Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunnah Dua'a for the month of Rajab

When the Prophet  sighted the moon of Rajab i.e. two months before Ramadan...he used to pray to Allah in the following words:

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

"Allahumma barik lana fi Rajab wa Sha'ban wa ballighna Ramadan"...

Meaning: O Allah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha'ban blessed for us, and let us reach the 
month of Ramadan (i.e. prolong our life up to Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings) 

[Narrated by at-Tabarani and Ahmad]

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ihsan part-2: Nearness or in the company of Allah

Ihsan (excellence or perfection in worship) part-2

Regarding “ Nearness or company of Allah”

By Imam Ibn Rajab Hanbali

(Taken from Jami' al-'Ulum wa'l-Hikam; second Hadith explanation)


Translated by Abdus Samad Clark

Allah says in the Quran, "His is the most exalted designation in the heavens and the earth," (Surat ar-Rum 27) ,  
 "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which there is a lamp." (Surat an-Nur: 35)
A party of the people of knowledge explained the "most exalted designation" and "the metaphor of His Light"mentioned in the above verses as "in the heart of the mumin", which is what Ubayy ibn Ka'b and others of the right-acting first generations said.

It has been mentioned in the hadith that "The best [part] of iman is that you know that Allah is with you wherever you are," and in another hadith, "What is a man's purification of himself?" He said, "That he knows that Allah is with him wherever he is."

At-Tabarani narrated the hadith of Abu Umamah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Three [people] will be in the shade of Allah, exalted is He, on the Day of Resurrection, the Day on which there is no shade but His shade: a man who knows that Allah is with him wherever he turns..."

The Qur'an expresses this same sense in numerous places, such as in His words, exalted is He, "He is with you wherever you are," (Surat al-Hadid: 4) and His words, "If My slaves ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me," (Surat al-Baqarah: 186) and His words, "Three men cannot confer together secretly without Him being the fourth of them, or five without Him being the sixth of them, or fewer than that or more without Him being with them wherever they are," (Surat al-Mujadilah: 7) and His words, "You do not engage in any matter or recite any of the Qur'an or do any action without Our witnessing you while you are occupied with it," (Surah Yunus: 61) and His words, "We are nearer to him than his jugular vein," (Surah Qaf: 16) and His words, "And they cannot conceal themselves from Allah. He is with them ...." (Surat an-Nisa': 107)

Authentic ahadith are narrated recommending that one should seek to remain conscious of this nearness during the acts of worship, such as his words, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "If any of you stands praying he hold intimate discourse with his Lord" or "his Lord is between him and the qiblah," (Bukhari and Muslim) and his words, "Truly Allah is before his face when he prays," (Bukhari and Muslim)  and his words, "Allah directs His face towards the face of His slave in his prayer as long as he does not turn away."

There are also his words to those who raised their voices in dhikr, "You are not calling on one who is deaf or absent. You are calling on One Who Hears, Who is Near,"  (Bukhari and Muslim)  and in another version, "...and He is nearer to you than the neck of your riding beast," and in another version, "...and He is nearer to you than the jugular vein."  (Muslim) There are his words, "Allah, mighty is He and majestic, says, 'I am with My slave when he remembers Me and his lips move with [mention of] Me.'" And his words, "Allah, mighty is He and majestic, says, 'I am in the opinion My slave has of Me, and I am with him wherever he remembers Me. If he remembers me in his self, I remember him in Myself. If he remembers me in an assembly, I remember him in an assembly better than it. If he draws nearer to me by the span of a hand, I draw nearer to him by a cubit. If he draws nearer to Me by a cubit, I draw nearer to him by a fathom [the distance between the fingertips of the two hands when the arms are stretched wide open]. If he comes to me walking, I rush towards him."  (Bukhari and Muslim)

Whoever understands anything of these texts anthropomorphically, or in the sense of incarnation, or as a form of monism has only been taken away from Allah, mighty is He and majestic, and from His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, by his ignorance and poor understanding. Allah and His Messenger are free from all of that. Glorious is the One whom nothing resembles and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.

Bakr al-Muzani asked, "Who is like you, son of Adam? My Intimate Friend is between you and the mihrab and water. Whenever you wish you can go to Allah, mighty is He and majestic, without an interpreter between you and Him." Whoever manages to keep this in his consciousness during dhikr of Allah and during His worship, necessarily becomes at ease with Allah and becomes averse to His creation.

Thawr ibn Yazid said, "I read in a book that 'Isa, peace be upon him, said, 'Disciples [Hawariyyun], speak to Allah a great deal and speak little to people!' They asked, 'How can we speak to Allah a great deal?' He answered, 'Go alone and hold intimate discourse with Him. Go alone and supplicate Him.'" Abu Nu'aym narrated it.

