Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives (Part 3)

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Verse 4

“Verily! Those who call you from behind the dwellings, most of them have no sense.”

This verse was revealed for the Bedouins. Understand that the life of the Bedouins in the desert is very rough and very harsh. They came to the Prophet (sa) to understand some matters of the religion. At the time, the Prophet (sa) was inside his private chambers. Instead of exhibiting patience, they started to call him out from outside. This verse is admonishing them for their impatience. Note it gives no excuse for their behaviour. It simply says that they “have no sense”. As Muslims, we are obliged to behave responsibly and conduct ourselves as individuals who use their intellect, not as those who have no sense.

Verse 5

“And if they had patience till you could come out to them, it would have been better for them. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

One can imagine that the Bedouins, for whom the previous verse was revealed, must have felt terrible that a verse came directly to admonish them. Allah (swt) is comforting them here. He mentions that He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. If the aforementioned acts of impatience were done out of ignorance, He will forgive. However, now that the warning and the solution is clear, one must not fall prey to impatience. The solution is to repent for previous behaviour and reform one’s ways to ensure one is patient and respectful towards the Prophet (sa).

Verse 6

“O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.”

Consider whom this verse is addressing: “O you who believe” or the believers. Essentially, this means that the instructions that follow are for the believers. Whoever follows these commands will be considered as a believer. Question is: Believe in what? Answer: Believe in Allah (swt) and believe in the commands He has given.

Let’s analyze the verse in more detail. “…a rebellious evil person…” – who is he? The Arabic word is ‘Fasiq’. Literally, Fasiq is derived from the word Fisq, which refers to a date, whose skin is peeling off. It essentially refers to a person, who has deviated from the right path. People can be guilty of either major Fisq or minor Fisq. Those, who engage in the latter, are still considered to be believers. However, those, who do major Fisq, are not considered to be Muslims, because they have crossed all the limits set by Islam. A Fasiq can exercise Fisq in terms of behaviour (calling out to the Prophet [sa] from outside his chambers) or in terms of religion.

Now what happens if someone comes to you and brings you some news? You have to:

  • Analyze the person, who has brought the news;
  • Analyze the content of the news.

People usually go to extremes in following the two-pronged approach. They either refuse to accept any news from the disbelievers, or they accept it without question. True believers take the middle approach. If the person bringing the news is not a believer, verify it and if needed, discard it without giving it a second thought.

If a believer brings some news to you, again, you have to analyze the content. What is this news about? If the person is telling you about someone committing adultery, you immediately discard the news. This is because of the condition that whoever accuses one of adultery has to bring four witnesses, and if this testimony proves to be false, the person bringing the news will be lashed 80 times. Moreover, this individual’s testimony will not be accepted ever again and he will be termed as a Fasiq.

The word used for news in the verse is Naba. Naba refers to major news that has a great impact. Such is the impact of the news that it can affect one’s hearts and one’s relations with others. This is why verification of this news is extremely important, before acting upon it. If one acts upon the news without verification, one falls in the category of being judgemental. One’s attitude towards the other person starts changing. This takes root, until the two people concerned part ways totally.

What are the specific types of news that you do need to verify?

  • News that concerns you directly. If something does not concern you, it doesn’t bother or affect you. Hence, you can easily dismiss it.
  • News that affects you. This type of news creates doubt in your heart about someone close to you. You have to verify that this news is true, before you act upon it. Consider an example: your friend tells you she saw your husband with a lady at a mall at 11:00 pm. When your husband comes home, you will, of course, ask him about it. Suppose he replies he has no idea what you are talking about. He has arrived straight home from a long meeting. You accept this and leave the rest to Allah (swt). Maybe your friend saw someone else. Maybe she did this on purpose to create a rift in your house.

Note: You have to verify with a clean heart and clear intention. What would happen if, in the above example, you start accusing your husband the minute he sets foot inside the house, without giving him a chance to explain? What if you would start checking his cell phone, when he is not around? If you do this, then it simply indicates that you totally believe what your friend said. Since you believe without verifying, Allah (swt) will make your doubts seem as reality. Remember that incorrect ways of verification lead to more doubts. Your heart should not take any sides without verification.

The wisdom behind verification is to ensure you do not end up harming anyone emotionally, out of ignorance. Harming emotionally means backbiting, giving a cold shoulder, discussing negatively with others, etc. You don’t know the true story because you heard only one side and believed it whole-heartedly. Remember that every story has two sides. If you never heard the other side, it means you judged the person whose news was communicated to you, while that poor person has no idea what is being spread about him or her. What if you would later find out that the news was false? Remorse and regret would naturally follow.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) warned us about the punishments for those, who bring news and create rift/enmity between people. It is reported from Hudhaifah (rtam) that news reached him (the Prophet (sa)) that a certain man used to tell tales. Upon this, Hudhaifah (rtam) remarked: “I heard Allah’s Messenger (sa) saying: ‘The tale-bearer shall not enter Paradise.’” (Muslim)

Don’t make it your job to spread people’s news. Refrain from gossiping. Vain talk about people creates enmity and hatred. Some people do this in relation to scholars. They ask one Sheikh about a matter, and then they go to another and ask the same question. Then they quote the first Sheikh to the second one and thus create differences between them.

A very important aspect of spreading information is forwarding emails. Do you verify the content of emails before forwarding them? Are you especially careful with anecdotes and incidents from Islamic history that are written without any references? This is how this verse applies today, when there are Blackberries and Iphones in almost every hand.

