Do not be depressed with yourself, ever!

sad_face_stick_figure_sign_400_clr1On the globe, not a single soul has the same fingerprint, as far as we know. And, not a single soul has the same iris print- if you can call it that- as far as we know, Subhan’Allah. Allah (swt) says in order for you to recognise one another- we kept you different. Subhana Rabbi’al ‘Ala. That is the creation of Allah (swt); He says everybody is different, so you can recognise each other.

Look at the term ‘Lit’arafu’. Imagine if a thief had to steal and we were all the same, we would rather just lock up the next person. In fact, no one would know who stole from whom, because we would all be looking the same, Subhana Rabbi’al ‘Ala.

So, if we sit and think about it, it’s a blessing; that is why never ever be upset with what Allah (swt) has put you, or what Allah (swt) has given you, or where He has placed you; never be upset. If you are big, huge, fat, and you weigh a lot, someone, somewhere will be attracted to you, you will also find a husband. Don’t worry. There are some men who don’t like that which is thin and skinny and bony. So, Alhumdulillah, Allah (swt) has created different people with different taste.

Imagine if the whole world had the same taste. So if you are dark, some people like dark people; if you are light, some like light. Do not ever be depressed with yourself ever. It is against the gratitude to the Creator Himself. No matter what colour eyes you have, or the type of hair you have or if you don’t have any hair at all, because you are bald now, Alhumdulillah, thank Allah (swt) for that. Wallahi, there are certain people who are attracted to those who are bald, Allahu Akbar.

This is Allah’s (swt) plan. He has kept it in such a way that it is amazing. And, He says I have created you in different levels, different sizes, different shapes, different likings, different inclinations and so on. One man’s food is another man’s poison. That is a saying that we have leant since we were young. If you would like to translate it- sometimes you have food in some area that might taste so nice to the people of that area, whereas a visitor coming there will not be able to put it even close to his mouth, Allahu Akbar. That is a literal translation and it can happen, and this is why there are different dishes- you have the Indian dish, you have the Malay dish, and so much more Masha’Allah. May Allah (swt) grant us from the food of Jannah Insha’Allah- because that will definitely be something standard for all of us according to our liking, Insha’Allah. We ask Allah (swt) to grant us understanding.

Look at the beauty of the levels that Allah (swt) has created us with. Don’t ever be depressed or question why Allah (swt) made you this way. And, this is why Allah (swt) says that He has chosen who will be male and who will be female, Allahu Akbar. Don’t ever question the decree of Allah (swt). ‘Ya Allah (swt), why did you make me a male?’ Don’t be upset with Allah’s (swt) decree if He made you a male, He made you a male, in order to test you as a male. If you are a female, your test is different. There are different things that Allah (swt) has to test you with.

Happiness- Six steps away

Vol 7 - Issue 1 The real happinessIt was a usual bright morning, and I was standing in the main foyer. Suddenly, cold wind touched my skin, and at once I uttered Alhumduillah! Thanking your Creator also provides you with an essence of happiness.

Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:28)

Smiling and laughing all the time doesn’t make you happy. Following are the ways which will help you to attain happiness in this world and in the hereafter.

Ponder and give thanks

You think about the loss, and do not give thanks for what is with you. Ponder upon yourself, your household, your good health and you will find yourself genuinely blessed by Allah (swt).

Think of the people who are less privileged, count on your blessings and give thanks to your Creator.

“And if you would count the graces of Allah, never could you be able to count them. Truly! Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (An- Nahl 16:18)

The past is gone

The ingredient for happiness is to avoid lengthy meditation on the past. Recalling the past, reacting to it and being sad are stupidity and madness. Be courageous and embrace your present with much enthusiasm and live it; and surely He is sufficient for us and is the best disposer of affairs.

“…And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed.” (Al-Maidah 5:23)

Patience and prayer

Be patient, no matter how difficult the situation gets, and the path gets darkened- happiness and ease comes with distress and hardship. When fear engulfs you, and sadness surrounds you, rest and tranquil your soul through Salah.

“O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer). Truly! Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.) (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

Consolation from the stricken

Look around- do you find any other afflicted being? Every home has a weeping story. You should take consolation from those stricken with adversity, and try to live happy with what you have.

“Or think you that you will enter paradise without such (trials) as come to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken….” (Al-Baqarah 2:214)

Make a pleasant drink from the lemon

When an adversity befalls on you, try to look at the bright side; take out every possible positive aspect. Don’t let people or situations ruin your happiness. When a person hands over a cup of lemon to you, add a cup of sugar to it, and when he presents a snake to you, take its priceless skin and leave the rest. Being happy is all in your hands.

Greed and love for Paradise

If you are eager to gain Jannah, you will definitely refrain yourselves from wrong doings. Ignore all the negatives of your life, and try to lead yourself with the formula of “Sabr and Shukr”; you will feel peace and happiness within yourself.

Remind yourself of the paradise, the width of which is as that of the heaven and the earth.

“Peace be upon you for that you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!” (Ar-Ra’d 13:24)

These ways will make your life easy and full of happiness Insha’Allah.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all?

mirrorWhen I was in college, there was a high trend of writing confession pages and so there were some confessions about me as well.

Some said something about my features- actually a lot about my features. The features that Allah (swt) has made, and surely He is Al-Khaliq- the Creator of everything. Al-Azim – The magnificent; Al-Majid- the Glorious; Al-Kabir- the Greatest; Al-Aziz- the Victorious; and Malik-Al-Mulk- the owner of all.

Previously, I used to feel sad, and for a period of time I couldn’t get over that and then I started accepting it. I used to say ‘ What Bhonday lips and nose I’ve got!’ I started making fun of myself. But then one day, I realized how can I ever, or how can they ever make fun of something that is given by Allah (swt). He is Al-Mussawir – the Artist, the Shaper of beauty. How can I even point mistakes in His Takhleeq? He is Al-Baree- the Maker of order. You don’t need anyone to tell you how beautiful you are; you are created by the Allah (swt); He is Al-Mu’izz- the Bestower of honours, and how beautiful is that.

I just wanted to share with you people. I took time to realize all this but don’t let the same happen with you. When you look at the mirror- before taking a selfie- do recite the Dua (Translation: Oh Allah (swt), you beautified my body, so beautify my character.) and say,  Alhumdulilah because Allah (swt) is Ash-Shakoor ,the Rewarder of thankfulness.
May Allah (swt) give us Hidayat and forgive our sins; surely He is Al-Ghafaar- the Forgiving. Ameen.

I know I am Blessed

blessings

I cried just because I didn’t get what I expected
I laughed because I got what was unexcelled.

My expectations arise,
My desperation begins.

More! More! More! engulfed me,
Looting away happiness from me.

My faith weakened,
My life shaken.

I observed my circumjacent,
I felt complacent.

I bow down to the Almighty,
And I got back the felicity.

I am blessed I know this,
I am endowed I assured this.

A Decade of Happy Marriage

 

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9 happy marriage

Being a young girl, I repeatedly had to listen to such statements: “Whatever you study, one day you have to get married and do the household chores.”

