Achey Naseeb (Being Fortunate)
Allah tumharey naseeb achey karey!” (May Allah make good your destiny)
Being desi we often receive loving du’aas like these from beloved elderly relatives or friends. Recently when a dear one said these words to me, I couldn’t help but wonder over the actual meaning of the words. I feel we have restricted the meaning of *achey naseeb* (good destiny) to receiving all that a person would desire of worldly bounties – a good life with a good education, a great job, an amazing spouse, cute babies, a luxurious lifestyle, etc. So usually that is precisely what we mean, when we use these words while making du’aa for ourselves or others.
Seldom do we think of associating *achey naseeb* with a life spent in humble obedience to Allah and the strength and will to strive in deeds that would lead to a good life in the Hereafter – An eternal life of peace and delight in eternal Gardens of bliss far from the torturous burning heat of the Hellfire, knowing that our Creator is pleased with us.
Our apathy to look at the bigger picture of wellness in the Hereafter and working for it is quite upsetting…
Reflections on Valentine’s Day
Young men and women make plans to celebrate this day either in groups or alone with their “special friends” of the opposite gender, “ahem”, behind their parents’ back.
I see them shopping for special dresses to wear on this day. T-shirts, shoes, jewelry, dresses, and even red nail polish to wear with those high heels.
Faith that Split the Sea
At certain instances in his life, a believer might feel like an individual walking in the blinding darkness of an endless tunnel – scared, tired, thirsty, with hardly any hope left in him to find light or a way out. But there’s something in him that always cures and heals his aching soul. It is his faith and trust in His Master that He – the One who has been taking care of Him all this while, is with Him and will never desert him. Whenever a crisis comes his way, he utilizes his faith and good expectations of Allah in order to hold on and be strong in repelling the whispers of shaytan to give up. The Prophet (peace be upon him) related to us in a hadith narrated by Muslim that Allah says:
“I am as My servant thinks of Me.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6856) and Sahîh Muslim (4832)]
Dealing with Grief
The Blessed Day of ‘Arafah
Just as those on Haj are blessed with the opportunity to turn to Allah, repent and “come out as sinless as a newborn child” (Al-Bukhari), the ones not on Haj also get a somewhat similar opportunity.
Special Days Of Special Worship
Istikharah – A Special Prayer
At certain stages of life we often find ourselves at crossroads, impelled to make important decisions that would have huge impacts on our future. These decisions could be about choosing a career, getting married to someone, buying a car or a house, relocating or moving to a foreign land and the like. Despite considering all the positives and negatives and consulting family, friends or other qualified people, this task of reaching a sound decision leaves us doubtful and nervous. Praise and thanks to our Creator who doesn’t leave us fretting and worried during these crucial times. He has taught us, a special prayer for guidance in making decisions called Salat Al-Istikharah. When performing this prayer one asks Allah to guide him to the right choice concerning a certain essential matter.
The Quest for True Happiness
Ramadan – A Precious Gift
The fragrance of the blessed month of Ramadan is already in the air and almost everyone has started feeling the slight sensation of excitement that this blessed month brings with it. Isn’t it amazing how we look forward to this month with such excitement and anticipation? A month where we spend more than half of the day – in the scorching summer heat – without eating or drinking and the nights in reading or reciting the Glorious Qur’an. For Muslims, Ramadan is a month filled with so much meaning and goodness that on the final day even the children do not want it to end. How can the believers not rejoice at the coming of this blessed month when Allah ‘opens up the gates of paradise, closes the gates of Hellfire, and chains up the devils?’ (According to hadeeth in Bukhari)
Repentance is the Cure to Guilt
Sincerity and Correctness in Worship
The purpose of our life is a topic that we seldom think about or it is a discussion that is put aside after occasional brief reflection. But it is extremely critical for us to know about this topic as it is having a purpose in life that pushes us to use our intellect and abilities in the right direction and it serves as a core factor to success and happiness. As Muslims, we believe that the great purpose for which we exist in this world is to worship our Lord, our Creator – Allah, Who says: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an, 51:56)
Indeed Allah created the creation so that they could worship Him alone, without associating any partner with Him. Whoever obeys Him will be completely rewarded, whereas whoever disobeys Him would be punished with a severe punishment. And He has informed that He is neither dependant, nor does He have any need for them. Rather, it is the creation that is in dire need of Him, in every condition and circumstance, since He is the One who creates, sustains and provides for them. Imam Ibn Katheer said: “Ibaadah (worship) is obedience to Allah by acting upon what He commands and abandoning what He forbids; and this is the reality and essence of Islam. And the meaning of Islam is: ‘istislaam’ (submission and surrender) to Allah – the Most High – along with the utmost compliance and submissiveness to Him.”
