[Khutbah] Allah’s Beloved Month

As we enter into the middle portion of the month of Ramadan, many of us will find that our resolve has started to get weaker. A completely normal occurrence with a very simple solution, by the permission of Allah.

This khutbah details the abundant blessings awaiting us in Allah’s beloved month, the month of Ramadan, with hopes to motivate and energize the listener to overcome this slump and attain the massive treasure that is waiting to be taken.

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Four Practical Steps to Taqwa, Step 1: Muhasabah

Photo Credit: Pienw (Flickr)

The first practical step to gaining taqwa is accountability, known as muhasabah in Arabic; taking account of your actions. We see this concept from the beginning of Islamic history.:

In the Qur’an

In Surah Al-Hashr, Allah says:

يا ايها الذين امنوا اتقوا الله ولتنظر نفس ما قدمت لغد واتقوا الله ان الله خبير بما تعملون

Translation: O you who have believed, fear Allah . And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah . Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do. (Surah Hashr, verse 18)

This ayah unequivocally states that we need to take ourselves to account before the Day of Repayment. It mentions taqwa, then mentions we need to take ourselves to account, then mentions taqwa again.

From the Sahaba

From the generation of the sahaba, we find a saying of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiallahu ‘anhu):

Bring yourself to account before you are taken to account. Weigh your deeds before your deeds are weighed. (One source)

Applying Muhasabah In Your Life

‘Umar (radiallhu anhu) also praised a man who kept a bag of stones with him; in the bag, the man placed one white stone for each good deed he did, and one black stone for each bad did he did. At the end of the day,
he would recount and account how beneficially his day passed.

Other scholars performed other, similar acts of accounting. Some modern day shuyookh advocate keeping a journal and noting down your deeds appropriately.

From this, we find the two key points to take away:

  • Keep track of your deeds in some way that works for you — whether in your memory, or in a book, online document, etc.
  • Recount and review your deeds consistently at a time that works for you.

The key is to consistently review your deeds. If you can, perform a daily review. If not, use whatever schedule works for you — perhaps every two or three days, or once a week.

Also, find a time that works for you. For some, this may be in the shower, or while commuting, or while standing in line for something.

Recommended Order of Accountability

From the Qur’an and Sunnah, we find a suggested order of accountability:

#1: Prohibitions

In order to progress, you need to take one step forward, and not slide two steps backward. Scholars use this hadith:

مَا نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْهُ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ، وَمَا أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِهِ فَأْتُوا مِنْهُ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ، فَإِنَّمَا أَهْلَكَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ كَثْرَةُ مَسَائِلِهِمْ وَاخْتِلَافُهُمْ عَلَى أَنْبِيَائِهِمْ

Translation: What I have forbidden for you, avoid. What I have ordered you [to do], do as much of it as you can. For verily, it was only the excessive questioning and their disagreeing with their Prophets that destroyed [the nations] who were before you. (Bukhari, Muslim, and Imam Nawawi’s 40 ahadith, #9)

Note the order and wording of this hadith:

  • First, stay away from whatever rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) forbade us from. I.e., prohibitions first.
  • Then, do what rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) commanded us to do, as much as we are able (whatever is within our ability).

If you make a mistake or slip up, if you violate a prohibition, what then? Make tawbah. This means three things:

  • Regret the action you performed
  • Stop doing it.
  • Replace the bad deed with something better.

Action: These are all critical steps to integrate in your early muhasabah process: focus on proihibitons (things you need to stop doing).

#2: Obligations

After prohibitions, we focus next on obligations. Another interesting, supporting hadith:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ عَمَلِهِ صَلاَتُهُ فَإِنْ صَلُحَتْ فَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ وَأَنْجَحَ وَإِنْ فَسَدَتْ فَقَدْ خَابَ وَخَسِرَ فَإِنِ انْتَقَصَ مِنْ فَرِيضَتِهِ شَيْءٌ قَالَ الرَّبُّ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ انْظُرُوا هَلْ لِعَبْدِي مِنْ تَطَوُّعٍ فَيُكَمَّلَ بِهَا مَا انْتَقَصَ مِنَ الْفَرِيضَةِ ثُمَّ يَكُونُ سَائِرُ عَمَلِهِ عَلَى ذَلِكَ

Translation: Indeed the first deed by which a servant will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection is his Salat. If it is complete, he is successful and saved, but if it is defective, he has failed and lost. So if something is deficient in his obligatory (prayers) then the Lord, Mighty and Sublime says: ‘Look! Are there any voluntary (prayers) for my worshipper?’ So with them, what was deficient in his obligatory (prayers) will be completed. Then the rest of his deeds will be treated like that.” (Jami’ At-Tirmidhi)

This hadith indicates that we will be asked about our obligations first, and if those contain any issues, they will be fixed based on our extra (nafl/sunnah) deeds.

Action: In your muhasabah, ask yourself about your obligations. Did you meet all of them? Did you fall short any where? Can you fix those with extra (non-obligatory) actions?

#3: The Tongues, Hands, and Feet

Out of these three, the tongue overshadows the other two by far. Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

مَنْ يَضْمَنْ لِي مَا بَيْنَ لَحْيَيْهِ وَمَا بَيْنَ رِجْلَيْهِ أَضْمَنْ لَهُ الْجَنَّةَ

Translation: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him.” (Saheeh Bukhari)

In your muhasabah, ask yourself: Did I lie? Did I cheat? Did I steal? Do I frequently backbite? You may find that certain circumstances (eg. places you go, or people you spend time with) lead you into sins of the tongue.

Action: Make a “tongue” calendar. Count how many days your tongue is sin-free. Whenever you fall into a sin of the tongue, mark down the day, and start counting from zero. If you can survive 30-40 days without mistakes, you’ve mastered your tongue.

#4: Moments of Distraction

If you ever feel that you’re too busy, or that you consume entertainment too much (eg. music, television, videos, perhaps non-beneficial books), make a note of it. That’s a candidate to replace with dhikr.

Action: There is (literally) a dhikr for every occasion. Grab a copy (digital/app or physical) of Hisnul Muslim and other books of adhkar, and memorize appropriate du’as for your situation.

