The Mountain Peak

jannah-paradiseHow honorable is dwelling with mates,

In Paradise and that’s indeed the best company,

How great is neighborhood to persons of repute,

They will have the pleasure of seeing the Lord,

And listen with delight to His Sublime Word,

With silk brocade being their main garment,

They have their heads crowned with finest crowns,

Inlaid with ornate pearls and rare moonstones,

Or silver that is made of only pure gold

And golden rings and bracelets molded,

Of silver and prettily adorned forearms

Their served food is soft bird meat

The finest of camel that feed on all sorts

And bowls of precious pearls and gold,

Strewn, as seventy thousand, on a thousand tables,

If you feel a thirst and desirous for these,

As much as an exile who yearns for home,

Be as charitable as you can and then you will

Be rewarded for good with that which is best

Prepare for the Gardens of Eden and all

The blessings of it that surely never cease,

Observe fast always and rise in prayer,

For both are indeed acceptable deeds,

Wake in the night and recite Qur’an,

And have little sleep as an anxious one,

Perhaps, your death knell once suddenly tolls,

Your coffin then, not bed, will be the place to rest, How great to shed tears at night,

Due to the fear of the Lord, the Ever Compassionate,

So, lower your gaze and always avoid,

Any forbidden looks and strain to be modest,

Strive and beware of all women’s temptations,

You get them as mates as many hours in Paradise,

Blessed is life there and all its pleasures,

With all kinds of fruit as served in pairs,

Belittle you never any venial sin,

As fire begins with little sparks

Once you sin, be quick to repent,

For fear of sudden death, with no delay,

Sate not your whims and never be excessive,

Allah surely hates greedy persons,

The one who gives in to lust and appetite,

Will suffer forever their two-forked yoke,

So, fast by day to drink your fill

On the day people will be parched with thirst,

There is no good at all in musical instruments,

Or dancing or similar forms of merry-making,

The devout are always afraid of their Lord,

Avoiding listening to music and singing,

They rather recite the Glorious Qur’an,

Especially with melodious and tuneful to ears,

At night, than all those flutes and fifes,

If you just perceive the Doomsday’s horrors,

You would surely flee from kinfolk and home,

Due to its horrors, the skies would crack,

The infant’s hair will turn grey,

Austere and distressful that day will be,

And highly burdensome for humans at all,

that day the devout are driven to their Lord,

With finest of mounts carrying them all,

The wretched, however, are driven to Hell,

Where they will suffer the parching thirst,

So, Heaven and Hellfire respectively will be

For the devout and wicked an eternal abode.

(Published with permission from “On the Mountain Peak” by Dr. Muhammad Al-‘Areefi. Publisher: “Darussalam”)

Our Families; Coolness of our Eyes

7 coolness of eyes

This Dua is at the conclusion of the 25th Surah of the Quran, where Allah (swt) tells us to say:

“And those who say: Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun.’” (Al-Furqan 25:74)

“Our Lord”

Those who say: “Our Master, our Lord, gift us, grant us…” We are asking Him to give us a grand, unexpected, and beautiful gift. This prepositional phrase is brought earlier, especially for us. We are asking for a special favour from Allah (swt). What is this favour?

“Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring…”

In other words, you are not asking for children only; you are requesting for your lineage, for your future generations, to be the coolness of your eyes. Make our eyes cool by means of our spouses and by means of our children.

Benefits of this Dua

I call it my favourite Dua for two reasons. One, I am married and I do have children and a spouse. Two, all of us have to appreciate the power of this Dua because of the crisis of the world today. The world’s fundamental institution of family is under attack.

Almost nobody is immune from this problem. In many of our homes, there is a storm. When you find coolness of the eyes, you find refuge from the storm. This storm is not “outside” the house; it is actually “inside” the house! The family has become a place of sorrow, of depression, of sadness, of anger, and of rage. You tend to get away from home to get away from the yelling, the screaming, the name-calling, the insults, the depression, the sadness, and the friction between husband and wife, and between parents and children.

Since there is a crisis inside the home, what better Dua to ask Allah (swt)? Here, Allah (swt) tells us to ask so perfectly, so eloquently that the home should become the place of refuge. Your refuge… your safe haven… should be your spouse and your children and that is inside your home. When you see them, your worries should disappear. But for most of us that’s when our worries begin! It’s the exact opposite.

I want to give you a further appreciation of this remarkably beautiful phrase and how it is used in the Quran. I want to explain this feeling to you that Allah (swt) wants us to have with our families.

Do you know the most strongest of all emotions that exists in the humankind? The strongest emotion that I can think of is the emotion a mother feels for her child. It is the strongest bond. Can you imagine the state of Moosa’s (as) mother’s heart? She puts her baby in the water. You can’t even leave your child outside the hall. You start calling your husband: “Where is he?” “Have you seen him?” You just can’t stop. You are 30 minutes late picking your child up from school. What happens to you, you know. (I know, because I have been late picking up my kids from school before. So I know what my wife goes through.)

Now can you imagine the feelings of Moosa’s (as) mother; she had put her child in what for her was apparently certain death because what was behind was even more graphic. So she was in this desperate situation. Did she know what would happen to the child? She did not. Can you imagine not knowing what is happening or going to happen to your child when you know that they are in a dangerous situation? Subhan’Allah!

On the other hand, there was another woman in the same story. She was married to the Firawn (Pharaoh). You know some times women are in a difficult domestic situation. Now in the case of the Pharaoh’s wife, we don’t know if there was any physical abuse, but the Quran certainly indicates psychological abuse. So much so, that she had to ask for rescue. She had nowhere to turn. So the only place she could turn to was Allah (swt)!

When that baby washed up you know what she said? Now think about this… She picked up the child and she said…

  • “He will be the coolness of my eyes for me.” (read Surah Al-Qasas)
  • “He will be my refuge from the storm.”
  • “He will be my only source of joy because… I am in the middle of sadness.”

She was with the child… that childless woman was with a child now. All of a sudden, all her problems disappeared. That was her first reaction to the child. Subhan’Allah! On a separate note she said to the Pharaoh, “I won’t discuss with you.” She separated herself from the Firawn even in that. Further she said: “He will be the coolness of my eye for me and even for you.”

Even to the Firawn, she didn’t say “for us” because she did not associate herself with him. Subhan’Allah! May Allah be pleased with her!

Now, one last thing about this coolness of the eyes… and why this Dua is so beautiful, powerful, and eloquent.

When a mother has lost her child, which in this case she had, and she is re-united with her child, can you imagine the feeling of that mother? Can you imagine the tears of happiness? Can you imagine that emotion?

Now understand how Allah (swt) describes that emotion. Allah (swt) tells his favour to Moosa (as). He says: “So We restored you to your mother, that she might cool her eyes and she should not grieve.” (Ta-Ha 20:40) Allah (swt) is describing the most amazing joy! The most amazing relief! The most indescribable feeling in the heart of a mother! And what expression does He use? The coolness of the eyes!

And so we ask Allah (swt): “Give us from our spouses and our children…coolness of eyes.” When somebody says, “I want to get married,” he should go further than just wanting to get married. Say: “I want to get married to a spouse who will cool my eyes. I will be the coolness of their eyes and they will be the coolness of mine.”

Allah (swt) took the Dua further and then we understand why he talked about future generations. I’ll conclude with this: “And make us leaders over those who are cautious, conscious, fearful, pious, righteous, and those who are fearful before Allah (swt).”

This makes you realize your relationships right now are not just about you. You are setting a precedent in your family for generations to come. So when you are not acting as good husbands, good wives, good parents, and good children, then what are your future generations going to be doing? Who is going to be answerable for that negative trend that was started by you?

It’s an intelligent Dua that we should find coolness of the eyes not only in our immediate family, but the future generations should be amongst the righteous too. When we are raised on Judgement Day, we will be the Imam (leader) over the entire family, whether they were messed up or not. So we better ask for such kind of people in our lineage who elevate our ranks and not drag us down on the Judgement Day. We beg Allah (swt) that He gives all of us those kinds of families. This Dua is something you and I …everyone… every Muslim… even non-Muslims need today. Make this sincere Dua to Allah (swt) as mentioned in the Quran:

“…Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun.” (Al-Furqan 25:74)

Original transcription courtesy www.nakcollection.com; edited by hiba’s team with permission.

Coming to Terms with Familial Issues

family-bondingAnd Allah has made for you in your homes an abode (An-Nahl 16:80).

Are we playing our part in making our home a peaceful, serene abode? Is our sense of responsibility towards other family members still substantial enough to make our family an institution within itself?

We’re living in times when shamelessness, rebellion, corruption and self-obsession are at their peak. A righteous, practicing Muslim has to be all ears of the social dilemmas that surround him/her. In this day and age, one of the biggest shields that can protect us from falling trap in the social issues is being united with our family and home.

Most of us quickly jump to expectations first. We tend forget the transient nature of this Dunya and the perpetual, yet to come Akhirah. The temporariness of this world implies that nothing here would be perfect or ideal, because perfection is the attribute of Jannah. Nouman Ali Khan in his talk highlighted that an ideal Muslim does not exist rather there are ‘ideal ways’ to deal with one’s family.

I genuinely feel for the current familial crisis that we are in. I see in my home and other families that we have reduced the home to a place of eating, sleeping and resting or worse, using it as a place of entertainment. 

One of the biggest realities of life is that we have to deal with that tough member(s) of our family, who we get hurt by occasionally. Family issues, within the home have become really common and we all need a way out of them. However, like all other problems, there are no shortcuts to this. After having considered the basics of parental psychology and relationship psychology, I have realized that we have to encounter the tough relative to our best capabilities rather than wanting them to change.

