Life

What is Ramadan? (Day 1)

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How Social was Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)?

What does Islam teach us on having good social relations. How is a Muslim expected to  behave, associate and treat other fellow human beings? In order to take a look at the moral, social and religious obligations of a Muslim towards someone outside Islam, lets go back to the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

That the Prophet was trustworthy, defended justice, sided with the poor and weak, gave importance to familial relations, emphasized the rights of parents, and had many similar characteristics are all matters of historical record. That he had such a character indicates his uniqueness. And that is the reason we consider all the actions and behaviour of the Messenger of God, as Sunnah. Meaning we have to follow his example and try our level best to be like him in all ways. Including the way he conducted himself with people. So Lets take the aspect of his relations with those outside Islam and strive to follow in his footsteps.

His Composure 

The Prophet (pbuh) made contact with non Muslim leaders and chiefs from different regions of Arabia. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught a message of justice, peace, human rights, animal rights and even environmental rights as ordained by Allah. Allah has shown us in the character of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the model of a compassionate person. He treated every one, friends and foe, man and woman, young and old, with kindness and respect.

His Patience

Even when the pagan Arabs reacted to the message of the Prophet with extreme hatred, he exhibited great patience. The Prophet always treated people well; he used kind words and avoided rude and aggressive behavior. He was always sincere in his relationships and he abstained from unnecessary arguments. As a matter of fact, despite the rude behavior of some of the communities he encountered while spreading the religion, the Prophet curbed his anger and remained patient.

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“If you wish I will bring together the two mountains that stand opposite to each other at the extremities of Makkah to crush the people of Taif in between”

One such example is when the prophet journeyed to the city of Taif that was in a valley. As the prophet delivered the message of Allah to them, the people of Taif were not even ready to listen to him. They greeted him with mockery and ridicule. They pelted him with rocks and drove him out of the city, wounded and covered with blood. At this time of hardship an angel came down by the command of Allah and asked the messenger of Allah “If you wish I will bring together the two mountains that stand opposite to each other at the extremities of Makkah to crush the people of Taif in between” but the Prophet did not wish so, instead the Messenger of Allah made a prayer for them, asking Allah to at least guide their offspring. What a display of patience, tolerance and understanding despite the hostility shown towards him. Subhanallah

Despite whatever hatred, evil, and hardships come our way by others we have to remain patient, tolerant and never wish harm to befall those who caused us such distress. instead we should hope for goodness and guidance for them by Allah.
Allah says in the Quran in surah al qasas, verse 54: Those will be given their reward twice for what they patiently endured and [because] they avert evil through good”
Allah Himself, the Creator of all mankind is saying that He will double the reward of those who are patient, who endure, when evil is done to them. and that they should respond to such evil through good actions.

His Calmness  

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also never coerced people when communicating Islam to them. He never forced them to accept the messages he was conveying in line with the principle, “There is no compulsion in religion” (as stated in chapter Al-Baqarah, verse 256). He did not listen to those who advised or desired the use of violence to bring people to Islam and always remained distant from such people.

His Acceptance

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) saw no harm in different communities living together, with each community contributing something useful to society. For instance, Muslims and non-Muslims were able to live together in peace in Medina. The Prophet signed a treaty in Madinah with the Jews and people of the book. It stated that they would all protect one another , and live side by side fulfilling the rights of each other. The Jews and people of the book could practice their faith and the Muslims would practice theirs. That they would not harm one another nor assist anyone who comes to harm either one of them. These were some of the conditions set in the treaty. Ensuring safety, equality, and freedom of faith to all in the community.

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The Jews and Muslims could live side by side according to the treaty signed.

The Quran mentions the prophets kind and gentle behavior in these words: “O Messenger of Allah! It is a great Mercy of God that you are gentle and kind towards them; for, had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would all have broken away from you” (chapter 3:159).

His Unity

Another great example of the prophets capability of uniting the people through justice and equality is when the renovations of the Ka’aba took place.
The Ka’aba was in the lower section of Mecca, and due to continuous rains it had become old and collapsed. So it was being renovated. The work progressed well until al-Hajar-ul-Aswad, the Black Stone, was to be put back in its place. Each quarter of the Ka’aba was being built by one leading family of Mecca. Each family felt the honour of placing the Black Stone as belonging to them.