In Conclusion

If you can master muhasabah, you can consciously and continuously work towards a stronger hereafter. Every day that passes sees a better you (either a day with more good than bad, or a day with enough lessons learned to make you stronger).

For additional reading material, consider reading “Agenda to Change our Condition.” Ibn Tammiyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim, Imam Ghazali, and others also wrote extensively about taqwa and muhasabah.

Source: Four Steps to Taqwa. Presented by Arssal Shahabuddin on February 22, 2016.


Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem Together

Allah introduces himself in Surah Fatiha as Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem, both. Both of these names derive their meaning from the word mercy (rahmah).

In classical Arabic, rahmah represents the mercy of a mother for her child. As the child grows, it causes the mother to be sick and weak; it eats nutrition from the mother; in the later trimesters, the child even stretches, punches, or kicks the mother’s ribs! But still, the mother cares for, takes care of, and protects the child.

Similarly, both of these names mean something merciful. They have a difference through.

The name Ar-Rahman means:
– Allah is extremely merciful
– Allah is not just merciful, but is being very merciful right now.
– Allah’s mercy is not permanent; it can leave you if you do wrong.

In contrast, the name Ar-Raheem means:
– Allah’s mercy is permanent
– Allah’s mercy is not necessarily happening right now
– Allah’s mercy is not the same level of extremely merciful

Ibn Abbas used to say that Ar-Raheem is only for believers, while Ar-Rahman is for all the creatures and everything on earth — because permanent mercy is what you need for Jannah, and that’s only for believers.

By combining these two names together, we get the total meaning of Allah being extremely and permanently merciful, both immediately (right now) and in the future!

And this is why we start with “Bismillahi Ar-Rahmaani Ar-Raheem” when we do something good; because we want Allah’s mercy and blessings (barakah) both immediately and in the future.

And this is how Allah introduces himself in Surah Fatiha, as Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem. (But too much mercy can also lead people astray — they’ll do whatever they want — so Allah adds “Maalik al-yawm ad-deen” to keep us balanced between hope and fear.)

As a corollary of this, whenever Allah mentions only one of these names (eg. Ar-Rahman), He’s intentionally highlighting a very specific type of mercy — such as in Surat Ar-Rahmaan (Allah revealed the Qur’an right now to us).

May Allah allow us to understand and actualize His great names (ameen).

Source: Bayyinah – Qur’an: Cover to Cover, by ustadh Nouman Ali Khan. Videos for Surah Fatiha, parts 1d and 2. Retrieved February 18, 2016.


I’m Drowning and I Don’t Know Why

Have you ever felt like you were drowning? Submerged in the depths of the world? With darkness encompassing you everywhere you went?

I have.

And what makes the situation even more difficult to swim through is when you don’t know why. Everything seems to be on point; you’re praying, going to the masjid, giving charity, etc. yet that feeling of drowning is ever-so-present.

What’s going on? 

I want you to imagine an empty jar with dirt in it (or just look below).

Imagine pouring water into that jar until it reaches the top. Close the jar. Shake it up a little if you want and voila! What do you see? Likely a very dirty jar. Now, take that same jar and empty out the dirt. Imagine pouring water into the jar. Close the lid. Give it a shake. What do you see now? Likely a cleaner jar full of water.

In this small example is a solution for anyone who feels like they’re drowning.

That jar is our hearts, the dirt is our sins and the water is our good deeds. We can’t expect our hearts to become pure by only doing good deeds. Rather, we have to make a concentrated effort to remove sins and diseases firstly while increasing our good deeds for maximum results.

This doesn’t mean we leave off good deeds all together. It just means that after the obligatory actions, we should put most of our energy into removing the bad qualities and sins first. The reality is our subtle sins, the ones that go unnoticed, those are the anchors that keep us submerged in the depths of the water.

It’s no wonder Allah says so emphatically in Surah ash-Shams:

وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا وَالْقَمَرِ إِذَا تَلَاهَا وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا جَلَّاهَا وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَاهَا وَالسَّمَاءِ وَمَا بَنَاهَا وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا طَحَاهَا وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا
By the sun and its brightness. And [by] the moon when it follows it. And [by] the day when it displays it. And [by] the night when it covers it. And [by] the sky and He who constructed it. And [by] the earth and He who spread it. And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it and inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness. He has succeeded who purifies it and he has failed who instills it [with corruption].

Subhanallah. Look at the number of oaths our Creator, Sustainer, and Protector took just to make a simple point: He has succeeded who purifies it.

If you can escape from those anchors and constantly purify your hearts of the dirt, you’ll have a chance at breathing again; you’ll have a chance at rising from the depths of the world, above the water, and have light encompass you wherever you go. No more drowning. No more darkness. 

So what are some of the common sins that may be holding us down and possibly creating a barrier between us and reaching Allah with a pure heart? Here’s a few to watch out for, all of which will be expounded upon in later posts insha’llah.

  • Acts of hypocrisy: breaking trusts, lying, acting treacherously, arguing in an insulting manner, standing lazily and being absent minded in prayer
  • Acts of the tongue: unnecessarily talking, backbiting, gossiping, slandering
  • Acts of the heart: jealousy, envy, excessive love for the duniya, showing off

وَلَا تُخْزِنِي يَوْمَ يُبْعَثُونَ يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ
And do not disgrace me on the Day they are [all] resurrected – The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children, but only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart. [Shu’ara’ 87-89]

May Allah make us of those who reach Him with a pure heart. Ameen.


Our Children, Our Test – Naseeha to Parents

There he stood. A grown man, towering to the sky. Broad shoulders, and so much pain in his eyes. I know it’s impossible, yet I could hear his heart sobbing. In reality though it was just the sound of my own pumping away. I stopped, asked, and what I was about to hear would break my heart in pieces. It’s a painful encounter I’ve heard over and over again of parents who’ve ‘lost’ their children for one reason or another to drugs, alcohol, fame, money, friends, etc.

As a father of two, Alhamdulillah, I can’t help but reflect on the idea that I may be in a similar situation one day. If the Prophets ‘alayhum salaam were tested with trials regarding their children, how can I feel secure? Why should I feel I won’t be tested with something similar?

