When Shaytan enters Heart

The-Heart-is-the-Battleground-between-You

Image Courtesy soundheartconference.com

 

The other beauty of this Ayah, Allah (swt) didn’t say, “Fee sudoo-rihim mara-dun”

He said: “Fee-quloo-bihim mara-dun.”

There is a big difference “Sudoo” and “Quloob”. Let me explain that to you. I think most of you know Surah An-Nas.

“Al-laz-ee yu was-wisu fee sudoo rin-nas.”

We don’t say “Al-laz-ee yu was-wisu fee quloobin nas.”

We say: “Al-laz-ee yu was-wisu fee sudoo rin-nas.”

If it said Quloob in Nas, you would have translated it as the one who whispers in the hearts of people. That is not what it says, it says, “The one who whispers in the chests of people.

Now, there is a difference between the heart and the chest. The chest is actually a place. The thing inside this place, the treasure inside this place is the heart. Shaytan has access, not to your heart; Shaytan has access to your chest. Think of the heart as your home, and think of the chest as the fence around your home; the front porch, the backyard. Shaytan has access to your property, but he can’t walk in until you open the door. You understand?

The heart is your home and that is locked, you can’t let him in. But he won’t come and knock: “Hey hey! You want to listen to something? I got something for you.”

Our job is to sense when Shaytaan is knocking on our hearts. Because he is close, he is in the chest.

And, he won’t whisper in the chest. When someone is knocking on the outside, can it be heard inside? Can it be? Yeah.

And, the thing is, sometimes when people knock, you can shoo them away; and sometimes, when people knock, you open the door.  If you open the door enough times, he moves in. He just moves in; and when an outsider moves in, they start redecorating the place. You understand that, right? And so, what happens is- if you don’t let him in, you have your own sense of what is beautiful. You have your own sense of what is good: which colors are nice, which furniture is nice. When you let the intruder move in, you come one day-  the walls are pink, and the furniture is green, and all the plates are purple. “What just happened here?”

“Well! This is my taste, this is what I like, you know. He has turned the kitchen into the living room and the bathroom into the guest room.” You are like: “What is going on here?”

Why am I telling you this? Because, if you let Shaytan inside your heart, inside that home; then, what used to be beautiful becomes ugly, and what used to be ugly becomes beautiful; and that is why Allah (swt) says, “Shaytan (Satan) made their deeds fair-seeming to them,.” (Al-Ankabut 29:38)

Shaytan cannot make anything ugly beautiful for you, until he is where? Inside of your heart. Now, if you don’t let Shaytaan in your heart, what is still in your heart? Iman.

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

You understand this imagery? Now Allah (swt) says here,

“Fee-quloo-bihim mara-dun.”

“In their hearts, there is a disease.”

Oh oh! This is a problem. Because, it is not limited outside the chest, now it’s made its way into the heart. Now, if an intruder comes into your heart, into your home. What are you supposed to do? As soon as you realize this was a bad idea, now you are supposed to kick him out. So, sometimes, we do listen to Shaytan. Don’t we? Sometimes we do open the door.

And, the moment the realization hits, what are you supposed to do?

(A’oodthu billahi minash-shaitanir-rajeem)

You seek refuge. You kick him out, you push him away. That’s what you are supposed to do. But, if you allow him to stay in, and you allow him to cook his way, and you allow him to stink up the place. Then you know what? You are going to start getting sick. You are going to start feeling sick.

By the way, this whole imagery is going to come a full circle a few Ayahs later, we are going to find “Wa-iza khal-oo ilaa Shayateen-ihim.”

So, now there is a disease inside their hearts.

The thing is, though, Allah (swt) empowered every single human being:

“Inna ibadee layisa laka Alayhim sultan.”

Shaytan was told to his face, “My slaves, you will have no authority over them.” (Surah Al- Hijr 15:42)

He cannot force his way into your heart, and he cannot force his way to stink. The moment you say, “Get out!”- he has to get out.

So, if you let him in and you let him stay, that is not because he has control; that is because you never kicked him out. And, if you refuse, Allah (swt) gave you every tool possible to kick him out. Just say:

A’oodthu billahi minash-shaitanir-rajeem.

“In their hearts is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy) and Allah has increased their disease.” (Surah Baqarah 2:10)

Just make Istighfar, he will be gone.

Transcribed by Anoshia Riaz

 

 

[Printable Poster] Al-Hakam – The Judge

Hiba Magazine has launched a brand new poster series based on the beautiful names of Allah (swt) to restore and strengthen the connection between Allah and His servants. These are especially useful to foster a strong bond between our children and Allah from a very young age.

This poster can be downloaded, printed, and distributed for dawah.

[Click on the Image to Enlarge it]

Al Hakam

[Printable Poster] Al-Khaliq – The Creator (Part 2)

Hiba Magazine has launched a brand new poster series based on the beautiful names of Allah (swt) to restore and strengthen the connection between Allah and His servants. These are especially useful to foster a strong bond between our children and Allah from a very young age.

This poster can be downloaded, printed, and distributed for dawah.

[Click on the Image to Enlarge it]

Al khaliq 2

 

How to Change your Life?

change

 Image Courtesy www.thepowerofoneness.com

 

 

So let’s now talk in these few minutes we have together about how to at least practically build that solution.

We talk about reminders, we talk about grand things; then we talk about advice, I believe to talk about advice in a very practical- even minimalist point of view: things that you can practically do. And, that’s why I don’t like to share much personally, even though I read them for myself for inspiration. I don’t like to share the stories of the Tabi’oon and the Sahaba, the companions of the Prophet (rta) who prayed the entire night, or recited the whole Quran in a week, or made Dua. I don’t share them, you know why? Because, you know what happens to most of you when you hear them?

“Man, they were so awesome! I am so bad. Assalam-o-Alaikum.”

That is the end of that.

“Man. Sahaba were really cool. I am so going to hell.”

That’s it.

Let’s start little by little.

The Arabs have a saying; it is in many of our cultures too: “the first of the heavy rain is just a drop, and then it pours down.”

Discipline your life

Let it build little by little. The first thing you got to do is that you have to discipline your life people! I have to do it. You have to do it. You know what it means to discipline your life?

  • Sleep early

Go to sleep early. Pray Isha and go to sleep. Don’t go to Hookah joint until 12:30 a.m. Don’t go see a movie. Don’t hang out with your friends. Don’t watch Islamic lectures until 2 in the morning. Do not! It is not beneficial for you. Pray Isha, go to sleep and wake up early. Wake up before Fajr. Give yourself 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes. I know it seems impossible. It is only impossible because of Netflix at night. Okay? That’s the only reason it is impossible. Give the night life up. Let the night be for sleep.

  • Timely Pray Fajr in the Masjid

At least, you are not accumulating sin every night. At least, you are not burying your heart under more sin every night. At least, you are sleeping. At least, you are innocent for that much. Then you wake up and you pray. At least, start with praying Fajr on time. And the guys here, at least at least, once a week guys, make it to the Masjid for Fajr. I don’t ask you every day. Just one day a week, give yourselves one day a week. And, you don’t catch the second Rakah right before the Salam. Right? And, then after you finish, making it up-

“Ah! Masjid today. It’s right!”

Get to the Masjid early. Let me tell you something about Fajr in the Masjid: it has a spiritual impact that only people who go to it will experience, and it can’t be explained in the lecture.

When you go to prayer, and you sit there in the Masjid quietly, and you wait for the prayer to start. And, you sit there and recite the Quran; and you ask Allah (swt) to forgive you in those morning hours; and then, you stand next to other believers and countless armies of angels; and you stand and pray in front of Allah (swt) early morning, giving up your sleep which only happened because you gave up your night life. When you do that even once a week, the joy you will get out of it as you walk out of the Masjid, you will wish to yourself, you did that every morning. I swear to it, I guarantee it. You are going to walk out of that Masjid; you going to wish, “Man! I wish I could do this every morning.”

You really will. But start with once a week.

