Thursday 13 December 2012

Live a life of no regets

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

One of the differences with the life of this world and that of barzakh is that in barzakh you will be able to see your past and your future destination.  Here, in this world you can only see your past and present.  We do not know our destination.  Allah says in Surah Yaseen;

Verily we shall give life to the dead, and we record that which they send before and that which they leave behind, and of all things have we taken account in a Clear Book (of evidence).  (36:12)

Nothing will be left unrecorded regarding the activities of an individual.  One of the meanings of ‘that which they leave behind’ is that of Sadaqatul Jariyah.  If your family prays for your or if you left something behind that people can benefit from; these things would be of great benefit to you.

Never forget one thing, Allah does not only record the good that you do but He also records those things that you did and that you left behind that were of no value to anyone including yourself. 

Allah says;

What is with you must vanish: what is with Allah will endure and We will certainly bestow, on those who patiently persevere, their reward to the best of their actions.  (16:96)

Allah records those things that would be of benefit to us that we send before and that would continue to benefit us after we leave this earth.  He also records those things that we left behind that would have caused harm to others and were valueless.

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said on the Day of Judgment the deeds of man would be divided into two, that which was done for Allah and that which was done for the world. 

More importantly of barzakh is regret that some people would experience when they see their destination;

And spend something (in charity) out of the substance which We have bestowed on you, before death should come to any of you and he should say, “O My Lord! Why didst Thou not give me respite for a little while?  I should then have given (largely) in charity, and I should have been one of the doers of good”.  (63:10)

When certain people go in Barzakh and they see the benefit and loss suffered they would plead to Allah to go back and only then would they be the most righteous, charitable etc.

This is an important lesson for all of us!  Don’t wait for when reality comes to you to transform your life.  When Pharaoh was drowning and he saw death fast approaching he shouted I believe in the God of Moses.  All the along he paid no heed to the numerous signs Allah sent to him.  Only when he saw his end nearing and he remembered the type of life he lived in the world, and the misery of the stay in barzakh then he believed.  Don’t wait to be like that!

The Message is clear.  This is possibly why the Qur’an is called Kitabal Mubin.  Everyone can understand the dos and don’ts.  You don’t need a scholar to explain to you.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.  That should be out of the question for believers.  Don’t sacrifice everything for this world.  Remember Allah records what is sent before and what is left behind.  Don’t fall into the situation that the unbelievers would find themselves in, as Allah says in Surah Naba;

The Day when man will see (the deeds) which his hands have sent forth, and the unbeliever will say, “Woe unto me!  Would that I was (metre) dust!”  (78:40)

Try to strike an appropriate balance in this world so that when death comes you will be prepared and not be in a state of regret when placed in Barzakh.  We want to be from amongst those who will be happy to meet our Lord and He would be happy to meet us, insha Allah. 

I always say that the time to improve and make amends is now; don’t procrastinate.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  We beg Allah to help us and bless us to be alert to making the best use of our life in this world and to have no regrets when we depart for the next.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Maintaining a direct connection to Allah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah says in Surah Anfaal;

O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to whom ye shall (all) be gathered.  (8:24)

The first part of the ayat has a lot of implications and importance.  When the call comes from Allah and His Messenger (pboh) you must respond.  Once Prophet (pboh) called out to a Companion who was at the time in salaat.  The Companion didn’t respond but instead waited until he completed his salaat and then went to Prophet (pboh) and informed him why he didn’t respond initially.  To this the Prophet (pboh) reminded him about the first part of the ayat quoted above.

Prophet (pboh) is reported to have said Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart.  He turns that to any (direction) He likes”. 

Allah can guide us to righteousness or cause us to deviate.  This is why Prophet (pboh) prayed:

Allahumma yaa muqallibal quloob thabbit qalbee ‘alaa deenik
Oh Turner of the hearts (Allah, the Most High), keep our hearts firm on Your religion”
We need to understand why Allah says Your wealth and your children are only a trial (fitnah).  It is because they can come between Allah and your heart and divert your focus.  The verse quoted above tells us that we should give nothing more preference than Allah.  Don’t let anything come in the way and hinder your connection to Him.


A true believer will carry out all the necessary undertakings of the world but his heart remains engaged in remembrance of Allah.  We have to get involved in the world for our livelihood etc. but don’t be consumed by it to the extent that you give preference to it over your religious obligations.

Do not put a ‘curtain’ between Allah and your heart.  Never forget that any time we do wrong a black spot will appear on our hearts, as Allah says: Nay, but they have put stains on their hearts.

