Thursday, May 31

Don't Be Sad: The Fundamentals Of Happiness

1. Know that if you do not live within the scope of today, your thoughts will be scattered, your affairs will become confused, and your worrying will increase - these realities explain the hadith:
“When you are in the morning, do not expect to see the evening, and when you are in the evening, do not expect to see the morning.”
2. Forget the past and all that it contained. Being absorbed in things that are gone is sheer lunacy.
3. Do not be preoccupied with the future. Because the future is in the world of the unseen, do not let it bother you until it comes.
4. Do not be shaken by criticism; instead, be firm. And know that, in proportion to your worth, the level of people’s criticism rises.
5. Faith in Allah and good deeds: these are the ingredients that make up a good and happy life.
6. Whoever desires peace, tranquility, and comfort can find it all in the remembrance of Allah.
7. You should know with certainty that everything that happens occurs in accordance with a divine decree.
8. Do not expect gratitude from anyone.
9. Train yourself to be ready and be prepared for the worst eventuality.
10. Perhaps what has happened is in your best interest (though you may not comprehend how that is so).
11. Everything that is decreed for the Muslim is best for him.
12. Enumerate the blessings of Allah and be thankful for them.
13. You are better off than many others.
14. Relief comes from one hour to the next.
15. In both times of hardship and ease, one should turn to supplication and prayer.
16. Calamities should strengthen your heart and reshape your outlook in a positive sense.
17. Indeed, with each difficulty there is relief.
18. Do not let trifles be the cause of your destruction.
19. Indeed, your Lord is Oft-Forgiving.
20. Do not be angry... Do not be angry... Do not be angry.
21. Life is bread, water, and shade, so do not be perturbed by a lack of any other material thing.
“And in the heaven is your provision, and that which you are promised.” Surah Adh-Dhariyat – Ayah 22.
22. Most evil that is supposed to happen never occurs.
23. Look at those who are afflicted and be thankful.
24. When Allah loves a people, He makes them endure trials.
25. You should constantly repeat those supplications that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi was sallam taught us to say during times of hardship.
26. Work hard at something that is productive, and cast off idleness.
27. Don't spread rumors and don't listen to them. If you hear a rumor inadvertently, then don;t believe it..
28. Your malice and your striving to seek revenge are much more harmful to your health than they are to your antagonist.
29. The hardships that befall you atone for your sins.

Taken from: Do Not Be Sad - Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni

It has been reported that he sallallahu alayhi wa sallam went out to his companions and said, "How do you find yourselves this morning?" They replied, "As believers in Allah." He said, "What is the sing of your iman(belief)?" They replied, "We are patient in times of hardship, grateful in times of ease, and content with whatever has been predestined." The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, "By the Lord of the Ka'ba, you are truly believers!"

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq radiallahu anhu on his deathbed...

When he was on his deathbed, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu summoned for Umar radiallahu anhu to come to him. When the latter arrived, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu said, "Verily, I want to give you some final advice - if you will accept it from me: Indeed, Allah ‘azza wa-jall has rights during the night, which He does not accept during the day; and rights during the day which He does not accept during the night. And verily, He ‘azza wa-jall does not accept voluntary acts of worship until the obligatory ones are first performed. Do you not see that those whose scales are heavy in the hereafter are heavy only because they followed the truth in the world, for doing so was heavy upon them (it required striving and effort, like an upward climb). And it is befitting for a scale to be heavy when only truth is placed on it. Do not see that those whose scales (scales of good deeds) are light in the hereafter are light only because they followed falsehood in the world; and doing so was light for them (easy, without strain, like descending a downward slope). And it is only befitting for a scale to be light when only falsehood is placed on it. Do you not see that Allah ‘azza wa-jall revealed verses that inspire hope after verses that inspire terror, and verses that inspire terror after verses that inspire hope. This is so that a slave (of Allah) remains both hopeful (of reward) and fearful (of punishment), without taking his own life, and without hoping for anything other than the truth from Allah ‘azza wa-jall. If you remember and preserve (apply) this advice of mine, then let no matter of the unseen world be more beloved to you than death - which, at any rate, is inevitable. And if you do not heed this advice of mine, then let no matter from the unseen world be more hateful to you than death."

Wednesday, May 30

Bad Characteristics: Envy

The Muslim does not envy, since envy is not part of the Muslim characteristic, it will not befit the Muslim as long as he has a love of good for others and behaves unselfishly. This is because envy is a contradiction to the love of good for others and selflessness.

The Muslim hates envy and the one who practices it. This is because it is a manner in which Allah's distribution of favors among His creatures is objected to. Allah the Exalted and Glorious says:

"Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of your Lord? It is We, Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world. And We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that some may employ others in their work." (43:32)

There are two types of envy, the first is when one person hopes that another person will lose his blessings, and that they will be acquired by him. These blessings may be in his wealth, his knowledge, his status, his power or otherwise. The second type of envy is when he hopes the person loses his blessings, and he does not desire them for himself.

However, wishing to have the like of what someone else has, or to be like somebody else without any harm coming to their blessings is not a form of envy. Allah's Messenger (SAW) said:

"There should be no envy except of two: a man whom Allah gives wealth enabling him to spend in the truth, and a man to whom Allah gives wisdom and he judges with it and teaches Others." (Al-Bukhari)

The meaning of wisdom in this Hadith is the Noble Qur'an and the Prophetic Sunnah. So it is not allowed for anyone to envy anyone else with true envy. Allah the Exalted and Glorious says:

"Or do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His bounty?" (4:54)

Allah the Exalted and Glorious says:

"Out of envy from themselves ." (2:109)

Allah the Exalted and Glorious says:

"From the mischief of the envious one when he practices envy." (113:5)

Allah has categorically condemned the vile quality of envy and strictly prohibited it. Allah's Messenger (SAW) said:

"Do not harbor a grudge against one another, nor envy one another, nor show enmity; and do not show your backs to one another; be a brotherhood of servants of Allah. It is not lawful for a Muslim to shun his brother beyond three days." (Agreed upon)

Allah's Messenger (SAW) said:

"Beware of envy because envy consumes the virtues just as the fire consumes the firewood." or he said (grass.) (Abu Dawud)

If a Muslim senses envy within himself, he should attempt to remove it to protect himself and he should feel a sense of rejection for it so that it does not motivate him or influence his behavior. For if he were to speak or act according to it then it will ruin him. If he is amazed by something, he says:

Ma shaa' Allaah, laa quwwata illaa billaah. "What Allah wills, there is no strength except of Allah." Then it will have no effect on him and he will be safe.

Extracted from “Minhaj al Muslim” by Shaykh Abû Bakr Jâbir al-Jaza'iry published by Dar us Salam

Prophet Muhammad's sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam Miracles

The Messenger of Allah possesses many manifest miracles and signs demonstrating [his veracity], reaching thousands and they are well known.

From amongst them was the Qur'an, the manifest and clear miracle and brilliant proof, falsehood cannot approach it from before it or behind it. It is a revelation from One Who is All-Wise and Praiseworthy. It incapacitated the most eloquent of people in the most eloquent of times to produce a single chapter that would be comparable to it, even if the whole of creation were to gather for that purpose. Allah, the Exalted says,

"Say: If the whole of mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they assisted each other." [Al-Israa' (17): 88]

It challenged them to this despite their large numbers, their eloquence and their severe enmity, and it challenges them to this day.

As for the other miracles, it is not possible to enumerate them all due to their huge number and renewing and increasing nature. However, I will mention some examples:

The splitting of the moon, water flowing from between his fingers, increasing the quantity of food and water, the glorification of the food, the palm tree yearning for him, stones greeting him, the talking of the poisoned leg [of roasted sheep], trees walking towards him, two trees that were far apart coming together and then parting again, the barren [and therefore dry] sheep giving milk, his returning the eye of Qatidah bin an-Nu`man to its place with his hand after it had slipped out, his spitting lightly into the eye of Ali when it had become inflamed and its being cured almost immediately, his wiping the leg of `Abdullah bin `Atiq whereupon he was immediately cured.

