Archive for September, 2012
O my eye! All men have eyes!
Posted by almuqarraboon in Short and Inspiring Quotes on September 30, 2012
“Let not your tongue mention the shame of another. For you yourself are covered in shame and all men have tongues. If your eye falls upon the sin of your brother. Shield them and say, “Oh my eye! All men have eyes!””
~ Imam Ash-Shaafi’ee
One of the Seven Shaded, inshaa’Allah
Posted by almuqarraboon in Especially For the Youth, Heart-Softeners, Imaan-boosters, Manners & Characteristics of a Believer on September 26, 2012
Counseling Lessons: Joseph and Dion
Posted by almuqarraboon in Benefits from Psychology on September 24, 2012
Source: The Gift of Therapy by Irvin D. Yalom M.D. p.8-9
“One of my favorite tales of healing, found in Hermann Hesse’s Magister Ludi, involves Joseph and Dion, two renounced healers, who lived in biblical times. Though both were highly effective, they worked in different ways. The young healer, Joseph, healed through quiet, inspired listening. Pilgrims trusted Joseph. Suffering and anxiety poured into his ears vanished like water on the desert sand and penitent left his presence empty and calmed. On the other hand, Dion, the older healer, actively confronted those who sought his help. He divined their unconfessed sins. He was a great judge, chastiser, scolder, and rectifier, and he healed through active intervention. Treating the penitents as children, he gave advice, punished by assigning penance, ordered pilgrimages and marriage, and compelled enemies to make up.
The two healers never met, and they worked as rivals for many years until Joseph grew spiritually ill, fell into dark despair, and was assailed with ideas of self-destruction. Unable to heal himself with his own therapeutic methods, he set out on a journey to the south to seek help from Dion.
On his pilgrimage, Joseph rested one evening at an oasis, where he fell into a conversation with an older traveler. When Joseph described the purpose and destination of his pilgrimage, the traveler offered himself as a guide to assist in the search for Dion. Later, in the midst of their long journey together the old traveler revealed his identity to Joseph. Mirabile dictu: he himself was Dion — the very man Joseph sought.
Without hesitation Dion invited his younger, despairing rival into his home, where they lived and worked together for many years. Dion first asked Joseph to be a servant. Later he elevated him to a student and, finally, to full colleagueship. Years later, Dion fell ill and on his deathbed called his young colleague to him in order to hear a confession. He spoke of Joseph’s earlier terrible illness and his journey to old Dion to plead for help. He spoke of how Joseph had felt it was a miracle that his fellow traveler and guide turned out to be Dion himself.
Now that he was dying, the hour had come, Dion told Joseph, to break his silence about that miracle. Dion confessed that at that time it had seemed a miracle to him as well, for he, too, had fallen into despair. He, too, felt empty and spiritually dead and, unable to help himself, had set off on a journey to seek help. On the very night that they had met at the oasis he was on a pilgrimage to a famous healer named Joseph.”
From: The Gift of Therapy by Irvin D. Yalom M.D. p.8-9
A powerful story indeed. It seemed to me that the main point that the author took away from this story is: these two healers were both able to benefit each other in different ways, and it makes one reevaluate the role of the ‘healer’ and the patient. Who is who?
I took a few different points away:
- The main thing that was on my mind by the end of the story was not that these two were both able to benefit each other. It was that these two were both proof that complete healing and tranquility is not something that one can achieve on their own or something that another human can offer you. Humans are flawed, period. All therapists are dealing with a hundred different issues and if they were to mention any of them to you, you would stop seeing them as this powerful force and that’s dangerous to the relationship of therapist and patient. But being that I plan to offer therapy exclusively for the muslimeen, I do plan to apply this point: There is no healing that is possible, without someone turning to the source of strength, the source of peace, the source of all that is good, Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala. Although this point has to be driven home with wisdom, it must be driven home nonetheless, otherwise you are doing an injustice to the patient (i.e. whoever came to you for help). As a Muslim that others trust and confide in, it is your duty to be for them as much as you can, but to admit to them that you do not have all of the answers or all of the capabilities. The cure to all of the evil and wrong that we see in this world is simply to turn to Allah swt and His divinely revealed religion, if these people only knew. (But I guess people don’t like simple answers.) To continue, they say if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. If people come to you for help, your job is to not solve their problems for them, but to provide them with the tools to solve their problems on their own. Do not allow anyone to become dependent on you, because who are you to be depended upon? You yourself are dependent. Only Allah swt is independent of all needs, while we are all dependent on Him s.w.t. Furthermore, you yourself must understand the power of the salah, the Qur’an, sincere du’aa, crying to Allah swt, before you mention these powerful “tools” to someone else. This is why I’ve always found that the best counselors are the devoted Muslimeen, because you see so much tranquility in them and a clear vision regarding the world around us. When they advise you with something, they do it with such sincerity towards you. They did not receive that except through being true with Allah swt, and true imaan in all that He has mentioned in His Book. Their yaqeen (certainty) is contagious and feeling it for even a few moments will clear away the fog and allow you to see clearly.
