Saturday, May 23, 2015

Preparation for Ramadan Mubarak!

Highlights of Shaykh Amin's Pre-Ramadan Talk - May 17, 2015

--Allah is capable of doing much more than we think He is capable of doing for us, but we consistently undervalue His Ability

--Personal hygiene was made Fard `Ayn so that we could draw the attention of Angels who are otherwise repelled by foulness. Angels love purity and good smells, especially when that purity comes from Muslims making dhikr of Allah

--We must rediscover not only the academic legacy of the ummah, but also its spiritual legacy: that all humans are eligible for the Fadl of Allah, provided they access it through obligatory and extra acts of worship. Islam's greatest gift is to connect human beings to the Creator, we must remember this.

--If Allah gave Maryam(A) fruits out of season, realize that this came about because of her intense personal devotion to Allah. Islam isn't in season these days, but He can give us fruits if we immerse ourselves spiritually as she did. Maryam (A) was not a Prophet, she was literally secluded in a closet making dhikr, but she was able to experience the Fadl of Allah. Muslims are given this month of Ramadan to similarly seclude themselves and make it easier to be eligible to receive similar fruits out of season. In Ramadan, Allah wants us to focus on this spiritual realm by secluding ourselves from the dunya, so that we can gain some of this Fadl

--There are many Muslims who are closet deniers of Allah's Fadl because they see nothing happening for Muslims in the dunya. They think that because Muslims aren't winning in the games of the dunya, that Islam has failed us and isn't useful anymore.

--Allah has made it easy for us to access this Fadl by giving us this month wherein all you have to do is immerse yourself in the culture of this month, which is to remove yourself from the world for a few days. Hence Prophet(S) cursed the one who missed out on Ramadan: you don't have to do much to benefit. If you miss out, its on you, not on Him

--Ramadan is not a time for you to be concerned with the Ummah's affairs. You have the other 11 months for this. Be concerned with your soul for at least 1 month!

--Ramadan is the time for each of us to renew and increase our share of Allah's Fadl for another year

--American Muslims must change how we view Ramadan: an opportunity to gain Fadl through Ibadah. This must become a civilizational value if we truly wish to benefit from this month. Every other agenda that we have for Ramadan -- da'wah, fundraising, etc.--must be removed from our mindsets.

--Historically, Muslim civilizational values were such that everyone took extra time out during their daily lives for extra dhikr/awrad. Today, if you mention this, one group of Muslims will cry bid'ah, and another group will say that this has no benefit for fixing the problems of the Ummah.

--Imam al-Ghazali (R) writes that during his time (wherein he lamented about the death of spirituality in the Ummah), people would line up at the Jami` Masjid (the main Mosque in a city where Friday Prayers were held) on Thursday night itself in order to be the first to arrive for Jumu'ah and gain that immense reward for early arrival. They would stand all night with candles in line, but even then, many people wouldn't get in. Today, we only stand at night with candles when it's time for a vigil when people die, rather than doing something for ourselves when we're alive.

--Only when we come to terms that the reality of this spiritual realm exists, and that we need to benefit from this realm, only then we will see change in our physical world as well.

--Ramadan is a time to access that spiritual realm. Today, we spend more time in Ramadan buried in the physical dunya than outside of it.

--You should reject unnecessary social gatherings in Ramadan. We have made it a communal value to attend every single iftar and social gathering during this month, thinking that being "social" in this month is being Islamic. We have committed civilizational bidah with the amount of socializing we do today under excuse of Ramadan. The Ummah historically never did this: they socialized outside of Ramadan, not inside it like we do.

--We need to benefit ourselves from Ramadan first before going around trying to benefit others. We bring people to this watering hole under the banner of da'wah but don't drink ourselves.

--If you absolutely must do social da'wah during Ramadan by attending Iftar for 3 hrs for interfaith dialogue, then that's fine if it's a rare occurrence. But what are you doing to make up for those 3 hours for your self?

--I'tikaf isn't just a physical act that we are recommended to do for the last 10 days. It's a total month-long mindset for the Muslim in Ramadan to isolate himself from everyone else and focus on his own soul.

--All the awliya that were great social reformers that we praise today, look at their personal practices in Ramadan: they focused on ibadah/dhikr/dua/recitation of the Qur'an during this month, they did not focus on fixing the Ummahs problems. Because they did this focused spiritual practice for a month, it provided them with the energy to bear the burdens of the Ummah for the other 11 months.

--When Muslims make time for themselves in Ramadan, it climaxes in Laylat al-Qadr, such that Angels come down to invite us into their world. Laylat al-Qadr allows us to plan for a 1000 months, but this is a plan based on spirituality and worship. This is how our ancestors planned for the Ummah. We cannot praise the social and reform work of our ancestors while ignoring their level of personal worship.

--You lament that there is no Abu Hanifah of our times. Realize that Abu Hanifah saw Laylat al-Qadr every year, sometimes even outside of Ramadan! How? Because of his worship regimen on a personal level. He prayed Isha and Fajr for 40 years with the same wudu. Do his regimen first, then you can start talking about opening doors of ijtihad. Otherwise, without excess ibadah, you will fall flat on your face after merely saying the word "ijtihad"

--"Flee towards Allah": that is our theme for Ramadan. This is how our dunya will be improved, when we run away from it during this 1 month.

--You have 11 months to worry about your dunya, Allah asks you to take 1 month for your akhirah, but we think even this is too much?

Notes by Kamran M Riaz
(Darul Qasim)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lesson of the day 1380

Ayahs of the day:
Say, "Who delivers you from the darkness of land and sea, whom you call in humility and awe: 'If only God delivers us from this, we will certainly be grateful!?" Say, God delivers you from these and from all distress, yet you worship idols." [6: 63, 64]

Hadith of the day:
Do not insult the dead, for they have moved on to what they sent forth. [Bukhari]

Wise quote of the day:
Islam is not just a religion, it is everything. [Yusuf Islam]

Guidance of the day:
Among the most important things to every believer is to watch his heart and bodily members and senses, look after them, and strive to guard and keep them from that which is hateful to God, and use them in that which is liked by God and pleasing to Him.

The heart and the bodily members and senses are among the greatest favors of God upon His servants. He who uses them in His obedience and adorns them with what is pleasing to Him, and uses them in that for which they were created thus shows gratitude for the favor, guards what should be guarded, and excels in service. For him God shall give the reward of the thankful and the recompense  of the excellent.

He who lets loose his heart and bodily members and senses in that which God has forbidden, neglects them and leads them to perdition, and leaves them unguarded, he thus denies the favor of God upon him and deserves to be censured and punished. They shall testify against him before God and  reveal whatever acts of disobedience he has used them to commit. [Counsels of Religion by Imam al-Haddad]

Food for thought:
There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose. Consider the postage stamp, it secures success through its ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pearls of Wisdom 376

1. The difference between life and death is nothing more than the difference between to-day and to-morrow.What will happen to us to-morrow is as uncertain and unknown to us as what may occur after the happening of the event called death, and yet there are many who look forward to the coming of to-morrow with joyful anticipation and to death with dismay.

2. It is natural for us to die, as it is for us to be born. It is only the passing of another milestone on our journey.

3. Harness your chariot with truth and honesty, and the devil will come a very bad second in the race.

4. You have no more right to use abusive or insolent words to a person than you have to smack him across the face.

5. Brave men do not hesitate to recognize bravery in others, even though they may be or may have been antagonists in the field.

6. A great lie is like a great fish on dry land: it may fret and fling and make a frightful bother, but it cannot hurt you. You have only to keep still, and it will die of itself.

7. Those who most distrust others are generally those who know that others have good reason to distrust them.

8. The quarrelsome person is always the one who professes to be the easiest individual in the world to get on with.

9. Some people preach more religion in one hour than they practice during the whole of their life.

10. Meanness is the evidence of a defect of intellect as well as of heart. Even the cleverness of greed and avarice is but the extreme cunning of imbecility.

[Shaykh Abdullah Quilliam]

Monday, May 11, 2015

Helpful tips to stop gossiping.....

How to stop yourself from gossiping?

What about if it’s you who’s responsible for the vain talk?

Hold your breath and recall these tips before saying a word.

1. Remember backbiting is a major sin in Islam and is one of the causes for entering the Hellfire.

2. Ask yourself:
“Would the person I am about to speak of like what I’m going to say? Would I say it if the person was present? Will I feel good about myself after saying it?”
You can save yourself some guilt ridden apologies later by simply asking these questions to yourself. In addition, you can try to think about how you felt the last time you found out that people were speaking badly or falsely about you.

3. Is it useful for anyone to know?
Allah Most High has said: “Successful are the believers, who are humble in their prayers, and who turn away from pointless talk” [23:1-3] And “Those who do not bear witness to what is false, but when they pass by pointless talk, pass by with dignity” [25:72], “When they hear pointless talk, they turn away from it” [28:55]

These verses describe the characteristics we should embody in speech. A top tip to help you is to cut short telephone conversations and keeping chat to essential things.

4. Is it necessary for anyone to know?
Even if it is, does it require your intervention? Often it is the trick of shaytan when we indulge in backbiting, as we seem to feel better about ourselves if we downgrade others. Instead ask yourself how we can improve our own character and lives.

5. Imagine that the person you are talking about can hear everything you are saying. However, know that Allah Ta’ala is The All-Seeing, All-Hearing, and All-Knowing. We should not forget about Day on which we will be held accountable for our deeds. Remember backbiting is a bad reflection on your own character.

6. Be mindful of the company you keep Keep away from people who usually turn to gossip. Recall the times in which you usually find yourself gossiping and keep yourself busy during that time with other tasks or even better – invite friends to learn about the grave consequences of gossiping!

7. Are you 100% sure about it?
Spreading false information is slander as it is creating discord and problems between Muslims. As we are told in the Quran:
“Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of themselves [i.e. one another] and say: ‘This is an obvious falsehood’?” [24:12]
8. Rejoice at the time and reward you’ll gain by stopping this nasty habit not to mention the good deeds you will accumulate to efface the bad ones. You‘ll be surprised about the time, energy, and faith boost you will gain in this life, and the reward that awaits you in the akhirah insha’Allah.

9. Look for positive qualities in people. If you really have to talk about someone who’s not there, talk about how great, hardworking, funny, humble they are instead of deficiencies; as I often say ‘we are always quick to find imperfections in others but not ourselves’.

10. If you feel you have to say it to someone and that you can’t keep the news for yourself, write it in your diary or on a private piece of a paper. Reread it after a couple of days and evaluate if you still want to let the world know you are not trustworthy enough to keep a confidential fact to yourself! Discard of the paper, and of the thought in your mind – disciplining your thoughts to be good of others should be instilled instead.

11. Repent and make the intention to stop, you could keep the verses and ahadith about the punishment of this sin on your wallpaper or screen to remind you at work (where people politics can enter!). Lastly make dua’a to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) to help you and while it takes effort, don’t give up:

“Whosoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, then let him speak good or remain silent.” [Al-Bukhari]
[Productive muslim]

Friday, May 08, 2015

Lesson of the day 1379

Ayahs of the day:
And God is the conqueror overpowering all beings; and God sends protectors over you, until when death comes to one of you Our emissaries take the soul, without fail. Then they are returned to God, their protector, the Truth. Does not the judgment belong to God, the quickest to take account. [6: 61,62]

Hadith of the day:
It is sufficient evil for a man to look down upon his Muslim brother. [Bukhari & Muslim]

Wise quote of the day:
Faith in Allah is an inoculation against the diseases of the world. [Shaykh Muzaffar Ozaik]

Guidance of the day:
Among the most important things to every believer is to watch his heart and bodily members and senses, look after them, and strive to guard and keep them from that which is hateful to God, and use them in that which is liked by God and pleasing to Him.

The heart and the bodily members and senses are among the greatest favors of God upon His servants. He who uses them in His obedience and adorns them with what is pleasing to Him, and uses them in that for which they were created thus shows gratitude for the favor, guards what should be guarded, and excels in service. For him God shall give the reward of the thankful and the recompense of the excellent.

He who lets loose his heart and bodily members and senses in that which God has forbidden, neglects them and leads them to perdition, and leaves them unguarded, he thus denies the favor of God upon him and deserves to be censured and punished. They shall testify against him before God and  reveal whatever acts of disobedience he has used them to commit. [Counsels of Religion by Imam al-Haddad]

Food for thought:
All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare. Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time. The very perfection of a man -- to find out his own imperfections.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Pearls of Wisdom 375

1. Three things to admire – intellectual power, dignity, gracefulness.

2. It is better to go with truth into the wilderness than to follow falsehood into a palace.

3. The true love of God is to love beauty, truth, and goodness.

4. Whoso feeleth Islam to have filled his heart is half-way towards heaven.

5. Courage and conviction are two good warriors. When they fight shoulder to shoulder victory
oft crowns their efforts.

6. There is music in the sound of the words of the man who practices that which he teaches.

7. Alive or dead still we are in the presence of the eternal All-Wise.

8. The best preacher is the conscience, the best teachers are time and experience, the best
book is the world, the best friend is God.

9. Do your best, God will do the rest.

10. None of us is too old to learn. When a man ceases to desire to acquire knowledge his
intellectual death has commenced, and his funeral had better be arranged for.
[Sh Addullah Quiliam]

Friday, May 01, 2015

The things that help us improve....

What makes us weak? Our fears.

What makes us whole? Our religion.

What keeps us standing? Our faith.

What makes us compassionate? Our selflessness.

What makes us honest? Our integrity.

What sustains our minds? Our quest for knowledge.

What teaches us all the lessons? Our mistakes.

What lifts our heads high? Our pride, not arrogance.

What if we can't go on? Not an option.

What makes us victorious? Our courage to climb.

What makes us competent? Our confidence.

What makes us beautiful? Our patience and sincerity.

What makes us Muslims? Our heart attached to Allah.

Whenever we don't understand what's happening in our
lives, we just need to close our eyes, take a deep breath
and say, 'O Allah I know it's from Your plan, I put my trust
in Your hand.'