Signs of the Hour 10

All praise belongs to Allah. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Final Prophet.

The life of this world is a test for each one of us. A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and the dead will be resurrected for judgment. This day will be the beginning of a life that will never end. This day is the Day of Judgment!

On that day, we will be called to give our accounts individually. Imagine how dreadful it would be to see that our bad deeds outweighs our good! And in that situation we can’t weasel out. The only thing we can do is to take our account beforehand, and prepare knowing that we will have to stand before Allah on that day.

“O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow and fear Allah.” (Surah Hashr 59:18)

book of deeds

The duty of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong is especially difficult when practiced on one’s own self. Shaytaan is ever prepared to defend the erring soul with countless excuses, for example, he bumps into our mind that what we are doing isn’t wrong and the sin which we are committing is not even a sin! Therefore, always seek refuge in Allah from the evil Shaytaan, the rejected ones.

Mankind has been given the tools with which to distinguish good from evil: observation, perception, conscience, judgement and emotion, all in a delicate balance. Furthermore Allah has sent the Qur’an as a Criterion, and the Prophet to teach us. A wise and prudent servant will therefore hasten to grasp every opportunity to gain good deeds. Such a slave endeavours in gaining Islamic knowledge so as to follow Islam as prescribed by Allah (Glory be to Him).

Prior to the Overwhelming Hour, there would be the occurrence of two signs relevant to Islamic faith and creed.

1) Qur’anic and Islamic knowledge will be passed on but no one will follow it:

Narrated Ziyad bin labid, the Prophet peace be upon him spoke of something and said: “It will happen when knowledge will be no more”. I said: “Allah’s Messenger, how will knowledge vanish despite the fact that we will be reciting the Quran and teaching its recitation to our children and our children will teach its recitation to their children up to the Day of Resurrection?” Thereupon he said: “Ziyad, may your mother weep over you. I was of the opinion that you were one of those who have the greatest understanding of religion in Madinah. Do these Jews and Christians not recite the Torah and the Bible but not act according to what is contained in them?” [Tirmidhee (2653), Ibn Maajah (4048) and graded as “Saheeh” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

Today, we Muslims gain and pass Quranic knowledge through various authentic sources but what matters is whether we follow it or not. Gaining knowledge of Islam for worldly benefits is utterly futile. The sole intention of acquiring knowledge is to act upon it, and thereby earn its rewards.

2) Until none shall say ‘There is none worthy of worship except Allah’:

It was also reported from Anas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Hour will not come until no-one on earth says, ‘Allah, Allah’.” (Ahmad)

There are two suggestions as to the meaning of the phrase, “until no-one on earth says ‘Allah, Allah.'” Firstly, it could mean that no-one will forbid evil, or try to correct another if he sees him doing something wrong. We have already come across this in the Hadith of ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr: “Only the worst people will be left; they will not know any good or forbid any evil.” Or secondly, it could mean that Allah will no longer be mentioned, and His Name will not be known; this will be part of the prevalent corruption and Kufr, as in the previous Hadith, “Until no-one on earth says ‘La ilaha illa Allah’.”

Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah (Alone),” and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised! (Surah Fussilat 41: 30)

May Allah make us of those who are successful, may Allah make us of those who are the chosen ones in His eyes.

Maha Bint Nayeem,

Writer, AAT

Can You Feel It?

empathy

The 6 year old girl on the street selling bubble gum looked lonely and desperate. When asked about her family she said they were in Afghanistan and doesn’t have any contact with them… Remember how you were safe with your parents when you were 6, how life was just play and school and not just survival day in and out? Feeling it? If you aren’t feeling it thinking you see them everyday and now you have gotten used to these pitiful sights, then something is wrong with you… You have no empathy…

Empathy, a noun which means the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. Ability to see someone else’s perspective ability to feel what someone else is feeling, ability to walk in someone else’s shoes. Empathy is a human feeling which every human must have in order to understand each other what each one is going through every one experiences different backgrounds, cultures,  problems etc.

