Making Eid fun for our Children…

Eid Al-Fitr is our holiday. It is the day chosen by Allah for Muslims to be happy, have Halal fun, spend time with their families and celebrate in a halal way. It is one of two Eids with which Allah has blessed this ummah.

Anas bin Malik (RA) said: “The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) came to Madinah and the people had two days when they would play and have fun. He said, ‘What are these two days?’ They said, ‘We used to play and have fun on these days during the days of ignorance. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, ‘Allah has given you something better than them, the day of (Eid) Adhaa and the day of (Eid) Fitr.’” (Sunan Abu Dawood)

The above Hadith makes it clear that these two Eids are part of our religion, and also that it is prohibited for us to celebrate the holidays of other religions.

In the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), a lot of fun activities were organized on Eid day for the youth, as can be seen in the following narration:

Aisha Bint Abi Bakr reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to my house when two girls were beside me singing songs of Bu’ath. The Prophet laid down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly, saying, “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet?” The Prophet turned his face toward him and he said, “Leave them alone.” When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signalled to the girls and they left.

It was the day of celebration (Eid) and the Abyssinians were playing with shields and spears. Either I asked the Prophet or he asked me whether I would like to watch. I said yes. Then the Prophet made me stand behind him while my cheek was touching his cheek and the Prophet was saying, “Carry on, O tribe of Arfida.” I became tired and the Prophet asked me, “Are you satisfied?” I said yes, so I left. (Saheeh Bukhari 907)

This tradition of Halal fun on Eid day continues today in most Muslim countries around the world like UAE, Malaysia, and even Palestine. We too should strive to revive this atmosphere in our communities.

Today many young Muslims are growing up in Non-Muslim countries like South Africa, and they are attracted to the celebrations and fun events associated with Christmas and Easter. One way to keep them away from these events is to make Eid as fun as possible.

Here are a few tips on how we can make Eid fun for kids in South Africa:

  1. Build anticipation

In the days leading up to Eid, count down the days with your kids. Let them see how excited everybody is about Eid. Talk to them about all the fun things you will do on Eid day, and do what you can to get them really excited about Eid day.

  1. Buy Gifts

The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged the exchanging of gifts as a way of increasing love between people. This applies to our children as well. Make Eid special by buying for each of the children in your family a special gift on Eid day.

  1. Take off from work if possible

If you are able to take the day off from work for Eid day, then do so. Your family will appreciate the extra time you spend with them on this beautiful day and it create another reason for children to look forward to Eid day.

If you are an employer, give your Muslim staff the day off on Eid Day so that they too can enjoy Eid with their families.

  1. Attend Eid Salah as a family

It is Sunnah for entire families to attend the Eid Salah together. Take your children with you for the Eid Salah so that they can soak in the Eid Atmosphere and experience the specialness of this day.

  1. Visit Family

Take out time on Eid day to visit your relatives, and buy gifts for other children in the family as well, besides your own. Go out of your way to make Eid special for all Muslim children, not just your own.

  1. Plan fun activities

Take out time to plan some fun Halal activities for the children on this day. Whether it is someplace to visit, games to play, or nasheeds to sing. Be creative and find ways to make each Eid special and memorable.

  1. Quality Time – Be Present

Finally, make sure that you spend quality time with your children on Eid Day. Don’t just be there physically, but be actively involved in enjoying Eid with your children.

Doing all of this will help make Eid special for children, and build in them a love of Islam, Ramadan, and Eid.

Eid Mubarak to all our readers!


Originally written @ Islamic Self Help by Shaykh Ismail Kamdar

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How to stay positive during hardships?

Beating the tough time with the courage and patience is an actual bravery. People who do not despair in the hard times and remain focused have remarkable qualities. Indeed when tough challenges hit, it either define you or destroy you. But good thing is hardships does help us to value the ease.

Today, I like to share few incidents from the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to highlight how he acted during distressful circumstances. So that it help you to stay positive and keep your spirits high insha’Allah.

Be with me!

Abu Talib’s Death

It was the 10th year of Prophethood. Things in Makkah were returning to normal after the long social economical boycott of Banu Hashim. Historians report that the Quresh instated a stifling boycott on muslims for approximately three years in Makkah. Only when this confinement ended, muslims took a sigh of relief.

Prophet’s uncle and his caretaker Abu Talib suffered heavily through this trial and got ill. He was 70 years old. The hardships of the siege had weakened his health. The Makkans took it as an opportunity to speak about Muhammad ﷺ. In his last moments, some notables from Quresh like Abu Jahl and Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah visited him. They were well aware of the bond between the Prophet ﷺ and his uncle. They were hoping that the Prophet would listen to his uncle’s dying wishes but no settlement occurred among them. The leaders were reluctant to accept Islam and Prophet ﷺ was clear in his beliefs. The Prophet ﷺ tried that they embrace Islam and persuaded Abu Talib till his last breath.

