Virtues of Muharram

muharram Moon

Muharram is one of four sacred months as Allah says in the Qur’an, “Verily the number of months with Allah are twelve months, so it was ordained by Allah on the day He created the heavens and earth, of them four are sacred,” (Tawbah 09:36)

This statement was explained by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a hadith, in which he said, “the year consists of twelve months, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months; Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram, and Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha’baan.”(Bukhari and Muslim)

So Muharram is a sacred month, as prescribed by Allah. Sinning in the sacred months are worse than sinning in the regular months, as Ibn Abbas explained that sins in these months are more serious yet, on the other hand doing good deeds, during these months bring a greater reward. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “the best of fasting after Ramadaan, is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.” (Muslim)

Fasting is means of attaining taqwa, and what better time to observe it than in a sacred month, where it brings even greater reward? In another hadith the Prophet specified the reward for fasting a day in this month and said, “the one that’s keeps a fast in the month of Muharram, will receive the reward of thirty fasts, for each fast.” (At-Tabaraani) Imagine how rewarding Allah is, that for one fast, you get the reward of fasting a whole month! Yet, despite this huge reward, the Prophet is not reported to have fasted any other full month except Ramadaan.

Muharram is also special because the day of Ashura, occurs in it. Ashura is the day on which Allah saved Musa (May peace be upon him) and Children of Israel from Firawn (as per the various ahadith), therefore Musa would fast on this day as thanksgiving to Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his companions, “you have more right to Musa, so fast on that day.” Thus fasting on the day of Ashura is recommended in the Sunnah.

Many scholars recommended that we should fast on the ninth and tenth of Muharram so that we differ from the Jews, who only fasted the tenth. The Prophet was eager to fast on this day, in hope of earning the reward. Ibn Abbas said, “I never saw the Messenger of Allah so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other day, than this day, the day of Ashura…” (Bukhari)

The Prophet knew that Allah is the Most Merciful, and so he hoped for a great reward, as He said, “for fasting this day of Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Muslim) Truly Allah’s mercy exceeds His anger, for merely fasting one day, sins of one entire year are washed away. Imam An-Nawawi explained that fasting the day of Ashura expiates all minor sins, meaning all sins, errors and mistakes, except the major sins.

In conclusion, the virtues of Muharram are many. Anyone who is able to, should strive to earn the extra rewards available in this sacred month. The Prophet prescribed fasting as a means of piling the rewards, so let’s take this opportunity and begin now.

Bibi Zainab Dowlut

The Duaa of Yunus

dua of yunus as edit

“None has the right to be worshipped except You, glory be to You, verily I was amongst the wrong-doers.”

These short and few words have a hefty meaning. They saved Prophet Yunus (as) from imminent death, and relieved his distress.

The Prophet (Saw) said, “the invocation of my brother Dhun-Nun (The companion of the fish, i.e. Yunus) ‘None has the right to be worshipped except You, glory be to You, verily I was amongst the wrongdoers,’ none who is experiencing difficulty employs it except that Allah would relieve him of his difficulty.” (Tirmidhi and others)

The duaa is a powerful one, it encompasses both ‘duaa al Ibaadah’ and ‘duaa al-Mas alah’ (the supplication of worship and the supplication of request). It also combines tahleel (praising Allah) and tasbeeh (Glorifying Allah). Yunus (a.s) turned to Allah alone, and negated the worship of anything besides Allah. He affirmed the oneness of Allah, and his unique right to be worshipped, i.e. Tawheed Uloohiyyah. He singled out Allah, as the only one who could help him, the only one who could relieve his distress. He then exalted Allah (tasbeeh), through which he absolved Allah of any imperfection.  He also openly confessed his mistake, which was an indirect request for forgiveness.

The acknowledgement by Yunus (a.s) of his sin, was a comprehension that his sin caused the affliction of evil. As Allah says in the Quraan, “and whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned.” (42:30) Yunus (a.s) wanted relief from his distress, and he realised the best way Allah would ease his situation was to seek forgiveness from what he done.

This supplication removes harm because, when one recites it, he places hope, fear and reliance on Allah alone. He acknowledges that Allah alone can remove harm and distress. “If Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but Him. If He touches you with good, He has power over all things.” (06:17) In Allah alone we should trust to remove our difficulties. Moreover, sins are a cause for harm and affliction, thus forgiveness naturally is the remedy. The Prophet (Saw) said, “whoever frequently asks for forgiveness, Allah would appoint for him relief from every worry, a way out from every difficulty and provision coming from unimaginable sources.” (Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and Ahmad) Ibn Taymiyyah explained regarding this duaa, “the testification to Tawheed opens the door to good, and asking for forgiveness closes the door to evil.”

