Saturday, October 29, 2011

How Muslims Should Treat Each Other

It is very easy to say how Muslims should treat each other. Muslims should treat each other as brothers and sisters. Every Muslim has a right to be taken care of, protected and respected by the other Muslims.

Allah Ta'ala is merciful and compassionate. Allah Ta'ala is loving and kind. He wants us to be like Him. And so we should be loving and kind, merciful and compassionate to each other. Being a Muslim makes you a brother and sister of all other Muslims every where. The believers are but a single brotherhood. We should behave as brothers and sisters to all the other Muslims in the world.

And above all, Allah Ta'ala loves the Muslims. Allah Ta'ala especially loves the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). And so we who are Muslims should never forget that Allah loves the Muslims, and we must do all we can to take care of the Muslims.

Firstly, Muslims should get to know each other. This is very important today in this society we live in. We live in vast cities, where we are surrounded by strangers. But the Muslims must not be strangers to us. The Muslims are our brothers. So we should make every effort to meet Muslims, and become real friends.

Above all we must not shun each other. It is forbidden to Muslims to avoid another Muslim or turn away from him or her. Loneliness is a terrible thing. No Muslim should be lonely. There should be none of this boycotting anyone, or turning the cold shoulder to them.

Modern society is full of lonely and isolated individuals, lonely little atoms. No Muslim should be an atom. Every Muslim should be part of the Muslim brotherhood.
Secondly, we must do nothing to destroy the brotherhood of the Muslims. The Muslim Ummah, which is the Muslim community, is especially holy and sacred. It is a holy act to keep this community together, and nothing must be allowed to destroy this community.

We should love each other, not hate each other. We should not envy each other. We should be sincere to each other, and come together. There should be no falseness or separation.

Thirdly, quarrels are bound to happen. Relatives and friends fall out. When this happens, brotherhood and community disappear.
And so, when Muslims quarrel, this must not be allowed to destroy brotherhood and community. When Muslims quarrel, they must be ready to forgive and forget, and become friends again.

If two quarrel, they should leave three days for the anger to cool, and then go and apologise. And if someone apologises, you must accept the apology.
This is especially the case with relatives. Relations who quarrel must not keep away from each other. And if a relative is nasty, you must be friendly with them.
Fourthly, the only reason to keep away from anyone is the service of Allah Ta'ala. You must never keep away from anyone for a Worldly reason.

In the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) there was a military expedition to a place called Tabuk. Some men refused to go. Because they did this, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) refused to meet them.

A Muslim should never take seriously a quarrel over money. The only serious difference between Muslims must be the service of Allah Ta'ala.

But of course, if the people apologise and improve their behaviour, you must forgive them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forgave the men who had refused to go to Tabuk after fifty days.

You only stay away from people to make them better people.

Fifthly, there is a great blessing for anyone who helps to keep the Muslim community together. And so a Muslim should help to settle quarrels that arise between Muslims.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that to put right a dispute between people was better than fasting, charity and namaz.

The reason for this is simple. Islam is a religion of spiritual peace. The aim of Islam is to do Zikr, to be conscious of Allah, to think of Allah. Quarrelling takes away that peace of mind. And so quarrelling ruins Islam.

And the aim of Islam is an Islamic life. Such a life can only be led in a community, in a friendly group of people. And so quarrelling also ruins the Islamic life.
To end a quarrel restores the religion and restores the religious life. To encourage people to quarrel ruins the religion, and the life.

Sixthly, everything that causes quarrelling and spoils brotherhood between Muslims is forbidden.It is forbidden to laugh at people and make fun of them. Many people laugh at the sick, or the poor or the unfortunate, or the downtrodden.
Islam says that those who laugh at others will themselves be laughed at, but on the Day of Judgement

It is also forbidden to say evil things about people, to tell lies about them. The Muslims are one body, and if you say evil things about a Muslim, you are really saying evil things about yourself. The whole Community suffers if any Muslim has a bad name. So we should never do anything which helps to give any Muslim a bad name. Muslims are one family, and obviously every member of a family suffers if one family member has a bad name. Many people call others by nasty nicknames, and foul names. Muslims should never do this. No Muslim should call another Muslim by nasty and foul nicknames.

Seventhly, we should treat each other as brothers and sisters.
We should trust each other. We should not be suspicious of each other. We should always assume people are good, and only change our opinions of them when we really know they have done bad deeds. We should not be imagining the worst, and looking for faults.

We should think the best of anyone, and think so just because he or she is a Muslim.
We should also not attempt to discover if our brother Muslims are committing sins. We should not spy on Muslims. Every Muslim should have complete privacy and we should completely respect their privacy.

No-one is perfect. Everyone commits sins. If people sin, it is no matter to us as long as they don’t do it openly. And if we know people have faults, we should give them advice to make them better.

We shouldn't be nosey. We shouldn't peep into people's houses. We should not listen in to other people's conversation. Those who do listen like that will have molten lead poured into their ears on the Day of Judgement.You should also not be running telling tales. You should not be a sneak.

Eighthly, you should not backbite. To slander someone is to say something bad about someone which is false. For example you say that someone has been stealing, and they have never stolen.

To backbite is to say something bad about someone which is perfectly true, but which the person would not like to hear you say. A Muslim should not do this. He or she should not backbite.When people are not present, you should say only nice things about them, and avoid saying unpleasant things.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that to backbite was to eat the flesh of the absent person.Backbiting is only done out of dislike for the person talked about. Those who backbite attack everyone they meet. If you hear them criticising someone, they'll be attacking you as soon as you are out of the room.
And so you should not tolerate backbiting.

Someone who listens and does not protest when backbiting happens is as guilty as the one who speaks. And you should not be ready to believe what is said, if it's bad. And you should not pass backbiting on. If you meet someone who has been attacked behind his back, you don't tell him what has been said, and you even say nice things were said about him. The person who repeats backbiting is just as bad as the backbiter.

You should defend the person who is attacked. You should avoid conversation which contains backbiting or slander.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I asked for Strength.........
And God gave me Difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom.........
And God gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity.........
And God gave me Brain and Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage.........
And God gave me Danger to overcome.
I asked for Love.........
And God gave me Troubled people to help.
I asked for Favours.........
And God gave me Opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted
I received everything I needed
My Prayer has been answered



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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Parent-Child Relationship in Islam

(1) Rights of Parents (and Duties of children)
Islam recognises family as a basic social unit. Along with the husband-wife relationship the Parent-child relationship is the most important one. To maintain any social relationship both parties must have some clear-cut Rights as well as obligations. The relationships are reciprocal. Duties of one side are the Rights of the other side. So in Parent-child relationship the Rights of parents are the obligations (duties) of the children and vice versa, the Rights of children are obligations (duties) of parents. Islam clearly defines the Rights of Parents (which mean duties of children) and obligations of parents (which means Rights of children).

It is clear that after Allah parents are the persons who give us innumerable favors. They provide protection, food and clothing to the newly born. The mother sacrifices her comforts and sleep to provide comfort to her children. The father works hard to provide for their physical, educational and psychological (and spiritual) needs. It is a matter of common courtesy that if a person does you some favor you feel obliged to him. Verbally you say ‘thank you’ to him. You try to repay and compensate him for his gifts and favors. You feel a sense of gratitude towards him. So it is with Allah and with parents. Allah’s favors cannot be counted or repaid except by thanking Him and obeying His orders. After Allah our parents deserve our thanks and obedience for the favors they had done us. That’s why Quran lays stress on feeling grateful to parents, and doing good to them. “And your Lord has ordained that you shall worship none save Him and shall do your parents a good turn.” What does a ‘good turn’ mean? It includes obeying them, speaking softly, avoiding harsh words or harsh tone, giving them company when they are lonely, caring for their physical and psychological needs (especially in their old age), and praying to Allah that He may bless them and have mercy on them.

As between parents the mother has more rights than the father. The reason is apparent. Mother has borne the child’s burden during pregnancy, has undergone birth pains in delivering the baby, has sacrificed her own comforts to provide comfort to her children, has looked after them and felt worried for their well-being. That is why mother deserves our good treatment more than the father. A Tradition of the Prophet (PBUH) tells us that a Companion asked the Prophet, “ Who deserves my good treatment most?” “Your mother”, said the Prophet. “Who next?” “Your mother”. “Who next?” “Your mother”. “Who after that?” “Your father”. This means that the mother deserves three times more good treatment from her children than the father deserves. Another Tradition wants us to extend kind treatment to close relations on the mother’s side also (even to her friends). A famous Hadith (Tradition) says, “Paradise lies under the feet of the mother”. This means doing good to our mother lead us to Paradise.

As to the reward for doing good to our parents a Hadith mentions the following story: “Three persons of ancient days were once travelling in a mountaneous region. The rain, thunder and lightning made them take refuge in a cave. Mudslide made a stone block the opening to the cave. The persons were entrapped inside. When the storm stopped they tried to push back the heavy stone to get out of the cave but they could not. They wondered ‘what to do now’. At last seeing that their joint efforts also cannot move the stone they decided to pray to Allah sincerely. One of them suggested, ‘each one of us should relate one good thing he has done in his life and beg Allah to move the stone. One said, “One night my old mother asked me to bring a cup of milk for her. During the time I milched the goat and brought it to her she had gone to sleep. I did not think it proper to disturb her. So I stood by her bedside for the whole night till she got up in the morning and then I offered her the cup of milk. O God, if this act of mine was approved by You please shift this stone.” The stone slipped a little but not enough to let them get out. Similarly, the second and the third man mentioned an act of goodness and prayed to God to shift the stone. The stone slipped down and the entry to the cave opened up. So the men got out. This story shows how service to one’s parents leads to blessings from God and rescue from troubles. Now let us summarize the Rights of Parents (Duties of children):

(1) Right to be respected and obeyed:
Parents have a right to be respected and obeyed by children. All parents are well wishers of children. They issue orders and instructions that are in the best interest of children (though children might think ottherwise). So it is the duty of children to obey their orders and act accordingly. Some children listen to parental orders but do not act upon these or show laziness in carrying out these orders. This causes annoyance to parents. Children should remember that annoying one’s parents can lead to God’s wrath.

(2) Right to scold and rebuke:
It is instinctive obligation of parents to protect their children from physical and moral harm. If a small child puts its hand in fire it is natural urge for you to push the child back, even if the child does not want. It is in child’s interest. So it is with parents. They are duty bound to protect their children in every way, physical, intellectual, moral. If the children have a temptation to do an act that is not in their long-term interest it is the duty of the parents to keep them back from that act or behavior. To this end they may resort to advice, rebuke, scolding, even hitting them. Good children should take all this ‘harshness’ in their own interest. If parents scold them they should bear it calmly. No rude replies, no arguing, no explanations, no comments unless asked for. Parental advice should be listened to and acted upon, even if against children’s own wishes.

(3) Right to be looked after.
Parents have looked after the children for decades. So it is the duty of grown-up children to repay them by way of caring for them and looking to their physical and financial needs. A Quranic verse says: “People ask you (O Prophet) how should they spend. Say, ‘whatever you spend should be spent on Allah (in good cause), on parents, near relatives, on orphans, destitutes and travelers (who fall short of money in foreign lands)”.

(4) Right to be helped:
As parents grow old their energies also decline. So it is the duty of children to help their parents in any household chore in which they can help. Sons can help in lifting heavy things, cleaning home, arranging things etc. Daughters can help in mother’s household work—cooking, washing, cleaning, serving food etc. With good children such help should come automatically, not when asked for. Whenever you see your mother or father doing something extend a helping hand to her/him without their asking. This is what Islam expects from children.

(5) Right to kind words/good behaviour:
Quran urges children to be soft-spoken towards parents and show respect and kindness in their behavior towards parents.
Unforunate as it is, the Western societies have forgotten these lessons. Young children are rude towards parents and show disobedience. As the parents grow old they drive them out from their homes and put them in “Senior Citizens Homes”. Grown up children cannot spare time to attend to the needs of old parents. The busy Western life has led to a break-up of the family unit (so much upheld in Islam). As Muslims we expect our children to adhere to Islamic values and show respect, obedience, kindness, leniency and care towards parents, especially in their old age. Children must not forget the favors and sacrifices of their parents. As good mannered persons they must feel and remain obliged towards parents and try to repay them by kind words and deeds, even with money and material needs. These are the Rights of Parents due from their children (or the Duties of Children towards parents). These Rights and obligations are not found in Islam only. Such values are to be found in all true religions. Quran mentions Hazrat Yahya (John the Baptist) as “kind towards his parents, not tough and disobedient”. Similarly Hazrat Isa (Jesus) is quoted saying to his people, “God made me kind towards my mother (Mary) and did not make me tough and disobedient”. Hazrat Yousuf (Joseph), as a royal Minister in Egypt, called his old, poor parents from their far off home and offered them seats on a high platform (he did not feel shy of behaving in a kind manner to poor parents in the presence of his officials).

(2) Rights of Children

Now let us see the other side of the coin. We have mentioned that Parent-child relation is a reciprocal one. The Rights of Parents (discussed above) are the Duties of children. Now let us see what are the Rights of Children (and Duties of Parents) in Islam. These can be summarized as under:
(1) Children have the right to be fed, clothed and protected till they grow up to adulhood. It is, primarily, the duty of the father to do that. Mother can provide help if necessary. Protection means protection against physical as well as moral and intellectual harm. Parents are duty bound to see that the child’s personality develops in all fields. So if the parents have to resort to strictness for the sake of disciplining the children and protecting them from intellectually, morally and religiously undesirable behaviour, children should not resent their strictness. Let them perform their duty as parents. Children’s duty is not to protest or be rude but to listen and obey. “Their’s not to question why; their’s but to do and die”.

(2) Right to education.
In Islam education is not limited to bookish knowledge but includes moral and religious training also. It means healthy all-round growth of child’s personality. Parents must not only provide for children’s education in schools and colleges but should also take personal interest in their studies, helping them if they can. This gives children a feeling of ‘working with the parents’ and encourages them in studies. Parents should sacrifice their own comfort and social activities and must spare some time to take interest in children’s studies, especially when they are young. Leaving children to the mercy of teachers or tutors is not a wise policy. And of course, parents should not forget or neglect imparting religious/moral training to children. A little sacrifice on part of parents will save children from moral disasters. Effective moral training comes not from sermons, advice and precepts but from parents’ personal examples of good behaviour. It is a famous Tradition of the Prophet (PBUH) that acquisition of knowledge is a must for every Muslim boy and girl. Another Hadith says, “The best of you is one who gives a good education (intellectual and moral) to his children”. Another Hadith lays stress on education of daughters. The Prophet (PBUH) once said, “He who provides good upbringing to 3 daughters shall go to Paradise”. A man asked, “what if one has only two daughters”. “He also shall go to Paradise”. Another man asked, “and what if one has only one daughter?” “He too”, replied the Prophet (PBUH).

(3) Right to love and affection:
Children have many psychological needs also. Small children need to be loved, caressed, kissed and hugged. The Prophet loved children greatly. He would allow his grandsons Hassan and Hussain (R.A) to ride his shoulders even during his prayers. In streets he would offer ‘salaam’ to children, play and cut jokes with them. Sometimes he would even kiss small children in the street. Once a Bedouin saw the Prophet kissing a small kid. Out of wonder he said, “I have eight children but I never kiss them”. The Prophet remarked, “What can I do if Allah has taken away love and compassion from your heart”. The Prophet would show special kindness to orphaned children. Some parents believe that being frank with children is not good from discipline point of view. This is wrong. Love and leniency can do much that fear and strictness cannot do. If leniency leads to rudeness on the part of children it should be mixed with strictness. That will tell the children that parents are basically kind but can be tough if children show rudeness and bad manners. Over-protection and over-care are undesirable. Let the child grow up as a responsible person. Only provide them guidance.

(4) Right to be well provided (materially)
A Hadith says, “It is better for parents to leave their children well provided (financially) than to leave them in poverty”. This means that parents should not spend all that they have on their own comforts and luxuries but must make provisions for children’s welfare after the parents die. These are brief outlines of the Rights and Duties of both parties in the Parent-child relationship. If the parents and children act according to these guidelines they can make the family environment most conducive to peace and satisfaction for the parents and healthy personality growth for children. May Allah bless us all. AMEN.

© (Dr.) I.A. Arshed, 1919, Valleria Courts, Sugarland. Tx 77479
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Avoiding Nightmares and Sleep Disturbances

Most nightmares have their basis in our waking lives. They can stem from something we have seen or from what had been preoccupying our thoughts during the day. They can be the consequence of stressful or frightening experiences.
Nightmares are most common among small children. Their frequency generally decreases with age up to the time of puberty. Among adults, nightmares are more common among women than among men.

Someone who has a nightmare should not become worried. A major cause of nightmares is eating late at night right before going to sleep. When a person sleeps right after eating, his accelerated metabolic processes affect his body and mental activity during sleep.

Apart from that, it is recommended for a Muslim to sleep in a state of ritual purity. This mean it is best to perform wudû’ before going to bed.
It is also recommended to lie on the right side when going to sleep. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to sleep on his right side and instructed his followers to do so.

He said [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (247) and Sahîh Muslim (2710)]:
If you come to your sleeping place, perform your ablutions as you would for prayer, then lay down on your right side, then say:

“O Allah, I have submitted myself to You and have entrusted to You my affairs, and I have taken refuge in You, in both hope and fear of You. There is no refuge or sanctuary from You except with You. O Allah! I believe in Your Book that You have revealed and Your Prophet whom You have sent.”
If you die in on this night of yours, then you will be on the natural faith. Make these words the last thing that you utter.

It is also strongly recommended to recite the other remembrances prescribed for sleeping that we find in the Sunnah.

Among the most important of these is to recite Ayah al-Kursî, which is verse 255 of Sûrah al-Baqarah. Abu Hurayrah relates [Sahîh al-Bukharî (3275)]:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) put me in charge of guarding the Zakâh of Ramadan. Someone came and began to take handfuls of food. I grabbed him and said:

“By Allah, I will take you to the Messenger of Allah!”

He said: “I am poor and have a large family and I am in dire need.”
So I let him go and in the morning the Prophet said: “O Abû Hurayrah! What did you do with your prisoner yesterday?”

I said: “O Messenger of Allah, he complained of dire need and a large family, so I showed mercy to him and let him go on his way.”

He said: “He lied to you and he will come back.” So, from the words of the Messenger of Allah, I knew that he would come back. Therefore, I lay in wait for him and he came and once more began to take handfuls of food.

I seized him and said: “I will take you to Allah’s Messenger!”
He said: “Let me go. I am poor and have a large family. I will not come back again.” So I had mercy upon him and let him go his way.

In the morning the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to me: “O Abû Hurayrah! What did you do with your prisoner yesterday?”
I said: “O Messenger of Allah, he complained of dire need and a large family, so I showed mercy to him and let him go on his way.”

He said: “He lied to you and he will come back.” So I lay in wait for him a third time and he came and began to take handfuls of food. I grabbed him and said: “I will take you to Allah’s Messenger! This is the third time. You claimed you would not come back and then you came back.”

He said: “Let me go. I will teach you some words which will help you with Allah.”
I said: “What are they?”
He said: “When you go to bed, recite Ayah al-Kursî, “Allah, there is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Sustaining…” to the end of the verse. You will have someone guarding over you from Allah and the devils will not come near you until the morning.”

So I let him go on his way. In the morning, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to me: “What did you do with your prisoner yesterday?”
I said: “O Messenger of Allah! He claimed that he would teach me some words which would help me with Allah, so I let him go on his way.”
He said: “What are they?”

I said: “He said to me, ‘When you go to bed, recite Ayah al-Kursî to the end.’ He said to me: ‘You will have someone guarding over you from Allah and the devils will not come near you until the morning’.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He told you the truth even though he is a liar. Do you know whom you were speaking with on these three days, Abû Hurayrah?”
I said: “No.”

The Prophet said: “It was Satan.”

It is also recommended to recite the last two chapters of the Qur’ân – Sûrah al-Falaq and Sûrah al-Nâs. They are known as “the two chapters of seeking Allah’s refuge.”

One important supplication by which we seek refuge with Allah from the evil of human beings and jinn is: “In the name of Allah, with whose name nothing brings harm in the heavens or on Earth.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) informed us that whoever recites this three times every morning and evening, that he will not come to harm. [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (4425) Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3310) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah

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