Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Important principles

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

We would like to welcome back to all the Hujjaj from their special and holy trip and pray that Allah accepts all their efforts, insha Allah.

In the Adhaan and Iqamah we recite two important principles. They are;
  1. Ash-hadu anla ilaha illallaah. (I testify that there is no god but Allah)
  2. Ash-hasu anna Muhammadar Rasuulullaah. (I testify that Muhammad is Allah's messenger)
Firstly we know that there is no creator except Allah . We have been given this assurance from Prophet Muhammad (saw) who was known to never tell a lie. Even his enemies testified to his honesty.

The second testimony brings to our mind some important principles. Before the coming of Prophet Muhammad (saw), Allah sent Messengers to all the previous tribes and nations. And a series of these Messengers were sent to the Israelites’. The question arises of which one do you identify yourself with?

The coming of Prophet Muhammad (saw) put an end to this type of understanding because he is the Universal Messenger. He was sent to all tribes and nations; even those tribes and nations that were before his physical coming. He took what Allah gave to all the previous Messengers and perfected it. This is why we say that he is The Messenger. The embodiment of Prophet-hood is contained in him.

So whenever we say Ash-hasu anna Muhammadar Rasuulullaah we are testifying to the complete code that he brought with him.

With this perceptive on our beloved Prophet there is some sort of difficulty in understanding the hadith recorded in Abu Dawood; Every novelty (bid'ah) is an innovation, and every innovation is an error (which leads to the Fire). Today we see so many new things that were not present at the time of Prophet . Are these things innovations? No they are not.

What appears to be ‘new’ to us is in fact not; because if you look back in the Holy Book and the life of Prophet there would have been some kind of references about them.

For example the popular debate surrounding Maulood and Tazeem. Was it done at the time of Prophet (saw)? If you look back you will find situations where many of the blessed Companions recited poems in his praise. So if I recite a beautiful passage about him and call him by lovely names am I committing and innovation?

The question of innovation has to be really understood. Prophet (saw) is the physical be all and end all for all human beings because he has taught us how to benefit from nature, how to live a perfect moral life, how to prepare ourselves to return to Allah and about Allah Himself. He is The Messenger.

However today we have the argument: ‘if I follow Jesus (as) will I go to heaven or not’. Jesus spoke about the existence of One God. If then you follow his teachings you will have some hope of attaining paradise. But how can you be sure that which you are following are his teachings?

These uncertainties exist with the previous Messengers but Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) sunnah is well preserved for all to eternity. When he spoke about nature, for example, he may not have mentioned a specific issue; but would have identified the principle in his teaching.

If we see new things coming into the our life time and are of the view that Islam made no mention of it, it is out of our own ignorance about the Book and the Sunnah of Prophet (saw), for us to think like that, as mention would have been made in some verse of the Book about it.

These two simple principles can unite the whole world as one family. And it is best demonstrated in the Holy Land. We identify Allah and His House and Prophet Muhammad (saw) and His mosque. Two separate entities that form the focus of all our activities and beliefs. And even in our salaat we make mention of these two principles at the beginning and in the end when we recite the Tashahhud

May Allah strengthen our belief, knowledge and understanding in His Glorious Book and the ways of His Habeeb (saw). And as we enter the new Islamic year of 1433A.H may He make this year a prosperous, peaceful and fulfilling one. May He take care of our affairs throughout and continuously guide us, insha Allah.

Kul ’am wa antum bil khair antum bikhair
My this new year be good to you

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Sending good for the morrow

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah says in Surah Hashr;

‘O ye who believe! fear Allah, and let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow; yea, fear Allah for Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do’. (59:18)

This is a command from Allah to all believers. The first part of the ayat is usually translated to mean ‘fear Allah ’ but it also means for us to develop righteousness. The latter part advises us to take stock of what type of deeds we’re sending for the morrow i.e. the hereafter.

We are recommended to monitor our lives in such a way that we’ll know whether we are sending good or bad ahead. By adopting this practice one can know whether his/her abode will be Paradise or the hell fire. It all depends on:
  1. Intention:- Am I trying to live for the sake of Allah
  2. Allah’s Grace and Mercy: - If I’m living for His sake, insha Allah, He will overlook my shortcomings.
Our intention is the most important thing. Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said the all actions are judged on its intention. And Allah warns us against worshipping Him with ulterior motives;

‘Those who do good deeds only to be seen (of men)’. (107:6)

Only what is done for the sake of Allah will remain with Him. If it’s done for the world it will go to the world.

In order to be certain that what we are sending is acceptable we need to keep three (3) things in mind;
  1. Wisdom to differentiate that which is good from evil.
  2. To keep close watch on our nafs (baser self). It is narrated that there was one Companion of Prophet Muhammad (saw) who had a special gift identifying the hypocrites of his time. Every day Hazrat Omar (ra) would go to him and ask was I a hypocrite today? Hazrat Omar (ra); someone who was guaranteed Paradise while he was still alive in this world use to visit this blessed Companion everyday. What about us who are not guaranteed?
  3. Trying to know what is a blessing and what is a trial from Allah . Sometimes we may mistake a blessing from our Lord and utilize it in an unfortunate way. This is where knowledge becomes important.
One needs to be cautious and keep a constant look over the ego. It is good to be ambitious but be mindful because it can lead us down the wrong path as Allah says in Surah Zukhruf;

‘If anyone withdraws himself from the remembrance of (Allah) Most Gracious, We appoint for him an evil one, to be an intimate companion to him. Such (evil ones) really hinder them from the path, but they think that they are being guided aright!’ (43:36-37)

This is why we pray continuously ‘guide us on the straight path’.

It is only those with a pure and good intentions will go back to Allah . For example it is reported that a prostitute once found a dog that was extremely thirsty. She took her shoe and tied it to her scarf in order to retrieve water from a nearby well. Prophet (saw) narrates that Allah was so pleased with this action that He forgave the woman. In another narration a drunkard was walking the streets when he stumbled across some ayats of the Holy Qur’an lying on the ground. The drunkard took up the page and held it over his head out of reverence and it is reported that Allah forgave him out of the sincerity of his intention.

Always try to adopt two things throughout your life; increase the amount of good that you are sending before you and try to wipe out the blemishes from your Book. It is a simple recipe but it as an everlasting effect.

Keep in mind that there is morrow and all our thoughts and actions will be brought before us. Make sure that when you are presented with your book of deeds it will be one that you will be proud of, insha Allah. May Allah protect us and guide us and may He enable us to send plentiful good ahead of us so that our meeting with our Lord will be a pleasant and beautiful one.

Three ingredients for a successful life

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah made the human family as one people; from the very beginning of creation. And with this came common beliefs and practices throughout the ages. These beliefs and practices were given to each nation via the Messengers of Allah . Allah says in Surah Anbiyaa;

“and We sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practise regular charity; and they constantly served Us (and Us only)”. (21:73)

No human being was exempted from these beliefs and practices. Each Messenger taught total submission to Allah ; and that we are all going back to Him; and in order to successfully meet Him one has to practice that which has been commanded.

And through these practices the bond among mankind is continuously strengthened. For example in the institution of Salaat we meet and interact with our follow brothers and sisters. In the institution of charity we assist and look after those who are in need. So the beliefs and practices that Allah has ordered us to follow reinforces the union amongst mankind.

In this particular Surah, Surah Anbiyaa, Allah mentions the life of many Messengers; and one thing that resonates in each one of them is, that they had complete faith in their Lord. They would also put their problems to Him and beg for His interventions and assistance and He responded to them all. For example, when Prophet Lot (as) complained to Allah that the people of Sodom would not change and they should be destroyed Allah sent upon the disbelievers a terrible punishment.

Why make mention of this? As Muslims we do not feel that we are better than others. We do not walk around announcing that we’re the ‘saved and chosen ones’. We adhere to the principles that we are commanded to follow and in so doing, join with all those who came before. As Allah says;

“Verily, this nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: Therefore serve me (and no other)”. (21:92)

Islam has, in addition to these institutions that make us feel like one family, three additional ‘ingredients’ that will make life pleasant for all. Allah records them in Surah Balad;

“one of those who believed, and recommended one another to perseverance and patience, and (also) recommended one another to pity and compassion”. (90:17)

Help one another to
  1. find out the truth,
  2. to preserve in life with patience and
  3. to show compassion to others.
If these practices are upheld there will be certain elements in society that will contradict with us. For example those who have a materialistic and selfish outlooks on life will not be open to these three components as it is not in accordance with their desires. And as Allah says

But (later generations) cut off their affair (of unity), one from another: (yet) will They all return to us. (21:93)

On the contray, if we apply these three ingredients to our daily lives society as a whole will change for the better. And this type of behaviour will have a direct relation to the attitude of the future generations.

May Allah grant us the ability of inculcating these principles in our daily lives and may He strengthen the unity among the followers if His Deen.

Following the way of Abraham

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah instructs us to follow the Sunnah of Hazrat Abraham (as). This doesn’t mean that Prophet Muhammad (saw) didn’t perfect his Sunnah while he was here. It is as though Abraham’s way was a tree and Prophet Muhammad was that one that pruned it; nurtured it and made it fruitful and beautiful.

Allah says in Surah Nahl;

‘So We have taught thee the inspired (Message), follow the ways of Abraham the true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allah’. (16:123)

Allah out of His Wisdom connected Islam with Abraham.

Again He says in Surah An'am

‘Say: "Verily, My Lord hath guided me to a way that is straight- a Religion of right- the path (trod) by Abraham the true In Faith, and He (certainly) joined not gods with Allah’.

What is the reason for adhering to the ways of Father Abraham? In order to fully explain this let us look at some of those things that made him special and blessed;
  • Abraham was neither a Jew nor Christian. Both of these religions started with the advent of his son Isaac.
  • He is to this day recognised by Judaism, Christianity and Islam as a righteous person. For example in Luke 16:22 it says ‘Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom’.
  • Abraham never joined Gods with Allah . History shows where he destroyed idols on more than one occasion in an attempt to show his people that their idols were just mere carvings on stones.
  • He never had a Sabbath day.
  • He recognised that everything he had was a gift from Allah
  • He recognised that the Kaba is the Qibla (direction of worship). When he left his wife and newborn in the barren desert he prayed ‘"O Our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy sacred House; in order, O Our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer’.
  • He is considered the Father of the now known revealed religions.
  • He was not sent to a particular people or nation. In fact wherever he traversed he gave the message of the monotheistic way.
  • He invited mankind to believe in only One God.
  • He united mankind as ‘one family’. For example his first wife was Sarah who was from amongst his people and thereafter he got married to Hajar who was not from amongst them; (uniting two separate tribes).
  • He physically demonstrated that idols cannot be ‘gods’. For example his father gave him one of the idols he made to clean by the river, instead young Abraham threw it into the water and said if it is God let it save itself.
All of these and more made Abraham such a blessed personality. So much so that even today he is still greatly remembered, especially around this time when millions make their way to Makkah to rehearse some of the activities that Abraham and his family engaged in so many centuries ago.

And even those who are not on route to perform the Hajj, they still remember Father Abraham when they engage in the sacrifice on Eid ul Adha.

Prophet (saw) refined all of this through his blessed personality and left it as a guide for us all. And Allah commands us to go back to this, establish it and strengthen Abraham’s Sunnah. And insha Allah, if we adhere to it, we will be amongst those who will be considered righteous.

In direct relation to this one sensible argument that Maulana Dr. Waffie has employed in the past while conversing with Christians is the following;

Dr. Waffie asked the following questions & The Christian replied
  1. Was Abraham a righteous person? (Yes)
  2. Will he go to heaven because of his righteousness? (Yes)
  3. If I follow Abraham’s teachings will I be considered righteous? (Yes)
  4. Then it’s safe to say that I would also be blessed to go to heaven? (Yes)
  5. Therefore if by following Abraham’s teaching will guarantee me entrance to heaven why do I have to follow Jesus (as) (????)
May Allah bless us with the ability of establishing and strengthening the Sunnah of Hazrat Abraham (as), and may we be steadfast upon it. May He forgive us, have mercy on us and take care of our affairs in this world and the next.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Hablullah - Issue #7

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

The latest issue of Hablullah - The Quarterly newsletter of the Markaz al Ihsaan.

(Click on the page to enlarge & save)



Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Best of Planners

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah says in His Holy Words;

‘They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners is Allah.’

Unfortunately, some people translate it to mean; ‘they scheme and Allah schemes and Allah is the best of schemers’. This is not proper to say as Allah is not a “schemer”.

Man puts forward a plan and Allah also plans, and His plan will always be the best as He says that He is The Best of Planners. We see this occurring time and again in history. In order to expound on this we reference two examples.

Firstly, whether it is true or not according to the bible Sarah didn’t want the son of Hajar to share in the inheritance of Hazrat Abraham (as) material acquisitions. She said ‘the son of a slave cannot inherit with my son’. But look at what Allah did, He sent Hajar and Ishma’il in the wilderness, out of the dimension of Abraham’s property. Based on the accounts in the bible Sarah’s concern was wealth and property (Allah knows best if this is true or not). So while she was left preoccupied with this concern Hajar and Ishma’il were blossoming and developing with a greater purpose. Allah says of Prophet Ishma’il (as) that he was Haleem (someone willing to forbear with patience).

Look at Allah’s plan. He guided Abraham to leave Hajar and Ishma’il near to the foundation of the Holy Kabaa and a few years later both father and son re-constructed the Holy House of Allah . Allah wanted to preserve the willingness of submission of this blessed family so He created the institution of Hajj which is the re-enacting of some rituals associated Abraham, Hajar and Ishma’il. To this very day millions perform these rituals every year. And look at the condition of the Israelites, there are still obsessed with material acquisitions as they are still fighting of land.

From a very despondent situation Hajar and Ishma’il were in fact fulfilling this great plan of Allah , which at the time would have seem farfetched using reason and logic.

The other example which demonstrates the Wisdom of Allah’s is the story of Prophet Joseph (as). Throughout his life he was faced with hardships and the unfortunate schemes of the people around him but look at the plan Allah had in store for him. And all the difficulties and hardships that people dealt him had wisdom in it as Allah’s plan was slowly being materialised.

Why make mention of this? Understand that when you put your faith and trust in your Lord He will take care of your affairs. He says in Surah Baqarah;

‘Who say, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah we belong, and to Him is Our return". They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance’. (156-157)

Whosoever puts their faith and trust in Allah , He will send blessings upon them and continuously guide them.

A beautiful example of this is when Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) received salutations from Allah .

The Holy Prophet Muhammad requested contributions for an expedition, and the Muslims gave whatever they could give, but Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (ra) exceeded all by giving all that he had without leaving anything for his own family. He even included the clothing he was wearing. Thereafter he appeared in front of the Holy Prophet wearing a sack held together by date thorns. When the Prophet asked him what he had left for his family, he replied, “Allah and His Messenger are enough for them.” When Allah saw this expression of love of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) He ordered Jibraeel to wear a sack held together by thorns and to go to the Holy Prophet and say, ‘Allah has sent salutations (salaam) to Abu Bakr via your Holy Personality and asks if he has at least left food at his home and if he is pleased with Allah ’. When Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) heard this he went into a state of ecstasy, began whirling and began crying out repeatedly, ‘I am pleased with my Lord!’ This story which is narrated by Ibn Asakir (ra) is recorded in both Tirmidhi and Abu Daud.

Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), one of the wealthiest persons gave everything for Allah’s sake and pleasure and when he was left with nothing Allah sent salutations to him.

Those who put their affairs in Allah’s Hands, He will help them to plan properly. No one is as Wise and Knowledgeable as Him. It is only a question of faith and desire to get close to Him. People can do what they want but if you have Allah and His Rasul what else do you need.

There are so many things in this world that can bring about emotional unrest but if you have sincere faith in Allah He will send a way out for you as He says in His Holy Words. And what appeared to be hardship and difficulty may turn into something favourable.

We beg Allah to make us from amongst those who will put out faith and trust in His Hands and may He make us accept His plan and take care of our affairs in both worlds.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Hasten to ask for forgiveness

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

When Allah appointed Hazrat Adam (as) as Khalifa and made his abode the Garden, He gave him one instruction which was to enjoy everything that was there except a particular tree. Unfortunately for Adam (as) Satan had access to the Garden and he wanted to diminish Adam’s status. So the first thing he did was to create some sort of mischief by tempting and enticing Adam and Eve ever so often to eat from the tree and thereafter when they forgot the command they suffered the consequences.

Keep in mind at all times what Allah says in Surah Yaseen;

“Did I not enjoin on you, O ye Children of Adam, that ye should not worship Satan; for that he is to you an enemy avowed?” (36:60)

Allah can do anything. If He wanted He didn’t have to create Satan, or allowed the situation in the Garden to take place; or simply put Adam (as) on earth after his creation. This is not impossible for Him, as He is All Powerful. But there is wisdom in everything Allah does.

Two things occurred when Adam (as) ate from the ‘unapproachable tree’. Firstly, he disobeyed a command from Allah; and he also brought hardship and difficulty upon himself. Look at his life in the Garden and his life on earth. In the Garden he didn’t have to do anything except follow one command. On earth he had to work and toil for his livelihood and sustenance, etc.

Allah speaks about the dhalimeen – the transgressors’ in many places in the Qur’an. A few of them are;
  • ‘Allah loveth not the transgressors’. (3:57)
  • ‘Allah guides not the transgressors’. (3:86)
  • ‘Thou wilt be among the companions of the fire, and that is the reward of the transgressors.’ (5:29)
  • ‘and those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong.’ (49:11)
  • ‘The transgressors will have no Protector or helper’. (42:8)
We see from these ayats the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the transgressors. And the reason for making mention of all of this is for one very important principle.

We know Satan is our enemy and that we must, at all times follow the commandments of Allah . But sometimes we succumb to our weaknesses, knowingly or unknowingly. We are human beings and are sometimes prone to errors and shortfalls. So we will falter at some point in time; but when we do; we should repent to Allah immediately.

Sometimes we may think that we are doing good through our ignorance; but in reality we may be transgressing against the don’ts that Allah has commanded. So at all times we must repent and beg for forgiveness for the wrong that we commit knowingly and unknowingly. Only Allah is All Knowing. We can’t say for certain that every single thing we did in a day was purely good. Only Allah knows.

This is possibly why the Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said: “By Allah, I seek Allah's forgiveness and repent to Him more than seventy times a day.” (Bukhari)

And this blessed personality was completely sinless and yet he repented so many times for one day. What about us?

Repent and beg Allah as much as you can before it’s too late. Just as the stick of a match grain is useless after the flame has been out so too is our bodies when the soul departs. So while we have our total personality intact use it to get closer and amongst the favourable ones of Allah. Prepare yourself to meet Him.

May Allah save us from being counted amongst the transgressors and may He give us the ability to repent to Him as much as possible so that we would be amongst the fortunate ones on that Day.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Everlasting Pleasure

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Naturally, we would all like only the good of this world. Financially, emotionally, socially; we would all prefer a comfortable life, as opposed to one that contains hardships and trials.

In reality however, we all know that the joys of this life are constantly fluctuating. Sometimes we experience great joy and at other times we experience sorrow and difficulties. Remember nothing is constant, except the Word of Allah. In informing us about this Allah says;

“Allah doth enlarge, or grant by (strict) measure, the sustenance (which He giveth) to whomso He pleaseth. (the wordly) rejoice in the life of This world: but the life of This world is but little comfort in the Hereafter”. (13:26)

Everything is from Allah. He gives to whomsoever He wants; and vice versa. However, when measured against the pleasures and comforts of the Hereafter; all the material joys and happiness are rendered incomparable.

Look back at different moments in your life. There were times that you experienced good and there were also times that you had a bit more challenges to face. This is how life is in this material world.

The Holy Qur’an uses two words to describe pleasure and happiness. These are Farh and Suroor. Farh denotes to happiness for a period of time. This means that the state of happiness or pleasure will inevitably come to an end. Suroor on the other hand, denotes to the ‘all embracing joy’. In this state a person will have absolutely no question of regret and emotional unrest. The state of suroor cannot be attained in this material world however, but only in the Hereafter.

The material pleasures and comfort that many people run after are mixed with sorrow, sadness and anxiety. In relation to this our blessed leader, Prophet Muhammad (saw), is reported to have said;

‘The life of the present world compared to the Hereafter is just like when one of you inserts his finger into the ocean, so let him contemplate of how much he will be carrying with him”.

If you dip your finger in the sea how much water will remain on the finger? just a mere drop or two. So Prophet (saw) is informing us that the pleasures and joys of the Hereafter are like the vastness of the ocean and the joy of this material world is just a few drops in comparison. Unfortunately, we see some who would prefer to sacrifice the ocean for a few drops on their fingers.

In another narration it is reported that Prophet Muhammad (saw) was passing by the wayside and saw a shepherd discarding a dead sheep. Upon seeing this Prophet (saw) said ‘the life of this present world is as insignificant to Allah as the dead sheep is to the shepherd’.

Don’t give the joy and comforts of this word too much importance. Yes we need it; as it would make life a bit more comfortable; but utilize the blessing and bounties from Allah to get much more in the Hereafter. Sometimes you may lose your focus, but this is human nature. Beg for forgiveness and continue persevering.

From this short lesson we can conclude that:
  1. It is wrong to judge someone based on their material acquisitions’. Remember that it is Allah Who gives and withholds.
  2. It is wrong to excessively rejoice on the basis of material success. Be thankful to Allah for favouring you but do not make it your goal and be all and end all.
  3. It is wrong to sacrifice the pleasures of the Hereafter (Suroor) for a little material pleasure in this world (Farh).
  4. It is wrong to believe that material acquisitions’ are as a result of your doing and not that blessing and bounties from Allah .

Everything we have and will ever have, is from the Grace and Mercy of our Lord, so be thankful and humble. This is why, believers live in fear and hope. Fearing that Allah can take us to task for our weaknesses; and hoping for His Mercy, Forgiveness and Blessings.

Be mindful of this and always remember that the material happiness is but for a short time and insignificant when compared to what Allah has prepared for His believing servants in the Hereafter.

To this end we should all try to learn these two duas (shown below) as it encompasses our reliance and faith in our Lord.

Dua to be recited in the morning

Asbahnaa wa asbahal mulku lillaahi rabbil Aalameen. Allahumma innii as aluka khaira haazal yawm fath hahu wa nasrahu wa nuurahu wa barakatahu. Wa auuzubika min sharri maa fiihi wa sharri maa ba'dahu

The morning has come to me and the whole universe belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, O Allah, I ask of you the good of the day, it's success and aid and it's nur (celestial light) and barakaat (blessings) and seek hidayah (guidance) and seek refuge from the evil in it (this day) and from the evil of that which is to come later.

Dua to be recited in the evening

Amsainaa wa amsal mulku lillaahi rabbil Aalameen. Allahumma innii as aluka khaira haazihil lailata fath hahaa wa nasrahaa wa nuurahaa wa barakatahaa wa hudaahaa. Wa auuzubika min sharri maa fiihaa wa sharri maa ba'adahaa

The evening has come to me and the whole universe belongs to Allah who is the Lord of the worlds. O Allah, I ask of you the good of the night, it's success and aid and its nur (celestial light) and barakaat (blessings) and seek hidayat (guidance) and refuge from the evil of this night and the evil that is to come later.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Sunnah of Abraham (as)

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Reliance on Allah is something that is easier said that done. We always hear people quoting the Hadith "trust in Allah but tie your camel”. What they usually mean when they say this is to put your trust in Allah but first see if there’s anything that you can do to help yourself. The Sufis’ say that whoever puts their trust in Allah, has tied his camel.

In order to understand the importance of tawakkul (total reliance on Allah ) we must reference the source of the beginning of Islam. The real beginning of Islam started with Prophet Abraham (as). Yes all the previous Messengers and their followers were believers but Prophet Abraham (as) resurrected the focus and direction towards the Kaba. He prayed for the monotheistic theology to spread through his son Ishmael.

Perhaps this is one reason why Allah says to us about Prophet Abraham the following:

Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to Allah……So We have taught the inspired message: Follow the ways of Abraham; the true in Faith. (16:120-123)

What was the lesson that Abraham (as) left for us? He knew and demonstrated how to rely only on Allah . Firstly, when he was a little boy and he destroyed the idols of his people they gave him an ultimatum; either repent and worship their ‘gods’ or be killed. This young boy opted to be killed by being thrown into the fire they kindled for that purpose.

If you put your faith in Allah He will take care of your affairs. During his life Prophet Abraham (as) acquired a lot of wealth. He had thousands of livestock and acres upon acres of land. So much so that even today the Jews are still trying to reclaim the land they believe he was given. In spite of being the possessor of so much wealth, he gave his wife, Hagar some water and a little food and left her and his newborn son, whom he loved so much, in the wilderness where there was not even a blade of grass growing.

After he prayed for a son for so long, in his old age he finally got Ishmael (as). So much faith and trust he had in His Lord that he knew Allah would take care of them even in this barren land. And while he was departing he prayed as follows:

"O Our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; in order, O Our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks”

He recognized what he was doing. He was sure that Allah was going to answer his supplication; and just as how Allah fed Moses and his people when they crossed the sea, and how he fed Mary and her son Jesus, He (Allah) would take care of all the needs of Hagar and her son Ishmael.

Allah accepted the supplication of Abraham (as) and the barren valley in which they were put soon became a place filled with the best of waters on the earth, and the hub for worship, etc. He truly demonstrated trust and faith in his Lord.

Abraham demonstrated that when one puts trust and reliance on Allah, He (Allah) takes care of that person's affairs.

Allah says in Surah Ath Thalaaq;

“and He (Allah) provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts His trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for Him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion”. (65:3)

Allah will never let you down. That is guaranteed. We cannot say how or when we can solve our problems and difficulties. Allah’s knowledge is far greater than ours and He knows what is best for us. Allah preserved the life of Abraham (as) for us to learn and put into practice. We are even commanded to adhere to Abraham’s (as) sunnah; and one of his sunnah was to display wholeheartedly complete faith and trust His Lord.

“Then We revealed to you, (O Muhammad), to follow the way of Abraham,” (16:123)

If Allah doesn’t want you to ‘tie your camel’ you will never be able to. Understand everything comes from Him. He knows why He allows things to happen and withholds things from taking place. What we have to do is to build up our faith so that we will have total reliance in our Lord, just as Prophet Abraham (as) did.

May Allah make us from amongst those who have true tawakkul in Him and may He take care of our affairs in all worlds.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Displaying patience when learning

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

As believers it is important of us to be aware of the etiquette and attitude that should be displayed in the process of learning. We must acquire a special discipline in this process. One of the etiquettes is demonstrating a lot of patience before speaking, asking questions or responding to others. Don’t just open your mouth. Be mindful and cautious.

Asking questions is not wrong when one sincerely wants to learn. Allah encourages it. He says in Surah Anbiyaa; “ask of those who possess the Message”. But be mindful when asking questions especially to a learned person such as one's Spiritual Teacher because it is possible that at that time you won’t have the capacity to understand. You may not be capable of understanding the real spiritual meaning. For example a lot of people ask the question ‘why stand for Tazeem?’ At this point in time they can’t understand the merit behind it, but Insha Allah through time will come wisdom.

A potent example of this given in the Qur’an is the encounter between Prophet Moses (as) and Hazrat Khdir. Moses (as) wanted to know more about the truth, more than about creation. Theologically Moses (as) was a learned person, but he wanted to acquire that knowledge that is beyond reason and logic. So he set out on a spiritual journey to acquire this knowledge.

Allah guided him to Khdir. Who was Khdir? He is a personality Allah mentioned in the Qur’an. Some say he was a Prophet of Allah , some say he was an angel, some say he was a wise servant of Allah who still functions today. We can’t say because Allah didn’t give any details about this personality. All that is recorded is “so they found one of Our servants whom We had mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our Own.

Throughout their journey Moses (as) demonstrated his limited understanding by questioning Khdir on three separate occasions. At that point in time he couldn’t see the purpose of Khdir’s actions. And Khdir summed it up beautifully by asking Moses (as) the question prior to their journey “How can thou have patience about things which thy understanding is not complete?

We see from this encounter the wisdom in bearing patience, especially when in the company of the learned. Allah reinforces this in Surah Maa-idah;

“O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble”. (5:101)

Continuously asking questions may make things a bit harder for you to understand, as was the case with the Jews. When they were commanded to slaughter a cow they kept asking Moses (as) question after question and every time they got an answer the task became a little more difficult for them; until they were made to pay gold that equated the weight of a the cow. This story is recorded in Surah Baqarah, verses 67-73.

Understand something very important; i.e. we do not know Allah’s plan. Our knowledge and understanding is limited. Don’t question Allah . Don’t say why me! when you are faced with trials and tests. Don’t question Allah’s work. We don’t know what He has planned for us. What we do know is that He loves us and He will take care of us.

Unfortunately, we don’t see believers behaving in this manner. Sometimes we try to take matters into our own hands. This lesson is really important especially, when it comes to Spirituality. If you are told to do something especially by a Sheikh you don’t question it. There is wisdom and reason for it.

Those who are trying to get closer to Allah are careful and cautious when it comes to opening their mouths. They remain silent and look on with the outlook that Allah will take care of the affairs of His servants.

Satan was so blessed that he was favoured with entry into paradise amongst the company of Angels, but he questioned Allah and look how far he fell. The angels displayed their reservations when Allah announced to them that He was going to create man. Thereafter when they were questioned they responded;

“Glory to Thee, of knowledge we have none, save what Thou hast taught us: in truth it is Thou Who Art Perfect In Knowledge and Wisdom”. (2:32)

What Allah wants to happen will happen. He knows what is best for us. Our understanding is limited and short-sighted. Put your faith and trust in Allah and He will take care of your affairs.

We beg Allah to make us from amongst those who will never question His Decisions and accept whatever He sends our way. May He make the trials and tests easy and bearable and may He inculcate in us the ability to demonstrate patience when seeking knowledge and spiritual advancement.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Benefits of Fasting

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

When one looks back in history, it will be seen that the institution of Fasting was a prescription given to all those who were to receive special religious experiences.

Moses was ordered to fast for forty days and forty nights before he was given the Torah. Jesus, in spite of being special from birth, kept fast on the mountain for forty days, before he was able to overpower Satan. And the previous messengers, all kept fast upon the command of the Lord. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why Allah says to Muslims in the Holy Qur’an, that fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you.

Allah made fasting easy for Muslims. They do not have to fast for forty days and nights, nor do they have to go on the hilltops to do so. They keep the fast from dawn to dusk in the lunar month of Ramadan, in their homes and may get the same type of religious experience during the Night of Power. Allah says that: He desires ease for us and He does not desire to put us into any type of difficulties. (Qur’an, 2:185)

But why did Allah make fasting in the month of Ramadan a principle of faith for the Muslims?

Fasting in this month benefits the person in two ways, viz. it enables him to ascend closer to his Lord; and it makes him a better unit in society.

During the month of Ramadan the Muslim engages himself in abstinence during the day from dawn to dusk, engages in extra acts of worship, spends more time reading the Holy Qur’an, (the unadulterated Word of Allah); becomes more generous to the poor and the needy; and stays God conscious all the time. As a result he feels that he is living in the presence of the Divine. Allah out of His mercies sends the Angels to visit the believers during the “night of Power” an experience which a lot of people cherish.

Fasting enables a person to develop a better relationship with others in the society, as, one is prohibited from ill-speaking, responding negatively, becoming irritable, or doing anything that will harm others. And when emotionally challenged he is required to say: I am fasting.

A Muslim knows that back-biting, etc will render his fast null and void.
It is because fasting brings out the moral and spiritual good in a person that Allah says: If you fast it is better for you. Because Muslims feel better about themselves regarding their moral, spiritual and social development at the end of Ramadan, Eid becomes a day of celebration and thankfulness to the Lord for His Favours they received during the Blessed month.

A Muslim is supposed to use the experience of Ramadan as a milestone in his moral and spiritual growth. He has to always keep in mind what Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said: Faith increases or decreases. As a result, in order to preserve the blessings of Ramadan, he needs to take note that he should not cover Truth with falsehood, as that will spoil his relation with his Maker
Ramadan is therefore designed to strengthen the bond of relation between a person and his Lord on one hand, and between a person and his friends, relatives and neighbours on the other.

May Allah bless all those who kept the fast with good in this world and in the Next.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

The month of Ramadhan

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah has been kind and merciful to us in that He has allowed us to have the weekly Zikir sessions continuously thus far; and now we will give way to the blessed month of Ramadhan and resume thereafter, insha Allah.

Keep in mind that the hall mark of Ramadhan is restraint. We restrain ourselves from food, drink, martial relations etc. Why? Because Allah says that there are two paths;

‘and shown him the two highways?’

One is full of ease and comfort but it leads to your inevitable destruction; the other is a bit steeper and difficult to journey on, but this one will lead to your Lord. Therefore to make sacrifices such as in Ramadhan will insha Allah take us closer to Allah .

He has made this month truly blessed for us in that He has given us a special night where there would be special visitors who bring with them great blessings from their Lord. This month is a gift and not a burden. And even thought there will be trails and tests try your best to do as much good deeds as possible because the blessings are truly immense; as reported in a Hadith Qudsi:

“Allah said - ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.’

Fasting also necessitates patience and Allah has given great comfort to those who exercise patience;

“Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!’ (39:10)

Let us insha Allah restrain from indulging in evil and use Ramadhan as that milestone where we will strengthen our relationship with our Lord because we are doing it all for His sake. And when Eid-ul-Fitr will come around we will be happy not because Ramadhan has ended but because of the achievement you would have attained, insha Allah.

One of the gems of Ramadhan is to read the Holy Qur’an. Yes we have to work and go about our daily activities but we have to sacrifice a little in order to utilize this great gift.

and it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. (2:184)

The previous Messengers use to fast but what are their followers doing today? We are truly blessed by Allah. None of us are aware of whether we will ever see another Ramadhan so let us utilize whatever Allah has allowed for us.

We beg Him to bless us and to make this Ramadhan a monumental success and may He allow us to benefit from it in this world and use it to send a huge balance in the next. May Allah allow us to rise with the righteous where we will be please and anxious to meet Him and He will be pleasing to meet us, Ameen.

Ramadhan Mubarak!!!

Monday, 25 July 2011

A Goodly Loan

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah says in Surah Baqarah

“who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan so that He may multiply it to him many times? And it is Allah that decreases or increases (your provisions), and unto Him you shall return.” (2:145)

When Islam started the Israelites were already established. They had so many Messengers that came to them, they had their Books and Allah had blessed them in a special way; for example their food came down from the skies. So their outlook was different to that of the Muslims. When Prophet Muhammad (saw) started preaching Allah wanted the Muslims to be a part of the whole human family and as a result they were to interact in some way.

One way of being a part of society was to help others in whatever capacity and to live a selfless life. In this context Allah enjoined us to give charity and help others; Muslims as well as non-Muslims. He refers to this these acts of selflessness as a goodly loan. Why? If you give something in the way of Allah, such as offering charity to those in need of helping out in a different faculty, it is His obligation to return what is better to you. He will multiply the rewards of your charitable deed many times over.

When the Israelites heard this they began mocking and ridiculing the Muslims. They began saying that the God of the Muslims was a poor God and He required a loan from His servants. The Israelites looked at every opportunity where they could embarrass the Believers in an attempt to make them despondent.

After some time Allah revealed the following ayat;

“O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of All praise.” (35”15)

Allah is announcing to all of mankind that we are the ones in constant need of Him. Everything we will ever own is a gift from Him. He permits us to act and to seek out our livelihood. Even the insignificant task of simply blinking your eye is a blessing from Allah.

This is why the Allah says in His Holy Words;

“And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them” (14:34)

Never will we be able to compute all the bounties that Allah provides. Some of us may only think in terms of financial blessings but what about your health? What about the protection He provides when we travel? Even the ability to thank Allah for His blessings is a great gift from Him.

The wise Muslim understands that Allah has been and will always be Kind and Mercifully. This is why we pray;

‘My Lord inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.’

Even when we receive blessings we are taught to remain humble and grateful not like the fellow Allah mentions in Surah Kalf who was so filled with pride and arrogance that he boasted of the wealth and power he amassed. He was so proud of his garden that he never openly said it will never perish. The next day Allah says that He ‘encircled the crops (with ruin). And the man remained clapping his hands with sorrow”.

Don’t wait to learn the hard way like this fellow did and don’t think like the Israelites. Understand that whatever you have is from the Mercy of Allah. The important task is to use it in a manner that will bring about benefit in this world and great returns in the next.

May Allah inculcate in us the ability to always recognise His blessings; the ones we can see as well as the ones we can’t. And may He always guide us to be thankful to Him, insha Allah.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Centre of The Personality

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said “there is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoiled, the whole body gets spoiled – and that is the heart” (Bukhari)

Also Hazrat Aisha (ra) reports that “when the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) awake at night, he said: There is no God but Thou, glory be to Thee, O Allah, I ask Thy pardon for my sin and I ask Thee for Thy mercy. O Allah! advance me in knowledge: do not cause my heart to deviate (from guidance) after Thou hast guided me, and grant me mercy from thyself; verily thou art the grantor.” (Bukhari)

Biologically speaking, we know that the heart is the most important organ in our body. If the blood supply is cut from reaching the brain we can suffer a stroke, likewise if the blood fails to reach certain limbs of our body those limbs will start decaying.

What is important to note is that, even in your personality the heart is also the most important organ. It can lead to a person being good morally, emotionally and spiritually. The heart responds faster than the brain hence you find that in human beings, there tends to be firstly, a display of emotional responses rather than logical ones. The reason for this is because the heart has the capacity to control our emotions.

Allah refers to the heart in a special way in Surah Al Mu'min;

“Warn them of the Day that is (ever) drawing near, when the hearts will (come) right up to the throats to choke (them); no intimate friend nor intercessor will the wrong-doers have, who could be listened to”. (40:18)

Allah is not referring to the physical heart but instead all the emotions that are generated from the heart. Man would be one that Day ‘dumb-founded’, in a state of shock, awe and every other possible emotion. All these emotions come from the heart and not the brain as some believe.

Again Allah says in Surah Ar Ra'd

“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah; for, without doubt; in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” (13:28)

Stress, peace, tranquillity; etc. they all come from the heart and Allah is the One Who will put peace and comfort in the heart. And with reference to the ayat quoted above; engaging in His remembrance will lead to ones heart attaining satisfaction.

Allah also makes mention of the different categories of people whose hearts are concealed;

"In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: and grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves)". (2:10)

It us He who sends down tranquillity in the hearts of men

"It is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers, that they may add Faith to their faith; - for to Allah belong the forces of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is full of knowledge and Wisdom" (48:4)

The best thing one can have is a peaceful heart and engaged in non-beneficial things. Through this you will understand the meaning of Surah Naas

from the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after His whisper), (the same) who whispers into the hearts of mankind, among Jinns and among men.

The heart controls out intentions and our emotions. It is a truly important dimension of the personality. This is a vast topic and much more can be said of it. Always remember to fill your heart with peace and love, and insha Allah, Allah will keep any ‘disease’ away from the heart.

We beg Him to guide us and to bless our hearts just as our beloved Messenger (saw) use to pray. And may He keep us far away from those thoughts, actions and emotions that can lead to our hearts becoming hard and concealed.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Mir'aj Lecture by Maulana Dr. Waffie Mohammed - delivered on 01.07.2011

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

The ascension of Prophet Muhammad (saw) holds great lessons for us. It shows us the importance of his mission, the relationship between him and his Lord and the connection he has with his followers.

Prophet (saw) is reported to have said;
‘When the dwellers of Paradise will enter Paradise, someone will proclaim: ‘O Dwellers of Paradise, God wishes to fulfil what He promised you’. The companions asked: ‘What is that promise? Has He not filled up our Balance? Has He not brightened our faces and admitted us in the Garden? Has He not saved us from hell?’ At that time, the screen will be lifted and they will be gazing at the Glorious Lord. Nothing will be dearer to them at that time than His sight. This is the greatest reward. At that time they will forget every enjoyment and happiness. There is no limit to this happiness and no example.’

The dwellers of Paradise will be in such awe and amazement, more than what was experienced when the women of Jospeh (as) saw him for the first time and unconsciously cut the palms.

Why make mention of this? The understanding is that we will only be blessed with the vision of Allah when we are firstly purified, forgiven all our sins and placed in a special place. Only then will we be qualified to gain access to this great blessing.

On the other hand the Mir’aj showed us that Prophet (saw) had qualified himself here in this material world where he was absolutely pure and clean. So much so that upon the invitation of Allah he was able to visit Him up there and have divine audience with Him. He had no kind of impurities and all he lived for was to show the people how to connect themselves to Allah and how to remove all the material trappings of this world.

We know Allah says in His Holy Words; ‘He moves between a man’s heart and chest’. Why then was it necessary to physically take up Prophet (saw)? On one hand the Mir’aj demonstrated the Greatness of Allah and on the other hand the importance of Prophet Muhammad (saw).

There is a verse in the Qur’an in which Allah says ‘No vision can grasp Him but He sees everything’ (6:103). Again we see when Moses (as) requested to see Allah he was told by His Lord “You cannot see me”. Hazrat Ayesha (ra) is also reported to have said “Anyone who says that he saw Allah is a liar.”

In this dimension of space and time we have some shortcomings. For example when Prophet (saw) saw angel Jibreel for the first time his personality was far greater than the skies, hence wherever in the sky Prophet (saw) looked he saw Jibreel. He was only able to realize the true personality of Jibreel when he was outside this dimension of space and time; which was accomplished on the night of the Mir’aj.

You cannot see Allah with your naked eyes. Instead you have to be in a proper state of purity and only then, as when insha Allah you’ll go to Paradise. But Prophet Muhammad (saw) was in this physical dimension and his personality was so cultivated that matters of the unseen were known to him and also Allah wanted to show the status of Prophet and His Greatness.

Understand that Prophet (saw) is truly special. He is reported to have said “I was a Prophet while Adam was still between water and clay”. The first thing that Allah created was the light of Prophet Muhammad (Nur-i-Muhammad). His soul was from the command of Allah, not a part of Him. And every other soul came from his light. This is the connection we all have with him. In the night of the Mir’aj it was proven that Prophet (saw) has the highest status in creation. He was able to go higher then even angel Jibreel. He even went further then the Lote tree, the pen and tablet; to a point where there was nothing between him and His Lord.

Allah says in Surah Ahzab;
Truly, We did offer Al­Amanah (The Trust) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it but man bore it. Verily, He was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results). (33:72)

‘The Trust’ is sacred mission entrusted to man. Allah gave man that spark of light which is non-physical, the soul (ruh) to keep it pure, clean and shinning and to spread it throughout the earth. He has however not left us alone. He is connected to all believers, not physically but through the Prophet (saw). He says in His Holy Words;

‘Verily Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! send ye blessings on him, and salute Him with all respect.”

“He it is who Sends salaat on you, As do His angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of darkness into Light: and He is full of Mercy to the believers.”

Allah wants us to keep our light bright and shinning and He has made His Beloved our model. On one hand He took him up on the night of the Mir’aj and connected the light and sent him back to earth to spread the light; and this is possible why he is called a 'Rahmatul Lil Alameen’ - mercy to the worlds.

This is why we are special. Our mission is to receive the blessings from Allah and demonstrate that we are all ‘Sirajum Munirah’ – a lamp that gives light. We get our connection from Prophet (saw) who is in turn connected to The Source. And when one practices Tassawuf he can gain connection through the Mashaeikhs and Prophet (saw) ; and if Allah wills you can have ‘religious experiences’. And Allah makes mention of these categories of people in His Holy Words; ‘Allah bears witness to the fact that there is no god but He, and the Angels and those who are endued with knowledge, also bear witness to this fact. (3:18)

Prophet Muhammad (saw) was not a ‘postman’ as some believe. He has an important role even up to present time. Allah strengthens this in Surah Baqarah; “and say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah "they are dead." Nay, They are living, though ye perceive (it) not”. He demonstrated this on the night of Mir’aj when all the Messengers gathered in Masjid ul Aqsa to pray behind Prophet Muhammad (saw). To understand these things using scientific reason and logic is impossible.

Our success in life depends on our outcome in the next. If we are blessed to enter Paradise is means our life in this world was a success. On that Day Allah says that ‘their salutation on the Day they meet Him will be "Peace!"; and He has prepared for them a generous reward’ (33:44). The Believers will greet Allah and He will return the greeting.

Just like the greeting between Prophet (saw) and Allah on the night of the Mir’aj. This great occasion has been preserved for us in the form of the Attahiyat in our Salaat.

What we are seeing is that the Mir’aj is more than just a trip. It was an expression of the Greatness of Allah by causing a ‘lump of mud’ to become so refine and spirituality uplifted to the extent where he returned to meet and converse with his Lord; and preserved it for his followers. For example each posture we perform in Salaat Prophet saw angels performing a particular posture in each level of heaven.

Allah has given us a small eye-opener. Understand that life is a process of coming and going; ups and downs. Prophet Muhammad (saw) went through immense hardships before the event of the Mir’aj. He lost people who were close and supportive of him, he was continuously ill treated and finding little success in carrying out his mission.

Always remember if you want to get close to Allah you’ll have to be by yourself. The event of the Mir’aj has shown us that only good will return to Allah. Therefore it’s imperative that we hold fast to what Allah says in Surah An'am; ‘It is those who believe and do not clothe up their beliefs with wrong - that are (truly) in security, for they are on (right) guidance.’

We can create problems for ourselves by clothing up our iman with wrong. The Mir’aj has shown us the status of Prophet Muhammad (saw) by highlighting the achievement attained in this physical life. He has the blessing of physically returning to his Lord. He is our exemplar and out of wisdom his Sunnah was preserved.

As Muslims we are taught to pray;
‘Our Lord! perfect our light for us, and grant us forgiveness: for Thou hast power over all things.’

We are expected to cause the light to spread to every cell of our body and one important way of attaining this is by abstaining from impurities. Every time you indulge in impurity your spark of light is prevented from spreading to other parts of your body.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) has shown that the spark of light can illuminate the body because in is recorded in many narrations that his physical self was much brighter and beautiful than the full moon. How bright are you? Are we making sufficient effort to uphold the Sunnah? Do you think your spark of light is permeating the cells of your body? Mir’aj shows us that the material became so perfect that he was taken right up to his Lord.

Strive to grow your light. It’s not easy it takes a lot of effort, patience and charity. Never forget that you are special in the sight of Allah . He is so desirous of us to get closer to Him that He says if we walk to Him, He runs to us.

May Allah forgive us, enlighten us and cause us to understand more the true status of Prophet (saw). May He encourage us to perfect our light and make the journey back to Him successful, insha Allah.

The audio version of Dr. Waffie’s lecture can be accessed on the Markaz’s website.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Recognizing everything comes from Allah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Prophet Sulaiman (as) was specially blessed by Allah. He possessed control of the winds and had the ability to understand the languages of the animals. So, one can see that he had great power and status in this world.

When Prophet Sulaiman (as) reached the zenith of his knowledge and understanding he made a beautiful dua to Allah, and we should all make an effort to learn this prayer and recite it regularly;

‘My Lord inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.’ (27:19)

Sulaiman (as) recognized that everything he had and achieved was as a result of the blessings from Allah. So he firstly thanks Allah for the blessings that have been bestowed upon him and his parents; who would have assisted in guiding him. Then he begs Allah to enable him to continue engaging in good deeds in order that he may rise with the righteous.

Unfortunately we see some who believe that all their power and acquisitions are as a result of their own doing and they neglect showing gratitude to Allah.

Similarly when Prophet Joseph (as) was reunited with his family in Egypt and he saw the fulfilment of the dream he had as a young boy, he acknowledged that it is Allah who bestows knowledge, power and wisdom; and reiterated his reliance on Him;

‘My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of dreams; the (only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian) in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will), and join me with the righteous.’

In stark contrast we see the life of Pharaoh. When he reached the zenith of his power instead of demonstrating humility and submission he said "O Chiefs! no god do I know for you but myself”.

All these lessons are preserved for us to reference especially when we progress in this life. Remember everything comes from Him; utilize it in a manner that will bring about success in this world and the next. Eventually we will have to separate from everything we own and crave for; and when that moment comes make sure you leave with absolutely no regrets.

May Allah enable us to always act in a manner that would pleasing and loving to him insha Allah; and may He cause us to be from among those who constantly display and demonstrate gratitude to Him.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Trustworthy One

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

One reason why Prophet (saw) was given the title ‘Al Ameen’ – The Trustworthy One; was because he never broke a promise. One beautiful example of this was the meeting he had with Abdullah bin Hamsa, prior to the commencement of his Divine Mission.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) had negotiated a business transaction with Abdullah after which Abdullah owed the Prophet (saw) some remaining dues, so Abdullah told the Prophet (saw) to wait in that specific spot while he went away to get the what was owed. The matter slipped Abdullah's memory and Muhammad waited for him to arrive for a period of three days. On the third day when Abdullah remembered and finally returned, Muhammad (saw) simply told him “you have subjected me to an inconvience as I have been waiting for you for the past three days”.

Similarly, when he was preparing to preach the message of One God to the Makkans he called all of them together and asked “if I tell you that an army is marching towards you with the intentions to attack us from the other side of this mountain will you believe me?” To this those gathered replied “yes we will as you never told you a lie”.

Now in retrospect Prophet (saw) really did not lie because 10 years later an army, which he led, did in fact march over the hills of Makkah to capture it. Throughout his blessed life he stood to his word.

We are not supposed to make distinction among the Messengers of Allah;

“they say, "We make no distinction between one another of his Messengers” (2:285)

However, Allah gives us examples in the Qur’an, where it is evident that Prophet’s (saw) personality was a bit more refined. For example in Surah Kahf, Allah mentions the story of Hazrat Musa (as) and his encounter with Khidr (as).

Musa (as), in his enthusiasm to learn, accompanied Khidr (as) in his travels under one condition stipulated by Khidr, (as) that was that he doesn’t question his action. To this Musa (as) initially agreed. As the story goes, Khidr (as) did three different actions that Musa (as) didn’t understand and as such he voiced his concern and disapproval, in every instance. For three times Musa (as) went back on his word. And in each case he renewed his promise not to say anything; but could not keep his promise.

Another example of Musa (as) acting on is own will was the time he wished to speak to Allah . He went up the mountain uninvited.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) was different and this is why it is recorded that he never said anything out of his own desires. This is why Allah says that he is the best model and example for us;

‘Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the meeting with) Allah’. (33:21)

We should therefore try to cultivate our personalities in light of his perfect life. Whenever we are confronted with trying situations always think to yourself ‘what would Prophet Muhammad (saw) do’. Through this, insha Allah, little by little we would be able to refine our personalities.

May Allah always cause us to become enlightened and to follow in the footsteps of his beloved; Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Monday, 6 June 2011

Vision through ones heart

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Human beings are blessed by Allah with eyesight which gives us the ability to see. However we are also blessed with another organ that allows us vision and comprehension. This is the heart. Allah says in the Qur'an that there are some that 'have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not'.

Allah says in His Holy Words;

"Now have come to you, from your Lord, proofs (to open your eyes): if any will see, it will be for (the good of) his own soul; if any will be blind, it will be to his own (harm): I am not (Here) to watch over your doings." (6:104)

Allah has given us the ability to comprehend. It is up to each individual to make the effort in order to become enlighten. Blindness in this context refers to your heart. You can see with your eyes and yet still be 'blind'; as Allah says: 'eyes wherewith they see not'. How is this possible? Always remember that the Qur'an explains itself. The explanation is found in another ayat in the Qur'an.

'do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts.' (22:46)

You cannot comprehend with your eyes. For example a lot of people say that there is no god except Allah; but it doesn't sink into their hearts. They simple perform lip service.

There are sincere believers all over this world, but in addition to our belief we have to make the effort to increase the alertness of the heart in order to understand some things of Al Ghaib (the unseen), which are not visible through the eyes.

In order to achieve this you need to keep your Qalb pure and clean. If you don't it will become clouded and you wont be able to understand as Allah says in Surah Muthaffifin;

'Nay! but on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.' (83:14)

If your heart is covered you will not be able to comprehend the Greatness of Allah. In connection to this Prophet Muhammad (saw) said 'rust falls on the heart as it falls on iron'. If you have rust on your heart you'll stay blind and Allah says that is your concern not His.

This is why Prophet (saw) told his Companions "I have returned from the small Jihad (Jihad Asghar) to the big Jihad (Jihad Akbar)". The Sahabas enquired "what is the big Jihad?" Prophetsaid "the Jihad al nafs (against the inner desires)."

Your nafs can put stains on your qalb or keep it polished and clean. You need to make the required effort.

We can comprehend Allah's greatness through Zikir and through Fikir. The wise one will use all these avenues to keep the qalb clean. Through this ones vision will grow, insha Allah.

Allah won't send enlightenment from the sky for you; you have to make the effort. For example when the rain falls on a mountain the water simple runs of the stones. However, when it falls on fertile soil it will be of greater benefit.

Prepare yourself to benefit from Allah's blessings. Whenever you make the weekly effort to attend our Zikir sessions you are trying to activate your qalb and through this your comprehension of various things will increase insha Allah.

Don't 'weaken your vision'. Strive to improve upon it through the avenues Allah made available to us. May Allah make it easy for us and may He cause us to become more and more enlightened, insha Allah.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Hablullah Issue #6

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

The latest issue of the Markaz's quarterly newsletter. (click the page to enlarge)

[Pg 1]

[Pg 2]

Monday, 23 May 2011

Preservation of the human self

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

One way of preserving the seeds of a plant is by putting them in an airtight container and storing them in a dark place. Thereafter exposure to the right elements such as sunlight, air and water will see the seeds grow into a plant, tree, etc.

This principle is also applicable to human beings when the resurrection period will commence. When a person dies and is buried, Allah preserves the original part of that person in the dark earth, without sunlight and air. This is achieved because Allah causes the original or first cell of a person to stay preserved, free from decay. So when we are placed in the earth for burial our original cell is preserved deep down in the earth just like in an airtight container surrounded by darkness. In relation to this Prophet (saw) is reported to have said;
‘As for every son of Adam, the earth will devour him except that out of which he was created and therein he will be formed on Resurrection Day’.

When the resurrection takes place all those who were “preserved in the earth” will grow out. How is this possible? Through a terrible earthquake which Allah describes in His Holy Words;

When the earth shall be shaken to its depths, and the mountains shall be crumbled to atoms, becoming dust scattered abroad, (56:4-6)

Again He say;

When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion, and the earth throws up her burdens (from within), and man cries (distressed): 'What is the matter with her?' (99:1-3)

So terrible and different this earthquake will be that everyone will be thrown out of the earth and will grow back into a human being as he or she existed before death. Every single person will be raised back to life. From the time of Adam (as) right to the present time. And the sun will be a few feet over the heads of the resurrected. This will facilitate the ‘growing back’ to man original self.

Everyone will grow back in a uniform way but the difference will be when the ruh re-enters the body. As we have previously stated, if a person took the time to polish and refine the soul (ruh); when it re-renters the body that person will be ‘bright and shinning’; whereas the careless person who paid no heed to the hereafter; his soul will be like putting a depleted battery in a remote; it will have no effect.

Allah gives us a description of the state of man when all this is happening;

They will come forth, - their eyes humbled - from (their) graves, (torpid) like locusts scattered abroad, (54:7)

Everyone will be moving about in a ‘helter skelter’ manner. They would look like drunkards. The question you need to ask yourselves is how would you like to rise? Would you like to be among those who will be worried and regrettable?

Allah is giving us signs. Look at the natural disasters that are taking place in the world; and in some of the affected countries, we see pictures of the Masjids standing, unaffected, in a midst of destruction. The true believers will be protected on that Day. Allah will take care of those whom He loves and those who are close to Him.

So aspire to earn His Love and qualify yourself to be in His “good books” so that when all the chaos and confusion is taking place you will be safe and protected. Use the trials and difficult moments in this world to build your personality and fight to get closer and closer to Allah, and insha Allah, on that Day of Accountability He will protect you and take care of your journey.

May Allah make us from among those who will have ease and comfort on the Day of Resurrection and admit us all in the paradise that He has prepared for His true slaves.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The absence of impurity

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah mentions in the Quran;

‘So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the faith: (establish) Allah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah’. (30:30)

Some scholars are of the view that ‘in the work (wrought) by Allah’ refers to His creation. So if we apply this to the ayat it will translate as ‘the creation of God will not change’.

If we narrow it down to man it will mean that the human species will remain as is. They will not be subject to change just as Adam (as) came and then his progeny came in the same mould and fashion; centuries after Adam (as).

If Allah says that He will not cause change to come on His creation, what then will happen to us on our onward journey. Will we change or evolve into new creatures? No, we will remain as we are and regardless of place or time we will not be subjected to change.

When you are resurrected, you will be resurrected as you were, except that each person will be resurrected with a complete and perfect body. The difference will be the condition in which you are resurrected. For example, just as how physical ailments may have an adverse effect on a person's physical appearance; when the soul re-enters the body on the Day of Judgement; depending on the condition of the soul, the body will either be bright and shinning or dark and ugly. So if a person took the time to polish the soul in this world, it will help brighten his countenance on that Day.

Even after the entry into Paradise, life continues as it was on earth. The main exception is that there will be no impurities. According to some scholars what Adam (as) and Eve (as) consumed from the forbidden tree was in fact wheat; and after they ate it they needed to excrete. And because no impurity is allowed in the Garden they were expelled. The point is that there will be no impurities in paradise. The support of this is found in Surah Baqarah;

Gardens, beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are fed with Fruits there from, they say: ‘Why, this is what we were fed with before’, for they are given things in similitude; and they have therein companions pure (and holy); and they abide therein (for ever). (2:25)

The fruits, milk, honey, etc. will remain the same, except that it will never contain impurities, or become impure. There will be no disturbance around you; only peace and tranquillity. For example, if you have a bunch of mangoes; some are ripe and good for eating and some are a bit spoilt. When you separate the good from bad both groups remain mangoes but one is free form impurity whilst the other contains impurity. Since Allah created all the creatures, their categories remain the same, regardless of time and place. The birds, fishes, fruits all remained the same.

We need to understand that on our onward journey the environment, substance, etc. will remain the same except; it will all be free form impurities. The challenges around us will not be present in the Garden of Bliss. This is the life we are working towards. Who wouldn’t want this?

And rest assured that Satan will try his utmost to corrupt you. We all know a flame can be seen from far; but black mud, from which man was made, cannot be seen on a dark night, like the fire. The problem with Satan’s perception is that this insignificant piece of mud which has the potential to attain such greatness is more advanced than him, even though, according to his reasoning, fire is far superior to mud. So the conflict remains. We have to tolerate it and continue to persevere in order to qualify ourselves to attain the life of purity.

We beg Allah to help us to understand and to resist the attacks from Satan and to enable us to work towards our goal, insha Allah.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The best from among mankind

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah tells us about ourselves in the Quran,

‘Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah’ (3:110)

What a great honour Allah has bestowed upon us.

If you look at history you will see that before the coming of Prophet Muhammad (pboh) Allah was very kind and generous materially, to the tribes and their people. For example, the Israelites received immense material blessings from Allah. Their food and drink came down from the sky. They had next to nothing to do except glorify their Lord but they, instead tried to ‘scheme’ Allah. They wanted Allah to be ‘their servant’. They didn’t understand and were blinded by the fact that they were bringing harm and eventual destruction to themselves.

When the Israelite Messengers came and attempted to give guidance that didn’t suit their desires; they took the necessary measures to get rid of them. For example, Jesus came to them and began preaching; and they got offended. When he invited them to join him in giving da’wah they placed conditions (they wanted food to come to them from the sky). Yet Allah continued to take care of them.

In contrast to the treatment Allah gave to them, look at how different Islam started. The blessed Companions of Prophet silently bore hunger, so much so, that they used to tie stones to their stomach to ease the pangs of hunger. Look at the difference between them and the favoured ones before them. When the Muslims were faced with the boycott and had to retreat to the nearby mountains some of them ate stones. They could have easily denounced Islam and return to luxury, but they didn’t give up. They persevered even when death faced them.

Allah gives us the recipe for being categorised as the ‘best of people’ in the ayat quoted above. Firstly, believe in Allah. As we know this is the ‘password’ to enter Paradise. Then we should enjoin good and forbid evil.

If someone believes in Allah and limits the good and engages in rampant evil it is possible that he can be categorised as a hypocrite. In order to expound this let us look at the attitude of Hazrat Umar . Prophet made a special dua for one of his Companions who thereafter possessed the ability of identifying a hypocrite. So gifted was he that whenever there was a Janaza of a hypocrite he wound not attend and this led Hazrat Umar to scan the crowd to see if this particular Companion was present. If he was not present Umar would refrain from leading the Janaza, because he knew the deceased was a hypocrite. Everyday Umar would visit this blessed companion and ask, “am I a hypocrite?”

Why make mention of this? Sometimes people can do lots of good but they do it with an ulterior motive. So we need to purify our intentions in order to safeguard ourselves from falling into the category of hypocrites.

Maulana Abdul Aleem Sidiquie use to say “examine yourself”. Everyday take a look at yourself and see what condition your faith is in. Prophet (pboh) is reported to have said “faith can increase or decrease”. Today you may feel highly spiritual but always remember tomorrow is a different day. What if you are faced with a trial, how will you react? Guard your faith and strengthen it by adhering to the good Allah has prescribed and forbidding the evil, He has warned us about. If you apply this insha Allah you will be classified among the ‘best of mankind’. Regardless of a person's wealth, power and status the recipe is universal. It is very easy to say, but it requires some effort to put in practice.

We beg Allah to bless us with the determination to infuse this principle in our daily lives so that on that Day we will rise among the best and be among the inhabitants of Janatul Firdus, insha Allah.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Managing your time

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

One very important aspect of our life in this world is time management. With regards to this concept there are two important dimensions that are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.

The first one deals with our life span in this world. This termed is called Ajal which translates ‘specified time’. In connection with this Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said in a lengthy hadith;

‘Then an angel is sent and he breathes the spirit into you and is encharged with four commandments: to write down your provision, your life-span, your actions, and whether you will be wretched or happy.’

Before we are brought into this world our life span is already determined. Therefore it is imperative for us to manage this time properly so that we would benefit in both this world and the next.

The second aspect of time management deals with the question of how to manage our time properly? In relation to this Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said ‘don’t abuse time; for it is Allah Who is The Time’.

An example of mismanagement of time or abuse of time is when someone can sit for2-3 hours and look at a movie but fail to spare 10 minutes to pray the fard, sunnah and nafil for a particular salaat.

Allah says in His Holy Words;

By time, verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy.

If you fail to make proper use of the limited time in this world the end result can be an unfortunate one. It is recorded in Surah Muddatstsir that the inhabitants of Paradise will question the inhabitants of hell as to what brought them to the hell fire;

“What led you into Hell Fire?” They will say: "We were not of those who prayed; nor were we of those who fed the indigent; but we used to talk vanities with vain talkers; and we used to deny the Day of Judgment",

They never managed time properly; instead they indulged themselves in activities that reap no reward.

Utilize your time in a manner that will bring about benefit in both worlds just as Prophet (saw) did. He spent his days working and taking care of his responsibilities and spent that night worshipping his Lord.

The economic-capitalist say that time equals money. It is mush more than that for us. We cannot afford to abuse it least we gain plentiful in this world and little in the next.

It’s not that Muslims should not ‘enjoy themselves’, but it is important for us to prioritize accordingly. Islam teaches us the middle course; we are not supposed to be extreme and or lackadaisical. Allah says in Surah Jumu'ah

and when the prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the bounty of Allah. and celebrate the praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper.

So Allah encourages us to work for this world, however we should not give it priority as our time here is only for a specified time. Place more emphasis on working for the eternal world that awaits the righteous.

You may not see the results here but on the Day of Judgement you’ll see all your life’s work and the end result that it has brought you.

This is why we taught to pray:

"Rabbana aatina fid-dunya hasanah, wa fil-akhirati hasanah, wa qinaa athaban naar"

'Our Lord, grant us good in this world and the world hereafter and protect us from the torment of hell '

Work for goodness in both worlds through the Grace and Mercy of Allah . May He continuously guide us so that we may manage whatever time we have left in this world in a way that would gives us ‘high return’ in the hereafter. May Allah take care of our affairs, Insha Allah.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

What makes man special

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Human beings are special and different from all the other creatures.

Unlike the other creatures, such as the plants and animals, man was created from clay and not from water. Allah says:

We created man from sounding clay; from mud moulded into shape. (15:26)

Allah put in the personality of man two dimensions; a physical and a non-physical. As such he is charged with the responsibility of looking after and taking care of both. Just as the parent looks after himself and his infant; so too each and every one of us has to look after the nafs (physical dimension) and the ruh (non-physical dimension).

We are commanded to keep the physical dimension pure and clean. This is achieved through tahaarah (wudu, ghusl etc). With regards to the non-physical we have to use the physical dimension to keep it pure and clean through our thoughts, morals, conduct, etc. The other creatures don’t have a soul so man is different in this regard.

The other reason that makes us different from all other created things is that Allah has given humans the power of choice. We can either engage in good or choose to commit evil. The other creatures are not free to choose, they submit to Allah irregardless of conditions and feelings. This is their natural way.

Depending on the choices we makes there is reward or punishment. Allah makes mention of this in His Holy Words;

‘and shown Him the two highways’ (90:10)

One highway is rough and steep. Traversing along this one is a bit challenging and difficult, but it will lead you to a most beautiful and relaxing place. The other highway is smooth and straight; easy and extremely comfortable to traverse on, however this particular highway will lead you to a precipice. Which one will you prefer?

Do you want to endure a little inconvenience while traversing along life in order to qualify yourself to enter the blissful garden? Or do you prefer ease and comfort in this temporary world for an eternity in the hell fire?

We are charged with this great responsibility. The decision is in our hands. On one hand, we have to take care and give due importance to both the physical (nafs) and non-physical (ruh) dimensions of our personality. On the other hand we must make the right decisions that will enable us to be accepted in the Paradise that Allah has prepared for the righteous. It sounds simple and in retrospect it is. However when we are faced with the trials and difficulties of life it becomes a bit difficult.

We need to have complete faith in our Merciful Loving Lord, because He will never let us down. Surely, He will test us at different times and in different ways, but He will never abandon us. Turn solely to Him and know that He will always take care of your affairs because He knows what is best for us.

May Allah, through His Divine Grace and Mercy, guide us to conduct ourselves in a manner that will nurture both aspects of our personalities and may He enable us to make decisions that will earn His Love and Satisfaction; and, insha Allah through this struggle and work we will be among the blessed ones to have beautiful meeting with Him on the Day of Accountability.