February 18, 2011
“No amount of worrying can change the future. Go easy on yourself, for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s decree. If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from you it cannot flee.” -Umar Ibn al-Khattab
August 11, 2010
In the month of Ramadaan it is very important that we spend a few moments reflecting on the wisdoms and lessons that we can learn from this month of fasting.
Unfortunately, many Muslims come in to this month and they are as a companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Let it not be that the day that you fast and the day that you break fast be equal.” Meaning, one’s behaviour, attitude and outlook are the same whether one fasts or not, i.e. fasting has no effect upon that person. This is why we need to reflect on some of these lessons.
LESSON 1: Gaining Taqwaa
Allaah legislated fasting for gaining taqwaa, “O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed upon you as it has been prescribed upon those before you, so that you may attain taqwaa.” (meaning of SoraatulBaqarah (2):183) Taqwaa in this case means to make a shield between oneself and Allaah’s anger and Hellfire. So we should ask ourselves, when we break our fasts, ‘Has this fasting day made us fear Allaah more? Has it resulted that we want to protect ourselves from the hellfire or not?
LESSON 2: Drawing closer to Allaah
This is achieved by reciting and reflecting on Al-Qur’aan during night and day, attending the taraaweeh prayers, remembering Allaah, sitting in circles of knowledge and, for those who can, making `umrah. Also for those who can, making I`tikaaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadaan, so as to leave all worldly pursuits and seclude oneself in a masjid just thinking of Allaah, so as to bring oneself closer to Allaah (SWT). When one sins, one feels distant from Allaah. That is why one might find it heard to read the Qur’aan and come to the masjid. However, the obedient worshipper feels closer to Allaah and wants to worship Allaah more, because he is not shy from his sins.
LESSON 3: Acquiring patience and strong will
Allaah has mentioned patience more than seventy times in the Qur’aan and has commanded patience in more than sixteen ways in His Book. So when one fasts, and gives up one’s food and drink, and one’s marital sexual relations for those hours, one learns restraint and patience. This Ummah needs man and women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the Sunnah and the Book of Allah and not waver in front of the enemies of Allaah. We do not need emotional people, who just raise slogans and shout, but when the time comes to stand upon something firm, they cannot do so, they waver.
LESSON 4: Striving for Ihsaan (righteousness and sincerity) and staying away from riyaa’ (showing off)
Ihsaan means to worship Allaah as if one seeks Him, and even though one does not see Him, He sees all. Hasan al-Basree said, “By Allaah, in the last twenty years, I have not said a word or taken something with my hand or refrained to take something with my hand or stepped forth or stepped back, except that I have thought before I have done any action, ‘Does Allaah love this action? Is Allaah pleased with this action?’ So when one is fasting, one should gain this quality of watching oneself and also staying away from riyaa’ (showing off). That is why Allah said in a hadeeth qudsee, “Fasting is for Me and I reward it.” (al-Bukhaaree) Allaah singles out fasting from all other types of worship saying, “Fasting is for Me”, because no one knows whether you are fasting or not, except Allaah. For example, when one is praying or giving charity or making tawaaaf, one can be seen by the people, so one might do the action seeking the praise of the people. Sufyaan ath-Thawree used to spend the nights and the days crying and the people used to ask him, “Why do you cry, is it due to the fear of Allaah? He said, ‘No.’ They said, “Is it due to the fear of the Hellfire?” He said, ‘No. It is not the fear of Hellfire that makes me cry, what makes me cry is that I have been worshipping Allaah all these years and doing scholarly teaching, and I am not certain that my intentions are purely for Allaah.’”
LESSON 5: Refinement of manners, especially those related totruthfulness and discharging trusts.
The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, “Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allaah (SWT) has no need that he should heave his food and drink.” (al-Bukhaaree) What we learn from this, is that we must pay attention to the purification of our manners. The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, “was sent to perfect good manners.” (Maalik) So we must check ourselves, are we following the behaviour of the Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him)? For example: Do we give salaam to those we don’t know and those we do know? Do we follow the manners of Islaam, by telling the truth and only telling the truth? Are we sincere? Are we merciful to the creation?
LESSON 6: Recognizing that one can change for the better
The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, “Every son of Adam sins and the best of the sinners are those whorepent.” (Ibn Maajah) Allaah provides many opportunities to repent to Him and seek His forgiveness. If one was disobedient they can become obedient.
LESSON 7: Being more charitable
Ibn `Abaas said, “The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) was the most charitable amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadaan when Jibreel used to meet him on every night of Ramadaan till the end of the month…” (al-Bukhaaree) The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, “He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, without nothing being reduced from the fasting person’s reward.” (at-Tirmidhee)
LESSON 8: Sensing the unity of the Muslims
The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, “…Those of you who will live after me will see many differences. Then you must cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khaleefahs. Hold fast to it and stick to it.” (Aboo Daawood) In this month we sense that there is a possibility for unity, because we all fast together, we break fast together, we all worship Allah together, and we pray Salaatul-`Eid together. Therefore we sense that the unity of Muslims is possible. It is possible for Muslims to be a single body, but this will only be achieved when obedience is only to Allaah and His Messenger.
