[Infograph] Ramadan Prep

As Ramadan draws near, hiba presents an exclusive Ramadan prep infograph. The information in this infograph is taken from Shahr-u-Ramadan by Dr. Farhat Hashmi. Designed for hiba by Urooj Khan.

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Ramadan-Prep-Infograph

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Gets Going!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day of Arafah – To-Do List

If you are not performing Hajj this year and are wondering how you can make the most out of the Day of Arafah, here is a quick to-do list that you may find useful:

  1. Fasting: Try your best to observe fasts on the 8th and 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Fasting on the Day of Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” (Muslim and Ibn Majah). According to Shaykh Salih Al-Munajjid: “This (fasting) is mustahabb for those who are not on Hajj.” The Prophet (sa) used to fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah. Hunaydah ibn Khalid (rta) reported from his wife that some of the wives of the Prophet  (sa) said: “The Prophet (sa) used to fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, on the day of Ashoora, on three days of each month, and on the first two Mondays and Thursdays of each month.” (Abu Dawood and An-Nasai)
  2. Supplication: Talha ibn Ubaydullah ibn Kariz (rta) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The best Dua is Dua on the Day of Arafah, and the best thing that I or the Prophets before me have said is: ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without any partner.’ (La ilaha illa Allah, wahdahu la sharika lah.)” (Malik)
  3. Good deeds: The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are almost over. Use the time left to engage in worship, voluntary prayers, recitation of the Quran and sincere repentance and submission to Allah (swt).
  4. Takbeerat: Continue to recite as much of Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), Tahleel (La Ilaha Illa Allah) and Tahmeed (Alhumdulillah) as you can (individually). Another Takbeer includes the following words:

Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise)

Another important thing to do on the Day of Arafah is to reflect upon its meaning and significance. Take some time out to ponder over this day and its virtues. Some of these include the following, as mentioned by Shaykh Salih Al-Munajjid:

  1. It is the day on which Allah perfected our religion for us. A Jew said to Umar (rta): “If this Verse had been revealed to us, we would have taken it (that day) as a festival (Eid): ‘This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.’ (Al-Maidah 5:3)” Umar said: “I know the day when it was reveled and the night of which it was revealed; a Friday night when we were with Messenger of Allah (sa) in Arafah.” (An-Nasai)
  2. Allah (swt) has sworn by this day in the Quran: “And by the witnessing day (i.e. Friday), and by the witnessed day [i.e. the day of ‘Arafat (Hajj) the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah];” (Al-Burooj 85:3) Subhan’Allah! Allah (swt) only swears by something which has a great significance.
  3. Mankind gave the testimony of faith to Allah (swt) in Arafah: It is mentioned in a Saheeh Hadeeth recorded by Imam Ahmad, reported by Ibn ‘Abbas (rta) who narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Allah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him. Then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes, we testify,’ let you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allaah, and we were (merely their) descendents after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Batil (i.e., ploytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)?’ (Al-Araf 7:172-173).”
  4. For the people who are performing Hajj, it is a day to secure freedom from hellfire: It was narrated from Aisha (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying: ‘What do these people want?'” (Muslim)  It was reported from Ibn Umar (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of Isha on the Day of Arafah, about the people of Arafah. He says: Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.’” (Ahmad)

Compiled by Umm Ibrahim

Image source: http://www.inter-islam.org/images/p230-1.JPG

New Lease on Life

bridge

My Quran Reflections Journal
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 23 Reflection
Takmeel Surah Al-Baqarah

My world came tumbling upside down,
Yet on my forehead, there wasn’t a frown!

‘Several arteries and the left main blocked!’
The news left my husband and me, awestruck and shocked!

Indeed towards Allah (swt) we all will return,’ is what I said,
‘Indeed Allah (swt) is with the patient,’ to him I declared!

‘It’s a heart bypass!’ He said worried and scared,
‘Will I make it?’ His next question he shared!

‘Insha’Allah, Allah (swt) will give you Shifa completely,’
I consoled him- ‘Soon you will be well and with your family!’

I saw fear of death on his face, which went pale and white!
I couldn’t glare at him for long, I thought to myself, ‘What if he died? ‘

I remembered Allah’s (swt) favours and countless bounties
We hadn’t asked Him for anything, Yet He granted us with His infinite mercy.

I shrugged my shoulders, and got rid of the negative thought,
Saying ‘Audhubillah’ – I sought refuge in Him and did what is taught.

I spread the prayer mat, and in Sajdah I fell,
Saying ‘Istaghfar’ – I shared with Allah (swt) the thoughts that dwell.

I recalled His kindness and mercy, and that He tests those He loves
I renewed my faith, made Dua to emerge successful and rise above!

I didn’t want my husband or myself to wallow in self-pity,
I reminded him of Allah’s (swt) promise that, He will always be…

…With those who are patient and those who find strength in Salah,
I smiled at him and helped him do Wudhu to run towards Falah!

Together we prayed, we cried, we spoke to Allah (swt) and we found peace,
My husband was now ready for the surgery, and to get a new life’s lease!

The strength that Allah’s (swt) words gave us in this trial is unreal!
It cannot be expressed, just felt – because no words are substantial!

Before he left for the operation, he held my hand and said,
“I am now tension-free and to Allah (swt) I have pledged.

If I am given another life, it will be spent in His obedience,
His worship will be my motto, and I will bear everything with patience!”

“Alhumdulillah,” I said, while wiping the tears in his eyes and mine,
“Do not stress yourself, Insha’Allah you will be back, healthy and fine!”

He hugged me one last time, before he lay on the stretcher,
“I have made Dua for you sincerely,” he whispered in my ear!

I couldn’t stop my tears; I was very scared and didn’t want him to go,
I asked him to be brave, although he was being braver than me though!

He said, “Won’t you ask what I asked Allah (swt) for you? Shouldn’t I recount?”
I kept quiet, he said, “Oh Allah (swt) grant her Jannah without any account!”

He left me dumb-founded and courageously went for the surgery,
“Ameen. Oh Allah (swt), and, please, in Jannah make him accompany me!”

I burst into tears, and remembered Allah’s (swt) promises in Al-Baqarah,
I waited patiently, prayed sincerely and found solace in Salah!

Alhumdulillah, Allah (swt) has mercifully granted a new life to my husband,
And as a result of this test, He has made our love for each other exuberant!

Prayer: Is it a one-way communication?

Picture courtesy: www.productivemuslim.com

Picture courtesy: www.productivemuslim.com

My Quran Reflections Journal
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 21 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Sometimes, the inner ‘me’ screams. It screams to be set free! Free of guilt, pain and misery.

Sometimes, I feel like shouting out loud and crying to Allah (swt) to let Him know that I cannot take it anymore – that I have had enough and am losing the courage to remain steadfast; that I have to drag myself to the prayer mat, and that sometimes I don’t even want to pray.

Then I realize: who is it that needs my prayers? Allah (swt) doesn’t for sure. It is a one way communication anyways. I would cry to Him and tell Him what I am feeling, but He won’t answer me.

Really? Is prayer just a one-way communication? No! Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “My Lord is Near (to all by His Knowledge), Responsive.” (Hud 11:61)

“My Lord is Near (to all by His Knowledge), Responsive.” (Hud 11:61)

I may not be able to stop my shouts, screams and complaints. I may not be able to pray regularly or with as much zeal as I do pray on particular days; yet, I shouldn’t give up! I must drag myself to the prayer mat and pray. There’s no way out! If I don’t let out my inner feelings to Allah (swt), how else would I feel relieved? How else would I find peace?

After all, I am human. I need an outlet. So prayer is not a one-way communication. Allah (swt) is the All Hearing and the All Knowing. It is my need that He hears what I wish to speak to Him. It is my body’s limitation that it has to fall in Sujud to rise in the state of Iman. It is my mind’s manipulation that it has to feel that it is being responded to, to feel loved. It is my heart’s desire to be consoled, to be able to feel cared for.

So there’s no harm in shouting, crying and screaming in pain to Him. But, there’s greater peace and everlasting bliss in knowing that indeed He hears even our silence. He understands our sobbing and aching, even if we were to weep silently in our solitude, Subhan’Allah!

And according to His promise, He will respond too in His way. In the way, He sees it best for us. We need to have complete trust in Him!

“And when My slaves ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me, then (answer them) – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls upon Me…” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

So, the next time I feel I don’t want to pray, I would drag myself to my praying spot and perform all actions as I should, believing that the Turner of the hearts knows best, how hurt my heart is at that point in time! Insha’Allah!

Do you sometimes feel the same, too?

Top Five Ways to Maintain a Strong Connection with Allah (swt)

asking allahIf the hustle and bustle of this life is weakening our connection with Allah (swt) or if we are disconnected from Him (swt) and feeling frustrated, then we need to engage ourselves in His worship. “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28) Connection with Allah (swt) is as important for us as water is important for the plants. Allah’s (swt) remembrance and worship nourishes our faith and keeps us on straight path. Here are some top ways to foster a strong connection with our Rabb (swt).

1. Salah with Presence of Mind

  • Try to plan the Salah. We need to plan our meeting with Allah (swt) – just the way we plan our worldly meetings.
  • Every night before sleeping, build a strong and sincere intention to perform an excellent Salah the next day.
  • Every morning, the first thought should be the thought of performing each Salah on time. Presence of mind comes when we understand the meanings of the words we recite daily in our Salah. While reciting Surah al-Fatihah, ponder over the meanings. Just think about it: you are praising the Lord of the lords. You are talking to the king of the worlds.
  • Try to memorize new Surahs. Start with short ones.
  • Supplicate after Adhan. Try to answer the Adhan and supplicate to Allah (swt) for solace.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Decide which Surahs you are going to recite. Pray Salah calmly and consciously.

2. Reciting and Understanding the Quran

  • Recite the Quran with understanding; read its translation and Tafseer.
  • Act upon the Quran.
  • Share the knowledge with your family and friends.
  • Open the Quran and know what Allah (swt) is telling us. Read about Him, the author of the best book of the world. Read about the Author Who is in love with the readers.
  • Personalize your Quran, where you can highlight your favourite verses and Duas.
  • If you don’t understand Arabic, get a Quran with translation. Make sure that your children have their personal Quran.

3. Supplication

  • Seek Allah (swt) through supplication. Converse with him. Praise him. Talk to him about every small and big thing. Cry before him. Tell him about how much you need him. The one who cries before Allah (swt) does not need to cry before anyone else.
  • Make Allah (swt) your best friend. No friend in the world can be as loyal as Allah (swt) is. He loves His creation seventy times more than a mother loves her child. He is closer to you than your jugular vein.
  • Keep Allah (swt) in your mind, every second. Talk to him in your heart, every moment. Allah (swt) even hears the whispers. Remember! Allah’s (swt) love is the most guaranteed love.

4. Repentance

Allah (swt) loves those who repent. Let’s be in the list of those whom Allah (swt) loves. Let’s please the Creator with the act that He loves the most. Allah (swt) waits for us to repent.  Let’s put off the burden of our sins. Repent repeatedly each day. Don’t let the sins accumulate. Every sin puts a black dot on the heart, and we need to wash our heart constantly.

5. Gratitude to Allah

Take a pen and a paper and start writing down Allah’s (swt) blessings. We would surely have a never-ending list. Keep adding things to the list every day. Every breath is His blessing. How much ungratefulness we show when we complain to Allah (swt), disregarding all the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. We need to be grateful to Him for the smallest things that He has given us. His greatest blessing is that He has chosen us to be Muslims. Be grateful to Him for the guidance that He has given us.

May Allah (swt) enable us to maintain a strong connection with Him always. Ameen

From Darkness to Light

minaretThe sun shone bright the other day. Birds were chirping, the sea was humming, and the date palm trees were swinging happily. I was standing in my balcony, gazing at the flawless atmosphere with awe. The reflection of the sun on the sea, as if the sun was looking down at a mirror. Creatures of the sea were singing, creatures on land were dancing, and the creatures on sky were flying with such comfort and simplicity, as if they had no worries in this world. Every creature, plant and non-living thing was relaxing, as if they had no troubles. Only I seemed to be the troubled one with all the worries of the world gathered in my heart!

