"O my soul, it is only a few days, bear them patiently.A lifetime seems long but a flitting reverie"

~Imam Shafi~
" “The heart will rest and feel relief if it is settled with Allah and it will worry and be anxious if it is settled with people.” – Ibn al-Qayyim"....Say : "This is my way; I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me with sure knowledge" (Qur'an - 12:108) "Say: we believe in God and in what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il: Isaac, Jacob and The Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another, among them, and to God do we bow our will (in Islam)." (Qur'an, Al-Imran 3:84) . "And if he (Muhammad SAW) had forged a false saying concerning Us (Allah),We would have seized him by the right hand;And then certainly should have cut off his life artery (Aorta),And none of you could withhold Us from (punishing) him" (Qur'an,Al-Haqqah 69:44-47) "Do they not ponder the Quran! If it were revealed from a source other than Allah,certainly they would have found,many contradictions."[Holy Quran 4:82] " O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, and you will meet (i.e. the results of your deeds which you did)" [Holy Qur'an, 84:6] Say, "Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things? And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you concerning that over which you used to differ." ~Holy Quran 6:164 Imam Malik (rh): “Do not look to the sins of people as if you are Lords, but look to your own sins as if you are slaves. Have mercy on the people of affliction and praise Allah for your well-being, and never say, ‘This person is from the people of Hellfire, and this person is from the people of Paradise.’ Do not be arrogant over the sinners, but rather ask Allah to grant them hidayah and rashad (i.e. guidance).” Ibn Kathir (Ra) narrated: كان نقش خاتم عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه : كفى بالموت واعظاً ياعمر “The engraving on ‘Umar ibn al Khataab’s(Ra) ring was: “Sufficient is death as an admonisher O Umar”. ["Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaaya]. "When you fear the creation, you run away from it, but when you fear the Creator, you feel close to Him,& run towards Him.".Ibn Qayyim . "Allahumma la‘aisha illa‘aish-al-Aakhirah": 'There is no life but the life of the next world' "And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (i.e. death)". (Quran 15:99) “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways.And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” [Quran: 29:69] "... And my success is not but through Allah . Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return." ~ Al Quran 11:88
"Nothing in this world is really useful to you unless it has some utility and value for the next world"-Imam Ali(R)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Helping Out Your Fellow Brother

Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sa) said:
“A Muslim is a brother of (another) Muslim, he neither wrongs him nor does hand him over to one who does him wrong. If anyone fulfils his brother’s needs, Allah will fulfil his needs; if one relieves a Muslim of his troubles, Allah will relieve his troubles on the Day of Resurrection…” [Bukhari and Muslim].
Subhanallah! — look at the reward for helping out your fellow Muslim, to simply help them and to assist them in their needs, you will get the help and assistance of Allah Almighty.
What else can we ask for?!
But not only will Allah fulfil us in our needs in this world, but by you also helping your Muslim brother or sister out in times of hardships and difficulties — Allah will help us in the most difficult time in our life, being the Day Of Judgement, when we will all be in such a frantic, in need of help, and Allah promises us in this Hadith that He will relieve us our troubles on that day if we simply relieve the troubles of a Muslim in this world.
Allahu Akbar! So what are you waiting for? Get Busy!!
In another Hadith, Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sa) said:
“He who removes from a believer one of his difficulties of this world, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and he who finds relief for a hard-pressed person, Allah will make things easy for him on the Day of Resurrection; he who covers up (the faults and sins) of a Muslim, Allah will cover up (his faults and sins) in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah supports His slave as long as the slave is supportive of his brother…” [Muslim]
So strive hard to lend a hand to your Muslims in need, no matter how big or small their need may be — help them for the sake of Allah and not for any worldly matter (otherwise your actions will be fruitless). Be there for them in times of calamity and be assured that Allah will remove from you your difficulties, and not only that … Allah will cover up your faults and sins in this world and the Hereafter because you simply covered up the faults and sins of your brother.
So next time if a situation arises for you to help your fellow Muslim out, don’t hesitate whether to do it or not, don’t think or have the attitude ‘What will I get out of it?’ – just rememeber the words of Your Prophet Muhammad (sa), when he said:
“Allah supports His slave as long as the slave is supportive of his brother…”
So, never leave your brother standing after asking for your help, if he is in need of your help… help him fesabeelillah…


Friday, November 5, 2010

Overcoming Anxiety

Anxiety is an unavoidable part of life. Everyone in this world will have his or her share of worries. However, there are limits to how much worry there should be. Worry should not lead us to despair.

Some people try so hard to avoid anxiety that they are unable to cope with the real world. By fleeing from reality, they merely increase their worries.

We need to cope with our anxiety in a rational, methodical way.

First of all, we need to stop making unrealistic demands upon ourselves and upon the society in which we live. Many people worry over problems that are far beyond their scope to deal with. These problems are often so great that society as a whole cannot hope to solve them at the present time. Worrying about these matters does nothing but cause anxiety.

There is an old Arabic parable that goes: Once there was a desert dweller who owned a servant girl. Someone asked him: “Wouldn’t you dream that instead of possessing this servant girl you could be Caliph?”

He replied: “God no!” When the other asked him why, he said: “I am afraid that then both the servant girl and the nation would be lost!”

Now there is a man who knew what he should not be bothered with.

The second thing that we must do to get anxiety under control is to find contentment with the situation in which we find ourselves. This does not mean that we always have to accept things the way they are. We should definitely have dreams and ambitions. `Umar b. `Abd al-`Azîz said: “I am an ambitious man. First, I desired governorship. When I attained it, I desired to be Caliph. When I became caliph, I renounced its pleasures, for then my ambitions had turned to attaining Paradise.”

We should have ambitions, but we should also see the good in what we already have.

The third thing that we must do is to enjoy our successes. All of us have some achievements to our credit. We need to take satisfaction and pride in them, as this helps to prevent us from making light of Allah’s blessings.

Finally, we must refrain from envying others. Whatever someone else has is purely from Allah’s grace. Allah gives whatever He wills to whomever He pleases. A single woman should not get upset when she sees her sister getting married. A married woman should not fret when she sees another woman married to a man of far greater wealth and prestige. A divorcee should not cry whenever she sees someone else living in marital bliss. Instead, she should take a deep breath and say: “Praise be to Allah who has placed me in my good circumstances.”

We should appreciate that today is better than many days in the past, and with Allah’s blessings, tomorrow can be even better than today. Those who prefer to dwell in the past keep themselves in permanent sorrow thinking about missed opportunities and what might have been.

Once a professor entered his classroom and asked his students: “Has any of you ever sawed up some wood?” When some students replied that they all had done so at one time or another, he asked: “Have any of you ever sawed up a saw?” This time no one answered. The professor then said: “A person who always looks to the past is like a person who saws up a saw.”

We must not look to the lost opportunities of the past. We must instead look forward to the promise of a better future.

Fears and Worries

Ibn Hazm mentions that he took a good look at people, all people – Muslims and non-Muslims, righteous and ignoble, Arabs and non-Arabs – and made the following observation: “I found that they all had one thing in common; they all sought to rid themselves of their problems and worries.”

He then said: “So I decided to unlock the secret to this matter and discover the best way to overcome our worries. I found that there was nothing better for this than to worship Allah, adore Him, and to submit ourselves to Him fully. From this I realized that the guidance of the Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them) is comprehensive of what dispels the concerns of both this world and the next.”

There are many things in this world that inspire fear. However, we can find security in true reliance upon Allah and in reconciling ourselves to His decree.

Our fear is often worse that the things we are afraid of. Sometimes we fear some crisis occurring and that fear becomes a crisis in itself. Our fear of sickness may actually be the worst sickness to afflict us.

Do not grieve and do not be afraid. Allah says: “Verily, those who say ‘Our Lord is Allah’ then keep themselves upright, the angels descend upon them saying: ‘Do not fear and do not grieve. Hearken to glad tidings of the Paradise that you have been promised’.” [Sûrah Fussilat: 30]

Ibn Jawzî said: “I was plagued by a problem that compelled me to continuously suffer from worry and anxiety. I began to go to great lengths trying to figure out any ruse or strategy to rid myself of that problem, but to absolutely no avail. Then I remembered the verse: “And whoever fears Allah, Allah will provide for him a way out.” Then I realized that fear of Allah is a way out of every worry. No sooner did I resolve to strengthen my fear of Allah than I found a way to solve my problems.”

It does not behoove a created being to pin his trust, his hopes, and his thoughts on anything besides his obedience to Allah and his fulfillment of Allah’s command. Obedience to Allah is the reason for opportunities to open up for us. A person who fears Allah should always keep in mind that Allah is sufficient for him.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

What does Islam say about "mothers"?

Ansar Al-'Adl
This is one of the most convincing things about Islam - the treatment of women in general and especially the high position mothers hold in Islam.
Amongst the clearest examples of Islam's honoring women is the great status of the mother in Islam. Islam commands kindness, respect and obedience to parents and specifically emphasizes and gives preference to the mother as shall be shown in this article. Islam raises parents to a status greater than that found in any other religion or ideology.
The command to be good to one's parents begins right from the Qur'an. Allah says:
"Worship God and join not any partners with Him; and be kind to your parents..." [Noble Quran 4:36]
The mention of servitude to parents follows immediately after servitude to God. This is repeated throughout the Qur'an.
"Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say, "My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood." [Noble Quran 17:23-24]
The great scholar, Abu al-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawzî (d. 1201CE) explained:
To be kind to one's parents is: to obey them when they order you to do something, unless it is something which Allah has forbidden; to give priority to their orders over voluntary acts of worship; to abstain from that which they forbid you to do; to provide for them; to serve them; to approach them with gentle humility and mercy; not to raise your voice in front of them; nor to fix your glance on them; nor to call them by their names; and to be patient with them. (Ibn al-Jawzî, Birr al-Wâlidayn)
The Qur'an emphasizes the great struggles the mother goes through for her child, to highlight the need for one to reciprocate their parents sacrifice for them:
"And We have enjoined on man [to be good] to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him and his weaning was over two years. Be thankful to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination."[Noble Quran 31:14]
The renowned exegete, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman As-Sa'di (d. 1956), says about this verse:
{And to your parents} meaning, be kind to your parents, shower on them love, affection and piety, both in words and deeds, treat them with tender humility, provide for them and never harm them verbally nor physically. [...] Then, Allah mentions the reason why we should be kind to our parents, when He says {His mother bore him in travail upon travail}, that is, the mother bore constant suffering; in pain and hardship from the first moment she felt the child moving in her womb to the worst pangs during the time of delivery. And {his weaning is for two years}, that is, during these two years the mother breast-feeds her child and looks after him/her. So after all the years of suffering, hardship, love and care, could we not, at least, compensate our mothers for what they have done for us and pay them back their rights?(Taysîr al-Karîm ar-Rahmân fî Tafsîr al-Kalâm al-Manân)
The Qur'an repeats its mention of the struggles of the mother in yet another passage:
"And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, "My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims." [Noble Quran 46:15]
In connection to this passage, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan, Shaykh Muhammad Shafy (d. 1976) wrote:
Mother has more rights than father
Although the first part of this verse is a command to do good to both the parents, the second sentence refers only to the hardships suffered by the mother, because they are unavoidable, and no child can be born without them. Every mother has to go through the problems of pregnancy and severe pains of delivery. As against this, it is not necessary for a father that he suffers any hardship in bringing up and educating the child, if he can afford to pay somebody else for these services. This is why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has given more rights to the mother than anybody else. According to a hadîth he has said,
"Do good to and serve your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then the near relatives and then those who come after them."[Mazhari]
"And his carrying and his weaning is in thirty months"[Noble Quran 46:15]
This sentence too describes the hardships suffered by the mother for her baby. It points out that even after suffering hardships during pregnancy and the severe labor pains, the mother does not get respite from toils, because the natural food of the infants is in her breasts, and she has to suckle them. (Shafy, Ma'âriful Qur'ân [Eng. trans.], vol. 7, pp. 795-796)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) continually used to remind his followers of the status of the mother and the obligation of being good to one's parents. The following narration is a beautiful example of the noble position of the mother:
A man came to the Prophet and said: O Messenger of Allah! Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me? He replied: "Your mother." The man asked: Then who? So he replied: "Your mother." The man then asked: Then who? So the Prophet replied again: "Your mother." The man then asked: Then who? So he replied: "Then your father." (Sahîh Bukhârî 5971 and Sahîh Muslim 7/2)
Commenting on this hadith, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi notes:
This hadith confirms that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave precedence to kind treatment of one's mother over kind treatment of one's father (Al-Hashimi, The Ideal Muslimah, IIPH 2005, p. 165)
Likewise, the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abdul-Azîz Ibn Bâz (d. 1999) comments on this hadith saying:
So this necessitates that the mother is given three times the like of kindness and good treatment than the father. (Majmoo' Fataawaa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi'ah)
He also writes:
The secret of her importance lies in the tremendous burden and responsibility that is placed upon her, and the difficulties that she has to shoulder - responsibilities and difficulties some of which not even a man bears. This is why from the most important obligations upon a person is to show gratitude to the mother, and kindness and good companionship with her. And in this matter, she is to be given precedence over and above the father.[...] And I have no doubt that my mother - may Allah shower His mercy upon her - had a tremendous effect upon me, in encouraging me to study; and she assisted me in it. May Allah greatly increase her reward and reward her with the best of rewards for what she did for me. (Majmoo' Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi'ah)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) also said in a famous narration:
'Paradise lies at the feet of your mother' [Musnad Ahmad, Sunan An-Nasâ’i, Sunan Ibn Mâjah]
What can be greater evidence of honoring women than this? Islam has effectively placed the ultimate reward for human beings in their devotion to their mothers.
Shaykh Ibrahîm Ibn Sâlih Al-Mahmud writes:
Treat your mother with the best companionship, then your father; because paradise is under the mother's feet. Never disobey your parents, nor make them angry, otherwise you will live a miserable life in this world and the hereafter, and your children will treat you likewise. Ask your parents gently if you need something. Always thank them if they give it to you, and excuse them if they do not, and never insist on a matter if they refuse to give you something. (Al-Mahmoud, How to be kind to your Parents, p.40)
It is related from Talhah ibn Mu'âwiyah as-Salamî who said:
I came to the Prophet and said, "O Messenger of Allah, I want to perform Jihad in the way of Allah. He asked, "Is your mother alive?" I replied, "Yes." The Prophet then said: "Cling to her feet, because paradise is there." (at-Tabarânî).
Shaykh Nidhaam Sakkijihaa comments:
Cling to her feet means to submit yourself to her, be close to her, protect her, serve her because in this is Paradise and with her satisfaction you will enjoy the good blessings of Allah. (Sakkijihaa, Honoring the Parents, p. 52)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) showed us the importance of serving one's parents in the following narration reported by Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud:
I asked the Prophet, 'O Messenger of Allah, what is the best deed?' He replied 'Prayer offered on time.' I asked, 'What is next in goodness?' He replied, 'To be dutiful and kind to one's parents.' I further asked, 'What is next in goodness?' He replied, 'Jihad in the Allah's cause. [Sahîh Bukhârî, Sahîh Muslim]
Just as the Prophet said that kindness to one's parents was of the best deeds, he also said that disobedience to them was amongst the major sins:
"The greatest sins are to associate partners in worship with Allah, to be undutiful or unkind to one's parents, to kill a soul forbidden by Allah and to bear false witness." [Sahîh Bukhârî]
Even after the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), the Muslim scholars continued to stress the importance of being dutiful to one's mother. By examining the conduct and teachings of the early Muslim scholars, one may see how the direct recipients of the Islamic message understood the command to be dutiful to one's parents. Their behavior towards their parents shows Muslims how one is to implement the teachings of the Prophet on honoring parents.
Abdullah Ibn Abbâs (d. 687CE), a companions of the Prophet and a great scholar of Islam, considered kind treatment of one's mother to be the best deed for strengthening or rectifying one's relation with God. He said:
I know of no other deed that brings people closer to Allah than kind treatment and respect towards one's mother. [Al-Adab al-Mufrad Bukhârî 1/45]
An even more powerful example is found in the statement of another one of the Prophet's companions, Abdullah Ibn 'Umar (d. 692CE), who was also a great scholar of Islam. It has been related that:
Abdullah Ibn 'Umar saw a Yemeni man performing Tawâf (circumambulating the Ka'bah) while carrying his mother on his back. This man said to Abdullah Ibn 'Umar, "I am like a tame camel for her! I have carried her more than she carried me. Do you think I have paid her back, O Ibn 'Umar?" Abdullah Ibn 'Umar replied, "No, not even one contraction!!" [Al-Adab al-Mufrad Bukhârî 1/62]
SubhânAllah (Glory be to God)! The efforts of a man who carries his mother on his back while performing tawâf cannot even repay his mother for a single contraction that she went through for him. Wise indeed was Ibn 'Umar's reply to this man to show him how massively indebted he was to his mother. This is the tremendous value and prestigious position of mothers in Islam!
Yet another example is found in the following prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):
There will come to you with reinforcements from Yemen a man called Uways ibn 'Âmir of the clan of Murâd from the tribe of Qaran. He had leprosy but has been cured of it except for a spot the size of a coin. He has a mother and he has always treated her with kindness and respect. If he prays to Allah, Allah will fulfill his wish. If you can ask him to pray for forgiveness for you, then do so. [Sahîh Muslim 16/95]
Indeed, later on 'Umar ibn al-Khattâb met Uways who was exactly as the Prophet described, and upon 'Umar's request Uways prayed for him. Commenting on this narration, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimî writes:
What a high status Uways reached by virtue of his kindness and respect towards his mother, so that the Prophet recommended his Sahabah [companions] to seek him out and ask him to pray for them!
All of this indicates the high status to which Islam has raised the position of motherhood, and given the mother precedence over the father. At the same time, Islam has given importance to both parents, and has enjoined kindness and respect to both. (Al-Hashimi, The Ideal Muslimah, IIPH 2005, p. 167)
So great was the Islamic emphasis on parents, that the Muslims considered a great opportunity to attain paradise in service to one's mother. Iyâs Ibn Mu'âwiyah was a famous Islamic scholar from the second generation of Muslims. When his mother died, Iyâs Ibn Mu'âwiyah cried. He was asked, "Why do you cry?" He said, "I used to have two gates open to Paradise, now one of them is closed."
Zayn al-'Abidîn (d. 713CE) was the great grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and also a renowned scholar. He used to treat his mother with so much kindness and love as seen in the following narration:
Once he was asked, 'You are the most kind person to his mother, yet we have never seen you eating with her from a single dish.' He replied, 'I fear that my hand would take the what her eyes have already seen in the dish, and then I would be disobeying her'. [At-Tartushi, Birr al-Wâlidayn]
In other words, he was so careful not to disobey his mother that he would even avoid eating out of the same plate as her; He thought that she would see a morsel and intend to take it, but before she did he might unknowingly take that same morsel and eat it. This is how careful he was to obey his mother in the most minute details.
Another early Islamic scholar, Sa'îd Ibn Al-Musayyib (d. 709CE), was asked about the meaning of the verse "but address them in terms of honor" (17:23). Sa'îd Ibn Al-Musayyib replied:
It means that you should address them as a servant addresses his master.
Muhammad Ibn Sirîn (d. 729CE) used to speak to his mother in a very soft voice, out of respect for her. He was also often seen in the company of his mother and looking after her. (Ibn al-Jawzî, Birr al-Wâlidayn)
All that has preceded shows how the status of mothers - and consequently that of women - is elevated to the highest position in Islam. The honor Islam has given to mothers is beyond that found in any other religion, ideology or culture. This is clear proof of the lofty status of Muslim Women.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


1) Committing sins and not feeling any guilt.
2) Having a hard heart and no desire to read the Quran.
3) Feeling too lazy to do good deeds, e.g. being late for salat
4) Neglecting the Sunnah.
5) Having mood swings, for instance being upset about petty things and bothered and irritated most of the time.
6) Not feeling anything when hearing verses from the Quran, for example when Allah warns us of punishments and His promise of glad tidings.
7) Finding difficulty in remembering Allah and making dhikr.
8) Not feeling bad when things are done against the Shariah.
9) Desiring status and wealth.
10) Being mean and miserly, i.e. not wanting to part with wealth.
11) Ordering others to do good deeds when not practicing them ourselves.
12) Feeling pleased when things are not progressing for others.
13) Being concerned with whether something is haram or halal only; and not avoiding makroo (not recommended) things.
14) Making fun of people who do simple good deeds, like cleaning the mosque.
15) Not feeling concerned about the situation of Muslims.
16) Not feeling the responsibility to do something to promote Islam.
17) Being unable to deal with calamities, for instance crying and yelling in funerals.
18) Liking to argue just for the sake of arguing without any proof.
19) Becoming engrossed and very involved with dunya, worldly things, i.e. feeling bad only when losing something in terms of material wealth.
20) Becoming engrossed and obsessive about ourselves.

1) Recite and ponder on the meanings of the Quran. Tranquility then descends and our hearts become soft. To get optimum benefit, remind yourself that Allah is speaking to you. People are described in different categories in the Quran; think of which one you find yourself in.
2) Realise the greatness of Allah. Everything is under His control. There are signs in everything  we see that points us to His greatness. Everything happens according to His permission. Allah keeps track and looks after everything, even a black ant on a black rock on a black moonless night.
3) Make an effort to gain knowledge, for at least the basic things in daily life e.g. how to make wudu properly. Know the meanings behind Allah’s names and attributes. People who have taqwa are those who have knowledge.
4) Attend gatherings where Allah is remembered. In such gatherings we are surrounded by angels.
5) We have to increase our good deeds. One good deed leads to another good deed. Allah will make the way easy for someone who gives charity and also make it easy for him or her to do good deeds. Good deeds must be done continuously, not in spurts.
6) We must fear the miserable end to our lives; the remembrance of death is the destroyer of pleasures.
7) Remember the different levels of akhirah, for instance when we are put in our graves, when we are judged, whether we will be in paradise or hell.
8) Make dua, realise that we need Allah. Be humble. Don’t desire material things in this life.
9) Our love for Allah Subhana Wa Ta’Ala must be shown in actions. We must hope Allah will accept our prayers, and be in constant fear that we do wrong. At night before going to sleep, we must think about what good we did during that day.
10) Realise the effects of sins and disobedience- one’s imaan is increased with good deeds and our imaan is decreased by bad deeds. Everything that happens is because Allah wanted it. When calamity befalls us- it is also from Allah. It is a direct result of our disobedience to Allah.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Power of Dua..

Du'a is the most potent weapon of a believer. It can change fate, while no action of ours ever can. It is the essence of ibadah or worship. With it we can never fail; without it we can never succeed. In the proper scheme of things, du'a should be the first and the last resort of the believer, with all his plans and actions coming in between.

Du'a is conversation with Allah, out Creator, our Lord and Master, the All Knowing, the All Powerful. This act in itself is of extraordinary significance. It is the most uplifting, liberating, empowering, and transforming conversation a person can ever have. We turn to Him because we know that He alone can lift our sufferings and solve our problems. We feel relieved after describing our difficulties to our Creator. We feel empowered after having communicated with the All Mighty. We sense His mercy all around us after talking to the Most Merciful. We get a new commitment to follow His path for that is the only path for success. We feel blessed with each such commitment.

In every difficulty our first action is du'a, as is our last. We ask Allah to show us the way to handle that difficulty; we seek His help in following the path He shows to us; we seek His aid in making our efforts successful. When we fall sick, we know that we cannot find the right doctor without His Will; that the best doctor may not be able to diagnose our condition without His Command; that the best treatment plan will not succeed without His Permission. We make du'a for all of these. We make du'a before we seek medical help, while we are receiving it and after it has been delivered. The same is true of all other difficulties we may encounter.

Du'a is the essence of ibadah. A person engaged in du'a affirms his belief in Tawheed (monotheism) and shuns belief in all false gods. With each du'a his belief in Allah grows. He beseeches Him, affirming his own powerlessness. A person seriously and sincerely engaged in dua understands exactly the relationship between himself and the Creator and affirms it through his actions. That is the essence of worship! Additionally, such a person can never become arrogant or proud, a logical result of true worship.

Du'a is our most potent weapon in all struggles of life as well as in jihad in the battlefield. During the battle of Badr, the Prophet Muhammad   stood up all night in prayer seeking Allah's help in the battle between unequal armies that would follow the next day. In the decisive battles against the crusaders, Sultan Salatuddin Ayyubi was busy day and night. His days were devoted to Jihad. His nights were spent making du'a, crying, seeking Allah's help. This was the practice of all true mujahideen.