“My uncle, just make a profession that there is no true god but Allah, and I will bear testimony before Allâh (of your being a believer)”. (Al-Mubarakpuri, 2003)

Sorrowfully, he insisted on his ancestors’ faith and eventually died in the state of disbelief. One can only imagine the grief of Prophet ﷺ not only for his loss, but also on Abu Talib’s denial of the truth. Out of the deep emotions, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ remarked:

“By Allah, I will persistently beg pardon for you till I am forbidden to do so (by Allah)”. (Al-Mubarakpuri, 2003)

It was then that this verse was revealed in Quran (9:113):

“It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah’s forgiveness for the Mushrikeen (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief).”

And it was said to the Prophet ﷺ:

“ Verily! You [O Muhammad ] guide not whom you like.” (Quran, 28:56)

Nevertheless, Abu Talib was the tower of defense against the arrogant Quresh. He did not let Quresh “isolate” Prophet ﷺ.  Everyone knew his death meant the loss of political protection for his nephew and for Muslims. It was a 40-year long selfless relationship, the love and care he showed to Prophet ﷺ and Muslims is admirable.

Shortly after, Abu Lahab became the chief of Abu Talib’s tribe whose hatred and enmity towards believers was not hidden from anyone. Initially he abided by the wishes of the clan in protecting Muhammadﷺ, but quickly reverted to his former enmity. With this development, the persecution, insult and disrespect of the messenger by people of the city reached to a higher level. There were many disgraceful, unprovoked acts that Prophet ﷺ patiently endured in this difficult time. Regardless, he continued his mission and kept calling people to the oneness of Allah.

Khadija’s R.A Death

Just two months after the death of his uncle, another calamity struck the Prophet. His beloved companion, loving wife, and mother of his children, Khadijah R.A passed away. Sadly, this time Prophet ﷺ lost the central pillar of his household, the love of his life. His internal strength was stricken with this trial. For 25 years, they shared companionship of each other. She was 65 years old at the time of her death and Prophet ﷺ was 50. These were the gloomy, grim days for the family of the Messenger. Khadija bint Khuwaylid was the first lady to believe in his dawah and stood bravely by him in all-critical situations. His spiritual companion with a pure heart, mind and soul who always comforted his agony was gone. She was his best person, who used to alleviate his sufferings and always raise his morale. May Allah SWT be pleased with her; and may He reward her best recompense. Ameen

Conclusion

Allah SWT exemplifies Prophet Muhammad ﷺ for the whole mankind. So as a result, the important part is to learn from his life and character.

  • His trials and difficulties were not small, but even at that time, he did not forget to trust Allah SWT. As Allah the Almighty revealed these verses:

“And rely upon the Ever-Living who does not die, and exalt [Allah] with His praise. And sufficient is He to be, with the sins of His servants, Acquainted”   (Quran, 25:58)

 

  • Optimism is the key to handle odd situations. Prophet’s life is a proof that he was a fountain of optimism. No matter, how grief struck him, how heart-broken Prophet ﷺ was from the behavior of enemies, he did not discontinue his mission.
  • Prophet ﷺ endured the loss of his beloved ones with utmost patience. As he knew Allah SWT says in the Quran:

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient”. (Quran, 2:155)

  • Because of these and similar incidents, no one could assert that Islam succeeded with the help of a particular person, but rather it was due to Allah’s help and protection as He is the best Disposer of all affairs.

Thus, as believers, we should remain patient and submissive in all conditions with the decree and commandments of Allah SWT, no matter how difficult things are, no matter who comes in and goes away from our lives, we should always remember and affirm with our tongue and heart by saying,

“… Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.” (Quran, 2:156)


References

Al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman (2003). “The Year of Grief ” The Sealed Nectar [Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum]. Lahore: Darussalam

Al-Qur’an al-Kareem. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2017, from https://quran.com/

Fathima, A. (2014, October 18). Asfia’s Blog! Retrieved July 02, 2017, from http://asfiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-year-of-sorrow-of-prophet-muhammad.html

Rahman, Adam. (n.d.). The Greatest Man of All Time: A Mercy to The World (Limited ed.). Awake iRevival.

Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29,2017, from https://sunnah.com/

Year of Sorrow. (2017, June 19). Retrieved June 29, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_of_Sorrow

The Lost Female Scholars of Islam

At the time Eileen Collins became the first woman to command the space shuttle, some Muslims were debating the right of women to drive a car on the road. This disparity in the level of public discourse on the rights of women and role of women confront Muslim societies. New findings by a scholar at Oxford on the historical role of women may help Muslims forge a new perspective but still remain true to the Prophetic traditions. Mehrunisha Suleman and Afaaf Rajbee report.

If you call a man a thief long enough, he will start to think he really is a thief. Likewise, if you call a child stupid all the time, she will grow up thinking s/he really is stupid. This swindle of self-perception describes the deep seated anxiety surrounding women in Islam. The sustained media and academic portrayal of Islam has been that of a sexist, patriarchal religion that subjugates women through implicit assumptions of their inferiority. The corrective efforts to this perceived sexism have been shaped by conservatism and radicalism alike. Muslim feminists throw women forward as the bastion of a new, gender-less Islam, free from the shackles of male scholarship and propelling them forth to become imams and state leaders. At the same time, one can find countless imams from the Asian subcontinent who will readily declare women’s rights as a pernicious Western import, against which the best defence is to keep them inside the home and away from places of work and education. In this way, there may be little that separates misogynistic mullahs from progressive feminists: both are reactions to a crisis of confidence in their own faith. The social and political upheavals of the past c e n t u r y h a v e shaken the ummah to the very core – to the point that commentators cannot seem to defend the most basic social relationship between men and women. Amidst these celebrations and condemnations of Islam’s supposed misogynism, Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi’s study of Al Muhaddithat: the women scholars of hadith is a timely reminder that the gender issue need not be a problem in Islam. The portrayal in the media of Islam as the cause of the subordination of women was a key inspiration for the Shaykh to embark on his decade long study. Currently a research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, he found himself confronted with disagreements amongst Muslims about their own history. There was a gaping need to seek out the real historical record on women’s place in the Islamic tradition.

There are widely cited arguments that the male gender bias in Islamic scholarship has affected the interpretations of the Qur’an and hadith. But the historical records show examples of fatwas issued by male jurists that were materially adverse to men and in favour of women. Furthermore, many of the testaments of excellent female scholarships have been recounted by their male students. Imam Dhahabi noted that amongst female narrators of hadith, there were none found to be fabricators. Women’s scholarly integrity and independence were unimpeachable. Naturally, any sexist male would have a problem admitting to these facts. Since women today participate so little in the teaching of Hadith and the issuing of fatwas, there is a wide misconception that historically they have never played this role. As Shaykh Akram describes, “when I started, I thought there may be thirty to forty women,” but as the study progressed, the accounts of female scholars kept growing and growing, until eventually there were no less than 8,000 biographical accounts to be found. Such vast numbers truly testify to the huge role that women have played in the preservation and development of Islamic learning since the time of the blessed Prophet Muhammad. The women encountered by Shaykh Akram were far from mediocre when compared to men, indeed, some excelled far beyond their male contemporaries. There were exceptional women who not only actively participated in society but also actively reformed it. Most striking was the high calibre of their intellectual achievements and the respect that they received for this.

Apart from well-known figures, including Ayesha Siddiqa, the daughter of Abu Bakr, the grandeur of forgotten scholars is rekindled in the work. Fatima Al Batayahiyyah, an 8th century scholar taught the celebrated work of Sahih al Bukhari in Damascus. She was known as one of the greatest scholars of that period, demonstrated especially during the Hajj when leading male scholars of the day flocked from afar to hear her speak in person. A beautiful picture is painted of her in an Islam that has been long forgotten – a distinguished, elderly woman teaching her students for days on end in the Prophet’s mosque itself. Whenever she tired, she would rest her head on the Prophet’s grave and continue to teach her students as the hours wore on. A n y w o m a n visiting the Prophet’s mosque now will know the frustration of not even being able to see the blessed Prophet’s grave, let alone rest their head on its side wall.

Another, Zainab bint Kamal, taught more than 400 books of Hadith in the 12th century. Her “camel loads” of texts attracted camel loads of students. She was a natural teacher, exhibiting exceptional patience which won the hearts of those she taught. With such a towering intellectual reputation, her gender was no obstacle to her teaching in some of the most prestigious academic institutes in Damascus.

Then there was Fatimah bint Muhammad al Samarqandi, a jurist who advised her more famous husband on how to issue his fatwas. And Umm al-Darda, who as a young woman, used to sit with male scholars in the mosque. “I’ve tried to worship Allah in every way,” she wrote, “but I’ve never found a better one than sitting around debating with other scholars.” She became a teacher of hadith and fiqh and lectured in the men’s section. One of her students was the caliph of Damascus. The sheer hard work and dedication to Islam by these women is unfathomable by standards today – but they also had some biological advantages against men. Female muhaddi that were often sought after by students to learn hadith because of their longer lifespan – which shortened the links in the chains of narration. Although Shaykh Akram’s study focuses on the narrators of Hadith, he found that women s c h o l a r s had also contributed significantly in teaching “theology, logic, philosophy, calligraphy and many of the crafts that we recognise and admire as Islamic.”

The presence of female teachers alone does not do justice to the importance of women in Islamic history. The Qur’an, as originally recorded on parchments and animal bones, was entrusted to Hafsah, daughter of Umar. It was with the help of these preserved records that Caliph Uthman disseminated six standardised versions of the Qur’an to the major political and cultural centres in the Islamic realm. He ordered all non-standardised editions to be burned, an act that indicates the immense trust in Hafsah’s competence and character. The validity of women’s teachings was never doubted by the Companions on account of their gender, or by any respected scholar since.

Considering Islam’s teachings on the fundamental equality of men and women, Shaykh Akram’s work should really be no surprise. The Prophet taught that there is no difference in worth between believers on account of their gender. Both have the same rights and duties to learn and teach – from memorising and transmitting the words of the Qur’an and Hadith to the interpretation of these sources and giving counsel to fellow Muslims through fatwas (legal opinions). Women have the same duty as men to encourage the good and restrain the evil. It follows quite logically from this that if they cannot become scholars and be capable of understanding, interpreting and teaching, they cannot fulfil their duty as Muslims. If the subjugation of women is not the result of Islamic teachings, then why are there such gross violations of women’s rights in the Muslim world today? Relegating the Muslim woman only to the role of a mother and housewife is a relatively modern phenomenon (didn’t Ayesha lead an army and didn’t Umm Salama avert a crisis at Hudaybiyyah?). The definitive cause to this complex and multi-faceted problem is heavily debated, but a few contributing factors are worth tracing here. The hegemony of Western civilisation in the modern world brings with it an inevitability that the Muslim world will fall victim to its own weaknesses. Women have always had a problematic position in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the most obvious example being the Biblical account of Adam and Eve’s fall from the Garden. The source of mankind’s original sin is placed squarely on Eve, who represents the weaker sex in the parable (the pains of childbirth have traditionally been regarded as atonement for this original sin in the Christian faith).

Theological precedents aside, the equality of men and women has come late in the day to Western Europe, with the status of women as “human” being debated in the 16th century and equal legal rights to men only being established by the 19th and 20th centuries. Misogynism was internationalised, as Aisha Bewley, writer and translator of the Qur’an describes, by western colonial authorities who excluded women from teaching in mosques and assuming political roles in the Muslim societies they colonised. “The lens through which the West viewed Muslim women was already a distorted one – and o n c e imposed or implanted among the Muslims, this viewpoint gradually became an established norm.” As the technologically and scientifically superior western culture impressed Muslim intellectuals, they grew more open to the values that these cultures brought with them.

Finger-pointing at “the West” is a comfortable answer for everyone, but it is all the more important to realise that the fate of the Muslim woman cannot be divorced from the fate of the Muslim community as a whole. The retraction of women from the public sphere is also the result of fear. “Islam’s current cultural insecurity has been bad for both its scholarship and its women,” says Shaykh Akram. “Our traditions have grown weak, and w h e n people are weak, they grow cautious. When they are cautious, they don’t give their women freedoms.” Man’s desire to protect women has gone into overdrive, to the point that it has actually undermined the quality of Muslim communities. When the few women that do break free begin to propagate extreme brands of feminism, the result is a vicious circle of suspicion, fear and oppression.
The revelation of the 8,000 strong history of Muslim women scholars will prompt a variety of reactions from various parties. Misogynists are likely to deny it and attempt to undermine its authenticity. Feminists will be pleased that someone has done the hard work for them. Yet the best lesson is most likely to be found in the motivation behind its writing. Shaykh Akram seeks to bring people back to traditional Islam with the purpose of demonstrating that Islam is not misogynistic and nor were early male scholars biased against women. Accusations that his study encourages free-mixing and the relaxing of modesty are unfounded. It is clear in the introduction to the 40 volumes that the hijab is also the sunnah of the Prophet and “enables women to be present and visible in the public space in a way that is safe and dignified.” Here Shaykh Akram’s status as a learned alim from a prestigious institution (Nadwat al Ulama in Lucknow, India) who has studied Islam in the traditional way stands him in good stead; scholars including Shaykh Yusuf al Qaradawi have been more than willing to acknowledge his research and findings.

The irony of our forgotten women scholars is that they spent their lives in the pursuit of historical facts, whereas Muslims have long forgotten the fact of their contribution. Historical criticism is a fundamental principle in Islam. The Qur’an requires “O believers! If any iniquitous person comes to you with a slanderous tale, verify it, lest you hurt people unwittingly…” (49:6) Questioning the media frenzy on Islam is not just a good idea, but a religious obligation for Muslims to seek out the truth.

Once we have acknowledged the true historical record, that women are not subjugated by Islam and have played a part since the very beginning, we must also move on. Islam was not revealed as a bundle of doctrines delineating women’s rights, human rights or animal rights. Islam confers all of these rights and duties on us when we sincerely accept Allah’s rights. Faith, and not bare-knuckled rationality, permits us to create a society where everyone can have their rights upheld t h r o u g h submission to His Word and His messengers. Centuries of accusations of misogynism have been internalised and turned into reality, making Muslims themselves believe that Islam is fl awed. In a world where some women are kept locked in their homes while others are vying to become presidents, Shaykh Akram’s research should present us with some confidence in the justice of Islam. Not because it proves that Islam has had many women scholars – but that there were many great scholars that happened to be women.


Originally posted on emel.comMehrunisha Suleman and Afaaf Rajbee report.

Being a True Servant of Al-Haqq

The name, Al-Haqq, is one of the ninety-nine beautiful names of Allah (ta’ala) and it means “The Truth”.

Allah (ta’ala) mentions the name in the Quran, and in one place, He says: “For that is Allah, your Lord, the Truth. And what can be beyond truth except error? So how are you averted?” (Quran 10:32)

Many times when we see the names and attributes of Allah (ta’ala), what comes to your mind is the promise that whoever memorizes them will enter Jannah.

But beyond their benefit when memorized, knowing the names and their meanings serves more purposes for us as Muslims.

We know that Allah (ta’ala) is the Truth. But how do we apply this knowledge in our own lives? How do we live as servants of “The Truth” such that we are an embodiment of this attribute?

Believe that Allah is True

A Muslim is someone who believes in Allah, the five articles of faith, etc. This belief in Allah (ta’ala) also translates to a belief in the truthfulness of the existence of Allah (ta’ala), as well as a belief in His supremacy.

As a true servant of Al-Haqq, you should believe that Allah (ta’ala) exists. You should believe in all His attributes, His signs, creations, and promises. Being true servants of Al-Haqq means that we don’t lend ourselves to doubting if there is a God or not. It means that we don’t doubt those things that are in the realm of the unseen, spending our time wondering about the possibility of there not being a Day of Judgment. And it also means that we believe everything that Allah (ta’ala) has told us about Himself in the Quran and through His Messenger (SAW)

“That is because Allah is the Truth, and that what they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allah is the Most High, the Grand.” (Quran 31:30)

With this, a true servant of Al-Haqq believes that Allah (ta’ala) is the only true God and that everything He has told us is true.

Whenever the Prophet (ﷺ) offered the night (Tahajjud) prayer, he used to say, “O Allah! All the Praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. And all the Praises are for You; You are the Keeper of the Heavens and the Earth. All the Praises are for You; You are the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth and whatever is therein. You are the Truth, and Your Promise is the Truth, and Your Speech is the Truth, and meeting You is the Truth, and Paradise is the Truth and Hell (Fire) is the Truth and all the prophets are the Truth and the Hour is the Truth. O Allah! I surrender to You, and believe in You, and depend upon You, and repent to You, and in Your cause I fight and with Your orders I rule. So please forgive my past and future sins and those sins which I did in secret or in public. It is You Whom I worship, None has the right to be worshipped except You .” (Bukhari)

Be Truthful in Your Affairs

The literal meaning of Haqq is “truth,” and a Muslim who wants to reflect this attribute should strive to be truthful in their own lives.

Being truthful means that you do not tell lies and you do not give false witness. It means that you do not say things the way that they haven’t happened. All of these can seem like what you would tell a toddler, but the reality is that we have gotten comfortable with lies in all the different forms that it manifests.

People tell what they regard as “small lies” just to get out of uncomfortable situations. You tell your buddy that you are on your way when you are actually just getting into the shower. Or you sell an item without letting the buyer know the hidden defects. Or distort the truth to suit your own agenda, and make promises even when you have no intention of fulfilling them.

Whatever your excuse for lying, or for not saying the truth as it should be, remember that lying is a sin and that the true servant of Al-Haqq speaks the truth no matter how uncomfortable.

“It is obligatory for you to tell the truth, for truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise, and the man who continues to speak the truth and endeavours to tell the truth is eventually recorded as truthful with Allah, and beware of telling of a lie for telling of a lie leads to obscenity and obscenity leads to Hell-Fire, and the person who keeps telling lies and endeavours to tell a lie is recorded as a liar with Allah.” (Muslim)

You may also like: 5 Ways to Give Sadaqah Apart From Money

Encourage Others Towards the Truth

The responsibility of speaking the truth also involves us encouraging others towards the truth. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) was not only known for his truthfulness, he was also known for encouraging others to speak the truth.

Encouraging others to speak the truth means raising your children to recognize the importance of being truthful as Muslims. It means advising people when you have caught them in a lie, and it also means standing up in the face of what is not the truth.

The last option, standing up in the face of what is not true, may be the most difficult for us to do. Especially when the situation does not concern us. But it is also one of the most important. Because in our societies nowadays, many problems have occurred because of people’s lies going unchallenged.

Families have been torn apart, communities broken and people’s lives ruined because people who are not truthful have not been cautioned.

As servants of Al-Haqq, we know the truth, and we have a duty to guard it. Call people to the truth of Islam and also call them to speaking the truth in everything they say.

Do this verbally and also do it with your actions. Because when people have come to know you as a truthful person, they become endeared to you and can become influenced by your character.


Originally shared by Quran Academy

You never know who you meet who will inspire you

As we stood in line to ride our next roller coaster, Ahmad and I didn’t realize that someone was listening in on our conversation.  We stood there talking about a lot of different things on that hot summer day trying to pass the time of the long wait.  I don’t even remember what we were talking about, but it was enough to have the person in front of us in line turn around and ask, “Are you guys Muslim?”  Just his pronunciation of the word “Muslim” made my hair stand up.  His dirty tank top ripped up jeans, scruffy face, and long, shaggy hair made us wonder what kind of ignorant statement might come next.

“Yes, we are,” we responded.

He then continued, “I used to play in a rock band.  We used to jam in my buddy’s basement.  And I remember a couple years ago, I was going through some really tough times in my life.  That’s when I noticed that my buddy had a Quran on his shelf.  So I walked over and picked it up.  I opened it up to any random page, and I put my finger on any random verse.”

What happened next blew us both away.  This scruffy looking wannabe rockstar then proceeded to quote a verse from the Quran in English, with no mistakes as if he sat and memorized it.  Or at the very least, it penetrated his heart for him to know it word for word after all these years.  Allah’s words had clearly had an impact on him. We both recognized the verses from Surat al-Kahf.

“Say, ‘Shall We tell you about the greatest losers in respect to their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life and who believe nevertheless that they are doing good.’” (Surah Kahf: Ayah 103-104)

He continued, “And that verse just hit me!  I thought, man, what am I doing with my life?  What am I really doing?”  He then continued his story, “Then some time passed, and I went about my life.  And about a year later, I started going through some really tough times again.  So I went back to my buddy’s house and grabbed the Quran off his shelf again.  I opened it to any random page and put my finger down on any random verse,” he said as he gestured opening a book and pointing to it.  “Same exact verse man!!  Same exact verse!”  He then looked up towards the sky and pointed his finger up and said, “I hear ya man.  I hear ya.”  Ahmad and I started laughing at his unexpected story.

We spoke to him for a little bit longer and before we knew it, it was time to get on the ride.  After we said our goodbyes, never to see this man again, Ahmad and I were amused with the whole situation and this man’s story.  We joked about how crazy we thought our whole conversation was.

It wasn’t until later when I thought about our conversation that I felt that there was a lesson to be learned from the rockstar that Allah sent us that hot summer day.  I had to ask myself when was the last time I turned to the Quran when I was going through tough times – taking the opportunity to hear what Allah has to say to me?  I thought to myself, don’t I have as much right to the Quran as he does?  It reminded me of a couple I heard once before:

قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُم بِالْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَالًا -الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا – 

(Al-Quran -Surah Al-Kahf 18 : Ayah 103-104)

“Say, ‘Shall We tell you about the greatest losers in respect to their deeds?  Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life and who believe nevertheless that they are doing good.”


Original Source: Muslim Matters

How to Cure Illness in Masnoon Ways and Shirk of Taweez, Amulets, Charms

Imran ibn Busayn reported,
 
When the Prophet ﷺ saw a brass bangle on a man’s upperarm, he said to him: ‘Woe be on you! What is this?’ The man replied that it was to protect him from a sickness called al-Wahinah (weakness) The Prophet then said, ‘Cast it off, for verily it would only increase your weakness. And if you died with it on, you would never succeed.’ “(Collected by Ibn Majah, Ahmed and Ibn Hibban)
 
Thus, the wearing of copper, brass or iron bracelets, bangles, and rings by the sick or the healthy in the belief that they will avert or cure sicknesses is strictly forbidden. Such practices also fall under the prohibition against the treatment of sickness with haram (forbidden) cures about which the Prophet ﷺ had said,
“Treat each other’s sicknesses, but do not treat sicknesses with forbidden things. “
(Collected by Abu Dawood (Sunnan Abu Dawud, English translation vol 3. p. 1087 # 3865) and al-Bayhaqee
 
The Prophet ﷺ emphasized the seriousness of wearing amulets (taweez) by evoking Allah ‘s curse on those who do so.
‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir reported that the Prophet ﷺ once said,
” May Allah cause failure and unrest to whoever wears a talisman or puts it on others. “
(Collected by Amad and al-Hakim)
 
It would be sufficient to say words that Prophet used to during the sickness.
“Idhhabil-ba ‘s Rabban-niis wa ‘shfi, a ‘nt ash-shaf ee, la shifa ‘a ilia shifa ‘uk, shifa ‘an la yughadiruhu saqama.
Meaning: “Remove the suffering, O’ Lord of mankind , and heal it perfectly, as You are the true healer. There is no cure except Your cure, a cure which is not followed by sickness! “
(Collected by Ibn Abee Haatim)

Extracted from the book THE FUNDAMENTALS OF TAWHEED by Dr Bilal Philips

TIME IS MONEY

Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

A couple of months ago while cleaning, I came across an old file full of my awards and certificates from school. And I remember flipping through them, trying to recollect the memories and events that led to those achievements.

You’ve probably encountered such a moment too, where you’ve uncovered stuff that triggered memories of your hard work and sacrifice. Sometimes those memories are happy. Other times, they are sad..empty…full of regret. Regret for time wasted and effort lost.

But this Dunya is not the only place where we will recollect our past deeds. Allah will cause us to remember on the Day of Judgment too, as He says in Surah an-Naziat:

يَوْمَ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنسَانُ مَا سَعَىٰ
The Day when man will remember that for which he strove [Surah an-Naziat: 35]
SubhanAllah, we will actually remember what we strove for, what we worked hard for, what we sacrificed for…we will observe our deeds…it will all be there.

So here’s an action point for you based on the above ayah:

Do a righteous deed that you wish to remember on the Day of Judgment, a deed between you and Allah. Do something today that will benefit you in the Akhirah, even if it is something small like saying the Dhikr seen below:

And also, ask yourself this everyday before you go to bed:

“What did I strive for today? Was I running in pursuit of the Dunya or in pursuit of the Akhirah (i.e. Jannah)?”

If it was solely for the Dunya, then make an intention to do better and strive for the Akhirah the next day inshaaAllah.


Source:  THEORGANIZEDMUSLIMAH.COM

Culture, Traps or Priorities??

If you want to offload stress in your life, ask one question always:
“Is it nice or necessary?”
Don’t try to impress others. “What will my friends or family think”? Don’t care, priorities of a practicing Muslim is always different. Most important is “to please your Lord”.
Keep in mind, one day we have to stand in front of Him, none will be with us (nor our parents neither our children), none will save us from the trials of that day, none will be answerable to our actions.
Allah SWT intends for our ease. The religion is easy, beautiful and simply perfect. Why make things hard?
We make Halal difficult by tagging it with all luxuries “Dil kai Armaan“, and Halal action becomes Prohibited version. The way of Shaitan that he commands.
Simple example, our weddings, muslims weddings. A very Sad reality of the day. Start with all kind of extravagance, a long shopping list of clothing, functions, guest list, food, then comes bridal grooming. Unfortunately, mothers and sisters, we all don’t realize, why we are paying big amounts of makeovers, hairdo. Women can only adorn herself for her Mahram. But before husband sees, we provide complete entertainment at our cost to all guests, including the person who we hire for PHOTOSHOOT.
Yes, he and his teams see from all angles to the beauty of the bride, isn’t shameful? By this, are we going to seek barakah in this marriage? then some of us come up with the idea of Halal Photoshoot. Female photographer, subhanAllah. Like we know that she ‘ll provide us complete BA_PARDA process. Quran says:
“…Satan has made their deeds pleasing to them and averted them from [His] way, so they are not guided” (Surah An-Naml: 24)
It’s not only about the bride, grooms are also sitting in the same row. They ‘ll avoid gold ring (haram in Islam to wear gold) or silky dress but proudly take the dowry or spend extravagance for the sake of happiness of their bride. The decoration of stage, diamond rings, expensive dress, a vehicle for the wedding, honeymoon plans, and the list goes on.
There is so much to address and practical actions are required for every individual to take. We Ummah is in real bad condition, probably similar or worse than the time of Jahiliyyah!
If you agree what I said, change something in your life and replace it with exact Sunnah of Prophet ﷺ.

Yoga an Exercise or Worship?

“Mama some ladies are on the door, they need to talk to you,” my son called me.

They were two middle-aged ladies. After greeting, they handed me a book and asked me do I pray. I said yes, we pray five times a day. They further asked me about names of God. I said yes there are 99 names of Allah. There is only one God Allah. I said in response to some of their comments. These were some Hindu Missionaries trying to persuade their belief of God as a Father. This non-Profit organization was inviting for Yoga, which is an exercise during which some names are practiced for self-contentment and relief from worldly worries. The conversation started when it was emphasized to convince God is like a father.

Me: God is only one and He is the Creator of all creatures. He is not son or father of anyone as some sets consider Isa (alahi salam) as a son of God.

Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was. (Surah Al-Imran: 59)

So do not assert similarities to Allah. Indeed, Allah knows and you do not know. (Surah An-Nahl: 74)

Missionary: Oh yes that’s not right considering someone son of God but God is like Father. Me: God is only one. He is the Creator of all creature, He is not son or father of anyone and for Allah is the highest attribute. And He is Exalted in Might, the Wise [1]

Missionary: Yes, this is true that He has no son but He is the Father of all creatures.

Me: Ok see this is my daughter (I pointed to my 6-year-old daughter standing beside me). I eat and she as well. I sleep and she needs to sleep too. She is like me. Kids are like their parents. God does not need anyone for support. He is independent. He does not eat or sleep as we do.

Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. (Surah Al-Baqara-255)

Missionary: Yes but we do have minute characteristics like God.

Me: Yes that’s right. For example one of the names of God is Ar-Raheem. He is most Merciful. He placed mercy in our hearts too. He is all giving Al-Wahhab. We humans do have these attributes too.

There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.

(Surah Al-Shu’ra: 11)

Missionary: Still he is like a father. I don’t have parents (One of them said). He is like the father for me. I rely on him for everything.

Me: That’s right, He takes care of us. He provides us but He doesn’t like to be named as the father. We are humans only His creatures. Let’s see this example if there is some celebrity, he has a sweeper, would he like to be related with his sweeper.

Allah presents an example: a slave [who is] owned and unable to do a thing and he to whom We have provided from Us good provision, so he spends from it secretly and publicly. Can they be equal? Praise to Allah ! But most of them do not know. (Surah An-Nahal: 76)

Missionary: (with some uncertainty)…we are only humans, we are like that but God is more than that. (A bit hesitation in saying) but we have some attributes of God. (The other lady said).

Me: If I make a car or Vase, I am the maker of that car. How can I be similar like my manufacture? God made Adam the father of all humans from dust. First, He made his structure then he blew his “spirit “ in that structure.

Who perfected everything which He created and began the creation of man from clay. Then He made his posterity out of the extract of a liquid disdained. Then He proportioned him and breathed into him from His [created] soul and made for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful.

(Surah As-Sajda: 7-9)

Missionary: So see He blew his spirit in humans…(smiling)

Me: Yes but that was to honor humans. Think about fish. It means Fish has a father too… Missionary: No answer, (but surprised expression)!!

Me: God loves his creature. He provides his creature but He does not like to be associated with His creation such as to be called as He has a son or to be called as a father. If people call Him father out of love, it’s against respect. This allowed people to add others to him. If you Google and see the translation of Chapter Al-Ikhlas of Quran.It explains how God is only one and has not born or nor given birth to anyone.

Missionary: Yes I will do. We are a non-profit organization. We also take in-kind donations for shelter homes. Would you like to give something?

Me: For now I have lots of Apples at home. Would you like to take apples…(I smiled) Missionary: Yes sure.

I gave them a bag of Apple.

Missionary: Oh they are a lot, are you sure (said with bliss and surprise)

Me: Yes of course (smile)

Missionary: Oh thanks a lot. I can’t resist myself giving you another book. What is your good name? (She said in very delight manner and handed me book).

Me: I took the book and said thanks. I also invited them to come in for tea. But they wanted to go to next door.

Our conversation ended up opening a broader understanding of Islam. Things become even more vibrant when paralleled with reverse. It seemed as a message was conveyed and will sure set in hearts because Truth has its own distinctive light. Once it lits up, it illuminates the surrounding at Once.

If some sets consider eccentric names as the name of God and exercise those names and invite others as well. We must aware, Allah SWT has beautiful names. He himself encourages us to call upon him with these names.

And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.

(Surah Nuh: 180)

There are now literally tens of forms of yoga, which range from the overtly religious/ spiritual to the entirely secular (only physical exercises, no intoning of Sanskrit chants and such). The most common form is physical, where the focus is on breathing patterns, flexibility, and general health.

In this case, Yoga is placed under the category of mu’aamalaat (general actions) rather than that of ‘ebaadah (worship). Thus, the principle of everything is permissible until proven otherwise kicks into play.

If someone invites to Yoga for spiritual enhancement, be cautious if they are saying some peculiar names during this exercise. They consider these strange names as names of God and consider them as a source of inner tranquility and harmony.
Quran is a marvelous book of Allah SWT. This Book is a source of guidance and light to lighten up our trails in this world. We must have this supplication in our routine to shield our faith from deceptions and illusions.

اللهم ارنا الحق حقاً وارزقنا اتباعه وارنا الباطل باطلا وارزقنا اجتنابه

Allahumma arinal haqqa haqqaw warzuqnat tiba’ah, wa arinal batila batilaw warzuqnaj tinabah

O Allah! show us the truth as true, and inspire us to follow it. Show us falsehood as falsehood, and inspire us to abstain from it.


Written by Binte Abdul Waheed

Source: Quran 

[1] Al-Quran (Surah An-Nahl: 60)

EXCELLENCE OF KNOWLEDGE

“When we come to a conference without a notebook we are saying to Allah: we don’t CARE how much access you give us [to knowledge].”  – Dr. Altaf Hussain

I remember going to events and seeing people take notes and not seeing the point of it. It’s not a school. It’s a fun thing to do, listen to lectures and hearing jokes.

But our brains aren’t made that way to retain information like that. I used to just feel good about a lecture and feel like wow, that blew my mind. Awesome. And I’d come home to tell my mom about it but I would mess up all the points and forget the details and end up just saying: you had to be there!

We forget that these lectures are a luxury. And we are going to be held accountable.

There’s an ayah in Surah Taha where Allah raises someone up on the Day of Judgement blind. And they ask Him why. And Allah says, my signs came to you and you ignored them, so today you will be ignored.

You are all students of knowledge – regardless of if you are enrolled in seminars and Islamic classes or just go to a lecture here and there. You need to value that knowledge. Allah gave you youtube, Allah gave you MSA and Halaqas and masjid events and organization conferences. You do not need to travel far for knowledge.

But what good is it if it goes in one ear and out the other.

And notes aren’t to have a collection of journals filled with things. Notes are for review. Strengthening your knowledge.

Tirmidhi relates a hadith from Abu Umama that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“Indeed, Allah, the angels, the denizens of the heavens of the earth, the ants in their burrows, and the fish in the sea pray for blessings to come upon those who teach good to people.”

Tabarani relates from Jabir that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“Everything, even the fish in the sea, seeks forgiveness for one who enlightens the people.”

Once Allah has given you knowledge, it is incumbent upon you to hold onto it and act upon it and then share it.

And don’t say you don’t have time. If other people can find barakah in their time, you can too. It’s just a matter of prioritizing. And if you really loved Allah, you’d make time for Him. You would.

So, study.
Because this is the exam.
The questions come at the end.
And it’s all cumulative.


Originally posted at DROPS OF KNOWLEDGE