I observed around, within my family, friends and my work place, I looked for the common error that most of the families were making. That sibling who comes home late, that parent who argues with you on wearing Hijab or not, that uncle who calls you a Mawlana, or the in laws who are always sarcastic about you, all have to be faced at some point in life. The indifference, the carelessness or rudeness within a family can rust the ties until one of us realizes that improvement can be made. Instead of hopelessly closing the file and locking that cabinet, we need to reconsider that relationship in a number of ways. The best of people in Islam have had the toughest of family members, even sometimes non-Muslims. Aasia had Islam’s enemy as her husband and she prayed for a house in Jannah; Yaqoob (as) had disobedient sons except Yusuf (as) despite of his hard work into parenting. We can take numerous examples by reviewing the Ahadeeth and boost our morales.

We need to reconsider this reality; no matter how hard we try, we can’t change the person if he or she is not willing to change. We can only work on ourselves as the biggest room is the room for self-improvement. Nuh (as) did not change his wife neither did Ibrahim (as) change his father. They kept their duty to Allah (swt) and are the blessed legends of Islam today.

We can’t change the person if he or she is not willing to change. We can only work on ourselves as the biggest room is the room for self-improvement.

In dealing with an apathetic family member, we often make the mistake of repeatedly quoting Ahadith and Ayats, in the hope that they will realize. This can work at times but not always, because we are not working on the root cause; each family member has a need to be heard, to be understood and respected. We need to first identify what they are responsive to and then give our sound advice.

Yusuf Estes, in his talk Family Development, highly discourages the blame games we play at home with our family or even our relatives. After a particular situation, we start talking in ‘if’ terms. ‘If you had listened to me, you could’ve  . . .’. Such statements only ruin the Islamic atmosphere of the home. Today’s parents and even youth have developed the habit of cursing each other. If a 13 year old doesn’t listen to the mother, the mother yells ‘Allah will deal with you.’ If the brother doesn’t switch off the music while the sister is praying, she yells right after finishing her Salah, ‘Allah will ask you’.  We should really stop and ponder over our choice of words and the temperaments at our homes today. Is the love for our family so less that we can think of Allah (swt) questioning them on the Day of Judgement?

A strange heated friction exists between siblings, parents and even grandparents. We have become so aggressive verbally and non-verbally that it ruins the very roots of our relationships. 

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (rta) that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The strong man is not the one who wrestles others; rather, the strong man is the one who controls himself at times of anger. (Muslim)

A strange heated friction exists between siblings, parents and even grandparents. We have become so aggressive verbally and non-verbally that it ruins the very roots of our relationships. This friction prevents the youth from coming home early or the parents to get up and have discussions with their kids. The interpersonal relationships are deeply affected shaking the grounds of trust, sincerity and love. We need to choose our battles wisely, we need to prioritize the unwelcomed advices we give. Before taunting a young boy to keep a beard to become a true Muslim, we need to find Khushoo in our own Salah and ensure its regularity.

Unfortunately, what has become of us? The intrinsic values that the Sunnah of our Prophet (sa) imbibed in us are gradually sinking somewhere. A significant issue that exists between families and within a family is the different opinions they have about Islamic aspects; the elder brother follows the Hanafi school of Fiqh while the younger sister follows the Sha’afi  school of Fiqh. Moreover, there are other minute differences such as the sister ridiculing the younger brother for listening to the lectures of Shaykh or an Ustadh regularly instead of respecting her. One method of dealing with such a scenario when one faces opposition through opinion is to motivate the relative or the family member to seek further knowledge and also humbly accept the imperfection that one’s knowledge might possess. Over and above, the Sahabah (ra) and the Salaf (ra) spent their entire lives as students of the Deen and never complained. Similarly, the Shaykhs we tend to criticize harshly have spent much of their life studying Deen and serving people. How can we question the sanctity of their knowledge in a second?

I genuinely feel for the current familial crisis that we are in. I see in my home and other families that we have reduced the home to a place of eating, sleeping and resting or worse, using it as a place of entertainment. We should strive forth and amend our modes, tone and even our non-verbal gestures. Each act of kindness and piety should begin from within the home.

When making changes to our behaviour towards our family, we should keep in mind that each step that we take for improvement is for Allah’s (swt) pleasure. Ibn-e-Taimiyyah rahimullah has magnificently summed up an advice regarding relationships:

“Anyone whose heart is attached to the creation, hoping for someone from the creation to help him or provide for him or guide him, then his heart submits to them and to the degree that his heart submits to them, he becomes their slave. This holds true, even if he is outwardly a ruler or a guardian over those whom he treats as masters. The wise one looks at realities and not appearances. So if a man’s heart is attached to his wife, even though it is permissible, his heart remains a prisoner to her, and she may rule over him as she pleases-though outwardly he is her master and her husband. In reality, he is her prisoner and her slave, who cannot escape or go free. Indeed for the heart to be taken as prisoner is a much greater matter than for the body to be taken as a slave or prisoner. Even a body that is slave can have in it a serene heart, peaceful and happy heart. As for the heart, that is a slave to other than Allah (swt), then that is true humiliation, imprisonment and slavery.”

Image Courtesy http://sbs.strathmore.edu