Quran Reminder: Allah Never Overburdens You


Image Courtesy www.click2equran.com

Let’s learn some lessons from the last verse of Surah Al-Baqarah. It’s a long verse, but we will only refer to the first part of it.


“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned…” (2:286)

You are strong enough

The word ‘Takleef’ in Arabic means, to be burdened with something; and Allah (swt) says that He does not burden any individual. Allah (swt) will not burden any single person- except to that person’s capacity. It means that any trials you and I go through in life are custom tailored to our capability to manage them. What somebody else is going through may not be something I can handle; and what I’m going through might not be something they can handle.

The gifts we enjoy in life and the difficulties we suffer in life; the hardships and the trials we go through- all are custom tailored according to our own individual personalities. So, Allah (swt) says that He does not burden anybody more than their tolerance level.

Obligatory is obligatory

The other thing that’s remarkable about this verse is- there are some things that all of us are equally responsible for- the commandments of Islam. For them, you can’t say, ‘Well, I know you can do it, but  it’s not my personality’ like five prayers for example. You can’t say, ‘Well, Masha’Allah, I know you pray five times, but I could only do it in Ramadan- usually, it’s impossible for me. I’m not able to do that’. You can’t make that excuse for such commandments of Allah (swt) because they are the ones that Allah (swt) put on every Nafs. He put it on every individual and enabled us to do it. And, there are very few exceptions to those, that are in very minute cases; and even then, there are differences of opinion. Hence, for the major things that are forbidden and obligatory on Muslims, you cannot make an excuse for those- such as Allah (swt) will understand that you are not exactly the prayer type; or you are not a morning person so you can’t really make it to Fajr. That’s not going to be the case.

Are you guilty of hiding something?

Allah (swt) burdened us with these responsibilities knowing that every single human being is capable of praying five times a day. Every human being, every Muslim is capable of staying away from Haram; you’re capable of doing Halal things. So, when you tell yourself you can’t, and when you convince yourself that you can’t- then you’re actually, wasting the capability that Allah (swt) has granted you with; and that Allah (swt) would never have given those things for you and me to do- if we weren’t capable of doing them. You have to ask yourself- ‘Am I being truthful to myself when I say I cannot?’ or ‘Is Allah (swt) being true when He says that yes you can, and I wouldn’t have given it to you- unless you could have handled it?’ Self question yourself with honesty- you and I have to ask ourselves, especially when it comes to the major commandments of Allah (swt).

Make it hard to sin and easy to do right!

Finally, the last part of the verse- Allah (swt) says a person will benefit from whatever they earn; whatever they earned in terms of sin will go against them. There are some things you earn that’ll go for you, and there are other things you earn that’ll go against you. In Arabic, ‘Kasaba’, which is easier, was used for good deeds; and ‘Iktasaba’, which is harder to earn, was used for bad deeds.

It is weird because we think sins are easy to earn, and good deeds are hard to earn, but Allah (swt) is telling us a secret in this verse.

Sins may be easy to earn in the short term, but what you pay for them in the long term, they bring about so much difficulty in what you’ve earned in terms of problems and difficulties in life. It causes so much hardship because of the disobedience to Allah (swt), that it doesn’t count as something easy.

Like stealing may be easy, but spending time in jail may be pretty hard. What you did as an act of stupidity may have been really easy on you at that time, but the price you paid for it made it a very difficult and bad thing that you did for yourself.

And getting a job, working hard and earning money the right way may be really hard, but the hardship you save yourself from compared to what you’re doing is pretty easy. The alternative is pretty easy, that’s the view Allah (swt) wants us to have of good deeds and bad deeds. Good deeds may require a lot more work, but Allah (swt) will make them easy; while bad deeds may be much easier to do, but you will pay the price, and you will realize in how much difficulty you have put yourself.

Hence, don’t over estimate the burden that Allah (swt) has put on you as far as responsibilities are concerned; and don’t underestimate the weight of sin. Don’t think, it’s just something I do, who cares and not think about the burdens and the troubles it’ll bring you tomorrow; and especially, when you and I stand in front of Allah (swt).


The evil in ‘I Will…’

procrastination-breaking-habitIbn e Mubarak, the great Muslim scholar, tells an incident about an old wise man in one of his books. The old man was on his death bed. The people went to him to seek a great piece of life like he had been giving them his entire life. He said to them two words; “Anzartukum Sawfa!”  I warn you against Sawfa!

What is Sawfa?

Is that, maybe, another name for Satan? Or maybe it was a serial killer back then that he was warning against. Actually it is none of these two. Sawfa is the Arabic word for “I will!”

