Dunya Versus Akhirah – Who’s the Winner?

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In the story of the blind men and the elephant, each of them was touching different features of the animal and had a different description for what an elephant looked like. Similarly, we humans may have various perceptions about life, based on our knowledge and experiences. However, our knowledge is too limited to grasp the entire concept of life. Our only source for knowing the ultimate truth is the revelation sent by our All-Knowing Creator (swt).

In the Quran, Allah (swt) has repeatedly reminded us about the true nature of this world and the next, so that we may live and act accordingly. Allah (swt) describes the life of this world as ‘deceiving enjoyment’, ‘fleeting pleasure’, ‘play and amusement’, and ‘temporary abode’. Whereas the hereafter is ‘better, eternal, and lasting’.

Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran: “Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” (Al-Hadeed 57:20)

He says in another Ayah: “…Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the hereafter.” (At-Tawbah 9:38)

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A Rich Muslim’s Dunya


In the world of great economic recession and thriving business fields, wealth is a topic that has aggravated the son of Adam with immense force. While many individuals are anxious about earning livelihood and supporting their families, there is also a group of people who have no clue how to spend the wealth they have been blessed with. This ironic contrast can be evened out by the Islamic values, if followed appropriately – the two sides could draw closer, enriching the society with peace and brotherhood envisioned by the Prophet (sa). Moreover, the Quran has repeatedly asked the believers to spend in the way of Allah (swt), because this worldly wealth is only temporary. Likewise, the Quran advises to gather those deeds which would assist us in hereafter.

“O you who believe! Spend of that which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Zalimun.” (Al-Baqarah 2:254)

Where and on Whom to Spend?

Many Muslims believe that paying Zakah lifts from them the responsibility for whatever goes on in the society. Zakah is indeed an obligatory act, but its payment does not expiate the liability off the rich elite because they possess the power to bring change – they should deal with the deprivation of the poor. Allah (swt) has also asked the believers to spend whatever is beyond their needs, as mentioned in the following verse:

“And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: That which is beyond your needs. Thus Allah makes clear to you His laws, in order that you may give thought.” (Al-Baqarah 2:219)

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The Mirage of More


This was her third nightmare in the past two weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, Farhat dreamt she was inside a tunnel – running in search of light. Finally, when she was able to see some light at the end of the tunnel, a train came out of nowhere and hit her.

Earlier last week, she dreamt she was drowning in a river. She tried hard to come to the surface, but to no avail. It was so frightening. Yet after waking up, she felt relieved it had been a dream.

Last night, she had another nightmare. She was in a desert with no sustenance, looking everywhere for water. After a long search in the scorching sun, her throat filled with thorns, she could see it. It was water indeed. “It will quench my thirst and give me life,” thought Farhat to herself. When she dragged herself to that natural pond, all she could see was sand. It was a mirage.

“What’s happening? Why am I seeing these nightmares? Something’s not alright,” she thought.

“Perhaps it’s because I was at a restaurant with my friend yesterday, enjoying their ‘all you can eat’ offer. All this eating probably caused an uneasy sleep,” she assumed. But her stomach was alright! And what about the previous dreams? She could think no more.

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If People Could See Hell for Only a Few Minutes

Photo credit: Aztlek / iWoman / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Aztlek / iWoman / CC BY-SA

Imagine for a moment that life in this world had stopped. What if all the billions of people in the world could stand still and look at life in Hell for a few minutes? All the people in the U.S. stock exchanges; those shedding the blood of the innocent in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Syria; those cramming money into safe deposit boxes in European banks; people holding meetings in huge centers of business; those striving to perfect their bodies in gyms; those betraying the people closest to them for a tiny advantage in this world; those refusing to look their own brothers in the face because of disputes over their inheritance; those who become caught up in the life of this world and forget the hereafter, and those who dedicate themselves to having a good time…

Have you ever wondered how these people looking at the life of Hell for just a few minutes would react? At that moment, those people would realize that there is an absolute end to the life of this world and that real life will in fact begin after death. The screen of heedlessness between the life of this world and the Hereafter will be lifted. And with death, people will see how hollow the life of this world is and how everything they so desired, all their money, possessions, husbands and wives, friends and careers will be left behind; everyone will suddenly fall silent, their hearts in their mouths. People eating will be unable to swallow, people speaking will be unable to finish what they are saying, people standing will have to sit down, people walking on the streets will fall down and people lying down will leap to their feet in excitement. Everyone, without exception, will see that there is no place in Hell for all the wealth, delights, luxury homes, yachts and everything else that people yearn for in this world.

“Whoever wishes for the quick-passing (transitory enjoyment of this world), We readily grant him what We will for whom We like. Then, afterwards, We have appointed for him Hell, he will burn therein disgraced and rejected ( far away from Allah’s (swt) Mercy).” (Al-Isra 17:18)

What about those people who turn their backs on their brothers for the sake of money, who strive throughout their lives to pile one fortune on top of another, and refuse to spend that money for God’s approval? And what about those who do not feed the hungry, who do not protect the orphaned, and who spend their wealth on foul things instead? Will they not realize when they see Hell that all their money is of no value at all?

