Worship 24/7

August 27, 2010

Worship 24/7? Rewards for working out at the gym, for smiling, for going to school? What is ihsan exactly?

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Assalam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

Insha Allah, I hope and plan to start producing short (say like 4 minutes long) biweekly (every 2 weeks) YouTube videos that deal with topics related to us in the Muslim community.  If you are interested, please subscribe at www.youtube.com/coolguymuslim Here’s the first episode that I produced this week:

Here are also other CoolGuyMuslim videos that were made in the past, please check em out iA:

The Bad Things that Happen in Life

The Fiqh of Priorities

Muslim vs. Mumin vs. Muhsin

Which Hand will YOU Receive Your Book In?

JazakAllahkhair for your time and attention!
-Bilal

by Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi

Before I got married, I was given unsolicited advice on how to change in order to make myself “more appealing” to brothers. Sisters would voluntarily tell me I should be more outgoing when with men, dress more attractively to get their attention and stop being as involved with Islamic activism so I would not scare them away.

Since when is our purpose in life marriage? Where in the Qur’an does Allah ask us to change our personalities, dress style and tone down our activism in hopes of getting hitched? Nevertheless, with marriage being such a huge concern in our community, many face the temptation to change their values to find a spouse.

Here’s an idea: Instead of working to please a potential suitor, perhaps we should first seek to please Allah, the One who sows the seed of love in our hearts and can bless us with our dream husband or dream wife.

Instead of looking for marriage at every event, let’s look for marriage in our relationship with al-Wahhab, the Giver of All. Let’s be honest. We are talking about al-Mujeeb, the Responder to Prayer. Those are amongst the Names of Allah! Allah gives and He answers!

If you are an individual who struggles to lower your gaze and protect your eyes, heart, tongue and body from falling into the haram, don’t you know that Allah will indeed reward you?

Every time you glance up and see someone you wish you could be with, turn away and in that moment ask Allah to bless you with a spouse who will be the sweetness of your eyes. Would not Allah listen to and accept your supplication to Him? How could Allah possibly not accept the supplication of His adamant worshipper who is painfully struggling to maintain his or her modesty and guard his or her chastity? The Prophet ﷺ has encouraged us to “Ask and you will be given…” (at-Tirmithi) Allah will give you! How could He not when you are striving only for His Sake?

In those moments in the last third of the night, in those two rakahs which you make out of pure frustration of your situation, weeping, asking Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala – exalted is He) to answer you –  do you not think Allah the Rabb al-`alameen (Lord of the Worlds) will not respond to you? Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest), this is Allah! Without doubt Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is going to answer you!

The Prophet ﷺ relates from Allah in a hadith Qudsi:

“Our Lord (glorified and exalted be He) descends each night to the earth’s sky when there remains the final third of the night, and He says: ‘Who is saying a prayer to Me that I may answer it? Who is asking something of Me that I may give it him? Who is asking forgiveness of Me that I may forgive him?’” (Bukhari)

What is hooking up with a brother or sister on gchat or facebook worth in comparison to hooking up with the One who can hook you up?

As Shaykh Muhammad Faqih once said, “Hook up with Allah, Allah will hook you up!”

Let’s hook up with salah! Hook up with the Qur’an! Hook up with community work for Allah’s Sake! And have certainty that when we struggle to please Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), Ash-Shakoor is the Most Appreciative of our work and will undoubtedly reward us.

Will that reward be in the form of an amazing spouse and an amazing marriage? Allah knows best. But the best part is that Allah knows what is BEST for us and that His bounties are limitless.

The Prophet ﷺ has told us, “Any Muslim who supplicates to Allah in a du`a’ which contains no sin [of] breaking of kinship, Allah will give him one of three things: either hisdu`a’ will be immediately answered, it will be saved for him in the hereafter, or it will turn away an equivalent amount of evil (from him)…” (Ahmad).

Thus, we must know that if we connect with Allah, we can trust that Allah will grant us whatever is best, whether it be an answer to exactly what we are asking for or something better. Allah has got our backs! Who better to trust our future with than the One who already knows it?

