Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Avoiding the Laghw (unnecessary and useless speech and actions)

The Arabic word “Laghw” used in the Quran means “vain, useless talk or pastime.” Anything that is not beneficial for one’s self, for others, or for the hereafter (dunya or Aakhirah) falls into the realm of Laghw. It has no place in a proper Muslim life.
Paradise will have no Laghw in it.
“They will hear no vain talk therein, nor any call to sin.” (Qur’an, 56:25)

The sincere believers avoid useless talk and actions even in the life of this world. Some meetings, pastimes, habits and hobbies are so utterly useless that wise people among non-Muslims too avoid them.
 
 
In order to check whether what we do comes under Laghw or not, we should ask ourselves two key questions:
1. Will this benefit me in this world and the hereafter?
2. Is there something else more beneficial that I can do?
 
 
Useless conversation to “kill boredom” is so common nowadays. Picking up the phone to talk without any specific purpose, meeting people all the time to have chit-chats over food, spending hours in front of the TV or in online chat-rooms are all Laghw. In addition, comedians who say anything to make people laugh, even fabricated statements, and drama and films that are fantastical and far-fetched and give us no beneficial knowledge- all fall under Laghw.
 
 
The worse part is, most of the Laghw talk and acts often lead to sins of various types like gheebah, lying, foul talk etc.
 
If one consistently and honestly guards one’s pastimes by rating them according to the above two questions, he or she in the long term can really make the most out of life.

 
Given below is the Quran and Hadith warnings against Laghw:

Quran:

And say to My slaves (believers) that they should (only) say those words that are the best (in which no one's heart is hurt). Because Shaitan, verily, provokes discord among them. Surely, Shaitan is to man an open enemy. [Al-Isra 17: 53]

While mentioning the qualities of believers Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says:
And those who turn away from unprofitable and shameful talk and actions. [Al-Mu'minun 23: 03]

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala while mentioning the qualities of believers, says:
And those who do not participate in false works (neither lie, nor give false witness, nor attend meetings of wrong affairs and sins). And when they pass by vain/ non-beneficial meetings they pass honourably. [Al-Furqan 25: 72]

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says:
And when they hear unprofitable and shameful talk, they withdraw from it. [Al-Qasas 28:55]

Hadiths:

Abu Hurairah (Radiyallahu 'anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) said: The excellence and good observance of Islam by a man is to leave aside that which does not concern him. (Tirmidhi)

Note: The meaning of this hadith is that the perfection and beauty of a man's belief is reflected in his giving up unprofitable talk and actions.

'Uqba ibne-'Amir (Radiyallahu 'anhu) narrates that I asked: O Rasulallah! What is the way to salvation? He said: Control your tongue, remain in your house, and weep over your sins. (Tirmidhi)

Note: Control your tongue means that it should not be used wrongly, e.g. backbiting, slandering, talking immodestly, speaking unnecessarily, talking carelessly, quarrelling, abusing, cursing men and animals, excessively indulging in poetry, mocking, disclosing secrets, making false promises, swearing falsely, duplicity, flattery and asking unneccessary questions.
(Ithaf  of Allama Zabedi-the commentary of Ihya ul Uloom)

Abu Dhar (Radiallahu 'anhu) narrates: I went to Rasulullah (Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) and said: O RasulAllah! Advise me. He mentioned a long Hadith till he said: Observe prolonged silence, for this drives away the Shaitan and helps you in your Religious affairs.
Abu Dhar said: Advise me more. He said: Avoid too much laughing, for indeed it brings death to the heart, and removes the Nur (light) of the face. (Baihaqi)

Bilal ibne-Harith Al-Muzani (Radiyallahu 'anhu), a companion of Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam narrates: I heard Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam saying: One of you says something that pleases Allah, which he does not deem important, but by this saying, Allah destines His pleasure for him till the Day of Resurrection. And someone of you says something that displeases Allah, which he does not deem important, but by this saying, Allah destines His displeasure for him till the Day of Resurrection.
(Tirmidhi with a grading of Hasan-Sahih)

Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri (Radiyallahu 'anhu) narrates that Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: A man says such a word considering it to be insignificant and only to make people laugh, by which he plunges himself into the depth of Hell to a distance more than that between the earth and the sky. (Musnad Ahmad)

Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam wasallam said: A man speaks a word pleasing to Allah, without considering it of any importance, yet Allah exalts him
in ranks for it. And a man speaks a word displeasing to Allah, without considering it of any importance, due to which he falls into Hell. (Bukhari)

Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: A man speaks something thoughtlessly because of which he falls deep into Hell to a distance more than that between the East and the West. (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak what is good or be silent. (Bukhari)

Umme Habiba Radiyallahu 'anha, wife of Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam, narrates that Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: The words of the son of Adam are against him except enjoining good, forbiding evil or remembering Allah. (Tirmidhi)

'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radiyallahu 'anhuma narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: Do not speak too much except in glorifying Allah, for talking too much without remembering Allah causes hardness of the heart. And amongst the people farthest away from Allah are those, whose hearts are hard. (Tirmidhi)

Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: It is enough for a man to be a sinner that he relates whatever he hears. (Abu Dawud)

Anas ibn Malik Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that a Sahabi died, and a man said (addressing the dead): Glad tidings of Paradise to you. Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam told him: How do you know? Perhaps he spoke something irrelevant or was miserly about something which would cause him no loss. (Tirmidhi)

Abu Sa'id Khudri Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that a man came to Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam and said: O Rasulallah! Advise me. He advised (amongst other things): Protect your tongue except for good. Undoubtedly, by this you will overcome Shaitan. (Majma-'uz-Zawaid with a Hasan chain)

Let us analyze our personal activities, meetings, pastimes and hobbies, and honestly ask ourselves whether each of them will really benefit us in this world and the Hereafter. Perhaps then, Insha Allah, we can take steps towards “honorably avoiding” the useless ones, replacing them with lofty righteous deeds that will benefit us, and others, both in this world and the hereafter.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Benefits of Mustahab (Sunnah and Nafil) acts:

Some Benefits of Mustahab (optional) acts of Worship:
 
There are many benefits of Nafil and Mustahab acts of worship. A few are listed below:
 
1-Sunnah and Nafil acts bring one closer to Allah and help in inculcating His love. They also make one the beloved of Allah and all his duas will be accepted and he is granted Allah's protection.

A Hadith e Qudsi says,"...My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory worship (nawafil) so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.’”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari]

2-Mustahabat act as a prevention against sin.

One who is regular in Tahajjud, Ishraq, Chasht and Aw-wabeen (Nafil salaahs) will abstain from sin to a greater degree than the one who performs only the five Fardh Salaat.

Furthermore, a regular performer of Tahajjud, etc. is considered a pious person by others. This consideration in itself acts as an impediment to sin, since such a person will feel ashamed to commit sins.

3-Mustahab act may lead to najaat (salvation).

Another benefit of Mustahabat is that sometimes Allah Taala is pleased so much with a certain Mustahab act that najaat (salvation) is obtained by virtue of it. There are various incidents related in reliable Hadith books to substantiate it (such as the sinful woman of Bani Israel who was granted maghfirah due to giving water to a thirsty dog).

 
[Adapted from a speech by Shaikh Maseehullah Khan (R.A.)] 

Friday, December 13, 2013

The three degrees of jealousy and it's dangers:

Hasad (jealousy and envy) is among the most destructive emotions or feeling which a man may have towards his fellow human being. 

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) warned: "Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood." [Abu Dawud]

Hasad is a disease of the heart and it is a sign of impurity of the heart. When Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was asked who are the best of people? He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) replied: "the one with a clean heart and truthful tongue." They asked: 'We understand a truthful tongue, but what does a clean heart mean?' he answered: 'It is the heart of one that is pious, pure, and is free of sin, transgressions, hatred and Hasad." [Ibn Majah]

Hasad is such a dangerous characteristic that Allah revealed Surah al-Falaq (113) in the Qur'an to be recited as a protection from the jealous.


 Imam Tirmidhi narrated from al-Zubayr Ibn al-Awam that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "There has come to you the disease of the nations before you, jealousy and hatred. This is the 'shaver' (destroyer); I do not say that it shaves hair, but that it shaves (destroys) faith!" [(Hasan)Tirmidhi (2434)]



Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani has described three degrees of Hasad or jealousy in his 'Discourses on Islamic Way of Life' [5/69]: 

The three degrees of jealousy:

The first degree is to desire in the heart that you too get the type of blessing which another person possesses (preferably, with out depriving that person, but, if that's not possible, then taking it away from that person and giving it to you).
 
The second degree of jealousy is that the blessing in the possession of the other person may be snatched away from him and given to you.
This degree consists of two aspects.
Firstly, the blessing may be taken away from its owner
Secondly, that it may be given to you.

 The third degree of jealousy is to desire that the blessing may be taken away from its owner along with the status and honour which he is enjoying by virtue of this blessing whether that blessing is passed on to you or not.
This is the worst and most heinous degree of jealousy.
 
The Haasid (envier) harms himself in three ways: 
  1. He earns sin because hasad is haraam. 
  2. It is bad etiquette before Allah, because what hasad really means is hating to see Allah blessing His slaves, and objecting to what Allah does. 
  3. He suffers because of too much worry and distress. 

May Almighty Allah protect us all from this. Āmīn
 
 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Maximum for Dunya and Minimum for Aakhirah?

Our Attitude towards Dunya vs Aakhirah:

 When it comes to the Dunya; we want everything to be the best and the most. And when it comes to Deen and Aakhirah – the so called educated Muslims of today reveal their true Jahalah and ignorance – when it comes to the Aakhirah the 'modern-educated Muslim' says: I want the least. Show me the least I have to do. Show me the bare minimum I have to do; tell me is it really fardh or not? Or is it just Sunnah! Is a certain act Haram or just Makruh? Am I really going to be asked about this? Is it a Kabeera (major) sin or a Sagheerah (minor) sin?!!


Because we are so involved in the extras of this world, we don’t have time for the extra (Nafil) acts or even the necessities of the deen. 

The one who indulges in unnecessary pursuits, sooner or later, will fall in to haram acts. It’s guaranteed. 
Abstinence from over indulgence in Dunya is the key to protect oneself from all Haram things.

Understanding The Primacy of Inward Jihad (against one's ego):

7946732984_22b2f75cbf_zMuslim scholars have long identified two types of jihad (lit. “striving” in God’s cause): an outer form of jihad and an inner one. 
The outward jihad refers to state-sanctioned military force (i.e. armed combat), which is waged defensively to protect both religion and realm; or offensively to combat tyranny, or protect the innocent and defenseless against unjustified aggression. 
As for the inner jihad (jihad al-nafs), it is the struggle to oppose the ego (nafs) and its impulses, until it is in submission to God. 
That this inner jihad is known as the “greater” jihad, as per mainstream Sunni scholarship, has raised some objections in our time. 
What follows is an explanation of why there needn’t be a concern about such a designation, and why objections to it are simply misplaced. 
The following nine points, I hope, get to the crux of the matter:

1. In regards to the overall schema of jihad, al-Raghib al-Asbahani, a notable scholar of the fifth Islamic century, wrote: Jihad is of three types: striving against the apparent enemy; against the devil; and against the ego (nafs). All three types are included in the words of God, exalted is He: And strive hard in God’s cause with all the striving that is due to Him. [22:78]‘1 
A few centuries on, and a similar abstract is offered by Ibn al-Qayyim: ‘Jihad is of four types: jihad against the ego, against the devil, against the disbelievers, and against the hypocrites.’2
2. Jihad against the apparent enemy; which is to say, jihad against hostile, belligerent disbelievers, finds its equivalence in another Qur’anic term: qital (“fighting” or “armed combat”). It is in this sense that the Qur’an charges: Fight for the sake of God those who fight against you, but do not transgress. God does not love the aggressors.[2:190] The rules of jihad as military warfare are stipulated in the manuals of Islamic law (fiqh) as well as the fatwas of recognised and qualified bodies of contemporary jurists.
3. Many verses in the Qur’an extol the virtues of seeking to purify the soul. One group of verses states: By the soul and Him that formed it, then inspired it with its depravity and  piety. He is indeed successful who purifies it, and he is indeed ruined who corrupts it. [91:7-10] Another offers these tidings: But those who feared the standing before their Lord and curbed their soul’s passions, the Garden is their abode. [79:40-41] 
Also in this context are these words of the Prophet, peace be upon him: ‘The fighter in God’s path is one who strives against his lower soul/ego in obedience to God (al-mujahid man jahada nafsahu fi ta‘ati’lLah).’3 
Thus this inward jihad refers to the personal struggle against one’s ego so as to overcome temptations, false desires and spiritual vices, as well as internalise acts of worship like prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, dhikr and almsgiving. This inner jihad, or spiritual striving, is referred to as mujahadah.
4. Now for the tricky part. One lionised hadith states that the Prophet, peace be upon him, having returned from a military campaign with his companions, said: ‘You have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.’ When asked what the greater jihad was, he replied: ‘A person’s jihad against his desires.4 
However, according to classical hadith masters and specialists, this hadith is weak (da‘if). Which is to say, such words cannot authentically or reliably be ascribed to the Prophet, peace be upon him. Or to put it another way, the likelihood of the Prophet not having said these words is far far greater than the likelihood of him having uttered them.
[Al-Bayhaqi says after citing it: ‘This is a chain containing weakness.’5 Al-‘Iraqi repeats the same ruling on it in his hadith verification of the Ihya.6 While Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani states: ‘It is related via ‘Isa b. Ibrahim; from Yahya b. Ya‘la; from Layth b. Abi Sulaym: all three are weak. Al-Nasa’i recorded it in al-Kuna as the statement of Ibrahim b. Abi ‘Abla, a famous successor (tabi‘i) of Syria.’7 Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali declares the hadith to be weak, but relates it as the saying of the above Ibrahim b. Abi ‘Abla.8 In more recent times, al-Albani made a thorough analysis of the hadith’s various chains, declaring the hadith to be unreliable (munkar).9 As for ‘Ali al-Qari and al-Suyuti, they both recorded the hadith in their respective dictionaries of weak and fabricated hadiths.10]
5. The above analysis concerns the chain (isnad) of the hadith. As for its meaning, then many scholars point out how the meaning is sound in terms of the inner jihad, jihad al-nafs, having primacy over the outer jihad. 
The hadith may also be read in a way that gives it a completely false meaning, which is the one I’ll tackle first. Thus, if one takes the hadith to mean that the outward “lesser” jihad is inconsequential or of little worth; or that the inner “greater” jihad replaces it, or is an alternative to it, then this is utterly false and at odds with the very Qur’an itself. From such a perspective, Ibn Taymiyyah said about the hadith: ‘It has no basis, and none of those who are an authority (ahl al-ma‘rifah) in the words and deeds of the Prophet, peace be upon him, have reported it. Jihad against the disbelievers is one of the greatest of deeds; in fact, it is the best of the optional deeds a person could perform. God, exalted is He, says: Not equal are those of the believers who sit [at home], other than those who have a disabling hurt, with those who strive in the cause of God with their wealth and their lives. God has conferred on those who strive with their wealth and their lives a rank above the ones who sit [at home]. To both has God promised goodness, but God has preferred those who strive over those who do not with an immense reward.[4:95]‘11 There is also the hadith: A man asked: O Messenger of God, guide me to a deed equivalent to jihad. He replied: ‘You do not have the ability.’ He went on to say: ‘Do you have the ability, from the time the person leaves for jihad [until he returns], to go into the mosque and pray without stopping and fast without a break?’ The man said: Who has the ability to do this?12
6. The hadith undoubtedly has a sound meaning, in that the inner and outer jihad are both great and of tremendous merit, but the inner jihad has primacy over the outer; and so is “greater”. A number of scholarly statements testify to this fact, including Ibn al-Qayyim who, avoiding the terms “lesser” and “greater”, observed about the verse: As for those who strive in Us, We shall guide them to our paths. [29:69]: ‘The most obligatory jihad (afrad al-jihad) is jihad against one’s ego (nafs), desires (hawa), the devil (shaytan), and worldliness (dunya). One who wages jihad against these four in obedience to God, will be guided by God to the paths of His good pleasure which, [in turn], shall lead to His Paradise. One who neglects jihad shall be veiled from guidance to the degree he forsakes it.’13
7. Explaining why jihad al-nafs has such a rank and distinction, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah stated: ‘Jihad against the ego and desires is the basis for jihad against the disbelievers and hypocrites. Indeed, one cannot do jihad against them unless he first wages jihad against his ego and desires; then he goes out and fights them.’14 Tragically, this simple truism seems to have been lost on many of those who have spent the best past of their years waging war against the preeminence of jihad al-nafs!
8. Al-Munawi adds another dimension as to why the inward jihad is greater, or more obligatory, than the outward one. He says: ‘It is the greatest form of jihad; for fighting the disbelievers is a collective duty (fard kifayah), while jihad of the ego is an individual obligation (fard ‘ayn), at all times, on all who are legally responsible: Truly the devil is an enemy to you, therefore treat him as an enemy. [35:6] So fight in the path of God. You are not responsible except for your own soul. [4:84]15
9. Those who have dealt with the issue of the greater and lesser jihad have usually been of two camps. There are those who have sought to sweep the tradition and prophetic history of military jihad under the carpet, in favour of a purely spiritualised reading of “striving” in God’s cause. Such apologetics are usually proffered by those who feel the need to gratify modernist (or now liberal) notions of religion and non-violence; those, both Muslim and non-Muslim, with either colonised minds, staggering ignorance, or lacking all academic honesty and integrity. In contrast, there are those, again Muslim and non-Muslim, who insist upon surface readings of the Quranic verses relating to jihad, devoid of the juristic nuances found in fiqh manuals and contemporary Muslim juristic thought. Unlike the watered-down readings of the first group, this group seeks to make Islam synonymous with violence, war and terror, and perpetuate animosity between peoples so as to serve their political agendas. Both these misreadings, liberal and extremist, must be categorically rejected and repudiated.

