"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)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Amazing Story Sufyān ath-Thawrī

Imām al-Dhahabī
 mentions the following story in his entry for Sufyān ath-Thawrī:
”ʻAlī b. ʻAbd al-ʻAzīz said, Arim narrated to us saying, I went to Abū Manṣūr to visit him, he said to me,

‘Sufyān resided in this house, and there was here a nightingale belonging to 
my son. He (Sufyān) said, ‘Why is this locked up (in a cage)? It should be freed.

  I said, ‘It belongs to my son, and he gives it to you as a gift.’ 
Sufyān said, ‘No, I will give him a dinar for it.’ He said, ‘He then took it and freed it, and it would go out and return in the evening, and would be at the far end of the house. 

When Sufyān died, it followed his funeral procession and was flying over his grave. After this on some nights it would go to his grave, and sometimes 
would spend the night there, and sometimes would return back home. They then found it dead by his grave and it was buried alongside Sufyān.”’

[al-Fawāʼid al-Gharrah, 3/281]


Saturday, November 30, 2013

An Amazing Story – Trust in Allah

Al Haafidh ibn Rajab mentioned in the commentary of the tabiqaat of Al Hanaabila (196/1) in the biography of Al Qaadi Abi Bakr Muhammad Abdul Al Baaqi Al Bazzaz who died in the year 535 from the migration of the Messenger of ALLAH, peace and blessing be upon him. Sheik Saalih Abu Al Qaasim Al Khazaz Al Bagdadi said, “I heard Al Qaadi Abi Bakr Muhammad Abdul Al Baaqi Al Bazzaz Al Ansaari say”…

I used to live in the vicinity of Mecca, may ALLAH the Exalted protect it, so one day I was stricken with severe hunger and I did not find anything to fight against this hunger. So I found a bag made from silk, tied with a tassel that was also made from silk, so I grabbed it and took it to my house. When I unfasten it I found in it a necklace made from pearl such that I had not seen the like of it before. So when I exited my house I saw an old man that was seeking this bag. With him was a torn rag containing five hundred dinar and he was saying, “This is for the one who returns to me the bag containing the pearls.” So I said, “I am in need, I am hungry, so I will take this money and benefit from it and return to him the bag”. So I said to him, “Come to me”, so I took him and brought him to my home. So he gave me the description of the bag, and the description of the tassel, and the description of the pearls along with their number, and the description of the thread that fasten it. So I removed it from the bag and gave it to him, so he gave me the five hundred dinar, but I did not take it. Then I said to him, “It is incumbent upon me to return this to you and I will not take any reward for it.” He said to me, “You must take it”, and he persisted in this, but I would not take it from him so he left me and went about his way.

As for me, I didn’t have anything so I left Mecca and began sailing in the sea. So the ship tore apart and everyone aboard it drowned and their wealth was destroyed. I was saved by holding onto a piece of the ship. So I remained for a time period in the sea not knowing where I was going. I then arrived at an island that was inhabited by people. I sat in some of the masjids and the people heard me reading, and there did not remain anyone on the island except that he came to me and said, “Teach me the Koran”, so I acquired from the people a lot of wealth. Then I saw in the masjid some paper from a Mushaf, so I took it and began to read it. They said to me, “Do you have good handwriting?” I said yes. So they said, “Teach me handwriting”. So they came to me with their children from amongst the small kids and the young men and I used to teach them. I acquired from this also, a lot of wealth.

After this they said to me, “We have a young orphan girl who has some things from the dunya, (worldly wealth) we would like for you to marry her.  I refused, but they said, “It is a must!” And they made this incumbent upon me, so I agreed. After they married her to me, I turned my glance toward her and I found that exact same necklace hanging around her neck! At this time I did not busy myself with anything except staring at this necklace. So they said to me, “Oh Sheik! You have broken this young orphan girl’s heart by looking at this necklace, and you have not even looked at her. So I relayed to them the story of the necklace. So they screamed and yelled out, “There is no deity worthy of worship except ALLAH, ALLAHU AKBAR, until it reached everyone on the island. So I said, “What is with you?” They said, “The old man that took the necklace from you is the father of this young girl.” He used to say, “I have not found in the dunya (world) a Muslim (what is meant here is a trustworthy, kindhearted, one who knows the rights of found property) except the one who returned to me this necklace.” And he used to make dua (supplication) saying, “Oh ALLAH, join me and him together so that I may marry him to my daughter”, and now it has happened. So I remained with her for a time period and I was provided with two sons by her. Then she passed away, so I inherited the necklace, me and my two sons. Then my two sons died, therefore the necklace became mine. So I sold the necklace for one hundred thousand dinar, and the money that you see me with now is what is left over from that money.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Don’t Hesitate: Lessons from the Battle of Mu’tah


One of the unique characteristics of the battle of Mu’tah is that rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) appointed not one, but three commanders in thechain of command:
`Abdullah bin ‘Umar said: Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) appointed Zaid bin Haritha as the commander of the army during the Ghazwa of Mu’tah and said, “If Zaid is martyred, Ja’far should take over his position, and if Ja’far is martyred, Abdullah bin Rawaha should take over his position.” (Saheeh Bukhari)
The Muslims fought 300 against 1000 in Badr, and won by the will of Allah. In Uhud, similarly outnumbered 3:1, they won again. In Mu’tah, the Muslim army of 3000 faced 100,000 mushrikeen Arabs, and with them, another 100,000 professional Roman soldiers under the banner of Hiraqal (Heracules). They were outnumbered almost 70:1.
The battle started. Rasulullah narrated as if he could see the events unfold:
“Zayd bin Haritha took the banner and fought with it until he was martyred. Ja’far then took it and fought, bearing it until he was martyred,” after that Rasulallah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) became silent and the faces of the Ansar changed as they wondered whether there was anything terrible about Abdullah bin Rawahah. Then he said, “Abdullah bin Rawahah has taken it now and fought until martyrdom. They have been raised up to heaven – I saw in a vision – upon couches of gold. I noticed that the couch of Abdullah bin Rawahah was slanting away from those of his companions and I asked ‘Why is this?’ I was told, ‘They went straight ahead, whereas Abdullah bin Rawahah hesitated somewhat before proceeding.’” (Source)
We see an important lesson here: even though Abdullah ibn Rawaha, radiallahu anhu, hesitated for only a few moments, that resulted in a slightly less reward for him.
We need to seize opportunities for good when we see them. Not only do these opportunities pass us by (and we get no reward), but those who are the forerunners and the sabiqoon, the first ones and those who do not hesitate, beat us in reward.
Action item: Be cognizant of the opportunities around you. Budget some time, some money, some effort, to spend when these opportunities arise.

Source: Alkauther: The Victorious One. Taught by Shaykh Alaa Syed. University of Toronto, Toronto, May 2012.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hajj: Lessons for Life

There are many lessons that could be learned from Hajj and that have great benefits for individuals and the entire Ummah (Muslim nation).

Dear reader, the following are some of these lessons:
1.     Gaining piety (fear of Allaah The Almighty)
Piety is the aim of Hajj and the best of all matters as Allaah The Almighty Advised the former and the latter peoples Saying (what means):
·        {Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of Ihraam], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do - Allaah Knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allaah (piety). And fear Me, O you of understanding.} [Quran 2:197]
·        {Their meat will not reach Allaah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.}[Quran 22:37]
·        {That [is so]. And whoever honors the Symbols of Allaah - indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.}[Quran 22:32]
The people of understanding whom Allaah The Almighty chose to fear Him draw lessons from Hajj to obtain piety. They look at the origin of the Divine legislation and its important status in religion, and realize that true love for Allaah The Almighty and slavery to Him are only achieved when one prefers what Allaah The Almighty wills to what he personally wills.
A good example of this is Prophet Ibraaheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention whom Allaah The Almighty ordered to slaughter his only son, Ismaa‘eel  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention the son that he was granted at an old age and the apple of his eyes.
This was a great trial that shows true faith and sincerity, as Prophet Ibraaheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention gave all Muslims a great lesson in being sincere to Allaah The Almighty by preferring what Allaah The Almighty decreed to what he wanted regardless of how precious this matter was. Ibraaheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention hastened to do what Allaah The Almighty ordered him to do despite his deep love and great mercy and pity towards his beloved son, so he succeeded and passed the test. Allaah The Almighty showed mercy to him and prevented the knife from cutting the throat of his son and ransomed Ismaa‘eel  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention with a great sacrifice and made this a confirmed act of the Sunnah for Muslims until the Day of Judgment. This was a great lesson for Muslims to treat Allaah The Almighty in the same way that they treat the ones they love and to sacrifice what they want for the sake of Allaah The Almighty and what He loves.
If pilgrims grasped this meaning and realized this great secret for which sacrifices were legislated, they would return after performing Hajj with these great lessons and they would never slacken or refrain from fulfilling the orders of Allaah The Almighty. They would never prefer the joy of sleeping to praying Fajr (Dawn prayer).
Love of money would never prevent them from abandoning cheating, injustice, Riba, giving less than what is due or selling merchandise by making false oaths.
Love of desires and women would never prevent them from lowering their gaze, maintaining their chastity and guarding their private parts in order to prefer what Allaah The Almighty loves to what their souls love seeking the reward and satisfaction of Allaah The Almighty in this life and the Hereafter.
Love of this life would not prevent them from spending money and sacrificing their soul in the Way of Allaah The Almighty.
You can compare many other matters to these ones.
This is how the people of understanding learn the great lessons of Hajj in order to gain piety.
2.     Getting used to Dhikr (Remembrance of Allaah)
Thikr is the greatest aim of all acts of worship and it is greatly manifested in Hajj. This is because Tawaaf, Sa‘y and throwing the pebbles were all legislated in order to remember Allaah The Almighty according to the narrations of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).
When pilgrims remember Allaah The Almighty constantly while performing these acts of worship, they feel assured, have peace of mind and draw closer to Him. Consequently, this will get them accustomed to remembering Allaah The Almighty after Hajj.