Easier said than done? Maybe. But what have you got to lose? If at the end of the day you are only increasing in closeness to Allah, increasing in reading the Qur’an, tasting the sweetness of your salah, and making more sincere du`a’ then insha’Allah (if Allah wills) you will have gained more than simply “a spouse” if you get married and you would have gained much more than facebook “cruising for a spouse” time while you’re attempting to find your better half…Insha’Allah you will gain more in this life and the next, and an unwavering relationship with Allah!

Here are some short, quick and amazing ways we can increase our relationship with Allah through good deeds massively rewarded inshaAllah:

–> Get what you really want: “Allah will grant whoever recites this seven times in the morning or evening whatever he desires from this world or the next” (Ibn As Sunni, Abu Dawood – both reports are directly linked to the Prophet ﷺ):

HasbiaAllahu la ilaha ila huwa `alayhi tawakaltu wa huwa Rabbu’l`arshi’l`atheem.

“Allah is Sufficient for me, none has the right to be worshipped except Him, upon Him I rely and He is Lord of the exalted throne.”

To be recited seven times in the morning (after Fajr) and seven times in the evening (between `Asr and Maghrib).

–> Say “Subhan’Allah” (glory be to Allah) 100 times. For a person who does this, “a thousand good deeds are recorded for him and a thousand bad deeds are wiped away.” [Muslim]

–> Ask Allah to forgive your brothers and sisters: “Whoever seeks forgiveness for believing men and believing woman, Allah will write for him a good deed for each believing man and believing woman.” [at-Tabarani, classed as hasan by al-Albani]

–> Work to protect yourself from the Hellfire: “Allah will spare whoever says this four times in the morning or evening from the fire of Hell” (Abu Dawood, was also reported in Bukhari).

Allahumma inni asbahtu ush-hiduka, wa ushidu hamalata `arshika, wa mala’ikataka, wa jamee`a khalqik, annaka Ant Allah, la ilaha illa Ant, wahdaka la shareeka lak, wa anna Muhammadan `abduka wa rasuluka (when saying this in the evening, say “Allahuma inniamsaytu” instead of “asbahtu.

“O Allah, verily I have reached the morning and call on You, the bearers of Your throne, Your angels, and all of Your creation to witness that You are Allah, none has the right to be worshipped except You, alone, without partner and that Muhammad is Your Servant and Messenger.”

To be recited four times in the morning (after Fajr) and evening (between `Asr and Maghrib).

The Lord of the Worlds speaks to us and tells us, “And when My slaves ask you concerning Me, then I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright” (Quran, 2:186).

You are coming to Allah with rajaa (hope), with a powerful combination of seeking Allah’s pleasure, striving to leave anything which may gain His displeasure and making a consistent effort to ask Him to open the best of ways for you and then putting your trust in Him that He will give you whatever is best. Of course Allah is going to answer you.

As was once stated, “A person has never held certainty in Allah only for Allah to disappoint him/her.’ Never will Allah disappoint those with yaqeen (certainty), tawakkul(reliance) and husn al-dhann (good opinion) of Him.” Hook up with Allah and know that without a doubt, Allah ‘azza wa Jall will hook you up in the best of ways.

Source: http://www.suhaibwebb.com

Came across an interesting article about the Ash that is coming from the Iceland Volcano that has halted business in Europe.  If you get a chance, have a read at Voice Pakistan.

Related: Signs of the Day of Judgment

1. Increase dhikr (remembrance of Allah): “Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction (Qur’an, 13:28).”

2. Increase prayers: “O you who believe! Seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely, Allah is with the patient (Qur’an, 2:153).” Regardless of the type of meditation, recent studies have verified the physiological effects of meditation. Most of those mediations consist in focusing on something, repeating some words and breathing (Greenberg, p.142, 143).

3. Perform ablutions: The most important component of relaxation is what Hans Loehr calls “the rituals of success.” These rituals may be as simple as making ablution; yet, they must be performed properly for it is not enough to pass water on the body parts – those parts must be massed.

4. Ask for forgiveness : Even if a person has not done anything wrong, he must insure the forgiveness of Allah. “Then I said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord; surely, He is the most Forgiving'” (Qur’an, 71:10).

