Your thoughts, comments, and insights are always welcome and much appreciated.
Allah ta’ala does not like to find us becoming dependent on other than Him. We become dependent on our money and we will find we are tested with it being taken from us. We become dependent on people, and He ta’ala will have them disappoint us, let us down. This is all Allah ta’ala calling us back to Him, showing us that we should never come to rely or depend on other than Him–Our Sustainer, Our Provider, the Ever-Lasting, the Ever-Appreciative, The Protector, The Merciful, The King.
Gem! April 29, 2010
Sh. Faraz, as related by a friend:
Whenever He inspires your tongue to ask or seek, know that He wishes to grant.
SubhanAllah wAlhamdulillah. Allahumma salli ‘ala sayyiddna Muhammad wa ‘ala aalihi wa sahbihi wa salimu tasleema.
Separating Actions from Essence April 27, 2010
Bismillah wAlhamdulillah wa salaatu wa salaam ‘ala Rasulillah.
A true student of knowledge (may Allah ta’ala increase him) once shared the key to dawah to a group of college students some time ago in a beautiful house of Allah ta’ala on Long Island. His teacher once advised him and he gladly advised us with a precious gem of true awareness of the reality of affairs. So what was this key, this gem, the reality of affairs? When calling others to Islam, stir up in your heart the belief that every individual you meet is better than you. Regardless of what you see outwardly, recognize that you do not have the ability to see through this person into their hearts and very souls.
Do not be distracted by what you perceive or what is on display—whether this individual is non-Muslim, a non-practicing Muslim, a struggling Muslim (really, who is not struggling?), or a supposedly devout Muslim. This is their state at this single moment in time and you do not know where they are headed in their next moments on the path of life. It has been said that Umar ibn al-Khattab (rA), Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen (the leader of the believers), was beloved to Allah ta’ala when he was bowing to idols in Mecca. Allah ta’ala is outside of space and time and to Him, Umar was beloved because Allah ta’ala knew the deep devotion to Islam he would develop, the great man and companion of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) he would become, and what his true end would be regardless of his state at a certain moment in time.
This brings to heart a certain concept that I have been taught in the past from both scholars and peers (may Allah ta’ala increase each of them). In line with this idea of recognizing that a single moment and our perceptions do not determine a person’s final state with Allah ta’ala, comes the Islamic concept of separating one’s actions from his essence. Constantly, especially living in America and, more generally, the modern world, we witness haraam act after haraam act. We may notice women and men dressed inappropriately, or hear inappropriate language or blasphemous statements, or gaze upon relationships outside of marriage (just to mention some issues among many). We should hate these actions as we have been told by Allah ta’ala through the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and we should never allow ourselves to become desensitized to such acts. We should never be “okay” with such things occurring but should try to discourage it, forbidding the wrongs, and replace them with values and morals by upholding the good.
However, while we hate the action we should not come to hate the individual or his essence. This act is occurring at a single moment of this person’s life and does not necessarily dictate his/her end. It does not dictate what is in his heart, or his state. It does not dictate what lies within the essence of this individual. We cannot see what turmoil and struggle resides within the heart of this person, only Allah ta’ala can, so we should not act like we have such abilities. We should hold compassion for this individual as we know how difficult it can be to do good when there is wrong all around you. We should constantly pray for his guidance and be examples with our actions—actions of respect, good-will, and concern. I truly believe that the world would be a far better place if we constantly prayed for guidance, not just the guidance of others, but our own more importantly.
Moreover, we have to recognize many of us have a blessing others do not have and without this deen, many of us would be lost. Our ability to refrain from certain sins is only a gift from Allah ta’ala and not something we can attribute to our own great will, for each of us, when we reflect and look within, knows how truly weak we are. Allah ta’ala also bestows on us at each moment the great gift of concealment—He ta’ala constantly conceals our sins, small and large, for us so that others may not be aware of an immense fault we hold within our chests. This is an enormous and immeasurable blessing from Allah ta’ala that should not be taken for granted. When Allah ta’ala chooses to make the sins of others apparent to you, it is a reminder—you do not like witnessing others committing such acts so stay away and do not fall into them yourself, thank Him for keeping you from it or concealing you, and also for you to fulfill your promise and duty as a Muslim—to uphold the good and forbid the evil—and to call others to the beauty and magnificence of our religion.
When we approach individuals with these points at heart, a certain humility will overcome us that will speak far louder and more effectively than our words. People can sense when they are being spoken down to, or when you belittle them with your mannerisms. Therefore, bring alive in your heart the conviction that you are not aware of the true essence of this person, humiliate yourself before Allah, and see the magnificence within this individual for he/she is a creation of Allah ta’ala and he is, unbeknownst to him, craving the blessing we have been so graciously granted, Alhamdulillah. With this, you will find your actions and state will reverberate with the person long after you have stopped speaking.
I will leave you with this thought. I heard in a lecture recently a teacher relating a story that occurred when a scholar came to visit the United States. While this scholar was riding in a car, another car came to pass with its music blasting, and one of the individuals with the scholar said something to the effect that this man was crazy. The scholar replied: “Don’t you hear him? He’s saying: ‘Rescue me. Rescue me.'”
May Allah ta’ala forgive me for anything incorrect. May He ta’ala grant us His tawfiq and taysir to perform acts which please Him and to stay away from acts that displease Him. May He make us individuals worthy of carrying the banner of Islam and make us examples for the Muslims and non-Muslims. May He increase us in our following of the example of the best of creation, the Prophet, and may He ta’ala shower His blessings upon him, his family, his companions, and those who follow him until the end of time. Ameen. Allahumma Ameen.
Illuminating Hearts through Prayer April 22, 2010
Absolutely beautiful, motivational, inspiring, and heart-touching. mashaAllah. May Allah ta’ala allow us to benefit from those who came before us and left bits of their wisdom behind. May He grant Sh. AbdurRahman al-Akhdari the best of the aakhira. Ameen.
The pious Maliki scholar Abdur Rahman al-Akhdari who died in the 10 century A.H mentions in his famous work known as al-Akhdari :
Prayer beholds an illuminating divine light which illuminates the hearts of those who perform prayer and none obtain it except those who humble themselves in fear before Allah (during prayer). If you therefore, come to perform prayer, empty your heart form all worldly matters and engage yourself in seeking awareness of your Lord for Whose Countenance you pray.
Keep in mind that Prayer in fact is a act of awe and humility before Allah, The Exalted by standing, bowing, prostrating. Likewise, unequalled respect and esteem for Him is shown by means of takbir, glorification (tasbih) and remembrance and adoration (thikr).
Thus, guard your prayer for it is the greatest form of worship. Do not allow Shaytan to play with your heart and distract you from your prayer thereby obliterating your heart and depriving you from tasting the divine light that prayer provides. Be forever mindful; humbling yourself in prayer because it protects from all shameful and blameworthy deeds. Seek help through Allah for He is the best to seek help from.
Abdus Shakur Brooks
May Allah ta’ala grant us khushoo’. Ameen. Peace and blessings upon the best of creation, His beloved.
“Stand to Prayer by Night…” April 14, 2010
An article I wrote last year, but the topic is one I still strive to fulfill. InshaAllah, I can become a person who holds the love for tahajjud in her heart. Ameen.
Bismillah wAlhamdulillah wa salaatu wa salaam ‘ala Rasulillah.
Ever find yourself stirring in your sleep in the middle of the night? For some reason, you have randomly awoken and cannot seem to fall asleep again. Often times this proves a bother—especially when you are thinking, “Man, I have class in the morning. I need to sleep.” But just think—subhanAllah, this could be Allah ta’ala calling out to you. To you. Calling on His servant to spend some time worshipping Him and for some moments in solitude with Him.
We should recognize this as a blessing being sent to us and jump on this opportunity. It is understood that to do this is not an easy task as tahajjud linguistically means “to struggle to rid oneself of sleep”. While a struggle, this struggle of the night makes us more ready and able for the many struggles of the day—the struggles against our nafs, our worldly desires, and the corrupt facets of society. In particular, those committed to dawah (the calling to Islam) find tahajjud essential to their success as it reinvigorates them and provides them with the energy to go out each day and call others to this beautiful deen.
Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, mentions the night prayer numerous times throughout the Qur’an revealing its great merit. He ta’ala calls on His servants to wake in the night and to stand and prostrate to Him. Allah, Exalted be He, commanded the Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to stand at night in prayer to ready him for the Message to come. He said:
“O you enwrapped in garments! Stand (to prayer) by night, but not all night; Half of it, or a little less; Or a little more; and recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones. Soon shall We send down to thee a weighty Message.” (73:1-5)
In these verses, Allah ta’ala makes the night prayer obligatory on the Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, alone. Though not obligatory on us, Allah ta’ala indicates a strong connection between standing for prayer in the night and dawah, when He says: “Soon, shall We send down to thee a weighty Message.” For the Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the night prayers served as a means to assist in his spreading of the Message of Islam as it should serve any da’iee (caller to Islam).
We have been advised, that if we were to cut the night into thirds, to wake for tahajjud in the final middle third. This is a time that only Allah, Most High, knows of your waking, knows of your steps toward the bathroom, and knows of the forsaking of your warm sheets to stand in front of Him and to ask of Him. This is a time when our minds are not preoccupied with the many activities of the day, but can be at peace with our hearts to reflect on the words of Allah ta’ala and our relationship with Him.
In Surat-as Sajdah, our Creator and Sustainer says: ‘They forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of what We have bestowed on them. No soul knows what is kept hid from them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.’ (32: 16-17)
Our Prophet, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, shared with us that the most virtuous prayers after our obligatory prayers are those prayers made in the depths of the night. This is a time when a servant shows his/her complete sincerity (ikhlas) in his worship since only he and Allah ta’ala know of it. For the servant’s ikhlas, tahajjud has been granted this high rank with Allah ta’ala as He grants the one who makes tahajjud a common practice.
The Prophet’s, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, feet would swell due to his hours of standing in the night. He had been forgiven and only acted out of gratitude to his Creator. We have not been granted this forgiveness but have been granted innumerable blessings. Should we not then be able to offer at least a portion of our nights to the One who gave us these nights and gave us our beds to even find repose in, asking for both His forgiveness and expressing our deep thankfulness? I ask for His forgiveness, mercy, and guidance.
“Perished are the speeches and vanished are the allusions; nothing benefited us except the prostrations which we made in the middle of the night.” (Al Junayd, Dear Beloved Son by Imam Al Ghazali)
May Allah ta’ala forgive me for my shortcomings and errors. Any good comes from only Him, ‘azza wa jal. May He make us among those who stand and prostrate in the night. Ameen.