Allah sent down the Quran as our guide book for success and He sent Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) to teach us how to interpret the teachings of the Quran and implement it in our lives. In this page I will inshaAllah share with you all, the various treasures of wisdom from the book of hadith, Riaz-us-Salihin by Imam Nawawi. Here is my reflection on the first lesson:
Intention is the spirit of my actions….
I am so happy to tell you that finally I have started Riaz-us-saliheen, and greatly enjoyed the Hadith and their explanation. In the first lesson today I learnt that all our actions will be judged according to our intentions.
Innamal Aa’malu binniyyaat…
(certainly actions are based on intentions)
Although we have been reading this hadith since primary school and we automatically assume that surely if I am reading the quran or offering salat then my intention is to please Allah. But today I realized that maybe there is an area of “intention-free-zone” in which most of us so called religious people reside. Our intention is missing from our amaal. It is just a mechanical gesture for me to get up in the morning and with sleepy eyes and a sleepy head I rush to the washroom to make wuzoo and like a robot my trained hands repeat the process of the ablution without any conscious thought attached to the process. Same is the case with salat and other things too. What we need here is to translate the word “Niyat” or intention as: a conscious decision to do something keeping in mind why am I doing it…..what do I intend to achieve from it. Somehow we say all the right things without even stopping to think of their meaning. In my childhood and then in later years I heard duas uttered by older people around me in such a way that it didn’t seem as if they mean what they say. This is, I think, one of the main reasons why there is a growing mistrust about the religious people. We don’t mean what we say. We are just concentrating on the “makhaarij” (to say the words with proper sound and accent) without realizing that the real “makhraj” should be the heart.
What I have learned for myself is to re-awaken my conscious thought and do everything with a conscious heart. For that I might have to bring some changes in the way I do things so as to get rid of monotony which tends to take away the spirit out of things. For instance I should learn new surahs to read in the salat. Change the place of my prayer. Plan for every prayer as if it’s the most special one or the last one.
Last week I had some guests and I was conscious of a lack of concentration in my prayer. Even in sajda I felt as if I was just trying to finish off a duty. I just had an idea then that if I had been in front of Kaaba how would I feel? Instantly I felt a change in my feeling. We have not seen Allah so it becomes at times difficult to visualize His presence in prayer. So ordinary people like me can at least visualize about the places which have a feeling of Allah’s presence.
Whatever it takes I feel that I have to revise my niyat again and again in order to gain maximum effect out of whatever I am doing. I am sure it will also help me get rid of the fear of people and fear of situations and will be an added force for action.
May Allah guide me to the straight path ( and keep me there too )
It has been reported by Hazrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
Innallaha taála la yanzuru ila ajsamikum wa la ila suwarikum walakin yanzuru ila qulubikum wa a’malikum
(Certainly Allah does not look at your physique nor at your faces; Rather He looks at your hearts and your actions.)
It is a very important Hadith and through it we can see what really matters in our life. Sadly our preferences are totally opposite to this Hadith. We put so much focus on appearances. Wonderful talented people spend miserable lives because of some physical aspect which they find unattractive. Like small height or dark complexion or acne or some other “unfortunate” thing. Our stress is only on “looking” good and not on “being” good although we all know that when we live with a person or have any dealing with him then it’s not the looks but his character is what matters. Similarly you can look around and see how people are obsessed with clothes and cosmetics and hairstyles and jewellery….why? Because we have willingly surrendered to this illusion of appearances.
Now reading this Hadith once again my faith has been renewed that Islam really is a religion of liberation…… How simply the Messenger of Allah has liberated us from this burden of appearances in just a few words!! No need to worry about perfect looks but to focus our attention on the purification of our intentions and our actions.
It doesn’t mean that we should neglect our appearance altogether. Do take care of your health, eat sensibly, sleep adequately and work tirelessly….Keep yourself clean and smelling nice and fresh…wear a pleasant smile on your face and keep your eyes shining with optimism and hope…and this is it. No more worrying of physical beauty or facial charms… that is a decision of Allah. He will not hold you answerable for these things. But what we do have to worry about and consequently work on are two things: Our hearts and our actions because Allah is constantly keeping note of these two things. We can say that actions are in our control so we can improve in that but what can we do to improve our hearts? The fact is that our hearts and our actions are inter-dependent. Each has an effect on the other. Therefore if we think positive then our actions will also be in a positive direction and if we do good deeds, it will have a purifying effect on the heart. As an example I can tell you about my own experience that when I started offering five daily prayers with regularity, my heart was not involved and it seemed like a burden (may Allah forgive me) but I kept on with it and Alhamdulillah gradually my heart started responding and so that had an even better effect on my prayers. I suppose with bad deeds too the same formula will apply. If you stop doing something when you know it is prohibited, then gradually your heart will stop asking for it.
