Plans Busted

Vol 5 - Issue 3 Plans BustedThere have been times, when we wanted to indulge into something truly terrible. Whether it was watching an adult film behind closed doors, lying to our parents about something we should not have done or simply defying our well-defined boundaries as an impulsive and rebellious act.

This is followed by feelings of guilt, a sense of shame, anger, self justifications or even tears. An awkward feeling nags us and the fear of being exposed haunts us. If this describes you, say – Alhumdulillah!

Allah (swt) has granted everyone with Fitrah or in more popular terms – conscience. Oxford dictionary describes the word ‘conscience’ as a person’s sense of what is right and wrong, especially in his own actions or motives. Allah (swt) states: “… Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.” (Ta-Ha 20:50).

The conscience implanted within us is our barometer for right and wrong. This barometer apprehends us before we are about to commit an evil act. At times it keeps nagging us, while committing an undesirable act. Our conscience denies us rest even after we have perpetrated evil. It continues to prick us, till either we ask Allah’s (swt) forgiveness or willingly shut all doors to guidance.

It is similar to a limb, which experiences an anguish of pain when pricked or burnt. Similarly, Allah (swt) has created us to recognize evil and repel it. This is a natural instinct. No amount of self-persuasion, media campaigns, peer pressure, etc., can lead us to believe that evil is good for us and Satan is a sincere friend. Those of us, who try to delude themselves, are only kidding themselves. Deep inside they know that once the delusion is over, they will be left with regrets.

The fuel that ignites a conscience to life includes many things, such as reciting and reflecting upon the Quran, reading about the life of the Prophet (sa) and his companions, spending time with friends of noble mannerisms, serving those in need and hastening to do good. In general, the more one stays close to an environment conducive to goodness, the easier it is for him to enjoin good and forbid evil, thus keeping his conscience alive.

Conversely, reading and viewing lewd material, spending time in the company of morally corrupt companions, staying away from Allah (swt) and His counsel and ignoring one’s conscience’s reprimands ultimately kills the sense of right and wrong. Allah forbid that one should reach the stage, when nothing bothers him. His future is jeopardized.

About such people, Allah (swt) states: “Whoever disbelieved in Allah after his belief, except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with faith but such as open their breasts to disbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a great torment. That is because they loved and preferred the life of this world over that of the Hereafter. And Allah guides not the people who disbelieve. They are those upon whose hearts, hearing (ears) and sight (eyes) Allah has set a seal. And they are the heedless! No doubt in the Hereafter they will be the losers.” (An-Nahl 16:106-109)

Having a throbbing conscience full of life has uncountable advantages. One may be about to indulge in something sinful, when suddenly he feels he is turned around and consequently saved from evil. Who does that for us? It is Allah (swt). Similarly, at times we avoid the voice of conscience and step into forbidden territory only to abort our actions midway, realizing the unpleasant outcome. Who puts those thought into our minds? It is Allah (swt) Who grants us the strength to fight against our whims and desires and steers us back to the right path.

Once, someone told me, how she went out on a date with her fiancé and wanted to find a private place for some romance, but wherever they went, their plans got busted. Finally, they drove back home and had to settle down for a chat in the girl’s drawing room under her parent’s vigilant eyes. Today, she thanks Allah (swt) for foiling her plans. It saved her self-respect and dignity.

Another person, who had given up watching movies, was once tempted to go to the theater to watch one of the most hyped block busters. She made plans, but suddenly something came up. By the time she remembered, the show was over. She instantly realized that Allah (swt) didn’t want her to give in to her vain desires. She didn’t go to the theater ever again.

Countless episodes happen to people every day: they wanted to listen to music – the power went out; they wanted to fight with a classmate – she didn’t turn up in college that day; they wanted to gossip on the cell – the balance finished; they wanted to go on a shopping spree – the car was not available. Yes, these are all different ways of Allah (swt) saving us from wasting our lives in frivolous activities. We just need to understand, why our plans got busted.

On the contrary, Allah (swt) also provides us with countless opportunities to do good. For example, the Adhan call, which we hear five times a day, reminds us of prayers, the poor people on the road relieve us of our responsibility of Zakah, a missing servant helps us share our mom’s work load without her asking us, a sick friend gives us the chance to get photocopied class work to his / her house, etc.

So the next time one of your plans get busted, just say: “Alhumdulillah! Allah (swt) loves me and He wants to guide me.”

“He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right path).” (Al-Kahf 18:17)

Knowledge – Ask for More

Vol 5 - Issue 3 Knowledge- Ask for moreBefore operating a new webcam, a smart thing to do would be to read through the instruction manual, understand all its features and, hence, utilize it to its maximum benefit. Experimenting as you use it is fun too, but you may inadvertently mess up something important (plus have a lot of lousy pictures). So to make the most of anything you really care for, it’s best to read and understand how to use it.

Well, what could be more important than getting the best out of your life? To be successful not just for a couple of months or years but for the whole eternity? Unfortunately, there is no quick fix solution for success; it entails striving hard to obtain knowledge (how can you be successful without knowing the steps to success?). Alas, most of us tend to ignore one very important instruction manual…

The instruction manual of life, sent to us by the One, Who created us, and explained by the one sent to instruct us… the Quran. This book has been explained by our teacher Muhammad (sa) in the form of his Sunnah and further clarified by the works of our dedicated scholars.

Acquiring knowledge of the Deen is not to be taken lightly. The Prophet (sa) said: “A learned person is as much above a worshipper, as I am above the least of you.” Furthermore: “Allah, His angels and all those in Heavens and on Earth, even the ants in their hills and the fish in the water call down blessings on those, who instruct people in beneficial knowledge.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Often, we procrastinate from beginning the journey of learning, because we tend to fall into the trap of thinking:

  1. I’ll do it tomorrow…
  2. I’ll begin during my summer break, after the exams, after I’m married, after the kids grow up, after…
  3. The knowledge of so-and-so is flawed, so I won’t study from him…

Hence, we are targeted by these whispers, which the Daee Muhammad Alshareef describes as the ‘weapons of Shaitan.’ As a remedy to overcome these thoughts, he prescribes keeping the following in mind:

  1. Know that there is paramount reward from Allah (swt) for those who seek knowledge sincerely for His sake and pass it on to others.
  2. Know that through the knowledge you pass on, you will receive reward even after you are dead; the reward lives on.
  3. Know that this knowledge is the inheritance from the prophets. Go and take your share.
  4. Know that you will bask in happiness, when the cloud of ignorance is raised from our heads.

So don’t delay – make the intention to delve into the depths of Islamic knowledge and go for it. Start by reading the translation of the Quran (consider it an email sent especially for you!), ponder over it and start applying it to your life. You don’t have to rush yourself, take out some time for this blessed companion every day and be consistent, no matter how difficult it may seem (remember that Shaitan will set his traps where ever he can).

Hence, be firm and keep this Dua of our Prophet (sa) on your lips at all times: “O Allah, I ask Thee for beneficial knowledge, acceptable action and good provision.” (At-Tirmidhi) May Allah (swt) make it easy for all of us, Ameen.

Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas (rta)

Vol 5 - Issue 3 Sad bin Abi Waqqas rtaSad Ibn Abi Waqqas (rta) was the cousin brother of the Prophet’s (sa) mother Aminah. On one occasion, the Prophet (sa) himself very proudly mentioned their kinship to everybody and called Sad (rta) the best uncle one can have. Sad (rta) was also among the ten notable companions, to whom the Prophet (sa) promised Paradise.

By birth, Sad (rta) belonged to a noble family of the Quraish. Despite his noble birth, he felt unfit in this society that uplifted the customs of idol worship and enjoyed filthy pleasures. While thinking about the forces behind the creation of this universe, Sad (rta) had realized that the gods worshipped by his people were false. Could these stone gods protect people, if they were unable to save even themselves? Sad (rta) was convinced that this universe must have a much greater Creator and Sustainer.

Once, Sad (rta) happened to listen to some people sitting by the Kabah – they were talking about Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, who had began spreading a new religion, dedicated to the worship of one Allah (swt). Upon learning that his close friend Abu Bakr (rta) had accepted this new religion, Sad (rta) asked Abu Bakr (rta) to take him to the house of Muhammad (sa). He wished to learn more about this new religion, which seemed to be so close to his own way of thinking.

When they entered Muhammad’s (saw) house, the Prophet (sa) was reciting the Quranic verses about the creation of this world. As Sad (rta) listened to the Prophet (sa), he became sure that this religion had come to save his people from their ignorant and evil ways. Without waiting any longer, he embraced Islam. At the time, Sad (rta) was seventeen years old.

At the time, Muslims faced much oppression in Makkah, and so Sad (rta) kept his conversion secret from his family. However, when the news reached his mother, she was determined to do anything it would take to bring her son back to the religion of their forefathers. She begged him, threatened him, but when nothing seemed to work, she announced a hunger strike. However, Sad (rta) refused to give in to her stubbornness and said that even if his mother would have hundred souls, which one by one would leave her body in front of his eyes, he would not leave Islam. Seeing her son’s firm determination, Sad’s mother stopped her hunger strike.

Sad (rta) was also among the fortunate companions, whom the Prophet (sa) mentioned in his supplications. The Prophet (sa) prayed to Allah (swt) that the entreaties of Sad (rta) would always be granted. Ever since then, Sad (rta) was blessed with the wonderful gift to pray to Allah (swt) and have his prayers answered.

Once, Sad (rta) happened to hear a man, who was abusing three of the Prophet’s companions. Sad (rta) immediately asked the man to stop, but he did not listen. Sad (rta) became very angry and said that if the man would not stop, he would put a curse on him. This did not make the man listen. Without saying anything more, Sad (rta) performed two supererogatory units of prayer and asked Allah (swt) to let this ill-mannered man become a lesson to the rest of the world. Just as he completed his supplication, a mad she-camel broke loose from her leash and ran into the crowd, as if she was looking for somebody. Suddenly, the she-camel caught in her jaws the head of the ill-mannered man and began shaking him so violently that his neck broke. The crowd was stunned by the bloody scene. Truly, through the prayer of Sad (rta), the ill-mannered man’s fate became a valuable lesson for the rest of the world.

After the death of the Prophet (sa), Sad (rta) joined hands with the first Caliph Abu Bakr (rta) in spreading the light of Islam throughout the Arabian Peninsula. The next Caliph, Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta), continued Abu Bakr’s (rta) policies for protecting the safety of the Islamic State. He turned in the direction of the Persian Empire, which had once already refused to accept the message of Islam. Not wishing to wait for attack from the Persians, Umar (rta) took the initiative by sending Muslim forces to conquer the Persian Empire. He entrusted this mission to the lion-hearted youth Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas (rta).

Meanwhile, Iran gathered a strong and well-equipped force, which arrived to Qadisiyah under the command of a very famous general – Rustam. The distinction of Rustam’s army was a large number of gigantic elephants.

Since Islam guides Muslims not to fight any nation before introducing them to the message of Allah (swt), Sad (rta) sent a delegation to the Persian King asking him either to accept Islam, to pay protection tax (Jizyah) to the Islamic State, or to get ready for a fierce fight.

The Muslim delegation of the most intelligent and experienced Mujahideen arrived to the Persian court and presented to the King the message of Islam in the most beautiful words. The King felt that each word was directly touching his heart. Yet, instead of embracing Islam, he asked his servant to bring a basket of soil, which he then angrily and disrespectfully began throwing at Muslims. The Mujahideen picked up the basket, brought it to Sad (rta) and reported that the Persian King himself had given to them his land. Now, after the King’s refusal, the only solution was war.

When both armies met, intense fighting broke out. Seeing the gigantic elephants, the horses of Mujahideen panicked. Realizing the situation, Sad (rta) sent young men from the tribe of Asad to attack the elephants. First, a rain of arrows threw the riders of the elephants down. Then, the courageous youth of Asad tribe cut off the trunks of some elephants. Seeing this, other elephants panicked and began crushing under their feet the soldiers of their own army.

The fighting continued the second and the third day. Finally, one of the Mujahideen successfully reached the Iranian general Rustam and cut off his head. When the Iranian warriors got the news about the death of Rustam, their courage vanished and they fled from the battlefield. Thus, the final victory in the war of Qadisiyah was in the hands of the brave Mujahideen.

However, it was the battle of Madyan that brought the Persian Empire under the complete control of Muslim forces. The problem for Muslims this time was the river Dajlah, which lay between both armies. The Iranians had established themselves on the bank of the river and destroyed all the bridges. Realizing that the Mujahideen would be under direct attack of the enemy even before they would reach the other bank, Sad (rta) came up with one of the most excellent plans in military history. He divided his army into two parts. One part began crossing the river right away and kept the enemy busy. The other part set out a bit later, and upon reaching the shore brought a deadly attack on the enemy army. This Sad’s (rta) strategy proved to be so successful that the battle was won on the very first day, and Madyan came under the control of Mujahideen. Later, Caliph Umar (rta) appointed Sad (rta) to be the governor of Iraq.

In the 54th year AH, at the age of eighty, Sad (rta) breathed his last. His son cried seeing his father’s last hours. Sad (rta) comforted his son by saying that Allah (swt) will not give him any punishments in the Hereafter – the Prophet (sa) himself had promised Sad (rta) a place in Paradise.

Adapted from “Commanders of the Muslim Army (Among the companions of the Prophet (sa))” by Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar.

Dear Haadia

Muslims are killing each other in our country. I don’t know, who is right and who is wrong. Honestly, I have even stopped caring about it! I just want peace in our society. What can we do to help this situation? Or is it not in our hands anymore?

Answer: First and foremost, we must realize that a Muslim cannot be a Muslim till other Muslims are safe from his/her hands and tongue. Verbally, emotionally, mentally or physically hurting another Muslim is a despicable crime in the view of Islamic teachings. So there is no doubt that what you are observing is indeed evil. Your cause for concern is justified.

