Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
What causes people to take the final step? The step that sends them plummeting to the world of death. Do they not know that once they do this...once they commit to death...they are to go to a place where they are to be judged....and may end up in a worse state than they were in in this dunya? SubhanAllah. Suicide--the un-understandable act that seems to fill the "halls" of this earth.
No matter what psychological stress a Muslim goes through, never should they even contemplate this act. I mean...subhanAllah....why would someone commit this act for relief of this quick-to-finish life in exchange for the punishment of eternal-Hellfire?
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
"Whoever throws himself down from a mountain and kills himself, he will be in the Fire of Hell throwing himself down for ever and ever. Whoever drinks poison and kills himself will have the poison in his hand, drinking it in the Fire of Hell for ever and ever. Whoever kills himself with a piece of iron [a weapon] will have that piece of iron in his hand, stabbing himself in the stomach with it in the Fire of Hell forever and ever." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5778).
The thought of that...is enough to send chills down even a disbelievers spine.
As muslims...we have no reason to lose hope. Do we not remember what Allah has told us in His Holy Book? (interpretation of the meaning)
wa Alhamdulillah rabb Al Alameen
Sunday, July 27, 2008
As I walked into the Titanic Exhibit today, the man who checked my ticket handed me my boarding pass. ‘boarding pass?’ I thought… ‘to an exhibit?’ Little did I know for the next twenty minutes I would not be living under the name that my Father had given me at birth, rather I would be reliving the life of the woman on my boarding pass.
I began to become acquainted with my new name, although at first i was a bit confused to as to what it really was. On the pass it said: “Passenger Name: Mrs. Ernest E. Nye (Elizabeth Ramell)”…..Ernest..? Isnt that a guys name? How can I live a life, even if for only twenty minutes, of a guy. Then i realized….my name is Elizabeth..but these people aboard the Titanic had not been touched with the beauty of Islam. Elizabeth Ramell had to live a life of being the property of her husband, not even being known by her name…rather by her husbands. Anyways… I moved on trying to get a feel for the life of this woman I was to be for the next short part of my life. She had to ride second class, not first, not a big deal….i do that all the time…Reading on I saw facts about her traggic life, although only 29 she had to deal with death after death of those she loved so dearly…She must have been quite sad..what with no Islam to help her get over her losses. Alhamdulilah, I had become acquainted with her, so I decided to move on, and enter into the realm of the Titanic and see the real scraps they left behind.
Indestructible, or so they thought. I, Elizabeth Ramell, had been told that’s what it was. No one could break it…no one could tear it down “not even God himself”. Had this not been Elizabeth Ramell speaking she might have taken that as a warning….and hated this blasphemous statement, too bad Elizabeth Ramell was Elizabeth Ramell.... I walked from display to display putting myself in this Woman’s shoes….minus the alcohol…I can’t even bring myself to imagine that part. Traveling alone the terror of the sound and rumble that the impact, into the ice berg, caused flew through my veins. “Death…me? Am I to go join my loved ones? I’m not ready…i’ll change…i must save myself!” I thought the same thing most of the people on that boat must have thought….. We began running, screaming, praying to God to save us. I kept thinking ‘we uttered the most horrible words…said God could not sink this boat, and now God was going to sink this boat and we were going to go down with it!’ I saw the nearest lifeboat…and prayed they let me on. They did. I jumped in, fighting off cowardly men and women who couldnt wait their turn to take my seat near the floor. Hopefully I’d be rescued…Hopefully I wouldnt join those in the water….those who were….before my eyes…dying.
Snapping back to reality i walked forward towards two walls covered in names. Survivors…and other than survivors.
First Class: 199 Saved; 130 Dead
Second Class: 119 Saved; 166 Dead
Third Class: 183 Saved; 527 Dead
Crew: 212 Saved; 698 Dead
Would my temporary identity be one of those among the 119 Saved from second class…or those to be left at sea….to feed the fish? I started reading through the many names on that wall, first the dead. Name after name I read until i got through the 166, without finding my name. Every name was strange to me. People I have never met, and people that are not remembered except by having their name written on this wall. I couldnt help but think about how these people were facing something greater than the ship they were on, greater than the wreck they died in. Imagine facing the One who knows everything you have EVER done, without exception. . Seeing that my twenty minute identity was not on the Death list, I moved on to read the survivors, I found the name.
She lived. Yes, Elizabeth Ramell was rescued but rescued from what? Rescued from going forward to meet her Lord, to face the fact that without islam she had wasted her entire life. Rescued from that meeting….so that she could continue to live her life..continue to disobey Allah ..continue to live without islam.
What about me? Yes the real me, not Elizabeth. Me. The me that never even saw the real Titanic. The me that never lived through a near death experience. The me that was walking through a exhibit in near by Houston….. living in a make-believe world. What will be my fate? When will I die? Will I be ready…for there will come a day..where I am nothing more than a name in this dunya..soon to be forgotten, and I must prepare.
Take heed of the signs that were left for us. Take heed of the lessons derived from the people that came before us.
wa Alhamdulilahi rabb al Alameen.
When I’m sitting on the sidelines watching my friends chat their lives away with guys, trying to find a place to sit where I cant be seen. Trying to find someone to chill with who wont invite a guy over to join the convo….The words ring in my head.
When I’m listening to the painful words that prove that I am no where near to what this society classifies as “normal” and that i have taken a turn for “extreme”…The words ring in my head.
When I walk through the halls of America, with every eye turning to see what ’strange thing’ just walked in…The words ring in my head.
When the women at the masajid make it a point to tell me mother her only daughter will never get married because of the niqab she sports across her face….The words ring my head
The words that give me comfort and remind me of the reward in store in sha Allah .
بَدَأَ الإِسْلامُ غَرِيبًا ، وَسَيَعُودُ كَمَا بَدَأَ غَرِيبًا ، فَطُوبَى لِلْغُرَبَاءِ
“Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”
Fa Toubaa lil-Ghurabaa.
wa Alhamdulilah rab Al-alameen.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Salmân al-Fârsî radhiyAllahu anhu said:
|"There was a man who was given many of the luxuries of this world, and then they were taken away from him. But he continued to praise and thank Allâh until everything had been taken from him, even his bed. And then he still praised and thanked Allâh. Another man, who had also been given many of the luxuries of this world asked him, 'What are you praising and thanking Allâh for?' The man said, 'I am praising and thanking Him for blessings which, if others asked me to give them to them in return for all that they have, I would never give them up.' 'What can they be?' asked the second man. 'Can't you see?' asked the first man. 'I have my eyesight, my tongue, my hands, my feet...'"|
Layth ibn Abî Burdah said:
|'When Allâh gathers people on the Day of Judgement, He will remind them of His blessings. One of His slaves will say: "Remind me of something," and Allâh will say: "Remember when you faced such-and-such adversity, and you prayed to Me, so I relieved you of it. Remember when you were travelling in such and-such a place, and you asked Me to give you a travelling companion, and I did so... Remember when you asked for the hand of so-and-so the daughter of so-and-so, and others also asked for her hand, so I gave her to you to marry; and kept the others away." His slave will be standing before his Lord, Who will remind him of His many blessings.'" Then the narrator of this story (Layth) wept and said, "I hope that no one will stand before his Lord in this way, because the one who does so will be punished." (i.e. if Allâh has to point out that which should be obvious, this is a sign of a person's ingratitude, and he will be punished.)|
A man of knowledge said:
|"The blessing of Allâh to us in keeping the luxuries of this world away from us is greater than the blessing of that which he has given us, because Allah did not like His Prophet to have the luxuries of this world. So I prefer to live in the manner which Allâh preferred for His Prophet than to live a life which He disliked for him."|
Ibn Abi'd-Dunyâ said:
|"It was narrated to me that some scholars said: 'The scholar should praise Allâh for having deprived him of the luxuries of this life, in the same way that he should praise Him for what He has bestowed upon him. How can you compare the blessings and luxuries for which he will be accountable to the deprivation of luxuries which is a relief from being tested, and which keeps his mind free to worship and remember Allâh? So he should give thanks to Allâh for all of that.'"|
A man said to Abû Hâzim:
|"What is the gratitude of the eyes?" He said, "If you see good things, you speak about them, and if you see bad things, you keep quiet about it." He asked, "What is the gratitude of the ears?" He said, "If you hear something good, you accept it, and if you hear something bad, you reject it." Then he asked, "What is the gratitude of the hands?" He said, "Do not take what which does not belong to you, and do not hold back from paying the dues of Allâh (zakât)." Then he asked, "What is the gratitude of the head?" He said: "To have knowledge in it." Then he asked, "What is the gratitude of one's private parts?"|
|"'Who guard their private parts, except from those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess – for (in their case) they are free from blame, but those whose desires exceed those limits are transgressors'" (al-Mu'minûn 23:5-7).|
Ibn Abi'd-Dunyâ mentioned that Dâwûd (peace be upon Him) asked Allâh: "What is the least of Your blessings?" Allâh revealed to him: "O Dâwûd, take a breath." Dâwûd did so, and Allâh told him: "This is the least of My blessings on you."
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
1 – Being sincere towards Allaah, as He has commanded us to be sincere towards Him and none other in our deeds. He tells us (interpretation of the meaning): “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allaah, and worship none but Him Alone…”
The more sincere a person is towards Allaah, the more he will be guided and helped to obey Allaah and draw closer to Him. Ubayy ibn Ka’b (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Give glad tidings to this ummah of splendour, religion, high rank, victory and prevalence on earth. Whoever does the deeds of the Hereafter to gain some worldly benefit, will have no share of the Hereafter.” (Reported by Ahmad. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2825).
Mutarraf ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Shakheer said: “The goodness of a deed is related to the goodness of the heart, and the goodness of the heart is related to the goodness of the intention.” Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The degree to which a person is helped and aided by Allaah depends on the degree of his intention, drive, aim and hopes. Help from Allaah comes to people in proportion to their drive, intention, hopes and fears, and failure comes to them in like manner.”
Therefore the salaf were very keen to conceal their acts of worship such as qiyaam al-layl. A man asked Tameem ibn Aws al-Daari (may Allaah be pleased with him), ‘How do you pray at night?’ He got very angry and said, ‘By Allaah, one rak’ah that I pray in secret in the small hours of the night is more beloved to me than praying the whole night long and then telling people about it.’
Ayyoob al-Sakhtiyaani used to spend the entire night in prayer, then when dawn approached, he would go back to bed and lie down, and when dawn came, he would raise his voice as if he had just woken up.
2 – The person who wants to pray qiyaam al-layl should realize that Allaah is calling him to qiyaam. When the slave realizes that his Master, Who has no need of people’s worship, is calling him to do this, he will respond. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you wrapped in your garments (i.e., Prophet Muhammad)! Stand (to pray) all night, except a little. Half of it, or a little less than that, or a little more; and recite the Qur’aan (aloud) in a slow, (pleasant tone and) style.”
Sa’d ibn Hishaam ibn ‘Aamir said to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her): “Tell me about how the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed qiyaam.” She said: “Have you not read “Yaa ayyuha’l-muzzammil (O you wrapped in your garments!)?” He said, “Of course.” She said: “Allaah, may He be exalted and glorified, made qiyaam obligatory at the beginning of this soorah, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions prayed qiyaam for a year, and Allaah withheld the end of this soorah for twelve months, until He revealed something at the end of this soorah to make things easier, so qiyaam al-layl became voluntary after it had been obligatory.” (Reported by Muslim).
3 – Knowing the virtues of qiyaam al-layl. Whoever knows the virtues of this act of worship will be keen to talk to Allaah, may He be exalted, and to stand before Him at that time. Among the reports that describe the virtues of this act of worship is the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is prayer in the depths of the night, and the best of fasting after the month of Ramadaan is fasting the month of Allaah, Muharram.” (reported by Muslim).
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with them both) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The most beloved of prayer to Allaah is the prayer of Dawood, and the most beloved of fasts to Allaah is the fast of Dawood. He used to sleep for half of the night, then get up and pray for a third of the night, then sleep for a sixth of the night, and he used to fast every other day.” (Agreed upon).
‘Amr ibn ‘Absah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The closest that the Lord is to His slave is in the later part of the night, so if you can be one of those who remember Allaah at that time, then do so.”(Reported by al-Tirmidhi and al-Nisaa'i).
According to a hadeeth narrated by Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Our Lord admires two men: a man who leaves his mattress and cover, and slips away from his wife and lover, to go and pray. Allaah says, ‘O My angels, look at My slave. He has left his mattress and cover and slipped away from his lover and wife to pray, our of hope for what is with Me and out of fear of what is with Me.” (Reported by Ahmad. It is a hasan report. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 258).
Qiyaam al-Layl expels forgetfulness from the heart, as is stated in the hadeeth narrated by ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with them both), in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever recites ten aayaat in qiyaam will not be recorded as one of the forgetful. Whoever recites a hundred aayaat in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the devout , and whoever prays a thousand aayaat in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the muqantareen (those who pile up good deeds).”
(Reported by Abu Dawood and Ibn Hibbaan. It is a hasan report. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 635).
Yahyaa ibn Mu’aadh said: “The medicine of the heart is five things: reading Qur’aan and pondering the meaning, having an empty stomach, praying at night (qiyaam al-layl), beseeching Allaah at the time of suhoor, and keeping company with righteous people.”
4 – Studying how the salaf and righteous people practised qiyaam al-layl and adhered to it. The salaf used to enjoy qiyaam al-layl and rejoice greatly in doing it.
‘Abd-Allaah ibn Wahb said: “Every type of pleasure is enjoyed only once, except for acts of worship, which are enjoyed three times: when you do it, when you remember it, and when you are given the reward for it.”
Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir said:“There is nothing left of the joys of this life except three: qiyaam al-layl, meeting one’s brothers in faith, and praying in congregation.”
Thaabit al-Banaani said: “There is nothing I enjoy more than qiyaam al-layl.”
Yazeed al-Riqaashi said: “A lot of tahajjud brings delight to the worshippers, and a lot of thirst (i.e., fasting), brings joy when they meet Allaah.”
Mukhallad ibn Husayn said: “I never woke up at night except I saw Ibraaheem ibn Adham remembering Allaah and praying, and this made me depressed, so I consoled myself with this aayah (interpretation of the meaning): ‘…That is the Grace of Allaahm which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty’ [al-Hadeed 54:21].”
Abu ‘Aasim al-Nabeel said: “Abu Haneefah used to be called al-Watad (pole or pillar) because he prayed so much.”
Al-Qaasim ibn Ma’een said: “Abu Haneefah spent an entire night in qiyaam reciting this aayah (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time (for their full recompense), and the Hour will be more grievous and more bitter’ [al-Qamar 54:46], repeating it and weeping, beseeching Allaah until morning came.”
Ibraaheem ibn Shammaas said: “I used to see Ahmad ibn Hanbal staying up at night to pray when he was a young man.”
Abu Bakr al-Marwadhi said: “I was with Imaam Ahmad for nearly four months in the army, and he never stopped praying qiyaam at night or reading Qur’aan during the day, and I never knew when he completed the Qur’aan, because he kept that secret.”
Imaam al-Bukhaari used to pray qiyaam and tahajjud at night until the time of suhoor, and he would read between a half and a third of the Qur’aan, and complete it at suhoor every third night.
Al-‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Abd al-Haadi said, describing the qiyaam of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah: “At night he would keep away from people, and spend that time only with his Lord, beseeching Him continually and reciting Qur’aan, repeating different kinds of acts of worship by night and by day. When he began to pray, his body would start to tremble, leaning to the left and right.”
Ibn Rajab said concerning his shaykh Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim: “He was a man of worship, tahajjud and lengthy prayers. I have never seen his equal in worship and knowledge of the Qur’aan, hadeeth and principles of faith.”
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said, describing his shaykh al-Haafiz al-‘Iraaqi: “I stayed with him, and I never saw him forsake qiyaam al-layl: it was like a habit for him.”
5 – Sleeping on one’s right side. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught his ummah to sleep on their right sides, as is reported in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any one of you goes to bed, let him clear his bed by hitting it with his garment, for he does not know what may have come onto it. Then let him lie down on his right side, then let him say, ‘Bismika Rabbi wada’tu janbi wa bika arfa’uhu. In amsakta nafsi farhamhaa wa in arsaltahaa fahfazhaa bimaa tahfazu bihi ‘ibaadaka al-saaliheen (In Your Name, my Lord, I lay myself down and I get up again. If You take my soul, then have mercy on it, and if You send it back to me, then protect it with that with which You protect Your righteous slaves).’” (Agreed upon).
Al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When you want to go to bed, do wudoo’ as for prayer, then lie down on your right side.” (Agreed upon)
Hafsah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to bed, he would put his right hand under his right cheek.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani, Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4523).
Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “There is a reason for his lying on his right side, which is that the heart is located on the left, so if a person lays on his left side, he will sleep too deeply, because the heart’s position will be too comfortable, but if he sleeps on his right side, he will not be too settled, so he won’t sleep deeply.”
6 – Sleeping in a state of tahaarah (purity). We have already quoted the hadeeth of al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib (may Allaah be pleased with him), in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “When you go to bed, do wudoo’ as if for prayer.” (Agreed upon).
Mu’aad ibn Jabal (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no Muslim who goes to sleep remembering Allaah and in a state of purity, and when he turns over he asks Allaah for good in this world and the next, but it will be given to him.” (Reported by Abu Dawood and Ahmad. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5754).
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Purify these bodies and Allaah will purify you, for there is no slave who goes to sleep in a state of purity but an angel spends the night with him, and every time he turns over, [the angel] says, ‘O Allaah, forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.’” (Reported by al-Tabaraani. Al-Mundhiri said, its isnaad is jaayid. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3831).
7 – Going to sleep early. Sleeping straight after ‘Ishaa’ is the advice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and a good and healthy habit. One of the ahaadeeth that describe its virtues was narrated by Abu Barzah al-Aslami (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to prefer to delay ‘Ishaa’, and he did not like to sleep before it or talk after it. (Reported by al-Bukhaari).
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar reported that al-Qaadi ‘Ayaad said, concerning the phrase “He did not like to sleep before it”: “Because that could lead to one praying it too late, or delaying it until after the preferred time, and talking after it could lead to one sleeping before Fajr and missing it, or missing qiyaam al-layl.”
Ibn Raafi’ said: “ ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to wave his stick at the people when darkness fell, and would say, ‘Get up and go, may Allaah help you to pray qiyaam at night!’”
Another matter that has to do with sleep is choosing a suitable bed, not one that is excessively luxurious or soft, because that makes a person sleep too much and become negligent, and causes laziness and carelessness.
‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The pillow of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on which he slept at night was made of leather stuffed with palm fibres.” (Reported by Abu Dawood and Ahmad. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4714).
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab entered upon the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he was lying on a mat of palm fibres that had left marks on his side. ‘Umar said, “O Messenger of Allaah, why do you not get something more comfortable than this?” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “What do I have to do with this world? My relationship with this world is like that of a traveller on a hot summer’s day, who seeks shade under a tree for an hour, then moves on.”
(Reported by Ahmad and al-Haakim. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5545).
‘Ali ibn Bakkaar (may Allaah have mercy on him) used to have a slave-woman who would spread out his bed for him, and he would touch it with his hand and say: “By Allaah, you are good, and by Allaah you are cool, but by Allaah I will not rest on you tonight.” Then he would get up and pray qiyaam until Fajr.
Also, one should not sleep too much or too deeply. Ibraaheem ibn Adham said: “If you are sleeping at night, and running about during the day, and always committing sin, how can you earn the pleasure of the One Who is directing your affairs?”
‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) reported that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to bed each night, he would put his palms together, blow in them, and recite Qul huwa Allaahu ahad, Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbi’l-Falaq and Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbi’l-Naas, then he would wipe as much of his body as he could with his hands, starting with his head and face, and the front of his body, doing this three times.(Agreed upon).
Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever recites the last two aayahs of Soorat al-Baqarah, this will take care of him.” (Agreed upon).
Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to bed, he would say: “Al-hamdu Lillaah illadhi at’amanaa wa saqaanaa, wa kafaanaa fa kam mimman laa kaafeeya lahu wa laa mu’weeya lahu (Praise be to Allaah Who has fed us and given us to drink, and Who has given us enough, for how many are there who have no-one to suffice them or give them refuge).” (Reported by Muslim).
According to the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah in which he tells the story of how he captured the Shaytaan, the Shaytaan said to him: “When you go to bed, recite Aayat al-Kursi, ‘Allaah! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever-Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists…’
[al-Baqarah 2:255 – interpretation of the meaning]
until the end of it, because it will bring Allaah’s protection for you, and no shaytaan will approach you until morning comes.”
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) mentioned this to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he said, “He spoke the truth even though he is a liar.” (Agreed upon).
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that when the Prophet’s daughter Faatimah (may Allaah be pleased with her) came to him and asked him for a servant, he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to her and ‘Ali: “Shall I not teach you something that will be better for you than a servant? When you go to bed, say ‘Subhaan Allaah’ thirty-three times, ‘al-hamdu Lillaah’ thirty-three times, and ‘Allaahu akbar’ thirty-four times. This is better for you than a servant.” (Agreed upon).
Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Recite ‘Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon’ when you go to sleep, for it is a renunciation of shirk.” (Reported by al-Bayhaqi. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1172).
Hafsah (may Allaah be pleased with her) reported that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to bed, he would put his right hand under his right cheek and say: ‘Rabbi qinee ‘adhaabaka yawma tab’athu ‘ibaadaka (My Lord, save me from Your punishment on the Day when You resurrect Your slaves).’” (Reported by Abu Dawood, Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4532).
Al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When you go to bed, do wudoo’ as if for prayer, then lie down on your right side, then say: ‘Allaahummah aslamtu nafsi ilayk, wa wajahtu wajhi ilayk, wa fawwadtu amri ilayk, wa alja’tu zahri ilayk, raghbatan wa rahbatan ilayk, laa malja’a wa laa manjaa minka illa ilayk. Aamantu bi kitaabik alladhi anzalt, wa bi nabiyyik alladhi arsalt (O Allaah, I submit myself to You, I turn my face to You, I delegate my affairs to You and I rely totally on You, out of fear and hope of You. There is no refuge or sanctuary from You except in You. I believe in Your Book which You have revealed and in Your Prophet whom You have sent).’ Then if you die, you will have died on the fitrah, so make these the last words you speak.” (Agreed upon).
Similarly, the Muslim should have the habit of reciting adhkaar prescribed by sharee’ah when waking up, such as that reported by Abu Hurayrah, who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any one of you wakes up, he should say: ‘Al-hamdu Lillaah illadhi radda ‘alayya roohi, wa ‘aafaani fi jasadi wa adhina li bi dhikrihi (Praise be to Allaah Who has restored my soul, given health to my body, and allowed me to remember Him).” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi and al-Nisaa'i, Saheeh al-Jaami’, 326).
‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever turns over at night and says ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘a’l kulli shay’in qadeer. Al-hamdulillahi, subhaan Allaah wa laa illaaha ill-Allaah wa Allaahu akbar wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (There is no god but Allaah Alone, with no partner or associate. His is the Dominion and the Praise, and He is Able to do all things. Praise be to Allaah, glory be to Allaah. There is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most Great and there is no strength and no power except in Allaah),’ then says, ‘Allaahumma ‘ghfir li (O Allaah, forgive me),’ or some other du’aa’, it will be answered, and if he does wudoo’ and then prays, his prayer will be accepted.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari)
Imaam Ibn Battaal said: “Allaah has promised through His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that whoever wakes up from his sleep pronouncing words of Tawheed, submitting to His sovereignty, recognizing His blessings by praising Him, exalting Him above that which does not befit Him by glorifying Him (saying ‘Subhaan Allaah’), submitting to Him by magnifying Him (saying ‘Allaahu akbar’) and admitting one’s utter dependence upon His help, then if he makes du’aa’ it will be answered, and if he prays his prayer will be accepted. Everyone who hears this hadeeth should apply it and make the most of it, and make his intention sincerely for his Lord, may He be glorified and exalted.”
Al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) woke up, he would say: ‘Al-hamdu Lillaah illadhi ahyaanaa ba’da maa amaatanaa wa ilayhi al-nushoor (Praise be to Allaah Who has brought us back to life after having caused us to die, and unto Him is the resurrection).’” (Reported by Muslim).
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) reported that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) woke up he would wipe the sleep from his face with his hand, then look at the sky and recite the final ten aayaat of Soorat Aal ‘Imran: “Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth…”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:190 – interpretation of the meaning].”
(Reported by Muslim)
Imaam al-Nawawi said: “This indicates that it is mustahabb to wipe away the traces of sleep from one’s face, and to recite these aayaat when getting up from sleep.”
9 – Being keen to take a nap or siesta during the day, whether before zuhr or after. Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Take a nap, for the shayaateen do not take naps.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani. Al-Saheehah, 2647).
Ishaaq ibn ‘Abd-Allaah said: “Taking a nap is one of the deeds of good people. It revitalizes the heart and helps one to pray qiyaam al-layl.”
Al-Hasan al-Basri passed by a group of people in the marketplace in the middle of the day, and heard the racket they were making. He said, “Do these people take a nap?” It was said to him, “No.” He said, “I think their nights must be bad.”
10 – Avoiding eating or drinking too much. Eating and drinking too much are two of the main obstacles that prevent people from praying qiyaam al-layl. Al-Miqdaam ibn Ma’d Yakrib (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Man fills no vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to have a few mouthfuls to give him the strength he needs. If he has to fill his stomach, then let him leave one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5674).
Abu Juhayfah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to a man who burped in his presence: “Stop your burping, for the people who eat the most in this life will be the most hungry hungry on the Day of Resurrection.” (Reported by al-Haakim. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1190).
Sufyaan al-Thawri said: “You should eat little, so that you will be able to pray qiyaam al-layl.”
Ma’qal ibn Habeeb saw some people eating a lot, and said, ‘I do not think that our companions want to pray qiyaam al-layl.”
Wahb ibn Munbih said: “There is no son of Adam dearer to his shaytaan than the one who eats and sleeps a lot.”
11 – Striving against oneself to pray qiyaam al-layl. This is one of the best means of helping oneself to pray qiyaam, because human nature is inclined towards wrongdoing, so the one who follows his own inclinations will be led to doom and destruction. Allaah has commanded us to strive against our own selves,
as He says (interpretation of the meanings):
“And strive hard in Allaah’s Cause as you ought to strive…”
“And as for those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths. And verily, Allaah is with the muhsinoon (good-doers).”
“Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allaah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them”
Fadaalah ibn ‘Ubayd (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The mujaahid is the one who strives against his own self for the sake of Allaah.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibbaan. Al-Saheehah, 549).
According to the hadeeth of ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a man from my ummah gets up to pray at night, striving against his own self to get up and purify himself, there are knots on him. When he washes his hands in wudoo’, one knot is undone. When he washes his face, another knot is undone. When he wipes his head another knot is undone. When he washes his feet, another knot is undone. Then Allaah says to those who are veiled (in the Unseen): ‘Look at this slave of Mine, he is striving against his own self and asking of Me. Whatever My slave asks of Me shall be his.”
(Reported by Ahmad and Ibn Hibaan. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 627).
Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir said: “I struggled against my own self for forty years until it became right.”
Thaabit al-Banaani said: “I struggled for twenty years to make myself pray qiyaam al-layl, and I enjoyed it (qiyaam al-layl) for twenty years.”
‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez said: “The best of deeds are those which we force ourselves to do.”
‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Mubaarak said: “The souls of righteous people in the past used to push them to do good deeds, but our souls do not do what we want them to do except by force, so we have to force them.”
Qutaadah said: “O son of Adam, if you do not want to do any good except when you have the energy for it, then your nature is more inclined towards boredom and laziness. The true believer is the one who pushes himself.”
12 – Avoiding sin. If the Muslim wants to be one of those who earn the honour of speaking to Allaah in the depths of the night, let him beware of sin, for the one who is contaminated with the stain of sin will not be helped to pray qiyaam al-layl.
A man said to Ibraaheem ibn Adham, “I cannot pray qiyaam al-layl, so tell me the cure for this.” He said, “Do not commit sin during the day, and He will help you to stand before Him at night, for your standing before Him at night is one of the greatest honours, and the sinner does not deserve that honour.
A man said to al-Hasan al-Basri: “”O Abu Sa’eed, I sleep in good health, and I love to pray qiyaam al-layl, and I prepare water with which to purify myself, so why can I not get up?” Al-Hasan said: “Your sins are restricting you.” He said, may Allaah have mercy on him, “The slave who commits a sin will be denied the opportunity to pray qiyaam at night and to fast during the day.”
Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Ayaad said: “If you cannot pray qiyaam al-layl, or fast during the day, know that you are indeed deprived and restricted, chained by your sins.”
13 – Checking oneself and rebuking oneself for not praying qiyaam al-layl. Checking oneself is one of the signs of the righteous and truthful. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Fear Allaah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what you do.”
Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim said: “If the slave is responsible and accountable for everything, even his hearing, sight and innermost thoughts,
as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning),
‘…Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of you will be questioned by Allaah’
then he should check on himself before he is brought to account.”
Qiyaam al-layl is an act of worship that connects the heart to Allaah, may He be exalted, and enables it to overcome the temptations of life and to strive against one’s own self, at the time when voices are stilled, eyes are closed in sleep, and sleepers are tossing and turning in their beds. Therefore qiyaam al-layl is one of the measures of sincere determination and one of the qualities of those who have great ambitions. Allaah has praised them and distinguished them from others in the Qur’aan,
where He says (interpretation of the meaning): “Is one who is obedient to Allaah, prostrating himself or standing (in prayer) during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the Mercy of his Lord (like one who disbelieves)? Say: ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?’ It is only men of understanding who will remember.”
Qiyaam al-layl is “sunnah mu’akkadah” (confirmed Sunnah), which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) urged us to do when he said, “You should pray qiyaam al-layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad).
According to a hadeeth, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is qiyaam al-layl.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) always had the habit of praying qiyaam al-layl, and never gave it up, whether he was travelling or staying at home. Even though he, among all the sons of Adam, would be the one to have all his past and future sins forgiven, he prayed qiyaam al-layl until his feet became swollen, and when he was asked about that, he said, “Should I not be a grateful slave?” (Agreed upon).
This is how the noble salaf were, may Allaah have mercy upon them. Abu’l-Darda’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Pray two rak’ahs in the darkness of the night for the darkness of the grave.” Ahmad ibn Harb said: “I am astonished at people who know that the delights of Paradise lie above them and the horrors of Hell lie beneath them. How can they sleep in between them?”
When ‘Umar ibn Dharr saw that night had come, he would say: “Night has come, and night has dignity, and Allaah is most deserving of reverence.”
For this reason, al-Fudayl ibn ‘Ayaad said: “I met some people who feel ashamed before Allaah to sleep for too long in the depths of the night. Such a person may be resting on his side, and when he moves, he says to himself, ‘This is not your right. Get up and take your share of the Hereafter.’”
Al-Hasan said: “We do not know of any deed more difficult than the struggle to stay up at night or to spend money.” It was said to him, “Why do the mutahajjadeen (those who pray Tahajjud at night) have the most beautiful faces?” He said, “Because they spend time alone with the Most Merciful, so He adorns them with some of His light.”
The women of the salaf also used to strive to pray qiyaam al-layl with energy and determination. Where are the women of our own age when it comes to such great deeds? ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr said: “I came to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) one day to greet her, and I found her praying and reciting the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), ‘But Allaah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire’
repeating it and weeping. I waited for her, but I got bored of waiting, so I went to the market for some things I needed, then I came back to ‘Aa’ishah, and she was still praying and reciting this aayah and weeping.”
Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Jibreel said to me, ‘Go back to Hafsah, for she fasts a lot and prays a lot at night (qiyaam al-layl).’” (Reported by al-Haakim, Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4227).
Mu’aadhah al-‘Adawiyyah, one of the righteous Taabi’aat spent her wedding night, along with her husband Silah ibn Ashyam, praying until Fajr. When her husband and son were killed in the land of jihaad, she would spend the whole night in prayer, worshipping and beseeching Allaah, and she would sleep during the day. If she felt sleepy whilst she was praying at night, she would tell herself: “O soul, there is plenty of sleep ahead of you.”
When Habeebah al-‘Adawiyyah prayed ‘Ishaa’, she would stand on the roof of her house, wearing her chemise and khimaar (i.e., covered in proper Islamic dress), then she would say, “O my God, the stars have come out, people have gone to sleep, and kings have closed their doors, but Your door is open. Every lover is alone with his lover, but here I am standing before You.” Then she would start to pray and talk to her Lord until the time of suhoor. When the time of suhoor came, she would say, “O Allaah, this night is ending, the day is coming, and I wish I knew whether you have accepted this night (of worship) from me, so that I could congratulate myself, or if it has been rejected, so that I might console myself.”
‘Amrah, the wife of Habeeb al-‘Ajami, prayed qiyaam al-layl one night whilst her husband was asleep. When the time for suhoor came, and her husband was still asleep, she woke him up and said to him, “Get up, my master, for the night has gone, the day has come and ahead of you lies a long road with little provision, and a small group of righteous people who have gone before us, and we are still here.”
We ask Allaah to help us to remember Him, to thank Him and to worship Him properly. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Monday, May 5, 2008
-A Special Sister's Study Break (not me)
Monday, April 28, 2008
I was a teacher in the Qur’anic study circle at our neighborhood masjid at the time. I would see this young boy after Maghrib prayer who was about fifteen years old. He held a pocket Qur’an and sat alone reading from it. He wasn’t actually reading from it, he was just trying to make it seem as if he was. Now and again, he would shyly steal a few glances at us, curious to know what we were doing. Once in awhile, you would see him straining to make out what we were talking about. Every time I caught his eye, he would avert his head and continue with his recitation, as if he had not intended to look this way.
Day after day, he sat in the same reserved manner, revealing the same timid glance. Finally after Isha Salah one day, I resolved to confront him.
“As salamu alaykum. My name is Salman. I teach the Qur’anic study circle in this masjid.”
“And my name is Khalid.”
It was strange that he replied so fast, as if he had been waiting to share this piece of information for a long time and expected to be asked.
“Where do you study Khalid?”
“In the eighth grade…and I…I love the Qur’an a lot.”
Why did he add that last sentence?
Confidently, I asked him, “Listen Khalid, have you got any free time after Maghrib? We would be honored to have you join us in the class.”
“What? The Qur’an? The halaqah? Yes…why, yes of course (happiness overcame him). I’ll be there, in sha Allah.”
That night, I couldn’t think of anything other than this young boy and the haze that surrounded his behavior. Sleep would just not come. I attempted to interpret an answer for what I saw and heard, but there was none. A verse of poetry came to mind:
The coming days shall unravel the mystery And the news may appear from where you could never see.
I turned on my right side and slipped my right hand under my cheek:
O Allah, I have surrendered myself to You and to You I turn over my affairs.
Subhan Allah, the months were passing quickly. Khalid was now a regular in our Qur’an circle, energetic and successful in memorization. He was friends with everyone and everyone was friends with him. You could never catch him without a Qur’an in his hand, or find him in any other line in Salah other than the first.
There was nothing wrong with him except for his occasional long lapses of attention. There were times when his stoned eyes would reflect the fathomless thought going on in his mind. Sometimes we knew his body was with us, but his soul was somewhere else, suffocating in another world. Occasionally, I would startle him with a question. All he had was a mumble to reply with, and he would have been the first to admit its fabrication.
One night, I walked with him after class to the beach shore. Maybe his big secret might meet something equally large, relax somewhat, and release its distress and pain.
We arrived at the beach and traced the waves. The full moon was out. It was a strange sight. The darkness of the night found the darkness of the sea, with a lit moon in-between them.
I sat somewhat embarrassed at its intrusion, similar to my shyness towards Khalid right then. The rays of the silent moon rested on the silent waves of the sea. I stood behind the silent boy. The scene was silence.
It all shattered and crushed to the ground as the young boy fell to the bottom, bleeding his heart out with tears. I chose not to interrupt Khalid’s emotional release, perhaps the saltiness of his tears might help him relax and cleanse his distress.
After a few moments he said from behind his tears, “I love you all…I love the Qur’an…and those who love it. I love pious brothers, moral, pure brothers. But…my father…it’s my father.”
“Your father? What is wrong with your father Khalid?”
“My father always warned me not to hang around with you people. He’s afraid. He hates you all. And he always tries to convince me that I should hate you too. At any chance he gets, he tries to prove his point with stories and tales.
“But…when I saw you people in the halaqah reciting Qur’an, I saw something entirely different. I saw the light in your faces, the light in your clothes, the light in your words, even when you were silent I could see the light even then.
“I doubted my father’s tales and that’s why I would sit after Maghrib, watching you, pretending that I was part of the circle, trying to share in the light.
“I…I remember Ustadh Salman…I remember the time you approached me after ‘Isha prayer. I’d been waiting for that moment for such a long time. When I began the classes, my soul locked itself into a world of purity with your souls. I began the circle and was persistent. I wouldn’t sleep; my days and nights became Qur’an. My father noticed the change in my routine. He found out, one way or another, that I had joined the circle and that I was now hanging out with ‘terrorists’.
“Then, on a dark night…we were waiting for father to come home from the coffee shop, his daily ritual, so that we could all have dinner together. He entered the house with his hardened face and slaps of anger. We all sat together at the dinner mat. Silence settled on the gathering. As usual, all of us were afraid to speak in his presence.
“He knifed the silence with his roaring and immediate voice.
“‘I heard you’re hanging out with the fundamentalists.’
“I was caught. My tongue looped and failed. All the words in my mouth attempted to come out at the same time. But, he didn’t wait for the answer. He snatched the teakettle and threw it maliciously at my face. The room spun and the colors united before my eyes. I could no longer tell the ceiling from the walls from the floor, and fell.
“My mother held me. A damp cloth on my forehead reminded me of where I was. The vicious voice turned on my mother, ‘Leave him alone, or you’ll be in the same lot.’
“I crawled out of my mother’s lap and whimpered away to my room. He followed me down the corridor with the cruelest curses.
“There was not a day that he didn’t beat me in some way – curses, kicks, throwing whatever was nearest to his hand. My body had finally become a shiver of fear, grotesque colors formed all over. I hated him.
“One day while we were sitting at the dinner mat, he said, ‘Get up! Don’t eat with us!’
“Before I could get up though, he pounced immediately and kicked me in the back, making me slam into the pots. At that moment, lying there on the ground, I pretended to stand taller than him and shout back in his face. ‘One day, I’ll pay you back. I’ll beat you just like you beat me, and curse you just like you cursed me. I’ll grow up and become strong and you’ll get old and become feeble. Then I’ll treat you just like you treated me; I’ll pay you back.’
“After that, I left home and ran away. I just ran, anywhere, it didn’t matter anymore. “I found my way to this beach. It helped me wash away some of the sadness. I held my pocket Qur’an and began reciting until I could continue no longer because of my excessive crying.”
And here, a few of those innocent tears descended again, tears that sparkled under the moon like pearls under a lamp. I couldn’t say anything. The surprise had arrested my tongue.
Should I be aghast at this beast of a father, whose heart knew nothing about mercy? Or, should I be amazed at this patient young lad, whom Allah had wished guidance for and inspired with faith. Or, should I be shocked at them both, at the father-son bond that had broken, causing their relationship to transform into that of a lion and a tiger, or a wolf and a fox.
I held his warm hand and wiped away a tear from his cheek. I reassured him, prayed for him, and advised him to remain obedient to his father. I told him to remain patient and that he was not alone. I promised that I would meet his father, speak to him, and try to evoke his mercy.
That incident slipped further away with each passing day. I tried thinking of ways to bring up Khalid’s case with his father. How should I speak to him? How was I going to be convincing? How was I even going to knock on his door?
Finally, I collected my courage, rehearsed my plan, and resolved that the confrontation, or meeting, would be that day at five o’clock.
When the time arrived, I left for Khalid’s house with all my ideas and questions for his father dangling from my pockets. I rang the doorbell. My fingers trembled and my knees were melting. The door opened. There he was, standing in the shadow with his frowned lips and veins beating with anger.
I tried beginning with a candid smile hoping it might smooth out some of the wrinkles before we even started. He snatched my collar and jerked me towards him. “You’re that fundamentalist that teaches Khalid at the masjid, aren’t you?”
“God help me, if I ever see you walking with him again, I’ll break your legs. Khalid won’t be coming to your class anymore.”
And then, he mustered all the saliva in his mouth and spit on my face. The door slammed shut.
Slowly, I unfolded a tissue that was in my pocket, wiped what he had honored me with, and retreated down the stairs consoling myself. Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam suffered more than this. They called him a liar, cursed him, stoned him with rocks and caused his feet to bleed. They broke his teeth and placed dung on his back and expelled him from his house.
Day after day, month after month, there was no sign of Khalid. His father forbade him from leaving the house, even for the congregational prayer. He even forbade us from seeing or meeting him. We prayed for Khalid...until we forgot about him. Years passed away.
One night, after the ‘Isha prayer, a shadow walked behind me in the masjid and rested a familiar harsh hand on my shoulder. It was the same hand that held me years ago. The same face, the same wrinkles and the same mouth that honored me with what I was not deserving of. But something had changed. The savage face had shattered. The angry veins had subsided, belittled and still. The body looked tired of all the pain and conflict, weakened by sadness and grief.
“How are you?” I kissed his forehead and welcomed him. We took a corner of the masjid. He collapsed on my lap sobbing.
Subhan Allah, I never thought that that lion would one day become a kitten.
Speak up. What’s wrong? How is Khalid?
“Khalid!” The name was like a dagger piercing his heart, twisting inside, and breaking off. His head slumped.
“Khalid is no longer the same boy that you used to know. Khalid is no longer the generous, calm and humble young lad. After he left your circle he befriended a pack of evil boys; ever since he was little he loved to socialize. They caught him at that time of life when a youth wants to leave the house.
“He began with cigarettes. I cursed him, beat him, but there was no use; his body had grown accustomed to the beatings, his ears were used to the curses. He grew quickly. He started staying up with them all night, not coming home until dawn. His school expelled him. Some nights he would come home to us speaking abnormally, his face loose, his tongue confused, his hands shivering.
“That body, which used to be strong, full, and tender, passed away. What remained was a feeble worn frame. That pure frosty face of his transformed; it became dark and filthy. The scum of misguidance and sin clung to it. Those shy and simple eyes of his changed. They shot red like fire as if everything he drank or took showed immediately in his eyes like some sort of punishment, in this life before the next. Hostility and disrespect replaced that shyness and cowardice he once knew. Gone was that soft, respectful young heart. In its place grew a hardened center, like a rock, if not harder.
“Seldom would a day pass without incident. He would curse, kick, or hit me. Imagine it, my own son. I’m his father, yet he still hits me.”
After releasing all that, his eyes returned wet and bitter. But he added quickly, “I beg you Salman, visit Khalid. Take him with you. You have my blessing, the door is open. Pass by him sometime. He loves you. Register him in the Qur’an study circle. He could go with you on field trips. I have no objection. In fact, I am even willing to allow him to live in your homes and sleep over. The important thing, Salman…the important thing is that Khalid returns to the way he was. I beg you lad. I’ll kiss your hands, warm your feet, I beg you and beg you…”
He collapsed, crying and wheezing, into the memories of the grief and pain. I allowed him to complete everything he had to say. Then I addressed him:
“Despite what has passed, let me try. Brother, you planted this seed. And this is your harvest.”
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
We are living, all of us.
We are Dying, all of us.
Some people in this world are Living to Die, and others are Dying to Live. What are you doing? It's always something productive to think about.
Shaykh 'Alee bin Hasan al-Halabee said:
"Death is a harsh and fearful reality, faced by everyone who lives.
No one has the power to avoid it, nor does anyone around the dying person have the ability to prevent it.
It is something that happens every moment and it is something encountered by the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak.
They are all the same in that they have no plan, or any means of escaping it, no means of intercession, and no way to prevent it or to delay it."
There is no way around it, there is no way under it, the only way is to go through it. It's the inevitable reality that we will all one day face, whether we are ready or not.
Allah says in the Quran:
"Say: Indeed, the death from which you flee will surely meet you, then you will be sent back to Allaah, the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. And He will then tell you what you used to do." (62:8)
This is one of the most terrifying thoughts I have ever encountered. Try to take a moment and imagine what this might be like. Every second of your life, every thought you have ever thought, every thing you have ever done, was witnessed by The All-Knower. Now what will you do when you face Him? What will you do when you stand before the One who knows your deepest darkest secrets. The secrets, that if anyone else had known, you would have shied away from them, without a doubt. It is death that brings these thoughts to us, so take Heed. Learn from the lessons of death.
Ibraaheem ibn Adham said, when he was asked about the verse:"Call upon Me, and I will respond to you." (40:60)
They said: "We call upon Allaah, but He does not answer us."
So he said:
"You know Allaah; yet you do not obey Him.
You recite the Qur'aan; yet you do not act according to it.
You know Shaytaan; yet you continue agreeing with him.
You claim to love the Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam); yet you abandon his Sunnah (guidance and way).
You claim to love Paradise; yet you do not work for it.
You claim to fear the Fire; yet you do not stop sinning.
You say: 'Indeed death is true'; yet you have not prepared for it.
You busy yourself with the faults of others; yet you do not look at your own faults.
You eat the sustenance that Allaah provides for you; yet you are not grateful to Him.
And you bury your dead; yet you have not heeded its lesson."
May Allah cause us to live our lives in a way that will cause us to die upon Laa Ilaha Illah Allah. Ameen.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "There are three qualities whoever has them, will taste the sweetness of Iman: To love Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) more than anyone else; to love a slave (of Allah) only for (the sake of) Allah; and to abhor returning to infidelity after Allah has saved him from it as he would abhor to be thrown into the fire (of Hell)".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Seven are (the persons) whom Allah will give Shade of His Thrown on the Day when there would be no shade other than His Throne's Shade: A just ruler; a youth who grew up worshipping Allah; a man whose heart is attached to mosques; two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah; a man whom an extremely beautiful woman seduces (for illicit relation), but he (rejects this offer by saying): `I fear Allah'; a man who gives in charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the left hand does not know what the right has given; and a person who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes well up".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "On the Day of Resurrection, Allah, the Exalted, will say: `Where are those who have mutual love for the sake of My Glory? Today I shall shelter them in My Shade when there will be no shade except Mine".
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you shall not believe until you love one another. May I inform you of something, if you do, you love each other. Promote greeting amongst you (by saying As-salamu `alaikum to one another)". [Muslim]
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "A man set out to visit a brother (in Faith) in another town and Allah sent an angel on his way. When the man met the angel, the latter asked him, "Where do you intend to go?'' He said, "I intend to visit my brother in this town". The angel said, "Have you done any favour to him?'' He said, "No, I have no desire except to visit him because I love him for the sake of Allah, the Exalted, and Glorious.'' Thereupon the angel said, "I am a messenger to you from Allah (to inform you) that Allah loves you as you love him (for His sake)". [Muslim].
Mu`adh (bin Jabal) (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Allah, the Exalted, has said: `For those who love one another for the sake of My Glory, there will be seats of light (on the Day of Resurrection), and they will be envied by the Prophets and martyrs".
Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man was with the Prophet (PBUH) when another man passed by and the former said: "O Messenger of Allah! I love this man (for Allah's sake)". Messenger of Allah (PBUH) asked, "Have you informed him?'' He said, "No". Messenger of Allah (PBUH) then said, "Tell him (that you love him)". So he went up to the man and said to him, "I love you for the sake of Allah;'' and the other replied, "May Allah, for Whose sake you love me, love you.''
Sunday, February 3, 2008
It is reported from Imâm Sufyân b. ‘Uyainah – Allâh have mercy on him – that he said:
Whoever’s sin was because of [carnal] desires, hope for him (as he may repent and be forgiven); but whoever’s sin was out of pride, fear for him. For indeed, Âdam sinned out of simple desire, and was forgiven; whereas Iblîs sinned out of pride, and was cursed.
Al-Dhahabî , Siyar A’lâm Al-Nubalâ` in his biography of Sufyân b. ‘Uyainah.
Friday, February 1, 2008
My wife called, "How long will you be poring over that newspaper? Will you come here and make your darling daughter eat her food?"
I tossed the paper away and rushed to the scene. My only daughter, Sindu, looked frightened. Tears were welling up in her eyes. In front of her was a bowl filled to its brim with Curd Rice.
Sindu is a nice child, quite intelligent for her age. She has just turned eight. She particularly detested Curd Rice. My mother and my wife are orthodox, and believe firmly in the 'cooling effects' of Curd Rice! I cleared my throat, and picked up the bowl.
"Sindu, darling, why don't you take a few mouthfuls of this Curd Rice? Just for Dad's sake, dear? And, if you don't, your Mom will shout at me."
I could sense my wife's scowl behind my back. Sindu softened a bit, and wiped her tears with the back of her hands.
"OK, Dad. I will eat - not just a few mouthfuls, but the whole lot of this. But, you should…" Sindu hesitated, "Dad, if I eat this entire curd Rice, will you give me whatever I ask for?"
Oh sure, darling'.
I covered the pink soft hand extended by my daughter with mine and clinched the deal.
"Ask Mom also to give a similar promise", my daughter insisted.
My wife slapped her hand on Sindu's, muttering, "Promise", without any emotion.
Now I became a bit anxious.
"Sindu dear, you shouldn't insist on getting a computer or any such expensive items. Dad does not have that kind of money right now. OK?"
"No, Dad. I do not want anything expensive."
Slowly and painfully, she finished eating the whole quantity. I was silently angry with my wife and my mother for forcing my child to eat something that she detested.
After the ordeal was through, Sindu came to me with her eyes wide with expectation. All our attention was on her.
"Dad, I want to have my hair shaved off, this Sunday!' was her demand.
"Atrocious!" shouted my wife, "A girl child having her hair shaved off? Impossible!"
"Never in our family!" my mother rasped. "She has been watching too much television. Our culture is getting totally spoiled with these TV programs!"
"Sindu darling, why don't you ask for something else? We will be sad seeing you with a clean-shaven head."
"No, Dad. I do not want anything else", Sindu said with finality.
"Please, Sindu, why don't you try to understand our feelings?" I tried to plead with her.
"Dad, you saw how difficult it was for me to eat that Curd Rice." Sindu was in tears. "And you promised to grant me whatever I ask for. Now, you are going back on your words. Was it not you who told me the story of King Harishchandra, and its moral that we should honor our promises no matter what?"
It was time for me to call the shots. "Our promise must be kept."
"Are you out your mind?" chorused my mother and wife.
"No. If we go back on our promises, she will never learn to honor her own. Sindu, your wish will be fulfilled."
With her head clean-shaven, Sindu had a round-face, and her eyes looked big and beautiful. On Monday morning, I dropped her at her school. It was a sight to watch my hairless Sindu walking towards her classroom. She turned around and waved. I waved back with a smile.
Just then, a boy alighted from a car, and shouted, "Sinduja, please wait for me!"
What struck me was the hairless head of that boy. Maybe, that is the in-stuff, I thought.
"Sir, your daughter Sinduja is great indeed!"
Without introducing herself, a lady got out of the car and continued.
"That boy who is walking along with your daughter is my son Harish. He is suffering from leukemia." She paused to muffle her sobs. "Harish could not attend school for the whole of the last month. He lost all his hair due to the side effects of the chemotherapy. He refused to come back to school fearing the unintentional but cruel teasing of the schoolmates. Sinduja visited him last week and promised him that she would take care of the teasing issue. But, I never imagined she would sacrifice her lovely hair for the sake of my son! Sir, you and your wife are blessed to have such a noble soul as your daughter."
I stood transfixed and then, I wept.
"My little Angel, you are teaching me how selfless real love is!"
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Muslim :: Book 37 : Hadith 6662
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There was a person before you who had killed ninety-nine persons and then made an inquiry about the learned persons of the world (who could show him the way to salvation). He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: No. He killed him also and thus completed one hundred. He then asked about the learned persons of the earth and he was directed to a scholar, and he told him that he had killed one hundred persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: Yes; what stands between you and the repentance? You better go to such and such land; there are people devoted to prayer and worship and you also worship along with them and do not come to the land of yours since it was an evil land (for you). So he went away and he had hardly covered half the distance when death came to him and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment. The angels of mercy said: This man has come as a penitant and remorseful to Allah and the angels of punishment said: He has done no good at all. Then there came another angel in the form of a human being in order to decide between them. He said: You measure the land to which he has drawn near. They measured it and found him nearer to the land where he intended to go (the land of piety), and so the angels of mercy took possession of it. Qatada said that Hasan told him that it was said to them that as death approached him, he crawled upon his chest (and managed) to slip in the land of mercy.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
It becomes rusty as a mirror becomes rusty, and its clarity is obtained by remembrance.
It becomes naked as the body becomes naked, and its beautification is at-Taqwa.
It becomes hungry and thirsty as the body becomes hungry and thirst, and its food and drink are knowledge, love, dependence, repentance and servitude."