Life

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

 

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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!

Hijab – Are Muslim Women Oppressed?

By: Aicha Bentley

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               “This is a free country. You don’t have to wear that anymore.”  I paused and turned toward the person who addressed me, upon hearing this statement. I smiled and said, “Yes, this is a free country, but I am still a Muslim.”

Its statements like this which highlight the confusion many people have when it comes to the subject of the hijab. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer for those who may have questions. A quick google search will not only give you many different answers, but will, sometimes, give extremely false information about hijab and its purpose.

The questions usually involve the idea of oppression and male domination. Did a man force us into this veil? Our father? Our husband? Do we do it out of fear? Was it part of a male dominated culture, which we are afraid to leave behind? In order to answer the questions surrounding hijab properly, one need look no further than the source; the Quran.

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment …” (Quran 24:31)

                In accordance with the Quran, we are instructed in every aspect of our lives. Hijab is one of those instructions. These instructions didn’t come from a man, but from Allah. For this reason we not only wear hijab in obedience, but we wear it with joy. Every time we put on a headscarf, we are not only obeying Allah, but we are wearing a sign for the world to see. We are making a statement. I am Muslim.

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This is where it gets confusing to many. Not all Muslim women wear hijab. I know, I just said that we are instructed to do so, but, just like Christianity and the bible, there are many different interpretations of Quran. Some women may feel that this verse means something altogether different than what I feel it says. It all boils down to the woman herself. It’s a choice. A decision made out of personal beliefs and what feels right to her. Does that sound like oppression to you? Sure, it does not.

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Many of us have fought to wear hijab. It’s that important to us. Honestly, though, we shouldn’t have to go through all this. It’s a new millennium. In this day and age, women shouldn’t be judging one another by what we are wearing. We’ve come too far. The next time you think of hijab, don’t think oppression, but think, instead, women’s rights.

How is it women’s rights to believe we must wear something over my head all day, every day? For starters, we do not wear it at home. We do not wear it with our husbands or with our families. Hijab is meant as, not just a form of obedience, but a shield against the outside world. We wear it when we leave our homes. When we are in the presence of men of non-relation. Once again, this is not because our husbands or fathers feel the need to hide us away. This is not some insecurity in our culture. It’s our own choice, to follow the words of the Quran. To trust in Allah and accept his guidance in all things.

“Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) over their bodies (when outdoors)….”         (Quran 33:59)

             8114334-Pile-of-Broken-Bricks-Stock-Photo    In the future, if you come across the path of a Muslim woman, don’t feel sorry for her. Don’t cast judgment. Ask yourself what kind of woman it must take to wear something so controversial, so misunderstood, into a public which challenges her at every turn. Certainly not an oppressed woman. Wearing hijab takes courage. When you see a woman wearing it, you are seeing a sign of faith and strength.

No, we are not oppressed.

Is Salah Your Priority?

All of us constantly strive to keep up with the struggles of life everyday, so much so that we often forget the purpose of life. We make time to prepare for exams, presentations, interviews etc. by sacrificing sleep, even till dawn if we have to. We try to get to the theaters on time so we can avoid the queue to get movie tickets. But do we make the same effort to make time for Salah? Which hardly takes 10 minutes if we are focusing only on the obligatory prayers that is.lines.jpg

Salah plays a very important role in our lives. Our lives revolve around Salah, not the other way around. Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The first thing which will be judged among a man’s deeds on the Day of Resurrection is the Prayer. If this is in good order then he will succeed and prosper, but if it is defective then he will fail and will be a loser [Tirmidhi].”

This clearly means that without Salah, we lose the purpose of life. Indeed, our purpose in this world is to worship Allah. What better way to worship the Almighty other than through Salah.

Salah helps us to get closer to Allah, through remembrance and sincere repentance. This in turn helps you in becoming a better person for the sake of Allah.

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Salah also protects us from the Shaitan. Shaitan constantly tries to misguide you from the path of righteousness. In Quran Allah Almighty says:

“Shaitan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?” (5:91).

You are just making it easier for the Shaitan by neglecting prayers, which is similar to neglecting Allah and the teaching of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). What does this make of you? In a hadith it is mentioned: “The covenant between us and them is prayer, so if anyone abandons it, he has become a disbeliever.” [Ahmad]

In todays world, we associate people from all walks of life, thereby engaging ourselves in many outdoor events, get togethers, outings, sleep overs, trips, work outs, reunions etc. Salah can be challenging in the above situations. Also while at these activities everyone presumes “they are busy and they don’t have  enough time”. Thereby conviniently missing out on prayers with this excuse. How do we not make this a excuse and make a little time for prayers too? Here are a few tips to get us through:

1. Do It Together

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When it’s time for Prayers get  together with your Muslim friends/ Colleagues/ acquaintances and pray together. Get them to join you at the prayer room/ mosque or any convenient spot, at a specific time that you all have agreed upon. This way when you forget or are busy, they can remind you and call you to pray with them.

2. Clean Will Do

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As long as a place is clean its a potential spot for prayers. If you uni/ workplace got no prayer rooms just find a clean secluded area and perform your salah. If you cant find a secluded area don’t feel shy to pray in front of others, even if they are non muslims. Maybe watching you pray will inspire them to want to know more about Islam.

3. Be Prepared

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Always carry a prayer mat along with essential praying utilities (for women) in your handbag or keep it in your office/ uni locker.In case your wearing clothes too complicated to take wudu in, make sure you take wudu before you put on you dress up or leave the house. If you cannot find water to take wudu, remember there are always mineral water bottles you could buy.