Sympathy and Empathy: Knowing the difference between empathy and sympathy might be difficult for some people, because the difference between them is small. For example: if your friends’ father dies due to a car accident, you feel sympathy for her because you can imagine it must be very difficult for her to deal with this, but by losing your own father in a car accident you learn how hard it is to lose a loved one. This is empathy.

A muslim has a greater responsibility than a mere human, a muslim not just has to feel and understand a person’s position but also be generous, sympathize and also try to help the person out of their difficulty. The Prophet said, “the similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.”  (Sahih Muslim) The metaphor of the body is remarkable because the limbs are all connected and not disconnected. Compassion, love and care are not necessarily present, but we have to develop them and show them towards each other. We should work very hard to achieve this.

Similarly, in the Hadith Qudsi, we learn that on the Day of Judgment Allah will say, “O son of Adam, I fell ill and you did not visit me.” The person will say,” O Lord, how could I visit you when You are the Lord of the worlds?” He will say, “Did you know that so-and-so fell ill and you did not visit him? If you had visited him, you would have found Me with him.”

People who don’t feel empathy are narcissistic individuals; individuals consumed with pride and self-love… They cannot put themselves in the shoes of another person. Also those who have chosen to focus on aql (intelligence/knowledge of reason) at the expense of the knowledge that is felt and pursued by the heart.

So we need to keep our heart clean of all these evils so that Islamic knowledge and positive emotions fill our heart. The higher the level of our iman the higher the level of empathy and compassion.

One of the reasons we fast, is to feel what the starving people feel. In the times of major calamities like disasters we need to empathize with the people and help them as if  we were in their place; how much would we expect from people who are well off and safe. But again not only for muslims but our empathy is needed for the non-muslims as well, in times of their difficulties. Also think about how much dawah would you need if you were them, how much they need your knowledge to reach to them so they would be saved from hell. If only they knew that your knowledge of Islam will do them good then how desperate would they be for you to find them.

In order to be empathetic we need to juxtapose our situation with theirs, this will help us to see how our problems seem to be smaller in scale than theirs. Be Empathetic, Be Compassionate.

So to be a better human and the best in character we need to be empathetic, try to be empathetic in you daily life and see the difference of how people see you. For example console a friend in difficulty with kind words and showing that you are deeply concerned by their situation. This will make a huge difference in their lives as they will know that their muslim brother is there for them in times of difficulty.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The most perfect of the believers in faith is he who is the best of them in conduct, and the best of you in conduct are those who are best to their wives.” [Tirmidhi]

To be the best to one’s wife, one must be able to empathise with her. One must feel her pains, and happiness, in order to care for her in the best manner and be compassionate towards her.

We need to understand each person by their situation and not just by assuming things on our own. We need to really know what is going on before coming to any conclusions.  Look how many people around us talk about one another and how people have their opinions ready regarding others without having taken any effort to get to know the person first. The Islamic society is preoccupied with external appearance, while neglecting the inner side.

With Empathy should comes compassion , but we see people sitting in a gathering but not even greeting the people they don’t know let alone asking each other how they are doing as a fellow muslim. If we are compassionate, we need to show it as well. In general, everyone feels compassion but many keep it measured. Some feel compassion towards people but not towards animals. Others only feel compassionate towards people from their own country or religious group. Many seem to draw lines somewhere. Compassion requires us to make sacrifices, to invest in order to create the softness and kindness so we can use this in our efforts towards others.

“There is nothing heavier than good character put on the scales of a believer on the day of resurrection.” (Abu Daawood)

Everything around us changes. Are we changing for the better?

Fatima Damad

Journey of a Lifetime!

218de22389f99e85c4ed17e04a7f1158

I was overwhelmed when finally my dream was coming true

A ticket to hajj, it was something out of the blue

I boarded the bus to set on this epic voyage

My heart was filled with joy when I set my eyes on it through a passage

The Ka’ba was all what I imagined and more

I feel blessed to be given an opportunity to look at it till my eyes get sore

Hajj at-tamattu’ marked the beginning from that very point

Then I moved on to mina to my tent and had the most pleasant night

On following day of 9th dhul-hijjah,

we set out towards the plain of ‘Arafah

The day on which Allah had perfected our religion

And (for the non-hajjis) fasting brings the two years sins expiation

The khateeb stood up to give the hajj sermon

The same place that our Prophet gave his last one

Voices were echoing with Allah’s praises and supplication

So that this day they may attain salvation

Caravans were once again on the move towards the place called Muzdalifah

We combined two prayers of maghrib and isha

Sleeping on an open ground was yet an amazing experience

Where I could clearly see Allah’s biggest creation

We collected the pebbles and stones according to the prophetic indication

And came back the next morning to our tents in Mina

The train took us to Jamarat to stone them

It reminded me of the story of Prophet ibrahim

The three stone pillars were the places where the satan tried to mislead him.

The sacrifice was made and the heads were shaved

Upon our returning the takbeer voices were raised

It was the time to celebrate (Eid)

The ritual of stoning the jamarat was carried for three consecutive days

We moved to haram for the final ‘umrah and then

We bid farewell to each other while parting our ways

But my heart was truly filled with contentment

And I pray to Allah that I live with no regression.

ihram hajji

By Maliha Rahmat

One Year On…

hajj travel

 

I travelled to the land where my Prophet was born;

And though there his flesh was torn

It is where He, Sallallahu Alayhi wa sallam, lived and died

And his message survived.

 

One year on

And my memories are still strong;

I remember the day we arrived,

It truly was a surprise.

The hot air rushed up to greet me,

Sweaty and sticky-you must agree!

Through airport checks I had to pass,

Time seemed to fly too fast!

 

I remember walking the paved street

from the long journey, how sore were my feet!

Driving down sandy highways

into marbled hotel driveways.

Into air conditioned rooms,

Scented with sweet perfumes.

 

Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk!

 

I journeyed to the land where the Ka’bah stands,

Where Ibrahim obeyed Allah’s commands,

Where breathlessly Hajar ran up and down,

In Umm-ul-Qura, the ancient town.

 

Round the ka’bah I walked,

Entranced by the ka’bah as I talked (to Allah),

I could not take my eyes off its beauty!

I was finally fulfilling my duty.

The blessed water I drank,

Behind the maqam I prayed and thanked.

 

Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk.

 

I travelled to where Isma’il kicked the ground,

Where the Athan echoes-such a beautiful sound!

Where prophet hood was sealed,

And the Quran was first revealed.

 

I slept in Mina in tents,

Such is the order of events.

On the plains of Arafat I pleaded,

If my duaas are accepted; I have succeeded,

Pelting the jamarat with stones I cried:

‘Allahu Akbar!” The Sunnah was my guide.

Finishing off with tawaf and sa’ee,

I traced their footsteps humbly.

next we cut our hair,

The excitement was in the air;

We had finished the sacred rites,

In our iman; achieved new heights.

 

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,

Laa ilaha Illallah,

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,

Wa lillahil Hamd!

 

I flew to a faraway place,

Seeking His Pleasure and Face,

The journey of a lifetime,

I hope to return sometime.

May Allah invite me once more,

So I can plead by the Ka’bah door.

kabah1e

 

Bibi Zainab Dowlut

Our Salt Bags

Ways to Jannah

A cry of joy, a baby is born, free from sins, pure of obscenities and born on the correct fitrah. With all the sins that we have accumulated over the years, with our hearts going black, one yearns to expiate oneself, but it seems such an impossible task! How can we get rid of a lifetime of sins? Sins that weigh on us heavily as the salt bags on a mule’s back. But even for a mule carrying its weighty bags, a day comes when it rains, dissolving the salt, and terminating his burden. This shower of wonderful water for us humans can be defined as “hajj”.

donkeys with salt bags
A wonderful opportunity of annihilating our burden of sins and starting afresh, for indeed it was narrated in al-Saheehayn that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever performs Hajj and does not utter obscenities or commit sin, will come back as on the day when his mother bore him.”  (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1521; Muslim, 1350)

Hajj

Also Hajj happens to the fifth pillar of Islam. This statement itself elucidates the importance of this holy ritual.