We should make it a point to make du'a for all things big and small. It is the beginning of wisdom to realize that big and small are arbitrary labels that are totally irrelevant in this context. Nothing is too big for Whom we are asking from; nothing is too small for the one who is asking. That is why we have been taught to ask Allah when we need something as small as shoelaces. We should ask as a beggar, as a destitute person, for that is what we in reality are in relationship to Allah. At the same time we should ask with great hope and conviction that we shall be granted our prayers. We should remember the Hadith: "There is nothing more dear to Allah than a servant making dua to Him." On the other hand, a prayer lacking concentration and conviction is no prayer at all.
We should make dua at all times, not only during times of distress.

 The Prophet Muhammad   said: "Whosoever desires that Allah answers his duas in unfavorable and difficult conditions, he should make plentiful dua in days of ease and comfort." Also he said: "The person who does not ask from Allah, Allah becomes angry with him."

We should ask for all of our needs: those related to this world as well as those related to the Hereafter. Those who only concentrate on the former are, in effect, announcing that they don't care for their life in the permanent abode. They should blame no body but themselves for the total ruin in that world that Qur'an assures us awaits them. Those who only concentrate on the later are also showing lack of balance, for we need Allah's help to lead a good life here as well.

We should make dua not only for ourselves but also for our parents, brothers and sisters, spouses and children, relatives and friends, teachers and other benefactors, and destitute and struggling Muslims everywhere. We should pray for them for the good in this world as well as in the Hereafter. The Prophet  said: "The dua of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial dua for his brother the appointed angel says, 'Aameen. And may you also be blessed with the same.'" [Sahih Muslim]


A Ruler is the Servant of the People:

It was a summer night. A refreshing breeze was gently playing about and pretty little stars were twinkling above. And when, after a restless day of excessive heat, man and bird and beast were all taking sweet rest, one lonely figure could be seen moving about the streets of the town of Madinah. This was the man the Muslims had elected to be their king.

In Islam, a leader of people is supposed to be the servant of the people, and as was usual, this king of Islam was out that night to ascertain for himself the welfare of his people. When at the outskirts of the town with the star-bedecked firmament above him, his thoughts went up to the great God Who had made these. Thus musing upon God’s greatness and beauty, he went on till he was quite a long way from the town. All of a sudden, in the dark of night, his eyes fell on a flame of fire at a distance. Spurred on by curiosity, he approached the light and after a while there loomed out what appeared to be a small tent. Drawing closer, he found a Bedouin seated in front of the tent, his face buried in his hands and a camel standing nearby. The Bedouin was lost in thought and took no notice of this nocturnal visitor.

"Assalamu ‘Alaikum!" said the visitor at last, to wake the Bedouin from his reverie, but to no effect. The visitor repeated the salutation, yet received no reply. After a third time, the Bedouin, taking him for a wayfarer or a beggar, sternly told him to be off and not to worry him.
"Why, brother? What is the trouble with you?" asked the visitor, not minding the rebuff in the least.

"Don’t you bore me," shouted the Bedouin. "Haven’t I once told you to clear off?" The visitor insisted on knowing what the matter was with him. At this, the Bedouin jumped to his feet to fetch his sword from inside his tent. "If you don’t want to lose your head," he said, "be off with you. It seems you must be a highwayman out on your game."
"No brother," replied the visitor gently. "I am no highwayman. Nor am I a wayfarer or a beggar. I belong to Madinah. I earn my living by working for others. I live in the town and have come out just for a stroll and seeing this fire in the wilderness, I was attracted here. I was afraid you are in trouble. What can I do for you?"

"Whose slave are you, then?" asked the Bedouin.
"I am a slave of the Muslims. My profession is to work for them," the visitor replied.
"What has brought you here?" enquired the Bedouin.
"All I want to know is the trouble that keeps you here in the desert in such perplexity," replied the visitor, taking his seat by the Bedouin. As he did so, he heard a painful cry from inside the tent – the cry of a woman.

"Why, brother? Who is crying with pain?" asked the visitor.
"It is my wife," replied the Bedouin. "We were coming from a long distance when her time came. I am a poor man and could not afford to take her to a town to engage a midwife so I stopped here in the desert. She is in great distress now. Please pray that God may help her in this desert place."

"Don’t worry about it in the least," replied the visitor. "I know a midwife and will shortly be back to you along with her."

"Wait!" said the Bedouin. "Don’t fetch a midwife. I have no money to pay her."
"Don’t worry on that account either," replied the visitor. "She will want no remuneration. Besides, she will be a great help to your wife."
It was past midnight when the visitor returned to his house. His wife was still up, waiting for him. Finding that her husband looked distressed, she asked him what was the matter. The husband told her the Bedouin’s story and asked her if she would help a fellow-woman in time of need. The wife was as good a Muslim as the husband; she said she was prepared to start that very moment.

"But they look very poor," said the husband. "Is there anything to eat that we might take for them?"
Wife: "Your own dinner is all that is left."
Husband: "Anything more?"
Wife: "Some goat’s milk."
Husband: "Anything else?"
Wife: "Some flour and some olive oil."
Husband: "Anything more?"
Wife: "By God, nothing else."
Husband: "Well, then, have all these things ready. I am going to saddle the camel. We must be quick."
Wife: "But won’t you have your dinner?"
Husband: "God knows if they have had any food at all since morning."
Wife: "Then do take a little milk."
Husband: "That poor woman would want it. Hurry up! They must be very anxious. Take a lamp with you."

In a moment, the camel was ready and they started with all the provisions they had in their house. In a short while they were at the Bedouin’s tent.
Addressing the Bedouin, the visitor said: "Please permit my wife to go in to render whatever help she can."

"It is extremely kind of you but I don’t know how to repay you. I don’t even have so much as a meal," replied the Bedouin.

"No question of payment; just permit my wife in," said the visitor.
While the wife went in, the visitor opened the bag of provisions he had brought with him. Taking his own dinner out, he served it to the Bedouin and asked him to help himself. The Bedouin said he must join too, but as the food was barely enough for one man, the visitor excused himself and the Bedouin had a hearty meal. When he had finished, they entered into a friendly conversation.

Bedouin: "Are you a native of Madinah?"
Visitor: "No, my birthplace is Makkah."
Bedouin: "Why did you leave Makkah?"
Visitor: "I came here along with my master."
Bedouin: "Has your master set you free?"
Visitor: "He has put me to the service of Muslims."
Bedouin: "Have you seen the Prophet’s time?"
Visitor: "Yes, I had that privilege too."
Bedouin: "Have you been in the Prophet’s company?"
Visitor: "O yes! Hundreds of times.’
Bedouin: "What a fortunate fellow! Then surely you must tell me how the Prophet lived and what he taught."

Visitor: "The Prophet lived a simple life. He wore plain clothes and ate simple food. He was very keen on cleanliness. He rose very early and first thing in the morning, he would thoroughly clean his teeth and mouth. He worked very hard and did everything with his own hands. He patched his own clothes, mended his own shoes, milked his own goats, and even swept his own floor. God, he would say, loves the man who earns his living by honest labour. He helped the poor and took care of the orphans and the widows. He stood by the weak, and never did a man in distress come to him who went back disappointed. He respected women. He never despaired. In the face of the greatest obstacles, he always looked his best. He taught that all men are equal. Though the Prophet of God and the King of Arabia, he never looked upon himself as superior to other men. When on his deathbed, he had it announced that if he had offended anyone, he was there ready to suffer the penalty; if he owed anything, he was there to repay it. Such was the Prophet’s life of love and labour; such was his teaching."

Bedouin: "But you have told me nothing about prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, and so many other things which he enjoined."

Visitor: "Yes, he was very particular about prayers. He said when we say our prayers we are taking a spiritual bath and come out cleaner and refreshed. He also said prayers were like a ladder that took us up to a higher and nobler life. But all worship, he said, was meant to enable us to play our part in life worthily. A man, he said, who says his prayers but does not feel for the orphan and the needy, is saying no prayers. Prayers must make us truthful, honest, hardworking, fearless, humble, regular, and above all, loving and of service to our fellow-men. Religion, he taught, meant love of God and service to fellow-men."
Renewed restlessness within the tent disturbed their conversation. For a while there was silence. The Bedouin walked up and down and then resuming his seat by the visitor went on with his questions.

Bedouin: "So you must know Umar, too. They say he is a very harsh man."
Visitor: "Rather! This is indeed a great defect in him."

Bedouin: "I wonder why people elected such a harsh man as their caliph?"
Visitor: "Perhaps they could find no better servant."

Bedouin: "Servant! What do you mean? The caliph must be having the time of his life. He must have plenty of money."

At this moment, a voice from within the tent announced a newcomer.
"Amir ul-Muminin!" said the visitor’s wife. "Congratulate your friend. God has blessed him with a son."

The Bedouin was taken aback at the words, Amir ul-Muminin. His visitor was the caliph, himself. He was overtaken by fear.

"I beg your pardon, Amir ul-Muminin," he said, with fear on his face. "I have been rude to you."
"Don’t worry about that, friend," Umar the Great reassured him. "You are just as much a human being as I am. In the sight of God, there is neither high nor low. We are all equal. God loves those who love His creatures. I have only done my duty, for, in Islam, the leader of a people means the servant of the people."

by Muhammad Yakub Khan
Taken from: The Golden Deeds of Islam

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Embracing the Veil


Special to The Washington Post

LONDON -- I used to look at veiled women as quiet, oppressed creatures -- until I was captured by the Taliban.

In September 2001, just 15 days after the terrorist attacks on the United States, I sneaked into Afghanistan, clad in a head-to-toe blue burqa, intending to write a newspaper account of life under the repressive regime. Instead, I was discovered, arrested and detained for 10 days. I spat and swore at my captors; they called me a "bad" woman but let me go after I promised to read the Quran and study Islam. (I'm not sure who was happier when I was freed -- they or I.)

Back home in London, I kept my word about studying Islam -- and was amazed by what I discovered. I'd been expecting Quranic chapters on how to beat your wife and oppress your daughters; instead, I found passages promoting the liberation of women. Two and a half years after my capture, I converted to Islam, provoking a mixture of astonishment, disappointment and encouragement among friends and relatives.

With disgust and dismay, I watched here in Britain as former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw described the Muslim niqab -- a face veil that reveals only the eyes -- as an unwelcome barrier to integration, with Prime Minister Tony Blair, writer Salman Rushdie and even Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi leaping to his defense.

Having been on both sides of the veil, I can tell you that most Western male politicians and journalists who lament the oppression of women in the Islamic world have no idea what they are talking about. They go on about veils, child brides, female circumcision, honor killings and forced marriages, and they wrongly blame Islam for all this, their arrogance surpassed only by their ignorance.

These cultural issues and customs have nothing to do with Islam. A careful reading of the Quran shows that just about everything that Western feminists fought for in the 1970s was available to Muslim women 1,400 years ago. Women in Islam are considered equal to men in spirituality, education and worth, and a woman's gift for childbirth and child-rearing is regarded as a positive attribute.

When Islam offers women so much, why are Western men so obsessed with Muslim women's attire? Even British government ministers Gordon Brown and John Reid have made disparaging remarks about the niqab -- and they hail from Scotland, where men wear skirts.

A personal statement When I converted to Islam and began wearing a headscarf, the repercussions were enormous. All I did was cover my head and hair -- but I instantly became a second-class citizen. I knew I'd hear from the odd Islamophobe, but I didn't expect so much open hostility.

Cabs passed me by at night, their "for hire" lights glowing. One cabbie, after dropping off a white passenger in front of me, glared at me when I rapped on his window; he drove off. Another said, "Don't leave a bomb in the back seat" and asked, "Where's bin Laden hiding?"

Yes, it is a religious obligation for Muslim women to dress modestly, but the majority of Muslim women I know like wearing the hijab, which leaves the face uncovered, though a few prefer the niqab. It is a personal statement: My dress tells you that I am a Muslim and that I expect to be treated respectfully, much as a Wall Street banker would say that a business suit defines him as an executive to be taken seriously. Among converts to the faith like me, the attention of men who confront women with inappropriate, leering behavior is not tolerable.

I was a Western feminist for many years, but I've discovered that Muslim feminists are more radical than their secular counterparts. We hate those ghastly beauty pageants and tried to stop laughing in 2003 when judges of the Miss Earth competition hailed the emergence of a bikini-clad Miss Afghanistan, Vida Samadzai, as a giant leap for women's liberation. They even gave Samadzai a special award for "representing the victory of women's rights."

Some young Muslim feminists also consider the hijab and the niqab political symbols, a way of rejecting Western excesses such as binge drinking, casual sex and drug use. What is more liberating: being judged on the length of your skirt and the size of your surgically enhanced breasts, or being judged on your character and intelligence? In Islam, superiority is achieved through piety -- not beauty, wealth, power, position or sex.

I didn't know whether to scream or laugh when Italy's Prodi joined the debate by declaring that it is "common sense" not to wear the niqab because it makes social relations "more difficult." Nonsense. If this were the case, why are cellphones, land lines, e-mail, text messaging and fax machines in daily use? And no one switches off the radio because they can't see the presenter's face.

Under Islam, I am respected. It tells me that I have a right to an education and that it is my duty to seek out knowledge, regardless of whether I am single or married. Nowhere in the framework of Islam are we told that women must wash, clean or cook for men.

As for how Muslim men are allowed to beat their wives -- it's simply not true. Critics of Islam will quote random Quranic verses or hadith, but usually out of context. If a man does raise a finger against his wife, he is not allowed to leave a mark on her body, which is the Quran's way of saying, "Don't beat your wife, stupid."

And in the West ...?

It is not just Muslim men who must re-evaluate the place and treatment of women. According to a recent National Domestic Violence Hotline survey, 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a partner during an average 12-month period. More than three women are killed by their husbands and boyfriends every day -- that is nearly 5,500 since 9-11.

Violent men don't come from any particular religious or cultural category; one in three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime, according to the hotline survey. This is a global problem that transcends religion, wealth, class, race and culture.

But in the West, men still believe that they are superior to women. They still receive better pay for equal work -- whether in the mailroom or the boardroom -- and still treat women as sexualized commodities whose power and influence flow directly from their appearance.

And for those who are still trying to claim that Islam oppresses women, recall this 1992 statement from the Rev. Pat Robertson, offering his views on empowered women: Feminism is a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Now you tell me who is civilized and who is not.

Yvonne Ridley is political editor of Islam Channel TV in London. Yvonne Ridley is co-author of "In the Hands of the Taliban: Her Extraordinary Story" (Robson Books). This essay appeared previously in The Washington Post. hermosh@aol.com 

Source: http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/16095998.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp