The Sacrifice of Ibrahim (as) | Extremely Emotional

 

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My brothers in Islam, Allah (swt) does not look at the amount that you sacrifice, but what Allah (swt) looks at is- this heart. Does this heart love Allah (swt) the most?

Allah (swt) commands Ibrahim (as) to slaughter his son Ismail (as). Can you put yourself in the place of Ibrahim (as)?

The attachment, that Ibrahim (as) had for his son Ismail (as) is more than the average attachment that, a father has for his son.

Why?

Because, Ibrahim (as) waited for over one hundred years until he had his first child.

Ibrahim (as) waited for over one hundred years until Allah (swt) gave him the first child.

Ibrahim’s (as)  heart was a lot more attached to Ismail (as) than the average heart of us as parents (because mostly Allah (swt) grants us a child just after marriage.) But then, when that Ibrahim’s (as) only child grew up, piety and righteousness appeared on the face of Ismail (as). Ibrahim (as) saw his son as a very righteous and pious Prophet to be.

When you have a righteous son with a bright future, your heart becomes a lot more attached to this son.

So, Ibrahim (as) became so attached to Ismail (as), and Ibrahim (as) saw Ismail (as) growing with piety, and righteousness, and obedience to Allah (swt) and his parents. And that moment, when Ibrahim (as) became so attached to Ismail (as), so close to Ismail (as), so loving to Ismail (as)-

Allah (swt) commanded Ibrahim (as) to slaughter his son Ismail (as), Allahu Akbar!

What a test……!

What a test……!

What was the test upon Ibrahim (as)?

It was not to leave Ismail (as) after Allah (swt) tested him to take Ismail, and his mother Hajar in the middle of a valley when no being lived there. But then, the test was that Ismail (as) be slaughtered by his father Ibrahim (as):

قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ ۚ قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ

And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!””

(As-Saffat 37:102)

Imagine you say that to your son! The police would be knocking on your door in less than a minute.

Ismail’s (as) response to his father’s dream

What did this righteous, pious young man say to his father? He said: O father! Do what Allah (swt) had commanded you to do, By the will of Allah; you will find me among those who are patient!

Patient! Patient! For the sake of Allah (swt), if that Allah (swt) commands you, O dad, do not even hesitate.

Because, Allah (swt)’s commandments come before loving son!

Allah’s (swt) commandment comes before loving anyone!

And now, Ibrahim (as) grabs his son Ismail (as) walking…but where did they go?

To some beautiful park, to an amusement and entertaining park? Walking with his son knowing that could be his last time walking with his son, and that could be the last time a son could walk with his father.

And then, he laid him on that rock he saw in his dream where he slaughtered his son Ismail (as). He grabbed the knife and came to slaughter his son Ismail (as), but, by the will of Allah, Allah (swt) prevented the knife to slaughter Ismail (as). Then, the call came from Allah (swt), from above the heavens, and Allah (swt) called upon Ibrahim (as) that it was the Big Test! Don’t slaughter him.

Ya Allah (swt)! But you commanded me to slaughter him.

Well, it’s not about slaughtering your son or not, it’s about what’s in your heart!

What’s in your heart?

Ibrahim (as) did everything he could to slaughter Ismail (as) but Allah (swt) did not allow the slaughter of Ismail (as)- because, slaughtering Ismail (as) did not benefit Allah (swt), but, what Allah (swt) wanted to see was, the sincerity and love for Allah (swt) in the heart of Ibrahim (as).

Sacrifice! It’s not about what you sacrifice, what you give? It’s about pure intention and love in the heart to make Allah (swt) happy!

Transcribed for hiba by Hira Naqi

 

 

 

What Is Your Sacrifice?

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When we say sacrifice, one of the prime issues that come into our minds- The sacrifice of Ibrahim (as) of his son Ismail (as).

May peace be upon them all and upon us. Ameen.