Reality of “I will”

When we are doing something wrong and disobeying Allah (swt), we want to repent. But then we say to ourselves, “I will repent, but not now… Tomorrow…  Next week…I am doing this for the last time…”

This is one of the best games that Shaytan plays with us.  He uses this trick for one of the two reasons:

  1. To stop us from doing a good deed
  2. To stop us from leaving a bad deed.

He keeps on telling us to postpone our good deeds. Not now… a little bit later… Just a little bit later. Just commit this sin for the last time… you will repent tomorrow…

For the record, Shaytan uses this trick especially with the people who have Taqwa (fear of Allah (swt)) in their hearts. You see, the non-believers don’t bother if they’re committing sin, at all. Believers want to leave the sin, but they tend to procrastinate; hoping for Mercy and Forgiveness from their Lord later.  And, such an attitude is a trap from the Shaytan, in which we easily fall into. Astaghfirullah.

For instance- for sisters struggling with Hijab, he may go something like this:

‘You will start wearing your Hijab right after this party… After completing your F.Sc; not before your marriage dear. No man will propose the Hijabi version of you!”

The result maybe that coffin becomes her first Hijab.

For students, he may (he definitely will) come round with something like this:

“This is just a regular class test…  You won’t cheat in the Finals…  You won’t cheat even one MCQ in the next paper. But for now you really need to copy this long question in any way possible… You’ve cheated in every exam, what’s the big deal if you cheat once more?”

Resulting into a degree earned totally by cheating.

To a writer he may whisper:

“This sure is a wonderful idea to write on (Meanwhile, trying his best to make you forget that idea) – but you really need to complete that homework of yours first; you will write after dinner, you need to get some sleep. You are tired; you’ll write tomorrow, you’ll write when you get free time, maybe next week or summer vacations.”

In this way, the writer will keep on postponing, and eventually, the idea will get old and lose its ingredients. And the chances are that idea will never get in black and white.

Long term effects of Shaytan’s devious trick

1. You will never be able to do a postponed good deed- the charity that you thought of giving, the idea that you thought to write on; you will forget it and lose the Ajr forever and ever.

2. Because if you fall into his trap eventually, one of the two things will happen;

  1. Either you die before doing that good deed or leaving that bad deed
  2. You will continue living your life with that sin.

It is because that particular sin would have become a regular habit of yours. It will become such an integral part of your life that you won’t be able to give it up. Then the worst thing happens… “I can’t!” You will tell yourself that you can’t give that sin up. Hopelessness! Shaytan is the hopeless case from the mercy of Allah (swt), and that is exactly what he wants for you too! He will make you believe that you can’t leave that sin. He will make you fall into the pits of hopelessness and depression- you can’t possibly live a peaceful life while indulging in sins and making your Creator unhappy!

Ibn Al Qayyim (ra) said: “There is nothing more beloved to Shaytan than a depressed believer.” (Tareeq ul Hijratain)

Your mistake was that you didn’t make Tauba right after you sinned. You kept on telling yourself ‘Sawfa! I will! Later!’

All of us sin. It is a fact. On the authority of Anas bin Malik, our beloved prophet (sa) said: “All sons of Adam (as) are sinners. But the best of those sinners are those who repent” (Ibn Majah)

Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent.”- nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment.” (An Nisa 4:18)

So dear readers, take that brave step now. If you are committing a particular sin, or are far away from Allah (swt), make Tauba to Allah (swt) and repent from it, right now, before turning over to the next page. Otherwise, you will keep on telling yourself; “I will repent tomorrow… I will…” And, there may be no tomorrow for you. Similarly, if there is a good deed that you’ve been postponing from so long, do it now.

This is the net of Sawfa- net of ‘I will’ laid by Shaytan that we need to recognize, and fight against. Pleasure of Allah (swt) and Jannah are worth fighting for!

Be the Forerunner – Don’t Delay Good Deeds

3D people competing‘Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah!’ I turned my head to left saying Salam, ending my Taraweeh and then hurried opening my bag. She was sniffing and I knew she was having a hard time praying. I thought to give her my tissue pack as soon as our prayer ends. And then, it had ended but I was unable to handle her that. I was shy. That was a new place for me. I did not know their language. And above all, there were two girls between us, I wasn’t even sure if I could cross them and hand her the tissues. ‘What if it’s impolite here? I don’t even know their culture.’ She sniffed again.
‘Just give her. If you intend good, go for it.’ thinking this I leaned forward. Just when I was about to hand her a tissue pack, the girl between us handed her one. She took it and gave her a beautiful Dua. I sat back with my tissue pack and a saddened heart.
This wasn’t the first time I had lost my chance.

*** *** ***

“…Then of them are some who wrong their ownselves, and of them are some who follow a middle course, and of them are some who are, by Allah’s Leave, foremost in good deeds. That (inheritance of the Qur’an), that is indeed a great grace…” (Fatir35:32)

Sitting in the lawn and having my lunch, I was still engrossed in that day’s lesson. The Ayah had left me in awe. Just the thought of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa) running for good deeds, in order to surpass in goodness, made me smile. ‘I won’t lose my chance of a good deed ever again, I will forerun, Insha’Allah!’ I promised myself and continued eating.
After a little while, I saw somebody dropping some trash near the classroom. It was a little away from where I was sitting with friends. “Let me get up and throw it in the dust bin. I will keep this place clean; this is where we learn about Allah (swt).” I had my next bite thinking. “Yeah just this last bite, I am going to get up.” I wiped my hands, drank few sips of water. “I am going to do this for Allah (swt) because cleanliness is my Deen. He gave me a chance to do this, I am so lucky.” Muttering as I was walking towards it slowly, feeling happy about this little good deed I was about to do. Just when I reached closer, someone picked it up seconds before me and threw it in the bin. She turned back and smiled, “Did I just win?” She was my teacher and was referring to the lesson she had taught earlier.
“I thought I will pick it up after a bite. I was coming here anyway.” I explained myself. The truth is, I hated it. I wanted to fore-run her.

“When He gives you a chance to do something good, do not give it a second thought. He has His mighty army. Always ready. If you hesitate, someone else will take over. Remember, it’s a competition!” She tapped my shoulder and walked away.

*** *** ***

We are sent to this Dunya for a trial period. We are being tested every day, every moment. Sometimes, we go through happy moments, and other times we are afflicted with hardships. We are taught to face these times with gratitude, patience and sacrifice. It is our connection with His Majesty that matters in every situation. However, there are some other times when we are tested with the chances to do good deeds. These are the times when we have option to either perform a certain action of goodness or go past it. The fact is, though usually not considered- this is also a form of test.

When He gives you a chance to perform a virtue, He actually has chosen you over entire mankind. He wants you to get up and do it. He has opened the door for you. He has let the angels write your name in their Book, while you perform the act of goodness. He has blessed you with His mercy. This is your moment to pick. However, if you delay your performance by ignoring it or over thinking due to the pinches of Satan, then know that Allah (swt) does not need your service. There are people whose hearts are full of Iman. Their eagerness to do good deeds is like a gushing stream. They are ready to die in His way. They would run and compete with others just for the sake of His pleasure. When you lose your chances of goodness, remember that Allah (swt) is not dependent on your choices. That deed will be done, anyway. But you, my friend, have lost your chance!

“For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers). So hasten towards all that is good. Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, Allah is Able to do all things.” (Al-Baqarah 2:148)

Next time, when you see an old lady wanting to cross road, do not delay. Go hold her hand and help. When you see an injured cat, mumbling on roadside, do not go past it. When you see two people fighting, do not ignore. When you see a hungry man crying, do not hesitate. When you see an orphan with no clothes, do not neglect. When you are invited for charity work, do not overlook.

When you see, a chance to do good, do not think twice, Be a forerunner!

Day of Arafah – To-Do List

If you are not performing Hajj this year and are wondering how you can make the most out of the Day of Arafah, here is a quick to-do list that you may find useful:

  1. Fasting: Try your best to observe fasts on the 8th and 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Fasting on the Day of Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” (Muslim and Ibn Majah). According to Shaykh Salih Al-Munajjid: “This (fasting) is mustahabb for those who are not on Hajj.” The Prophet (sa) used to fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah. Hunaydah ibn Khalid (rta) reported from his wife that some of the wives of the Prophet  (sa) said: “The Prophet (sa) used to fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, on the day of Ashoora, on three days of each month, and on the first two Mondays and Thursdays of each month.” (Abu Dawood and An-Nasai)
  2. Supplication: Talha ibn Ubaydullah ibn Kariz (rta) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The best Dua is Dua on the Day of Arafah, and the best thing that I or the Prophets before me have said is: ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without any partner.’ (La ilaha illa Allah, wahdahu la sharika lah.)” (Malik)
  3. Good deeds: The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are almost over. Use the time left to engage in worship, voluntary prayers, recitation of the Quran and sincere repentance and submission to Allah (swt).
  4. Takbeerat: Continue to recite as much of Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), Tahleel (La Ilaha Illa Allah) and Tahmeed (Alhumdulillah) as you can (individually). Another Takbeer includes the following words:

Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise)

Another important thing to do on the Day of Arafah is to reflect upon its meaning and significance. Take some time out to ponder over this day and its virtues. Some of these include the following, as mentioned by Shaykh Salih Al-Munajjid:

  1. It is the day on which Allah perfected our religion for us. A Jew said to Umar (rta): “If this Verse had been revealed to us, we would have taken it (that day) as a festival (Eid): ‘This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.’ (Al-Maidah 5:3)” Umar said: “I know the day when it was reveled and the night of which it was revealed; a Friday night when we were with Messenger of Allah (sa) in Arafah.” (An-Nasai)
  2. Allah (swt) has sworn by this day in the Quran: “And by the witnessing day (i.e. Friday), and by the witnessed day [i.e. the day of ‘Arafat (Hajj) the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah];” (Al-Burooj 85:3) Subhan’Allah! Allah (swt) only swears by something which has a great significance.
  3. Mankind gave the testimony of faith to Allah (swt) in Arafah: It is mentioned in a Saheeh Hadeeth recorded by Imam Ahmad, reported by Ibn ‘Abbas (rta) who narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Allah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him. Then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes, we testify,’ let 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 aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allaah, and we were (merely their) descendents after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Batil (i.e., ploytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)?’ (Al-Araf 7:172-173).”
  4. For the people who are performing Hajj, it is a day to secure freedom from hellfire: It was narrated from Aisha (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying: ‘What do these people want?'” (Muslim)  It was reported from Ibn Umar (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of Isha on the Day of Arafah, about the people of Arafah. He says: Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.’” (Ahmad)

Compiled by Umm Ibrahim

Image source: http://www.inter-islam.org/images/p230-1.JPG

The Best Days are Here!

