Thursday 31 May 2012

Clothe not your beliefs with wrong

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah says in Surah An'am;

It is those who believe and confuse not their beliefs with wrong - that are (truly) in security, for they are on (right) Guidance.  (6:82)

Allah warns against clothing up our beliefs with dhum (wrong) as it will inevitably lead to distress.  To clothe ones belief means to cover it up with something, and in this case it is covering it with wrongful deeds and actions.  This has a greater spiritual implication as oppose to the theological.

All the varying categories of dhum will cover the qalb and will bring about grief and misery.  The Christians for example believe in the Oneness of God but worship Jesus (as).  Thus they will find themselves among the unfortunate ones.

Allah talks about the signs of the Day of Judgement.  Understand that this world is His and He allows what He wants to take place.  It is not our business to question His workings.  Our goal is to find peace and tranquillity.  How can this be achieved?  Do as Allah says in the ayat mentioned above; and confuse not their beliefs with wrong. 

On the Day of Judgement Allah, through His Divine capacity to forgive, will pardon whomever He wants, but you should not wait for that Day.  While your posses the capacity and ability wash away your blemishes with tauba.  We are taught to pray;

Allahummas turrnaa bi satrikal jameel
“O Allah!  Cover us (i.e. our faults) with a beautiful covering”

Your mission in life is to leave here with a shinning qalb.  Yes you may do wrong, but whenever you do hasten to wash it away.  This is how life is; we are not angels.  We sometimes falter along the path. 

One day, the Sahaba, Hanzalah al-Usaydi met Hazrat Abu Bakr and confessed to him that he was convinced he was a hypocrite because he felt divided between contradictory feelings.  In Prophet Muhammad’s (pboh) presence, he almost saw paradise and hell, but when he was away from him, his wife and children and his affairs caused him to forget.  Hazrat Abu Bakr in turn admitted that he experienced similar tensions.  They both went to the Prophet (pboh) to question him about the seemingly dismal state of their spirituality.  Hanzalah explained the nature of his doubts and Prophet Muhammad (pboh) answered,

“By He who holds my soul in His hands, if you were able to remain in the [spiritual] state in which you are when in my company, and remember God permanently, the angels would shake your hands in your beds and along your paths. But it is not so, Hanzalah: there is a time for this [devotion, remembrance] and a time for that [rest, amusement].”

We have entered the blessed month of Rajab, which means Ramadhan is fast approaching and the beauty of Ramadhan is that if you keep the fast and pray to your Lord all your sins will be forgiving.  So start training yourself from now so that when Ramadhan arrives you will be able to fully benefit.

Remember no amount of money can buy peace and tranquillity.  The greatest thing you can achieve in this world is peace and tranquillity.

We don’t want to clothe our beautiful bright shinning ruh with dhum.  If you can maintain this, insha Allah you will find peace, and on the Day of Accountability you will find yourself amongst those whose personality will be bright and shinning.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Being equal in the sight of Allah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah has given every physical thing a capacity.  The capacities in human beings vary.  It is not the same as some are physically stronger or, intellectually advanced.

Allah says that he made us in tribes and nations so that you can be identified;

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and Tribes, that ye may know Each other (Not that ye may despise (each other).  (49:13)

This being said we know that in Allah’s sight we are all equal.  How then are we equal if we vary in capacity?  The answer is the soul.  While physically we vary each soul has the same potential to get closer to Allah. 

Each soul is made from the same refined light so in essence each soul has the same capacity, regardless of time and place.  The difference comes in the extent each individual takes in keeping the soul bright and shinning.  Allah says;

Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.  (49:13)

The most righteous can possible be those who made the effort to polish their souls, working hard to keep any blemishes away from it.  And this exercise extends to all of mankind regardless of physical deformities.  In so doing those who can achieve this will be equal in the sight of Allah.

Our mission is to keep your soul bright and shinning.  This will increase your capacity to get closer to Allah. 

If you should put a flammable object next to fire it will obviously burn.  So to the dirt one puts on the heart is flammable.  Allah says in Surah Humazah;

The Fire of Allah, kindled, which leaps up over the hearts.  (104:6-7)

It is the impurities one puts around the heart will burn in the fire.  However through effort of making polishing the soul all those impurities can be erased. 

The brighter the soul, the greater the possibility of getting closer to Allah; regardless of physical deformities.

The best ingredients of achieving this are sincerity and humility.  They both are of great benefit and value with regards to our ascent to our Lord.  Satan was not sincere and humble in his worship and it eventually came to light and lead to his downfall.  Allah has preserved these lessons for us to take note.

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) established trustworthiness and truthfulness, and he was physically taken up in the Mi’raj.

Keep this in mind and work hard to get closer to Allah .  Use the physical capacity that He has given you to assist you in achieving this goal and not utilize it for things that will bring about unfortunate results.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Remembering Allah Frequently

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

This week we continue highlighting the stages in God consciousness. 

We started out by addressing the benefits of engaging in the remembrance of Allah.  Last week we spoke of the best time to remember Allah.  This week we address what Allah makes mention of in many places in the Qur’an;

O you who believe!  Remember Allah with much remembrance.  (33:41)

Don’t only remember Allah when you are in a tranquil state of mind.  True, these times are more optimal but remember your Lord throughout the day and night. 

How is this possible, especially when we’re preoccupied with our job, family etc?  Allah gives us the answer in the Qur’an in the story of Zachariah.  Allah records in Surah Imran;

There did Zachariah pray to His Lord, saying: “O My Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure”: for Thou art He that heareth prayer!  While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: “(Allah) doth give Thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a Prophet, - of the (goodly) company of the righteous”.  He said: “O My Lord! How shall I have a son seeing I am very old and my wife is barren?”  Thus was the answer doth Allah accomplish what He willeth”.  He said: “O My Lord! Give me a Sign!"  Thy Sign, was the answer, Shall be that Thou shalt speak to no man for three days but with signals.  Then celebrate the praises of Thy Lord again and again, and glorify Him in the evening and in the morning”.  (3:38-41)

Based on this the scholars have conclude that you don’t have to remember Allah only with your speech, but you can engage in God consciousness with your heart.  

One way of achieving this is through Zikirullah.  Cultivating your heart and body to engage in the glorification of Allah.  In relation to the Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said the eyes of Allah's Apostle sleep but his heart does not sleep”.  Regardless of what activity he was engaged in his heart was glorifying Allah.

Allah loves all His servants and He wants us to love Him.  If you become overflowing in your love for your Lord it’s obvious that you will remember Him constantly.  And He will look after you and take care of your affairs.  It goes hand in hand.  

Once a man came to Prophet Muhammad (pboh) and said, “O Rasulallah, the laws and conditions of Islam have become too many for me.  Tell me something that I can always keep”.  Prophet Muhammad (pboh) said: “Keep your tongue always moist with zikirullah”.

It cannot be that you are making all this effort to remember Allah and He will let you down.  And what we are teaching you in our weekly zikir sessions is the technique to cultivate your entire personality to engage in the remembrance of Allah.

You can actually reach a stage where you can sit and listen to your heart palpitations glorifying Allah.  So no matter what you are doing you can engage in some form of Godly remembrance.  And this is what true success is; when your personality can remain in the remembrance of Allah regardless of the time and environment.

With this in mind can you imagine the personality of our Prophet Muhammad (pboh)?  He reached such a stage where his physical countenance shown with light.

May Allah enable us to cultivate our personalities to such an extent that we are capable of remembering Him constantly and continuously.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Remembering Allah with a clear mind

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Last week we spoke about the remembrance of Allah.  Today insha Allah we will look at the stages ones goes through in the process of becoming God conscious.  It cannot happen overnight.  It takes time and discipline.

As human beings we cannot have two separate entities in our mind at one and the same time.  For example we cannot remember Allah and think of the worldly acquisitions at the same time.  Allah says in Surah Ahzab;

Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his (one) body: (33:4)
So human beings cannot engage into two contrasting entitles at one and the same time.  How then do we achieve pure God consciousness?  It is possible through discipline and culturing of the personality.  In relation to this Allah says;

But keep in remembrance the name of Thy Lord and devote thyself to Him whole-heartedly.  (73:8)

Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said “Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep.  On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep’.  When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart." (Bukhari)

Through the remembrance of Allah you can put to rest the scheme of Satan.
The best time to remember Allah is when you have finished all your worldly commitments, and any other distractions that are on your mind.  When you are free of all emotional preoccupation you can communicate properly to your Lord.
Allah makes mention of this in Surah Alam Nasyrah;

Therefore, when thou art free (from thine immediate task), still labour hard, and to Thy Lord turn (all) thy attention.  (94:7-8)

Prophet Muhammad emphasizes the importance of having a clear mind in the following ahadith:

§  “If the Iqama for prayer is proclaimed and supper is served, take your supper first”.
§  One of the three acts which are not allowed is for a person to offer prayer while needing to answer the call of nature”.
We can see the practicality of Islam.  Devote yourself to your Lord when your mind is clear and free from any preoccupations.  Nothing should distract you when you are attempting to gain closeness to Allah.  Satan is smart and he will use your emotional unrest to divert your focus away from Allah, so all you will really be achieving is the mechanical aspect of prayer.
Imam Ali (as) says: “Allah doesn't answer the prayer of a person whose prayer doesn't come from his heart”.  Therefore, one should pray from the depths of his heart and should have a conviction that Allah is watching and listening to him.
One of the best times to engage in the remembrance of Allah is during the night prayer (Tahajjud).  When everyone else is asleep and there is relative tranquillity.  At night there are less distractions, thus a person would be able to concentrate and focus more.  Allah says;

Truly the rising by night is most potent for governing (the soul), and most suitable for (framing) the word (of prayer and Praise).  (73:6)
Islam doesn’t want you to stay away from the world.  Instead maintain an appropriate balance.  Take time out of your daily routine to gain nearness to Allah.  Don’t keep on procrastinating and put off God consciousness.  Every day that passes means one day less in this world.  Get closer to your Lord and insha Allah He will look after all your affairs in this world and the next.
May Allah always bless the believers and enable us to gain nearness to Him and maintain it throughout our lives.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Remembering Allah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Allah says in Surah Baqarah;

Then do ye remember Me; I will remember you.  Be grateful to me, and reject not Faith.  (2:152)

We are all living in the Divine Presence of Allah.  We know that He sees and hears everything, so then why is He telling us about His remembrance in the ayat quoted above?

It is recorded in Hadith Qudsi that Allah the Most High says, “I am with my slave when he thinks of Me and I am with him when he mentions Me.  For if he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in a gathering, I mention him in superior gathering.  If he approaches Me by a hand's width, I approach him by an arm's length, I approach him by two arms length.  And if he comes to me walking, I hasten to him swiftly".  (Bukhari)

Whenever we engage in the remembrance of Allah by ways of praising Him and glorifying Him we are getting closer and closer to Him.

What we can gather is that Allah wants us to get close to Him.  In retrospect this is easier said than done so He actually meets you along your path to Him.  Look at how merciful He is.  If you make the smallest of efforts to attain closeness to your Creator He comes down to you.  And He further says that He sends a light by which to guide you along the straight path. 

Understand that in regular remembrance of Allah, He will guide you, forgive you and reward you.  If you keep God conscious even if you make a mistake He will forgive you.  Allah wants you to thank Him and appreciate His favours.  And He promises more blessings to those who show gratefulness to Him.

One sage told his people that that he actually knows when Allah is remembering him.  Obviously curious his people asked as to when to which the sage replied whenever I am remembering Him.

So when we engage in any act of remembrance Allah focuses something of His Divine Attention on us. 

Satan on the other hand wants to continuously divert your focus away from your Lord.  Allah says;

Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?  (5:91)

Remember if you put your faith and trust in Allah He will attend to you.  This is what true faith is about; trusting Allah especially when you are faced with difficulties.  Some people say that they maintain faith in Allah but you have to tie your camel.  The Sufis say that once you put your faith in Allah your ‘camel has been tied’.

We cannot question nor understand the working of Allah.  He knows that which we don’t.  What we do know is that by constantly remembering Him He remembers us and insh Allah will take care of our affairs.

May Allah enable us to demonstrate throughout our lives true reliance and trust in Him and may He guide us and protect us from situations that divert our focus away from Him.