Can time heal the scars on the face of humanity?

Reviving-Wilted-Roses“And those scars on his face were the scars on the face of humanity.”

Never treat the unprivileged as you have leased them for their life.

Waiting in the lounge of a hotel, merely to fulfil the desire to eat a hot steaming dinner in the festive environment with my family to make the most of my Sunday- I came across the evidence of brutality of those in power over the weaker ones. The boy caught my attention because of the life that shines out from his eyes. His care free attitude told me, he belonged to a nice family; however, the wicked brutal scars on his face and hand me down clothing, made me doubt my very first impression of him.

Sitting there with my husband, I caught the remark of the other boy sitting beside him-
“And what about these recent marks on your face?”

His reply was, “Api gave me a fresh start in the morning with it.”

I thought he might have had a fight with his elder sister.

I said to him, “You must have been naughty.”

He said, “No!”

The other one said, “Yes, he might have been.”

At that moment, I just wished that the brutal master may someday behave, and realize that they have not leased the unprivileged ones for their lifetime.

“Api beats me on small mistakes. Today, I was unable to decorate her shoe cupboard properly, and she gave me these marks as a reward.”
I asked, “Who is your Api?”

Then, I heard the innocent reply that drowned me into embarrassment, “She is my master. I work for her, and she beats me for petty issues.”
I was overwhelmed.

I said, “You never told her you are a human?” On which my husband asked me to keep quiet.

And then came his master who asked him to accompany him into the restaurant.
He asked his master, “Do you really want me to accompany?” And when his master affirmed, I saw his eyes shining much brighter, and the joy evading the innocent face.

Alas! I wish I could sue her or do something to tell that lady that if she is not getting what she deserves now- certainly much awaits for her in hereafter.

To all the masters of this kind- kindly, before doing all the charity work, and shouting out for human equality and initiating campaigns and programs, do just one thing- Respect humanity!

The innocent bright beings when ill-treated in their early years lose their sanity and turn into criminals. This leads to a never-ending war causing terror and fright in the society. We fail to realize that we are the ones who had fed these little creatures with hatred and cultivated them as criminals.

Sadaqah Matters – A Marginalized Profit?

charityMost of us rush to do good deeds in Ramadan in order to make Allah (swt) happy and earn His promised reward of Jannah. We increase our acts of generosity by spending for those in need. But have we ever reflected on our intentions? Have we ever checked the quality of our aid? Are we giving good things or the old discarded ones? Are we down to earth? Or walk boastfully in pride? Do the ones we helped feel inferior because of our behaviour towards them, during and after helping them?

These are some areas of concern that we must look into before we do something good. Allah (swt) has mentioned some important aspects of Sadaqah in Surah Al-Baqarah.

As an individual, an entrepreneur, or any random person from any walk of life, we act in ways which are favourable to us or which will earn us some rewards in return. We maintain ties of kinship with relatives who enjoy luxuries, have high financial status, and enjoy a good social repute. In short, man is greedy by nature. Our desire to attain pleasure and fame drives us to do anything.

In Surah Baqarah, verses 261 to 267, Allah (swt) talks about ways to maximize one’s wealth along with some other sub topics that come in relation with doing charity (Sadaqah).

But have we ever reflected on our intentions? Have we ever checked the quality of our aid?

The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” (Al-Baqarah 2:261)

A promised and guaranteed profit

Subhan’Allah! How generous Allah (swt) is. For every single penny, you will earn seven hundred times more reward. This verse explains the virtue of spending in the way of Allah (swt) to attain His pleasure.

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta) that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “If one gives in charity what equals to one date-fruit for the honestly-earned money, and Allah (swt) accepts only the honestly earned money, Allah (swt) takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Bukhari)

“Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah 2:262)

The humble intention

This stresses on the intention behind the act of Sadaqah. Firstly, the intention should be to spend for Allah’s (swt) pleasure. After emphasizing on Niyyah, the stress is shifted to the behaviour of the giver. When we spend in the way of Allah (swt) by giving money or things to our maids, we think we can now ask them to work more and assist us with chores that they are not entitled to do. We are of the opinion that we can suppress them as they are under our feet because of the generosity we have shown to them. When the intention and behaviour is polluted then the act will go in vain.

The person is considered as a transgressor because of hurting one’s pride and self-respect; and it is more heinous as compared to any financial or physical harm. The psychological attack especially on one’s pride is unbendable.

On the contrary, if one’s intention and action are in concordance to the principles of Islam while giving charity, then surely, his reward is with Allah (swt); and he shall not fear or grieve.

Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is Most-Forbearing.” (Al-Baqarah 2:263) One kind word can warm the iced hearts

This verse talks about the notion of being polite and considerate. A sweet tongue can conquer many hearts, whilst a sharp tongue breeds the seeds of hatred. When a needy asks the one who is superior to him in terms of finance, then the upper hand must respond with kindness; and if he has to refuse, then he must do so with politeness.Islam is truly a religion that one can fall in love with every time he comprehends its teachings via Quran and Sunnah. It takes care of the rights of each and every individual, and guards their rights.

O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

When we spend in the way of Allah (swt) by giving money or things to our maids, we think we can now ask them to work more and assist us with chores that they are not entitled to do

Showing off will not bring glory

This verse talks about showing off (Riya).  When we do something good we expect to be praised, and raised in status in the eyes of society and home. Often, the picture is blurring with the intention of to be seen only; however, in reality, one feels no sympathy. A similitude has been used here to make a relation with the act and its outcome. It says when a farmer plants a seed on a rock the surface of which is hard and soil is infertile, a gush of water in the form of rain, will take away the dirt on it. No fertilizer, temperature control, pesticide control- nothing will bear any fruit of success as the land on which it is sown is barren. Similar is the case of a man whose heart is solid, empty of the love of Allah (swt), and is filled with the attitude to show off, then the act of charity, will not earn him any reward nor it will touch his heart.

And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s Pleasure while they in their own selves are sure and certain that Allah will reward them (for their spending in His Cause), is the likeness of a garden on a height; heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest. And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it. And Allah is All-Seer of (knows well) what you do.” (Al-Baqarah 2:265)

The second verse is opposite to the above one- it says about the one who spends to gain the pleasure of Allah (swt) and to acquire Taqwa by strengthening his faith. When a seed is sown in a fertile soil, all measures that one takes to improve the yields will support the outcome- i.e. a healthy, abundant yield. Spending in the name of Allah (swt) is a guaranteed reward. The reward is twofold. One is that the spender’s faith will enrich and the other is awaiting him in Jannah.

Would any of you wish to have a garden with date-palms and vines, with rivers flowing underneath, and all kinds of fruits for him therein, while he is stricken with old age, and his children are weak (not able to look after themselves), then it is struck with a fiery whirlwind, so that it is burnt? Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses) to you that you may give thought.” (Al-Baqarah 2:266)

A worth incentive

In this verse, Allah (swt) is giving an incentive to do well. Just like a mother, who provokes her kid, makes him greedy to do work in order to enjoy any favourable outcome. Allah (swt) loves us more than seventy mothers, Subhan’Allah. He is describing the appearance of heaven to make man greedy to attain it.

O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), and Worthy of all praise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:267)

Quality of Aid is more important than quantity

When it comes to spend for charity, we tend to choose the things which are not worthy to be used again, or have lost their liking in our eyes, or are not pleasurable for us, and/or have depreciated. Allah (swt) knows the hidden intentions and thoughts, as well as, a man’s psychological level. Therefore, He also warned us to not to spend the things which we ourselves will not accept if given to us.

[Twins of Faith Karachi] Family Matters by Br. Adnan Rashid

familyAllah’s (swt) greatest gift to Muslims is Iman (faith). Something they never pursued and were awarded effortlessly. But what is Iman? It is belief and action combined together based on the Ilm (knowledge) one has acquired. Yes, it’s a pre-requisite that Ilm must be followed up by Amal (action); otherwise, Ilm is not even considered to be Ilm.

Iblees (Satan) is most knowledgeable. He maybe is more learned than all the Ulema of the world collectively. Why? Because he has been around the longest. He was there even before Allah (swt) created Adam (as). And he worshipped Allah (swt). So where did he fail? How did he become Rajeem (the cursed and rejected one)? Significantly, because he failed to act upon the knowledge he earned. He recognized Allah (swt) to be the Supreme Creator, Who solely deserved to be worshipped, but blinded himself to His divine guidance. Hence, Ibless became a Kafir. Ilm without action is a recipe for Jahannum.

Numerous orientalists and non-Muslims have studied Hadeeth and Aqueedah in more depth than many Muslims on Earth. But it doesn’t save them. Knowledge and action are intertwined. One is vain and useless without the other. If we are granted knowledge and we do not act upon it, we are considered to be hypocrites. If we do not have knowledge and we act as per our desires, we can cause Fitnah and perform Bidats (innovations in Deen).

