The Ashab-e-Kahf For Today’s Youth

Ashab e Kahf

Transcribed for hiba by Asma Imran

I would like to highlight some lessons from the story of the Ashab-e-Kahf (People of the Cave) which I feel are significantly missing in Muslim discourse especially those related to our youth.

Withdrawal from Mainstream Culture

The first thing I want to talk about is the cultural onslaught. The People of the Cave drew themselves away from the dominant culture when they observed that it was overwhelmingly evil. Actually, a verdict was passed against them according to which they were to be executed as a result of their faith; so they pulled themselves out.

One of the most important lessons to draw from this is that until our lives are in danger, we have to engage with the society. As Muslims, we cannot have the attitude that we are not going to mingle in the society because everything outside is a Fitnah from which we have to protect and shelter ourselves, and the only way we are going to preserve our faith is by totally shutting ourselves out from the outside world. This means that we’ve already accepted defeat. It says that everybody else is attacking us, and we’ve got to save ourselves by pulling back and staying strong within our fort.

However, the entire idea of Islam and the imagery that Allah (swt) presents of Islam is that of truth being hurled against falsehood. Allah (swt) gives the image of truth being like a weapon and falsehood being the victim and running away. Thus, the truth is attacking falsehood, and falsehood is on the run. So who’s on the offense and who’s on the defence? Who’s actually questioning the wrong happening in our society and engaging with it and saying: “We are here to change things?” That’s the truth. And who’s actually supposed to go into hiding? That’s supposed to be falsehood.

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Four Steps to Jannah

stepping-stones‘Abdullah bin Salam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) saying, “O people, exchange greetings of peace (i.e., say: As-Salamu ‘Alaikum to one another), feed people, strengthen the ties of kinship, and be in prayer when others are asleep, you will enter Jannah in peace.” (Tirmidhi)

Lessons from the Hadith:
This beautiful hadith encourages us to do three actions that generate mutual love and remove any kind of hatred, evil thoughts and dislike we could have in our hearts for others .and motivates us to do an action that helps to build a stronger relationship with our creator by worshipping Him at a time when everyone around us is sleeping.

All these actions are also connected as they help us grow slowly, step by step to build a stronger relationship with people and ultimately get closer to Allah (swt).

1. Spreading Salaam
The Prophet(sa) said, “You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another: ‘spread salaam’ (the greeting of peace) among you.” [Muslim]

2. Feeding others
A man asked the Prophet(sa) , “What sort of deeds or (what qualities of) Islam are good?” The Prophet(sa) replied: ‘To feed (the poor) and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not Know.”

“‏ تُطْعِمُ الطَّعَامَ، وَتَقْرَأُ السَّلاَمَ عَلَى مَنْ عَرَفْتَ وَمَنْ لَمْ تَعْرِفْ ‏”

[Bukhari and Muslim]

3. Strengthen the ties of Kinship:
A man said to the Prophet(sa): “Direct me to a deed which may admit me to Jannah.” Upon this he (sa) said, “Worship Allah and never associate anything with Him in worship, establish Salah, pay Zakah, and strengthen the ties of kinship.”

‏تعبد الله لا تشرك به شيئًا، وتقيم الصلاة، وتؤتي الزكاة، وتصل الرحم‏

[Bukhari and Muslim]

4. Praying at night

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger(sa) said, “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” (Sahih al-Bukhari )

‏ يَنْزِلُ رَبُّنَا تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا حِينَ يَبْقَى ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرُ يَقُولُ مَنْ

يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ مَنْ يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ مَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ ‏‏‏.‏


Thus the Prophet(sa) has urged the believers to soften their hearts by combining the good actions in both words and deeds which is a perfect treatment that sows seeds of love and friendship in their hearts.

Action Points:
Peace of mind, contentment, happiness and freedom from worries and anxiety… this is what everyone wants, and these are the ways in which people can have a good life and find complete happiness and joy in this life and Akhirah. But this can only be achieved when one has the nature of caring and giving.

All actions mentioned in the hadith requires self control and patience and when we are able to conquer this, the path to enter in Jannah with peace becomes easier.

