Why do bad things happen?

question mark with speech bubles, vector on the abstract backgroundAfter preparing for lunch and dinner, and cleaning up, I was fully tired.

I grabbed my eleven month old along with three years old and entered the room to find a messy sheet; a room with toys scattered everywhere. How exhausted I was!

I was thinking how to fold the huge pile of clothes lying in a corner.

Cell beeps…

It was a message saying that there was an earth quake all over Pakistan.

Fear shook me off; some sensations ran down my spine and my legs felt so weak.

I realized that I had postponed my Dhuhr prayer to complete the house chores.

In anguish and awe, I rushed to perform Wudu and prayed. The prayer was different from the ones before. As if the earthquake had shaken me away from my endorsed life full with materialism and worldly affairs.

One thing occupied my mind, what if I die under the rubble of my fallen house? What will I be taking with me to my grave? Have I prepared enough? Am I satisfied with standing in front of Allah (swt)?  The answers were surely not affirmative.

We believe that we are safe. It’s happening with the rest of our country, and in farfetched areas. It cannot touch us, nor can it harm us, neither can it leave us devastated.

Whenever I think of the Makkah crane crash, it leaves me perplexed and astonished. As in my perception, nothing bad can happen to good people- especially not in the holy place like Haram; and moreover, not when performing Tawaf or offering prayers. So why does it happen? Why it happened to them? Were they not pious? Why the blessings (Rehma) of Allah (swt) did not wrap them safe and sound?

When a calamity strikes, we often comment in the shade of our distorted belief. For instance- a lady dies of fatal illness with severe pain; we say it is because Allah (swt) is angry at her as she was horrible towards her mother. A kid fell off the stairs; we say because he did not listen to his father’s plead to finish his homework.

So why do bad things happen?

Allah’s (swt) Plan

It is Allah’s (swt) Plan to test the believers- to test the strength of their faith and belief.

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)

The soul detox

Allah (swt) wants to clean your bad side and detox your soul.

 And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.” (Ash-Shura 42:30)

 A reminder

Hardship and adversity are also reminders for people who tend to take things for granted and forget all of Allah’s (swt) blessing- Humans are ungrateful by nature.

And when We show favour to man, he withdraws and turns away, but when evil touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications.” (Fussilat 41:51)

Wake-up call

We are overly absorbed in the worldly affairs and competing to excel in the worldly matters.

But when He delivered them, behold! They rebel (disobey Allah) in the earth wrongfully. O mankind! Your rebellion (disobedience to Allah) is only against your ownselves, – a brief enjoyment of this worldly life, then (in the end) unto Us is your return, and We shall inform you that which you used to do.” (Yunus 10:23)

Reliance is only on Allah (swt)

We often forget Allah’s (swt) authority; hence we turn to other resources and people for support and help. Nothing happens without His will. He says be and it is. We are powerless and submissive.

O mankind! it is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise.” (Fatir 35:15)

Things to remember when a calamity hits you down

  • Allah (swt) is not punishing you; its devil’s trick to discourage and distract you.
  • Be patient over what befalls you.
  • Give charity (Sadaqah) as much as you can.
  • [9:103] take from their money a ‘sadaqa’ (charity) to purify and sanctify them. And encourage them, for your encouragement reassures them. God is Hearer, Omniscient.
  • Al-Musibah is term to hit where it is supposed to be. There is no chain of cause and effect. All incidents are individual.
  • Be hopeful as it is said in Surah Baqarah, congratulate the patient ones (Sabireen). Reward is with Allah- Jannah!

 

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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.

*** *** ***

“…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.

*** *** ***

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!

Retrospection: Death is Inevitable (Part 2)

kum-saati1It is human nature (more specific in women) that they dwell in their past, hold grudges, taunt and are sarcastic about the times that have been wronged by others; they chase luxuries, hoard wealth, and the list goes on. As much we remember all this, we must remember our death, too. Death is inevitable. We all will face it sooner or later.

“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” (Al-Imran 3:185)

She was laid in her grave. I was more worried about what she will be facing. It is said that the grave clenches itself for the wrongdoers and spaces up itself for the righteous. It is not for us to judge, whether a person has been good or bad – Allah (swt) is the Supreme Authority, Who will decide, and His judgement would be fair. We still have time to retrospect about our own selves than to pinpoint others. Who knows whether we are going to live for the very second minute? It aches to even assume that one day it will be my own parents, my siblings, my offspring, and my spouse. Do I really love them when I claim so? Will I be able to see them burning in hellfire? Will I be able to bear the endless pain of hell?

