Category Archives: General

General information that doesn’t go into other categories.

Our Children, Our Test – Advice 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.

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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.

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Follow the Sunnah – Week 4

Last week, we focus on the sunnah of making ablution and coming out of the washroom. Here is the sunnah for this week:

After the fard salahs:

  • After slautation, say Allahu Akbar in loud voice
  • Say “Astagfirullah” thrice in low voice
  • Recite “Ayat Kursi”
  • Read the morning and evening supplications after farjar and asar prayers (Another Link)
  • Recite other Adhkars and Supplications
  • Pray the two rakahs of ishraq after the fajar prayer (The Messenger of Allah [SAWS] said, “Whoever prays the dawn prayer (fajr) in a group and then sits and does dhikr until the sun rises, then prays two rakas, shall have the like of the reward of a hajj and an umra.”)

Tip of the Week:

Get some nice colorful cards/sticky notes. Put the relevant information and stick them in various places in the house as reminders.  For example, summarize the sunnahs about using the washroom that we have learnt in previous weeks, put it on the card and stick it on the washroom mirror or door.

Action Item:

  1. Share this post with 5 other people and get the ajar. Post on facebook, twitter, email etc

Previous Post in this Series:

References:

Booklet: Sunnah Checklist – published by Alhuda International

 

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Reminder Series: Seeking His Love 2

Bismillah walhamdolilah wassalatu wassalam ‘ala rasool Allah

Here are ten ways to attain the love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, as per Ibn al-Qayyim rahimuhallah:

First, reciting the Qur’an while pondering over its meanings and what is meant by it.

Allah says, the meaning of which is: “Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah , they would have found within it much contradiction” [4:82]

Allah rebukes those who do not ponder and reflect over the Qur’an. Thus, this verse is a means to motivate the believing men and women to reflect and ponder over the book of Allah so that they are not considered among that rebuked category of people.

In the tafsir of the above verse, Ibn Kathir rahimuhallah mentions:

Allah commands them to contemplate about the Qur’an and forbids them from ignoring it, or ignoring its wise meanings and eloquent words. Allah states that there are no inconsistencies, contradictions, conflicting statements or discrepancies in the Qur’an, because it is a revelation from the Most-Wise, Worthy of all praise. Therefore, the Qur’an is the truth coming from the Truth, Allah. This is why Allah said in another Ayah, “Do they not then think deeply in the Qur’an, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding it.”

Second, getting closer to Allaah by performing voluntary deeds after completing obligatory deeds. This is as is stated in a Hadith Qudsi: “…My slave continues getting closer to Me by performing voluntary deeds until I love him.”

The love of Allah will come after we take the steps in coming closer to Him, starting with what He has made an obligation upon us. This isn’t to say that its easy. It’s difficult job to struggle in worship and struggle to achieve His love. Initially, we may be weak and find it difficult and quit. However, if we stick with it,we will find our love for those deeds to grow within our hearts. And with the love of those deeds comes the love of the Most Loving, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Third, continual remembrance of Allaah under all circumstances, with one’s tongue, heart and actions. The extent of one’s love of Allaah is determined by this.

Allah says, the meaning of which is: “O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance” [33:41]

Fourth, giving precedence to what He loves over what you love when you are overtaken by your desires.

Truly, this is a sign of a believer and one who has submitted to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The lover will always put his lovers desires over his own. Then who is more worthy of loving than Allah?

Fifth, the heart being avid of Allaah’s Names, and Attributes and the heart roaming in that garden of knowledge.

Indeed, knowledge brings about awareness and awareness bring about understanding and understanding brings about love. The one who loves seeks out the ways to love and ways to attain his lover’s love. In the same manner, the love of Allah is in knowing the deen, and implementing it in our lives. And of the greatest forms of knowledge is to have the knowledge of His beautiful Names and Attributes. By knowing His Names and Attributes, you begin to understand Allah, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. And I ask you, who doesn’t want to know His Lord?

