Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Excellence of Long Ruku and Sajdah



"You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration..." Quran (48:29)

"Prostrate and draw near [to Allah]". (96:19)

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, will recognise his Ummah on the day of Qiyamah by their bright faces due to performing Sajdah. (Ahmad, sahih)

“Allah has prohibited the Fire from devouring the marks of sujood. (Bukhari & Muslim)

Long Ruku and Sajdah of the Prophet:

"I happened to pray one night with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. The Prophet started reciting al-Baqarah chapter of the Quran and I thought he would stop after 100 verses. But when he went beyond it I thought that he may want to recite the whole chapter in one Rakah. When he finished al-Baqarah I thought he would do Ruku but then he immediately started reciting al-Imran and when he finished he started reciting an-Nisa.

The Prophet was reciting very slowly with enough pauses and would do Tasbih (praising God) and Dua (supplication) according to the subject being discussed in the relevant Ayah.

After that the Prophet did Ruku (bowing). In Ruku he stayed as long as he did when he was in Qiyam (standing in prayer). After Ruku he stood up for almost same time and then he performed Sajdah (prostration) and stayed there as long as he recited Quran while doing Qiyam".  (Hudaifa, may God be pleased with him, narrated this hadith in Sahih Muslim, Nasai)

 Aisha RA relates in a hadith that because of the long Sajdah of the Prophet, she got apprehensive thinking that he had passed away. (Baihaqi) 

One of the Prophet's companion, Abdullah ibn Zubayr RA, would pray with such concentration that when he was in Sajdah the sparrows would come flying and sit on his back. In a separate narration, Abdullah ibn Abbas, another companion, said if you want to see how the Prophet of God used to pray, you should copy how Abdullah ibn Zubayr used to pray.

Examples from the Sahaba, Tabaeen and the Salaf:

So, it is from the Sunnah to do long Ruku and Sujood in Nafil Salaah. Below are mentioned some more examples of this from the Sahaba, Tabaeen and the Salaf:

Muslim Al-Makkee narrated: “Once I saw Ibn Az-Zubair RA go into Ruku so I read surah al-Baqarah, Aali Imraan, an-Nisaa’ and al-Maa’idah and he did not raise his head!” [Az-Zuhd of Abu Dawud, p. 348]

Abu Qatn narrated:

“I never saw Shu’bah making ruku except that I thought he forgot, nor have I ever seen him sitting between the two prostrations except that I thought he forgot.” [As-Siyaar, 7/207]

Ibn Wahb narrated:

Once I saw (Sufyan) Ath-Thawri in the Haram after maghrib prayer offering voluntary prayer. Then he went down into sujood (prostration) and he didn’t raise his head until the adhaan for ‘isha was made.” [As-Siyaar, 7/296]

‘Abdaan narrated:

“Hudbah Ibn Hakeen used to make tasbeeh in ruku and sujood more than thirty times.” [As-Siyaar,11/99]

May Allah give us the Tawfeeq for following these examples.  Ameen.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Maintaining relationships even with those relatives who break the relations & abuse:

Maintaining relationships even with those relatives who break the relationship & abuse it:

Maintaining good relations with those who are good with us is easy and indicates a general human tendency. The real mujahida (inner struggle) and test of character lies in our response to those relatives who abuse and ill-treat us. For, an untamed Nafs will always be craving for revenge. Only an Allah-fearing soul can attempt to treat with kindness even those who are not it's well-wishers. Such a fortunate person is called as 'Al-Waasil' by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Narrated Abdullah bin Amr (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Al-Waasil is not the one who recompenses the good done to him by his relatives, but Al-Waasil is the one who keeps good relations with those relatives who had severed the bond of kinship with him.” (Bukhari)

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that a man said: O Messenger of Allah, I have relatives with whom I try to keep in touch, but they cut me off. I treat them well, but they abuse me. I am patient and kind towards them, but they insult me. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If you are as you say, then it is as if you are putting hot ashes in their mouths. Allah will continue to support you as long as you continue to do that.” (Muslim)

Someone asked the Holy Prophet (Peace be up on him), “What is the way of saving oneself in the Hereafter?” He replied: “You maintain the ties (of relationship) with the one who severed it with you, you give to the one who deprived you, and you forgive the one who wronged you.” (Tirmidhi)
 
The lessons we draw from these Hadiths are:

1. Islam came to set all our relationships right. This includes our relations with Allah as well as with other human beings. Silat-ur-Rahim (maintaining bonds of Blood-relationships) is a very important part of the latter. And it applies even to those relatives who are not good to one. So, there is no excuse for cutting-off family relationships.
2. Allah's support is guaranteed to the 'Waasil'.
3. It is the way of saving oneself in the Hereafter.

