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.