Quranreading.com shares an Infograph with stories & lessons from Surah Al Kahf.
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Everybody goes through his own set of tribulations, and it’s very rare that people have a happy time all their life; such people are rare.
But Ibn Abbas (ra) said that the foundation of Dunya ‘world’ is tribulation.
The best worship is waiting for the ease from Allah (swt) to come when you’re in hardship.
But if, you are there complaining- why always me? And everything is horrible; and it’s doom and gloom; and it’s all black and it’s all dark; Allah (swt) will give you more things to complain about. And, He’ll give you some real things to complain about because there is a Hadeeth- if you complain about small calamities, Allah (swt) gives you greater calamities.
That’s why, Ibn Abbas (ra) said that in every Nikmah (tribulation), there are three Ni’mah (blessing); in every tribulation, there are three blessings.
And, the first one is that it could be worse than it is. That it’s in your worldly matters, and not in your Deen like if you lose money, its money; but if you lose Deen, you lost everything- so that’s a Ni’mah (blessing).
If you think about it, he didn’t say: “Don’t give us any calamities,” he said: “Don’t give us tribulation in our Deen!” We’re going to get tribulation, and we know that, because that’s the nature of Dunya. So, you are going to get tribulation, but don’t make it in Deen- make it in Dunya. That’s a Ni’mah that you lost your job, Alhumdulillah. I didn’t miss my prayers, Alhumdulillah. I didn’t lose my Iman (faith), Alhumdulillah. There is Wudhu (ablution) area, and a place to pray Alhumdulillah. Because jobs come and go, but Deen- once it’s gone, Allahu Alam (Allah (swt) knows best) if you’ll ever get it back.
Then the final one, it’s in this world. As long as the Musibah (difficulty) is in this world- it’s a Ni’mah, because the real Musibah is the Musibah in the next world. Hence, if you look at that and realize, we are in blessing Wallahi- the whole lot of us; some may be more than others outwardly, but the whole of Ummah is in blessing Wallahi….
Transcribed for Hiba by Faiza Rizwan
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Today the very fabric of society stands shaken. What and who can justify the killings of innocent kids?
If we travel back into time around 220 BC, China was divided into three kingdoms. Those were the times when amazing Chinese poetry was written; romantic heroes were depicted in movies to come; new dialects emerged and great laws were written down. But tragically, those were also the times when China was constantly at war within. Those battles caused unbelievable harm to the people of China who perished in millions. They couldn’t tolerate each other. They would wage war if one clan combed his hair differently than the other clan. That was a reason for them to hate each other. Many smaller nations hurt them in that vulnerable stage.
Today, we see a powerful superpower in the face of China standing united. Yes, united. That was the key. When they realized how division had weakened them, they joined hands to become one. And so, every household today has a high percentage of its merchandise either coming from China or being manufactured there- be it mobile phones, the clothes we wear, the furniture we use, etc.
A very famous parable circulates about three bulls and a lion. As the three stood together, the lion could not hunt them. Then the lion had an opportunity to trap one of the bulls. It cunningly convinced two bulls to break away from the third one. Hence, the two stood back, and let the lion devour the third bull. Next, the lion ate the second bull promising refuge to the one left alone. Lastly, as predicted, the lion pounced on the third and final bull. Just before the third bull was about to die it commented “In reality I was eaten the day I let the first bull be eaten for my own benefit. My death was sealed the day I was de-united. I am just being killed today.”
“Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers and merciful among themselves.” (Al-Fath 48:29)
Are we behaving mercifully towards our brothers and sisters? Or the ways of Khawarij have cracked into us? Khawarij were a group of people who had long beards and knew the Quran beautifully; yet, earned Allah’s (swt) anger. Their main worry was to fight other Muslims. For them it was said that they will leave the religion as an arrow leaves the bow. There was much less Iman in their hearts.
If we do not prevent ourselves from this behaviour, if we do not control the agenda, if we do not curb the hatred and rancor- we are heading towards disaster. If only we rewind the scene to the time when Allah’s (swt) had a conversation with His angels as described by the Quran. The angels showed concern to their Lord (swt) that is He going to put on earth His Khalifah who will spill blood? Allah (swt) informed them that He knew what they knew not. It was Allah’s (swt) great plan. And what was that? Allah (swt) was going to change the world through knowledge.
Whoever acted according to the revealed knowledge would be merciful.
Even the fish in the oceans prays for the one who seeks knowledge. If Ulema of Islam are not the Auliya (helpers) of Allah (swt) – I don’t know who is?
AmribnulAas (rta) conquered North Africa thrice. Each time he conquered it, the country went back to fighting internally. Then he altered his strategy, and brought Sahabah from Madinah to come and live with the population. Rest assured everything calmed down. The knowledgeable companions brought light of their knowledge and actions, and illuminated the hearts of the people.
Hassan Al Basree once said that the Himmah (strength) of a Jahil (ignorant) is his narration.
Without true action- in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah- every knowledge seeker becomes a hypocrite or a pseudo-intellectual carrying a label and huge degrees. But, there is no Barakah left in his knowledge. He is as blind as the ones following him. He suffers from a disease of self-righteousness. He knows better, and cannot see the goodness of others; hence, he claims superiority. The essence of Taqwa (fear of Allah’s (swt) presence) is lost. All that one wants to tackle is his own differences, even if he has to resort to violence. This sickness has become rampant in the Ummah today.
We have two sides of the coin. On one hand, we have extremists who follow self-construed understanding of Islam, and take up arms to endorse it. On the other hand, we have modernists who dilute Islam, and call for an understanding that suits to their liking and lifestyle. But, Islam is moderate, and cannot be understood according to our own desires.
Bukhari narrates that before the last hour strikes; there will come a part of time that shall be full of Fitnah.
But, when I see Pakistan, I see tremendous hope. When there is good, there is opportunity; and when there is bad, I see greater opportunity. Every nation takes approximately twenty five years to rise. Look at Japan after Hiroshima bombing and Germany after its collapse. Pakistan has three great assets:
I, being the chairman of Mercy Mission, want to personally see this growth. By the year 2030, I dream to see a pious, confident, selfless and self-sufficient Pakistan. It is our organization’s goal to help build a world where Muslim communities live faithfully, and benefit the society globally. And our change will come through education, Insha’Allah.
