بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
You know, I really, really hate that statement.
[That’s probably why I never ask most people what they think of my ideas – because I know that they’ll say “That’s not going to work!”
What I do instead is mention the idea as though it were the most awesome idea in the world so they have no choice but to nod their heads.]
Many times, whenever I tell people that they CAN do something (that is encouraged in the Shariah), their reply is usually “It won’t work” or something equivalent to that. They don’t even give themselves two minutes to think over it.
This awful statement basically causes us to drown in our own negativity.
It also goes against one of the basics of tawheed (worshipping Allah alone): having good thoughts about Allah.
I mean, why exactly won’t it work?
Who is the One who has power over all things?
Who is the One who created the heavens and the earth?
Who is the One that made the fire cool for Ibrahim (alaihissalam)?
Who is the One that split the sea for Musa (alaihissalam)?
Who is the One that caused Isa (alaihissalam) to be born without a father?
Who is the One that sent the angels to help our Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and his companions (radiallahu anhum) defeat their enemies, despite being outnumbered, in the Battle of Badr?
So, the One who did all this, isn’t He also able to aid us in our cause? Why is that we don’t ask Him?
Rather than going on about how one cannot do something, one should do the following instead:
1) Make sure that the action is halal (lawful)
One can also to Salatul Istikhara (the prayer for guidance)
2) Dua (supplication) – Loads of it
One should ask with certainty and with humility.
3) Write down a list of possible steps to take
These are the means that one can and should take in order to achieve the required goal.
Also, one should try to take from the Sunnah as much as possible. For example, if one is trying to figure how to control one’s troublesome teenager, one should first refer to Islamic books to see if there is any Prophetic guidance in this regard. After this, one may refer to other books.
4) Put one’s trust in Allah alone
We are not allowed to put our trust in the means.
5) Have good thoughts about Allah at all times
Yes, all the time.
And no, these steps are not complicated, because contrary to many people’s perceptions, life itself is not that complicated. For some strange reason, we just don’t want to believe that!
So, I’d advise all the naysayers to try to be more positive and take things step by step.
Follow all the above steps and insha-Allah, if it’s good for you, it will work.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, I was planning to post the “I’m too busy” article today (the one that I mentioned last week). The wind blew and I decided that I could postpone that one until later because I have a reminder for me and for you.
It started with the news of a possible tsunami in Indonesia. When I read this (yesterday or the day before), I was very alarmed because of what had happened in the original tsunami.
Then I read that it might reach the Gulf states. I got scared because I happen to come from a Gulf state.
The article mentioned the UAE. My fear increased. I felt slightly better after it said “Fujairah” and not “Dubai”. [Fujairah is the northern most emirate, and Dubai is in the middle. We have seven emirates overall.]
Then, I found out that we’d have no tsunami after all. I was so relieved.
Then today morning as I’m in class, the wind started to blow. A lot.
The first thing that I thought of was that there was going to be a tsunami after all.
Everyone started looked anxious and proceeded to recite the dhikr (remembrance) for when the wind blows. [You can read it here]
After all, an entire nation was destroyed by the wind.
وَأَمَّا عَادٌ فَأُهْلِكُوا بِرِيحٍ صَرْصَرٍ عَاتِيَةٍ
سَخَّرَهَا عَلَيْهِمْ سَبْعَ لَيَالٍ وَثَمَانِيَةَ أَيَّامٍ حُسُومًا فَتَرَى الْقَوْمَ فِيهَا صَرْعَىٰ كَأَنَّهُمْ أَعْجَازُ نَخْلٍ خَاوِيَةٍ
فَهَلْ تَرَىٰ لَهُم مِّن بَاقِيَةٍ
“And as for Aad, they were destroyed by a furious violent wind; which Allah imposed on them for seven nights and eight days in succession, so that you could see men lying overthrown (destroyed), as if they were hollow trunks of date-palms! Do you see any remnants of them?” [Surah Al-Haqqah (69) : 6-8]
Subhan Allah, who can save us from the wind except the One who sends it?
It’s only when we have these kind of situations (tsunami, earthquake, thunder and lighting, violent wind, etc) that we really fear Allah, because we know that only He can save us, nothing else, not our wealth, status, power, etc.
After all, look what happened to Japan, which used to have one of the strongest economies in the world. Could they save themselves from the tsunami? No!
This begs the question: Why do we feel so safe on the other (normal) occasions??
Allah asks us the following:
أَأَمِنتُم مَّن فِي السَّمَاءِ أَن يَخْسِفَ بِكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فَإِذَا هِيَ تَمُورُ
أَمْ أَمِنتُم مَّن فِي السَّمَاءِ أَن يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًا ۖ فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ كَيْفَ نَذِيرِ
وَلَقَدْ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَكَيْفَ كَانَ نَكِيرِ
“Do you feel secure that He, Who is above the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquake)? Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My Warning? And indeed those before them belied (the Messengers of Allah), then how terrible was My denial (punishment)?” [Surah Al-Mulk (67) : 16-18]
However, some of us do something similar to what the disbelievers of the past did: remember Allah only in times of fear.
وَإِذَا مَسَّكُمُ الضُّرُّ فِي الْبَحْرِ ضَلَّ مَن تَدْعُونَ إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ ۖ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاكُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ أَعْرَضْتُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ الْإِنسَانُ كَفُورًا
“And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon besides Him vanish from you except Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safely to land, you turn away (from Him). And man is ever ungrateful.” [Surah Al-Isra (17) : 67]
So, this is a short reminder for you and for me, that we need to fear Allah as He should be feared. Yes, we need to hope in His Mercy but we also need to fear His Punishment. That is the moderate way.
Fearing His Punishment doesn’t just mean becoming righteous for all of 20 minutes during the time of need. It means continuing the good even after the possible calamity has been averted, in order to avoid the major calamity i.e. the hell fire.
All of us are going to die and all of us are going to be raised again. And on that Day, we won’t get a second chance. That will be IT. No more chances.
So, we need to work for that Day from NOW, not just in times of calamity or in Ramadan.
Subhan Allah, just a short time before the wind blew, our teacher was talking about people who finish the Quran in 2 months but don’t understand anything.
He said that ilm (knowledge) was khashiyah (fear) of Allah and understanding and applying just one ayah (verse) would suffice us (as it summarises everything).
The ayah? Here you go:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
“O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” [Surah Al-Hashr (59) : 18]
Something to ponder over, isn’t it?
That’s not all though. The two ayaat (verses) after this are:
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّـهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
لَا يَسْتَوِي أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ وَأَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ ۚ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ
“And be not like those who forgot Allah (i.e. became disobedient to Allah) and He caused them to forget their own selves, (let them to forget to do righteous deeds). Those are the Fasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allah). Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise. It is the dwellers of Paradise that will be successful.” [Surah Al-Hashr (59) : 19-20]
So, let’s get to work.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Photo Courtesy of Sarah McCaw]
[Note: Yes, I’m going to be a good girl and start giving credit to the owners of the images that I use in my posts.]
That’s what a friend of mine (you know who you are) said.
What she meant was that none of us have any excuse not to practice Islam or say that we didn’t know (generally speaking, of course).
Let me give you a real life example. A woman came up to a famous Islamic lecturer and said: “I’m a born Muslim but my parents didn’t teach me anything about Islam.”
“My parents weren’t even Muslims.”
Subhan Allah, we really need to dwell over this.
Many people blame their families, communities, secular education, etc as the reasons for their lack of knowledge about Islam.
Well, that begs the question: What stopped them from taking the steps to seek knowledge and apply Islam after they grew up? Aren’t they now responsible for themselves? They can’t lay all the blame on others!
Many people wish they had been taught Islam in childhood.
“If only…”, they say.
Musa (alaihissalam), one of the five greatest people to walk on this planet, was raised in the house of Pharaoh.
Ibrahim (alaihissalam), the second greatest person to walk on this planet, was the son of an idol maker.
Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), the greatest man to walk on this planet, also came from a family that worshipped idols.
[Please note: The Prophets never worshipped anyone other than Allah even before Prophethood, not even for a minute.]
So, which “religious practicing” families did they come from?
Also, what about the Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)? Many of them were not born into Islam. They accepted Islam much later on in life.
Despite this, all the above people (the Prophets and the Companions) were the most knowledgeable people this planet has seen.
Apart from them, there are other stories in the Quran and Sunnah about people who didn’t know the Straight Path but strove to find it, despite being surrounded by a non-Islamic society. Here are four of those stories.
So, I think that it’s time to stop laying the blame on others and take responsibility for our own actions.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, there we are walking. We see something harmful on the ground like a nail or a safety pin, for example.
What do we do? Well, most of us make sure that we avoid it and then we proceed to forget about it.
“So what’s wrong with that?”
Well, if one wants to be average, then there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if one wishes to excel in the hereafter, then a great opportunity has been lost.
الإيمان بضع وسبعون أو بضع وستون شعبة . فأفضلها قول لا إله إلا الله . وأدناها إماطة الأذى عن الطريق . والحياء شعبة من الإيمان
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Iman (faith) has over seventy or sixty odd branches, the most excellent of which is the declaration that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and the lowest of which is the removal of what is harmful from the path: and modesty is a branch of iman.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 56]
Here’s a man who took advantage of this great opportunity:
بينما رجل يمشي بطريق ، وجد غصن شوك على الطريق فأخره ، فشكر الله له فغفر له
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “While a man was going on a way, he saw a thorny branch and removed it from the way and Allah became pleased by his action and forgave him for that.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 624]
I was telling one of my friends about the virtues of fasting 3 days a month. She was very surprised. She pointed out that if we did these little deeds, we could earn so much reward, yet we were so lax. [Little things add up, remember?]
And this is the truth. Fasting three days a month and moving a harmful object from the way are very easy things. Sadly, we find that few people do them.
So, let’s try to implement these little things, for the sake of Allah. Who knows, perhaps they will be our entrance to Paradise, as they were for the man mentioned above.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Okay, I wasn’t sure what the title of this post should be.
By “Ramadan Muslims”, I was referring to those who only worship Allah during Ramadan, or those like them who only worship Him during a specific time (e.g. during Hajj or during a calamity).
I recently heard a lecture series where the speaker, Shaikh Uthman Al-Khamees, pointed out the difference between two individuals: the one who always worshipped Allah and another who only believed when death came to him.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So you ask someone to do something useful.
It’s almost like this word is pasted all over the walls.
So what exactly are they busy doing, one wonders?
Yes, that just about summarises it.
A sister once mentioned that “busy” was just a short form for:
[Meaning being under the devil’s control.]
All sarcasm aside, this issue is a very important one. Whenever one asks another to worship Allah, this is the only response that one hears!
“I’m too busy!”
Can someone actually be too busy to worship Allah???
We need to ask ourselves two simple questions:
1) Are we really that busy?
2) If so, then what are we busy doing?
Insha-Allah, I’m going to have a post later this week that discusses this issue. [Yes, I’m going to dissect this excuse.]
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Note: Jazakumullahu kheira to the 13 people who took the time out to fill the survey. It was most appreciated.]
[Another note: No more 7-days-a-week blogging for me. I’m taking the weekends off.]
Every time something bad happens to us, we try to figure out whose fault it is.
Well, Allah tells us exactly whose fault it is:
وَمَا أَصَابَكُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ
“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.” [Surah Ash-Shura (42) :30]
Yes, it’s OUR fault. And these calamities are a part of what we’ve earned.
وَلَوْ يُؤَاخِذُ اللَّـهُ النَّاسَ بِمَا كَسَبُوا مَا تَرَكَ عَلَىٰ ظَهْرِهَا مِن دَابَّةٍ وَلَـٰكِن يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۖ فَإِذَا جَاءَ أَجَلُهُمْ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِعِبَادِهِ بَصِيرًا
“And if Allah were to punish men for that which they earned, He would not leave a moving (living) creature on the surface of the earth, but He gives them respite to an appointed term, and when their term comes, then verily, Allah is Ever All-Seer of His slaves.” [Surah Fatir (35) : 45]
If we got everything we earned, we’d be history.
So what do we need to do?
At the end of a long hadeeth qudsi (the full version can be found in this post), Allah says:
فمن وجد خيرا فليحمد الله . ومن وجد غير ذلك فلا يلومن إلا نفسه
“So he who finds good, let him praise Allah, and he who finds other than that, let him blame no one but himself.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6246]
So, when something good happens to us, we should attribute it to Allah, not to ourselves. However, when something bad happens to us, we should NOT attribute it to Allah, rather we should blame ourselves and seek His forgiveness.
In fact, this was the difference between Adam (alaihissalam) and Iblees. When Adam (alaihissalam) made that mistake, he blamed himself and asked Allah to forgive him. Due to this, he was raised in status.
Whereas in the case of Iblees, he blamed Allah for his misdeeds and refused to blame himself. Due to this, he was doomed.
So, who do we want to be like? Our father Adam or our enemy Iblees?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Yes, less than four months to go for the Big Event.
How can we prepare?
Well, I would suggest the following:
We all dream of having an ideal Ramadan preparation (along with an ideal Ramadan, of course). The operative word here is “dream”.
Then when the time comes to prepare for it we say “Insha-Allah, we’ll see” or “Not at the moment because I have too much to do.”
In fact, many of us plan but very few of us actually get around to executing the plan.
So when are we* going to get around to preparing for Ramadan?
[We = those like me who haven’t started yet.]
Let’s just start, insha-Allah!
PS. We could finally start implementing the plans of Ramadan Preps past…