I used to ignore it as much as I could. After the bone-breaking study of medicine with all work and no play schedule, there came a time when I had to tie a knot with somebody and leave all my books. I had to start from scratch and set foot in the sea of entirely new experiences and learning. Anatomy and biochemistry that had become a part and parcel of my life got replaced by the study of kitchen management and hacks.

My married life is now ten years old, and a proud feather is added to my marriage cap. I have realized the deeper meaning of marriage – it is a pact of making your sharp corners round.

According to Mufti Ibrahim Desai: “There can be no doubt in the success of a marriage governed by the fear of Allah (swt).”

I don’t celebrate marriage anniversaries by parties or hip-hop; but I do celebrate by pondering over the lessons that I had learnt during that year and store them in my memory. Each year, I implement those lessons into my life to get more happiness and success. My secret of a blissful marriage is based on the following lessons.

  1. Silence is the best medicine

It is very usual to have differences, but to remain calm and composed is an art, which is achieved through excellent self-control tactics. Arguing at times of conflict can make the situation worse by letting the Satan enter into it.

Abu Saeed Al-Khudri reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “If anyone is humble for the sake of Allah (swt) by a degree, Allah (swt) will elevate him one degree, until he reaches the highest degrees; if anyone is arrogant towards Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will lower him one degree until he reaches the lowest of low degrees.” (Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani)

The very first thing that took me to the tantrums after my marriage was the late night schedule of my husband’s job. As my father was a government officer, we used to enjoy the evening tea with him at home. When I shared that with my hubby, I got a mind-blowing lecture of office responsibilities and problems. The best I could do was to pray to Almighty Allah (swt) and remain silent. The next year, my hubby changed the job, in which he had the facility to return back home early and could work from home. Silence helped me keep a peaceful environment at home.

  1. Conquer through love

Love is the language that everybody understands. Showing constant gratitude and love takes your hubby to the Mount Everest of his self-esteem. In turn, he showers you with the same.

  1. To err is human, to forgive – divine

Females have a 967432 GB of memory, and on any little issue, they open up the historical book of complaints, which ignites never-ending arguments. I used to avoid it by imagining the large number of women burning in hellfire, due to ungratefulness to their husbands.

It was narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas (rtam) that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “I was shown Hell, and I have never seen anything more terrifying than it. And I saw that the majority of its people are women.” They said: “Why, O Messenger of Allah (sa)?” He said: “Because of their ingratitude (Kufr).” It was said: “Are they ungrateful to Allah (swt)?” He said: “They are ungrateful to their companions (husbands) and ungrateful for good treatment. If you are kind to one of them for a lifetime and then she sees one (undesirable) thing in you, she will say: ‘I have never had anything good from you.’” (Bukhari)

  1. The foolish secret

I know this is difficult to apply for many of us, but believe me – it works. I used to surprise my hubby by listening to common talks with great astonishment. It is a secret, which I apply regularly and keep my relationship filled with joy.

  1. Invest in your relationship

Sharing lovely gifts and words adds strength to my life and fuels my passion to live together. A beautifully-wrapped present leaves a long lasting effect on the heart of your hubby – it will never be a waste!

  1. Out of sight wins the mind!

It sounds awkward but this is another secret to my fulfilling joyous life. Whenever I used to return from my mom’s house, I used to find a new spark in my married life. Being away for some time allows one to re-discover, and have some ‘me’ time. It helps both to settle and look into the disputes with an impartial aspect.

  1. Give credit

Your achievements and success must be because of your hard work, but transfer the credit to your hubby, as that success wouldn’t have been possible without his broadmindedness, compromise, support, and appreciation. Try to be more courteous and giving.

  1. Show gratitude

Thank your hubby often; it takes just a second but kindles the light of respect and love. Nothing big is required to admit his support – only a nice comment on his return from the office or shop can make the day wonderful for both of you.

  1. Share with care

Effective communication is the life and blood of a successful relationship. Not a single day of my married life has passed without sharing problems, asking or just telling the whole day routine. It gradually and slowly builds up the understanding between the two souls.

  1. Trust is a must

Last but not the least, trust is the key to a prosperous and ever growing married life. Hiding petty matters from the hubby may be of no value at the moment, but it will eventually shake the pillars of married life. Remember the key point that after your marriage, your hubby is the most worthy person in your life. Although ten years have passed, I am still striving to the best of my abilities, so that I don’t let anyone down. Insha’Allah.

Take a Muslim’s attitude- Express gratitude

StarsSome people seem absolutely beautiful. They appear in the form of stars during pitch dark nights, scattered all over the sky, emitting light and illuminating the surroundings. They enter your life like a sailing ship-sailing smoothly through, silent and calm, making its way to the shore. They touch your life as easily as it can be because they bring peace, tranquillity and meaning to it. They, in the midst of despair, bring you hope. They, during the times of turmoil, bring you ease. They, in different moments of your life, throw colours on your canvas; thus painting your picture a little brighter and more beautiful. Some people are beautiful, just like the stars- shining bright and making you see things which you had never seen before- because it was dark; because it was hard, without them.

Unlike the tremendously significant ties of your family, these people appear in different stages of your life. Some of them will leave as you proceed, while others will stay. They have different names, but they are there. In one way or the other, your life will remain flavoured with their presence.

We humans are social beings, and are obliged to stay connected with people around us. We need communication in order to progress. Our personal, as well as, societal development depends on our ability to interact with other humans. The more we intermingle, more people we relate ourselves to. In the course of this networking, we sometimes meet people who appear more like us, who behave similar to our behaviour and even accept us the way we are. Our frequencies resonate with each other. We feel love, affection and fondness for them. We call them friends!

Look around-

Do you feel compassion in their eyes?

Do you see unconditional love in their actions?

 

Get closer-

Do you feel them?

A helping hand,

a lending shoulder,

a warm hug

or an encouraging nod?

Do you see them?

A friend in need, is a friend indeed!

Every man since the beginning of time till today, including the Prophets, who had support of Allah (swt), the Supreme, has had companions. The Beloved Prophet of Allah (swt), Muhammad (sa) was in close friendship with many Sahabah (ra) including Abu Bakr (ra). They were close and supported each other in the hardest of times; until our Prophet (sa) took his final breath. Their brotherly love was cherished equally to such an extent that the Messenger of Allah (swt) said:

“If I were to choose from my Ummah anyone as my bosom friend, I would have chosen Abu Bakr.” (Muslim)

How beautiful is this bond where you can associate yourself with someone who will embrace you with every detail you hold! You will be loved by your friend irrespective of your appearance or failures. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, if you are surrounded by faithful friends, your life will be treasured. Your happiness will be multiplied, while your sorrows will get a little less painful. They will see pain in your eyes even when you have had the loudest laughs. Your success will be celebrated.  Your failures will be shared.

No matter how strong you have been all your life, you would always need someone like this. Even if you have touched highest of the milestones in your life, you would always cherish that hand helping you get up; that shoulder lending you a support; and that hug making it all worth it, in the end.