He also narrated with a chain of transmission that Riyah said, "There was a man among us who used to pray a thousand raka'ats every day and night until he became crippled in his legs. Then he would pray a thousand raka'ats every night seated. When he prayed the afternoon prayer he would draw up his legs and, while wrapped in his garments and facing the qiblah, say, 'I am astonished at people who can be intimate and at ease with anyone other than You (Allah). Even more so am I amazed that people's hearts can be at ease remembering anyone other than You.'"

Abu Usamah said, "I went to see Muhammad ibn an-Nadr al-Harithi, and saw that it was as if he was ill at ease. So I asked, 'It is as if you do not like to be visited?' He said, 'That is true.' I asked, 'Do you not become lonely?' He said, 'How could I be lonely when He (Allah) says, "I sit with whoever remembers Me"?'"

Someone asked Malik ibn Mighwal when he was sitting alone in his house, "Do you not become lonely?" He replied, "Does anyone become lonely with Allah?"

Habib Abu Muhammad used to withdraw in solitude into his house saying, "Whoever's eye does not find rest with You, then his eye will not find rest."

Ghazwan said, "I have found my heart's rest and ease in sitting with the One who has my necessities."

Muslim ibn Yasar said, "Pleasure-seekers find no pleasure like withdrawal for the purpose of intimate discourse with Allah, mighty is He and majestic."

Muslim al-'Abid (the worshipper) said, "If it were not for the congregational prayer I would never go out of my door until I die." He said, "Those who obey Allah find no pleasure sweeter than withdrawal to converse with their Lord, nor anything which they eagerly anticipate more of all the tremendous rewards in the next life which is more important in their breasts and sweeter to their hearts than gazing towards Him," and then he swooned.

Ibrahim ibn Adham said, "The highest of ranks is that you should be cut off from others for the sake of your Lord, and at ease with Him with your heart and consciousness and all of your limbs so much so that you hope for nothing but your Lord and fear nothing but your wrong action, and His love becomes so firmly established in your heart that you will never prefer anything to it. If you are like that you will not care whether you are on land or sea, on the plains or in the mountains. Your longing to meet your Beloved will be like the longing the thirsty person has for cold water, and the longing the hungry person has for wholesome food, and the remembrance of Allah will be sweeter to you than honey and more delicious than pure water to the thirsty person on a hot summer's day."

Al-Fudayl said, "Good fortune to whoever becomes alienated from people and with whom Allah sits."

Abu Sulayman, "Allah has never made me at ease with any but Him."

Ma'ruf [al-Kharki] said to a man, "Rely on Allah so much that He becomes the One with Whom you sit, the Companion Who gladdens you and the One to Whom you bring your complaint."

Dhu'n-Nun said, "One of the signs of those who love Allah is that they are not cheerfully at ease with anyone other than Him, and they are never lonely with Him." Then he said, "When love of Allah, exalted is He, takes up its abode in the heart then one becomes cheerfully at ease with Allah, because Allah is more sublime in the breasts of the gnostics than that they should love anyone other than Him." There has been a great deal said by the People in this section which would be very lengthy to mention, and in that which we have mentioned here there is enough, if Allah, exalted is He, wills.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ihsan (Excellence or perfection of worship) By Imam Ibn Rajab Hanbali


By Imam Ibn Rajab Hanbali

(Taken from  Jami' al-'Ulum wa'l-Hikam; second Hadith explanation)

Translated by Abdus Samad Clark

[The portion of the Hadith being explained here is  “He (the questioner) said, 'Tell me about ihsan.' He (The Holy Prophet Muhammed SAWS) said, 'That you worship Allah as if you see Him, for if you don't see Him then truly He sees you.' (Sahih Muslim)]
'Ihsan' in the Quran:
As for ihsan, it has been mentioned in Qur'an in many places, sometimes coupled with iman, sometimes with Islam, and sometimes coupled with taqwa or right action.

It is coupled with iman in His words, exalted is He, "Those who have iman and do right actions are not to blame for anything they have eaten provided they have taqwa and iman and do right actions, and then again have taqwa and iman, and then have taqwa and do good (ahsanou). Allah loves good-doers (muhsinun)," (Surat al-Ma'idah: 93), and in His words, exalted is He, "But as for those who have iman and do right actions, We will not let the wage of good-doers (muhsinun) go to waste." (Surat al-Kahf: 30)

It is paired with Islam as in His words, exalted is He, "Not so! All who submit themselves completely to Allah and are good-doers (muhsinun) will find their reward with their Lord," (Surat al-Baqarah: 111), and in His words, exalted is He, "Those who submit themselves completely to Allah and do good (ahsanou) have grasped the Firmest Handhold." (Surah Luqman: 21)

It is paired with taqwa in His words, exalted is He, "Allah is with those who have taqwa of Him and with those who are good-doers (muhsinun)." (Surat an-Nahl: 128)

It is mentioned alone by itself in His words, exalted is He, "Those who do good (ahsanou) will have the best and more!" (Surah Yunus: 26) It is established in Sahih Muslim from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that the explanation of the 'increase' is gazing upon the face of Allah, exalted is He, in the Garden, which is commensurate with His making it a recompense for the people of ihsan, because ihsan is that the mumin should worship his Lord in the world in the manner of being present and with fearful watchfulness as if he sees Him with his heart and gazes on Him during his worship. The reward of that is gazing upon Allah with the eyes in the next life. The opposite of this is that which Allah, exalted is He, informs us of the recompense of the kuffar in the next life, "No indeed! Rather that Day they will be veiled from their Lord," (Surat al-Mutaffifin: 15) which He makes their reward for their condition in the world, because their reward for that state is that they are veiled from seeing Him in the next life.
'Ihsan' in Hadith:
His words, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on ihsan, "That you should worship Allah as if you see Him..." indicate that the slave worships Allah, exalted is He, in this way, which is bearing in his consciousness His nearness and that he is in front of Him as if he sees Him, and that requires that one have fear, awe and exaltation [of Allah], as has been narrated in the version of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, "That you should fear Allah as if you see Him." It also requires that one be sincere in one's worship and exert oneself to make it good, whole and complete. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, counselled a group of his companions with this piece of advice, as Ibrahim al-Hijri narrated from Abu'l-Ahwas that Abu Dharr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "My intimate friend, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, counselled me to fear Allah as if I see Him, for if I do not see Him, then He sees me."

It has been narrated from Ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with both of them, that he said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took hold of a part of my body and said, 'Worship Allah as if you see Him!'" An-Nasa'i narrated it from a hadith of Zayd ibn Arqam both attributing it [to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace] as a marfu' hadith and stopping short [with it at Zayd] as a mawquf hadith, "Be as if you see Allah, for if you do not see Him He sees you."

At-Tabarani narrated from a hadith of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, that, "A man said, 'Messenger of Allah, tell me something and make it comprehensive!' He replied, 'Pray the prayer as if you were bidding farewell, for if you do not see Him, He sees you.'"

The famous hadith of Harithah has been narrated in various ways, in some of which it is mursal [attributed to the Prophet but without the connecting link of the person among the Followers who narrated it from the Companion] and also with a full chain of transmission, but the mursal form is more authentic. There is in it that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked him, "Harithah, how are you this morning?" He said, "This morning I have become a true mumin." He said, "Think about what you are saying! Because every statement has a reality." He said, "Messenger of Allah, my self dislikes the world, so that it is sleepless at night and thirsty in the day, and it is as if I am gazing upon the Throne of my Lord appearing, and it is as if I am gazing upon the people of the Garden in the Garden and how they visit each other in it, and as if I am gazing upon the people of the Fire and how they howl in it." He said, "You have seen, so remain firm. [You are] a slave whom Allah has illuminated the iman in his heart."

It is narrated of the hadith of Abu Umamah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with him, advised a man saying, "Be modest before Allah with the modesty you would have before two right-acting men of your close family who never leave you." It is narrated in another version, "Be modest before your Lord."

It is narrated of Mu'adh that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, counselled him when he sent him to the Yemen and said, "Be modest before Allah as you would be modest before a man of your family of whom you have some awe." The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked about unrestrainedly uncovering the private parts and he said, "Allah has more right that one should have modesty before Him."

Abu'd-Darda' advised a man and said to him, "Worship Allah as if you see Him." 'Urwah ibn az-Zubayr asked Ibn 'Umar for his daughter's hand while the two of them were doing tawaf and he didn't answer him. Later he met him and apologised saying, "We were in tawaf visualising Allah before our eyes." Abu Nu'aym and others narrated it.
About his saying, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "For if you do not see Him, He sees you," it is said that it [the latter] is like a cause of the first, because when the slave is commanded to be fearfully watchful of Allah, exalted is He, in his worship and to bear in his heart His nearness to His slave to such an extent that it is as if the slave sees Him, then that is difficult for him and he can seek help in that with his trust that Allah sees him and watches over his private and his public lives, his inward and his outward, and that nothing of him is hidden from Him. When he makes a reality of this station then it becomes easier for him to move on to the second station, the perpetual fixing of the gaze of his inner sight on the nearness of Allah to His slave and His 'withness' [the fact that He is 'with' His slave when he remembers Him] so that it is as if he sees Him. Someone said that rather it indicates that whoever finds it difficult to worship Allah, exalted is He, as if he sees Him, then let him worship Allah on the basis that Allah sees him and watches over him, and let him be modest before His gaze towards him, as one of the gnostics said, "Fear Allah, lest He should become the most insignificant of those who look at you."

One of them said, "Fear Allah according to the measure of His power over you, and be modest before Allah according to the measure of His nearness to you."

One of the women gnostics (A'rif- knower of Allah) of the first right-acting generations said, "Whoever acts for the sake of Allah as one who has direct witnessing is a gnostic, and whoever acts on the basis of Allah's witnessing him is sincere." She indicated the two above-mentioned stations:

 First the station of sincerity, which is that the slave should act keeping in consciousness His (Allah's) witnessing of him, watching over him and nearness to him. When the slave seeks to keep this in his consciousness during his actions, and he works on that basis then he is sincere towards Allah, exalted is He, since his seeking to keep that in his consciousness during his action prevents him from turning to other than Allah and intending any other in his action.

Second, [she indicated] the station of witnessing, which is that the slave acts according to the requirements of his witnessing of Allah, exalted is He, in his heart, and it is that the heart is illuminated by iman, and the inner sight pierces through to gnosis, so much so that the Unseen becomes as if it were right in front of the eyes.

 This is the reality of the station of ihsan indicated in the hadith of Jibril, peace be upon him, and the people of these stations have different degrees according to the strength of penetration of their inner sight.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On asking forgiveness - 'Riyadus Saliheen'

On asking forgiveness - From 'Riyadus Saliheen'

by Imam Abu Zakaria Mohiuddin Yahya An-Nawawi (RA):
 Translation by Ustadha Aisha Bewley

From the Holy Quran-

Allah says, "Ask forgiveness for your wrongdoing, and for the men and women who believe," (47:20; 47:19)

 and the Almighty says, "Ask Allah's forgiveness. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (4:105; 4:106)

 He says, "Then glorify your Lord's praise and ask His forgiveness. He is the Ever-Returning." (110:3-4; 110:3)

and the Almighty says, "Those who are God-fearing will have Gardens with their Lord with rivers flowing under them" to His words, "those who seek forgiveness before dawn." (3:15-17)

Allah says, "Anyone who does evil or wrongs himself and then asks Allah¹s forgiveness will find Allah Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (4:109; 4:110)

and He says, "Allah would not punish them while you were among them. Allah would not punish them as long as they sought forgiveness." (8:33)

 The Almighty says, "Those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions – and who can forgive bad actions except Allah – and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing." (3:135)

From the Hadith-

1869. Al-Agharr al-Muzani reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A cloudiness comes over my heart and I ask for Allah's forgiveness a hundred times a day." [Muslim]

 1870. Abu Hurayra said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'By Allah, I ask Allah's forgiveness and turn to Him more than seventy times a day.'" [al-Bukhari]

 1871. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "By the One in whose hand my soul is, if you did not do wrong, Allah Almighty would remove you and bring a people who do wrong and then ask Allah Almighty for forgiveness and He would forgive them." [Muslim]

1872. Ibn 'Umar said, "We used to count out for the Messengerof Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in one assembly a hundred times, "Lord forgive me and turn to Me, You are the Returning, the Merciful." [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

  1873. Ibn 'Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If someone clings to asking for forgiveness, Allah will appoint him a way out of every constriction, and relief from every care and will provide for him from where he does not reckon."[Abu Dawud]

1874. Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who says, 'I ask forgiveness of Allah, other than whom there is no god, the Living, the All-Sustaining and I turn to him,' will be forgiven his wrong actions, even if he fled from the press of battle." [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

1875. Shaddad ibn Aws stated that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The best way to ask forgiveness is for a slave to say, 'O Allah, You are my Lord. There is no god but You. You created me and I am Your slave. I comply with Your covenant and Your promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with you from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me. Only You can forgive sins.' Anyone who says this during the day having confidence in it and dies on that day before evening will be among the people of the Garden. Anyone who says it during the night having confidence in it and dies before morning will be among the people of the Garden." [al-Bukhari]
 1876. Thawban said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to finish his prayer, he asked forgiveness three times and said, 'O Allah, You are Peace and peace is from You. You are blessed, O Possessor of majesty and nobility.'" Al-Awza'i, one of the transmitters of the hadith, was asked, "How was the asking forgiveness?" He said, "You say, 'I ask Allah's forgiveness. I ask Allah's forgiveness.'". [Muslim]

1877. 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to often say before his death, 'Glory be to Allah and by His praise. I ask Allah's forgiveness and I turn in repentance to Him." [Agreed upon]

 1878. Anas said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'Allah Almighty says, "O son of Adam! I will forgive you as long as you call on Me and have hope in Me, no matter what you do. Son of Adam, I do not care if your wrong actions reach to the clouds of heaven and then you ask Me for forgiveness, I will forgive you. Son of Adam, if you were to come with sins equivalent in weight to the whole earth and then meet Me having not associated anything with Me, I would come to you with the same amount of forgiveness.'" [at-Tirmidhi]

 1879. Ibn 'Umar stated that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "O company of women! Give sadaqa and ask forgiveness often. I have seen that you comprise the majority of the people of the Fire." One of the women said, "Why are we are the majority of the people of the Fire?" He said, "You curse a lot and you are ungrateful to your husbands. Despite the fact that I see you are deficient both in intellect and the deen, intelligent men are destroyed by you." She said, "What is our deficiency in intelligence and the deen?" He said, "The testimony of two women is only worth the testimony of one man and there are days when a woman does not pray." [Muslim]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Words used for 'Heart' in the Quran

The Heart: Fu’aad, Qalb and Sadr
[by Amatullah, based on notes of Ustadh Numan Ali Khan's classes, Taken here from Muslim Matters website]
In the Qur'an, Allāh ta'ala uses three words to describe our hearts: qalb, fu'aad and sadr. We know that every Arabic word is chosen for a reason, yet all three of these words for the most part are translated as “heart.” As usual, the intricate meanings of these words are not captured in the translation.
So, what is their difference?
Qalb is the general word for heart. It comes from the root which means something that turns around and about and upside down. It is the nature of hearts that they are constantly changing, this is the normal state of our hearts. When Allāh ta'ala refers to emaan and diseases of the heart, qalb is used.

Fu'aad is from the verb fa'ada meaning burning or a flame and lahmun fa'eed means a roasted meat on a fire. Fu'aad is used when the heart is inflamed with emotion, as they say, “in the heat of the moment.” Fu'aad is used in the Qur'an to describe the heart when it is engrossed in emotion: happiness, sadness, lust, frustration, anger or regret. My favorite example of this is in suratul Qasas (28), Allāh ta'ala says,

But there came to be a void in the heart of the mother of Musa. (28:10)
Allāh ta'ala uses fu'aad  to describe the heart of Umm Musa after putting her newborn into the Nile, as if it was about to leave her chest in her worry and sadness. Allāh ta'ala says herfu'aad became faarigha, empty. She was in such an emotional state that she could not think of anything except Musa alayhi salaam. Then He says,
She was almost going to disclose his (case), had We not strengthened her heart. (28:10)
After Allāh ta'ala strengthened her heart out of His Mercy, when she regained her emaan, patience and trust in Him, her fu'aad became qalb.
Another example of fu'aad  is when Allāh ta'ala says:

Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart all those will be questioned. (17:36)
Allāh azza wa jal did not say our quloob will be questioned, rather He ta'ala said the fu'aad.
When people are committing sins, some type of emotion overtakes them which makes them cross the limits. How many times have we heard, “It's not me,  it's the hormones!” When we are questioned on the Day of Judgment, we cannot use the “they were a fitnah, I couldn't help it!”, “I was emotional!” or “it was out of anger!” excuse on that Day to Allāh ta'ala because we are the ones in control of our fu'aad. It's not going to work. We will be accountable for what our hands, eyes and hearing reaped, no one else.
Sadr takes the meaning of chest, and when Allāh ta'ala eludes to motives or secrets, he uses sadr because it gives the illusion literally of a treasure chest: something hidden and boxed up.
This example can be seen in suratun Naas:

The one who whispers in the hearts of Mankind. (114: 5)
Shaytan does not make waswas (whispers) into our quloob, but rather he whispers in the chests of the people. There is a distinction because Allāh ta'ala created the qalb as pure. The example of the heart is like a fort and the eyes/tongues/ears/hands are gates to the opening. Shaytan waits outside of this fort, attacking the openings trying to get in. Out of Allāh's Rahmah, He did not give Shaytan access to our quloob, but rather to our sudoor. It is us who let the gates open, not Shaytan.
These seemingly simple words contain an ocean of wisdom behind the use of each. We all understand that the Qur'an is a book of wisdom, but when we study intricate details like this, we truly see HOW it is a book of wisdom. We ask Allāh ta'ala to make us amongst its companions, āmīn.
Allāh is Most Knowing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Which Wolf will win?

Which Wolf will win?

This is a nice Story from Native American Tradition depicting the struggle between the Nafs and the Ruh (the evil and virtuous propensities) within each human being in a simple way:

An elder Cherokee was teaching his grandchildren about life.  He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me.  It is a terrible fight between two wolves.  One wolf represents anger, greed, hatred, envy, fear, arrogance, resentment, self-pity, guilt, lies and ego.  The other stands for peace, love, patience, joy, compassion, generosity, humility, kindness, friendship, truth, and faith.  This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, as well.” The children thought about this for a while and then one child asked, “Which wolf will win?” The wise elder replied simply, “The one you feed.” (Taken from “Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living”)

So, we must try to feed the Ruh by doing Ibadah, abundant Dhikrullah, dua, reciting the Quran, following the holy Sunnah and Shariah and pious company and weaken the Nafs by doing Mujahida against it by avoiding strictly: all the sins, overeating, unneccessary talking, over sleeping, bad company. 

Ultimately, the one we feed will win InshAllah!

Pour Your Heart Out to Allah

Pour Your Heart Out to Allah

You know how sometimes you really want something to happen or there’s already something really important happening in your life, yet you feel like there are so many challenges and obstacles to overcome?
Whether it’s a personal or community project, a new relationship like starting a marriage or expecting a child, or acquiring a new job, you will notice more often than not, that anytime we as human beings want to do something great or important and start creating more fulfillment in our lives and in the lives of others, that there will be all sorts of tests and tribulations along the way.

We have so many examples of this from our Islamic history.  Think about the Prophet (peace be upon him).  He was the one man on earth at the time who had revelation coming down to him, peace be upon him, from the seventh heaven.  He was the most beloved human being to Allah (Swt) and had an ever so important message to deliver, yet he faced trials and tribulations, one after the other.
After his first incident with Angel Gabriel in Cave Hira, he sought comfort and support from his beloved wife Khadijah, who believed in him and supported him like no other and took him to her cousin, Waraqa, at the time who was a man of religious knowledge.  When the prophet peace be upon him told Waraqa of his incident with Angel Gabriel, Waraqa told him that your people will force you out of you land.  The prophet, peace be upon him at the time, only at the beginning of his difficult but ever so important journey replied, “Will they really force me out?”. And Waraqa re-emphasized that there is no man that came with what he came (a message from God), except that his people fought him.
And this is how all of the trials and tribulations began – the prophet was not only forced out of his own beloved land, but threatened and boycotted for three years with little food until his beloved wife khadijah died shortly after, and soon after that, his other source of support, his uncle, also passed away.
Think of how the prophet peace be upon him felt at the time.  He was tired, he was alone, and he lost the two most important sources of ‘human’ support.   In fact they called that year the year of sadness.  Yet what did the prophet peace be upon him do? Did he give up on his message? A message that he knew would bring salvation to humanity and be a source for their happiness both in this world and the next?
Shortly after this incident, the Prophet went to Al-Taif – which was almost 100km of walking for the Prophet at the age of 50 – to continue to call people to Allah (Swt).  And once again he was threatened, made fun of, and stoned until his blessed feet bled and he finally fell to his knees, and poured his heart out to Allah (Swt).  He made one of the most beautiful duaas one could ever make when he said:
“Oh Allah to you I complain of my weakness and helplessness, oh the Most Merciful of the Merciful to whom have you left me? To a stranger who does not care or to an enemy who has control over my affairs? If you are not angry with me, then I do not care but your mercy is better for me. I seek refuge with your light which brightened every darkness and reformed every matter of this world and the next that your wrath shall descend upon me or your discontentment falls upon me – to you belongs every thanks until you are pleased and there is no power except with you.”

And you know what happened shortly after this beautiful heartfelt duaa? It’s as if Allah (Swt) wanted to show the prophet the great status he held and this is where the Prophet made the trip of “Isra and Mi’raj” – the Ascension to Heaven.  It’s as if Allah (Swt) wanted to tell him if you think you don’t have support on earth anymore and its people have harmed you, then ascend to heaven and go where no other human being has ever gone before and witness your significant position with Us.

So, back here on earth and to you and me.  Allah (Swt) promises that: ““Anyone who works righteousness, male or female, while believing, we will surely grant them a good life (Hayat-e-Tayyib) in this world, and we will surely pay them their full recompense (on the Day of Judgment) for their righteous works.” [16:97]

So what more could we want? We have a promise from Allah that if we put in our part and  overcome the many challenges that we will face, that He will give us happiness both in this world and in the next.

The key is who do you go to in these times of challenges? Who do you complain to? Who do you seek the ultimate support from? We may naturally go to seek advice and comfort from family and close friends but ultimately we are all human beings and to find the true comfort and solace that we need, I would encourage each and every one of us to literally pour our hearts out to Allah.  That is the beauty of duaa.  The prophet (peace be upon him) describes duaa as the “essence of worship”.  It is your opportunity to say whatever you want, in whichever language you want, as many times as you want knowing that even if you can’t express yourself fully, Allah (swt) knows and understands you like no other because He created you and knows your innate feelings and worries.

