Interview with Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan – How to have a productive Ramadan

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Image Courtesy blog.iiph.com 

The following interview was conducted by Abu Productive and posted originally as a video interview. You can watch the entire interview here.

Interviewer: Assalamualaikum and welcome to this very special interview with our favourite teacher Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan.

NAK: Walaikumasalam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu

Interviewer: Jazak’Allah Khair for joining us for this interview

NAK: My pleasure.

Interviewer: I really want to talk to you about how you plan to prepare for and spend Ramadan? My first question is: What’s your definition of the purpose of Ramadan? What should we look out for, and try to achieve in Ramadan?

NAK: To me personally, my thoughts on Ramadan are inspired by the only passage in the Quran that deals with the subject. A little past the middle of Surah Al- Baqarah, Allah (swt) talks about the function, the purpose of Ramadan  and what I find probably the most inspiring in that passage- first and foremost- is that Allah (swt) did not describe this month as a month of fasting, nor did he describe it as a month of prayer. He described it as the month in which the Quran was revealed; and then, when He described the Quran, He described in a way as though He was introducing the Quran for the first time- like never before. And, this is a Madni Surah, which means that the Muslims have been receiving Quran through the Prophet (sa) for over a decade now, well over a decade. And, yet Allah (swt) says,

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” (Al-Baqarah 2:185).

As though, it’s like Allah (swt) is telling us what the Quran is for the first time; so what that teaches me at least, and I hope other Muslims too- is that you have to renew the relationship with this Book almost as though you never knew it before, and you have to come at it anew. Hence, it’s a month of rejuvenating your experience with the Quran, so you can experience it like the first generation that was taught to experience it all over again. That’s the first and foremost thing, like this month should be a celebration of revelation itself. That’s what it should be.

Interviewer: Subhan’Allah, that’s amazing. And based on that, what would be your most important goal to achieve in Ramadan.

NAK: I study the Quran throughout the year, but I turn it up a few notches in the month of Ramadan. My memorization goes up; I haven’t finished memorizing the Quran yet; I’m working on it- part time slowly but surely. But, it goes on an accelerator in the month of Ramadan. I try to catch Itikaf every year, and in Itikaf I do a lot of review of Quran. For me personally, the act of memorizing the Quran, is not just the act of memorization- but actually- when you recite the Ayat over and over again, it gives you a chance to reflect on the word of Allah (swt) too; and to think about the same thing over and over again. It brings about opportunities for insight which I really enjoy. So, that’s one thing that’s certainly I look forward to in Ramadan.

The other thing I really enjoy doing in Ramadan is the nightly Taraweeh prayers; but I will be honest with you- many a times, I don’t join the entire Taraweeh prayers; or a lot of the times, I’ll go to a Masjid- which actually takes it easier. Because some Masajid- unfortunately- their big goal is to finish the recitation of the entire Quran, and they rush through the recitation; and there are other Masajid Alhumdulilllah in our area that actually take it easy. They won’t recite a lot, but what they recite, they really enjoy reciting; and this month should not be about quantity, it should be about quality. There is no religious guideline that you have to finish the entire Quran- there’s no such thing.. We impose this upon ourselves, and you find people that pray their eight Rakat, and there’s a mad rush outside the Masjid. It’s just that I got over with it, let me get out of here. But actually, prayer is supposed to be reflective, a spiritual experience where you’re enjoying the word of Allah (swt) in ever Rakat; and that’s really something, I hope to restore every year for myself in Ramadan, and I hope other people do too Insha’Allah.

Interviewer: Insha’Allah. You mentioned about balancing your energy levels- trying not to do too much in the first days- for example, trying to leave some energy for the last ten days. Do you sort of structure the whole of Ramadan that way? You try to sort of spread out your energy so that you can maintain momentum throughout the month?

NAK: You know,  one of my teachers Dr. Madwi, has some pretty interesting insights on Ramadan, and how you should spend your time in Ramadan, and I tend to agree with him.

Ramadan is, actually, not supposed to be a time where you’re not productive in everything else- like you’re supposed to be as fruitful, as productive at your work, and with business and education and everything else as in the other months.

