Tag Archives: sins

The Black Stone

As thousands, nay millions, of muslims flock to perform Hajj, they will form queues to touch the black stone and fight to kiss it. But what is the black stone? And what is its significance in Islam?

The black stone was sent down from paradise, as we learn from the hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas that The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Black Stone came down from Paradise.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 877; al-Nasaa’i, 2935. The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi)

“When the Black Stone came down from Paradise, it was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam made it black.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 877; Ahmad, 2792. Classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah, 4/219. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar classed it as qawiy (strong) in Fath al-Baari, 3/462).

This hadith means that the sins of those who touched the stone, caused it to turn black.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said: “Some heretics tried to criticize this hadeeth by saying: How come the sins of the mushrikeen turned it black and the worship of the people of Tawheed did not make it white? I answer by quoting what Ibn Qutaybah said: If Allah had willed, that would have happened. But Allah has caused it to be the case that black usually changes other colours and its not itself changed, which is the opposite to what happens with white.”

Al-Muhibb al-Tabari said: The fact that it is black is a lesson for those who have insight. If sins can have this effect on an inanimate rock, then the effect they have on the heart is greater. (Fath al-Baari, 3/463)

Subhanallah! Imagine if sins can have such an adverse effect on a rock, then what about our hearts?!

This reminds me of another hadith, in which the Messenger ﷺ mentions the effects of sins on the heart;

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases. That is the Ran that Allah mentions in His Book: “Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.” [83:14] (Ibn Majah, Hasan)

So, let us use these upcoming blessed days to clean and polish our hearts. Let us seek the forgiveness of Allah and utilise our time in His remembrance. May Allah purify our hearts.

Back to the subject of the black stone…

Did you know that the black stone will speak on the day of judgement and testify?

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said concerning the Stone: “By Allah, Allah will bring it forth on the Day of Resurrection, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favour of those who touched it in sincerity.”

(Tirmidhi, 961; Ibn Maajah, 2944, hasan by al-Tirmidhi, and as qawiy by al-Haafiz ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari, 3/462)

So how should muslims performing hajj or umrah deal with the black stone?

It was narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Makkah, he came to the Black Stone and touched it, then he walked to the right of it and ran three times and walked four times [around the Ka’bah].  (Muslim)

Hence touching the black stone is to be done before performing tawaf.

It is also encouraged to kiss for the Prophet was seen doing so.

It was narrated that ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the Black Stone and kissed it, then he said: “I know that you are only a stone which can neither bring benefit nor cause harm. Were it not that I had seen the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) kiss you, I would not have kissed you.”  (Bukhari and Muslim)

However, one should know that it is merely a stone, and has no ability or power in of itself. It cannot cause harm nor bring benefit. Many a times, people become extreme in kissing it, they rub their faces into it, rub their clothes, and if they could, would probably try and take a piece home with them! We should beware of exaggerating, and know that benefit and harm are in Hands of Allah.

Nonetheless, touching the stone is a means of expiation,

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Touching them both [the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamani] is an expiation for sins.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 959. This hadeeth was classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi and as saheeh by al-Haakim (1/664). Al-Dhahabi agreed with him).

If one is unable to reach it due to the crowds or some other reason, then he should touch it with something else and kiss that object. And if he is unable to do that then he should point towards it and say Allahu-Akbar, as these were all reported from the Prophet.

When one goes to kiss it or touch one should maintain Islamic etiquettes, and should not cause annoyance to others. Pushing, shoving are all too common in Hajj crowds, and we should aim to change this, and be better than that. Islam teaches us good manners, and we should uphold these mannerisms when we are the holiest site, performing such honourable rituals, otherwise we only incur sin upon ourselves. Pushing and shoving in crowds are often the reason for unnecessary injury, and at times even death or stampedes. Many a times women also get caught up in the crowds, hence we should be aware, and maintain cautiousness even in these difficult trying circumstances.

Preparation

Every year, we hear the same thing, year in, year out. Perhaps it’s tiring or annoying to have the same monotonous advice repeated so often.

Yep, it’s “Ramadaan reminders time.” But the truth is, we all know the specialty of the coming month. We all know its virtues; the opportunities for rewards and the yummy recipes to accompany it all.

The question is, despite these constant reminders, have we made the change? Have we attained the perfection we seek so earnestly? Have we earned the paradise? Or has all the reminders filled one ear, only to be emptied on the other side, without staying a moment for our brains to grasp and understand them? And do we continue in our erroneous ways, without paradise in sight?

Dreary, right?

Our situation is indeed pitiable.

The only way we can change, is if we follow the footsteps of those who came before us. Those who made u-turns in their lives, who made enormous sacrifices, and who changed for the better, such that their names are remembered until today.

But the problem is, we may not even know these great men and women who made such admirable changes. Their names are a blur in distant histories. Other things preoccupy our thoughts. To us, those men and women died years ago; what benefit could they possibly bring in today’s world?

The truth is, they changed, and the effects of their change are still visible today, hence Islam thrives. Moreover, they changed at a time, where culture ruled and barbaric practices where rife and firmly rooted. If they could do it, then, why can’t we, in our times of flexibility, and ease?!

Change was not a last-minute decision in their lives. It was pondered over and analysed. They prepared in advance.

Let us do the same this year. Let us be like them. Begin early. Begin now.

 

Recognising Sins

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

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

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

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

  • Ignoring what we left of the wajibaat:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We are Aleppo

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

You may ask, ‘what do I mean?’

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

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

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

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

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

Aleppo is a reflection of ourselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humanity did not fail us.

We failed ourselves. And worse, we failed Aleppo.

Iron Hearts

iron hearts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al-Ghaffar, Al-Ghafoor

Everyone is in dire need of forgiveness. Allah has placed in every human’s fitra the guilt when he does something wrong. This guilt stops him from moving forward, be it in Ibadah (worship) or in any worldly matters. Well…not until he acknowledges that amongst Allah’s names and attributes are Al-Ghafoor and Al-Ghaffar.

Linguistically, Al-Ghafoor and Al-Ghaffar came from the root word ‘Ghafara’ which means to cover up, shield and protect. Islamically, it means that Allah is the One who Forgives the sins, when a servant of Allah asks for forgiveness i.e., Maghfirah.

A soldier’s helmet in Arabic is called a “Mighfar,” that which provides protection and is a covering to oneself. So what is “Maghfirah” (Forgiveness) in Islam? Technically, forgiveness covers the sins with a covering which leaves no traits behind and no one knows about it.

You may have noticed that we have taken two Names together in one episode. Though they both have the same concept of ‘forgiveness,’ there is a difference between them. The only difference between these two names is the difference in quality and size. Al-Ghafoor is the The One who Forgives the sins no matter how huge it maybe (quality). While Al-Ghaffar refers to the One who Forgives the sins no matter how many they are (quantity). Conclusively, Al-Ghafoor can be translated as “the Ever-forgiving” and Al-Ghaffar as “the All-Forgiving.”

Whenever a servant of Allah sincerely asks for Allah’s forgiveness before death Allah (Glory be to Him) keeps on forgiving innumerably. The forgiveness is repeated as the servant repeats his Taubah. Allah All-Mighty says:

“But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.” (Surah at-Taha: 82)

Dear reader! Let me give you another instance from the Sunnah of our dear Prophet peace be upon him:

It is narrated by Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Amongst the men of Bani Israel there was a man who had murdered ninety-nine persons. Then he set out asking (whether his repentance could be accepted or not). He came upon a monk and asked him if his repentance could be accepted. The monk replied in the negative and so the man killed him. He kept on asking till a man advised him to go to such and such village. (So he left for it) but death overtook him on the way. While dying, he turned his chest towards that village (where he had hoped his repentance would be accepted), and so the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment quarrelled amongst themselves regarding him. Allah ordered the village (towards which he was going) to come closer to him, and ordered the village (whence he had come), to go far away, and then He ordered the angels to measure the distances between his body and the two villages. So he was found to be one span closer to the village (he was going to). So he was forgiven.” (Sahih al-Bukhari: 3470)

Surely you all have been given hopes by reading the above hadith. Yes, hope is an impact of these two beautiful Names of Allah (Exalted be He). However, the hope should not make us lazy in our repentance. Allah says in another ayah:

“…Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 222)

This is not the end of our session with these two names. In the next session we will discuss about the greatness of these names, its effects on eemaan, and a short tafseer of why Mercy (Ar-Raheem) is mentioned with the name al-Ghafoor.