The other big benefit of this is that the one who practices this patiently and consistently hoping only for Allah's grace will attain control over his Nafs and achieve Tazkiya.
 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dhikrullah protects against Satanic whispers:

Dhikrullah protects against Satan:

"He (God) enjoined upon you to remember God (do Dhikrullah). As the one who remembers his Lord is like a man who is chased by his enemy, but he reaches to a fortress where he saves himself from the enemy. Similarly a servant of God cannot save himself from the Satan but with the remembrance of God (Dhikrullah)". -Tirmidhi (Hasan-Sahih), Ahmed 

"If anyone withdraws himself from remembrance of (Allah) Most Gracious, We appoint for him a shaytan (devil), to be an intimate companion to him." (Quran- 43:36)

There is a famous Hadith mentioned by almost all the books of Hadiths in which Saeed Ibn Musayyib related from Samra Ibn Jundub (R.A) that one day the Messenger of God (S.A.W) related a long dream in which he saw a follower (ummati) being surrounded by Satans. Then the remembrance of God (he used to do) came and drove the Satans away.
-'al Wabil as sayyib' by Ibn AlQayyim R.A.

"Allah has built two houses in the heart of man, in one of which
an angel resides and in the other the Satan. The angel urges him to do good works and the Satan induces him to do evil works. When man remembers Allah, the Satan withdraws. And when he stops remembering Allah, the Satan perches on the heart of man and peeks with his beak to whisper into it to do evil things." [Transmitted by Abu Ya‘la on the authority of Anas رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ عنه , as quoted by Tafsir    Mazhari- tafsir Mariful Quran].

Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah 
(sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Indeed Shaytan places his snout on the heart of Ibn Adam, when he 
remembers Allah he withdraws and when he becomes unmindful of Allah, 
then Shaytan devours/whispers into his heart, this is what is meant by 
‘Al Waswas’ and ‘Al Khannas’ [mentioned in Surah Nas].”
(Musnad Abu Ya’la, Hadith: 4301)

Although the above Hadith has been recorded with a weak chain, Hafiz Ibn 
Hajar (rahimahullah) has cited supporting weak narrations, which when combined, gain collective strength. The Hadith in question is suitable to quote.
(Refer: Fathul Bari, under Hadith: 4977)

Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has also recorded a similar narration as the 
statements of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) under the sub-heading and not part of the Sahih as this narration does not meet his strict criterion.
(Sahih Bukhari, before Hadith: 4977)

(Research on the last Hadith by: Moulana Suhail Motala on HadithAnswers.com)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Fourth step To Taqwa:Adopting the company of Pious & Reading/listening to their exhortations

On The Road To Taqwa: Step Four

STEP FOUR

Listening to the quotations of the pious
O servant of Allah! The best thing to do after all of these steps is to frequent the company of pious and to adopt their manners. This will lead you to taqwa
(O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful.- Quran, 9:119)

We have chosen a few of their beneficial quotations.
Abu Bakr Siddiq says: 'Whoever enters his grave without any provisions is like the one who mounts the sea without a ship.'
Uthman says: 'Concern for the world is a darkness for the heart and concern for the Hereafter is light for it.'
Ali says: 'Whoever seeks knowledge, Paradise seeks him and whoever seeks sin, Hell seeks him.'
Shaqeeq Balkhi (rh) says: 'Hold firm to five issues: worship Allah as much as you need to worship Him; take from the world according to your stay in it; sin according to your stamina to absorb its punishment; take provisions from the world according to your stay in the grave and work for Paradise as much as your desire to stay there.'
Hasan Basri (rh) says: 'The heart becomes corrupt through six means: committing a sin in the hope of repenting; seeking knowledge and not applying it; practice without sincerity; eating the sustenance of Allah without appreciating Him; not being pleased with Allah's allocation (destiny) and burying the dead but not learning from them.
lbn Qayyim (rh) says: 'The sign of taqwa is to engage in worship and the sign of worship is to refrain from doubtful issues. The sign of hope is to obey and the sign of forbearance to shorten false hopes.
These are four steps towards taqwa. You should look into yourself and see how far away you are from these four steps. Only Allah can reconcile our intentions with action.'
-----------------
 Extract from 'The Provision of the Believers'. Originally published in Arabic as: Zadul Mumineen Al-Taqwa, published by Maktabul Sahaba, Egypt.
Compilation of statements on "taqwa" (fear of God), taken from classical Muslim scholars such as al-Ghazali, Ibn al-Qayyim, and Ibn Rajab.
Translated by Maulana Mohammed Amin Kholwadia, compiled by Abu Maryam Majdi Fathi Al-Sayed.
Source http://balagha.net/taqwa-provision-of-believers/road-to-taqwa-step-four

Third step To Taqwa:Exerting oneself in acts of obedience

On The Road To Taqwa: Step Three

Exerting the self towards acts of obedience

This trait is acquired when the servant knows the value of what he wants from the bounties of the Hereafter. 