LESSON 9: Learning discipline
The Prophet (ma Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) made us adhere to discipline and strictness, strictness that does not lead to fanaticism or going outside the bounds that Allaah has laid down. One cannot knowingly break the fast before the sunset, as this will not be accepted by Allaah. Muslims should learn to be very strict in their lives, because they are people of an important message, which they mold their lives around.
LESSON 10: Teaching the young to worship Allaah
It was the practice of the people of Madeenah, that during the fast of `Aashooraa (which is now a recommended fast of one day) to get their children to fast with them. When the children would cry of hunger and thirst, their parents would distract their attention by giving them some sort of toy to play with. The children would break their fast with their parents. (as mentioned in al-Bukhaaree).
So the young should be brought to the masjid and they should pray with their parents, so that they are able to get into the habit of becoming worshippers of Allaah. If one does not encourage children to fast when they are young, they will find it very difficult to fast for thirty days at the age of puberty. This is why the Prophet (may Allah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, “Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them at the age of ten (if they do not pray.” (Haakim)
LESSON 11: Caring for one’s health
Fasting has many medical benefits and it teaches Muslims to take care of their health and too build strong bodies. The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, “A strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone.” (Muslim)
February 4, 2009
The burning of the passion sometimes gets to such a point that…
You don’t know what do with yourself.
No one satisfies you, no one can quench that thirst
No one can gratify that desire for you.
It’s when you have reached the top rung of the ladder and you don’t know how to climb up anymore, for all you have known is rungs, so how else do you ascend?
That’s when you look up and know what to do.
And now, ladder in your hand, you’re flying.
You just are- don’t ask why.
Don’t ask anything.
Unbelievable, you don’t know your own competency any longer?
What is this?
You’ve reached the unknown,
burning hits your limbs, passions courses your very blood,
You Love with water flowing from falls and fountains…
You can’t wait to quench your thirst any longer.
He is so beautiful you don’t know anything ugly.
He is so majestic; radiant you don’t see anything else.
He is so pure you don’t think of anything else.
He is the object of your every desire,
You burn for Him like nothing else,
You burn so badly you no longer know what do with yourself.
Precisely, it is then that you let go to Him,
You let go of all but He,
You become utterly poor, utterly weak,
Left at the mercy of that Love.
What do you do now?
Listen for His footsteps, look for His sight,
Taste for his presence, sense only His scent…
He has taken you over completely, in all and every way.
And that is Surrender!
That is annihilation.
That is Love!
November 2, 2008
Subhan’Allah, the beauty of the Beloved spoken from the purity of youth ~
(Taken from hahmed.com)
April 17, 2008
My Lord I ask you for your aid, and my words to lift,
In honour of your greatest treasure and most precious gift
A gift that lit the world and graced the lives of those on earth
And I take this time to say these words in tribute on his birth.
He’s the one who called us to the belief in God the one
And whosoever embraces God has most truly won.
He’s the one who shattered for us the statues we would dread
And how the idols do exist, but only in our head.
He’s the one who showed us that knowledge is our light
And ignorance, the darkness, is the source of our plight.
He’s the one who placed his trust in the use of reason
And to abandon it was, to him, the worst form of treason.
He’s the one who told us that we must discard superstition
And never to adopt our beliefs out of custom and tradition.
He’s the one who God has sent in order to reform
Our moral code for us to live in upright, human, form.
He’s the one who made us see the harms of our sins
And taught us that our blind desires is where it all begins.
He’s the one who broke the chains of slavery to man,
And taught us that we’re all born free, according to God’s plan.
He’s the one who set for us an example of how to be
And taught us how to live in honour, and with human dignity.
He’s the one who dared not judge by blood or by breed,
And taught us that we’re only known by our word and deed.
He’s the one who made us stop fighting against each other,
And taught us that we’re family, and to respect our dear brother.
The Prophet of Mercy and the Messenger of Peace,
He’s Muhammad, God’s beloved, and His Masterpiece!
Falling in Love with the Beloved of Allaah-
some gems from Sheikh Muhammad Ninowy’s visit to Stonybrook.
The Beloved of Allaah!
Adhab of Al-Islaam:
Allaah azawajaal: “I have only created men and jinns to worship me.” (Quran)
Prophet (asalaatu wasalaam): “I have only been sent to perfect good character.”
Islam came to elevate the standard of good character, to elevate the par.
If you are good to those who are good to you, then what good are you?
-that is the minimal requirement of Ihsan, strive to do good to all, no matter how they treat you in return.
Be on the highest level of akhlaaq, this is what distinguishes you from all others; doing more than you’re expected! Rush to build your akhlaaq, the infrastructure of your soul. You can only build from the heart. And if Shaytan destructs your adhab he has hit your core, your backbone. Thus, do not sell your soul, for anything or anyone.