Allah says, the meaning of which is: “And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them” [7:180]

Stay tuned for the last five…

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Reminder Series: Four Priorities of the Muslim

Abu Barzah al-Aslami radi Allahu anhu reported that Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The two feet of the servant will not cease (from standing before Allah) on the Day of Judgment until he is asked about four things: on his life and how he spent it; on his knowledge and what he did with it; on his wealth and where he earned it and how he spent it; and on his body and in what way he utilized it.” [Saheeh, reported by At-Tirmidhi]

We live in a time where it is difficult to truly imagine ourselves being under anyone else’s control, even though we know our every breath, our every step, our every movement is fully controlled by the Creator of the heavens and the Earth. Nonetheless, we still find it difficult to imagine a day where freedom will be taken away, completely. Today, even under these ‘controlled’ environments, Allah has permitted freedom to mankind; we can speak, eat, see, walk, sit, touch, and listen as we please. However, in the Hereafter on the Day of Judgement, the freedom of mankind will indeed be taken away and the supremacy of Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala will be shown. On that Day, Allah will reign King over all the other so-called kings and humans, and He will control His environment in a matter that He wills. On that Day, we will not cease from standing until certain questions are answered.

How many of us are able to actualize the reality of this event? Just imagine not having the ability to move even the slightest bit on that day. Imagine…feet being stuck to the ground and not having the ability to lift them, even with full attempts to do so. Just imagine, with all the anxiety, stress and fear of that day, you will stand in front of Allah and He will directly ask you about four things: 1) Your life 2) Your knowledge 3) Your wealth 4) Your body

There will be no escaping on that day in front of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We will be asked and we will answer; whether we like it or not, whether the answers are pleasing or not. Let’s push and struggle to be of those whose answers will be pleasing to Him, subhana. Let’s make the sincere intention to make our lives a means to come closer to Allah, let’s use the knowledge we gain to worship Him in a manner that befits His majesty, let’s use our wealth to give zakat and charity, and let’s use our bodies to do all kinds of good deeds for His sake.

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Why Not Despair? Reflections on Patience

Why not despair?

The Islamic meaning of sabr is to stop ourselves from despairing and panicking, to stop our tongues from complaining, and to stop our hands from striking our faces and tearing our clothes at times of grief and stress.

To have sabr is to first realize within your own heart that a) there is a god that exists b) that this god is worthy of all my worship c) that this god is indeed characterized by attributes of perfectness and majesty, which can only be ascribed to god and no other.

After having understood this, sabr is then to act upon this belief  and not despair or panic because in your heart you know that there is a god that exists above the heavens and earth characterized by attributes of ultimate and complete mercy, love, care, wisdom, and knowledge (all in a matter that befit his majesty). You understand that this god, the one and only god–Allah–will always be there to help you through the tough times. You understand that anytime you need his aid all you have to do is ask; no need for intermediaries, just your own choice to raise those hands and ask Him. The essence of sabr is to realize this and not despair because you have with you Allah, the one who will never fail you.

Surah Baqarah V.284: To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and whether you disclose what is in your ownselves or conceal it, Allah will call you to account for it. Then He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Able to do all things.

Mankind only despairs and panicks at their own inability or the inability of others around them. You may lose a job tomorrow, have a car accident, or find a loved one has passed away and in this you will see reality. We as humans will naturally despair and panick because we recongize our own weaknesses. In that situation we recognize our limited ability to do anything and we see the same in the people around us. In these difficult situations we realize that sustenance was never something we controlled, we realize that we never had the slightest control over the occurances of the world, and we understand that matters of life and deaht are out of our hands. Undersatnding these fundamental, eye-opening, realities lead us to despair and panick because we realize our inability to control these situaions and we lose hope in finding a solution from those around us.

Surah Naml V.62: Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations. Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? Little is that you remember!

However, for the one who believes in god, who understands Allah, they realize that even though they themselves don’t have the control, they can count on the one that has all the control. Thus, the one who secures his faith shows it in sabr. He has no need to despair or panick because he isn’t dealing with incapable creatures, rather he is dealing with the most perfect, the one to whom all power and strength belong, the creator of all the creatures, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Surah Ale Imran V.139: So do not become weak, nor be sad, and you will be superior, if you are indeed believers

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No Matter What…

Asalamu ‘alaikum,

Time comes and goes; some people grow, some people remain exactly same throughout time.

وَالْعَصْرِ
By the Time!

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
Indeed! Mankind is in loss

Thus, Allah makes clear that by the passing time man is in complete loss. Why? Because they don’t take heed, they don’t learn, they don’t listen, they go on doing what their hearts desire without thinking twice. They (in general) don’t ponder about the real purpose of their life; they (in general) cover reality with their false notions and desires.

