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?

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

Do You Forgive?

February 23, 2010

Often times, Muslims generally seem to have beef (problems) with other Muslims whether it comes to masjid politics, MSA drama, basketball on the court, or whatever else may be an issue between two Muslims.  However, this is obviously not the way of the believer.  As Muslims, we are told to forgive one another as the believers are described as “those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive” (Translation of the Meaning of the Quran, 42: 37). 

So ask yourself, have you forgiven those that have wronged you in any way in the past?  You may be thinking, but my situation is different as this specific person doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.  However, is it?  Forgiveness, by definition, is given to those people that don’t deserve it.  So why not forgive those that may have done something harmful towards you?  Even if you don’t want to forgive that specific person for their sake, forgive them for your sake so that you may be forgiven by your Lord as we are told, “The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah” (Translation of the Meaning of the Quran, 42:40)

We all want mercy, love, and kindness from our Lord.  Do we strive to exhibit these same qualities to others?  So ask yourself, do you forgive?

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.

By Asma Bint Shameem

Wudu is such a beautiful thing. It is done so that we can purify ourselves before we stand for prayer in front of Allah. And all of us make wudu, because we know that without it our prayer will not be valid. But usually we do it routinely, swiftly washing our hands and feet, splish splash on the face, a quick wipe over the head and we are done, not thinking much of it. And sometimes we even get lazy and don’t do it properly, especially at times like Fajr, when we are sleepy and during cold weather.

But there is more to wudu than just being a condition for worship. Something that makes it more than just a routine thing before prayer…… something higher and more complete…. something that most of us neglect or overlook.

And that is…..that the very act of wudu is a form of worship in itself. By performing wudu you can get closer to Allaah….you can increase your Imaan and strengthen your faith. By performing wudu, you can intensify your love for Allaah and His Messenger (Sal Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam)…and you can have your sins forgiven. And how can one do all that ?

Every time you make wudu, be conscious of Allaah, your Rabb, and remember that it is Him, Who ordered you to perform wudu in the first place. And you are carrying out His Orders, His Command….you are obeying Him. And you love to obey Him. So be conscious of your obedience to Him and thank Him for enabling you to carry out His Command as He says:

(O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles) [Surah Maidah:6]

This will increase your love for Allaah, and strengthen your Imaan….and improve your relationship with Him. It will make you more conscious of Him when you stand in front of Him in prayer and give you more Khushoo.

And every time you perform wudu, be conscious that you are following the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam). It is the same way he did wudu….. the Prophet that you love and honor and respect….and it is his Sunnah that you love to follow. Not only will Allaah will reward you for following His Messenger (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam), but it (the wudu) will also increase your love for the Sunnah as well.

The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “He who performs wudu like this wudu of mine and then offered two rakahs of prayer without allowing his thoughts to be distracted, all his previous sins are expiated.” (Muslim)

So the key to sins being expiated is performing wudu like the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and then praying. And every single time you perform wudu, do it sincerely for the sake of Allaah, expecting a reward from Him, asking Him to accept it from you, hoping that He will forgive you.

Because wudu expiates sins. “When the Muslim or believing slave does wudu and washes his face, every wrong thing that he looked at with his eyes comes out from his face with the water or with the last drop of water. When he washes his hands, every wrong thing that he did with his hands comes out from his hands with the water or with the last drop of water. When he washes his feet every wrong thing that he walked to with his feet comes out from his feet with the water or with the last drop of water, until he emerges cleansed of sin.” (Muslim)

And whenever you do wudu, think of the People who will have bright hands and faces on the Day of Resurrection and know that if you try to do your wudu properly, doing it sincerely for the sake of Allaah, then He will make you among those. The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “(On the Day of Resurrection) You will have distinctive marks “Al-Ghurr-ul- Muhajjalun” which nobody among the peoples (except you) will have; you would come to me (at the Cistern of al-Kauthar) with blazing forehead and bright hands and feet on account of the traces of ablution.” (Muslim)

Try and maintain your wudu at all times as this is a sign of a believer. The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Only the believer will remain with his ablution (sustaining it at all times).” (Saheeh al-Jamee) And even if you have difficulty in doing wudu, like cold weather, or any other situation that makes wudu difficult, still try your best to maintain it, since there is tremendous reward.