In conclusion, the duaa of Prophet Yunus holds a high status, Allah mentioned it in the Quraan and the Prophet (Saw) recommended us to use it when in distress. It affirms Tawheed, glorifies Allah, admits to sin and seeks Allah’s forgiveness, in less than two lines. It is easy to memorise and will not take long to remember. I ask Allah to relieve all our distress and forgive our sins. Ameen.

Recommended Reading: The Relief From Distress: An explanation to the du’a of Prophet Yunus By Shaykul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah

Bibi Zainab Dowlut,

Editor-in-Chief, AAT

Men are the Protectors of Women


“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women… “(Surah Nisa 04:34)

Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful has given such monumental authority to the men of this ummah, because He knows the capability of men and their suitability for such a major task. It is the duty of men, in Islam, to look after, support, provide for and ensure the safety of the women under their care. Women are naturally delicate and fragile in physique, mentally and emotionally, and are in need of such ‘protectors.’

Despite this command from Allah; many women are not pleased when men become possessive in matters relating to their women.

Let us highlight the reasons behind why women feel displeased when men behave possessively –

  1. Misunderstanding possessiveness as oppression:

Many women tend to comprehend possessiveness as oppression, load and burden. Little do they know, that it is in their best interest if their husbands, fathers and brothers or guardians care for them and keep a watchful eye over them. A women may be prevented from doing certain things, for her personal safety or for the safety of her religion.

  1. Being unaware of the fact that it is binding upon men to so:

Men are supposed to protect the honour and chastity of their women. A husband, therefore, has the responsibility of taking care of his wife, protecting her, defending her honour, and fulfilling her needs regarding her religion and her worldly life. This is the most fundamental duty of men towards their women.

  1. Keeping bad company and befriending trouble makers:

There exists a multitude of people who strive in gaining Allah’s pleasure, but there also exists a mass of people who devote themselves to gaining Allah’s wrath. Unfortunately such people work to destroy the most basic unit of society; the family. They work tirelessly to gossip, spread rumours and twist tales, in doing so, they often cause arguments and fight between husband and wife, which often leads to divorce.

In Islam, the relationship between husband and wife is a strong bond which is to be nurtured with kindness and mercy. This relationship is so significant that Allaah azza wajal mentions it in the Qur’an as one of His great signs in this world.

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

A Muslim man, whether husband, father or son, must have Gheerah; an Arabic word meaning ‘protectiveness or jealousy.’ It is an innate character of a man to feel protective towards his female folk.

Our beloved Messenger (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had Gheera and his companions too were known for their Gheera. To have Gheera in one’s character has many merits. Firstly, it is sunnah as it is evident from the following hadith:

Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.829 Narrated by Al Mughira:
Sa’d bin Ubada said, “If I found a man with my wife, I would kill him with the sharp side of my sword.” When the Prophet heard that he said, “Do you wonder at Sa’d’s sense of gheerah? Verily, I have more sense of gheerah than Sa’d, and Allah has more sense of gheerah than I.”

Secondly, for a man to have Gheera is as though he’s providing a shelter for his wife. A shelter under which he keeps his wife in an utmost safe place. When a man stops his wife or other female members from going out of the house, then it is certainly due to his sense of Gheerah.  He has the sole right to stop his wife from running errands. O my sisters in Islam! If your male folk stop you from going out of your house and this annoys you, be careful; remember men are assigned as protectors over women, and they understand the harms of women leaving the house. Men only do so because they care for you. Women are more precious than pearls, diamonds and other jewels, it is for this reason that they are to be protected. Furthermore, here’s an ayah from the Quran for you to ponder upon,

“And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance…” [Al-Ahzaab 33:33]

The aforementioned verse conveys that undoubtedly it is better for women to stay at home. She should not go out unless it is necessary, and when it is necessary for a woman to go out, it should be with her husband’s permission. She should be careful to avoid that which Allah has forbidden, and she should wear full hijab etc. If she goes out wearing adornments and makeup or perfume, then this is not permitted.

“And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and do not display their ornaments except what appears naturally thereof…” (Surah An Noor 24:31)

If a man does not have Gheerah, and does not care about how the women under his care behave or dress, and he doesn’t mind other men starring at or mixing with his women then he is a Dayyooth, and that is a major sin.

Congratulations to those men who are possessive and protective in each and every matter of their wives and other female members for they know that it is incumbent upon them to maintain, protect and support their women. Truly, men are the protectors of women.