Transcribed for Hiba by Anoshia Riaz

[Printable Poster] Al-Khaliq – The Creator

Hiba Magazine has launched a brand new poster series based on the beautiful names of Allah (swt) to restore and strengthen the connection between Allah and His servants. These are especially useful to foster a strong bond between our children and Allah from a very young age.

This poster can be downloaded, printed, and distributed for dawah.

 

[Click on the Image to Enlarge it]

Al Khaliq (1)

 

Put Your Best Foot Forward

46 foot care

By S. N. Jangda – Business student, novice chef, and self-proclaimed DIY beauty expert

Give yourself a pedicure in the comforts of your home, using ingredients that are readily available in the kitchen.

  1. Remove any nail polish. Fill a tub with warm water, adding in a squirt of shampoo, a spoonful of salt, and a few drops of both lemon juice and olive oil. Now soak your feet in it for 5-10 minutes.
  1. Rid your feet of dead skin and boost circulation, i.e., you need exfoliation. Here a few homemade scrubs you can try:
  • Mix olive oil, salt, and lemon juice in a 2:2:1 ratio for a quick scrub.
  • Mix egg and baking soda in a 1:2 ratio for a smoothening and brightening scrub.
  • Massage the scrub on your feet concentrating on the soles and toes, and then wash it off.
  1. Now that you are done with the scrub, it is time to apply a mask. You can use any of the following:
  • Mix olive oil and honey in a 1:3 ratio for a super softening effect.
  • Mix oatmeal, olive oil, honey, and lemon juice in 2:2:2:1 ratio for soft and bright feet.
  • Apply the mask and leave for 10 minutes; then wash with cold water.
  1. Now trim and file your nails. Cut your nails straight across and then file in your desired shape. Remember to file in one direction.
  1. Massage slightly warm olive oil (you can use a lotion instead) on your nails to soften the cuticles and then push them back with an orange stick.
  1. Moisturize your feet with your favourite lotion or olive oil.
  1. Wipe your nails with nail polish remover, and there you go!

Doing this once every two weeks would be good enough.

Met my Lord: To the Moon and Back

pexels-photo-large

Image Courtesy everypixel.com

Boredom of vacation was literally murdering me. Everything felt mundane and dull. I had pretty much nothing to do. I just sat there going through face book- filled with posts and videos- that were not, at all, grabbing my attention. I decided why not complain to my mother about this, after all that’s all we kids can do. So, this is what my mother said

“Your dad is going out to pick your sister, why don’t you go too? Get some fresh air.”

I thought why not. I can make my dad go to the bakery on the way back and get my favourite cookies! I changed into something tidy and presentable, and was ready for this little trip. I couldn’t wait to reach the bakery; I mean, who doesn’t like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies?

I sat there in the car, wind gushing away my hair, it felt good. I looked up towards the sky. The sky was breathtaking; it was reddish-purple. The gentle sunshine peaking through the scattered clouds, radiant but calm. Eagles were soaring high up, wings spread out widely, feeling the wind and celebrating their freedom.

I thought for a second- Who created all this? Who is the One Who made this dazzling sky that changed its colour with every passing moment? Who created these birds, with enormous wings? Who is holding the sky, and preventing it from falling over us? Who is changing the weather from warm to cool by sending soothing, gentle breeze to us. Who is setting the sun? Who is controlling this impeccable system?  Who brings back the calmness of the night? Who?

I only had one answer. Allah (swt). My Lord, your Lord- the Lord of all that exists- Subhan’Allah! Who knew that a careless and reckless person like me would stare at the sky, and praise the beauty of Allah (swt). Only my Lord made me apprehend this. Everywhere I looked, I thought of Allah (swt). I couldn’t count His blessings. My mind was too small to enumerate His gifts; too small to appreciate or even understand His Strength and His Might.

Ya Allah (swt)! I asked myself- when was the last time I praised my Lord? My brain had signalled my eyes to produce tears.

I was remembering my Lord, after a long time. I wanted to trap my tears in my eyes- but like me, they broke away, flowing freely down my cheeks. I was daunted, disheartened by my own soul. I could hear the Adhan. “Come to Prayer.” The Muadh-dhin called out. Where were my prayers I asked myself? Why had I been ignoring my daily communication with my Lord? Was praying five times that hard? I had ravaged my own soul, destroyed my own self.

I looked back up towards the sky, it was getting darker; the sky was exhibiting shades of indigo. Birds were hastening back to their nests, and the clouds were gliding away with the wind. There was a weird sense of tranquility in the air. My heart felt open. I didn’t know when I got home. But, as soon as I did, I did Wudhu. Every drop of water cleansed my soul. I ran towards the prayer mat. And after a long time, prayed. Tears were still flowing, and my body was trembling.

I got up from my last Sujood, feeling lighter than ever. I finished my prayer, and wiped my tears away. I made a promise to myself that I will never abandon prayer again. I looked back at the sky, it was dark, velvety and the stars were glittering. Amazed once again by its magnificence, but more significantly, deeply in love with its Creator!

Strong Girls, Superb Wives

08 strong girls

“Waah,” my baby’s screams woke me up with a jolt. “What? Who? Where? What happened?” I fumbled to the cot, groggy with sleep.

Life was chaotic. I had hardly slept. The baby was up all night crying for no apparent reason. The laundry was piled high. I had no time to cook, and my husband preferred take-outs to my cooking anyway. I hardly had time to shower, and he was tired of a home that had no semblance of order.

Life wasn’t meant to be like this. I had been an outstanding student, a star intern, and a brilliant MBA graduate. However, I was barely able to cope with real life now. No one warned me about this. No one prepared me for child-bearing or giving birth, or taking care of a tiny life that was entirely dependent on me. Such big shoes to fill and I had had no time or will to prepare for them all these years.

My grandmother’s words rang out in my ears now: “What will you do after marriage, Nadia? You can’t even take care of your own self!” I would always brush her off with an affectionate hug, saying: “We’ll see when the time comes, Nani – don’t worry.” I was always too busy studying for school and then college, too busy going out with friends, and then working nine to five. Even when I got engaged, all I was really preparing for was the grand wedding day. In retrospect, I wasted so much time, effort, and planning for a few hours of limelight. All of that didn’t do me any good today in this mess I had landed myself in.

Nadia’s story is not an uncommon one. Many girls find themselves in a similar situation when they step into practical life. Marital bliss turns into a nightmare all too quickly. This has many devastating outcomes that we see around us more and more frequently:

  • Quick and all-too-easy divorces soon after marriage.
  • Strained marital relations, where partners are deeply unhappy with the marriage.
  • Severed relations with extended family.
  • Poor family nutrition and other health issues.
  • Women completely consumed by household work to the point that their own physical and mental health, intellectual, and spiritual growth suffers.

The problem may seem insurmountable, but the solution is a simple one: inculcating good habits in girls from an early age to prepare them to excel in their vital role of nurturing future generations.

Charles Duhigg in his book “Power of Habit” says: “One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40% of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.”

Habits are the key. If inculcated from an early age, habits will become second nature and leave a woman’s mind free to pursue other matters that require actual decision-making. However, if ‘what to cook daily’, and managing other daily chores takes up all of her time and decision-making skills, she will be left with little to contribute to her own or her family’s development.

You might argue: why do we need to prepare only girls for this role and not boys? This argument, I’m afraid, was biologically settled for us much earlier. Every mother is honoured with the task of bearing her child for nine months and then nursing him or her for around two years. She is physically and emotionally attached to the baby for an extended period of time in a way that a father simply cannot be.

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

Promoting Collaborative Dialogue in Marriage

collaborative dialogue

“And they lived happily ever after.” This statement is, arguably, the most common modern myth about marriage that we are conditioned to believe. However, popular media fails to show us what actually happens afterwards. The reality of successful marriages is that they are neither trouble free, nor effort free. The Quranic objective of the marital relationship is to cultivate an environment of tranquility, love, and mercy among the spouses. It is unrealistic to think that these blessings of marriage can come about by chance.

