Friday, May 8, 2015

The Pillar of Society!

The Pillar of Society!

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf

 

 

The foundation of the tallest tower in the world is hidden, yet it is the most important part of the building. A mother is indeed an important part of our society, yet her role and contribution is seldom acknowledged!

A man came asked the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) " Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me? He replied: "Your mother." The man asked: Then who? So he replied: "Your mother." The man then asked: Then who? So the Prophet replied again: "Your mother." The man then asked: Then who? So he replied: "Then your father." (Hadith- Bukhârî )

The secret of her importance lies in the tremendous burden and responsibility that is placed upon her and the difficulties that she has to shoulder - responsibilities and difficulties some of which not even a man bears. This is why from the most important obligations upon a person is to show gratitude, kindness and good companionship with her.

Quite often and mainly due to our social environment, the importance of mothers is seriously downplayed and demoted to a menial job.

There was once an officer at the driving license counter who asked the lady, "what is your occupation ?" the woman seeking renewal of her license seemed to be puzzled.

So the officer said, "ma'am, are you employed....have your own business or...."

The woman replied, "oh, yes !! I have a full time occupation. I am a mother"

Officer : "we don't have 'mother' as an option for occupation. I will write it down as 'housewife'. That takes care of all questions."

This had happened long ago, and was forgotten.

Years later when the same lady went to get her license, the public relations officer was a somewhat pompous woman.

"Your occupation?" she asked in a rather authoritative tone.

The lady just had an inspiration and replied, "I am a researcher in the field of child development, nutrition and inter-personal relationships."

The lady officer stared at her in amazement. She calmly repeated her statement, and the lady officer wrote it down verbatim.

Then, unable to conceal her curiosity, she politely asked, "what exactly do you do in your profession, ma'am ?"

She was feeling good about having described her occupation so calmly and confidently. She replied, "my research projects have been going on for a number of years (mothers never retire !!). My research is conducted in the laboratory as well as in the field. I have a CEO and a senior Director (CEO is Allah of course and the Director is my entire family). Have received two honours in this field (a son and a daughter). My topic is considered to be the most difficult part of sociology (all moms will agree!!). I have to work more than 14 hours every day. Sometimes even 24 hours might not be enough and the challenges are tougher than many other professions. My compensation is in terms of mental satisfaction rather than money."

After this brief introduction she could see that the officer was thoroughly impressed. After completing the licensing formalities, she came to the door to see her off.

This new viewpoint about her occupation made her feel much better on her way back home. She was welcomed by her 5 year old research assistant at the door. Her new project (6 month old baby) was enthusiastically waiting to meet her.

She had earned a small victory over the governmental red tape and society stereotyping. She was no longer 'merely a mother'. Instead she was now a highly placed functionary in a service vital for humanity - motherhood !!!

'Mother' - isn't it a great title. Fit to be added to the nameplate on the door or even on your sporty car numberplate!!!

By this standard, grandmothers deserve to be called senior research officers, and great grandmothers qualify as 'research directors'. Aunts and other ladies of that age group can be called 'research facilitators'.

Mothers are indeed of noble stature in society and their position is elevated to the highest position in Islam. The Noble Messenger of Allah(peace be upon him) emphatically proclaimed;

" Jannah (paradise) lies under the feet of your Mother!" (Hadith Ahmed,Sunan Ibn Mâjah).

Allah Ta'ala, The Most Wise says;

"Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say, "My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood."(Noble Quran 17:23-24)

We don't need to wait once a year and be commercially exploited on Mother's Day to recognize this great personality, celebrate her today, tomorrow and everyday!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Honesty is the only policy...

Honesty is the only policy…

 

 

Several years ago a Sheik recounted what happened to him after he had moved to London. He often took the bus from his home to the downtown area. Some weeks after he arrived, he had the occasion to ride the same bus. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a twenty pence ('tuppence') too much change.  As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, you better give the twenty pence back. It would be wrong to keep it. Then he thought, "Oh, forget it, its only tuppence. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway the bus company already gets too much fare; they will never miss it." Just than the verse of the Qur'an flashed through his mind like a lightning… "O you who believe!  Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful." (Qur'an-9:119).   

 

When his stop came, the Sheik paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the twenty pence back to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change". The driver with a smile, replied," Aren't you the new Imam in this area? I have been thinking lately about accepting Islam and going to worship at your Mosque. I just wanted to see what you would do, if I gave you too much change." When the Sheik stepped off the bus, his knees became weak and soft, he had to grab the nearest light pole and held on for support, and looked up to the heavens and cried, "Oh Allah, I almost sold You and Islam for twenty pence!"

 

In the pathway to wisdom, Honesty is the first step! The final Messenger of Allah is reported to have said: "When something weighs on your conscience, give it up." [Hadith-Tirmidhi]

MUHARRAM & AASHURA

THE DAY OF AASHURA (10TH MUHARRAM)  & HISTORICAL EVENTS

 

Although the month of Muharram is a sacred month as a whole, the 10th of Muharram is the most sacred among all its days. The day is named 'Aashurah'. It is one of the most important and blessed days of Allah Ta'ala in the Islamic calendar. This day has been accepted as having deep significance. Evidence of its significance has been clearly found in authentic traditions.

 

There are many Prophetic events of great historical importance and also events that happened after the Beloved and Final Messenger of Allah(peace be upon him) had left this world, such as the Battle of Karbala, that have taken place on this day.

 

The importance of the month of Muharram has been mentioned in the Qur'aan in Surah Taubah verse 36. This day of Aashura derives its importance from Prophetic Traditions. In the Ahadeeth (sayings of Rasulullah sallallaho alaihe wassallam) the following have been mentioned:

 

FASTING

 

The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) has exhorted and encouraged his Ummah to fast on this day. He said:

"This fast is a compensation for the (minor) sins of the past year." (Hadith:Muslim)


The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), when migrated to Madinah, found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the Prophet Musa (Moses), alayhis salam, and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously and the Pharaoh was drowned in its waters. On hearing this from the Jews, the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, "We are more closely rotated to Musa, alayhi salam, than you," …and directed the Muslims to fast on the day of 'Ashura'. ( Hadith-Abu Dawood)


"Observe the fast of Aashura and oppose the Jews. Fast a day before it or a day after." (Hadith:Baihaqi)

 

Hence, it is important to either fast on the ninth and the tenth or the tenth and the eleventh of Muharram. To fast only on the day of Aashora is Makrooh(undesirable).

 

BEING GENEROUS

 

One should be generous on one's family and dependants and spend more on them than what is normally spent.


Rasulullah (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) said: "One who generously spends on his family on the day of Aashora, Allah will increase (his provision) for the whole year." (Hadith:Baihaqi)



HISTORICAL EVENTS

 

There is no doubt on the blessedness of the The Day of Aashura. Many historical events of deep significance have also been recorded on this day. Hazrat Musa (as) and his people, the Bani Israel, were saved from the Egyptian Pharaoh by the miracle of the parting of the sea on the day of Ashura. It was for this reason that the Jews used to fast on this day.

 

The Tragic battle of Karbala was also fought on this day. This event has many important lessons for the Ummah (Muslim Nation) especially at this point in time when the Ummah is being maliciously targeted and persecuted just because of their attachment and love for Islam- The Religion of Truth.

 

BATTLE OF KARBALA

By Abdurrahmaan Umar

Close to the end of his life Ameer Muawiyyah bin Abu Sufyaan (RA-Radiallahu Anhu – May Allah be pleased with him) decided to appoint his son Yazid as Khalifa of the Muslims, this was an unprecedented act in the history of Islam. No ruler had prior to this appointed his son or family as successor. Several of the Sahaba (RA) were dissatisfied with this deviation from the standard established by The Meseenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam) and his righteous guided Khalufa.

Of the Sahaba (RA) present at that time Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Abbas and Abdur Rahmaan bin Abu Bakr (RA) opted to accept the reign of Yazid to avoid further bloodshed in the Muslim Ummah. They did not want to see the repeat of conflicts of Siffin and Jamal, which cost many Muslim lives and threw the Ummah into turmoil. Abdullah bin Zubair (RA) took refuge in Makkah and he remained the ruler of Hijaaz (Makkah, Medina and surrounding areas) for a further ten years.

The other objector to Yazid becoming the Khalifa was Husain (RA) the youngest son of Hazrat Ali (RA) and Hazrat Fatima (RA). Based on his understanding of the tenets of Islam he understood this to be a deviation from the path of his grandfather, Rasulallah (Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam). Husain (RA) escaped from Medina to Makkah when the pressures of the governor, Waleed bin Utba, intensified his efforts to compel Husain (RA) to accept Yazid as the Khalifa of the Muslim Ummah.

While in Makkah, he began receiving letters of support from Kufa – encouraging him to come to Kufa where he will find many supporters who will help him oppose Yazid. When the number of letters of support exceeded 10'000, Husain (RA) considered going to Kufa, despite the objections of the other Sahaba (RA). He sent his cousin, Muslim bin Aqeel to investigate the situation. Abdulla bin Abbas and Abdulla bin Umar (RA) tried in vain to dissuade Husain (RA) from leaving the sanctuary of Makkah and going to Kufa. Realising that he would not heed their advice, they tried to convince him to leave his family in Makkah and make the journey with a few of his companions. But Husain (RA) had committed himself to opposing this deviation from the Path of Islam; and was prepared to sacrifice his life and the lives of his family to ensure that the Sunnah (Path of Nabi Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam) is not altered. Shariah had established the rules for Mashwera (Mutual consultation) and had abolished any remnants of monarchy.

When the cousin of Hazrat Husain (RA), Muslim bin Aqeel arrived in Kufa he found tremendous support for Husain. Nearly 15'000 supporters gathered to pray with him demonstrating their backing of Husain (RA). Encouraged by this situation, Muslim bin Aqeel wrote back saying the situation was favourable and that Husain (RA) should come to Kufa. But the situation quickly deteriorated when the new governor of Kufa, Ubayd-Allah bin Ziyad took power and began persecuting the supporters of Husain eventually killing Muslim bin Aqeel on 9 Dhul-Haijjah 60AH (680 AD) without any resistance from the people of Kufa.

Husain (RA) departed for the 1100mk long journey on the 8th Dhul-Hijjah to avoid any conflict in the holy city during Hajj. En-route he heard of the murder of his cousin, Muslim bin Aqeel and of his supporters deserting his cause, but decided to continue to Kufa saying these famous words:

"... The death is a certainty for mankind, just like the trace of necklace on the neck of young girls. And I am enamored of my ancestors like eagerness of Yaqoob  to Yusuf (AS)... Everyone, who is going to devote his blood for our sake and is prepared to meet Allah, must depart with us..." (Lohouf, By Sayyid ibn Tawoos, Tradition No.72)

Two days outside of Kufa Husain's group were stopped by the vanguard of Yazid's army – Hurr bin Riyahi, who refused him to continue his journey to Kufa. Husain requested to return to Medina, but that too, was denied. Forced by the army of Hurr, Husain (RA) and his supporters camped in the barren, dry area of Karbala on the 2nd Muharram. The governor of Kufa, Ubayd-Allah bin Ziyad ordered Umar bin Sa'ad to lead the army of 5'000 strong against Husain with instructions to initiate the battle on the 6th of Muharram. With further instructions to prevent Husain from access to water despite the close proximity of the mighty Euphrates river.

On the afternoon of the 9th the army of ibn Sa'ad began advancing to attack – Husain (RA) requested them to delay for one day. That night he spent in prayer and devotion; at Fajr he gathered his men and informed them that they faced certain death and if anyone wished to leave they were free to do so. All his supporters, 32 horsemen and 40 foot-soldiers, emphatically opted to stay by his side. Hearing Husain's emotional call to defend the family of Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam), Hurr Al- Riyahi, the commander of one of the enemy battalions left the ranks of Yazid's army and joined the small group of Husain.

Fearing that more people may defect to Husain Umar bin Sa'ad, commander of the army started the battle by firing an arrow saying: "Give evidence before the governor that I was the first thrower." The army attacked with ferocity but were repulsed by the courage of Husain bin Ali (RA) followers. Despite being charged at by infantrymen these brave soldiers of Allah Ta'ala stood their ground and defended the family of Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam).

Husain's (RA) followers came to bid farewell to him as they plunged into the battle, sacrificing their lives in defense of the grandson of the Master, Rasulallah (Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam). Abbas bin Ali (RA) the half-brother of Husain (RA) could not tolerate the suffering of the women and children who had been without water for several days. Penetrating the enemy forces he reached the river and began filling water skins. Laden with water skins and hopelessly outnumbered he made his way back to the camp. The enemy surrounded him determined not to let this brave warrior of Islam succeed in getting water to the camp. Before he died, Abbas called out to his brother Husain (RA) asking forgiveness that he could not bring the water.

As the day drew to a close, only Husain (RA) remained from the men. Few of the enemy dared attack him, some out of the dread of attacking the grandson of Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam)  others from the fear of his ferocity. Umar bin Sa'ad, commander of Yazid's forces ordered his men to murder the noble grandson – most were reluctant then Shimr ibn Dhiljawshan advanced to slit the throat of Husain (RA). He severed the head of this noble leader of Islam and placed it on a spear. History will always mark this day – 10th of Muharram 60AH (680AD) as the day the noble grandson of the Master Muhammad (Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam) gave his life in defense of the established Path of Islam. He would tolerate no deviation from the Shariah (Islamic legal code) or Sunnah. Leaving this world at the age of 57 he became the leader of the youth of Jannah (Paradise).

Umar bin Sa'ad ordered his men to gather all the women and children, and to set fire to the tents. The next morning the captives from the family of Nabi (Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam) were marched to Kufa and then to Damascus. In the court of Yazid bin Muawiyyah the heads were displayed and the prisoners were paraded. Zaynab bint Ali (RA) fearlessly condemned Yazid for his actions and eulogised Hazrat Husain (RA).

This is a mere recording of events from authentic Sunni sources. Allah is the Best Judge. Allah Ta'ala makes it clear:

"That was a people that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and ye of what ye do! Of their merits there is no question in your case"(Qur'an-Surah Baqarah 2:141 and 2:134)

But it leaves us with the profound question: How much are we willing to sacrifice in the defense of Deen, Truth and the laws of Islam. If each of us were willing to make the sacrifice of Hazrat Husain (RA) then there would be no deviation from the True Path. The call is not only to give up our lives in preserving our religion, but to give up our desires in fulfilling the Orders of Allah Ta'ala.

MUHARRAM- REFLECT, RESOLVE AND RECLAIM

MUHARRAM-  REFLECT, RESOLVE AND RECLAIM

For E Islam by Sister Jasmine Khan
 

Muharram is one of the sacred months of the Islamic year. Muharram is the month with which we begin our lunar calendar. It commemorates the Hijrah undertaken by our beloved The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to Madina, where he was welcomed with sanctuary. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Quran says:

 "The number of the months according to Allah is twelve (mentioned) in the Book of Allah on the day He created heavens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified."(Qur'an:Surah 9, Verse 36)
 
These four months, according to the authentic traditions, are Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. All the commentators of the Holy Quran are unanimous on this point, because The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in his last sermon, declared: "One year consists of twelve months, of which four are sanctified months, three of them are in sequence; Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab." 
 
 It is derived from the word 'haraam' which means forbidden. What is forbidden during this month is fighting. We are not heads of countries that wage war on others, but we have our own battle fields in our homes, families, workplace and even our neighbourhoods.
 
Most of us live at such a frenetic pace that when we get home from work we are tired and stressed. This is the time when impatience and intolerance flares up and we fight with our partner or our children. A good thing to do is to remember who they are and what they mean to us.  With consciousness it becomes possible to think before flaring up. The same thing often happens at work as well. When we remember that we are all working to provide a service, even if we never know who benefits from what we do, it could change our attitude.  There are many of us who are not on speaking terms with family members, holding onto grudges, whether real or imagined. We should be aware that we are all different and unique, and that we are all the divine creations of Allah. Being conscious is not enough; we have to be Allah conscious, so that even if we cannot see Allah, be aware that Allah is seeing us. This should make us pause and consider before we act impulsively, or live in enmity.
 
The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said that on the 10th day of Muharram we should be more generous to our family: "One who generously spends on his family on the day of Aashora, Allah will increase (his provision) for the whole year." (Hadith:Baihaqi).
 
We do not have to confine such generosity to the tenth day, or for that matter, for the month of Muharram. Nor does generosity have to be limited to monetary spending. We can be more generous with our time; when a child runs to tell you something while you are busy it will make a world of difference to him if you stop to listen. In this way you will be giving time as well as kindness. The child will feel validated and very often will then leave you to continue what you are doing.  Opening up to your family about your thoughts, dreams and hopes, is an excellent method of getting them to share theirs. Knowing the hopes and dreams of your children is invaluable as a means of achieving family cohesion. Another form of generosity you can share with your family is to share with them painful moments, and what you learnt from the experience.  This could lead to them sharing things which had hurt or traumatised them and as a family you can brainstorm what lessons   can be learnt from their experiences.

 

This year Muharram is falling very close to the silly season, and we can very easily get caught up in the hype of the summer break. It is also very difficult to focus as the body clock is winding down after a year of working and this can make us jittery and inclined to go a bit haywire.  This is the time when reflection is very important; we need to think about what we have done and what we plan to do next. Allah speaks several times in the Quran about the need for reflection, particularly in the following lines:

 

"If we had caused this Quran to descend upon a mountain, thou, (O Muhammad) verily hadst seen it humbled, rent asunder by the fear of Allah. Such similitude coin We for mankind that haply they may reflect" (Quran-Surah Hashr: V 21).

 

Come the end of December and everyone makes resolutions, as Muslims we should be making resolutions on a daily basis. The hujaaj are returning now from having performed the fifth pillar of Islam, and as we rush to greet them we could easily forget that this is the last month of our year, that Muharram is mere days away.  Now is the time to engage in reflection, to resolve to make the shift to do better. We know that we are going to be judged by our intentions, so let us try to have only good intentions for the rest of the year, Insha'Allah.

 

The word resolve has a two-fold meaning:  it means to make a resolution or intention to do something, but it also means to solve an issue.  Many of us carry unresolved issues, and these clutter our lives and prevent us from true spiritual connection. It is hard to have closeness to Allah when we harbour grudges against people for real or imagined slights. Forgiveness is the key; it does not excuse the other person's action, but it does set us free. It is also important to forgive ourselves when we feel we have done something we subsequently regret. We are all born pure,natural and innocent; we are born with a Fitrah. Somewhere along the way we have become contaminated by experiences, environment and conditions.  The thing is not to beat yourself up about it, acknowledge what happened and accept it. Now try to do better. Resolve to reclaim your Fitrah, the perfection that Allah created you with. It has not been lost, it has just been overlaid with a lot of things, but it is still there.

 

In the stormy sea of life we have often been tossed around, but with Allah consciousness we can keep our heads above water.

 

"The believer is the ship and the world is the water. As long as the water remains outside the ship, it will sail through it. Once the water enters the ship, it will sink. So navigate through the world, but do not let it enter your heart and sink you into itself"(Imam Al Ghazzali)

 

Use this period to reflect, resolve and reclaim what we were truly meant to be, Insha'Allah.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Blessings in Disguise

Blessings in Disguise…

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf

The journey of life often encompasses difficulties, challenges, trials and tribulations. These conditions can be stepping stones to ease and wisdom. With the right frame of mind we can come out of each "dark tunnel" better, stronger and wiser.

We have a choice on how we respond to life's "storms." Either we can cast blame while becoming resentful and bitter, or we can be positive and turn to the Allah Ta'ala. Every hurdle we face in life has a meaning and Allah Ta'ala will not expose us to a burden we cannot endure. "Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…" (Qur'an: 2:286).

 "Great reward comes with great trials. When Allah loves a people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, whereas whoever shows discontent with it incurs His wrath."  (Hadith- Tirmidhi)

"…….If anything befalls you, do not say 'If only I had done (such and such), the such and such would have happened,' rather say: 'Allah has decreed and what He wills He does , for (saying)  'if only'  opens the door to the work of the shaytaan(devil)." (Hadith-Muslim ).

As part of our Imaan (faith), we believe that all matters are in the hands of Allah Ta'ala. However, our Imaan can get shaken during times of trials and hardships. It is during such times though that we should remind ourselves that a believer's position and rank is raised in front of Allah and that such a hardship may very well be a sign of Allah's love for the believer. This can help us in maintaining and even strengthening our faith.

Once a boy found a cocoon of a butterfly and took it home. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. Then the boy decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily.

But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The boy continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the boy in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were Allah Ta'ala's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If Allah allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would sometimes cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been and possibly never be able to "fly".

Sometimes we need heat and warmth to ripen fruit and sometimes cold is needed in certain fruit to complete the ripening process.  So exactly is the same in life sometimes we may have to undergo various conditions that may appear to be unfavourable so that we "ripen" and are ready for the onward journey.

I wise person once said: " I asked for Strength...And Allah gave me Difficulties to make me strong. I asked for Wisdom...And Allah gave me Problems to solve. I asked for Prosperity...And Allah gave me Brain and Brawn to work. I asked for Courage...And Allah gave me Danger to overcome. I asked for Love...And Allah gave me Underprivileged people to help. I asked for Favours...And Allah gave me Opportunities. I received nothing I wanted ...Yet I received everything I needed!"

Accepting and enduring our condition and the Divine Decree of Allah Ta'ala can help us in not only shedding burdens of the past but to also win Allah's pleasure. Suppressing our urge to blame others for the pains that we encounter by maintaining a positive mindset can help us maintain a less stressful life and promote healthy relationships.

"Nothing befalls a believer, a (prick of a) thorn or more than that, but Allah will raise him one degree in status thereby, or erase a bad deed."  (Hadith-Bukhaari )

Hardships and trials are part of everyone's life. The important thing is for us to have the right attitude of trusting Allah and His plans when facing such hardships and trials. During such trying times, always remember that nothing happens without the Will of Allah. Second, we may not know that our trials and hardships may be part of a bigger plan of which we may have only limited knowledge. It's only at a later stage when the bigger Plans of Allah reveal themselves to everyone. We can see an example of this from the following verse of  Qur'an-Surah Yousuf that when the step brothers of Prophet Yousuf (peace be upon him) were taking him to throw him into a dark well, Allah revealed to Prophet Yousuf (AS) that,"Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease." (Qur'an, 65:7) and this is exactly what happened.

"There is a blessing in calamity that the wise man should not ignore, for it erases sins, gives one the opportunity to attain the reward for patience, dispels negligence, reminds one of blessings at the time of health, calls one to repent and encourages one to give charity and endure."

Life is a learning curve and the challenges are there to make us stronger and to condition us and build us emotionally, spiritually and physically for the greater challenges that we will encounter tomorrow. Outwardly circumstances may be perceived as hardships but in reality they may really be blessings in disguise!


Importance of Salaah

IMPORTANCE OF SALAAH
"From the Qur'aan"
 
 
1. Establishing Salah Develops Taqwa (Fear and Awareness of Allah)
"This is the Book in which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who have taqwa; who believe in the unseen, and who establish Salah, and spend out of what we have provided for them" (2: 2-3)

2. Salah Is the Sign of a Believer
"The believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin good and forbid evil, and they establish Salah, and give Zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them, and surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise." (9: 71)

3. Establishing Salah Leads to Allah's Eternal Blessings
"So whatever you have been given is but (a passing) enjoyment for this worldly life, but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. And those who avoid the great sins and lewdness, and when they are angry, they forgive. And those who answer the Call of their Lord, and perform the Salah, and who conduct their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them." (42:36-38)

4. Those Who Pray Shall Have Nothing to Fear on the Day of Judgment
"Truly, those who believe and do righteous deeds, and perform Salah, and give Zakah, they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." (2:277)

5. Remain in Allah's remembrance after prayer
"When have finished performing the Salah, remember Allah standing, sitting, and reclining, but when you are free from danger, perform the Salah. Surely, Salah is enjoined on the believers at
fixed times." (4:103)

6. Command to Pray with Congregation
"And establish Salah and give Zakah, and bow down (in worship) along with those who bow down (in worship)" (2:43)

7. Special Command Regarding Punctuality of Prayer
"Guard strictly the Salah, especially the middle Salah. And stand before Allah with obedience." (2:238)

8. Allah's Help Comes Through Salah
"Seek help through patience and Salah; truly it is extremely difficult except for the humble true believers." (2:45)

"Oh you who believe! Seek help through patience and Salah. Truly, Allah is with those who are patient." (2:153)

9. Special Emphasis on Friday Prayer
"Oh you who believe! When the call is made for the Salah on Friday, come to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business. That is better for you, if you only knew! And when the Salah has ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah, and remember Allah much so that you may be successful." (62:09-10)

10. Shaytaan Tries His Best in Finding Ways to Take You Away from Salah
"Shaytaan desires only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from Salah. So will you then not abstain
(from these evils)?" (5:91)

11. Prayer Protects Against Evils
"Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book, and perform Salah. Verily, Salah prevents from lewdness and evils. And indeed, the remembrance of Allah (by you) is greatest. And
Allah knows what you do." (29:45)

12. Friendship Should Be with Those Who Pray
"Indeed, your protecting friend (Wali) is none other than Allah, His Messenger, and the Believers who establish Salah, and give Zakat, and bow down (in prayer). (5: 55)

13. Allah's Special Order to Women
"And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform Salah, and give Zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove uncleanness from you, Oh people of the House, and to purify you with a thorough purification." (33:33)

14. Hypocrites Are Lazy in Salah
"Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He who deceives them; When they stand up for Salah, they stand with laziness, only to be seen by men; and they do not remember Allah but a little." (4:142)

15. Laziness in Prayers Leads to Rejection of Sadaqa
"And nothing prevents their Sadaqa from being accepted from them, except that they disbelieve in Allah and in His Messenger, and that they do not come to Salah except in a lazy manner, and that they do not give Sadaqa except unwillingly." (9:54)

16. Leaving Salah Leads to Shirk
"(And remain always) turning to Him (only), and be fearful and dutiful towards Him, and perform Salah and be not of those who commit Shirk." (30: 31)


17. Previous Nations Were Corrupted when Salah Was Left
"Then, there came after them a generation who gave up Salah and followed lusts; so they will be thrown in Hell." (19: 59)


Slow down!

Slow down !

By:Abdur Rahman Umar

"Can you believe this!" lamented Yusuf as he looked sadly at his leg covered from foot to knee in a thick white plaster cast leaving his plaster stained toes exposed.

"This is so frustrating!" he continued, addressing his exposed toes who had now become his captive audience, "Just when everything was going perfectly. Now this! Like I needed it in my life?"

Ridwaan stood idly by, adding little to the lament being addressed to the toes. He fidgeted wearily with his cell phone paying little attention to the monologue until Yusuf turned to him and asked:

"Did you hear what I said? I really didn't need this in my life. Not at any time, and definitely, definitely not now. I mean..."

"What's so special about now?" enquired Ridwaan not bothering to look up from his cell phone.

Yusuf ignored his question, shifted painfully in his chair and struggled to get his leg into a comfortable position. He stared at some of the graffiti on his plaster cast "Mojo was here!" "Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector" "On the other hand, you have different fingers" and some other writings that became a bit smudgy with the first attempt at taking a shower.

"I mean how does someone rupture an Achilles tendon playing tennis? It must be a one in a million thing, and I am the one! So now I sit – six weeks with this thing on my leg. Six weeks! and at a time when the business is going so well. Just when we got the Department of Education tender for printing. There's so much to do .... preparation, layout, design. Yo! It was going crazy at work."

Ridwaan stopped fidgeting with his cell phone long enough to exclaim, "So what's the hassle. You get a nice break and fully paid on top of it!"

"You don't understand, do you!" said Yusuf, glaring at him. An uncomfortable frown crossed his forehead, "You don't know what it means. I really didn't even have enough time to eat let alone take a six week break. We were working 12 hours a day to get that tender out. So what happens now?"

"I know exactly what it means," replied Ridwaan, "It means you were moving too fast so Allah put down a speed breaker"

"What!" he exclaimed, "What you mean...speed breaker?"

"You see, sometimes when we rush through life and we forget the important things then Allah puts down a speed bump so we can slow down and reflect. Maybe a little sickness or a small problem. Just to ponder on what we're doing and what we should be doing. And that's it! You were chasing like a madman so you got hit with a speed bump."

He paused allowing his words to sink in then continued, "You know most of us get so caught up in life then we forget about Allah, our salaah becomes just a ritual and the family ...well, they even forget who we are. I bet your kids call you Uncle by now?"

"Hey, it's not that bad," said Yusuf struggling to find a comfortable position for his plastered leg, "But I hear what you saying. Things were getting a bit out of hand. I missed my daughter's pre-school jalsa, my son's graduation and dropped a couple of salaahs on the way and jip, Allah knows what else I gave up for this tender...."

Yusuf fell silent pondering on his situation, a thin smile broke on his lips and his face lit up with this new found understanding, "So this wasn't all bad then. Actually...."

"It was for you own good," Ridwaan completed the sentence for him, "Too often we forget the real things in life...our Allah, our Deen, our families and those so called little things we tend to forget."

"Yup," chorused Yusuf, "I remember a clever guy telling me once, pay attention to the little things in life, for one day you may find out they were actually the big things. Really can't believe Allah's mercy and kindness upon us. It is, as they say, more than that of a mother. He cares for us and even what I thought was a horrible misfortune was actually an act of kindness from Him."

Allah, The Most Wise, says:"…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know." ( Qur'an-Surah Baqarah: 216)

A calamity that makes you turn to Allah is better for you than a blessing which makes you forget the remembrance of Allah.

 Let us slow down and ponder of the journey of life and make more calculated decisions that will not only benefit us in the transitory life of this world but more so in the eternal life of the Hereafter.