Becoming numb is a somewhat natural psychological reaction to the repeated crimes we witness around us. The danger of such reaction, however, is that it eventually leads to apathy instead of action, and before you know it, you lose your faith.

Allah (swt) says to all Muslims: “You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad (sa) and his Sunnah] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:110)

So faith involves doing right by being an example to others to do right. As a Muslim, you do not live for yourself only – the problems of all Muslims are also your problems. So, if you are not actively enjoining good and forbidding evil, you are not functioning as a Muslim. Keep this in mind.

Furthermore, we cannot afford to stop caring about what is going on around us, because we will be answerable in front of Allah (swt), and we must strive towards spreading the message of peace. Allah (swt) will not ask you, why Muslims continued fighting among themselves during your lifetime, but He (swt) will ask, what you personally did for stopping it – what was your participation and contribution to end it? The following are some of the ways you can contribute:

Sensitize people towards the true nature and teachings of Islam as a method to spread peace at the grass root level.

Dua is a very practical way of handling problems around us, though we often tend to underestimate its power.

Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz said: “It used to be that Allah, the Most High, does not punish the common people for the sins of the elite; but when the evil is done openly, and they do not repudiate it, they all become deserving of His punishment.” We should be careful about being passive onlookers of evil just shrugging our shoulders: “Who cares? It is not our business.” Should Allah (swt) decide to punish the evildoers, we would be included in the punishment for not forbidding the evil they were committing.

The story of prophet Lut (as) in the Quran and the Sunnah tells us of a pious man among the people of Lut (as), who did not commit the crimes his people did, but was a passive onlooker. When he walked among the people of Lut (as) and saw their atrocities, the colour of his face did not change in disapproval. So when Allah (swt) ordered Jibreel (as) to destroy the city, he was destroyed together with the rest of the people of Lut (as).

Remember that the result will never be in your hands, but your response certainly is. Do what you can, and leave the rest to Allah (swt).

Dear Haadia

My wife does not cover her head in front of non-Mahrams. I would really appreciate it, if she does, because I don’t want her to face Allah (swt) in such a state, and I am also possessive about her. She doesn’t realize the intensity of the sin she is committing. Kindly explain in detail the best way for me to guide her.

Answer: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment… And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” (An-Nur 24:31)

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.” (Al-Ahzab 33:59)

As the above verses specify, Hijab is a command from Allah (swt). Yet, another verse states: “There is no compulsion in Deen.” (Al-Baqarah 2:256). Hence, the decision to wear Hijab should be self-initiated, not imposed. It should be made with clarity in one’s mind that one wishes to please Allah (swt) by following His injunction. To understand and practice Hijab with such humility is indeed one of the greatest blessings of Allah (swt).

It is commendable that you are concerned for your wife. You as a husband are responsible for what is happening in your family and will be questioned about it. It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (sa) said: “Beware, every one of you is a shepherd and every one is answerable with regard to his flock. (…) A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shall be questioned about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well-being). (…) Beware, every one of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.” (Muslim)

However you should begin an earnest and open dialogue with her. Inform her of your apprehensions. Listen to her fears. Encourage her to explore the issue herself without prejudice. Offer her your full support in the process. Give her time.

Meanwhile, avoid constant reminding and nagging – these may unnecessarily irritate her and repel her from Hijab. If you succeed in cultivating a positive outlook, half your battle will be won, Insha’Allah.

Developing a more Islamic home culture is also important here. Instilling Islamic values in general in yourself and your family is vital in achieving Allah’s (swt) pleasure. Hijab should not be seen as an isolated command – rather, it is an integral part of the very fabric of a Momin’s life. Therefore, while you and your wife tread the path toward her acceptance of Hijab, both of you should simultaneously pledge to bring your everyday lives, the upbringing of your children and the general environment of your home closer to your Deen. Finding a social circle of like-minded individuals and families will not only positively influence your wife’s opinion of Hijab and Muhajjabas, but will also facilitate your submission to Allah (swt) as a family.

As for your possessiveness, you need to remember that the foremost purpose of Hijab is to submit oneself to Allah’s (swt) will, not to hide a woman’s beauty from other men. In this light, both of you must remember that Hijab has a meaning far deeper than its external covering. Hijab is more than the physical – it has so much to do with the internal humility, beauty and spirituality of a woman. In this sense, Hijab is not just a destination, but a journey in itself.

For more information, you may wish to read up more on Hijab. Two articles on the Internet, which may interest you, are:

“Hijab: Unveiling the Mystery” (http://www.allaahuakbar.net/womens/hijaab.htm)

“Understanding Hijab” (http://www.messageonline.org/2004febmarch/cover3_opt.pdf.)