We still have time to retrospect about our own selves than to pinpoint others. Who knows whether we are going to live for the very second minute?

“That is the recompense of the enemies of Allah: The Fire therein will be for them the eternal home, a (deserving) recompense for that they used to deny Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.).” (Fussilat 41:28)

Nouman Ali Khan explains it very nicely that we get immune to constant pains at some point in this world and then we don’t feel the intensity. But in the later world, we will not get immune. We will feel the intensity the same way we felt it for the first time. Our body will not get used to it. It will be as severe and as fresh, as it was the first time we experienced it. The torment will be eternal, hence, no escape.

Am I striving to lead a righteous life? Am I contributing or trying to protect my loved ones from going astray? Am I prepared to meet my Lord? Am I bringing up my children to be happy and content to face their Lord? Why are we afraid of death? It is not because we fear losing our loved ones. It is because of the underlying fear that we ourselves have – the fear to meet our Lord, to face His wrath, to see our bad deeds leading us to hell (Astaghfirullah), to imagine ourselves alone in our dark, gloomy graves, where we will be stung by scorpions and snakes. We are aware of all this. The Quran warns us so many times, if we go through it, but we do not have time to open it and to read it, to comprehend it or to implement it. I am among those, too. We are aware, yet we are letting ourselves fall for the petty things. We know we will be questioned about our prayers, yet we are not offering any or delaying them. We associate others with Allah (swt) by believing in amulets (Taweez), going to shrines and making vows; believing that it is the doctor or red chilies that will cure the ill ones amongst us, when Allah (swt) is the One in authority to give health and recovery; doctors are just a medium.

“Hunafa’ Lillah (i.e. to worship none but Allah), not associating partners (in worship, etc.) unto Him and whoever assigns partners to Allah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place.” (Al-Hajj 22:31)

“After the soul becomes in the hands of the Angel of death (Azrael – Izraeel) the other present angels take the soul and prepare it in a coffin with good fragrance of musk or the worst odor(depending on one’s deeds) and take it up on a trip across the Seven Heavens towards Allah. In the case of the soul of the person with Faith in Allah the angels in each Heaven welcome it and know it is a good soul because of its beautiful smell that has come from towards earth. But in the case of a disbelieving person, the gates of each Heaven will not easily open for it and the angels will point to its bad odor. Until the soul reaches the Seventh Heaven and Allah knows what type of person he was and Allah commands his record to be written in “Illiyeen” (in the highest place) or Sijjeen (in the lowest earth). Then Allah will command to take it back to earth. So the angels gently return back the believing person’s soul to his body. As for the unbelieving person’s soul, the angels throw it from the Heaven to go back to its body.” (Tafseer ibn Katheer)

We must pray for our deceased ones and give charity on their behalf. We must also work for our eternal abode ahead. Death is not an end but a newfangled beginning. We are going back to our home where our parents (Adam and Hawwa) were – that is Jannah. It is a moment of rejoice, if we have done well for the life hereafter.

Retrospection: Death is Inevitable (Part 1)

grave2“Please, baby, sleep now,” I pleaded to my child, as was down with a terrible headache. A train of thoughts occupied me. Every second that passed by was adding more to my vulnerability. It all came to a halt, when my husband’s cell phone rang. It was my brother on the line. The cell phone broke the silence, but it also led to more scream and crying. I knew it the very minute. My husband sympathetically said Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Rajioon. It was my beloved, my role model, my grandmother, my Amma, who had expired.

The following day, I composed myself for her farewell. I was keeping all the religious steps in mind. We tried our best to avoid innovations (Biddah). I did not even weep and was in state of denial, a defense mechanism.

“I will give her bath,” I told my mother and aunts. We arranged the stuff needed for her final bath. I was having chills, as I had been among those, who would avoid such gatherings. I never used to attend any funerals. I used to sob and yell, if caught a sight or sniffed the smell of camphor (Kafoor). My teeth would chatter, and I would get goosebumps. The moment I saw her dead body, I was numb, as if chilled to the bone. I was unable to move an inch, my legs felt so weak then. She was lifeless, cold and stiff. I can still recall that touch. Her head was up and eyes were little bit open. I felt the pain on her face, as if I could myself feel her soul departure. That white shroud was so daunting to me when I was little. Wrapping her up in that white shroud was strenuous and backbreaking. We whimpered but did not weep out loud.

Amma’s presence had always been so energetic, pleasant and cheerful. Why that time the mere sight of hers drenched us all in the plethora of bereavement and dullness. The thought was disturbing me and badly quavered my nervous system, while others (outsiders) were indulged in their chain of worldly talks, which comprised of back biting (Gheebah) – people, who were more concerned about: who was attending the funeral? Why he/she was not present? Her death reason, her attire and who had accompanied her when she was on ventilator (was she wearing Saree as always)? How many kids her granddaughters had? When will Biryani be served and the specific preference of the chicken piece? Which hospital was she admitted to? Was it clean enough for kids to visit frequently? Who came first and who did not call for condolence?

A highly esteemed person or a well-known human is soon termed as a cadaver. It is our identity that is lost and we are nothing, but a carcass.

A highly esteemed person or a well-known human is soon termed as a cadaver. It is our identity that is lost and we are nothing, but a carcass.  Aren’t we fearful of the fact that one day we will be in her place? Helpless. Who knows, what a corpse is going through? Is the dead person happy or sad? We don’t know what it is saying, crying for help, or eager to go to its grave soon.

It is narrated by Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri that, Allah’s Apostle (sa) said: “When the funeral is ready (for its burial) and the people lift it on their shoulders, then if deceased is a righteous person, he says, ‘Take me ahead,’ and if he is not a righteous one then he says, ‘Woe to it (me)! Where are you taking it (me)?’ And his voice is audible to everything except human beings; and if they heard it, they would fall down unconscious. (Bukhari)

“And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death), they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): Taste the punishment of the blazing Fire. This is because of that which your hands had forwarded. And verily, Allah is not unjust to His slaves. Similar to the behaviour of the people of Firaun (Pharaoh), and of those before them; they rejected the Ayat (proofs, verses, etc.) of Allah, so Allah punished them for their sins. Verily, Allah is All-Strong, Severe in punishment.” (Al-Anfal 8:50-52)

“Nay, when (the soul) reaches to the collar bone (i.e. up to the throat in its exit), and it will be said: “Who can cure him and save him from death?”And he (the dying person) will conclude that it was (the time) of departing (death); and leg will be joined with another leg (shrouded).The drive will be, on that Day, to your Lord (Allah)! So he (the disbeliever) neither believed (in this Qur’an, in the Message of Muhammad (sa)) nor prayed! But on the contrary, he belied (this Quran and the Message of Muhammad (sa)) and turned away! Then he walked in full pride to his family admiring himself!” (Qiyamah 75:26-33)

To be continued…

Bloom to Perfection

????????????????????????????????????????My Quran Reflections Journal – 9
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 15 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:83-91)

“Worship none but Allah (alone) and be dutiful and good to parents, and to kindred, and to orphans and (the poor), and speak good to people and perform As-Salah and give Zakah. Then you slid back, except a few of you, while you are backsliders.” (Al-Baqarah 2:83)

A “Momin” can be compared to a beautiful flower; the appearance and fragrance of which appeals and attracts everyone. The way one talks, walks, acts and thinks should be able to draw attention, interest and love of others. Let’s not be like the thorn which pricks or hurts others. We should rather try to pick out the thorns from the path of others, and be harmless. We should spread the sweet smell that Allah (swt) has blessed us with, by virtue of being a Muslim and draw others towards our high moral values and character; just like little creatures such as insects and flies, and more sophisticated human beings even, are attracted towards beautiful flowers.

May Allah (swt), make us that flower in the garden of our Ummah, which blooms to perfection and utmost beautification, and spreads freshness, love and happiness all around, through obedience of Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) enable us to become a walking-talking example of the Seerah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa); so that, we are able to adopt ‘Ahsaan’ (utmost good) in all our ‘Mu’amlaat’ (dealings) related toour Creator Allah (swt) (i.e. Huquq Allah (swt)), as well as, His Creation (i.e. Huquq Al Ibad).

Day 16 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:92-103)

As individuals, the only exclusive power or authority that we have is perhaps, on our children; and that too, until a certain age. Very sadly so, but honestly, we expect them to follow our directives, and orders or requests. How many times is it that we get upset with them for not listening to us? We get frustrated, lose our patience, become anxious, shout at them, or even sometimes raise our hands on them!