5. Recite the Qur’an: The Prophet (SAW) said, “. Qur’an is a remedy for illnesses of the mind” (Bukhari). “The echo of sound has a medical effect and is now widely utilized,” says Dr. Greenberg. “The recitation of or listening to the Qur’an has an effect on the body, the heart and the mind! It is said that the letter Alif echoes to the heart and the letter Ya’ to the pineal gland in the brain.

Dr Ahmed El Kadi of Akber Clinic (Panama City, FL) conducted and published the effects of listening to Qur’anic recitation on physiological parameters ( i.e., the heart, blood pressure, and muscle tension), and reported improvement in all factors, irrespective of whether the listener was a Muslim or a non-Muslim, Arab or non-Arab. Obviously, it can be postulated that those who understand and enjoy the recitation with a belief in it will get maximum benefits,” writes Dr Athar.

6. Make the hereafter one’s main concern: “Whoever has the hereafter as his main concern, Allah will fill his heart with a feeling of richness and independence; he will be focused and feel content, and this world will come to him in spite of it. Whoever has this world as his main concern, Allah will cause him to feel constant fear of poverty; he will be distracted and unfocused, and he will have nothing of this world except what was already predestined for him,” said the Prophet (SAW). One of the greatest causes of stress is money – how to pay the loans, whether one’s job will be lost, what will happen to the family if the father dies, etc.

7. Think positively: Muslims should forget about the bad things of the past and think of good things, always having hope that he can be better. Trying to change the past is a foolish and crazy waste of time, “for saying ‘if only.’opens the way to Shaytan” said the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet (SAW) also said, ” Know that victory (achievement) comes through patience, and that ease comes through hardship.” Muslims understand that there’s no reason for panic in the case of crisis – no reason to be distressed or worried for we know that after hardship come ease!

8. Do not waste time on thoughts of fear or stress: “The search of time is one of the most frequent causes of stress” (Seyle, p.102). Laziness is the mother of all evils, and the Prophet (SAW) used to seek refuge in Allah from it. Understanding that this life is short and time precious, Muslims should try to work hard and pursue worthy knowledge .

References
Athar, Shahid, MD. “Modern Stress and Its Cure From Qur’an.”
Greenberg, Jerrold S. CSM = Comprehensive Stress Management.
via the AlMaghrib Forums

A Beautiful Story

March 6, 2010

Our beloved brother Shaykh ibn ‘Abd Al-Ghani narrates the following story in the Arabic forum.

He [May Allah Preserve him] writes:

“The story of Uwais Al-Qarni was mentioned in Sahih Muslim as well as in other books. Now even though he was from the Tabi’een and did not see the Messenger [Salah Allahu Alaihi wa salam], the Messenger [Salah Allahu Alaihi wa salam] had advised ‘Umar ibn Al-Khatab [Radiya Allahu ‘Anhu] that if he meets [Uwais] then he, ‘Umar, should ask [Uwais] to ask Allah to forgive him and to make supplication for him.

Thus ‘Umar [May Allah be pleased with him], during his Caliphate, used to ask all the delegates coming from Yemen: ‘Is Uwais among you?’, until finally during one of the years he met him. He found him a man not among the nobles of his people; nobody cares much for him, even those accompanying him, sidelined. So ‘Umar told him about the advice Prophet Muhammad gave him and asked Uwais to ask Allah the Exalted to forgive him. When ‘Umar discovered that Uwais was headed to Al-Kuffa he offered to write a letter to his assistant over there, so that he treats him with hospitality. However, Uwais refused and requested that ‘Umar doesn’t do that. He explained his request that he would love to live as an unknown among the people (the story is summarized and mentioned from memory).

Now, I do not claim that I met that Noble Tabi’ee himself; rather I met a man from his school. A man following in the same footsteps of Uwais, and here is my story with him.

