Category Archives: Our Character

Lowering the Gaze

In the summer heat, when many will strip, and clothes are sparsely worn, the issue of lowering the gaze should be given extra attention. Allah says (the translation of which is),

“And tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and to protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at prohibited things) and protect their private parts…”

Allah has commanded both men and women, who believe in Him to restrain their glances from looking at that which is prohibited. This does not just apply when one is out in the malls or streets, but also in regards to magazines, books, television, and online.  And also if a non-mahram woman is in your home.

One should be aware that the eyes can commit sin, as the prophet peace be upon him said, “The adultery of the eye is the look,” (Muslim)

Moreover, one will be held accountable in regards to it, as Allah says, “Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned.” (Surah Al-Israa, 17:36)

Hence we should be cautious regarding our gazes, and remember that Allah the All-Seeing is well-aware of what we do.

Whilst men should lower their gaze, our sisters should also be mindful that they too have a responsibility of covering up. Allah has commanded us in no uncertain terms to hide our adornments, because Allah knows the nature of men, He created them and created the women also. As such He gave each their obligation.

The First Look:

Many, give the excuse that the first look is permissible, and hence will intentionally look at the opposite gender. Others will hold the first look, believing that as long as they do not blink or turn away, it is permissible. However, this is not permissible as the following hadith explains,

Jareer ibn ‘Abdullah said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him) about a sudden, accidental glance at a woman. He commanded me to turn my gaze away.” (Tirmidhi, saheeh hasan)

Commenting on this hadeeth, Al-Mubaarakpoori said: ” ‘Accidental’ means that his gaze fell on a non-mahram woman unintentionally. ‘He commanded me to turn my gaze away’ means that he was not to look a second time, because the first glance was not by choice and would be forgiven, but any further glances would be counted as sin.

Hence, an accidental look is not blameworthy, but if one continues looking it now becomes sinful. Allah knows the nature of people, and hence He pardons the unintentional glance.

Imam An-Nawawi said:

What is meant by a “sudden glance” is when a person’s glance unintentionally falls upon a non-mahram woman. There is no sin on him for the first glance, but he must avert his gaze immediately. If he averts his gaze immediately there is no sin on him, but if he continues looking, then he will be a sinner, because of this hadith, for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded him.

In another hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him) said: “O Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second.” (Tirmidhi; Saheeh al-Jaami’)

In al-Tuhfah, he said: “The words ‘do not follow a glance with another’ means do not look again after the first glance. ‘You will be forgiven for the first’ means that you will be forgiven if the first glance was unintentional, and ‘but not for the second’ means that because the second glance was by choice, it will be counted against you.”

It is forbidden to look whether it provokes desires or not, because the rule is according to the majority of cases and not the exceptions.  And the same rule applies to a woman looking at a man.

Marriage:

Some, may Allah rectify them, will look at women in the street, and provide the excuse that their intention is for the purpose of marriage. However, this is not permissible. This only opens the door to further evil, as there will come a time, when one will look out of habit, and not for the purpose of marriage. Furthermore, one glance may lead to further harm.

However, to look at a specific woman for the purpose of marriage is permissible. Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When any one of you proposes marriage to a woman, if he can look at that which will encourage him to go ahead and marry her, let him do so.” (Abu Dawood and al-Haakim. Hasan, and there is corroborating evidence in the hadeeth of Muhammad ibn Muslimah)

Similarly, Al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah said, “I proposed marriage to a woman, and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Have you seen her?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Look at her, because it is more fitting that love and compatibility be established between you.’” According to another report: “So he did that, and he married her and mentioned that they got along.” (Ad-Daaraqutni, and Ibn Majah)

However, when looking at a woman for the purpose of marriage, it impermissible to look at her lustfully, or to touch her or to be alone with her, because she is still not a mahram to him.

Imam Ahmad said: “He should look at the face, and he should not look in a lustful manner.”

So, what is the solution to this problem?

  • Know that Allah is watching you
  • Make duaa that Allah helps you
  • Striving to lower the gaze, being persistent and patient no matter how difficult it becomes,

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever seeks to be chaste, Allah will make him chaste, and whoever seeks to be independent of means, Allah will make him independent of means, and whoever strives to be patient, Allah will make him patient…” (Bukhari 1400)

  • Avoid the places where these sins are prevalent. Beaches especially should be avoided. he Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Beware of sitting in the street.” They said, “We have no alternative; that is where we sit and talk.”  He said, “If you insist on sitting there, then give the street its rights.” They said, “What are the rights of the street?” He said, “Lowering the gaze and refraining from causing offence…” (Bukhari 2333 and Muslim 2121)
  • Marriage: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and in guarding one’s chastity. And whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.” (Narrated by Bukhari 1806 and Muslim 1400)
  • Fasting, as mentioned in the hadith above
  • Contemplate the magnitude of the sin and the consequences of it. This should be sufficient to put you off.

May Allah aid us in fulfilling His Commands.

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.

Filter your Speech

Backbiting, slandering, gossiping, maligning, insulting, swearing…are just a few of the many sins of the tongue. Our Creator, and Sustainer, the One who Knows the past, present and future knew that these sins would exist, and would be easy for us to fall into. Hence, with His great Wisdom, He gave us counsel, in the form of a reminder.

One of the purpose of the Qur’an is to serve as a reminder. Hence, it contains encouragements, admonishments, warnings, threats and motivations. One amazing Surah that contains a combination of these, and which possesses something distinct, is Surah Hujurat, Surah number 49. Surah Hujarat contains filters to assist us in purifying ourselves, particularly our tongues.

Without further ado, let’s have a look at the filters of Surah Hujurat:

  • فتبينوا – To investigate

This filter is found in Ayah 6, which reads,

“O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.”

All too easily we act hastily, giving verdicts, and making accusations before we verify the information that comes to us.

  • وأقسطوا – Act Justly

“And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah. And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Verse 9)

  • فأصلحوا – To make settlement

The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.” (Verse 10)

Three filters may be derived from the following ayah,

“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” (Verse 11)

  • لا يسخر – Do not ridicule

To ridicule is a form of arrogance, for the Prophet said, “”He who has, in his heart, an ant’s weight of arrogance will not enter Jannah.” Someone said: “A man likes to wear beautiful clothes and shoes?” Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah is Beautiful, He loves beauty. Arrogance means ridiculing and rejecting the Truth and despising people.” [Muslim]

To ridicule and make mockery is not the characteristics taught by Islam. It was not found in our Messenger, nor in the salaf. Rather it was a trait found in the hypocrites. Hence we should be weary of possessing such an attribute.

  • ولا تلمزوا – Do not insult

Insulting is not limited to derogative statements, or passing rude comments. It includes all forms of maligning, including actions other than speech.

However, our topic for today is passing speech through the filters of Surah Hujurat, hence we will limit our discussion to this matter.

The command to refrain from insulting includes cursing, swearing etc…

On this account the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The believer is not a slanderer, one who curses a great deal, one who indulges in obscenity or who in engages in foul talk.” (Tirmidhi classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)

To further illustrate the severity of insulting a believer, the messenger said, “Fighting a believer is Kufr and defaming him is evildoing.” (An-Nisa’i, Saheeh)

  • ولا تنابزوا – Do call each other with offensive names

Offensive names are a form of insulting, and hurtful to the person. Before you address someone with a name or nickname, think about it, would you like to be called by such a name?

Our Prophet truly was a mercy for mankind. Aishah narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) would change offensive names. (Tirmidhi, Saheeh)This was his concern, and level of kindness!

Another three may be derived from verse 12,

“O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.”

  • اجتنبو كثيرا من الظن – Avoid negative assumptions

Assume the best in other, give them the benefit of the doubt. Make excuses for others, perhaps Allah will make excuses for you and forgive you.

  • ولا تجسسوا – Don’t spy

Spying includes eavesdropping on people who do not want to be heard. It is sufficient for us to know, that the Prophet said, “the eavesdropper will not enter paradise.” (Bukhari)

  •  ولا يغتب بعضكم بعضا – Don’t backbite

The Prophet defined backbiting for us when he asked, “Do you know what is backbiting? They (the Companions) said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Backbiting implies your talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like. It was said to him: What is your opinion about this that if I actually find (that failing) in my brother which I made a mention of? He said: If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, you in fact backbit him, and if that is not in him it is a slander. (Muslim)

Whether you can say it to the person’s face or not, if what you intend to say is true, and it is not nice to say, then better to withhold your tongue, for it is backbiting. Backbiting is a severe sin as described in the ayah, for none of us would like to be carnivorous of his brother/sister. Yet how often do we gladly partake of such a meal?!

Perhaps the following hadith will make us renounce this horrible crime.
It was narrated that Anas ibn Malik said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When my Lord took me up into heaven, I passed by some people who had nails of copper with which they were scratching their faces and chests. I said: ‘Who are these, O Jibreel?’ He said: ‘These are the ones who used to eat the flesh of the people and impugn their honour.’” [Abu Dawood]

My brothers and sisters, is the temporary joy of conversation worth the punishment of the hereafter and the loss of deeds? Is the charm of gossip better than the everlasting bliss of the mercy of Allah and His paradise?

Hold on to this simple principle, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand (by taking action); if he cannot, then with his tongue (by speaking out); and if he cannot, then with his heart (by hating it and feeling it is wrong), and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim].

If you find yourself present in a gathering where any of the above-mentioned sins occur, then advise your fellow brothers and sisters against it. Do you not wish that they are saved from the punishment? Prevent them from using their tongues in the displeasure of Allah, and if they refuse your advice, then leave their company. And if they heed your advice then be friends for the sake of Allah, advising each other to good.

May Allah make it easy for us.

A Double-Edged Sword

If we compare our weak bodies to those of the animal kingdom, we will find that we have neither been gifted with the strength of lions, nor the speed of cheetahs, nor the muscular build of rhinos, or the huge size of elephants, and neither the teeth of crocs. No, none of these natural characteristics used for defence or devouring, are found in our weak frames. However, we possess something, seemingly less threatening, seemingly mild in comparison to those in the animal kingdom; it is our tongues. Yes, our tongues are a weapon we possess, and the damage it can do, can tear down lives.

Our tongues are a double-edged sword, and hence it is no wonder that the Prophet defined a muslim as one “from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” (Muslim)

Little do we consider the words that bounce off our tongues! How often have we injured another with just a small word we uttered?

This article is not to lecture you on the evils of the tongue, no. Rather, its intended purpose is to bring to light the evils of a specific sin of the tongue, and that is cursing or swearing.

Albeit, the tongue is connected to our God-given intelligence. Hence the manner in which we use it is a reflection of our thoughts and our inner-selves. Hence one who curses often, indicates that that he has a corrupt mind. One can only think such a person to be evil and wicked, for who would wish bad for other people, except an evil person, or one who lacks intelligence?

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “It does not befit a Siddiq (righteous Muslim) to frequently curse others.” (Muslim)

 

Cursing is not limited to human beings. One in anger may easily curse time, objects animals etc.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: A man cursed the wind. The narrator Muslim’s version has: The wind snatched away a man’s cloak during the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) and he cursed it. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Do not curse it, for it is under command, and if anyone curses a thing undeservedly, the curse returns upon him. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Saheeh by Sh Al-Albaani)

 

Do not those who curse fear that it will return to them, and they will be doomed for what they have uttered?! May Allah rectify our condition! Moreover, cursing may be an indication of dissatisfaction with the Qadr (decree) of Allah. As muslims we should be satisfied with what comes our way, and thank Allah in every condition.

 

In many Ahadith, the Prophet warned against cursing. An expression, heard often and overlooked in regards to cursing is, “damn,” which is defined as ‘being condemned by God to suffer eternal punishment in hell, or criticising strongly.’  Refrain from using this word my brothers and sisters.

 

It is also narrated that the Prophet said, “whoever curses a believer, it is as if he killed him.” (Bukhari)

Imagine carrying the weight of the sin of killing a believer on the Day of Judgement! Contemplate on the severity of this sin. How many people will come to take your good deeds on the Day of Judgement because of what you said in cursing them. We seek Allah’s forgiveness.

 

Abdullah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “The believer does not insult the honour of others, nor curse, nor commit Fahishah, nor is he foul.” (Tirmithi, Hasan)

 

The true believer withholds his tongue, in anger and in ease. Such a person does not wish bad for anyone or anything. Be careful, and do not exclude yourself or others from the mercy of Allah by cursing.

 

To conclude, Abdullah bin Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Indeed Allah detests the excessive among men, who slaps his tongue around like the cow slaps his tongue.” (Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Hasan) The sins of the tongue are indeed many, and it is easy to forget. Hence, benefit from every reminder, and tackle each sin one by one to rectify the character. Allah’s mercy is All-Encompassing, and He is the Most Generous, seek His forgiveness and His mercy. May Allah aid us in purifying our characters.

Let’s prepare for Ramadaan, and give up this habit before its arrival.

 

Dusty Noses

Have you ever wondered why do we sneeze? For some of us ‘sneezing’ is only understood as a saliva spit sprinkle sometimes along with a gooey and icky no good additional discharge. Despite the futility this action professes, in actual fact, it is a very important mechanism of our body.