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Each family felt the honour of placing the Black Stone as belonging to them.

The disagreement became deeper, and led to a lot of argument, shouting and abuse.
One member stood up and said, “I have a suggestion, let us wait till tomorrow and see who enters the Mosque first in the morning; then let him decide”. They anxiously waited next morning to see who was the first to come and enter. It was prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He was told about what the people of Makkah were fighting about. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) put his robe on the floor, he took the sacred Black Stone and placed it in the centre of the robe and said. “The chief of each family will take one corner of the robe and lift it together”. With that, each understood a marvelous example of justice in sharing the honour. When the robe with the Black Stone was lifted to a reasonable height. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) took the Black Stone and put it in its proper place with his own hands. None felt insulted and each had his share of the privilege and honour.
This is how Muhammad (Saws) the Prophet of Islam succeeded in uniting the Arab tribes with his honesty, justice and noble character.

 

His Behaviour

Many people embraced Islam due to the behaviour and attitude of the Messenger and his companions towards them. It moved them so much they wondered what is this religion that teaches such good values, such good morals despite the hate and anger they used to exhibit towards him.  They use to harass him in every way they knew.

One old woman made it a habit of throwing dirt on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whenever he passed from her house. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had to pass that house daily on the way to the mosque. Even when the old woman threw dirt on him, he would pass silently without showing any anger or annoyance. This was a regular, daily event.

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The old woman always threw dirt on the Prophet.

One day when the Prophet was passing by, the woman was not there to throw the dirt. He stopped and asked the neighbour about her well-being. The neighbour informed the Prophet that the woman was sick on bed. The Prophet politely asked permission to visit the woman.  When allowed he entered the house, the woman thought that he had come there to take his revenge when she was unable to defend herself because of sickness. But the Prophet assured her that he had come to her, not to take any revenge, but to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of Allah that if any one is sick, a Muslim should visit him and should help him if his help is needed.
The old woman was greatly moved by this kindness and love of the Prophet. By the example of greatness of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) , she understood that he was truly the Prophet of God and Islam was the true religion. She accepted Islam at once.

His Equality

The Prophet (pbuh) also emphasized the importance of piety as the hallmark of respect. In his farewell speech, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated that “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab … a white person has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” The Last Sermon is the culminating point of Prophet Muhammad’s life. He challenged a disunited population that was constantly engaged in warfare by calling on people to unite under a banner of humanity.

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He said to the Prophet: “This is a funeral of a Jew.”

Once the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and several of his companions were sitting down along a street in Medina. One of the companion spotted a funeral procession approaching the group. In respect of the dead human body, prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stood up as the procession crossed in front of him. At that moment, a companion, who was still sitting down, said to the Prophet, “This is a funeral of a Jew.” Upon hearing these words, the prophet became upset and said to the companion, “Is he not a human soul?”

From this we can see that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) respected human beings irrespective of their religion. He taught mankind that every human soul is important, whether alive or dead. This was the prophets concept of dignity. He defended humanity.

The Prophet continuously warned the Muslims to treat the non-Muslims using positive behavior and attitudes.

Also Allah says in the Quran, (60:8): “God does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from dealing kindly and justly with them. Indeed, God loves those who act justly.”

From the example of the prophet and the above quranic verse we can understand how tolerant and accomadative is islam as a religion and the extent to which islam teaches its followers with regard to coexistence with people of all colours, all tribes, all casts, all religions, all races and all nations.
It is sometimes incorrectly stated that islam was spread at the point of the sword. The above examples of the prophet clearly indicates that the companions of the prophet who travel widely was an influence on the people whomever they met by their conduct of honesty, sincerity, patience, good morals and tolerance.

His Love

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor and brother what you love for yourself” (Sahih Muslim)
This is a beautiful saying of the Prophet. It says anything you love for yourself, anything you wish you had, or you want to have, wish the same for your neighbour. All the good you wish you had, wish the same for your neighbour. Whoever it may be.

This saying of the prophet is another indicator of absolute magnanimity of the conduct of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through which he taught his followers by practical example how to respect a fellow human being through which to enhance healthy, social relationship. This also furthers the idea how much emphasis is laid down in the teachings of Islam in relation to building and sustaining healthy society governed by the principles of justice, equity and tolerance. As Muslims we have this great lesson taught to us by the quran and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the exemplified demonstration of these teachings by the prophet.