If we take a look at what happened- according to the narrations- the historic narrations and some of the Ahadeeth of RasulAllah (sa). It was a dream-an instruction to a Nabi of Allah (swt)- to Ibrahim (as) to do something that pleased Allah (swt). Although, it did not make sense to that man. But, he knew it was coming from Allah (swt). So, whether it made sense or not, he had to get that fulfilled because it was:

Wahi– a revelation.

It was from Allah (swt).

It was an instruction from the Maker.

There it was, and he planned to get that fulfilled.

He was instructed to sacrifice his son.

And, the upbringing of that particular son was such, that when he spoke to the son, the son said:

قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ

And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha’ Allah (if Allah will), you shall find me of As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).”

(As-Saffat 37:102)

This was the upbringing of the child. May Allah (swt) help us to give our children similar upbringing that when the decree of Allah (swt) is mentioned to them, they do not find it difficult to surrender to it. Ameen.

Today, we do not read Salah, and we expect our children to read Salah. We do not dress appropriately, and we are saddened when our children dress more indecently than us.

There are two ways, Insha’Allah to solve that matter. May Allah (swt) grant us a solution to that.

Ibrahim (as), when he went to fulfill the instruction of Allah (swt), Shaytan came to him. When Shaytan came to him, he pelted the devil on three occasions according to some narrations, and later on, he fulfilled this sacrifice.

Points to Ponder from Ibrahim’s (as) sacrifice

Every one of us is taught to engage in that sacrifice in one way or another, by the will of Allah (swt), not because it’s all about the festival of meat, and it’s all about enjoying eating. It’s not only that. Subhan’Allah.

The celebration is on the obedience of Allah (swt), and upon putting a knife between you and that which comes in the path of earning the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Let me share an example- what is the point of someone sacrificing a Ram at the time of Eid-ul-Adha yet, they have not put a knife to adultery they are committing for the last ten years.

What’s the point?

What is your sacrifice?

What have you put to an end in order to achieve the pleasure of Allah (swt), from the sin that, you are committing?

A person lies every day, yet they want to slaughter animals and  enjoy the meat. But, brother your sacrifice is to cut your lies. Some people speak rough to their family members; they have no way of communication. They speak to their wives or sometimes the (women) speak to their husbands, or their children, or parents, or in-laws in such a rough way that they can only be pleasing the devil- yet they will come to you at the time of Eid-ul-Adha.

Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak! Subhan’Allah

Eid is not only about greeting people, No!

It is a bigger, much bigger issue. It is the development of yourself- you celebrate upon the fact that you have put a knife to that, which was displeasing ALLAH (swt); or when it came in to the instruction of ALLAH (swt), you made sure that come what may- you adopted that instruction. May Allah (swt) grant us goodness.

We have people, who cannot give up pornography; but, when it comes to sacrifice they are quick to put the knife on the Ram, and say: ‘We sent twenty animals to Bangladesh, and we sent fifty animals to India, and we sent another five hundred to Africa, Masha’Allah! That is very good, but…What did you do about the animal within you? You have not yet slaughtered it. Allahu Akbar!

What about the pornography inside that you are so hooked to?

Cut it out my brothers and sisters, cut it out and see….How you will enjoy the sacrifice of Eid-ul-Adha.

You are sacrificing something for the pleasure of  Allah (swt).

People have so much money. Some people have serious connection to false wealth that is not theirs. They want to use usurp wealth through robbery or deception, and they get happy about it- ‘Brother: I am a very rich man.’ How did you get your money? If you did it Halal, Alhumdulillah! We are happy for you. If not, put a knife to it! That money will not come about with any form of goodness. If we are not prepared to put a knife to it, then Subhan’Allah, how will we earn the pleasure of Allah (swt)?

This is one angle of looking at that sacrifice of Ibrahim (as)- what am I prepared to sacrifice to earn pleasure of Allah (swt). On one hand, Ibrahim (as) was instructed to do something that did not make sense to him, nor will it ever make sense to anyone of us.

Imagine, sacrifice your son!

Can it make sense to you? No!

Did it make sense to him? No!

