بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
What do most us wait to see before we start increasing in our prayers, recitation of the Quran, duas, charity, etc?
Well, this of course:
The new moon that signals the beginning of Ramadan.
Unfortunately, for many people, that’s the signal that they should start worshipping Allah.
Of course, others delay worshipping Allah until they go for Hajj, or until they graduate from university, or until they get married, or until the children have grown up or until they retire or until….
I could go on and on.
Why is it that we wait for tomorrow to improve in our worship of Allah when we’re not even sure if we’ll live past today?
So, let’s not wait for anything. Let’s just start increasing our ibaadah (worship) step by step from today onwards, insha-Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
10) Our companionship can make or break us.
The scholar asked the murderer to leave his evil land and go to a land where there were pious people.
So one of the reasons for his evil actions was due to the place that he was in and the type of people that he was surrounded by.
So, if we want to make a fresh start, we need to take a look at the people around us. What are they like? Do they enjoin us to good… or to evil?
There are many Quranic ayaat about the importance of having righteous companions.
Look at what the people of hellfire will say when asked why they were put into hell:
مَا سَلَكَكُمْ فِي سَقَرَ
قَالُوا لَمْ نَكُ مِنَ الْمُصَلِّينَ
وَلَمْ نَكُ نُطْعِمُ الْمِسْكِينَ
وَكُنَّا نَخُوضُ مَعَ الْخَائِضِينَ
وَكُنَّا نُكَذِّبُ بِيَوْمِ الدِّينِ
حَتَّىٰ أَتَانَا الْيَقِينُ
“What has caused you to enter Hell?”
“They will say: “We were not of those who used to offer their Salah (prayers). Nor we used to feed Al-Miskin (the poor); And we used to talk falsehood (all that which Allah hated) with vain talkers. And we used to belie the Day of Recompense. Until there came to us (the death) that is certain.” [Surah Al-Muddaththir (74) : 42-47]
One of the reasons was because they were too busy mooching around with vain talkers.
Here’s another ayah that informs us of the disbeliever’s regret on the Last Day:
وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا
يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا
لَقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي ۗ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنْسَانِ خَذُولًا
“And (remember) the Day when the dhaalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger (Muhammad). Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Quran) after it had come to me. And Shaitan (Satan) is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.” [Surah Al-Furqan (25) : 27-29]
Allah advises us in the Quran to be around those who are obedient to Him:
وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ ۖ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا
“And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord (i.e. your companions who remember their Lord with glorification, praising in prayers, etc., and other righteous deeds, etc.) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost.” [Surah Al-Kahf (18) : 28]
لَا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُمْ بِرُوحٍ مِنْهُ ۖ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ رَضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّـهِ ۚ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّـهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
“You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred (people). For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Rooh (proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself. And We will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allah is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Verily, it is the Party of Allah that will be the successful.” [Surah Al-Mujadilah (58) : 22]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
“O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds).” [Surah At-Tawbah (9) : 119]
There are also many ahadeeth about taking righteous people as friends:
لا تصاحب إلا مؤمنا ، ولا يأكل طعامك إلا تقي
Abu Saeed (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Do not accompany except a believer, and do not let anyone eat your food but one of taqwa (piety).” [Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4832. Graded “hasan” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4832.]
مثل الجليس الصالح والسوء ، كحامل المسك ونافخ الكير ، فحامل المسك : إما أن يحذيك ، وإما أن تبتاع منه ، وإما أن تجد منه ريحا طيبة ، ونافخ الكير : إما أن يحرق ثيابك ، وإما أن تجد ريحا خبيثة
Narrated Abu Musa (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, ‘The example of a good pious companion and an evil one is that of a person carrying musk and another blowing a pair of bellows. The one who is carrying musk will either give you some perfume as a present, or you will buy some from him, or you will get a good smell from him, but the one who is blowing a pair of bellows will either burn your clothes or you will get a bad smell from him.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 7, Hadeeth No. 442]
Ultimately, we are whom we befriend:
الرجل على دين خليله فلينظر أحدكم من يخالل
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “A man follows the religion of his close friend, so let one of you look at whom he takes as his close friend.” [Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4833. Graded “hasan” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4833.]
So, let us all look around and see what kind of people we befriend because they represent who we truly are, and those are the kind of people we will be with in the hereafter as well.
جاء رجل إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال : يا رسول الله ! متى الساعة ؟ قال ” وما أعددت للساعة ؟ ” قال : حب الله ورسوله . قال ” فإنك مع من أحببت ” . قال أنس : فما فرحنا بعد الإسلام ، فرحا أشد من قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ” فإنك مع من أحببت ” . قال أنس : فأنا أحب الله ورسوله . وأبا بكر وعمر . فأرجو أن أكون معهم . وإن لم أعمل بأعمالهم
Anas ibn Malik (radiallahu anhu) reported that a person came to Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) and said to Allah’s Messenger: When would be the Last Hour? Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: What preparation have you made for the Last Hour? He said: The love of Allah and of His Messenger (is my only preparation).* Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: You would be along with one whom you love. Anas said: Nothing pleased us more after accepting Islam than the words of Allah’s Messenger: You would be along with one whom you love. And Anas said: I love Allah and His Messenger and Abu Bakr and Umar, and I hope that I would be along with them although I have not acted like them. [Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 6380]
[*Another narration states “significant preparation” which implies that he fulfilled his obligatory duties.]
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[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.
Allah has granted us a month like Ramadan out of His Mercy and his Wisdom. Everyone knows how much easier it is to worship Him during this month.
However, were we given this month for us to worship Allah only for its duration? Or were we given this month so that we could train our bodies and souls to be constantly obedient to Allah?
You know what the answer is.
The first thing that we need to do is to intend for this month to be a new start for us. If we don’t intend to continue being obedient to Allah after the month is over, then why exactly are we being obedient to Him in this month to begin with???
So, how do we make a fresh start? The first way is to close the doors.
Close the doors? Yes, the doors of sins. Our sins.
How do we do that? By seeking Allah’s Forgiveness and repenting to Him, of course.
How do we do that?
Well, there’s a hadeeth which tells three ways to seek His Forgiveness. It’s quite beautiful. Also, Imam Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) has explained it in a magnificent way.
You can the read hadeeth and its explanation here.
Let’s all read it, ponder over it and aim to apply it, insha-Allah.
Want some motivational stories of people who made a fresh start?
Well, here’s the story of the man who killed 99 people and here are the stories of a whole bunch of people who tried to seek the truth. (The link is to another blog of mine.)
In case you’re wondering what sin the latter group was guilty of (before they sought the truth) – it was shirk (ascribing partners to Allah) and that is the worst sin in the sight of Allah.
So, here’s to a new beginning.
PS. Yes, I’m going to have teensie-weensie reminders every day, (which will include motivational stories), insha-Allah, along with some other stuff.