The Destroyer of Pleasures

deathDeath. It is the destroyer of pleasures. It is the end. An inevitable termination to the life of this world. A reality truer than life itself.
Though we are taught to remember death, it occupies little space in our minds. Though it is undeniable, its thought trail rarely lingers in our heads. Death, is reminder for us to fix ourselves before it is too late. We only live the life of this world once. It is a one-way ticket, without return.
Death hangs over life, it is forever shadowing it. Knowing this, and accepting this fact will enable one to come to terms with it.
To the believer, death ends the pains and sufferings of the world. Death brings one closer to the rewards of Jannah, and death brings one, ever closer to seeing Allah. In this sense, death is a mere stopover en route to the final abode of paradise, and as such, one almost looks forward to it.
My grandmother’s sister recently passed away. I ask Allah to grant her Jannah. She had been afflicted with cancer and had suffered many pains. When the news reached us, we were broken. My grandmother was torn. She could barely speak. We consoled and comforted her as best as we could, reminding her that her sister was in a better place, without pain and suffering, and that one day, they would meet each other inshallah in Jannah, and what better reunion than that?!
Amidst tears, consolation and visitors, I recalled the hadith of Al-Bara’ ibn Azib. It is a hadith that brings contentment and hope to the believer.
Upon the authority of al-Bara’ ibn `Aazib who said: We went out with the Prophet to a burial of a man from the Ansar (original inhabitants of Madina) until we arrived at the grave, and he still had not been placed in the slot of the grave.
Then the Messenger of Allah sat down and we sat around him. You would have thought that birds were upon our heads from our silence, and in the hand of the Messenger of Allah was a stick which he was poking the ground with. [Then he started looking at the sky and looking at the earth and looking up down three times]. Then he said to us: “Ask Allah for refuge from the torment of the grave”, he repeated this command two or three times. Then he said O Allah I seek refuge in you from the torment of the grave [three times]. Then he said: “Verily, the believing servant, when leaving this life and journeying to the hereafter angels will descend upon him, their faces will be white as if they were suns, they will have with them a shroud (kafan) from the shroud of Paradise, and an embalmment (Hanout) from the embalmment’s of heaven. Then, they will sit within eye-shot of him.
Then the angel of death will come and sit at his head and will say “O you virtuous soul; come out to a forgiveness and a pleasure from your Lord. ” So it will come out as a drop comes out of the mouth of a jug (with ease), then he will take it, not leaving it in his hand for longer that a blink of an eye until they (he and the other angels) have placed it in that shroud and that embalmment. And there will emanate from it a smell like that of the most sweet smelling musk on the face of the earth. Then they shall ascend with it, and they shall not pass with it by any group of angels but they will say: What is this good and sweet-smelling soul? Then they shall say to them (he is) “such” the son of “such” choosing the best of the names he used to be called in this life. Until they reach the lowest sky, then they shall ask permission to enter, and they shall be granted entry, until they end at the seventh heaven sky, then Allah, exalted and high, shall say: “write the book of my servant in `illiyeen.” [“And what will explain to you what Illiyeen is?A register fully inscribed to which bear witness those nearest to Allah” (83:18)], and his book will be written in `illiyeen, and it shall be said “return him to the earth, for [I promised them] I have created them from it, and into it I shall return them, and from it I shall extract (resurrect) them a second time (20:55)”. So [he is returned to earth and] his soul is returned to his body and he will hear the footsteps of his friends who buried him when they leave him.
Then two [severe] angels shall come and terrify him and sit him up next to them and shall ask him: “Who is your Lord?” He shall reply “My Lord is Allah” Then they shall ask him: “What is your religion?” He shall answer them: “My religion is Islam.” Then they shall ask him “Who is this man who was sent among you?” He will reply “He is the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him.” Then they shall ask him “What have you done?” He shall reply: “I read the book of Allah, then I believed in it and accepted it.” [In another narration: The angel will terrify him and ask him “who is your Lord?”, “what is your religion?” “who is your prophet?”, and this will be the last trial on earth for the believer, it is then when Allah says: “Allah will establish in strength those who believe with the word that stands firm in this world”, so he will answer my Lord is Allah, my religion is Islam and my Prophet is Mohammad.] Then a caller will call from the sky: “My slave has spoken the truth, so spread out for him from the heaven, and clothe him from the heaven, and open a door for him from the heaven (within his grave)”, so its goodness and its smell will come unto him, then his grave will be expanded for him as far as he can see.