But, it definitely was never a point of question, because he knew the source of the instruction. Once Allah (swt) said, Do this. He said: سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا -‘we have heard it and we have obeyed it’

Whereas, we have light items to fulfill. No one has asked us to sacrifice our children, or do something barbaric in order to achieve the pleasure of Allah (swt)- No!

But, it is the small things in our lives that we are not even prepared to look into. How then are we going to be able to sacrifice them?

Cut them out for the sake of Allah (swt).

Transcribed for hiba by Hira Naqi

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Part 2) Love and loyalty for Allah (swt) – Divine legacy of Prophet Ibrahim (as)

Sahara-Desert-9Click here to read the first part of the article.

3.  Submission
This love brought about submission towards Allah (swt) for Ibrahim (as) because obeying and submitting to the orders is the natural consequence of love. If you can’t submit, you don’t really love.

Every prophet has a specific quality. When it comes to Ibrahim (as), his unique quality is submission. He was submissive to his Lord.

“When his Lord said to him, “Submit (i.e. be a Muslim)!” He said, “I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Baqarah 2:131)

The scholars describe this verse as:  When Allah (swt) ordered him to submit, there was no pause and no intermission, and no question asked. Allah (swt) said, “Submit,” and Ibrahim (as) immediately said, “I submit to the Lord of the worlds.”  He did not even ask a question in any regard.  When we check the life of Ibrahim (as) and the rites of Hajj, we see the submission of Ibrahim (as).  For that reason, Islam (which is submission and surrendering to the will of Allah (swt)) goes all the way back to the original practice of monotheism of Ibrahim (as). Whereas we need to have a thousand questions answered, a hundred heart attacks, many motivational reminders and many sleepless nights making the decision before we finally take up some Quranic command- wearing Hijab, for instance.

When Allah (swt) ordered him to submit, there was no pause and no intermission, and no question asked.


This is what we learn from the experience of Ibrahim (as); he submitted to the Will of Allah (swt). But, we have a problem with this type of submission. If you look closely, the heart of the Quran’s message is:
1. Accept Allah (swt) as your Master.
2. Accept yourself as His slave.
3. Guidance comes to those who accept themselves as His slaves.

It is very easy for us to accept that Allah (swt) is Merciful. We accept that, and say “cool, I will still do whatever I want.”

But, we have a hard time accepting that He is our Master. Because that implies we are slaves and slaves are not free people; they are supposed to do all that their Master says. They are supposed to submit.
And because our evil desires and egos are so inflated, we fail to accept Him as our Master. We might say it with our tongues, but our actions prove otherwise.

If you want to really live the legacy of Ibrahim (as), you have to accept Allah (swt) as your Master and submit to His commands.

4. Sacrifice
Because of this over flowing love for Allah (swt), Ibrahim (as) was ever ready to give up anything and everything for Allah (swt).
He left his father, his people and his homeland where he lived and grew up, his comfort and eventually, even prepared to literally slaughter his extremely beloved son, Ismail (as) – all for the sake of Allah (swt).

But, Allah (swt) saved him from the great trial of sacrificing his beloved son. Because the purpose was not to slaughter the son, rather the aim was to make the heart pure for Allah’s (swt) love. And Ibrahim (as) had that pure love.

Are we ready to give up all that we desire for the Only One we believe in?

If we are able to take this lesson of sacrificing everything for the love of Allah (swt) from the act of sacrifice done on Eid-ul-Adha, then we have achieved the essence of the message. Because in the end, it all comes down to this: Are we ready to give up all that we desire for the Only One we believe in?

5. Tawakkul

“O Ibrahim, will you go and leave us in this valley in which there are no people and nothing?” Hajra (ra) said that to her husband, Ibrahim (as), several times, and he did not answer her. Then she said to him: “Is it Allah (swt) Who has commanded you to do this?” He said: “Yes.” She said: “Then He will not forsake us.” (Bukhari)

It is an unparalleled example of having trust in Allah’s (swt) plan. But with it also reflect on Ibrahim’s (as)  state of Tawakkul. Is it easy to leave behind your family in a remote place like this? Definitely not. But, when Allah (swt) tells you so, you do it without any hesitation and fear.

