Many of us, though we may have sincere and righteous intentions, have recently misplaced our ahklaq (i.e. we have lost our manners).  This message is not directed towards one specific incident, but rather I’ve noticed a culmination of different events where many of our brothers (and sisters!), inlcuding myself perhaps have forgotten the proper way to advise our fellow muslims (an act known as irshad or islah).  When we advise our brothers and sisters if they are doing something incorrectly, we must remember to do it for the sake of Allah (SWT) with the best of intentions.  The believer looks for excuses, not blame for his brother.  We want the best for our brothers and sisters and hence we advise them because we love them, not because we think we are better than them.  For if think we are better than them, then this is arrogance and pride and arrogance and pride was the sin that got the rejected and accursed devil kicked out of paradise and doomed for eternity.  We should not think we are better than others.  We need to humble ourselves and be thankful that we are in a position to advise others.  We shouldn’t advise people harshly, rather we need to be gentle, yet firm.  The Messenger of Allah was the best of examples sent to mankind and he would be gentle with others.  We have heard the hadith of the man who urinated in the masjid and the Prophet (SAW) handled the situation in the most eloquent of ways.  Nowadays, if a brother is praying without a kufi (head-covering) or his pants below his ankles in the masjid, we may berate him, but is this really the best way, will he continue coming to this masjid?  There may be a time for harshness, but many of us are not in the situation to handle it as we are the laymen.

With that being said, we need give advice in private.  None of us likes being called out in public and hence we should treat others the way we would want to be treated.  With that being said, when we receive advice, regardless of who it is from, we need to be thankful and considerate of it.  It takes courage to give advice and when one receives it, we should pray for that brother or sister that advised us becaus they love us, regardless of whether they are correct or not.

We need to be on our best behaviour at all times for our akhlaq may be what draws people to our beautiful and truthful religion and way of life.  Nowadays, the brothers with the big beards or the sisters with niqaab are the ones that seem to be the most intimidating, but this is incorrect.  We should set good examples.  Who said to be religious means to be stern and harsh?  Often times, harshness by our brothers and sisters may scare off those people that are young and new to the religion.  Wasn’t there one point in our lives not long ago where we may not have turned out the way we have if it wasn’t for someone who was gentle and kind to us in their teachings?

The salaf (our pious predecessors) used to study ahklaq (good manners) twice as long as they studied knowledge.  How much time have we personally devoted to purifying our souls and being steadfast in our manners and characteristics.  The Prophet (SAW) said, “I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners” (Abu Dawud) so why not aim for the highest part of paradise.  We need to be gentle, honest, and sincere in our character and manners.

I just felt the need to write this short piece up as a reminder to myself first and foremost and then to all of you for we know the reminder benefits the believer.  May Allah (SWT) allow us all to have the best of manners, to attain the highest part of Jannah, and to love one another for the sake of Allah (SWT).  Ameen.

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.

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.

Allah Knows

February 16, 2009

You know, often times, when we do something worthwhile, we want the world to know about it.  Whether it’s Acing our final exams in school or scoring the winning shot in a street-basketball game, we feel it’s our duty to let people know about the ‘big things’ we accomplish everyday.  Even if it’s something that isn’t related directly to us, we feel the urge to tell others via Muslim gossip (even the good non-backbiting type).  However, the fact of the matter is that we shouldn’t really care what other people think about us.    In fact, we shouldn’t even care if other people know what we’ve accomplished.  Because the fact of the matter is, we know Allah (SWT) knows what we accomplished and to Him (SWT) is our final return.  Check out the following enjoyable read:

In one  country, the Muslim army was fighting against the Byzantine army. The number of the Byzantines was more than ten times the number of the Muslims.  The Byzantine commander was Gregorius and his daughter was by his side.  Gregorius’ daughter asked, “My father, who are these, they are merely a handful, their number is small and no more than 15,000, who are they?” 

Gregorius responded, “‘These are the Arab horsemen.”

The daughter said, “My father, give them to me as spoils.”

