrow’s song, and a child in play. Do not block these things from your sight, thinking them to be unimportant. Indeed, our sense of importance and of what carries weight with us – this is one of the greatest obstacles to happiness. This is an affliction that we impose upon ourselves. We need no enemy to do this to us.

We are happiest when we are the least inhibited in acknowledging and expressing how we feel. This is the case whether we are in the company of those we know or those we do not know. Expressing our feelings should not carry with it a sense of dread as if we are disclosing the most sensitive of state secrets.

We are happiest when we shed our ostentation and inflated sense of self-importance, so we can really listen to ourselves and acknowledge our inner needs and aspirations.

We are happiest when we are not pining after unrealistic and overly idealistic dreams but look at our lives naturally, without shame, and without exaggerating things.

We are happiest when we focus keenly on the experience of the moment, taking note of the billions – nay trillions – of blessings that are right in front of us. Allah’s generosity extends to each living cell of our bodies and to everything on the land, the air, and in the sea. His grace extends to all the intangibles as well, like those feelings and sensations that we cannot describe in physical terms. Faith is a good example, love, pleasure, the apprehension of language, longing, joy, hope…

We may be happiest of all when we realize that happiness is not a package we receive in the mail – either by design or fortune – nor is it a degree conferred upon us like a diploma. It is rather the felling of the moment, if we harvest well what that moment has to offer and resolve to make the best of it. It is when we shove aside despair, worry, fear, hatred, envy, and the other negative emotions that too often preoccupy our thoughts.

We are the happiest we can be when we choose to be happy.

Source: www.islamtoday.com

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Residual Ajr

January 24, 2009

Subhan’Allah, how people chase after money in this world and attempt to set-up residual incomes for themselves and their families.  However, how many of us attempt to set-up residual hassanah (reward) for our hereafter?  Just reflect on the follow hadith:

Jarir bin ‘Abdullah al-Bajali narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Whoever introduces some good practice in Islam will have the reward of it, as well as the reward of those who act on it after him, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And whoever introduces some evil practice in Islam will bear the burden of it as well as the burden of those who act on it after him, without theirs being diminished in any respect.” (Bukhari)

How can we take advantage of such ‘residual ajr’?  Subhan’Allah, there are multiple ways as Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “When a human dies, his good deeds stop, except three: a sadaqa jariyya (continuous charity), a beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child that prays for him” (Muslim).

One way is through our wealth by giving in a cause that will work for us continuously, insh’Allah.  These projects could include the building of a masjid or a school.  We can also donate to a dawah project or buy books and  donate them to a library amongst many different things.

Another way is through knowledge.  We can teach at a weekend school little children how to read the Quran.  We can give dawah (to Muslims and non-Muslims).  We can teach a new Muslim how to pray.  We can establish a weekly-halaqa in our community.  We can set-up a dawah project at our MSAs that will continue to run even after we’ve graduated.

And another way is through righteous children.  We can raise on children upon the truth.  We can help them in memorizing the Book of Allah.  We can give them a proper Islamc education and upbringing and insh’Allah everytime they do good b/c our actions, we will see the fruit of it in the Hereafter.  May Allah (SWT) bless us all with beautiful, pious children.  Ameen.

My Defining Moment in Egypt

November 16, 2008

In my last two weeks of living in Egypt, there were several moments that helped me define how I need to view life.  Most of these moments would be viewed as commonplace, but the reflection that was built off of them helped define me.  I will only talk about one of those moments in this post.

There aren’t many people in the world where one feels such affection towards them where it completely changes a person’s perspective on how they live their lives.  Obviously, love for one’s spouse is true and real, but the affection and love I’m talking about here is different than that of one’s spouse.  It is the love of another human being for the sake of Allah.  It reminds us of the famous hadith of the seven types of people who will be shaded on the Day of Resurrection with one type being two people who love each other for Allah’s sake and the meet and depart because of it.  Personally, I get along with people incredibly well, alhamdulillah, and there are a number of brothers out there I feel I can relate to on a personal level and I love them for the sake of Allah.  When I mention love for Allah’s Sake, I mean this innate feeling of affection that is deep within one’s heart and for love is not something we can control.

