Current Lunar Phase

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Israeli Air Strikes In Gaza Strip Kill 200!!

Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds injured after the Israeli air force launched dozens of air raids on the Gaza Strip.

At least 30 missiles were fired by F-16 fighter bombers. The first round of airstrikes came just before noon, followed by several more waves of missiles, killing dozens and leaving many buried under the rubble. About 60 warplanes took part in the first wave of air strikes.

They were the heaviest Israeli attacks on Gaza for decades. More air raids were launched as night fell.

About 700 others were wounded, as missiles struck security compounds and other bases, said officials.

Residents spoke of children heading to and from school at the time of the attacks.

Palestinians staged demonstrations in the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Hebron, and there were some scuffles with Israeli troops there.

Egypt opened its border crossing to the Gaza Strip at Rafah to absorb and treat some of those injured in the south of the territory.

You can make a difference - Please help us help the Palestinians


Hadith - Sahih al-Bukhari 3.624, Narrated Anas, r.a.

Allah's Apostle said, "Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one." People asked, "O Allah's Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?" The Prophet said, "By preventing him from oppressing others''.

Monday, December 22, 2008

“Fear Allah Wherever You Are”

Abû Dharr al-Ghifârî and Mu`âdh b, Jabal relate that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Fear Allah wherever you are. Follow up a bad deed with a good deed and it will blot it out. And deal with people in a good manner.” [ Sunan al-Tirmidhî ]

The importance of this hadith:

Ibn Rajab says: “This is powerful advice, bringing together the rights of Allah and the rights of His servants.”

The fear of Allah

The Arabic word for the “fear of Allah” is taqwâ . It comes from the root word meaning “to protect from something, to prevent”. Indeed, a person exhibits the fear of Allah by seeking to prevent Allah's punishment by carrying out what Allah has commanded of him and abstaining from what Allah has prohibited him.

Allah had called upon all people in every era to fear Him. Allah says: “And We had enjoined upon those who were given the Scripture before – as well as yourselves – to fear Allah.” [ Sûrah al-Nisâ' : 131]

It is Allah's right over His servants that they fear Him as He ought to be feared. Allah says: “O you who believe! Fear Allah as He ought to be feared and do not die except as believers.” [ Sûrah Âl `Imrân : 102]

Ibn Mas`ûd explained what it means to fear Allah as He ought to be feared by saying: “It means that He is to be obeyed not disobeyed, remembered not forgotten, and shown gratitude not ingratitude.”

The fear of Allah is the path to forgiveness, salvation, and the attainment of Allah's mercy. Allah says:

“Indeed, Allah is with those who fear Him and those who do good.” [ Sûrah al-Nahl : 128]

“And My mercy encompasses all things, and I shall decree it for those who fear Me.” [ Sûrah al-A`râf : 156]

“He is worthy of being feared and worthy of granting forgiveness.” [ Sûrah al-Muddaththir : 56]

“And whoever fears Allah – He will pardon him his sins and grant him a great reward.” [ Sûrah al-Talâq : 5]

“Indeed, those who fear Allah will be among gardens and rivers, in a seat of truth near an All-Powerful Sovereign.” [ Sûrah al-Qamar : 54-55]

Allah promises those who fear Him that He will provide for their needs and grant them a way out of their worldly difficulties. Allah says: “And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out, and provide for him from whence he could never imagine.” [ Sûrah al-Talâq : 2-3]

This is Allah's promise. We should draw strength from it when we are tried in life with difficulties that tempt us to resort to what Allah has forbidden.

The relationship between knowledge and the fear of Allah

Allah says: “It is only those who have knowledge among Allah's servants who fear Him.” [ Sûrah Fâtir : 28]

There are two ways in which knowledge and the fear of Allah are related. The first is that true fear of Allah comes about as the result of having proper knowledge of Allah and His perfect attributes.

Ibn `Abbâs said about this verse: “They are those who know that Allah is capable of all things.”

He also said: “The verse means: The only people who fear me are those who know my power, my might, and my dominion.”

Ibn Kathîr says in his commentary of this verse: “The only people who fear Allah in the true sense are those who are knowledgeable about Allah. This is because the more knowledge a person has about the Almighty, the All-Powerful and All-Knowing, who possesses the attributes of perfection and the best of names – the more perfect and complete this knowledge is – the greater and more total his fear of Allah will be.” [ Tafsîr Ibn Kathîr ]

The second way that the fear of Allah and knowledge are related stems from the fact that the fear of Allah is to seek to prevent Allah's punishment by carrying out Allah's commands and abstaining from His prohibitions. Consequently, a Muslim needs to have knowledge of these matters in order to fear Allah properly. An ignorant Muslim may have a sense of fear, but he will not be able to fully carry out what that fear requires of him.

Ibn `Abbâs said: “To have knowledge of the Most Merciful is to be someone who associates nothing as a partner with Him, who deems lawful what He has made lawful, who prohibits what He has prohibited, who preserves what He has enjoined upon him, and who has certainty that he shall meet Him and that his actions will be accounted for.”

Follow up a bad deed with a good deed

The Prophet (peace be upon him) tells us that the performing a good deed wipes away the sin incurred from perpetrating an evil one. Scholars have disagreed whether the “good deed” being referred to here refers specifically to the context of repentance or whether it is general for all good works.

The strongest view is that all good deeds can wipe away evil deeds. Allah says: “And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good works do away with evil deeds. That is a reminder for those who take heed.” [ Sûrah Hûd : 114]

A man once came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and informed him that he had contact with a woman like a husband has with his wife, except that he did not go so far as to fornicate with her. This man had just prayed the Fajr prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Have you prayed with us the Fajr prayer?” When he replied that he had, the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited: “Indeed, good works do away with evil deeds.” [ Sahîh al-Bukhârî (526) and Sahîh Muslim (2763)]

However, a believer should always repent for his sins. Allah says: “And those, who when they commit an indecency or wrong themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who forgives sins except Allah – and then do not knowingly persist in what they have done, for them is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they shall abide forever. How great is the reward for those who work righteousness.” [ Sûrah Âl `Imrân : 135]

A believer should follow up his sincere repentance with the performance of good works. This is what Allah wants from us. He says: “Indeed, I am Most Forgiving to whomever repents, believes, and works righteous deeds and then continues upon guidance.” [ Sûrah TâHâ : 82]

Allah also tells us: “Except for those who repent, believe, and work righteous deeds. For those, Allah will change their evil deeds into good deeds, and Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [ Sûrah al-Furqân : 70]

This is especially true for major sins. A Muslim must never leave a major sin to go without repentance, for Allah's promise of forgiveness is for those who turn to Him in sincere repentance. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A servant, if he acknowledges his sin and then repents, Allah will forgive him.” [ Sahîh al-Bukhârî (4141) and Sahîh Muslim (2770)]

And deal with people in a good manner

Allah tells us repeatedly in the Qur'ân to observe good manners in our dealings with others. He says: “Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from those who are ignorant.” [ Sûrah al-A`râf : 199]

