Archive for December, 2012
“Refine your ability to problem-solve”
Posted by almuqarraboon in Self-Development on December 28, 2012
“I can’t offer you much in terms of what decision to make, but I can help you find tools that you may use to help you make better decisions.
Refine your ability to problem-solve:
Have a systematic approach to uncovering what the problem is,
and identifying the various solutions,
and the most likely causes of the problem,
the most effective solution,
and the most feasible solution.”
— Author of this statement is known but will not be revealed – may Allah swt preserve him
Prophecies of Muhammad (saws) *Amazing*
Posted by almuqarraboon in Imaan-boosters, Muhammad (saws) on December 28, 2012
“Change of Heart” by Dr. Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar
Posted by almuqarraboon in Riyaa' and Kibr on December 26, 2012
Excerpts from Al-Ikhlas
By Dr. `Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar (may Allah have mercy on him) | Translated by Naiyerah Kolkailah
The Difficulty of Attaining Sincerity
Having true sincerity is one of the most difficult things to achieve, and it is not only the common people who experience this; many scholars and righteous people struggle with it too. Sufyan Ath-Thawri says: “I have never dealt with anything more difficult than my intention; it keeps changing on me.”
That is why the Messenger ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him) would often supplicate, “O turner of hearts, keep my heart firm upon Your faith.”
He would also often say in his oaths, “Nay, by the turner of hearts.”
The heart changes frequently in its aims and intentions, and you can see this just by how much your heart’s aims and wishes vary within one hour. The Messenger ﷺ says: “There is no heart except that it is suspended between Two Fingers of the Most Merciful; if He wills, He keeps it firm, and if He wills, He deviates it; and the scale is in the Hand of the Most Merciful—He elevates some people and debases others, until the Day of Judgment.”
The Messenger ﷺ says: “Surely, the heart of the son of Adam turns over and over more than a pot of boiling water.”
The reason hearts change and turn so much is because of the amount of factors influencing the heart. As Sahl ibn Abdillah says, the heart is “delicate and easily affected by passing thoughts.”
Al-Harith al-Muhasabi mentions three factors that affect the heart.
The first is the warnings of the Most-Merciful. As the hadith (narration) says, “Whomever Allah wills good for him, He will place for him a warning conscience in his heart.”
In another hadith, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ says, “Allah, the All-Mighty, sets forth a parable of the straight path: on either side of the path are walls with open doors, and the doors are draped with curtains. On the path, there is a caller saying, ‘O people enter all of you onto the path and do not deviate.’ Another caller also calls at the head of the path. So, when a person attempts to open one of these doors, the caller says, ‘Beware, do not open it. If you open it, then you will go through it (and leave the straight path).’ The path is Islam, and the walls are Allah’s legal boundaries, and the open doors are what Allah has forbidden. The caller at the head of the path is the Book of Allah, and the caller on the straight path is the warning conscience of Allah that is in the heart of every Muslim.”
The second element that influences the heart is Satan’s adornment of evil acts, and all his suggestions and whispers. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) has commanded His messenger to flee to Allah, seeking refuge from Satan’s attempts: “And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah. Surely, He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”
It is out of Allah’s wisdom that He made the hearts of His servants this battlefield, where both an angel and a devil vie for influence; one overtakes it sometimes, and the other at other times. The All-Mighty says, “Satan threatens you with poverty, and commands you to evil, while God promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty.”
The Messenger ﷺ elucidates this in the hadith: “Surely, an angel puts thoughts in the heart of the son of Adam, and the devil also puts thoughts. The angel’s thoughts promise goodness and affirm the truth, and the devil’s thoughts promise evil and reject the truth.” Then he read, “Satan threatens you with poverty, and commands you to evil, while God promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty.”
As Ibn Al-Qayyim says, “Satan bewitches the mind until it overpowers it, and nobody is safe from his magic except whomever Allah wills. He makes the harmful act seem appealing, until a person imagines that it is the most beneficial of things; and he turns him away from beneficial things, until he imagines that they are harmful to him. La ilaha illa Allah (there is no deity but God). How many people are deceived by this magic, and how many hearts are deprived of Iman (faith), Islam, and Ihsan (excellence in faith/worship) because of it; and how much has falsehood been adorned so it appears positive; and how much has truth been denigrated so it appears negative!”