A predecessor said : 'When a man knows the value of what he seeks spending for it becomes easy.' This is why the pious acted upon the Quran and Sunnah. If they performed a good deed they would be grateful for it and ask Allah to accept it. If they committed a mistake they would be greatly grieved and ask Allah to pardon them.
It is reported that a group of people came to visit Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (rh) while he was sick. A skinny young man was with them. Umar asked him how he had come to that state. He replied that he was sick. Umar asked him to tell the truth. He said: 'O leader of the believers! I have tasted the world and found it bitter; its glitter has no attraction for me; its gold and stones are the same to me. I live as if I see the Throne of my Lord and people are being escorted to Paradise and Hell. So I remain thirsty (fast) during the day and stay awake during the night. Whatever I am going through is little and meagre against the reward and punishment of Allah.'
Abu Nu'aim (rh) says that Dawood Tai (rh) used to drink bread soup instead of eating bread. Someone asked him why he did that. He said: 'There is enough time to recite fifty verses when I drink bread soup instead of chewing bread.'
So think, O servant of Allah! How one should use one's time and how we waste it - except those upon whom Allah has shown mercy.'
The wife of Masrooq (rh) says that Masrooq always had his calves swollen because of lengthy prayers. I used to sit behind him and weep out of affection for him.'
Abdullah ibn Dawood (rh) says that they used to roll up their beds (sleep very little) as soon as they reached forty.
Abu Darda says: 'If it were not for three things I would not like to live a single day: remaining thirsty for Allah in the afternoons: prostrating in front of Him at night and the company of those who sift the best of conversation like people sift (choose) the best of fruits.'
Ali ibn Abi Talib says: 'The signs of the pious are that they are pale out of vigilance: they have weak eyesight from weeping ; their lips are withered because of fasting and they are covered with the dust of the devout.'
Hasan was asked: 'What is it about those who strive that they are very handsome?' He replied: 'That is because they are alone with The Compassionate.'
So, O servant of Allah! Make sure that you strive so that Allah will be pleased with you and grant you Paradise. Otherwise, you will lose out in both worlds. May Allah protect us from clear loss and desertion. Ameen.
He also says: 'From among the bounties of this world , Islam is enough for you. From the occupations of this world , obedience should occupy you and from the lessons you should learn, death is enough to teach you.'
Abdullah ibn Masood says: 'There are so many who are lured to destruction through bounties ; there are so many who are tested by praise and there are so many who are deceived (vain) by concealment (of their mistakes).'
Yahya ibn Mu'adh (rh) says: 'Congratulations to those who leave the world before it deserts them ; to those who build their graves before they enter them and to those who please their Lord before they meet Him.'
Ali says: 'Whoever desires Paradise will race towards good deeds; whoever fears Hell will abstain from temptations; whoever is certain of death will cease to find pleasure and whoever recognises the world will bear difficulties with ease.'
Hamid al-Lifaf (rh) says: 'We sought richness in wealth and found it in being content and we sought comfort in the world and found it in the Hereafter.'
Abdullah Anaki says: 'There are five remedies for the heart:
  1. the company of the pious;
  2. recitation of the Quran;
  3. emptying the inner self (of vices);
  4. praying during the night
  5. and crying at dawn.'
-----------------
 Extract from 'The Provision of the Believers'. Originally published in Arabic as: Zadul Mumineen Al-Taqwa, published by Maktabul Sahaba, Egypt.
Compilation of statements on "taqwa" (fear of God), taken from classical Muslim scholars such as al-Ghazali, Ibn al-Qayyim, and Ibn Rajab.
Translated by Maulana Mohammed Amin Kholwadia, compiled by Abu Maryam Majdi Fathi Al-Sayed.
Source http://balagha.net/taqwa-provision-of-believers/road-to-taqwa-step-three

Monday, June 15, 2015

Second Step To Taqwa: Disciplining the self

On The Road To Taqwa: Step Two

Disciplining the self when it has shortcomings
Dear Muslim brother! When a servant engages in obeying his Lord, the servant inevitably has shortcomings. This is why the predecessors punished themselves on those occasions. Although this might seem to be easy, they used to punish themselves quite severely because obedience can be very difficult on oneself.
Umar donated a piece of land worth 200,000 dirhams when he missed Asr prayers in congregation.
Ibn Umar used to stay awake the whole of the night if he missed a prayer in congregation and then he would free two slaves.
Tameem Dari failed to wake up for Tahajjud (pre­ dawn) prayers one night. He stayed awake the whole of the next year.
Talha became preoccupied with a bird on his wall (of an orchard) while in prayer. He donated the wall to charity as compensation for that mistake.
Hassan ibn Abi Sinan passed by an apartment and asked when it was built. He deliberated for a moment and realised he had asked about something that did not concern him. He disciplined himself by fasting for a whole year.
Abdullah ibn Qais says: 'We were in a battle with the enemy in our midst and people screaming (on a very hot day). A man from the tribe of Ummama was talking to himself: 'Did I not witness this battle and that battle. You reminded me about my family so I listened to you and returned home. By Allah' I will punish you by either having you taken to task or leaving you.
I observed this man on that day and saw that he was leading people to the enemy who then dispersed. The enemy countered and we dispersed but this man held his ground the whole time until he was martyred. I found on his body and on the body of his mount more than sixty stab wounds.
Imam Ghazali (rh) says: 'This is how people of determination disciplined themselves. The amazing thing is that you are willing to punish your family members for their blunders and shortcomings on the pretence that if you let them off, they would rebel against you. But then you let yourself off the hook even though it is your biggest enemy and is more likely to rebel against you. The harm it inflicts upon you is far greater than the harm your family can inflict. The most they can do is disturb your worldly life which will perish one day. Yourself, on the other hand, ruffles the everlasting life of the Hereafter. It is much more worthy of punishment. [Ihya: 4/395]
-----------------
 Extract from 'The Provision of the Believers'. Originally published in Arabic as: Zadul Mumineen Al-Taqwa, published by Maktabul Sahaba, Egypt.
Compilation of statements on "taqwa" (fear of God), taken from classical Muslim scholars such as al-Ghazali, Ibn al-Qayyim, and Ibn Rajab.
Translated by Maulana Mohammed Amin Kholwadia, compiled by Abu Maryam Majdi Fathi Al-Sayed.
Source http://balagha.net