Allah says: “Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel (evil) with what is better. Then he between whom and you there had been hatred will become as though he were your dear friend.” [ Sûrah Fussilat : 34]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is the perfect example of what it means to possess good manners. Allah says, describing him: “Indeed you are of a great moral character.” [ Sûrah al-Qalam : 4]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized how good manners are of paramount importance in Islam when he said: “I was sent only to perfect good manners.” [ Musnad Ahmad (8952)]

Indeed, he tells us that good manners are part of faith. He said: “The believers with the most complete faith are those who have the best manners.” [ Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1162) and Sunan Abî Dâwûd (4682)]

Among the good manners that we should cultivate is to be sensible in our dealings with others and not to react hastily when they do that which displeases us. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Ashajj `Abd Qays: “You possess within yourself two qualities that Allah loves: discernment and forbearance.” [ Sahîh Muslim (17)]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Al-Wahn, A Deadly Disease

On the authority of Thawbaan , the Prophet said:
"The People will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their food." Someone asked, "Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?" He replied, "No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be froth and scum like that carried down by a torrent (of water), and Allah will take the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast al-wahn into your hearts." Someone asked, "O Messenger of Allah, what is al-wahn?" He replied, "Love of the world and dislike of death."
[An authentic hadith recorded by Abu Dawud and Ahmad]

In attempting to contemplate on the meaning of the Prophet's words in the above hadith (and indeed on any of his noble sayings), one quickly comes to appreciate the Prophet's statement: "I have been given words which are concise, but comprehensive in meaning" [Bukhaari and Muslim]. The Messenger was blessed with the profound ability to utter several words which whole volumes could then be written about.
In this striking hadith, the Prophet describes the situation of the Muslims with great accuracy, and also prescribes a remedy for the ailment.

"The People will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their food."
What is extraordinary in this hadith, is that the Prophet conjures up vivid images in the listener's mind about the scenario. Here, the Ummah (the Muslim nation) is first likened to some seemingly tasty food surrounded by a group of hungry diners. But these people need to share, and thus, the food must be divided into portions corresponding to the status of each 'guest'.

Shortly after the fall of the Khilafah (Caliphate), the Muslim world was divided into many different states by the European powers, with each of them eying the rich resources that Allah has blessed the Muslims with.
Colonization and corruption shortly followed in those lands, and the seeds of tyrannical, despot regimes were planted. Now, with the Ummah divided and each government primarily concerned with its own interests, the enemies of Islam are free to attack each region like wild animals attack their prey - Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya and now Afghanistan.

Someone asked, "Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?" He replied, "No, you will be numerous at that time..."
This is yet more evidence that in Islam, numbers are of little significance. The Muslims were victorious: at the Battle of Badr, where the disbelievers outnumbered the Muslims three to one. They were also victorious at Yarmuk, where the Romans outnumbered the Muslims seventy to one. The current situation is quite the opposite. The Muslim population is more than a billion and is rapidly growing. Yet, these phenomenal numbers are of little consequence when the masses of the population are essentially slaves to the West, herded mindlessly like cattle according to the whims of their masters.

"...but you will be froth and scum like that carried down by a torrent (of water)"
Here is another image! This extraordinary description carries heavy meaning beneath its exterior if one considers the characteristics of the "froth and scum".

Firstly, the froth overlies the water beneath, suggesting a sense of pride and self-confidence. Secondly, the froth is almost weightless and with little substance, such that the slightest breeze can destroy it. Thus, the pride and self-confidence is ill founded and in reality, should not exist. It is only a product of self-delusion. Thirdly, the foam and scum is not in control of its path - that is, the role of the water flowing beneath. All it does is happily flow along to its destination while intoxicated with its imaginary position.

"...and Allah will take the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast al-wahn into your hearts."
There were days when the forces of the Muslims were dreaded by all those who opposed them, when people from all over the world would travel to to the lands of the Muslims to receive education, and when Arabic was the language of success. These days are all but gone. Muslims and Islam are generally looked down upon. Why? The Prophet said it is because of Wahn. Technically, it means a dull lifelessness and enervation. However, the Prophet explains what this word really means:
Someone asked, "O Messenger of Allah, what is al-wahn?" He replied, "Love of the world and dislike of death."

Thus, the problem and the solution have been identified. After the bombardment from capitalist and socialist ideologies, the Muslim world became too materialistic, desperately pursuing the rewards and pleasures of this world, with little remembrance of the Hereafter. The Prophet said (in another hadith): "Keep much in remembrance of death, which is the destroyer of pleasure." [Tirmidhi]

Allah said: "Say: 'Short is the enjoyment of this world. And the Hereafter is the best for those who do right. And you will never be dealt with unjustly in the very least. Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high." [An-Nisaa, 4:77-78]

Imam Ahmad records from Abu Dardaa as saying: "If only you knew what you will certainly see upn your death, you would never eat again a single bite out of a craving appetite, and you would never again drink an extra sip of water for the pleasure of unquenchable and insatiable thirst."

Once Muslims realise that the death is not the end, but the beginning, thereafter with ultimate justice and either excruciating torment or blissful reward, our situation will surely change.

Until then, Allah says: "Verily, Allah will never change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves." [Ar-Ra'd, 13:11]

They Pray & Fast but are Sinful & Say: "Allah is Merciful" - Sheikh Khâlid Husayn

People who commit sinful deeds have many different ways of looking at their sins. When we wish to call them to what is right and have them give up their sinful ways, we must understand their way of thinking and approach them accordingly

One group of people who need a special approach are those primarily young people who appear to exhibit extremely contradictory behavior. On the one hand, they are regular in their prayers, observant of their fasts, and uphold their religious duties admirably. However, when it comes to the sinful and licentious behavior that Allah has forbidden them, they have no qualms about indulging in the most serious of sinful acts. It is not like they fall weak and sin, and then feel bad about it. They show a complete indifference to their bad behavior.

Many people who behave like this, if you ask them why they do so, they turn to you and say: "Allah is forgiving and merciful". They see themselves as religious, and do not realize that their fasts and their prayers do not give them license to indulge in sin. How do we answer such people? Aside from the general prescription that we should call them to the truth with wisdom and beautiful preaching, showing them respect and avoiding harshness – what exactly can we say that will show them the error of their ways?

People who exhibit such behavior are operating under a serious misunderstanding. They misunderstand the verses of the Qur'ân that speak about Allah's mercy. It is their misunderstanding that makes it easy for them to disobey Allah in what He forbids them.

They need to be brought to understand that just like Allah is most forgiving and most merciful, he is also severe in punishment. One of the best verses to call their attention to in this regard is where

Allah says: "Inform My servants that I am the Forgiving and Merciful, and that truly My punishment will be a painful one." [Sûrah al-Hijr: 49-50]

Then, when they justify to us their sinful behavior by saying "Allah is Most Merciful" we can tell them:

"Indeed He is, just as He is the Most Severe in Punishment. Do you have some guarantee that Allah is going to forgive all of your sins?

Know that Allah warns us in the Qur'ân against thinking that we have such a guarantee.

