Friday, August 31, 2012

The Salaf's love of Reading Books-Imam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (ra)

The Virtue of Reading Books

[Anecdotes from the lives of the Salaf]
Imam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (ra) from - Jami’ Bayan al-’Ilm wa Fadlih

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

2414: Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad bin Isma’il al-Bukhari was asked:
“What is it that strengthens one’s memory?”
He replied: “Constantly looking through books.”

2415: Ahmad bin Abi ‘Imran said:
“I was with Abu Ayyub Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Shuja’, and he was staying in his house. So, he sent one of his sons to Abu ‘Abdillah bin al-A’rabi to invite him over.
The boy returned, saying: “I asked him this, and he said to me: “I am with a group, and when I am done being taught by them, I will be over,” and I did not see a single person at his house. Rather, he had in front of him books that he was looking through. He would look in this book for some time, and then look in another book for some time.”
Shortly thereafter, he arrived. So, Abu Ayyub said to him: “O Abu ‘Abdillah! Glory be to Allah, the Mighty! You stayed behind and prevented us from your presence, and my son said that he did not see anyone with you, and that you said you were with a group, and that you would come as soon as you were done being taught by them!”
So, Ibn al-A’rabi said:
We have company who sit with us and do not bore us * Loyal ones who can be trusted while they are present or away;
They benefit us from their knowledge of what happened in the past * And intelligence, manners, and opinions that are correct;
With no fear of conflicts or bad companionship * And one does not fear from their tongue or hand;
So, if you say that they are dead: nay! You are a liar * And if you say they are alive, you are not far from the truth…
Translator’s note: He did not lie, as he was referring to his books as his companions, and this is from the ma’arid (metaphoric speech) that do not count as lies, as was narrated authentically from ‘Imran bin Husayn, ‘Umar bin al-Khattab, and Ibn ‘Abbas.
2416: It was said to Abi al-’Abbas Ahmad bin Yahya (Tha’lab):
“The people have greatly missed you. If only you could leave your house for just a bit and show yourself to the people so that they could benefit from you, and you could benefit from them.”
So, he stayed silent for an hour, and said:
If we accompanied the kings, they would act arrogantly with us * And would belittle the rights of those they were accompanying;
Or if we accompanied the merchants, we would become sorrowful * And would become mere counters of money;
So, we remained in our homes, extracting knowledge * And filling with it the stomachs of these pages…
2419: From what was memorized in the past:
What a great speaker and companion the book is! * You can seclude yourself with it if your friends bore you; It does not reveal your secrets, and is not arrogant * And you can gain from it wisdom and uprightness…
2420: Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Ahmad recited to me:
And the sweetest that a youth can desire after piety * Is knowledge that is beautified for him to seek it; And for every seeker, there is a pleasure that he desires * And the pleasure of the scholar is his books…
2421: And he asked me to add to the above, and I immediately followed up with this in his presence:
The book relieves the concerns of its reader * And when he reads, his exhaustion disappears; What a great companion it is if you seclude yourself with it * You do not fear it plotting against you, or causing commotion…
2424: Abu ‘Amr bin al-’Ala’ said:
“I never entered upon a man or passed by his door – seeing him with a book in his hand, and his companion doing nothing – except that I judged him to be the more intelligent one.”
2425: ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-’Aziz bin ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-’Aziz said:
“I never saw a better admonisher than the grave, or anything more satisfying than a book, or anything safer than lack of socialization.”
2426: al-Hasan al-Lu’lu’i said:
“Forty years of my life have passed in which I never awoke or went to sleep except that a book was resting on my chest.”

Translated by Abu Sabaayaa

(Taken from Ilmgate.org)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Allah's power can change us!

Imam Ibn ‘Ata’illah said in the 'Hikam': ‘Whoever finds it astonishing that God should save him from his passion or yank him out of his forgetfulness has deemed the divine Power of Allah (al-qudra al-ilahiyya) to be weak. “And God has power over everything [Qur'an 18:45]“‘ (as translated by Victor Danner, in the Aphorisms of Ibn ‘Ata’illah). 

Likewise, the appalling negativity that one perceives in the current Muslim landscape – and in particularly within our souls – should not make one forget the indomitable power of God to change the worst of states into the most noble, and make the Muslims a credit to this age. Wa ma dhalika ‘ala Allah bi’aziz – and that is not difficult for God! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The reality of Sins

"Sins are seeds of disaster that will soon grow and bear bitter fruits. They are like time-bombs. We have to save ourselves by responding to the call of Allah with sincere and total repentance (Tawba) before we are made to reap the bitter fruits of our many faults here and in the Aakhirah (Hereafter)."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The POWER Of DHIKR (Remembrance of Allah)

Conquest with The POWER Of DHIKR (Remembrance of Allah ) in war -

In Sahih Muslim, Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet Muhammad inquired:
― "Have you heard of a city, of which part is in the sea? Yes, they said (understanding him to mean Constantinople). He said: ―The Last Hour shall not occur until 70,000 of the children of Isaac shall attack it. When they will come to it they will land down, but they will not fight with arms, nor shower it with arrows. They will only say: ‘There is no god but Allah, and Allah is the Greatest', and one of its sides will fall. They will recite it for the second time: ‘There is no god but Allah, and Allah is The Greatest', and another side of the city will fall. Afterwards they will recite for a third time: ‘There is no god but Allah, and Allah is the Greatest’, and then it will be opened to them, and they will enter it and acquire booty. While they will be dividing the spoils, a proclaimer will come to them and say: Verily Dajjal/Anti-Christ has come out. Then they will leave everything and return.”

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The famous commander of the Muslims, Habib Ibn Musallama, whenever encountered with the enemy or attacked a stronghold of the enemy, he recited (Lahawla Wala quwwata illabilla).
One day he stormed a Byzantinian Castle and when he and all the Muslims recited these words with loud voice, the walls of the castle fell down. [source-'al Wabil as sayyib' by Ibn AlQayyim R.A.]

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Avoiding What is of No Concern -Shaikh 'Abd Al-Qadir Al-Jilani


Avoiding What is of No Concern 


Shaikh 'Abd Al-Qadir Al-Jilani 
Source: Purification of the Mind (Jila' Al-Khatir) 

* The Prophet SAWS is reported to have said: “One result of the excellence of the person’s practice of Islam is neglecting what does not concern him.” [Related by Imam Ahmad, Malik & Tirmidhi]

 Every person who practices Islam and applies it is interested in what is really relevant to him and turns away from what is irrelevant to him. Being busy with what is of no concern to you is the business of those who are idle and in illusion. The person who is deprived of the pleasure of His Master is he who did not act on what he was commanded but instead occupied himself with irrelevant things. This is deprivation itself, resentment itself, and banishment itself. Woe to you! Obey the commandments, refrain from the prohibitions, show acceptance at times of affliction, and then surrender yourself to the hand of destiny without asking “why” or “how.” Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) care for you combined with His knowledge of you are better than your care for yourself combined with your ignorance of your Lord. Be satisfied with what He gives and occupy yourself with offering thanks for it. Do not ask Him for more, for you do not know where your best interest lies. 

* Give up the involvement in much babble and idle gossip and squandering money. Do not spend much time in the company of relatives, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances without good reason, for that is an illusion. Most of the telling of lies takes place between two, and disobedience does not happen but between two. None of you should go out of his home except to pursue essential personal and family interests. Make every effort not to be the first to speak and that your speech is only in answer to a question. When a person asks you about something, answer him only when there are benefits for both of you in doing so, otherwise do not answer him. When you see a Muslim brother do not ask him “where are you going to?” or “where are you coming from?” He may be unwilling to tell you about his personal affairs and thus he would lie, so it would be you who forced him to lie.