It’s not a time for vacation; in some Muslim countries- for example, people stay up until Fajr almost, and then they pass out until 4 p.m. Just in time for Iftar and start all over again. They become like creatures of the night, or something, because for them that’s what Ramadan is supposed to be.

That’s silly, that’s not the point of this month. As a matter of fact, the nightly prayers, they are just really a manifestation of Tahajjud, -that’s what they are. Lots of Muslims have a struggle even with the five prayers; but if you’re praying your five prayers, and you’re not good at Tahajjud- this is the month to get into it. There is an (Ayat), even the Ayaat for reciting the Quran in slow rhythmic tone; there are Ayaat about the night prayer,  and Taraweeh is actually supposed to be an exercise for the night prayer; so if, you don’t catch the Taraweeh, but manage to get up for Tahajjud, that’s even better for you.

We have to change- shift our mentality about how we make the most of Ramadan. The other recommendation I very strongly have for people is- if you didn’t catch the Taraweeh prayers at night, but you went to pray Isha, and a few extra Rakaat at the Masjid ,and then you came back for Fajr at the Masjid- that’s way much better for you than staying up until midnight doing Taraweeh, and then, barely catching Fajr, or not coming to the Masjid for Fajr. So, you have to be realistic with yourself; what is a bigger priority? I mean the Prophet (sa) instructions are true, and we should believe in them; if you catch the prayer at the Masjid at Isha and Fajr, it’s as though you prayed the entire night. That’s his promise. So, let’s believe in that promise, and especially, get into that habit in this month.

I personally believe, in my personal life, and I recommend it to my friends and students that if you can make a habit of catching Fajr and Isha at the Masjid, then you’re just going to have a productive life. Allah (swt) is going to put some Barakah in your life throughout your day, throughout your night, a lot of good comes of it; and then, this is the month to get into that habit, because you’re going to go anyway, but don’t overdo it in a way that you just totally can’t sustain it after it’s done. You want to use this month as an opportunity to instill habits in your life that you can sustain after this month is over. So, that’s how I see it.

I: You just touched on Barakah there; and I want you to touch on Barakah in particular. How can your fast and spirituality sustain you? How does Barakah of Suhoor and fasting boost your productivity

NAK: It’s pretty amazing because fasting is tough, but, and if you try to fast tomorrow, it’ll be really hard. You’re going to be dazed, you’re not going to be able to focus at work, and things are going to happen. But, what Allah (swt) says about Ramadan is pretty awesome. It’s not a universal statement; it’s actually intended within the month of Ramadan. Allah (swt) intends ease for you; the fasting in the month of Ramadan is actually easier than fasting any other time, and that’s something Allah (swt) instills into this month. It’s special; so nobody is going to be able to say genuinely that they’re having a hard time because of the fasting As a matter of fact, you might even find yourself having more energy than you ever had. Now, if you don’t find yourself having energy, then there are some other causes- not fasting.

What are those other causes? You’re over eating at Iftar; you’re going to town at Suhoor time you’re eating like four times the breakfast you normally eat; no wonder you’re tipped over half the day because you’re dying of how much you ate; the other half you’re dying over your starvation- so, a balanced diet is a big part of how productive you are. A balanced sleep schedule is really important. People have messed up sleep schedules in Ramadan; they’re not supposed to have those sleep schedules. You’re supposed to have a normal sleep schedule in Ramadan- so maintain these things, take care of these things, and Insha’Allah, it’s not going to be a problem. Speaking of the word Barakah, you know, the linguistic meaning of the word is increase beyond expectation.

The Ideal Home

vancouver_house_sizeWhat makes a perfect home? Must it be designed and landscaped by a renowned architect and interior decorated in line with the principles of Feng Shui? Should it be located in idyllic surroundings or must it be in an upscale suburb with easy accessibility to health and education facilities?

The man, as Ameer of the family, must provide for a suitable accommodation for his family. Physical comfort, social status and budget constraints dictate our choices, but as a Muslim, we need to consider the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah when building our home and laying the foundations of a harmonious family life and thereby a stable society. As a wise saying goes: “A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.”

