Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Roots of Good manners and character lie in the Heart:

Roots of Good manners and character:

Morals and good character are in fact a particular state of the heart which find expression in the actions of the limbs and the organs. 
The holy Prophet (SAWS) said, "Beware, in the body there is a  piece of flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart."
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

The heart should be filled with the feeling of welfare for the creation of Allah and love for them, irrespective of what they are-friends or foes, believers or unbelievers. 

One should remember the fact that every being on the earth is a creation of his Master, Allah. This originates a kind of love for all creatures in one's heart. This generates good actions and deeds, and then man does good to others. 

As a consequence, the smile shining on ones face on account of this feeling will not be artificial, nor will it be displayed to attract public attention, it will rather spring up from the heart as a result of heart-felt longing and emotion.
Thus there is a world of difference between the morals taught by the Holy Prophet [sallallaahu alyhi wasallam] and the artificial and superficial show of morals in modern society.

-Mostly based on a speech by Mufti Taqi Usmani

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to protect oneself from Haraam acts: Mujaddid Alf al Thani

By Mujaddid Alf al-Thani Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi R.A.

[Summary: The Mujaddid explains that spiritual progress is possible only through wara’ and taqwa. He enjoins us to cease from more than the necessary mubah (permissible things), or at least to refrain from the haram (prohibited things) and to cut down on the mubahs.]
Allah ta’ala declares in the seventh ayat of Surat-ul-Hashr:
 “Take and obey the commands which My Messenger has brought for you! Refrain from what he has prohibited!” 
As it is seen, two things are necessary for escaping the disasters in the world and the torments of Hell in the next world: hold fast to the commands, and abstain from the prohibitions! Of these two, the greater one, the more necessary one is the second one, which is called wara’ and taqwa. 
Importance of Wara' and Taqwa:
In the presence of Rasulullah “sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ it was mentioned that a person performs a lot of acts of worship and struggles hard for it. While another person diligently abstains from what is prohibited. He (SAWS) stated, “Nothing can be like wara’.” That is, he said that it was more valuable to abstain from the prohibitions than to perform more nawafil (supererogatory worship). 
In a hadith he stated, “Wara’ is the pillar of din.” Man’s becoming superior to angels is due to wara’ and their progress, becoming exalted, is, again, owing to wara’. Angels also obey the commands. But angels cannot make progress. 
Therefore, holding fast to wara’ and having taqwa is more necessary than anything else. In Islam the most valuable thing is taqwa. The basis of the religion is taqwa.
What is Wara' and Taqwa & How to acquire them:
Wara’ and taqwa means to refrain from the haram. In order to be able to refrain from the haram acts entirely, it is necessary to refrain from the more than necessary mubahs (unnecessary but innately permissible things)
Wara' (ورع) is also leaving something that is halal, out of fear that it may harm you in the aakhira. 
Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Umar (R.A.) said “I like to put a barrier of halal between me and that which is haram, and I do not break this barrier” i.e. he would avoid some halal actions so that he ensures he does not fall into haram.
We should use the mubahs only as much as necessary. If a person does whatever he likes with the mubahs, that is, with the things which the Shariat has permitted, and if he uses the mubahs exceedingly, he will begin to do what is doubtful. And the doubtful are close to those things that are haram. 
Man’s nafs, like a beast, is greedy. He who walks around an abyss may fall down into the abyss one day. To be able to have wara’ and taqwa properly, one should be abstemious in using the mubahs, and should not exceed the limit of necessity. 
When using this (necessary) amount, one should intend to use them in order to do one’s duties as a slave of Allah’s. It is a sin also to use them a little without intending so. It is harmful whether it is little or much
It is next to impossible to always abstain entirely from more than the necessary mubahs, especially in this time. At least, one must abstain from the harams and do one’s best to abstain from the more than necessary mubahs. 
When the mubahs are done more than needed, one must repent and make tawba. One should deem these deeds as the beginning of committing harams. One must entrust oneself to Allah ta’ala and beg Him. This repentance, asking for pardon and begging may stand for abstaining from more than the necessary mubahs entirely, thus protecting one against the harm and mischief of such deeds. One of our pious predecessors (Salaf) says, “Sinners’ hanging their heads seems better to me than worshippers’ swelling their chests (with pride).” (Maktubat, 1:76)1
Benefits of Wara':
1. It saves one from the punishment of Allah.
    2. It leads to tranquility of the heart and mind.
      3. It distances one from that which does not benefit as you would usually doubt between a makrooh or haram action.
        4. It leads to Allah loving us, as He loves those who are cautious in following His orders.
          5. It helps in being someone whose du’as (supplications) are always answered, as most likely everything you do will be halal.

          Thursday, February 6, 2014

          Prescriptions for developing Taqwa (Piety)

          Prescriptions for piety
          by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi
          (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
          Allah (SWT) says in Aayah 119 of Surah Taubah: “O Believers fear Allah and be with those who are truthful.” To fear Allah means to avoid sins at all cost and to make sincere repentance and seek forgiveness from Allah in case a sin is committed.  
          Along with fearing Allah, this Aayah also commands to be with the people who are truthful, i.e., who always speak the truth, who at heart are truthful and whose actions reflect their belief in truth. This is Allah (SWT)’s mercy that when he commands to do something, which may apparently seem hard, He sends a command soon after, which makes the first command easy and doable. In other words the second or the following command paves the way for the fulfillment of the first command.
          A person, who is living in an amoral, immoral or unethical environment, may ask a question: “How to build a barrier against sins and be safe from their influence.” Listen to what Prophet (SAW) once said before I answer this question.
           He (SAW) said that a time will come when holding on to Faith will be as difficult as holding a burning coal in hand. Most probably we are living in such a time period.  It requires moral courage and strength of character to adhere to our faith in the current environment. Look around and you will find that vices are creeping in corroding the moral fabric of our society. Falsehood has become an art form. Immodesty is called fashion and indecency is in vogue. Corruption is rampant. The epidemic is global.
          Those who fear Allah (SWT) and continue to struggle to uphold their faith and character under such adverse circumstances, Prophet (SAW) had given them good tidings. He (SAW) said that there will be a period close to the Last Day,  when a person holding fast to his Deen, will get a reward for one of his acts from Allah (SWT) equal to the reward of fifty companions of Prophet (SAW). [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]
          In the Aayah of Surah Taubah, I referred earlier, Allah (SWT) has also commanded us to be with the honest and truthful people, i.e. the people who are true to what they believe in and translate their belief into action and thus save themselves from sins. Such people will always be there as per Holy Qur’an, which addresses the mankind of all times. When a person lives with, and adopts the company of the people who fear and love Allah, he is then naturally effected by the purity which permeates in the environment created by the pious people.
          The Scholar Abdul Ha’yee (RehmA) used to say that if there is pitch darkness and you see a tiny light far away, it will kindle a hope in you and you will try to get closer to it. The closer you get, the more it will show the path for you to tread, and when you will get still closer you will even feel its warmth, and after you cover even that minimal distance, the light will absorb you and you will become a part of it. This is the truth, the more you get closer to the 'Allah-loving' people, the more you are driven away from sins and lead towards light, towards purity and towards piety.  For the last 1400 years, this light is spreading far and wide through the channels of the pure and the pious.
          Recommended acts:
          The early scholars and the lovers of Allah have prescribed methods to enable us to achieve piety. The Scholar Maulana Abrar-ul-Haque (RehmA) recommends:
          1. Be in the company of lovers of Allah and be with them for the sake of Allah.
          2. Read biographies of those who love Allah, and learn from their life stories.
          3. Remember death, be fearful and make preparations for death and the Hereafter.
          4. Think about the punishments of sins and think about the Hell.
          These recommendations ensure piety.
          Things to avoid:
          Two precautions, however, are necessary as in the case of physical sickness; a physician does not only prescribe medication, but also recommends precautions. A combination of medicine and precautions ensures recovery and health.
