Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blessings & Test

Blessings = Tests, Tests = Blessings

As I lay across my bed with my eyes closed, an earlier conversation with my dear friend came flooding back.

Stress overwhelmed me, and I found myself needing someone to expel all the feelings which I had bottled up for so long.

"You don't sound your usual self. Is everything OK?" my friend asked.
Feelings of regret, anger, and pain poured out from my heart and mind almost as though I had anticipated the question.

"I am wondering why I meet people who hurt me in my life," I said quite disturbed. Before I continued, my friend interrupted, "Don't ever say that!"

She added, "Remember, everything and every person that enters your life, whether good or bad, serves a purpose. For example, you might wonder why you married someone you did not want to, but what came from the relationship was your son! Your son was destined to come into this world. Your marriage served that purpose."

"Now you are talking about someone who has humiliated you, but the humiliation and subsequent oppression are a part of what has made you a writer. So please don't ever think why you met such and such a person or why that happened. Everything happens for a reason," my friend wisely concluded.

Suddenly I realized how true my friend's words were. I opened my eyes and got up from my bed in search of a pen to capture this newfound knowledge on paper. I didn't want to forget those words, and I hoped to share with them with others.

As I started writing, I looked around and saw my son playing. Subhan Allah! What a great blessing in my life! Then I realized how ungrateful I had been for so many blessings in life.

Ungratefulness
We sleep and wake up in our homes and find ourselves untouched by harm, having enjoyed a peaceful night's sleep, but there are so many people who have lost everything in life and are homeless without even the most basic requirements for themselves. How much time do we spend thinking about all that we are blessed with in our lives?

Do we consider that if Allah Most High gives us everything, we are one of His most loved ones? Whenever we see someone with wealth, health, beauty, and knowledge, we immediately tend to think that Allah Most High has blessed that person with everything in life; but the moment we see an afflicted person, we think that person is undergoing a great test. What we fail to recognize is that there are two sides to every coin, and whether something is a blessing or a test, we need to look at every aspect of both sides of our lives.

We may consider something to be a great blessing in this life, but actually Allah Most High tests us through our blessings. Likewise, a hardship or a difficulty is a great blessing from Allah Most High.

The Test
The Qur'an narrates stories of the prophets as examples on which we reflect by which we amend. The stories of Prophet Sulayman and Prophet Yunus (peace be upon them) contain great lessons to be learned.

Prophet Sulayman was blessed with all the riches in the world. One day he was so engrossed in inspecting his fine horses that he completely forgot to recite his `Asr Prayer before sunset. Upon remembering the forgotten prayer, he repented, realizing that the blessing was nothing but a test. Sometimes we tend to indulge in blessings, forgetting that they are tests.

When Prophet Yunus departed full of wrath because his people would not believe, he neither sought Allah's permission nor did he fulfill his mission. He traveled by ship, but the ship was fully loaded and met with foul weather. The passengers decided to draw lots to see who would jump into the water. When Yunus drew the short lot, the other passengers stopped him and they drew lots again. The lot fell on Yunus. For the third time they drew lots, and it fell again on Yunus.

[So We responded to him and delivered him from the grief, and thus do We deliver the believers.] (Al-Anbiyaa' 21:88)

Prophet Yunus recognized his test as a blessing and was thankful that Allah Most High had blessed him with such a unique place — the belly of the whale — to worship Him.

These stories in the Qur'an are lessons for us to reflect upon and learn from. In spite of Allah's giving us the Qur'an as a mercy and a guide, we are more often than not most ungrateful. Through our lack of appreciation, we allow Shaytan to make us into ungrateful servants.

[Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from their right-hand side and from their left-hand side; and Thou shalt not find most of them thankful.] (Al-A`raf 7:17)

Allah Most High has showered His mercy upon us with guidance from the Qur'an, warning us of Shaytan, but despite these warnings, we remain unmindful of the words of the Almighty:

[And when your Lord made it known: if you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, My chastisement is truly severe.] (Ibrahim 14:7)

We are all children of Adam, who forgot and did not realize that Allah Most High had blessed him with everything, only asking him to refrain from partaking from a single tree. Likewise, we also fail to recognize the blessings of Allah Most High in our own lives.