Can we do that? With our current state of faith, the answer will be obvious.

Any rewards of this love for Allah (swt) and this unmatched submission? Yes many. And one of the obvious ones is:

6. Hajj and building the Kabah

“And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) and (his son) Ismail (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Kabah at Makkah), (saying), ‘Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower’” (Al-Baqarah 2:127)

The chapter of the establishment of Hajj is a unique chapter.  Muslims are still following the legacy of Ibrahim (as). Remember  whenever you go for Hajj, you are the response of Ibrahim (as). You are the response of his call when Allah (swt) told him to call the people to come for Hajj!  Proclaim the Hajj, and let the people come and answer his call! Till this day, we remember him and follow his example.
The essence of Propfet Ibrahim (as) legacy
This is the legacy of the great Prophet of Allah (swt), Ibrahim (as). Love Allah (swt). Then submit. And that’s the true meaning of being a Muslim.

Love for Allah (swt) made him succesful. And Allah (swt) praised him as follows,

“And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) [i.e., Allah] tried him with (certain) Commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him), “Verily, I am going to make you a leader (Prophet) of mankind.” [Ibrahim (Abraham)] said, “And of my offspring (to make leaders).” (Allah) said, “My Covenant (Prophethood, etc.) includes not Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).”

(Al-Baqarah 2:124)

La ilaha illa Allah is not just a statement of the tongue; let the heart bear witness!

Love and loyalty for Allah (swt) – Divine legacy of Prophet Ibrahim (as)

maqam“And Allah did take Ibrahim (Abraham) as a Khaleel (an intimate friend)” (An-Nisa 4:125)

All of us are going to leave our footsteps and traces behind in this world. And when we die, we will be remembered and judged according to those traces. They can be either good or bad. That will be the legacy we leave behind.

Surely our legacy should be powerful and inspiring. But what should that be? What can we do that will outdo other common legacies? How about delving into one of the most brilliant legacies ever left behind? The legacy of Ibrahim (as). For the Quran says,

“Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Abraham and those with him” (Al-Mumtahinah 60:4)

People leave behind their stories which the world remembers and cheers upon. But, the legacy we are going to mention here is unique. It is unique, simply because, it is not only a legacy of power and a great vision- but more importantly-  it is a legacy of loyalty and pure heart-felt love; a legacy of loving Allah (swt).

Ibrahim (as) was a man of vision and deep insight. He thought of not only his immediate children, but rather, his entire progeny. His concern for their spiritual well being and his constant prayers to Allah (swt) depict his deep vision; the vision of making pure Tawheed stay alive in his descendants.

Spiritually enriched legacy of Ibrahim (as)

1. Pure love for Allah (swt) and living La ilaha illa Allah

“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Allah (swt) praised his friend in His Book, the Quran,

Verily, Ibrahim (Abraham) was an Ummah (a leader having all the good righteous qualities), or a nation, obedient to Allah, Hanifa (i.e. to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al-Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, and those who joined partners with Allah).”(An-Nisa 16:120)

Due to his love for Allah (swt), he found what we all keep looking for all through our lives; and, it is the most hard-to-snag things of all – peace!

1. Devotion.
2. True in faith.
3. No shirk (which means absolute Tawheed)
The pure concept of Tawheed etched in ones heart + devotion + truthfulness in faith = 100% pure love for Allah (swt) and Him alone.

This was Ibrahim (as)!
2. Attainment of peace through struggle and sacrifice

Strangely, if you see Ibrahim’s (as) life in a quick glance, you see no fruits- because what you find is, either struggle or sacrifice. But, analyzing much more deeply, you find contentment behind those struggles; and extreme love behind those sacrifices. Due to his love for Allah (swt), he found what we all keep looking for all through our lives; and, it is the most hard-to-snag things of all – peace!