4.Excuse Me

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If you are in a group and its time for prayers.  Just excuse yourself for 10 minutes. Find a spot or a masjid and pray and rejoin them when your done. If they as you why, don’t be shy. Say its time for your prayer. Be strong.  Just 10 minutes of all that time spent with your group is all it takes.

5. Download apps

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There are apps with the local prayer times, compasses for Kibla directions, Nearest mosque, Quran etc. Download some apps to remind you its time for your prayer, set reminders and alarms so you wont miss a prayer.

These are just a few tips to help you not to miss prayers and keep you prepared for prayers during your busy schedule. But remember it mostly takes inner strength and strong Iman to be steadfast in prayer and we can all keep trying to reach such a level.  Never think of Salah as a burden. Salah is an opportunity for us to refresh our faith constantly and it revives us spiritually and intellectually.

 

Whisperings Of The Devil

By Noori Tirmizi Passela

Very so often it is easy to fall back into old habits, particularly when it comes tocute-meow-cat remembering Allah and avoiding the lure of worldly temptations. Gradually, despite even our best efforts, prayer and zhikr end up getting relegated to the sidelines of our lives in favor of work, family, leisure, and those rare moments when you just want to while away your time to the soothing purr of Youtube cat videos.

To each his (and her) own poison, is what I myself admit.

Hence, the adage ‘know your enemy’ has never been more relevant than a time like now. God works in mysterious ways, but the Devil lacks that brand of subtlety. So, now that we’ve identified our villain, it would also do ourselves well to conduct a brief background check.

Who or what is Shaytan?

You might recall Shaytan’s most memorable appearance in history in the span of a simple, yet telling, verse from the Holy Quran:

‘And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves unto Adam.” So they prostrated themselves, except Iblis. He was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the command of his Lord.’ (18:50)

While borne of a ‘smokeless fire’ (Sahih Muslim), jinn are still creations of Allah and like the angels and mankind, were brought to life for the sole purpose of worshipping Him. Which makes Iblis’ act of defiance all the more damning when taking our Creator’s wrath into account.

‘(Allah) said: “Then get out from here; for verily, you are outcast.”

‘”And verily My Curse is on you until the Day of Recompense.”’ (38:77-78)

Hence, if we can pin a defining trait unto Shaytan, it is that of willful disobedience, wrought by a strong sense of misplaced pride. Coupled with a knack for mischief and treachery, Shaytan certainly makes for a force to be reckoned with. Aadam (A.S.) and Hawwa (Eve) certainly found that out the hard way, and so has every single person you’ve ever known, at some point in their lives.

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What is meant by the ‘Whisperings of Shaytan’?

How many of you can honestly state, without a shred of doubt, that you have never delayed or just completely disregarded an act of worship in favor of pursuing activities which vary on the scale of relevance to your spiritual health?

Here is where I hang my head in shame. Blame it on the free Wi-Fi.

Or this could be the part where we conduct a crash course in the exact machinations of Shaytan’s modus operandi. Granted, your mileage may vary when it comes to the limitations of ‘exact’.

However, I’m sure you’ve all at least had a few moments like mine, where, despite your best intentions, you find yourself straying from the path of truth and virtue. If you’re confident that you haven’t, then I commend you on your state of denial.

Distraction is quite possibly Shaytan’s most finely-honed weapon in Hell’s vast arsenal. Made a resolution to start your preparations for Salah as soon as the first word of the Azaan rang out? Too bad your Facebook alert went off at the exact same moment. What about that time when you vowed to start reading the Quran? Oh wait, you dozed off watching sitcoms after stuffing your face with Mum’s cooking.

Feelings of envy and distrust are also common methods by which Shaytan creates discord. When the grass on the other side of the fence always appears greener, it’s sadly quite natural to find yourself blaming your neighbor for hogging all the luck whilst neglecting to examine the shadows in your own garden. Jealousy is a steep curve and it always leads downhill.

Let us also not forget how each and every sin of ours lends credence to Shaytan’s helping hand, from the seemingly harmless white lie blurted to get out of trouble to the more troubling thoughts that plague those who would go to the extent of harming their fellow human beings to satisfy whatever worldly desire stirred by these whisperings.

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A ‘whisper’ may be but a breath, but more often than not, a single breath is all it takes to put out the light.

Well, that was a cheerful discussion. Now how do we avoid falling prey to these whispers?

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“I seek refuge in Allah, from Satan, the Rejected.”

Many a time would have passed without us pausing to consider the significance of these words. Words, indeed, that we let slide too often in the commencement of our prayers, Quran recitation, and, sometimes, daily activities.

But It’s as simple as that.

Surah al Nas embodies this concept perfectly:

‘Say: “I seek refuge with (Allah) the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, the Ilah (God) of mankind, from the evil of the whisperers (devil who whispers evil in the hearts of men) who withdraws (from his whispering in one’s heart after one remembers Allah). Who whispers in the breasts of mankind. Of jinn and men.’ (114: 1-6)

The challenge lies in the strength of one’s Imaan (faith) and if they truly have the intention to preserve it from the stain of evil thoughts.

So seek strength through constant remembrance of Allah in prayer and zhikr. Learn the meaning of the words which too often leave our lips without a thought. With knowledge comes power and the weight behind these verses will eventually leave their mark.

Of course, noble deeds cannot come into fruition without the niyyah (intention) to propel them. Take time to reflect on what you’ve learned from past mistakes and whether these missteps were really a sign that you just might be on the way to something better.

Back when I was in school, we learned that the word ‘Islam’ is derived from the root ‘slm’ which means ‘to submit, surrender’. It is a simple lesson that has since stuck with me, making it apt that we, as Muslims, submit completely to Allah.

Therefore, let us do just that and reject the path of defiance, inshallah.