Maha Bint Nayeem,

Writer, AAT

Duaa and Depression

duaa and depression(1)

Every year many people pass away due to depression. Depression and other mental illnesses affect muslims and non-muslims alike. However as muslims, Islam has given us solutions to every problem, a cure for every ailment and a relief from every distress. We shouldn’t alienate people who suffer from mental illnesses, and the stigma found in the west should not be found in our communities.

Many who die due to depression are celebrities and comedians. How can depression affect someone who is living the “dream life”  or one who lives to laugh?

Well, it is rather simple.

Allah says, “And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement.” (06:32) This is for the disbeliever, who seeks to gain nothing out of this world, but enjoyment. They chase after their desires until there is nothing left for them. This world is a paradise for the disbeliever because they live to enjoy, as their saying goes, “You Only Live Once (YOLO).” They cherish every moment of fun, and want to make it last for ever. When they realise it will not last forever, and the fun is over, their lives do not have any meaning. And so begins the downhill ride into depression. The prophet (peace be upon him) said, “the world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever.”(Muslim) When the disbelievers arrive at the hereafter there will be no paradise for them, no more enjoyment. There will be nothing but torment and pain, as recompense for their denial of Allah. They don’t have anything to look forward to, nothing to keep them going; that’s why they suffer from depression. For the muslim on the other hand, this life is serious, because what we do here, determines how we will end up on the other side. Our life on this earth is seemingly a prison, because we do not live to do as we please, we restrain ourselves, and live by the rules ordained by Allah. This life is a stepping-stone to our hereafter, we appreciate every moment of our life as an opportunity to increase our ranks in the real paradise.

We are on this earth with a purpose, how do we have time to feel depression? If one obey the commands of Allah, and busies themselves with preparing for the hereafter, then depression cannot affect them to the extent that life loses it worth. When you have tasted the sweetness of imaan then nothing can break you. Nothing can hurt or harm you. Nothing can defeat you, because Allah is on your side. As a muslim, you have something to look forward to. Something to keep you busy. Something to make you happy.

Ibn Taymiyyah famously said, “indeed there is a paradise in this world, whoever does not enter it, will not enter the paradise of the hereafter.” This statement seems controversial to what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said. However, what Ibn Taymiyyah was referring to as the paradise of this world which leads to the paradise of the hereafter is Imaan. The sweetness of imaan. It is this sweetness that you look forward to when you go to pray. It is what you yearn to taste when you fast. This sweetness is the pleasure of Allah, and it is the whole reason, we strive and struggle.

So, why talk about depression and duaa, if a muslim should not experience depression?

No one is perfect. Imaan fluctuates; it rises and falls. So perhaps in a state of low imaan a muslim may experience depression. Perhaps as a result of low imaan a person feels depression. or perhaps due to other factors, be they situational or otherwise a perhaps experiences this ‘dip.’

Nevertheless, whatever the cause of depression, anguish or anxiety, duaa is the solution. None else can relieve such stress except the One who gave it to you in the first place. Whenever a matter grieved the Prophet (peace be upon him), he would call out to Allah by saying, “O Ever-Living, O Sustainer and Protector of all that exists, by Your Mercy, I beg for Your aid.” (At-Tirmithi)

He would also say, “O Allah I am Your slave, son of Your male slave, son of Your female slave. My forehead is in Your hand (i.e. You have control over me). Your judgement upon me is assured, and Your decree concerning me is just. I ask You by every name that You have named Yourself with, revealed in Your Book, taught any one of Your creation, or kept unto Yourself in the knowledge of the unseen that is with You, to make the Quraan the spring of my heart, and the light of my chest, and the banisher of my sadness, and the reliever of my distress.” (Ahmad) This is a great duaa. However some of us read this duaa, and expect it to work, without once, reading the Quraan or pondering upon it! How is the Quraan to become a source of happiness if you do not read it? Or you do not know what it contains?! The contents of the Quraan makes you happy when in distress because it connects you to Allah. It is the words of your creator, and it brings you closer to Him.

At a time when the Prophet (Saw) was at an all-time low, when he had lost his supporter; his wife, and his protector; Abu-Talib, he (Saw) called out to Allah. He found hope and relief from his distress with His Lord.

“O Allah! To You alone I complain of my weaknesses, my scarcity of resources, and the humiliation I have been subjected to by people. O Most Merciful of those who show mercy! You are the Lord of the weak, and You are my Lord too. To whom have You entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom You have granted authority over my affair? But as long as You are not angry with me, I do not care, except that Your favour is a more expansive relief to me. O seek refuge in the Light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger and displeasure descend upon me. Yours is the right to reproach until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You.”