During one of the Fridays of Ramadan, I left my house to give the Friday Khutbah in one of the Masjids of Al-Jam’iyah Al-Shar’eyah in Cairo. While riding my car my clear white Thawb (dress worn by men in Arab countries) got stained with a black spot. That really upset me. I asked myself, ‘How could I stand in front of the people giving the Khutbah when this spot had stained my elegant dress?’ I left the car and headed towards the Masjid. During my walk I passed by a store that had a big mirror at its entrance. I stood in front of it fixing my clothes and making sure my head covering is placed properly. I then continued to the Masjid.

I reached the Masjid, but the issue of the stain was still bothering me. The entrance of the Masjid had a few beggars standing there. They usually stand there during this blessed month, each of them with a story that he uses to gain the sympathy of the people going to pray. I didn’t give them much attention and entered the Masjid. I climbed the Minbar quickly, hoping that no one would get a chance to see the black spot that stained my dress in the car.

I delivered the Khutbah, and then we prayed. After prayers, I leaned my back at a pillar that was next to the Qiblah, and I stretched my legs to relax.

Now Egyptians usually go and shake the hands of the Imam after the prayers making supplications for him. I started shaking their hands while being seated in the same manner, and replied to their supplications by nodding my head up and down. I was really exhausted at this time because of the hot weather and the fasting.

At that point, I noticed a blind man crossing the lines with extreme difficulty, asking to reach the Shaykh (referring to me). Nobody was paying attention to his request, rather some of them were waving their hands in an annoyed manner since the blind man used to [unintentionally] come in contact with them while crossing the lines. The caretaker of the Masjid took his hand and brought him to me. I looked at him, and saw that his clothe were worn-out. He had the appearance of a person that if he greets others they would not reply back to him, and if he speaks no one would care about what he said. My first impression was that he was one of the beggars I saw at the entrance of the Masjid.

The man reached where I was seated; he greeted me and I replied back to him while still being seated in the same manner I described earlier, relaxing and stretching my legs.

I waited for him to start by telling me how miserable his life is, like beggars usually do, but he didn’t.

Rather he started by praising the topic of my Khutbah!! I though to myself: ‘A new method of begging! Start by showing that you understood what was mentioned in the Khutbah so that my heart would soften?!’.

Then he said: “But I have some remarks about your Khutbah, so I hope you do not mind listening to them”.

I said in amazement, while still sitting in the same manner: “Remarks on my Khutbah!! and you are the one that will point them out?!”

He replied: “Yes”.

I said: “In what aspects of the Khutbah?”

He said: “In the Language, Hadith, and Tafseer”.

After that I honestly, stared at his face in astonishment, and said: “And to what extend is your knowledge in these sciences?”

He introduced himself to me, he was a graduate of Dar Al-‘Uloom and specialized in Islamic Sharee’ah. He had completed several papers/studies on Tafseer, and he studied along side several known scholars.

I looked at the people around me in the Masjid and they nodded their heads, affirming what the man was saying.

At that point I sat straight, and crossed my legs, and said to the man: “And what are these remarks you had, my dear respected sir”.

He said: “As for the language, you have used some words of the ‘Amiyah (slang) and that ruins the nobility and sublimity of the Khutbah” (he kept speaking to me about the importance of the Khatib using the proper language, with words that increased my love to our beautiful language).

“As for the Hadith, you quoted some traditions and mentioned the source of some, but didn’t do that for the rest. Also how can you quote a tradition and refer it to Abu Dawud, while it is in Bukhari don’t you know that this is something that relegates the status of the speaker”. (Then he kept speaking to me about the methods and manners of the scholars of hadith, which increased my love for the Science of Hadith).

“As for the Tafseer, you mentioned some statements of those who interpret the Quran by their opinion, so beware when speaking about the Book of Allah and do not be like a night-time woodcutter (lumberjack)”. (Then he kept speaking to me about the different methodologies used by the people of Tafseer, which increased my love to the science of Tafseer).

By that time, people had dispersed from around us.

As he was about to stand, I stood [quickly] and took his hand. I then rushed and got him his shoes, and assisted him in putting it on. He kept asking me not to. I took by his hand to take him to his home, but he swore to me not to.

At that point, I saw that we were behind a wall where no one can see us, so I took out a sum of money from my pocket, and I politely requested that he accepts it from me. Here, he got mad and raised his voice a little scolding me roughly. I apologized to him, and he accepted my apology, and said: “You might have felt sorry for me, when you saw the way I am dressed”. I said: “Yes, and I hope you can forgive me for not thinking highly of you the first time I saw you”, so he forgave me.

I told him: “Please, comfort me, how do you live and with whom?” He said: “I will answer you briefly. I have a small income, but Allah has blessed it with His Grace, and it suffices me from the disgrace of asking [others]”. I asked: “With whom do you live?” He replied: “By myself, my children and wife have already beaten me to the Hereafter” and then he said: “I want nothing from this Dunia, and my relationship with it is not that good. All I need is a dress to cover my body and a meal that would silence my hunger, and apart from that I do not need anything”.

So I fell on his hand to kiss it, and I shook his hand and walked away for a few steps. Then I looked back at where he was heading. I saw that the people are giving him no notice as he held his stick, which he used to feel the road in front of him.

As for me, I walked thinking about myself, and how upset I was when my clean white dress got stained. As I walked, cars would slow down so that I can cross [the street], and people passing would come by to shake my hands and ask me for supplications.

They were all deceived by my looks and appearance.

I remembered the statement of Prophet Muhammad [Salah Allah ‘Alaihi wa Salam], when he was between his companions and a man passed by who had the appearance of a wealthy man. So he [Salah Allah ‘Alaihi wa Salam] asked: “What do you say about that [man]?” They said: “O Prophet of Allah, he is the kind of person that when he speaks we would listen, and if he asks for our daughter’s hand in marriage we won’t oppose, and if he intercedes for someone we would accept his intercession”. Then a man who appeared poor and needy passed by, so he [Salah Allah ‘Alaihi wa Salam] asked: “And what do you say about that man?” They said: “He is the sort of person, that if he speaks we won’t listen to what he has to say, and if he requests our daughter’s hand in marriage we would oppose his request, and if he intercedes for someone we would not accept his intercession”. Then he [Salah Allah ‘Alaihi wa Salam] said: “That [poor] man is better (worth more) than all the earth filled with that other man”, Aw Kama Qaal Salah Allah ‘Alaihi wa Salam”.

http://www.ahlalhdeeth.com/vbe/showthread.php?t=896

Judging Others

February 14, 2010

We live in a society that is based on judging others.  Often times, as Muslims, we tend to do the same thing in that we judge other people.  We think we know others’ intentions or we know where their heart stands.  We may look for a reason to pass judgment on a specific brother or sister or we may look for an excuse to consider them ‘off the manhaj’ as it is so often known as. 

However, in reality, ask yourself, “Who are we to judge others?”  As Muslims, we want and wish for the best for our brothers and sisters in faith.  They are a part of our family and thus we want nothing but the best for them.  What happened to making excuses and excuses for our brothers and sisters?  Who are we judge others?  No doubt, as Muslims, it is our duty to advise others and it is our duty to command the good and forbid the evil.  What would happen if we didn’t pass judgment on them, rather we just advised them instead?  Would something befall upon us?  Allah is the Judge and He will judge the people for indeed we do not know what is in the hearts of others, rather Allah knows what is in the breasts of mankind.

Imam Malik stated, “If I was given 99 reasons to declare a person deviant and one upholding their orthodoxy, I’d go with the latter!”  Imam al-Ghazali stated, “The hypocrite looks for faults, the believer looks for excuses.”  Al-Hafidh al-Dhahabi wrote, “I heard our Sheikh, Ibn Taymiyyah, d. 728 a.h, say towards the end of his life, ‘I will never declare anyone from the people of the Qiblah (Muslim direction of prayer) as an infidel.’”

Ask yourself, do you REALLY want the best for your brother or sister if you’re looking for an excuse to throw them outside the fold of Ahlus-Sunnah or worse yet, even Islam?  Oh Muslim, make excuses for one another.  Make dua for one another.  Love one another.  The Messenger (SAW) of God told us that we would not attain faith until we love one another.  He (SAW) also told us that one is not a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.  Therefore, O Muslim, attain faith, become a believer (Mumin)!  May Allah (SWT) allow us all to be believers.  Ameen.