Path to Jannah; Path of Knowledge!

Image courtesy www.wildswimming.co.uk

Image courtesy www.wildswimming.co.uk

‘Dwelling in a magnificent palace made up of gold and silver bricks. Reclining on jeweled couches upholstered with rich brocade. Amidst lush green gardens with abundance of fruits at an easy reach. Rivers flowing underneath. Living with chaste and bashful spouses, so beautiful as though they were rubies and corals. Served by energetic youths with goblets of pure wine that will neither pain your head nor inebriate you.’

Subhan’Allah, what a royal reception! What sheer fascination!

That is where the ultimate success lies. That is the true definition of victory according to Allah (swt): Jannah!

“..And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” (Al-Imran 3:185)

Do you really crave for Jannah as you crave for worldly wealth, property and success? Are you really eager for it? And, do you actually want to know the shortest and easiest route to getting there?

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said:

“For he who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah (swt) will make the path of Jannah easy. The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon over the rest of the stars (i.e., in brightness). The learned are the heirs of the prophets who bequeath neither Dinars nor Dirhams but only knowledge; he who acquires it has, in fact, acquired an abundant portion.” (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi) What an honour and prestige!

There are innumerable paths to get to this Land of Eternal Bliss; and one such path is that of seeking knowledge.

Do you really crave for Jannah as you crave for worldly wealth, property and success? Are you really eager for it? And, do you actually want to know the shortest and easiest route to getting there?

Knowledge is the cornerstone of all good; it enkindles deeds that are based on the commandments of Allah (swt) and the instructions of the Prophet (sa). Therefore, those who have knowledge are not similar to those who do not.

Hence, every Muslim must ingrain in his mind a desire to seek knowledge as our beloved Prophet (sa) said:

“Seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” (Tirmidhi)

When a servant of Allah (swt) is well-versed about the knowledge of His Deen, he recognizes and truly appreciates the creation of Allah (swt); thus, wholeheartedly acknowledging His Oneness. This, in return, generates in his heart a fear, which is akin to a sincere gratitude and love of his Lord.

“It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah…” (Fatir 35:28)

The Messenger of Allah (sa) constantly praised the seekers of knowledge amongst his companions. He would make Dua for a person indulged in this route. Ibn Masood (rta) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say:

“May Allah (swt) freshen the affairs of a person who hears something from us and communicates it to others exactly as he has heard it (i.e., both the meaning and the words), for it may be that the recipient of knowledge understands it better than the one who has heard it.” (Tirmidhi)

He (sa) further said:

“Envy is permitted only in two cases: A man whom Allah (swt) gives wealth, and he disposes of it rightfully; and a man to whom Allah (swt) gives knowledge which he applies and teaches.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

When a person dies, his chances of attaining rewards come to a halt except for three things.

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said:

“When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: Sadaqah Jariyah (ongoing charity); knowledge which is beneficial, or a virtuous descendant who prays for him (the deceased).” (Muslim)

“Knowledge which is beneficial” refers to knowledge that is imparted to others. The deceased continues to earn rewards for the knowledge he acquired as long as those whom he taught implement it and transmit it to others.

We need the knowledge of Quran to perfect our Ibadah. We need the knowledge of Quran to establish truth and justice; freedom and dignity.  We need it to get ourselves closer to our Lord, know His true value, and worship Him in the best possible way.

Then only may we be amongst the inheritors of Al-Firdaws Al-Ala, Insha’Allah.

Time has wings- The wise, don’t let it fly!

Time Flies

We all know that we live a limited time, and we all have 24-twenty four hours in a day to do our chores. But, we need to ask ourselves, whether we are doing justice with our time. Are we doing something productive on daily basis?

We need to reflect on how we are utilizing time. Unfortunately, nowadays, our minds are focused on material things, and we have worries about this world. The things we plan for these 24-twenty four hours that have nothing to do with our souls and internal self. For instance- most of us are preoccupied with shopping and upgrading our possessions. If we have a car, we need to get a better car. If we have a shelter, we think about getting a better home. These material riches have occupied our mind so intensely that we do not have time to think about own selves, and participate in real good (which will benefit us in this life and hereafter).

Spending hours on entertainment and playing video games on weekends, is actually a waste of our time. In week days, students are obsessed with grades and their homework. Working men have worries for promotions and salary raise. House wives are excessively indulged in their household works. Obviously, we all have duties and responsibilities in different roles, and we can’t ignore them. But, the point here is that we need to adopt a moderate way of doing things, rather than obsessing ourselves with worldly tasks. Even while doing physical work- we need to redirect our hearts towards Allah (swt) believing that He is the best disposer of affairs (Al-Wakeel).

Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us).” (Al-Imran 3:173)

We must spare 10-20 minutes daily and think about our possessions and blessings. Instead of thinking that we have less, or we need to upgrade our possessions, we need to thank Allah (swt) for what we have. We should also realize that material things do not give eternal happiness to anyone. So, we should stop running after them. We should also spend time with our families and good friends; and indulge ourselves in positive discussions with them. We should remind ourselves and internalize that we have limited time. So, we must add to our cart of deeds rather than the shopping cart. Helping a poor or an elder person is a productive thing. We need to take out time for prayers and charity- even at work. Speaking up to Allah (swt), and doing good deeds, will not only facilitate us in managing our time effectively, but it will also lead to peace of mind that we all are searching and struggling for.

“Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)

Surah Asr gives solution to our time management in following words,

“By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss.” (Asr 103:1-2)

This article serves as a reminder for us to rethink about what we are doing, and what will be the consequences in this life and hereafter. It’s really time to make positive changes in our lives.

Do not be depressed with yourself, ever!

sad_face_stick_figure_sign_400_clr1On the globe, not a single soul has the same fingerprint, as far as we know. And, not a single soul has the same iris print- if you can call it that- as far as we know, Subhan’Allah. Allah (swt) says in order for you to recognise one another- we kept you different. Subhana Rabbi’al ‘Ala. That is the creation of Allah (swt); He says everybody is different, so you can recognise each other.

Look at the term ‘Lit’arafu’. Imagine if a thief had to steal and we were all the same, we would rather just lock up the next person. In fact, no one would know who stole from whom, because we would all be looking the same, Subhana Rabbi’al ‘Ala.

So, if we sit and think about it, it’s a blessing; that is why never ever be upset with what Allah (swt) has put you, or what Allah (swt) has given you, or where He has placed you; never be upset. If you are big, huge, fat, and you weigh a lot, someone, somewhere will be attracted to you, you will also find a husband. Don’t worry. There are some men who don’t like that which is thin and skinny and bony. So, Alhumdulillah, Allah (swt) has created different people with different taste.

Imagine if the whole world had the same taste. So if you are dark, some people like dark people; if you are light, some like light. Do not ever be depressed with yourself ever. It is against the gratitude to the Creator Himself. No matter what colour eyes you have, or the type of hair you have or if you don’t have any hair at all, because you are bald now, Alhumdulillah, thank Allah (swt) for that. Wallahi, there are certain people who are attracted to those who are bald, Allahu Akbar.