Therefore a Muslim believes that it is not permissible, under any circumstances whatsoever, for a Muslim to mistreat those who are not muslims, who is not hostile towards Islam; so the Muslim should not commit aggression against him, or frighten him, or terrorize him. We should instead pray for their goodness and well being, treat them with kindness, patience and treat them with justice, this is how the messenger of Allah treated and prayed for them.

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A simple smile 

“Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” (Quran, 41:34)

Here Allah says that despite anyone showing enmity or hate, we should try to cover the evil done by doing good in return, hoping that it’ll soften their hearts.

A simple smile to another being, an act of kindness and care, being a comfort to those in distress or assisting those in need can bring unity and love between communities. Different religions, casts or races should not be a hindrance to our moral values. We should treat everyone with respect.

 

Disconnected

– When you feel lost and disconnected from God

By: Hina Murtaza

downloadBeing born in a Muslim family is a blessing. Parents instill in children the importance of following all five pillars of Islam. Belief in one true god that is Allah and his messenger Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), praying five times a day, keeping fasts during the month of Ramadan, giving Zakat (alms) and performing Hajj (at least once if a person is able financially and physically).

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Unfortunately there are some people who despite being born in Muslim families are unable to appreciate this blessing. They may be from practicing Muslim families but as individuals they feel detached or cut off from their religion and Allah . Let’s try to understand the possible reasons for this detachment or disconnection and what can be done for that. Lack of knowledge about Islam, weak Islamic belief system (weak Iman), absence of Islamic culture in the surroundings and having only non-muslim friends are some important reasons for feeling alienated.

Few people have in-depth knowledge of their religion. Usually people inherit religion from their parents as they inherit their genetic traits like skin color or color of eyes. They follow several or some teachings (depending on their level of Iman) that have been passed on to them from their parents.eid_16.jpg If they have been taught to say regular prayers, probably they will, otherwise chances are that they won’t. Same is the case with other pillars of Islam. They say their prayers and read the Holy book as a practice which was instilled in them when they were kids. But as adults they never made an effort to understand what their Holy Book says or five times prayer means. When one does something mechanically even daily without understanding, gradually that person will feel disconnected.

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Then, there are others who are not able to say their daily prayers regularly and fulfill other Islamic duties because they have a weak belief system. If a person has complete faith in his/her religion, he/she will abide by all the commitments of the religion. But if his/her Iman is weak then he/she will easily ignore the commitments. There can be numerous excuses including being busy with work or friends (who do not have to say prayers anyway because they are from other religions). Think about it, if something is really important, can it be ignored or forgotten? OF COURSE NOT! Lack of knowledge could be the main reason.

As a Muslim, does one know why he/she prays five times a day? What is being said in these prayers? What does it mean? Yes, at first it seems strange. Of course everything is known, prayers are said to thank and praise Allah, and ask for guidance along the straight path. But are the meanings of verses said five times a day understood by the person? If the meaning of all the verses said and actions performed during prayer are understood, it will make all the difference. It can be started right away. It is never too late. As a beginner, start with the meaning of surah Fatiha and after comfortably understanding it proceed to meanings of short surahs first, then to longer ones.

 

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Advancement in technology is a blessing in disguise for people who have an urge to strengthen their Iman. There are several social media websites as well as applications which can be utilized for this purpose. To learn surahs one can either read them online or download them.

Smartphones can be a great help in this regard as many people use internet on their smartphones. This makes learning surahs along with their meanings a piece of cake literally. All information related to Islam is just a click away now! Yes, people do get carried away at times. Advancement in technology also means that anything and everything can be watched whenever wanted without restriction. Whenever this urge arises, control yourself and strengthen your Iman by getting to know more about Islam. Seek repentance for wrong actions from Allah.

