Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Hygiene Inventions

Cleanliness is a part of faith and Islam lays great importance on cleanliness and hygiene. Wudu, using the siwak, etc. are all a part of Islamic practices to keep us clean and tidy. Personal cleanliness and cleanliness of the surrounding is emphasized for example; when we pray, an important condition for Salah, is a clean place. The Muslims knowing the importance of cleanliness have contributed a great deal to the present hygienic practices and objects of the world during the golden age, so let us read about some of them.

  1. Al- Jazari wrote a book called The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices which included robotic wudhu machines, which resembles the current water taps. What you had to do is tap the head to make water pour in eight short spurts, which was enough for one to do Wudhu.
  2. They made soaps by mixing olive oil with al-qali (salt like substance), it was boiled and then left to harden.
  3. Al-Zahrawi in his medical book Al-Tasrif dedicated a complete chapter to cosmetics called The Medicines of Beauty. He described beautification of hair, skin, teeth whitening and gum strengthening all within the boundaries of Islam.
  4. Al-Zahrawi included nasal sprays, mouthwashes, and hand creams, perfumed sticks rolled and pressed similar to roll-on deodorants.
  5. He also named medicated cosmetics like hair-removing sticks, as well as hair dyes and lotions for straightening curly hair.
  6. He also discussed benefits of suntan lotions.
  7. Al-Kindi wrote a book on perfumes which contained hundred recipes for fragrant oils, salves, aromatic waters, and substitutes or imitations of costly drugs.
  8. Muslim chemists also distilled plants and flowers, making perfumes and substances for therapeutic pharmacy.

These processes and ideas of the Muslims filtered into Europe via merchants, travelers, and the Crusaders.

Now we know the forebearers of hygienic practices and innovations!

 

Who is a Religiously Committed Wife?

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged marrying women who are religiously committed, as he said: “Women may be married for four things: their wealth, their lineage, their beauty and their religious commitment. Choose the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may your prosper).” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5090; Muslim, 1466.

A religiously committed muslim woman is to be sought for marriage as the Prophet told us as our purpose in life is to worship Allah and a religious woman would help us to do that and make our children ongoing charity for us even after our death, now what are the characteristics of this greatly admired woman?

  1. Aqeedah:

A woman with the right aqeedah i.e; she is a Muwahid who has not fallen in innovations and other misguidance is the right woman as she is the home maker and will have a great impact on the husband and children.

  1. An obedient woman, who obeys her husband:

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: It was said to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): Which of women is best? He said: “The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, obeys him when he tells her to do something, and does not disobey him with regard to herself or her wealth in a way that he dislikes.” (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (3131)) ‘

Three things are mentioned here in this hadith-

(i) When he looks at her, he is happy with her: her religious commitment, attitude, behaviour and appearance.

(ii) When he is away from her, she protects his honour and his wealth.

(iii) If he tells her to do something, she obeys him, so long as he does not tell her to commit sin..

Al-Ansari said, “The woman is the key to the security in every society and the foundation of the family.” (Al-Majmu’1/173)

  1. Enjoins her husband to do good deeds and stops from bad deeds.

A good wife will always advise her husband to do good and will have better ways to stop him from doing anything haram. Allah says, “…They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous.” (3:114)

It is reported that Umar ibn Al Khattab said, “There is no goodness in people who don’t give advice and there is no goodness in people who don’t like to be advised.” (Risaalaat Al-Mustarshideen, 71)

  1. She should fulfill her husband’s rights with regard to his wealth and herself, even when her husband is absent.

“If a man is married with a righteous wife, he will live a harmonious life, even if he is poor.” (Sh Salih Al Fawzan, Al-Ittihaf, pg 858)

Allah says in the Quran:

“Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity and their husband’s property).” [al-Nisa’ 4:34].

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“guard in the husband’s absence” means: they are obedient to their husbands and even in their absence they guard themselves and their husband’s wealth, seeking the help of Allah in that, because no one can do that by himself or herself, for the self is inclined towards evil, but the one who puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him and help him in his religious and worldly affairs.

(Tafseer al-Sa’di)

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

A righteous wife will be with her righteous husband for many years, and she is the one who is meant in the hadeeth in which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “This world is temporary conveniences and the best of its comforts is a believing wife, who when you look at her she pleases you and if you tell her to do something she obeys you, and if you are away from her she protects you with regard to  herself and your wealth.”

  1. Doing acts of worship and obedience, and refraining from haraam things.

Al-Khateeb al-Sharbeeni al-Shaafa’i (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

According to the hadeeth: “If a woman prays her five (daily prayers), fasts her month (Ramadaan), guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: Enter Paradise by whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.” Narrated by Ahmad (1664)

  1. She should have knowledge and seek it:

Having knowledge of the deen is important to do all of the above.

Therefore, women possessing these qualities are desirable for marriage, even though we should keep in mind that the level of each of these characteristics may differ in different women but the more modest, knowledgeable and devoted to worship a woman is, the more desirable she is as a wife.

Ahmad ibn Harb said, “if six characteristics are gathered in a woman her goodness is perfected,

  • Guarding her five prayers
  • Yielding to her husband
  • Pleasing her Lord
  • Guarding her tongue from backbiting and gossiping
  • Forsaking worldly possessions
  • Being patient following tragedy

(Siyar A’lam An-Nubala)

May Allah give our youth spouses who are better for them here and in the hereafter. Ameen

“A pious woman, even if she’s not stunningly beautiful, her character and religion make her attractive.” (Shakyh Ibn Uthaymeen, Sharh Riyadh As-Saliheen, No. 280)

 

 

 

Heeding The Call

Midway on our lifes journey, I found myself

In dark woods, the right road lost. To tell

About those woods is hard–so tangled and rough   

                                                       [Dantes Inferno

                                                       Canto I (1-3)]

The ritual of sabbath keeping in my grandmother’s household was one that was strictly adhered to. “Six days shalt thy labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work” (King James Version, Exodus 20:9-10).  Our favorite after school pastimes, was to make way on Friday afternoons for the humming of the vacuum cleaner, and the inevitable arguments about who’s turn it was the clean the bathroom.

