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)