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Allah SWT is oft – forgiving.  Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.” (Tirmidhi)

“Indeed Allah loves those who repent and purify themselves.”  [Surah Al Baqarah, 2:222]

“Say: O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:53)maxresdefault.jpg

 

LOVE – Given to be given back

By: Noorul Soraya

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“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him; and that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them, but address them in terms of honour.” (Surah Al-Isra’ – 17/23) 

 

The Holy Quran emphasizes in many Surahs, Allah decree on the treatment of our parents to be a mandatory act than a mere duty.  He has very clearly said that loving and caring for our parents comes right next to accepting His Oneness. In the above surah and in many other surahs related to parents, Allah places parents immediately after Him which goes to stress the depth of reverence that Allah  Himself pays to parents. He is more or less compelling us to care for our parents as a part of our Islamic belief.rsz_old_hands21.jpg The Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), His Apostle, in his many hadiths echoes Allah  decree with great reverence too. Therefore, it can be deemed that paying heed to those authentic voices from the Quran and the Prophet (PBUH) on caring for parents is part and parcel of being a Muslim; it is a `vital’ part of being a human being.

Every parent has their divine right to expect his or her children to care for them when they are aged and/or disabled. Looking out for parents used to be a traditional act that came down automatically from generation to generation. Lately, this feeling of tradition is slowly being replaced by a more modern and mechanical way of caring which is devoid of human interaction; they seem to be mere pawns on a chessboard that could be pushed around to the whims and fancies of children. A lack of understanding between past and current generations may be a cause for this confusion.

Parents’ love towards their children is unconditional and limitless from the moment a child enters this world. It is a mother’s warmth that embraces a new born child first. It is a fact to mention that the Quran states that Islam makes special mention of mothers for their endurance during hardship and suffering before, during and after childbirth.  It is also narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said that “Paradise lies at the feet of mothers” which stresses how much mothers need to be treated with love, gratitude and honour. A status of a mother is three times more than a father.

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RA) said: 

 A man came to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) and asked, “Which of the people is most deserving of my best companionship?” He said, “Your mother.” He said, “Then who?” He said, “Then your mother.” He said, “Then who?” He said, “Then your mother.” He said, “Then who?” He said, “Then your father.”   (Hadith No. 5971, Book of Al-Adab, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8; Hadith No. 6500 (2548), Book of Al-Birr, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 6).

Parents love unreservedly. Age or marital statuses of their children play no part in this equation; to a parent, a child will always remain a child until death parts them.  It is every parent’s intention to give their best to their children even at the cost of their own well being and happiness.  They struggle, sacrifice and push themselves beyond their limits to simply fulfill their desires and beliefs that they need to provide their children with love and security with everything they possess. How does one reconcile such a selfless giving?

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Home for the Aged are thriving businesses filled with helpless mothers and fathers, who once hoped to be loved and cherished like they did their own children. This sight is a reality check.

Lack of proper religious training and a principled upbringing are causing confusion amongst the youth of today. Pushed to strive for excellence in every other aspect of their lives, the youth today, a breed between two generations, are fast losing their ability to nurture proper values in respect to caring for parents.  While they lay emphasis on securing an academic qualification, little or nothing is done to cultivate a sound religious education which is also crucial to maintain a balance personality. It is important that parents take the responsibility of inculcating true Islamic values so that children are not led astray, left emotionally unattended and lost amidst worldly accumulations.

1 (1)  Parents should never be taken for granted, be tools of negotiation or be stop-gap measures to fix situations. The youth of today must be educated about the important message of caring for the parents as a part of their religious belief and upbringing.  It is only then that we are able to teach them about patience, tolerance, understanding, and above all to engrave in their hearts that loving and caring for parents is an act of divinity and that any God fearing Muslim should follow.

Love and care for your parents for, it can only bring you good tidings. Be grateful to Allah for blessing us with parents for, He bestowed upon us His love and His promise of Paradise through them.

 

 

How to go to sleep – The Islamic Way

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 ABLUTION

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “When you go to bed, you should perform the ablution (wudu) like that for prayer, and then lay down on your right side. Then say:

“Allahumma aslamtu wajhi ilaika, wa fauwadtu Amri ilaika wa aljatu zahri ilaika, raghbatan wa rahbatan ilaika, lamalja’a wa la manja mink a ill a ilaika. Amantu bikitabi kalladhi anzalta wa bi nabiyyikal-ladhi arsalta”

(‘O Allah, I have turned my face to You and I have surrendered my self to You and I have committed my back to You out of fear and desire for You. There is no place of safety or refuge from You except with You. I have believed in Your book which You revealed and Your Prophet whom You sent.’)