Another key point is that you yourself have to be careful. Don’t put yourself in a situation, in which others get a chance to judge you. Consider the following Hadeeth:

Narrated by Ali bin Al-Husain (rtam): Safiya (rtaf), the wife of the Prophet (sa), told me that she went to Allah’s Apostle (sa) to visit him in the Masjid, while he was in Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. She had a talk with him for a while. Then she got up in order to return home. The Prophet (sa) accompanied her. When they reached the gate of the Masjid, opposite the door of Umm Salamah (rtaf), two Ansari men were passing by and they greeted Allah’s Apostle (sa). He told them: “Do not run away!” And said: “She is (my wife) Safiya bint Huyai.” Both of them said: “Subhan’Allah! (How dare we think of any evil), O Allah’s Apostle?” And they felt it. The Prophet (sa) said (to them): “Satan reaches everywhere in the human body, as blood reaches in it (everywhere in one’s body). I was afraid lest Satan might insert an evil thought in your minds.” (Bukhari)

As we can gauge from the aforementioned Hadeeth, it is better to clarify before you are questioned.

Surah Yusuf Teaches Fatherhood

2 surah yusuf teaches fatherhood

Prophet Yusuf (as) was approximately seven years old when he shared with his father a dream he saw. The Quran narrates it: “(Remember) when Yusuf said to his father: ‘O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon – I saw them prostrating themselves to me.’” (Yusuf 12:4) The above Ayah indicates the trust and rapport between father and son. Prophet Yusuf (as) confides in his father.

The Quran has beautifully described the family structure using a parable. The sun has been personified as a father. The moon is like a mother. And the eleven stars are like their children.

If we consider their roles and relationship with each other, we can understand that the sun (father) is the source of light. The moon (mother) draws its strength from the sun. Hence, she stays spiritually and emotionally fulfilled. The father defines the success of the family.

“He (the father) said: ‘O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they should arrange a plot against you. Verily Shaitan (Satan) is to man an open enemy!’” (Yusuf 12:5) Prophet Yaqoob (as) advises his son Yusuf (as) not to reveal his dream to his siblings. He is aware of their inherently jealous nature. As a father, he understands that all kids are not alike. They are likely to err. If a prophet’s sons can make mistakes, how can we expect ours not to?

After informing his son about sibling rivalry, the father also warns him about the role of Shaitan, which is to sow seeds of enmity and break up families.

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Emulating Gardens of Eden…

garden

                                      Image Courtesy www.edendomain.wordpress.com

 

 

The Almighty Lord promises eternal heaven to His righteous servants, and gives detailed descriptions of the wonderful life that awaits them. In the land of ceaseless happiness and beauty, believers will have everything their hearts desire, while sorrow and grief leave them forever.

By the grace of Allah (swt), we are, to an extent, able to picture the beauty of life in heaven.

For instance, the verse that reads, “The description of Paradise which the Muttaqun (pious – see V.2:2) have been promised is that in it are rivers of water the taste and smell of which are not changed; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine delicious to those who drink; and rivers of clarified honey (clear and pure) therein for them is every kind of fruit;” (Muhammad 47:15) – makes it clear that beauty of paradise is beyond imagination.

Muslims throughout history have striven to emulate those beauties on Earth in an attempt to glorify the name of Allah (swt). As a result of this noble ambition, Muslim civilizations from Ottomans to Al Andalus, and from Abbasids to Iran, have been able to produce some of the most incredible art the world has ever seen.

The blue mosque in Istanbul, the Nasirol Molk Mosque in Iran, the legendary gardens of Alhambra Palace, and Taj Mahal, are only a few of those architectural wonders inspired by the beautiful descriptions of heaven in Quran.

Since, gardens are given a particular mention in the Quran, Muslim architects paid special attention to their gardens, and produced exquisite designs based on the descriptions they found in the Holy Book of Islam. Alhambra Palace and its magnificent gardens in modern-day Spain is a grand example.

Under the Caliphate of Córdoba, Al Andalus was a beacon of culture; and the city of Cordoba, shone as a cultural and economic centre in Europe. The civilisation was so advanced; many intellectual achievements that propelled humanity forward, such as trigonometry, astronomy, surgery and pharmacology, came from this part of the world. At a time, when Europe was grappling with the darkness of the Middle Ages, the Muslim civilisation of Al Andalusia thrived and prospered.

Unsurprisingly, Al Andalusia had some of the finest examples of garden landscaping. The elements of flowing water, shade and lush greenery that were amply used were drawn from the descriptions of heaven in Quran. 

In Quran, our Lord refers to gardens underneath which rivers flow. In Alhambra, Granada, the Nasrid dynasty designed a beautiful series of magnificent courtyards that sought to create such scenes- as much as possible- in worldly terms. In these courtyards, water was always at the centre.

The Court of Myrtles, a large pool bordered by myrtle hedges, and the Court of Lions, with its exquisite fountain, are just two examples. The gardens that extend from the courtyard form another series of courtyards.

However, they were made not by walls, but by hedges and trees, effectively creating secluded areas, as yet another attempt at emulating gardens of Paradise. Rose, jasmine and violet gardens and orchards were common sights. Fig, pomegranate, cherry, citrus, peach and almond trees with their abundant blossoms and fruits played important roles in gardens inspired by descriptions of heaven in Quran.

Despite these impressive achievements of Muslim civilizations, today’s Islamic countries paint a completely different picture.

Stagnation, radicalism, poverty, and backward societies dominate the majority of the Islamic landscape. No doubt this is mainly due to Muslims’ abandonment of Quran, which effectively deprived them of all the beauties Quran provided, including the refreshing and authentic art insight.

Nevertheless, it is never too late to correct mistakes and return to the essence of our beautiful religion. Once the Muslims embrace the real Islam in Quran, abandon the superstitions that give rise to radicalism and bigotry, they will rise stronger than ever. When that happens, there is no doubt that the art and culture that was once envied by the world will shine once again.