His informing of the places of death of the Day of Badr saying, 'this is the place of such polytheists on the and-such a person.' His informing of his killing Ubayy bin Khalaf, that a group of his nation would traverse an ocean and Umm Haram would be amongst them and this occurred. That all that was drawn together for him of the ends of the earth and displayed to him would be opened for his nation, that the treasures of the Chosroes would be spent by his nation in the Way of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent. That he feared for his nation that they would be tempted by the wealth and allurement of this world and that the treasures of the Persians and Romans would be ours and that Suraqah bin Malik would wear the trousers of Chosroes.

He informed us that Hasan bin `Ali would reconcile between two large warring parties of the Muslims, that Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas would live such that nations would benefit by him and others would be harmed. That an-Najashi had died on this particular day while he was in Ethiopia and that al-Aswad al-`Ansi had been killed on this particular day while he was in Yemen.

That the Muslims would fight the Turks who were described as having small eyes, wide faces and small, chiselled noses and that Yemen, Syria and Iraq would be conquered by the Muslims.

He informed us that the Muslims would comprise three armies, an army in Syria, and army in Yemen and an army in Iraq. That they would conquer Egypt, a land whose [unit of land measurement] was the Qirat, that they should deal with their people well for they have protection [being Copts] and ties of kinship [through Hajar]. That Awais al-Qarni would come to you from the auxiliaries of Yemen, he would be afflicted with leprosy and it would be healed except for the space of a dirham, and he indeed arrived during the rule of `Umar.

He informed us that a group of his nation would always be upon the truth and that mankind would become many in number and that the Ansar would diminish in number and that the Ansar would not be given their due [with regards distribution of wealth and leadership]. That mankind would keep on asking questions until they would say, "Allah created the creation..." [Referring to the hadeeth, "the people would continue asking until they say, 'this is Allah Who created everything…but who created Allah?'" (al-Bukhari and Muslim)]

He informed us that Ruwayfi` bin Thabit would live a long life, that Ammar bin Yasir would be killed by the transgressing group, that this nations shall divide into sects and that they would fight each other.

He informed us that a fire would emanate from the land of Hijaz and the likes of this. All of this occurred exactly as he (sallallahu `alayhe wa sallam) said it would.

He said to Thabit bin Qays, "You will live being praised... and you will die as a martyr", and he lived being praised and was martyred at al-Yamamah. He said to `Uthman, "He would be afflicted by a severe trial." [The meaning of severe trial is his being imprisoned in his house and his being killed by the transgressors.]

He said about a person amongst the Muslims who had just fought a severe fight that
"He would be from amongst the denizens of the Fire", and later he committed suicide. Wabisah bin Ma`bad came to him in order to ask him about righteousness and sin upon which he asked, "Have you come to ask about righteousness and sin?"

He said to `Ali, az-Zubair and al-Miqdad, "Go to the garden of Khakh for indeed there is Dha`inah" who has a book with her. [Dha`inah is the woman with whom Hasib al-Balta`ah (radhiAllahu `anhu) sent a letter to the people of Mecca in order to inform them of the plans of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhe wa sallam) to fight them. It was concerning this that the first verses of Surah Mumtahinah were revealed.

The garden of Khakh is a place falling between Mecca and Madinah. Refer to Bukhari [no. 3983] and Muslim [no. 2494] and Tafsir ibn Kathir [4/344]]

They found her there but she initially denied having the book and then took it out from within her braids.

He said to Abi Hurayrah, when Satan had stolen some dates, "Indeed he shall return" and he did. He said to his wives, "The most prolific of you in giving charity will be the quickest of you to join me." and it was so [Zaynab bint Jahsh (radhi Allahu `anha) was the most prolific of them in giving charity and was the first to die. Refer to Muslim [no. 2452].]

He said to 'Abdullah bin Sallam, "You will remain upon Islam until you die."

He (sallallahu `alayhe wa sallam) supplicated for Anas that his wealth and sons increase and that he should live a long life and it was so. He lived for more than one hundred years and not one of the Ansar was richer than he and one hundred and twenty of his children had already been buried before the arrival of al-Hajjaj [to Basrah]. This is detailed further in Sahih Bukhari and others. [Bukhari no. 1982]

He supplicated that Islam be strengthened through 'Umar bin al-Khattab or Abu Jahl, and Allah strengthened it through `Umar (radiyAllahu `anhu). He supplicated against Suraqah bin Malik and the feet of his horse sank into the earth and he was thrown off, he called out asking for safe conduct and was granted it, then he asked the Prophet to make a supplication for him.

He supplicated that Allah remove feeling the bitter cold and heat from `Ali and so never did he feel cold or hot. He supplicated for Hudhayfah, the night that he sent him to spy on the Confederates, that he not feel the cold and he did not until he had returned. He supplicated for ibn `Abbas that Allah grant him understanding of the religion and it was so. He supplicated against `Utbah bin Abi Lahb... that Allah cause a dog from amongst his dogs to overcome him and he was killed by a lion at az-Zarqa`. [This is how it is in all of the printed editions; perhaps the author means `Utaybah bin Abi Lahb for this description fits him. As for `Utbah, he accepted Islaam in the year of the Conquest of Mecca.]

He supplicated for the descent of rain when they asked him to at the time of drought. There was not a single cloud in the sky, and then when he had supplicated, the clouds gathered like mountains and it rained until the next Friday. It rained so much that they had to come back and ask him to supplicate and stop the rain, so he supplicated and the rain stopped and they walked out into the glaring sun.

He (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) supplicated for Abu Talhah and his wife, Umm. Sulaym, that he bless them in the night they had spent together and she became pregnant and gave birth to `Abdullah. He had nine children and all of them were scholars.

He supplicated for the mother of Aba Hurayrah (radhi Allahu `anhu) that she be guided and Aba Hurayrah left to find her performing the ritual bath because she had accepted Islam. He supplicated for Umm Qays bint Muhsin, the sister of `Ukkasha, that she live a long life and we do not know of another woman who lived as long as she did. This was reported by an-Nasa'i the chapter concerning washing the deceased.

On the Day of Hunain he threw a handful of dirt at the disbelievers and said, "May the faces be disfigured", and Allah, the Exalted, vanquished them, filling their eyes with dirt. He once went out to one hundred of the Quraysh who were waiting to do something horrible to him and he put dirt on their head and went on his way without their seeing him.

Imam an-Nawawi

[Editor's note: A number of works have been authored concerning this topic or discussing this topic amongst them are: ibn Taymiyyah, Al-Jawab as-Sahih li man Baddala Din al-Masih; what was mentioned by ibn Kathir, Tarikh and adh-Dhahabi, Tarikh al-Islam; ibn Hajr, Fathul-Bari [6/582]

Refer also to Khayru-d-Din Wanili, Mu`jazat al-Mustapha [3rd ed., Maktabah as-Sawadi, Jeddah]. Consult this for the evidences for what is mentioned in this chapter.]

It was narrated, regarding Yahya bin Yahya:

"...that when he was a young boy, he traveled from al-Andalus to Madinah in order to study with al-Imam Malik. One day, he was attending a lesson, along with Malik's students. Suddenly, someone called out: "The elephants are here!" So, the companions of Malik all went out to look at the elephants that were passing by, except for Yahya, who stayed in his place.

al-Imam Malik then said to him:
"Why did you not come out to see the elephants? I'm sure you've never seen one in al-Andalus."

Yahya replied:
"I came from my homeland to look at you, and to learn from your guidance and knowledge. I did not come here to look at elephants."

So, Malik became impressed at this boy's seriousness, and called him 'The Wisest of al-Andalus.'"

[''Uluww al-Himmah'; p. 78]


1 - Allah Said:

{"Ah! Woe to me! If only I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder after it had come to me!"}

[al-Furqan; 28-29]

2 - The Messenger of Allah said:

"A person is upon the way of his friend. So, let one of you look to whom he keeps as a friend."

['Sahih al-Jami'' (3545) and 'as-Silsilah as-Sahihah' (927)]

3 - 'Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Hambal said:

"My father went out to Tarsus on foot, and he performed two or three Hajjs on foot, and he was the most patient of people upon being alone."