Today, I wanted to talk about love for a scholar on a personal level.  I met the Imam of a masjid close to where we were living in Madinat Nasr and I asked him if I could study some Quran with him.  His name was Sheikh Adel and he was extremely personable and friendly.  I loved every moment that I spent with this brother.  Every question I asked him something, he would either answer it directly with evidences he had memorized or he would tell him he would look it up and get back to me (and sure enough he would).  I felt awe in my time with Sheikh Adel and I felt honor that this brother would give his time to teach me.  Sheikh Adel had several other students he would teach as well as the responsibilities of the masjid and his job.  Additionally, he would sit with his teachers and continue his ever-lasting quest for knowledge.

I felt like a little child when I was with Sheikh Adel, especially in terms of my knowledge as compared to him, I was ashamed of where I stood in terms of Islamic knowledge.  His knowledge of Tajweed was amazing, even in the different recitations of the Holy Quran.  He was an honest, humble, and sincere man.

Many times for lessons abroad, students pay their teachers to compensate them for their time.  Especially on learning that one is from America, many teachers see dollar signs in their eyes.  My teacher was different.  He refused to take anything from me in exchange for his time.  In fact, he gave me a gift while I was studying with him!  Subhan’Allah, how some people are truly attached to the Hereafter!

However, the moment that truly struck a chord in me was the last time I met him as I prepared to return to the United States.  I was walking with Shaykh Adel in Madinat Nasr and I asked him, “How old are you, bro?”  He responded, “23.”

I knew Shaykh Adel was young, but I assumed he was in his late twenties, definitely older than me.  However, it turns out, I was several months older than Shaykh Adel.  This conversation got me thinking about the blessings we have in life.  Here in America, we have amazing opportunities in terms of dawah and calling people to Islam.  However, the main thing I realized was what we, the new Muslim generation, need to emphasize with our children.  We, along with everyone else who truly wants it, have the potential blessing of having our children raised with the Quran.  There were people that I came across on a daily basis in Egypt who were raised around the Quran.  They memorized it at an early age in their respective villages.  They knew the Quran in the different qiraat.  Their lives were based on the Quran.  Take these children and compare him to some of children we see being raised in America that don’t even know how to pray.  Now, I’m not saying raising your child in a village in Africa is the way to go.  I’m simply saying that regardless of how we decide to live, we HAVE to give our children a beautiful relationship with the Quran while they are still young.  They can be scholars of Tajweed and still become engineers (like Shaykh Adel).  They can love the Quran and still love science and medicine.  However, our priorities need to lay with the Quran first and foremost.  Just because we are living in America does not mean we should deprive our children of knowing and following what is truly important.  The Quran is where the true blessings lie whether you are in America or Egypt.

(Note: This post is a reflection from my time in Egypt.  For an informational post on my experience in Egypt, please see: https://mustaqeem.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/egypt)

Hug Your Mother

November 9, 2008

Watch this six minute clip.  If you do not get teary, it’s time to re-examine your heart.  If your heart isn’t touched, make sure it hasn’t hardened:

Related: https://mustaqeem.wordpress.com/2007/04/25/a-mothers-love/

Islam respects all human needs like sex and food and directs human beings to the right way where they can properly fulfill their needs and desires.

Islam considers sex as one of the essential human needs that must be properly satisfied. It is a necessity of the human being that requires favorable consideration. In fact, Islam considers it one of the requirements of life that should be properly and lawfully satisfied. Moreover, Islam does not treat it as a distasteful, filthy, or heinous act of man.

Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an Surrah Al-Imran [The Family of Imran] (3:14):�Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: women and sons; heaped-uphoards of gold and silver; horses branded [for blood and excellence]; and [wealth of] cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world’s life; but in nearness to Allah is the best of the goals [to return to]�.

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

Three items of this world were made attracted [or likeable] to me: women, perfume [but] the [utmost] pleasure of my eyes [soul] is in prayer�.

In fact, Islam prohibits deprivation of the sexual behavior. This is, simply, because Islam is the natural religion commensurate to pure human innate. Islam does not, at any time, interfere with the requirements of the human’s needs or desires. It rather attempts to answer and fulfill all human needs and requirements, yet by setting certain lawful limits and restrictions to ensure satisfying these needs in a right and lawful manner. Islam endeavors to keep the sex within the framework of human needs and elevates it above the savage and uncivilized way.

