Jumaah #13

(Taken from Al-Jumaah Magazine Vol 21, pp. 33-34)

Check your conduct against the Qur’an

  • When facing insult at the hands of the ignorant, say peae and forgive
Those who spend [in Allah’s Cause – deeds of charity, alms, etc.] in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers). [3:134]
And the slaves of the Most Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness. [25:63]
  • When walking, walk in humility and peace
And the slaves of the Most Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness. [25:63]
And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not each arrogant boaster. [ 13:18]
  • When looking, control your gaze, and guard your chastity
Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. [24:30]
  • When with your parents,  be kind, and lower “wings of humility” before them
And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. [17:23]
  • When thinking and reflecting, think of Allah’s creation
Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire. [3:190-1]
  • When judging, evaluating, making tough decisions, be just and give each other their due
Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer. [4:58]
  • When listening to the Qur’an, or when Allah is mentioned, check your heart
The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone); [8:2]
Say (O Muhammad SAW to them): “Believe in it (the Quran) or do not believe (in it). Verily! Those who were given knowledge before it, when it is recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration. And they say: “Glory be to our Lord! Truly, the Promise of our Lord must be fulfilled. And they fall down on their faces weeping and it adds to their humility. [17:107-109]
  • When faced with grief and difficulty, look only to Allah’s mercy and be sure of it
And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).  And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things. [65:2-3]
  • When having fun, never put down any one
O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”, etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.) [49:11]
  • When dealing with your enemies or those who hurt you, still be just
O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do. [5:8]

Jumaah #12

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

(Transcribed from: 33 Ways of Developing Al-Kushoo’ Humility and Devotion in Prayer by Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid)

Concealing your khushoo’

Making a show of khushoo’ is condemned. Hudhayfah (Radi Allahu Anhu) used to say, “Beware of hypocritical humility and devotion.” He was asked, “What is hypocritical humility and devotion?” He said, “When the body shows khushoo’ but there is no khushoo’ in the heart.” Fudayl ibn Ayad (Radi Allahu Anhu) said: “It was disliked for a person to show more khushoo’ than he had in his heart.” One of them saw a man showing khushoo’ in his shoulders and body, and told him, “Khushoo’ is here,” and he pointed to his chest, “not here, – and he pointed to his shoulders.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said, explaining the difference between the khushoo’ of true faith and hypocritical khushoo’:

The khushoo’ of true faith is when the heart feels aware and humble before the greatness and glory of Allah, and is filled with awe, fear and shyness, so that the heart is utterly humbled before Allah and broken, as it were, with fear, shyness, love and the recognition of Allah’s blessings and of its own sins. So, no doubt, khushoo’ of the heart is followed by kushoo’ of the body. 

As for the hypocritical khushoo’, it is something that is put on with a great show, but there is no kushoo’ of the body. One of the Companions used to say: I seek refuge with Allah from hypocritical khushoo’. It was asked of him: What is hypocritical khushoo’? He replied: When the body appears to have khushoo’ but there is no khushoo’ in the heart.

The person who truly feels khushoo’ before Allah is a person who no longer feels the flames of physical desires; his (or her) heart is pure and is filled with the light of the greatness of Allah. His (or her) own selfish desires have died because of the fear and awe which have filled his (or her) heart to overflowing so that his (or her) physical faculties have calmed own, his (or her) heart has become dignified and feels secure in the remembrance of Allah, and tranquility descends upon him (or her) from the Lord. (This person) has become humble (mukhbit) before Allah, and the one who is humble is the one who is assured. Land that is ‘mukhbit’ is land that is low-lying, in which water settles, so the heart that is ‘mukhbit’ is humble and content, like a low lying spot of land into which water flows and settles. The sign of this is that a person prostrates to his (or her) Lord out of respect and humility, and never raises his (or her ) head until he (or she) meets Him. The arrogant heart, on the other hand, is one that is content with its arrogance and raises itself up like an eleveated portion of land in which water never settles. This is the khushoo’ of true faith.

Hypocritical khushoo’ demonstrates the attitude of a person who tries to make a great show of khushoo’, but deep down he (or she) is still filled with desires. So on the outside the person appears to have khushoo’, but the snake of the valley and the lion of the forest reside within, watching for prey.

[Ar-Rooh by Ibn al-Qayyim, p. 314, Daar al-Fikr, Jordan]

From Muslim to atheism and back to Islam

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

*Please keep me in your duas insha Allah. Finals is a couple of weeks away and somehow, that last lap is always the hardest. Has anyone here run long distances? It’s like you’re about to reach the finishing line and you can see it from a distance but your heart is rapidly pounding in your chest, your breathing becomes constricted and then your body is screaming at you to stop! The only reason why your legs are still moving, is because of that small voice in your head saying, “You can do it! yes you can!”. Currently, I’m physically and mentally exhausted but worse of all, that tiny voice is starting to fade away. I feel like I’m dragging myself to that finishing line and my body limp from years of overexertion (and come to think of it, I’m only doing my Bachelors, not even Masters subhan Allah). *

During this week’s halaqah session (Oh did I mention that a group of sisters started a weekly ilm circle this semester? It consists of sisters from different countries, background and age group so we have quite a varied response to a certain topic), our discussion revolved mainly around how there are some who grew up questioning God and faith. I shared with them about how at one point in my life, I questioned religion. To me, there was no doubt about the existence of a Supreme Being but I was fumbling with what is the right religion. I spent years wallowed in the darkness before Allah SWT guided me to the haqq al-hamdulillah.

Surprisingly, other sisters started opening up as to how they too, used to wonder about the existence of God and finally being fully convinced with this Deen. I thought I was alone in this struggle but my sisters and even Bro Nouman Ali Khan himself had such doubts subhan Allah. What I learnt from the above video and this week’s halaqah:

  • Truly, you take the Deen of your friends so watch who you befriend with. Bro Nouman Ali Khan described that his circle of friends were made up of atheists and polytheists and it was through them that he started doubting the existence of Allah. My circle of friends were mainly Christians  then who were like walking bibles. Their topic of conversation would be, “Jesus said…” or “the bible mentioned..”. It was only when in Australia that I began having Muslim friends and later started learning Islam from them.
  • I realized that many of us tend to shy away from questions about Islam. The mistake that some of us make is that when someone asks a sincere question (i.e. Does Allah really exist? Is Islam the correct religion), almost always the reply is, “Don’t ask such questions..! Just believe”. Of course, I’m directing this to mostly parents having to deal with curious children. We shrug it off by convincing ourselves that they are too young to understand anything, when in fact, foundation begins from those ages.
  • Another mistake is that, we are not willing to sit with those who have doubts about the religion. Rather than explaining and clearing those doubts,  instead, they are being shunned because of the possibility of becoming an ‘apostate’. If you do know of someone like this, then try to get even closer to them! Be their friend! What do you lose from teaching others about Allah?
  • Lastly, when you are unsure about certain things in Islam, then be proactive in your search for the answer. Ask your local Shaykh. Ask brother/sister who are knowledgeable about Islam. Read up more books about Islam. If the question relates to a particular ayaah in the Qur’an, then refer to the Tafseer and Asbabun Nuzul. Don’t let these seeds of doubts be planted in your heart because eventually, it will only grow to more doubts. Allahu Mustaan.
May Allah protect us from disbelief, whisperings and deceptions of the accursed Shaitan and the evil that is within ourselves. May He lift the veil from the eyes and hearts of those who cannot see the truth even when the truth is presented to him.

Jumaah #11

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

Etiquette of Giving Advise

Explanation of the Hadith

On the authority of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say:

“When any one of you sees anything that is disapproved (of by Allah), let him change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his heart, though that is the weakest (kind of) faith.” [Muslim]

Background

The essence of the Islamic Dawah is enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, since whenever a person conveys the Message, he is enjoining good and forbidding evil.

Therefore, it is a mistake to consider these two as separate matters, since they are actually performed concurrently and are synonymous.

The main objective in fulfilling this obligation is to attain and maximize benefits, and to eliminate or minimize harm.

Qualities possessed by a Caller who enjoins the good and forbids the evil

Ikhlas (Sincerity) – since enjoining the good and forbidding the evil becomes an action pleasing to Allah and accepted by Him only if it is done with sincerity for Him.

‘Ilm (Knowledge) – as Allah commands:

“Say: This is my path, I do call to Allah upon clear knowledge.” [Noble Quran 12:108]

This is an important condition since the Caller must know what matters are good, so he enjoins it, and what matters are evil, so he forbids it. In Ibn Taymiyah’s al-Amar it is stated that it is necessary to possess the knowledge of good and evil and of the difference between them, and it is necessary to know the situation of the person being commanded or forbidden.

Hikmah (Wisdom) which means saying or doing the right thing in the right way at the right time to the right person, as prescribed by Allah in His statement:

 ”Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful admonition.” [Noble Quran 16:125]

Ibn Taymiyah wrote: Enjoin the good in a good way and do not forbid the evil in an evil way.

Hilm (Forbearance) and Rifq (Gentleness) – especially in the face of opposition from the people. As Allah said to His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him):

 ”And by the Mercy of Allah you were able to deal gently with them. If you had been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from you. [Noble Quran 3:159]

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also said: Indeed gentleness does not enter into anything except it beautifies it, nor is it removed from anything except that it makes it ugly [Reported by Imam Muslim].

Sabr (Patience) – since the people whom the Caller opposes in enjoining good and forbidding evil, may be stubborn to his call and may even try to harm him.

Ibn Taymiyah says in al-Istiqamah, concerning the call to the good and away from the evil: Knowledge must precede it, gentleness must accompany it and patience must follow it. Sheikh al-Humaid, the teacher of Sheikh Ibn Baz, said, in an explanation of Surah al-’Asr that Allah makes an oath that mankind will be in a state of deficiency, except with four conditions, which are:

– Iman, – Good actions, – Encouraging each other to the truth which means enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and – Encouraging each other to patience, which is required after enjoining good and forbidding evil. Furthermore each person will have a level of deficiency in accordance with the level of lack of any of these four.

Tawadu’ (Humility) – since the people will not heed if the Caller is arrogant or he seeks to put himself above others.

Qudwah (Good example) – for the Caller himself becomes a model to the people to whom he calls, doing those things which he enjoins and leaving those things which he forbids. Allah says:

 ”O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do. It is a most hateful thing to Allah that you say that which you do not do. [Noble Quran 6:2-3]

Husnul-Istima’ (Good listening) – which is that the Caller is attentive to the needs and feelings and also the complaints of the people whom he calls.

Shaja’ah (Courage) – which does not refer to strength of the body; rather it is the strength of the heart, together with knowledge – this differentiates between true courage and mere recklessness.

Karam (Generosity).

Lessons

Scholars say that before using the hand, we should start with advice, warning the people of the consequence of evil and encouraging and motivating them to good actions. When this method has been fully utilized and there is no change in the people, only then is it permissible to use the hand.

Imam ash-Shatibi says that the Caller must predict the consequences of what he says or do, whether by hand or by tongue.

If it is very likely that, as a result of attempting to change the evil, the Caller himself or another person will be harmed, then changing the situation is no longer obligatory upon him. Here harm does not refer to insults or curses, but to physical injury such as being beaten or killed. Harm can also mean that a bad reputation is spread concerning the Caller. Ibn Qudamah also includes financial loss, whether immediate or later, to such an amount which the Caller cannot afford.

People differ in their ability to change things; in general, when someone is higher in his rank or authority, then there is more responsibility on him to remove the evil.

Principles of Inkarul-Munkar (Forbidding what is evil)

1. Prioritize the evil, thus beginning with the higher priority before the lower.

2. Tadarruj (Being gradual). Note the gradual method by which Allah made the drinking of wine forbidden: Firstly, by saying that there were benefits in it and harm in it but the harm outweighed the benefits; secondly, by forbidding the people to approach the prayer in a drunken state; and finally, by an outright prohibition. This step-by-step method does not imply that wine was not forbidden in the early stages, but it is a methodology from which we can benefit.

3. Do not look for people’s faults. Qadi Abu Ya’la has noted an exception to this principle, which occurs when there are clues or information that an evil is taking place or is about to take place. Thus one may be able to prevent an evil, such as a murder or rape, from taking place by following up on information.

4. Establish that the evil is indeed taking place.

5. Choose a suitable time to forbid the evil.

– The Caller should not delay until the evil has finished.

– The Caller should exploit situations in which the people are more likely to respond to his call, for example when Yusuf (peace and blessings be upon him), spoke to his companions in the prison about Tawhid (the oneness of Allah) when they had been troubled by their dreams. Ibn Mas’ud said concerning this:

 ”Verily the heart has moments of yearning and responsiveness. And moments of indifference and turning away. So snatch it at the time of yearning and response And leave it at the time of indifference and turning away.”

6. Speak in private, as Imam ash-Shafi wrote:

 ”Come to me with your advice when I am alone. And do not advise me in the crowd because advice amongst the people is a scolding. And I do not like to hear it aloud. Then if you disobey me and do not heed my words. Do not feel sad when you are not followed.”

7. Do not instigate or provoke the people, but use a good argument, as Allah says:

 ”Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful admonition, and argue with them with ways that are best.” [Noble Quran 16:125]

Imam Ghazali wrote: Don’t convey the truth in a challenging manner.

8. Show forgiveness and kindness towards the people, and not to be affected by worry or anger in case the people show a negative response to the advice.

9. If a difference of opinion arose as a result of Ijtihad, then the Caller who holds one opinion should not forbid the other opinion.

10. Weighing the principles of benefits and harms, as Ibn Taymiyah wrote in al-Amar: If enjoining the good and forbidding the evil would result in a greater evil, then it is Haram to do it. Enjoining the good should not lead to a better deed being left out and forbidding the evil should not lead to a greater evil taking place.

Ibn Rajab states that in enjoining the good and discouraging the evil the conductor is motivated by different reasons:

– It could be by hope in Allah’s great reward for doing it.

– It could be by fearing Allah’s punishment for renouncing this obligation.

– It could be by getting annoyed by seeing violations to what Allah has prescribed.

– It could be due to being faithful to the community members who indulge in evil and by being kind and merciful to them by making the effort to save them from being subject to Allah’s anger, displeasure and punishment in this life and in the Hereafter.

– It could be by glorifying Allah and Loving Him much, for He deserves to be obeyed, remembered, and thanked.

Observing the last two motives alone can make burden of conducting this obligation a light, favorable one and will empower the conductor with enough potential belittle any difficulty or hardship he may encounter thereof.

Conclusion

The last portion of the Hadith clearly states that the least a Muslim can do in the case of witnessing an evil act is to change it by his/her heart. This means that he/she should dislike the evil he/she comes across. This is an action of the heart, such as saying: “O Allah, there is nothing that I can do to change this bad situation that You dislike and disapprove except that I hate it to take place. I do not agree to it. O Allah forgive me, guide me and save my heart to be influenced by it.”

Unless this action of the heart is practiced, the heart of the believer who witnesses that evil will be subject to be influenced by that evil. A dark spot will be placed in that heart (as stated in another Hadith related by al-Bukhari).

With the repetition of such negative attitudes, the heart will be subject to more dark spots placed in it until it is concealed and no longer appreciates what is good and no longer dislikes what is bad or evil. This means that the Muslim who does not practice the lowest level of forbidding the evil, will be subject to turn into being an evil doer him/herself.

Law Kan Baynana

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises." He was then asked: "From what do we give charity every day?" The Prophet answered: "The doors of goodness are many...removing harm from the road.." - Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98

In this television show, a secret camera was hid in the supermarket to capture those who would 'remove harm from the roads'. This sister was later interviewed to have been amongst those who picked up food from the floor which would otherwise been an obstruction to others.

The brother who interviewed asked her if she is fated to meet Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam, what would she say to him.

She paused for a second and then teared up.

She replied saying that she would want him to take her far away from this Dunya.

Subhan Allah, what would you say/ask to Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam if he is here with us today?

If I could just ask him one question, it would definitely be whether he considers me to be part of his Ummah.  It would be my greatest desire to be recognized by him to be part of his Ummah, and be of those who have struggled hard implementing Qur’an and Sunnah into their lives. Striving to be upon the Qur’an and Sunnah is a challenge especially in this time and age, but our love for him transcends all barriers and obstacles placed in front of us. I would rather stand out from everyone else and be a ‘stranger’ emulating his characteristics and adhering to his Sunnahs, than assimilating with the rest of the world. Insha Allah!

Not sure if any of you has seen this poem. Insha Allah, we can use this to muhasabah ourselves.

I wonder..
If Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi salam visited you
Just for a day or two,
If he came unexpectedly,
I wonder what you would do?
Oh I know you would give your nicest room,
To such an honored guest,
And you would serve him your very best.

You would be the very best,
Cause you’re glad to have him there,
That serving him in your home
Would be a joy without compare.

But…when you see him coming,
Would you meet him at the door
With your arms outstretched in welcome,
To your visitor?

Or…would you have to change your clothes
before you let him in?
Or hide some magazines and put
The Quran where they had been?

Would you still watch those movies,
Or your T.V. set?
Or would you switch it off,
Before he gets upset.

Would you turn off the radio,
And hope he had not heard?
And wish that you did not utter
your last loud hasty word?

Would you hide your worldly music,
And instead take out Hadith books?
Could you let him walk right in,
Or would you rush about?

And I wonder…if the Prophet (saw) spent, a day or two with you,
Would you go on doing the things you always do?
Would you go right on and say the things You always say?
Would life for you continue
As it does from day to day?

Would your family conversations,
Keep up their usual pace?
And would you find it hard each meal,
To say a table grace?

Would you keep up each and every prayer?
Without putting on a frown?
And would you always jump up early,
For Fajr at dawn?

Would you sing the songs you always sing?
And read the book you read?
And let him know the things on which,
Your mind and spirit feed?

Would you take the Prophet with you,
Everywhere you plan to go?
Or, would you maybe change your plans,
Just for a day or so?

Would you be glad to have him meet,
Your very closest friends?
Or, would you hope they stay away,
Until his visit ends?

Would you be glad to have him stay,
Forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief,
When he at last was gone?

Jumaah #10

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

1. Ha Mim [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’an and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings.

2. The relevation of the Book (this Qur’an) is from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise

3.Verily, in the heavens and the earth are the signs for the believers.

4. And in your creation, and what He scattered (through the earth) of moving (living) creatures are signs for people who have Faith with certainty.

5. And in the alteration of night and day, and the provision (rain) that Allah sends own from the sky, and revives therewith the earth after its death, and in the turning about of the winds (i.e. sometimes towards the east or north, and sometimes towards the south or west sometimes bringing glad tidings of rain and sometimes bringing glad tidings of rain and sometimes bringing the torment), are signs for a people who understand.

Al-Jathiya 1-5

Do they not then consider the Quran carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions. [4:82]

Sunday lecture

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

Doesn't he look like a Kungfu master to you?

Al-hamdulillah! 🙂  Interesting lecture by Sh. Hussain Yee albeit a short one last Sunday. He spoke about ‘Atheism’ and his journey from Buddhism to Christianity and then Islam. Anyway, I think only the Asians understood his jokes because  he mentioned mostly about his struggles being a revert in Malaysia and the common confusion between his ethnicity as a Chinese and religion.

Check videos and lectures by Sh. Hussain Yee, he appears quite frequently on Peace TV and other channels alongside Dr Zakir Naik.  On the topic about ‘Atheism’ of which he spoke quite briefly about, he said that this term is being used only recently. If you were to do a bit of research, throughout history there is no such a thing as ‘Atheism’. People of the past at least believed in a Supreme Being even though their beliefs are not valid. They prayed to idols but even so, that was considered their deity. Not forgetting also that even Pharaoh believed in Allah but he was too arrogant to submit!

He also discussed about the confusion between culture and religion. People tend to attribute one’s race to religion so if you changed religion, it means that you changed your race too. Sh. Hussain said that when he became Muslim, his mother said that “she lost a Chinese son and became a Malay”.. teehee.. Some people in his community kept asking him ‘when did he become Malay’ just because he was dressed like the Muslims there.. But, how true is this in today’s society! Even the government uses this term ‘Malay/Muslim’ so often that inevitably, it creates a lot of confusion. So, I wonder what does it make me then having a mixed ethnicity of Malay, Indian and Chinese 😛

Anyway, I befriended a sister from the lecture! 🙂 We were at the musolla during a short break for Asr prayers, when I turned to the sister who prayed beside me and started talking to her. She turned out to be quite chatty herself so we clicked really fast. Subhan Allah, no wonder Allah enjoins congregation prayers so that we develop mutual love for one another when we stand shoulder-to-shoulder and feet-to-feet during prayers! Al-hamdulillah, I’ve made friends with sisters before simply through congregation prayers. You know the drill: Give your best smile and then introduce yourself. Won’t go wrong insha Allah 🙂

Can’t wait for Saturday 🙂