What you sow, so shall you reap

seedlings-wallpaperThere is an old saying which states that we teach the way we are taught and we parent the way we are raised. Behaviours are somehow contagious. We have absorbed and adopted the ways of our parents. In our so called Pakistani culture, we have been fully stuffed with our traditions and cultural norms. When it comes to raising children, we parent our boys and daughters according to the list we have got from our forefathers and society. You must be well acquainted with words such as: boys will be boys; and that, she is a girl, and it does not suit her. We are least interested in knowing and implementing the decorum of parenting and morals that is mentioned in Quran and Sunnah. In our never ending need to strive and compete for the materialistic things, we have surpassed many ethics and moral values that we need to adopt in order to weave those in our kids. The character we wish to see in them must shine brightly in our own personalities. James Baldwin stated “children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they never failed to imitate them.”

I found my toddler hitting and yelling on his younger sister. Raged with heightened emotions, I rushed to his side yelling not to hit. The reprimand was followed by a slap from my side. There was something in his eyes that really shook me down. A hidden complaint! As if he was asking, how come you get along fine with hitting and yelling at me when you disapprove of me doing the same? At that point on spot, I realized and committed to yell less often in order to totally eliminate it. What we need is mutual and shared journey- a consistent commitment!

Hence, prior to teaching our kids, we need to correct ourselves first. Learning and acquiring needs some efforts.

Muscle memory

Elephants learn via muscle memory. How can we use this idea to unlearn the learned undesirable behavioural responses? Each one of us has his own style of doing any specific task. Let’s say cooking for instance- I would first arrange the things needed, wash and chop. Add to pot and then I do the dishes and other chores. In the meantime, when I am cleaning up and kneading, the meal will be ready. It is the same pattern that I follow every day, so it is now a solidified memory. Therefore, I need to switch the sequence in order to unlearn my muscle memory. It will cause some confusion in remembering and recalling what I have done and have not- but it will be fun! A general example can lead you to understand the technique, and hence, can be applied to various settings. The point is to break the same repetition that you are programmed to do. A conscious effort will help to build new muscle memory. This is how we need to unlearn the accustomed, biased, and hypocrite patterns of parenting.

We need to put a halt to our old set of beliefs and expectations that we hold towards our kids. Being a boy, does not grant your son superior rights to invalidate the rights and desire of other girls around. It is better to teach them young, when they are soft and can be molded in any way than to deal with a stubborn adult. Before our every step to alter their reactions and behaviour, we first need to stir our own cognition and put in action.

Here are the ten most important strengths to inculcate in your kids to remove the stigmatized belief systems.    

1. Interim gaze vs. perpetual hell!

It’s a girl’s fault that she is displaying her beauty for us to stare; you just can’t say this and lay the burden of your sin on the one who is revealing herself. Remember the commandment to lower your gaze, and guard their chastity is prescribed for men first. Modesty is not just for girls to follow, and adhere to the rules of guarding gaze. Girls will be responsible for what they reveal and boys will be held accountable for what they see. Teach them from start to lower their gaze as it is a form of showing respect to other women, and to guard their own selves from displeasure of Allah (swt). Make your son responsible for his part of deed. In addition, when he catches his father staring at other women to satisfy his eyes, he will model the same.

2. Al Qawam

Men are responsible for their family. Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A  man is the guardian of his family, and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children, and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master, and he is responsible for it. Surely, every one of you is a shepherd and responsible for his flock.” Man must be able to take responsibility and have a firm personality without being indecisive in nature. Despite of being a helicopter and over possessive parent, be assistive and give them opportunity to marvel their strength of taking responsibility and decisions. Being Qawam means you are in controlling position, don’t stampede on others. Be a just leader in front of your son as he will follow the same footsteps.

3. Gender equality

Equality is the root of Islam. Being a male does not make you superlative and something-out-of –the-world. Sisters are not lower in status; hence, being a son doesn’t mean you can have any supreme right. However, man has been given one degree higher status, but that is not to boss around and to be unfair.

“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth…” (an-Nisa 4:34)

Kindly, don’t spoil their minds by giving them extra special treatment by making your daughters serve them; and by providing them with specific chicken pieces and meat loaf, while starving your daughters with vegetables. And again be a role model yourself.

