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.

 



MUHARRAM- REFLECT, RESOLVE AND RECLAIM

MUHARRAM-  REFLECT, RESOLVE AND RECLAIM

by Sister Jasmine Khan
 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Dirty Laundry…(motivational)

The Dirty Laundry…

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf
 

In life we often tend to be judgmental and very often look down upon others without exploring deeper as to why the person is behaving in such a way. The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said "It is enough of evil for a person to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All of a Muslim is sacred to another Muslim: his blood, his wealth and his honour." (Hadith- Muslim)

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbour hanging the laundry outside. "That laundry is not very clean", she said. "She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap. "Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbour would hang her washing to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean laundry on the line and said to her husband: "Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this."

"The husband said, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows"

Lesson: If our windows are dirty so will we see others as dirty too. What we see in others is indeed a reflection of our inner-selves! So it is with life that what we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look. It is easy for us to discuss other people, their lives & things that really doesn't even concern us and we tend to forget - our windows may not be that clean after all! If we good we will see good…

The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
"A Muslim is a mirror to another Muslim"(Hadith_Abu Dawud)




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.

 



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

THE COVER GIRL

THE COVER GIRL

 
Walking down the road, sporting the latest handbag , designer shoes and the trendiest figure hugging abayah….Wow is she turning heads around here! Is this our new cover girl?
 The Beloved Messenger of Allah( S.A.W ) said: There are two types of people who will be punished in hell and whom I've not seen:(the second type)Women will be dressed but appear to be naked, they will attract others to themselves, and they themselves will be  attracted to others. Their heads will appear like the humps of the camels, they will not enter Paradise and they will not smell its fragrance which can be smelt from such and such a distance.
Shaytaan's ambition is to mislead. When a muslimah makes a niyyah to wear the hijaab he jumps into action.
Plot 1: He tries to stop her. If he fails…
Plot 2:Misleads her in donning hijaab. She thinks she is covering,but chooses a figure hugging abayah or she lifts the jalabeeb instead of lowering….
So lets ask ourselves,are we really covered girls or do we want to be "cover girls?"
There is a parable of a flower and a pearl both striking in their beauty, lets ponder and take a lesson, which one do we want to be?
Suddenly, a tinge of distress appeared on the flower. "Nothing accounts for sorrow in your talk; so why are u depressed?" The pearl asked."Human beings deal with us carelessly; they slight us. They don't grow us for our sake but to get pleasure from our fragrance and beautiful appearance. They throw us on the street or in the garbage can after we are dispossessed of the most valuable properties; brilliance and fragrance"
The flower sighed. And then  the flower said to the pearl: "Speak to me about your life! How do you live? How do you feel it? You are buried in the bottom of the sea. "
The pearl answered: "Although I have none of your distinctive colours and sweet scents, humans think I am precious. They do the impossible to procure me. They go on long journeys, dive deep in the seas searching for me. You might be astounded to know that the further I lay, the more beautiful and brilliant I become. That's what upraises my value in their thought. I live in a thick shell isolated in the dark seas. However, I'm happy and proud to be in a safe zone far from wanton and mischievous hands and still the humans consider me highly valuable" Do you know what the flower and the pearl symbolize?
 Think ..Think..
You will find that The flower is the woman who shows her charms and the pearl is the veiled woman who conceals her beauties.
Ponder  about it!
"O Prophet(pbuh)! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their outer garments (jilbabs) close around themselves; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.(Al Quran Al-Ahzab:59)




Retaining Our Spirituality After Ramadhaan

Retaining Our Spirituality After Ramadhaan

By: Sister Shahnaaz Bemath

We enrolled 30 days in a course called Ramadhaan to reach "Taqwah"(Fear of Allah Ta'ala Ta'ala). It was a time of renewal and re-establishment of our commitment to our Beloved ALLAH TA'ALA and HIS beautiful Deen-ul-Islaam. Al-Hamdulillah! Many have graduated with flying colours – embracing them with positive Deeni (Islamic)changes. Now is a crucial time to put it into practice!

We fasted, gave charity, read the Qur'aan Kareem and performed the Qiyamul Layl (Tahajjud) especially the last ten, standing in prayer before ALLAH TA'ALA. We avoided gossip, slander and every evil that would invalidate our fasting. But now that Ramadhaan has bid us farewell, many of us, regrettably, will put the Qur'aan Kareem back on the shelves, will suspend fasting until next year and will overlook the night prayer. This is not the way it should be, because all of these acts of worship carry rewards and are of benefit to us throughout the year, in addition to the fact there is no divine prescription limiting them to Ramadhaan.

What is it that happens in Ramadhaan to make you so motivated to change your life around and how can you get that spirit back to make long lasting, sustainable changes in your life? What is it that ALLAH TA'ALA puts into your life to enable you to make all those changes in Ramadhaan? If we could examine that, maybe we'll find clues to work out how we can make the Ramadhaan spirit last for more than 30 days, so you can make major sustainable changes in your life!

RAMADHAAN CHANGES

1. Purpose

ALLAH TA'ALA TA'ALA give us an amazing purpose, a powerful reason for fasting, HE says it so beautifully:

"All the deeds of the son of Aadam (Alaihis Salaam) are for him: the good deeds will be multiplied ten times to seven hundred times, except fasting, which is for ME and I will reward it accordingly." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Al-Hamdulillah! He gives us all hope of His Reward for abandoning food, drink and intimacy for HIS Sake in Ramadhaan.

2. Long Term Vision

HE also gives us a long-term vision of what we will achieve if we follow HIS Orders and avoid the things that HE has forbidden – HE could grant us, according to our intentions, the highest place in Jannah.

3. Structure and Organization

HE gives us clear rules and a daily structure for Ramadhaan to give us a specific rhythm to the month – with a few exceptions and some flexibility such as a change in the pattern of the days for the last 10 nights – but there are definite targets that we have to fulfil throughout.

4. Challenging and Slightly Unrealistic Goals

The non-Muslims often look at what we do in Ramadhaan and say that we are being extreme, that we shouldn't be as harsh on ourselves as we are. But we are able to rise above their criticism and not pay attention to what they say, because we know that ALLAH TA'ALA never asks us to do anything that would be harmful for us. We are convinced of the value and benefits of our fasting and Qiyaam and that enables us to stretch ourselves.

5. Balance

In Ramadhaan, it's not only our bodies that are cleansed through fasting, our spirituality is also improved through increased Salaah and reading of the Qur'aan Kareem. Our finances are cleansed through Zakaah, our social relationships are improved through coming together for Iftaar, and our social contribution is increased through extra Sadaqah (Charity). The Ramadhaan spirit is developed through a balanced increase in every area of life, with each aspect having its own timing, amount, and purpose.

In welcoming Ramadhaan and bidding it farewell are some points of reflection for the Mu'mineen (True Believer): Is there for us in fasting an abundance portion of effort to reform ourselves and mend our ways? Yes! It is indeed an excellent period of reflection if one ponders over the sincerity of his/her intention and appropriateness of his/her acts of worship during the blessed month.

A whole new beautiful chapter in your life has opened – of peace, happiness, blessings and mercy with an elated feeling of spirituality, connecting with ALLAH TA'ALA and being immersed in HIS love, Subhaan-ALLAH. Fear ALLAH TA'ALA as HE should be feared for, the fear of ALLAH TA'ALA is the best treasure for you. Obey ALLAH TA'ALA and keep away from HIS restrictions, you will achieve HIS pleasure and be saved from HIS torment. On tasting the sweetness that comes with obedience, there is no desire to return to any form of disobedience.

A sinful desire is like a rose from afar, we get allured by its fragrance, become blinded by its beauty, and overlook the thorns.

Don't allow Shaitaan to be an anchor and halt your spiritual journey. Raise the sails of Imaan to reach the beautiful shores of Jannah. Would you rather invest for short term returns, or would it be more sensible to invest for everlasting returns? Don't let the chains of desire (naffs & shaitaan), bind us to Dunya whilst restraining our soul from pursuing Jannah. May ALLAH TA'ALA make our hearts the throne upon where our Imaan will sit, and let it rule over our Naffs(desires) before it tries to enslave us...

Ways to maintain the good habits you picked during Ramadhaan:

Make Du'a

It was ALLAH TA'ALA who gave you the ability to keep the good habit in Ramadhaan, and only HE can help you maintain it afterwards. Make Du'a that ALLAH TA'ALA helps you not only keep the habit, but that HE accepts it and makes it a way for you to grow in closeness to HIM.

Make it a Habit

If you want to keep good habits, you've got to make sure they remain part of your daily schedule. For instance, fasting. Our beloved Messenger (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) encouraged fasting on Mondays and Thursdays? He said: "A man's deeds are reported (to ALLAH TA'ALA) on Mondays and Thursdays and I prefer that I should be fasting when my deeds are reported." (Hadith-Tirmidhi)

Evaluate yourself Weekly

This helps you see the bigger picture. You'll be able to evaluate on a more long-term level how well you've been keeping your habit in practice. You can do the same thing on a monthly and yearly basis.

Don't fall apart once you make one Mistake

The beauty of Taubah (repentance) in Islaam, is that ALLAH TA'ALA blesses us with this opportunity to return back to HIM after doing something wrong. We should remember that we are humans and that we will err. Only ALLAH TA'ALA is Perfect.

Ask yourself WHY you kept the habit

Niyyah or intention is a key to ALLAH TA'ALA'S acceptance of our good deeds. If we developed a habit to impress others, for instance, we may be able to keep the momentum for a while, but most probably it'll wear out afterwards.

But if we maintained a habit sincerely for the sake of ALLAH TA'ALA, Inshaa-ALLAH , not only will we be rewarded for it, but our intention will help us maintain the necessary motivation to continue to do good.

Work your Way up slowly

Aa'ishah (RadhiAllah Ta'alau Anha) reported that Rasulullah(pbuh)said: "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and remember that you shall enter Paradise only through ALLAH TA'ALA'S Mercy, and also remember that the most beloved deed to ALLAH TA'ALA is that which is regular and constant even if it is little." (Hadith-Al-Bukhari)

The wisdom in this Hadith is tremendous and it is one way of keeping up good habits you have picked up in Ramadhaan.

For example, let's say you were motivated to read Qur'aan Kareem for half-an-hour on a daily basis in Ramadhaan. But now that it's over, you feel sluggish, lazy and want to give it up. Yet, you had wanted to maintain this habit after the blessed month was over.

Instead of trying to read Qur'aan Kareem for the same amount of time, reduce the time period to as much as you are initially able to do, even if it's just ten or twenty minutes a day.

If you keep up this 'ten minutes a day' habit, Inshaa-ALLAH TA'ALA, you will see the amount of Qur'aan Kareem you read will increase slowly but gradually, perhaps even surpassing your Ramadhaan maximum in the long-term, Inshaa-ALLAH !

Be steadfast and upright upon the Deen of ALLAH TA'ALA at all times, for you do not know when you'll meet the Angel of Death. Beware of him taking you while you are in a state of sin. Forgiveness is always billowing around us, but we must raise the sails of remorse and repentance, to feel it. Now is the time to reprogram your life, rise up and get rid of the negativities, develop your potential, plan and execute, change and get changed, and you will become one of those gain happiness and blessings in this life and enjoy the bliss of the Hereafter, Inshaa-ALLAH TA'ALA! Be sure that reform is possible, seek help from our loving ALLAH TA'ALA, and do not feel unmotivated or lacking in strength.

May ALLAH TA'ALA accept our fasting, our Ibaadah and other righteous actions, that our condition after Ramadhaan be a better one, the state of our Ummah improves and that we are granted honour and submit to HIS obedience. ..Aameen

Enjoy your Eid by remaining consistent on the those good deeds and keep away from undesirable things that are capable of removing ALLAH TA'ALA'S favours from you. One of our righteous predecessors said:

"Each day in which no act of disobedience to ALLAH TA'ALA is committed is Eid and each day a believer spent in acts of obedience to his Lord is Eid."