What to do?

I met with a few ladies last night and as usual the conversation was revolving around those very same topics… food, clothes, shopping, husband, children, servants… etc and I was wondering how to divert their attention, so very imperceptibly, towards what I wanted to share with them… the significance of the days that we are witnessing… the glorious ten days of Zilhajj…

And then out of nowhere emerged this great opening as I heard one of them saying something about wudhu… in fact she was suggesting that to reduce the difficulty of salah we should try and pray as many as we can in one wudhu… And so dived right in and said well this is the ease of our religion that we don’t really have to make fresh wudhu for every salah… but I have experienced that if I pray with a fresh wudhu, it greatly affects my level of concentration and satisfaction in salah… and even otherwise wudhu washes away our sins and so the heart becomes light… also it is a means through which we brighten our faces so that our Prophet (S.A.W) will recognize us on the day of judgement…

When I saw the look of interest in their faces I told them that since it is the blessed time of the year in which Allah is extra pleased with all our good deeds, so we should try and do every act of worship with more attention, love and devotion to Allah… And in doing so our worship will become a comfort and enjoyment for us instead of a burden which we carry around with such fatigue and boredom…

One of them asked me what is so special about this time of the year and so this was my chance to tell them briefly about the ten best days of the year…

The next question was what was the specific worship of this ashra? And I told her the Hadith about increasing the zikr of la ilaha illa Allah… Allahu Akbar… and Alhamdulillah… and then of course it is recommended that we increase the quality of our salah and recitation etc… make lots of duas and give sadaqah… help others… become a beneficial member of the community…

Although in writing and reading all of this took some time but my actual talk hardly took me a couple of minutes… and then the usual conversation took over… but my task was done and I was quite happy that Allah had allowed me to share whatever best I could…

Later in the night when I was about to go to bed I recalled this short talk of mine and I felt like there was something missing in what I answered that lady about what to do in these ten days… I should have shared some details but then I didn’t want to overwhelm them…

And so I decided that I should write about it… but instead of giving you a to-do list, I would rather share with you just one thing from my own personal experience and inshaAllah I hope that it will give you many ideas to maximize your rewards and blessings in these days…

What I did was that one day before the coming of Zilhajj, I played a couple of short videos from youtube on this topic… and while I was listening I took a pen and my daily journal and began making a planner right on the spot… this was very effective because when In the past I used to just listen with the intention that I will make my planner and checklist later… then that time would not come so easily because as you get busy with other things, the motivation that you get while listening to the lecture, gets lukewarm and most of the important points get erased from the memory… Another advantage of making a planner along with listening is that you will listen most attentively because your intention is to make a commitment with it…

So even if you have not done it before, I urge you not to waste the remaining days… because as my teacher says: if you fail to plan then you plan to fail…

So give shaitan a kick and a punch… and start planning for a most productive week ahead… the effort is just in taking the first step… Allah’s blessing and mercy will come like rain…

May Allah help us all to achieve the true faith and love of Him… which is the best blessing anyone can ever have in this world… ameen

 

Seeking comfort?

Last year during the month of zilhajj a friend of mine shared with me how stressed out she was due to various problems and on top of it her spirituality was also going down so that she couldn’t find comfort in duas or salah…

As I was trying to help her, I came up with this article which I forwarded to her… Now after a whole year I received an email from her yesterday how good life is and how grateful she is to Allah etc…

I was so happy for her and surprised too at the coincidence that we are once again trying to come closer to Allah in the sacred days of Zilhajj… And so I thought that I should put this article on the blog… I don’t even remember where I got it from so I cannot give the reference… but in any case I just hope and pray that someone somewhere will find solace in reading and applying these gems… ameen

So here is The article…

 Do you sometimes feel your Imaan (faith) is getting weaker?

Do you feel when you pray you cannot concentrate, and lack in kushu? You don’t feel like praying or reading Qur’an? Or that when you do read Qur’an, you do so without concentration? Does this feeling really bother you and you’re not sure what to do about it or how to snap out of it? And at times you find your Imaan stronger, you pray with kushu and you enjoy reading the Qur’an with focus and understanding, you do dhikr and you are so motivated and happy when you do any form of worship, but struggle to keep the ibadah consistent? well believe you me you’re not alone!

We all go through these ups and downs phases. There are many reasons to that and once we know them we can help ourselves stay in the higher phase of Imaan most of the time. When you feel your Imaan is getting weaker make sure you do the following:

  1. Go back and recall what you’ve been doing in the past few days, weeks? May be gossiped or watched too much T.V. and delayed your prayers or did not wake up to pray fajr or you are not giving sadaqa when you have the means to do so…etc. Every time you do something which Allah doesn’t approve of, your heart gets covered with a layer which thickens with time until it weakens your Imaan. Allah SWT says in the Quran: (Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn).

Find those reasons and start working on them.

  1. Sit down peacefully and recall Allah’s blessings on you…..your health, your children, your education, your rizq, you being a Muslim, you being in a better situation than millions, you being in a safe home instead of the street, you being warm instead of cold, you being able to pay sadaqa, you not needing to beg others for rizq and many many blessings which Allah granted you and is granting you every single day. Imagine life without your loved ones, imagine life without your sight, imagine life with a serious disease, and imagine life without guidance and without Islam. This should help you appreciate and say #Alhamdulillah and see the nea’mah of Allah on you which will help you focus more and worship with appreciation.