The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Shall I not tell you something by which Allah effaces the sins and elevates ranks (in Jannah)?” The Companions said; “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Performing the Wudu thoroughly in spite of difficult circumstances, walking with more paces to the mosque, and waiting for the next prayer after observing a prayer; and that is mindfulness”. (Muslim)

And don’t forget the Siwaak. It is something that Allaah and His Messenger love. He (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Siwak is a purification for the mouth and satisfaction for the Lord”. (al- Nisaee and Ibn Khuzaima -Sahih at Targheeb)

And when you finish wudu, be sure and say the Sunnah duas that the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) taught us to say AFTER we are done with wudu. Remember there are NO duas to be said during wudu. There is nothing proven about that from the authentic Sunnah. Just START your wudu with Bismillaah and when you are DONE, then say the following:

1) Ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasooluhu. (Meaning: I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.) (Muslim)

2) Allaahumm ajalni min al-tawwaabeena wajalni min al-mutatahhireena (Meaning: O Allaah, make me one of those who repent and make me one of those who purify themselves). (Tirmidhi-Saheeh by Albaani)

3) Subhaanaka Allaahumma wa bi hamdika, ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill anta, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka (Meaning: Glory and praise be to You, O Allaah, I bear witness that there is no god but You, I seek Your forgiveness and I repent to You) (al-Nasaai, etc.- Saheeh by Albaani)

May Allaah make us among those who purify themselves for His sake, physically as well as spiritually. Ameen.

Think about these words from different angles

 [وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ فِى النَّارِ لِخَزَنَةِ جَهَنَّمَ ادْعُواْ رَبَّكُمْ يُخَفِّفْ عَنَّا يَوْماً مِّنَ الْعَذَابِ ]

(And those in the Fire will say to the keepers (angels) of Hell: “Call upon your Lord to lighten for us the torment for a day!”)

1. They didnt ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, they asked the keepers of Jahannam to make dua for them, Because Allah had told them,

[اخْسَئُواْ فِيهَا وَلاَ تُكَلِّمُونِ]

(Remain you in it with ignominy! And speak you not to Me!)

So they saw themselves that they are not worthy of asking Allah and supplicate to Him rather they invoke to Him via intermediate.

2. They said ”Call upon your Lord”, and didnt say Call upon our Lord because their faces and hearts cannot comprehend or say ”Our Lord”, they are in the state of shame and humility that they see themselves unworthy of claiming the Lordship of Allah to them rather they said ”Your Lord”.

3. They didnt say remove from us the punishment but they said (Lighten) because they are (Allah’s refuge is sought) despair from the Mercy of Allah.

4. They didnt say lighten the punishment for us forever rather they said ”For a Day”, only one day.

From this it is clear that they are in state of severe punishment, shame and humiliation,

وَتَرَاهُمْ يُعْرَضُونَ عَلَيْهَا خَـشِعِينَ مِنَ الذُّلِّ يَنظُرُونَ مِن طَرْفٍ خَفِىٍّ وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِنَّ الْخَـسِرِينَ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَهْلِيهِمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ أَلاَ إِنَّ الظَّـلِمِينَ فِى عَذَابٍ مُّقِيمٍ

”And you will see them brought forward to it (Hell) made humble by disgrace, (and) looking with stealthy glance. And those who believe will say: “Verily, the losers are they who lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection.” Verily, the wrongdoers will be in a lasting torment.”

Sheikh Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen – Liqaa al Maftooh – No. 11 side A

Fasting Ashoora

December 26, 2009

We are now in a new Islamic Year, 1431, with the start of the month of Muharram. Muharram is one of four sacred months. It is also the best month to offer extra fasts outside of Ramadan. The Prophet (S) said, “The best fasting after Ramadan is the month of Allah Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the prayer at night.” [Muslim]. Therefore, in addittion to fasting the three white days, try and fast as many other days as you can, including Taasoo’aa and ‘Aashuraa (more on that below), which are the 9th and 10th of Muharram, respectively.

The Three White Days for this month – the 13, 14, and 15 – will be Wednesday, Dec 30 – Friday, January 1. So mark those down in your calendars to fast Insha’Allah. And the 9th of 10th of Muharram fall on THIS Saturday and Sunday, December 26 and 27.

In regards to Tasso’aa and ‘Aashuraa, Abdullah Ibn Abbas (R) said, “The Prophet (S) came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the Day of ‘Aashuraa. He said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘This is a good day, this is the day in which Allah (SWTA) saved the Children of Israel from their enemy [Pharoah], and Musa (AS) fasted on this day.’ He (S) said, ‘We are closer to Musa then they.’ So he fasted on this day and commanded the people to fast.” [Bukhari].

Abdullah ibn Abbas (R) also said, “When the Messenger of Allah (S) fasted on the Day of ‘Aashuraa and told the people to fast, they said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, this is a day venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allah (S) said, ‘Next year if Allah wills, we will [also] fast on the 9th day.’ But by the time the following year came, the Messenger of Allah (S) had passed away.” [Muslim].

The reward for fasting the Day of Aashuraa is to have one’s minor sins from the previous year erased! So it’s not an opportunity that you want to pass up! The Prophet (S) said, “Fasting the day of Arafah, I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it, and fasting the day of ‘Aashuraa, I hope Allah will expiate thereby the year that came before it.” [Muslim].

For an additional look into Ashura: A Day of Joy or Grief? by Shaykh Imtiyaz Damiel (of the UK)

The Best Days of the Year

November 24, 2009

We are in the midst of the first 10 days of the month of Dhul Hijjah. Doing good deeds in them is better than in any of the other days of the year. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The companions asked: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” The Prophet replied, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything” (Narrated by Bukhari).
 
It is highly recommended that we all increase in doing good deeds and extra voluntary acts of worship during these 10 blessed days so we can make the best out of them and gain Allah’s reward.
 
These 10 days are so important and blessed that Allah swore by them in the Quran in the beginning of Surah Al-Fajr. It is in these 10 days that all the pillars of Islam are being performed, because it is the time of the year for Hajj, along with the other pillars like Salah, Fasting, and Zakah also being performed. So insha’Allah, we should strive to start that month with sincere repentance to Allah and exert ourselves in doing as much good deeds as we can.
 
Here are a few of the possible good deeds that one can do, along with a few other things to keep in mind:

1) Fasting:
We should try to fast as much of the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah as possible, since fasting is a virtuous deed, and even more so during these days. As prophet Muhammad peace be upon him says: “Allah says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.’” (Narrated by Bukhari).
It was the Sunnah of the prophet to increase in fasting during these blessed days. However, fasting all of the first 9 days is not compulsory, nor was it a constant sunnah that the prophet peace be upon him never dropped. But insha’Allah, increase in your fasting during these first 9days because the reward and virtues of fasting are numerous, such as the du’a or supplication of the fasting person is accepted, fasting is a means of attaining Taqwah, and it also is a protection from Hell-fire, as prophet Muhammad peace be upon him says: “Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will keep his face seventy years’ distance away from the Fire because of it.”(Narrated by Muslim).
 
2) The Day of ‘Arafah:
The day of ‘Arafah is the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah (which will be on Thursday, November 26),and it is the day when the pilgrims (performing Hajj) stand in worship on the mountain of ‘Arafah.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’” (Narrated by Muslim).
Whether you decide to fast most of the first 9 days, or you decide to just fast only one day out of the nine, make sure that you fast on the day of ‘Arafah which is the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah (which will be on Thursday, November 26), because when prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah, he said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” (Narrated by Muslim). Therefore, it is highly recommended to fast on the day of ‘Arafah for those who are not going on Hajj. 
The day after ‘Arafah, the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, is the day of Eid Al-Adha which is also called the day of Nahr (slaughtering), and the next three days after Eid (the 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul Hijjah) are called the days of Tashreeq. The day of Eid and the three days of Tashreeq after it are days of celebration and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) forbade fasting on these days and said: “Do not fast on these days, for they are the days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah.” (Narrated by Ahmad; Classed as Saheeh by Sheikh Albani).

3) The Udhiyah (Sacrifice):
One of the righteous deeds that brings one closer to Allah is slaughtering an animal for the sake of Allah, and this is highly recommended sunnah for those who can afford it (some scholars even said it is mandatory to offer the sacrifice for those who are able to afford it), because the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to offer a sacrifice every year for the 10 years while he was in Medina, as narrated by the companion Abdullah ibn Omar may Allah be pleased with them both. The time for slaughtering the animal begins after the Eid Prayer on the day of Eid and lasts until the end of the three days of Tashreeq after Eid.
For those who plan to sacrifice (usually, the head of the household), then they are prohibited to cut their hair or nails from the 1st day of Dhul Hijjah until they offer the sacrifice. This is only for the one who plans on performing the sacrifice and not for his entire family, and it applies the same to both men and women. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Once the tendays start, for those of you who have the intention to sacrifice, let them not cut any of their hair or nails (until they sacrifice).” (Narrated by Muslim).
[Note: If you have the habit of biting your nails, this might be the perfect way to help you break that habit during these great 10 days!] 
If you plan on performing the sacrifice, also make sure to pick a mature and healthy animal that is free from any flaws that you will slaughter. When slaughtering the animal, it is sunnah to say: “Bismillah, wa Allahu akbar” (which means “In the name of Allah, Allah is most great).

4) Other Deeds:
Some other good deeds that we can do during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are:
*Increase in Dhikr and remembering Allah frequently, like saying the Takbeer at any time throughout the day. One of the forms of the Takbeer is “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillahi’l-hamd” (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise).  Keep in mind that the Takbeer should be done out loud but on an individual basis and without saying it in unision as a group as this is not from the sunnah.
*Doing Istighfaar and repenting sincerely to Allah from all our sins, and staying away from committing any more sins during these 10 days.
*Increase in giving charity.
*Do more of the voluntary acts of worship like extra prayers throughout the day and at night.
*Pray the 5 obligatory daily prayers early on time and with tranquility, and if you are able to then pray them in congregation at the Masjid.
*Any other good deed that you can think of !!
*Remember to attend the Eid prayer on the day of Eid (the 10th day of Dhul Hijja), as the prophet ordered everyone, men, women, and kids, to attend the Eid prayer.

How to Prepare for Ramadan

August 16, 2009

A lot of us yearn to prepare for Ramadan, but we have no idea how to start. Below are a few tips to insha’Allah help prepare our minds and hearts for this upcoming Month of Mercy.

1. Making the Intention

Simple to do and has a powerful impact. Maybe you want to prepare for Ramadan, but between school, work, family, and any other activities, you just have no idea how to fit in ‘Preparing for Ramadan’ time. Instead of making ‘preparing for Ramadan’ something separate from your daily activities, MAKE your daily activities a means of preparation for Ramadan.

For example, perhaps your mom asked you to pick up your brother from school on the day you finally had time to read a few extra pages of Qur’an. Instead of feeling upset and feeling like you have lost a great preparation for Ramadan opportunity, make the intention that you are picking up your brother to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and prepare for Ramadan by obeying your mother, helping your family members, building ties of kinship… and the list continues.

The point is that preparing for Ramadan does not have to be some magnificent, enormous, extra-special thing that needs to be done at a certain time of the day. Many of your daily actions can be turned into Ramadan preparation actions with a sincere intention, insha’Allah.

2. Do these easy-to-reap-reward actions:

Asking 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]

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (r.a) said “The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Whoever says subhanAllah wa bi hamdih (praise and glory be to Allah) 100 times, morning and evening, his sins will be erased even if they are like the foam on the sea.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 6042; Muslim 2691

If a person says “SubhanAllah” (glory be to Allah) 100 times, a thousand good deeds are recorded for him and a thousand bad deeds are wiped away. Narrated by Muslim 2073

Remember Allah when you go shopping : “Whoever enters a market and says: “Laa ilaha illallah wahdahu la shareeka lah, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu yuhyi wa yumeetu wa huwa hayyun laa yamoot, bi yadihil khair, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shayin qadeer’[there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah, alone without partner, to Him belongs dominion and praise, He causes life and death and He is the Living and does not die. In His Hand is all the good, and He is over all things competent]Allah will write for him/her a million good deeds and erase a million bad deeds and raise him a million levels.” [at-Tirmidhi, classed as hasan by al-Albani]

3. Up your worship

To help condition your heart for this blessed month, intensify your worship before Ramadan begins. Just a small, consistent amount is enough. The Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam told us:
“The deeds most loved by Allah are those done regularly, even if they are small.”

For example, if I always pray 2 rakats of sunnah after ishaa, from this day until Ramadan begins- and even through Ramadan, let me make the intention that I will now pray 2 extra rakats of sunnah after ishaa. And every time I pray these extra 2 rakats, which are more than what I normally pray, let me remember that I am doing these with the intention of asking Allah to help me be prepared to strive and exert my utmost effort during Ramadan.

4. Make a duaa list today

This is THE MONTH to ask for EVERYTHING, both related to this life and the Next. Let us not wait until the last 10 nights to make special duaas, and then once Eid passes realize that we had completely forgotten about fifty other things we needed to make duaa for. Let us start making our lists now, and add to it as more things come our way. Insha’Allah this should help us remember to make constant duaa in this month where duaa is accepted, and help our hearts pour out to the One Who can make those duaas happen, subhanahu wa ta’ala.

5. Write out your objectives for Ramadan

Praying all of your fard prayers? Praying all of your sunnahs? Reading the entire Qur’an? Giving $1 charity a day? Making itikaaf in the masjid? Leaving one serious sin that you’ve been trying to get away from for some time now? Sincerely turning completely back to Allah?
Write out a list, put them somewhere you will see them, and make duaa for your success in fulfilling these objectives.

6. Make a plan!

Look at your objectives, and try to make a plan on how to actualize those objectives in this month.

For example, perhaps you are really struggling to pray your sunnah prayers. In this month, realize the enormity of the ajr of praying the sunnah prayers… think that perhaps these sunnahs will be the deeds that will be so heavy on your scale of good deeds when you are intense need of them- on yowm al qiyamah. Therefore, fight to keep doing them all throughout Ramadan. If you can’t pray your 2 rakats after dhur right away, make sure to do them as soon as you get a chance.

Thus, your plan might look something like this:
Objective: Pray all of my fard prayers.
Method: Envision myself on the day of judgment seeing the insha’Allah weight of praying my sunnah consistently during this month. Make sure to pray sunnah salah immediately after salah. If I cannot, do it as soon as the opportunity arises… don’t let myself put it off!

Another example is that of finishing the Qur’an:
Objective: Finishing the entire Qur’an in this month.
Method: Read 4 pages of the Qur’an after every salah. 5 prayers X 4 pages = 20 pages. 20 pages= about 1 juz. 1 juz X 30= the entire Qur’an.
——-
So many Muslims have passed away since last month. So many people have not made it to Ramadan this year. Last year was their very last Ramadan. Will you make it to this Ramadan? Will this be your last Ramadan?

Aim to strive in this Ramadan. With a very small amount of effort, such as just making a small intention, or adding a few extra acts of worship, we pray that Allah will help our hearts soften and honor us with making it easy to turn to Him and open up to Him.

May Allah make us of the successful in Ramadan, and make it easy for us to turn to Him completely and perpetually. Ameen

(Written by Sr. Maryam from www.suhaibwebb.com)

Do You Adhan?

July 28, 2009

The call to prayer (adhan) is one of the most beautiful sounds known to man.  When the call comes out, we hear about tawheed and the shahada.  Then we hear the secret to success when one hears, “Come to prayer, come to success.”  When the adhan is pronounced, we should stop what we are doing and listen to call and repeat its words as Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “Whenever you hear the Adhan, say what the Mu’adhin is saying” (Bukhari).

There is a great merit and reward in pronouncing the adhan.  After all, Allah (SWT) tells us in the Quran, “Who speaks better than one who calls to God and acts righteously?” (Translation of the Meaning of the Quran, 41:33).

The Messenger of Allah (SWT) said, “If the people knew the reward for pronouncing the adhan and for standing in the first row (in the congregational prayer) and found no other way to get it except by drawing lots they would do so” (Bukhari).

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “the Mu’adhdhins will have the longest necks on the Day of Resurrection” (Muslim).

Furthermore, Satan despises the adhaan as Allah’s Apostle (SAW) said, “When Satan hears the call to prayer, he runs away to a distance like that of Rauha.”  Someone asked him about Rauha. He replied “It is at a distance of thirty-six miles from Medina.” (Muslim).

Even if you are praying alone, it is the sunnah for a man to make the adhan and iqama by himself as anything that hears your call to prayer will testify for you on the Day that lasts 50,000 years.  Abu Sa’id al-Khudri told a man, “I see you liking sheep and the wilderness. So whenever you are with your sheep or in the wilderness and you want to pronounce Adhan for the prayer raise your voice in doing so, for whoever hears the Adhan, whether a human being, a jinn or any other creature, will be a witness for you on the Day of Resurrection.”   Abu Said added, “I heard it (this narration) from Allah’s Apostle” (Bukhari).

Furthermore, the Messenger (SAW) said, “Your Lord likes it when a shepherd at the top of a mountain pass calls the Adhaan for prayer and then prays. Then Allah says, ‘Look at this slave of mine, saying the Adhaan and the Iqaamah for prayer and fearing Me.  I ask you to bear witness that I have forgiven My slave and will admit him to Paradise’” (an-Nisai).

Moreover, Imam Shafi held the opinion it is disliked to pray without the adhan and iqamah as he said, “If a man neglects to say the Adhaan and Iqaamah when he is praying alone or in congregation, I regard that as makrooh, but he does not have to repeat the prayers he did without the Adhaan or Iqaamah.”

So I ask you, do you adhan?

How is it possible that some people can call themselves Muslim yet they don’t pray?  Prayer is the second pillar in Islam after the declaration of faith.

If a Muslim is an alcoholic or a fornicator, scholars agree that these sins do not take that person outside the fold of Islam.  However, in regards to the prayer, the scholars disagree on this issue as the difference between a Muslim and kufr is the prayer.

Furthermore, often times, people think they are fulfilling their duty of prayer by praying five times a day.  However, we are not told to just pray, rather we are told to pray properly.  The Quran states, “So woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers” (Translation of the Meaning of the Quran, 107:4-5).  Subhan’Allah, the one who prays yet is heedless in his prayer is condemned, then what about the one that doesn’t pray?!  Many of the scholars of the past held the opinion that if you miss one prayer during its time slot on purpose ONCE, then this is kufr (this is apparently the opinion of the Hanbali madhab).  Missing just one prayer outside of its time slot, if it is not kufr, is a major sin (other major sins include the likes of murder, adultery, etc).

The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer.  If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound.  And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” [at Tabarani]

Next time you want to delay the prayer out of its time slot because of an exam or a meeting, take a step-back and think what’s more worthy of your time, the purpose for which you were created or anything else?  There is no excuse for praying “kaza,” period.

Allah (SWT) states in the Quran, “I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me” (Translation of the Meaning of the Quran, 51:56).

Whoever sees sincerity in his sincerity, his sincerity is itself in need of sincerity.”

What a profound statement! 

On a scale of one to ten, how sincere is your worship?  Wait, don’t answer that!

Many people are satisfied with their worship knowing that they did it solely for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone.  They think their work is pure with ikhlaas free of any riyaa.  However, whoever believes that his worship is pure and he considers himself truely sincere, then his sincerity and ikhlas needs a reality check!  The true worshipper is never satisfied with his worship, rather he is always worried about his sincerity and he never sees true sincerity in himself even if it were there!  The true worshipper is worried about his ibaadah up until his or her death.

Indeed, “the destruction of every sincere person lies in his sincerity, (he is destroyed) to the extent that he sees sincerity in himself. When he abandons seeing sincerity in himself he will be sincere and purified.”

Testing our Faith

May 31, 2009

Subhan’Allah, as American Muslims, we tend to test our iman/faith:

-by thinking we will give dawah to all the pretty girls on campus before knowing it we get emotionally attached to them when we are told to not even come close to zina

-by studying with someone of the opposite gender late into the night where Shaytan is the third amongst us

-by agreeing to shake hands with the opposite gender when we are severely warned against touching people of the opposite gender

-by subscribing to cable TV thinking we will only watch the halal shows, but we leave the door open to the possibilities

-by accepting riba from banks thinking we’ll use it for tax money when Allah and His Messenger have declared war against those who partake in riba

-by sitting at a table where alcohol is served when we are specifically prohibited from such an action

-by eating the food of those who own convenient stores selling alcohol when ten different types of people are cursed when it comes to alcohol

-by not donating any money as we fear poverty

-by having our hearts attached to the dunya instead of the ahkira when indeed the ahkira is better than the dunya

-by being awed by the non-Muslims in their dunya accomplishments when we should be pitying them instead

-by being materialistic when true wealth is being content in one’s heart

-by listening to music when it is clearly prohibited by all four madhabs

-by staying quiet when part of our deen is commanding the good and forbidding the evil

-by thinking tazkiyah is only for the sufis when in reality it is a true science of study in Islam as alluded to by the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah

-by seriously lacking in akhlaq and adab when some of the salaf studied them twice as long as they studied ilm/knowledge

-by joining up with a movement/cult/tariqa within Islam that separates from the jama when true success lies in following the jama in the Quran and Sunnah

-by asking a laymen for his or her Islamic opinion when we wouldn’t ask a laymen for medical advice

-by giving fatwa when we are clearly not a shaykh or shaykha

-by fatwa shopping

-by smoking sheesha when it’s clearly harmful to one’s health like cigarettes

-by not being thankful for all the immense blessings that have been bestowed upon us until it’s too late

-by complaining to others when we should only complain to Allah

-by procrastinating when we don’t know if we will be alive tomorrow

-by befriending the kuffar when it’s prohibited

-by thinking we are better than other people when they very well may be forgiven for their shortcomings and we may not be forgiven for ours

-by having pride not realizing it was the thing that destroyed the devil

Indeed, we test our faith and iman.  However, would be test our lives the same way?  Would we walk across the interstate/highway blindfolded?  Absolutely NOT!  Then, why do we test our iman when it is something much more valuable than our lives?

A BURGLAR scaled the wall of Maalik Bin Dinar’s house one night and easily managed to get inside. Once inside the house, the thief was disappointed to see nothing worth stealing. Maalik was busy performing prayer. Realizing he was not alone, he quickly ended his prayer and turned around to face the thief. Without showing any signs of shock or scare, Maalik calmly extended greetings of peace and said, “My brother, may Allah forgive you. You entered my home and found nothing worth taking, yet I do not want you to leave without taking away some benefit.”

He went in another room and came back with a jug full of water. He looked into the eyes of the burglar and said, “Make ablution and perform two units of prayer, for if you do so, you will leave my home with a greater treasure than you had initially sought.”

Humbled by Maalik’s manners and words, the thief said, “Yes, that is a generous offer indeed.”

After making ablution and performing two units of prayer, the burglar said, “O Maalik, would you mind if I stayed for a while, for I want to stay to perform two more units of prayer?”

Maalik said, “Stay for whatever amount of prayer Allah decrees for you to perform now.”

The thief ended up spending the entire night at Maalik’s house. He continued to pray until morning. Then Maalik said, “Leave now and be good.”

But instead of leaving, the thief said, “Would you mind if I stayed here with you today, for I have made an intention to fast?”

“Stay as long as you wish,” Maalik said.

The burglar ended up staying for a number of days, praying during the late hours of each night and fasting in the day. When he finally decided to leave, the burglar said, “O Maalik, I have made a firm resolve to repent for my sins and for my former way of life.”

Maalik said, “That is in the Hand of Allah.”

The man did mend his ways and began to lead a life of righteousness and obedience to Allah. Later on, he came across another burglar who asked him, “Have you found your treasure yet?”

He replied, “My brother, what I found is Maalik Bin Dinar. I went to steal from him, but it was he who ended up stealing my heart. I have indeed repented to Allah, and I will remain at the door (of His Mercy and Forgiveness) until I achieve what his obedient, loving slaves have achieved.” (Al-Mawaa’idh wal-Majaalis: 85)
 
–       Adapted from ‘Stories of Repentance’ published by Darussalam via www.saudigazette.com.sa

Do You Miswak?

May 2, 2009

I used to get a couple of cavities a year in my visits to the local dentist.  Then, however, I discovered miswak, the Sunnah toothbrush.  Subhan’Allah, for the last couple of years, I’ve been cavity-free.  I don’t use the miswak too often, maybe a couple seconds here or there after making wudhu or before the prayer.  However, the fact of the matter is that the Sunnah toothbruth is an effective tool for not only keeping your teeth fresh and clean, but also gaining the pleasure of our Lord, insh’Allah.  The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, “Siwaak cleanses the mouth and pleases the Lord” (Bukhari).

The Prophet (SAW) highly recommended the use of the siwak as he said, “Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my ummah, I would have commanded them to use the siwaak at every time of prayer” (Bukhari).

The miswak is a confirmed Sunnah and it is something we all should try to implement into our daily lives, not just for the sake of the cleanliness of our teeth, but also for the sake of implementing a beautiful Sunnah. 

So I ask you, do you miswak?

One of the most popular things for people to do nowadays in the Muslim community is to gossip.  Subhan’Allah, many of the immature girls in our community do it constantly, not realizing they are ruining their account with Allah (SWT) and backbiting their fellow Muslimah.  I’ve done a previous post on backbiting and gheebah, but in this post I wanted to emphasis the seriousness of one aspect of it by relating the following hadith:

The Prophet (SAW) stated, “Avoid the seven noxious things: associating anything with Allah, magic, killing one whom Allah has declared inviolate without a just case, consuming the property of an orphan, devouring usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers but indiscreet” (Bukhari and Muslim).

The Prophet (SAW) warned us of seven of the worst crimes and amongst them are shirk, magic, and murder.  However, if you continue reading the list, notice te final sin the Prophet (SAW) mentioned, “slandering chaste women who are believers.”  Wronging your fellow Muslim sister with words is on the same list as shirk, magic and murder!  Subhan’Allah, can you imagine standing in front of your Lord on the Day of Reckoning claiming to be a believer but having committed one of the most noxious sins on a daily basis, it’s unfathomable!  Your deeds would be distributed to those whom you wronged, whether you murdered them or slandered them.  O Muslim, please don’t gossip about one another, rather love and pray for another for we all know to whom we shall have to answer one day, to our Lord, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.

A Good Night’s Sleep

April 13, 2009

By Shaykh Salman al-Oadah

It might seem funny to devote an article to sleeping. But think about it. The average person spends around eight hours of a 24-hour day asleep. That is a third of a person’s lifetime.

Allah describes sleep as a blessing from Him. He says in the Qur’an:

“And We made your sleep a rest for you.” [Surah al-Naba’: 9]

“And remember when He made slumber fall upon you as a reassurance from Him.” [Surah al-Anfal: 11]

“It is Allah who has made the night for you, that you may rest therein, and the days as that which helps you to see. Verily Allah is full of grace and bounty to humanity, yet most people give no thanks.” [Surah Ghafir: 61]

Sleep is not only described as a blessing bestowed upon the people, but also as a testament to Allah’s creative ability. Consider where Allah says:

“He it is who gathers up your souls at night and knows all that you do by day. Then He raises you up again, so that the term appointed for you (on Earth) may be accomplished. And afterward unto Him is your return. Then He will proclaim to you what you used to do.” [Surah al-An`am: 60]

“Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, as well as (the souls of) those who die not, during their sleep. Then He withholds those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back until an appointed term. Most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” [Surah al-Zumar: 42]

Yes, sleep is His creation, and it has its marvels. A sleeping person drifts away from his consciousness and reason, only to be fully restored to his rational faculties upon waking, refreshed and revitalized.

A sleeping person can see the strangest and most amazing things, things that a waking person could never possibly see. Our ability to dream is another of Allah’s blessings, and another sign of His greatness.

We can appreciate the importance of sleep if we consider that Allah guided His Messenger (peace be upon him) regarding the etiquettes of sleeping, like being in a state of purity and lying on his right side. (As for facing the qiblah, this is actually not established by the Sunnah.)

Likewise, a number of remembrances and supplications are prescribed for sleeping. The Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed `Ali b. Abi Talib and Fatimah to say “Subhan Allah” 33 times, “al-Hamdu Lillah” 33 times, and “Allah Akbar” 33 times. He informed them that doing so will remove their fatigue and revitalize them, and said: “It is better than having a servant.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

Our generation is sometimes accused of being “the sleeping generation”. Most of us certainly do not need to sleep more than we already do. Nevertheless, we must respect our need to sleep by observing the etiquettes and approaches to sleep that will maximise the benefit that we get from it. This, in turn, helps us manage stress and makes our waking hours more productive.

It is a mistake to dismiss the importance of sleep. We all need it, and we all get our daily quota of sleep. Therefore, it is wrong that we make light of the subject of sleep and disdain reading or speaking about it, as if it were something superfluous.

In order to sleep better, we should first relax a bit. We need to unwind from the pressures, worries, and distresses of the day. We need to end the day on a note of forgiveness and with a few moments of tenderness with our families. We need to recite our remembrances of Allah and rid our hearts of all our animosities. We should not lay our heads down on our pillows with resentfulness in our hearts and angry thoughts in our minds. We should make our last thoughts of the day positive ones.

Source:  www.islamtoday.com

Imagine going shopping and buying the most expensive Versace suit (for brothers) or the most expensive Louis Vuitton purse (for sisters).  Then imagine not ever taking it out in public and showing it off.  Rather, no one knowing that you owned that Louis Vuitton purse, Versace suit, Rolex watch, or Mercedes-Benz car.

Such was the case of one of the pious predecessors of this Ummah.  He bought amongst the most expensive clothes and these clothes were amongst the most beautiful and precious in his time, yet he never wore them in public.  You may ask, “what did he do with them then?”  Rather, this man wore these beautiful clothes when he stood in front of His Lord to pray in the night prayer when no one would see him except for His Lord, for indeed Allah (SWT) tells us in the Quran, “O Children of Adam! wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer” (Translation of the Meaning of the Holy Quran, 7:31). 

Indeed, we should beautify ourselves when we stand in front of our Lord.  Now ask yourself, “what did I look like when I prayed fajr this morning?”  And compare that attire with what you looked like when you last went to a dinner party you were invited to.

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

Pitying the Kuffar?

March 22, 2009

Ibn Abbas held the opinion that touching the kafir breaks your wudhu.  I believe I read the above statement in the work of an orientalist and it had no evidence to support it so I am not sure if this truly is the opinion of Ibn Abbas.  However, the statement got me thinking about the issue of the kuffar and the Muslims approach to them.  Indeed, al wala wal bara is a part of the Muslim aqeeda and it is something that Muslims must adhere to very strictly.  The topic seems to be the current hot-topic amongst many Muslim bloggers after the article posted by Shaykh Tawfique Chawdhury on MuslimMatters and Imam Anwar al-Awlaki’s response to it on his own blog about working with the kuffar. 

However, one thing I wanted to point out and emphasize while all this debating is going on is the blessing, we, as Muslims, truly have been blessed with.  I mean, subhan’Allah, can you imagine life without Islam?  We have been blessed with guidance from the Lord of the Worlds.  In addition to al wala’ wal bara’, I feel great remorse towards the non-Muslim and I feel great pity towards them.  I was at a restaurant less than a week ago and they were playing a music-video of some MTV rapper.  The MTV rapper had women and money and the dunya in his music video, yet you could tell he wasn’t happy.  If you look at people in the Western society today, you notice that they go through ups and downs like it’s nobody’s business.  Depression is extremely common in the USA and UK nowadays.  When I look at the non-Muslim, I realize they have been deprived of so many things.  Just think about the following, the non-Muslim:

  1. Does not realize who is His Lord nor does he have a relationship with His Lord
  2. Does not understand the purpose of life
  3. Is in a continuous state of najis (impurity), hence why the first thing someone does after converting to Islam is take a bath (ghusl)
  4. Has never tasted the sweetness and khushoo of the prayer
  5. Has no comprehension of tawakkul and relying on God, therefore causing stress and depression
  6. Will never be truly happy for we know happiness is not with wealth but in the heart
  7. Has never experienced true brotherhood (not the one where you pay money to have friends in a fraternity)
  8. Does not have a proper relationship with society (where it’s with the parents, the masjid, or the community)
  9. Does not have the beauty of the greeting of the salam
  10. Does not experience the sweetness of faith (emaan)
  11. Solves problems with alcohol instead of with dua or the Quran
  12. Does not know what true fun/pleasure is (compare going to the club with brotherhood)
  13. Has nothing to look forward to it (everyday is a blessing for us and we look forward to meeting our Lord, insh’Allah)
  14. Money is their Lord and the lack of it depresses them and they will never have their fill (b/c of greed)
  15. Their women are completely degraded and slaves to a sexual society

Number ten really hits the nail on the head.  We need to be thankful everyday for the Islam that has bestowed upon us.  We need to make dua to Allah (SWT) that He allows us to die in a state of emaan.

Therefore, O Muslim, be thankful for the blessing that is Islam and feel extreme gratitude to have been excluded from those that have been deprived of it.

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