 

Our Salt Bags

Ways to Jannah

A cry of joy, a baby is born, free from sins, pure of obscenities and born on the correct fitrah. With all the sins that we have accumulated over the years, with our hearts going black, one yearns to expiate oneself, but it seems such an impossible task! How can we get rid of a lifetime of sins? Sins that weigh on us heavily as the salt bags on a mule’s back. But even for a mule carrying its weighty bags, a day comes when it rains, dissolving the salt, and terminating his burden. This shower of wonderful water for us humans can be defined as “hajj”.

donkeys with salt bags
A wonderful opportunity of annihilating our burden of sins and starting afresh, for indeed it was narrated in al-Saheehayn that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever performs Hajj and does not utter obscenities or commit sin, will come back as on the day when his mother bore him.”  (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1521; Muslim, 1350)

Hajj

Also Hajj happens to the fifth pillar of Islam. This statement itself elucidates the importance of this holy ritual.

But coming to the greatest virtue of hajj, we see that the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

“The reward for an accepted hajj is nothing less than Paradise.”[Agreed Upon]

This hadith is evidence that an accepted hajj has no reward except paradise.
The scholars defined an accepted hajj as the hajj which is free from:

  1. Rafath(sexual engagement)
  2. Fusooq(sins)
  3. Jidaal(arguing)

And Allah Knows Best!

So now with Hajj around the corner, those going for hajj should obligate upon themselves to learn the correct ways, etiquettes and manner for performing it. When we go for a tourist trip to some country, how much preparation we make for it, reading brochures, purchasing appropriate clothing, researching its culture, trying to learn a bit of its language. Hajj is of no comparison to such trips and is indeed once in a lifetime opportunity and so it is essential that we prepare ourselves accordingly. Keeping this in mind, one should also sincerely try to repent for all of his sins; major or minor, for one never knows when such an opportunity may come to pass again.

Finally as we stand on the Arafat praying, with people from all around the globe standing with us as equals, it reminds one of the day of judgement where we will be accounted for and recompensed, may Allah grants us paradise and may Allah make this Hajj as a means of paradise for us.

Ameen ya rabb

Bint Ayesha

 

 

Dangers of Cartoons

disney logo

Cartoons have invaded our homes. Literally. The lamp shade is covered in toy story. The walls have cars stickers. The bed is pink with all the princesses on the headboard. The stationery all have the face of the latest cartoon character neatly printed on it. The toy box is overflowing with all the limited edition Disney toys. Disney is not the only one. Pixar, Warner Brothers and all the other cartoon makers are part of it too.

Who doesn’t remember watching cartoons?! It was probably one of your favourite childhood memories. You snuggled up on the sofa next to an older sibling or perhaps a friend who was coming to stay the night, whilst mum got ready popcorn, marshmallows and hot chocolate. Even though two minutes ago, sleep burned your eyes, you stayed awake, anticipating your favourite moment. You eagerly battled your sleep, just so that you could watch the cartoon. Or perhaps, your parents took you to the cinema. Every planned trip, would make you giggle with excitement, and you just couldn’t wait. You’d sit on the chairs and fidget until the ‘movie’ would start. You enjoyed it so much; it made you feel grown up. Little did you realise the filth you were watching, and enjoying.

Cartoons seem innocent. The childish drawings, the toys, the happy colours. The storyline was harmless, as well, wasn’t it? Watch it again, this time keep in mind all the Islamic morals, and values. My dear brothers and sisters, every cartoon has been designed to program the youth. Each one has a subliminal message, which perhaps a child may not even notice, but isn’t Shaytaan there? Is it not Shaytaan’s job to lure everyone, young or old, sensible or not, into his traps?

If you still can’t see it, then may Allah guide you, and open your eyes and heart!

Let me break it down for you; What’s really wrong with these cartoons?

Let’s begin with one of the biggest ‘sin’ of them all. Associating partners with Allah. Yes, it is not blatantly there, and perhaps you didn’t catch it when you watched the cartoon. But there are so many methods through which a person can fall into this sin unknowingly. Some characters may utter phrases such as ‘For the love of Thor.’ Children who have little understanding of language will innocently repeat the phrase imitating their favourite character, and shaytaan has already done his job, he has sown in them seeds of disbelief which he will later water, for it to flower and blossom!

Next up; magic. As muslims we know that magic exists, and is real. Allah says in Surah Falaq, “From the evil of those who blow on knots,” referring to the evil of magicians and magic. It is not for nothing magic is known as a dark art or secret art. It a means of communicating with the Shaytaan and jinns, which is impermissible. Moreover magic is a form of shirk! Why do we promote wands, fairies, and Abracadabra when we know this is forbidden, and may cause a person to fall out of Islam?!

In Addition, you never ever have a girls or boys only cartoon. Because there is no such thing as a girls world. Or a boys world. Cartoons reflect that, minus the Islamic morals. In Islam men and women do not mix freely. Both are commanded to lower their gaze, and refrain from unnecessary communication with the opposite gender. Cartoons have free intermingling between the sexes. You may think it’s only a cartoon, but what is happening in your child’s mind is much different. Your child though they may say that they know it’s not real, to them cartoons are their world. They begin to accept that men and women can mix, they begin to question the Islamic ruling. Shaytaan makes it fair-seeming to them. Because they don’t yet have that full understanding or recognition of right and wrong, free mixing becomes a norm to them. In childhood, its effects may not be seen, but as they reach adulthood, and they begin to spread their wings, looking for freedom, what was planted in their childhood, starts to emerge. They no longer want to follow the rules of segregation. May Allah protect our children.

Exposing ‘Awrah. We all know mainstream cartoons, do not have muslim characters, perhaps with the exception of Aladdin (supposedly). However, Aladdin shows your child, is that its ok to be muslims, you don’t have to dress like one though. Dress is not important, it’s what is in your heart. This is contradiction to islam, in which belief is to also dress the part. Every cartoon has a woman in it, and every woman is not in Islamic garb, or decently dressed. Children have a tendency to imitate what they like, and now every girl wants to be like Ariel, or Cinderella or Jasmine or whoever else… but to be like these ‘princesses’ is to compromise your deen. Allah tells us, “tell the believing women to lower their gazes, and guard their chastity and not expose their adornment except that which necessarily appears of thereof and to wrap (a portion of) their head covers over their chest and not expose their adornment…” (Surah An-Nur 24:31) As muslims we respect our bodies. We do not flaunt them; how can we teach our girls to cover and our boys to lower their gaze, if they are watching what tells them the opposite, and if the gaze is not lowered before the TV screen. The TV is no different than watching people on the street.

Thirdly, falling in love. This has gone to the extent of where even cars fall in love. Children are now exposed to inanimate objects falling in love. It is all poison to the child’s mind, and promotes that which Islam forbids.

Disrespect for parents and authority. Hmm…bet you never noticed that. Yes, it’s right there, many main characters in cartoons do not respect their parents or the authority over them, and rather project an attitude where they feel parents are restrictive, and won’t allow them to live their life. In Islam parents have an elevated position, where by serving them can gain you access to Jannah, and refusal to do so can open the gates of hellfire. Similarly in Islam, those in authority have to be obeyed and our elders treated with veneration.

Music, simply put is the devils tool. In addition to all the musical instruments, the songs contained in these co-called innocent cartoons have irrelevant and indecent lyrics. How can we allow our children to be exposed to such filth? For more information on the prohibition of music in Islam visit www.aateam.org/blog/muharramat-music/

If you are taking your children to the cinema, then that’s even worse. You are paying to engage in that which is displeasing to Allah. You are openly promoting fee mixing; cinemas are not segregated I don’t think. You are encouraging your child to continue in this.

Last but not least it is a distraction from the remembrance of Allah. We were created solely for the purpose of worshiping, and this principle should be instilled in children right from the start. Not only Salaah is worship, but every action that is pleasing to Allah, and done in accordance to the Sunnah is worship in Islam. Children are easily attracted to the fun of TV, the colourful images, the toys, and the sounds, and this is from the tricks of Shaytaan. The child is so focused on the images portrayed on TV, that Qur’an and islam seems dull and boring to them. The stimulation from TV, becomes the only thing to quell their energy, and the Qur’an becomes hard to learn without promises of rewards. The deen seems restricting compared to the stories illustrated, and soon they outgrow cartoons, and begin to watch movies, which has even more far-reaching consequences. Are you pleasing Allah, and fulfilling your purpose in this dunya, when you allow your child to watch cartoons? Or when you watch it with them?

