Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Mission of Abraham


Part of the mission of the Prophet (pboh) is to purify the body and soul of the followers. This purification is called in the Qur'an tazkiyah.

Abraham had specially prayed to Allah regarding this mission. His prayer is recorded in the Qur'an as follows:
            
Our Lord, send from among them a messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Your Signs to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, and purify them. (2:129)

In response to this prayer Allah says:
             
He it is Who raised from among the illiterate Arabs a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His Messages, and purifies them and teaches them the Book and Wisdom. (62:2)

The word tazkiyah entails the removal of undesirable growths and impurities from the personality. It involves the self-imposition of efforts for eradicating those tendencies that are obstacles in the path of moral development. In this way it puts an end to the conflict of good and evil that rages in the human breast.

Tazkiyah is one of the most important ingredients for success in both the worlds physically and spiritually. When practiced it brings spiritual health, morality, love for Allah, love for the Prophet (pboh), engaging in Zikr and becoming a model of Compassion, piety and truthfulness.

This is one of the reasons why Allah says:
         
(Ash-Shams 009-010)

Truly, he succeeds who purifies it, and fails who corrupts it (the heart).( 91:9-10)

Tazkiyah e nafs is the purification of the nafs by subduing the evil desires that may be plaguing a person which comes from the whispering of Satan in the breast of men; and because it is from Satan it is evil. In this connection Allah says, the nafs orders one to commit sins.

The result of Tazkiyah is love. The person cultivates love for Allah, for the Prophet (pboh). Allah says:
           •        
All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the Company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah; of the Prophets; the sincere, the witnesses and the righteous. Ah, what a beautiful fellowship. (4:69)

Tazkiyah is a comprehensive program as, in addition to the purification of the body, one also has to focus on the purification of the heart. Allah says:
         

He is indeed successful who purifies himself, and remembers the name of his Lord and prays. (87:14-15)

Self purification is an individual matter, and every person will benefit based on his effort. Allah says:
      
And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own nafs. (35:18)

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) used to pray to Allah as follows:

O Allah, grant my inner soul piety and purify it, for You are the Best Purifier; You are the Guardian and Master.

One of the best ways of developing tazkiyah both physically and spiritually is to keep fast, as in fasting one has to restrain himself from all the negative things, and during fasting in Ramadan he engages himself in extra acts of worship, charity, patience and reading of the Holy Qur'an.

It is now left for the individual to continue practicing tazkiyah in the daily life and also as special acts of worship in order to be a successful person. And Allah will bless him. Allah says:
•             

Those devoted to Allah shall be removed far from it (i.e. the blazing fire), who spend their wealth for the increase in self purification, and have in their minds, no favour from any one for which a reward is expected in return. (92:17-19)
Remember that, it is because the purification of the personality, both physical and spiritual is very important that Allah swore seven times to emphasize the culminating promise that it is tazkiyah that plays a significant role in success. Here is the English translation of Verses 1 through 10 of Surah al Shams (91).
       •                                 
"By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour; By the Moon as she follows him; By the day as it reveals (the Sun's) glory; By the Night as it conceals it; By the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure; By the Earth and its (wide) expanse; By the Nafs (Soul), and the proportion and order given to it and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right: - truly he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails who corrupts it!"
Let us all strive with our wealth, health, education, etc. to purify ourselves, because it should never be forgotten that Allah says: Whoever purifies himself does so for his own benefit.

May Allah forgive and bless all believers.

Light upon Light

Thursday 4th December 2008

Zikr Lesson for the week


A true believer is a physically very lonely person, as he suffers from the trials of Allah, deep down inside for the sake of Allah (swt). We have been given a lot of examples of this in history. For example, after many years in this world Hazrat Abraham (pbuh) was blessed with a son who he loved tremendously and, on the insistence of his wife Sarah, he took Hajar and her son, Isma'il and left them at an uncultivated valley.

How would he have felt? The same can be seen with Prophet Jacob (pbuh). He was all alone and when in this situation he said “I put my complaints and sorrows to Allah”.

Physically you will have friends and acquaintances however each person has his/her individual trials and it’s only when you are in the situation you will know what it’s all about.

One thing a true believer knows is that Allah (swt) is his wali and He (Allah) will never let him down, as Prophet Jacob (pbuh) demonstrated. Allah (swt) says in Surah Taghabun;

O ye who believe! Truly, among your wives and your children are (some that are) enemies to yourselves: so beware of them!
(Chapter 64, verse 14)

An example of this can be seen in the actions of Sarah. Was she contributing to the mission of Prophet Abraham (pbuh)? Maybe indirectly but not physically. Another example can be taken from the home life of Prophet Muhammad (saw). He was very attached to Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) and she passed away. He then married an elderly woman and thereafter he married Hazrat Aisha, who was young. He also had big girls in the house, such as Fatimah. At times Aisha and Fatimah could not get along. Imagine what type of environment that was.

If Allah (swt) wants to try you why should you complain? Throughout your life people would come and go, just as the sun raises and sets everyday. If you can understand this you will at times feel lonely no matter how strong you are in faith. But you will know that Allah (swt) is with you. What we have to do is to try and strengthen our bound with Him.

Allah (swt) is Light, and He says in His Holy Words that Prophet Muhammad (saw) was a real reflection of light. Proof of this can be found in the Qur`an in Surah Ma'ida and Surah Nur. In Surah Nur there contains a verse known as Ayat an-Nur. This ayat is renowned for its remarkable beauty;

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.
(Chapter 24, verse 35)

Allah (swt) says in Surah Ma'ida;

O people of the Book! There hath come to you our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary). There hath come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book,
(Chapter 5, verse 15)

When Prophet (saw) was around 4 ½ years and was still under the care of Halima, he went missing. Halima and her family became frantic because they were not finding him. After a while they came across a tree and saw a big bright light on one of its branches. When they investigated they realized it was Prophet Muhammad (saw). Hazrat Aisha narrated that once she saw Prophet Muhammad (saw) sitting in a room and she swore by Allah (swt) that he looked brighter than the full moon.

What we have to do is to try and connect our light to the light of Prophet (saw) and insha Allah we would thereafter be able to connect to Allah (swt). Allah (swt) makes mention of this. He says in Surah Hadid;

that He may lead you from the depths of Darkness into the Light and verily Allah is to you most kind and Merciful.
(Chapter 57, verse 9)

When you are feeling alone do not think it is a bad thing. Use this as an opportunity to purify your light. This is what spirituality is all about. We are helpless in the hands of Allah (swt) and when you realize this you will submit humbly to Him and let Him take care of your affairs. We don’t know the wisdom in the trials and difficulties we experience; only Allah (swt) knows, as He says in His Holy Words; ‘Allah knoweth, and ye know not’, (chapter 16, verse 74).