Friday, February 27, 2009
Dear brothers and sisters: Trials, tribulations and challenges are part of every person’s life. However, to counter that, Allah has provided us a very powerful tool – and that is the tool of du’a or asking Allah for help and his mercy when we need it. And we need it all the time.
Equally importantly, we forget at times that Allah has also provided us the opportunity to dramatically increase the effectiveness of our own Dua’s by encouraging us to make dua’s for other brothers and sisters in Islam.
We can and should make Dua in every condition, i.e. in hardship and in prosperity. There are also some special times to make Dua where it is more likely to be accepted:
1. When one is oppressed
2. Between the time of Athan and Iqama
3. At the time of the call for prayer
4. At the time of fighting when warriors are engaged with each other
5. When it is raining
6. When one is sick
7. The last third of the night
8. Ramadan (especially Lailatul Qadr)
9. After the Fard part of prayer
10. When traveling
11. When breaking fast
12. In Sujood
13. Fridays, some say on Friday after Asr prayer
14. While drinking the water from the well of Zamzam
15. At the start of prayer (Dua of Istiftah)
16. When one begins the prayer, i.e. with "all praise be to Allah, the Pure and the Blessed one"
17. While one recites al-Fatiha (which is a Dua)
18. When Ameen is said in the prayer (also relating to Fatiha)
19. At the time of raising the head after the Rukoo
20. In the last part of the prayer after conveying blessings unto the Prophet (SAW)
21. Before finishing the prayer (before Tasleem (saying the Salaam to the angels))
22. At the end of Wudu
23. On the day of Arafah
24. On waking up from sleep
25. At times of adversity
26. Prayer after the death of a person
27. Dua when someone's heart is filled with sincerity and when it is focused on Allah
28. Dua of the parent against or for his children
29. When the sun moves from its meridian but before the Dhuhr prayer
30. The Dua of a Muslim for his brother without the latter's knowledge
31. At the time the army advances to fight in the way of Allah.
Dua can be beautified and perfected by certain actions:
1. Have Wudu, face Qibla, be neat and clean
2. Raise both hands up to the shoulder with palms open facing up
3. Use words of Allah and Muhammad (SAW)- i.e. Duas found in Quran and Hadith
4. Ask by Asma alHusna- Allah's Beautiful Names
5. Ask Allah by your good deeds
6. Be insistent-repeat (i.e. 3x's)
7. Glorify Allah and recite Durud for the Prophet (SAW) at both the beginning and end
8. Show humility, entreaty, desire and fear while making Dua
9. Repent and try to make amends where one has wronged
10. Confess mistakes, shortcomings, and sins
11. Keep voice between a whisper and speaking aloud
12. Show the need for Allah's help and implore Him for release from weakness, hardship and tribulation.
13. Seize the opportunity of time, situation and circumstance in which prayers are answered
14. Avoid rhymed prose to keep concentration
15. Crying when making Dua
16. The Dua of Dhun-Nun (Yunus) by which he invoked Allah from within the belly of the whale was: "LAa ilaha illa Anta, Subhanaka innee kuntu min aDH-DHaalimeen." No Muslim ever makes Dua with it but Allah answers it." [at tirmidhi in his sunan, ahmad and hakim reported it and hakim declared it authentic and adh dhahabee agreed]
17. End with "Alhamdulillah rabbil alameen"
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Al-Shams (The Sun)
Chapter 91: Verse 10
The Arabic word al-khaibah has many aspects to it, including:
1) weakness in one's soul, as the soul does not have the strength and courage to follow what it knows is the truth;
2) hesitation and confusion as every time it wants to do good, the soul drags it back down and fights it;
3) true psychological humiliation as he is worshipping something that has no benefit to it and it is not worthy of a human being to be worshipping something of that nature;
4) cowardice and stinginess as his soul knows that he is disobeying his Lord and he cannot look forward to anything positive; hence, he has to hang on to his life and everything that he possesses in the strongest fashion;
5) loss of modesty and dignity as his soul drives him to do shameless acts to the point that he accepts them, supports them and loses all shame concerning them.
This is all part of the reality that happens to him in this world. And that is all much less than the disgrace that he will face in the Hereafter.
"Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 478, 475
The Last of the Prophets, upon him be peace, was indeed endowed with exceptional physical and intellectual powers in order to assist him in the most onerous mission ever undertaken. But his nightly vigils in tahajjud prayer and recitation of the Quran, his daily exertion in worship and labour, in unending Jihad, in bearing the problems of others, and all of this continuously for a full quarter century, increasing all the while and never subsiding, in addition to an amazingly light ration of food and drink - all of these factors contributed to wearing down his sturdy body and its decline in health.
In an authentic hadith it is related that whenever the Prophet, upon him be peace, had a physical complaint, he would recite over himself the last two chapters of the Quran and sufflate. Imam Zuhri, one of the narrators of this hadith, was asked how the sufflation was performed. He answered that the Prophet, upon him be peace, would blow into his hands and then rub his face with them.
"Remembrance & Prayer" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, pp. 116, 117
Be modest; adopt humility. You cannot say anything about yourself with certainty until Allah exonerates you on the Last Day and accepts your good deeds. If He were to reject you, who shall be more contemptible than yourself? What could be more foolish than to consider yourself superior to fellow criminals in the prison that this world is! Until the Lord of the Day of Judgment pronounces His verdict, consider every Muslim better than yourself. Keep your gaze on the virtue of others, not on their shortcomings. Only mention their good points, not the bad ones. At the same time, do not go about openly announcing your own faults or disparaging your own self. Be humble and modest in your manner of living and conduct before Allah as if you are an abject and degraded slave. Do not raise your voice like an ass. Do not display arrogance. What a folly it is to be haughty over your body which is destined to turn into pus and become a meal of insects and germs!
"Dying and Living for Allah" - Khurram Murad, pp. 51, 52
Significant change cannot be effected solely through preaching and delivering sermons. These have a very limited and temporary effect on an audience and societal powers. The influences of society, or the dominant culture, are so huge that they very quickly wash away any effects produced by the preaching. Thus, change agents additionally require a clear practical agenda for change, backed up by sincere devotion, firm resolve and commitment, a spirit of sacrifice, and an investment of time, energy, and resources.
The kind of actions that a movement can engage in will naturally vary according to the social and political circumstances. For instance, if a people are oppressed by their governments, then armed struggle cannot be ruled out. Conversely, in peaceful conditions, actions can incorporate communication, dialogue and exerting social and political pressure.
In the light of Islamic guidance, actions for positive change should lead to a greater good and not to a worsening of the situation. If taking certain actions, no matter how crucial or effective they may be considered, leads to panic and confusion, or creates social upheavals that may give rise to more evil, then they must be avoided and patience exercised until condition change. This is because Islam aims to bring about peace and order not chaos; its aim is to reform, improve and develop a society, to remove wrongs and corruption rather than punish the wicked or create disorder on earth.
"Building a New Society" - Zahid Parvez, pp. 159, 160
You may suspect abuse is happening to a neighbour, friend or family member, but do not know what to do or how to talk about it. You may worry about making the situation worse, or be concerned about what to do. Here are some concerns you may have about whether you should help:
|Points of Concern||Points to Consider|
|You feel it’s none of your business||It could be a matter of life or death. Violence is everyone’s business|
|You don’t know what to say||Saying you care and are concerned is a good start|
|You might make things worse||Doing nothing could make things worse|
|It’s not serious enough to involve the police||Police are trained to respond and utilize other resources|
|You are afraid his violence will turn to you or your family||Speak to her alone. Let the police know if you receive threats|
|You think she doesn’t really want to leave because she keeps coming back||She may not have had the support she needed|
|You are afraid she will become angry with you||Maybe, but she will know you care|
|You feel that both partners are your friends||One friend is being abused and lives in fear|
|You believe that if she wanted help, she would ask for it||She may be too afraid and ashamed to ask for help|
|You think it is a private matter||It isn’t when someone is being hurt|
"How You can Identify and Help Women at Risk of Abuse" - Neighbour, Friends and Families