          1. Avoid backbiting, a sin which destroys all good deeds. Allah (SWT) says in Aayah 12 of Surah Al-Hujurat: “Believers, avoid making too many assumptions – some assumptions are sinful – and do not spy on one another or speak ill of the people behind their backs: would any of you like to eat the flesh of your dead brother? No, you would hate it. So be mindful of Allah: Allah is ever relenting, most merciful.”
          1. Avoid looking at Non-Mahram: In today’s immodest environment of mixed gatherings, this sickness is very common. In Aayah 30 of Surah Noor, Allah (SWT) says: “[O Prophet], tell believing men to lower their glances…”
          One person sent a letter to Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RehmA) and wrote: “I loose self control when I cast a sinful glance on some one but its avoidance is also painful.”
          The Maulana wrote back in response: “You cannot tolerate the little pain in the avoidance of a sin, how would you bear the greater pain of Hell fire to which you will be subjected as a result of casting a sinful glance.”
          Please do not indulge in speaking evil of others, and always lower your glances wherever you are, visiting a market place, a relative, a friend, or in a social gathering. It is Allah (SWT)’s clear command and injunction. Insha Allah you will achieve piety by taking these precautions.
          Dr. Abdul Ha’yee (RehmA) has given some directions for the achievement of piety, which if taken into practice will open up possibilities of establishing a special relationship with Allah (SWT).
          Establishing a special relationship with Allah:
          1. First thing is to express thanks and gratitude to Allah (SWT). The essence of thanks is not to make unfair use of His blessings. Say AlhamduliLah, (All praise be Allah alone) or, Allahumma Lakal Hamdu wa Lakasshukr” (All praise and thanks be to Allah alone) to each blessing and everything favorable that happens to you day and night.  It may be striking a good deal in business, any achievement in class or at work, hearing good news, or solving a problem etc.
           This is simple and easy. Aayah 147 of Surah An-Nisa says: “Why should Allah make you suffer torment if you are thankful and believe in Him. Allah always rewards gratitude and He knows everything.” It means that expressing thanks to Allah saves from punishment. Aayah 7 of Surah Ibrahim says: “…If you are thankful, I will give you more, if you are thankless, My punishment is terrible indeed.”
          The greatest Book of all times, the Holy Qur’an’s Surah Al-Fatiha starts with Al-HamduliLah, and this Surah is required to be recited in every Rak’aa of each prayer signifying it to be the first step on the path of thankfulness.
          Another positive effect of thanking Allah is that the man does not take Allah’s gifts and blessings for granted and as his right, but considers them only as favors from Allah. The person who does not consider his wealth, property, skill, knowledge, or personality as his own accomplishment, but as a gift from Allah, he is always safe from Takabbur (pride or vanity), which is a great sin. Prophet (SAW) said that who ever has an iota of Takabbur in him, would not enter Paradise. [Muslim].  Takabbur is worst than adultery and drinking alcohol. Thanking Allah saves man from such serious sins.
          The habit of thanking Allah automatically becomes a barrier between man and sins. Whenever a man is tempted by a sin, his conscience jolts him and he is reminded of Allah’s favors. As a recipient of blessings and gifts, a thankful man does not get upset if something does not happen according to his expectations. He considers it as a will of Allah. A thankful man, by saying Al-Hamdulillah, succeeds in establishing a relationship with Allah (SWT), and that is great achievement in itself. It is the very soul of piety, a safeguard and protection from internal and external sins.
          1. Second is Sabr (Patience and fortitude)
          2. Third is Istaghfaar (Repentance and seeking forgiveness)
          3. Fourth is Ista’aazah (Saying Aa’oozubillah)
          I urge you to concentrate, think about them and practice to achieve Taqwa (piety). May Allah (SWT) enable us all to obey His commands. Aameen!
          Adapted from: