Human beings are not perfect. Everybody makes mistakes in life and unknowingly commits sins. So forgiveness is a critical aspect in Islam. Muslims believe that Allah is Merciful and Forgiving. There are two kinds of forgiveness in Islam: Allah’s forgiveness and human forgiveness. Human beings are in need of both since they make mistakes in their relations to Allah as well as their relations to each other. In Islam, all that is needed is to recognize the mistake/sin, rectify it and seek forgiveness.
Recognizing the Wrong Act
The first step in asking for forgiveness is to recognize and admit the fact that you have made a mistake or committed a sin. This is a grave step because, many times, the ego prevents individuals from even acknowledging that they have wronged. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “O Allah! Make me among those who, when they commit an act of virtue, feel good, and when they commit a mistake, they seek forgiveness.”
Forgiveness from God
The words “Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful” are repeated many times throughout the Quran. In Islam, individuals who commit a sin ask for forgiveness directly from God; there is no intermediary. In the Quran it says, “God loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and He loves those who keep themselves pure.” It also says, “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
From Another Human Being
If an individual wrongs another human being, the act must first be rectified with the wronged individual who should be asked for forgiveness before asking forgiveness from God. The Prophet said, “Whoever has oppressed another person concerning his reputation or anything else, he should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no money (to compensate for wrong deeds), but if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to his oppression which he has done, and if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him.” Islam also teaches human beings to be forgiving and if someone sincerely asks for forgiveness, the wronged person should forgive him. The Prophet said, “Whoever suffers an injury and forgives (the person responsible), God will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins.”
When sincerely asking for forgiveness, the intention should be not to knowingly repeat the same sin again. However, even if an individual does accidentally repeat the offense, forgiveness should be asked for again, for there is no limit to Allah’s forgiveness, according to the Quran. In a hadith, Allah tells His servants, “O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you.”
1. Oneness of God
A Muslim believes in ONE GOD, Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and Provider. God has no father or mother, no son or daughter. None is equal to Him. He is God of all humankind, not of a special tribe or race.
God is High and Supreme but He is very near to the pious thoughtful believers; He answers their prayers and helps them. He loves the people who love Him and forgives their sins. He gives them peace, happiness, knowledge and success. God is the Loving and the Provider, the Generous, and the Benevolent, the Rich and the Independent, the Forgiving and the Clement, the Patient and the Appreciative, the Unique and the Protector, the Judge and the Peace. Many of these attributes of God are mentioned in the Quran.
God creates in humans the mind to understand, the soul and conscience to be good and righteous, the feelings and sentiments to be kind and humane. If we try to count His favors upon us, we cannot, because they are countless. In return for all the great favors and mercy, God does not need anything from us, because He is Needless and Independent. God asks us to know Him, to love Him and to enforce His law for our benefit and our own good.
2. Messengers and Prophets of God
A Muslim believes in all the Messengers and Prophets of God without any discrimination. All messengers were mortals, human beings, endowed with Divine revelations and appointed by God to teach mankind. The Holy Quran mentions the names of 25 messengers and prophets and states that there are others. These include Adam, the first Prophet, along with Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, the last of the Prophets (peace be upon them all). The key message brought by all Prophets was the same: to believe in One God and not to associate partners with Him, to stay away from sins and to lead a life devoted to earning God’s pleasure.
3. Revelations and the Quran
A Muslim believes in all scriptures and revelations of God, as they were complete and in their original versions. Muslims believe in the original scriptures that were given to previous messengers; for example David received the Psalms (Zabur), Moses the Torah (Taurat) and Jesus the Gospel (Injeel). However, the previous scriptures do not exist today in the original form in which they were revealed.
The Quran is the last testament in the series of divine revelations from God, and Muslims recite and turn to it for guidance in all aspects of their life. It comprises the unaltered and direct words of God, revealed through the Angel Gabriel, to the final Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), some 1400 years ago. The Quran is unique because it is the only revealed book that exists today in the precise form and content in which it was originally revealed.
The Quran is unrivaled in its recording and preservation. The astonishing fact about this scripture is that it has remained completely unchanged over the past fourteen centuries, a fact that is attested to by both non-Muslim and Muslim scholars alike. There are no versions of the Quran and every copy in the world remains identical, word for word in its original language Arabic. Muslims to this day continue to emphasize the importance of memorizing the Quran word by word, as a whole or in part, recognizing that it is the Speech of God and not a book written by Muhammad (pbuh), as sometimes erroneously thought.
Angels are a creation of God. They are purely spiritual and splendid beings that require no food or drink or sleep. They have no physical desires or material needs. Like other creations of God, Angels spend their time worshiping God. In contrast to human beings, Angels do not have free Will – they can only obey God and do not have the ability to disobey Him. Each Angel is charged with a certain duty. Angels cannot be seen by the naked eyes.
5. Day of Judgment
A Muslim believes in the Day of the Judgment. This world as we know it will come to an end, and the dead will rise to stand for their final and fair trial. On that day, all men and women from Adam to the last person will be resurrected from the state of death. Everything we do, say, make, intend and think are accounted for and kept in accurate records. They are brought up on the Day of Judgment.
One who believes in life after death is not expected to disobey God. They will be ever-conscious that God is watching all their actions and the angels are recording them.
People with good records will be generously rewarded and warmly welcomed to Paradise. People with bad records will be fairly punished and cast into Hell. The real nature of Heaven and Hell are known to God only, but they are described by God in familiar terms in the Quran.
If some good deeds are seen not to get full appreciation and credit in this life, they will receive full compensation and be widely acknowledged on the Day of Judgment. If some people who commit sins, neglect God and indulge in immoral activities seem superficially successful and prosperous in this life, absolute justice will be done to them on the Day of Judgment. The time of the Day of Judgment is known by God alone.