Allah tells us in vivid detail the story of Nuh ‘alayhi salaam and his incident with the ark. When you read through the set of verses in Surah Hud, you can almost depict the entire scene in your mind…

Scary. Heart-wrenching. Emotional.

Zooming in on one part of the story. After Nuh ‘alayhi salaam built the ark and set sail, after calling out to his son and advising him to come on board, after his son defies the advice, and after his own son is perished in this matter decreed by Allah, you can almost sense the anguish of Nuh ‘alayhi salaam in his response:

وَنَادَىٰ نُوحٌ رَّبَّهُ فَقَالَ رَبِّ إِنَّ ابْنِي مِنْ أَهْلِي وَإِنَّ وَعْدَكَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنتَ أَحْكَمُ الْحَاكِمِينَ
And Noah called to his Lord and said, “My Lord, indeed my son is of my family; and indeed, Your promise is true; and You are the most just of judges!”

قَالَ يَا نُوحُ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ ۖ إِنَّهُ عَمَلٌ غَيْرُ صَالِحٍ ۖ فَلَا تَسْأَلْنِ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۖ إِنِّي أَعِظُكَ أَن تَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ
He said, “O Noah, indeed he is not of your family; indeed, he is [one whose] work was other than righteous, so ask Me not for that about which you have no knowledge. Indeed, I advise you, lest you be among the ignorant.”

قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أَسْأَلَكَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۖ وَإِلَّا تَغْفِرْ لِي وَتَرْحَمْنِي أَكُن مِّنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
[Noah] said, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I will be among the losers.”

Subhanallah, even the Prophets were tested with the loss and defiance of their children. Yet, through all of it you find Prophet Nuh’s trust and overall submission to Allah and His plan to be strong as ever.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me or my children, however I do expect some shades of Prophet Nuh’s trials in my own life.   It may not be in the exact way or even the extent to what Nuh ‘alayhi salaam was tested with, however at some level, I do expect it. Given this reality, I wanted to share a few pieces of advice to my fellow parents and to-be parents.

My Naseeha

Firstly, the world we grew up in yesterday is not the world our children are growing up in today; nor will it be the world they’ll grow up in tomorrow. The world is less friendly, less vigilant to uphold good morals and ethics, and overall less safe. Our children will grow up in a hyper social and sexual society that encourages and even demands a ‘look-at-me-me-me’ life-style. They will enter puberty at younger ages. They will be exposed to differing thoughts and ideas more abundantly and at younger ages then we were. So please, step up to the plate and be parents. Put less reliance upon the Imam, the Masjid, the school, the teachers, etc. in raising your children. Stop outsourcing the job because more than anyone in the world, through all the trails they’ll face, your children need you. They need you to to listen to them, to play with them, to educate them… to parent them. 

Secondly, instill within them ultimate dependence upon Allah. Children need to understand early on that more than themselves, more than their parents, family, friends, etc. that it is Allah who is in control and it is He who provides them with everything they need and want. The less we attribute blessings to Allah, the less our children will realize the true source of everything they have and the less they will seek it from Him. The less they seek it from Him, the more dependent they will become upon themselves. So what happens next? When they depend on themselves, their desires and limited knowledge become ilahs i.e. gods superior to the one and only ilah i.e. Allah.  Look at what Prophet Nuh’s son says after Nuh ‘alayhi salaam tells him to embark on the ark in Allah’s name: “I will take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water.” His dependency upon himself and his ways eventually destroyed him.

Lastly, Never give up on your children. Never. Undoubtedly you will face tough times with your children – some of you will face incredible amounts of difficulty. However through all the pain, the heart ache, the abandonment, you don’t get to give up on them. You don’t get to throw them to the wolves and have them left for dead. You keep protecting them and supporting them. There are many examples of children who were set aright only because of the love, prayers and constant reminders of their parents. You may face a few months of backlash, maybe a few years, maybe decades, but your constant loving reminders and prayers will help them when the time is right. You don’t guide anyone, not even your own children. However, the job at hand is still to convey, and to continue conveying until your last breath. The rest we leave to Allah. Even in the story of Nuh ‘alayhi salaam, you find him pleading with Allah until the last moments, even until after the death of his son. Subhanallah.

These are just a few pieces of advice from one father’s perspective. There is much more wisdom out there with you, the readers, who likely have your own set of experiences and pieces of advice that we can all benefit from. We’d love to hear it. Leave a comment below and if you found benefit in this article, please share. JazakumAllahu Khairan.


To Do List After Ramadan

Image credit: Wikipedia

Ramadan ended. (May Allah accept all our prayer, fasting, du’a, and good deeds during this blessed month — ameen!) How should we, as Muslims, act now?

We graduated from the school of Ramadan; can life simply return to normal?

Our scholars mention a few points about this:

  • Allah says, in surah Baqarah, that Ramadan was prescribed on us in the hope that we gain taqwa. Did we achieve that goal of the school of Ramadan? Or did we simply fast because of our parents, our friends, our spouse, or our culture?
  • The continuation of our deeds shows the acceptance of our deeds (even if we continue them at a smaller scale than during Ramadan).
  • We live life for a purpose, not haphazardly; just like we create dunya goals (get a degree, get a job, get a spouse, get a house, etc.) we must create deen goals, and work towards improving ourselves. Ramadan puts us through an obligatory one-month “boot camp” of self-improvement every year.

Did you pass the test of Ramadan? Did you benefit from Ramadan? The litmus test is: are you better after Ramadan than you were before Ramadan?

You can’t compare to yourself to in-Ramadan, because it’s not sustainable. At the same time, scholars say, if you live your life like you did in Ramadan, the Day of Repayment will be your Eid. That’s what this is all about. That is a goal worthy of setting.

