Sacrifice – a different perspective

Assalamualaikum,

When we do something for the sake of Allah, we are not sacrificing anything because sacrificing means we are giving something up without any returns (e.g. sometimes we say, “sacrifice your sleep to stand up in the night”).

In fact, it’s a two-way contract. Whenever you do a good deed with the correct niyyah (intention), the reward is confirmed. If you are not rewarded in this life, you will definitely see the fruits of your deed in the Hereafter.

Attachments

Assalamualaikum,

It has been almost two years since I left Australia and for most of my friends, they have already adapted to their new lifestyle. But for some reason, I still find myself struggling to move on. I’m in a different country physically but mentally and emotionally, I am stuck in Australia. There is probably never a day that goes by without thinking of being back with my closest friends who became like family to me.

I wrote about not being attached to the Dunya a few days ago.. and this was the first thought that came to my mind when I was reflecting on the story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s). I’m the sort of person who selects her closest friends carefully. Only those who are within this circle have access to my deepest thoughts and fears, and have seen the ‘other side of me’. In return, I give them a piece of my heart – I think I am extremely loyal to these friends – and they can trust that I will always be there when they need me.

But you know what is the downside? I become too attached to them.. and that is my ultimate weakness. Being attached to people. Not only is it unhealthy to develop such close attachments to people, but ultimately, my attachment to Allah SWT weakens. I learnt the hard way that when your heart is filled with anything else other than Allah SWT, you will get hurt. And I got burnt real bad.

Back in Aust, I had a very close relationship with this sister. Since she is much older than me, she was my big sister there. I had someone to run to at the end of the day to confide my secrets and if needed, she would not shy away from advising me even when I didn’t like to hear it. I guess I spent so much time with her that when I had to move to a different country, I felt that instant loss. How could I not feel that way when my life practically revolved around her? All of a sudden, there was no safety net I could fall back on. Who was going to listen to my daily rant? Who will be there to set me straight when I needed it the most? Who will be there when I need help?

I left Aust all broken and frankly, quite depressed. I would wake up crying when I realised that she isn’t there. Reality hit me hard then. Our contact became very minimal because she was caught up with work and it was difficult to get hold of her. The sickening part is when I had to wait for reply because I would keep checking to see if I have any messages in my inbox. And that was enough to eat me up inside. I knew that if I needed to stop feeling that emptiness inside, I had to do my part to remove my attachments. I tried and al-Hamdulillah, I have stopped feeling so attached to her and people there. There are times, however, when I miss them terribly.

I think I am more careful with my interactions with people now. There were a few times where I let my emotions take control of me but now I remind myself of the past. The answer to my questions came later on after months of self-healing… that I confide only my secrets to Him and turn to Him for help. He will never leave us even for a second (but people have the tendency to walk away from you). Allah SWT loves when we talk to Him, and ask Him frequently so who else is better to talk to daily?

If you read this post right to the end, I’m sorry if you did not benefit anything from it. I just needed to write this to get it out of my chest. I also hope that it’ll be a reminder for all of you, as much as it is for myself.

Eid al-Adha

Assalamualaikum!

It’s Eid al-Adha here al-Hamdulillah.. After my maghrib salaah, I was just reflecting on why we celebrate Eid al-Adha and the story behind it. These are some of my brief thoughts about the story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s).

There are many lessons that can be derived from the story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and the sacrifice of his son, Prophet Ismail (a.s). We can learn about putting our full trust (tawakkul) in Allah SWT when Prophet Ismail (a.s), allowed his father to sacrifice him without questioning Allah SWT why even though it made no sense to him. That is something all of us need to be reminded of especially when tragedy strikes us when we least expect and not to question Allah’s decree.

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) remains a prime example to us when he was patient in performing a command from Allah SWT. Imagine ourselves in a position of sacrificing something/someone that we love so dearly for a higher purpose! More than often, we are reminded to be patient when we are angry but being patient is not only limited to that. We can translate this into having patience in performing our obligations and especially in struggling with our nafs for the sake of Allah SWT. Do you know that Imaam Sufyan at-Thawri (rahimullah) only tasted the sweetness of night prayer after 20 years of unwavering sabr? Ya Rabb..

“For twenty years I waged Jihad against myself.  I struggled, all throughout to remain standing in prayer at night.  For those twenty years I never tasted the sweetness of the night prayer.  It was only after that that I found comfort and sweetness.”

There is perhaps another angle of this story which I look at: Attachment to this Dunya. It is surely without doubt that Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) loved his son dearly but his heart was clearly not attached to him. Had his heart been attached to this Dunya, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) would not have carried out as he was commanded. He understood that Allah SWT was top priority in all aspects of his life, and it was more important than his own family. We tend to interpret ‘Dunya’ in the form of material wealth only but fail to understand that ‘Dunya’ encompasses everything – people, places, objects, moments etc. When we enslave ourselves in our attachments to people for example, we do not realise that that is actually Dunya too. Let’s strive towards freeing ourselves from worldly attachments and only have our hearts connected to Allah SWT.

Subhan’Allah.. So many lessons that Allah SWT is teaching us just from the story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s).

Anyway, EID MUBARAK! Hope it was beneficial insha’Allah :)

A late Eid Mubarak!

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

I hope it’s not too late to wish everyone EID MUBARAK! I wrote this a day before Eid and for some reason did not publish it! Now that Ramadhan is over, we should still keep up with our ibadaah even though truthfully, it is a bit harder when people around you are not doing the same. But keep striving insha’Allah!