Saturday, June 13, 2015

First Step to Taqwa- Taking account of one's own self (Muhasabah)

On The Road To Taqwa: Step One

O Muslim reader! Reaching the status of the muttaqoon (the one with Taqwa) is not an easy matter. However, for the believer who follows the Prophet and adapts the way of the pious predecessors it is easy with the help of Allah. I will outline for you the steps that will take you to that stage.

STEP ONE

Taking account of one's own self:
When a person takes account of himself in this world, he will be very successful in the Hereafter. The Quran explains this reality:
'O you who believe! Fear Allah and let each soul see what it has sent forward for the morrow.'[Surah Hashr: 18]
In this verse, there is a reference to taking account of past actions.
Umar says: 'Take account of yourselves before you are audited (by someone else). Weigh your deeds before they are weighed (by someone else).'
Maimoon bin Mahran (rh) says: 'No one can be among the muttaqoon until he checks himself more than he checks his (business) partner.'
Hasan Basri (rh) says: 'A believer is a guardian over himself: he audits himself for Allah. Those who take account of themselves in this world will be audited lightly in the Hereafter. Those who take this issue lightly will find their auditing very difficult.'
Anas ibn Malik says that one day Umar went out (for a walk) and reached an orchard. He said: 'There is a wall (the orchard) between me and Him. O Umar, the leader of the believers! You will fear Allah or else I will punish you (O Umar).'
Malik ibn Dinar (rh) says: 'May Allah have mercy on someone who tells himself: 'Is not your companion like that.' Then he reprimands himself and enforces the Book of Allah.'
He also says: 'I heard Hajjaj say: 'May Allah have mercy on the person who audits himself before it reaches someone else's hands. May Allah have mercy on the person who grabs his actions by the reins and sees where they are taking him. May Allah have mercy on the person who looks at his weights and measures (scales and balances).' He continued to say this until he made me weep.'
Hasan Basri (rh) says regarding the verse: 'No. I do swear by the criticising self...' [Surah Qiyamah: 2] : 'A believer will always be critical of himself in his food, his drink and his speech. A sinner will not criticize himself.'
Taubah ibn Samat (rh) used to take account of himself and is reported to have counted the number of days in his life at the age of sixty. He found there were 21,500 days and shrieked: 'What will happen to me if I meet The King with 21,500 sins? What will happen if there are 10,000 sins in each day?
A person from the predecessors said: 'If a man threw a pebble in his house for every sin he had committed, the house would fill up in no time.'
Imam Ahmed (rh) narrates from Wahab ibn Munabbah (rh): 'It is written in the wise sayings of the family of Dawood - peace be upon them : 'An intelligent person should not be distracted on four occasions: when he is supplicating his Lord; when he is auditing himself; when he is being informed by his friends about his shortcomings and when he is alone with himself.'
Umar, wrote to one of his employees: 'Audit yourself in prosperity before the auditing of adversity. Whoever does  this will be pleased and envied. Whoever is distracted from this by his life and fantasies, will face remorse and loss.'
Imam ibn Qayyim (rh) says: 'To summarise, one should take account of the obligations first. lf there are any losses incurred, they should be made up. Then, one should take account of the prohibitions. If there are any violations one should compensate by repentance asking for forgiveness and performing deeds that erase bad deeds. Then one should tum to the moments of oblivion and distraction. If one finds oneself guilty one should resort to remembrance and tum to Allah. Finally, one should audit the tongue, feet, hands, eyes and ears. Why did they do this and that? Allah says: 'By your Lord! We will indeed question all of them as to what they did.'[Surah Al-Hikr: 92-93]
'...So that He (Allah) may ask the truthful about his truthfulness.' [Surah Ahzaab: 8]
So when even the truthful will be questioned one can imagine the questioning the liars the will face.
'Certainly, the ears, eyes and the heart (faculty of understanding) will all be questioned.' [Surah al-Isra: 34]
So when the servant is to be interrogated about his own limbs, he should take account of himself before he confronts the real auditing.
The servant benefits tremendously from this practice. One of these benefits is that he realises his own mistakes. Whoever does not realise his mistakes, cannot reform or correct them. Those who do realise their mistakes condemn themselves in front of Allah.
Abu Darda says: 'No one can achieve complete understanding of Islam until he condemns people for the sake of Allah and then returns home and condemns himself even more.
Ayyub Sakhtiyani (rh) says: 'When pious people are mentioned, I remove myself from them (i.e.: I do not count myself in their ranks).'
Muhammed ibn Wasi' (rh) says: 'If sins had an odour, no one would be able to sit near me.'
Yunus ibn Obaid (rh) says: 'I found that there are a hundred qualities of goodness. I did not find a single one of those qualities in myself.'
Uqbah ibn Sahban (rh) says: 'I asked Ayesha about the verse: 'Then We gave (as inheritance) the Book to those whom We chose from among Our servants. Some of them wronged themselves; some were moderate and others raced towards good deeds with the permission of Allah.' [Surah Fatir: 32]
She replied: 'My son! They are in Paradise. Those who raced towards good deeds are those who lived during the time of the Prophet who testified to their sustenance and Paradise. As for those who were moderate, they followed him among his companions and caught up with him. And as for those who wronged themselves are concerned, they are people like me and you.' Ayesha put herself in our category.'
lbn Qayyim (rh) says: 'Condemning oneself is a practice of the truthful. A servant draws closer to Allah in a moment (when he sincerely condemns himself) much more than he would do so through actions.'
Another benefit on auditing oneself is that one realizes Allah's right. Whoever does not realise Allah's right does not stand to benefit from acts of service and worship.
Imam Ahmed (rh) narrates from Wahab (rh) that Musa - peace be upon him - passed by a man who was crying and asking Allah. Musa said: 'O Allah! Have mercy on him for I feel sorry for him.' Allah revealed to Musa : 'If he calls Me until he loses all his strength, I will not answer him unless he acknowledges My right over him.'
Imam Ibn Qayyim (rh) says: 'A benefit of understanding Allah's right over the servant is that it breeds condemnation of oneself and delivers one from showing off and vanity. It also opens the doors of humbleness in front of Allah and closes the doors of conceit. It allows one to realise that salvation is only through Allah's Grace and Mercy. It is Allah's right that He should be obeyed and not disobeyed; that He should be remembered and not forgotten and that He should be appreciated and not un appreciated.
Whoever ponders over these issues will know with certainty that he cannot fulfil these conditions and , therefore , has to resort to Allah's Mercy. Such a person will be convinced that he cannot rely on his actions, lest he be destroyed. Many people think about their rights over Allah and not about His rights over them. This is how there are detached from Allah and deprived of the desire to meet Him. This is the epitome of ignorance of their Lord and of themselves.
Imam Ghazali (rh) says : 'Whoever audits himself before he is audited will be checked lightly on the Day of Judgement. He will be able to answer (any questions) and thus, his fate will be good. Whoever does not take account of himself and his actions will suffer regret and grope around in the plains of Qiyamah. His mistakes will lead him to disgrace and scorn. [Ihya: 4/381]
O servant of Allah! Measure yourself against these good qualities. If you find yourself among those who take account, then thank Allah. If you find yourself in the other group, then return to Allah with humbleness as an absconded slave returns to his master.
Imam Ghazali (rh) says: 'It is incumbent on every person who believes in Allah and the Last Day that he should not be oblivious of auditing himself. Every breath of life is a precious jewel which can buy eternal treasures. Wasting these breaths or using them for detrimental purposes is such a great loss which no intelligent person could justify. When a person wakes up he tells himself that the only commodity he has is his life. When life perishes all his capital perishes. This is a new day that Allah has given as a further opportunity to make amends. If He had taken his life away he would want to return for just a single day so that he could do good. So one should deem that one has died and has returned to the world for one more day. One should not waste these precious and invaluable jewels of life.
The day has twenty-four hours. One should strive today and not become lazy and lethargic lest one loses the ranks of the 'Illiyeen (the highest rank of those in Paradise) and forever live in regret.' [Ihya: 4/382]

