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28
Feb

Book: Characteristics of the Hypocrites

Assalamu Alaikum.

Who are the hypocrites exactly?

Well, they are outwardly Muslim but inwardly they are disbelievers. Basically, their life is one big show.

Why do we need to learn about their characteristics? Is it so that we can “spot” them?

Well, at the end of the day, only Allah knows who is a truly a hypocrite as this is a matter of the unseen (as it relates to the condition of a person’s heart).

So, if we can’t really “spot” them, why do we need to know their characteristics?

Well, it’s so that we can see if the person in the mirror has any of these qualities.

Yes.

You see, many of the Sahaabah (radiallahu anhum) were afraid of falling into hypocrisy.

If they felt afraid, then what about us???

There was a nice quote I read from Imam Al-Hasan Al-Basri (rahimahullah) where he pointed out that only a believer fears hypocrisy and only a hypocrite feels safe from it!

Here’s a book that details the characteristics of the hypocrites as mentioned in the Quran.

Characteristics of the Hypocrites by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah)

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27
Feb

How to make a fresh start – Part 2

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[My apologies for the dreadful editing.]

[Here’s Part 1.]

Before I continue with the lessons that I learnt from the hadeeth, I’d like to advise those people who are sought for help in such matters i.e. those who were deemed “suitable” by the people who want to make a fresh start:

a) Being able to keep one’s mouth shut is a great virtue.

Don’t even think about blabbing the person’s secret to anyone, be it your spouse/relatives/close friends/colleagues/anyone.

Remember that this is a trust.

b) Try your best not to give the person what I call the “astaghfirullah treatment”

Many people will say astaghfirullah after every statement, look scandalized at the story and then proceed to scold the person.

You know, I think that sometimes a person might have scolded himself/herself more than anyone else could scold them.

And by the time such people ask for help, they are already near breaking point. What they need is a bit of compassion and loads of encouragement. What they do NOT need is indignant self-righteousness.

Of course, I’m not saying that one should not advise the person and inform them of the warnings mentioned in the shariah pertaining to that action.

However, one needs to be wise and look at the condition of the person. Will mentioning the warnings be helpful at this time? Or would be better to mention the texts which talk about Allah’s vast Mercy?

7) It is an obligation on an individual to know Allah and to know His Attributes.

Many people belittle the study of tawheed (worshipping Allah alone), thinking that there are more important things out there and this is indeed a very wretched way of thinking.

The knowledgeable person is the one who knows Allah and knows His Rights.

And the proof of this from this hadeeth is that the murderer asked for the most knowledgeable people on earth*, and the two who were mentioned a monk and a scholar i.e both were people of religion.

[*He didn’t want to settle for any small time muftis as you can see. He wanted advice from the most knowledgeable person around.]

Knowing and applying tawheed is the difference between Paradise and Hell-fire.

The scholar knew tawheed and so he was able to direct the murderer in a proper manner. The monk did not know much tawheed and therefore almost led the man astray.

Also, tawheed is what saves a person from staying in the Hell-fire forever.

This man, though he was a murder, was on tawheed. How do we know that?

a) Because of his end – he would not have been granted Paradise if had not been on tawheed as Allah says:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّـهِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا

“Verily! Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom he pleases sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away.” [Surah An-Nisaa (4) : 116]

This is true for all the nations before us as well.

[Of course, after the advent of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam), the only way one can correctly practice tawheed is by following the religion of Islam, not any other religion.]

b) He was from Bani Israil – which alludes to the fact that he was on tawheed.

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Amongst the men of Bani Israel there was a man who had murdered ninety-nine persons. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 4, Hadeeth No. 676]

So, I will repeat what I have said many times on this blog: study tawheed and apply it.

Learning about tawheed was what caused the Sahaabah (radiallahu anhum) to make a fresh start. And look at how fabulously amazing they turned out to be.

Read more »

26
Feb

How to make a fresh start – Part 1

Assalamu Alaikum.

One of the things that we all love about Ramadan is that it allows us to make a fresh start.

There’s just one little problem though: who said that we need to wait until Ramadan to make a fresh start?

Our ummah today has so many problems. Many Muslims are immersed in shirk (the worst of the sins), fornication (and its sisters: pornography and masturbation), anger management issues, family problems, riba (interest), backbiting and tale bearing, etc.

I could go on and on.

We all have issues that we need to straighten out. What are we doing about them though? And what are we supposed to do about them?

We all know that we need to make a fresh start (yes, ALL of us) but how?

Well, there’s a great story that tells us the way to go about doing that:

Abu Said al-Khudri (radiallahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: There was a person before you who had killed ninety-nine people and then made an inquiry about the learned persons of the world (who could show him the way to salvation). He was directed to a monk.

He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine people and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: No. He killed him also and thus completed one hundred.

He then asked about the learned persons of the earth and he was directed to a scholar, and he told him that he had killed one hundred persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: Yes; what stands between you and the repentance? You better go to such and such land; there are people devoted to prayer and worship and you also worship along with them and do not come to the land of yours since it was an evil land (for you).

So he went away and he had hardly covered half the distance when death came to him and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment.

The angels of mercy said: This man has come as a penitent and remorseful to Allah and the angels of punishment said: He has done no good at all. Then there came another angel in the form of a human being in order to decide between them. He said: You measure the land to which he has drawn near.

[Allah commanded the earth (from where) he wanted to come out to move itself away and to the other earth (where he wanted to go) to draw nearer.]

They measured it and found him nearer to the land where he intended to go (the land of piety), and so the angels of mercy took possession of it.

Qatada said that Hasan told him that it was said to them that as death approached him, he crawled upon his chest (and managed) to slip in the land of mercy.

[Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6662. The addition in brackets is from Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth no. 6664]

Here are the lessons that I* learnt from this story:

[*Just so you don’t think that this is some sort of scholarly analysis.]

1) We need to realise that what we are doing is wrong and we have to WANT to change for the better.

From what I’ve personally seen from many people, this seems to be the number one factor as to why some people are unable to change: they simply don’t want to.

Yes, they might claim they want to change but when they are brought face to face with their issues, they simply ignore it.

This man (i.e. the murderer) wanted to change and make a fresh start and due to this, it was made easy for him.

So, admitting our faults and wanting to improve is the first (and most difficult) step towards starting a new life.

2) It does not matter what the sin is.

The sin of the man was murder. The only sin worse than that is shirk.

Some people think that their sins are too great to be forgiven or that they have done too many bad things.

That’s absolutely false.

Allah forgives all sins if a person sincerely repents from them.

So, don’t worry about what you have done in the past, rather focus on repenting from your sins.

Read more »

25
Feb

The story of a scholar who was guided by a….farmer

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

You might be thinking “Oh, he was guided by the farmer before he studied Islam.”

Nope, he was guided by the farmer AFTER he had studied Islam!

So, what’s the story?

Well, I’ll let you read it:

A Great Scholar, Guided Though a Farmer

Subhan Allah, in this story there is a great lesson for…just about everyone. Read the story and you’ll understand what I mean.

24
Feb

Article: The Presence of the Heart in relation to the Prayer

Assalamu Alaikum.

I mentioned the need to work on our salah in the last Recover Ramadan post.

The thing that ALL of us need to work on most with regards to our salah is…the presence of our heart.

Where is it? In the salah? Enjoying it? Savouring it?

Judging by how popular those “how to get khushoo in salah” articles are, I think many of us are just going through the motions with regards to our prayers.

And that’s very dangerous because the salah is the first thing that we will be asked about on the Last Day. If that’s not up to the mark then…

So, what do we do?

Well, we need to struggle until we get there. It’s as simple as that.

For starters, we could read another one of those “khushoo” articles and then implement what it says.

Here’s a nice, thought-provoking one by an earlier scholar:

The Presence Of The Heart In Relation To The Prayer – Imaam ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee

23
Feb

Audio: In the Middle of the Night

Assalamu Alaikum.

You know one of the most amazing things about our magnificent religion?

It tells us the best way to go about doing….well, absolutely everything.

Some people find this to be “burdensome”. [When did sheer excellence become “burdensome”….?]

To such people, I say: Okay, stick to your lousy way of doing things. We’ll follow the way of excellence.

As for those who want to pursue excellence, marhaba!

What do we start with first?

Well, what about how to sleep in the proper way?

Being an insomniac, I’ve noticed that if one’s sleep gets messed up, then it starts going downhill from there. Sleep problems could lead to missing Fajr, which leads to a bad start to the day.

On the other hand, if one sleeps properly and moderately, then one can get up early, for Fajr and also for Tahajjud. After this, one is fresh and ready to go. The whole day starts on a high note.

So, how does one sleep in the “proper” way?

Well, it’s however the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) practiced it , of course.

Here’s a lecture dedicated to discussing his sleeping habits:

In the Middle of the Night: The Sleeping Habits of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) by Muhammad Alshareef (Download)

 

22
Feb

Seriously Short Reminder No. 14: Don’t forget to do dua for…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Do dua for who?

The Muslims around the world.

We need to realise three things:

1) In Islam, nationalism is a despised thing.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the Muslims in Iraq, or the Muslims in Pakistan, or the Muslims in China, or the Muslims in Palestine, or the Muslims in Egypt or the Muslims in Libya, etc, we need to do dua for ALL of them because they are ALL our people.

It’s very sad to see many Muslims just get upset when other Muslims of their “own” nationality get hurt or killed, and not worry when the same thing happens to Muslims of “other” nationalities.

I’m sorry but that goes against the whole concept of loving for the sake of Allah.

2) We need to remember to do dua for all our brothers and sisters in need.

One day, we’re sad about Palestine. A few months later, we’ve forgotten about them and moved on to Pakistan. A few months after that, we’ve forgotten about them and moved on to Egypt.

Now, we’re all thinking about Libya.

Yes, they need our duas at the moment but so do the Uyghurs in China, the people who suffered the floods in Pakistan, the people of Iraq who are still in bad shape, the people of Somalia who still don’t have a stable government after all these years, the Muslims in many European countries who cannot practice their religion freely and are losing ground day by day, etc.

I could go on and on.

By the way, the most important dua that we should do for ourselves and them is dua for guidance, because guidance is more important than anything else as only the guided ones will enter Paradise.

3) We need to help ourselves and help them.

Dua is just one way. We also need to educate ourselves and others about the tawheed of Allah, as this is the solution to all our problems.

Also, many of our brothers and sisters don’t have basic necessities like food, shelter, etc.

We need to do things step by step. We should start with those around us and then work from there.

If each of us did this, we’d see a big change in our ummah, insha-Allah.

21
Feb

Website: Allah’s Quran

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Here’s a great website for those of you who wish to read the Quran with understanding. It has audio, word-to-word and tafsir.

http://www.allahsquran.com/learn/

Really excellent stuff, maashaa-Allah.

20
Feb

Article: The dua for relieving distress, worry and sadness

Assalamu Alaikum.

Yes, we all have our times of distress.

So, what should we do in those times?

Do we turn into:

Unfortunately, most of us turn into sulks, and this is not what is required.

Believers get distressed but they don’t sit around and sulk. Proof? Read the stories of the Prophets (alaihimissalam) and the Sahaabah (radiallahu anhum).

What did these great people do in times of distress? They turned to Allah, of course.

One of the ways that we turn to Allah is by doing dua.

Here’s an explanation of one of the duas that is said during the times of distress:

The dua for relieving distress, worry and sadness by Shaikh Abdur Razzaq Al-Abbad