And so, Gregorious had given his daughter [their property’s worth] as spoils before the battle even took place.   However, Allah (SWT) had decreed that Gregorius would lose the battle and his daughter would be one of the captives and so the Gregorius was killed and his daughter captured.

After their victory, the Muslim army reconvened and the commander of the Muslim army wanted to know who killed Gregorius, but nobody answered.  The Muslim commander asked, “‘Who killed Gregorius?”

Gregorius’ daughter, who had been captured, said to the commander of the Muslims: “I know who killed my father.”

And so when Abdullah bin az-Zubayr passed next to her she said, “O, commander of the Muslims, this is the man who killed my father.”

The commander of the Muslim army asked Abdullah bin az-Zubayr, “O, Abdullah bin az-Zubayr, why did you conceal this from us?”

What did Abdullah bin az-Zubayr say in response?  His words still echo in the ear of history.

He said, “Allah knows I killed him.”

Abdullah bin az-Zubayr walked the walk and he never talked.  This is how we should strive to be where we  do and not talk!

The Disease of the Idiots

February 8, 2009

Living many years in Florida, I have to admit, I’ve become quite a bit desensitized to the fitnah that comes into my view.  This is extremely unfortunately because, well, let’s face it, to look at the haraam is still haraam.  Lowering one’s gaze is one of the hardest things to do while living in the West.  I remember when I was living in Egypt, coming in contact with the opposite gender was something that was scarce.  I would come in contact with the opposite gender at like restaurants when ordering food or something similar.  However, in the West, avoiding contact with the opposite gender is nearly impossible .  To help us get past this obstacle I thought I’d share the following quote by a South Asian scholar of the past:

To cast lustful glances is the disease of idiots. You neither give, nor receive. All you do is put your own heart in turmoil. You can stare at a girl forever, but you will never get her. You will only get the person that Allah has decreed for you as halal. Since this is a matter which has already been decided by Allah, that is why this is the disease of idiots

Therefore, let us remember next time we look at a grl (or at a boy if it is a sister looking) that we are indulging in the disease of the idiot.

I remember a professor once described to our class the four categories of people.  Even though the topic was related to science, I feel it also applies to Islam and the knowledge we possess.  Read the following categories of people and think about which category best suits you.  Without further ado:

1.       Unconsciously Incompetent – This person would be the individual that does not know anything, yet he does not realize he doesn’t know anything.  People in this category tend to jump to make conclusions about Islam and they convey their thoughts and fatwas to others.  Unfortunately, this category probably entails the largest amount of people as everyone thinks of themselves as knowledgeable in Islam.  The masses consider their Islamic knowledge to be sufficient.  However, the reality is, many of us have little to no formal Islamic education.  How can we think we are knowledgeable about Tafseer, Hadith, Fiqh or any other Islamic-related matter when we are probably at a fifth-grade level in our Islamic comprehension? 

2.       Consciously Incompetent – This group of people would include the category of people who do not anything and they know they do not know anything.  Many times, this is the category for the beginner student of knowledge who will quickly realize this is the category that best suits him or her.  We need to learn how much knowledge there is out there for us to learn in terms of Islam.  People with little to no formal Islamic education often times realize their place at the bottom of the food-chain in terms of knowledge.  The masses will often ask these people their Islamic questions, but the people in this category will often refuse to answer or answer with a simple, “Allahu Alim.”   As the saying goes, the more you learn, the more you learn how little you know.

3.       Consciously Competent – This group of people are those that are knowledgeable and they know it.  I would argue that this is the category our ulema (scholars) fall into.  They have formal Islamic education and they have been trained in various Islamic sciences.  These people impart knowledge onto others since they know they have been blessed with such a beautiful thing.

4.       Unconsciously Competent – This is a very small group of people.  It includes those people that know and they know it subconsciously.  Knowledge is natural to them.  I would classify the biggest scholars of Islam into this category.  For the muhaddith of the faqih, knowledge is second-nature to them even though they are quite humbled by the enormous blessing that has been bestowed upon them by the Mercy of Allah (SWT).

Now ask yourself, which category are YOU in?

To Our Dear Sisters

October 30, 2008

Paradise is for believing men and women

We often hear speakers in Friday prayer or in admonitions talking about Paradise and all of us find our hearts, minds and thoughts tuned on to that ‘frequency’. However, majority of the speakers talk about Paradise as if it were a house for men only. Reality is not like that. Paradise is for the believing men and women. The only price for it is sound belief in Allah, love of Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him), and obedience to Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him).

In what follows are the glad tidings given by the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), to some of the women among his companions.

Narrated ‘Ayshah (May Allah be pleased with her): I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet as much as I did of Khadijah (although) she died before he married me, for I often heard him mentioning her, and Allah had told him to give her the good tidings that she would have a palace of Qasab (i.e. pipes of precious stones and pearls in Paradise), and whenever he slaughtered a sheep, he would send her women-friends a good share of it. [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), said: ‘The best women of mankind are four: Mariam daughter of `Imran, Assiya wife of Pharaoh, Khadijah daughter of Khuwailid, and Fatima the daughter of the Messenger of Allah.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]

Narrated Abu Hurayrah: Jibril (Gabriel) came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! This is Khadijah coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (i.e. Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a Qasab (palace in Paradise) wherein there will be neither any noise nor any fatigue (trouble).’ [Bukhari]

Narrated ‘Ata bin Abi Rabah: Ibn ‘Abbas said to me, ‘Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This black woman came to the Prophet and said, ‘I get attacks of epilepsy and my body becomes uncovered; please invoke Allah for me.’ The Prophet said (to her), ‘If you wish, be patient and you will have (enter) Paradise; and if you wish, I will invoke Allah to cure you.’ She said, ‘I will remain patient,’ and added, ‘but I become uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.’ So he invoked Allah for her.’ [Bukhari]

The aforementioned hadith clearly state the stature of some of the women given the glad tidings of Jannah (Paradise). What can the women of today do in order to achieve that pinnacle of success, Paradise?

To do so one MUST learn how these women lived, how they behaved, how they spoke, how they dressed, how they walked, etc. In this issue of al-Mu’minah we will try to learn from the black woman mentioned in the last Hadith, insha’Allah. The black woman is not even known by her name, or her exact whereabouts, rather she is known by her deeds, her faith, her modesty, her chastity, and for her being an inmate of Paradise. And, in the end, that is what matters most. When Abdullah Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said ‘this black woman’, he did not mean to point at her race or to belittle her in any way. Indeed, he but meant to teach the people around him a great principle of Islam which is mentioned in the verse, [in the meaning of] : ‘O people! We have created you from a man and a woman and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may know each other, verily the most honorable among you in the sight of Allah are the most pious.’

The same principle is mentioned in the Hadith: ‘Allah does not look at your pictures (shapes) and bodies but He looks at your hearts (and your deeds).’ [Muslim]

She (the black woman) was physically sick, yet she sought cure in the Du’a of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). She knew that the one who cures, ash-Shafi, is Allah, and Allah would answer the Du’a of His Messenger (Peace be upon him). We conclude from that that Du’a heals all diseases be they of the body or of the heart. When commenting on this Hadith, al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar said: ‘It is inferred from this Hadith that the cure of diseases through Du’a and supplication to Allah (wa al-iltija’ ila Allah) is the most successful way of healing, but this cannot be fulfilled unless two conditions are satisfied: pure intention and sincere trust in the effectiveness of the Du’a, and righteousness and reliance on Allah.

The fact that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: ‘If you wish, be patient and you will have (enter) Paradise’ is a proof for the virtue and reward of patience during sickness. In another Hadith, he (Peace be upon him), says: ‘Whenever a hardship affects the Muslim, he will be forgiven for it even when he is picked by a spike.’ [Muslim]

And in another Hadith, also narrated by Muslim, Ummu as-Sa’ib cursed fever, to which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) told her: ‘Do not curse fever, for it takes away the sins like the blaze [fire] takes away the impurities of iron.’ The black women preferred the suffering of this world to getting the eternal reward of Paradise! She suffered from sickness, yet her pain and discomfort did not force her to forego pleasing Allah! And no matter who one is, if one is in the path of Allah, one will encounter difficulties, because Paradise is rounded by hardships. If things are easy and life is rosy, then one must check oneself; are we following the true Islam? Especially in this western environment it may be difficult for a young woman to wear the dress of modesty, the Hijab (even though it is mandatory), not to talk to men and keep away from them (which is also mandatory), except if necessary.