In fact you may be facing a great test or tribulation that is preparing you to fulfill a great role or deliver an important legacy that you are not even aware of yet.  The prophet said, “Victory comes with patience” and “Relief comes with Affliction”.

More so, it doesn’t have to be that you are facing a huge tribulation in your life to ask Allah (Swt) for His help – it could be that you are looking for guidance on what your role and your legacy to this world will be.  Ask Allah (swt), with true sincerity, and you will see how amazing the will of Allah (swt) unfolds in your life to carry you through any challenges and enable you to truly be and give your best to the world.

-Taken with thanks from

Friday, April 13, 2012



There is no doubt whatsoever that the human character has the potential for change and that it is possible to remove its bad character traits and habits and replace them. If this were not the case, then there would be no benefit in (Allah) sending the noble Messenger MHMD and there would be no need for inheritors after him among the practicing scholars and righteous spiritual guides.

If it is possible for many predatory birds and other beasts of pray to change many of their supposedly innate character traits, then certainly humans - whom Allah (swt) has honoured and created in the best of forms - can change their character a fortiori.

The intent behind struggling against the Nafs (ego) is not a complete and total eradication and effacement of its character, rather, it is to elevate it and pick it up from bad to good, and force it to travel according to Allah's will and in pursuit of His good pleasure.

Anger is blameworthy when one exhibits it for his own ego, whereas it is praiseworthy when he exhibits it for the sake of Allah -as the Messenger of Allah (swt) would get angry if the rights of Allah were violated or if any of His limits were transgressed against. On the other hand, whenever he would be harmed for the sake of Allah, struck, or pelted - as he was on the day he was in Ta'if - he would not get angry for his own sake, rather, he would pray for those who harmed him, asking for their guidance. He would give them excuses and say: "O Allah! Guide my people for they know not!" -(Al-Bukhari)

Likewise, arrogance is also blameworthy when a Muslim behaves arrogantly towards his Muslim brothers. On the other hand, when he behaves proudly in front of arrogant disbelievers, this trait becomes praiseworthy because it is for the sake of Allah (swt) and within the bounds of the Sacred Law. The same may be said for most blameworthy character traits. They can be transformed through spiritual struggle and elevated to praiseworthy characteristics.

From-Purifying And Striving Against The Ego (nafs) by Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir `Isa

Monday, April 9, 2012

Patience in the face of others’ insolence -By Imam Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi

Patience in the face of others’ insolence is of three kinds: patience with someone who has power over you when you have none over him; patience with someone you have power over when he has none over you; finally patience with someone when neither of you has power over the other.

 The first kind is humiliating and degrading; it is not a virtue. The advice for someone who is afraid of such an intolerable situation would be to abandon everything and run away.

The second kind is a virtue, it is charitable, it is the true meekness which characterizes virtuous souls.

The third sort consists of two kinds. The insolence may arise from a misunderstanding or from fear, and the one at fault may realize the ugliness of his act and regret it. To be patient with him would be a virtue and an obligation; this is true magnanimity. But with a person who overestimates his own value and is proud and arrogant and feels no regret for his action, to tolerate this is humiliating, it encourages the wrongdoer in his wrongdoing, because he will act even more violently and it would be stupid to respond in the same way. The wisest course of action is to let him know that you could fight back but that you are refraining from doing so because he is beneath contempt and unworthy of your attention. No more is necessary.
As for the insolent behaviour of the lower classes, the only remedy is to punish it.

Taken from ' Al-Akhlâq wa’l-Siyar (Morals and Behaviour) By Imam Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi

Thursday, April 5, 2012

MUJAHIDA AGAINST THE NAFS- Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed (db)

Struggling Against One's Base Desires (Nafs)
   by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed (db)

Those who believe and work righteous deeds, from them shall We blot out all evil (that may be) in them and We shall reward them according to the best of their deeds (29:7)

Mujahida is the term used for any mental, physical, or financial hardship that one may have to bear for the sake of Islam, and the above verse is a poignant one for such people who strive in the path of Allah. Mujahida can indeed be very personal, in the case of fighting one’s base desires (nafs) and subjugating it to the rule of Islamic Sacred Law (shariah). The Messenger of Allah said that a mujahid is someone who struggles against his nafs for the sake of obeying Allah. (Note by AHD- Narrated by al-Tirmidhî in the book concerning the virtues of Jihad. He said: "This Hadîth is Hasan Sahih." Al-Bayhaqî mentioned in Shu'ab al-Iman another narration from Fadala which states: "The Mujahid is he who struggles against his self in Allah's obedience and the migrant (Muhâjir) is he who migrates from sins and wrongdoings."-Mishkât al-Masâbîh: Kitab al-Imân: book 34)

 The nafs always wants to lead mankind astray because it revels in acts that are against the shariah. Hence, a person becomes deserving of reward from Allah if he controls the unlawful desires of his nafs and subjugates it to the commandments of Allah.

Infinite Reward For Mujahida against the Nafs

Allah had blessed a student of Hadrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA) with a successful business and hence a great deal of wealth. This student wrote his teacher a letter explaining that he felt hesitant to pay zakat (alms) when it was due, due to fears of financial loss and hardship. He would of course pay the correct amount due every year but amid apprehension of losing his wealth. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA) replied back that he would earn twice the reward of people who merely pay their zakat without a thought, for he was not only fulfilling the command of Allah, but also struggling with his nafs over the issue. Man will earn reward every time he struggles against his nafs or other circumstances to fulfill the Will of Allah.
The nafs will always work hard to tempt man to act against the shariah; to fulfill unlawful desires. Shaitan in turn gives added strength to the nafs by tempting man from the outside, and hence together these two forces join in an ongoing effort to lead people astray. Man should stand determined against these forces and committed to obeying Allah. When he struggles against this onslaught it will be known as his personal struggle because he is fighting in the Path of Allah and will earn reward accordingly.
Allah rewards each and every action because He says in the Holy Quran that He will not let any action go to waste. Man is an ingrate who enjoys the countless blessings of Allah without realizing their tremendous value or thanking Allah for them. Allah on the other hand places great value on every righteous deed and does not let anything go to waste.
Man needs to realize the infinite bounties of his Creator that he takes for granted and he should return to worshipping his Lord instead of falling into the trap of worshipping his nafs. If man remains asleep at the time of Fajr then he abandons the command of Allah and becomes a worshipper of his nafs because his bed is dearer to him at that time. Likewise if he ignores the time of prayer like most of us do in gatherings like weddings then he has again abandoned the worship of Allah and given in to his nafs. Everything that takes away from the worship of Allah falls into the worship of the nafs, and man needs to fight against this so that he can again return to obeying Allah.
All the false gods that man worships cannot even create a fly if they unite together, and moreover cannot take back something that the fly might steal from them. Idols and the nafs are all such false gods, whereas the One to be sought is something beyond these illusions and fabrications. The Holy Quran continues in stark candor that man does not realize the true worth of his Creator.

Different Categories of the Nafs

Nafs is man’s enemy and must be trained so it is brought towards righteousness. Mujahida of the lovers of Allah today and through the ages has been to train this nafs so that it becomes an ally in serving Allah rather than an enemy. There are three stages or types of nafs.

Nafs ul Ammara is the worst category of nafs, in which a person not only commits sin but boasts of his sins and thus challenges Allah. This is an animalistic nafs that does not care about anything or anyone, least about pleasing Allah. This nafs is a close ally of Shaitan in pushing people away from Allah and Muslims should pray for deliverance from this type of evil.

Nafs ul Luwwama is a stage somewhat improved from this such that this type of nafs feels shame when it commits sins and repents to Allah. This describes the average Muslim who desperately wants to obey and please Allah but slips into sin because his nafs overpowers him at times. However, after falling into sin he immediately repents because he feels deeply ashamed. Although this nafs is definitely an improvement from the previous one, man should always keep striving to improve his nafs beyond this.

Nafs ul Mutma’inna is the best kind of nafs. It has been rectified and trained to obey Allah. Only the special lovers of Allah who have struggled their whole lives against their nafs are so blessed. This type of nafs now remains preoccupied with the sunnah and other ways by which to please Allah. Moreover, people with this type of nafs not only run from sin but Allah protects them from sin and keeps them on the path of the shariah. This nafs struggles so hard to improve itself that Allah will admit it into Paradise on the Day of Judgment as He promises in the Holy Quran. This is the nafs that man should beg for and beseech from Allah.

Mujahida till Death

Ever since Shaitan was exiled from Paradise, mujahida has been written in man’s destiny since Shaitan promised to lead man astray at every opportunity. Allied with Shaitan within man is his nafs, constantly urging him to act against Allah’s wishes and toward the fulfillment of evil base desires.
Trapped alongside the nafs within the body is the ruh (spirit), which is inherently pure and constantly struggles to act according to Allah’s wishes. Hence man is destined to struggle between good and evil until he triumphs over his nafs by the mercy of Allah. Man is weak and cannot do anything alone; hence Muslims should constantly pray to Allah for help in making their nafs submit to His Will.