Then a man will come to him. His face will be handsome, and his clothes will be handsome, and his smell will be sweet. Then he shall say unto him: I bring you glad tidings of that which will make you happy [Rejoice with a pleasure of Allah and delights that endure]. This is the day that you were promised (46:16). Then he will say [and may Allah give you glad tiding] “who are you? For your face is the face of someone who comes with good news”. He shall reply: “I am your good deeds, [by Allah, I did not know of you but that you were quick to the obedience of Allah and slow to His disobedience, so may Allah reward you good]”. Then he shall say: “My Lord bring the hour so that I might return to my family and my wealth” [it will be said to him “be tranquil”].
He (peace be upon him) said: And the disbelieving [transgressor/wicked] servant, if he is leaving this life and journeying to the hereafter then angels will descend upon him, their faces will be black, they have with them a coarse woollen fabric (sackcloth) made of fire. Then they will sit within eye-shot of him. Then the angel of death will come and sit at his head and will say “O you wicked soul; come out to the anger from your Lord and a fury (from Him.” So it will be distributed (spread out) throughout his body, then it will be ripped away as a skewer/spit is ripped out of damp cotton [and in its way out it will tear and cut the nerves and blood vessels] and then he will be cursed by all the angels between the earth and the sky and by all the angels in the sky, and the gates of heaven are closed. There is no gate in the heaven but its people supplicate that the wicked soul shall not be ascended to their side, then he will take it (the soul), not leaving it in his hand for longer than a blink of an eye until they have placed it in that sackcloth. And there will emanate from it a stench like that of the most evil smelling corpse on the face of the earth. Then they shall ascend with it, and they shall not pass with it by a group of angels but they will say: What is this wicked soul? Then they shall say to them (he is) “such” the son of “such” choosing the most hated of the names he used to be called in this life. Until they reach the lowest heaven (sky), then they shall ask permission to enter, and they shall not be granted entry. Then the Messenger of Allah recited “The doors of the sky are not opened to them, nor shall they enter heaven until the camel passes through the eye of the needle” (7:40).
Then Allah, exalted and high, shall say: “write the book of my servant in Sijjeen (See: 83:7) in the lowest earth”. Then will be said “return my slave to the earth, for I promised them I have created them from it, and into it I shall return them, and from it I shall extract (resurrect) them a second time (20:55)”]. Then his soul shall be taken away [from the sky] with a mighty hurl [until it is cast into his body]. Then he (the Prophet) read: “and those who associate partners with Allah, They are as one who falls from the sky then is snatched by the birds or is cast by the wind into a very low place (22:31)”. Then his soul will be returned into his body. He (the prophet) said: verily he will hear the footsteps of his friends who buried him when they leave him. Then two harsh severe and fearsome angels shall come and [terrify him and] sit him up and shall ask him: “Who is your Lord?” He shall reply “Huh? Huh (this is an expression of sorrow), I don’t know”. Then they shall ask him: “What is your religion?” He shall answer them: “Huh, Huh? I don’t know”. Then they shall ask him “Who is this man who was sent among you?” He will reply “Huh, Huh? I don’t know [I heard people saying that!]”. He (the Prophet) said “And then will be said to him, don’t ever know and don’t ever recite!”.
Then a caller will call from the sky: “My slave has spoken falsely, so spread out for him from the hell fire, and open a door for him from the hell fire (within his grave)”, so its heat and hot wind will come unto him, then his grave will be contracted upon him until his limbs are caught up among one another. Then a man will come to him. His face will be ugly, and his clothes will be ugly, and his smell will be vile. Then he shall say unto him: I bring you tidings of that which will harm you. This is the day that you were promised (70:44). Then he will say [and you, may Allah give you bad tidings] “who are you? for your face is the face of someone who comes with evil”. He shall reply: “I am your evil deeds [by Allah, I did not know of you but that you were quick to the disobedience of Allah and slow to His obedience, so may Allah reward you bad, and then will be assigned to him a blind, deaf and mute person who holds in his hand a hammer, if a mountain is hit with it, it would disintegrate, and he will beat him with it until he becomes dust, and then Allah will render him to his initial form, and he will beat him again, and he (the wicked) will cry of sorrow and pain a cry that will be heard by all creatures except humans and jinn, and a door of hell will be opened unto him within his grave and will spread out for him sheets of hell fire]”. Then he shall say: “My Lord do not bring the hour”.
This hadith is narrated by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, at-Tayalisi, and al-Hakim who said it is according to the standards of Bukhari and Muslim.
And so I end this piece saying, death is true. And the events of the grave are true, so prepare your grave now, by sowing seeds of righteous deeds.
May Allah forgive the believing deceased and let them rest in peace, and forgive those of us who remain alive, for we shall surely join them.

Three Daughters

girls shoes

“Oh dear, did they get another one! I seriously feel sorry for them, for already having two daughters and now having a third one… What terrible luck!!!”

Three daughters or more are often considered to be taboo in some societies and parents have to bear the endless expressions of unwanted sympathy, pity and commiserations, consoling the parents by saying “Don’t worry, don’t grieve, we shall pray that you shall be blessed with a boy next time In Sha Allah.” Even on christening ceremonies, the new born daughter is looked upon by pitiful faces and given wishes for good fortune.

“Good fortune”! Indeed, does such a term even properly apply to us Muslims who believe in the concept of predestined fate. Then why should we offer our condolences to such parents when Allah Ar Raaziq has willed for such a girl to enter into this world as their daughter.

By our incessant condolences, we actually turn the short lived happiness that the parents feel into despair, giving them the feeling of being unfortunate, making them feel derogatory! Yet should having a girl cause such despair?

What about the hadith where the Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Whoever has three daughters or three sisters, cares for them and disciplines them, he and I shall be like this is in Paradise” – as he was putting his index and middle fingers together.” [Abu Ya’la ~ Classed as Sahih by Sh Al-Albaani]

This hadith shows the virtue and importance of caring for ones’ daughters and sisters whereby the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mentioned that whoever has three daughters or three sisters and cares for them and disciplines them, they will be in paradise. Islam emphasizes the importance of caring for our daughters and sisters due to their fragility and sensitivity, so they require protection from their fathers and brothers so that no harm is done to them.

Moreover, this hadeeth applies to both the father and the mother. The same applies if he has sisters or paternal or maternal aunts etc., and he treats them kindly, we hope that he will attain Paradise for that.

And Allah knows best.

Our blessed Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also had 4 daughters, and he treated them with utmost kindness.

He Prophet (peace be upon him) would stand up for his daughter Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she would come to him, take her hands, kiss her and let her take his seat. Likewise, whenever the prophet (peace be upon him) came to her she would stand up for him, take his hand and kiss him.

So therefore, it is incumbent that we annihilate this ridiculous notion where girls are considered to be a burden on their parents, for indeed they by the will of Allah may be the pavement for their parents to paradise, and a protection from the fire.

Furthermore, it should be understood that just giving birth to three daughters does not fulfil the criteria of the aforementioned hadith, rather it is important that we raise them up and discipline them according to the Islamic Shariah.

May Allah facilitate for us the path to Jannah Ameen

Bint Ayesha, AAT, Writer

 

 

Be Gentle

Kids not listening to you? Parents say you need to watch out your attitude? People think you are stuck up? This maybe a problem with your attitude of being rude and unkind when you should be gentle as a Muslim and a human. Think about someone being rude to you and think about someone who was gentle to you, you obviously know what I’m trying to imply. The same way you should try to be gentle as well. A little gentleness goes a long way; your gentleness with a frightened stray dog will eventually convince her to let you feed and pet her.

Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness. Allah says in the Holy Quran:

“So speak (O Moses & Aaron) to him (Pharaoh) gently; perchance he may take warning or fear (God).” (20: 44)

If Pharaoh, the worst of all people, the most tyrannical and arrogant, deserved some gentleness then don’t our other fellow humans too deserve our gentleness? Indeed they do.

The Prophet said, “O Aisha, Allah is gentle and He loves gentleness. He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness and He does not reward anything else like it.” (Sahih Muslim)

When the prophet was treated harshly by the people of Taif, he didn’t curse them but prayed to Allah for their guidance. Also when the Prophet was greeted by some Jews saying Death be upon you, and Aisha replied the same to them, the Prophet Muhammad told her to be gentle and not harsh in her approach. And there are other numerous instances from the prophet’s life and his life is an example for us to follow.

Abu Ad-Darda reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “whoever is given his portion of kindness has been given his portion of goodness, and whoever is deprived of his portion of kindness has been deprived of his portion of goodness.”

Gentleness shown when you are badly treated is the real test of gentleness.

Being gentle comes with tremendous rewards:

Ibn Mas’ud reported, The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Shall I not tell you for whom the Hellfire is forbidden? It is every person accessible, polite, and mild.”

Therefore we should always be kind and gentle with Muslims and non-Muslims, young and old, humans and animals. This will make our character a beautiful one and will do good to the people and our society.

Fatima Damad,

AAT

Al-Lateef

al-latif

It often happens when we desire a thing about which we haven’t even uttered to anyone else or to Allah in Dua but it surprisingly shows up. Such is the manifestation of Allah’s Name “AL-Lateef”.

Came from the root word Lam-ta-fa, linguistically “Lateef” means flour (refined), favor, and fulfilment of goal through perfect gentleness. It includes very subtle matters such as secretly guiding one towards Mercy. These meanings direct to no other than Allah (Glory be to Him).

The Name “Al-Lateef” occurred 7 times in the Qur’an. Allah is “Lateef”, whose Knowledge encompasses all hidden, concealed secrets of the worlds, who is so kind and generous to whomsoever Allah wills that they don’t realize because of its extreme subtleness. He takes us to our needs/goals through a very subtle route, in a very best and easy way, and shows His immense mercy to His slaves in a very subtle ways known to no one but Him.

“[And Luqman said], “O my son, indeed if wrong should be the weight of a mustard seed and should be within a rock or [anywhere] in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Indeed, Allah is Subtle and Acquainted.” (Surah al-Luqman: 16)

Allah’s Lutf is not limited to the matter of Deen (religion) but He is Lateef in the creation. For example: We may think of long, lush eyelashes as signs only of fertility and attractiveness, but they are important for eye health, too. Lashes trap debris and dirt, preventing it from coming in contact with our eyes, which could cause injuries.

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) summarizes the meanings of Al-Lateef in his poem an-Nooniyyah:

“And He is Al-Lateef to His slave and of His slave,

And His Lutf is of two kinds,

(Firstly) Awareness of the most intimate of matters with full knowledge,

And (secondly) His Lutf that manifests itself with utmost kindness,

Thus He shows you His Greatness and displays His Mercy,

While the slave has no perception of this matter.”

 

He (Blessed is He) bestows more than what we deserve, making the path of prosperity easy for us in a shorter period of time. From the story of Prophet Yusuf (may peace be upon him), there is an explanation of the Name apparent:

“And he raised his parents upon the throne, and they bowed to him in prostration. And he said, “O my father, this is the explanation of my vision of before. My Lord has made it reality. And He was certainly good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you [here] from Bedouin life after Satan had induced [estrangement] between me and my brothers. Indeed, my Lord is Subtle in what He wills. Indeed, it is He who is the Knowing, the Wise.” (Surah al-Yusuf: 100)

Greatness of Al-Lateef:

  1. “Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted.” (Surah al-An’am:103)

Nothing sees Allah (in this life), but He sees all creation. Allah (Glory be to Him) sees all and is well-aware of our situations that nothing is hidden from Him. He perceives what is in the lands of enclosed grains and seeds.

  1. Allah (Blessed is He) deals with our internal matters related to Nafs (soul) with Courteousness and subtleness. He guides His servants towards rectification and reformation in a manner beyond our comprehension.
  2. It is also a Lutf of Allah that He sets His servants into trials and tribulation only later that He grants them patience because of which a servant reaches the higher status in the Akhirah (Day of Reckoning). And “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity”.
  3. Allah’s Subtleness and Favor is in the provision of His servants where He (Glory be to Him) provides to the extent he/she needs. And not just a provision, but a Halal provision along with contentment as a result. A paradigm of development of a foetus and how its requirements are met while living under the three dark layers.

