Thursday, October 29, 2009

WAYS TO INCREASE OUR IMAAN:




1. Recite and ponder on the meanings of the Quran. Tranquility then descends and our hearts become soft. To get optimum benefit, remind yourself that Allah is speaking to you. People are described in different categories in the Quran; think of which one you find yourself in.

2. Realize the greatness of Allah. Everything is under His control. There are signs in everything we see that points us to His greatness. Everything happens according to His permission. Allah keeps track and looks after everything, even a black ant on a black rock on a black moonless night.

3. Make an effort to gain knowledge, for at least the basic things in daily life e.g. how to make wudu properly. Know the meanings behind Allah's names and attributes. People who have taqwa are those who have knowledge.

4. Attend gatherings where Allah is remembered. In such gatherings we are surrounded by angels.

5. We have to increase our good deeds. One good deed leads to another good deed. Allah will make the way easy for someone who gives charity and also make it easy for him or her to do good deeds. Good deeds must be done continuously, not in spurts.

6. We must fear the miserable end to our lives; the remembrance of death is the destroyer of pleasures.

7. Remember the different levels of akhirah, for instance when we are put in our graves, when we are judged, whether we will be in paradise or hell.

8. Make dua, realize that we need Allah. Be humble. Don't covet material things in this life.

9. Our love for Subhana Wa Ta'Ala must be shown in actions. We must hope Allah will accept our prayers, and be in constant fear that we do wrong. At night before going to sleep, we must think about what good we did during that day.

10. Realize the effects of sins and disobedience- one's imaan is increased with good deeds and our imaan is decreased by bad deeds. Everything that happens is because Allah wanted it. When calamity befalls us- it is also from Allah. It is a direct result of our disobedience to Allah.







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Signs of weak imaan:





1. Committing sins and not feeling any guilt.
2. Having a hard heart and no desire to read the Quran.
3. Feeling too lazy to do good deeds, e.g. being late for salat
4. Neglecting the Sunnah.
5. Having mood swings, for instance being upset about petty things and bothered and irritated most of the time.
6. Not feeling anything when hearing verses from the Quran, for example when Allah warns us of punishments and His promise of glad tidings.
7. Finding difficulty in remembering Allah and making dhikr.
8. Not feeling bad when things are done against the Shariah.
9. Desiring status and wealth.
10. Being mean and miserly, i.e. not wanting to part with wealth.
11. Ordering others to do good deeds when not practising them ourselves.
12. Feeling pleased when things are not progressing for others.
13. Being concerned with whether something is haram or halal only; and not avoiding makroo (not recommended) things.
14. Making fun of people who do simple good deeds, like cleaning the mosque.
15. Not feeling concerned about the situation of Muslims.
16. Not feeling the responsibility to do something to promote Islam.
17. Being unable to deal with calamities, for instance crying and yelling in funerals.
18. Liking to argue just for the sake of arguing without any proof.
19. Becoming engrossed and very involved with dunya, worldly things, i.e. feeling bad only when losing something in terms of material wealth.
20. Becoming engrossed and obsessive about ourselves.




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Monday, October 26, 2009

The Olive: A health-giving plant





"By the Fig and the Olive" [95:1]

One of the foods to which attention is drawn in the Qur'an is the olive. Research in recent years has revealed that the olive is not just a delicious food but also represents an important source of good health. In addition to the olive itself, olive oil is also an important source of nutrition. Attention is drawn to the oil of the olive tree in these terms in the Qur'an:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, the glass like a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it. Light upon Light. Allah guides to His Light whoever He wills and Allah makes metaphors for mankind and Allah has knowledge of all things. (Qur'an, 24:35)

The expression "mubarakatin zaytoonatin" in the above verse describes the olive as being "plentiful, sacred, auspicious, providing countless blessings." Olive oil, referred to in the term "zaytuha," is known as one of the most highly recommended types of oil by all experts, especially for coronary and arterial health. Its health benefits may be summarised as follows:

Benefits for Coronary and Arterial Health:

Most of the fatty acids in olives and olive oil are mono-unsaturated. Mono-unsaturated fatty acids do not contain cholesterol. Therefore, olive oil does not raise cholesterol levels but instead keeps them under control. Olive oil also contains omega-6 linoleic acid (EFA: essential fatty acid), which is essential for the human body. Due to this feature, health-related bodies (such as The World Health Organization) recommend that at least 30% of the fatty acid consumed in societies in which hardened artery and diabetes levels are high should consist of omega-6. This increases the importance of the olive still further.

And by it He makes crops grow for you and olives and dates and grapes and fruit of every kind. There is certainly a Sign in that
for people who reflect.
(Qur’an, 16:11)

Studies in this area have revealed much lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and higher antioxidant levels in people who consume 25 millilitres (about two dessertspoonfuls) of natural olive oil a day for one week. Antioxidants are important as they neutralise the harmful substances in the body known as free radicals and prevent cell damage. It has also been established in a great many studies that the consumption of olive oil reduces cholesterol levels and prevents heart disease.

Olive oil is also recommended for patients with heart and artery disease since it reduces the level of harmful cholesterol (LDL) in the bloodstream and raises that of useful cholesterol (HDL). In countries with high occurrences of heart and artery diseases, saturated fats with high cholesterol content are generally consumed.

In addition, olive oil does not disrupt the proportion of omega-6 to that of omega-3. It is very important that omega-3 and omega-6 be present in the body at specific levels because any imbalance in these proportions can lead to progression in many diseases, especially those of the heart and immune system and cancer. For all these reasons, many people enjoy good health thanks to olive oil. The American Heart Association suggests that in order to reduce the risk of heart disease high mono-unsaturated fats can be an alternative to a 30% reduced fat diet.

Cancer Prevention

One study, published by The Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that women who consume high levels of mono-unsaturated fat have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Another study by scientists at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York demonstrated that b-sitosterol, a fat found in vegetable oils such as olive oil, helps prevent the formation of prostate cancer cells. The researchers concluded that b-sitosterol strengthens the internal communication system of the cell that issues the command for the cells to divide and that cancer can thus be prevented before cell division reaches an uncontrollable level.

A recent study by doctors at the University of Oxford has shown that olive oil has a protective effect against intestinal cancer. The doctors discovered that olive oil enters into a reaction with stomach acid in order to prevent intestinal cancer from beginning. At the same time, the University of Oxford researchers also established that olive oil reduces the level of bile and raises that of DAO (the enzyme diamine oxidase), thus protecting against abnormal cell growth and cancer.

Prevention of Arthritis

According to researchers' reports, people who consume large quantities of olive oil and cooked vegetables can have a reduced risk of rheumatic arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints.

Olive Oil Assists Bone Development

The vitamins E, A, D and K contained in olive oil are particularly important from the point of view of assisting bone development in adults and children, and in strengthening the bones by fixing calcium. It is also recommended for the elderly as it is easily digested and through its minerals, it assists with the use of vitamins in the body. It also prevents calcium loss by stimulating bone mineralisation. Bones are the organism's mineral structure storehouses and an absence of mineral accumulation in the bones can lead to serious complications such as bone softening. Olive oil has a most beneficial effect on the skeleton in this regard.

Prevention of Aging

Since the vitamins contained in olive oil have a cell renewing effect they are also employed in the treatment of the elderly, as well as nourishing and protecting the skin. As foodstuffs are transformed into energy in our bodies, certain substances known as oxidants are formed. With the high levels of anti-oxidants it contains, olive oil prevents damage by harmful substances, renews our cells and delays aging in the tissues and organs. Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E, which suppresses the free radicals that destroy the cells in our bodies and cause aging.

Contribution to Child Development

Due to the linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) contained in olives and olive oil, these are a most healthy food for newborn babies and growing children. A deficiency in linoleic acid leads to the emergence of a retardation of development in babyhood and various skin disorders.

Olive oil contains anti-oxidant elements that prevent the destructive effects of harmful substances in our bodies, and fatty acids of great importance to human health. These support the hormones and assist in cell membrane formation.

Olive oil possesses a balanced polyunsaturated compound at a similar level to that in human milk. Olive oil is a sufficient source of these fatty acids, which cannot be obtained from the human body but which are of the most essential importance to it. These factors make olive oil very important for new-born babies.

Since it contributes to the natural development of the baby's brain and nervous system before and after birth, olive oil is the only oil recommended for mothers by experts. As well as containing similar levels of linoleic acid to those of mother's milk, when olive oil is added to fatless cow's milk, it becomes as natural a food source as mother's milk itself.

Blood Pressure Reduction

One study published in the 27 March 2000 edition of Archives of Internal Medicine once more stressed the beneficial effect of olive oil on high blood pressure. Medicines to reduce high blood pressure are also made from olive leaves.

Benefits for the Internal Organs

Whether consumed hot or cold, olive oil protects the stomach against diseases such as gastritis and ulcers by reducing gastric acid levels. In addition to this, by activating the bile, it makes it perfect. It regulates the discharge of the gall bladder and reduces the risk of bile stone formation. Moreover, thanks to the chloride it contains, it also assists the functioning of the liver and thus helps the body eliminate waste products. In addition, it also has a beneficial effect on the brain arteries.

On account of all these properties, olive oil has attracted considerable expert attention in recent years. Some of the comments made by experts are as follows:
Jean Carper, a prominent authority in the field of health and nutrition, the CNN award-winning correspondent, columnist and author of The Food Pharmacy and Food-Your Miracle Medicine:

New Italian research finds olive oil contains antioxidants... that combat disease processes, including LDL cholesterol's ability to clog arteries.

Pat Baird, a dietician and nutrition consultant:

I love the whole idea of olive oil's versatility... the more we know about it, the more we learn about its great contribution to good health.

Dr. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, chairman of the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard University School of Public Health:

American women might actually experience as much as a fifty percent (50%) reduction in breast cancer risk if they consumed more olive oil in place of saturated fats.
Olive oil has a protective effect against some types of malignant tumors: prostate, breast, colon, squamous cell, and oesophageal.

D. Peck of the School of Medicine, University of Miami:

Olive oil has been shown to strengthen the immune system in mice...
Bruno Berra of the Institute of General Physiology and Biological Chemistry, University of Milan:

… [T]he minor polar components of extra virgin olive oil increase significantly the resistance of LDL to oxidation.
A.A. Rivellese, G. Riccardi and M. Mancini of the Institute of Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases at Federico II University, Naples:

Olive oil prevents insulin resistance and ensures better control of the glucose in the blood.

Patrizia Galletti of the Second University of Naples, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery:

Dietary intake of olive oil polyphenols may lower the risk of reactive oxygen metabolite-mediated diseases such as some gastrointestinal diseases and atherosclerosis. Olive oil hydroxytyrosol protects human erythrocytes against oxidative damage.

Frank Sacks of the Harvard School of Public Health:

An olive-oil-rich diet is more effective than a low-fat diet in controlling and treating obesity. Moreover, it leads to longer-lasting weight loss and it is easier to keep to…

As we have seen, a great many scientists today think that an olive oil-based diet constitutes the ideal nutritional model. It is stated that on account of these properties, olives and olive oil should be the fundamental constituents of every meal in one's daily nutrition programme. The benefits of the olive plant, emphasised by Allah in many verses of the Qur'an, have been discovered in parallel to the advances made by medical science.

It is He Who sends down water from the sky. From it you drink and from it come the shrubs among which you graze your herds. And by it He makes crops grow for you and olives and dates and grapes and fruit of every kind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect. (Qur'an, 16:10-11)






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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dealing with TEENAGERS,,,,





Nowadays,children especially the teenagers tends to retailiate when their parents point out their wrong doings and etc. For most parents, dealing with teenagers is the most challenging role in the lifetime of their children.

A problem for all parents
The problem of dealing with teenagers is something that can be felt from Muslim and non-Muslim parents alike. The mindset and situation of some teenagers can be summarised as follows
• Trying to find their own place in the world
• Desire to experiment and find out what is best for them
• often rebel against the ways of their parents
• Can be tempted by many things such as the opposite sex, alcohol etc
• Can get involved with the wrong crowd

The above may surprise or even come as a shock to Muslim parents, but it does happen
to Muslim children. Below are some general tips for dealing with Muslim teenagers.

Start Early
We should teach them from an early age about Allah, the Prophets, the Sahaba, and the great heroes of Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism, Christianity or Magainism.”
Bukhari

If we develop in them a love for Islam and provide them with righteous examples for their heroes, they will be much less likely to go astray inshaAllah. Although this is not guaranteed to succeed, you will encounter less resistance the earlier you start.

A person wants to be like his heroes. If he admires Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Abu Bakr, and Ali, he will try to follow their example. If he admires movie or sports starts, he will want to be like them. If we inspire our children with good examples, when they are tempted to do wrong, they will, InshaAllah, remember these examples and remain steadfast.


Good company
During the teenage years, children often care more about what their friends say than what their parents or elders say so the need for good friends is obvious.
The beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
“A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend,”
Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi

If our children have good, sincere, and righteous friends, the chances are good that our children will be like them. If, on the other hand, our children hang around with children who take drugs and get into trouble, our children will likely do the same.
Therefore, it is essential from an early age that we try to get our children involved with good children. One way to encourage this is by regularly taking them to the mosque or by sending them to an Islamic school where they will have the opportunity to meet Muslim children.

Keep them busy with good
We should encourage our children to participate in wholesome religious, social, and sports activities. When we prevent them from going to parties and so on, we should make sure we give them halal alternatives otherwise they may think that in Islam, “Everything is haram.” This is a key way Satan deceives teenagers and people in general - by beautifying the haram and making the halal seem boring.
Bored teenagers are more likely to look for fun and excitement in the wrong place. “Idle hands are the devil’s (shaytan’s) workshop,” someone once said. If teenagers’ lives are full of good and exciting things to do, they will not have the time or the desire to get involved in bad things.

Treat them like adults
If we haven’t done so already, now is a good time to start letting our children become a part of the family decision making process. Shura or consultation is an important principle in Islam. Although the parents will usually get the “final say,” it is important to give the children a chance to provide input and express their opinions.

If teenagers feel that they have the right to make some of their own decisions and even to help make some of the family’s decisions, they will not feel that they have to rebel against an oppressive family that is always telling them what to do. During this process we should remember not ridicule and trample on their opinions and enthusiasm.

Parents aren’t always right
We should sometimes admit that we are wrong. Parents make mistakes. If we admit to our children that we are wrong at times, they will not always feel that they have to rebel against us and prove that we are wrong.

Give them attention
In today’s busy and materialistic lifestyle, we forget how important it is to give teenagers (and children in general) attention. This is not something that can be replaced by buying them presents or giving them more pocket money.
Sometimes, children act out in order to get our attention. If we give them our attention freely, they will not have to seek it in destructive ways. Also, by listening to our children, there is a greater chance that they will confide in us and ask us questions, rather than seeking answers from negative sources.

Leading by example
Teenagers hate hypocrisy, and many of them seem to have a built-in radar for detecting it. If we want them to listen to us and take our advice, they must trust us. We will lose respect if they see us doing something we tell them not to. Allah says:
“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allaah that you say that which you do not do”
Qur’an 61:2-3

Make Dua
The teenage years are usually difficult, and parents need to prepare for them before they arrive. If parents have built a strong, trusting, and loving relationship with their children before the teenage years, their children will be less likely to go astray.

At the end of the day, parents should do as much as they can to instill in their child the right values, but remember that guidance is up to Allah. After doing all we can, we must put our trust in Allah and we should always be asking Allah to guide us and our children, regardless what age they are.

Article taken from : http://islam4parents.com/




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Monday, October 19, 2009

HAYA(SHYNESS)



Haya is an Arabic word derived from the word hayat, which means life. This term covers a wide number of concepts. In English, it may be translated as modesty, shyness, self-respect, bashfulness, shame, honor, humility, etc. The original meaning of haya refers to a bad and uneasy feeling accompanied by embarrassment, caused by one's fear of being exposed for some unworthy or indecent conduct.

Islamically, haya is an attribute which encourages believers to avoid anything distasteful. It keeps them from being neglectful in giving others what is due upon them, and if for any reason they are not able to keep up with their commitments, then they will feel extremely uncomfortable and ashamed about this. The main reason for this uncomfortable feeling would be the knowledge that they had displeased Allah.

Haya plays a huge role in the lives of Muslims because it is a very important part of our Iman (faith/belief). If we do not have any form of haya within us then it is most likely that our Iman is very weak. It states in the following hadith:

Narrated by Abu Huraira (ra): The Prophet (SAW) said, "Faith (Belief) consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And Haya is a part of faith." (Bukhari)

We also learn from the Prophet (saw) the importance of having haya and how it is not something to be ashamed of, but instead, one should be concerned and embarrassed if they do not possess it within their character.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar (ra): The Prophet (saw) passed by a man who was admonishing his brother regarding Haya and was saying, "You are very shy, and I am afraid that might harm you." On that, Allah's Apostle (SAW) said, "Leave him, for Haya is (a part) of Faith." (Bukhari)

The above hadith is also a form of proof that "shyness" is not just something regarding women but also an attribute that believing men should have, for it is an indication of their fear of Allah and an indication of the value of their Deen.
We often find that shyness, humility and bashfulness are frowned upon by our society as a weakness or a lack of confidence when, in fact, these are qualities of a dignified upright human being, who is conscious of his actions and his responsibilities in life.

There are two different types of haya—the good haya and the bad. The good haya is to be ashamed to commit a sin or a thing which Allah and His Messenger (saw) has forbidden. The bad haya is to feel ashamed to do a thing which Allah and His Messenger (saw) has ordered us to do.

There are different types of good haya. For example, a believer should build his personality and character with the good dimensions of haya. The most important is that he must be shy of doing ANYTHING displeasing to Allah (SWT) with the belief that he will have to answer for all his deeds. If one develops a sense such as this one, it will help the believer to obey all of Allah's commandments and to stay away from sins.

Once the believer realizes that Allah (SWT) is watching us all the time and we will have to answer to every move we make in this dunya (world), he would not neglect any order from Allah or His Messenger (saws). So the stronger this sense of haya becomes, the more it motivates one to make sure that Allah (SWT) doesn't see him doing anything prohibited. The way to develop this haya is that one must keep learning and absorbing more knowledge and applying it to his life.

Another type of haya is more of a social aspect concerning others besides Allah (SWT). Normally these things often come in regard with one's relationship with family. For instance, a child not wanting to do something displeasing to his mother, or a wife not wanting to do something displeasing to her husband, or even a student who is careful about saying something incorrect in front of his teacher are all forms of haya.

Last but not least is the type of haya in which the believers become shy of themselves. This is when they have reached the peak of their Iman. For example, if they do, say, or see anything wrong or even commit the tiniest sin, they start to feel extremely bad and embarrassed or they feel extreme guilt in their hearts. This builds a high degree of selfconsciousness and that is what strengthens a Muslim's commitment to Allah (SWT).

After discussing the various types of "beneficial" haya, it is time to discuss the type of haya which is not only against the teachings of our Prophet (saw), but it is also solid proof of the weakness of someone's Iman. This negative aspect revolves around a person's shamefulness or shyness of doing something that Allah (SWT) has ordered us to do through the Qur'an or our Prophet's (saw) Sunnah. This constitutes the shamefulness or embarrassment of doing a lawful act or something that is ordered upon us from Allah (SWT). This means that someone does not follow an obligation of Islam due to the fact of being shy in front of others about it. This is totally forbidden because then one is giving the people of this dunya more respect than the One who Created this whole universe.

An example of this type of bad haya is to neglect making one's prayer in a public place due to being embarrassed in front of others. Another example would be that many sisters feel embarrassed to wear hijab for fear of being laughed at or made fun of. If someone really had haya they would never contradict ANYTHING that Allah (SWT) has ordained upon us even if they found it a test and a trial.

Modesty (haya) and maintaining one's honor and dignity are of primary importance in preserving the moral fiber of any society. This is why modesty has been called the ornament of a woman, which protects her from many sins and which prevents ill-intentioned men from daring to have bad thoughts about her. This haya has been made a part of her nature to safeguard her from being abused by immoral men.

Haya is a special characteristic of a Mu'min (believing, practicing Muslim). Haya and Iman are interdependent; therefore either they both exist together or they both perish. The Prophet (saw) has said in one hadith, "When there is no haya left, then do as you please."

There are many wonderful benefits of haya. First, Allah (SWT) loves haya. We know this by the following hadith: "Surely Allah (is One who) has haya and is the Protector. He loves haya and people who cover each other's faults." (Bukhari)

Secondly, haya itself is a greatness of Islam as our Prophet (saw) indicated: "Every way of life has a innate character. The character of Islam is haya." Or "Every deen has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty (haya)." (Abu Dawood)

Third, haya only brings good and nothing else. Our Prophet (saw) said: "Haya does not bring anything except good." (Bukhari)

Fourth, Haya is a very clear indication of our Iman. As the Prophet (saw) had mentioned to the Ansar who was condemning his brother about being shy: "Leave him, for Haya is (a part) of Faith." (Bukhari)

Last, Haya leads us to PARADISE. As the Prophet (saw) told us: "Haya comes from Iman; Iman leads to Paradise. Obscenity comes from antipathy; and antipathy leads to the fire." (Bukhari)

As mentioned before, since the actual word Haya is derived from Hayat, which means life, it is only obvious that when someone has Haya in them, they will live a life of Islam. On the other hand if they do not have Haya they are living a life that is dead "Islamically", but alive according to this dunya.
The Prophet (saw) said: "Haya and trustworthiness will be the first to go from this world; therefore keep asking Allah for them." (Baihaqi)






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Friday, October 16, 2009

CONTROLLING "DESIRE(S)"



Some people think that to live an Islamic life is "restrictive". Islam however, was revealed as a balanced way of living. Allah (The Most High) created all the humans with what is called 'A Fitrah' (a natural state/desire).Islam recognises that within this Fitrah there are motivations that influence a man's role on earth e.g. a desire for good food and drink, to have a home, a desire for love and sex, to protect and be protected and to be successful and strong. Without some form of control and limit, all of these legitimate motives could prove very dangerous.

So what constitutes the perfect control for the Fitrah? It must be a method that provides an organised yet practical demonstration of how to balance all these natural human desires. It cannot be something that goes against the Fitrah, by placing on it extra burdens. Likewise, it cannot be something that allows the human desires to run wild without any form of control.

Islam is the perfect control for the Fitrah. It provides a divine method that elevates man above animals and the rest of creation.

Humans lack perfect knowledge as well as perfect wisdom. No matter how hard we try, we will never attain the perfect way of life by our own thinking and interpretation. This is the reason why Allaah being the Most Wise, sent us the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)[2] to show us this practical and organised way of life.

Allaah, being Perfect, in His Wisdom and Knowledge, perfected a complete way of life for us. He has set His limitations and rules, all of which are beneficial to mankind, and therefore, do not need changing:

"These are the limits (set) by Allaah, so do not approach them"
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:1871)

"These are the limits set by Allaah, so do not transgress them"
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:229)

This is why Islam does not allow celibacy, because it is against the Fitrah, i.e., the desire for sex. Celibacy goes beyond the limits required by humans, and is something that cannot be fulfilled because humans are designed to procreate. As humans we are not expected to fast every single day for the rest of our lives (for most 30 days of the year provides an up-hill struggle). It is also from ignorance to say that 'I shall not sleep during the night, but rather I shall pray!' [3] Humans have not been created by Allah to live life in such a manner. There is a balance which must be observed.

The following incident describes the Islamic stance towards such behaviour, Anas reported that some of the Companions of Allaah's Messenger (SAW) used to say: "I will not marry women"; someone else said: "I will not eat meat"; and someone else said: "I will not lie down in bed". (On hearing this): The Prophet (SAW) praised Allaah, and glorified Him and said: "what has happened to these people that they say so and so, whereas I observe prayer and I sleep too. I observe fast and I break my fast; I marry women also. And he who turns away from my Sunnah (i.e., my example or lifestyle), he has no relation with me" [Narrated in Saheeh Muslim vol. 2. p703. no. 32361].


Islam on the other hand, does not allow the person to surrender themselves to lust and desire, as in contemporary 'civilisation'. Islam recognises the love a man has for women, children, gold, silver, and other possessions. But it provides a limit for the amount of this worldly pleasure which we require, and reminds us of the life in the hereafter.

"Beautified for men is the love of things they desire: Women, Children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world's life, but Allaah has the excellent return ( Paradise )"
(Surah Aali-Imraan 3:141)

The inclinations and desires of the Fitrah are not to become the objective in life. Rather they are to be taken in a stabilised manner. The way to deal with them is real and Allaah (The Most High) has given us the detailed descriptions of a levelled approach. This levelled approach gives mankind the perfectly balanced pleasure in this worldly life. The method of maintaining a well-balanced life is not an endurance test to see who lasts the longest. Allah has revealed Islam, to show us how to attain this balance in a real manner. Life is not a torturous spiritual test, where you are ordered to Iive in mountains and trees. Fasting all year round is not obligatory. Marriage is permissible and you do not have to beat yourself senseless to purify your soul! Rather as Muslims, we must try to follow the Prophet and his balanced teachings of life and living. As Allah says in the Qur'an:


"Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (saw), you have a good example to follow.."
(Surah Al-Ahzab 33:21)





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Thursday, October 15, 2009

KEEPING PROMISES



In the first verse of Surah al-Ma'idah, Allah called upon the believers: "O you who believe! Fulfill your promises." [5:1] In Surah Maryam, Allah also praised Prophet Ismail: "He was true to his promise, He was a Messenger and a Prophet." [19:54]

Keeping appointments is vital to our lives. Time is the most precious commodity; once wasted, it can never be recovered. If you made an appointment, whether with a friend, colleague or for business, you should do your utmost to keep this appointment.

This is the right of the other persons who, despite other commitments, favored you with a part of their valuable time. If you do not come on time, not only have you disrupted their schedule but you have also marred your image and reputation. If your punctuality becomes poor you will lose people's respect. You should keep all your appointments whether they are with an important person, a close friend or a business colleague.You will then be responding to the call of Allah in Surah al-Isra: "And keep the promise; the promise is a responsibility." [17:34]

It is enough to know that our kind Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, gave an appointment to one of his companions. The companion came three days later. The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, gently reprimanded him saying: "You have caused me some trouble. I have been waiting for you for three days."The companion probably had an excuse for this delay; however, he had no means by which to inform the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, about his inability to keep the appointment.

Today, fast and reliable communication means are available everywhere. Therefore, as soon as you realize you will be unable to keep an appointment, you should inform the other parties to enable them to utilize their time elsewhere. Do not be careless or irresponsible assuming that since the appointment is relatively unimportant, it does not merit a notice or an apology.This is totally irrelevant. Regardless of its importance, an appointment is a commitment that should be kept or properly cancelled in advance.

Never make a promise while intending not to keep it. This is forbidden as it falls within lying and hypocrisy. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that the Prophet said: "Three traits single out a hypocrite, even if he prays or fasts and claims to be Muslim: If he speaks, he lies. If he makes a promise, he does not keep it. If he is entrusted, he betrays the trust." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


Imam Al-Ghazali in al-Ihya explains that this hadith is applicable to those who promise while intending not to fulfill it, or those who, without an excuse, decide later not to fulfill the promise. Those who promise but could not fulfill their promise due to a proper excuse are not hypocrites. But we should be careful not to present a false excuse, as Allah knows our inner thoughts and intentions.



Source: www.islaam.com



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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PATIENCE,PRESERVANCE and PRAYERS





During times of deep disappointment,sadness,despair and frustration,Muslims seek comfort and guidance from Allah by reciting duas in the Quran.Allah reminds us that we will always be tested in life and calls upon Muslims to bear these trials and tests with PATIENCE,PRESERVANCE and PRAYERS

There are lots of verses in the Quran that remind Muslims to be patient and trust in ALLAH when they are facing these trials and tests…

"Seek Allah's help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble." (2:45)

"Oh you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere." (2:153)

"Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives, and the fruits of your toil. But give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Those who say, when afflicted with calamity, 'To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.' They are those on whom descend blessings from their Lord, and mercy. They are the ones who receive guidance." (2:155-157)

"Oh you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy. Vie in such perseverance, strengthen each other, and be pious, that you may prosper." (3:200)

"And be steadfast in patience, for verily Allah will not suffer the reward of the righteous to perish." (11:115)

"Be patient, for your patience is with the help of Allah." (16:127)

"Patiently, then, persevere - for the Promise of Allah is true, and ask forgiveness for your faults, and celebrate the praises of your Lord in the evening and in the morning." (40:55)

"No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (41:35)

"Verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual enjoining of truth, and of patience and constancy." (103:2-3)

As Muslims, we should not let our emotions get the better of us. It is certainly difficult for a person to look at the tragedies of the world today and not feel helpless and sad. But believers are called to put their trust in their Lord, and not to fall into despair or hopelessness. We must continue to do what Allah has called us to do: put our trust in Him, perform good deeds, and stand as witnesses for justice and truth.

"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West.
But it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day,
And the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers;
To spend of your substance, out of love for Him,
For your kin, for orphans, for the needy,
for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves;
To be steadfast in prayer
And give in charity;
To fulfill the contracts which you have made;
And to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity
And throughout all periods of panic.
Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.
Qur'an 2:177

Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
Qur'an 94:5-6





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Friday, October 9, 2009

Time is a sword...Strike a balance





"By time, verily man is at loss" so begins one of the shortest surah in the Qur'an. The majority of the mufassireen (commentators) are of the opinion that the word Asr refers to time. Allah takes oath by time to impress upon us the importance of time. Perhaps, for many of us, this is the period when we are most conscious of the precious nature of time, as we try to stretch every second while gearing toward the all important exams. At a time like this when our minds are most focused and yet most distracted, we have to stop and take a moment to reflect and take stock of our lives. We have to ask ourselves what our goals and priorities in life are, and most importantly how we are expending the commodity upon which Allah has taken an oath?

This article started with the first verse of surah al-Asr. But do we truly understand the implications of this surah and put it into practise in our lives? Perhaps, you may he thinking that such assertions are patronising and condescending for who in their right mind, living in this society is not aware of the value of time, when people have to resort to country hideouts to get a sense of their lives. But, precisely because we live in this society are we becoming lost in the quagmire of materialism? Whether we are aware or not it would not be incorrect to say that many of us suffer from a disease, it is a disease of delusion about time and lack of understanding of our priorities in life.

Allah created us for the sole purpose of doing his ibadah 'I have only created the jinn and the mankind except that they may worship Me.' we were not created in vain: 'Did you think that we had created you without purpose, and that you would not be brought hack to us for account?' Indeed that is what our goal in life is, to seek the pleasure of Allah, attain salvation from the hellfire and a place in paradise. To achieve these, we have to make sure that the most precious gift Allah has given us, our life is utilised in the best possible manner, for our lives are only remarkable and we can only attain the position of the best of creation' when we serve Allah.

Hasan al Basri (rahimullah) writes whilst thinking of the oath of time, I saw a person selling ice and he was exclaiming, 'O people have mercy on a person whose merchandise is melting away'. He then concluded: 'Now I fully understand this oath'. The vendor's capital is ice, if he does not manage to sell it, it will melt away, thus suffering a loss. Likewise if one regards time as ones capital and life as a business, if it is allowed to pass without being utilised it is only a matter of time before we will lose our business. And if we invest that time solely for the dunya, then we have already lost.

Most of us consciously or unconsciously have a defected view of life and time. We tend to regard both as a vast expanse without end, where each day rolls into the next. This should not be the case, as many sayings of the Prophet indicate 'Every morning there is a shout, oh children Adam this is a new day, it is a witness over your actions.' Each day is unique and an opportunity, not a continuum of the last. Whatever we do on that day will be closed forever, only to be opened on the Day of judgement. Abdullah ibn Mas'ud once said 'I do not regret about anything as I regret about the day in which the sun has set, as this day has been decreased from my life and in that day my actions cannot be increased'.

We are at an age when we are enjoying some of the best things in life; wealth, youth and time without the pressure of responsibilities, which our parents are shouldering. But such blessings will not go unquestioned. As the hadith of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) tells us: .... on the Day of judgement a servant's feet will not move until he is asked about four thing; about his life and what he spent it on, his body and what he used it on and about his wealth from where did he earn it and what he spent it on: The substance of our answers to these questions is to be made now. 'Two blessings are such that many people are in deception about them.

The first is good health and the second is spare time' Each minute that goes we cannot get it back, each day that passes is gone. We have to invest the time of this life for the next life. The society we are living in is engrossed in the materialistic world and accumulating as much as possible be it power, fame or wealth. We Muslims are not exempt from this pursuit of the dunya. Our despicable position in the world is due to this very fact.

We may think that the position of the Muslim ummah and its many problems are very far from us and not a thing that we can affect. But are we not in our own way running after this world. What are our conditions and state of mind when we have to sit our exams or we have an assignment to sub-nut? It is one of complete anxiety to the extent that we start abusing the rights of our body. We become engrossed in attaining that goal we forget what our real goal in life is. Some of us are even prepared to miss our salat in order to get such tasks done. I am not advocating that we don't spend time upon our studies or other duties. Far from it, what I am trying to inculcate is getting our priorities in life straight and truly valuing our time and what we do with it. Of course we must study and try our best, for a Muslim should never be one who undertakes things half-heartedly There is no contradiction between the two when we utilise our time properly.

If we look at the lives of the companions and our pious predecessors we understand how vigilant they were about their time. They were a people who were successful for they truly knew the precious nature of time as Imam Shafi'ee said:'I stayed with the people of tasawuf and learned two things from them. First is that they say time is like a sword if you don't cut with it, it will Cut you. Second is your self, if you don't keep it busy with right, it will make you busy with wrong.

Umar (radiAllahu anhu) said 'I hate to see people wasting time, whether in their dunya or for Akhira'. Employ your time wisely, do not waste it sitting in front of the T.V or playing computer games. It is very easy for us to fall into the tricks of shaytan and justify such actions as valid, 'we all need time to relax and give our minds a break!' Such activities rarely achieve anything apart from diverting our balance of time. Abu Huraira narrated:
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: Allah's saying 'The son of Adam hurts Me by abusing time, for I am Time; in My Hands are all things and I cause the revolution of night and day.'
There are much better and fruitful ways to relax if we look at the life of the Prophet and his companions. We do not want to-when we get to our Parents age-look back upon our youth with regret as time wasted.
'And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us (Allah), but only he (will please Us) who behaves and does righteous deeds. As for such, there will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will reside in the high dwellings in peace and security.'
We are blessed by Allah that we have Islam at a young age. If we endeavour with our lives now to attain the pleasure of Allah, perhaps we too can be one of the seven types of people who enjoy the shade of the Throne of Allah-on the day when there will be no other shade.

"In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. By al-Asr. Verily! Man is in loss, except those who believe, and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth and exhort one another to patience."







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Thursday, October 8, 2009

CONCEPT OF CLEANLINESS IN ISLAM






Cleanliness and purification is one of the great privileges of Islam. It has evolved a wonderful system that encompasses Muslim life on individual and social levels. Islam places great emphasis on cleanliness, in both physical and spiritual terms. The attention to hygiene is the aspect which is an unknown concern in any other religion or philosophy before Islam. While people generally consider cleanliness a desirable attribute, Islam insists on it, making it an indispensable fundamental of faith. Cleanliness is an essential part of Islamic life and in fact the meaning and spirit behind the concept of cleanliness is much beyond the superficial concept of the conventional cleanliness.


In the Holy Quran, there are a number of verses which shed light at the importance of cleanliness: "Truly, Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." (Al Baqarah 2:222) At another place Allah says: “In it (mosque) are men who love to clean and to purify themselves. And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure.” (9:108) Cleanliness and purity has been emphasized by various means in hundreds of Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In a Hadith he said: Cleanliness is half of faith. (Sahih Muslim Book 2, Number 0432)


The importance of cleanliness can be estimated from the fact that the books of Hadith as well as the Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) start with a chapter on cleanliness. There are two terms used in Islamic literature: taharah and nazafah. Taharah (Cleanliness from physical impurities) is required by Islam to be observed by each and every Muslim in his and her daily life while nazafah (neatness) is a desirable attribute.


There are two kinds of cleanliness; physical and spiritual. As far as physical cleanliness is concerned, it is of two types. One which is related to human body and the other is related to environment, water, house, road and public places. Muslims are required to observe cleanliness from the excretions of the penis, vagina or anus. Semen, sperm, urine, menstruation, vaginal fluid, stool and blood are impure and require compulsory modes of cleanliness. Muslims wash their genitals after passing urine and secretion and take bath every time they have intercourse with their mates. Muslims also enjoined to use water, not paper or anything else after eliminating body wastes. They are categorically prohibited to have sex with their wives during their menses.


A Muslim is obliged to make ablution if exposed to minor impurities. This means he must wash off those parts of the body (like hand, feet, face, nostrils etc) which are commonly exposed to dust, dirt and environmental pollution. Before every prayer (at least five times a day) and before recital of the Quran, Muslims are asked to perform this ablution. Likewise, Muslims are enjoined to have a Ghusl (bathe) after ejaculation, sexual intercourse, menstruation and puerperium. While at many other occasions, bathing is recommended as for Friday prayer, festival days, in Hajj etc.


Muslims are duty bound to keep the nails clipped, to remove hair from the armpit and from the pubic area as a matter of routine practice. Muslim males are required to get circumcised to avoid even faint traces of urine entrapped in the foreskin of the genitals. They are also instructed to trim their moustaches in order to avert oral intakes. Islam has directed attention in taking care of mouth by using any purifying agent like miswak. Brushing the teeth (once or twice a day) is very recent development of near past, but Muslims are accustomed this herbal brush for the past 1400 years, five times a day prior to each ablution. There are a number of Hadith that lay special stress on cleaning the teeth, hands and hair.


Apart from body, Islam requires a Muslim to keep his clothes, houses and streets clean. In fact a Muslim cannot offer his prayers with unclean body, clothes or using dirty premises. They are asked to use clean water and keep it safe from impurities and pollution. The particular chapter of taharah starts with the classification of water and goes on to describe how water gets impure or polluted.


Moreover, Islam instructed Muslims to maintain the cleanliness of the roads and streets. This is considered a charity to ridding the streets of impurities and filth. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) strictly warned against it and considered it one of the reasons to provoke Allah's curse and the people's curse, saying: "Beware of the three acts that cause others to curse you: relieving yourselves in a watering place, on foot paths or shaded places." (Abu Dawud, No 26)


Apart from physical cleanliness, Islam emphasizes on spiritual cleanliness. This means that one is free from polytheism, hypocrisy and ill manners, love of wealth, love of fame and other carnal desires. The emphasis in Islam is more on the cleanliness of the inner-self that is heart, mind and soul. The external cleaning process and rituals in reality are the preparatory ground work to obtain the more important task and that is cleanliness of the inner-self, which is the ultimate goal of the religion. Islam requires the sincere believer to sanitize and purify his entire way of life. The directives of Zakah (alms) and fasting are nothing but to purify ones wealth and soul.


Cleanliness is the pathway to health and strength. Islam wants a healthy and strong Muslim society which is immune against infectious diseases and is capable of understanding and applying God's message and carrying it away to the whole world. The Holy Quran says: You are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing In Allah. (Surah Aal-Imran, 3/110)


In view of the significance of cleanliness in Islam, Muslims should have the highest standard of cleanliness and personal hygiene of all the people in the world. But, it is highly regrettable that the heap of garbage has become an identity of Muslim homes and localities. The Muslim majority areas are marked with unhygienic and unhealthy condition


Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
khaliliqasmi@gmail.com






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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

VISITING THE SICK.......(2)





The rewards for visiting the sick are great in both number and magnitude. The Prophet Muhammad said:

“If a man calls on his sick Muslim brother, it is as if he walks reaping the fruits of Paradise until he sits, and when he sits he is showered in mercy, and if this was in the morning, seventy thousand angels pray for him until the evening, and if this was in the evening, seventy thousand angels pray for him until the morning.” (Al-Tirmidhi)


And he, Heavenly Salutations be upon him, also said:
“Whoever visits a sick person is plunging into mercy until he sits down, and when he sits down he is submerged in it.” (Silsilah Al-Saheehah)
And the Prophet also said:

“Whoever visits a sick person or visits a brother in Islam, a caller cries out to him: ‘May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you occupy a dignified position in Paradise.’”[1]

Happiness and optimism are Islamic virtues when they spring from trust and hope in God. Likewise sadness and pessimism are sinful when they reflect a state of despair in the Almighty. Therefore, regardless of how bad or “incurable” the illness, the one visiting the sick should encourage him with hope in God, Who has power over all things, including the chronically, even terminally ill.

“Is not He (God) able to give life to the dead?!” (Quran 75:40)
“…And in God should the believers put their trust.” (Quran 3:122)
Besides trying to help the sick forget their pain, suffering, discomfort and hardship – even if only for a short while - the visit should also serve to boost their morale, lift their spirit and strengthen their resolve. Abdullah b. Abbas, the cousin and Companion of the Prophet, related that when visiting a sick person, God’s Messenger would say:

“Be steadfast, may God purify you.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
What’s more, the visitor should use the occasion of his visit to remind himself and the one being visited of their total and utter dependence upon God; that it is better to suffer in this life than the Next, and that He, Most High, will reward the believer who is patient and firm when put to in trial.
“…And (righteous are those) who remain patient in times of poverty, sickness and during conflict….” (Quran 2:177)

Tactful speech is advisable during the best of times. The one visiting the sick ought to be especially sensitive and careful with his words when in the presence of the suffering. After all, exacerbating the patient’s distress might lead to a worsening of their physical condition. And just because a person may be incapacitated due to their sickness, it does not mean that they forfeit their right to be obeyed in their own house, nor that their privacy go un-respected. The scholar of Islam, Imam Ibn Abdul-Barr, wrote in his book of Islamic jurisprudence, Al-Kafi:

“Whether you visit a healthy or an ill person, you ought to sit where you are told. Hosts know better how to ensure privacy in their home. Visiting an ill person is a confirmed Sunnah. The best visit is the shortest. The visitor ought not to sit too long with an ill person, unless they are close friends and the ill person enjoys their company.”

As for the length of the visit, if the visitor is sincere in his intention, once he has achieved the objective of his visit, he would have no reason to burden the sick person with a prolonged stay and unnecessary disturbance. The Syrian scholar, Shaykh Abdul-Fatah Abu Ghuddah, wrote in his book on Islamic manners:

“The length of the visit should not be longer than the time between the two sermons of Friday. In this respect, it was said that the visit should be long enough to convey salaams and wishes, to ask the sick how they are doing, to pray for their recovery and to leave immediately after bidding them farewell.”

The point being that the visitor must show compassion at every moment and opportunity: compassion through the appropriateness of his words, compassion through the correctness of his conduct, and compassion through the brevity of his stay; all in the sure knowledge that doing so would lend him towards God’s Compassion, as His Beloved Prophet said:

“Show mercy to those on earth, the One above the heavens will show mercy upon you.”
And from the most compassionate of actions is to emulate the Sunnah (inspired practice) of the Prophet Muhammad in visiting the sick. That is because to say and do as he did is the surest way to bring about success in both this life and the Next, for both the visitor and the one being visited. From the many Prophetic narrations that have reached us in this regard is the narration of A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, where she said:

“If someone fell sick, the Prophet would pass his right hand over them while saying the following prayer: ‘O Lord of humanity!, take away the suffering, bring the recovery, there is no cure but Your cure that leaves no illness.’” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

Also, from the practice of the Prophet when visiting the sick was to say:
“No worry. It is a cleansing and purification, if God so wills.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Let us hope and pray that each and every affliction we experience is a blessing in disguise, a cleansing and purification of both our body and soul from every harm and impurity. And may our visiting others during their sickness bring us and them reward from He Who is Most High. And in God we seek refuge.







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VISITING THE SICK.......(1)


Islam invites to all that is good and warns from all that is bad. From those good and virtuous deeds is the visiting of the ill and afflicted. When people visit each other in good health, bonds of brotherhood and friendship are strengthened. How then when people visit each other in times of sickness and poor or failing health? Illustrating the empathy that Muslims are required to feel for each other, Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“The parable of the Believers in their mutual love and mercy is like that of a living body: if one part feels pain, the whole body suffers in sleeplessness and fever.”[1]


Visiting the sick is from the clearest signs of such mutual love, mercy and empathy. More than that, visiting the sick is a major responsibility that every single Muslim is duty-bound to fulfill. The Prophet Muhammad said:
“The rights of one Muslim over another Muslim are six… When you meet him, you greet him with the salaam (i.e. to say: “As-Salamu alaykum”), when he invites you, you accept his invitation, when he consults you in a matter, you give him sincere advice, when he sneezes and praises God, you ask God to have mercy on him, when he is sick, you visit him, and when he passes away you accompany him (through his funeral).”[2]


In this Prophetic narration) we find that the Muslim is encouraged with concern for his brother in Islam during the three phases of his worldly existence: his health, sickness and his death.Whilst in good health, the Muslim is obliged to greet his brother in faith with the greetings of peace and protection, to accept his invitations and to give him sincere advice.Then, when the Muslim is suffering from a cold, an allergy or whatever else is causing him to sneeze, his brother in Islam is obliged to ask God to have mercy on him. Likewise, when the Muslim’s sickness is such that he is incapacitated, his brother in Islam is obliged to visit him.


Finally, when the Muslim passes away from this life, his brother in faith is obliged to accompany his funeral procession, prayer and burial.
The great reward awaiting those who visit the sick was spelt out by the Prophet when he explained:


“A Muslim visiting his sick brother will continue to be in the harvest of paradise until he or she returns home.”[3]


And God’s Messenger of Mercy, Muhammad, also said:
“A visitor walking to visit a sick person will be wading in the mercy of God. When the visitor sits with the sick one, they will be immersed in mercy until his or her return.”[4]


God Himself explained the importance of and greatness of the reward of visiting the sick. The Prophet said:

“On the Day of Resurrection, God the Mighty and Majestic will say: ‘O child of Adam! I became sick and you did not visit me!’ The person will say, ‘O Lord, how can I visit you and you are the Lord of all that Exists!’ God will say, ‘Did you not know that my slave ‘so and so’ became sick, and you did not visit him? Did you not know that if you visited him, you would have found me with him?’” (Saheeh Muslim)
As with every other virtuous deed and noble duty, Prophet Muhammad led by example. He would both make time to personally visit the sick and also enquire after them through others.


Whilst in Mecca, for example, a pagan woman was given to throw filth and garbage upon the Prophet whenever he passed her house. One day, the noticeable absence of the Prophet’s abuser concerned him so much that he enquired after her. When he learnt of her sickness, he visited her. She was so taken aback by his merciful concern and that she embraced Islam.


“Repel (the evil of your foe) with what is better: then lo! the one between whom and you was enmity (will become to you) as if he were a dear friend.” (Quran 41:34)
The learned Companion, Anas b. Malik, also related the following episode from the life of God’s Final Prophet to humanity:


“A Jewish boy who would serve the Prophet fell sick, so the Prophet said: ‘Let us go and visit him.’ They (the Prophet and his illustrious Companions) went to visit him and found his father sitting by his head. The Messenger of God said: ‘Proclaim that there is no true deity worthy of being worshipped except God alone, and I will intercede on your behalf on account of it on the Day of Resurrection.’ The boy looked at his father and the father said: ‘Obey Abul-Qasim (Muhammad)!’ So the boy uttered: ‘There is no true deity worthy of being worshipped except God alone, and Muhammad is the last Messenger.’ The Messenger of God then said: ‘All praise is due to God Who saved him from the Fire of Hell.’”[5]


From these two examples from life of the Prophet, we find that it is not a precondition that the sick being visited are from within the fold of Islam. Nevertheless, from these two examples, we find that the act of visiting the sick and suffering, as exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad, can be such a touching and moving experience that it might even cure that most fateful of diseases: infidelity.
“Indeed in the Messenger of God you have an excellent example to follow for whoever hopes for [the meeting of] God and the Last Day and remembers God much.” (Quran 33:21)




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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Daily Reflections - Be Humble






It is a natural desire of human beings to want their achievements and good qualities to be recognized. We can inside ourselves privately be quite insecure and vulnerable and we desire validation from the outside world, from others, to make us feel good about ourselves and so raise our self-esteem and feeling of self-worth.

Whilst feeling worthless and having low self-esteem can be detrimental to mental health and general wellbeing, arrogance and over confidence can also be detrimental to ones character and more importantly, ones standing before Allah(swt).

Allah(swt) gives the example of Luqman(as) in the Quran when he told his son:
“do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster;” Quran 31:18

In our desire to be commended or recognized and admired in the world we can fall into the trap of drawing peoples attention to ourselves and attempting to gain the praise of admiration of others. We can start displaying traits that are arrogant and boastful and in gaining peoples pleasure, add more and more pride to our egos.

Ibrahim at-Taymi reported that his father said, "We were sitting with 'Umar and one man praised another man to his face." He said, "You have wounded the man. May Allah wound you." (Bukhari: Al-Abad Al Mufrad)

If we believe peoples praise it may be detrimental to our character, not only can it make us complacent to our faults and stunt our character development as a result, but it can also make us believe things about ourselves that are not true.

Allah(swt) will judge us and we may think we are good Muslims because we hear praise from others whom we try to impress, but in reality we have no right to hold such an opinion as Allah(swt) tells us Himself in the Quran:

So do not claim purity for yourselves. He knows best those who have fear of Him (Quran 53:32)

Humility is highly valued virtue in Islam, it is something that is encouraged in every facet of our life. Islam prescribes humble clothing, men roll up their trousers so as to be humble rather than prideful, women cover their bodies and even their faces out of humility.

The prophet(saw) set forth for us an example of pure humility in character and action, from the home he lived in, the food he ate and the state of poverty in which he left this world, despite being a powerful statesman and of noble lineage and status.

People attempt to use their arrogance and boastfulness to get themselves a higher status in this world, when in reality it is humility with elevates your status in the manner that is most important:

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Sadaqa does not decrease property and Allah only increases a slave in might by forgiveness and no one is humble for the sake of Allah without Allah elevating him." (Muslim)

It is essential to bear in mind that it is Allah(swt) who bestows honour on people, it is Allah(swt) who gives people wealth or high status in this world, it is He who makes people loved in this world and it is He who will hold us to account in the next.

Allah(swt) instructs us to be humble, so if we truly want success we should take heed of the words of Allah(swt) and the example of his messenger rather than chase worldly recognition and allow that pursuit to ruin our character by staining it with pride and arrogance.

Instead we should do our very best to develop humility in our character and try to be humble.





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Friday, October 2, 2009

Tests from Allah













Allah tells us that we will be tested. He also makes it clear to us what is expected from us when we undergo these trials and what our reward will be if we are successful.

He says: “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives and the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Those who, when misfortune strikes them, say: ‘Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him is our return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord and it is those who are rightly guided.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 155]

The Prophet (peace be upon him)said: "No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

In another narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No Muslim is afflicted by harm, whether it is but the prick of a thorn or something worse, without Allah expiating his evil deeds on account of it and his sins falling away from him like leaves off a tree.'" [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "When Allah desires good for someone, He tries him with hardships." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

The Muslim may be tested by all sorts of difficulties like sickness, lack of income, and disobedience from his children. In fact, the many afflictions that may beset a person are incalculable. This is the point that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was stressing when he mentioned: “fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness …even to the extent of a thorn pricking him”.

All of these afflictions, if endured patiently by the believer, are a means of attaining Allah’s forgiveness as well as His reward.

Every one of us is being tested by Allah. He tests us all in different ways. We should not assume that the difficulties that we face in life are punishments or are signs that Allah is displeased with us. Likewise, we should never construe the success and pleasures that others enjoy as signs that Allah is pleased with them or that they are privileged. Sometimes, quite the opposite is true.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If Allah wants good for his servant, He hurries on His punishment in this world, and if He wills ill for a servant, he holds back punishing him for his sin so He can give it to him in full on the Day of Resurrection.”

Allah makes it clear that everything in our lives – the good and the bad of it– is a trial for us. How will we cope in the situation that Allah has placed for us? Will we be grateful in prosperity and patient in affliction or will we be arrogant and disobedient?

Allah says: “Every soul shall taste of death. And We will test you with evil and with good by way of trial. And to Us is your return.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 35].

Allah says: “Know that your wealth and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a mighty reward.” [Sûrah al-Anfâl: 28]

Many people do not realize that they are tried just as severely with the good that they are given as they are by the misfortunes that befall them. Allah says: “And as for man, whenever his Lord tries him by honoring him and makes him lead an easy life, he says: ‘My Lord honors me’. But when He tries him by straitening his means of subsistence, he says: ‘My Lord has disgraced me’.” [Sûrah al-Fajr: 15-16]

Some people are blessed to be born and raised in good Muslim families then turn their backs on Islam, while others are born and raised in non-Muslim countries to unbelieving parents and grow up to be among the best of Muslims.

We are tried with wealth as well as poverty. If we are wealthy, will we hoard our wealth or spend in charity? Will we use it for lawful purposes or squander it in vice? Will we trust in Allah in our investments, or will our avarice and fear of losing our wealth make us take recourse to unlawful means to preserve it and increase it?

If we are poor, will we be content and patient and seek lawful means to attain our sustenance or will we resort to unlawful means to meet our needs? Will we accept the fact that Allah gives more to some people than he does to others, or will we grow hateful and vindictive?

We are tested with health as well as sickness. A man with good eyesight is tested with regards to his use of it. Will he use the blessing of his sight to good purpose or to gaze at unlawful things? His good eyesight may be what takes him to Hell. A blind man is tested whether he will bear patiently with his disability. His patience in affliction may be what earns him his place in Paradise. Our goal is the Hereafter and we are all being tested.

Allah says: “It is He who created death and life that He may try you as to which of you is best in deeds.” [Sûrah al-Mulk: 2]

We may also be tested through others. We know from experience that even a small child can experience suffering as well as a person who is mentally handicapped to such a degree that he cannot understand the concepts of Islam and is not legally accountable. Though it may not be that such a person is not undergoing tests of his own; however his plight may very well be a test for those his life affects. How will they treat him? Will they care for him, respect him, and give him his rights?

We may not be able to fathom the wisdom behind why Allah decrees what He does for us or for others of His creatures. However, we must know that Allah does everything in accordance with His wisdom and bear our trials patiently.

Ultimately, we must remember the words of Allah in the Qur’ân: “He cannot be questioned for what He does but they will be questioned.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 23]





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