Contrary to what Ibrahim (as) had for Allah (swt) – i.e. pure love and firm belief in Tawheed – what we have is another story. Simply put, we do not have that peace in our lives; we cringe at the very thought of separation with our loved ones. We cannot even begin to imagine the idea of sacrificing something small (like to quit smoking) for Allah (swt) – let alone something big! Our lives revolve around obsessive love for our spouses, crazy children-centered homes, overwhelming desire for a friend, excessive love for wealth, extra hope pinned in some human being…
You can go on and on as the list is pretty much endless.

We seek for love in all the wrong places, and hence, come back heartbroken.

Fault with our theory of love

We seek for love in all the wrong places, and hence, come back heartbroken. The moment we love anything more than our Creator, that very thing we love more becomes the cause of our greatest pain. But, Ibrahim (as) found love in its right place with Allah (swt), and that’s why, he had “Qalb-e-Saleem” – a sound heart.

We profess with our tongues that we believe in La ilaha illa Allah, but our actions seldom actualize the Kalimah. We claim we love Allah (swt) the most, but fail to give Him priority every time.(You delay Fajr prayer for sleep, you miss Dhuhr for work, Isha for the World Cup, take interest based loans to please your wife etc.)

We are taken over by the love of this world, and that leaves us with less or no room for the love of the Creator in our lives. The famous novel “Twilight” teaches us obsessive love for humans- which involves loving the creation more than the Creator; breaking all the boundaries of Halal and Haram in the name of love for some other creature.

Nowadays, other forms of love are creeping in a Muslim’s heart.  Muslims need to make the love of Allah (swt) superior to all other love ideologies.

Ibrahim (as) found love in its right place with Allah (swt), and that’s why, he had “Qalb-e-Saleem” – a sound heart.

Know that people will continue their lives when you die. Indeed, when you die they will stop calling you by your name: they will ask, “Where is the Janazah? Where is the body?” Once you’re buried, they will refer to you as “his grave”; and will say, “I’m going to visit the grave of so and so.”
Hence, do not sacrifice your relationship with your Lord for the sake of your family and friends.
Focus on a relationship that is for eternity: your relationship with Allah (swt).

Look at this profound piece of writing:

“Allah (swt) has decreed that he who loves something other than Him will surely be tormented by it; that one who fears something other than Allah (swt) will come under its control; that one who involves himself with something to the exclusion of Allah (swt), will find it a source of grief; that one who prefers another over Allah (swt) will not be blessed therein; and that one who tries to please a fellow creature by anything displeasing Allah (swt), will without fail, bring His anger upon himself.”
(Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyya)

[To be continued Insha Allah]

Five Duas Every Muslim Should Make

duahandsIn the Quran, Allah (swt) says, “O mankind! You are Fuqara (those in need).” We have many needs. We look at other people and are reminded of our own deprivations. Zakariya (as) looked at Mariam (as) and realised he has a need. He immediately turned to Allah (swt) in need.

All day long we remind ourselves of what is missing from our lives, yet when we get on the prayer mat we forget to ask. Allah (swt) did a great favour upon us by collecting the Duas of His beloved servants (as) and preserving them. The Companions (as) forwarded the kindness by recording the supplications of the Prophet (sa). These are the Duas for us to take inspiration from.

Let’s look at some of the Duas that the Prophets (as) made and we should too.

1. Protection from Shirk

Following people and keeping a tab on their lives might appear trifling. But when people become the sole focus of our lives – we live for them, we seek and cherish their praises – then certainly it is not a petty matter. We have fallen for Shirk. Allah (swt) should be the main focus of our lives. We should seek love and acknowledgement from Him. In the times of trials, we should remember He is the One to ask help from. Seeing our blessings, we should thank Him first and then the people. We need to learn about the different forms of Shirk and protect ourselves from falling for them.