Transcribed from a talk at Motiwala residence for Hiba by RanaRais Khan
I start with His praise for it is Allah (swt) who guides me each day, and His infinite mercy sustains me for my every breath.
Recently, I was asked by somebody to write a piece for Hijab Day about my journey and my experience wearing Hijab. I was thrown into a bit of a dilemma- as this was a case of, “Well I don’t really celebrate any days as such!”; and not wanting to be offensive, as I knew he in his own right was being sincere. I wrote this over night as I decided to go with how I feel. I didn’t think that this is what was wanted out of me, but I have found that I can only find words when I speak from the heart, or I can’t say anything at all. This is what I wrote, but I didn’t give it in as I felt there could not be a competition for what each of us feels.
I don’t need a day to define the Muslimah that lives inside of me. Every day for me is a Hijab day. Although, we go through our trials, and are in the various stages of life, but I do not call my Hijab a struggle. For me- it is a source of comfort of beauty, peace, love, and an integral part of Deen. I don’t need days and I don’t need symbols- but I do need Him, His guidance, His mercy, and even, the people He sends as friends, as teachers, and as fellow travellers throughout this journey.
Years ago, somebody told me during that tough phase when I first wore the Hijab- that this is just a sip of the ocean. Truly, I have found that Deen is so much more than that sip. It is the ocean of life; holding onto Deen, and trying not to deviate- is the real challenge.
I come from a secular back ground, where after several years, the smallest insult to my face is that I am insane. I hear stories about my past as if there was never a time of repentance. I am told by near and dear ones that I may not be forgiven. After all, I came into it so late. After all, wasn’t I so terrible? And yes, I was; and yes, I have repented; and yes, it still goes round and round in my head. Could I have been better? Could I not have done more? For me- the depth of my madness is a normal conversation; for me- this is a normal day.
I don’t ask for sympathy for what is the point in asking for it when I look at His mercy, and I know that He chose me- the lowest of all the repentant sinners to be on His path; the one who forgot Him, but was not forgotten by Him. What I do ask for is forgiveness; and that He makes it easy for all of us. This is not a rant nor this is a complaint- this is plainly the lives of many. I am just the same story in another book which can go into volumes. But each of our stories does matter to our own selves.
When Allah (swt) wants to purify a soul, he tests it through trial and tribulation. Every soul goes through this in its own different ways.
This madness has made me weep; it has made me cry; and it has made me love. If this is what it is, and the end leads to something far better than what my human mind can fathom, then let me live in my madness.
Those who know me have known my story of “love”. So, this is not a speech of grief. This is truly a story of wanting more of that ocean. I turn everything around as this is the way I will fight. You see I love my Rabb.
And I do it for His love. I love my Prophet (sa) and I love my Deen. I find no embarrassment in secular groups to say it. And because of this love, I also love my sisters for the sake of Allah (swt).
I cannot compare my stories to any struggling Muslimah- as sometimes when I hear others relate their lives- I am humbled by the strength of the women in this Ummah. But our stories don’t end here, do they? We will go back home. and we will struggle, and we will live some more, and that is how we will move each day.
We do what we do with love for the sake of Him; that love for which there are not enough words in the human language to describe.
When you think of who you’re doing it for, it becomes easy to close chapters and lay certain pages of life to rest- knowing deep in your heart- He has other stories for you. Better plans than we can possibly imagine. I am not just speaking about the Hijab. I speak about our way of life. Imagine, the Mercy upon us when we could have been of those unaware.
From the Creator who has written millions of beautiful journeys, you should be assured, He has got yours covered every step of the way.
Yes, I know there are days; but just believe each day will be a good day. For even if you have slept with a face soaked in tears, wake up knowing He is still with you. For He is As-Sami (The All-Hearer); and He does listen to your Dua- the one you made when you felt there was nobody there. And, He is Al-Wadud (The Ever Loving) – the one who loves you the most. He has all the beautiful names that belong to Him.
And, this great entity, Al-Azeem (The Magnificent) chose us to be on His path; always watching over us, protecting us, loving us, guiding His slaves to Jannah; guiding us back to Him.
When you think of all the things you are hit with; when it seems you are flooded; just then, right at that moment, find that knowledge within you; the knowledge that He will never leave you, and it is then you can truly feel this beautiful realization; that feeling which comes from within; when you utter from the depth of your soul, when you cry out and truly mean the words, Alhumdulillahi Rabb il Aalameen. When you know and understand in that moment of relief that all praise truly belongs to Him.
It was early in the morning when X looked out of the large wooden window she was sitting in front of. The night that had just passed was something she feared would come again. Her room had already started to illuminate with the light of the rising sun, but she thought it was something she wouldn’t be able to experience in life. Things quite dark had happened to her, and she thought there was no one to help her stand up again. All this made her wonder if she could choose not to live.
What if in the midst of what X was going through, something could convince her not to do so? What if there was something more to the picture? What if there was something that could overpower her worries to finally leave her? If you think you had been having the same thoughts as X lately, for sure you need to know how the religion of Allah (swt) answers all such questions.
1. Why did it happen to me?
This life is a test, so we must always be ready to receive tribulations. True happiness will be granted to us, Insha’Allah, if we get past these tests with good grades; and we’ll be motivated to do that only if we desire for Jannah. In short, these trials are our chances to reach Jannah. Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) has already told why Allah (swt) afflicts His servants with trials.
It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta) that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “If Allah (swt) wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” (Bukhari)
2. Khayr is there, look for it.
Each event that happens in our lives leaves us with some understanding which we couldn’t have acquired if it didn’t happen the way it did. Especially, the bad ones when pass, strengthen us to face bigger challenges. The finest steel does become what it is, after going through the hottest fire! A bird does learn to fly when its mother pushes it out of the nest. Until this doesn’t happen, it never knows it can fly. At the time of hardship, we can’t exactly see where the Khayr is. But, we all know our knowledge is limited, while indeed nothing is hidden from Allah (swt).
Allah (swt) says in 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)
3. You have the cure, use it!
What you have been given as a test by Allah (swt) is something that you can bear. This is Allah’s (swt) blessing on each one of us, which we should always be thankful for. You just have to gather yourself again by keeping in mind what Allah (swt) says in the Quran,
“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maula (Patron, Supporter and Protector, etc.) and give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)
4. Realized? Time to repent!
Many a times, people feel stuck because they know they’ve done wrong, and that it is the reason why they feel devastated. But, what they forget is that their Lord is Ar-Rahman. His forgiveness is beyond our imagination. Keeping this in mind, there remains no need to try to shut doors which have already been kept open!
Abu Sa’id ibn Sa’d ibn Malik ibn Sinan al-Khudri (rta) reported that the Prophet of Allah (sa) said: “Among those before you there was a man who killed ninety-nine people. He asked who was the most knowledgeable man in the world and was directed to a monk. He went to him and said that he had killed ninety-nine people and was repentance possible for him? The monk said, ‘No,’ so he killed him and made it a hundred. Then, he again asked who was the most knowledgeable man on earth and was directed to a man of knowledge. He said that he had killed a hundred people, so was repentance possible for him? The man said, ‘Yes, who can come between you and repentance? Go to such-and-such a land where there are some people worshipping Allah (swt, the Almighty. Worship Allah (swt) with them and do not return to your own country. It is an evil place.’ So he went and then, when he was half way there, he died. The angels of mercy and angels of punishment started to argue about him. The angels of mercy said, ‘He came in repentance, turning with his heart to Allah (swt) Almighty.’ The angels of punishment said, ‘He has not done a single good action.’ An angel came in a human form and they appointed him arbitrator between them. He said, ‘Measure the distance between the two countries and whichever one he is nearer to, that is the one he belongs to.’ They measured and found he was nearer to the land to which he was going, so the angels of mercy took him.” (Riyad As-Salihin)
5. Call Him, He is never engaged!
It takes us little time to realize how merciful our Lord is. Even though, He tests us with trials throughout our lives, He has blessed us with various ways to call Him for help. One may call on Him at any part of the day, but to call is what must be done!
6. Please Him, not them!
Many problems arise when an individual is unable to live up to other people’s expectations. Each one of us comes across numerous people in life each of whom has different likes and dislikes. No matter how hard a person tries, at the end of the day criticism still remains. This happens when one forgets what he was born for. To be precise, pleasing people was never our duty, but to only obey Allah (swt). This doesn’t mean we have to do nothing with people. But, whatever dealing that has to be with them is only what Allah (swt) has ordered us to do.
7. No pill, no kill- just chill!
Many may think committing suicide means putting an end to problems, but in reality it doesn’t. Rather it creates problems even in the afterlife-the life which one will live forever.
It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) Fire falling down into it, and abiding therein perpetually forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever.” (Bukhari)
Casually climbing upstairs to my bedroom after Iftar and Salah, I read frantic messages from my niece to call her. I was informed the doctor had said Sabir’s scans were not good – the cancer had spread. I mumbled, heart sinking: “Inna illahi wa inna illahi rajioon” in a state of disbelief.
Only a few days ago, after his daughter’s Valima, he had flown to the USA for his periodic treatment. He was extremely hopeful of a new immunotherapy treatment which his doctor had scheduled for him.
I felt dizzy and weak. Memories of his last visit and my ailing mother started to flood me … Beckoning me, he had held me against him. Little was I to know this was my last hug from my brother who was my only sibling and also a father figure, as I had lost my papa many years ago.
It was almost three years ago when Sabir was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Friends and family members reassured me that if anyone had cancer, this is the one they should want as it had an excellent prognosis.
After a long flight to the USA, my brother felt jetlagged and exhausted; however, he was positive and went for his doctor’s appointment with lots of hope. His latest scans had already been sent to him. “So how are you feeling?” he asked. Sabir paused: “Not too good.” The doctor replied: “Your scans too are not that good.” He went to explain that the cancer had spread to his liver and lungs, and no further treatment was possible. Sabir closed his eyes and asked to lie down. The doctor explained how he would be given medical attention at a hospice until…
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Inna Ma’al Usre Yusra
As per the custom of that time, the Mushrikeen visited the Kabah for Hajj. On one such instance, Qais too joined the delegation. The Prophet (sa), despite being in the minority, would promote his religion to the strangers. He would make efforts, and take out time to meet the people who had come to Makkah for Hajj.
He met Qais and presented Islam to him. Qais attentively listened to the Prophet (sa), and acknowledged that what he was being presented was a glorious religion. He asked for time to contemplate conversion. The Prophet (sa) desired that the husband of a devoted religious woman embraced Islam as well, therefore, he prolonged his dialogue with Qais. Qais, however, kept asking for more time to consider. The Prophet (sa), then asked Qais about his unkind treatment towards his wife. He instructed him to fear Allah (swt), and to promise him that he will never say anything to his distressed wife. Qais promised that he would do as the Prophet (sa) instructed and would never again be cruel to his wife.
Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance.
When Qais returned to Madinah, he informed Hawa (ra) about his meeting with the Messenger of Allah (sa), and his promise to him. He assured her that from then onwards he would never torment her. Hawa (ra) was relieved to hear that.
“Verily, with the hardship, there is relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).” (Ash-Shath 94:6)
Hawa (ra) could then freely practice her religion. She openly declared her faith because she had no one to be fearful about. After a little time had passed, the Prophet (sa), being a true leader and well-wisher, asked about Hawa (ra) and her husband’s treatment. He was informed that she lived in peace.
People teased Qais about his wife’s conversion. He informed them of his promise to the Prophet (sa) and his will to honour it.
Qais had honoured his promise to the Prophet (sa). However, he kept waiting for the right time to embrace Islam, and missed his chance. Qais was killed as an idolater. He saved Hawa’s life in this world and the hereafter, but could not save his own hereafter.
Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator.
Lessons to draw: Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance. Because Hawa (ra) only depended upon Allah (swt), He helped her in a miraculous way. With every difficulty there is ease, strengthen your faith in Allah (swt).
Life as a Widow
When the Prophet (sa) migrated to Madinah, Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator. This is how Allah (swt) honours those who are willing to remain steadfast in their trials, and give precedence to religion over anything in the world.
May Allah (swt) also make us of those He honours. Ameen.
Lessons to draw: When you have taken the step to draw closer to Allah (swt), He will test you. He will put you through trials to separate the wheat from the chaff. How truly dedicated and honest are you in your service and commitment to Islam? Be brave. Don’t let Shaytan weaken your resolution.
(Click here to read ‘Lessons in Faith from Hawa bint Yazid (ra)’)
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)
9:30 a.m. April 7th, 2013
Her hands trembled as she opened her prayer mat. Amir’s words echoed in her ears as she closed her eyes, and called upon the Almighty. She didn’t deserve that. Nobody deserved that! Why her out of all the people? She had wasted 25-twenty five glorious years of her life as a single parent raising 5-five kids. Five kids! No easy task. It was a roller coaster ride with more downs than ups. She went through a lot but came through. Came through to have what? What did she ever do to deserve that? Tears rolled down her cheeks as she whispered to her God.
She lived with her only son, Amir. Her daughters were married off and lived with their families. Her son was also married and had two sons of his own. Together, they portrayed a picture of a big happy family. Only she knew what she had to endure to get to that stage. But she didn’t have any regrets. She was happy. She was content with what she had. She never complained. She never asked for more. Even though in her heart she knew she deserved more. She knew she was being tested and she strived to win. But what did she get after all those hard-spent years?
8:00 a.m. Dec 20th 2012
“Yes, Bhai? Assalamu alaikum.”
“Wa alaikumasalam Farzana, how are you and everyone else?”
“Did you get my email?”
“Yes Bhai, got it. I’m on it right now. Don’t worry. I’ll let you know in a week or so.”
“Ok, Ok. Take your time. I know you’re busy with your new job and all.”
“Yeah, but I’ll get it ready in a week.”
“Ok Farri, take care and give my love to the kids.”
9:40 a.m. April 7th 2013
She wanted to scream. She wanted to shout. But her lips were sealed. No words came out. Is this what it all ends up to? She survived mountains of miseries to get beaten by this? But this was the mother of all miseries, she must’nt forget. How was she going to survive this? She could feel the sweat trickle down her spine as she recalled the insult she was just put through. She wanted to talk to the Lord. She wanted to cry it all out. But she couldn’t. She had never felt so worthless in her life.
10:00 a.m. Dec 29th 2012
“Wa alaikumasalam Bhai. I was going to call you today.”
“Haha Farzana, that’s what you say every time I call you. So? Did you do the work?”
“Yes Bhai, almost done. It’s taking a lot more time than I thought it would. I didn’t imagine it would take so long.”
“Yes, it must be hard work. But consider it a great favour towards your brother.”
“Haha no Bhai, don’t take it wrong. I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m sorry that I can’t do it any quicker.”
“Take your time Farri. I don’t want you to rush through it. You doing that favour for me is a big help. Take care and give my love to the kids.”
9:50 a.m. April 7th 2013
She was in Sujud. Her whole body shook as she cried. She wasn’t weak. She wasn’t weak at all. She was as strong as a woman can be in this society- maybe even more! She didn’t let anything come between her and her kids’ well being. She met every obstacle headstrong. All she wanted in return was to have a peaceful life with her kids and grandkids- as the women of this society are brought up dreaming about. It was never in her slightest imagination that things would take such a bleak turn.
‘Why did You leave me like this?’ she whispered to her Lord, ‘is this how You reward me, pay me for all the sacrifices I made?’
This was not the woman she used to be. Today’s event showed her that she was the one meant to suffer from the beginning. No matter what she did, no matter how strong she became, she was still a weak woman meant to suffer in the hands of the men in her life. And this time that man was her own flesh and blood; her son, Amir.
9:30 p.m. Jan 23rd 2013
“Wa alaikum assalam Bhai.”
“Heard about your father in law’s death.”
“Yes bhai. It was so tragic. He was in such good health. It all happened in a week. The kids are all in a shock. They just can’t accept their Dada is no more with them.”
“Yes, it must be the hardest for kids. Give them some time. They’ll be ok.”
“Yes, Bhai. I had been so busy for the last two weeks, I just couldn’t work on the list Bhai.”
“Of course farri, I wouldn’t even worry about that now.”
“I know Bhai. I just feel so ashamed. You told me to do it such a long time ago and I still couldn’t do it.”
“Well, you will do it eventually right? So don’t worry about it.”
“Yeah Bhai, I’ll do it as soon as the kids get settled”
10:10 a.m. April 7th 2013
She no longer had any hope. Good deeds and sacrifices were of no worth in the eyes of God. She suffered all her life alone with 5-five little kids thinking she was being tested and once she proves herself, it will all be over. She’ll see better days. She didn’t lose hope even when her son couldn’t get a degree from a renowned university because she couldn’t afford it. She didn’t lose hope even when her son couldn’t get a good job because he didn’t have a fancy degree. She didn’t lose hope even when she was forced to live in a rundown apartment which she couldn’t afford to paint. She had hope that good days will come- but not anymore. God didn’t care about her. He had better things to do.
11:00 a.m. Feb 13th 2013
“I got your mail sis. It was such a big help!”
“I’m so sorry it took me so long. All I had to do was make a list of our relatives who were having a rough time here. It wasn’t so hard. I just couldn’t find time.”
“It’s all right. You did do it. That’s all that matters. Now all I have to do is send you the money. You’ll then have to make different envelopes of them and send them to the different addresses you’ve sent me. I’ll let you know how much to whom, Ok?”
“Ok, Bhai. And Bhai, I think it’s a very noble thing you’re doing- keeping record of all the less privileged in the family and sending them money. I think you’re doing an awesome job!”
“Thanks Farri, it’s the least I can do. On my last trip, I saw them living so miserably it broke my heart. I hope this money I send them each month makes up for the things I could’ve done while living there.”
“Yes, I’m sure they’ll all really appreciate it once they get the money.”
10:20 a.m. April 7th 2013
Why did she even think God would actually care about her? She was a nobody. God only cared for people who did big things for Him. She didn’t. All she did was raise five kids and somehow screwed up that too. Wasn’t God there when she was having a hard time feeding the kids with a low paying job as a house help? Didn’t God see how she struggled to get her daughters married off at the right time? Apparently not or He would’ve had some pity on her.
9:30 a.m. March 1st 2013
“Wa alaikum assalam, Farri. I’ve sent the money. You’ll get it in two days time. Then you’ll have to make separate envelopes and deliver the money. I’ve also sent you the email telling how much money to whom.”
“Ok Bhai. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.”
“You just don’t know how much I appreciate what you’re doing Farri.”
“No Bhai, I’m doing it for myself. I want to make my contribution in this good work.”
“May Allah (swt) reward you for it.”
[To be continued Insha Allah…]
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!
My Quran Reflections Journal – 9
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015
Day 15 Reflection
“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
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)!
Have you ever thought that you have come to the end of your tether? Or that you have suffered a lot? That everyone is against you? That people do not understand you and that the course of events always works against you?
You may be going through a difficult time, but the situation may not be as you imagine.
God deliberately creates all difficulties. They are like specially wrapped presents, tailor-made for each individual. Everyone has different flaws: some people are impatient, some are restless, some are distrusting, some are uneasy, some are prone to negativity and others are quick to anger.
God deliberately creates all difficulties. They are like specially wrapped presents, tailor-made for each individual
Troubles, sickness, losses and deficiencies are all blessings for one to overcome these flaws, beautify one’s soul and improve one’s moral values. Our Lord knows what every person needs, and He knows best how much they can stand. If there is something troubling you, it will not exceed your capacity to cope with it; as a matter of fact, if you are a believer, it will strengthen you.
Some people, who encounter times of trouble, may think there is no way out, that they have come to the end of the road and that their difficulties can never finish. Some people may even behave in a rebellious way; however, all of this is but apprehensions whispered to them by Satan.
God creates different events for everyone on Earth. The observances commanded by God, the difficulties He creates to test us and the responsibilities He places on us are all proportional to our strength.
Our Lord knows best what people can cope with and how much. God is infinitely Just and Forbearing toward His servants. Our Lord will never impose a greater burden than one can bear, nor a responsibility one’s conscience cannot accept; no one would ever be wronged. That is God’s promise. It is a manifestation of His being the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful.
All sorts of tests, sicknesses, accidents, material and psychological difficulties and all the rest, are set out within the individual’s ability to cope with them and are events that God has ordained specially for them in their destiny;
“And We tax not any person except according to his capacity, and with Us is a Record which speaks the truth, and they will not be wronged.” (Al-Muminun 23:62)
Nothing is coincidence, there is wisdom behind everything
Everything in the life of this world is realistic and takes place as the result of causes. For that reason, some people think that the time allotted to them in this world will never end. The fact that everything gradually decays and that people grow old, even the existence of death, does not make them admit that irrefutable fact. They imagine that the life of this world is absolute and are reluctant to think about the Hereafter or even to consider a life after death.
The troubles and difficulties sent to such people, who fall into the error of thinking that they should constantly strive for worldly things, never end. For that reason, in order to see the goodness and wisdom in events and realize that ‘everything happens for the best’, one must first not forget that this world is only a transient place of trial.
A sincere believer must know the truth that no matter what befalls him; it will be something in the face of which he can exhibit moral virtue and fortitude. No matter what hardship befalls him, it will be something he has the strength to cope with and face with patience.
The joy of faith
Believers never lose their joy, if there is a decrease in their blessings, if they are sick or face some other affliction. On the contrary, they regard troubles as a gift. They have no need for special reasons to be happy. For them, faith itself is a source of joy and gratitude.
The joy of faith is a heartfelt, sincere happiness that people, who live without faith in their hearts, cannot replicate.
They trust that all troubles in life are created to test them and that they will receive a fine reward in the Presence of God for their fortitude in the face of troubles; that idea is their source of happiness. Since they act in the light of their conscience, they make comparisons and through comparison, better realize the value of blessings. That is the joy of faith.
The joy of faith is a heartfelt, sincere happiness that people, who live without faith in their hearts, cannot replicate. This is a fulfilment of the heart of the believer, who hopes for God’s approval, mercy and eternal Paradise, with joy from Him.
This joy-filled life that believers enjoy in this world will, by the mercy of God, continue increasingly without any interruptions in Paradise.
“Then as for those who believed (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and did righteous good deeds, such shall be honoured and made to enjoy luxurious life (forever) in a Garden of delight (Paradise).” (Ar-Rum 30:15)
No matter what befalls you, do not forget that you are strong enough to cope, and that you can face it with fortitude and pleasantness.
A final reminder
When you are troubled or made uneasy by something, have a look at the situation of other people in the world and think about those, who are starving to death in war, those who are trying to survive by eating grass, those waking up to the sound of bombs and finding their homes crashing down around them. Think about those who cannot find water to drink.
Give thanks for all the good things in your life. Think of the people, who have never even dreamed of those shoes that you may have worn for years, no longer like and are planning to throw in the trash. Always remember to give thanks for what you have.
Give thanks to God for all the blessings He has bestowed on you. Make a resolution to see the goodness in everything by saying: “Alhamdulillah, thanks be to You, my God.”
Every human on this planet has to come across hardships in life. Not only us but also our ancestors had to face certain trials and tribulations. Some of us manage to go through difficult times by being patient, while others hand themselves over to depression. Some grieve over lost possessions, while others cry upon seeing their loved ones in pain. This is the principle of life that differentiates the believer from the hypocrite, steadfast from the shaky, and claimer from the doer. If man manages to know, why he is made to suffer, he will soon find out the reason behind his existence. This is the truth that most of us do not yearn to look for. This is the knot that we still need to untie by sparing sometime to think about us, and about our self!
Humans often do things that they once claimed not to do and vice versa. How many times it happens that we tell someone not to reveal our secret, yet we find people talking about us the next day? Students, at times, fix the date for a particular test with mutual agreement, and still they are not prepared for it on the fixed day. But, it is not a universal truth for all; as there are people who keep secrets and students who prepare for the test as planned. Same is the case with the believer who acts upon his/her own claims. The believer can only be a believer when by actions he/she displays his firm belief in Allah (swt) Almighty. Trials and tribulations befall us by the command of Allah (swt) Almighty to see if we truly believe in Him, as we claim.
Allah (swt) says, “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested.” (Al-Ankabut 29:2)
From entering a medical college to getting a driver’s license, everybody has to go through a test, without which such goals cannot be achieved. Same is the case with a sports person, who practices all day long to have what he had wished for. In short, every achievement has its own criteria of eligibility. The one who manages to fulfill such criterion simply has it. We, humans, are also tested by Allah (swt), so that He would know, which one of us is righteous in deeds. The ones, who will ultimately manage to pass all the trials with patience and strong faith in Allah (swt), will, Insha’Allah, get the greatest reward – Jannah!
Allah (swt) says, “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e. blessings, etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)
There is no doubt about the fact that we all will be tested. But what is more important to know is that the burden we will be subjected to would not be something unbearable.
There is no doubt about the fact that we all will be tested. But what is more important to know is that the burden we will be subjected to would not be something unbearable. This shows Allah’s (swt) mercy, as our Lord despite of testing us, creates ease for us.
Allah (swt) says, “Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maula (Patron, Supporter and Protector, etc.) and give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)
Allah (swt) Almighty, the Most Merciful, the Most Generous, has put before us examples of prophets to follow. The life of each prophet portrays a lesson for the believers. One can relate to their stories, while going through the walk of life. Hearing of trials and tribulations, prophet Ayoob’s (as) name comes to my mind. Allah (swt) Almighty tested him in everything that he had. He lost his children, wealth, health and even his closest friends. Yet, after going through such tests, he showed patience and prayed to Allah (swt). Regarding Ayoob (as), Allah (swt) says:
“And (remember) Ayoob (Job), when he cried to his Lord: “Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.” So We answered his call, and We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof along with them, as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us.” (Al-Anbiya 21:83-84)
Living and trying to face our problems with patience is better than giving it all away to depression. Especially, when we know that it is something, which we can handle. Burying our head in the sand to avoid danger would not change the reality. We are going to be tested when there is time for us to be tested. So, it is better to strengthen our Iman (faith) before that time comes. In order to increase our faith in Allah (swt) Almighty, we must increase our knowledge about Islam. And to do that, let’s just spare a few minutes from our busy lives learning about Islam, in order to nurture our soul and manage our highs and lows.
“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).” (Al-Ankabut 29:2-3)
It is certain from the following verses of the Quran that Allah (swt) will test those who believed in one way or the other- as He tested the believers before. These tests may be in the form of hunger, loss of a loved one or health, or wealth as stated in the Holy Quran: “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “This world is prison for a believer and heaven for the disbeliever.”
But why these tests are specified only for those who believe? What is the wisdom behind it?
Firstly, it is to check the level of their Iman – to make sure, whether they are strong enough to bear a calamity with an unwavering Iman; and secondly, to wipe out their sins – to purify them for the Akhirah.
Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Trials will continue to befall the believing man or woman on himself, his child and his wealth until he meets Allah (swt) with no sin on him.” (Tirmidhi)
It was narrated by Anas (ra) that the Prophet (sa) said: “When Allah (swt) wills good for His slave, He hastens the punishment for him in this world; and when Allah (swt) wills ill for His slave, He withholds the punishment for his sins until he comes with all his sins on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi)
Aisha (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “The believer is not harmed by a thorn or anything greater, but Allah (swt) will raise him in status thereby, or erase a sin thereby.” (Muslim)
The wisdom behind testing the believers through trials and tribulations is that they are made to remember Allah (swt) on account of these adversities. This makes them accustomed to remember Him and keep their thoughts busy with Him. It is natural for the believers to seek and turn to Allah (swt) for help in adversities; while in the times of comfort they forget and neglect it. A believer’s heart only gets content and rest while he remembers Allah (swt) as it is stated in the Holy Quran: “Those who believe, and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)
How to deal with trials and tribulations?
Allah (swt) has stated in the holy Quran that the most powerful methods to bear calamities and trials are being patient and seeking help from Him through prayer.
“And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashiun (i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)
Inspiration from the Prophets (as)
a) Prophet Adam (as)
Allah (swt) forbade Adam (as) to eat from the forbidden tree in paradise; but he got impatient and listened to Iblees. As a result, he gained Allah’s (swt) wrath and was sent down to earth. It took forty years of Dua and patience by Adam (as) to be forgiven.
b) Prophet Yusuf (as) and Yaqoob (as)
Prophet Yusuf (as) was sent to prison for the crime that he had not committed, but he remained patient and was released after several years; while, on the other hand, Yaqoob (as) met his son after the patience of thirty-four years.
c) Prophet Ayoob (as)
Prophet Ayoob’s (as) story is the most famous story of patience and forbearance. He remained patient during his illness, which lasted for eighteen years, and kept supplicating.
The reward for the patient ones
The trials and tribulations faced by the believers, who remain patient and rely on Allah (swt), never go un-rewarded. This is what Allah (swt) has promised in the Holy Quran:
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e. blessings, etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)
“And be patient; verily, Allah loses not the reward of the good-doers.” (Hud 11:115)
May Allah (swt) place us among the patient believers, to whom Allah (swt) has promised greater rewards. Ameen.
In the life of this world, we have countless matters and desires to deal with. When we believe in one God, we have this faith that whatever good or bad happens to me (us) is from Allah (swt). No human being or any other creature on this earth has the right or power to benefit me or harm me. This is the crystal clear Islamic belief, find and accept it straight.
When most of us start practicing, we focus more on ‘apparently bright sides’ and forget the ‘apparently dark sides’ of believing and surrendering to the will of Allah (swt).
Now empathize with these situations:
Will of God? Good for You?
What does Allah (swt) want? Your heart shrieks, eyes weep and brain questions. Do people make you feel extremely low? Do they make you feel deprived and less-privileged with zero self-respect?
Why is it so:
Oh dear people, who are entering into Islam and who have started practicing it – make sure that you train your body and mind for both sides. Wake up from dreams and fantasies that our whims and desires will be accepted because we are the best people on earth.
Yes! You’re the best but Allah’s (swt) will is the wisest.
Hazrat Yusuf (as) was a handsome prophet, but was ruthlessly troubled by his brothers and women and had to spend time in prison? Why did Allah (swt) make him go through so much?
“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Seer.” (Ash-Shuara 42:11)
We cannot compare Allah (swt) with any of His creations. He (swt) is beyond comparison and most of us cannot comprehend the wisdom behind matters.
In the story of Musa (as) and Khidr in Surah Al-Kahf, we get to know that the child was killed, because his life would have proven to be a Fitnah for his parents.
What if your child, whom you are crying for, would have deviated you from the path of Allah (swt) and let you die as Kafir? We just surrender before the decree of Allah (swt) because we know that all this is happening for best!
Allah (swt) has not over-pressurized us. He knows we are weak, which is why we are allowed to grieve for three days and nights for those who die.
Hadeeth states: Once Hazrat Sa’d Bin Ubadah became ill, and the Prophet (sa) went to see him; he was moved to tears on seeing the pitiful situation of his companion and said: “Allah (swt) does not punish because of tears, nor because of grief, but he punishes because of this” – and he pointed to his tongue. (Bukhari)
“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.” (Az-Zumar 39:10)
We need to believe that life lies ahead of this Dunya!
Read out loud: life lies ahead of this Dunya!
What did I say? Life lies ahead of this Dunya!
Ultimate success lies in surrendering your spirits and drives to the will of Allah (swt) as per basic Islamic Aqeedah. The everlasting life will come after we die where we will find reward for all our patience and result of trials. This world is but a temporary abode.
As a Muslim, we need to be mature and help our fellow Muslims to stay grateful and calm. One easy way is to not show-off the blessings you have; so that those whom Allah (swt) has not given those things, will not feel bad and stay grateful.
This world is a deception – tests and trials are a reminder for good
Moreover, have this clear in your mind that afflictions are not a sign that you are a loser or Allah (swt) wants to do bad with you! No, Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard (for the Cause of Allah) and the patient ones, and We shall test your facts (i.e. the one who is a liar, and the one who is truthful).” (Muhammad 47: 31)
Ultimate success lies in surrendering your spirits and drives to the will of Allah (swt) as per basic Islamic Aqeedah. The everlasting life will come after we die where we will find reward for all our patience and result of trials.
Sheikh As-Sadi (ra) said: “That is don’t extend your eyes out of amazement and don’t keep looking out of approval at what people are enjoying of worldly gains- such as tasty food and drink and fancy clothing and adorned homes and beautified women; for all that is from the splendor of worldly life which the souls of deceived ones rejoice over, and which the eyes of the negligent are amazed, and which the wrongdoers enjoy – without thinking of the hereafter. Then it all passes by quickly and disappears and kills those who love and adore it; and they regret at a time when regret is of no benefit. Then when come forward at the time of Resurrection, they will know what they were upon and that Allah (swt) had only placed it as a trial and test, to see who would be deceived by it as opposed to who would be better in deed as the Exalted says (what means):
“Verily! We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds. (i.e. those who do good deeds in the most perfect manner, that means to do them (deeds) totally for Allah’s (swt) sake and in accordance to the legal ways of the Prophet (sa))” (Al-Kahf 18:7)
We hope that the first fast of this blessed month of Ramadan has gone smoothly. When you feel the hours are too long think, of the places where people fast for eighteen or even more hours. May Allah (swt) allow us to make the best of this month, ameen. Let’s dive into some more pearls of peace from the Book of peace.
Tests for the best!
Allah (swt) informs us that He is definitely going to test us with different types of tests. He says, “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)
Sometimes fear might over take us. Sometimes we might suffer loss in our business. We may not have enough wealth. We may lose our dear ones; our parents, our spouse and our children. Sometimes the production will be less. But who will have peace when being tested? Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155-156)
Surrender to the will of Allah (swt)
They are those who are contented with the decree of Allah (swt). They know that ‘we belong to Allah (swt)’ and everything that we have belongs to Allah (swt). When a calamity strikes them, they are quick to say, “Inna lillahi wa-innailahi rajioon” and move on with their life. If we adopt this approach, we will achieve peace. But if, we are someone not prepared to be tested, then what will we do in the hereafter? How will the believers be distinguished from the disbelievers if we are not prepared to be tested?
It is similar to going to school every day, attending classes and taking lectures. But when exams come we walk out of the examination hall saying, “I don’t want to be tested.” That indicates we wasted our time at school.
Quran’s main addressee is human being; therefore it holistically attends to every topic that is related to human life. If we follow the instructions laid out in the Quran, we will acquire the peace that we are searching for.
Thank Allah (swt) and eat from what is lawful
In this Surah, Allah (swt) talks about what we should eat. He says, “O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship.” (Al-Baqarah 2:172) Stay away from unlawful and impure things. Eat Halal (lawful) and Tayyab (pure) and be thankful to Allah (swt). This will be the quality of someone who truly considers Allah (swt) as his Lord, Nourisher, Provider and Sustainer. People are dying out of hunger and drought while our houses are stocked with food and water, Alhamdulillah. May He make us His thankful servants. Ameen. The more we appreciate Allah’s (swt) gifts upon us, the more thankful we would be.
Strict avoidance of the Haram
Right after this verse He warns us to stay away from the Haram, “He has forbidden you only the Maytatah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering).” (Al-Baqarah 2:173)
This is just a small list of items that we are prohibited to eat. Haram affects our entire system, more details in the later section, Insha’Allah.
Fasting brings piety
Allah (swt) then mentions the month of Ramadan in the Quran, “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun” (Al-Baqarah 2:185)
Ramadan – the month of the divine revelation
This is the only month of the Islamic calendar which is mentioned this way. This is the month in which the Book of guidance was sent down by Allah (swt). Thus during this month we dedicate specific time for Quran. The Quran recitors should try their best to recite the Quran in such a manner that every letter is clear while those who are still learning the Quran should search for places where they can go and learn the Quran.
Go fasting, go healthy!
In the month of Ramadan, we not only fast for the sake of Allah (swt) but also improve our health. Fasting helps us to detoxify our bodies, physically as well as spiritually; according to a finding supported by Science. In the 1960s, the Stanford University campus conducted an interested experiment at a pre-school. The ability of four-year olds to resist temptation was tested. A marshmallow was placed in a room and the children were told that they could have the marshmallow immediately, or if they waited until the tester had run an errand and returned, then they could have two marshmallows. Some children waited for two marshmallows, while others ate one immediately. These same children were followed over 14 years to see how they managed in life.
Those who had resisted temptation at four were now, as adolescents, more socially competent, personally effective, self-assertive, and better able to cope with the frustrations of life. The third or so who grabbed the marshmallow, however, tended to have fewer of these qualities and shared instead a relatively more troubled psychological portrait. Surprisingly, those who had waited patiently at four were far superior as students to those who acted on whim. Moreover, they had dramatically higher scores in their SAT tests. There is perhaps no physiological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse. It is the root of all emotional self-control, since all emotions, by their very nature, lead to one or another impulse to act. (Coleman, Daniel, Emotional Intelligence, London: Bloomsbury, 1996, pp. 81-82.)
People stop eating certain foods to detoxify their bodies and go on a diet. Allah (swt) gives us an entire month to detoxify and get back in shape. But sadly, we treat the month of fasting as a month of feasting. Women are busy in the kitchen the entire day making delicacies for Iftar, leaving no time or energy to stand up in Taraweeh and worship the One Who provided them Rizq. It seems as if this is the only month when we get to eat something.
Yes, Allah (swt) has called cooking an act of worship when done with the intention of feeding one’s family. However, we also need to keep ourselves in check. When we begin wasting our time in decorating food then it is no more an act of worship. Most often, the decoration done so precisely and artistically goes to waste. No one eats the carved salad or the chocolate sauce sprinkled on the platter. We are wasting what we have been given in abundance while there are people dying out of hunger.
Make invocations before Fajr (at Sahoor)
Allah (swt) then mentions how close He is to us, “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad (sa)) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge).” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)
When one senses the closeness of Allah (swt), he is at peace. Allah’s (swt) closeness protects one from evil and sins. Allah (swt) continues, “I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.”
Everyone is calling Allah (swt) at the same time for different things, and Allah (swt) is listening to each one us, giving us what we have invoked Him for, at the right time. Never underestimate calling out to Allah (swt). When you get up for Sahoor, remember Allah (swt). Keep your Dua list handy.
The hidden truth about our needs
An overlooked gift of Allah (swt) to us is that He keeps us in need. Had He not kept us yearning, would we have remembered Him? May Allah (swt) fulfill our needs. Ameen.
Bribery – a major sin
Allah (swt) then warns us of bribery, And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers …” (Al-Baqarah 2:188)
Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajid explains, “Bribery means giving money to someone through whom a person takes something that has no right to, such as bribing a judge to judge in his favour wrongfully, or bribing an official to give him preference over others, or to give him something to which he is not entitled. Bribery is a major sin, because the Prophet (sa) said: ‘May the curse of Allah (swt) be upon the one who pays a bribe and the one who takes it.’ (Ibn Majah) It must be known bribery is only permissible when a person cannot attain his rights in any other way. But in that case it is Haram for the one who takes it but not the one who gives it.”
Dishonest transactions/ dealings
Similarly, if you are selling something, do not deceive someone by misquoting the price or selling them a damaged good. If there is some defect be honest and let them know. Charge an honest profit because if the buyer finds out your products are over-priced, he is not going to return for another purchase and also give negative feedback to others.
Worse, the person can curse you because of your lying. Are you willing to risk your peace and contentment for a little amount of money? Honesty builds trust and strengthens relationships. It will also give you a competitive edge over others.
As I reel back into time, I perceive I was not a very easy child. My mother brought me up and made me what I am today, with a mountain of patience and forbearance. I was a disgruntled girl, who would just need a small mishap to get piqued. I hated when things did not go my way. A tad bit of hiccup in my routine, arrival of unexpected guests, unsatisfactory grades at school or an unwanted meal could rotten my mood and spoil not only my day but also the day of those close to me. But my mother’s warm embrace and ceaseless prayers nurtured me. I learnt many lessons. Lessons that are eye openers and undoubtedly responsible for keeping me afloat.
I grew up watching my sweet mother. Her attitude towards troubles, her problem solving and her trust in the greatest treasure and faith in Allah (swt). All this taught me lessons and changed my perspective about life. When did it happen? I cannot specifically point it out, but the magic did happen.
Her solution for all calamities would always be to kneel before Allah (swt), offer Salat–ul-Hajat and leave everything in His hands.
I can very vividly recollect how my mother’s poise at times of distress stung me and made me erratic. But her voice – the echo of which I can still hear, as I write this out – slowly killed all doubt, all dissension and all anger that I had towards my fate and life. Her solution for all calamities would always be to kneel before Allah (swt), offer Salat–ul-Hajat and leave everything in His hands. After getting up from her prayer mat, she would set aside a sum of money as Sadaqah, as much as her purse allowed, and then seemed as calm as the early morning sky. All she would then say would be, “Allah (swt) is Great; He never leaves His servants in distress.”
Every time she performed this act, Allah (swt) proved her right, and this consolidated her faith and my family’s, too. Our ship never sank. Her faith in Allah (swt) and her tears on the prayer mat brought my family out of our worst times. There were times when we were so cramped emotionally and financially that I had to muster all my strength to keep myself from despising every happy being on the planet. However as I watched my mother confront challenges after challenges with nothing but the sword of unwavering faith in her hand, my faith in this panacea “Faith in Allah (swt)” grew stronger and stronger and all the resentment and discontentment that was in me transformed into Sabr (patience). Although there still is a lot that I need to learn but my mother’s resilience and strength has acquainted me with the path leading towards eternal peace and success.
My mother often quoted the verse of the Holy Quran wherein there is consolation for every perturbed soul. It says, “ Allah (swt) burdens not a person beyond his scope.” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)
If we truly believe that this life that we are living is only an exam before the permanent after life then nothing in the world would upset us or deaden our spirit to fight back and hope for a better tomorrow.
Today, as I look back, I cannot help marvelling at how my mother changed me by presenting herself as an example. At times, her calmness irritated my sulking nerves. But when I found myself helpless in the face of hardships, I was forced to submit and wait. And this helped the power of endurance to grow.
Surrender – we all have to either happily or grudgingly! However, doing so wilfully has its own sweetness
As I saw my mother’s faith in Allah (swt) winning every time, I realized that we all have to, one day or the other, submit to Allah’s (swt) will. As He alone is the Master and He alone has the power over the past, the present and the future. Surrender – we all have to either happily or grudgingly! However, doing so wilfully has its own sweetness and can be implemented and cherished by only those, who seek Allah’s (swt) love and closeness over all other benefits.
Life may teach us many lessons, but some lessons make us who we are. Today, I may be away from my mother, but whenever I am beset by a problem, I am reminded of my mother’s sword. And honestly, this is “The Weapon” that never misses its aim.