But it doesn’t end here- We Humans do not function according to a manual which is why our relationships are difficult in all their glory. We posses friends who are critically important in our lives, yet they do not get the appreciation they deserve. They are not told enough that they matter. In the rough stages of life where everything gets in our way, yet they help us get through the most complicated phases of our life; we forget to acknowledge how helpful they had been. It’s ironical how less we appreciate their presence, but how immensely dependent we are on them.

If you have a sincere friend, you have struck gold!

If you have one friend who you can count on, even at the darkest hour of your life, consider yourself the luckiest person on this planet. Without him, the upsetting realities of this life would tire your soul. Not sharing your worries or the happy moments will drain your energies out.  Let’s face it, without your sincere friends; your life will be less colourful and more difficult.

Just remember that your strength in your life isn’t flawed when you appreciate them. Your austerity doesn’t change when you cherish them; and your milestones will still be yours, if you credit them for who they have made you in tiny bits of their support or love.

In his book, How to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie says;

“Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”

It doesn’t have to be a day, an event or a fancy occasion to tag a card along. It can be today, it can be right now. If you haven’t told them, let them know now. Tell them, they matter! Appreciate their efforts in bringing you up. Acknowledge their support in all those gloomy days. Be grateful for their applause, their hugs, their kisses and their love. Whatever it takes to say, “Thank you.” do it today.

“Anyone who doesn’t thank people has not thanked Allah (swt).” (Abu-Dawud,Tirmidhi)

Resolving family conflicts

familyIslam is based on a relationship with Allah (swt), with its creations and the world we live in. As soon as we come together, a potential conflict exists. But conflict is not unnatural. Of course with Allah (swt), there is no conflict- as He is Al-Aziz (The Mighty) and Al-Jabbar (The Compeller). Whatever He decides will be. However, between humans there exist differences. Allah (swt) wants us to take the best out of these differences. It is Allah (swt) Who has planted the seed of difference in our existence in regard to other human beings. Be it our colour, our nations, our tribes, etc.

We live in a community, and were not sent to live in a monastery or on top of a mountain. The Prophet (sa) said: “The believer who mixes with humans and bear’s their harm is better than the one who does not mix with people and bear their harm.” (Tirmidhi) Hence, the preferable way for the believer is to deal with conflicts positively as it contains good. But, as soon as we utter the word ‘conflict’, we think negative. We are trained to think that ‘we should avoid it, block it as it is bad.’ Circumstances without it are better.

The issue is, are we able to identify the good in the conflict? The following might just alter your perspective:

  1. Means for a change. Conflicts provide just that. When we change from what we were doing to something different, it highlights that our previous way of handling something was wrong. It shows a conflict between what we were doing versus the best way to do something. This spells the need for us to change to what is beneficial for all.
  2. Motivates us. Conflicts motivate us to do better. Otherwise, we are complacent and lazy about the way things are. Things either improve or degrade. The idea of going at one pace with no ups and downs is impossible. That is not life. That is the life of a stone. Living creatures experience change- whether it is a caterpillar changing into a butterfly, or a child growing up to be an adult. Allah (swt) states, “We created human beings in struggle.” (Surah Balad, 90: 4)) Struggle is a result of conflict. Gravity tells us to lie down, but struggle tells us to roll over. Gravity tells us to stay where we are. Struggle tells us to move, and eventually, we start walking. Struggle and conflict are part of our own development.
  3. Increases awareness of issues. Pain in life is important for us to know that things are not going in the right direction in life. Those patients, who due to a damaged nervous system are unable to feel pain, self-destruct themselves. Pain lets us know where our problem exists; otherwise, we would bleed and bruise to death. Similarly, conflicts identify where issues need to be corrected so we can repair and improve.
  4. Improves decision-making. Conflicts also cause decisions to be sought out more carefully. Through conflicts, some careful decision-making is reached; more precautions are taken and secure analysis is done.

    The attitude of gratitude is the most powerful attribute after believing in Allah (swt). Whenever you feel frustrated, distressed, in the middle of a conflict make Sujood-as-Shukr.

  5. Opportunity for self-assessment. It helps us to understand what we are really like. We might think of ourselves as someone very calm and understanding, but as the heat turns on our voices raise. It exposes our weakness. It is under conflict that we can take benefit for personal change to correct short comings that we are not normally aware of.
  6. Smaller conflicts defuse greater conflicts. If we can deal with certain issues by catching them at an earlier stage, we are then able to prevent greater harm at a later stage. It is nipped in the bud.
  7. Amusement, if not taken seriously. Differences can be put in place. If we have the ability to handle them in a non-serious manner, we can laugh about them. We all argue and later look back and laugh at it realizing that it was nothing to be uptight about.
  8. With every evil exists good. Can we capitalize on the positive and do not become overwhelmed and overcame by conflicts? Allah (swt) does not cause any harm, evil or bad to occur, unless there is a good side to it. Allah (swt) didn’t create Satan to commit evil. Likewise, Allah (swt) didn’t create Hazrat Adam (as) to disobey. But, He did provide them with the opportunity to ask for forgiveness later. The template for life is, ‘Repentance must follow error and sin.’ And the power of repentance is so great that the Prophet (sa) said: “One who repents from sins is like one who never sinned.” (Ibn Majah; Hasan)). Repentance is a higher level of worship. It is the reason for creation of sin.
  9. A means to get to know others. When we face a problem, we should work vigorously to deal with the problem and not the person. Also, we must understand that asking others and their listening to us doesn’t equate to agreeing to and obeying. We confuse ourselves when we say something and assume that others are in agreement. We need to ensure first if he/she accepts it or not.
  10. Develops Husn-e-Zan. In the course of a dialogue, words have impact. If in the discussion we accuse: “You said or you thought or you did…” it works like fuel on the fire. You are taking it right to the person. Instead, you may say: “I thought or it was my interpretation or I understood…” This does not sound confrontational. You are defusing the problem. Hence, beware of ‘you’ and ‘your’. Always give the benefit of the doubt to others by assuming the best interpretation they meant. To have assumed the worst, well in fact, it wasn’t intended at all, is bad.

Importance of gratitude

It is for us to take the good out of conflicts when they occur in families, whether it is between spouses, parents and their children or siblings. We need to look at the glass that is half full. Islam always talks about positivity. Muslims recite the chapter of Fatihah seventeen times daily. What is it? It teaches gratefulness. The attitude of gratitude is the most powerful attribute after believing in Allah (swt). Whenever you feel frustrated, distressed, in the middle of a conflict make Sujood-as-Shukr. This is the best cure. It was the Prophet’s (sa) regular practice. Sujood-as-Shukr keeps us in touch with the positive side of reality.

Ingratitude is so dangerous that the Prophet (sa) said the majority of women will be in hellfire as they are quick to deny good. It’s an alarming practice with horrible consequences. It is important for us to be grateful to Allah (swt) and then to our fellow beings. The Prophet (sa) said that whoever is not thankful to people is not thankful to Allah (swt). If the wives do not appreciate their husbands for what they have done, they are not thanking Allah (swt) either. Similarly for men, big displays of gratitude to Allah (swt) mean little if they mistreat their wives.

Some conflicts end in depression. Depression is the inability to recognize good. Hundreds of people are killing themselves due to it. Psychologists consider offering gratitude to be the best remedy for dealing with depression. As a general principle when resolving family conflicts this needs to be considered carefully. This is a huge topic. We can apply this principle to virtually all circumstances.

In any conflict, ask Allah (swt) what good does He want to bring forth? Then develop strategies. Difference between needs, values and beliefs are reasons for problems resulting between people in conflict. Though Pakistan has mostly a homogenous community, still there are some unique familial, tribal customs and values people carry with them as they come together in marriage.These are some foundations of conflict, but Allah (swt) commands us to resolve them.

We need to ask ourselves a very vital question: “Would I rather be happy or would I rather be right?”

Say ‘Go’ to your Ego!

In families, the biggest problem is communication breakdown. Marriage psychologists especially highlight this challenge. Men usually do not like to talk. Women always like to talk. There are different ways that people use to deal with their troubles. We must keep the dialogue going. We need to ask ourselves a very vital question: “Would I rather be happy or would I rather be right?” What if you actually give up when you have an opportunity to further go into conflict?

The Prophet (sa) states: “If a person gives up his argument in spite of being right, Allah (swt) promises him a place in Jannah.” (Abu Dawud). Some people insist that they will fight for their right, but actually, it is not always wise to be right and have the last say. One must analyze the situation. What is the greater good of the situation?  Greater good is in happiness. Allah (swt) has put a husband and a wife together for them to be in a state of love, comfort and happiness.  Do not let smaller issues be blown out of proportion.

Transcribed by Rana Rais Khan, editor Hiba.

Fortitude with Gratitude – Key to a Happy Marital Life

vision for marriageSana and Ali got married three month ago. They were having a life of bliss. For them, marriage was nothing, but a bed of roses.

They were going through the period of dinner invitations. Last invitation was from Ali’s uncle. They were warmly greeted by the family members, and then started a session of talks and discussion about the current scenario of Pakistan. It came to a halt when Hira, Ali’s cousin enquired Sana about her views on marriage and her husband.

Sana smiled generously and said: “People with patience and gratitude are the residents of Jannah.” It was just a blunt statement that she uttered without calculating the pros and cons. She had no idea what will it be bringing for her in near future.

Ali was rude and ruthless in their bedroom where Sana had already dressed up for sleep. He did not talk to her a single word. Banged the bedroom door hard and dozed off.

Pillow absorbed the tears that she shed the whole night. She was depressed and felt disdain.

That sort of reaction, slowly and gradually, became a part of routine. His loving tone, incomparable care and affection, those looks, the sugary mesmerizing words, all praise and appreciation, emotional support just started to vanish in a glimpse.

She could not come out of the shock of his change in behaviour. She started to whine and nag. Being bitter and moody became her traits. She started to miss her daily obligatory prayers.

Time passed and their relationship deteriorated with every single day. Things turned out to be more jumbled up. Finally, she thought of taking advice from her best friend, Annabia. On the other hand, Ali was opting for something that she could not even think of.

She narrated her feelings openly to her. She wept and wept madly. “What has happened to him, why does not he love me anymore, what should I do to have him back?

Annabia was very relaxed. There was not even a single line of disbelief or surprise, or even sympathy on her face. Her reaction was calm. She was enjoying her cup of tea and it blew a big hit to Sana. She almost started to yell and scream.

“Are you listening to me? Do you have any idea how miserable my marriage is going? I will be insane in a few days; I cannot handle it. I want things to be the same as they used to be.”

“I was stupid enough to come to you; you seem to be busy with your cup of tea. You can never imagine my agony.” She was exhausted.

Annabia took a deep sigh and gently touched her hand.

“Just relax,” she softly whispered.

‘But but…” Sana murmured.

“This is all very normal Sana; marriage is not only a bed of roses. Life will not always be full of laughter. It is common to feel neglected, and in the lowest pitch of dismay after few months of marriage. It is not a honeymoon period always. In the start, things are new. Both spouses are emotionally high with their own sets of thoughts and desires. They show their best. Have time to spend time with each other and hang around. But then, there lies a practical life ahead which demands a lot. Both parties have their separate set of responsibilities and expectations to prove up to. Love does not end, but it fades away. In later years of marriage, the partners have to work hard, and invest time and energy to keep the love alive, to let it ignite and blossom. Every marriage has some hiccups: Sabr (patience) and Shukar (thankfulness) are two main weapons of a believer. List down the things that he excels in, you will find yourself way better than thousands of women who are victims of domestic violence, torture, and are nothing more than a sex toy.” She added.

“I had felt the same way. Everyone does, but nobody reacts the way you are doing. It is not the end of the world honey. Things will be fine. Give some space and time. Uplift your faith and things will fall into order very soon. You need to have patience, and this can only be attained by connecting more with Allah (swt), offer night prayers- instead of boiling your head with worries.” She advised Sana to be the way she used to be. ”Instead of expecting him to be the same old person, try yourself to be as energetic, loving and happy. It will be a vicious cycle. Who knows, he might be feeling same the way you are. Men are not vocal about their feelings. They shut themselves up with a board of ‘do not disturb.’”

Sana felt a relief. For then, she had a vision about a strategy, a remedy to follow.  Past flash backs made her heart beat with happiness, and she could not stop herself from smiling. She rushed home where the love of her life resided.

Some known voices caused her feet to numb. She could not breathe for another second. It was as if her body had been paralysed. The exchange of dialogue caused shivers to run down her spine.

Her mother in law was furious and cynical, whereas Ali sounded irritated and said, “I did not choose her, it’s you. I am sick and tired of all this. If you have so many problems with her, I will divorce her.”

“I asked you not to give her leniency, but no, you were the one running after her. Taking notes from her and pleasing her. And what did she do? She disrespected you in front of your family by saying she is patient enough. She is living a terrible life with you and you being the lucky one must thank Allah (swt) for such a beauty queen in your life.” The words were flooded with sarcasm.

Ali said in a hurtful tone, “Do not keep reminding me about it, I wish you never heard her saying this to Hira. I will find a way soon.” he left by saying this.

Sana rushed to her room. She made ablution, and went straight in prostration (Sujood) and sobbed bitterly. This was  the first time that she asked Allah (swt) for help. She felt so light after communicating with the Lord of the worlds.

Now, she  needed to be a person of her words. Her formula of life became patience and gratitude.

We will face every sort of people in life; we cannot change them, but can make our roots of faith strong to encounter such facets.

 

10 Reasons to Be Positive in Life

optimismIt has become a very common thing in our lives that if we face discouragement, disappointment or a set-back, we simply move towards the “negative zone”- that is towards the dark side of our existence. We tend to believe that it is the last stop of our life, and no good will ever happen to us again. But, we forget that life is a road of opportunities- one goes, other comes. Moreover, while being in the zone of negativity, we overlook the good things that have or had happened to us in our lives. This negative zone lead us to the path where we start to believe that “We are good for nothing”, and nothing good will happen to us again. It is the height of negative thinking.