Ibrahim (as) lost his family, his people and his town, but he did not associate anyone with Allah (swt). He asked Allah (swt) to protect him and his sons from worshipping idols. “And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said: O my Lord! Make this city (Makkah) one of peace and security, and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols.” (Ibrahim 14:35)

2. Peace and Sustenance

Hearing the news of another bomb blast or another strike, one wonders how life will continue. How will the businesses function? Fearing for safety and sustenance leaves one anxious and disturbed. Nothing can be accomplished. Leaving his family in an uninhabited land, Ibrahim (as) asked Allah (swt) for peace, sustenance and warmth of the people. He knew they will need all these to survive their challenges. “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka’bah at Makkah); in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.” (Ibrahim 14:37)

3. Righteous Companions

A Hadeeth tells us that we will be resurrected with the people that we love. Who do we love? Yusuf (as) a righteous man himself, especially prayed to Allah (swt) to join him with the righteous in the hereafter. “My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of dreams; The (only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian, etc.) in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will), and join me with the righteous.” (Yusuf 12:101) Ask Allah (swt) to grant you righteous friends, righteous spouses, righteous children in this world and to raise you and your loved ones with the righteous, in the hereafter.

4. Protection from Zulm

Zulm is not giving someone his right. You take the telephone set off its stand and place it on the floor, you have done Zulm. We must ask Allah (swt) to not make of those who commit injustice or injustice is done to us. All the arguments of someone not giving us our right will just end.

5. Acceptance of Deeds

Upon doing a good deed we must remember Ibrahim’s (as) humility. Never should we be boastful. Ibrahim (as) was chosen by Allah (swt) to build His House, yet he feared acceptance. “And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) and (his son) Isma’il (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), (saying), Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”(Al-Baqarah 2:127)

Ask Allah (swt) to guide us to the deeds which are accepted and allow us to do them.

Pearls of Peace: An extract from Surah ash-Shuara

PEARLSBeing a believer means being really strong in belief. We see the example in the stories of the Prophets (as). Each time that they were tried by the opponents, they stood firm in their Iman. Later, it was these firm believers who came out victorious.

Moosa (as) vs. Pharaoh

When Prophet Moosa (as) spoke to Pharaoh about Allah (swt), Pharaoh threatened to get him imprisoned. Prophet Moosa (as) argued, “Musa (Moses) said: Even if I bring you something manifest (and convincing)?” (Ash-Shuara 26:30)

Pharaoh denied his prophet hood and called him a magician. Learned and skilled magicians were called to unveil Prophet Moosa’s (as) magic. The magicians arrived and asked if there was any reward for them. Pharaoh promised them a close companionship. So they threw their ropes and their staffs and said, “So they threw their ropes and their sticks, and said: By the might of Firaun (Pharaoh), it is we who will certainly win!” (Ash-Shuara 26:44)

When Moosa (as) threw his staff and it devoured their ropes and staffs, they fell down in prostration to Allah (swt) and said, “Saying: We believe in the Lord of the ‘Alamin .The Lord of Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron).” (Ash-Shuara 26:47-48)

Allah (swt) boosted up the Iman of magicians

Moments ago these skilled magicians were testifying their loyalty to Pharaoh, but upon seeing the truth, they immediately surrendered. For the tyrant, it was an unbelievable situation; hence he threatened them, “Firaun (Pharaoh) said: You have believed in him before I give you leave. Surely, he indeed is your chief, who has taught you magic! So verily, you shall come to know. Verily, I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you all.” (Ash-Shuara 26:49)

However, this threat landed on deaf ears. One sincere prostration to Allah (swt) had filled their hearts with so much peace and strength that they replied, “They said: No harm! Surely, to our Lord (Allah) we are to return; Verily! We really hope that our Lord will forgive us our sins, as we are the first of the believers (in Musa (Moses) and in the Monotheism which he has brought from Allah)” (Ash-Shuara 26:50-51). In other words, “Do what you want to do. We will return to our Lord, anyway whether you kill us or we die a natural death.”

Sincere prostration to Allah (swt) and firm belief in Him works wonders

In the morning, the magicians came in a state of shirk and in the evening they died as martyrs; earning Paradise for themselves. When Allah (swt) desires to guide someone He makes it happen. Let us never lose our hope in Him. The magicians after prostrating to Allah (swt) hoped that He will forgive them. They trusted their sincere submission will result in their forgiveness. We perform a lot of prostrations throughout the day. Let us not turn them into a mere ritual. Let us strive to be humble in our prayers with our hearts connected to Allah (swt) hoping He will forgive us for our intentional and unintentional sins. Insha’Allah!

Seek refuge in Allah (swt)

There are people of hope and there are people of despair. After this incident of the magicians, Moosa (as) had to rescue the Children of Prophet Yaqoob (as) from the tyranny of Pharaoh. He fled with them only to later halt near the mighty sea. His people complained, “And when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Musa (Moses) said: We are sure to be overtaken.” (Ash-Shuara 26:61)

Prophet Moosa (as), on the other hand, had firm faith that Allah (swt) would show him the way out. In our lives when challenges arrive, the first reaction we display is that of despair. We tell ourselves “now there is no way out of this calamity” or “I am doomed”. While we are still lost in our thoughts and complaints, Allah (swt) inspires our hearts to see the way out. He tests us and then guides us. Moosa’s (as) words were, “Moosa (Moses) said: Nay, verily! With me is my Lord, He will guide me.” (Ash-Shuara 26:62)

Do we have the same conviction? It is He Who guides, helps, protects and rescues His servants from calamities. When tested, call out to Him for nothing is impossible for Allah (swt).

Ibrahim (as) – born to be Allah’s (swt) friend

Another Iman-inspiring story found in Surah Ash-Shuara is that of prophet Ibrahim (as), who had fought Shirk, ever since he was a young boy. He refused to worship what his community worshipped.

He said, “Verily! They are enemies to me, save the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists); Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me; And it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me; And Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life (again); and Who, I hope will forgive me my faults on the Day of Recompense, (the Day of Resurrection).” (Ash-Shuara 26:77-82) Such was the state of his conviction!

After acknowledging countless favours of Allah (swt), he makes a Dua, “My Lord! Bestow Hukman (religious knowledge, right judgment of the affairs and Prophethood) on me, and join me with the righteous; And grant me an honourable mention in later generations.” (Ash-Shuara 26:83-84).

Was this Dua answered? Absolutely! Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) name is mentioned each time we send salutations and blessings on Prophet Muhammad (sa) in Salat (prayer). The Station of Ibrahim (as) in Makkah reminds us of his great service and sacrifice for the sake of Allah (swt). The Sai that the pilgrims make at Safa and Marwa and the sacrifice on Eid-ul-Adha are some of the things related to him. May Allah (swt) resurrect us with him. Ameen.

For the Day of Resurrection, Prophet Ibrahim (as) asked, “And disgrace me not on the Day when (all the creatures) will be resurrected; The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who brings to Allah a clean heart.” (Ash-Shuara 26:87-89) Despite being an excellent example of a submissive slave, he was still concerned about disgrace on that Day. Subhan’Allah!

(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 Anam 2

Pearl-in-a-shell1Previously, we discussed standing up for what’s right, even if others around us are content with whatever is happening.

Prophet Ibrahim (as) – the devoted friend of Allah (swt)

Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) entire nation was drowned in Shirk. But he was not of those who blindly followed his tribe. He said: “Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifa and I am not of Al-Mushrikun.” (Al-Anam 6:79) His family kicked him out, his people threw him in fire; but his heart was filled with peace. Why? It was because he had turned his attention and devotion to Allah (swt). As a consequence of his open declaration of truth Allah (swt) chose Ibrahim (as) as His friend – Khalilullah. What an honour!

Who are the secured ones?

Therefore in verse 81 Allah (swt) asks us, “(So) which of the two parties has more right to be in security? If you but know?” The two parties mentioned here are the monotheists and the polytheists. He answers this question in verse 82, “It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong i.e. by worshipping others besides Allah), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.” May Allah (swt) keep us firm on Tauheed. Ameen.