Look at the endless, selfless, vast and perpetual love of Allah (swt) for His creation. One reminder after another, warning after warning, Ayah after Ayah, He sends us admonitions. He sends trials and tribulations our way to derive lessons from, and to change our ways of trading with Him. And even after constantly being reminded by Him, and knowing how mankind (esp. the people before the arrival of Prophet Muhammad’s (sa)) was reprimanded in the past, we do not fail to disobey Him again, and again, and again!

What has happened to the state of our hearts? What about our minds? Time to check our ‘Iman’ (faith)!

Upgrade Your Akhirah

ladderofsuccessMy Quran Reflections Journal – 7
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 13 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:63-73)

Today we studied in depth meaning of the beautiful, short and concise Dua of prophet Musa (as), which reached us through verse 67 of this Surah: “Aoodhu billahi an akoona min al-jahileen” (“I take Allah’s refuge from being among Al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish”).

This Dua gave me goose bumps, Subhan’Allah! How Jahil was I thus far? And how ignorant can one act even after acquiring all the knowledge that is in the Quran!

One needs to look beyond the dire need of reciting the Quran, reading its translation, understanding its explanation, beautifying one’s recitation of it and finally implementing its teachings in one’s life, Bi Izn Allah (by Allah’s permission), only because one is born a Muslim. In fact, this Quran will be a source of our upgrading in the Akhirah, Insha’Allah.

Let’s resolve to provide ourselves with the spiritual nourishment, which is absolutely vital to our existence and essential for the contentment and health of our heart, soul and our bodies as well.

May Allah (swt) make us from the people of the Book and protect us from being Jahilin (the ignorant ones). Ameen.

Nouman Ali Khan: Persevere with Patience

o-PROPHET-MUHAMMAD-facebookIn regard to the recent crisis in France, I came across a talk by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, in which he discusses the correct reaction a Muslim should have to such incidents. I found the video very profound and thought provoking, something that I believe every Muslim should hear. Therefore, I am typing it out it here to be able to share it with others:

“Anybody, who seriously studies the Quran knows that Allah (swt) records on multiple occasions, how prophets were insulted, made fun of and rejected in the most obscene ways. And how even the prophets themselves felt the pain of those disbelievers making fun of them.

Prophet Nuh complains about how people found him disgusting – they would plug their ears with their fingers and walk away from him; they would pull their clothes back as a show of insult to him. Our Prophet (sa) is no exception. This Quran that honors our Prophet (sa) also records the most hurtful words that were said about him – the Prophet (sa) would have to recite these words , thus reminding himself of the pain every time. For example: Sahir (magician), Majnoon (insane), Kazzab (a perpetual liar) – so many accusations were made against our Prophet (sa), all of which are recorded in the Quran. With this, Allah (swt) wants us to remember an important fact: although the prophets are the most noble of Allah’s (swt) creation, at the same time, they are the people, who will face the worst kind of insults, the worst kind of ridicule. But what is our reaction supposed to be like?

If anybody would be angry and overwhelmed with rage, when the Prophet is insulted, I would argue it would be his companions. Their faith cannot even be compared to yours and mine. But how come they don’t react the way we do? How come they never had any ‘protest’? How come they were not going out for yelling and screaming in rage? Because they understood that the Quran didn’t just come to give them a love for the Prophet (sa) but also to ‘guide’ that love and teach them, how to respond to these kinds of insults. How is it that we don’t know that the Prophet (sa) himself is told:

“And leave Me Alone to deal with the beliers (those who deny My Verses, etc.), and those who are in possession of good things of life. And give them respite for a little while.” (Az-Muzzamil 73:10)

Be patient over whatever they say. I am fascinated by this Ayah. Because the word ‘مَا’ means ‘whatever’ – ‘whatever’ they say. Not whatever they have said, but whatever they might even come up with. And the form of the word in the Arabic suggests ‘what they may have said in the past, in the present and even in the future till this day.’

The Prophet’s (sa) policy is to be patient himself. Where does the Quran justify such our anger? And even if our anger is justified, the one thing we should feel towards those, who hate us and make hateful speech towards us, is sorrow. We should feel sorry for these people. They can’t hurt the Prophet (sa). They can’t take away his honor. It was given from the sky. It was given by Allah (sa). Nothing on earth can take it away. No article, no cartoon, no film, no speaker and no hate speech – no form of art can take away the dignity of our Prophet (sa). All these their efforts are futile and wasteful attempts to undermine the message of Islam.

Do think also about the following: when we react in such emotional manner and engage in senseless violence, don’t we also misrepresent Islam? Aren’t we doing exactly what the enemies of Islam want? The only thing that makes me angry is the anger at our own selves, that we don’t understand the policy of the Quran about responding to insults:

“Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter.” (Al-Mu’minoon 23:96)

“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” (Fussilat 41:34)

Respond with that which is best.

There also are some people, who think that this policy was only for the early times of Islam – the Mekkan time of the Prophet (sa), when he was supposed to be passive. But when he migrated to Madinah, battles began: Badr, Uhud, Ahzaab, Tabook, etc. Thus, according to claims of such people, the passivity policy was changed to that of action. Let’s look at Surah Aal-e-Imran, the battle of Uhud – what does Allah (saw) say to us?

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah…” (Aal-e-Imran 3:186)

You will absolutely hear hurtful words from those, who were given the book before you, and from the people, who commit shirk (associate partners with Allah) and blasphemy with God. You will hear hurtful speech ‘absolutely’ coming from them. These kinds of things are a manifestation – a proof that Allah (swt) prepared us mentally for that. And in the very same Ayah, Allah (swt) himself tells us, what our reactions should be like:

“…but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqun (the pious – see V.2:2) then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs, and that is from the great matters, [which you must hold on with all your efforts].” (Aal-e-Imran 3:186)

If you can be patient and maintain the consciousness of Allah (swt), then that is the most noble of the deeds and the highest of accomplishments that you can achieve. That is supposed to be the reaction of Muslims.

I would like to end with the following: at school, bullies tease the kid that they know gets teased and shows a reaction. The more we react, the more we encourage others to pursue even more hateful speech. We have to learn to respond in mature, civil and higher discourse – the way the Quran, the Sunnah and the legacy of our Prophet (sa) tells us.

I pray that this message reaches all of my young brothers and sisters, who are feeling the sadness, the rage because of this incident. And I do hope that we can turn that rage into something positive.”

I pray that this beautiful reminder from Ustadh enables us to reflect upon this matter and help us adopt the correct way for representing our religion. If there are people who with their actions dishonour Islam, it is our duty to carry the name of our religion so well that its beautiful teachings should be reflected in our personalities. May Allah (swt) give us the wisdom to bear such incidents with patience and to be able to repel the bad with good.

Pearls of Peace: An extract from Surah Nur

Photo credit: ঘাস ফড়িং / iW / CC BY

Photo credit: ঘাস ফড়িং / iW / CC BY

Surah An-Nur

We now begin Surah An-Nur – the Surah that deals with adultery.

Say ‘no’ to false accusations

Sometimes we forward text messages and share posts without verifying their truthfulness. Allah (swt) warns, “And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever, they indeed are the Fasiqun (liars, rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” (An-Nur 24:4)

About accusations it has been said it takes a dirty mind to think dirty. We overhear or see something and weave our own stories. What we have concluded might be far from truth. May Allah (swt) cleanse our hearts. False accusations lead to loss of peace, “Verily, those who accuse chaste women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are good believers, are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter, and for them will be a great torment.” (An-Nur 24:23) Indulgence in rumours and gossips is taken very lightly, not realising the curse that we are inviting upon ourselves.

Reminder for good

While there is warning for those who accuse chaste people, Allah (swt) offers comfort to the accused. He says, “Verily! Those who brought forth the slander (against Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) the wife of the Prophet (sa)) are a group among you. Consider it not a bad thing for you. Nay, it is good for you. Unto every man among them will be paid that which he had earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be a great torment.” (An-Nur 24:11) Here is also a reminder to not indulge in such acts due to which on the Day of Judgement people will come and claim their share from our good deeds.

Minding your own business

Let us concern ourselves with “our” lives and not the lives of others. Let us not be of those who take pleasure in gossips and spread it.

Allah (swt) says, “Verily, those who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not.” (An-Nur 24:19)

The owners and employees of media houses should reflect on what they are promoting. What kinds of shows are on air? Today, families cannot sit together and watch television because family entertainment has been taken over by vulgarity and indecency. Once what used to be censored, is now openly shown on television. As a consequence, we see an increase in crime rate, illicit relations and immoral behaviour.

Quran gives us repetitive reminders of how our choices determine our end. Let us rectify what is wrong within us, and not earn Allah (swt)’s painful punishment in both the worlds.

With the coming of smart phones, we are quick to share small details about ourselves. But when it comes to visiting someone, somehow we are reluctant to inform them of our arrival beforehand. The etiquettes we follow determine whether we will have a pleasant stay or will feel uninvited.

Pay dignified visits

In Surah An-Nur, Allah (swt) gives us instructions on visiting someone’s house, “O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them that is better for you, in order that you may remember. And if you find no one therein, still, enter not until permission has been given. And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you, and Allah is All-Knower of what you do.” (An-Nur 24:27-28)

There is nothing insulting in being refused admittance. Perhaps, the family is engaged in some kind of conflict resolution and they do not want an outsider to sense their house troubles. Understand other’s situation. And when you are welcomed inside, do not prolong your visit. Keep your visits short and sweet; making hosts look forward to your next visit.

Surrender to Allah’s (swt) law

Talking about conflict resolution, some people are not really interested in a compromise or a settlement. Their only concern is what they gain from it. In doing so, they swing between Shariah and manmade laws; whichever offers more gain, they pick it. The word of Allah (swt) (the Quran) and the Messenger (sa) (the Sunnah) are enough to settle disputes. Allah (swt) asks, “Is there a disease in their hearts? Or do they doubt or fear lest Allah and His Messenger (sa) should wrong them in judgment. Nay, it is they themselves who are the Zalimun” (An-Nur 24:50)

The truth is no one loses anything if he surrenders to Allah’s (swt) laws. In fact, that is a means for attaining peace and tranquillity. If not here, then at least we know in the Hereafter such a person will be at peace. The one who does not follow Prophet’s (sa) path has been warned of painful punishment. (refer An-Nur 24:63)

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)

Today is All You Have!

hour-glassI was walking back home with my husband quite late in the night, but the streets were still crowded. There was a buzz of cricket going all around, “What’s the score? Who is batting?”  Someone asked my husband too, but he said he didn’t even know that there was a match that day.

Because of the crowd, we decided to sit at a friend’s store that was still open; he too had the commentary of the match running on the radio. Soon a Burqa-clad woman came and sat next to me. She looked quite odd. I had to blink my eyes in order to confirm what I was seeing, and the next moment, I shrieked, as it turned out to be a skeleton. The first thought to come to my mind was that it could only be the angel of death or the devil; no doubt no one else could see her.

I started reciting: Aoodhu billahi min-ash-Shaitan ir-Rajeem, with my heart beating very fast. I tried to scream but no voice came out of my mouth. I turned to see where my husband was, and lo – I was comfortably sleeping on my bed. It was a bad dream. I was so relieved. I read the Duas to be read according to the Sunnah, when we see a bad dream. I spit on the left three times, sought refuge in Allah (swt) from Shaitan and the evil of what I had seen; I did not relate it to anyone; I turned and slept back on the side opposite to which I was sleeping previously.

When sleeping, think that this might be me my last sleep, and I might get up in the grave; when waking up in the morning, think that this might be the last dawn to save myself from the hellfire.

After that dream, some thoughts kept disturbing me; the angel of death could be hovering by. Let us think: have we collected enough good deeds, and more importantly, have we repented for our sins? The foremost act is to seek forgiveness from those, whom we have hurt or from those for whom we carry a grudge or who were a victim of our backbiting, because if we do not, then on the Day of Judgement we will have to compensate their bad deeds with our good deeds. Moreover, Allah (swt) wants us to return to Him with a Qalbe Saleem – a heart which is pure: clean from impurities of Dunya, its lust, hatred, jealousy and all other negative traits, which make our heart dirty. He has stated in the Quran,

“The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail. Except him who brings to Allah a clean heart (clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifaq (hypocrisy)).” (Ash-Shuara 26:88-89)

Prepare for death! Every time you stand to pray five times a day, think that this might be your last standing before Allah (swt) in Dunya. Also, when sleeping, realize that this might be your last sleep, and you might wake up in the grave; when waking up in the morning, understand that this might be the last dawn to save yourself from hellfire. All these thoughts will save us from gossip and vain talks; they will keep us on our toes and help us prepare for the afterlife Insha’Allah.