All these may be difficult to achieve for some in the beginning, but when one overcomes herself for the sake of Allah, then all the other obstacles become baseless. So, how to overcome oneself? By knowing Allah by His names and attributes; by loving and obeying Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him); and then the help of Allah will come, insha’Allah. She (the black woman) preferred being patient, but could not tolerate that her honor, her modesty and her chastity be damaged or even touched, nor that any part of her body be uncovered, though she had no control over it. Indeed she was a real slave and servant of Allah; she was a faithful, a believer, a Muslimah, a righteous and pious woman, a truthful woman, and she was loyal to Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him). Not only having these awe-inspiring qualities, she was also a wise and a great woman, as her memorable words rang …: ‘… but I become uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.’

If words are to be written in Gold, these words should be written in gold … Remember this simple equation:

Iman + Suffering + Patience = Paradise

It can also be inferred that the righteous Muslim woman inherently loves to be covered, loves modesty and chastity and hates revealing her body and her beauty. The black woman, could sustain being so sick but could not bear to be uncovered in front of people.

The issue, one must understand, is not of black or white or Arab or non-Arab, rich or poor, noble[with lineage] or not, it is rather of a creed so deeply rooted in the hearts of Muslims like blood flows in the arteries and veins of people. They are those who are totally committed to Islam. Fourteen Hundred years of history showed that Muslim women could sustain hunger, poverty, sickness but could never sustain disobeying Allah. The wife would tell her husband when leaving for work: ‘Fear Allah in us, for we can sustain hunger and thirst but we cannot sustain Hell fire [i.e. do not acquire unlawful earning].’

Dear sisters, ask yourself what made Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) be greeted by Allah and by Jibril. Ask yourself what made Khadijah be rewarded a Palace in Jannah as no one can imagine. Reading the biography of Khadijah and others like her in greatness, one would wish to be at their service; to carry their shoes, wash their clothes, to serve them in any possible way and get Du’a from them. It is sad that we just don’t know the great personalities of this Ummah. If only we strive to study the lives of the righteous that preceded us, we would find in them immense guidance for our existence, and if we know them and follow them we could be in the forefront of mankind …

It is said, ‘Iman (faith) is not by hope, it is rather what occurs in the heart and is proved by the deeds [maa waqa`a fil qalbi wa saddaqahul-`amal].’ We leave you to think about this and pray to Allah to make us all among the dwellers of Paradise and to bestow upon us the faith and the patience that lead us to Paradise. And to bless the present Muslim Ummah with many women like the black woman (may Allah be pleased with her), who help us focus on the straight path …

Source: www.islamswomen.com

Excerpts taken from Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah’s book Ighaathah al-Luhfaan min Masayid al-Shaytaan.
 
Signs of an impure, diseased, and a dead heart: 

  • The person does not feel any hurt or pain when he commits evil deeds and sins.
  • The person finds both pleasure in committing acts of disobedience to Allah and a take it easy attitude after performing them.
  • The person looks after the less important matters and does not care about the more important ones.
  • The person dislikes the Truth and has difficulty accepting or submitting to it.
  • The person does not find comfort in being among the righteous people but finds a great deal of peace while among the evil and sinful.
  • The person is susceptible to be affected by misconceptions and doubts. He is attracted to discussions, debates and arguments that surround such misconceptions rather than trying to understand the Qur’an, follow the Sunnah and other such beneficial acts. [This aspect can truly be seen nowadays among Muslims, especially over the Internet. Today, a Muslim may spend hours discussing, for example whether or not Hijaab is part of Islam or if Riba [Usury, Interest] is forbidden and so forth. Many times, such discussions begin by quoting non-Muslim authors, hours are wasted and no one learns any aspect of the Deen].
  • The person may not be affected by any kind of admonition whatsoever. [Some people, for example, have the capacity of listening to many Khutbahs [Islamic lectures], but still it does not bring any change in them. Or when someone is given repeated advices and warnings from those who are knowledgeable in Deen, it doesn’t affect them. They arrogantly insist upon sticking with the falsehood].

Imam Hasan al-Basree [rahimahullah] once said to a man, “Cure your heart for Allah desires that His slaves should purify their hearts.  You should know that you never truly love Allah until you love obeying Him.” (Jaami’ al-‘Uloom v.1 by Ibn Rajab)
 
The heart cannot become purified until a person knows Allah, loves Him, fears Him, has hope in Him and trusts Him. This is the true realization of the statement Laa ilaaha ill-Allah.  The heart will never be pure until it loves, deifies [worships, exalts], fears, and submits to no one except Allah, eventually ending up of the limbs by following and making the actions pure.

Sufyaan ath-Thawree [rahimahullah] said:

  • Improve your secret and private life, and Allah will improve your public and social life. 
  • Make matters well between you and Allah, and Allah will make matters well between you and people. 
  • Work for the Hereafter, and Allah will be enough for you in your worldly concerns.
  • Purchase the Hereafter, and use this worldly life as a method of payment for your purchase, and as a result you will gain profit both in this world and in the hereafter. But do not purchase this world at the cost of the Hereafter, for if you do so you will lose out on both the worlds.

By Shaykh Muhammad Fat-hi

Is there still a chance? Can my sins be forgiven? I have committed all kinds of sins, can I get them wiped out? Would Allah really accept me after years of deviation and defiance? These are some of questions that haunt many people when they think of repentance (tawbah) and decide to do away with their shameful past.

The answer to these painful questions was provided by our beloved teacher, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He related to us the story of a man who murdered not one, two, or even a dozen of people. He slew 100 people but was still eager to repent and turn over a new leaf.

How did Allah receive such a person? Did Allah accept him or kick him out of His mercy? Let’s start our journey with this man and try to take lessons from each juncture in his story:

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed 99 people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted.”

Ninety-nine persons were murdered by this man, but his heart was still alive. His conscience pricked him and he felt the innate disposition towards good. He was ashamed of his black record and wanted to rectify it. He actually made the decision to repent and followed this decision with the first practical steps. This is an important point, in fact, for procrastination is one of the evilest satanic traps. Sometimes, you feel enthusiastic and eager to correct your path, but if you do not turn these wishes into deeds, the wishes quickly abate. They are merely daydreams, castles in the air.

There is still another lesson to be considered: When looking for a counselor, this murderer asked about the most learned person on earth. This teaches us to be careful when seeking a fatwa or advice. When you get sick or have something wrong with you, you go to the best doctor. When you intend to build a house, you go to the best architect. We should bear in mind that the matter of religion is far more serious.

Now, did the person to whom our remorseful murderer was referred rise up to the expectations? Let’s see:

“He replied in the negative and the man killed him also, completing one hundred. He then asked about the most learned man on the earth. He was directed to a scholar.”

Alas, the monk was not qualified to give advice on such matters. He was a monk dedicating his life to worship and devotion. But this is not sufficient to give counsel and fatwas to people. To do so, one needs to be a knowledgeable scholar who is well-acquainted with the principles and teachings of Islam. This setback, however, did not prevent the man from pursuing, once again, the path of Allah. This is an important point because many people give in after the first failure, and only one obstacle is enough to make them retrace their steps.

Now, the murderer is referred to a reliable scholar.

“He [the murderer] told him that he had killed 100 people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. The scholar replied in the affirmative and asked, ‘Who stands between you and repentance?’”

This is the right answer. Allah’s mercy is wide open and He Almighty is ready to receive the sincere repentant. But, is it enough to just say “I repent”? Is repentance a matter of lip service and ritual formalities? Let’s see what the advice of the knowledgeable scholar was:

“‘Go to such-and-such land; there (you will find) people devoted to worship of Allah. Join them in worship, and do not come back to your land because it is an evil place.’”

So, break your repentance down into practical steps. Abandon anything that attracts you to your sinful past; avoid bad friends who tempt you to sin; ready yourself for the new life by preparing a helpful environment.

“So he went away and hardly had he covered half the distance when death overtook him; and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of torment. The angels of mercy pleaded, ‘This man has come with a repenting heart to Allah,’ and the angels of punishment argued, ‘He never did a virtuous deed in his life.’ Then there appeared another angel in the form of a human being and the contending angels agreed to make him arbiter between them. He said, ‘Measure the distance between the two lands. He will be considered belonging to the land to which he is nearer.’ They measured and found him closer to the land (of piety) where he intended to go, and so the angels of mercy collected his soul.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This is the happy end. True, this person did not do one single good act and his record was as black as coal. But, no problem; since he embarked upon the journey to Allah, Allah would not reject him. So here is a man who killed 100 people, but his repentance was accepted and he was welcomed.

Do you still believe that your sins are too much to be forgiven? Are you still hesitant to start your own journey?

Source: www.islamonline.net

The Heart Litmus Test

May 30, 2008

Ok, so imagine you’re driving down the street and BAM! a car accident.  What are the first words out of your mouth?  Is it “subhan’Allah” or “insert profanity here.”  The fact of the matter is, this simple test is a good way to determine where your heart is right now and how much eeman it has.  So, ask yourself, how purified is your heart?  Here’s an easy-to-do recipe by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah [rahimahullah] who said:

  • “There is no doubt that the heart becomes covered with rust, just as metal dishes – silver, and their like – become rust.
  • The rust of the heart is polished with dhikr [remembrance of Allah], for dhikr polishes the heart until it becomes like a shiny mirror.
  • When dhikr is abandoned, the rust returns; and when it commences then the heart again begins to be cleansed.
  • Thus the heart becoming rusty is due to two matters, sins and ahafah [neglecting remembrance of Allah].
  • Likewise, it is cleansed and polished by two things, Istighfaar [seeking Allah’s forgiveness] and dhikr.”

Take Home Message: Always remember Allah and ask for his forgiveness.  You got some free time?  Recite some Quraan.  Walking to class?  Riding the bus?  Laying down?  Say some dikr.  What if that accident is the one the causes your death and those are to be your last words?  Remember Allah and pass the heart litmus test, insh’Allah.

(Source: Al-Waabilus-Sayyib Minal-Kalimaat-it-Tayyib, p. 80)

Humbleness

May 17, 2008

So one question I once got asked in a medical school interview was, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how humble are you?”  What an awkward question to get asked!  Anyways, I thought the article below is a good, short read on humbleness.  Check it out:

Humbleness is the opposite of arrogance, and is an attitude and behavior that Allah and His Messenger have commanded us to have. It is also a great tool used to spread Islam to others.

The best way to achieve humbleness in the heart is contained in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah , who prescribed many methods to teach his companions how to be humble. We ask Allah to help us all become humble and stay firm on that path. Following are some of the methods and ways of achieving humbleness:

1. Extending As-Salam (saying As-Salamu Alaykum, peace be unto you).
Abdullah ibn ‘Amer said that a man asked the Messenger of Allah , “Which part of Islam is the best?” He said, “To feed the food (to the poor), and to extend As Salam to those whom you know and whom you do not know. ”
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Therefore, extending As-Salam to the old, young, rich, poor, noble, common folk, stranger and relative, will open one’s heart to achieve humbleness and will shut the door closed for arrogance and tyranny.

2. Muslims should hate that people stand up for them when they pass by them or enter their homes or businesses.

Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan once entered a house where Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair and Abdullah ibn ‘Amer were sitting. Abdullah ibn ‘Amer stood up while Ibn Az-Zubair did not. Mu’awiyah said, “O ibn ‘Amer! Sit down, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘Let those who like for people to stand up for them take their seats in the Fire.’”
[At-Tirmithi]

This Hadith prohibits the Muslim to like that people stand up for him when he meets with or passes by them. Furthermore, this Hadith teaches Muslims to enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, for Mu’awiyah criticized Abdullah ibn ‘Amer for standing up for him.