5.     Getting used to Du‘aa’
The Hajj trip is a great opportunity for Du‘aa’ and supplicating Allaah The Almighty as pilgrims have many merits that make their Du‘aa’ more likely to be answered. This is because pilgrims supplicate during honored days and at honored places. Moreover, supplicating while performing Hajj makes this supplication more likely to be answered as there are many rites during which Du‘aa’ is permitted such as Tawaaf, Sa‘y, standing at ‘Arafah, at Al- Mash‘ar Al-Haraam, after throwing the Sughra Jamrah (smallest pillar) and the Wusta Jamrah (middle pillar). All these rites are times when Du‘aa’ is worthier of being answered and this makes the believer get used to invoking Allaah The Almighty frequently in the future.
6.     Getting used to expecting relief
When pilgrims see the crowd during Tawaaf, Sa‘y and throwing the pebbles, they think that these groups would never separate and that they would not be able to complete their Sa‘y, Tawaaf and throwing the pebbles. They might feel angry and upset and even intend not to perform Hajj after this year. Then after a while, the groups of people separate and the rites are performed easily.
This is a great lesson that teaches the pilgrims the servitude of waiting for relief, which is one of the greatest types of servitude and the acts that bring the slave closer to Allaah The Almighty. This teaches pilgrims never to despair of relief from Allaah The Almighty regardless of how difficult the matter is and regardless of the gravity of the situation. Muslims should have good expectations regarding their Lord and wait for Him to provide relief.
7.     Acquiring good morals
Hajj is a practical field where pilgrims are trained to be tolerant, patient, and restrain their anger which is caused by the crowd of people, tiredness and fatigue either on the way to Hajj or during Tawaaf(circumambulation), Sa‘y, throwing pebbles, or any other rites. Pilgrims endure tiredness because they know that Hajj is performed during a limited number of days and they do not wish to nullify their Hajj by giving free rein to their evil desires. They also know that pilgrims are the guests of The Merciful so, honoring them and being patient with what some of them do is a sign of glorifying Allaah The Almighty.
When pilgrims get used to enduring these hardships during the Hajj days, they would maintain good morals during the rest of their lives.
Pilgrims learn to be generous, righteous and merciful, and to favor other people as they experience wonderful situations that embody these meanings. They see generous people who spend on the poor, noble ones who forgive people who abused them, merciful ones who treat poor people gently, tolerant people who endure harm, people who are dutiful to their parents as well as those who are kind with their old mothers.
Pilgrims acquire good morals when they see those people who do not realize the true meaning of Hajj and get angry for any trivial reason. When wise people see such situations, they abandon anger and avoid bad morals.
8.     brotherhood
During Hajj, pilgrims have one Qiblah and one Lord. They share the same feelings, clothing, rites and times. This makes them feel that they are brothers who know each other and are willing to cooperate in the fields of life and religion.  
9.     Establishing the servitude of fearing Allaah  
Pilgrims perform Tawaaf (seven circumambulations of the Ka‘bah), perform Sa‘y (seven circuits between Safa and Marwah), throw the seven pebbles, stand at ‘Arafah at a certain time and leave it at a certain time, then stay at night in Muzdalifah and so forth.
You can never find a pilgrim who performs more or less than what is required or performs any of the rites at different times than those specified or intentionally does any of the prohibitions that must not be done duringIhraam.
Why is this? Because he does not want to nullify his Hajj and he knows that Allaah The Almighty sees him.
This is a great lesson that teaches Muslims to fear Allaah The Almighty and know that He sees them all the time as the One Who monitors Hajj, monitors all other deeds as well.