Money is only valid in the life of this world; it is of no use in Hell, even if one was the richest person in the world. Position is of no use either, even if one was once the most important person in the world. Even the most powerful friends and relatives in this world are of no use there. God reveals in the Quran that when people see the torments of Hell, they would want to pay a ransom to avoid it.

Money is only valid in the life of this world; it is of no use in Hell, even if one was the richest person in the world.

“For those who answered their Lord’s Call is Al-Husna (i.e. Paradise). But those who answered not His Call (disbelieved in the Oneness of Allah and followed not His Messenger Muhammad (sa)), if they had all that is in the earth together with its like, they would offer it in order to save themselves (from the torment, it will be in vain). For them there will be the terrible reckoning. Their dwelling place will be Hell; – and worst indeed is that place for rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:18)

What about people fighting all across the world, those raining bombs down on the innocent, those ruthlessly driving wretched women and children from their homes, those spreading evil for the sake of land or oil or gold or diamonds, those who fall out because of self-interest and those who incite civil strife and then watch from a distance? When these people see that there is an end to this world and look at Hell for just a few minutes, will they still continue fighting and slaughtering? Of course not!

At the moment, as required by the test, there is an invisible screen between us and Paradise and Hell. It is such a heavy screen that nobody without faith, who does not know that this world ends in the Hereafter and who imagines that life consists solely of the life of this world can lift it for even a moment- that is why everything seems so important in this world for these people. Such people strive to claim their little share of this world at the expense of the eternal life of the Hereafter.

However, there is no such screen of heedlessness for the believer who turns to God with a sincere heart between the life of this world and the Hereafter. The believer has filled his heart with love and awe of God. He has dedicated his life to God.

The believer lives with deep faith during the life of this world, he knows that he is on the very shores of Paradise and Hell. That knowledge shapes his entire life.

“He says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa): Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Anam 6:162) and continues on that same straight path.

There is no need for him to see Hell with his own eyes to believe in it. He sees it with his heart, since he already believes in it. In living with a deep faith during the life of this world, he knows that he is on the very shores of Paradise and Hell. That knowledge shapes his entire life.

“Nay! You shall come to know! Again, Nay! You shall come to know!

Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge (the end result of piling up, you would not have occupied yourselves in worldly things) Verily, You shall see the blazing Fire (Hell)!

And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight! Then, on that Day, you shall be asked about the delight (you indulged in, in this world)!” (At-Takathur 102:3-8)

Hell happily swallows up the unbelievers, while the gates of Paradise will open wide for believers. Believers will then have an absolute and certain faith in the Hereafter without yet seeing it and they will receive the reward for their sincerity for all time. There is no greater reward for a servant, of course, than God’s approval and love. A life spent with awareness and faith and reason will be fixed for all time in Paradise.

“Their reward with their Lord is ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (Gardens of Eternity), underneath which rivers flow, they will abide therein forever, Allah Well-Pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.” (Al-Bayyinah 98:8)

Pearls of Peace: An Extract from Juzz 16 & 17

Surah Maryam

Surah Maryam talks about the birth of Prophet Isa (as). But there is another story that is equally meaningful. It is the incident of a few young strong men; who distanced themselves from the community, because of their deviant beliefs and self-invented forms of worship. In the exegesis, we read they were involved in idolatry and grave worshipping.

Prophet Ibrahim (as) and the idolatry

In Surah Maryam, we learn about Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) people who were engaged in idolatry, including his father. Prophet Ibrahim (as) was not pleased by what he saw in his community. Unconvinced by their need to bow before clay idols, carved by themselves; Ibrahim (as) asked his father, “When he said to his father: O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not and cannot avail you in anything?” (Maryam 19:42) He invited his father to follow a path that is straight, “O my father! Verily! There has come to me of knowledge that which came not unto you. So follow me. I will guide you to a Straight Path.” (Maryam 19:43)

Kind speech – the best way to preach!

It might come to some as a surprise that a son was correcting his father. Sometimes people younger than us are more knowledgeable or have a better understanding of a subject. We should be open to listening to the words of goodness; irrespective of speaker’s age, skin colour or worldly status. We also learn a Dawah tip from this story. Kind speech has been a repetitive reminder in the Quran. We should be mindful of our tone and words when we call people to Allah’s (swt) Deen. We need to soften their hearts, so that they may actually listen; and not repel them with our harshness or disrespect. Moreover, we should be prepared to expect a repulsive or rude behaviour from the other person. When that happens, we should not lose our temper. Recall the times Prophet (sa) endured abuse and hostility for Allah’s (swt) sake. If we are truly concerned about someone’s guidance, we should let go of their uncouth behaviour.

Do not stray away for the evil end awaits!  

