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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)

Wasalam

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."


Each of us has a Bank called "T I M E" - Abdur Rahman Meda

Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala says in:
(the interpretation of the meaning)

Surah Al 'Asr
(Time Through The Ages)
103:1-3

By (the Token of)
Time (through the Ages),

Verily Man
Is in loss,

Except such as have Faith
And do righteous deeds,
In the mutual teaching
Of Truth, and of
Patience and Constancy.

~ ~ ~

There is a Bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.

What would you do?
Draw out ALL of it, of course!!!!

Each of us has such a Bank.
Its name is TIME.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.
Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.
It carries over no balance.
It allows no overdraft.

Each day it opens a new account for you.
Each night it burns the remains of the day.
If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours.

There is no going back.
There is no drawing against the "tomorrow."
You must live in the present on today's deposits.
Invest it carefully with wisdom and knowledge.

Use your Time to pray sincerely and do good and charity;
To faithfully practice the Five Pillars and perfect your Deen.
To remember to thank Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala for everything;
To adhere to the commandments of the Holy Qur'aan and the teachings of the Sunnah of the Prophet Sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam.
In order that you may benefit the utmost in blessings and guidance in your life living with strength of eemaan and taqwaa ~
Seeking only the Pleasure of Allaah Ta'aala for the sake of your Hereafter.

The clock is running.
Make the most of each day.

Start working on your 'Time'

We should not neglect our Time or use it haphazardly; on the contrary we should bring ourselves to account, structure our litanies and other practices during each day and night, and assign to each period a fixed and specific function for self-development in our Deen and maximise its potential. The better route towards self-development is, of course, to integrate all our efforts into a structured daily life.

Acquisitiveness, that is, the passion for seeking an increase in wealth, position, the number of adherents or followers or supporters, mass production and mass organisation, may affect an ndividual as such, or it may affect whole societies or nations. Other people's example or rivalry in such things may aggravate the situation. Up to a certain point it may be good and necessary. But when it becomes inordinate and monopolises attention, it leaves no Time for higher things in life, and a clear warning is here sounded from a spiritual point of view. Man may be engrossed and wastes Time in these things till death approaches, and he looks back on a wasted life, as far as the higher things are concerned.

In other words, if life be considered under the metaphor of a business bargain, man, by merely attending to his material gains, will lose. When he makes up his day's account in the afternoon, it will show a loss. It will only show a profit if he has Faith, leads a good life, and contributes to social welfare by directing and encouraging other people on the Path of Truth and Constancy. Faith is his armour, which wards off the wounds of the material world; and his righteous life is
his positive contribution to spiritual ascent. Also, if man lived only for himself, he would not fulfill his whole duty. Whatever good he has, especially in moral and spiritual life, he must spread among his brethen, so that they may see the Truth and stand by in patient hope and unshaken constancy amidst all the storm and stress of outer life. For he and they will then have attained Peace within.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Girlie Wisdom! (something to make you giggle :D)

One of life's mysteries is how a 2-pound box of chocolates can make a woman gain 5 lbs.

My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely.

The best way to forget your troubles is to wear tight shoes.

The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends.

Sometimes I think I understand everything, and then I regain consciousness.

I gave up jogging for my health when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting fire to my knicker's.

Amazing! You hang something in your closet for a while and it shrinks 2 sizes!

Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like...'You know sometimes I forget to eat!' .....Now I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name and my keys, but I have never forgotten to eat.

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing and then they marry him.

I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That's my idea of a perfect day!

LIVE SIMPLY....LAUGH OFTEN....LOVE DEEPLY


The Muslim Woman and Her Friends and Sisters in Islam

She loves them as sisters for the sake of Allah (SWT)

The way in which the true Muslim woman relates to her friends and sister in Islam is different from the way in which other women conduct their social affairs. Her relationship with her sisters is based on ta'akhi (brotherhood or sisterhood) for the sake of Allah (SWT). This love for the sake of Allah (SWT) is the highest bond that may exist between one human being and another, whether man or woman. It is the bond of faith in Allah (SWT) which Allah (SWT) established between all believers when He said:

( The Believers are but a single brotherhood . . .) (Qur'an 49:10)

The brotherhood of faith is the strongest of bonds between hearts and minds. It comes as no surprise to see that Muslim sisters enjoy a strong, enduring relationship that is based on love for the sake of Allah (SWT), which is the noblest and purest form of love between human beings. This is a love which is untainted by any worldly interest or ulterior motive. It is the love in which Muslim men and women find the sweetness of faith:
"There are three things that whoever attains them will find the sweetness of faith: if Allah (SWT) and His Messenger are dearer to him than anyone or anything else; if he loves a person solely for the sake of Allah (SWT); and if he would hate to return to kufr after Allah (SWT) has rescued him from it, as much as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire."1

The status of two who love one another for the sake of Allah (SWT)

Many hadith describe the status of two people who love another for the sake of Allah (SWT), whether they are men or women, and describe the high position in Paradise which Allah (SWT) has prepared for them and the great honour which He will bestow upon them on the Day when mankind is resurrected to meet the Lord of the Worlds.

It is sufficient honour for those who love one another for the sake of (SWT), men and women alike, to know that their almighty Lord will take care of them on the Day of Judgement and will say: "Where are those who loved one another for My glory? Today I will shade them in My shade on the Day when there is no shade but Mine."2 Such is the magnificent honour and tremendous reward that will be bestowed upon those who truly loved one another for the sake of Allah (SWT), on that awesome Day.

Love for the sake of Allah (SWT), and not for the sake of anything else in life, is very difficult, and none can attain it except the one who is pure of heart, for whom this world and all its pleasures are as nothing in comparison with the pleasure of Allah (SWT). It is not surprising that Allah (SWT) should give them a status and blessing which is commensurate with their position in this world, above whose concerns they have risen. We see proof of this in the hadith of Mu`adh, who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

"Allah (SWT) said: `Those who love one another for My glory will have minbars of light, and the Prophets and martyrs will wish that they had the same."3 Allah (SWT) bestows upon those who love one another for His sake a gift which is even greater than this status and blessing: that is His precious love which is very difficult to attain. This is proven by the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (RAA) in which the Prophet (PBUH) said: "A man went to visit a brother of his in another village. Allah (SWT) sent an angel to wait for him on the road. When the man came along, the angel asked him, `Where are you headed?' He said, `I am going to visit a brother of mine who lives in this village.' The angel asked, `Have you done him any favour (for which you are now seeking repayment)?' He said, `No, I just love him for the sake of Allah (SWT).' The angel told him, `I am a messenger to you from Allah (SWT), sent to tell you that He loves you as you love your brother for His sake.'"4 What a great love, that raises a person to a position where Allah (SWT) loves him and is pleased with him!

The Prophet (PBUH) understood the impact of this strong, pure love in building societies and nations, so he never let any occasion pass without advocating this love and commanding the Muslims to announce their love for one another, in order to open hearts and spread love and purity among the ranks of the ummah.

Anas (RAA) said that a man was with the Prophet (PBUH), when another man passed by. The first man said, "O Messenger of Allah (SWT), indeed I truly love this man." The Prophet (PBUH) asked him, "Have you let him know that?" He said, "No." The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Tell him." He caught up with him and told him, "Truly I love you for the sake of Allah (SWT)," and the man said, "May Allah (SWT) love you who loves me for His sake."5 The Prophet (PBUH) used to do the same thing himself, teaching the Muslims how to build a society based on pure love and brotherhood. One day he took Mu`adh by the hand and said, "O Mu`adh, by Allah (SWT) I love you, so I advise you, O Mu`adh, never forget to recite, after every prayer, `O Allah (SWT), help me to remember You and to give thanks toYou and to worship You properly (Allahumma, a`inni `ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni `abadatika).'"6

Mu`adh began to spread this pure love among the Muslims throughout the Muslim lands, telling them what he had learned from the Prophet (PBUH) about the great reward that Allah (SWT) had prepared for those who loved one another for His sake, and about His great love for them. In al-Muwatta', Imam Malik gives a report with a sahih isnad from Abu Idris al-Khulani who said: "I entered the mosque of Damascus, where I saw a young man who had a bright smile, and I saw the people gathered around him. When they disagreed on some matter, they referred it to him, and accepted his opinion. I asked who he was, and they told me, `This is Mu`adh ibn Jabal (RAA).' Early the next day, I went to the mosque but I found that he had arrived even earlier than I. He was praying, so I waited until he had finished, then I approached him from in front, greeted him and said, `By Allah (SWT), I love you.' He asked, `For the sake of Allah (SWT)?' I said, `For the sake of Allah (SWT).' He repeated his question, `For the sake of Allah (SWT)?' And I said, `For the sake of Allah (SWT).' So he took hold of my collar, pulled me towards him and said, `I have good news for you. I heard the Prophet (PBUH) say: "Allah (SWT) says: "My love is granted to those who love one another for My sake, who visit one another for My sake, and who spend on one another for My sake.'"'"7


Good Company

Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“The example of a good companion and a bad one is the bearer of musk and the worker on the bellows. A bearer of musk would give you some, you might buy some from him, or you might enjoy the fragrance of his musk. The worker on the bellows, on the other hand, might spoil your clothes with sparks from his bellows, or you get a bad smell from him.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, this version being Muslim’s)

Man cannot do without friends. He always seeks meeting with companions and enjoys their company. But it is crucial that one should be very selective in choosing a companion, as his influence on one’s behavior, good or bad, is immense.

In the above tradition, the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) uses an effective example to bring to the hearer’s conception the impact of good company and bad company.

A good companion is compared to a musk seller or a perfume seller. A perfume seller might give you some of his fragrance, and a good companion might give you some good advice or a useful tip. A perfume seller can be useful by selling you some of his musk, and a good friend can be useful by responding readily to your demand for help in any matter, mundane or religious.

At the very least, a musk seller is nice to have around, even without being beneficial in any practical way, as the pleasant smell emanating from his direction is a pleasure in itself. Similarly, a good companion is at least useful to you for your good name and the pleasure of good company. Just to feel his presence improves your spirits.

In contrast, a bad companion is comparable to a worker on the bellows. If you come close to the bellows, sparks might hit your clothing and make holes in them. Even at some distance, you will feel the stench of burning. Your only hope is in keeping away from the horrid smell. And it is the same way with a bad companion; if you are close to him and identify with him, you will take over some of his perversity, and your character will be harmed, just as your clothes will be spoiled if you come too close to a worker on the bellows. Even if you remain safe from the influence of a bad companion, you cannot escape people talking about you for consorting with bad company. You cannot even be sure that such a person will not adversely affect you in the end: To remain within reach of a wild beast, means it will surely spring on you one day.

The following verses from the Qur’an may drive the idea home:

[And incline not to those who do wrong, or the fire will seize you.] (Hud 11:113)

[Therefore, shun those who turn away from Our remembrance and desire nothing but the life of this world.] (An-Najm 53:30)

In another place, the Qur’an directs a believer to seek the company of the well guided.

[Restrain thyself along with those who call on their Lord morning and evening seeking His face.] (Al-Kahf 18:28)

The following tradition, on the authority of Abu Hurairah, also corroborates the same concept: “Man models himself after his companion; so let each one of you see who he chooses for companion” (At-Tirmidhi).


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Neatness, Organization and Order

By Sa`eed Muhammad al-Deeb [Rules for the Muslim Home]


The Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, said:


"You are going to meet some brothers of yours, so reform your saddles, and be well dressed until you become a shining star in the sight of the other people because Allah dislikes vice and using viciousness." (Abu Dawud)


Notice when the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, said:


"You are going to meet some brothers of yours, so reform your saddles, and be well dressed until you become a shining star in the sight of the other people."


Reforming the saddle in those days corresponds to car today, as it is the outdoor home of the Muslim. Moreover, making the clothes tidy is included amongst those things which make the Muslim appear nice in the eyes of other people. This is the duty that a Muslim should perform towards his brothers and kinship, inside and outside his house. Consequently, whoever enters his house should see a pleasing house. This will never happen unless he shows great care to the neatness of the house and himself. So the housewife should be a leading example to her husband and children. In fact, all the members of the household should be adapted to that; except for some casual occasions where one may look shabby.


We used to see some of our teachers looking smart and very neat whether we visited them in the day or night. Not only that, but we used to see everything in their houses very well organized. So they were like the soldier who has to be alert in doing his job and performing his duty.


Unfortunately, many people live in extreme chaos and neglect their houses, and whenever you visit them you find disorganized tables and shelves, and scattered clothes everywhere. So wherever you look, you see chaos and disorganization. Furthermore, the housewife sometimes stays wearing her nightgown after she wakes up and you see her children dirty and neglected. Certainly, all of these things are against the morals of the Muslims and against the Shari`ah.


The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, cleaned Osama (bin Zaid) once when he was a child because he saw him dirty, `Aa’ishah advised a woman to make herself look attractive for her husband, and Ibn `Abbas ordered a man to look handsome in the eyes of his wife the way she does for him.


To sum up, the Muslims should be clean and neat whether inside or outside his house and this should be a habit.


To maintain good order of the house and make it clean and organized, the following should be noticed by the members of the household.


First: Everything at home should be organized, and if it is used, it should be returned to its place after use.


Second: Members of the house should adapt themselves not to spread their things, but rather they should be put in their usual places.


Third: Every room, the guestroom, the bedroom, the library room, or the kitchen should be cleaned so that it would not be untidy after being used.


Fourth: All books and papers that are put on the table should be returned to their place.


Fifth: After they have woken up, members of the household should put on their usual clothes. Moreover, children have to be cared for and taught how to be clean and neat throughout the day.


Notice that the scholars of Islam gave organizing its importance through all their instructions.


Furthermore, it is important to know that organizing the sleeping schedule is necessary, especially for children. It should be in accordance with the religious and non-religious duties such as the requirement to separate the children in bed, i.e. boys from girls.



'Shouldn't I point out to you a woman of Paradise?'

By Dr. Munâ al-Qâsim


Ibn `Abbâs said to `Atâ b. Rabâh: "Shouldn't I point out to you a woman of Paradise?"


He replied: "Indeed. Do so."


Ibn `Abbâs said: "Do you see that black lady? She approached the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: 'I suffer from epilepsy and during a fit, my body becomes exposed. So please supplicate Allah on my behalf.'


"Then the Prophet said to her: 'If you choose, you might rather bear it patiently and you will attain Paradise on account of it. Or if you like, I will beseech Allah to cure you.'


"She said: 'I will bear it patiently. But my body gets exposed, so please beseech Allah that my body will no longer be exposed.'


"The Prophet (peace be upon him) beseeched Allah for this." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (5652) and Sahîh Muslim (2576)]


=================

The woman's name was Su`ayrah – though some say her name was Shuqayrah – al-Habashiyyah al-Asadiyyah. She was known as Umm Zufar. She was a tall, black lady, and one of the Companions remembered for her patience. She had been Khadijah's lady in waiting. After Khadîjah's demise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to show her extra deference and respect.


When she grew older, she became afflicted with epilepsy, and her body would become exposed due to the severity of her seizures. The Prophet (peace be upon him) beseeched Allah on her behalf to preserve her modesty. He also gave her glad tidings of Paradise.


There are many things we can learn from her example:


1. Her story teaches us that we need to turn to Allah with our needs. We need to fear Him and worship Him alone and seek refuge with Him. It is Allah alone who can cure our ills and alleviate our suffering. Our sincerity and faith when we turn to Allah can benefit us in amazing ways. Medical doctors admit that faith has a great affect on healing, often more pronounced than medications, though medications certainly can benefit us.


2. We also learn how virtuous the quality of patience is. This hadith shows us that when we bear illness in patience and fortitude, it is a means by which our sins are forgiven and by which we attain Allah's blessings and entrance into Paradise.


Al-`Aynî says in his commentary on this hadîth: "The exercise of patience in affliction bequeaths to us Paradise. Bearing one's tribulation with fortitude is better for the one who knows he is capable of handling it without becoming weak in his resolve." [`Umdah al-Qârî (21/215)]


We can also see how the Prophet's glad tidings were a help and a comfort to her. It gave her hope. The role of a positive attitude in coping with illness and in aiding the recovery process is well-known.


3. We can see the respect that the Prophet (peace be upon him) showed this woman by his giving her the choice. He respected her right to make the decision for herself in a matter that affected her life. He let her know her options, while showing that he was well aware of the extent of her suffering. He knew it was best for her to be patient if she had the fortitude to bear her illness. However, he trusted her to make the decision for herself.