Feed Your Heart in Ramadan – A Beautiful Reminder

 

heart-purification                                                   Image Courtesy www.ramadan.co.uk

 

Many Muslims approach Ramadan very much like they do in previous years. They slip into similar habits and routines, and their ibadah from one Ramadan to the next is predictable. They may have the same taraweeh schedules, read similar quantities of Quran, or perform similar types of ibadah. And they end up coming out of Ramadan very much like they did the year before.

The Prophet (sa) said: “The example of hypocrisy in it (the heart) is like an ulcer that thrives on blood and pus.” (Ahmad)

You might be wondering what that even means; the end of the hadith explains it, and specifically in Ramadan we can see how it benefits us.

The Prophet (sa) further said: “Whichever one of the two (faith or hypocrisy) is getting more, whichever one of the two has the upper hand; the heart will follow suits; the heart will be overcome by that.” (Ahmad)

What does that mean? What you feed your hearts is supposed to directly impact whether or not your heart will be that of a Mumin or a Munafiq; a believer or a hypocrite. When you go to rehabilitation it’s about quitting things, and so if I am going to Taraweeh every night but while I am at home I have the TV on and I am still spending the same amount of time on internet and I am still talking about the same types of things to people and I am hanging out with the same group of people who are polluting and corrupting my heart then I am feeding the plants or I am feeding the ulcer? You are feeding the ulcer and the Prophet (sa) taught us to feed the plants specially in Ramadan. You are cutting out all these things which feed the ulcer. This is the meaning of the Hadeeth and Rasulullah (sa) said: “Whoever does not abandon idol speech, foolishness and backbiting (and the flaws of the tongue), Allah has no need of him abandoning his food and his desire; Allah does not want all that.”

Your heart has to fast as well; your limbs have to fast as well; so what are you feeding your heart in Ramadan? If you are feeding the Quran and you are feeding the Dhikr of Allah (swt), you are feeding the good material, listening to beneficial things for the entire month, throughout the month the plant in your heart is growing, your Iman is growing because you are feeding it with the pure water and sustaining it with pure water.

Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi said: “If you find the darkness in your hearts after you commit a sin then that means you still have light in your heart”; because if there was no light in the heart you would not have felt the darkness, (think about it, it is profound). If you still feel bad and uncomfortable in Ramadan when the stuff is going on and outside of the Ramadan as well, you still feel bad, you still have the guilty conscious; this means there is still Noor in your heart; there is some form of light in your heart.

The great scholar from the 9th century Than-Noon Al-Masri said: “Just as a sick body cannot enjoy fine food, a sick heart cannot enjoy worshipping Allah.” So if you are feeding that ulcer and you go to Taraweeh later, what’s going to happen? It’s not going to do anything. The great lecture and everything that you are hearing is not going to work because you have been feeding an ulcer for nine hours; now you are just trying to feed this plant for an hour a day; the plant will die.

So use Ramadan in particular to bring in the right things into your home and into your heart; surround yourself with things that will feed that plant; that will nourish that plant of Iman inside your heart.

Transcribed for Hiba Magazine by Hira Naqi

 

15 Common Mistakes in Ramadan

 

Common Mistakes

                                             Image Courtesy www.infoaboutislam.blogspot.com

 

Video URL ->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5sZWEWl6zQ

 

Errors committed regarding the rules and regulations of fasting

  1. The most common is that the Muslims- many a times- they don’t do Niyyah for fasting.Intention is very important; without Niyyah, without intention, the fasting is not accepted. Hence, making intention is obligatory.
  2. Many Muslims continue eating their Sehri even after the Fajr Adhan has started; and they think that the end of the Suhoor time is only at the end of the Fajr Adhan. In fact, the moment the Fajr Adhan starts, the moment the beginning of Dawn starts, the Suhoor time ends. So, this is error which normally nullifies or invalidates the fast.
  3. The third error is that many people delay paying their Zakat-ul- Fitr; and many a times, they pay that after Eid-ul-Fitr Salah. If we pay the Zakat-ul- Fitr after Eid-ul-Fitr, then it is like normal charity, it does not come under the Zakat-ul- Fitr.

Errors contradictory to the Sunnah of fasting

  1. Many people skip the Suhoor.
  2. Some people have an early Suhoor i.e. they have the suhoor one or two hours before the Fajr time; in fact the Suhoor is a blessing- every Muslim should have it. And, the Prophet (sa) said: “You should delay the Suhoor as much as possible.” Thus, you can have Suhoor till just before the Fajr time.
  3. The third mistake committed by Muslims in this category is that they delay opening their fast- that is they delay their Iftar. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: ‘The people will be good, as long as, they hasten in breaking their fast. That means immediately after sunset, they should have their Iftar.
  4. Many Muslims read unauthentic Dua during Iftar. The most authentic Dua for Iftar is:

dua-roza

Meaning: “My thirst is quenched, the veins are moistened, and the Ajr is near Insha’Allah (God willing the reward is near).”

