Lamya's Corner

"There was for Saba, aforetime, a sign in their homeland [Yemen] two gardens to the right and to the left . . . be grateful to Him[Allah] . . .But they turned away, and We sent against them the flood released from the Dams [Maarib dam]" (Qur'an. Saba:15-16)

Ramadan 2016 Reflection 9 June 14, 2016

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Once a man sought advice of Al Hasan Al Basri on the kind of man he recommended for marriage. His response was, ” The man of Deen.” I know it sounds so vague, but wait he elaborated and added , ” For when he is in love with her he will be generous to her , and if he happens to dislike her he will not treat her unfairly (unjustly) .” I stopped at this description and realized that Allah treats us that way. If Allah loves us He ( Subhanahu Wa Ta’la ) rewards us multi-fold for our own good deeds, and if He is displeased with us He is never unfair or unjust to us . Indeed He is worthy of our belief and worship . La Illah Ila Allah.

Let’s go back to Al Basri’s comment, “… And if he happens to dislike her he will not treat her unfairly ( unjustly).” So, this kind of man would be fair and just towards her at times of conflict. Conflicts bring out the worst in people. Maybe I can go as far as to say that they expose a person’s true moral fiber or the absence thereof. Their moral mettle is either amplified or diminished. All masks fall off, and it is either pretty or ugly .

In application , if you are a person of authority  learn from ‘Umar Ibn Al Khattab . When ‘Umar was Khalifah and charged with the matters of the Muslims, he one day saw his brother Zayd Ibn Al Khattab’s killer. ‘Umar being ‘Umar was honest with the man and said to him, ” I must be honest with you , but I cannot find it in myself to like you.” The man responded , ” Will that prevent you from treating me fairly and justly?” ‘Umar said, ” No.” The man uttered a sigh of relief. ‘Umar’s aversion to the man did not prevent him from doing that which was fair and just towards him, and such should a person of authority always be.

Remember the Prophet ( Salah Allah Alayhe Wa Salam) when he held captive some Makkan pagans after the Battle of Badr. Among them was a general  by the name of ‘Aziz , the brother of one of the companions  Mus’ab Ibn Umayr . ‘Aziz narrates that in his captivity he was among a group of Al Ansar, and when it was lunchtime they would feed him bread and eat dates. Humbled by their kindness, ‘Aziz would return the bread but they wouldn’t touch it . This was because the Prophet asked them to feed the captives the best among their food , so they did — bread was a luxury in Madinah, dates were not . What is this saying ? It is saying that even if we disagree with you , even if we were opponents at war, it does not mean that we will treat you unjustly and unfairly. Conflicts with others should bring out the best in us .

So for today’s reflection, let this rule govern our relationships : keep good fellowship or separate with kindness . Let not disagreement and conflict expose the worst in us, instead let it bring out the best in us . A believer never betrays . A believer is never mean, vile, lowly, base, and ignoble, qualities that cut off any hope for a relationship to continue . How can friends who have shared well kept secrets continue, when at the time of disagreement each exposes the secrets of the other ? How can arguing spouses air each other’s dirty laundry and mar each other’s image in public  and continue their marriage? This method of argument has cut a vein, let it bleed and eventually killed this marriage. Chew on that for a minute .

The Prophet ( Salah Alah Alayhe Wa Salam ) compared the believer to a palm tree. A palm tree is abundant in its goodness. It gives shade ( Al Satr) year long. It’s fruit can be eaten from the minute it emerges until it is dries–it supports and nourishes. Likewise from its trunk, branches and leaves there are so many benefits . Such should a believer be at all times even at times of conflict–obedient to Allah and noble in manners. And in another comparison the Prophet ( Salah Allah Alayhe Wa Salam ) said, ” The example of the believer who recites the Qur’an and acts on it, is like an orange which tastes nice and smells nice.” May our insides be as our outsides , at all times, pure and true. Ameen.

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Ramadan 2016: Reflection 2 June 7, 2016

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F[l]ame

Rio Olympics 2016 are fast approaching and the Olympic Torch as of right now is in Aquiraz, CE. What is the one objective of the Olympic torch bearer? Keeping the flame lit until it arrives at the site of the games, where it will light a cauldron that will remain lit until it is extinguished in the Closing Ceremony. Likewise, we all have different flames that we strive to keep lit in our lives. For some self-interest is the flame they strive to keep lit. It governs all their relationships, even with Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala ):

“And when We show favor to man he turns aside and withdraws himself, and when evil touches him he makes lengthy supplications” (Qur’an 41: 51)

So, when in need they turn to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala ) with fervent Ya Rab’s , and once Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala ) responds to their requests they turn away from Him only to return when they have another request. The only beautiful aspect of these people’s lives, is that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala ) accepts them every time they turn towards Him.

I got to thinking today about the flame I should strive to keep lit until my closing ceremony? I decided that flame would be “humanness”. The original state Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala ) created me in, created us in. Humaness and all its accompanying qualities: considerateness, honesty, fairness, gratitude, faithfulness, loyalty, modesty, balance, courteousness, conscientiousness, respect, responsibility, perseverance, dependability, cooperativeness, determination, imagination, ambition, courage, care, and many more positive qualities. Erring but forgiving and forgiven. In short, it is the flame of mercy/compassion and kindness in all its forms—emotional, verbal and physical— in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. It’s the original state we were born in. The state that we should all strive to keep lit our life journey. The state we want to be remembered by when we are long gone. And the state that we hope to return to to our Creator. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala ) says:

“ As to the scum it vanishes into the earth, but that which benefits humankind remains on the ground” (Qur’an 13:17)

Scum literally refers to that thick mass or foam made of small bubbles that rises to the surface when for instance meat of chicken is boiled. But another meaning for scum in English is in reference to someone who doesn’t exhibit humanness. People who are referred to as, “The scum of the earth”. So, according to this verse these people vanish into the earth; when they are gone they are gone for good. And on the other hand “that which benefits humankind” , which is In Sha’ Allah those who exhibit humanness, are what remain and live in and on in the hearts of people after they are long gone. So, let’s keep that flame lit, as did our Prophet (salah Allah alayhe wa salam) who even after 1400+ years, still remains a Mercy to the World. I ask Allah the Lord of the heavens and the earth for our humanness to flow from us to our fellow humans at all times until our closing ceremonies. Let it be simply said of us when we are long gone, “They were indeed human.”

 

Ramadan 2016: Reflection 1 June 6, 2016

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Will Rogers says, “Never miss a good chance to shut up” and I absolutely agree. There are 4 situations where your “silence” is appreciated. Where your silence is crucial. Where it is a sign of your refined manners. Where you win both in this world and the hereafter. Where you will be rewarded In Sha’ Allah. What are these 4 situations where silence is golden:

1) When you are having a conversation with a person. Shut up, listen, think and learn from what is being communicated to you. Don’t interrupt that person. Don’t stir the waters and disturb the flow of the current of information coming your way and poison the conversation with your interruptions. You kill a conversation. Interrupting others mid conversation is a sign of haste on your part. It’s a sign that you lack patience, social and communication skills. It’s even a sign of arrogance, because you are saying to the person with whom you are “engaged” in conversation that they have nothing to say that is worth listening to. On the other hand, listening attentively is a sign of self-confidence, especially when there is a difference in opinion between you and the person you are conversing with. Let me give you an example of this from the Seerah of the Prophet (salah Allah alayhe wa salam). Remember when the Messenger of Allah was approached by Quraysh’s delegate Utbah Ibn Rabi’ah, who wanted. Quraysh were ready to bribe the Prophet (salah Allah alayhe wa salam) into stopping his mission. When ‘Utbah asked to speak to the Prophet (salah Allah alayhe wa salam), the Prophet said, “Speak, Abul-Walid. I am listening.” So, ‘Utbah started, “Nephew,” and continued with words that were quite offensive, even today. ‘Utbah said, ‘If you want money by this business, we will collect some of our property and make you the wealthiest among us. If you want honor, we will make you our chief so that every decision is yours. If you want a kingdom, we will make you our king. If you are possessed by a jinn that you cannot drive away from yourself, we will find skillful doctors to help you. We will spend our wealth on it till you are cured.’ The Prophet (salah Allah alayhe wa salam) listened to ‘Utbah, and then asked“Have you finished, Abul-Walid?” “Yes,” responded ‘Utbah. “Then listen to me,” said to Messenger of Allah (salah Allah alayhe wa Salahm. “I will,” said ‘Utbah. Then the Messenger of Allah recited some verses from Surah Fussilat:

“Ha, Meem / A Revelation from (Allah), Most Gracious, Most Merciful / A Book whose verses have been detailed, an Arabic Qur’an for a people who know / Good tidings and a warning. But most of them turn away so that they hear not…” (Fussilat 1-4)

The Prophet (saw) continued reciting the verses, until ‘Utbah begged him to stop. The Prophet did, and then ‘Utbah returned to the leaders of Quraysh leaders with a different facial expression than the one he initially left with. The point is that the Prophet listened to ‘Utbah patiently. Controlled his anger. Calmly thought about what ‘Utbah said. Then responded powerfully. Let be an example to follow when you are in a similar situation.

2) The second situation when your silence is golden, is when you don’t have anything of value or benefit to add to a conversation/discussion. Don’t just say something to draw attention to yourself. You know that moment when you have the urge for your presence to be noticed. The moment you inject a superficial comment into a discussion, or even a false one. News flash: you’ll regret it. Follow your Prophet (saw) who did not speak unnecessarily. Every word weighed heavy in his scale of deeds. Ponder on this: not making any contribution to a conversation because you knew that you had nothing of value to add is better than adding what is unnecessary, ignorant, repetitive, superficial or false.

3) The third situation when keeping your mouth shut is best is when you are angry. Fact is that when you are angry you lose part of your ability to think straight, to reason, or perceive things clearly. In Arabic, the mind is called “AL AQL”, which means “ The Tether”. So in other words, your mind tethers your words and actions and keeps them in check. So, when you’re angry that tether comes undone, and you might say the wrong thing and regret it. That’s why the Prophet (saw) says,”The strong one is not one who is good at wrestling, but the strong one is one who controls himself in a fit of rage.” Being silent when you’re angry is crucial, because in a fit of rage you’ll most probably say that which you will regret afterwards. Your words will hurt others, severe relationship, even make you lose respect. And once that damage is done, you won’t be able to swallow your words. So, stay safe and don’t put yourself in a situation where you say to yourself,“ I wish I’d just kept my mouth shut.”

4) The fourth and last circumstance, is when you’re in the midst of a gossip, slander, or dirty joke session. If you can’t leave that hostile space, keep a straight face and make, “No comment.” If you are a special person who is courageous enough to defend others in their absence, then do so otherwise either leave or offer no comment. There is absolutely nothing you can say other than defending them that will be beneficial or rewarding in this situation. Remember the verse, “In no way does he utter a saying except that close to him is a (Guardian) constantly ready to record it” (Surat Qaf, 18). You don’t want to stare at your record on the Day of Judgment and find your gossip, slander, and foul language starting right back at you. Remember your words are part of your actions, if you don’t realize that you’ll be making a lot of mistakes and won’t even notice it until the book of records is laying in your hands. It’ll be too late then.

In closing, remember all of these are applicable to social media as well. Don’t read two words/phrases/clauses/sentences from someone’s comment/s and then respond. If you are going to respond you owe it to that person to read their entire comment /s, ponder over them and learn from them before responding. Don’t repeat/paraphrase what someone has already said, maybe just “Like” it or don’t respond at all because someone already said what you wanted. Don’t read someone’s comment with the intention to just attack them, your angry attitude towards that person will cloud your judgment and be reflected in your response. Don’t read into someone’s words what they didn’t say, instead ask for clarification. Don’t follow your doubts and false assumptions. All of these situations are covered under the hadith of the Prophet (salah Allah alayhe wa salam), “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent.”Be wise. Let your silences be an indication of your respectful and thoughtful nature. Let your utterances be reminders for yourself and others. Let your observations of situations around you be examples to follow or warnings to take heed from.

Next time you find yourself in these situations, remember, “Shhhhh!”

 

Sh. Yasir Birjas’s Khatirahs this Ramadan. July 20, 2012

Filed under: Ramadhan Corner — lamyaalmas @ 3:49 pm

I will be posting Sheikh Yasir Birjas’s Khatirahs this Ramadan for easy access insha Allah.

Khatirah # 1 click here.

Khatirah # 2 click here.

Khatirah # 3 click here .

Khatirah # 4 click here.

 

Recommendation Material for Ramadan July 17, 2012

Filed under: Ramadhan Corner — lamyaalmas @ 2:08 pm

Here are some recommendations for Ramadan:

1) Ramadan Project Checklist

2) Sh. Yasir Birjas “Excelling in Ramadan” –10 tips

3) Productive Ramadan e-book.

4) Ramadan Health Guide.

5) Children’s Ramadan Chart.

 6) Ramadan Qur’an Memorization Challenge.

7) Ramadan Activities for Kids.

8) TV Qur’an for listening to Qur’an and Duas and Qur’an Explorer.

9) A wealth of Islamic books, lectures, and articles. Cannot recommend this site enough. Enjoy Kalamullah. Another one is Hoor al-Ayn.

10) Weekly Ramadan Calendar and Blank Ramadan CalendarRamadan Planner also has other resources.

11) Ramadan Battle Plan 2012.

12) How To Make Your Ramadan Outstanding.

13) Time Management Tips.

 

Love for the Sake of Allah October 9, 2011

Filed under: Ramadhan Corner — lamyaalmas @ 12:05 am

Oftentimes when we think about Da’wah, the thought that comes to mind is that we have to strive to bring in new converts/or what we nowadays call reverts to Islam. Not all of us by the way are able to take on such a feat. We know Islam in how we practice it and with that we are struggling already, but many of us don’t know “about Islam” which is usually a vital component for those who want to dialogue with non-Muslims who come with hosts of questions.  That does not mean you are off the hook—because Da’wah has a more comprehensive meaning than just calling non-Muslims to Islam.  We are not limited to calling to Islam only those who are non-Musims, but rather enjoining good and forbid evil among Muslims as well is Da’wah. Helping Muslims become better worshippers of Allah and helping them mend their relationship with Allah, and coming back to the fold of Islam is also Dawah. Surely, each and every one of us can do that.

Nowadays, we need to realize that it is not just non-Muslims who need Da’wah, but it is the Muslims too. So many are out there, struggling with their Islam. Some are lonely, don’t feel a sense of community. So many issues in our communities, that need to be addressed. So many Muslims who need a hand in coming back to Allah. We have a saying in Arabic that roughly translates to, “The carpenter’s door is falling off of its hinges.” You would think that the carpenters’ door of all doors would be that “model” door that everyone would look admirably at but that is not the case most of the time. Such is the case with Da’ees as well. They are so effective out of their homes and communities both of which are plunged in darkness and ruin. It’s an unattractive scene, even repelling to some new converts to Islam to see how far many Muslims are far from Islam, how divided they are as a community. After saying their ‘Shahadha’, and witnessing this miserable fact some go into hiding. Others isolate themselves, even leave Islam shortly afterwards.  So, let’s fix first ourselves, our families and communities—let’s take them on as Dawa Projects. Let’s start from the center and move out to the closest circles to the outer circled.  We all know that a ripple starts from its center—so in my opinion should Da’wah.

So, in considering Da’wah we should not limit ourselves to just bringing ‘new’ people to Islam—but understand the Hadith of the Prophet (saw)  in which he said, “If Allah guides a person through you, it is better for you than all that is on the earth.” (Bukhari and Muslim) The Prophet (saw) means any person, and that includes another Muslim or Muslimah. So today I want us to an action of Da’wah that all of us have the ability to do. No exceptions! Today’s action is one whose effect on your life will amaze you, and those around you. And believe it or not that amazement will carry on to the Hereafter, when the prophets and the righteous will be amazed by you. You will be placed on a pedestal/pulpit where and when it matters the most. Although one who does this action attains such prominence in the Hereafter, to achieve it requires that one lower ones wings to others, humbles oneself, make oneself available to others.

The action that I want to talk about today that is closely related to Da’wah—is one that allows you to be supported and support others in staying within the fold of Islam. Helps you influence others for a longer period of time. It’s like a Hasanaat [rewards] meter that is continuously calculating. This action is  love for the sake of Allah. Loving for the sake of Allah no doubt facilitates Dawa. It is what makes our hearts fertile ground so that we can guide and be guided. Let’s see how much Allah loves this action “Love for the sake of Allah”? But before I go into that, I want to say that most of us are confident that we have this quality nailed down to a T. It’s nice to be confident that we do, but for us to really know whether we have it in actions and words we must first of all be aware of what it is. So I hope Insha Allah, we look into our hearts today; that we hold a private therapy session with ourselves. And as we look into our hearts we find in it no revolution between what “love for the sake of Allah” really means and its state in our hearts. For the health of our Ummah [the Muslim Ummah] relies on it.

So, let’s first of all find out how much Allah (SWT) loves to see us love each other for his sake —simply because when we truly believe in Allah, we want to know what He  [SWT] loves. And when we know what He loves we want Him seeing us doing only that which he loves. So, let’s fast forward to a scene on the Day of Judgment:

We’re all there. The sun is exceptionally hot and we’re all at its mercy—we’re dripping with our own sweat, other people are drowning in theirs, others wading through it. We wonder if there will be relief from the heat. We see billions of people around us, waiting for “Al Hisaab” –judgment by Allah [SWT] to start. We’ve been waiting 50,000 yrs as the Prophet (saw) says in a hadith. Then comes Allah [SWT] and calls out to a special people among the billions and billions of people since the beginning of Adam. Allah calls out, “Where are those who loved each other for my sake” and He [SWT] continues, “Today I will shade them on a day when there is no shade but Mine.” Remember there are no trees, no mountains, no buildings—nothing to cast a shadow for shade. No respite from the burning sun’s rays. Shade is one of the greatest blessings in Dunya. It is a blessing that Allah [SWT] reminds Bani Israel when they were lost in the open desert, “And We shaded you with clouds and sent down to you manna and quails.” [Surat Al Baqara ayah 57]

Shade will still be a great blessing on the day of the Judgment. So ask yourself, do you want the shade that day? If you do then you have to pay attention today, and have to adopt today’s action into your life. If it’s the first time you hear of it, then take it and cram it into your heart, and make dua that Allah [SWT] makes your heart comfortable with it.  This action is love for the sake of Allah. On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (raa) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Where are those who love one another through My glory? Today I shall give them shade in My shade, it being a day when there is no shade but My shade.'” (Bukhari)

Scholars say that levels / degrees in the Akhira go from ‘best’ to ‘best’ to ‘best’—not good, better, best as in this world. Actually we don’t have a language here in this world to express the levels, but it helps to know that they ends with those on the ‘best’ level seeing the face of Allah [SWT]. So, if on that day we are called out as ones who loved for the sake of Allah, and are granted shade of Allah, then we can’t even entertain the thought that we will be touched by the hellfire. So, it’s absolutely worth adopting in your life.

The prophet says, “On the Day of Judgement, those who had mutual love for the sake of Allah’s Greatness shall be on pulpits of light and all [the prophets and the righteous] shall envy them.” (Tirmidhi) Pay attention to the hadith, the pulpit is of light [noor] and who is envying them—the Prophets and righteous [and by the way the word that is used in Arabic is ‘Ghibta’ which is a nice kind of envy, one of awe and no trace of negativity]. Now, When the companions heard this hadith, they asked the Prophet (saw) –listen to the beauty of their request, they said, “Ya Rasool Allah [O’Prophet] of Allah describe them to us so that we may love them.” Look at the Sahabah, who just wanted to love them so that they could be close to them. Why not be like them? Because they thought, “This is a really high status. We can’t possibly attain it, but maybe by loving them we can be close to them.” The Prophet answers the companions questions and says, “Those who have no blood relations but who love each other for the sake of Allah.” Abu Idris Khulani, one of the most famous tabi’in says that once he visited Mua’adh ibn Jabal in the Masjed of Damascus and told him “By Allah I love you for the sake of Allah.” Mua’dh repeatedly asked him to swear if it was so and when Idris Khulani answered in the affirmative every time, Mua’dh pulled him by his shawl and said, “Hear the good news! I have heard and blessed Messenger of Allah saying that “My love [the love of Allah] shall certainly be for those who love each other for my sake, who sit in each other’s company for my sake, who go to meet each other for my sake and spend money on each other for my sake.” (Muwatta Imam Malik)

Abu Hurairah (raa) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, “A man set out to visit a brother (in Faith) in another town and Allah sent an angel on his way. When the man met the angel, the latter asked him, ‘Where do you intend to go?’ He said, ‘I intend to visit my brother in this town.’’ The angel said, ‘Have you done any favor to him?’’ He said, ‘No, I have no desire except to visit him because I love him for the sake of Allah, the Exalted, and Glorious.’ Thereupon the angel said, ‘I am a messenger to you from Allah (to inform you) that Allah loves you as you love him (for His sake).’” [Muslim]

There’s an important question we have to ask: why does Allah [SWT] make this quality [love for the sake of Allah] a requirement for us to achieve nearness to Him [SWT]? There are so many speculations from scholars of course, but one I was blown away with is the one I am going to share with you today. Scholars say that when we love for the sake of Allah [SWT] we are acknowledging and accepting the souls that Allah chose for us in Alam Al Dhar [the realm of the soul]  for remember the hadith of the Prophet (saw) reported by Aishah: “Souls are like soldiers grouped in ranks: those of them which are familiar with each other will be friends, and those which are unfamiliar will be in conflict.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others) Those whom we love for the sake of Allah we have met before in the realm of the soul—we knew each other and parted only to find each other in this world. It’s like finding our friends of the past that Allah [SWT] chose for us before we came to the earth in our bodily form. It’s like re-finding a long lost friend. So when you love for the sake of Allah, you are acknowledging and appreciating Allah’s choice of friends, for you.  You realize that even your friendships can be attributed to Allah [SWT]. The good ones of course.

How do we know that our friends are those chosen for us by Allah? Know, sisters and brothers, that Allah only chooses the best for us. So if you have a friend around you whom you love for the sake of Allah, who guides you, from whom you learn all that benefits you in this life or the Hereafter, who keeps you firm in the path of Allah—it’s no guessing game. If you have one of these, then all Praise is due to Allah. Mind you though, that does not mean that you’re friends are perfect because in the end they are human and they have their faults. But they are perfect for you—and the evidence is that in spite of all your differences you experience a friendship and love for each other that is out of this world. You love each other for the sake of Allah, accept each other’s faults and help each other overcome them solely for the sake of Allah. Because you love each other for the sake of, Allah [SWT] makes the friendship work.

So, when you love your sisters or brother in Islam for the sake of Allah you are loving Allah’s choice for you in friends. So when you come and stand on the pulpit of noor, of light, you are not a person whose friendships are based on personal fain [even just your own personal happiness] but you come as a person who has preserved in this world the choices that Allah made for you from all the souls that He created. I feel sorry for those who isolate themselves from others because of a single bad experience they had—they have deprived themselves of seeing what other souls Allah has chosen for them. So make sure you reach out, because in reality you are reaching out to the soul chosen for you by Allah.

Scholars say that you need to posses three qualities to be a person who loves others for the sake of Allah: that you are person whom others can rely on in times of need; that you are patient with others; and that you  have a  pure/clean heart. Let’s consider each one:

Are you a person who can be relied on? As human beings we are not complete entities. We need each other—so Allah has surrounded us with people who need us and people we need. It’s not survival of the fittest. We expect that others support us, as they expect us to support them. Whoever said life is give and take was absolutely right. That’s why we are very hurt, when we are let down by others. Real love involves giving, not just taking. If you say you love a person and you never give anything but lip service then you don’t really love that person. Ali Bin Abi Taleb said, “Your best friend is the one who is with you at all times, even when you are apart. He might harm himself to benefit you. He partakes in your worries, and is ready to be scattered so that you can be whole.”

So, let’s say for instance that you have a friend whose shy and withdrawn, and it is preventing him from communicating and sharing his thoughts with others. What is more is that his grades are suffering in public speaking. Once you realize this you turn to Allah and promise Him that you will help your friend overcome this negative shyness that is preventing him from contributing with his knowledge. So, you help you friend for the sake of Allah. This is love for the sake of Allah.

I used to be such a shy person among sisters that oftentimes I would not do the right thing out of shyness like saying “Assalaam Alaikum” when I would come to the Masjed and see other sisters gathered together.  I would pray my Tahiyat Al Masjed and sit down and wait for others to initiate greetings or conversations with me. Even then I would hold back. One day, I saw a sister who frequented the Masjed and was amazed by her. She would come in, pray Tahiyat Al Masjed and then start her, “ Assalaam Alaikum” rounds to  every sister in the Masjed—including the kids, including those babies who couldn’t speak but who would respond with smiled. She inspired me without knowing it. I felt fortunate to be around her; I wanted to be like her. I told myself, “Why are you letting this shyness come between you and your sisters in Islam. Open up to them.” And I did, and I found out that when I did Allah opened up their hearts to me. But I had to take that first step. For cccAllah had planned for me to meet so many souls that he chose for me in the realm of the souls but it would only happen when I was ready to break those walls that I had set up between myself and them.

I am reminded of the story of a man who rushed home one day to fetch some money for a friend who’d asked him for a loan. After he gave it to his friend, he walked back home with tears in his eyes. His wife asked him, “Why are you crying? Did you need the money?” He said, “No I am crying at my brother in faith’s state of affairs. How could I not have known what he was going through? If I had, I would have offered my help before he was compelled to ask for it.” This brother was lamenting the fact that he saw his friend “sighing” but he never asked him “What’s up?” He saw him distracted and staring in the distance yet never bothered to inquire about his situation. How many times have we done the same in the name of “I don’t want to invade other peoples’ privacy”. He was crying, because he was not there to prevent his brother in Islam from going through all those struggles that culminated in him holding out his hand to others and asking for a loan.

Are you patient with others, regardless of whether they are with you? That’s the second quality that you need to have if you love for the sake of Allah.   Oftentimes we look for comfort in our relationships with others. We want to make our contact with each other as painless as possible—or we get all flustered and enraged etc. We have to be patient—Allah (SWT) is patient with us, and our Prophet (saw) was so with everyone he came into contact with. A sister once has a friend whom she loved so much. She showed her much affection; she would text message her poetry that was inspired by their friendship. Whenever she would see her she would run to greet her. But her friend, on the other hand, did not show the same affection towards her. This nagged at the sister. But Allah [SWT] wanted to show her that this was indeed a true friend who loved her for the sake of Allah, even though she didn’t show it as often.  One day it so happened that this sister fell ill and was hospitalized.   Her friend took a whole week off from work to stay with her in the hospital. What a friend—a friend in need is a friend indeed!  So make sure you are patient with your friends and do you rush to judgment about them. Focus on their 100 good qualities and overlook the 1 or 2 bad ones.

The third characteristic is purity of the heart.  A pure heart Allah gladly receives on the day of judgment. So, let’s not have hearts with low capacity seating—but let’s have ones that have unlimited capacity seating for our fellow Muslims

You should not be selfish in your friendship. Don’t be too slow to accept apologies. Don’t compose negative scenarios from a word, or gesture. Don’t build twin towers of doubt, out of a word you heard from a friend. Allah wants you to be like Saeed Ibn Al Musayeb “ Do not doubt in a word that came from your brother, especially when you can possibly find a good explanation/interpretation.”  Al Shafi’i said, “He is not your friend whom you have to beg for forgiveness.” You should be such a friend who makes dua for her friend in her absence—and in turn your friend in faith will not make dua for you. Be a friend whom others hold special in their heart, so special that in your absences they are compelled to make dua for you. For remember Allah [SWT] has a special angel waiting to say “Ameen” to whoever makes dua for their sister/ brother in Islam in their absence.   Remember that Allah does not love a person who deserts his sister or brother in faith, “Allah forgives every Muslim except for those who are deserting each other. . .” “. . . and the best of them is the one who initiates salaam.” Why is he or she the best? Because he/she were the first to re-open the lines of communication; that person has overcome him/herself’s pride solely to please Allah [SWT].Look at this beautiful hadith : “The best Mu’mins are those who are best in their akhlaaq, those whose shoulders’ are trodden over.” What does this mean? It is an expression in Arabic meaning that they are humble. The Prophet [saw] said they are those who are friendly and respond to friendliness, meaning they achieve “ulfa”. Allah loves pure hearts, because it is what makes a person exceptional.

I want you all today to send out beautiful messages [text, emails, voicemails etc] to those whom you love for the sake of Allah. Make sure you search for those long lost friends. Let’s work towards achieving that shade on the day when there will be no shade but that of Allah, and let’s aspire to be raised on pulpits of light in the Hereafter by humbling ourselves to others in this life.

To listen to the Circle of Light Halqa instead Part 1 and Part 2

 

Most Beloved Deed to Allah [Day 9] August 27, 2011

Filed under: Ramadhan Corner — lamyaalmas @ 5:36 pm

We wander among and co-exist with Allah’s creations while they praise and humble themselves to Him [SWT]: “Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “’Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion.’ They said, ‘We have come willingly.’” [41:11] Yes, we don’t hear their praise with our own ears, but we do with our hearts that are saturated with Allah’s words,

The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allah] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving. [17:44]

They love Him [SWT] no doubt, but we want to love Him too and for that reason we’re seeking out the most beloved deeds to Him [SWT] and making them permanent parts of our life. So, let’s start with another deed today.

Did those close to you offer themselves as “your rock, your shield, your sword” as the saying goes? But when you were in need did you fail to call upon them? Did they reproach you for not calling on them for help? Did you disappoint them that way? To Allah [SWT] are ascribed the best of examples. The Prophet (saw) said, “There is nothing more honorable to Allah than supplication.” [Tirmidhi] Imagine in the eyes of Allah it is “honorable” to beg Him [SWT], whereas begging in our social strata is humiliating. It means that with Allah [SWT] you have reached the highest status of worship, whereas on a socioeconomic level you have reached rock bottom.

You’re probably going to say, “Here’s another talk about Dua.” Singing, “Boooooooooring!’ Well, I’ll try and make this one a fresh perspective on the topic as much as possible, and if I fail then please take it as a reminder. Fact is, there are among us those who invoke Allah often, but there are among us those who forget. And even then there are those who make dua from the depths of their hearts, but others do so with distracted hearts. Some of us after prayer just walk away abandoning a golden opportunity for their dua to be accepted, whereas others are very conscientious of these times and make a point of exposing themselves to them. So, as you can see as far as dua is concerned we come in an assortment of varieties. Question is: what is the state that Allah [SWT] wants to see us in during Dua?

Let’s put things into perspective. What are you doing in Dua? Simply put, you are turning to Allah [SWT] with this attitude, “O Allah! I am in need! HELP ME!” Allah [SWT] created us imperfect so that we need Him [SWT]. We are needy across the board—whether it is for support, emotion, affection, knowledge, guidance etc. You name it, we need it. All of us are born with absolutely nothing. Nada! Zilch! Zero! Absolutely nothing that would get us through life without the provision of Allah [SWT]. We arrive in need from day one. Who may I ask do you think provided for you? Your parents? Think again, because your parents were put in place by Allah [SWT]; the love for you—a total stranger by the way who takes and does not give—instilled in their hearts was from Allah [SWT]. How many children are abandoned by their parents in this world? Look up the statistics; even those who are abandoned Allah [SWT] provides for them. Plus Allah [SWT] provided your parents so they could provide for you; just listen to their stories of how despite financial hardships when you came along things just fell into place. Do you think it’s sheer luck? Nothing is sheer luck, it’s all ordained and decreed by your Provider. And this is when you did not know how to ask. Now imagine when you do ask!

So, since we’re created in this state of “need”, we have one of two options. We either ask each other or we ask our Creator [SWT]. Just look around you at those who ask others for their needs. How they rely on them? How they are ready to crawl on all fours and beg and despair if they are denied? For in 100% of the cases, the person being asked undoubtedly reaches the point of being ‘fed up’. That of course in addition to their  “limited” resources being depleted or their fear that they will. Compare that to Allah [SWT] who never is fed up of us asking, contrary to the fact He [SWT] asked our Prophet (saw) to tell us: “Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything.” [Tirmidhi] As for His [SWT] resources, don’t worry they are never depleted:

. . . If the first of you and the last of you, the Jinn of you and the men of you, were to stand one side [that is in unison] and ask Me. I will give each one of you what you ask and still this will not decrease from My Majesty. This will not decrease from My Majesty as if you dip a needle into the water. [Muslim]

So, let me weigh our options here? Who do we ask, the one who is in need himself? Whose resources have the potential to be depleted? Will get fed up of us asking? Will deny us and possibly humiliate us? Will definitely not be available for our every whim?  Or should we ask He [SWT] who is the exact opposite? The answer is clear people, very clear. So, how is it that as Muslims some of us don’t invoke Allah [SWT]? How is it that He [SWT] is our last resort? How is it that it is an arduous task for many of us to remember when it was the last time that we raised our hands and begged Allah [SWT] for something? Since “Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything”, I wonder how many of us He is angry at. Just imagine this situation: someone goes through so much suffering for something they need, when help was right around the corner. It’s like, “Hello! Help is right here!” That’s what Allah [SWT] is telling us: “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’” [40:60] You don’t need to install a device, sign up for internet or wireless connection, or pay a monthly fee. It’s absolutely free! It comes with a 100% guarantee too that if  you “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” [40:60] There are daily specials too such as between Adhan and Iqama, in every Sajdah, after every Salah, in the last third of the night. Then there are monthly and annual specials.  You get the drift.

Now, let’s look at this beautiful Qudisi hadith that I am sure you have heard so many times before. Let’s look at it closely: “O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you.” So, we wander off easily; we stray. We need guidance. When we’re kids our parents realize this and keep us on  tight leashes—figuratively speaking. They pass on the guidance of Allah [SWT] they received through the Quran and Sunnah. When we are alone we still need Allah’s guidance, because we can wander off again.  We’re constantly in need of Allah’s guidance, whether we are young or old.  Allah [SWT] continues: “O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you.” Now which one of you was born with 2 pockets full of money for food? Which one of you has a skill or is intelligent and does not need opportunity or venue provided  by Allah [SWT] where you can put them to action? Believe me without an opportunity or venue, you’re mental and manual assets are worthless. So, turn to Him and say, “Ya Rab!” There’s more. Allah continues: “O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you.” We’re born naked and cold—I would think that’s partly why we’re crying on arrival. Unfortunately, in the land of plenty we can’t imagine not having closets full of clothes that we don’t wear, but just a quick survey around the globe makes you realize what a blessing it is to be clothed, covered and protected from the elements. We’re such a pitiful sight without Allah [SWT]. We’re  naked, hungry, penniless, and strays. If that isn’t enough, we err  non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whoever said, “To Err is Human” was absolutely right. Without Allah’s guidance and forgiveness we’re one big mistake after another, and so Allah [SWT] reminds us, “O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you.” If you get off your high horse and realize that you are in need, and it is only Allah [SWT] who can provide  you are ready to be a servant of Allah [SWT] and worship Him [SWT] alone. He says, “seek guidance of Me”, “seek food of Me”, “seek clothing of Me”, and “seek forgiveness of Me”. He is offering His services, free of charge. He [SWT] doesn’t need us, we need Him [SWT]. Plus, He [SWT] absolutely enjoys  giving us, hence He mandates that we ask Him [SWT].  This is dua, one of the most beloved deeds to Allah [SWT].

Now that we have established that dua is a beloved deed to Allah [SWT] let’s contemplate on why Allah [SWT] loves dua. Dua symbolizes ‘worship’—it is that picture perfect pose in which we see a visible connection between a worshipper and his Creator; that moment when the earth meets the heavens. That time when you graduate from the school of life with both the dignified title and job description of the Servant of Allah. It was the title of Muhammad (saw) for Allah (SWT) says in Surat Al Israa, “Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” [1] In Surat Al Kahf, “[All] praise is [due] to Allah, who has sent down upon His Servant the Book and has not made therein any deviance.” [1] Dua is the barometer that measures your servitude to Allah [SWT] for the Prophet (saw) said, “Dua is worship.” If dua is not part of your life then it’s time to re-evaluate what you are in relation to Allah [SWT]. Do you know why Dua is equated with worship? Scholars say it is because a servant’s qualities are humbleness, humility, poverty because he relies on what his master gives him, ignorance except for that knowledge that his master bestows on him. You are not allowed to be in this submissive state in relation to other humans. Contraire! With fellow humans you are a dignified human being who does not beg. But towards Allah [SWT] you’re a totally different person, that dignity is transformed into humility, and begging is the absolute best way to ask. This point is made clearer if we look at the dua of Al Istikhara when we say,

O Allah! I seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power [and Might] and I ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and I do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, You have knowledge of the unseen.

Such is the state of dua that you should be in physically, mentally, spiritually. Say it like you mean it! Allah [SWT] loves this state so much that He [SWT] had our Prophet (saw) convey to us a hadith that just melts your heart, “Allah will not stop answering your duas, till you get bored and tired of asking.”   So, let’s be servants of Allah [SWT] every day. Not just when we are going through difficult times. Let’s attain this close relationship with Allah [SWT], as did our Prophet (saw) and those who followed in his footsteps.

Our Prophet (saw) taught us how to turn to Allah in dua. He taught us that “dua pose”—not necessarily just for the sake of our dua to be accepted but the way Allah [SWT] wants to see us. That will make Him happy and pleased with us. First, is that you invoke Allah [SWT] with a posture that screams “I am in need.” Has someone ever called you asking for your help and you set up an appointment with them? Then they arrive a couple of hours late to the appointment. When they finally arrive they’re answering their phone; maybe even checking the time every five minutes. It’s obvious they aren’t in need. They’re in that state that the Prophet (saw) describes in this hadith, “Know that Allah does not answer supplication from a heedless and distracted heart.” So imagine a person making dua to Allah, but his eyes are looking around at passersby. He’s greeting people left and right. His body language says, “There’s no rush! There’s no urgency whatsoever!” Allah [SWT] says, “Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember.” [27:62] As Imam Ibn Hanbal said, “Invoke Allah as if you are drowning in a turbulent sea, holding on to a piece of wood yelling ‘Ya Rab!’” This is the kind of dua that Allah [SWT] loves. Are you in need? I am sure you are. Look closely. I personally have all that a woman could want and more, except for one thing and that is a child to call me “Mama.” Look closely, because when you realize you are in need, you will make the dua of the needy. Allah [SWT] says, “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.” [2:186] In the tafseer of this ayah scholars of tafseer say that Allah is close to us all, but Allah [SWT] is especially close to a person who invokes Him [SWT]. Imagine that you call upon Him [SWT] and He responds to your call but finds you looking at something else. Finds your heart occupied with something else. Your mind distracted by something else. Although your words are spot on, your body language is just not cooperating. Your words and body posture are not in synch. That’s why the “dua posture” with your hands raised and cupped with you hunched over them helps place you in that dua mood.

Another tip to invoke Allah as a person in need is that you imagine what your life would be like if your dua is not accepted.    Maybe you’re asking Allah to rid you of a bad quality in you, like losing your temper for the smallest of matters. Imagine what your life would be like if Allah [SWT] does not cure you from this bad quality—you could lose your job, cause your loved ones to leave you, end up divorced, maybe even in jail. I always imagine if Allah had not guided me to Islam? Did not cause us me to concentrate in Salat? Wake up for Fajr or Qiyam Al Layl? Did not cause me to enjoy fasting in Ramadan? That He did not cause me to enjoy wearing Hijab? I imagine meeting Allah having lived my life in such a state that worship was heavy on my heart and body? Contemplating such issues makes you realize how much in dire need we really are. There’s is no doubt He [SWT] is near but the question is are we?

Remember also, that Allah [SWT] wants you to supplicate certain that He will respond. This is the essence of dua. Allah [SWT] looks into the depths of your heart during dua as the Prophet (saw) says, “‎Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds.” (Muslim) How is it possible that after Allah [SWT] says this to you that you have traces of doubt: “I will give each one of you what you ask and still this will not decrease from My Majesty. This will not decrease from My Majesty as if you dip a needle into the water.”

Leave those traces of doubt for when you ask humans who are subject to the winds of change. Allah [SWT] controls those winds of change, He is not subject to them . He [SWT] does not need them. Allah [SWT] says “His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [36:82] He [SWT] gives with a word, and deprives with a word. How can you doubt? Would you like for Allah [SWT] to look in your heart and find you worried that He [SWT] can’t give you what you’re asking for? Or would you like Allah [SWT] to look in your heart and find you questioning whether you deserve it or not? Happens to the best of us, the latter that is. Sufyan Ibn ‘Uyaynah says,

Do not doubt that Allah will not respond to your dua because of an evil quality you know about yourself. For Allah has responded to the dua of one who is more evil than you, Iblis. He said, ‘Reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.’ And Allah said, ‘Indeed, you are of those reprieved.’”

Iblis needed and Allah [SWT] responded, and so will He you. If He [SWT] doesn’t respond in the way that you expected, He has removes a calamity that would have come your way. Or He [SWT} will compensates you on the Day of Judgment. Make the dua of Prophet Zakariyyah (as) who came to the realization that his and his wife’s old age was no impediment to Allah’s will to grant them a child. Remember,

He said: My Lord! surely my bones are weakened and my head flares with hoariness, and, my Lord! I have never been unsuccessful in my prayer to Thee: I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren. Oh, give me from Thy presence a successor. [19:4-5]

And surely in another Surah comes the response,

At that, Zekariyyah called upon his Lord, saying, ‘My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.’ So the angels called him while he was standing in prayer in the chamber, ‘Indeed, Allah gives you good tidings of Yahya, confirming a word from Allah and a prophet from among the righteous.’ [3:38-39]

So, let’s love Allah [SWT] by invoking Him for all our needs with certainty that nothing is beyond His reach. To Him not even the sky is the limit. Remember me in your duas everybody!