4. We can learn from this woman the value of modesty. We can see her concern for keeping her body from being exposed when she had a seizure, in her asking the Prophet (peace be upon him) to beseech Allah to protect her modesty when she was not able to control her movements and was free from all blame. We can also see how the Prophet (peace be upon him) readily complied with her request. We must know that the Prophet's supplication has a special value, and his supplication was certainly answered.


And Allah knows best.


Make Grocery Shopping an Organized Adventure

Here are a few suggestions to try and make shopping an, organized (and as fast as the line will move) fun adventure!


1. Get it on paper. As you use up the last of any item, write it down on a designated list under the name of the store where you would purchase the item. This will help you find what you need right away. Have this list handy so your family can add to it as the need presents itself.


2. Avoid making two trips. If at all possible, try and do most of your errands the same day you do your grocery shopping. Make sure you take that list along with you, so you can go on the errand run without forgetting anything.


3. Be prepared. When it is time to shop for your groceries, try and limit it to one day a week. Gather up the lists and any coupons you can use. Have a designated plastic folder or envelope to hold them all, and have it with you at all times. If you should unexpectedly stop at that particular store, you can use the coupon for the items you need.


4. Plan your route. Knowing where you're going, especially when you plan to make several stops, can save you both time and money with the high cost of fuel.


5. Map it out. Make up a list of the aisles in the store, and the grocery items in each. You'll be able to easily pick up the items on your shopping list aisle by aisle, instead of in a random, disorganized fashion. This will help you get in and out of the store in no time.


6. Get help from the teens. When you are shopping with older children, divide up the list and have them pick up items from the other aisles. If at all possible, leave the little ones at home. They almost always add to impulse shopping. Plus your focus then needs to be divided between the grocery shopping and making sure the kids aren't pulling things off the shelves, or putting items you don't wish to purchase in your cart.


7. Keep 'em cool. Keep a bag or cooler in the trunk that can hold your perishable items. This will ensure no melted and leaky ice cream packages. Generally shop for groceries last when doing the errands--this way the frozen things won't have a chance to melt.


-----

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8. Instruct the Baggers. Request that the Bagger pack all perishables together in the bags so you can grab them first when you return home. This also gives you the option of leaving the non-perishables to unpack at your leisure.


9. Think about your calendar. Look over your schedule for the upcoming week to see if there is something unusual you will be using in a recipe, or an event that may be coming up for which you need to purchase a card or gift. Put that on your list also.


10. Carry the recipes with you. Carry your family's favorite recipes with you on little index cards that have the ingredients listed. You can see what is needed on the recipe card and get the items you don't already have. Saves unnecessary stops at the grocery store during the week for that one forgotten item!


11. Do a bit of prep work. When you get home and unpack your groceries, do some preliminary meal preparation. Cook meat and then package it into meal sized dinners. Wash all your fruit and veggies. Cut the veggies so you can just put them into the dishes you plan on making. This can be a real time saver for your meal preparation.


12. Double up. Plan on cooking a double recipe for some meals. Eat one and freeze the other for a busy weeknight dinner.


13. Create a meal plan. By having a meal plan for the week, along with the items needed list, you should have a quick and easy shopping adventure each and every week.


14. Think outside the box. There is also another solution for grocery shopping. There are various agencies and many supermarkets that can do it for you. If there is just not enough time in your busy schedule, using that service once in awhile, or all the time if you budget permits, might help you get caught up with your To Do list.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is Allah Pleased with Me? by Sheikh Sâlih al-Zahrânî

It should be known that obedience to Allah is one of the chief reasons for attaining Allah’s pleasure, while disobedience to Him is a reason for being subject to His wrath. This point is emphasized repeatedly in the Qur’ân and Sunnah.

Allah says: “And He is pleased with Islam for you as a religion.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 3]

He says: “And He is not pleased with ingratitude in His servants; and if you are grateful, He is pleased with this in you.” [Sûrah al-Zumar: 7]

Allah is pleased with those who are truthful. Allah says: “Allah will say: This is the day when their truth shall benefit the truthful ones; they shall have gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein for ever: Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Allah; this is the mighty achievement.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 119]

He is pleased with the believers. Allah says: “Their reward with their Lord is gardens of perpetuity beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein for ever; Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him; that is for those who fear their Lord.” [Sûrah al-Bayyinah: 8].

Allah is pleased with the soul that is firm on faith. Such a soul will be addressed in the Hereafter by the words: “Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (to Him)” [Sûrah al-Fajr: 28]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah’s being pleased is in the parent’s pleasure, and His displeasure is in the parent’s displeasure.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1899)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said about the person being pleased with Allah’s decree: “Whoever is pleased, He will be pleased with him; and whoever is displeased, His displeasure will be upon him.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2396)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “The mostly hated among men to Allah is the one who is severe, facing others with enmity.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2457) and Sahîh Muslim (2668)]

Allah is pleased with belief, with Islam, and with our acts of obedience. He likes the believers who obey Him and is pleased with them.

Allah hates and condemns unbelief, hypocrisy and all other forms of disobedience. He is displeased with the unbelievers and hypocrites in all of their guises.

This is the overarching principle with respect to Allah being pleased or displeased with us. However, we should not think it is easy to use this principle to make assessments about actual people.

We cannot describe an individual by saying that Allah is pleased with him or displeased with him on the basis of our assessment of that person’s obedience or disobedience. Such a statement cannot be made about someone without direct evidence from the Islamic sources. By making such an audacious statement about someone without direct evidence from the Qur’ân and Sunnah, we are making a claim about the Unseen and giving a ruling from ourselves that is only for Allah to give.

A person may do what appears to the people to be good, but he may face an evil end. In this case Allah is not pleased with him. Another person may do what appears to the people to be evil, but he may face a good end. Then Allah will be pleased with him.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “By Him besides whom there is no god, one of you will act like the people of Paradise until between him and Paradise there remains but the distance of a cubit, when what is written overtakes him and he begins to act like the denizens of Hell and thus enters Hell. And another amongst will act in the way of the denizens of Hell, until there remains between him and Hell a distance of a cubit, then what is written overtakes him and then he begins to act like the people of Paradise and enters Paradise.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3208) and Sahîh Muslim (2643)]

We cannot make any declaration about the fate of someone in particular. However, we hope for the person whom we see performing good deeds and obeying Allah that Allah is pleased with him. Likewise, we fear for the person whom we see committing evil deeds and acts of disobedience that he is earning Allah’s displeasure.

It is worth saying that works alone are not sufficient to earn Allah’s pleasure. Works need to be accompanied by true belief and faith in Allah.

Allah says about the deeds of the unbelievers: “And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in the worldly life), and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about.” [Sûrah al-Furqân: 23]

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about one of the polytheists who died on unbelief, whether or not his good deeds and the help he gave to poor and needy will be of any benefit to him before Allah, he replied: “No. He had never said ‘Allah is my Lord’.”

A person should never be proud of his acts and think that Allah is pleased with him and has accepted his good deeds. Our deeds are assessed in the final outcome.

The Pious Predecessors used to fear that Allah would be displeased with them and would not accept their good works. One of them said: “If Allah accepts my work, I would like to die, because Allah says: ‘Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil)’.” (The verse he quoted was to Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 27.)

Likewise, we should not give a decision on behalf of Allah and decide for ourselves that Allah is displeased with a particular person or that He will not forgive that person.

The exception to this is where we have direct textual evidence attesting to Allah’s pleasure or displeasure at a certain individual.

For instance, we have clear evidence that Allah is pleased with the Companions. Allah says: “And (as for) the foremost, the first of the Muhâjirîn and the Ansâr, and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them for ever; that is the mighty achievement.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 100]

The same applies particularly to the Companions who participated in the oath of Ridwân under the tree at Hudaybiyah. Allah says: “Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory.” [Sûrah al-Fath: 18]

Allah declares that he is pleased with His Prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him). Allah says: “And he enjoined on his family prayer and almsgiving, and was one in whom his Lord was well pleased” [Sûrah Maryam: 55]

And some of those whom Allah is displeased with and whom He has openly cursed are: Satan, Pharaoh, Hâmân, Qârûn and Abû Lahab.

We ask refuge with Allah from displeasing Him and beseech Him to guide us aright and bless us to attain his pleasure.