Suratul Imran: Allaah azawajaal has done the mu’mineen the greatest favor of bestowing upon them Muhammad (as). Purifying, illuminating our souls, as well as feeding/nurturing our bodies.
The Prophet asalaatu wasalaam said: “I am a gift of mercy (to all mankind)”
Allaah azawajaal: “You were sent as a mercy to the universe.”
People have slandered against you, and will continue to do so, however, as long as the hearts of the believers beat, you (Muhammad (s)) are in every heartbeat!
The eye will deny the sunshine, not because it’s not there, but because the eyes are blind. The mouths cannot taste the sweet waters, only because of the diseases in their mouths. – Purify yourselves before you can grow close to your Beloved.
Al-Mahmud – the All-Praised. Muhammad- the Praised.
The Mubarak Night of Al Isra wal Miraaj occurred so all the Prophets alaiyhesalaam and the Anbiyaah know who the Beloved (as) is!
– Hazrat Isa alaiheysalaam was waiting for 600 years for the birth of Muhammad (as), giving good tidings to others, all along. Subhan’Allaah!
The whole point of Ibadah is nurturing and reviving your soul, through establishing the everyday adhkaar & awraad.
Our deen, ultimately, is loving Muhammad (as), through which comes Muhabba of one another. Until the Prophet (S) is more important to you than all your loved ones, than you do not truly believe.
-Sayyidina Umar in his humbleness and love around the Nabi (S)- Humility.
On our priority list- where is the Rasul of Allaah (swt)?
Once you have put him as number one, first before all else, then your Imaan will be complete.
Sayyidina Umaar contemplated, “I saw that my need for Rasulullah (S) was greater than my need for myself (because he was the one who taught me darkness to light, changed me into a Muhsin, therefore I love him more than myself)” Ma shaa’ Allaah!
The Nabi (s) is worrying for each of his Ummah, individually. His love for us is that everlasting, every good deed of yours he is pleased with. You send Salaam upon him, he sends it back!
Rasulullah (S) is waiting for us at Al-Kauthar, so that we satisfy our thirst!
My brother’s are those who come after me, not having seen me love me!
– The least we could is try to love him back just as much. By increasing our knowledge of the Sunnah, to the point of attaining Ilm and implementing Sunnah. Then you will surely taste the sweetness of love.
– Eat your date and taste its’ sweetness, out of the sweetness of your love for the original eater of the date!
Through Ziyaarah- you shall taste the sweat of Imaan put into the soil of Makkah & Madinah!
Through Durood- you perfect your awraad as justly and fully as possible, according to the Sunnah, and further polish it off with adhkaar; durood and salawat.
3 ways to Love the Beloved:
1.) Adhab: compassion, mercy, and Ihsan!
3.) Durood: the ones whom are closest to me on the DOJ is the one who has made the
most salawaat/salaam upon me!
-Thauban (ra) was crying and looking ill at one time because he was away from Rasulullah! Subhan’Allaahi wa bihamdihi! Have we ever cried because of our distance from our Rasul (S)?!
– Tazkiyyah and Tahajjud are the best ways to nourish our Nafs, through 1 on 1 time with Allaah azawajaal. – Take practical steps to your change.
– Elevate your Dhikr upon the Rasul (S). Keep increasing, and keep increasing. For this only does good- raises the Rasul (S), elevates him (S), in turn elevating YOU and increasing your Love for him. – We are ordained in the Quraan to make Salawat upon the Prophet (S), this is how important it is.
o Ya Nabi! Ya Rasul! Loving you is Fardh! May you become the love of my heart, the love of my soul!
– At the end of the day all that matters is how happy you have made your Lord azawajaal and how close you have grown to your Rasul (S).
– Through increased Durood and knowledge of the Sunnah comes Amaal from Ilm. The point of learning is only, and ONLY to practice. You are only burdening your back if you compile Ilm.
– And the Adhab of Ilm is to learn it extensively and excel it. You are deprived if you don’t know the depth of each Hadith!
– Rumi rahimullah, seeked Shamsi Tabrizi post scholarship, for Shams was a scholar of the soul . Shams then took all of Rumi’s writings and books and threw them into the fire. Rumi hurriedly rushed to take them out of the fire so they wouldn’t burn, and Shams with one sweep of his arm brushed them out of the fire without a mark. When Rumi realized this man was not just another, Shams asked him, what good are your books if they are going to be a barrier to your learning? – It’s about going beyond the words,and letting the ink change your heart, and if it can’t do that, then they are useless!
– Ilm of the Sunnah really is all about helping you arrive at Allaah azawajaal, for your first and last objective is the pleasure of Allaah azawajaal. Salaat, and all other forms of Ibadah is a means to all of that; thus every act of servitude must be enjoyed, respected, understood, loved! If you accomplish this, you have done it well. Salaat- Sawm- Zakah must fulfill their purposes, their means, not only their ends!