When a believer learns about Allah’s subtleness, a seed of Love and Hope is sown by which a plant of nearness and servitude breeds. Ibn Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“Indeed, anticipation of relief lightens the burden of trials…” (Madarij As-Saalikeen 2/167) It also makes him re-evaluate his sayings and actions, in other words, reassessment of his soul. The effect of Allah’s Name is not limited to one’s soul but also his behaviour towards the society. The believer is considerate and subtle towards his brother-in-Islam, especially his close kin, he invites people to good and forbid them to evil. Having acknowledged such a beautiful Name and Attribute of Allah one can imagine what greatness it can bring in the ummah.

Maliha Rahmat,

Writer, AAT

Choose Wisely

friends

We love company. We all do. It is in our nature. When Allah created Adam, and he was in Jannah, he was lonely and so Allah created for him; Hawa, to keep him company. We are no different from our father Adam, and we love to socialise. Sadly, surrounding oneself with the wrong people can have a lot of negative consequences. Thus it is our duty to seek out righteous friends, who will help us in our quest for paradise, who will correct us when we err, and who will remind us when we forget.

There is no better way to describe the effects of friendship than the words of the most eloquent, our beloved Prophet peace be upon him. Abu Musa reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying, “the similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one (iron-smith) blowing bellows, and the owner of musk would either offer you free of charge or you would buy it from him or you would smell its pleasant odour, and so far as one who blows the bellows is concerned, he would either burn your clothes or you shall have to smell its repugnant smell.” (Muslim)

A friend who has good morals, who has manners, and upright character, will rub off on you only the good. You will learn from his ethics and you will gain a reputation of integrity. Even if you do not learn from him, then you would calm yourself in his presence out of awe for him. Whereas, a friend who distracts you from the remembrance of Allah is not worthwhile. He will only occupy your time with futile issues that have no benefit, and in fact could earn the wrath of Allah. He is astray and will lead you astray with him.

How many have been called away from Islam by their friends? How many have left their Salah for their friends? How many have lost their akhirah for the friends.

In the Qur’an, Allah gives such an example of one whose friend had lead him astray, “And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, “Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.” (Surah Furqan 25:27-29)

On the day when there will be no return, no chance of changing the past, then one will regret his choice of friends!

Our Prophet also warned us of this fact when he said, “A man will follow the way of his close friend, so let each of you look at whom he takes as a close friend.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2378; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1937).

But friendship can also take a positive turn. Just as much as bad friend can have a negative impact on an individual, a god-fearing friend can be a source of guidance by the will of Allah. Abu-Bakr took the Prophet as a close friend, and look how he is remembered in history. The Seerah books are covered by the many incidents of his loyalty to Allah and His Messenger. We advise children to be like him, and he is a role model for them. He is the best man after the Prophet peace be upon him, to the extent that he is guaranteed a place in Jannah, and will be one of the leaders in paradise! All, because he took a righteous man to be his friend. The Prophet said about him, “Behold, of all people the most generous toward me in regard to his companionship and his property was Abu Bakr and were I to choose anyone as my bosom friend, I would have chosen Abu Bakr as my dear friend, but (for him) I cherish Islamic brotherliness and love.” (Muslim)

Without realising, one follows their friend, and their friend follows them. It is for this reason that we turn to our friends when we need advice, or when the going gets difficult, and we celebrate with our friends in moments of happiness. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “You should seek sincere brothers, for they are an adornment at times of ease and a support at times of calamity.”

Today, friends are only a phone call away, or a message away. We connect with our friends throughout the week, if not multiple times a day. The influence they have over us, is often more than that of our parents. Hence, we should seek out friends who will drive us towards good. Otherwise, regret and remorse will cover us when it is too late.

Signs of the Hour 14

“And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except such as Allah please; then it shall be blown again, then lo! they shall stand up awaiting.” [Surah Az Zumar: 68]

The Hour will be dreadfully grievous and agonizing. Our ears will be riveted to the blowing of trumpet. Each and every one of us will be in a state of perturbation. Every split-second may seem like eternity. There are some signs which will occur prior to the Overwhelming Hour. The source of these signs are from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

In this article, we shall talk about the signs of the Hour relevant to war booty.

Booty can be defined as plunder taken from an enemy in time of war. It also means goods or property seized by force or piracy during wars.

trust

The two signs relevant to the aforementioned topic are:

  • When the entrusted item is regarded as booty: Allah (The Exalted) has enjoined the guarding of trusts and returning them to their owners as they are. “Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due.” [Surah Nisa, 4:58] Towards the end of the time, a thing will be given to a person as a trust to look after but he will regard it as booty and take possession of it and will not give back to him.

Today, we are concerned excessively or exclusively with ourselves. We seek or concentrate on our own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. Being self-centered and self-oriented can be the reasons for not rendering back the trust of people.

  • Fay’ will become limited to some people: Fay’ is an Arabic word which means booty captured by the Mujahideen whether property or any other thing, without fighting, either because the enemy fled or surrendered.

“Whatever Allah gave as booty to His Apostle from the people of the towns, it is for Allah and for the Apostle, and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, so that it may not be a thing taken by turns among the rich of you, and whatever the Apostle gives you, accept it… ” [Surah Hashr 59:7]

Allah enjoined its distribution as He described, so that it is not controlled by the rich and withheld from the poor.

But towards the end of the time, people will go against the division of Fay’ as enjoined by Allah, by dividing it among the rich and prominent people, who will keep it to themselves.

According to a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When Fay’ is limited to some people to the exclusion of others and entrusted items are regarded like booty.. ” (Recorded By At-Tirmidhi)

In the end, I want to emphasize, the plot of shaitan is to drive us away from the straight path and to cause us to lose hope in Allah’s mercy whenever we find ourselves drowning in sin or being distracted from our purpose in this deceptive worldly life. That is his plot, but we have Allah, the Most-Merciful, to guide us through, all we have to do is turn to Him.

Bint Nayeem

Writer, AAT

 

Iron Hearts

iron hearts

When one thinks of hearts, the image of softness, comfort and all positive caring images are brought to life, for the heart is the seat of emotion. There is also a darker image of broken hearts that is conjured up, but iron hearts? One would rarely, if never contemplate such a thing, for hearts are not made of iron. Never. One thinks of an iron fist in relation to firmness, and assertiveness but not an iron heart.

Yet if we look around us today it would appear that many hearts have hardened, many have loss feeling, as crimes and criminals are on the rise. Our hearts no longer absorb the numerous reminders and have turned to stone, but even stone cracks when water seeps through and is affected by the thikr;

“If We had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear of Allah. And these examples We present to the people that perhaps they will give thought.” (Surah Hashr 59:21)

Without fail, this ayah always succeeds in stirring emotions. We need to reflect upon this. If mountains; the pegs of the earth, firm, unmovable rock, can become dust and crumble to rubble due to the impact and weight of the Qur’an, what about our hearts? Have they become iron?

We have locked away our own hearts, shut them off from the reminders, and prevented the light from penetrating their depths.

This reminds me of another ayah, in which Allah says,

Then, do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?” (Surah Muhammad 47:24)

This rhetorical question should awaken us, Allah poses this question to us for us to ponder. Perhaps we have chosen to shut off our hearts, and we ourselves have sealed them by our own actions. Our hearts are sealed and remain unaffected, tainted with the rust of sins. If only we could clean away those dark spots to open our hearts to ponder upon the words of Our Creator.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Verily, when the slave (of Allah) commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. When he refrains from it, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart is polished clean. But if he returns, it increases until it covers his entire heart. And that is the ‘Ran’ which Allah mentioned: Nay, but on their hearts is the Ran which they used to earn.” (Tirimthi and Ibn Majah, Hasan)

Let’s clean our hearts, and turn to Allah. Let’s unchain our hearts, and open the flood gates and allow the words of Allah to penetrate deep.

Keeping Silent

advising

Silence is often praised in Islam, for the famous hadith, ‘whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or keep silent’ has become a slogan, though many times it is repeated without action, and many continue to allow their tongues to flap. And in such a situation, it is indeed much better to remain silent, for talking often incurs sins, and as we know one bad word could land a person in the hellfire. We ask Allah to protect us.

However, there are other times, in which a person should talk, in order to ordain the good and forbid the evil.

On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree who said, I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim)

So one should attempt to correct the wrong he witnesses using his hands, and if he is not able to do so or it will cause a greater evil, then let him try to use his tongue. This means to speak out against it, by advising the person, or to warn about it, and remind the person engaged in the sin of its incorrectness and explain why it is wrong, remind them of the punishment of the wrong, and to remind them of the reward for leaving a wrong, and doing a good instead. The last, and lowest level of iman as categorised by the Prophet is to change it with one’s heart, and this is to believe it is wrong, to hate the wrong, to move away from the wrong, and leave it, to hate to witness the wrong.

Remember silence is often approval, and by not moving away from the wrong and disassociating oneself from it, symbolises that one accepts it. This brings me to a more specific issue, and that is witnessing one’s womenfolk behaving immorally or dressing immorally and remaining silent. Indeed, this is an affliction of our time. Family members who feel afraid to speak out against this evil, are in fact guilty.

Ibn Umar reported that the Prophet peace be upon him said, “there are three whom Allah will deprive of Paradise; the one who drinks intoxicants, the one who is disobedient to his parents and the one who accepts immoral conduct on the part of his family.”

My dear brothers and sisters, what would it take to simply say a few words to correct a family member? Our family members should be the easiest people to talk to, and we should love to correct them, for we would never want to see them being punished. If you truly love your family, then save them from the punishment of Allah, by correcting them, advising them and reminding them.

The next time your sister leaves the house without hijab, or your brother wears “short shorts,” or your dad buys shaving gel to shave his beard, or your mother purchases that magazine with indecent images, remind them. Change it with your hand. Bring your sister a hijab. Bring your brother a longer pair of pants, put the shaving gel back on the shelf, take the magazine out of the shopping basket, and if you cannot do that, or it will cause a greater commotion, then advise them privately. Do not name and shame. Explain why it is wrong, and remind them that Jannah is expensive.

“There is no person to whom Allah has given responsibility over others and he failed to take care of them by advising them sincerely, but he will never smell the fragrance of Paradise.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 6617).

 

Heart to Heart

“My dear friend, I would like to advise you…”

empathy

How many times has a close companion said these words, or something similar, to you?

Advice, and advising is a lost trend amongst the ummah. What remains of advising is merely words, without gravity or correct attitude. Many forget the etiquettes, sadly, and the conversation quickly turns sour, as one looks down upon his brother in his advice; labelling him, and even cursing him. The other retorts in a bid to defend himself, ‘don’t judge me! You don’t know what is in my heart!’

Oh, how terrible is our situation!

On the authority of Tameem ad-Daari, the Prophet peace be upon him said, ‘the religion is an-naseeha (sincere advice).’ We said, ‘to whom?’ He said, ‘to Allah, His book, His Messenger, the muslim leaders and the common folk.” (Muslim)

It is a duty upon each of us to advise our fellow companion, our brothers and sisters, however, there are certain mannerisms that go hand-in-hand with advising.

Be sincere: are you truly giving the advice to benefit the person, or are you saying it to dig at them? A believer cares about his brother/sisters’ connection with Allah, and thus he helps him in doing good. He doesn’t hope for any personal gain from giving good advice, except for the pleasure of Allah.

“There is no person to whom Allah has given responsibility over others and he failed to take care of them by advising them sincerely, but he will never smell the fragrance of Paradise.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 6617).

Privacy: Naming and Shaming is not giving advice. Advice should be given privately to maintain the person’s honour. It also inclines them to take the advice, for their ego will remain undamaged.

“Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” [al-Maa’idah 5:2]

Keep calm: some people get excited when they give advice and their voice rises. This will automatically cause the other person to tune out, and become defensive. Keep your cool, and be gentle. The Prophet didn’t win the hearts of people by shouting out his message. Rather he calmly explained to them why they were wrong.

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr: The Prophet said, “A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands.” (Bukhari)

“Fear Allah”: This is perhaps the most common phrase used for giving advice. It is a reminder that Allah is All-Seeing, All-Hearing, and is well aware of what one is doing. It is also a reminder that one will have to stand for account before Allah, and will have to answer to Him. Sadly, many have become averse to this phrase, yet the companions would weep when this was said to them.

“Don’t judge me, you don’t know my heart”: My brothers are sisters; Islam is belief as well as actions. The belief in the heart necessitates actions that are apparent on the outer limbs. The corruption of the outer limbs is an indication of what is hidden internally, for the Prophet said, “Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh, which, if it be sound, all the body is sound, and which, if it is diseased, all of [the body] is diseased. Truly, it is the heart.” [Bukhari & Muslim] If one’s heart was pure, then their apparent actions would be pure also.