Conclusion: The above verses, hadiths and scholarly quotes should have helped lay to rest the anathema some seem to have about the primacy of jihad al-nafs. Yet this need not be the case. For although the commonly cited hadith about it isn’t authentic, other evidences testify to its centrality in a believer’s overall worship of God. Thus the affair is as Ibn al-Jawzi decisively proclaimed: ‘I reflected over jihad against the ego (jihad al-nafs) and realised it to be the greater jihad.’16

≈ REFERENCES ≈

1. Mufradat Alfaz al-Qur’an (Beirut & Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 2002), 208; under the entry, j-h-d.
2. Zad al-Ma‘ad (Berut: Mu’assasah al-Risalah, 1998), 3:9.
3. Al-Tirmidhi, no.1671, where he graded the hadith hasan sahih. However, he narrates it without the final phrase, ‘in obedience to God.’ This additional phrase is found in Ibn Hibban, no.4707, and it is sahih. Cf. al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1985), 2:81; no.549.
4. Al-Bayhaqi, Kitab al-Zuhd al-Kabir (Beirut: Dar al-Janan and Mu’assasah al-Kutub al-Thaqafiyyah, 1987), no.373; al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad (Egypt: Matba‘ah al-Sa‘adah, 1929), 13:494, with the wording: ‘Jihad of the heart.’
5. Kitab al-Zuhd al-Kabir, p.165; no.373.
6. Al-Mughni ‘an Haml al-Asfar (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Tabariyyah, 1995), 2:709; no.2584.
7. Al-‘Asqalani, Takhrij al-Kashshaf (Beirut: Dar al-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1997), 4:114; no.33.
8. Jami‘ al-‘Ulum wa’l-Hikam (Beirut: Mu’assasah al-Risalah, 1998), 1:489.
9. Al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Da‘ifah wa’l-Mawdu‘ah (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma‘arif, 1996), 5:478-81, no.2460.
10. Al-Qari, al-Asrar al-Marfu‘ah (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1986), no.211; al-Suyuti,al-Durar al-Muntathirah (Riyadh: University of Riyadh, 1983), no.245.
11. Majmu‘ Fatawa (Riyadh: Dar ‘Alam al-Kutub, 1991), 11:197-8. Stating that the hadith ‘has no basis (la asl lahu)’ usually means that the hadith is chainless which, in this case, is incorrect. For the hadith does indeed have a chain, albeit flawed. Declaring that no hadith authorities have recorded it is also an error; for al-Bayhaqi and al-Khatib both relate it in their respective works.
12. Al-Bukhari, no.2785. Something similar is related by Muslim, no.1876.
13. Al-Fawa’id (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Rushd, 2001), 177.
14. Cited by Ibn al-Qayyim, Rawdat al-Muhibbin (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi, 1996), 475-6, where he begins by insisting: ‘Even if jihad against one’s desires was not greater than jihad against the disbelievers, it is certainly not lesser than it. A man once asked al-Hasan al-Basri, may God have mercy upon him: O Abu Sa‘id! What is the best jihad? He said: “Your jihad against your desires.” I once heard our Shaykh remark …’ He then goes on to cite the words of Ibn Taymiyyah above.
15. Fayd al-Qadir (Beirut: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, n.d.), 4:511.
16. Sayd al-Khatir (Egypt: Dar al-Yaqin, 1998), 122.
(Taken from http://thehumblei.com/2013/10/17/the-greater-jihad/)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Donot undervalue three types of people: Abdullâh bin Mubârak R.A.

It is reported that ‘Abdullâh b. Al-Mubârak – Allâh have mercy on him – said:

It is right that an intelligent person does not undervalue three [types of people]: the scholars, the rulers, and [his Muslim] brothers.


Whoever undervalues (does not respect him, does not value his knowledge, his authority, does not seek knowledge from him, etc) the scholars will lose his afterlife, whoever undervalues  the rulers will lose his worldly life, and whoever undervalues his brothers loses his good character and conduct. [Al-Dhahabî, Siyar A’lâm Al-Nubalâ`17:251]

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Self-Actualisation" and Islamic Spirituality:


In 1934, a psychologist named Kurt Goldstein, in his breakthrough work, The Organism,  discovered a human condition that he called “self-actualization.” Mr. Goldstein’s discovery was later expounded on by Abraham Maslow.

Maslow explained that these unique people (1% of the world’s population according to him) who were able to self-actualize held certain traits.

From these traits were the following:

Seeing reality as it is, having an inclination towards solitude, experiencing peak spiritual moments of ecstasy, possessing a renewed appreciation and awe for nature, feeling a deep connection and genuine concern for all humans despite labels and affiliations, being mission-driven in life in order to solve problems greater and beyond themselves, and having acceptance of the flaws and contradictions of others.
 
Are these not the characteristics of the prophets and righteous men? Compare those qualities with the traits of the Messenger of Allah , peace be upon him, with Hadhrat Abu Bakr, with Hadhrat Umar radi Allahu `anhum , with many other Sahaba, with Imam Hasan al Basri, with Hadhrat Junaid Baghdadi, with Shaykh Abdul Qadir jeelani, with Salahadin, (may God be pleased with them), with countless number of Imams and Mashaykh of the Ummah and with those hidden pious shuyookh (spiritual leaders) who still exist today far away from the spotlight. They are all one and the same.

(Based on an article by Shaykh Suhaib Webb, with some modifications)

Love of Allah-The Purpose of all things of Deen and Dunya:

"There is nothing for the slave that is better, sweeter, or more relaxing or delightful to his heart and livelihood than loving his Creator, constantly remembering Him, and striving to Please Him.

This is the completeness that the slave cannot achieve otherwise, and this is why the Creation was Created, the Revelation was revealed, the Messengers were sent, the heavens and Earth were established, Paradise and Hell were put forth, laws were legislated, the Sacred House was built and made a place of pilgrimage and this is why Jihād was commanded, and an abode of eternal punishment and torture was prepared for the disbelievers.

This great matter is why the Creed was established, the Qiblah was ordained, and it is what all the affairs of the Creation revolve around."

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Spiritually Perfect Haj- Check for yourself!

A seeker studying under Hadhrat Shibli R.A. appeared at a gathering after being absent for some time. Hadhrat Shibli asked where he had been and so this young man answered that he had just returned from Hajj. The following is the conversation that ensued (which gives an idea of the condition of the heart and the spiritual states to be adopted during each step of Haj).

Hadhrat Shibli : “When you took off your clothes in order to don the ihram, did you also make intention of stripping the clothes of sin from your body?”
Student : “No I did not make such an intention.”
Hadhrat Shibli : “Did you make intention to present your whole body and soul in front of Allah when you said Labbaik?”
Student : “No I did not make such an intention.”
Hadrat Shibli : “During tawaf did you realize that you were touching the Right Hand of Allah when you greeted Hajr-e-Aswad with your salams?”
Student : “No I did not realize any such thing.”
Hadrat Shibli : “Did you feel that you were hugging the Messenger of Allah when you hugged the draperies of the Kaaba?”
Student : “No I did not feel that.”
Hadrat Shibli : “When you passed by the door of the Kaaba did you beseech your Lord like a beggar beseeches a king?
Student : “No I did not beseech Him like that.”
Hadrat Shibli : “Did you make intention for total and sincere repentance from all your sins no matter how small when you were at Arafat?”
Student : “No I did not make such a strong intention.”
Hadrat Shibli : “Did you make firm intention to make Satan your mortal enemy when you stoned the devils?”
Student : “No I did not make an intention like that.”
Hadrat Shibli : “Did you make intention to sacrifice your nafs and desires for the sake of Allah when you performed the animal sacrifice?”
Student : “No I did not make an intention like that. I only sacrificed the animal.”

Closing this discussion Hadrat Shibli said to the young man, “My dear child, you have not performed Hajj. You should don the ihram anew next year as if you are going for the first time and perform Hajj exactly as I have taught you.”

These are just some examples of the vast difference between the Hajj of the common man and that of the spiritually awakened  'Friends of Allah' . We should all learn lessons from the lives of these magnanimous people and try to implement these ways in our lives.

-Taken from 'Sermons' of Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed D.B.

Four types of Gatherings & their effects on Spirituality

The Ulema and Mashaikh say there are four types of Gatherings regarding the effects on ones spirituality:

 

1. Some are like Medicine; without these, one can not survive.
For example, a gathering for seeking earning through a halal job to provide for one’s family. (So these should be limited to the extent that is necessary, because overdose of even a life-saving medicine is harmful.)

2. Some are like an illness; diseased.
These are the gatherings of duniya, of frivolous activities, where ghaflah (heedlessness) takes place. These could be gatherings of people, and sometimes, even useless browsing on the internet. So once you have made true Tauba, in order to safeguard it, you should avoid the majaalis of ghaflah.
3. Gatherings that serve as ‘Poison’. 
This is poisonous suhbat (company) – it can be in the form of haraam suhbat or ‘Incompatible suhbat’.
As far as the haraam majlis goes, even if you claim you will not commit anything haram (unlawful) there, why do you wish to be seen at such a place anyway, where Allah's gaze of wrath and anger pours down?
Second is the  suhbat of those whose values and aims are Incompatible with pious people (Na-jins). This means to keep the company of people who are not trying to earn the pleasure of Allah swt. Why? Because you do not know who is influencing who; So one should avoid the company of those who are not dyed in Sibghatullah (The Color of Allah).
4. Some gatherings are like ‘Food’-food for the soul
Like food, these majaalis provide spiritual nourishment to one’s Ruh. These are the gatherings of Ulema, Tulaaba (students), Mashaikh. One must attend such gatherings so that the Ruh is nourished”
-Notes from Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed’s Talk on ‘Leaving the Laghw’
(Courtesy: http://islamicspiritualityk.wordpress.com)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Haj 'Gifts'-Lessons to Remember after Haj

Allah the Almighty legislated the acts of worship and obedience for great wisdom and sublime objectives. No wonder, as they strengthen the faith, purify the soul, correct the attitude and refine the morals.

 If acts of worship did not achieve these objectives, then the Muslim would not benefit from them properly. In such a case, acts of worship might turn into lifeless rituals that one performs without any actual influence on his reality and attitude.

 This rule applies to Haj. When the believer performs Haj properly realizing its objectives and feeling its meanings, it will be of great influence upon him in this life and in the Hereafter.

 Thus, dear pilgrim, Allah the Almighty honored you with the blessing of visiting His Holy House and enabled you to perform His obligation. Therefore, you have to stop and contemplate your conditions, review the state of your heart and correct the course of your life.

 The first thing you have to realize is the greatness of the blessings that Allah the Almighty bestowed upon you when He facilitated your affairs and enabled you to perform this great duty. Certainly, this necessitates you to praise Allah the Exalted for this blessing, of which many people are deprived, despite their longing for it. Praising Allah the Almighty for this blessing entails preserving it, adherence to obedience to Allah the Almighty and compliance with His religion and Shariah.

The most important thing that you should maintain after your Haj is the issue of steadfastness and guarding this great deed (your performance of Haj) against things that could nullify it. You should ask Allah the Almighty ceaselessly to help you adhere firmly to His religion and guide you to obey Him, and make you avoid His disobedience so that you will be "with those to whom Allah has shown favor, of the prophets, and the truthful and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they! Such is the bounty of God, and God suffices as Knower." (Qur'an, 4:69-70)

Allah the Almighty gave people examples illustrating this issue to warn His slaves of invalidating their deeds and losing them when they need them urgently. Allah the Almighty says: "Would any of you like to have a garden of palm trees and vines, with rivers flowing underneath it, with all kinds of fruit for him therein; and old age has stricken him and he has feeble offspring; and a fiery whirlwind strikes it and it is (all) consumed by fire. Thus Allah makes plain His revelations to you, in order that you may give thought." (Qur'an, 2:266)

 This example speaks about those who did good deeds and then regressed replacing good deeds with evil ones. We seek refuge with Allah the Exalted from this. In his commentary on this verse, Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "This is an example of a rich man who does good acts out of obedience of Allah and then Allah sends him the devil whereupon he commits sins till all his good deeds are lost.” (Al-Bukhari)

Dear pilgrim, remember that the accepted Haj has signs. The most prominent of these signs is the continuity of uprightness and obedience to Allah the Exalted. Furthermore, your relationship with Allah the Almighty should be better than before. Al-Hasan Al-Basri (may Allah have mercy upon him) was told that the accepted Haj is rewarded by Paradise. He said, “The sign of this is to return (from Haj) renouncing this world and aspiring to the Hereafter.”

 I wish that you, dear pilgrim, while finishing Haj, you realize that its most important objective is to train the Muslim in worshipping Allah the Almighty alone, to comply with His commandments, avoid His prohibitions and follow the Sunnah of His Prophet (pece be upon him). These objectives are not confined to a certain time; rather, the Muslim should adhere to them as long as he is alive. Allah the Almighty says: "And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death)." (Qur'an, 15:99)

 Your condition after doing good deeds should be like those about whom Allah Almighty says: "And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord." (Qur'an, 23:60)

Although they try to get closer to Allah Almighty through various acts of worship, they fear that their deeds may be rejected. That is why Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say, “Be more concerned about the acceptance of your deeds than about the deeds themselves. Have not you read the Qur'anic verse in which Allah Almighty says: "Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]." (Qur'an, 5:27)

Hence, Allah the Almighty commanded the pilgrims to seek His forgiveness after departing from Arafah and Al-Muzdalifah saying: "Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask Forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." (Qur'an, 2:199)

 Finally, dear pilgrim, you stood at Arafah, you shed tears and you showed remorse over your previous misdeeds. Allah the Almighty emancipated you from Hell, so beware of regressing to sins after being forgiven by Allah or drawing near Hell after being saved from it.

 Be determined to make your Haj a turning point in your life, reckon yourself and determine what influence your Haj had upon your heart, attitude, words and deeds.

 Keep doing good deeds even if they are little, because regular small deeds are better than interrupted greater ones. You should know that deeds, which Allah the Almighty loves most, are the most regular and constant ones even though they were little.

We ask Allah the Almighty by His names and most beautiful attributes to accept your Haj, Forgive your sins and reward you for your efforts. We also ask Him to accept our good deeds and provide us with steadfastness and uprightness until death.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Two thoughts motivating the soul- Imam Hasan Basri

Imam of the Taba'een, Hasan al-Basri R.A. said:

"Two thoughts roam over the soul, one from Allah, one from the enemy (Satan). Allah shows mercy on a servant who settles at the thought that comes from Him. He embraces the thought that comes from Allah, while he fights against the one from his enemy. 

To illustrate the heart's mutual attraction between these two powers the Prophet SAWS said: 'The heart of a believer lies between two fingers of the Merciful' (Narrated by Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah). 

The fingers stand for upheaval and hesitation in the heart.

If man follows the dictates of anger and appetite, the dominion of shaytan appears in him through idle passions [hawa] and his heart becomes the nesting-place and container of shaytan, who feeds on hawa. 

If he does battle with his passions and does not let them dominate his nafs, imitating in this the character of the angels, at that time his heart becomes the resting-place of angels and they alight upon it."

 -Imam Ghazali relates these words on Jihad al-nafs in the section of his Ihya' entitled Kitab riyadat al-nafs wa tahdhib al- akhlaq wa mu`alajat amrad al-qalb (Book of the training of the ego and the disciplining of manners and the healing of the heart's diseases) .

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The reality of Eids (Festivals) in Islam:

 
Muslims’ Eids (Festivals) are acts of obedience and sources of lawful rejoice:

 Dear brothers, our Eids are considered as occasions of rejoice for the obedient whose acts of worship were accepted by Allah, and Eid will be a source of happiness for them after a long time of striving (in performing the acts of worship) and following Allah’s orders.

  The days of Eid are considered as one of Allah’s great graces, as they are actually celebrations of acts of obedience; not occasions of celebrating sins.

 Our Eids come after great acts of worship- the Eid Al Fitr, which comes after the month of Ramadan, and Eid Al Adha, which comes after Hajj.  Even on the days of Eid, we are required to pray extra Eid salaah in congregation followed by Sermons (Khutba), so that we don't fall in to Ghaflah and Sins while celebrating.

 Dear brothers, the Eids are for those who obeyed Allah, and sorrow will be upon those who disobeyed Him.

 When a servant turns back to Allah, a caller calls those in the heavens and earth to congratulate him as he has reconciled with Allah.

The reality of Eid in Islam:

 The real Eid lies in turning back to Allah, Eid is for him who perfects his work during the day, and spends the night in obeying Allah, and Eid is for him who stays all night long reciting Quran and not listening to songs and music.

  Imam Al Hasan Al Basri said: “Every day in which Allah is not disobeyed will be considered a Eid, and every day that is spent, by the believer, in obeying his Lord, remembering Him and thanking him is a Eid as well.”

 Eid means to draw close to Allah rather than wearing new clothes, Eid is for the one who feared Allah and the day of menacing (Day of Judgment) rather than for the one who is adorned with cloths and vehicles, and Eid is for the one whose sins are forgiven. 

 O you who rejoice Eid by putting on best clothes, O you who believe beyond doubt in death yet never get ready for its gravity, O you who enjoy befriending brethren, companions and comrades, feeling secured from being taken by death, Where will you be on the day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (from the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection)?

 Dear brothers, we should be able to bring together the permissible joy and the real meaning of it as Allah meant it for us to be, that is, to rejoice Tawbah (repentance), to rejoice turning back to Allah, to rejoice reconciliation with Him, and to rejoice strengthening our connection with Him by remembering, worshiping and obeying Him.

We have to realize and remember that  the Eid is for celebrating lawfully, while praising and thanking Allah who gave us this joyous occasion and not an excuse for being in Ghaflah (heedlessness) and indulging in sinful and Haram ways of enjoyment and entertainment. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hajj- The Journey of Love- Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed

The Blessed House of Allah!

