Archive for category Manners & Characteristics of a Believer

Dealing With Trials and Tribulations – Abu Taubah

“There cannot be any patience unless you’re certain that your patience is going to come to a result that you want…The reason people disobey Allah and do things their own way, is because they’re not certain that they’ll get the result that they want…if they do it the way Allah says to do it.”

 

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“She took the cap off for me”

Bismillah walhamdulillah wasalat wasalam alaa rasoolillah

I attended an event at a local masjid this past Friday. I was super excited because it was a famous speaker, and the event was an evening event, so I hadn’t expected to be able to attend. I had only received confirmation the day before that I would be able to go.

As soon as I entered, someone reached out to me. I looked down and saw my friend sitting in the back with her baby. She was excited to see me, so I sat next to her for a few seconds, but I couldn’t contain myself: “Could I please sit in the front?”

“Yeah, sure!”

I quickly got up and made my way to the front, where there was a group of women sitting on the floor. I found a spot right behind the projector. I sat down on the carpet and put my bag down. I took out my notebook and then opened my pen case. It was full of highlighters and bright colored pens for margin notes, but no black note-taking pen. I considered using my maroon margin-notes pen, but immediately pushed away the ridiculous thought.

I felt around the inside and outside of my bag for a pen.

No pen.

I waited all of two seconds before I quickly turned to the woman on my left and said, “Do you have a pen?”

I probably scared her (it was dark and my niqab was still on and I did sound a bit shady), because she barely thought about my question before she said “No.”

I swung around and then asked the lady behind me. She was an elderly sister, maybe in her 60s or 70s.

“Do you have a pen?”

She also looked a bit startled (I should really modify my approach lol…), but slowly moved towards me and cupped her hand around her ear to show me she didn’t hear.

I repeated it for her, and made a writing motion.

“A pen, do you have a pen?”

She looked like she had one, so I turned back around to watch the screen and wait for her to pull it out.

Then I think she tapped me, so I turned around and she was holding out a bright red pen.

“Thank you! Jazakallahu khair!” I whispered excitedly.

Oh no, I hope this doesn’t write in red… I thought to myself.

I started writing.

Phew, blue ink.

The lady on my left, having recovered and realizing that I really just wanted a pen, tried to get my attention and let me know that she has a pen. I held up the one in my hand like a trophy, “I already have one,” I said with a big smile.

And I went back to my notepad.

I kept thinking about this incident after it occurred, even days later.

I wondered about a feeling that I had felt but had not keyed in on.

I felt really nice when I turned around and the sister behind me handed me the pen. I have asked people for pens before, so what was different about this moment?

I thought about it and realized that my heart had inclined towards the sister simply because she took the cap off of the pen before she handed it to me. She took the cap off and placed it on the end of the pen. I thought about how she handled the pen with both of her hands before passing it to me, and I tried to make sense of what this made me feel.

This simple gesture had a profound effect on me. I felt valued.

That night at the masjid, I kept looking back at this elderly sister, not really knowing why. Before she left the masjid, she took one last look inside. I looked up to see that her face was covered in a black niqab.

I watched her walk out, and I felt dumbfounded.

* * *

Do you want to know the quickest way into someone’s heart?

Have good manners towards them. As one of my teachers says, “Burden them, weigh them down with your kindness.”

Your manners will have a much greater effect than your words. (Think about someone who gives good advice, but makes you feel humiliated at the same time – you don’t really want to listen to them, do you?)

Lately I have been hit with so many reminders of the importance of good manners. It’s not just a virtue, it’s a necessity. How can we claim to be followers of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and have poor manners towards anyone? Especially other Muslims, and especially our families.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have only been sent to perfect good characteristics.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (273) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (45)

As people of Islam, people of Imaan, seekers of knowledge, people of the Qur’an, good character is something we MUST acquire. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us sincerity. Because it is only those who are sincere who will develop and change their bad characteristics.

Anyone can memorize the Qur’an – but how many people take on the character of the Qur’an?

Anyone can dress modestly – but how many of those bodies have a soul to match?

Anyone can gain knowledge – but on how many people do you see the true effects of this knowledge?

 

“O my dear son, if it was easy to attain good and lofty characteristics, then the lowly debased ones would have competed with you towards them, but instead they are difficult and bitter, none can be patient over them except a person who knows their true virtues and hopes for their reward.”

Sa’id ibn al ‘Aas

 

* * *

Acquiring Good Characteristics

 

Question: How does one acquire good character?

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly:

A good attitude is the characteristic of the best of the Messengers and is the best action of the righteous. It is – no doubt – half of religion, the fruit of the efforts of the pious and the practice of the devoted worshipper. Bad characteristics are lethal poison and lead to shameful consequences.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have only been sent to perfect good characteristics.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (273) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (45).

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about that which will admit most people to Paradise. He said: “Fear of Allaah and a good attitude.”

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2004); he said it is saheeh ghareeb. It was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Hence Islam paid a great deal of attention to laying down guidelines for treating diseases of the heart (i.e., spiritual diseases) and ways of acquiring good characteristics, which is regarded as one of the most important duties, because no heart will be free of sicknesses. If the heart is neglected, sicknesses will accumulate. No soul is free of inclinatons which, if they are given free rein, will lead it to doom in this world and in the Hereafter.

This kind of medicine requires profound knowledge of reasons and causes, then it needs hard work to remedy it and set things straight, in order to reach a successful outcome. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Indeed he succeeds who purifies his ownself”

[al-Shams 91:9]

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray for a good attitude, saying, “O Allaah, You have made my outward form beautiful so make my attitude good too.” Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh (3/239) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel (75).

Secondly:

If a person knows what his shortcomings are he can do something to remedy them, but many people are unaware of their faults and shortcomings. A person may see the speck in his brother’s eye and not see the log in his own. The person who wants to know what his own faults are may do four things:

1.     He may sit before a Shaykh who has insight into people’s faults and knowledge of the subtlety of some problems and learn from him knowledge, good attitudes and manners.

2.     He may ask a sincere friend who has insight and is religiously committed to keep watch over him and take note of his actions, so that he can draw attention to whatever he dislikes of his attitude, actions, and inward and outward faults. This is what the best and greatest imams of Islam used to do. ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to say: “May Allaah have mercy on a man who shows me my shortcomings.”

3.     He can learn about his faults and shortcomings from the lips of his enemies, because the eye of one who is resentful will always notice bad things about you. A man may benefit more from an enemy who wants to cause trouble and mentions his faults than from a friend who wants to flatter him by praising him and concealing his faults.

4.     He can mix with people. Everything that he sees as blameworthy among people, he should guard against in his own self, because the believer is the mirror of his fellow believer, and in the faults of others he can see his own faults. It was said to ‘Eesa (peace be upon him): “Who taught you?” He said: “No one taught me; I saw the ignorance of the ignorant as something bad and I avoided it.”

Thirdly:

Attitude reflects how a person thinks and the way he is inside. Just as, in general, a person’s outward form cannot be beautiful if only the eyes are beautiful and not the nose, mouth and cheek, and everything must be beautiful in order for the entire outward form to be beautiful, so too there are four requirements of inward beauty which must all be met in order for one’s attitude to be good or beautiful. If all four requirements are met and balanced then a good attitude is acquired, the characteristics of which are: strong knowledge, control of anger, control of desire, and a proper balance between these three aspects.

With regard to strong knowledge, good and sound knowledge means understanding in such a way that one can see the difference between telling the truth and telling lies in speech, between truth and falsehood in beliefs, between beauty and ugliness in actions. If this strength becomes sound, there will result from it wisdom, and wisdom is the head of a good attitude.

With regard to strength of anger, its beauty is that it is used in accordance with what is dictated by wisdom. The same applies to desire; its beauty and strength should be controlled by wisdom, meaning under the control of reason and sharee’ah.

With regard to balance, it means proper control of desires and anger, under the control of wisdom and sharee’ah.

Reason is like a sincere adviser. Justice and balance is power, and it is like one who does what is dictated by reason. Anger is to be subjected to control.

 The one who acquires and balances these characteristics is a man of good character in general, and from it stem all good qualities.

No one achieved perfect balance of these four characteristics except the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); people after him vary in how close or distant they are to him in character. Everyone who is close to him in these characteristics is close to Allaah, to the extent that he is close to the Messenger of Allaah.

Fourthly:

This balance may be achieved in two ways:

1 – By the blessing of Allaah, as part of one’s inherent nature

2 – By acquiring these characteristics through effort and training, i.e., pushing oneself to do the actions dictated by the desired characteristic.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Knowledge is acquired by seeking it, and patience is acquiring by striving to be patient. The one who strives to attain good will be given it, and the one who strives to protect himself from evil will be protected. Narrated by al-Khateeb and others from the hadeeth of Abu’l-Darda’; classed as hasan by al-Albaani.

If a person wants to attain the characteristic of generosity, the way to attain that is by pushing himself to do the actions of one who is generous, which is giving away wealth. So he keeps pushing himself and persisting in that, striving against his own inclinations, until that becomes second nature and it becomes easy for him, thus he becomes generous.