Top five things to pack for hajj

Do you know what days are better than all other days of the year? The days of Ramadan? No! (The last ten nights of Ramadan are higher in status though, as they comprise Laylatul-Qadr) It’s the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah as narrated by Ibn Abbas (rta):

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of al-Adha (sacrifice).” It was said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” (Bukhari and Darimi)

Surprisingly, the masses are unaware of these virtuous days and miss the opportunity to gain rewards and Allah’s pleasure in these blessed days. According to the Sunnah these are some of the important actions done in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah:

  1. Hajj: Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Those who get the opportunity of Hajj should make the most of these days as an accepted Hajj eradicates all past sins. Hajj is not just a ritual that needs to be finished; it is a spiritual cleansing, a treasure chest of lessons that need to be learnt and safe kept for life long.
  2. Sacrifice: Eid-ul-Adha, the second Muslim festival, also comes in the blessed month. The price of the animal purchased for slaughter and quality of the barbeque served at Eid parties is not just it. What matters is the intention and Taqwa behind our actions. Allah says: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.” (Hajj 22:37)
  3. Fasting: Fasting on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah (The tenth day is Eid!) is an established Sunnah of the Prophet (sa). (Nasai and Abu Dawood).
  4. Remembering Allah (swt): The remembrance of Allah (swt) is one of the most beloved of deeds to Him, especially during these days. Prophet Muhammad (sa) has said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so recite a great deal of Tahleel (La ilaha illallah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (Alhumdulillah) during them.” (Ahmad)
  5. Takbeerat: Recite them as much as you can. See this page for details.

So, there is something for everyone. If you’re not going for Hajj, you may sacrifice. If you cannot afford an animal, you can still fast. If you’re incapable of fasting you can always remember Allah! We must race after every virtue that we can lay our hands on. Life is too short and every passing second is an asset.

Etiquettes of Sneezing and Yawning – 1

tissuesLet’s begin with the name of Allah (swt), The Creator of everything in existence. Let’s pray, may Allah (swt) help us in gaining the correct knowledge, and may He make it beneficial to whoever hears it – Ameen.

Our religion Islam is complete in every manner Alhumdulillah (Praise be to Allah). Be it a big issue like marriage, or a small issue such as entering a house, yawning or sneezing; a complete code of conduct is prescribed for all types of matters and situations – Praise be to Allah (swt).

There are certain etiquettes (manners) that should be observed in times of yawning and sneezing. The best and the only way for us (Muslims) is the way suggested by Allah (swt) and His Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Three words are of great importance in Islam when doing any action; “Ikhlas” (Sincerety), “Ihsan” (being in a state of awareness that Allah (swt) is watching me at all times) and “Ikhlaq” (manners/etiquettes). If a deed is done in a state of Ihsan with proper etiquettes for the sake of Allah (swt) with Ikhlas in it, it will never go unrewarded. Insha’Allah (if Allah (swt) wills)

There are certain manners and supplications that were practiced by our Prophet Muhammad (sa) when he sneezed and yawned. A good deed must comprise of the following two components:

1. It is for Allah (swt) only.

2. It is done as prescribed by Allah (swt) and/or Prophet (sa) .

Once our deeds, irrespective of their size, are encapsulated in the above two components, they will be readily accepted by our Creator in the best way – Insha’Allah.

Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) was sent to us by Allah (swt) as the best living example for the mankind.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad (sa) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

There are certain etiquettes and various supplications for “Sneezing” and “Yawning” that are present in various (authentic) “Saheeh Ahadeeth”, which are important to be remembered and performed when someone sneezes or yawns. Many of us may think sneezing and yawning is a small thing, and why should we give importance to this level of subject. Whereas, the reality for the believers is, that we need, as many good deeds as possible, in our account, since we do not know which of the tiniest good deed may land us in Jannah (Heaven) on the Day of Judgement.

Prophet’s (sa) instruction for sneezing

Al-Bukhari narrated from Abu Hurairah (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “When one of you sneezes, let him say, ‘Alhumdulillah (Praise be to Allah (swt)),’ and let his brother or companion say to him. ‘YarhamukAllah (May Allah (swt) have mercy on you).’ If he says, ‘Yarhamuk-Allah,’ then let (the sneezer) say, ‘Yahdeekum-Allah-Wayuslihu-Balakum (May Allah (swt) guide you and rectify your condition).’”