The Prophet (saw) had every reason to break down; his entire city wanted to get rid of him. They wanted to harm him, they mocked him, they humiliated him in all sort of ways. Yet he turned sincerely to Allah, the One who is in control of the hearts. Notice how he focused on Allah’s pleasure. That was His only concern, and it should be ours too.

Islam is a complete way of life. From the moment we wake up in the morning to when we get back into bed in the evening, and everything in between. Islam covers it all. Islam is so comprehensive, it covers your dealings with people, your treatment of animals, your wealth, your trade, your property and even your health and hygiene. Islam deals with each area in depth. The subject of mental health is not alien, and the Prophet (Saw) taught us all about it. We should advise those who are suffering and look after them, for they are our brother or sister. It is easy to overcome depression, if you trust your affairs to Allah alone, who is Al-Jabbar, the Mender.

Bibi Zainab Dowlut,

Editor-in-Chief, AAT

Feeling Under Pressure?

Have you ever felt like you’ve had too much from life, and you just want to give up?
A problem over here, a problem over there, children need money for college, wife needs money for a fancy dress, brother needs to borrow a few thousand to pay off his debt, work isn’t paying you as much as you need, he needs this, she wants that, this and that needs and wants, pressure, pressure, pressure!
You are not alone. You are not the first one to ever feel this pressure! The righteous people before you have been there too, and they used a medicine called ‘Tawakkul’.
Too much pressure isn’t good! It effects you physically, it effects you mentally, and it turns you into a person you don’t want to be. Too much pressure can make you a negative person, it can make you less creative, and can affect your relations with people.
Too much pressure can make your life miserable if it’s not dealt with well. On the other hand, if it is dealt with in the right way it can only make your life wonderful! There are secrets and ways of dealing with pressure that can make you smart, that can make you strong; that can make you wise. The secret to it all, is ‘Tawakkul’.
But before we get into that, we need to know what exactly causes this pressure, I mean yes it is a test from Allah, but still there are reasons for tests.
Be aware that when you are under pressure, and have too much stress there is no one else to blame but yourself, acknowledgement of this is half the solution. Most of these pressures have built up, due to our lack of problem solving from the beginning of the issue.
Picture this, each problem you do not solve from the beginning is like a brick on your shoulder, the more problems you have, the more the bricks add up, until they become too heavy to carry and eventually they drop you on the ground.
What makes it worse, is when all this pressure gathers, and you see everyone’s fingers pointing at you, like it is your fault. You can blame yourself, until somebody blames you; as soon as someone blames you, it now becomes that person’s fault.
I’ll share an example of what I mean. I work in an environment full of smokers; in my office two smokers work with me, so I asked the gentlemen, “do you mind if you take your cigarette outside the office.” One lit his cigarette as soon as I said that, and he said I am going to burn my soul before I die.
What? Are you crazy? I reported it to our Manager. “They smoke, I don’t, we share one office, please give me a solution.” So he requested them to stop smoking in the office, and a few days later, the boss walks in the office looking for one of the smokers, “Where is fulan?” “He’s outside smoking.” This is your fault!!
He blamed it on me, one finger pointing at me, and what he didnt’t realise was three was pointing right back at him.
See, the pious believer who solves his problems immediately, he doesn’t fear facing difficulties and challenges. He is confident that Allah will make these difficulties easy on him, because he used a weapon called Tawakkul, he relied on Allah, after he has made the effort to get the results of what he wants to achieve.

وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ
“…And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.” (Qur’an, 65:3)

Like Urwah Ibn Zubair, the grandchild of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, one day his leg became infected. The doctors informed him that it had to be amputated otherwise he would die. Urwah agreed, the doctors then offered him alcohol as an anesthetic to drink before his amputation in order to reduce the effect of pain. Urwah refused, ‘no alcohol for me, I will not drink what Allah made haram just to cut off my leg’, instead he asked the doctors to operate whilst he prayed his Salah. He began to perform Salah and during sujood, the doctor began the amputation with a saw.
Urwah passed out. During his unconsciousness one of his sons was kicked by a horse and died. When Urwah woke up, his friend said, “attham Allaah ajrak for your leg.” Urwah replied, “Allah gave me four limbs and took away one, but he left with me three, so Alhamdulilah…” Then his friend said: “Attham Allaah ajrak, your son also died.” Urwah again replied, “Allah gave me four sons, and took away one, but he left with me three; Alhamdulilah.” You see how Urwah dealt with his pressure, he was satisfied and pleased, Allah gave me all of this, and he only took from me that? It’s ok!