4. Honour and Gheerah for your woman

As it goes- modesty dies in women, when jealousy dies in men. Men of today take pride in displaying their wives’ beauty in front of their friends and distant family members. By taking her to public gatherings and corporate dinners, men have reduced their worth to mere objects. Instill Gheerah in your sons at a younger age. Their mothers, sisters, wives are their pride- a pride to be protected.

5. Be Humble

Sana: “Nadia why don’t you ask Ahmed to be polite with others. He is so boastful and ill tempered.”

Nadia: “He is a boy and boys are like this. Anger suits them, it’s in their blood. Would you like a lion without its roar?”

With this mindset, we are raising destructive souls who won’t be any good to the society.Being a boy does not give our sons license to be rigid, aggressive and rude. Let politeness and kindness be their trait. We shun our sons to play with dolls, thinking it might make them sissy and girlish; although, it would bring out his love and care for others. And perhaps, it might ring the sensitivity hidden in them. Thus, enabling them to maintain a healthy relationship with their wives and children. Being compassionate makes one priceless.

6. Combat peer pressure

What is Halal will always be Halal, even if no one is doing it; and what is Haram will always be Haram, when all are doing it. Instill the love of Allah (swt) and Sunnah so much in your children’s hearts that when they outgrow their childhood, they have firm belief in what is right and wrong. Staying out late at nights, honking bikes, and whistle to females; wearing spaghetti stripes, dating boys and having *serious relationships* will still be unacceptable even if your friends are doing it. Teach them that the friends you choose have a great impact on your personality, hence, choose wisely. If your children find you being a people’s pleasure, and one who surrenders lawful and right things just to gain social recognition and praise, then they will not be able to stand, and resist the peer and societal pressure on him- as they always look up to us.

7. It’s okay to be emotional

Crying is not a sign of weakness, nor is it a woman’s trait. Man has equal right to express and ventilate. It will not make him less of a man. We shun them from crying since infancy saying, “Are you a girl?” Every human being has a need to let go off the disturbing sensations happening inside.

8. Your wife is not your maid

Your wives are your better halves. She is not a maid to serve you and to be yelled at, nor is she a production machine. Apart from child bearing and breast feeding, man can train himself how to deal with colicky babies and teething phases. A girl is not innately trained to be a mother, she learns through experiences; however, a man on the contrary has to learn by practicing more and eventually he will. He is equally responsible for his kid’s well-being. Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to help in household, and would mend his clothes on his own. Hence, attain great honour by following this Sunnah.

Girls-You are an Amanah!

9. You are my gem- the most beautiful creation of Allah (swt)

Encourage your girls on their appearance and beauty so that they do not crave for the attention of any local guy on street, in neighbourhood or family. Nourish her heart and soul with praise so that she can value herself; and keep her beauty a mystery for all and reveal only to her husband-to-be.

10. Your status is much higher

Role of women in Islam is huge. She is responsible for her children’s nourishment with religion. Polluting their minds and making their hearts captives of the fairy tales and romantic scenes and weddings leaves our children bewildered in this world of deception. The real purpose of our existence is to earn Jannah by abiding to the rules set by Allah (swt). Being a girl does not make you weak. Your advice is valued. Prophet (as) emphasized on taking advice from each other. Come out of the kitchen and parties, and be a practicing Muslim first. It’s a very delicate matter- a mother can be a door to either hell or heaven for her child. Choose wisely.

11. Shop to treat idleness

Recurrent advertisements and jokes on women and their habit of shopping. Shopping mania is a sin in disguise. It eradicates depression. No woman is as fragile and irrational as shown. There are numerous examples in Islamic history where Muslim women participated in battles to look after the wounded companions (ra) and other Muslim soldiers. Do not run to branded shops always, and die after sale opportunities as if shopping is the only purpose to live.

12. Be a door mat, suffer in silence

We often laud women with phrases like home is made when a woman sacrifices her desires for the sake of children and family. Islam does not ask for such an endurance which destroys your emotional and psychological well-being. Neither does it hinder women empowerment. Don’t be submissive, be assertive, Hazrat Khadijah (ra) was a self-supportive widow, running her own merchant. Maintaining Islamic boundaries is crucial though. Teach your daughter not to dwell in hopelessness and depressive modes; rather stand up and shine for the blessings she has got, and make use of the space which Islam has allowed her.

