The Best Investment


family

I was on a visit to one of my friends’ house. While we were busy talking, one of her daughters, who was about three years old, came in and pulled on her dress saying: “Mom, we did not build a house in Jannah today.”

I thought I misheard her. Then her siblings joined her and they all repeated the same thing. My friend saw the curiosity on my face and smiled and said to me: “Do you want to see how we build a mansion in Jannah?”

I stood and watched as she made her children sit around her and together they started reciting Surat Al-Ikhlas ten times:

قل هو الله احد الله الصمد لم يلد ولم يولد ولم يكن له كفوا احد
When they finished they all said excitedly with one voice: “Alhamdhulillah we built a house in Paradise.” 

Then the mother asked: “What do you want to add to this palace?” The children replied that they wanted to add treasures. Then they began chanting:

لا حول ولا قوة الا بالله
There is no mighty nor power except in Allah

Then she asked them: “Which of you wants to drink from the hands of the Prophet of Allah peace be upon him and never feel thirsty again?” They all began to say:

اللهم صل على محمد وعلى آل محمد .. كما صليت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد

 وبارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد  كما باركت على إبراهيم وعـلى آل إبراهــيم إنك حميد مجيد

(O Allaah, send prayers upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent prayers upon Ibraaheem and upon the family of Ibraaheem; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. O Allaah, send blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as You sent blessings upon Ibraaheem and upon the family of Ibraaheem; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory).”

They followed it with praising Allah. Then each of them went back to what they were doing from studying and playing.

Amazed I asked her about the whole scenario. She replied: “My children love sitting with me and rejoice when I gather them and sit among them, and I wanted to exploit it and teach them how to praise and thank Allah in a way that their tiny minds can understand. They see palaces in children’s programs and wish to live in them, and watch cartoon heroes who are struggling to get treasures.”

SubhanAllah! Shaykh Ahmad an-Najmee rightly said:

”The mother is the first school. If she is righteous, the progeny becomes righteous”

[Fath-ur-Rabb al-Wadud (2/256)]

My friend is accumulating rewards upon rewards masha Allah, because whenever one of her children will read or recite the adhkar above, it will be an ongoing charity for her. Without doubt, it is the best investment in this world and the Hereafter.

The Messenger of Allah, ﷺ said, 
“When the human being dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.
(Saheeh Muslim 1631)

– Received as a forward message. (Slightly edited by me)

Advertisements

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.

Celebrating Halloween


halloween

Origins of the Halloween Festival

If we go by definition and a brief history of the event, we find the following comments in the Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. The date was connected with the return of herds from pasture, and laws and land tenures were renewed. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divination concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.

By the 19th century, witches’ pranks were replaced by children’s tricks. The spirits of Samhain, once believed to be wild and powerful, were now recognized as being evil. Devout Christians began rejecting this festival. They had discovered that the so-called gods, goddesses, and other spiritual beings of the pagan religions, were in fact diabolical deceptions. The spiritual forces that people experienced during this festival were indeed real, but they were manifestations of the devil who misled people toward the worship of false idols. Thus, they rejected the customs associated with Halloween, including all representations of ghosts, vampires, and human skeletons – symbols of the dead – and of the devil and other wicked and evil creatures.

It must also be noted that, to this day, many Satan-worshippers consider the evening of October 31st to be their most sacred.

And many devout Christians today continue to distance themselves from this pagan festival.

Does Islam agree with all of this?

Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Qur’an:

“Verily, the Promise of Allah is true, let not then this (worldly) present life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah.” [Luqman 31:33]

And the commandment does not end there, Allah, the Almighty, has asked us not to even follow anything remotely associated to Shaytan (Satan).

“O you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of Shaytan.”[an-Noor 24:21]

Apart from this clear warning, we have been asked to maintain our own identity as Muslims and not follow blindly the ways of the disbelievers, which we sometimes end up doing in a state of excitement or under the excuse of keeping a friendly atmosphere among friends and colleagues. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) warned us about this, saying:

“Whoever imitates a people, is one of them.”[Abu Dawood, 3512]

He (ﷺ) also warned:

“You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also.”

We said: Allah’s Messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians (by your words)” those before you”? He (ﷺ) said: “Who else (than those two religious groups)?” [Sahih Muslim 2669]

Muslims are enjoined to neither imitate the behavior and customs of the non-Muslims, nor to commit their indecencies. Behavior-imitation will affect the attitude of a Muslim and may create a feeling of sympathy towards the indecent modes of life. Islam seeks to cleanse the Muslim of all immoral conducts and habits, and thus pave the way for the Qur’an and prophetic Sunnah to be the correct and pure source for original Islamic thought and behavior. A Muslim should be a model for others in faith and practice, behavior and moral character, and not a blind imitator dependent on other nations and cultures.

Even if one decides to go along with the outward practices of Halloween without acknowledging the deeper significance or historical background of this custom, he or she is still guilty of indulging in this ignorant festival which involves shirk, acts of disobedience and transgressions.

We must remember that we are fully accountable to Allah for all of our actions and deeds. If, after knowing the truth, we do not cease our un-Islamic practices, we risk the Wrath of Allah Who warns us in the Qur’an with the verse (which means):

“…So let those beware who dissent from his [i.e., the Prophet’s] order, lest a grievous trial strike them or a painful punishment.” [Noor 24:63]

This is a serious matter and one not to be taken lightly. May Allah guide us, help us to stay on the right path, and protect us from all deviations and innovations that will lead us into the Hell fire. Aameen.

“Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” [al-Maeda 5:2]

 

 

 

Deprivation leads to Du’aa


araf

Allah will keep testing His servants until the sincere believers can be clearly differentiated from the weak ones and the hypocrites. The children of Israel were weak and oppressed waiting for years for the help and mercy of Allah so when Allah drowned Fir’awan and his people to save them, the Children of Israel took the calf as God, forgot Allah and started worshiping it.

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 asking Allah to fulfill that need. And Allah finally fulfills that need according to his own timing, his own way, it’s so that the servant can rise in eeman and gratefulness. But then insan gets the name ‘insan’ due to his forgetful nature. So when there’s no longer a need that needs to be fulfilled, he forgets Allah’s favors, disobeys Him and gets involved in Shirk. Reflect over this…and correct your affairs.

-Lessons from Surah Al A’raf

Righteous Lies


lying

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

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 prayer of Istikharah was described in a hadeeth narrated by Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah al-Salami, who said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to teach his companions to make Istikharah in all things, just as he used to teach them surahs from the Qur’an. He (peace be upon him) said: ‘If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say:
14123564_10153864014821048_670437222_o
Allaahumma ‘innee ‘astakheeruka bi’ilmika, wa ‘astaqdiruka biqudratika, wa ‘as’aluka min fadhlikal-‘Adheemi, fa’innaka taqdiru wa laa ‘aqdiru, wa ta’lamu, wa laa ‘a’lamu, wa ‘Anta ‘Allaamul-Ghuyoobi, Allaahumma ‘in kunta ta’lamu ‘anna haathal-‘amra-[then mention the thing to be decided] Khayrun lee fee deenee wa ma’aashee wa ‘aaqibati ‘amree – [or say] ‘Aajilihi wa ‘aajilihi – Faqdurhu lee wa yassirhu lee thumma baarik lee feehi, wa ‘in kunta ta’lamu ‘anna haathal-‘amra sharrun lee fee deenee wa ma’aashee wa ‘aaqibati ‘amree – [or say] ‘Aajilihi wa ‘aajilihi – Fasrifhu ‘annee wasrifnee ‘anhu waqdur liyal-khayra haythu kaana thumma ‘ardhinee bihi’
 
O Allah, I ask for Your decision by Your knowledge and Your decree by Your ability, and I ask of You from Your great favor. For You are able and I am not able, and You know and I do not know, and You are the Knower of things concealed. O Allah, if You have known that this matter [naming it here] is good for me in my religion, my livelihood and the outcome of my affair, then decree it for me, make it easy for me and then bless it for me. And if You have known that this matter is bad for me in my religion, my livelihood and the outcome of my affair, then turn it away from me and turn me away from it, and decree for me what is good wherever it may be. And then make me content with it.’ (Al-Bukhaari, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad).
 
The result of Istikharah is known by being inclined to do something and continuing to feel positive about it. In addition, if the decision one is about to take is good for him (in both worlds), the paths to it will open up and if it’s not, then the paths will become obstructed and Allah will direct him somewhere else.
The beauty of the Istikharah is that the person who sought the guidance of Allah will be content with Allah’s decision for him even if it diverts him from what he thought was good as he will know that this is the result of his Istikharah. This is because, Allah, the Creator knows what is best and will definitely guide His servants to what is best for them within His vast knowledge and infinite wisdom. rely
  We need to understand that Istikharah does not guarantee the absence of tests and trials in life. Since Istikharah is a du’aa, Allah’s response to it may come in any of the three ways as stated in the hadeeth: “There is no Muslim who offers a du’aa in which there is no sin or severing of family ties but Allah will give him one of three things in return: either He will answer his du’aa soon, or he will store it up for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an equivalent evil away from him because of it.” (Ahmad)
 
So if one goes through a bad marriage even after performing Istikharah or suffers loss in his business, etc., it might be that Allah wants him/her to draw closer to Him by way of patience and du’aa and send His blessings through some other way. Allah says: “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.” (Qur’an 2:216)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “It is from the happiness of the son of Adam to practice Istikharah and be pleased with what Allah had ordained for him. And it is from the misery of the son of Adam to drop the Istikharah of Allah and be displeased at Allah’s decrees.” (Tirmidhi and Ahmad)
 
Unfortunately, many people nowadays ignore this beautiful Sunnah and resort to baseless or forbidden ways to make important decisions. Seeking omens (faal) is one of these ways and it has been strictly forbidden in Islam, because it comes under the same heading as divination with arrows (mentioned in the Qur’an 5:3).
There are some other people who do follow the Sunnah of praying Istikharah but have added weird myths and unreasonable expectations to it. They ask some stranger or religious personality to do it for them and expect the results of Istikharah to be shown to them in dreams, visions, some special sign or color while all of this is nothing but acts of ignorance.
 
Firstly, it is a form of innovation to ask someone else to do istikharah for you or do it for others and secondly, it doesn’t give one instant results like giving a green signal to proceed in a certain affair.
 
Istikharah is a du’aa which one needs to make himself, at any time of the day and then execute the matter (for which he prayed). And if it is good then Allah will make it easy for him and bless him in that, and if it is not good for him, then Allah will turn it away from him and will make easy for him that in which there is good by His permission. For without doubt, the person who makes Istikharah, seeking guidance from his Creator and advice from His creation never regrets, as Allah said to His Messenger (peace be upon him) in the Qur’an (3:159): “Consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].”
 
-Mariam Anwer
Originally published at Arab News
AN Istikharah