[And as for man, when his Lord tries him, then treats him with honor and makes him lead an easy life, he says: My Lord honors me.] (Al-Fajr 89:15)

Whether Allah Most High gives us everything or takes something away, it is a trial. Every hardship is a blessing, and we should look at everything from both sides. We should not ignore the other side when we are faced with an adversity or given a blessing, or we will miss an opportunity for appreciation and remembrance of Allah Most High.

[And among mankind is he who serves Allah (standing) on the verge, so that if good befalls him he I satisfied therewith, but if a trial afflicts him he turns back headlong; he loses this world as well as the hereafter; that is a manifest loss.] (Al-Hajj 22:11)

Blessings and tests are therefore both reminders that everything is from Allah Most High.

[Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.] (Al-Baqarah 2:152)

© Amatullah Abdullah

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Friendship – A Guiding Light


Aisha* and Nafisah,* both reverts to Islām had been friends for four years. Nafisah passed away a few months ago, and Aisha* says, “Before when my dear friend was with me, I used to feel what would I do without Nafisah*, but now Allāh made me realize after her death that only He would be there for us at all times and I should depend only on Allāh.”

“After I embraced Islām, I found myself bumping into both Muslims and non Muslim who were hostile towards me,” she adds. “Then it so happened that I bumped into this wonderful soul who guided me and encouraged me at all times and she always helped me to realize my flaws. Though she has left this world, her words of counsel are still living in my heart and will continue to live till I die.”

“Fathima* has always told me that I act silly when I am with her,” says Sumaya, who is in her twenties. “I can be like this only with her as she is my best friend and I tell her she acts silly when she is with me,” she adds with a grin.

“We have been friends for five years and I truly love her. She has always been a genuine friend. When we are in a lighter mood, we both act silly and when we face problems, we both counsel each other and I think that’s how friends should be. I really thank Allāh for her friendship and thank her for all that she did for me. I really wish Allāh would bless us with a never-ending friendship,” she concludes. They met in a Yahoo e-group and their little chats grew into a strong friendship.

Yameena,* 28, says, “Friends are a blessing. I always yearned to have a good friend but I consider myself unfortunate, as I have never had the right friends. The friends who I had were all temporary and misleading. Because of one of the so called friends I had, I always wished to be away from Islām and their shameful activities seemed incredible at that time but to be honest I think Allāh had mercy on me and showed me I was on the wrong path only when they broke my trust.”

“Before I used to choose friends based on physical appearance and lifestyle,” she adds. “The result was I became deceived. If I had continued my friendship with them I would have been a loser in this world and the hereafter. So thanks to God. Now I pray for a good companion who will be guide me and be there for me whenever I need her.”

*** *** ***
Every soul on this earth needs a companion to share both, happiness and sorrow. Friendship is one of the most beautiful and vital aspects of a person’s life. Friends are our truest treasures. The above-mentioned experiences should serve as a reminder to us to clinch the opportunity when we find good friends. True friends are rare to find nowadays. Yameena* thought a friend is someone whom you should have fun with. It is important to realize that a good friend in Islām is someone who encourages, supports and care for you at all times. A friend in Islām is someone who not only accommodates your faults, but also corrects them by giving you the right counsel. Therefore, in Islām, friendship holds an important place.

The Prophet y taught us how to choose our friends and also explained the importance of friendship in Islām. He also set an example of how to choose and treat our companions.
Narrated Abū Mūsa: “Allāh's Apostle y said, "The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith's bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof." [Bukhāri]

He y was also reported to have said, “None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.” [Bukhāri and Muslim]

Abū Hurayrah also reported that Rasulullah y said: “A person visited his brother in another town and Allāh deputed an Angel to wait for him on his way and when he came to him he said: ‘Where do you intend to go?’ He said: ‘I intend to go to my brother in this town.’ He said: ‘Have you done any favour to him (the repayment of which you intend to get)?’ He said: ‘No, excepting this that I love him for the sake of Allāh, the Exalted and Glorious.’ Thereupon he said: ‘I am a meesenger to you from, Allāh: (to inform you) that Allāh loves you as you love him (for His sake).’” [Muslim]

Abū Mūsā reported Allāh's Messenger y as saying: “A believer is like a brick for another believer, the one supporting the other.” [Muslim]