A Muslim believes in the ultimate Knowledge and Power of God to plan and execute His plans. God is Wise, Just, and Loving, and whatever He does must have a good motive, although we may fail sometimes to understand it fully. The believer should have strong faith in God, recognizing that their own knowledge is limited and their thinking is based on individual consideration. In contrast, the Knowledge of God is limitless and He plans on a universal basis. Humans should think, plan and make sound choices and then put their trust in God. If things happen as they want they should praise God. If things do not happen as they want they should still praise God, recognizing that He knows best what is good for the affairs of mankind.
Cheating and deception are despicable characteristics that are beneath a decent person. Intentionally distorting the truth in order to mislead others contradicts the values of honesty, which requires an attitude of sincerity, straightforwardness, and fairness that leaves no room for cheating, lying, trickery, or deceit. There are many texts from the Quran and the Sunnah conveying the meaning that cheating, whether the target be Muslims or non-Muslims, is forbidden.
Accepting the guidance of Islam leads a person to truthfulness, which means a person completely avoids cheating, cheating, and back-stabbing. The Prophet of Islam said:
“Whoever bears arms against us is not one of us, and whoever cheats us is not one of us.” (Saheeh Muslim)
According to another report, the Prophet passed by a pile of food in the market. He put his hand inside it and felt dampness, although the surface was dry. He said:
“O owner of the food, what is this?’
The man said, ‘It was damaged by rain, O Messenger of God.’
He said, ‘Why did you not put the rain-damaged food on top so that people could see it! Whoever cheats us is not one of us.” (Saheeh Muslim)
Muslim society is based on purity of feeling, love, sincerity towards every Muslim, and fulfillment of promises to every member of society. Its members are endowed with piety, truthfulness, and faithfulness. Cheating and deception are alien characters in contrast to the noble character of a true Muslim. There is no room in it for swindlers, double crossers, tricksters, or traitors.
Islam views cheating and deception as heinous sins, a source of shame to the one guilty of committing them, both in this world and the next. The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, did not merely denounce them by excluding them from the Muslim community in this world, he also announced that on the Day of Judgment every traitor would be raised carrying the flag of his betrayal. A caller will cry out from the vast arena of judgment, pointing to him, drawing attention to him:
“Every traitor will have a banner on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said: This is the betrayer of so-and-so.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
The shame of traitors – men and women – will be immense. Those who thought that their betrayal had been forgotten will find it right there, exposed for the whole world to see on banners raised high held by their own hands!
Their shame will increase even more when they meet with the Prophet of Mercy, the advocate of the sinners on that terrifying and horrible Day. Their crime is of such enormity that it will deprive them of divine mercy and the Prophet’s intercession. The Prophet of Islam said:
“God said: There are three whom I will oppose on the Day of Resurrection: a man who gave his word and then betrayed it; a man who sold a free man into slavery and kept the money; and a man who hired someone, benefited from his labor, then did not pay his wages.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
One should steer clear of all the various forms of deceit and deception present in today’s society. Cheating is common in examinations, business transactions, and even between spouses and loved ones. Placing a label on domestically-made products to make it seem that it is imported is a kind of fraud. Some people give wrong advice when their council is sought and thus deceive the person who believes he is getting good advice. An employee should do the job for what he is paid for without any deception or cheating. Rulers rig the ballot to win elections and cheat the whole nation. Cheating between spouses and having extra-marital affairs is widespread in modern society. A Muslim should value himself too highly to be among those who cheat or deceive perchance one might fall in the category of hypocrites about whom the Prophet said:
“There are four characteristics, whoever has all of them is a true hypocrite, and whoever has one of them has one of the qualities of a hypocrite until he gives it up: when he is trusted, he betrays; when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he disputes, he resorts to slander.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)
Therefore, a Muslim who has true Islamic sensitivities avoids deceit, cheating, treachery, and lying no matter what benefits or profits such activities might bring him, because Islam considers those guilty of such deeds to be hypocrites.
Courtesy of Abdul Hamid www.darulihsan.com
O Ummatul Muslimeen! The celebration of Eid ul-Fitr culminates a month of fasting wherein the faithful have spent their time praying and beseeching Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala for forgiveness and mercy. For many, the most glorious month of Ramadan was not just an abstention from food and drink. Rather, it was an exercise in patience and discipline. Eid-ul-Fitr is the celebration for those who fasted and obeyed Almighty Allah’s rules and teachings. It is for those who spent the most wonderful and month of caring and sharing, the month of patience and the month of of constant Ibadah in complete devotion to Almighty Allah Rabbul Ala’meen. Eid is a time when the entire Muslim community comes together to share in each others joys and blessings and also to lessen the burden of those who are suffering.
It is preceded by people shopping and looking around for gifts for their near and dear ones. It is a time when the bright lights from homes and shops illuminates our life. We use this day and the following days to spread happiness and social harmony by visiting our friends and relatives and offering our Duahs to all those who have departed from the Doonya. Gifts are exchanged during Eid by young and old alike. We also visit the elderly and the sick. Eid is a time where all kinds or festivities prevail. Many of us gormandize to make up for “lost food” during the month of Ramadan.
However, with all the going around we some times forget our lesser privileged brethren. We forget that there are many out there who have nothing to celebrate. There are those among our brothers and sisters for whom Eid day is just another ordinary day. There are those who open their cupboards on Eid day and find them bare. There are those in hospitals who will go through a bleak and lonely day with no one visiting them. Friendless, deprived of company, they will have no one to offer solace or comfort. Let us therefore see to it that our deprived brethren welcome the day of Eid-ul-Fitr with warmth and hope. This, after all, is a day of caring and sharing and bringing joy and happiness to those who are less fortunate. This is the essence and message of this most wonderful day of reward.
O People of Imaan! As we buy gifts and clothes for our children, let us earmark a special sum for those who cannot afford to buy. We should also instill in our children a sense of compassion so that when they buy something they will also think of their unfortunate brethren. Let us teach them the art of giving, the art of caring and sharing. The desire of wishing for others what we would wish for ourselves. We should let them know that there are millions of children in war torn areas of Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosova, the Philippines and the Caucasus region, the poor and downtrodden areas of Africa, Asia and South America, and even in the forgotten ghettos of Europe and North America who do not have the basic necessities to make this day a different day – a day of joy and happiness, a day of rejoicing and thanksgiving.
Ayyuhal Muslimoon! This is a day for praying and remembering our unfortunate brothers and sisters who are victims of drought, famine and other natural disasters as well as those who had survived the devastating earthquake in Pakistan and Kashmir and the recent floods in parts of Africa and Bangladesh. They need our urgent help and as true Muslims we must do whatever is necessary to assist them in rebuilding their lives. We cannot divest ourselves from the misery of others. We cannot shrug it off saying that it does not concern us. To do this would be an injustice to humanity and to our Imaan. The Most Holy and Glorious Quran reminds us in verse 8 of Surah Al Ma’idah:
“Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah for
Allah is well acquainted with all that you do.”
Many of us donate money to charity and fulfill our religious duty. However, if we actually meet the recipients of our charity the perception of charity changes. There is a feeling of belonging when the recipients and givers meet. Islamic ideology teaches us to be kind and compassionate. Our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam said: “I and the provider of the orphan will be together.” And what greater prize is there for anyone of us than to be around our beloved Nabee – Rahmatul Liel Ala’meen Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam? All we need for that is Muhabbat, compassion, sincerity and a feeling of brotherhood and understanding. And that will decide the quality of our life on earth and the hereafter.
From the first moment that the light of Allah-wariness shines into the heart of a human being possessing faith, he or she becomes conscious of its worth and significance. Humility, modesty and kindness are proper only before Almighty Allah, Who created all the existents and the world of being with His Will, and human beings are His real servants. Basically, humility in front of the Most Exalted Creator of the heavens and the earth is itself the greatest source of human honour and dignity.
As Muslims we must remember that the vital force that lies within a pious person keeps him or her aware of the realities of life and he or she never gets swallowed up by the deep and shoreless sea of mundane things for the sake of enjoying life. That is because our intellect and souls are infused with the Truths of the Din of Haqq and we view everything in the perspective of an Islamic world view. Islam attaches so much value to the affairs of the faithful that their station of honour is mentioned along with the Majesty of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala and His Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam in [part of] verse 8 of Surah Al Munafiqun:
“But honour belongs to Allah and His
Messenger and to the Believers.”
O Ummatul Muslimeen! May Almighty Allah Most Merciful grant us all the good fortune to revive the Islamic values in our midst and to cherish them with all our heart: to bow and bend only before Him and to fear no one besides Him, and be loyal to His Din, and proud of His Message! We beseech Him from the depths of our hearts to confer this great wealth upon us for He is indeed, Able to do all things. This is the humble Message of Eid to you, the believers of the Din of Haqq. Cure the ills of the world with the panacea you possess. The world will then know that this radical cure is possible only with the elixir still preserved in its pristine purity by the Ummah of Almighty Allah’s Beloved – Nabee Muhammed al-Mustapha Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. This is the essence and message of Eid-ul-Fitr – the day the Mala’eeka in heaven call it the Day of Youm-ul-Ja’iza – the day of Great Reward.
And Almighty Allah knows best.
Baarak Allaahu Feekum wa-sal Allaahu wa-Sallam ‘alaa
Nabiyyinaa Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam.
Was Salamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.
What is light on the tongue but heavy on the Scale? Dhikr, the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He).
“O You who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance” [33:41].
During the hustle and bustle of our frantic lives, the day seems to go by so quickly that it is not until a rare quiet moment late at night that we may realize we have not remembered Allah throughout the day. Apart from the five daily prayers (which themselves are forever threatened to be rushed through or forgotten), did we take a single moment from our day amongst the creation to remember the Creator? A flimsy “Alhamdulillah” may slip from our tongues but little reflection may go with it. The lack of dhikr, or remembrance in Allah, can be blamed on mismanaging time or forgetfulness; but the truth is, we may not truly understand the weight on these short words or phases on our hearts and souls. And the rewards! The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) describes the incentives to remembering Allah throughout or day. Basically, if you remember Allah in this life, He will remember you (and grant you wonderful things) in this life and the next.
The Prophet said,
“Allah says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running” [Sahih Bukhari].
Below is a short list of some remembrances that you can incorporate in your day. The goal is to make these beautiful praises of the Creator come up from your heart and roll off of your tongue with ease.
1. Quran: Ultimately, the best dhikr is reading the Quran.
You will be rewarded 10 rewards for every letter read. This prize basically illustrates the weight of the Quran in terms of where it should be in your life.
2. SubhanAllah or SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi (“I praise Allah (or All praise if to Allah) above all attributes that do not suit His Majesty.”)
A tree will be planted for you in Paradise. Nice! Start growing your own forest right now! Another hadith relates that whoever says this 100 times a day, his/her sins will be forgiven even if they were as much as the foam of the sea [Bukhari].
3. Alhamdulillah (“All praise is for Allah.”)
Your scales will be tipped on the Day of Judgment, full of rewards!
4. SubhanAllah wal hamdulillah, wa la ilahaillAllah wa Allahu akbar “I praise Allah (or All Praise if to Allah) above all attributes that do not suit His Majesty. All praise is for Allah. This is no deity worthy of worship besides Allah. Allah is Great.”