O Muslims! Allah says:
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

And I have not created the Jinn and Human beings except to worship Me (51:56)

The ultimate purpose of our life is to worship the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Does this mean that Allah needs us to worship Him? No! Allah says:

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ
Say: He is Allah! The One and Only

اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ
Allah, the Self-Sufficient

Allah is self-sufficient. He is not in need of anything; He is independent from us while we are completely dependent upon Him. Allah says after making clear our purpose of creation:

مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ
I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ

Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong.

So, Allah does not need anything from us. Rather, it is Allah who is the All-Providing, the Sustainer, the Nourisher. Thus, we are completely dependent upon Him. And so we worship Allah because truly He alone is worthy of worship; He alone possesses the qualities which inately drive us to worship Him. It is only He who is able to answer our calls when in distress; it is He who has created the heavens and the earth; it is He who merges the night into the day and the day into the night; it is He who has provided fruits, vegetables, and cattle for our sustenance; it is He who makes the rain fall from the sky; it is He who showers His Mercy onto all of mankind regardless of their believing in Him; it is He who is al-Wadood, the Most Loving; it is He who is al-Ghafoor, the Most Forgiving; it is He who is ar-Razzaq, the All-Provider; it is He who is al-Mussawir, the Bestower of forms; it is He who is ar-Ra’uf, the Most Kind; it is He who is Maleekee Yawmee’deen, the Master and Owner of the Day of Judgment.

O Muslims! What has preoccupied us from the worship of Allah? From the purpose of our creation? Allah tells us:

أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ
The mutual rivalry for piling up wordly things diverts you

حَتَّى زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ
(It will do so) Until you visit the graves (i.e. till you die)

كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Nay! You shall come to know!

ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Again, Nay! You shall come to know!

Remember, this life is a test and know with certainty that you will meet Allah. We all want to gain Paradise. We all want to run away from the punishment of the Hellfire. Know O Slave of Allah! No matter what you have done in the past, you can always return to Allah. The contentment of the heart resides in this.

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
And when My servants ask you concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.

وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ لِّمَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحاً ثُمَّ اهْتَدَى

But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.

إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلاً صَالِحاً فَأُوْلَئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً

Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.

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On Patience

Patience is active, not passive.

What does this mean? It mains patience doesn’t just “happen”. You must strive for it. You have to actively remind yourself and make yourself patient.

Also, remember that Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) tests you with what you are not patient with. If He (سبحانه وتعالى) tested you with things you already succeed at, how could you ever learn and grow?

For a classic example of patience, consult Surah Yusuf. In Yusuf (عليه سلام) is an excellent, excellent example of patience. Every test becomes increasingly more intense, and yet, you see Yusuf (عليه سلام) bearing with patience, through to the end. (I suggest you read it with tafseer from tafsir.com.)

May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) grant us all patience in all aspects of our lives, ameen.

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Fight For Sincere Intentions

In the first hadith in Sahih Bukhari, the messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said: “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”1 The majority scholarly opinion is that this hadith applies to all actions, natural or religious (read more about the distinction here).

Based on your intention, the end result of your action can be one of three things:

  1. Reward: If your intention is to please Allah (سبحانه وتعالى), then all good actions will be rewarded (actions not in compliance with Shari’ah will be rejected). For example, if you intend to read a book of seerah because seeking knowledge is an obligation on all Muslims, inshaAllah you will be rewarded in the akhira for it.
    In this case, if something sabotages your intention–like riyaa–it can undercut your reward.
  2. Neutral: If you perform an action with the intention for other then Allah (سبحانه وتعالى)–such as if you make a business trip to some city–your action will result in neither reward nor punishment.
    In this case, if you change your intention to be something good–such as to earn money so you can support your family or spend it in the way of Allah–you can be rewarded.
  3. Punishment: If your intention is to disobey Allah, you can be punished for the action in the akhira. For example, if you decide to go to the Las Vegas (or Niagra Falls) casino to enjoy a little gambling, your journey becomes haram from day one.

An excellent two-part article on Islamtoday.com sums this up: “The greatest threat to our worship is the threat of insincerity. We can do the noblest of deeds and make the greatest of sacrifices, but if our intentions are not right, those deeds become stripped of virtue. This can leave a person without good deeds on the Day of Judgment.”2

So what happens when insincerity creeps into your intentions? What can you do to stave it off?