- Don’t be embarrassed to admit that you don’t have all of the answers. It is worse for you to pretend like you do, and for this individual to learn to depend on you for that. Worst-case scenario – they may begin to idolize you, and yes, I mean in the shirk-y sense. There is a type of love and reverence that is only for our Rabb, Most High. (See Suratul Baqarah ayah 165) No human deserves it, so be careful if you try to claim this for yourself, or if you are the one who feels this for any human. Be humble and admit that you are devoid of absolute knowledge. The “healers” in the story were so reluctant to admit that they needed help. Then when they did seek help, they went to another flawed human, and for spiritual advice to top it off. Were the story to continue, I would imagine Joseph would have returned to his depression and acted upon his self-destructive thoughts after the death of his “healer,” Dion.
- Do therapists need therapy? This is a big topic in the field of counseling, and the overwhelmingly common response is “yes.” In fact, that is supposed to be the “right” answer. How do I feel about this? I’m assuming I’m talking to the “therapists” of the Muslim communities now: If you are trying to help the Muslims with their problems, but you do not have a relationship with Allah swt, this is a situation devoid of barakah. Develop a relationship with Allah swt, a sincere and true one. This will be your best “therapy” as a therapist. (I don’t like to use these terms, but I am trying to make it all hit home). That is first and foremost, and after this if you are able to find a Muslim, with knowledge and the other qualities that Allah swt has praised (patience, steadfastness, mercy etc.) then confide in this person, while knowing full well that any benefit that comes from them, is ultimately by the permission of Allah swt. Knowing that all of the benefit will be by Allah’s permission will protect you from turning the “session” into a pity-party or a chance to complain (1). To conclude on this point, the idea that a Muslim can/should go to a non-Muslim for therapeutic help is extremely debatable, to say the least. I am obviously not shying away from my stance, and were I to think that there were no issues with it at all, I would surely not be in the field. This is why I think it is important for Muslims, especially the leaders of the communities, college MSAs, etc. to have some basic counseling knowledge and tips up their sleeves, for those inevitable instances in which your brother or sister in Islam comes to you for help.
1. Complaining has conditions through which it can be permissible. Important things to keep in mind: Don’t complain about the Qadr of Allah; Complain to someone who can help; Recognize that the help and benefit was ultimately from Allah swt.
To be continued inshaa’Allah…
Cure for Self-Amazement (‘Ujb) by Sh. Ash-Shinqitee
Posted by almuqarraboon in Heart and Soul, Lives of the Salaf, Manners & Characteristics of a Believer, Seeking Knowledge on September 20, 2012
One of the salaf said: “By Allah, I never sat in a gathering thinking myself to be the best of them except that I left being the lowest! And I never sat thinking myself insignificant, except that I left being upmost.”
How to Get Barakah in your Time
Posted by almuqarraboon in Time Management on September 17, 2012
I found this online, may Allah swt reward the brother for the good in it:
I just want to share some naseehah I received from a really good brother recently. I have been following it for last few weeks and masha’Allah it has helped me a lot.
In the work we do, we often find that there is very little time to do anything and we are rushed around a lot. Yet, if we look in the past to people far greater than anything we can dream of being, people like the Prophets, the Sahaabah and the great scholars and leaders of Islam, we see that they had the same 24 hour day as us but there was so much barakah in their time.
When Ibn al-Qayyum asked his sheikh, Ibn Taymiyyah, how he managed to accomplish so much in a single day – writing books, articles, giving dars, helping muslims, training, looking after the community, etc Ibn Taymiyyah said that after fajr, he goes and spends some time alone with Allah until sunrise. During this time, he would do the morning adhkar from the sunnah, recite Quran aloud, make dhikr, etc until shrook time. He would then pray 2 rakas and make dua. He said that it was this “nourishment” which energised him for the day.
This spiritual nourishment is what charges us during the day, Just like breakfast in the morning gives us that energy for the whole day, we need our spiritual nourishment every morning. Without it, we get tired easily, cranky, and stressed. Allah has repeatedly praised His creation who glorify Him before sunrise and sunset. All of creation – the sun, the birds, the fish, the rocks, the stars, the moon, everything glorifies Allah at these times. So imagine the beauty of us all joining in that together in perfect harmony.
The key is sleeping early – the Prophet (pbuh) encouraged people to sleep after eesha and disliked useless talk into the late hours of the night. In the winter, if we sleep early (say 10ish), arise early in the morning an hour before fajr, we willl have had a good nights sleep. Wake up fresh – pray tahajjud, read some quran, make dua and then pray fajr. After fajr, more dhikr, etc until shrook – pray 2 rakas. Key then is not to sleep – go for a walk, shower, shake off the sleep and start doing some work.
The Prophet (pbuh) said that Allah has put barakah into this period after shrook so we should utilise it. Do the work that you hate first and get it out of the way. Use this time for studying Arabic, the deen, preparing any classes you are giving, organising yourself, college work, etc You will find that by about 3 o’clock, you will have finished a lot of your personal stuff and work stuff and have a lot more time on your hands.
I have been trying this out and it really works. I really only realised the beauty of it when i stopped doing it for a couple of days and got all tied up again.
Insha’Allah, try it out and if you find it beneficial, share it with other brothers and sisters.
Note: I did not paste the link because I do not want to promote anything I am unsure of. There are also no references in this article; it was simply copy and pasted by me onto this blog. Finally, as with many things: take the good and leave the evil.
The Wisdom Behind Repetition in Prayer
Posted by almuqarraboon in Manners & Characteristics of a Believer, Salah, Short and Inspiring Quotes on September 16, 2012
The Wisdom Behind Repetition in Prayer
Posted: by Fajr Blog
As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah
“… And it has been prescribed for the servant to repeat these actions and words (i.e. repeat recitation of al-Fatiha, rukoo’, sujood etc, in the prayer) as it is a source of nourishment for the heart and soul. There is no strength in them (the heart and soul) except through this.
Its repetition is just like repeatedly eating food – mouthful after mouthful until a person eats his fill, and drinking again and again until his thirst is quenched. If a hungry individual only took one mouthful of food and then pushed his food away, what will that mouthful do for him? In fact, it may even cause him to become hungrier!
For this reason, one of the Salaf said: ‘A person who prays but does not find tranquillity in his prayer is like a person who is hungry… food is brought to him but he only takes one or two handfuls. What will it then do for him?!’”
[Asrar al-Salat, Ibn al-Qayyim]
Most of the time, a person’s level of Iman, khushu’ (humbleness), and depth of spirituality increases in stages, and doesn’t occur overnight or with one act of ‘Ibadah alone. For this reason, Allah legislated that the soul undergo repetitive acts of ‘Ibadah for it to attain higher levels of Iman; so in the case of prayer, a slave offers it no less than 5 times a day and if they feel themselves lacking in spiritual nourishment, they should increase in nafl (supererogatory) salah until their soul begins to feel nourished and the empty voids are all filled. The same with other acts of worship and the soul will soon taste the sweetness of Iman (faith) and climb up from rank to rank in the Sight of Allah.
How the Sahabah Treated Pride
Posted by almuqarraboon in Lives of the Salaf on September 14, 2012
Mockery is an indication of something greater: Pride.
Racism is a form of mockery. When Abū Dardā said to Bilāl, ‘you son of a black woman,’ he did not technically say anything that was incorrect. It is not about whether what you said was true or not. It is about how the statement is perceived by the person. Whenever you say these and other words or statements in a racist manner it is Ḥarām. Bilāl was no doubt the son of a black woman, but this statement was meant to put him down.
When the Prophet saws heard of this he told Abū Dharr,
إِنَّكَ امْ رؤٌ فِيكَ جَاهِلِيَّة ‘You are someone who has inside of you some ‘jaahiliyyah’’
This is an extremely powerful statement because the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had also said that if the Imān of Abū Dharr was to be placed on one side of a scale and the Imān of everyone else placed on the other side, his Imān would outweigh everyone else’s. Abū Dharr was therefore a great person but this form of mockery was a form of pride. Abū Dharr therefore had to treat this disease with its opposite. He went and put his face in the dirt and told Bilāl to step on his face. Treat extremes with extremes.
Istighfaar, a Habit of Successful Muslims
Posted by almuqarraboon in Manners & Characteristics of a Believer on September 13, 2012
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Ustadh used to say, ‘Astaghfirullah wa atoobu ilayh, that’s all a Muslim has to say’ in a rhyme so that children and new Muslims learn it easily. He used to say it out loud especially if things weren’t going right. He also used to say it when he used to forget something or if he only briefly realized that he had forgotten something. Sometimes if he used to make even a minor mistake in narrating something I thought was trivial, he used to quickly say Astaghfirullah. He did it so regularly that we got in the habit too eventually. I was shocked by his memory mashaa’Allah for he had memorized books upon books, poetry upon poetry and yet he was going strong. May Allah SWT have mercy on him and his family. Ameen!
We learn from the stories of ‘Ulema, one I heard primarily of Imam ash-Shaafi’ee (R) that he used to be teaching a lesson and if he forgot something, he would immediately abandon teaching and would make Istighfaar or offer 2 Raka’h beseeching Allah SWT to forgive him in order that he remembers the piece of knowledge he forgot. I’m sure there are similar incidents recorded by students of Imam Ahmad, Imam Maalik and Imam Abu Hanifa – may Allah SWT have mercy upon them all. Some Fuqaha are reported to have done Istighfaar several times while going through the Quraan when looking for a ruling.
We also know the famous incident in which Imam Ash-Shafi’ee complained of his memory to his Shaykh Al Waki’ee who said (and the gist of the poetry is) that the knowledge of Allah SWT is light and that light is not given to a sinner so abandon sinning. The salaf used to blame themselves and thus their sins if their ride wasn’t yielding or if they had trouble with their wives. SubhanAllah!
Shaykh ash-Shinqitee, if you listen to his different pieces of advice, majority of them highlight the concept of turning to Allah SWT and doing repentance.
An Imam offered consultation to one of his students and was helping him plan his life. Upon the student revealing to his Shaykh that things were not working out despite that he only wanted to gain the knowledge and mercy of Allah SWT through his life’s goals, the Shaykh said that you will not achieve anything in life unless you do constant Istighfaar.
And the Shaykh of all Shaykhs and the Imam of all Imams, Rasulalah salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam has been reported to have done Istighfaar abundantly (70 or 100 is just a number to indicate abundance) in his daily life.
These are all examples of successful Muslims who surpassed our limited mentality of what ‘Ibadah is really like. For the majority of us their stories of accomplishment, their height of Tawakul and their level of Istiqamah seem shocking but in their stories and examples lie all the secret answers.
If you can’t read as much of the Quraan as you want, do Istighfaar and avoid future sins.
If you can’t maintain patience, do Istighfaar and avoid future sins.
If your life’s not working out in any way or form, do Istighfaar and avoid future sins.
If you feel down most of the time, do Istighfaar and avoid future sins.
If you have memory issues while studying, do Istighfaar and avoid future sins.
Increase your Rizq through Istighfaar!
Increase your capacity of righteousness this Ramadan through Istighfaar!
Use sticky notes, reminders on your cellphone or anywhere at all to do Istighfaar regularly every day. Who knows this one act may be so beloved to Allah SWT that He adds special barakah to your life?
And to Allah SWT belongs Taufeeq and we turn to Him for all our needs.
[We all know facts but this is just an attempt to rekindle the belief which may have lost its spark. A gentle reminder for myself first and then others.]
INSPIRATIONAL: Taught and Licensed over 100,000 in Memorization of Qur’an!
Posted by almuqarraboon in Hifdh Diaries, Memorizing Qur'an on September 11, 2012
Allah have mercy on her, she recently past away at close to 90 years old. May Allah reward her for her service to the Quran.
Since 1950 she has taught and licensed in memorization of the quran over 100,000 students.
اللهم إغفر لها وارحمها وأدخلها فسيح جناتك
“Umm as-Saa’d, married one of her students. She was not blessed with any children through her nearly 50 years of marriage. She would say, “Allah barred me from children and their responsibility, so that I can teach his Word to the children of others.
She also said:
تقول الشيخة أم السعد
“أشعر أنني أحفظ القرآن كاسمي تمامًا ..لا أتخيل أن أنسى منه حرفًا أو أخطئ فيه.. فأنا لا أعرف أي شيء آخر
غير القرآن والقراءات.. لم أدرس علمًا أو أسمع درسًا أو أحفظ شيئًا غير القرآن الكريم ومتونه في علوم القراءات
“I feel that my memorization of the Quran is as complete has my knowledge of my own name. I cannot imagine that I can forget a single letter from it or even make a single mistake in its reading from memory. I do not know anything else in life like I do the Quran and its modes of recitation. I did not master any other Science or attend lectures or commit anything to memory except the Noble Quran, the texts related to its modes of recitation.”
Ya Allah raise her a level in Jannah for every ayat she recites! Aameen!
One day, Ya Allah… [Ameen]
Posted by almuqarraboon in Hifdh Diaries on September 9, 2012