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

“People enter Jannah, Paradise mostly based on Taqwa of Allah (respect and fear of Allah) full respect and obedience of the Commands of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)], and based on their good conduct. [While] most people enter the Hellfire because of the [ill use] of the mouth and private parts�.

Islam sets the mode for the better advancement of man, if he follows the Islamic rules and God’s Commands on the subject. Islam looks at the proper (legal) use of the sex as an act of worship, (Ibadah). A Muslim would be rewarded when he practices this act, as he is rewarded when he does any other acts of worship.

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

[A Muslim] would have an intercourse with his spouse and would be rewarded for it. The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) asked: Oh Messenger of Allah! A person would be rewarded while satisfying his sexual need? Prophet Mohammad replied: Yes. Isn’t it that he would be punished had he practiced sex illegally (not with his spouse)? The same applies if a Muslim practiced a lawful intercourse with his spouse. As such, he would be rewarded�.

In Islam, the only way allowed for satisfying the sexual desire is a lawful “marriage”. In fact, Islam urges Muslims to seek marriage.

Islam regards marriage as a natural necessity in order to achieve tranquility and peace of mind for the Muslim. To the society, Islam regards marriage as a place to foster love, affection, closeness. Further, Islam regards marriage as a requirement to maintain the human race. Also Islam regards marriage as a mean for better moral values, preservation of honor and dignity, and preservation of the moral values of the human society. Thus, neglecting marriage or rejecting it is regarded as a denial of all the normal human behaviors and pure code of social ethics”.

Hence, marriage in Islam is a way to reach tranquility and peace of mind.

Allah states in the Qur’an Surrah Al-Room (30:21):

�And among His Signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts]: verily in that are Signs for those who reflect�.

In fact marriage is essential to protect both spouses against indulgence in unlawful sexual practices that eventually leads to corruption and immoral acts [such as prostitution, fornication and adultery] in the Muslim society.

Prophet Mohammad has stressed that when he said:

There is no greater sin after the sin of associating partners with Allah than a man placing his semen in a womb [private part of a woman] that is unlawful for him to place(having sex with a woman that is not his wife)�.


source:  www.therevival.co.uk via www.islamonline.com

Bollywood or Bust!

January 24, 2008

Check out this short video (<5 minutes) entitled “Truth About Bollywood” and then the article below it entitled “Bollywood or Bust!” written by Abdul Muqtadir

Muslims have always been a minority group within the Indian sub-continent, compared to the larger Hindu majority, but what is new in recent times is the Muslims absence from political power. Whenever a nation of people have migrated to India they have been engulfed by the powerful nature of its culture.

The religion of Islam was first introduced to the Indian sub-continent through the efforts of Muhammad bin Qasim Al Thaqafi and other pious men, who struggled and died to take Islam to the distant corners of the globe. The spread of Islam in the region led to its establishment as a political and social order through the implementation of Shariah, this in turn led to massive leaps in the progression of the Indian civilisation and culture.

Islam does not regard culture as intrinsically haram (forbidden). Indeed Arab culture is not necessarily Islamic culture, and Islamic culture is not necessarily equal to Arab culture. There is no identifiable concept as Islamic culture, rather the Shariah of Islam lays down the parameters of what is permissible and what is forbidden from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Muhammad , sallalahu alaihi wassallam. Anything that does not contravene this can be taken as an acceptable culture. Bearing this in  mind we can see it perfectly acceptable for a Muslim to eat an Indian curry or a plate of fish and chips, providing they are Halal. These are two icons of different cultures yet both are perfectly within the parameters of Islam.

When Muslims live side by side with non-Muslims the interaction of the two groups will indeed lead to the exchange of ideas, habits and even rituals. If not safety catches are put in place then over a period of time there is the serious danger that eventually there will be little distinction between the two groups, before long mixed faith marriages, the adoption of festivals, habits, beliefs and even worship will take place and the general lack of religious foresight will lead to a completely new ‘mutated’ community of pseudo-Muslims and their counterparts.