Proximity to the Mosque

We tend to consider our physical and emotional well-being when locating a house, ignoring our spiritual needs. For a Muslim household, proximity to a mosque where the Imam has a sound knowledge and understanding of Islam is essential. The male members of the house must perform obligatory Salah in the mosque; this interaction with fellow Muslims of the neighbourhood leads to strengthening of the bonds of brotherhood and unity. Whatever they learn from the mosque and the Khutbah of the Imam, they are likely to convey and implement amongst their family. Living away from a mosque puts our Deen in danger of succumbing to the numerous Fitnah of this world. Likewise, given the current situation of the Muslim world, a misguided prayer leader is likely to lead astray the youth of his neighbourhood towards incorrect ideologies.

Good Neighbours

This is often difficult to judge, but it is important to choose a locality that is well organized and maintained and where the families seem educated and interact with each other. The community in which your family will mingle will greatly influence their speech, interests and manners. Neighbours can be a source of great comfort and support, especially in times of need. According to a Hadeeth of the Prophet (sa), one of the blessings (Khair) of this life is a good neighbour.

Internal Harmony

Physical comfort and beauty are never everlasting, but the effects of strong Iman on our personal relationships and ensuing good deeds can be felt across time and generations. A house can never be a home- if it is not a source of love, comfort and solace to its dwellers. As Ameer, the man must endeavour to be an exemplary husband and father. The Prophet (sa) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)  Avoid parental confrontation in front of the children to your utmost, since it undermines the children’s self confidence; and shatters their trust in you to protect and nurture them; besides setting a bad example of argumentation and display of temper.

The Ameer is also answerable to Allah (swt) for those placed in his care and trust. He is enjoined to spend for their Halal needs and wants. The Prophet (sa) said: “The best Dinar is the one a man spends on his dependants.”(Muslim)

The Prophet (sa) was gentle and loving not only towards his wife and children, but also towards his relatives, his in-laws and his slaves. From the Seerah of the Prophet (sa), we find countless incidents where people not only altered their behaviour and changed their habits, but also accepted Islam due to his patience, leniency and sympathy towards them. As the Ameer of the family, the man should be easily approachable; willing to listen to the daily achievements and problems of his family in a way that helps build a relationship of mutual trust and affection. He should ‘use soft words but hard arguments’ to convince and cajole his family.  Communicate and play with your family- this was what the Prophet (sa) did with his wives and children.

Spiritual Nourishment

The glittering world beckons us and leads us astray without us even realizing how far we have deviated. Take out time for your family and establish routines that build and sustain your Iman and beliefs. The most important is to develop a routine for congregational prayers even at home. Set aside one time when your entire family prays together. Children learn by example- and especially, in places like Pakistan where women rarely, if ever, pray at the mosque- it teaches the rules and etiquettes of praying in congregation. There is a  family that prays Fajr together. And then on a turn basis, each child is assigned learning and then explaining a Hadeeth. They learn a Dua each week, with the elder children helping the younger ones learn; and during holidays, they are encouraged to prepare and deliver short sermons.

The Prophet (sa) has said that the best thing a man can give his children is to teach them good manners; and one of the most enjoyable ways of doing this is by story-telling. Sharing Ahadeeth and success stories of the Prophets, his companions, and other eminent Muslim men and women will help inspire and motivate impressionable minds. Also, it will be a wonderful means of encouraging them to question, and share their own ideas and experiences. Read extensively and encourage your entire family to do so too. Remember, a book is a man’s best friend- especially if he is hemmed in by people who can act as negative influences.

Likewise, it is the Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah for women to have a weekly religious gathering at their own houses. This helps bond the community and brings the Barakah of knowledge to each house, for it is the women who play pivotal role in educating and character building of children.

Social Interaction

One of the most common problems of households is the unchecked frequency of visitors. As Ameer, you may find it difficult to achieve the fine balance between being hospitable and maintaining your family’s privacy and routine. Convince your wife to limit socialization so that her own responsibilities and pursuits are not affected. Most importantly, though, is the need to discourage non-Mehram male relatives and friends from visiting your family in your absence. Try to deal with the servicemen who come to your door yourself; and try to set appointments for maintenance or repair at a time when, either you or your grown up son, are home to interact with them yourself.