  1. Repent: Make sincere, heart-felt repentance to Allah, and inshaAllah He will forgive you. Pray two rakaahs of tawbah. Vow never to make the same sabotaged intention again.
  2. Make Du’a: Pray to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) to purify your intentions. If the issue is riyaa, the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) taught us a du’a for it:
    Du'a for Shirk
    “O Allah, I seek refuge in You lest I should commit shirk with You knowingly, and I seek Your forgiveness for what I do unknowingly.”3
  3. Fight the Insincerity: Realize that an insincere action will not benefit you at all in the hereafter. You might impress this or that person temporarily–but on the day of judgement, they won’t care about you, nor will they be able to help you. Read the hadith about the first three people whose fate will be decided4 on the Day of Judgement and remind yourself that you don’t want to be like them.
  4. Renew Your Intentions: Remind yourself of your original pure motives, and think of the tremendous reward that’s waiting for you, inshaAllah, if you stick to your motives. Always keep your intentions fresh, and know why you do what you do.
  5. Never Despair: Remember, if you truly wish for pure intentions, Allah is watching out for you. What more do you need?

May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) protect us all from intentions that devoid our actions of good deeds and grant us sincerity in intentions and in our actions, ameen!

And remember: if you’re not worried about your intentions, then you might be in trouble.

Related Posts: ‘Ibadah, Natural Actions, Religious Actions

References

(1) “Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 1: Revelation.” USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts. USC-MSA. 21 Apr. 2006 <http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/001.sbt.html#001.001.001>.

(2) “‘Actions are But by Intentions’ (Part 2).” Islamtoday.Com. 21 Apr. 2006 <http://www.islamtoday.net/english/showme2.cfm?cat_id=31&sub_cat_id=559>.

(3) “Du’a – Supplication for Fear of Shirk.” Fortification of the Muslim Through Remembrance From the Quraan and Sunnah. 21 Apr. 2006 <http://www.makedua.com/display_dua.php?sectionid=86>.

(4) “Translation of Sahih Muslim, Book 20: The Book on Government (Kitab Al-Imara), Chapter 43: Who Fought for Ostentation and Vanity Deserved (Punishment in) Hell.” USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts. USC-MSA. 21 Apr. 2006 <http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/020.smt.html#020.4688>.

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Water, Soil, Plants, Fruit, Life Management

Imagine that your time is water. Every day, you get 24 liters to use as you wish. You keep it in one giant metal bucket and carry it around with you. The bucket leaks–if you don’t pour your time into buckets and use it effectively, most of it will end up spilled on the ground, lost.

Each day, you pass by some plants, and you have to stop and water them, or they die–the big, thick bush of family. The tall, massive oak tree of Allah. The smaller tree of yourself. Each plant represents obligations you must pay. If you don’t water these plants, they dry up, wilt, and eventually die.

Now, after you water them sufficiently, the rest of the water is yours–free to use as you please. You can pour it all into the plants for reading, video-games, hanging out, islamic work, whatever you please. Some plants bear fruit quickly. Others slowly. Others not at all–like weeds, they drink up all the water, and strangle any plant in their reach.

The key to managing your life is to pour the water into the plants that flower with the sweetest fruit–even if that fruit takes months and years–and not the quickest. And the best plants to water are planted on the soil of the akhira, not the soil of the dunya.

The three most important trees to manage are Allah’s tree, your family’s tree, and your own tree.

  • Allah’s Tree: Your obligations to the Lord of the Universe. Pray your salaah on time. Pay zakaah. Feed the poor. Strive to work for His cause.
  • Your Family’s Tree: Spend time with your family. Don’t neglect them. Be good to parents, they’re not going to be around forever.
  • Your Tree: Take time out for yourself–especially as you get involved in more and more Islamic work. Never work at the cost of yourself–if this tree dies, there’ll be nobody left to water the other ones.

Incidentally, the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) distributed his water into exactly those three categories. Time into Allah’s tree involved time for the the Islamic State and the Muslims. The time for his family, he reserved for his family. And the time for himself, he used for personal ibaadah, and to answer any queries companions would bring him.

May Allah allow us to make the best use of our time in His cause, ameen!

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