10.     Getting used to utilizing time
Time is the capital of humans and it is the greatest thing that should not be wasted or neglected.
During Hajj, pilgrims do great deeds in a period of time that might not exceed four days in different places that are far from each other and crowded.
This shows that humans have great potential and latent energy that, if utilized, would yield its fruits in double or even more than this.
This is a great lesson for Muslims that teaches them to get used to utilizing time and not wasting it.
11.    Stirring up the servitude of praising Allaah
A pilgrim sees the sick, the physically and visually challenged people and those who have lost their limbs, and thanks Allaah The Almighty for granting him health. 
He sees the crowds of people sitting on the ground to the extent that one might not find a place to sit, so he remembers the spacious place where he lives and thanks Allaah The Almighty for this.
A pilgrim also sees the poor and the needy who do not have what is sufficient for them so he praises Allaah The Almighty for granting him money and wealth.
He praises Allaah The Almighty for making Hajj easy for him and for helping him perform the rites while many other Muslims long for Hajj but cannot perform it.
He also thanks Allaah The Almighty for making him a Muslim and this makes him adhere to Islam as this is an invaluable bounty.
This is how the slavery of praising Allaah The Almighty is achieved in Hajj.
12.     Remembering the Hereafter
When a pilgrim sees the crowds of people surging over each other at one place while wearing the same type of clothing, uncovering their heads and wearing only Izaar (lower sheet) and Ridaa’ (upper sheet) while abandoning the pleasures of the worldly life, he will remember the Day of Judgment and thus, will prepare himself for the Hereafter as he will look down upon the joys of life and disdain indulging in its pleasures.
13.     Getting used to resisting the devil 
The devil is a clear enemy to man and Allaah The Almighty warned us of him and ordered us to take him as an enemy and never to follow his footsteps. Hence, resisting the devil is among the acts that satisfies Allaah The Almighty.
This matter becomes clear during Hajj; especially while throwing the pebbles, as pilgrims do not throw pebbles at the devil as he is not standing over there in person. However, they throw pebbles at the same places where the devil came to their father Ibraaheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention and he threw pebbles at him. Pilgrims throw pebbles in order to learn the lesson and realize that Ibraaheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention knew that the one who was preventing him from obeying the Orders of Allaah The Almighty was the devil as he was embodied for him three times to prevent him from slaughtering his son and Ibraaheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention threw seven pebbles at him three times and told him, “You will be thrown by me.” Thus, the devil was disappointed and turned on his heels.
People of understanding learn the lesson and realize the wisdom of throwing the pebbles and apply this when dealing with every devil from humankind and Jinn who want to prevent them from obeying Allaah The Almighty. They detest such devils, disobey, resist and keep away from them as well as seek refuge with Allaah The Almighty from them.
People of understanding know that anyone who tries to avert them from the way of Allaah The Almighty or cause Fitnah (trial) is a devil regardless of their appearance and behavior.
How abundant are the lessons of Hajj and how great are its blessings! Hence, we must try to get as much of this as we can in order to gain happiness in this life and the Hereafter and to be among the Party of Allaah The Almighty, as those (the party of Allaah) are indeed the successful ones and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve in this life and the Hereafter.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

From Facebook To God's book

Many of us have an addictive relationship with Facebook. We check our accounts compulsively, multiple times a day. It is sometimes the last thing many of us do before we sleep and the first thing we do when we wake up; time flies when we’re on it, and it can become obsessive.

