Archive for January 24th, 2011

Am I sincere?

Once ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Azîz (rahimahullâh) was advised,

“O ‘Umar, beware of being the ally of Allâh in open, while being
His enemy in secret. If one’s nature in open and secret do not
equate then he is a hypocrite, and the hypocrites occupy the lowest

level in the Hellfire.”

From amongst the most difficult things one can acquire is sincerity and because of this, the pious predecessors ( as-salah as-salih) would try to block off all their acts of worship from riyaa (showing off) by hiding their good deeds just as they would hide their evil deeds.

They would advise each other with words such as “Do not be an enemy to Shaytaan in public and his friend in private”; or in other words, make sure you are the same person in public as you are when in seclusion. Because of this, they loved to be alone and busy in acts of worship wherein only Allah could see them.

As for those deeds which were public, then the following story would suffice: a student of Abdullah bin Masoud once hosted a blind man for a meal and decorated his meal as if he could see. When the people inquired as to why he was decorating the food to for a man who couldn’t even see, he replied by saying “But Allah can see!”

Because of this, one of the best definitions of sincerity is to forget about the creation by constantly looking at the Creator (in terms of gaining admiration for your deeds); thereby not caring whether or not the people see any single act of worship. So when a man gets up to worship, he does not think about the people’s thoughts and does not care whether they praise him, or if they criticize him because he only sees Allah in front of him, thereby reaching the level of ihsan.

…Then he (the man) said, “Inform me about Ihsan.” He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, “It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, and even though you cannot see Him yet He sees you.” – Muslim

So when one reaches ihsan, he does not become like those who Ali bin Abi Talib said regarding the insincere: “The one who shows off has three characteristics: he is lazy when by himself, he is lively and energetic when with others and he increases in his actions when he is praised and decreases in them when he is criticised.”

Because of the difficulty of sincerity, they (as-salaf) considered themselves to be hypocrites as it was said that a Tabi’e met thirty companions of the Prophet (saw) and all of them feared hypocrisy for themselves. These were the companions of the Prophet, those men and women who Allah was pleased with and who were pleased with Allah, so how about someone lower than them, people like us who act as if we have been granted Paradise while living on earth. And what is even more astonishing than this is Umar bin al-Khattab’s asking Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman if he (Umar) were among the hypocrites!

So one can never be sincere if he thinks himself to be sincere; since sincerity is to lose the vision of sincerity in oneself. And because of the greatness of sincerity, they (as-salaf) would say “whoever had a single instance in his lifetime which was purely and sincerely for the sake of Allah will be saved” since it has the capacity to purify you from all your sins. One of the salaf once remarked on how happy he would be if he only knew Allah accepted even two rakaat of salaah from him!

Because of their sincerity they lived a pure life, free from anxiety and grief since it was to Allah that they turned to in both good and bad times. And perhaps ibn al-Qayyim reflected on this when he said: Ikhlaas and Tawheed are a tree in the heart, its branches are good actions and its fruits are a good life in this world, and eternal comfort in the Hereafter; and just like in Paradise where the fruits whose supply is not cut off, nor are they out of reach, likewise are the fruits of Tawheed and Ikhlaas in this world.
[Ibn al-Qayyim – ‘al-Fawaid’ 292]

So be sincere O servants of Allah and leave the inner cravings for attention for indeed the short-term pleasure attained from people’s admiration is not worth the anger and wrath of Allah and He is not unaware of what you do. And if you were to reflect on the people of insincerity, you would realize how pathetic their situation is, for indeed the one who is insincere cannot see anything except for what is in front of them, thereby unable to have high aspirations and unable to undergo hardship for anything worthy.

{30:7} They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world (i.e. the matters of their livelihood, like irrigating or sowing or reaping, etc.), and they are heedless of the Hereafter.

And if they could see beyond the outside appearance of this world, they would know with certainty that the only thing that separates them from looking up at the face of Allah is death; and they would never risk insincerity for a miserable gain such as fame in this world for how quick is the passing of this world and how forgetful do people become of each other and finally how useless is the deed that is bereft of sincerity; for indeed the only one Satan is able to lead astray is the one who is insincere.

82: [Iblees] said, “By your might, I will surely mislead them all
83: Except, among them, Your sincere and chosen servants.”


— From “shadows15”

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ATF: Why can’t we change? PART 2

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ATF: Why can’t we change? PART 1

——> 8 min 39 sec (worth it!)

By Shaykh Kamal el Mekki

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our paths (i.e. Allaah’s religion — Islamic Monotheism).”
[al-‘Ankaboot 29:69]

Possibility… (One thing that might be stopping someone from changing? Their company i.e. friends)

Ibn al-Qayyim said:
“Know that the greatest of losses is for you to be preoccupied with one who will bring you nothing but a loss in your time with Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – and being cut off from Him, a wasting your time with the person, a weakening of your energy, and the dispersing of your resolve. So, if you are tested with this – and you must be tested with this – deal with him according to how Allah would wish, and be patient with him as much as possible. Get closer to Allah and His Pleasure by way of this person, and make your getting together with him something to benefit from, not something to incur a loss from. Be with him as if you are a man who is on a road who was stopped by another man, who then asks you to take him on your journey. Make sure that you are the one who gives him a ride, and that he is not the one giving you the ride. If he refuses, and there is nothing to gain from travelling with him, do not stop for him, bid him farewell, and do not even turn back to look at him, as he is a highway robber, regardless of who he really is.
So, save your heart, be wary of how you spend your days and nights, and do not let the Sun set before you arrive at your destination.
[‘al-Wabil as-Sayyib’; p. 45]

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Making YOUR willpower work for you.

Willpower and the ability to control it is probably the most important thing that will either help you succeed or help you to fail. There are many people who don’t get ahead because their lack of determination and willpower get in the way. As Muslims we all have will power to some degree- we know we can’t drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and eat non Halal food. But there are some who break these rules and are not sure of how to get their lives back on the right path. It is easy to feel helpless through all of this.  At the same time there are some really amazing strong willed people who very easily know what is right and can steer clear of the wrong things. What is the secret of their will power? Perhaps first and foremost it is the rules that Allah has given to us, but even then sometimes temptation does come to us. So how can you build your will power?


Imagine you made a resolution to skip lunch for a month and actually stuck to your decision. You may save your lunch money, lose a few pounds, develop sympathy for the poor, and give your digestive system a much-needed rest. More importantly, you will strengthen your willpower. The reason this works is that you teach yourself to avoid lunch even when you know you could have it if you decide. Your stomach may growl, but you won’t listen. Thus you train yourself to ignore the calling of your lower physical self and reach for the higher goals of real human achievement. Doing the right thing even when your desires are calling for something else.
Every year, for one month, able Muslims go through a similar fasting exercise. They observe the fast as a compulsory practice which Allah prescribed in His revealed messages, especially in the final revealed book. One of the many benefits they experience from fasting is its training aspect. The willpower they develop in that one month helps them to continue doing the right thing and avoiding the wrong throughout the year. They find the fast such an effective method of spiritual training and of achieving closeness with their creator that many Muslims also keep some additional, optional fasts on other days of the year.

So how can you train your will power? When you have to control yourself, there is less willpower available to you for other parts of your life. This fact is a good one to know because people who lose their will-power often do things that they would rather not. They become aggressive and give up too early.Scientifically your self-control is at lowest point when you are mentally exhausted. So, what lessons can we learn from what the science is telling us? How can we be in more and better control of ourselves more often?

Below are 3 tips to help you.

1. Anticipate and plan for your times of low self-control. Now that you know that self-control is a limited resource and that depleting it means less for later, you can do some anticipating and planning. For example, make sure that you are not food shopping after a long day at work, don’t start on an important task after a frustrating journey.

2. Exercise your willpower muscle to get more of it. Research confirms that willpower is like a muscle. Exercising a muscle in the short-term leads to its exhaustion, in the long-term, though, exercising a muscle causes it to grow. In fact, there is some good evidence that exercising your willpower, though temporarily depleting, means that it will be stronger in the long run. So, push yourself. Things to do that will deplete your willpower:

  • Work on a tough to solve puzzle;
  • Watch a funny movie but resist the urge to laugh;
  • Watch a sad movie but resist the urge to cry.

3. Drink some orange juice. It turns out that glucose is one of the key ingredients that your brain needs for effective self-control. Willpower. It’s not just for breakfast anymore! And the extra vitamin C is always good.

InshaAllah these tips will help you to have more control over your will power, but remember that Islam also trains us to have will power and when we remember the things we can do then inshaAllah you know that you can increase your will power capacity and make more time for balance.

Remember that the path to managing willpower is hard. nothing will lead to you your goal and paradise without hardship. In a Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim by Abu Huraira radia-Allahu’anhu the Messenger of Allah sallallaahualayhi wa sallam said ‘Hell has been veiled with desires and paradise has been veiled with hardships.’ Imam Nawai commented on this saying it means that nothing will help you to reach paradise except going through hardships, and nothing will lead you to hell but whims and desires. Hardship includes striving consistently and patiently in worship, restraining ones anger, forgiving, being patient, giving in charity, being kind to those who mistreat you, resisting physical desires etc.

In many ways controlling your will power is part of being a Muslim and the 3 tips will help you get on your way!

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“Souls akin”

Ever wondered why you clicked with some people and not with others? Or why you’re attracted to a specific person’s light? I thought the hadith below was incredibly illuminating. Thanks to Yasmin Mogahed for sharing it!

“Souls are troops collected together, and those who familiarized with each other (in the heaven from where they came) would have affinity with one another (in this world); and those amongst them who opposed each other (in Heaven) would also be divergent (in this world).” [Sahih Muslim]

— From “verbage”

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