  1. Some people when they read this Dua for breaking the fast, they say it before breaking the fast. Before they put the date in their mouth, they say this Dua; and its contradictory to its meanings- that my thirst has been quenched, and the veins have been moistened- thirst cannot be quenched before breaking the fast. So normally, it should be said after you eat the date, after you have water, and you are satisfied- may be some minutes after you break the fast, you can read this Dua.
  2. Many Muslims eat excessively during Iftar, and many of them, even eat throughout the night.
  3. They are negligent, as far as, Taraweeh are concerned. Because Taraweeh is not a Fardh-they think there is no problem if a Muslim misses Taraweeh. Though Taraweeh is not a Fard, but it’s a very important Sunnah; and a Muslim who misses Taraweeh, is missing a great reward.
  4. Many Muslims who perform Taraweeh, they read very fast- 100 miles per hour. They try to finish it in short time, and they defeat the purpose; in fact, they should read it in the moderate pace so that people understand, and they grasp the words of Allah (swt).
  5. Those who go for Itikaf in the mosque, many of them socialize during Itikaf- as though it’s the time to meet people and friends- which is totally contrary to the Sunnah.
  6. Many Muslims think that the Laylatul Qadr is on the 27th night of the Ramadan, and they only worship Allah (swt) on this night. In fact, the beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Search for the laylatul Qadr in the odd nights of the last 10 days (the last Ashra).” Therefore, Laylatul Qadr can either fall on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, or 29th Hence, this is one of the common errors made by Muslims.
  7. They spend their time during Ramadan in unproductive work rather than engaging in Dhikr, and worshiping Allah (swt). They must rather spend time offering the Nawafil (the voluntary Salah) – the Sunnah Salah besides the compulsory Salah.
  8. They should do a lot of Dua.
  9. Ask for forgiveness; this is the month of forgiveness.
  10. They should read the Quran- as much as possible- to get blessing of Allah (swt).
  11. They fast and they keep themselves hungry; but basically, they are not mentally prepared for the fast. And, it is as though, they are staying hungry. But, the main purpose of fasting is to acquire Taqwa which is not obtained.

Transcribed for Hiba Magazine by Hira Naqi

Ramadan Deal: Feed your Faith; Spare your Waist!

ramadan-overating

                                             Image Courtesy www.thefitnessgrail.wordpress.com

As I was sitting in my lounge, penning down my grocery shopping list for the weekend, I realised that the month of Ramadan was not too far and probably in a week or two I’d have to make a more comprehensive list of grocery supplies for the Holy month. My ever wandering mind drifted back to those good old days in Pakistan where we enjoyed the blessings of Ramadan with our loved ones- mum waking us up for Sehri, being constantly aware of “no backbiting” in office, Taraweeh, those deliciously mouth-watering Iftar by mum! Oh and how can I forget those Iftar trips to various restaurants!

The Drop-Dead deals

The Iftar trips had started some 12-13 years back for me when the Pizza Hut- all you can eat banners- had taken Karachi by storm. I think that Ramadan, I visited Pizza Hut twice for the “all you can eat” deal, and now when I think back to that day- I laugh at myself! All I had that day were perhaps three slices of Pizza, some salad, and perhaps, two glasses of cold drink. And, I hardly got a place to offer my Maghrib prayers that day. So much for the tempting all you can eat!

The magic in 99

And then, it started to become a habit, more of a hobby, to explore the “all you can eat” deals of various restaurants. It wasn’t just me- school, college, and even at work, there were always discussions about where we would go out for Iftar. Just like branded lawns, this started to become a trend. And, the prices kept going up Rs. 299 then Rs. 499, and now perhaps, as high as Rs. 1499 with each restaurant, offering a different variety in its so-called “all you can eat”. And, we kept encouraging these restaurants to keep hiking their prices. Trust me- when I say that there may be over a hundred restaurant offering Iftar deals in Karachi alone, but still they are met with an unlimited demand. What we fail to realise is that no matter how much we eat at these Iftar buffets, the restaurant still manages to earn more than 100% profit on it.

Go on a diet and donate!

However, thinking rationally- if on an average I am spending Rs. 1000 per visit, and I am going out thrice, that means I’ve thrown away money that could have fed a poor family of four for not three days, but for a whole month!

Looking at the value for money, we get at these Iftar expeditions; I’d say they are a bit too extravagant. Moreover, in order to try out each delicacy offered at these buffets, we tend to waste a lot of food as well. Spending so much, and then ending up wasting food too; isn’t that quite contrary to the purpose of Ramadan and fasting?

Allah (swt) has said in the Quran: “…and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-A’raf 7:31)

And again,

“And give to the kindred his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaytan (Devil – Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord.” (Al-Isra 17:2 -27)

Need I say more? Let’s imagine that perhaps if each of us decides to forgo at least one such Iftar trips this Ramadan, and I mean just one (I know it’s pretty hard to give up on the whole institution of “Iftar deals”), and donate the amount you would have spent on that lavish meal to someone who needs it.

Surely, our religion has made Zakat obligatory for this very purpose; however, modesty and helping the needy has always been encouraged by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Quran. Moreover, if spending Rs. 1000 to help someone could save you from some accountability on that day, I believe it’s not a bad deal!

Hence, this Ramadan let’s change the trend! Let us not be too extravagant in our behaviour. Re-think the restaurant trips, and strive to bring a change. Who knows giving up one such trip, and feeding a hungry stomach might bring so many Duas, happiness and abundance to you. Insha’Allah.

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.

The Well-Guarded Sky – A Miracle of the Quran

sky                                                 Image courtesy http://science-all.com

 

Fourteen centuries ago, Allah (swt) sent down the Quran. This book of guidance and wisdom calls man to the truth, and instructs all human beings to adhere to the values which this mighty revelation contains. From the day of its revelation to the Day of Judgement, this last Divine book will remain as the sole guide for humanity.

 

“But it is nothing else than a Reminder to all the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).”  (Al-Qalam 68:52)

 

As well as being the book of guidance for all the believers, there are many scientific facts that are informed to humanity in the verses of the Quran, which have only been discovered by scientists with the aid of the technological advancement of the 20th and 21st centuries.

