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31
Jan

Article: Contemplate…then repent

Assalamu Alaikum.

I’m back*.

[*After a one day blogging break due to Internet issues.]

[Note: My apologies for the delay in replying to your comments. I’ll try to do so soon, insha-Allah.]

Here’s an article for us to contemplate over (fittingly entitled “Contemplate”) in our run up to Ramadan (yes, 6 months ahead just like the early generations).

[A little reminder: Please don’t forget to do dua for our brothers and sisters in Egypt. One of my friends told me that the situation is pretty bad there. There are gangs going around looting and killing people.

We should always remember our Muslim brethren and do dua for them. It doesn’t matter if they come from Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, China, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan or any other country. They are our family and we are their family, simply because of this wonderful religion that we all share.

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ

“The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islشmic religion).” [Surah Al-Hujurat (49) : 10]

Blood may be thicker than water but religion is much thicker than blood.]

__________________________________________________________

http://www.madeenah.com/article.cfm?id=1343

Contemplate…then Repent

Shaykh Waseeullaah `Abbaas

In the name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa baraakaatuh.

Noble reader, let us consider some of the verses of the Book of Allaah (the Majestic and Exalted):

*Contemplate the saying of Allaah,

{…they are the ones cursed by Allaah and cursed by those who curse.} [2:159]

He then said after this, ‘Except those who repent…’

*Contemplate the saying of Allaah (the Most Exalted),

{They will abide therein (Hell). Neither will their torment be lightened, nor will it be delayed or postponed.} [03:88]

He said after this, ‘Except those who repent…’

*Contemplate the saying of Allaah (the Majestic and Exalted),

{Verily, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire; no helper will you find for them.} [04:145]

After this He said, ‘except those who repent…’

*Contemplate the saying of Allaah (the Majestic and Exalted),

{…and a great torment is for them in the Hereafter.} [05:33]

Also contemplate the saying of Allaah (the Majestic and Exalted),

{Surely, disbelievers are those who said: Allaah is the third of the three (in a Trinity)} [05:73]

He then said after this, ‘Will they not repent to Allaah’

*Contemplate the saying of Allaah (the Majestic and Exalted),

{…and whoever does this shall receive the punishment.} [25:68]

He said after this, ‘Except he who repents…’

*Contemplate the saying of Allaah,

{So they will be thrown in Hell.} [19:59]

He then said after it, ‘except he who is repentant’

*Contemplate the saying of Allaah (the Majestic and Exalted),

{…and that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.} [15:50]

He said before it, ‘Truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful.’

*Contemplate the saying of Allaah (the Majestic and Exalted),

{[They] will have the torment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the burning Fire.} [85:10]

He said before it, ‘…and then they do not turn in repentance, (to Allaah).’

Great Verses

Allaah (the Glorified and the Most High) said,

{…but whosoever repents after his crime and does righteous good deeds, then verily Allaah will pardon him.} [05:39]

{…and I am indeed Forgiving to him who repents, believes and does righteous good deeds; and then remains constant in doing them.} [20:82]

{…and ask forgiveness of your Lord and turn unto Him in repentance. Verily, my Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving.} [11:90]

{Truly, Allaah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance} [02:222]

{O you who believe! Turn to Allaah with sincere repentance.} [66:08]

An Invitation…

If only we would account for ourselves…

If only we would answer the call of our Lord…

My noble brother…

Remember the following conditions of repentance:

1 – To give up the sin immediately.

2 – To regret what has happened in the past.

3 – To have a firm resolve not to go back to the sin.

Glad-Tidings…

– The door to repentance is open.

– You should know that Allaah is pleased with the repentance of His slave.

– The one who repents from a sin is like the one who has no sins remaining.

– Repentance wipes away that which came before it.

– Whoever leaves something for the sake of Allaah, He replaces it with something better for him.

May Allaah guide us all to every type of goodness.

May he bless us with the lofty Al-Firdaws in Paradise.

Ameen.

Do you not want to be from amongst those whom Allaah loves?

Do you not want Allaah to forgive you?

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29
Jan

Three things…

Assalamu Alaikum.

What “three things”, you ask?

Well, I was planning to tell you….

You know how we always have this “my life sucks so much, how do I start rectifying it” sort of attitude? We always think: “I will be a great Muslim one day” but we don’t know where to start.

Well, I think we could summarise all the “self-development” points mentioned in the Quran and  the Sunnah into three main categories:

1) Improve our ibaadah

– That includes prayers, charity, fasting, reciting the Quran, reciting the required adhkar (remembrances), doing dua etc.

– It also includes seeking knowledge.

– It also includes actions of the heart such as tawakkul (relying upon Allah), fearing Allah, loving Allah, etc

2) Decrease sinning

Yes, we have to do this. Otherwise, we’ll just cancel out our good deeds with the evil deeds!

– Avoid all major sins. If we stumble, we need to repent immediately.

– Avoid minor sins as much as possible. We need to try to recite the adhkar that expiate for our minor sins.

Note #1: What are the major sins? In order to avoid them, we need to know what  they are.*

[*Want a series on this? After I finish all the pending ones, of course, insha-Allah….]

Note #2: Major sins are not expiated by doing good deeds. That’s just for minor sins. Major sins are only expiated through repentance, and repentance is not accepted if you do not stop doing that major sin.

3) Be helpful to those around us.

– Includes displaying good manners and controlling our tongues.

– Includes social work of any kind.

– Includes dawah as well.

How do we start with making our “great Muslim” vision come true? Well, we could try to improve in each category step by step.

Okay, I should point out that this is the way that I categorise it for myself as it’s easier to think “I need to work on three things” rather than “I need to work on a hundred things”. This is my personal approach so I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I was quoting a scholar.

I’ll explain why I categorised the points in this way in a future post, insha-Allah.

What do you think? Is it an easy way? Or are there some errors in it?

Comments are welcome.*

[*I always say that but nobody comments.]

28
Jan

Book: Exposing Shaytan

Assalamu Alaikum.

Yes, Shaytan (the devil) is locked up during Ramadan but what about the other 11 months?

Well, the good news is that he tends to use the same tricks over and over again.

The bad news is that he manages to hoodwink us even with the reused tactics.

The problem is that most of us aren’t aware of his tactics. Once we understand them, then we will be more prepared to fight his whispers, insha-Allah.

Here’s a good book on this topic entitled Exposing Shaytan by Sister Shawana Aziz.

[Click on the image to download the book.]

I haven’t read the whole book but it pretty much covers everything (as far as I can see) including why he wants to mislead us, his tricks and ways to save ourselves.

If anyone is interested in reading more about this topic, please let me know as I have a few more e-books that I can post, insha-Allah.

27
Jan

A Day in Your Life – No. 1: What to do after you open your eyes…

Assalamu Alaikum.

Yes, I’ve started a new series and yes, I am planning to complete all the other series especially the tennis one, insha-Allah.

What’s this series about? Well, we always seems to have these “Ramadan schedules” floating around just before the greatest month comes.

The sad part about these “Ramadan schedules” is that most of the things in them are meant to be done on a daily basis, not just in Ramadan.

So, this series is a step by step guide on how we can improve ourselves in the “little” aspects that occur from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. If we implement these things, then most of our day will resemble those “Ramadan schedule” days, insha-Allah.

So, the first thing that happens in the morning is that we open our eyes and then what?

Well, what usually happens to many people is that they yawn, stretch themselves and then rush towards:

Or if you live in certain parts of the world:

However, that’s not what we are supposed to do.

We’re supposed to remember Allah before we remember to answer the call of nature.

So what do we do?

We do what the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) did of course.

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّـهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّـهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّـهَ كَثِيرًا

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” [Surah Al-Ahzab (33) : 21]

So, what did he do after he woke up?

كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا أراد أن ينام قال : ( باسمك اللهم أموت وأحيا ) . وإذا استيقظ من منامه قال :  الحمد الله الذي أحيانا بعد ما أماتنا وإليه النشور

Narrated Hudhaifa (radiallahu anhu): Whenever the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) intended to go to bed, he would recite: “Bismika Allahumma amutu wa ahya (With Your name, O Allah, I die and I live).” And when he woke up from his sleep, he would say: “Al-hamdu lil-lahil-ladhi ahyana ba’da ma amaatana; wa ilaihin-nushoor (All the Praises are for Allah Who has made us alive after He made us die (sleep) and unto Him is the Resurrection). [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 8, Hadeeth No. 336]

So, the dua is:

[Courtesy of Make Dua.]

[Note: Sleep is a minor death. When you realise this, both the duas mentioned above will make sense.]

26
Jan

Free Online Course on An-Nawawi’s 40 Hadeeth offered by Knowledge International University

Assalamu Alaikum.

[KIU (Knowledge International University) is an online university founded by some senior Saudi scholars.]

They’re offering a free short course on the 40 Hadeeth of Imam An-Nawawi (rahimahullah).

[Click on the image to enlarge its size.]

This is a great chance for everybody because:

1) One of the intructors of this course is a real scholar*.

[*Yes, yes, I know. Every Abdullah, Muhammad and Ali is referred to as a “scholar” these days  but this is a real one.]

2) The 40 hadeeth is one of the greatest books out there. It’s only when one studies it in detail that one realises how comprehensive it is.

3) It’s free.

4) Those who take the course have an opportunity to obtain a full scholarship  for an online Islamic studies degree from KIU.

Click here for more information.

Please do forward this to everyone that you know.

Jazakumullahu kheira.

25
Jan

How to supplicate and how NOT to supplicate…

Assalamu Alaikum.

Dua (supplication) is something that we need to do at all times.

[Unfortunately, some people just confine it to Ramadan and that is a disaster!]

Many of us don’t supplicate in the proper manner though.

What is the “proper manner”, you ask?

Well, the proper manner is the way of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) which is the moderate way.

The two improper manners of supplicating are the two extremes.

Confused?

Let me explain.

1) Asking only for this world

This is a mistake, and unfortunately a very common one.

Why is it a mistake?

Because Allah says:

فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ

“But of mankind there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us (Your Bounties) in this world!” and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 200]

What’s the correct way?

Well, Allah mentions it in the next ayah (verse):

وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

“And of them there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire![Al-Baqarah (2) : 201]

أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا ۚ وَاللَّـهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ

“For them there will be allotted a share for what they have earned. And Allah is Swift at reckoning.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 202]

The hereafter is more important than the worldly life so how can we forget the former and remember the latter??

2) Asking only for the hereafter

This is also a mistake.

Why?

The following hadeeth tells us why:

أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عاد رجلا من المسلمين قد خفت فصار مثل الفرخ . فقال له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ” هل كنت تدعو بشيء أو تسأله إياه ؟ ” قال : نعم . كنت أقول : اللهم ! ما كنت معاقبي به في الآخرة ، فعجله لي في الدنيا . فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ” سبحان الله ! لا تطيقه – أو لا تستطيعه – أفلا قلت : اللهم ! آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار ؟ ” قال ، فدعا الله له . فشفاه

Anas (radiallahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) visited a person from amongst the Muslims in order to inquire (about his health) who had grown feeble like the chicken.

Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: Did you supplicate for anything or beg of Him about that?

He said: Yes. I used to utter (these words): Impose punishment upon me earlier in this world, what Thou art going to impose upon me in the Hereafter.

Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: Subhan Allah, you have neither the power nor forbearance to take upon yourself (the burden of His Punishment). Why did you not say this: O Allah, grant us good in the world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of Fire. He (the Prophet) made this supplication (for him) and he was all right. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6501]

Notice that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) asked the man NOT to ask for punishment.

I’ve noticed that many people seem to have this tendency. They feel great shame at their previous misdeeds and then proceed to make supplications asking Allah to “postpone” all their rewards to the hereafter!

No! We should ask Allah to forgive our misdeeds, rather than asking to be punished for them.

The supplication mentioned above* is something that we need to use on a daily basis.

[*Both of them are the same except for the fact that one of them starts with Rabbana (our Lord) and another starts with Allahuma (O Allah).]

I mentioned the Prophet’s most frequent supplication** in an earlier post. Actually, another narration mentions that this supplication (i.e. asking for the good of this world and the hereafter) was his most frequent one:

سأل قتادة أنسا : أي دعوة كان يدعو بها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أكثر ؟ قال : كان أكثر دعوة يدعو بها يقول ” اللهم ! آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار ” . قال وكان أنس ، إذا أراد أن يدعو بدعوة ، دعا بها . فإذا أراد أن يدعو بدعاء ، دعا بها فيه .

Qatada asked Anas which supplication Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) frequently made. He said: The supplication that he (the Prophet) made very frequently is this: “O Allah, grant us the good in this world and the good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of Hell-Fire.” He (Qatada) said that whenever Anas had to supplicate he made this very supplication, and whenever he (intended) to make another supplication he (inserted) this very supplication in that. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6506]

[**And no, there’s no contradiction. One was Umm Salamah’s statement and the second was Anas ibn Malik’s. They both stated what they heard the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) saying the most.]

So, we should make sure to say it as much as we can as it is a very comprehensive supplication.

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ

النَّارِ

Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!

24
Jan

Six months to go…

Assalamu Alaikum.

Yes, Ramadan is a little over six months away.

So, we need to ask ourselves two main questions:

1) How much progress have we made since the end of Ramadan 2010?

2) What are our goals for the end of Ramadan 2011 and how much progress do we need to make before we reach them?

Some of the questions that we could ask ourselves before we make a list of goals for the next Ramadan are:

a) Tawheed (worshipping Allah alone)

Has our knowledge and application of tawheed increased?

What else do we need to do to strengthen our aqeedah (creed)?

b) Salah (prayers)

How is the quality of our prayers?

Have we started doing any new prayers (e.g. Dhuha  or Tahajjud) on a regular basis?

c) Arabic

Has our Arabic improved?

Will we be able to understand the Taraweeh prayers come Ramadan?

d) The Quran

Has our relationship with the Book of Allah improved?

Do we recite it daily? And with tajweed (rules of recitation)?

How much can we understand without the use of a translation?

Have we memorised any new surahs? How much do we plan on memorising before next Ramadan?

Have we read the tafsir?

How much of the Quran do we apply?

e) Charity

Do we spend more on charity now?

Do we help the needy on a regular basis?

f) Adhkar (remembrance)

Have we increased in the remembrance of Allah?

Have we memorised any new adhkar?

g) Fasting

Have we made up our missed fasts from previous Ramadans?

Do we do any of the optional fasts?

h) Seeking knowledge and doing dawah (calling to Islam)

Do we regularly attend Islamic lectures/classes?

Do we read beneficial books?

Do we spread this knowledge to others?

i) Akhlaq (Character)

Has our character improved?

Are our tongues more restrained?

j) Health

Has our health improved?

Are we better equipped to handle the long qiyam al-layl prayers next Ramadan?

 

We don’t need to wait for Ramadan to make a change, nor should we wait for it. Rather, we should always be eager to improve no matter what time of year it is.

23
Jan

Article: The Month of Safar

Assalamu Alaikum.

Does Safar have any special virtues? No but the pre-Islamic Arabs did have a lot of misconceptions about this month.

Here’s a detailed article that talks about their beliefs during this month as well as some of the strange things that some Muslims do during it.

Here’s the article:

[I had intended to put up this article at the beginning of Safar. Still, better late than never, alhamdulillah.]

______________________________________________________________

http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/books/86

The Month of Safar

Praise be to Allaah, and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah.

The month of Safar is one of the twelve Hijri months, and it is the month which comes after Muharram.  Some of the (scholars) said that it is so named because of the emptying (isfaar) of Makkah (i.e., its people would all leave) when they travelled during this month. It was also said that this month is named Safar because they used to raid other tribes at this time, and they would leave those whom they encountered bereft of their possessions (sifran min al-mataa’) – i.e., they would take all their belongings away and they would leave them with nothing.

(See Lisaan al-‘Arab by Ibn al-Mandhoor, part 4, p. 462-463)

Our discussion of this month will cover the following points:

1.     What has been narrated concerning it from the Arabs of the Jaahiliyyah.

2.      What has been narrated in Islam that contradicts the views of people of the Jaahiliyyah concerning this month.

3.     Innovations and corrupt beliefs concerning this month that exist among people who claim to be Muslims.

4.     What happened in this month of military campaigns and important events in the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

5.     False ahaadeeth that have been narrated concerning Safar.

___________________________________

1. What has been narrated concerning it from the Arabs of the Jaahiliyyah.

The Arabs were guilty of two serious wrongdoings concerning the month of Safar. Firstly, they played about with it, bringing it forward or postponing it, and secondly, they had superstitions concerning it.

(i) It is known that Allaah created the year and the number of its months is twelve, four of which Allaah has made sacred, in which it was forbidden to fight, out of respect for these months. These months are: Dhu’l-Qi’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab.

This is confirmed in the Book of Allaah, where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allaah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…”

[al-Tawbah 9:36]

The mushrikeen were aware of that, but they used to postpone it or bring it forward according to their whims and desires, such as putting Safar in place of Muharram!

Read more »

22
Jan

Website: Islamic Online University

Assalamu Alaikum.

I’ve mentioned this before but because this is such a great website, I’ll mention it again.

http://www.islamiconlineuniversity.com/

This is basically an online university (as is obvious from the title).

They have two sections:

1) Diploma courses

These are free short courses (22 and counting so far!) which consist of audio/video, notes and quizzes. They have assignments too.

For those of you who have trouble studying on your own, this is a great way to go!

2) The Bachelor’s degree

This is free too! You just pay for the registration and tuition fees.

Now, let me ask you: What are our common excuses for not attending Islamic classes?

a) No transport

b) No money

c) No time

Well, IOU destroys the first two excuses, and because the free courses can be done at your own leisure, it destroys the third excuse too.

Perhaps what it does not destroy is the reason most people do not want to take Islamic classes:

– Simply because they don’t want to.

All the excuses are generally just a cover for this reason.

If a person really wanted to attend classes (on site or online), they would find a way to do so. When a person keeps saying that they CANNOT find a way, it simply means that they do not WANT to find a way.

So, we all need to ask ourselves: do we really want to know more about Allah and His religion?

If we really do, we’ll make an effort. And websites like IOU have made it easy for us to make that effort.