13. Misogynistic myth

Women are created to be a means of extending the family by rearing offspring. They are obliged to look after infants, and fulfill their responsibility regarding home and other chores.Children look up to us. What we display in our actions, they will imprint that in their minds, and later use it when dealing with their own spouses. If you boss around your wife, or if you keep your husband under your thumb, then don’t be surprised to see yourself in them in future.


[Family Matters] Honouring Parents by Wael Ibrahim

Elderly ParentsAs Muslims, we have no option to disgrace or dishonour our parents, even if they ask us to commit Shirk, which in itself is an unpardonable sin. Disobedience to parents ranks number two on the list of major offences. It comes before such vices as fornication, killing, etc.

Uqooqullah (linguistically) means to cut off one’s garment. It is one of the major sins in Islam, as if you are severing ties with your parents and Allah (swt). There are nine consequences that may happen to us in Dunya and Akhirah, if we cause displeasure to our parents:

  1. Allah (swt) will shut out your light. Never cut your ties with your dad. You will be left misguided.
  2. You will face disgrace and humiliation in this world.
  3. If you end up disobeying your parents, Allah (swt) will haste your punishment in this world. Hence, lower your wings and be humble before them.
  4. You will experience hardships. You will never be successful as you will find closed doors in your way. A famous historic account tells us about Juraij, who earned the title of Al-Abid- the worshipper. Once he was worshipping while he heard his mother call him. In a dilemma whether to answer her or not, he decided not to. She got frustrated as he didn’t respond to her and cursed him to see the face of a prostitute before he dies. Rest assured, a woman carrying a baby falsely alleged Juraij to be the father of the child. Juraij lost his pious status and was covered with humiliation because he angered his mother. When his mother forgave Juraij, the baby spoke from the cradle to defend Juraij’s honour and he was acquitted.
  5. We are advised never to make Dua against our life, wealth or children lest it comes true.
  6. Those who consume alcohol and dishonour their parents will not cross Al-Quds Masjid. When Jerusalem will be returned to Muslims, such people will be barred from entering it.
  7. Allah (swt) will never look at the one who disobeys his parents.
  8. Good deeds of the one who dishonoured his parents will not be accepted by Allah (swt).
  9. A person who had knowledge and acted upon it, yet failed to honour his parents will not be granted Jannah by Allah (swt).

Transcribed by Rana Rais Khan from a talk at Family Matters at Twins of Faith Karachi organized by Mercy Mission.

Nouman Ali Khan: Persevere with Patience

o-PROPHET-MUHAMMAD-facebookIn regard to the recent crisis in France, I came across a talk by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, in which he discusses the correct reaction a Muslim should have to such incidents. I found the video very profound and thought provoking, something that I believe every Muslim should hear. Therefore, I am typing it out it here to be able to share it with others:

“Anybody, who seriously studies the Quran knows that Allah (swt) records on multiple occasions, how prophets were insulted, made fun of and rejected in the most obscene ways. And how even the prophets themselves felt the pain of those disbelievers making fun of them.

Prophet Nuh complains about how people found him disgusting – they would plug their ears with their fingers and walk away from him; they would pull their clothes back as a show of insult to him. Our Prophet (sa) is no exception. This Quran that honors our Prophet (sa) also records the most hurtful words that were said about him – the Prophet (sa) would have to recite these words , thus reminding himself of the pain every time. For example: Sahir (magician), Majnoon (insane), Kazzab (a perpetual liar) – so many accusations were made against our Prophet (sa), all of which are recorded in the Quran. With this, Allah (swt) wants us to remember an important fact: although the prophets are the most noble of Allah’s (swt) creation, at the same time, they are the people, who will face the worst kind of insults, the worst kind of ridicule. But what is our reaction supposed to be like?

If anybody would be angry and overwhelmed with rage, when the Prophet is insulted, I would argue it would be his companions. Their faith cannot even be compared to yours and mine. But how come they don’t react the way we do? How come they never had any ‘protest’? How come they were not going out for yelling and screaming in rage? Because they understood that the Quran didn’t just come to give them a love for the Prophet (sa) but also to ‘guide’ that love and teach them, how to respond to these kinds of insults. How is it that we don’t know that the Prophet (sa) himself is told:

“And leave Me Alone to deal with the beliers (those who deny My Verses, etc.), and those who are in possession of good things of life. And give them respite for a little while.” (Az-Muzzamil 73:10)

Be patient over whatever they say. I am fascinated by this Ayah. Because the word ‘مَا’ means ‘whatever’ – ‘whatever’ they say. Not whatever they have said, but whatever they might even come up with. And the form of the word in the Arabic suggests ‘what they may have said in the past, in the present and even in the future till this day.’

