Death of the Messenger of Allah

old paper or parchment

Before the Messenger of Allah died; he performed hajj and it was the first and last Hajj that he had performed in his life. As he was performing that Hajj Allah revealed to him:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Ma’idah 05:03)

Upon hearing this, Abu Bakr As-Sideeq started weeping, the Messenger of Allaah asked Abu Bakr, “what makes you cry after hearing this verse?” Abu Bakr replied, “This verse tells us that your death is near”.

Then the Prophet went back home after Hajj, and 9 days before his death, Allaah had revealed:

وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا تُرْجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ  ثُمَّ تُوَفَّىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

“And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.” (Al-Baqarah 02:281)

And that was the last verse Allah ever revealed.

A few days later he (Peace be upon Him) had a headache, and his temperature rose so high that the heat could be felt through his headband. He led the Muslims in prayer for the next eleven days though he was sick. He was sick for about two weeks.

The Prophet Muhammad wanted to visit the martyrs in Al-Baqee’ cemetery. When he arrived there he said, “Assalamu Alaykum O Martyrs of Uhud, you raced us but we shall be there soon insha’Allah, and I will be there soon insha’Allah.”

Upon leaving, his eyes began to water and he burst into tears, so his friends said, “what makes you cry O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “I miss my brothers,” they said, “Are we not your brothers O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “No, you are my friends, as for my brothers, those are the ones who shall live after I die, and believe in me without seeing me.”

Three days before his death whilst he was at his wife Maymoonah’s house his pain increased, so he said, “gather my wives.” When all the wives were gathered the Prophet asked them for permission to die in Aisha’s house, and they agreed.

He tried to get up but he couldn’t, so two of his companions, Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Al-Fadhl, carried him to Aisha’s room. Upon walking to her room, all the companions gathered and saw the Prophet sweating heavily. They exclaimed, “what’s wrong with the Messenger?! What’s wrong with the Messenger?!”

When the Messenger of Allah was sweating, Aisha said, “I have never in my life seen a man sweat like I saw the Prophet sweating.” Aisha heard him saying, “there is no God but Allah, surely death is full of agonies.”

The companions remained standing outside his room, and the noise began to rise. The Prophet asked, “did the people pray?” To which Aisha replied, “No, the people are waiting for you O Messenger of Allah.” He (Peace be Upon Him) asked then asked them to pour seven water skin pots of water so that he can go and talk to the people, they seated him upright and poured out water for him, he tried to get up, but couldn’t and passed out. Then he woke up, and the first thing he asked, “did the people pray?” Aisha again replied, “No, the people are waiting for you O Messenger of Allah.” Once again he asked them to pour seven water skin pots of water so that he can go and talk to the people. They seated him up and poured out water for him. He tried to get up, but could not and passed out. When he woke up he again asked, “Did the people pray?” Aisha replied, “No, the people are waiting for you O Messenger of Allah.” So the Prophet peace be upon him sent somebody to go tell Abu Bakr to go ahead and pray. (This incident can be found in both Bukhari and Muslim)

Then he stood to give his very last speech. The Messenger said, “O People are you worried about me?” They naturally replied, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He continued, “O People your meeting with me isn’t in this worldly life, you shall meet me in the hereafter; and by Allah I fear not poverty for you, but I fear that you may compete with each other in this worldly life as the people before you competed, and you get destroyed just as they got destroyed.” Then he exclaimed, “O People; preserve your prayers, preserve your prayers!” He also added, “O people fear Allah by treating your women well, be kind to the women.” Then he said, “Allâh, the Great, has given a slave of His the opportunity to make a choice between whatever he desires of Allâh’s provisions in this world, and what He keeps for him in the next life, but he has opted for the latter.” Meaning that he (peace be upon him) had chosen to return to His Lord.

Everyone remained silent, and Abu Bakr began to cry loudly, the Prophet said, “O People, not a single one of you who has helped me hasn’t received a reward from me in return, except Abu Bakr; he helped so much that I cannot afford to pay him back a reward, so I left his reward with Allah.”

He was then carried back to his room, and Fatima his beloved daughter walked in. Seeing him, she began to cry; she cried because every time she walked in the house her father, the Messenger of Allah would stand and give her a kiss between her eyes, but this time he couldn’t stand. He noticed her crying and told her, “come close to me Fatima,” he then whispered into her ear, and she cried more. He told her come closer once again, then he whispered into her ear again, this time she laughed. Later, after the Prophet’s death when Fatima was asked what he told her, she said, “The first time he whispered, he said that he is going to die that same night, and in the second whisper he told me that I would be the first one of his family members to meet him.” Meaning that she will be the next one to die from amongst his family members.

Then he asked everyone to leave, and asked Aisha to come closer. He then rested his head on Aisha’s chest, and raised his hands saying: “The most exalted Companionship on high. To Allâh we turn and to Him we turn back for help and last abode.”

And that was the death of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). He was sixty-three years and four days old when he died on a Monday.

Dr Rayan Arab,

CEO, AAT

From Behind the Niqaab

I have always admired ‘niqaabis’ (women who wear the face veil). I have always thought they were more beautiful than regular hijabi women, especially in the sight of Allah. I always made a point that when I saw a niqaabi, I would smile, and give her salaams. I had this respect, and my heart went out to them. I don’t know what caused this attraction in me, but I sensed niqaabi’s had this connection with Allah, something secret between them Allah, something which made them special.

I only began wearing niqaab recently. I decided to begin wearing it whilst visiting the city of the Prophet (Saw), and I felt completely at home in it. I was so comfortable, and it is the best choice I have made. In Madinah almost every woman wore it, and I felt I belonged. I felt unified with the other women, donned in the same outfit as them.

I have been wanting to wear it for the past two years…but I don’t know what kept me back; perhaps it was a lack of courage, or timidity, or low imaan; Allahu A’lam. Yet all of that changed when I went to Madinah. I felt weird and out of place on my first day there, when I was not wearing it. So, as soon as possible, I found a store and bought one. What was even more encouraging, was that the sales man, gave me two extra for free. I rushed back to the hotel, and put it on. And I never, for one moment regret my choice.

Despite the heat of Madinah, I loved it. Yes, I’m not going to lie, my face did sweat, a lot actually, but that didn’t discourage me one inch. I was safe from curious onlookers, and the watchful eyes of people. An unusual thing to say, but, it’s the truth. In the modern civilisation, women are taught to be the centre of attention, to attract as many eyes as possible. Contrary to the west, in Islam, women are taught not to stand out in the crowd, rather to blend in. Not so that they are treated as second class, far from it. Instead, so that they do not become the slave or subject of evil desires. Women in islam are the backbone of society, they have every right to contribute and excel. In islam a woman’s sexuality and beauty, things which are beyond her control, are removed from her work sphere so that it does not overshadow it, and that she is not judged by it, but instead by her ability and intellect, something which she can control, which she can nurture and improve.

As it is, men in Madinah, lower their gaze (compared to other parts of the world-no offense to anyone) and you are more than likely to be safe from prying eyes. Nonetheless my niqaab, made me feel even more protected. It gave me a whole new perspective. Wearing a hijab, I have always felt respected. Now, with my niqaab, I felt elevated, it took the respect to a whole new level. People don’t simply let you pass, if they were able to, they’d put down a red carpet for you too! That’s the amount of respect the niqaab generates, you are literally treated like a queen.

However back in London, the story is a bit different. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my niqaab, I still feel elevated. People merely respond to you differently.

There are those who view you as alien, a threat even, and an extremist. Sometimes, muslims are amongst these too.

To them, you are no longer queen; you are an invisible person.

Such people would rather avoid you. They don’t avoid you respectfully, but rather rudely. Yes, wearing the niqaab means you do not get those horrifying stares from men who can’t lower their gaze. When you wear a hijab in London, few people view it as a means of covering a woman’s awrah, so you would still get looked at (this is also partially because of the emergence of the Western Hijaab, which is merely a scarf around the head, and not proper covering of the body, and also the behaviour of some hijaabis who think interacting freely with the opposite gender is ok, and so do so without a care in the world that other women have to bear the consequences, and get branded with the same reputation as them) Alhamdulilah, with the niqaab that was removed.

There are some open-minded people who view you as someone spiritual. Such people leave you to be, neither ignoring you nor interacting with you. Amongst these are also muslims, who neither encourage you, nor discourage you.

Then there are those who welcome the move. These people are rare to find, they are few and far apart to meet.

Generally though, there is a fair amount of negativity and stereotypes attached to the niqaab. Not everyone can see beyond a simple piece of cloth, they are blind to the intellect that resides behind it, and to them you are not ‘normal’. Name calling is not unfamiliar to niqaabi sisters. Ninja, backward, uneducated…and the list can go on. Alhamdulilah, I have not been subject to this, nevertheless, whilst I am here, my heart is never fully at rest.

So now, when I go out, I eagerly look out for another sister in niqaab. Just so that we can share that elation, even if no one feels it with us. Even if we don’t talk and all we say is a passing salaam, or perhaps just a quick glance between us, only we know the struggles we face, whether it be in our communities, at work, and sometimes even at home. Only we know what contentment we feel when we look in the mirror and tie our niqaabs back, thinking, ‘I am doing this, for Allah’. I yearn for the day, I will return to Madinah and feel that joy of sharing the niqaab with so many other women, of all ages.  I crave to return there to feel that same bubbling excitement of when I first wore the niqaab.

The Niqaab

The niqaab; how ironic is it that though the niqaab is just a piece of cloth (which probably has more material than a bikini set) has sparked enough controversy all around the world, to be headlines?! A black piece of cloth that is meant to cover the entire face (except for the eyes) has been given more negative attention than if a women who were to walk down the street in her bikini! Subhana’Allah. Why should a piece of black cloth that covers the face (which is one of the most attractive part of a woman) be scrutinized and detested by a large portion of society? Why does society dictate to women what they can and cannot wear? Who are they to say that we are oppressed just because we properly cover our body from head to toe? Why do we have to be mistreated and condemned for our religious beliefs and for our choice?!

Why, Why, Why is the niqaab hated by so many people, even amongst muslims?!

Well, let’s try to clear up some if not all misconceptions about the niqaab.

Let us first distinguish between two which are often confused: Burqa and Niqaab

Niqaab is the piece of cloth that ties around the head and covers the face except for the eyes (while the body is, of course, covered).

Burqa covers the entire face (and body of course) with mesh over the eyes so that the eyes are not visible

Both Burqa and Niqaab are a part of Islam, contrary to what many ignorant Muslims believe and preach i.e that it is a cultural practice. It is not cultural. It is mentioned in the Qur’an- exegesis, and ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, many scholars of Islam have differences of opinions; some scholars are of the opinon that it is obligatory, whilst some say that it is only mustahaab (recommended). No individual is forced to wear it, and if they are, then there is something wrong with their understanding of the religion, for Allah says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion…” ( Surah Al-Baqarah 2:256)

The next point; culture versus religion:

Culture is the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.

Religion is a particular system of faith and worship directed to a Higher Power (that being Allah the God of the entire universe that which is in the heavens and the earth and everything in between).

Doing something culturally means that you are doing it because it is a norm in the society that you live in, whereas religion is based solely around divine acts of worship to please the Creator, Allah, The Almighty. Doing something due to culture does not result in the same rewards as doing something for your religion because doing something culturally would mean gaining the approval and praise of the creation whereas when we do something for our religion, we are doing it to get the reward from the Creator. Furthermore, we are worshiping Him by doing what He has commanded. Cultural practices may be the norm in a society but it does not always mean that it is correct or morally right.

Many ignorant people feel inclined to criticize the niqaab because they think that the religion (Islam) forces women to cover their faces, thus making them oppressed and weak. They think that this piece of cloth that hides all sorts of facial expression is a barrier between the woman and society. They believe that it is oppressive and very “old-fashioned.” Most people who hold such opinions are usually non-Muslims; however we DO have the occasional ignorant Muslim siding with them and the media with regards to this subject. This results in muslims who react negatively to the niqaab.

Most niqabi-haters blindly follow the television, and everything that is thrown to them. They do not have a mind of their own to determine what is the truth from falsehood. They revolve their education around the television, Islamaphobe websites and Islamaphobe people. Most have never met or talked to a single Muslim woman in their life, yet they make assumptions based on their lack of knowledge and understanding. They are too arrogant and lazy to do proper research and speak to a practicing Muslim woman. Instead they need to scrutinize, criticize, and patronize these veiled women for their chastity, innocence, and modesty. Subhana’Allah!

So is it really the piece of cloth that oppresses our Muslim women?

You want to know something interesting?! Before I converted to Islam, I already felt oppressed by society. I felt that there were so many unrealistic standards that I had to live up to! All the women I saw in public and in the media were always subconsciously pushing me to go above and beyond my limits into attaining beauty and perfection JUST so I could fit into society. I felt ungrateful for everything I had and it made me complain all the time and feel depressed and miserable. I felt ugly, worthless, and unloved because I thought that I was never good enough like those women gallivanting freely on the streets and in the clubs like wild dogs who were unleashed! I just couldn’t live up to society’s (extreme, unrealistic) expectations!

Well, after Islam, I felt liberated. I felt that I no longer had to be constricted and tied down to the shackles of society! I had my freedom and I felt beautiful, pure and at peace. I could dress the way I wanted to; I chose what other people could see of me and my body and I didn’t have to compete with women who were not even in the same category as me!

However, I still feel oppressed. The ironic thing here is, it is not my religion that oppresses me, but it is society and its ignorant masses! The people who judge me for what I wear and who I pray to. The very people who hate my religion because of what the media teaches them. The people who think my religion is the religion of terror because of what their government dictates! Such people are the oppressors. I thought that the Western society was all about freedom of choice, freedom of dress, and freedom of religion? I guess it’s just something they SHOW in the media, but when it really comes down to it, all society does is talk, talk, talk and no action. Freedom this! Freedom that! But really, who is free and where is freedom? Nowhere to be found! NOWHERE in this dunya! Freedom can only be found in Islam, Alhamdulillah!

Though society may oppress me because I don’t dress the way they want me to or act the way they teach me to, I choose to wear my niqab with pride and honour. I look to those who look to me with evil eyes, and I can’t help to feel sorry for them because I was once in their shoes. I feel sad for them because they are so lost in their own dark world that they cannot see the light in front of them! They are lost in their darkness and they keep trying to run free from it, but the shackles of society hold them back. That is why my ‘Deen Queens’, we must show the ignorant masses the true Islam, the beauty of Islam and the freedom of Islam! We have the best blessings anyone could ever desire, so we should not keep it to ourselves! We must spread the love and show them that our clothing, the piece of cloth on our face, and our love for modesty is something that we value and cherish. The reason why non-Muslims think of us women as oppressed, is simply because they have nobody else to teach them about Islam except for Fox news, CNN and any other deceiving media outlet!

We must take some time out of our busy schedules and learn to reconnect with Allah and learn more about following the Qur’an and the Sunnah and its importance! When we want to genuinely understand our deen, then we can learn it, apply it and preach it! It is one thing for us to sit and let others criticize our religion, but it is another thing to do something about that! Islam is about knowledge and implementing the knowledge! So, let us seek the correct knowledge, fall in love with our deen and take the actions to show the ignorant masses the truth. May Allah grant us all success in achieving the ultimate goal of spreading the truth and beauty of Islam. Ameen.

Umm Abdur-Rahman,

Writer, AAT

Restoring Faith

he found you lost and guided you

I wasn’t always practicing. There was a point in my life in which I was losing touch with reality, and I almost gave up hope of living. At that time, I always wanted to repent, to change my life, away from the madness of what the world had offered. I felt I was the lowest of the low, that I couldn’t be salvaged. There was no amount of tears of regret that could save me from myself, for I had lost and I was a broken soul tainted with sins. In spite of all that, I kept on trying.

In my effort, I started reading Qur’an again. Prior to this, the Qur’an was collecting dust, and I only read it in Ramadaan. As I was out of practice, I started with Juz Amma, thinking that it would give me a good start. Instead of blindly reciting the ayahs, I made an effort of reading the meaning of each one. It was all good, until I read this particular ayah.

“And He found you lost and guided [you]” (Ad Dhuha, 93:7)

I started to weep. It shook me. All this time, I saw myself as a wretched human being, that I did not deserve forgiveness from Allah. I asked myself, didn’t Allah find me lost and misguided, and He guided me? Doesn’t that mean something for me? Doesn’t that alone show Allah’s mercy? Doesn’t that mean that I am given a chance to change my life? These questions bombarded my thoughts, forcing me to reflect and evaluate my life.

That ayah made an impact on my life. I started seeing things differently. I was down and low, believing everything was a facade, to get me through the day. I was so deep in my self-loathing that I failed to see the blessings around me. That day, I was a changed person. I woke up every new day with hope, knowing whatever happened, I have turned to Allah. It doesn’t matter what state I am in, I have Allah to turn to. If my faith was once at its lowest, I have gained it back, and I promised myself never to look back. Never again will I go back to that life again.

From Tafseer Ibn Katheer, regarding this ayah:

This is similar to Allah’s saying,

“And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants…” (Ash Shuraa, 42:52)

This ayah remain as my favourite. I wrote it down in my daily planner, on my desk, as my computer’s wallpaper. This works as a constant reminder for me. A reminder of Allah’s blessing on me. To be thankful, to be given this chance, to walk away from the deception of the world and be able to see this path again, amid the fogs that had clouded my sight before.

Anisah Matasim,

Writer, AAT

 

The Well

Ways to Jannah #2

A well… that’s what I am going to ask you all to visualize. A well so deep that it appears bottomless and you are falling into it, falling in deeper and deeper; so deep that you can’t even see its opening. The opening which was once illuminated by dazzling sunlight now no longer seems visible to you. Lost in the depth, you are left to fight off the current, the stench; you feel claustrophobic, suffocated and finally depressed.

Ah well! Only someone with a very vivid imagination could actually envision that!

But you know what, dear friends, it’s a well that we all are in presently. We have fallen in so deep, that we have truly forgotten the reason that we have been sent to this world. This world is only a chimera, a mirage; it has no essence and will soon disappear. It’s time we call to mind our purpose in this life, it’s time we look for the well’s opening.

With all that said, the question that arises now is; is there any way that we can try to find the sun filled opening of the well again? There is, and amazingly it is something that we have often heard about, but I wonder as to whether we have truly pondered and contemplated on it. It’s the key to our salvation; “taqwah”

Taqwah literally, it means “fear of Allah.”  The scholars have defined Taqwah as “placing a barrier between yourself and the punishment of Allah by performing that which He ordered and abstaining from that which He prohibited”. It actually can be called the basic foundation of our religion.

And honestly speaking, I believe this is a term, once you truly comprehend it, can actually turn your life by a complete 3600  angle, for truly if one fears Allah , he will turn a new leaf. Once we convince ourselves that Allah is truly watching us, then how can we commit a sin? There are instances, when we know that our manager is nearby but isn’t even actually looking at us, yet we behave as a model of an ideal employee. Similarly, when we believe that Allah is السميع (The All Hearing) and  البصير (The All Seeing), then I am sure that In Sha Allah, we will turn for the better.

Moreover, taqwah not only alleviates us to the opening of this well, it also is our ticket to jannah.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah was asked about that for which people are admitted into Paradise the most, so he said: “Taqwah of Allah, and good character.” And he was asked about that for which people are admitted into the Fire the most, and he said: “The mouth and the private parts.”

[Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Vol. 4, Book 1, Hadith 2004] [Classed as Hasan by Sh Al-Albaani]

Therefore, the two actions which help one enter paradise are:

  • Taqwa (fear of Allah), being aware of Allah, being conscious of His presence, existence and watchfulness. Knowing that He is aware of all that we do.
  • Good character – The meaning of this is to have good character towards the creation. The lowest form of good character is not to harm people and its highest form is to do good to those who do bad to you.

I pray to Allah that he honors’ us by making us among the Mutaqeen (the people who have taqwa). Ameen.

“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord, and a garden as wide as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for those who have Taqwah.” (Aal Imran 03:133)

Bint Ayesha,

Writer, AAT

Sales are Tempting!

SalesSales are tempting…very tempting. All of our wants become needs and necessities. Well it is winter, and sales give the perfect excuse for shopping. With the cold, comes the time for new boots, jumpers and coats. Not to forget all the matching accessories; gloves, hat, scarves and ear muffs. “I’m sure I need them! I’ll never get them at this price again! I deserve a treat, don’t I?” Echoes reverberate through our minds, as we are drawn into the crowds of shoppers.

Shopping in the sales, is ideally the best time to shop. Goods are much less expensive than their usual price. Grabbing bargains is never difficult. The whole family can be kitted out for winter without spending your entire month’s wages or emptying your pockets.

What’s the catch, you’re wondering…

Firstly, don’t let the sales entice you into compromising your principles. If you are someone that boycotts Israel and companies that are complicit with its actions, keep that up. When you shop, don’t drop your guard merely because their products are ‘cheaper.’ Palestine and Israel may no longer be the headlines, but we all know what is happening there. Worshipers who are our brothers and sisters, are being barred from entering the mosque, almost on a daily basis. They are living in an ‘open-air prison’. Many of them are being murdered in cold blood. We are one ummah.

Secondly, don’t allow the sales to tempt you to spend extravagantly, and empty all the shop shelves! Buy only what you need. Allah tells us in the Qur’an, about the servants of the Most Beneficent, “And those who when they spend, do so not excessively, nor sparingly, but are ever, between that (justly) moderate,” (Surah Furqan 25:67) It’s easy to forget how much you are spending; budget yourself, and ensure you don’t exceed the limit. Try not to use your credit card, unless you keep count of what you spend. Instead use cash or a debit card, it’s easier to keep count. Remember our brothers and sisters who are suffering, in Syria, Burma, and Palestine and wherever they are. We are one ummah.

And lastly, but most importantly, don’t let it be a distraction from the remembrance of Allah. Not every single shop has to be visited, so that a whole day is spent in the mall. For those of us in non-muslims countries, be sure to pray on time, even if you’re in the midst of shopping. Plus it’ll be the festive season, so the music is blaring, get what you need and leave. Don’t waste time dilly-dallying here and there, browsing shelves and rails unnecessarily.

It’s easy to get caught up in the shopping chaos. Sales are tempting…very tempting!

Bibi Zainab Dowlut

Celebrating Christmas

 

christmas-decorations-ideas-580

Christmas is here and the festivities are part of the yearly routine for many. Santa Claus is eagerly awaited by children around the world, and often muslims are caught up in the party season. We offer greetings and wish everyone a pleasant holiday. It all appears harmless, but where do we stand as believers?

Firstly, to celebrate Christmas or any other celebration other that what is prescribed in the Shari’ah (Islamic Law, as determined by Allah) is an innovation into our deen. As we all are, I’m sure, aware of the hadith; “whoever introduces into this matter (religion) that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” (Bukhari and Muslim) Furthermore in another hadith the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) said, “Beware of newly invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance leads to hellfire.” (Abu-Dawood and Tirmidhi) So, it is clear that we should not add anything to the deen of Allah, for it will only lead us to the hellfire. The Sahabahs warned against this many times. Moreover, the deen of Allah is perfect, there is no need or space to add anything extra in it, as Allah says, “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Maidah 05:03) The deen of Allah is completely perfect!

Secondly, celebrating Christmas or participating in its celebration is an imitation of the disbelievers. This is a grave danger, for the Prophet is reported to have said, “whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Abu Dawood) Christmas is known to be a celebration for Christians. We as muslims do not want to be raised on Yawm al Qiyamah with the Christians, so let’s keep our religion pure. We have plenty of other acts of obedience to Allah, which we are deficient in. Why not work on perfecting that, rather than participating in something which is of no benefit to us?!

Thirdly, Christmas is not even what it’s made out to be. Supposedly it is the date of the birth of Christ. However there is no evidence of this. The birth of Christ as a god-incarnate, originated from a Greek philosphy in which they believed gods had relations with humans to form half-gods. Thus Jesus was born of a human mother, yet was a god on earth. This has nothing to do with the pure teachings and origins of Christ. In fact Christmas, is celebrated on the day that coincides with the pagan Roman festival ‘natalis solis invicti,’ a celebration of the winter solstice when days became longer,  (according to Encyclopaedia of Britannia) and the birth of the Persian mystery god Mithra. It also conincided with the Roman festival of Saturnalia, in which gifts were exchanged. So Christmas, really has no basis in Christianity at all, it is a fusion of Roman-Greek-Persian celebrations. Christmas tress are remnants of European Scandinavian tree-worship of ever-greens which were used to decorate houses and barns. To celebrate Christmas, whilst knowing this history, is to partake in paganism, which is Shirk (associating partners with Allah), which is a major sin.

To reply to greetings on this ocassion is to give approval to such beliefs, and express contenment with them. Thus we do not give greetings, neither do we reply to them.

There is no room for Christmas celebrations is Islam, whether it be simply hanging decorations, making Roast turkey, anticipating Santa Claus, wishing greetings, sending out cards or whatever else is part of this celebration.

The Prophet peace be upon him, did not compromise the deen. When he was given offers of wealth, kingship, women, and more, he did not accept any of it in return for the purity of Islam. Rather he and his sahabah ensured the religion remained pure, and abhorred such celebrations and pratices that were clear disobedience to Allah.

To conclude, Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen has said, “it is forbidden for the muslims to imitate the Kuffar by holding parties on these occasions, or exchanging gifts, or distributing sweets or other foods, or taking time off work and so on because the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) said, “whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah said in his book, ‘Iqtida’ Al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem: ‘Imitating them on some of their festivals implies that one is happy with the false hood they are following, and that could make them (the non-muslims) take this opportunity to mislead those who are weak in faith.’

Those who do any of these things are sinning, whether they do it to go along with them, or to be friendly towards them, or because they feel too shy (to refuse to join in) or any other reason, because it is a kind of compromising the religion of Allah to please others, and it is a means of lifting the spirits of the kuffar and making them proud of their religion.”

May Allah keep us firm upon His religion of truth, without compromise. Ameen.

Further Reading: http://islamqa.info/en/145950

Bibi Zainab Dowlut

Asma Was Sifaat 2

In the previous part of the Asma was Sifaat Series, we learned the importance of acquiring knowledge of it. Before we move on to the Names of Allah, we must remember certain guidelines pertaining to it, so as to not fall into misguidance, as many of the sects in Islam have. These rules and guidelines have been made by the great scholar; sh. ‘Uthaymeen in his commentary of sh. Ibn Qudaamah’s book Lum’atul-I’tiqaad (Radiance of Faith). Following is the summary of the rules:

  1. Obvious and linguistic meanings of Names and attributes must be taken.
  2. All of Allah’s names are beautiful.
  3. Allah’s beautiful names are not limited to any specific number.
  4. Allah’s names are not to be decided upon by reason but by revelation. Naming Him by what He has not named Himself or denying what He has named Himself is a sin regarding Allah’s right.
  5. All of Allah’s attributes are of perfection and praise without any defect. But if any attribute represents perfection from one aspect and imperfection from another, it is not totally affirmed or rejected. For example: Allah says in Quran:

“They plot and Allah plots, and Allah is the best of plotters” (Surah al-Anfal:30)

If it is asked that can Allah be described as plotting? We don’t say yes or no. Instead we should say that He plots against those who deserve it, and Allah knows the best.

  1. Allah has affirmed and negated attributes. Example; He affirmed that He has knowledge, life, and ability. Whereas, negated attributes such as oppression, fatigue and sleep, etc.

Therefore, every attribute is to be taken literally unless provided with evidence. It is impossible to describe the “how’s” of Allah (swt) as Allah says:

“Their knowledge cannot encompass Him” (Surah at-Taha:110)

He does not resemble any of its created beings keeping in mind the following verse:

“Nothing is similar to Him” (Surah ash-shoorah:11)

To conclude, we have to be careful when dealing with the names and attributes of Allah. It is a very delicate area; if the above rules are not followed one may fall into sin, and at times even disbelief. We must ensure to follow way of the Salaf-us-Salih when dealing with Allah’s names and Attributes. May Allah keep us on the Siraat-ul-Mustaqeem until our meeting with Him. Ameen.

Maliha Rahmat,

Writer, AAT

The Beauty of Istighfaar

Istighfaar. Where do I begin?

“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins filling the earth and then you would meet Me without ascribing any partners to Me, I would certainly bring to you forgiveness close to filling it.”
[Hadith Qudsi]

This is the beauty of our deen. If you make a mistake you have an opportunity to redeem yourself. Not all is lost. Your sheet may be wiped clean, and you can start again. It is easy to pull your socks up and turn over a new leaf. This is how much Allah loves us, that He gives us so many chances. Every breath we take is an opportunity to repent to Allah and return to Him.

This is evidence of how much Allah loves us. His mercy envelops us, His blessings cover us and His favours enshroud us. We need to continuously make istighfaar to cleanse and purify ourselves. Though we were not born in sinfulness, we were indeed created weak, and prone to falling into sin. Hence, Allah gave us the solution, istighfaar. Just as Zakaat purifies our wealth, sincere istighfaar purifies our hearts. It removes the stain and layers of sinfulness.

As Allah says, “Say; O My servants who have transgressed against their own soul, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Zumar 39:53)

Moreover, istighfaar brings peace and tranquillity to the heart. Our hearts are in need of cleansing and calming, both of which are achieved through istighfaar. When a person asks Allah for forgiveness s/he must believe that Allah will forgive them, thereby reassuring and soothing us. It is a reminder and acknowledgement of the mercy of Allah.

Making Istighfaar is a way out of every difficulty, a solution to problems. It is a means by which Allah facilitates and makes matters and affairs easy for us.

Ibn Abbas said that the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) said, “if anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress, and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.” (Abu Dawud)

Allah also says in the Qur’an,

“And seek the forgiveness of your lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment for a term appointed…” (Surah Hud 11:03)

Istighfaar does not necessarily have to be done because of a sin, it can be made because of general shortcomings. We realise Allah’s immense blessings upon us, in comparison, our acts of worship are insufficient, so feel obliged to seek Allah’s forgiveness, in hope that He will accept our efforts.

Istighfaar is also a means of many other blessings of Allah; based on the ayah in Surah Nuh, in which Allah says, “Seek forgiveness from your lord. Verily He is ever Most Forgiving. He will send you abundant rain from heaven and will help you with wealth and sons, and will make for you gardens and rivers.” Thus Allah will increase our provisions, and bestow His mercy upon us if we make istighfaar and seek His forgiveness.

Istighfaar is an important part of the life of a muslim. It is reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) would make istighfaar a hundred times a day, despite being the best of creation. (Muslim)

We are nowhere near in comparison to the obedience or righteousness of the Prophet; are we not in more need of making istighfaar often, and keeping our tongues wet with the remembrance of Allah?

Bibi Zainab Dowlut

Khadijah

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Narrated Abu Hurairah, “Jibreel came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), “this is Khadijah, coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace made of Qasab in Paradise, wherein there will be neither any noise nor any toil (fatigue, trouble etc).” (Bukhari)

Born to a very prosperous business man, Khadijah grew up in the lap of luxury. She was an image of faithfulness, integrity, truth, modesty, good manners and nobility. She was a wealthy woman who had wide commercial holdings. In addition to her beauty and fame, she also had a quality that won her the accolade of “The pure woman”.

She was the first Mother of the Believers and the leader of the women of the world of her time. She was the mother of six of the children of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), the first person to believe in him and accept him before anyone else. One of her daughters was Fatimah, The first lady of Paradise, and was therefore the grandmother of the beloved grandchildren of the Prophet; Hasan and Hussain, who are to be the foremost of the youths of the Paradise.

Anas narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “It suffices to say that the best of the women of the worlds are Maryam bint Imran, Khadijah bint Khuwailid, Fatimah bint Muhammad (peace be upon him), and Aasiyah wife of Firawn.”

Many of the leading chiefs of the Quraysh desired to marry Khadijah but she declined and rejected all their proposals. However she found what she sought and desired in our leader Muhammad (peace be upon him). She disclosed what she was turning in her mind to her friend, Nafisah bint Manyah who went straight to the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) and spoke about him marrying Khadijah At-Tahirah (i.e. Khadijah, the Pure).

The marriage then took place and in the course of years, the marriage was blessed with six pleasant children. Two boys, who were Al-Qasim and ‘Abdullah, both of whom died young and six girls who were Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom and Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with all of them). They were wonderful, intelligent children and it was a very happy, peaceful and content household.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) often would visit the cave of Hira, where he would engage in tahannuth (worship for a number of nights). He would take with him the food and drink that his wife, Khadijah had prepared for him. Then again return to Khadijah and take provision for a like period, till truth came upon him while he was in the cave of Hira.

A thought comes to mind, women today complain if their husband so much as spends an hour with his friends, or is a few minutes late home from the office. We whinge, saying he has no time for us. Yet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) would spend days in the cave of Hira in seclusion, and Khadijah would not even huff. Rather she lent him support, preparing and packing food for her husband. Despite often being afraid for his safety, she never opened her mouth, rather she secretly followed him to the mountains, to check he arrived safely, and then would slip back home unnoticed. She never whined, moaned, or complained, because she never wanted to trouble her husband. How beautiful is this!

It was after he (peace be upon Him) received the first revelation, that Khadijah provided the best comfort. Whilst his heart was still pounding from the encounter, she wrapped him till the fear left him. He then said to Khadijah: “O Khadijah! What has happened to me? “And he informed her of the incident, saying, “I fear for myself!”

She consoled him, “It can’t be. Be happy. I swear by Allah that He shall never humiliate you. By Allah, you join ties of kinship, you speak the truth, you bear people’s burden, you help the destitute, you entertain guests, and you help against the hardships which affect people”. Khadijah was a source of strength for the Prophet. She reassured him in distress, and cheered him up when he was down.

Khadijah then took him to her cousin, Waraqa bin Nawfal who had embraced Christianity, in the days of ignorance. He was very old and had become blind. After listening to what the Prophet (peace be upon him) had to say, he said, “That is Namus (the Angel) that Allah sent down to Musa. Would that I were then (during your Prophet hood career) a young man. Would that I were alive when your people would expel you! “. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqa answered, “Yes. Never came a man with a like of what you have brought but met hostilities. If I live to see your day I shall help you wholeheartedly.” It was not long thereafter when Waraqa passed away.

Over here we see how noble she was. She soothed him when he was perturbed. She made him rest when he was exhausted. With this well-balanced opinion and purity of heart, Khadijah deserved the best salutation sent to her by the Lord of the World’s through the faithful spirit (Angel Jibril).

We also see her patience manifested when the crisis came to a head and the effects of banishment became fatal. This was when the Quraish decided to boycott Banu Hashim. The children could be heard crying and some of the elders resorted to eating leaves. It was a grievous situation but here, Khadijah remained solidly behind the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and coming out of it triumphantly with the fruits of patience, her journey through life as a faithful wife.

After she came out of the blockade, she lived only for a little while before she answered the call of her Lord. Her death left an indelible mark in the heart of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). She was always remembered by him and her name was often on his tongue. He loved those who loved her and he honoured those who honoured her.

As Allah says in surah Al-Fajr in the Noble Quran, that it will be said to the pious believers,

“O the one in complete rest and satisfaction, Come back to your Lord-well pleased (yourself) and well-pleasing (unto him)! Enter you then among My (honored) servants, and Enter My Paradise”. (89:22-30)

My sisters in Islam, we agree that Khadijah was an epitome of an ideal wife, but let’s be frank; do we take her as our role model? If we do, shouldn’t it show in our character?

We argue with our husbands and gossip about them. After a tiring day, does he return home to find his house clean? His children groomed, and you smiling at him? Or is it the opposite; the house has exploded, the kids are screaming, and you are standing and complaining? We have become too demanding, expecting our husbands to be machines pouring out money for our extravagant and luxurious lifestyles.

Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her), was a complete support to her husband. She withstood all the pains, enduring them with patience, never complaining and lending out her shoulders and comforting him with her sweet words. She helped him financially and emotionally. Her home was peaceful, and she was the coolness of his eyes.

We should sit and ponder; are we the coolness of the eyes of our husbands? Do they look forward to coming home, and sharing their troubles with us?

We should try to follow the footsteps of Khadijah, after all, she received the best salutations that anyone could ever have; salutations of her Lord, through angel Jibreel.

Bint Hassan