My brothers and sisters when dealing with pressure you don’t always need a doctor for help, who you need, is Allah! As soon as you remember him, you have him on your side.

Many of the doctors nowadays, are not real doctors. You make an appointment to visit them, they ask, “what do you feel?” The patient says, “O doctor I have had a bad headache for a few days now.” The doctor writes out a prescription; here, Solpadine, nuntatine, voltaren. Here take all this medicine and kill yourself.

What happened to the doctors who fear Allah, did your doctor ever tell you to read the Quran when you get sick? Did you ever go to your doctor and say doctor I have a headache, and he said here,

و ننزل من القران ما هو شفاء و رحمة للمؤمنين
“And we are sending down of this Quraan, that which is a cure and a mercy for the believers” (17:82)

Or you said, “Doctor my child is sick please help,” and he told you:
داووا مرضاكم بالصدقة ؟
“Relieve your sickness with charity.”

Did you ever go to the doctor complaining of stress and he said,

ألا بذكر الله تطمئن القلوب
“Verily in the Remembrance of Allah do hearts find ease (comfort and tranquillity).” (13:28)

No, you didn’t, because the majority of doctors nowadays love the dunya, they don’t love the Akhira. Have you heard what happened in Arfan hospital? They killed an 8 year old boy, no wait “accidentally” killed. And it happens in many other hospitals around the world.
It is much cheaper to just turn to Allah, the creator of doctors with your hands up, head down, heart humbled. Because that way the stress reduces, the problems get solved, and the pressure goes down.

But most of us just don’t do that, we give up on life and think that we tried everything possible, and that is really nothing but ignorance.
With the weapon Tawakkul, you can have everything you want!
There are 3 steps of Tawakkul, I want you to think of something you really want, whether it be health, wealth, power, to stop smoking, or you want your child to get closer to Allah. Did you think of something? Step 2, submit this matter completely to Allah alone, no intermediaries no one between you and him. Step 3, do whatever needs to be done for you to get what you want.
No doubt we put all our trust in Allah, and rely completely on him, but only after we have taken the necessary steps that need to be taken to get whatever it is we want. ‘Tie your camel first and then have tawakkul’ as the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed a man. (Tirmidhi) Similarly lock your car, don’t leave it unlocked with the windows opened, and expect it to be there when you return.
Like Maryam the mother of Isa, she was in pain at the time of Isa’s birth, she needed something to eat to ease the pain, so Allah commanded her to shake the palm tree next to her so the dates can fall for her.
وَهُزِّي إِلَيْك بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَة
“And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree.” (19:25)

Allah could have given her the dates with the blow of wind, but he wanted her to work for them,You take the measures that need to be taken, you call upon Allah, and Allah solves your problem.
Take this example, to put a clearer picture in your mind. If a King promised to give you a house, but he wants you to give him your ID so he can put the house in your name. Is your heart going to rely on the king in giving you the house or the ID? Of course, the king, not the ID, because many people have ID, but the king didn’t give them a house!
And so, if we put our trust in Allah, then we have to take the steps that will get us what we want, don’t rely on medicine, don’t rely on a doctor, yes see one if you need to, but ultimately rely on Allah.
One day the Messenger of Allah walked in the masjid and he saw a man called Abu Umamah, sitting down with a sad face and his head resting on his shoulders. The Messenger asked him:
يا أبا أمامة مالي أراك جالسًا في المسجد في غير صلاة ؟
“Why do I see you in the masjid and it is not even prayer time?”
قال: هموم لزمتني وديون يا رسول الله.
He replied: “I have too much stress & too many debts (he was under pressure).”
قال: أفلا أعلمك كلامًا إذا قلته أذهب الله همّك وقضى عنك دينك؟
The Messenger said: “would you like me to teach you some words to say that will make Allah take away your stress and pay off your debt?”
قال: بلى يا رسول الله
He replied, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah”
The Messenger said: when you wake up & when you sleep say:
اللهم إني أعوذ بك من الهمّ والحزن والعجز والكسل، وأعوذ بك من الجبن والبخل، وأعوذ بك من غلبة الدين وقهر الرجال
“O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being over powered by men.”
I want you from now on, every time you are under pressure, tell your problems, ‘I have Tawakkul, and my Tawakkul will BANG! Knock you out.’ Don’t give up on your weaknesses, rely on Allah to become stronger when times get hard.
Overall, being under pressure is bitter and is something disliked, but you can never taste the sweet without tasting the bitter first.
Rayan Arab


Reflection: Test and Trials

I was ironing my work clothes, and I got frustrated. Ironing isn’t exactly on my ‘favourite things to do’ list, so ironing a cotton abaya brought the worst of me. I was complaining, non-stop. But, then I paused for a moment, pondered for a while, and made istighfar. Ironing is nothing but a simple task.

We have always complained about small tests and trials, exaggerating it, as if the world is over. If something as small as ironing clothes frustrated me, imagine if I were tested with something bigger. Sometimes when people have extended their hands to help – physically and mentally, egoistically, I would say “You don’t know what I just went through!” Yes, that is so true. Except Allah, no one knows what we go through. That doesn’t mean that we are the only ones being tested, everyone is being tested differently, according to their capabilities.

“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity” (2:286)

Yet, I keep on forgetting one thing. Yes, we are tested differently, but for every test and trial, there is only one solution. It doesn’t matter if none of our problems are relatable, we still have that one solution. To come back to Allah. To look at every test and trial as a means of bringing us closer to Allah. After all, everything in this dunya is a test.

“And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” (8:28)

Looking back, whatever test and trial that got under my skin, is nothing really. Nothing compared to what the sahabah (RA) had faced when they were tortured by the mushrikeen. It was nothing compared to the struggles our brothers and sisters face in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Myanmar and everywhere else muslims are being oppressed. No one is bombing my home. No one is stopping me from praying to Allah. No one is forcing me to break my fast.

Sometimes, what one needs, is to reflect. To instill patience in oneself, and to learn to accept tests and trials without any objection, especially towards The Almighty.

“Jabir reported: I heard Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) as saying three days before his death; ‘None of you should court death but only hoping good from Allah.’” (Sahih Muslim, no. 2877)

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,” (2:155)

“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars.” (29:2-3)

Time to wake up, take a look around and stop thinking that the world revolves around us. Whatever calamity we are facing now, be sure, there is someone who is facing worse than us.

Anisah Matasim,
Writer, AAT

Tawassul And Duaa

tawassulWe all want to earn Allah’s love, and to get closer to Him. Each individual has their own way of doing so, whether it be praying extra nawaafil, giving extra charity, keeping the tongue wet with thikr of Allah or, calling out to Allah in good times and in bad times. However, some people overstep the boundaries, and go overboard in their method of trying to get close to Allah. When seeking a means of nearness to Allah we must do so in accordance with the Sunnah.
Tawassul is to seek a means of nearness to Allah, by doing actions which are pleasing to Him. Notice that the actions have to be righteous and in accordance with the Sunnah, and thus they are pleasing to Allah. For an action to be ‘righteous’ in Islam it must fulfil two basic conditions; firstly that the individual performing the action has a sincere intention of pleasing Allah, and secondly that the action is in accordance with what Allah has prescribed and what the Prophet (Saw) has explained in his sunnah. To decide on your own method and ways which are not prescribed by the Shari’ah, is to innovate. The prophet (Saw) clearly told us, “Every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance leads to the hellfire.” (Abu-Dawud, Tirmithi) To further emphasise this, he (Saw) also said, “Whoever performs an action not in accordance with this affair of ours, then it will be rejected.” (Muslim) It is therefore imperative that we follow the Sunnah in seeking a means of nearness to Allah.
We have been ordered to call upon Allah, to supplicate and invoke Him, “And your Lord said, “Call on Me, and I will respond,” (Surah Ghafir 40:60) There are three types of Tawassul which are permissible, which if we use when calling out to Allah He will certainly respond.
1) Tawassul by means of Allah’s perfect Names or Attributes: We can call on Allah using His names, or glorifying Him with His Attributes. Allah says, “And all the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them.” (Surah Al-‘Araf 07:180) More evidence for this type of Tawassul can be found in the Sunnah; Anas (ra) reported that the Prophet (Saw) would supplicate, “O Ever-Living, O Sustainer and Protector of all that exists, by your Mercy, I beg for your aid.” (Tirmithi). I have only given one example, but often the Prophet (Saw) and the sahabahs would call on Allah by referring to His Names and Attributes.
2) Tawassul by means of a righteous deed: Allah says “Those who say, Our Lord! We have indeed believed, so forgive us our sins, and save us from the punishment of the fire.” (Aal Imran 03:06) They have sought tawassul through their sincere belief in Allah. I’m sure we all know the hadith of the three, who were trapped in a cave. They said “nothing can rescue you from this rock except that you supplicate to Allah, by mentioning righteous deeds you have done.” Each one supplicated Allah, mentioning a deed he had done sincerely for the pleasure of Allah until He (azza wa jal) moved the rock that obstructed the cave and relieved their distress. Each one of the men supplicated purely and sincerely to Allah, they mentioned righteous deeds they had done in times of ease hoping Allah would in return, ease their hardship. (Find the full hadith in Bukhari and Muslim)
3) Tawassul by the supplication of a righteous person: If a difficulty befalls a muslim, and he has been negligent with regards to Allah and His rights upon him, he is allowed to go to one who he deems righteous, god-fearing or knowledgeable about the deen. This practice is evident in the Sunnah and in the actions of the three best generations. On one occasion, a Bedouin asked the prophet (Saw) to supplicate for rain, and he (Saw) did so. Then it rained until it flooded madinah, then the Bedouin returned the following week, and asked the Prophet (Saw) to ask Allah to withhold the rain. So the Prophet (Saw) smiled and did so. (Find the full hadith in Bukhari) After the death of the prophet (Saw) Umar ibn Al Khattab would go to the uncle of the Prophet (Saw), Al-‘Abbas, and ask him to supplicate for rain. He used to say, “O Allah, we used to request our Prophet (Saw) to supplicate to You for rain, and You would bless us with rain. Now we ask the uncle of our Prophet (Saw) to supplicate to You, so grant us rain.” Sheikh Albani, explains the saying of Umar (ra) as follows, “What the saying of Umar means is: We used to go to our Prophet and ask him to supplicate for us, and draw nearer to Allah by means of his supplicating for us, and now that he has passed on to the company of the highest angels, and it is now not possible for him to supplicate for us, so we go to the uncle of our Prophet (Saw). Al-‘Abbas, and ask him to supplicate for us.”
Asking a righteous person to make duaa for you is allowed, their duaa perhaps has a greater chance of being accepted than yours because of a sin you committed. However, some people twist this type of tawassul, as being the status of a person, which has no basis in the Shari’ah. Shaikh Albani further explains with regards to the hadith of Umar mentioned above “it certainly does not mean that they used to supplicate saying, ‘O Allah by the status of your Prophet, grant us rain’ since this supplication is an innovation having no proof or basis in the Book or the Sunnah, and it was not done by a single of the Pious Predecessors.”
When doing Tawassul by means of a righteous person’s invocation, such a person must be alive, for if they are dead, then they cannot hear, let alone respond, or ask Allah on your behalf.
Tawassul is ammunition in the duaa, for it increases the chances of your duaa being accepted. However, it is a delicate issue, and if not adhered to correctly can cause one to fall into bid’ah (innovations) and in some cases even shirk. All-in-all tawassul is encouraged and prescribed, for us to get closer to Allah in our duaas.
Recommended reading: ‘Tawassul: Seeking a means of nearness to Allah –Its types and Rulings’ by Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddin Albani
Editor-in-Chief, AAT,
Bibi Zainab Dowlut

Never Give Up!

Humans are different; different internally and also externally. Everyone has their weaknesses and strengths. Allah has created each one of us different in the way we think and act. These differences makes us unique individuals, and they are beneficial to our society as some are good at one thing and others at other things. Allah wants us to constantly strive and struggle to overcome our shortcomings and so he gave us Islam, a complete way of life.

Due to these diverse characteristics in us, we find some principles of Islam easy to follow and some more difficult than others. Let me explain this point with an example, as we know anger is very much disliked in our religion and so a person who inherits the genes of an angry father or who naturally has a short fuse, might give an excuse that they can’t help it, as it’s hereditary. However Allah has given us the will to make our own decisions, and so in Islam, we have to constantly struggle to be a better Muslim following Islamic teachings at all times.

After all, our desires want to lead us astray, a Muslim is in constant struggle within himself (his nafs) and with the society. If we were to give up suddenly, we would never be able to achieve jannah. Surely man is not sinless, we are prone to make mistakes but we have to get up with the help of Allah, and continue. If we were never to try we would never be able to achieve Jannah, it would be as if we were one minute away from the opening of the tunnel but gave up just then. Jannah was created for the sinners who repent, where as hellfire was created for the sinners that do not, which are those that simply ‘give up’. It is up to us; to try hard and when we slip and fall; to get up, fix the mistake and carry on. It’s all about having perseverance.
In spite of all the hard work you don’t ever think that life will get any easier, the only thing that will happen is that we will become closer to Allah and start understanding the world. We also become content with the struggles and hardships that we face.

A Muslim strives to attain Jannah and this results in living a content life as an individual and also with the society. We persevere to overcome tests and trials. That is all life really is; an exam, a big test and trial. We have to persist in overcoming its hurdles.

In conclusion, remember giving up is the characteristic of a looser and we Muslims are winners, let us make duaa to make us striving Muslims and never give up. Let’s progress in the way of Allah. Ameen.

