Archive for June, 2011

Where is the Love?

If these past few years have taught me anything, it is that as long as we do not have love firmly implanted in all our hearts, we will never succeed.

You see, when love truly exists, nothing else matters. Nothing matters at all. You don’t do something for another because you have to do it – you don’t even question it. You do it out of love; it comes from your heart, from your consciousness; a will so great, so beautiful, that it is overpowering. It naturally emanates from within. This is love.

We are a people that are inspired to love, sisters and brothers. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says in the Qur’an, “There are some who choose to worship others beside Allah as rivals to Him, loving them with the love due to Allah; But the believers are overflowing in their love for Allah.” (2:165).

And how can we not have such a spiritual state? We should want to please and obey Him, out of our immense love for Him. Do we love Him for all that He has given us? I find that gratefulness increases such love. As we bow down to the ground in prostration, it is Him that has enabled us to do so. It is Allah that wakes us in the morning. It is Allah that gives us the ability to read this. It is Allah that has given us the ability, the ability itself, to worship Him. How can you not love The One for all of this, The Giver of All who makes our hearts beat?

Imam Ghazali (may Allah be pleased with him) said “If the servant knows that true perfection belongs to none other than Allah, that any good he sees in himself is from Allah, and that his love is only for Allah’s sake, he becomes motivated to obey Him and begins to love whatever brings him closer to Allah.” And Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be pleased with him) said if you know Allah, you will love Him. How could you not love the One who answers du`a’ (supplication), who rewards more than you give, who forgives, who veils faults, and who is more merciful towards you than your mother?

Do we know the status of love? A man once came to the Prophet ﷺ and asked, “When will the last Hour come, Oh Messenger of Allah?” The Messenger ﷺ responded, “What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “I have not prepared a lot of prayer nor fasting nor charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet ﷺ then said, “You will be with the one you love” (Bukhari). Subhan’Allah.

So, you may ask, what is the personality of the one that truly loves Allah? Imam Ghazali noted a scholar who said that, “It is one who spends little time with people and much time alone; who is always in thought and outwardly silent; who is in a spiritual state that overtakes his sight, hearing and speech…who does not become sad if inflicted with a calamity, and if inflicted with hunger he is not aware…who looks to Allah in times of solace, who is happy with His company and speaks to Him intimately, and does not contend with the people of this world over their world.”

Wow.

What we should also realise is that our love for Allah does not stop there. Let us love the Prophet ﷺ by following him. The Prophet ﷺ was addressed by Allah in the Qur’an:

3:31

“Say [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. ” (Qur’an, 3:31).

Nor does our love stop with the Prophet ﷺ. As Muslims, just as we love Allah, our love also extends to each other. Famously, narrated by Abu Hurayrah (ra), the Prophet ﷺ said: “You will not enter Jannah (Paradise) until you believe (or have faith) and you will not believe (or have faith) until you love one another.” Anas Ibn Malik (ra), the servant of the Prophet ﷺ, narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Verily one will not have faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” Let us overcome our differences and focus on what matters. With love, you only want the best for one another.

As we know, Islam enjoins the concept of love between mankind, manifested through our understanding of “rahmah.” We know the Prophet ﷺ, as Allah said, was sent as a “Mercy to Mankind.” The Prophet ﷺ told his companions (al-Targheeb): “You don’t truly believe until you have rahmah (compassion) for others.” His companions responded, “We all have rahmah.” The Prophet ﷺ then told them, “Verily, you don’t reach this level of faith by just having rahmah for those who are close to you, but you must have rahmah for everyone.” I become frustrated by our young people who harshly refer to everyone else as “kuffar” and yet treat our own hard-working people very poorly – those who are contributing in our classes and fields for a better society. Rather, with love for His sake for humanity, we want the best for everyone. Think of your neighbour; imagine what your neighbourhood would be like with love instilled within it. With true love, we should want a just world for all, and we should want humanity to believe in and love Allah.

So where to go from here? The message is clear for those that seek His love. Our Creator says,

19:96

“…But the Lord of Mercy will give love to those who believe and do righteous deeds” (Qur’an, 19:96).

Sisters and brothers – how can we even dare to think to sin when we love Allah? How can we dare to do anything but to constantly remember Him, constantly obey Him?

And The Loving One tells us in a phenomenally powerful hadith qudsi: “Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with the supererogatory (nawafil) so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.” (Bukhari)

Let us be a people with love for Allah at the heart of it – spreading love to people everywhere and cultivating a loving world.

Courtesy of Nabil Ahmed and www.suhaibwebb.com

The Chemistry of Faith

I never liked chemistry because I wasn’t good at it.  Even now, as I fully admit, that it is unfair to have judged the messy subject by my own personal limitations, I still feel stress every time I hear the word “lab” or see someone wearing goggles.

Most people love mixing things, a deep instinct beginning from early childhood.  Whether it be implementing the steps of a cookie recipe or creating new colors with paint, I can see this instinct alive and well in my own children.  Even a very young child can recognize that the mixed result will only be as good as its parts and that some parts simply don’t mix.  Still, perhaps most magnificent of all these phenomenon are those types of matter that will mix to make energy.

One day, when they are older, I would love to explain to them that the mixing of the elements of the physical world provide a striking analogy for the mixing of the elements of the spiritual world.

There is a potent chemical called Sincerity.  Sincerity is a very peculiar substance that exhibits many amazing properties.  First of all, it has a very low boiling point; any spotlight will easily cause it to evaporate (Riya’ – arrogance).  So elusive is this substance that many a scientist have actually had to fully isolate himself from all environmental stimuli to be able to study it (spiritual retreat).  In its liquid state, it can form many compounds, but in every case, becomes almost fully unrecognizable from its original state (mixed intentions).

As for its solid state, it is the most remarkable of all.  It has an extremely high melting point, requiring temperatures of scorching magnitudes, to return it to its liquid form.  In its solid state, Sincerity refuses to mix with anything and naturally expels all impurities.  The impenetrable integrity of the solid form of Sincerity is so unique in the study of chemistry that scientists coined a special name for it; Tawheed (belief in One God).  Chemists gave it this name to represent its unchanging and independent state, such that no other substance in existence has the ability to alter it.

Strangely enough, however, there is one substance, and only one, that the Tawheed solid interacts with.  It is known as Knowledge.  Knowledge naturally occurs in the form of a gas.  Humans have the ability to breathe this gas (culture, society) and do so involuntarily on a daily basis.  Yet, subjects have exhibited greatly varying effects in response to it. The effects of large doses of this gas, administered over long periods of time, have been studied only to reveal that no consistent rule can be determined.  Each subject is led to think, speak, and even dress differently based on their particular immune response to this gas.  However, it has been noted that the effects of the Knowledge gas seem to have some correlation to the specific parts of the world where Knowledge gas reserves exist (civilizational heritage).  Scientists were baffled upon discovering that subjects, who took 5 daily pills of the Tawheed solid, were almost fully immune to its adverse effects.

On the other hand, in its liquid form, Knowledge produces entirely different effects.  It is a highly volatile chemical that welcomes a union with all other substances (speculative, theoretical, unproven knowledge).  Many of these compounds release a foul-smelling gas, some release small amounts of energy, and some are highly dangerous combustible substances.   When small bits of the Tawheed solid are immersed in the liquid Knowledge they cause it to coagulate and release impurities.

Another interesting configuration is the mixing of liquid Knowledge (speculative knowledge) with liquid Sincerity (mixed intentions).  The effect would seem non-existent to the lay observer, however, upon much experimentation, the experts have found that liquid Knowledge drastically lowers the boiling point of liquid Sincerity (i.e. facilitates the evaporation of sincerity under lower temperatures/temptations) and also raises its freezing point (i.e. acts as an inhibitor preventing sincerity from reaching its solid state.)

Most scientists agree that Knowledge reaches the peak of its utility and stability in the solid form. The Knowledge solid is most often used in the foundation of buildings, because of its stability under pressure.  It is also widely used in medicines.  The Knowledge solid is almost impossible to manipulate because it mixes with only one other substances in existence, the Tawheed solid!  In fact, the combining of the Tawheed solid with the Knowledge solid is the most spectacular phenomenon scientists have ever witnessed in human history.

Even before they combine, when brought close together, they begin to emit a strange but pleasant humming noise (like a reciter of the Qur’an).  If brought even closer together, they begin to glow and emit a pleasant smell.  When the scientist at work allows the Tawheed solid to touch the Knowledge solid, they unite to form one mass.  The light emitted from this mass is so strong that the scientist at work is forced to wear an eye-protecting material.  It is theorized that some early civilizations (Salaf) might have used the Tawheed-Knowledge mass to provide energy (and lighting) for entire communities of people.

Scientists are very hopeful with regard to the application of this technology.  Many have surmised that after Humans have depleted Earth’s natural energy reserves, that this Tawheed-Knowledge mass could potentially provide enough energy to sustain the entire population of the Earth.  Studies are currently being conducted to determine the feasibility of producing this energy source and ways to harness its benefit for mankind.

The chemical formula of Tawheed can be found in Surat al-Ikhlaas.

The chemical formula of Knowledge can be found in Surat al-Asr.

Courtesy of Iman Badawi and www.suhaibwebb.com

All You Need To Do Is Ask

“Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him…” (Qur’an, 27:62)

For whatever problem we have, whatever difficulty we find ourselves in, we have the most powerful weapon to ward off the pain that plagues us. It is the weapon of du`a’. We know with certainty that Allah is Al-Mujeeb (The Responsive). We have read many articles telling us about the importance of du`a’, but in order for our du`a’ to be truly meaningful, we must accompany that du`a’ with a certain brokenness in the heart. This brokenness is the feeling of utter need, submission and surrender to Allah, and realizing that truly it is only He who can get us out of our state. In a beautiful hadith qudsi, Allah says:

“O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another.
O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you,
O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you.
O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you.
O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you.
O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and will not attain benefitting Me so as to benefit Me.
O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything.
O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything.
O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more that a needle decreases the sea if put into it.
O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him who finds good, praise Allah, and let him who finds other than that, blame no one but himself.” (Muslim)

Subhan’Allah (exalted is Allah), this hadith requires us to read it more than once to truly grasp its meaning. In essence, Allah is telling us that everything is from Him – He possesses this whole world and all that is in it, therefore we should seek all of our needs from Him.

Allah has named Himself Al-Mujeeb, which means the One who responds. Just as we are certain that the Qur’an is true, we must be certain that Allah, Al-Mujeeb, will answer our call. We should never think that Allah will not answer, because by feeling so, we are denying this attribute (siffat) of Allah. Whenever we are feeling down, we should not hesitate to ask Him over and over again, and to go into sujood (prostration) and plead because that is the closest that we are to Him. If we realize this, the doors of mercy have been opened for us, because the Prophet ﷺ said, “For whoever the door of du`a’ opened, for him the doors of mercy are opened.” (Tirmidhi).

Your du`a’ is deposited with Allah, and as was narrated from the Prophet ﷺ, your du`a’ does something. Either Allah will speedily answer your du`a’ or He will save it for you until the Hereafter, or He will avert something bad equal to the value of the du`a’ (Ahmad). So we should never leave du`a’. The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Do not stop making du`a’, because nobody who makes du`a’ is forsaken.” (Hakim)

Insha’Allah, you will be answered. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him (in supplication) He becomes shy to return them empty.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)

Remember: our Lord is not forgetful. Sometimes you might even forget that you once made du`a’ for something, but He might give it to you years later.

No answer?

We must always have certainty that Allah answers. But sometimes doubt enters one’s heart: “…But I asked, I made du`a’... and I don’t see anything?” Firstly, just as we know that Allah is Al-Mujeeb, we must also know He is Al-Hakeem (the Most Wise).

He may delay answering your prayer for a number of reasons; one is to test your trust in Him. We all say we believe Allah is the Al-Mujeeb when everything lands at our feet, but what about when we don’t immediately see the fruits of our du`a’? I knew a woman who was telling the story of how her husband did not pray. When she married him, she didn’t know, and as the marriage progressed she discovered that he was skeptical of religion as well. So she would wake up every night for qiyam al-layl (the night prayer) and plead with Allah to guide Him. Do you know how long she prayed for? Two years. And she says it was so unexpected; he came home from a business trip with a complete change of heart. It turns out that on the plane he was seated next to a great sheikh who began talking to him. And that is how he changed.

Another reason is that Allah knows when it is best to answer. Perhaps you are asking for a job and He could give you a job at this very moment, but He will delay it because He knows that in a couple of months, a better job will come along. Perhaps what you are asking for is not good for you, or He will give you something better in the Hereafter.

Allah also may delay the answer to make us work harder so we are prepared for it. If we look at Palestine, we may think, “Wow, the Muslim Ummah prays so much and we don’t see anything changing.” But in truth, although the majority of the Ummah prays intensely during Ramadan, many do not make du`a’ with true pleading. It is almost an afterthought. And if we do (such as when we see the carnage that happened in Gaza) we do not follow up our words by utilizing the means to change the situation; we forget (as is happening now). There are some genuine people who work for change, but they are a minority. So we need to be patient because we need to know that Allah is training the Ummah. The answer is being delayed so that we become worthy of this task.

There is a beautiful hadith qudsi which states that Allah sometimes delays the answer because He loves hearing the sound of His servant (At-Tabari). Many of us would ask and then when we get what we want we stop going to Allah; but imagine that when the answer is delayed, Allah loves to hear YOUR voice again as you call Him. Wow.

Allah does not place a burden on us greater than we can bear. If the answer to your du`a’ has been delayed, it’s because Allah KNOWS you can handle it. He tests those whom He loves, so keep asking and remember that Allah makes with hardship ease. And remember, as with tawakkul, we need to exert effort as well.

Four conditions

Ibn Al-Qayyim said he who fulfills the following conditions should know that Allah will surely answer his du`a’:

  1. Have certainty that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala will answer your du`a’. The Prophet ﷺ said, ”Ask Allah with certainty that He will answer your prayers.” (Tirmidhi)
  2. Show submissiveness and devotion during your du`a’. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Know that Allah will not accept the supplication from an absent heart.’ (Tirmidhi)
  3. Be patient and do not hasten for an answer. The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘The du`a’ of any worshipper will continue to be responded to, as long as… he is not hasty’ i.e. as long as he doesn’t lose patience. [Muslim]
  4. Continue to gain a lawful means of living. The Prophet ﷺ narrated a story about a man asking Allah, saying “O Lord! O Lord!” but his food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and he was nourished unlawfully; so how can he be answered?!” (Muslim)

Courtesy of Jinan Bastaki and www.suhaibwebb.com