Feel a sense of shame from the Honorable Recording Angels (Al‑Kirām Al‑Kātibīn)[1] Do not dictate to them what you should not be saying. Dictate to them what would make you happy on the Day of Resurrection, words of glorification of Allah, recitation of the Qur’an, and words that relate to your and other creatures’ interests. Increase their ink with your tears and strengthen their pens with your belief in the oneness of God, then leave them sitting at the door and enter into the presence of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He).

Curtail hopes. Keep death in front of your eyes. When anyone of you comes across his brother, he should greet him and bid him farewell as if he is about to depart from this world. Similarly, when he leaves his home, he should greet his family with his heart, for the Messenger of Death may summon him and thus prevent him from returning to them. His final moment may be on the road. Therefore, the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be on him) has said: “None of you should sleep the night unless his will is written and placed under his head.” If one of you has a debt and is capable of paying it back, he should repay it and not postpone the repayment, for he does not know whether or not he will have the opportunity to repay later. The person who is capable of repaying the debt but does not do is thus involved in wronging himself, because the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be on him) has said: “The postponement [of repayment] by the affluent person is an act of wrongdoing.”

* O young man, do not occupy yourself with what is irrelevant to you so you miss what concerns you! Thinking of the states of another person and his faults is of no concern to you, whereas reflecting on your states is of concern to you. All of the speech of the person with a lower self, passion, and natural inclination will be against him rather than in his favor. He is like the person who collects firewood by night so he does not know what he is gathering. When the lower self has calmed down and the fire of passion and natural inclination has subsided so that it cannot reach the lower self, the faculty of reason will grow, faith will strengthen, tranquility will arrive, and the differentiation between the truth and falsehood will come, so the person will refrain from falsehood and speak the truth. The Law will then come to him and he will act according to it, so he will become a servant of the Law. He will obey the Messenger (Allah’s blessings and peace be on him) with regard to his commandments and prohibitions because he has heard the True One (mighty and glorified is He) say: “And what the Messenger gives you, take; and what he forbids you, abstain from” (from 59.7). He has come to know that this verse applies to all the commandments and prohibitions brought by the Messenger (Allah’s blessings and peace be on him). He will, thus, perform the works of obedience that he commanded and refrain from committing the sins he (Allah’s blessings and peace be on him) prohibited. At this stage, he will become a pious Muslim. If he continues like this, he will become a knower of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and knowledgeable of Him. He will have tranquility, silence, and ability to listen to what is spoken to him in his heart. He will be continuously spoken to and he will be in permanent happiness. O Allah, grant us the pleasure of Your nearness, the delight of Your private conversation, and feeling happy with You, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

Be sensible and do not talk about things that do not concern you. Occupy yourselves with what you have been commanded to do and do not waste your time on irrelevant things. Be pious to your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and repent to Him. When someone shows piety to Him, He protects him; and when He protects someone, He elevates him to the door of His nearness. He elevates him to everlasting life. He elevates from the stars to the Seventh Heaven. You will soon see the Resurrection. You will see how Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will gather those who are pious to Him in the shade of His Throne and seat them at tables on which there is white honey, whereas the other people are immersed in heat and sweat. While sitting at those tables, they will see the creatures and their states; some people will be taken to the gardens of Paradise and others will be carried away to the Fire. They will be sitting there and their houses in Paradise are in front of them. Their wives and their youths of Paradise will be visible to them. They will see the things that have been assigned to them before they reach them.


O you who are forgetful! Take little from what leaves you and take in abundance from what stays with you and does not leave you. Do many righteous works. Fast and be sincere in fasting. Perform prayer and be sincere in your prayer. Make the pilgrimage and be sincere in that. Pay the obligatory alms and be sincere in it. Remember your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and be sincere in remembering Him. Serve the righteous, draw near to them, and be sincere in your service to them. Occupy yourself with your own faults and do not pay attention to the faults of others. Command the practice of what is right and prohibit what is wrong. Do not expose the private affairs of people and keep them secret. Disapprove any wrongdoing that is apparent but do not concern yourselves with what may be hidden. Focus on yourselves and do not pay attention to others. Do not speak a lot about things that are of no concern to you, for the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be on him) has said: “One result of the excellence of the person’s practice of Islam is neglecting what does not concern him.” Your faults are your business but the faults of others are of no concern to you.