The Prophet’s (sa) policy is to be patient himself. Where does the Quran justify such our anger? And even if our anger is justified, the one thing we should feel towards those, who hate us and make hateful speech towards us, is sorrow. We should feel sorry for these people. They can’t hurt the Prophet (sa). They can’t take away his honor. It was given from the sky. It was given by Allah (sa). Nothing on earth can take it away. No article, no cartoon, no film, no speaker and no hate speech – no form of art can take away the dignity of our Prophet (sa). All these their efforts are futile and wasteful attempts to undermine the message of Islam.

Do think also about the following: when we react in such emotional manner and engage in senseless violence, don’t we also misrepresent Islam? Aren’t we doing exactly what the enemies of Islam want? The only thing that makes me angry is the anger at our own selves, that we don’t understand the policy of the Quran about responding to insults:

“Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter.” (Al-Mu’minoon 23:96)

“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” (Fussilat 41:34)

Respond with that which is best.

There also are some people, who think that this policy was only for the early times of Islam – the Mekkan time of the Prophet (sa), when he was supposed to be passive. But when he migrated to Madinah, battles began: Badr, Uhud, Ahzaab, Tabook, etc. Thus, according to claims of such people, the passivity policy was changed to that of action. Let’s look at Surah Aal-e-Imran, the battle of Uhud – what does Allah (saw) say to us?

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah…” (Aal-e-Imran 3:186)

You will absolutely hear hurtful words from those, who were given the book before you, and from the people, who commit shirk (associate partners with Allah) and blasphemy with God. You will hear hurtful speech ‘absolutely’ coming from them. These kinds of things are a manifestation – a proof that Allah (swt) prepared us mentally for that. And in the very same Ayah, Allah (swt) himself tells us, what our reactions should be like:

“…but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqun (the pious – see V.2:2) then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs, and that is from the great matters, [which you must hold on with all your efforts].” (Aal-e-Imran 3:186)

If you can be patient and maintain the consciousness of Allah (swt), then that is the most noble of the deeds and the highest of accomplishments that you can achieve. That is supposed to be the reaction of Muslims.

I would like to end with the following: at school, bullies tease the kid that they know gets teased and shows a reaction. The more we react, the more we encourage others to pursue even more hateful speech. We have to learn to respond in mature, civil and higher discourse – the way the Quran, the Sunnah and the legacy of our Prophet (sa) tells us.

I pray that this message reaches all of my young brothers and sisters, who are feeling the sadness, the rage because of this incident. And I do hope that we can turn that rage into something positive.”

I pray that this beautiful reminder from Ustadh enables us to reflect upon this matter and help us adopt the correct way for representing our religion. If there are people who with their actions dishonour Islam, it is our duty to carry the name of our religion so well that its beautiful teachings should be reflected in our personalities. May Allah (swt) give us the wisdom to bear such incidents with patience and to be able to repel the bad with good.

Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Anfal

Akoya_pearlQualities of a believer

Right in the beginning of this Surah, Allah (swt) describes the qualities of a true believer. He says, “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone).” (Al-Anfal 8:2) May Allah (swt) strengthen our Iman. Ameen.

These are those who say, “I have tried my best. Rest is all in the Hands of Allah (swt).” And they are content with that. Their other qualities are: “Who perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and spend out of that We have provided them.” (Al-Anfal 8:3) We need to check ourselves. Do we have these qualities within us? If yes, then Allah (swt) says, “It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and Forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise).” (Al-Anfal 8:4) May He grant us Paradise and bless us with all the qualities of the true believers. Ameen.

Honouring claims and contracts

He then says, “O you who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and turn not away from him (i.e. Messenger Muhammad (sa)) while you are hearing. And be not like those who say: We have heard, but they hear not.” (Al-Anfal 8: 20-21) Several times during the day, we recite Surah Al-Fatihah, and beseech Allah (swt) to show us the right path. When the right path is shown to us, we turn away. Allah (swt) says when the message has reached you; when you have been informed what is right and what is wrong, then do not turn away. Do not become of those who claim we are the followers of Muhammad (sa). But when a command of Allah (swt) comes, they cannot be bothered to act upon it.

