Feel confident about your murmured du’aas


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A new Muslim in the time of the Prophet ﷺ once heard the Prophet supplicating in low tones after one of the prescribed prayers. When he found himself unable to retain all that the Prophet ﷺ had prayed, he went to the companion Mu’adh ibn Jabal hoping to hear an easier du’aa. To his dismay, he heard Mu’adh repeating a du’aa similar to that of the Prophet ﷺ. Somewhat frustrated, he went back to the Prophet ﷺ who asked him:  “What do you say when you pray?” He said: “I recite the tashahhud, then I say: 

“اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ النَّارِ”

(Allaahumma inni as’aluka al-jannah wa a’oodhu bika min an-naar) O Allah, I ask You for Paradise and seek refuge in You from the Fire. I cannot murmur like you and like Mu’aadh.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “It is about this, that we were murmuring.”

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 792; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, taken from the book, “Lasting Prayers” by Ahmad Zaki Hammad)

Whether you know Arabic, or you don’t. Whether you have memorized some duas or none at all – when you ask of Allah that which is good, feel confident about your murmuring. You are asking The All Hearing, The All Seeing, and He hears you in whatever language you use and He sees the meanings emanating from within your heart. :)

 

Deprivation leads to Du’aa


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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

Masters of the youth of Paradise


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The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Husayn is part of me and I am part of him. May Allah love those who love Husayn. Husayn is one of my grandsons.” [al-Tirmidhi (3775), Ibn Maajah (144) and Ahmad (17111) – classed as hasan by at-Tirmidhi and al-Albaani]

Al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was killed on the day of ‘Ashoora’, he was killed by the transgressing, wrongdoing group. Allah honoured al-Husayn with martyrdom, as He honoured other members of his family; He honoured Hamzah and Ja‘far (may Allah be pleased with them) with martyrdom, as well as his father ‘Ali and others (may Allah be pleased with them all).

His martyrdom was one of the means by which Allah raised him in status, for he and his brother al-Hasan will be the leaders of the youth among the people of Paradise, and high status is only achieved by means of trials, as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said, when he was asked which of the people are most sorely tested? He said: “The Prophets, then the righteous, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested to a degree commensurate with his level of religious commitment. If there is firmness in his religious commitment, his test will be greater, and if there is any weakness in his religious commitment, the test will be reduced for him. Trials will continue to befall the believer until he walks upon the earth with no sin on him.” [Narrated by at-Tirmidhi and others].

Al-Hasan and al-Husayn had previously been granted high status by Allah, may He be glorified, and they did not go through the same trials and hardships that had befallen their predecessors, because they were born at a time when Islam was prevalent and they had grown up with honour and dignity. The Muslims venerated them and honoured them, and when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) died, they had not yet reached the age of discernment.

The blessing that Allah bestowed upon them was that He tested them with that which caused them to join the other members of their family, just as He tested others who were better than them. ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib was better than them, and he was killed as a martyr.

The two beautiful beloved ones who many are grieving for these days, were martyred as Allah willed it, and this was a blessing for them. They are now in Jannah with their grandfather (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) having a high status with Allah so why should we be sad for them? Instead let’s pray Allah gives us tawfiq to follow them in righteous deeds and that He has mercy on us and forgives us like He had mercy on them and that He unites us with them in Jannat Al Firdaws! Aameen!

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:
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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

Do you have a mother?


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When the great scholar Sulaym b. Ayyūb as-Sulaym (known as Abū Fatḥ ar-Rāzī, d. 447 hijrī) was a ten year old child in his hometown of Rey, Iran, he went to a sheikh to learn recitation of the Qurʾān.

He narrates; the sheikh called me over and asked me to start reciting the Qurʾān. I started to recite Sūrat al-Fātiḥah but struggled to do so and couldn’t complete its recitation because of how poor my pronunciation was. So the sheikh asked me, “Do you have a mother?”

I replied, “Yes.”

The sheikh said, “Tell her to make duʿāʾ that Allāh grants you recitation of the Qurʾān and knowledge.”

So I went home and asked her to make duʿāʾ for me and she did.

When I grew up, I travelled to Baghdād and stayed there until I mastered the Arabic language and Fiqh. Then I returned to Rey.

One day, as I was sitting in a masjid teaching ‘Mukhtaṣar al-Muzanī’, that same sheikh entered the masjid and greeted us but did not recognise me. When he heard me teach–and he had no idea what we were discussing–he exclaimed, “How does one gain this much knowledge?!”

Sulaym narrates, I wanted to ask him if he had a mother, to tell her to make duʿāʾ for him. But I was shy to do so!

-Abū Fatḥ ar-Rāzī, d. 447 hijrī

 

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