Exchanging advice should be the same as exchanging gifts; it should make one happy and should increase the brotherhood/sisterhood. This is my advice to you. Revive the Sunnah of advising, and be open to advice. Know, that none of us is perfect, and we are meant to remind each other.

gifting 2

“By time. Indeed mankind is in loss. Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Surah Al-Asr 103:1-3)

 

Ibn Sulayhah and the Crusaders

crusaders

The Muslim World was faced with sudden havoc, when the crusaders viciously attacked them, creating chaos amongst their midst.

Their campaign was successful to a large extent in establishing four Latin principalities,

  1. In the headwaters of the Euphartes, at Edessa
  2. In northern Syria, at Antioch
  3. On the Syrian coast, at Tripoli
  4. In the heart of Palestine, at Jerusalem

At these moments of intense carnage and bloodshed, the qadis and the poets of the time rose to the occasion.

The poets voiced out the plight and agony of the Muslims, their libretti illustrating the ferocity of the battle:

We mixed blood with our flowing tears

And there was no room left to apportion blame. The worst weapon for a man is flowing tears, When the flames of war intensify by the sword

How much blood was shed and how many young Muslims girls Were killed whilst trying to cover their beauty with their Hands out of shyness Silver swords turned red and spearheads dripped with blood In the midst of stabbing and striking………

It was with this extreme savagery and mercilessness that the war took place with.

The qadis also played a prominent role, one of them being Ibn sulayhah ,the qadi of the fortress of Jablah. He was its ruler, succeeding after the death of his father Mansoor in 494 AH/1100 CE.

His talents were manifested when the Franks besieged the fortress of jablah in an attempt to capture it.

Initially the qadhi used, what is now known as psychological warfare when he came up with the ingenious plan to spread fear in the ranks of the Frankish forces. He pretended that the Sultan Barkiyaruq was headed towards Syria coming to his aid which made the Franks worry, and fear spread throughout their ranks and caused them to withdraw.

When the Franks realized that this was really a trick they came back and besieged the city again, but the qadhi repeated his trick in a different manner, spreading a rumor among the Crusader ranks that this time the Egyptian were coming to fight them and help him, eventually causing the Franks to withdraw their siege of the fortress.

It appeared that the Crusaders lacked sufficient info regarding the state of the fortress or the number of troops, or else they wouldn’t have abandoned their siege. Now, realizing that the Qadhi had in fact been instrumenting psychological warfare, they returned and besieged the fortress for a third time in Shaban of 494 A.H.

Ibn Sulayhah comprehended that this time, employing psychological warfare would be futile, so he inventively came up with yet another strategy to ensure his success. He worked out a deal with the Christians residing within the fortress wherein a Christian delegation was sent to the Franks to work out the terms of surrendering the fortress to them, whereby the Franks would send in 300 of their most prominent and bravest knights to conquer the fortress.

The Franks conceded to the terms and the Frankish warriors proceeded on to actualize their vicious mission.

However, the entire course of events was only the maneuvering of Ibn Sulayhah as he set into actions his ingenious plan; for as the Frankish warriors climbed the rope up the fortress, they met their demise at his hands as he sat ready for them at the top of the wall.

The Crusaders thereby incurred a humongous loss and attempted their revenge by striving to capture the fortress by any means possible. To bring their quest into a reality they therefore built a wooden tower and used it to obliterate one of the fortress’s towers. But with his quick wits and cleverness the qadhi could see that the danger was imminent, so he did not slow down or surrender, but in fact set to motion yet another brilliant plan.

He then made holes in the rear walls of the city by which the army would be able to exit the city unnoticed. Ibn Sulayhah then came out of the fortress with his army at the forefront to fight the Franks, he then pretended to flee from them, thus tricking the invaders, the Franks hence hastened to pursue the Muslims as far as the gates of the city, at which point the Muslim army took the opportunity to come out through those holes and come out at the Crusaders from the rear and attacked them, thereby finally defeating them.

Therefore, this was Ibn Sulayhah, a man with an ingenious mind, a true diamond in the cruss, as he strived to protect his people and his fortress from the ruthless and callous hands of the Franks.

Bint Hasan

AAT, Writer