While gazing at the beautiful scene, I saw a man and a woman holding hands, while taking a walk at the beach. They were walking happily, talking, smiling and laughing at each other’s jokes. Their love was glowing, as if an angel had struck them, and their happiness was visible from afar. Soon, they were followed by three little children, who were jumping around them, playing happier than ever! They were such a beautiful family – looking at them made me cry. I also wanted someone to love me! I wanted to be a part of a beautiful family, but it seemed like I would never get a chance. I was the only daughter of my bed-rested parents. Day and night I used to take care of them and manage the house. My dream of studying never came true. I was at home the whole day, tracing marks on the ground, always fulfilling my parent’s wishes and waiting for a miracle to fulfil mine. But that miracle was nowhere to be found. I was literally struggling with life and had nowhere to go. Days were vulnerably busy, nights were restless.

After seeing that beautiful couple, my night was more restless than ever. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. There was too much on my mind. I kept questioning myself: “Why can’t I be happy? Why was my life supposed to be so rigid? Why was I sent to this world, when the only thing I have to do is work and worry? Why me? Why did God create me? If He made me a living creature on this Earth, why doesn’t He help me?” And every question came with a shower of tears. I had no answers to my questions! It was past midnight, close to sunrise, and I hadn’t slept for even a millisecond. I stepped out to the balcony to taste the cool morning breeze, thinking it might make me feel better.

As I was lost in my own thoughts, suddenly I heard something. It was like a song, as if someone was calling people for something. I used to hear this call every morning, but never felt the way I felt that special day. It was the call for prayer (Adhan) coming from a Masjid nearby. It was such a beautiful call that soothed my heart and lifted my worries. I felt as if that call was a sign, as if it was calling me for something new that would change my life.

The next day I planned to visit that mosque. I had just reached, when the Maghrib Adhan started, and my glance fell over that beautiful building. My mouth froze open and my eyes fled from my body. For a few minutes, I stood there startled, gazing at what beauty was before me. The funny thing is that I had seen that mosque many times before, but had never felt that way! As I entered the female section of the mosque, many women just like me – except with happy faces – were offering their Salah. They were following the Imam’s voice and praying in unity, doing the same motions at the same time. They were all bowing to one God – Allah (swt). How great He must be, I thought at that moment, there was so much harmony! I felt that I belonged in that very unique place with those glowing ladies.

Just as they were finished with their Salah, I went up to them and shared my feelings and thoughts. They at once guided me to meet the Imam of the mosque. I went to meet him and he greeted me with a glowing smile on his face. He started to talk to me, asked me about my life and introduced me to Islam. It was all so interesting and beautiful that I wanted to keep on listening, but the Imam had to leave – so he called me to come to the mosque the next day.

For a week, he kept calling me, told me a lot about Allah (swt), read verses from the Holy Quran and, Subhan’Allah, how I would start crying, when I heard them. Just the voice would start to heal my heart. It had been a week, when I told him that I was ready to convert to Islam and worship one true God – Allah (swt), the Greatest and the Most Powerful. I got converted, and the change I felt in my life was amazing! Praying five daily prayers had brought me into routine. Knowing that Allah (swt) was with me, I felt safe and peaceful while sleeping at night. All worries seemed to disappear. I had lived in darkness and ignorance my entire life – now, I had stepped into light and found my true love: Allah (swt).

It was happily ever after with me and my Allah (swt)!

[Multimedia] Ten Steps to Fuel your Faith

Hiba Magazine presents a short multimedia presentation on ten different ways to fuel your faith and give your Eeman a boost. This series is based on an article “Ten Steps to Increase Your Faith

Top Five Ways to Boost Your Iman

7 boost Iman(1) Recite and reflect upon the Quran. Scientific studies have proven that simply listening to Quranic recitations has a miraculous effect upon the hearts and bodies; it has the quality of healing the souls. It is suggested by religious scholars that whenever you are depressed or feel low, listen to the Quran as it has a significant impact upon your mood. You must be aware that Allah (swt) is speaking to you, and you must strive hard to understand His dialogue. This will help you soften your heart, raise your Iman, and bring tranquility within your soul.

(2) Perform Salah regularly. Another factor to increase one’s Iman is the offering of Salah regularly, and at its appointed timings. It is narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah (rtam) that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The similitude of five prayers is like an overflowing river passing by the gate of one of you in which he washes five times daily.” (Muslim) Apart from increasing our level of Iman, Salah gives us an opportunity to have an audience with the Rabb-ul-Alameen in which we can ask for His help and mercy. It is necessary that we engage in this ritual without accelerating our pace, and being aware of His presence.

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

Pearls of Peace: An extract from Surah Al-Muminun

pearls4Concentration in prayers is a constant struggle. As much as we would like Khushu in our prayer, it is not there. In Surah Al-Muminun, it appears, “Successful indeed are the believers.Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” (Al-Muminun 23:1-2)

Attaining humble submission

It can be attained by turning away from the futile and unnecessary (as we read in the verse after). The futile and unnecessary are time wasters. Someone was asked, “Why do you take off your shoes before entering the House of God?” He replied, “My shoes are the Dunya that I am leaving behind. I don’t need it when I am engaged with my Lord.” We need to empty our heads from the unnecessary concerns and gossips before we get on the prayer rug. Getting rid of such thoughts is impossible, unless we cleanse ourselves. Therefore, Zakat was mentioned next.

Zakat as purification

One needs to purify his wealth, as well as, his thoughts. With evil thoughts in our mind, we get on the prayer mat; going through our conversations with other people or plotting our next rebuttals. We need to work on our temper and control our tongues. Let’s not utter words that will haunt us later. May He make us of those who work on their bad qualities. Ameen.

Purpose of giving Zakat

Allah (swt) commands us to give Zakat so as to replace materialism with generosity. This is how we can get rid of the futile.

Don’t even go near fornication

Then we are advised to stay away from adultery and immorality. The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i.e. his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i.e. his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise.” (Bukhari). Whenever a person falters, he should turn to Allah (swt) in sincere repentance. Chastity of the private parts and the tongue is a trust; whoever loses that trust will lose peace from his life.

Your spouse is entrusted upon you

Therefore, the next trait of the successful ones mentioned is, “Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat (all the duties which Allah has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts etc.) and to their covenants.” (Al-Muminun 23:8). Spouses are a trust to one another. The verses of God-consciousness (Taqwa) are recited in the Nikah sermon. And wherever Quran mentions the rights of husband and wife, it is followed by a reminder of the Hereafter. Let us not break our trusts and promises; whether they be with other people or Allah (swt).

When a person prays only when he wants to pray and neglects it at other times, he cannot be humble in his prayers. Therefore, it is said, And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours). (Al-Muminun 23:9)

Stories of the successful ones

After describing the qualities required to attain success, Allah (swt) narrates the stories of successful people – the prophets and the messengers. He says, “Then We sent Our Messengers in succession, every time there came to a nation their Messenger, they denied him, so We made them follow one another (to destruction), and We made them as Ahadeeth (the true stories for mankind to learn a lesson from them). So away with a people who believe not.” (Al-Muminun 23:44)

Denial leads to destruction

Whether one openly denies the messenger or shows a hypocritical behaviour; such that we declare that we are the nation of Muhammad (sa), but take his Sunnah as a burden. Then we should know that we are inviting destruction. Allah (swt) loosens the rope up to a certain limit and then pulls it. Let’s return to Him before the rope is pulled.

Pray before you are prayed upon

The doors of repentance are opened until death. When death approaches and then man says, “I now seek forgiveness for my sins!” it would not be accepted from him. Allah (swt) says, “Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: “My Lord! Send me back,So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” (Al-Muminun 23:99-100). There are no second chances. This life is our only chance to build our relationship with Allah (swt) and strengthen it.

Allah (swt) questions man about his purpose of creation, “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” (Al-Muminun 23:115) Allah (swt) did not create man for nothing. We have been informed of our purpose of creation and we will be questioned about our time here. Let’s not waste this chance.

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

Stop for a Sincerity Check

sincerityTo my disappointment, they had returned once again. I had seen no creatures so persevere as the spiders. It had only been a fortnight since I last swept away their creepy dwellings, and there they were back again. Who says housekeeping is easy? I picked up a broom and got to work, and as it brushed away those tiny quarters, my mind went back to another house; the house of emotions and intentions.

Yes indeed, our heart houses our intentions and requires frequent cleaning, too. Silently Riya (dissimulation, show-off) crawls in and spins its webs in every unheeded nook and cranny. We start something solely for the sake of Allah (swt) the Almighty, yet Shaytan does not forget to sneak his part. We human beings may become negligent; however, Iblees never misses a chance to deprive us of our good deeds.

Riya – more dangerous than the Dajjal

Our Beloved Prophet (sa) warned us: “The thing that I fear most for you is the minor Shirk; Riya (Ahmad) And it also states in another authentic Hadeeth that, he considered it even more dangerous for us than the Dajjal. It is what turns even the greatest of deeds to zero. Even if you sacrificed all your wealth and your whole life in Allah’s (swt) path, but you were not sincere; you expected praise from people or were trying to escape their criticism, everything you did will go in vain. You did pay the price, but got nothing in return; just because Shaytan was successful enough to rob your sincerity.

We think we are doing a great job; however, God forbid, what will our condition be if we reach our final destination to find it was all a mirage? We have nothing to acquire Jannah! The time is up, we lost all our investment and Hellfire is there waiting for us. This is the ultimate failure. Astaghfirallah!

Allah (swt) says in his book: “Say (O Muhammad): Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds! They are those who deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord and the Meeting with Him (in the Hereafter). So their works are in vain, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall not give them any weight.” (Al-Kahf 18:103-105)

Stay on guard – be mindful of your acts

One of the things that needs constant vigilance is our intention. We must check it every day, every minute, before we perform any deed. There are a number of things that become routine for us, and we don’t keep in mind the fact that we are doing it for Allah (swt).

For example our Salah; is it just an exercise or our secret meeting with Allah (swt)? Another example is how we deal with the people around us; are we being nice just for the sake of it or do we seek Allah’s (swt) pleasure? It is our intentions that change the status of our deeds from mere routine work to deeds of worship. A man naturally provides for his family; however, if this is done with the proper intention, it can become a Sadaqah for him.

Helpers along the way

Here are a few tips to help you gain sincerity:

1. As human beings we tend to be forgetful. One of the ways to keep ourselves reminded is holding fast to our Quran. This best friend gives us repetitive reminders; reciting, pondering and going though it provides a healing potion to our souls. The Quran should stay by our side all the time, in our bags, on our work desk, on our kitchen table, in the living room, simply everywhere!

2. In the fore mentioned verse, the rationale cited behind people’s loss is denial of Lord’s verses and His meeting with His slaves. It is true that our intentions lose track when we become unaware of Allah (swt) and forget that we have to face Him one day. The signs of our Creator are scattered all over; what we need to do is notice them, observe them, reflect and remember the power and wisdom of Allah (swt). This is one of the ways that can help us stay conscious about He, who is All-Hearing and All-Seeing. Reflecting over Al-Asma ul Husna (The beautiful names) of Allah (swt) can also be helpful in this regard.

3. We must stop ourselves and refresh our intentions in the beginning, middle and end of all our actions.

4. A time of the day can be fixed to review what you have been doing and the intentions you had for your deeds. This is just a five minute exercise, and if you have simply no other time, then it can be done while travelling or before going to bed.

5. Try best to hide your good deeds and perform some special secret actions just for the sake of Allah (swt).

6. Don’t seek or consent the praise of people. Remember your shortcomings, and that any virtue obtained is only by the grace of Almighty Allah (swt). The love of praise and appreciation can prove to be very fatal for our faith.