Respect all religions

As we talk about polytheism, an important point to mention here is that if Allah (swt) chose us to be Muslims, then we have no right to scoff those who worship whatever pleases them. He says, “And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge.” (Al-Anam 6:108) If we make fun of them, the obvious retaliation would be ridiculing our religion. Think of others’ reaction before you take any action. Do not become the reason for causing damage to your own religion.

Leaving inner and outer sins

Allah (swt) then wants us to examine ourselves internally – the dual lives that we live. There are people who apparently seem pious and righteous, but they are engaged in sins that only they know of. Allah (swt) says, “Leave (O mankind, all kinds of) sin, open and secret. Verily, those who commit sin will get due recompense for that which they used to commit.” (Al-Anam 6:120) Quit immediately. Give them up. Learn to control your Nafs. Cleanse yourself internally. Our Prophet (sa) taught us a beautiful Dua: “O Allah! Give my heart its piety and purify it, for You are the best who can purify it; You are its Protector and Guardian.”

Would you like to share your good deeds with anyone?

To do a good deed is not as difficult as preserving that deed is. We may be doing a lot of good deeds in our lives, but sometimes we hurt one person and back bite another. We spread rumours about people without verifying the source of information. All these people will be coming on the Day of Judgement to take a portion from our good deeds. Do we wish to give our Salah to other people when we will be the neediest ones? Allah (swt) says, “Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit, and whoever brings an evil deed shall have only the recompense of the like thereof, and they will not be wronged.” (Al-Anam 6:160) What a loss it would be if our deeds are added to someone else’s scale! Repent and protect other people’s rights.

Do’s and don’ts for staying on the straight path

Towards the end of Surah al-Anam, there is a list of prohibitions and commandments that is similar to what Prophet Moosa (as) was given in Torah. Allah (swt) instructs Muhammad (sa) to say, “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to Al-Fawahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic law). This He has commanded you that you may understand. And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he (or she) attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but that which he can bear. And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence, etc.), say the truth even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfill the Covenant of Allah, This He commands you, which you may remember. And verily, this (i.e. Allah’s Commandments mentioned in the above two Verses 151 and 152) is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqun.” (Al-Anam 6:151-153)

Why were the above prohibitions mentioned?

It is because if we engage in them, our peace will be snatched both in this world and the hereafter.

1. Shirk – no forgiveness without repentance

The first thing that Allah (swt) mentions is Shirk. That is because there is no forgiveness for Shirk if one dies without seeking repentance. Right after, He mentions kindness to parents because they have the greatest right on an individual.

2. Infant killing

Then we are warned against killing children out of the fear of poverty and hunger. The Arab pagans used to bury their daughters alive; today we have abortions. We are told immorality is unacceptable- don’t even come near it. We should be upright in our character and have high morals.

3. Rights of humankind

Murder and suicide is absolutely prohibited in the Shariah. Then the rights of the orphans are mentioned. If one has spent anything on them. He can recollect his honest share; otherwise handover their property as it was received. We continue to cheat the women when it comes to inheritance and do not give them their share. May Allah (swt) help us. Ameen

4. Bless your business

The discussion moves on to business dealings. People cheat one another for petty prices. The Prophet (sa) said that if one is honest in his business dealings then Allah’s (swt) blessings will descend. But when we misquote our prices and scheme deceitful plans, how do we expect the Barakah in our wealth?

Value the Deen – spread it with love

This brings us to another aspect of our lives. When we have to sell something of this world, our mind can think of all sorts of strategies to lure the customer. We are polite, kind, friendly and respectful. But when it comes to calling people to Allah’s (swt) Deen, we can come up with all the excuses that one can think of. The energy that drives our business marketing skills has vanished. Our time becomes limited. Our tongues become sharp and bitter. We forget all our manners and etiquettes. We will not humble ourselves for the grandeur of the hereafter, but we will open our hearts to accommodate the customers for paltry gain of this world.

Brothers and sisters, the Deen is more valuable! It can result in Paradise for you as against the momentary benefit of this world.