-----------------
 Extract from 'The Provision of the Believers'. Originally published in Arabic as: Zadul Mumineen Al-Taqwa, published by Maktabul Sahaba, Egypt.
Compilation of statements on "taqwa" (fear of God), taken from classical Muslim scholars such as al-Ghazali, Ibn al-Qayyim, and Ibn Rajab.
Translated by Maulana Mohammed Amin Kholwadia, compiled by Abu Maryam Majdi Fathi Al-Sayed.
Source http://balagha.net/taqwa-provision-of-believers/road-to-taqwa-step-one

Monday, April 20, 2015

Inner change (Tazkiya) and Political Activism

Inner change (Tazkiya) and Activism:

That Allah never changes the condition of a people unless they change what is in themselves [13:28] enjoins on us, not just some external reform fixated on a few manifestations of outward piety and morality, but instead an inward transformation – a realignment of the soul – which reflects genuine piety and purity of the heart. 

Regrettably, some see in this a call to quietism, while in reality it is a position of empowerment. 

For as we work on our inner world, keeping a keen eye upon the obligations and responsibilities we have in the outer world, we will begin to see the promise of Allah come to fruition in the human saga: "If the people of the cities had but believed and shown piety, We would surely have opened for them blessings from the heaven and from the earth." [7:96]

To think that we should put all or most of our eggs in the basket of political activism, letting spiritual activism play second fiddle, isn’t just religiously naive; it continues to invite humiliation upon this blessed, yet fragile ummah too.

Source: thehumblei.com

Monday, March 23, 2015

Maintaining the family relationships in Islam

Maintaining the bonds of kinship (silatur-rahim) indeed enjoys extraordinary importance in Islam. Conversely, severing the ties (qata-ur-rahim), is very high on the list of enormities/major-sins. 

At two places in the Qur’an, Allah has cursed the one severing family ties.

“And those who break the covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives) and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse, and for them is the unhappy home (i.e. Hell)” [Ar-Rad 13:25. See also Muhammad, 47:22-23].

“There is no sin more deserving of having punishment meted out by Allah to its perpetrator in advance in this world along with what He stores up for him in the next world than oppression and severing ties of family.” [Tirmidhi].

Another hadith highlights the high stakes involved here in a compelling way: “Rahim (family ties) is a word derived fromAr-Rahman (The Compassionate One) And Allah says: ‘I shall keep connection with him who maintains you and sever connection with him who severs you.’” [Bukhari]

“Whoever is likes that he be granted more wealth, and that his lease of life be prolonged, then he should keep good relations with his kith and kin.” (Bukhari) 

"Whoever has poor/feeble kin and does not treat them well and gives his charity to others and neglects them, Allah does not accept his charity and will not look to him on the Day of Judgment.” [Mundhiri]

But whoever is poor should keep good terms with them, visit them and be heedful of them. The Prophet (pbuh) said,

"Maintain family relationships even by just greeting.” [lbn Hajar AI-Hathami mentioned it in Majma' Al-Zawa'id and said it is reported by Al-Bazzar]


“Allah’s mercy will not descend on people among whom there is one who severs ties of kinship.” [BaihaqiShuab Al-Iman]

Silatur-rahim has been defined as politeness, kind treatment, and concern for all one’s relatives even if distantly related, corrupt, non-Muslim, or unappreciative. [Shaikh Abdul Wakil Durubi in Reliance of the Traveller].

 While nearly every religion has emphasized good family relations, Islam has taken it to unprecedented heights. It is a duty to be discharged without an eye for reciprocity. A Muslim is required to be kind even to his non-Muslim relatives. Similarly he is required to be kind to even those relatives who are harsh to him.

Maintaining relationships even with those relatives who break the relations & abuse:

Al-Waasil means ‘one who keeps good ties with his blood relatives’.This is a general definition of Al-Waasil. However, Rasool-Allah (PBUH) gave more explained definition for Al-Waasil. Following hadith tells us about this:

Narrated Abdullah bin Amr (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Al-Waasil is not the one who recompenses the good done to him by his relatives, but Al-Waasil is the one who keeps good relations with those relatives who had severed the bond of kinship with him.” (Bukhari)

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that a man said: O Messenger of Allah, I have relatives with whom I try to keep in touch, but they cut me off. I treat them well, but they abuse me. I am patient and kind towards them, but they insult me. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If you are as you say, then it is as if you are putting hot ashes in their mouths. Allah will continue to support you as long as you continue to do that.” (Muslim)

Someone asked the Holy Prophet (Peace be up on him), “What is the way of saving oneself in the Hereafter?” He replied: “You maintain the ties (of relationship) with the one who severed it with you, you give to the one who deprived you, and you forgive the one who wronged you.” (Tirmidhi)

Islam came to set all our relationships right. This includes our relations with Allah as well as with other human beings. Silat-ur-Rahim is a very important part of the latter.

Today, unfortunately, these teachings can mostly be found in Muslim societies in their violation. The best we do today is reciprocate; more commonly we backbite, cheat, and hurt our relatives and continue the spiral of hurt and humiliation as they respond. And we just abandon those of our relatives who are economically unfortunate.

Reasons for general breaking of relationships today:

There are three reasons for this sad situation. 

First is the widespread ignorance about Islamic teachings in this regard. Even in various Islamic groups the subject hardly gets the attention it deserves. 

Second is the rampant materialism. While materialism hurts all aspects of our life, it is especially damaging to family ties for they require sacrifice of time, money and personal comfort. 

The third reason has to do with recent history. It is a “gift” of the transformation of Muslim societies under colonialism.

Industrial Revolution came at a time when Muslim civilization was in the doldrums. Muslim historians point out very accurately that the genesis of European Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution was in the Golden Age of Muslim Spain. Yet it is also true that it progressed at a time of Muslim decline. And that explains the form it took and the devastation it caused to the family life. Everywhere it disrupted human relations. Poet Iqbal pointed to this when he said in his famous line: The rule of machines is death for the heart.  Machine tools crush compassion. Later, under the influence of colonialism, urban centers throughout the Muslim world faithfully duplicated all of these problems. This was just what a blind following of the West promised. Relations between husband and wife, between parents and children, between workers and managers, between neighbors, between relatives, in other words between all segments of society were dealt a devastating blow.

The process continues in the post industrial, neo-colonial period. To quote one example, television (and, more so today, the internet and mobile phones) is rapidly destroying what was left of human relations, cutting off even members of the same family from each other and engulfing everyone within his or her own pleasure cocoon, oblivious to the world without. It is just one, but probably the most subversive and intrusive tool of our so called postmodern global village. Village of distant neighbors without love and kinship.