 

One of the many miracles of the Quran is an important attribute of the sky,

And We have made the heaven a roof, safe and well guarded. Yet they turn away from its signs (i.e. sun, moon, winds, clouds, etc.)” (Al-Anbiya 21:32)

 

This attribute of the sky has been proved by scientific research carried out in the 20th century. The atmosphere surrounding the Earth serves crucial functions for the continuity of life. While destroying many meteors- big and small- as they approach the Earth, it prevents them from falling on Earth and harming living things.

 

In addition, the atmosphere filters the light rays coming from space that are harmful to living things. The most striking feature of this function of the atmosphere is that it lets only harmless and useful rays- visible light, near ultraviolet light and radio waves- pass through. All of this radiation is vital for life. Near ultraviolet rays, which are only partially let in by the atmosphere, are very important for the photosynthesis of plants and for the survival of all living things. The majority of the intense ultraviolet rays emitted from the Sun are filtered out by the ozone layer of the atmosphere. Only a limited and essential part of the ultraviolet spectrum reaches the Earth.

 

The protective function of the atmosphere does not end here. The atmosphere also protects the Earth from the freezing cold of the space, which is approximately -270 ◦C (-454 ◦F).

 

It is not only the atmosphere that protects the Earth from harmful effects. In addition to the atmosphere, the Van Allen Belt- the layer caused by the magnetic field of the Earth-also serves as a shield against the harmful radiation that threatens our planet. This radiation, which is constantly emitted by the Sun and other stars, is deadly to living things. If the Van Allen belt did not exist, the massive outbursts of energy called solar flares that frequently occur in the Sun would destroy all life on Earth.

 

On the importance of the Van Allen Belt, Dr. Hugh Ross says:

In fact, the Earth has the highest density of any of the planets in our Solar System. This large nickel-iron core is responsible for our large magnetic field. This magnetic field produces the Van-Allen radiation shield, which protects the Earth from radiation bombardment. If this shield was not present, life would not be possible on the Earth. The only other rocky planet to have any magnetic field is Mercury- but its field strength is 100 times less than the Earth’s. Even Venus, our sister planet, has no magnetic field. The Van-Allen radiation shield is a design unique to the Earth.

 

The energy transmitted in just one of these bursts detected in recent years was calculated to be equivalent to 100 billion atomic bombs, each akin to one dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. Fifty-eight hours after the burst, it was observed that the magnetic needles of compasses displayed unusual movement; and 250 kilometres (155 miles) above the Earth’s atmosphere, the temperature suddenly increased to 2,500 ◦C (4,532 ◦F).

 

A perfect system is at work high above the Earth. It surrounds our world, and protects it against external threats. Centuries ago, Allah (swt) informed us in the Quran of the world’s atmosphere functioning as a protective shield.

In Service to the Book of Allah – Sheikh Muhammad Ayub

QuranPage

By Ejaz Taj

It was at Fajr time this morning; I received the sad news about the passing of our beloved Sheikh Muhammad Ayub from his son in Madinah. He was a man whose life was in service to the Book of Allah (swt) and its teaching – from his earliest days to his final moments before returning to his Lord. He was born in a poor Burmese migrant family living in Makkah, in 1952. His family had fled oppression against Muslims in their native Burma. His childhood was difficult. Being the eldest of his siblings, he had to work to provide for his family (as his father was imprisoned in Burma). At the same time, he attended his daily Hifz classes in Makkah.

At that time, there were very few roads developed, and no tunnels were constructed through the mountains that we see today. The Sheikh mentioned in a rare interview that his daily journey used to be on foot to the Masjid where he studied; his route involved ascending and descending two steep hills, between which were wild dogs and other desert creatures. This is a testament to his dedication from a young age in this era of Skype classes from the comfort of our bedrooms.

As he grew older, he showed a great aptitude for the recitation of the Quran – impressing his teacher Sheikh Khaleel-ur-Rahman, who held in a high standard. The Sheikh accompanied his teacher wherever he went, practising and perfecting his recitation.

In the year 1410 AH (1990), the Sheikh had just been given the position of Imam in Masjid Quba. The head Imam of Masjid Nabawi at that time, Sheikh Abdul Aziz As-Salih, was informed of a new Imam by the name of Muhammad Ayub in Masjid Quba who was known for his beautiful voice and excellent skill in recitation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz, towards the end of Shaban, summoned Muhammad Ayub to a gathering. In the end, he called him to sit next to him in front of everyone and asked him to recite. The Sheikh, unsure of what exactly was happening, proceeded to recite, something that was as natural to him as breathing; he managed to impress everyone in the gathering by his eloquent recitation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz, taken aback, immediately said to him (with only a few days notice before the start of Ramadan) “You will be leading Taraweeh in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah (sa).” Dazed and unable to believe what had just happened, he prepared himself for the great moment.

He said about his first night in the Mihrab of the Prophet’s (sa) Masjid: “My heart was racing and my ears were buzzing. My hands were shaking uncontrollably from the greatness of where I stood and in remembrance of those who stood here before me. I sought refuge with Allah (swt) and proceeded.” He also said: “Every single time I stood at the Mihrab of the Messenger of Allah (sa), I was filled with intense awe and a deep fear; fear that I would not be able to do justice to this great position, nor fulfil this heavy responsibility on my shoulders.”

In his first year as Imam, he led all twenty Rakahs of Taraweeh alone for the entire Ramadan apart from three days. This feat was matched only by one other Imam of the Haram Sheikh Ali Jabir in Masjid Haram (who was a close friend of his and over whom he led the Janazah). His teacher Sheikh Khaleel-ur-Rahman was away when Sheikh Muhammad Ayub got appointed as an Imam and only found out when he heard his student on the live radio broadcast from Masjid Nabawi. He would then call him every day, pray for him, and remind him of the importance of sincerity.

