Monday, July 18, 2016

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.

 


The Smoke Signal...

The Smoke Signal

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf

 

 Image result for smoke signal

 

The journey of life can be like a roller coaster. We often experience extreme conditions which create despondency and hopelessness. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: "Verily, if Allah loves a people, He makes them go through trials. Whoever is satisfied, for him is contentment, and whoever is angry upon him is wrath." (Hadith-Tirmidhi)

 

We have to try hard to embrace the struggles of life and Trust in Allah. There's no development without pain. Life's difficulties are necessary for our own development, so when they come along, accept them, embrace them and never ever lose hope and always place complete Reliance and Trust in Allah. Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles; they toughen and make you strong.

 

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for Allah to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. He nevertheless remained hopeful of Allah's help and continued his praying every day.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.

 

The "worst" had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief. "Allah, how could this happen to me!" he cried. Early the next day, just before Fajr Salaah (early morning prayer) he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" the man asked the sailors on the ship. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

 

Allah says "...Bear with patience whatever befalls you...." (Qur'an 31:17) and "Be not sad, surely Allah is with us." (Qur'an 9:40)

 

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going badly. But we shouldn't lose heart, because Allah is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering.  Allah Ta'ala says "Verily, with hardship there is relief" (Qur'an 94:6) and "And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him". ( Qur'an 65:3)

 

Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground--it just may be a smoke signal that summons The Grace and help of Allah!


Monday, June 20, 2016

The Hot Water Bottle!

 The Hot Water Bottle!

www.eislam.co.za

 

This story was written by a Doctor who worked in Africa.

 

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the maternity ward; but in spite of all we could do she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter.

 

We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator.(We had no electricity to run an incubator.) We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts.

 

One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle.

She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates.

And it is our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed.

It is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no medicine stores down forest pathways.

 

"All right," I said, "put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts."Your job is to keep the baby warm."

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me.

 

I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to make dua for  (pray about) and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, Allah," she prayed, "Send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, Allah, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon."

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of a corollary, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her"

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Ameen?" I had a doubt that this dua(prayer) would be accepted.

Oh, yes, I know that Allah can do everything. The Holy Quran says so.

But there are limits, aren't there? The only way Allah could answer would be for a package to arrive from the homeland.

I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home.

Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurse's training school, a message was sent that  here was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large twenty-two kilogram parcel.

I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly.

Excitement was mounting…

Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly coloured, knitted cotton jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the...could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out -- yes, a brand-new, rubber hot water bottle, I cried. I had not asked Allah to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

 

The ten year old was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, If Allah has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!"

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small rag dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted.

Looking up at me, she asked: "Can I go over with you, Mummy, and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Allah really loves her?"

 

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my former school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed Allah's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child- five months before - in answer to the believing prayer of a ten- year-old to bring it "that afternoon."

"And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer you." (Quran 40:60).

Our Allah really is………AWESOME !!!!

 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Itikaf "The Spiritual Retreat"

    ITIKAF

"The Spiritual Retreat"

By E ISLAM (www.eislam.co.za)

The meaning of Itikaf is to seclude oneself in the Masjid  with the express niyyah (intention) of Itikaf.

Allah Ta'ala has indeed in His perfect wisdom created humanity in a unique way. He has made it such that from time to time His creation needs a rest. We rest at night to give our bodies time to recover. Birds retire to their nests, horses to their stables, bees to their hives etc. However there comes a time when more intensive rest or a retreat is required.  Sometimes due to a person's physical condition he is admitted into the intensive care unit allowing his body time to recover.

Likewise the soul also needs to recover from the hustle and bustle of the world, the spiritual pollution caused by evil elements of society, the rat race of wanting, desiring and acquiring more of this world and the distractions that has diverted our mind, heart and soul from the remembrance of Allah Ta'ala and His Beloved Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The Intensive Care Unit(ICU) for the soul is the Masjid and Itikaf is the feature within this ICU to allow the soul to not only recover but be spiritually rejuvenated! Itikaf is indeed a Spiritual Retreat!

Inside each and every human being, a constant battle rages.  It is like a battle between two tigers. One tiger is a manifestation of evil.  It is full of hate, lust, and greed.  It's fangs drip with bitterness and strife. The other tiger is an embodiment of good.  It is full of love, compassion, and honesty.  He never betrays his brother.

These two tigers are constantly at war. Which tiger is going to win the battle?

The answer is quite obvious…. Whichever one you feed.

Our soul is being bombarded by forces of good and evil. We need to feed it good so that it overpowers the evil….and Itikaf is indeed an excellent opportunity to achieve this by feeding and nourishing the soul with good deeds.

Since the life of the transient world keeps us busy for the whole year in studies, work, social functions, business, traveling and other such things that often causes us to be negligent of our souls and the next life, we may sometimes think that these things are the sole purpose in life and thus, we end up forgetting our true goal – Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him). Thus, it is for this reason that I'tikaf is referred to as

"The spring of life in a world struck with the drought of negligence of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him)."

 

I'tikaf indeed rejuvenates the soul and gives a fresh breath to life. In addition, we can once again find ourselves and our Lord Allah Ta'ala and spiritually return back to Him before we are forced to return back to Him when our soul separates from our body (death).

 

The period of I'tikaf is the best time to force one's self to sit and think and reflect on the self and the world around; the period of the I'tikaf is the best time to forget the worries of the transient world and to return to nurturing the soul and linking oneself with the Creator of the soul; the period of the I'tikaf is the best time to return back to Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) in true repentance for our sins committed through the year and to give our souls the spiritual strength desperately needed to live a spiritual and pure life in this challenging world.

The Messenger of Allah ( Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam) observed, I'tikâf and the Muslims have on the whole adhered to it. It has become a regular feature of the month of Ramadhân and a confirmed practice with the devout and the faithful.

Hazrat Ayesha (Radiallâhu anha) relates that "Rasulullâh. Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam regularly observed I'tikâf during the last ten days of Ramadhân till the end of his life. After him, his wives maintained the tradition." (Hadith-Bukhari)

It is related by Hazrat Abû Huraira (Radiallâhu anhu) that

"Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam observed I'tikâf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadhân. In the year he passed away he observed it for twenty days." (Hadith-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him s family) is reported to have said: 

"The persons who secludes himself (in the Masjid in I'tikaf) in true faith and hope (for the reward of Allah), all of his previous sins shall be forgiven." (Kanzul Ummal, Hadith 24007) 

 3 TYPES OF ITIKAF

WAAJIB (Compulsory) Itikaf.

This Itikaf becomes compulsory when a person makes it obligatory upon himself. An example of this is, when a person makes a vow to Allah that if Allah fulfills a certain wish of his, he will undertake to perform so many days Itikaf. In this case the moment his wish is fulfilled, Itikaf becomes compulsory. A person may just make unconditional vow whereby he makes Itikaf Waajib upon himself for certain number of days. This becomes a Waajib duty on from that moment onward.

SUNNAH Itikaf.

This was the general practice of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and it means to seclude oneself inside the Masjid for the last ten days of Ramadhan.

NAFIL Itikaf.

There is no special time or specific number of days for Nafil Itikaf. A person may make niyyah for any number of days at any time, even for his whole life

Before engaging into Itikaf it is highly recommended to learn the rules relating to this important act of ibadah (worship). Please to do consult your local Ulama (Islamic Scholars) for more guidance.

For a detailed article on Itikaf and its rules please visit :

http://eislaminfo.blogspot.com/2010/08/itikaf.html

 



An Exceptional Prayer...Salaatut Tasbeeh

An Exceptional Prayer…Salaatut Tasbeeh

In life there are occasions and opportunities where a person has a chance to increase in profits and rewards significantly. One such opportunity is the Blessed Month of Ramadaan, wherein rewards are multiplied enormously. This is a time where we can exert ourselves in prayers to gain nearness to Allah Ta'ala.

An exceptional prayer that can be performed in Ramadaan as well as throughout the year is Salaatut Tasbeeh, a special prayer taught to the Muslim Ummah by The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).

Salatut Tasbeeh is a special Salaah that carries great rewards and blessings.  Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (R.A) reports that Nabi (S.A.W) said to him: "O Abbas! O my uncle! Should I present to you a gift? Should I bestow something to you? Should I inform you of something greatly beneficial? Should I show you such an act which, if you render it, Allah will forgive all your sins – old and new, those committed in error and those committed deliberately, sins committed publicly or privately? The act is to perform four Rakaats (Salatut Tasbeeh) ... (after the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) taught him the way of performing this Salaah, he said): If possible, perform this Salaah daily; if you are unable, then perform it once a week. If you are unable, then perform it once a month; if you are unable, then perform it once a year and if you are unable to do even this, then perform it at least once in a lifetime." (Hadith-Abu Dawood)

WHEN TO PRAY:

 

This Salaah (namaz) is offered in four rakat at any convenient time and can be read in any part of the day and night keeping in mind the forbidden times for performing Salaah (i.e. Zawal , Sunrise and Sunset times). It is an excellent practice during the Mubarak(blessed) nights of Ramadhaan or on any other auspicious night.

 

The Tasbeeh(words of praise)  to be recited in Salatut Tasbeeh:

 

 "Subhan allahi wal hamdulillahi wa la ilaha illal laahu wallahu akbar"  

 The words "La Hawla wala Quwwata illa billahil Aliyyil Azeem" may also be added at the end of the above Tasbeeh.

 

METHOD:

 

FIRST RAKA'AH

·         After Thana - 15 Times

·         After the Surah and before Ruku - 10 Times

·         In Ruku after the Tasbeeh - 10 Times

·         In Qaumah (standing position after Ruku) - 10 Times

·         In (first) Sajda after the Tasbeeh - 10 Times

·         In Jalsa (sitting position between the two Sajdas) - 10 Times

·         In (second) Sajda after the Tasbeeh - 10 Times

·         The second, third and fourth Rakaats will be read in the same manner.

 

Note:

1. In every Rakat, the Tasbeeh will be recited 75 times totalling 300 times in the entire Salah.

2. There are also other methods of praying Salatut Tasbeeh which is correct and acceptable.

POINTS TO REMEMBER:

 

1) Do not count loudly.

2) Do not count by holding a Bead Tasbeeh(prayer beads) or a counter in your hand.

3) You may count by pressing the fingers as a reminder. For example if you are in Ruku. You may press small finger of your right hand first for the first count, then the finger next to it for second count, then the middle finger for third count, following this method until you reach the small finger of left hand will give you an exact count of ten. Use the same method in Qiyaam, Sajdah and Jalsa.

 

May Allah Ta'ala accept our ibadah(worship) and grant us an elevated position in Jannah(paradise).




SADAQATUL-FITR

THE IMPORTANCE OF SADAQATUL-FITR

*

Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam said: "The fast remains suspended between Heaven and Earth until the fitrah is paid."

*

Sadaqatul fitr [fitra] is compulsory charity which becomes payable on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

*

Fitr means to break fast or to refrain from fasting. Hence the Eid after the fasts of Ramadhân is called Eid-ul-Fitr, as it is the day of rejoicing after the completion of fasting. On this occasion of happiness, as a sign of gratitude one has to give a specific amount in aims, which is called Sad'qatui-Fitr. To purify and obtain complete blessings for the fasts of Ramadhân Mubârak one has to give Sadaqatul-Fitr. Thus it is wâjib to give Sadaqatul-Fitr to purify one's fast. The true object in giving Sadqatul-fitr on this happy, occasion is also to assist the poor and needy, so that, they may rejoice with the more fortunate.

*

Ibn Abbas (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) made the Sadkat-ul-Fitr obligatory for the purpose of: purifying our fasting from vain talk and shameful mistakes, to make arrangements for the poor and the needy for food and clothing (for the festival of
Eid).
(Hadith: Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja)

*

Sadaqatul Fitr (or fitrah) is wâjib [compulsory] upon all Muslims -male, female and children fitrah should preferably be paid before the Eid Salâh.

It is not permissible to delay the payment of fitrah later than the Day of Eid.

*

What amount Should be paid

The amount of Sadqatul Fitr is 1.633kg of wheat or 3.266kg of barley or the equivalent in cash. Please consult your local Islamic Scholars[Ulema] in your area for exact amount.It is highly recommended that this amount is paid in advance so that the contributions could be used for the benefit of the poor on Eid day




Fwd: Motivational- Fasting

Sincerity of a young Muslimah

There was a little girl (six years old) who was fasting in Ramadhan, even though it is not obligatory on people below the age of puberty. She was in school, and at lunch time, when all the other children went out to eat and have lunch, she sat in the classroom, because she was fasting. Her (non-muslim) teacher thought that she was too young to fast, and so said that it was not necessary, and she could eat a little. The girl still didn't eat. Then the teacher said: "Your parents are not here, it doesn't matter if you eat a little". The girl replied: "I am not fasting for my parents, I am fasting for Allah". This simple statement had such a profound effect on the teacher, that later she accepted Islam.