Yet how many of us have an addictive relationship—have any relationship—with the Qur’an? This is the Book that transformed alcoholic, oppressive, baby-girl-burying people into callers for justice, defenders of the oppressed, soft-hearted, humble worshippers of the Lord of All the Worlds. If what is contained in this Book brought eternal peace to the hearts and freedom to the souls who were chained to the whims of their own desires, it undoubtedly can emancipate us from our own problems, heartaches and stresses. However, its ability to powerfully impact us may go a lifetime unrealized if we continue to decide that other relationships are more important.

Some of us want to establish a relationship with the Qur’an, but may find it boring, difficult to understand, or simply not fast enough. We’re used to status updates, pictures and vivid virtual conversations. We prefer fun captions and vivacious images. We prefer real people, an interchange of words and tangible friendships—or at least, Facebook friendships. A lot of us don’t even really know the people we add as friends.

In reality, what we prefer is what the Qur`an already offers and more; it’s just up to us to experience the paradigm shift, with God’s help. Here are a few ways we can tangibly work to establish our relationships with the Qur’an and in doing so, elevate ourselves in this life and in the Next, by the will of God.

From Facebook to God’s Book

What is it about Facebook or other forms of social or popular media that makes us come back, over and over, sometimes multiple times a day—at a minimum? Is it the novelty of reading ever-changing statuses or finding new pictures? Is it feeling appreciated when others comment on our posts? Is it the fun of having instantaneous connections? Is it just boredom? Whatever it is, identify why we keep going back. Then, tweak our reasons for that connection and apply it to the Qur’an.

When we read stories about Noah, Moses, Jesus, Mary, Lot (upon all of whom be peace) — when we read about their struggles or the people who they called to the worship of God, recognize those as the Qur’an’s updates. The conversations that God quotes in the Qur’an, the arguments of the people to their Messengers, those are all comments to posts in the Qur’an’s feed.

Mary (peace be upon her) says something, then God Almighty responds. Jesus (peace be upon him) tells his disciples something and they all start liking and commenting his post. Moses (peace be upon him) posts on Pharaoh’s wall; Pharaoh responds and tags his henchman and is finally completely deleted from Facebook—and the world—in its entirety. God’s Book is more intense, exciting and novel than anything on Facebook. We just need to add it and tag it as our Best Friend.

Sometimes we find Facebook addicting because of our ability to interact with our friends. So let’s find the Qur`an addicting because of our ability to interact with God. When we read God’s Book and we want to like something, say Alhamdulilah (all praise is to God)! We’ll get rewards and be increased in what’s good (Qur`an 14:7).  When we personally want to respond to a status, put up our hands and make du`a’ (supplication)! 

Now, our comment allows for us to directly strengthen our connection with the One Who can hook it all up for us, Who can hear us and will answer us! When we read the descriptions of Paradise and Hell, know that Allah Most High is uploading images for us to focus on and be impacted by; when we’re captivated or horrified by the image, comment through our actions! Do the actions which will include us amongst the ballers in Paradise and keep you from being in the excruciating fire. That type of commenting will bring everlasting results in this life and the Next and, God willing, Allah subahanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) will tag us as His homies in this life and the Hereafter.

Make the Qur`an Our Best Friend

Oftentimes, when we’re sad or lonely, when we’re bursting with joy or excitement, when we’re apathetic or just need some down time, we post it. We let everyone know how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking, something that went down in our day or what we wished didn’t go down. We often treat Facebook as a best friend; checking it and reconnecting frequently. Here’s our opportunity to start shifting that connection; let’s start calling Allah’s Book our BEST FRIEND. With ourselves, let’s start using the term, “Best Friend,” for the Qur’an.

If we have a human best friend, think about the way we run to answer their call when we know they’re about to tell us the outcome of a life-changing decision. Think about the way we laugh at inside jokes we post on each other’s walls and comment on a million times over to the annoyance of all our other ‘friends’ whose feeds are overtaken by our conversations. Think about the way that we dial their numbers before anyone else’s, knowing almost with certainty that they will pick up the phone and be there for our comfort.
Now, apply that same understanding of our best friend relationship to the Qur’an.

 If we take the Qur’an as our Best Friend, we’ll run to it when we see it near, knowing it’s calling us, ready to listen to whatever it wants to share for our own benefit, guidance and happiness. When we’re distraught, feeling lonely or at loss, we’ll go to your Best Friend, hold it to our hearts, open it and begin reading it, reciting from it, reveling in its mind-blowing empathy, its heart-warming sympathy, it’s perfection of wisdom which relates directly to our situations. When we’re excited beyond measure; ready to jump through the roof because we finally got into that school, got that job, regained our health, going to get married to that dream person or had the blessing of a child, we’re going to pick it up and shed tears of joy or words of elation with it, knowing that in reality, we’re going back to the One Who gave us all that we’re excited about in the first place.