Marriage is a contract, a commitment to a new relationship, and a fulfillment of half your Deen (religion). The newly-formed connection is not just physical – it extends into your emotional and spiritual worlds. Therefore, it is crucial to make a conscious intention to take this bond as seriously as a collaborative project. A study on arranged marriages by Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, found sacrifice and commitment to be the most powerful factors that strengthen love.

Allah (swt) says about the spouses: “They are Libas (clothing/covering) for you and you are the same for them…” (Al-Baqarah 2:187) This implies that they assume protective, intimate, and expressive roles for each other the way clothes do for our bodies. Zauj – the Arabic word for spouse – itself indicates the complementary nature of the spouses. Nouman Ali Khan, founder and lead Arabic instructor at Bayyinah, explains that the word Zauj (pl. Zaujain) actually means ‘counterpart’. This is why the sun and the moon, day and night are also called Zaujain in the Quran.

Some therapists and psychologists agree that there is a direct link between the quality of your talking and the quality of your marital relationship. Improving your communication skills can contribute greatly to satisfaction, growth, and conflict resolution in marriage. A key skill for successful marital interactions is learning to hold a collaborative dialogue. Let us look at what such dialogue is like and ways of incorporating it in your life.

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

Expectations vs. Reality of Marriage

16 ground realities

Take a deep breath. Ask yourself: “On a scale from one to ten, (with ten being fully and completely), how fulfilling is my marriage right now?” Write down the number that comes to mind. Next, ask yourself: “What are some of the expectations that I have for my marriage and my spouse?” Write them down. Notice which expectations are being met, and which ones are not. You may notice that the areas where you feel a relationship can be improved have an unfulfilled expectation attached to it.

Expectation is “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future”. It is different from hope because it implies that we definitely want or need this, otherwise there will be disappointment. So if we have unrealistic expectations, they will inevitably lead to disappointment, if they aren’t possible to meet. Let us explore three common yet unrealistic expectations about marriage and ways through which we can break through them in order to create a more fulfilling marriage.

Unrealistic Expectation 1: My spouse will complete me

A lot of women grow up having fairy-tale like expectations of marriage. It is not really our fault – it is all the conditioning we receive while growing up. It feeds off the idea that a damsel is in distress, and her prince charming will come and sweep her off her feet. This is fine for fairy tales because that’s where the story ends. Life is, of course, a different story.

Expecting our spouse to complete us is one of the most detrimental expectations we can have. First of all, it implies that we are incomplete as a person without our spouse. Marriage is recommended in Islam to complement one another, to be a ‘libas’ for one another. This essentially means that our spouse is meant to be our safe space, but it does not imply that we cannot be happy and whole if we aren’t married.

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

Be Smart Parents. Let Your Kids Be Bored!

25 top five

  1. In boredom, they discover who they really are

Researchers say boredom provides an inner quiet that helps children with self-awareness. “Kids need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves.” (Dr. Vanessa Lapointe) If the surrounding around them is too loud or filled with distractions, they never achieve this state of quietness. Hence, once every now and then, it is good for them to be their own company without any gadget to distract them.

  1. Children develop important life skills when they have to come up with solutions to boredom

Child development experts advise parents not to rush in with ready-made solutions. If a child has access to safe and educational apparatus, non-gadget play stuff, stationery, and creative material, he can be trusted to call his shots. Whatever the calling, he will eventually grab some raw material and build it into something worthy.

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

Divorcing an Atheist

torn piece of paper with divorce text and paper couple figures

Khula and Talaq have become common terms today. One of the reasons for annulling marriage in Islam is when a spouse turns atheist. Anyone, who steps out of the fold of Islam, is not considered to be a worthwhile life partner or a responsible parent. Hiba interviews a single mother, who bravely bore it all by Allah’s (swt) will.

Do you ever have any regrets for taking a Khula?

Since my ex consciously abandoned his beliefs, I got a Fatwah on his apostasy, according to which our marriage was over. Thus, I never felt the need to go for a Khula. By law, he had to divorce me, which he did. It has been almost five years, and I don’t have any regrets.

What problems do you face as a single mother?

Being single has its pros and cons. I believe if I stayed with a man, whose beliefs differed from mine, our marriage would always be rocky. Woman divorcee has to face a lot of challenges in our society. Juggling through emotions is difficult, and when you have to take care of your child’s emotions as well, it can become extremely challenging.

It took me almost two years to gain a clearer perspective of realities of life – I had to deal with everything on my own, with little support from my near ones.

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

The Two Sides of Expectations

expectations

Allah’s (swt) expectations

“And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and humankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Allah (swt) owns His creation – we are His slaves. Out of His love and fear of His anger, we attempt to please Him by obeying Him in every sphere of life. This unconditional and committed obedience is what Allah (swt) demands of us.

Do children have expectations too?

A child draws a picture and brings it to his mother. As he places it in her lap, he looks up with expectant eyes. His mother responds enthusiastically: “Wow! That’s great! You are a Picasso in the making. Daddy will be so proud of you.” The child receives a generous hug from his mother. As the kid walks off, he tosses the picture away. Why?

It might come as a surprise to many adults that children have high expectations of themselves. They tend to ponder over their performance. How well have they done? What could have they done differently? Whom have they disappointed or pleased? Is the feedback being offered to them fair?

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

Useful Apps on the Go

useful apps

“Say: Travel in the land and see how (Allah) originated creation, and then Allah will bring forth (resurrect) the creation of the Hereafter (i.e. resurrection after death). Verily, Allah is Able to do all things.” (Al-Ankabut 29:20)

As a Muslim traveller away from home, you must have experienced certain challenges: the struggle of not knowing the local prayer times, determining the Qiblah direction, searching for the nearest mosque or a clean decent place to pray, and trying to ascertain whether a meal is Muslim-friendly or not.

How can we solve these problems? Here are some useful apps:

  • Muslim Pro (for Qiblah direction)

A must-have and very useful tool indeed! Just download this app, click on the built-in Qiblah locator, and you’re good to go. You will also be able to recite the Quran with the built-in audio recitations by your favourite reciters. Translations in different languages are also available.

It features a user-friendly interface, and I can assure you that the information in this app is correct and up-to-date, and will give you the local prayer timings, no matter which part of the world you are travelling to.

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

Why Should We Pray on All Ten Nights of Ramadan?

pray all nights

  1. This was the practice of Rasoolullah (sa). He was consistent in praying the last Ashrah of Ramadan. It did not matter whether it was an odd night or even. The point is that one should not worship the bare minimum like dipping your toes in a pond; rather, the idea is to deep dive and indulge in worship fully. If it’s a Sunnah, it should be sufficient for us to embrace it heartily.
  2. Mohammed Faris, founder of Productive Muslim, makes a valid point: “According to some scholarly opinion, the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr) could occur on any of the last ten nights (even though the odd nights have a higher chance).”
  3. Due to differences in calculations and moon sightings, sometimes there’s a risk that even though we assume that we are taking it easy on an even night, it’s actually an odd night – so why take a chance? If we miss out on it, we have lost the worship of a thousand nights. That estimates to our worship of nearly 83.3 years.

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

Irony of Waste in Ramadan

32 extra special

By Najwa Kareem – Native Washingtonian born to Muslim convert parents

According to the United Nations:

  • 795 million people (or 1 in 9 persons in the world) do not have enough food.
  • 1 in 6 people face hunger in America.
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world.
  • 1 in 9 people worldwide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.

The statistics are shocking.

Imagine my disappointment and frustration as, year after year, I observe Muslims wasting food and bottled water during Ramadan at the local mosques. After breaking their fast at Iftar, they leave behind copious amounts of food and drink to waste or to be thrown into the trash. Ironically, Ramadan is a month when we should strive to be more conscientious and empathetic of those who have nothing to eat or drink, as fasting allows us to feel what it is like to be hungry and thirsty. Conscientious Muslims, including myself, would like to see this distressing phenomenon come to an end. Here are some suggestions for remedying the waste of food and drink during Ramadan at the mosque:

  • Do not take or put on your plate more food than needed.
  • People manning the serving tables should serve only limited portions on plates, requesting people to return for more, if needed.
  • Water bottles should be distributed by workers and volunteers, instead of being left out for people to take more than they really need.

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