Archive for the ‘Pearls of wisdom’ Category

Assalamu’alaykum warahmatullah,

Last few days we resumed back our weekly Qur’an halaqah at the University. Alhamdulillah it was a good one. We were discussing surah al-Mu’minoon from ayah 1 to 11 to basically reflect on the purpose of learning the Qur’an and the deen in general. The verses are as the following:

1. Successful indeed are the believers.

2. Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.

3. And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah has forbidden).

4. And those who pay the Zakat .

5. And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts)

6. Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame;

7. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors;

8. Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat (all the duties which Allah has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts etc.) and to their covenants;

9. And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours).

10. These are indeed the inheritors.

11. Who shall inherit the Firdaus (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever.

The ayah starts off with mentioning the glad tidings for believers and followed by four general descriptions of successful believers. The first characteristic mentioned is one who establish prayer with khushoo’. Prayer, as we all know, is the foundation of Islam as in one hadith where the Prophet SAW said “Verily between man and between polytheism and unbelief is the negligence of prayer” (Muslim). It is also important to note that our prayer will be the first thing to be accounted for on the Day of Judgement as mentioned in the following hadith: ” The first thing that the servant will be called to account for on the Day of Judgment will be Salah. If it is good, his deeds will have been good. If it is bad, his deeds will have been bad” (At-Tabarani). This shows that prayer is one of the most important thing that a muslim should safeguard and offer with full attention. The mention of khushoo’ indicates that prayer should not be done mechanically. It should be established with sincerity and submissiveness. And in order to attain khushoo’ in prayer, one should prepare before even coming to prayer. Prayer should not be treated like plug-and-play. You cannot expect to attain that level of consciousness in prayer if you are very involved in the matter of dunya just before going to prayer (unless you’re a very BIG BIG Sheykh!!). We should be aware as well that during prayer, we are communicating directly with Allah. So treat it like a communication. How would we communicate with our superior? Our kings or presidents? Imagine now that we’re communicating with The King of Kings? How should we behave?

The next characteristic that was mentioned is those who stay away from al-Laghw. In the Qur’an, if we notice, al-Laghw is always used to refer to vain talk eventhough the meaning can be expanded to include useless/senseless actions. Our halaqa ‘instructor’ pointed out a really interesting relationship between the previous characteristic (prayer with khushoo’) and this characteristic. Good relationship with Allah should be reflected in our action. I remembered once, when I was talking to a brother in a local masjid, he was mentioning that if a person does a lot of ‘ibadaah and it doesn’t reflect on his dealings with the people around him, then his ‘ibadaah is not benefiting him in anyway. SubhanAllah, I for once, was really affected by his speech. How have I treated people around me? My family? My friends? How many times have I sinned other people? How many times I’ve talked with people around me and suddenly we start to talk about others not knowing that we are actually backbiting them? If we have attain khushoo’ in prayer how can we not maintain the “khushoo'” (conscious) in our dealings with the people? May Allah forgive me for my shortcomings and may Allah reward those I’ve wronged, ameen. If this is happening to us, we really should check back our ‘ibadaah. Did we perform them with sincerity? Did we do it just for the sake of doing it or to please Allah? May Allah guide us to perform all ”ibadaah for the sake of Him only and perform them with ihsaan, ameen.

The next characteristic is one who perform zakah. Zakah has always been mentioned right after prayer in the Qur’an which highlights the importance of this specific action as one of the basic tenets of Islam. Zakah purifies our wealth as prayer purifies our heart. One point that was highlighted by the ‘instructor’ is that very few muslims know the rulings on zakah. As zakah always being mention after prayer, it is very important for muslims, especially in this age, to know the in and out of the rules for zakah. There are even some who doesn’t even know that they are not eligible to pay zakah and yet they pay it. Not only they paid zakah when they are ineligible, they even paid more than what has been ordained.

The last characteristic that was pointed out is one who guards their chastity. This characteristic is in correlation with the second characteristic. How? The first is to guard the tongue and the second is to guard the private part; both of which have been mentioned in a hadith :”Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him” (Bukhari). In another narration, the tongue and private part were said to cause the majority of people to end up in the hellfire. The arrangements of these verses are of particular interest. Why would the verses regarding mu’alamah (guarding tongue and private parts) are put in between verses that mention ‘ibadaah (prayer and zakah)? It was said that these verses were put in between to underline the importance of being good not only to Allah but also to His other creations. 

The discussion of next verses are just my reflection and not being discussed in the halaqa. If there’s any mistakes, I ask Allah to forgive me and guide me to the right path. So please don’t quote me on this. The next verse is, I think, the end of the general description of successful believers because Allah mention whoever transgress the boundaries that Allah has set, they will not be included amongst the successful believers. The next verses however, seems to be pointing back to the characteristics of successful believers. Again, this is just my reflection. It seems to me that the next verses are meant to point out the characteristics of the cream of crop amongst the successful believers as Allah mention, in ayah 10 and 11, about them being the inheritors of Jannatul-Firdaus, which is the highest place in Jannah. So to be a successful believers, one needs to fulfill the four mentioned characteristics as mentioned in ayah 2-6. But to be an extraordinary successful believer, the additional two characteristics need to be realized: being true to amanah and covenants and guarding strictly the five daily prayers. I guess I don’t have to elaborate more on these two aspects as the general discussion that we just had in previous verses can be applied to this verses as well. And the instruction is pretty obvious.

I ask Allah to guide us and make our path easy to become successful believers and I ask Allah to forgive us our sins, accept from us our deeds and increase our imaan, ameen. Any wrong information in this entry is from my own shortcomings (may Allah forgive me) and anything good and right is from Allah.

Wassalamu’alaykum

Pearl of Wisdom 4

Posted: December 30, 2011 in Interest, Islam, Pearls of wisdom

It is reported that Al-Fudayl b. ‘Ayyâd said, “When backbiting appears, brotherhood for Allâh will disappear; and at that time you will be like things plated with gold and silver: wooden on the inside, [merely] looking good on the outside.”

Pearl of Wisdom 3

Posted: August 21, 2011 in Islam, Pearls of wisdom

يقول ربكم : يا ابن آدم ! تفرغ لعبادتي ، املأ قلبك غنى ، وأملأ يديك رزقا ، يا ابن آدم ! لا تباعد مني ، أملأ قلبك فقرا ، وأملأ يديك شغلا

Allah says (in the hadith qudsi): O Son of Adam, set time aside to worship Me and I will fill your heart with richness/contentment and I will fill your hands with rizq! O son of Adam, do not keep away from Me, or I will fill your heart with poverty and I will fill your hands with work (ie. constantly being busy)!

Assalamu’alaykum,

 

In today’s halaqah we discussed about the first 5 verses of surah al-Ma’idah. We were asked if we ever felt that our hearts are uplifted, spiritually, when we contemplate on these verses. The verses are as following:

” 1. O you who believe! Fulfil (your) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you (herein), game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram for Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage). Verily, Allah commands that which He wills.

2. O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Month, nor of the animals brought for sacrifice, nor the garlanded people or animals , and others nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you finish the Ihram (of Hajj or ‘Umrah ), you may hunt, and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al-Masjid-Al-Haram (at Makkah) lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part). Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.

3. Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maitah (the dead animals – cattle – beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering, (that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols) and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns – and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal – unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) – and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone-altars). (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision; (all) that is Fisqun (disobedience of Allah and sin). This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above mentioned meats), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

4. They ask you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) what is lawful for them (as food). Say: “Lawful unto you are At-Tayyibat [all kind of Halal (lawful-good) foods which Allah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits)]. And those beasts and birds of prey which you have trained as hounds, training and teaching them (to catch) in the manner as directed to you by Allah; so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Swift in reckoning.”

5. Made lawful to you this day are At-Tayyibat [all kinds of Halal (lawful) foods, which Allah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits)]. The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them. (Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time when you have given their due Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), desiring chastity (i.e. taking them in legal wedlock) not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girl-friends. And whosoever disbelieves in Faith [i.e. in the Oneness of Allah and in all the other Articles of Faith i.e. His (Allah’s) Angels, His Holy Books, His Messengers, the Day of Resurrection and Al-Qadar (Divine Preordainments)], then fruitless is his work; and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. “

SubhanAllah, I have never really asked that question to myself. And when I contemplate on the verses, I don’t really feel that the verses touches me from within. Because to me, these type of verses were sent down as commandments and I thought I can only feel spirit being uplifted when I actually apply the legislations. Then, brother Mustafa (our halaqah teacher) said that it is normal for laymen to feel the way I felt. But the scholars viewed these verses in different light. Shaykh Ibn al-Qayyim said regarding verse 4 of the surah, which mentions about hunting dogs, that there are three benefits that one can obtain from this portion of the verse alone:

1. Excellence of knowledge – animals that are brought by untrained and trained hunting dogs don’t have the same status. Animals brought by the trained dogs are halal whereas animal brought by the untrained dogs are haram. For trained hunting dogs, the master can be sure that the dogs brought back the animals for him but in the case of untrained dogs,the animals brought by the dogs cannot be determined whether its for the master or for itself. In our case however, knowledge can determine whether our deeds are accepted or not. If we did something without having the knowledge, the deeds that we do may not be accepted and could be considered as acts of innovation.

2. Intention – Dogs that are well trained know well that the animals they hunt are for their masters and not for themselves. Untrained hunting dogs may sometimes eat the animals they preyed on which makes the animal they hunted haram for the master to eat. This can be compared to our intention in doing our deeds. If we don’t have the proper intention in doing any deeds for the sake of Allah, our good deeds are worthless in His eyes.

3. Realization – The reason why the trained hunting dogs will never eat the animals they hunted is because they know that  their masters have taken care of their well being. And for that, they will not disappoint their master even if at that time, they themselves are hungry. What about us, humans? Our provisions, health, children are all bestowed on us by Allah. Have we fulfill His right? If hunting dogs can be loyal to its masters and do whatever the masters ask them to do, what about us who owes everything we have in our life to our Master?

A brother in the halaqah also has mentioned one more beautiful benefit from the verse, that is:

Perfection – Trained hunting dogs always make sure that they presented the animals to their masters in the best form possible. In our terms, we should perform our deeds in the best manner possible because we tend to do our work half-heartedly.

The benefits mentioned really makes me think if I have done my job as a servant of Allah. I really need to reexamine my heart and ponder if I have done everything correctly according to His legislation. May Allah makes our intention right whenever we do any deeds, for this life and the hereafter, and may He accepts from us our deeds. May Allah makes it easy for us to perfect our deeds and deen and grants us success in this life and the next, ameen

Upon the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) would encourage – and not order as an obligation – to establish the night prayer in Ramadhaan. He would say, ((Whosoever stood [for the night prayer] in Ramadhaan with sincere faith and hoping for the reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.))[1]

Meaning of words

‘And not order as an obligation’ i.e. his command is a recommendation and encouragement and not a form of obligation.

Benefits

1. To stand in night prayer throughout Ramadhaan is from the best voluntary acts of worship which brings a slave closer to his Lord in this blessed month.

2. The meaning of ‘to stand in prayer in Ramadhaan’ is to stand in prayer at night as much as is easy upon a person. This can be done privately in ones house or in congregation in the Masjid.

3. To pray the night prayer in congregation is better [than praying alone in ones house]; this was the action of the prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam). He did not however, continue upon this action [of praying the taraaweeh in congregation] because he feared it would be made obligatory upon his people.

Also, due to the hadeeth of Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said,((whomsoever stood in prayer with the imaam until he left, it will be written for him as if he has prayed the whole night.))[2]

4. The meaning of ‘the previous sins being forgiven’ is restricted to the minor sins. This is shown by other Ahadeeth. Some of the scholars held the view that both the minor and major sins are forgiven, however the first opinion is stronger and more correct when combining all the evidences together.[3]

Footnotes:

[1] Narrated by Abu Huraira; Collected by Al-Bukhaaree & Muslim.

[2] Narrated by Abu Dharr; Collected by At-Tirmidhi & Others.

[3] The expiation and forgiving of sins due to other good actions is restricted to the minor sins. The evidence for this is the saying of Allaah,

{If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall remit from you your (small) sins…} [04:31]

The major sins require specific repentance (taubah).

Excerpt from here.

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with faith and hoping (i.e. with anticipation) for its reward shall have all of his previous sins forgiven for him.”

[Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Commentary:

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) saying: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with faith” meaning whoever establishes their fast upon true eemaan (belief and faith), which will therefore entail your fast being performed sincerely and purely for the sake of Allah.