Whatever a servant of Allah does to seek His pleasure, in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah is Ibaadah. As Muslims we need to realize that from the conditions of our worship to be accepted by Allah, is that it needs to be sincerely for His sake. Allah says: “So whoever hopes for the meeting with His Lord let him work deeds of righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of His Lord.” (Qur’an 18:110). Similarly, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said “Indeed Allah does not look at your faces nor your wealth but He looks at your hearts (intentions) and your actions.” (Muslim) Also there is a Hadeeth Qudsi where the Messenger (peace be upon him) said that Allah said, “I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having partners. Thus, whoever does an action for someone else’s sake as well as Mine, will have that action rejected by Me to him whom he associated with Me.” (Muslim)
After sincerity the second vital condition of worship is that it should be correct and therefore acceptable to Allah. Our worship of Allah should be as He and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have commanded us. Allah says: “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds.” (Qur’an 47:33)
Rainfall: Mercy from the Almighty
I struggled to make space for the four of us as I spread our prayer mats and took out the dates that I had got on the way to the masjid from my hotel room. It was another calm and tranquil Ramadan evening in the courtyard of Al Masjid Al Haraam in Makkah. Other than the usual shouts and yells of the volunteers distributing snacks for iftar, I could hear people around me beseeching the Almighty in the precious moments just before Maghrib (sunset) Prayer. Taking cue, as I started whispering my du’as (supplications), I felt sudden drops of water on my raised hands. Looking up I noticed unusual dark clouds covering the horizon beyond the beautiful minarets of the masjid before hearing cries of happiness around me as it started drizzling and then suddenly pouring. Being an ardent lover of rain, I was elated but what surprised me most was…
Humility is key to winning Allah’s favors
Greatness belongs to Allah alone. He is in control of all the affairs of every single thing created. He commands and prohibits, creates and provides, gives and takes. He raises and lowers people’s status, alternates night and day, causes nations to rise and fall, so that one nation vanishes and another emerges. His command and decree are carried out throughout the heavens and on earth, in the oceans and in the air. Human beings are just a creation of Allah — a creation which is pretty insignificant in comparison to the unimaginably vast universe. In a hadith qudsi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah the Almighty said: ‘Pride is My cloak and greatness is My garment, so whoever competes with Me regarding these two will be thrown into the Hellfire.’” (Abu Dawud 4090)
Anyone who understands this will realize that our real status in the life of this world is only that of servants of Allah and this understanding gives root to the beautiful quality of humility which is one of the greatest blessings that Allah could bestow upon His servant because when a person becomes humble, he acknowledges his weaknesses and defects and submits wholeheartedly to the rulings of Allah and Allah in turn raises his status in both worlds.
Death – A Reminder
“She is no more…” I kept visualizing the words again and again, felt my heartbeat thundering in my ears while my mind refused to accept the fact – the fact that it was true. She was no more and had passed away to the next world!
She was my close friend, a dear school mate, a loving friendly soul – may Allah forgive her and bless her with the highest levels of Paradise. The news of her death that I had received as a text message two years ago still lies fresh in my mind and my eyes well up every time I remember that night. I think about all her qualifications, her accomplishments in life, her dreams and aims and I wonder about her last thoughts. What had it been, just before she breathed her last. I wonder like always, did she know it would be this sudden?