But truly there is no room for boredom in islam or free time, or time to watch TV. How can we ever be bored as muslims, have we read enough Qur’an? Made enough istighfar and tasbeeh? Are we ready to meet Allah? Keep your children occupied with more important things that will help them attain the pleasure of Allah. Remember if you taught them something good, every time they do it, you will have a reward, and the opposite is true as well. Explain to your children the values of Islam. Portray Islam to them in the most beautiful light, it will have a better lasting impact, in this dunya, and in the Akhirah.

May Allah help us to worship Him at all times, in everything we do.

Sins Upon Sins

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“O Allah! You are my Lord. There is no god but You. You created me and I am Your slave. I am true to Your covenant and promise as much as I am able. I seek refuge in you from the wrongs I have done. I admit to You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I admit to You my sins. So forgive me, for none forgives sins but You.”
The Prophet, Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Aalihi Wa Sallam said, “If somebody recites it (the above duaa) during the day with firm faith in it and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it and dies before the morning he will be from the people of Paradise.”
(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 75, Number 318)
Undoubtedly, it’s the human nature and tendency to commit sins and to make mistakes, for man is created weak and imperfect. The sins vary from person to person, place to place and time to time. When we look back, when we were a kid; sins, wrongdoing, disobedience to our Lord were unfamiliar concepts. Later, when we grew up, we got well acquainted with all these. We then experienced the crescendo – the point of time where we began to sin more often…slowly we began to sin upon sin…
To err is human. But to deny it is inhumane. We are the progeny of the great progenitor Adam (a.s). And every son of Adam does transgress, as it is evident from the following hadith –
Rasool Allaah (Saw) said:
“Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2499)
It is imperative to know that sins have an impact on our hearts. If you knew the corollary of sins on the heart, then you wouldn’t have ever wronged yourself!
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If a believer commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents, gives it up and seeks forgiveness, his heart is cleansed, but if he does more, then (that spot) increases until it covers his heart.” (Ahmad (8792) and Al-Tirmidhi (3334))
That is the “raan” (covering of sin) which Allah mentioned in the Qur’aan: “Nay! But on their hearts is the Raan (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn” (Al-Mutaffafeen 83:14)
Another interpretation of this same ayat called the covering of sins and wicked deeds over the heart as rust. Here’s the analogy between rust and sins –
Rust causes weakening of the metal bonds, which in turn causes damage to the metal structure. Likewise, sins lead to weakening of our bonds with Allah and thus detriment our Iman (faith).
Furthermore, rust decreases the aesthetic value of any metal object and similarly sins decrease the self-value of oneself in front of Allah. As soon as rust starts to develop, it spreads gradually all over the surface until it is removed. Analogously, when a person develops a habit of sinning, he persists and prolongs it until his conscience makes him aware of his actions.
The conscience of a person, in acknowledging what is right and what is wrong, is very significant. It is due to the consciousness which makes a person scrupulous. He scruples and hesitates because he regards the sin as improper and morally wrong and thus advances towards repenting to Allah. We all are born with this conscience, it’s part of our Fitrah, our nature. As we grow, we often ignore it, or the norms of the society causes us to change it.
Repentance is required for all sins, great or small, apparent or hidden. Since sin puts distance between the soul and Allah, during repentance the servant turns back to Allah. And when a soul repents and returns to Him, Allah turns back to His servant in acceptance and forgiveness. Thus Allah has named Himself as At Tawwab (The Acceptor of Repentance).
A prerequisite to repentance is the knowledge and admission of sin. Here, knowledge means acknowledging the consequences and aftermath of the sin committed and it also means to consider the reason due to which he fell into sin. Succinctly, admission of the sin means confessing about the sin to Allah.
Before repenting, a person should pinpoint the source of sin. Pondering upon the source and origin of sin will lead to its cessation if a person sincerely intends to repent.
Follow the three R’s after committing a sin – Regret, Repent and Reflect.
May Allah forgive the sins committed in the darkness of the night and in the brightness of the day…Ameen
Maha Bint Nayeem,
Writer, AAT

Ramadaan: The month of Forgiveness

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“And race toward forgiveness from your Lord…” (Surah Hadid 57:21)

Allah has blessed us with the opportunity of living to experience another month of Ramadaan. It is said that the salaf-as-saalih would spend 6 months of the year asking Allah to allow them to live until the next Ramadaan, then they would spend the next half of the year hoping Allah would accept their duaa. Why would they exert such efforts?

“Say: O my servants who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning) despair not of the mercy of Allah, indeed Allah forgives all sins. It is He who is the Forgiving the Merciful.” (Surah Zumar 39:53)

Ramadaan is a month of forgiveness. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “when Ramadaan comes, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are locked and the devils are chained up.” (Bukhari) Ramadaan is the peak of Allah’s mercy. Allah forgives his slaves and saves them from the hellfire. He admits them to His mercy and paradise, and forgives their sins.

Ramadaan is more than just experiencing the worship of fasting and the communal ‘brotherhood’ bond. Ramadaan is a golden opportunity to get our sins forgiven. It offers salvation, and access to paradise. Our hereafter is at stake during this month, and it is so simple to attain Allah’s mercy, so easy to attain his forgiveness, so straight-forward to attain His paradise. It is no surprise therefore, that when Jibril supplicated, ‘whoever lives to witness Ramadaan and doesn’t have his sins forgiven, may Allah separate him from His mercy’ that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said ‘Ameen.’ Imagine; the best of the angels and the best of humans have made this duaa. Is it not accepted by Allah?

Yet Allah is the All Merciful, He wants to forgive us. However, we must make the effort. We have to know that Allah’s mercy is beyond our imagination. His mercy is far greater than our hopes, so much so, that on the day of resurrection Shaytaan will hope to enter paradise by the mercy of Allah. We cannot even begin to conceive the extent of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. When a prominent person gives gifts, he gives them according to his rank and status (i.e. they’ll be expensive, special, and often exclusive). So now, imagine when Allah gifts us with His mercy and forgiveness, He is the King of all kings, should not his gifts be worth much more to us? He knows all our faults, mistakes, shortcomings and sins, yet He still showers us with the opportunity of forgiveness.

We have to understand that Ramadaan is gushing with prospects of forgiveness and mercy from Allah. We have to make use of it, before it goes. We may not live to see the next Ramadaan. How many people were here last Ramadaan that are not here to experience this one? Procrastination is a tool of deception deployed by Shaytaan. We have to act today, and seize the opportunity.

Various aspects of Ramadaan carry the blessing of having our sins forgiven. Allah gives us ample opportunities and he makes it easy for us in this month by removing the distraction of Shaytaan. The defining characteristic of Ramadaan (fasting) holds the prospect of forgiveness. Abu-Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “whoever fasts the month of Ramadaan with imaan and ihtisaab (hope and anticipation) that Allah will forgive his sins, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” We have to have a sincere and proper intention, that is, fasting solely for the pleasure of Allah.

Similarly in another hadith the Prophet said, “whoever stands for qiyaam in Ramadaan, with imaan and ihtisaab, Allah will forgive all his previous sins.” Allah is Al-Ghaffar, and Al-Ghafour the Most Forgiving, His forgiveness is a corner-stone of Ramadaan. We have no guarantee that we are standing and fasting with faith, belief and anticipation in Allah’s forgiveness, thus to fill in the gaps Allah has blessed with multiple opportunities.

Moreover, in Ramadaan Allah has given us the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr), an even greater chance to get our sins forgiven. As the Prophet is reported to have said, “Whoever stands laylatul Qadr with imaan and ihtisaab, Allah will forgive all his previous sins.” In addition, when Aisha asked the Prophet, about what to say if she found Laylatul Qadr, he instructed her to ask, “Allahumma innak ‘afuwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni,” (O Allah! You are the forgiving, and You love to forgive, so forgive me.) And Allah is Mujeeb ad-duaa, the Responder to duaa.

Allah blesses us with so many chances to ensure that we make the most of it, to ensure that our sins are forgiven. He has created paradise for us, and He wants to give it to us. Each day of fasting is an opportunity to obtain Allah’s gift of forgiveness, every night standing in qiyaam is another opportunity. Added to that is search for laylatul-qadr; that’s over sixty opportunities for forgiveness. Every moment of Ramadaan is a chance for forgiveness.

We have to ask ourselves, do I want to get the gift of having my sins forgiven this Ramadaan, or will I be one of those who are separated from the Mercy of Allah?