He says: "What! Do they then feel secure from Allah's plan? But none feels secure from Allah's plan except the people who are doomed to fail." [Sûrah al-A`râf: 99]

They need to know that although Allah is Most Merciful, His Mercy is not equally applicable to everyone. Allah says: "My mercy extends to all things, and I shall ordain it for those who do right, and practice regular charity, and those who believe in Our signs." [Sûrah al-A`râf: 156]

Allah's mercy is for those who fear Him. Those who are pious and God-fearing are the one's who will surely benefit from it. The Arabic word for piety – taqwâ – derives from the word wiqâyah, which means "a protective barrier". This is because a pious person is like someone who puts up a barrier between himself and what Allah has prohibited. Such a person fulfills his religious obligations and stays away from religious proscriptions.

As for those who commit major sins and licentious deeds with full abandon, and then brush it off by saying "Allah is merciful." – they are projecting their own wishful thinking onto the meaning of Allah's mercy.

The eminent scholar al-Hasan al-Basrî once commented: "There are some people who project their own hopes upon Allah. They say: 'We merely have a good opinion about Allah.' Though they commit the most atrocious of deeds and eschew noble conduct. If they really had a good opinion about Allah, they would be equally good in their conduct."

These people should take heed of what the Prophet's Companion Ibn Mas`ûd said: "The most wanton person is the one who sees his sins to be like a fly that alights upon his nose that he can just brush away. Would that it were true. The believer, on the other hand, sees his sins to be like a mountain about to fall down on him. Therefore, he is scared and takes stock of himself."

A Muslim should always be in a state of both hope and fear. He should never let his fear overwhelm him and make him despair of Allah's mercy. He should never become so overwhelmed by hope that he disregards the consequences of his bad deeds. He needs to have the hope for Allah's reward and forgiveness that will inspire him to do good and to repent for his sins. He needs to have the fear of Allah's punishment and wrath that will inspire them to shun evil and be conscious of his duties.

The people who use Allah's mercy as an excuse to commit sins should fear being addressed by the following verses of the Qur'ân: "Do those who plan evil (deeds) feel secure that Allah will not cause the earth to swallow them or that punishment may not overtake them from whence they do not perceive? Or that He will not seize them in their going to and fro so that there be no escape for them?" [Sûrah al-Nahl: 45-46]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned his Companions against committing even the most minor of sins. He said to them: "Avoid even the most trivial of sins, for they can gather up upon a man until they destroy him." [Musnad Ahmad (2808)]

In one narration it is related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: "Indeed, the most trivial sins, when they are taken up by someone, they lead to his ruin." [Musnad Ahmad (22302)]

Trivial sins are those that people generally pay little regard to, so they do not seek to avoid them. However, we are warned that if someone commits them excessively, they will be his ruin. How, then, should we think the effects will be of trivializing major sins? We ask Allah to protect us and guide us.

By Sheikh Khâlid Husayn

Sunday, December 7, 2008

When In Masjid

I was tagged by a lovely sister over at A Learning Muslimah.

The rules:
Link back to the person who tagged you.
List 3 ahadith you'd like to pin up in your masjid & why.
Tag some of your fellow bloggers by linking to them in your post & don't forget to post a comment on their blog to let them know they've been tagged.

Oh here goes...
3 ahadith I'd like to pin up in the masjid:

1. Volume 1, Book 8, Number 345:

Narrated Abu Dhar:

Allah's Apostle said, "While I was at Mecca the roof of my house was opened and Gabriel descended, opened my chest, and washed it with Zam-zam water. Then he brought a golden tray full of wisdom and faith and having poured its contents into my chest, he closed it. Then he took my hand and ascended with me to the nearest heaven, when I reached the nearest heaven, Gabriel said to the gatekeeper of the heaven, 'Open (the gate).' The gatekeeper asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered: 'Gabriel.' He asked, 'Is there anyone with you?' Gabriel replied, 'Yes, Muhammad I is with me.' He asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel said, 'Yes.' So the gate was opened and we went over the nearest heaven and there we saw a man sitting with some people on his right and some on his left. When he looked towards his right, he laughed and when he looked toward his left he wept. Then he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious son.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' He replied, 'He is Adam and the people on his right and left are the souls of his offspring. Those on his right are the people of Paradise and those on his left are the people of Hell and when he looks towards his right he laughs and when he looks towards his left he weeps.'

Then he ascended with me till he reached the second heaven and he (Gabriel) said to its gatekeeper, 'Open (the gate).' The gatekeeper said to him the same as the gatekeeper of the first heaven had said and he opened the gate. Anas said: "Abu Dhar added that the Prophet met Adam, Idris, Moses, Jesus and Abraham, he (Abu Dhar) did not mention on which heaven they were but he mentioned that he (the Prophet ) met Adarn on the nearest heaven and Abraham on the sixth heaven. Anas said, "When Gabriel along with the Prophet passed by Idris, the latter said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious brother.' The Prophet asked, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Idris." The Prophet added, "I passed by Moses and he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious brother.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Moses.' Then I passed by Jesus and he said, 'Welcome! O pious brother and pious Prophet.' I asked, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Jesus.

Then I passed by Abraham and he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious son.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Abraham. The Prophet added, 'Then Gabriel ascended with me to a place where I heard the creaking of the pens." Ibn Hazm and Anas bin Malik said: The Prophet said, "Then Allah enjoined fifty prayers on my followers when I returned with this order of Allah, I passed by Moses who asked me, 'What has Allah enjoined on your followers?' I replied, 'He has enjoined fifty prayers on them.' Moses said, 'Go back to your Lord (and appeal for reduction) for your followers will not be able to bear it.' (So I went back to Allah and requested for reduction) and He reduced it to half. When I passed by Moses again and informed him about it, he said, 'Go back to your Lord as your followers will not be able to bear it.' So I returned to Allah and requested for further reduction and half of it was reduced. I again passed by Moses and he said to me: 'Return to your Lord, for your followers will not be able to bear it. So I returned to Allah and He said, 'These are five prayers and they are all (equal to) fifty (in reward) for My Word does not change.' I returned to Moses and he told me to go back once again. I replied, 'Now I feel shy of asking my Lord again.' Then Gabriel took me till we '' reached Sidrat-il-Muntaha (Lote tree of; the utmost boundry) which was shrouded in colors, indescribable. Then I was admitted into Paradise where I found small (tents or) walls (made) of pearls and its earth was of musk.

This is a good reminder of how the prayers were enjoined on us & how the reward of the five daily prayers is equal to the original reward for offering fifty daily prayers. Subhanallah.

2. Volume 8, Book 73, Number 1:

Narrated Al-Walid bin 'Aizar:

I heard Abi Amr 'Ash-Shaibani saying, "The owner of this house." he pointed to 'Abdullah's house, "said, 'I asked the Prophet 'Which deed is loved most by Allah?" He replied, 'To offer prayers at their early (very first) stated times.' " 'Abdullah asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" The Prophet said, "To be good and dutiful to one's parents," 'Abdullah asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" The Prophet said, To participate in Jihad for Allah's Cause." 'Abdullah added, "The Prophet narrated to me these three things, and if I had asked more, he would have told me more.

Sometimes we tend to overlook our behaviour & deeds. We tend to get carried away with our busy lives that we forget we are only here in this life for a little while. So do as much good deeds & most importantly don't forget our prayers, our parents & our jihad in life.