3. Sitting wherever one finds space.

Jabir bin Samurah said, “When we used to come to the Prophet , we would sit wherever we find space.” Also, Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet said, what translated means, “One of you must not remove a man from his place and sit in it. However, (those already sitting should) make space and spread up (leaving adequate space for newcomers).”
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Also, Ibn Umar used to avoid the place which a man vacated to make space for him. Therefore, one should sit wherever he finds space, whether in the center of the audience or not. Also, those who accept it that first-comers have the right to the best seats, because all Muslims whether rich or poor are equal, will achieve humbleness in their hearts and deed, Allah willing.

4. Prohibiting the Muslim from claiming purity for himself. Allah said, what translated means,

So ascribe not purity to yourselves. He knows best him who fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him.
[Surah 53:32]

Mohammad ibn ‘Amr ibn Ataa’ said that he named his daughter Barrah (the righteous one). However, Zaynab bint Abi Salamah said that the Messenger of Allah prohibited using this name when she was called “Barrah.” He said, “Do not ascribe purity to yourselves. Allah knows the righteous ones among you.” The companions asked, “What should we call her?” He said, “Zaynab.”
[Muslim]

5. Prohibiting praising people in their presence.

Abu Musa said, “The Prophet heard a man praising another man and saying good words about him while he was present with them. He said, ‘You have destroyed ­or broke the back of the man!’”
[Al- Bukhari & Muslim]

Also,

Abdur- Ra’hman bin Abi Bakrah said that a man was once mentioned in the presence of the Messenger of Allah . Another man said good words of praise about him. The Messenger of Allah then said, what translated means, “Woe unto you! You have beheaded your friend. If one of you has to praise, let him say, ‘I think this and that’ (about the praised man), if he thinks that he deserves it, ‘And his reckoning is with Allah,’ and let him not ascribe purity (to anyone).”
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Also,

Ibrahim At-Taymi said that his father said, “We were sitting in the presence of Umar when a man praised another man to his face. Umar said, ‘You ‘Aqartahu (crippled him), may Allah do the same to you.’” Furthermore, Abu Ma’mar said that a man stood up and praised one of the leaders, then Al-Miqdad started throwing sand in his face, and saying, “The Messenger of Allah ordered us to throw sand in the faces of the praisers.”
[Muslim, At-Tirmithi, Abu Dawood & ibn Majah]

From these Hadiths and stories, we conclude that the Messenger of Allah prohibited praising others, especially while they can hear their praise. This is because such praise may encourage the praised persons to overestimate themselves, especially if they were people of position or wealth. Also, such praise may lead the praised person to be arrogant, which may lead to laziness and a lower number of good deeds, for one will depend on what he heard of praise and ignore acquiring more good deeds.

6. Shortening the length of the clothes.

Ibn Juray bin Sulaiym said that the Messenger of Allah said, what translated means, “Lower your dress to half the leg. If you do not prefer that, then to the ankles. However, do not increase the length of the dress (lower than the ankles), for it is arrogance, and Allah does not like arrogance.”
[Abu Dawood, At-Tirmithi & Al- Hakim]

In this Hadith, the Messenger of Allah considered extending the length of the dress to cover the ankles an act of arrogance and pride, even if those who do this claim otherwise.

Also,

Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said, what translated means, “Whatever is below the ankles will be in the Fire.”
[Al-Bukhari]

Furthermore,

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said, “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not look at he who used to drag his dress behind him (because it is too long below the ankles) out of arrogance.”
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

These Hadiths above state that wearing long dresses which cover the ankles is a type of arrogance, or at least leads to such behavior. Therefore, shortening the length of the dress is a type of humbleness and leads to such behavior, Allah willing. These are some of the ways with which one can attain the characteristic of humbleness, Allah willing. We ask Allah that He help us attain this attribute, He is the All-Hearer, the One Who can answer the supplication.

Note: Not all the hadith are guarenteed to be sahih, so please check them out individually if interested, but they should legit, insh’Allah.
Source: www.quraan.com