Ramadan Rejuvenates the Faithful

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We are thankful to Allah (swt) the Almighty for we are fasting in- yet another holy month of Ramadan.

Keeping fast since dawn till evening, sitting with our brothers at overflowing tables during Iftar, performing Taraweeh prayers in congregation, and rising at pre-dawn for Sahoor are some of the characteristics of the month.

But, Ramadan is more than that. It was the month in which the Holy Quran was sent down as a guide to mankind, and to distinguish good from evil.

By reflecting on hunger and thirst, we can better understand the plight of the poor, and the importance of helping them; and we strive to do good works, acquire Taqwa for the hereafter, and earn the approval of our Lord. Our lower selves are curbed, our moral values are improved, and the light of our eyes responsible for all these benefits- continues to illuminate our hearts.

With the month of Ramadan that Muslims spend in a festive air, the acts of observance that believers perform throughout this month bestow very much on their souls in spiritual terms. Their sincerity and religious awareness also grow in direct proportion.

In addition, believers who control their lower selves, and rein in their desires, are careful to avoid such behaviour as lying, backbiting, speaking evil, offending others, anger and lack of submission; but instead, always seek to exhibit proper moral virtues.

Certainly, one of the finest characteristics of this virtuous month furnished with such goodness and felicity- is the reinforcement of the bonds of love, and brotherhood among believers.

Our Prophet (sa) says this about this holy month, when feelings of mutual love, respect and compassion, fortitude and mutual aid come to the fore: “Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah (swt) has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer’s sustenance is increased.” (Ibn Khuzaymah)

Another of the countless blessings of Ramadan, in which we receive material and spiritual favours from Allah (swt), and for which we long with a deep spirituality deriving from the joy of religious observance, prayer, the giving of alms, and Iftar and Sahoor each year, is that we become aware of the blessings we possess.

Someone who opens his eyes to the world so immaculately created by our Lord, and who gradually becomes used to the perfection in the functioning of its systems; and who becomes familiar with the marvels all around, may fail to appreciate the blessings bestowed.

This veil of heedlessness is removed from his eyes in the month of Ramadan. He becomes more aware of the blessings ordained for him by Allah (swt), and starts to better comprehend His might and greatness.

When he sees the blessings set out at the Iftar table, the many different fruits and vegetables with their delightful aromas and flavours that emerge from the soil; and the different products obtained from animals- his amazement in the fact of the artistry of Allah (swt) grows.

He better understands what a miracle it is that bright yellow melons, red apples or strawberries, whose aroma still cannot be fully replicated by modern technology, should emerge from the odourless soil.

When he sits down to break his fast after a period, albeit a short one, of deprivation of these blessings, he better grasps the value of the blessings in front of him.

With the month of Ramadan, he once again remembers that Allah (swt) could have created only a single form of sustenance for us- if He so desired; and that, it could have been bitter, tasteless and dull in colour- much like the soil that produced it- but that because of Allah’s (swt) compassion and love for His servants, all foods possess their own incomparable tastes and esthetic appearances.

In this way, his submission and humility in the face of the manifestation of the titles of Allah (swt) as the All-Merciful and Most Merciful also grow.

As we again experience this great joy of the month of Ramadan, a month that increases our powers of reflection, and enables us to acquire many spiritual delights; and that allows us to enhance our closeness to Allah (swt) and to show, in a determined manner, the love and passion we feel for Him in our hearts. We also remember our brothers in faith who are being oppressed all over the world.

We remember the innocent people of the Middle East rocked by strife and affliction, under siege and bombardment; we remember our brothers subjected to persecution, slaughter, and mistreatment; and the threat of genocide in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kashmir, East Turkestan, Pathani, Moro, Crimea and many other parts of the world.

We remember the importance of union, and unity- if they are to be saved. The images of innocent people wiped out by bombs, and machine guns, and of the bodies of children laid out in rows- never escape our memories.

We think of and pray for them at every Iftar meal; and once again, reaffirm our intentions to do all in our power to speed the coming of Islamic Unity in order that they may be saved.

Our wish is that our Almighty Lord will answer our prayers. As Muslims- with a passionate love of Allah (swt)- we fast with the love for Him, and break our fasts with the love for Him.

May He bestow salvation on our innocent brothers whom we never forget for a moment. May He make the Earth a place where the divisions and disputes of the Islamic world are set aside, and all Muslims embrace each other.

May the bloodshed cease- as quickly as possible; may the sufferings of the Ummah — and all mankind — come to an end; and may peace and security prevail. Ameen.

Apprehending the Ramadan Once Again

 

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                                                  Image Courtesy www.datemplate.com

 

We have once again come to the holy month of Ramadan by Allah’s (swt) Will; the sacred month when the Quran was revealed- bringing good news and mercy; and as a reminder to the believers.

The spirituality, radiance and zeal- which are so distinctive of Ramadan- make this month the sultan of the year, with a unique sacredness and meaning for Muslims; and which has encompassed the entire Islamic world.

During the month of Ramadan- longed for just like a month in every period throughout history with its special virtues- we will observe the worship of fasting with our Muslim brothers, and be thankful for all the blessings our Lord has granted us; and perform prayers in crowded communities by praising His name. We will preserve the limits of Allah (swt), as we are informed in the verses of the Quran and the Sunnah of our Prophet (sa), enhance our feelings of helpfulness, solidarity and brotherhood, and close our ranks with love. The fasts that we break together, and our prayers will be the means for overflowing our hearts with love of Allah (swt).

While we are wishing for goodness and mercy for all Muslims in the month of Ramadan, we unquestionably remember our brothers who are being persecuted in every corner of the world. In this Ramadan, we remember that there is an urgent need for unity and solidarity for the salvation of Muslims who are under persecution and oppression in Myanmar, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Patani, Kashmir, East Turkestan, Moro, and Crimea, as well as, many other parts of the world; as we remember the innocent people, the people of Middle East have been shattered by mischief, and all kinds of affliction; and are facing the most ruthless siege. We must never forget the images of innocent people devastated with automatic rifles and bombs, and the dead bodies of children lined up next to one another.

It is not possible for us to remain insensible while millions of our brothers are downtrodden. Every time we break our fast, we will be mindful of them and hold them in our prayers. We will say, be it in small or big gatherings, that the only salvation of the Islamic world is in Islamic Union, and that Muslims should be united at once, and that delaying this unification is unlawful. Also, we believe that every one of us will act with the utmost conscience, and make significant strides on this path.

Indeed, the solidarity of Muslims, their being in unity and embracing one another should be the top priority in the Islamic world.

Millions of innocents are expecting a helping hand from their Muslim brothers. We must empathize to their dire straits by putting ourselves in their place, and striving for their salvation with our greatest efforts, is one of our major obligations. We need to be aware that we will have to account for every drop of blood that is shed; every guiltless person who is martyred or disabled because of an injury; or every aggrieved individual in starvation.

There is no doubt that it is already time for the Islamic world to unite. When all the lands of Islam act in alliance and togetherness, they will make enormous progress by Allah’s (swt) will; and the mischief we see throughout the world, will come to an end. It is essential for Muslims to come together in unison for the bloodshed to stop, for the anarchy and terror to end, and for tranquility, welfare and security to prevail all over the world.

We hope that in this sacred month, Muslims will put aside their dissention, and come together; and attain days of serenity, radiance and peace by the Will of our Lord. All Muslims should leave aside the fighting, conflict and resentment this Ramadan, act in alliance and seek ways to save their brothers under oppression so that the seemingly unceasing strife is brought to an end in the Islamic world. By realizing that our religion enjoins peace and brotherhood, we wish that all divisions and bitterness be eliminated so that the lifelessness, disagreement and disputes arising from differences are removed; and that Muslim brothers and sisters can reconcile. And again, we pray that this blessed month is the means for laying the foundations of a delightful, peaceful and luminous period in the Islamic world, just like the Age of Bliss.

 

 

 

 

Hajj 2015 – the Good I Witnessed

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It might be startling for many to believe that there was any good in Hajj 2015, especially after the unfortunate tragedies of the crane crash and Mina stampede. May Allah swt accept the Shahadah (martyrdom) of those who lost their lives. But I was there performing my very first pilgrimage to Bait-ul-Allah. It was an ethereal experience.

The system in place to manage 30 lac pilgrims was quite impressive. The exits and entrances to Masjid al Haram were efficiently monitored to prevent any crowd surges. Policemen were lined up with spray bottles filled with cold water, ready to spray at any face that wanted respite from the heat. Free potable water and juice cartons were distributed to weary Hajis trudging on foot. Free bus rides were arranged from Khana-e-Kaabah to other parts of the city from where one could either walk home or hail a cab. Eager volunteers were present to guide you to your destination sometimes in sign language if you didn’t speak Arabic. Public toilets were present after every few meters and were considerably usable for Wudu and to answer the call of nature.

And who can forget the call of the beautiful Adhan soring high in the Haram. It raised the hair on one’s back, lifted the lowest of Imans, brought tears to eyes blurring the black majestic Kabah ahead. Each worshipper poured his heart out to his Rabb. Everyone had a love story of his own to narrate. Their hands stretched out yearning for the Lord’s Mercy and Love. It was the moment. All else faded away in the background.

Hajj was truly a picture of supreme brotherhood. Muslims from all continents and of every colour praying in one direction, to one God in one language.  We shared food, water, our prayer mats and smiles. We tried conversing in sign language, broken English and wavering Arabic. We pushed wheel chairs of complete strangers and shared taxi rides with them too.

Personally three things helped me immensely. I embarked on the pilgrimage with my husband with zero expectations. I realized that if I was a guest of Allah (swt) I had to trust and respect His hospitality. This meant no complaining and exhibiting patience. And believe me this submission to Allah (swt) worked wonders. We were always pleasantly surprised since we expected nothing.

Hajj is not a vacation. If you want to go on a holiday you should trek to Bali or Dubai maybe. Hajj is serious worship

Secondly offering Sadqah every day in the morning reassured our faith. Be it the cleaners at the Haram or old and frail Hajis, we felt a sense of tranquility to be able to help the lesser privileged. In return we asked of Allah’s (swt) pleasure and mercy in our affairs.

Lastly the prayer of Ibrahim (as) “Husbiy allaha wanaimal wakeel” was a fort against every forwarding trouble in sight. He recited these words when he was thrown into the fire by King Namrood. Allah (swt) had commanded the fire to cool down and offer safety to prophet Ibrahim instead and he walked away unhurt. Hence I relied on the same prayer for the slightest of issues possible. Be it long queues, day’s heat, big crowds, wait for the cab, chance to enter the Haram gates, possibility of Tawaf, etc.

On a closing note, Hajj is not a vacation. If you want to go on a holiday you should trek to Bali or Dubai maybe. Hajj is serious worship. It is meant for the ones who want to grow spiritually and are ready to offer sacrifices of their everyday comforts and conveniences. It’s not for those who think that since they are wealthy enough they should embark on it as they are an eligible candidate for it. If we wish to have our entire life’s sins wiped out, we will have to pay some price.

A very highly recommended exercise for those who wish to perform Hajj next year would be to read a good book on the Prophet’s (sa) Seerah

A very highly recommended exercise for those who wish to perform Hajj next year would be to read a good book on the Prophet’s (sa) Seerah right before they advance for their pilgrimage. It will help them greatly appreciate the lofty sacrifices Muhammad (sa) made for us. At Hajj we could pray anywhere in the Haram, perform as many Tawaf as possible in the ocean of other pilgrims, behold the captivating sight of the breathless Kabah. But Prophet (sa) was beaten at the same place so many times by the disbelievers of Makkah in the first thirteen years of his prophethood for simply offering Salah on the same grounds. And finally he was driven out of the city.

We can today peacefully go for Hajj and worship lovingly all we can. The inconveniences we face in this journey should not even be mentioned if we remember what our Prophet (sa) bore in the way of Allah (swt).

“By the fig, and the olive. By Mount Sinai. By this city of security (Makkah).” (Surat  at- tin 95:1-3)

An Umrah to Remember

umrah“What is she reading… Blank pages?” I looked in bewilderment, as this girl came and sat next to me after Maghrib Salah at Masjid Nabawi and started reciting. I realised that she was blind and was reading the Braille Quran, it was the first time my eyes had set on a Quran with blank pages with just embossed dots.

Mesmerized, I fell into Sajdah Shukr- thanking Allah (swt) for being able to see His Kalam, to see the word ‘Allah (swt)’. I pause and ponder here for a moment- how many of us have a copy of the Quran in our homes, eyes to read, and yet, are oblivious to this immense blessing.

An image of a Braille Quran

An image of a Braille Quran

Another amazing moment, as I waited with restless, emotionally charged ladies of our country to get an opportunity to enter the Riyadh-ul-Jannah, I started to talk about the virtues of where we were sitting to a stranger companion who urged me to communicate all that to the rest of the group; so seeking permission from the Arab lady group in charge, Allah (swt) gave me an opportunity to address these ladies. I told the women how Allah (swt) had chosen us to be there, near our Prophet’s (sa) grave. So many people yearn and pray to visit his mosque where prayers are rewarded thousand times over normal prayers. We, therefore, in gratitude must not push, shove or hurt anyone, nor raise our voices, and should be fearful that the rewards we have come to gain, don’t turn into sins instead; alternatively, keep reciting Durud, focus on the fact the angels will take our Salam Insha’Allah to our Beloved Prophet (sa). The women listened wide-eyed, and wept too, and Alhumdulillah when we were called to enter the Riyadh-ul-Jannah area, the Pakistani group of ladies was relatively calmer.

The spirit of sharing and caring in the Prophet’s (sa) mosque was overwhelming. As I passed a number of Miswak to my companions, waiting in the mosque for Salah, a pretty girl opened her handbag and pressed a bottle of perfume in my palms. The scent was so delicate and back home it reminded me of my companion- her Duas, her love, as she gave me that gift, in our beloved Prophet’s (sa) mosque. It was so amazing- we did not speak the same language, yet the love for Allah’s (swt) sake is such a powerful emotion that it crosses all kinds of barriers. Reflection of warmth through eyes and gestures made that trip a source of love and peace, not experienced in any other journey.

As I passed a pack of sweet biscuits to the lady next to me, I noticed her thoroughly enjoying it. She read the wrapper and nodded in appreciation- making me realize how different tastes from different parts of the world too are a source of bonding with one another.

I observed as people would pour in before the Salah time, chairs were a much sought after item. It is good to guide people to where they are stacked. And that can only be done if you are observant and earmark the places.

Mondays to Thursdays after Asr prayers Halaqas are held, young children and ladies are taught to read proper Tajweed. The love and commitment of the teachers was amazing, and the students were so disciplined. One of the lessons that stayed in my mind is to constantly make Dua for acceptance of any good deed, small or big.

we did not speak the same language, yet the love for Allah’s (swt) sake is such a powerful emotion that it crosses all kinds of barriers.

As I approached Masjid Nabawi before the  Fajr Salah after keeping a voluntary fast, feeling a bit sad that I did not have dates for Sehri, a lady standing at the entrance of the mosque was eagerly distributing something. As I passed, she pressed the most delicious, juicy and fresh bunch of dates in my hand, Subhan’Allah; how Allah (swt) nourishes and fulfils our desires, even before we have had a chance to voice them.

It’s truly amazing how the voluntary Sunnah fasts of Mondays and Thursdays are opened with such zeal and enthusiasm at both the Mosques. Simple, yet the overwhelming warmth is an experience by itself. Adults and children all eagerly beckon you to join them at Iftari time. Arabic tea, dates, bread and yogurt- so nourishing and fulfilling- are such a contrast to our rich fried table spreads.

As the time to leave for Makkah drew close, sadness of leaving Madinah was soon engulfed with the excitement of Makkah and Umrah. As we stopped at the Miqat, I kept imagining how our Prophet (sa) and his companions (rta) too must have stopped at that point for entering into Ihram.

We entered Makkah just before Asr.  By that time, I had developed a slight fever and my throat was hurting too, coupled with the exhaustion of the drive. I decided I would wait till the next morning to perform my Umrah. Praying Asr in my hotel room, I decided to go to the mosque for Maghrib. I realized that the entrance had changed, and I never saw so many people before. Reading Duas I tried to reach the Kaaba, but due to the change I could not reach it, so I decided to retrace my footsteps in order to catch my Salah. Lo and behold, I had to visit the washroom. What to do? Where to find it? I tried to follow the instructions, but just could not seem to find it with so many people. I asked a sweeper, he tried to explain it to me but after seeing my eyes watery, he threw his broom to another and beckoned me to follow him, may Allah (swt) reward him. I cannot forget his act of kindness. Reminded me that a small gesture of ours can be too big of a help for others- it was a great comfort for me to have someone guiding.

The next morning Alhumdulillah, I performed the rituals of Umrah

The rush, the construction, the noise of the equipment, all seemed to fade away when compared to the over powering emotions one is engulfed with as one approaches the House of Allah (swt); I am the Guest of Allah (swt)- the honour, and love Allah (swt) bestows are beyond my capacity to express here in words. The peace, one just wants to sob and the nearness of the Almighty, wants one to never leave the Haram.

During Tawaf, a hand was placed on my shoulder. Instantly, I wanted to shrug it off, but when I looked carefully- a lady was supporting her other arm with a lady and she needed to stabilize so had to sought my help. I slowed downed my pace, so she could comfortably walk.  It was amazing how smooth that Tawaf was. And later, my husband inquired how could I manage  the Tawaf in a much lesser time than him. It reminded me of a beautiful Hadeeth:

I cannot forget his act of kindness. Reminded me that a small gesture of ours can be too big of a help for others

“Allah (swt) is helping the servant, as long as, the servant is helping his brother.” (Muslim)

After Salah, a group of Turkish ladies on my left invited me to eat with them. It was an amazing experience. There was so much energy and warmth in that group. They unrolled plastic sheet, placed bread, cheese from Turkey and olives. One of them would break the bread, spread the delicious cheese, add olives and pass it around. As soon as we had eaten, I shared my dry fruit from Pakistan. The most loved item was the dried round apricots. Once eaten, quickly the sheet was gathered, crumbs were cleaned up, and each of the ladies took out their copy of the Quran. One beckoned me to read first, while others listened. Turn by turn each one of us read a Surah and then just before Isha Salah, hands were lifted for Dua. We kissed, hugged and prayed for each other without speaking a common language. I felt I was in a dream. A dream I did not want to wake up from.

Later in the day, I paved my way through looking for a place for Asr Salah. Finally, as I identified a spot and had comfortably settled down with the Quran in my hand, a wheel chair edged next to me. Instantly, I felt disapproval as to how that wheelchair would fit in such a small space. The surrounding women too gave disapproving looks. And that is when I remembered how one should make space for other. I Squeezed, and beckoned others to do the same. The lady on the wheel chair gave a nod, and I noticed she managed to maneuver herself on the floor. And soon, she was lying down in front of us and started to read the Quran. No one said anything, but looks say it all.

The peace, one just wants to sob and the nearness of the Almighty, wants one to never leave the Haram.

After a while, she again managed to sit in her wheelchair, that is when we got to talk. She was from Argentina and came to Makkah with a group of women. She had a brace to support her spine, and she could neither walk, nor lie down, or sit for too long. I felt so ashamed of my negative thoughts for her and clasped the hands of that brave lady. She spoke English and soon we had our hearts pouring out to each other. After Salah, amidst tears of love for meeting each other, she asked me when would we ever meet. Knowing no answer, spontaneously I said, ‘Jannah!’ Ameen. More hugs and tears rolled down our cheeks praying for our friendship for Allah’s (swt) sake.  .

“Allah (swt) will ask on the Day of Judgement, Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My glory? Today, on a day when there is no shade but Mine, I shall shade them with My shade.” (Muslim)

There is yet more- in fact, I could go on and on, but lastly, a glistening pearl Tasbeeh was handed out to me during Tawaf. Memories of precious moments flood back only to engulf me to pray for more return visits.

”O Allah (swt) I ask You for Your Love and the love of those whom You Love and the actions that will cause me to attain Your Love”

My Family on Fire!

unityImagine waking up one morning to the horror of finding your loved ones brutally killed. All of them, one by one, were slain like carrots. In every room that you peek – your brothers’, sisters’, parents’ and children’s – you find they’ve been tortured, heartlessly massacred and mutilated. What will be your reaction? Will you sit still? Or stay utterly optimistic that you will be spared? Or you won’t have time to think about them and you’ll just have breakfast and go about your daily routine like you always do? Or will you be cowardly and evasive, giving excuses that you can’t do anything?

If you think this is just a fictitious scenario, you’re wrong! Step out of the shell covering you – ‘my life and my world’ – and look around! A sister in Iraq, a brother in Palestine, a father in Philippines, a mother in Syria, a brother in Afghanistan, a son in Burma, a cousin in Xinjiang (China), another in North Pakistan, a brother in Yemen, sisters in Somalia, friends in Algeria, an aunt in Egypt… and so many others in the persecuted Muslim lands. My family, your family is on fire! Yes, they are our family!

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “In their mutual love, mercy and compassion, the believers are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Do you feel for them, pray for them and shed tears for them, like you would have for a family member? Have you done anything practical to aid and support them?

Do give this a thought and draft an action plan, for on the Day of Judgment, you will be answerable before Allah Almighty (swt), the Judge. Do prepare an answer! Today is all you have.

[Hadeeth Commentary] The Reality of Hasad (Jealousy)

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Related on the authority of Abu Hurairah (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; do not under cut one another in business transactions; be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah (swt). A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here – and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour.” (Muslim)

This Hadeeth is about the rights of a Muslim. A Muslim has more rights upon another Muslim compared to a non-Muslim. This Hadeeth clarifies the things which you should not do to another Muslim. This does not in any way mean that all these things are allowed if the other person is a non-Muslim. Certainly, Allah (swt) demands that we be fair and just to all.

Unity is one of the greatest aims Islam asks Muslims to strive for and Allah (swt) forbids any division among the Muslim Ummah. The Quran urges Muslims in countless verses to remain united. Allah (swt) says: “And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (which is Islam) and be not divided among yourselves…” (Al-Imran 3:103)

Several guidelines steer Muslims to practice deeds resulting in unity. Simultaneously, Islam prohibits many actions that can lead to divergence in the Muslim Ummah. The very first action that the Prophet (sa) forbids us is envy (Hasad). The fact is that Hasad led Shaitan to envy Adam (as) and lose his status among the angles. Hasad is also responsible for the first sin committed on earth by Cain (Qabil) who murdered his brother Able (Habil).

What is Hasad?

Hasad means desiring the removal of a blessing from somebody else that has been bestowed upon him by Allah (swt). For instance, somebody is blessed with wealth/children/knowledge and you feel Hasad. Hasad is having this feeling in the heart. It is felt in matters of both Deen and Dunya. The envious person actively wishes the removal of the blessing from another person, and wishes for them to get deprived even though he or she might not receive a similar blessing. For example, thinking about how someone is wealthy and always travelling; feeling upset because you cannot do the same. You just do not want another to have something you do not have, or cannot attain.

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Ibn Taymiyah also included in the definition of Hasad that one hates the person having a blessing and feels that they do not deserve it, even if you do not know that person. The reality is that you hate something that Allah (swt) has given someone. Allah (swt) distributes the blessings and you are accountable for your feelings.

Levels of Hasad

Ibn Rajab states in his definition that it is part of human nature that a person dislikes anyone who is better than him in virtues. He says that people differ in their attitudes and he lists five categories of envy that people have:

  1. Some people will make the effort through action/speech to end the bounty received by someone whom they envy.
  2. Others will try to take it away from the person they envy and then try to get it for themselves.
  3. Some people do not make any effort by action/speech to harm the one whom they envy. This category of people can be of two types:
    1. The one who does his best to eliminate the feeling of envy within himself but he cannot overcome it. In spite of this, he keeps fighting and struggling against it. Ibn Rajab says: “This type of person is excused from punishment.”
    2. The one who thinks about envy and practices it repeatedly. He does not make any effort to fight it even though he does not do any harm by action/speech. He wishes that the bounty of the envied one gets lost. Consequently, this person deserves punishment.
    3. Those people who envy someone but do not harm. They do not even wish the loss of the bounty from the envied one. Instead, they make an effort to attain a similar bounty or virtue for themselves. Ibn Rajab says: “If this bounty is worldly virtues/ bounties, there is no benefit in that. But if it is a righteous virtue, then it is good.”
    4. Some people who whenever feel envy, they do their best to stop it and do something good for the person whom they envy. Also, they make Dua for that person until they love him because envy is usually associated with hatred. Ibn Rajab says: “These people are the best believers since everyone is subjected to indulge or be trapped by envy.” (40 Hadeeth Nawawi)

We should keep in mind that unlike the sins that are temporary, Hasad is more dangerous and worse as it is in the heart and can last for days and years. For example, drinking alcohol is a sin at the time of the act. But Hasad is a long-term sin. When you hate someone else for being blessed, it is akin to your objecting to Allah’s (swt) decree. If you look at Hasad from this angle, it makes it easier for you not to strive to compete with others, but to accept what Allah (swt) has decreed for you. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Nobody will attain faith until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Why is Hasad prohibited?

By Allah’s (swt) Will and Permission, Hasad can cause harm to another Muslim. Hence, it is an evil deed. This is a quality of Shaitan; even if you wish bad for someone, it can happen. The Prophet (sa) said: “Creeping upon you is the disease of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shapes. I do not say it shapes the hair but it shapes the religion. By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of such things that you may establish: spread the greetings and peace among yourselves.” The Prophet (sa) also mentions: “Hate and business transactions are tied together with Hasad. If you do not envy, you will love and if you love you will not be unjust or unfair.” (Ahmad and Tirmidhi).

“And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, they bear on themselves the crime of slander and plain sin.” (Al-Ahzab 33:58)

Muslims are the helpers and supporters of one another; they should treat each other with tolerance, love and mercy. This is how a Muslim should be.

[Hadeeth Commentary] Fulfilling the Needs of Another Muslim

Adapted for Hiba by Tasneem Vali

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Related on the authority of Abu Hurairah (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah (swt) will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah (swt) will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah (swt) will conceal his faults in this world and the hereafter. Allah (swt) will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah (swt) will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah (swt), reciting the Book of Allah (swt) and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah (swt) makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence. Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage.” (Muslim)

This is a comprehensive Hadeeth that teaches us how to behave as part of a society. It can be divided into two parts:

  • The ways we can help each other
  • The virtues of the study circle (Halaqa, Dars etc…)

The Hadeeth ends with a statement that categorically denies any benefit you might think your lineage will offer on the Day of Judgement.

How can we help each other?

There are essentially four ways demonstrated in the narrative above.

  1. Whoever removes a source of worldly grief from a believer, Allah (swt) will remove from him one of his sources of grief on the Day of Resurrection.
  2. Whoever eases the necessity of a needy person, Allah (swt) will lessen his needs in this world and the hereafter.
  3. Whoever shields (or hides the misdeeds) of a Muslim, Allah (swt) will shield him in this world and the hereafter.
  4. Allah (swt) will aid His slave as long as he aids his brother.

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This guarantees that the profit earned from an act is of a comparable nature to the act itself. Or, that you will be treated the same way, in fact better than the way you treat another Muslim. You will get equal amounts of relief, help and protection in this world and also after you leave this temporary abode. Ibn Rajab, as quoted by An-Nawawi, talks about the difference between the two situations – in this world and the hereafter. Not everyone has a difficult life in this world, or is distressed. Since the difficulties of this life are incomparable to the distressful aspects of the hereafter, Allah (swt) reserves the reward for striving to relieve another Muslim’s distress of this life until the Day of Judgement. Many Ahadeeth emphasize on this principle. Grief or distress in this Hadeeth means a great difficulty or hardship a Muslim is facing. In one version of the Hadeeth, it is stated as “whosoever relieves” and in another version “whosoever removes”. There is obviously a difference between the two versions because ‘to relieve’ means to minimize the difficulty or distress, whereas ‘to remove’ means to totally eradicate the difficulty or hardship.” (40 Hadeeth Nawawi)

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“And if the debtor is in a hard time (has no money), then grant him time till it is easy for him to repay, but if you remit it by way of charity, that is better for you if you did but know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:280)

Specifically with debt, if a person dies with it his burial is on hold until the debt is repaid. Avoid falling into debt just to have what others have. To make it easy, if someone needs to repay you some money and they cannot pay you on time, forgive them. Give them more time or tell them to repay whatever they can. This by itself is Sadaqah.

How to shield your Muslim brother?

Ibn Rajab says that people can fall into two categories:

  1. Those who are not known for transgression or committing bad deeds. For these people, if by any chance they commit a mistake, it should not be revealed. On the contrary, it should be concealed and not talked about.
  2. Those who are well known transgressors, and who speak proudly about their shameful and sinful acts. Ibn Rajab mentions that if there is a need to mention the qualities of these people, we should do so for the benefit of the Muslim community. (40 Hadeeth Nawawi)

The general rule of the Hadeeth is that Muslims must not disclose the faults of other Muslims unless they are of the second category and then only to an authority who will discipline them for the benefit of the Ummah. Satara is to cover someone’s mistakes; there are three types of ‘Sittar’:

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A scholar said it is better to make a mistake in pardoning someone than to make a mistake by punishing someone wrongly. No matter how you help a fellow Muslim, you will be rewarded.

What are the virtues of a study circle?

This is the core of Islam, searching for and acquiring knowledge. This part of the Hadeeth is usually interpreted as follows:

  1. Allah (swt) will ease the way of the knowledge seeker to gain knowledge.
  2. Allah (swt) will assure the knowledge seeker benefits from the knowledge he is seeking.
  3. Those who pursue knowledge for the good of humanity, Allah (swt) will help them overcome distress on the Day of Judgement.
  4. Whosoever remembers Allah (swt) in a congregation, Allah (swt) mentions that person in His Divine congregation with His Angels.

In the end, we are reminded it is not who we are but what we do, and that we will bear the weight of our deeds ourselves on the Judgement Day.

May Allah (swt) enable us to be a better Muslim and implement the moral of this Hadeeth throughout our life. Ameen.

An Influential Friend

2 frndsRising up at 4:30 a.m everyday was a normal routine. The senior boys stormed our dormitory waking up Muslims to prepare for Fajr. This was one of the most difficult tasks we had to cope with as junior students in my early days at high school. I seldom attended Fajr prayer in the Masjid, thus as soon as the seniors arrived; I jumped out of my bed space pretending to have left for Salat. While the duvet would be over my body to begin a third round of sleep. This was constant on a daily basis. The cold in Kaduna was like that of the Hazzle-Glend and the distance to the Masjid was similar to crossing the Niger Bridge on foot. Sometimes, I hurriedly observed the prayer before others returned and in a few instances, even missed Salat. I recall having bad experiences on the days I missed Fajr . Either seniors sent me on difficult errands, extorted me of my belongings or I would misplace something precious – however, all these never taught me a lesson.

It was not as if observing Salat was a major chore because I grew up in a family where Salat was an  essential start to the day. However, the sways of my bunk mate and friends influenced me negatively in the boarding house. We were a clique of four: two Muslims and others non-Muslim.  Our non-Muslim friends were not the conscious Christian types who attended morning devotion and evening fellowship. We collectively –went on fruit-picking voyages of mangoes and guavas while other students attended the chapel or mosque for weekly convention. We attended social gatherings where we mimed and thrilled with the vibes until midnight. This was how I lived my life in the Machiavellian jungle of FGC Kaduna.

In the eighth grade, I was appointed the class captain to my class. This was after my predecessor was removed owing to his bullying attitude towards his classmates. At this point, I had access to teachers and made more friends – especially among the female folk. This easily paved way for the Fitnah of intermingling with the opposite gender. We played, chatted and enjoyed the company of each other. I saw no harm in listening to music, shaking hands and even hugging the other gender; all in the name of socialization. I was accepted and adored by many, owing to my sense of humour, oratory skills and brilliance. But to what avails were these traits if championed in the wrong course. My journey to self recognition, better orientation and personal reformation began when I met a friend –Muhammad Mukhtar. He emerged as the best student in my class after the second term result computation. It was the first time a Muslim student victoriously led my class: a class of over 70 students. It was awkward to many because they believed ‘Malo-boys’ were not fit to compete on academic grounds. It became apparent when our Business Studies teacher pronounced it in class during one of the lessons. This incident left a mark of rejection and intimidation as well as motivation for us to strive better in our academic ordeal.

My new friend and I had a chat regarding this during a long walk soon after. On our way, he made me realize the natural gifts Allah bestowed upon me. My oratory skills channelled towards comedy can be reserved for Dawah activities. He made me see reasons why we need a new breed of Muslims who will understand the rudiments of the Deen and remain focused individuals who aspire to make a change positively. His words were soft and sank through my nerves like the blood flowing through my veins. And for the first time, I was inspired by this young lad who was barely 13 years of age.

Without delay, I packed my baggage from the cubical and moved to the long corridor section of the hostel –this was where he resided. Then we became roommates, slept on the same bed and dined from the same plate. We walked together to the class, class to Masjid, Masjid to dining hall and dining hall to prep. We apparently spent more time together to love and care, share and learn, forgive and overlook. He helped me overcome my addiction to music by replacing songs with Nasheeds and through him I knew Yusuf Islam – Cats Stevens. We started reading Islamic books and sharing summarized reviews with each other.

I admired his poetry such that it enhanced my writing skill and my weekly article was consistent on the mosque notice board. One of the greatest challenges he gave me was when he said: ‘next week Insha’Allah we shall deliver a lecture at the Muslim students gathering so be prepared Abdulkabeer’. I said to myself, this guy must be kidding me. I did not see myself as a knowledgeable person and I feared the fact that I will be mocked and called an Ustadh by many who knew my background and may assume this as an act of derision. However, I prepared myself and delivered the speech with shaking hands in front of a dazzling crowd.

Mukhtar was of a humble personality, simple character, neat attire, easy going and never trouble making. He was a lover of peace and preacher of perseverance. He taught me patience through difficult times, act of seeking to understand before being understood and the love of your brother over yourself. I was gradually doing away with my bad habits viz negligence of Salat, shaking hands with girls, doing musicals and attending informal parties. There and then I understood the adage ‘show me your friend and I tell you who you are’.

I was gradually doing away with my bad habits viz negligence of Salat, shaking hands with girls, doing musicals and attending informal parties. There and then I understood the adage ‘show me your friend and I tell you who you are’.

My quest for knowledge continued while striving to attain academic excellence along with spiritual strength. I memorized more verses of the Qur’an and learnt several Ahadeeth in order to broaden my scope ahead for public presentations; for verily students must ask questions. I was gradually improving academically, spiritually, morally, intellectually and even physically. We became active members and volunteers for the Muslim Students’ Society through the pen and mouth. Our Dawah activities intensified, creating a platform –Islamic Youth Awareness Forum [IYAF] – through which young Muslim students were tutored and tailored towards a sound creed, intellectualism and Islamic propagation.

The good side of this story is that the legacy still lives in that school ten years after we have left. I recently met an old student who finished in 2011 and narrated to me the success stories and meaningful impacts IYAF has made in the life of young Muslims in Northern Nigeria. This was with the help of Allah who guided Mukhtar – and some of his friends – to start that meaningful project in the year 2001.

Alhamdulillah! Today, I am a better me who aspires for tomorrow to be the best when I meet my Lord; I hope He is pleased with me and I am forgiven. I have had it rough and tough, however my understanding of the Deen has always been a light in the dark, a guide when I am lost and a torch-bearer leading me to felicity.