Instead, after a disappointment or a set-back, people should remain positive. It will help them remain calm and composed emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Also, it will bring a new outlook of life which will be based on optimism.

Here are the ten incredibly motivating reasons to acquire a positive approach towards life.

1. Feel Better

One of the peaceful reasons of being positive is to feel better.  During a set-back or hard time, you usually feel down and powerless, because negativity is all around you- making feel like nothing will ever change. But, if you remain calm and take that set-back or hardship as a phase which will fade away. Then, this thought would surely make you feel better.

2. Ability to cope up

Well, hardships are a part of life. They will never go away. But, with positive attitude, you can cope up with the hard times which will help you to remain strong, calm and compose during tough times.

3. Motivation

Your positive approach will help you stay motivated towards your goal or aim in life, and no obstacle or hardship will ever de-motivate you.

4. Regain self-esteem

With positive attitude- you believe in yourself; you value yourself; you do not underestimate your potential or strengths, and you trust your decisions.

5. Attain Good Health

Positive approach keeps you away from tension, depression, and many mental illnesses. It gifts you a good health.

6. Happiness all around

Optimism is one of the charms that even during hardship, it keeps you happy and content with your life.

7. Gratitude

Positive perspective makes you grateful, thankful and pleased with all the blessings and gifts you have. It creates a huge distance between you and negativity or ungratefulness.

8. Gift of Courage

While acquiring this beautiful approach in life, it grants you one of the tremendous tendencies such as courage. It helps you to remain strong against every obstacle; it gives stamina to keep on fighting and eliminates our fears.

9. Make impossible, possible

Whether it is a test, exam, interview or an assignment, sometimes we feel it is impossible to accomplish. But, with positivity we can make impossible, possible.

10. Farewell to Stress

Usually, we feel stressful during important tasks or difficult times, which disables us to remain focus and determined. But, with optimistic attitude, we can say farewell to stress and welcome a happy life!

Lessons of Gratitude from Umm Ayyub Ansaria (ra)

datetreeHosts of the Beloved (sa)

When the news of the Prophet’s (sa) migration to Madinah reached the city, the entire Madinah came out of their homes to catch one glance of the beloved Messenger (sa). This was a sight never witnessed before. Every heart desired that they host the Messenger (sa) at their house. But Allah (swt) had decided something else.

The Messenger (sa) instructed the crowd to leave the she-camel Qaswa alone, and let her follow the Divine command. The she-camel treaded slowly as if deciding at whose house she should stop. Suddenly, she halted in front of the house of Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra). The forerunners were chosen by Allah (swt) to host His beloved (sa). Witnessing this blessed moment, Umm Ayyub’s eyes welled up with tears. She could not believe this beloved being (sa) was to stay at their home. She ran inside to fix the Prophet’s place for resting and to cook a meal for him. This was the greatest honour that anyone could attain.

when a person swings between this and that, there is a possibility that the chance to do a good deed is snatched from him.

Following his wife, Abu Ayyub (ra) rushed forward to grab the Prophet’s luggage and to carry it inside. The Prophet (sa) stood at the entrance thanking the people who had come out to welcome him in this new city.

Lessons to draw: A person should not procrastinate in the matters of goodness or what am I to gain from this. Because, when a person swings between this and that, there is a possibility that the chance to do a good deed is snatched from him. We should be the ones who say: we hear and we obey and not miss the opportunities of goodness that we are offered. May Allah (swt) make us from the Sabiqoon bil Khairat — those who are foremost in doing good deeds. Ameen.

“…and of them are some who are, by Allah’s Leave, foremost in good deeds. That (inheritance of the Quran), that is indeed a great grace.” (Fatir 35:32)

Respect for the Messenger (sa)

Abu Ayyub (ra) lived in a double-storey house. Arrangements for the Prophet (sa) had been made on the upper level. The Prophet (sa), however, chose staying downstairs. He argued that since the people would be coming in to meet him, it would disturb the family if he stayed upstairs. The family could do nothing, but agree with whatever the Prophet (sa) chose. They went upstairs and stayed awake until sunrise. It was unacceptable for them to be at a level higher than the Messenger (sa). The next day, they again requested the Messenger (sa) to go upstairs as they did not want to cause him discomfort by their footsteps or movements above.

The Prophet (sa) stayed with the family till the time the Prophet’s Mosque was built. The family was upset that the Messenger (sa) would be leaving them. Their hearts were put to rest when they were assured of his house being close to theirs.

Gratitude by Limbs

Having the Prophet’s (sa) Mosque next door was considered a blessing by both Umm and Abu Ayyub (ra). Whenever they heard Bilal (ra) gave the call to prayer, the couple expressed their joy, not just by their tongues, but also by their limbs. Umm Ayyub (ra) actively participated with her husband in the worship of Allah (swt). She kept up with the voluntary worship along with the obligatory duties. She slept less at night and worshipped Allah (swt) more. She fasted on days outside Ramadan seeking the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Abu Ayyub (ra) would share with his wife whatever he learnt from the Prophet (sa) from the Quran.

To her, her greatest heir was the Quran. She regularly recited it and also memorised some portion. On some days, she listened to the Quran from her husband too. Abu Ayyub (ra) would share with his wife whatever he learnt from the Prophet (sa) from the Quran. Taking Quran as a beloved companion, Umm Ayyub (ra) would often reflect on its content. This reflection softened her heart and she was motivated to help others. Her purpose in life became looking after the needs of the poor and the needy.

The couple was not only active in their worship, but they were also the narrators of several Prophetic traditions.

Lessons to draw: One must not just talk about the worldly matters, but also share beneficial knowledge with their family. A constant reflection of the Quran reminds us of the reality of this life and our purpose here. It also softens the heart and develops compassion for others.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

Top Five Ways to Maintain a Strong Connection with Allah (swt)

asking allahIf the hustle and bustle of this life is weakening our connection with Allah (swt) or if we are disconnected from Him (swt) and feeling frustrated, then we need to engage ourselves in His worship. “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28) Connection with Allah (swt) is as important for us as water is important for the plants. Allah’s (swt) remembrance and worship nourishes our faith and keeps us on straight path. Here are some top ways to foster a strong connection with our Rabb (swt).

1. Salah with Presence of Mind

  • Try to plan the Salah. We need to plan our meeting with Allah (swt) – just the way we plan our worldly meetings.
  • Every night before sleeping, build a strong and sincere intention to perform an excellent Salah the next day.
  • Every morning, the first thought should be the thought of performing each Salah on time. Presence of mind comes when we understand the meanings of the words we recite daily in our Salah. While reciting Surah al-Fatihah, ponder over the meanings. Just think about it: you are praising the Lord of the lords. You are talking to the king of the worlds.
  • Try to memorize new Surahs. Start with short ones.
  • Supplicate after Adhan. Try to answer the Adhan and supplicate to Allah (swt) for solace.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Decide which Surahs you are going to recite. Pray Salah calmly and consciously.

2. Reciting and Understanding the Quran

  • Recite the Quran with understanding; read its translation and Tafseer.
  • Act upon the Quran.
  • Share the knowledge with your family and friends.
  • Open the Quran and know what Allah (swt) is telling us. Read about Him, the author of the best book of the world. Read about the Author Who is in love with the readers.
  • Personalize your Quran, where you can highlight your favourite verses and Duas.
  • If you don’t understand Arabic, get a Quran with translation. Make sure that your children have their personal Quran.

3. Supplication

  • Seek Allah (swt) through supplication. Converse with him. Praise him. Talk to him about every small and big thing. Cry before him. Tell him about how much you need him. The one who cries before Allah (swt) does not need to cry before anyone else.
  • Make Allah (swt) your best friend. No friend in the world can be as loyal as Allah (swt) is. He loves His creation seventy times more than a mother loves her child. He is closer to you than your jugular vein.
  • Keep Allah (swt) in your mind, every second. Talk to him in your heart, every moment. Allah (swt) even hears the whispers. Remember! Allah’s (swt) love is the most guaranteed love.

4. Repentance

Allah (swt) loves those who repent. Let’s be in the list of those whom Allah (swt) loves. Let’s please the Creator with the act that He loves the most. Allah (swt) waits for us to repent.  Let’s put off the burden of our sins. Repent repeatedly each day. Don’t let the sins accumulate. Every sin puts a black dot on the heart, and we need to wash our heart constantly.

5. Gratitude to Allah

Take a pen and a paper and start writing down Allah’s (swt) blessings. We would surely have a never-ending list. Keep adding things to the list every day. Every breath is His blessing. How much ungratefulness we show when we complain to Allah (swt), disregarding all the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. We need to be grateful to Him for the smallest things that He has given us. His greatest blessing is that He has chosen us to be Muslims. Be grateful to Him for the guidance that He has given us.

May Allah (swt) enable us to maintain a strong connection with Him always. Ameen

And my Dua was Accepted…

Dua was Accepted“Mother’s Dua has been accepted!” My children’s energetic loud voice woke me up from my sleep.

We were residents in UAE. My husband and I were working as teachers in a school, when that school’s principle fired both of us, due to his personal enmity with us.

Ramadan was going on. Our visa was going to expire after two months; therefore, we tried hard to find another job but in vain. My three little children were in primary and the two older ones were studying in secondary schools. Residential problem, rent for the house, children’s school fees and grocery money was urgently needed; we were running out of savings and were greatly depressed. All our emergency funds were coming to an end. I told my children to stay calm and pray to Allah (swt) with a pure heart and strong belief.

Allah (swt) had accepted my prayer word to word.

After a few days, my husband’s friend came to our house and said that he has been called in Sharjah for a job interview in a school – he was going to leave for Sharjah. My husband’s friend asked my husband to accompany him. My husband refused, as there was no reason for him to go. However, his friend insisted, terming that as an important visit. When I learned about this, I told my husband to go. Then my husband told his friend that he was ready to go with him. I spoke my heart out: “May Allah (swt) make them ask you to start your job there from the very next day.”

My husband and his friend took off for Sharjah together. As it was the month of Ramadan, I fell asleep during the day and when I woke up, it was nearly Maghrib time. I came to know that my husband had returned from the trip, and as soon as I entered the room, my husband repeated the same sentence that I said before he was leaving, “May Allah (swt) make them ask you to start your job there from the very next day.” My husband said that the school’s interviewer had offered him a job there and then.

I doubted, whether it was real or a dream, because I was awakened by my children’s cheers, “Mother’s prayer is accepted!” But, Alhumdulillah, it was real.

My husband said that the school’s interviewer had offered him a job there and then.

No doubt, my Allah (swt) had accepted my Dua that was prayed with a pure heart. Allah (swt) had accepted my prayer word to word. I could not control my tears, and I bowed in front of Allah (swt) thanking Him for His help.

Although many years have passed since that event, but even today my heart gets filled with gratitude to Allah (swt), because I had prayed to Him (swt) with a pure heart and strong faith. My Allah (swt) answered my sincere prayer positively, Alhumdulillah!

Gratitude is an Attitude

My Quran Reflections Journal – 1

Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

koran-rose-flower-5867760Day 1 Reflection

Gratitude is an Attitude

Surat Al-Fatihah

‘Alhamdulillah’ is the one word, which should be said with utmost gratitude not just by our tongue – it should be felt in the heart and expressed by our limbs. This gratefulness needs to show in our Neeyah (intention), words and actions together, Insha’Allah. We say this word many times per day, including the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah in our Salah. Yet we are missing that connection and relationship, which can give us the conviction that we actually consider Allah (swt) our Rabb, and ourselves as His Abd (save). Could there be a greater status of an employer than the Rabb? The Sustainer, the Nourisher, the All-Giver, the Creator? Could there be a lower status of servitude than ‘slavery’? No! Yet, when we hear the speech of Allah (swt), unfortunately, it doesn’t move us to tears or stirs those emotions in us, which probably the normal speech of an ordinary human being can. Why is it so? Is there anything lacking in the speech of Allah (swt)? Definitely not! It is the lack of understanding on our part, something missing in the sincerity of our Neeyahs and the Waswasas (whispers) of Shaitaan, to which we are extremely vulnerable, that prevent us from drawing closer to our Rabb!

As I embark upon this journey of learning and understanding the Quran, I sincerely renew my intentions and beg Allah (swt) to give me the strength to proceed on this path in the manner that is most pleasing to Him. I voluntarily give myself in Your servitude, Ya Rabb!

Allah (swt) is the One, the Lord of the worlds, Who is the Rahman, the Raheem, the One, Who is the Owner of the Day of Recompense, no doubt the One without any deficiency, nothing is impossible for Him! May Allah (swt) guide us and give us the Taufeeq, the ability to seek all help from Him alone. May He send His help in the best form that He loves for us; through books people, tests, trials, calamities or blessings. May He send His Hidayah (guidance) to each one of us, who is seeking it, and also to those, who are oblivious to this beautiful and great blessing, so far! May He keep us all steadfast in our pursuit of knowledge and derive for us ways that are easier than our imagination and fulfilling than any other thing in this world. Aameen!

Day 2 Reflection

The Pendulum

Surat Al-Fatihah

A beautiful realization that struck me today is encompassed in my teacher’s wise words “Emaan is between ‘hope of reaching Jannah and fear of being saved from the Hellfire’.” SubhanAllah! How true is that!

Honestly, if we come to think about it, our faith is truly comparable to a pendulum, on one end of which is ‘hope’ and on the other – ‘fear’. These emotions compel us to turn to Allah (swt) with full conviction. The hope that He (swt) is the All Merciful, The Oft-Forgiving, that He is able to provide us solutions for all our problems, helps us revive our faith. We supplicate to Him and ask Him for whatever it is that we need. On the other end of faith lies fear. The fear of not getting what you ask for, but the hope that what Allah (swt) is giving us is indeed better than anything we could have asked for ourselves, is what strengthens and fortifies our faith in Him!

May Allah (swt) fill our hearts with the hope and fear that increases us in our servitude to Him, humbles us and helps us love Him and fear Him truly, so much so that we become from the Mutaqeen (God-conscious). Aameen!

Always Thankful

thank“So, winter holidays, huh? What are you ladies planning to do during these two weeks?” asked Jawad, keeping his eyes on the road ahead, so as not to bump into anyone accidently. He could feel the girls’ happiness permeating the air and he smiled.

“Yes, papa!” Said the youngest, Aisha, who was seated right beside him, bouncing on the car seat with excitement. “I am going to watch all the movies that Baji downloaded for me, and play Ludo and Carom and Scrabble and call Sarah over, too!”

“I am also going to call my friends over, and we are going to have so much fun. I bought new computer games yesterday, so I will be quite busy!” chimed the second eldest, Maryam, whose eyes shone with excitement at the thought of no school for two whole weeks. The eldest daughter kept quiet, smiling to herself. At home, she had a pile of books waiting to be read, and she could hardly wait to get started.

“Papa, papa, papa!” exclaimed Aisha suddenly, “can we go have ice-cream, please?”

The eldest daughter raised her head up in anticipation. She eagerly looked at her father’s back, hoping he would say ‘yes’. They had not had ice-cream for ages!

“No darling, I’m sorry, but not today,” said their father, “I am getting late for work, so I need to drop you off at home; maybe some other time.”

Humaira’s heart sank. All that happiness she seemed full of just a few minutes ago had vanished, only to be replaced with bitter feelings. They never went out. Why couldn’t they go eat ice-cream? It was the last day of school after all, and all of them had gotten such good grades! They deserved some treat! All her friends used to go out with their parents all the time, but she had never complained. So what if father was late for work one day in a whole year – he could say he was caught in traffic!

She was in a bad mood all the way frowning and looking out of the car window, when she saw something that made her feel really guilty and ashamed. A small, thin boy was sitting at a bend in the road, clutching his stomach, his face drawn and eyes sunken, as he stared ravenously at a group of four people coming out of a shop holding delicious, mouth-watering burgers. This scene made Humaira realise how selfish she was, crying over ice-cream when she was not even hungry. She straightened her face and silently thanked Allah (swt) for all that He had given her, pleading forgiveness for her unacceptable behaviour. Instead of her hunger for ice-cream, she focused on the book she was going to read when she got home, and soon she was lost in thought.

Their father dropped them off at home. They went to their rooms to change clothes and then had lunch. As they sat down for lunch, the three girls saw, to their utmost disappointment that it was all vegetables. They made faces and would have left the table, if their mother had not just come in at that moment and glared at them angrily, commanding them to eat. The mood around the table was sour, as every girl took out a minute amount of food in their plates and started eating. Humaira was just about to grumble that everything was so unfair, considering that it was their last day of school, when she remembered the scene she had seen from the car. Her head dropped with feeling of intense shame. How pathetic was she? And how much did she take things for granted! So many people were starving, and here she was being picky about her food! Despicable. She was so ashamed of herself that she ate her lunch quietly and then went to pray.

And the rest of the day passed by uneventfully.

Aisha and Maryam spent their time playing board games, while Humaira curled up in her bed and started reading her books. Quite a few times their mother entered the room and scolded them for not tidying up the room or not washing the dishes or cleaning the table; but Humaira made sure that she did not whine, grumble or complain, because she knew she would be wrong. She had to learn to be grateful for the blessings that Allah (swt) had bestowed upon her, rather than taking them for granted. How many times had she complained of wanting her own room, when she was pretty sure that the boy she saw on the street today had no room at all? How she had insisted on having her own desk, when that money (for the desk) could have easily fed fifty starving children? So she kept her silence and obeyed the commands without once questioning them, all the time thanking Allah (swt) for His blessings.

At night, when their father returned home, he had a surprise for all of them.

“Girls, look what I have got for you!” He shouted, and the three girls clamoured up to him trying to see what he had brought.

“Ice-cream!” they shouted happily; and that too came along with fries and pizza! Humaira smiled and whispered a silent ‘thank you’.

 

Pearls of Peace: Extracts from Juzz 13

Photo credit: Yogendra174 / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Yogendra174 / Foter / CC BY

Essence of Dhikr

What does Dhikrullah (remembrance of Allah (swt)) entail? Some people confine this to the act of doing Tasbeeh such as: uttering Subhan’Allah and Alhumdulillah. Dhikrullah means to keep Allah (swt) in our thoughts all the time; bearing in mind that He is watching us. One should remember Him by his tongue, his heart and keep Him in his mind. One should know that all tests are from Allah (swt) and that he is sent by Him and will return to Him. This is the source of attaining peace. We learn, “Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28) May He make us of the Dhakireen. Ameen.

Make Arabic your language

When one falls in love with the Quran, the first thing that they get upset about is the language barrier. A lot of meaning is lost in translations. Non-Arabs wish they were born in an Arab land and Arabic was their native language. Allah (swt) maintained diversity by making us belong to different races. However, we are encouraged to learn different languages, as this is the sure way of bridging gaps. “And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allah misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (Ibrahim 14:4) Learn Arabic and witness how your understanding of the Quran reaches a higher level.

Goodness comes with gratitude

We all want an increase in goodness and escape from punishment. How can we make that happen? “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)

How can we be grateful to Allah (swt)?

We can be grateful by honouring His commands. By offering our prayers at their appointed time and not when we will. Gratitude should be expressed by the tongue, the heart and the limbs. Allah (swt) has blessed us with health; we should make the most of it by serving Him and His religion. Allah (swt) has given us wealth, we should spend it in His cause. If one is told to count the favours of Allah (swt), he would never be able to do so.

“And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily! Man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, – a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate, denies Allah’s Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allah, and by disobeying Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (sa).” (Ibrahim 14:34) This is a challenge to the entire mankind. We miss one thing from our lives and we claim Allah (swt) has kept us deprived. What about the one thousand others things that we have?

Ingratitude belongs to the Shaytan, the deceiver

Ungratefulness is from Shaytan, he beautifies the harmful things for us and we feel as if we are denied. On the Day of Judgement, Shaytan will excuse himself from us. “And Shaytan (Satan) will say when the matter has been decided: Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, so you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Satan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zalimun.” (Ibrahim 14:22) What a devil he is! First he whispers evil thoughts and then backs out from enticing.

Allah’s (swt) assurance of His mercy upon His slaves

While Shaytan conspires for our downfall, what does Allah (swt) assures us of? “Declare (O Muhammad (sa)) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful.” (Al-Hijr 15:49) Reading this verse what should we say? We should hasten to make the Dua: O Allah! Forgive me and have mercy on me. Grant me peace in this world and the next. Ameen. Again, this is not a license to continue sinning.

We live in times, where mosque which is free to enter, but is empty; while clubs which cost several thousands to enter, but are packed. This is why the verse right after the previous one warns us, “And that My Torment is indeed the most painful torment.” (Al-Hijr 15:50) Thus, we must not indulge in acts that can lead to His painful punishment.