Once again we are reminded about the virtue of honouring contracts, Allah (swt) says, “O you who have believed, do not betray Allah and the Messenger or betray your trusts while you know (the consequence).” (Al-Anfal 8:27) Marriage is a contract similar to business contract. By being Muslim, you naturally become an ambassador of Islam. Do not bring a bad repute to Islam because of your behaviour. Many people do not want to engage with the Muslims because of their deceit and clandestine behaviour.

Stay honest with entrusted responsibilities

“O you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amanat (things entrusted to you, and all the duties which Allah has ordained for you).” (Al-Anfal 8:28) Your wealth and children are a test from Allah (swt). He can take them away whenever He desires. They are not yours; you have only been entrusted with their responsibility. He may never bless you with wealth and children; He may bless you with wealth but not give children; He may bless you with children but deprive you of wealth or He may give them both to you and then take them away during your lifetime or after you are gone. This is a great reminder to not get attached to that which in reality belongs to Allah (swt). He can snatch it any moment.

All belongs to Allah (swt)

When an attachment is snatched away, a person loses his peace of mind and contentment. He complains and grieves for his loss. He utters ungrateful words. And when that happens his Iman begins to diminish. May Allah (swt) strengthen us and help us accept that we will suffer loss in this world.

Taqwa – The key to right decisions

In life, we are faced with miscellaneous decision-making. We wish we had a counsellor that we could consult with; Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! If you obey and fear Allah, He will grant you Furqan (a criterion to judge between right and wrong, or Makhraj, i.e. making a way for you to get out from every difficulty), and will expiate for you your sins, and forgive you, and Allah is the Owner of the Great Bounty.” (Al-Anfal 8:29) What do we learn from this? The only thing required to make the right decision is Taqwa. If we are conscious of Allah (swt), He will grant us the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Insha’Allah.

It’s either my way or the highway

This brings us to another important matter – in fact a great Fitnah of our times. Everyone is disagreeing with the other. The ideology is: if you do not follow my belief, then you have clearly gone astray. This continuous fighting has divided the Ummah immensely. Many people don’t come near the religion because they cannot understand who is right and who has deviated. Allah (swt) says, “And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)” (Al-Anfal 8:46)

The enemies are rejoicing as the Muslims fight among themselves. Let us reflect on our behaviour, be forgiving and reduce the distances between the Ummah.

We notice that in the Quran, the reminders for prayer and obligatory charity are frequently mentioned. It is because reminders benefit the believers. Each time we are reminded, we learn something new.

Consistency is the key

Allah (swt) loves those acts of worship which are done consistently. Doing them strengthens our Iman. And abandoning them can have serious implications on our heart’s condition. If you are content with worshipping and obeying Allah (swt), then you are among those who have understood their purpose in life; and know where they are heading to.

Test or punishment?

As Allah (swt) says in verse 53 of Surah Al-Anfal that He will not change a favour which He has bestowed upon His people; unless they change what was given to them. When that happens, then people deserve the gifts to be taken away. Having said that, we should remember that sometimes taking away of the favours is a test, instead of a punishment. How can one distinguish between a test and a punishment? Your heart’s condition will tell you. If your heart remains content and you say “Alhamdulillah” even in adversity, then Allah (swt) intends to increase your status by this test. On the other hand, if a calamity distances you from Allah (swt), then it could be His punishment. May Allah (swt) forgive and protect us. Ameen.

How can we nurture contentment in our hearts?

Let go of disputes and disagreements and forgive people. Look at what Allah (swt) says about confrontation with enemies, “But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” (Al-Anfal 8:61) Allah (swt) is asking us to make peace with the enemies if they give up fighting too.

Opt for a ceasefire; this initiative will bring you peace

If there’s someone who has had an estranged relationship with you, and he now wants to mend it, then hasten to make peace with him. It is a sign of a good believer that he is the first one to apologize and forgive. Keep forgiving others and keep your heart calm. You might want to deal with that person differently, but do forgive them. “And if they intend to deceive you, then verily, Allah is All-Sufficient for you. He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers.” (Al-Anfal 8:62)

If they deceive you after making peace, then make Dua for them instead. Because Dua has the power to alter conditions. And in this we have the best example of Prophet (sa). When two greatest enemies of Islam were creating hurdles for him, he made Dua for the softness of their hearts so that either of the two would come and work for Islam. Reflect on this Dua.

Truly Muhammad (sa) was the mercy for mankind. Within moments we hear Umar ibn Al- Khattab (ra) has embraced Islam. Subhan’Allah! See the power of Dua? One of the mightiest opponents of Islam became one of the strongest proponents of Islam. A seemingly impossible situation was made possible. May Allah (swt) grant us all the strength that Umar (ra) was blessed with. Ameen. Continue making Dua and you will witness the fruit.

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

Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Ali’ Imran

pearlIn this Surah we learn a powerful Dua that is a source of our peace, “(They say): “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.”(Al-Imran 3:8)

After you have been guided, don’t return to your old state. People start offering five daily prayers, and then suddenly drop down to four, then three, to eventually abandoning it. People have been modestly dressed for years but due to peer pressure or Shaytan’s whisperings they abandon the good dress for immodest clothing. Don’t regress. Move forward and earn the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Who can earn Allah’s (swt) pleasure?

As we are talking about earning the pleasure of Allah (swt), let’s learn about the ones who can earn it. Allah (swt) says, “(They are) those who are patient ones, those who are true (in Faith, words, and deeds), and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allah. Those who spend (give the Zakat and alms in the Way of Allah) and those who pray and beg Allah’s Pardon in the last hours of the night.” (Al-Imran 3:17) These are the ones who will attain Paradise – the home of eternal peace and contentment. May Allah (swt) make us amongst them. Ameen.

The honour lies with whom?

People search for honour and dignity through various means. Some earn it through their academic accolades and others through their financial status. Honour and dignity is in the Hands of Allah (swt). “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): “O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things..” (Al-Imran 3:26).

You want honour? Ask Allah (swt), Al-Muiz. When Allah (swt) honours people with respect and dignity; they sometimes become arrogant. Remember if He has given you He can snatch it away at any time. Have little earned from honest living and be content with that. Don’t cheat or look down upon others.

Love Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa)

The discussion then changes to an important matter. We all claim our love for Allah (swt) but how many of us actually fulfill the conditions of this love? Allah (swt) says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa) to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”” (Al-Imran 3:31)

Loving Allah (swt) is one thing but when Allah (swt) loves a person, do you think that person will ever lose contentment? How does one know if Allah (swt) loves me or not? The sign of Allah’s (swt) love is, when one follows the footsteps of His Messenger (sa). May Allah (swt) grant us His love, and may we be among those who are resurrected with Muhammad (sa). Ameen.

Acceptance of Dua – based on strong faith in Allah (swt) and His will

Story of prophet Zakariya (as)

A beautiful incident is narrated from which many people derive comfort. People are married for years without children, and this is the Will of Allah (swt). May He make matters easier for them. Ameen. Allah (swt) mentions the story of Prophet Zakariya (as). Prophet Zakariya (as) and his wife were really old and they didn’t have any children. He was assigned the care of Maryam (as). “So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariya (Zachariya). Every time he entered Al-Mihrab to (visit) her , he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: “O Maryam (Mary)! From where have you got this?” She said, “This is from Allah.” Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.” (Al-Imran 3:37)

Witnessing this miracle before his eyes, prophet Zakariya (as) got encouragement to ask Allah (swt) for a child. If He can provide Maryam (as) with off season fruits, then He can certainly provide him with a child.

The hopeful Dua of Zakariya (as)

“At that time Zakariya (Zachariya) invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.”” (Al-Imran 3:38)

Moral of the story

This teaches us an important lesson that is whenever you see the Qudra (power) of Allah (swt), make Due for yourself. That is a time of acceptance of Dua. The next time you see someone bestowed by Allah (swt) or when you look at the mountains, the trees, the fruits and the sea; don’t forget to make Dua for whatever tiniest issue you have. Allah’s (swt) majestic creation should strengthen our Iman in Him.

Build relationships with true promises

One cause of lacking peace in our lives is over committing or not fulfilling our covenants. We fail to honour our contracts and commitments and that results in a great disaster. We risk our reputation and lose crucial relationships. When you promise something then deliver it. If you cannot deliver it do not promise.

Now emphasis is on keeping the promises, Allah (swt) says, “Verily, those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah’s Covenant and their oaths, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter (Paradise). Neither will Allah speak to them, nor look at them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful torment.” (Al-Imran 3:77) Be as truthful and sincere as you can be in honoring the covenant of Allah (swt). We don’t wish to be among those with whom He will neither speak  nor look at them.

Break-free from the love of the material world

What happens when your child drops your S4 and the screen breaks? Does all hell break loose over a cell phone? How do you react when your maid burns your brand new dress while ironing it? Many people beat their children and servants over a small mistake to the point that it results in their death. Allah (swt) instructs us not to attach ourselves to the material possessions of this world.

He says, “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc., it means here Allah’s Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well.” (Al-Imran 3:92)

Your spirituality is your wealth

If your wealth is affecting your spirituality, then share it with those who don’t have it. Your heart will be at peace and make you humble. If our wealth is making us haughty and egotistical, then certainly it’s not worth it. The only time we should be really proud of ourselves is when in the Hereafter, we are handed our book in the right hand and we are given the glad tiding of Jannah. May Allah (swt) make us of those who are pleased with Him and He is pleased with them. Ameen.

Ready for the inevitable?

The various reminders of death in the Quran tell us that we need to be prepared for death at all times. Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:102).

How does one prepare for death? By submitting to Allah (swt); submitting to whatever He has commanded us to do and whatever He has commanded us to abstain from.

Being compassionate is our Deen

Allah (swt) says, “You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf (i.e. all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:110).

This means a believer is not selfish. He is not just concerned about his Hereafter but also encourages others to do good and stops them from committing wrong. Similarly, a believer does not make fun of someone who is going through a trial; it is a trait of an enemy to laugh at someone’s misery.

Allah (swt) says, “If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqun, not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do.,” (Al-Imran 3:120).

Here vs. Hereafter

Why do you want to risk your Akhirah over a temporary situation of this world? If a person is going through distress, we don’t say, “He deserved it.” Why if Allah (swt) makes that happen to us? A believer lives between the state of fear and hope at all times. He is neither too content with his life nor negligent. He certainly isn’t jealous of others. He knows if Allah (swt) can provide a fellow human being with something then He can certainly provide him as well.

May Allah (swt) humble our hearts and not make this world the main focus of our lives. May we be more worried about the Hereafter then the petty issues of this world. May Allah (swt) grant us peace. Ameen.

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


The True Essence of a Muslimah

Beautiful-DiamondA daughter once asked her mother, “Mom, I have heard about diamonds and rubies and also gold and silver. Which is the most precious jewel?”

Her mother replied, “Jewels of gold, silver, diamonds and rubies are all only stones, and do not shine, unless they are burnt and polished. For me, you are my precious jewel. In fact, every daughter is a gem, irreplaceable! I would like to decorate you with such jewels and gems, which will bring you honour and respect, and add a glow to your dignity and character.

• Clothe yourself with Taqwa, and adorn yourself with the most precious jewel of piety.
• Take care of your head! It is the closest to Allah (swt) in Sujud, so make your prostrations lengthy.
• Keep your head cool and low (out of humility) when amongst people. Let Allah (swt) raise it high.
• Keep your hands immersed in work and tongue moist in Dhikr. That’s the essence of the women of Jannah.
• Raise your hands, shed tears, and share your thoughts and feelings only in front of Allah (swt).
• Lower your gaze and adorn it with the emeralds of contentment.

If you have gold, it’s not that you will not turn old.
But if you have character, it will build your Akhirah.
If you have lots of brocade and silk in your closet,
But elegance will be disclosed by your deeds’ facet.

If you are not endowed with diamonds or pearls,
Remember, through your speech and smile you glitter.
And scatter the beauty of Islam.
Through reverence in covering your Awrah.
And reveal what is permissible, and be it little, be happy with Halal and pure.
That’s the true essence of a Muslimah.

Her daughter replied: “True! I am blessed to have a mother, who knows my true value and wants the best for me in this life as well as hereafter.”

May Allah (swt) guide my daughter and all the daughters of the Ummah, too. Ameen