This combination of dhikr is the one most beloved by Allah, subhana wa ta’ala. When you say them, sins fall off of you like leaves off of trees.
5. La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (“There is no power or might except (by) Allah.”)
You will enter through a special door in Paradise for those who oft use this remembrance.
6. SubhanAllah (x33), Alhamdulillah (x33), Allahu akbar (x34). Can be recited after salat and before you go to bed/sleep. (“I praise Allah (or All praise if to Allah) above all attributes that do not suit His Majesty. All praise is to Allah. Allah is Great.”)
We know that this dhikr is said after each salah, but when Fatima raḍyAllāhu ‘anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) the daughter of the Prophet came to her father requesting a servant to help with the household, the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told her to repeat the dhikr before her sleep and the results would be better than having a servant.
7. Astaghfirullah (“I seek Allah’s forgiveness.”)
You will get protection from Allah’s punishment. In Surah Nuh, ayah 10-12, Allah relates the story of Prophet Nuh and how he instructed his people to seek Allah’s forgiveness. If they would just say “astagfirullah,” Allah would sent them rain in abundance, and increase their wealth and children, and give them gardens and rivers in Paradise.
8. Ayahtul-Kursi [2:255].
When you recite this verse before you go to sleep, Allah sends a guardian to you and no shaytan will come to you until morning. Those who read this after each salah shall enter Paradise.
1. To take a bath.
2. To wear nice and clean clothes.
3. To proceed early to the Masjid.
4. To go to the Masjid on foot.
5. To try to sit as close as possible to the Imaam.
6. If the Saffs (rows) are already filled, one should not jump over the shoulders of the musallies (worshipers) in order to get to the front.
7. One should not do any futile action eg. one should not fiddle with one’s clothes or fingers.
8. To listen to the Khutba (sermon) attentively.
9. The person who recites Surah Kahaf on Friday will be bestowed with a Noor (Spiritual light) from under the Arsh (The Throne of Allah Ta’ala) which will extend from the earth till the sky and will benefit him in the darkness of the Day of Qiyaamah. All his (minor) sins which he had committed from the previous Jumu’ah up to this Jumu’ah will be forgiven.
10. Rasulullah () is reported to have said, “Recite Durood upon me in abundance on the day of Jumua’h since they are presented to me.”
11. On the day of Jumua’h it is sunnah to apply oil to the hair and to use it or any other sweet smelling fragrance.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Ibn al-Qayyim said, in regards to the description of the Paradise and the delights that it contains said the following:
“And if you ask about its ground and its soil, then it is of musk and saffron.
And if you ask about its roof, then it is the Throne of the Most Merciful.
And if you ask about its rocks, then they are pearls and jewels.
And if you ask about its buildings, then they are made of bricks of gold and silver.
And if you ask about its trees, then it does not contain a single tree except that its trunk is made
of gold and silver.
And if you ask about its fruits, then they are softer than butter and sweeter than honey.
And if you ask about its leaves, then they are softer than the softest cloth.
And if you ask about its rivers, then there are rivers of milk who’s taste does not change, and rivers of wine that is delicious to those who drink it, and rivers of honey that is pure, and rivers of water that is fresh.
And if you ask about their food, then it is fruits from whatever they will choose, and the meat of whatever birds they desire.
And if you ask about their drink, then it is Tasneem, ginger, and Kaafoor.
And if you ask about their drinking cups, then they are crystal-clear and made of gold and silver.
And if you ask about its shade, then a fast rider would ride in the shade of one of its trees for a hundred years and not escape it.
And if you ask about its vastness, then the lowest of its people would have within his kingdom and walls and palaces and gardens the distance that would be travelled in a thousand years.
And if you ask about its tents and encampments, then one tent is like a concealed pearl that is sixty miles long.
And if you ask about its towers, then they are rooms above rooms in buildings that have rivers running underneath them.
And if you ask about how far it reaches into the sky, then look at the shining star that is visible, as well as those that are far in the heavens that the eyesight cannot possibly reach.
And if you ask about the clothing of its inhabitants, then they are of silk and gold.
And if you ask about its beds, then its blankets are of the finest silk laid out in the highest of its levels.
And if you ask about the faces of its inhabitants and their beauty, then they are like the image of the Moon.
And if you ask about their age, then they are young ones of 33 years in the image of Adam, the father of humanity.
And if you ask about what they will be hearing, then it is the singing of their wives from among the Hoor al-’Ayn, and better than that are the voices of the Angels and the Prophets, and better than that is the Speech of the Lord of the Worlds.
And if you ask about their servants, then they are young boys of everlasting youth who resemble scattered pearls.
And if you ask about their brides and wives, then they are young and full-breasted and have had the liquid of youth flow through their limbs; the Sun runs along the beauty of her face if she shows it, light shines from between her teeth if she smiles; if you meet her love, then say whatever you want regarding the joining of two lights; he sees his face in the roundness of her cheek as if he is looking into a polished mirror, and he sees the brightness from behind her muscles and bones; if she were to be unleashed upon the World, she would fill what is between the Heavens and the Earth with a beautiful wind, and the mouths of the creation would glorifiy, praise, and exclaim greatness, and everything between the East and the West would be adorned for her, and every eye would be shut from everthing but her, and the light of the Sun would be outshone just as the light of the Sun outshines the light of the stars, and everyone on the face of the Earth would believe in the Ever-Living, the One who Sustains and Protects all the exists.
