Football: Any Place in Islam?

16 football place in Islam

By Hajji Murat Radjabov – Writer

Today, the world cannot live without football.

A German consulting company “Sportfive” did research in Europe to find out the number of people interested in football. The research was carried out in the leading football countries of Europe. The results were as follows:

  • Germany – 81% are interested in football (which constitutes 53 million people)
  • Italy – 78%
  • Spain – 67%
  • England – 63%
  • France – 60%

The numbers in other countries were very similar. Interest in football has also reached the Muslim countries and Muslims all over the world.

For football players

For practicing Muslims, Islam is not only a religion but a way of life. Generally, it is not forbidden in Islam to play football, as long as the following requirements are met:

(1) During the game, the Aurah (parts of the body that are forbidden for others to see; in the case of men, it is the part of body between the navel and knees) of the players has to be covered.

(2) Under no conditions during the game or in preparations for the game should the players miss their five obligatory players (Salah). Interest in football should not distract them from remembering the Most High or turn into them into fanatics of the game. Likewise, watching the game should not prevent people from performing their mandatory prayers.

(3) Sometimes the dates of significant football events fall in Ramadan, the month of obligatory fasting. Football, however, requires extensive physical exertion. In this situation, no matter how important the game is, Muslim players do not have the right to leave their fasting.

(4) Very rarely does a game go by without any physical trauma for the players. Sometimes, players intentionally do actions against their opponents, which cause them injuries. Such actions are also forbidden in Islam. Purposeful hurting of another person has to be compensated!

(5) Fights, filthy language, and arguments should not be a part of the game.

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Powerful Dua of a parent

Image Courtesy www.inkoffaith.com

 

 

In the name of Allah (swt), the most Beneficent, the most Merciful

All praises are for Allah (swt), the most Compassionate, the most Forgiving.

Salutations and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad (sa), his family and companions.

Oh Allah (swt), I submit myself to You.

I realize that parenting a child is a very difficult task, and I turn to You in humility for Your help.

I implore You for Your wisdom and guidance.

Oh Allah (swt), I know that our children are an Amanah from You, to care for and to raise in a manner that is pleasing to You.

Help me do that in the best way.

Teach me how to love in a way the You would want me to love.

Help me where I need to be healed, improved, nurtured, and made whole.

Help me walk with righteousness and integrity, so that You may always be pleased with me.

Allow me to be a God-fearing role model with all the communication, teaching, and nurturing skills that I may need.

Oh Allah (swt), You know what our children need. Help and guide us in praying for our children.

Oh Allah (swt), put a hedge of safety around our children. Protect their bodies, minds, and emotions from any kind of evil and harm.

Oh Allah (swt), I pray that You protect them from accidents, diseases, injuries, and any other physical, mental, or emotional afflictions and abuse.

Oh Allah (swt), I pray that You keep our children free from any addictions and vices.

Draw them close to You for protection from every ill and evil influence of our society, whether it’s apparent to us or not.

Oh Allah (swt), grant them the best of company as their friends — people who will inspire them to love and worship and obey You.

Oh Allah (swt), grant our children Hidayah, and a heart that loves to obey You.

Shine Your light on any secret or unseen rebellion in their hearts, and destroy it before it takes root.

Oh Allah (swt), guide them away from any pride, selfishness, jealousy, hypocrisy, malice, and greed and make them uncomfortable with sins.

Penetrate their hearts with Your love and reverence today and always.

Oh Allah (swt), make apparent to them the truth in any situation, and let them not be misled by falsehood.

Oh Allah (swt), grant our children the ability to make clear decisions, and let them always be attracted to good things that are pure, noble, true, and just.

Oh Allah (swt), guide them in making choices that please You.

Oh Allah (swt), help them to taste the sweetness of walking with a humble spirit in obedience and submission to You.

Oh Allah (swt), grant them the wisdom to choose their words carefully, and bless them with a generous and caring spirit.

Oh Allah (swt), I pray that they never stray from the path of Deen, and that You give them a future filled with Your best promises.

Oh Allah (swt), always keep our children cleansed, and pure from evil and Shayateen.

Oh Allah (swt), keep them steadfast in establishing Salah, and help them revere the Glorious Quran as Your Word and Law, and to read it with understanding daily. Let it be their source of light and guidance.

Oh Allah (swt), let our daughters love wearing Hijab, and our sons the dress of a humble Muslim.

