"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, July 12, 2015

Steps to Draw Closer to Allah

It should be the desire of every Muslim to draw nearer and closer to Almighty Allah the most compassionate and the most merciful. By drawing closer and near to Allah we gain his help in every aspect of our lives in this world and to be merciful to us so that we may gain mercy in the hereafter in order to enter Jannah in the next world.

When we call upon him he would answer our calls and when we ask of him for anything he would give it to us and when we draw nearer to him then our sincerity and intentions will enable us to become closer to him.

So we should strive to draw nearer to Allah, the Glorified the Exalted, who is the majesty of honour and generosity and the giver of peace, the most high and the most honoured.

So what can we do to draw closer to him? The following are 10 steps for us to draw closer to our Almighty Allah:

1. Fulfilling obligatory duties and abstaining from prohibited matters

The Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) has guided us. And Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted, has guided us how to draw near to Him. As He said According to Hadith Qudsi:

“Whoever draws near to Me among those drawn near by fulfilling what I have made obligatory on them….

You do not draw near to Allah except by fulfilling the obligatory duties which Allah has made obligatory on you; (that is) the obligatory duties from the obligatory duties (Faraid) such as Prayers, and Zakat (obligatory charity), and Hajj, and Fasting and being good to Parents and all these obligatory duties on you draw you near to Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted. And the faraid (obligatory duties) are the first things that draw you near to Allah. You do not reach the door of nearness nor do you reach to the presence of nearness except by fulfilling the obligatory duties. This is the first thing that draws you near to Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted, and you are in His Presence.

So the first thing we need to do is fulfil ALL of our obligatory duties and abstain from that which Allah and his messenger have forbidden us from.

2. Nawafil prayers (superogatory prayers)

Allah says in Hadith Qudsi:

….and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (voluntary deeds) until I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My Protection, I will protect him..." [Bukhari]

A Source of Elevation for you

The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) said: "Ask (anything)." Rabi'ah said: "I ask of you to be your companion in paradise." The Prophet said: “Anything else?" Rabi'ah said: "That is it." The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) said to him: "Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., supererogatory prayers)." [Muslim]


Allah Most High said, “Establish worship at the going down of the sun until the dark of the night, and (the recital of) the Qur’an at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Qur’an at dawn is ever witnessed. And some part of the night awake for its recital, as voluntary worship for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praised estate.” [Qur’an, 17: 78-79]

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” [Muslim]

Abu Umama al-Bahili (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “Hold fast to night prayer, for it was the way of the righteous before you, a way of drawing closer to your Lord, an expiation for wrong deeds, and a shield from sin.” [Tirmidhi, and others] In some narrations, there is an addition, “And it repels sickness from the body.”

And because night vigil time is the best of times for voluntary worship and prayer, and the closest a servant is to his Lord.

So let us make the habit of reading as many Nawafil prayers as we can for more prayers means more prostrations and one is truly the closest to Allah in prostration.

….bow down in prostration and bring yourself the closer (to Allah)." (96:19)

3. Zikr (remembrance of Allah) and glorification of Allah

"…Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest." (13:28)

Remembrance of Allah indeed is the greatest virtue.(29:46).

O ye who believe, remember Allah much. And glorify Him morning and evening (33:42-43)

Remembrance of Allah is the foundation of all good deeds. Whoever succeeds in it is blessed with the close friendship of Allah. That is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to make remembrance of Allah at all times. When a man complained, "The laws of Islam are too heavy for me, so tell me something that I can easily follow," the Prophet told him, "Let your tongue be always busy with the remembrance of Allah." [Ahmad].

Remembrance of Allah the best of deeds

The Prophet, peace be upon him, would often tell his Companions, "Shall I tell you about the best of deeds, the most pure in the sight of your Lord, about the one that is of the highest order and is far better for you than spending gold and silver, even better for you than meeting your enemies in the battlefield where you strike at their necks and they at yours?" The Companions replied, "Yes, O Messenger of Allah!" The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Remembrance of Allah." (Tirmidhi,Ahmad)

Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "The similitude of one who remembers his Rubb and one who does not remember Him, is like that of the living and the dead.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Zikr can be done anywhere and anytime

A person may ask, ‘How can we do Zikr all the time whilst we have so many things to do in life such as we go to work, feed the family, pay bills, etc.? Well, the answer to this is that, firstly, it is the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger to work and feed the family which is rewarded by Allah and, secondly, that when a person is working or at school or wherever a person may be this does not mean that he should stop remembering Allah while he is working, while he is serving his customers or while he is programming his computer.