On the other hand we must engage ourselves in remembrance of Allah (swt) as this is the greatest means of feeling content and relaxed and of acquiring peace of mind in dunya and then ultimately in Akhirah as Allah (swt) said in Surah al-An’aam:127

لَهُمْ دَارُ السَّلَامِ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ ۖ وَهُوَ وَلِيُّهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“For them will be a Home of Peace in the presence of their Lord: He will be their Friend because they practiced (righteousness)”

When we are at peace with others, our heart is at peace to worship our creator. And thus we are able to enter Paradise with peace and that is the ultimate achievement, the epitome of success and the greatest of rewards.

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَا قَرَّبَ إِلَيْهَا مِنْ قَوْلٍ أَوْ عَمَلٍ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ النَّارِ وَمَا قَرَّبَ إِلَيْهَا مِنْ قَوْلٍ أَوْ عَمَلٍ وَأَسْأَلُكَ أَنْ تَجْعَلَ كُلَّ قَضَاءٍ قَضَيْتَهُ لِي خَيْرًا ‏
O Allah, I ask You for Paradise and for that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed, and I seek refuge in You from Hell and from that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed. And I ask You to make every decree that You decree concerning me good, Ameen!

Courtesy: Alhuda Canada

[Part 2] Quran is a Treasure – Preserve it in Your Heart

Quran-550x412Advice #4: Slow and Steady, Wins the Race!

The fourth step is taken once you’ve started and are flowing smoothly with your daily memorization. You are following your plan with utmost energy and motivation and feel productive and inspired to keep going. Now you need effective strategies to keep you going at a steady pace without finding yourself at a dead end.

1- Make sure that you connect the first part of the Surah to its end before moving on to another.  You may find that the beginning of the Surah flows smoother for you because you spent more time and energy on it, while the end of the Surah does not get as much attention and repetition. This is your first red signal. Stop and revise it as many times as you need (ten times minimum) to strengthen the memorization.

2- Recite with understanding! Start reading Tafseer of at least five verses per day. This way, the meaning of the verses will engrave into your mind and heart. Beginners are recommended to start with a Tafseer that explains the verses clearly like Tafsir Ibn Kathir (summarized version) or Tafsir Al Jalalayn.

It is reported from Al-Fudayl that Prophet (sa) said: “The Quran was sent down to be acted upon but people have taken just reciting it as enough of a deed. He was asked, “How is it acted upon?” He replied, “They should treat as Halal what it makes Halal and treat as Haram what it makes Haram, they should take on its commandments and stay away from what it forbids and they should stop to ponder it’s amazing knowledge and wisdom.”

3- Become comfortable with the patterns of the verses, i.e. Mutashabihat. There are many repeated verses in the Quran. It is helpful to designate a notebook for tracking down the similar verses as you go. You can even use Microsoft Word and format your notes with the highlight, colours, italic, bold and underline options. Be creative! It’s worth it.

Allah (swt) says,

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ

“Allah has sent down the best statement, a Book (this Quran), its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah. He Guides therewith whom He pleases and whomever Allah sends astray, for him there is no guide.” (Az-Zumar 39:23)

Renew Your Intention Every Time

Finally, don’t forget to renew your intention again. At this point, spend time alone to rethink about your decision and block out any praise that you may be receiving. The signs of a boastful show-off are that he is lazy when alone, energetic when with people, increases his work when praised, and decreases his work when insulted and ignored. Pray hard, concentrate in your prayers, use the golden moments in Sujood to come closer to Allah (swt) and seek His help in attaining your goal of understanding and memorizing His Book.

Advice #5: Dua and Action are the Keys

Now that you have a plan and effective strategies have become your habits, focus on Dua and your deeds. These steps will help you maintain your new commitment to the Quran in the long run Insha’Allah:

1- Stop sinning: Sins are the number one barriers between knowledge and a Muslim’s heart. Allah’s (swt) superior speech will never settle in a heart that is sinful and barred by desire and doubt. It is narrated that Abdullah ibn Masud that Prophet (sa) said:

إني لأحسب الرجل ينسى العلم بالخطيئة يعملها

“I believe that a man forgets his knowledge because of a sin that he has committed.”