Nu'man ibn Bashir reported Allāh's Messenger y as saying: “The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.” [Muslim]

Islām encourages its followers to take righteous people as their companions and to avoid the company of the vicious, as one might tend to pick up their slipped qualities without knowledge.
"O woe is me! Would that I had not taken such a one as my friend." [Qur'ān 25:28]

Every Muslim should try to select the best companion for his/her life span. A companion should be a friend from the same gender. If the companion is from the other gender, then that companion should be a spouse with whom one can live with within the confines of the Sharee’ah.
When someone observes a friend taking a wrong and sinful course and, while possessing the capacity to restrain him, does not do so out of indifference, he has actually betrayed his friend.

Islām permits friendship with people in error, when one’s Īmān is strong - when one finds out that his or her friend is committing a sin, then it becomes obligatory for him or her to help to guide them to the right path and help them make amends. A friend is a person, who is there during grief and joy and who is willing to advise us when we are moving away from the right track.


Always remember that a friend is a person who will express what he or she feels. Friends should be honest with each other and should correct and guide each other when they are in the wrong. Encourage each other and take care of each other. Without friends life would be meaningless.


* Name changed for privacy sake.


**This article first appeared in An Nisa Magazine

*********************************

© Amatullah Abdullah 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006

Islamic Writers Alliance Second Annual Poetry Contest



The Islamic Writers Alliance is holding its second annual poetry contest, also in April.

Our theme this year is the Prophet Muhammad, and was chosen because of unfortunate the cartoon incident. It is our intention to publish an e-book chapbook of the best poems as a dawah project, which will be free to the public and hopefully serve to inspire Muslims and non-Muslims alike, as well as educate them about the true nature of Prophet Muhammad.

We have three categories: One for youth (ages 6-17), one for adults (18 and older) and one for IWA members, so as to avoid any suggestion of unfair judging.

The contest is open to everyone. All forms of poetry welcome. One poem per author.

Submissions are due by April 30th, and should be emailed to poetrycontest@islamicwritersalliance.net. Please include a cover page with the author's name and contact info, subsequent pages should have only the title and page number, with no labels to identify the author, to ensure blind judging.

Full guidelines are available at www.islamicwritersalliance.net/projects/contest2006.htm

I hope you will all support this worthwhile effort.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Care what the Creator would think! …

Care what the Creator would think!
Don’t care what the Creation thinks

When I make up mind to do something for Islam, something in my heart stops me. I ask myself, “What will others think if I do this? Will they like it or will they offend me?” But then a sister told me, ”Why should you be bothered about what others think when you are doing it for Allah’s sake?” She added, “Whether you get a positive remark or negative remark, don’t be bothered and just keep in mind that you are doing it for Allah’s sake.”

For one minute I thought that if I am bothered about any remarks, be it positive or negative, then I am not doing it solely for Allah. My aim should only be to win the pleasure of Allah and not anything else.

It is natural for any human being to wish to avoid negative remarks and always love to be praised. It feels really good when someone speaks well about us, but we should try not to become addicted to appreciation as this can lead us to commit Ar Riyaa.

The Arabic word Riyaa is taken from the word ra`aa (to be seen). Therefore, Riyaa is performing various forms of religious acts in order to be seen, to impress, and be praised. Deeds done to earn the appreciation of others destroys the benefits of the righteous deed and becomes merely a vain act.

Mahmood ibn Lubayd also said, "The Prophet (PBUH) came out and announced, ’O people, beware of secret Shirk!’ The people asked, ’O messenger of Allah, what is secret Shirk?’ He replied, ’When a man gets up to pray and strives to beautify his prayer because people are looking at him; that is secret Shirk.’"(Collected by Ibn Khuzaimah)

Mahmood ibn Lubayd reported, "Allah’s messenger (PBUH) said: "The thing I fear for you the most is ash-Shirk a’-Asghar (minor shirk)."The companions asked "Oh! messenger of Allah, what is minor Shirk?" He replied "Ar-Riyaa (showing off), for verily Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection when people are receiving their rewards, "Go to those for whom you were showing off in the material world and see if you can find any reward from them." (Ahmad at-Tabaraanee and al-Bayhaqee in az-Zuhd. See Tayseer al-’Azeez al-Hameed, p. 118)

Riyaa is a very dangerous sin because it is common for any human being to enjoy the praises of others, but we don’t always know when we have improperly succumbed to these praises. When one gets addicted to praise, it becomes a habit for the misguided one to do things to impress others rather than Allah.

Aboo Moosaa al-Ash`aree reported that Allah's Messenger delivered a sermon to them one day and said, "O People! Fear this Shirk (meaning riyaa), for it is more inconspicuous than the crawling of an ant." [Authenticated in Saheeh al Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, no. 33]

"He who allows the people to hear of his good deeds intentionally to win their praise, Allah will allow the people to know his real intention (i.e. on the Day of Judgment and he who does good things in public to show off and win the praise of people, Allah will disclose his real intention and humiliate him (i.e. on the Day of Judgment)." [Al-Bukhari & Muslim].

And Allah says,“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.” [Qur’an 4: 142]

Now why do we say when a person does an act to earn the appreciation of others he commits shirk? We say that because any act should be done only to win the pleasure of Allah. When an act of worship is done to seek the pleasure or appreciation of others then the person is worshipping appreciation, not the Creator.

Riyaa is considered as a hidden shirk because when one does any deed of worship to seek the pleasure of the creation (that is, anything other than the Creator), then they are secretly either worshipping praise, appreciation, or the creation with the mask of trying to show others that they are trying to please Allah.

Allah says in the Quran:
"Verily, We have sent down the Book to you (O Muhammad) truth: So worship Allah (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allah's sake only, and not to show off and not to set up rivals with Him in worship. Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only..." [Qur’an 39: 2, 3]

Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) has warned us about a severe “disease of the heart,” which praise causes in a human being. Over praising, he taught us, should be avoided as it destroys a believer and puts them at high risk of being infected with this “disease.” Once overtaken, we can become obsessed with pleasing other people also for the sake of appreciation.

Abu Bakrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Mention of a man was made to the Prophet (PBUH) and someone praised him whereupon he (PBUH) said, "Woe be to you! You have broken the neck of your friend!'' He repeated this several times and added, "If one of you has to praise his friend at all, he should say: `I reckon him to be such and such and Allah knows him well', if you think him to be so-and-so, you will be accountable to Allah because no one can testify the purity of others against Allah.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: I heard Allah’s Messenger saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (PBUH) heard a person lauding another person or praising him too much. Thereupon he said, "You killed the man,'' or he said, "You ruined the man.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Hammam bin Al- Harith (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A person began to praise `Uthman (May Allah be pleased with him), and Al-Miqdad (May Allah be pleased with him) sat upon his knees and began to throw pebbles upon the flatterer's face. `Uthman (May Allah be pleased with him) said: "What is the matter with you?'' He said: "Verily, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, `When you see those who shower undue praises upon others throw dust upon their faces.''[Muslim]


When our iman (faith) weakens we tend to become a prey to Riyaa. I.e., our iman weakens when our love for praise, fear of criticism, and greed of possession becomes stronger and rules us.

One thing I always noticed is that Satan sometimes uses this Riyaa as a weapon to stop us from doing good things. Many times I used to think that if I do this deed or that, and if someone appreciates me, I might be committing Riyaa myself. The very possibility would really scare me and I would stop myself from doing such deed.

Fortunately, the same sister who made me think about my positive or negative remarks also told me, “ Be conscious of Riyaa, but don’t ever let that ruin you from doing any Ibadaah [or the worshipping of Allah by performing an intended good deed]. Let your heart remind you that you are doing it for Allah sake “.

I realized this is indeed a jihad (struggle). When Satan comes to spoil your deed and you might be on the verge of giving in to Satan,it is only with Allah’s mercy that you will be reminded of Riyaa. At such a time, seek forgiveness and pray to purify yourself. (Remember, as it is a common human weakness to enjoy being praised and hearing good about oneself, we tend to commit riyaa unknowingly). We can seek remedy from this only by gaining our knowledge of Riyaa, purifying our intention by sincerely reciting the du’aa which the Messenger of Allah recited and taught his companions:

"O Allah! I seek refuge with You from knowingly associating anything with You and I seek forgiveness from You for that which I am unaware of." [Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2876]

**************************************************
© Amatullah Abdullah

This article first appeared in Al Jumuah

AL JUMUAH VOL 18 ISSUE 01 MAG 18.1 Page 48

Note:**All Rights Reserved. Please do not repost/reprint items from here without permission from the author

Monday, February 06, 2006

Rely on Allah Alone!


By Amatullah Abdullah

One day when I felt so lost, betrayed and humiliated, I met a Sister in Islam. On that day, I felt that there would never be any end to the pain I was experiencing. This sister taught me and explained to me about a special word, which I would never for get—tawakkul.

This is what happened that day:

“What’s wrong? You look miserable,”she asked.

“I feel so humiliated by what certain people did to me,” I answered, wondering if I should say more. I continued,” Every time I think at last there is someone who understands me and who I can rely on, they seem to turn the other way around, breaking their promise to me.”

She never asked me why I felt humiliated or anything more about my story. She immediately told me, “Oh sister, this is no doubt a test. Seek forgiveness and put your trust only in Allah.”

I protested,“But I did.”

She said, “You depended on Allah’s creation to do something which none would be able to do except for Allah… You feel betrayed because you trusted people...Allah loves us so much that He would never let us down when we have complete trust in Him.”

We spent nearly two hours talking about tawakkul in Allah.

After the conversation I came home and pondered over the sister’s words. I made salah. I cried. Eventually, I realized the meaning of the beautiful word tawakkul.

Tawakkul means complete trust of the heart in Allah, believing that He is Sufficient, against all others, for His creation.

I felt a deep sense of relief and felt at ease after I made salah and placed my
complete trust in Allah.

Allah says:
And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.”[65:3]

Hajar’s Tawakkul
Any time the moment the word tawakkul is mentioned, the story of Hajar should come any Muslim’s mind. The story of Hajar presents every Muslim the most wonderful example of tawakkul. Imam Bukhari reported in Sahih Book that

“Ibrahim,alayhes salam, left her (Hajar) at the Ka`bah in Makkah, at a time when there were no people and no water in the place.Hajar had no one with her except her infant son Ismail (Ishmael). Hajar followed Ibrahim, and when they reached Kuda, she called him from behind, ‘O Ibrahim! To whom are you leaving us?’ He replied,‘(I am leaving you) to Allah’s (Care).’ She said, ‘I am satisfied to be with Allah.’ Her response reflected her acceptance and optimism.”

What happened to her and her son after Ibrahim left them, her calm and wisdom, the creation of the Zamzam well, the rebuilding of the Ka’bah and the founding of the city of Makkah, comprise the main elements of a success story that has only a few matches in the history of humanity, story that is commemorated annually, by the believers, in Makkah during the Hajj rites.

Those days were most trying for her, but she neither lost faith nor patience.It was her certainty of faith and her trust in Allah that enabled her to endure such a difficult situation and allowed her to earn the great honor she enjoys among the faithful. For the believers,her story is a great source of inspiration that teaches to never to lose patience nor hope in Allah under any circumstances. Her story is an amazing example of the tremendous positive impact a deep trust in Allah can help on a believer.

Prophet’s Assurance
The following hadeeth,narrated by Ibn Abbas from Prophet Muhammad,sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, indicates the merits of trust in Allah,

“Seventy thousand people of my followers will enter Paradise without accounts. They are those who do not practice (give) Ruqyah and do not see an evil omen in things, and put their trust in their Lord.” (Bukhari)

Umar ibnul Khattab narrated, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say:If you all had relied on Allah with due reliance, He would have certainly given you provision as He supplies provision to birds who get up hungry in the morning and return with full bellyatdusk.”(Tirmithi and Ibn Majah)

Doubting Allah’s Power?
There is no doubt that Allah is sufficient for us.But we tend to lose our patience and sometimes even forget Allah’s great power.Suspicion is one of the strongest of Satan’s weapons to lead a believer astray.When believers hold suspicion in their hearts or doubts Allah’s power, they tend to lose their trust in Allah. Suspicion weakens eman.

Allah warns us about the people who doubt his power,
“There are among men some who serveAllah,as it were,on the verge: if good befalls them, they are, therewith, well content; but if a trial comes to them,they turn on their faces: they lose both this world and the Hereafter: that is loss for all to see!” [22:11]

Lack of patience makes one lose peace and tawakkul.