-Mostly based on Khalid Baig's article on albalagh.net

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Arrogance and Pride According to Quran and Hadith:

Arrogance, Pride, Conceit, Vanity And Haughtiness:

Allah, Most High, says,
"Verily He loveth not the arrogant". (An-Nahl: 23) 

"Allah loves not any arrogant boaster".(Luqman: 18)

The Prophet ﺻﻠﯽ الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ ﻋﻠﯿﮧ ﻭﺍٓﻟﮧ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ  said,

"Once a man was walking along in a new set of clothes, with a swagger to his step, pleased with himself, Allah caused the earth to swallow him and he will keep sinking until the Last Day.”1

"Tyrants and the arrogant will be raised on the last Day as grain strewn under feet that the people will walk upon.”2

Arrogance, as early Muslims said, was the first sin against Allah. Allah, the Almighty, says,
"And behold, we said to the angels: bow down to Adam: and they bowed down: not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: he was of those who reject Faith". (Al-Baqarah: 34)

Therefore, Faith is of no avail if arrogance exists, as seen in the example of Iblis.

The Messenger ﺻﻠﯽ الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ ﻋﻠﯿﮧ ﻭﺍٓﻟﮧ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ  said, "Arrogance is- belittling to admit the truth and considering people inferior.”3

"Arrogance is refusing to acknowledge what is right and considering others to be inferior.” 4

"No one with the slightest particle of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” 5 

Allah, the Almighty, says in a Qudsi hadith,

"Pride is My garment and haughtiness My Mantle: whoever vies with Me for them I will throw them into Hell.”6

Haritha ibn Wahb reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Shall I not tell you about the companions of Paradise? They are every humble person considered weak, but if they gave an oath by Allah it would be fulfilled. Shall I not tell you about the companions of Hellfire? They are every cruel, haughty, and arrogant person.”7

References:

1 Reported by AI-Bukhari.
2 Reported by At- Tirmidhi and Ahmad 
3 Reported by Muslim.
4 Reported by AI-Hakim
5 Reported by AI-Bukhari. 
6 Reported by Muslim. 
7 Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim

(Adapted from 'Al-Kabair' of Imam Dhahabi)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Committing sins when alone can destroy all Deeds:

Some people take care to be pious when in front of others but forget that Allah is watching them when they are alone. Such hidden sins can actually destroy a person's good deeds too.

Allah commands us:

وَذَرُواْ ظَاهِرَ الإِثْمِ وَبَاطِنَهُ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْسِبُونَ الإِثْمَ سَيُجْزَوْنَ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَقْتَرِفُونَ

And avoid open sins and secret ones. Surely they who earn sin will be rewarded for what they have earned. (6:120)


It has been narrated by Thawban (RA) that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
"Know that some people from my ummah will come on the Day of Judgment with good deeds as (big as) the white mountains of Tihama, but Allah will make them scattered dust." 
Thawban said: O Messenger of Allah! Describe them to us, so that we may not be one of them unknowingly! 
He said: They will be your brothers, and from your people, and they will take from the night as you do (meaning offering Tahajjud prayers, etc.), but they are a people who, when they were alone with the prohibitions of Allah, violated them. (meaning that they would commit sins when alone)"
-[Ibn Majah]

May Allah protect us from such a condition. Ameen.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Those who wear clothes for fame and arrogance

 An important aspect of religion that must be observed is the Islamic code of clothing for both men and women. The appearance is a symbol of what one has in his/her heart.
Sadly today’s modern society is madly and blindly running behind fashion.  In fact, vulgarity and un-Islamic values have been introduced and injected in our society in the name of fashion and style.

The design of our dress must avoid three grave sins: show off, arrogance, and self- indulgence. Also clothing should not be worn for the purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one's status in society.

Ibn 'Abbas RA said, "Eat what you like and wear what you like as but avoid two things: extravagance and arrogance." (Bukhari)

The Quran describes the purpose of clothing:
O children of Adam! We have bestowed upon you clothing to cover your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness - that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember”. (Surah Al A’raf  verse 26).

Clothing worn by Muslims should be clean and decent, neither excessively fancy nor ragged. One should not dress in order to increase the admiration or sympathy of others.
The overall appearance of a person should be dignified and modest.

Our clothes should cover the body adequately with dignity and good looks. It should not fail to satisfy the requirements of adequate cover-up of the body. Nor should they be so ugly and awkward that instead of increasing beauty, it grades the person's appearance.

In today's brand and fashion conscious world, where people spend lots of money to make a "fashion statement" and impress others, we are forgetting that we are falling into grave sins and attracting Allah's punishment by trying to impress others.

Allah will punish those who wear clothes for fame and arrogance

Abdullah ibn Umar رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever wears a garment of fame (to show it off), Allah will make him wear a garment of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection and then He will set it ablaze with fire.” - Sunan Ibn Majah 3607 (Hasan)

Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
Whoever wears a piece of clothing in order to show off and that people look at it, Allah will not look at the person till he takes it off (Allah will not look at him so long as he is wearing them).” -Tabarani

Abu Hurairah رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ عنه related: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "While a man was walking, dressed in clothes admiring himself, his hair combed, walking haughtily when Allah caused the earth to swallow him. Now he will continue to go down in it (as a punishment) until the Day of Resurrection.'' [Sahih Muslim].

