Friday, December 25, 2009

Spiritual Development

The objectives of spiritual development are:

  1. Creating an awareness of self and of God, and an understanding of the meaning and purpose of life.
  2. Creating a yearning for communion with God (dua), turning to Him constantly (tawba) and desiring to worship and serve Him alone (ibada).
  3. Developing a deep sense of gratitude (shukr) to God for all His blessings and mercy, and an inner devotion and humbleness (khushu).
  4. Creating a higher and noble vision; raising oneself above the self and material things.
  5. Creating a compassionate, merciful and soft heart for other people; a deep desire to support and care for others.
  6. Controlling negative emotions and feelings (for example, arrogance greed, selfishness, envy, etc.) that harden and corrupt the soul, character and conduct.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Islam: It's Shahadah at Work

“We are perhaps living in times when living for Islam is more difficult than dying for it.” [Abdul Malik Mujahid]

Why must Islam be so emphatically linked with the idea of struggle? Cannot a person be a good Muslim without involving himself or herself in a struggle requiring sacrifices? The answer is: No. And for very obvious reasons. Islam is not merely the confession of a faith which is made once in a lifetime. It requires a radical reorientation of life and thought. The confession is not merely verbal; it is an act of witnessing (Shahadah) which must transform our life into a living testimony of faith. You enter Islam by saying Shahadah (bearing witness). But you can live in Islam only by constantly doing Shahadah (Quran 2:143, 22:28). This will bring you in ceaseless confrontation with false gods inside you and outside you. Every act of sacrifice nourishes your Iman; for it transforms a verbal confession into a living reality. Therefore, it is through sacrifice that you can truly learn to love Allah, and to live and die for Him!

Compiled From:
"Sacrifice - The Making of a Muslim" - Young Muslims Publication

Rejoice: Do Not Crush the Joy of Eid

Feeling joy and showing happiness and delight are essential elements of Eid. That is why scholars stated that showing happiness in Eid is a religious rite. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged the Muslim community to manifest happiness on this day. The following report emphasizes this point. Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a war between Madinah’s two major tribes, the Aws and the Khazraj, before Islam). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came. Seeing that, Abu Bakr spoke harshly to them saying, “Musical instruments of Satan in the presence of the Messenger of Allah?” But the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Leave them, Abu Bakr, for there is Eid for every nation and this is our Eid.

Another manifestation of joy in Eid during the Prophet’s time was the Abyssinians’ show: they gathered at the mosque and played with shields and spears. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) heard them, he looked at them then asked Aishah whether she would like to watch. She replied in the affirmative, and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made her stand behind him and her cheek was touching his cheek. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged them saying, “Carry on, Banu Arfadah! Let Jews know that we have a space of relaxation in our religion.” Here we see the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) approving and even encouraging such shows of happiness and joy.

What makes one wonder is the act of those who overlook this Prophetic guidance and try to destroy this joy and spoil Eid’s cheerful spirit. In fact, some ascetics and worshipers did so in the past out of good intention. This gloomy spirit is echoed today by some sincere people who are used to turning Eids into occasions of lamenting the Ummah’s shortcomings and tragedies, and mourning over the lost glories. Sadness and gloominess will never be the remedy for our tragedies. The remedy needs more than that. It needs reflection and wise thinking, as well as courageous self-criticism and assessment. Rejecting the manifestations of joy, extinguishing every smile and succumbing to sadness and grief have nothing to do with liberating even hand-span of land, satisfying a hungry person, or answering any call for help.

The best guidance is that of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), who used to seek refuge in Allah from worry and sorrow. He was always an optimistic, smiling man. We need to infuse the Ummah with this hopeful spirit. Eid is a ray that dispels the darks engulfing our souls and the despair strangling our hearts.

So let hope find its way into our souls. The life-span of Islam is far longer than ours; its horizons are far wider than our countries; the calamities afflicting us are not unchangeable fate. We should not be hasty and impatient. Allah’s laws in running the universe cannot be altered according to the humans’ whims or wishes. Let’s look at the bright side and appreciate the favours Allah has bestowed on us. A desperate soul overwhelmed by fears and blinded by a gloomy view can never be helpful in rectifying our situation. After all, we should remember that Allah is always there and that He Almighty is the Greatest.

Compiled From:
"Do Not Crush the Joy of Eid" - Abdul-Wahhab ibn Nasir At-Turairi

Religious Symbols

Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) Sura 22: Verse 32

"This is [to be bourne in mind]. Anyone who honours the symbols set up by God [shows evidence of ] God-consciousness in people's hearts."

A link is established here between the sacrifice offered by pilgrims and the way hearts are made conscious of God. The whole purpose of all pilgrimage rituals is to enhance believers' God-fearing sense. All these rituals are symbols confirming submission to God, the Lord of the Ka'bah, the Sacred House, as also obeying Him in all situations. They may also involve reminders of old events, from the time of Abraham and later generations, but these are reminders of complete submission to God, obeying His rules and looking up to Him for guidance. Such is the mark of the Muslim community evern since its earliest days. Hence, these symbols are to be treated on an equal footing with prayer.

Compiled From:
""In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 12, pp. 130, 131

Lesson of The Tragedy

Islam has a history of beautiful domestic affections, of sufferings and of spiritual endeavour, second to none in the world. That side of Muslim history, although to me the most precious, is, I am sorry to say, often neglected. It is most important that we should call attention to it, reiterated attention, the attention of our own people as well as the attention of those who are interested in historical and religious truth. If there is anything precious in Islamic history it is not the wars, or the politics, or the brilliant expansion, or the glorious conquests, or even the intellectual spoils which our ancestors gathered. In these matters, our history, like all history, has its lights and shades. What we need especially to emphasise is the spirit of organisation, of brotherhood, of undaunted courage in moral and spiritual life.

There is of course the physical suffering in martyrdom, and all sorrow and suffering claim our sympathy, — the dearest, purest, most outflowing sympathy that we can give. But there is a greater suffering than physical suffering. That is when a valiant soul seems to stand against the world; when the noblest motives are reviled and mocked; when truth seems to suffer an eclipse. It may even seem that the martyr has but to say a word of compliance, do a little deed of non-resistance; and much sorrow and suffering would be saved; and the insidious whisper comes: “Truth after all can never die.” That is perfectly true. Abstract truth can never die. It is independent of man’s cognition. But the whole battle is for man’s keeping hold of truth and righteousness. And that can only be done by the highest examples of man’s conduct – spiritual striving and suffering enduring firmness of faith and purpose, patience and coura ge where ordinary mortals would give in or be cowed down, the sacrifice of ordinary motives to supreme truth in scorn of consequence. The martyr bears witness, and the witness redeems what would otherwise be called failure. It so happened with Husain. For all were touched by the story of his martyrdom, and it gave the deathblow to the politics of Damascus and all it stood for. And Muharram has still the power to unite the different schools of thought in Islam, and make a powerful appeal to non-Muslims also.

That, to my mind, is the supreme significance of martyrdom. All human history shows that the human spirit strives in many directions, deriving strength and sustenance from many sources. Our bodies, our physical powers, have developed or evolved from earlier forms, after many struggles and defeats. Our intellect has had its martyrs, and our great explorers have often gone forth with the martyrs’ spirit. All honour to them. But the highest honour must still lie with the great explorers of spiritual territory, those who faced fearful odds and refused to surrender to evil. Rather than allow a stigma to attach to sacred things, they paid with their own lives the penalty of resistance. The first kind of resistance offered by the Imam was when he went from city to city, hunted about from place to place, but making no compromise with evil. Then was offered the choice of an effectual but dangerous attempt at clearing the house of God, or living a t ease for himself by tacit abandonment of his striving friends. He chose the path of danger with duty and honour, and never swerved from it giving up his life freely and bravely. His story purifies our emotions. We can best honour his memory by allowing it to teach us courage and constancy.

Compiled From:
"Imam Husain And His Martyrdom" - Abdullah Yusuf Ali

The Day of Ashura

It is reported in the Sahih of Imam Al-Bukhari and other authentic collections of hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram while they were in Makkah (before the hijrah).

It was a day on which people of Makkah used to change the covering (kiswah) of the Kabah. Quraysh also used to fast on this day. (Al-Bukhari, hadith 1489 and 1760)

After the hijrah when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to Madinah, he found that the Jews of Madinah also used to observe this day with fasting. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked them the reason of their fasting on this day. They said, “This is a blessed day. On this day Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy (in Egypt) and so Prophet Musa fasted on this day giving thanks to Allah.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “We have more claim to Musa than you.” He fasted on that day and commanded Muslims to fast on this day. (Al-Bukhari, hadith 1865)

In another report it is mentioned that Jews of Madinah used to hold a feast on this day. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told his Companions to fast instead. (Al-Bukhari, hadith 1866)

Ashura fasting was obligatory (fard) in the beginning. In the second year of hijrah (624 CE) when Allah’s command came that Muslims should fast the whole month of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then sent someone to announce to people that fasting of Ashura had become voluntary (nafl). This indicates that whosoever wishes to fast, may fast and whosoever does not want to fast, there will be no blame on him/her.

Imam at-Tirmidhi mentioned that ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) used to say that we should fast on two days: the 9th and 10th of Muharram to distinguish ourselves from the Jewish community. (At-Tirmidhi, Hadith 686)

Ibn Abbas also quoted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying, “If I live next year, I shall also fast on the 9th day.” (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, hadith 2002)

There is a great reward in fasting the day of Ashura. There are many hadiths that mention its blessings and virtues. It is good to fast on this day, although it is not obligatory.

Compiled From:
"Significance of Fasting the day of Ashura" - Muzammil Siddiqi

Elevating Humanity

Al-Muminun (The Believers) Sura 23: Verses 51-52

"Messengers! Eat of that which is wholesome, and do good deeds: I certainly have full knowledge of all that you do. This community of yours is one single community and I am your only Lord. Therefore, fear me alone."

This address to the Messengers requires them to live as human beings, which is the very thing that those who opposed them questioned. Eating is a human need, but choosing only what is wholesome is the aspect that elevates human beings and makes them grow in purity. It enables them to establish a bond with the Supreme Society.

They are also required to "do good deeds." While taking action is common to all human beings, insisting on doing good is the characteristic of goodly people, providing a measure of control and a clear goal for their deeds. Again such people look up to the Supreme Society when they embark on anything.

No Messenger of God was ever required to abandon his humanity. Rather, what they were asked to do was to elevate this humanity to the highest standard God has made possible for human beings to achieve. Thus, the Prophets provided the role model and the ideal which other people should try to emulate. It is left to God to judge their actions according to His own fine measure.

Emphasis is placed on the fact that neither time nor place is of any significance when compared with the single truth that all messengers preached. They all shared a very distinctive nature, were given their messages by the One Creator of all, and worked towards the same goal.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 12, pp. 221-222

Monday, December 7, 2009

Suicide Bombing

Al-Nisa (The Women) Sura 4: Verse 29 (Partial)

"... And kill yourselves not, for God is truly Merciful to you."

People who are driven to despair are thus reminded to have faith in God's mercy in the hope that they may be relieved of their suffering. Since suicide is prohibited, anyone who tries to facilitate it, or acts as an accomplice, is also liable to a deterrent punishment that may be quantified by the court while taking into consideration the material circumstances of the case. Commentators have, moreover, drawn a five-point conclusion from this verse as follows:

  1. the obvious meaning is that suicide is forbidden;
  2. the text also stipulates that 'you may not kill one another' nor facilitate suicide;
  3. one may not undertake a task which is likely to cause his own death, even if it be in lieu of a religious obligation;
  4. no one should deprive himself of the necessities of life to the point of self-destruction; and
  5. the text covers cases of self-destruction regardless of the manner in which it is done.

The manuals of Islamic law are silent on the issue of suicide bombing, a disturbing phenomenon of our time that became frequent in connection with Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially when Israel unleashed a new wave of aggression on the street processions of unarmed Palestinian youth in 2000-1. The aftermath of 11 September 2001 and more recently the horrendous violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, added new dimensions to the incidence of suicide bombing among Muslims.

Suicide bombing in the name of Islam is a 'sociopolitical phenomenon, not a theological one'. And any long-term solution to the problem must also address the causes that have brought so much pain and hopelessness to many Muslim societies.

It would be simplistic to lump the Palestinian suicide bombing with Al-Qaedah terrorist activities. One can hardly deny the genuine suffering of the Palestinian people and legitimacy of their struggle against sustained Israeli brutalities. It would appear equally simplistic, however, to equate suicide bombing with martyrdom and jihad. This is because suicide bombing contravenes two fundamental principles of Islam: prohibition against suicide, and deliberate killing of non-combatants. The argument that proceeds over reciprocity and retaliation is also flawed by the involvement of innocent non-combatants in suicide bombing.

Those who have raised the issue of 'collateral damage' in this context have also exaggerated their case, simply because non-combatants are chosen as the direct target of suicide bombing. They are, as such, neither collateral nor incidental.

The Muslim fighter who is motivated by the spirit of jihad enters the battle, not with the intention of dying, but with the conviction that if he should die, it would be for reasons beyond his control. Martyrdom in Islam does not begin with suicidal intention, let alone the linkage of that intention with the killing of non-combatants.

To justify suicide bombing under the banner of retaliation, or as a form of jihad, is therefore questionable, simply because it begins on an erroneous note, which goes against the essence both of just retaliation and justified jihad.

Compiled From:
"Shariah Law - An Introduction" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Ghill is a malady of the heart that is closely related to rancour, extreme anger, and malice. It comes from the same Arabic root from which the word aghlal originates, which is used in the Quran to mean yokes around the neck (Quran 36:8), as if to say that rancour dwells in a heart bound to rancour and treachery. Rancour is pungent emotion that is rooted in being extremely angry at a person to the point that one wishes harm to come to him. But the ultimate victim of rancour is its carrier.

Imam Mawlud says that if a person feels rancour toward a particular person, he should show that person goodwill. By nature, people are naturally inclined to love those who do good to them. And if one shows a person good, feelings of rancour will fall to the wayside.

If a person has rancour toward another believer, God shall not forgive that person until he forgives his brother, for rancour is a serious affliction that festers in one's heart and blocks good things from coming to one.

Compiled From:
"Purification of The Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp.122, 123

Praying Quietly

Once, the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, were travelling, and loudly engaging in dhikr (remembrance of Allah). The Prophet Said:

"O people! Be gentle on yourselves, for you are not calling someone who is deaf or absent. Rather, you are calling the One Who hears everything, Ever-close."

Ibn Taymiyyah delved into the wisdom of making dua silently, and mentioned a number of benefits to this:

Firstly, it is a sign of strong iman, as the person demonstrates that he firmly believes that Allah can hear even the quietest of prayers and thoughts.

Secondly, it is a sign of respect and manners in front of Allah. For, just as it is considered improper for the servant to raise his voice in front of his master, or the peasant in front of the king, even so it is improper that a slave raise his voice loudly in front of the Creator.

Thirdly, it is a means of achieving humility and humbleness, which is the essence of worship. The one who is humble does not ask except meekly, whereas the one who is arrogant asks loudly.

Fourthly, it is a means of achieving sincerity, since others will not notice him.

The companions of the Prophet understood the importance of saying a dua silently. Ibn Abbas stated: "A silent dua is seventy times better than a loud one!" And al-Hassan al-Basri said, "We used to be amongst a group of people (i.e., the Companions) who would never do any act in public if they could do so in private. And those Muslims would strive in making their dua, and not a sound would be heard from them! For they used to whisper to their Lord."

Compiled From:
"Dua: The Weapon of the Believer"- Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi, pp. 86-89

Advocates of Divine Message

Advocates of Divine Message
Al-Anbiya (The Prophets) Sura 21: Verses 87-88

"And remember Dhul-Nun, when he went away in anger, thinking that We would not force him into a tight situation! But then he cried out in the deep darkness: 'There is no deity other than You! Limitless are You in Your glory! I have done wrong indeed!' So We responded to him and delivered him from his distress. Thus do We deliver those who have faith."

Prophet Jonah, peace be upon him, is here called Dhul-Nun, which means 'man of the whale' because he was swallowed by the whale and then thrown out. He was sent to a particular city, and he called on its people to believe in God, but they rejected both him and his message.

Angry and frustrated he walked away, and found himself sometime later by the sea, where he saw a laden boat. He boarded it. When the boat was in the middle of the sea, it was apparent that its load was too heavy. The shipmaster said that one passenger must be thrown overboard in order to give the rest a chance to survive. They all drew lots and the draw fell to Jonah. The other passengers threw him into the sea, or he might have jumped overboard. It was then that the whale swallowed him and he found himself in a most tight situation. At this moment he cried out to God for help. God answered his prayer and saved him from the distress he was suffering.

There are in Jonah's story some significant points we need to reflect upon:

The advocates of a message must be ready to bear the burden involved in such advocacy, remain patient in the face of rejection and vicious opposition. They must continue to present their message to people and call on them to believe in it, time after time.

Such advocates cannot give in to despair. They cannot give up on people, believing that they will never respond to the truth, no matter how much opposition they face, and how often they are rejected and accused of falsehood.

The way a message must follow in order to touch people's hearts is neither easy nor comfortable. Positive responses may not be forthcoming. A touch on every sensitive receptor must be made to try to find the effective nerve.

It is easy for an advocate of the divine message to be angry when people turn away from him. To give up and quit is always easy. It may enable us to cool down. But of what service is that to the message itself? It is the message that is most important, not its advocate.

We must discharge our duty however hard the opposition we may face. We then leave the matter to God, and He gives guidance to whomever He pleases.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 12, pp. 65-58

General Supplication

What one wants for oneself, one must also desire for others. Islam induces man to share the good things of life with his fellowmen as his brothers. Islam teaches us that the more general a supplication is, the more likelihood there is of its acceptance. There are many sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, that corroborate this.

When a Muslim supplicates for others and wishes for them what he wishes for himself, and continues to do so over a long period, he benefits personally. It brings him nearer to Allah as well to his fellowmen. And he gradually attains to a state where his likes and dislikes merge and become one with the pleasure and displeasure of Allah. In addition, he is saved from moral diseases, like malice, envy, spite, and hatred of others. Good and healthy feelings eventually become the hall-mark of his social behaviour, so he is eager to help others and overlook their faults and is ready to forgive them.

Compiled From:
"Freedom and Responsibility in Quranic Perspective" - Hasan Al-Anani, pp. 200, 201

Do not Torture Yourself

One day, while the Prophet, peace be upon him, was sitting down, there came to him Umm Qays bint Muhsin with her newborn in order that the Prophet would chew some date and rub therewith the soft palate of the child for blessings (Tahnik), and pray for him.

The Prophet took him and placed him on his lap. It was not long before the baby urinated in the lap of the Prophet and made his garment wet. All the Prophet did then was to call for some water and spray over the affected area of his garment, and that was the end of the matter. (al-Bukhari)

He did not become angry or frown. So why should we torture ourselves by making a mountain out of a molehill? Not everything that happens to us must be to our liking 100%.

Some people cannot control their nerves and magnify the situation, including some parents and teachers.

Do not gather dust upon yourself when the dust is settled. But when the dusts have risen, then cover your nose with your sleeve and continue to enjoy your life.

Compiled From:
"Enjoy Your Life"- Muhammad 'Abd Al-Rahaman Al-"Arifi, pp. 291-293

The Day of Mutual Loss

"The Day He shall gather up all of you for the Day of Gathering (taghabun) ..."

Ghabn, the root of the word taghabun, literally signifies fraudulently acquiring a thing at less than its market value. In other words, it denotes "cheating," "deceiving," or "defrauding" in buying or selling. In extended use, it may indicate "overreaching," or "overcoming" someone or something in an engagement. When buyers and sellers engage each other in the act of ghabn, it is called taghabun, thus becoming "mutual" cheating or defrauding.

The Quran uses this in its extended sense as one of the names of the Day of Judgment because the believers will, on that Day, "overcome" the disbelievers in attaining Paradise. Therefore, in the great engagement between the faithful and the faithless, the disbelievers will become the ultimate losers. The believers' delight assured perpetually, nonetheless, they themselves also will wish that they had striven harder in life with sacrifice and good deeds, to have earned even higher stations in the Garden.

Al-Khazin in his commentary explains this verse: "The utter loss of the disbelievers will become evident on the Day of Judgment when they are deprived of eternal delight because of their abandonment of faith. Moreover, believers will realize a certain 'loss,' as well, because they will then realize their missed opportunities in life for increased righteous works. It is also said that many of the haughty, the mighty, the rich and the famous - who are deficient in goodness - will come to stunning disillusionment when they find themselves surpassed by the truly righteous and virtuous who were deemed humble in life."

Compiled From:
"The Gracious Quran" - Ahmad Zaki Hammad, pp. 271, 272

Friday, November 6, 2009


The root source of ostentation (riya) is desire, wanting something from a source other than God. The cure for ostentation is actively and sincerely seeking out purification of the heart by removing four things:

  1. love of praise;
  2. fear of blame;
  3. desire for worldly benefit from people; and
  4. fear of harm from people.

This is accomplished by nurturing the certainty (yaqin) that only God can benefit or harm one. This is at the essence of the Islamic creed.

Helen Keller once said that there is no slave in this world that didn't have a king somewhere in his ancestry; and there is no king that didn't have a slave somewhere in his ancestry. This world has peaks and valleys. Nothing in creation is permanent. To spend time and energy seeking permanence in the fleeting things of the world - like praise - and then neglect what lasts forever with our Maker is the summit of human folly.

So recognizing that there is no harm or benefit except with God purifies the heart of vain pursuits and ostentation.

Compiled From:
"Purification of The Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 57-59

Getting Up for Worship

Al-Sajdah (The Prostration) Sura 32: Verse 15-17

"Only they believe in Our revelations who, whenever they are reminded of them, fall down prostrating themselves in adoration, and extol their Lord's limitless glory and praise; and who are never arrogant; who drag themselves out of their beds at night to pray to their Lord in fear and hope; and who are charitable with what We provide for them. No one can imagine what blissful delights have been kept in store for them as a reward for what they used to do."

This is a pleasant image of believing souls which are so gentle and sensitive. They are sincere in the devotion they address to God alone. No arrogance or pride creeps into their hearts. They receive God's revelation with interest and acceptance, eager to understand and act on them. When these believers are reminded of God's revelations, they "fall down prostrating themselves in adoration." They are keenly influenced by what they are told, glorify God and feel His majesty. Hence, their first reaction is to fall down prostrating themselves. This is the best expression of their feelings, putting their foreheads on the ground in adoration. With this physical gesture, they "extol their Lord's limitless glory and praise." They are never arrogant. Their response is genuine, expressing their true feelings in God's glory.

The surah then describes their physical attitude and inner feelings in a vivid expression that brings the movement and the feeling before our eyes. They stand up for night prayer, which is the obligatory Isha prayer and the Witr prayer that follows it, and they add voluntary night prayer and supplication. This is described here, however, as dragging themselves out of beds. Thus we see the beds and their attraction, inviting people to take rest and sleep. Yet those believers do not respond, and make every effort to resist such attraction, because they have something else that preoccupies them. They want to stand before their Lord, in adoration, with feelings of fear and hope present in their minds. They dread disobeying God and long for His help. They fear God's anger and punishment and hope for His mercy and acceptance. With such sensitivity and devoted, earnest prayer, they do their duty towards their community, in obedience to God: "And who are charitable with what We provide for them."

This splendid, glorious image is accompanied by another one showing the marvellous and special reward which reflects the special care, honour and generosity God bestows on them. God Himself welcomes these people, and He takes it upon Himself to prepare the reward He has in store for them. Furthermore, it is He who will give them a warm reception and and honourable position which will delight them. All this though is known to God alone, no one else has any idea of it. It remains with Him until it is shown to those who will be given it when they meet Him. What a splendid meeting with the Lord of the universe!

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 13, pp. 467, 468

Five Degrees of Prayer

With respect to prayer, there are five levels of people. [The lowest] is he 'who wrongs his own soul'; who is remiss; who curtails his ablution and the times, limits and essential elements of prayer.

At the second level is he who keeps the times, rules and elements of prayer; who keeps its ablution but is taken away by distractions, which he lacks the inner strength to resist.

At the third level is he who keeps the limits and essential elements of the prayer, and struggles against distractions. This person is preoccupied with striving against his Foe, 'lest he rob him of his prayer'. In prayer, he is in sacred combat [jihad].

At the fourth level is he who, standing in prayer, completes its requirements, its essential elements and its limits. His heart is absorbed in safeguarding the rules and requirements of the prayer 'lest he miss any of them'. In fact, his entire concern becomes performing the prayer as it should be, completely and perfectly. In this way, his concern for the prayer and for worshipping his Lord absorbs his heart.

At the fifth level is he who, standing in prayer, performs it in the manner of the fourth, but in addition places his heart before his Lord. With this he beholds God - ever vigilant before Him, filled with His love and glory - as if, seeing Him, he were physically present before Him. Therefore, the distractions vanish, as the veil between him and his Lord is lifted. The difference between this person in his prayer and everyone else is as vast as the distance between heaven and earth, for he is occupied [only] with his Lord Almighty in prayer, in which he finds his source of gladness.

[Of these five persons], the first will be punished, the second admonished, the third redeemed, the fourth rewarded and the fifth brought near to his Lord - for his source of gladness has been placed in prayer. And whoever is gladdened by the prayer in this world will be gladdened by nearness to his Lord in this world and the next. He who finds gladness in God, gladdens others [in turn]. But whoever does not, leaves this world a loser.

Compiled From:
"The Invocation of God" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, pp. 29, 30


Entertainment is indeed an important dimension of life, but it should constitute "a pause" between two more important things: its function is primarily to give rest to the mind, heart, and being, to divert them in Pascal's usage, so as to enable people to return to more important things, to their responsibilities regarding life, society, work, justice, and death. This is exactly the meaning the Prophet of Islam had given it when he had been questioned by his Companion Handhalah who, on the contrary, saw in entertainment evidence of his hypocritical disposition before God (since it led him to forget). The Prophet, peace be upon him, answered him: "By He who holds my soul in His hands, if you were able to remain in the [spiritual] state in which you are in my company and in permanent remembrance of God, angels would shake hands with you in your beds and along paths. But it is not so, Handhalah, there is a time for this [devotion, remembrance] and a time for that [rest, distraction, entertainment]." [Bukhari, Muslim]

Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 196

Intentions and Motives

Muhammad, Sura 47: Verse 12 (Partial)

"Those who disbelieve, take their comfort in this life and eat even as the cattle eat, and the Fire is their habitation."

Muslim jurists and scholars have proclaimed that good intention changes acts of habit (adah) into acts of worship (ibadah). Good intention creates a world of difference in human life. It is owing to an absence of purity of intention that there are people who eat and drink and satisfy their animal desires and while doing so simply live on the same plane as animals do. The reason for this is that their actions are actuated by no other motive than the gratification of their animal desires.

Conversely there are others, apparently similar to those mentioned above, in so far as they also satisfy their desires and enjoy the pleasures of life. Nevertheless, thanks to the noble intention which motivates their actions, even their physical self-fulfilment becomes an act of worship for which they merit reward. The reason is that the motive behind all their actions is to live in compliance with the will of God. Their sublimity of motive is manifest in their day-to-day conduct and reflects the fact that they distinguish between good and evil.

What a world of difference it makes when we decide to orientate our lives towards God and purify our intentions. For it is this, and only this, which can transform our pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment into acts of worship, earning the eternal rewards of the hereafter and the satisfying pleasure of God.

This, then, is the Islamic philosophy of worship. Without saying 'no' to any of a person's legitimate physical needs and desires, Islam seeks to elevate humanity to a place which befits its dignity and status.

Compiled From:
Islam: The Way of Revival, "The Islamic Concept of Worship" - Mustafa Ahmad al-Zarqa, pp. 160, 161

Monday, November 2, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Six Days of Shawwal

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "He who fasts Ramadan, and six (days) of Shawwal, it will be (equivalent to) as if he fasted a whole year (in terms of rewards)." (Reported by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Ahmad, Ibn Majah)

Appreciate the Scenery..!!

The most beautiful thing about beautiful scenery is that it usually inspires us. It has us connecting so many dots and feeling such harmony. If a husband has just had a big fight with his wife, a walk in the fresh air would likely have him come back home calmer, and more ready to find a solution. If a family wants to spend quality time together, have fun, and make memories that would last for generations, they might go on a camping trip together. A stressed employee might take lunch in the park because the natural surroundings might mean a tranquil break in the day. A student who takes a year off for traveling before beginning university can open up his/her horizons and have the experience help decide what he/she really wants for the future.

At times, people will look into life-coaching or help when they feel like something in their life needs to change. They may feel that they're just going around in circles and all the scenery looks the same, and it isn't of the inspiring variety. They know they need goals, they know they need a point B, they know they need a vision for their lives, but for some reason, they haven't been able to define it. They haven't discovered what would make them love their life and savour everyday simply because they're working towards the realization of that vision. And they're hoping that a coach will tell them what their vision should be.

Sorry to say it, but that's a futile hope. Vision comes from within you. You decide. Others may influence your thoughts about it, perhaps even help you mould it, but, at the end of the day, it is you who has to live it. And if you've decided that it is not a fun one, that it is a futile waste of your time and might cause complete and utter misery, then it's a dumb vision to hold on to because you'll never do anything about it. You'll need to: "Get a life! Get a vision!"

When you finally find your 'right' vision, your life will never be the same. You'll have such purpose and drive, that you may wake up in the mornings much earlier than usual and perhaps even without the aid of an alarm clock.

If you can dream it, if you can picture it, if you can visualize it, you're on your way to yours. There's something so liberating about finally connecting to that dream. I can't tell you what that feels like, but I pray that you find it soon. Or maybe you've already found it, but have buried it somewhere beneath responsibilities or life's tasks that consume your time. Or maybe you're frightened of failure, or maybe even success. But if you don't do this, not much else will seem important. You set a vision so that you can start appreciating the scenery. And the waves upon your feet.

Cruel Jokes

One day the Prophet, peace be upon him, was on a journey with his Companions. Each one of the Companions had with him his belongings including weapons, sleeping mats and food. They stopped over at a place and a man amongst them fell asleep. His friend turned to a rope he had and took it jokingly. When the man woke up and found the rope missing from his belongings, he was terrified and began looking for it. Thereupon the Prophet said, "It is not allowed for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim." (Abu Dawud)

Similar is the case with someone who jokes with you thinking that you will be happy, whereas in reality, he only harms you, or even worse, fills your heart with fright and anxiety. For instance, he notices that you have just parked your car outside a grocery with the engine running, so he comes and drives off in your car, causing you to think that your car has been stolen - obviously as a joke. The one on the receiving end of such jokes may respond courteously and may even laugh at the joke, but the fact remains that the joke was still cruel.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


(1) Refrain from sleeping between Subah and Ishraq; Asr and Maghrib; Maghrib and Isha

(2) Avoid sitting with stingy people

(3) Don’t sleep between people who sit

(4) Don’t eat and drink with your left hand

(5) Don’t eat those food you have taken out between your teeth

(6) Don’t break your knuckles

(7) Don’t look at the mirror in the night

(8) Don’t look at the sky while in salaath

(9) Don’t spit in the toilet

(10)Don’t clean your teeth with charcoal

(11)Sit and wear your trousers

(12)Don’t break tough things with your teeth

(13)Don’t blow on your food when it’s hot

(14)Don’t look for faults of others

(15)Don’t talk between iqamath and azan

(16)Don’t speak in the toilet

(17)Don’t speak tales about your friends

(18)Don’t antagonize your friends

(19)Don’t look behind frequently while walking

(20)Don’t stamp your feet while walking

(21)Don’t be suspicious about your friends

(22)Don’t speak lies at anytime

(23)Don’t smell and eat

(24)Speak clearly so others can understand

(25)Avoid travelling alone

(26)Don’t decide on your own but consult others who know

(27)Don’t be proud of yourself

(28)Don’t be sad about your food

(29)Don’t boast

(30)Don’t chase the beggars

(31)Treat your guests well with good heart

(32)Be patient when in poverty

(33)Assist a good cause

(34)Think of your faults and repent

(35)Do good to those who do bad to you

(36)Be satisfied with what you have

(37)Don’t sleep too much- it will cause forgetfulness

(38)Repent at least 100 times a day

(39)Don’t eat in darkness

(40 )Don’t eat mouthful

Only Cause of Allah's Conern for us..

Al-Furqan (The Criterion) Sura 25 : Verse 77

"Say (O Muhammad): My Lord only pays attention to you because of yoru dua to Him. But now you have indeed rejected (Him), so the (torment) will be yours permanently."

One of the authorities of the salaf (the early generation of the Muslims) said: "It has reached me that the meaning of this verse is: I have not created you because I have a need for you, I have only created you so that you may ask Me, so I will forgive you and give you what you ask." [Tafsir al-Qurtubi]

Al-Sadi writes: "Allah has informed us that He neither cares, nor concerns Himself except with these people (the believers), and that, were it not for your dua to Him - the dua of worship and the dua of asking - the He would not care about you nor love you."

So were it not for the fact that mankind makes dua to Allah, Allah would not care about creation. This fact, in and itself, is sufficient to make a person realise the importance of dua.

Compiled From:
"Dua: The Weapon of th Believer" - Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, pp. 45, 46


Fraud (ghish) is concealing from people some fault, blemish, or harm, either of a religious or worldly nature. Others have said that fraud is making something useless or defective seem useful and beneficial, or making something bad appear to be good. One of the most widely transmitted hadith in the Islamic tradition is the Prophet's saying, "Whoever defrauds us is not one of us." Sacred Law forbids selling something without pointing out its defects. If the seller conceals defects or fails to disclose them intentionally, this is fraud, whether its victim is a Muslims or not.

The Sophists of ancient Greece loved and practically worshipped rhetoric. They were the first historical relativists, in that they held the theory that right and wrong do not exist in an objective and transcending sense. Whoever makes the most skilled and persuasive argument is right. The Sophists believed that the most important thing is to be convincing, whether one is telling the truth or lying, whether one is defending corruption or upholding justice. This is fraud of the tongue.

Rhetoric was also an art form in Islamic literacy and oratorical history. But to the Muslim, rhetoric was the art of embellishing the truth and presenting it persuasively.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Night of Qadar

بسم الله الر حمن الر حيم
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمُ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُ

Here are some Nawafal that you can perform on this night. It is not a must to do the same prayers. You can pray any Nawafil (prayers), recite QURAN, do repent (Astaghfar), recite many many Salawat (Darood Sharif & Salam) and make (Dua'as).

1. In this night offer 4 cycles of ritual prayer (raka’t) (2 sets of 2 raka’t each)
After Surah FATIHA, recite Surah QADAR one time and Surah IKHLAS five times in each raka’t. After completion of this salat recite the first Kalima Tayyab 100 times.

Kalima Tayyab:
لآ اِلَهَ إلاَّ الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوُل الله

There is no GOD but ALLAH, and Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلّم (P.B.U.H) is the messenger of ALLAH.

2. Offer 4 cycles of ritual prayer (raka’t) (2 sets of 2 raka’t each)
In each raka’t, after Surah FATIHA, recite Surah QADR three times and Surah IKHLAS three times. After completion of this salah, recite any Astaghfar 70 times.

اسْتَغْفِرُ اللّهَ رَبِّىْ مِنْ كُلِّ ذَنْبٍ وأتوب إليه
Astaghfirullah Rabbi Min Kulli Zambiyon Wa Atoobu ilaiyh

3. Offer two cycles of ritual prayer (raka’t).
In each raka't, after Surah FATIHA, recite Surah QADR once and Surah IKHLAS fifteen times. After Salat, recite the second Kalima (Kalima-e-Shahaadat) 70 times.

Kalima Shahaadat:
اشْهَدُ انْ لّآ اِلهَ اِلَّا اللّهُ وَحْدَه لَا شَرِيْكَ لَه، وَ اَشْهَدُ اَنَّ مُحَمَّدً اعَبْدُه وَرَسُولُه
Ašhadu al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu, waḥdahu lā šarīka lahu, wa ašhadu anna Muḥammadun ʿabduhu wa rasūluhu.

I bear witness that none is worthy of worship but Allah, the One alone, without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger

4) Recite Surah Dukhan.

5) Recite Surah Fatah seven times.

Please take advantage of this night, from sunset till sunrise. Offer nawafil (prayers), recite QUR'AAN, do repent (Istaghfar), recite many many Salawat (Darood Sharif & Salaam) and make (Dua'as).



"Allahumma innaka 'afuwwun
tuh'ibbul 'afwa fa'fu 'annee -

"O Allah! You are forgiving,
and you love forgiveness. So forgive me."

Aameen, Ya Rabb-ul-Aalameen!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tips for the Night of Power

Here are some tips of things we can do on the Night of Power and the time before and after it.

1. Do Itikaf

It was a practice of the Prophet to spend the last ten days and nights of Ramadan in the masjid for Itikaf.

Those in Itikaf stay in the masjid all this time, performing various forms of zikr (the remembrance of Allah), like doing extra Salat, recitation and study of the Quran. They do not go outside the masjid except in case of emergencies, therefore, they sleep in the masjid. Their families or the masjid administration takes care of their food needs.

Itikaf of a shorter period of time, like one night, a day or a couple of days is encouraged as well.

2. Make this special Dua

Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: I asked the Messenger of Allah: 'O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?' He said: 'Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.' "(Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi).

The transliteration of this Dua is "Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee"

3. Reflect on the meaning of the Quran

Choose the latest Surah or Surahs you've heard in Tarawih and read their translation and Tafseer. Then think deeply about their meaning and how it affects you on a personal level.

4. Make a personal Dua list.

Ask yourself what you really want from Allah. Make a list of each and everything, no matter how small or how big it is, whether it deals with this world or not. Allah loves to hear from us. Once this list is ready, you can do three things:

  • Ask Allah to give you those things
  • Think about what actions you have taken to get those things
  • Develop a work plan to get those things in future.

5. Evaluate yourself.

Ask yourself those questions that need to be asked. Do an evaluation of where you are and where you are going. Let this evaluation lead you to feel happiness for the good you have done and remorse for the bad you have done. This latter feeling should make it easier to seek Allah's sincere forgiveness when making the Dua mentioned in tip number one above.

6. Have Iftar with the family

If you've spent Iftar time on weekdays in your cubicle at work alone with a couple of dates, now is the last few days you'll have this Ramadan to spend with your family. Use it wisely.

7. Finish reading a book on the Prophet

Read about the Prophet's life, which can increase your love for him and Islam by seeing how much he struggled for Allah's sake. It may inspire you to push yourself even harder during these last ten nights. This community is built on sacrifice.

Thankfulness in Hunger

When the Muhajirun (immigrants from Makkah) arrived in Madinah, they did not have enough money to support themselves. So they were divided into groups of ten or twelve and were welcomed as guests of the families of the Ansar (residents of Madinah). Rasulullah, pease be upon him, stayed with Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him. Abu Ayyub was not a rich man, but he did everything he could for the comfort of Rasulullah and his group.

The Prophet's group had a few sheep. At night, they milked the sheep and drank it, saving for those who were not present at the time.

One night Rasulullah arrived late and found no milk left for him. The Sahaba (companions) had not realized that Rasulullah had not had any. They felt bad for forgetting to save his share. Though Rasulullah never ate very much, that day he was very hungry. He said, "O Allah, feed well the man who feeds me today."

Miqdad, may Allah be pleased with him, heard this and immediately spoke up, "O Rasulullah. I will slaughter my goat for you."

But Rasulullah said, "O Miqdad, please don't do that. Our need for milk each day is greater than our need for meat today."

When Rasulullah tried to milk the sheep, just a little bit came out. He drank that, thanked Allah and went to sleep. The companions reported that Rasulullah said nothing and showed no anger about their inconsiderate behaviour. Rather he thanked Allah for the little he had to drink.

[Recorded in Musnad ibn Hanbal]

Compiled From:
"Stories of the Sirah" - Abidullah Ghazi and Tasneema Ghazi, Vol. VIII, p. 10

Insolence and Arrogance

Insolence and Arrogance

Al-Qasas (The Story) Sura 28 : Verse 78

"Answered he (Qarun): 'I have been given this wealth only by virtue of the knowledge that I have.' Did he not know that God had destroyed many a generation that preceded him, and who were far more powerful and greater in wealth than he? The guilty are not questioned about their sins."

This is the attitude of one who chooses to be oblivious to the source of the blessings he has been given. Qarun has been blinded by his wealth. Such people are common, seen in all societies. Many a rich person believes that his knowledge and effort are the only means by which he has amassed his wealth. Hence, he is not to be questioned about the way he uses his wealth, what he spends or for what purpose, whether it be for good or foul. No thought does he entertain of God or earning His pleasure.

Islam accepts private ownership and appreciates people's efforts in this regard, provided that they remain within the realm of what is permissible. While it does not belittle the importance of private effort, it stipulates a certain method of spending money just like it stipulates rules and methods that must be observed in acquiring it. Its system combines balance and moderation. It does not deprive anyone of the fruits of their enterprise, but at the same time it does not approve either unrestricted indulgence or miserly hoarding. It gives the community its dues in such wealth, as well as the right to watch and monitor the methods of obtaining, investing, spending and enjoying wealth.

Qarun, however, did not appreciate the blessings granted by his Lord. He did not abide by the divine method, but instead turned away arrogantly. Therefore, a warning was issued to him for his insolence and arrogance: If he believed himself to be powerful and rich, God had in the past destroyed communities that were far more powerful and wealthy. He should have known this, because it is such knowledge that saves man from destruction. Let him know, then, that he and all guilty people like him are worth nothing in God's sight. They are not even worth questioning about their sins. They are neither the arbiters nor the witnesses.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Syed Qutb, Vol. 13, pp. 271, 272

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Remembrance gathers what has become dispersed, disperses what has become gathered, makes near what has grown remote and removes what has grown near.

It gathers together what has become dispersed within the servant: his heart, will and intention. For these to be separated, dispersed and dissipated is the worst of all torments, while in their union is happiness and life itself.

[Conversely], remembrance disperses that which has accumulated within the servant. Cares and woes, sadness and disappointment at not getting his share or at not getting what he seeks; greater and lesser sins and burdens all fall away, crumble and vanish.

Bringing nearer what is remote refers to the next world, which both the Devil and illusions render seemingly distant. For the servant who keeps to remembrance, it is as if he enters the next world and dwells there. When the next world is close to his heart, this one will grow distant; whenever that level is nearer to him, this one withdraws. And there is no way to this except through constancy in remembrance. And God is our helper.

Compiled From:
"The Invocation of God" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, pp. 81, 82

Community Service

Rasulullah, peace be upon him, preferred to do most of his household work himself. He participated fully in community activities and shared responsibilities when he travelled.

Once, Rasulullah was traveling with his Sahaba (companions). In the evening the caravan stopped. They pitched their tents and began preparations for dinner. Everyone divided the various responsibilities, such as kindling the fire and slaughtering the animals for the meal.

A Sahabi told Rasulullah, "O Prophet of Allah, we are your companions and there are enough of us to care for the camp. You do not have to work. You should rest."

Rasulullah said, "No, I am no better than any other human being. I am one of you and I should participate in the work."

Then he chose the task of bringing wood for the fire. He walked out to the woods and returned with dry kindling. The Sahaba lit the fire and cooked dinner.

Rasulullah set an example for the community leader. In one of his traditions he advises the Ummah, "The leader of the community is their servant."

Compiled From:
Recorded in Al-Zarqani. "Stories of the Sirah (Vol. X)" -Abidullah Ghazi and Tasneema Ghazi
, p. 11

Who to Give Zakah?

Al-Tawbah (Repentance)
Chapter 99: Verse 60

"As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara and Al-Masakin and those employed to collect the (funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah's Cause, and for the wayfarer; a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise."

The Quran describes eight categories of people who are to receive Zakah. Ahmad Sakr elaborated on these categories:

1. The poor (Fuqara)-this refers to someone who has no income

2. The needy (Masakin)-this is someone who for instance, may have a job, a house and a car, but their income is below the minimum requirement.

3. Employees of the Zakah. This category is sub-divided into the following:

    a. the group of people who are social services workers who go into the community to evaluate who is Faqeer and Miskeen.
    b. those who collect the Zakah money
    c. the accountant of the Zakah money
    d. investors who increase the share of the Zakah
    e. the clerical worker or secretary who puts the files in order
    f. those who will deliver Zakah to the ones who need it
    g. the outside auditor.

4. Sympathizers

These are those people who might enter or who have already entered Islam. Anyone we feel are good friends or ours (non-Muslim or new Muslims) we give them a gift from the Zakah money.

5. To free slaves

Riqab is the term used to describe the group of people who are slaves. The Zakah money is used to free the slaves. Sakr stresses that Islam did not invent slavery, but it gradually abolished it.

6. For the Gharimeen-those who are in debt

Zakah money is used to pay off debts but these people are not living in luxury, they are living a normal life. For example, someone who has gone bankrupt because of job loss and is overloaded with debt.

7. Fee Sabeelillah (for the Cause of Allah)

This can be anything for the love of Allah. Sakr gave the following examples:

    a. for the employment of a Daiyah, Imam, or religious teachers to do Dawa
    b. building Islamic schools
    c. building Muslim clinics and hospitals
    d. providing money to young men who want to marry but cannot afford Mahr
    e. to assist poor travelers
    f. to establish water springs on streets for those walking or travelers
    (please note, these last three things were done by Khalifa Umar ibn Abdul Aziz)
    g. to defend Muslims who are under attack
    h. For television, radio or newspaper project aimed at doing Dawa
    i. to help someone publish a book for Dawa
    j. to pay for the studies of a student..

8. Ibn as Sabeel

This refers to a traveler, for instance who has lost his wallet and has to get back to his home.

Sakr stresses that this has to be verified to see if this person is really telling the truth, since there has been at least one case of a man claiming to be a lost traveler in North America who has stolen thousands from Muslims claiming to be a traveler of this type.

Compiled From:
"Frequently Asked Questions about Zakat" -

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Source of Forgiveness~

The fast is a source of forgiveness for one's sins. Hence, it removes the effects and stain of these sins from one's heart, leaving the heart pure again. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with faith and hoping for its reward (ihtisab) shall have all of his previous sins forgiven for him." [Bukhari, Muslim]

Al-Khataabi notes that the meaning of ihtisab means with resolve, hoping for its reward while being pleased to perform it without considering it something heavy or a hardship. Hence, the true believer for whom the fasting will have its desired effect of removing or effacing his previous sins approaches the fast with a desire and love for it. He does not consider it a burden nor does he participate in it lackadaisically, with some heavy burden on his shoulder, being lazy and complaining until it is time to break the fast.

Compiled From:
"Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 239, 240

God's Invitation~

Al-Baqara (The Cow)
Chapter 2: Verse 186

"And when My servant ask you concerning Me, then verily I am near, I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me, so that they may walk in the right way."

The whole verse is based on the first person singular pronoun which shows the great importance which the speaker, i.e. God, attaches to this subject. Then come the words My servants and not "people" or other such words. This enhances its importance even more. The reply (then verily I am near) starts dramatically just after the question without any preamble like, "then say that I am near." The reply is emphasized with "verily." The nearness of the speaker is described with the adjective near and not with any verb like "I come near him." Thus it shows that He is already near and will always remain near. Then the answer (I answer the prayer of the supplicant) is conditional upon when he calls on Me.

These points show how much importance has been attached to the answering of the prayers. In addition, this verse - short as it is - repeats the first person singular pronoun seven times; it is the only verse with this characteristic in the whole of Quran.

In short, God's ownership of His creatures gives Him authority to answer any prayer which is put before Him by any of His creatures, and to fulfill his or her need by accepting his or her supplication.

This verse not only mentions a fact, i.e. answering prayer, but gives its reasons also: Because the supplicants are servants of God, He is near to them; and because He is near to them, He answers their prayers without any reservation. Whatever prayer is addressed to Him, He shall answer it.

The condition when he calls on Me shows that the promise of answering the prayer shall apply when the supplicant is a supplicant in reality; when he or she wants that thing according to his or her natural and deep-ingrained knowledge and when his or her heart is really in what his or her tongue is asking for.

Therefore, the natural prayer addressed to God shall always be answered. If a prayer is not answered, then it lacks both or one of the two things mentioned in the verse: the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me. It may happen in the following ways:

First: There may be no prayer at all. For example, a person prays for an impossible thing (but he or she does not know that it is impossible), or for a thing which, if he or she knew the fact, would not have wanted at all.

Second: There is indeed a prayer, but it is not addressed exclusively to God.

God is near to His servants. Nothing comes between Him and their prayer. He cares for them and for the things they ask for. That is why He invites them to call upon Him and He is of such high attributes. Therefore, they should accept this invitation of their Lord and should advance towards Him, and have faith in Him about this attribute, having firm belief that He is near and He answers their call; so that they may be guided rightly in praying unto Him.

Compiled From:
Ramadan: Motivating Believers To Action, "Quranic Commentary on 'I Answer The Prayer'" - Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i , pp. 94-99

Living the Quran!

Reading the Quran will be of little benefit to you, it may even bring misery and harm, unless you, from the first moment, begin to change and reconstruct your life in total surrender to God who has given you the Quran. Without the will and striving to act, neither the states of heart and enraptures of the soul, nor the ecstasies of mood, nor intellectual enrichment will be of any use to you. If the Quran does not have any impact upon your actions and if you do not obey what it enjoins and avoid what it prohibits, then you are not getting nearer to it.

Reading the Quran should induce faith inside your heart; that faith should shape your lives. It is not a gradual piecemeal process, by which you first spend years reading the Quran, then understanding it and strengthening your faith, and only then act upon it. All things take place simultaneously: as you hear or recite the words, they kindle faith inside you; as you have faith inside you, your life begins to change.

What we must remember is that to live by the Quran requires a major decision on our part: we have to completely alter the course of our life, irrespective of what may be the dominant thought-patterns around us, or what our society may be dictating, or what others may be doing. This decision requires major sacrifices. But unless we, as believers in the Quran being the word of God, are prepared to take the plunge, not much good will come out of the time spent with the Quran.

Compiled From:
"QURAN: Your Gateway To A New World" - Young Muslims Publication [Download and distribute]

Trusting The Maker!

Jabir ibn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) use to teach us how to seek guidance in choosing the best option available in practical matters, just as he would teach us chapters from the Quran. If one of you is concerned about some practical undertaking, or about making plans for a journey, he should perform two cycles of ritual prayer, not as obligatory observance, but voluntarily. Then he should say: "O Allah, I ask You to show me what is best, through Your knowledge, and I ask You to empower me, through Your power, and I beg You to grant me Your tremendous favour, for You have power, while I am without power, and You have knowledge, while I am without knowledge, and You are the One who knows all things invisible. O Allah, if You know that this undertaking is in the best interests of my religion, my life in this world, and my life in the hereafter, and can yield successful results in both the short term and the long term, then make it possible for me and make it easy for me, and then bless me in it. O Allah, if You know that this undertaking is NOT in the best interests of my religion, my life in this world, and my life in the hereafter, then turn it away from me, and make it easy for me to do well, wherever I may happen to be, and make me content with Your verdict, O most Merciful of the merciful."

Also known as 'istikhara' in Arabic, the strength of this supplication lies in the humility of the one who seeks the guidance of his or her creator. Now, many will pray it dutifully when making big decisions. They may wait for a dream to come to them or some sort of sign that would show them without doubt what it is that they should do. And indeed that sign may come in a very tangible form. And yet, on other occasions, the answers you're looking for may not be entirely tangible. And this is precisely when you have to start trusting.

You need to start trusting in your maker, in His infinite endowments to you. You need to start trusting in your gut, your heart, and mind, because they will know the answers, by His will. We're able to start listening when we begin to trust that HE, too, is listening. And once we can believe that completely, we can become unstoppable, no matter what "unstoppable" may mean.

Compiled From:
"Release Your Inner Queen of Sheba!" - Heba Alshareef, pp. 112, 113

Hearts Filled With Fear!

Al-Muminun (The Believers)
Chapter 23: Verses 60-61

"Those who give what they have given (i.e. charity) and whose hearts are filled with fear by the very idea that they shall return to their Lord. Such people are truly racing towards their own welfare and they are the first to reach them."

Unwavering Belief in the truth of the Hereafter:

  • This verse is describing the inner state of mind of the believers who are always conscious about the acceptance of their good deeds by Allah. They worry whether their charities are accepted or not. This concept of "fear" was the corner-stone that strengthened the sense of responsibility among the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

  • There was a deep certainty in their hearts that one Day they would have to rise and account for all the worldly deeds, small or big. Their whole life was divided between hope for Allah’s mercy and fear of His punishment. Only Islam, unlike any other faith, is able to strike such a perfect balance between the two.

The Source of their Struggle and Patience:

They had already known that life, with all its pains, was worthless when compared with the Hereafter. Such deep convictions brought about in them a sense of indifference to all troubles and hardships that attended their life for the sake of Islam.

Examples of Umar and Hassan Al-Basri (may Allah be pleased with them):

  • A concrete interpretation of this verse is given by Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). Although he served Allah in a way that was exemplary, yet he was so afraid of accountability to Him, as he once said, "I shall consider it a favor (from Allah), if I am neither rewarded or punished in the Hereafter."

  • Hassan Al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) once said, "A believer obeys Allah and is yet fearful of Him, whereas a hypocrite disobeys Allah and is still fearless of Him!" How ironic it is.....

Compiled From:
"The Sealed Nectar" - Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Syed Abul Ala Maududi