Forgetting the Quran and being unable to memorize it is one of the biggest disasters that may befall a Muslim in his life; Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

وَمَا أَصَابَكُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ

“And whatever of disaster befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned (of sins).” (Ash-Shuara)

It is important to remember that our bodies have been made from soil and the food for our bodies comes from the soil it was made of. Our souls, however, have been sent from Heaven and the food for our souls is the Quran which was sent down from the Heavens to quench our souls and relieve us from misguidance and darkness. A heart that is bolted and shackled by chains of disobedience and sin will be unable to see the light of guidance that is found in the Quran.

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

و كما أن لله ملائكة موكلة بالسحاب و المطر فله ملائكة موكلة بالهدى و العلم و هذا رزق القلوب و قوتها و هذا رزق الأجساد و قوتها

“Just as Allah (swt) has angels responsible for the clouds and rain, He too has angels responsible for guidance and knowledge. This is the sustenance and provision for hearts and that is the sustenance and provision for bodies.”

Imam Al Shafi (ra) recited verses of poetry beautifully describing his teacher’s explanation of why sins prevent knowledge,

شكوت إلى وكيع سوء حفظي           فأرشدني إلى ترك المعاصي

و قال إن العلم نور                      و نور الله لا يؤتى لعاصي

I complained to Waki about the weakness of my memory.

He told me to abandon sin.

And said that knowledge is light.

And Allah’s (swt) light is not given to the sinner.

2- Search for the practical aspects of all the verses you memorized: Any heedful Muslim will agree that the main cause of the Ummah’s state in today’s age and time is our abandonment of the Quran and its teachings. We are merely floating in the oceans without diving in and discovering the gems and treasures that Allah (swt) has hidden in its depths. Reciting the Quran without pondering upon its meanings and without any practical application of its teachings is not the ultimate purpose, although a recitor is to be rewarded. Remember that the Companions (rta) would not exceed their study of the Quran to more than five to ten verses until they had studied them in detail and understood the practical implications. Read the verses and ask yourself, “What is Allah (swt) commanding me to do? What is he prohibiting me from? How can I apply this verse in every day of my life?”

3- Make the Quran your companion and guidebook: Make it your number one source of comfort and peace. Make a list of do’s and don’ts based on the Quran. Study the qualities that Allah (swt) loves in His slaves and try to develop them to the best of your ability: patience, love, mercy, humility. Study the qualities that He hates and abandon them: boastfulness, hard heartedness, heedlessness and idle talk. The next time you are at your wits’ end, confused and lost, let your first action be reaching out for the Quran and seeking tranquillity in the remembrance of Allah (swt).

Remember also that once a person has knowledge of an issue, he is bound by this knowledge to act upon it. This is a matter overlooked; however it is quite significant. Never forget that the Quran will be a proof for you or against you.

4- Good companionship: From the greatest blessings of Allah (swt) to His slaves is a good friend. It is incumbent upon a serious student of the Quran to pray for and find a friend who will be a help and source of encouragement. Beware of people who engage in idle chatter and sins of the tongue; these people will claim they do not have spare moments for studying the Quran but will converse for hours about useless matters of the world. Worse off than these people are those who mock the verses of Allah (swt) and turn away from reminders. Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ ۚ وَإِمَّا يُنسِيَنَّكَ الشَّيْطَانُ فَلَا تَقْعُدْ بَعْدَ الذِّكْرَىٰ مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ

“And when you see those who engage in a false conversation about Our Verses by mocking at them, stay away from them till they turn to another topic. And if Shaitan causes you to forget, then after the remembrance sit not in the company of those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.).” (Al-Anam)

I cannot put stress on the positive influence a pious friend can possess and the evil consequences of accompanying heedless people. It’s a lifelong companionship that you should aim for and rest assured that a relationship that is strengthened by the Quran will never lead to wrongdoing by the help of Allah (swt).

وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا

يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا

لَّقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي ۗ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنسَانِ خَذُولًا

“And the Day when the wrong-doer will bite at his hands, he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger. Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Quran) after it had come to me. And Shaitan is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.” (Al-Furqan)

It is reported that Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd Prophet (sa) said:

I do not know anything rarer than a good Dirham (Halal income) whose owner spends it on something right or a brother in Islam in whose company one finds peace. And they are only getting rarer.

5- Learn Arabic: The more Quran you memorize, the more you start to understand the Arabic language. There should be a continuity and connection between your study of the Quran and Arabic. Not only that, but understanding Arabic is a very crucial part of memorizing the Quran because it will prevent you from making grammatical mistakes. Scholars of Quran have stressed that since understanding the Quran is obligatory and understanding Arabic is a medium through which the Quran is understood, it automatically becomes obligatory to understand Arabic.

ما لا يتم الواجب إلا به فهو واجب

6- Dua: It is possible that a Hafidh of the Quran reaches great heights due to the sincerity of his supplications to Allah (swt), even if he does not complete the memorization. A sincere Dua is the ladder by which a person reaches unattainable heights; the Messenger of Allah (swt) said:

من سأل الله الشهادة بصدق بلغه الله منازل الشهداء و إن مات على فراشه

“Whoever sincerely prays to Allah (swt) for martyrdom, Allah (swt) will give him the rank of the martyrs even if he died on his bed.” (Muslim)

This Hadeeth states that on the Day of Judgement, there will be people who will be resurrected as martyrs, even though he never participated in the battlefield. The reason for this will be the sincerity of his intention. If that’s the case for the high ranks of the martyrs, then what can we imagine for the Huffaadh of the Quran?


Practical Steps to Become a Productive Muslimah

productivity1Before I begin, I would like to confess that I am a striving Muslimah myself like anyone of you. Therefore all these reminders are for me and you both.

I pray to Allah (swt) that we all become firm in our faith, steadfast on the straight path and gain the reward as promised by Him.

1. Gain knowledge

Being a mother, wife, daughter and a homemaker, all at the same time is not that easy as we all know. But as a Muslimah we have a responsibility towards our Deen. Serving our Deen is the basic purpose of our life. In this regard, seeking knowledge takes the first position. Without knowledge, we won’t know what to do and how to do for the sake of Allah (swt).

The Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” (at-Tirmidhi)

2. Learn It, Be it!

Whatever we learn or understand, whether it is a verse of the Quran, a Hadeeth or any Dua, we should make sure that we start applying it in our daily life.

Once we start observing them, they become a part of our habit and eventually our character.

3. Get smart via smart phones

The big question is how to manage time for learning while juggling between household chores, kids and other responsibilities.

Almost all of us own smart phones and there are lots of beneficial apps available from which we can benefit. Listening to Islamic lectures widens our thoughts and hearts. Play them while cleaning, cooking, nursing your baby etc. so that you use your time in a productive way.

4. Some verses a day keep the devil away!

Use some time of the day, especially when the kids are sleeping, to go through the verses of the Quran so that we are able to concentrate more.

5. Sharing is gaining

We are obliged to share the knowledge Allah (swt) has provided us with, which has become very much easier in this age of technology. We can adopt our own ways to share what we learn. But, not to forget, every small deed should start from home. We should never consider ourselves superior to the other.

6. Serving the family

Doing even the smallest chores at home with the intention of seeking Allah (swt) pleasure will make them fruitful, even making a cup of tea for your hubby.

7. Long-lasting impression on the little brains

Use your creativity to instil Islamic values into the little minds of your children. Simply remind them that their family, toys, dresses are all signs of Allah’s (swt) love, this can be understood even by a toddler.

To conclude, living a life as a productive Muslimah or at least trying to be one, will remind people around you about Islam and it might benefit them as well. All our actions are solely based on our intention as per Hadeeth. Therefore we should strive for good only to please Allah (swt) alone. Keeping our hearts, as clean as possible, is a quality of a Muslimah for “Allah (swt) does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds.” (Muslim)

In the end, don’t forget to keep making Dua, not just for yourself but for others as well.