But coming to the greatest virtue of hajj, we see that the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

“The reward for an accepted hajj is nothing less than Paradise.”[Agreed Upon]

This hadith is evidence that an accepted hajj has no reward except paradise.
The scholars defined an accepted hajj as the hajj which is free from:

  1. Rafath(sexual engagement)
  2. Fusooq(sins)
  3. Jidaal(arguing)

And Allah Knows Best!

So now with Hajj around the corner, those going for hajj should obligate upon themselves to learn the correct ways, etiquettes and manner for performing it. When we go for a tourist trip to some country, how much preparation we make for it, reading brochures, purchasing appropriate clothing, researching its culture, trying to learn a bit of its language. Hajj is of no comparison to such trips and is indeed once in a lifetime opportunity and so it is essential that we prepare ourselves accordingly. Keeping this in mind, one should also sincerely try to repent for all of his sins; major or minor, for one never knows when such an opportunity may come to pass again.

Finally as we stand on the Arafat praying, with people from all around the globe standing with us as equals, it reminds one of the day of judgement where we will be accounted for and recompensed, may Allah grants us paradise and may Allah make this Hajj as a means of paradise for us.

Ameen ya rabb

Bint Ayesha

 

 

Body Building Your Deen

Heart Softeners

body-building-weight-gym

When we hear the word “bodybuilding,” one may think about Arnold Schwarzenegger or some muscle-induced steroid man or woman. I often thought about the routine of a bodybuilder and it’s similarities to that of a practicing Muslim. Though the two do not coincide for obvious reasons, I was able to compare the two, in terms of similarity of routines to train the mind, body, and soul in order to accomplish a successful reward too great for words.

As an ex-personal trainer, I used to work at a few gyms and was immersed in the lifestyle of health and fitness. I wanted to test my limits and try hard to train like a bodybuilder (for women, a very lean and toned figure). My routine constantly consisted of waking up early, training at the gym, training clients while maintaining an extremely strict diet. I would consume less calories than I was burning and I also had to remain mentally fit as well. This was one of the most challenging things I have ever had to endure. Many individuals procrastinate about working out and I would be at the gym 6 times a week and sometimes maybe even twice a day. Training my mind, strengthening my body while trying to better my soul was a hard routine to follow and stick to. I enjoyed this routine as I knew the outcome in the end was that of a rewarding one. I thought that eating, breathing health and fitness was going to help me be a better person, inside and out.

The strict routine of dieting, exercise, and motivating others was a routine that required much focus and determination. I had to first prove to myself that I could accomplish anything and everything before I could help others feel the same mental and physical reward. The importance of helping others feel happy with themselves was always a goal of mine. There is nothing better than the feeling of making someone else see, feel and believe that there is something worth living for, even if its feeling better about one’s physical appearance. I, of course thought this was the only way to achieve true happiness at the time. This was before I knew anything about Islam.

So what do these two completely different things have in common?

Well, for one, the time and effort you put into your routine pays off in the end with a great reward of self-gratification and self-love. You also train your mind, body, and soul to stick adherently to a routine that you know will benefit you in the future. Lastly you know that if you can help yourself, you can help others feel the same great reward.

To illustrate this to you more clearly, we take the strict routine of dieting and waking up early to train, and compare it to Islam, the beautiful religion. Muslims must wake up early to pray, which helps us strengthen our mind and our souls to be better individuals and to be closer to our Creator. We also must fast as well and we often wake up early to eat our sahoor before we fast. A bodybuilder’s routine consists of waking up early to exercise hard and eat meals every three hours.

Also, the constant training of the body helps make you physically stronger and most importantly, mentally strong. Like Islam, the more you pray and the more you train yourself to stick to the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet peace be upon him, you will benefit from this routine mentally and physically, you will also become stronger. Waking up to fast and pray early in the morning and the late night will become easier as you practice it more (because you will know that you are pleasing Allah and nobody else).

The ability to train others is very gratifying, as humans, innately we want to help people and we often feel a sense of greatness when we know that we are making a difference in someone’s life. That is the same with Islam, when we educate ourselves and train ourselves to be better Muslims for the sake of Allah, we innately want to spread the love of Islam to others and help them. We know that spreading the love of Islam will benefit in such a great reward that it is, in words, indescribable. Helping our dear sisters in Islam get closer to Allah for HIS sake and His alone, is the best reward and one of the most gratifying experiences.

In this case, the bodybuilder’s physique is like a Muslim with Allah.

The amount of time, effort, and dedication spent in working on one’s physique is similar to that of a Muslim spending their time, effort, and dedication to please Allah. The harder you work the better you will look, and for a Muslim, the harder you work the closer you will get to Paradise.

prayer

The purpose of the strictness of a bodybuilder’s routine is to gain mental strength as well as physical strength and the purpose of a Muslim’s routine is also to gain mental strength and physical strength. It’s not easy to wake up early in the morning (5am depending on the time of prayer) to make wudu (purification before prayer) and pray. I know how many Muslims just wish that the snooze button wouldn’t work. We also have to wake up before we pray to eat our sahoor (during the month of Ramadhan and for voluntary fasting), and this is also not an easy task, but in the end it strengthens our mind and bodies all for the sake of Allah.

Finally, training individuals to become better individuals mentally and physically is a task that requires constant motivation and knowledge. The more time and effort you put into educating your client, the happier they will become. In Islam, when we spread the love of Islam and help others see the beauty and the benefits of the religion, we feel a sense of joy that only Allah knows because we are doing it solely to make Him happy. That is why seeking knowledge, understanding the deen and applying it is very important for a Muslim. When we realise that you don’t have to have expensive things or tons of money to be happy, and all you need is the tender, loving, care of Allah and you will be the happiest human being alive, then this is the true success of achievement in this worldly life.

Of course, Islam is beyond comparison to that of bodybuilding in the sense of self-love, self-gratification, and self-fulfilment. A Muslim’s strenuous routine is not done to benefit solely themselves, but to please their one true Creator and Him alone. The focus and determination to make it into the highest level of Paradise is one of the most rewarding accomplishment one will yet to experience.

So, if these bodybuilders and trainers treat their bodies like it is their god, and if they are spending hours and hours into their routine to gain the exact same feelings that we Muslims gain, perhaps they should re-evaluate their priorities and know that their bodies could easily deteriorate in seconds, but the true success of happiness is in the heart and the soul, and this can only be attained through a routine dedicated solely for Allah, the One who put you on this earth in the first place.

Umm Abdur-Rahman

 

 

Anticipating the Imam

Muharramat

imam

Praying in jama’a or congregation is a blessing from the blessings of Allah, and a meritorious action. Those who attend the congregational prayers are rewarded up to twenty-seven times more than one offering the Salah alone. It strengthens the brotherhood and brings happiness to the one who engages in it.

There are etiquettes for salah in congregation, of which one must be aware.

The imam is the leader of the congregation, and those behind him are followers. Thus they should not precede him; they should await his ‘signal’ (i.e. saying the takbeer) before performing the next action. The Prophet has cautioned us, when he said, “does the person who raises his head before the imam, not fear that Allah may turn his head into the head of a donkey?” (Muslim, 1/320-321)

What other deterrent do we need? Who would like to walk around with his head resembling and in the form of a donkey’s? What an embarrassment and shame it would be! I adjure you to fear Allah!

Knowing that people are forgetful, the Prophet was not short in reminding. When he (peace be upon him) grew old, he announced, “O people I have gained weight, so do not anticipate me in performing ruku, and sujood.” (Al Bayhaqi, 2/93 and classed Hasan)

What an excellent teacher our Prophet was! He reminded the people, and took into account the change in circumstances. He further instructed us, “The imam is only appointed to be followed, so when he says takbeer, then say takbeer; when he bows, then bow (and do not bow until he bows), when he says ‘Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah’, then say ‘Allahumma rabbana lakal hamd’. If he prays standing then pray standing.” (Bukhari 378, Muslim 417, Abu Dawud 603)

The words ‘do not’ indicate a command, and it is imperative that we oblige. It is also concluded from the above hadith that it is prohibited to precede the imam. If a person does so knowingly, their prayer is invalid, and if they do so out of forgetfulness, their prayer is valid, but they should be cautious.

The best of generations was the sahabahs, and so we should learn from their example. Bara ibn Azib describes their prayer, “When he (peace be upon him) raised his head from ruku’ I would never see anyone bending his back in sujood until the Messenger had placed his forehead on the ground, then everyone would go down in sujood behind him.” (Muslim 474) So the next time you pray in congregation, wait for the imam before making the next movement.

To help us, the fuqaha (jurists) have described a way to control this issue. They said, that a person following the imam should only start his movements after the imam has finished pronouncing the ‘ra’ (r) of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and only then is a person permitted to move, not before or after. This will inshallah make it easy for us to follow the Sunnah in this matter.

May Allah aid us in perfecting our Salah.

 

Umm Salamah

Women of the Golden Era

Praise be to Allah 
 
One of the earliest converts to Islam, she was the daughter of a very wealthy and generous man who was famous throughout the Arab world for his public services and charity, his bearing all the expense of his fellow travellers being one of the reasons for his fame.
 
Our Mother of the Believers, Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) married our Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) at the age of 29, after her first husband was martyred from the wounds he received while fighting in the Battle of Uhud.
 
Her life was filled with patience in the face of trials and tribulations. She and her husband were among the first to migrate to Abyssinia and then later on leave to Makkah bound for Madinah when she was forced to endure the separation from her husband and son. 

One of the atrocities that the kuffar of Quraysh had committed, was when Abu Salamah (May Allah be pleased with him) along with his family decided to migrate to Madinah, the family members of Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) caught the bridles of the camel and told him that he could go wherever he wanted to, but he would have to leave their daughter i.e. Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her). On hearing this, the family of Abu Salamah (May Allah be pleased with him) got enraged and took away her son, thus the family became split and separated. 

Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) attached to her beloved husband would visit the same spot and weep every day, when once a member from her tribe saw this he pitied her and spoke to her family members, after which they agreed to let her go. 

By the Grace of Allah, she was soon reunited with her much- loved husband. 

Think about it my friends, separation and in such a manner, yet she bore it patiently. 

Another of the heart touching incidents that occurred in her life was the passing away of Abu Salamah (May Allah be pleased with him), but she braved it and read this dua, a dua to obtain a better recompense, even though her thoughts kept lingering as to who could be better than her husband, Abu Salamah (May Allah be pleased with him). 

This renowned dua is: 

istirja

`Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji`un. Allahumma ujurni fi musibati, wakhluf li khairan minha’ 
 
(We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. O Allah! Compensate me in my affliction, recompense my loss and give me something better in exchange for it)

 

And then imagine dear friends, she was gifted with the best husband that anyone could possibly yearn for, the best man to walk on the face of Earth, our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Indeed what an honour, what a prestige! 

Dear friends I appeal you to bear patience when the throngs of hardship strikes and recite this superb supplication and do keep in mind that with hardship comes ease.
 
Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) narrated more than 300 ahadith and accompanied the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) on many of his expeditions. She outlived all the other wives and died at the age of 84. 

May Allah bless us with her company in Jannatul Firdaus Al A’ala 

Ameen  

Bint Hasan 

Writer, AAT 

 

 

The Blessed Days of Dhul-Hijjah

hajj

Each season of worship in Islam, brings ample opportunities and benefits with it. There are specified ibadaat by which the slave of Allah can come closer to His Lord, earn His reward and His good pleasure. In these special moments of the year, one is able to correct his mistakes, make up for his misdeeds, and align himself back on track. The first ten days of Hajj are not short of these benefits.

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.” (Reported by Bukhari, 2/457).

This hadith makes it clear that these precious days are better than all other days without exception. They are even better than the days of Ramadaan. Hence to engage in good during these days should be of utmost importance to us, for they are beloved to Allah. The Prophet himself stated that these were the best days.

Not only are these days themselves great, but so is the place of Hajj, in which the Hujjaj visit the sacred House of Allah. Moreover these days include the Day of Arafah on which Allah perfected His religion, and completed His favour upon us. In addition, Allah gives us an opportunity to have our sins forgiven for the year that has passed, and the one to come, and for those who are performing Hajj, they have an even greater opportunity, which is to have all their previous sins forgiven.

What should one do during these days to secure these tempting rewards?

  1. Fast:

Follow the prophetic Sunnah of fasting the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. Following the Sunnah naturally incurs a reward. It was narrated from Hunaydah ibn Khaalid from his wife, that one of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah and the day of ‘Ashura’, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays. (An-Nasa’i, 4/205, Abu Dawood; Saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2/462)

In addition to this, fasting is a great deed in in of itself, as in the Hadith Qudsi we learn, that Allah says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I am the One Who will reward him for it.’” (Reported by al-Bukhari, 1805).

To add to this already tremendous reward for fasting is the fact that Abu Qataadah reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah and he said: “It expiates for the past and coming years.” Narrated by Muslim (1162). According to another report: “I ask Allah that it may expiate for (the sins of) the year that comes before it and the year that comes after it.” What greater incentive do we need to take up this Sunnah. I encourage all my brothers and sisters to do their utmost best and fast these blessed days.

The opportunities for rewards do not end there. Allah is Merciful, He wants to forgive us, He wants to shower upon us His blessings and He wants to admit us to His Jannah.

2) Recite Takbeer, Tahleel and Tahmeed:

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Tahleel (“La ilaaha ill-Allaah“), Takbeer and Tahmeed.” (Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated that it is saheeh).

The Takbeer to recite is ‘Allah akbar, Allahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allah, Allahu akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd.’ Meaning Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise. And there are similar ones that are also approved. Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with them both) used to go out to the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting the takbeer our loud, and the people would recite takbeer when they heard them. However they would not recite in unison, for this is not from the Sunnah. Ibn Umar and Abu Hurayrah would recite the Takbeer so as to remind the people to do likewise.

3) Perform Hajj itself:

Amongst the greatest of deeds to do during these ten days, is the Hajj, for as our Prophet told us, ‘an accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than paradise.’

4) Offer an Udhiyah:

Another great deed is to offer an Udhiyah or sacrifice. One who intends to offer a sacrifice should follow the instruction of the Prophet, “When you see the new moon of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.” According to another report he said: “He should not remove (literally, touch) anything from his hair or skin.” (reported by Muslim with four isnaads, 13/146)

5) Make Duaa: These days contain the Day of Arafah on which Allah forgives his slaves, and answers their supplications. Whether you are performing Hajj or not, use the time for Duaa

6) Repentance and general good deeds:

One should also engage in general good deeds and repentance. As the hadith quoted earlier state that righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah in these days. Repenting and turning to Allah is something which He (Glorified is He) loves. Engage in reciting Qur’an, giving charity, praying on time and the list can go on

7) Share the good:

I leave you with a final thought, and another method by which to earn rewards, and that is to revive the Sunan mentioned in this article, and remind others around you. Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 7/443; this is a hasan hadeeth because of corroborating asaaneed).

My dear brothers and sisters, let’s earn the pleasure of Allah and His reward in these few days and fitting in as many good deeds as possible, and reminding others to do the same. I ask Allah to accept our good deeds, and to grant those who are performing Hajj a Hajj Mabroor. Ameen

 

A Facade of Tears

As images flood our screen, tears trickle down our cheeks, our hearts ache and our minds remain confounded. Yet this show of emotion, rarely seems to translate into action. We persist, our eyes remained glued to our devices, though our fingers type away furiously at the keyboards.

Syria. One cannot help but feel for them. Indeed one’s heart cries for Syria. The images of destruction, famine, and total chaos. And now to top the bundle, is the famous image of little Aylan who drowned at sea, whose little body was found lying lifeless on the beach.

These images are a stark reminder of our situation as an Ummah, and how dead our hearts really are. For if we cared, would this ever have happened to the Ummah. Though I know one must not toy with ‘ifs and buts’ for the decree was written years before, and we must accept it. Nonetheless, the Syria crisis is only a wakeup call to us, for us to realise, and take action, yet many of us remain asleep, deep in our slumber, dreaming of better days. And what are dreams when one awakes?

Such images only bring to light the number of ‘keyboard jihadists’ who so easily blame others but do not check their own tail, and how long is that tail! They blame this country, and that leader, this group and that individual. But the truth is each and every one of us is guilty. Our sins have led to the destruction of the Ummah! On the day of Judgement we will be responsible for our actions, not the actions of anyone else. We will stand before Allah alone. What someone else did, or did not do will be of no concern to us on that day. It is our self that matters. And so I ask, what have you done to help our Syrian brothers and Sisters? Did you stay up the night crying in duaa for them? Did you stand in Qiyaam imploring your Lord to forgive you, that He might relieve them? Or did you watch the news, and accuse your Prime Minister of not accepting refugees? Or did you scroll through social media, blaming everyone else but yourself? I ask myself these questions before I ask you.

How true is it, that a mother would never put her child in the water, unless it was safer than the land. Let’s think of the story of Musa. It was imminent that Fir’awn and his soldiers would come searching, and would execute any male baby found. But, Allah instructed Musa’s mother to put him in the river, Musa’s mother hesitated because she knew that the water is no friend to an infant. Yet the river seemed a safer option than the land. For many Syrian mothers, the cold dark sea, with its treacherous waves, and stormy nights, with its strong currents and freezing temperatures, the unstable, rickety, and crowded boats, is a safer option than the land! What has humanity come to? Are not the lives of innocent children valuable?

This reminds me of what Umar ibn Al-Khattab said, “we were the most humiliated people on earth, and Allah gave us honour through Islam. If we ever seek honour through anything else, Allah will humiliate us again.” Reflect on this my brothers and sisters, today where does the ummah seek its honour?! We seek honour by compromising our deen, by undermining our principles, and it is no wonder that the ummah is in the state it is. Factions of the ummah champion sin, under the name of freedom. If we obey Allah and His Messenger completely, if we do what we are commanded and abstain from what we are prohibited only then will the victory of Allah come.

Now I wonder, is it merely a façade of tears when we watch these images? Is it an emotional outburst when we take to our keyboards? Do we really and truly care? The days of Dhul-Hijjah are fast-approaching bringing another prominent season of worship. So let us use the days ahead to make duaa and do anything we can to help our brothers and sisters, before we too become afflicted by a trial, though I daresay our hearts are already touched! Last but not least, remember Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves; the change starts with you. Let’s translate our emotions into actions. What sin will you give up for your brothers and sisters?

aylan-kurdi

 

Last year (2015) it was Little Aylan, this year (2016) another child’s image burns our screens. The image gory and horrific…yet still our cries seem to remain a facade.

aleppo

How many more children will be wasted before make the change?

I wonder whether we have become the barbarians, whose hearts are so hard and so dark, who choose not to change, and make a difference. Have our hearts drowned, our are we choosing to drown out the pleas of those in need?

I ask Allah to relieve the suffering of muslims all around the world, to ease their pain and grant them patience. Ameen