Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Final Attack of Shaytan- At the Time of Death! -Ibn al-Qayyim

Stories of Bad Death: “Say Laa ilaaha illallaah.” So he replied, “King! Rook! Checkmate!” and then he passed away."

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim [RA] said,
“So it may become impossible for him to pronounce the shahaadah, as many people have witnessed happen to those on the deathbed, such that it was said to some of them:

“Say Laa ilaaha illallaah.” So he replied, “Aaah! Aaah! I cannot say it!”

And it was said to another, “Say Laa ilaaha illallaah.” So he replied, “King! Rook! Checkmate!” and then he passed away.

And it was said to another, “Say Laa ilaaha illallaah.” So he started singing irrationally, saying, ‘Taatinaa tinintaa, [no meaning, just irrational singing]’ and then passed away.

And the same was said to another, so he replied, “And how will what you are saying help me when I left no sin except that I committed it?” and then he passed away without saying it.

And the same was said to another, so he replied, “And how will that benefit me? And I don’t know if I have ever prayed a single time to Allaah?” and then he passed away without saying it.

And the same was said to another, so he replied [talking about himself], “He is a disbeliever in what you say,” and then he passed away.

And the same was said to another, so he replied, “Every time I want to say it my tongue withholds.”

And someone who was present at the death of someone who would beg told me that [they told him to say the shahaadah] so he started saying, “For Allaah’s Sake. A penny for Allaah’s Sake,” until he passed away.

And a trader told me that he was present when one of his relatives was on his deathbed, so they told him to say Laa ilaaha illallaah and he was saying, “This piece is cheap. This is a good buy. This is such and such,” until he passed away.

So if the devil has gained mastery over the servant in the state when his mind is present and his strength [is also present] and he has complete cognizance, and has employed him in committing whichever acts of disobedience to Allaah he wants him to do, and has made him unmindful of the remembrance of Allaah the Most High, and has paralysed his tongue from remembering Him and his limbs from obeying Him–then what does one think will be the case when his strength breaks down and his heart and soul become preoccupied with the death pangs that he is in?

And [all the while] Shaitaan will have gathered all of his strength and determination and assembled everything that he is capable of to avail his opportunity concerning him–for that is the last action.

So the strongest his Shaitaan can be against him will be at that time, and the weakest he [i.e., the person] can be, will be at that time.

So who do you think will be safe from that?
So it is there that, “Allaah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word [i.e., 'the firm word' is Laa ilaaha illallaah], in the worldly life and in the Hereafter. And Allaah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allaah does what He wills.” [surah Ibraaheem 14:27]

So how can someone whose heart Allaah has made heedless from His remembrance and who has followed his desires and whose affair is ever [in] neglect be granted the success to have a good ending?

Thus far away–the one whose heart is distant from Allaah the Most High, heedless of Him, worshipping his own desires, a slave to his lusts, his tongue dry from ever remembering Allaah [i.e., not moist with His remembrance], his limbs incapacitated from obeying Him actively working to disobey Him–far away [is such a person] from being granted the success to have a good ending.”

Ad-Daa wad-Dawaa, pp. 91-92, [slightly edited].

Friday, December 14, 2012

3 things that prevent one from self-examination (muhasaba)

There are three dangers which may prevent you from examining yourself and taking account of your acts.

The first of these dangers is heedlessness. 

 The second is the flood of tastes and desires that gush from your ego, your lower self.

 The third is bad habits, in fact all habits, which make one like a machine.

 The one who can protect himself against these three dangers, with Allah's help, will find salvation in both worlds.
-Shehu Abdul Qadir D.B.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Abstaining from Sin is our duty: By Shaikh Ashraf Ali Thanwi R.A.

Abstaining from Sin is our duty:

-By Shaikh Ashraf Ali Thanwi R.A. [from Hayath ul Muslimeen]

It is of vital importance for the Mu’min to abstain from all sins. This is essential for developing his Imaan. Sin darkens the heart and creates weakness in Imaan. Even if one were to assume that there will not be any punishment for sins, then too, it is necessary for the Mu’min to abstain from sin, for sin is disobedience which is the cause of Allah’s displeasure. No man wishes to displease even a worldly benefactor. The favors of Allah on man are innumerable. Allah Ta’ala is man’s greatest and true Benefactor. How can the Mu’min then displease Him?

Besides this consideration, there is also the danger of punishment for the commission of sin; such punishment may be both in this world as well as in the Hereafter. One form of worldly punishment is that a man given to sin engrosses himself fully, body and heart, in the world to such a degree that he becomes fearful of the Aakhirah and thus detests it. He loses firmness of heart and Imaan. The Mu’min should therefore, not venture near to sin, no matter what type of sin it may be, whether the sin pertains to Huqooqullah (Rights of Allah) or Huqooqul Ibaad (Rights of creation).

Various types of punishment for sins have been mentioned in the ahadith:

1.Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When the Mu’min sins, a black spot forms on his heart. If he makes istighfaar and taubah, the black mark is removed and his heart is purified. If he increases his sin, the black mark increases. This is the corrosion of the heart spoken of by Allah Ta’ala (in the Qur’an). (Ahmad, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)

2.Hadhrat Muaaz (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Guard yourselves against sin because the Wrath of Allah descends in the wake of sin.” (Ahmad)

3.Hadhrat Anas Bin Malik (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Should I not show you your sickness and its remedy? Your sickness is sinning and your remedy is to seek forgiveness (istighfaar).” (Baihaqi)

4.Hadhrat Anas (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“The hearts too become corroded (by means of sin). Its polish is istighfaar.” (Baihaqi)

5.Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Verily, man is deprived of rizq because of the sins which he perpetrates.” (Ahmad)

6.Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates that once ten of them were in the company of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) when he said: “I seek the protection of Allah from five things which may over take you. When immorality [Zina] becomes rampant in a people, they will be over taken by epidemics and such diseases which never existed before. When a people are involved in giving short-weight and measure, they will be overtaken by famine, hardship and oppression of the authorities. When a people stop paying Zakaat, rain is withheld from them. If it were not for the animals in their midst, never would there have fallen rain for them. When people violate pledges and promises, Allah will overwhelm them with their enemies from other nations. Thus the enemy will take by force their wealth.” (Ibn Majah)

7. Hadhrat Ibn Abbass (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When khiyaanat (abuse of trust) becomes rampant in a people, Allah Ta’ala overwhelms their hearts with fear. A nation perpetrating injustice will be overpowered by its enemies.” (Malik)

8. Hadhrat Thaubaan (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “There will soon come a time when all the nations (of the kuffaar) will unite against you (muslims)…” Someone asked: ‘Will we be less in numbers at that time?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘In fact, you will be numerous, but useless…. Allah Ta’ala will remove your respect and fear from the hearts of your enemies (who will then despise you) and Allah will instill weakness in your hearts.” Someone asked: ‘What is the cause of the weakness?’  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Love of the world and detestation for Maut (death).” (Abu Dawood, Baihaqi)

9. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When Allah Ta’ala desires to punish people (for their sins) he causes their children to die in abundance and makes their women barren.” (Jazaaul A’maal)

10. Hadhrat Abu Darda (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah Ta’ala says: ‘I am the King of kings, Their hearts are in my Control. When servants (i.e. Muslims) are obedient to Me, I make the rulers merciful to them. When the servants are disobedient to Me, I cause the rulers to oppress them and be cruel to them….” (Abu Nuaim)

11. Hadhrat Wahab (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Allah Ta’ala said to Bani Israeel: “When I am obeyed, I become pleased; when I become pleased I bestow limitless barakah (blessings). When I am disobeyed, I become Wrathful and I curse (the disobedient ones). The effect of My La’nat (Curse) extends to seven generations.” (Jazaaul A’maal, Ahmad)

This does not mean that the Curse which descended on the wrongdoers, settles on the future generations as well. However, the future generations are deprived of the goodness and barakah which would have come their way if their forbearers were pious. The beneficial effects of the piety of parents are transmitted to offspring. But, if the parents are evil, there will be no goodness and benefits which could be transmitted to their offspring.

12. Hadhrat Wakee’ (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Hadhrat Aishah (radiallahu anha) said: “When a man becomes disobedient to Allah Ta’ala then those who (formerly) praised him (the man), begin to find fault with him.” (Ahmad)

These narrations speak of sin and disobedience to Allah Ta’ala in general. The evils and harms which flow in the wake of sinning are stated in these ahadith.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

A True Muslim's relationship with Allah: Imam Abu Ali al-Juzjani [RA]

Shaykh Abu Ali al-Juzjani [RA] who when asked about the distinguishing traits of the spiritual traveller (seeker of Allah's pleasure) said:

"Obedience to God is their sweetness; love of God is their companion; God is their need and He is their protector. Righteousness is their nature; with God is their commerce; upon Him they depend; with Him is their intimacy; and in Him is their confidence…The Quran is their speech, gratitude their ornament, the invocation of God their booty… Life is their place of alighting [on their journey], death is their way station; the grave is their citadel; and the Day of Judgment their feast day. [To stand] before God is their most ardent desire, in the shade of the Throne is their gathering place, in [the paradise of] Firdaws is their dwelling and the vision of God the object of their destiny."

From- 'The Stumblings of Those Aspiring'
By Imam Abu 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sulami Al-Naysaburi
Introduced and Translated by Kenneth L. Honerkamp

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Donot stop Dhikrullah because of inability to concentrate in it

Donot stop Dhikrullah because of inability to concentrate in it:

 An issue that often times arises when we try to implement adding dhikr into our lives is that we start off excited and really feeling it. We start off feeling like a fish that has just been placed in water after struggling to breathe on land. But then, the feeling starts to fade and we start losing concentration and stop feeling our words. We start feeling that we are speaking empty words and then shaytaan (Satan) comes in telling us that since we are not able to concentrate and also don’t feel it, there is no point in doing it.

 The great scholar and sage, ibn Ataillah Iskandari [RA], says regarding this:

“Do not stop remembering God [Dhikrullah] just because your heart is not present. Forgetting Him completely is worse than being inattentive while you are mentioning him; perhaps He will elevate you from being inattentive to being attentive, and from being attentive to being fully present with Him, and from being fully present with Him to being fully absent from anything but Him; ‘and this is not difficult for God’ (Qur’an 35:17).”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

List of 70 Major Sins -by Imam Dhahabi

List of 70 Major Sins
-from 'The Major Sins' (Al-Kaba’ir) by Imam Dhahabi [RA]
The Major Sins

1. Associating anything with Allah

2. Showing disrespect to parents

3. Murder

4. Practicing magic

5. Abandoning salah (ritual Prayer)

6. Not paying zakah

7. Not fasting during the month of Ramadan without excuse

8. Not performing Hajj, while being able to do so

9. Severing relations with relatives

10. Committing adultery

11. Committing sodomy

12. Dealing in riba (interest)

13. Wrongfully consuming the property of an orphan

14. Lying about Allah or His Messenger

15. Running away from the battlefield

16. Deceiving the people that one rules and being unjust to them

17. Being proud and arrogant

18. Bearing false witness

19. Drinking alcohol

20. Gambling

21. Falsely accusing chaste women (i.e. of committing fornication or adultery)

22. Stealing from the spoils of war

23. Stealing

24. Committing highway robbery

25. Making false oath

26. Committing oppression

27. Earning ill-gotten gain.

28. Consuming what is unlawful.

29. Committing suicide

30. Lying frequently

31. Judging unjustly

32. Giving and accepting a bribe

33. Imitating the opposite sex (in dress, behavior, and the like)

34. Allowing one’s wife, daughters, etc. to display their beauty to men or conduct illicit sexual relations

35. Marrying a divorced woman in order to make her lawful for her ex-husband to remarry her after he irrevocably divorced her

36. Not protecting oneself or one's clothes from being contaminated with urine or excrement.

37. Showing off

38. Learning knowledge of the religion for the sake of this world and withholding that knowledge (i.e., not teaching people)

39. Betraying a trust

40. Recounting favors

41. Denying Allah's Decree

42. Listening to people's private conversations

43. Carrying gossip

44. Swearing

45. Breaking contracts

46. Believing in fortune-tellers

47. Behaving badly towards one’s husband

48. Making statues

49. Lamenting, wailing, tearing the clothing, and doing other things of this sort when an affliction falls

50. Treating others wrongfully

51. Treating one’s wife, servant, the weak, and animals badly

52. Offending one's neighbor

53. Offending and abusing Muslims

54. Offending people and having an arrogant attitude toward them

55. Trailing one's garment in pride

56. Wearing silk and gold (this is for men only)

57. Running away from one’s master (this is for slaves)

58. Slaughtering an animal that has been dedicated to anyone other than Allah

59. To knowingly ascribe one's paternity to a man other than one's biological father

60. Arguing and disputing violently

61. Withholding excess water

62. Giving short weight or measure

63. Feeling secure from Allah's Plan

64. Offending pious people

65. Not praying in congregation but praying alone without an excuse

66. Persistently missing Friday Prayer without any excuse

67. Usurping the rights of the heir through bequests (to others)

68. Deceiving and plotting evil

69. Spying for the enemy of the Muslims against Muslim's interest

70. Cursing or insulting any of the Companions of the Prophet

Source: The Major Sins (Al-Kaba’ir) by Muhammad ibn `Uthman Adh-Dhahabi, rendered into English by Mohammad Moinuddin Siddiqui.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The main problem of the Ummah! by Saeed Ramadhan

Dr. Saeed Ramadhan on the main problem of the Ummah!
Tariq Ramadhan quotes his father Dr. Saeed Ramadhan, (who was the special student and son-in-law of Hassan Al Banna shaheed, the founder of Ikhwan Al Muslimoon.) on the importance of spirituality...
 "A few months before returning to God, he said to me, with the depth of his sadness and a tearful glance: "Our problem is one of spirituality. If a man comes to speak to me about the reforms to be undertaken in the Muslim world, about political strategies and of great geo-strategic plans, my first question to him would be whether he performed the dawn prayer (al-fajr) in its proper time." He observed the agitation of each and everyone, including my own. He reminded me so much not to forget the essential, to be with God in order to know how to be with men. An entire life in struggle, the hair turned grey by time, and a reminder: "Power is not our objective: what have we to do with it? Our goal is love of the Creator, the fraternity and justice of Islam. This is our message to dictators." Late at night, in that famous room, he spoke and entreated. The link with God is the way, and spirituality is the light of the path. "

Supplication against Showing Off in Worship (riya’)

Supplication against Showing Off in Worship (riya’)

(The following supplication was mentioned by Shaikh Habib Umar DB) 
 Purification from showing off in acts of worship (riya’)
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi was-salam said:
“Shirk (attributing partners to Allah) is harder to detect amongst you than the crawling of an ant but I will guide you to something which if you do it Allah will remove from you the lesser shirk and the greater shirk.”
He then taught them this du`a. What is meant by the greater shirk is worshiping gods alongside Allah and lesser shirk is riya’ or showing off in acts of worship, and this du`a is a protection from both types:
الَّلهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أُشْرِكَ بِكَ وأَنا أَعلَمُ وأَستَغفِرُكَ لما لا أَعلَمُ
Allahumma inni a`udhu bika an ushrika bika wa ana a`lamu wa astaghfiruka lima la a`lamu
“O Allah I seek refuge in You from knowingly associating partners with You, and I seek Your forgiveness for that which I do not know.”
(3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening)
Please feel free to benefit and share with others.

