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.

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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

Working Through Obstacles

October 15, 2009

My last post, Companionship, discussed the importance of who are our friends and how we are very much similar to those people whom we love and spend time with.  After all, Rasoolullah (SAW) said “Shall I tell you who is the best of you?”  “Yes,” replied the Sahaba.  He (SAW) said, “Those who remind you of Allah when you see them.”  He (SAW) went on to say, “Shall I tell you who is the worst of you?”  “Yes,” they replied.  He said, “Those who go about slandering, causing mischief between friends in order to separate them, and desiring to lead the innocent into wrong action” (Bukhari).  However, does this mean we isolate and polarize ourselves from society?  No, in general, we should strive and struggle to benefit ourselves and others around us.  Consider the benefical words of Ibn al-Qayyim:

Know that the greatest of losses for YOU is to be pre-occupied with ONE who will bring you nothing but a loss in your time with Allah – the Mighty, the Majestic – and being cut-off from Him.  Wasting your time with such a person.  Weakening of your energy, and the dispersing [disbanding, separating] of your resolve [steadfastness, determination].  When you are tested with this – and you must be tested with this – deal with this person according to how Allah would wish, and be patient with him as much as possible.  Get closer to Allah and His Pleasure by way of this person.  Make your getting together with him something to benefit from, NOT  something to incur a loss from.

Be with him as if you are a man who is on a road who was stopped by another man, who then asks you to take him on your journey.  Make sure that you are the one who gives him a ride, and that he is not the one giving you the ride.  If he refuses, and there is nothing to gain from travelling with him, DO NOT stop for him.  Bid him farewell, and do not even turn back to look at him, as he is a highway robber, regardless of who he really is.  Save your heart, be wary [cautious, guarded] of how you spend your days and nights.

DO NOT let the Sun set [death approach] before you arrive at your DESTINATION.

Excerpts taken from Imam Ibn al-Qayyim’s book Al-Waabil as-Sayyib

Spiritual Nourishment

August 27, 2009

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!

By Ibn al-Qayyim al Jawziyyah (adopted by Ammar ibn Abdullah al-Hindi)

“Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”

The Meaning of “Strangeness”

Many times in many situations the people that follow the religion of Allah feel a sense of not belonging, of being out of place, of not fitting in, and, in other words, of being strange. This feeling could occur in a gathering of non-Muslims, but, unfortunately, this feeling sometimes also occurs when one is with his fellow Muslims.

A person sees his brothers and sisters doing acts that are contrary to Islam, or taking part in innovations that sometimes even border on kufr (apostasy), yet he feels that he does not have enough power or courage to stop them in these acts. Some brothers and sisters, especially if they do not have enough taqwa or Islamic knowledge, sometimes buckle under the pressure of their peers and join in these acts, knowing that this is not what Allah wants them to do. However, feeling helpless, since it seems that they are alone in their ideas and without any support to help them do what is right, they succumb to such pressures.

These brothers and sisters, may Allah have mercy on them, should take consolation in the verses of the Qur’an and the many statements of the Prophet (saws) describing this very situation of strangeness that they feel.

Why Have They Been Called “Strangers”?

Allah says in the Qur’an,

“If only there had been, in the generations preceding you, people having wisdom, prohibiting others from evil in the earth; except a few of those whom we have saved from among them.” (Qur’an Hud 116).

This verse speaks of the few people on earth, the “strangers”, who prohibit mankind from evil. These are the same people the Prophet (saws) spoke about when he said, “Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings [ar. Tooba. This is a tree in Paradise. So the Prophet (saws) is giving the good news of Paradise to these strangers.] to the strangers.” It was asked, “Who are those strangers, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Those that correct the people when they become corrupt.” [Reported by Abu Amr al-Dani, from the hadith of ibn Masoud. It is authentic according to al-Albani. Another narration says, “Those that correct my Sunnah which has been corrupted by the people after me.”] In another narration he said in response to the same question, “They are a small group of people among a large evil population. Those who oppose them are more than those who follow them.” [Reported by ibn Asaakir. It is authentic according to al-Albani.]

These praiseworthy people are called strangers since they are a small minority among mankind. Thus, Muslims are strangers among mankind; the true believers are strangers among Muslims; and the scholars are strangers among the true believers. And the followers of the Sunnah, those that clear themselves from all peoples of innovation, are likewise strangers.

In reality, however, their strangeness is only because they are the minority and it is not because their actions and beliefs are strange. This is what Allah says in surah al-Anaam,

“And if you obey most of the people on Earth, they will lead you astray” (Qur’an al-Anaam 116).

Allah also says,

“And most of mankind will not believe, even if you (O Muhammad) desire it eagerly” (Qur’an Yusuf 103);

“And truly, most of mankind are rebellious and disobedient (to Allah).” (Qur’an al-Maidah 49)

“But nay, most of mankind are ungrateful” (Qur’an Yusuf 38).

Therefore, Allah, the All-Knowing Creator, knows the most of mankind will not follow the truth. Instead, only a small group of people will be set apart that truly and correctly believe in Him, the strangers from among mankind.

The strangers in belief, however, and the strangers in character and actions are in reality the majority of mankind, for they are strange to Islam and to the laws that Allah has revealed. Thus we see that there are various types of strangeness, of which some are praiseworthy, some are blameworthy and some are either praiseworthy or blameworthy. We will discuss these various categories separately below.

The Various Types of Strangeness

You should know, may Allah have mercy upon you, that strangeness is of three types:

The first type of strangeness is the strangeness of the “People of Allah and the People of His Messenger” (saws), which we mentioned previously. This strangeness is a praiseworthy strangeness, as it has been praised by Allah and His Messenger (saws). Therefore, this kind of strangeness should be sought and its people must be supported. This strangeness occurs in different times, in different places, and among different peoples. These strangers, then, are the true “People of Allah” for they do not worship ought save Him, and they do not take support from any path except the path of the Prophet (saws), and they do not call to anything except that which has been brought by the Prophet (saws). These are the people who left mankind when they (the strangers) were in need of them the most. For, on the Day of Judgment, when all other groups will go with that which they used to worship, they will stay in their places. It will be said to them, “Will you not go as the other people have gone?” They will answer, “We had abandoned the people (in this life), and we were more in need of them then we are today, and we will wait for our Lord whom we used to worship.” [Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim] Thus it is apparent that this strangeness does not cause its bearer any discontent. Rather it is a comforting strangeness, a solace to the believers. This is because he knows that his helpers are Allah, His Messenger and those who believe [This is a reference to verse 55 of surah al-Maidah], even if all of mankind left and abandoned him.

These strangers are again described in a hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik, in which the Prophet (saws) said, “It is possible that a disheveled, dusty person, with not many belongings [Literally, “with two headdresses”], who is not noticed among the people, if he asks of Allah, Allah will fulfill his prayer.” [Reported by at-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim. Al-Albani said it is authentic.] Al-Hasan al-Basri [a very famous Follower – tabi‘ – known for his piety, asceticism and knowledge] said, “A believer is a stranger in this world, he is never afraid of its humiliation, and he never competes for its glory. The people are in one situation and he is in a different situation. The people are content with him, yet he is in turmoil [Literally, “tired”] with himself.” From the characteristics of these strangers that the Prophet (saws) described is the holding on to the Sunnah of the Messenger (saws), even if the people abandon it. They, the strangers, leave all the innovations that their people invent, even if such practices should be common among them. They also stick to tawheed, even if the people corrupt it with shirk. They do not ascribe themselves to anything besides Allah and His Prophet (saws); they do not, that is, ascribe themselves to a shaikh, tariqah, particular madhhab or a group of people. They are dedicated only to Allah, with their sincere worship of Him and Him alone, and to His Prophet (saws), by following the path that he followed. These are the people who grasp the glowing hot embers [A reference to the hadith that is to follow], even though most of mankind – nay, all of them – blame them for this. This is the meaning of the statements of the Prophet (saws) alluding to the fact that they stick to his Sunnah, even if the people corrupt it.

Allah, all praise be to Him, sent His Prophet (saws) when mankind followed different religions, for there were those who worshipped rivers and trees, and there were those who worshipped idols, and there were Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. Islam, when it first appeared among these people, was strange to them. If a person from among them accepted Islam and followed the call of Allah and His Prophet (saws), he would be shunned by his family and his tribe. He would live the life of a stranger among his people. Eventually, however, Islam spread far and wide. The Muslims became stronger and stronger, so much so that the strangers were those that did not accept the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (saws).

But, alas, Satan deceived mankind again. People took to the ways that their forefathers, who had accepted Islam, had abandoned until, finally, Islam became strange again, just like it had started and just like the Prophet (saws) had foretold. Nay, indeed, rather the true Islam – that which the Prophet (saws) and his Companions were following [this is a reference to the reply that the Prophet (saws) gave when asked what the characteristics of the “Saved Group” were] has become even stranger to the people then when it initially appeared, even though its outward signs and external relics are well known and widespread. [This is what ibn al-Qayyim, wrote in the 8th Century of the Hijrah, wrote. Imagine our situations six centuries after him. May Allah protect us.]

How can it not be so, when these strangers are only one group among seventy-two others [the Prophet (saws) said in an authentic hadith that this Ummah would divide into seventy-three groups, all of which would go to Hell except the one Saved Group.], each of which follows its own desires and takes its passions as gods?

Those are the groups that base their teachings on doubts and innovations and whose sole purpose is the gratification of their own desires. Thus, the group whose goal is to achieve the pleasure of Allah by following the path of His Messenger (saws) will be the strange one among all of the other groups. This is why the true Muslims – those that adamantly cling to the Sunnah – will have the reward of fifty Companions. When the Prophet (saws) was asked about the verse,

“O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow right guidance, no harm can come to you from those who err” (Qur’an al-Maidah 105)

he said, “Nay indeed, order good and forbid evil until you see stinginess being obeyed, and desires being followed, and this world preferred [over the next], and each person being deluded by his own opinions. Then take care of yourself and leave the common people. For indeed, after you there will be days of patience, where patience will be like holding on to glowing embers. Whoever is able to do this will have the reward of fifty people that do like him.” They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, the reward of fifty of them?” He replied, “The reward of fifty of you” [Recorded by al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud with a weak chain but it has supporting evidence. Al-Albani calls it sahih. See al-Sahiha, #957]. This reward is due to his strangeness among the people.

So, if the believer whom Allah has blessed with wisdom and knowledge wants to tread upon this path, the path of Allah, then let him be prepared to resign himself to the life of a stranger among his people, just like his predecessors who accepted Islam were treated by the people. For indeed, he will be a stranger in his beliefs, because his people have corrupted their beliefs. He will be a stranger in his religion, due to what the people have done to it. He will be a stranger in his manner of praying, because the people are ignorant of the prayer of the Prophet (saws). He will be a stranger in his ordering of good and prohibiting evil, for the people have taken what is evil as good and they have abandoned what is good as evil. In short, then, he will be a stranger in all his matters of this world and the Hereafter, calling to the path of Allah and withstanding the harm of all those that go against him.

As for the second type of strangeness, then know, O reader, that this strangeness is the blameworthy strangeness, for its people are the evil sinners, the ignorant and the arrogant of mankind. Their strangeness is due to their refusal to follow the correct and straight path of Allah. This strangeness is the strangeness of not conforming to the religion of Islam and, as such, it will remain strange even if its followers are numerous, its power is strong and its existence is widespread. These are the strangers to Allah. May Allah keep us from becoming one of them.

The third category of strangeness is, in essence, neither praiseworthy or blameworthy. It is the strangeness that a traveller experiences when he travels to a different country, like a person who lives in a place for a short period of time, knowing that he has to move on. One aspect of this strangeness is that all of us, whether we realize it or not, are strangers in this world, for we will all go one day to our permanent abode in the Hereafter. This is the meaning of the hadith of the Prophet (saws) when he told Abdullah ibn Umar, “Live in this world as though you are a stranger or a wayfarer.” Thus, this category of strangeness has the potential to become a praiseworthy strangeness if we realize the meaning of this statement of Allah’s Messenger (saws).

We pray that Allah bless us to be Muslims, knowledgeable and pious, and that He forgive us our sins and bless us with His Mercy. Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Honour and Power! (He is free) from what they attribute to Him And Peace be on the Messengers. And all Praise and thanks be to the Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Source: www.missionislam.com

Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah [rahimahullah] has categorized heart of a human into three types.
 
Think about which category yours may fall into:

  • That which is void of Eeman and all types of good, thus being a dark heart.  Shaytaan no longer needs to confront this heart with whispers because he now dwells in it. He decrees what he wishes in it and has taken complete control of it 
  • That which has been illuminated with the light of Eemaan. Faith has kindled its lanterns within it, but at the same time there is still some darkness of desires and winds of disobedience present in it.  Shaytaan approaches and retreats from this category of heart, and at times he takes advantage of opportunities. The WAR [in this heart] is sometimes severe and at other times calm. The affair of the individuals who fall into this category of hearts varies between many and few. Some possessors of this category are usually victorious over their enemy, while others regularly allow their enemy to get the upper hand. Yet another class are of those who have equal moments of defeat and victory.
  • That which is filled with Eemaan. This heart is illuminated with the light of Eeman and the veil of desires and darkness has been lifted from it. The light of Eeman is glowing within the chest and that glow contains flames. If desires challenge to approach this heart they are burned by the flames [of Eeman]. This protection is similar to the protection of the sky by the stars. If Shaytaan attempts to advance towards the sky to steal information he is pelted from every side with a Shihaabun Thaaqib [flaming fire of piercing brightness].

Then Imam ibn Qayyim goes on to brilliantly explain these three categorization of human hearts further with examples in this episode:

  • Void of Eeman and all types of good
  • Illuminated with the light of Eemaan
  • Filled with Eemaan

He [rahimahullah] related the hearts with 3 different types of homes.

  1. The home of a king; in it are his treasures and precious jewels and belongings. 
  2.  The home of a slave; in it is his wealth and precious jewels and belongings, but indeed his belongings are much less [in value and quantity] than that of the king’s.
  3. The empty home; in it there is nothing to steal.

A thief approaches with the intention of stealing from one of the homes. Which one would you think he would burglarize?
If you say that he would steal from the empty home, this is something impossible because the empty home possess nothing for him to steal.

Based on this reality, it was mentioned to Ibn Abbas – May Allah be pleased with him – Verily, the Jews claim that they do not experience whispers [distractions] in prayer. Ibn Abbas – May Allah be pleased with him – thereupon commented:  What would the Shaytaan do to a heart that is already destroyed  [This is the example of a person whose heart is void of Eemaan]

If you say that he would steal from the home of a king. This would also be impossible due to the strong presence of security for making a thief impossible to penetrate.[This is the example of a person whose heart is filled with Eemaan]

Consequently, there is nothing left for the thief except to approach the third home. [This is the example of a person whose heart is illuminated with Eemaan] 

Such is the case with Shaytaan that he approaches the home of a slave, and he snatches any and every opportunity that he gets. Thus, it becomes essential for such an individual to sincerely reflect upon the given examples and guard his home [i.e. heart] from the attacks of Shaytaan.

Ibn Qayyim on the Present

February 1, 2009

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah [rahimahullah] said:

Your life in the present moment is in between the past and the future. So what has preceded [gone before] can be rectified by

  • Tawbah [repentance], Nadam [regret], and Istighfar [seeking Allaah’s forgiveness]
  • This is something that will neither tire you nor will cause you to toil as you would with strenuous [exhausting] labor. 
  • It is [just] an action of the heart.

Then as regards the future [then it can be corrected] by withholding yourself from sins; by merely leaving of something and to be at ease from them.

  •  This also is not an action of the limbs that requires you to strive and toil.
  • It is a firm resolve and intention of the heart – which will give rest to your body, heart, and thoughts.

Neither of the two mentioned above involves any hardship or exertion of the limbs.

But then your attention must be directed to your life in the present – i.e. the time between the two times.

  • If you waste it, then you have wasted the opportunity to be of the fortunate and saved ones.
  • If you look after it, having rectified the two times – what is before and after it, you will be successful and achieve rest, delight and ever-lasting bliss.
  • Looking after it is harder than that which comes before and after it.
  • Guarding it involves keeping to that which is most befitting and beneficial for your soul, and that which will bring it success and well-being.

(Source: www.islaam.com)