3. Volume 8, Book 73, Number 8:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah's Apostle mentioned the greatest sins or he was asked about the greatest sins. He said, "To join partners in worship with Allah; to kill a soul which Allah has forbidden to kill; and to be undutiful or unkind to one's parents." The Prophet added, "Shall I inform you of the biggest of the great sins? That is the forged statement or the false witness." Shu'ba (the sub-narrator) states that most probably the Prophet said, "the false witness.

Stay away from committing sins. Always be full of repentance. Always do good deeds. Lastly, kindness & patience is the best way to deal with others no matter how they deal with you.

Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Let's see... who should I tag?
Ok, I tag:
A Muslim Wife
Tea Break Thoughts
The Busy Muslim Mother

Reminder To Fast

This is a reminder to all my Muslim brothers & sisters to fast the day of Arafah (this Sunday Dec 7th, according to Makkah's date).

It was reported from Abu Qutaadah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and prayer of Allah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah. He said, "It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year." Collected by Muslim.

Get The Reward of Hajj Wherever You Are

Obviously, Hajj is one of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days.

However for those of us who were not invited to His House this year, there are still many, many good deeds that one can do and earn the Pleasure of Allah.

Some of these are:

1) Fast all nine days and especially fast the Day of ‘Arafah The Prophet said: “Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.” (Bukhari, Muslim) Just imagine….. if you fast these nine days (fasting on Eid is haraam), how far your distance will be from hell! The Prophet used to fast on the ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah and he said: “Fasting the Day of ‘Arafah (ninth Dhul-hijjah) is an expiation for (all the sins of) the previous year and an expiation for (all the sins of) the coming year.” (Muslim)

3)Stand in Night Prayers: Remember the virtues of spending the night in prayer, and its sweetness in Ramadan?! Why not revive this beautiful act of worship during these nights as well?!

4)Make Sincere Repentance. One of the best and most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin right away because we do not know when we will die, and also because one evil deed leads to another.

5) Come back to the Qur’aan It is time now to dust off your copy of the Qur’aan and return to its refuge.Make it a daily habit, using these 10 days the beginning of a strong and beautiful relationship with it.

6) Generally increase in doing ALL good deeds We should strive in doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are beloved by Allah and will bring us closer to Him. So if we are not able to go to Hajj this year, we should occupy ourselves during these blessed days by worshipping Allah, praying extra prayers, reading Qur’aan, remembering Allah, sending Salaams on the Prophet , making dua, giving charity, honoring our parents, upholding ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New HalfDate Drive!! Best 10 Days Drive

Do you want to maximise your rewards?
Do you want to spread the word so that other Muslims also get the chance to maximise their rewards as well?
Below is the picture link that will take you to the latest HalfDate drive.
I can tell you that it is worth participating!
May Allah bless you all.

Link for Checklist of Deeds for Dhul-Hijjah

Free Web Hosting with Website Builder

The Superiority of the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

By Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen, may Allah have mercy on him

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May peace and blessings be upon the Chief of the Messengers, Muhammad.

Indeed it is a great favour and blessing from Allah that He has made for His righteous servants periods of time within which they can increase in good deeds to attain great rewards and one of these opportunistic periods is the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah (the final month of the Islamic Calendar, in which the hajj is performed).

Superiority of the FIRST Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

The excellence of these ten days have been mentioned in the Qur'ân and the Sunnah.

1. Allah says in the Qur'ân: "By the dawn and by the ten nights … " [Al-Qur'ân 89:1-2]

Ibn Kathîr said that "the ten nights" referred to here are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and this opinion was also held by Ibn Abbâs, Ibn az-Zubair, Mujâhid and others.

2. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "There are no deeds as excellent as those done in these ten days." They (the companions listening) said, "Not even Jihâd?" He, peace be upon him, said, "No, not even Jihâd except a man who goes forth endangering his life and wealth and does not return with anything." [Recorded by al-Imâm al-Bukhârî]

3. Allah says: " … and remember the name of Allah in the appointed days." [Al-Qur'ân 2:203]

Ibn Abbâs and Ibn Kathîr said this means in the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

4. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "There are no other days that are as great as these in the sight of Allah, the Most Sublime. Nor are there any deeds more beloved to Allah then those that are done in these ten days. So increase in tahlîl (to say lâ illaha illallah), takbîr (to say allahu akbar) and tahmîd (to say alhumdulillâh)." [Reported by at-Tabarânî in al-Mu'jum al-Kabîr]

5. With regards to the noble companion Saîd bin Jubair, when the days of Dhul-Hijjah began he would strive to increase in good actions with great intensity until he was unable to increase anymore. [Reported by ad-Dârimî]

6. Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bârî: "The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period, i.e. salawât (prayers), siyâm (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine."

What are the recommended acts in these days?

1. The Prayer - It is highly recommended to perform the obligatory acts at their prescribed times (as early as possible) and to increase oneself in the superogatory acts, for indeed, this is what brings a person closer to their Lord. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Upon you is to increase in your prostration to Allah, for verily you do not prostrate to Allah with even one prostration, except that He raises you in degrees and decreases your sins because of it." [Reported by Muslim]

2. Fasting - This has been mentioned as one of the acts of righteousness where Hanbada ibn Khâlid reports on the authority of his wife who reports that some of the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: The Prophet, upon whom be peace, would fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the day of Âshûra and three days in every month. [Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dâwûd, an-Nisâî and others]

Al-Imâm an-Nawawî said that fasting in these ten days is extremely recommended.

3. Saying allahu akbar; lâ illaha illallah and alhamdulillâh - It is found in the aforementioned narration of Ibn 'Umar: "So increase yourselves in saying lâ illaha illallah, allahu akbar and alhamdulillâh."

Al-Imâm Bukhârî, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "Ibn 'Umar and Abû Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with them both, used to go out to the markets in the ten days saying the takbîr causing the people to follow them in this action."

He also said:"Umar ibn al-Khattâb used to say the takbîr in his minaret in Mina, whereupon the people of the mosque hearing 'Umar, would start to say the takbîr as would the people in the markets until the whole of Mina was locked in glorifying Allah."

Ibn 'Umar used to say the takbîr in Mina during these ten days and after prayers, whilst on his bed, in his tent, in his gathering and whilst walking. What is recommended is to say the takbîr aloud due to the fact that 'Umar ibn al-Khattâb, his son and Abû Hurayrah used to do likewise, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Strive with us O Muslims in reviving this sunnah that has become lost in these times and it was almost forgotten, even amongst the people of righteousness and goodness all of which is unfortunately in opposition to what the best of generations were upon (preserving and maintaining the superogatory acts).

There are a number of ways of making takbîr that have been narrated by the companions and their followers and from these ways is the following:

- Allahu akbar, allahu akbar, allahu akbar kabîrun.

- Allahu akbar, allahu akbar, lâ ilaha illallah, wallahu akbar, wallahu akbar, wa lillahil hamd.

- Allahu akbar, allahu akbar, allahu akbar, lâ ilaha illallah, wallahu akbar, allahu akbar wa lillâhil hamd.

4. Fasting on the day of 'Arafah - Fasting has been affirmed on the day of 'Arafah, where it has been confirmed from the Prophet, peace be upon him, that he said regarding fasting on the day of 'Arafah: "Be content with the fact that Allah will expiate for you your sins for the year before (the day of 'Arafah) and the year after (the day of 'Arafah)." [Reported by Muslim]

However, whoever is at 'Arafah as a pilgrim then fasting is not expected of him, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, stopped at 'Arafah to eat.

