Finding the Best Friend

Image best friendA wide ocean, stretching for miles lay before me. Far away there was a wooden ship, floating away on the dark-coloured sea. The sun had set taking almost all the light of the world away as if a lantern had just blown out. My friends had deserted me for superficial and shallow whims and fancies of life.

I stood up, my hands in my pockets and looked towards the sky with sadness as if I were looking for guidance. It was dark all around and I could barely make out the shapes of the objects around me.

Suddenly, I saw an old woman sitting on a white bench. Her face was calm and the silver in her hair reflected wisdom. Just as I was about to turn back, she caught my sight and smiled gently. Unsure of myself I smiled back faintly. With a gesture of her hand she called me over. Hesitating to approach a complete stranger, I slowly moved towards her and took a seat at a careful distance. She smiled with a twinkle in her eyes, “Isn’t it a beautiful evening?” Trying to match her enthusiasm, I nodded gently, “Yes.” Eyeing me cautiously she inquired, “My child … why do you look so sad?” I tried to force a smile, “Oh no, no, I was just strolling about on my own.”

She looked into my face with her large brown eyes, closed the book in her lap and carried on gently, “Dear child, I do not know you or for that matter whatever it is that is bothering you, but I also have a grandchild just your age. She lives far away and we usually talk to each other through letters on the computer!” I smiled, “Oh you mean over the e-mail?” She chirped, “Yeah, that’s our postman! And you know whenever she is unhappy or lonely she always writes to me. And I always give her the same advice, ‘Talk to your best friend and He will not only understand but also guide you!’“

I looked at her quizzically, “Who is her best friend?” She boomed with delight, “Why Allah, of course!” Following my confused look she went on, ”You see, many times in life there is hardly anything anyone can do for you but there is always something Allah (swt) can do for you if you call out to Him. Then He sends you help and guidance through other people and sources. Let’s say … just now you may have bumped into me so that I can guide you. But in reality Allah (swt) worked it out for you, you see?”

It all started to sink in suddenly. She continued, “Never give up. Allah is Great and Most Merciful. Never hope to find perfect friends in your life either. Allah is the only ‘best friend’, as you call it. He says so in the Quran: ‘And you cannot escape from Allah in the earth, and besides Allah you have neither any Wali (guardian or a protector) nor any helper.’ (Shura 42:31)

Then she stood up, bade me goodbye and left. After a little while, I, too, came out of my thoughts and moved on towards the edge of the ocean. I could still see the wooden ship moving away. But now I felt much better. There was light everywhere, even though the sun was not present.

All of a sudden I realized that Allah (swt) has chosen me over so many to find my way, and win now and forever. Allah (swt) will certainly choose my friends for me so that I can stay guided and help others stumbling on the way. I would want no other replacement for this priceless relation with my Creator. Dear Allah (swt), thank you for being my Best Friend!

Zayd Ibn Thabit – The Preserver of the Holy Quran!

Image Zayd ibn ThabitAs the Muslims prepared for Badr, a youth, not yet thirteen, walked up to the Prophet (sa), and said: “I dedicate myself to you, Messenger of Allah (sa). Permit me to be with you and to fight the enemies of Allah under your banner.” The noble Prophet (sa) commended him for his courage but refused to enlist him because he was still too young.

The youth, Zayd Ibn Thabit (rta), walked away dejected. Then his alert mind turned to the field of knowledge and in particular of memorizing the Quran. His mother, An-Nawar Bint Malik (rta), spoke to some men of the Ansar about the youth’s desire and they in turn broached the matter with the Prophet (sa).

The Prophet (sa) listened to Zayd (rta) reciting some Surahs that he had memorized. His recitation was clear and beautiful and his stops and pauses indicated clearly that he understood well what he recited. The Prophet (sa) was pleased. The Prophet (sa) then set him a task that required intelligence, skill and persistence.

“Zayd, learn the writing of the Jews for me,” instructed the Prophet (sa). Zayd (rta) set about learning Hebrew. He became proficient in the language and wrote it for the Prophet (sa) when he wanted to communicate with the Jews. Then the Prophet (sa) instructed him to learn Syriac, and this he did. Zayd (rta) thus came to perform the important function of an interpreter for the Prophet (sa) in his dealings with non-Arabic speaking people.

When the Prophet (sa) felt confident of Zayd’s faithfulness in carrying out tasks, he entrusted him with the weighty responsibility of recording the Divine Revelation.

When any part of the Quran was revealed to the Prophet (sa), he often sent for Zayd (rta) and instructed him to bring the writing materials, “the parchment, the ink-pot and the scapula”, and write the revelation.

Zayd was not the only one who acted as a scribe for the Prophet (sa). One source has listed forty-eight persons who used to write for him. Zayd was very prominent among them. He not only wrote, but during the Prophet’s (sa) time, he collected portions of the Quran that were written down by others and arranged these under the supervision of the Prophet (sa).