In fact the heart of the believer should be attached to Allah's remembrance throughout his day to day activities such that he protects himself from falling in love with the materials and temptations of this world and that his love for Allah and his Messenger becomes stronger and stronger as time goes by. When a person begins to remember Allah all the time it is then that he becomes conscious of his actions.

Remember: in a place where people are oblivious to dhikir, remembrance of Allah is like being steadfast in jihad, when others are running away. (Targhib, p. 193, vol. 3 ref. Bazar and Tibrani)

"... And the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues. Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e., Jannah).'' (33:35)

4. Calling upon Allah in Dua (supplication)

Allah the most compassionate says in the Holy Quran, "Call on Me. I will answer your prayer, but those who are too arrogant to serve me will surely find themselves humiliated in Hell" (40:60).

Allah the Exalted, has said: "And your Lord says: Pray unto me: and I will hear your prayer" (Quran 40:60),

"Call upon your Lord Humbly and in secret" (Quran 7:55),

"When My servants question thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me" (Quran 2:186),

"Is not He (best) who listens to the (soul) distressed when it calls on Him, and who relieves its suffering." (Quran 27:62)

Dua’s are never wasted

Aisha radhiallaahu anha said, "No believer makes Dua and it is wasted. Either it is granted here in this world or deposited for him in the Hereafter as long as he does not get frustrated."

Allah’s anger at those who don’t make dua

In fact, it is even wrong to never make Dua, "Whosoever does not supplicate to Allah, He will be angry with Him." [Saheeh Jaami`as-Sagheer #2414]

Dua is a weapon for the believers

Rasullullah is reported to have said, “Dua is the weapon of a Muslim”.

Dua for ones brother in his absence

"The supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence." [Abu Daw'ud and Tirmidhi]

So let us build a close relationship with Allah by making much dua to him. He loves it when his slave calls upon him and it angers him if his slave does not call upn him.

Let us have full hope that our dua’s will be accepted and if you think they won’t they know Allah is keeping the rewards for you in the hereafter and those rewards are so great that one would wish that none of there duas were excepted in this world just so that one can gain all the rewards for their duas in the next world.

5. Building a close relationship with the Qur’an

Recite the Holy Qur’aan as much as we can for It will come as an intercessor for its reciter’ on the Day of Judgement [Muslim]
Learn the Qur’an and recite it, because the example of one who learns the Qur’an, reads it and recites it in Tahajjud is like an open bag full of musk whose fragrance permeates the entire place. And the person who has learnt the Qur’an but sleeps while the Qur’an is in the heart is like a bag full of musk but with its mouth closed.

Virtues of reciting the Qur’an

“Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah will receive a hasanah (good deed) from it (i.e. his recitation), and the hasanah is multiplied by ten. I do not say that Alif-Laam-Meem is (considered as) a letter, rather Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter, and Meem is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darimi]

“There is no envy (acceptable) except in two (cases): a person whom Allah has given the Qur’an and recites it throughout the night and throughout the day. And a person whom Allah has given wealth, that he gives out throughout the night and throghout the day.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It was narrated that Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said: Whoever reads Tabarakallahi Biyadihil Mulk [i.e. Surah al-Mulk] every night, Allah will protect him from the torment of the grave. At the time of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) we used to call it al-mani’ah (that which protects). In the Book of Allah it is a surah which, whoever recites it every night has done very well. (an-Nasa’i)

Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas and Anas Ibn Malik (Ra) reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, ‘Whoever recited Surah Zilzilah (99) would get the reward of reciting half the Qur’an. Whoever recited Surah al Kaafirun (109) would get a reward as if reading a quarter of the Qur’an. Whoever recited Surah al Ikhlas (112) would get a reward as if reading one third of the Qur’an’. (At-Tirmidhi 2818/A)

Reading, understanding and implementing the Qur’an in our daily lives

The virtues of reciting the Qur’an are too numerous to list. In order to get closer to Allah we need to recite the Qur’an, understand it and implement it in our daily lives.

We should make a target of reading at least a chapter a day. If one can’t manage that then at least half a chapter. If one still can’t manage that then recite at least quarter of a chapter or even a page a day. However much we can manage we should try to recite each day with its meanings and implement what we learn into our daily lives.

Reading a little each day is better than reciting a lot once in a while. We should build a close relationship with the Qur’an which is in fact building a close relationship with Allah!

“Verily Allah raises nations by this book (the Qur’an) and puts down (i.e. destroys) others by it.” [Muslim]

6. Keeping good company

One of the most important things we must do, which sadly many people neglect, is that we should avoid bad company. People we should avoid taking as friends those who speak too freely, who miss Salah, who do not dress modestly, who backbite, slander etc.

The company of such people is poison; just even sitting and talking with them will lead one to commit sins. Just as a person who sits for a long time with a perfume seller begins to smell nice, and a person who sits by a gutter cleaner begins to smell awful, similarly a person who spends time in the company of the wicked eventually gets affected badly by them.

Rather, we should seek out pious friends who fear Allah taala and who have the qualities of humility, charity, compassion, modesty and knowledge. If we sit with them we will always benefit and they will be a means for us to get closer to Allah taala!

The Prophet (saws) said, “The case of the good companion and the bad companion is like that of the seller of musk and the blower of the bellows (iron-smith). As for the seller of musk, he will either give you some of the musk, or you will purchase some from him, or at least you will come away having experienced its good smell. Whereas the blower of the bellows will either burn your clothing, or at least you will come away having experienced its repugnant smell.” [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

Remember: “All friends will be enemies of one another on that Day (Day of Judgment) except those of the virtuous.” (al-Qur’an 43:67)

7. Having fear and hope in Allah

Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people. (Surah Yusuf 12:87)

One must be hopeful of Allahs mercy and forgiveness and fearful of His punishment. It is this fear that should lead one to seek Allahs forgiveness with hope. Allah says:

Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Surat al-Maaidah 5:98)

In the above verse, Allah gives us reason to fear because His punishment is justly severe, as well as good reason to have hope, since He is the Most Forgiving and Merciful. There should be a balance between fear and hope and not too much or too less of one or the other.

We should always remain between fear and hope. For, the right and the approved kind of fear is that which acts as a barrier between the slave and the things forbidden by Allah. But, if fear is excessive, then the possibility is that the man will fall into despair and pessimism.

On the other hand the approved state of optimism is of a man who does good in the light of the Shari'ah and is hopeful of being rewarded for it. Or, conversely, if a man committed a sin, he repents sincerely, and is hopeful of being forgiven. Allah (swt) said:

"Verily, those who believed, and those who migrated and fought in the way of Allah, it is they who are hopeful of Allah's mercy. And Allah is very Forgiving, very Merciful." (Al-Baqarah, 218)

In contrast, if a man indulges in sins and excesses, but is hopeful that he would be forgiven without doing anything good, then, this is self-deception, mere illusion and false hope. Abu 'All Rowzbari has said, "Fear and hope are like the two wings of a bird. If they are well balanced, the flight will be well balanced. But, If one is stunted, the Right would also be stunted. And, to be sure, if the two are lost, the bird will soon be in the throes of death." Allah has praised the people of hope and fear in the following verse:

'Is one who worships devotedly during the night, prostrating himself or standing, fearing the Hereafter, and hoping for the mercy of his Lord (is equal to him who doesn't do these things)?' (Al Zumar, 9)

Hope then also demands fear. If that was not the case, one would be in a state of false security. Conversely, fear demands hope. Without that it would be despair.

Fear and hope, both should be equally proportioned in our hearts, in our worship, and in our dua to Allah. Allah says:

Call out to Him with fear and hope. (Surat al-Araaf 7:56)
They forsake their beds to call their Lord in fear and hope. (Surat as-Sajdah 32:16)

8. Voluntary fasting for the pleasure of Allah

Fasting in general and voluntary fasting in particular is a great worship. Fasting is not restricted to Ramadhan, but it is an act of worship that can be [and should be in some cases] performed at any time and at any place except when not recommended. Indeed, it is a worship that draws the believer closer to Allah and closer to perfection.

Fasting Mondays and Thursdays:

`Aa'ishah said: The Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, used to fast Mondays and Thursdays". [An-Nasaa’i; Sahih]

Abu Hurairah reported that the most the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, would fast would be Monday and Thursday. He was asked about that and he said: "The deeds of people are presented to Allah on every Monday and Thursday. Allah forgives every Muslim except for those who are deserting each other. He says: "leave them for later." [Ahmad; Hasan]

Intention for voluntary fasting

As opposed to Ramadan, the intention does not have to be made before dawn. The person can intend fasting [and start fasting] after dawn any time [even after noon] given that he did not eat anything. `Aa'ishah said : The Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, came to us one day and said, "Do you have any [food]?" We said "No". He said: Therefore, I am Fasting". [Muslim and Abu Dawood]

Fasting three days of every month(White days):

Abu Tharr Al-Ghefari said: "The Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said "O Abu Tharr! if you fast three days of every month, then fast the 13th, the 14th and the 15th [these are call the al-ayaam al-beedh, the white days]". [Ahmad, an-Nasaa'i and at-Tirmithi; Sahih]

“Fasting and the Qur’an will intercede for the slave on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say: ‘O My Rabb! I prevented him from food and desires, so accept my intercession for him.’ And the Qur’an will say: ‘I prevented him from sleep during the night, so accept my intercession for him.’ He (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘And they will (be allowed to) intercede.’” [Ahmad, at-Tabarani, Al-Hakim, Sahih]

So let us get closer to Allah by fasting Mondays and Thursdays or at least 3 days every month on the 14th,15th and 16th. If we leave something for the pleasure of Allah then we will get MUCH greater in return!

9. Sincerely repenting to Allah

Allah says: O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and you would then seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you.

When a person sins and then sincerely turns to Allah for forgiveness, one will find Allah ready to accept his repentance and to forgive him, as this verse indicates:

And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself, but then seeks forgiveness from Allah, he will find Allah forgiving and merciful. (Surat an-Nisaa 4:110)

Everyone commits sin and does wrong, but Allah is always willing to forgive and He always gives them a chance to repent and seek His forgiveness. A believer should never forget the fact that Allah is so forgiving. If Allah had willed, He could have held everyone accountable for his or her sins, but He has decreed that He shall allow His servants to seek His forgiveness and that He shall in fact forgive who and what He wills. In fact, Allah commands that His servants seek His forgiveness:

And seek Allahs forgiveness. Certainly, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
(Surat al-Muzzammil 73:20)

Repentance is an act, which purifies the soul and brings the servant closer to Allah. It puts the heart at rest from guilt. It protects one from falling prey to his desires and lusts and increases his faith.

We must ask ourselves this question: Would we be willing to forgive anyone who hurts us and disobeys us constantly as easily as Allah is Able to forgive? Most probably, the answer would be no. But our Creator is the Most Kind and He is the Most Perfect.

Lo! Allah is a Lord of Kindness to mankind, but most of mankind give not thanks. (Surat al-Baqarah 2:143)

In this Hadithi Qudsi, mankind is encouraged to seek Allahs forgiveness and repent, but there are five conditions of repentance, which must be met for ones repentance to be accepted. The first and most important is that the act of repentance be sincerely for Allah alone. Secondly, the person must feel remorse and guilt over his actions so much so that he wished he had never done it in the first place. The third condition is that the person must immediately cease performing the wrong and sinful act. Fourthly, the repentant person must have a firm intention to never commit the sin again. And lastly, the person must repent before it is too late, meaning before death approaches.

However, there is a condition. One must not associate any partners with Allah, which is shirk. And Allah does not forgive shirk and if one dies without believing in Allah alone as ones Creator, then he will be doomed to the Hellfire for all of eternity. So, Allah emphasizes the importance of calling on Him alone. He has no and needs no partners, associates, wives, children, etc. There is no god, but Allah. None forgives sins except Him, so one who is seeking forgiveness should seek it only from Allah.

Allahs forgiveness and mercy is far greater and vaster than the sins of the creation. One must always have trust and hope in Allah in both good times and bad times and especially when seeking Allahs forgiveness. And the believer who calls out to his Lord for forgiveness demonstrates his true weakness and that he is totally dependent on the Creator.

When one confesses his sins to Allah and sincerely repents with hope in Allahs mercy, the heart should come to peace and the soul should feel rest. When a person has hope, he has no reason to despair because it only leads to destruction. Allah gives hope to all, especially those who despair that there is no reason to despair because Allah is the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy. Allah praises those who repent and turn to Him:

And those who, when they commit a lewd act or wrong themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins and who forgives sins except Allah? And they do not persist in what (wrong) they were doing while they knew it. For such, the reward is forgiveness from their Lord and Gardens with rivers flowing through, wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is the reward of the doers (of good)! (Surah Ali Imran 3:135-136)

10. Having good manners, character and being humble

Many of us think that “a perfect Muslim” is simply one who is correct in the observance of the salah (ritual Prayer), the fasting, the zakah (payment of a certain portion of one’s wealth to the poor), and the Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah). This indeed is not the case.

If the ritual observances do not help the person to be humble, virtuous and truly God-fearing, then he or she is not a real Muslim. A Muslim should be good and just in dealing with others, no matter their religion, and take special care to keep away from all the shameful and sinful things Allah (God) has forbidden.

One can never get close to Allah by being arrogant, full of pride and having a bad character and manners. Those who have humility and are humble and have good character and manners are the closest to Allah and Allah raises their ranks in the hereafter.

The superiority of good character:

Hadrat Abu Darda, may Allah be pleased with him, relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Nothing is heavier in the scales of a believer on the Day of Judgement than his good behaviour. Allah detests a person who is obscene and shameless”. (Tirmidhi)

Having humility and being humble:

The Prophet (PBUH) said: "He who was humble for the sake of God by one degree, God (SWT) would then elevate them to a degree till they reach the uppermost of high Orders, and he who was arrogant to God (SWT), God (SWT) would then lower him for a degree till he reaches the lowest of low Orders", (Narrated by: Muslim (Hadeeth: 6535).
Al-Nawawi said:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “And no one humbles himself before Allaah but Allaah will raise him (in status).”

Humbleness is to know the value of oneself, to avoid pride, or disregarding the truth and underestimating people. As the Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said, according to Muslim and others, "Al-Kibr is rejecting the truth and looking down upon people" [Muslim, Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud].

Humbleness is for one who is important and significant and he fears to gain notoriety or to become too great among people. Humbleness is that one should humble himself with his companions.

Humbleness is to humble oneself to one who is below you. If you find someone who is younger than you, or of less importance than you, you should not despise him, because he might have a better heart than you, or be less sinful, or closer to Allah than you. Even if you see a sinful person and you are righteous, do not act in arrogance towards him, and thank Allah that He saved you from the tribulation that He put him through. Remember that there might be some riyaa' or vanity in your righteous deeds that may cause them to be of no avail, and that this sinful person may be regretful and fearful concerning his bad deeds, and this may be the cause of forgiveness of his sins.

Humbleness is that your deed should not become too great in your eyes. If you do a good deed, or attempt to get closer to Allah ta`ala through an act of obedience, your deed may still not be accepted, "Allah only accepts from those who have taqwa (fear of Allah)." (Surat al-Maida: 27)

Humbleness is that, when you are advised, if Shaytaan calls you to reject the advice, you must negate him. Because the purpose of advice is that your brother points out the defects that you have.

The arrogant never gives credit to anybody or mentions good about someone, and if he needed to do so, he would also mention five defects of that person. But if he hears somebody reminding him about his own defects, he will not be flexible nor comply due to his inferiority complex. This is why it is among man's moral integrity to accept criticism or comment without any sensitivity or discomfort or feelings of shame and weakness.

We can summarize the teachings of Islam about the Muslim character in the following list:

Be truthful in everything, don’t lie.
Be sincere and straightforward, don’t be hypocritical.
Be honest, don’t be corrupt.
Be humble, don’t be boastful.
Be moderate, don’t be excessive.
Be reserved, don’t be garrulous.
Be soft-spoken, don’t be loud.
Be refined and gentle in speech, don’t curse and use foul language.
Be loving and solicitous to others, don’t be unmindful of them.
Be considerate and compassionate, don’t be harsh.
Be polite and respectful to people, don’t be insulting or disrespectful.
Be generous and charitable, don’t be selfish and miserly.
Be good natured and forgiving, don’t be bitter and resentful.
Share and be content with what Allah has given you, don’t be greedy.
Be cheerful and pleasant, don’t be irritable and morose.
Be chaste and pure, don’t be lustful.
Be alert and aware of the world around you, don’t be absent-minded.
Be dignified and decent, don’t be graceless.
Be optimistic and hopeful, don’t be cynical or pessimistic.
Be confident and have deep faith, don’t be doubtful and wavering.
Be spiritually oriented and not materialistic.
Be confident of the mercy of Allah, don’t be despairing and lose heart.
Be diligent and vigilant of your duties, don’t be negligent.
Be thankful to Allah and constantly pray to Him, don’t be forgetful of His innumerable blessings.

Finally as the righteous say, "The love of Allah is the axis around which all good revolves." If you fall in love with Allah, and then strive to be true in your love--in accordance with the way of the Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), then you'll find nothing but increasing light and contentment in your life.

And Allah alone gives success.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The virtues of fasting

   The virtues of fasting in general and of Ramadan in particular

There are many virtues of Ramadan and fasting expressed in the Qur'an and in the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. If only one of these virtues was told to us it would have been enough motivation to perfect our fasting seeking that reward and the pleasure of Allah, but it is again from the mercy of Allah that He taught us many virtues of fasting so that we get encouraged even more. I will focus mainly on the virtues of forgiveness, salvation from Hell fire and reward of Paradise, but before that I shall mention few other virtues that are not less important than the latter.
Allah says [meaning]: "O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa" [al-Baqarah, 2:183]
Indeed the person who has attained Taqwa has attained excellence in the worship of her Lord. In many Ayat of the Qur'an Allah says that the reward of the people of Taqwa is Paradise. This topic of Taqwa shall be the subject of one of the coming issues of Al-Mu'minah. We will just mention here two ayat in regard of the success of the people of Taqwa and their reward with Paradise.
The people of Taqwa are the successful people in this life and in the hereafter where they will be the dwellers of Paradise. Allah says [in meaning] : "This is the Book; in it is guidance sure without doubt to the Muttaqeen [people of Taqwa]. Who believe in the Unseen are steadfast in prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them. And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee and sent before thy time and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. They are on (true) guidance from their Lord and it is these who are the successful. (al-Baqarah 1:1-5)
He also says [meaning]: "Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord and for a garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth prepared for the Muttaqeen [people of Taqwa]. Those who spend (freely) whether in prosperity or in adversity; who restrain anger and pardon (all) men; for Allah loves those who do good. And those who having done something to be ashamed of or wronged their own souls earnestly bring Allah to mind and ask for forgiveness for their sins and who can forgive sins except Allah? And are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done. For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens with rivers flowing underneath an eternal dwelling; how excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)!". [Aali `Imraan, 3:133-136]
"and fast, it is better for you, if only you knew" [al-Baqarah, 2:184]
Indeed if Allah says that something is better of us, it is rally better for us and we should strive to perfect it.
Ibn Abbas reported: "The Prophet came to Madinah and found the Jews fasting the day of Ashura. He asked them: "Why are you fasting this day?" They said: "This is a great day. Allah saved Mousa (Moses) and the tribes of Israel from their enemies on this day and therefore Mousa fasted on it. "The Prophet said: "We have more of a right to Mousa than you." So he fasted on that day also and ordered the people to fast on that day." [al-Bukhari and Muslim].
`Abdullah Ibn `Amr said : The Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam said : The fast most loved by Allah is the fast of Dawood and the most loved prayer is the prayer of Dawood. He used to sleep half the night, pray for a third of the night, and then sleep during the last sixth of the night. He would also fast one day and then eat on the next. [Ahmad]
'Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, used to fast till one would say that he would never stop fasting, and he would abandon fasting till one would say that he would never fast. I never saw Allah's Messenger fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Sha'ban. [Bukhari]
Abu Huraira, radhiya Allahu `anh reported many Ahadith in this regard. We will mention few of them as they carry the same meaning.
The Prophet said that your Lord said, "Every (sinful) deed can be expiated; and the fast is for Me, so I will give the reward for it; and the smell which comes out of the mouth of a fasting person, is better in Allah's Sight than the smell of musk." [Bukhari]
The Prophet said, "Allah said: The Fast is for Me and I will give the reward for it, as he (the one who observes the fast) leaves his sexual desire, food and drink for My Sake. Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures (moments of happiness or joys) for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah's Sight than the smell of musk." [Bukhari]
The Prophet said, "(Allah said), 'Every good deed of Adam's son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.' Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk." [Bukhari]
He also said: "Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said: 'Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me'. For the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time of joy when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of Musk." [Muslim]
The greatest reward is, of course, Paradise. this will be covered under the section "Ramadan; a way to Paradise".
The Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, ordered the one who has strong desires and the need for marriage, but is unable to marry, to fast. Fasting is thus a means of cutting desires, since it reduces the vigor of the limbs of the body, it calms them and bridles them.
Ibn Mas`oud reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said: O Youths! whoever amongst you is able to marry then let him do so, since it retains the eyes and protects the private parts, and he who is unable let him fast because it is a shield for him [Bukhari and Muslim]
'Alqama said: While I was walking with 'Abdullah he said, "We were in the company of the Prophet and he said, 'He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him refrain from looking at other women, and save his private parts from looking at other women, and save his private parts from committing illegal sexual relation; and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual power." [Bukhari]
The prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, also said: "The Khisaa' (*) of my Ummah is Fasting [Sahih al-Jami`] (*) "Medication" [or preventive practice] against sexual desires
Jabir, radhiya Allahu `anhu relates that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said :" In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted". [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad and Ibn Majah; Sahih]
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: "There are three people whose supplications are not rejected: the fasting person when he breaks the fast, the just ruler and the supplication of the oppressed". [Tirmithi, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban]
`Abdullah Ibn `Amr Ibn al-`Aas also reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: "Indeed there is for the fasting person, when he breaks his fast, a supplication which is not rejected". [Ibn Majah, al-Hakim and others; Sahih]
The best supplication is the one authentically reported from the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, that he used to say when breaking his fast : "Thahaba aDh-Dhama'u wabtallatil-`urooqu wa thabata-l-ajru inshaa'a Allah". Which means :The thirst is gone, the veins are moisted and the reward is certain, if Allah wills. [Abu Dawood, al-Baihaqee and others; Hasan]
`Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: "The fast and the Qur'an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: 'O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.' The Qur'an will say: 'I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted." [Ahmad]
"Indeed We have revealed it (Qur'an) in the night of Decree. And what will explain to you what the night of Decree is? The night of Decree is better than than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit (Jibreel) by Allah's permission, on every errand: (they say) "peace" (continuously) till the rise of Morning!" (97:1-5)
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (S) said " The blessed month has come to you. Allah has made fasting during it obligatory upon you. During it the gates to Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained. There is a night [during this month] which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived [of something great]. [Ahmad, an-Nisa'i and al-Bayhaqi].
`Ata' said : I heard Ibn 'Abbas saying, "Allah's Apostle asked an Ansari woman (Ibn 'Abbas named her but 'Ata' forgot her name), 'What prevented you from performing Hajj with us?' She replied, 'We have a camel and the father of so-and-so and his son (i.e. her husband and her son) rode it and left one camel for us to use for irrigation.' He said (to her), 'Perform 'Umra when Ramadan comes, for 'Umra in Ramadan is equal to Hajj (in reward),' or said something similar." [Bukhari].
He (S) also said: "A `Umra in Ramadan is equal [in reward] of Hajj with me" [Sahih al-Jami`]
It is a reality that none of us is perfect. We all have some weaknesses and shortcoming and we find ourselves committing sins out of ignorance or out of submission to our desires and whims and thus driving ourselves away from Allah darkening our heart and sealing them from guidance and overloading our books of bad deeds. However, Allah said of Himself that He is the Most Merciful the oft-Forgiving. As part of this infinite Mercy He made available for us various ways of achieving forgiveness and sin expiation. Among the most important and beneficial of these ways of forgiveness is fasting in general and in Ramadan in particular. Let us discover this glad tiding from the sweet words of the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said : "The time between the five prayers, two consecutive Friday Prayers, and two consecutive Ramadan are expiations for all that has happened during that period, provided that one has avoided the grave (major) sins." [Muslim]
Abu Huraira narrated that Allah's Messenger said : "Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah's rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven." [Bukhari]
"Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan (and that is called Qiyam) faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven. [Bukhari]
Abu Hurairah also narrated that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, climbed upon the mimbar (pulpit) and said: "Aameen [O Allah grant it], aameen, aameen". So it was said, "O Messenger of Allah, you climbed upon the mimbar and said : "aameen, aameen, aameen"? So he said :"Jibraa'eel, `alaihi assalam, came to me and said, 'Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and does not have [his sins] forgiven and so enters Fire, then may Allah distance him, say aameen". So I said "aameen". [Ibn Khuzaimah, Ahmad and al-Baihaqui : Sahih]
Hudhaifah Ibn al-Yamaan reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: "The evils caused for a man through his family, wealth and neighbor are expiated by prayer, fasting and charity." [Bukhari and Muslim]. In another narration in Sahih al-Jami`: "The evils caused for a man through his family, his wealth, himself, his children and his neighbor are expiated by fasting, prayer, charity, enjoining the good and forbidding the bad.
"And complete the Hajj or 'umra in the service of Allah. But if you are prevented (From completing it), send an offering for sacrifice, such as you may find, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice. And if any of you is ill, or has an ailment in his scalp, (Necessitating shaving), (He should) in compensation either fast, or feed the poor, or offer sacrifice; and when you are in peaceful conditions (again), if any one wishes to continue the 'umra on to the hajj, He must make an offering, such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, He should fast three days during the hajj and seven days on his return, Making ten days in all. This is for those whose household is not in (the precincts of) the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah, and know that Allah Is strict in punishment." [al-Baqara, 2:196]
"O you who believe! Kill not game while in the sacred precincts or in pilgrim garb. If any of you do so intentionally, the compensation is an offering, brought to the Ka'ba, of a domestic animal equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you; or by way of atonement, the feeding of the indigent; or its equivalent in fasts: that he may taste of the penalty of his deed. Allah forgives what is past: for repetition Allah will exact from him the penalty. For Allah is Exalted, and Lord of Retribution."[al-Ma'idah, 5:95]