The threat of cultural integration and the loss of Islamic identity is so dangerous that the Messenger of Allah drew our attention to it on many an occasion. That is not to say Muslims should isolate themselves  or retreat into ghettos , on the contrary it is an essential requirement to deliver the message of  Islam to non-Muslim communities and this in itself must be undertaken with beautiful manners, amicable relations and the finest of speech, and of course all this requires interaction. But the concern that needs to be at the top of the agenda is that of the preservation and confidence in the creed and practice that Islam embodies. It is when the Ummah adopts Islam as a way of life and fulfils its mission that Allah grants it authority on the Earth

There are many complexities to living as Muslims in this day and age. Many factors are at play in the world around us, strings are pulled and flutes are played, the overall effect on our daily lives is tremendous. What is more frightening is the lack of insight and consciousness we as Muslims seem to possess. In most instances we only appreciate the reality of our circumstances and depth of our condition after we have tasted its bitter fruit.

Many of you (I hope) will be unfamiliar with the nature and power of the ‘Bollywood’ film industry and the great impact it is having upon Muslims globally, I will now endeavour to shed some light on the area in a hope that it will make us reflect and help us reconsider our current neglect. The Indian film industry has been in operation for over fifty years and during this period of time it has been able to extend its large tentacles to every corner of the globe. Indeed where there is any substantial number of people from the Indian sub-continent ( that includes Bangladeshis and Pakistanis) you will find the long and murky shadow of Bollywood. Before the era of satellite dishes and cable companies, people would satisfy their craving for an Indian movie via the local video shop, and in the absence of these then there was always the radio and magazines at hand. Through  television the access is immediate.

Depravation has led to Muslim involvement in the industry at every level and throughout its history. From the directors of the movies to the local video hire shop Muslims are in it ‘waist high’. From the likes of the legendary actor Dilip Kumar (his original Muslim name was Yusuf, it was changed to assist integration) who had his first appearance in 1944 and Waheeda Rehaman ( a Muslim lady who ran away from home to become an actress and went on to marry Hindu actor Guru Dutt) (???) to the melodic Mohammed Rafi (source of many a love song), down to the modern day Salman Khan ( Indian Romeo of the 90’s and icon for many young Asian boys) and the infamous Amir Khan. All these and many more are  part of the machinery to propagate ideas and notions about the world around us. The plot of almost every film is based on the story line of ‘boy meets girl’, the film spirals the viewer into a realm of indecency that would put Hollywood to shame. The unfolding story lines usually marked with their lack of reality expose the naïve Muslim family to every thing that is wholly unislamic. The many Muslim actors and actress’s are not only involved in the encouragement of fornication, bigamy, rebellion to parents but even idol worshipping, roles which they are only too happy to play. Even though Allah says :

 “Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed” (4:48) 

The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Indeed it is the saying of the companions of the Prophet (SAWS) : “Whoever imitated the idol worshippers will be raised with them on the day of Judgement.”

“Boy meets Girl”

There is a constant barrage of accusations against Islam based on the myth that the Shariah is unfair to women, yet there appears to be a deafening silence at the gigantic level of exploitation of women by Bollywood. Women are always shown as being nothing more than objects to be jeered and wooed by ‘wannabe Romeos’. The most a woman is capable of achieving is to be able to dance in a park for any prospective ‘Casanova’, it is a most despicable and deplorable representation of the female. The high level of exposure to such role models to our younger generations of boys and girls has led to the current trend of irresponsible behaviour. Young boys practicing irresponsibility and young girls dreaming of an Amir or Salman to sweep them off their feet and take them to the park or library (What? Did you really think they are all studying?)

Muslim parents to this day still remain bewildered as to the reason why their children have been corrupted and the reason for their sons and daughters running away from home. The Bollywood Love story is a sick dream that is being pushed, its only reality is the nightmare of the break up of Muslim families. The average Muslim family will refuse to prosecute the criminal, the source of their family being dishonoured. Amazingly enough Muslim parents would be more likely to prohibit their children watching mild English films but on the other hand would have no problem exposing them to indecency of Indian movies, Why?? Simply due to the fact that the latter is morally justified because it is of Asian origin, and what is culturally correct must be morally and ethically correct. This is a clear reflection of the absence of understanding the parameters that Islam has enjoined upon Muslims and whenever such parameters are disregarded no matter how strong the cultural attachment, they lead to horrendous consequences. Not convinced? Just reflect upon the current trends amongst Muslim youth and you will soon add it up. Modesty and indecency come from the Adhab (manners) of Islam not from an ethnic or indigenous culture. As Maulana Maudoodi once said : “If you are going to sow the seeds of a lemon tree, you are not going to eat the mangoes.”

 Betraying Allah 

It may surprise you to learn that the Indian film industry churns out more films in one year than any other on the planet, including the head of the ‘snake of entertainment’: Hollywood. Indeed it was this amazing achievement  that led to the Indian film industry being crowned, ‘Bollywood’.

When considering the western film industry we have a mild form of reassurance that comes from knowing what certificate a film has been awarded. This system does not exist in most Bollywood films and even if it did it would probably be disregarded. The end result is films that show all that would undoubtedly be regarded even by western audiences to be wholly unsavoury stuff. Bollywood does not even stop at encouraging youngsters to be rebellious to their parents and discard moral decency, it goes further to shake and jeer at the very foundations of Islamic belief ; that of the sovereignty of Allah, by its constant promotion of idol worshipping and reverence of man made images.

Allow me if you will to narrate to you a true story that may bear some light upon my accusations. The story at hand concerns a Muslim family consisting of a young mother and father and their nine and half year old son. This family living in the UK had their origins in the Indian sub-continent, and like many Muslims from any given part of the western world they were in the habit of watching excess amounts of television, and what is specifically a trait of a substantial number of Muslims from the Indian sub-continent is the deep seated need to watch movies from an Indian origin. The family did not even give regard to the possible effects it was having upon their child. On one unfortunate day the mother of the family fell prey to a serious illness and was immediately taken to hospital, on the brink of life and death. After taking his wife to the hospital and returning home it was the fathers job to inform his young son of his mothers illness, a gruelling task indeed. No matter how the father tried to soften the blow the child was understandably distraught at the news of his mothers serious illness. After a long and arduous evening both father and son retired to sleep. Several hours into the night the father was awoken by the sound of noise coming from the living room, leaving his bed he decided to investigate with caution and entered the living room, the scene which he saw shocked him beyond expression. In the living room he found his child transfixed to an image being projected by a scene from a Bollywood film, the image was that of a stone idol, and his Muslim son pleading to it to make his mother better again. You may find this a far fetched story but that does little to change its reality. The child had unknowingly been taught to worship others besides Allah by being exposed to large doses of idol worship in Indian films. The father saw the error of his ways and vowed to remove the films for good.

Do not for a moment think that the problem effects only Asian Muslims, it has taken to our Arab brethren , where Bollywood films are shown with Arabic subtitles, shocking really to imagine that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) spent 23 years along with his successors, to remove idol worship from the Arabian peninsula, and yet today it has been brought back to the sacred Hijaz via satellite, little regard is given by Muslims to what Allah has ordained to keep idol worship out of this area and all that is associated with it.

 Betraying your Brothers and sisters 

You may think that this would be enough incrimination, but no the crimes continue. The nature of the Kashmir problem is quite straightforward; India has occupied this land that is overwhelmingly Muslim, a population which has categorically refused to be ruled by the dictatorship of an Indian regime. Over the years Kashmiri Muslims have engaged in a noble Jihad to liberate their land from these oppressors, the Indian government has responded by destroying Mosques, hospitals, and school, it has  also undertaken to killing thousands of Muslim civilians and raping Kashmiri women by its armed soldiers.

Bollywood assists in this systematic genocide by filming love song scenes in the same valleys of Kashmir where the killings and raping occurs. Further to this a percentage of profits made by the industry are contributed directly to the killing fields. The truth is Muslims are renting and subscribing to films which financially contribute indirectly to the murder and rape of Kashmiri Muslims. Bollywood has made various films portraying the Mujahideen of Kashmir as terrorists and criminals, and their own villainous soldiers to be angelic. Such political propaganda is being fed into the minds of millions of naïve Muslims. It will not surprise you to learn that there have been Indian Movie stars who have moved to become political candidates for the fascist anti-Muslim, Babri Masjid destroying party of the BJP, actors such as Shatrughan Sinha.

Yet still Muslims cannot get enough of watching garbage. The erosion of Muslim independent identity and confidence in the Islamic way of life has led to Muslims allowing integration to take place, this disregard for the tenants of Islamic belief has led to the doors of indecency and depravation being open to our community, we have invited the snake into our house by opening the door to him, and we stand idle as it bites and injects poison into our children and family members.

It is perfectly acceptable for Muslims from the Indian sub-continent to be proud of their cultural heritage, and indeed Muslims from any part of the world can do like wise, the only problem comes when we begin to give more reverence to culture over and above the commands of Allah, cultural diversity is a blessing from Allah, it is not however on the same level as the Shariah and laws of Allah.

When we make the mistake of elevating our ethnicity and cultural origin to a level where it governs what we consider to be right and wrong we are heading for real trouble.

The above mentioned are mere snowflakes on the tip of the ice-berg, as to the real extent of damage that Bollywood has done, Allah alone only knows, but you can be sure it is massive. If you would like to prevent your children from growing up with a Shaytaan as a baby sitter – boycott Bollywood! If you would like to respect your Islamic creed and the sovereignty of Allah – boycott Bollywood! If you cannot help the suffering Kashmiri Muslims then at least do not arm their enemy – boycott Bollywood!

 

[Sources: http://www.darulislam.info (video) and http://www.islamicawakening.com/ (article)]

Who Are Your Friends?

December 3, 2007

Take one step back and think about the people in your life.  Who are they?  Are they Muslim?  Do they pray five times a day?  Would you be proud to introduce them to your grandmother?  Would you be willing to take a bullet for them?  Indeed, the people we surround ourselves by are very important.  They are, in essence, an example of who we are.  Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (ra) reported that the Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “The example of a good companion and a bad one is the bearer of musk and the worker on the fires.  A bearer of musk would give you some, you might buy some from him, or you might enjoy the fragrance of his musk.  The worker on the fires, on the other hand, might spoil your clothes with sparks from his bellows, or you get a bad smell from him” (narrated by Bukhari and Muslim).

Now, who are your best friends?  Consider their qualities and characteristics.  Do you like their character?  Well, we possess the same type of characteristics as our friends.  Indeed, if one walks into a masjid full of people in which there is only one hypocrite and if we are the other hypocrite (may Allah (SWT) protect us from such a disease, Ameen) then some way and somehow, by the end of the night, we will feel most at ease and will have the greatest connection with that one other hypocrite at the masjid.  Indeed, if we are a mumin (true believer), we will feel our heart inclined towards another mumin!  A perfect example is the Ansar.  Do you love the Ansar?  Consider the hadith of Rasoolullah in which Al-Bara (ra) heard Rasoolullah (SAW) say, “None loves the Ansar but a believer, and none hates them but a hypocrite. So Allah will love him who loves them, and He will hate him who hates them” (narrated by Bukhari). 

Now, if maghrib time is approaching and you want to go to the movies.  Is your friend going to step-in and remind you that prayer time is quickly approaching?  At the same time, why kind of friend are you?  If your boy is deciding between playing basketball or going to the masjid, which advice are you going to give him?  O my brother or sister, befriend the good and avoid the evil.  My own personal experiences will tell you that you are a product of your friends.

While we are on the subject of friendship, take time out and be thankful to your friend for indeed they are always there for you.  Insha’Allah, you benefit from sharing in the smell of musk from your friends (if not, it’s time for a change on who you hang out with!).  We need to be thankful to those people who benefit us even in the smallest of things as Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “Whosoever does not thank people, has not thanked Allah (SWT).”  Why not send that special person(s) a text message right now saying how much you love them and are thankful to them for all that they’ve done for you?  Why not make du’a to Allah (SWT) for that person right now?  That special person could (and should!) include our parents, our families, and our teachers.  Be genuine as Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “You will be treated the way you treat others.”