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31
May

Website: AbdurRahman.org

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Looking for a nice site with loads of Islamic information?

Well okay, here goes:

http://abdurrahman.org/

This is one of the more famous sites out there when it comes to Islamic books and audios. The brother, may Allah reward him, has collected information on just about every topic.

[Note: There’s loads of stuff on two subjects that I mention frequently: Tawheed and Arabic.]

Also, he has a nice blog:

http://salaf-us-saalih.com/

After all these years of using the site, I finally checked the “About us” section and found out that the brother is a convert from Hinduism, masha-Allah, and lives in the……………………UAE*.

Small world, isn’t it?

[*Just to clear things up for all the non-UAEers: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a very nice boat shaped country which consists of seven emirates (“states”), one of which is the very famous Dubai (which I just call “home”).]

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30
May

Countdown to Ramadan: Who’s really counting down?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Allah says:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الْمَلَإِ مِن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مِن بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰ إِذْ قَالُوا لِنَبِيٍّ لَّهُمُ ابْعَثْ لَنَا مَلِكًا نُّقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۖ قَالَ هَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ أَلَّا تُقَاتِلُوا ۖ قَالُوا وَمَا لَنَا أَلَّا نُقَاتِلَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ وَقَدْ أُخْرِجْنَا مِن دِيَارِنَا وَأَبْنَائِنَا ۖ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوْا إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنْهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ

“Have you not thought about the group of the Children of Israil after (the time of) Musa? When they said to a Prophet of theirs, “Appoint for us a king and we will fight in Allah’s Way.” He said, “Would you then refrain from fighting, if fighting was prescribed for you?” They said, “Why should we not fight in Allah’s Way while we have been driven out of our homes and our children (families have been taken as captives)?” But when fighting was ordered for them, they turned away, all except a few of them. And Allah is All-Aware of the Dhaalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) :246]

So, we are told of a group of Banu Israilis who claimed that they wanted to fight in the way of Allah. However, when the time came to walk the walk (i.e. prove that they were serious), most of them did not do so.

What does that mean? Well, it means that they were just talking the first time around and they didn’t mean what they were saying.

What am I trying to say?

Well, here’s the original Countdown to Ramadan post. Look at how many replies I got. Many people pointed out that they were interested in participating in this challenge.

When we actually started, most of the people disappeared.

Of course, it could be that they are all participating silently, right? Yes, that’s possible.

So, I have a suggestion. For those of you who are really serious about participating, please let us know how you’ve been doing with this challenge.

On the Daily Dose blog, I mentioned how I was doing and asked about everyone else. A sister was brave enough to reply, may Allah reward her. She also mentioned something which helps her to stay awake after Fajr, which is a good tip for the rest of us.

So, any other brave souls out there? If I can do it (and I’m not doing too well with the challenge) then anybody can do it, insha-Allah.

What if you were working on another habit instead? Okay then, why don’t you reply to this post and tell us how it’s going.

Awaiting your replies.

29
May

Lecture: High Aspirations

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

It’s sad. We have such low expectations of ourselves with regards to following Islam.

Whatever happened to being ambitious? Or is that only reserved for matters related to the dunya (worldly life)?

Think about it.

When it comes to the dunya, we want to be the best. But when it comes to the hereafter………

“Oh, I don’t mind a little house in the corner of the lowest level of Paradise.”

What?

Little house? In the corner? In the lowest level?

You cannot be serious!*

[*Okay, I stole that quote from somewhere.]

Why would you want a teensie-weensie house at the bottom when you can have a fabulous mansion at the top?

من آمن بالله ورسوله ، وأقام الصلاة ، وصام رمضان ، كان حقا على الله أن يدخله الجنة ، هاجر في سبيل الله ، أو جلس في أرضه التي ولد فيها ) . قالوا : يا رسول الله ، أفلا ننبئ الناس بذلك ؟ قال : إن في الجنة مائة درجة ، أعدها الله للمجاهدين في سبيله ، كل درجتين ما بينهما كما بين السماء والأرض ، فإذا سألتم الله فسلوه الفردوس ، فإنه أوسط الجنة ، وأعلى الجنة ، وفوقه عرش الرحمن ، ومنه تفجر أنهار الجنة

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger, offers prayers perfectly and fasts (the month of) Ramadan then it is incumbent upon Allah to admit him into Paradise, whether he emigrates for Allah’s cause or stays in the land where he was born.”

They (the companions of the Prophet) said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Should we not inform the people of that?” He said, “There are one-hundred degrees in Paradise which Allah has prepared for those who carry on Jihad in His Cause. The distance between every two degrees is like the distance between the sky and the Earth, so if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for the Firdaus, for it is the last part of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume no. 9, Hadeeth No. 519]

Stop asking for that tiny tent in Paradise. That’s not from the Sunnah, you know.

Being ambitious, trying your best and having good thoughts of Allah – now that is from the Sunnah.

For those who are struggling with “unambitiousness”, here’s a lecture to help you out:

High Aspirations by Moutasem Al-Hameedy (Download)

[You could also read this post of mine where I scold everyone on the planet for their lack of ambition.]

28
May

“Everyone has problems”

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

That’s what a sister said to me many years ago, in a bid to convince me that I was not the only one who had problems.

In rough times, many of us tend to have this “I’m the only one with such a big problem. Everyone else is so happy” mentality  which in many cases turns out to be our undoing.

We then start to sulk and begin to mentally unravel. Some of us even tend to go into deep depression.

We need to get over this “poor me” attitude, because it will only drag us down.

So, how can we get over it?

Well, I’d say:

1) Do dua

There’s nothing like it. We need to ask Allah for each and every thing.

2) Change our perspective

Understanding that many people have bigger problems than us would be a good start.

A good way to change one’s perspective would be to actually visit those who are poor, orphaned, ill or have special needs etc. That way, we’ll realise how blessed we truly are and stop feeling sorry for ourselves.

3) Do something positive

The best antidote to negativity is positivity. [Remember, you heard it here first.]

When we sulk, we feel worse, which makes us sulk some more.

When we do something good for others, we feel better, which encourages us to do more good things.

4) Don’t think too much

This is the worst thing that one can do when depressed.

Don’t sit and brood over things. Just get up and do something.

Anything (halal).

Clean the house, take a walk, listen to a nice Islamic lecture, take Mandarin Chinese classes, whatever.

Of course, if you do something nice like praying or reciting the Quran, then that would be even better.

[But if you can’t, then just go for those Mandarin Chinese classes. That should be enough to cause your brain to shut down.]

So, let’s stop thinking that we’re the only ones with problems because we’re not.

Everybody has problems. Absolutely everybody.

PS. Some of you might be thinking “Another mini article on depression?”

Oh, yeah. Like I said, there are that many depressed people out there.

PPS. You know, taking those Mandarin Chinese classes wouldn’t be a bad idea after all. There are 2 billion Chinese people in this world. Just imagine how much dawah we could do.

27
May

Seriously Short Reminder No. 20: Be kind…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Why should a person be kind? Simply because Allah loves it.

يا عائشة ! إن الله رفيق يحب الرفق . ويعطي على الرفق ما لا يعطي على العنف . وما لا يعطي على ما سواه

Aishah (radiallahu anha), the wife of Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam), reported that Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Oh Aishah, verily Allah is kind and He loves kindness and confers upon kindness which he does not confer upon severity and does not confer upon anything else besides it (kindness).” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6273]

Kindness beautifies whatever it is associated with.

إن الرفق لا يكون في شيء إلا زانه . ولا ينزع من شيء إلا شانه

Aishah (radiallahu anha), the wife of Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam), reported that Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: “Kindness is not to be found in anything but that it adds to its beauty and it is not withdrawn from anything but it makes it defective.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6274]

Oh and in case you think that kindness just refers to “kindness to people”, the Prophet’s (salallahu alaihi wasallam) statement to Aishah (radiallahu anha) above came after the following scenario:

ركبت عائشة بعيرا . فكانت فيه صعوبة . فجعلت تردده . فقال لها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : عليك بالرفق

Aishah (radiallahu anha) mounted upon a wild camel and she began to make that go round and round. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “You should show kindness”. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6275]

So, he (salallahu alaihi wasallam) mentioned kindness with regards to who? A wild camel!

Subhan Allah, if we are meant to show a certain amount of kindness to wild animals, then obviously a fellow human being, especially a Muslim, will have more right to our kindness.

So, let’s all try to be kind (look, I said “try”. I know that it’s difficult!), whether it is to the neighbour that we can’t stand, or that annoying classmate or the poor goldfish that’s all alone in the fish bowl.

Why? Because Allah loves kindness. That’s enough reason to try, isn’t it?

26
May

A new blog: Daily Dose of Iman

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

And yes, it’s my blog (it’s sort of obvious from the name, isn’t it?).

So, what’s this new blog all about? Well, it’s a little brother to this (Ramadan) blog.

The purpose of it is to encourage people to keep continuing with the habits that we’ve chosen to work on.

Yes, I could have written daily short tips on this blog as well but that would mean:

1) That there would be more than one post a day.

2) That I might have to focus solely on these habits and I don’t want to do that. I want to finish  all the other pending series as well!

So, I thought that while we could choose the habits here, we could have the “motivation” part on another blog so that I could post twice a day if required.  Only those interested in forming these habits would subscribe to that blog.

The blog is very simple (almost twitter-like) and quite bare at the moment (only four posts):

http://dailydoseofiman.wordpress.com/

[To understand why I chose this theme, please read this.]

So, what are your thoughts? Do you have any suggestions?

Also, a question for all of you:

a) Would you like this to be a private blog just for the sisters*?

[*This would mean that I am fairly certain that they are sisters. They should also sign up for a free wordpress account. Only 35 sisters can join in.]

or

b) Keep it the way it is (i.e. public)?

The first option would mean a more relaxed atmosphere, of course, as the readers would only be women.

What do you think? Let me know, insha-Allah.

PS. My apologies for not having replied to the comments over the past week. I’ll try to do so tomorrow, insha-Allah.

25
May

Post-Ramadan Teensie-Weensie Tip #5: Start learning Arabic (if you haven’t already) – Part 5

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Here are Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. Please excuse me for taking so long with this series.]

8) In order to learn Arabic, you need to learn grammar and vocabulary.

[Okay, I mean in order to learn simple Arabic. You need to learn much more than just grammar and vocabulary to go deep into the Arabic language!]

By grammar, I mean two things: sarf and nahu.

To use an example I heard, sarf involves word construction and nahu involves sentence construction.

a) Sarf

Studying sarf is what really broke open the code of Arabic for me.

What is sarf exactly? Well, it is sort of like verb conjugation but it’s more than that. I think it would be pointless of me to explain because you won’t understand until you start studying it.

Arabic verb conjugation is something that will amaze you due to its simplicity – unlike in French where some verbs drive you crazy (devoir, pouvoir and vouloir, I’m talking to YOU).

For a quick way to learn some Sarf before Ramadan, I would suggest:

1) Understand Quran

2) Ustadh Fahd Al-Tahiri’s classes

b) Nahu

That’s basically learning about nouns, prepositions, etc. There’s no point in explaining this either because you need to study a bit of nahu before you understand how wonderful it is.

Both sarf and nahu can be tough in the beginning (especially if you are monolingual) but be patient and you’ll reap the rewards, insha-Allah.

A good place to start learning nahu would be the Madinah books. There are two websites where this book is explained:

1) Madinah Arabic

2) LQ Toronto

The second site has basic to advanced nahu lessons. However, a little warning: In the Madina series videos, the instructor mentions the names of  some deviant speakers and recommends their lectures (according to what I read on a website). If so, then please be careful.

Okay, what about the vocabulary?

Well, actually when you learn sarf, you’ll learn new vocabulary faster. See, each word in the Arabic language has some “root letters” so when you know the meaning of a set of root letters, you can figure out the meanings of all the words that are derived from it.

Let me give you an example from English (all these come from Latin):

Trans means “across, through, over, beyond, to or on the other side of, outside of”.

So, based on the above, can you guess what the following words mean?

Transform, transfer, transatlantic, translate, transition, etc.

Yes, to some degree, you’d have a general idea of what they meant.

Another example:

Circum means “around, about, surrounding, on all sides”.

So, based on the above, can you guess what the following words mean?

Circumvent, circumference, circumstance, etc.

Now, you might have known what  these words meant already but knowing the meaning of “circum” might have given you a deeper look into these words, thereby leading you to understanding their meanings better.

9) There are different vocabulary sets depending on what you want to understand.

If you want to understand the Quran, that’s one vocabulary set. The ahadeeth have another vocabulary set. Islamic literature has another vocabulary set (and each subject matter has it’s own vocabulary set).

If you want to study something else in Arabic, like IT or cooking, that has another vocabulary set altogether.

Of course, the above all refers to the standard Arabic. Each colloquial dialect have their own vocabulary sets as well.

Scared? Why? Isn’t this the case in every language? Think about it.

Generally speaking, sarf will help you with most of them (not the colloquial though). However, you would also need to start learning the vocabulary separately for each subject.

The first thing that you should focus on is the vocabulary of the Quran. The rest of them can come later, insha-Allah.

How can you improve on this?

Well, I can suggest three short ways before Ramadan:

– The Understand Quran courses also teach Quranic vocabulary.

– Using the dictionary of the Quran on the Understand Quran website which gives the translations of each new word, juz by juz.

– Reading the Word-to-Word translation of the Quran on a daily basis. I would recommend the Darussalam version due to its authenticity. However, the others are acceptable as well.

10) So, what will your Arabic schedule look like before Ramadan?

Well, assuming that you know how to read the Arabic letters, do not understand any Arabic at all and have not registered for any course, I would suggest:

a) Starting with the Understand Quran Short Course.

Dedicate 15 minutes in the morning to doing the course and another 15 minutes in the night to reviewing it.

b) Read at least one page of the Word-to-Word translation every day.

Write down all the new vocabulary that you’ve learnt in a notebook and keep reviewing them.

c) You could also keep listening to the Quranic recitation along with its meaning.

Here’s one with Shaikh Abdullah Basfar’s recitation (excellent tajweed).

d) After you finish all the Understand Quran lessons, you can then move on to the Madinah Arabic lessons.

Again, I should point out, that these are all suggestions. It’s okay if you don’t follow all of them. I’m just try to give you an idea of what you can start with.

Remember: The more you push yourself, the more Quran you will be able to understand in Ramadan and the more khushoo (humility) you’ll feel in the taraweeh prayers (and all the other prayers for that matter).

To be continued…

24
May

Article: How to Remove Depression and Worries

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Question: How’s Habit No. 1 coming along? What difficulties are you encountering along the way?

Tip: Set yourself a short task after Fajr and tell yourself that you cannot go back to sleep until you do it. You can start with a small 10-15 minute task in the beginning (e.g. read a few pages of tafsir or a few ahadeeth).

After doing this for a few days, you could increase the time for the chosen task to 20 mins and so on.

The task doesn’t have to be the same every day.]

Previously, I had posted a book that deals with worries and stress. I’ve also posted an explanation of one of the duas to be said at the time of distress.

However, I’ve noticed that most of the people that I meet seem to be depressed. So I thought that another article on depression might be in order.

[Note: In addition to the ways mentioned in the article below, I would also add the following three ways: 1) Drowning yourself in seeking Islamic knowledge especially tawheed and tafsir of the Quran 2) Helping the needy on a regular basis and 3) Drinking “talbeenah” (check the botton of the article).

______________________________________________________________

http://www.sunnahonline.com/ilm/purification/0044.htm

How to Remove Depression and Worries

Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee hafidhahullaah

Introduction

Mankind comes across many afflictions and trials, sometimes in overwhelming sequences.  Removing the darkness of these worries, distresses, depression and grief is a very important matter to which Islaam gives serious attention…

Indeed the greatest darkness to envelope mankind and surely his greatest affliction is disbelief in Allah and to associate partners with Him in any form (kufr and shirk).

Allah is the Protector of those who have faith He will lead them from the depths of darkness into light. . As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are the devils: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the  fire, to dwell therein (for ever). AL-BAQARAH 2.257

Whereby Allah guides him who seeks His good pleasure to paths of peace and safety. He brings them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guides them unto a straight path. AL-MAAIDAH 5.016

Those who deny Our revelations are deaf and dumb in darkness. Whoever Allah wills He sends astray, and whom He wills He places on a straight path. AL-AN’AM 6.039

The scholars of Islaam have extracted from the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah many remedies and cures to help us in our daily affairs and remove our problems.

At-Tawheed

Singling out Allah alone, Glory be to Him, for all types of worship and recognising His Lordship and having faith in the unity of His Lofty Names and Attributes.  There would be anarchy if there was more than one deity.

If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allah, there would have been confusion in both!  But glory to Allah, the Lord of the Throne,  (High is He) above what they attribute to Him! AL-ANBIYA’ 21.022

Allah strikes a comparison between a Muslim and a mushrik (disbeliever). The man with one master (i.e. upon Tawheed) has no worries as to who to obey, so he has no confusion  nor dilemmas.  The second man is confused as to who to obey first, in whom he must put his trust especially as they are quarrelling amongst each other.  The mushrik is left to Shaitaan and his desires to direct him out of his confusion.  However the Muslim who recognises his Lord as One, knows that Allah is the One who rescues His slave when he is in grief.

Allah puts forth a parable; a man belonging to many partners quarrelling with each other, and a man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal? Praise be to Allah! But most of them have no knowledge. AZ-ZUMAR 39.029

In the beautiful story of Yusuf (alayhe as-salaam) his fellow prisoners were in distress to know the meaning or interpretation of their dreams.

Now with him there came into the prison two young men.  Said one of them: “I see myself (in a dream) pressing wine.” The other said: “I see myself (in a dream) carrying bread on my head, and birds eating it.”   (They said) “Tell us the meaning  of the dreams, for we see that you are a good doer.” YUSUF 12.036

 o what was the first thing that this noble prophet of Allah (alayhe as-salaam)  said to his companions?   What was his reply?  He called them to that which will provide them with immediate relief – the b lief that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah – at-Tawheed.

“O my two companions of the prison! (I ask you): are many lords differing among themselves better, or Allah, the Supreme and Irresistible?” YUSUF 12.039

Mankind without Tawheed is astray, captured by Shaitaan and there lives in chaos as explained in Allah’s statement:

Don’t you see that We have set the devils on the disbelievers to confound them with confusion? MARYAM 19.083

So the one upon true Tawheed, Allah helps him and removes grief from him. There are many verses which eludes to this but suffice us for the moment the story of Yunus (alayhe as-salaam).  He (alayhe as-salaam) had lost hope in his people who were not responding to his call to Islaam.  So he (alayhe as-salaam) left them and eventually Allah caused him (alayhe as-salaam) to be in the belly of a large fish.

So wait with patience for the Command of your Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish, when he cried out in deep sorrow. AL-QALAM 68.048

In his sorrow and anguish, Yunus (alayhe as-salaam) cried out, but to whom? He  (alayhe as-salaam) called his Lord.

And remember Dhun-Nun (Yunus), when he went off in anger: He imagined that We had no power over him! But he cried through the depths of darkness, “There is no deity worthy of worship except You, glorified and exhalted be You, indeed I was from the wrong-doers!”  AL-ANBIYA’ 21.087

Darkness upon darkness enveloped him (alayhe as-salaam):

a) the darkness of the depths of the ocean,
b) the darkness of the belly of the fish,
c) the darkness of the night.

He (alayhe as-salaam) called upon Allah, the One who can remove all distresses, he called upon Him with correct at-Tawheed  and Allah removed his worries immediately.

Read more »

23
May

A Pictorial Summary of the amount of knowledge that all of us started with…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

So, how much did we all start with, you ask?

Well, we started with:

Allah says:

وَاللَّـهُ أَخْرَجَكُم مِّن بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ‌ ۙ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful.” [Surah An-Nahl (16) : 78]

So, that’s how all of us started life: without knowing anything.

That’s how all the laymen started life and that’s how all the scholars of Islam started life. Everyone got the same starting point.

A few words of advice:

1) We always have this assumption that people were born in a certain way, so we assume that we cannot become that way.

So, we’ll read the book of a certain shaikh and find him to be a man of great knowledge, yet it never occurs to us that this shaikh was also ignorant once upon a time and that he had to STRIVE to attain all that knowledge. He wasn’t born with it.

So, because we never realise that he did not get a head start, it never occurs to most of us that, with the help of Allah, we could also get to the same level as that shaikh, or perhaps even more.

On the contrary, we say things like “Oh but that person has so much knowledge” in order to excuse ourselves from doing more.

2) Many Muslims feel embarrassed about not knowing much about Islam. 

Well, as you can see, we were all there at one point in time so that’s not an excuse not to do one’s best to learn more.

Don’t worry about the past, just focus on the future.

3) The ayah clearly states why we were granted sight, hearing and intellect.

Why? So that we would be grateful.

How is one grateful to Allah? By worshipping Him alone and by being obedient to Him.

Seeking (Islamic) knowledge is a great act of worship and it teaches one how to perform the other acts of worship.

So, what’s stopping us from seeking knowledge?

PS. This issue was one of the steps of Project “Recover Ramadan” but I want to reemphasize this point again due to its great importance.