The third source of influence on the heart is the self, since it commands one to do evil acts, and calls to disobedience: “Surely, the self constantly commands to evil.” The Prophet of Allah, Ya`qub (Jacob), told his sons when they claimed that the wolf ate Yusuf (Joseph): “No, your own selves enticed you to something (evil).” The All-Mighty also said regarding Adam’s son who killed his brother, “Then his own self persuaded him to kill his brother.”
The Muslim cannot be saved from the self that incites evil, and his own whims and desires, except through persistent struggle and self-discipline, and through arming oneself with the weapons Allah (swt) gave him, such as dhikr (remembrance of Allah), recitation of the Qur’an, acts of devotion and worship, etc.
Why Allah is the Ultimate Aim
The human being will be miserable if his aim is directed toward anything besides His Creator, and he will become even more miserable when he accumulates more worries and aimless endeavors. If a person’s aim is not uniformly devoted to One above all worldly endeavors, this person will find herself not knowing where to go and what direction to take. But a Muslim’s aim is One, and the methodology that guides her toward this aim is one; and thus, she is able to please God and follow His guidance.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ says, “Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allah places abundance in his heart, and organizes his affairs, and the world comes to him despite its unwillingness. And whoever’s aim is worldly gain, Allah puts poverty before his eyes, and disorganizes his affairs, and nothing of this world comes to him, except what has been decreed for him.”
Signs of Sincerity
Imam al-Shafi`i (may Allah have mercy on him) says, “How I wish the creation would learn this knowledge without attributing even one letter of it to me.”
He also says, “I have not spoken to anyone except that I wished that he is supported and aided, and that he is under Allah’s care and protection.”
Imam al-Ghazali says, “There is one sign that shows true sincerity in a person who counsels and advises others for the sake of God and not for people’s acceptance; if he is replaced by someone who is better, more knowledgeable, or more articulate than him, and people’s acceptance of that person surpasses his own, then he will be pleased, and he will thank Allah for relieving him from his obligation with someone more qualified than him.”
The sign of one who aims to impress others is that he will be pleased with words of praise or appreciation, even if they are not true; and he will be upset with words of criticism, even if they are true. The same applies to those who are after money. But that is not the case with the sincere one; she is pleased with the word of truth—whether it be for her or against her, and she is angered by a word of falsehood—whether it be in her favor or against her.
The sincere person finds no problem in everyone’s hearts being void of appreciation for him, if his heart is sound in the Eyes of Allah, the All-Mighty. He also does not wish for any person to see even an atom’s weight of his good deeds. If the sincere person is presented with two matters, one for Allah and one for worldly gain, he will prefer what is for Allah— knowing that this life is fleeting and the Hereafter permanent.
“Each acts according to his disposition”
Posted by almuqarraboon in Reminders Profit Believers, Short and Inspiring Quotes on December 25, 2012
Abu Bakr as-Siddiq radhiallahu ‘anhu said, “I recited the Qur’an from its beginning to its end and I did not see any ayah more beautiful and full of hope than His Saying, Exalted be He:
For indeed, the slave is disposed towards nothing but disobedience [‘isyaan]; and the Lord is disposed towards nothing but forgiveness [ghufraan].
HD 12: Traveler with Qur’an – Sh. Fahad Al Kandari
Posted by almuqarraboon in Hifdh Diaries, Memorizing Qur'an on December 23, 2012
Looking for motivation for Qur’an memorization?
Are you facing a “bump in the road”?
Are you beginning to doubt yourself?
Are you starting to despair?
Look no further my dear brothers and sisters…
I have deprived you all of this for long enough …
It wasn’t intentional, subhanAllah I would continuously forget though it is not like me to do so. I concluded from that that shaytan really doesn’t want you all to see this…
So dive right in and share with others inshaAllah!
Does everyone remember this video that I posted once?