This is Allah’s (swt) plan. He has kept it in such a way that it is amazing. And, He says I have created you in different levels, different sizes, different shapes, different likings, different inclinations and so on. One man’s food is another man’s poison. That is a saying that we have leant since we were young. If you would like to translate it- sometimes you have food in some area that might taste so nice to the people of that area, whereas a visitor coming there will not be able to put it even close to his mouth, Allahu Akbar. That is a literal translation and it can happen, and this is why there are different dishes- you have the Indian dish, you have the Malay dish, and so much more Masha’Allah. May Allah (swt) grant us from the food of Jannah Insha’Allah- because that will definitely be something standard for all of us according to our liking, Insha’Allah. We ask Allah (swt) to grant us understanding.

Look at the beauty of the levels that Allah (swt) has created us with. Don’t ever be depressed or question why Allah (swt) made you this way. And, this is why Allah (swt) says that He has chosen who will be male and who will be female, Allahu Akbar. Don’t ever question the decree of Allah (swt). ‘Ya Allah (swt), why did you make me a male?’ Don’t be upset with Allah’s (swt) decree if He made you a male, He made you a male, in order to test you as a male. If you are a female, your test is different. There are different things that Allah (swt) has to test you with.

Happiness- Six steps away

Vol 7 - Issue 1 The real happinessIt was a usual bright morning, and I was standing in the main foyer. Suddenly, cold wind touched my skin, and at once I uttered Alhumduillah! Thanking your Creator also provides you with an essence of happiness.

Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:28)

Smiling and laughing all the time doesn’t make you happy. Following are the ways which will help you to attain happiness in this world and in the hereafter.

Ponder and give thanks

You think about the loss, and do not give thanks for what is with you. Ponder upon yourself, your household, your good health and you will find yourself genuinely blessed by Allah (swt).

Think of the people who are less privileged, count on your blessings and give thanks to your Creator.

“And if you would count the graces of Allah, never could you be able to count them. Truly! Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (An- Nahl 16:18)

The past is gone

The ingredient for happiness is to avoid lengthy meditation on the past. Recalling the past, reacting to it and being sad are stupidity and madness. Be courageous and embrace your present with much enthusiasm and live it; and surely He is sufficient for us and is the best disposer of affairs.

“…And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed.” (Al-Maidah 5:23)

Patience and prayer

Be patient, no matter how difficult the situation gets, and the path gets darkened- happiness and ease comes with distress and hardship. When fear engulfs you, and sadness surrounds you, rest and tranquil your soul through Salah.

“O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer). Truly! Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.) (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

Consolation from the stricken

Look around- do you find any other afflicted being? Every home has a weeping story. You should take consolation from those stricken with adversity, and try to live happy with what you have.

“Or think you that you will enter paradise without such (trials) as come to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken….” (Al-Baqarah 2:214)

Make a pleasant drink from the lemon

When an adversity befalls on you, try to look at the bright side; take out every possible positive aspect. Don’t let people or situations ruin your happiness. When a person hands over a cup of lemon to you, add a cup of sugar to it, and when he presents a snake to you, take its priceless skin and leave the rest. Being happy is all in your hands.

Greed and love for Paradise

If you are eager to gain Jannah, you will definitely refrain yourselves from wrong doings. Ignore all the negatives of your life, and try to lead yourself with the formula of “Sabr and Shukr”; you will feel peace and happiness within yourself.

Remind yourself of the paradise, the width of which is as that of the heaven and the earth.

“Peace be upon you for that you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!” (Ar-Ra’d 13:24)

These ways will make your life easy and full of happiness Insha’Allah.

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending!

humbleness

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا

Allah (swt), at the end of Surah Al Furqan, Surah number 25-twenty five, has a passage describing those who are the slaves of Ar-Rahman. Allah (swt) has many names; He can call people slaves of Allah (swt); slaves of the Creator, slaves of the Wise, but when He calls them slaves of Ar-Rahman, it is as though He is suggesting that these people have a relationship with Him based on His endless, and unimaginable love, mercy and care. So, the slaves of the One who cares a lot; the slaves of the One who loves a lot; the slaves of the One who shows mercy unimaginably. That means these people are special people. The people Allah (swt) is describing at the end of this passage are very, very special people. All believers are special, but these are extra super-duper awesome special.

Hawnan- Fly high, but lower your wings!

Now, the first quality that is described of these people that earns them the title of Ibad-ur-Rahman (slaves of the most Merciful) الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْ‌ضِ هَوْنًا is- that these people walk on the earth with humility. Hawnan- softly, acknowledging their weakness. You know, when we accomplish things, we feel a sense of strength and power and empowerment; and those are the moments in life where we are supposed to acknowledge our weakness. This is number one.

Hawnan also suggests that you don’t demonstrate your strength in front of others. Allah (swt) talks about this on many occasions in the Quran. For example- lower your wings before your parents. What does that mean? This means you’re an adult, you have a career, you have money, you have your own house, and you have a car; whereas, your parents are retired, they’re old, so obviously you’re in a position of strength and they’re in a position of weakness. But you don’t need to flap your wings too much; instead chill out and act humbly in front of them. Inculcate the act of humility.

A great man is always willing to be little

I travelled and there was a brother who picked us up from the airport, drove us around everywhere and just took care of everything. This guy was literally like a servant, driving us around all over the place, for food, for lectures, for this, for that. “Anything else I can do? Can I get you some water? Can I do this, can I do that?” Super humble brother. At the end of the trip we found out the guy’s worth 700 million dollars. I couldn’t fathom, like, how does it work? Where do you get such kind of humility from? I know people who make a hundred thousand dollars and think they own the world. They go a little bit over six figures and this guy’s humility just shattered me, like how in the world could it be? And I was reminded وَعِبَادُالرَّ‌حْمَـٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْ‌ضِ هَوْنًا

They learn to walk on the earth with humility.

With humility comes wisdom- Keep it with you!

Humility is also not just a demonstration of financial strength; it’s also an undue demonstration of physical strength and intimidation. It can also be a demonstration of your ability to out-talk someone. Maybe you’re a very aggressive, outgoing person; you can really put somebody in their place, especially in a public setting. You need to chill out and hold back from that because that’s an expression of arrogance. You are overpowering someone with your tongue. You can overpower someone and put someone in their place with your mouth. You know something about a field, an area and you want to stub somebody with your knowledge.  Don’t do that! It’s good for you that you know, but you don’t have to prove yourself a genius at every juncture.

For example, a teacher’s job is not to prove to his students that he knows. A teacher’s job is to try to teach. And, you don’t have to tell everybody your credentials all the time. You don’t have to do that. Just be yourself, and be humble before people. As a matter of fact, try to hide your capability if it’s going to be a source of intimidation for others. This is Hawnan.

But then, there’s the other part of it, I love this part. وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا . Every word deserves a little bit of attention here, so I’ll give each word its due, Insha’Allah. Idha is “when”, not “if”. It means the situation that is about to be described is inevitable. It will happen. You will run into this situation. What is this situation? خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ. People who don’t control their emotions; people who are obnoxious; people who are outrageous in the things they say or the way they act; when such people address you. And, it will happen. You will have to deal with difficult people in life; it is one bitter reality of life. There’s no way around it.

Now the other point to ponder is- you won’t go seeking difficult people or talking to them; they will come and address you. So they’re the subject of the verb, suggesting that you’re not even looking for trouble, the trouble came looking for you. And it will.

Peacefully- say or sway!

So, just because you’re not looking for it, doesn’t mean it won’t come. وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ When the ignorant, the uncontrolled, the uncivilized address them, they say— now there are two translations possible here. It could be understood as they say, “peace out, maybe this is not a good time, maybe we should talk another time.” They walk themselves out of the conversation. They don’t hear something stupid and say, “You know how stupid you are? Let me put you in your place.” No. Peace. They don’t engage in any argument. When they hear something ridiculous, they don’t get involved- they just say, “Peace.” Nowadays, it’s not just about you talking to somebody in a conversation, but this could even be a WhatsApp group. This could be a Facebook post. This could be a YouTube video made about you, or some trolling comments underneath. Just leave it alone. Salaaman.

And especially in private settings, when you’re interpersonally exchanging conversation with someone and they get out of line- you should just back off. Sometimes, this might happen in the Masjid; you are going to the Masjid and an elderly fellow might get a little aggressive with you. “You don’t know how to pray! Why are you standing like that?Astaghfirullah, you’re wearing a t-shirt!” They’ll just go at you like that and you’re like, “Watch it, old man! I don’t need this!” And you walk away. No. Say peace, make Dua for the uncle, let him keep yelling and go somewhere else and pray. Go into another corner and pray- that’s it! Leave it alone. Don’t let it get to you.

It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it!

The other meaning of قَالُوا سَلَامًا is they speak peacefully. So, Salaaman could be considered a Haal, or what you call in English, an adverb. The way you would think of that is they’re talking to you aggressively, angrily, in a very arrogant tone, in a very offensive tone, almost in a way that they’re trying to probe and get a reaction out of you. But you are speaking peacefully. You don’t let them get under your skin. You learn how to control your emotions in this conversation. And it’s not even that- you have to go out of your way like “Urghhh holding back, it’s so hard to hold back.” No. You develop the kind of tolerance where you just let it roll off the top of your skin, don’t let it get underneath, don’t let it get to you, and you just deal with it in a very reasonable, rational way. This is actually Dawah in itself. And, Allah (swt) says that He loves these people.

Allah (swt) will describe later on the other qualities of believers. Like, they pray all night, Qiyam-ul-Lail, Tahajjud prayer. And, He gives other descriptions of them, but the first description of them is that they are humble. They don’t put others down and when others are putting them down, they deal with it in a peaceful fashion. But if, they don’t know how to deal with it, they say, “Peace” and walk away. May Allah (swt) give us the strength of character; and really, the common sense and the wisdom to act on this verse when the situation arises. These verses, the recitation of them is easy, talking about them in a video is easy, listening to it is easy, but when the situation happens in your family, when the situation happens among your friends, when the situation happens at the Masjid or at the college, then living on this verse becomes a different story altogether. May Allah (swt) give us the wisdom and the sensibility to act on this verse as required. Ameen.

Transcribed for Hiba by Amal Abdullah

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all?

mirrorWhen I was in college, there was a high trend of writing confession pages and so there were some confessions about me as well.

Some said something about my features- actually a lot about my features. The features that Allah (swt) has made, and surely He is Al-Khaliq- the Creator of everything. Al-Azim – The magnificent; Al-Majid- the Glorious; Al-Kabir- the Greatest; Al-Aziz- the Victorious; and Malik-Al-Mulk- the owner of all.

Previously, I used to feel sad, and for a period of time I couldn’t get over that and then I started accepting it. I used to say ‘ What Bhonday lips and nose I’ve got!’ I started making fun of myself. But then one day, I realized how can I ever, or how can they ever make fun of something that is given by Allah (swt). He is Al-Mussawir – the Artist, the Shaper of beauty. How can I even point mistakes in His Takhleeq? He is Al-Baree- the Maker of order. You don’t need anyone to tell you how beautiful you are; you are created by the Allah (swt); He is Al-Mu’izz- the Bestower of honours, and how beautiful is that.

I just wanted to share with you people. I took time to realize all this but don’t let the same happen with you. When you look at the mirror- before taking a selfie- do recite the Dua (Translation: Oh Allah (swt), you beautified my body, so beautify my character.) and say,  Alhumdulilah because Allah (swt) is Ash-Shakoor ,the Rewarder of thankfulness.
May Allah (swt) give us Hidayat and forgive our sins; surely He is Al-Ghafaar- the Forgiving. Ameen.

How to deal with Peer Pressure?

peersHijab leads to an Abaya!  A 19-nineteen year old was surprised to see herself,and soon, the whole college was talking about her. Fatima was scared to face her friends.

Peer pressure is not a recent phenomenon; it is as old as history itself. All the prophets and their descendants faced all kinds of peer pressure. Hence, if you are facing such a thing in your life, you should be bold enough to carry it rightly and be on your straight path.

One should adopt the following rules to handle peer pressure.

1. Keep your vision upright and feed your faith

People love to talk aimlessly, and especially, when it comes to religion, they have their own golden rules and principles of understanding. Usually, they interpret rules which benefit them. Regarding Hijab, they’ll say it’s not necessary to cover your body and that one should be modest at heart.

Hijab- Gone by the wind

People totally alter the concept of basic modesty in Islam.  Thus, keep feeding your faith by:

  • Working on your relationship with Allah (swt).
  • Plug-in yourself with Quran and Sunnah

2.  Uplift your identity

The major cause of peer pressure is that we do not have a secure Muslim identity, which results in lack of knowledge about the rules in Deen. Therefore, learn about Seerah and lives of our predecessors for better acknowledgement of Deen.

3. Take lessons from those who are steadfast on Deen

Be in the company of those who practice Deen with great zeal and enthusiasm. As it is said: “The best of you are those who repent.”
So, try to be with those who can help you in moral uplifting.

4. Friends with ever-lasting benefits

Friends are the real asset. Try to be friends with those who can help you become a better Muslim.

If your friends make you feel out dated with respect to your vision about Deen, and give you grief for your beliefs- so that is their problem. All you have to do is:

  • to bail out
  • avoid their gatherings

5. Seek Allah’s (swt) help

You cannot attain anything in this life against Allah’s (swt) Will; hence, keep asking for His help and mercy, so that you can find your way easily.

  • Make Dua for complete Hidayah
  • Get down in prostration and pray for Istaqamah

6. No complains

You cannot get Jannah easily. Hurdles are always there; all you need is to act firm on your beliefs and work to gain Allah’s (swt) love. Therefore, be positive and build up your nerves to stay courageous in all circumstances.

7.  Ignore criticism and mockery

Follow the Sunnah of forgiveness, and you will be straight on your path; ignore insulting actions of ignorant people and make Dua for them.

8. Keep yourself cool

To keeping oneself cool is one of the most difficult tasks- especially, when the other half of the world is busy in making you lose control. But being a good Muslim, it’s our duty to stay calm. Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (sa) love those who remain quiet at hard times.

Try to be positive and optimistic in every aspect of life; and never lose your focus just because of what others will think of you.There will be no one who will save you from the fire of Hell, except Allah (swt).

Good, better, best- Never let your Taqwa rest

Vol 2-Issue2 Manners of reading QuranTaqwa to the believer is to know that Allah (swt) is watching over you throughout your life. Whatever you speak, whatever you do is all monitored by Allah (swt). Allah (swt) mentions Taqwa in the Quran nearly two hundred times, because He is emphasizing strongly on the concept of His fear.

TAQWA- True And Quality Worship for Allah (swt)

Taqwa makes our acts of worship meaningful. For instance, alone just the physical act of going between the two mountains of Safa and Marwa, while performing Hajj or Umrah, will gain no importance in the eyes of Allah (swt). Similarly, have we ever pondered what will be the actions of Salat, such as bowing and prostration mean without a heart containing Taqwa? What makes our thirst and hunger different from a disbeliever, during Ramadan? The answer to all these questions is Taqwa.

It’s the Taqwa in our hearts that provides these simple physical rituals a special meaning in the eyes of Allah (swt). It is mentioned, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad (sa)) to the Muhsinun (doers of good). (Al-Hajj 22:37)

Again, as the verse states, “…but it is the Taqwa (piety) from you that reaches Him.” Let us ensure that our acts of worship and our hearts are beautified with feeling of Taqwa.

What is Taqwa?

As per the scholars, the definition of Taqwa is:

Abu Darr said: “From the completion of Taqwa is that the servant fears from His Lord even with regard to things, the weight of an atom.”

Sheikh Muhammad Tantawi says: “The word ‘Muttaqoon’ is the plural of ‘Muttaqi’. ‘Muttaqi’ is the gerund from the verb ‘Ittaqa’ (acquired protection). ‘Ittaqa’ is from the root verb ‘Waqa’ which means he protected himself from that which harms him.”

One of the more complete definitions and explanations was provided by Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. He states that Taqwa “includes doing everything that Allah has enjoined whether it is Wajib (obligatory) or Mustahab (recommended), and avoiding all that He has forbidden, whether it is Haram (forbidden) or Makrooh (disliked).” (Reference 1)

Abu Darr was once asked, “What is that you love most in this life? He replied, “I love sickness, hunger and death. He was asked the reason and he said, “If I get sick, my sins fall off; And, if I get hungry, my heart becomes closer to Allah (swt), And if I die I meet my Creator”. This is level of Allah’s (swt) fear.

Where do you stand on the graph of  Taqwa and guidance of Allah (swt)?

There are three types of people mentioned in the Quran, in the first few verses of Surah Al-Baqarah.

The first group: In the first few verses 2 – 5, Allah (swt) clearly explains that the Quran is guidance for Al – Muttaqoon- the people who have Taqwa in their hearts, and this guidance causes them to be successful. The people described in these verses are those who:

  1. Believe in the unseen (e.g. Allah (swt), angels, the holy books that Allah (swt) revealed but got changed with time, prophets, day of resurrection, and Al-Qadr)
  2. Perform Salat.
  3. Spend for Allah’s (swt) cause from what Allah (swt) has provided to them.
  4. Believe in what Allah (swt) revealed to Prophet Muhammad (sa).
  1. Believe in what Allah (swt) revealed to the Prophets before Muhammad (sa).
  2. Believe in hereafter.

The second group: The second group falls on the other end of the spectrum- as mentioned in verses 6 and 7- and are the disbelievers. In explaining these verses, Allah (swt) says that these people have a seal on their hearts and ears, as well as, a covering on their eyes that has caused them to disbelieve.

The third group: Finally, the third group is from verse 6 to verse 18.

Regarding these people, the Quran says, Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you (sa ) warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.” (Al-Baqarah 2:6)

Some of the attributes that Allah (swt) points out in those people (in those verses) are the following:

1. They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!”

2. “In their hearts is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy) and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.

3. Allah mocks at them and gives them increase in their wrong-doings to wander blindly.

4. When Allah (swt) tells them to believe by modeling themselves according to the Prophet and the true believers, they say, “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Allah (swt) then responds by saying that, “Verily, they are the fools but they know not.”

5. And when they meet those who believe, they say: “We believe,” but when they are alone with their Shayatin (devils – polytheists, hypocrites, etc.), they say: “Truly, we are with you; verily, we were but mocking.”

6. Allah (swt) remarks about these people, “These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.”

These groups were reminded in order that we should check our intentions and thoughts. These verses should be enough to create the urgency to associate ourselves with the first group (Al – Muttaqoon: the ones fearful of Allah (swt)). Let’s, therefore, ensure that our actions (not just words) reveal that we are people who have Taqwa (as mentioned in verse 2)

Taqwa can be inculcated in our hearts by taking a few steps.

A believer should realise the fact that Allah (swt) has the biggest right after saying:
“La Ilaha Illa Allah”, Allah (swt) right becomes mandatory.

Ibn Qayyim said: “A benefit of understanding Allah’s (swt) right over the servant is that it opens the door of humbleness in front of Allah (swt) and closes the doors of conceit. It allows one to realize that salvation is only through Allah’s (swt) grace and mercy. It is Allah’s (swt) right that He should be obeyed and not disobeyed: that He should be remembered and not forgotten; and that He should be appreciated and not unappreciated . . . Many people think about their rights over Allah (swt) and do not know about His rights over them. This is how they are detached from Allah (swt) and deprived of the desire to meet Him. This is the epitome of ignorance of their Lord and of themselves.” (Ighathatul Lahfaan)

Time and again we should check the status of our hearts- whether we have the required devotion and fear of Allah (swt)? Or, do we have remnant of hardness and carefree attitude about Allah (swt) and His teachings.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow (tomorrow), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do” (Al-Hashr 59:18)

Ibn Kathir says that the phrase ‘let each soul see’ or “let every person look” in the above verse means to take an account of one’s own actions before being audited (by Allah (swt)) (Tafseer Ibn Kathir).

Omar bin Khattab wrote to one of his employees: “Audit yourself in prosperity before doing the audit of adversity. Whoever does this will be pleased and envied. Whoever is distracted by his life and fantasies, will face remorse and loss.”

Taqwa reflection in every action

After inculcating Taqwa in the heart, actions should instill the element of piety, Allah’s (swt) consciousness, humbleness, righteousness. We have inspiring examples of Sahaba and Salafs, whose deeds manifested their hearts. Ibn omar used to stay awake the whole night, so that he does not miss a prayer in congregation, since the reward for praying in congregation is more rather than praying alone. Hence, through the Taqwa in the heart every difficult act becomes easy.  As per Imam Ghazali- our Nafs should not deviate, as it is our biggest enemy and is more likely to rebel against our own selves (Ihya’ul ulum al-din).

About ensuring that we bring Taqwa in our actions, Abu Dhar reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Fear Allah wherever you may be; follow up an evil deed with a good one which will wipe (the former) out, and behave good-naturedly towards people” (Tirmidhi)

Remembering our final resort – death

We should remind ourselves about death and our meeting with Allah (swt), in order to retain Taqwa in our hearts. We should become ardent learners of what Allah (swt) like and dislikes, and mould our lives accordingly. This is because the life of this world has to come to an end, and we should take it seriously. With this thought in our mind, Taqwa can never leave our hearts.

Beyond Good Grades

Good_GradeI was astonished to hear what she had just said. My mind was spinning, as her words kept echoing in my ears.

‘My mother, she hit me with a belt; she was not happy with my grades.’

This was her reply to the inquiry I made about the marks near her elbow. A reply that till this day sends shivers down my spine.

We were in sixth grade at that time, and everyone knew we were inseparable. She was like my sister. And, being very fond of each other, we didn’t hide things from one another. But, that was the first time she confided in me about the horrific beatings she had to go through.  I clearly remember her warm, hazel eyes become teary as she explained everything.

It was the dream of her parents to see her as a successful doctor. And, to make it come true, they expected her to bring back home nothing less than outstanding grades, forgetting that slowly and gradually, she was becoming a slave to all that they desired.

Of course, parents have dreams for us; and at times, we have goals for ourselves. We are brought up amongst people who tell us that we need to become ‘something’ when we grow up. Grades, careers, schools and universities become fragments of our thoughts without which we feel incomplete. Surrounded by chaotic competition, we often forget the real purpose of our lives. Pre-occupied with temporary gains, we begin to lose precious days chasing after endless enticements that eventually lead nowhere. We become prisoners of our dreams and wishes; we feel trapped, suffocated and helpless when we fail to achieve what we wanted to. We feel afraid when life throws at us trials that our degrees didn’t train us for.

However, what we should have realized was- that the race for the best grades, reputable jobs and most expensive cars, was one that had no finish- line. We were deceived into believing that progress in material gains and promotions to higher ranks were the only ways to find happiness.

There will be no end to our desires, our wants, our plans and our dreams if we don’t limit them. At times, it is important to break away, to disconnect yourself from your surroundings, and remember that your story has already been written; you are merely on the journey to uncover it.

Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (ra) is reported to have said: “No amount of guilt can change the past; and no amount of worrying can change the future. Go easy on yourself, for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s (swt) Decree. If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from it you cannot flee.”

He knows whether you will become an engineer or a doctor; He has written down how much it is that you will earn; He knows what is best for you, and it is He who we fail to turn to.

We may have a hundred plans for our lives; a thousand ways in which we have pictured our future. But, suddenly, our life takes an unexpected turn, and we reach a path we never even thought about, and that path is Allah’s (swt) plan for you.

And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you (O Muhammad (sa)) to imprison you, or to kill you, or to get you out (from your home, i.e. Makkah); they were plotting and Allah too was planning, and Allah is the Best of the planners.” (Al-Anfal 8:30)

Lessons of Wisdom from Khawlah bint Thalabah (ra)

lotus109mThe Prophet (sa) gave glad tiding to Khawlah (ra), and communicated to her the Words of Allah (swt). As relieved as she was, Khawlah (ra) replied that the ransom could not be paid by her husband. He was too poor to free slaves or feed sixty needy people, and his age did not allow him to fast every day for sixty days.

As they were waiting for a solution, a big basket of dates was presented, Khawlah (ra) said: O Messenger of Allah (sa)! I would like to present this basket of dates on behalf of my husband. The Prophet (sa) appreciated her kindness, and complimented that it would be her favour on Aws (ra).

Lessons: We hear tales of husbands helping their wives, relieving them of their financial burdens, but little is heard of women helping their husbands. Khadijah (ra) was one such woman who helped her husband when he was not financially sound, and she did so beautifully. She made no condescending remarks, and was generous with her money.

We see the same in the story of Khawlah (ra). While no mention is made of how she bought the basket of dates, but assuming she had the financial strength, she did not hesitate to spend money on behalf of her husband. Many a times, women are dependent on their husbands. Our excuse for not giving in the way of Allah (swt) is that – our husbands do not allow, or we do not have enough to give. Yet, when it comes to buying an item of home décor, or when the new lawn season arrives- we successfully extort money from our husbands.

Khawlah (ra) teaches us the etiquette of handling dispute. It is not compulsory that the one who has wronged must be the one who fixes it. The grieved party too can make amends.

Khawlah (ra) teaches us the etiquette of handling dispute. It is not compulsory that the one who has wronged must be the one who fixes it. The grieved party too can make amends.

A Wise Woman

Khawlah (ra) was a wise woman. We learn this not only from how she handled her trial, but also from the advice that she gave Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (ra).

One day, she met Umar (ra) in a marketplace. He greeted her and asked about her well-being. Khawlah (ra) replied to his greeting, and reminded him that she knew him since he was a young boy who grazed sheep. Allah (swt) favoured him and appointed him as the Leader of the Faithful.

She then advised him: “O Umar! Fear Allah (swt) with regard to people. Remember! He who fears the threat of punishment in the hereafter realises that death is not far away, and the one who fears death is afraid of wasting time in this life. He who is certain about accountability remains fearful of punishment.”

The person standing next to Umar (ra) reminded her that she was speaking to the Leader of the Faithful. Umar (ra) stopped the man and said that he was speaking to the woman whose plea was heard in the heavens above. How could he not hear her while being on earth?

Lessons: One thing that continues to inspire me about the Seerah is the etiquette of the Prophet (sa) and his Companions (ra). They had not been to any elite schools or travelled extensively, yet they were equipped with etiquette. The parents ensured their toddlers attended the study circles so that they could be groomed. One tip for gaining wisdom is to sit with the wise. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (ra) and Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra), both young lads at the time of the Prophet (sa), were the wisest men of their time. They were not deprived of the company of the adults because of their age; rather the elders encouraged their participation.

As we are concerned about finding the best schools for our children, and all the best things of this world, let us not forget the Adaab (etiquette).

As we are concerned about finding the best schools for our children, and all the best things of this world, let us not forget the Adaab (etiquette). Education and etiquette go hand in hand.

In her advice to Umar (ra), Khawlah (ra) reminds us to not lose our focus – the success in the hereafter. It is the success in the hereafter that truly determines who is successful. In our roles and responsibilities, we must fear Allah (swt). We should avoid negligence as well as tyranny. The fear of accountability should keep us grounded and in check. The fact that each day we are getting close to our death, should motivate us to not waste our time.

May Allah (swt) reform our matters, and allow us to adopt beautiful etiquette, Ameen.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

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Lessons of Calmness from Khawlah bint Thalabah (ra)

calmseaKhawlah Bint Thalabah (ra) is one of the companions about whom verses were revealed.

Khawlah (ra) and her husband had reached old age. If maturity and wisdom are the gifts of age and experiences, irritability and illnesses are the bane. With age, Aws Ibn As-Samit (ra) had become short-tempered and he would utter words without meaning them.