Think back for a while, “when” do we actually sneeze, perhaps when there is a dust storm, or perhaps after sniffing a beautiful flower; in all these cases we inhale some particles (like dust, pollen) we weren’t supposed to, and which may have a detrimental effect on us

Okay, so, something as microscopic as dust or pollen can actually harm us? Well for starters you don’t inhale in just one dust particle, but a whole cluster of them!

Secondly, yes, something as tiny as these CAN actually harm us! Runny noses, itchy eyes, allergies, asthmas are just some of the manifestations that may occur due to dust intake. They definitely bring to fruition the phrase “Tiny, yet Mighty”

So, what does sneezing have to do with all this?

Without getting overly technical, sneezing is basically the mechanism by which these unwanted and harmful inhaled particles are simple expelled out,

So yeah! all that gooey goodness just isn’t good for us.

To be protected at such a minuscule level truly amazing. Subhan Allah, truly Allah Al Wadood protects us from everything harmful in every way and at every level. Don’t we need to thank Allah for this, then yet why don’t all of us inculcate the habit of saying Alhamdulillah after sneezing.

Furthermore, whilst sneezing, we basically spit out all those allergens into the environment around us, let’s say it’s your sister beside you, would you really want her to inhale in what you have just expelled out?

From time immemorial, basic etiquettes teach us to cover our mouths with a tissue, handkerchief etc. whilst sneezing, and now that you know why, I aspire that this action no longer be considered a task for us to do.

So finally, now that we fathom why we sneeze and why we should cover us mouths whilst doing so, let’s finally come to the crux of the article.

We know that our actions are based on our intentions so let’s now fix our intentions

  1. It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If any one of you sneezes, let him say ‘Al-hamdu Lillaah,’ and let his brother or his companion say, ‘Yarhamuk Allaah.’ And if he says to him, ‘Yarhamuk Allaah,’ let him say, ‘Yahdeekum Allaahu wa yusliha baalakum (May Allaah guide you and correct your thinking).
    (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 10/502)
  2. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sneezed, he would cover his mouth with his hand or a piece of cloth, suppressing the sound this way.
    [Sunan Abu Dawud – classed as Hasan Sahih by Shaykh al-Albaani]

So, now we know that the acts of saying ‘Alhamdulillah’ after sneezing and that of covering our mouths whilst sneezing are actually actions proved by the Sunnah, lets then make our intentions of following the Sunnah and thereby earn ajar In Sha Allah by carrying out these simple and useful deeds.

 

Bint Ayesha

Writer, AAT

 

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.’

 

Are You A Liar?!

An article on lying, pretty cliché you would say, we have been through this! Since time immemorial, the story of the boy who cried wolf has been passed down generations, articles, sermons, warnings and advises on ‘lying’ jam our minds. Funny then it should seem, that with all the propaganda on lying, the act of lying yet remains the most rampant of sins to date.

We now have professional liars and lying is now considered an art! Elusive and endearing as it may be, it still is one of the most heinous crimes out there. Helas! If only we were to fathom the magnitude of this crime for definitely most of us take it very lightly to the extent that most of us fail to recognize ourselves as liars.

Hence in this article, I am not here to preach, persuade and lecture you all on how horrendous lying is, most of us probably know the punishments of lying etc. This article is for you and me to diagnose ourselves as to whether we are liars (intentionally or unintentionally)

This might come to you as a shock to you but here are the characteristics of the Liar:

  1. Making many promises and making many excuses (Oh dear, this totally treads on our art of escaping situations making excuses)
  2. Delaying and procrastinating (Bull’s eye!!)
  3. Lack of adherence to covenants and lack of fulfilling promises
  4. Excessiveness in speech if it is in his worldly favor and deficiency in speaking if it is beneficial for his Deen (practice of Islam)
  5. Lack of haste in speaking the truth
  6. Beautifying the speech to conceal the wrongs that he does to himself
  7. He has no honour that encourages him to do good or prevents him doing evil

Oh heavens , who knew we were afflicted by so many symptoms, but do not despair, all is not lost, we can always improvise and although I said no sermonizing I do believe that I definitely should quote this hadith to you all:

The Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “I guarantee a house in the middle of Paradise for a person who avoids lying, even if he was joking.”

[Abu Dawud ~ Hadith Sahih]

Bingo, not lying is a way to Jannah, so now let’s pull up our sleeves and pledge to be honest, I know it’s no piece of cake, but by seeking Allah’s help and remaining sincere, this will be a feat that we shall accomplish In Sha Allah.