May the peace of Allah be upon his Prophet, the family of the Prophet and all of his companions

Friday, November 28, 2008

How Does Islam View Human Emotions?

What Are Humans Made Of?

As Muslims, we believe that Allah created the universe, and gave it laws so it would run with such amazing precision. Among His beautiful creations, He also created people and gave them many traits: emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical, because He entrusted them with sustaining and protecting life on this planet.

So, in order to help them with their mission, the Creator sent them messengers to teach them how to live their lives within the laws of His universe.

As Allah's final message to mankind, Islam is not just a worship program, but a comprehensive, intelligent and practical life system. This is because Islam respects all the different components of the human being equally.

Islam also regulates these components to their full potential, rather than suppressing them (which hurts the individual), or setting them completely uncontrolled (which causes damage to the community and environment).

Emotions are given their place of importance in all Islamic teachings as fundamental elements of the human soul. So let's explore how a Muslim is expected to handle emotions, both his own and those of others.

Islam and Emotional Management

Emotional interaction is inevitable. We experience emotions constantly in our daily lives in relation to events and people. But, to what extent should we allow ourselves to affect and get affected?

Islam teaches moderation in everything, aiming to create equilibrium so that one is always at peace with one's self, the universe, and Allah. It is advised to avoid extremes in negative or positive emotions, as any extremes are destructive if left uncontrolled.

For example extreme happiness leads to indulgence in excesses to give a false sense of 'celebration'. While extreme sadness leads to being destructive to one's self and others (as in committing suicide or causing pain to others).

Here are some examples of emotional-related teachings in Islam:

Positive Emotions

Emotions such as love, hope, enthusiasm, determination, etc.,are strongly encouraged in the Quran and teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him), as they result in a positive attitude for the Muslim at home, in public, and in relation to the rest of the world and all creations.

The Prophet teaches that no one's faith is complete until they love for others what they love for themselves, which is a very positive state of mind.

Love is recognized and respected as the noblest emotion; however, in a man-woman relationship, it is regulated to assure building long-term bonds, rather than just satisfying momentary urges.

Negative Emotions

Anger, depression, hate, envy, etc.,are strongly discouraged. A Muslim is advised to practice strict control over those destructive emotions, and to repent if they influenced deeds or attitudes towards others.

To do so, one is expected to maintain strong ties with Allah, and to draw strength and support from Him at all times. If one believes there is an All-Wise, All-Knowing God, running the universe and that everything happens for a good reason within a wise and just master plan, then there would be no reason for despair or envy or depression.

Emotional Recycling

A Muslim is instructed to take the negative energy of destructive emotions and use it as steam to move forward in a positive direction, thus turning it into positive energy. The same applies to the energy of excess positive emotions. Instead of becoming euphoric or hysterical, one should re-channel this energy to use it for something constructive, rather than let it go to waste.

Emotional Interaction

No one could isolate themselves emotionally; consequently, Islam offers practical prescriptions for emotional interaction:

1. Among People

We are instructed to control tongues and physical power when sad or angry. When we react emotionally, it should be in a dignified and respectable way. The Prophet cried in sadness when he lost a son, yet refused to let people believe the sun eclipsed because of his sadness.

We are not supposed to let emotions take control of our actions. Instead, we should take control of our emotions. There is no excuse for causing hurt or destruction because one got "carried" away by emotions, for example killing while angry or raping while tempted.

There are no softer penalties for these irresponsible actions in Islam. Since destructive actions resulting from negative emotions can only create a vicious circle of more negativity and destruction. This would disturb the balance of Allah's peaceful universe.

2. Between People and Other Creatures

We interact emotionally with other creatures in the universe as well. So, we are expected to handle them with the same care and respect due to fellow humans.

Psychological cruelty is a concern in Islam, even to animals. The Prophet himself cared for a bird's emotional distress, when, during a trip, some of his Companions in his absence saw a bird's nest and took the youngsters away.

When the Prophet came back, the mother bird was circling above in the air beating its wings in grief, so he said: 'Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its youngsters? Return them to her'. (Muslim)

3. Islam and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence features prominently in the Islamic code of conduct, where there is not much emphasis on hereditary intelligence (IQ). But the focus is on emotional intelligence skills (EQ) which modern research has proved to be acquired skills which could be learnt and practiced by everyone. And that they are the true measure of success in practical life. For example, anger management, social intelligence, empathy. There are many sayings of the Prophet to encourage being alerted, prudent, compassionate and emotionally strong, and considering those qualities as a mark of a true Muslim.

So actually, the whole range of human emotions is recognized and respected under Islam. People are not denied being "human" and having their weak moments. They are allowed to experience all sorts of feelings, both good and bad, as long as they make a serious effort to regain their balance and composure and get back in control quickly.

In short, Islam provides an applicable system for being wise and strong humans, who are in control of their feelings, and not the other way around.

No People Introduce A Bid'ah But.. (taken with permission from a dear sister)

I remember, last year during Hajj, I met an Arab sister. She happened to be in the same camp as I was, during our stay in Mina, and as Hajj was ending, we were sad to see each other go. Going through the Hajj rituals had brought us close together. Just as we were about to part and go our ways, she said to me "La ilaaha illAllaah", and waited expectantly for me to reply.

I looked at her..... and I was quiet.

Although, I loved her for the sake of Allaah, I could not reply back.

How could I? I loved her for the sake of Allaah and so I had to tell her.

I told her as gently as I could.....

"Dear sister, what you said and what I am supposed to say back to you is not from the Sunnah of Rasullaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam)."

She was aghast. "What! How could you not reply to me!" she said. She was very upset and informed me that we will not be able to meet each other again, here in the dunya or in Jannah if I dont respond by saying, "Muhammad ur Rasullah", back to her.

When I remained quiet, she left.....without even saying "As Salaamu Alaikum" to me.......the REAL greeting of the people of Jannah!

We live in difficult times. Times when a lot of bidah (innovation) has crept into the pure, perfect Shareeah that Muhammad (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) came with. And one such bidah that has spread like wild fire, especially among my Arab brothers and sisters, is saying "La ilaaha illAllaah" when parting with each other.

When two people are parting from one another, the last thing they say before parting is "La ilaaha illAllaah" and the other says "Muhammad ur Rasullah", to complete the sentence. And, their saying this, they believe, will ensure that they will meet each other again, in this world and in Jannah...... ..something that will bring them goodness and 'Khair'..... kind of like a 'good luck charm'. Some of them even think it is part of the deen of Islaam.

And, it is of UTMOST importance, they believe, that you have to reply back. If someone says "La ilaaha illAllaah" at the time of parting and if you don't reply Muhammadur Rasullah", it is as if you are bringing on the wrath of Allah! Or some great evil is about to befall you, or that you will never meet again. Like I said......kind of like a 'good luck charm'.

This bidah has become SO rampant that yesterday, I even noticed a Spanish REVERT sister, who has just recently accepted Islaam, talking to someone on the phone and just as she was hanging up, the last thing she said was, "La ilaaha illAllaah" and, back came the reply, "Muhammadur Rasullah".

In fact, it was this incidence yesterday that prompted me to write about this topic today.

Where did she learn that? Who taught her this bidah?

Which Ayah of the Qu'aan or books of Hadeeth did she learn this from?

Obviously, it was from people..... Muslims, who dont know any better, who think this is part of our deen or a matter of earning rewards, or even something that decides your Qadar' that decides whom you will meet and not meet, to say this 'Kalimah' at the time of parting.

Why is it wrong?

Obviously the statement "La ilaaha illAllaah Muhammadur Rasullah", is the BEST statement a person can make.......EVER.

In fact, this statement marks the difference between Imaan and Kufr, between Jannah and Jahannum.

Then why is it so wrong to say it when parting from one another??

When someone asked the knowledgeable Shaykh Saleh al-Munajjid about this matter, here is what he said:

"Firstly, there is no hadeeth which speaks of this dhikr when parting or concluding a gathering. Hence persisting in it or believing it to be a dhikr that is prescribed on such occasions is a bidah that is to be rejected, because the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with our affair will have it rejected. (Muslim).

The scholars have stated that singling out a particular time or place for an act of worship, or a particular manner in which it is to be done, with no proof from the texts, makes it a kind of bidah and innovation, in which case it is called bidah idaafiyyah. It is prescribed in principle, but is REJECTED because of the manner in which it is done. Acts of worship must be prescribed in and of themselves, the manner in which they are done, the time at which they are done and the number of times they are done, because Allah can only be worshiped in the ways that He has prescribed in His Book or on the lips of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)." (www.islamqa. com -- See question # 83092)

So what is from the Sunnah?

1) The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to say, when he wanted to leave a gathering:

Subhaanaka Allaahumma wa bi hamdika, ashhadu an laa ilaaha illa anta, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk

(Glory and praise be to You, O Allaah, I bear witness that there is no god but You, I seek Your forgiveness and I repent to You).

And he said: It is expiation for whatever happened in that gathering. (Abu Dawood--Saheeh).

2) Recite Soorat al-Asr, because the Sahaabi Abu Madeenah al-Daarimi said: "When two men of the companions of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) met, they would not part until one of them recited By Al-Asr (the time), Verily, man is in loss [al-Asr] over the other, then one would say salaam to the other." (al-Tabaraani- - saheeh)

3) Saying Assalaamu Alaikum to each other is the best greeting to meet as well as to part. It is a dua to your loved one , the greeting of the people of Jannah and the greeting that Allaah Himself chose for the believers. What else can be better than that??

So next time when parting from your friends, hanging up your phone calls, dropping the kids off to school or getting up from a gathering, instead of saying something that is not prescribed in Islaam, say the above duas that are proven from the Sunnah and earn rewards from Allaah, al-Kareem.

And besides, if you think about it, can a 'Dhikr' or a 'statement' be the cause of you meeting again and reuniting with your loved ones or is it Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'ala that causes that??

No people introduce a bidah but something equivalent will be taken away from the Sunnah. (Ahmad).

by Asma bint Shameem

About the Life of This World - Abdul Malik Al-Qasim

Excerpted from "The Life of This World Is a Transient Shade"

Sufyan ath-Thawri said: "Man's love for the life of this world is shown in the way he greets people."
[Look at a chaste poor man ... nobody talks to him. People greet him so warily as if fearing that he may pass poverty to them. But see how the people welcome a rich man, even if he does not perform prayer. They stand up with smiling faces, and each one hopes to greet him first. Note the difference between a man who is so great as seen by Allah and another who does not even weigh a mosquito's wing - but this is life.]

Narrated Muhammad ibn Abi Imran, "I heard a man asking Hatim al-Asamm: 'On what have you based your dependence on Allah?' He said: 'On four points: I knew that my sustenance cannot be eaten by someone else and I am assured, I knew that my duty cannot be done by anyone else, so I kept myself busy with that. I knew that death will come suddenly to me, so I prepared myself for it. I knew that wherever I go I am under Allah's Eye, so I am always shy of Him.'"

`Abdullah ibn Mubarak said, "O man! Prepare yourself for the Hereafter, obey Allah to the extent of your need for Him and anger Him to the extent of your patience in Hell."

Abu Safwan ar-Ru`wini was asked: "What is that life dispraised by Allah in the Qur'an and that the sensible man should avoid?" He said: "Whatever you love in this life seeking worldly benefits is dispraised, and whatever you love seeking benefits in the Hereafter is praised."

Yahya ibn Mu`adh said, "O how poor is man, if he fears Hell in the same degree of his fearing poverty, then he will enter Paradise."

Ali ibn Al-Fudayl said: "I heard my father saying to Ibn Al-Mubarak: You order us to renounce the worldly pleasures and to be satisfied with the minimum, whereas you are buying goods, so what is that?" He said: "I do that to protect my face and my honour, and this helps me obey my Rabb." My father said: "How good is that if realised."

An ascetic said: "I know none who has heard of Paradise and Hell, then spends an hour of his life without praying, remembering Allah or doing a good deed." A man said: "I weep so much." He said to him: "To laugh and admit your sins is better than to weep and feel proud of your deeds." The man said: "I need your advice." He said: "Abandon the life of this world to its people as they have abandoned the Hereafter to its people."

Shumait ibn `Ajlan used to say: "Two persons are tormented in the life of this world: a rich man who is given a great wealth that keeps him so busy with worldly pleasures, and a poor man who is deprived of such pleasures for which he is longing with a heartbreak."

Al-Hasan said: "How good is life in this world for a believer because he uses it to prepare his provisions for Paradise. And how evil it is for a disbeliever who uses it to prepare his provisions for Hell."

Yahya ibn Mu`adh said: "The life of this world is a house of deeds and the Hereafter is a house of horrors. Man remains between deeds and horrors until he settles either in Paradise or in Hell."

One of the salaf said: "Beware of the life of this world because its magic is more effective than that of Harut and Marut. The two latter's separate a man from his wife whereas the life of this world separates a man from his Rabb."

Abu Dardaa' said: "Everyone has an imperfection of knowledge and wisdom, if his wealth increases, he becomes so happy though day and night are working hard on destroying his life-span. So what is good of a wealth that increases and a life-span that decreases."

Al-Hasan al-Basri said: "I am astonished about those people who are ordered to prepare their provisions, then the start of the journey is announced, however they remain unmindful in their vain discussions and fruitless deeds."

A man came to Sufyan ath-Thawree seeking his advice, and he said to the man: "Work for the sake of this life within the extent of your stay in it, and for the Hereafter within the extent of your stay therein."

Al-Fudayl ibn `Ayyad said: "Man's fear of Allah is equal to his knowledge of Him and his renunciation of worldly pleasures is equal to his desire in the Hereafter."

Salman ibn Dinar said: "What you love to have with you in the Hereafter you should advance today, and what you hate to have with you, you should abandon today."

A poet said: "Don't seek anything other than contentment, because therein is the bliss and the comfort of your body. Then consider the case of a person who possesses the whole world, can he take with him in the grave more than cotton and a shroud?"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What's The Purpose Of My Life?