This is not a small matter that can be pushed aside by arguments and justifications. Allah (swt) says, “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salat (the prayers) (i.e. made their Salat (prayers) to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed times, etc.) and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell.” (Maryam 19:59)

They have an evil end waiting for them because of their pursuing their desires. A person who is worried about his prayer will be protected from immoral behaviour. A person who is not worried about his prayer, how will he have a link with Allah (swt)? Let’s commit to being regular in our prayers. The outcome will be attaining closeness to Allah (swt), increased provision and peace. It will not happen all at once; but it will happen one day Insha’Allah. Allah (swt) says, “Verily, those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, the Most Beneficent (Allah) will bestow love for them (in the hearts of the believers)” (Maryam 19:96)

We learn through Hadeeth, when Allah (swt) loves a person; he calls out to Jibrael (as) and commands him to love the person as well. Thus, all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he will be granted the pleasures of the people on the earth (Bukhari, Muslim)

Make Dua to excel in religion

Sometimes we look at people who are better than us in religion and we feel a kind of anger in our heart. The anger is there due to our weak connection with Allah (swt). How can we get rid of it? It is possible by asking Allah (swt) to allow us to excel in religion just like them or even better. Make Dua for the people who inspire and remind you of Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) open up our hearts to goodness. Ameen.

How often has it happened that our best friend calls and we catch up with them, as if we have been separated for twenty years? In reality, it could be that we spoke to them only yesterday or a few hours ago. For how long does this phone call continue? It would be hard to find a person who hangs up in ten minutes. If that happens, then we are certainly not close enough. Now, let’s look at our prayer. For how long do we remain seated at our prayer mat after the prayer is over? Most people jump off the moment they do Tasleem. What does this tell us about our relationship with Allah (swt)? It requires no further explanation.

Moosa (as) honoured by his Lord!

When Moosa (as) was called in the valley of Tuwa by Allah (swt) and informed that he had been chosen as the Prophet of Allah (swt) and there went on a brief interview. Allah (swt) asks Moosa (as) about his staff, in reply Moosa (as) did not give a one word answer. Then he went on describing his staff and stated the different purposes he used it for. He said: “He said: This is my stick, whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep, and wherein I find other uses.” (Ta-Ha 20:18)

Did he not know the Lord who is addressing him from up above can see and know more about his staff than himself? But he cherished this meeting so much that he could not contain his excitement. He wanted to extend this meeting, so he went on talking. This Ramadan, let us commit to correct ourselves and give our utmost attention and respect to Allah (swt). Let’s take out time to speak with Him in Sujood, in Dua, at Suhoor and Iftar times; and whenever and wherever we can steal a moment of privacy.

A gentle approach to Dawah

When it comes to correcting people, we often admonish them in such a way that they would not want to see our face again. Allah (swt) picks up His best man to invite the worst man towards the right path.

With what instruction did Allah (swt) send Moosa (as)? He said, “And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah.” (Ta-Ha 20:44) This was Pharaoh he was being sent to and the instruction was “speak gently”. Let us reflect on our interpersonal skills and be kind to one another for the sake of Allah (swt). Use encouraging words to bring them closer to Allah (swt). Do not rebuke them; lest we widen the gap. Our job is only to take the message to them. We are not Hakim (ruler) over them, for Allah (swt) says, “But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Quran nor acts on its orders etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship.” (Ta-Ha 20:124)

Is turning away from Allah (swt) the right decision?

People tend to turn away from Allah (swt) because they are distracted by the material things around them. Therefore, Allah (swt) warns us, “And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them (polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah), the splendour of the life of this world that We may test them thereby. But the provision (good reward in the Hereafter) of your Lord is better and more lasting.” (Ta-Ha 20:131) Material wealth of this world will remain in this world. Let us not make it a source of our ingratitude towards Allah (swt). Let us apply the wise principle that our Prophet (sa) taught us. In terms of material wealth look at those below you; and when it comes to good deeds and religious status, look at those who are way ahead of you. May Allah (swt) allow us to keep our perspective right. Ameen.

Surah Al-Anbiya

It is ironical that the place where we do not have to live forever, we are concerned about it as if it is the only life we have. And the Hereafter, which is eternal and lasting, is to our least concern. Allah (swt) reminds us, “Draws near for mankind their reckoning, while they turn away in heedlessness. Comes not unto them an admonition (a chapter of the Quran) from their Lord as a recent revelation but they listen to it while they play.” (Al-Anbiya 21:1-2)

Are we living in oblivion?

Our death and resurrection should keep us worried; especially when engaging in something that we shouldn’t be doing. When the soul urges us to do wrong, we must ask ourselves: what if I die right now? How will I face Allah (swt)? In what condition will I be resurrected?

Strive for an honourable life and death

Some years ago, there was news of college girls dying in a stampede in a concert. I was haunted by the thought that in what condition their souls would be recollected? May Allah (swt) bless us all with an honourable life and death. May we die in the state of prostration. Ameen. To be honoured with such a death, we need to become the kind of people who say, “We heard and we obey,” and not of those who say, “We have heard but we are not going to obey.” Because we will be questioned about our time spent on this earth, as Allah (swt) says, “He cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they will be questioned.” (Al-Anbiya 21:23)

Life here vs. life in the hereafter

Let us prepare for the questioning of the Hereafter as we prepare for our worldly exams. Let us strive to be among the high achievers as we do for worldly positions. Allah (swt) tells us that our deeds will be weighed, and when that happens where would we stand? “And We shall set up balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We as Reckoners.” (Al-Anbiya 21:47)

There is glad tiding for him whose good deeds outnumber the bad ones. An easy way to raise our scales is to get busy in glorifying and praising Allah (swt) with words such as SubhanAllahi wabihamdihi SubhanAllahil Adheem.

Remember Allah (swt) and He will remember you!

We have learnt in Surah Al-Baqarah that when we remember Allah (swt) with our Dhikr, He too remembers us. Allah (swt) takes care of His righteous servants, no matter what people plot against them. When Prophet Ibrahim (as) spoke against the idols, the community advised his father to burn him. They said, “They said: Burn him and help your gods, if you will be doing.” (Al-Anbiya 21:68)

Little did they know that Allah (swt) is the Creator of fire. Allah (swt) said, We (Allah) said: O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibrahim (Abraham)! And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers.” (Al-Anbiya 21:69-70) When man surrenders to Allah (swt), Allah (swt) helps him miraculously. We see this in the example of other messengers as well. They surrendered before Allah (swt), cried out only before Him, and sought help from Him alone. Allah (swt) helped them all and took them out of distress, at His decided time. Let us not be hasty with our prayers and have strong hope in Allah (swt) alone.

Learn to make an eloquent Dua

Sometimes when we want something, we are unable to articulate our words properly. It is a mercy of Allah (swt) that through His prophets He taught us the words to make Dua to Him. In Surah Al-Anbiya, we learn the Dua of Prophet Yunus (as), “But he cried through the darkness (saying): La ilaha illa Anta (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah)), Glorified (and Exalted) are You (above all that (evil) they associate with You.) Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers.” (Al-Anbiya 21:87)

Look at how he makes the Dua, he first praises Allah (swt) and then acknowledges his mistake. In the narrations it has been said, when the angels heard this Dua, they pleaded his case in the court of Allah (swt) because they would often hear him being engaged in Dhikr. Such is the power of Dhikr. What chances do we have that if a whale swallows us up, we will come out alive? Have we attained that special status with Allah (swt) where He will save us miraculously?

Talking about miracles, Prophet Zakariya (as) was blessed with an offspring despite his old age and his wife’s barrenness. Indeed, for Allah (swt) nothing is impossible.

Prostrate – be the closest to Allah (swt)!

It is said that one can get closest to Allah (swt) when in prostration. The entire creation in the heavens and the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and believers prostrate to Allah (swt), as we learn in Surah Al-Hajj. When we choose to neglect our prayers, it is not that Allah (swt) is in need of our prostration. There are billion other creatures that prostrate to Him and win a special status near Him. At the end it is our loss. Allah (swt) says, “Every time they seek to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be driven back therein, and (it will be) said to them: Taste the torment of burning!” (Al-Hajj 22:74)

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

Key to Productivity: Bowing to the Will of Allah (swt)

dawnIn the life of this world, we have countless matters and desires to deal with. When we believe in one God, we have this faith that whatever good or bad happens to me (us) is from Allah (swt). No human being or any other creature on this earth has the right or power to benefit me or harm me. This is the crystal clear Islamic belief, find and accept it straight.

When most of us start practicing, we focus more on ‘apparently bright sides’ and forget the ‘apparently dark sides’ of believing and surrendering to the will of Allah (swt).

Now empathize with these situations:

  • What if you are a Muslim who prays five times a day, who does Dawah and other virtuous activities; but Allah (swt) makes your son die, who was born after twelve years of marriage? Imagine your son was almost one year old and he just started playing with you well.
  • What if you are extremely ugly in the eyes of people? You do not meet the criteria of world beauty. Your body is fat, complexion is black and height is extra-large; hence you are labeled ‘ugly’. But do you still believe in God and His love for you, is that the case?
  • What if your age is perfect for marriage and everyone in your circle who is getting married makes you feel low, that you are deprived and a loser. Deep down in your heart, you are struggling to maintain chastity and wondering, ‘what is the will of Allah (swt)?’ Isn’t it the right time for the acceptance of all your Duas?
  • What about the little sinless children who die in disasters like earthquakes, wars, floods etc. Hearts ache and eyes weep on all this, but a Muslim surrenders to the will of Allah (swt), right? Ya Salam!
  • When everyone else is having a good time with their parents, enjoying being pampered by their parents’ love and affection, but you, just at the age of fifteen, are burying your father.

Will of God? Good for You?

What does Allah (swt) want? Your heart shrieks, eyes weep and brain questions. Do people make you feel extremely low? Do they make you feel deprived and less-privileged with zero self-respect?

