Relief is near


Allah laughs
SubhanAllah, Allah is always watching us, hearing us and knows what we are going through. He hears our dua’s, watches how we cling on to Him in hope and how we increase in intense and desperate du’aa to Him.
That is why Allah marvels about the despair of his servants, while the changing of their situation from bad to good is very near, He looks at them and they are very desperate, so He keeps laughing in mercy, because He knows His relief to them is very close.
May Allah protect us from falling into despair, may He hasten His response to our du’as and grant relief to desperate hearts! Ameen.
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Righteous Lies


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The worst opinion is the one in which you lie to yourself and others, and then attribute it to God.
If you’re too lazy to pray, be honest with yourself, instead of saying prayer doesn’t make someone Muslim. It does. Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam, taught that Salaah is the dividing line between faith and disbelief.
If you’re too weak to wear hijab, be honest about your struggles—we’re all human after all—but don’t say hijab isn’t important in Islam. Our Lord doesn’t speak trivialities. If He spoke about it, it’s important.
If you don’t want your husband or wife to divorce you, then be honest about your deepest desires and vulnerabilities—we all have them—but don’t slander your husband or wife, saying they are bad Muslims to even want this.
If you are too spiritually weak or ignorant to understand the wisdom of polygyny for all times—we all have much to learn about our faith—then pray that Allah increases you in knowledge and understanding. But don’t say polygyny is haraam in today’s society.
Obeying Allah through marriage is never forbidden, no matter what society you live in.
But lying on Allah is *always* forbidden, no matter your motivation or excuse.
Allah says, “Woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say, ‘This is from Allah!’” (2:79).

Be careful.

Allah has already spoken about prayer, hijab, and marriage. Limit your “opinion” to His revelation…
Or await facing Him alone on the Day of Judgment, when you’ll be asked to explain why you felt you knew better than He.
—from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah

The Help of Allah is near!


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God says in the Qur’an:

أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ

“Do you really think that you will enter Paradise without going through what those who came before you endured? They were afflicted with such adversity and hardship and shaken to the core to the point that the Messenger and those with him cried, ‘Where is the Help of God?!’ Ah! But the help of God was ever near.”
[The Qur’an 2:214]

Sometimes things get so bad and you wonder, “Why, God? Why?!” You see people who care far less about their commitment to God than you, and they’re flourishing. But you have played by all the rules and never compromised your morals, yet you suffer. You may express this to family and friends and they’ll trivialize your sadness and beat down your grief saying, “Be content with what God has given you! Don’t question it!”

But in the aforementioned verse of the Qur’an, it says clearly that even the Prophet Muhammad himself (ﷺ) and His Companions questioned where the help of God was. That’s the entire reason this verse was revealed when the Prophet (ﷺ) and his Companions faced the hardships of oppression, exile and, ultimately, battle. How can anyone question you feeling the same exasperation as they did when they were the best of humankind?

Can you imagine how the Prophet (ﷺ) and his Companions felt? The Prophet (ﷺ) may have thought, “I’m the Messenger of God and all I’ve done is convey His Message. Why am I suffering so much?” His Companions may have thought, “We gave up EVERYTHING to follow God and His Messenger, and all that is happening to us is ruin!” They must have felt this with such great sorrow as they watched their loved ones die of hunger and thirst while stranded in the desert after being expelled from Mecca. They must have felt this with such fear when they were on the tempestuous seas when fleeing Mecca for the safety of Ethiopia’s fair and just Christian king. They were whipped, tortured, and their mothers and fathers stabbed to death in front of them. How must they have felt?

They cracked but never broke. Asking where the help of God is may be to crack, but you have not broken until you no longer expect the help of God to come! The fact that you expect it, is a great manifestation of you faith!

There are some of God’s worshippers whom He takes to the brink before which most people would have crumbled and fallen. Their entire lives are one test and trial after another. If that’s you, then know that you are among the ones whom God has deemed strong. You think you can’t take it. You think what you’re going through is more than you can bear. But HE knows you better than you know yourself. He created you! It may seem strange, but can you be optimistic in God’s Love and Mercy enough to understand that in hardship He is showing you that you are stronger than you even know?

