Happiness is- When You Act Alhumdulillah

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What makes a person happy- his money, his family or entertainment? If looked deeply- none of these things really matter. People live on soft beds, eat the best food, have the most loving and compassionate family and friends- but still end up claiming that they are not happy; or just do not have enough of what they want.

While, on the other hand, there are people who regardless of having no such luxuries in their life- shun smiles that reflect the light of happiness in their hearts. Well, psychologists have scientifically proven that our overall happiness in life doesn’t depends on how much we have in terms of material things, or love from others; rather it depends on how much gratitude we show.

In our monotonous life routine, we don’t realize that how blessed we are.

We forget that our Lord tells us in the Holy Quran that, And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.””(Ibrahim 14:7). This verse is a blessing for us. Here Allah (swt) says that he will increase us- keeping the term general-  it means that if we show gratitude, Allah (swt) will increase us in different ways, things, and in different dimensions; there are endless possibilities.

Gratitude contributes to our lives in tremendous ways. It improves our relationship with Allah (swt) and with the people around us.

Psychological studies have shown that gratitude makes us more optimistic, and correlates with mental and physical wellbeing, as well as, generosity.

Hence, overall gratitude is related to all the good things in life- especially happiness; the incentive behind every drive of ours.

It is very important that we know what gratitude really is, and how it should be exhibited. Just saying Alhumdulillah is not enough. We have to confront deeply, and acknowledge that whatever Allah (swt) has given us is best for us. Gratitude should be brought into action as well; it should be exhibited in the way we talk, the way we pray, and the way we deal with the ones around us. It also not just limited to Allah (swt); we should also be thankful to the ones around us as they  are a blessing from Allah (swt).

The recipe for happiness seems pretty simple- you just have to say thank you; however, it isn’t easy sometimes I can understand, but it’s also not that hard.

These simple things can help you to show more gratitude. But, before you do any of these- first realize that we were once just a drop of semen, a clot of blood, we were nothing, and it was Allah (swt) who made us a human being with an identity, a name, a soul, and whatever we have. Allah (swt) doesn’t owe anything to us.

First of all, we should realize that ups and downs are a part of life. Dunya wasn’t meant to be perfect, it isn’t Jannah. With every hardship, we are experiencing some good happening to us at the same time.

Secondly, before sleeping and after waking up, we must count our blessing, or compare ourselves with those who are less fortunate than us; praise Allah (swt) as much as possible through Dhikr, Salah, and other ways of worship.

Thirdly, we should motivate ourselves to show gratitude by thinking about the reward, and the blessings we will get by showing gratitude; and fear that our ingratitude could displease our master.

Fourthly, make lots and lots of this Dua, and talk to Allah (swt),

Allah humma A’inni Ala Dhikrika Wa Shukrika Wa Husni Ibadatika

Fifth, we should avoid using words like ‘If’ and ‘I wish’, and avoid focusing on what we hate- rather we should try to focus on what we already have, and the goodness it brings to us; and how we can make the best out of it.

Finally,  keep a gratitude journal where you write about the things you are really thankful for. In your Duas, tell Allah (swt) that how happy you are about the thing you have. Tell your mom, dad, and family or friends that you love them, and appreciate their efforts for you.

Sky or Paradise- What is your Limit?

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“Sky is the limit” is a common phrase used for encouraging people to achieve the highest of their targets. Why not? After all, shouldn’t a person desire and attempt for a higher and higher goal? Striving hard and moving ahead must be the objective of each and every enterprising man. But, noteworthy is the theme this slogan carries, “Sky is the limit”. Its just a mundane slogan having nothing to do with achieving the skills spiritually too.

Therefore, let’s renounce this secular traditional phrase, and say it like: “Paradise is the limit”?  With just a little amendment, using “Paradise” in place of “Sky”, the entire scenario alters and encourages to-  acquire the goals worldly, as well as, spiritually.  Jannat ul Firdous, the Paradise, receives the priority now.  With this minute modification, one’s entire focus gets remoulded. So, why not should we make an effort for the highest achievements in life, here and hereafter? Why should we remain deprived of the divine rewards from Allah (swt) in the Paradise?

 

Wonder cage around our chest

 

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One must not have pondered over why our chest is secured by a round cage of ribs. It could have been in a square or rectangle form.  Had it been so, men and women would have faced innumerable obstacles, and the life would have gone miserable. Each time there would be a danger of collision with the cage of another person it would have resulted in wounds and cracks in the ribs-, creating additional damages to other parts of the body too.

Hence, its Allah (swt) Who has wisely framed our bodies. The cage of the chest is always round instead of being rectangular or square.

 

 

Sexual Abuse – A WakeUp Call for Parents!

 

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This piece of information is specially for those who send their children to schools with drivers and servants; those who send their children alone to Madrassas and tuitions; those who leave their children behind alone with servants and teachers; and those who let their adult friends play with their children alone; or at times, even let them take them for a drive. Please note- abuse is not restricted to girls only.

Sexual Harassment is an epidemic that is still widely unattended. It is committed every day in several places of Pakistan. Even the Western world is not spared of this heinous act.

Every two hours somewhere a child is sexually molested in Pakistan. This statistic is based on the few cases that are actually reported by hospitals. These cases are so disturbing that none could be penned here. Most of the cases go on unreported.

When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called “Sexual Assault”. The offender is referred to as “Sexual Abuser” or “Molester”. Molestation is defined as the touching or fondling of the private parts of a child; or asking a child to touch or fondle an adult’s private parts.

A child is “Sexually Abused” when they are forced, or persuaded to take part in sexual activities.This doesn’t have to be physical contact, and it can happen online- which is extremely common these days. Most of the time, the child won’t even understand that he/she is being abused.They may not even understand that it’s wrong. Most of the victims are very young, and cannot understand, or even remember in the future.