O young man, talk about things that concern you and give up discussing matters that are irrelevant to you. When you know Allah (mighty and glorified is He), your fear of Him will increase and your speech in His presence will decrease. This is why the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be on him) has said: “When someone comes to know Allah, his tongue becomes exhausted,” meaning that he becomes mute. The tongue of His lower self, passion, natural inclination, habit, telling of lies, slander, and falsehood will become dumb, whereas the tongue of his inward will speak, and the tongue of his heart, innermost being, essences, truthfulness and his purity will speak. The tongue of his falsehood will become dumb, but the tongue of his truth will speak. The tongue of his talking about things that are of no concern to him will become incapable of speech, whereas the tongue of his heart will speak about things that concern him. The tongue of his quest for his lower self will become dumb, whereas the tongue of his quest for the True One will speak. In the early stage of acquiring knowingness, speech will stop and the person’s whole existence will melt away. He will become extinct to himself and to everyone else. Then, if the True One (mighty and glorified is He) wills, He will resurrect him. If He wants him to speak, He will create for him a tongue with which He enables him to speak. He will cause him to speak what He wants of words of wisdom and secrets. His speech will be a remedy within a remedy, a light within a light, a truth within a truth, a rightness within a rightness, and a purity within purity, for he will speak only at the command of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), by means of his heart. If he speaks without being commanded to do so, he will perish. He will not speak unless he is given a command, or as a result of an irresistible thing that overcomes him. If this was the case, the True One (mighty and glorified is He) is far too generous to call someone to task because of an irresistible motive that has no lower self, passion, natural inclination, devil, and willfulness, as He does not call the dead to task for making some utterance, or a dreamer for his wet dreams and for what he sees and does in his sleep. The words of those whose lower selves have died were heard only after the death of their lower selves. As for someone who speaks before reaching this stage, his silence is better than his speech. No one should advance to the first row save the brave. The person who advances to the first row without having bravery and expertise will perish. 

The full book is available on quranicstudies.com site.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

THE NIGHT PRECEDING ‘EID-UL-FITR & sunnahs of Eid day


THE NIGHT PRECEDING ‘EID-UL-FITR
by Shaykh Fayaz Tilly
Even though this night has been named Lailatul Jaiza, it is unfortunate that us Muslims do not take advantage of such an oppurtunity to gain reward and blessings. Rather, at times we get so engaged in renting cars, shopping for nice clothes, applying henna etc., that we become negligent of the commands of Allah (swt).

Prophetic traditions have stated that Allah (swt) rewards His fasting slaves on this very night, by accepting one's du‘as. Thus a person's every wish and prayer will be granted. Therefore one should perform nafl, recite Qur'an and perform zikr on this night.

The Holy Prophet (saw) is also reported to have said: "Whoever stands up (in worship) in the night preceding the two eids expecting reward form Allah, his heart will not die when other hearts will die," (Ibn Majah).

In order to benefit and gain blessings from this night one should strive to perform a great number of good deeds on this sacred occasion.

ON THE DAY OF ‘EID-UL-FITR
To perform the following on the day of ‘Eid are Sunnah:
  1. To wake up early.
  2. To use Miswak.
  3. To take a shower.
  4. To put on one's best clothes.
  5. To use ‘Itr (Scent).
  6. To eat something sweet, preferably dates before the ‘Eid prayer.
  7. To recite Takbir-ut-Tashriq (Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illallahu, Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahilhamd) in a soft voice while going to the ‘Eid prayer.
  8. To proceed to the ‘Eid prayer one way and to return home from another way.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

DUA for LAYLATUL QADR (Shab-e-Qadr) and it's importance


SuNNAH DUA FOR LAYLATUL QADR

Aisha Siddiqah [RA] asked the Prophet [SAWS], “what if I knew which night Laylatul Qadr was, then what should I say in it?”
The holy Prophet [SAWS] said, “Say:

[Reported by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]

Transliteration:

Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun
tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee


Translation:

"O Allah, You are Oft-Pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me."