– His Pleasure is the only Goal, the Gold of Existence. You have only Him and noone else. And within every hardship and blessing, you have Only Him.
– His Existence is present within everything, manifested in ALL-
o Al- Zahir- Apparent.
– Seize your imagination- your Khulq is perfect, but as a human being, your imperfect, in constant NEED. & of all multiplicities to exist- HE is not in NEED. Allaah azawajaal does not look at your shapes and forms but He only looks into your hearts, and He is the only one able to.
– You are born crying, and the people around you are laughing and smiling. When you die, people will be crying, so make sure you are the one smiling! And on your days here, what is the happiest day on Earth? The very day forgiveness of your soul is granted, and it is once again revived! Do not take your soul lightly, don’t let it sleep, for eventually it will permanently die. When you wake up everyday, really WAKE UP, for if you don’t, you will wake up in your grave and there, in the barzakh, your only companions will be your deeds.
– He sends upon them Bounties, and through them the Highest Bounty, from amongst them, the Nafees, most Purified, in Adhaab, in Sabr, in Aql ! In his efforts, in his strength, most merciful, purified in body and soul, purified from sins and mistakes.
– Hukm- leadership, and Hikm- wisdom, was perfect. Allaah azawajaal opened the eyes of the blind through the Beloved, hearts that were closed, ears that were deaf!
– Glorification of Rasulullah (S)-
o Al-Islaam distinguishes Creator from Creation- after that, what charecteristic can you give the Prophet (S) that he does not deserve?
§ Siratullah, Kitabullah, Habeebullah,Nuurullah,Deenullah, Siddiq, Sadiq, Mussadiq- surpassed all Prophets in everything!
– Allah azawajaal told us to glorify Him!
o The words of the poets could not even suffice his beauty.
– Whoever is blind in this Dunya is even more blind in the Akhiraah.
– May Allaah azawajaal elevate the Nuur of our Hearts, our Light!
o A sign of darkness, ultimate bankruptcy is when you feel too much of a need for people. Your only comfort zone should be in solitude with Allaah (swt). Make sure you feel this anticipation everyday and at the end of everyday.
– Do your part for the creation, the leave them to the Creator, and spend time with Allaah! Detach from creation, people and dunya, and attach to the Creator!
-When your time with Allaah goes through its’ levels, you begin to see with a greater, more perceptive eye.
– Musaa (as) was faced with Khidr (Wali/Nabi) of Allaah, as a teacher of Sabr. Khidr said he (as) didn’t have enough of it, and sent him away. Although, Musaa (as) was compelled to object three times. Allaah azawajaal had ordained Musaa (as) to go learn from Khidr, and he (as) was obliged to object for it went against his Shariaa.
– Shows us the magnificence of His creation..
April 12, 2008
You have come to know some of the ways while we have been discussing various types of sacrifices. There are, how ever, certain fundamental inner resources which need to be emphasized and remembered, which you must try to generate within yourselves.
But first let us recapitulate certain basic principles on which these resources depend.
One, a sacrifice is a sacrifice only when you give up something which you love or value or desire. You can give it up only for the sake of something which you love more or value and desire more, or which is more important or urgent to you. Two, whatever the outer form of sacrifice – time, wealth, life, likes and dislikes, opinions – what you really sacrifice is the love and value you attach to it, and not the form. Three, you will therefore become more willing and pre pared to offer a sacrifice in the way of Allah as your love for Allah and His rewards increases in depth, intensity and strength and as the value you attach to the objects of sacrifice diminishes in your sight.
Love for Allah
Thus love lies at the root of everything. You can therefore realize what you need most to help you gain the inner strength necessary for offering sacrifices. It is your love for Allah. How much do you love him? Do you love Him more than everything else?
That is why the Qur’an says: ‘The [true] believers love God more than all else’ (al-Baqarah 2:165). That is why it confronts every Muslim with one simple but profound question: Whom do you love more? Allah, His Messenger and Jihad in His way, or fathers, sons, wives, brothers, wealth, houses, commerce, careers? (al-Tawbah 9: 24).
Only with such love for Allah will sacrifice turn into an inner urge,rather than remaining a motion of compliance with an external exhortation. Then you will derive the true delight and pleasure in fulfilling the demands of Iman. Remember: there are two types of Iman. One remains on our lips and that is the Iman which becomes a burden to us. There is another Iman which penetrates into the heart that is the Iman which becomes a pleasure, a delight, a joy. Once you have this Iman, if you are required to give time, money, life or sacrifice,likes and dislikes, opinions, you do it gladly. The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said: ‘There are three things, only the one who has them will taste the sweetness of Iman: [first of them is] that Allah and His Messenger he loves more than any other thing beside them . . .’ (Bukhari, Muslim).
How to attain love for Allah which exceeds every other love? There are not, and cannot be, any precise formula for this purpose. But a few things will help. And each in turn will become a rich inner resource you will need to fulfill the demands of sacrificing.
