Do you Believe?

What is faith? And what is the level of faith that is called true or pure imaan?

When we talk about faith or imaan, the first thing we should know, is that it is the most precious act. Unfortunately, we have never even considered faith to be an act in itself. Because we have just inherited our belief without even thinking about it. So all our life we consider faith to be just a way of thinking and not something to be learned or diagnosed or contemplated. That is why we fail to realize that out of all the actions that we do, having a conscious faith in Allah is the most precious act.

So how do we attain pure and conscious faith?

This is a combination of recognizing Allah through His names and attributes, plus the knowledge and understanding of His book.

Only then we can have the taste of true faith in which there will be no doubt or confusion.

Such a faith will be like a strong seed planted in the heart, which will lead a person to develop a pure and beautiful character.

When the Prophet (s.a.w.) was asked, “what is the highest level of faith?” He answered; “Having an excellent character”

This means that your habits and attitude is the true measure of your faith.

Our character cannot be genuinely good and pure, if we do not have true faith. Because it is only the fear of displeasing Allah which keeps a person unconditionally good to everyone. This fear of Allah’s disapproval is called Taqwa, and taqwa is the natural consequence of true faith.

Otherwise we see that just having a label of faith, does not produce any Allah consciousness, and thus people commit all sorts of injustices while claiming to be believers. Or they will behave nicely only when they have some personal gain. Or when they want to impress people.

If they had Allah on their minds, then they would never do anything that might be displeasing to Him. Although as humans we forget and we slip… but this will be followed with true repentance, not with blaming others or making all sorts of excuses and self justifications.

We all claim that we believe in Allah and we fear His displeasure, but how do we know whether it is true or not?

The truth is that if we really fear Allah’s disapproval then we will not be so much concerned about people’s opinions about us. Because the fear of Allah is such a powerful emotion that it pushes away all other fears from the heart. Truly this is the supreme success in both this world and the hereafter.

What a life it would be if our only concern was to please Allah and to avoid his anger only. What a relief it would be to stop thinking about what will people say… and just do the right thing which will benefit us both in this world and the next.

This seems like an impossible thing to achieve but surely there must be some way we could reach this level of faith?

The first thing to do is to make it our top most goal… that we have to attain true faith with conscious efforts and duas.

Next make it a habit to confide all your worries and concerns to Allah. Think about His powers and attributes. Imagine His love and compassion for all of us. Remember His blessings. Give thanks for each and everything. Understand the purpose of this life by understanding the Quran and the teachings our Prophet (s.a.w). Understand the purpose and benefits of the five time prayers. This is our meeting with Allah so it will renew our faith if we focus on the reality of standing before Allah. Spend some time daily in pondering on Allah’s creations. Make a habit of doing Zikr a lot. Ask Allah for all your needs and wants before expressing them to anyone else.

But all of this can be done only when we realize that our whole life depends on our faith.

The fact is that there is no success without pleasing Allah, and we cannot please Allah without believing in Him. And if we believe in Him then how can we ignore what He has said to us? How can we not take out time to understand His message? His Quran? How can we ignore His Messenger (s.a.w.)? How can we go on living our lives without knowing the life and teachings of our Prophet (s.a.w.)? If we really have faith that He is the Ultimate role model of success…  then how can we not have any concern or desire to follow his footsteps? And how can we follow without knowing?

So let’s wake up our hearts and fill ourselves with the energy of true faith… in-sha-Allah

Tears and words

I have never written poetry before but when I saw this video there came a flow of words just as spontaneous as the tears… 👇
♦️♦️♦️♦️♦️♦️
✏✏✏✏✏✏

Tears flow
Hearts glow
With the brilliance of the light
The light that touches everything high or low
Sometimes fast
Sometimes slow
But it’s always been there for those who think and those who know
So will we keep holding on to our prejudice
Or will we forgo
The barriers that deprive us from that glow
The darkness that does not let our minds grow
And so we keep hearing do not be an extremist
And just go with the flow
But no…
The soul knows the truth
So let yourself grow
Let the tears flow
Let your heart glow

Why are you so sad?

Translated from Arabic:
🌹If people knew the reality of this world, they would never spend even a moment in being sad over anything at all, except for the disobedience of Allah.
Because this world is a place for trials and tribulations, and our duty is to remain patient while hoping for reward and waiting for the compensation from Allah…
Ya Allah bestow upon us patience at the time of trials, and keep away sadness and anxiety from our hearts🍀
Al Hafiz ibn Rajab (r.a) said:-
🌹Surely the true value of trials will become known as soon as the curtains will be lifted on the day of Al Qiyamah.
As it has been stated in Tirmidhi from Jabir (r.a) who reported that the Prophet (S.a.w) said:-
The people who used to live in peace and comfort in this world, when they will see the gifts being given to those who used to be devastated by troubles in this world, they would wish that their skins had been cut off in the world by scissors.(so they could also be rewarded)

SubhanAllah it was an amazing reminder for myself as I was greatly disturbed by some unpleasant things last night and as soon as I woke up this morning again my heart was gripped with sadness. And as I made wuzu and water touched my face, at once it became clear to me that whatever happens to us, is actually a reminder from Allah that He is the one most worthy of our love. And therefore no matter how comfortable our lives might be, there are things that hurt us and bring us back to Allah. Because if everything would run as smoothly as we want, then it would makes us fall in love with this life and we would not realize our neediness for the Love of Allah.
So that’s why those who realize this fact, always thank Allah even for their difficulties.
May Allah give us the wisdom to realize that sadness and anxiety are also very valuable emotions and they should be used only for things that are worth being sad over.
Because if Allah’s disobedience was the only thing that caused us grief then we would be able to avoid sins so easily. Just like we avoid accidents and loss of our worldly things.

The required Qualification

Having focus on the reality of life and the reality of our own situation, requires two things:

Shukr and tawbah.

To be able to do shukr, we need to be constantly aware of all the blessings we receive from Allah at all times. And likewise we cannot do tawbah unless we are ready to look at our mistakes.

No one is free from these two things, we all have blessings and we all have flaws, but to be aware of them and to respond in an appropriate manner, we need two very strong emotions which are called:

Raghbah and Rahbah.

Raghbah means to be inclined towards Allah with love and hope.

Rahbah is to have fear of displeasing Allah.

But both these emotions are a gift from Allah which He bestows only on those fortunate people who understand how valuable these emotions are. If we think about it, our whole life depends on love and fear. What we love and what we fear, determines what kind of life we will live and which direction we will follow.

Therefore whoever seeks Allah’s love and finds ways to achieve it, then Allah will fill His heart with his love, and with good hopes and undying optimism. Simultaneously, he will also be given the ability to fear Allah. These are the life changing emotions which will lead him to give shukr at each and every step of his life. And also to seek immediate tawbah because his insight will make him realize even the tiniest mistakes he commits.

But to get tawfeeq for these two gifts, one needs to be qualified for it; and this depends on the level of receptiveness we have. Some hearts are more receptive than others. Just like non-living things are different from the living beings, and barren land is not like the fertile one.

The same blessing will be treated differently by different kinds of people. And the way they receive it and respond to it, shows what level of qualification they have in terms of gratitude and tawbah.

The true believer thinks of every little blessing as a great favour of Allah which he never deserved, but Allah bestowed on him because of Allah’s limitless generosity. This attitude makes him more and more humble as his blessings increase, so does his humbleness. And he starts looking at all his mistakes and does tawbah numerous times a day. Most of all, he realizes that all the things that he has been given, are truly the possession of Allah, which He has the right to take back whenever He wants. And this leads him to live a highly careful life where he avoids sins like he avoids the fire. And he has no time or thought for his unfulfilled wishes, because his heart is already too busy in doing shukr for all that Allah has given him. This is a true believer who loves Allah too much to think that he has been deprived of anything. He doesn’t feel any grudge or resentment because he doesn’t imagine having any right on anything. So we can well understand how precious such a person will be in the sight of Allah, and how much tawfeeq and energy Allah will give him for all the righteous deeds, simply because he is not wasting any energy on complaints or ingratitude.

On the other hand, there are people who are so full of themselves. They think all goodness in their life is due to their own intelligence or abilities. Some are even arrogant about their outward display of humbleness!! So Allah might be giving them lots of material blessings, but they will not get the blessing of gratitude in their hearts. They will have everything they desire, but their hearts will not find happiness or contentment. This is the lack of tawfeeq… and this is the ultimate deprivation.

May Allah save us from this ungrateful attitude. May He give us tawfeeq for gratitude and tawbah. May we turn back to Him before we are actually called back to Him… ameen

Sins vs Tawfeeq.

Being humans we cannot be free of sins like angels but it doesn’t mean that we are free to do whatever we like. Rather it is a sign of our belief in Allah’s authority and the realization of our accountability in front of Him, that we will avoid sins like we avoid the fire. We walk so carefully not to fall, we drive carefully not to encounter any accident. Yet we do fall or we get hit by a car… not habitually… but accidentally. The sign that you crossed any limit of Allah by mistake, is that you will feel truly guilty for it and you will repent with humility. But if you take sins casually and you justify your transgressions, then that is a sign that Allah has stopped giving you tawfeeq to turn back to Him.

Sometimes even the most religious people have a habit of certain sins, like for instance back biting, or hurting others, or not fulfilling the rights of their spouses and children… and in their minds they stop being guilty about these things, having a self-satisfied attitude that we are so pious and we do so many acts of charity so we are naturally going to paradise. This religious pride takes away Allah’s tawfeeq from them. And outwardly they are still doing all the acts of worship but they are deprived from the ultimate benefit of religion and they don’t even realize it.

Then there are those who quote such examples of religious people who are not so good in their character and they use this as an excuse not to follow religion. They have this slogan of being a good person despite not adhering to Allah’s authority. How can a law breaking person be called “good”? but they are deprived of understanding their error. And this deprivation is also from Allah.

The third category of people are those who understand very well that they are not following the right way of life. Their intellect tells them that they must abide by the limits set by Allah, they know the harms of sinning, they want to avoid them but somehow they are too addicted to sins… and they cannot separate themselves from these fatal habits. But for these people who realize the loss they are suffering, can reverse their situation if they can truly seek forgiveness from Allah and make most sincere duas to Him repeatedly so that Allah will give them the tawfeeq to leave this destructive way of life. We must remember that the only power which can give us the determination to leave sins is the Quran. If we hold on to it most passionately like the drowning person holds on to some support… because he knows that he will drown if he leaves it!!

Similarly we must hold on to Allah’s rope… the Quran followed up by duas… not just casual duas, but seriously begging like the begging of a child who cries and cries until he gets what he wants.

So basically there are three principles which we must implement if we really want success in this life and the next.

  1. Gratitude… be truly grateful for every thing whether big or small. Be grateful for all that you have and all that you are able to do. Especially the good deeds. Thank Allah from the heart… thank him at every step, with every breath.
  2. Duas of Aafiyat… this means that make dua to Allah all the time, to protect you from all harmful things… this dua will give you safety from all kinds of troubles and especially from lack of tawfeeq too!!
  3. Pure Tawbah… yes it needs to be pure! Not a casual utterance of words but a true feeling of the heart who wants to get purified from all the filth of sins that have been collected on the soul during all the years of neglect and heedlessness. One is a tawbah for the past… and the second even more important is the on-going tawbah, in which the moment to make any mistake, the moment you take the wrong turning, the moment you get blinded by any unlawful desire… you turn back on to the right path… and this is the exact meaning of the word Tawbah… to turn back. Don’t be casual about it, do it at once. So that you can breathe fresh air into your soul which hates the pollution of sins.

At the end I ask Allah to give me and you and all of us the tawfeeq to do all that we can to stay on the right path and to enter into Allah’s shade of mercy now and forever, ameen.

Tawfeeq and Remembrance.

The most obvious sign of having tawfeeq from Allah is that a person will readily accept Islam to be the best way of life. His heart will be eager to obey Allah in all matters. Even though his circumstances might not be favorable, and outwardly he must be going through a lot of hardship in adhering to the commands of Allah, yet in his heart there is such a sweetness of achieving the pleasure of Allah that whatever he has to go through, seems so small as compared to the greatness of the blessing of Allah’s love and mercy. This openness of the heart comes only with the special mercy of Allah… as He says:

“And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his heart to Islam, and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his heart closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky…” (6:125)  

The question arises that why would Allah give tawfeeq to one person and not to the other? Obviously there must be a pretty strong reason for this… as Allah says in surah Al Hashr:

“And be not like those who forgot Allah and He caused them to forget their own selves. Those are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” 59:19

This ayat reveals so clearly that if someone chooses to ignore Allah then his heart will become blind to the truth. And he will not even recognize his own benefit or loss.

Therefore, the most important characteristic which we must develop is to remember Allah while going about our various tasks. We must keep reminding ourselves that all the resources, all the energy and all help is from Allah. If we are able to do anything in life, whether big or small, it is all due to Allah’s help. If for any reason He stops giving me tawfeeq, then I will not be able to do anything, even if I have all the resources. So I have to keep pulling my thoughts back to this fact over and over again.

This constant effort to remind myself of my helplessness in front of Allah’s power, will make my heart truly grateful to Allah. When I will realize that I own nothing, only then my heart will realize the enormity of Allah’s favour on me. Because all the blessings whether they are in the form of the righteous deeds which Allah allows me to accomplish, or they are in the form of pleasures and comforts of the worldly life… both are the mercy of Allah. And my humbleness and gratitude for all these blessings, will ensure that Allah will always keep giving me more and more tawfeeq. But If I act carefree, and I ignore my duties, Or I look down on those who are less fortunate, or I think my accomplishments are a result of my own hard work and sacrifice… then Allah will stop giving me His tawfeeq. And I might not even recognize my own decline, due to the blindness that comes with arrogance. A person keeps thinking in his wishful illusions that he is on the top of the world, while in the eyes of Allah he has no status anymore.

May Allah save us from this blindness… and may we continue to remember Allah’s absolute greatness… and may we never forget even for a moment, our own status as his humble slaves who are dependent on Him for all that we have and all that we do.

(to be continued)

Fiqh-ul-Qulub

In the Arabic language there is a quote which says: “Surely things are recognized by their opposites.”

The best and most relatable example for this is the experience of drinking the first sip of water after a long hot day of fasting. You knew the importance of water anyway, but you recognized its true delight only after experiencing the painful dryness of thirst.

Same goes for intangible things as well. All our lives as Muslims, we come across words like Tawfeeq… and we are so familiar with statements like, “It is Allah who gives tawfeeq.” I thought I knew so well what it meant… but today when I learned its opposite word, I realized that my understanding about the concept of tawfeeq was like seeing half the picture only. The word which showed me the other half, and completed its meaning for me, is “Khuzlaan”.

Actually I was listening to the first lesson on this new topic, from the encyclopedia called Fiqh-ul-Qulub. The title of this lesson is “Fiqh-ul-Tawfeeq-wa-Al-Khuzlaan”; meaning the understanding of tawfeeq and khuzlaan. This word khuzlaan touched my heart like the ringing of my phone. I was reminded of a similar word I had listened in the Quran… it was ayat-160 from surah Aal-e-Imran:

If Allah helps you, no one can overcome you, but if He forsakes you, who will help you after Him? So upon Allah, let all the faithful put their trust.” (3:160)

The word Khuzlaan has been translated in this ayat as “forsake”. So it means that just like tawfeeq is in the hands of Allah and due to this tawfeeq He makes things easy and possible for some people. Similarly He deprives some people from His tawfeeq, and He leaves them alone… He forsakes them to cater to their own whims and desires.

Obviously being forsaken by Allah is not a joke… nor can it the option of any believer. Specially when we understand so well that all kinds of power and abilities are in Allah’s direct ownership. And if Allah gives us any ability or power in life then it is a gift from Him. But the biggest gift which we need is the guidance to know what to do with our abilities and resources? And then even bigger is the gift of tawfeeq, due to which, Allah makes our hearts inclined towards the most beneficial things. And He helps us to stay committed and determined to achieve these goals. And He keeps giving us the energy and motivation to pursue our targets. And so we are able to walk upon the path of success which we all know as the sirat-ul-mustaqeem… the straight path which leads to the everlasting joys of paradise. This happens only with the tawfeeq of Allah. And this most precious gift is given to those who understand its true worth. And so they give all credit to Allah for whatever they accomplish in life, whether big or small. It is due to tawfeeq of Allah that huge tasks seem easy and even lack of obvious resources doesn’t cause a person to worry… because a true believer has complete trust in the help of Allah and he never tires of asking Allah for His help and tawfeeq. By admitting to Allah again and again that we are dependent on Him for all our needs; And specially our need for guidance and to remain firmly steadfast on the path of Allah; makes us truly humble and so we are saved from two most harmful enemies of our soul:

  1. Riya… which means Showing off, seeking appreciation from others, projecting an image of righteousness.
  2. Ujub… self-appreciation, having a bloated self-image, thinking of oneself as the most righteous or the most accomplished.

When we will recognize that nothing is in our control. Only Allah allows us to understand what is best. And only He allows us to achieve whatever we do, then we will never show off to others, nor to our own selves. Especially when we will realize that both these evils lead to khuzlaan… then we will avoid this kind of arrogance and boasting, just like we avoid the fire.

How painful it is to imagine that due to my arrogance or heedlessness, Allah who is the most merciful and the most compassionate, might stop holding my hand and I will be left to cater for myself in the darkness of ignorance… without any light to guide me… then even if I have the strongest abilities or the greatest resources at my disposal, still I will not be able to find my way to success. Because without Allah’s guidance there is absolutely nothing that can help us.

That is why you must have experienced that sometimes you have very little time and very few resources, yet you are able to accomplish a lot. And then there are times when you have everything at your disposal, yet you cannot do anything.

These are signs from Allah, to wake us up and to take a good look at our hearts… is our intention true? Are we really seeking Allah’s pleasure? Or do we want people to think of us as very pious and righteous? Or do we want to look good in our own eyes? Are we making duas for Allah’s help and tawfeeq? Are we really focused and sincere in our duas?

Let us all do some real soul searching and give true answers to these questions. In-sha-Allah in the next episode I will be sharing the solutions for our lack of tawfeeq and how to avoid or come out of the state of Khuzlaan. In-Sha-Allah

Leaving Sins.

Many people have this question that how can we leave sins when we are obviously not programmed to be like angels.
The answer which came to my mind is that although it is true that no matter how much we try, we will still make errors; but what Allah has definitely made us capable of is that when we really believe that something is fatal for us then we take all measures to protect ourselves at all costs. No one will burn his hand on the fire… except by accident. And what happens when we accidentally burn ourselves? We don’t remain there standing and making excuses… rather we immediately rush towards whatever healing process that is within our reach.
But the problem is that when our souls get burnt with sins, we act so carefree. Because we don’t realize the damage.
But if someone really considers sins like fire then they will not justify their transgressions… they will not blame other people or their circumstances. Rather all their attention will be focused on how to cleanse themselves from sins.
Then whoever takes this as a mission, will definitely receive miraculous help from Allah.
May we make strong intentions and commit to this lifelong goal of freeing our souls from the chains and shackles of sins… Ameen

The long awaited Night…

For myself the biggest lesson (which I learn every year and then forget it so that it always comes as a BIG surprise every time:) is that Ramadan is not just another month but it is also another world…

In this world… of the rest of the year… there is a constant enemy hovering around us but not so in Ramadan in which the biggest blessing from Allah is that he chains him and all his armies… so that they can no longer affect us.

Therefore whatever wrong we do in this month we can clearly see the level of corruption in our own “self” or nafs or whatever you might want to call it.

It’s like Ramadan is a world of a thousand mirrors surrounding me from all sides, in which I can see my good and bad points like never before.

And when I put a stop to all my desires of eating and drinking etc… my heart becomes a world of a thousand mirrors in which I can see Allah and his massive power and blessings in a million different angles like never before.

But even though every year I think like it is going to be an automatic shift from this world to the other world… I am shocked at how stubborn the “Nafs” has become that it simply wants to close its eyes and not see even a single mirror… WHY???

Because it doesn’t want to see its faults… WHY???

Because coming out of those faults needs a lot of hard work and it wants to remain lazy and comfortable… WHY???

Because it doesn’t realize the value of success in the hereafter… it sees only this world and doesn’t want to think beyond it…

But then look at Allah’s blessing that he starts this month with the ashra of mercy and moves on to the next one of forgiveness… leading us so softly and imperceptibly to the last ten days… which even my stubborn nafs cannot ignore…

And so it has to wake up and it has to open its eyes…

And this awakening needs to be announced so that someone else who might be asleep like me can come back to life…

Wake up and collect all that you can from the rain pouring down… the rain of mercy and forgiveness…

Wake up and see yourself… wake up and see Allah smiling at you… loving your small little efforts of pleasing him… wake up and see how close you are to attaining the success of both the worlds…

1400 yrs ago Allah changed the destiny of people who became the best of the best… through receiving the ultimate gift of guidance from Allah in the form of Quran and His Prophet (s.a.w)

And today so many centuries later, Allah is going to send the same night of power to us… the night of destiny… so that whosoever desires to have the best destiny can achieve it…

We keep on lamenting on how powerless we have become against the powers of disbelief in the world…

But then here is our chance of attaining that lost glory… so are we even aware of this huge blessing from Allah?

So will we spend these precious nights sleeping or gossiping or partying?

Or will we spend each one in front of Allah… standing in his worship… reading his glorious words from the glorious Quran… begging him to save us from the fire of trials in this world and the fire of his punishment in the next?

Wake up NOW… because tonight might be the night of power… the night of your destiny… our destiny…

Wind-up toys

The other day I was listening to a scholar who was trying to explain why we continue to waste our time and energy in non productive activities even in the precious month of Ramadan. Surely the devils have been locked up, so then who is distracting us now?

The example he gave was intensely powerful and shook me to the core. He said that shaitan works on us untiringly for eleven months. And he plays with our nafs like a wind-up toy. So before being chained up for the month of Ramadan, he wind up the nafs tighter and tighter, and when he releases it, the toy works on its own. The desires of the nafs are heightened to such a level that even in Ramadan a lot of our time and attention is focused on fulfilling these desires. How the devil must be laughing at us… he must be saying look at these fools, Allah gave them a month to take a rest from my negative whispers. But they are still acting on my advice. Instead of worrying for getting Paradise, they are still worrying for what feast to prepare for aftaar. Instead of spending quality time with Allah in the night prayers… they are glued to their screens and watching all sorts of things that keep their hearts distracted away from reality.

The problem is that if Ramadan cannot shake us out of our illusions then what will?