Now, the game plan: the secret sauce of what to do after Ramadan comes from one key hadith of rasulullah (ﷺ):

أَخْبَرَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَجْلاَنَ، عَنْ سَعِيدٍ الْمَقْبُرِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ كَانَ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَصِيرَةٌ يَبْسُطُهَا بِالنَّهَارِ وَيَحْتَجِرُهَا بِاللَّيْلِ فَيُصَلِّي فِيهَا فَفَطِنَ لَهُ النَّاسُ فَصَلَّوْا بِصَلاَتِهِ وَبَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهُمُ الْحَصِيرَةُ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ اكْلَفُوا مِنَ الْعَمَلِ مَا تُطِيقُونَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لاَ يَمَلُّ حَتَّى تَمَلُّوا وَإِنَّ أَحَبَّ الأَعْمَالِ إِلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَدْوَمُهُ وَإِنْ قَلَّ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ تَرَكَ مُصَلاَّهُ ذَلِكَ فَمَا عَادَ لَهُ حَتَّى قَبَضَهُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَكَانَ إِذَا عَمِلَ عَمَلاً أَثْبَتَهُ ‏.‏
It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Do as much of good deeds as you can, for Allah does not get tired (of giving reward) until you get tired. And the most beloved of deeds to Allah are those that are continuous, even if they are few.‘ Then he stopped that prayer and did not return to it until Allah took him (in death), and if he started to do something he would persist in it.” (Sunan An-Nasaai, 9/21)

(You can click the link to read the full English translation, instead of just this excerpt.)

In Ramadan, think about the actions we performed. We:

  • Prayed a lot.
  • Prayed in jama’ah/congregation
  • Prayed Qiyaam Al-Layl
  • Fasted. Every day.
  • Gave charity. Lots of it.
  • Reached out to our family.

We can continue all these deeds after Ramadan:

  • Don’t pray 5x a day yet? Start. Improve yourself. Add just one prayer to what you pray now.
  • Don’t pray qiyaam? Start. Pray two short rakahs right after Isha, and gradually make it longer and later and larger in quantity.
  • Don’t fast any extra fasts? Start. Aim for three times a month (the White Days), or every Monday, or every Monday and Thursday.
  • Don’t give sadaqah outside of Ramadan? Start. Give sadaqah, even if only a dollar once a week.
  • Don’t have a good relationship with some of your relatives? Fix it. Talk to your family, especially distant relatives.
  • Don’t read the Qur’an regularly? Start. Read something every day. Start with just one page a day, but read it with tafseer.

And a final warning: aim for slow, steady improvement over time. One trick Shaytaan capitalizes on is to encourage us to do everything and anything, all at once. Just like you can’t quit smoking today and run a marathon tomorrow, you can’t change full-force in a short amount of time.

Don’t even try. This may appear to work — for a day or two, or a week — until you burn out, and give up completely. Don’t fall for it. Start slow, and improve yourself until you become a much better person than you are.

May Allah allow us to seek the true, long-term benefits of Ramadan and better ourselves as people.

Source: Friday Khutbah at ISNA by shaykh Alaa Elsayed, August 7, 2015.


Powerful Tips for the Last 10 Nights

By Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury

1. Do not let your ‘performance’ until now affect your last 10 days. The moment of forgiveness could be today or anytime in the coming days! It is not all lost! If you sincerely wish it could have been better – Chin up and get ready to make it your best yet! Start with a positive, sincere intention!

2. Today, take a little time to read the Tafseer of Surah al-Qadr to understand what actually happens this night! You will feel its power & greatness so much more!

3. Do not wait for the 27th Night to give it your “all”. The entire last 10 days should be your target. Stay up each night! Would you want to miss Laylatul Qadr even “by chance”?

4. Do not fall into any innovations/celebrations any masjid or culture might try to promote. Follow the Sunnah! The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) guided us simply: “Whoever stays up and prays on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”

5. Memorize and keep asking the dua’ taught by Rasulullah (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam): Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anni (O Allaah, You are forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).

6. Prepare a short dua’ list. Remember this is as awesome as it ever gets for a servant of Allah! The Night of Qadr, of Destiny! Consciously pick each and everything you crucially wish for in this dunya, in your deen, family, and in your aakhirah! Don’t forget to include the brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering and in grief!

7. Take brief naps during the day, if possible. Keep your stomach light and sleep as soon as you have prayed ‘isha. Do not delay! After a brief nap, refresh yourself and get. ready for worship.

8. Don’t neglect your family! Rasulullah made it a point to wake up his wives throughout these nights! And yes, your children are not too young to stay up some part of the night – if they can be allowed to play video games or watch TV, they can be inspired to be up atleast for sometime! Prepare them, make them excited, plan some activities for them to do!

9. Look the Part: The way we dress and prepare.has a big effect on our psychology. Wear your best, perfume yourself, and feel the energy!

10. Choose a spot, whether in the Masjid or in your home, where you can have peace and solitude. Keep your mushaf, praying mat, and water at hand so that you are not distracted by constantly getting up for this or that.

11. IMP: This is not the night to tweet pics or update FB statuses about how amazing the night is and how you are feeling & worshipping Allah! Let that be a secret between you & your Rabb! So switch off those phones, wifi, laptops and computers. Disconnect with the world, and connect with al-‘Afuww!

12. If you find yourself feeling sleepy, vary your acts of worship. Alternate between qiyaam, heartfelt dua’a, reading the Qur’an. Do not spend the night listening to lectures or recitations. Or do it only for a short while when you feel the sleep coming on!

13. Patience is the Key: The last 10 days might be tiring. You might still have work or school. This is the time to bear all that hardship, and keep firm sabr. Think how Allah has blessed you with this tremendous opportunity that might NEVER come again in your life again. If you knew for sure that this was your last Ramadan , if you knew certainly that Jannah was up for grabs, wouldn’t you sprint for it no matter what it takes?

14. This is most important: Keep husn adh-dhann bi Allah (good expectations from Allah). When you ask, remember you are asking the Most Generous King. If you hope for the best, He will give you the best. Don’t hold back. Trust in Him, pour out your heart in front of Him, and let no doubt, no barrier, no evil thoughts keep you away from ar-
Rahman, ar-Raheem!

Allahumma ballighna laylatal qadr..


10 Examples of How Rasulullah Treated Children

a child praying
Image credit: Farazk007

The sunnah contains many examples of how rasulullah (ﷺ) dealt with children.

Why is this important? Because he’s our uswah, our role-model, our example to follow. Many of his companions met him once or twice, saw him doing something once or twice, and as a result, would keep doing that thing until they died. Not because he told them to, but because they loved him, and sought to follow him as much as possible.

Could we please try to do that? We can never reach their level, but whoever follows their footsteps will reach them, inshaAllah.

On to the examples.

Anas ibn Malik’s Ten Years of Service

I served the Prophet for ten years, I lived with him for ten years and not once did he rebuke me. Not once did the word “uff” come from his mouth. He never said to me, “why did you do this?” or “why didn’t you do that?” (Source)

Anas ibn Malik was a well known scholar among the sahaba. His mother gifted him to rasulullah (ﷺ) while he was a young child, in order to give him the best possible upbringing and Islamic education.

Personally, I feel this hadith serves as a general-purpose, all-encompassing rule (and guideline) by which to follow with child-raising. We learn some important lessons from this, which we can apply to our own families:

  • Don’t rebuke them (or tell them off).
  • Don’t appear exasperated or frustrated in front of them.
  • Don’t ask them why they did something, or didn’t do something. (They don’t know why.)

Anas ibn Malik was also a young child at the start of his service of the messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

However, rasulullah (ﷺ) didn’t just let things go; when children did something wrong, he did not simply let it slide, but he told them:

حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ الْعَنْبَرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدٍ، – وَهُوَ ابْنُ زِيَادٍ – سَمِعَ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، يَقُولُ أَخَذَ الْحَسَنُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ تَمْرَةً مِنْ تَمْرِ الصَّدَقَةِ فَجَعَلَهَا فِي فِيهِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ كِخْ كِخْ ارْمِ بِهَا أَمَا عَلِمْتَ أَنَّا لاَ نَأْكُلُ الصَّدَقَةَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Abu Huraira reported that Hasan ibn ‘Ali (radiallahu anhum) took one of The dates of the sadaqa and put it in his mouth, whereupon the Prophet (ﷺ) said: Leave it, leave it, throw it; don’t you know that we do not eat the sadaqa? (Bukhari and Muslim)

Note that, as mentioned in another narration, he physically removed the date from Hassan’s mouth — he didn’t just tell him not to do it.

His Daughter Fatima

A longer hadith clues us into a key habit of rasulullah (ﷺ):

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْحَكَمِ، قَالَ‏:‏ أَخْبَرَنَا النَّضْرُ، قَالَ‏:‏ حَدَّثَنَا إِسْرَائِيلُ، قَالَ‏:‏ أَخْبَرَنَا مَيْسَرَةُ بْنُ حَبِيبٍ قَالَ‏:‏ أَخْبَرَنِي الْمِنْهَالُ بْنُ عَمْرٍو قَالَ‏:‏ حَدَّثَتْنِي عَائِشَةُ بِنْتُ طَلْحَةَ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ أُمِّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قَالَتْ‏:‏ مَا رَأَيْتُ أَحَدًا مِنَ النَّاسِ كَانَ أَشْبَهَ بِالنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَلاَمًا وَلاَ حَدِيثًا وَلاَ جِلْسَةً مِنْ فَاطِمَةَ، قَالَتْ‏:‏ وَكَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذَا رَآهَا قَدْ أَقْبَلَتْ رَحَّبَ بِهَا، ثُمَّ قَامَ إِلَيْهَا فَقَبَّلَهَا، ثُمَّ أَخَذَ بِيَدِهَا فَجَاءَ بِهَا حَتَّى يُجْلِسَهَا فِي مَكَانِهِ، وَكَانَتْ إِذَا أَتَاهَا النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم رَحَّبَتْ بِهِ، ثُمَّ قَامَتْ إِلَيْهِ فَقَبَّلَتْهُ، وأَنَّهَا دَخَلَتْ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي مَرَضِهِ الَّذِي قُبِضَ فِيهِ، فَرَحَّبَ وَقَبَّلَهَا، وَأَسَرَّ إِلَيْهَا، فَبَكَتْ، ثُمَّ أَسَرَّ إِلَيْهَا، فَضَحِكَتْ، فَقُلْتُ لِلنِّسَاءِ‏:‏ إِنْ كُنْتُ لَأَرَى أَنَّ لِهَذِهِ الْمَرْأَةِ فَضْلاً عَلَى النِّسَاءِ، فَإِذَا هِيَ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ، بَيْنَمَا هِيَ تَبْكِي إِذَا هِيَ تَضْحَكُ، فَسَأَلْتُهَا‏:‏ مَا قَالَ لَكِ‏؟‏ قَالَتْ‏:‏ إِنِّي إِذًا لَبَذِرَةٌ، فَلَمَّا قُبِضَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم، فَقَالَتْ‏:‏ أَسَرَّ إِلَيَّ فَقَالَ‏:‏ إِنِّي مَيِّتٌ، فَبَكَيْتُ، ثُمَّ أَسَرَّ إِلَيَّ فَقَالَ‏:‏ إِنَّكِ أَوَّلُ أَهْلِي بِي لُحُوقًا، فَسُرِرْتُ بِذَلِكَ وَأَعْجَبَنِي‏.

‘A’isha, the Umm al-Mu’minin, said, “I have not seen anyone who more resembled the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in words or speech or manner of sitting than Fatima.” ‘A’isha continued, “When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw that she had come, he would greet her and then he stood up for her, kissed her, took her hand and brought her forward and made her sit in his place. When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited her, she greeted him, stood up for him, and kissed him. She came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in his final illness and he greeted her, kissed her, and told her a secret. She wept. Then he confided something else to her and she laughed. I said to the women, ‘I see that this woman is superior to other women, let she is one of them. First she wept and then she laughed.’ I asked her, ‘What did he say to you?’ She replied, ‘I would be telling a secret.’ When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died, Fatima said, ‘He confided to me, “I am dying,” so I wept. Then he confided to me, “You will be the first of my family to join me,” so I was happy and pleased at that.'” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

He always greeted his daughter, kissed her, and gave her his spot to sit in. This is a habit of his — so much so that when he couldn’t do this (before he died), she immediately became concerned with his situation. This is a habit that we should all strive to adopt.

Kissing Children

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْيَمَانِ، أَخْبَرَنَا شُعَيْبٌ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو سَلَمَةَ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، أَنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَبَّلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْحَسَنَ بْنَ عَلِيٍّ وَعِنْدَهُ الأَقْرَعُ بْنُ حَابِسٍ التَّمِيمِيُّ جَالِسًا‏.‏ فَقَالَ الأَقْرَعُ إِنَّ لِي عَشَرَةً مِنَ الْوَلَدِ مَا قَبَّلْتُ مِنْهُمْ أَحَدًا‏.‏ فَنَظَرَ إِلَيْهِ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ لاَ يَرْحَمُ لاَ يُرْحَمُ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) kissed Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali while Al-Aqra’ bin Habis at-Tamim was sitting beside him. Al-Aqra said, “I have ten children and I have never kissed anyone of them,” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Kissing children (and grandchildren) is also an easy way to show them affection and make them feel loved.

Shortening his Prayer for Crying Children

حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ مُوسَى، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا الْوَلِيدُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا الأَوْزَاعِيُّ، عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ أَبِي كَثِيرٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنِّي لأَقُومُ فِي الصَّلاَةِ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُطَوِّلَ فِيهَا، فَأَسْمَعُ بُكَاءَ الصَّبِيِّ، فَأَتَجَوَّزُ فِي صَلاَتِي كَرَاهِيَةَ أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَى أُمِّهِ ‏”‏‏.‏ تَابَعَهُ بِشْرُ بْنُ بَكْرٍ وَابْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ وَبَقِيَّةُ عَنِ الأَوْزَاعِيِّ‏.‏
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abi Qatada: My father said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘When I stand for prayer, I intend to prolong it but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short, as I dislike to trouble the child’s mother.'” (Bukhari)

Rasulullah (ﷺ) loved praying, and he used to pray long prayers in private; yet, in public, he shortened his prayer for children so that their mothers would not feel sad. That’s the care and attention he took for children (and mothers).

Praying with Children

أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سَلاَّمٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَزِيدُ بْنُ هَارُونَ، قَالَ أَنْبَأَنَا جَرِيرُ بْنُ حَازِمٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ أَبِي يَعْقُوبَ الْبَصْرِيُّ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ شَدَّادٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي إِحْدَى صَلاَتَىِ الْعِشَاءِ وَهُوَ حَامِلٌ حَسَنًا أَوْ حُسَيْنًا فَتَقَدَّمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَوَضَعَهُ ثُمَّ كَبَّرَ لِلصَّلاَةِ فَصَلَّى فَسَجَدَ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَىْ صَلاَتِهِ سَجْدَةً أَطَالَهَا ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبِي فَرَفَعْتُ رَأْسِي وَإِذَا الصَّبِيُّ عَلَى ظَهْرِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَهُوَ سَاجِدٌ فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى سُجُودِي فَلَمَّا قَضَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الصَّلاَةَ قَالَ النَّاسُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّكَ سَجَدْتَ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَىْ صَلاَتِكَ سَجْدَةً أَطَلْتَهَا حَتَّى ظَنَنَّا أَنَّهُ قَدْ حَدَثَ أَمْرٌ أَوْ أَنَّهُ يُوحَى إِلَيْكَ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏ “‏ كُلُّ ذَلِكَ لَمْ يَكُنْ وَلَكِنَّ ابْنِي ارْتَحَلَنِي فَكَرِهْتُ أَنْ أُعَجِّلَهُ حَتَّى يَقْضِيَ حَاجَتَهُ ‏”‏ ‏

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came out to us for one of the night-time prayers, and he was carrying Hasan or Husain. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came forward and put him down, then he said the Takbir and started to pray. He prostrated during his prayer, and made the prostration lengthy.” My father said: “I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) while he was prostrating so I went back to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) finished praying, the people said: “O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), you prostrated during the prayer for so long that we thought that something had happened or that you were receiving a revelation.’ He said: ‘No such thing happened. But my son was riding on my back and I did not like to disturb him until he had enough.'” (Sunan An-Nasai)

In this hadith, as in the last hadith, we see the concern of rasulullah (ﷺ) to not disturb children, even while praying. (We also see him praying with small children, as many parents do today.)

Abu Umair’s Sparrow

In one hadith:

حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادٌ، حَدَّثَنَا ثَابِتٌ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَدْخُلُ عَلَيْنَا وَلِي أَخٌ صَغِيرٌ يُكْنَى أَبَا عُمَيْرٍ وَكَانَ لَهُ نُغَرٌ يَلْعَبُ بِهِ فَمَاتَ فَدَخَلَ عَلَيْهِ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ذَاتَ يَوْمٍ فَرَآهُ حَزِينًا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ مَا شَأْنُهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا مَاتَ نُغَرُهُ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ يَا أَبَا عُمَيْرٍ مَا فَعَلَ النُّغَيْرُ ‏”‏ ‏.

The Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) used to come to visit us. I had a younger brother who was called Abu ‘Umair by kunyah (nickname). He had a sparrow with which he played, but it died. So one day the prophet (May peace be upon him) came to see him and saw him grieved. He asked: What is the matter with him? The people replied: His sparrow has died. He then said: Abu ‘Umair! What has happened to the little sparrow (nughayr)? (Bukhari, Muslim, and a lengthier narration in Abu Dawud)

Scholars derive many (hundreds) of benefits and rulings from these ahadith. Of relevance here: rasulullah spent time with children, and they were comfortable around him; he cared about them, and even their pets, and even tried to cheer them up when they were sad.

The Dying Jewish Boy

حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادٌ ـ وَهْوَ ابْنُ زَيْدٍ ـ عَنْ ثَابِتٍ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ كَانَ غُلاَمٌ يَهُودِيٌّ يَخْدُمُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَمَرِضَ، فَأَتَاهُ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَعُودُهُ، فَقَعَدَ عِنْدَ رَأْسِهِ فَقَالَ لَهُ ‏”‏ أَسْلِمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَنَظَرَ إِلَى أَبِيهِ وَهْوَ عِنْدَهُ فَقَالَ لَهُ أَطِعْ أَبَا الْقَاسِمِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏.‏ فَأَسْلَمَ، فَخَرَجَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَهْوَ يَقُولُ ‏”‏ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَنْقَذَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ ‏”‏‏.‏

A young Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet (ﷺ) and he became sick. So the Prophet (ﷺ) went to visit him. He sat near his head and asked him to embrace Islam. The boy looked at his father, who was sitting there; the latter told him to obey Abul-Qasim and the boy embraced Islam. The Prophet (ﷺ) came out saying: “Praise be to Allah Who saved the boy from the Hellfire.” (Bukhari)

Rasulullah (ﷺ) took interest in where the boy was when he fell sick, although he was not a Muslim; he visited him; he encouraged him to become a Muslim, and was overjoyed when the boy accepted and was saved from Hellfire.

Telling Them he Loved Them and Making Du’a For Them

حَدَّثَنَا حَجَّاجُ بْنُ الْمِنْهَالِ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي عَدِيٌّ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ الْبَرَاءَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ رَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَالْحَسَنُ عَلَى عَاتِقِهِ يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أُحِبُّهُ فَأَحِبَّهُ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Al-Bara: I saw the Prophet (ﷺ) carrying Al-Hasan (his grandson) on his shoulder an saying, “O Allah! I love him, so please love him.” (Bukhari and Muslim, with another, longer narration in Bukhari)

Tell children you love them, and make du’a that Allah loves them too.

The Infant who Urinated On Him

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، عَنْ هِشَامٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي أَبِي، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَضَعَ صَبِيًّا فِي حِجْرِهِ يُحَنِّكُهُ، فَبَالَ عَلَيْهِ، فَدَعَا بِمَاءٍ فَأَتْبَعَهُ‏.‏

Narrated ‘Aisha: The Prophet (ﷺ) took a child in his lap for Tahnik (i.e. he chewed a date in his mouth and put its juice in the mouth of the child). The child urinated on him, so he asked for water and poured it over the place of the urine. (Bukhari)

From this hadith, we see that he (ﷺ) took children into his lap; he made tahneek for them; and when they urinated on him, instead of getting angry, he simply took water and washed it off. How many of us react more severely to our children when they do less than this?

Giving Advice: Ask Allah

Finally, rasulullah (ﷺ) gave advice to Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhumaa), a child who grew into a world-class scholar:

حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ مُوسَى، أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ، أَخْبَرَنَا لَيْثُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ، وَابْنُ، لَهِيعَةَ عَنْ قَيْسِ بْنِ الْحَجَّاجِ، قَالَ وَحَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو الْوَلِيدِ، حَدَّثَنَا لَيْثُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ، حَدَّثَنِي قَيْسُ بْنُ الْحَجَّاجِ الْمَعْنَى، وَاحِدٌ، عَنْ حَنَشٍ الصَّنْعَانِيِّ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ كُنْتُ خَلْفَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَوْمًا فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ يَا غُلاَمُ إِنِّي أُعَلِّمُكَ كَلِمَاتٍ احْفَظِ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْكَ احْفَظِ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ إِذَا سَأَلْتَ فَاسْأَلِ اللَّهَ وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْتَ فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الأُمَّةَ لَوِ اجْتَمَعَتْ عَلَى أَنْ يَنْفَعُوكَ بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَنْفَعُوكَ إِلاَّ بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ لَكَ وَلَوِ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَضُرُّوكَ إِلاَّ بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ رُفِعَتِ الأَقْلاَمُ وَجَفَّتِ الصُّحُفُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏

Ibn ‘Abbas narrated: “I was behind the Prophet (ﷺ) one day when he said: “O boy! I will teach you a statement: Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you. When you ask, ask Allah, and when you seek aid, seek Allah’s aid. Know that if the entire creation were to gather together to do something to benefit you- you would never get any benefit except that Allah had written for you. And if they were to gather to do something to harm you- you would never be harmed except that Allah had written for you. The pens are lifted and the pages are dried.” (Jaami’ At-Tirmidhi)

This statement which he told Ibn Abbas contains many points of benefit: aqeedah (belief in destiny), eman (faith in Allah) dealing with people, and understanding where the source of good and harm comes from. How many of us can give children encompassing advice like this?

As to the extent of asking, another hadith clarifies:

حَدَّثَنَا صَالِحُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، أَخْبَرَنَا جَعْفَرُ بْنُ سُلَيْمَانَ، عَنْ ثَابِتٍ الْبُنَانِيِّ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ لِيَسْأَلْ أَحَدُكُمْ رَبَّهُ حَاجَتَهُ حَتَّى يَسْأَلَهُ الْمِلْحَ وَحَتَّى يَسْأَلَهُ شِسْعَ نَعْلِهِ إِذَا انْقَطَعَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَهَذَا أَصَحُّ مِنْ حَدِيثِ قَطَنٍ عَنْ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ سُلَيْمَانَ ‏.‏

Thabit Al-Bunani narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Let one of you ask his Lord for his every need, until he asks Him for salt, and asks Him for the strap of his sandal when it breaks.” (Jaami’ at-Tirmidhi)

You ask Allah for major things, and you ask Allah for minor things; nothing is beyond His capability to give, and nothing is too small or too big to ask. So ask!

May Allah make us among those who follow in the footsteps of rasulullah and raise righteous children, ameen.

Source: AlKauthar Institute: Parenting Matters. Taught by Shaykh Alaa Elsayed. University of Toronto, Toronto, November 2014.


Attributes of a Successful Parent


The sunnah mentions several characteristics of successful parents. Let’s dive into some of them.

Hilm (Forebearance) and Hayaa (Modesty)

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو إِسْحَاقَ الْهَرَوِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا الْعَبَّاسُ بْنُ الْفَضْلِ الأَنْصَارِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا قُرَّةُ بْنُ خَالِدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو جَمْرَةَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ لِلأَشَجِّ الْعَصَرِيِّ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ فِيكَ خَصْلَتَيْنِ يُحِبُّهُمَا اللَّهُ الْحِلْمَ وَالْحَيَاءَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Translation: It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to Ashajj Ansari: “You have two characteristics that Allah likes: Forbearance and modesty.” (Sunan ibn Majah)

This hadith mentions two characteristics: al-hilm (forebearance), and hayaa (modesty).

Allah characterizes hilm with his name, Al-Haleem. It means: “the one who is angry, and justifiably angry; and who has the power to do something about it, but still withholds his anger.”