It has been narrated by Muadh Ibn-Jabal رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ عنه that when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent him to Yemen he said to him:
"Beware of luxury, for the slaves of Allah do not live a life of luxury." [Ahmad]

Allah will reward those who abandon fancy, expensive clothing out of Humility

Anas ibn Malik رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ عنه  reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever gives up fine clothing out of humility for Allah while he is able to wear them, then Allah will call him on the Day of Resurrection in front of all His creation and He will allow him to choose whichever garment of faith he desires.” -Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2481 (Hasan)

Sunnah Duas  while wearing a garment that help to avoid pride and showing off:

Reading the Duas of Sunnah and focussing on their meaning before wearing the clothes can protect us from developing sinful emotions of Arrogance and show-off.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, If anyone puts on a garment and says: "Praise be to Allah Who has clothed me with this and provided me with it through no might and power on my part," he will be forgiven his former and later (minor) sins. -Abu Dawud

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ عنه  reported: When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, wore a new garment he would name it, for instance, a turban or a shirt or a cloak, and the Prophet would say, “O Allah, praise is for you that you have dressed me with it. I ask you for its goodness and the goodness for which it was made. I seek refuge in you from its evil and the evil for which it was made.” -Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1767 (Sahih)

We should remember that the type of dress we wear is a personal choice to submit to Allah rather than the fashion of society. It is a choice to be beautiful in front of Allah, rather than to people. And it is a choice to cover and dignify the body Allah has blessed us with, rather than give in to a consumerist culture based on ego-worship, arrogance and self-gratification.


Patience (Sabr) in different situations & ways of acquiring it: Ibn Qayyim


Patience is required in the following areas of life:

1. In worshipping Allâh and following His commands,

2. In abstaining from wrong actions,
3. In accepting Allâh’s decree and ruling (qadâ’ wa qadr).

This is the advice given to Luqmân when he told his son:
“O my son! establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just and forbid what is wrong;
and bear with patient constancy whatever betide you; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs.” (Luqmân 31:17)

Enjoining what is just includes doing good oneself, and forbidding what is wrong includes abstaining from wrong action oneself.

To acquire Patience in worshiping Allah:

Patience in worshiping Allâh and carrying out His instructions means that you perform the prescribed acts of worship regularly and do so sincerely and with knowledge. Worship that is not performed regularly is of no value.

Even if worship is performed regularly, there are two dangers:
-Firstly, we risk losing our sincerity, if the motive for performing prayers is not to please Allâh and draw closer to Him. So to protect our worship we must make sure that we are sincere.

-Secondly, we must be sure never to deviate from the way of the Prophet (Peace be up on him), so we have to ensure that our worship is done according to the Sunnah.

To acquire Patience in abstaining from wrong actions:

This type of patience can be achieved through the fear of the punishment which follows the wrong action, or through a feeling of hayâ’ (shyness or shame) before Allâh for using His blessings in committing wrong actions.


That feeling of hayâ’ before Allâh can be strengthened through learning more about Allâh and knowing more about His names and attributes. Hayâ’ is a characteristic of people who are noble and possess good qualities, so the person who refrains from wrong action because of hayâ’ is better than the one who abstains because of fear. Hayâ’ indicates that a person is mindful of Allâh and His might.

The person whose deterrent is the fear of Allâh has his thoughts focused on the punishment. The fearful person’s main concern is himself and how to save himself from the punishment, whereas the “shy” person’s main concern is Allâh and His Glory.

Both have attained the status of îmân, but the “shy” person has attained ihsân, a higher status of îmân, in which he conducts himself as if he can see Allâh, and so his heart is filled with hayâ’.

The reason why it is so important for a believer to abstain from wrong action is because he must protect his îmân, as wrong action decreases îmân or extinguishes it. 
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “When an adulterer commits illegal sexual intercourse, then he is not a believer at the time he is doing it, and when a drinker of an alcoholic liquor drinks it, then he is not a believer at the time of drinking it, and when a thief steals, then he is not a believer at the time of stealing, and when a robber robs, and the people look at him, then he is not a believer at the time of doing robbery." (Bukhari)

The believer should abstain from many permitted actions in case they may lead to that which is forbidden.

To acquire Patience at times of trial and adversity:

Patience during difficult times may be achieved by:
1. thinking of the good reward that lies ahead. The more you believe in the rewards that are waiting for you, the easier it becomes to have patience. If it were not for the anticipation of the rewards, no goals or objectives pertaining to this life or the hereafter would have been achieved. Human nature loves instant gratification, but reason and maturity make us think of the long term outcome, which helps to strengthen our patience in enduring whatever faces us, whether there is no choice or otherwise;

2. expecting and hoping for a time of ease. This hope in itself offers a measure of immediate relief;

3. thinking of Allâh’s countless blessings. When we realize that we cannot enumerate the blessings of Allâh, it becomes easier for us to exercise patience in facing the current adversity, because the present troubles are like a raindrop compared to vast ocean of Allâh’s blessings and favours;

4. thinking of previous blessings of Allâh. This will remind us of Allâh’s care, and strengthen our hopes ad expectations of a time of ease to come.

-Extracts from: 'Patience and Gratitude' By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
An abridgement of his original work entitled, “Uddat as-Sâbireen wa Dhâkirat ash-Shâkireen”