About the LAYLATUL QADR:


In al-Sahihayn it is reported from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that when the last ten days of Ramadhan came, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would stay up at night, wake his family and gird his loins. (al-Bukhari, 1920; Muslim, 1174). Muslim added: he strove hard and girded his loins.
The Muslim should follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), for he is the best example, and he should strive hard in worshipping Allah. He should not waste the hours of these days and nights. For we do not know, perhaps this time will never come again, for the spoiler of pleasures, i.e., death, which must come to all men, may come and snatch him and his life will end; then he will feel regret at the time when regret will be of no avail.
Among the unique virtues of these special nights is that Laylat al-Qadr is among them. Allah described it as being better than a thousand months, as He said (interpretation of the meaning): “The night of al-Qadr is better than a thousand months” [al-Qadr 97:3].
Allah forgives the previous sins of the one who stays up and prays during this night out of faith and in hope of earning the reward from Him. It was reported in the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhan out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven, and whoever stays up (in prayer) during Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Agreed upon). 
The phrase “out of faith and in the hope of earning reward” means, believing in Allah’s promise of reward for this, and seeking the reward, with no other aim or purpose, such as showing off etc.” (Fath al-Baari, 4/251).
We should seek it especially in the last 10 days of Ramadhan in it's odd-numbered nights, i.e., on the twenty-first, the twenty-third, the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh and the twenty-ninth. It was reported in al-Sahihayn that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten nights, on the odd-numbered nights.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1912, see also, 1913. Also narrated by Muslim, 1167, see also 1165).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

7 Conditions to Purify your Heart in Ramadhan


In his works Imam Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr (ibn Al-Qayyim) elucidates seven conditions that we, as Muslims must possess for our hearts to be saleem (Healthy & Sound).

The below article shows us how these seven conditions can be easily achieved in Ramadhan so as to purify our heart and make it 'Qalb-e-Saleem'.

The heart is the seat of Iman, or faith.  The heart is the source of all righteous action. Purity (Tazkiya) of the heart shows itself by transforming knowledge into action. Sickness of the heart shows itself by meeting reminders with heedlessness.

In his mercy, Allah has sent Ramadan to us to purify our hearts. Though we may lose sight of it, during Ramadan while our bodies are fasting, our hearts should be feasting. In this celebration of self-restraint, we should also be celebrating a degree of nourishment for our hearts that we do not normally find the rest of the year. 

We should be revelling in this break Allah has given us to look inward - revelling in the freedom we find from the addictions and preoccupations that normally chain our hearts to our base desires. We should find joy in the liberation that comes with moving closer to Allah. 
The temporary cessation of our seemingly endless quest for material pleasure should afford us the opportunity to strengthen our hearts and indeed to purify them.

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The seven conditions  to attain Purity of Heart in Ramadhan:


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1) In this month, we must establish a sense of belonging to the next world.

Allah SubhanahuwaTa'Ala says in Suratul-Hadid.

(surah 57.  ayat 20)
"know you (all), that the life of This world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying, (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children. here is a similitude: How rain and the growth which it brings forth, delight (the hearts of) the tillers; soon it withers; Thou wilt see it grow yellow; then it becomes dry and crumbles away. but In the Hereafter is a penalty severe (for the devotees of
wrong). and forgiveness from Allah and (His) good pleasure (for the devotees of Allah.. and what is the life of This world, but goods and chattels of deception?"

The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahuAlayheWaSallam said:
“What have I got to do with the material world. The example of the material world and I is that of a traveller. Traveling in the afternoon heat, he stopped to rest under the shade of a tree for some moments. Then, he rose and left it.”
 -Tirmidhi, Ahmad (Hasan)

Again, seperation from those desires that normally consume our days, should allow us to reflect, to think about the deception of this life. To understand the deception that lies in living each day only for the fleeting pleasure of eating, drinking, sleeping or copulating.
Allah is detatching us from these things so that we can begin to understand what he and his messenger are telling us -- that to continuously pursue pleasure, is to chase something that will escape from you as soon as you catch it, and will cause a person to forget their return to Allah.

“And hell is brought near that day; on that day man will remember, but how will the remembrance avail him? He will say: Ah, would that I had sent before me (some provision) for my life!” -- [Al Fajr 89/23-24]

Ali – Radi Allahu ‘anhu – once stood at the head of a grave and said to his companion, “If he had a chance to return to this life, what do you think he would do?” His companion
replied, “He would do nothing but good deeds.” Ali – Radi Allahu ‘anhu – then said, “If it is not going to be him, then let it be you.”


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2) Our hearts must begin to feel remorse and anguish upon committing sins.

The Messenger of Allah said:
"Beware of sins which are treated as being minor, just like a people who encamp in the centre of a valley, so someone brings a stick of firewood and someone else brings a stick until they are therefore able to bake their bread.
Likewise sins which are treated as being minor and for which the person is taken to account will destroy him."  Reported by Ahmad (5/331) and others.
'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood said: The believer sees his sins as if he were sitting beneath a mountain which he feared was about to fall upon him, whereas the wicked sees his sins like a man who finds a fly settle upon his nose, so he does this (one of the narrators said: He brushes it away from his nose). Reported by al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans. 8/214/no.320) .

The fact that we are doing an act of worship that permeates our entire day should make us more aware of everything that we do. We are aware that not leaving sins during the day will cause Allah to not accept our fast, so we are more inclined to leave sins. In essence because we are fasting we begin to magnify each sin as something that stands between us and our worship of Allah - prevents us from progressing in our quest to come nearer to Allah.
This lesson is one that we should carry with us all of the time. If we thought of each sin as something that would destroy our relationship with Allah, and bring about his anger, we would never commit such acts. But we are a people of forgetfulness -- we are a people that use our good deeds as an excuse to do things we know are displeasing to Allah. Brothers and sisters, Allah is not in need of anything from his creation. It is we who are in need of every good deed we could possibly accumulate in this world.
We cannot ignore the affect committing sin (without striving against it) has on our hearts. Whether this means that we willingly surround ourself with people that continuously commit sins, or we are taking as entertainment things which make light or even promote sins such as drinking alchohol and zina. Brothers and sisters it affects our hearts when we watch things that are contrary to the laws of Allah – but not only do we not avoid these things, indeed we boldly seek them out -- drowning our hearts in a sea of disobedience and then expecting to have humility in our salah. Bringing to our ears endless streams of idle talk and profanity and still expecting that our own tongues speak only good. Does it make sense to believe that our hearts are unaffected by what goes on around us?

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3) During this month, we must begin to place value where it truly is --
we must begin to feel that the remembrance of Allah is worth more than any material wealth. The third attribute of a healthy heart is that the person is more upset if they miss their daily recitation of Qur'an or Dhikr than if they lost wealth. If the wealth is more dear to us, then that indicates we do not see this Dhikr as essential –we do not have an attitude that our relationship with Allah is in need of maintinence and indeed improvement. If we have such a routine and we have no feeling upon missing it, that most likely means we are continuing to do it out of habit – that the action is upon our limbs, but its place in our heart is vacant.

Can we place a value on the remembrance of Allah? How much would someone have to offer us to make us leave reading the Qur'an during the days of Ramadan. Or if we are
not doing it -- think how much money it would require for us to begin to do that. If someone were to offer $50 for us to finish a Juz' (a 1/30 th part of the Quran) each day would we do it? Would we FIND the time even though we say we might not have it? If so then that means that the enticement of money has a greater effect on our hearts than the reward of Allah.

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4) During Ramadan we must take pleasure in these acts of Ibadah -- we should feel joy, and peace that our days and nights are being spent fulfilling the purpose for which Allah has created us. The fourth attribute of a heart that is saleem is that it finds greater pleasure in worshipping Allah, than in food and drink.
This should be another point of self examination. We all know the pleasure we feel upon having good food. We have a desire to eat more - perhaps even eat more than we should.
Have we ever had this same pleasure to come from an act of Ibadah. Perhaps for some of us the idea of feeling joy or pleasure from fasting or Salah has never even occurred to us.
Now if this is the case -- that we have never even thought about feeling joy from worshipping Allah we have to ask ourselves if it is really possibly to go through our lives
disliking something and still doing it with excellence. We all know that the things we love are the things we do best. And if we have never considered loving our Salah or loving the Fasting of Ramadan, it goes without saying that these acts of worship then are probably among the worst things we do with regards to the care we put into them and their resulting quality.
If we have felt joy from our acts of worship before, and yet food is still more pleasurable, then that means our hearts are in a constant state of emptiness. The hearts are put at rest
when they are fulfilling the purpose of their creation -- when they are aware of their lord and are looking forward to meeting him. We are trying to satisfy our hearts -- an entity
which is not physical -- with a pleasure that is purely physical and extremely fleeting. Though this may distract us, it will not complete us, will not satisfy our hearts -- and perhaps this is why we must eat so much. Because we are trying to use the food to fill a void that cannot be filled by something material.

Allah says in Surat Ar-Ra'ad:
Verily in the remembrance of Allah do the heart's find rest [Ar-Ra'ad 13:28]
Brothers and sisters are we finding rest worshipping Allah in this month of Ramadan?
Are we finding satisfaction or are we finding our empty stomachs again and again throughout the day -- counting down the hours until we can eat again. Are we finding
pleasure standing before Allah in Tarawih -- if we are doing it at all?
If food is more pleasurable, more desireable to our hearts than Ibadah, that means we have an addiction – it means that our fleeting physical pleasure has a greater place in our heart than the worhsip of Allah.

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5) Fasting should show us the importance of doing acts of worhsip with sincerity. The fifth attribute is that the person is very concerned with doing deeds solely for the sake of Allah.
We all realize that no one else knows whether we are fasting or not. And usually we think about this in regards to whether or not we eat when others are around. But brothers and sisters fasting with sincerity is abstaining from sins as well. Is it a sincere fast if we are still committing acts of disobedience thinking that no one sees us? Are we just abstaining from food because everyone else is?
The Messenger of Allah, SullallahuAlayheWaSallam said:
"What I fear for you the most is the minor shirk, that is ar-riyaa. Allaah will say on the Day of Judgement when He is rewarding the people for their actions: Go to those for whom you did riyaa for in the world then see if you find the reward
with them." [Related by Ahmad (5/428, 429) and al-Baghawi in Sharh us-Sunnah (4135) from the hadeeth of Mahmood bin Lubaid, radiyallaahu `anhu, with an authentic chain upon the conditions of Muslim.]

We must search within ourselves and find that sincerity -- if we cannot find it while fasting -- an act that is solely between us and Allah, we will not be able to find it the rest of the year, doing acts that are seen by the people.

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6) During Ramadan we must revive our humility in Salah -- we must find a way to put everything out of our minds except Allah. If we are fasting the whole day, Insha'Allah remembering Allah and then when it comes to Salah we are still distracted, it means our hearts have been infected by a disease. The sixth attribute, then of a heart that is saleem, is that when we stand up for prayer, our worries and concerns leave us.
Now for most of us we commonly experience the opposite phenomenon – that as soon as we make our takbeer every think that we had not been thinking about suddenly comes to
the front of our mind. And to some degree this is navoidable, but we must feel a sense of danger if this occurrence is characteristice of the majority of our Salah.

Allah SubhanahuwaTa'Ala says:
(Surah 39. Az Zumar ayat 22-23)

"So woe to those whose hearts are hardened against celebrating the praises of Allah. They are manifestly
wandering (in error)!
Allah has revealed (from time to time) the Most beautiful Message In the form of a Book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching In various aspects): the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble there at; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the celebration of Allah's praises. such is the guidance of Allah. He guides therewith whom He pleases, but such As Allah leaves to stray, can have none to guide."

