Do You Yell at your Wife?

15 yell at wife

In order to get to Jannah, you have to make sure you are the best to your spouse. Do not shout at your spouses for mistakes they make. A Hadeeth says: “The best from amongst you are those who are best to their wives.” (Ibn Majah) Subhan’Allah! You have to be the best to your family members, best to your spouse, best to your husband – but how do you treat them?

Sometimes, the wife burns the food, which may be a test from Allah (swt) for you. Allah (swt) is watching, and, to be honest with you, the angels are writing what your reaction would be. That is all that’s happening, nothing else! She might never burn it again and we get up and yell: “Do you know how much money is wasted here? You know this food is rubbish; it’s rotten; it’s bad; it’s filthy; throw it out!”

Is that the attitude to have? Well, why did you get married? That is someone’s daughter – how are you speaking to her? Have a bit of shame. Your children are watching. It is one thing if you yourself are committing a crime, but think about it – you are teaching your children how to commit a crime that they will commit in a bigger way. For this reason, I encourage people to look at the parents of their future spouses. If their parents are living with beauty, respect, and honour, it would mean that the prospective spouse has learned beauty, respect and honor. But if their parents are fighting like cats and dogs, swearing at each other, and there is a relationship that is totally absurd, then it does not mean that the child is bad, but the child may have qualities like them, especially if it is a male.

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In my heart- Forever and Always By!

father-daughter-holding-hands-web

When I was just a baby,
you sang me your melodious lullaby.
From dusk to dawn you worked in an office,
I was taken care of by Mum and Sis.
As hours passed by…. I became a carefree child,
But, despite my obnoxious demeanour, you were always mild.
You walked me to school each day,
“Don’t leave me father”- with tears I would say.
Bringing me toffees and toys – indifferent to the cost,
listening to my unbearable sulks and taunts.
You were revelry to my heart,
Told me enchanting stories about Prophet Nuh and his ark.
Time flew, once again;
Over the years you were seen with a crooked cane.
You became subtle and old,
a face full of wrinkles and folds.
You became grumpy and cold,
“I don’t want to live”, I was told.
I remembered the times when I would catch a cold;
You’d tell me it came in return of a righteous deed sold.
I repaid your benevolence and love,
With responsibility and affectionate words.
Fulfilled my duties, household chores-
Aiding you while you trotted on the glossy floor.
As days resumed, the moments came near…
When you would become persistent with fear.
The sparkle in your eyes subsided, disappeared-
Before your death, you spoke a few words-
Whispering in my ear, vivid and clear.
“Always remain empathic to commence a noble deed.
These words are golden, so pay heed.
Discover you potential and ingenuity,
Never let hampers defeat your simplicity.
Stay away from decadence and profanities;
Don’t let conceit and aversion weave.
Death is an inevitable phase,
a numerous predicaments you will face.
Have determination and inspiration to dream,
Faith and trust, a strong belief.
Pray for me, as I’ve always prayed for you;
It’s a matter of servitude, ending soon.
Now it’s time to say adieu and good-bye…
But in my heart you’ll stay-
Forever and always by.”

Pearls of Peace: An extract from Surah Kahf

surah_kahhfA journey for Allah (swt) – an inspiring story!

This Surah begins with the mention of some youth who lived under a tyrant leader. Because of their community’s deviance from the right path, the youth decided to leave them and sought refuge in a cave. Fearing their community and feeling lost, they prayed to Allah (swt), “(Remember) when the young men fled for refuge (from their disbelieving folk) to the Cave, they said: Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and facilitate for us our affair in the right way!” (Al-Kahf 18:10)

And Allah (swt) answered their prayer and protected them by making them sleep for several years. One reason for losing one’s peace is being in the wrong company. We see people around us indulging in such acts that are contrary to the Quran and Sunnah, and we don’t see a way out for ourselves. In such moments, we should remind ourselves the story of these strong young men. They migrated for the sake of Allah (swt). Their migration was not for any worldly need, but to protect their Iman.

