Category Archives: Heart Softeners

Articles to touch the heart, and bring tears to the eyes.

Obesity On the Rise

In the modern age, the world has been afflicted by a multiplicity of diseases and epidemics, ranging from social media, to Aids and HIV. Perhaps a disease less often recognised and more often attributed to food-misuse, is obesity. Just as drugs can be mis-used, and social-media, so can food, and perhaps it is one of the most abused resources on our planet.

Following the industrial revolution, factories set up mass-production facilities, and commercial products were sold on mass. Consumerism increased as the world plummeted into an abyss of ease of access.

Previously, food was consumed on limit. People did not necessarily watch their figures, rather, food was not so easily available. Harvests were poor if the rainy season did not come. This in turn meant, less jobs in the agricultural industry and less income for farmers. The industrial revolution changed all of that. Machinery became the way forward for farmers. Research facilities was on the mission to find better ways to grow, preserve, and transport food. Irrigation systems intended to water crops all year round, meant harvests were always good. Furthermore, the introduction of transport systems enabled companies to transports crops worldwide with relative ease. And lastly, the establishment of factories, meant production lines helped speed up food processing and packaging for consumers.

It is no wonder the availability of food is within arm’s reach. However, with such ease, comes a consequence, the rate of obesity is steadily increasing, as everyone wants ‘super size’ food.

This was foretold by our Prophet, when he said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best of you, are my contemporaries, then those who follow them, then those who will come after them. (‘Imran (the narrator) said, I do not know if he said this twice or thrice). Then, they will be followed by those who will testify but will not be called upon to testify; they will betray the trust, and will not be trusted. They will make vows but will not fulfil them, and obesity will prevail among them.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Our religion is a complete way of life that doesn’t just care for our souls, but our physical bodies too. Hence the Prophet advised us, “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air.” (Tirmidhi, classed as saheeh by Sh Al-Albaani)

Indeed, over eating only depicts greed and gluttony. It makes the heart hard and devoid of feeling. The poor is no longer a concern as the person seeks to satisfy their cravings and taste buds.

Allah gave us counsel, and His counsel is best, and full of wisdom,

“and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al‑Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31)

Extravagance in eating and drinking usually results in a person who is over-weight, unfit and unhealthy. Such a person is at higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and in turn heart attacks and strokes. Thus, Islam seeks to preserve the health of a person, for their own betterment, and fulfilment, and so that they can worship Allah with energy and vigour.

The Sunnah encourages moderation in eating, and strongly criticizes extravagance.

Ibn ‘Umar narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The believer eats in one stomach whilst the disbeliever eats in seven.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

On another occasion, in a bid to help us in limiting our portion sizes, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The food for two persons is sufficient for three, and the food of three persons is sufficient for four persons.” (Bukhari)

Umar was known to be concerned about the people’s health. He would warn them against the consequences and dangers of being fat, and would advise them to lose weight, because that would give them strength to strive and enable them to fulfill their duties.

He used to say: “O’ people, beware of eating too much, for it makes you lazy in prayer, is bad for your body and causes sickness. Allah hates the fat man. Rather you should be moderate in your eating, for that is closer to righteousness and farther removed from extravagance, and makes one stronger to worship Allah. No person will be doomed unless he gives precedence to his desires over his religious committment.”
(Al-Khaleefah al-Farooq, by Dr.’Abdur Rahman al-‘Ani)
Ibn al-Jawzi stated that ‘Umar saw a man with a huge belly and said: “What is this?” He said, “A blessing from Allah.” He said, “Rather it is a punishment from Allah.”
(Manaaqib Ameer al-Mu’mineen, p.200)

Moderation in food is beneficial beyond any doubt. As muslims we bear a responsibility upon our shoulders to take the middle path in everything we do. We should be weary of the warnings of the Prophet and aim to emulate his Sunnah. Our bodies are an “amanah” entrusted to us, and we will be questioned about it. We should take heed and rectify our eating habits before we fall into a state of disrepair.

What If You Don’t Love Them?

“The believers, men and women, are Awliyaa’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another.” [al-Tawbah 9:71]

I love the people I am surrounded with, they care for me and I care for them, they are kind to me and I am to them, even if they don’t show too much affection I show it to them, all because I love them. But what if I am surrounded by people I don’t love as they don’t love me as well? or what if the people I once loved are far away and my love decreases to a mere like for them? Is it wrong if I love some of my muslim brothers more than others? And should I treat them the same way as I treat my beloveds?

Let’s look at what Islam has to say about this?

First of all, we have to love our brothers in faith regardless of what they do or say, as stated in this hadith we should love as we want to receive love.

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “No one of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Also, Allah says in The Quran:

“Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” [Fussilat 41:34]

However, it isn’t wrong if you love someone more than someone else, as muslims vary in righteousness and piety and so it is obvious that people will love them more than others. There are other reasons as well when it comes to loving someone, like compatibility between souls, kindness, favours, proximity, similar aims are also a deciding factor of love. If your aims match his aims, there will be harmony between your soul and his, but if the aims are different, then harmony will no longer exist.

It isn’t easy to show love or kindness to people you don’t really love, thus Allah will give us tremendous rewards for our efforts in this regard,

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection: Where are those who love each other for the sake of my glory? Today, I will shelter them in my shade, for it is a day when there is no shade but mine. (Muslim)

This means that two people love each other solely for the pleasure of Allah. Not in return for gifts or favours, or some other worldly benefit.

Mu’adh ibn Jabal reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

Allah the Exalted said: Those who love each other for the sake of My glory will be upon pulpits of light and they will be envied by the prophets and the martyrs. (Sunan At-Tirmidhi)

I hope this article will help us to treat the people we love and don’t love in a better way. Love is a matter of the heart, sometimes over which we have little control. Hence, we should act justly, despite the varying levels of love in all situations.

Fatima Damad

10 Benefits of Sabr

In the previous article, we discussed some lessons to be drawn from the concept of Sabr.

Now we will discuss the resulting benefits of sabr, the reward for it, and the greatness of this concept in Islam. Allah often advises us to patience and for good reason. Sabr is a noble quality to possess, and is regarded by all nations, no matter how civilised or backward to be a magnificent character. The benefits of this incredible concept are innumerable, from rewards in this life, to rewards that continue into the hereafter.

Allah exhorts His slaves to seek help with patience and prayer when facing calamities that may befall a person. Allah says, “And seek help in patience and As-Salaah (the prayer),” (al-Baqarah 2:45), for patience is a ticket to ease, a way out from afflictions, and a source of comfort and tranquillity.

We will mention just a few of the many benefits of sabr:

  • Victory: Just a relief comes with hardship, and ease after difficulty, victory is attained with patience. Victory in this worldly life and in the hereafter,

Regarding victory in this life against the disbelievers, Allah says,

“But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious), not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do,” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:120)

The life of this world is a short, temporary life, that will end soon. Bearing the struggles of this life by holding fast to the rope of Allah and being patient, for only a few short years after which a great reward awaits. The reward of paradise and deliverance from the hellfire is reserved for those who were patient, as Allah says,

 “Verily, I have rewarded them this Day for their patience; they are indeed the ones that are successful” [al-Mu’minoon 23:111] 

  • Sabr also brings an amazing source of support, for

“Surely, Allah is with those who are As‑Saabiroon (the patient),” [al-Anfaal 6:46]

It’s a source of support from the Lord of the Worlds, the Possessor of Might and Majesty, the One who has power to do as He wills, the One to whom all else is subservient!

  • Sabr brings power and strength:

“Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the Muhsinoon (good‑doers) to be lost,” [Yusuf 12:90]

This is the example of Prophet Yusuf, who bore the trials of life with patience. He was thrown in a well, sold as a slave in an unknown land, lost his family, tempted to evil by the Aziz’s wife, imprisoned for a crime he did not commit and more, yet, he remained patient, and for all this he was rewarded with strength and power, and became a man of great status in the land.

  • Sabr brings Guidance:

Allah elevated the those who are patient by granting them the ability to recognise the signs of Allah, and thus guiding them. He distinguished them in this manner four times in the Qur’an,

“Truly, therein are Ayaat (evidences, proofs and signs) for every patient, thankful (person),” [Ibrahim 14:5; Luqman 31:31; Saba 24:19; Ash-Shura 42:33] 

  • To add to this list, Allah has granted the patient three special things, He says,

“But give glad tidings to the patient. Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones,” [al-Baqarah 2:155-157]

Those who have sabr are blessed with the Salawaat, the mercy of Allah and His guidance. And what can be better than the ni’am (blessings) of Allah?!

  • The Reward of Allah:

“But those who had been given (religious) knowledge said: “Woe to you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this none shall attain except those who are As‑Saabiroon (the patient in following the truth).” (Qasas 28:80)

And none knows what Allah has kept, for what is in Jannah, no eye has seen, no ear has heard and it has not crossed the mind of any human being. It is beyond our imagination and better. So, have patience, my friends!

  • Forgiveness:

We sin by day and by night, our sins accumulate, and truly there is none who is forgiving but our Merciful Lord. He has reserved forgiveness for those who are patient,

 “Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds: those, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (Paradise),” [Hood 11:11]

  • More Patience:

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “…whoever is patient Allah will bestow patience upon him, and no one is ever given anything better and more generous than patience.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

There is nothing better to have than the ability to be patient, and Allah gives it to those who exert effort in this regard more of this quality, and He makes it easy for them.

  • Compensation:

We all would like something in return for our efforts,

Umm Salamah said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “There is no Muslim who is stricken with a calamity and says what Allah has enjoined – ‘Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return. O Allah, reward me for my affliction and compensate me with something better’ – but Allah will compensate him with something better.”  (Muslim)

When one bears a calamity patiently, and invokes Allah with the supplication, then Allahw ill compensate him for what he lost. Imagine getting compensation from Allah…it is a concept we can barely grasp!

  • And last but in no way least, the love of Allah:

“And Allah loves As-Saabiroon (the patient).” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:146]

And what more could a person want? For we know from the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim that when Allah loves a person, He calls on Jibril and commands him to love this person, and all the inhabitants of the sky/heaven also, until acceptance on earth is decreed for this person, and he is loved. Would you not like to be amongst those whom Allah loves?

My brothers and sisters, patience is an honourable characteristic. It makes one dignified in times of hardship, and beautiful in times of ease. It is a character we should seek to learn and engrain in children. May Allah makes us amongst those who are patient.

 

 

5 Lessons Derived From Sabr

Often translated as patience, sabr is more than mere patience. Sabr in Islam is a deeper concept, it begins with taking up the means and striving, and ends with accepting the decree of Allah and being content with it. Sabr is not a mere fatalistic acceptance of the decree of Allah. Rather it includes action. The person must work, and put effort for the desired result, and when the result comes forth whether it is what he desired or otherwise, he knows and accepts that it is from the decree of Allah.

For example, a business man invests his wealth, he buys shares, monitors the stock markets and does everything in his ability to make the largest profit possible. He ensures that his transactions are done in a manner that is pleasing Allah and his seeks Allah’s counsel with every business decision he makes. However, if the stock market were to crash, or he was to be unsuccessful in that initiative he bears it patiently, and perseveres. He seeks the help of Allah in recovering his loss, and turns to Allah for support. All his actions, including the investment and his patience afterwards is part of sabr.

Similarly, if one loses a loved one unexpectedly, the shock and pain experienced is incomparable to any other loss. But with sabr, one comforts himself, knowing there is the meeting of the hereafter, they trust that Allah removed that person from their life for the best, and as such they endure it, they turn to Allah to ease their pain and make things easy for them. They do not question Allah’s actions, nor His wisdom in taking what He bestowed. Rather they are grateful for His favour upon them, of having such a wonderful person in their life and they move on seeking the pleasure of Allah, by being patient with the loss.

Sabr produces many benefits for the believer, especially in regards to their relationship with Allah, for Allah advocated sabr.

  • Sabr results in Gratefulness: with patience you are able to reflect on the good in everything, and thus you are grateful to Allah for everything He has decreed for you. As the prophet said, “Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.” (Muslim).

One who has sabr appreciates the little things and the big things. He recognises that there are blessings in every circumstance, as long as he remains patient.

  • Sabr makes one content with the Qadr of Allah: Suhayb (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Muslim)

One learns to accept the Qadr after taking all the means, he learns that the Decree of Allah is final and Allah only bestows what is good for his servant.

  • Sabr teaches trust: Once one has come to terms with the Qadr they begin to trust Allah, for Allah is All-Knowing, Most Aware. They rely on Allah in moments of ease and difficulty, and bear all situations with a collected calmness. It makes the heart tranquil, and releases it from the pains of anxiety and depression.
  • Establishes the love of Allah in the heart of the slave: Sabr aids one to build a special relationship with Allah, a relationship built on trust and submission, and in turn involving love. A unique love of Allah finds root within the heart as the slave realises the patience he endures, has far-reaching rewards with Allah. Furthermore, once one has committed to accepting the Qadr after recognising it is good for him, one realises the greatness and magnanimity of Allah, and so his heart softens towards his Lord.
  • Sabr increases Iman: believing in the Qadr, having tawakkul (complete trust and reliance) on Allah, naturally increases iman, and one better’s their connection with their Lord, and gets ever-closer to Him. One begins to act in accordance to what is pleasing to Allah bearing the difficulties that arise with patience, and steadfastness.

 “But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for As‑Saabiroon (the patient),” [An-Nahl 16:126]

Allah advises us to be patient throughout the Quran, in various ayaat, and it is no wonder, for patience generates abundant good in this life and even more in the hereafter. It strengthens the heart, and gives it a sense of tranquillity. In the words of the great Khalifah, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez (may Allah be pleased with him) who said, ‘Allah has not bestowed any blessing upon His slaves then taken it away and replaced it with patience, but what He has compensated them with is better than what He has taken away.’

 

A Story of Success

Today the word success, has come to mean many things. Monetary gain, the establishment of large corporations, building a career, chasing after dreams, maintaining a family, all these have come to be measures of success. This is the material world we live in, where success is measured by your money and your fulfilment of desires.

Success in the lifetime of the Prophet and amongst the early generations of Islam took on a very different meaning. It wasn’t the ability to preserve life through hi-tech machines, nor to attain that ‘perfectly-flawless’ appearance, nor acquiring a mass of the latest technology gadgets, nor building bank accounts worthy of personal security. Rather, success was founded in the obedience of Allah. Success was judged based on your ability to please Allah.

And so, the sahabah may Allah be pleased with them, sought out the pleasure of Allah. They devoted their efforts to His service. They pursued what Allah loved best, and lived their lives according to it.

And so I would like to narrate to you a story for you to ponder upon,

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Some people came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said to him: “Send with us some men who may teach us the Qur’an and the Sunnah.” He (ﷺ) sent seventy men from the Ansar. They were called Al-Qurra’ (the reciters) and among them was my maternal uncle, Haram. They used to recite the Qur’an, ponder over its meaning and learn (its wisdom) at night. In the day, they used to bring water and pour it in pitchers in the mosque, then they would collect wood and sell it; and with the sale proceeds, they would buy food for the people of As-Suffah and the needy.

The Prophet (ﷺ) sent the reciters with these people but these (treacherous people) fell upon them and killed them before they reached their destination. (While dying) they supplicated: “O Allah convey from us the news to our Prophet that we have met You (in a way), that we are pleased with You and You are pleased with us.” (The narrator said:) A man attacked Haram from behind and smote him with a spear which pierced him. Whereupon Haram said: “By the Rabb of the Ka’bah, I have met with success!” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to his Companions, “Your brethren have been slain and they were saying: “O Allah! Convey from us to our Prophet the news that we have met You (in a way) that we are pleased with You and You are pleased with us.”

[Bukhari and Muslim].

Reading this account brings tears to the eyes. How far we have strayed from their path!

No one in their right mind today would call death success! Especially when death came unexpectedly, and in such a painful manner! How could he possibly deem such a death success?

The answer to that my friends, is because they had spent their lives in the obedience of Allah. Death in this life, simply meant a new beginning for them. Death was the doorway to true life. Death was a barrier to meeting Allah and so when they died, that barrier was removed and thus they attained success. They attained success because in continuation of their obedience to Allah, they gave their lives for Him. It was for His sake that they were slain. They attained martyrdom in the path of Allah and thus they found success, for their souls are in the bodies of green birds that encircle the throne of Allah, free from the constraints of this world. They are provided for by the King who provides and nourishes as He pleases. They gained success because their sins were forgiven. They gained success because Allah was pleased with them.

So now I ask you, what does success mean to you?

May Allah unite us with those who have attained success; the Prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs and the righteous.

 

Recognising Sins

“Hold yourself accountable before you are held accountable, and weigh your deeds, before they are weighed for you.” -Umar Ibn Al-Khattab

The only way we can follow through with Umar’s statement is for us to tally up our deeds. Sometimes, it is difficult to see with clarity the reality of our actions. Shaytan deceives us into thinking our sins are little, and there is little for us to improve on. We avoid the major sins, and we pray five times a day. We fast Ramadaan and give in charity too. But is that all there is?

We are told that we sin by night and by day, so why is it that we are unable to pin point our errors. Everything seems ok in our eyes? But is it the same in the eyes of Allah? Have we reached the status of the companions, who were the best of generations, and even they made mistakes. We are not infallible, for sure, but we are sinful and that’s definite.

So here is a list of tips to help myself, and you recognise our errors:

  • Ignoring what we left of the wajibaat:

Sinning is of two types: doing that which is prohibited, and secondly leaving what is obligatory. Both are blameworthy. It is very easy to recognise a Prohibition that one indulged in, but neglecting the obligatory such as fulfilling promises, upholding the ties of kinship, respecting parents etc… is often one that we over look. The next time you try to tally your sins, consider both.

  • Losing the balance between hope and fear: Some rely on hope in the Mercy of Allah, and by this, neglect the obligatory deeds, or overlook the minor sins and thus become sinful. Others, fear Allah to an extreme and thus lose motivation to worship Him. One must strike a balance between the two.
  • Overlooking the minor sins: It’s easy to overlook something small and let it pass, without feeling the slightest bit of regret or remorse. But remember whilst we may consider a sin to be minute, in the sight of Allah it has greater weight.

The Prophet said, ‘Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in your major actions, so beware of following him in your minor actions.’ (Final sermon)

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Beware of minor sins. Verily, they gather upon a man until he is destroyed.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Sahl ibn Sa’d reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Beware of minor sins like a people who descend into the bottom of a valley, so one comes with a stick and another with a stick until they have fire to cook their bread. Verily, when a person is held accountable for these minor sins they will destroy him.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Amongst our pious predecessors, it was said, ‘there is no small sin, if done without care.’ Meaning if a sin is continually disregarded, it is upgraded to a big sin, all tallying up. All these narrations indicate that the small sins, though small as they may seem, are consequential.

  • Forgetting the sins of the tongue: our dear tongues! Many a times they run ahead of us, and sadly cause more damage to our long list of sins. Let us not forget the hadith of the Prophet, ‘He who believes in Allah and the Last day, must either speak good or remain silent.’ (Muslim) The Prophet mentioned believing in Allah and the last day as a prerequisite, for if one believes he will be held to account on the Last Day before Allah, then he will be careful about what his tongue utters and he will find that silence often proves more beneficial.
  • The matters of the heart: There are many acts of worship that are done in the heart, such as hope, fear, love, trust, reliance, thinking good of Allah, etc… These are all actions of the heart, and are taken to account. Yes, ideas of the mind are forgiven, but using the heart to disobey Allah, for example by preferring something of this dunya over Allah’s rights, is blameworthy. The sins of the heart are more subtle than the sins of the tongue.
  • Considering sins that are directly before you, rather than those that you are responsible for elsewhere: this includes the consequences of your actions that spread far and wide. Whoever sets a bad example, will have the sin of one who follows him, until the day of judgement, without deducting from their sin. So be aware of the way you behave before others and the consequences it may have on those around you, especially when in public.
  • Sending out religious messages and instructions without having ‘ilm: many such messages contain false principles, fabricated, weak ahadith, or omitted information. Meaning that the wrong information is shared leading people to commit sin, or to indulge in wrong practices. Knowledge is a responsibility, and to simply share without verifying it is careless.

Indeed, our Prophet has said, ‘Do not tell a lie against me, for whoever tells a lie against me (intentionally), he will surely enter the hellfire.’ (Bukhari)

Messages such as, ‘pass it on to so many people and you will be successful,’ I ask, does such a person have knowledge of the unseen, to know that success awaits?! It is a big sin to say something about the religion of Allah without knowledge. Thus restrict yourself to the authentic ahadith. And if you are unsure as to what is authentic or not, restrict yourself to ahadith from Bukhari and Muslim, and if you are still unsure, refrain from forwarding such messages, until you are able to verify it.

  • Looking at personal sins, rather than those that relate to the rights of others: There are three types of thulm (oppression): oppression against Allah and that is shirk (to associate partners with Allah). Secondly, oppression upon others, whether by neglecting their rights, mistreating them, whether physically, verbally or emotionally. This is unforgiveable unless one asks the injured individual for forgiveness. Lastly, thulm upon the self, and that is engaging in sin.

The second type is what is often forgotten. Consider the oppression you have done to others, whether the person was a stranger or someone close to you. Whether it was in his presence or absence, it all adds up.

  • Presuming sincerity and acceptance in the deeds we do: None of us have a guarantee that our deeds are accepted or that our intentions were sincere. We hope almost to the point of certainty that they are, but we also fear almost to the point of despair that they are not. And thus we should exert our efforts in improving this aspect. It was reported that Sufyan Ath-Thawri said, ‘there is nothing I have wrestled with anything harder than my intention.’
  • Thanking Allah: to omit gratitude is sinful. It is incumbent upon us to thank Allah the way that He deserves, as being ungrateful is the root of disbelief. Though we can never count the favour of Allah, we should strive to thank Him for His bounties upon us.

Allah has said in the Quran, “And We had certainly given Luqman wisdom [and said], “Be grateful to Allah.” And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favour] – then indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.” (Surah Luqman 31:12

Reading all of this, is not intended to make you depressed. Rather it is to help us to acknowledge our current status, to make us realise, that sin is in our nature, and thus we must act to improve. The only way to improve is to repent and seek forgiveness of Allah constantly. And the first step to repentance and reformation is to acknowledge the problem, in this case, our sins.

We should take lessons from the earliest and best of generations. The Prophet peace be upon him, the best of mankind, whose past and future sins were forgiven used to seek forgiveness one hundred times a day. Many of the sahabahs who were promised Jannah, cried the nights, and sought forgiveness from Allah, despite having a ticket to Jannah. The great Umar, of whom shaytaan was afraid used to fear that he was a hypocrite! Where are we in comparison to these great people? May Allah rectify our condition.

I leave you with this piece of advice, constantly ask yourself, check yourself, account for your deeds throughout the day in order to account for your deeds before the Day of Accounts.

 

We are Aleppo

As I sit at my desk, I force myself to write what words cannot describe…the massacre, the carnage, the destruction, the loss of life, and the unblinking eyes of the world who look on at the whole scene…

You may ask, ‘what do I mean?’

The reality of Aleppo is a reflection of our own situation. If we look deep within ourselves we will find the same scene.

Blood trickles down the narrow alleys of Aleppo, with none to wash the stains. Our blood may still run in our veins, and we sure have the ability to wash. But our hearts are stained with the rust and covering of disobedience, for which we care not to clean.

Death hangs thick in the air in Aleppo.
Within ourselves it’s there too.
While their souls have passed on, and empty corpses remain, our hearts is what has died within us. Our bodies may live on, but they are devoid of life.

Their eyes stare in horror at the fate that awaits them. As for our eyes, we look on at the images of their destruction. Then we turn them back to our homes, satisfied we are safe. We dare not stare at what is within ourselves.

Carnage is wrecked as bombs blow dust in the empty streets of Aleppo, clouding the horizon and blocking rays of the sun’s light. Within us, our records of deeds are clouded by the bombs of sins that we drop by day and night. We block out the light with our own hands.

Aleppo is a reflection of ourselves.

We could have been in Aleppo. It could have been us who were blasted till our ears could hear nothing but explosions and our eyes accustomed to the rubble of the destruction…so easily it could have been us there. What we don’t realise, is, it is us. With every innocent life that is slaughtered, a part of us goes with them too.

Narrated An-Nu`man bin Bashir: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it.” (Bukhari)

The question remains what will we do for Aleppo, for ourselves?

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.” (Surah Ra’d, 13:11)

Praying for the aid of Allah and his help, is great. But why should Allah answer your duaa when you are defiant of His commands? Your body is filled with haraam, you shelter in haraam, your wealth is haraam, your clothing is from haraam. Why should Allah respond to you?! And you plan to further indulge in haraam soon at Christmas and New Year!

Yes Allah is Merciful, but do not expect victory from Him when you act contrary to everything He has prescribed.

My brothers and sisters, it’s not just Aleppo. Its me and you as individuals. We are responsible for this crisis. Yes we may have a comfy home, and a good meal on our plate, and we quickly forget the screams of those in Aleppo, Burma, Gaza and wherever the ummah is suffering. But who knows that Allah may trial us with a bigger affliction that what is happening in Aleppo?! Do we feel secure from the plan of Allah, knowing full well we are drowning in sins?

Aleppo is only the beginning. And we know the hour is near.

We have plummeted in our iman and we are humiliated. Which nation looks at us with fear, rather their eyes are full of pity at our states and hunger for our destruction.

So our humiliation and weakness are because of what we Muslims have done, not because of Islam. But when we come back to our religion, our glory and pride will come back to us.

Do we wait for the punishment and affliction to appear before we act. Our predecessors were pro-actionary. Us, in comparison have become reactionary. We wait…we sit…we laze around…we procrastinate…
When will we wake up?

We all will face death. If it was you in Aleppo, would you be ready to die knowing it was certain the army would kill you or bomb you or worse? Death is just as certain for us as it is for them. So why are we not ready to meet Allah and account for our deeds?

What will it take for us to get ready? When will we make the change? When will we return to Allah?

Do we not fear Allah? Do we not believe in Him? Have we not accepted his messenger?

How will you change so that Allah may change the state of the people in Syria?

As imam Malik stated, “The latter part of this nation will not be able to reform itself successfully except by using what reformed its early part.”

What reformed the sahabahs from men who were ignorant, trapped by tribal feuds to world leaders, and inheritors of paradise? It was Islam.

Whilst the world looks on, many sleep in their beds ignorant of the massacre, some fools will travel to Aleppo under the false guise of jihad, and the UN continues to fruitlessly negotiate…but you can be the change you want to see. Don’t wait for the UN, or Bashar, or the Russian PM, or any other world leader. Take the affair into your own hands by giving up the haraam and see how Allah opens His doors.

Do you think Allah would leave us, if we returned to Him seeking his forgiveness, when He has full control over the every soldier? The heart of Bashar is in His hands. So why do we despair?

Invoke your Lord and return to Him, He is accepting of repentance and is fully capable of sorting the situation. He is the The All Powerful, The Mighty, The Subduer, The Delayer, who never forgets and never wrongs, and who is Ever Aware of all things.

Humanity did not fail us.

We failed ourselves. And worse, we failed Aleppo.

The Benefits of Istighfaar

Seeking forgiveness on the road of repentance, from Allah, for our errors and mistakes produces many benefits. The soul feels tranquil knowing that Allah hears those who call Him, and the mind is set at ease knowing Allah never neglects His slaves, allowing us to move on progress as believers. Here are a few of the benefits of Istighfaar (seeking forgiveness and pardon) as mentioned in the Qur’an:

1) Never-ending Forgiveness: The forgiveness of Allah is without limit,H e will forgive us over and over as long as we turn to Him, no matter how many times we repeat the error.

2) Rain: Yes, you read correctly. If we seek forgiveness from Allah He will grant us rain as a mercy from Him.

3) Provision of Gardens and Rivers: Who knew?! Our Lord is truly Merciful. he blesses us with sustenance and luxuries when we seek His forgiveness.

4) Increase in wealth and Children: Not only does Allah give us rain and rizq, he bestows upon us even more bounties, our Lord truly is the Generous.

The following ayah is proof for the above four mentioned points;

“Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send (rain from) the sky upon you in (continuing) showers, and give you increase in wealth and children, and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” (Surah Nuh 71:10-12)

5) Increase in strength: Who wouldn’t like to be stronger, not just physically but also spiritually and psychologically? When one converses with Allah it increases iman and makes you a stronger believer, and closer to Allah.

“And O my people, ask forgiveness of your Lord, and then repent to Him. He will send (rain from) the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength (added) to your strength. And do not turn away, (being) criminals.” (Surah Hud 11:52)

6) Good Provision: Sustenance is among the things that humans need and crave. The more you get, the happier it makes you.

“Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favour his favour. But if you turn away, then indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a great Day.” (Surah Hud 11:03)

7) Relief from punishment and affliction: This is evidence of Allah’s compassion, He averts punishment and tribulations away from us when we turn to Him.

“Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.” (Surah Anfaal 08:33)

8) The Mercy of Allah: The Mercy of Allah which exceeds His anger and is All-Encompassing, and extensive, that comes in many forms: mercy, forgiveness, blessings, rewards, and much more…

“He (Salih) said, ‘O my people, why are you impatient for evil instead of good? Why do you not seek forgiveness of Allah that you may receive mercy?” (Surah An-Naml 27:46)

“Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin, are those who repent.” -Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him.

“Our Lord forgive us our sins, and efface our bad deeds, and take our souls in the company of the righteous.” (03:193)

Honouring the Grey-Haired

elderly

The Prophet said, ‘Part of glorifying Allah is honouring the grey-haired muslim.’ (Abu Dawud, classed as Hasan by Sh Al-Albaani in Sahih Abi Dawud)

Islam. Our complete way of life, and system of living has granted each individual dignity. Respect and reverence are never in short supply in our deen. Perhaps however, its followers fall short, and thus I bring you, a quick reminder on caring for ‘the grey-haired muslim.’

“And We have certainly honoured the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” (Al-Israa 17:70)

Allah has preferred us, and granted us abundant blessings, and amongst these, is the blessing of having the elderly.

The elderly have a special station in Islam, they have lived through the various stages of life, they have experienced things the youth have yet to come to across, and have come through the thick and thin of the daily struggle of life. They were the forefront of our deen, the flag bearers and upholders in their youth, and some continue this task even in their old age.

But even if they missed such a golden opportunity to be an ambassador for our deen, they still deserve the respect that Allah has decreed for them.

Some would describe the elderly as a burden, and would gladly dump them in a ‘home’ so that the encumbrance of their care is lifted of their shoulders. Yet, little do we realise the blessings in the elderly.

  • They are the means of us existing on earth. Without the elder generation, there wouldn’t be a younger one.
  • They are wise and provide great advice and support. They can be a source of comfort in times of difficulty and an eye-opener in times of confusion. Their hindsight and experience is always useful.
  • Serving them is an opportunity to earn ample rewards from Allah. So stock up on your hereafter by helping the elderly, because not an atom’s weight of good goes to waste.
  • Upholding the ties of kinship with them, may increase your sustenance and your life. The Prophet taught us, “he who desires that he be granted more rizq and his life be prolonged should maintain good ties with his kinship.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
  • Caring for them is an opportunity to get their duaa. Making someone happy doesn’t just warrant rewards from Allah. Rather the receiver of good often reciprocates with a favour, and sometimes it may something as simple as a small duaa of theirs that opens the doors in your life.
  • And something that everyone enjoys: the elderly are great story tellers! They weave such intricate webs that even fidgety children get caught up.

These are just a few of the many blessings that are found in the elderly.

They may be better than you, and as such you should wish to emulate them. The Prophet said, ‘“The best of you are those who live the longest and do the best deeds.” (Classed as saheeh by Al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3263)

Let’s not forget the saying of our beloved Prophet peace be upon him, “He is not one of us who does not show mercy to our young ones and respect our old ones.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1919; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh At-Tirmidhi, 1565)

And he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Most Merciful has mercy on those who are merciful. Be merciful to those who are on earth so that the One Who is in heaven will have mercy on you.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi (1924); classed as Saheeh by Al-Albaani in Saheeh At-Tirmidhi, 1569)

May Allah soften our hearts to towards the elderly, and enable us to serve them. Ameen

Let us endeavour to change our attitude towards the elderly, show them some love, attention and the respect that they deserve.

Silatur-Rahm

kinship

Silatur Rahm or observing the bonds of kinship is highly praised and recommended in our religion. Family ties and blood bonds are sacred and are to be revered and maintained.

Abu Huryarah narrated that the Prophet peace be upon him said, ‘learn enough of your lineage, so that you can establish the ties of kinship, for establishing the ties of kinship increases the love amongst families and multiplies wealth and extends age.’ (Tirmidhi, Hasan)

The love established by the ties of kinship is precious, and healthy. It breeds social cohesion and encourages co-operation, thereby building the ummah, and its unity. Every small family unit contributes to the unity of the ummah at large. If within the four walls of our house we cannot get on, then how do we expect to get on with the rest of the ummah?

Allah has issued a severe warning regarding cutting the ties of kinship,

“And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e., they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e., they will be far away from Allah’s Mercy); And for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e., Hell).” [al-Ra’d 13:26]

Breaking the ties is grievous sin, and thus Allah has deprived its perpetrators of His extensive Mercy.

Even if it is just a phone call, or a quick visit, everyone appreciates family and good company.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Allah created the universe, and when He had finished, kinship (al-rahm) stood up and said, “This is the standing up of one who seeks Your protection from being cut off.” Allah said, “Yes, would it please you if I were to take care of those who take care of you and cut off those who cut you off?” It said, “Of course.” Allah said, “Then your prayer in granted.”’” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Recite, if you wish (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.’ [Muhammad 47:22-23].” (Saheeh Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 16/112).

None of us wants to incur the wrath of Allah. We all seek His mercy, so why then do we cut relations throwing ourselves into the curse of Allah?

The Prophet explained exactly what is meant by the one who upholds the ties of kinship,

“The one who maintains a relationship with his relatives only because they maintain a relationship with him is not truly upholding the ties of kinship. The one who truly upholds those ties is the one who does so even if they break off the relationship.” (Reported by Bukhari, 5645).

Returning favours and giving gifts, or exchanging visits for the sake of worldly benefit, or in kind or for some other reason is not considered upholding the ties of kinship.

Islam inspires us to reach a higher state, whereby we visit, call and give gifts without expecting a return. We uphold the ties for the sake of Allah, seeking His sole pleasure and His abundant reward.

I leave you with a final hadith to spur you on. Remember the case of the man who approached the Prophet regarding his family, who returned his kindness with nothing but animosity?

A man said to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “I have relatives with whom I try to keep in touch, but they cut me off. I treat them well, but they abuse me. I am patient and kind towards them, but they insult me.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “If you are as you say, then it is as if you are putting hot dust in their mouths. Allah will continue to support you as long as you continue to do that.” (Reported by Muslim).

May Allah make it easy for us to uphold the ties of kinship. Ameen.