If our hearts were softened to Allah's remembrance, to hear the takbeer would be a very affecting thing – we would have humility that would bring our hearts above this influence.
When speaking about the first aspect of knowledge to be raised up, the Prophet(SAWS) said "It is humility, until you will not even see one humble person." [an-Nisaa'ee  in al-Kubraa (3/42), as is found in Tuhfatul-Ashraaf (8/211). And it is related by al-Bazzaar (no. 232), Ahmad (6/26), and by at-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer (18/43), and in his Musnadush-Shaamiyyeen (no. 6867)].

And in another narration:
If you wish, I will inform you of the first knowledge to be raised up: the khushoo'; to the extent that if you enter a congregational mosque, then you will not see a single humble
man in it." At-Tirmidhi Jaami' (no. 2655).

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7) We must begin to take advantage of our time, especially during Ramadan, as an opportunity to do acts that will be pleasing to Allah. We cannot afford to waste time, or spend it idly. Lastly, then one who has a healthy heart is more stingy about wasting time than the greedy or stingy person is about their wealth.
The Messenger of Allah SallAllahuAlayheWaSallam said:
"The two feet of the son of Aadam will not move from near his Lord on the Day of Judgement until he is asked about five (matters):- 1) about his life - how he spent it; 2) about his youth - how he took care of it; 3) about his wealth - how he
earned it; 4) and where he spent it; 5) and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge that he acquired." [at-Tirmidhi, As-Silsilah as-Sahihah #946]
and he said:
"There are two blessings which many people lose: health and free time." Reported by al-Bukhari(Eng.Trans.8/282/no.421)

Brothers and sisters we must occupy ourselves with the remembrance of Allah. There is only free time, time to waste, for the one who has finished his work. The sahaba would
pray to Allah half the year that they be able to reach Ramadan, the rest of the year, they would continue to ask that Allah accept all of their worship during Ramadan. We assume that everything we have ever done, has been accepted from us -- and we allow this to deceive us into thinking we have time to waste -- we have "free time".
The sahaba who were promised Jannah were the most eager in striving for the reward of Allah. We have no such assurance and yet we sit back, satisfied – filling our days with
endless entertainments and diversions. Brothers and sisters now is the time for awakening. Death will soon come to seal all that we have done before it, as our appeal to Allah on the day of judgement.

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Conclusion:
What Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim has outlined for us is a very comprehensive list of signposts along the path to purification. If there is a time of the year that this path is made easy for the believer, it is this month. By removing the influence of the Shaytan Allah gives us a clear picture of the state of our own hearts. No longer are the voices within us obscured
by the background noise of the Shayatin. We must realize that every evil impulse, every sinful act this month is purely the result of what is in our own hearts. While simultaneously giving us this window into ourselves, Allah has ordained fasting upon us to restrain our pursuit of material pleasures -- in his wisdom he has given us a perfect opportunity to devote all of our energy to self-examination. But Ramadan is also the month of the Qur'an -- so Allah has made clear for us the state of our hearts, removed the distractions that would normally prevent us from working to purify our hearts, and he SubhanahuwaTa'Ala has inundated us with a book that speaks to the hearts -- a book that, if we allow it, will uplift and strengthen our hearts so that they are worthy of being a
place of residence for true and complete Iman.
During these last 10 nights of Ramadan that are approaching let us try to instill in our hearts a belonging to the next world. Let us leave sins and feel remorse and anguish for all we have done in the past. We must prioritize the remembrance of Allah -- if our hearts are to become healthy it should have more value than any material sum. We should find the pleasure in our Ibadah this month that Insha'Allah will stay with us the rest of the year. We must ask Allah to grant us sincerity in all of our acts. We must clear our minds during Salah and not adulterate our worship with thoughts of the worldly life.
And lastly, let us earnestly strive for the days of Ramadan that remain, and indeed for the days of our life that remain to please Allah.