Let their dress be a representation of their Iman, and of their love and respect for Your commands.

Lead them to a position where they rely truly on Your power alone, and fear You in the open and in secret.

Oh Allah (swt), make them so strong in their Deen that they never encounter doubt.

Oh Allah (swt), do not allow any negative attitudes in the place of our children’s lives.

Oh Allah (swt), guide our children in honouring and obeying You, Your Rasool (sa), and us as parents (when we are commanding that which is pleasing to You).

Make them the coolness of our eyes.

Oh Allah (swt), fill our children with compassion and caring that will overflow to each member of our family and society.

Oh Allah (swt), grant them piety.

Oh Allah (swt), help them love, value, appreciate, and respect one another with good communication between them always.

Oh Allah (swt), drive out any division between our children and bring them healing.

I pray there be no strain, breach, misunderstanding, arguing, fighting, or severing of ties.

Oh Allah (swt), allow them to one day marry righteous, God-fearing, kind, hard-working, intelligent, beautiful, healthy spouses who get along with each other, and respect and love (and genuinely enjoy) every member of our family and who lead our children (i.e. their spouses) even closer to You and Jannat ul Firdaus.

Oh Allah (swt), please grant me the company of pious friends, relatives, extended community members, and teachers who will be inspirational role models for my children, and will help me raise them to be the best of believers.

Oh Allah (swt), please don’t let me become self-satisfied and arrogant in my parenting, but please don’t humble me or shame me through my children’s misdeeds either. Please let me always give credit for their good character to You, and please don’t ever let me stop praying for them.

Oh Allah (swt), please don’t let my children be “late” in meeting any of life’s milestones that are expected of them.

Oh Allah (swt), protect my children from debt. Make them givers and not takers.

Oh Allah (swt), grant my children noble professions with Halal incomes that give them respect and dignity in Your Eyes, and in the eyes of their fellow human beings.

Oh Allah (swt), grant them worldly comfort and Aafiyah so that my children can come to You through the Door of Gratitude, and so that they are not forced to come to You through the Door of Patience. Please let them always be grateful and patient.

Oh Allah (swt), I pray for a close, loving, happy and fulfilling relationship with them for all the days of our lives, and to be reunited with them in Jannat ul Firdaus. آمِيْن يَارَبَّ الْعَالَمِينْ

 

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

achievement

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.

Justice for All: Who Will Be Bankrupt In Allah’s (swt) Court?

Image courtesy http://www.moneyschool.org.au/

Image courtesy http://www.moneyschool.org.au/

There is a Hadeeth where Prophet (sa) said: “On the day of Qiyamah, there will come a person who is bankrupt”- in fact, he asked a question: “Do you know who a bankrupt person is?”

The Sahabah said: “Well, according to us, a person who doesn’t have Dirhams and Dinars, or gold or silver, is a bankrupt person.”

In our terms, perhaps, it’s someone who doesn’t have dollars and pounds. It is a fact that someone who doesn’t have material things is a bankrupt person. Rasool Allah (sa) said: “No, it is a person who comes on the Day of Judgement with a lot of Salah, with a lot of Zakah, and with a lot of acts of worship.”

You know, if I heard that, I would think I am hearing wrong. The bankrupt person on the Day of Judgement is someone with a lot of prayers, a lot of worship, and lots of acts of charity! A lot! How can that person be bankrupt?

The Prophet (sa) continued: “And then when they are standing in front of Allah (swt) with all these deeds, they have backbitten this one, gossiped about that one, slandered this one, eaten the wealth of the other, deceived another, and harmed another and so on. So Allah (swt) takes away these good deeds one by one as a payment because on that day, the currency will be deeds.”

The payback is in the form of your good deeds. Such as:

Salah in the first row – gone

Zakah – gone

Hajj – gone

Fasting – gone

All the good deeds – gone

What happens thereafter? There are still so many people waiting for their rights. The Prophet (sa) said: “There will come a time when that man has nothing remaining and the people in front still want their right. Allah (swt) will say: Take their sins and put them on his shoulder.”

So the sins are put on the shoulder of the individual who violated somebody’s rights. He was the one who used to read Salah in the first row; he was the charitable one; he was the pious one according to the whole world; but because he usurped the rights of the fellow human beings and disregarded them completely, he is going to pay for that. When he went, he went with a lot and as he is progressing on that day (in fact, there is no progress, he is going back) because he has lost everything and on top of that, he has got sins committed by other people. May Allah (swt) forgive us. Ameen.

So, this is the clear Hadeeth that explains the importance of fulfilling the rights of fellow human beings. We need to make sure that we are humble; and remember, it doesn’t mean that you fulfill the rights of those who are pious alone. No! It doesn’t mean you fulfill the rights of the Muslims alone. Whether they are sinful, whether they are non-Muslims, no matter who they are and what they have done, they have rights! So much so, it doesn’t stop at human beings! In fact, it continues to all the creatures of Allah (swt), including the ecosystem. Subhan’Allah!

May Allah (swt) have mercy on us and may He (swt) opens the doors on us. Ameen. I hope the explanation would help in understanding the importance of fulfilling the rights of fellow human beings; and how actually, these are the fruits that are seen clearly on the person who is really close to Allah (swt).

Umm Waraqah bint Nawfal (ra) and her love for Quran

flower-on-quranAlso known as Umm Waraqah bint Abdullah (ra), her name is ascribed to her grandfather Nawfal. She was from the learned people of the Ansar (the helpers of Madinah). Besides fasting and being an ardent worshipper, Umm Waraqah (ra) had one more distinguishing quality – she had memorised the Quran and was the Imam of the women.

The Lover of the Quran and the Female Imam

Umm Waraqah (ra) was a rich woman having a prestigious lineage. Instead of losing herself in the worldly pleasures, she made herself busy in studying, understanding, reflecting on and memorising the Quran. The Quran was the main focus of her life, by which she lived till her end.

Instead of losing herself in the worldly pleasures, she made herself busy in studying, understanding, reflecting on and memorising the Quran

Preserving Allah’s (swt) Book in her heart, there was no chance that Allah (swt) would not honour her. The Prophet (sa) permitted her to lead the women in prayer in her house. She requested for a Muadh-dhin, and an old man was appointed.

Lessons to draw: Being chosen to serve the Quran is indeed a great honour. We must continuously work on our relationship with the Quran; having studied it once, we must spend time reflecting on its verses, live by them, preserve them in our hearts, and share them with others. We also learn that a woman can lead other women in prayer. We find the examples of Aisha (ra) and Umm Salamah (ra). But in order to lead others in prayers, one must first work on the recitation of the Quran.

The People of the Quran stay awake in the Nights

Being a memoriser of the Quran, we see that Umm Waraqah (ra) sought guidance from the Quran. Quran inspired her to next courses of action.

When she read: “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). And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Quran in the prayer), as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawafil)…,” (Al-Isra 17: 78-79), she knew that Allah (swt) is speaking to her. From that day onwards, she started getting up for Tahajjud and reciting the Quran. It became a habit.

On his way for the Fajr prayer, Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra) would hear her reciting the Quran. He would admire this lady for her commitment and love for the Book of Allah (swt). He knew it was indeed a blessing of Allah (swt) to be granted the honour of waking up at Tahajjud and reciting the Quran; not due to a worldly need but purely for the love of Allah’s (swt) Speech. When he would return from the Masjid he would still hear Umm Waraqah’s (ra) voice, reciting the Quran.

Building a strong relationship with the Quran, cleansed Umm Waraqah’s (ra) heart from its diseases. She held no rancour or hatred for anyone. She was a gentle and kind-hearted person which opened up the hearts of others. Neighbourhood ladies would visit her often for the congregational prayer, as well as, the educational gatherings.

Let us express our love for the Book by challenging ourselves to memorise its Surahs and revising them in our prayer

Lessons to draw: Our love for anything is only displayed by our attitude towards it. If we truly love the Quran, then Quran will become the most important thing in our life. The best recitation of the Quran is that which is recited in the prayer. Let us express our love for the Book by challenging ourselves to memorise its Surahs and revising them in our prayer. Let us not remain content with only learning the small ones. We should also encourage our Huffaz to not leave their recitation after memorising the Book. They must show their gratitude to Allah (swt) for the great honour. Little should be our sleep and long should be our nights spent in worship.

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

Lessons in Faith from Hawa Bint Yazid (ra)

originalShe was the daughter of Yazid ibn Sakan and Aqrab bint Muath. Saad ibn Muath (ra), a close companion of the Prophet (sa) was her maternal uncle. Her husband was Qais ibn Khateem.

Concern for Husband’s Activities

Hawa bint Yazid (ra) is among those forerunners who embraced Islam in its early days. While the Prophet (sa) was still in Makkah, she embraced Islam in Madinah. Her husband’s poetry worried Hawa (ra). Each time that she read: “As for the poets, the erring ones follow them. See you not that they speak about every subject (praising people – right or wrong) in their poetry.” (Ash-Shuara 26: 224-225), she asked Allah (swt) for his guidance. She wanted to share her spiritual feelings and thoughts with her spouse. She prayed that Allah (swt) might guide him just as He had guided her.

She admired the companions of the Prophet (sa), and wondered why her husband could not be like them. There were Hasaan ibn Thabith (ra) and Abdullah ibn Rawahah (ra) who were near to the Prophet (sa) because of their praiseworthy poetry. They promoted Islam with their compositions. Her husband’s vulgar poetry would upset her; he had no share in the defence and promotion of Islam. He spent his life in play and amusement. He preferred misguidance over guidance.

Her husband’s vulgar poetry would upset her; he had no share in the defence and promotion of Islam. He spent his life in play and amusement

Lessons to draw: There are some poets like Allama Muhammad Iqbal who used their power of pen for noble cause. This poet of the East was blessed by Allah (swt) with immense wisdom and reverence for his Creator. He acknowledged the true reality of this life and our insignificant position before Allah (swt). He knew we were not created purposelessly. We have a highly important role to play. He raised voice for the weak and oppressed. His poetry awakened the dead souls. Then there are those kinds of poets who do not give much thought to what they are composing. They only want poetry to be pleasing to the ears. In doing so, they might even commit Shirk (association of partners with Allah (swt) and invite people to do Haram (impermissible acts)). A writer or a poet must be really careful about where he is putting his energy, and what his pen is promoting. May we be a source of goodness for ourselves, our families and others, and neither choose Haram for ourselves nor call others to it, Ameen.

Love for the chosen religion

Like other early Muslims, Hawa (ra) concealed her conversion. She feared unkind treatment from her husband. Her story is similar to that of Aasiya (as), the wife of Pharaoh. Hawa (ra) gave precedence to her faith over everything else. She became fearless. She desired dying upon the true religion than dying upon idolatry.

While she tried her best to conceal her faith from her husband, she could not do so for long. One cannot hide his acts of worship from the people that they live with. They can drop in at the time for prayer and see the Muslim member praying a prayer different from theirs. The family may be seated for meal and the Muslim member does not eat anything because he is fasting. Same happened with Hawa (ra). One day her husband saw her praying. Then he saw her reading something on a leather and date skin. She was reciting words that he had never heard before. He found it strange.

Her story is similar to that of Aasiya (as), the wife of Pharaoh. Hawa (ra) gave precedence to her faith over everything else. She became fearless.

When Qais understood what Hawa (ra) was reciting was the Quran, his ego was invoked that his woman embraced Islam without his permission! Recall what Pharaoh said to the magicians when they said, “So the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: We believe in the Lord of Harun (Aaron) and Musa (Moses).”

“[Fir’aun (Pharaoh)] said: “Believe you in him [Musa (Moses)] before I give you permission?” (Ta-Ha 20: 70-71). A person who has tasted faith does not wait for someone’s permission. They follow their heart and submit before Allah (swt).

Qais did not wait for his wife to complete her prayer. While she was prostrating, he raised her up and threw her on the floor. He then laughed callously, feeling no remorse. The same act was repeated the next day too. Hawa (ra) remained patient. She could do nothing in her defence than weep and ask Allah (swt) for help. She prayed for her freedom and delightful moments. She prayed for strength to overpower her heartless husband.

When she was tested, she placed her complaint before her Lord, not the people. She only relied on Him.

Her husband continued his torture and mistreatment. He was distant from the Creator. His heart was void of any fear or moral values.  But what happens when one truly relies upon his Creator’s bounty and grace? He paves the way for them. Qais’s torture towards his wife became the talk of the town. Every house and tongue was talking about his cruel behaviour. Escaping the bounds of Madinah, the news soon reached Makkah – to the Prophet (sa).

Lessons to draw: Often when we begin practicing Islam, we label everyone else misguided. We call them to Islam in a condescending way. The young girl who does not wear Hijab is told she is from the people of hellfire. Hawa (ra) was married to a tyrant. While she desired his guidance, she was not even once disrespectful to him. When she was tested, she placed her complaint before her Lord, not the people. She only relied on Him. And He made the way for her.  Many times when we are tested, we only cry, but do not invoke Allah (swt) for help and ease. We should take our complaints to the most Powerful.

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

And my Dua was Accepted…

Dua was Accepted“Mother’s Dua has been accepted!” My children’s energetic loud voice woke me up from my sleep.

We were residents in UAE. My husband and I were working as teachers in a school, when that school’s principle fired both of us, due to his personal enmity with us.

Ramadan was going on. Our visa was going to expire after two months; therefore, we tried hard to find another job but in vain. My three little children were in primary and the two older ones were studying in secondary schools. Residential problem, rent for the house, children’s school fees and grocery money was urgently needed; we were running out of savings and were greatly depressed. All our emergency funds were coming to an end. I told my children to stay calm and pray to Allah (swt) with a pure heart and strong belief.

Allah (swt) had accepted my prayer word to word.

After a few days, my husband’s friend came to our house and said that he has been called in Sharjah for a job interview in a school – he was going to leave for Sharjah. My husband’s friend asked my husband to accompany him. My husband refused, as there was no reason for him to go. However, his friend insisted, terming that as an important visit. When I learned about this, I told my husband to go. Then my husband told his friend that he was ready to go with him. I spoke my heart out: “May Allah (swt) make them ask you to start your job there from the very next day.”

My husband and his friend took off for Sharjah together. As it was the month of Ramadan, I fell asleep during the day and when I woke up, it was nearly Maghrib time. I came to know that my husband had returned from the trip, and as soon as I entered the room, my husband repeated the same sentence that I said before he was leaving, “May Allah (swt) make them ask you to start your job there from the very next day.” My husband said that the school’s interviewer had offered him a job there and then.

I doubted, whether it was real or a dream, because I was awakened by my children’s cheers, “Mother’s prayer is accepted!” But, Alhumdulillah, it was real.

My husband said that the school’s interviewer had offered him a job there and then.

No doubt, my Allah (swt) had accepted my Dua that was prayed with a pure heart. Allah (swt) had accepted my prayer word to word. I could not control my tears, and I bowed in front of Allah (swt) thanking Him for His help.

Although many years have passed since that event, but even today my heart gets filled with gratitude to Allah (swt), because I had prayed to Him (swt) with a pure heart and strong faith. My Allah (swt) answered my sincere prayer positively, Alhumdulillah!

Trials as Blessings for the Believers

trials-and-tribulations“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).” (Al-Ankabut 29:2-3)

It is certain from the following verses of the Quran that Allah (swt) will test those who believed in one way or the other- as He tested the believers before. These tests may be in the form of hunger, loss of a loved one or health, or wealth as stated in the Holy Quran: “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)

Why believers?

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “This world is prison for a believer and heaven for the disbeliever.”

But why these tests are specified only for those who believe? What is the wisdom behind it?
Firstly, it is to check the level of their Iman – to make sure, whether they are strong enough to bear a calamity with an unwavering Iman; and secondly, to wipe out their sins – to purify them for the Akhirah.

Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Trials will continue to befall the believing man or woman on himself, his child and his wealth until he meets Allah (swt) with no sin on him.” (Tirmidhi)

It was narrated by Anas (ra) that the Prophet (sa) said: “When Allah (swt) wills good for His slave, He hastens the punishment for him in this world; and when Allah (swt) wills ill for His slave, He withholds the punishment for his sins until he comes with all his sins on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi)

Aisha (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “The believer is not harmed by a thorn or anything greater, but Allah (swt) will raise him in status thereby, or erase a sin thereby.” (Muslim)

The wisdom behind testing the believers through trials and tribulations is that they are made to remember Allah (swt) on account of these adversities. This makes them accustomed to remember Him and keep their thoughts busy with Him. It is natural for the believers to seek and turn to Allah (swt) for help in adversities; while in the times of comfort they forget and neglect it. A believer’s heart only gets content and rest while he remembers Allah (swt) as it is stated in the Holy Quran: “Those who believe, and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)

How to deal with trials and tribulations?

Allah (swt) has stated in the holy Quran that the most powerful methods to bear calamities and trials are being patient and seeking help from Him through prayer.

“And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashiun (i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Inspiration from the Prophets (as)

a) Prophet Adam (as)

Allah (swt) forbade Adam (as) to eat from the forbidden tree in paradise; but he got impatient and listened to Iblees. As a result, he gained Allah’s (swt) wrath and was sent down to earth. It took forty years of Dua and patience by Adam (as) to be forgiven.

b) Prophet Yusuf (as) and Yaqoob (as)

Prophet Yusuf (as) was sent to prison for the crime that he had not committed, but he remained patient and was released after several years; while, on the other hand, Yaqoob (as) met his son after the patience of thirty-four years.

c) Prophet Ayoob (as)

Prophet Ayoob’s (as) story is the most famous story of patience and forbearance. He remained patient during his illness, which lasted for eighteen years, and kept supplicating.

The reward for the patient ones

The trials and tribulations faced by the believers, who remain patient and rely on Allah (swt), never go un-rewarded. This is what Allah (swt) has promised in the Holy Quran:

“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e. blessings, etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)

“And be patient; verily, Allah loses not the reward of the good-doers.” (Hud 11:115)

May Allah (swt) place us among the patient believers, to whom Allah (swt) has promised greater rewards. Ameen.

[Poem] Confessions of a Trembling Heart

Image Prophet sa humour

Fear of your presence.

Fear of my heart’s brittleness.

My words insufficient.

My actions wasted.

In this air of intoxicated love,

my language cannot explain;

Except the melody of my tears,

Except the trembling of my heart,

Except the molecules of my body- shaking and rushing,

With awe and excitement!

Oh our beloved Prophet (sa).

My words will fail, I can’t explain.

Seeing the land in your life,

Gives strength to your Ummah,

To Struggle,

To Preach,

To Love,

Words seem less today.

Translator of my heart seems mute today.

Encounter with you has made the dictionary of love insufficient.

Your sacrifices for me.

Your blood being shed for me.

Your pain ridden body for me.

Your long prayers for me.

Ummati, Ummati, Ummati!

Even before I opened my eyes.

Walking on the Earth, how should I pay thanks to you?

Except that I adorn myself with the Sunnah ornaments.

My heart is drenched in your love.

One day,

My soul will aspire for your intercession.

My brain will be dazzled by your beauty.

My eyes would yearn to see you.

And My Thirst?

Would remain unquenched for the drink you would offer the believers

And that will restore my heart and soul

One day – Insha’Allah!

Confessions of a Trembling Heart

Navigating Our Mind

thinkingAbu Hurairah has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “To harbour good thoughts is a part of well-conducted worship.” (Abu Dawood)

Often we, as human beings, have thoughts, of which we are ashamed of and feel glad that no one can read our minds. The Most Merciful forgives us for our evil thoughts, as long as we do not utter them or put them into practice. The following is a practical example explaining the Hadeeth, which encourages positive thinking.

Surrendering to our Thoughts

Many thoughts are uncontrollable; sometimes they are from our own Fitrah or nature, while at other times, they occur from the whisperings of Shayateen. However, the Hadeeth above is a proof that we can and should monitor our thinking and foster good thoughts. Various prominent Shuyukh teach that when we commit a sin, Shaitan tells us we are worthless, not worthy of gaining or even asking for forgiveness from Allah (swt); therefore, we should not even try to acquire it. Despite all this, it is of utmost importance for us to remember that Allah (swt) is Ghafoor ur Raheem (the Most Forgiving). He is even more forgiving than us to our own selves, and He is the Most Merciful. Remembering this attribute of Allah (swt) pushes us towards the act of seeking forgiveness from Him, and we repent immediately. Similarly, it is the backbone of our religion to have complete trust in Allah (swt) and have a good opinion about Allah (swt), for Allah (swt) says, “I am as my servant thinks of Me.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Success is in our Hands – Take the Control!

Let us analyze this Hadeeth from the following perspective. Say you got hired somewhere and it was your first real job. It did not even last for two days. You had a bad experience at your internship, and you did not do well in college as well. Needless to say, these are depressing thoughts. It is important to first realize that you are entering into a thick fog of negativity, which will blind you from seeing clearly. Success is when you learn from your mistakes and improve. You cannot progress in life, if you think that you can never succeed. Negative thoughts are a great hindrance to your progress. If you keep trying, keep learning from your mistakes and keep strategizing, then, by the Will of Allah (swt), you will move forward – this is success.

We face such a challenge, when it comes to our five times prayer. It is important to keep our daily prayers at the top of our list, because if we miss even one, we are likely to miss two. And then they pile up, and it may become harder for some of us to make up for them. We might start thinking that there’s no use of praying even once or twice a day, because we can never manage all five of them. But we should never let these thoughts occupy our minds. We should always acknowledge that we succeeded in performing one or two of the daily prayers and realize that there is always a need and room for improvement. Hence, we should keep on trying to perform the other three prayers as well. Not only our thoughts of incapability are bad for our Deen, they are also bad for our overall mental and physical health. We should always think in affirmative: “Yes, I can do it! And I will do it as soon as possible and then follow through.” It is guaranteed that a positive and can-do attitude in our religious rituals will overflow into our worldly affairs without us even realizing it; thus improving our well-being Bi-idhnillah.

Similarly, when practicing a Sunnah of our Prophet (sa) or doing a good deed, we should never think that we are not good enough to perform this action. Rather, we should think of the deed as an opportunity to improve ourselves. If we ever think we are not noble enough, this is an indicator of a buffer inside us, and we should take immediate steps to fill it with goodness.

Coolness of the Eyes – What Does it Mean?

cool-water-wallpaperThere’s a powerful expression in the Quran. It’s captured in two words. Those two words are “Qurrata A’yun” meaning “Coolness of the eyes.” It is mentioned in a number of occasions and it is also found in ahadeeth of the Messenger (sa).

Before I tell you how it is used in the sacred text, I want to tell you how the ancient Arabs used this figure of speech. We can’t really understand it literally as it means something beyond that.

the Arabs had two figures of speech. One is the “eyes becoming cool” and the other is “eyes becoming warm.”

The first thing I would like you to know is that the Arabs had two figures of speech. One is the “eyes becoming cool” and the other is “eyes becoming warm.” When somebody is shedding tears of sorrow, he is suffering from the worst kind of fate. He is in deep depression, sadness and calamity. If an Arab would look at him, he would say that his eyes have become warm.

One of the worst curses in the ancient Arabic language was: “May Allah make his eyes warm,” which means may he suffer the worst kinds of sorrows in his life.

The exact opposite of this expression is what? The eyes becoming cool. For your sorrows… for your sadness… for your pains to be removed completely and for you to feel peace, tranquillity and joy like nothing else.

I’ll give you a simple example of coolness and warmth of the eyes. Imagine you’re at the airport and there are two pairs – each of a mother and son. One mother is saying farewell to her son as he is flying off somewhere. And the other mother is greeting her son who flew in from somewhere. Both the mothers are crying. But for one the eyes are cool. And for the other the eyes are warm. One is shedding tears of joy as she sees her son after many years; her eyes are becoming cool. But the other is letting go of her son. This is what? The eyes becoming warm. I hope you understand the difference.

A few pieces of context before I go further.

A poet, who was also an assassin in Arabia, said that the eyes of my tribe will remain warm. He was waiting on a sand dune, waiting to kill the tribe leader that had offended his tribe. He made poetry in the meantime (I guess he had got a lot of time). Anyway, he said: “My tribe’s eyes will remain warm…until my dagger isn’t warm with his blood.” In other words, when I kill this guy, only then my tribe’s eyes will become cool. The rage, the frustration, and the humiliation that they felt would only disappear upon this guy’s death. “That’s what I’m here to do, to cool the eyes of my tribe.” So it was a means of relieving frustration, anger and ill-feelings. This is the context in which it is used.

in literature we find the precedent of the “eyes becoming cool” equated with “finding refuge from a storm.”

I want to share a final yet beautiful context in Arabic literature where this expression is found. The Arabs used to travel in the desert and there they would experience sandstorms. And in a sandstorm, the Arab used to wrap his face up because obviously your face is being pounded with sand. That Arab was riding on a camel. Subhan’Allah, Allah (swt) has created the camel in a magnificent fashion. The eyelids of the camel actually trap sand and drop them. It doesn’t even have to blink. It’s got a screen in front of his eyes that captures sand and drops it. We don’t have that ‘screen system’ in our eyes. But the camel does. Now the rider couldn’t afford to cover his eyes… could he? Because if he covered his eyes, he wouldn’t know where he was going! He had to keep his eyes exposed and so finally he found a cave; he found some refuge and he said interestingly, “My eyes have finally become cool.”