So, he became well versed in Shariah at an early age. After the wars of apostasy and the Battle of Yamamah a large number of those who had committed the Quran to memory perished. Umar (rta) convinced the Khalifah Abu Bakr (rta) that unless the Quran was collected in one manuscript, a large part of it was in danger of being lost. Abu Bakr (rta) summoned Zayd Ibn Thabit (rtam) and asked him to “… Look for (all parts of) the Quran and collect it in one manuscript.” (Bukhari)

Zayd (rta) became immediately aware of the weighty responsibility. He later said: “By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains from its place, it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Quran.” (Bukhari)

Zayd (rta) finally accepted the task. He was careful that not a single error was committed. When he had completed his task, he left the prepared Suhuf (sheets) with Abu Bakr (rta).

During the time of Uthman (rta), by which time Islam had spread far and wide, differences in reading the Quran became obvious. Uthman (rta) obtained the manuscript of the Quran from Hafsah (rta) and again summoned the leading authority, Zayd Ibn Thabit (rta), and some other competent companions to make accurate copies of it.

Zayd (rta) and his assistants wrote many copies. One of these Uthman (rta) sent to every Muslim province with the order that all other Quranic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt in order to eliminate any variations.

Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta) once addressed the Muslims and said: “O people, whoever wants to ask about the Quran, let him go to Zayd Ibn Thabit.”

Mind your Language

Image mind your languageWords can make or break someone’s day. They could help a friendship grow, or they could end it. Words could bring us the blessings and favours of Allah (swt) or they could result in Allah’s (swt) anger. Words are our worst foes or best friends!

In the Quran, Allah (swt) commands us: “and speak good to people…” (Al-Baqarah 2:83)

Ahadeeth of the Prophet (sa) tell us that our tongue could either take us to heaven or land us in hell.

There are some things to bear in mind when conversing. Let us make a checklist.

  • Do I talk politely?
  • Do I smile as I talk?
  • Do I give attention to the person I am talking to, that is do I have eye contact or do I look away?
  • Do I refrain from abusive language, sarcasm and nasty remarks?
  • Do I avoid lying?
  • Do I realize that lying is one of the foremost signs of a hypocrite?
  • Do I guard secrets of my friends as an Amanah, or does my tongue give them away?
  • Do I yell and shout?
  • Is my voice calm, peaceful and soothing to listen to? Or is it monotonous, high-pitched, shrill and annoying?
  • Do I backbite? Do I realize that backbiting is a grievous sin in Allah’s (swt) eyes?
  • Do I make fun of others with my remarks?
  • Do I give genuine compliments and encouragement to others?
  • Is my accent artificial and an attempt to impress others?
  • Do I brag and boast?
  • Do I sound humble? Or do I sound arrogant?
  • Do I talk to others with empathy, understanding and affection?
  • Do I complain too much?
  • Am I impatient when others talk?
  • Do I cut into other people’s conversation with my words?
  • Do I impose my opinions on others?
  • Do I lie and make up jokes and exaggerate to be popular among my friends?
  • Do I love delving into juicy gossip and talking about scandals which I actually know nothing about?
  • Do I talk about things that are useless and don’t concern me at all?
  • Do I use my words to enjoin good and forbid evil?
  • Above all, do I use my power of speech to do Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah (swt) and recite the Quran?

Merits of Friday

Image merits of FridayAllah (swt) says: “O you who have believed, when (the Adhan) is called for the Salah on the day of Al-Jumuah (Friday), then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if only you knew. And when the Salah has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.” (Al-Jumuah 62:9-10)

Hudhayfah Ibn Al-Yaman (rta) said that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah made those who came before us deviate from the observance of Salah on Friday- the Jews had Saturday, and the Christians had Sunday. Then Allah brought us and guided us to take Friday as our day of Salah.” (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The best day that the sun has ever risen upon is Friday. On that day, Allah created Adam, on that day he entered Paradise, and upon that day he was expelled from it.” (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said about Friday: “There is an hour on Friday during which there is no Muslim slave of Allah who stands in Salah and asks something of Allah, but Allah grants it to him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

It was reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “If it is Friday, and a man performs the ritual ablution (Ghusl), puts oil in his hair, wears the most pleasant of his perfumes, puts on his best clothes, and then goes out to pray, and does not separate two people sitting together in the Masjid, then listens to the Imam delivering the sermon, his sins will be forgiven between the present Friday and the previous Friday, and three days more (i.e. total of ten days).” (Ibn Khuzaimah)

Abu Umamah (rta) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say: “Angels sit at the doors of Masajid. They write the first, second, and third to enter, until the Imam comes out (to deliver the sermon), then the records are raised up.” (Ahmad)

The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever reads the Surah of Al-Kahf on Friday, light will shine for him till the next Friday.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

The Prophet (sa) said: “The best of your days is Friday. So increase blessings on me therein.” (Abu Dawood and An-Nasai)