Fatima Damad,
Writer, AAT

Days for Duaa

days for duaa
So far in the series we have looked at duaa made at special times of the day, and duaa made by certain people. In this article we will look at duaas made on certain days, Inshallah.

Fridays, are special days for muslims, it is a recurring eid, during which we remember Allah and glorify Him. The Prophet (Saw) said about Fridays, “The best day on which the suns rises is Friday.” (Sunan An-Nisaa’I, Abu-Dawud and At-Tirmidhi) Furthermore, the Prophet (Saw) said, “On Friday, there is an hour when, if a muslim happens to pray at that time and asks Allah for something good, He will give it to Him.” (Bukhari and Muslim) There are differing opinions amongst the scholars regarding the timing of this blessed hour. Abi Burdah bin Abi Musa Al-‘Ashari said, Abdullah ibn Umar said to me; “Did you hear your father narrating from the Messenger of Allah concerning the (special) hour on Friday? I said, “Yes. I heard him say, I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘It is between the time when the imam sits down, and once the prayer is over.’” (Collected by Muslim). The second opinion is that this hour is after Asr; narrated Abu-Hurayrah and Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri, the Prophet (Saw) said, “On Friday there is an hour when no muslim happens to ask Allah for good at that time but He will give it to him, and it is after Asr.” (Musnad Imam Ahmad) In a similar Hadith in Abu-Dawud the prophet (Saw) said, “…so seek it after Asr.” The second opinion is the stronger of the two, and is held by Abdullah ibn Salamah, Abu Hurayrah, Imam Ahmad and others. Nevertheless, whichever of these opinions you follow, increase your duaa during both these times, but do not distract yourself with duaa during the Khutbah. Rather, say ‘Ameen’ to the duaa of the imaam and whilst in your sujood make some personal duaa. By making duaa during both times, you increase your chances of catching the right hour!

Ramadaan is a month of mercy, and forgiveness. During the days of this month Allah frees so many of His believing slaves from hellfire and admits them to His Paradise. The Prophet (Saw) said, “When Ramadaan comes, the doors of heaven are opened and the doors of hellfire are closed.” (Bukhari) It is clear from this hadith, that duaa made during those twenty nine days or so are more likely to be accepted, as the gates of Paradise and mercy are open to receive us. What’s more, Ramadaan houses the most special night ever – Layla tul Qadr! Allah says “Layla tul Qadr, is better than a thousand months.”(Surah Qadr 97:3) That is approximately 83 years plus. Imagine, one night spent in worship may be better than your entire life! The barakah that floats around is immense. We just need to grab a hold of it by calling out to Allah, and asking Him alone.

The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are classed as the best days of the year. The Prophet (Saw) said, “there are no days during which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” (Bukhari) Remember Allah loves it when you call on Him, so pair it together, earn Allah’s love in two ways at once; firstly through a good deed, secondly by calling on Him.

But there is one day a year that tops the list. No other day comes close. On this day Shaytaan is humiliated, defeated and in anguish, because of the mercy that descends from Allah. In one narration the Prophet (Saw) said, out of his humiliation “he (Shaytaan) poured soil on his head, wishing for his own destruction, so I smiled at his grief.” (Ahmad).

This day is none other than the Day of Arafat. A day on which pilgrims gather to stand and seek forgiveness from their Lord. ‘Aishah narrated that the Prophet (Saw) said, “There is no day greater than the Day of Arafat in which Allah frees his slaves from Hellfire. Allah comes close to His slaves and boasts about them to the angels, then says, “I make you witness that I forgave them.” The angels then say, “O Allah so-and-so is overburdened with sins!” Allah replies “I forgave them all.” (Muslim) Being free from sins is what every muslim should crave. What better chance than on the Day of Arafat, to beg Allah, whilst obeying him, either through the rituals of hajj or fasting? Furthermore, the Prophet (Saw) said, “the best supplication is the supplication on the Day of Arafat.”(At-Tirmidhi) On this day, whether you are making hajj or not, increase in your duaa. Have Yaqeen and be sure that Allah will accept your duaa. This year, use the opportunity. The Day of Arafat is here; engage constantly in asking Allah for forgiveness.
So, as there are times and people whose duaa Allah has favoured, He has also favoured certain days. They may seem few in number, but their reward is great. We ask Allah to accept our supplications on these special days, and on every day throughout the year. We ask Allah to accept the duaa of the pilgrims standing on Arafat, we ask Him to forgive their sins, and grant them a pure hajj. Ameen.

Bibi Zainab Dowlut,
Editor-in-Chief, AAT