Why is it so:

  • that Allah (swt) loves His Prophet Muhammad (sa) but He made his parents die, when he was too young?
  • That Allah (swt) gave beauty to Hazrat Yusuf (as), but he was put into problems by women because of the same beauty? Hazrat Yusuf (as) was a handsome prophet, but was ruthlessly troubled by his brothers and women and had to spend time in prison? Why did Allah (swt) make him go through so much?

Oh dear people, who are entering into Islam and who have started practicing it – make sure that you train your body and mind for both sides. Wake up from dreams and fantasies that our whims and desires will be accepted because we are the best people on earth.

Yes! You’re the best but Allah’s (swt) will is the wisest.

Hazrat Yusuf (as) was a handsome prophet, but was ruthlessly troubled by his brothers and women and had to spend time in prison? Why did Allah (swt) make him go through so much?

“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Seer.” (Ash-Shuara 42:11)

We cannot compare Allah (swt) with any of His creations. He (swt) is beyond comparison and most of us cannot comprehend the wisdom behind matters.

In the story of Musa (as) and Khidr in Surah Al-Kahf, we get to know that the child was killed, because his life would have proven to be a Fitnah for his parents.

What if your child, whom you are crying for, would have deviated you from the path of Allah (swt) and let you die as Kafir? We just surrender before the decree of Allah (swt) because we know that all this is happening for best!

Allah (swt) has not over-pressurized us. He knows we are weak, which is why we are allowed to grieve for three days and nights for those who die.

Hadeeth states: Once Hazrat Sa’d Bin Ubadah became ill, and the Prophet (sa) went to see him; he was moved to tears on seeing the pitiful situation of his companion and said: “Allah (swt) does not punish because of tears, nor because of grief, but he punishes because of this” – and he pointed to his tongue. (Bukhari)

“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.” (Az-Zumar 39:10)

We need to believe that life lies ahead of this Dunya!

Read out loud: life lies ahead of this Dunya!

What did I say? Life lies ahead of this Dunya!

Ultimate success lies in surrendering your spirits and drives to the will of Allah (swt) as per basic Islamic Aqeedah. The everlasting life will come after we die where we will find reward for all our patience and result of trials. This world is but a temporary abode.

As a Muslim, we need to be mature and help our fellow Muslims to stay grateful and calm. One easy way is to not show-off the blessings you have; so that those whom Allah (swt) has not given those things, will not feel bad and stay grateful.

This world is a deception – tests and trials are a reminder for good

Moreover, have this clear in your mind that afflictions are not a sign that you are a loser or Allah (swt) wants to do bad with you! No, Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard (for the Cause of Allah) and the patient ones, and We shall test your facts (i.e. the one who is a liar, and the one who is truthful).” (Muhammad 47: 31)

Ultimate success lies in surrendering your spirits and drives to the will of Allah (swt) as per basic Islamic Aqeedah. The everlasting life will come after we die where we will find reward for all our patience and result of trials.

Sheikh As-Sadi (ra) said: “That is don’t extend your eyes out of amazement and don’t keep looking out of approval at what people are enjoying of worldly gains- such as tasty food and drink and fancy clothing and adorned homes and beautified women; for all that is from the splendor of worldly life which the souls of deceived ones rejoice over, and which the eyes of the negligent are amazed, and which the wrongdoers enjoy – without thinking of the hereafter. Then it all passes by quickly and disappears and kills those who love and adore it; and they regret at a time when regret is of no benefit. Then when come forward at the time of Resurrection, they will know what they were upon and that Allah (swt) had only placed it as a trial and test, to see who would be deceived by it as opposed to who would be better in deed as the Exalted says (what means):

“Verily! We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds. (i.e. those who do good deeds in the most perfect manner, that means to do them (deeds) totally for Allah’s (swt) sake and in accordance to the legal ways of the Prophet (sa))” (Al-Kahf 18:7)

Article based on: http://islamqa.info/en/178673 and http://islamqa.info/en/71236

Come back to where you belong!

3cloud_heartIt is beautiful. A glimpse of what Jannah may look like. Just a glimpse! First, the allure of Dunya captures your mind and then slowly your heart. Makes you believe in its beauty, the exuberance, and makes you believe that this is the moment, this is what’s going to stay with you, forever. The way it draws your attention, the way it makes you fall for it, and the way it falsifies each and every bit of its being, is surprisingly impressive.

Blind-folded by the illusion of love

So it captures your heart. And now your heart belongs to it. Whatever you think, perceive and do is in line with how this Dunya and the people in it are going to take it. So while you’re dressing up for an event, you’re looking in the mirror through their eyes. When you’re at the event, you make sure that each and every act of yours doesn’t ruin your image that you look good, beautiful and stunning. So maybe you can beat it with everything you have. But who beats its trumpery and the façade it owns? It knows how to make you believe in it after all.