TV is The Virus

The television has become more than just an entertainment tool. It acts as a babysitter, masterchef, an opinion-maker, and tends to occupy a central position in our family rooms and bedrooms. Assert yourself as Ameer, and monitor what and how long everyone watches the television. Break your one bad habit of ‘unwinding’ in front of the idiot box. Twenty-four hour news and endless talk shows on politics, and current affairs rarely offer anything a half hour perusal of newspapers will not divulge. Encourage your family to seek entertainment through outdoor sports in the evenings if possible, and through board games. If you can’t chuck out the cable, then at least limit the screen time.

The iFad

The internet, smart phones and other handheld devices- such as the iPad and PSP are ‘terminators’ of family peace and unity.  I have often noticed at family gatherings that each individual is wrapped in his or her own ‘bubble’ of communication gadgetry. Fingers itch to keep checking that message or sharing statuses. In fact, family members living in the same house often interact via social media, instead of sharing anecdotes and exchanging news or thrashing out arguments in person. Face-to-face interaction lets us judge, and thereby, alter our communication through non-verbal signals too, and this often prevents misunderstandings. Our physical beings are a gift from Allah (swt); and the human ability to talk is one of His greatest signs. But successive generations are losing the art of conversation, and also their memory skills because of greater reliance on artificial intelligence.

Hence, curtail the use of all such gadgets yourself and lead by example. Set aside time slots for internet surfing, and carefully monitor your child’s usage. Discourage the use of laptops in bedrooms, and think hard before handing over a smart phone or iPod to your child. Peer pressure does create problems, but try to develop a social circle where you socialize with like-minded families.

Caution!

Finally, we need to remind ourselves that children are a trust from Allah (swt).  In the Quran we have been commanded to save ourselves and our families from Hellfire; and the best way of ensuring this is by trying to provide an ideal Muslim home.

“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” (At-Tahrim 66:6)

‘The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering-galleries, they are clearly heard at the end and by posterity.’- Jean Paul Richter

(Adapted from a Peace TV lecture by Abdul Azeez Umari Madani)

Empowering our Masajid

empowering masajidMasajid have always been one of the most important sources of knowledge and guidance for Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (sa) used Masajid not only for prayers but also for various other functions, such as imparting the knowledge of Islamic Shariah to his companions, meeting locals and foreigners, and giving Khutbahs (sermons).

Similarly, during the time of the four rightly-guided Caliphs, Masajid had social, political, and judicial functions. Thus, the Sunnah continued to be practiced. Whenever an area was conquered by the Muslims, the Masjid was the first thing to be built, and the most pious and the most knowledgeable person was appointed as its Imam.

There have been instances in the Muslim history where the most competent person in terms of Islamic values was made the governor of a city and used to give Khutbahs at the central Masjid, which was followed by meetings with the locals to achieve good governance. It was very important for Masajid to have a righteous and scholarly Imam, so he could pass on to the people the correct message of Allah (swt) and His Messenger Muhammad (sa).

Over the years, Masajid have lost their central role in the Muslim Ummah. Today, when resources are in abundance, we see that the majority of Masajid in Muslim countries are in a sad state of affairs. Usually, a lot of money and efforts are spent on the construction and interiors of Masajid, while very little attention is given to the appointment of a well-educated Imam. It is a very noble act to spend money on Masajid in any way, but it is far more important to make sure that the Masjid is performing all its functions, as taught by our beloved Prophet (sa).

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The Power of Dua

duaI was about 20 years and I absolutely, head over heels, fell in love…

I went into a Masjid in Ramadan. I heard a remarkable scholar explaining the Quran. I had not read the Quran, except in translation before that day. I heard him speak about the Quran in the form of almost a conversation. You know in the Quran Allah (swt) is speaking to us directly. I felt this direct speech of our Lord for the first time. The scholar was doing this every night of Ramadan for about 4 hours at a stretch. He went through the entire Quran in this fashion.

I attended this entire series with him because I was hooked completely; I was mesmerized by this Book. I was completely overwhelmed. I didn’t have any clue… any idea about what this Book was. This Book was always there and I always thought I had read something from it or some translation; I felt I had an idea about what it says or what it has to say. But when I heard what it really has to say for the first time, I felt that there’s like this person in it… there’s this Book that I love so much and I have no relationship with it.

Of course the barriers were many including the knowledge of it, and even the language. I had no idea what the Arabic language was. Not a single clue!

You know what was the only thing that I could do at that time? It was to make Dua!

I just asked Allah (swt) something very simple. I didn’t even know how to ask it in Arabic or anything. I didn’t know any Dua by heart.

I asked Allah (swt): “O Allah! I love Your Book. I love Your Book! I’d love nothing more than to learn it and to teach it! Just make it easy for me to learn it. And make it easy for me to teach it because I love Your Book!”

That’s all I asked and I swear to you by Allah (swt)! I am a terrible student of anything; I am absolutely horrendous specially in learning languages.

I was not a good student in college. I used to hate studying. You know if I ever had sleep problems, the easiest way for me to catch some sleep was to open up a text book and ten seconds later… apathy would lead me to the world of dreams.

I’d have 12 hours of solid sleep because nothing would knock me out like studying. Luckily the teacher, who was presenting the Quran, also happened to be taking an Arabic class. When I attended his class, it was like knots opening up. I couldn’t stop studying. I couldn’t put the books down. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was doing like conjugations and going through grammar in my sleep. I was studying it in the train. I was doing it at work, at school, all the time!

I just became obsessed with it. What people around me found so difficult, Allah (swt) made it so easy for me. I knew something had just happened. Allah (swt) had given me a gift in response to my Dua. I tell you: to this day, if I try to study anything else I have a hard time. But when I study Quran, I can spend hours and hours and hours – and it’s easy for me.

Alhumdulillah! It’s a gift of Allah (swt) to me. But this was something that I had personally experienced in terms of the power of the Dua.

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

Quran at Fajr

Dawn_-_swifts_creek02Today, I would like to share with you a small reflection from one of the very beautiful passages of Surah Al-Isra.

In Surah Al-Isra, Allah (swt) talks about the value of the Quran, and the institution that helps us experience the Quran. One thing is to learn the language of the Quran. Another is to study its Tafseer, and recite and memorize it. The Quran is experienced in Salah itself.

 

ayah1

“Perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha prayers) and recite the Quran in the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Quran in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night).” (Al-Isra 17:78)

So establish the Salah from the time the sun starts getting “loose” and it starts sinking, meaning around Maghrib time. You know one should strive to pray the Maghrib Salah exactly on time, not when the sun is completely gone and it is the depth of the night. He ordained us to establish the prayer at Maghrib and establish the prayer at Isha when it is dark at night. However, when it came to Fajr, He did not even call it Salat Al-Fajr, He called it Quran Al-Fajr or “The Quran of Fajr.”

Hence, we should recite extra Quran at Fajr. But there is something special about me as a person, me as a Muslim developing a relation with the Quran, especially at Fajr. So the advice I give to myself and the same I share with you all is: Try to make Fajr an institution in your life. Set some time aside for making a good Fajr Salah. Young men reading this, go make your Fajr Salah at the Masjid. And the days when you do go to the Masjid, sit there and recite Quran a little bit. If you dedicate that time to worshipping Allah (swt) and make the best of that time, then in your life you will notice a remarkable change; you will receive both spiritual and worldly benefits from your Lord soon, Insha’Allah.

Allah (swt) says: “…Indeed the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.”

Try to make Fajr an institution in your life. Set some time aside for making a good Fajr Salah. Young men reading this, go make your Fajr Salah at the Masjid. And the days when you do go to the Masjid, sit there and recite Quran a little bit.

Allah (swt) declares that the Quran of Fajr (in the same verse), no doubt about it, is witnessed. It is such a beautiful thing to say. The word Mashooda means that which is witnessed. So the Fajr Salah, the recitation of Quran, the prayer that you recited and that you attended is witnessed.

Now, the question is who witnesses our actions at that time?

You know that Fajr time is that hour of the day when most of the people are asleep. Therefore, even if somebody is walking to the prayer area or driving to the prayer area, nobody sees them. Allah (swt) prescribes the Fajr time as the time that is witnessed (Mashood). Usually, the things that are witnessed are in middle of the day: popular acts, popular places. However, a Masjid is not a popular place and Salah is not a popular act at Fajr time – not for most of us. It is the time when you do not see many people around you. Allah (swt) says it is witnessed. The question is witnessed by whom? Not by the other people who are sleeping! Not by the people who are in heedlessness or the people in sleep, but by the angels who are recording our deeds and rather by the Almighty Allah (swt) Himself Who is making a note of the slaves who are coming and leaving sleep for Him and His Word. Subhan’Allah!

We need to abide by the rule that Allah (swt) has made the night for us to rest and the day to work. We ought to inculcate this habit in our life of going to sleep early and thus, waking up early. Only then, we can give the “Quran of Fajr” its due right!

Thereby, this is a very powerful thing. Try to implement this advice. Make a good habit of going to sleep early, which is easy to say and so hard to do, I know! We always have things piled up and we start getting around to them in the evening. Of course, Shaitan gets a little over-active in the evening too and hence, our distraction comes. You know you are sitting and watching videos late in the night, knowing you will not be able to wake up for Fajr. But you are doing everything late night and your Fajr is kind of getting out of the way! You are half-asleep, you pray a couple of Rakah and even you do not know what you have prayed! You know your Wudhu was when you were half-asleep and your prayer was when you were half-asleep! Moreover, you go about your day with the delusion that you were amongst those who woke up for Fajr.

We need to abide by the rule that Allah (swt) has made the night for us to rest and the day to work. We ought to inculcate this habit in our life of going to sleep early and thus, waking up early. Only then, we can give the “Quran of Fajr” its due right!

Therefore, I pray that we all are able to take advantage of that time. Once you make a habit of this and you try to implement even a little bit, you will start seeing its benefits soon Insha’Allah! You are going to notice your mood is different, your days are different, what you can accomplish is different, the Barakah in your time is different. I can guarantee you a fruitful experience since I have experienced this personally in my life.

I pray that Allah (swt) make us the people of the Quran, and make us amongst those who are able to take advantage of the specific times when Allah (swt) offers His special assistance and teaches us His special lessons. Ameen

Be Amongst Those Shaded On Judgement Day

shadeSinful and erroneous as we are, how can we obtain Allah’s (swt) shade on the Day of Judgement? Only those who are elite and closer to Allah (swt) can be shaded along with those whom Allah (swt) wills. So where do we stand? Do we stop performing deeds? Or do we leave the daily life and seclude ourselves for the Ibadah to gain His proximity and thus, acquire Allah’s (swt) shade on the Day of Judgement?

The severity of the Day of Judgement in the Quran

“That Day shall a man flee from his brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his children.” (Abasa 80:34-36)

“Verily, those who disbelieved, and died while they were disbelievers, the (whole) earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom. For them is a painful torment and they will have no helpers.” (Al-Imran 3:91)

“Friends on that Day will be foes to one another except Al-Muttaqun.” (Az-Zukhruf 43:67)

Imagine being re-united with your wives, children, parents, brothers, sisters and friends, after thousands of years and running away from each other. There will be a degree of enmity such that the friends, who were trusted and relied upon, will turn into foes.

The severity in the Ahadeeth

“On the Day of Resurrection, the sun would draw so close to the people that there would be left a distance of only one mile. The people will be submerged in perspiration according to their deeds: some up to their ankles, some up to their knees, some up to the waist and some would have the bridle of perspiration (and, while saying this, the Messenger of Allah [sa] put his hand towards his mouth).” (Muslim)

Imagine being re-united with your wives, children, parents, brothers, sisters and friends, after thousands of years and running away from each other. There will be a degree of enmity such that the friends, who were trusted and relied upon, will turn into foes.

This shows the severity of the Day of Judgement. Imagine the hunger, the thirst, the pain, and the chaos; how helpless each one of us will be. Aisha bint Abu Bakr (rta)
heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say: “Mankind will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection, barefoot, naked and uncircumcised.” She said: “O Messenger of Allah, men and women together, looking at one another?” He said: “O Aisha, it will be too distressing for them to be looking at one another.” (Mishkat Al-Masabeeh)

A Solace: Seven will be Shaded

Allah (swt) will shade seven types of people on the Day of Judgement.

