Category Archives: Islamic Work

All things that pertain to working for Islam, or Islamic work, typically from a North-American context.

The Reality of Time

Note: this is our 14th post in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

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Allah says, in Surah ‘Asr:

وَالْعَصْرِ
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

“By Time. Indeed, mankind is at loss. Except for those who have believed, done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” [Asr: 1-3]

Allah swears by time–which shows how enormous and noble this creation is. Time.

Imam Shafi said about this revelation that had it been the only revelation sent to mankind, it would have been enough.  What motivated him to say this?
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Tafseer of Surah Inshrah

Note: this is our 13th post in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

flower-erupts-through-concrete
Stand up and do more. Muslims don’t retire or quit from working for the deen. Persist. Be like the flower that springs through concrete.

Allah says, in verse 3:

وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ

Translation: And raised high for you your repute.

If you see those polls on CNN and BBC and all those places, “Who is the most famous person in the world?” And all those emails go out, “vote for the Prophet,” “vote for the Messenger of Allah.” Indeed, he IS (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) the most famous person world-wide; the one who had the biggest influence. Even non-Muslims know it; perhaps that is why Muhammad is the most-common name in the world.

One scholar mentioned, that this also applies to the sahaba–like Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali, radiallahu anhum ajmaeen. Like the example of ‘Ali–he is one of the companions who is known world-wide; and yet, his father Abu Talib, the only reason we know him is because of his son. In this way, Allah has raised the names of these people, and others like them, throughout time; while there are millions of other Muslims who lived and died, and nobody even knows their names.

Allah says, in Surah Inshrah, verse 7:

فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانصَبْ

Translation: So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship]. [Surah Inshrah, verse 7]

This ayah alludes to a deep point–that there really isn’t an ending to the work, until you die. When a project ends, when the time to move on appears, Allah says: stand up.

This happens when people transition from highschool MSA to university, or from university MSA to work-world; they say “I’ve done my duty for 1-3 years, I’m done here.” Stand up, and keep going.

Or you might see people working on an Islamic project–maybe a halaqah they’ve run for the last two years; or a blog they’ve maintained for the last six months; or a dinner or event they’ve been planning for the last year.

Don’t stop! Keep going! Find another project to do, another door to open, if necessary.

Wallahu ta’ala ‘alam.

Action Items:

  • Stand Up. Did you do more for Islam in the past than you did now? Are you at a low-point? Find something small and consistent you can do; or find another way to make your existing work Islamic–for example, intending to continue your studies in university so you can work to earn halal rizq for your family. Or if you’re graduated, intending to earn halal rizq to support yourself and your family.
  • Keep Going. Is there some project that you just completed? Take a day or two to rest, and start another one! Let the momentum drive you to better and quicker results, insha’Allah.

References:

  • Touched by an Angel: Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma. By Muhammad Alshareef. 2009.
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Tafseer of Surah Duhaa

Note: this is our 12th post in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

Islam is about social service and shukr (thankfulness).

Insha’Allah in this post, we’re going to discuss three points:

  1. The close relationship between Allah and His prophet
  2. A glimpse of Paradise
  3. A core theme of social services in Islam

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) received revelation prior to Surah Duhaa. Then for a while, nothing. Umm Jameelah, the wife of Abu Lahab, came to him and said: “I hope your shaytaan has finally left you.” Because the Arabs used to say, if someone was really good at something, that they had a shaytaan helping them. (No doubt like some of the musicians today.)

Still nothing came. The people began to talk … and they said, maybe his Lord has left him. Maybe He has abandoned him.

And so Allah revealed:

In Surah Duhaa, Allah says:

وَالضُّحَى
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَى
مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَى

Translation: By duhaa (the morning brightness after Fajr), and [by] the night when it covers with darkness, your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muúammad], nor has He detested [you].

[This hadith is found in Bukhari and Muslim, and is quoted in Tafseer ibn Katheer]

This shows us two things: first, that the people knew when revelation came; that it was a big deal, and everybody knew about it. And second, the immense love of Allah for His prophet. How close their relationship–that even something as small as this stress, Allah revealed verses on behalf of the prophet, to reassure him. Subhanallah!

What’s more, Allah swears by duhaa–by the brightness of the day right after the sun has come up–and by the night, as it covers up the day with darkness. (This shows the greatness of these creations–that Allah swears by them. Who would deny these things? Nobody!)

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Sex in Western Culture

The hypocrisy of Western Modern culture is amazing! We need to realize that Islam began as something strange, and will end as something strange, so we need not worry what people think of us; rather, we need to be people that respect and fear Allah (سبحانه وتعال), and the creation of Allah (the people) come second.

Legal marriage age is 16? 18? but:
It’s okay for 14-year-old teens to have sex , and their parents having no idea about it, and it’s with someone they may not approve of, and the person may not have their son or daughter’s best interest at heart. But when she gets pregnant, or he or she gets HIV and doesn’t even realize it, and spreads it, they are condemned for it…

Sex is blatantly promoted in our culture through newspaper, television, movies, music …
It is illegal to have more than one wife, but:

  1. It is acceptable in our culture for a man to spend his evenings in the strip club or in the pub
  2. It is acceptable for him to have a side affair with some other strange lady
  3. His mistress has no legal rights, and yet he gets to use her
  4. This form of cheating causes social and cultural problems
  5. This type of relationship spreads diseases, whereas a man with more than one wife will never spread any sexual diseases
  6. If his second wife was actually his ‘girlfriend’, then it is okay
  7. homosexuality is considered okay

Therefore, do not look to the people for what is right and what is wrong. Look to Allah (سبحانه وتعال), for the people will confuse you, and they themselves are confused. This also shows us that democracy is also flawed, because people will vote together on misguidance and follow their desires.

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Victory Comes With Patience

The Messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said to his cousin: “And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship. [1]

Even in the battle of Qadisiyyah, after fighting through the whole day, the Muslim leader said “just be patient, and keep fighting.” Even into the night, when most armies stop fighting at night! But subhanallah, what happened? By the next morning, the Muslims had won.

With anything you do, there’s this one moment everyone is tired, and if you push through that moment, endure a little more, then you make it. A winner mentality. Losers are like “no, I can’t do it, I’ll just quit.” Ask people who are black-belts–they’ll tell you the same thing. There’s this one moment where you feel like quitting. But if you push through that moment, you’ve succeeded–the rest you can do on cruise-control.

So whatever you’re trying to do–whether succeed at a project, or change a habit, or achieve a goal, or conquer an enemy, remember that victory comes with patience.

And of course, patience is an active quality, not a passive quality–don’t just sit back and expect things to go your way. Work for it, strive for it, and remember that results are from Allah (سبحانه وتعالى).

And Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says in the Qur’an:

وَاسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلاَةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلاَّ عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ

Translation: And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones. [Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 45]

References

[1] “Important Lessons From Ramadaan.” Islaam.Com. Jan. 1997. 24 Feb. 2007 <http://www.islaam.com/Article.aspx?id=143>.

[2] Muhammad ibn Faqih. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Rules of Engagement. University of Toronto, Toronto. September 2006.

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A Distance of One Mile

In a very beautiful hadith, our beloved Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said:

“There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade:

  1. a just ruler;
  2. a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic;
  3. a man whose heart is attached to the mosques;
  4. two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that;
  5. a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position [for illegal intercourse], but be says: ‘I fear Allah’;
  6. a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity; and
  7. a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

In this beautiful Hadeeth, the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) spoke about small acts of worship which result in such a huge reward: shade on the Day when there will be no shade except His shade. This may not seem like much at first, but then, reflect upon the following Hadeeth narrated by al Miqdaad ibn Aswad:

“On the Day of Resurrection, the sun would draw so close to the people that there would be left a distance of only one mile. The people will be submerged in perspiration according to their deeds, some up to their ankles, some up to their knees, some up to the waist and some would have the bridle of perspiration and, while saying this, the Messenger of Allah put his hand towards his mouth.” [Saheeh Muslim, vol.4, no. 6852]

So now I ask, do you want to be under the shade of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) or not? If so, the opportunity is present, all you have to do is sieze it. My brothers and sisters, lets devote ourselves to being one amongst those seven, for indeed the fortunate ones will be those who are granted the Shade of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) on the Day when there will be no shade but His. Lets work hard and struggle to at least be one of the seven, lets attain the pleasure and satisfaction of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) in this world and in the Hereafter. Ameen!

Action Plan

  1. JUST ACTIONS. Everything you do, do it justly because Allah is with those who are just. Next time you are put in a position to judge a situation, don’t just side with your friends, side with the person that is right.
  2. WORSHIP. Take advantage of the time Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) has given us and be amongst those who serve Him in their youth. Time for salah? Head down to the masjid, and gain a greater reward. Let your heart find comfort in the houses of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى).
  3. LOVE. Go to one of your brothers and let them know that you love them for the sake of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) and for His sake only. Surround your relationship with His remembrance.
  4. GIVE. Make it a habit to give to others. Give charity out of that which Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) has blessed you with, but do it secretly, only for Allah. Start by maybe sponsoring an orphan or signing up to a monthly donation plan. Subhanallah, it works great.
  5. REPENT. Look at your life and begin to put yourself to account for the things you have done. It may help to even list them down. Now, go to a secluded place, prostrate to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) and ask Him for forgiveness of those things. Let your heart feel the pain of sinning against Allah and let your emotions free.
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Thank You Allah

Innal-Hamdu lillah was-Salaatu was-Salaam `alaa Rasoolillah

"Lucky escape … hmmm … Nah! It just wasn’t my time to go yet; Allah saved me and gave me a little longer …”

Driving home from work after having a late staff meeting, it was an ordinary evening not much traffic on the road. I got onto the dual carriage, I was in the right lane doing around 60-70 miles an hour, then all of a sudden *BANG* the bonnet of my car flew open and smashed against my car windscreen, *SMASH* all the glass cracked and from the great impact, my back view mirror had completely broken off. It took me a few seconds to comprehend what had actually happened; I thought I had lost my eyesight as the bonnet was completely up against the windscreen blocking my whole view.

Straight away I started to read ‘La elaha illallah’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’.  I pressed the hazard button to let the cars around me know that I’m in trouble – all this while still doing 60-70 miles an hour!  I thought ‘that’s it, your time has come; it’s time for you to go.’ Alhamdulillah none of the windscreen glass actually fell on top of me, although all the glass had cracked, however was not given permission by Allah to fall!

Without any panic, I started to reduce my speed – Subhaanallah, I could not see a thing from the front or the back and it was pitch black outside… I managed to keep the car straight without swerving into the cars in the left lane, how I don’t know! All I say is ‘Alhamdulillah’. Once my car had stopped, I quickly jumped out as I had now become an obstruction in the road. I looked at the car and looked at myself, and could not believe what had just happened within less than a minute. 

I thank Allah Almighty for saving me. I thank Allah that I did not even get a scratch on my body or any sort of injury at all. Throughout the whole event, I had such peace in my heart that I knew Allah was with me, I did not panic and I did not scream.  Allah could’ve ended my life there and then but He chose not to, it was simply not written for me to go yet. I am fully aware that we are all going to die, death is the only definate thing in life but the reason why I am so thankful to Allah is for the fact that He has given me a bit more time in this world to obey Him, to do the good deeds, to live by the Sunnah of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad sallallahu’alayhi wasallam, in hope of earning Allahs Love and Mercy and making it to our true home – Al Jannah.

I ask Allah to make us among those who spend their whole lives striving hard for His Religion and not be among those who took His Religion for a joke, disobeying Him and His Messenger Muhammad (sa) and preferring the life of this world over the life in the hereafter.

For Allah says in the interpretation of the meaning:

And this life of the world is only amusement and play! Verily, the home of the Hereafter, that is the life indeed (the eternal life that will never end), if they but knew. [Surah al-‘Ankabut, 29: 64].

So let’s take heed from these words of Allah and understand that this life is temporary, it’s going to come to an end sooner or later – this is a fact, even if we choose to ignore it. 

“For Indeed we come from Allah and to Him is our return”. [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:156].

But the question is:  How are we spending our lives here on this earth? Because the way we spend our lives here will determine the final outcome of our ETERNAL LIFE in the hereafter. Only the individual can answer that question: “Only you know how you are spending your life.”

Just like anything in this world, you’ve got to work very hard for it: that good job, that slick car, that nice house… Well Jannah isn’t cheap and it doesn’t come easy either!

Just sit back and imagine …

Do you want to live in your own palaces and mansions of which its bricks are made out of gold and silver and pebbles of pearls and sapphire?

Do you want to drink from rivers of Milk, rivers of Honey, rivers of Wine and rivers of Water?

Do you want to eat from gardens, with trees that have everlasting fruits, and all that’s required for you to do is simply stretch out your hand and eat to your hearts desire?

A place in which you will be wearing crowns of rubies, of which 1 ruby alone is better than this world and all that is in it! Allahu Akbar.

A place in which there is no sadness, no grief, no sorrow – only total happiness, joy, bliss and tranquillity. Whatever you wish for Allah will grant you, whatever you want Allah will give you.

A place in which, being there for 1 second will erase all the hardships you went though in this life, all the struggling you went through obeying Allah when so much was calling you to disobey Him – just 1 second in Jannah, the joy of 1 second alone will completely wipe out all those difficult times and calamities you faced in this world.

A place in which all the people of Jannah will gather together in a market place every Friday: all the righteous believers, all the Prophets of Allah (alayhi salaam), the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), and the Prophet Muhammad (sa) himself!

A place in which the people of Paradise will have conversations of the time they spent on this earth, such as “Do you remember that time when we were afraid of so-and-so, or such-and-such but Allah guided us, and look how gracious Allah has been to us by saving us from the hellfire.

Now these are just some examples of Jannah told to us from the Qur’aan and the Hadith, we can talk about Jannah all day and night, it will not suffice its delights, because it is too much for us to comprehend. But the main thing is that Jannah is real, same as the Hellfire – and we will end up in one or the other…

But the question is:  What are we doing to get to Paradise and what are we doing to save ourselves from the horrors of the Hellfire? Are we willing to sacrifice the chance of getting to Jannah, in exchange for the limited pleasures of this world by giving into our desires?

View this life as an exam, and as with any exam you’ve got to revise to pass – what would you think of a person going into an exam without any preparation, even though he had been given all the answers? Well this is the analogy of our lives here on earth; Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (sa) have told us how to get to Jannah and how to save ourselves from the Hellfire – Now it’s up to us whether or not we want to respond to this call….

Did you know that Allah has already created the paradise and has already created the hellfire? And we all have a place in them both awaiting us?

Now depending on how we spent our life here in this world, one of them will be destroyed. We pray to Allah that we all get that place in Jannah, and our place in Hellfire is destroyed.

Understand once we have died, that’s it – we have no more chances to do the good deeds, no more chances to repent and say sorry to Allah. Each day is a blessing from Allah that we have another day to do the good deeds. How foolish would we be, if we knew the truth about Islaam but spent our lives not believing and worshiping Allah in His Oneness, not living by the Sunnah of His Prophet Muhammad (sa), not praying to Him 5 times a day, not fasting the month of Ramadan, not paying our zakah and not making the Hajj?

What would we say to Allah… that we were too busy?

Is Allah asking us for too much?

Has he not given us everything: good health, wealth, a home, a family, food, clothing, countless blessings (we could never re-pay him back even if we tried)… and all He asks us to do is worship Him without associating partners, and to live our lives according to the Sunnah (way) of His Prophet Muhammad (sa)… Is this too much? And if we simply did that, Allah promises us Paradise? And if we didn’t Allah also promises us the Hellfire.  He says in the interpretation of the meaning:

“And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment.” [4:14]

So we need to ask ourselves: Are we in or are we out? Do we want the Jannah or do we want this world? And if we want Paradise, are we willing to sacrifice all that we have got for Allah?  We have to decide what we want. The choice is ours…

It’s never too late, we must rectify ourselves now before the Angel of Death comes and takes our souls, only then it will be too late.  Remember nothing in this world, no pleasure of this world, is worth loosing Paradise.

Remember, Allah says in the interpretation of the meaning:

“Every soul shall have taste of death; In the end to Us shall ye be brought back" [Surah Al-‘Ankabut, 29:57]

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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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Your Responsibility, Spread the Message

In the Qur’an, surah Nisaa, Allah says:

فَقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ لاَ تُكَلَّفُ إِلاَّ نَفْسَكَ وَحَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَسَى اللّهُ أَن يَكُفَّ بَأْسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَاللّهُ أَشَدُّ بَأْسًا وَأَشَدُّ تَنكِيلاً

Translation: Then fight in Allah’s cause – you are responsible only for yourself – and rouse the believers. It may be that Allah will restrain the fury of the Unbelievers; for Allah is the strongest in might and in punishment (Surah Nisaa, 4:84)1

What are the implications? In the end, you’re responsible only for yourself. Alhamdullilah. But, spread the message. If you’re going to a halaqah, a lecture, an Islamic class, or whatever–it doesn’t have to be Islamic–tell others. Don’t just go by yourself. If they don’t come, well, you passed on the message. You did your duty. And inshaAllah you will be ready for the Day of Reckoning.

May Allah protect us all from those who have a heavy reckoning in the hereafter. Ameen.

References

(1) Pickthall, Muhammad M., trans. Al-Qur’an Al-Kareem: Parallel Arabic text with English Translation. One Ummah Network. 28 Feb. 2006 <http://www.oneummah.net/quran/quran.html>.

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Pain Brings Change

Pain is often an instigator of change. Pain works as one method to break people out of their cycles or mindsets.

Look at the story of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him. In Mecca, before he became Muslim, he was one of the toughest on the Muslims.

One of his relatives, Umm Abdullah, prepared to leave for Habasha. He asked “where are you going?” and she said “To Habasha. I’m leaving Mecca because of the tightening you’ve put on us.” And he said “may you travel in peace.”

She was shocked. Remember, he (radiallahu ‘an) was one of THE TOUGHEST on the Muslims. So she told her relative “I think he’ll become Muslim” and his relative said “his donkey will become Muslim before hiim”. THat’s how tough he was against the Muslims.
His pain reached threshold–his own relatives leaving, families broken, and he didn’t want it to continue. He went to kill the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم). On the way there, someone stopped him and said “your sister is Muslim, take care of your own family first.”

So he went to his sisters house, and heard her reciting. He slapped her, saw her bleeding, felt bad, calmed down, and asked if he could recite. He recited from Surah Taha. He went to the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم).

Some of the companions with the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) saw ‘Umar coming–one of the toughest, bravest, and fiercest warriors–and said “If he’s coming to kill you, we’ll kill him with his own sword.” And the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said “this is between me and him.”

When ‘Umar (radiallahu ‘an) approached, the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said “Hasn’t the time come for you to become Muslim ya ‘Umar.” And ‘Umar replied “I came for that reason. Ashudla ila ha illallah.”

If you use this technique for Islamic work, be very, very careful with it. Always make sure your intentions are 100% correct, and stick to your limits. And in general, brothers respond well to being dissed–they excell. Don’t try it on sisters. (In general, you can always try other techniques–like competing in good deeds.) Wallahu ‘alim.

References

Muhammad Alshareef. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Conquest: History of the Khulafa. University of Toronto, Toronto. November 2005.

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