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a well wisher  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 20 September 2009 at 1:01am
 
 
Fear Of Hypocricy
 
Hanzalah and Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with them) went to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and said to him:

“O Allah’s Messenger, Hanzalah has become a hypocrite”.

Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: What has happened to you?
 
(Hanzalah) said: “O Allah’s Messenger, when we are in your company, we are reminded of Hellfire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but whenever we leave you and attend to our wives, children and business, much of these things go out of our minds”.
 
Then Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allah), the Angels would shake hands with you in your beds and in your paths but, Hanzalah, time should be devoted (to worldly affairs) and time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation). He (the Prophet) said this thrice.”
 
(Sahih Muslim)
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 20 September 2009 at 8:20pm
 
 
 
What is a Person's Worth? 

To what extent should a person’s income affect and control his life, and his psychological well being? What happens when a person, who has made a decent income, suddenly loses his job, or the stock market plummets?  Is he/she not human?

  • What is your “self” worth?
  • What do you have to contribute?
  • What makes you loveable?
  • Are you expendable?
  • Are you important?
  • How do you know?

Many people believe that if they are “worth” something, then they can have “self esteem”.

  • Why is it that so many of us believe that we, as human beings are not worthy of love, respect and dignity if we don’t have the materialistic items that symbolize success?
  • And why do these materialistic things symbolize success?

If we have our spiritual, psychological, emotional, mental and physical needs met, we should be content, right?

  • Where is this craving for more and more coming from?
  • Do we believe that by acquiring more and more, we will become more valuable or loveable?
  • Do we believe in some kind of “magic independence” when we will not need to depend on anyone in the world for anything?
  • And what if that “magic Independence” comes?  What does it buy us?

Identities

Money is a tool that is used to exchange for goods and services that an individual believes will either help them survive, or will help them to better their quality of life. We all have survival needs. And we all have a picture in our minds about what our own role is in helping our own selves, our family and our community to survive. The role that we perceive ourselves as performing serves to give us a sense of identity, a sense of “I”.  The human needs that sense of “I”, in order to survive psychologically.

In today’s world, we have come to attach our identities to the amount of money that we make. On a survival level, this can be very powerful.  Men often identify with the role of provider and protector.  In our contemporary society, we use money to provide and protect our families.  Women are now also among those who feel responsible for providing and protecting with the use of money as well – the pressure is on; and it seems to be increasingly difficult to get the basics – but what are the basics?

  • Are we content with food, clothing, shelter, safety, and each other?
  • Or are we becoming insane with consumerism?

Perhaps we should analyze what we think will make us happy.

The development of identity begins with our awareness of our self in relationship to our environment.  As we develop and grow, we adopt beliefs about what will make us worthy.  We then attempt to develop those qualities within ourselves, and this becomes our self image. If an individual grows up being surrounded by materialistic consumerism, and grows to believe that what they have, rather than who they are, is a reflection of the status of there character as a human being, then this human being is inevitably lost – yet this seems to be more and more the norm.

Self image is a creation of conclusions by the individual about what will make them worthy, and then adapting ones beliefs, behaviors, and desires to assist them in acquiring those attributes or qualities. Those attributes and qualities are then reflected back to us so that we know we are who we think we are.  In today’s world, we are misguided into believing that having more, is being more – and it is spiraling out of control.

Insanity

The problem is, in order to get  the things you need in order to be a worthy person; one of the “good people of the world” , you have to work longer and longer hours, and  spend your money on more materialistic things in order to be able to work…like fast food, and another car. Then, to put the cherry on top, you know you are valuable, worthy, important and loveable, when you become independent.  So, this system of everyone working outside the home, so that we can all buy more “stuff” to make it possible to keep making more money (and then use credit cards for the rest of it) is, in fact, the very system that we have become dependent on for the purpose of independence.  This, my friend, is slavery. This is insanity.

Consumerism has taken over the soul of man using tricks such as the illusion of independence. The marketeers have sold a fragile and false sense of self to the masses.  The modern self-descriptors that many use in to describe themselves in a positive light have been sold to us by thieves — and we bought it.  The idea of “rugged individualism” and other modern self-descriptors used to create a false self identity has resulted in the exploitation of the individual, leaving us vulnerable.  Consumerism has brought us far away from identifying ourselves by our character, and the sense of responsibility that we feel toward our loved ones, and from valuing each other’s contributions to a human system. Materialism has separated us from our own understanding of who we are as human beings, our relationship to our God, our homes, and to each other.  We have become lost in what we do and have, believing that is who we are. We need to find our way home.

Salvation will come when we realize that we are not the restaurants that we eat in, we are not the cars we drive or the neighborhood we live in. We are not our profession, and we are not the money that we make.  We are much, much, more than that.  In fact, we are not our body, we are not our mind…  we are not our beliefs or thoughts…  we are the human being that Allah created, and getting back to that soul is important. Only then can we become aware of our soul’s purpose, and then perhaps, we will be content.