-{This Dua is found in: Ahmad 4/403. See also Al-Albani, Sahihul-Jami' As-Saghir 3/233 and Sahihut-Targhib wat- Tarhib 1/19.}

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One usually talks about things one loves-Maulana Yunus Patel

One usually talks about things one loves

-Maulana Yunus Patel [R.A] 

When a person talks about something EXCESSIVELY, then know that the love of that thing has entered his or her heart.
The one who talks excessively about fast cars, fashionable clothes, pretty women, handsome men, multi-storey buildings, palaces, gold, silver and wealth, then know that the love of these things has entered that heart.
There is no sin in earning and using wealth to provide for comfort and maintenance, to go for Haj and Umrah, and to contribute to charity, to the needy and poor. However, the love for material possessions must not enter the hearts.
The toilet is a necessity and some homes have beautiful toilets; some even have gold taps, etc. But what would you think of one who talks excessively about his toilet ? …Just like the toilet, the things of this world are necessities - we, therefore, don’t make
the material things of this world objects of worship.
The one who talks excessively about Deen, about the Love of Allah Ta’ala and His Beloved Rasool [SAWS], then know that their love has entered that heart.

 Of course, during business hours, the businessman will talk mainly about business with his clients and customers. The doctor will talk about medicine and health, and the fruit seller will call upon passers-by to purchase his fruit. All this ‘worldly’ talk related to one’s needs, with the correct intention and to the extent of necessity, causes no harm to the spiritual self.
Taken from- 'Hedayatus Saalikeen'

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Virtues of Surat Al-Baqarah-Tafsir Ibn Kathir

The Virtues of Surat Al-Baqarah [From Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

In Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i, it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said, (Do not turn your houses into graves. Verily, Shaytan does not enter the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is recited.) At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih.

Also, `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "Shaytan flees from the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is heard.''  This Hadith was collected by An-Nasa'i in Al-Yawm wal-Laylah, and Al-Hakim recorded it in his Mustadrak, and then said that its chain of narration is authentic.

In his Musnad, Ad-Darimi recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said, "Shaytan departs the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is being recited, and as he leaves, he passes gas.''  

Ad-Darimi also recorded that Ash-Sha`bi said that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "Whoever recites ten Ayat from Surat Al-Baqarah in a night, then Shaytan will not enter his house that night. (These ten Ayat are) four from the beginning, Ayat Al-Kursi (255), the following two Ayat (256-257) and the last three Ayat.'' In another narration, Ibn Mas`ud said, "Then Shaytan will not come near him or his family, nor will he be touched by anything that he dislikes. Also, if these Ayat were to be recited over a senile person, they would wake him up.''

Further, Sahl bin Sa`d said that the Messenger of Allah said, (Everything has a hump (or, high peek), and Al-Baqarah is the high peek of the Qur'an. Whoever recites Al-Baqarah at night in his house, then Shaytan will not enter that house for three nights. Whoever recites it during a day in his house, then Shaytan will not enter that house for three days.) This Hadith was collected by Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani, Abu Hatim Ibn Hibban in his Sahih and Ibn Marduwyah.

At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "The Messenger of Allah sent an expedition force comprising of many men and asked each about what they memorized of the Qur'an. The Prophet came to one of the youngest men among them and asked him, `What have you memorized (of the Qur'an) young man' He said, `I memorized such and such Surahs and also Al-Baqarah.' The Prophet said, `You memorized Surat Al-Baqarah' He said, `Yes.' The Prophet said, `Then you are their commander.' One of the noted men (or chiefs) commented, `By Allah! I did not learn Surat Al-Baqarah, for fear that I would not be able to implement it. The Messenger of Allah said, (Learn Al-Qur'an and recite it, for the example of whoever learns the Qur'an, recites it and adheres to it, is the example of a bag that is full of musk whose scent fills the air. The example of whoever learns the Qur'an and then sleeps (i.e. lazy) while the Qur'an is in his memory, is the example of a bag that has musk, but is closed tight.) This is the wording collected by At-Tirmidhi, who said that this Hadith is Hasan. In another narration, At-Tirmidhi recorded this same Hadith in a Mursal manner, so Allah knows best.

Also, Al-Bukhari recorded that Usayd bin Hudayr said that he was once reciting Surat Al-Baqarah while his horse was tied next to him. The horse started to make some noise. When Usayd stopped reciting, the horse stopped moving about. When he resumed reading, the horse started moving about again. When he stopped reciting, the horse stopped moving, and when he resumed reading, the horse started to move again. Meanwhile, his son Yahya was close to the horse, and he feared that the horse might step on him. When he moved his son back, he looked up to the sky and saw a cloud radiating with light that looked like lamps.
In the morning, he went to the Prophet and told him what had happened and then said, "O Messenger of Allah! My son Yahya was close to the horse and I feared that she might step on him. When I attended to him and raised my head to the sky, I saw a cloud with lights like lamps. So I went, but I couldn't see it.'' The Prophet said, "Do you know what that was'' He said, "No.'' The Prophet said, (They were the angels, they came close hearing your voice (reciting Surat Al-Baqarah), and if you had kept reading, the people would have been able to see the angels when the morning came, and the angels would not be hidden from their eyes.)