He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) then said: “and hoping (with anticipation) for its reward”

The scholars (may Allah have mercy upon them) have said that ‘ih’tesaban’ (anticipation) is: the initiative to seek reward and obtain it using different types of good actions, and doing them in the required manner in order to seek their reward.

In other words, anticipation is an intention to gain the fruits that are promised for a certain good deed, and this – naturally – is an action of the heart not the tongue, that leads the self to be keen, the heart to look forward to, and determination to seek the great rewards behind this good deed.

In conclusion, whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with the above two qualities will as the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “shall have all of his previous sins forgiven for him.”

We ask Allah to make us from those who establish their fasting of Ramadan based on true eemaan and hoping for its reward so we can be from those who have their previous sins forgiven.

And Allah knows best!

Excerpt from Hadithaday.org

Assalamu’alaykum,

Alhamdulillah, Ramadhan is drawing near and we ask Allah to lengthen our life so that we will be able to reach Ramadhan and benefit the most from this blessed month. Today’s halaqah is dedicated for Ramadhan for we will be entering Ramadhan in just a week or so. So the discussion today revolves around how we should prepare ourselves to grab the most from this month and what we should strive for so that this coming Ramadhan will be the best Ramadhan in our life and will make the changes that we have been longing for in our entire life, inshaAllah.

Ramadhan is one of the most special month in Islam. It is the month where the Qur’an was revealed and it is the month where Allah will multiply the rewards for every good deeds that we do. This is also the month where there’s a night that is better than a thousand months called laylatul qadr. This is the month of opportunity and when we come to think of how many people this year has passed away not knowing that the past Ramadhan was their last Ramadhan, we should realize how important it is for us to make full use of this upcoming Ramadhan by filling our time in this blessed month with good acts. We have to treat this coming Ramadhan as our last!

In this month, the only thing that will stop us is ourselves. We need to strive to get rid of our old bad habits and train ourselves to be proactive and productive. If we look back at our glorious history, how many great achievements the muslims had accomplished during the month of Ramadhan? The Battle of Badr, the conquest of Andalus and the conquest of Jerusalem (by Salahuddeen al-Ayyubi), all happened during the month of Ramadhan! Thus, we need to work hard and not using fast as an excuse for us to get lazy! And to achieve this, we need to prepare for Ramadhan, physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s like attaining khusyu’ in prayer, one needs to be in constant khusyu’ throughout his day in order to be khusyu’ in prayer. It’s not a ‘plug and play’ thing! It requires training and effort!

Imam al-Ghazali has stated that fasting is of 3 types:

1- Fasting of the masses- only fast from food, water and relationship with spouses but still get involve in haraam transaction, haraam business, backbiting etc.
2- Fasting of the righteous- not only fast from food, water and relationship with spouses but also restrain self from getting involve in haraam acts.
3- Fasting of the elite- the heart is also fasting by staying connected to Allah along with the fast from food, water, etc.

For this coming Ramadhan, let’s make our intention to achieve the fast of the elite as mentioned by Imam al-Ghazali. We should make our goal for this Ramadhan to work on our heart. One of the best way to check on our heart is to record our thoughts on a piece of paper. Any thoughts which includes anger, jealousy, insincerity etc should be recorded so that we can evaluate ourselves. This way we can see how often our hearts get astray from remembering Allah. By doing this, inshaAllah, we will be more aware and conscious of our thoughts thus, making it possible for us to make the appropriate corrections to correct our hearts and clean it. It is also beneficial for us to balance our deeds with hope and fear. Hope that Allah will accepts our deeds and fear from having any insincerity in performing the deeds. We need to constantly question our intentions so that we will attain the sincerity.

Blacken hearts will not be able to ‘see’ the signs of Allah just as the blind eyes cannot see the beauty of a flower. Therefore we need to evaluate ourselves and take the opportunity of the blessed month of Ramadhan to make the corrections within our hearts. It was mentioned in the halaqah that if you want to know how clean your heart is, try to contemplate on the things that you see around yourself. Do you just look at it without any feelings or you glorify Allah out of awe and amazement? Because this world, in of itself, has signs of Allah ‘written’ all over it. May Allah makes our intentions sincere for Him and Him only. May Allah accepts all of our deeds and may He makes it easy for us to make the changes that we have set for ourselves so that we will become a better muslims, ameen.