If you die that night, you will die in fitra (natural state). And make these the last words you utter.’” [Bukhari]HandsFaucet.jpg

It is also reported that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Purify these bodies, and Allah will purify you. There is not a slave who spends his night in a state of purification except that an angel spends the night besides him. And whenever the slave turns over during the night, the angel says: ‘O Allah, forgive Your slave, for he went to sleep in a state of purification.’” [Tabarani, al-Mu`jam al-Kabir]

Nowadays some yoga experts, suggest washing certain parts of the body before going to sleep, since it has a cooling and calming effect on the nerves, helping you to get a good rest. However this practise was encouraged long ago as the Sunnah of Prophet  Muhammad (PBUH).

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DUST THE BED

Abu Hurayra said, “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, ‘When one of you goes to bed, he should undo the inside of his lower garment and dust the bed with it. He does not know what has come on his bed since he left it… ” (Abu Dawud)

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SWITCHING OFF THE LIGHTS

The Prophet (saws) said: “Put out lamps when you go to bed, shut doors, and cover water and food containers“ (Bukhari).

turn_off_lights_19916160The use of electric lights with the subsequent elongation of the ‘daylight’ hours causes the pineal gland to release hormones that (among other potentially harmful changes) stimulates early puberty in young females. – Borysenko,1998.

Scientific study has discovered the importance of a dark environment for a good night rest. Melatonin is a chemical released by our brain which promotes sleep onset. Light affects the level of melatonin produced by our body, which begins to rise in the mid to late evening when it gets dark, remaining high for most of the night, and then dropping in the early morning hours.

So turning of all lamps, (even dim lights), when we sleep saves us from many problems caused by hormonal imbalances.

 

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SLEEPING POSITION

The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) used to sleep on his right side, putting his right hand on his right cheek, and this is what the Prophet (PBUH) recommended others to do.

As seen before also in the Hadith under ABLUTION it is mentioned, The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said,”Whenever you go to bed perform ablution like that for prayer, and lie on your right side.” (Muslim)

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Sleeping on the right side does not let the weight of stomach & intestine to suppress heart, it reduces the pressure and strain on the heart to pump blood. Hence blood circulation is not affected. It is also a good position for those with neck and back pain and pregnant women.

Furthermore it is forbidden and not recommended to sleep on stomach. Ya’ish bin Tikhfah Al-Ghifari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:  My father said: I was lying down on my belly in the mosque when someone shook me with his foot and said, “Lying down this way is disapproved by Allah.” I looked up and saw that it was Messenger of Allah (PBUH). [Abu Dawud].  According to another report, the Prophet (PBUH) prodded him with his foot & woke him up & said. “do not lie like this, for this is how the people of hell lie”, (reported bx Ahmad, Al-Fath Al-Rabban 14/244-245)

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RECITE

– Surah Al Mulk:  Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying:  “There is a Surah in the Qur’an which contains thirty Ayat which kept interceding for a man until his sins are forgiven. This Surah is ‘Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion.’ (Surat Al-Mulk 67).”  [Tirmidhi]Daftar-Aplikasi-Al-Qur_an-Digital-Android-Yang-Cocok-Di-Bulan-Ramadhan00-700x376

-Three Kuls: ‘Aa’ishah reported that when the Prophet (PBUH) went to bed, he would cup his hands together, blow into them and recite into them Qul huwa Allaahu ahad [Surah al-Ikhlaas], Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbi’l-falaq [Surah al-Falaq] and Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbi’l-naas [Surah an-Naas] (these are the last 3 Chapters of the Quran – Translator). Then he would wipe as much of his body as he could with his hands, starting with his head and face, and the front of his body. He would do this three times. (Bukhari)

– Surah al Kafiroon: Prophet (PBUH) said, “Recite surah al Kaafiroon and then go to sleep after coming to its end, for it is a clearance from shirk.” (Dawud)
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DUA

Whenever the Prophet (saws) lay down for sleep at night, he would place his (right) hand under his (right) cheek and supplicate: “Allahumma bismika amutu wa ahya [O Allah, with Your Name will I die and live (wake up)].” (Bukhkari)

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Another Dua the Prophet used to recite is:

“Allahumma aslamtu wajhi ilaika, wa fauwadtu Amri ilaika wa aljatu zahri ilaika, raghbatan wa rahbatan ilaika, lamalja’a wa la manja mink a ill a ilaika. Amantu bikitabi kalladhi anzalta wa bi nabiyyikal-ladhi arsalta”

(‘O Allah, I have turned my face to You and I have surrendered my self to You and I have committed my back to You out of fear and desire for You. There is no place of safety or refuge from You except with You. I have believed in Your book which You revealed and Your Prophet whom You sent.’)

