Ramadan – The Rain of Mercy and Forgiveness is upon us

Assalamualaikum wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatahu,

My recent article Originally Published on http://www.habibihalaqas.org/2012/08/ramadan-rain-of-mercy-and-forgiveness.html

Bismillah

It is human psychology that we love anything extra that has been given to us. A child is happier when he/she gets not one, but two chocolates. A teenager is happier when he/she gets extra pocket money for the month. Likewise an adult is happier when they get a bonus in their salary.

I’ve never been fond of summer. The scorching heat always gets a frown from me. A few days back on one such summer day, the weather turned its course. As I sat on my college stairs talking to my friend, lost in words, the sound of water drops brings my attention to the change. It’s pouring! It’s raining! I rush to watch one of Allah’s delightful blessings.

There’s something about rain that makes me happy; and rain during summer is an added bonus to the year. The rain drops bring with them a sign. When Allah cools the heated ground by the coolness of the droplets – His mercy pours. When He wets the dry earth by the rain – His mercy pours.

For a believer, the month of Ramadan is like that rain during summer time. For 11 months the believer struggles fighting the shaytan, works hard toward pleasing Allah(swt) and as a bonus Allah blesses his year with the pleasure of Ramadan – when it rains of Allah(swt) mercy and forgiveness for not one, two or three days but Continue reading
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Take Back Your Heart

Take Back Your Heart – Sister Yasmin Mogahed
Take Back Your Heart

Ocean of Dunya Part I | Part II

No one likes to fall. And few people would ever choose to drown. But in struggling through the ocean of this life, sometimes it’s so hard not to let the world in. Sometimes the ocean does enter us. The dunya does seep into our hearts.

And like the water that breaks the boat, when dunyaenters, it shatters our heart.  It shatters the boat. Recently, I was reminded of what a broken boat looks like, of what happens when you let everything in. I was reminded because I saw someone, just like me, fall in love too much with this life and seek to be filled by the creation. So the ocean of dunya shattered her boat, as it had shattered mine, and she fell out into the water.  But she stayed down too long, and didn’t know how to come back up or what to hold on to.

So she drowned.

If you allow dunya to own your heart, like the ocean that owns the boat, it will take over. Youwill sink down to the depths of the sea. You will touch the ocean floor. And you will feel as though you were at your lowest point. Entrapped by your sins and the love of this life, you will feel broken. Surrounded by darkness. That’s the amazing thing about the floor of the ocean. No light reaches it.

But, this dark place is not the end. Remember that the darkness of night precedes the dawn. And as long as your heart still beats, this is not the death of it. You don’t have to die here. Sometimes, the ocean floor is only a stop on the journey. And it is when you are at this lowest point, that you are faced with a choice. You can stay there at the bottom, until you drown. Or you can gather pearls and rise back up—stronger from the swim, and richer from the jewels.

If you seek Him, God can raise you up, and replace the darkness of the ocean, with the light of His sun. He can transform what was once your greatest weakness into your greatest strength, and a means of growth, purification and redemption. Know that transformation sometimes begins with a fall. So never curse the fall. The ground is where humility lives. Take it. Learn it. Breathe it in. And then come back stronger, humbler and more aware of your need for Him. Come back having seen your own nothingness and His greatness. Know that if you have seen that Reality, you have seen much. For the one who is truly deceived is the one who sees his own self—but not Him.  Deprived is the one who has never witnessed his own desperate need for God.  Reliant on his own means, he forgets that the means, his own soul, and everything else in existence are His creation.

Seek God to bring you back up, for when He does, He will rebuild your ship. The heart that you thought was forever damaged will be mended. What was shattered will be whole again. Know that only He can do this. Seek Him.

And when He saves you, beg forgiveness for the fall, feel remorse over it—but not despair.  As Ibn ul Qayyim (ra) has said: “Satan rejoiced when Adam (peace be upon him) came out of Paradise, but he did not know that when a diver sinks into the sea, he collects pearls and then rises again.”

There is a powerful and amazing thing about tawbah (repentance) and turning back to Allah(swt). We are told that it is a polish for the heart. What’s amazing about a polish is that it doesn’t just clean. It makes the object that is polished even shinier than it was before it got dirty. If you come back to God, seek His forgiveness, and refocus your life and heart on Him, you have the potential to be even richer than if you’d never fallen at all. Sometimes falling and coming back up gives you wisdom and humility that you may never otherwise have had. Ibn ul Qayyim (ra) writes:

“One of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) said: “Indeed a servant commits a sin by which he enters Paradise; and another does a good deed by which he enters the Fire.” It was asked: How is that? So he replied: “The one who committed the sin, constantly thinks about it; which causes him to fear it, regret it, weep over it and feel ashamed in front of his Lord—the Most High—due to it. He stands before Allah, broken-hearted and with his head lowered in humility. So this sin is more beneficial to him than doing many acts of obedience, since it caused him to have humility and humbleness—which leads to the servant’s happiness and success—to the extent that this sin becomes the cause for him entering Paradise. As for the doer of good, then he does not consider this good a favor from his Lord upon him. Rather, he becomes arrogant and amazed with himself, saying: I have achieved such and such, and such and such. So this further increases him in self-adulation, pride and arrogance—such that this becomes the cause for his destruction.”

Allah (swt) reminds us in the Qur’an to never lose hope. He says: “Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against their souls [by sinning], despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful,’” (39:53).

And so, this is a call to all those who have become enslaved by the tyranny of the self, imprisoned in the dungeon of the nafs (self) and desires.  It is a call to all those who have entered the ocean of dunya, who have sunk into its depths, and become trapped by its crushing waves. Rise up. Rise up to the air, to the Real world above the prison of the ocean. Rise up to your freedom. Rise up and come back to life. Leave the death of your soul behind you. Your heart can still live and be stronger and purer than it ever was. Does not the polish oftawbah remake the heart even more beautiful than it was? Remove the veil you have sewn with your sins. Remove the veil between you and Life, between you and Freedom, between you and Light—between you and God.  Remove the veil and rise up. Come back to yourself. Come back to where you began. Come back Home. Know that when all the other doors have shut in your face, there is One that is always open. Always. Seek it. Seek Him and He will guide you through the waves of the cruel ocean, into the mercy of the sun.

This world cannot break you—unless you give it permission. And it cannot own you unless you hand it the keys – unless you give it your heart.  And so, if you have handed those keys to dunya for a while—take them back. This isn’t the End. You don’t have to die here. Reclaim your heart and place it with its rightful owner:

God.

Eternal Lessons Learnt

The story of the ifk is one that absolutely touches my heart every time I read it. My heart goes out to the mother of believer – Ayesha (RA), for the pain and hurt that she would have had to bear during it. It’s filled with lessons for all of us. Lessons which, especially today, everyone needs to be reminded of, because of the slander and backbiting that is taken so lightly in the present times, Astaghfirullah.

-Potential Hijabi

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Khair, Inshaallah (Eternal Lessons from the incident of ifk)

Source:Muslim Oasis

The scene: a woman searching for her broken necklace…

Aisha narrates, “When Allah’s Apostle had finished his Ghazwa (battle) and returned and we approached Madinah, Allah’s Messenger ordered to proceed at night. When the army was ordered to resume the homeward journey, I got up and walked on till I left the army (camp) behind. When I had answered the call of nature, I went towards my howdah [the carriage like thing that women would ride on the camel], but behold! A necklace of mine made of Jaz Azfar (a kind of bead) was broken and I looked for it and my search for it detained me…”

Times passes the woman by as she continues searching, and her group, not realizing that she is not with them, set back on their journey. The woman is left all alone in the middle of the vast desert…

“The group of people who used to carry me, came and carried my howdah on to the back of my camel on which I was riding, considering that I was therein. At that time women were light in weight and were not fleshy for they used to eat little (food), so those people did not feel the lightness of the howdah while raising it up, and I was still a young lady. They drove away the camel and proceeded. Then I found my necklace after the army had gone. I came to their camp but found nobody therein so I went to the place where I used to stay, thinking that they would miss me and come back in my search…

To Him Do We Belong and to Him We Will Return- the only words the lone woman heard from the man whose job was to make sure that no one was left behind…

While I was sitting at my place, I felt sleepy and slept … Safwan had started in the last part of the night and reached my stationing place in the morning and saw the figure of a sleeping person. He came to me and recognized me, as he used to see me before veiling. I got up because of his saying: “Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun” . I covered my face, and by Allah, he did not say to me a single word except, “Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun”. He made his she-camel kneel down, whereupon he trod on its forelegs and I mounted it. Then Safwan set out, leading the she-camel that was carrying me, till we met the army while they were resting during the hot midday. After this we arrived at Madinah …”[Aisha, Radiya Allah Anha]

That’s how the IFK (slander) incident occurred, the incident in which the hypocrite, Abdullah Ibn-Ubai Ibn-Salul, decided to accuse the Wife of the Prophet, one of the Mothers of the Believers, of an unspeakable act. And that’s when all of Madinah was put to a test- a test, which on the outside seemed very bad, but as Allah told us, actually had khair for us.

“Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you. For every person among them is what [punishment] he has earned from the sin, and he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof – for him is a great punishment… (surat Nur: ayah 11)”

Khair? (Good?) Even, though our beautiful Lady Aisha (Radiya Allah Anha/May Allah be pleased with her) was slandered and the Prophet, Sallah Allahoo alyhaee wa salam, had to endure a month of grief, waiting for the innocence of his beloved wife to be declared? Yes, wallahi (by Allah), it was truly khair! The Ifk event taught us so many things which if we applied today would completely erase many of the problems in our communities! It taught us valuable lessons… lessons of how to earn jannatul firdaus!

Eternal Lesson #1: Always assume  the best in others.

After mentioning the Ifk incident, the very first question Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala asks the believers, is this:

“Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, “This is an obvious falsehood”? (Surat Nur: ayah 12”)

How many times do we hear scandalous news? “Did you hear that Salwa snuck out her house and …” “OMG, she did?” we sometimes ask back. “Oh yeah, I heard from X who heard from Y who was told by N that…”

Why? Why do we assume that what we hear is true? Why don’t we think good of others? Why don’t we say “No, I’m sorry, I don’t think that’s possible. I refuse to accept that!”

The truth is, if you think badly of others, then it is your heart that is not entirely pure. To demonstrate this idea, a lecturer once gave this example: A man crept up back home, a little after dawn, after hanging out in a disco. On his way back home, he bumped into another man, who actually had just been heading back home after praying fajr. Each man saw each other and each thought that the other man was doing what he, himself, had been doing…

When we think badly of others, especially when there is no evidence, it is we who are at fault. We should learn from Abu-Ayyub Al-Ansari (Radiya Allah Anhoo) and his wife who behaved quite wonderfully during the Ifk incident. Abu Ayyub simply asked his wife if she would ever have done what people were accusing Aisha of doing. She swore that she would never have done it. Confidently, he responded then, that Aisha would never have done it, either, since she was of course better than his wife (Aisha was the Prophet’s wife and one of the Mothers of the Believers). Abu Ayyub’s wife then asked Abu Ayyub if he would have done what Safwan was accused of doing. Abu Ayyub replied that he would never betrayed Rasool Allah; his wife, then also told him that Sawfan too is better than him and that he would never have done that, either! By looking into themselves and assuming better of other people, the couple established that there was no truth at all to what was being said.

Eternal Lesson #2: Don’t talk about such things in the first place!

And why, when you heard it, did you not say, “It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You, [O Allah]; this is a great slander”? (16) Allah warns you against returning to the likes of this [conduct], ever, if you should be believers. (17)

If you didn’t see the matter, just don’t talk about it. That is, if somebody comes up to you, looking over their shoulder and with their eyes practically twinkling with the news of some juicy story, even if it’s somebody you would trust your life with, simply tell them that Allah and His Prophet have asked the believers not to talk about such things…

Abû Hurayrah relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent….[ Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim ]

Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, also narrated

The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, , ‘A sign of one’s excellence in his Islam, is ignoring what does not concern him.’ [Related by Ahmad, Malik & At-Tirmithi]

Now! Let’s say you saw the matter and you were the only witness. Don’t tell others about it! How many nights and days has Allah seen you committing a sin? How many times has He concealed your sin for you? Show Allah’s servants this same mercy and conceal their sins so that Allah may conceal yours for you on the Day of Judgment.

“If a person conceals the weakness of another in this world, Allah will conceal their weakness in the hereafter” [Al Nawawi, Riyad al Salihin p 135, Hadith no 245; al Ghazali, Kitab Adab p 344]

It’s not just so that Allah will conceal your sin, though. It’s so that you don’t fall into sin. Remember, Allah has decreed that no one is to accuse another of fornication without producing 4 reliable witnesses! FOUR! Do you know what the punishment is if one accuses a person and they have brought not 4, but 3 witnesses? 80 lashes! Now, tell me what scandal is worth that?

One other important thing to mention is that it’s not just about not spreading rumors around. The Ifk incident taught is that it’s even more than that. It’s about not liking for such news to be spread around!

Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread [or publicized] among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you do not know. (surat Al Nur: aya 19)

Eternal Lesson #3: Never belittle a sin. Remember who you are sinning against and that His judgment may be different from yours!

When you received it with your tongues and said with your mouths that of which you had no knowledge and thought it was insignificant while it was, in the sight of Allah, tremendous. (surat Al Nur: 15)

When the Ifk incident happened, some people started talking about it, thinking it was something small. Look what Allah told them! The truth is, many times, we fall into the trap of believing that we are doing is not really a big deal. Do we really know what Allah thinks of it as? Do we really want to risk being wrong?

Eternal Lesson #4: Forgive, even if someone has wronged you

During the Ifk incident, one of the persons who spread the awful rumors was none other than one of Abu Bakr’s relatives, Mistah Ibn-Uthatha (Radiya Allah Anhuma), whom Abu Bakr in fact, used to give charity to. After the incident occurred and Mistah accused Abu Bakr’s daughter, Abu Bakr took the decision to no longer give Mistah money- a decision any one of us might have taken. Yet, Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala, after declaring Aisha’s innocence also said what He thought of Abu Bakr’s decision:

“And let not the ones endowed with the Grace (of Allah) and affluence swear off bringing (charity) to near of kin (Literally: endowed with kinship) and the indigent and to the ones emigrating in the way of Allah; and let them be clement and let them pardon. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Merciful” (22)

Can you imagine? Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala told Abu Bakr to forgive Mistah and to continue to pay him money. What about us? Are any of at Abu Bakr’s level? Did anyone of us risk our lives for the Prophet Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam? Even though Abu Bakr had done that and had been the Prophet’s greatest companion, Allah still told him to forgive Mistah so that Allah would forgive Abu Bakr! SubhanAllah! How important then is it for us to forgive others?

Eternal Lesson #5 : Allah is Forgiving if you repent to Him

Related to the above lesson of forgiveness but still very different is that Allah is Forgiving, if you repent to Him. So many times you hear people saying “Man, God will never forgive what I’ve done. I’m doomed”… No, you are not! One, thing the Ifk incident tells us is that you are never doomed! Do you know what the Prophet Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam told Aisha, Radiya Allah Anha?

“Thereafter, O ‘Aisha! I have been informed such and such a thing about you; and if you are innocent, Allah will reveal your innocence, and if you have committed a sin, then ask for Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him, for when a worshiper of Allah confesses his sin and then repents to Allah, Allah accepts his repentance”.

Can you imagine? The Prophet Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam told Aisha Radiya Allah Anha that even if she had betrayed him ( Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) and had done such an act, all she had to do was sincerely repent to Allah and ask for forgiveness. He, Sallahoo Alyhee wa salam, didn’t tell her, Audoo Billah, “Honey, you’re going to hell” but instead continued to tell her a way to paradise!

So let’s take this lesson from the Ifk for ourselves and realize the importance of repentance and let’s also spread this message of forgiveness around. Let’s stop giving people the impression that they’re doomed and going to hell and let’s start telling them about how Forgiving Allah is as long they truly feel the weight of their sin!

Eternal Lesson #6: Don’t take sides because someone is your relative, or from the same place as you, etc.

During the Ifk incident, the Prophet Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam gathered the people and asked them who would help him against the man who had spread rumors about his family and the good pious man, Safwan. What he wanted was simply for the hypocrite, Ibn Salul, to end what he had started, but that didn’t happen. Instead a member of the Awas tribe promised the Prophet Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam that he would relieve him of the man. Then, the chief of the Khazraj tribe basically suggested that that Companion had said a lie (that is, he denied that the member of the Awas would do anything), and suddenly chaos erupted, even though the Prophet Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam was right there, with them! Why? Because instead of seeing things objectively, the sides began to see the matter from a matter of “Us/You” “Awas/Khazraj”. Nationalism colored their judgment and unfortunately their behavior only ended up grieving the Prophet Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam.

Eternal Lesson #7: Have patience and know that Allah has not forgotten about you

What about if you have been back-bited or slandered against? What can you learn from the Ifk? Patience. Patience. Patience. Aisha, Radiya Allah Anha had to wait an entire month until the truth emerged. She had to endure the fact that many people in the community believed she had done it. She even felt that her parents had started to believe it:

She told them, “By Allah, I know that you heard this story (i.e. of Ifk) so much so that it has been planted in your minds and you have believed it. So now, if I tell you that I am innocent, and Allah knows that I am innocent, you will not believe me; and if I confess something, and Allah knows that I am innocent of it, you will believe me…”

Instead, Aisha, Radiya Allah Anha, chose patience:

“ By Allah, I cannot find of you an example except that of Yusuf’s father (Alyhee as aslam). “So (for me) patience is most fitting against that which you assert and it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought”.

And her patience paid off! A month later, Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala declared her innocence in the Qur’an! He decreed that all of us Muslims would read this story and know her innocence! He put her story as a part of His Divine Message to all of mankind.

So dear sisters and brothers, if you have been slandered against, never think that Allah has forgotten you. It may take time, but eventually the truth will emerge and each person will get their due! Just trust in Allah and know that “Verily with hardship is ease”.

In conclusion, these are just some of the lessons I could find from that single one event. I’m sure there are many more lessons and that each person will take home their very own lesson. But truly with all the lessons we can learn, it becomes abundantly clear, that yes, indeed, “Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you.” Khair, inshaAllah, if we could only implement all that it teaches us…

Acknowledgment: All of the translations of Aisha (Radiya Allah Anha’s) narrations in this article have been taken from the English translation of Dr. Amr Khaled’s episode number 22 of his series “On the Path of the Beloved”, which can be found here: http://amrkhaled.net/articles/articles1143.html

 

The Rotten Tomatoes

A school teacher decided to let her class play a game. The teacher told each child in the class to bring along a plastic bag containing a few tomatoes. Each tomato will be given a name of a person that the child hates,so the number of tomatoes that a child will put in his/her plastic bag will depend on the number of people he/she hates.

So when the day came, every child brought some tomatoes with the name of the people he/she hated. Some had 2 tomatoes; some 3 while some up to 5tomatoes. The teacher then told the children to carry with them the tomatoesin the plastic bag wherever they go for 1 week.

Days after days passed by, and the children started to complain due to the unpleasant smell let out by the rotten tomatoes. Besides, those having 5 tomatoes also had to carry heavier bags. After 1 week, the children were relieved because the game had finally ended.

The teacher asked: How did you feel while carrying the tomatoes with you for 1 week?. The children let out their frustrations and started complaining of the trouble that they had to go through having to carry the heavy and smelly tomatoes wherever they go.
Then the teacher told them the hidden meaning behind the game.

The teachersaid: This is exactly the situation when you carry your hatred for somebody inside your heart. The stench of hatred will contaminate your heart and you will carry it with you wherever you go. If you cannot tolerate the smell ofrotten tomatoes for just 1 week, can you imagine what is it like to have thestench of hatred in your heart for your lifetime???

Moral:Throw away any hatred for anyone from your heart so that you will not carry sins for a lifetime .Forgiving others relieves you and helps you to lead a happy life. 

Author: Unknown

Forgive others, so that Allah might forgive you on the Day of Judgement!


Ramadan Mubarak!

The blessed month of Ramadan is here! 🙂

Ramadan is one of the months of the Islamic Calender. During this month Muslims around the globe take up fasting i.e., abstaining from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk. It is also important that they refrain themselves from backbiting, gossiping, slander, telling lies, fighting and various other sinful acts prohibited in Islam.

Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you; and (He desireth) that ye should complete the period, and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure ye may be thankful.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 185)


Ramadan is a month where muslims try to come more closer to the One God, Allah! This is done by increasing the time they put into worshipping Him, reading more Quran, giving charity and various other meritorious acts. During this month the reward for every good deed is multiplied, Alhumdulillah.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Observing al-sawn (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become al-muttaqoon (the pious).” [al-Baqarah 2:183]

I hope the articles I posted previously were of some help to prepare for Ramadan. Here are a few more links to articles I’d suggest that might be helpful during Ramadan-

“Ramadan is a window of opportunity where even smiling gives the reward of praying two rakat fajr salah. “

Ramadan Mubarak! 🙂

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said: –

“…Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.”

(Sahih Bukhari  Book# 31 Hadith# 125)

May Allah(SWT) help us make best use of this Ramadan, make it a means for us to get closer to him and keep our enthusiasm to gain taqwa and high Imaan throughout the month. May Allah help us repent in the best of ways during this month such that all our sins are forgiven, Insha’Allah. Ameen!

Ya Allah(SWT), make my fasts the fasts of those who fast sincerely, and my standing up in prayer of those who stand up in prayer obediently, awaken me in it from the sleep of the heedless and forgive me my sins. Ameen Sumameen!

…And I cried tears of hope..!

This video moved me to tears.. i literally cried… Initially because of the problem and stereotypes we need to face and the hatred my sisters in Islam around the world have to go through, even without any mistake of their own! 😥

BUT I cried more because of the love that old man showed… the love for her muslim friend that non muslim girl showed..and all the others who supported her, Masha’allah! I realised that humanity and justice still prevails around the world! :’)

To all those haters and racists… I forgive what you say about me.. You know why? Because Islam teaches me to forgive!

 Allah(SWT) says…

Let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

– Quran [Surat An-Nur 24:22] ‏

To all the non-muslims… the strangers and the friends who stand for us at such tough times… Thank You ..!! Thank you for not letting me lose my faith in humanity.. Thank you for standing by my sister or brother in Islam! .. May Allah bless you all!

Lastly, to all my sisters in Islam around the world, who know just what its like to be in the place of that girl… Big big Hug!!! ..I love you ALL for the sake of Allah!!.. Don’t worry sisters.. this world is temporary.. Allah will reward all of us for the tough times that we face for the sake of Him, Insha’Allah!!