Edited by a well wisher - 08 March 2010 at 6:50am
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Bringing About Happiness
 
Sheikh Salman al-Oadah|

 

Happiness cannot be purchased with gold and silver. It is far more precious than that.

Happiness is like a pearl in the depths of the sea. Only the most expert diver who knows how to seek it out will find it.

Happiness is a good meeting, a nice word, a dream, a realistic yet positive attitude towards life.

Look into yourself. Somewhere in the depths of your own soul lies your happiness.

Let us ask what is meant by happiness. A poll was conducted where 16,000 people had to answer what happiness meant to them.

Thirty-eight percent of the respondents said that happiness is brought about by love.

Twenty-eight percent said that happiness is contentment.

Seventeen percent said that happiness is health.

Seven percent claimed that happiness is to be found in marriage.

Five percent responded that happiness is wealth.

Three percent said that happiness is brought about through children.

Two percent replied that travel brings them happiness.

The Arab writer, `Abbâs Mahműd al-`Uqqâd once mentioned that he had an artist friend who liked to imagine things and depict them in drawings. One day, he imagined happiness and drew it as a twenty-year-old girl skipping about in a lively and energetic manner, her hair flying to the right and left, in extreme joy and playfulness. When the artist showed it to `Abbâs, the writer said:

This is not how I imagine happiness to be. Firstly, what you have depicted might have been described as play, amusement, or enjoyment. Happiness is something else entirely. Happiness is closer in meaning to experience and knowledge than it is to thoughtlessness, adolescence, and ignorance. It is closer to a more advanced age than it is to that age which is full of the delights of youth, vigor, and strength.

Secondly, happiness is closely connected to meanings like contentment, tranquility, and sobriety. It is not expressed as riotous and noisy behavior. Happiness is a matter of taste, emotion, and perception within a person – within his heart and his inner self.

Happiness cannot be formally defined like a scientific term. It can not be delineated and quantified

It may be that happiness comes knocking on our door but since we do not recognize it, we do not open the door for it. It is possible for a person to live in full mental, spiritual, and physical happiness, and not even realize it. We can look at the happiness of small children. They are happy in their lives of innocence, play, and simplicity. However, they very likely do not realize it. When they grow up and start reading and hearing about this notion called happiness, they begin searching for it like it is something lost.

If happiness could be attained through wealth – through the acquisition of gold, silver, dollars, and a big bank account – then the mountains and the mines would be the rightful possessors of happiness, because of all the wealth that they contain within them.

If happiness were achievable through beauty, display, and adornment, then the peacock and the flowers would have more right than us to be happy.

If happiness were in strength and power, then wild beasts would have been the most entitled to happiness.

If, however, happiness were attainable through noble conduct, wisdom, virtue, integrity, and probity, then the human being would have the greatest right to it.

Happiness can be experienced in many things. It can be found in the smile of an innocent baby. It can be found on the tongue of an honest person speaking a good word or remembering Allah. It resides in the heart of a person who shows tolerance to his brethren. It is in giving a gift without ulterior motives. It is when your Lord removes some hardship from yourself or from others. It is experienced in the rest that comes after an hour of hard work.

How many playboys, tyrants, wrongdoers, and people of wealth and power leave this world never experiencing the best and most beautiful thing that the world has to offer:

 
Closeness to Allah and the happiness that comes from communion with Him?

La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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On the concept of praise and criticism, from the section Al-'Aql wa al-Rahah (Rationality and Peace of Mind)

Al-Imam ibn Hazm(ra) writes:

Whoever believes he can totally avoid people's scorn and criticism is mad. Whoever examines matters carefully and disciplines himself to rely on the facts would enjoy people's criticizing him more than praising him. This is because if they praise him justly and he becomes aware of their praise, it might make him vainglorious, and this would devalue his virtues. If they praise him unjustly and he becomes aware of their praise, he would attain happiness from that which is false, and this would be a grave fault.

On the other hand, if people criticize him justly and he becomes aware of their criticism, it might help him to avoid that for which he is criticized; and this would be a great fortune, which only the faulty would forsake. If they criticize him unjustly and he becomes aware of their criticism and perseveres, he would become more virtuous by his perseverance and forbearance.

Moreover, he gains reward, because he receives some of the good deeds of those who criticize him unjustly. These deeds will count for him on the Day of Judgment, when he will be in most need to be saved; let it be by deeds of which he did not labor and by which he was not burdened. This is a great fortune, which only a fool would belittle.

If he is not aware of people's praise of him, then whether they talked about him or were silent makes no difference for him. But that is not the case with their criticism of him; for he will be rewarded either way: whether he becomes aware of their criticism or not.

If it were not for the saying of the Messenger (sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) about praise: "This [the praise] is the worldly good tiding for the believer," then it would have been incumbent upon the rational individual to desire to be criticized unjustly more than to be praised justly. But given this saying [of the Prophet (sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam)], it is clear that the good tiding is obtained from just deeds, not from unjust deeds.



Edited by a well wisher - 22 September 2009 at 6:08pm
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Ibn al-Qayyim(ra): Three Distinctions Often Confused

There are certain things that the soul often confuses and mixes up, and only those with deep insight and wisdom are able to properly distinguish them. Ibn al-Qayyim points out some of these fine details and distinctions that should be made.

i) Self-Respect vs. Vanity

"Self-respect is to make your soul rise above the petty and insignificant things that cause people to bend their necks pursuing. So, he prevents himself from this.

This is different from arrogance, which is a characteristic that is born from two things: being impressed with oneself and belittling others. So, arrogance is born from these two things, and the first (i.e. self-respect) is born from two things: honoring oneself and making it noble...

The basis for all of this is to prepare and condition the soul, and to place preference for its Owner over it. So, if one fails in his preparation and conditioning, he has failed in everything."

ii) Protection of Self vs. Arrogance

"The one who protects himself is like the man who puts on some new clothes, pure and white, and expensive. So, he enters upon the kings and those below them in these clothes. He strives to protect these clothes from any stains or dirt that could affect its whiteness and purity. So, you see him looking noble and constantly escaping from the places where he fears could make his clothes dirty. He does not allow any stain or speck of dirt to come onto his clothes.

This is the likeness of the one who strengthens and builds his heart and religion: you see him avoiding any stains of sin, as they stain the heart and dirty it more than any blot of dirt can dirty a pure, white garment. However, the eyes are covered from seeing these stains. So, you see him running from any potential stain, being cautious around the people, seldom mixing with them out of fear that the same thing would occur to his heart that occurred to his white clothing when he was around the butchers and cooks.

This is different from the one who elevates himself, as even if he is similar to the above in his avoidance of these things, he intends with this to step over the people's necks and to put them under his feet. So, this is a color, and that is another color."

iii) Humility vs. Humiliation

"Humility is born from a) knowledge of Allah, His Names, His Attributes, and His Loftiness, as well as loving and elevating Him, and b) knowing himself and his faults well.

So, from these two comes the characteristic of humility, and it is the subduing of the heart to Allah and lowering the wing of submission and mercy to His servants. So, he does not see any virtue that he has over others, and he sees no rights of his over others. Rather, he sees the virtue of others over him, and he sees their rights before his own. This is a characteristic that Allah gives to those He Loves and wishes to make noble and close to Him.

As for humiliation, it is lowliness and exertion of the soul in acquiring what it desires, like the humility of the low ones in fulfilling their desires, the humility of the victim to his oppressor, and the humility of anyone who seeks something from someone else to that person. This is all lowliness and inferiority, and has nothing to do with true humility. Allah Loves humility, and He hates lowliness and humiliation. It is reported in the 'Sahih' that the Messenger of Allah said: "It was revealed to me that you should be humble such that none should boast over others, and none should transgress against others.""

['ar-Ruh'; p. 313-317]

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It Is Always A Bounty For You


The divine decree related to the believer is always a bounty, even if it is in the form of withholding (something that is desired), and it is a blessing, even if it appears to be a trial, and an affliction that has befallen him is in reality a cure, even though it appears to be a disease!

Unfortunately, due to the ignorance of the worshipper, and his transgressions, he does not consider anything to be a gift or a blessing or a cure unless he can enjoy it immediately, and it is in accordance with his nature. If he were only given a little bit of understanding, then he would have counted being withheld from as a blessing, and the sickness as a mercy, and he would relish the trouble that befalls him more than he relishes his ease, and he would enjoy poverty more than he enjoys richness, and he would be more thankful when he is blessed with little than when he is blessed with a lot.


Imam ibn al Qayyim (ra)
Madarij al-Salikin 2/215-216

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Coping with Personal Problems
 Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
 
|


Who does not have problems?

Problems are a part of life. If it were not for distance and separation, people would never know the joy of meeting and reunion. If it were not for poverty, people would not know wealth. And if it were not for sorrow, people would not know joy.

In this manner, Allah has permitted the world to be a place of passage, where pleasure is accompanied by pain and laughter by tears, a world where the degree and severity of suffering is commensurate to the degree of happiness a person feels when that suffering goes away.

Every home has its problems, as does every office, corporation, and country. Every soul is afflicted with its own inner problems. When a person knows that his own self does not comply with what he wants from it and does not fulfill his expectations, and that it often shames him and disappoints him unbearably, then what can he possibly expect from others?

What can he hope to expect from the difficulties that arise from social interactions, whether they occur within a family setting, or among neighbors, or between colleagues and business partners, or with those who he meets on the road?

In spite of all this, the goodness, companionship, and human welfare that social interactions bring about can never be attained by a person who lives in isolation. The evils brought about by seclusion are far greater than the discomfort that comes from dealing with others.

How many people have tried to solve their problems by cutting off their dealings with others and going into seclusion? They seek to treat their ailments with something that is a sickness itself. They wind up longing to return to the very circumstances that they had so much detested before.

A woman feels that she can not stand to live with her husband's behavior any more and sees divorce as the only solution. Then when she gets what she wants, she feels like she is going to die of loneliness and starts to think of a way to undo what she had done.

An employee feels he can not bear his job any longer so he quits his job. After a while, though, he starts looking for people to intercede on his behalf as he repeatedly tries to get his job back.

This is why it is not sensible to hastily resort to severing ties, thinking that this is going to get to the root of the problem and make it just go away. This course of action can possibly cause much more suffering than before.

Specialists in problem management have set down the following practical steps for dealing with one's problems.
 
 These steps can be summarized as follows:

1. Perceiving and recognizing the problem.
2. Defining the problem correctly.
3. Research, examination, and fact finding, with a focus on pinpointing causes.
4. Setting down alternatives and options, then evaluating them and weighing their pros and cons.
5. Determining the option that will provide the best solution to the problem.

These steps can only be put into practice by a person who can approach his problems with a calm, level head. Reactions that are spontaneous and overemotional only serve to cloud a person's judgment, making it seem that the only solution is to completely divorce oneself from the source of the problem and with everything that in any way relates to it.

The problem could actually come from the deep within a person's character or personal history and cannot be simply shrugged off. It could also come from unavoidable circumstances outside of that person's control.

Often we besiege ourselves with problems and difficulties. This is not to say that those problems are not real. They definitely are. But we often have many good ways of getting around them. We do not have to dwell on them. We need to seek the help of Allah and cling hard to the firm handhold that He provides, repeating the words: "You alone we worship and You alone we beseech for help."

One of the supplications that the Prophets of old used to make goes as follows: "O Allah! Yours is the praise. You are the one whose help we seek. You are the one on whom we rely. Yours is the aid that we seek. There is no might and no strength except with Allah, the High and Mighty."

We can look at our problems as they really are and strive to get rid of them or at least minimize them, without letting them suffocate us or hold us back. Our problems must not make us stop working and living productive lives. We can also defer some problems that we cannot solve at the present time and wait for Allah, in whose hands rest all affairs, to relieve us of them

It is related from Ibn Mas`űd that Allah's Messenger said: "The best form of worship is to wait for relief." [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3571), al-Bazzâr (Majma` al-Zawâ'id 10/147), and al-Bayhaqî in Shu`ab al-Imân (7/204)]

At the same time, there can be no doubt that expecting relief from Allah is a form of worship, since it is part of being patient. This brings to our attention an important yet often overlooked fact - that many problems can be solved, but not by jumping ahead of things. They must be approached one step at a time. Haste can lead to making our problems more deeply entrenched than they were before. Sometimes the best solution is to postpone action and be patient until the right opportunity comes along for a solution to be sought.

Patience, then, is necessary in all cases. Therefore, we have been encouraged - actually commanded - to be patient. The word patience, in all of its morphological forms, comes in the Qur'ân about 103 times. Without patience to beautify our deeds, our efforts come to nothing. This is what `Umar meant when he said: "We found the best of our lives in patience." [Al-Bukhârî (6104)]

We can solve some problems with Allah's help, and we can minimize others. As for those problems for which we cannot find a solution, we can do our best to accommodate them. If a person were to take a small square, no bigger than the palm of his hand, and place it right in front of his eye, that small square would completely block his vision. The same thing can be said of problems when we make them larger than they actually are and give over to them a good share of our lives, thoughts, and feelings so they become a serious impediment to our moving forward and living productively. The classical Arabian poet Mutanabbih writes:

The eye of a small person makes small things look large
And the eye of a great person makes great calamities look small.

And

When a man grows accustomed to dwelling in the fear of death
Its arrival becomes the easiest possible event.


Without the least doubt, a person is going to face difficulties from his family, sometimes because they are worried about him, and sometimes because they are angry with him for violating their norms and customs, and sometimes because they love him, as love can bring about its own stresses.

He is going to face difficulties from society, from his school or university, from his job, and from the people he chooses to interact with.

Moreover, he is going to have to deal with difficulties emanating from within himself. Within him will be tendencies pulling him to do good and others pulling him to do evil. It will be as if his own inner condition is saying to him: "Why is it that I call you to salvation, yet you call me to the Fire?"

At the same time, this person, by way of supplication, devotion in prayer, and humility, will find Allah's help and support, and Allah will bless him the strength of will that he needs. He will also find help and support from his believing brethren who follow the same path.

Even when a problem springs from the inner depths of our being, we still must not let it bring us down. We must start afresh, take an assessment of our injuries, and bring our scattered wishes together. Then we must keep our eyes on the future instead of always looking back.

Is not Allah the one who is Oft Forgiving and accepts our repentance? Are not we human beings all prone to error? Our hearts can be cleansed with the knowledge that Allah is forgiving and by keeping hope before us. We must leave our vanities and base passions aside so they will not kill our souls. A believer takes refuge in his Lord and keeps the company of people who will help him overcome the obstacles along the way and help him to strengthen his resolve and his commitment. If he pulls himself up every time he stumbles, he will surely arrive.

 

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Longing of the Restless Heart --------Two Images
Khurram Murad
 
In this article two images will be shown to you of the human being who, of all people, had the purest heart. He is Allah's Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Let us ponder these two images and draw lessons from them.

First Image: Tearful Eyes

The first picture has been preserved for us by `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud. He narrated, "Allah's Messenger said to me, 'Recite (of the Qur'an) for me.' I said, 'Shall I recite it to you although it had been revealed to you?' He said, 'I like to hear it (the Qur'an) from others.' So, I recited Surat An-Nisaa' till I reached (How will it be, then, when We bring from every people a witness and bring you [O Muhammad] as a witness against these?)  (An-Nisaa' 4:41). He then said, 'Stop! Recite no more.' So, I turned to him, [only to see] his eyes flowing with tears." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Look at this picture with attention. What could be that great responsibility, the appreciation of which melted the heart and brought tears to the eyes? It is the obligation to stand witness to the Truth before the slaves of Allah. It is the responsibility of da`wah (Arabic for: calling people to Islam). Indeed, it is due to the deep sense of accountability.

One day, Almighty Allah will question the extent to which this duty was performed. What would be the reply? Look at the love Prophet Muhammad had for his Lord. Admire his fear of confronting his Master. What a strange and appealing combination of love and fear! Mark his compassion and mercy for humankind. Such was his faith in the Divine Word (i.e. the Qur'an) that only a few verses brought all the love, fear, and kindness to his eyes in the form of tears. How can one fail to love such a man?

Now, have a look at yourself in light of this picture. You know that as a Muslim, you have been raised as an individual in an Ummah that should stand witness to the Truth in front of the nations and the whole world. This is the real objective of your life.

Day and night, you repeat words such as Shari`ah, deen (Arabic for: Islamic religion or way of life), and witness to the Truth. Yet, let's be honest and speak the truth:

How many times have we cried, during the day or night, thinking of the hour when Almighty Allah will make us stand before Him as witnesses to the people living around us? What will our position be?

You know it very well: You, too, are obliged to stand witness to the Truth before the world in the way the Prophet stood in his days. You will have to stand before Allah, as the Prophet will. You will also be asked if you had stood witness to the Truth with your family members, schoolmates, friends, and colleagues at the university or at work, inhabitants of your town or country.

Were you a true or a false witness? Were you mindful or negligent of your duty? Were you thoughtful of all human beings or just worried about your own comforts and your own salvation?

Did such thoughts ever move you to tears? If not, it means that this image of the Prophet is not affixed in your heart. Your heart is still devoid of that tenderness of love for your Lord and His creatures, without which your life cannot attain any beauty and grace. You may deliver speeches, read books, shout slogans, and hold grand meetings. However, nothing will be fruitful without a deep passion and dedication to the Truth.

Viewing this picture should make you tremble. You should shiver and shed tears whenever you recall that you will be accountable for every indifference shown to the Lord by the people who neither follow the right path nor obey Him.

Second Image: Tender and Tormented Heart

Let's take a look at the second picture. It was not drawn by any mortal human being — it was rather drawn by Him Who is the Creator and Maker of Perfect Harmony. The entire universe speaks of the excellence and perfection of His art. He, the Almighty, says:

(It may be that you torment yourself (O Muhammad) because they do not believe.) (Ash-Shu`araa' 26:3)

The statement is brief, but the picture is complete and comprehensive. Only a few words reflect a myriad of colors; the picture has several features that stir the heart. One aspect is the Prophet's faith in his own truthfulness — a faith that one has in the existence of the sun in a bright, sunny morning.

His faith was confronted by repeated denials and rejection from the disbelievers. What would be the mental condition of a person who, pointing to the shining sun, declares that it is daytime and people refuse to believe him? They branded the Prophet as a liar and an impostor. Could you imagine how stifling their attitude toward him was? The people were satisfied only with refuting his claims; they laughed at him, turned against him, and oppressed him. Think of what his heart went through and how correctly the Lord paints this picture by using the expression torment yourself.

There is another feature that is far more fascinating. To grieve over rejections is natural. Every human being suffers them. But, there is one thing that is very hard to visualize. The Creator brings it before our eyes. Despite rejections, accusations, and enmity, there are no signs of anger or bad will on the part of the Prophet. He had only one desire, one concern, one passion: to bring these people to the way of Allah and rescue them from the wrath of Allah and the fire of Hell. His greatest wish was that they would be sent to heaven and rewarded in this world and in the hereafter.

It is one of the most attractive combinations of devotion, concern, and grief from which emerge the characteristics of the picture of one who was tormenting himself and was virtually dying of his grief.

He was not aggrieved only because people were not paying the attention he sought. He was not suffering only because people were rejecting the invitation to the Truth. The pain and grief were due to people's rush toward fire like moths. They were, above all, happy and contented to die this way. Almighty Allah says:

(Those are they who purchase error at the price of guidance and torment at the price of pardon; how bold they are to encounter fire!) (Al-Baqarah 2:175)

On one hand, the Prophet loves his Lord and his fellow humans. He is, by nature, a compassionate being. Mercy for the Creation is his title. On the other hand, his beloved fellow human beings were running away from his beloved Lord and almost killing themselves. Can you imagine the condition of such a heart? The Prophet is reported to have said:

My affair with the people is like a man who made a fire; when it lighted what was around it, moths and other insects started falling into it. The man tried [his best] to prevent them [from falling in the fire], but they overpowered him and rushed into the fire. Now, similarly, I take hold of the knots at your waist [belts] to prevent you from falling into the Fire, but you insist on falling into it. (Al-Bukhari)

Now, look at yourself. Do you believe in your message so intensely as to find it difficult to breathe when people refuse to accept it? Do you love humanity so much so that disappointment, anger, and hate do not replace the feelings of love, sympathy, and concern? Do you feel the same pangs of grief when you see people going astray as you would feel when you see some dear one burn in fire?

The worldly cares, financial concerns, and hardships of those whom we love depress us and render us well-nigh dead. All of us have been through this in some way or another. Does the concern to deliver the message of Allah to people and the desire to save them from Hellfire and lead them to salvation keep you impatient and agitated? Do you try to hold people back and save them from disasters instead of branding them as transgressors when you see them go astray?

Believe me, until our lives reflect the image of torment yourself described in the Qur'an, we will not be able to do or even think of what was successfully performed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). 

La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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Go on… Throw Yourself Between the Hands of Allah

If the servant of Allah knows that he cannot escape nor change the plan of Allah, he will commit all his affairs to Allah and throw himself between His hands as a humble servant throws himself between the hands of a mighty king who has authority over him- and indeed the servant has no power of his own. When the servant knows all that, he will be relieved from all distress and sadness and will pass the burden to Allah who does not care or get tired. Allah will carry them, and show him kindness and mercy without any tiredness. The servant has paid attention to Allah alone and Allah paid attention to the needs and benefits of his life and emptied his heart from them, and, as a result, his life will be good and his heart will be happy. 


‘Al – Fawaa’id’ by Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (ra)

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And you ask about your Creator...

And ath-Thahabee mentions from al-Muzanee that he said: “I knew that if anyone could rid me of a troubling concern about an issue of tawheed, it would be ash-Shaafi’ee(ra). So I went to him while he was in a mosque in Egypt. When I kneeled in front of him, I said, ‘I am troubled about a certain issue of tawheed. I know that no one knows as much as you, so what do you say about this?’ ”

He became angry and said, ‘Do you know where you are?’
 
I said, ‘Yes.’
 
He said, ‘This is the place where Allaah drowned Pharoah. Has it reached you that the Messenger of Allaah was ordered to ask about that?’

I said, ‘No.’

He said, ‘Have the Companions spoken about it?’

I said, ‘No.’

He said, ‘Do you know how many stars are in the sky?’

I said, ‘No.’

He said, ‘So you don’t even know about one planet – its type or the time and place of its appearance and disappearance?’

I said, ‘No.

He said, “So there is something from the creation that you see with your own eyes that you do not even know anything about, yet you speak about the Knowledge of the Creator?’

Then he asked me a question about ablution, and I erred in my response. So he explained it from four different angles (and asked me about them), and I was not correct in any of my responses.

So he said, ‘So you leave alone the knowledge of something which you are in need of five times a day, and instead you burden yourself with the knowledge of the Creator? When this (kind of thing) comes to your mind, then remember the statement of Allaah the Exalted,

“And your God is One God; there is no true god besides Him. He is the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. Verily in the creation of the heavens and the earth…” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:163-164]


So use the creation as a proof for (the Greatness of) the Creator, and do not burden yourself with what is beyond your understanding.”

 
[Siyar A’laamin-Nubalaa‘ (10/31)]
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The truthful and sound heart is that which is secure from every carnal desire that opposes the order and prohibition of Allaah. It is secure from every doubt and uncertainty that would obscure or go against His narrative. It is secure from displaying servitude to any other than Him; just as it is secure from seeking ruling from any other than His Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam. Therefore it becomes sound through loving Allaah and seeking the ruling of His Messenger. It becomes sound through showing Him fear, hope, trust and reliance, penitence, and humility; it prefers what pleases Him in every circumstance and distances itself from everything that would displease Him in every possible way. This is the reality of servitude (`uboodiyyah) which can only be directed to Allaah alone.

[The Key to Paradise, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali]
 
 
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 30 September 2009 at 4:20pm
           
 
The Partnership between Body and Soul
 
|Sheikh Salman al-Oadah|
 

 
The dualism between the body and soul is very clearly evident in the physical world. The body is subservient and the soul is in charge; however both are indispensable. It is just that the soul is the master while the body is the obedient servant.

People have a habit of letting themselves become fully absorbed in fulfilling their physical needs to the utter disregard of their spiritual ones, which are rarely so much as contemplated.

We need only look at the vast number of institutions that exist to deal with the material aspects of our lives compared to the paucity of those that focus n the needs of the soul – the mosque being one of those.

The body has its rights and its demands upon us. However what worth does the body have without the soul? It is a mere corpse, no matter how powerfully or beautifully it is constructed. If the soul departs from it, it becomes a wasted husk. Its beauty can only be realized in partnership with the soul.

If we look to apply this concept within an Islamic context, we immediately notice that our four primary acts of worship – prayer , fasting, Zakâh, and Hajj – and indeed all forms of worship, require the participation of both the body and soul.

However, the regrettable thing that beset the People of the Scripture – the followers of Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them both) – as well as many of the followers of Muhammad (peace be upon him) – is that of being overly concerned with outward appearances at the expense of substance. There is more concern about bodily actions than there is with the soul. Concern for the outward aspects of worship is something good (though at times it can get out of hand), but such concern should not result in the inner meaning of our worship being forgotten.

The physical aspects of our prayers are our standing, bowing, sitting, and prostrating. These are bodily motions. These are the aspects of prayer that most Muslims learn and commit to memory, and may Allah be praised. These are the matters that they generally ask about, sometimes in great detail.

The spiritual aspects of prayer are our devotion, humility, and submission to Allah in full sincerity and devotion. It entails our recognition of Allah’s greatness and divinity that inspires us with a sense of reverence and awe.

Is there any relationship between our concern for the physical aspects of prayer and our concern for the spiritual? Indeed, there is. When we carry out the outward aspects of prayer, we are, without doubt, obeying our Lord and fulfilling His command by upholding one of the pillars of our faith.

At the same time, should not we know why our Lord, in His infinite wisdom, commands us to offer prayers at fixed times in a prescribed manner? Should we not wonder about the effects that these prayers should have on our persons and our lives?

The same can be said for fasting. Why do we fast? Surely Allah does not need our fasts.

Allah says: “O humanity! You are in need of Allah and He is free of all wants, worthy of praise.” [Sűrah Fâtir: 15]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever does not leave off false speech and evil deeds, then Allah has no need of his leaving off his food and drink.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1903)]

We know that Allah has no need for us to leave off eating and drinking in any case, even when we abstain from false words and false deeds.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, conveying to us the words of his Lord: “O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you came together as the heart of the most pious man among you, it would not increase my dominion in the least. O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you came together as the heart of the most sinful man among you. It would not diminish my dominion in the least.” [Sahîh Muslim (2577)]

Surely fasting was not prescribed to punish us and make us suffer from hunger and thirst.

Indeed not, for Allah says: “What can Allah gain by your punishment if you are thankful and you believe, and Allah is grateful and all-knowing.” [Sűrah al-Nisâ’: 147]

The Prophet (peace be upon him), during the pilgrimage, saw an old man being supported on both sides by his two sons. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: “What is the matter with him?”

They said: “He had taken an oath to walk.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is in no need of this man’s punishing of himself.” Then he ordered the man to ride. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1865) and Sahîh Muslim (1646)]

Was fasting, then, prescribed for us to attain blessings and rewards?

Without doubt, Allah bestows immense rewards upon his servants for their fasts. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts in faith seeking reward, all of his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (38) and Sahîh Muslim (716)]

However, the rewards and blessings that we receive for of fasts, our prayers, and our charity are Allah’s reward to us to encourage us to do these good deeds.

The question remains: Why do we fast? Why do we get such a great reward for doing so? Why do we pray and embark upon the pilgrimage?

As I see it, we do so for two purposes:

The first is to develop our faith and build our moral character on a basis of piety and certainty. Allah says about fasting: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that perhaps you may guard against evil.” [Sűrah al-Baqarah: 183]

About prayer, Allah says: “Indeed prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds.” [Sűrah al-`Ankabűt: 45]

About the Hajj, He says: “And let there be no obscenity, wickedness, or wrangling in the Hajj.” [Sűrah al-Baqarah: 197]

Allah says about paying Zakâh: “Take alms of their wealth, wherewith you may cleanse them and purify them.” [Sűrah al-Tawbah: 103]

This meaning can be seen in all acts of worship. They all seek to build a person’s character and perfect his moral conduct, his beliefs, and his faith. Our worship aims to cleanse and renew our hearts, making them free from base qualities like deception, avarice, rancor, and unbridled lust.

The second purpose of our worship is to reform the relationship between the person and others. By developing a person’s character and cultivating within him certain values, a person’s worship results in his safeguarding the rights of others on every possible level of interaction.

This includes the relationship between husband and wife, parent and child, and likewise between neighbors and between the governed and the one who governs them. Even the rights of animals and the environment are safeguarded in this way. Islam brings with it values governing a Muslim’s conduct towards everything that surrounds him.

All the acts of worship that were prescribed to humanity are the previous manifestations of the religion and in Islam are part of a single program designed to fulfill these two purposes: to build the individual and to develop his relationship with others.

What meaning does fasting have for a person who merely eschews food and drink and other pleasures that are lawful under normal circumstances, only to engage in forbidden acts like speaking falsehood and mistreating others? How much worse is it to engage in unlawful things in the month of Ramadan, and possibly even during the day while fasting? How is it for such a person who lives a dual life, his worship completely divorced from his everyday life, having no effect on his dealings with others?

We have a right to ask ourselves in earnest: When will our worship change from being merely an outward act into a reality that is rich in meaning and that carries with it a deep and noble purpose? When will our worship start to affect our personalities, building us into people of integrity who fulfill their duties, recognize their own shortcomings, and work to improve themselves before rushing to judge others? 

               Only then will our worship take on its full meaning.
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 01 October 2009 at 4:45pm

 

The Essence of Islam: Are We Missing the Point?

Yasmin Mogahed

To some, a Monet is only a collection of dots. To others, it is a perfect masterpiece. To some, Islam is nothing but a code of rules and regulations. But, to those who understand, it is a perfect vision of life.

As Muslims, we often focus so much on Islam’s dos and don’ts that we miss the bigger picture. Islam came to perfect our manners, and yet we are willing to scream and shout to win an argument about zabiha meat. Islam came to build our bond with our Creator, and while we wear our hijabs and kufis, we delay our prayers.

Islam came to establish a community of believers, and while we decorate our masjids with gold and silver, our prayer rows remain empty. Islam came to teach us about God, and while we wear His words on our necklaces and decorate our houses with them, when those verses are recited to us, our hearts remain unmoved and our lives unchanged.

And Islam came to make us one brotherhood, yet we divide ourselves and alienate one another over issues like moon sighting and voting.

This is not to say, of course, that the do’s and don’ts are not important. They are crucial. The problem is we have forgotten what they stand for. For example, the wearing of Islamic dress should never be minimized. But we have forgotten that the hijab and the beard are only symbols of our greater devotion to God. For us to wear the hijab and the beard while it has no bearing on our character means we have missed the point.

If we spend thousands decorating our masjids but use it only to display status and win arguments, we have lost its intended purpose. And if we’ve memorized every haram and halal ingredient of facial soap but we own businesses that are based on interest and sell alcohol, have we not made a mockery of Allah’s deen?

That deen is what transforms humanity from the lowest of the low to the representatives of God on earth. The Quran tells us: “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth …’ ” (Quran 2:30)

As a representative of God on earth, we are given a very great responsibility. It is a trust so heavy that even the mountains rejected it. Allah tells us in the Quran: “We did indeed offer the trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it; he was indeed unjust and foolish.” (Quran 33:72)

As believers, we should never lose sight of this responsibility. It is the fulfillment of that mission that transforms us from asfala safileen, the lowest of the low (Quran 95:5), into khaira ummatin ukhrijat lil naas, the best of peoples arisen for mankind. (Quran 3:110)

But how can we be that best of people? Allah describes how in His book: “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah…” (Quran 3:110)

The essence of that struggle is the belief in Allah, the struggle for truth and the struggle against evil. As soon as we give up that struggle, we will become among those people who Allah describes in surat Al-Asr as being in a state of loss. Allah describes the ones who will be saved from that state: “Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Quran 103:3)

And, so, if we continue to abandon this greater mission and purpose, we will have transformed the perfect vision of existence into nothing more than a collection of dots.

La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 02 October 2009 at 6:23pm
 

 
Imaam Al ‘Alaamah Ibnu Qayyim Al Jawzeeyah (RA)
 
“There is nothing on the face of the earth that is more in need of being imprisoned for a lengthy period of time than the tongue”

A man said to him:

"Teach me some words that are concise and beneficial!"

So he said:

"Worship Allaah and do not associate any partners with him. Follow the Qur-aan wherever it directs you. Whoever comes with the truth, accept it from him even if he was distant and hated by you and whoever comes with falsehood, then reject it even if he was close and beloved to you.

Be the springs of knowledge, the lamps of guidance, attached/bound to your homes, lights of the night, refreshers of the hearts, Khulqaan (best/cleanest) of clothes, known in the heavens, unknown to those on earth.

As long as you are in prayer, you are knocking at the door of a king, and whoever knocks at the door of a king will have the door opened for him.

There will be a people at the end of times called ‘Al Nataan’. Constantly blaming one another will be the best of their actions.

If a person would like to be just to himself, let him treat others in the same way that he would like to be treated.”



Edited by a well wisher - 02 October 2009 at 6:24pm
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