In other words, in literature we find the precedent of the “eyes becoming cool” equated with “finding refuge from a storm.”

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

How to Fill Your Spiritual Void

INDONESIA“Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture (the Taurat, Torah)! Have you then no sense? And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashiun [i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)].” (Al-Baqarah 2:44-45)

Is there a spiritual hole inside you?

I would like to share with you yet another reminder. This one is particularly for those of you that are involved in any sort of Islamic activity: volunteering at a Sunday school or an islamic school, helping out at the MSA, working at a youth group, helping put a conference together, bringing educational programs to your community, trying to put together a soup kitchen or a humanitarian cause, putting up a halaqa for the youth. There are so many activites that many of you are involved in and you are doing it for the sake of Islam. It also includes learning the Deen and attending courses.

A lot of times what happens is, and I speak from personal experience, we get caught up with these activities and there is a deepening, widening and gaping spiritual hole inside of us. You are doing all this stuff but your prayers have become empty, you do not enjoy reciting Quran and in your downtime you are addicted to entertainment. You cannot help but watch movie after movie or video after video and YouTube, like you are watching now. Or you do other things to entertain yourself, like video game after video game, and you just cannot help yourself. You are caught up in this cycle, every time you are by yourself, you are just doing these things that you hate yourself for. You know you should be doing something better with your time but you just cannot get yourself to do it. You try to pick up the Quran and recite it, but you just do not do it. You are so busy volunteering, you are tied up in all these things, that even in the most amazing course you have been in, you have not listened to anything because you were helping out. May Allah (swt) reward you for helping out, but you have other needs also, and there is this spiritual hole that needs to be filled.

we get caught up with these activities and there is a deepening, widening and gaping spiritual hole inside of us. You are doing all this stuff but your prayers have become empty, you do not enjoy reciting Quran

Types of Services for the Deen

So there are two kinds of services in this Deen:

  • There are services you provide for others for the sake of Allah (swt). For example, you serve the community or you serve a good cause.
  •  There are things in this Deen you do to make yourself a better person.

You need to have a balance between both of these things.

Allah’s (swt) Complaint to the Children of Israel

The Ayat I recited to you was a complaint Allah (swt) made to the Children of Israel. He (swt) says:

“Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)]! Have you then no sense?” (Al Baqarah 2:44)

In other words, clearly the person who runs the halaqa and the one who is knowledgeable, they are the ones who tell other people to do good. But when they are by themselves, they forget so easily. Why did this person not get it? Why did he not understand?

The Remedy

So then Allah (swt) gives a remedy: if this is your problem, if in your public life you become very active (not to show off but sincerely active) but in your private life you have been devoid of spirituality and Khushu in your prayer, then what should you do?

“And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi’un (i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Seek help in perseverance and patience. Part of the meaning of perseverance is being tough with yourself. Get yourself up to pray, force yourself. Just turn that thing off and go recite some Quran or memorize some Ayat or do some Ibadah or make some Dua, memorize a new Dua or two. Force yourself to do this Sabr.

Seek help in perseverance and patience. Part of the meaning of perseverance is being tough with yourself. Get yourself up to pray, force yourself.

And then He (swt) says:

“Seek help in Salat.” The prayer is supposed to help you get out of this problem. You see, when Allah says “seek help” there is a problem for which you seek help. The problem was (mentioned) in the previous Ayat: you tell people to do good but you forget about yourself.  Allah says, to help yourself get out of this problem, you turn to prayer, you turn to the Salat.

Some Practical Advice for the Brothers

Now, I want to give some very practical advice, especially to the brothers. There are many spiritual excercises in the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), many Azkar, many practices of higher levels, like fasting every Monday and Thursday, and the Tahajjud and Ishraq prayers. But before you talk about any of that, let me just give you some very practical advice: if you can make it to Fajr and Isha to the Masjid and you can do so for a month, two months or three months regularly, without missing a single one, you would have addressed your spiritual problem for the most part. The way you feel after you come back from the Masjid after praying Fajr, you will know that feeling. I cannot argue with you, I cannot give you evidence for it. Rather you yourself will witness it.

[Video] Tips to Wake Up For Fajr Prayer

Are you one of those who have trouble waking up for the Fajr Salah? Do you keep on hitting the snooze button until the sun rises? In this short, two-minute video, Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan presents some handy tips that will help you wake up more effectively for Fajr Salah daily.