Throughout world history, billions of people came into being, lived and then died. Only a minority of these people endeavored to grasp the real purpose of life. The rest simply drifted with the daily flow of events and spent their lives in vain pursuits. Basically, fulfilling their own desires became their main purpose in life. An unconscious and irresponsible attitude underlay this dominant mode of behaviour in almost all societies throughout ages. Every generation, with a few exceptions, repeated the errors of the preceding ones and simply adopted the purposes and values of their forefathers. This is a vicious cycle still repeated today.

The majority of people are enslaved by "unvarying" philosophies and principles, which are mostly based on the following line of reasoning: Man comes into existence, becomes adult, grows old and dies. One is born only once, and death puts an end to everything. This is why people have to "make the most of life" and strive to satisfy their whims and desires throughout their lives.

Thus, people come to spend their lives which they think to be their one and only chance by adhering to the life style and mode of behaviour they inherit from past generations. In a spirit totally deprived of the awareness of death, they make pursuing pleasures and planning for the future the ultimate aims of their lives. Regardless of cultural and social differences, this fact holds true for all people. A prestigious education, an admirable position in business life, high standards of living, a happy family and countless similar goals become the unchanging pursuits of life.

These goals can be further extended and would fill many pages if enumerated. However, the truth is, all these people turn a blind eye to the one and only reason for their existence. Meanwhile, they spend a whole life, which is a unique opportunity offered to them to accomplish their ultimate purpose, in vain. This ultimate purpose is to be a servant of God. God explains this in the Qur'an as follows:

I only created jinn and man to worship Me. (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 56)

The way to be a good servant of God is also communicated in the Qur'an. Being a servant of God means accepting the unity and existence of God; knowing His attributes and appreciating His majesty, serving no other deity except Him and devoting one's life to earning His approval. In the Qur'an, the moral values and lifestyle favoured by God are described in detail and people are summoned to this way of living.

A person living within the boundaries set by these values is given the good tidings of a perfect life both in this world and beyond. Otherwise, a bitter end awaits man.

The lifestyle one adheres to in this world shapes his eternal life. After death, there is no opportunity whatsoever to compensate for one's reprehensible deeds. Therefore, behaving as if man owes his existence in this world to coincidences, as if he is not bounded by any limits, and as if he has come to this world to spend his life in the pursuit of vain desires would ultimately lead to his own ruination. Those behaving irresponsibly towards their Creator, ignoring the real purpose of their existence, and remaining unconcerned about its consequences in the life beyond will be chided thus in the Hereafter:

Did you suppose that We created you for amusement and that you would not return to Us? (Surat al-Mu'minun: 115)

In reality, such people are not unaware of their purpose in life: God proclaimed it through His messengers and books and provided guidance to the true path. Furthermore, man is granted a lifetime to take warning. A show of regret by those who, having turned a deaf ear to all these opportunities, have deviated from their real purpose in life and pursued their own desires will not save them from torment:

They will shout out in it: "Our Lord! Take us out! We will act rightly, differently from the way we used to act!" But He will answer: "Did We not let you live long enough for anyone who was going to pay heed to pay heed? And did not the Warner come to you? Have a taste of it then! There is no helper for the wrongdoers." (Surah Fatir: 37)


By Br. Harun Yahya

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Actions Are Only According To Intentions - Bukhari

The Prophet (upon him be peace) said:

"Actions are only according to intentions, and a person receives only what he has intended. Therefore, whoever’s emigration is for Allah and His Messenger, his emigration is [truly] for Allah and His Messenger. And whoever’s emigration is for any worldly gain or a woman he is to wed, then his emigration is for what he emigrated."
(Bukhari, Muslim)

This hadith addresses one of the most important aspects of Islam—sincere intention in one's worship. The general meaning of the hadith is that a person should set aright his intention at the beginning of every action. The entitlement of reward for an action depends on a person's intention for performing that action. If an action is carried out with sincerity, it is rewarded by Allah, otherwise it is done in vain. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said that the fundamentals of Islam are based on three hadiths: this hadith, the hadith of 'A'isha (may Allah be pleased with her), "Whoever innovates something reprehensible in this religion of ours which does not belong to it, is rejected" (hadith 213), and the hadith of Nu'man ibn Bashir (may Allah be pleased with him) transmitted by Imam Muslim in his Sahih, "The lawful is clear and the unlawful is clear..."

It has been mentioned that the hadith of intention was narrated regarding a person who emigrated from Makka to marry a woman by the name of Umm Qays, who had stipulated his emigration. Hence, he became known as Muhajir Umm Qays, or "The Emigrator for Umm Qays." However, hadith scholars consider this to be an unsubstantiated opinion and say that the hadith was said as a general exhortation for those who were emigrating, and the incident with Umm Qays took place much later.

Niyya, which means to intend, desire, or will something, is a function of the heart, not the tongue. Through niyya, a person distinguishes the nature of the action he is to perform (i.e., an obligatory or supererogatory prayer; an optional or make-up fast, etc.), as well as its purpose (i.e., spending to show off to others or spending to please Allah and spread His religion). Scholars have explained the first segment of the hadith, "Actions are only according to intentions," as referring to how an action can only be considered religiously valid if done with a sound intention. For instance, a person's fast, which includes abstaining from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, will only be considered valid if he had intended to fast for the sake of fasting and not, for instance, because he did not have the time to eat during a busy work day. The second portion of the hadith, "a person receives only what he has intended," refers to the reward a person will gain for a soundly intended action. Another explanation of the two statements is that the first portion refers to the entitlement of reward and the second serves to emphasize and further clarify the first.

With regard to intention, an action done purely for Allah's sake is undoubtedly superior to one that is coupled with a desire to gain something worldly (e.g., a pilgrim who makes the pilgrimage for Allah's sake but also intends to trade while in Makka [a permissible action]). However, if the motive for performing an act of worship is mixed with ostentation, even to the slightest degree, then the action will not be accepted by Allah (see also hadith 80 and 191). Noble scholars such as the Companion Abu 'l-Darda' (may Allah be pleased with him) and Hasan al-Basri and Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib (may Allah be pleased with them) are of the opinion that actions mixed with ostentation will not be accepted by Allah the Exalted.

What happens if an action is started with a pure intention, but the notion of ostentation occurs afterwards? If it is a fleeting notion and does not persist in one's heart then it will not cause any harm. However, if it is entertained and allowed to rest in one's heart, then there are two opinions about this. Imam Ahmad and Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on them) have expressed hope that the person will still be rewarded based on his initial intention in spite of the entry of ostentation while performing the action. However, Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, the renown exegete of the early fourth century ah, explains that it depends on the type of action.

For example, if it is a comprehensive action, such as salat, fasting, or pilgrimage, which requires an initial intention, and if its prerequisites and integrals are met, then the action is considered complete, then ostentation creeping in the middle of this action will not harm it. If, however, the action is not of this type but rather a separate action not consisting of prerequisites and integrals, such as recitation of the Qur'an, remembrance of Allah, or teaching, then the intention will have to remain pure and free from ostentation throughout the action in order to be valid. Hence, actions of this second category require a renewal of the intention in order for them to yield reward.

As for unsought praise a person receives (on some accomplishment), it is not blameworthy, even if one feels happiness about it. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) described this praise and honor as "Advanced glad tidings [from Allah] for the believer" (Muslim).

The scholars have stated that it is recommended that authors begin their works with this hadith (on intention), as have Imam Bukhari and many others. By doing this, the author reminds himself and the reader to correct their intentions for writing, reading, and studying the book (Jami' al-'ulum wa 'l-hikam, Mirqat al-Mafatih).

[A] From this narration, it is also understood that any permissible action, however mundane, can be a source of reward for a person if soundly intended. For instance, if a person eats, drinks, sleeps, or exercises, and intends that he is undertaking these essential activities to remain healthy and active to worship Allah each one of these activities will be a source of reward for him and thus blessed.

Source: Provisions for the Seekers

Selflessness Of The Ansar

By Imam Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 9

(And there is also a share in this booty) for the poor emigrants, who were expelled from their homes and their property, seeking bounties from Allah and (His) good pleasure, and helping Allah and His Messenger. Such are indeed the truthful.

And (it is also for) those who, before them, had homes and had adopted the faith, love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given, and give them preference over themselves even though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved from his own greed, such are they who will be the successful.

And those who came after them say: "Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful."

Al-Hashr (59):8-10

Allah said,

"...and give them preference over themselves even though they were in need of that." meaning, they preferred giving to the needy rather than attending to their own needs, and began by giving the people before their own selves, even though they too were in need.

An authentic Hadith stated that the Messenger of Allah said, "The best charity is that given when one is in need and struggling." This exalted rank is better than the rank of those whom Allah described in His statements, "And they give food, inspite of their love for it." (76:8), and, "And gives his wealth, in spite of love for it." (2:177) The latter give charity even though they love the wealth they give, not that they really need it, nor that it is necessary for them to keep it. The former prefer others to themselves even though they are in need and have a necessity for what they spend in charity.

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq gave away all his wealth in charity and Allah's Messenger asked him, "What did you keep for your family," and he said, "I kept for them Allah and His Messenger.''

`Ikrimah (bin Abi Jahl) and two other wounded fighters were offered water when they were injured during the battle of Al-Yarmuk, and each one of them said that the sip of water should be given to another of the three wounded men. They did so even though they were badly injured and craving water. When the water reached the third man, he and the other two died and none of them drank any of the water! May Allah be pleased with them and make them pleased with Him.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "A man came to the Prophet and said, `O Allah's Messenger! Poverty has stuck me.' The Prophet sent a messenger to his wives (to bring something for that man to eat) but they said that they had nothing. Then Allah's Messenger said, "Who will invite this person or entertain him as a guest tonight; may Allah grant His mercy to him who does so". An Ansari man said, `I, O Allah's Messenger!' So he took him to his wife and said to her, `Entertain the guest of Allah's Messenger generously.' She said, `By Allah ! We have nothing except the meal for my children.' He said, `Let your children sleep if they ask for supper. Then turn off the lamp and we go to bed tonight while hungry.' She did what he asked her to do. In the morning the Ansari went to Allah's Messenger who said, "Allah wondered (favorably) or laughed at the action of so-and-so and his wife." Then Allah revealed, 'and they give them preference over themselves even though they were in need of that'. '' Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith in another part of his Sahih. Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i collected this Hadith. In another narration for this Hadith, the Companion's name was mentioined, it was Abu Talhah Al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him.

Allah said, "And whosoever is saved from his own greed, such are they who will be the successful." indicating that those who are saved from being stingy, then they have earned success and a good achievement.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said, "Be on your guard against committing oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection. Be on your guard against being stingy, for being stingy is what destroyed those who were before you. It made them shed blood and make lawful what was unlawful for them." Muslim collected this Hadith.

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Al-Aswad bin Hilal said that a man said to `Abdullah (bin Mas`ud),"O Abu `Abdur-Rahman! I fear that I have earned destruction for myself.'' `Abdullah asked him what the matter was and he said, "I hear Allah's saying, 'And whosoever is saved from his own greed, such are they who will be the successful.' and I am somewhat a miser who barely gives away anything.'' `Abdullah said, "That is not the greed Allah mentioned in the Qur'an, which pertains to illegally consuming your brother's wealth. What you have is miserliness, and it is an evil thing indeed to be a miser.''

Monday, November 17, 2008

Knowledge Cannot Be Gained By Resting

By Ahmad as-Swayyan

I once was contemplating the great scientific efforts that the first generations of Muslim ancestors are known for. I was extremely surprised at the strength of memorisation they possessed and at their great ability to retrieve information and derive conclusions.

I started searching for the reasons behind these exceptional abilities. And one important aspect immediately caught my attention: the extreme seriousness they learned and taught with. The student vows himself to learning from a very early age. He has no time for lawful or any other kind of playing. He has no time for life's worries and responsibilities except for what is necessary. He disassociates himself from this life's pleasures, clears his heart from everything worldly and goes wholeheartedly into seeking for knowledge.

If we look in depth into Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal's life, we find the best lessons and examples in it. Imam Ahmad said, "I wanted to go early to study circles. My mother would hold my clothes from me and say, "not until the people wake up and make athan for salah".

Qutaybah ibn Sa'id described Imam Ahmad's sincerity in seeking knowledge. He said, "Ahmad ibn Hanbal used to go with Waki' after they performed salaatul Ishaa at night. He would stand by the door and Waki' would teach him. One night, Waki' stood by the door and said, "O Abu Abdullah, Would you like me to talk to you about Abu Sufyan's speeches?" Ahmad then replied, "Yes, tell me." And they stood, talking, until the servant came and said, "The sun is going to come out soon."

Imam Ahmad's study circles were full of glorification and obedience of Allah, which gave him extra peace and dignity. His student Imam Abu Dawud, who knew him well said, "I met around 200 scholars none of whom were like ibn Hanbal. He was not involved in anything worldly like many others, but if there was discussion about knowledge he spoke".

For this earnestness, the scholars used to value and honour Imam Ahmad. Khalaf ibn Salem said, "We were in Yazeed ibn Harun's gathering and Yazeed joked wih his guests. Ahmad ibn Hanbal cleared his throat. Yazeed hit his forehead with his hand and said, "You should have told me that Ahmad is here, I wouldn't have made the joke".

This desire and endurance in seeking knowledge has made Imam Ahmad one of the best in memorizing the hadith. Imam Abu Zur'ah ar-Razy once told Abdullah ibn Ahmad, "Did you know that your father knew of one million hadith?". "How do you know? Abdullah asked. Abu Zur'ah replied, "I studied with him and counted after him."

When we look at the first generations of our scholars we find many similar examples. But let us contemplate our current situation in seeking knowledge. It makes one amazed. It is like sliding down from the top of a high mountain to the bottom of a deep valley. Look here and there. Do you see anything resembling or coming close to those giants? What are the worries and hopes of today's students? How many things have we been lenient about - until leniency became our trait?

Who has the patience and endurance to study and research and hunt in the books without stopping or becoming bored? Who has the patience and ability to stay up long nights thinking and deriving?

Knowledge is a vast sea with spaced out boundaries and deep bottoms. Only the powerful can sail through it. A person will not reach its concealed pearls and hidden treasures before, first, standing on its nearby shore. Yahya ibn Abi Katheer was right in saying, "Knowledge cannot be gained by resting."