And the covering on her head is better than the World and all that is in it, and she does not increase with age except in beauty; free from an umbilical cord, childbirth and menses, and pure of mucous, saliva, urine and other filthy things; her youth never fades, her clothing is never worn out, no garment can be created that matches her beauty, and no one who is with her can ever become bored; her attention is restricted to her husband, so she desires none but him, just as his attention is restricted to her so she is the sole object of his desire, and he is with her in utmost safety and security, as none has touched her before of either humans or Jinn.
And if you ask about the Day of Increase (in reward) and the visit of the all-Mighty, all-Wise, and the sight of His Face – free from any resemblance or likeness to anything – as you see the Sun in the middle of the day and the full Moon on a cloudless night, then listen on the day that the caller will call: ‘O People of Paradise! Your Lord – Blessed and Exalted – requests you to visit Him, so come to visit Him!’ So they will say: ‘We hear and obey!’
Until, when they finally reach the wide valley where they will all meet – and none of them will turn down the request of the caller – the Lord – Blessed and Exalted – will order His Chair to be brought there. Then, pulpits of light will emerge, as well as pulpits of pearls, gemstone, gold, and silver. The lowest of them in rank will sit on sheets of musk, and will not see what those who are on the chairs above them are given. When they are comfortable where they are sitting and are secure in their places, and the caller calls: ‘O People of Paradise! You have an appointment with Allaah in which He wishes to reward you!’ So they will say: ‘And what is that reward? Has He not already made our faces bright, made our scales heavy, entered us into Paradise, and pushed us away from the Fire?’
And when they are like that, all of a sudden a light shines that encompasses all of Paradise. So, they raise their heads, and, behold: the Compeller – Exalted is He, and Holy are His Names – has come to them from above them and majestified them and said: ‘O People of Paradise! Peace be upon you!’ So, this greeting will not be responded to with anything better than: ‘O Allaah! You are Peace, and from You is Peace! Blessed are You, O possessor of Majesty and Honor!’ So the Lord – Blessed and Exalted – will laugh to them and say: ‘O People of Paradise! Where are those who used to obey Me without having ever seen Me? This is the Day of Increase!’
So, they will all give the same response: ‘We are pleased, so be pleased with us!’ So, He will say: ‘O People of Paradise! If I were not pleased with you, I would not have made you inhabitants of My Paradise! So, ask of Me!’ So, they will all give the same response: ‘Show us your Face so that we may look at it!’ So, the Lord – Mighty and Majestic – will remove his covering and will majesty them and will cover them with His Light, which, if Allaah – the Exalted – had not Willed not to burn them, would have burned them.
And there will not remain a single person in this gathering except that his Lord – the Exalted – will speak to him and say: ‘Do you remember the day that you did this and that?’ and He will remind him of some of his bad deeds in the Worldy life, so he will say: ‘O Lord! Will you not forgive me?’ So, He will say: ‘Of course! You have not reached this position of yours (in Paradise) except by my forgiveness.’
So, how sweet is this speech to the ears, and how cooled are the righteous eyes by the glance at His Noble Face in the Afterlife…
COURTESY OF HAQISLAM.ORG AND UMME FAATIMAH
The modern world has swept us off our feet in so many ways… our dressing, our lifestyles and most noticeably our eating habits. We have so casually adapted the western culture of unhealthy eating, moving further and further away from the Noble teachings of the Quraan and Sunnah of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).
Yet, the newest nutritional research continues to discover the benefits of certain foods, labelled as “Super Foods”. They have also unravelled the great benefits of certain eating habits, such as washing the hands before and after meals, eating with the hands, not drinking with meals…just to mention a few. However, all of this has already been outlined in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah more than 1400 years ago.
We are certainly the losers if we do not make an effort to practice upon the Sunnah in our homes and kitchens. What better time to bring about these changes than now? Our beautiful Deen offers us the opportunity during the beautiful month of Ramadhaan, to bring about positive changes in our lives- changes that benefit us mentally, physically and spiritually which Insha Allah (Allah Willing) can be sustained for the future.
Physically, fasting gives the digestive system a much needed rest. Energy normally used for digestion is now directed to body detoxification, tissue repair and system healing.
With that in mind I have chosen to highlight just a few of the favourite foods of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). With the special month of Ramadhaan fast approaching, we can all ensure we have these foods on our shopping lists. InshaAllah, by us adopting the lifestyle of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) we will be rewarded enormously… Ameen.
Dates are the most mentioned fruit in the Quraan. They are high in energy, fibre, iron, vitamins and minerals. The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: ” The home with no dates is like the home with no food”.(Hadith- Sahih Muslim)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)used to break his fast with fresh dates and a few sips of water. If he did not find fresh dates, he would use dried dates. He (pbuh) said: “When one of you breaks the fast let him do so with dates, for they are a blessing and if he cannot find dates then with water for it is a purification” (Hadith-Tirmidhi)
He often consumed dates with cucumber, butter, cream or bread. A dessert called “Haisa” made with ghee (butter), dates, cheese and yoghurt was also prepared.
Tips: At iftaar (breaking fast) time, dates can also be used to prepare date milkshakes, date chutney, date desserts as well as sprinkled over salads. For sehri (pre-dawn meal), dates can be used as a softened spread over bread or added into muffins, rusks etc.
Dieticians and nutritionist the world over have been advocating the use of olive oil for its excellent cardio-protective, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Ongoing research is revealing more and more great benefits on the consumption and application of olive oil.
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: “Eat the olive and use it as an ointment as it comes from a blessed tree”.(Hadith-Tirmidhi)
Tips: During Ramadhaan, olive oil is best used raw as a dip for breads or as a salad dressing. The lighter olive oils are well suited for cooking and baking purposes. Whole olives can be added to salads as well as de-pitted and added to breads, muffins, pies and pizzas.
A recent Readers Digest article highlighted barley as one of the five healthiest foods we tend not to eat. Yet it was barley that was one of the staple foods in the diet of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Modern research is discovering that barley has a very high soluble- fibre content. This helps to keep the arteries clear and healthy. It has an extremely low glycaemic index (GI), which means it takes a longer time to digest, keeping one fuller for longer.
It is mentioned that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed barley in the following ways:
SAWIQ – a coarse broth prepared from ground wheat and barley – very much like a haleem (soup)
THARID – Barley bread covered in gravy cooked with meat
TALBEENAH – A porridge prepared using barley and milk
A Hadith in Mishkaat narrates that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)never used sifted flour in his lifetime. We should take lesson from this, as we are all moving to consuming more refined and processed foods where all the beneficial nutrients have been stripped off. Allah SWT mentions in the Holy Quraan grains with their husks, amongst His many gifts to us. Un-sifted flour as used by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)contains all the valuable nutrients found in the bran and germ layers and has a lower GI.
Tips: During Ramadhaan, barley can be added to soups and broths or prepared as a drink by boiling and straining mixture. A hadith in Bukhari mentions that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed “Sawiq” at iftaar. Barley flour can be used for preparing breads and rotis. Substitute 1.5 cups barley flour for every 3 cups regular flour. Cereals containing barley flakes like muesli can be purchased, or barley flakes can be added to biscuits, muffins, breads and other cereals.
Barley can be prepared as a filling porridge for sehri -Talbeenah. Soak 1-2 tablespoons whole barley overnight in a flask filled with rapidly boiling water. At sehri time, strain water out and prepare porridge with honey and milk. (Store bought “pearled barley” has been polished with some of the bran layer removed).
Modern research has been abuzz with the myriad of health benefits associated with honey- anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, energising tonic….to name a few.Our beautiful Deen has encouraged the use of honey 1400 years ago. The Holy Quraan mentions”there comes forth from the bee’s belly, a drink of varying colours, wherin is a healing for men”.(Qur’an 16:68-69)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) further said ” Make use of two cures- honey and the Quraan”(Hadith-Ibn Majah)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved drinks that were sweet and cold and often consumed honey water.
Tips: Honey can be used to sweeten items like tea, fresh juices, milk drinks and cereals etc. Raw honey which is thicker and creamier has a lower GI, and can be mixed with cinnamon and used as a spread on toast for sehri.
GRAPES AND RAISINS
Grapes have been found to contain resveratrol- a powerful antioxidant that protects the body on a cellular level from damage. The seeds are rich in flavonoids which lower the risk of fatty plaque accumulation on the lining of blood vessels to the heart.
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved eating grapes. Hadith in Abu Dawood mentions The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him )often consumed a drink “Nabeez”- prepared from soaked raisins. Nabeez can be prepared by soaking raisins after Esha (evening) prayer in clean water covered with a plate. The following morning the water can be drunk and the soaked fruit eaten or just use the blender to obtain a beautiful cloudy Nabeez. And, if you soak in the morning, drink in the evening. Nabeez should be consumed within twelve hours of soaking to prevent fermentation.
Tips: Nabeez or fresh grape juice can be prepared as a drink after Taraweeh (evening prayer in Ramadaan). Grapes can be served as part of salad or dessert. Raisins eaten with nuts can be enjoyed as a healthy munch after taraweeh salaat.
The Sunnah way of eating is the healthy way of eating. InshaAllah, let us all strive to revive and bring alive the Sunnahs of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) in our homes this Ramadhaan. I have highlighted just a few. Make an intention to eat on the floor, share eating utensils and to fill a third of your stomach with water, a third with food and a third left for air.
Besides the immense health benefits outlined above our greatest rewards really lie in following the Sunnah, as it comes in Hadith mentioned by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him):
” The person who follows my Sunnah is the one who truly loves me, and will be with me in Jannah” (Hadith-Tirmidhi)
Allah Ta’ala said to His Messenger (pbuh)”Say (to mankind), if you love Allah, follow me – Allah will love you and forgive your sins.” (Qur’an:3: 31)
Wishing you all healthy eating, the Sunnah
Courtesy of www.suhaibwebb.com
So I believe that culturally we are uniquely positioned to speak to certain aspects of our society. Now, I’m not saying there is an American “us” and an American “them”, but what I am saying is that there’s a certain part of the community that we can directly speak to. And it would be great to see more and more of that happening. Something similar to what the NOI did. They were so relevant that certain people found connections with the NOI immediately. So I would like to see something like that on a much larger scale.
JB: In your opinion, what should be the role of the born Muslim with regards to their interactions with converts?
ISW: Well on both sides I think that there needs to be more religious tolerance, and everyone needs to just give us a break and understand that we have to make certain calls for our convert community. Our attitudes are more relaxed than most post-colonial communities, our nuances and activism might be a little different than what that community is used to. There needs to be a level of mutual understanding and a sense of self-governance to a certain degree. Allow us to handle and tackle issues that we as converts are better equipped to handle.
JB: Do you ever see the convert/non-convert dichotomy every going away? Do you see converts ever being able to fully assimilate into the community without having that convert designation?
ISW: Yeah I think so, I mean people like Imam Zaid Shakir have done that really well. Dr. Umar Farooq Abdullah, Dr. Ingrid Mattson.
JB: So what is that one elusive variable that allows someone to transcend all of that?
ISW: Time. I think we have to realize something, which is that our communities are kind of like what we see in the film “Poverty Inc.” in that they tend to profit from the poor even though they are there to benefit the poor. Not all of charities and organizations of course, more so ones like the IMF (International Monetary Fund). But I do think that the community tends to benefit from the presence of converts. Converts are a constant reminder that Islam is still guiding people. And all that’s great to a certain degree, and I mean it’s great experience but you don’t have to own it. If that person has converted then they have converted. You know, I really like when Imam Marc Manley says, “Conversion is a moment, and then Islam is the process.” You hear people talking saying things like, “Oh, meet this convert he has been Muslim for eight years now.” Why don’t we ever refer to ‘Umar raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) as a convert, or even all of the companions? However, I don’t think it’s a negative from the non-convert community. I honestly just think that it reminds them of the greatness of Islam and they’re happy to see it. They’re genuinely overjoyed to see Islam permeating the bowels of disbelief and bringing people up to the light of guidance.
Therefore, I would encourage communities to have conversations. Imam Khalid Latif did this brilliantly in Manhattan. What he did was he had a panel of just converts speaking to this massive hall of non-converts, and I think what would be even better than that would be to turn this into mosque policy. I think converts should speak to people in institutions and then craft some sort of understanding about language and programming. That’s when you create a real opportunity for cohesion. Unfortunately though, we are not talking to each other. We tend to think the worst of each other.
JB: Despite the fact the fact that male and female converts both share similar experiences upon conversion, there are undoubtedly certain issues that are specific to the sisters, such as finding a trustworthy wali (male guardian or representative), dressing modestly, and divorcing their non-Muslim husbands. How would you advise our sisters and the religious leadership to address some of these issues?
ISW: I think with initial converts we need to discover the rulings in Islam that allow new Muslims certain concessions when they are valid, even if it goes against a specific text. [I advise] don’t divorce your non-Muslim husbands, at least not right away. I say that because those special and sacred non-negotiable texts didn’t just come to the companions overnight. Like ḥijāb (the veil), it came 13 or 16 years later. I mean, I understand the verse “today I have completed your religion and completed my favor upon you” (5:3). I get it. But I also look at the prophetic statement “And whatever I have commanded of you, do the most that you can.” It’s very difficult to expect a person to apply all the rulings of Islam in a short period of time. It’s irresponsible and it’s irrational.
And what I’ve seen is people go in that way and then go out much quicker. I think that’s why I said we have a need for independent institutions.
For example, I got a guy that comes to my ḥalaqah (study circle) right now high as a kite on weed. And I know he’s high because I used to get high too. Nonetheless, he comes to the ḥalaqah. So hopefully he will slowly begin to open up, have conversations, and then find the spiritual motivation to struggle and overcome that vice. But if I just start going in on him about why he smokes, I may lose him. He may never come back to the ḥalaqah again. Ibn al-Qayyim talks about this when he poses the question, “Is it allowed for a person who has an infinite number of sins to just work on a few?” In other words, get those right and then move on to the next. And he says absolutely yes, because it’s illogical to burden someone with all of that at once. So one of the challenges that we have, like you and I as sharī’ah students, and this is going to hurt you and I a little bit when I say this, but we have introduced a language of law to people when there are many other languages of Islam. First thing people are worried about is “Can I do this, can I do that?”, which is important no doubt. But there are other languages of Islam, like the language of love. And of course love is then tied into the rulings of law. There are so many different languages to our religion not just the language of law.
So I think the issue with these sisters specifically and with converts in general is that we need to find the concessions that work for them when it is allowed. There will be times where we need to make fatāwah (personalized legal verdicts) for those people. We need to get across the fact that we understand what they are going through, that they are facing certain issues and that they have their own unique set of challenges. So when we speak to them, we make sure that we get across the fact that we are not telling them what they are doing is right, and that we are not encouraging them to continue, but rather tell them just like Chris Rock said in one of his standup routines, “I understand,” and we’re here to try and help you.
Whenever Allah talks about a convert, He uses words like the word iḥyā’ (revitalization), the word inshirāḥ (spreading out, opening), it’s always a word about growth and resurrection, life and blossoming. So our job is to facilitate the process of blossoming. Allah is the one who plants the seeds, He’s the one who causes people to blossom. So we should take to heart what the famous scholar Imām ash-Shāṭibi says in his work al-Muwāfaqāt. He says that the mufti (the legal jurist capable of issuing legal rulings) must treat people like a doctor. If you over medicate you poison their liver, but if you under medicate they die of an infection. So the goal for the muftī is to carry them on the middle path in order to stabilize that person.
I had a stripper convert. She was in my office and she’s crying and she told me she met a Muslim guy at her work, what a story. We have to realize that her struggle, and people like her, is not like a “tomorrow I’m fixed” type of struggle, there’s a ton of issues at play; psychological issues, abuse issues, their hatred of men. So the first thing I told her was to not tell anyone in the community what she does for a living, obviously because it’s no one’s business and secondly they may not like what they hear. I also asked her how she fell into that career because I wanted to learn. So she said, “My father is non-ambulatory, my brother is a drug addict, so there was no one in my home to earn money. I don’t even have a GED.” She told me that she doesn’t have the skill set to read and write properly, and this is in America! A white girl! She’s told me that that line of work was the only thing she could do. She said she hated it because she was a Muslim doing this.
So the average person in our community cannot imagine what facing that type of challenge must be like. So my job at that moment is to find someone who can find her a job so she can begin to earn a ḥalāl (lawful) living, the answer is not to find her a husband. The answer is to find her a source of income. So that’s what I meant by institutional and financial support. So I think with women in general, conversion needs to be explained. I think the statement, “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah” needs to be explained very well, because it involves a form of divesting and investing. “There is no deity worthy of worship” is a person saying, I’m divesting from other than Allah, and the last portion, “except Allah” is a person saying, I’m investing completely in Allah. Both of those entail applying the rules and regulations of Islam, learning, and growing.
What I loved about the people from where I converted was this idea of constant change. You constantly uncover things about yourself that you need to address and fix. It wasn’t like one day you wake up and you are ‘Umar raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him). So I think with these sisters, finding qualified scholarship, and trying our hardest to keep them offline. Oh my God, so much damage is being done to people with all these online fatwas. In Azhar and I’m sure here in Madinah, you are actually taught how to read a fatwa, how to criticize it. Is the language correct, is the logic right? Is it written in a way that is suitable and fits the person inquiring? And that’s one of many challenges. But I think it would be great to see a tafsīr (an explanation of the Qur’an) for converts, or a book of fiqh (Islamic legal rulings) for converts. The Maliki school of thought in its books actually discusses all kinds of scenarios in the various chapters of fiqh, and they’ll put a disclaimer at the end, “except for new Muslims.” Even fornication, drinking, wearing a cross, and I even think Imām Dasūqī says even if that person is walking to church. If they’re a new Muslim you have to give that person a break. And that’s not to say that the break is the goal, the break is a means to reach capacity.
So I think with a lot of these people we need to give them the idea that they are on a spiritual trajectory, they made a covenant with Allah, and it means that over time you will be changing. Our job is to facilitate that process; to help them grow, help them learn acquisition of actions and knowledge that will aid them in their growth as a Muslim and then deal with the rulings more in a step by step fashion. I mean if you are asking a woman to leave her husband, just think of the systemic outcome of that. It could be financial, it could cause her to give up her kids, she could very well end up homeless, it may subject her to scorn from her family. It could really lead to bigger problems. And that’s why scholars say to not give a fatwā that leads to basically a bigger can of worms, to another thousand rulings. I mean, what if she lives in a place where Islamophobia is hot and the husband takes her to court and accuses her of being a terrorist and they take her kids? I mean all kinds of stuff. So I suggest we get to know each other first, build relationships, build a community, be nuanced, and then begin to kind of dissect these little issues.
I actually thought about my first week as a Muslim, there was probably like 7,000 new rulings. I’m serious, just the number of things I ran into. Like my mom has a dog, they eat pork at the table, they drink. I tried to go back and literally count them all. I was going to write a book about the things I faced in those first seven days. It was like 7000 new rulings, it was an infinite number. So I called this African-American brother I knew, Abdul Salaam, who taught me at that time. I told him, I have a girlfriend, I have this and that, I mean I was completely overwhelmed. He was like, “Brother…tawḥeed, ṭahārah, and ṣalāh (knowing Allah, purification, and prayer). For the first 8 months I just want you to learn how to pray.” I had one of those little books, with transliteration, and I just used to read that. Then he said he wanted me to read this book by Bilal Philips. After that, he wanted me to join this thing called a ḥalaqah. It was like a one year program. But now with the internet, and the sheer amount of information out there it complicates things. People say to me, “Oh, it must have been difficult back then”, but no it was easy because you were able to dose what you learn.
But I think it would be good to see some materials, study materials, written from the perspective of a convert, written in a way that speaks to some of the issue. I had a sister who converted and she was like 16 at the time. Her mother was an evangelical Christian, really hardcore. And this girl, may Allah bless her, said that she had to hide fasting from her mom. So she went out and bought these protein shakes and would keep them under her bed. She would have a protein shake for suḥūr (pre-dawn meal, eaten prior to the commencement of fasting) and one for ifṭār (post-fast meal, eaten after the sun has set). That’s all she was having, and this was when the days were long. At ifṭār time, she said she would have to go to the restroom and pray in the restroom, drink her protein shake in the restroom. And when I mentioned that to some people they started attacking me, like how can you say someone can pray in the restroom? First, go back and read what the Maliki school has said about this issue, it’s very clear. Secondly, that’s a specific challenge that no one can understand. She even started to lose a lot of weight and her hair started falling out because she wasn’t eating properly. So there has to be that understanding, it has to be as if you are wearing their clothes as my teacher would say. The muftī has to wear their clothes, they have to really know the depth of the issue, because the ultimate goal is to bring people to the obedience of Allah and to help them get to that point.
Courtesy of www.suhaibwebb.com
Muslims aren’t perfect and the community should stop pretending it is, an American imam told Western University students Friday night.
“The idea that being a Muslim means being perfect is wrong . . . It makes us acutely irrelevant to ourselves and to others,” Imam Suhaib Webb told more than 200 men and women gathered on campus for the end of Islam Awareness Week. “We freak everyone out. It creates this strange vibe.”
Webb, who converted to Islam in 1992, was in London to talk to students about cultivating a Canadian identity.
Islam Awareness Week is put on by the Western Muslim Students’ Association.
Webb used his distinctive, American-preacher-style lecture to tell his audience the need to be a “perfect Muslim” alienates others and forces Muslims to lose sight of their humanity.
“We’re too pious. The Prophet tells us to be the best you can. Try to seek the target to be close to God, but you won’t hit the target every time,” Webb said. “The community has to expect at an institutional level that there will be imperfection.”
Webb told students it takes time to understand religion and its teachings. “Don’t expect sudden change. It takes patience . . . The need to change people drives us to the point where we’re rude . . . What’s with this need to change people, instead of just being freaking human?”
Someone will inevitably criticize the fact the event was for both men and women, Webb said, an example of how some Muslims create rigid rules that aren’t important.
“There’s a difference between a brothel and a mosque, man,” he said. “We sexualize ourselves to the point we become perverts. There’s a sense of patriarchy that makes young women think about their sexuality way before they should. The Muslim community reinforces sexuality that would have been learned way later in life.”
Webb said there are cultural reasons why Muslims feel the need to seem perfect, but that letting go of those pressures can help young people. “Utopian visions are rare, and they’re crippling,” he said. “The Prophet doesn’t have the goal of utopia.”