Dunya owns your heart

Why is your heart’s sulking? Because this Dunya owns your mind and depletes your self-control. As if your self has been stolen from you. As if you don’t belong to yourself anymore. But were you created for this Dunya? You forget that you were not created for this Dunya. You were sent down here for a purpose, but you don’t belong here! It’s a journey back home. Yet, you cling to this place, which was meant to be a mere journey. The feeling of scarcity eats you from within, and you want to escape. But you forget that scarcity produces more scarcity. And it creates its own trap.

Dunya is a deceptive truth

It’s right there; but it’s just a deception, a dream. But the harsh reality is that you believe in the dream, while your eyes closed. You can’t seem to believe that one day you’re going to open your eyes and this dream would be over. And you’ll open your eyes when your deeds will be weighed.

“And We shall set up balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We as Reckoners.” (Al-Anbiya 21:47)

No soul in this Dunya will get help. You tried to please people, yet they’re not even going to recognize you. You tried to convince them, yet they won’t be able to convince The Master. If only you could try convincing your Master and not the slaves!

Break the shackles! Tear your heart! And take out whatever has bruised your heart! Come back to where you belong. And seek what’s going to heal and fill that hole in your heart, in its true sense. Fill your heart with the love of your Merciful Creator, Allah (swt).

Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Ali’ Imran

pearlIn this Surah we learn a powerful Dua that is a source of our peace, “(They say): “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.”(Al-Imran 3:8)

After you have been guided, don’t return to your old state. People start offering five daily prayers, and then suddenly drop down to four, then three, to eventually abandoning it. People have been modestly dressed for years but due to peer pressure or Shaytan’s whisperings they abandon the good dress for immodest clothing. Don’t regress. Move forward and earn the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Who can earn Allah’s (swt) pleasure?

As we are talking about earning the pleasure of Allah (swt), let’s learn about the ones who can earn it. Allah (swt) says, “(They are) those who are patient ones, those who are true (in Faith, words, and deeds), and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allah. Those who spend (give the Zakat and alms in the Way of Allah) and those who pray and beg Allah’s Pardon in the last hours of the night.” (Al-Imran 3:17) These are the ones who will attain Paradise – the home of eternal peace and contentment. May Allah (swt) make us amongst them. Ameen.

The honour lies with whom?

People search for honour and dignity through various means. Some earn it through their academic accolades and others through their financial status. Honour and dignity is in the Hands of Allah (swt). “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): “O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things..” (Al-Imran 3:26).

You want honour? Ask Allah (swt), Al-Muiz. When Allah (swt) honours people with respect and dignity; they sometimes become arrogant. Remember if He has given you He can snatch it away at any time. Have little earned from honest living and be content with that. Don’t cheat or look down upon others.

Love Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa)

The discussion then changes to an important matter. We all claim our love for Allah (swt) but how many of us actually fulfill the conditions of this love? Allah (swt) says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa) to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”” (Al-Imran 3:31)

Loving Allah (swt) is one thing but when Allah (swt) loves a person, do you think that person will ever lose contentment? How does one know if Allah (swt) loves me or not? The sign of Allah’s (swt) love is, when one follows the footsteps of His Messenger (sa). May Allah (swt) grant us His love, and may we be among those who are resurrected with Muhammad (sa). Ameen.

Acceptance of Dua – based on strong faith in Allah (swt) and His will

Story of prophet Zakariya (as)

A beautiful incident is narrated from which many people derive comfort. People are married for years without children, and this is the Will of Allah (swt). May He make matters easier for them. Ameen. Allah (swt) mentions the story of Prophet Zakariya (as). Prophet Zakariya (as) and his wife were really old and they didn’t have any children. He was assigned the care of Maryam (as). “So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariya (Zachariya). Every time he entered Al-Mihrab to (visit) her , he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: “O Maryam (Mary)! From where have you got this?” She said, “This is from Allah.” Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.” (Al-Imran 3:37)

Witnessing this miracle before his eyes, prophet Zakariya (as) got encouragement to ask Allah (swt) for a child. If He can provide Maryam (as) with off season fruits, then He can certainly provide him with a child.

The hopeful Dua of Zakariya (as)

“At that time Zakariya (Zachariya) invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.”” (Al-Imran 3:38)

Moral of the story

This teaches us an important lesson that is whenever you see the Qudra (power) of Allah (swt), make Due for yourself. That is a time of acceptance of Dua. The next time you see someone bestowed by Allah (swt) or when you look at the mountains, the trees, the fruits and the sea; don’t forget to make Dua for whatever tiniest issue you have. Allah’s (swt) majestic creation should strengthen our Iman in Him.

Build relationships with true promises

One cause of lacking peace in our lives is over committing or not fulfilling our covenants. We fail to honour our contracts and commitments and that results in a great disaster. We risk our reputation and lose crucial relationships. When you promise something then deliver it. If you cannot deliver it do not promise.

Now emphasis is on keeping the promises, Allah (swt) says, “Verily, those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah’s Covenant and their oaths, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter (Paradise). Neither will Allah speak to them, nor look at them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful torment.” (Al-Imran 3:77) Be as truthful and sincere as you can be in honoring the covenant of Allah (swt). We don’t wish to be among those with whom He will neither speak  nor look at them.

Break-free from the love of the material world

What happens when your child drops your S4 and the screen breaks? Does all hell break loose over a cell phone? How do you react when your maid burns your brand new dress while ironing it? Many people beat their children and servants over a small mistake to the point that it results in their death. Allah (swt) instructs us not to attach ourselves to the material possessions of this world.

He says, “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc., it means here Allah’s Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well.” (Al-Imran 3:92)

Your spirituality is your wealth

If your wealth is affecting your spirituality, then share it with those who don’t have it. Your heart will be at peace and make you humble. If our wealth is making us haughty and egotistical, then certainly it’s not worth it. The only time we should be really proud of ourselves is when in the Hereafter, we are handed our book in the right hand and we are given the glad tiding of Jannah. May Allah (swt) make us of those who are pleased with Him and He is pleased with them. Ameen.

Ready for the inevitable?

The various reminders of death in the Quran tell us that we need to be prepared for death at all times. Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:102).

How does one prepare for death? By submitting to Allah (swt); submitting to whatever He has commanded us to do and whatever He has commanded us to abstain from.

Being compassionate is our Deen

Allah (swt) says, “You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf (i.e. all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:110).

This means a believer is not selfish. He is not just concerned about his Hereafter but also encourages others to do good and stops them from committing wrong. Similarly, a believer does not make fun of someone who is going through a trial; it is a trait of an enemy to laugh at someone’s misery.

Allah (swt) says, “If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqun, not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do.,” (Al-Imran 3:120).

Here vs. Hereafter

Why do you want to risk your Akhirah over a temporary situation of this world? If a person is going through distress, we don’t say, “He deserved it.” Why if Allah (swt) makes that happen to us? A believer lives between the state of fear and hope at all times. He is neither too content with his life nor negligent. He certainly isn’t jealous of others. He knows if Allah (swt) can provide a fellow human being with something then He can certainly provide him as well.

May Allah (swt) humble our hearts and not make this world the main focus of our lives. May we be more worried about the Hereafter then the petty issues of this world. May Allah (swt) grant us peace. Ameen.

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


My Ramadan Inspiration

ramadanWe have been given a concept of living ‘in moderation’ by the west. Little Deen, little Dunya and it is readily accepted by our modern day generation.

We live in a house which we find the best. We need a job that is secure and the best. For our children’s education, there is no compromise; they should be in the best school. And which parents would love their children to score low. Hence, for Dunya we aspire for everything of best quality. Even the tiles of our kitchen and bathroom are chosen with great care and should be the best. Our Deen, our way of life, the aspect which would decide our Akhirah, the foundation stones of Jannah should it be substandard and should we be happy with it. Allah (swt) has said in the Quran that He has made man for worshipping Him. Allah (swt) also has promised that He will guide those striving on His path, whether male or female and reward them with a life of bliss.

In other words, these are the ones who will be contented in Dunya and will not participate in the rat race towards Dunya and money. But they run to Allah (swt); run to revive Deen; run for the wellbeing of others; run to make others happy… Allah (swt) has bestowed us with Ramadan to practice all these deeds and be firm on them.

In Ramadan, we think more about our food than about the Sahabas, who tied stones to their bellies for spreading the Deen. We are worried about our rest more than the world, which is deprived of the pearls of Deen. We are worried more about clothes for the Eid than about our lowly deeds. We cry under our pillows when we are in trials, but forget to weep over our sins, which are the main reason for them.

So let’s begin from today and keep involuntary fasts, include supererogatory Ibadah, immerse in Dhikr because Allah (swt) says, “Fazkurullaha Dhikr an Kaseera”- Do my Dhikr abundantly, repent with remorse not just to wash off your sins; but make a sincere promise to Allah (swt) to lead a life of Taqwa , piety and sincerity. May Allah (swt) guide us all and keep us guided till our last breath. Ameen

Life of this world Vs Life Hereafter

holidayI couldn’t believe that the most awaited month of the year was finally here. Last November, when Moazzam, my husband, had first mentioned the idea on our anniversary, I was ecstatic. A trip to Europe? It was like a dream come true! Thus, began the process of planning and internet surfing. Moazzam didn’t want to use a travel agent’s service. We wanted to do it all by ourselves, our way!

“Hayya  Alas-Salah, Hayya Allal-Falah”, called the Moazzin from a nearby mosque, through a loud speaker.

My index finger scrolled down on the mouse of the laptop as my eyes scanned one holiday picture after another. The travel websites had loads of information and amazing pictures of the various European destinations with abundant mesmerizing scenic views. The clock was ticking by. Twenty minutes had passed since Adhan, the call for prayer and I was still glued to my laptop. I glanced out of my bedroom window. With the twilight fading, a flock of chirping birds were returning home.

We would love to get our few days’ hotel stay upgraded from twin sharing to suite deluxe but what about securing an upgrade in Jannah?

“It’s time for Maghrib prayer”, spoke Moazzam softly as he entered the bedroom. The cap on his head depicted that he had just returned from the mosque.

“Just a minute!” I replied. My eyes were still focused on the laptop’s screen while I Googled through various holiday packages. I wanted to make sure that we don’t miss out on Disney land during this trip (my five-year-old’s greatest wish) as well as England (to meet my cousin). So we were planning to explore five countries in all, within twenty days, namely Spain, England, France, Switzerland and Germany.

“Euro Rail might be a good option,” I thought. It would save us loads. “But how will we keep our two naughty tots busy at long stretches of 8 and 9 hours?” I wondered. “Perhaps I should search the web for assistance”.

We look for the best, because we simply want the best. Then how can we be so lame when it comes to saving for our eternal life, which is the ultimate holiday, the eternal one?

So I typed on the Google search bar “How to keep toddlers busy during a long journey”. A list of helpful sites appeared on the screen.  Most of the links belonged to websites on mommyhood and family-raising. I copied the links to read later in my free time. Then I moved on to hotels. The hotel booking engine exhibited a list of amazing and luxurious hotels with views to simply die for. Our budget allowed stay in three star hotels, but the photographs and added facilities of four star hotels were much more enticing.

“Holidays can be much more fun if we find some discounted packages of Four-star hotels or perhaps, get the rooms upgraded in the same budget”, I wondered, as I explored the front view of a renowned hotel in Spain.

Suddenly, an advertisement popped up on my screen out of nowhere. It read:

“Comfortable reclining seats and four course meals, now available in economy.” The advertisement showed a happy kid sitting with his dad in an airplane watching a cartoon movie, while his dad relaxed on a spacious reclined seat. Spread before the child, on the table was a scrumptious four meal course along with a free gift from the airline.

Our tickets had yet to be booked, but the airlines had already been chosen. Thanks to e-booking, my hubby had discovered the flights offering lower rates and holiday packages. We planned to fly via four different airlines. He wanted it to be a memorable vacation, something to savour in our old age, and I absolutely agreed to that.

Darkness had gradually begun to transcend on everything. The laptop’s black alphabet keys had started to blur, as sun rays bid their final farewell.  I frowned, while moving closer to the keyboard. “I should better start saving for MacBook”, feeling the need of a backlit keyboard, an image on the screen caught my attention. I glared at it closely. The serene beauty of a white sandy beach outlining a Turquoise Sea seemed so soothing, so heavenly… “Wait a minute; did I say “heavenly”?”

And then, it hit me. Hit me real hard! What was I doing? My prayer mat still lay folded on the room’s corner table, untouched. But I was so engrossed in planning the perfect family getaway that I forgot to say my prayers. I was spending hours and hours surfing the net, planning, and going crazy but over what? Just to grab deals to maximize the holiday experience, which would all be over within twenty days? What about the eternal holiday destination after death, which will be our final destination, solely depending upon our deeds and intentions? As emphasized in the Noble Quran:

 “…Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter” (Al-Tawbah 9:38)

Sadly, the Muslims of today are least bothered about it. We would love to have a first class ticket to travel for a couple of hours, but what about the entry ticket to heaven? We would love to get our few days’ hotel stay upgraded from twin sharing to suite deluxe but what about securing an upgrade in Jannah? Who wouldn’t prefer a royal suite of a seven star to a regular twin of a one star hotel? Don’t we all desire a royal treatment in Jannah for eternity? As Muslims, we know that there are no bounds to Allah’s (swt) blessings for His obedient believers. We cannot fathom the love of Allah (swt) the exalted, nor imagine the bounties that He has in store in Jannah for His believers. And yet we run after our worldly desires, worldly possessions, forgetting that what Allah(swt) has in store in Jannah, has no comparison even to the best in this world.

The Prophet (sa) said: “The life of this world, compared to the hereafter, is as if one of you were to put his finger in the ocean and take it out again. Then, compare the water that remains on his finger to the water that remains in the ocean.” (Muslim)

Narrated by Jabir (ra), once the Messenger of Allah (swt) went through a market and came across the dead body of a deformed sheep. He took it by its ear and asked: “Which of you would like to have this for a Dirham?” Sahabah (rta) replied: “We would not like to have it for anything. What would we do with it?” He said: “Would you like to have it?” They said: “By Allah (swt), even if it was alive, it would be defective, since it is deformed, and now it is dead.” He said: “By Allah (swt), this world has less value with Allah (swt) than this has with you.” (Muslim)

Did we ever realize how much time and energy we spend in designing our houses and furnishing them? We look for the best, because we simply want the best. Then how can we be so lame when it comes to saving for our eternal life, which is the ultimate holiday, the eternal one?

May Allah (swt) enable us to enjoy the ultimate “holiday” experience in Jannah. Ameen!