7. Last, but not the least is making Dua! Prophet Muhammad (sa) has taught us a specific Dua for this: “Allahumma innaa na`oothu bika an-nushrika bika shay`an na`lamuhu, wa nastagfiruka limaa laa na`lamuh. (O Allah, we seek refuge in you from committing shirk knowingly, and ask your forgiveness for (the shirk that we may commit unknowingly”)

In a nutshell, the worry shouldn’t just be about the quantity, rather it should be about the quality of actions; we need to purify our hearts and make our inner selves better and stronger than the outer selves. Ibn Al Qayyim in his book Madarij-us-Salikeen has put it very nicely: “Ikhlas (sincerity) is when the servant’s internal and external actions are the same. And Riya is when the external actions are better than the internal actions (of the heart). Truthfulness in one’s sincerity is when the internal is better (developed) than the external.”

Dua – Fortress of Islam

Vol 5 - Issue 3 Selection of DuasHow do you make Dua? For many of us, Dua is a way of just reciting verses. And for few it is the mode where one turns to Allah (swt) in difficult times and makes Dua to Him to remove the affliction that he is going through. For a few, it is like a daily routine where we recite Dua after every Salah; many of us don’t do even that much…

Dua round the clock

How exactly should we make Dua? How should we strengthen our connection with The All-Hearer (As-Sami)? We should make Dua in every prospect of life; in fact, every moment. Not only while you are facing huge problems, but even for small needs you should ask Him for He is The Provider (Ar-Razzaq).

For example, if you need a pen, ask Allah (swt) and make Dua to Him, before you go to buy it. If the strap of your shoe breaks, ask Allah (swt) for a new pair; but we tend to forget that it is He, Who provides and look around for solutions.

Dua as a form of worship

Do you know you get rewarded for making Dua? Hence, we should be constantly engaged in making Dua. When Allah (swt) mentions Dua in Quran, he establishes a direct connection with you. Even Prophet Muhammad (sa) is not mentioned in between. Usually, Allah (swt) commands Prophet Muhammad (sa) to “tell His command” to the people. But when it comes to a verse with a Dua, the word “Qul” is removed. This conveys pure Tawheed. Dua makes a direct connection between you and Allah (swt), no messenger; no Wali is between you and Allah (swt).

Subhan’Allah! Thus whenever you start making Dua, take a moment and visualize a direct connection that is established between you and Allah (swt) and experience the beautiful essence of Dua!

“Therefore, remember Me (by praying, glorifying, etc.). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” (Al-Baqarah 2:152)

Thus O you believers! Make Dua for Allah (swt) does not return a servant empty handed.

The power of Dua in the light of Sunnah

Salman Al-Farsi narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Indeed, Allah (swt) is Hayy (Generous), when a man raises his hands to Him, He feels too shy to return them to him empty and rejected.” (Tirmidhi)

Allah (swt) loves to see you make Dua. Allah (swt) gets angry, when you do not ask Him or make Dua to Him. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Whoever does not call upon Allah (swt), He will be angry with him.” (Ibn Majah)

Isn’t this so wonderful? Allah (swt) wants us to gain His mercy in every possible way. He is Al –Wadud (the All-loving), and the most important thing to keep in mind is to be patient. Do not be in haste. Don’t keep any negative thoughts about whether you Dua is going to be accepted or not; in fact, erase them totally! “The Dua of any one of you will be answered as long as he is not hasty in seeking a response and does not say, ‘I prayed but I have not had a response.’” (Bukhari, Muslim)

So we all need to try to make a connection with Al-Qareeb (the One Who is near), and He will definitely answer His slaves. Keep seeking for His forgiveness and ask for best in both worlds. May Allah (swt) grant us the highest level in Jannah (Jannat ul Firdaws) and may blessings be upon Muhammad (sa) and his companions. Ameen.

Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Maidah

pearls7Learning the Quran – a better trade!

Many people do not study Quran or learn the basics of their religion, because they measure it along worldly benefits. People say, “What will I get by studying the Quran? It cannot pay my bills.” When people put the Shariah behind their backs, it is then that they lose peace from their lives. Surrender to Allah (swt), His commands and the teachings of His Prophet (sa) and you will attain peace Insha’Allah. You will see the benefits right away and eventually you will see it was a better trade. May Allah (swt) gives us the ability to surrender to Him and His commands. Ameen.

Then, there are people who conduct debates on Quranic verses. They adopt a pick-and-choose policy in Islam. Sometimes, they would negate the Prophetic narrations and even challenge them. Look at what Allah (swt) says, “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above-mentioned meats), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Maidah 5:3)

This was one of the last verses to be revealed. The Jews present at the time of its revelation commented; if this verse was revealed to them, they would have rejoiced and celebrated that day. What is our attitude in contrast? We challenge the Quran and conduct debates on it? Nothing can be added or deleted from what the Prophet (sa) conveyed to us. The creditability of Shariah is valid till the last moment of this world.

Honouring commitments

Once again, we study the obligation of honouring our commitments, “O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations.” (Al-Maidah 5:1) We barely reach on the time that we commit for an appointment. So let’s not talk about our very important  official contracts, as it would lead to nothing but shame.

Then Allah (swt) guides us regarding how we should live with one another in a society, “Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression.” (Al-Maidah 5:2) A person who plots evil plans cannot live in peace. Likewise, a person, who helps the evil person accomplish his evil plans, earns the burden of the sin as the person who initiated it. Why would someone want to waste his time and energy for something that can never be beneficial for him? Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice.” (Al-Maidah 5:8) Even if you have to stand against your own father or your son in justice do not back away. A Muslim cannot love anyone more than he loves Allah (swt). Therefore, nothing should stop him from abiding by what Allah (swt) has commanded.

Salah – the cleansing gift

Many of us treat Salah as a burden; forgetting that it was actually given as a gift to the Prophet (sa). And because we consider it as a burden, our attitude towards Salah is that of laziness. We delay it to the last possible time, and when we get up, we are least particular about our clothes or purity. Standing in Salah is equivalent to standing before Allah (swt). If one knows he is going to have a meeting with Allah (swt), how should his dress be like and what should be his state of cleanliness? Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles.” (Al-Maidah 5:6)

The Prophet (sa) informed us that every time a person performs ablution, his sins are wiped off. If we consciously remember this statement each time we perform Wudhu, would we rush through it? Bilal’s (ra) footsteps were heard in Paradise because he used to perform fresh ablution for each Salah, and also offer two Rakats of ablution before the Salah.

Not only does a person who performs his ablution correctly, feels contentment and cleanliness; but Shaytan too stays away from a person who is in a state of purity. May Allah (swt) help us understand how high the level of ablution is in His Sight. Ameen.

What happens when we hear the word ‘Shariah’?

Images of one eye and amputated arms cross our minds. Subhan’Allah! It is Allah’s (swt) law that we are talking about. Allah (swt) says, “Cut off (from the wrist joint) the (right) hand of the thief, male or female, as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.” (Al-Maidah 5:38)

Anywhere in the world, where you see the crime rate high, know that their justice system is weak or probably it is almost non-existent. The reason Allah (swt) has decided for harsh punishment for the criminals, is to deter them and others from repeating the crime. One has to set the example. If the law of Allah (swt) was being followed in its actual sense, would the crime rate and the number of rapes be as high as they are today? May Allah (swt) protect our men, women and children. Ameen.

Halal consumption

Allah (swt) then tells us what we should consume, “And eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good, and fear Allah in Whom you believe.” (Al-Maidah 5:88) The Halal and Tayyab means no begging, no stealing and no eyeing what your neighbors are eating. Do not put anything and everything that you come across in your mouth. Find out the source and know what you are eating. Some people live on packaged food and do not give much value to fresh vegetables and fruits. Many of us do not even know where our food comes from. If it is a command from Allah (swt) to be particular about what we are eating, shouldn’t we find the source? Secondly, some people consider it piety to consume stale and rotten food. They would not throw if the food has gone bad, but rather eat it and end up with food poisoning. Allah (swt) has not made Haram upon His slaves to eat good food. What matters is that what you are eating is permissible; it is bought with Halal income, and there is no extravagance in your consumption.

Society blues!

He then talks about some of the prevalent ills of the society, “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytan’s (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.” (Al-Maidah 5:90)

The problem of drug addiction has gone out of our hands. Little children are drug addicts. Dad is not home because he is busy drinking with his friends. Some people say, “I am only a social drinker.” as if that is something acceptable. Some say, “Well, the entire world is drinking,” Allah (swt) says, “Say (O Muhammad ): Not equal are Al-Khabith (all that is evil and bad as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.) and At-Tayyab (all that is good as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.), even though the abundance of Al-Khabith (evil) may please you.” (Al-Maidah 5:100)

Accidents and divorces are taking place due to drug addiction and drinking problem. Homes are breaking and families are tearing apart. Quit this evil habit today and attain peace in your life.

If the entire world is following what is sinful and forbidden; neither should we follow them nor be fearful of their reaction, Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Take care of your own selves, [do righteous deeds, fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. If you follow the right guidance and enjoin what is right (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbid what is wrong (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden) no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do.” (Al-Maidah 5:105)

Allah (swt) is the only Being Who we should really revere and be fearful of. Nothing and no one else can destruct us except Him. If we are doing what Allah (swt) commanded us to do, and if we have surrendered to Him, He will protect us and look after our well-being. Insha’Allah.

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

Pearls of Peace – An Extract from Surah Baqarah 1

pearls1Pearls extracted from Surah Al-Baqarah

Right in the beginning Allah (swt) starts off by saying: Alif-lam-meem. Dhalika alkitabu larayba feehi hudan lilmuttaqeen

“Alif-Lam-Meem.” This is the Book about which there is no doubt, guidance for those conscious of Allah (swt).”

If you are conscious of Allah (swt), you will receive guidance from the Book. If you want to achieve inner comfort, never doubt a word in this Book. If science has proven something otherwise, remember that proof is wrong. There will come a day when science will re-prove until it comes in line with the narration of the Owner of creation. We are the believers. When you read the Book of Allah (swt), you should know for a fact that this is the absolute truth. Even if you don’t understand something temporarily; go and find out, go and ask the scholars and you will learn a lot.

So who are those conscious of Allah (swt)?

Allah (swt) says, “Who believe in the Ghaib and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and spend out of what we have provided for them (i.e. give Zakat , spend on themselves, their parents, their children, their wives, etc., and also give charity to the poor and also in Allah’s Cause – Jihad, etc.)..” (Al-Baqarah 2:3) If we could see the Unseen, we would be seeing the mercy of Allah (swt) and His Sakeena (tranquility) that descends whenever He is mentioned.

Two major qualities of a believer

Two qualities are required to be a believer:

  • establishing of Salah (prayer)
  • spending from the provision

Sometimes people who have been given more are stingy. On the other hand, those who have much less give out a lot in the way of Allah (swt). If Allah (swt) has given you wealth, spend it in His way. Believing in the Unseen, establishing prayer and sharing your Rizq (provision) will take you to a different level. A person who misses his Salah cannot achieve peace. Wealth that is not spent in the right way does not benefit a person.

Allah (swt) then mentions at another point, “And who believe in what has been revealed to you, (O Muhammad), and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith).” (Al-Baqarah 2:4) We definitely believe in the Quran. And we also believe in the previous scriptures. We acknowledge that they are from Allah (swt), although they have been tampered today. If we are convinced about our meeting with Allah (swt), we will keep away from sins. Therefore, keep a check on yourself.

Signs of a hypocrite

Allah (swt) then mentions the qualities of a hypocrite. Know that a hypocrite cannot have peace. So who are the hypocrites? From their tongues they confess their belief in Allah (swt) and the Hereafter; however, their deeds do not reflect their words. They are in an entirely opposite direction. They think they are deceiving Allah (swt); yet they are deceiving none except themselves. Can anyone deceive Allah (swt)? How can we deceive Him when we will eventually return to Him? Therefore, Allah (swt) says that humans have disease in their hearts. A person with a diseased heart will never have inner peace. The Prophet (sa) said: “Indeed there is a piece of flesh in your body which, if it be sound, then the whole body will be sound and if it be corrupt then the whole body will be corrupt. Indeed it is the heart.” (Bukhari)

If there is a disease within us, we need to diagnose it. Look within yourself and reflect on your qualities. If you have hatred, jealousy, deception and love towards the material world in your heart; you need to fight it and take it out. This will grant you peace in this world and the Hereafter. As Allah (swt) says,

“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) Thus, your heart has to be cleansed.

Due to this disease in their hearts, the hypocrites cannot differentiate between right and wrong. When they are told not to cause corruption, they say, “We are not corrupters.” This shows us that when our hearts are contaminated, we cannot focus properly. We chase things that can lead us to danger. This Ramadan we should strive to purify our hearts. May Allah (swt) grant us a heart that is always engaged in the remembrance of Allah (swt). Ameen.

Invitation to His Worship

Allah (swt) gives a general invitation to all mankind to worship Him. “O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous.” (A-Baqarah 2:21)

 Want to know who to worship? Worship the One Who sends you rainfall, crops and fruits. When you put your forehead and your nose on the ground, you are prostrating before the One Who created you. Allah (swt) mentions worship here because it is through worship that He will grant us peace.

History of Shaytan and his first victim Adam (as)

We talked about the being that snatches away our peace – the Shaytan. Allah (swt) now talks about his history. “When We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate before Adam’; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:34)

Here we learn to be careful of the devil. We lock up our cars and homes because of a few bad people out there waiting to snatch our belongings. Shaytan has enmity for us. Stay alarmed. Distance yourself from him because what you have in the form of Iman is far more valuable than three coins of gold. Make an effort to protect and look after your Iman. Serve Allah (swt). Get up in the early hours of the morning. Stand up for Taraweeh.

Wherever you falter, remember this pearl of peace, “Then Adam received from his Lord Words. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful.” (Al-Baqarah 2:37)

Adam (as) learnt to seek repentance

After the sin was committed, Allah (swt) taught Adam (as) how to seek repentance. The devil leads us astray. Allah (swt) teaches us how to achieve His Mercy. He teaches us a few words to wipe out the effects of the devil. Admit your error. Regret your sin. Ask Allah’s (swt) forgiveness and promise not to do it again. Allah (swt) doesn’t hold anything against you when you have asked for forgiveness. In the last hours of the night, He is calling out, “Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness so that I can forgive him?” But we are snoring at that time. In Ramadan we are worried about our Sahoor, “How many minutes are left? Why did you wake me up so late?” Allah (swt) is calling out, “Is there anyone seeking forgiveness?” And we are busy with our bowl of porridge. How long does it take to say, “O Allah! Please forgive me”?

Time for Dua

There are so many things we are seeking for. Repeat your Dua list every day before Him. Don’t lose hope. There will come a time when everything that you ever wanted will be marked off your Dua list. That is the Qudrah of Allah (swt). Even if you have to wake up every night for years, do it. Our problem is that we lose hope and do not make an effort. At that moment, we are more worried about the temporal pleasure of our belly. We don’t realize that the more we eat the more hungry we will be. Improve your diet. Eat a quality meal. Add more fiber and foods with low GI (Glycemic Index).

Complain of Allah (swt)

Allah (swt) then talks about the children of Prophet Yaqoob (as), O Children of Israel! Remember My Favour which I bestowed upon you….” (Al-Baqarah 2:40) Let’s pause here for a moment. Has Allah (swt) not favoured us? We are Muslims. We are alive. We can listen to the words of Allah (swt). We have a house, food and families. Has Allah (swt) not given us countless blessings? Associate this verse with the Children of Israel that ‘they’ have forgotten the gift of Allah (swt) upon ‘them’ so Allah (swt) is reminding ‘them’ in the Quran. We don’t realize that there is a lesson in it for ‘us’. What is the point of pointing fingers at others when we have forgotten countless gifts of Allah (swt) ourselves?

Gratitude gives peace

Be thankful for what you have; your parents, your spouse, your children, your house, all are gifts of Allah (swt). Be pleased with what you have. And be patient with your tests. Perfection is only in the Hereafter. Focus more on your own life than what people have and you will achieve peace.

The most repeated instructions in these verses have been: “offer your Salah, give Zakah and be patient.” Allah (swt) says, “And perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, and Irka (i.e. bow down or submit yourselves with obedience to Allah) along with Ar-Rakiun.” (Al-
Baqarah 2:43) If we don’t offer our prayers or go to the Masjid, we will miss out on a number of blessings! The Imam is there. People are offering their prayers. Don’t be absent. Join them. Make it a concerted effort. Don’t disappear after day one.

Peace comes with patience

The same instruction has been given at other places in the same Surah. Allah (swt) says, “And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashiun (i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings “Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder (Hell, etc.).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45) It was said, “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (Al-Baqarah 2:153) Something little goes wrong in our lives and we are willing to break our relationships. Allah (swt) commands us to be patient. Seek His help to handle your matters like a mature person.

Soften with Salah

Allah (swt) then talks about the hardness of the heart, “Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness.” (Al-Baqarah 2:74) Some people, no matter what happens in their life; they won’t offer Salah, turn to Allah (swt) or make peace within themselves and others. “There are stones from which rivers gush forth.” But a man’s heart does not soften to turn to Allah or forgive people. There is no goodness in his heart. Therefore we should ask Allah (swt) to soften our hearts in this blessed month.

Allah (swt) is the All-knower

Allah (swt) knows what’s in our hearts, as He says, “Know they (Jews) not that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal?” (Al-Baqarah 2:77) We can run and hide from a human being but can we run from Allah (swt)? That is not possible. This realization will make us  achieve the peace that we are seeking.

Fulfill the rights of others

Then we learn about the qualities that Allah (swt) has prescribed not only to the Children of Israel but also to us. He says, “And (remember) when We took a covenant from the Children of Israel, (saying): Worship none but Allah (Alone) and be dutiful and good to parents, and to kindred, and to orphans and Al-Masakin(the poor), and speak good to people (i.e. enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, and say the truth about Muhammad (sa) and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat. Then you slid back, except a few of you, while you are backsliders.” (Al-Baqarah 2:83)

How do we treat our parents? What have we done for the orphans? How do we speak to the beggars? Even if you don’t give them anything, at least say a kind word.

Save each other’s blood

Two more things that Allah (swt) took in His covenant with the Children of Israel were, He said, “And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your people, nor turn out your own people from their dwellings. Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bear witness.”  (Al-Baqarah 2:84) Take a look at where the Ummah is today. It’s Muslims against Muslims. Why are we allowing others to do the dirty job?

Magic is Haram

Allah (swt) then talks about magic. A person who uses magic has lost his Iman. Whoever has casted a spell has engaged in Shirk. “They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaiman (Solomon). Sulaiman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic…” (Al-Baqarah 2:102) Let us learn one important lesson from this. When something goes wrong in our life, we cannot blame others that someone must have casted a spell. Evil Jinn inspires people to say evil things which may destruct families. So don’t be deceived by evil Jinn.

May Allah (swt) allow us to look through His Book of peace to attain peace in our lives. Ameen.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)

Maintaining Productivity while not Praying

productivity

Being a Muslim means submitting to Allah’s (swt) laws, as He chose them to be. Some women tend to go into depression as their monthly cycles start or when postnatal bleeding begins. Not being able to pray or fast, they think there is nothing they can do to get closer to Allah (swt) and a sense of spiritual deprivation creeps in.

But what if we change our thinking? What if we accept it as Allah’s (swt) decree? If this is part of Allah’s (swt) plan, then it must be beneficial for us. He would not be pleased by our complaining, would He?

Monthly cycles and postnatal bleeding indicate that our bodies are working exactly the way nature intended them to. It shows that we are normal, and good health is a blessing we should not underestimate. Reflect on the following Ayah from the Quran: “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah Knows but you do not know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:216)

Having accepted the inconvenience as part of Allah’s (swt) decree, let us now shift our attention to the ways we can make this time productive.

  1. Permissible Acts of Worship

Only Salah and fasting is not allowed. You can still do a lot of other Ibadah that will take care of your spiritual needs.

  1. Dhikr

Let us begin with the lightest deed. The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever says: ‘Subhan-Allahi wa Bihamdi’ (How far from imperfections Allah is, and I praise Him) a hundred times during the day, his sins are wiped away, even if they are like the foam of the sea.” (Bukhari)

This neither takes much time, nor requires a state of ritual purity. Yet, the reward is amazing and keeps you connected to Allah (swt). There are several other similar short words of remembrance that do not require opening the Quran. Some other examples are: ‘Subhan Allah’ and ‘La Illaha Illa Allah’. What about Istighfar? We are always in need of seeking forgiveness from Allah (swt), aren’t we?

You can also recite the daily morning and evening supplications. If you do not know these Duas, this might be the time to memorize them.

  1. Listening to the Quran

While there is a disagreement over whether or not it is allowed to touch the Quran during menstruation, you can certainly listen to the recitation on a CD, cell phone or online. If you are trying to beautify your recitation, Allah (swt) has provided you with the time to focus on it now.

  1. Tahajjud

Performing Tahajjud Salah is not the only way to get your Duas answered or to seek nearness to Allah (swt). If you are awake at this hour but cannot pray, get up, make Wudhu and just sit and talk to Allah (swt). Talk to Him like you would at the end of prayer. Why miss out on this splendid opportunity? He listens when you call upon Him.

  1. Voluntary Charity

Invest the time you save on Salah and fasting by focusing on Sadaqah (voluntary charity). Is there any relative of yours that needs assistance? Maybe it’s a neighbour, an orphan child, or another needy person? Find out and be of assistance to them in whatever way you can. Charity is not limited to financial assistance only. For example, some women volunteer to babysit for other sisters to allow them some free time to focus on their Fard (obligatory) worship.

  1. Acquiring Knowledge

Islam lays great emphasis upon acquiring beneficial knowledge. This is evident by the numerous Duas that the Prophet (sa) taught us. In the Quran, knowledgeable people have been addressed as Ulul-Albab, meaning ‘the people of intellect’ or ‘people of understanding’. They are distinguished from those who live their lives mindlessly and deny the signs of Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says: “Shall he, then, who knows that what has been revealed unto you (O Muhammad (sa)) from your Lord is the truth, be like him who is blind? But it is only the men of understanding that pay heed.” (Ar-Rad 13:19)

Sisters, utilize this time for gaining knowledge. We will not identify reminders unless we have the wisdom to understand them. Read Islamic literature. Read about the life of the Prophet (sa), his companions, and those after them.

  1. Attending Religious Gatherings and Lectures

Umm Atiya narrates: “We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and veiled women in the religious gatherings and invocation of Muslims on the two Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from their Musalla (praying area).” (Bukhari)

By attending religious gatherings or lectures, you will not only gain knowledge but also boost your Iman. Moreover, when the angels will be making entries in their journals, regarding who strove in the cause of Allah (swt), your name will also be added to that list. Isn’t it a ‘win-win’ situation?

You could have been sitting in front of the television and catching up on the latest drama episode but you chose to give this time to Allah (swt).

  1. Other Activities
  1. Cooking

For you as daughters, wives, or mothers, family is your first priority. One of the requests that men in our lives have is nicely cooked food. It does not mean you should not cook otherwise, but now you can try out that special recipe, which you have been setting aside due to shortage of time. Cook simple but nutritious meals for your family. However, avoid excess. Control your budget, because we are answerable for our wealth on the Day of Judgement. If Allah (swt) has given you beyond your needs, spend on those who are less privileged. It is their right upon you. Somebody might be starving to death while you are preparing expensive gourmet to satisfy your Nafs.

  1. Shopping

Have you been thinking of buying some household items but were held back by the long, strenuous hours in the shopping malls? Check that off your to-do-list now. Use this time to do those important or not-so-important tasks of the worldly life. Why give up some time from your worship, when Allah (swt) gives an opportunity to do so in another way? However, always recite the Dua prescribed to us by the Prophet (sa) before entering the market. This will protect us from over-indulgence and wastefulness, Insha’Allah!

These are only some of the ways for making your time productive. Do not be emotionally stressed by this natural phase of life. It was decreed by Allah (swt).

When we understand the Hikmah (wisdom) behind Allah’s (swt) plans, our perspective changes; we become more internally content and at ease. Moreover, it allows us to submit willingly and practice our Deen confidently. Which of Allah’s (swt) favours can we deny?

May Allah (swt) bless us with the Hikmah to make the most of our Ramadan. Ameen.