بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Day 22.]
f) “I’m too sinful to ask Allah.”
I discussed this issue on Day 21 with regards to grave worshippers i.e. that they use this as an excuse to call out to dead people.
However, there are others who don’t call out to other than Allah – but they don’t call out to Allah either, under the false premise that they are too “sinful” to do so. This is yet another example of Shaytan (the devil) fooling people due to their lack of knowledge of Allah.
Another variation of the above statement is “Oh my dua (supplication) won’t be accepted.”
I was talking to an acquaintance of mine and she got something that she had wanted. The conversation proceeded as follows:
“It was thanks to your duas,” she says to me.
I was confused. MY duas??
“Erm, how do you know it was my duas? Perhaps it was YOUR duas?” I asked, puzzled.
“Oh please, it’s not my duas!” she scoffed.
She didn’t even believe that her duas would get answered and she thought this way because she considered herself very sinful.
This issue is very, very, very common. Shaytan defeats many people before they even begin.
There are several replies to the people who say this:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Day 21.]
10. Many people don’t have a correct understanding of dua (supplication).
In this section, I’m not going to be focusing on the etiquettes of dua but rather some errors that people make with regards to dua. The reason for these errors is due to their lack of knowledge of Allah’s Names and Attributes and of His Rights.
a) Forgetting to do dua.
Unfortunately, this is a very, very, very common problem.
A couple of years ago, I had a Ramadan workshop and was talking about the importance of dua.
One of the sisters in attendance, came up to me at the end and told me that during the workshop, she realised that she hadn’t been doing dua. At all.
[Note: I do not teach anymore. I moved over to blogging.]
This was a bit shocking to me. How could people NOT do dua?
Subhan Allah, after that, I met so many people who had the same issue. Either they didn’t ask at all or they forget to do dua for things that they wanted!
One of my classmates was searching for a specific type of cat for her daughter and she was telling me the story. I asked her if she had done dua. No, she had forgotten.
Have you wanted something (halal) for a long time?
If the answer is yes, have you ever asked Allah for it? If you haven’t asked, then why not??
I repeat: ASK ALLAH.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Day 20.]
[Note#1: This series started last Ramadan so for those who missed it, here’s Day 1.
Note #2: I made a mistake in yesterday’s post (which I corrected now). The ayah (verse) mentioned after the ayah about Ramadan is the one in Surah Al-Baqarah, not the one in Surah Al-Ghafir. May Allah reward the sister who pointed this out to me.]
9. Why do we need to know about shirk (polytheism) in dua (supplication) if we’re only calling upon Allah alone?
a) A thing is known through its opposite.
We won’t truly understand what “dry” is until we know what “wet” is.
We won’t truly understand what “hot” is until we know what “cold” is.
In the same way, we won’t understand the beauty of tawheed (worshipping Allah alone) if we don’t understand the ugliness of shirk (attributing partners to Allah).
Also, knowing what shirk is, will protect us from falling into it.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Day 19.]
3. He is Al-Qareeb (the One who is close) and Al-Mujeeb (the One who responds/answers).
وَإِلَىٰ ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحًا ۚ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيْرُهُ ۖ هُوَ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ وَاسْتَعْمَرَكُمْ فِيهَا فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي قَرِيبٌ مُّجِيبٌ
“And to Thamud (people, We sent) their brother Saleh. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other Ilah (God) but Him. He brought you forth from the earth and settled you therein, then ask forgiveness of Him and turn to Him in repentance. Certainly, my Lord is Near (to all by His Knowledge), Responsive.”” [Surah Hud (11) : 61]
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 186]
[This ayah (verse) comes right after the ayah about Ramadan being the month of Quran. The ayah after this also relates to fasting and Ramadan. Something to think about, isn’t it?]
وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ
“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship [i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness, (Islamic Monotheism)] they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!”” [Surah Ghafir (40) : 60]
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Day 18. That’s where I stopped last year. I’ll just continue using the same numbering system.]
Note: Last year I forgot to mention some of the sources that I’m using for this series. I’m using this book compiled from Tafsir As-Saadi, Shaikh ibn Uthaimeen’s explanation of Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyyah as well as my teacher Ustadh Aziz Farhan’s explanation of it (these are class notes so they are not publicly available), Fiqh Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat by Shaikh Abdur Razzaq Al-Abbaad, Sharh Asma Allah Al-Husna by Shaikh Saeed ibn Wahf Al-Qahtani (the author of the Fortress of the Muslim) as well as some other sources depending on the Names being discussed.
11. He is As-Samee (The All-Hearer), Al-Qareeb (the One who is close) and Al-Mujeeb (the One who answers). He is the One who has commanded us to supplicate to Him alone and loves that we do so.
As usual, let’s take this step by step:
1) He is As-Samee (the All-Hearer), whose Hearing is Perfect and encompasses all sounds and languages.
مَّن كَانَ يُرِيدُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا فَعِندَ اللَّـهِ ثَوَابُ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا
“Whoever desires a reward in this life of the world, then with Allah (Alone and none else) is the reward of this worldly life and of the Hereafter. And Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer.” [Surah An-Nisaa (4) : 134]
فَإِنْ آمَنُوا بِمِثْلِ مَا آمَنتُم بِهِ فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا هُمْ فِي شِقَاقٍ ۖ فَسَيَكْفِيكَهُمُ اللَّـهُ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“So if they believe in the like of that which you believe, then they are rightly guided, but if they turn away, then they are only in opposition. So Allah will suffice you against them. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 137]
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, I was planning to post the “I’m too busy” article today (the one that I mentioned last week). The wind blew and I decided that I could postpone that one until later because I have a reminder for me and for you.
It started with the news of a possible tsunami in Indonesia. When I read this (yesterday or the day before), I was very alarmed because of what had happened in the original tsunami.
Then I read that it might reach the Gulf states. I got scared because I happen to come from a Gulf state.
The article mentioned the UAE. My fear increased. I felt slightly better after it said “Fujairah” and not “Dubai”. [Fujairah is the northern most emirate, and Dubai is in the middle. We have seven emirates overall.]
Then, I found out that we’d have no tsunami after all. I was so relieved.
Then today morning as I’m in class, the wind started to blow. A lot.
The first thing that I thought of was that there was going to be a tsunami after all.
Everyone started looked anxious and proceeded to recite the dhikr (remembrance) for when the wind blows. [You can read it here]
After all, an entire nation was destroyed by the wind.
وَأَمَّا عَادٌ فَأُهْلِكُوا بِرِيحٍ صَرْصَرٍ عَاتِيَةٍ
سَخَّرَهَا عَلَيْهِمْ سَبْعَ لَيَالٍ وَثَمَانِيَةَ أَيَّامٍ حُسُومًا فَتَرَى الْقَوْمَ فِيهَا صَرْعَىٰ كَأَنَّهُمْ أَعْجَازُ نَخْلٍ خَاوِيَةٍ
فَهَلْ تَرَىٰ لَهُم مِّن بَاقِيَةٍ
“And as for Aad, they were destroyed by a furious violent wind; which Allah imposed on them for seven nights and eight days in succession, so that you could see men lying overthrown (destroyed), as if they were hollow trunks of date-palms! Do you see any remnants of them?” [Surah Al-Haqqah (69) : 6-8]
Subhan Allah, who can save us from the wind except the One who sends it?
It’s only when we have these kind of situations (tsunami, earthquake, thunder and lighting, violent wind, etc) that we really fear Allah, because we know that only He can save us, nothing else, not our wealth, status, power, etc.
After all, look what happened to Japan, which used to have one of the strongest economies in the world. Could they save themselves from the tsunami? No!
This begs the question: Why do we feel so safe on the other (normal) occasions??
Allah asks us the following:
أَأَمِنتُم مَّن فِي السَّمَاءِ أَن يَخْسِفَ بِكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فَإِذَا هِيَ تَمُورُ
أَمْ أَمِنتُم مَّن فِي السَّمَاءِ أَن يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًا ۖ فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ كَيْفَ نَذِيرِ
وَلَقَدْ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَكَيْفَ كَانَ نَكِيرِ
“Do you feel secure that He, Who is above the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquake)? Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My Warning? And indeed those before them belied (the Messengers of Allah), then how terrible was My denial (punishment)?” [Surah Al-Mulk (67) : 16-18]
However, some of us do something similar to what the disbelievers of the past did: remember Allah only in times of fear.
وَإِذَا مَسَّكُمُ الضُّرُّ فِي الْبَحْرِ ضَلَّ مَن تَدْعُونَ إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ ۖ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاكُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ أَعْرَضْتُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ الْإِنسَانُ كَفُورًا
“And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon besides Him vanish from you except Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safely to land, you turn away (from Him). And man is ever ungrateful.” [Surah Al-Isra (17) : 67]
So, this is a short reminder for you and for me, that we need to fear Allah as He should be feared. Yes, we need to hope in His Mercy but we also need to fear His Punishment. That is the moderate way.
Fearing His Punishment doesn’t just mean becoming righteous for all of 20 minutes during the time of need. It means continuing the good even after the possible calamity has been averted, in order to avoid the major calamity i.e. the hell fire.
All of us are going to die and all of us are going to be raised again. And on that Day, we won’t get a second chance. That will be IT. No more chances.
So, we need to work for that Day from NOW, not just in times of calamity or in Ramadan.
Subhan Allah, just a short time before the wind blew, our teacher was talking about people who finish the Quran in 2 months but don’t understand anything.
He said that ilm (knowledge) was khashiyah (fear) of Allah and understanding and applying just one ayah (verse) would suffice us (as it summarises everything).
The ayah? Here you go:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
“O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” [Surah Al-Hashr (59) : 18]
Something to ponder over, isn’t it?
That’s not all though. The two ayaat (verses) after this are:
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّـهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
لَا يَسْتَوِي أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ وَأَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ ۚ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ
“And be not like those who forgot Allah (i.e. became disobedient to Allah) and He caused them to forget their own selves, (let them to forget to do righteous deeds). Those are the Fasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allah). Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise. It is the dwellers of Paradise that will be successful.” [Surah Al-Hashr (59) : 19-20]
So, let’s get to work.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I thought that it would be a good idea to remind ourselves of the virtues of Ramadan from the Quran and the Sunnah.
[Yes, many of us might know these but we all need reminders now and then.]
The Month of Fasting
“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 183]
“[Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskeen (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 184]
The Month of the Quran, Guidance, Gratitude and Generosity
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 185]
كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود الناس ، وكان أجود ما يكون في رمضان حين يلقاه جبريل ، وكان يلقاه في كل ليلة من رمضان فيدارسه القرآن ، فلرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود بالخير من الريح المرسلة
Narrated Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel* met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Quran. Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds). [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 5]
[*For those new to Islam, Jibreel = Gabriel (the angel).]
The Month of Tawheed (worshipping Allah alone) and Dua (supplication)
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 186]
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, how can one jumpstart it?
Well, I thought of 6 ways – all of them being things which cause one’s iman (faith) to rise.
If the iman rises, then the deeds increase which in turn causes the iman to rise even further.
So, here’s what I would do to jumpstart things:
[Of course, there are other ways as well.]
1) Do istighfar (seeking forgiveness) and taubah (repentance)
There’s nothing like bad deeds to hold a person back.
And there’s nothing like repentance to get them going again.
2) Attend the circles of knowledge
This one is a real iman booster.
It’s not just the knowledge. It’s also the serene feeling that one gets in these circles. Also, this is where you meet righteous sisters – not in Deira City Centre*.
[*To non-UAEers: This is a positively horrid shopping mall.]
3) Dua (supplication)
Don’t ask Allah. BEG Him.
4) Read the books of tawheed (worshipping Allah alone)
Knowing Allah is the foundation of all good things. And the books of tawheed introduce us to Allah, His Majesty, His Name and His Attributes, His rights over us, etc.
If you want an iman boosting book, pick up a book on tawheed.
5) Think about death.
There’s nothing like death to get the blood rushing (no pun intended).
Just thinking of it should be enough for a person to rush to do good deeds.
6) Take a day off and focus exclusively on your ibaadah (worship)
Busy with lots of stuff? Try to take just ONE day off where you stay at home and essentially focus on your ibaadah.
It really makes a WORLD of difference.
For those who are always around people, if you can try to be alone for that day, then that would be better.
I’ve always noticed that when I have a quiet day to myself (or as much as I can manage, I suppose), I have time to reflect and think. I can also try to work out what to do next. It makes things so much easier.
So, those were my suggestions. What other ways would you recommend to jumpstart one’s Ramadan preparations?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Ask for what, you say?
Paradise, of course.
من سأل الله الجنة ثلاث مرات قالت الجنة : اللهم أدخله الجنة ، ومن استجار من النار ثلاث مرات ، قالت النار : اللهم أجره من النار
Anas ibn Malik (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever asks for Paradise three times, Paradise says: “O Allah, admit him into Paradise,’ and whoever seeks refuge from the Fire three times, the Fire says: ‘O Allah, save him from the Fire”. [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2572. Graded ‘sahih” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2572.]
Let’s make this a daily habit, insha-Allah.