How is your Love for Allah and His book?


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ  مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ أَندَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّـهِ ۗ وَلَوْ يَرَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا إِذْ يَرَوْنَ الْعَذَابَ أَنَّ الْقُوَّةَ لِلَّـهِ جَمِيعًا وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعَذَابِ

“And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. And if only they who have wronged would consider [that] when they see the punishment, [they will be certain] that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment.” [Al-Qur’an- Surat Al-Baqarah(The Cow): 165]

Attached below is a thought provoking video of a young blind boy who was interviewed by Sheikh Fahad Al-Kanderi on his T.V series of ‘Traveler with the Qur’an‘. The enthusiastic and motivated boy struggled to travel long distance to his teacher to memorize Qur’an and at times he was given only a verse to memorize. Yet, he never gave up hope. He also talks about how his blindness is a blessing and a means of seeking Allah’s special Mercy on the Day of Judgment when he will be questioned about what he did with the Qur’an.

So, what do WE have to present on the Day of Judgment in terms of our efforts towards learning the Words of Our Creator?”

by: Solange 

Watching this video clip, I had in my heart, for a moment, the wish that Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) would also take my sight away, so that I, like that boy, would have the excuse on the Day of Judgment, and the compensation of Jannah. Then I thought about it again. Would I be brave and dedicated like this boy?

My test of sight is so much smaller. I have been wearing glasses for 28 years, my eyesight declining to the point that I cannot read a book at normal distance without them. At times, I forget where I put them and need help finding them but sometimes, I am alone. Even with the glasses, I transition more slowly between seeing far and close, and need to sit closer to the whiteboard in class. Light is blurred at night, and I have a lot of difficulty reading the bus numbers when they approach. But I still make do , and at times, I remember to thank Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) for glasses, and remind others too of the blessing of sight.

 

I cannot imagine entirely losing what preciously remains of my sight – how greatly it would impact everyday tasks. But as a visual learner, the greatest loss to me would be my ability to learn by reading and strategically taking notes in a way that they can imprint in my mind.

 

Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) guided me to Islam after 21 years, I am so grateful that I can read and study Qur’an and not only benefit myself but also others around me. I begged Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) at ‘Arafah during Hajj to make me an expert in Qur’an and its language, and He has opened all of these doors for me. Alhamdulillah, with the help of TQE  (Taleem Ul Qur’an) and Bayyinah, I’m able to work and strive towards my goal. I pray for Ilman nafi’an (beneficial Knowledge) and the tawfiq (ability) to continue to be grateful for this blessing of Qur’an in my life.

by: Hala 

Being grateful to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) in every situation means to remain patient and to stay positive in not just the times of ease, but also during hardships. In theory, this seems easy; however, in actuality, it is very difficult to adopt such a noble attitude.

I once read a post by one of the Scholars , where he mentioned that the people who are the quickest to blame Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) when calamities befall them, are also the same people who never thank Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) during the “good times.” I find this to be very true. If we never attribute our happiness to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) , then we will have a misconstrued and negative understanding about Him. Therefore, just as we are eager to understand the personalities of our loved ones, we should get to know our Rabb (Lord) at an intimate level. We can do this by learning His Asma ul husna (The Most Beautiful Names) and by reading the Qur’an, thereby pondering over the verses that describe His majestic traits. It is also essential that we integrate du’as (supplications) into our lives. We should set aside a timeframe every day, when we sit down, raise our hands, and have a conversation with our Rabb. One of the Scholars  once stated, “Want to know how close you are to Allah? See how long you can make Du’a (supplication), because you never tire of talking to someone you love.”

 The young boy from the video is a prime example of what it means to embody intense love for Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) .

“…..And those who Believe have Intense Love for Allah…” (2:165)

The boy has a firm grasp on what it really means to show gratitude for the blessings of Hidayah Irshaad (knowledge) and Hidayah tawfeeq (implementation of the knowledge). One moment that really struck me was when the boy said that he traveled a very long distance just to learn *one* verse of the Qur’an. What’s interesting is that we refer to “one verse” as “only one verse?” or “just one verse?” We don’t contemplate the miracles that just one verse of the Qur’an carries. The boy not only understood this, but also internalized it, which is why he didn’t mind traveling such a long distance to learn one verse. I, for one, certainly have a long way to go before I reach the level of commitment and perseverance as that of the boy.

Moreover, I found it heart-wrenching that although the boy was blind, he was more knowledgeable than myself, and much younger in age too. It makes me wonder what actions am I taking to show gratitude for the blessings of hidayah irshad (knowledge)? I think that in order to do so, firstly I need to embrace the journey of seeking knowledge with optimism. I need to face every struggle along the way with contentment. Secondly, I need to be willing to travel to seek knowledge. I live in Mississauga and I only have to travel for a couple of kilometers to arrive at Al-Huda Institute. I sometimes look at the rest of my classmates, some of whom commute from completely different cities, like Hamilton and Toronto, every day just for the Love of Allah. Masha’Allah, they must be earning so much reward for their efforts. Thirdly, I need to count my blessings. I have the ability to move, see, hear, and speak. Because I have been given so many more blessings than others, I have no excuse to become lazy and quit the path of seeking knowledge.

 As for hidayah tawfeeq (implementation of the knowledge), in my opinion the judgment of this should be left to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى), as none of us will ever know if we have been given this kind of hidayah. This is partially because hidayah tawfeeq entails ‘amal (actions).

Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (رضى اللهُ عنهُ): The Prophet (صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) stated, “O people! The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So, whoever emigrated for Allah and His Apostle, then his emigration was for Allah and His Apostle, and whoever emigrated to take worldly benefit or for a woman to marry, then his emigration was for what he emigrated for.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 1, Hadith 1]

It may seem that we are acting in accordance to the Qur’an, but if our intentions aren’t sincere, then we’ve got nothing to gain. So, instead of feeling a sense of security that we have been given hidayah tawfeeq (implementation of the knowledge), we should take a few steps back, and pray that our ‘amal (action) is filled with Ikhlas (sincerity). May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) purify our intentions for seeking knowledge, and accept from us. And may He guide us to Sirat Al-Mustaqeem (The Straight Path), and keep us firm upon Al-Haqq (The truth).  Ameen.

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My Grave


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Safia Rafi

قُتِلَ الْإِنسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ 17

مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ 18

مِن نُّطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ 19

ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ 20

ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ 21

“Cursed is man; how disbelieving is he. From what substance did He create him? From a sperm-drop He created him and destined for him; Then He eased the way for him; Then He causes his death and provides a grave for him.”

[Al-Qur’an – Surat Abasa (He Frowned): 17-21]

I WONDER – What will it be like to be like lying in my cradle called the Grave?

Will my grave be so narrow that my ribs are crushed together?

Or will there be a shining light from Jannah forever to stay?

 

Will there be my Qur’an warding off the Angels Munkar and Nakeer?

Or will there be the deadly bugs eating my body to bones and decay?

 

Will there be the prayers of my children whom I had taught the word of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى)?

Will they be the Sadqah-e-Jahriah because I taught them how to pray?

 

Or will there be memories of those whom I have hurt and have done zulm upon?

Are they now rejoicing because  I have finally gone away?

 

Death has come to finally relieve me from the torments of the prison of the world.

This was the end for my soul had to depart. And for this there was no delay.

 

How will be my grave?  Oh! How do I close my eyes and imagine it?

Will I be comfortable in my bed, I wonder how will I lay?

 

When my end is the soil, and I am buried so deep into the earth,

Do I not wonder how I can walk so arrogantly on the earth today?

 

This world is nothing but a temporary housing and I am but a traveler,

The final abode will be Heaven or Hell – That will be the permanent stay!

Oh Allah(سبحانه وتعالى)! – save me from the torments of the grave and the Hell-fire.

Make me one whose face is shining radiantly, so happy and so gay.

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Tranquility Unlimited


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
by Saadia Tariq

                                                  Calligraphy by Zahra Tariq

“So verily, with every hardship there is relief

Verily with every hardship there is relief”
[Al-Qur’an-Surah Ash-Sharh(The relief) : 5-6]

A Qur’anic ayah (94:5-6) which you might have read and heard plenty a times. An ayah that is often quoted during difficult times – indicating a measure of strength and as a reminder of faith.

vintage-sunset-wallpaper

Taken from wallfinest.com

As night follows the day, satiety comes after hunger, relief sets in after misery and sleep comes after exhaustion, in the same way the Almighty has told us that despair not, for the difficulties that seem to have surrounded us will be eased out.

However, what is interesting to note is that Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) insists upon us that with every hardship there is relief. The tranquility or peace does not come after the difficult time – it happens to be there simultaneously – waiting for us to find it.  A seriously unwell person might be suffering physically – however what our naked eye and illiterate heart does not seem to fathom is that simultaneously he is being cleansed spiritually. A cleansing far more important – than the comfort in this short-lived world!

A set of parents who lose a young child is no doubt one of the biggest human challenges – however what Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) insists upon us during this stupendously heartbreaking test is that we hold our heads up high and accept HIS will. And HIS will is to put us through this test so that we achieve higher grades in the hereafter.

Excruciating pain – whether it is physical, mental or emotional – on the flip side is a blessing for us. Essential for all of us to keep reminding ourselves at all times (not only during harsh times) that Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) knows best and HE will not put us through any situation that we cannot endure. We should not wait for easy situations to arrive, yet be fully confident and aware that they are there  – consistently present – Like an unbreakable backbone!

Amongst many other strapping lessons that the Qur’an teaches us, I reckon a staunch belief in this verse encompasses, to a large extent, one’s complete reliance, submission and belief in Allah (سبحانه وتعالى).

From the blog http://www.capturebyst.com/

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Reviving Up for Ramadan


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 Link for the original article

by Sadaf Farooqui

Struggling to perform the five daily prayers on time?

Becoming more conscious of God during Ramadan, and seeking closeness to Him is one of the main reasons why fasting was ordained.(Taken from http://www.onislam.net)

Half-consciously putting off the Fajr alarm only to roll over and promptly fall back asleep?

Feeling guilty about not reciting the Quran at least a few times a week, despite wanting to?

Feeling hesitant to donate to a worthy charitable cause despite having surplus savings?

Snapping at the drop of a hate at family members and colleagues on trivial matters?

Repeatedly wiping off beads of perspiration on the brow while inwardly dreading the imminent long, hot thirty fasts of Ramadan?

Does this sound like you?

The glorious, spiritually-charged month of Ramadan comes along each year to pick us up from our slackness, re-charge our faith, realign and re-structure our worship schedule, and give us an encouraging, much-needed “push” back towards our Creator.

Ramadan is a month in which performing righteous deeds becomes easier and indulging in sins becomes difficult, because God chains the devils and opens the doors of Paradise. The entire global Muslim community unites in personal and congregational acts of worship for thirty days, rebinding their mutual love and promoting brotherhood.

In what ways can we inwardly – mentally and emotionally – welcome Ramadan? What should our thoughts focus on right now, to ensure that we are ready to benefit fully from this glorious month once it arrives?

Taqwa – Consciousness of God

Becoming more conscious of God during Ramadan, and seeking closeness to Him is one of the main reasons why fasting was ordained in every Divinely revealed religion:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ


“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.”

          [Al-Qur’an-Surah Al-Baqarah(The cow) : 183]

Passage of a year makes us go out of the habit of fasting, which decreases our taqwa. The level of our consciousness of God, which should be an effective barrier between us and all actions involving His disobedience, becomes quite low and hence, is in dire need of an uplift by the time Ramadan rolls around again.

We should thus be grateful that God makes Ramadan come upon us once a year to give us the chance to take a temporary break from worldly matters, repent for our sins, and exclusively seek God’s countenance once again.

The Month of The Quran

Preparation of and partaking from suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, necessitates early rising.

We should renew our intention to improve our recitation, understanding, memorization and insightful, reflective pondering on the Quran.

Ramadan is special because it is the month in which the Quran was first revealed.

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ
فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُواْ الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُواْ اللّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ


“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.”

[Al-Qur’an-Surah Al-Baqarah(The cow) : 185]

Now that Ramadan is imminent, we should analyze in retrospect how our Quran recitation schedule and consistency has been throughout the preceding year and develop a plan to recite this Glorious Book, preferably in its entirety, during the coming month.

Instead of rushing through the recitation inadvertently making mistakes, we should endeavor to recite it as calmly, melodiously and correctly as possible, in order to maximize its blessings in our life, its effect on our hearts, and our rewards for its recitation in the Hereafter.

أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا

             
“Or add to it, and recite the Qur’an with measured recitation”

[Al-Qur’an-Surah Muzzammil(The Enshrouded one): 4]

Our intention should be to continue a consistent daily recitation schedule and a close bond with the Quran, even after Ramadan has passed.

 Supererogatory Night Prayer
Preparation of and partaking from suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, necessitates early rising. It provides the perfect opportunity for praying qiyam al layl (the late night prayer). Even the most regular night worshippers among us are snapped into more zealous nocturnal activity with the advent of Ramadan, hoping to revive, lengthen and reinforce their night worship through a more rigorous month-long routine of night prayers.

Our avowed enemy, Satan, however, casts doubts in our minds and makes the impending Ramadan schedule of hot summer day-time fasting, which will inevitably involve enduring greater hunger and thirst, and the dearth of deep night-time sleep, appear to be huge, tasking challenges instead of welcome opportunities for taking a break from the incessant stress of worldly matters and giving our souls a chance to be soothed, nurtured and revived with faith.

In order to look forward to praying more at night during Ramadan, whether in the extra congregational prayers i.e. tarawih or alone at home, we should recall the innumerable sins we have committed since the past Ramadan, the many times we have hurt others or been needlessly nasty, the consistent negligence we have committed in our worship of and obedience to God, and the many chances of repentance that we have missed because of sloth or heedlessness.

When we remember our shortcomings as humans and our shortfalls in our obligations, the invitation of God during the last third of the night, every night, during the forthcoming month of worship, to have all our past sins and misdeeds permanently wiped out from our records and forgiven unconditionally, will seem like an offer to good to turn down!

Cleansing the Heart

Enmity, grudges, hatred, anger, chronic negative thoughts, and recurring insinuations of revenge and/or cutting off of ties: all these feelings are clear indicators of the presence of filth and rancor in our hearts.

As we get ready to welcome Ramadan, we should ponder on our relationships with others, and see which one needs the most work. We should rationally review how we have been behaving with people who deserve the utmost good treatment and respect from us, such as our parents, spouse, children, siblings, neighbors, elderly and sick Muslims, colleagues, and friends. We should then make a mental or physical list of those among them with whom we have been experiencing a distinct sore or emotional distancing in the relationship.

We should compare the blessings afforded by the right intentions for doing something that outwardly resembles actions that are not done as acts of worship.

We should objectively and open-mindedly analyze our hearts to gauge how much rancor we have in it for someone, then proactively intend to remove this spiritual “dirt” that is cluttering our heart during the coming Ramadan, and forgive them only for God’s sake.

Beyond this step of emotional and spiritual “spring cleaning” and de-cluttering, we should also intend to try and make amends to the relationship, perhaps by using the opportunities of meeting and greeting afforded by the occasion of Eid, to extend a warm invitation towards renewed friendliness and cordiality that can reform the relationship in a manner as if no ill-will-causing damage had ever transpired in the past at all.

Keeping Things in Perspective

Sure, summer fasting is difficult because of the added thirst, strain and fatigue caused by soaring temperatures and longer hours, and since summer nights are extremely short, awaking for night prayer and for preparing and eating the pre-dawn meal seems even more challenging.

Moreover, Muslims who converted to Islam after becoming adults, they might view the fasting of Ramadan especially during summer with more foreboding than those who have been in the habit of fasting every year since at young age, because it is something they are not in the habit of doing.

At times such as this, when hot summer fasts are about to come upon us after some days, we should try to keep things in perspective by making some realistic comparisons.

We should compare the blessings afforded by the right intentions for doing something that outwardly resembles actions that are not done as acts of worship. For example, many fitness enthusiasts stick to their strict diets day in and day out, no matter how hungry or drained they feel; they do not cheat on their diets or workout schedules even when working stringent hours at their jobs. They neither compromise on their fitness regimen, nor their careers, and they do all this for acquiring positive results of their efforts in this world, namely: good health, a toned body, an able and alert mind, and overall personal success.

We should remember how we willingly forego our night sleep for periodic worldly objectives during the rest of the year, such as studying for examinations, traveling for leisure, entertaining our relatives or friends when they visit, shopping for and attending wedding celebrations, partaking in outdoor recreational activities such as camping out, bonfires, and safaris, toiling to redecorate and renovate our homes, as well as for welcoming and caring for an excitedly-awaited newborn.

We should remind ourselves that hard work, toil and sacrifice are spring-boards for rewards, material blessings, and personal benefits even in this world. But when a Muslim undertakes these challenges for the sake of God during Ramadan, his or her motive and goal is much more transcendental than anything the life of this world can offer. The blessedness of the correct intention – that of ultimately gaining the pleasure of God – pervades our lives and activities during the days and nights of Ramadan, bringing ease, tranquility and comfort beneath the outward cover of rigorous worship and gastronomic depravity.

If we put things in proper perspective, we will be able to take the forthcoming Ramadan fasting and night-prayer routine positively, instead of with foreboding and dread. Nay, the extra chances to rush forth in a plethora of righteous deeds will make us excitedly anticipate and welcome the spiritual uplift and the opportunity for repentance, revival and renewal offered by Ramadan with open arms.

Our overburdened and ‘cluttered’ hearts and souls, which have been begging us for a ‘break’ for months, will feel relieved and overjoyed at the prospect of finally getting a breather from the distractions and entanglements of the stress-inducing paraphernalia of the life of this world, and latch on eagerly to the heavy daily doses of spirituality, worship and piety that only Ramadan can provide!

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