"Never should a believer kill a believer; but (If it so happens) by mistake, (Compensation is due): If one (so) kills a believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave, and pay compensation to the deceased's family, unless they remit it freely. If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you, and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (Is enough). If he belonged to a people with whom you have treaty of Mutual alliance, compensation should be paid to his family, and a believing slave be freed. For those who find this beyond their means, (is prescribed) a fast for two months running: by way of repentance to Allah. for Allah hath all knowledge and all wisdom". [an-Nisaa', 4:92]
"Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths you have sworn. But keep to your oaths. Thus doth Allah make clear to you His signs, that you may be grateful." [al-Ma'idah, 5:89]
The saying of a husband to his wife: You are to me like the back of my mother (i.e. unlawful to me).
"But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered, (It is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other: Thus are you admonished to perform: and Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that you do. And if any has not (the wherewithal), he should fast for two months consecutively before they touch each other. But if any is unable to do so, he should feed sixty indigent ones, this, that you may show your faith in Allah and His Messenger. Those are limits (set by) Allah. For those who reject (Him), there is a grievous Penalty". [al-Mujadilah, 58:3-4]
We have seen that Ramadan saves from Hell Fire and saves from sins by leading to forgiveness. Besides all this (and it would have been enough if it were only that) Ramadan leads the fasting believer to al-Jannah (Paradise). Paradise, that house that contains what no eye has ever seen, what no ear has ever heard, what never crossed the mind of a human being, and that contains all what a soul desires.
How does Ramadan lead to al-Jannah?
From al-Qur'an :
"O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa" [al-Baqarah, 2:183]
If a person achieves Taqwa, he/she is among al-Muttaqeen, and Allah, in many places in the Qur'an, says that the house of al-Muttaqeen is al-Jannah (Paradise) as was described in the section "Ramadan, a means to attain Taqwa".
"and fast, it is better for you, if only you knew" [al-Baqarah, 2:184]
"Verily, the Muslim men and women, the believing men and women, the men and women who are obedient (to Allah), the men and women who are truthful (in their speech and deeds), the men and women who are patient, the men and women who are humble (before their Lord), the men and women who give charity, the men and women who fast, the men and women who guard their chastity (from illegal sexual acts) and the men and women who remember Allah much. Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise)." [al-Ahzaab, 33:35]
I strongly invite my dear Muslim Sisters to check in Tafseer Ibn Katheer the reason for the revelation of this beautiful verse. I am sure that it will please them much)
And from the Sunnah :
For the DEVOUT Muslim Women and only for them:
Ibn Hibban narrated that the Prophet said, what translated means, "If a woman prayed the five prayers, fasted in Ramadan, protected her honor and obeyed her husband; then she will be told (on the Day of Judgment): enter Paradise from any of its (eight) doors.
In the famous hadith of Mu`ath ... I said O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an act which will take me into Paradise and keep me away from Hell-Fire. He said: you have asked me about a major matter, yet it easy for him for whom Allah Almighty makes it easy. You should ..., You should fast in Ramadan .... Then he (S) said : shall I not show you the gates of goodness ? Fasting is a shield ... [at-Tirmithi]
Abu Umamah reported: "I came to the Messenger of Allah and said: 'Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.' He said: 'Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.' Then I came to him again and he said: 'Stick to fasting."' [Ibn Hibban, an-Nasa'i, and al-Hakim: Sahih].
Sahl ibn Sa'd reported that the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said: "There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: 'Where are those who fasted?' When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked." [al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Abu Huraira said : I heard the Messenger of Allah,salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, saying, "Anybody who spends a pair of something in Allah's Cause will be called from all the gates of Paradise, "O Allah's slave! This is good.' He who is amongst those who pray will be called from the gate of the prayer (in Paradise) and he who is from the people of Jihad will be called from the gate of Jihad, and he who is from those' who give in charity (i.e. Zakat) will be called from the gate of charity, and he who is amongst those who observe fast will be called from the gate of fasting, the gate of Raiyan." Abu Bakr said, "He who is called from all those gates will need nothing," He added, "Will anyone be called from all those gates, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Yes, and I hope you will be among those, O Abu Bakr." [Bukhari]
`Amr ibn Murrah al-Juhanee, radhiya Allahu `anhu said : A man came to the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallama, and said :"O Messenger of Allah, what if I testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah, and I observe the five daily prayer, and I pay the Zakaah, and I fast and stand in prayer [at night ie Qiyam] in Ramadan, the amongst who shall I be ?" He said : "amongst the true followers of the prophets and the martyrs" [Ibn Hibban in az-Zawa'id : Its Isnad is Sahih]
And again
Abu Huraira reported that Allah's Messenger, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained." [Bukhari]
We pray to Allah Ta`ala to make this Ramadan a means for us to access to Jannah and to see our Lord therein.