Remember how He has created you, provided you with everything you need; how infinitely Merciful He is. Look at your existence, look at the universe around you, and everywhere you will see His mercy and care, His wisdom and majesty. As you reflect and ponder over ‘His signs’, which are everywhere, your love for Him will increase.
Part of remembering Him is to turn to Him and seek His help in loving Him. The Prophet, blessings and peace be On him, has taught us many ways of doing so. Two are:
I ask of Thee, Allah, Thy love, love of those who love Thee, and the (doing of) deeds which may bring Thy love to me. Make my love for Thee greater than my love for myself, for my wealth, for my family, for cold water1 (Tirmidhi, Muslim).
Allah, make Thy love greater than every other love, Thy fear greater than every other fear. Make my eagerness to meet Thee cut across all my worldly desires. Place my pleasure in worshipping Thee while Thou gives the worldly their pleasure in this world.
Remembering Him as often as you can is essential and fundamental. It will help you not only to attain love, but all other resources you need to develop your spirit and capacity of sacrifice: mindful of living in His presence, attaching real value to meeting Him and receiving His rewards, understanding the worth and place of this-worldly life, grateful and humble before Him, fearful of never having done enough, prepared and willing to obey His commands.
Living in His Presence
Live as if you are in His presence. Remember that ‘He is with you wherever you may be’ (al-Hadid 57:4). When you are called upon to make a sacrifice, or you prepare to make it of your own accord, remember that you are before His eyes. That is what He asks us to be mindful of: ‘Surely you are before Our eyes’ (al-Tur 52:48).
Coupled with your conviction that whatever you are sacrificing belongs to the One who is seeing you, and His reward would be manifold and eternal, this should give you some measure of that inner urge and strength essential to you.
This consciousness of being in His presence, of His Eyes being upon us, of Him listening to us, of doing our duty as our Master is with us, praising us generously, rewarding us kindly, is a prime source for creating the spirit of sacrifice. This also creates trust in Him, because once you know that you are with Him, you can entrust all your affairs to Him.
Every one of us has to die (al-Imran 3:185). Death is not the end of everything, it is only a transition into the next phase. In that phase we will stand face to face with Allah.
None of us likes to die; it is only human. But die we must, and only after death will the doors open to eternal life and blessings. If you understand the nature and reality of this-worldly life, if you know that you can receive your fair wages only upon meeting Allah, then you will develop two feelings. One, a desire to meet Him, however you may fear Him on account of your own misdeeds. Two, the preparedness to sacrifice everything that belongs to this-world for what you will earn in reward in the Hereafter.
One of the du’as the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, used to make says:
Allah! Grant me the delight of looking at Thy noble face and a longing to meet Thee (Nasa’i, Ahmad, Hakim).
Grateful and Humble
Whatever the nature of sacrifice, and whether big or small tangible or intangible, offer it in gratitude and humility. It so often happens that one begins to get weary and tired of giving in the way of Allah. One, then, begins to say, ‘We have already spent so much time; we have already given so much money; how much more shall we give?; we have already made so many sacrifices; what else is required of us?’ This will happen only if you are making sacrifices not to please Allah alone; but then you are motivated by something else. Or, when you do not realize that you should indeed be grateful to Him for every opportunity you get to offer some sacrifice. Also offer every sacrifice in all humility.
Let us be very clear that whatever things you sacrifice, you do not give it to some person, nor to some organization. Nor do you give it to Allah, though He is Merciful and Generous enough to say that whatever you give is a loan to Him, which shall be repaid manifold. You give everything to yourselves. Does one ever get tired of giving more and more to himself?
Now this is not selfishness. It only means that we believe that our ultimate prosperity lies in submission to the will of Allah. Through sacrifice we seek our betterment in this life and we desire a successful, eternal life in the Hereafter. At the same time, every sacrifice we make, everything we give in the way of Allah, makes our community stronger.
Therefore be grateful to Allah for having given you the opportunity to sacrifice, for having called upon you to serve Him, for having blessed you with the ability to offer something in His way. Things might have been otherwise. We might have been left wandering astray: we might not have been given the opportunity to sacrifice wealth and thus reap eternal reward. You should therefore give every sacrifice in the spirit of gratitude. To Him you should look for acceptance.
And also humility. You should never have the feeling of having done enough. Once the disease creeps into your heart that you have done enough, then all is lost. You should always think that whatever sacrifice you may offer, it is still nothing compared to the obligations you have to discharge towards Allah.
Being fearful of never having given away enough is very fundamental to your sacrifice. The Qur’an says: ‘They give what they give, but their hearts tremble’ (al-Mu’minun 23:60).
