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)

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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.