See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil

This is a powerful statement! Another stirring statement is: garbage in, garbage out. Our brains have the ability to instantly process everything that we come across. If we read or watch filth; that is what is going to come out of our mouth. We will no more be conscious of what words we are uttering or what actions we are doing. Consider for example, you pass by a Masjid and you see people entering in flocks. You have an urge to follow them. You enter the Masjid and you are spiritually uplifted. Now you are with your friends. They offer you a glass of alcohol and you refuse it. They insist you to have a sip. You refuse but they push you. You give in and take a sip. You begin enjoying your drink. What happens next? You are addicted.

A sincere advice

Change your company and reform yourself. Protect your eyes, mouth and ears. Avoid juicy stories and vice. This is why our Prophet (sa) taught us to ask Allah (swt) for beneficial knowledge and protection of our eyes and ears. The youth discussed in Surah Al-Kahf did not just distance themselves from the wrongdoing people but also made Dua. Never leave Dua. It is your connection with Allah (swt) via which you can ask Him for goodness.

It is a mercy of Allah (swt) that He has informed man of both, the truth and the falsehood. Mankind has been given a choice to follow whatever they desire, “And say: The truth is from your Lord. Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve.” (Al-Kahf 18:29) Beware these choices have consequences, “Verily, We have prepared for the Zalimun; a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them (disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah). And if they ask for help (relief, water, etc.) they will be granted water like boiling oil that will scald their faces. Terrible the drink, and an evil Murtafaqa (dwelling, resting place, etc.)!” (Al-Kahf 18:29)

Repentance – a way out!

While one is free to pick his path, he is not free to escape the punishment. Every action of man is being recorded in a book, “And the record [of deeds] will be placed [open], and you will see the criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, ‘Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?’ And they will find what they did present [before them]. And your Lord does injustice to no one.” (Al-Kahf 18:49) To save oneself from such an end, one must hasten to seek repentance. Because sincere repentance is the only thing that can wipe out our bad deeds. When you have shed sincere tears of repentance, compete to increase your good deeds. Don’t waste time; because we will be in need of a lot good deeds in the Hereafter. May Allah (swt) bless us with steadfastness in our repentance. Ameen.

How merciful is Allah (swt)?

Not only does Allah (swt) make us aware of the right and the wrong, but He is also willing to forgive our wrongdoings; if we turn to Him. Sadly how ungrateful is man- forever complaining and quarrelling, “And indeed We have put forth every kind of example in this Quran, for mankind. But, man is ever more quarrelsome than anything.” (Al-Kahf 18:54) We argue over Allah’s (swt) commands and Prophet’s (sa) tradition; showing disrespect and ingratitude to both of them. We should immediately surrender to the commands of Allah (swt) as soon as we learn about them.

Are we unintentionally ignoring Allah (swt)?

Allah (swt) tells us to come to the right path. But we turn away. “And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat of his Lord, but turns away from them forgetting what (deeds) his hands have sent forth. Truly, We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand this (the Quran), and in their ears, deafness. And if you (O Muhammad (sa)) call them to guidance, even then they will never be guided.” (Al-Kahf 18:57)

When a person chooses to ignore Allah (swt), then Allah (swt) too is not interested in guiding such a person. On the contrary, the one who loves Allah (swt); He opens his heart to comprehend the beneficial knowledge. Today, when one learns of a football match in his city or perhaps a lawn launch; we leave every other worldly task and run to be the first ones to stand in queue. But when call for prayer is given from the mosque and we are promised a greater reward for standing in the first row with the angels; we sit back and turn our attention to something else. How ungrateful man really is! May Allah (swt) make us of those who run towards doing good. May He not make us of those whose hearts have been sealed. Ameen.

Who is your child’s superhero?

Another sad reality is that our children, as young as seven and eight years old, know the names of the entire football or cricket team; but they don’t know the names of the Prophets and their Companions. These were the people who strove with their life and wealth to spread and protect Allah’s (swt) religion. These were the people who were given the glad tiding of Paradise, and we are not interested in learning about them.

A scary reminder!