Our goal should be to maintain a direct connection to Him.  It is not easy but possible.   Insha Allah let us all try to make this jihad for ourselves and don’t put spots between Him and yourself.  And leave this world in a clean and pure state insha Allah.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Increasing your faith in Allah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Two beneficial formulas that are taken from the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (pboh) are;

Reciting Surah Kalf every Friday morning; Allah will protect you for the coming week.  The second formula is that of reciting Surah Yusuf every night before your go to bed.  Insha Allah, Allah would protect you from any pain at the time of death and would also enable you to overcome any enemies’ in this life.

Allah says in Surah Baqarah;
Allah is the Wali (Protector) of those who have faith (2:257)

A wali is a person’s closest, most senior elder.  Someone who you love, someone who you could go to and he will take care of you and he would never, at anytime let you down.  And if Allah says that He is your Wali what a great thing that is. 

This statement has so much of meaning.  One of which is that Allah takes one out of darkness into light.  One ways is through knowledge.  Another is through guidance.

The more intense your belief in Allah gets the closer you will feel that you are to Him.  You will begin to ascend and your personality will become different and more refined.  And this is one of the lessons that we can take from the Mir’aj.  Through faith and perseverance Prophet Muhammad(pboh) ascended so high that he became the beloved of Allah. 

This is why it is not easy to translate Ayat an-Nur;

Light upon Light!  Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.  (24:35)

One way of removing the darkness from your personality is by letting the Light of Allah to brightening your personality.  And this is what we try to achieve through our spiritual exercise of muraaqaba.  And through this your faith would grow and your closeness to your Lord would also increase.  And insha Allah you would spirituality ascend.  

There is no ending to spiritual experiences and it’s something that cannot be explained through contemporary reason and logic.

Remember a person will only achieve what Allahwills for him.  But He allows a bit of free will through which we can cultivate remembrance for Him, standing, sitting and lying on our sides.  This can be achieved when our qalb makes Zikr even if we are physically engaged in other matters.  Perhaps this is one reason why the Prophet (pboh) is reported to have said that even when the Messenger is asleep his heart remains alert.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Translating belief into action

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah says in Surah Tiin;
We have indeed created man in the best of moulds, then do We abase Him (to be) the lowest of the low, - except such as believe and do righteous deeds: for they shall have a reward unfailing then what can, after this, contradict thee, as to the Judgment (to come)?  Is not Allah the wisest of judges?

Allah has created us from the best of the earth, and the most refined light; and He has put us all at the lowest level, i.e. we begin life with nothing in our record; although there is nothing against us.  Allah is Just so we all begin life on a common ground.  What makes the difference?  Those who believe and do righteous deeds.  They are the ones that will ascend to their Lord.

So the extent of your belief and the amount of good in which you will engage will get you closer and closer to Allah.  Allah is Dhil-maarij - The Owner of the ascending stairway.  
On the Day of Judgement, some humans will be worst than animals.  Why? Animals won’t have judgement therefore they are not at risk of being thrown in the hell fire.  But man will, and the way of getting out of the abyss is by believing in Allah and doing good.

Believe is one thing.  What must be done is translating this belief into action and only then would you be a truly special person.  And this is where Prophet Abraham (as) shone out.  He dedicated his entire personality to Allah and because of this dedication he ascended so high that Allah made him Khaleelullah – the friend of Allah. 

If we are prepared to utilize the gifts that Allah has blessed us with in a righteous and appropriate manner we too will also attain closeness to Him.  It all depends on our intentions and deeds. 

We beg Allah, in this blessed and holy month that He enables us to translate our beliefs into righteous and beneficial actions that would help us ascend and attain nearness to Him, insha Allah.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Ascending through good

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

When Allah created the Universe, the skies and the earth and He thereafter sent man and jinn to reside on earth He made evident that the entrance to and from the skies is like one-way valve.  It means that only certain things can ascend back to Him.  And what are they;
To Him mount up (all) Words of Purity:  (35:10)

Nothing but good can pass that barrier.  This is important for us to understand because, firstly it shows that good and evil are not equal.  Even in the place that they are recorded are different.  Allah says;

Surely the record of the wicked is (preserved) in Sijjin.  And what will explain to thee what Sijjin is?  (There is) a Register (fully) inscribed.  (83:7-9)

Good is therefore recorded in the sky and evil, which cannot ascend, is recorded in a dungeon.  That is why on the Day of Judgement some people would raise with nothing to take to their Lord. 

Allah is the embodiment of Good.  This means that impurity cannot ascend back to Him.  There is a barrier that prevents impurity from going further.  We are returning to Him and we have to pass that barrier in order to get back to Him.  So if we don’t qualify ourselves to pass this barrier our meeting with Him would be impossible. 

Allah has shown us the way with the mir’aj of Prophet Muhammad (pboh).  He was so pure and clean that he was able to pass through all the barriers when he ascended.  And he went further than any other creature.  Therefore him being our model and exemplar we must pattern him and strive to remove any form of impurities in our personality.  And Allah gives us the formula in Surah Kahf;

Whoever expects to His Lord, let him work righteousness.  (18:110)
Doing good is comprehensive and it applies in every aspect of our lives.  
One of the stations in spiritual growth in our meditation is to ascend.  Spiritual ascent is possible but it takes a lot of effort and dedication.  This is why Prophet (pboh) 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?”  Prophet (pboh) said “the Jihad al nafs (inner desires).”

Control of desires, control your tongue and control your emotions.  If you can’t how do you expect to ascend.  The real jihad is to control your nafs.  And if you do you would have qualified yourself to return to and insha Allah meet with your Lord.

All the Messengers of God took great care in what they said and did.  They never acted outside of their mission.

Our mission in this life is to get back to Allah.  Therefore take care in all your doings.  Those who criticize spirituality say spirituality it’s a cult but they don’t know that it’s an effort to purify yourselves and make you conscious of your personality.

It takes time, effort, honesty, dedication and sincerity.  How is it possible for the ruh to ascend while the nafs is fighting to stay down?  We want to be able to pass through these barriers. 

The great Masheikh, Junaid Baghdadi, once asked Allah how can he attain closeness to Him?  Allah responded ‘leave your nafs and come’. 

This struggle won’t be easy and rest assured that Satan would try his best to divert you.  He will even attack you with good which we unfortunately see happening today.  May Allah protect us from Satan and whatever means he may use to divert our focus.

Our mission is to return to and insha Allah meet our Lord; and the journey begins from here.  Work to refine your personality so that your ascent to Allah would be easy and in the end successful.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Living for the sake of Allah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah says in Surah Mu'minuun;
Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy, - they will attain salvation: but those, whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide.  (23:102-103)
The scale that will be used on the Day of Judgement is a special one.  It’s not like our perception of a scale.  Yes, there are two sides; one side to weigh a person’s good deeds and the other for his bad deeds; but the difference according to the ayat above is that if a person has done a lot of good, that side of the scale will move downwards due to the weight.  On the other hand if a person’s evil deeds outweigh the good; that side of the scale will move upwards.  It will not sink.
Think of it like a bank account from which you keep withdrawing.  Every time you withdraw it becomes less.  This is the way Allah will weigh your deeds.  It is not like our knowledge of scales.
That being said, you don’t need anyone to supervise you in your thoughts and actions.  Allah has blessed us with knowledge and intuition to decipher right from wrong.  You’re the one who will know the true contents of your heart and always bear in mind that one day it will all come to light and placed on a scale.  We want our scale to be on the heavy end and not light as the ayat makes mention of. 
The key for true success in this life is that whatever you do always do it for the sake of Allah.  Understand that if you try to live for His sake He will take care of you and never let you down.  One day you will see the reward of this attitude.  It is not easy; but if you can sincerely live for Allah’s sake He will take care of your affairs.
Try not to get mixed up and involved with people who openly demonstrate ulterior motives.  Living for the sake of Allah is the key for everything in this world.
All of us do wrong at some point in time.  None of us are sinless, but remember, that if you live for the sake of Allah , insha Allah He will overlook your shortcomings.  I truly feel sorry that some people only choose to constantly highlight Allah’s wrath, and being flung in the Hell fire.  Your Lord is so Loving, Kind and Merciful.  He knows that we faulter from time to time and insha Allah He would forgive all of us.
Have hopes of your Lord’s Mercy and don’t be despondent.  Have faith in His workings and rest assured that if you sincerely live for His pleasure He will take care of all your affairs insha Allah.

Thursday 20 September 2012

The Three Categories

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

In Surah Fatiha Allah has identified three categories of people about whom we make mention of in our salaat and further identifies one of those category’s that we wish to be apart of.  That is those who are being guided by Allah and receiving His blessings.
The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.  (1:7)
The word ni’mah denotes to Allah’s blessings.  So in Surah Fatiha we are asking Him to include us among those persons who He bestows His ni’mah upon.  And we further beg Him to prevent us from falling into the other two categories of people; those who have gone astray, i.e. they know the message but their focus and purpose have been diverted and those who have rejected Allah outright.  They have both opened themselves to the wrath of Allah.
We do not want to be misguided nor be the recipient of Allah’s wrath.  We want to be counted amongst the favourable ones.  This is one reason why we identify Him as the Most Compassionate and Most Merciful.  Because we know that if we sincerely try to earn the pleasure of Allah ; through His Grace and Mercy He will take care of our affairs.  Our concept of Allah is not one of a vengeful God.  Even though much focus is paid by some to Allah’s wrath and constant reference to man as a sinful being; Allah is the Most Loving and Most Merciful.  Allah says that He connects Himself to His creatures through the quality of Compassion.  
We need to always be sincere with our faith.  Keep Allah in your heart and nothing else.  Recognise Allah as That Incomparable and Unimaginable Being.  There is an urdu saying Allahi Allah hai – Allah is Allah.
When you go higher in the spiritual world you will understand the importance of sincerity because you can see and feel when a wrong is committed it’s damaging to your faith.  You will understand that at that point in time you do not have true faith. 
Keep Allah in your heart at all and be sincere about it.  We need His Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness; and understand that He knows what is best for us.  
May Allah guide us and protect us from falling into the hypocritical and misguided categories of people and may He enable us to successfully get back to Him insha Allah.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Hablullah Issue #10

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

The latest issue of Hablullah is out. Click on the image to enlarge and save.

Hablullah Issue #10_page 1 of 2

Hablullah Issue #10_page 2 of 2

Monday 3 September 2012

Continuing the climb

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

We have just come out of the blessed month of Ramadhan and there are two things I wish to draw your attention to.  Allah has used two terms in the Holy Qur’an which we should be familiar with. 

Firstly, Allah says in Surah Al Ma'aarij;

Allah, Lord of the ways of Ascent.  (70:3)
Allah uses the term Dhil-maarij.  Dhil-maarij literally means He is the Owner of the ascending.  So Allah is The Owner of everything that ascends.  Allah knows what comes down to the earth and what goes up to the skies.  He also says in Surah Muthaffifii that evil is recorded in a dungeon and good is recorded in the skies.  So that it is only good that ascends.  Dhil-maarij is therefore translated as The Owner of the ascending stairway. 
The second term I wish to bring to your attention is what Allah makes mention of in Surah Insyiqaaq;
Ye shall surely travel from stage to stage.  (84:19)
Allah uses the term tabaqan aan tabaq – stage to stage.  Think of it as the steps of a ladder.  Our mission is to climb as high as possible all in an effort to try to get close to our Lord; to feel close to Him in this life and attain closeness to Him in the hereafter.  This is our mission and purpose; to get back to the Garden.

Look at how Merciful and Loving He is to us.  He says ‘if Allah were to punish men for their wrong-doing, He would not leave, on the (earth), a single living creature’ (16:61).  But look at how Gracious He is.  He has given us Ramadhan and what is so special about Ramadhan.  Let’s say for example you have a big debt that you’re having difficulties in repaying and someone offers to pay it off for you.  How would you feel?  Ramadhan is just like that because Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith & seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins for-given.  Whoever prays during its nights with faith & seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.  (Bukhari, Muslim)

What one of our goals should be is that every Ramadhan should be like a step higher on the ladder.  From this Ramadhan to next Ramadhan, we should try to ascend closer and closer to our Lord.  And we have been given the promise that our slate would be clean. 

Don’t waste your achievements that you would have gained in Ramadhan by going back to any form of wrongdoing.  Let’s say we didn’t get 100% of our sins wiped out.  Supposed it is just 60%.  That is still a start.  Build on it and don’t add any more blemishes to it.  Try to always move forward and realise your closeness to Allah and you would have been successful.  It is an individual effort.  No one can help you attain closeness to your Lord.  Society can help to an extent; that is if they abstain from the loathsome and prohibited.

The journey is a lonely one and the choice is yours.  The things you stayed away from in Ramadhan try to avoid them because those will not aid you in ascending.

Try your best to culture your personality along the lines of the etiquettes of what you did during Ramadhan and you would have been successful.  A simple formula but very practical and effective, regardless of your environment.

May Allah make it easy for us to attain closeness to Him in both worlds and may he enable us to continuously ascend insha Allah.

Monday 30 July 2012

Self Purification

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

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

Theologically, the process for do doing is called Tazkiyah, (self purification).  To abide by the requirements of attaining self purification is one of the most important ingredients for success in both the worlds physically and spiritually.  When practiced, it brings spiritual health, morality, love for Allah, love for the Prophet (pboh) and engaging in Zikr (i.e. to be God-conscious all the time).  When this is done one becomes a model of Compassion, piety and truthfulness.

This is one of the reasons why Allah says:

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

Tazkiyah e nafs is the purification of the physical self by subduing the evil desires that may be plaguing a person.  Such desires come from the whispering of Satan in the breast of men; and because it is from Satan it is evil.  In this connection Allah says, the nafs (physical desires) order one to commit sins.

The result of self-purification is love.  The person cultivates love for Allah, for the Prophet (pboh), and for mankind at large.  Allah says:

All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the Company of those  on whom is the Grace of Allah; of the Prophets; the sincere, the witnesses and the righteous. Ah, what a beautiful fellowship. (4:69)

Tazkiyah or self-purification is a comprehensive program, as, in addition to the purification of the body, one also has to focus on the purification of the heart. Allah says:

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

Self purification is an individual matter, and every person will benefit based on his effort. Allah says:

And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own nafs. (35:18)

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) used to pray to Allah as follows:
O Allah, grant my inner soul piety and purify it, for You are the Best Purifier; You are the Guardian and Master.

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

It is now left for the individual to continue practicing tazkiyah in the daily life and also as special acts of worship in order to be a successful person.  And Allah will bless him.  Allah says:

Those devoted to Allah shall be removed far from it (i.e. the blazing fire), who spend their wealth for the increase in self purification, and have in their minds, no favour from any one for which a reward is expected in return. (92:17-19)
Remember that, it is because the purification of the personality, both physical and spiritual is very important that Allah swore seven times to emphasize the culminating promise that it is tazkiyah that plays a significant role in success.  Here is the English translation of Verses 1 through 10 of Surah al Shams (91).
"By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour; By the Moon as she follows him; By the day as it reveals (the Sun's) glory; By the Night as it conceals it; By the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure; By the Earth and its (wide) expanse; By the Nafs (Soul), and the proportion and order given to it and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right: - truly he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails who corrupts it!"
Let us all strive with our wealth, health, education, etc. to purify ourselves, because it should never be forgotten that Allah says: Whoever purifies himself does so for his own benefit.

May Allah forgive and bless all believers.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Unconditional obedience

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

In the process of establishing the Israelites as the upholders of the true religion Allah gave them numerous blessings.  For example He sent down from the sky their sustenance.  Everything that they would have needed came from Allah.  So they didn’t have to labour for their wants. 

Even though they received so many blessings from Allah they found it difficult to worship Him at least once for the day.  Even when the Torah was revealed they complained to Moses (as).  They said its either they pray or read from the revealed Book; even though they didn’t have to do anything,

The same was in the case of Jesus (as).  He invited his people (the Israelites) to the way of Allah and they placed a condition of firstly receiving a table of food from the sky in return for their cooperation. 

Allah says about Prophet Muhammad (pboh);

‘Never think that the dua of the Prophet (pboh) is like that of an ordinary man’. 

If he made dua to Allah it would have been granted. 

Even then when the Quraish issued the boycott against the early Muslims they were forced, for more than a year, to live in a valley.  The conditions at that time were so severe that some of the believers ate stones in order to survive.  Even then they never made conditions with the Messenger of Allah (pboh).  And Prophet (pboh) never prayed to Allah for food to fall from the sky for him and his people.

Why?  He wanted to show and demonstrate that if Allah loves you He will take care of you.  Prophet (pboh) wanted to establish the understanding that we all belong to Allah and He can allow/disallow what He wants. 

Thus Prophet (pboh) and his blessed Companions never made conditions and their sacrifice is preserved for us to take pattern from.  And to go a step further the same obedience and reliance on Allah is seen in the fast that we are commanded to keep. 

Fasting is one of the Divine gifts from Allah to His servants.  Fasting helps to establish this unconditional obedience to our Creator.  We are denying our baser selves the material desires out of love for Allah.  And we all try to earn the maximum benefits associated with this great month so we abstain from vain talk and despicable attitude. 

The Israelites wanted to see Allah so Moses (as) took 72 of their priests’ up the mountain and Allah caused them to die and revived them and still they faith was not developed.  The Muslims on the other hand obeyed; once a command was sent down.  They never issued any pre-requisites in exchange for their obedience.

May Allah make this Ramadhan peaceful and tranquil for all the believers’.  May He make the trials easy and bearable for us and may He remove most of it in this most special month.  Let us benefit from it, and whatever you do, do it solely for the sake of Allah.