Mostly, abuse begins with innocent physical contact. A needy adult then makes this a routine. Once a routine is developed, it is not uncommon to progress to intercourse. The most common perpetrators of sexual abuse are: a family member, a servant, or a close friend of the family.

Sexual abuse by a stranger is quite uncommon; it commonly comes to light when the child discloses the incident of sexual contact to a trusted adult.

Historically, a child’s word was not taken seriously. Mostly, children realize when they become mature enough, that they have been abused.

The molesters have no age barriers. They are found in all age brackets. The most innocent looking weak elderly can be a horrifying molester. It can be termed as a psychological abnormality. We must educate ourselves and our children about sexual abuse. This topic is not discussed enough; hence, millions of innocent children fall prey to sexual harassment every single day. It is our responsibility to protect our children.There is a scary amount of data which could be shared, but it may disturb many people, especially children. Every now and then, we come across soul wrenching events of sexual abuse that involve children’s own family members. After hearing such incidents, one starts to wonder who could be trusted. Most common events take place with teachers, uncles, servants and drivers.

Children must not be left alone with servants, uncles and male teachers. Their clothes must not be too revealing or too tight.

Frustrated and needy people are everywhere; there is no need to dress up children in enticing outfits. If one wants to learn how common sexual abuse is, a visit to a government hospital emergency ward, and a short discussion with the staff may suffice the need. People couldn’t sleep for days after hearing the horrible stories.

It is difficult to manage keeping an eye on children at all times, but parenting is a challenging job. Parents need to make sure their children are properly protected. They need to make smart and careful decisions. It is a known fact that children who experience the trauma of sexual abuse are scarred for life. Parent’s responsibility is to protect their children from all potential threats.

 

[Transcription] Sunnah of Marriage and its Amazing Benefits

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Assalamu Alaiykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

O Slaves of Allah (swt), look around you; look at the amazing creation of Allah (swt) around you; look at the laws that Allah (swt) governs His creation with. As human beings, you and I, we need food and drink to survive, we need air to breathe, and we need a proper shelter to protect ourselves. Likewise, as human beings, we need relationships in the form of family and friends to survive. We are not a creation that was created to live in solitude. As our Maker rightfully states in the Noble Quran,

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) Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Al Hujurat 49:13)

Our Powerful and Beloved Maker also states in the Noble Quran,

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.”(Ar-Rum  30:21)

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, just pause for a moment to reflect. Our Powerful Maker, if He had willed, He could have created us with no need at all towards a mate or a spouse. He could have created us like certain unicellular organisms, and made us to reproduce by ourselves without the need for a mate or a partner. But, on the other hand, out of His infinite power and wisdom, He created us in pairs. As He states,

And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember (the Grace of Allah).” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:49)

From this, we understand that marriage is one of Allah’s (swt) laws; one of the laws of Allah (swt), as well as, a great and beautiful Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa). So, for today’s episode, as I am sure, most of you must have already guessed, it is going to be about the beautiful Sunnah of Nikkah; the beautiful Sunnah of marriage. The blessed bond of marriage is something that holds a position of perpetual significance- because of the pivotal role it plays in a human being’s life. Therefore, the pure teachings of Islam encourage marriage and discourages monasticism. In one narration, the Prophet (sa) is reported to have said:

“Monasticism has not been enjoined upon us, Do you not have a role model, a beautiful role model in me?” The narration goes along the lines of these words… “By Allah (swt)- verily I fear Allah (swt), and I stay away from His boundaries more than any of you.” (Bukhari)

Look at the words of Prophet (sa). The Prophet (sa), is also reported to have said (and the narration has been recorded in the book of Imam Bukhari (ra) and Imam Muslim (ra):

The narration goes along the lines of these words:

Indeed, I swear by Allah (swt), I fear Allah (swt), and I am conscious of Allah (swt) better than any of you; yet, I fast some days and break my fast on others. I pray part of the night and sleep part of the night, and I marry women. So, anyone who dislikes my Sunnah is not a follower of me.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

And, we are all familiar with the famous narration of the Prophet (sa) where he addresses youth, and this narration is recorded in Bukhari and Muslim.

“O youth, those among you who can afford marriage, should do so, for it lowers the gaze and guards the private parts from fornication. And those who cannot afford it, should fast, for fasting is like a shield (i.e. it suppresses the desire of an individual, and protects him from that which is forbidden, that which is Haram).” 

Alhumdulillah, now that we have established that marriage is one of the laws of Allah (swt), governing mankind, as well as, a great Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa). It is sure to have many virtues and advantages attached to it. So, let’s discuss a few of them.

  1. Preservation of one’s faith and Deen

A righteous spouse is considered to be a ticket to paradise- a ticket to Jannah. Righteous spouses help and assist one another in pleasing Allah (swt), obeying Allah (swt) and staying away from that which displeases Allah (swt). The Prophet (sa) is reported to have said:

When Allah (swt) grants an individual a righteous wife, He has helped him to preserve or safeguard half of his Deen. Let him then fear and be conscious of Allah (swt), in regard to the other half of his Deen.

(Tabarani)

  1. Helps in preservation of one’s chastity and purity

We men, it’s part of our Fitrah, our natural disposition that we have a desire for women, and women have a desire for men; the devil seizes this opportunity to entice us, and seduce us with the opposite gender. But, a married individual has a quick means of protection to protect himself from the seductions, and the snares of the devil. For after all, what on earth can a woman have that his wife does not already have?

  1. The couple enjoys love, mercy, closeness, intimacy and security

 Love and mercy are extremely important sentiments that brighten an individual’s life, and Allah (swt) states in the verse mentioned earlier- that He has placed love and mercy, passion and compassion between the two spouses.

He also states in another place,

“They are Libas (i.e. body cover, or screen), or Sakan (i.e. you enjoy the pleasure of living with her), for you and you are the same for them.” (Al Baqarah  2:187)

There is this wonderful feeling of closeness and intimacy that is savoured, and enjoyed by the married couple.

  1. The lawful fulfillment of desires

 As I stated earlier, that our Maker has instilled in us the desire for the opposite gender, this desire can be fulfilled in unlawful ways which will bring about disastrous effects upon the individuals, as well as, societies at large. But, alternatively from the favours of our Lord is that He provided for us with marriage- a lawful avenue for venting out our desires. Our beautiful religion is the only religion, I think, that considers even the sexual relationship between two spouses a form of Ibadah; a form of worship. Look at this amazing narration where some of the companions of the Prophet (sa) go to him, and complain about the wealthy individuals from them enjoying a better chance at getting more rewards than them. They went and said to him, that they pray and fast like us, but they dish out charity from the surplus of wealth that they have at their disposal. The prophet (sa) asked them, but has not Allah (swt) given you that which you may offer as charity? And, then he taught them something just mind blowing:

Every Tasbeeh, saying Subhan’Allah is a charity.

Every Takbeer, saying Allahu Akbar is a charity.

Every Tehleel, saying La illaha illa Allah is a charity.

Every Tahmeed, saying Alhumdulillah is a charity.

 Enjoining good and forbidding evil is charity

Having a sexual relationship with your spouse is also considered a charity.

The Sahabah (rta) (companions) were amazed, they asked the Prophet (sa): “Ya Rasool Allah (sa), even the sexual relationship that an individual enjoys with his spouse is considered a charity? And, the Prophet (sa) went on to clarify that: “Yes! (The narration goes along the lines in these words). For if that individuals were to fulfill his desires in a Haram, in a forbidden manner, of course, he would be sinning. So, if he were to fulfill it in a Halal manner with his spouse, through the beautiful bond of marriage, naturally he has to be rewarded by Allah (swt).” (Bukhari)

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, with that we conclude today’s episode.

Jazakumullahu Khairan, WassalaamuAlaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

Judge not, that ye be not judged

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Ever felt, eyes following you while you walked through the gate of your workplace or institute? Or whispers following you as you pass by. I’m sure you have. We all have. But unfortunately, not only have we been the victims of these scanning eyes and creepy whispers- but also, the culprit and offender. Yes, admit it. We have been the offenders as well. At least, most of us are. Most of us do it as an instinctive habit, or an automatic reflex. Especially us females, we just need to evaluate and comment. We need to realize that it is ethically and religiously wrong.

We are human beings, created weak, and full of flaws. We are extremely imperfect. We all make mistakes, we have our weaknesses, and we all have our flaws. Just because your colleague has flaws different than you, it doesn’t make you a better person.

Or, just because your class mate sins differently, or in a more obvious way than you- you might be a better Muslim than her. Who gave us the right to judge? What do we know what is in the heart of a person? What do we know about his problems? Only Allah (swt) knows. He knows and only He can judge.

The more one judges, the less one loves

Even worse is judging people on the things they have no control over- such as: race, colour, skin colour, height, or any physical feature. Always remember Allah (swt) made us the way we are, and Allah (swt) is Perfect.

The next time you ridicule someone’s fat nose- remember, you are making fun of something Allah (swt) has created.

We can easily laugh at a fat person. But, little do we know, how much it can kill that person from inside; how much it can hurt his confidence. Maybe, the person you are calling fat might have a disease he might be fighting day and night with. Did our religion, our beautiful religion, teach us to be such monsters, filled with so much apathy?

Yes, she might not be wearing Hijab- but little do you know that she stays up all night praising Allah (swt) and asking forgiveness; while you sleep carelessly all night, and wear your Hijab with arrogance. We don’t know. That’s why we should never judge a book by its cover.

Never judge a person for the sin he might have done. Allah (swt) might have already forgiven the person you might be talking about.

Imagine, where does that place you? Only Allah (swt) knows what is in the hearts of people, only He knows the intentions- the intentions of good deeds and bad deeds. A person might be despising a sin he might be committing- trying day and night to end it; while a person who prays five times a day in Masjid might be doing it just to show the world. Who do you think is more rewarded- the person struggling hard to leave a sin, or the person praying just to show off?

Let’s learn to admire the good in people. Let’s learn to be kind; let’s learn to be less judgemental and more loving. Let’s learn to find our own faults and strive to correct them. No one is perfect. Only Allah (swt) is flawless!

Allah (swt) Forgives All Sins

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By Anoshia Riaz

Being worried and concerned about the day that you are going to meet Allah (swt) – the Day of Judgement- when all the secrets of your heart will lay bare if you have not sought forgiveness.

Why I say if you have not sought forgiveness?

Because Islam is based on mercy- it is a religion of peace and mercy. It starts off with the terms or the words of the blessed noble Quran, right at the beginning, known as Surah-Al-Fatiha.

Al humdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen

You are praising your Maker. You are declaring all praise to the Maker-the Rabb. The Rabb here refers to the One who created-
Nourisher, Cherisher, Sustainer, Provider, Protector, and Curer.

All these terms are included in the term Rabbun, made of two letters in the Arabic language: One Raa and two Baa. So, praise be to Allah (swt), Lord of the worlds. Then what does Allah (swt) say?

Allah (swt) declares immediately that not only is He the Merciful, but the faith that He has asked you to believe, to be a follower of the faith of mercy; the faith that is based on hope, not the faith that is based on the wrath and the anger of Allah (swt). Therefore, he could have chosen after “Alhumdulillahi Rabb-il Aal’ameen” whatever he wanted. He could have spoken about punishment, he could have spoken about so many other things- but, he chose to say “Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem” – the qualities which are repeated by me and you who pray so many times a day. Every unit of prayer, we repeat Allah (swt) is the one who is “Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem” – the Merciful, the Merciful. It’s actually Merciful twice. Different types of mercy, one is ‘broader’ than the other. This is making mention of how beautiful the faith is. That is why, I say that those who repent, and who seek forgiveness from Allah (swt). Wallahi, my dear brothers and sisters, your sin is wiped out. Never let the devil come back to you and make you think: “You know what, your sin was too big and you are not forgiven.” No way! That is one of the plots of devil. Allah (swt) says,

“Say: “O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful..” (Az-Zumar 39:53)

Do not become despondent; if you become despondent, or if you despair, or if you think that your sin is not forgiven by Allah (swt) – you have insulted Allah (swt) because He says,

Allah (swt) will forgive all sins. What you need to do is repent. Which brings me to a point that Muslim is he or she who constantly turns to Allah (swt): “O Allah forgive me! There are sins I have committed that I don’t even know. I was on a street today, and I looked at things that might displease you. There are things that I might have said today which you did not like. Ya’Allah (swt) forgive me for the sins I know, and the sins I do not know. I admit, I regret, I seek forgiveness and I promise I would not do it again. Those are the four conditions of the acceptance of your repentance.

The best Muslim constantly seeks the forgiveness of Allah (swt). The Prophet Muhammad (sa) was the ultimate best. No competition, hands down. He was the best.

What did he do?

Look at the Ahadeeth.

Look at the sayings of the companions where they say that he sought forgiveness around 70 times a day, 100 times a day. Why?

He was sinless, spotless. But, it is because it was a lesson for every one of us. You want to be the best Muslim. Learn to turn to Allah (swt), everyday!

Seek forgiveness of Allah (swt). I will tell you, start your day seeking forgiveness of Allah (swt) every single day, and you end your day seeking forgiveness of Allah (swt) each day. One day you will leave this world. And, if you make this a habit of seeking forgiveness, the day you leave this Earth, you would have sought forgiveness of Allah (swt) on that same day. So, when your deeds go up, the angels will obviously have the deeds laid bare, and it will be seen that the day you died, you told Allah (swt): “O Allah (swt), I seek your forgiveness.”

Be hopeful my brothers and sisters, this is a religion of hope! Never let the devil make you think you are right off! The best Muslim is he who constantly has hope in the mercy of Allah (swt); who knows that the devil wants to trap me.

Video URL (courtesy Muslim Speakers YouTube Channel) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNphN65mJjE

Everything about Jannah will be Upgraded

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And the slaves of the Most Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness. And those who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing. And those who say: “Our Lord! Avert from us the torment of Hell. Verily! Its torment is ever an inseparable, permanent punishment.”Evil indeed it (Hell) is as an abode and as a place to dwell. And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes). And those who invoke not any other Ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace; except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds, then verily, he repents towards Allah with true repentance. And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity. And those who, when they are reminded of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat. And those who say: “Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun.(Al-Furqan 25:63-74)

“The slaves of Allah (swt) who control their anger; and also those who pray in the middle of the night; and also those who make Dua to be saved from the fire of Jahannum; and also those who are financially responsible; and also and also….”

Slaves of Allah (swt), masters in Jannah!

They will be compensated with very high, lofty mansions. They will be given palaces because of the Sabr they had. Because of the patience they had.

What is Allah (swt) telling us? All of these qualities require what? Sabr.

What does Sabr mean?

Sabr does not only mean patience; it means constancy. Let me tell you what constancy is because Ramadan is coming. Some people become very good Muslims in the month of Ramadan, but they don’t have the Sabr to continue after Ramadan.

You can have these good qualities. You can control your anger, but you say that I controlled it for like two months, I ran out of gas. Then, I went back to normal again. No. no! Sabr means when you take these qualities for life. If you are able to make that a lifestyle choice, then you get Jannah.

And, they are going to be greeted by angels in Jannah. They are walking in there, and they are going to be greeted:

“Assalam-o-Alaikum! You are here! So happy to see you, this is your palace. Congratulations! It has all of these entrances. By the way, there is a waterfall on the back, go check it out.”

All of this, and they are giving you a full tour of the palaces. You are being greeted. Angels are your tour guide in Jannah.

And, when you go to an expensive place- you know, sometimes, hotels look like palaces. You go and spend how many nights in the hotel? One. Two. It is expensive.  And, then you realize- I am going to leave, but I should take some pictures before I go. Or, you go to some beautiful island, some beautiful resort for vacation- how long do you stay there? Just a little bit.

You are being given this beautiful tour. Allah (swt) says, “Khali-dee-naa Fee-haa” they are going to stay here. This is not temporary. It is your home now. This is where you are going to live. This is such an awesome place to be temporarily and long-term. Now the question comes, how come Allah (swt) mentions Jannah temporarily? Why did he mention “Must-aqarr”? Because if you make it to one level of Jannah, it might be that Allah (swt) is giving you the option, it might be that He might upgrade you to the executive suite.  Next level of Jannah!

So, this home that you have in Jannah- as awesome as it is- might be temporary. Because, Allah (swt) is going to upgrade you; it might be that when you are upgraded, Allah (swt) is about to upgrade you again. And, so this is an open Ayat for Muslims. It may be that as Jannah has seven levels, you make it to level one. May be you made it to the basement of level one. Then, Allah (swt) is offering you over time, Must-aqarr, more above and above. I will keep giving you better, Subhan’Allah! It is awesome.

In one of the descriptions of Jannah in the Quran, we find:

“Maa-kitheen-aa Fee-h’i Aba’da’a – In which they will remain forever” [Al- Kahf 18:3]

Maa’kith, in Arabic Language, means someone who is waiting for something and they are excited. Musa (as) told his family: “Wait here! I am going to go and see that fire! Um-ku-su’o, you stay here.”

When they are staying, are they waiting excitedly? Like I can’t wait till he comes back, or they may be like: “Yeah! Might as well stay here”. No! They are nervous, they are excited, and they are waiting for the next thing. Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “We will constantly be waiting in Jannah with excitement.” You know what that means?

Allah (swt) will give you fruit and you will eat it like: “Aah! that was amazing!” And then, you are excited because the next delivery is coming. Then, Allah (swt) will show you a palace, and you will be so happy; but then you are excited because the next palace is about to be shown. You are constantly going to be upgraded, and this is going to happen forever. You can’t go beyond iPhone 5 guys; you have to wait, and you have to make Dua for six. You got Samsung whatever that is it. You have to wait till the upgrade. But, everything in Jannah will be upgraded, permanently, permanently, you keep moving upwards.

That is: “…Hasunat musta-qar-ranw-wa muqaamaa – Good is the settlement and residence. [Al Furqan 25:76].”

I shared these verses with you because I want to encourage you and your families to be Ibad-ur-Rahman. Allah (swt) did not tell us that you have to do all of this. He said at least do one of these. Give me one of these, so I have a reason to call you Ibad-ur-Rahman. Give Allah (swt) a reason to call you Ibad-ur-Rahman. Give Allah (swt) a reason, you know. He is so loving and kind that instead of setting higher requirements, he lowers the requirements. Okay, you can’t do that one, how about this one, how about this one. Subhan’Allah.

May Allah (swt) truly make us Ibad-ur-Rahman; and may Allah (swt) put Barakah in this community. Ameen!

 

Transcribed by Anoshia Riaz

 

Less is more: The Hazards Of Over-Parenting

 

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When my son was born- naturally, I was overjoyed. The mommy in me thought- now is the time to materialize the ‘to-do’ list I have been preparing since as long as I can remember.

My dreams,my desires, my wishes, my passions, my plans, my goals, my wants, my, my…and only my!

But, when things don’t go the way you planned in your head, you just tend to over-do it. You become somewhat reactive, and do more of something rather than less. If children are not listening to you, you most certainly will raise your voice, rather than lower it. If they are struggling with something, you jump in with plenty of ideas, rather than keeping quiet, or offering to help when needed. However, knowing that a softer voice would probably be more effective in getting their attention, but you have little or no faith at all in that notion.

With all the workshops, courses and webinars we have attended; the text we have read, and the discussions we have gone through; and thanks to the social media- there are strong assumptions that when our children are struggling, it means they need more: more attention, more time, more focus, more love, more rewards – maybe more warnings, and more punishments. Parents may wonder, for instance, if my daughter seems to be daydreaming lately, so perhaps, she needs more attention from her parents. My son isn’t doing too well in school this term/semester/year- perhaps, he needs more focus from teachers and parents. Or, my little one seems to have low self-esteem,  maybe he needs more love, acknowledgement, praise and rewards.

Stop Over-Giving, Over-Admiring, Over-Rewarding, and Over-Sharing

Anything in excess is never good. Mommies need to be wise enough to strike a balance between emotional needs, physical and material needs. How to attain that wisdom? We have many options now, but don’t delve too much in it for you will begin to over-think about matters which don’t even exist.

Maybe for some kids and for some parents, this is true; but, most of the time it is not. Often, giving more of those things is a sure way to impair our children, and you may push them towards being dependent all the time. Even though, we react this way out of unconditional love, we can be causing the very opposite outcome of what we intended.

One thing parents really need to be trained for is- to make your child independent; because, face it- you will not always be around to make things better for them. Why not start earlier and make them more responsible?

Years from now, when my son was still an infant, I was watching a talk show. This woman’s philosophy to make a child in-charge, made me realize how important it is to start early on. Don’t do everything for them, that way your prime focus is not to spoon-feed your child. What she said after made so much sense to me. When you are doing every little thing for your child, one – you are paralyzing them; and two – when your child is all grown up, you miss doing chores for them. And hence, you feel you have nothing left to do anymore. You end up in misery, and this causes major issues when you become the dreaded mother-in-law. When instead of you- someone else is running errands for your son.

From the very first day, we’ve been conditioned to over-do for our kids. By over-giving, over-rewarding, and over-admiring, we are contributing to their ultimate dependence on, perhaps, everything.

As a result, many kids believe, they can’t manage their schoolwork without help from their parents. Children don’t feel good about themselves- unless they are acknowledged by others; while some do not know how to regulate their lives without getting others’ time, focus and attention. Unconsciously, we as adults have encouraged dependence, rather than self-reliance in our little Ummah. Kids get addicted. And sometimes, we get our own validation by feeling useful and necessary through over-doing for our children. But in the end, they learn helplessness rather than resilience. Teach them to be responsible for little things at a tender age, give them job tasks according to their age, strength and understanding. Never underestimate your children’s potential.

That’s also, where we over-look Sunnah of the Prophet (sa). The ultimate example and inspiration for our little ones, who would not just do his own work, but help around the house.

Tolerating our Kids’ Pain

Being empathetic to people, especially to children is really important, to understand ones feelings, emotions and needs.

We hear all the time that in order to be a good parent, partner, or friend- it is important to fulfill others’ needs, and be empathetic to their feelings. Yes, that is important, but only up to a point. This perhaps is quite challenging for any parent, especially mothers.

For example, a teenage girl has issues with a friend at school. The parents empathize with the teen’s pain and struggles so much that each time the child has issues, they rush to solve it. Some may go to the extent of running, and picking the child- as soon as the youngster shows signs of distress. They would do whatever they could to make her feel better, assuring her that she hadn’t failed, and she was just not ready.

Same goes when a child who comes home, and complains about his teacher(s). Coming to the child’s aid instantly, may paralyze the child’s ability to deal with matters ultimately.

In such a scenario, would it be possible for the teenager to become more responsible and learn to deal with issues, without being too dependent each time? Her parents could have encouraged her to challenge her fear, manage her anxiety, and regulate her own emotions.

If you, as a parent, acknowledge your child’s struggles, efforts, pain and distress without rescuing them from it, each time- they can irrefutably grow up and become a more autonomous and responsible individual.

Naturally parents need to be more tolerant towards the child’s pain. Although, it can be very challenging to wisely pick and choose where to empathize, and where to let go. It is only when parents can raise their tolerance level for their child’s pain that their child can be motivated to do the same and not break down.

Is more ever better?

Is more the right solution? Is it ever better than less? You be the judge.

Try doing more for yourself and less for your child. For instance:

  • Empathize less, cater needs less, and focus less on her. I came across this piece where someone suggested- let your child get bored. It is then when the child will learn to entertain or busy themselves. But, if you as a parent begin to sympathize, suggest alternatives, and solve problems for them- they will come to you each time. I remember, as a child, when my parents’ friends would come over, we kids were left on our own without my parents suggesting what we should play. We (most of the times) never came to them grumbling, or whining that we are bored. I believe that’s why we came up with very creative games and kept ourselves busy. We, as parents, don’t give our kids a chance, and end up complaining about what we have hammered in them.
  • Think less about fulfilling your kids every need, and more about helping them take charge for themselves. A classic example- don’t go running back to school so that you can give homework books your child forgot – this attitude will never make them responsible individuals. Again, this is very age dependent- but try to begin as soon as possible. Also, never try to rush to replace something your child has lost due to carelessness.
  • Think less about your children’s feelings (all the time), and more about helping them function at their best. A mother telling her child, “You may not feel like apologizing to your cousin, but I am holding you accountable to do the right thing.”
  • Think less about giving into their whining and complaining, and more about helping them deal with problems and fine-tune themselves. “I know that you hate doing your chores, but when I ask you to do them, I expect them to get done. You can be unhappy about it, but please find a way not to drag others down when you are unhappy.”

Be there for your kids in the ways they actually need you, but move out of their way otherwise – learn to know the difference.

Letting Go

Surely, as a mother, you were repeatedly told by teachers, family, in-laws and friends, or acquaintances- that your kids seem to need more from you—attention, time, focus, recognition, rewards, approval—stop and think hard about it. You must have taken a couple of guilt trips each year as well. Clear your mind, take a deep breath, relax, get all the pre-notions out of your head, and in your quiet comfortable space, ask yourself- Does your child really need it? Are you actually a careless, negligent mother? Be honest to yourself and not judgmental. If so, then of course you should do more of what they need from you.

Remember to communicate…always talk, converse, discuss.

Nevertheless, in the more likely scenario, they are getting more than enough from you. Hence, it’s best for them if you cut back, and let them struggle to find their own legs. Letting go will leave you feeling wobbly at first, but with practice and time, you will find your own strong legs to stand on.

Lastly – Do not raise your children to financially provide for you. Raise them to worship Allah (swt). If you give your children everything, but haven’t given them the Deen, then you haven’t given them anything. Give them the Deen, which is everything. Teach your children Quran, and Quran will teach them everything Insha’Allah.

Are You Falling in This Trap?

character

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Among those deceived people maybe the one who thinks that his good deeds are more than his sins because he does not pay attention to his bad deeds or keep a check on his sins. But if he does a good deed, he remembers it and relies on it.

This is like the one who seeks Allah’s forgiveness with his tongue, i.e. by words only, and glorifies Allah by saying Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) one hundred times a day. Then he backbites about the Muslims and slanders their honour and speaks all day long about things that displease Allah.

This person is always thinking about the virtues of his saying Subhan Allah and La ilâha illâ Allah but he pays no attention to what has been reported concerning those who backbite, those who lie and slander others, or those who commit other sins of the tongue.

They are completely deceived.

Transcribed for hiba by Anoshia Riaz

Running out of Patience? A Quick Reminder!

 

 

patience

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Oh feet of patience! Keep going, for what remains is only a little. Remember the sweetness of worship and the bitterness of striving will become easier for you.

Oh you who are patient! Bear a little more. Just a little more remains. Patience is that the heart does not feel anger towards what is destined for you and the mouth does not complain.

If a man’s patience is stronger than his whims and desires then he is like an angel, but if his whims and desires are stronger than his patience then he is like a devil.

If his desires are stronger than his patience then he is no better than an animal.

There is no joy for the one who does not bear sadness.

There is no sweetness for the one who does not have patience.

There is no delight for the one who does not suffer.

And there is no relaxation for the one who does not endure fatigue.

Happiness is attained by three things:

  • Being patient when tested.
  • Being thankful when receiving a blessing.
  • And being repentant upon sinning.

Transcribed for hiba by Anoshia Riaz

 

 

[True Story] Children are Allah’s gifts

 

true story

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I have three children Alhumdullilah. Two of them are 13 and 9 years old. After a gap of 9 years I had my third child. Now why did it take me nine years to have the third one? Well my second child was diagnosed with arthritis at the age of one. His treatment was both emotionally and physically quite a challenge for me but by the grace of Allah he recovered at the age of 6. I was so scared of having a third one that I kept on asking people who had three children that how they managed. After a lot of research one evening I was getting ready for maghrib prayers at my parents place when I told my mom about my desire to have another baby. I told her to pray for me and we both offered dua. From that day on I realized the power of praying. My third child is a joy for all of us!

She does not have severe colic issues like my first child and she sleeps at night!!! When I looked at her for the first time in detail I was simply astonished. Allah Ho Akbar!

How Allah creates all the features of a human in such a tiny face! The hands and the feet, the lines in the palm…..everything is so beautiful.

I never knew that I will be enjoying my baby so much. She reminds me of the blessings of Allah. My elder children are so caring towards her that I feel my little one has more than 2 parents!

I am not a young mother and my bones are not that strong anymore! But I am much more mature and experienced than before. Hence I am calmer and do not loose hope and temper that easily.  Looking after my baby is my first priority and it does not bother me that I cannot continue my job because of the baby. I feel less threatened when someone points out my mistakes.

I used to feel very insecure when people used to give their expertise on bringing up children when I became a mother for the first time.

I think I am stronger in my faith too and therefore do not get hurt when offered opinions and myths. I listen to everyone, acknowledge their opinion but then research the information online and act accordingly. I am more grateful to people around me who offer a helping hand.

When I became a mother for the first time I was so overwhelmed with information coming from so many people around me. Some would criticize me while some would make me feel very guilty when there was a problem. I really wish people would stop being so critical towards first time mothers.

We don’t realize how stressed out a mother is for the first time. She is physically tired, emotionally disturbed and going through a brand new experience.

She needs a helping hand, someone to encourage her, give her positive feedback and support her when faced with a problem. In our society she is often faced with a totally different dilemma. Grandparents start with stories like “in our times” we did so and so and some even present the most horrific pictures to a new mom who has just started motherhood. Some criticize everything she does and makes her feel worthless. On top of that many consider her of no use as she stops working and is not earning money anymore.

This is not the right way to treat these mothers. They are tired, haven’t had sleep and are new to motherhood. The least people around her can do is help her and not create more problems for her. By now for me, Allah is the best help I take refuge in. I look for duas and Islamic ways of soothing my child. There are some wonderful sites with so much help and tips. Islamic songs and lullaby’s are easily available online. I have downloaded KidsGoApps on my mobile for Islamic songs, alphabets, nasheed and lots of other things to keep my baby entertained when she is upset.

My request to experienced moms, please share only positive things with new moms. You can warn them and give them solutions but don’t share unpleasant experiences. For example, if your baby was colic and you had a very tough time, don’t share it with a new mom unless she asks for help. Even when she does, give her helpful tips and encourage her to focus on the positive side. For example, tell her it is just a phase that will soon be over.

New moms, read, study and talk to other mothers to get as much information as you can. Record it in a journal so that you have a reference book that you can use when faced with an issue.

Keep a bulletin board in your room where you can pin up important things like vaccines, solid food chart etc. Of course this is time consuming but once you do this everything will be organized and right in front of you. You won’t have to call a friend again for a recipe or tip. So take out time once in a while and keep everything in place for future use. Important phone numbers should be saved in your mobile phone.

One last lesson that I personally use and find it very handy, when the baby is crying too much and you can’t handle it, give the baby to a responsible person and move out of that room. Drink a glass of water or eat something if you are out of energy. Go to a quieter room for two minutes, calm yourself. Remind yourself that you are doing your best. The baby will cry because that is the only language she knows. Once you are back to your baby you will have more energy to deal with the situation.

And remember one thing…….this is the best gift Allah has given you. Enjoy it! Nothing like a baby’s smile and for me when my baby cries for me I feel so important! I do not regret going back to work or not being able to cook a perfect meal!

 

 

Tips to Become Allah’s Beloved

good people

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Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings the most benefit. And the most beloved of deeds, according to Allah the Mighty, the Magnificence is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim or relieve him of distress or pay off his debts or keep hunger away from him. It is more beloved to me that I walk with my Muslim brother in his time of need than I stay secluded in the mosque for a month. Whoever holds back his anger, Allah will cover his faults and whoever suppresses his fury while being able to execute it, Allah will fill his heart with satisfaction on the day of standing. Whoever walks with his Muslim brother in need until he establishes that for him, Allah will establish his feet firmly on the Day when all feet shall flip. Indeed, bad character ruins deeds just as vinegar ruins honey.” (At-Tabarani; reliable)

Transcribed for hiba by Anoshia Riaz

The Secret to Life that Everyone Knows but Nobody Uses

 

way_of_life

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The more you get into skincare, the more complicated it gets. There is seriously a step-by-step program to get your skin out of acne-land and into clear territory. At least, that’s what my latest purchase of skin products claims.

So, it is time to bring out the cleanser, the toner, the moisturizer and so on and so forth for coaxing your skin to become smoother, cleaner, clearer and under control.

I wish it was that easy to clean and clear out my heart from all the garbage gathered in it over the years. It’s a one-step program, though. Put one step on your Nafs (your base desires) and put your next step into Paradise. However, stepping on your Nafs is like trying to pin down greased lightning. In other words, it slips out of the way and out of control.

The beautiful thing is that it’s your effort that counts. Put in the best effort, and the results are not in your hands.

Purification of the Nafs and the soul is Allah’s (swt) job. Doing the struggle is our job.

Funny enough, it is the same with skincare. We cannot force the products to work. The function of the products and the way our body responds to them are not in our hands either, which is good. Just imagine having to physically push the moisturizer into the skin and make the skin absorb it and then make it soften the skin. You get my point, I hope.

So, what’s the secret?

The secret to unlocking the door to a blessed life is…it’s possible to do it. It’s within reach. It’s right there, and it’s yours.

That’s really all there is to it. It’s only our own self that gets in the way, with its inclinations towards laziness, indulgence and entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with having a slow/lazy day, indulging in a treat or entertaining yourself, but if you allow them to stop you from practicing Islam, then it’s a problem.

Action plan for revitalization

Usually, by the time we realise we need to work on our hearts, they are quite dead. If your day goes by and you don’t feel the need to open the Quran, it means you are being fulfilled by the distractions of this world; therefore, you are not seeking the goodness of the afterlife. The principle in play here is that the very things that seem difficult to us (focusing in prayer, making heartfelt supplication and reading the Quran with understanding) are the things we need in order to get out of this rut.

Fortunately, the very routine that sucks us into a monotony of soul-breaking activities can be set up in such a way that it benefits us. Take up three simple things in your life:

  1. Miswak (brushing with a tooth-stick)
  2. Sleeping the Sunnah nap after Dhuhr prayer
  3. Sleeping early after Isha prayer, getting up on time for Fajr prayer and not sleeping after the Fajr.

These things will bring Barakah (value, goodness) into your life.

How to follow the action plan?

It’s easy enough to figure out, which habits of yours hold you back from making the most of your real potential as a Muslim.

The key here is to find that one good habit that you can use to chip away at the road block of heedlessness. It can be a recitation of a certain Surah of the Quran, or a recital of a supplication, or a lecture series/book you are really into.

Find that one thing and hold on to it with both hands. Don’t engage in it mindlessly. Do it every day within a set time slot, and do it with your heart. If you don’t or can’t do something new in your routine, do something you already do with heart, with feeling and focus.

How do I know it is working?

I have news for you. You will never get a celebratory fanfare with the spotlight on you and a big screen with ‘you did it!’ on it, with confetti falling on you, and the crowd screaming in delight (you get the picture) – you will not get it in this life for anything Islamic you do. It’s not like you will pick up the prayer beads and suddenly your heart will undergo a permanent transformation for the better. Be realistic. That little flutter in your heart, when you finally connect with the words you speak, while going over those prayer beads? Awesome. Just don’t make it the aim of your worship. The aim of worship is not to experience enjoyment. It is to humble ourselves before Allah (swt).

To give a direct answer to the question: love is a verb. It means, when you care about someone, you give them importance by doing things for them. In this scenario, it means you express your love to Allah (swt) by dedicating your life to Him.

The very fact that you are bringing Islamic activity into your life means that the change for the better has taken place.

Any last words?

We usually expect Islam to ‘fix’ our lives and make them harm-proof the moment we act upon it. That’s not the purpose. Life is hard and it will remain so. However, there’s a big difference between simply existing and going with the flow and actual living for achieving something.

Whether it’s softening skin or softening hearts, the same rule applies. We just have to remember it.

Seven Tips to Discipline your Inner Self

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  1. Seek Refuge from Shaytan

As soon as you get a negative thought about someone, realize that Shaytan is playing with your mind. Don’t let him win. Instead, ask Allah (swt) to protect you from him.

  1. Focus on the Facts

When something happens that you do not understand or like, understand the facts. By taking a colder look at the facts, you will see that the situation is lot less dramatic than you originally thought.

  1. Analyze your Interpretation

How are you interpreting the facts? This is usually what is triggering your negative emotions-except that you have added this interpretation yourself, and that you can choose to have an empowering interpretation instead.

  1. Don’t make people into villains

As difficult as it may feel, let go of the idea that someone else in your situation is the enemy who is out to get you. Stop making others wrong and yourself right.

  1. Avoid Playing the Victim

By choosing to put yourself into the role of the innocent victim, you are avoiding taking responsibility for your situation. Instead, be proactive and look at what you can do to make the situation better.

  1. Make Excuses for Others

The Sunnah encourages us to think good of others and make excuses for them whenever possible. In fact, Hazrat Umar (rta) said: “Do not think badly of a word uttered by your brother when you can find a good interpretation for it.”

  1. Take Responsibility for Yourself

Allah (swt) has given you freewill-  no matter how difficult a situation may appear to you, it is entirely up to you how you choose to react. Remember-  the test of life is not what happens to you, but whether you deal with it in a manner that is pleasing to Allah (swt).

May Allah (swt) give me and you the Tawfeeq to implement these tips. Ameen.

 

Transcribed for hiba by Anoshia Riaz

 

Successful Parenting and You: Golden Tips to be at Finger Tips

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Allah (swt) has granted great status to parents- not only because they bring the children in this world, but they are raising future Muslims. Children are the responsibility of parents, and Allah (swt) will ask about that responsibility on the Day of Judgement. Parenting is not an easy job, and can’t be learned from any book- one can learn it from experience only.

Respect

Mostly, the word ‘respect’ is associated with elders only. But, children also have the right to be respected.

Sometimes, parents scold or shout at their children in front of friends and cousins. In such situations, children face shame and humiliation. Parents can scold their children, but everything has a way to be done.

“Don’t yell at your children, when you yell the message is lost. Speak calmly for words to be heard, and they’ll retain the message better”. (Mufti Ismail Menk)

Give respect to your children to gain respect. When children feel respected, it boosts their self-esteem.

Love

All parents love their children, but only a few express that love. Parents should express their love to children by actions live kissing, hugging and complimenting them. One can learn from Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) behaviour with kids also. Prophet (sa) also said:

“He is not from us who does not show mercy to the young, and does not honour the old.” (Tirmidhi)

Comparison Is Not Good

Parents compare their child with children of the same age group. This shouldn’t be done. Every person has its own abilities and talents. The comparison may lead to wrong way. They should encourage their children for doing good things and build their confidence. What happens next after this comparison is a child starts to copy others- instead of discovering his/her hidden talent and polishing own skills.

“As parents, we must learn from our children and guide them in daily lives. Parenting goes both ways- it’s a give and take relationship”.  (Mufti Ismail Menk)

Give Attention

Sometimes parents complain that my child doesn’t pay attention to whatever I say. He/she does not bother to listen. I think, somewhere, it is their fault because a child seeks full attention of parents which they fail to give. This often occurs when mothers are helping their young children to do homework, their finger of one hand is on a copy of child, and the other hand is on a smart phone.

Also, elders don’t listen to younger ones whole heartedly; or do not let them complete because they are taking a lot time to convey their matter. Parents should give full attention to their children, and let them talk. They should spend quality time with them indulging in activities like storytelling, cooking their favourite food, playing games.

“Spending time with children is more important than spending money on them’’. (Mufti Ismail Menk)

Avoid Nicknames

Don’t call your children by nicknames like “Munnu” or “Baby”. Name has an impact on personality. If you call your child by a nickname, then avoid calling by that name in the presence of his/her friends. Sometimes these nicknames embarrass children in a gathering of friends and school.

Parents are Role Models

I heard my 4-year-old cousin saying: “Mama, I want to be like you. I want to wear earrings like you and have long hair like yours.” This shows that children follow their parents, and want to be like them. So, that’s why parents should be careful of their actions and words in front of children- because these little ones are great observers as well.