And those whom God has deemed to be the most strong will have their moments when their hearts falter in pain and wonder where the help of God is. But always remember that wondering where it’s at is, in itself, a statement confirming its existence.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s weakness of faith. It is a declaration of faith! You believe it’s coming, you just wonder in agony why it hasn’t come yet. But be at peace, for even the greatest of all humankind, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (ﷺ), all wondered at one point or another if their mission was for naught, and yet their legacies collectively became embraced by the near entirety of our planet.

So let history show you that the greatest of all are given their trials in equally great measure.

-Written by Shibli Zaman

Faith that Split the Sea


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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)]

These good expectations of Allah bring him closer to relief. No matter what worries, concerns, anxiety, distress, apprehension, or calamities touch him he will find extreme peace, contentment, joy, and solutions through the belief that Allah is with him and that He will guide him to everything that is good for him even if it is by making him suffer all that he dislikes.

This is exactly what made the red sea part into two with the command of its Creator, thousands of years ago…to make way for an honorable believer, the servant and prophet of Allah; Musa (peace be upon him) and his followers as they crossed it and made their way to the other end. Prophet Musa’s strong faith in Allah, despite the atrocities that he and his followers faced under the oppressive rule of Pharoah was unshakable. He inspired his people to hold on to belief in Allah, His promises and be patient in tough times. On the command of Allah when he set off to move from the enemy’s land with his followers, he got stuck between pharoah and his army pursuing them and the huge sea before him, it was this relentless belief and trust in the Almighty that He will never forsake his side, which made him proclaim, inspite of all the impossibilities around him:

“Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me.” (Al Quran 26:62)

What he possessed was the kind of faith which did not move mountains rather made the vast sea split in two by the order and might of the Most High, Lord of everything that exists. Allah says: Then We inspired to Musa, “Strike with your staff the sea,” and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain. And We advanced thereto the pursuers. And We saved Musa and those with him, all together. Then We drowned the others. Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers. And indeed, your Lord – He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. [Al Qur’an 26:62-68]

Indeed Allah is Great. He keeps testing His servants until the sincere believers are clearly differentiated from the weak ones. He gives His servant what is most beneficial to him with wisdom, kindness and in a loving way, even if they are through ways which he might hate. The servant’s duty is to hold on to his faith in Allah, strive in drawing closer to Him through the blessings or the tests He sends and avoid being of those whom Allah Almighty describes: “And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial, he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss.” (Al Qur’an, 22:11) Being a servant of Ar Rahman, one must strive not to be of the ones who are happy in worshiping Allah as long as He showers them with blessings and bounties and turn depressed, doubtful and frustrated as soon as Allah tests them with trials and problems.

As a believer one ought to know and understand that Allah calls Himself Al Wahhab and He may gift him with things he did not expect, without asking for anything in return. He is also Al Lateef so He takes care of his worries in a very subtle, loving and gentle manner by putting trials as stepping stones in his way so that his servant’s footsteps reach a destination where he is taken by surprise by His Mercy. These trials may seem as difficult challenges in a believer’s limited vision but they may be His Form of Mercy to His servant to gain more understanding and awareness of Him and ultimately improve his relationship with his Creator. Notice how, Prophet Musa and his followers were oppressed but waited patiently for years for the help and mercy of Allah and when Allah’s help eventually arrived, it was beyond anything they ever imagined – in the form of a miracle, a supernatural phenomenon. Shaikh Abdul Aziz At Tarefe once said: “If Allah intends to grant relief, He opens its door; if it doesn’t have a door, He breaks its wall. For the command of Allah is irreversible.”

It’s clear from this, that whenever Allah deprives someone of something, it is only so that he can come closer to Him by ways of du’a and worship, persistently asking Allah to fulfill that need. And then Allah gives and fulfills that need according to his own timing, his own way it is only so that the servant can rise in faith and gratefulness. Sufyan ath Thawri (May Allah have mercy on him) rightly said: ‘Verily, when Allah withholds, He actually gives, because He did not withhold on account of miserliness or stinginess, but rather He looked at the benefit of the servant. So the fact that He withheld is actually His choice for the servant and His excellent decision.”

-Mariam Anwer

Prophet Ibrahim and his Tawakkal in the Almighty


ibrahim trust

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. We can’t even imagine the plight of Ibrahim. He was the only believer among the huge crowd of polytheists and even his own father was on the side of the prosecution. Ibrahim (alayhissalam) heard them when they plotted against him, he saw them when they made a hole in the ground and set it aflame, and it burned with huge sparks and immense flames yet his faith in Allah remained unshakable and his heart in full submission to His plan for him.

Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said: “When Prophet Ibraheem was thrown into the fire, he said: ‘حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ – Allah (Alone) is sufficient for us, and, He is the Best Disposer of affairs.‘ So did Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam), when he was told: ‘A great army of the disbelievers had gathered against him, so fear them’. But this (warning) only increased him and the Muslims in Faith and they said:حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ – Allah (Alone) is sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us)’ (3:173). ” [Al-Bukhari].

Both our awesome prophets (‘alayhimussalam) uttered these beautiful words. Words which mean Allah is sufficient for us, we don’t need anybody else but Him, He is someone we delegate our affairs to and He is the Only One who will take care of us.

A heart devoid of faith will never be able to say these words. It’s only a true believer who will understand and know without a doubt that Allah alone is the One who Bestows help and protection and the One Who Withholds, and He alone is the Remover of Harm and Affliction. When Prophet Ibrahim uttered these words he affirmed the Power of Allah, His Love and His knowledge. He knew that Allah is Aware of his feelings and his condition. He said these powerful words as if they were a shield for him against the raging fire and he didn’t care who was against him because he had the Most powerful and Most Merciful with him. And history is aware how the response of Allah came as a swift command and He said to the raging fire:

ينَارُ كُونِى بَرْداً وَسَلَـمَا عَلَى إِبْرَهِيمَ
“O fire! Be you cool and safety for Ibrahim!”

and there was no fire left on earth that was not extinguished.” Ibn `Abbas and Abu Al-`Aliyah said: “Were it not for the fact that Allah said, وَسَلَـماً “..and safety”, Ibrahim would have been harmed by its coldness.”
Allahu Akbar. Allah responded to the faithful statement of Ibrahim in the best of ways and made him land into a place similar to a garden with no sign of the blazing fire and gave him victory over the ones who thought that they had power over all things. And this is only because of his strong faith and his du’aa filled with certainty, the effect of which made the world sit up and watch in amazement! It was the same faith and certainty in his Lord that made Ibrahim (alayhissalam) disassociate himself from his father and his people and make hijrah to someplace where he could establish the religion of Allah with his wife Sarah and his nephew Lut who had accepted faith. And Allah tells us of another similar and equally beautiful du’aa that he uttered when he left:

رَّبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
Our Lord, upon You we have relied, and to You we have returned, and to You is the destination. (Al Mumtahina 60:4)

Know dear believers, submitting to the will of Allah and leaving your affairs to Him provides the healing touch that is much necessary in one’s life. One has to believe in the promise of Allah when He tells us in the Qur’an:

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ
And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. (At Talaq 65:3)

Relying on Allah Alone, trusting Him for His Decisions for us and patiently waiting for an outcome that will always be best for us even if it is not pleasing to us, is the condition for Allah being sufficient for us! When we don’t have such a belief then Allah leaves us on our own. By putting one’s complete Trust in Allah, by leaving matters unto Him, by seeking only His grace and mercy, by accepting His decree, by submitting to His Will – a Muslim can equip oneself to face all the challenges of life. And this one single statement:
حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ will be enough in itself to be a source of all strength, all comfort and success, Insha Allah!

Published in Arab News in September 2015

Lessons from the Attitude of Prophet Ibrahim’s dialogue with his father


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Knowledge and understanding is not necessarily something that comes with age and just because a person is older does not mean that he or she is someone to emulate. Most of us notice our parents or other elders involved in wrong practices but hesitate to correct them or give them sincere advice out of fear of offending them or upsetting them. Sometimes, even when advised parents would not even admit that what they are doing is wrong, rather, they actually try to convince their young who are adhering to the limits and laws of Allah to instead follow their wrong ways. So how do we react to such a situation?

While analyzing the many amazing qualities of Prophet Ibrahim and extracting lessons from his fascinating life, let’s also try to study about his sincerity in trying to save his own father from eternal loss, by warning him about the destructive sin of shirk (polytheism) that he was indulging in. The way he interacted with his father is a very good example of a person respecting his parent yet rejecting his (the parent’s) ways and lifestyle and calling him to the right path.

Prophet Ibrahim’s father Azar was a sculptor of idols, so from a young age Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam) was aware that idols were nothing more than pieces of wood or stone – inanimate objects that could extend no benefit or harm. He tried to convince his father that his practice of idol worship was wrong and ultimately useless. He spoke to him in a gentle voice, using kind and loving words to address him, and he tried to warn him of the dangers inherent in worshiping idols. Allah tells us about the approach that Ibrahim uses in calling his father to Islam, in beautiful ayahs of Surah Maryam:

“[Mention] when he said to his father, “O my father, why do you worship that which does not hear and does not see and will not benefit you at all? O my father, indeed there has come to me of knowledge that which has not come to you, so follow me; I will guide you to an even path. O my father, do not worship Satan. Indeed Satan has ever been, to the Most Merciful, disobedient. O my father, indeed I fear that there will touch you a punishment from the Most Merciful so you would be to Satan a companion [in Hellfire].” [Maryam 19:42-45]

Lessons Derived:

  • Notice how Prophet Ibrahim says: يَا أَبَتِ  In Arabic this is a very endearing term. This is an expression of love for a father. Even though he is a mushrik and involved in an act that is abhorrent to Allah, Prophet Ibrahim’s actions teach us that we should hate the sin and not the sinner himself. He uses the best of loving and kind terms to call his father to Islam teaching us that being gentle, loving and polite is an important factor while addressing the elders.
  • Prophet Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam) then starts of by making him reflect over his actions. He doesn’t start by condemning his wrong actions but instead invites him to reason, use his intellect by asking him how something that does not hear and does not see can benefit him. He then moves from intellect to knowledge and explains how revelation has come to him from the Creator, thus showing him that what he is calling him to is special knowledge given to him from the Lord of the world—Allah. Thus teaching us that it’s necessary to arouse interest in the elderly listener by using logic and by appealing to his sense of right and wrong alluding to the consequences.
  • We read that Prophet Ibrahim, then explains to his father about the plot of shaytan and how following his path would lead him to eternal loss and informing him about the extreme mercy of Allah who is merciful even to a disobedient creature like Iblees. Also notice how he juxtaposes the mercy of Allah over his punishment. When people learn about Allah, they shouldn’t learn He is the One who puts them into hell fire but that Allah is the One who has been taking care of them their whole lives, the One who provides for them even when their sin and disobey and the One Who accepts people’s repentance and forgives their shortcomings. So know that from the best way to introduce Allah ta’ala in da’wah is by His Mercy. Muslims who have fallen into sins and non Muslims should be made to reflect about the mercy of their Lord in all the facets of their lives and then they should be reminded that what Ar Rahman commands is for His servants own good.

Prophet Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam) was wise beyond his years yet his father did not listen perhaps because of extreme ignorance or arrogance and threatened to stone him. But we notice in the continuing ayahs of the Surah Maryam that our dear Ibrahim (alayhissalam) did not lose his temper but instead responded to his father’s threatening attitude with respect and wisdom.

[Abraham] said, “Peace will be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me. And I will leave you and those you invoke other than Allah and will invoke my Lord. I expect that I will not be in invocation to my Lord unhappy.” (Maryam 19:47-48)

Once again Prophet Ibrahim uses the best of speech and tells his father about the mercy of Allah and His generosity showing him he still has a chance to reflect, repent and turn to Him in submission. This teaches us that no matter how rude or unpleasant the attitude of the elderly, we should never be offended by the negative reactions, continue being kind to them, pray for them and never become weary of continuous work for His cause.

Conclusion:

We learn from the dialogue between Prophet Ibrahim and his father that the message should be shared with wisdom and gentleness and understand that the outcome is not always positive. We should be prepared for opposition, ridicule and unresponsive behavior. Nevertheless we should do our part, convey the message keeping in mind the instruction from Allah when He says: “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.” (Al Furqan 66:6)

We must do our duty and then let Allah take care of the rest, believing that we cannot guide the one we love, it is Allah Who guides whomever He wills. Allah (Subhahau wa Ta’ala) says:

“Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.” (Al Qasas 28:56)

May Allah guide us and make us sources of guidance for our beloved ones and the whole ummah! Aameen!