Death is always a bitter realization, a huge reminder and a recurring scary thought: ‘how long before I am the one lying lifeless being washed, shrouded and buried by others?’
We find ourselves living in an era where physical looks are taken very seriously. All over the media we notice commercials for hair, skin, teeth, and nail products; advertisements of make-up for every conceivable fold of facial skin; and the list goes on and on. The real question is: “Is it all worth it?” How much does physical beauty actually impact our lives, careers, relationships, happiness and peace in both the worlds?
Cosmetic surgeries have taken their toll on the youth like never before. I was especially shocked recently when I read about this young girl in the West who underwent a rib removal surgery and had six ribs removed to have a thinner waist along with a number of other surgeries to appear more beautiful. But rib removal to look pretty?!
We were created by our Lord in the most perfect of forms. He created each and every one of us beautiful, without any flaws. We need to understand that beauty is more than just appearance; it’s more about our personality, our nature and our dealings with the people around us.
The Qur’an: A gift worth celebrating
So, celebrate, rejoice…” proclaimed my teacher in a loud insistent voice making me look up at her while jotting down quick notes from her tafsir lecture. “Celebrate,” she said again, “and be happy from the depths of your heart … for the blessing, the treasure Allah sent down to you. Cherish the blessing of the Qur’an…
It is way better and way above the rest of the blessings that you collect and enjoy.”
I heard the bell indicating that the class was over for today. Wrapping up I took my copy of the Qur’an, stared at it for a while, smiled and wiped away a tear. Feeling a deep sense of gratitude I fixed my hijab and walked out into the warm sunshine thinking about how blessed we really were! Allah bestowed us with countless blessings. He endowed us with the gifts like sight and hearing, the intellect, health, wealth and family. He has even subjected everything in the universe for us: The sun, the moon, the heavens and the earth, and many countless things, but none of these can ever match up to the blessing of the Qur’an that He gifted us with!
Mere words can’t describe its excellence and magnificence. It’s a precious gift in the form of a divine Book, a valuable treasure given by Allah Almighty to mankind. It’s too precious to be left untouched on high shelves, too precious to be kept back after reading a few lines without understanding it, too precious to ignore it and move on in life like stray cattle. It is this precious quality of the Qur’an through which hundreds of people accept Islam each year, in awe of its eloquent verses, precise words and astounding meanings which penetrate and shake their innermost souls…
The Quest to be on Top
Ever played those word puzzles and brain teasers on Facebook or any other game website? They are pretty interesting and not to forget, extremely addictive…the moment I started, I wanted to be the one with the highest points…to be number one among my friends! I believe you all felt like that…right?
Competitions, Races, e.t.c., is life i think.This quest for being the best in whatever we do, is and always will be our main objective in life. Having the best grades, the best job, the prettiest looks, the most gorgeous of dresses,…being on top in everything that life has to offer…but what about the competitions regarding our Deen? Relax, i’m not talking about the Quran memorizing competition!
Prophet Ibrahim and his Tawakkal in the Almighty
We offer salutation to our dear Prophet Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam) in every prayer. He is one of the five strong will Messengers of Allah. He chose him, guided him and blessed him with sound wisdom. Since an early age, Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam) stood in the face of evil, debated with his people, called them to worship Allah alone and when they persisted in disbelief, he destroyed the idols that his people were worshiping. As a consequence, when their arguments were refuted and their incapability became clear, when truth was made manifest and falsehood was defeated, they resorted to using their power and strength, and decided to throw him in the raging fire. They were so full of hatred for him that they considered it a religious duty to put him in torment. In Tafsir Ibn Katheer it says that, “If a woman was sick, she would make a vow that if she recovered she would bring wood to burn Ibrahim.” SubhanAllah there was no limit to their hostility but all their aggressiveness could not make Prophet Ibrahim’s faith in Allah flinch even a tiny bit…
Lessons from the Attitude of Namrud
Like Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam), Ibrahim (alayhissalam) was born at a time when ignorance was at its peak, at Babylon in Iraq during the reign of a tyrant disbeliever Namrud. Namrud was a ruler who was filled with misguidance…he used to term himself as lord of everything. Allah tells us in the third juz of the Qur’an, how Prophet Ibrahim [‘alayhissalam] debated with this ignorant ruler to explain that Allah is the Lord of everything that exists. Allah says: “Have you not considered the one who argued with Abraham about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship? When Abraham said, “My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death,” he said, “I give life and cause death….” [Al Baqarah 2:258]
SubhanAllah! Notice how Allah says “..the one who argued with Ibrahim about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship..” showing us that Allah had blessed Namrud with kingdom and power and this blessing was what had made him arrogantly deny the favors of Allah instead of being humbly grateful for them. He was deceived by this gift to such an extent that it had made him compete with the One who had given him the gift!
Reflections on Valentine’s Day
Young men and women make plans to celebrate this day either in groups or alone with their “special friends” of the opposite gender, “ahem”, behind their parents’ back.
I see them shopping for special dresses to wear on this day. T-shirts, shoes, jewelry, dresses, and even red nail polish to wear with those high heels. And not to
forget the abayas with shiny red hearts.
Caught in the Rhythm
As Muslims we are commanded by Allah, the Lord of the worlds to submit to Him, fear Him by obeying His orders and refraining from His prohibitions and follow His Messenger in all our affairs. It is only then that we are going to find peace and success in this life and the Hereafter. Allah says in the Holy Quran,
“O you, who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment. [As he is saved from the hell fire and made to enter paradise]” (33:70-71)
Narrated Abu Hurairah, Allah’s Messenger [sallallahu alyhi wasallam] said, “All my followers will enter Paradise except those who refuse.” They said, O Allah’s Messenger! Who will refuse?” He said, “Whoever obeys me will enter paradise and whoever disobeys me, is the one who refuses (to enter it).” (Sahih Al Bukhari)
Music is one of the things that are prohibited by Allah and His Prophet but unfortunately is very common in our homes. Very few might know that music is the sound of shaytan…as Allah tells shaytan in Surah Al Isra (to test the humans)
“And incite those whom you can among them with your voice……” (Quran 17:64)
Blunt facts that we refuse to accept
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an, 51:56)
- Sincerity: Doing it for the sake of Allah alone, with the intention to please Him and not anyone
- Following the Sunnah: Doing it in accordance with the legal ways of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), i.e., the Shariah.
Just Moments Away
Sitting outside in the courtyard of al Masjid al Haraam in Makkah, I look on at the hustle and bustle of people coming out of the Masjid peaceful and satisfied, after the short but serene meeting with their Creator in Isha Prayer. As I move my lips slowly in zhikr, I notice a sudden disturbance in the normally walking crowd of worshippers…I look again to find out three funeral processions rushing toward the road…I scan the covered, lifeless bodies on the stretchers being carried — and my heart fills with dread and fear — as I wonder:
” How long before I am the one being carried like that?!!”
I feel my mind travelling back, down memory lane… to another scene from another place...
Precious, Hidden and Protected
…Like Pearls in their Shells
As Muslims we submit to the will and commands of our Lord – Allah who is the creator of the worlds. His commands and rules as stated in His Book-the Quran should be humbly accepted and practiced without arrogance. It is this Divine Book where Allah commands His believing servants to believe in Him alone, pray five times, fast in the month of Ramadan, give zakah, to respect their parents…etc. And it is the same noble book where Allah orders the believing women to wear hijab or cover themselves, hide their beauty and guard their modesty.
The Two Important Signs
The creation of the Sun and Moon is one of the greatest signs given to humans by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala of His existence. No doubt the absence of both these created blessings would create havoc in any living being’s life.
“Blessed is He who has placed in the sky great stars and placed therein a [burning] lamp and luminous moon.”(25:61)
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala also shows us His great power and control over the universe by the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse happening every few months. These major events, when the unusual happens in the well balanced system of the universe, demand more from us than mere publicizing on media or thousands of people coming out to witness it.