Category Archives: Gratitude

Being thankful to Allah for the countless blessings bestowed upon us.

Habits that Breed Success

Islam is all about achieving success. Success in this life by triumphing over our base desires, and attaining a tranquil soul, and body. And success in the hereafter by earning the pleasure of Allah and thus His rewards, and protection from the hellfire.

Success is being productive. Being productive with your resources and abilities. Not being extravagant or attaining the goals of others, no. Rather to adjust yourself to what you have, and what you can do, and working with that to yield the best results. The most successful human being to ever walk the earth, was none other than our beloved Prophet peace be upon Him. He was the epitome to success in this life and the next. He had little resources but, he attained success. He transformed the face of a nation, and forged a lasting mass of successors, that can be found in every corner of the globe until today. That is success at an astounding level.

On a more personal level, how can we as individuals attain success, what habits are crucial for success? How can we begin to build a personality for ourselves that will leave behind a legacy?

Apart from fulfilling all the obligatory deeds and pushing yourself to complete the voluntary ones, there are some habits that have been a common denominator between all successful people the world over (judging by worldly standards). These factors have also been identified by psychologists in various studies. Though they have only recently been identified, they were mastered by our Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him over 14 centuries ago, and he inculcated them in his followers who embodied his legacy.

They are:

  • Waking up early: The earlier one begins the day, the more time there is in the day, the more you can get done and accomplished. Each day brings new challenges and a long list of tasks to be completed. Hence, waking up early, not only puts you in the frame of mind to It helps to increase productivity.

As muslims our day usually begins at Fajr, at the early hours of the morning.

  • Gratitude: gratitude is known as the most contributing emotion to success.

As muslims we should begin our day with the duaa for waking up, not just reading it but also understanding it. Thereby we are thank Allah for granting us life, and this is the first stage of our gratitude.

Imagine what this does to the human psyche! It recharges our batteries, makes us grateful for the little things and uplifts ones spirits and energy.

  • Reading motivational literature/meditation: this provides inspiration for the day ahead. At early hours of the morning, when nothing bogs your mind, reading such literature will bury itself in your soul, available to your mind to pull up as and when it needs it.

As muslims we begin our day with Quran recitation. And what could be more motivational than the words of Allah?!  Fajr prayers are the best time to recite and ponder upon the Quran. It is no wonder the fajr prayer is the prayer with the longest recitation. Take the time, to reflect upon what is recited.

Moreover, the more knowledge you have (which you gain from reading) the better equipped you are to face challenges of the day. Hence reading, is a primary habit that helps breed success.

  • Healthy habits: exercise, and healthy eating. These are known to improve one’s improves over all well-being. Hence one should begin their day with a healthy breakfast (you may need to cross nutella off your menu!), and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the day. The Prophet was never known to overeat. Eating excessively only encourages laziness and is sign of gluttony! He (peace be upon him) was known to be a fit man, whose walking pace was slightly faster than others, and who possessed enormous strength.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others: while some competition may be healthy, it can breed jealousy and envy. Thus, one should focus on their personal goals. Everyone is unique. Allah made each of us an individual with different strengths and weaknesses, so much so that our fingerprints are different. Measure your success against your own ability. You know yourself better than anyone else, and can tell when you have ‘done your best.’ Our prophet advised us with this when he said,  “Do not hate one another and do not envy one another. Let the slaves of Allah be brothers.” (Graded Saheeh by Sh Al-Albaani)

Success means different things to different people. To some it may be money, to others it may be property, yet to others it may be family, and to others it may be health. But to all of us, it is the pleasure of Allah. And so, every habit we incorporate into our life should have a higher purpose, that of pleasing Allah.

Success comes with hard work. It’s never an easy task. No one earns success overnight. We need to put the effort in, by entwining habits that will help us attain the success we seek.

Depression

Some people just can’t seem to move on, they dwell in the past and reminisce the bad that happened to them or even others, and some worry about the current events and some just want a better future somehow or the other, these people get sad and stressed out and fall into depression many a time. It is human emotion all humans experience in different phases in their lives. But too much of anything is just bad.

Islam is a complete way of life and has provided us with solutions to these illnesses of the heart. Firstly all this is born when we are away from Allah and so it gives a chance to the shaitan to create doubts and hopelessness in us.

We will outline some steps to get closer to Allah which will lead to de-stressing (bi’ithnillah):

  1. Know that Allah is All Powerful and we can depend on Him for everything and t is in His hands that our greatest problem could be solved in a mili-second.
  2. Doing every act of worship which will make you closer to Allah and also keep your mind occupied.
  3. Exercise which will make your body fresh and active making you feel good about yourself, also eating healthy is also a good way to ensure a healthy body and heart.
  4. Go out and appreciate nature which will make you happy and clear your mind.
  5. Try to forget and forgive.
  6. Take a look at others’ lives , and try to appreciate the things that you have have and they don’t.
  7. Socialize as it will keep you busy .
  8. Smile and always be cheerful which will create a positive environment around you.

Make Allah your priority in everything that you do. Remember Him often, and He will remember you and take you out of this difficult situation.

We hope that these tips will make your life happy.

Fatima Damad

 

Our Mothers

mothers

Mother, mum, amma, ummi, ma and all the other names used all refer to the one person who gave birth to you. Some of us have never met our mothers, others see their mothers pass on right before their eyes, and others still, watch their mothers grow into old age outliving them.

Before we were born our mothers planned for us. They began by choosing for us, our fathers, and then chose a name for us. From the moment we were conceived our mothers have cared for us. She watched her diet to enable us to grow heavily, and she bore the burden of carrying us for nine long months. Then she agonised in pain to bring us into the world, and endured sleepless nights to feed and care for us. She stressed over our food and clothes, ensured we were comfortable, and secure, and when were sick she would do her utmost to to help us return to good health. She spent her days gazing at our little faces as they matured, and her nights she prayed for our well-being and success. May Allah reward all our mothers.

But how do we re-pay our mothers? Do we care for her now that she has reached old age? Do we run to her service, bend to put her socks on and tie her shoes? Do we try to make her smile, when she feels down?

Abu Huraira reported that a person said, “Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment?” He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness). (Muslim) 

Our Prophet peace and blessings did not leave this stone unturned. He taught us Islam as a complete way of life; our mothers are instrumental to our life on earth, so how can we neglect the one who gave birth to us, whose heart cried when our eyes cried, whose heart tore when we were so much as scratched, whose heart broke, when our toys broke?

Our dear, dear mothers. Today, children; young and old alike, have no time for their mothers. They ignore their calls, tune out their voices, and feel burdened by the obligation of devoting time to her. How wretched we are! Do we not feel any shame, that our mothers sacrificed many things for our sake! She sacrificed her health, her time, her sleep, her enjoyments, her hobbies, her personal ‘me’ time, her pamper time, her food, and her money to take care of us, and we don’t even bat an eyelid! May Allah forgive us, and guide us!

Allah reminds us of this great obligation towards our parents,

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents, whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them “uff” (a word of disrespect), nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour, and lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “O Lord, bestow upon them your mercy as they did bring me up when I was young,” (Surah Al-Isra 17:23)

The scholars have explained that Allah used “uff” to show us that such a small word that indicates dissatisfaction, or any sort of negativity, should not be used. Uff is barely even a word, so how about those words that blatantly illustrate disrespect, and rudeness?!

As the saying goes, “you only appreciate it once it’s gone.” How many will count the days until their parents pass on, eager to get them off their hands and be free of the responsibility! Even worse, how many will dump their parents in care homes, to absolve themselves of the duty of care! Only when we arrive at the hereafter will we realise the missed opportunities of earning our mother’s pleasure and will we regret those moments. But regret will do nothing, remorse cannot bring back the past.

Take the time enjoy your mother’s company, just as she used to treasure yours, and discover that she is the long lost best friend you never knew you had! Spend a moment, say a kind word to her. Kiss her forehead, and tell her that you love her. Ask her to forgive you for all the times that you’ve fallen short in serving her, and strive to make her happy; it’s well worth it.