“No, Grandma said you had to clean the bathroom.”

“I did it last week. It’s your turn.”

“Nah ah. No way Jose.”

The fresh aroma of Pine-Sol infused with the chalky perfume of Ajax cleaner is to this day entangled with my memories of sabbath preparations. Intoxicated by the cleaner fumes a sense of satisfaction washed away the chagrin I felt for having once again been duped by my brother into cleaning.  The words of my favorite hymnal rose up from inside of me, and encircled the clouds of steam that fill the cramped space.  “Rejoice ye pure in heart.  Rejoice give thanks and sing,”  the wish wash of the brush gliding across the porcelain enamel, accompany my song leaving the bathtub sparkling with my achievement.  A crimson hue spied through the tiny window tucked awkwardly in the upper left corner of the room, welcomes in the sabbath.

Our two bedroom apartment normally filled with the sounds of cartoons, or video games, gave  way to the tranquility of sabbath. Family Radio blanketed the background as we gathered together in the living room, bibles in tow. My grandmother, brother and I each taking turns to pray.  This scene would replay itself throughout my childhood and teenage years.  By the time I entered university, sabbath was my favorite time of the week. Long gone were the memories of the little girl whom without fail would hurriedly skip towards the exit of our church where pastor Williams and the deacons lined up to bid the worshippers farewell.

“It’s sister Henry’s granddaughter,” the deacon standing to the left of pastor Williams said laughingly. The two men chuckled with anticipation. Our dance of question and answer, followed by the birth of more questions, conceived by my dissatisfaction of the pastor’s answers, always ended with the same question.

“How can Jesus be the son of God, and God be God and the Holy Spirit be God?”

“It’s a matter of faith, little sister Henry.”

“But I believe in God, pastor Williams, I just don’t get it?”

“When you have faith you will understand.”

I could feel a dissatisfied yet a polite smile would creep onto my face and my eyes would lower as my grandmother’s fingernails gently dug into my shoulders nudging me along. “If I have faith,” I muttered. This issue of faith would haunt me until I learned to tuck away my doubt into the attic of mind, where all of life’s unanswered questions came to dwell.

Only a shadow memory remains of the little girl. She has grown into a college freshman and my new role in life exempted me from sabbath preparations. My main responsibility was to continue bringing home straight A’s and making my family proud. Friday afternoons were spent studying at school. Taking a break, I would linger through the rows of books in the basement of the college library.  The musty bouquet of books untouched by human hands for decades, often lured me to a darkest corner of the library. Surrounded by books, I tilt my head to the right and silently read the titles, grabbing those that appeal to me.  With an array of books, tucked under my arms and spilling out of my hands, I found a corner and spread them on the floor.  Kneeling down besides the substantial pile, I got into a comfortable position, and flip each book to the back page, removing the library card from its pocket.  “Wow, 1950,” I thought . The book in question had last been checked out in 1950, and therefore the chosen one to flip through first.

I can no longer remember the title of the book that would rock my faith to its very core. All I recall is that as I read and reread the pages, an overwhelming sense of dread overtook me. Suppressed tears clouded my vision, as I continued to read;  my head spinning with this newfound revelation. A string of words dominate the memory, Council of Nicaea, battle over the divinity of Christ, a claim that Jesus had never said he was the son of God. Could this be true? Months of research followed.  Each book reconfirming what the other had propagated. The question regarding the Trinity, the Christian doctrine that one God exists in three distinct Divine Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, that I had tucked away in my mind violently imploded, leaving a gaping hole of doubt. How could I be saved from Hell if Jesus had not died for my sins?

The nineteen year old me carried this unspoken burden of knowledge with a heaviness of heart.  It weighed on me, dragged me down, invaded happy moments, tormented me with a stream of unanswerable questions.  Maybe I should become a Jew? But how could I be a Jew, I can’t give up on the belief in Jesus.  I knew he must have existed. And I love him. What else is out there?

By my sophomore year I landed a job as a tutor, and my afternoons were spent tutoring members of the basketball team. How the question of my chastity had arisen I cannot recall, but what I do remember is one of the players asking me if I were a Muslim.  No of course I wasn’t, I didn’t even know what a Muslim believed. The only girls he knew who guarded their chastity were Muslims like him.

“I’m a Christian,” I protested.

“So you believe Jesus is God,” he retorted.

“No, no I don’t.”

“What then?”

His question pierced me. But I knew that only one answer was possible.

“I believe God is one. Jesus is Jesus and not the son of God. And he’s not God.  There is only one God.”

“What about the Holy Ghost?”

“I don’t know. All I know is that the Holy Ghost isn’t God. God is one.”

A sparkle in his eyes shot a smile in my direction.  Leaning towards me he beckoned me to come closer.

“Then you’re a Muslim,” he whispered.  “You need to read the Quran.”

“What’s that?”

“The unaltered word of God.”

Our conversation was interrupted by other players gesturing him away.  It was time for basketball practice.

Before leaving he turned to me and said, “Stay sweet and pure. Allah loves the pure of heart.”

Over the next week I watched the door nervously as students entered, eager to continue questioning him about his…wait…I didn’t even know the name of his religion.

“Hey Ivan where’s Talik?”

“He went back to Turkey, some family thing.”

My eyes lowered in disappointment.  A quizzical look formed on Ivan’s face.