['Tarjamat al-Imam Ahmad'; p. 18]

4 - Ibn al-Qayyim said:

"Know that the greatest of losses is for you to be preoccupied with one who will bring you nothing but a loss in your time with Allah - the Mighty and Majestic - and being cut off from Him, a wasting your time with the person, a weakening of your energy, and the dispersing of your resolve. So, if you are tested with this - and you must be tested with this - deal with him according to how Allah would wish, and be patient with him as much as possible. Get closer to Allah and His Pleasure by way of this person, and make your getting together with him something to benefit from, not something to incur a loss from. Be with him as if you are a man who is on a road who was stopped by another man, who then asks you to take him on your journey. Make sure that you are the one who gives him a ride, and that he is not the one giving you the ride. If he refuses, and there is nothing to gain from traveling with him, do not stop for him, bid him farewell, and do not even turn back to look at him, as he is a highway robber, regardless of who he really is.

So, save your heart, be wary of how you spend your days and nights, and do not let the Sun set before you arrive at your destination."

['al-Wabil as-Sayyib'; p. 45]

5 - Ibn Jama'ah said:

"So, it is upon the student of knowledge to abandon socialization, as abandoning it is from the most important things that the student of knowledge must do - let alone with members of the opposite gender - especially with those who spend most of their time in play, and spend little of their time in thought, as the nature of individuals can rob you.

The harms of socialization include the passing of life without any benefit, as well as the decline of wealth and religious practice, if this socialization were to occur with the wrong people.

The student of knowledge should not mix except with either those who he can benefit, or can benefit from. And if he is offered the friendship of one who will waste his time with him, will not benefit him, will not benefit from him, and will not assist him in reaching his objective, he should politely end the relationship from the start before it progresses to something deeper, as when something becomes established, it becomes more difficult to change it. There is a phrase that is constantly on the tongues of the Fuqaha': 'Repelling something is easier than removing it.'

So, if he requires someone to befriend, let that person be righteous, religious, pious, wary, intelligent, full of benefit, having little evil, good at complying, rarely conflicting, reminding him if he forgets, cooperating with him when he is reminded, helpful if he is in need, and comforting if he is in distress."

['Tadhkirat as-Sami' wal-Mutakallim'; p. 83]

6 - Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi said:

"Know that not everyone is suitable to be your friend. You must verify that this potential friend has the necessary characteristics that make friendship with him something to be desired. The one you seek to befriend must have five characteristics:

* He must be intelligent, as there is no good in befriending an idiot, as he will only harm you when he wants to benefit you. By intelligent, we mean one who understands things as they are, either on his own, or if they are explained to him;

* He must have good manners, and this is a must. One who is simply intelligent might be overcome by anger or desire, and obey his desire. Thus, there would be no benefit in befriending him;

* He must not be a fasiq, as such a person would not fear Allah, and whoever does not fear Allah cannot be trusted;

* He must not be an innovator, as his abundance of innovation is feared from befriending him;

* He should not be eager for the dunya."

['Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasidin'; p. 126-132]

Muhammad ibn al-Duri said, “The damnation of Iblis was due to five things- he did not acknowledge his sin, he did not regret, he did not blame himself, he did not resolve to repent, and he lost hope in the mercy of Allah. The salvation of Adam was due to five things- he acknowledged his sin, he regretted it, he blamed himself, he hastened to repent, and he did not lose hope in the mercy of Allah."

Tuesday, May 29

One of Al-Hasan Al-Basri's Sermons

Habib Al-Abid reports: Once, when I arrived in Al-Basrah, I was surprised to see that the markets were closed, and the streets empty. I called out, "O people of Basrah, is this some kind of holiday of yours that I don't know about." Someone answered, "No, but Al-Hasan Al-Basri is in the main gathering place (of Basrah), giving a sermon to the people." I hurried to his gathering, and when I arrived there, I saw him sitting down on some high ground. He was saying: "O people, prepare for departure, for very little time remains from this world. Prepare to move (to the Hereafter), for there is no way to stay here. Do you not know that you will soon be surrendered to the place of trial? Do you not know that each one of you will soon be alone with his deeds and that you will be presented (with your deeds) to Allah on the Day of Judgment? He ordered you to obey Him, bu you have not obeyed Him. He forbade you from sinning, but you have not desisted from perpetrating (sins). He has (threatened) you with the Hell-fire, but you are neither afraid not terrified of it. He has encouraged you to seek out Paradise, but you do not (seem to) desire it or long for it. Your white hairs are warning you of approaching death, so what are you waiting for? O white-haired one, you are able to perform good deeds, so what is your excuse. O one who obeys his mouth and his desires, who wastes his share of the hereafter by taking his entire share in this world, who persists in perpetrating sins and evil deeds - would that I knew: what will your excuse be when you stand before Him? What argument will you put forth when you go to Him? You are lost and misguided, so ask Allah, the All-Mighty, to forgive both me and you."

Al Mawa'iz Wal Majalis

Sound Advice from Umar ibn Al-Khattab, radiallahu anhu.

Umar radiallahu anhu said, "Take account of your own selves(i.e., of your deeds), before you will be taken to account(on the Day of Resurrection). Weigh yourselves(i.e., your deeds) before you will be weighed(i.e., before your deeds will be put on the balances on the Day of Resurrection). Verily, if you hold yourselves accountable today, the accountability tomorrow (on the Day of Resurrection) will be easier upon you. And adorn yourselves for the greater display(for when you will be brought to Judgment):

"That Day shall you be brought to Judgment, not a secret of you will be hidden." 69:18

And Umar radiallahu anhu once said to Al-Ahnaf bin Qais, "O Ahnaf, the more one laughs, the less dignity will he posses. Whoever jokes (excessively or indecently) is a person who will be taken lightly. Whoever does something frequently will become known by that thing. Whoever speaks often, errs often; the more often one errs, the less modesty will he posses; whoever has a low level of modesty will also have a low level of piety; and when one has a low level of piety, then his heart dies."

When advising another man, 'Umar radiallahu anhu said, "Do not speak about that which does not concern you. Know your enemy and be wary of your friend, except for the trustworthy one. And no one is trustworthy, except for the person who fears Allah. Do not walk with the evildoer, lest he teaches you some of his wickedness; and do not reveal your secrets to him. And when you consult others in your affairs, consult only those who fear Allah 'azza wa-jall(the Possessor of might and majesty)."

Taken from Sifatus-Safwah

Monday, May 28

Yahya ibn Mu’adh al-Razi said, “Glad tidings to the one who leaves the dunya before it leaves him, prepares for his grave before he enters it, and pleases his Lord before he meets Him.”

Thursday, May 24

Ibn Mas'ud –(radiallaahu 'anhu) – would advise his students, "If your intention is one of these three, do not seek knowledge: To shame the ignorant, or to argue with the Fuqahaa' (scholars), or to cause people to turn their faces in your direction. Intend with your actions and words that which is with Allah, for indeed that which is with Allah shall remain and everything else shall perish."

Ibnul Qayyim –(rahimahullaah) – said, "Deeds without sincerity are like a traveler who carries in his water-jug dirt. The carrying of it burdens him and it brings no benefit."


He is held to be a strong external reason, which causes imaan to decrease. Shaytan is a vehement enemy to the believers. He awaits calamities to afflict them. He has no desire or goal other than to jolt the imaan in the hearts of the believers and to weaken and corrupt it. Whoever submits to the whisperings of Shaytan, complies with his notions and does not retreat to Allah for refuge from him, his imaan weakens and decreases. Indeed, it may disappear in its entirety depending on the Muslim's response to such whisperings and notions.

It is for this reason that Allah has warned us of Shaytan in the sternest sense and He has clarified his dangers, the detrimental consequences of following him as well as the fact that he is an enemy to the believers. Allah ordered the believers to take him as an enemy and therefore deliver themselves from him and his whisperings.