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Each year after khatamul Qur’an on the last night of taraweeh, the masjid is usually bustling with excitement anticipating the coming of Eid. We were given packets of briyani rice after prayers today donated by some generous soul. People were hugging one another; Some have already given eid gifts (usually money) to the children. Most were chatting away about their Eid plans and invitations to their houses. It seemed that everyone is ready to celebrate this festive season even though we have another day to fast.

The mood is in the air but reality is starting to dawn on me. In one day, a dear friend is leaving us. We have anticipated and prayed during the last 11 months just to see this blessed month and Allah SWT has given us that opportunity to experience it one more time. A month of mercy and barakah for those who truly seek it. To see it leave us is like seeing someone we hold so dear in our hearts depart from us.  I am already starting to feel its absence. Will we live to see the next Ramadhan? Allahu alam..

Nevertheless, al-Hamdulillah for having completed this month and hopefully leaving it in a better state of eemaan. May Allah strengthen our eemaan and keep us firm after Ramadhan!

Tafseer Videos

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh everyone,

I hope it’s not too late to mention this – if you want a brief tafseer, then there are a few videos available on Youtube:

1) Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury

He does a ‘live’ short tafseer of Juz Tabarak every weekend till the end of Ramadhan. You can watch the recordings on Youtube or better, if you are in Malaysia, you can attend his tafseer classes at International Islamic University of Malaysia from 5.15pm – 6.15pm held at the Main Mosque. He is planning to have tafseer classes of the whole Quran which I think it’ll be after Ramadhan. Stay tune for that!

2) Bro Nouman Ali Khan @ Quran Weekly

The videos are very short – about 3 to 4 mins and he covers just one ayaah in each Juz.

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The brief tafseer will not do justice to the Qur’an but since time is running short and that Ramadhan is leaving us soon, let’s maximise the remaining number of days insha’Allah!

Tips for the last 10 nights of Ramadhan

Assalamualaikum!

Useful reminders by Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury on the last 10 nights of Ramadhan. May Allah make us amongst those who attain rewards of Laylatul Qadr!

“The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months” (97:3)

The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Verily, the month of Ramadan has come to you all… In it there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good, then he has truly been deprived.”

1. Do not let your ‘performance’ until now affect your last 10 days. The moment of forgiveness could be today or anytime in the coming days! It is not all lost! If you sincerely wish it could have been better – Chin up and get ready to make it your best yet! Start with a positive, sincere intention!

2. Today, take a little time to read the Tafseer of Surah al-Qadr to understand what actually happens this night! You will feel its power & greatness so much more!

3. Do not wait for the 27th Night to give it your “all”. The entire last 10 days should be your target. Stay up each night! Would you want to miss Laylatul Qadr even “by chance”?

4. Do not fall into any innovations/celebrations any Masjid or culture might try to promote. Follow the Sunnah! The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) guided us simply:

“Whoever stays up and prays on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”

5. Memorize and keep asking the Du’a taught by Rasoolullah (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam):

Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anni

(O Allaah, You are forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).

6. Prepare a short Du’a list. Remember this is as awesome as it ever gets for a servant of Allah! The Night of Qadr, of Destiny! Consciously pick each and everything you crucially wish for in this dunya, in your deen, family, and in youraakhirah! Don’t forget to include the brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering and in grief!

7. Take brief naps during the day, if possible. Keep your stomach light and sleep as soon as you have prayed ‘isha. Do not delay! After a brief nap, refresh yourself and get ready for worship.

8. Don’t neglect your family! Rasoolullah [p] made it a point to wake up his wives throughout these nights! And yes, your children are not too young to stay up some part of the night – if they can be allowed to play video games or watch TV, they can be inspired to be up atleast for sometime! Prepare them, make them excited, plan some activities for them to do!

9. Look the Part: The way we dress and prepare has a big effect on our psychology. Wear your best, perfume yourself, and feel the energy!

10. Choose a spot, whether in the Masjid or in your home, where you can have peace and solitude. Keep your mushaf, praying mat, and water at hand so that you are not distracted by constantly getting up for this or that.

11. IMP: This is not the night to tweet pics or update FB statuses about how amazing the night is and how you are feeling & worshipping Allah! Let that be a secret between you & your Rabb! So switch off those phones, wifi, laptops and computers. Disconnect with the world, and connect with Al-‘Afuww!

12. If you find yourself feeling sleepy, vary your acts of worship. Alternate between Qiyaam, heartfelt Du’aa, reading theQur’an. Do not spend the night listening to lectures or recitations. Or do it only for a short while when you feel the sleep coming on!

13. Patience is the Key: The last 10 days might be tiring. You might still have work or school. This is the time to bear all that hardship, and keep firm Sabr. Think how Allah has blessed you with this tremendous opportunity that might NEVER come again in your life again. If you knew for sure that this was your last #Ramadan, if you knew certainly that Jannahwas up for grabs, wouldn’t you sprint for it no matter what it takes?

14. This is most important: Keep Husn Adh-Dhann Bi Allah (good expectations from Allah). When you ask, remember you are asking the Most Generous King. If you hope for the best, He will give you the best. Don’t hold back. Trust in Him, pour out your heart in front of Him, and let no doubt, no barrier, no evil thoughts keep you away from Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem!