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.