Many of us would reflect on the past and feel that we are going through pain for years and still we haven’t received help from Allah.When we look back on our past, we tend to lose patience and hope.

The Companions of the prophet would never look backward.They always felt that Allah’s help was close to them. When they didn’t get the help that day, they would always say,“Allah’s help will come to us tomorrow,” and never did they lose hope. Ultimately they got Allah’s help and emerged victorious.

Many of us can say the following story reflects our attitude in many of the incidents that have happened in our life:

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island.He prayed feverishly for Allah to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements,and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.The worst had appened;everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “O Allah! How could you do this to me?”he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island.It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of Allah.


The hut is the symbol of our pain, which might seem like a failure for us. We easily tend to lose hope and patience when things don’t seem to be going the way we expect.If it looks like it might a disaster, remember that maybe help from Allah.

Tawakkul is the highest form of worship. Through tawakkul we become Allah’s loved ones; we gain confidence, and that strengthens our faith.Allah guarantees for our risks that the end results would be perfect even if one does not get what he wants, as Allah would always give us something better

Tawakul that would not benefit

There are different kinds of people who use tawakkul according to their situation. Some people turn to Allah only when a disaster strikes them.There are some who would be performing their duties right until a disaster strikes.They would lose patience and peace because of weak faith and end up indulging in shirk hoping a to get a solution for their problem.

Allah says in the Qur’an regarding the people who turn to him only during calamity,
“When a wave covers them like the canopy (of clouds), they call to Allah, offering Him sincere devotion. But when He has delivered them safely to land, there are among them those that halt between (right and wrong). But none reject Our Signs except only a perfidious ungrateful (wretch)!”[Luqman:32]

Another kind of person is the one who thinks that by putting one’s trust in Allah one can escape from various responsibilities.The following hadeeth proves that we need to do our duty and then place our trust in Allah,

“One day Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin,“Why don't you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, and put your trust in Allah.” (Tirmithi)

Without taking the right precaution or doing our duty, we cannot expect the help of Allah. Allah says:
“And that man can have nothing but what he strives for.” [An-Najm:39]

Only when one’s faith is weak will they behave in such a way that they end becoming losers.When these people say they fully trust in Allah, but in reality, it is their tongues that are proclaiming and not their hearts. Thus, only when the heart is sincere in accepting Allah’s power will one have tawakkul, and sincere tawakkul will be rewarded and honored.

Conclusion
Even now,I do feel gloomy whenever I meet with hardship, but I make sure that I immediately try to pull myself up and the talk with the sister on the beauty of tawakkul comes to my mind and that sure gives me confidence and strength. All praises are due to Allah!

Let us not forget that,Allah, the most Merciful,loves us more than our mothers and therefore He would never let us down. Our efforts will never go wasted,
“And never would Allah Make your faith of no effect.For Allah is to all people, most surely full of kindness, most Merciful.” [2:143]

The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
“Allah loves His servants more than a woman loves her child.” (Muslim)

Therefore every time a disaster strikes us let us not stop saying,

“For us Allah is Sufficient and He is the best Disposer of affairs.”[3:173]

*********************************
© Amatullah Abdullah

This article first appeared in Al Jumuah

52 AL JUMUAH VOL 17 ISSUE 11MAG 17.11 12/29/05 9:20 AM Page 52

Note:**All Rights Reserved. Please do not repost/reprint items from here without permission from the author

Friday, January 27, 2006

Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon: A Final Admonition


Beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Makkah, Saudi Arabia around 570 C.E. He is an example for all of humanity. He was a remarkable man at all times. He excelled in all walks of life by being a prophet, ruler, philosopher, orator, soldier, husband, friend, father, uncle, nephew, and a grandfather. He was a man of love, patience, courage, wisdom, generosity, intelligence and magnitude who inspired millions of lives throughout the world.

God says in the Qur’an that he was sent as a mercy for the people of the world.

We sent thee not save as a mercy for the peoples. (The Holy Quran: Al-Anbiya:107)

His Prophetic Mission started when he was forty years old, around 610 C.E., and continued until 632 C.E. From the path of ignorance, mankind was lead to the straight path and was blessed with the guidance of Allah’s Last Prophet.

Shortly before his death, Prophet Muhammad delivered a final sermon. This final sermon was not only a reminder to his followers but also an important admonition. The final sermon confirms the end of his Prophetic Mission.

The tenth A.H. of the Islamic Calendar is considered to be one of the most significant years, for three reasons. Firstly, this was the year when the Prophet delivered his Last Sermon during his farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. Secondly, this was the year where number of deputation waited upon the Prophet to pay homage or to make peace with the Muslims. Thirdly, it was the golden period of Islam when multitudes of people embraced the faith by accepting the message of the Prophet.

Prophet Muhammed undertook his farewell pilgrimage in the tenth A.H. His farewell pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the most significant historical events in the minds of Muslims because it was first and last pilgrimage made by Prophet Muhammed and also it was the model for performing the fifth pillar of Islam, Al Hajj.

Prophet Muhammad's final sermon was delivered on 632 C.E., the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah (10A.H.) in the Uranah Valley of Mount Arafat(in Makkah), during his farewell pilgrimage. There were countless Muslims who was present with the prophet during his last pilgrimage when he delivered his last Sermon.

THE FINAL SERMON:

After praising, and thanking Allah the Prophet (pbuh) said :

"O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and TAKE THESE WORDS TO THOSE WHO COULD NOT BE PRESENT HERE TODAY.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. ALLAH has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has Judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn 'Abd'al Muttalib (Prophet's uncle) shall henceforth be waived...

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
O People, NO PROPHET OR APOSTLE WILL COME AFTER ME AND NO NEW FAITH WILL BE BORN. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O ALLAH, that I have conveyed your message to your people".


Thus the beloved Prophet completed his Final Sermon. After the sermon, near the summit of Arafat the revelation came down:

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Grace upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion." (Al Qur’an: Al-Maeda :3)

Even today the Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad is passed to every Muslim in every corner of the word through all possible means of communication. Muslims are reminded about Prophet’s last sermon at Masjids, Imams lectures. Many Muslims print posters of the Prophet’s last sermon and distribute copies of it. Many hang it on the walls of their houses as to remind them of the Prophet’s final Admonition.. Though the Prophet’s soul has left this world his words are still living in our hearts.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Being a Woman: Towards Self Understanding & Self Knowledge


As Salaamu Alaikum,


There was a Live Dialog on "Being a Woman: Towards Self Understanding & Self Knowledge "on Islam Online.net (IOL). Here is the link :

Being a Woman: Towards Self Understanding&Self Knowledge

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ihsan: A Natural Flower with Sweet Fragrance (Part Two)


Faith (religion) has such a control that it keeps the whole humanity away from bended characteristics and mean deeds. It helps us to attain distinguishing morals. When we look into the Qur’an we always find whenever Allah called his servants towards virtue or wanted them to hate evil, He stated that it is an essential prerequisite of the faith in their hearts.

O you who believe! Be afraid of Allâh, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds (9:119)

Likewise when forbidding evil, Allah says:

O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al­Ansâb, and Al­Azlâm (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitân's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.

Shaitân (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allâh and from As-Salât (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain? (5: 90-91)

From the above verse shows us that Allah warns the people against immorality and substantiate that a Muslim must possess an excellent moral character. Today the morality of a Muslim is in an ambiguous condition. Our character has developed a number of defects due to which we have to face inevitable downfall.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “ Modesty and faith are twins. One who gives up anyone of these would lose the other as well.”
Modesty is divided in to three parts; decent speech, bashfulness and humility

A man who believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or keep quite [Bukhari]

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “By God he is not a Mu’min”, he, repeated this thrice. Then when asked about it, he said, “ He from whose misdeeds his neighbours are not safe” [Bukhari]

When someone asked the Prophet, “Which is the best thing given to man?” He replied, “Best moral character” [Trimidhi]

“On the Day of Judgement there will be nothing heavier in the balance/scale of a Mu’min than the goodness of character. Allah (swt) dislikes an obscene and a rude talker. The bearers of good moral character reaches to the level of the carrier of the prayer and fasting on account of his good character.” [Ahmad]

All the above hadith clearly states that it is required for a Muslim to have best Morals

One would have read the philosophies or ethical teachings of great Philosophers like Aristotle and others like him. They have outlined these philosophies after great difficulty. Their teachings seem to be perfect or complete only in certain aspects while in other aspects they appear incomplete but the tradition of Prophet Muhammad is complete in all aspects.

Once a Muslim learned man was asked, “ Have you read the principles of Aristotle?” for which he replied, “ No, I have read the principles of Muhammad bin Abdullah. What or whose principle or philosophy can be more perfect than the principles of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)?”

One of the purpose of the Prophet for being sent down to the world is mentioned in this hadith: -

“I have been sent only for the purpose of perfecting good morals.” [Al – Muwatta]

Prophet’s teachings show that Islam had come to illuminate the lives of the people with the light virtue and good manners. If we collect all the sayings of the Prophet about the importance of good moral character then a voluminous book can be prepared about which many of the great reformers will be ignorant of.

Some might say, “It is easy to teach others but did he follow.” Our answer to them is “Yes he practiced what he preached.”

Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Indeed in the messenger of Allah you have the best of example.” (33:21)

“The messenger of Allah was neither ill mannered nor rude. He used to say that the best people among you are those who are best in character. [Bukhari]

When we perform an act with Ihsan, it becomes a tool leads another person to Iman.
The following are some examples from the life of Sahabah who did deeds with Ihsan:

Once when Umar bin Abdul Azeez was fanned by his slave girl, he dozed off and then when he woke up he saw her sleeping. He took the fan and started fanning and when she woke up and asked him why he was fanning her, as she is just a slave and he is the leader. He said,” You are only a human like me, and the heat affects you as it affects me, so I wanted to fan you and wanted you to feel the soothing breeze as you did for me.”
Once a salaf became angry with his slave girl and decided to punish her. The slave girl said, “ Allah has praised those who suppress their anger.”
He right away said, ” I repress it.” She then said, “ Allah loves those who pardon.” He said, “ I pardoned you.” She also said, “ Allah loves those who do Ihsan.” He without delay said, “ You go now, I set you free.”

Through these acts of Ihsan they won Allah’s love and praise.

“And the emigrants and the helpers, the leaders and the pioneers and those who followed them in well doing, Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Allah. And he prepared for them garden under which rivers flow as abides there forever. That is the supreme success.” [9:100]

When we look at the Sahabah, we see that just like us they too had face excessive fitnah during their time but they were able to achieve success after the revelation of Qur’an, which is a divine mercy. They had the same Quran, same criteria, same surah that we have but our deeds are still incomplete and we are adamant not to recognize or rectify our defects. How can we win the Paradise when we have given in to these worldly pleasures?

Every religion has its characteristic symbol, which makes it distinct from every other religion. Good character is the symbol of Islam. If any nation loses its honour in the eyes of Allah, it so happens because it is losing good moral character and becoming deprived of decent and honourable traits.

“Corruption have occurred on land due to what men’s hand have earned.” [30:41]

When we possess Ihsan, it leads others to Iman, i.e. through Ihsan we invite people to Islam. The story of Julaybib (ra) is beautiful example for this. Therefore the ultimate result of Ihsan, it invited the other person to Iman.

The following verses from the Quran and hadith affirm that the deeds done with Ihsan will never go waste and will definitely be rewarded.

Aysha (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, “Allah is Ar- Rafeeq, the soft hearted. He likes Rifq, which means soft heartedness. The reward which He gives for soft heartedness does not give for hardness: -nay such a reward He gives for anything.” [Muslim]


Whenever they (the believers) suffer from thirst, weariness or hunger in the cause of Allah, whenever they tread a place, which enrages the unbelievers, a good deed is recorded in their favour. Allah does cause the work of the Muhsinoon to go waste.” [9:120]


Yes, but whoever submits his face (himself) to Allâh (i.e. follows Allâh's Religion of Islâmic Monotheism) and he is a Muhsin (good-doer i.e. performs good deeds totally for Allâh's sake only without any show off or to gain praise or fame, etc., and in accordance with the Sunnah of Allâh's Messenger Muhammad Peace be upon him) then his reward is with his Lord (Allâh), on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. [2:112]

Is the recompense for Ihsan something other than Ihsan.” [55:60]

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