The Sheikh continued to lead the Taraweeh and Tahajjud in the Haram till 1417 after which he was removed. He spent a few years leading at Masjid Quba and various other Masajid. He moved on to teaching Tafseer at the Islamic University until his retirement in 2014. The Sheikh travelled extensively delivering lectures and study programmes on Arabic Language, Quran, Aqeedah, and Fiqh in places such as Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Senegal, and Turkey. Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham hosted him in the 90s where the Sheikh led the Taraweeh prayers.

After his retirement, the Sheikh took on a handful of dedicated Huffadh, who he would listen to in order to give them Ijazah, daily in Masjid Nabawi, until he passed away. Despite his ill health, he did this daily and never failed to show up, often listening to four students simultaneously while stopping and correcting each one. This is something that I witnessed personally. He would then head back to his Masjid where he led Isha and Fajr every day.

He holds a very unique position in the world of Quran reciters; respected widely by the Qurra from all backgrounds and nationalities. He had a massive impact on reciters in Saudi Arabia in general being a master of the Hijazi style which, by his aptitude and position at Masjid Nabawi, became very popular. Mishary Rashid, in a show about the biographies of modern day Qurra, said about the Sheikh: “He was the Mustafa Ismail of the Arabian Peninsula; he was far more influential in shaping the recitation of many reciters, and Imam of Masajid in that region than anyone else.” Today, he is widely imitated, even in the Haramain with Imam, such as:

Abdullah Johani, Bandar Baleela, Ahmad Talib Hameed and Khalid Al-Ghamidi, in both Makkah and Madinah, demonstrating deep influence by him, as they studied the Quran themselves.

He maintained a sadness that remained with him after no longer being appointed to lead at Masjid Nabawi in 1417 AH. The Sheikh mentioned in an interview when asked about his wishes for the future that he hoped he would be given the opportunity to lead in the Prophet’s (sa) Masjid one last time before he returns to Allah (swt). His Dua was answered as he was appointed one last time to lead the Taraweeh in the final Ramadan of his life in 1436 AH (2015) before returning to His Lord at Fajr 9th Rajab 1437 AH (16th April 2016).

I was blessed to meet the Sheikh a number of times. I felt honoured praying behind him in Ramadan 2015, and again just two weeks ago before his passing, in Masjid Nabawi as he sat and listened to his students. His final words to me were:

“The Arabic language is not difficult. Had it been as such, we would not have been able to memorise and learn the Book of Allah (swt), as it has been today from East to West.”

The Janazah was held on the 16th of April 2016 after Dhuhr in Masjid Nabawi. The Sheikh had thirteen children: five sons and eight daughters. The men are all Huffadh and well-accomplished within their fields; and a handful of the women are Huffadh, some still memorising, and also well studied in their respective fields.

May Allah (swt) raise him in rank in the hereafter; and may He allow the Book to which he dedicated his life to intercede for him in the grave and on Qiyamah. May Allah (swt) join him with the Messenger of Allah (sa), Abu Bakr (rta), Umar (rta), Uthman (rta), Ali (rta), and all those of the righteous with whom he shared the Imamat of that blessed Masjid throughout history, in the Akhirah. Ameen.

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

Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Religious Studies

studies

 

  1. Give it priority. Make time for Islamic studies and Quran recitation every day, and make that time important and special. Don’t let yourself and your children get distracted by the demands of hectic daily routines. Let them know that learning about their religion is important, even more important than housework or school homework! Value their achievements in reading or memorizing the Quran more than other academic achievements.
  2. Be an example. It’s hard to expect your children to spend lots of time reading the Quran or learning Duas, if they hardly ever see you doing that. If you want your child to become a Hafiz, why don’t you start studying together? If you can find an excuse not to, so does your child. 

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine.

Pre-requisites for the Quranic Reforms

quran-2Written by Mrs. Sumayya Ramzan (Kuwait). Translated by Raziuddin Syed (National Academy of Islamic Research Karachi)

The Holy Quran inculcates in a man’s personage that revolutionary reformation which moulds him into a firmament, absolute new to the world; and later, enables him to greet the change as his sole remedy. Only then the repercussions manifest, and only then the world gets a real behavioural change.

Actual Quranic models of such transformation, concerning the entire humanity, are the pious and committed companions of the Holy Prophet of Allah (sa) who had in their dark ages been deeply accustomed to pass their lives in sheer ignorance and bloodshed. But when moulded in the mint of Quran, they proved to be such nice people that mankind still feels proud of them.

Who can evaluate the vigour and capability this great Book carries in itself to develop the marvelous changes needed in the mankind for a healthy and civilized society? Who could ever imagine of people settled in deserts, who were indigent, bare footed, poorly dressed, uneducated, carried just a marginal intellect, and were never counted among the super powers of the then world, could escalate to the skies right from the dust? Noteworthy is the phenomenon that this entire change appeared in her life virtually, only when she stood determined to hold fast the chain of the Quran, to tie herself to  the Allah’s (swt) guidance, and to beseech Allah’s (swt) pleasure as the primary objective of her life.

Amazingly, the Quran brought this all-encompassing reform in a period of mere few years in an attempt to exhibit to the masses that just a small period suffices for a major reshuffle in their character depending albeit upon their desire to welcome that revolution.

Question arises: How did all that happen? How a community absolutely uncultured and in dire ignorance, turned into the most civilized and commanding nation of the earth?

Only strict determination and desire of a community to welcome that reform in its routine, daily business form the prerequisite for benefitting from the Quranic teachings.

Allah (swt) says,

“Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah). But when Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector.” (Al-Ra’d 13:11)

It was thus, within the years, that from amidst the desert  and ignorance (Jahiliyah), people rose to the zenith dismantling the then dominating vast and vibrant empires of Rome, Babylon, and Persia etc.; and later,  forwarded to them were the tools- altogether fresh for the world- for the evaluation and measurement of dignity and status of a person / nation.

………………………………………………………………………….

An excerpt from the translated book of Sumayya Ramzan: Abiding by the Quran

Miracles of the Quran: The structure of cartilage mentioned in the Qur’an

h9991920_001Information about the stages of human development inside the mother’s womb is provided in the verses of the Quran- Like it is said that the bones form first in the womb, muscles then appear and surround these bones,

“Then We made the Nutfah into a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood), then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh, then We made out of that little lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators.” (Al-Mu’minun 23:14)

Until recently, the bones and muscles were thought to develop together inside the womb. However, advances in the science of embryology- which studies development inside the womb- have revealed that this is incorrect; and the description in the Quran is absolutely correct. Microscopic examination also shows that development in the womb takes place exactly in line with the description in verses. Cartilage forms first in the embryo after which this cartilage tissue turns into bone. Subsequently, muscle cells are selected from the tissue around the bones, and come together around them. Hence, the findings of modern embryology are in complete agreement with the stages of human development revealed in the Quran.

Cartilage is one of the proofs of Allah’s (swt) matchless creation. It is an especially created and vitally important structure. Every glorious detail in cartilage has a structure far too perfect to be capable of reproduction by human hands. By means of the presence of this flawless structure, people never need to reflect on how the functions of the spinal cord and joints will come into being; or on how their airways must always be kept open in order for them to breathe. This perfect creation cartilage reveals one very small part of our Almighty Lord’s sublime creative artistry. As Almighty Allah (swt) says in one verse,

“Such is Allah, your Lord! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Creator of all things. So worship Him (Alone), and He is the Wakil (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian, etc.) over all things.” (Al-An’am 6:102)

Examples of Allah’s (swt) sublime creation, such as cartilage, are all means whereby people can turn to Allah (swt), and appreciate His might and greatness; and give thanks to Allah (swt), Who bestows their immaculate bodies, with all its many superior features, of which they may or may not be aware.

A Warm Welcome to Winter

winter

Just take a walk amidst the cold

You will find a ray of hope

Those white snowy lands, and chilly winds blowing

Makes you realize that Allah (swt) is All-Knowing

He knows the human psyche so well

That He has offered us with variety, to happily dwell

They say winter is depressing, and drains one’s power

I say winter is the month of believer, and an energizer

We often hear people nag about the drop in temperature

It has blessings in disguise; let’s make use of this venture

Days are shorter, nights are long

Return spiritually to Him- to whom we belong

Fast the days, and pray the night prayers

Rekindle the faith, and keep it with care

Activities are put to halt, atmosphere is lazy

Read Quran to remove any perception that is hazy

It is an opportunity to be in love with your Rabb, and strengthen the tie

Buckle up O Muslim, for time flies.

 

Jameelah Umm Saad (ra) and her relationship with the Quran

quill-and-scrollWhile Allah (swt) honoured women, we seem to bring our ladies down by limiting their choices. While Allah (swt) instructs equal treatment, we differentiate between our sons and daughters. One such example is: aspiring for our sons to be scholars of Islam and memorisers of the Book of Allah (swt), but we do not choose the same for our daughters. They are to walk the same, regular, boring path that many women have followed for years.

Today, as many means of acquiring knowledge open up, it is delightful to see women setting up their bars high. Disregarding their age and time constraints, women are taking the initiative to learn the Book of Allah (swt). Taking a step further, some have even dared to undertake the intimidating journey of memorising the Quran. If for some reason they are unable to do it themselves, they are helping and encouraging their daughters to do so.

Hafidha Quran

As per the custom of Arabia, the good friends and close relatives took care of their beloved’s family if he died. Umm Saad (ra), the child that never got to see her father was not abandoned. The daughter of the benevolent servant of Allah (swt) was looked after by another generous man – none other than Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (ra).

Many parents fear what will become of their children if they die. Stories of the Companions (ra) and the righteous, tell us that if you are a God-fearing person, Allah (swt) will not forsake your children. Entrust your children and your matters to Him, while living a life of obedience and servitude.

Many parents fear what will become of their children if they die. Stories of the Companions (ra) and the righteous, tell us that if you are a God-fearing person, Allah (swt) will not forsake your children.

Growing up under the care of Abu Bakr (ra), Umm Saad (ra) developed love for the Words of Allah (swt). If the Christians would cry hearing the recitation of Abu Bakr (ra), one can only imagine how heart-touching his recitation must be.

It is said that Jameelah, Umm Saad (ra), recited the Quran beautifully. Knowing how to recite the Quran, she was not content with mere recitation. She went a step further, and memorised it.

How did Allah (swt) reward her?

He married her to Zayd ibn Thabit (ra). The Companion (ra) assigned with the task to compile the Quran into a Mus-haf (written book). Zayd (ra) started memorising the Qur’an when he was a young boy in Madinah who had not even met the Prophet (sa). When the Prophet (sa) arrived in Madinah, Zayd (ra) was introduced to him in these words, “O Prophet of Allah (sa)! This child of ours knows by heart seventeen chapters of the Book, and recites them as accurately as they were revealed to you. Besides, he is well-versed in the matters of reading and writing. He wishes to be close to you. Listen to him, if you will.”

The Prophet (sa) listened to the boy’s recitation and found him to be clear and accurate. Witnessing his linguistic talent, the Prophet (sa) instructed young Zayd (ra) to learn Hebrew, thus facilitating the communication with the Jews. Thereon, Zayd (ra) became the official interpreter for the Prophet (sa).

Later, the couple together helped one another and the Companions (ra) in compiling and proofreading the Quran. A service that they will be forever remembered for.

Lessons: We learn how important it is to put our trust in Allah (swt), conform to the teachings and hand over our matters to Him. Apprehensions do not provide solutions, but cause fatigue.

We also learn how important it is to surround ourselves and our children with the right company; people who inspire us. Growing up with the love of the Quran and Allah (swt), one’s faith strengthens and he gets a direction in a life; not only that, but Allah (swt) becomes the Protector and Supporter of such a person. A widow, as Khalada (ra), worrying about her orphaned daughter’s marriage gets one of the best men in town as her son-in-law.

We also learn how important it is to surround ourselves and our children with the right company; people who inspire us.

In the case of Zayd (ra), we see what wonders little encouragement from the adults can do. The elders acknowledged that Zayd (ra) was talented. He was their pride. They were, however, not complacent with his current achievements, they aspired him to go higher and higher. His special skills were not used in chasing the worldly charms only, but for the service of religion as well.

How do we limit our children? Do we acknowledge their special gifts? Do we help them in finding the right direction or do we choose the same, usual path for them? Do we encourage our daughters? Do we encourage them to read, write and teach? Are they confident in their love for Islam and Allah (swt)?

May Allah (swt) allow us to look at our skills, enable us to refine them and use them in His Cause. May He also put blessing in our time and enable us to not waste it. Ameen.

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

Be the Forerunner – Don’t Delay Good Deeds

3D people competing‘Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah!’ I turned my head to left saying Salam, ending my Taraweeh and then hurried opening my bag. She was sniffing and I knew she was having a hard time praying. I thought to give her my tissue pack as soon as our prayer ends. And then, it had ended but I was unable to handle her that. I was shy. That was a new place for me. I did not know their language. And above all, there were two girls between us, I wasn’t even sure if I could cross them and hand her the tissues. ‘What if it’s impolite here? I don’t even know their culture.’ She sniffed again.
‘Just give her. If you intend good, go for it.’ thinking this I leaned forward. Just when I was about to hand her a tissue pack, the girl between us handed her one. She took it and gave her a beautiful Dua. I sat back with my tissue pack and a saddened heart.
This wasn’t the first time I had lost my chance.

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“…Then of them are some who wrong their ownselves, and of them are some who follow a middle course, and of them are some who are, by Allah’s Leave, foremost in good deeds. That (inheritance of the Qur’an), that is indeed a great grace…” (Fatir35:32)

Sitting in the lawn and having my lunch, I was still engrossed in that day’s lesson. The Ayah had left me in awe. Just the thought of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa) running for good deeds, in order to surpass in goodness, made me smile. ‘I won’t lose my chance of a good deed ever again, I will forerun, Insha’Allah!’ I promised myself and continued eating.
After a little while, I saw somebody dropping some trash near the classroom. It was a little away from where I was sitting with friends. “Let me get up and throw it in the dust bin. I will keep this place clean; this is where we learn about Allah (swt).” I had my next bite thinking. “Yeah just this last bite, I am going to get up.” I wiped my hands, drank few sips of water. “I am going to do this for Allah (swt) because cleanliness is my Deen. He gave me a chance to do this, I am so lucky.” Muttering as I was walking towards it slowly, feeling happy about this little good deed I was about to do. Just when I reached closer, someone picked it up seconds before me and threw it in the bin. She turned back and smiled, “Did I just win?” She was my teacher and was referring to the lesson she had taught earlier.
“I thought I will pick it up after a bite. I was coming here anyway.” I explained myself. The truth is, I hated it. I wanted to fore-run her.

“When He gives you a chance to do something good, do not give it a second thought. He has His mighty army. Always ready. If you hesitate, someone else will take over. Remember, it’s a competition!” She tapped my shoulder and walked away.

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We are sent to this Dunya for a trial period. We are being tested every day, every moment. Sometimes, we go through happy moments, and other times we are afflicted with hardships. We are taught to face these times with gratitude, patience and sacrifice. It is our connection with His Majesty that matters in every situation. However, there are some other times when we are tested with the chances to do good deeds. These are the times when we have option to either perform a certain action of goodness or go past it. The fact is, though usually not considered- this is also a form of test.

When He gives you a chance to perform a virtue, He actually has chosen you over entire mankind. He wants you to get up and do it. He has opened the door for you. He has let the angels write your name in their Book, while you perform the act of goodness. He has blessed you with His mercy. This is your moment to pick. However, if you delay your performance by ignoring it or over thinking due to the pinches of Satan, then know that Allah (swt) does not need your service. There are people whose hearts are full of Iman. Their eagerness to do good deeds is like a gushing stream. They are ready to die in His way. They would run and compete with others just for the sake of His pleasure. When you lose your chances of goodness, remember that Allah (swt) is not dependent on your choices. That deed will be done, anyway. But you, my friend, have lost your chance!

“For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers). So hasten towards all that is good. Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, Allah is Able to do all things.” (Al-Baqarah 2:148)

Next time, when you see an old lady wanting to cross road, do not delay. Go hold her hand and help. When you see an injured cat, mumbling on roadside, do not go past it. When you see two people fighting, do not ignore. When you see a hungry man crying, do not hesitate. When you see an orphan with no clothes, do not neglect. When you are invited for charity work, do not overlook.

When you see, a chance to do good, do not think twice, Be a forerunner!