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Even simple acts such as going to sleep, can be done in a way that we earn the pleasure of Allah. Thereby earning rewards for them as well. All that is required is small effort from our side. For the amount of time we spend browsing our phones before bed, am sure following the above sunnahs before going to sleep shouldn’t be too hard.

 

One Year of Patience, Ten Years of Peace – Greek Proverb

  By: M. Tariq Miskin

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Everyone has heard of the phrase, “Patience is a virtue!” at least once in their lifetime. And every single person has undergone some kind of hardship throughout their life. No matter what the circumstances are, rich or poor, powerful or weak, Young or old, every human has had some kind of worry, anxiety, and depression at least once. But it is most likely that we as humans have been in these situations more than once. This is life!

According to Islam, life in this world is a qualification examination for the hereafter. More specifically, it is a series of tests which get harder and harder as time goes on. The tests we face in the early days of life are much simpler but as we get older it gets tougher. So we are told to brace ourselves for tough questions and learn from our mistakes from each previous test and apply it to the subsequent tests. This will guarantee a good result in the final examination on the judgment day. So what are the requirements to succeed in these tests which Allah has decreed upon us?

mortar-board-degree-certificate-books.jpgIn a university, to follow certain courses one needs to have completed pre-requisite classes to be eligible to follow that particular course. As an undergraduate student I had to follow many of these prerequisite classes before I could attend the core classes required for my degree. Similarly the tests we face in life have prerequisites as well. One such prerequisite of the ‘life test’ and one of the most important is patience. And I have first-hand knowledge of how the prerequisite “patience” has helped me in life general and particularly when I was reading for my master’s degree.

Allah says in the Quran:  “And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard (for the cause of Allah) and As-Sabirin (the patient), and We shall test your facts (i.e., the one who is a liar, and the one who is truthful).”  (47:31)

Certainly, Allah tests all of us sometimes with the bounty and sometimes with the afflictions of fear and hunger. The test may also be by loss of lives, property, health, or wealth. Or we may be tested with not a loss but instead an increase in bounty. Different people are tested differently because Allah knows each and everyone us. For when the best and most righteous of us are tested to the extreme, they strive even harder in Allah’s cause. Allah is all knowing! Most wise!

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As a graduate student I was tested in way I have not experienced in my life before. There were so many hurdles to jump over. I was experiencing so many disappointments, worries, anxieties. On top of it I was away from my family for quite a period of the year, which in itself is a big test. This is where the ‘prerequisite’ of patience came in handy.

Allah also says: “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient).”  (1:155)

Allah has taught us that patience is the key to success.. He tells us He will test us with many hardships but if we have patience we will get glad tidings. Certainly in my case, I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. All my hardships can be conquered by having patience. All I had to do was to keep faith in Allah, and continue my ibadah. The mercy of Allah cannot be quantified in human terms. And there is no doubting his mercy.

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So who does Allah say are the patient? Allah goes on to say: “Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (1:156)

This means that those who recite this statement, “Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return,” to comfort themselves in the face of their loss and hardships, know that they belong to Allah and that He does what He wills with His servants. They also know that nothing and no deed, even if it was the weight of an atom, will be lost with Allah on the Day of Resurrection. Therefore they try to do more ibadah in the cause of Allah especially during such hardships.

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In the end, patience has indeed been rewarding for me. I finally see profit from my hardships as a master’s student. There is no denying that whatever Allah promises us in the Quran, He delivers on them. Allah never fails on His promise!

Are You Afraid Of Ghosts??

By: Mass Shiara Usuf

The very mention of an unexplained appearance or what’s very commonly called “a ghost” brings fear into the hearts of many, almost everyone. Most of us have heard of people mentioning that they had seen so and so, who had died, reappearing in the house or area where he had died. Some of us might even have experienced hearing somebody talk and sound the same as our dead uncles and aunts.ghostglass-300x247.jpg

Then we also have cases of dead people walking about, standing next to the bed of their loved ones, making strange and haunting sounds,  or also apparently talking to us through somebody using their own voices. I recently also came across the mention of a school being closed down because there was a “ghost” in the school.

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So what do we do now??? People die, but they seem to be coming back, and putting fear into our minds and hearts. A grandparent who might have been very dear to us, a lady whom we loved the most and who had loved us back, dies and seems to be haunting and having fun with it. Does that even make sense? Why would a person who loves us so much make us scared after they are dead? We see loved ones dying and we cry so much due to their demise. So why are we scared when they “apparently” come back? Shouldn’t we be head over heels over the fact that they are back? Its seriously a food for thought. Its high time to get this fear off of our hearts and find the logical Islamic explanation.

Do Souls Come Back?

At the moment of death, in Islam, the angel of death arrives to retrieve the soul from the body. This angel (Israel ASWS) is an angel that delivers the soul and takes it to the next realm of this world, namely, the Hereafter. There is evidence in the Quran to prove that once the soul is taken from the person, it is not given a second chance to return back to this earth. This evidence being a very strong evidence against the belief that dead people walk about freely on earth creating havoc.

Allah mentions in Surah Al-Muminoon (23:99-100):

 “Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “My Lord! Send me back, So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! (Kalla) It is but a word that he speaks; and in front of them is Barzakh until the Day when they will be resurrected.”

These are the verses where Allah describes the plight of the unsuccessful people in the Hereafter. These people had wasted their lives in this world by not being righteous and drawn towards the temptations, wrong doings and false deities of this world, that after they die when they finally see their deed of accounts in front of Allah, they shiver and shudder in fear. They in fact, beg their Lord to send them back to this world so that they may return and do good in this world. For now, after seeing the Truth and the Haq of Allah’s words, they believe with certainty and want to return to get more chances.

Allah also says:

“And if you only could see when the criminals shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): “Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back, that we will do righteous good deeds. Verily, we now believe with certainty.”  (Surah As-Sajdah (32:12))

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However, once man dies, his time is done. Its too late for a second chance. Allah has definitely given man, innumerable chances, and all he had done was waste those opportunities and the Mercies that were bestowed upon him, taking everything that was given to him for granted. Another verse which explains this further is in Surah Ghafir (40:12) where Allah says,

 “Therein they will cry: “Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not what we used to do.” (Allah will reply:) “Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition could receive it And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the wrongdoers there is no helper.”

The In Between

In verse 100 of Surah Muminoon (quoted above) Allah says, “and in front of them is Barzakh until the Day when they will be resurrected”

Which brings me to the definition of what actually is Barzakh. According to Muhammed bin Ka’b:  “Al-Barzakh is what is between this world and the Hereafter, neither they are the people of this world, eating and drinking, nor are they with the people of the Hereafter, being rewarded or punished for their deeds.”

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So very clearly Allah explains to us that we will never be given a second chance to return to this world. Ever. After the death of a person, in front of them is the barrier from this world and the hereafter. There is no way that Allah would allow them to cross that barrier and enter into the present realm of this world. In addition, the second assurance is, where Allah confirms to us saying that until the day of Resurrection, dead people will be behind this barrier, full description of which only Allah has knowledge of. Barzakh is a place where the people will either suffer as per their wrongdoings in this world, or would enjoy the bliss of rewards as per the righteous acts that they do in this world.

These verses actually gives us some awakening notes, and points to ponder, making it the right time to WAKE UP:

  1. Life in this world is temporary. Our aim and efforts should be directed to the life in the Hereafter, which is permanent and definite. Our actions in this world is what will give us the rewards or the torments of the Barzakh and will decide our plight on the day of Resurrection (the day our bodies and souls will once again be united).
  2. Its thus high time for us to make efforts to do as much righteous deeds as we can. As and when you remember Allah, praise and glorify your Lord and seek forgiveness for whatever sins you do. If you do not wish to be amongst those that will be begging Allah to send you back to this world (an effortless plee once you die), then start today and change for the sake of YOUR life in the hereafter.
  3. And last but not the least, there is no such thing as ghosts or dead people walking around as dead aimless souls, in Islam. Enough of Quranic evidences suggest strongly against any such possibility.

May Allah help us all to be successful Muslims Inshallah in this world and the Hereafter. Aameen!