Allah (swt) says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds!” (Al-Kahf 18:103-104) What a scary reminder! The efforts of such a person are limited to the worldly life only and he has no concern for the Hereafter. When you invite such people to study Quran, learn one verse or a Dua, they come up with countless unnecessary tasks of this world.

While the game is on, we are at loss!

Whose loss will it be if we turn away from Allah (swt)? How many hours does a man spend at his job to get a salary at the end of the month? On average, we spend at least eight hours at work weekly. Then we get our pay cheque. We work approximately for 208 hours in a month like slaves to get that cheque. Allah (swt) offers us much greater reward; not only in this world, but an eternal life of bliss in the Hereafter. Unfortunately, we are too lethargic when it comes to obligatory prayers. How many times have we woken for Fajr before the call for prayer is even given? And how many times have we woken up at 3 a.m. without hitting the snooze button when a football match is on? Those who do wake up, they wake up to get done with it. Let us commit to fall in love with our prayer because we love Allah (swt), and we seek His love and His mercy.

The way we have messed up our priorities, shows how confused we are about our purpose in life. Not only are we confused about our purpose in life; but our worship too. We have strayed away from the path of Muhammad (sa) and invented our own ways of worship; which were neither taught by the Prophet (sa) nor practiced by his Companions (ra). The proponents of innovations say, “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your Ilah (God) is One AIlah (God i.e. Allah). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” (Al-Kahf 18:110) Hold on to Quran and Sunnah and let not Shaytan deceive you.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)

Understanding Surah Asr – 3

time management sunnahTranscribed from the Bayyinah podcast Tafseer series by Iqra Asad.

“By Al-Asr (the time). Verily, man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islâmic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma’ruf) which Allâh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allâh has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allâh’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islâmic Monotheism or Jihâd).”

Don’t wait to do good- It is now or never!

Many times, when you have to give advice, you hesitate. You wait for a better time. You keep waiting and that better time will never come. The sense of urgency is in the word “Tawasi”. “Wasiya” is also when you bequeath someone with property. What you are to offer someone is literally of value. When you give someone good advice, they reply with, “But I’ve seen you do this, what about you?” Most of us are reactive when we receive advice. When you are on the side of giving advice, you take the good of it and leave the bad.

“Tawasi bil Haq”

First, it is mentioned generally to do good deeds. Then one specific good deed is mentioned i.e. patience. Allah (swt) puts patience at the end and “Haq” first, to emphasize the nobility of good.

This Surah challenges us to change our definitions of success and failure.

The true essence of faith

A lot of people consider faith to be just a declaration. You could claim it as a lack of knowledge but in reality it’s an attitude; the assumption that we have faith, and the assumption that faith alone is enough. What does it mean to have faith? From a legal point of view, anyone who declares the Shahadah has faith. Legally speaking, anyone who claims to be a Muslim, is a Muslim. Then there is the matter of the distinction that Allah (swt) Himself makes in Surah Hujurat.

He says, “The bedouins say: ‘We believe.’ Say: You believe not but you only say, We have surrendered (in Islâm), for Faith has not yet entered your hearts.” (Al-Hujurat 49:14)

What people assume to be “Iman” (faith) is actually just the declaration of Islam. Faith is in the heart. The first thing inside the heart is faith, the second is revelation. If you memorize the Quran, it resides in your heart. The third thing, among others, associated most with the heart is Dhikr (remembrance). These three things are inter-connected.

In Surah Al-Anfal, “The believers are only those who, when Allâh is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qurân) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith” (Al-Anfal 8:2)

The easiest gauge of faith is your Salah (prayer); “Allah would not be one to waste your faith.”(Al-Baqarah 2:143) This verse refers to prayers as “faith”. So where goes the statement, “I don’t pray, but I still have faith”? The second misconception that once you have faith, you don’t need deeds is crushed in this Surah. What kind of faith is this that you don’t have action? If we internalize this, we know that our faith will not survive, unless we have action.

A Believer vs. Those who believe!

The difference between two commonly used terms in the Quran, “believers” (Muminoon) and “those who believe” (Allazeena Aamanu): one of them is verbal (those who believe), the other (believers) is a noun. In Arabic, a verb is temporary, it is not stable, but a noun is fixed. “Believers” is used for people of mature faith. It is always used in a positive aspect. However, with “those who believe”, you may not find nice things. You find Allah (swt) saying to them, “those of you who believe, believe!” Become true believers. “Those who believe!”—category of those who are not necessarily doing well. “Believers”—mature faith who have already attained success.

The three core pillars of faith: “faith in Allah (swt)”, “faith in the Message” (the Book and the Messenger), and “faith in the Afterlife”. Sometimes people take one or two of these and say their faith is complete. If you do that, you will fall into a serious psychological imbalance.

Faith in the Messenger of Allah (swt)

Sometimes you can say something about the Messenger (sa) that can waste your Iman. On one hand, you have people who love him so much that they end up giving him a status beyond a human being. On the other hand, you have pseudo-intellectuals who treat him as just another historical figure. “It’s just a Hadeeth.” “It’s not even in the Quran.” The Surah Muhammad, Fath, and Hujurat discuss faith in the Messenger. When Allah (swt) mentions the Prophet (sa) in the Quran, He doesn’t use his name, and if He does, He says “RasulAllah” next to it. In the Quran, “O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet (sa), nor speak aloud to him in talk as you speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds may be rendered fruitless while you perceive not.” (Al-Hujurat 49:2) In order for good deeds to count, you must have faith.

Fruits of faith

Tranquility: you come to terms with the fact that all deeds are rewarded.

Iman: a treasure that you get to keep when you do good deeds. But what kind of person would you be if by feeding a hungry person, you would get more food back, but you still wouldn’t do it?

This statement is very empathetic because both the preposition and the verb have been repeated.

Haq: “truthfulness” means that you convey the advice in a truthful and sincere manner, holding nothing back. “With truth”, refers to Quran, that you counsel each other with Quran. Someone’s losing hope, how do you do “Tawasi bil Haq”? Through Quran, quote Quran to them: “My slaves who have violated against their own selves, don’t lose hope in Allah’s Mercy!”(Az-Zumar 39:53)

It’s easy to sit behind a microphone and talk about these things to strangers. It requires courage to do this with family. It requires patience.

What does “Sabr” mean? Patience, perseverance, commitment, constancy.

“It is to have the same level of obedience to Allah (swt) whether in ease or in difficulty.”(Ibn Taimiyyah)

Fidelity and forbearance is the key

Good people, who are working for Islam, may lose heart at all the criticism they receive. You must do “Tawasi bil Sabr” with them; tell them to be patient, no matter how difficult things get. They will appreciate it. Those who do work for this Deen; whether you are doing work for Islam inside your house or outside it, are under direct attack of the Shaytan. You must have patience and obedience to Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) speaks to us and He knows what kinds of lives we lead. There are brothers and sisters who are active in spreading Islam, but they have some very bad habits. They need someone to do Tawasi bil Sabr with them, to tell them to hang on.

These statements are in the past tense. Why not mention it in the present tense? It implies that these people spent their entire lives doing Tawasi bil Haq and Tawasi bil Sabr. You can never stop until death.

They are encouraging each other with patience. The way you deliver it requires patience, and what you are recommending them to do is patience.

These four things are connected to each other. If someone loses Sabr, they will not be able to do Tawasi bil Haq.

This is the shortest Surah, but also the heaviest Surah. It will change your attitude towards success and failure. Your time to get serious about faith, action, Tawasi bil Haq and Tawasi bil Sabr is short. May Allah (swt) make us of those who successfully fulfill the conditions of Surah Asr. Ameen.

Ask the Savvy Parent – Dealing with advise or criticism

criticism_media_cycleAssalamu alaikum. I am a mom of three lovely girls under the age of ten. I am disturbed for a reason that whenever we socialize with friends or family, they always criticize my daughters like: her complexion is getting dark, she is gaining weight and so on and on. I do believe in grooming the personality, but feel it is way too early to start worrying about how my girls look, as long as they are healthy and within the average height/weight range of girls their age. But now, I am beginning to doubt myself, especially when everyone around me makes me feel inadequate. What are your comments?