“Why you wanna know? You his girl or something?”

“Nah,” I replied.

“Then why you look like you wanna cry?”

Shifting in my chair I hesitantly allowed the words to form and spill out of my mouth.

“I wanted to ask him about his religion.”

“Oh, hey girl you don’t wanna know ‘bout his religion.  He’s a Sunni Muslim. I’m a Nation of Islam Muslim.”

“What’s the difference?”

“I’ve seen you with your brother. You black right?”

“Yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?”

“You look so white.”

“Ivan, come on.”

“Since you a sister I’m gonna be straight with you.  The white man enslaved the tribe of Shabazz, from the Lost Nation of Asia.  Black people in America are the descendants of those people. The Master Fard Muhammad is the Mahdi, the Messiah, see girl Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, that’s a lie the white man uses to enslave us. Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that there is one God and his name is Allah.  85% of the population is deaf, dumb and blind. And these dumb fools are brainwashed by 10% of the population, the white man, who enslaves their minds with a slave mentality…”

“Stop, boy you crazy.”

Ivan laughed.

This was long before Facebook or widespread use of the internet. There would be no way to contact Talik. But I remembered his suggestion that I read the Quran. In the weeks that followed I would replay our conversation in my mind.  The Bible is the word of God.  So how can the Quran be the unaltered word of God. And who is Allah?”  No longer able to resist my desire to read the Quran, I put my guilt aside.  My faith in Jesus as my Savior had been shattered and I was racked with guilt for my blasphemous thoughts. As I read the table of contents of the Quran, the word surah, sent me into a tailspin. After consulting the dictionary my confusion only intensified.  “Surah, noun, a soft twirled silk fabric,” I read out loud. Slamming the dictionary shut I decided to just start at the beginning, Surah a-Fatihah: The Opening.

  1. In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
  2. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds,
  3. The Beneficent, the Merciful.
  4. Master of the Day of Judgment,
  5. Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help.
  6. Show us the straight path,
  7. The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

My hands began to quiver uncontrollably.  “I’m going to burn in Hell forever. No, no, no way I’m a Muslim. God is God not this Allah.”

A shadow of doubt lingered in my heart. A few months later, as I scanned a row of books in my favorite bookstore, I chanced upon a brightly colored Quran.  I felt courageous enough to try re-reading al-Fatihah. I quickly slammed the book shut and reaffirmed my idea that Muslims were devil worshippers and I certainly wasn’t one of them.

Over the years that followed, I drifted further and further away from my Christian beliefs. Eventually I stopped praying.  My life slipped into darkness. Following the death of my parents, I became utterly, painfully, and hopelessly lost.

“You need to stop living a worldly life,” my grandmother said over the telephone.  By this time, I had moved back to Amsterdam, the city I had called home until the age of 9. At which time my brother and I were sent to live with our grandmother, in New York City, my birthplace.

“Go back to the church,” she commanded. Her words fell on deaf ears. Responsible for the upbringing of my little brother and sister after our mother’s death, I felt I needed to instill within them the love of God.  I taught them what I knew of the Bible and studied the Seventh Day Adventist quarterly my grandmother religiously sent to us. I taught them to turn to God for everything and to pray each day.  Yet, I myself, still couldn’t believe in the Trinity.

It was the movie Agora in 2009 that finally helped me acknowledge I was no longer a Christian.  It chronicles the last days of the life and death of Hypatia of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, who lived in Egypt, c. 350-370 AD – 415 AD. Her death scene in the movie is mild by comparison to how she actually was murdered by a Christian mob. Stripping her naked inside a church they stoned her to death, then dragged her naked bloodied dead body in the street for all to see before tearing it to pieces. The story of Hypatia resonated with me like no other story of history. I couldn’t figure out why.  Finally, after months of searching my soul for answers I realized why I had been so profoundly moved by Hypatia’s persecution and death.  She had been murdered because she was a pagan. She rejected Christian doctrine and affirmed her belief in her pagan gods.  It was the hypocrisy of the Christians who killed her I could not accept. They preached love, and that God is love, and yet they would kill a great thinker for her religious beliefs. Was is not up to God to judge her? And did God want us to compel people to worship him?

Drifting without a religion, I tried praying over the next few years. My mind would wander before I could even formulate my first thoughts to God.  Prayer, which had been my solace, was now lost on me.  “Satan get thee behind me,” I uttered in the darkness of those desperate nights. I begged God to show me the right way.  As I prospered in my professional life, privately I was slowly dying. Enjoying success at work I earned the respect of my all-male team, with me as the only female exception.  I became well known within the company.  I was the golden girl at work, loved by my managers, rewarded financially for my hard work and dedication; working long hours and volunteering whenever needed.  Work had become my escape from the disconnection I felt. Single, I rarely socialized outside of work expect for the odd coffee with a select few. My little brother was now 21, and although he still lived at home, my life no longer revolved around his upbringing. My younger sister had moved out on her own years earlier. I didn’t know what to do with my free time.  I began tutoring friends and friends of friends and in October 2012 met Amine.

“You teach Dutch me,” he said in broken Dutch.

“Okay,” I replied.

Nearly a month of intensive two hour daily conversational sessions followed. My little brother sometimes joined in ensuring I didn’t assimilate my Dutch to make it easier for Amine to understand.

“You have to speak properly,” he would interject.  “Don’t speak like him. If you don’t speak properly he won’t learn to speak Dutch correctly.”

I had a tendency to dumb down my Dutch but my brother was correct and soon Amine was formulating complete sentences.

Tea and cookies became our favorite treat after our sessions.  It was while we were enjoying a cup of mint tea and chocolate chip cookies that Amine surprised me with questions about the Bible.

“Tell me about Isa. I read the Bible in my country but I don’t understand about Isa.”

“Who?”

“Wait, I google.”

“Oh, Jesus. Sure, well….”

Amine listened intently.  I spoke slowly, after all, it was my chance to convert him, and save him from a life of ignorance and possibly Hell. As I drew my story to a close, Amine laughed.

“That’s crazy.  Islam is the truth.”

He searched his telephone and handed it to me.

“Read,” he said.

“What’s this?” I replied.

“Read. It’s Quran.”

Surah Al-Ikhlas

1       Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One,

2       Allah, the Eternal Refuge.

3       He neither begets nor is born,

4       Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Closing his eyes Amine recited the verses in Arabic.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ

اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ

لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ

وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ

He explained to me that Jesus (peace be upon him) was a prophet, a man, who was born by virgin birth, as a prophet of God. Allah, I learned that night, was Arabic for God. And Mohammad (peace be upon him) was the best of creation, the last prophet to be sent as a Messenger of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).  The language barrier faded away and I could no longer detect any mistakes in his speech requiring correction. Instead, his words penetrated my heart, I could feel something move inside of me. I knew immediately I wanted to be a Muslim. This was the truth I had been searching for since I was a little girl questioning pastor Williams.  A lifetime of questions were answered.

“Read,” Amine said pushing the telephone back into my hand. “Al-Baqarah” he whispered.

“There shall be no compulsion in religion; the right course has become distinct from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it.  And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” Al-Baqarah 256

 لَآ إِكْرَاهَ فِى ٱلدِّينِ ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ ٱلرُّشْدُ مِنَ ٱلْغَىِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِٱلطَّٰغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدِ ٱسْتَمْسَكَ بِٱلْعُرْوَةِ ٱلْوُثْقَىٰ لَا ٱنفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

His recitation sent shivers down my spine. With tears flowing down his cheeks, Amine took a deep breath and continued to recite.

 يَٰٓأَهْلَ ٱلْكِتَٰبِ لَا تَغْلُوا۟ فِى دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا ٱلْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُۥٓ أَلْقَىٰهَآ إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ فَـَٔامِنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ ثَلَٰثَةٌ ۚ ٱنتَهُوا۟ خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا ٱللَّهُ إِلَٰهٌ وَٰحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَٰنَهُۥٓ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُۥ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَّهُۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ وَكِيلً

Pressing the telephone back into the palm of my hand, he could not speak, overcome with emotion. Words were no longer needed.  I read.

“O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers.  And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you.  Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth.  And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.”  an-Nisa: 171.

That night I lay awake in bed contemplating what had transpired. My heart full of joy and peace had no doubt that Islam was the truth.  But what would people say if I became a Muslim? My grandmother would be heartbroken and spend her days worrying about my salvation. Who cares I told myself. God is calling me to the truth. I decided to confide in Suzanne, my Muslim friend at work.  With my mind made up, I took Shahada two weeks later at Suzanne’s local mosque. The next day the office was abuzz amongst my Muslim colleagues.   I discovered that we had a prayer room in the office.  And was invited by a coworker, Mohammad to have dinner with him and his wife.  She too was a revert, having accepted Islam, twenty something years earlier. I welcomed the invitation as I wanted to learn more about Islam.  I felt so utterly overwhelmed by a wealth of information. Where to begin? The library, my home away from home would be my starting point. I soon found that the library, which had once been my friend, could no longer be relied upon.  Desperate for the truth I turned to God in prayer, and began my quest for knowledge. Mohammad by proxy would become my first teacher.  I was a Muslim now, but I had no clue what was next. All I knew was that I believed and finally my heart brimming with faith, understood.

Based on my memories by Nour M. Fox

Student Loans

With summer holidays setting in, many welcome the break from school. For others this summer will mark the end of their school life as they move up the ladder into higher education. Following summer, they will begin their ‘student life’ at university.

But for those of us who reside in the UK, going to university usually entails taking a ‘student loan.’ This student loan has a clause included that post-graduation if one earns over £21,000 annually, one must pay back the loan with interest.

It should be made clear, that whether this is permissible is not a matter of personal opinion. As muslims it is the opinion of Allah that is the deciding factor, in all our affairs. Hence our opinion can only be in line with the opinion of Allah.

There are scholars who argue this loan is haram, and others who argue it is perfectly permissible. We are not here to discuss the two opinions, rather I would like to highlight some important facts to bear in mind, no matter which of the two opinions you take.

Firstly, a scholar, mufti, or any other religious authority is not infallible. They are capable of making mistakes in their judgement. Hence, we should not blindly follow their opinion. We should look at the evidence for and against any opinion before coming to a conclusion.

Secondly, you should know that riba, often translated as usury or interest, is forbidden in Islam, in no uncertain terms, completely. Whether it is given any of the previously mentioned names, or a new name, if the principle is the same, the ruling is the same. Ibn Qudamaah said, “every loan in which it is stipulated that something extra must be paid back is haram with no difference of scholarly opinion.”

Narrated Abu Juhaifa: ‘The Prophet (ﷺ) forbade the one who takes (eats) usury the one who gives usury...’

Hence both paying and receiving riba are both forbidden.

Jaabir said, the Messenger of Allah cursed the one who consumes riba and the one who pays it and the one who writes it down and the two who witness it and he said, they are all the same.” (Muslim)

Many think they have found a way out, by not intending to pay back the student loan, however, this is deceitful. Furthermore, one would be a witness to that contract, and have signed it, and agreed to its conditions.

And Allah says (the translation of which is): “O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains of interest, if you should be believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal – [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged.”  (Surah Al Baqarah, 2:278-279)

Thirdly, consult your heart. If something itches in your heart, then know that it is wrong: your fitrah is telling you it is wrong. Your heart and soul are naturally uncomfortable with sins.

On the authority of an-Nawas bin Sam’an, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Righteousness is in good character, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about.” [Muslim]

And on the authority of Wabisah bin Ma’bad (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “You have come to ask about righteousness.” I said, “Yes.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil. And wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and causes uneasiness in the breast, even though people have repeatedly given their legal opinion [in its favour].

A good hadeeth transmitted from the musnads of the two imams, Ahmed bin Hambal and Al- Darimi, with a good chain of authorities.

And lastly, better to be safe than sorry:

Narrated An-Nu`man bin Bashir: The Prophet (ﷺ) said “Both legal and illegal things are obvious, and in between them are (suspicious) doubtful matters. So whoever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin, will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal; and whoever indulges in these (suspicious) doubtful things bravely, is likely to commit what is clearly illegal. Sins are Allah’s Hima (i.e. private pasture) and whoever pastures (his sheep) near it, is likely to get in it at any moment.” (Bukhari)

Before you head off on journey, consider these matters. May Allah ease your affairs, and guide you and us.

 

All That Glitters is Not Gold

All that glitters is not gold; a proverb meaning, “the attractive external appearance of something is not a reliable indication of its true nature.”

It is an apt description of the life of this world. For the world with all of its beauties; it gushing rivers and sparkling lakes, the peaks of its mountains and the deep crevices of its gorges, the stars that twinkle against the backdrop of the night sky, the glow of the moon on a full night, the glory of the sun and in all of its splendour, the racing clouds on a bright blue sky, not to mention the variety of creatures found on it, are all attractions. However, its grandeur and beauty is not a picture of the reality of its fleeting nature. For the world is temporary and all that is within it will come to an end. As Allah says, “All that is on earth will perish.” (Ar-Rahman 55:26)

There is a Promised Day on which all the beauty of the world will be in disarray. The sky will rip open, the mountains shall vanish, and become like carded wool, the stars shall fall, the sun will be wrapped up, and the graves will be turned upside down. Allah reminds us of the deceptive nature of the world,

“Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Here-after is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.” (Surah Hadid, 57:20)

All too quickly we are absorbed into the life of this world, and forget this coming Day.  We become accustomed to the life on earth, building legacies, and empires thinking that we shall live forever. We come to believe tomorrow is guaranteed, and death is a far off thing, reserved for the old and weak. Yet it is not so.

“Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.” (Aal-Imran, 3:185)

In today’s world one who remembers death, pondering on the transient nature of life, will perhaps be categorised as mental in need of care and healing. But in our deen, remembering death has a greater purpose. Remembering the destroyer of pleasures is not a means of venting frustration, hurt or suicidal thoughts.  Rather, the purpose of remembering death is to keep one on track, to remind one that he or she will have to account for their deeds. Hence it serves as a reminder; that all that glitters is not gold. The real gold is found in the hereafter, in the pleasure of Allah, seeing His face and entering the paradise. For that will last for eternity, and what can be better than everlasting life in Jannah?

Similarly, just as the world is a delusion, evil deeds can also become a deception. All that glitters is not gold, for how many have been tempted to sin, because of the glitter and glamour that surrounds it? How many things does Shaytaan beautify and make fair-seeming to people?

As Allah says, “Satan promises them and arouses desire in them. But Satan does not promise them except delusion.” (4:120)

Satan has tricked humankind since the beginning of time. He has tried and tested his methods and rehearsed his techniques and refined his expertise. Regarding the first man on earth and his wife (Adam and Hawa) Allah says, “So he made them fall, through deception. And when they tasted of the tree, their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten together over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called to them, “Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?” (7:22)

It’s a stark reminder to us, that all that glitters, is not gold. Satan is a master of deception and delusion.

Allah warns us of this characteristic of the devils;

“And thus We have made for every prophet an enemy – devils from mankind and jinn, inspiring to one another decorative speech in delusion. But if your Lord had willed, they would not have done it, so leave them and that which they invent.” (6:112)

We simply have to be aware of the tricks of Shaytaan and his troops. We cannot allow ourselves to be entranced by his magic nor the enchantments of this world. Our Lord, Most Merciful is He, has given advice regarding how to stay above the game,

“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” (Al-Kahf 18:28)

In fact, He chose this verse to occur in a Surah which we are recommended to recite weekly (every Friday), so as to serve as constant reminder to us.

Furthermore, we learn that hell fire is decorated, it’s attractive to eye; golden, and glittery. yet it is hell fire, full of punishments:

The Messenger peace be upon him said, “When Allah created Paradise, He said to Jibreel: ‘Go and look at it.’ Jibreel went and looked at it, then came and said: ‘O my Lord! By Your might, no one who hears of it will fail to enter it.’ Allah then surrounded it with disagreeable things, and said: ‘Go and look at it, Jibreel.’ He went and looked at it, then came and said: ‘O my Lord! By Your might, I am afraid that no one will enter it.’

When Allah created Hell, He said: ‘Go and look at it, Jibreel.’ Jibreel went and looked at it, then came and said: ‘O my Lord! By Your might, no one who hears of it will enter it.’ Allah then surrounded it with desirable things and said: ‘Go and look at it, Jibreel.’ Jibreel went, looked at it, then came and said: ‘O my Lord! By Your might and power, I am afraid that no one will remain who does not enter it.’

Hence, all that glitters is not gold. Hell fire is an abode of punishment and torture reserved for those who succumb to their evil desires. It is encircled with glitter…yet it is not gold.

May Allah aid us in being steadfast, and save us from the hell fire.

I Dropped The Qur’an!

How many times has the mushaf accidentally fallen out of your hands, especially as a child. Though you carried it meticulously, by some way or other, it slipped from your grasp. The horror that manifested on your face, was unparalleled. You felt hurt and pained, and perhaps blamed carelessness on your part. It felt like it was the end of the world, and you were doomed.

You quickly uttered the words of istighfaar and hoped everything was ok.

Then came the advice of the well-meaning adults and elders that surrounded you. ‘Quickly pick it up!’ shouted one. Another said, “Oh, be quick, you’re getting ‘gunaa’ (sin)!” “have you got butter fingers? kiss it!” scolded someone else. And last came the means of redemption, “you have to measure sugar equivalent to its weight and give it in charity.”

Sounds fishy, but that’s what many children are told to do. However, this has no basis in the Sunnah, nor the practice of the early generation. Neither kissing it, rubbing it against oneself, or touching the mushaf to the forehead or cheeks, or giving its weight in sugar to charity was practiced by any of the early generation. Yes, they respected the Quran, they revered it to such a degree that perhaps we can never reach. They emulated the Quranic teachings and that is the pinnacle of reverence for the Quran.

Instead of innovating ways to make up for the accident, one must simply be sincere in their quest for forgiveness. There’s nothing more to do. Our deen is simple.

Allah describes the believers as saying (interpretation of the meaning): “‘Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error.’” (Baqarah 2:286)

Allah is Merciful, He will not punish us for what we did unintentionally, provided we genuinely made the mistake.

Thus, one who drops the Quran should merely be careful, and do their best not to repeat the mistake again in future. Just take extra precaution.

 

When A Scholar Makes An Error

When a scholar, person of knowledge or even a student of knowledge makes an error he becomes the talk of the town. Tongues flap in his regard saying he’s not a scholar, he’s ignorant, he’s arrogant and insults are hurled about. Backbiting is overlooked with the excuse “oh we have to warn others against him!” His honour and flesh are mauled over, without second thought. There is not a name of a da’ee, scholar or student of knowledge, that has not been dragged through the mud in this manner.

I mean it’s Ramadan, and it’s a shame that this had to be written. But the number of insults I’ve heard flying around this month is unbelievable. Shaytaan is locked up, we have no excuse. So, let us restrain ourselves.

How should we deal with the mistakes of these people?

  • Know that no one is infallible: at the end of the day these people are human beings just like ourselves. They get angry and annoyed too. They make mistakes too. Yes, they should control their anger, but sometimes shaytaan gets the better of everyone.

Was it not Abu Dhar who had been schooled by Rasulullah himself who made a racist remark against Bilal ibn Rabah?!

Did not Khalid ibn Walid annoy Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf, only to be rebuked by Rasulullah?

 Human beings are prone to error.

Ibn Al Qayyim said, “The one who has knowledge of Islam and experience of life will know for certain that the prominent man who has served Islam and done righteous deeds, who holds certain prominent position in Islam and among the people, may slip and make mistakes, but he may be excused for his mistake; indeed he may be rewarded for his efforts to make the right decision. Therefore, it is not permissible to follow him in that mistake, at the same time it is not permissible to weaken his position and status in the hearts of the Muslims.” (A’laam Al Muwaqqi’een 3/283)

  • Accept that there are differences of opinions: if your scholar takes one opinion, and another takes another opinion, there is no need to revile him or hurl insults against him for taking another opinion. Amongst the sahabah there were differences of opinions, and yet they stood side-by-side. Neither did they backbite each other nor did they defame each other. Be sensible.

 

  • The word “exposing”: Oh how people love using this word, as if every scholar out there has some ulterior motive or hidden agenda. My brother, my sister, these people are merely trying to educate people to what they know. If they made an error, then as aforementioned, they are only human.

Ibn Asakir said, “And know my brother – may Allah guide me and you to seek His pleasure and make me and you from among those who fear Him as He should be feared – that the flesh of the scholar is poisonous. And the custom of Allah in removing the screens from those who seek to belittle them is well-known. This is because attacking them in matters that they are free from is truly a tremendous matter.

Surrounding their reputation with lies and fabrications is infertile grounds, and differing with those whom Allah has chosen amongst them to disperse the knowledge is a dishonourable characteristic.” (Tabyeen Kadhib Al-Muftaree pg 29)

  • Labelling and Backbiting: as soon as a scholar makes an error he is labelled “deviant” and he is overcome with abuse. Everyone is quick to say he is ignorant and arrogant. He is stripped of his titles of knowledge, even if he has full certification. When you advise such people that they are backbiting the individual, they give the excuse that they are warning others against him. My friend, we do not warn others about an issue by causing greater havoc. If it needs to be done, leave it to those who have the manners to do it correctly. Otherwise you may well find on the day of Qiyamah, your deeds are taken away due to the insults you uttered.

 

  • Creating factionalism and division: By hurling such abuse about you divide up the ummah. Muslims have become attached to personalities. Such that they would stick by their “scholar” and curse others at his expense to defend him.

And remember, “It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that he heard the Prophet say: A Muslim is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe. (Muslim)

  • Causing loss of Respect: by going about making a big scene about the error of a scholar or student of knowledge one only causes a loss of respect for the scholar. His esteem would diminish in the eyes of others, then when does correct himself and issue religious rulings he would not be listened to.

 

  • Correcting such a person: there are manners and etiquettes regarding correcting such a person who errs. It is best done privately.

 

  • Social Media: social media has become the hub for gossiping about scholars and students of knowledge. To those who have popular followings and who have “Da’wah” accounts be careful of what you post and the information you share. If you wrongly accuse a person, and insult him, and your followers follow you in that, then you will bear the weight of it, for the Messenger peace be upon him said, “And whoever introduces a bad practice that is followed, he will receive its sin and a burden of sin equivalent to that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.’” (Ibn Majah, Sahih)”

All in all, when such issues arises, individuals and influential people on social media should use wisdom in addressing these issues. Do not be quick to notice the faults of your brother. If there is a need to address such an issue, because it will benefit the people then choose your words carefully, and do full research without being biased. And it is best to leave these issues to those who are qualified to deal with them.

Adh-Dhahabi reported: Abdullah ibn Mubarak said, “It is a duty upon the wise man not to belittle three persons: the scholars, the authorities, and his brothers. Indeed, whoever belittles the scholars will lose his place in the Hereafter. Whoever belittles the authorities will lose his place in the world. Whoever belittles his brothers will lose his chivalry.” (Siyar A’lam An-Nubula 17/251)

My brothers and sisters, fear Allah and restrain yourselves.

The Future Mother of Your Children

The woman you marry will eventually be the mother of your children, therefore we need to choose wisely keeping in mind our future. Now people say beauty doesn’t really matter what matters is your character, but most of us are hypocrites, beauty is all that matters to us. We can see it clearly that when mothers search for their son’s a wife they first look at if she is fair and beautiful and then go on to the akhlaq part being very shortsighted. But we should remember the famous hadith of the Prophet where he said:

“Women may be married for four things: their wealth, their lineage, their beauty and their religious commitment. Choose the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).”  (Bukhaari, Muslim)

‘Abd al-‘Azeem Abaadi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

What this means is that a man who is religiously committed and of noble character should make religion his focus in all things, especially with regard to long-term matters. So the Prophet enjoined finding a wife who is religiously committed, which is the ultimate goal.

“may your hands be rubbed with dust” is urging him to strive hard and roll up his sleeves and seek that which is enjoined.

(‘Awn al-Ma’bood (6/31))

Why choose a religious spouse?

I have personally seen mothers who pray, read the Quran etc, casually telling their children to  pray never once commanding them or trying to get them to have a deeper understanding of the Quran. Such mothers do little to pass on Islam to their children. Why? Because they themselves never committed to Islamic knowledge and have no eagerness to make their children religious. These mothers just fulfill their children’s physical and worldly needs not once thinking about their children’s spiritual needs.

The Prophet often stressed the importance of a righteous wife who is religiously committed:

It was narrated that from Abdullah bin Amr that: the Messenger of Allah said: “This world is but provisions, and there is no provision in this world better than a righteous wife.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Saheeh)

It was narrated that Thawbaan said: When there was revealed about silver and gold what was revealed, they said: So what kind of wealth should we acquire? ‘Umar said: I will find out about that for you. So he mounted his camel and caught up with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and I was right behind him. He said: O Messenger of Allah, what kind of wealth should we acquire? He said: “Let one of you acquire a thankful heart, a tongue that remembers Allah and a believing wife who will help him with regard to the Hereafter.”  (Narrated and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi (3094))

In another version it says: “who will help him with his faith.” Ibn Maajah (1856).  (Saheeh by al-Albaani)

Al-Mubaarakfoori (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “A believing wife who will help him with his faith” means, with his religious commitment, by reminding him to pray, fast and do other acts of worship, and will keep him from committing zina and all other haraam deeds. (Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (8/390))

One may think that if the father is religious he could influence the children, but that’s rarely the case, as we know that children are in constant contact with their mothers. Mothers are the first teachers and role models. Fathers are usually busy with work and seeing to other matters of running the household. Rarely is there a case where due to the father, the children are religious. The mother always has to take the first step for her children to follow.

Others may think that the husband may change his wife after marriage. Then together they can teach the children. Often times it’s too late as the early years of the children is when their foundation is built. It is also very difficult to mold an adult them how we want, as they are already set in their ways, unless they themselves want to change.  Children imitate their adults when young and if your wife does un-Islamic things your child will follow. Changing an adult is not easy as she has had her own values and to change overnight would be almost impossible.

Imam al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The correct meaning of this hadeeth (the above hadith) is that the Prophet was speaking of what people usually do; they seek these four qualities, and the last of them in their view is the one who is religiously committed, so seek, O you who are guided, the one who is religiously committed.” (Sharh Muslim (10/51-52))

And he (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“What that means is that people usually seek these four qualities in a woman, but you should seek the one who is religiously committed.” Riyadh al-Saaliheen (p. 454)

Furthermore, a woman who knows Islam well will know how to take care of her household, from time-management to a balanced diet, keeping you and your children healthy and happy.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allaah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allaah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity and their husband’s property)”
[al-Nisa’ 4:34].

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient” means: obedient to Allah, may He be exalted.

guard in the husband’s absence” means: they are obedient to their husbands and even in their absence they guard themselves and their husband’s wealth, seeking the help of Allaah in that, because no one can do that by himself or herself, for the self is inclined towards evil, but the one who puts his trust in Allaah, He will suffice him and help him in his religious and worldly affairs. (Tafseer al-Sa’di (p. 177))

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: It was said to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): Which of women is best? He said: “The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, obeys him when he tells her to do something, and does not disobey him with regard to herself or her wealth in a way that he dislikes.” (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (3131); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i. )

In conclusion, if she is religious i.e; not only prays five times but understands the Quran and Ahadith and applies them in her personal life, then she will understand her family’s needs and will always maintain healthy relations between yourselves and your family making your home a happy one. She will ingrain the teachings of Islam your children, teaching them to be righteous, obedient and dutiful. She will help you raise the next generation of Muslims, who will one day be the champions of the Ummah. She will help her husband in coming closer to Allah, and doing what is pleasing to Him, and in attaining the eternal abode of Paradise.

Inshallah we will dedicate another article to describing the qualities of a religiously committed woman.

Fatima Damad, AAT

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.

 

Keys to Success

In continuation from our previous article, where we discussed habits that breed success, here we will discuss characteristics that one should learn and implement to achieve success. Of course these have been taken from the Sunnah and were all found in abundance in the Prophet peace be upon him, who was the most successful person, and the best of human beings.

By encapsulating these characteristics in your daily life, one can attain success in this life and the next.

  1. Ikhlaas: Sincerity

Without sincerity all our deeds are lost and in vain. Without sincerity, the heart is not stable, it is neither here nor there, and anxieties find root within it, and toy with it. When one devotes themselves to Allah, with sincerity, knowing and believing that He is Allah, and He alone deserves to be worshiped, and this is incorporated into one’s daily life, then success is within arm’s reach.

One should be sincere to Allah, loving what He loves and hating what He hates. One should also be sincere to those around them, for a two-faced person is hypocritical.

The Prophet was sincere from the onset of his mission. So, make your heart pure; pure for Allah.

  1. Sabr: patience, steadfastness, endurance and accepting what Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) has destined for you. This will make you stronger to face hardships and get through the ups and downs of life.

When our Prophet was tested with trial upon trial, the disbelievers of the Quraysh of Makkah ridiculed his message, warned others against him, tortured his followers injured him, boycotted him, plotted to kill him and eventually threw him out of his hometown, he was patient. He remained firm and persevered despite these set backs, until he re-possessed Makkah, and Islam was victorious. Until today his patience pays off, for we are believers due to his efforts.

So, the next time it feels like the world is closing in on you, and the wide expanse of the earth seems to narrow before your eyes, and the burden on your shoulders seem too heavy to bear, be patient. Life on this earth is short, just a few numbered days. It will all end soon, be patient and be firm, and by the Will of Allah you will triumph and come through that difficulty. As the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait.”

  1. Shukr: gratefulness, being thankful to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) for everything, feeling content with what Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) has given you. This will make you feel rich even if you don’t have a thing.

A grateful person, is not just grateful to others around him, but first and foremost he is grateful to Allah, the one who gave him life, who made him a muslim, who provides for him, who nourishes him, who guides him and who bestows upon him abundant and plentiful blessings which we can never enumerate!

Shukr goes hand in hand with patience. In fact, when one is shaakir (thankful), it will naturally make one more patient. By being thankful, and grateful, one views every test as a mercy from Allah, and chance for him to come closer to Allah.

Being grateful makes one content, and appreciative of what they have. They don’t compare themselves to others, and measure their success against their own abilities. Thus they are not envious of others blessings because they are content with what they have.

Our Prophet was no less than a perfect example of this, it was narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) used to stand (in the prayer) or pray till both his feet or legs swelled. He was asked why (he offered such an unbearable prayer) and he said, “should I not be a thankful slave?” (Bukhari)

By being thankful Rasulullah was content with what he had and his role, and he knew Allah decreed what was best for him.

True contentment is being happy and satisfied with what you have.

  1. Taqwa: piousness, righteousness, good character, doing what is prescribed and keeping away from forbidden deeds. Taqwa is to be conscious of Allah at all times, to know that He sees you, that He hears you and that He is aware of your every action, deed and thought, which in turn builds a fear of the omniscience of Allah that inspires you to work righteousness. And by doing so you become loved by Allah (سبحانه وتعالى), and His angels and the good people among mankind.

This is probably the most important characteristic that one should seek to embody. With Taqwa one can earn the Pleasure of Allah which is the culmination of success, for one with taqwa obeys Allah, follows His commands, and avoids everything that Allah has forbidden and is displeased with.

And who was more knowledge of the laws of Allah than our beloved Messenger peace be upon him, who did all of the commands, and abstained from all the forbidden. His life was governed by this principle, and his resulting success is evident, for he has been granted Al-Kawthar, and we ask for him to be granted Al-Waseelah, a special station in Paradise. These achievements are the true success.

  1. Tawakkul: putting your total trust in Allah (سبحانه وتعالى), leaving your affairs in His hands, realizing that everything goes as He has planned and relying on Him. This will give you peace of mind and heart.

Through Tawakkul one affirms his belief in the Qadr of Allah. He strives to do his best but knows that everything rests in the Hands of Allah, and His Decree is the Most Just and Wise, for He has prior knowledge of everything, the past present and future. Furthermore, with Tawakkul one knows that Allah only decrees what is best for His slave. This makes the slave content, and motivated to work to please Allah, thereby attaining success.

In the early stages of the Prophet’s Da’wah, when his followers were very few amongst the poor and weak and victory seemed a far-off dream, the Prophet trust Allah, he relied on Him and strove hard to teach Islam until he was rewarded with the sweetness of success and until today his following continues to increase.

When the Prophet peace be upon sheltered and hid in the cave during his Hijrah to Madinah, and the disbelievers came searching for him, and it seems they would be found, as Abu Bakr said, I said to the Prophet (ﷺ) while I was in the Cave. “If any of them should look under his feet, he would see us.” He said, “O Abu Bakr! What do you think of two (persons) the third of whom is Allah?” (Bukhari)

The Prophet’s trust in Allah was unwavering.

When Arabs united time and again to wipe the small band of muslims off the face of Allah, in the battle of Badr, in Uhud, in Khandaq, to name a few, the tawakkul of the Prophet was firm. Each time he knew that Allah was in control and Allah would never let down his slaves.

Put your trust in Allah, do your best and leave the rest to Him.

These five keys, are keys to success in the hereafter primarily, but also success in this world. When equipped with these keys the soul becomes tranquil and the heart tastes the sweetness of iman, and it lives a blissful life, even if it appears that the body is suffering on the outside. May Allah aid us is attaining these beautiful characteristics, and attaining success in this life and the next.