Allah says:

"O you who believe! Do not follow the footsteps of Shaytan, and whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaytan, then, verily he (i.e., Shaytan) commands Fahshaa' (i.e., to commit indecency and lewdness, etc.) and al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, shirk, to do evil and wicked deeds, to speak or to do what is forbidden in Islaam, etc.)..." [Soorah an-Noor (24):21]

Allah also says:

"Surely, Shaytan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire." [Soorah Faatir (35):6]

Allah says:

"Verily! Shaytan is to man an open enemy!" [Soorah Yoosuf (12):5]

Allah also says:

"Shaytan has taken hold of them. So he has made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of Shaytan. Verily, it is the party of Shaytan that will be the losers!" [Soorah al-Mujaadilah (58): 19]

Ibn al-Jawzee says:
"Hence it is an obligation upon the sane person to be on his guard against this enemy, who has manifested his enmity since the time of Aadam. He has sacrificed his life and self in corrupting the circumstances of the children of Aadam and Allah has ordered one to be cautious of him..." He then mentioned a number of such texts and then said: "The like of this in the Qur'aan is abundant." [Talbees Iblees, pg. 23]

Aboo Muhammad al-Maqdasee says in the introduction of his book Dhamm al-Waswaas:
"To proceed, Allah has indeed made Shaytan an enemy to man. He sits in wait against him along the straight path and comes to him from every direction and way, as Allah has related from him that he said:

"Surely I will sit in wait against them on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as being grateful ones (i.e., they will not be dutiful to You)." [Soorah al-A'raaf (7):16-17]

Further, Allah has warned us against following him and commanded us to possess animosity towards him and to oppose him, He said:

"Verily! Shaytan is to man an open enemy!" [Soorah Yoosuf (12):5]

He also said:

"O Children of Aadam! Do not let Shaytan deceive you, as when he brought your parents (i.e., Aadam and Hawwaa') out of Paradise..." [Soorah al-A'raaf (7):27]

Allah informed us of what he did with our parents as a way of cautioning us from obeying him and also to cut short any excuse for having followed him and Allah commanded us to follow the straight path ..." [Dhamm al-Waswaas, pg.46. Also refer to Ibn al-Qayyim's introduction of his own book Ighaathah al-Lahfaan, 1/10]

Thus, Shaytan is an enemy to man. His desire is to corrupt the beliefs and to wreak havoc on one's imaan. Whoever does not fortify himself from him through remembrance of Allah, resorting back to Allah and seeking refuge with Him, will become a breeding ground for Shaytan, who will lure him to actions of disobedience, entice him to perpetrate prohibited matters and push him to embark upon lewd sins. What a perish of his religion and what a corruption of his imaan will it be if man submits to him!

Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, says:
"Beware of enabling Shaytan to establish himself in the very home of your thoughts and intentions, as he will corrupt them in such a manner that will make difficult its correction thereafter. He will cast all sort of whisperings and harmful thoughts at you and he will prevent you from thinking about what may benefit you and it is you who have aided him against yourself by empowering him over your heart and thoughts and he then placed you in the possession of such thoughts." [Al-Fawaa'id, pg. 309]

He, may Allah have mercy upon him, put forward an excellent similitude in this regard, which lies in total agreement. He says in another excerpt from his book:
"If you would like a consistent example for this, then his parable is that of a dog that is extremely famished; between you and the dog is a piece of meat or bread. He looks attentively at you and sees you not opposing him and he is so close to you. You drive him away and yell out at him and yet the dog refuses but to hover round you in circles and to try to deceive you with regard to what you possess in your hand." [At-Tibyaan fee Aqsaam al-Qur'aan, pg. 419]

His intention, may Allah have mercy upon him, behind this parable is to demonstrate the scope of Shaytan's danger to man if he does not seek refuge with Allah from him and fails to retreat back to Allah for refuge from his evil, through beneficial words of supplication and blessed forms of remembrance.

However, whoever turns away and is instead averse to that, Shaytan will cling to him in this way in which he will tempt and dictate to him until he eradicates his imaan. Allah says:

"And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (i.e., this Qur'aan and worship of Allah), We appoint for him a shaytan to be a Qareen (i.e., an intimate companion) to him. And verily, they (i.e., shaytans) hinder them from the Path (of Allah), whilst they think that they are guided aright! Till, when (such a) one comes to Us, he says (to his qareen), ‘Would that between me and you were the distance of the two Easts (or the East and West), a worst (type of) companion (you are indeed)!" [Soorah az-Zukhruf (43):36-38]

Taken from: Causes Behind the Increase and Decrease of Eemaan by Shaykh Abdur-Razzaak al-'Abbaad

Wednesday, May 23

Preserved as signs for future generations

Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam was traveling with an army, and they passed by the ruins of Thamud. So, some of the Sahaba went in and they took some water from the wells of Thamud, and they made some bread, actually they mixed some flour with that water and they made some bread, and they brought some of that water. Rasululllah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam told them "Don't eat from that bread, feed it to the camels, and throw out the water that you brought, and do not go into there except if you are going to cry". Today when we go into the ruins of Thamud, or the ruins of Firaun(Pharoah), or the ruins of the Romans, or the ruins of the Greeks, we go and we smile and we take pictures. And we are fascinated with the civilizations of the Romans, and the Greeks, and of Firaun and the advancement of humanity. Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam is saying that water that you brought from Thamud, don't even drink it, and that bread don't feed it to your self's, feed it to the camels, because it's evil. And don't go in there, in Thamud, except if you are going to cry.

Why? Because you are going in there benefiting from the ib'ra. Why would you cry? Because you would look at what happened to these people when they disbelieved, and you would fear Allah subhana wa ta'ala and you would ask Allah to save you so you would cry. So if you're gonna go in there and be impressed with their civilizationals don't go in, but if you're going to go and learn the lesson, if you're going to go there and contemplate, and think about what happened to the non-believers, even though they were wealthy and powerful and strong, if you're going to go there with that mentality and thinking, then go in. That is completely opposite of what the people today do.

Unfortunately some Muslims are even proud with the Firaunic so called civilization, subhan'Allah, Muslims can be proud with Firaun? Firaun athraya, the worst evil in Qur'an, Firaun, and we will be impressed with the civilization of Firaun? Firaun is a symbol of evil, Allah subhan wa ta'ala gave us a symbol of haqq (truth), Musa (alayhi salaam) and on the other side the symbol of evil was Firaun, and the battle, and the conflict between Musa and Firaun was a battle and conflict between haqq(truth) and baatil(falsehood), and then we go and choose the side of Firaun?

That is how we should deal with these ruins, Allah subhana wa ta'ala left them behind for a reason, these are left behind for a reason, so that we would learn the message, so that we can see a physical presentation in front of us of how Allah subhana wa ta'ala has destroyed the non-believers, physical representation, so we read it in Qur'an then we can see it in the actual example.

Taken from: Lives of the Prophets - Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki


Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When Allah wants to be good to someone, He tries him with some hardship."

Abu Hurairah also reports that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said: "For every misfortune, illness, anxiety, grief, or hurt that afflicts a Muslim -even the hurt caused by the pricking of a thorn - Allah removes some of his sins." Ibn Mas'ud said: "I visited the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, while he had a fever. I exclaimed: 'O Messenger of Allah! You have a high fever! ' He said: 'My fever is as much as two among you [might have]. ' I asked: 'Is it because you have a double reward?' He replied: 'Yes, that is right. No Muslim is afflicted with any hurt, even if it is no more than the pricking of a thorn, but Allah wipes off his sins because of it and his sins fall away from him as leaves fall from a tree'."

Abu Hurairah said: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, remarked: 'The example of a believer is like a fresh tender plant; from whichever direction the wind blows, it bends the plant. But when the wind dies down, it straightens up again. (Similarly a believer is tested by afflictions to strengthen his faith and heart, and he remains patient and firm). And an evil person is like a pine tree which remains hard and stiff until Allah breaks it whenever He wills."

Patience During Illness

Anyone suffering from an illness should remain patient, for there is no reward better or more enriching than that reserved for those who endure in patience.

Suhaib ibn Sinan narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "How remarkable is the case of the believer! There is good for him in everything, but this is not the case for anyone except for the believer. When the believer receives any good, he is thankful to Allah, and gets a reward. And when some misfortune befalls him, he endures it patiently, for which he is (also) rewarded."

Anas narrates: "I heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying: 'Allah says: "When I afflict a servant of mine with respect to his two most beloved things (meaning his eyes), and he endures it patiently, I grant him paradise in return'."

'Ata ibn Rabah related that he heard Ibn 'Abbas say: "Shall I show you a woman of Paradise?"I said: "Yes, indeed." He said: "A black woman came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said: 'I suffer from epileptic fits, and because of these, (at times) my body becomes uncovered. Would you invoke Allah, the Exalted One, to cure me of this disease? ' The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 'If you wish, you can be patient and you will attain Paradise (for this suffering). But if you prefer, I will pray to Allah, the Exalted, to cure you of it?' The woman said: 'I will be patient,' then added: 'I become uncovered (when I have fits), so invoke Allah for me that I do not become uncovered. ' So the Prophet, peace be upon him, prayed for her."

Visiting the Sick

It is Islamic etiquette to visit a sick Muslim, to provide him moral support, and to make sure that he or she is well taken care of.

Ibn 'Abbas said: "The first visit to a sick person is sunnah, while any subsequent visit is a voluntary act (a good deed)." Abu Musa reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and free the captives."

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "A Muslim has six obligations to another Muslim." "What are these?" they asked. He replied: "To greet another Muslim when you meet him; to respond when he invites you; to give him your (sincerest) advice when he seeks it; to say 'yarhamukallah - may Allah have mercy upon you' when he sneezes and says 'alhamdulilah - may Allah be praised '; to visit him when he falls ill; and when he dies, to attend his funeral."

Reward for Visiting the Sick

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "A caller from heaven calls out to the person who visits a sick person, 'You are good and your path is good. May you enter your residence in Paradise'."

Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "Verily, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, will say on the Day of Judgement: 'O Son of Adam! I fell ill, but you did not visit Me.' The human will ask, 'O my Sustainer! How could I visit You when You are the Sustainer of the Worlds? And how can You fall sick?' He, the Almighty, will say, 'Did you not know that such and such a servant of Mine was sick. But you did not visit him. Did you not know that, had you visited him, you would have found Me by his side? O Son of Adam! I asked you for food, but you fed Me not?' The man will say, 'O my Sustainer! How could I feed You when You are the Sustainer of the Worlds? And You are free from hunger?' He, the Almighty, will say: 'Such and such a servant of Mine asked you for food, but you refused to give him any. Did you not know that, had you fed him, you would have found it recorded here with Me? O Son of Adam! I asked you for a drink, but you did not give Me any.' The man will say, 'O my Sustainer! How could I give You a drink while You are the Sustainer of the Worlds and are free from thirst?' He, the Almighty will say, ' Such and such a servant of Mine asked you for a drink, but you did not give him any. Had you given him a drink, you would have surely found that recorded with Me."'

Thawban reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Verily, when a Muslim visits his sick Muslim brother, he is, as it were, in one of the gardens of Paradise (enjoying its ripe fruits) until he returns to his home."

Ali said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying: 'When a Muslim visits a sick Muslim in the morning, seventy thousand angels pray for him, and they continue praying for him until that evening. When one visits the sick in the evening, the angels pray for him and continue praying for him until the next morning. Moreover, he will be rewarded with the choicest fruits of Paradise."

Etiquette of Visiting the Sick

It is recommended that the visitor pray for the recovery and health of the patient and that he should urge him to endure his trouble patiently. He should say nice words to cheer him up and keep his spirits high. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When you visit a sick person, give him hope for a long life. This will not avert anything, but will please the patient and give him comfort." When the Prophet, peace be upon him, visited a sick person he used to say to him: "Do not worry! It is a means of cleansing (you) of sins, Allah willing."

It is preferred to shorten the visits and to make them less frequent as far as possible, lest they should become burdensome for the patient, except when the patient himself desires longer and more frequent visits.

Asking the Sick for a Prayer

Ibn Majah narrates on the authority of Umar that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "When you visit a sick person, ask him to pray for you. Indeed, the prayer of a sick person is like the prayer of angels." According to the author of Az-Zawa' id, the chain of narrators of this hadith is broken, yet it is sound and trustworthy, because otherwise it is authentic and narrators are trustworthy.

Some Supplications Found in Hadith

'Aishah reports that the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to seek refuge in Allah for some of his family members. He used to touch them with his right hand, saying: Allahahuma Rabbin nas azhhabal ba'sa, ashfi wa antashafi, la shifa' illa shifa'uka shifa' la yughadiru saqma "O Allah! The Sustainer of mankind! Remove the illness, cure the disease. You are the One Who cures. There is no cure except Your cure. Grant (us) a cure that leaves no illness." (Bukhari and Muslim)

'Uthman ibn Abu Al-'As relates that "once he complained of pain in his body to Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: 'Put your hand where you feel pain in your body and say, "Bismillah (in the name of Allah)," and say, "A 'uzhu bi 'izzatillah wa qudratihi min sharri ma ajidu wa uhazhiru (I seek refuge in the might of Allah and in His Power from the evil that I find and that I fear)," seven times'." 'Uthman continued: "I did that a few times and Allah removed my pain. I always advised my family and others to do the same." (Muslim)

Muhammad ibn Salim reported: "Thabit Al-Banani said to me: 'O Muhammad ! When you have any pain, put your hand where you feel pain, then say: Bismallaha'uzhu bi'izatillah min shari ma ajidu min waj'i hazha "In the Name of Allah! I seek refuge in Allah's might from the evil of this pain. " Then remove your hand, and repeat the same for an odd number of times. Then he said to me that Anas ibn Malik had told him that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, had taught this to him." (Tirmizhi)

'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When someone visits a sick person whose time of death has not come, and says seven times: As'alu Allah al 'azim Rabbil 'arshil azim an yshfiaka 'I ask Allah, the Mighty, the Lord of the mighty throne, to cure you,'Allah will cure him of that illness." (Reported by Abu Daw'ud and Tirmizhi, who says it is a hasan (good) hadith. Al-Hakim says that it is sound according to Bukhari's criteria)

'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas also narrates that "the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to seek protection for Al-Hasan and Al-Hussain (his grandsons) with the words: A'uzhukuma bi kalamatillahi tamah min kulli shaitanin wa hamatin wa min kulli 'ainin lamatin 'I seek protection for you with Allah's perfect words from every satan and crawling creature and every evil eye.' He also added: 'Your father (Ibrahim) sought protection for Ismai'l and Ishaq with these same words'." (Bukhari)

Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas reports that "the Prophet, peace be upon him, visited him while he was sick and said: 'O Allah, make Sa'd well! O Allah, make Sa'd well! Make Sa'd well!"' (Muslim)

Taken from: Fiqh Us-Sunnah - As- Sayyid Saabiq

Tuesday, May 22

The Way to Paradise is Very Hard

Paradise is very high, and ascending lofty places takes a great deal of effort. The way to Paradise is filled with things that go against human wishes and inclinations. This needs strong determination and willpower. In a hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (ra) the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,

"Hell has been veiled with desires, and Paradise has been veiled with [surrounded by] hardships.

an-Nasaa'ee, at-Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "When Allah created Paradise, He told Jibreel, "Go look at it". So he went and looked at it, then he came back and said, "By Your Glory, no-one will hear of it but he will enter it". So He surrounded it with hardships and said, "Go and look at it". So he went and looked at it, then came back and said, "By Your Glory, I fear that no-one will enter it"". [Jaami al-Usool, 10/520, 8068]

an-Nawawi commented on the first hadith:

"This is an example of the beautiful, eloquent and concise speech which the Prophet (saw) was capable, in which he gives a beautiful analogy. It means that nothing will help you to reach Paradise except going through hardships, and nothing will lead you to Hell, but whims and desires. Both are veiled as described, and whoever tears down the veil will reach what was hidden behind it. The veil of Paradise is torn down by going through hardships and the veil of Hell is torn down by giving in to whims and desires. Hardship including striving consistently and patiently in worship, restraining one's anger, forgiving, being patient, giving in charity, being kind to those who mistreat you, resisting physical desires, etc" [Sharh an-Nawawi 'ala Muslim, 17/165]

Yahya ibn Mu’adh al-Razi said in his entreaties and supplications, “O my Lord! The night is only pleasant to me when I supplicate to You; the day is only pleasant to me when I obey you; this world is only pleasant to me when I remember You; the Hereafter will only be pleasant to me if I receive Your pardon; and Paradise will only be pleasant to me if I see You.”

Monday, May 21

Ahâdîth on gratitude

It was reported that the Prophet (SAAS) stayed up all night, standing until his feet became swollen. When he was asked, “Why are you doing this, when Allâh has forgiven all your past and future wrong actions?” he replied, “Should I not be a grateful slave?” (al-Bukhârî, Muslim)

The Prophet (SAAS) told Mu‘âdh (RA): “By Allâh, I love you, so do not forget to say at the end of every salâh, ‘O Allâh, help me to remember You and to give thanks to You and to worship You well’” (Ahmad, at-Tirmidhî).

Hishâm ibn ‘Urwah said: “Among the du‘â of the Prophet (SAAS) is: ‘O Allâh, help me to remember You, to give thanks to You and to worship You well.’”

Ibn ‘Abbâs (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “There are four qualities, whoever is given them has truly been given the best in this world and the next. They are: a grateful heart (that is thankful to Allâh), a remembering tongue (that mentions Allâh often), an enduring body (to persevere through the trials which Allâh may send), and a faithful wife (who does not cheat him of her body or his wealth).”

Al-Qâsim ibn Muhammad reported from ‘Ā’ishah (RA) that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “No blessing is bestowed on a slave and he realizes that it is from Allâh, but the reward of giving gratitude for it is written for him. Never does Allâh know the regret of His slave for a wrong action he has committed, but Allâh forgives his wrong action before the slave seeks forgiveness. No man buys a garment with his own money then puts it on and thanks Allâh, but Allâh will have forgiven him all his wrong action before the garment reaches his knees.”

The Prophet (SAAS) said: “Allâh is pleased with His slave if, when he eats something, he thanks Allâh for it, and when he drinks something, he thanks Allâh for it” (Muslim).

Shu‘bah said: “At-Fadl ibn Fudalah narrated that Abû Rajah al ‘Utaridî said: ‘Once we saw ‘Imrân ibn al-Husayn wearing beautiful clothes that we have never seen before or since. ‘Imrân told us that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “If Allâh bestows His blessing on His slave, He likes to see the effect of that blessing on him.” ’”

Ibn Shu‘aib narrated from his father and grandfather that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “Eat, drink, and give sadaqah without being extravagant or showing off, as Allâh likes to see the effect of His blessing on His slave.”

Shu‘bah narrated from Abu Ishâq from Abu’l-Akhwas who narrated that his father said: “I came to the Messenger of Allâh (SAAS) looking dishevelled and scruffy. He asked me, ‘Do you have any possessions?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He asked me what sort, and I told him, ‘I have all sorts. Allâh has given me camels, horses, slaves and sheep.’ The Prophet (SAAS) said: ‘If Allâh has given you all of that, then let Him see His blessing on you.’”

Abu’d-Dunyâ narrated the hadîth of Abû ‘Abdi’r-Rahmân as-Silmî from ash-Sha‘bî, from an-Nu‘man ibn Bashîr, who said: “The Messenger of Allâh (SAAS) said: ‘Speaking of Allâh’s blessing is gratitude and ignoring it is ingratitude (kufr). The one who does not give thanks for a small blessing will not give thanks for a great blessing, and the one who does not give thanks to people will not give thanks to Allâh. To be with a group is a blessing, and to be alone is a punishment.’”

Ibn Abi’d-Dunyâ narrated that ‘Ā’ishah (RA) said that the Prophet (SAAS) entered upon her one day and saw a small piece of bread on the floor, so he picked it up and wiped it, then told her: “O ‘Ā’ishah, treat the blessings of Allâh with respect, for when it departs from a household it may never come back to them.”

Ad-Darwardî narrated from ‘Amr ibn Abî ‘Amr from Sa‘îd al-Maqburî from Abû Hurairah (RA) that the Messenger of Allâh (SAAS) said: Allâh said: ‘The position of the believer in relation to Me is of the best: he praises Me even when I am pulling the soul from his body.’”

Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “If any of you would like to see the great blessing of Allâh on him, then let him look at those who are less fortunate than him, not those who appear better off than him.”

Gratitude in the Qur’ân

Allâh tells us: “Then remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject Me” (al-Baqarah 2:152).

And He has told us that only those who are grateful to Him truly worship Him: “... and be grateful to Allâh, if it is Him you worship” (al-Baqarah 2:172)

Allâh has mentioned gratitude alongside îmân, and has made it clear that He gains nothing from punishing His people if they give thanks to Him and believe in Him:
“What can Allâh gain by your punishment, if you are grateful and you believe?...” (an-Nisâ’ 4:147)

In other words: if you carry out the duties for which you were created, namely gratitude and îmân, why should Allâh punish you?

Allâh has divided people into two categories, the people of gratitude (shukr) and the people of ingratitude (kufr). The thing most disliked by Him is kufr and the people of kufr, the thing most liked by Him is gratitude and the people of gratitude: “We showed him (i.e. man) the way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).”(al-Insân 76:3)

According to the Qur’ân, the Prophet Sulaymân (AS) said:
“... This is by the grace of my Lord! - to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And if any is grateful, truly his gratitude is (a gain) for his own soul; but if any is ungrateful, truly my Lord is free of all needs, Supreme in honour!” (an- Naml 27: 40)

And Allâh said:
“And remember! your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): ‘If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you; but if you show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed’” (Ibrâhîm 14:7).

“If you reject (Allâh), truly Allâh has no need of you; but He likes not ingratitude from His slaves: if you are grateful, He is pleased with you...” (az-Zumar 39:7).

There are many âyât in the Qur’ân where Allâh makes a contrast between gratitude (shukr) and ingratitude (kufr). For example:
“Muhammad is no more than a Messenger: many were the Messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allâh, but Allâh (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude” (Āl ‘Imrân 3:144).

The rewards of gratitude

The reward of gratitude is unlimited:
“ ...If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you...” (Ibrâhîm 14:7)

In contrast, other rewards and divine favours are conditional upon His will, for example,

relief from poverty:
“... but if you fear poverty, soon will Allâh enrich you, if He wills...” (at-Tawbah 9:28)

answering prayers:
“Nay – on Him would you call, and if it be His Will, He would remove (the distress) which occasioned your call upon Him...” (al-An‘âm 6:41).

rizq (sustenance, provision):
“... He gives Sustenance to whom He pleases” (ash-Shura 42:19).

“... He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills…” (al-Fath 48:14).

Divine mercy:
“Again will Allâh, after this, turn (in mercy) to whom He will...” (at-Tawbah 9:27).

But Allâh has made the reward for gratitude free from any conditions, as in:
“... And swiftly shall We reward those that (serve Us with) gratitude” (Āl ‘Imrân

“But Allâh will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude” (Āl ‘Imrân 3:144).

Iblîs and gratitude

When the enemy of Allâh realized the virtue of gratitude, he made his main aim to keep people away from it:
“‘Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: nor will You find, in most of them, gratitude (for Your mercies).’” (alĀ‘ râf 7:17)

Allâh has described the people of gratitude as being very few:
“... But few of My slaves are grateful!” (Sabâ’ 43:13).

Gratitude and ‘ibâdah

Allâh explained in the Qur’ân that the only people who truly worship Him are those who give thanks (gratitude) to Him, so those who are not among the people of gratitude are not among the people of ‘ibâdah:
“... and be grateful to Allâh, if it is Him you worship” (al-Baqarah 2:172)

He instructed His slave Mûsâ (AS) to accept what He had bestowed upon him with gratitude:
“...O Mûsâ! I have chosen you above (other) men, by the mission I (have given you) and the words I (have spoken to you): take then the (revelation) which I give you, and be of those who give thanks.” (al-Ā‘râf 7:144)

Allâh has told us that His pleasure may be attained through gratitude:
“... If you are grateful, He is pleased with you...” (az-Zumar 39:7).

Allâh praised Ibrâhîm (AS) for being grateful for His favours:
“Ibrâhîm was indeed a model. Devoutly obedient to Allâh, (and) true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allah. He showed his gratitude for the favours of Allâh, Who chose him, and guided him to a straight way.” (an-Nahl 16:120-121)

Allâh mentioned that gratitude is the purpose of creation:
“It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affection: that you may give thanks (to Allâh).” (an-Nahl, 16:78)

“Allâh had helped you at Badr, when you were a contemptible little force; then fear Allâh; thus may you show your gratitude.” (Āl ‘Imrân 3:123).

As well as being the purpose of creation, gratitude was also the purpose of sending the Prophet (SAAS):
“Then remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject
Me.” (al-Baqarah 2:152).

Patience and loving Allâh

Patience is one of the most important qualities demanded of those who claim to love Allâh, as the degree of patience determines those who are sincere in their claim and those who are not. The degree of patience needed to endure hardship and difficulties in order to please the Beloved proves the sincerity of one’s love. Many claim to love Allâh, but when Allâh tests them with hardship, they forget the true essence of love. No-one can adhere to the love of Allâh except those who are patient and persevering (as-sâbirûn). If it were not for the test of hardship and sincerity, there would be no proof of the sincerity of a person’s love of Allâh. The one whose love of Allâh is greater, has a greater degree of patience.

Therefore, Allâh has attributed the quality of patience to His close friends (awliyâ) and most beloved. He said about His beloved slave Ayyûb (AS): “…Truly We found him full of patience and constancy. How excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)!” (Sâd 38:44) Allâh instructed the most beloved to Him of everything He created to have patience in accepting His decree and told him that patience comes only by the help of Allâh. He praised those who have patience and promised them the best of rewards: the rewards of others are defined and limited, but the reward of as-sâbirûn is without measure. Patience is vital at all levels of Islâm, îmân and ihsân, as well as being a major element in îmân (faith) and tawakkul (putting one’s trust in Allâh). - Ibnul-Qayyim
The Prophet (saw) said, "No sin remains minor when accompanied by persistence, and no sin remains major when accompanied by the seeking of forgiveness."

Smile - Pause to reflect

When you experienced sadness yesterday, your situation didn't get any better by you being sad. Your son failed in school, and you became depressed, yet did your depression change the fact that he failed? Your father passed away, and you became downhearted, yet did that bring him back to life? You lost your business, and you became saddened. did this change your situation by transforming losses into profits?

Do not be sad: You became despondent due to a calamity, and by doing so, created additional calamities. You became depressed because of poverty and this only increased the bitterness of your situation. You became gloomy because of what your enemies said to you, by entering into that mental state, you unwittingly helped them in their attack upon you. You became sullen because you expected a particular misfortune, and yet it never came to pass.

Do not be sad: Truly a large mansion will not protect you from the effects of depression; and neither will a beautiful wife, abundant wealth, a high position, or brilliant children.

Do not be sad: Sadness causes you to imagine poison when you are really looking at pure water, to see a cactus when you are looking at a rose, to see a barren desert when you are looking at a lush garden, and to feel that you are in an unbearable prison when you are living on a vast and spacious earth.

Do not be sad: You have two eyes, two ears, lips, two hands, two legs, a tongue, a heart, peace, safety and a healthy body.

“Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both [jinn and men] deny?” Surah Ar-Rahman – Ayah 13

Do not be sad: You have the true Religion to live by, a house to live in, bread to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a wife to find comfort in; why then the melancholy?

Taken from: Do Not Be Sad - Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni

Sunday, May 20

The Life of This World Is a Transient Shade

"Truly, the life of this world is nothing but a [quick passing] enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever." [Qur'an, 40:39]

"And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and that surely with Allah is a mighty reward." [Qur'an 8:28]

"And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them [polytheists], the splendour of the life in this world, that We may test them thereby." [Qur'an 20:131]

"And put forward to them the example of the life of this world: It is like the water [rain] which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But [later] it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything." [Qur'an 18:45]

"My similitude and that of the life of this world is that of a traveler who took a rest at mid-day under a shade of a tree and then left it." [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim]

"Be in this world like a stranger, or a wayfarer." [Bukhari]

"When Allah (`azza wa jall) gives a person whatever he loves of the worldly benefits despite his disobedience, then that is a gradual enticement." [Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi]

"The Hour has drawn near, whereas the people have become more greedy for the life of the world and more remote from Allah." [Al-Hakim]

Yahya ibn Mu`adh, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "I don't order you to abandon life but to abandon sins. Abandoning life is a virtue and abandoning sins is a duty, so your need for this latter is greater than your need for the former."

This life is full of benefits and fortunes: The land on which man constructs his dwelling, and grows his food, drinks, dress... etc., all represents the nourishment for man's body and soul proceeding towards Allah. Man of course cannot do without these vital necessities. the one who takes from these necessities only according to his real need as commanded by Allah is saved and praised. But whoever takes more than necessary for himself falls into covetousness which will lead him into harm instead of benefit, and consequently divert him from the right path towards Allah and the Hereafter.

Likewise, taking less than required of the worldly benefits is harmful because the human body needs to satisfy certain basic needs, and that will increase its capability to worship Allah perfectly.

`Amr ibn Abdullah said: "The life of this world and the Hereafter, in the heart of a person, are like the two scales of a balance, when the one becomes heavier the other becomes lighter."

Al-Hasan Al-Basri was asked: "Who is going to cry more than the others on the Day of Resurrection?" He answered, "A man on whom Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has bestowed His Grace and who uses that for Allah's disobedience."

`Umar ibn Al-Khattab said: "Renouncing the worldly pleasures is a comfort for both the human heart and body."

Yahya ibn Mu`adh said: "How can I love this life? A sustenance is decreed for me in it which keeps me alive and helps me to perform the deeds of obedience that will lead me to Paradise."

`Abdullah ibn `Umar, radhiallahu `anhu, said: "The life of this world is Paradise for a disbeliever and a prision for a believer. When a believer dies and departs from this world, he feels himself like a prisoner who was released to go freely on the spacious earth."

`Umar ibn `Abdil `Aziz said: "The life of this world is not your permanent dwelling because Allah has decreed that it should perish and that all its dwellers should leave it. How many a populated area that will soon come to ruins, and how many a happy resident who will soon leave his residence. You should therefore leave this wolrd in the best way you can, and the best of provisions is piety. Since the life of this world is neither a home nor an abode for the believer, he should be in it, either a stranger whose objective is to take the required provisions and return home, or a traveler who is residing nowhere and who is proceeding day and night to reach a country of residence."

A poet said: "Man should take the minimum possible of the worldly pleasures, because he is leaving for a fixed appointment; turn his eyes away from this life and its ornaments, make all the efforts to keep away from its lusts, because it is a place of temporary pleasures and trials, and all the people in it will perish."

The Necklace

Ibn Rajab and others gave an account of a worshiper who ran out of resources while he was in Makkah. He became extremely hungry and was about to die from lack of nourishment. One day, as he was wandering in the precincts of Makkah, he found an expensive necklace. He put it into his sleeves and headed for the Masjid. On his way he came across a man announcing that he had lost a necklace. The poor man later said, " I asked him to describe it to me, and he did so, perfectly, leaving no room for doubt. I gave him the necklace without taking reward from him. I said,: " O Allah, I have given it for You, so compensate me with what is better." He went to the ocean and began a journey in a small boat. Only a brief period of time passed before a storm came with heavy winds crashing into the boat. The boat smashed into pieces and the man was forced to cling to a piece of wood. The winds were violent, propelling him to the left and to the right.

Finally, he was washed ashore onto an island. He found there a Masjid filled with people who were praying, so he joined them. He found papers with parts of the Qur'an written on them and he began to recite from them. The people of the island asked him, "Do you read Qur'an?" He answered in the affirmative. They said, " Teach our children Qur'an." So he began to teach them and he took a salary for his services. One day, they saw him writing and they asked, " Will you teach our children to write?" Again he answered in the affirmative and began teaching them for a salary.

A short time later, they said to him, " There is an orphaned girl with us whose father was a good man. Will you marry her?" He agreed to the marriage and later related, "I married her and found that she was wearing the exact same necklace. She said that her father lost it in Makkah and a man found it and returned to him. She said that her father would always supplicate while prostrating, for her daughter to become blessed with a husband similar to the honest man. I then informed her that I was that man."

"O Allah, I have given it for You, so compensate me with what is better."
Abandoning something for the sake and Pleasure of Allah- Allah will definitely compensate with something that is better, either sooner or later, in this world or Hereafter.

Saturday, May 19

Al-Hasan al-Basri said, rahimullah “Allah will inflict six punishments on the one who loves the dunya and chooses it over the Hereafter - three in this world and three in the next. As for the three in this world they are - delusion and hope in having a long lifetime that has no end, overpowering greed that leaves no contentment, and taking away of the sweetness of worship. As for the three in the Hereafter they are - the harrowing ordeal of the Day of Judgement, a severe bringing to account, and an eternal regret.”
Abu Bakr as-Siddiq radiallahu anhu said, "Iblis is standing in front of you, your nafs is on your right, your desire is on your left, the dunya is behind you, your limbs and senses are around you, and the Omnipotent is above you. Iblis, may Allah curse him, calls you to leave the Religion, the nafs calls you to disobedience, desire calls you to fulfilling your passion, the dunya calls you to choose it over the Hereafter, your limbs and senses call you towards sins, and the Omnipotent calls you to Paradise and Forgiveness. Allah the Exalted says (in the Qur'an): "And Allah invites you to Paradise and Forgiveness." The one who responds to Iblis will lose his Religion, the one who responds to the nafs will lose his soul, the one who responds to desire will lose his intellect, the one who responds to the dunya will the Hereafter, the one who responds to his limbs and senses will lose Paradise, the one who responds to Allah will lose all sins and acquire all types of goodness."

The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, "On the Day of Judgment the Scales will be placed and the people of prayer will be brought forward and they will be be compensated according to the Scales; then the people of fasting will be brought forward and they will be compensated according to the Scales; then the people of hajj will be brought forward and they will be compensated according to the scales; and then the people afflicted with hardships and calamities (in the dunya) will be brought forward and the Scales will be not be used for them nor will their records be brought out, and they will be given their reward without any account, so much so that the people who used to be free of worries and calamities would wish that they were in their position, such is the immensity of their reward from Allah the Exalted."

Riyaa: Hidden Shirk

Linguistically riyaa comes from the root "ra`aa" which means to see, to behold, to view. The derived word 'riyaa' means "eye service, hypocrisy, dissimulation; dissemblance."

From a Sharee`ah point of view, "to perform acts which are pleasing to Allah, with the intention of pleasing other than Allah". Thus riyaa originates in the heart.

Mahmood ibn Labeed reported that the Allah's Messenger said, "The thing that I fear most for you is the minor Shirk; Riyaa" (Ahmad in his Musnad)

Aboo Sa`eed reported that the Messenger of Allah (saaw) came to us while we were discussing about Dajjaal and said, "Should I not inform you of that which I fear for you even more than the dangers of Dajjaal? It is the hidden Shirk; A person stands to pray, and he beautifies his prayer because he sees the people looking at him." (Sunan Ibn Majah vol. 2, #3389)

Abu Hurayrah radhiallahu `anhu narrated that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

“Indeed, Allah the Most Exalted will descend to His slaves on the Day of Judgment, and judge between them. All the nations will be humble to their knees (kneeling). The first people to be called to account on the Day of Judgment will be (a scholar) and reciter of the Qur’an, a martyr who was killed in the cause of Allah and a rich person (who used to constantly give his wealth). Allah will ask (the scholar) and reciter of the Qur’an, "Have I not taught you what was revealed to my Messenger?" And he will answer, "Yes." So Allah will ask him, "What did you do with that which I taught you?" He will respond, "I used to recite it day in and day out (and I used to seek knowledge and teach it to the people)." Then Allah will answer him, "No you have lied!" And the angels will say, "No you have lied!" Allah will then say, "You only wished for people to say about you: He is a reciter of the Qur’an, and so it was said!"

And the person with great wealth will be brought forth and Allah will say, "Did I not bless you so that you did not need to depend on others?" He will respond, "Yes!" Allah will ask, "Then what did you do with what I had given you?" He will say, "I fulfilled my family obligations and spent my money in charity." Then Allah will say, "No you have lied!" And the angels will say, "No you have lied!" Allah will then say, "You only spent so that people would call you generous, and so it was said."

And the person who died in the way of Allah will be asked, "How did you die?" He will answer, "O my Lord! I was asked to make jihad in your way so I fought until I was killed." Allah will say, "No you have lied!" And the angels will say, "No you have lied!" Allah will then say, "You only fought so that it would be said of you: He has great valour, and so it was said."

Then the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam tapped my knee and said, 'O Abu Hurayrah! These are the first three people amongst the creation of Allah that the fire of Hell will consume on the Day of judgment." (Tirmidhi, authenticated in Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb)

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)

The primary cause of riyaa is a weakness in Eemaan. When a person does not have strong faith in Allah, he will prefer the admiration of people over the pleasure of Allah.

There are three symptoms that are indicative of riyaa, and it is essential that a believer avoid all of them.

1] The love of Praise---as mentioned in a hadeeth of the first three people being thrown into the hellfire; the scholar (who taught for fame), the martyr (who faught for fame), and the person who gave his money in charity (so people would say he is generous). All three of these people desired the pleasure of people over the pleasure of Allah. The person who desires the praise of people must feel some pride in himself, for he feels himself worthy of being praised. There is a danger, therefore, of him becoming arrogant and boastful.

Aboo Hurayrah quoted Allah's Messenger (saaw) as saying: "Allaah, Most Great and Glorious said: Pride is My cloak, and greatness is My robe, so whoever competes with Me, with respect to either of them, I shall cast him into Hell" (Saheeh Muslim, vol. 4 #6349, Sunan Aboo Dawood, vol. 3 #4079)

Aboo Hurayrah quoted Allah's Messenger (saaw) warning about a person's adoration of himself: "There are three destructful things: desires that are followed, greediness that is obeyed, and a person's self-admiration and conceit; and this is the worst of the three"

Allah also warned against falling into the category of those Christians and Jews whom the Qur`an mentions:
"Do not assume that those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done, think not that they are absolved from punishment, (but rather) for them is a painful torment." (Al-Imran : 188)

2] Fear Of Criticism

No one likes to be criticized. The dislike of criticism regarding religious practices may be divided into two categories:

a] The first category is that of a person who neglects a commandment of Allah in order to avoid the criticism of his peers. However, the true believers are described in the Qur`an as follows: "...They do not fear the criticism of those who criticize. And this is the blessing of Allah; He gives it to whomsoever He wishes. Verily, Allaah is Self-Sufficient, all Knowing. " (Al-Maa`idah : 54)
b] The second category is that of a person who obeys certain commandments of Islam, not for the sake of Allah, but because he fears people will look down on him and criticize him if he does not do it. For example, a man may make his formal prayers in the mosque because he does not want people to criticize him for praying at home, or to think that he is not praying at all.

3] Greed for people's possessions

If a person covets what other people possess, whether it is rank, money or power, then he will wish them to envy him similarly. For example, if he is jealous of a position of a certain person in society, he will try by every possible means to attain the same position. Such desires lead people to spend their lives putting on a show for other people so that they will admire their rank, money, or power.

These three categories are implied in the following statement of the Prophet Muhammad (saaw). Aboo Moosaa related that a person came to the Prophet (saaw) and asked: "A person fights to defend his honor (i.e. to avoid criticism), another to prove his bravery (i.e. to be praised for it), and a third to show off (i.e. so that his position can be seen); of these three, which one fights in the way of Allah? " He (saaw) answered:

"Whoever fights to make the word of Allaah prevalent [i.e. to bring honor to Islaam, and to establish it in the land], he is the one who fights in the way of Allaah" (Saheeh al-Bukhari vol. 4 #65)

Some scholars advised:

"Remove the causes of riyaa` from yourself by considering the opinion of people as important to you as animals and small children. Do not differentiate in your worship between the presence of people or their absence, or between their knowledge of your actions and their ignorance. Rather be conscious of the infinite knowledge of Allah alone."

The Ways to Avoid Riyaaa

1] Increasing knowledge of Islam
2] Du`aa
The prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa salam) taught the specific du`aa for riyaa:
"Allahumma innaa na`oothu bika an-nushrika bika shay`an na`lamuhu, wa nastagfiruka limaa laa na`lamuh. [O Allaah, we seek refuge in you from committing shirk knowingly, and ask your forgiveness for (the shirk that we may commit unknowingly"]
3] Reflecting upon Heaven and Hell
4] Hiding one's good deeds
5] Reflection upon one self's shortcomings
6] Accompanying the Pious
7] Knowledge of Riyaa`