Monday, October 30, 2017

Saying “Hello” to Halloween?

"Hello" to Halloween?

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, many 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 the Qur'an (Divine Scripture) and The Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) 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 other Religions. 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)


 "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 practicing falsehood and not to imitate others in their futile 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-beneficial celebrations.  


As Muslims, let us be convinced that our Deen 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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

“The Elephant’s Rope”

 "The Elephant's Rope"

By Abu Umaymah





Very often our past learning experiences inhibit our development and growth. We sometimes are so discouraged by setbacks in life that we don't explore new avenues of progress. One of the secrets of success is that we should not fear failures. Remember that "failure" is NOT the opposite of "success", it is part of!


Whilst failure and success seem to be two separate concepts that may appear to contradict each other, they are actually to be seen as two sides of the same coin and thus complimenting each other.  Often it is said that you will never really taste the sweetness of success until you've tasted the bitterness of failure.


No doubt failure is a reality but Allah Ta'ala has granted each of us amazing and enormous potential to achieve and progress through the challenges of life provided we try and work hard at achieving.


Allah, The Most Wise, admonishes us: "and that man can only have that for which he makes effort." (Quran:Surah al-Najm, 53:39)


We cannot change a divine decree but that does not mean we should become hopeless in life after some deterrent. We have to keep trying hard and working as well as praying and trusting in Allah Ta'ala.


"And my success cannot come from any source besides Allah.  I have put my trust in Him." (Quran 11:88)


As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.


He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. "Well," trainer said, "when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it's enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free."


The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn't, they were stuck right where they were.


Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?


Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life. The Noble Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an orphan, "unlettered", meager means, tortured and persecuted and yet never gave up in his efforts and struggle to achieve.  Muhamamd (peace be upon him) reached such heights unparalleled in the history of humanity.


"Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success"


So the next time you encounter any hurdle, remember "The Elephant's Rope".


Monday, October 16, 2017

Courage!

Courage!
By Sister S Bemath


Many of us are poor imitations of what we ought to be . . .

It is a fact of life that all successful people have one trait in common—courage. Without it there is little hope for achievement and fulfilment. We can never be our true selves until we learn to be courageous. Courage enables us to face difficulty, danger or pain in a way that allows us to maintain control over a situation. We can build courage by identifying things that frighten or challenge us and thinking of strategies for coping with them. We can also build courage by remembering that nothing can harm us unless ALLAH wills it and nothing can benefit us unless ALLAH wills it. Many of us are poor imitations of what we ought to be, our actions often governed by other people's opinions—hardly a satisfactory way to control one's destiny.

So what is courage and how can it transform the routine lives most of us seem to lead? It is not just mastering of fear. Courage requires us to remain steadfast in our beliefs. It asks that we stand by the convictions we express and never give in an inch, no matter what the cost. It can be likened to taking a blank sheet of paper and writing the first sentence of novel; to saying "No" when "Yes" is so much easier. It is the force which thrusts life onwards. It is to be cultivated and nurtured. If you know what you want to do with your life, take your first step forward today. Deep down most us know what we want, we simply lack the courage to take that first step, so we procrastinate. And, together with indecision, procrastination can prevent you from ever achieving anything.

Once you know what you want, make up your mind to look ahead—with courage. Some people are always planning to do great things; they declare they know exactly what they want and how to go about it. Yet somehow they never get started; never get past the preparatory stage because fear enters the picture. They lack the courage to step into the unknown. If you are such a person, make up your mind to put fear behind you, to go ahead, to make decisions. When you've made your decision, it's time for action. Pluck up your courage and ACT! DON'T let yourself down.

Let me give you a practical illustration. Let's assume you feel you should be promoted. You work hard and keep hoping. But that's not good enough. Your employer probably takes it for granted that you're satisfied, so it's up to you to set the wheels in motion concerning your future. Speak to your employer. Ask to consider you for a better position when one is available. Be bold. Explain why you deserve promotion. If your employer refuses even to consider your request you must either accept the situation or look for another job which will give you the opportunities you're looking for.

No matter how difficult it may seem. Make the choice to live consciously. Do not succumb to that half-conscious realm of fear-based thinking, filling your life with distractions to avoid facing what you feel in those silent spaces between your thoughts. Either exercise your human endowment of courage and progressively build strength to face your deepest, darkest fears to live as the empowered being you truly are, or admit that your fears are too much for you, and embrace life as a mouse. But make this choice consciously and with full awareness of its consequences. If you are going to allow fear to win the battle for your life, then proclaim it the victor and forfeit the match. If you simply avoid living consciously and courageously, then that is equivalent to giving up on life itself, where your continued existence becomes little more than a waiting period before physical death—the nothing as opposed to the daring adventure of life.

Courage, according to the Qur'aan Kareem, requires fearing nothing and no one other than ALLAH; not hesitating to act in the way which conforms the nearest to ALLAH'S good pleasure, and showing determination. Amongst the most important characteristics of the faithful are that they do not give up when faced with difficulty, and fear nothing and no one but ALLAH. They know that there is no power other than HE. This fosters courage in them, to overcome any kind of fear. An example of such exemplary behaviour is given in the Qur'aan Kareem:

(It is the practice of those) who preach the Messages of ALLAH, and fear HIM, and fear none but ALLAH: And ALLAH suffices as a Reckoner. (Qur'aan 32, Verse 39)

Don't give up without embracing the daring adventure your life is meant to be. You may go broke. You may experience failure and rejection repeatedly. You may endure multiple dysfunctional relationships. But these are all milestones along the path of a life lived courageously. They are your private victories, carving a deeper space within you to be filled with an abundance of joy, happiness, and fulfilment.

A rose only becomes beautiful and gives fragrance when it opens up and blooms. Its greatest tragedy is to stay in a tight-closed bud, never fulfilling its potential... So, recognize your potential and utilize them. That is strength undefeatable!


Selflessness

The Delight of Selflessness

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf 

 

 

Sacrifice is part of nature. The excruciating pain a mother endures patiently at childbirth, the years a teacher spends in educating children, the medical personal who attend to accident scenes in the dead of night, the police who patrol the streets during odd times and extreme weather, the Mujahideen who protect the borders of Islam, the patience of innocent civilians under oppressive regimes are just but a few examples of sacrifices for humanity.

 

"Great achievements and happiness is the born out of sacrifice and not out of selfishness"

 

Sacrifice may vary in degree and form. Sometimes it may be little and at times it may be immense. It could mean surrendering some of our wealth, time or even health for the benefit of others. Sacrifice is an important part in our contribution to society.

 

"Sacrifice always brings joy to both the beneficiary and the giver. Sacrifice is a part of life. It's supposed to be. It's not something to regret. It's something to aspire to."

 

 Allah Ta'ala promises to give you back and most certainly He will increase it manifold. Allah Ta'ala says;

 

"Say, 'Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills of His servants and restricts (it) for him. But whatever thing you spend (give) – He will compensate it; and He is the best of Providers." (Qur'an Saba', 34:39)

 

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

 

"No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself." (Hadith –Bukhari & Muslim)

 

There is an incident about a little girl named Ameena who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother Abdullah, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother Abdullah carefully, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister Ameena who needed it urgently to survive.

Abdullah hesitated for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it, if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, seeing that when the blood was given, colour was returning to Ameena's cheeks.

After some time Abdullah's face grew pale and his smile faded. Then Abdullah looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister Ameena all of his blood in order to save her life.

 

This is the ultimate in self-sacrifice where a person is willing to give his life. Daily we all face a challenge to what extent will we give. If we cannot give the ultimate, then let us at least do whatever "little" we can to bring about joy or benefit to others.

 

"Value and appreciate the people who sacrifice 'something' for you as maybe their 'something' was their 'everything' "

Piety,sacrifice and giving are all inter-related. Allah Ta'ala says;

 

"Never will you attain righteousness until you spend (give) from that which you love. And whatever you spend(give), indeed Allâh is Knowing of it." (Qur'an 3:92)

 

Sacrifice usually is accompanied by difficulty and our sincerity is put to test. It's easy to sacrifice and give to those who give back. The real test is to give to those who can give you nothing in return. This reality is often very difficult for people to grasp, that whatever one gives or sacrifices for in a good cause is not really lost. When you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. you're just passing it on to someone else and hoping for a reward from your Creator.

 

In fact there is a huge source of reward for the giver both in this temporary world and even more so in the Hereafter. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said;

"He who removes from a believer one of his difficulties of this world, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection" (Hadith-Muslim)

Let us sacrifice our "little" for humanity, remember drops form puddles and puddles form rivers and rivers form oceans!


The Miracle of PositiveThinking

The Miracle of Positive Thinking
By Sister Shahnaaz Bemath



Thinking positive can work miracles. You may have been told to "guard your thoughts", but felt the advice to be pointless. After all, your thoughts are private. How can they possibly affect someone else? The fact is, thoughts do seem to boomerang in some mysterious ways. Science has not found a way to measure them as they have invisible sound waves. In order to understand how positive thinking works, and how to use it efficiently, it is important to understand the power of negative thinking.

