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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Stomach growl while fasting?  Wish you could eat instead?  Consider the following hadith:

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said: “Perhaps a fasting person will get nothing from his fast save hunger, and perhaps the one who stands to pray at night will get nothing from his standing except sleeplessness.” This is related by an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim.  Even though the hadith is mentioned in Ibn Majah’s book of hadith, there may be some question as to the authenticity of this specific hadith though its still something very strong to consider.

Anyways, next time you feel even the slightest bit of hunger coming from your stomach in the middle of the day, tell your stomach to “Bring it!”  That’s because you are fasting for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone and nothing can beat that.  Once your stomach realizes your intentions are pure, your hunger quickly submerges.  It’s food for the soul!

The Prophet (SAW) sometimes used to continuously fast to which he stated, “I am not like anyone of you. During the night, my Lord provides me with food and drink.”  Ibn Qayyim broke down this statement into two possible scenarios.  The first was that the Prophet (SAW) was literally provided with food and the second was that there was spiritually nourishment.  The second opinion seems stronger as Ibn Qayyim goes on to explain it in the following excerpt:

“…and those who have even the slightest bit of experience and longing know how little the body needs much physical nourishment when it is instead provided with the nourishment of the heart and soul, let alone when it comes to the one who is joyous, happy, and victorious because he has reached the One he has sought out, and whose eye is cooled by his Beloved, and feels blessed with His closeness, and is pleased with Him and the bounties and gifts of his Beloved.

And His protection showers him at all times, and his Beloved is constantly tending to his affairs, being as Generous as can be with complete Love towards him – is this not the greatest nourishment for the one who loves his Lord? So, how would it be when love of the Beloved – than Whom nothing is more exalted, and nothing is greater in might, and nothing is greater in beauty, and nothing is more complete, and nothing is greater in kindness – when love of Him fills the heart, and love of him takes over all regions of his heart and limbs, and love of Him is as firmly established as can be?

And this is his condition with the One he loves…

So, is such a person not nourished night and day by his Beloved?”

Subhan’Allah!

Reposted from last year.

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

We know that the state we die in is the state we will be resurrected in for the Hereafter.  So if your last words were harsh profane ones right before a serious car accident then those would be the words you would be reciting as you are brought back to life.  Similarly, if you were in the state of Haraam or you were with people you would be embarrassed to be seen with, those are the people you would be raised amongst.

However, at the same time, if you died at Hajj or during some form of worship, that would be the beautiful state you would be resurrected in.  Similarly, if you were to die amongst people that are righteous and pious, you would be raised amongst them as well.  Therefore, it is extremely important that we always put ourselves in a state where we are surrounded by people we respect and honor with the hope that these are the type of people we would be raised up amongst.  Similarly, we should stop using any profane and ugly words so that we can train ourselves to have the last words off our tongues be, “La ilaha illa Allah.”  This is just a brief reminder to myself first and foremost and to anyone else who would like to read this.

Kamal el Mekki has some nice reflections in the following five minute video:

Sorrow is Sweet?

May 4, 2010

The divine decree related to the believer is always a bounty, even if it is in the form of withholding (something that is desired), and it is a blessing, even if it appears to be a trial, and an affliction that has befallen him is in reality a cure, even though it appears to be a disease!

Unfortunately, due to the ignorance of the worshipper, and his transgressions, he does not consider anything to be a gift or a blessing or a cure unless he can enjoy it immediately, and it is in accordance with his nature. If he were only given a little bit of understanding, then he would have counted being withheld from as a blessing, and the sickness as a mercy, and he would relish the trouble that befalls him more than he relishes his ease, and he would enjoy poverty more than he enjoys richness, and he would be more thankful when he is blessed with little than when he is blessed with a lot.

From Imam ibn al Qayyim rahimahullah in Madarij al-Salikin 2/215-216
Source:  http://istighfar.wordpress.com

On Being Awake

April 4, 2010

By Abu Abdil-Kareem

Ibn Hazm, rahimahullaah, said, “One hour of neglect can undo a year of pious effort” [“In Pursuit of Virtue”, point #93]. I think this is a very scary thought.

Shaytaan will sometimes let a worshipper worship long and hard, but will seek a way to nullify his deeds in a way that the worshipper may not notice. It is related in al-Baihaqi’s “Branches of Faith”, that the big shaytaan sends his army to deceive worshippers, and tells them to first look at the food he eats. If his food is not halaal, then “let him worship long and hard,” since shaytaan knows that prayers of one who eats haraam are not accepted. So the worshipper will work hard and think he is doing good, while his efforts may not be accepted. This is similar to those about whom Allaah ta`aalaa says, “Say: Shall We inform you who will be the greatest losers by their works? Those whose effort goes astray in the life of the world, and they reckon that they do good work.” [18:103-104] A brother once told me that a Muslim scholar once said that no verse causes fear in him more than this one.

I think there is many lessons we can learn from this. One is that we must keep our hearts alive by remembering Allaah subhaanahu wa ta`aalaa at all times. Another one is that we must seek knowledge of our religion so as to be certain about the correctness of our actions. Also, most importantly, we must realize our dependance on Allaah ta`aalaa and His guidance. Whoever He guides there is no one to misguide, and whoever He misguides there is none to guide. Unless Allaah is Merciful with us and grants us taufeeq (guidance) to do rightheous acts, we shall never be able. Therefore we have to strive to improve our worship and our character and supplicate to Allaah for guidance. Then, in shaa’ Allaah, we will be from among those about whom Allaah says,

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allaah’s Religion).”[29:69]

May Allaah guide us and give us steadfastness in religion. One can find a number of ways that can potentially ruin one’s many acts – for example, missing a single prayer, uttering something inappropriate, or reading a horoscope.

via http://7cgen.com/

By my brother, Muhammad Tim, 4th year student at Madinah University:

Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu,

All praise is due to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family and his companions.

With regard to the matter of sincere intention, it seems that some people are confused with regard to certain aspects. Therefore, I wished to make the following points, and all success is from Allah:-

1. Firstly, the correct intention is one of two conditions for every act of worship to be accepted, along with the action being in accordance to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The proof for this is the statement of Allah, the Exalted, The proof for this principle can be found in Allah’s statement: “So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord.” [Al-Kahf 18:110].

2. Secondly, the essence of the correct intention is for an action to be sincerely for the sake of Allah, and not to contain any form of shirk, or giving some of Allah’s rights to someone or something else. Fadl bin Ziyaad said, “I asked Abu Abdullah (i.e., Imaam Ahmad) about the intention in action, how should it be? He said, ‘One should treat his self when he intends to do an action, not desiring by it the people (i.e. showing off).’”

3. Thirdly, intention is something that needs to be constantly reviewed and worked upon. Sufyaan ath-Thawree said, “I have not battled with anything more difficult than my intention.”

4. Fourthly, the fact that another person is the cause for some of your good deeds, or that they call you to guidance, or that they encourage you to do something which you were not intending to do, does not affect your intention. This is part of the foundation of da’wah and calling people to guidance. The Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – used to encourage some of the companions to do actions that they were not intending to do, and he encouraged others to do the same. The Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – said, “Whoever calls to guidance has the reward of it and the reward of everyone who acts upon it, until the Day of Resurrection, without their reward being decreased in any way.” So if a brother comes to you and says, ‘come to the masjid’, and you were not intending to come, but because of him calling you to guidance, you decide to come, and you make your worship for the sake of Allah alone, then your intention is correct, if Allah wills, and the fact that another brother called you to do something that you had not planned to do does not affect your intention.

Similarly, if your intention was not pure, and then you realise that you have been showing off in some of your deeds, then you correct them and seek Allah’s forgiveness, then your intention returns to being correct, and if you do so before you complete the action (such as before you finish praying), then you do not lose the reward of the entire prayer.

5. Fifthly, showing off is a form of minor shirk and is extremely serious, but it is equally serious to not perform good deeds out of fear of showing off. Al Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad considered it another form of riyaa’. Rather you should say, ‘O Allah, I seek refuge with you from making partners with you while I realise, and I ask your forgiveness for what I do not realise.’ Leaving that which Allah has ordered you out of fear of what people may say can even reach the level of major shirk, so do not allow the shaytaan to open a door to your destruction!

To answer the question, “if a person became Muslim because of worldly reasons but later changed their intention sincerely for the sake of Allah and repented, then that is okay?”

To answer this question, my point was that it may happen, and that a person may correct themselves. A person’s Islam is not accepted by Allah until it is sincere – this is one of the conditions of laa ilaaha ill Allah, but as Muslims we are commanded to treat them as normal Muslims, since the matter of intention is left to Allah. In general, we shouldn’t rush to encourage a person who is not sincere. This does not benefit Islam and the Muslims, and the person themselves may be harmed.

However, we may see someone who has some fault in their intention, and we believe that there is a good chance that the person will be corrected, based on their environment and their character. First of all we should try to correct their intention before they become Muslim. In the example of marriage, we try to make the marriage secondary to pleasing Allah. If we believe that they will change, then we may accept their Islam. However, if the person who they are marrying is not even practising Islam, then it is unlikely that they will see the beauty of Islam, when the person they are marrying does not even see it. So, I think that we should be very careful in some of these cases. More information here: http://islamqa.com/en/ref/26758

6. Sixthly, a person may enter Islam for the sake of the dunyaa, or with a fault in their intention and then correct his or her intention, as Imaan enters their hearts, and so become from the true Muslims. This was the case of some of the companions, especially those who became Muslim after the conquest of Makkah. Some of them became Muslim for worldly reasons, but the sun did not set before Allah and His Messenger were more beloved to them than the earth and whatever was in it. This does not mean that we should encourage people to become Muslim who do not want to, however, we have not been asked to rule based on the hearts of the people, and it is possible for people to change once they see the beauty of Islam.

7. Finally, do not succumb to the whispers of shaytaan, that when a person calls you to do something good you say, ‘my intention is not right’ – this is nothing but the whisperings of the shayaateen, may Allah protect me and you from them. Rather embrace this good deed and make it sincere for Allah without showing off. This way you will get the reward for your action, as will the person who called you to do good. At the very least be honest and say, ‘I am too lazy to do it’, rather than inventing a religious excuse that Allah has given you no authority for; perhaps Allah will open your heart to the truth because of your honesty.

Don’t forget that intention alone is not enough for your deeds to be accepted. They must also be in accordance with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. ‘Aa’ishah – may Allah be pleased with her – narrated that the Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – said, “Whoever does an action that is not in accordance with my affair [i.e., my sunnah] then it is rejected.”

May Allah grant us all beneficial knowledge and the ability to act upon it, and save us from the whisperings of the shaytaan,

Wassalaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu,
Muhammad Humble.