The Day of Arafah

Arafah

Every day in Islam is important. But Allah (swt) has favoured some years, days and months over others. One such day is the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, the Day of Arafah, on which the central rite of Hajj is carried out. On this day, all the pilgrims gather in one place, regardless of their colour, status and nationality, submitting to the commandment of Allah (swt). The blessings of this day are not limited to those who go for Hajj – everyone can benefit from them.

Two major historical events took place on the Day of Arafah.

In 9 AH, the Prophet (sa) performed his first and only Hajj. When he reached the valley of Arafah, Allah (swt) revealed to him that He has completed his religion. It is reported from Umar (rtam) that a Jewish man said to him: “O Ameer al-Mumineen, there is a verse in your Book, which you recite; if it had come to us, the Jews, we would have taken that day as an Eid (festival).” Umar (rtam) asked: “Which verse?” He replied: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Maidah 5:3) Umar (rtam) said: “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (sa). It was when he was standing in Arafah on a Friday.” (Bukhari and Muslim) All praise is for our Lord, Who has chosen for us a religion, which is perfect.

The second glorious event took place on the Day of Arafah way before we were even born. Allah (swt) with His immense capability brought the entire humanity to life and spoke to us. It is reported that Ibn Abbas (rtam) said: The Prophet (sa) said: “Allah (swt) took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’man, i.e., Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, and then He addressed them: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes! We testify,’ lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers afortime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Batil (i.e. polytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allah)?’ (Al-Araf 7:172-173).” (Ahmad)

We testified that Allah (swt) is our true Lord, before we came into this world. We have already been programmed to believe in Allah (swt). This is why in times of hardship we call on only one God. We call it Fitrah – pure nature. Everyone is born upon Fitrah, and it reminds us of the oath we took in front of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has given us Fitrah, in order for us to distinguish truth from falsehood, so that we may be guided. Since our Fitrah can change according to our social environment, Allah (swt) has given us other tools, which can help us adhere to the Straight Path.

These tools given to us by Allah include the Shariah – the Quran and the Sunnah – for enlightening our life and guiding us to Paradise. Thus, the people on the Straight Path get the best of this world and the Hereafter  – they are Arafallah, i.e., they recognize Allah (swt) and the oath they took.

The Day of Arafah is the day to renew our oath and repent to Allah (swt). According to a Hadeeth, Satan feels more belittled, humiliated and angry on the Day of Arafah than he does on any other day. (Malik) The reason for this is that on this day, Allah (swt) forgives all those who repent and renew their oath. The best Dua to recite on this day is:

لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“None has the right to be worshipped but Allah (swt) alone, He has no partner, His is the dominion and His is the praise and He is able to do all things.”

It is the day of forgiveness of sins and the day of freedom from Hellfire. Aisha (rtaf) has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “There is no day, on which Allah (swt) frees more people from the fire, than the Day of Arafah.” (Muslim)

In addition to this, fasting on the Day of Arafah is a Sunnah and expiates sins. When the Messenger of Allah (sa) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah, he said: “It expiates the sins of the previous year and that of the following year.” (Muslim) However, fasting on the Day of Arafah is recommended only for non-pilgrims, because it was not the practice of Allah’s Messenger (sa) to fast on the Day of Arafah during Hajj.

On the Day of Arafah, Allah (swt) is close to the believers. According to a Hadeeth, Allah (swt) draws close, and then He happily says to the angels: “What do these people seek?” (Muslim) And Allah (swt) forgives all of them.

It is also the day, which reminds us of the greatest gathering on the Day of Judgement, when the entire humanity shall stand in front of their Creator. In order to succeed on that day, follow your Fitrah and hasten to do good deeds by channelizing your intellect and desires towards the path illuminated by the Shariah.

What’s after Arafah?

On the Day of Arafah, people stand and prostrate before Allah (swt), invoking and supplicating only to Him, as there is no god, who deserves to be worshipped, except Him. They do not want the sun to set, because they want to make the most of these valuable hours. They feel close to Allah (swt), and their hearts fill with peace and contentment.

When the sun sets on this humbling day, the faces of these people glow with happiness and joy, due to the mercy and bounties of Allah (swt). It is stated in the Quran: “Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.” (Yunus 10:58)

They are happy because Allah (swt) responds to their call. They rejoice, because He forgives their sins and takes away sadness from their lives. They feel blessed, because Allah (swt) descends and comes close to the people of Arafah and talks of their magnificence in front of the angels.

After Arafah, the pilgrims head towards Muzdalifah. It is a place between Mina and Arafah.

The word Muzdalifah is derived from Zulfah, which means ‘being near and close’. The people feel very close to Allah (swt), as they are His guests. They are required to stay overnight at Muzdalifah, and even their sleeping is considered to be an act of Ibadah. Such is the reward of total submission to Allah (swt).

Then, the pilgrims pray fajr and set out for Mina before the sun rises.

These are basic rites of Hajj – each one has a meaning for both the pilgrims and the rest of the believers. Whoever magnifies and honours these rites by performing and perfecting them, in turn magnifies Allah (swt).

As mentioned earlier, the Day of Arafah is like the Day of Judgement – a stressful and critical time, when the doer of good will be waiting for the reward, and the doer of evil will be waiting for the punishment. Everyone will want to hear the good news from the angels that they have been purified and will blissfully dwell in Paradise forever, but the ones worthy of receiving this honour will be the Muttaqeen (possessors of Taqwa).

The day after Arafah, which is the day of eid, resembles the happiness and excitement of the people, who will enter paradise. It is the day of eating and drinking, and of joy and happiness. And this very celebration is an act of worship, because it a command from Allah (swt). He will tell the people entering Paradise: “Eat and drink at ease for that, which you have sent on before you in days past.” (Al-Haqqah 69:24)

It is the day, when we offer sacrifice for the sake of Allah (swt), which brings us closer to Him. Allah (swt) does not need our sacrifice, but He accepts it, appreciates it and gives us the best reward.

It is also the day of remembrance of our Lord – we should celebrate it by increasing the Dhikr of Allah (swt).

The purpose of Eid is to express our gratitude to Allah (swt), and to glorify and thank Him for all His blessings. It is a celebration for those, who strove to do the best, because Allah (swt) will reward them with the very best.

Following are some Sunnah practices to be performed on the day of Eid:

  • Say Takbeer whenever possible. The most common form of Takbeer is: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illalahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Walil-lahil Hamd.” (“Allah is the Greatest; Allah is the Greatest; there is no one worthy of worship except Allah; Allah is the Greatest and to Allah belongs all Praise.”)
  • Continue to recite the Takbeer three days after eid.
  • Adorn for the occasion (ladies in their homes only).
  • Pray Eid Salah; walk to the Masjid if nearby.
  • Take one route to the Masjid and take a different route back.
  • Offer sacrifice.

Following acts should not be done:

  • Fasting on the day of Eid.
  • Making up the missed prayer of Eid.
  • Offering Eid prayer at home.

All of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are very important. Try to engage in acts of worship to the best of your ability and continue to do so even after the ten days are over. This is what Allah (swt) requires from all of us.

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives (Part 8)

22“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqun (pious)]. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Al-Hujurat 48:13)

In Ayah 13, we look at what Allah (swt) has commanded to all of humanity, not just believers. The call is to every member of society – a general rule for everyone on how to interact with each other or groups comprised of each other. Islam gives equal respect to everyone because, as humans, we are all Allah’s (swt) creations.

شَعَبَ – The same word is used for coral reef in the Arabic language. This word has two opposite meanings – separation (branching out) or connection (at the base), i.e., starting from one point and separating out or starting from branches and gathering into a single point. Example: From Adam (as) and Hawwa come every human being or all human beings go back to one father and one mother. All nations branch out into tribes and also further into smaller family groups. They all look different, as every person is unique based on their skin color, facial features and other characteristics. There is no concept of racism in Islam; it is not tolerated by Allah (swt). Allah (swt) created everyone – believers and disbelievers – equal. Think about it:

  1. Why do you put people down?
  2. Why are you proud of yourself?
  3. Why do you fight people?
  4. Why do you not see everyone as equal?
  5. Why do you differentiate among people?
  6. Do you have anything to do with the creation of another being?

Each tribe speaks a certain language or has a certain financial/educational status; Allah (swt) chose our nation and tribe for us. We think we know best, but only Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) know best. The true blessing is that of Iman. Why should we degrade others due to something they have not and cannot choose? This Ayah removes discrimination, stressing that no one is better than another. The point is that we benefit from each other’s cultures and learn from shared virtues. The fact that we are born in a certain country or into a certain family does not give us the right to be arrogant due to heritage. This was Allah’s (swt) will alone; our existence is not our choice.

Preserving the bonds of kinship (Silatur-Rahim) has significant importance in Islam. Getting to know each other is vital for the success of societies. We should know who our relatives are in order to appreciate the family structure and enjoy good relationships with our kin. Being aware of relationships among families, tribes, and nations creates empathy and love within that structure.

Finally the closest to Allah (swt) and the most valued by Him is one who has Taqwa (piety). The criteria are not family association tribal links or skin colour – the defining factor is Taqwa. Only Allah (swt) knows what is in someone’s heart; only He can decide who has Taqwa. Your tribe, nation or family will not give you honour in front of Allah (swt). Your tribe, nation, or family name will not bring you closer to Allah (swt). Only Taqwa is the measuring scale for your relationship with Allah (swt). We are warned that we must not be judgemental about another person. Prophet Muhammad (sa) chose Bilal ibn Rabah (rtam), a former slave, for calling out the Adhan. He did not choose anyone from his family or other Arab Sahabah; no one questioned him – they all simply accepted his decision. This is what our attitude should be like; if Allah (swt) chooses someone, He knows best. It is not because of what we see in them and how we judge them. Hence, the Ayah ends with “Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”

Allah’s (swt) knowledge encompasses everything – the apparent/hidden, future/present, possibilities/impossibilities, seen/unseen – nothing is hidden from Him. Allah (swt) is All-Aware of the “hidden” things – even the small things hidden in your heart. When used with the word العليم, additional depth and nuances are added to the meaning. Allah (swt) is All-Aware of things deep inside, hidden, secret, and unseen. He knows everybody’s secrets and so He is the only One Who can judge and assess Taqwa.

Keep in mind that this command and the attributes of Allah (swt) mentioned in Ayah 13 come after verses that talk about backbiting, calling others hurtful names and making false accusations, or, in other words, all the things a person uses to ridicule others. Allah (swt) now tells us that we are not qualified to judge. During the Farewell Sermon (Hajj), the Prophet (sa) advised the Ummah that the only redeemable quality on the Day of Judgement will be a person’s level of piety in front of Allah (swt) not who he was in life, his family name, or his connections; none of the latter things will benefit him. The test is Taqwa, and only Allah (swt) has knowledge of who the best is.

  1. If a person thinks very highly of his family name or status, it will lead him to transgress the boundaries defined in this Surah. He will become proud and arrogant.
  2. On Judgement Day, one of the questions that will be asked is: “Where are the pious?”
  3. The righteous will be honoured in front of everyone on the Day of Judgement.

We should focus on building our own character and safeguarding our Iman.

Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali (Canada)

Most Beloved Days of Dhul-Hijjah

Dhul-hijjah1By Eman Al-Obaid – Al-Huda Sisters, Dubai

Allah (swt) created humans and Jinns to worship Him. This is the purpose of creation. Average life span of a human being is between 60-70 years. We don’t live forever. While we are in this world, our time is divided between eating, sleeping, working and so on. Muslims are supposed to worship Allah (swt), but if we count, then how many minutes in a day do we actually spend worshipping? Calculate the time you spend on praying the five obligatory prayers – maybe 25-30 minutes in a day out of all the 24 hours!

Realistically, HOW are you supposed to spend your entire life in worship?

Allah (swt) has made it easy for us by giving certain bonus periods in life for motivating us to worship Him with renewed feelings. We need a change or a motivation – something to boost us! We know we need to worship Allah (swt) all the time, but we should not get bored of worship! We need change all the time! Look at the cycle. We follow our normal routine. Before Ramadan, we become excited and wait for it. Our level of faith is high. In the middle of Ramadan, we become relaxed in routine. Then another injection of motivation comes in the form of Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree), so our faith soars. Afterwards, we relax for the Eid and enjoy. Then, comes the fasting of Shawwal and once again relaxation during the month of Dhul-Qadah, followed by Dhul-Hijjah. We have the first ten days followed by Eid-ul-Adha. Hence, there is no stagnant period – always change in order to motivate us.

Any good actions that you perform during these days will be beloved to Allah (swt). For instance, if you always pray the morning prayer, pray the same during these days and Allah (swt) will love it more, Insha’Allah!

Welcoming Dhul-Hijjah

The most important ten days start on the 1st day of Dhul-Hijjah. Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran: “By the ten nights (i.e., the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah).” (Al-Fajr 89:2) He further mentions: “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days (i.e. 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah), over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice) (at the time of their slaughtering by saying: Bismillah, Wa Allahu-Akbar, Allahumma Minka wa Ilaik). Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time.” (Al-Hajj 22:28)

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah (swt) than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah (swt)?” He (sa) replied: “Not even Jihad in the cause of Allah (swt), except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” (Bukhari)

Spending the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah

Repent and request Allah (swt) for forgiveness for past sins, resolving to not repeat them. Even though you know the virtues of important days, your sins can prevent you from doing them. Repent to Allah (swt) well before Dhul-Hijjah begins. Beg forgiveness for mistakes you know and the ones you do not know.

Remain determined and truthful. Rely upon Allah (swt) only. We cannot do anything on our own, even if it is worship. We need to rely on Allah (swt), so that we remain steadfast upon good deeds. Don’t listen to Shaitan and don’t get discouraged.

These ten days are the ‘mother of all worship’, because there is no specific kind of worship mentioned. Therefore, since Allah (swt) loves, accepts and rewards any deeds in these days.

Good deeds to perform

Any good actions that you perform during these days will be beloved to Allah (swt). For instance, if you always pray the morning prayer, pray the same during these days and Allah (swt) will love it more, Insha’Allah! This should be an important encouragement for us to do more and more good deeds, which have greater reward with Allah (swt). You get extra rewards for all your deeds and all the things that you do even in normal routine (in those days). All the voluntary prayers, Dua, Dhikr and anything else that you do is rewarded. The reward is more because there is more struggle. In Ramadan, for example, it’s easier to perform good deeds, because Shaitan is chained. It is even easy to pray night prayers in the Masjid, because everyone else is engaged in it. In Dhul-Hijjah, it is more difficult.

These ten days are the ‘mother of all worship’, because there is no specific kind of worship mentioned. Therefore, since Allah (swt) loves, accepts and rewards any deeds in these days.

One can do any of the following types of worship with sincerity and hope for the reward from Allah (swt).

  • Prayer
  • Fast
  • Dua
  • Hajj
  • Umrah
  • Remembrance of Allah (swt)

Other positive actions we can do in these ten days are:

  • Remembrance of Allah (swt)
  • More prayer
  • Make more Dua
  • Read more Quran
  • Acquire knowledge
  • Increase voluntary prayers
  • Increase charity
  • Fast on the day of Arafah
  • Fasting from the 1st to the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah (no fasting on the Eid day!)
  • Perform night prayers or Tahajjud

We ask Allah the Almighty (swt) to guide us to His love and pleasure. Ameen!

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives – Part 7

hujurat

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah (swt). Verily, Allah (swt) is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hujurat 49:12)

This verse teaches us how to deal with people who are not present with us. It addresses the believers and points out three things.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ

  1. Avoid suspicion. ‘Ijtanibu’ means ‘to avoid or abstain from something’. Allah (swt) orders us to stay away from ‘much’ of suspicion. Suspicion is not totally forbidden because doubt can sometimes be good. The word ‘Dhan’ in Arabic actually means ‘to assume or think’. Therefore, ‘Dhan Al-Khayr’ means to think well about fellow Muslims. You may not be sure about them, but you should think well about them from what appears to you. This is allowed and also recommended. You deal with them, according to what you see of them; do not worry about their heart and what they may be hiding from you.

Then there is also ‘Dhan Al Su’ which is thinking badly of people. There are two parts to this: one is allowed/recommended and the other is forbidden.

  1. Allowed: Sometimes you see that people are negative and do questionable actions; in this case, it is allowed to doubt and be suspicious of them. For example, a person is just standing there and staring at you; in order to protect yourself, you have to be wary and suspicious of the person’s intentions.
  2. Forbidden: Someone is doing something positive but you still doubt their actions. For example, you see a person praying, yet you doubt his or her faith and say that he or she is praying only to show off. This is Haram.

وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا

  1. Do not spy. Spying is secret listening or looking at what is meant to be concealed from you. The verb is mentioned in plural form; hence, it is collectively addressed to all the believers. This starts from Dhan. The person who has suspicions will then keep thinking about it, until he or she starts to spy.

Everybody has defects or imperfections that need to stay covered; we should not uncover these private matters and invade people’s space.

The Messenger (sa) told his companions not to bring him news of what people say and do, because he wanted his heart to be pure when he met them. His advice was to deal with people in the way they appeared.

When you spy on people, your judgement becomes clouded and you cannot view them the same way anymore. The Messenger (sa) dealt with the hypocrites as normal Muslims, based only on how they appeared.

وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا

  1. Do not backbite. Think before you speak. If someone backbites in front of you, be sure that he or she will backbite about you. Therefore, you cannot trust a person who talks about people behind their backs.

There are permissible situations for backbiting, such as at the time of a marriage proposal. In such a case, if you know the person about whom somebody is asking, then you are obliged to tell them the facts and the absolute truth that you know about him or her. For example, if a man is stingy or has a temper, you have to mention it.

Backbiting is permissible also in the case of an Amanah (trust). For example, if an oppressed person speaks to the authorities about an oppressor, he is allowed to speak the truth and uncover all the evil things the oppressor has done. Likewise, a person can relate a situation to his sincere friend and ask for Naseeha and advice; however, care must be taken not to share more information than necessary.

At the time of the Messenger (sa), there was a woman whose husband was very stingy and would not feed her and her son. She went to him for advice and he asked her to take what was sufficient for her and her son. She did not take more than what she needed for sustenance. (Bukhari)

A Parable about Backbiting

Allah (swt) draws a picture in the Quran for two major sins, in order for us to understand the seriousness of the matter and how dangerous these sins are for us. Allah (swt) says:

أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ

“Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting).”

The four keywords to note here are: eat, flesh, dead, and brother. A person eats with desire and out of hunger. The image of a person eating flesh is disgusting in itself, even more so, if he is eating the flesh of a dead human, and that too of his dead brother. Moreover, it is human nature to dislike dead bodies; so how can a person relish the flesh of a dead brother?

Allah (swt) uses the word ‘brother’ because there is a relationship between you and the person you are talking about: he is your brother in Islam and this is a relationship established among you by Allah (swt). You are insulting the relationship that Allah (swt) has placed between you; this means you are mocking and insulting Allah (swt).

ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Fear Allah (swt) and repent, because He is the One who accepts a person’s repentance and is Merciful.”

There’s a combination of hope and fear in this verse, which draws parallels with how a Mutaqqi is. He is fearful of Allah’s (swt) punishment and, therefore, eager to rush to Allah’s (swt) mercy.

Transcribed and adapted by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah).

 

[Hadeeth Commentary] Avoid Harming Yourself and Others

hadeeth1

Related on the authority of Abu Sa’id Sa’d bin Malik bin Sinan al-Khudri that the Prophet (sa) said: “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” (An excellent Hadeeth which Ibn Majah, Al-Daraqutni and others related as of sound Isnad, but which Malik related in his Muwatta’ as of broken Isnad, from ‘Amr bin Yahya, from his father, from the Prophet (sa), but dropping (the name of) Abu Sa’id. This Hadeeth has lines of transmission, which strengthens one another (so that it may be regarded as of sound Isnad.)

A pithy Hadeeth, which reflects Islam’s mission statement; preventing harm and being useful/beneficial to others. This Hadeeth is all about the attitude of a believer. Remember, even before you harm Allah’s (swt) creations, you actually harm yourself. This concept is a trait that every Muslim must have if he wants to implement this Hadeeth in his life.

pic2This Hadeeth becomes the basis for the rules of behaviour in Islam. Some of them according to the commentary in 40 Hadeeth of an-Nawawi are:

  1. Harm is to be prevented as much as possible.
  2. Harm is to be eradicated.
  3. Harm is not to be removed by a similar harm.
  4. A greater harm can be removed by a lesser harm.
  5. Based on rule number 4, if one has to choose between two harms, precedence is given to a lower harm, in order to avoid the greater harm.
  6. Preventing harm takes precedence over gaining or attaining benefits.
  7. If there is a conflict between factors permitting something and others prohibiting something, the prohibition takes precedence; that is, it is going to be given the priority.
  8. Something harmful is not given precedence just because it was pre-existing. In other words, the pre-existence of something does not allow it to continue to exist and be the cause of harm.To demonstrate rule number eight, let’s step into Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). There was a Masjid built in a neighbourhood. Many years later, that area became densely populated – houses were built around the Masjid. As per custom, when the Muadh-dhin (caller to prayer) wanted to make the call for prayer (Adhan), he climbed the minaret. The jurists decided that the Muadh-dhin must cease the use of the minaret, so that no harm was caused to the people in the houses below (as from the top of the minaret, he could see into other people’s homes and thus invaded their privacy).

Two words in this Hadeeth are similar. The root word is Dādrārā – to harm – ‘do not harm’ / ‘no harming’. ‘Do not harm’ encompasses not harming yourself and not harming anyone around you whether intentionally or unintentionally. If it is unintentional, then as soon as you realize your mistake, you must correct it. Sometimes you are not even aware of the fact that you are harming yourself – but as soon as you recognize it, you must stop. This is caused by the negative thought patterns or a feeling of superiority; “I am better than…” The application of this Hadeeth in our lives thoroughly depends upon two factors: our thoughts and our attitude. Even though it is a simple concept, it is the hardest Hadeeth to apply upon ourselves. All our actions are the result of our thoughts, so we must control our thoughts from causing harm to ourselves and others.

“O You who believe! Make not unlawful the Taiyibât (all that is good as regards foods, things, deeds, beliefs, persons, etc.) which Allâh has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allâh does not like the transgressors.” (AlMaidah 5:87)

So remember, we cannot transgress against ourselves, others, animals and even plants or trees.
 

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Is there ever a justifiable reason to cause harm?
 
Ibn Rajab says that the Prophet (sa) said: “If the main objective is to actually cause the harm then this is totally prohibited.” Any act that causes harm to others, whether individually or as a community, and whether it is beneficial or not beneficial to the one who causes it, is prohibited in Islam. It should not exist in the first place and if it does, then a deliberate effort should be made to remove or minimize it.

People Most Beloved to Allah – the Muqsiteen (المقسطين)

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Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali

“Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Al-Mumtahna 60:8)

Al-Muqsiteen are those who deal justly and equitably:

  • With themselves
  • With Allah (swt)
  • With others

Allah informs us:

“(They like to) listen to falsehood, to devour anything forbidden. So if they come to You (O Muhammad), either judge between them, or turn away from them. If you turn away from them, they cannot hurt You In the least. And if You judge, judge with justice between them. Verily, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Al-Maidah 5:42)

In the Ayah above, Allah (swt) describes what the disbelievers were doing when the Prophet (sa) was in the process of delivering Allah’s message. They listened (excessively) to falsehood even though the Quran was there; they did not listen to the Quran.

Allah (swt) loves those who deal justly and those who remove injustice (whether with enemies or between believers).

The Prophet (sa) is then informed: “If they come to you (Prophet Muhammad): Judge between them or turn away from them.” (Al-Maidah 5:42) The Prophet (sa) could exercise these two options when the disbelievers came to him in order to solve their problems.

If he turned away from them, they did not have the means or power to harm him. If he decided to judge between them, then he was obliged to judge between them with justice, even though they were liars. In short, Allah (swt) loves those who are just and He is praising those who deal with their enemies truthfully.

Another situation where Allah (swt) encourages believers toward justice is in the following verse: “And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both, but if one of them rebels against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which rebels till it complies with the command of Allah. Then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable.” (Al-Hujurat 49:9)

Even though your relatives or friends might be disbelievers, you need to be good to them and deal with them equitably. With those who are not fighting you or opposing Islam, you should maintain a cordial relationship and above all, be just with them. 

In a situation where both parties are believers, you need to be neutral to solve their problems. However, if one of the parties is clearly wrong, you must fight them until they return to the commands of Allah (swt). Just dispensing justice is not enough; you must remove the wrong and return the rights of the party harmed, if possible. Allah (swt) loves those who deal justly and those who remove injustice (whether with enemies or between believers).

There are three types of situations a believer might confront when dealing justly.

  1. With disbelievers
  2. With relatives or friends who are disbelievers
  3. With believers

Even though your relatives or friends might be disbelievers, you need to be good to them and deal with them equitably. With those who are not fighting you or opposing Islam, you should maintain a cordial relationship and above all, be just with them. Allah (swt) loves those who deal with the disbelievers (who are not your enemies) honorably and justly.

How do we recognize Al-Muqsiteen?

  • They work to establish the truth, and direct others to do the same.
  • They forbid evil and enjoin good, wherever they go.
  • They fear Allah (swt)! Even in times of distress, they guard themselves from evil and gravitate toward good.
  • They stay connected to their families, whether or not their families are Muslim.
  • If people come to them, they judge between them with justice. (They don’t take sides when friends or family members are involved).
  • They control their desires and judge using the Quran and the Sunnah as their guides.
  • When they are among people, they do not utter words that are hurtful; they do not harm or oppress others in any way.
  • They are generally nice to others. If someone is good to them, they are just. If someone talks to them amiably, they reply in the same manner; this is also justice. For example, if someone helps, they make Dua for him or her in return.

Is there a reward for being just?

Definitely! We know from the verses mentioned above that Allah loves those who are just.

It was narrated from Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Those who are just and fair will be with Allah, Most High, on thrones of light, at the right hand of the Most Merciful, those who are just in their rulings and in their dealings with their families and those of whom they are in charge.” Muhammad (one of the narrators) said in his Hadeeth: “And both of His hands are right hands.” (an-Nasai)

Most Beloved People To Allah: The Tawwabeen

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By Eman Al-Obaid – Al-Huda Sisters, Dubai

Tawwabeen are those who repent to Allah (swt) for their inadequacies and strive to improve themselves spiritually, eventually this improvement is reflected in their actions. It is not the same as ‘seeking forgiveness’ (Istigfaar), repentance (Tawbah) encompasses much more. Istigfar is only one of the steps in the process of repentance; it requires not only change but also action.

The root of Tawbah is t-w-b; “…suppose you are travelling somewhere and by mistake you take a wrong turn. You realize you are travelling on the wrong path. Armed with this awareness, the first thing you will do is to return to the place from where you took the wrong turn — this process is called Tawbah in Arabic…”

After the person repents from committing a major sin, he is as though he didn’t commit any sin at all. This is great encouragement – Allah has promised to accept our repentance and totally wipe out our sins. 

People are under the misconception that if they do not sin, they do not need to do Tawbah. However, Allah says in the Quran: “…Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance…” (Al-Baqarah 2:222). Why does Allah love those who repent? We are Allah’s salves, He does not needs us, yet He loves and appreciates us for any effort we make to follow His commands. If Allah loves a group of people, we certainly want to be among them. Imagine how life will be when Allah is happy with you! Subhan’Allah

Process of Tawbah

  1. Recognize that you have committed a major sin or transgressed against yourself. Major sins include associating partners to Allah. When a person sins his faith decreases.
  2. After committing the sin, you return to Allah. What makes a person (who committed a sin) return to Allah? Allah’s mercy; He will send some means in order to make that person remember Him. Allah doesn’t leave them astray – Allah makes them recall through signs – like books, lectures or advice from someone.
  3. When you return to Allah, you regret your sin. You feel ashamed because of Allah’s Greatness and Mercy. You feel guilt / regret / remorse when you think of your actions.
  4. Now you will feel the urge to repent with sincerity. You will hasten because you want to do it before you die. Guilt is the gate to Tawbah. It is worse if you sin but do not feel any regret or guilt – because then you will not repent.

After Tawbah your faith and Iman are strengthened and renewed. You will reinforce your belief in Allah, knowledge about Him and the Day of Judgement. When your faith and Iman are strengthened, your heart turns to Allah. Allah welcomes everyone who repents and returns to Him.

This is motivation for us – Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (ra) reported, the  Prophet (sa) said: “Allah, the Exalted, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west (start of the Day of Judgement).” (Muslim)

Stop and quit the sin immediately, this is the journey of the توابون

Allah welcomes everyone who repents and returns to Him. 

Allah appreciates each step of this process; the more difficult the sin is to give up, the greater the reward. Determination, sincere intention and effort not to regress and commit the sin again follows repentance along with righteous deeds Replace sins with good deeds.

What happens if you commit the sin again?

Even if you commit the sin, again (by mistake) you will be considered to be among the توابون because the heart is determined not to commit the sin again. We are weak and can fall in to sinning again. If we repent again – Allah will accept the repentance, Allah is generous in His forgiveness. Only Allah knows your intentions when you recommit sins – and when you do Tawbah.

It was once said to Al-Hasan Al-Basri: “…a man commits a sin, makes Tawbah, and then commits a sin again, and he makes Tawbah again, until when? He replied: I do not see such a behaviour as being anything other than part of the good traits of character of the believers”.

After the person repents from committing a major sin, he is as though he didn’t commit any sin at all. This is great encouragement – Allah has promised to accept our repentance and totally wipe out our sins. In human relationships, if one commits a mistake – no matter how many times he apologizes –people always associate him with that particular incident, but it is different with Allah.

Hadith – “All the sons of Adam are sinners – no one is perfect but the best of people are the ones who repent.” (Ahmad and others).

But why does Allah love the Tawwabeen?

  1. They know that their Lord is the only One who can forgive them. They know only Allah can bestow forgiveness in response to repentance from beginning to end
  2. They feel gratitude that Allah is their Lord – perfect in every way.
  3. They remember Allah after committing a sin by recalling His signs; it is a sign from Allah of accepting their repentance.
  4. They realize that Allah is guiding us to repentance; Allah loves it when we repent, He makes it easy for us. Repenting to Allah is not a favour to Allah – it is a favour from Allah that He accepts our repentance.
  5. They depend on Allah’s mercy, when Allah accepts the repentance of His slave; He will make everybody forget the sin.
  6. They know Allah has total control; they are embarrassed to be among those who have witnessed their sins.

May Allah make us among those who repent. Ameen.

Catch an awe-inspiring transcription of Fiqh of Tawbah, based on a workshop conducted by Brother Kashif Nasheem Dilkusha, project head, Azan, in an upcoming issue of Hiba Magazine.

Tafseer Surah Luqman (Part 3): The Rights of Allah and the Right of the Parents

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Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah)

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

And (remember) when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ

“And (remember) when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him…”

Allah is telling us what Luqman said to his son while advising him. Those who are wise teach their wisdom first to their children. The closest to you are those who should be advised first. Your children are a perpetual charity and if you raise them with the right manners and creed, your deeds continue to increase.

The most important lesson we learn from Luqman’s manner of speaking to his child in this verse is his gentleness: he does not scorn his son; rather, he begins by using an endearing name showing love and affection. Raising children is an act that should be done for the sake of Allah.

How did Luqman preach to his son?

He spoke casually and did not underestimate him just because he is his son. The word used here is “وعظ” which is to advise with the prohibitions and commandments of Allah. It includes warning and encouragement. We should tell them that these actions bring the pleasure of Allah and these actions bring on the wrath of Allah. A lot of times we just give ambiguous commands and make up rewards and warnings. We should instead give rationale based on the Quran and Sunnah and not invent new things.

What was his first advice?

يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ

“O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah.

This is the first and foremost advice that Luqman gave to his son. His first advice pertains to tawheed. The most important lesson we learn from Luqman’s manner of speaking to his child in this verse is his gentleness: he does not scorn his son; rather, he begins by using an endearing name showing love and affection. Raising children is an act that should be done for the sake of Allah.

What is the reasoning behind this warning?

إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.

This is the warning that follows the advice. He tells his son that Shirk is great injustice; and injustice is putting something in the wrong place. Shirk is injustice and imbalance while Tawheed is justice and balance. It is the most severe injustice and it is the only sin which Allah will never forgive. This injustice, however, does not harm Allah. It is the slave that harms himself and puts himself in danger of the punishment of Allah.

What is Shirk anyway?

Shirk is to associate partners with Allah in:

  1. His Lordship- to believe that there is someone besides Allah who creates, sustains and provides.
  2. His worship- to worship others besides Allah; and directing acts of worship such as supplication, vows, sacrifice, hope, fear, trust and all other acts done to seek nearness
  3. His Names and Attributes: to elevate someone’s status to the level of Allah’s perfect Names and Attributes

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ

And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years; give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.

What was his second advice?

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ

And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents.

The second advice pertains to being dutiful to parents. The wording of this verse tells us that it is Allah who is giving this advice, He said “وصينا” meaning “We enjoined”. Additionally, the advice that comes from Allah is called “وصية” which is a will, or a covenant. It is a command from Allah that makes it obligatory upon us to obey and be kind towards our parents.

This advice is not directed to Muslims only, it is directed to all of humanity, whether believer or disbeliever. This relationship can never be changed or cut off.

حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ

His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship,

He specifically mentions the mother because of the pain she suffers in bearing children, raising them and taking care of them. His mother bore him in weakness upon weakness; from the time of conception to labor, she becomes weaker by day. She is elevated in ranks as a result of this hardship.

Allah orders us to thank our parents. This does not mean to just verbalize a few sweet words; rather, gratitude should be expressed through actions.

وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ

and his weaning is in two years

And his nursing is for two years; there was hardship at conception and birth, and now there is hardship in raising the child. She suffers exhaustion upon exhaustion in bringing the child up. He constantly needs to be with the mother because he needs to be fed. Allah plants mercy in the heart of the mother and she is able to tolerate this work.

أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ

Therefore, give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.

Allah commands us to be grateful and thankful towards Him since He is the One who is laying down all of these rights and rules and sowing mercy in people’s hearts.

How do we thank Allah?

  1. To worship Him in the way He loves
  2. Fulfilling the rights He has enjoined upon us
  3. To use His blessings to obey Him

Allah orders us to thank our parents. This does not mean to just verbalize a few sweet words; rather, gratitude should be expressed through actions.

The final return is to Allah; He is our destination. He will then hold us accountable for these deeds.

Etiquettes of Answering the Call of Nature

  1. Avoid spoiling water that is beneficial to people, such as springs and wells.
  2. Avoid spoiling the streets and pathways that people walk on and pass through.
  3. Avoid spoiling the shade under the trees that people might relax under and enjoy.
  4. Avoid urinating in stagnant water like a pond or fountain.
  5. It is not allowed to enter into the bathroom with anything that mentions Allah’s name
  6. It is not allowed to speak in the bathroom.
  7. While defecating or urinating, the person should not face the Qiblah nor should he give the Qiblah his back.
  8. When entering the bathroom, say “بسم الله اللهم إني أعوذ بك من الخبث و الخبائث”“Bismillah, O Allah I seek refuge with You from the devils, male and female.”This creates a barrier between the person and the Shaytan.
  9. To enter the bathroom with the left foot and exiting with the right
  10. When exiting the bathroom, say “غفرانك” “(I seek) Your forgiveness” when exiting the bathroom.
  11. To place a barrier between himself and the people in order not to be exposed
  12. To use the left hand to clean after answering the call of nature
  13. To use the two methods of cleansing; Istinjaa (using water to cleanse yourself) and then Istijmaar (using tissues to cleanse yourself).

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives – Part 4

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives

Verse 7

“And know that, among you there is the Messenger of Allah (sa). If he were to obey you (i.e. follow your opinions and desires) in much of the matter, you would surely be in trouble, but Allah has endeared the faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts, and has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience (to Allah and His Messenger [sa]) hateful to you. These! They are the rightly guided ones.” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

In the previous verse, it was mentioned that whenever someone brings any news, we have to verify it before accepting it. In this verse, we are being informed about an exception. If Prophet Muhammad (sa) brings any news, those around him had to accept it without any process of verification. Likewise, if he did not practice something, then it was not supposed to be done either. ‘Among you’ in the above verse refers to the Sahabah, who were around the Prophet (sa).

Sometimes, the Sahabah wanted to perform extra worship. For instance, once in Ramadan, the Prophet (sa) prayed Qiyam-ul-Lail with the Sahabah. He prayed for a part of the night and then stopped. The Sahabah wanted to perform some more, so they went to the Prophet (sa) and asked, if it was possible to continue the prayer for the whole night. The Prophet (sa) informed them that the one, who has prayed the full prayer behind the Imam, will be rewarded for standing the entire night in prayer. This was his way of saying no to the Sahabah’s request. If he followed every suggestion that those around him gave, it would surely be troublesome and difficult for them. The Prophet (sa) was very kind. He could have heeded the suggestion given to him, but he did not.

The Sahabah were very interested in the kind of worship that was done by the Prophet (sa). Consider the following Hadeeth:

Anas (rtam) has reported: “Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (sa) to inquire about the worship of the Prophet (sa). When they were informed, they considered their worship to be insignificant and said: ‘Where are we in comparison with the Prophet (sa), while Allah (swt) has forgiven his past sins and future sins?’ One of them said: ‘I shall offer Salah all night long.’ Another said: ‘I shall observe Saum (fasting) continuously and shall not break it.’ Another said: ‘I shall abstain from women and shall never marry.’ The Prophet (sa) came to them and asked: “Are you the people, who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah (swt) more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fast and break it; I perform Salah and sleep at night and take wives. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This Hadeeth instructs us to do what the Prophet (sa) did, and to leave what the Prophet (sa) did not do. One should not think that they can do anything more than the Prophet (sa) – it is not possible.

Remember that the chains of narration of Ahadeeth were verified and scrutinized before being accepted. If an individual in the chain of narration was discovered to be a liar, no more Ahadeeth from him were accepted. This is again because no one was supposed to add anything or delete anything from the sayings of the Prophet (sa).

Now that we no longer have the Prophet (sa) among us, this command applies to us in terms of accepting Ahadeeth and Sunnah. We cannot give our own opinion on the Ahadeeth.

Note the reaction of the Sahabah, when the Prophet (sa) did not accept their suggestion. What did they do? Did the Prophet’s (sa) rejection of their suggestion turn them away from Islam? Of course not! It did not affect them in any way, because faith was firmly entrenched in their hearts. They were happy and content with Islam itself, and they accepted anything and everything that was done by the Prophet (sa). Their hearts were stable upon firm faith.

For us, the lesson is to remain firm upon faith even when we are overcome with trials and tribulations. Let’s move on to the next part of the verse, which states:

“…Allah has endeared the faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts…” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

The Arabic word for endearment or love is Hubb. The following diagram explains the meaning of Hubb.

QuranInsights1

Essentially, it means that Allah (swt) puts faith in your heart and gradually enables you to love it. You cannot force your heart to love Islam or the faith. It’s only from Allah (swt), Who makes you love the faith!

Love in your heart is like a seed. You plant a small seed in your heart. Then Allah (swt) nurtures it and enables it to grow gradually, till it becomes big and beautiful with fruits and flowers. One needs to take good care of faith in the heart, similar to the way we take care of seeds in the garden. Our hearts need to be watered with the rain of knowledge and guidance, so that they can blossom into a fruit-bearing tree. One should also supplicate: “O Allah, make my heart love the faith.” Ameen!

Acceptance or belief in the heart plus good deeds based on the five pillars of Islam highlight the extent of one’s faith. Faith grows and nurtures inside the heart, but is manifested through one’s actions. One should worry, first and foremost, about one’s heart. Once the heart is on track and the love in one heart’s is well-nourished, the rest (in terms of action) will follow.

What urges the believer (because all verses of this Surah are addressed to the believers) to follow all the rules given by Allah (swt) in this Surah?

  • Loving the faith.
  • Beautifying the faith in the heart.

We need to thank Allah (swt) for all His bounties and provisions. When Allah (swt) enables you to do good, you need to be grateful to Allah (swt) for putting you in situations that He loves, for example, praying. When you feel that good deeds or acts of worship are difficult for you, this should make you fear that Allah (swt) did not want the deeds from you or would not accept them from you. You need to supplicate a lot. Even if you have the love of faith in your heart, always make Dua. You never know when your heart can change! You need the following triangle:

QuranInsights

Faith is a bird with a head and two wings. When you have all three, you can fly to Allah (swt). Your worship can fly to Allah (swt).

When Allah (swt) plants the seed of love for something in your heart, He also plants the seed of dislike for the opposite of the same. For example, music is not allowed, so you slowly begin to love listening to the Quran and beneficial lectures. At the same time, Allah (swt) plants the seed of hatred of music in your heart. Gradually, your love for music will turn into hate and become love for the good words!

“…and has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience (to Allah and His Messenger (sa) hateful to you…” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

When Allah (swt) puts love in the heart, no one can remove it. Likewise, when He puts hate in the heart, no one can affect it. Allah (swt) puts the hatred of the following:

  • Disbelief (in terms of the heart),
  • Wickedness (in terms of actions),
  • Disobedience (in terms of actions).

The opposite of faith is not one word. It consists of three words. Those who love faith hate disbelief + wickedness + disobedience.

“…These! They are the rightly guided ones.” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

Allah (swt) magnifies and honours them by referring to them as the only ones, who are taking the path of the rightly-guided. They love their faith, acquire knowledge and then act upon this knowledge. This entire Surah highlights deeds and acts of worship, along with behaviour and mannerisms to be implemented in the society. Its instructions are meant to be understood and implemented.

Verse 8

“(This is) a Grace from Allah and His Favour. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Al-Hujurat 49:8)

‘Favour’ means blessings, bonuses, bounties and favours. This should make a believer humble. One should not feel proud. Everything we do is a favour from Allah (swt). Some blessings for the believers include even the material things in life that will help them achieve Paradise, like children and money. Believers use these things to attain success in the Hereafter.

The last part of the verse specifies some of Allah’s (swt) names. He is All-Knowing. He knows who deserves what. Also, because He is the most Wise, He does everything according to perfect knowledge and wisdom.

Most Beloved People to Allah – Al-Mutabaeun

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Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali

“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allâh Then follow me (i.e. Accept Islâmic Monotheism, follow the Qur’ân and the Sunnah), Allâh will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Al-Imran 31)

 Ibn Kathīr explains this verse: “This verse gives a verdict in the case of anyone who claims to love God but does not follow the way of life laid down by Prophet Muhammad (sa). His very claim is an absolute lie unless he follows the Sunnah in all his actions and statements. This is endorsed by the authentic tradition of the Prophet (sa) which states: ‘Anyone who does something which is not in conformity with this matter of ours will have it rejected.’ ”

The dilemma here is that no one has an issue with loving Allah; the real test is to follow the Prophet (sa). The ayah makes a clear statement; Allah has connected following the Prophet (sa) as a condition to gain His love– so it is essential (in a way obligatory) to follow Prophet Muhammad (sa). The point is not to let your ego prevent you from gaining Allah’s love.

أَشْهَدُ أن لا إلٰهَ إلَّا الله وَأشْهَدُ أنَّ مُحَمَّدً أعَبْدُه وَرَسُوْلُه

I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Prophet Muhammad is His messenger

 The testimony of a Muslim’s faith has two aspects, one is that we bear witness to the Unity of Allah; the other part is that we also acknowledge that Muhammad (sa) is His messenger. Thus, following the Prophet (sa) is a very important matter because Allah has connected His love to it; it is a matter of completing one’s faith.

How do we follow Prophet (sa)?

  • Following the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa)
  • Following the Prophet’s (sa) commands without any questions, any debate, any excuse– but do not follow anyone else blindly
  • React/behave the way he used to behave in certain situations; in all matters of worship and life

The Prophet (sa) was only a man, so why can we not question his authority/way? Very simple, because he never did anything in his life unless it was revelation from Allah, our goal is to worship Allah. This is achieved by following the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa).

What are some situations we follow the Prophet (sa) in?

Worship is divided into two categories: obligatory and recommended.

Allah mentions obligatory forms of worship in the Quran – Salah, Hajj, Zakat etc. but the correct way to perform them is shown by the Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah. Regarding these acts we must follow his way.

For the recommended acts, for e.g., the fast on 9 Dhul Hijjah, how Prophet (sa) slept, how he prayed Tahajjud prayer, how he ate, what dua he recited when he left his house, etc. It is suggested that we follow what Prophet (sa) did. The more you try to follow the Prophet (sa) – the more your rank with Allah is raised, and Allah’s love for you increases.

Allah mentions in the Quran: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (Al-Ahzab 21).

Following the Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah is the fail-safe. Since we are just a follower, we will not invent something new, alien to the deen of Islam. If there is something Prophet Muhammad (sa) did not do – we should not do it. Allah has reminded us that in following the Prophet’s (sa) example we are safe and no one can possibly do more for Islam than what he has done, so don’t do anything unless you are sure he did it or endorsed it. Small deeds that follow the Prophet‘s (sa) Sunnah are more beloved to Allah than doing multiple acts of worship that are recommended by some scholar (away from the Sunnah).

When you follow the Sunnah, Allah will make your life easy for you, love you and forgive your sins. However, when you follow Bidat (innovations in deen) your life will become complicated and you will not be among those who Allah loves. All your hours of devotion and acts of worship will be wasted as they will not be acceptable to Allah.

“Every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance goes to hellfire.” (Muslim)

“Say (O Muhammad ): “Obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad).” but if they turn away, Then Allah does not like the disbelievers.” (Al Imran 3:32)

Allah says in this verse; those who don’t obey both [Allah and the Prophet (sa)] they are like the disbelievers and Allah does not love the disbelievers. Satan encourages people to innovate in religion and because it’s a matter of religion – extra prayer, extra dhikr –people are caught off guard that how can extra prayer be unacceptable to Allah?

Rewards for being among Al-Mutabaeun

  • Allah’s love
  • Guidance in this world and the Hereafter- to have a knowledge and act upon it (Hidayah)
  • Special mercy from Allah – makes your life smooth and easy; no difficulties
  • You will be among the successful (Al-Muflihoon): people who struggle in life and get the success in the Hereafter
  • You will accompany those people on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings, the Prophets, Messengers, the Martyrs, the Truthful ones, the righteous people etc.
  • Entry into Paradise

Sins cause us to feel guilty but Bidat  (innovations) do not leave a guilty feeling, so they are difficult to give up or recognize. May Allah protect us from all Bidat. Ameen.

Tafseer Surah Luqman (Part 2): Allah’s Wisdom, Good Deeds and Etiquettes of Salam

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Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ النَّعِيمِ

“Verily, those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, for them are Gardens of delight (Paradise)”  (Luqman 8)

Allah shows us the opposite side of the picture; those were people of rebellion and disobedience, who, despite hearing the message of guidance rejected it and turned away. These however, are people who believe in Allah and all that He has informed us about the Day of Judgement, His Messengers, His Angels, His Books, and Divine decree. This belief is part of what is called inner worship. Outer worship is then portrayed by doing righteous deeds with the belief that they will be rewarded.

What is the connection between belief and good deeds?

The believers will dwell in Paradise forever and for eternity. There is no death after this life, and this is a promise of Allah which must be believed in and trusted.

They can be compared to a tree. The roots portray a person’s faith; tucked underneath the ground and unseen, while the branches and fruits portray the righteous deeds. This tree can reach the skies as a result of the faith which produces righteous deeds. A person who frees himself from the shackles of desires and temptations is truly the successful one. Such a person is free from being a slave of desires and disobedience, and instead becomes a slave of Allah. He will prepare himself in the Dunya for the Akhirah so that Allah may reward him with Gardens of Delight. The word Jannah comes from the word Jann which means to be hidden. For His righteous slaves, Allah has hidden delightful rewards that no eye has seen, no ear has heard of, and no mind can perceive. Contrary to the delights of the Dunya, the Akhirah is ceaseless and its rewards are multiplied.

خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۖ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

“To abide therein. It is a Promise of Allah in truth. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (Luqman 9)

The believers will dwell in Paradise forever and for eternity. There is no death after this life, and this is a promise of Allah which must be believed in and trusted. Shaitan makes promises and breaks them in the Dunya, and he will do likewise in the Akhirah for his followers, while Allah’s promises are never to be questioned. He is Al-Azeez, meaning He has full and perfect might to fulfil His promise. His Decree is never false and cannot be rejected, and He can never be defeated. He is also Al-Hakeem, meaning that He is perfect in His wisdom. The wisdom behind making a promise to the believers for reward is perfect and helps them increase in faith and good deeds.

خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا ۖ وَأَلْقَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ ۚ وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ كَرِيمٍ

“He has created the heavens without any pillars, that you see and has set on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with you. And He has scattered therein moving (living) creatures of all kinds. And We send down water (rain) from the sky, and We cause (plants) of every goodly kind to grow therein.” (Luqman 10)

Allah further explains to us His complete and perfect ability and wisdom in order to make firm our belief in His promise. He created the heavens without any pillars and structured the skies like ceilings. They are great, vast and high, unlike any other creation in the world. He then placed mountains that function as anchors to stabilize the earth and keep it firm despite its rotation.

Then He scattered living creatures of all kinds on the earth. They move in different ways and have different adaptations. Some have two legs, some have three, and some have four and some have many more than that. Some live in the sea, some on land, and some on the mountains. All of this points to His infinite ability and wisdom. These creatures have been subjected to us and they bring us benefit as well as harm.

Why does Allah create harmful creatures?

  • To teach us His ability and wisdom
  • To teach us that we are weak humans; a mosquito may harm a human which may result in his death despite the creature’s tiny size
  • To make us taste the pain and punishment of the harm that these creatures can do in the Dunya, as compared to the doubled harm of these creatures in the grave

He then brought down blessed rain from the clouds. Water is the foundation of life; without it we cannot survive and 75 per cent of the earth and our bodies are made of water. He created all living things from water. There is wisdom in the fact that some areas of the earth do not receive any rain at all, while some areas are always wet and cloudy.

He then caused beautiful plantations of various colours and benefit to grow from the earth. This is the wisdom of Allah.

هَٰذَا خَلْقُ اللَّهِ فَأَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقَ الَّذِينَ مِن دُونِهِ ۚ بَلِ الظَّالِمُونَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ

“This is the creation of Allah. So show Me that which those (whom you worship), besides Him have created. Nay, the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers and those who do not believe in the Oneness of Allah) are in plain error.” (Luqman 11)

After explaining His signs of infinite wisdom, Allah challenges the disbelievers. He says this is the creation of Allah that He created without a partner and without help.  This is His dominion. He challenges those who associate partners with Allah to show what these false gods have created. He negates all of this association and says that they cannot create anything so how can they be worshipped?  Rather, the disbelievers are wrong doers who are drowning in clear error. They worship that which is disabled, weak and poor.

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ ۚ وَمَن يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ

And indeed We bestowed upon Luqman Al-Hikmah (wisdom and religious understanding, etc.) saying: “Give thanks to Allah,” and whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) his ownself. And whoever is unthankful, then verily, Allah is All-Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise. (Luqman 12)

Most scholars of the Quran are of the opinion that Luqman was a wise man and not a Prophet. Allah blessed him and bestowed upon him wisdom and religious understanding. Allah tells us that wisdom is a special provision and favour from Allah. It is the best of qualities, behaviours and attributes. Not every knowledgeable person is wise, but every wise person is knowledgeable.

What is wisdom?

The result of being grateful is that the blessing will not be removed from you and Allah will increase the blessings.

It is to have knowledge of the truth and its secrets, and to use this knowledge in speech and action. To thank Allah is one of the biggest signs of wisdom and goodness. Thank Him for all the blessings that He has bestowed upon you without any efforts on your part. Use your speech, your heart and your limbs to express this gratefulness by utilizing them in the way that He loves.

The result of being grateful is that the blessing will not be removed from you and Allah will increase the blessings. Whoever gives thanks to Allah does so for the good of his own self. It does not harm or benefit Allah if you are grateful or ungrateful, because He is Rich and free of needs, and He is worthy of all praise.

Etiquettes of Salam

  1. It is Sunnah to greet someone with the Salam, but it is Wajib to return the greeting.
  2. It is preferred to say the whole greeting
  3. It is disliked to say Alaykum Assalam
  4. It is preferred to repeat the greeting three times if you are not heard the first time
  5. It should be said clearly
  6. It is recommended to greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know
  7. It is recommended for the arriving person to greet the seated one, and the riding person to the one who is walking, and the one who is walking to the one who is sitting, and the fewer group should greet the larger group and the young should greet the old
  8. It is recommended to greet the ones who are awake even if there are sleeping persons amongst them
  9. Forbidden to greet the People of the Book- you can however, greet them with “hello” or “good morning”
  10. It is permissible to say Salam with the wave of the hand in times of need
  11. It is disliked to greet the one who is answering the call of nature
  12. It is recommended to say Salam when entering the house
  13. It is recommended to return the greeting to the one whose greeting has been conveyed to you
  14. When entering the Masjid, it is better to pray Tahiyyat Al-Masjid before greeting those who are sitting in the Masjid
  15. It is disliked to say the Salam during the Friday sermon
  16. It is recommended to say the Salam before talking about anything else
  17. It is recommended to say Salam before leaving a place or ending a conversation

Most Beloved People to Allah – As-Sabireen

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Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali

“…and many a Prophet (i.e. many from amongst the Prophets) fought (in Allah’s Cause) and along with him (fought) large bands of religious learned men. But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves. And Allah loves As-Saabireen (the patient ones, etc.).” (Al-Imran 146)

“This passage comments on the early events of the Battle of Uĥud up to the point at which the victory which was well within the grasp of the Muslim army turned into defeat.”(In the Shade of the Quran, Vol. 2 p.185). This was the first battle after Badr, and the Muslims felt victory was their destiny in every encounter as they were on the right path. Without making this ayah particular to a nation, Allah tells us that at any point, when faced with trial the true believer remains strong (both emotionally and physically) and patient – their reward is Allah’s love. This Ayah speaks to us in the present also. “It (Allah’s love) helps heal wounds and is accepted as ample and generous compensation for every hardship.”(In the shade…Vol 2, p.199)

To have patience/to be patient is mentioned many times in the Quran – but only once does Allah say He loves the patient ones. Reward for patience and the description of what patience means is mentioned many times, but Allah’s love as a reward for being patient is mentioned only once! This is the highlight; patience is a prerequisite to gain Allah’s love.

 What is patience?

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It is when a believer controls his/her desires when faced with a situation where it is difficult if not impossible to control the Nafs (ego/desire). Every part of a person’s body needs to exercise patience:  the heart – I should not complain or feel unhappy with what is going on (situation), the tongue – not to complain to people (as if complaining about Allah to the slaves of Allah), the limbs – control all my limbs from any kind of action that is displeasing to Allah. For example, to control oneself from being negatively influenced by others– when something painful happens and you are patient, others might provoke you by saying, “Why are you quiet? Go fight for your right.” This leads you away from patience – beware of it.

Characteristics of As-Sabireen

الاستعانة بالصبر و الصلاةThey rely on Allah alone

  • Prayer helps you rely on Allah and be patient

الصدق They are truthful

  • Liars are impatient – they cannot be patient in a situation, so they lie
  • Even during a trial/test, the truthful ones stay patient (accept the situation), they don’t try to change it by lying

التقوى They are pious

  • People who are pious are patient and vice versa
  • They control themselves from everything that is displeasing to Allah or following their own desires
  • They are patient because they know Allah, therefore they love Allah, and fear Allah alone

الغلبة على الأعداء They overcome their enemies

  • They remain strong and firm/steadfast
  • They are both physically and emotionally strong

تجنب المعصيةThey abstain from sins

  • Abstain from sins for the sake of Allah alone

عدم النزاعThey are patient during conflicts/fights

  • It’s easy to get angry/shout/complain/show impatience and fight/argue because of impatience
  • They don’t come near conflicts in order that it might lead to fights– they control themselves in such situations

و في الامر – الدعوة بالمعروف و النهي عن المنكر They are patient when giving Da’wah – enjoining good and forbidding evil

  • Patient when calling people to Islam – especially if the person who they are giving Dawah to is close to them (family, relatives)

الصبر على محبة الدنيا و الرغبة في الآخرة They are patient in this world and yearn for the Hereafter

  • Love of the world and love of the hereafter cannot be in the heart together
  • They are not always busy thinking about material things, money, property or children. They are busy thinking about the Day of Judgment, Sunnah, Quran and Allah’s commands.

الصبر على الأمراض والبلايا They are patient when in sickness or afflictions

  • They don’t complain about their situation/ health

الصبر على الاستهزاء و أذى الناس They are patient when they are mocked at / humiliated

  • When someone is trying to harm them using words or mock, insult, humiliate, make fun of them, they are patient

عدم خطوات الشيطان They are patient when the devil whispers to them

  • They don’t follow in the footsteps of Shaitaan
  • Being patient helps to refrain from falling into the trap of the Shaitaan
  • Being patient about things that are not clearly Haram or Halal. Asking for Allah’s guidance to help decide

When you run towards Allah, towards gaining His pleasure, towards attaining His love, everything in life will come to you easily, but the prerequisite is patience. No matter how much you run or struggle for this life, it will keep slipping away from you! Control your desires, and be patient – Allah will make it easy for you.

Rewards for being among As-Sabireen:

  • The love of Allah – the best of rewards. (Al-Imran 3:146)
  • The companionship of Allah (complete comfort and supporting all aspects of life and the Hereafter) – this is mentioned many times in Quran. Can you hope for a better companion than Allah?
  • Unlimited rewards, there are no bounds to their reward. (Az-Zumar 10)

“O ALLAH! MAKE US FROM AMONG THE PATIENT ONES” – Ameen

Tafseer Surah Luqman: Quran, Music and Idle Talk

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Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah)

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e.music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Quran) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire).” (Luqman 31:6)

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ And of the people are those who are محرومين  and مخذولين. They are deprived from happiness, disgraced and dispraised.

And when Our Verses (of the Qur’an) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment.

Why are they deprived and disgraced?

مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ they purchase idle talk that makes them heedless and deviated.  Allah is telling us that when someone chooses to purchase something, he has a desire for it and nobody is forcing him to. Qatadah said: “By Allah, he may not spend money on it, but his purchasing it means he likes it, and the more misguided he is, the more he likes it and the more he prefers falsehood to the truth and harmful things over beneficial things.”

What are the types of talk?

  • Truthful talk: is helpful and beneficial
  • Vain talk: neutral talk; it is neither good nor bad and it does not increase one’s knowledge but it will not harm him either
  • Harmful talk: these are the sins of the tongue: backbiting, lying, slandering, and mocking. It is important to safe guard the tongue from such talk and rely on Allah to be protected from such talk.
  • لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ is talk that is Haram; it is false and has no benefit in the Dunya or Akhirah.

Music and the Quran

The scholars have agreed that this verse indicates musical instruments and singing. Many people are in the misconception that the Quran does not explicitly mention that music is Haram but this verse makes it clear. It was said by scholars that singing and musical instruments sows hypocrisy in the hearts because it is not beneficial and deviates the heart from Allah’s remembrance.

What about Nasheeds?

The wisdom behind this verse is that sometimes Nasheeds become faster engrained in the hearts and minds of people than the Quran. The misconception is that Nasheeds increase in one’s faith, but if you really wish to increase your faith, then you have the Book of Allah! It is the speech of Allah that is unmatched by any other speech. This is Ihsaan, to worship Allah in the best way.

يقول أبو مالك الأشعري أنه سمع النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول

ليكونن من أمتي قوم يستحلون الحر والحرير والخمر والمعازف

Abu Malik Al-Ashari said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say, “From among my followers there will be people who will consider lawful (Halal) illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcohol and the use of musical instruments.” (Bukhari)

Musical instruments were “made Halal or lawful”, which means that in the time of the Messenger of Allah (sa), musical instruments were Haram. Singing is the sound of the Shaitan, it stirs people’s emotions and deprives them from working towards the noble goal that Allah created us for. This includes movies, theatres and cinemas.

What is the reason behind purchasing this idle talk?

لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ to mislead other from the path of Allah without knowledge. He will mislead someone else by spreading this disease of idle talk. He misguides himself and others from the Quran and Sunnah and Shaitan will tempt and trick us into thinking that the path of Allah is tedious.

وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا the next step is that he will mock the verses of Allah and never take it seriously. He will become busy with things that have no wisdom or value and this shows his misbehaviour and disrespect towards Allah and His verses.

أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ for those people is a humiliating torment. The word أُولَٰئِكَ is usually used to exalt something and raise its status, but in this verse it means that those people are outcasts and far from Allah’s mercy. This status started from purchasing idle talk, which lead to misleading himself and others, which lead to mockery of Allah and His verses. They are punished and belittled and will suffer humiliating torment because of their mockery.

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا وَلَّىٰ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا كَأَنَّ فِي أُذُنَيْهِ وَقْرًا ۖ فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

“And when Our Verses (of the Quran) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment.” (Luqman 31:7)

What is the condition of this person?

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا The verses of Allah are recited to this person because Allah has decreed that he will hear them and choose the path of guidance, but what is his response?

وَلَّىٰ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا كَأَنَّ فِي أُذُنَيْهِ وَقْرًا He turns away and rejects the verses of Allah with complete arrogance. These verses were meant to increase him in faith but rather, the idle talk and heedless words that he would listen to and relish have blinded his heart and the verse of Allah cannot penetrate into a sinful heart. Moreover, he turns away as though he cannot hear the verses at all because there is a deafness of heaviness in his ears. At this point, the person has rejected the truth as a result of ignorance and arrogance.

فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ So announce to him a painful torment. Allah will give him respite and show him the signs to bring him to guidance, but the person rejects this. The temporary satisfaction that he got out of this idle talk resulted in painful torment of the body and heart because he turned away from the speech and remembrance of Allah.

 Etiquettes and Manners of Reciting the Quran

  1. Sincerity: to be sincere to Allah in your intention and to recite it only for His sake
  2. Purity: it is recommended to make Wudhu and be in a purified state when reciting the Quran. However, a person in the state of Janabah is not allowed to recite the Quran. Also, the area he is sitting to recite should be clean and pure.
  3. Use of Miswak: to have a clean mouth before reciting the Quran is a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sa)
  4. Seeking refuge with Allah from Shaitan: Shaitan does not want you to recite the Quran and will distract you and discourage you
  5. Saying Bismillah: It should be said when starting a new Surah, except for Surah At-Taubah. When starting the middle of a Surah, however, it is enough that only the Istiadhah is said.
  6. Reciting clearly: to recite clearly and slowly without hastening, and to recite with Tajweed while pondering the meanings
  7. Beautifying the voice: beautify your voice when reciting the Quran without exceeding the limits of Tajweed
  8. Stop reciting if tired or sleepy: when tired or sleepy, it is better to stop reciting because you are not fully aware of what you are reciting.
  9. Patience with difficulty: It is mentioned in a Sahih Hadith that the one who recites the Quran with expertise is with the honourable angels, while the one who has difficulty reciting gets two rewards: reward for reciting and reward for patience
  10. Facing the Qiblah: it is from the manners of reciting the Quran but it is also allowed to recite in any other position; sitting, walking, riding and even if you are lying down. The best way is to sit and face the Qiblah.

 

Surah Hujurat in our Lives (Part 2)

Hujurat

Verse 2

“O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet (sa), nor speak aloud to him in talk, as you speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds should be rendered fruitless, while you perceive not.

This verse specifies the special manners to be practiced with Prophet Muhammad (sa) and includes the following instruction: Don’t raise your voice above the Prophet’s (sa) voice.

This addresses two categories of people: those living during his lifetime and those who came after them (including us). To the Sahabah, the instruction is: don’t talk louder than the Prophet (sa) or don’t talk over him. For us today, the command is to refrain from making our speech more valuable than or over-riding the words of the Prophet (sa) (his Sunnah).

There are two reasons for the revelation of this verse, as recorded in Bukhari. One is the story of Thabit ibn Qais (rtam), and another is the story of Abu Bakr (rtam) and Umar (rtam).

Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abi Mulaykah said: “The two righteous ones, Abu Bakr (rtam) and Umar (rtam), almost earned destruction when they raised their voices before the Prophet (sa), who was receiving the delegation of Bani Tamim. One of them recommended Al-Aqra ibn Habis, the member of the Banu Mujashi, while the other recommended another man. Nafi (a sub-narrator) said: ‘I don’t remember his name.’ Abu Bakr (rtam) said to Umar (rtam): ‘You only wanted to contradict me,’ while Umar (rtam) said: ‘I did not intend to contradict you.’ Their voices then became loud; thereupon Allah, the Exalted, sent down this Ayah. Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr (rtam) said: ‘After that, Umar’s (rtam) voice became so low that the Messenger of Allah (sa) had to ask him to repeat what he had said, so that he could understand what he was saying to him.’”

Bukhari also recorded that Anas ibn Malik (rtam) said: “The Prophet (sa) missed Thabit bin Qays and a man said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I will find out about his news.’ That man went to Thabit and found him sitting at home with his head lowered and asked him: ‘What is the matter?’ Thabit said: ‘An evil matter!’ And he said that he used to raise his voice above the voice of the Prophet (sa). He feared that his good deeds would be rendered useless, and he would be among the people of the fire. The man went back to the Prophet (sa), conveyed Thabit’s statement and returned to Thabit with wonderful news. The Prophet (sa) had said: ‘Go back to him and tell him this news: you are not among the people of the fire; rather, you are among the dwellers of paradise.’”

Note: the instruction to not speak loudly is different from raising one’s voice. It means: when you want to call him, don’t do so in a loud voice. Don’t talk to him directly in an outspoken manner. Don’t converse with the Prophet (sa) like you converse with each other. If he calls you, you need to respond. You can’t expect him to respond to you whenever you want. He is the Prophet (sa) and you have to show him respect. Remember, these instructions were directed at the Sahabah, the most pious individuals!

With instructions come the warnings. What if one does not obey these instructions? The answer: their deeds will be nullified and rendered void. Like a tornado, this action will blow away all prayers, Sadaqah and Jihad.

What was the reaction of the Sahabah? After this verse was revealed, they started whispering in front of the Prophet (sa), to the extent that sometimes he could not even hear them!

Now, let’s come to us! What is the impact of this verse for us? What is it instructing us to do today? There are four aspects of obeying this verse:

1) We should not talk loudly in Masjid An-Nabawi, where the Prophet (sa) is buried. Recall the story that once after the death of the Prophet (sa), Umar ibn Al-Khattab (rtam) heard two men chattering in raised voices in the Masjid and he admonished them: “Do you know where you are standing?

From where do you come from?” It turned out these two men were from Taif. Since they were unaware of the etiquette, Umar (rtam) commanded them to talk softly in the Masjid.

2) We have to respect the Ahadeeth and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) by obeying them.

3) Appreciating the Prophet (sa) is a way of showing gratitude to Allah (swt) that He sent a Messenger (sa) to us to guide us and lead us towards the straight path.

4) Our good manners should extend towards the scholars who are teaching us. After the Prophet (sa), they are our teachers who are delivering the message of Allah (swt) to us. This respect should be in moderation – one should be careful to not elevate the status of scholars or go to extremes in following them.

After the Prophet (sa), the Sahabah assumed the role of teachers. The Tabieen used to learn from them, and they in turn, became the educators of the generation after them. In this manner, future generations graduated from the university of the Prophet (sa).

Today, we see individuals backbiting scholars. One must remember that scholars are human. They can make mistakes. However, scholars follow the same Aqeedah and Sunnah, and have knowledge from which one can benefit! The minute differences are in terms of Fiqh. Sometimes, people get enraged over a Fatwa that is not in accordance with their convenience. They use this as an excuse to spread negativity about that particular scholar. This is a very serious matter and a cause of deviation! People who spread malice in the society about scholars are usually over-ridden with jealousy, envy, following of Nafs and a desire to imitate others.

Remember: scholars are teachers and they need to be shown respect. The same warning as given above applies to all of us. If we don’t show this respect to the Prophet (sa), the pious predecessors and the sincere scholars among us today, our deeds will not be accepted. Note also that this respect needs to come from the heart. It should not be mere lip service.

To be continued in the upcoming issue of “Hiba”. Adapted by Umme Ibrahim from a workshop conducted by sister Eman of “Al-Huda Sisters”, Dubai.

Most Beloved People to Allah – The Muhsinoon

Beloved People

“…indeed, Allah loves the doers of good (the Muhsinoon).” (Al-Baqarah 2:195)

Who are the Muhsinoon?

  1. They spend in the cause of Allah (swt).
  2. They refrain from harming themselves on purpose.
  3. They engage in Ihsan (excellence) at all levels.

The third point is the key here – they engage in Ihsan. Now what is Ihsan exactly?

  1. It is the purest of faith.
  2. It is the soul of the faith
  3. It indicates completion of faith.

Why is Ihsan so important that it actually indicates completion of faith?

The reason is when you inculcate Ihsan, you achieve excellence in all your good deeds. This is because you perform every action as though you are seeing Allah (swt) Himself. You end up doing your best ALL the time because you are Allah-conscious. At the same time, you are also aware that Allah (swt) is watching you. Once this feeling is firm in your heart, you will be able to conquer such negative habits as anger.

Such a person has the following characteristics:

  1. S/he is very cautious about oneself.
  2. S/he is never heedless.
  3. S/he analyzes one’s actions very closely – there is a commendable level of accountability.
  4. S/he engages in every good deed with excellence.

Characteristics of Muhsineen mentioned in the Quran:

The characteristics of the Muhsineen, as defined in the Quran, are as follows:

  1. They are Muslims.
  2. They believe in the five pillars of Islam and the articles of faith.
  3. They submit to Allah’s (swt) commands without questioning them. They only seek His love and His pleasure.
  4. They abstain from whatever Allah (swt) has forbidden. If they unintentionally do anything prohibited, they discard it as soon as they find out it is not allowed, Islamically.
  5. They perform acts of worship with excellence. Their hearts are free of riya (hidden shirk) or any intention of showing off.
  6. They are just. Whether in relationships, or when judging between people, they strive to be just.
  7. They measure their words carefully and speak only what is best. They don’t even come near to any of the tongue terrors.
  8. They give their wealth in charity for the sake of Allah (swt), regardless of their own circumstances (healthy, wealthy, poor, in distress or in good times). Money is not very important to them.
  9. They never complain to Allah (swt) and implore to Him: Why me? In all circumstances, they accept the Divine will and predestination. They think good of Allah (swt) at all times.
  10. They perform good deeds for Allah’s sake, not so people would call them perfectionists.
  11. They do get angry if someone or something irks them. However, they try to suppress it and do not react. Their anger is never apparent on the outside.
  12. They pardon and forgive people for their shortcomings.

Are you wondering if ANYONE can ever fit the above-mentioned qualities? Remember Prophet Yusuf (as). He forgave his brothers and did not punish them in kind for what they had done to him. Similarly, remember Prophet Muhammad (sa), the best of the Muhsineen.

Allah’s reward for the Muhsineen

Allah’s (swt) greatest reward for them is His Love for them. Imagine how the person will be if Allah (swt) loves him/her! S/he has obtained the Love of Allah (swt), who is the Master, the Owner, the King of all kings, the Bestower, the Most Merciful, the Forgiver, the Most Rich, the Forbearer, the Nurturer, and the Disposer of affairs!

“Indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of the doers of good.” (At-Taubah 9:120)

Repressing a Rage – Lessons from the Sunnah

hadith

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that a man said to the Prophet (sa): “Advise me!” The Prophet (sa) replied: “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet (sa) said in each case: “Do not become angry and furious.” (Bukhari)

Consider this: Why did Prophet Muhammad (sa) repeat this advice? It was for effect. Our hearts are like a valley; it needs lots water in order to clean it. Repetition is good for your ‘Yaqeen’, and for your heart. Repetition of key information will provide you with a firm base upon which you can accordingly alter your conduct.

Now let’s analyze the meaning of the Hadeeth: The core phrase is ‘La Tagdab’ – don’t be angry. Why? This is because anger is like Shaitan throwing fire in the heart of the son of Adam. We usually say the phrase: “My blood is boiling.” The heart of an angry person is considered to be boiling. We also say: “My face turned red with rage.” This is because an angry person gets red-faced and thus, anger becomes visible to others.

Why do you get angry? Here’s a checklist:

  • When I am humiliated by someone
  • When I feel that I am losing control                                                              .
  • When I feel threatened
  • When I encounter difficulty in dealing with people
  • When things don’t go the way I had planned
  • When something disrupts my schedule
  • When people around me behave inconsiderately
  • When people deal with me in a way that is unacceptable
  • My pride/ego is hurt/bruised

What accompanies anger?

  • You are angry about one particular thing but you will end up picking a fight with everyone around you on some other petty issues.
  • You will suddenly remember all your old peeves and problems. Shaytan will make you recall these bad memories – this happens especially between spouses.
  • You perceive everything negatively. An angry person always tries to harm the people most beloved to them – with actions and with words.
  • Regret. When you calm down, you are filled with remorse. To apologize is very difficult.
  • Extreme anger can be dangerous, especially if it leads to speeding on the road, for example.
  • Anger leads to numerous diseases.

Points to remember

  1. Not being able to accept a negative situation negates your Tawakkul (trust in Allah (swt)) and your belief in Allah (swt)’s Name: al-Wakeel.
  2. Don’t assume everybody knows the same as you do, or thinks the same as you do. When things happen against your expectations, you get angry and frustrated. In life, deal with Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will give you more than you expect. Surely, Jannah is more than our expectations. When things go wrong again and again, this is nurturing from Allah (swt).
  3. Don’t react when you are angry. How? Turn to Allah (swt): Ya Rabbi, you keep me firm. People think their power manifests itself with anger, when they yell, scream, hit or throw things. In contrast, the Prophet (sa) said: “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” (Bukhari)
  4. Recall the rewards of suppressing your rage. The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Whoever suppresses his rage, while he is able to exact it, Allah (swt) will call him before all of creation (on the Day of Judgement) so that he can choose whichever of the Hoor he wishes.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The key to deal with the anger

  1. Ignore, ignore, ignore. Turn a deaf ear. Don’t take everything personally.
  2. Remember the Sunnah: Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah (sa) said to us: “If one of you is angry when he is standing, let him sit down so that the anger will leave him; otherwise, let him lie down.” (Abu Dawood)
  3. Make Wudhu if you are still angry.
  4. Leave the room. Walk away from the situation. Resolve to deal with it when you are calm.
  5. Remember that the Prophet (sa) only got angry for the sake of Allah (swt).