Abu Hurairah (rta) once saw an old man with a young boy. He advised the lad about the Islamic Adab: “Do not walk ahead of your father and do not sit before him.”

We need to approach our families with the knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah, especially when delivering their rights upon us. Family is one of the greatest blessings from Allah (swt). It is an important opportunity to please Allah (swt) and enter Jannah. As Muslims, we must recognize who is who in the family. It is essential to understand the value and status of your parents, spouse, children and extended family.

Orphans are the ones, who know the true importance of having a family. Once, our beloved Prophet (sa) was travelling along with his companions (rta). Suddenly, he came to a halt and began to weep. His companions (rta), unable to see his grief, cried along with him, until Umar ibn Al-Khattab (rta) asked him: “Ya Rasool Allah (sa), why are you crying?” He replied: “My mother is buried here.”

Why did Allah (swt) place Jannah beneath the mother’s feet? Because it can only be attained by serving her. After mentioning Shirk as an unforgivable sin, Allah (swt) places disobedience to parents next in line. They can either be our doors to Jannah or gateway to Jahannum.

Once, the Prophet (sa) descended the pulpit thrice, and each time he uttered: “Ameen”. The companions (rta) asked him, why he did so? The Messenger (sa) explained: “Gabriel (as) visited me and informed me: ‘Woe to the person, who finds Ramadan but doesn’t enter Paradise.’ I said: ‘Ameen.’ Then he said: ‘Woe to the person, who, upon mentioning your name, doesn’t send Salawat upon you.’ I said: ‘Ameen.’ Lastly, Gabriel said: ‘Woe to the person, who finds his parents in their old age and fails to attain Jannah.’ I said: ‘Ameen.’ ”

Appreciate your ties with the kith and kin and pave your way to Jannah.

Abu Hurairah (rta) once saw an old man with a young boy. He advised the lad about the Islamic Adab: “Do not walk ahead of your father and do not sit before him.”

Many times kids do not out-rightly misbehave with their parents, but it’s that one shrug of shoulders, gesturing of the eyes or wrinkling with their forehead that does it all. The Quran doesn’t even permit us to utter ‘uff’ to them. If a word shorter than that would have been known, that would also have been forbidden to say against one’s parents.

How Allah (swt) defends the honour of a mother? When Maryam (as) gave birth to Isa (as) and brought him to her people, she was falsely accused. At the moment she pointed to Isa (as,) who was still an infant in the cradle. He spoke for his mother as a miracle. Allah (swt) granted him the power to do so. Isa (as) confirmed to the people that he was special. He was most importantly a slave of Allah (swt), He had been given a book (Injeel) from Allah (swt), he had been made a prophet of Allah (swt) and he was obedient to his mother.

I see the Western society collapsing from within. I have seen kids curse their parents. It’s an unbelievable phenomenon. Their family institution has disintegrated. On the other hand, Islam is great. It gives the right to people they deserve. Appreciate your ties with the kith and kin and pave your way to Jannah.

Transcribed by Rana Rais Khan from Br Adnan Rashid’s talk at Twins of Faith Karachi, organized by Mercy Mission.


Free Grunge Textures - / Foter / CC BY

Free Grunge Textures – / Foter / CC BY

Yet another serious heart-break,
yet another unexpected blow.
Yet another discrete proof of,
people’s fake and outward show!

Ready to help us all the time,
support they’re willing to offer.
But when the time comes to help,
their words and actions differ!

Expectations are built and broken,
it happens again, and yet again.
One feels dejected and ditched;
friendships are lost without gain!

Words of hope echo in your mind,
their false claims give you tears.
But you, O human, do not stop,
to turn to the “Only” who’s near!

Nothing to lose when you love Allah (swt),
His pleasure wins you all gain.
Benefits in this world and the next,
happiness and rewards, no pain!

Yet we humans fail to be believers,
we find it difficult to rely on Him.
Shaytan wins the battle with us,
chances of not being doomed are slim!

We know all this yet from people,
our needs of love, we associate.
We get hurt but we keep trying,
to fool ourselves till we dissipate.

Then we gather our shattered self,
we bow down to Him in depression.
We renew our faith, and we pledge,
We’ll only yearn for His attention.

A few days pass by until we stick,
to the new promise and resolve.
However, Shaytan doesn’t cease,
we give in to his tricks, we absolve!

Our mind tries to hold us back but,
our heart craves for love and care.
Self-deceived and misguided again,
we turn to the creation in despair!

Knowingly we treat ourselves unkind;
we get involved in people again.
Expecting from others rather than Him,
Utterly dismayed, we shout in pain…..