Similarly, if a person wants to attain the characteristic of humility, when he is inclined to be arrogant, the way he does it is by persisting in doing the actions of the humble for a long time, striving and pushing himself until that becomes one of his characteristics, and it becomes second nature to him and easy for him.

All praiseworthy characteristics that are prescribed in Islam may be acquired in this way. Religious characteristics will never become entrenched in the soul unless the soul gets accustomed to doing all good habits, unless it gives up all bad habits, and unless it persists in doing good deeds like one who loves good deeds and enjoys doing them, and hates bad deeds and is pained by them.

This may be explained by means of examples:

The one who wants to become proficient in writing, so that this becomes one of his characteristics and writing beautifully becomes second nature to him, has no other way but to hold in his hand that which the proficient writer holds, and persist for a long time, trying to imitate beautiful hand writing, and keep on doing so until it becomes well established in him, then finally beautiful writing will become second nature to him.

Similarly, if a person wants to become a faqeeh, he has no choice but to do what the fuqaha’ do, which is to keep studying issues of fiqh until his heart develops a love of the subject.

And if a person wants to become generous and refrain from asking people, and become patient and humble, he has to keep on doing the actions of those people until they become second nature to him. He should not despair of attaining those characteristics if he fails to study for one night, for he will not be able to attain it with one night’s study. Perfecting the soul and adorning it with good deeds will not be attained by worshipping for one day, and he will not be deprived of it if he sins for one day. But slacking off for one day may lead to another day, then slowly one becomes accustomed to laziness.

Fifthly:

The likeness of the soul and the way to treat it to rid it of bad characteristics and make it attain good characteristics is that of the body, when treating it to rid it of disease and bring it good health.

Although the humours are usually in balance, the stomach may become sick due to food, drink or circumstances. Similarly, everyone is born with a balanced nature, but his parents make him a Jew, Christian or Magian, i.e., by training and teaching one acquires bad characteristics.

Just as the body is not created perfect in the first place, rather it is made perfect by rearing and food, similarly the soul is also created imperfect but with the potential to become perfect, and it can only be perfected by means of education, discipline and nourishment with knowledge. If the body is sound, the doctor’s role is to show one the way to maintain good health; if it is sick, then the doctor’s job is to restore health. The same applies to the soul; if it is pure and sound then one should strive to preserve it and bring it more strength and acquire more good characteristics; if it is imperfect then one should strive to perfect it and purify it.

Sickness that causes imbalance in the body can only be treated by its opposite, so if it is caused by cold it is treated with heat and vice versa. Similarly, bad characteristics, which are diseases of the heart, are treated by applying the opposite.  So the remedy for the disease of ignorance is seeking knowledge, and the remedy for the disease of miserliness is pushing oneself to be generous, and the remedy for the disease of arrogance is pushing oneself to be humble, and the remedy for the sickness of eating too much is imposing self restraint.

Just as it is essential to put up with the bitterness of the remedy and show patience in refraining from what one desires when treating physical sickness, so too it is essential to put up with the bitterness of striving and being patient when treating diseases of the heart; rather it is more important, because one gets rid of physical sickness when one dies, but the sicknesses of the heart – Allaah forbid – may persist after death and continue forever and ever.

These examples show you the way to treat diseases of the heart, and demonstrate that the holistic way is to treat them with the opposite of whatever one is inclined towards and likes. Allah has summed up all of that in His Holy Book, when He said (interpretation of the meaning):

“But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts.

41. Verily, Paradise will be his abode”

[al-Naazi’aat 79:40-41]

Finally:

What matters with regard to striving is fulfilling what one resolves to do. If a person resolves to give up a desire, then he must show patience and persist, because if he gets used to giving up what he resolved to do, that will lead to corruption. If it so happens that he falls short of what he resolved to do, then he must impose some punishment on himself because of that, because if he does not scare himself with that punishment, his evil inclinations will overwhelm him and he will be attracted to indulging in desires, and all his efforts will be spoiled.

Summarized and adapted from Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen by al-Ghazaali (3/62-98).

And Allaah knows best.

 

 

 

 

 

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*An Appeal to My Sisters in Islam: Take the Pictures Down*

Bismillah walhamdulillah

wasalamu`alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh,

I have been wanting to say this for a long time, and yesterday I had that final push. That thing that happens that makes you wish you said something sooner.

There was an event at my University that was informing the masses about a movement to divest in a country that was oppressing Muslims. To make a long story short, the event became a huge controversy and some people had to wait in line for hours, in the cold, in order to attend. Metal detectors were set up. Protestors from both sides stood holding their signs and shouting their slogans. They were encircled by metal bars, with police officials surrounding them. There were news cameras left and right, and reporters were eager to catch a shot of the people waiting in line to attend.

Being one of the first people on the line and being very visibly Muslim, my friends and I were approached many times for an interview or a picture, etc. When we were asked, we thanked them for asking and politely refused. When we weren’t asked, we made sure the picture was deleted and the video camera did not have a shot of us (not quite as politely…). Later on in the day, when I had moved to another line (last minute change of rules), I stood with another group of sisters. I knew almost all of them from the college. They were my sisters in Islam and I felt comfortable standing amongst them. I was the only niqabi in the group this time. Usually that is of no import, but it is relevant to this story.

A man with a camera approached us for a picture. I immediately thought of what message he was going for (“a group of young Muslim girls waiting in line for the event”) and felt annoyed. To add to that, I experience instant annoyance at someone who is so eager to get a picture of Muslim women, being that the majority of us wear some type of obvious religious garb, because of the feelings it evokes (“I think you are strange looking, but oh so interesting!”)

“Could I get a picture of you?” he asked, drawing parentheses around five of us, outlining the frame of the picture with his hands.

My face, which he couldn’t see, immediately went straight and cold.

“No, not of me.”

I forgot everything around me. I forgot that I was standing with sisters and tuned everything out. I was focused on making sure he knew he wasn’t getting a picture of me. As I began to walk backward, away from his camera, one of my friends on my right shoulder spoke.

“I’m trying to remind you that you wear a niqab,” she said, smiling in an almost motherly-way.

I still couldn’t fully tune her in, I was focused on getting away. I continued to make my way to the back, while the rest of the sisters moved up to be in the picture. A second later, I leaned against the metal bars that surrounded the building and looked in, my heart breaking at the fact that these sisters had so willingly allowed this man to take a picture of them. Of their faces, of their eyes, of their smiles.

Later on I wondered why they did not stop to think to themselves, “if this sister whose face is covered is refusing to have her picture taken, there must be a reason.”

So this incident was the push. I need to get this message out there to all sisters.

I ask that Allah swt allow my words to enter your hearts, and that He swt protects us from the whisperings of Shaytan, who is an open enemy to man.

Sisters, regardless of what opinion you follow regarding the niqab, or of how you currently feel about abaya or hijab, regardless of what you think is correct or necessary in regards to a woman’s dress, regardless of what you envision your future to be (in terms of religion and dress), regardless of what you think of photographs; regardless of all of that, I advise you with the following:

  1. Don’t allow strangers (or even acquaintances) to take pictures of you.
  2. Don’t post your pictures on Facebook (yes, even if your profile is private).
  3. Keep track of who has pictures of you, and the best way to do that is to keep track of who is taking pictures of you.
  4. Be mindful of pictures that you have of other sisters, and what you do with them. If they are on your phone, put a pass code on it. Don’t post them up on Facebook,  (yes, even if they give you permission to do so).
  5. If you already have pictures on Facebook, do what you have to do, but get them off of Facebook and any other social media site.

I’m sure more than one person reading this has already thought to themselves, “Wow, this sister has gone off the deep end.” So I hope that they will be open-minded, and that I will be given a chance to explain. This post is not written with the intention of convincing sisters to cover (if this is what you are looking for, you can listen to this); I have a different goal in mind today. I don’t know many of you who are reading this, but I love you simply because you have imaan in Allah swt and His Messenger, Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). So allow me to begin…

Six years ago, I would have never thought that I would be wearing a niqab one day. Never. I was an average Muslim girl in high school. Picture-taking was no big deal to me; in fact, it was a disgrace to not have a lot of pictures in the Yearbook. Posting pictures online and on Facebook was the thing to do. If your profile picture wasn’t a picture of your face, either you were unhappy with the way you looked or you were too religious. This was the mindset. (You know it’s true.)

When I began to cover, it was a process that took place over time. First the skirts, then the abayaat (long loose dresses), and then finally the niqab. Taqabbal Allah (May Allah accept, ameen). During the time this change was unfolding, I had a Facebook. I may have deactivated it here and there, but for the most part, I was on it.

And I mean… I was really on it – my pictures were on Facebook. Old pictures, from before I began to wear niqab. Of course, I had deleted the ones that were on my account; may Allah swt forgive me, He is the Most Merciful of those who show Mercy.

And I don’t remember now how it happened, but I had deactivated my account for a long period of time and when I came back on it, I saw pictures of myself, pictures that I was “tagged” in, on other people’s accounts… My heart sank. There were still pictures of me out there. I was mortified.

I still remember the winter mornings when I would sit at my desk and make lists in my blue spiral notebook. I would make a list of names of the people who had a picture of me on their profile, whether I was in the forefront or in the background. I would find the album name, as well. And I would send them private messages, asking them for their email addresses.

I would email them (or private message them if it was easier), ignoring the social unacceptability of what I was doing – I was asking people that I hadn’t spoken to for years, to take down my pictures, and for religious reasons. Many of them were understanding and compliant, but not all of them. I remember one old “friend” who just did not want to take my picture down (it was a picture of me and her), and we went back and forth. I had even gave her alternatives: “Okay, what if I just crop myself out for you?”

Finally, she complied as well. Another one, even after earnest requests, ardently refused, because the album was “private.” It just goes to show you, that there is a possibility that someone may refuse to take your picture down when you ask them to!

And whenever a picture went down, I crossed it off of my list. Some mornings, I would dread opening up my blue spiral notebook, and I would dread even more, opening up my Facebook account. But I knew I had to do it. So I pushed through the discomfort and ignored that annoying knot in my stomach.

And as a disclaimer, I actually did not have that many pictures on Facebook; much less than any average Facebook user today. Yet, this is what I went through to have my pictures removed. So what will others go through? Do you think you could take them all down in a matter of minutes? Because mine certainly did not come down that quick.

Anyway, the pictures were taken down one by one, walillahil hamd.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it: what about all of the people who had seen them? I knew that couldn’t be undone. And I could only hope that Allah swt would forgive me and have mercy on me, and cause those people to forget.

What about you, my dear sis?

Do you want to go through what I went through? You may be thinking, “but I don’t plan to wear niqab, or to cover, and it doesn’t bother me that my pictures are on Facebook.”

To that I would say: I was saying the same thing just a few years ago. You don’t know what Allah swt has in store for you. You don’t know, perhaps Allah swt will guide you to Him, and will guide you to wearing abaya and then niqab. You don’t know, maybe one day you will wish that your pictures were not plastered in so many places. On this person’s account, and in this album. In the front of this picture, and in the background of that one. But by then, it will seem like an impossible mission for to you to take them down, and you may find yourself giving up before you even try.

And by the way, I know Facebook was mentioned throughout this post, but I am referring to pictures on any online source (WordPress, Twitter, yes even LinkedIn!) because the world-wide-web is exactly that – it’s a WORLD WIDE WEB – an enormous mass of disentangled boundaries.

Sister, you don’t know who is looking at your pictures (yes, even if your profile is private; this is 2013, please wake up!) and with what intention they are looking at your pictures. As shaykh Omar Suleiman once mentioned at a class: “You can put up the most decent picture of yourself, wearing hijab and abaya…but now, what if a 50 year old man is looking at your picture lustfully?” (paraphrased)

I know this is something that is so widely accepted in today’s world, and that to some, this sounds like the rantings of an extreme Muslim woman. For the record, I don’t know of a single person, Muslim or NonMuslim, who knows of me personally, who would call me “extreme.” I am your neighbor, your classmate, your friend and your sister. And I am a Muslim, so please don’t add any qualifiers.

And I am writing this to save you from what Allah swt saved me from. No one advised me of this, ever. Even up until today, I have never heard of these words coming out of another sister’s mouth. Do you know why? Because those of us who wish to say it, are afraid that others will be offended and will not wish to listen to anything we say in the future. We are afraid that you will just brush it off as just another thing that the “strict Muslims” don’t want you to do; just another pleasure they are trying to take away from you.

Think about it. What will I get from you listening to this advice?

And have you ever stopped to wonder why Shaytan places so much animosity in people’s hearts towards “strict Muslims” (whatever that means). Could it be that he will gain from that? Yes. Do you ever stop to think why there is so much shamelessness in the media, and yet, at the same time, the hijab is being banned? Did you ever stop and think about how insane that is? Did it cross your minds that today’s society is heading in a very specific direction, one that is far from what Allah swt prescribed for His slaves? When I stop to think of what is out there in today’s world, in terms of fitnah, I become depressed, but then I put myself together and push forward even harder. Don’t just follow the crowd:

“And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie.” Surah Al An’aam

Be a leader and make the change, in yourself, and in others.

* * *

I do not normally request for my posts to be shared like this, but I am asking you to please re-post this and spread the message as wide as you can (you don’t have to include a link going back to my blog, in fact I prefer you don’t). Muslims are in a humiliating place today. We claim that we want the oppression to end. If we want victory for the oppressed Muslimeen all over the world, then we cannot have that until we change ourselves for the sake of Allah.

For each (person), there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the Command of Allah. Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah). But when Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector. (Surah Ar-Ra’d, ayah 11)

Protecting the honor of the Muslim woman is a big step towards that change, a much bigger step than you know.

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Expecting Good From Allah

“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)

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How Shaytan Causes Enmity Between People

“A word can also be one of the means used by Satan to stir enmity; it is sometimes perceived in a different meaning in people’s conversation; so it creates an environment of hatred. It is for this reason that Allah swt has ordered us to utter only good expressions: “Say to My slaves that they should only say the best. Satan wants to stir up trouble between you. Satan is an outright enemy to man.” Surah al Israa, verse 53.

Sayyid Qutb said, interpreting the verse, that people should say what is best all the time and regarding every matter; they should select the good expressions, in order to prevent Satan from disturbing their love and friendship. Satan creates enmity between brothers with just one vulgar word slipped, which would be followed by a bad reply; so a spirit of love and affection would change into one of controversy and enmity. A good word heals any injury of the heart and encourages everyone to respect one another.”

Source:

How to Protect Yourself From Jinn and Shaytan by Waheed Abdulsalaam Baly

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The Hidden Secret

Translated by Abu Sabaya

“…We can prove the existence of this secret with tangible evidence from the words of those who do not believe in the Hereafter but who do believe in being active and energetic, and believe in the necessity of making good use of their time. We will present this only for the sake of knowledge and comparison, nothing else.

Many studies have been carried out regarding the subject of human potential and the extent and power of this potential, and this is a topic that we can all gain something from. Everyone who studies the human being and his hidden potential says that it is something quite extraordinary! The human – any human – has unbelievable hidden reserves of power and energy! Let’s take a normal person with an average level of intelligence. If we tap into his hidden potential, it is possible for this person to become from the greatest geniuses – greater than we can imagine – and it is possible for him to be from the greatest leaders in the world, and it is possible for him to be from the greatest authors in the world, and it is possible for him to be from the greatest scientists in the world.

How?

They say that this potential is reserved and exists. However, it needs something to tap into it and bring it out.

For example, take the long distance swimming marathon race – and it is from the practices and innovations of Greek jahiliyyah and religion. They made it a religious ritual in which they race around the Alps, which they considered to be a holy mountain, saying that the gods live in these mountains. These are all false religious beliefs that have spread around the world since then. So, if the one who races ten or twenty kilometers runs out of energy and quits, the doctors who observe him will say that he still has hidden energy reserves until now – an natural, organic reserve of energy that is endless. This is indeed something amazing.

So, what is the proof for this?

They say that if someone who is in a race and becomes exhausted and quits suddenly encounters a hungry lion who is trying to eat him, he will get up and run away as fast as he can. So, subhan Allah! Where did he get this energy? Did it descend from the sky? They say that this is proof that these hidden reserves of energy exist, and it is possible for the racer to take advantage of them in the time he has left to win the race. The only limiting factor is the weakness of whatever is being used to tap these reserves and bring them out. If such a factor exists and is strong, these reserves will be accessed on a greater scale.

What if we were to apply this principle to the reality of the first generation – the Companions – and how they were?

They were regular bedouins, just like all of the Arabs. They included those from Quraysh – and they are a virtuous people – and those from Banu Tamim and Yemen, just like other people. However, when they believed and entered Islam, look at how their potential and abilities were tapped!

For example, look at ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud. He was a sheep herder on the outskirts of Makkah, and there have been thousands and millions of other sheep herders throughout history. However, when this herder and the other Companions believed and entered Islam, they became transformed into something amazing. He was from the most famous scholars of the city of Kufah in the Islamic state, which is famous all over the world. People would travel there from all over to visit ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud, the sheep herder! How was his potential tapped and how was his hidden power brought out?

So, the entire issue has to do with what it is that brings it out. This instigating factor would come to the Companions – and I ask Allah to grant us this in our hearts – and you would never see from them one who sought Paradise or was escaping from Hell sleeping.

One of the Salaf said: “Whenever I want to sleep, I would remember Paradise or Hell and jump up like someone who was crazy, and I’d be unable to sleep afterwards.” Subhan Allah, he would recite the Qur’an and pray, he would want to sit down, and he would suddenly remember an obligation he had of Jihad, enjoining the good and preventing the bad, etc. So, how can you make this a time to relax while for him it is a powerful instigator?

Praise Allah that this is the nature of the believer, as it can be the case that he is sleeping on his bed, has one of his brothers ask his help in something, and he then wakes up and becomes enthusiastic in fulfilling this task. It is as if he didn’t want to sleep in the first place and was instead looking for something to do, and he might even spend long hours doing whatever it is his brother asked of him. Here, we come to know the secret of the victories of the Companions, as all of their hidden potential was tapped. There is the Paradise, and you want to sleep. Suddenly, you remember the maidens and servants that are in it, just like the Companion said: “There is nothing between me and Paradise except for me to be killed.” So, he threw away some dates he was eating and entered the battlefield because this is Paradise, and the strongest instigator is for you to remember Paradise and go forth to do something, or for you to remember Hell and step back from doing something.

This is why the believer can turn away from the most intense, strongest, pressing desires, just as what happened with Prophet Yusuf. In fact, this happened to the man who was trapped in the cave when his cousin came and they were about to sleep together, and she said: “Fear Allah and do not break the seal unlawfully!” So, the fear of Allah came to him while his lust was thriving, and he left it all for Allah because this thing came to him that was stronger than every lust and stronger than every desire and stronger than every instigator. So, the person forgets everything and goes back to being strong and upright, and he uses this energy and power in something good.

One of the Salaf was very old, and he was very pious even in his old age. So, the people were amazed and said: “An old man who is able to maintain his piety to this level?” So, he replied: “I protected these limbs from what Allah had forbidden when I was young, and He protected them for me when I became old.” Amazing! The energy and potential is still there!

So, look at the potential that Allah has given us. Concentrate on it and you will find the most amazing things. However, this potential is like petroleum: if its owner leaves it to spill on the ground, nobody will gain anything from it. However, if he puts it in his car and starts the engine, the car will move with the permission of Allah…”

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The Fruits of Sincerity in Your Knowledge and Time

From: http://iskandrani.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/the-fruits-of-sincerity-in-your-knowledge-and-time/

“…How great are the fruits of sincerity, and how are the Muslims, the righteous, the worshipers who seek Allah and the Hereafter and know the worthlessness of the life of this world in dire need of purifying their actions to be solely for Allah so that they can see these fruits and blessings for themselves, and so that they can see things that nobody would believe could happen within the normal limits of the human perspective!

From these is that the scholars who wrote and sought knowledge sincerely for Allah were granted blessing in their time, lives, and knowledge by Allah, and many people benefited from them.

Take ‘Sahih al-Bukhari’ as an example. How many books have been written and authored? However, the author of this book was sincere towards Allah, and he would not write in it a single hadith except after making ablution and praying two units and making istikharah to Allah, and there was the worship and zuhd that was known in the life of Imam al-Bukhari. When this was the case, Allah blessed him in his time, and He blessed him in his deeds, and He gave this book the position and degree that it has. It is the most authentic book after the Book of Allah, and the Muslims of every era until the Day of Resurrection have accepted it wholeheartedly. This is indeed a great miracle, as how many books have been written that do not have what this book has?

Such is the case with the life of Imam Ahmad, may Allah be Pleased with him and he with Him. Look at the acceptance in the hearts of the people that Allah granted him – it is incredible! When Ahmad would simply point at someone with his finger and said ‘Yes,’ or if he were to mention someone and just say ‘Yes,’ – he praised him by simply saying ‘Yes,’ or ‘He is a good man,’ etc. – Allah would raise the status of that particular man in the eyes of all the Muslims. So, this man would become exalted, and this word of praise would spread from Baghdad to Khurasan to Egypt to Andalusia to everywhere else, and it would be recorded in the books that Ahmad said about such and such a man that he is good or that he praised him. So, this would be a tazkiyah for him and a means for the acceptance of his narrations and knowledge, and a confirmation of the soundness of his beliefs.

And the Khalifah al-Mutawakkil – from his intense keenness to be seen in a good light in front of his people as is the case with the rulers of every era – requested of Imam Ahmad to visit him because the people knew that Imam Ahmad only ate what was halal. So, he wanted him to come and eat from his food so that the people would take note of this and al-Mutawakkil would be praised by the people just because Imam Ahmad ate from his food, even if Ahmad himself did not praise him with a single word!

So, Imam Ahmad refused, and when al-Mutawakkil begged him – and he is al-Mutawakkil, the one through whom Allah revived the Sunnah and destroyed innovation, and Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah are indebted to him, and he is a leader of the Muslims – he saw that he had no other option but to obey him. So, he went to him while he was fasting. His sons ‘Abdullah and Salih said: “We were worried about our father that he would die, as he was continually fasting through the days and nights, and he would only drink water, as water was not something that could be considered a favor from anyone.” All the while, al-Mutawakkil assumed that he was eating from his food because they were not sitting and eating at the same table.

Why did they have this prestige? It was only because of their sincerity towards Allah.

In terms of the blessing in their time, look to the writings of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, the writings of adh-Dhahabi, the writings of Ibn Kathir, and the writings of an-Nawawi. You will see the most amazing things when you see these books despite the expulsion, prison, beating, inquisition, having their books burned, and prevention from any writing instruments that they suffered – especially Ibn Taymiyyah – and that despite this, the preoccupation with worship and Jihad that they displayed. Ibn Taymiyyah performed Jihad against the Batinis and the Tatars. Jihad and knowledge, collecting and researching knowledge from the books, worship, and he is still able to write all these books. How was this possible?!

Today, as you can see – we ask Allah to bless our time and our lives, and to grant us sincerity that will make us deserving of this – a student will spend five years preparing his doctorate, and he will then produce a book that will be nothing more than quotations. If he worked a little harder, he would finish it in a few months, and if he was one of the Salaf, he would have compiled it in a matter of days or weeks, as it is nothing more than quotations. What was all of this time spent doing?

This all has to do with how much sincerity we have. How?

Some even said that if you were to take the lifespan of one of them and divide it between the books that he wrote, you would find that he would write twenty pages a day. Is it possible for anyone to write this much? When would he have the time to check it over? When would he publish it?

If we ask a brother to prepare an article just one page long, he would spend the entire night writing it, and would then spend the entire next day reviewing and revising it. In fact, entire weeks might go by without him producing anything. Subhan Allah!! How did these people write so much? If they were able to write twenty pages that were reviewed, revised, fully and accurately referenced, and filled with precisely derived rulings, this could not have been possible except due to the blessing that Allah had placed in their knowledge, and this was all due to their sincerity to Allah.

This is why they had high determination and aspirations.

When at-Tabari told his students: “I will provide you with the ‘Tafsir’ in 300 volumes,” they said: “This is too long” – three hundred volumes was too long, and they couldn’t handle it – he replied: “Allahu Akbar! The aspirations have weakened!” So, he wrote it in thirty volumes instead of the 300. These thirty volumes were in accordance with the strength of their aspiration, as the vastness of ‘Tafsir at-Tabari’ – with all of its narrations, chains, linguistic commentaries and explanations – was written by at-Tabari for those with weak determination. Today, we say that at-Tabari should have summarized it, and it actually has been summarized, because the aspirations and determination that exists today is only a tenth of what existed during the days of at-Tabari’s students.

This is how it was. So, how does one’s determination become weak?

Determination weakens when there is little sincerity, and it increases when there is more sincerity and certainty. When a person combines the qualities of sincerity, certainty, love, and all the other actions of the heart that I have mentioned and will mention, he will reach the ultimate level of determination.

When the Companions reached this state, they gave no consideration whatsoever to the powers on Earth, no matter who or what they were. Rather, they would send armies to the East and West, land and sea, and they would not care in the least, and they would not look to the enemy as having any worth. Yes, they would make the necessary preparations, study the enemy in as much detail as possible, and engage in strategic research and military intelligence. However, they knew that they were fighting for Allah. So, no power was able to stand before them. They were victorious because of their faith, righteousness, sincerity, and truthfulness with Allah.

There is just one more issue to address that I will close with, and it is that having sincerity results in you being considered from the sincere, and this is because what goes around comes around. So, if you are sincere and truthful with Allah, Allah will make you from the sincere, and the sincere ones are the best of Allah’s Creation. They are the ones who know Allah, and this is the most important of their many characteristics. This is mentioned in ‘as-Saffat’ after Allah mentions the condition of the polytheists and their likes who ascribed a son to Allah and kinship between He and the jinn. So, at the end of these verses, He Said: {“Allah is Glorified above what they ascribe to Him”} [as-Saffat; 159] {“…except the sincere slaves of Allah.”} [as-Saffat; 40].

So, He is free of everything that He is described with with except what those who know Him and give Him His proper due describe Him with, and they describe Him with the attributes of perfection and praise…”

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Who will pray for you when you die? Sh. Tawfique Chowdhury

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A Night Out With Umar ibn Al-Khattab

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Jealousy: The Green-eyed Monster by Navaid Aziz

 

Parts 2-5 can be found on youtube. The entire lecture is very nice and worth the time, inshaa’Allah.

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