One day, he told his wife that she was to him like his mother’s back. Zihar, back in the days, meant divorce. Her husband’s words grieved Khawlah (ra). She had been married to him for years, and had birthed many children. She felt it was unfair to divorce a woman when she was of age and unattractive.  Without responding to the husband’s unjust statement, Khawlah (ra) took the matter to someone she thought could help her. The Prophet (sa) listened to her complaint and instructed her to fear Allah (swt) and consult her husband. Khawlah (ra) refused to leave until Allah (swt) responded to her plea. Just then, Angel Jibraeel (Gabriel) (as) descended and brought revelation:

“Indeed Allah has heard the statement of her (Khawlah Bint Tha’labah) that disputes with you (O Muhammad) concerning her husband (Aus bin As-Samit), and complains to Allah. And Allah hears the argument between you both. Verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Seer. Those among you who make their wives unlawful (Az-Zihar) to them by saying to them ‘You are like my mother’s back.’ They cannot be their mothers. None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And verily, they utter an ill word and a lie. And verily, Allah is Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.

And those who make unlawful to them (their wives) (by Az-Zihar) and wish to free themselves from what they uttered, (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch each other. That is an admonition to you (so that you may not return to such an ill thing). And Allah is All-Aware of what you do. And he who finds not (the money for freeing a slave) must fast two successive months before they both touch each other. And for him who is unable to do so, he should feed sixty of Miskin (poor). That is in order that you may have perfect Faith in Allah and His Messenger.

These are the limits set by Allah. And for disbelievers, there is a painful torment.” (Al-Mujadilah 58:1-4)

Lessons: We see that when Khawlah (ra) is hurt by her husband’s words, she neither argues with him nor shares the private family matters with anyone. Rather, she took her case to the one who could guide her and provide a solution. What happens when we face a conflict? Are we able to tame our temper, or do we come back with an intense response? Are we able to keep our domestic disputes to ourselves, or do we share them with anyone and everyone that we come across? Children, domestic help, parents, neighbours, friends and colleagues, almost everyone knows that the couple had a fight.

This ‘certainty’ is what is missing from our supplications. We make Dua but with an inattentive heart. We are sure that our Dua will not be answered; we give up and turn to people

What do we look for when we share our matters with others? Is it to get it off our chests, gain sympathy or to resolve the issue?

Invocation with conviction

Look at the words that Allah (swt) used in the revelation. He said, Certainly, Allah has heard the speech. This ‘certainty’ is what is missing from our supplications. We make Dua but with an inattentive heart. We are sure that our Dua will not be answered; we give up and turn to people. Or sometimes, we turn to people first, and make Allah (swt) our last resort.

At another place in the Quran, Allah (swt) says, “I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor).” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Yaqeen (conviction) is the key ingredient for our supplications to be answered. When you make Dua be present in the moment. Fill your Duas with emotions without going overboard. You don’t have to scream because Allah (swt) is the nearest to us. He hears even a whisper or the thought that we hold in our hearts. Do not be hasty with your Duas, for He responds in His timing and in His Own way. His wisdom is incomprehensible, but there is goodness in it; a lesson that we must learn.

Inspect with respect

There was no shouting, no wailing and no usage of bad words. It was because she did not intent to get the matter off her chest, rather she sought solution.

Aisha (ra) narrates that she was sitting in the same room as the complainant, yet some words escaped her ears. From the Seerah, we know the Prophet (sa) did not live in a spacious house. His house was only a room added to the Prophet’s Mosque. Can you imagine how calmly Khawlah (ra) presented her case? There was no shouting, no wailing and no usage of bad words. It was because she did not intent to get the matter off her chest, rather she sought solution. She came to the Prophet (sa) only to find out what the couple was to do in such a situation, and how they could make amends.

Allah (swt) calls husband and wife, a clothing. Like a piece of clothing, they are to adorn one another and conceal flaws. This is an intimate relationship where the two people living this close are better aware of each other’s shortcomings than anyone else. Allah (swt) instructs them to screen the flaws and reveal the strengths. They are not supposed to divulge their secrets or publicize their disputes, not even to their parents, children and siblings. One’s spouse should not be the topic of discussion in a friends’ gathering.

May Allah (swt) allow us to honour our contracts and be respectful to one another, Ameen.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

The Benefits in Being Grateful

thankGratitude (Shukr) is an important characteristic; and the one who instills it, is endowed with great blessings.

Allah (swt) says, “And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah).” (An-Nahl 16:78)

Also, it is mentioned, “Allah, it is He Who has made the night for you that you may rest therein and the day for you to see. Truly, Allah is full of Bounty to mankind, yet most of mankind give no thanks.” (Ghafir 40:61)

Gratitude infiltrates a person with happiness, and evicts pressure and anxiety. It teaches one to be content and happy in whatever state he is. Also Allah (swt) has made mankind grateful by nature; thus, we should express gratitude- not just to Allah (swt), but also to the people we deal with.

Many a times in the Quran, Allah (swt) divides people as being grateful and ungrateful in order to motivate us to join the camp of those who are grateful. In one of such verses, Prophet Sulaiman (as) said, “One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” then when (Sulaiman (Solomon)) saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his ownself, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful.”(An-Naml 27:40)

Gratitude is escorted with many blessings. Some are discussed below:

Gratitude- A blissful attitude

We, today, are busy like robots; having full plate and swamped by work the whole day- we tend to forget the countless blessings around us. Being grateful to Allah (swt) helps us to focus on the gifts gifted to us by our Most Generous Lord Allah (swt); and hence, it reminds us that everything is decreed by Allah (swt), and whatever happens with us is by the will of Allah (swt).

As He says in the Quran, And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help.” (An-Nahl 16:53)

He also says, “And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help.” (Ad-Duha 93:8)

Let’s therefore, constantly remind ourselves of Allah’s (swt) bounties by expressing our gratitude to Him in prayers and at other times.

Gratitude- The best mind craftBy paying gratitude for our blessings, prevents us from focusing on other peoples’ lives and blessings. When we allow our minds to look into other peoples’ lives, we welcome a lot of different problems and negativity along with it to enter our brains. Let’s therefore, use gratitude to motivate ourselves to look for solutions and possibilities, and not the negativity associated with the problem.

Gratitude- Wards off Allah’s wrath

Allah (swt) is happy with His slaves if they are thankful to Him. Such people are protected from all evil- hidden or evident. If you are not grateful, then one deserves wrath and resentment of Allah (swt). We know that if Allah (swt) were to punish us for our negligence, He would be justified for it.

He says in the Quran, And if Allah were to punish men for that which they earned, He would not leave a moving (living) creature on the surface of the earth, but He gives them respite to an appointed term, and when their term comes, then verily, Allah is Ever All-Seer of His slaves. (Fatir 35:45)

At the same time though, Allah (swt) provides us a way to escape His punishment by being thankful to Him. He says, Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.” (An-Nisa 4:147)

Gratitude, therefore, is not an option; and we should clean our hearts to thank Allah (swt) for everything that He has provided us, for not doing so would bring the displeasure of Allah (swt).