“Yet another serious heart-break,
yet another unexpected blow.
Yet another discrete proof of,
people’s fake and outward show!”

Serving the Creation

serving humanityAn Urdu term Khidmat-e-Khalq is widely understood in English as social service, social work or service to humanity. Ustadh Khurram Murad, may Allah grant him Jannat-ul-Firdaws, in a pamphlet titled “Khidmat-e-Khalq”, elaborates on the purpose of Islam and the wide-ranging meaning of serving Allah’s creation.

We usually ascribe meaning to a term in accordance with our experiences, observations and imitations of the way it has been implemented. Hence, when we say “Khidmat-e-Khalq” or “service of humanity”, we are overwhelmed by  images of ambulances, camps, NGOs, medicine and funeral rites aid, charity functions, orphanages, institutes for the education of poor and disabled and all forms of aids. In the real sense of the word, service has an intensive meaning according to Quran and Sunnah. What we in the modern times understand as social welfare, social service or service to humanity is a limited interpretation of “Khidmat-e-Khalq”.

welfare of the creations does not necessarily have to be a profession or an association to it rather, it is a lifestyle.

Khalq involves all the creations of Allah (swt), including animals, birds, plants and human beings. Rasoolullah (sa) demonstrated the perfect attitude we need to have while serving all types of creation.  If we analyze, after Iman, Allah (swt) always talks about some form of service to the creation in the Holy Quran when He Az Wajjal orders us to spend for His pleasure from our favorite worldly possessions. Serving the creation, in one form or the other, always comes second in the preference list of a Mumin.

“Whose hearts are filled with fear when Allah is mentioned; who patiently bear whatever may befall them (of calamities); and who perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and who spend (in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have provided them.” (Al-Hajj 22:35)

At many other places in the Quran, Allah (swt) guides people to feed the need or the ways to feed them. In Surah Baqarah, Allah (swt) asks his slaves to spend from their Rizq (provisions). Each and everything that Allah (swt) has provided us with is Rizq. Our money, food, wealth, property, time, health, age, heart, mind and body, all of these are part of our Rizq. Allah (swt) is Ar-Razzaaq, the Supreme Provider! It is mentioned in the Holy Quran: “Say: “Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.”” (Saba 34:39)

Hence, serving the creation of Allah, Al-Wadud, the Most Loving, is in the basic tenets of Islam. When this perfect religion was in its initial stages, the basic teachings that were given to the non-Muslims were based on this concept of service. One has to see how Hazrat Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (rta) explained the basics of Islam to king Negus.

He said, “O King! We were ignorant people and we lived like wild animals. The strong among us lived by preying upon the weak. We obeyed no law and we acknowledged no authority save that of brute force. We worshipped idols made of stone or wood, and we knew nothing of human dignity. And then God, in His Mercy, sent to us His Messenger who was himself one of us. We knew about his truthfulness and his integrity. His character was exemplary, and he was the most well-born of the Arabs. He invited us toward the worship of One God, and he forbade us to worship idols. He exhorted us to tell the truth, and to protect the weak, the poor, the humble, the widows and the orphans. He ordered us to show respect to women, and never to slander them. We obeyed him and followed his teachings…..”

We have to see the awe-inspiring way Islam has been introduced at the international level. Would it be wrong to say that service of Allah’s creation (Khidmat-e-Khalq) is thus, the main aim of Islam? If we keep Akhirah in our permanent perspective, we will understand that the best and foremost way to serve the creation means to save the creation from the fire of Jahanum, the wrath and the displeasure of Allah (swt).

the best and foremost way to serve the creation means to save the creation from the fire of Jahanum, the wrath and the displeasure of Allah (swt).

As Surah Al-Maun and Surah Mudassir teach us, welfare of the creations does not necessarily have to be a profession or an association to it rather, it is a lifestyle. Our lifestyle should depict it; serving the all the creation of Allah Az Wajjal, with our body, mind and soul.

If Islam means being Allah’s (swt) slave 24/7, which it does undoubtedly, then 90 to 95 percent of our life period revolves around humanity, animals, plants and every other marvelous creation.  The most primary but excellent form of service one can render to the creation is saving it from being hurt by one’s actions.

Abu Musa said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, whose Islam is best?’ He said, ‘The one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe.'” (Agreed upon : Riyadh-us-Saaliheen)

Adapted by Mariam Saeed from Khurram Murad’s “Khidmat-e-Khalq”

Parenting in Violent Times – Teach Your Kids the Lesson of Peace

Islam-Peace-ReligionIf you ask any teacher involved in mentoring teenage kids in schools and colleges about the general character of their pupils, ‘Churlish’ is most probably going to be their unanimous rejoin. This churlishness is well replicated in our overall social conduct and no area in our societal landscape is empty from this churlishness. Whether it is religion, politics or culture, the violence has spread its wings all over the place. Sometimes, as a society we try to fool ourselves by branding it as “Foreign Propaganda “, but unfortunately, the approach of “putting a curtain” has badly intensified this malady and it has now gone fatal for our social and religious fabric. Where we can blame our state and politicians for their bad policies, on the other hand, we cannot also ignore the heedlessness of parents in protecting their kids from this social and ethical illness. Our strong family system is indeed a matter of pride for all of us and it provides us with a matchless tool to modify our social tendencies. The outcome will solely depend on how effectively and smartly we utilize this tool to get the desired results. Parents happen to be on the driving seat of a ‘’family car’’ and can easily steer the whole family either towards the ‘’danger zones’’ of violence or could drive them towards “lush gardens’’ of peace. Following are some proposed ways on how parents can train their kids to be peaceful and modest individuals:

  1.  Remote control your kids: Traditionally in a family, the TV remote control is kept with the Dad during prime time hours when all the family members gather before a television in their living room to enjoy some family entertainment. If you feed your young ones with violent Hollywood action flicks and Bombay Underworld based Bollywood movies on a daily basis, it will not be a surprise if your kids eventually distance themselves from Quran and Sunnah and learn the violent customs depicted in those movies. Do research and find appropriate channels and programs that can infest them with peace and love.
  2.  Give dialogue a chance: In my opinion, the violence in our society is mainly rooted in the fact that we do not want any difference of opinion and have forgotten to co-exist with different schools of thought. A society tends to have differences and will only sustain if it learns to bear it unreservedly. As a parent, you can teach your kid on how to deal with differences in a peaceful manner by engaging yourself in a dialogue with them on matters in which they differ with you. Like, for instance, if your son wants to study commerce and in your judgement engineering will suit him instead, rather than imposing your opinion on him try to explain the basis of your judgement and listen to him if he has stronger reasons. This dialogue will not only help your son to become peaceful but will also bring affability to your house.
  3. Do not shout, be kind: Mothers are extremely possessive and passionate about their kids and therefore lose calm as soon as anything goes slightly astray. Houses in the country rock with ‘Mama’s’ loud and powerful shouts that can be heard by every kid in the neighbourhood. Sometimes it also gets physical which has worse implications on the mental development of a kid. Mothers need to learn gentle ways to control their kids so that the kids grow up as more confident and serene. If this motherly aggression is not controlled, resultantly our clerics and politicians will continue to be aggressive in their speeches and conduct.
  4. Serve them peace, use a dining table: Keeping in view the contemporary hectic lifestyle in which parents do not have the luxury to spend a lot of time with their kids, dinner is the only time when you can pull a healthy conversation with your kids. Inspire them by reflecting on the life of our Prophet (sa); expand on his compassion and forgiveness. Teach them how dialogue averts devastation and wars open doors to chaos and mayhem. In return of their favourite deserts, ask them to contribute towards the conversation and share their ideals of peace and love.
  5. The kitchen strategy: Many studies have indicated the affects of food on personality building. The excess of meat makes a person more violent and aggressive while the use of vegetables bends a person towards docility and modesty. Follow a proper diet plan that should comprise different sources i.e. fish, mutton, beef, chicken, and vegetables distributed equally. Keeping in view the economic and health benefits, use vegetables more often than meat. It will not only improve the physical health of your kids but will also help in boosting calm in them.
  6. Nip the violence in the bud: The early years of a kid are the most important in his personal development and are the high time when parents need to play their role. They need to be attentive of any growing inclination in them towards a violent way of life. Analyse, where they go wrong and mentor them duly. Talk to the school teachers and get their feedback on kid’s personality. Your hard work will reward the whole society with peace and prosperity.

The existence of human civilization and its progress is hidden behind our ability to remain peaceful and modest. Deviance will bring with it lethal implications for our societies and cultures. It is extremely important to keep our cultures and religions unpolluted from violence and extremism. Keeping in view the milieu of Pakistani Society, family is the basic unit and is normally governed by parents. Therefore parents need to act as role models of peace and gentleness and teach their kids to be peaceful and tolerant. This will help the society to change its current character of aggression and can restore itself to its original fabric of harmony and co-existence.