  1. Sit down and picture your death, lay down on the floor and close your eyes and imagine them preparing you for your Janazah, undressing you, moving you from one side to the other washing you and there is nothing you can do, you can’t even cover yourself and your awrah, they have to do that instead…. Completely helpless, the body you strived to cover all your life is being exposed. The clothes you are wearing which was once yours is not yours anymore and those shoes that used to be yours but is no longer yours anymore, ……nothing is yours any more. You left all your belongings at home, your family are still with you but as soon as they place you in the grave you are alone… alone with just your deeds, just your sadaqa, just your prayer, just your Dhikr. You moved from the phase of A’mal (work) and no hissab (Judgment) to the phase of hissab and no A’mal.

  1. Wake up at night just 40 mins to one hour before fajr, it is the time when Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala comes to Sama’a Dunya (the first heavens) and calls as related in the following hadith and ayah of in Quran:

Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “Our Lord Descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: `Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?”[ Bukhari and Muslim.]

“And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory.” [(Al-Isra’ 17:79]

SubhanAllah, so wake up and pray and talk to him, tell him how you feel…tell him ya Allah my heart is becoming so hard…..my Imaan is going down. Do Isthighfaar at that time so Allah can lift those layers which are weakening your Imaan, and you will be registered in sha Allah from those who do Qiyyamul Layl. Just few minutes earlier than the time you always wake up and you get tons of ajr and maghfirah. SubhanAllah how can we let such a golden opportunity go to waste, how can we waste that time in sleeping?

  1. Search the net (YouTube is full of beautiful lectures from different Sheikhs) or better yet, find a book and read about Islam, Imaan, and Ihsaan, or anything that will help you scrap those hard layers from your heart. Don’t just sit and feel bad about it, strive to better yourself and Allah will always open a door for you. Imaan is like a mizan (scale) it increases and decreases based on our daily deeds. It’s a constant battle but if you follow these techniques you will always be the winner In sha Allah. Don’t listen to the Shaitaan when he comes to you and tells you: you have been bad, how can you dare ask Allah for anything, you have no right to do so….!!! That is his way to keep you away from Du’a and from Allah.

He plays with you the game of guilt so you stop talking to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’Ala and you stay away under the reason of guilt. Don’t give him a chance. Go back to Allah and ask him for what ever your heart desires.

May Allah guide us and keep us on the path of Imaan until we breath our last. Aameen Ya Rabb.

Please do share, so that it may benefit others too… jazakAllah khairan kaseeran

 

The Best of the Best…

In the 89th surah of the Quran Allah has taken oath of the ten nights. Now in the Arabic language nights can refer to both days and nights… like Allah says that Prophet Musa (a.s.) went to the mount tur for 40 nights… doesn’t mean that he only spent the nights there and came back during the day… even in our language when we say we went for a two night stay, we actually mean a time period that spanned two nights and days altogether.

Therefore the above mentioned oath of the ten nights can refer both to the last ten nights of Ramadan and the first ten days of Zilhajj… and when it was asked which of these two periods is more valuable, the scholars have explained that the nights of the last ashrah of Ramadan are more precious because they contain the Lailatul Qadr… and likewise the days of the first ashrah of Zilhajj are more virtuous because of the day of Arafah which falls on the 9th and the day of sacrifice which comes right after it…

The reason why I have written this brief intro is that its so unfortunate that a majority of muslims have no idea about the significance of these precious ten days which are upon us now… and so we remain deprived of the virtues and blessings that are being showered upon us but we fail to receive them simply because of being unaware.

Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said:

“There are no other days that are as great as these in the sight of Allah, the Most Sublime. Nor are there any deeds more beloved to Allah then those that are done in these ten days. So increase in tahlil (to say la illaha illallah), takbir (to say allahu akbar) and tahmid (to say alhumdulillah).”

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allaah, nor greater in reward, than a good deed done during these ten days …” He was asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.”

So it is a great chance for us to renew our faith and bring a fresh energy and enthusiasm to our worship of Allah… to me it comes as a sort of refresher to the training we got in Ramadan and which seems to fade away with time… now is the time to re-live that spirituality once again through increased remembrance of Allah… knowing that each and every act we do in these ten days will bring with it manifold blessings and goodness in our lives… in sha Allah

I encourage you to spread this info as much as you can so that whoever hears it from you will become a source of adding good points to your book of deeds… sadaqah jariah… because whatever good he or she will do as a result of your little effort will be added to your account automatically without taking anything from his account!! So imagine the everlasting goodness at the cost of just a little time and attention which you will invest in making people aware of this great opportunity to reap endless blessings for themselves by coming closer to Allah…

May Allah help us to make the best use of these best days… ameen

wisdom

A wise person advised his son in the following words:

I have passed by many towns and visited many scholars and from them I have learnt these eight valuable lessons;

1- when you are in the act of praying then protect your heart

2- when you are in gatherings then protect your tongue

3- when you are in people’s homes then protect your eyes

4- when you are in the dining area then protect your stomach

never remember these two things:

1- the harm which people have done to you

2- and the good which you have done to people

never forget these two things:

1- Allah, the most great and the most high

2- and your house in the akhirah

who is the drop…you or the world?

It is indeed a very strange question I wrote as the title but it was inspired by the quote I am about to share with you… and the reason why I started with this question is because in this age of information we keep reading so many things, but they don’t stay with us for more than a moment… and this lack of impact is due to the fact that we seldom stop and ponder on the things that we read… and then of course the best way to reflect on what we read is to ask questions… so here is the quote and I invite you to think on it…

“when you sit with the people of this world 

you become a drop in the ocean of this world

and when you sit with the people of the akhirah

this world becomes a drop in the ocean of existence”

The Wild Mulberries…

Different people like different parts of their homes… and I like windows the best… because they enable me to look at the sky and the sky is my thinking canvas…

Just as a painter paints on his canvas, similarly the sky is where I paint my thoughts… In a tiny fraction of a second my thoughts can just make me fly from my room out into the limitless skies… and I can think and evaluate and dream…

But what I really want to share in this post is not my dreams but the reality which I saw today… the reality of how Allah can remove the problems from your life whenever he wants… without you doing anything except for praying and hoping for his mercy…

What happened is that this morning when I looked out of the window in my room, my eyes rested on the wild mulberry trees and bushes outside the boundary wall of our house…They are in abundance and growing even wilder in this rainy season… I am very fond of trees in general but this one tree I just don’t like… it gives me a sad and lonely feeling when I see it but this morning I thought that even this has been created by Allah and how beautiful the leaves look… all broad and straight… parallel to one another and ready to catch all the rain and sunshine… busy in making oxygen for us that we breathe… so maybe I should not dislike it…

But then I thought that because of their overpowering presence I cannot see the beautiful shrubs and trees behind them… also they hide most of the skyline too… I don’t even remember what dua I made but since my heart was feeling the burden of my various problems, I guess I just asked for Allah to help me to solve them… at the back of my mind I was thinking how weak I was and how incapable of finding solutions…

After that thinking and praying session I just remembered that I had forgotten to pray the nafls of ishraaq… so I made wudhu and started praying… it hardly took 5 minutes or so but all that time I could hear some strange sounds… it seemed like someone was striking and cutting something hard… Imagine my surprise that when I finished my prayer and looked out the window to see what was happening… the mulberry trees had all been cut off… just like that… I was standing there speechless…

It seemed like a direct message from Allah that my job is to believe in his strength and power… and not to be overwhelmed with problems… even if I feel too weak and incapable of solving them. Sometimes the shaitan makes you lose hope that why isn’t there any response from Allah when you are making duas to him all the time? But we should remind ourselves that there is certainly a response every time we call him… even though it might not be visible to the eyes… And then there are times when Allah does send a “visible” response too but we are too busy blaming others and wallowing in self pity to see these signs…

But the windows of our homes and the windows of our souls are the outlets from these frustrating thoughts… So this morning’s incident proved to me that no matter how big we think our problems are but we should never forget that nothing is too big for Allah… if we remain true to him… believe in him… pray to him… make him the nucleus of our lives… depend on him only… then he can remove the wild mulberries of our lives in as little time as it takes to pray two rakahs… so is too difficult?

Beware of Pride…

Often I write a long story to prove a point but this time the point is so important and urgent that I don’t want to spare even a moment without diving right into the heart of the matter…

You know sometimes we are blessed by Allah that he saves us from certain sins… certain bad characteristics which we see in abundance all around us but Allah chose us to be free of them… but often we fall into this error of taking the credit for it and feeling proud of our righteousness; not realizing that it is, in fact, a big favour from Allah that he has kept us that way…

So when we forget that it is a favour and not an achievement then of course we don’t pause to think of the responsibility attached with that favour… And then how are we going to serve that responsibility when we didn’t even think about it?

If you really ponder on this test of life then you will realize that everything we get here in this world whether it is something material like a house or a car or a job or the money that comes with it… or whether it is something spiritual like guidance or knowledge or good habits or wisdom or the ability to love and feel and think and contemplate… all of these are gifts which come with the tag of responsibility attached to each one of them… and the responsibility is to first of all acknowledge them to be favours of Allah upon you… i.e. being humble and grateful.

Secondly we need to use these gifts to make Allah pleased with us… and that is through serving others… helping others…

And side by side we must be extremely careful not to let pride creep into our hearts because that is a poison which can kill even if it is a drop in an ocean full of goodness… So while you are being active in serving others and living a life of righteousness… just be so careful and keep checking your thoughts… what are you thinking most of the time?

Are you often thinking how bad others are and how absolutely wonderful you are… or are you thinking how great Allah is that he made you so…?

Are you picking faults of others and blaming them; or are you feeling sorry for them and making duas for them too?

Because you know Allah can easily take away what he gave you and the only way of protecting and preserving your precious gifts is to keep thanking Allah for it and keep thinking good and doing good to others… without even a grain of pride…

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