[To be continued Insha Allah]

Acquire Taqwa, Build a Home in Jannah

6 build a home in jannah“This is the Book (The Quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah much and love Allah much).” (Al-Baqarah 2:2)

The above-stated verse clarifies that guidance is given to those who fear Allah (swt) and have Taqwa. What is Taqwa? It stems from the root word ‘Waqa’ meaning ‘to protect’.

Fear of Allah (swt) is only one element of Taqwa, which also means ‘to build a barrier between oneself and whatever angers or displeases Him’.

We have a remarkable example of Taqwa in the annals of history, and the way it brought a very noble person to Islam. Our beloved Prophet (sa), while braving the hardships of opposition and persecution by the Makkans, earnestly invoked Allah (swt) to strengthen Islam by guiding either Amr ibn Hisham (Abu Jahl) or Umar ibn Al-Khattab (rtam).

Allah (swt) answered his Dua, and granted Islam to Umar (rtam). Why? In spite of being an apparent archenemy of Muslims, he was not completely evil, and Allah knew the beauty of his heart. Subsequently, when he heard his sister recite the Ayah of Surah Taha, Umar’s (rtam) heart melted, and he entered the fold of Islam.

The word ‘Taqwa’ has been mentioned 250 times in the Quran. It is the essence of Islam. How can it be attained? Allah (swt) created Ramadan to train and discipline us for the rest of the eleven months. It is an opportunity for the believer to exit this month with rewards, to gain Taqwa, and, finally, to enter Jannah.

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

“Twins of Faith” – An Epic Experience

ToF-logo-2-293x300O you, who believe, be supporters of Allah (swt)…” (61:14)

“The Twins of Faith 2014” conference was a life-changing experience. Helping in the cause of Allah (swt) was something I had longed to do. This conference was my chance. This was the first time I had volunteered in such an event. The tension and excitement were both at their peak before the event.

I was first given the job to sell tickets. I had to go to my school, friends and family members and tell them about the event, convincing them to come. Believe me, it was no walk in the park. I only managed to sell five tickets to my family members. In school, none of my friends were interested. I was really disappointed. I told them about how beneficial and gratifying it would be, but still I got a response in the negative. I gave up all hope and started thinking what a Fitnah filled world it was, but I remembered that our job was to remind people – Allah (swt) is the One, Who can change the hearts. So I kept reminding them and they finally got interested, but it all ended in vain, when their parents did not allow them. Frankly, I was quite upset but I kept my calm.

Now about the responsibilities I had on the day of the event. I was an usher at the registration desk. We were summoned to “Marriott” at 7 o’clock in the morning, so we headed for the venue right after praying Fajr. It was still dark outside. It seemed like a small job to perform, just like a drop in the sea, as the older volunteers were assigned all the hard tasks; however, I found satisfaction in the fact that one should not belittle his good deeds. The Prophet (sa) said: “Do not belittle any good deed, even meeting your brother (Muslim) with a cheerful face.” (Muslim) Furthermore, we were told in the weekly meetings that deeds were based on intentions, and I did it solely for Allah (swt). The rewards of deeds are based on the intentions (Bukhari). Time and again we were reminded to keep a smiling and cheerful face, as it makes the people feel welcomed, and it also is a Sunnah. The event was a blast and a great learning experience. They told about the rights of parents, how they are the easiest route to Jannah, and the rights of children. Even though many problems arose, everybody had a great time. The volunteers and the team members handled every situation calmly, always showing a jovial demeanour.

The best thing was that we were within close proximity with the shaykhs. We got the best seats in the house, right next to the stage. The dinner with the shaykhs was great, as they related their lifetime stories. It was a highly learning experience. The meetings were fun, and everybody had a great sense of humour – we were helping in the cause of Allah (swt), while being social and active in the community.


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!

Understanding Surah Asr – 3

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

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

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

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

“Tawasi bil Haq”

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

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

The true essence of faith

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

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

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

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

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

A Believer vs. Those who believe!

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

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

Faith in the Messenger of Allah (swt)

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

Fruits of faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fidelity and forbearance is the key

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

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding Surah Asr – 1

hour-glassTranscribed from the Bayyinah podcast Tafseer series by Iqra Asad.

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

Why is humankind in loss?

The central aspect of this Surah is “Khusr” i.e. loss. The previous Surah (Surah Takasur) discussed the people wanting to accumulate more and more, and this Surah discusses the reality, that people are actually in loss. The overwhelming theme of this Surah is warning; that is negative reinforcement. Humans are created in the best of forms; they are qualified to be successful, so then why are they in loss? Allah (swt) mentions four things in the end. The last two things are both actions, to enjoin the truth and to enjoin perseverance. Then Allah (swt) mentions faith and good deeds. He could have mentioned anything, like Zakat, but He mentions truth and patience. Why is it critical to mention these actions? Let’s analyze.

Surah Asr is Islam (in a nutshell)!

The only people who are the exception are the ones who do all the above four mentioned things. A famous quote by Fakhruddin Ghazi regarding this Surah, “In this verse, there is an intense, severe warning that is filled with a promise, because in this verse Allah (swt) declared utter loss against all humanity, except for the one who comes to Allah (swt) with these four things. The language illustrates that salvation hangs in the balance of these four conditions.” In many ways, this Surah is a summary of the Quran and Islam.

Success or Survival?

In this Surah, there is no mention of reward. No mention that “these people will get everlasting Jannah.” It demarcates between the people who fail and those who pass. This Surah does not talk about higher levels of success. It describes the bare minimum, the bottom line. So this Surah is not about success, it’s about survival; about escaping Hell, not earning Paradise. When your survival is being questioned, you forget everything else. If you’re drowning, for example, there is no time for you to talk about success. If you’re talking to your boss about promotion in the office, and there’s a fire alarm, you won’t stop in the office to finish discussing your promotion; that won’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense for someone to talk about anything other than survival, if they’re not meeting the bare requirements for survival.

This Surah does not talk about higher levels of success. It describes the bare minimum, the bottom line.

This Surah proves that being good on your own, is not enough. Islam is about living with and for other people. Imam Shafi (ra) said, “If people only reflected on this Surah, it would encompass them.” It would be enough for them. “If this was the only thing that was revealed, it would have been enough.” What is in this Surah that made him say that?

Whenever the companions would meet, they would not leave each other without reciting Surah Asr to each other. Why? They felt this is something extremely important to remind each other of constantly.

We should never lose sight of the fact that Allah (swt) is talking to us like someone who is concerned about us would talk to us. Talking about this Surah is easy, internalizing it is very difficult.

Survival is interdependent

If you’re drowning and you’re unconscious, what do you need to survive? You need to wake up. Once you wake up, you realize that you’re drowning. Even if you don’t know how to swim, you will move every muscle in your body to move towards the surface. Once you reach the surface, you are pulled back down, because your leg is tied to a chain which is tied to your drowning cousin. You need to wake up your cousin to save yourself. Maybe you don’t even like your cousin. But you wake him up. Then you are pulled down by your unconscious grandmother. You need to wake her up. Your survival depends on each other.

To survive, you have faith, due to which you do good. You tell people about the truth, and you remain patient, because it’s a time consuming and draining process.

When we want to hurry through the prayer, which Surah do we recite? Surah Asr. What do we have hanging on the wall next to our TVs and our game consoles? Surah Asr. See the irony.

Allah (swt) oath must grab attention!

This is one of the Surahs that begins with Allah (swt) taking an oath. Whatever Allah (swt) swears by is grand and magnificent, demanding reflection. Allah (swt) is bringing time as a witness to the tragedy of the human being.

“Asr” literally means “time that is running out”. It comes from “Aseer”, juice that is squeezed out. The time for Asr prayer is when the daytime is ending.

If one really has faith, the next three things are bound to happen. If those things don’t happen, what is missing? Faith.

Faith- Most wanted!

If you are truly doing good, it is impossible for you to keep it to yourself. When you enjoin good, you will encounter people who respond to you and people who hate you for what you have to say, and for the haters you need patience.

When a decent human being comes across a dispute, the first thing he will do is to seek out the truth. When he has discovered the truth, he must take action according to the truth. It may be that when he finds the truth, he does not like what he finds. However, he must stand by the truth.

Now, when he sees other people doing wrong—in our society we have the “mind your own business” policy. However, that is not the way of the Prophets. Otherwise, Islam would just be confined to saying prayers and doing Dhikr (remembrance of Allah (swt)). Islam began as, “Arise and warn!” (Al-Muddatthir 74:2).When you want to stand up for justice, you think, “I know I shouldn’t do it, but I don’t have the guts to tell people not to do it.” People who act on their beliefs, stick to their beliefs, are known as “heroes”. Like Martin Luther King. His days are celebrated; this is a process of decency that people respect. The struggle of such human beings is commendable, but it is just a part of the truth, not the entire truth. We, Muslims, have the entire truth. How much more convinced and willing should the believer be to stand up for Islam? We should compete with the disbelievers with patience and perseverance.

Further reading and viewing:

8-minute illustrated explanation of Surah Asr [Nouman Ali Khan Collection]: http://bit.ly/surahasrillustrated

The concept of time in Hadeeth [Productive Muslim article]: http://bit.ly/timeinhadith

A message from myself to the Quran [I Got it Covered article]: http://bit.ly/tothequran

[To be continued Insha Allah..]

It’s Never too Late to Repent

rpetance(A condensed version of the talk “On repentance” by Sheikh Kamaluddin Ahmed)

Allah (swt) said in the Quran, “Leave (O mankind, all kinds of) sin, open and secret. Verily, those who commit sin will get due recompense for that which they used to commit.” (Al-Anam 6:120)

Hastening to perform Taubah for our sins

In other places in the Quran, Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance.” (At-Tahrim 66:8 and Hud 11:3)

Now this word “Taubah” (repentance) is very interesting, because Allah (swt) says “Do Taubah towards Allah.” What it means is that repentance is (what you call in English) a “paradigm shift”. If you’re living a life of sin or are engrossed in one particular sin, you must totally turn away from the sin and orient yourself back towards Allah (swt). Someone who is distant from Allah (swt), His Book and His Messenger (sa) will find it difficult to leave sin.

Four things that ensure acceptance of our repentance

1.  Repent to Allah (swt) sincerely

The seeker must promise to Allah (swt) sincerely in his heart that he will never commit the sin again. People say, “How can we say that when we know we will do it again?”

Well, life is like a boxing match, where you have to get up every time you are knocked down. The coach would get happy if you manage to get up after every knock down. Similarly Allah (swt) loves those who try again and again for His Mercy. When your clothes get dirty, you don’t stop washing them thinking, “What is the use when we know that they will get dirty again?” Hence we need to wash ourselves, we need to purify our souls, our intentions hoping that Allah (swt) will forgive us and we won’t repeat that sin.

Once two young men were arguing and they went to an old man to settle their argument. They asked, “Who is more beloved to Allah (swt), he who sins and repents or he who never committed the sin in the first place?” The old man said, “I am not an Islamic scholar; I am a weaver. I can just tell that when I am weaving, I have to follow many threads on my loom. If a thread snaps, I tie it back, but from then on I keep an eye on that thread. So it may be that Allah (swt) keeps a special gaze of mercy on those who break away from Him, but tie themselves back through repentance.” Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “O man! What has made you careless concerning your Lord, the Most Generous?” (Al-Infitar 82:6)

When your clothes get dirty, you don’t stop washing them thinking, “What is the use when we know that they will get dirty again?” Hence we need to wash ourselves, we need to purify our souls

2. Forgive others for the sake of Allah (swt)    

It comes in a Hadeeth: “On the Night of Qadr everyone’s prayers are answered except the person who has malice and a grudge against people in his heart.” (Shuab ul Iman)

Hence, we should forgive even if we are justified in being angry. Allah (swt) is justified in being angry with us when we sin; are we more justified in being angry than He is? It would have been completely appropriate for Allah (swt) to punish us immediately whenever we sinned. The second we looked at something that we shouldn’t have, He should have made us blind. In such a case, all of us would be blind, deaf, mute and crippled. If we wish Allah (swt) to accept our repentance, we must forgive others.

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (ra) writes in one of his books that once there was a man and wife. The wife did something very bad, so much so that the man would have been justified in divorcing her. She asked him to forgive her. He thought, “O Allah (swt), I forgive her for Your sake.” Later the man passed away and somebody saw him in a dream. The man said in the dream, “Allah (swt) forgave me for everything. Allah (swt) said that you forgave her because she was My servant, I forgive you because you are My servant.”

3. Abandon bad company   

We must keep ourselves away from the people who bring us closer to sin. Every night in the Isha prayer in Dua Qunut, we declare “O Allah (swt) I will isolate myself and I will repudiate that person who disobeys You.” A bad friend is worse than a snake because when a snake bites you, it sends you to your death, but a bad friend sends you to hellfire. A bad friend is even worse than Shaitan because Shaitan only whispers, but a bad friend takes you toward the sin.

4. Increase in your good deeds

People, who fall into any sin feel ashamed about it and so they stop praying, thinking that how can they face Allah (swt).

Quran 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).

How does Allah (swt) address these people? He doesn’t say “you sinners”, He says “My servants/slaves”. He doesn’t kick them out of the servant hood. He still takes them under His Custody.

Rewards for the Repenting Ones

1. A clean slate

Once repentance is accepted, the person becomes as if he doesn’t have any sins. We should make Dua that Allah (swt) erases each and every aspect of sin from us; May He remove even the memory of the pleasure of the sin.

2. Protection by Allah (swt) from Shaitan

Allah (swt) protects the person from Shaitan. Quran says, “Verily! My slaves (i.e the true believers of Islamic Monotheism), you have no authority over them. And All-Sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian.” (Al-Isra 17:65)

We cannot fight Shaitan, we can only seek Allah’s (swt) protection from him.

3. Acquiring an esteemed rank with Allah (swt)

Allah (swt) will include the person among the ranks of His Beloved. Quran says, “…Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.” (Al-Baqarah 2:222)

There was a man called Hasan al Basri who taught Quran on the command of Hazrat Ali (ra). One of his students was a widowed woman who dedicated her life to raising her son. Her son was a big sinner. She always tried to work on her son and take him to Hasan al Basri to make him leave his sinful ways. The son remained stubborn and did not leave sin. This continued until the time of his death. The mother cried and asked him to repent. Finally the son said that he felt the error of his ways and wanted to repent. He wanted Hasan al Basri to lead his funeral prayer. The mother went to the Sheikh but he refused saying that her son was just fooling her again. When the son got to know about this, he told his mother to drag his corpse around the city and show the people the fate of a sinner and sadly he passed away. Later Hasan al Basri went to meet the mother. He told her that after she had left, he heard a voice saying, “You think you are the friend of Allah (swt), but you refuse to pray the funeral prayer of His friend?”

Today is All You Have!

hour-glassI was walking back home with my husband quite late in the night, but the streets were still crowded. There was a buzz of cricket going all around, “What’s the score? Who is batting?”  Someone asked my husband too, but he said he didn’t even know that there was a match that day.

Because of the crowd, we decided to sit at a friend’s store that was still open; he too had the commentary of the match running on the radio. Soon a Burqa-clad woman came and sat next to me. She looked quite odd. I had to blink my eyes in order to confirm what I was seeing, and the next moment, I shrieked, as it turned out to be a skeleton. The first thought to come to my mind was that it could only be the angel of death or the devil; no doubt no one else could see her.

I started reciting: Aoodhu billahi min-ash-Shaitan ir-Rajeem, with my heart beating very fast. I tried to scream but no voice came out of my mouth. I turned to see where my husband was, and lo – I was comfortably sleeping on my bed. It was a bad dream. I was so relieved. I read the Duas to be read according to the Sunnah, when we see a bad dream. I spit on the left three times, sought refuge in Allah (swt) from Shaitan and the evil of what I had seen; I did not relate it to anyone; I turned and slept back on the side opposite to which I was sleeping previously.

When sleeping, think that this might be me my last sleep, and I might get up in the grave; when waking up in the morning, think that this might be the last dawn to save myself from the hellfire.

After that dream, some thoughts kept disturbing me; the angel of death could be hovering by. Let us think: have we collected enough good deeds, and more importantly, have we repented for our sins? The foremost act is to seek forgiveness from those, whom we have hurt or from those for whom we carry a grudge or who were a victim of our backbiting, because if we do not, then on the Day of Judgement we will have to compensate their bad deeds with our good deeds. Moreover, Allah (swt) wants us to return to Him with a Qalbe Saleem – a heart which is pure: clean from impurities of Dunya, its lust, hatred, jealousy and all other negative traits, which make our heart dirty. He has stated in the Quran,

“The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail. Except him who brings to Allah a clean heart (clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifaq (hypocrisy)).” (Ash-Shuara 26:88-89)

Prepare for death! Every time you stand to pray five times a day, think that this might be your last standing before Allah (swt) in Dunya. Also, when sleeping, realize that this might be your last sleep, and you might wake up in the grave; when waking up in the morning, understand that this might be the last dawn to save yourself from hellfire. All these thoughts will save us from gossip and vain talks; they will keep us on our toes and help us prepare for the afterlife Insha’Allah.

How do I Improve my Character?

CharacterHere are some tips for you. Foremost is to stop doing Haram. Stop doing bad things. Don’t talk about adding good until you get rid of bad deeds. You can’t talk about giving a medicine unless you stop bleeding. It doesn’t make any sense. So, first of all, stop the entertainment addiction. You’ve got to stop watching films. You’ve got to start lowering your gaze when walking on the street, because you become less of a human every time you stare at a woman. You stare at her, as if she is a piece of meat or an animal. That just means that you’ve lost the respect of a fellow human being.

Gain your humanity first, and then embellish and beautify your life with good deeds. These simple small things, such as perfecting prayer, memorizing few supplications, trying to be honest in the workplace, and being kind to your mother are not complicated things.

This is what the Creator asks from us. Someone asks, “Why does He want this from me? How does it benefit Him?”

Don’t talk about adding good until you get rid of bad deeds. You can’t talk about giving a medicine unless you stop bleeding.

It’s a good question. One of His names is Al-Ghani. Ghani means: “The One who doesn’t need anything”. There is a verse in which He has commanded us to do certain things. He is Ghani; He is free of need. You are the ones who are bankrupt. He doesn’t need anything, and we need everything because we are the bankrupt. And then, He told us to do a few good things. And if you do those few good deeds, He will make you Ghani; He will make you free of need. He will give you a shower of huge blessings. Good deeds are beneficial to us because they are like medicines. They bring with them bonuses in this world and the next world.

For example, you’ve been looking for a job and you are also mean to your mother. Then you start being kind to your mother. Mysteriously, they call you back. They want you to come in for an interview. Thus, you receive the blessings of being kind to your mother.
One good deed will open up other doors for you. That’s what Allah (swt) does in this world. Whoever becomes conscious of Allah (swt), He starts opening doors for him, making a way out for him. He will provide him in a way he couldn’t have even imagined. All this happens because this person has become conscious about Allah (swt). That’s all Allah (swt) is asking us. And He wants us to ask Him only, to make our lives better.

And if you do those few good deeds, He will make you Ghani; He will make you free of need. He will give you a shower of huge blessings.

People ask: “What does Allah (swt) want from us?” That’s a really fundamental question. There are a few verses that tell us the answer. One of them is:

“Allah wishes to lighten (the burden) for you; and man was created weak. ” (An-Nisa 4:28)