Dear Parent,

I am sure that there are many parents, who can relate to what you are experiencing. It can be difficult to deal with such criticism, even more so, if it comes from close friends or family. At times, their comments can really have an effect on a parent. It can start the cycle of self-doubt and provoke one to start questioning whether he/she is doing the wrong thing. This is something you are already beginning to feel. The big question is: do you say something back? If yes, then what do you say?  How does one even say something, without offending the family members or friends?

Firstly, please, do not doubt yourself; you have the right attitude. The focus should be on nurturing a child’s personality and developing self worth. It is very important for children to love themselves just the way Allah (swt) has made them, without developing any self image insecurities. In this time and age, with all the glamorous media around telling one what to wear and how to look, is a serious problem, especially for girls.

I always give people the benefit of doubt and hope that they ask questions genuinely, wanting to know why one does or doesn’t do something; however, unfortunately, many a times this isn’t the case. So what do you do? Here are some suggestions that might work:

1. Set Limits

If you’ve already walked down this path with this particular criticizer, set a firm limit. Just because someone wants to dish it out, doesn’t mean that you or your kids have to take it. In some cultures, it is common for such things to be discussed or said in social gatherings. Sometimes people mean well, but remember there is a time and a place for such a discussion. Do not allow someone to criticize you in front of your children or in front of others.

2. Agree to Disagree

There are those who question us but are not open to hearing the reasons behind our decisions. We’ve all come across such relatives or acquaintances, who bring up a topic, just because they want an opportunity to tell us the many ways they think we are wrong or aren’t doing it right.

Often that comes from the concern stemming from their genuine love for the child, and I’m sure you can appreciate that. However, as a parent, you have a right to make your own decisions.

There may even be some issues, where you may never see eye to eye with certain individuals. In such cases, in order to preserve the relationship, it is best to find a way to agree to disagree.

Depending on the person, especially a family member, it can be difficult to say something without offending the person. Choose your words carefully. Perhaps work with statements such as “I can see that you feel strongly about this. I do too. You are very important to me but I humbly disagree with what you are saying. No heart feelings, we should better move on.”

3. Redirect/Subject Changer

One strategy for setting limits on critical conversations is to change the subject that is known in the west as “bean dipping”. For example, “Yes, Mrs. Busybody we are still ____. Can you please pass the bean dip?” Conversation over. That is it… hopefully.

4. Turn a Deaf Ear to Criticism

Finally, with some people, none of these things will work, and even if we make some excuse to redirect or leave the conversation, they will continue to criticize us. Somehow these people always find an ear willing to listen to them. It’s okay. Let them speak. You must find a way to remove yourself from the conversation. Don’t waste your time and energy on people, who don’t deserve it.

I know it hurts but their behaviour tells more about them than it does about you – and just think, if they are gossiping to someone else, at least you don’t have to listen to it.

In the wise words of Judy Ford, “What you think of me is none of my business.”

Insha’Allah I hope this helps and may Allah (swt) guide you to what is best. Ameen. Happy Parenting!

The Savvy Parent

[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?

 

Quran is a Treasure – Preserve it in Your Heart

إن له لحلاوة.. و إن عليه لطلاوة.. و إن أعلاه لمثمر.. و إن أسفله لمغدق.. و إنه ليعلو و لا يعلي عليهQuran-550x412

[Indeed, it has sweetness and indeed it is adorned with beauty and charm. Surely, its first part is fruitful and its last part is abundant.

It conquers all speech and remains unconquered! It shatters and destroys all that has come before it!]

Those were the timeless words of Al-Waleed ibn Al-Mugheerah when he was asked by the Mushrikeen of Quraish to describe the speech of Allah (swt).

روى ابن ماجة وأحمد  عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رضي الله عنه قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ( إِنَّ لِلَّهِ أَهْلِينَ مِنْ النَّاسِ ) قَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، مَنْ هُمْ ؟

(قال: أهل القرآن هم أهل الله و خاصته)

The Messenger of Allah (swt) said: “The people of the Quran are the people of Allah (swt) and His special servants.” (An-Nisa, Ibn Majah and Al-Hakim)

There are more than a billion Muslims in the world. Only a few million can read the Quran fluently. From those million, only a few people are destined to memorize the Quran. These are the people of Allah (swt) and His special servants!

This is a series of advice, incentives, methods and secrets to memorizing the Quran and becoming the best of the best, InshaAllah.

Advice #1: Sincere Intentions

The first step to fulfilling your goal of memorizing the Quran is sincerity. Ibn ‘Abbas (rta)  said: “Indeed, a person shall memorize according to his sincerity.” Meaning the sincerity of your intention will determine the strength and amount you memorize.

Actually, this is not just the first step. You need to refresh your intention at every step.

It is reported from Ali (rta) that Prophet (sa) said: “The one who shows off has three characteristics: He is lazy when by himself, he is lively and energetic when with others and he increases in his actions when he is praised and decreases in them when he is criticized.”

1- Dua, Dua, Dua – ask Allah (swt) to purify your heart from hypocrisy and boastfulness   and to protect you from the evils of your soul and its treachery.

2- Do not be deceived by praise. Nobody knows you better than you know your own self. If they praise, they only praise the blessings of Allah (swt) that they see on you; while you are the one who truly knows the reality of your heart and Allah (swt) knows you better than you know yourself. Remember, pride was Shaitan’s downfall.

Abu Bakr (rta) would make a prayer every time he would be praised:

اللهم اجعلني خيراً مما يظنون  ولا تؤاخذني بما يقولون واغفر لي ما لا يعلمون

“O Allah (swt), make me better than what they think and do not hold me accountable for what they say and forgive me for what they do not know.”

3- Beware of secret sins. “Nothing is more disgusting than a sinful reciter.”

4- Re-read and revise the Ahadeeth that talk about the punishment for the one who memorizes the Quran in order to be praised. Prophet (sa) said:

إن الله تبارك و تعالى إذا كان يوم القيامة ينزل إلى العباد ليقضي بينهم و كل أمة جاثية فأول من يدعى رجل جمع القرآن و رجل يقتل في سبيل الله و رجل كثير المال فيقول الله للقارئ: ألم أعلمك ما أنزلت على رسولي؟ قال: بلى يا رب. قال: فماذا عملت فيما علمت؟ قال: كنت أقوم به آناء الليل و آناء النهار. فيقول له: كذبت و تقول له الملائكة: كذبت. و يقول الله: بل أردت أن يقال أن فلاناً قارئ فقد قيل ذاك ثم أمر به فسحب على وجهه حتى ألقي في النار

“The first amongst mankind to be judged on the Day of Judgement is a man who studied knowledge and taught it and who used to recite the Quran. He will be brought and Allah (swt) will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them.

Allah (swt) will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Quran for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – rather, you learned knowledge to be called a scholar and you memorized to be called a recitor and so it was said and you got your reward from those whom you sought it from. Then he will be dragged by his face and thrown into the fire of Hell.”

5- Remember always that the one who memorizes the Quran to be praised and to show off has no reward for his efforts and he is indeed sinful.

In conclusion, the intention is a very important, yet overlooked and sometimes undermined step towards memorizing the Quran. It may not be the only step but it is the most difficult to control and maintain.

It is reported from Sahl bin Abdullah (ra)that Prophet (sa) said: “There is nothing which is tougher upon the soul than (achieving) sincerity of intention. How many times have I tried to remove the  love of praise from my heart except that it sprouted in a different colour (i.e. in a different form).

Advice #2: Correct Recitation

The second step in this spiritual journey is to learn the correct recitation and articulation of the Quran. The second condition (after a sincere intention) for any deed to be accepted by Allah (swt) is that it should done according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (swt).  Someone who wants to memorize the Book of Allah (swt) must learn it from those who are knowledgeable; and it is never sufficient for him to rely on his own self.

This is one of the most amazingly unique aspects of the Quran – there has always been a one-on-one student-teacher interaction with regards to studying it. Jibrael (as) taught it to the Messenger of Allah (swt) who in turn taught it to his companions (rta)  and that’s how its reached us: pristine, complete, unchanged, unaltered and unadulterated.

There are various steps to learn the correct recitation of the Quran:

1- Use the same copy of the Quran – this will help you to get accustomed to the text, the number of verses per line and it’ll keep your comments and corrections organized (use a pencil and mark your mistakes!); use highlighters and sticky notes for help.

2- Find a teacher – somebody who is well-versed in Tajweed and can accurately point out your mistakes. It’s best to recite the Quran to a teacher before starting to memorize, so that he/she may correct any mispronunciation. Begin to learn the basic rules of Tajweed.

3- Repeat the verses – repeating the same page at least ten times will help you grasp a stronger hold of the difficult letters such as the Qaaf (القاف) and Raa’ (الراء). Bishr bin as-Sirri (ra) said, “Verily, each verse is like a date: the more you chew it, the more of its sweetness is released.” Abu Sulayman (ra) heard this and commented: “True. It is the case with one of you that if he begins one chapter of it, he wants to read it to the end.”

4- Use your senses – listening to an audio recitation of the Quran by a skilled reciter while reading the verses from your copy of the Quran is extremely beneficial.

5- Write it down – write down the verses that you find most difficult to recite; that will help you concentrate on each word separately and this has been the way of the students of knowledge.

Lastly, don’t give up! The Messenger of Allah (swt) said:

.عن عائشة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قالمثل الذي يقرأ القرآن وهو حافظ له مع السفرة الكرام البررة ومثل الذي يقرأ وهو يتعاهده وهو عليه شديد فله أجران

“The example of the one who recites the Quran and is fluent in it is as if he is with the noble pious angels and the example of the one who recites the Quran and stammers in it has two rewards as it is difficult for him.”

Remember to renew your intention every single time you begin reciting so that you may relish the beauty of wandering in the gardens of the remembrance of Allah (swt).

‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (ra) said: “If our hearts were truly pure, we would never get enough of the Words of our Lord and I hate even if one day passes with me not looking into the Quran.”

Advice #3: Chalk Out a Plan

The third most important step is to have a plan. This means you must designate an assigned portion that you intend to memorize every day. Be warned, planning is the easiest part. You must have will power and a strong sense of purpose in order to stick to it.

Do not try to aim too high and keep the planning moderate. That way, if you have extra time and end up memorizing more than planned, you’ll feel more encouraged to move forward consistently Insha’Allah.

The Messenger (sa) said:

خذوا من الأعمال ما تطيقون فإن الله لا يمل حتى تملوا و أحب الأعمال إلى الله ما داوم عليه صاحبه و إن قل

“Take from the deeds how much you can bear because Allah (swt) does not tire (of rewarding you) until you tire (of doing the deed). The most beloved of deeds to Allah (swt) are those that are done consistently by a person, even if they are small.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

The Salaf would say: “The one who does little consistently is better than the one who does a lot inconsistently.”

Follow these practical steps in order to lay out your plan and stick to it:

1- Learn about the way the Quran is divided.

  • 114 Surahs: each of the Surahs are of varying number of verses and the verses are varying in length.
  • 30 Juz’: each Juz’ is twenty to twenty one pages long
  • 60 Hizb: each Juz’ is divided into two almost equal subparts
  • You can decide to memorize according to the meaning and Tafseer of the verses, for example, Surah Yusuf has one primary topic, yet it can be divided according to the events that occurred: his dream and conversation with Yaqoob (as), being thrown into the well, the incident with the Aziz’s wife etc.
  • Additionally, scholars of the Quran have divided it this way:

i.            السبع الطوال– The Seven Long Surahs: this includes Surah Al Baqarah, Al-Imran, An- Nisa, Al-Maida, Al-Anam, Al-Araf and the seventh is either At-Taubah or Yunus.

ii.            المئون– The Hundreds: this includes almost all the Surahs that come after the previous seven and the number of verses in these Surahs reach approximately a hundred.

iii.            3-المثاني– The Repetitions: this includes all the Surahs that come after the previous and the number of verses in these Surahs reach approximately two hundred.

iv.            المفصل– The Separated Ones: this includes all the Surahs from Surah Al-Hujurat to Surah An-Nas

2- Decide which method of division is easiest for you to follow. Consider your daily routine. Make productive use of holidays, weekends and free time.

3- Start early! Prophet (sa) said:

اللهم بارك لأمتي في بكورها

“O Allah (swt)! Bless my Ummah in its early hours.” (Sahih Al Jami)

Therefore make use of the blessed hours before and after the Fajr Salah. This will also help you start the rest of your day with a sense of accomplishment.

4- Write it down everywhere! Draw out a neat little memorization plan for yourself and tick it as you go or if you are tech-savvy, use Microsoft Excel or Word.

5- Remember to include new memorization (parts you’ve memorized in the last few days), old memorization (parts you’ve memorized in the last month) and your new lesson (parts you memorized that day in particular). The new lesson you’ve memorized will stay in your short-term memory until you revise it consistently and transfer it to your long-term memory.

Finally, none of this will help you unless you have a strong determination to move forward. Do not burden yourself. Scholar of Fiqh and teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa (rta), Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman would say: “Learn three issues every day and do not increase it to anything else. Know that your heart is a part of your body and it is able to carry some things while unable to carry other things.”

6- Tea-time – If you are unable to move forward and feel stressed, give yourself a break. Relax and renew your intentions. I remember having a very fruitful month finishing one Juz’ every week and suddenly I found myself unable to memorize anything new. It would take me a whole hour to finish a page unlike the better days when I would memorize a page in thirty minutes. I made myself a revision plan and gave the memorization a break. After a few days, I had everything revised as planned, which encouraged me to get back on track, Alhamdulillah!

Remember that no matter how much you plan and organize, there will occasionally be setbacks. Do not despair; it is better to start afresh than to never get started at all!

[To be continued Insha Allah]

Parental Pressure – Tips for Teenaged Girls

life

  • Are your parents planning to get you married off to someone you DON’T like?
  • Are they planning to stop you from acquiring further education?
  • Are they planning to stop you from working?

Listen up, girls!

It’s not necessary to get into a fight with your family members, or depressed over their decisions. They will always want the best for you!

Speak up
There’s no harm in doing so, but be wise. Use your words carefully. Be gentle, and lay out your reasons on the table clearer than a logarithmic table! (You know it looks ugly when girls start shouting, and getting angry).

Be patient
“Oh you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere.” (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

Keep praying!
Sometimes, no matter how much we speak, it doesn’t work. Always remember only Allah (swt) can change people’s minds! Don’t ever undermine the power of Duas, and pour your heart out to Allah (swt).

May Allah (swt) give us what’s best for us! Ameen!

Dealing with Bad Language

Hammer hitting nail on the head.When your child goes to school, his exposure to the outside world widens. By this age, he has also realized the existence of words so mean and powerful that grownups usually reserve them only for the really frustrating moments.

What to do about swearing?

Keep your cool: Remember that children are capable of goading you into angry reactions. By losing your temper, you play right into their hands. Instead, calmly and matter-of-factly remind them that certain words are off-limits.

Be specific: “Don’t ever use language like that!” doesn’t work as well as something more precise, such as: “We don’t use that word in this house.”

Invoke consequences: If your child persists after being warned, then apply disciplinary tactics, such as withdrawal of privileges. Whatever you do, be consistent. Don’t chuckle at your child’s quick tongue one day and punish him for it the next.

Suggest alternatives: Explain to your grade-schooler that instead of swearing when angry, he could punch a pillow.

Establish house rules about swearing and follow them yourself: Make sure you don’t use the words forbidden to your children.

Look for signs of trouble: An increase in foul language or cursing that no amount of guidance seems to curtail may be a cue that something is wrong. Your child could be carrying around excessive anger or might be upset about something that’s going on at school or in other areas of his life.