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.
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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