Like our best friends, we’ll understand the Qur’an’s inside scoop, its special messages and the guidance it shares with us because we have a special connection that no one else can gauge. Making the Qur’an our best friend begins with a paradigm shift; this is not simply a Holy Book; it’s the pinnacle of our life, it’s our first supporter, our constant companion, our guide, the keeper of our secrets—it’s our Best Friend.

Building Our Relationship

Let’s think about people we’re friends with on Facebook; would we really know about all that’s going on in their lives if they didn’t choose to share pictures of their meals, their vacations, or post about their daily struggles and conversations? Would we really be able to keep up with that many people, some very close friends and some whom we may have met less than a handful of times, if we weren’t in constant connection with them through social media- even if we weren’t actually personally connecting?

But let’s also consider our true best friends. The depth of our friendships likely didn’t happen overnight; we become continuously attached to the person we’ve already connected with because of our consistent ability to reconnect and re-align.

Then what about the Qur’an? How can we expect to know our Creator if we do not even open the social media through which He reveals Himself to us? If we’re willing to read through the posts of people we sometimes barely know, then what about reading through the posts of the One Who created us and all of those people? How can we develop a relationship if we are not willing to consistently converse with the One Who gave us the ability to speak (or sign) at all? How can we expect a depth of friendship to simply just happen with our loving Creator if we are not the ones taking any steps towards embellishing our relationship?

Yet despite the sometimes little attention we give it, the Qur’an’s feed is always beasting, waiting to be our closest homie! Why? Because when we establish a relationship with the Qur’an, we are, in reality, establishing a relationship with the One Who created us and knows us best. He tells us, “I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed,” (Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari). When we think about God, when we make an effort to draw nearer to Him, He comes to us with speed. Therefore, let us run to Him through our relationship with the Qur’an!

Here is how we can start: We can set a certain amount of Qur’an that we must read, regardless of the circumstances, every day. Make sure this amount is in a language that we understand. If we can read Arabic and understand some of it, then read the Arabic but also read a translation. God revealed the Qur’an in the language of the Arabs for them to understand it so that they can live by and be transformed by it. Thus, let us read it in a language that will impact our lives, and let us do so daily. From 1 pages to 20, do whatever amount we can do consistently and stick with it because the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us that the best actions are those that are small, but consistent (Bukhari). Reading the Qur’an daily, year-round, is better than reading a ton only in Ramadan and then disregarding it. How can a relationship flourish to its fullest if it is only maintained once a year?

Facebook can be a great networking tool, but if used obsessively, we can become addicted to a media which often brings minute tangible benefits to our lives. Allah’s Book is an incredible networking tool which will connect us to the Creator of the Universe, the One through Whom we can gain tangible benefit in this life and the eternal hereafter. Let’s go to Allah’s Book—to our Best Friend—to the Qur`an—because the best “like” is when Allah (swt) likes your life.

Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him – those are the party of Allah . Unquestionably, the party of Allah – they are the successful.” (Qur`an 58:22)


How to Pass Tests: Lessons from the Du’a of Prophet Ibrahim

In Surah Al-Anbiyaa, Allah says:
Translation: Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned. (Surah Al-Anbiya, verse 35)
In this verse, Allah uses the word “nablukum” (نبلوكم). This is a present-tense (mudaari’) form of the word “balaa.” From the grammar itself, scholars note, this means that Allah says that he will test you again and again and again, continuously.
Not only that, Allah also mentions good (khayr) and evil (sharr) are both tests. It won’t be always bad things in sequence like illness, loss of job, etc. but it will also be a test with goodness to see if we are thankful.
Who does Allah test the most? Rasulullah says:
قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَىُّ النَّاسِ أَشَدُّ بَلاَءً قَالَ ‏ “‏ الأَنْبِيَاءُ ثُمَّ الأَمْثَلُ فَالأَمْثَلُ يُبْتَلَى الْعَبْدُ عَلَى حَسَبِ دِينِهِ فَإِنْ كَانَ فِي دِينِهِ صُلْبًا اشْتَدَّ بَلاَؤُهُ وَإِنْ كَانَ فِي دِينِهِ رِقَّةٌ ابْتُلِيَ عَلَى حَسَبِ دِينِهِ فَمَا يَبْرَحُ الْبَلاَءُ بِالْعَبْدِ حَتَّى يَتْرُكَهُ يَمْشِي عَلَى الأَرْضِ وَمَا عَلَيْهِ مِنْ خَطِيئَةٍ.‏”‏
Sa`d bin Abu Waqqas, said: “I said: “O Messenger of Allah, which people are most severely tested?” He said: “The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
Later in Surah Baqarah, Allah mentions about Prophet Ibrahim (alayhi salaam):
Translation: And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them. (Surah Baqarah, verse 124)
In this ayah, Allah mentions that he ibtilaa Ibrahim (alayhi salaam). Ibtilaa is an even more difficult, intense form of balaa. Allah also says, “fa atamma hunn.” This means that Ibrahim (alayhi salaam) aced all his tests and scored 100%. He showed the perfect responses and did exactly what he needed to do. This makes him an ideal model to learn from and emulate.
As many parents can testify, among the most difficult test to bear is the loss of a child. Not only did Prophet Ibrahim (alayhi salaam) receive a child late in his life when he reached a very old age, but Allah asked him to leave his wife and child alone, in the middle of a barren desert, without a word to them. No food, no water, no lodging, no supplies, nothing. This appeared outwardly as certain death for the two of them.
What did he say as he walked away from them?
Translation: Alhamdulillah (Praise to Allah), who has granted to me in old age Ishmael and Isaac. Indeed, my Lord is the Hearer of supplication. (Surah Ibrahim, verse 39)
In this du’a, we find the key which allowed Ibrahim (alayhi salaam) to succeed in his tests: shukr (thankfulness). Despite this trial, he said “alhamdulillah” and he praised Allah, and thanked him for the blessings he gave.
We can extract and apply this lesson to our own lives: when Allah tests us with hardship, whatever difficulty we experience, we should always be thankful and focus on the good of what Allah gave us. Like Prophet Ibrahim (alayhi salaam), this enables us to pass difficult tests much more easily.
And finally, the best part of all this: don’t forget that Allah says that whoever thanks him, gets more:
Translation: And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” (Surat Ibrahim, verse 7)
May Allah give us the tawfique to learn real life lessons from these stories and implement them in our lives, ameen ya rabb!

Source: Khutbah delivered by shaykh Aarij Anwer at Al-Huda Institute Canada on August 30th, 2013


Monday, September 23, 2013

How the Prophet Would Complain

It is related that when Abu Talib died, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) went out on foot to Ta’if to call its people to Islam. They rejected his call, and he walked away until he got to the shade of a tree. So, he prayed two rak’at and said:

اللهم إني أشكو إليك ضعف قوتي وهواني على الناس أنت أرحم الراحمين إلى من تكلني إلى عدو يتجهمني أم إلى قريب ملكته أمري إن لم تكن غضبان علي فلا أبالي غير أن عافيتك أوسع لي أعوذ بوجهك الذي أشرقت له الظلمات وصلح عليه أمر الدنيا والآخرة أن ينزل بي غضبك أو يحل بي سخطك لك العتبى حتى ترضى ولا قوة إلا بالله

“O Allah, I complain to You of my weakness and my insignificance in the eyes of the people. You are the most Merciful. No matter who You have put me at the mercy of – an enemy who will be stern with me, or a friend to look after my affairs – as long as You are not Angry with me, then I don’t care. However, the relief You bring would be more comfortable for me. I seek refuge with Your Face – for which the darkness has lit up, and the affairs of this world and the next are organized – from being afflicted with Your Wrath or deserving of Your Anger. You have the right to admonish as You please, and there is no might nor power except by Allah.”

This was related by al-Haythami in ‘Majma’ az-Zawa’id’ (6/35), and he mentioned in it that at-Tabarani related it in ‘al-Mu’jam al-Kabir’ on the authority of ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far bin Abi Talib, and that its chain of narration contains Ibn Ishaq, who is a trustworthy mudallis, with the rest of the narrators in its chain being trustworthy.

‘Alawi as-Saqqaf said in his checking of ‘Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an’ that it is hasan, and Ibrahim al-’Ali included it in ‘Sahih as-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah’ (p. 136).