Hajj is a blessed pillar from among the noble pillars of Islam. Allah honored a specific place on Earth by choosing it for His special blessings and ordered His House to be built there. To the naked eye this place in Makkah in Arabia is just a cube of rock and stone, but is the focal point for Allah’s special tajalliyat (blessings and mercy). The important concentration and descent of Allah’s blessings on this place is what earn it the name Bait Ullah, the House of Allah.

All mankind is commanded to face this location in prayer to Allah. Every believer is attracted to this place because it is an absorption point for Allah’s love and blessings. People from all walks of life come here for homage out of love because Bait Ullah is a magnet for people’s hearts. The poorest of the poor who do not have enough to eat or to clothe themselves will surely have a desire to see the House of Allah.

This is a fascinating attraction that is not limited to the rich but applies to all people, regardless of whether they have the means or not. This attraction does not fade when someone just reaches the Haram (the Grand Mosque) but gets stronger until it pulls people to the Kaaba itself so that they hug its draped cloth just like iron hugs its magnet.

Muslims ready themselves and are pulled to this House from all corners of the globe in their intense love for Allah, and this is why Hajj is a journey not of obligation but of love. These are fortunate people who have been allowed to come to Bait Ullah after countless days and nights of prayer and supplication. All the lovers of Allah converge upon His House for the blessed pilgrimage in the first days of Zulhijja.

A Journey of Trial-Hajj is not a luxury tour or vacation!

 
 
Hajj is not a luxury tour or vacation, and Allah has made hardship a necessary factor in Hajj. Those who depart with the mindset that Hajj is supposed to be easy get impatient and start complaining at the slightest inconvenience. Hence pilgrims need to begin their journey with the knowledge and intention that Hajj is a journey of trials and not one of luxury. We are lovers and not the beloved but yet we expect our every need to be catered to just like we were the beloved. This is a journey only for lovers, and whoever wants to travel as if he is the beloved will find that he will never get the opportunity for this grand journey.

Remember the difficulties of Hajj journey before a few decades:

Hadrat Ghulam Habib R.A. used to say that (a few decades back) he and the pilgrims would depart for Hajj by ship and reach Arabia after a grueling month’s journey. Once reaching Jeddah the ship would remain at port for three days while immigration and immunization status would be verified. Today this same process does not even take a full three hours let alone three days.

Advances in technology such as the aircraft have nullified the trials and tribulations that existed in those times and made travel easy for us but people still complain. Today the luxury exists for us to complete the entire Hajj trip in twenty days or less. The pilgrim should not be desirous of hardship but nevertheless be steadfast and prepared for it.

Correcting our Outlook

 
 
The lifestyle that we have become accustomed to has spoiled us and we except a limousine to be waiting at the airport to whisk us away and drop us right outside the Haram. There is a system to everything that we must realize and we must be prepared to allow it to run its own course. We need to realize that we are servants whom the Master is allowing to come visit His House and not the other way around.

Presidents and kings of this worthless and temporary world make their visitors wait for hours without explanation and we expect the Master of the universe to cater to our every need. To be allowed to come to Hajj is indeed a blessing for which we should be ready to bear double if not triple the usual burden.

Hajj is a journey and act of worship and there is always trial in worship no matter what form. If people desire luxury and comfort they are welcome to stay in their beds because no one is forcing them to go to Hajj. However, people must be prepared for hardship if they have already taken the first steps toward anything.

Pilgrims must make sure that they are never verbally critical of anything on this sacred journey and keep our complaining tongue in check for the few days that we are at Hajj. Wherever there is great benefit there will undoubtedly be shortcomings of many kinds because Hajj demands a monumental task of preparation in every field from transportation to sleeping arrangements for the pilgrims.

Keep the focus on the main purpose of Hajj:

We need to keep focused on the purpose of this sacred journey and consider every shortcoming and trial as a blessing for us. Allah is allowing filthy sinners like us to come to His House and so there is no need to make any comments about anything. There have been countless people much more pious than us who have not been fortunate enough to see Bait Ullah. This is a journey of trials and not the luxury that we have unfortunately become accustomed to.

For a sincere and pious worshipper these complaints are only for not seeing the House of Allah and disappear immediately once he or she looks upon the Kaaba. The House of Allah has such a brilliant magnetism and awe that one does not consider a hardship as a hardship anymore because a believer realizes true peace and security in the House of Allah just as a child finds security and love in its mother’s arms. Furthermore, Hadrat Ashraf Ali Thanvi R.A. writes that the righteous find peace upon seeing Bait Ullah just as the believers will find peace when they enter Paradise. Here they forget all past worries and trials.

Sincerity (Ikhlas) and Sacrifice

 
The next important thing that pilgrims need to evaluate is sincerity of intention. Undoubtedly sincerity is an essential requirement of every act of worship, but this requirement is given more emphasis here for the auspicious worship of Hajj.

The simple reasoning for this is that Hajj is an act that is required only once a lifetime. A worship such as prayer is observed five times a day so if one prayer was offered without sincerity the person can try harder for the next prayer, but Hajj is a special occasion that only comes once a lifetime for most. Hence people need to be extra careful about what might seem to be the smallest issues.

Disputes and arguments are a very normal part of life, which may intensify because Hajj is a long journey that people have to undertake together. Arguments may increase between friends or between family and relatives because unfortunately people do not want to listen but want to lead. We need to keep in mind that this journey is sacred and cannot easily be repeated and so there is no need for any kind of argument or dispute whatsoever.

We are Muslims and only temporary travelers in this life, so it is not always necessary that we absolutely have to have the best seat on the bus or the best room in the hotel. We should try and make sure that others in our party are more comfortable than we are rather than inconveniencing them so that we are more at ease. This is a journey of trials and we need to learn to compromise.

Purity of Means

 
The most important thing that pilgrims need to be absolutely sure of is the purity of the finances that are spent for Hajj. There should be no doubt whatsoever that the money for every aspect of the journey from travel to lodging arrangements is legally permissible (halal), with not the slightest hint of being prohibited (haram). Hajj will only be accepted if the means used for it are halal.

A hadith in relation to this states that a man was crying to Allah as he clutched the draperies of the Kaaba but his supplication was not accepted. This was because his earning was haram, which made his food and clothing haram. Supplication (dua) will never be accepted here because the very means used to come there are haram, and hence the finances used for Hajj need to be absolutely pure. Someone in doubt about the lawfulness of his earnings should discuss the issue with the local ulama in his city.


Points to Ponder

 
The Messenger of Allah said that among the signs of the Endtime would be that the wealthy among the Muslims will go to Hajj for vacation; the poor will go to beg; and the ulama will go to boast of their superiority over the other Muslims.
In light of this hadith the hujjaj (pilgrims) must make it a point to never boast of their Hajj to others. They not only risk having it invalidated but Allah may never give them another chance because of their arrogance.

The Lover’s Destination

 
Every journey has a destination and the destination of Hajj is the pleasure of Allah. There are two kinds of hujjaj: those who are fortunate to see (ziyarah) Bait Ullah and those still more fortunate who are able to see the Creator of Bait Ullah.

This is why the tawaf (circumambulation) that is performed after the gathering of Arafat is called Tawaf-e-Ziyarah. Those who have worked hard against their evil desires and lower self (nafs) are able to see the bounties of Allah in all their glory, and those who have not obviously cannot partake in this experience. Thus it is essential to have a righteous alim or shaykh in one’s company so that he may guide at every point.

Hajj is a journey of love and desire, and upon close examination love is found to be the paramount force in every action within Hajj. As a general rule lovers whose purpose is a specific beloved pursue their quest single mindedly and ignore all else. They make no attempt to beautify themselves like a wife might do for a husband because the one purpose of getting to the beloved overpowers all other desires or concerns.

The rites and rituals of Hajj personify this intense desire of the lover. From the beginning of the journey the lover is told to shed all outer décor and don the ihram, two simple and unstitched sheets of white cloth. For the duration of the journey and Hajj itself this lover is not allowed to apply any sort of scent, nor is the lover allowed to trim the hair or nails.

Lovers maddened with love and desire usually not only speak of their love but publicize it loudly in chants or poetry. Hence when the lover of Allah starts on this quest he is also commanded to raise his voice and shout that he is coming to his beloved: Labbaik Allahumma labbaik!

Our elders who have gone before us understood and practiced the meaning of this cry, and hundreds would receive guidance because of their efforts. Today we go physically but fail to effect any change within ourselves and return exactly as we were and return to our same heedless lives.

A lovesick boy stands outside the window or door of his beloved hoping for a sign of recognition. The lover of Allah circles the House of Allah with the same maddened desire like a moth circles a flame.

Moths to A Flame

 
Tawaf is the only ritual within Islam that men and women are commanded to perform in the same vicinity, whereas there is separation in all other situations. Men and women are separated in prayer with a partition to cite just one example.

This may seem strange because Islam is very strict in terms of male and female interaction but the ulama have written a fascinating explanation for this:
The lovers of Allah journey tirelessly for the chance of worshipping at Bait Ullah, and once they reach this magnificent shrine men lose all sense of their masculinity and women likewise lose heed of their femininity, and in maddened desire they focus only on Bait Ullah. Allah wanted to establish for all mankind that His lovers lose all sense of themselves and relinquish all other loves when coming to worship Him.

Allah wanted to further establish the reality that His love is paramount and superior to all other loves that may exist. This is truly the case because even husbands and wives focus only on Allah instead of themselves. It is the only occasion when men and women worship and cry in the same vicinity with no thought to one another.

Recognizing the Enemy

 
The lover would hate anyone who tried to keep him away from his beloved or hindered his quest to attain nearness to the same. Satan tries to create a rift between mankind and Allah and so the hujjaj stone the devil at the stone throwing ritual at the Jumurat.

Lovers always shower their beloved with gifts as an outpouring of their love and labor hard to be noticed. Likewise the pilgrims also present a sacrifice to Allah at the conclusion of Hajj.

Most Generous of Hosts

 
The hujjaj are guests of Allah at Hajj, as He commanded Hadrat Ibrahim A.S. to announce an open invitation to all to come worship at His House. Allah is the Supreme Host, and takes great care of His guests even more than we honor someone who may come to our house.

The Messenger of Allah said that even the person who sits and looks upon Bait Ullah is a recipient of Allah’s countless blessings. We are unfortunate in that we do not recognize His supreme hospitality, otherwise we would be in Paradise on Earth.

Acceptance of Dua

 
We may not know the exact times at which duas are accepted, but hadith has told us that there are seventeen key locations at Hajj where duas are accepted. Hujjaj should make a point of learning these key locations so they may be able to offer prayers here and beg from Allah.

No one knows the blessed moment when Allah may accept a particular dua or prostration from his servant.

The difference between the Hajj of the righteous beings of Allah and that of common people is that of night and day. 

Signs of the Acceptance of Hajj

 
The mashaikh have written that there are many signs that Allah has accepted the pilgrim’s Hajj. Hadrat Ashraf Ali Thanvi R.A. writes that the first of these signs is that upon leaving this sacred land the pilgrim has an intense desire in his heart to return for another Hajj. Such people are fortunate because Allah accepts their deed and ignites a flame of desire in their hearts that will keep them yearning for Makkah.

In contrast there are those unfortunate wretches who leave with nothing but complaints and vow not to return because they had such a bad experience. Such people return empty handed because their Hajj is not accepted.

Some people return from Hajj cleansed of their sins and rectified with a complete positive change in their lives whereas others return with out any improvement or,sometimes, even worse than they were before. The difference is that the Hajj of the former party is accepted whilst the Hajj of the others is not, and so the latter continue down the path of wretchedness.

Acceptance of our Hajj is the biggest reason why we must cry and beg to Allah on this sacred journey. We must cry so much that Allah accepts us if only out of pity. Our righteous elders would weep and beg for years so Allah would accept their Hajj and turn their lives around.

-Abridged from 'Sermons' of Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed D.B. on Hajj.