It teaches us to slow down, rather than always waiting for our next wish to come true. It trains our minds to be happy and content with our blessings, today and always

Gratitude- A self-guide

It teaches us to slow down, rather than always waiting for our next wish to come true. It trains our minds to be happy and content with our blessings, today and always. It also shows us that if we are not happy with our life today, then we will never be happy with the blessings to come tomorrow. It helps in controlling the unnecessary wants and desires by restraining our Nafs; and recognizing that we have what many people are yearning for. Gratitude is a sense of fulfillment that comes not from wanting more, but rather from a sense of knowing that Allah (swt) has already blessed us with what we need. In one of the Ahadeeth reported by Ahmad, the Prophet (sa) said: “…if the son of Adam has one valley, he will wish that he had a second, and if he had two valleys, he would wish that he had a third. The stomach of the son of Adam will be filled only with dust (i.e. he is never satisfied)…” (Saheeh Al-Jaami’). So, let’s use gratitude to enjoy what we have today, rather than fretting over it and losing it tomorrow.

Patience

With restraining our Nafs, comes the lesson of patience as well. As per Ibn Qayyim, “Patience in resisting desires is easier than patience in dealing with the consequences that result from desires. It is because consequences either lead to pain and punishment; or they prevent a more complete pleasure; or it deprives one of a blessing which would be more pleasurable and better than the fulfillment of desires; or they cut off an oncoming blessing; or they have a life-long negative impact on one’s character – because deeds have a great impact on one’s character and behaviour.” (Al-Fawaa’id) Exercising patience against the forbidden commands prevents us from harmful results coming thereafter.

Good attitude, Good life

Gratitude makes us less demanding and teaches us to remain happy in all states. Thus, personal desires fulfillment can be easily sought with less. As a result, we can be happy with others easily by having fewer expectations, which thereby, withdraws burden from our close relationships. This trait makes our company more pleasing instead of making us unhappy, demanding and burdensome for other people.

Gratitude says go to ego

Holy prophet (sa) made it quite evident via his sayings that thanking Allah (swt) also comprises of thanking people who have done any favour on us. To be grateful to people is also an important factor. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, as narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra): “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah (swt)” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi) He also said: “Whoever does you a favour, then reciprocate, and if you cannot find anything with which to reciprocate, then pray for him until you think that you have reciprocated him.” (Abu Dawood )In another Hadeeth, he said: “Whoever has a favour done for him, and says to the one who did it,‘Jazak’Allah u Khairun,’ has done enough to thank him.” (Tirmidhi) Let’s therefore, ensure that we do our part to sincerely thank our families and those who have done good to us.

 Actions speak louder than words

The prophet (sa)  continued to strive for His pleasure, although his sins were forgiven. It was narrated that A’isha (ra) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (sa) prayed, he would stand for so long that his feet would become swollen. ‘A’isha said: O Messenger of Allah (sa), why are you doing this when Allah (swt) has forgiven your past and future sins? He said: “O ‘A’ishah, should I not be a thankful slave?” (Bukhari, Muslim). Let’s, therefore, pray the Nawafil to thank Allah (swt) for His blessings.

Gratitude augments one’s blessings

Allah (swt) says, “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.” (Ibrahim 14:7)

Let’s, therefore, make thanking Allah (swt) an integral part of our morning and evening remembrances (Adhkar) to get Barakah in our blessings.

Gratitude- Allah’s (swt) pleasure here and hereafter

The People of Paradise will say, “You (Allah) have given to us what You have not given to anyone among Your creation,” Allah (swt) will say to them, “Shall I not give you something better than that?” They will say, “What is it? Have You not brightened our faces, and admitted us to Paradise and saved us from Hell?” Allah (swt) will say, “I bestow My pleasure upon you, and I will never be angry with you after that.” (Muslim)

What better reward can we expect? So, why not be grateful to Him for what He has blessed us with?

Finally, remember that being grateful is not an option, but an obligation; and being one brings us closer to those whom we thank and appreciate.

Conclusion

Gratitude’s importance was emphasized by the Prophet (sa) when he took the hand of Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal and said: “O Mu’adh, by Allah (swt) I love you, by Allah (swt) I love you.” Then he said: “I advise you, O Mu’adh, do not fail to say this after every prayer: O Allah (swt) help me to remember You, to thank You and to worship You properly.” The Arabic version of this Hadeeth is the following. Let’s ensure that we memorize it and recite it after every prayer.

Finally, remember that being grateful is not an option, but an obligation; and being one brings us closer to those whom we thank and appreciate.

We can be grateful to Allah (swt) by utilizing our blessings, the way Allah (swt) has ordered. For example- if we have enough money, we should give a lot of Sadaqah and the prescribed amount of Zakat. This way Allah (swt) will increase our blessings. Similarly, if someone has adequate knowledge in any subject, the best way to be grateful is to spread that knowledge and expect its reward from Allah (swt) solely. This way gratitude helps us to seek Allah’s (swt) pleasure; and aids in transmitting positive energy around us by carrying an optimistic dynamism.

In a nutshell, gratitude is very essential for building strong relationship with the people in this Dunya;  and of course, our association with Allah (swt) will also have an impact, consequently affecting our Akhirah.

 

Lessons on Parenting from Umm Ammarah (ra)

flower-blooming-drawing-picture-VFqaA Strong Mother

Umm Ammarah’s (ra) defence of Islam did not end with the Prophet’s (sa) passing away; when the Fitnah (trial) of apostasy emerged, she pledged her support to Abu Bakr (ra). He acknowledged that she was indeed a strong and daring woman; hence, allowed her to join the Muslim forces fighting the apostate Musalymah Kathab.

The Battle of Yamamah was the toughest battle that the Muslims faced. Musalymah had gathered a large army and was confident that he will wipe off Islam. They plan and Allah (swt) plans too, and Allah (swt) is the Best of the planners.

Umm Ammarah’s (ra) son, Habeeb (ra) was captured by Musalymah’s forces. Musalymah asked him if he testified Muhammad (sa) to be the Prophet of Allah (swt). Habeeb (ra) replied in affirmation. Musalymah then asked if he testified that he (Musalymah) was the Prophet of Allah (swt). Habeeb (ra) replied that he could not hear. Again Musalymah asked if he believed Muhammad (sa) was the Prophet of Allah (swt). Habeeb (ra) again replied in affirmation. Musalymah then repeated his question about his being a Prophet of Allah (swt). Habeeb (ra) replied that he could not hear. The show went on for some time and Habeeb (ra) remained firm in his replies.

The Zayd family was not only skilful in the battlefield, but Umm Ammarah’s (ra) son Abdullah (ra), and many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren became the narrators of the Prophetic traditions.

Furious, Musalymah ordered body mutilation. With each limb being cut, Habeeb (ra) was asked the same questions and the heroic boy repeated the same answers until he died.

Musalymah was later assassinated by none other than Habeeb’s (ra) brother Abdullah Ibn Zayd (ra).

The Zayd family was not only skilful in the battlefield, but Umm Ammarah’s (ra) son Abdullah (ra), and many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren became the narrators of the Prophetic traditions. They were equally passionate about acquiring and transferring knowledge, as they were about defending the Prophet (sa) in the field.

Lessons: Abu Bakr (ra) did not oppose Umm Ammarah’s (ra) request to join the army because he had witnessed how skilful she was. When someone does not assign us a role, we blame the person and call him biased. But have we ever assessed our skills? Have we focused on developing ourselves and complaining less about people or our circumstances? A person who is able does not have to beg for attention, his work speaks for him.

Her tranquillity was displayed in her words when the news of Habeeb’s (ra) mutilation reached her, and she said for this day she had raised her sons.

Umm Ammarah (ra) was sixty years old, but not even for a moment did she think of what use she could be. How many times have we limited ourselves or allowed others to restrict our potential? How many excuses do we have for staying behind in the service of Islam? What is our life’s mission?

Umm Ammarah (ra) did not raise her children in comfort and luxuries. She did not reserve the love for Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) for herself alone. Rather, she transferred it to her children. It was this upbringing that made her children fearless. The entire family had one common goal: striving in the cause of Allah (swt), no matter what sacrifice it demanded. This was the family that truly lived by the verse: “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists)” (Al-Anam 6:162)

She did not reserve the love for Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) for herself alone. Rather, she transferred it to her children.

When her son got injured in the field, she attended to his wounds, and told him to get up and fight the enemy. When she was attacked, her sons defended her and dressed her wounds. When the news of her son’s disfigurement reached her, she was calm because she knew Allah (swt) had purchased the lives of the believers in exchange for Paradise. She was not attached to the world. She knew their real home was in the hereafter.

Her tranquillity was displayed in her words when the news of Habeeb’s (ra) mutilation reached her, and she said for this day she had raised her sons. How would have we reacted? How do we react to daily news of violence? How are we raising our children?

Umm Ammarah (ra) loved studying the Quran and Ahadeeth, and taught her children the same. Their love for Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) was so pure that Allah (swt) chose from them Hadeeth narrators. Do our children know who Allah (swt) is, who the Prophet (sa) was, what his Sunnah is, and how much he cried for us? Is their love for Allah (swt) and His Beloved (sa) apparent in their conduct? Is our Dawah limited to the people ‘outside’ our homes?

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Gets Going!

sabrandsalahIn our daily life, we face situations that leave us badly concerned as to how to deal with them. Later on, when they are done smoothly, we tend to be astonished. Basically, everything is pre-planned and happening under Allah’s (swt) Will and Order. We all possess a curtailed approach, and hence, cannot think of our Creator’s Planning at all.

Similarly, we might dislike something; but Allah’s (swt) planning might be different in this regard, which yields the best results- again leaving us surprised.

This is what Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran,

وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُون
” and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know…” (Al-Baqarah 2:216)

In this regard, I would like to present one of the best solutions for tackling hard situations, which has already been given by Allah (swt) in his Holy Book. Quran says, وَاسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَوةِ
“And seek help in (by) patience and As-Salat (the prayer).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

This is a Quranic formula for us, As we human-beings,- when facing any hardship or calamity become hurriedly unconscious; Allah (swt) has ordained us that whenever we face such an incident, without being unconscious and having firm belief upon Allah (swt)- we should seek His Help through prayers and observe patience. It is such a door from where no one will return bare-handed.

I came across an inspiring quote which said: “For Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse, we have been ordained to offer certain prayers. This is the effectiveness of Salah that by Allah’s (swt) order, it can deal with Universal, Giant systems. If it is juxtaposed with our problems, then how can’t Salah deal with our personal issues which are minor and little?”

One thing which makes me wonder and I would like to mention. The whole world knows the young Imam of Masjid Al-Haram, Shaikh Mahir AlMuaiqly; undoubtley, his beautiful voice infuses love for Quran in believers’ hearts. One of the lesser-known facts about him is that, he also holds a degree in Mathematics. Upon this, he was recruited in a school in Madinah tul Munawwara. Primarily, he was a student of Religious sciences- so he pursued Masters in Islamic Jurisprudence easily as an additional qualification. Nobody knew that one day he would lead prayers in Masjid Al-Nabawi and MasjidAl-Haram- except Allah (swt), as He planned this for him.

Lastly my dear, rely entirely upon Allah (swt) for everything. Next step is to keep yourself connected with Salah which is among the pillars of Islam. Observe patience as it has been the tradition of messengers. Verily, the Prophet Muhammad (sa) patience towards brutalities of disbelievers is exemplary.

Jameelah Umm Saad and the Rights of Women

women powerNamed Jameelah, Umm Saad was the daughter of Saad ibn Rab’iah (ra). Saad ibn Rabi’ah (ra) is the generous Companion who divided everything that he owned into two for his emigrant brother Abdur Rahman ibn Awf (ra). Saad (ra) was a man of a big heart; such that when he helped someone, the person never witnessed poverty again. He was not content with petty favours. When we help someone do we contemplate self-sufficiency?

Honoured by the Quran

Umm Saad (ra) was one of the few honoured women like Mariam (as), Asiya (as), Aisha (ra) and Khawlah (ra) about whom verses were revealed.

Umm Saad’s (ra) father was a soldier who fought for Islam. He was martyred in the Battle of Uhud. Being rich, he left behind much property. As per the custom of the days of ignorance, his property was seized by his brother depriving the women of their share.

Saad (ra) was a man of a big heart; such that when he helped someone, the person never witnessed poverty again.

Umm Saad’s (ra) mother, Khalada (ra) complained to the Prophet (sa) about her brother-in-law. The Prophet (sa) appeased her by saying that Allah (swt) would judge her matter. Comforted by his words, the grieving widow returned home. She knew that Allah (swt) was the Most Fair. He did not commit injustice. In a Hadeeth Qudsi it appears: I have forbidden oppression for Myself and I have forbidden it among you, so do not oppress one another.

Allah (swt) then sent His verdict:

“There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether, the property be small or large – a legal share. And when the relatives and the orphans and Al-Masakin (the poor) are present at the time of division, give them out of the property, and speak to them words of kindness and justice. And let those (executors and guardians) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own, if they had left weak offspring behind. So let them fear Allah and speak right words.

Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only a fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!

Allah commands you as regards your children’s (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal to that of two females; if (there are) only daughters, two or more, their share is two thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is half. For parents, a sixth share of inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers or (sisters), the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts. You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children, are nearest to you in benefit, (these fixed shares) are ordained by Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.” (An-Nisa 4: 7-11)

Umm Saad (ra), who was still in her mother’s womb when her father passed away, became the cause of the revelation of the verses of inheritance.

Lessons to draw: Before we listen to the propaganda against Islam, or the women’s rights in Islam- we should know how Allah (swt) has honoured us. Women bring their complaints to the Prophet (sa) and they cause revelation to come. Whenever someone reads these verses, they will be reminded of the women, people’s conduct toward them, and how Allah (swt) answered on behalf of the women.

It all comes down to our reliance on Allah (swt), and what opinion we hold about Him. If we think good about Allah (swt), He will prove us that He is indeed good.

When they are wronged, they take their cases to Allah (swt). They are more inclined toward resolving the matter than plotting revenge.

These women also teach us not to take our battles in our own hands, or to respond to oppression with oppression. When they are wronged, they take their cases to Allah (swt). They are more inclined toward resolving the matter than plotting revenge.

May Allah (swt) reform what is wrong in us, and allow us to have Tawakkal (reliance) on Him, as it befits His Majesty, Ameen.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)