Abdullah bin Amr narrated that, the Prophet said: “The Lord’s pleasure is in the parent’s pleasure, and the Lord’s anger is in the parent’s anger.”(Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Hasan).

 

After Tasleem

tasbeeh

After ending the prayer, we are often in a rush to join the rat race of life, and get back to work, and the endless list of chores. But in our hurry we miss out on a great deal of blessings and opportunities that take no more than a few moments.

The Prophet  said: “The angels invoke blessings on any of you who remains in his prayer place as long as he does not invalidate his ablution, saying, ‘O Allaah, forgive him; O Allaah, have mercy on him.’” [Maalik, Al-Bukhaari and others]

We all are acquainted with the tasbeeh, and the regular duaa; ‘Allahumma antas salaam..’ and the rewards for saying such. But nonetheless here is a brief reminder;

Muslim narrated from Ka‘b ibn ‘Ujrah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Dhikrs after the prayer, the one who says them or does them after each obligatory prayer will not be disappointed: thirty-three tasbeehahs, thirty-three tahmeedahs and thirty-four takbeerahs.”

Al-Mugheerah ibn Shu‘bah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to say, following every obligatory prayer: “Laa ilaaha ill-Allah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer, Allaahumma laa maani’ lima a’tayta wa laa mu’ti lima mana’ta wa la yanfa’ dhaa’l-jadd minka al-jadd.” (There is no god except Allah alone with no partner or associate, His is the sovereignty and to Him be praise and He is able to do all things. O Allah, none can withhold what You give and none can give what You withhold, and no wealth or majesty can benefit anyone for from You is all wealth and majesty).” (Bukhari)

But how about the less common dhikhr? Let’s take the time to memorise these adhkaar so that we may reap the benefits in the hereafter;

Ibn ‘Umar said: Whoever says following every prayer and when he goes to bed, ‘Allahu akbar kabeera ‘adad ash-shaf‘i wa’l-witr, wa kalimaat Allah at-taammaati at-tayyibaati al-mubaarakaat (Allah is Most Great the number of the even and the odd, and the blessed, pure, perfect words of Allah)’ three times, and ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allah (there is no god but Allah) the same number of times, they will be light  for him in his grave, and light on the jisr (bridge), and light on the siraat (bridge over Hell), until they admit him to Paradise, or until he enters Paradise.’

(Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 29256, with a Sahih isnad)

Short and simple, easy to say and remember, but how many of us will make the effort? We seldom realise that the grave is a reality, and it is dark, and will be even more so for one who fails to enlighten it before death overtakes him. And how about the ‘Jisr’ and the ‘Siraat’? The Siraat as we know; it is thinner than a hair yet sharper than a blade. Some will be able to race across, their lights guiding them, and others will fall to the depths of hell. As for the jisr, some scholars say it is the siraat and others say it is the Qantara between hellfire and paradise on which muslims will retract their rights from each other if they were wronged. Nonetheless whichever of the two it is, we will need light to guide us across.

“On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], “Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally.” That is what is the great attainment. On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, “Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light.” It will be said, “Go back behind you and seek light.” And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment.” (Surah Hadid 57:12-13)

So let us learn this short duaa, and implement it, so that we will be amongst those believers who possess a light to guide them.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “There are two qualities, whoever adheres to them they will admit him to Paradise. They are simple but those who do them are few.” They said: What are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “To praise Allah, magnify Him and glorify Him following every obligatory prayer, ten times each; and when you go to bed, glorify Allah and magnify Him and praise Him one hundred times each. (That will be) two hundred and fifty on the tongue and two thousand five hundred in the Balance.

(Collected by Ahmad, It was classed as hasan by the commentators on al-Musnad.)

We know that praising Allah and glorifying Him holds immense weight in filling our scales, and it is beloved to Allah. So what further encouragement do we need to spare a few moments to praise Allah, thanking Him for His innumerable bounties that He has bestowed upon us? Paradise is waiting, its gates are calling, its scent is tempting…but what will we do to earn the paradise of our Lord?

Zainab Dowlut, AAT

Praise

alhamdulilah 3

If you could hear the pens of the angels as they write everything you did, how would you behave? How would feel, if you heard them writing down a deed you did, and classed it as a good deed. A surge of emotions would rush over you, washing over your entire being, and it would affect you to your core, just as when a wave washes over the beach, reaching deep beneath, and affecting even the tiniest particle of sand.

Now, on the same thought trail, it never ceases to amaze me that thirty angels rushed to write down the words uttered by one man in the spur of a moment. Perhaps you are unaware of the words I am referring to; nonetheless picture a scene in which thirty angels, who are perfect, sinless and in complete obedience to Allah, compete and race to note a few words; a small phrase, simply because of their happiness and the value it carries. The angels assigned to write this man’s deeds, did not simply write these words down. No. Rather, thirty angels, rushed to do so, they were eager, they hurried. I shall narrate to you the incident,

Abu Rifa’ bin Rafi Az-Zuraqi said, “one day we were praying behind the Prophet (peace be upon him). When he raised his head from bowing (ruku’) he said, ‘Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah.’ (Allah hears those who praise Him.) A man behind him said, ‘rabbana wa lakal hamd, hamdan katheeran tayyiban mubarakan feeh’ meaning, ‘O our Lord, all praises are for you, many good and blessed praises.’ When the Prophet completed the prayer, he asked, ‘Who said these words?’ The man replied, ‘I.’ The Prophet said, ‘I saw over thirty angels competing to write it first.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol 1, Book 12, No 764)

ruku

The Prophet (peace be upon him, related to us about another similar situation. He (peace be upon him), said, “A servant of Allah once said ‘O Allah, Yours is the Hamd that is suitable for the grace of Your face and the greatness of Your supreme authority.’ The two angels were confused as to how to write these words. They ascended to Allah and said, ‘O our Lord! A servant has just uttered a statement and we are unsure of how to record it for him. Allah said, while having more knowledge in what His servant had said, ‘What did my servant say?’ They said, ‘He said, ‘O Allah, Yours is the Hamd that is suitable for the Grace of Your face and the greatness of Your supreme authority.’’ Allah said to them, ‘Write is as my servant has said it, until he meets Me, and then I shall reward him for it.’” (Ibn Majah 2:1249)

hamd

Amazing isn’t it? Wouldn’t you want the angels to do the same for you? Such short simple words, easy to remember, and pleasing to the Lord of the Worlds. Don’t you anticipate the reward of Allah, which is incomparable to anything you have ever seen, heard or experienced before and superior to it?

As human beings we love it when we are praised. We love it when others voice admiration of us, when they compliment us, we thrive on it. Now, for Allah is the highest and best of examples.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “Verily, your Lord likes Al-Hamd (praise).” (Collected by Ahmad and An-Nisa’i)

Many of us work hard in youth and old age to please our parents. To ensure they are happy, that they are content with what we do. If we see them sad, or unsmiling we will do everything in our power to make them smile, and will even ask what makes them frown. Their worries are our concerns. Their pains are our sufferings, because we love them, because of their care and devotion to us. We will go to the ends of the world to make our parents pleased. Shouldn’t this be even more so for our Rabb, who has taken care of each and every one of us, and not neglected us? And you know what, even our Rabb smiles, Glory be to Him!

When Ali was asked about ‘Alhamdulilah’ he said, “a statement that Allah liked for Himself, was pleased with for Himself, and He likes that it be repeated.” (At-Tabari 1:13, and mentioned in Tafseer Ibn Kathir, Abridged English Version, Volume 1)

Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best dhikr is ‘Laa ilaha illallah’ and the best supplication is ‘Alhamdulillah.” (At-Tirmidhi, An-Nisa’I and Ibn Majah)

Immerse yourself in praising Allah, for ‘hamd’ is a general statement of praise, signifying that all praise is for Allah, alone, not any of the objects worshipped instead of Him or besides Him. It is a praise that Allah has praised Himself with, indicating that we too should participate in His praise.