The primary motivating force that drives you to make sacrifices must lie inside your own self. The urge should come from within The roots must lie deep in heart and soul. Neither group approval, nor conformity, nor organizational discipline, nor any other external pressure, should provide the compulsion to come forward with your sacrifice. Each one of them is important and has an important role to play in shaping our conduct. But if sacrifices are offered for any reason other than Allah’s pleasure, it would be extremely difficult to offer large sacrifices, or offer them continually, under all circumstances. The will and spirit to sacrifice must be internalized.
Choice to sacrifice should be made willingly. This means that you should, by your own choice, come forward to offer whatever you can to secure Allah’s pleasure. Your will should harmonize with His will.
This does not mean that one should not feel any pain or discomfort while making a sacrifice. Once you give up your love or your desire or your value, to feel pain is only human. Indeed, if you feel no pain in giving up something, that giving up may not be worth being called a sacrifice. You are throwing away something which is of no value to you. Rather, the greater the pain, the greater the worth of the sacrifice. But pain ought to be followed by contentment; contentment for having given up something you considered valuable for Allah’s pleasure which is really the most valuable, for having willingly borne pain for the sake of your love for Allah which supersedes every other love.
Two Basic Aids
We have been given two basic aids to help us develop all those inner resources which I have put before you. I can only mention them in passing, for each deserves to be treated in detail in its own right.
O Believers! Seek help with Sabr and Salat (al-Baqarah 2:153).
What is Salat? Salat of course is a ritual worship. It consists of certain physical postures. It also consists of certain words which we utter from beginning to end. But the whole purpose of Salat is to remember and to be conscious of Allah. This is what the Qur’an very clearly states: ‘Establish Prayer to remember Me’ (Ta Ha 20:14).
What is sabr? It is very comprehensive in meaning. Literally sabr means to bind and restrain. In the Qur’an it encompasses qualities as wide as restraint and resolve, patience and the will to sacrifice, discipline and steadfastness. It binds you to your pledge to Allah, to your brothers, to your good in the Hereafter.
Hold on to Salat and sabr and you will gain the strength you need to offer sacrifices.
Let us, finally, look at two models of sacrifice.
One is Ibrahim: He was tried and tested in every conceivable way. His father, his family, the priestly and political powers all were opposed to Him. He forsook them. He was thrown in the fire. He was banished from his home. He wandered through deserts and forests. And, ultimately, he put the knife on the throat of his son.
This was perhaps the most difficult thing to do. It involved not only the sacrifice of a beloved son; it asked for the sacrifice of a recognized basic human ethics. Yet, in final analysis, all ethics and morality are rooted in God’s Will. Pleasing Him is the ultimate criterion. But, of course, only a Messenger in direct communication with God can be in a position to override an ethics laid down by God and Him this extreme sacrifice. Each one of us, however, may at times, have to suspend his ‘personal’ ethical judgement in the face of a clear injunction from Allah.
Only after offering all these sacrifices, and the ultimate sacrifice, was Ibrahim proclaimed as the ‘leader of mankind’.
And when his Lord tested Ibrahim by various commandments and he fulfilled all of them, He said, Behold, I make you a leader of mankind (al-Baqarah 2:124).
If we profess and proclaim that we stand for a revival of Islam, where Islam will be the leader of all mankind, then we should, individually and collectively, follow and emulate; that noble model of Ibrahim.
The second model is that of the Prophet Muhammad blessings and peace be on him. Whether it was in the valley of Makkah where thorns were laid in his path or in the valley of Taif where stones were thrown at him, on the battlefield of Uhud where he lost his teeth or in the streets of Madina where his enemies raised all sorts of slanderous campaigns and propaganda against him, he has left for us the best examples of sacrifice. So did his followers and Companions.
Sacrifice, as we saw earlier, primarily means slaughter of an animal. To remember the examples of Ibrahim and Muhammad you sacrifice an animal each year on the day after Hajj; Hajj itself being a worship rite which incorporates the most intense and sustained sacrifices. Here we must remember two important lessons.
One: What finds acceptance with God is not the sacrificial animal, but our willingness and preparedness to sacrifice, His love in our hearts, our obedience to Him. Never lose sight of this root principle; never be content with ‘form’ without spirit; nor,though, ever give up forms.
The flesh of them shall not reach God, neither their blood, but godliness from you shall reach Him (al-Hajj 22:37).
Two: The supreme sacrifice is the sacrifice of life. By giving away your physical life in the way of Allah, you die once. And that is the ultimate sacrifice. But you are required to die every day and every moment as you overcome your deeply-rooted loves, as you offer yourself totally to God, as you obey Him against all opposition from within and without. Thus you lay down your life, not just once, but again and again. That is the supreme sacrifice.
Say: My Prayer and my sacrifice, my living and my dying belong to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds (al-An’am 6:162).
September 12, 2007
Fasting has been prescribed for us by Allah (T).
Must start with Taqwa- piety. Fasting is a shield for us, our weapon is wudhu, fasting is a way of protecting ourselves continually throughout the whole day.
it’s not salaat or the recitation of books, Quran, shahadah, but a continual protection throughout the day.
Fasting is the purification of the body– goes to purify your Heart if you do it rightfully. purifying yourself for the sake of Allah (T).
fasting from all senses- speaking, seeing, hearing, doing. if somebody attacks you verbally remember you are fasting from speech.
wake up in fast- wake up to reality, to Al-Haqqa. before its too late, before you wake up at death.physically wakeing up- getting up in the morning for tahajjud-suhur-fajr. make istighfar @ this time. for about 1 hour from tahajjud to fajr. thinking of only Allah (T), of the purpose He (T) has given us with mercy and love, and how we have to fulfill that purpose only for His (T) pleasure, through love & fear. remember no matter what, everything and anything only for His (T) pleasure, nothing else. Not even for your own benefits, that comes from worship, but the first reason behind that worship is HIS pleasure.
fix your character- through fasting. your Adhaab- your humility, your speech, less speech, less trouble. less pride, less arrogance. afterall, what are you compared to the rest of creation, to what the Creator can do. nothing, nothing but a slave who wants nothing but His Lord’s happiness. A Lord (T) whose mercy and beneficence is unmeasurable.
Heart of Ramadhani Kareem
–your Ultimate Purpose in life- why are WE here? what are we here for? the physical mechanisms that govern our being? in the end its- WHY, not how or what for. when i live in this universe what is my intent? my intent should be subservient to the intent of the Creator. every aspect, every second of my life, is designed by me, so that every intent i make is in accordance to the intent of the Creator. this is the Heart of the purpose. if this is established and peaceful, the heart is at peace, everything is at Peace.
Allah (T) invites us to the Home of Peace, and if you want Peace, where should you go? To the source of Peace. yes or no? the closer you are to the source of water, you will be able to quench your thirst, and provide others with water as well. once your Qalb is @ home, the rest of you cannot escape from the walls of the home, from the walls of safety and warmth.
— attainment of knowledge, and purification of the inner self.
Siyam is what nourishes the Qalb through cleansing of the Ruh from the Nafs. The Nafs is what dirties the Ruh throughout the year, and the Qalb keeps beating in awaitance for when the mind will come into control and abstain from the Nafs. @ this point in Ramadhan, it is time to free yourself from your Nafs, and your weapon is your sawm. the rest of the year you have shaytan which is constantly dragging the nafs back in, however, Ramadhan frees you from the evil, from the desires.
It makes you realize that there is LIFE beyond food and desires, that there is a world beyond materialism, beyond what you can only see.
Shahadah and Salaat are your everyday reminders, trainers, weapons to fight off your nafs that is attached to the world. & thirdly, continually for 1 month, Sawm is an even stronger weapon your Lord (T) has so mercifully provided you. A weapon to liberation, that puts no distance between you and your Lord (T) once again!!!
Post-Hajj, I was looking for some liberation from this world, some space to think and feel, and this world compacted my soul so closely I never got the room to exercise my new found Imaan, my new found understanding. And eventually, little by little, the nafs grew stronger by making the world play a bigger part in my life. It made me a prisoner of my nafs. All i could do was look for the things i could let go into, the right places the right people to grow through.
Siyam gives me that breath of fresh air once again, that breath of life once again to exercise my Imaan once again, to refreshen and refurbish my Qalb once again, without fearing the prison of the Nafs coming into me once and once again. Experience joy once again beyond the physicalities, experience yourself once again beyond the physicalities, experience Love once again beyond what you could ever imagine!
Ramadhani Kareem gives me a pleasure in worshipping, in seeking that true Love, shielding off the world while we do so.
Physicalities– the less we eat, the less shaytan can get to us, because he has access to our inner dimensions while we dont know. the less runs through us, the less he can run through us- amazing.
June 10, 2007
Four States of the Human Being:
May 6, 2007
Sheikh Hamza Yusuf is quite simply the Nur of modern understanding and intellect. After just listening to a 30 minute lecture by him on my ipod, I feel as if I could climb mountains of Imaan and accomplish true levels of Ihsaan within myself. The topic he covered was implementing basic Aqidah into our lives. What is Aqidah?
Aqidah is known as basic fiqh or jurisprudence concerning the logical intellect of the human.
In order to understand Aqidah, or anything concerning jurisprudence, we must first grasp the concept of the human mind, body, and heart in respect to the completeness of the human being and their relation to each other.
First off, the human mind and body are powerless without the Heart. That must be established and understood before all else. The Heart is physically, spiritually and mentally the power base for the rest of the being. Without the Heart, we are dead. Hence, once the Heart is alive and thriving then the intellect of the mind and the nafs of the body come into unity working for this sole purpose of fulfilling the Heart. And what is the Heart fulfilling? The Heart is ultimately fulfilling its’ Divine Purpose to its’ Master, Al-lah.
Knowledge is useless without Action. There is only so much talk without the walk. We have heard these sayings all along through our coming of age intellect, however, I have finally realized the true extent and value of what they mean. Let me give you an example we can all understand; when a non-Muslim wants to learn about Islam, they have equal opportunity to do so, being Muslim or not. A Jew or a Christian can study Islam through and through until they know more about the religion than an average Muslim does, so what at that point is the difference between the believer and the non-believer? The Heart. If the non-believer’s heart is not open and willing to accept the logic, then of what use is that intellect and logic? If the knowledge is not implemented then it is a waste, useless. Therefore, the difference between the non-believing and believing is the condition of their hearts, the purity of their being.
Connecting all of this into the basics of Aqidah is quite simple. The purpose of Aqidah is the implementing of Human Logic and Intellect through Action. Action cannot solely be empowered by knowledge or the power of logic, because before long it will tire out if the heart is not there to keep pumping the life into it. Thus, once the Mind and Body are working in unison with the Heart, the actions of Aqidah are fulfilled, and the Human as a Being is complete.
Islam’s basic understandings concern such knowledge of the Mind, Body, and the Heart, because it is a complete religion. It does not enforce one without the other, but says you must know how each work in respect to the whole, ultimately working together as a Unity to form the complete human.
~ And of course, once all three are in unity, forming an Identity, that is the point the Soul is thriving in complete Nourishment.
May 4, 2007
So I just finished watching this movie called Elizabethtown.. It was quite an interesting waste of two hours I would say, considering the story line was typical. There’s a death in the family, and all of a sudden everyone feels a need to wake up from their deep sleep of work and enjoy life before it’s over for them too. So as I’m sitting there watching it play out, I’m thinking, hmm, if death is such a slap of reality for people, I wonder how much of an awakening life after death might be for them. The fact that death doesn’t just come and go, but the dead keep experiencing it long after the funeral is over. As they lie in their graves, awaiting their moments of ultimate Judgement, of the accounting records of their deeds, and most gravely Gods wrath.
You see, if you don’t realize your purpose of life while your alive, you will only realize it after wards, at death; when it’s ultimately too late. When the husband dies, the wife goes on an energy spree, trying everything she ever wanted to learn and experience, knowing that there’s no time left for waiting,, no time left for rest. She is desperately trying to grasp the escaping reality of this world, and not until the end does she realize, it is of no use. She can do anything and everything, but if she doesn’t know why she is what she is, then what is the point of anything? What is the point of being?
This is the point the plotline settles that question, that question of hunger and anguish as simply as it can, by finding Love. True Love. For most this may mean finding love in one another, embracing friends and family, appreciating them, respecting them, and trying hard not to let go. However, for the few, this ultimately means, finding your True Love, in your Creator, in God. And nothing less. It’s not only about loving and living in this world, it’s about loving the foundation of it all, the founder of existence, and serving your purpose to Him. That’s the only way take grasp of the whole world, wrap it up in your hands, and still live in it quite grandly! Now, when I tell you this, you probably want to know how right? How could you possibly accomplish any of all of that anytime soon? Well, let me tell you a little secret, it’s quite simple actually……it’s called….Islam!
Islam is the tight, unbreakable rope between the creation and its’ Creator, between you and God. And once you get hold of it, be careful, don’t let go now, don’t loosen your grip either, just keep tightening it. As you climb higher and higher, nearing your Creator, not only does your time in this world keep weaning, but the time for your return to Him keeps coming closer and closer. Now this is the catch, listen closely, as this life is passing you by, the tears from your eyes turning into the waves of oceans, the oceans moving farther and farther from sight, only one thing is to be kept constant, that is called Faith. The higher you climb on that rope, the stronger your Faith becomes, the closer you become to God, the easier this life becomes. It’s not exactly all that complicated to understand. Just know what you wake up for in the morning, and go to sleep for at night, what your purpose is day in and day out, time will keep going, but as long as that purpose is being fulfilled, you’re not missing out on anything.
See, Islam is such a simple, beautiful concept, once truly understood. It not only helps the believer in their Ultimate purpose and servitude to God, but it provides them the best life as well. A life led easily, honestly and smoothly through the chaos and corruption of this world. Islam means worship through respecting your loved ones, Islam means serving God just by helping those less fortunate than you and reaping the benefits for yourself in this world and the next. Islam means seeking the greatness of existence and finding it within yourself, Islam means Loving, no matter how alone you might be.
It’s not about waking up one day to death and then learning all that you‘ve lost, no, it’s about looking to death all your life. Knowing that it might all one day end, all decease, and appreciating every last bit you have before you lose it. True understanding of what Love is before Fear intakes you, or what Happiness maybe before Sorrow takes its’ place, and what Laughter feels like before the Tears start weeping. And most importantly, in the midst of it all, it is about fulfilling your purpose, your promise, little by little with each passing moment. You’ll see, once you step on the path of fulfillment, of servitude to the true purpose, you won’t feel the need for this world, the need for anything, anything but that Rope.
So I guess it wasn’t a complete waste of my two hours afterall 😉
8: 59 p.m