Islam is protected by Allah (swt) alone

Next, we learn about a miracle that was given to Muhammad (sa), “Truly! We will suffice you against the scoffers.” (Al-Hijr 15:95) Each time the scoffers mocked the Prophet (sa) – they were either punished for the words they uttered, or they were guided because of that. How were they guided? Each time someone decides to damage Islam by drawing caricatures, more people become interested in Islam and embrace it. There were many people during the time of the Prophet (sa), who wanted to harm him; but within moments, they were testifying that Muhammad (sa) is the Prophet of Allah (swt). While such incidents of blasphemy hurt us, we must remember Allah (swt) is the In-Charge here, He will hold the perpetrators accountable.

The matter that requires our attention is that when a non-Muslim disrespects Islam, we come out on the streets, carry out protestations, burn vehicles, damage property and gather all the energy to endure heat and discomfort. But when the call to prayer is given in the mosque, we don’t budge. We are so far away from our own religion, why criticise the non-Muslims? Reverts are much better than some of the born Muslims. May Allah (swt) guide us. Ameen.

It is natural for a tender-hearted person to be distressed by what’s happening around them. Allah (swt), the All-Knowing, knows the hearts of His slaves, “Indeed, We know that your breast is straitened at what they say.” (Al-Hijr 15:97) This was His assurance to Muhammad (sa).

Sunshine or rain – He is the domain

What should one do when he is suffering? He says, “So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death).” (Al-Hijr 15:98-99) Rain or shine, we must never forget the purpose of our creation. If things are good, praise and thank Allah (swt). If things are not so good, have patience, praise and thank Allah (swt). The Day of Judgement will settle all disputes. Prostrate whenever you can, because that is the closest we can get to Allah (swt).

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

 

Etiquettes of Celebrations – The Sunnah Way

ConfettiThe faces of the old and young – and indeed even the trees and birds around us – rejoice when they come to know about the happiness of the beloved Prophet (sa). His happiness is the happiness for those, who love him, and it is guidance for his followers. The Prophetic guidance teaches us the manners of how to be happy in the times of success and joy.

Allah (swt) did not create us to be robots. He created us with feelings, will, intellect and has granted us the liberty to choose and to act according to the situations. Now it is obligatory on a believer to adopt the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) in every sphere of his life, as acting upon Sunnah is also a worship of our Lord.

Let’s learn the etiquettes of celebrating joy and success as per Sunnah of the Prophet(sa) in different occasions of our lives.

Marriage – A Sacred Occasion

Out of all the occasions of celebration of joy and success, the marriage comes first on the list, as this is the occasion of our life in which we break the rules and commandments of Allah (swt) the most. Marriage (Nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. It is a major step in one’s life. Marriage is a matter of great responsibility which should not be taken lightly by any means. In Islam, a marriage ceremony is comprised of a Nikah (marriage contract) followed by a Walima (marriage feast) once the marriage is done.

The Prophet (sa) said: “The marriage, which is most greatly blessed, is the one which is the lightest in burden (expense). However, if people are well catered for, without extravagance and show, there is no problem with that either.” (Baihaqi)

Nowadays, our marriages follow such rituals and customs on which we tend to waste enormous amount of money and time that simply isn’t required. Nikah and Walima are both the Sunnahs of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), so we should try to commemorate these joyous occasions in the same way as he did to make them more valuable and blessful.

According to Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa), the Nikah can be held at the local asjid or at home whereas the Walima can be held anywhere.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out.” (Mishkat)

Anas  describes one of the Walimas hosted by the Prophet (sa): “The Prophet(sa) stayed for three days at a place between Khaibar and Madinah and there he consummated his marriage with Safiyya bint Huyay (rta). He invited the Muslims to a banquet which included neither meat nor bread. The Prophet (sa) ordered leather dining sheets to be spread. Dates, dried yogurt and butter were provided over it and that was the Walima (banquet) of the Prophet (sa).” (Bukhari)

There is nothing wrong with  an elaborate ceremony being  held in an elegant banquet hall and a full-course meal if you can afford. But its neither a criteria nor a requirement of a successful marriage. Moreover by doing so many people become the victim of debt due to spending extravagantly on this occasion which is of no use.

Although it’s not that easy to row your boat in the opposite direction to which the society is moving, but it’s worth going against the tides that are against the command of  Allah (swt) and the teachings of the Prophet (sa). We should try our utmost to follow the footsteps of Prophet (sa) rather than blindly following the pathetic, shameless acts of Jahiliyyah in our wedding ceremonies which lead to nothing but Fitnah and do not even guarantee  a successful marriage.

Eid – The Blessful Occasion

Islam is a very practical yet reasonable religion. After spending the whole month of Ramadan in worshipping Allah (swt), Muslims are blessed with the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr to celebrate this success with happiness and excitement. Similarly, Allah (swt) has blessed us with Eid- ul-Adha in the memory of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (as).Therefore on these two occasions, the observance of the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (sa) doubles our celebration and joy.

The Sunnahs of Eids include:waking up early in the morning than usual, brushing of teeth with Miswak, taking a bath, dressing up in neat and clean clothes, using perfume and the performance of Eid Salah at the Eidgah. However it is a Sunnah to avoid eating dates or something sweet before Eid Salah of Eid-ul-Fitr , reciting aloud Takbeerat on the way to the place of prayer for Eid-ul-Adha and silently for Eid-ul-Fitr:

 “Allaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar Laa ilaaha illallaahu Wallaahu Akbar walillaahil Hamd.”

Using of different routes to and from the place of Eid Salah and the offering of two Rakahs of Salat-ul-Eidain (which is Wajib) are the Sunnah of celebrating these joyous occasions.

Sport Success Celebration

Then there comes a celebration of success and joy during sports activities where we are especially required to follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (sa). Playing sports is permissible in Islam. There are some sports which are considered to be Sunnah sports such as archery, wrestling, swimming, running, horse riding, camel racing and competition. Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to watch these sports and also award those who won.

Regardless of age, everybody is engaged or interested in some kind of sport. Sport is defined as ‘physical activities in the form of games, races and competitions that aim to improve fitness.’

While playing sports and celebrating the success, one must keep the following things in mind; the foremost is not to indulge in sports to such an extent that you miss your Fard prayers or to take part in sports where you have to play sports with the opposite gender.

According to Sunnah, the sportsman is not even allowed to wear such clothes which do not cover the body parts that are obligatory to cover. During the celebration of victory and joy, it is not permissible to use foul language, slandering and bad behaviour against the opponents. Furthermore, it is against the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) to play sports in areas where you become the cause of suffering for others such as roads and crowded streets.

Gratitude is Sunnah

In short, it is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) to be humble and thankful to Allah (swt) when one gets His Blessings in the form of success or joy rather being rude, boastful and arrogant. Whenever the Prophet Muhammad (sa) was happy, for example, after coming back from a battle or on the occasions of Eids, marriage or any other occasion of happiness; he always used to offer Nafil to thank Almighty Allah (swt) and also included the poor and needy in his happiness by giving charity or Sadaqah.