Blind Child Doesn’t Want To See
Remember how inspirational and mind-blowing that was?
Well, it turns out that this is a short clip… from a larger episode…which is part of a larger series… on Qur’an Memorization called:
Traveler with the Qur’an by Sh. Fahad al Kandari
It’s an amazing, truly amazing and inspirational series. I rarely watch a full-episode, and the rest, I just watch a few minutes here and there, and I am still running on the fuels from that subhanaAllah. The Introduction Theme alone will melt your heart. It will make you cry, feel small, and feel so determined to be from amongst Ahlul-Qur’an inshaaAllah! One thing that this series has done for me, by the mercy of Allah swt, that other Qur’an-help-sources have not, is that it makes you feel so determined that you are willing to discipline your entire life, just so that you can have more time for the Book of Allah aza wa jel.
And you are reminded over and over again:
“And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?”
The entire series is in Arabic, but more than 1/3 of it has already been translated into English!
There are 30 episodes full in Arabic here:
Tab >> Uploads
And there are ~11 episodes with English subtitles here:
Tab >> Uploads
If you guys want – you can leave the sister (may Allah preserve her) a comment on her youtube page, telling her how beneficial you have found the series and encouraging her to keep translating, and you didn’t hear that from me. :)
May Allah swt grant us al ikhlaas wal istiqaamah, and protect us from laziness, distractions, and the plots of shaytan, and may He swt make us from amongst those whom He loves. May Allah swt accept this from me and you all.
“Huffadh of the Qur’an ARE Ahlul-Quran…With the Qur’an, is the Love of Allah attained.” – Al Asbab al Mu’eena ‘alal Hifdh
“Even if he doesn’t kill you, you will still die…” – The Advice of Abu Ja’far
Posted by almuqarraboon in Short and Inspiring Quotes on December 22, 2012
He (Imam Ahmed) was taken to al-Ma’moon in chains, and (al-Ma’moon) had already issued him such a stern warning before he reached him that a servant said to Imaam Ahmad, “It hurts me, O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah, that al-Ma’moon has unsheathed a sword which he has never unsheathed before, and he swears by his relationship to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that if you do not accept what he says about the Qur’aan being created, he will certainly kill you with that sword.” (Al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah, 1/332)
At this point, the intelligent scholars took the opportunity to say to their imaam words that would help him to remain steadfast. In al-Siyar (11/238), al-Dhahabi reports from Abu Ja’far al-Anbaari: “When Ahmad was taken to al-Ma’moon, I was told about it, so I crossed the Euphrates and found him sitting in an inn, where I greeted him. He said, ‘O Abu Ja’far, why did you go to the trouble (of coming here)?’ I said, ‘Listen to me, today you are the leader and the people are following you. By Allaah, if you accept that the Qur’aan is created, a lot of people will go along with that, but if you do not, then neither will they. Even if this man (al-Ma’moon) does not kill you, you will still die, because death is inevitable, so fear Allaah, and do not go along with (al-Ma’moon).’ Ahmad began to weep and said, ‘Ma sha Allaah.’ Then he said, ‘O Abu Ja’far, say it again,’ so I said it again, and he kept saying, ‘Ma sha Allaah.’…”
Source: Means of Steadfastness: Standing Firm in Islam by Sh Saalih Al-Munajjid hafidhahullah
Stranger in my House
Posted by almuqarraboon in Niqabi Support Group on December 21, 2012
My older sister recently got married, so that means we have a new addition to the family. For the first time in my life, I have a brother-in-law.
During the months that I’ve known him, I’ve probably only had one conversation with him. It was in the presence of my father and sister, while he was sitting in the seat in front of me in the car, his back turned to me, and it was because I wanted help regarding my physical health because he is a doctor. It may already be apparent, I go to great lengths to avoid having to speak to him. And he knows this. He also knows that this doesn’t mean that I “hate” him. I feel like a lot of people assume that if you are not speaking to them, it means that you either hate them, or are too shy. My brother in law, let’s call him Fahad, knows that none of these is true. He has cracked the occasional joke, relayed to me from my sister, that I sound like a “robot” when I answer the phone, and that I speak monotone, but it seems that he’s picked up on the fact that I do all of those things intentionally.
The brother in law is death(1). And I know why. Regardless of the fact that I barely acknowledge his existence, I found myself becoming comfortable towards him and thinking of him as a brother. When I would notice this, I would quickly remind myself “this is why the brother in law is death.” The brother in law is the non-mahram that you have the chance to get the most comfortable with and the one that it is most dangerous for you to get comfortable with. If anyone is still skeptical, listen to this: I remember Shaykh Omar Sulaiman mentioning in a class “You don’t know how many phone calls I’ve gotten from sisters who say to me, ‘I don’t know what to do – my brother-in-law just made a pass at me.'” The Messenger of Allah (saws) spoke the truth.
The fact that I wear the niqab has helped so much subhanAllah. I don’t think there could possibly be any bigger sign, for him, that I am very serious about Islam. His family is from a Muslim country, so his sister also wears niqab, but it seems that she only wears it in that country. In the beginning, he had probably expected the same from me. I think he quickly got the message though. He’s seen me do things like leave a restaurant with loud music, rebuke people who are backbiting, and stay fully-covered around him, that if he had any doubt before as to kind of person I was (or would like to be), then the doubt was removed and he quickly accepted me as I was.
And I would hear from my sister that he said that he found me “scary.”
“She’s so focused.”
And he has said “I like her.”
“She keeps to herself and minds her own business.”
The fact that he cannot see my face, has helped a great deal because the truth is, I’m not a very “serious” person, nor is it easy for me to stay quiet while we are all at the dinner table talking, and he happens to be there. I’m actually very jokey in nature as well as quite social at times. The act of lifting my niqab in order to eat is my reminder at the table- “Fahad is here, careful.” And it’s a sign for him, because he assumes that since he can’t see my face, I am not smiling at the jokes and not interested in the conversation, and this is what I prefer for him to assume.
Before Fahad, I did not used to have to walk around my house in niqab except occasionally when we would have a plumber or electrician-type-of-person come by to fix things. Now, it’s become very common-place for me to be wearing a niqab at home. My family is all very used to it and no one comments on it, alhamdulillah. I even have a slip-on-hijab which makes it much easier, and I try schedule my wudoo in the bathroom before he gets there so I don’t have to do one of those take-off-hijab and socks-and-then-put-them-back-on wudooo. If I ever for a split-second find myself thinking that this is not fair for me to have to be covered even in my own home, I remind myself of how grateful I am to be able to wear the niqab, and all of a sudden, I don’t mind the least bit.
If wearing niqab were not “strange” enough, then wearing it at home or in front of family would take the cake. But a non-mahram is a non-mahram, just remind yourself of that, and it makes it easier. And stay firm in it. One of my parents still gives me a hard time, not in front of Fahad, about wearing my niqab in front of my brother-in-law.
“He’s like your brother!”
“I only have one brother,” I respond calmly.
Don’t lose your cool, but stay firm, it always gets easier bi’ithnillah.
(1) The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No man should be alone with a [non-mahram] woman.” And he said: “Beware of entering upon women.” They said, “O Messenger of Allaah, what do you think about the brother-in-law [meaning the husband’s relatives]?” He said, “The brother-in-law is death.”
Finals Week Is Over
Posted by almuqarraboon in Self-Development on December 20, 2012
I haven’t written a blog post in so long, I’m not sure if I even remember how to do it.
Finals Week is over, which means my first semester of Grad School is over, which means I have a bunch of new realizations about Time, about myself and about life that I want to share with others, but I am not sure how right now. So until I figure that out, I guess this is just a heads-up that I will be back inshaaAllah for the next few days or so with posts on Counseling, Qur’an Memorization, Time Management, and Niqabi/Hijabi Support :)
How has everyone else been doing?
May Allah swt bless you all and your families. Ameen
[Productive Hobbies] Inspiring Tips to Jump-start Your Journal Writing
Posted by almuqarraboon in Time Management on December 19, 2012
[Productive Hobbies] Inspiring Tips to Jump-start Your Journal Writing
You’ve read about the benefits of journal writing and still haven´t started? Here are some inspiring tips and ideas for the productive Muslim on how to get started and keep going.
Personal journaling: A tool for reflection and improvement
As Muslims we’re encouraged to reflect upon ourselves and our lives, and continuously strive for improvement.
“Verily Allah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change what is with themselves”[Qur’an: Chapter 13, Verse 11]
Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“I have been sent to perfect good character.” [Al Muwatta]
Personal journaling can be a very valuable tool for self-reflection and development, and here’s a quick reminder why:
- It allows you to reconnect with yourself and your life: In our hectic day-to-day lives, many details simply get lost, somewhere between breakfast and bedtime. Taking some time each day to sit down and write about your day makes you more aware of what you’re thinking, feeling and doing. And the first step to improvement is always awareness.
- It helps you see the bigger picture and discover patterns in your life: When you journal for some time, you will find it much easier to connect the dots and recognize the patterns in your life and your relationships. Reading back earlier journal entries can be a real eye-opener and gives you insight about where you’re coming from and where you’re heading to.
- It enables you to diffuse negative feelings and attitudes: Sometimes you just need to let off steam about something that happened to you, or perhaps you struggle with negative feelings and thoughts that hold you back from being productive. Writing about it can be an enormous relief and it can help you to let go of the negativity and focus on being positive and productive.
Inspiration: Do it your way
The key to upholding any good habit is motivation. If you lack motivation, whether it is for journal writing, exercising, or getting up for Fajr, it is very unlikely that you will keep up the habit. You should keep in mind that journal writing can be so much more than ‘keeping a diary’, and that there are no fixed rules for journal writing.
Feel free to experiment and find the style of journal writing that you are comfortable with and that keeps you motivated to get out that pen and notebook regularly. While some people can sit down every night in front of a new, blank page and write dutifully about everything that happened during the day; others may write a few entries and then store the journal somewhere on a shelf.
1. Start a theme-based journal: Focus your journal writing around a theme that you want to reflect on. Your health habits for example, or your children’s development. You could also keep a spiritual journal, where you reflect on your growth in Islam, and the signs and favors of Allah. When you are blessed with the opportunity to travel, or make Hajj or Umrah, keeping a travelogue will help you to reflect on all that you see and encounter.
2. Do it together: Journaling together can be a great communication booster. Write a journal together with your husband or wife, sharing your thoughts, and be surprised at how much insight you both gain from this! If you have children who are old enough, you can also involve them, and keep a family journal in which everyone has the chance to contribute. Such journals help strengthen the family bonds, and they are a priceless source of smiles and memories in the years to come, Inshallah.
3. Get creative: Use colors, doodle, make sketches. Write upside down, or in a spiral. Copy inspirational passages from books you have read. Stick in pictures or artwork of your own. Make it fun!
4. When and where: Who said you need to sit down on your bed or at your desk at the end of the day? Why not take your journal to the park on a beautiful day? Or write early in the morning, after you’ve prayed or read Quran?
5. It’s not about the paper: Use the resources that work for you. Some people like to write the classic way; leather-bound notebook and fountain pen. Others like the space of a generously sized sketchpad. You might want to carry a small notebook in your bag, so you can write wherever you want, or use a loose-leaf journal. For those who prefer writing on a computer rather than in a notebook, you can keep a journal online, use journaling software, or specially designed apps for your smartphone or pad. The possibilities are endless.
So, how about getting started on your journal today?
Jump-start your habit by dedicating time for it. Get your Productive Muslim certified Lifebook now!
About the Author:
Maryam Mujahid is a psychologist and teacher who accepted Islam in 2000. She is currently based in Saudi Arabia, and it’s her goal to inspire Muslims to get the best out of themselves.
Expecting Good From Allah
Posted by almuqarraboon in Allah (swt), Manners & Characteristics of a Believer, Reminders Profit Believers on December 17, 2012
“Thinking well of Allah is firstly knowing that He is able to do all things… and then knowing that He is the Most Merciful.”
Sh. Salih al Maghamsi (hafidhahullah)