"Negative thoughts and tensions are like birds. We cannot stop them from flying near us but, we can certainly stop them from making a nest in our mind."

The mind can be directed towards positive thinking or negative thinking. The power of thought is a neutral power. The way one thinks determines whether the results are positive and beneficial or negative and harmful. It is the same of energy acting in different ways. Persistent inner work can change habits of thoughts. You must be willing to put energy and time to avoid negative thinking and pursue positive thinking, in order to change your mental attitude. Think of those things which are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, in other words, to fill your mind with noble, good thoughts, leaving no room for negative ones to take root.

The Noble Messenger of ALLAH (peace be upon him) has reported that ALLAH, The Most Wise, said: "I treat  my servant as how he thinks of Me" (Hadith- Bukhari/ Muslim). In other words, ALLAH TA'ALA treats His servant in the way how he thinks of ALLAH, what he hopes from and how he sets his hopes on ALLAH. So, those who come positive and with a great hope to the door of Mercy of the Almighty Creator will Insha Allah not return empty-handed.

The most powerful weapon you have at your disposal is Du'a (prayer). Use it and use it often. The basis of prayer is to lift us and situations to Almighty ALLAH -- an inner act of visualisation. A further step is to contemplate on our beautiful teachings of Islam -- this involves controlling and directing out thoughts. A simple way to think of this is to imagine your mind to be like a garden. That garden can be spoilt and overrun by negative, destructive thoughts (weeds), or it can become a place of peace and harmony by the cultivation of flowers (uplifting thoughts).

"Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers. Or you can grow weeds."

Are you prone to depression? Do you see your life as a hopeless mess... consider yourself a failure? If you do, then you will close your mind, see no opportunities, and behave and react in such ways, as to repel people and opportunities. You let the power of negative thinking rule your life. Try replacing such negative thoughts with positive ones. Talk to your beloved ALLAH, ALLAH does not create a lock without a key, and ALLAH doesn't give you problems without its solutions. Trust HIM! While recognising these problems, picture yourself as mastering each one. Visualise yourself handling each situation creatively; being a success; gradually allowing your given potential to blossom.

The beloved Messenger of ALLAH (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) advised us if you look forward to good things, it will happen In'Shaa'ALLAH. Thinking positive is a very important element of Islam. Always think that ALLAH has a plan for you, if something goes wrong, it will probably lead you to something good. HE is working things out for you, even if you don't feel it. Have faith and be thankful. Where faith and hope grows, miracles blossoms, ALLAHU AKBAR!

At first, this kind of thought control may seem like an inner game -- but you'll be surprised at how, slowly but surely, your outer circumstances begin to change. For thought precedes action, and the right thoughts precede a chain of good actions. Destructive thoughts, on the other hand, act as poisoning agents. They embitter and limit the thinker, preventing him or her from developing good relationships, because others sense the wrong thoughts telepathically, and shy away instinctively.

Conversely, if you greet people with the thought that they'll probably be nice to know, such a positive thought will affect their response. If you're afraid of someone, replace that fear with a thought which recognises that the person's given potential "core" is probably hidden under layers of unhappiness and wrong thinking. Silently bless that person, and ask that his or her true self be given a chance to manifest.

A friend was once terribly upset because someone was spreading false rumours about her. She could not deny the rumour publicly. All she could do was pray for the woman, try to think about her charitably and visualise her acting differently. She did this consistently for some weeks. One day, unexpectedly, the woman phoned her to apologise and say she'd been mistaken, Subhaan-ALLAH! It seemed like a miracle! But right thinking can work miracles... Life has many different chapters for us. One bad chapter doesn't mean the end of the book. Be positive and keep your faith in ALLAH. Once we function in harmony with ALLAH'S beautiful laws of love and forgiveness -- and this includes spreading good, true and beautiful thoughts -- our lives will flower as they were meant to.

"Think positive, Think different. Don't waste your precious energy on negative thoughts."

Decide that from today, from this very moment, you are leaving negative thinking behind, and starting on the way towards positive thinking and behaviour. It is never too late. Soon your life will turn into a fascinating, wonderful journey. Wake up every morning with the thought that something beautiful is about to happen. Let's welcome each day with a smile and bid farewell with a smile. We thank ALLAH for HIS blessings. Take advantage of our positive energy and employ them in doing well in this life. Let's learn, read and after that, we will find the entire universe will extend to us it's heart and the whole world will hug us with its beauty... Subhaan-ALLAH!

There is something beautiful in life. You just have to find it....be positive and it will find you!



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

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.