So let’s give it our best and you will see that once you get onto this cycle of straightening out your hearts with good deeds and vice versa you will no longer be worried about impressing anyone with artificial things, rather all your effort will be to impress Allah with your genuine feelings and actions.
May Allah guide us to the very best…Ameen
I learned a Hadith today in which the Prophet (s.a.w) asked His Companions…. “Do you know who will be the people on the day of Qiyamah who will be the first to enter the shade of Allah’s throne?” And the companions said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” So the Prophet (s.a.w) told them…”these are the people that when Haq (The Truth) came to them they accepted it …..when they were asked to give Haq (rights of Allah and people) ….they gave it..and their judgement for others was the same as what they judged for their own selves.”
Uptil now I used to imagine the Sabiqeen (forerunners) as people going full speed in the way of Allah and giving up their own desires for the sake of Allah’s pleasure…….which is true……but I had never taken into consideration the last point of this Hadith…..or not given it so much importance……Today I realized that to sacrifice every other thing is easier than sacrificing my ego and giving up my pride in myself and to want for others the same thing which I want for myself. Unconsciously we pass judgements on others and think they deserve this or that and…..Me MYSELF…..well I am so good so I deserve the very best…..The more you work and sacrifice for the sake of deen, the greater becomes the chance of falling into this trap of self worth……..that is why the great scholar, Imam Ibnul Jawzi wrote in his book “minhaj-ul-Qasidin”:
All believers are asleep except those who have knowledge
All knowledgeable ones will be in loss except those who act on what they know
All doers of goodness are in danger except those who do so with a pure intention of pleasing Allah
And even these Pure souls are at great risk….
so this is the risk….that they might start thinking of themselves as very superior and might not judge for others what they want for themselves . Alhamdulillah I have learned a very important lesson and I hope I am saved from falling into this illusion of self worth. All thanks to Allah for guiding us to these lessons and eye openers…..May He guide us to act upon them too!!
Conveying the light of knowledge
Yesterday I read a Hadith in the book of ilm (Rabbi Zidni ‘ilma):
Naddar-Allahu-mra’an sami’a minna shai’an…fa-ballaghahu Kama sami’ahu…fa-rubba muballaghin au’a min saami’in (tirmizi)
Ibn Masud (r.a) reported: I heard the Prophet (s.a.w) saying, “May Allah freshen the affairs of the person who hears something from us and conveys it to others exactly as he has heard it (i.e. both the meaning and the words). In fact many a recipient of knowledge understand it better than the one who has heard it.”
The words which really amazed me were the ending ones…because they made me believe in the limitless possibilities of spreading the truth in this world.
And today through a real life incident Allah made me experience some of the lessons of this Hadith in a practical way…A friend of mine had called me a couple of weeks ago and mentioned to me some problems she was facing. I gave her some practical tips to help her according to what Allah has taught me so far. She then called again the next week to clarify on some point which she had not understood the first time. I told her that I am not an alim (scholar) and had just spoken from what had come to my mind…anyway I advised her to read a dua taught by the Prophet (s.a.w) which is also my favourite dua in times of indecisiveness or uncertainty…even anger!!…
Allahumma ahimni rushdi wa a’izni min sharri nafsi…
O Allah inspire in me my wisdom and save me from the evil of my own self.
I explained to her that in our day to day affairs we are always making some decision or the other and there is often so much to do and to take care of that we become unsure whether to do this or that…what is more important and what should be delayed…and so instead of being confused and worried, it is infinitely better that we should ask Allah to help us make the best decision because no one else has the knowledge of the future…
Usually after I speak I don’t remember the details…so when this afternoon she rang me up and said she had just called to say thanks because the dua that I had explained to her had proved to be such a help and gave her so much sukoon as she had not had before…now I was completely blank about which dua I had told her!…and thanks to Allah that she herself read it to me again…it was then that I remembered this very hadith that we should definitely keep spreading the teachings of the Prophet (s.a.w) because when we convey something from our knowledge to someone we often don’t know the impact it will have on the recipient. Who knows he or she might benefit from that knowledge far more than we ourselves have done so far.
So the good thing is that Allah taught me a great lesson that sometimes I feel so sad at my lack of remembrance, lack of hafizah (good memory) and consequently not being able to practise as much as I know…but through this Hadith I have understood that I can compensate for my own lack of focus by telling others all I know so maybe through their actions I might also be forgiven by Allah…InshaAllah