Children test you. They intentionally push limits and push your buttons to provoke a reaction. (They even know which parent/caregiver goes easy on them — that’s who they ask when they want something.)

Rifq (Active Gentleness)

حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ حَفْصٍ الأُبُلِّيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ عَيَّاشٍ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ رَفِيقٌ يُحِبُّ الرِّفْقَ وَيُعْطِي عَلَيْهِ مَا لاَ يُعْطِي عَلَى الْعُنْفِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Translation: “Allah is Rafeeq (gentle) and loves gentleness, and He grants reward for it that He does not grant for harshness.” (Sunan ibn Majah)

Rifq means active gentleness, kindness, and compassion. Another hadith in Saheeh Muslim mentions that rifq decorates actions.

Rahmah (Mercy)

وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال‏:‏ قبل النبي الحسن بن علي رضي الله عنهما، وعنده الأقرع بن حابس، فقال الأقرع‏:‏ إن لي عشرة من الولد ما قبلت منهم أحدًا‏.‏ فنظر إليه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال‏:‏ “من لا يرحم لا يرحم” ‏(‏‏(‏متفق عليه‏)‏‏)‏ ‏.‏

Translation: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) kissed his grandson Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali (May Allah be pleased with them) in the presence of Al-Aqra’ bin Habis. Thereupon he (Aqra) remarked: “I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them.” Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) looked at him and said, “He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This hadith illustrates a very simple, easy act of mercy: kissing children. Yes, it is considered manly to kiss your children!

Facilitate Ease for Them

وَحَدَّثَنِي عَنْ مَالِكٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ عُرْوَةَ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، زَوْجِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ مَا خُيِّرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي أَمْرَيْنِ قَطُّ إِلاَّ أَخَذَ أَيْسَرَهُمَا مَا لَمْ يَكُنْ إِثْمًا فَإِنْ كَانَ إِثْمًا كَانَ أَبْعَدَ النَّاسِ مِنْهُ وَمَا انْتَقَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِنَفْسِهِ إِلاَّ أَنْ تُنْتَهَكَ حُرْمَةُ اللَّهِ فَيَنْتَقِمُ لِلَّهِ بِهَا ‏.‏

Translation: ‘Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not have to choose between two matters, but that he chose the easier of them as long as it was not a wrong action (i.e. haraam). If it was a wrong action, he was the furthest of people from it. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not take revenge for himself unless the limits of Allah were violated. Then he took revenge for it for Allah.” (Imam Malik’s Muwatta)

Don’t Get Angry

وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه ، أن رجلاً قال للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ أوصني، قال‏:‏ ‏”‏لا تغضب‏”‏ فردد مراراً، قال‏:‏ ‏”‏ لاتغضب‏”‏ رواه البخاري‏.‏

Translation: A man asked the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) for an advice and he (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Do not get angry”. The man repeated that several times and he (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied, “Do not get angry”. (Saheeh Bukhari)

Pray Short Prayers

If you pray with your children, pray short prayers:

وَحَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا لَيْثٌ، ح قَالَ وَحَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ رُمْحٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ أَبِي الزُّبَيْرِ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ، أَنَّهُ قَالَ صَلَّى مُعَاذُ بْنُ جَبَلٍ الأَنْصَارِيُّ لأَصْحَابِهِ الْعِشَاءَ فَطَوَّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ فَانْصَرَفَ رَجُلٌ مِنَّا فَصَلَّى فَأُخْبِرَ مُعَاذٌ عَنْهُ فَقَالَ إِنَّهُ مُنَافِقٌ ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلَ دَخَلَ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَخْبَرَهُ مَا قَالَ مُعَاذٌ فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ أَتُرِيدُ أَنْ تَكُونَ فَتَّانًا يَا مُعَاذُ إِذَا أَمَمْتَ النَّاسَ فَاقْرَأْ بِالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا ‏.‏ وَسَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الأَعْلَى ‏.‏ وَاقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ ‏.‏ وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَى ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Translation: ‘Mu’adh ib Jabal al-Ansari (radiallahu ‘anhu) led his companions in the night prayer and prolonged it for them. A person amongst us said prayer (after having separated himself from the congregation). Mu’adh was informed of this, and he remarked that he (the man) was a hypocrite. When it (the remark) was conveyed to the man, he went to the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) and informed him of what Mu’adh had said. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to him: Mu’adh, do you want to become a person putting (people) to trial? When you lead people in prayer, recite: “By the Sun and its morning brightness” (Surat Al-Fajr),” Glorify the name of thy most high Lord” (Surat At-Taariq) and” Read in the name of Lord” (Surah Iqraa), and” By the night when it spreads” (Surat Al-Layl.). (Saheeh Muslim)

Muadh ibn Jabal (radiallahu anhu) was a well-known scholar and one of the top teachers of the ummah. This hadith applies to companions of the prophet, salallahu alayhi wa sallam wa radiallahu anhum, the best of the best generations. How much more so for children who are not yet accountable for their deeds?

In Conclusion

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, radiallahu ‘anhu, once dismissed one of his governers from his post. Why? He says: “I have to take you out, you have no rahmah (mercy) on your own family, how will you have it on people?”

Please make sure you have rahmah on your children. Don’t let them just fear you, but let them love you. Don’t spoil them, but have a balance of both love and fear.

You have to be smart. Sometimes, you have to turn a blind eye, andpretend you didn’t see/hear it. Pick your fights. Don’t be a soldier, walking around in the house and kids start saluting you. Use moderation and give them their due rights.

Finally, pick your fights. If it’s worth it, do it. Two tips from shaykh Alaa:
Give chances, like three strikes Then what? “You’ve chosen this.” Turn the tables on them and make them realize the effects of their actions.
If they fight over things, and come to you, just take it away. What does this teach them? 1) share, 2) negotiate, and 3) don’t come to you for every problem.

May Allah allow us to instil these qualities in our hearts and live and die by them. Remember, some special few individuals are gifted these qualities; the rest of us have to work, hard, constantly, to acquire them. You can achieve anything, just give it time, and don’t expect change to happen overnight.

Source: AlKauthar Institute: Parenting Matters. Taught by Shaykh Alaa Elsayed. University of Toronto, Toronto, November 2014.