This is the narration reported by Imam Abu Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Salam in his book Fada'il Al-Qur'an.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What can Sins do to your life?- Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyah [Rahimahullah]

When Allah commands us to give up sins and to avoid them it is not because our sins will harm Him. It is only us who will benefit by avoiding sins. Likewise, we alone will be affected by the sins we commit. It was the habit of the righteous ancestors to think about their sins whenever they were faced with hardship in anything. In fact, sins have many bad effects on the lives of the sinners. 

 *             *            *             *             *            *

How can sins change our lives? What are the effects of sins on our well-being? Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyah explains to us these effects in his well-known book Al-Jawab Al-Kafi:
  • Prevention of knowledge: Knowledge is a light which Allah throws into the heart and disobedience extinguishes this light.
Imam Ash-Shafi`i said: “I complained to Wakee` about the weakness of my memory, so he ordered me to abandon disobedience and informed me that knowledge is light. He said that the light of Allah is not given to the disobedient.”
  • Prevention of sustenance: Just as righteousness brings about sustenance, the abandonment of righteousness causes poverty. There is nothing which can bring about sustenance like the abandonment of sins.
  • Prevention of obedience (to Allah): If there was no other punishment for sin except that it prevents one from obeying Allah then this would be sufficient.
  • Disobedience weakens the heart : The fact that it weakens the heart is clear. Disobedience continues to weaken the heart until its life ceases completely.
  • Disobedience reduces one's lifespan and destroys any blessings: Just as righteousness increases one’s lifespan, sinning reduces it.
  • Legacy of the cursed: Every type of disobedience is the legacy of a nation from among those which Allah destroyed. Sodomy is a legacy of the people of Lot, taking more than one's due right and giving what is less is a legacy of the people of Shu`aib, spreading mischief and corruption is a legacy of the people of Pharaoh and pride, including arrogance and tyranny, is a legacy of the people of Hud. So the disobedient one is somehow a part of those nations who were the enemies of Allah.
  • Disobedience is a cause of the servant being held in contempt by his Lord: Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: “They became contemptible in (His sight) so they disobeyed Him. If they were honorable (in His sight) He would have protected them.”
  • Effect of sins on others: The ill-effects of the sinner fall upon those around him as well as the animals as a result of which they are touched by harm.
  • Living in sin: The servant continues to commit sins until they become very easy for him and seem insignificant in his heart and this is a sure sign of destruction. Every time a sin becomes insignificant in the sight of the servant it becomes great in the sight of Allah.
  • Disobedience brings humiliation and lowliness: Every aspect of honor lies in the obedience of Allah. Ibn Al-Mubarak said: “I have seen sins kill the hearts. And humiliation is inherited by their continuity. The abandonment of sins gives life to the hearts. And the prevention of your soul is better for it.”
  • Disobedience corrupts the intellect: The intellect has light and disobedience extinguishes this light. When the light of the intellect is extinguished it becomes weak and deficient.
  • Sealing of the heart: When disobedience increases, the servant’s heart becomes sealed so that he becomes of those who are heedless. The Exalted said: [But no! A stain has been left on their hearts on account of what they used to earn (that is, their actions)] (Al-Mutaffifin 83: 14).
  • Sins cause various types of corruption to occur in the land: Corruption of the water, the air, the plants, the fruit, and the dwelling places. The Exalted said: [Mischief has appeared on the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have earned; that He may give them a taste of some of (the actions) they have done, in order that they may return] (Ar-Rum 30: 41).
  • Disappearance of modesty: Modesty is the essence of the life of the heart and is the basis of every good. Its disappearance is the disappearance of all that is good. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:“Modesty is goodness, all of it.”
  • Sins weaken and reduce the magnification of Allah the Almighty in the heart of the servant.
  • Sins are the cause of Allah forgetting His servant: Sinning also causes Allah to abandon him and leave him to fend for himself with his soul and his Satan and in this is destruction from which no deliverance can be hoped for.
  • Being removed from the realm of benevolence: When a person’s sins, benevolence is removed from his heart. When benevolence fills the heart it prevents it from disobedience.
  • Disobedience causes the favors (of Allah) to cease and makes His revenge lawful: No blessing ceases to reach a servant except because of a sin, and no retribution is made lawful upon him except because of a sin. Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “No trial has descended except due to a sin and it (the trial) is not repelled except by repentance.”

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What to do on the Blessed Days of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah

The Blessed Days of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah: Its Virtues and Various Acts to Perform for All Muslims:

By Ustadha Bint Ahmad
Adapted from Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s Lata’if al-Ma‘arif
With the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful.
All praise belongs to Allah alone and blessings and peace be upon his beloved, Muhammad, his family, his companions, all of them.
In the Qur’an, Allah takes oaths by various entities to highlight their importance. From amongst these entities, one aspect by which He takes an oath is time. Time is one of the greatest bounties of Allah bestowed upon mankind. In the pursuit of living a life in the obedience of Allah, it is essential that every individual continually reflects over this blessing.
Time in and of itself is a great bounty. However, from amongst the twelve Islamic months of the year, Allah has made some times superior than others. Some times are golden times in which the reward of simple acts is multiplied abundantly. Examples illustrating this are in the following verses where Allah specifically makes mention of certain important periods in the Muslim calendar: Allah says:
“Among them are four sacred months…”. (al-Tawbah: V26)
And he says: “The hajj is known months”. (al-Baqarah: V197)
And he says: “The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed”. (al-Baqarah: V185)
These special days are full of virtues and acts of obedience by which one can draw close to Allah. During these virtuous days Allah unveils an extra compassion from his benevolent nature through which one can attain whatever he wishes from Allah’s favour and mercy upon him. The fortunate one is a person who enriches himself in these virtuous days, months and hours, by using them to attain the nearness of Allah and carrying out the acts of His obedience. It will surely be that such a person will acquire a moment from these virtuous times to have gained the fortune of everlasting success. One has the great potential to become from among those who are guaranteed a place in paradise and freedom from the fire of hell. (May Allah make us from amongst such people, Ameen)
A common phrase used by time conscious individuals is ‘Time is of the essence’. A believer is ever more conscious about time as one is unaware of when they will breathe their last. For this reason every Muslim strives to live an obedient life and is constantly striving to increase in righteous deeds.
There are certain times, days and months where the rewards of righteous deeds are multiplied and attaining salvation in these days becomes easier. From amongst these days are the first ten days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.
Dhu ’l-Hijjah
The month of Dhu ’l-Hijjah is named after the performance of the sacred pilgrimage (hajj) which occurs within it. Although this year every Muslim will not undertake the wonderful journey of hajj, it is still important to be aware of the blessings of this month. With the days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah fast approaching, it is necessary for each of us to understand its sacredness, the incidents which occurred within it and the virtuous acts in which to participate in order to attain the nearness of Allah.
The virtues within this month can be divided into:
a. The virtues of the first 10 days
b. The virtues of the 9th Dhu ’l-Hijjah (yawm al-‘arafah)
c. The day of ‘Id (yawm al-nahr)
d. The 11th, 12th and 13th Dhu ’l-Hijjah (ayyam al-tashriq)
Along with understanding the virtues it is equally important to know which acts should be performed to truly benefit and attain the nearness of Allah in these extra special days. After discussing the virtues of each of the four above, a few acts to carry out will also be stated.
The Virtues of The First 10 Days
In the Qur’an, Allah takes an oath:
“And the 10 nights” (Al-Fajr: V 2)
Many of the Qur’anic exegetes including Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid and many from them state that the ten nights mentioned in this verse refer to the first ten days of Dhul al-Hijjah, and this is the correct opinion. (Ibn Kathir)
The ten nights by which Allah takes an oath are full of merits. The days in and of themselves are virtuous as are the performance of righteous deeds within them. This can be understood from the words of our beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Ibn ‘Abbas narrates: The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days” (i.e the first ten days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah). (Bukhari)
Jabir narrates: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There are no days more virtuous to Allah than the ten days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah”. (Ibn Hibban)
Hafiz Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani mentions:
The reason why the first ten days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah are distinguished is due to it being the time in which the foundational worships are collectively carried out i.e. salat, fasting, charity and hajj are carried out in conjunction with one another. These acts are not carried out collectively in any other days. (Fath al-Bari)
Acts One Can Perform On the First 10 Days
After becoming aware of the various virtues the first ten days enjoy, it is essential that one does not let these day pass without performing righteous deeds and striving to attain eternal success. These are golden days where a believer can easily be forgiven and elevated as well as attain the pleasure of Allah, Most High.
Some of the acts one can undertake are:
1. Fasting the first nine days or as many as one can keep.
Hunaydah ibn Khalid narrated upon the authority of his wife who said, “Some of the wives of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) told me that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to fast the Day of ‘Ashurah, the first nine days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah, and three days out of every month”. (Ahmad, Nasa’i)
2. Dhikr (the remembrance of Allah). This can be done by saying the takbir (Allahu akbar), the tahmid (al-hamdu li-Allah), the tasbih (subhana al-Allah) and the tahlil (la ilaha illa al-Allah).
Allah says, “…and recite Allah’s name in specified days” (al-Hajj: V28).
The specified days refer to the first ten days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah. By remembering Allah in these days one will be directly following the recommendation in this verse.
3. Performing the ‘Umrah and Hajj. This is only time in the year Muslims can undertake the journey of Hajj. This physical and spiritual journey entails one leaving behind many luxuries and totally submitting one’s self to Allah to be cleansed and elevated. One of the reasons why the ten days are so blessed is because they coincide with some of the days of hajj.
4. Repentance.
During these blessed days there is a great opportunity to benefit from the extra benevolence unveiled from Allah, hence; one should set side time to repent for all sins- minor and major.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) said, “The one who repents from sins is like he who has no sin”. (Ibn Majah, Bayhaqi)
5. Refraining from sins.
It is important that each Muslim acknowledges that in order to gain the maximum benefit from righteous actions, it is essential to abstain from sins. Even if a person cannot perform any supererogatory acts, the least one should do is refrain from sin. One must be mindful of every type of sin, from the violation of the rights of Allah, to the rights of the creation of Allah, including sins of the physical body and sins of the tongue.
6. Increase in supererogatory acts in general.
These are days in which any righteous deed is more beloved in the eyes of Allah and more virtuous than if the very same acts were to be performed in the normal days of the year. This could include:
a. Recitation of the Qur’an.
Often after the month of the Ramadan one loses the habit of reciting the Qur’an regularly. Use these days to increase in the recitation of the beautiful words of Allah to re-establish daily recitation.
b. Maintain ties.
When one becomes busy with work or studying maintaining good relationships with family, neighbours and friends becomes difficult. These days are a prime time to maintain good ties.
c. Supplicating to Allah.
This is a believer’s link to conversing with Allah. One should use these days to express ones gratitude and ask for ones lawful worldly needs as well as salvation in the hereafter.
d. Giving in charity.
The Virtues of the 9th Dhu ’l-Hijjah (Yawm al-‘Arafah)
There are numerous virtues of the 9th of Dhu ’l-Hijjah which is known as yawm al-‘Arafah. This is the day where the pilgrims assemble on the plain of ‘Arafah to complete one of the essential rituals of the Hajj. From among the many merits of this day, a few are:
1. This is the day the religion was perfected and the blessings of Allah were complete. The following verse was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) on the day of ‘Arafah:
Allah says: “Today, I have perfected your religion for you, and have completed My blessing upon you, and chosen Islam as Dīn (religion and a way of life) for you”. (Al Maidah: V3)
The completion of Allah’s blessing refers to forgiveness for ones sins by Allah, as without it the blessings of Allah cannot be complete. This brings to light the importance of being forgiven by Allah.
2. Allah takes an oath by it twice in the Qur’an with the words shaf’ and shahid which some of the exegetes explained as both being the day of ‘Arafah, thereby highlighting the importance of this day.
Allah says: “And by the odd (shaf’)” (Al-Fajr: V3)
And Allah says: “And by that which attends (al-shahid)…” (Al-Buruj: V3)
The odd day refers to the 9th of Dhu ’l-Hijjah. Ibn Abbaas said: ‘… the odd is the Day of Arafah”. This is the view of ‘Ikramah and Dhahhak also. (Ibn Kathir)
Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “The shahid is the day of ‘Arafah”. (Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad)
3. It is the best of all days.
Jabir narrates: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The best of days is the day of ‘Arafah”. (Ibn Hibban). However there are other scholars of the opinion that the day of sacrifice (10th Dhu ’l-Hijjah) is the best day on the Islamic calendar.
4. Fasting on this very day is expiation of two years of sin.
5. It is a day of forgiveness from sins and emancipation from the fire of hell.
A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) narrates: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There is no day greater than wherein Allah frees slaves than the day of ‘Arafah. Verily Allah comes near, then he boasts about them (the servants) to the angels, then he says: “What do these servants want?” (Muslim)
Acts One Can Perform on the Day of ‘Arafah
On the day of ‘Arafah every believer should strive to be forgiven from sin and emancipated from the fire of hell. One should be mindful of performing the following acts whereby this can be facilitated:
1. Fast on the day of ‘Arafah. The fast of this day is expiation for a person’s sins of the previous and upcoming year.
Abu Hafsah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year” (Muslim)
2. Prevent one’s self from engaging in sin.
3. Abundant recitation of the testimony of the oneness of Allah with sincerity.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said. “The best supplication is the supplication of the day of ‘Arafah, and best is that which I and the prophets before me said: La ilaha illa-Allahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamdu wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadir”. (Tirmidhi)
4. Be sincere in repentance.
5. Supplicate to be saved from the fire of hell and placed in paradise and to be blessed with the everlasting pleasure of Allah.
The Virtues of the 10th Dhu ’l-Hijjah (Yawm al-Nahr)
The tenth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah is known as the day of sacrifice (yawm al-nahr). This is the day where in Muslims across the world celebrate ‘Id al-Adhah.
Some of the virtues found in the Qur’an and hadith are:
1. Allah has taken an oath by the world al-Watr (the even). “…and by the even (al-watr)” (Al-Fajr: V3)
Some Qur’anic exegetes state that the even refers to the 10th Dhu ’l-Hijjah. This once again accentuates the importance of yet another day from the blessed ten days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah.
2. It is the best of days. Earlier it was discussed that the best of all days is the day of ‘Arafah, another groups of scholars state that the best of all days in the year is the 10th of Dhu al- Hijjah.
‘Abd Allah ibn Qurt (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The best of days to Allah is the day of sacrifice (yawm al-nahr) then the day ofqarr (11th Dhu ’l-Hijjah)”. (Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Nasa’i, Ibn Hibban).
3. It is the greatest day of hajj.
Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) stood between the jamarat (area pelted with stones) on the Day of Sacrifice during his Hajj and said, “This is the greatest day of Hajj.” (Bukhari)
On this day many acts are performed by the pilgrims performing hajj:
a) Stoning Jamrah al-‘Aqabah
b) Offering the sacrifice
c) Shaving the head or cutting the hair
d) Tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka’bah)
e) Sa‘i (running between al-Safa and al-Marwah)
4. It is the day of ‘Id for all Muslims.
The Companion Anas (Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) migrated to the city of Medina and saw the people celebrating two days of festivities. He said, ‘What are these two days?’ The people of Medina replied, ‘They were days of festivities in the pre-Islamic era (jahaliyya).’ Then he said, ‘Verily Allah has replaced these two days with (what) is better for you—the day of Adha and the day of Fitr” (Abu Dawud)
5. It is the day of the offering of the sacrifice of an animal.
This is an act that pilgrims and many non-pilgrims throughout the world participate in. It is a reminder of the Prophet Ibrahim’s (May Allah be pleased with him) total submission to Allah when asked by Allah to slaughter his son. Allah’s request to the Prophet Ibrahim was a test of his submission, dedication and devotion to Allah. Upon success, Allah substituted his son’s body (the Prophet Isma’il) with a ram.
By sacrificing an animal Muslims demonstrate their willingness to carry out rituals for the sake of Allah and making sacrifices to demonstrate utmost submission to Allah.
This incident is mentioned in the Quran.
Allah says: “And he (Ibrahim) said, “I am going to my Lord. He will show me the way. O my Lord, bless me with a righteous son (Isma‘il).”So, We gave him the good news of a forbearing boy. Thereafter, when he (the boy) reached an age in which he could work with him, he (Ibrāhīm) said, “O my little son, I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you, so consider, what is your opinion?” He said, “O my dear father, do what you have been ordered to do. You will find me, inshā’allah , (if Allah wills) one of those who endure patiently.”So, (it was a great episode) when both of them submitted themselves (to Allah’s will), and he laid him on his forehead (to slaughter him), and then We called out to him, “O Ibrāhīm, you did make the dream come true.” This is how We reward those who are good in their deeds. This was indeed a trial that clearly demonstrated (their obedience). And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, and We left for him (a word of praise) among the later people,(that is,) “Salām be on Ibrāhīm! This is how We reward those who are good in their deeds.” (Surah al-Saffat: V99-110)
Acts One Can Perform on the Day of Sacrifice (‘Id al-Adha)
The day of ‘Id is can often confused with many celebratory days of other religions and cultures. Therefore, it is necessary for each Muslim to understand the day of ‘Id thoroughly. It is not a break from the worship or obedience of Allah. On this ‘Id (the ‘Id of sacrifice) Muslims are encouraged to participate in the act of slaughtering an animal for the sake of Allah alone. This act symbolizes submission to Allah, it promotes selflessness (as a portion of the meat is encouraged to be distributed to family and the poor), and it is a reminder to be grateful for the blessings of Allah unto mankind. It is to be understood that this day is yet another great opportunity to attain the nearness of Allah.
The acts that can be performed are:
1. Slaughtering an animal (one who is required in the shari‘ah must offer the sacrifice)
2. Maintaining family ties.
3. Being charitable.
4. Refraining from sin. It is important that on this day one does not neglect the obligatory acts like the five mandatory prayers.
The Virtues of the 11th, 12th And 13th Dhu ’l-Hijjah (Ayyam al-Tahsriq)
The days of tashriq are the three days that follow the day of sacrifice. Although these days are not a part of the first ten days, they still entail reward and blessings.
Allah says, “And remember Allah in the appointed days” (Al-Baqarah: V203)
The ‘appointed days’ refers to these very three days in which Muslims are commanded to remember Allah. Within these days one is not allowed to fast; this is a reminder to Muslims that even the rewards of virtuous deeds are dependent on when Allah has intended for them to be meritorious.
The Messenger of Allah said, “The days of Mina are days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah”. (Muslim) In this hadith again reference is being made to the days of tashriq.
Acts One Can Perform On the Days of Tashriq
The days of tashriq are the appointed as the days wherein one should abundantly remember Allah. One should always try to engage in the remembrance of Allah; in these days this should be increased. This can be attained by the following:
1. After every obligatory prayer (from the fajr of the 9th till the ‘asr of the 13th Dhu ’l-Hijjah) the takbir of tashriq should be recited. That is:
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, La ilaha illa-Allah, wa-Allahu akbar, Allah akbar, wa li-Allahi ‘Lhamd.’
‘Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. There is no God but Him. And Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. And to Allah belongs all praise.’
2. Remembering Allah with the basmalah (bi-Smillah) and with the takbir (Allahu akbar) at the time of slaughtering the animal.
3. Remembering Allah at the time of eating and drinking by mentioning his name to begin and finishing by praising him. Being extra mindful of this if one normally forgets to do so.
4. Being abundant in all forms of remembering Allah.
The fiqh of ‘Id, the slaughter and the takbir of tashriq have not been mentioned. Each reader is advised to read on these issues too. This article was for the purpose of stating the virtues and suggesting beneficial acts to perform on these special days. May Allah grant us all the ability to understand the virtue of these blessed days and the ability to do righteous deeds to attain His everlasting pleasure. Ameen.
-Taken with thanks from