Monday, January 20, 2014

A MERCY TO ALL !

The Last & Final Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)
 
"A MERCY TO ALL "
 
Allaah's Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was the kindest of men in the same way as he excelled all others in courage and valour. Being extremely kind-hearted, his eyes brimmed with tears at the slightest sign of inhumanity. A Companion, Shaddaad bin 'Aws  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported the Apostle as saying: "Allaah has commanded you to show kindness to everyone, so if you have to kill, kill in a good manner, and if you slaughter an animal, slaughter it gently. If anyone of you has to slay an animal, he should sharpen the blade first and treat the animal well." Ibn 'Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him relates that a man threw a goat on its side and then started sharpening his knife. When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) saw him he said: "Do you want to kill it twice? Why did you not sharpen the knife before throwing it on the ground?"

A Mercy for the Believers

The Messenger's compassion towards the believers was of the utmost degree. The Quran describes his compassion in the following verse, which means: "There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you [i.e., your guidance] and to the believers is kind and merciful." [Quran: 9:128]

Sa'd bin 'Ubaadah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him once became ill, so Allaah's Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) visited him in his house. On seeing his faithful Companion in a pitiful state, he was moved to tears. Then, he said: "Allaah does not punish because of tears, nor because of grief, but he punishes because of this."- and he pointed to his tongue. [Al-Bukhaari]

A Mercy Towards his Enemies

The prisoners of war taken captive at the battle of Badr were amongst his bitterest enemies. Nevertheless, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) made sure that they were given the best of treatment. Among them was Suhayl bin 'Amr who was a fiery speaker and was denouncing the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). 'Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him one the Prophet's closest companions, suggested that two of his lower teeth be pulled out so that he might not be so vile in his speeches. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: "Were I to do this, Allaah would disfigure me on the Day of Judgement, despite the fact that I am His messenger."

In Makkah, his people inflicted him with every kind of suffering, eventually forcing him to emigrate to Madeenah, and then waged war on him for five years. However, when he conquered Makkah without bloodshed in the twenty-first year of his Prophethood, he asked the Makkan unbelievers who were awaiting his decision about them: "How do you expect me to treat you?" They responded unanimously: "You are a noble one, the son of a noble one." He announced to them his decision:

"You may go free! No reproach this day shall be on you; may God forgive you."

A Mercy for Women

Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was also very kind and affectionate towards women. Women were very badly treated in those times. The Noble Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) gave them honour and dignity at par with men in the community. 'Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported: "We did not have much regard for women while we were at Makkah, but they were better treated in Madeenah. Allaah's Messenger established women's rights through his sayings and commandments, which improved their position and status."

A Mercy for Children

Allaah's Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was particularly compassionate towards children. When he saw a child crying, he sat beside him or her and shared his or her feelings. He felt the pain of a mother for her child more than the mother herself. Once he said: "I stand in prayer and wish to prolong it. However, I hear the cry of a child and cut the prayer short for the anxiety which the mother is feeling." [Al-Bukhaari]

He would take children in his arms and embrace them. He was once hugging his beloved grandsons, Hasan and Husayn, when Aqrah bin Haabis told him, 'I have got ten children. So far, I have not kissed any of them.' Allaah's Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) responded: "The one with no pity for others is not pitied." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

According to another version, he said: "What can I do for you if Allaah has removed from you the feeling of compassion?" [At-Tirmithi]

A Mercy for Slaves

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) strongly enjoined the duty of kind and generous treatment upon slaves, servants and labourers engaged in manual work. Jaabir  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him related the Apostle of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as saying: "Feed them with the food which you eat, clothe them with such clothing as you wear, and do not cause trouble to Allaah's creatures." The Apostle  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is further stated to have said: "Those whom Allaah has made your dependents are your brothers, servants and helpmates. Anybody whose brother has been made subservient to him ought to feed him with the food he eats and clothe him with the clothes he wears; command him not to do that which he is unable to do and if it becomes necessary to do so then he should help him in doing the job."

A Mercy for Animals

His compassion encompassed not only human beings, but also animals.

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade his companions to keep the unintelligent creatures hungry or thirsty, to disturb or to overburden them. He commended that kindness and putting them at ease were meritorious acts tending to bring man nearer to Allaah. Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reports the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as saying: "A traveller who was thirsty saw a well in the way. He got inside the well and when he came out he saw a dog licking mud due to thirst. The man realised that the dog was as thirsty as him, so he got into the well again, filled his leather sock with water and carried it out holding it with his teeth. Thus, he quenched the thirst of the dog. Allaah was pleased with this act of kindness and pardoned his sins." The Companions asked: "O Messenger of Allaah, is there recompense in the matter of beasts and wild animals also?" The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: "There is recompense in regard to every creature that has a living heart."

'Abdullaah bin 'Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him related that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "A woman was cast away to hell only because she had withheld food and water from her cat and refused to set it free so that the cat might satisfy its hunger by eating worms and insects."

Once on return from a military campaign, a few Companions took away the chicks of a bird from their nest to stroke them. The mother bird came back and when it could not find its chicks in the nest, it began to fly around screeching. When informed of the matter, Allaah's Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) became angry and ordered the chicks to be put back in the nest. [Abu Daawood]

Conclusion

The love and compassion of Allaah's Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) for all kinds of creatures was not of the kind claimed by today's 'humanists'. He was sincere and balanced in his love and compassion. He was more compassionate than any other person. He was a Prophet raised by Allaah, the Creator and Sustainer of all beings, for the guidance and happiness of conscious beings - mankind and jinn - and the harmony of existence. Therefore, he lived not for himself but for others; he is a mercy for all the worlds.

"Indeed, in this [Quran] is notification for a worshipping people. And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds." [Quran: 21:106-107]

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Year?...Resolutions

Anytime Resolutions...

5 Easy Tips to Make Our Lives Spiritually Enriching!

 

The Islamic New of 1435 has recently ushered in and people generally begin to think about their life and some even make resolutions about how they will approach this New Islamic Year and their work, health and relationships. As humans and believers we also have ambitions. Instead of making resolutions only about material progression, the resolutions of a believer would and should be about one's progression on the path of enlightenment and nearness to his or her Creator Allah Ta'ala. In reality we don't need a New Year or special occasion to make a resolution for doing or achieving good. It can be done instantaneously!

Generally people intend doing things to become better off than the year before. Common resolutions include cutting down on chocolate/weight, quit smoking, getting in shape, etc. A lot involves benefits to the health and/or improving their lifestyle. Others include giving more to charity, being closer to family which boosts a personal level of satisfaction etc. But this we as Muslims should be doing regardless.

What about us? Have we set a goal or targets for ourselves? If so, was it because it was a New Year? Did you have to wait for the New Year to set it? Is there something about you that you wish to improve? No human is perfect. But Allah Ta'ala gave us human's intelligence to learn and the means for people to better themselves. And we should aim for perfection. The whole essence of Tarbiya is based on improving ourselves, i.e. self development.

While people set goals or targets for the benefit of this world, we as Muslims should ideally be setting goals for not only our material well-being but more importantly for the aakhirah (Life in Hereafter), to maximise reward so we attain Jannah(Paradise) and to avoid the punishment of the Jahannam (hellfire). That is not to say that we should not set goals for this material life , by all means go ahead. But if you intend to do a good deed for the dunya(worldly life) only, your reward will be in the dunya. When you intend to do a good deed for the aakhirah, your rewards will be in both the dunya and the akhira. For example, when you intend to eat so you can have the strength and energy to work so you can maintain and care for your family as it is a Command of Allah Ta'ala to do so, you will be rewarded  and receive benefits both in this world and the next. But if you just eat so satisfy your hunger then your reward is just the benefits of eating.

Allah Ta'ala mentions in the Holy Quran; "…And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me.." (Quran 51:56).

Therefore, our intentions and targets should ultimately be aimed at pleasing Allah Ta'ala. We set ourselves certain targets that will help us maximise reward, or to even minimise sinning. For many of us we can start with some simple yet effective, ways which we can improve our character such as to stop backbiting, be more trusting, watching our tongue, not lazing about, etc.

Let us look at it another way. Do we ever stop at the end of the day to look back thinking, what have I actually achieved today? It may be a good idea, before the start of each day, to ask yourself, what can I do tomorrow to improve myself? It can even be something small such as learning an ayah of the Quran or giving a loaf of bread in Sadaqah (Charity) or just to smile at somebody.

Whatever you wish to improve on, no matter how ambitious or small it is, whether it is for the dunya or the akhirah, one can apply the SMART method. What they stand for is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. The crucial element here is time, which means you need to set yourself deadlines. Instead of saying, I'm going to memorise the Quran, Insha Allah (If Allah Ta'ala wills), rather say by the end of this month, Insha Allah I hope to have memorised juz(chapter) Amma. Its more direct and you will have set yourself up with expectations. Another way to help is to let others know what you intended to do. This way you will have someone else to give you that extra push. If you and a friend decide to work towards the same target then it makes it much easier, you both can push each other. The Noble Messenger of Allah is reported to have said; "None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." (Hadith:Bukhari and Muslim).

There is also the topic of setting a long term goal, but that in itself is another topic, though the principles are similar.

Often the lack of motivation is what causes people to stop pursuing their targets. However, if you set your targets with the intention of pleasing Allah Ta'ala and make effort, He will make things easier for you. In Hadith Qudsi Allah says, "if he comes to Me walking, I go running unto him" (Bukhari, Muslim).

Allah Ta'ala also mentions that; "…those who strive in Our cause, We will surely guide them in Our Paths. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good." (Quran, 29:69).

Knowing that Allah will reward you both in this world and the hereafter should re-stimulate that motivation that you need to accomplish things. Sometimes it is that extra motivation that you need. So if ever, when working towards something you feel a bit bothered about then just ask yourself again why you are doing this. If it is for Allah Ta'alas cause then He shall make things easier for you. But you need that bit of effort. Have a bit of patience for you will be rewarded for that too.

There is indeed no limit to the good a person can intend and indeed according to ones niyyah (intention) one will be rewarded . According to Hadith if a person intends to do a good deed but cannot do it, Allah writes for him a reward of one good deed. If he both intends to do and performs that good deed, Allah writes for him a reward of ten good deeds and increases it up to seven hundred and more. (Hadith Bukhari). Also if a person intends to do a good deed, but is then unable to complete it due to an obstacle in his way, there will still be a reward just for his good intention.

Intention is such a magical cure that it turns habits, activities, deeds to worship. And also it is a soul which turns dead circumstances and moods to live worships.

Setting goals or targets is an excellent practise. There are good resolutions a person can make and does not need to wait for a New Year. Here are a few tips to get started…

5 Easy Tips To Get You Started…

REACH FOR THE STARS! AIM HIGH: So indeed there is no harm in achieving good in both materially and spiritually.The most important is to note that all resolutions, hopes, ambitions and dreams etc are entirely dependent on Allah Ta'ala, The Most Wise, for their fulfilment. So making Dua (asking Allah Ta'ala) is the most essential ingredient for achievement. When making dua "reach for the stars" i.e. ask Allah Ta'ala for the most in fact ask for everything good. Don't leave out anything. Allah, The Most Wise, says: "Invoke Me, (and ask Allah for anything) I will respond to your (invocation/dua)………….." (Quran: 40: 60)

ELIMINATE SINS: Just like a Shop keeper refuses to grant more credit to a bad debtor or nonpayer, likewise how can we expect Allah Ta'ala to grant us good if we continuously sin and transgress. To get the Help of Allah Ta'ala we need to remove sin from our lives. We are not perfect and as humans we often err. But the least we can do to show our sincerity to Allah Ta'ala is to intend to abandon ALL forms of sins from our lives. Allah is Ar-Rahman, the Most Compassionate, and Ar-Raheem, the Most Merciful. Allah Ta'ala tells man of the greatness of His forgiveness and mercy so that no one would despair due to the amount of sins he may have committed. This is supported by the following verse of the Holy Quran: Say: "O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Qur'an:Surah az-Zumar 39:53)

MAKE ISLAM THE BIGGER CIRCLE: Until now we may have made our material (worldly) desires the Bigger Circle and Deen(Islam) the inner Smaller Circle that occupies a very small insignificant place in the Bigger Circle. Now resolve to make Deen(Islam) the Bigger Circle and make everything else fit into the Bigger Circle. If it does not conform to Deen, no matter what it may be, leave it out of the Bigger Circle! The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him is reported to have said: "None of you can be a true Muslim, unless his desires are subject to the religion that I have brought." (Hadith). Yes set high goals both for our Spiritual and Material progress. The Holy Qur'an says: "Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire" (Quran:Al-Baqarah:201).

SET SPECIFIC GOALS: It would be good if specific intentions are made. Also categorise goals. For example ; lets take salaah (prayer): Resolve that henceforth all five prayers will be read punctually and better still for men(if possible) that prayers would be in the Masjid. Qur'an: Aim to memorize more verses of the Book of Allah; Make our children Hafiz of the Quran; Zikr: Increase the amount of Zikr done daily and aim to improve concentration. Sadaqah (Charity): Spend more on the poor and for all other noble causes whether it be victims of natural disasters or contributing to the local Masjid etc. Increase the amount of time one spends volunteering, Spending Time in the Path of Allah, memorize duas for different occasions or Prophetic traditions(Hadith), making quality time to spend with family, making wise career choices for yourself/children, assisting one's mother and/or father, speaking well with one's siblings, furthering Islamic knowledge, serving those less fortunate and oppressed and thanking Allah Ta'ala in whatever way for the all blessing and bounties for which He has bestowed upon us.etc etc

BE EXTENSIVE AND SYSTEMATIC: Yes let the list be extensive, realistic and systematic. Dedicate time with family to make these resolutions. Make your family part of it and set goals together. In addition, it helps to write down intentions and to regularly review those intentions in order to fulfil those commitments.

Finally the most important resolution is that My Creator Allah Ta'ala must be pleased with me. So whatever I desire, do, say, want, etc must be only to please my Lord!

May Allah Ta'ala make this Islamic Year 1435 Hijrah the most spiritually rewarding year for the Ummah and may He grant ease and relief to those that are suffering and oppressed throughout the world.…Ameen

 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fwd: Is there a PlayStation in Jannah?

Is there a PlayStation in Jannah?

For E Islam by Umm Ismail

 

Some years back my 11 year old son asked me if I thought there would be a PlayStation in Jannah(Paradise), because really, if there wasn't going to be one, then he didn't know if he still wanted to go there. While I was gratified to be thought so knowledgeable, I was also aware that my reputation as Oracle-In-Chief was now at stake.

So naturally I thought very carefully about how to respond.

His query reminded me of another, a few decades earlier. I attended Madressah(Islamic School) with an older aunt who graciously conceded to teaching me privately in the afternoons after school. When I started high school, she told me I would have to start wearing the hijab soon. Now this was the 80's – South Africa was in the grip of the last, bloody, grasp of institutional apartheid, the Rainbow nation hadn't yet been born, and a head-scarfed girl at my school wasn't an option.

So being 12 and opinionated, I asked her why, and whether I would have to wear it at school as well. I knew of other girls who wore it, then instantly discarded it at the school gate for the duration of the school day, only to put it on again when they went home. She replied that it would indeed be all right since hijab was for one's protection, and at school girls were protected (from what, I wondered!).

If wearing hijab was compulsory, my teen brain reasoned, then surely there had to be a proper reason. I also questioned why would it be ok to wear the hijab on one side of the school gate and unnecessary on the other side? Silently, I promptly decided never to wear hijab - until aeons later, at 17, when it made perfect sense!

When our children question us about Islamic principles, ethics or concepts, we often find it difficult to address their concerns head-on. We either react with self-righteous indignation, or sometimes we're just amiably dismissive, while pointedly informing them about what's allowed and what's not.

Our children however, are not pint-sized, programmable versions of adults, who after a few basic instructions – pray 5 times daily, learn all your Surahs(Quranic Verses), and don't forget the eating dua (prayer) – will then happily be on their way. Utterly complete human beings, endowed with a healthy curiosity and a growing intellect, they need to be engaged, debated with and have their sometimes misguided views, challenged. Their insecurities, preposterous or profound have to be entertained too.

The Quran constantly encourages us to ponder and use our 'aql (intellect):  "And We have certainly left of it a sign as clear evidence for a people who use reason." (Quran:29:35) and again "And it is He who gives life and causes death, and His is the alternation of the night and the day. Then will you not reason?" (Quran23:80). Despite this, we consistently choose not to heed to seek reasoning, nor do we expect our children to. Indeed we expect them, ironically, to do as their forefathers did and inherit the faith we sometimes wear with weary familiarity. Why?

Perhaps it is because we assume that wanting to understand the essence of a Divine instruction is to question its validity. Perhaps, more often than not, we ourselves don't understand its logic and wisdom. But does this have to be so?

As Hazrat Ali (RA) taught us, and echoed by educationist Ken Robinson, we raise our children for a time other than our own, in fact for a future as yet, quite undetermined. In order for them to grow into the Caretakers that Allah SWT intended, their faith must grow organically; because faith, unlike Granny's antique cups, cannot be passed down to future generations.

Their first steps into the world of meaning and values must be infused with the continued appreciation of the Divine Presence. This primal awareness as created beings starts with the athaan (call to prayer) in the new-born's ear, settles in the heart as a fledgling seed, to be delicately nurtured with love and patient understanding (and a healthy dose of humour). Not for nothing did the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) spend the first 13 years in Mecca nurturing this seed – its blossoming is what enabled that collective cathartic moment years later when the Muslims were ordered to wash the stain of alcohol out of their lives …. In the words of my teen, how awesome was that? 

If we want our children to be of those who "strive hard with their property and their persons" (9:88), who "invite to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong" (3:104), and whom Allah SWT "will love and who will love Him" (5:54), we will need to encourage them to find the answers to their questions from within the Quraan. Let us from the beginning encourage our children to reflect on and be amazed by the universe outside of (and within) us and then weave into that the Qur'anic ethos. This will enable them to view and practice Islam with understanding and love rather than Islam being viewed  as sets of  mechanical actions or regurgitation of the verses of the Quraan without passion and affection.

There is NO excuse today not to make the effort to educate ourselves. Books, the internet, YouTube, community classes, all abound. Indeed, it's our emphatic duty as parents to be exemplary in the desire for authenticity, to "ponder and reflect" together with our children, and to seek out well-researched, thoughtful answers to their queries like why exactly are we here, If Allah SWT is so merciful, why do people suffer, what happens to good atheists, and ….  is there a PlayStation in Jannah?  

So back to my son. I explained that not having made that trip, I obviously couldn't give him any specifics, but what I could say for sure was that Jannah is where we will be unimaginably happy and content. I asked him to recall his most satisfying memory, and to multiply that by a gazillion (words like gazillion always make an impact) – and if that included a PlayStation, then a version of a PlayStation would be awaiting him. He nodded sagely and never mentioned it again, satisfied that his mother clearly was the go-to person when weighty matters preoccupied the mind.

He's 15 now, and the other day he sheepishly recalled that incident and exclaimed, "Mum, can you believe I actually thought Jannah was going to be full of PlayStations and games", and giggling mischievously, he added, "now I know it's going to be full of beautiful girls!" - and disappeared before I could feign shock-horror. Sigh … I suspect the "lower your gaze" talk is already overdue ….

The Year End Party

The Year End Party…

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf

Sharifa gazed at herself in mirror as she applied the final touches of make-up. A highly qualified Chartered Accountant, she remarkably climbed the corporate ladder in just a few years. She surely wanted her presence felt at her Company's Year-End Function. After all the CEO was flying in from the USA and she was to be seated right next to the local MD Mr William Cook.

The night had arrived and she wanted to be sure to shed her old title of being too "conservative and anti-social" as it tendered to hinder her career. That was precisely the reason she stopped donning her hijab(scarf) a few months ago. She felt that it impeded her progress. Tonight she was going to let her hair down!

She arrived in her latest BMW coupe scantly dressed turning heads,eyes and noses as she made her way to the function hall. Her perfume could be smelt a mile away. It was a night of glitz and glamour with many prominent socialites present.

Seated next to the MD Mr William Cook she listened attentively to some of the pre-party speeches, and the comedians were really hilarious. As William went to the podium to deliver his speech she gave him a supportive hug. Then there were moments of light entertainment before the actual bash kicked-off. William had been consuming alcohol and offered Sharifa a drink. She smiled and politely declined. Being brought up in a religious and conservative Muslim home she knew alcohol was a no no!

Sharifa was climbing the corporate ladder really fast and wanted to reach the top, irrespective of the cost. She was passionate about her career. It came well before her husband, baby and religion. Her baby was in a day care centre. Being at the top was her clear ambition. It was William's approval and signature that she urgently needed to move to the next tier.

A party atmosphere erupted in the room and the music blared out causing even the spoons to vibrate. William was soon completely inebriated and started loosing himself. William offered Sharifa a drink of wine. She thought for a moment and said to herself "its just a one glass and it will definitely not make me drunk and to refuse will be indeed so anti-social." She took the tall wine glass smiled and slowly sipped as the party fever raged.

It was now close to midnight. She faintly heard her mobile ring. Over 7 missed calls from her husband. She honestly thought she will call back when things are a bit more quiet and relaxed. Her husband, as was now a custom, stayed at home to look after their cute little baby Fatima. He never really approved of attending parties, not that Sharifa cared.

William insisted that she have a little more. She responded "ok just a little more", can't do much harm she thought. Being a teetotaller, in a short while the wine completely intoxicated her…she now lost control of herself and behaved like a party animal responding to William's passionate and intimate moves…

Soon they were on their way to William's car where he promised her the most memorable romantic moonlight drive. He stopped the car at a nearby park where he made very intimate passes and touched her at places she knew was so incorrect. She was now a bit more sober and began to realise her folly. As he tried to kiss her passionately she pushed him away. He was deeply angered and drunk and in a fit of fury, started the car, driving recklessly like a maniac. He now appeared to be the devil incarnate. Swearing and cursing her. He failed to stop at the traffic lights..she begged him, implored him to slow down but he became more rebellious and aggressive. Reeking of alcohol he now drove even faster. He had no control over the car and himself. She began to cry…

He swerved into the opposite lane and there was a huge bang… there were definitely two cars involved…it seemed the world had come to an end…she heard voices.

It was now well passed midnight. Good Samaritans ushered around them trying to pull them from the wreck. She heard one saying, " Oh no in the other car the driver is crushed to death!"

Than came the sound of sirens. Breathing became difficult. The fire fighters and paramedics huddled around her and frantically applied device after device. 'She's not not gonna make it,' she heard one of them saying. Her heart started pounding. She was soaked in sweat and blood. William lay motionless beside her, his head crushed.

Her voice uttered some feint words of regret as she was mounted onto a stretcher waiting to be loaded into the ambulance. She so regretted but there was no way the damage could be undone.

For a moment her eye caught a final glimpse of the other car in the crash. It was her hubby's car crushed…and beside it laid his dead body. She heard an emergency service worker screaming, "we still need to remove the baby from the wreck". She was quite sure, due to his caring nature he was so worried as she did not answer her mobile and came to see if she was indeed ok.

She shrieked and wailed, "Oh Allah what have I done?"…her mouth smelling of wine and her body stained in blood she gasped and breathed her last…

The lessons to be learned are so many but most important of all is, to live in this world as if you are going to die today!

It's better to be tagged "anti-social" and "nerd" than allow our colleagues, ambitions and careers to sway us into such deeds that will destroy and harm us and our families both in this temporary world and the everlasting life of the hereafter.

The Fear of Allah and good conduct leads to Endless Hope…                                                   

Sin and vice leads to a Hopeless End!


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.

 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween in Islam

Halloween: To say "hello" to it or not?

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf

Islam is a complete way of life. Its wisdom is profound. What Islam prescribes and what it prohibits is always of tremendous benefit for humanity as a whole.

Every year, on the evening of October 31st, millions of children in the Western world paint their faces, dress up in costumes, and go door to door collecting treats. The adults often decorate their houses with ghostly figures, carve scary faces on pumpkins, and put candles in them to create "Jack-O-Lanterns." Unfortunately, among the millions of people indulging in this custom, some are also Muslims.

ORIGINS

Halloween originated as the Eve of Samhain, a celebration marking the beginning of winter and the first day of the New Year among ancient pagans of the British Isles. On this occasion, it was believed that supernatural forces gathered together, that the barriers between the supernatural and human worlds were broken. They believed that spirits from other worlds (such as the souls of the dead) were able to visit earth during this time and roam about. They also believed that on October 31st, the lord of the dead gathered all the souls of the people who had died that year. The souls upon death would dwell in the body of an animal, then on this day the lord would announce what form they were to take for the next year.

 

When Christianity came to the British Isles, the church tried to take attention away from these pagan rituals by placing a Christian holiday on the same day. The Christian festival, the Feast of All Saints, acknowledges the saints of the Christian faith in much the same way that Samhain had paid tribute to the pagan gods. The customs of Samhain survived anyway, and eventually became intertwined with the Christian holiday. Through social networking, mass media, television etc this custom has become popular internationally.

 

ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE

 

In Islam any practice which does not have its origins in Divine Scripture and The Sunnah is totally prohibited. This applies to many Pagan practices such as Halloween, Valentine's Day etc.

 

Virtually all Halloween traditions are based either in ancient pagan culture, or in Christianity. From an Islamic point of view, they all are forms of idolatry (shirk). As Muslims, our celebrations should be ones that honour and uphold our faith and beliefs. How can we worship only Allah, the Creator, if we participate in activities that are based in pagan rituals, divination, and the spirit world? Many people participate in these celebrations without even understanding the history and the pagan connections, just because their friends are doing it, their parents did it ("it's a tradition!"), and because "it's fun!"

So what can we do, when our children see others dressed up, eating candy, and going to parties? While it may be tempting to join in, we must be careful to preserve our own traditions and not allow our children to be corrupted by this seemingly "innocent" fun. When tempted, remember the pagan origins of these traditions, and ask Allah to give you strength. Save the celebration, the fun and games, for our 'Eid festivals. Children can still have their fun, and most importantly, should learn that we only acknowledge holidays that have a religious significance to us as Muslims. Holidays are not just excuses to binge and be reckless. In Islam, our holidays retain their religious importance, while allowing proper time for rejoicing, fun and games.

GUIDANCE FROM THE QURAN AND HADITH

Allah Ta'ala, The Most Wise says in the Qur'an :

"When it is said unto them, 'Come to what Allah has revealed, come to the Messenger,' they say, 'Enough for us are the ways we found our fathers following.' What! Even though their fathers were void of knowledge and guidance?" (Qur'an 5:104)

"Has not the time arrived for the believers,  that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed to them? That they should not become like those to whom was given the Book aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors." (Qur'an 57:16)

"We have sent them the Truth, but they indeed practice falsehood" (Qur'an 23:10).

The Noble and Last Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

"Whoever imitates a nation is one of them!" (Hadith-Abu Da'oud).

"The Final Hour will not come until my followers copy the deeds of the previous nations
and follow them very closely, span by span, and cubit by cubit (inch by inch)"
(Hadith-Bukhari)

 "You must keep to my Sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided Caliphs; cling to it firmly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every new matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misleading." (Hadith-Bukhari)

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

As Muslims we should not participate or condone such evil customs as Halloween. It is the duty of every Muslim parent to educate their children to refrain from practising falsehood and not to imitate the non-Muslims in their customs and festivals. If the children are taught to be proud of their Islamic heritage, they themselves will, if Allah wills, abstain from Halloween and other non-Muslim celebrations, such as birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Valentines Day, etc.  

As Muslims let us be convinced of our Deen that it is indeed the best and purest way of life…so do not say "hello" to Halloween!

 May Allah Ta'ala guide us onto the straight path…Ameen.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Finding the One!

Finding the One!

 

By Sister Taaiebah Ebrahim

 



As a pretend statistician, I'll say it's statistically proven that females are more prone to being caught up in idealistic romantic notions of love especially since we tend to be more emotional beings and brainwashed by fairytales of damsel's in distress and the knight in shining armour hype. Naturally, as a young girl, I had far too many self-edited fairytale re-runs constantly playing in my head.  My excitement was always in anticipation of when my prince would romantically woo me, with me being obviously unaware, just as it was in those fables.  


Truth be told, I was always aware that those fables were indeed far from reality, so nothing surprised me and every person seemed fairly predictable. But even so, I hoped for a miracle - someone original to sweep me off my feet.

And then I was approached…I was given the longest love letter, ever. I was flattered that Someone had taken the time to write to me and was most definitely intrigued. But - I didn't really know Him. So I thought, at least let me, hear Him out, after all, there was a great amount of effort put into this letter.

 

In all honesty, it was quite entertaining. The letter reflected warmth, beauty, bravery, it was so inspiring. It was like a dream sometimes where good battled and won over evil. There were heroes overcoming their weaknesses, there were love stories (my favourite) and other stuff, but really, the whole thing was about me. I knew this because my name was written all over the place. I was totally in tuned with the Author and was taken aback at how He knew so much about me.

Everyday I got presents from Him too. Now, I'm not the type to get bought over, but these gifts were too nice to return to sender, if you know what I mean.


So, I'd read portions of His letter everyday...and to be honest, gifts aside, He really started growing on me and the more I'd read His letter, the more attached I became to Him. Even though I didn't meet Him yet, I really started to like Him. The more I read, the more love I felt . He seemed to tick all the right boxes; He was knowledgeable, spoke about every topic relevant from animals to society and its challenges. He always made me feel so special by making reference to me, all the time. He would go on and on about how He would do anything for me… I just had to ask. So that was nice.

 

He got me thinking. I mean this was it. It's the moment we wait for our whole lives. The magic moment that reroutes your future in a simple decision. But as my eyes got bigger, I'd keep reading things in this letter, that I wasn't sure I was ready to hear. There was a commitment, yes indeed a BIG one!

I was at a crossroad. Take Him or wait for someone else. The decision, however, was clear and there was no real choice to be made. It was more like a one way street than a crossroad. He promised to listen to me, when everyone failed to understand me.

 

 He'd appreciate my humour, understand my emotions and my demeanour. He promised to never break His promises. Could I really believe Him?


He said this whole world and everything in it was nothing compared to me. His words kept on taking my breath away. He seemed so perfect and I felt so honoured and fortunate. I realised I found the One! As the letter began to conclude, He then beautifully and eloquently said…


"Qul huwa laahu Ahad" (Say: He is Allah, the One.) (Quraan 112:1)

This love letter was the Qur'aan, obviously, and the perfect One indeed is. ..ALLAH, THE GREAT.


You see, before I wrongly assumed this craving for love and understanding needed feeding from a human. And while being fully aware of humans and their flaws and predictabilities, I never saw the One who was always there.

 

 I realised it was Allah that was always will be my first and true love.

 

The point is that we all have this insatiable gap that needs feeding and we're always craving to feel complete. It's an unsettling feeling knowing something's missing. And until we begin to realise that it can only be filled with accepting Allah's love, we'll forever be searching for temporary fixes that promise no certainty.

 

Without any judgement, it's understandable in our modern life age to blindly hunt for short-lived reliefs to numb the nagging aching in our chests – after all, we've been coached since young to seek out quick fixes. But it's no reason to your life's betterment to insist on this sort of addictive cycle.


We don't have to wait until we all eventually reach the moment of 'Heeeelp! My cup runneth over!'. It'd be a good idea to nicely sit your sub-conscious down for a no-nonsense one-on-one family meeting, and make it realise that so long as it goes on autopilot in search of completion in anything or anyone outside of yourself, it and you will always feel unfulfilled and super sucky. Being consistently strong in a new way of thinking, trains your sub-conscious to new automatic patterns. Look for permanent freedom - not temporary relief peeps.


Another point to note is to avoid placing the unrealistic expectation of finding perfection in a partner. Everything we've been conditioned to look for in a spouse, is in Allah in perfection, so rely on Him alone to see to your needs, and share your joys with your spouse.

 

Allah is indeed the Only True Love, He is First and Last, His Love is a beginning without an end, His promises are all true, all we need to do is Love Him  and love for His Sake and when every other Love dims the Love of Allah will still shine bright!