According to a Hadeeth, Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Seven are (the persons) whom Allah (swt) will shade under His Throne on the Day, when there would be no shade other than His Throne’s Shade: A just ruler; a youth who grew up worshipping Allah; a man whose heart is attached to the mosques; two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah (swt); a man whom an extremely beautiful woman seduces for illicit relation, but he rejects this offer by saying: ‘I fear Allah’; a man who gives in charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the left hand does not know what the right has given; and a person who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes well up.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Everything in Islam has practical and logical answers to its teachings; so these should be applicable in some way to our lives too. Let’s analyze whether we can be among them and save ourselves from the scorching heat, perspiration and thirst of the Day of Reckoning.

  1. A just ruler: These are rulers who rule over nations, cities, villages, tribes or even communities or families. Every family has a head and mostly, it is the father. However, the ruling is divided amongst both the parents. Each person who gets to be a ruler even over a family and he deals justly would be amongst those in the Shade of Allah’s (swt) Throne.
  2. A youth who grew up worshipping Allah (swt): Those of us, who are still young, can start worshipping Allah (swt); those who have crossed the age of youth can guide some youth towards guidance or repentance. Insha’Allah all his deeds would reach Allah (swt) and hopefully, he will achieve the Shade on the Last Day
  3. A man whose heart is attached to the Masjid: This means his heart is attached either in offering Salah or waiting for the Salah to begin, and also in Dhikr and reading the Quran. Also, this includes women who offer Salah as soon as the Adhan is called and spend their time in Dhikr and reading Quran. Each one of us can strive to enjoy these acts of worship, which most of us do unwillingly or just to shed off a burden. If we do these acts willingly, with our hearts attached to them, they would help us get shaded on the Day of Judgement.
  4. Two persons, who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah (swt): Our purpose of meeting sometimes is for the sake of the Dunya. For example, Nikah or any other gathering. But we must intend that we are going to meet only for the sake of Allah (swt) and will invite towards good and righteousness whomsoever we meet. And we will forbid people from wrong, so that we fulfill the commandment of Allah (swt) from Surah Al-Asr, and not be in loss. It is the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) to say: “I love you for the sake of Allah (swt)” (Inni Uhibbuka Fillah) when he loved someone. So, we can revive this Sunnah amongst our family members and spouses. We are, first of all, slaves of Allah (swt), then the Ummah of Prophet (sa) and then family or relatives or colleagues.                             

     Those of us, who are still young, can start worshipping Allah (swt); those who have crossed the age of youth can guide some youth towards guidance or repentance. 

  5. A man whom an extremely beautiful woman seduces (for illicit relation) but he (rejects this offer by saying): “I fear Allah (swt)”: This means that a practicing Muslim, even if his gaze falls on the feet of a woman, should turn his face and say to himself: “Fear Allah (swt)!” Similarly, in offices or in the neighborhood, if any men or women try to talk more than necessary, immediately withdraw from such conversations reminding yourself to: “Fear Allah (swt)!” Also fear Allah (swt) on social media websites; keep pure and save the Shade for yourself, Insha’Allah.
  6. A man who gives in charity and conceals it to such an extent that the left hand does not know what the right has given: These days, charity is given to be known and shown. We should conceal the deeds so much that no one knows where our charity money is sent. Many pious predecessors would go to remote villages at night and give charity. Only after their death would it be known that these pious people hid their charity. Hence, we should conceal our charity also and thus, gain the Shade.
  7. A person who remembers Allah (swt) in solitude and his eyes well up: This is to be practiced by all of us. When in solitude, what do we remember the most? Do we indulge in sin or do we call our friends or do we sleep away? We should wake up and turn to our Lord, Allah (swt), the Most Merciful, Who loves us more than seventy mothers; He gave us this solitude to connect with Him, to gain proximity towards Him, and ultimately be Shaded. He surely does want each one of us to be shaded; He made this writer write and made each one of us read it so that we are shaded on the Day of Judgement.

May Allah (swt) enable us to remain shaded on the Day of Judgement! Ameen!