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)

The Messenger (peace be upon him) said regarding this: “Whoever does an action which we have not commanded will have it rejected.” (Muslim) He (peace be upon him) also said “Whoever does an action (of worship) in a way different from ours will have it rejected.” (Abu Dawood)

Action Rejected

It has been narrated that `Umar Al-Khattab once passed by the monastery of a monk. When the monk came out, `Umar looked at him and began to weep. When people asked him why he was weeping, he replied: “I remembered the statement of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, in His Book: ‘Working [hard] and exhausted. They will [enter to] burn in an intensely hot Fire.’ [Qur’an 88:3-4] So that is what has made me cry.”  (Tafsir Ibn Katheer)

Hence, if an act of worship is correct but not sincere, it will not be accepted and if it is sincere but not correct it will not be accepted until it is both sincere and correct. Sincere means that nothing but the Face of Allah is sought by doing it and correct means that it is in conformity with the Sunnah.

Unfortunately, when we look around us today, we see a lot of people ignoring these two conditions; using worship as a tool to get worldly benefits or taking the way of their fathers, ancestors and other people as the yardstick of right and wrong. There exist in Muslim communities, several innovated cultural practices and beliefs which have no basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Innovated practices are actions like specifying words of Dhikr that are not prescribed in the Sunnah, or to say that a particular du’aa, a certain chapter/verse from the Qur’an or a specific Name of Allah should be recited a fixed number of times without any proof from the Hadith. These innovated actions also include singling out a day or night for worship and religious celebration that the Prophet (peace be upon him) or his companions never did (like the day of 12th Rabi’ ul Awwal, nights of 27th Rajab and 15th Sha’ban).

Yet, when these misunderstandings are brought to the attention of people, many respond in the exact words of the disbelievers of old times, “This is what our forefathers used to do so we will do the same.” People who make such statements should think about whether they are following the guidance of Allah or the way of the disbelievers. One of the key characteristics of Islam is the importance given to verification of information and to the prohibition of blindly following practices which are proven to be unislamic.

Islam is a complete way of life. All acts of worship that we need to get closer to Allah have already been revealed and explained to us by the Messenger (peace be upon him) who said, “I have left you upon the clear path, its night is like its day and no one deviates from it after me except that he is destroyed.”(Ahmad) This hadeeth should push us to acknowledge and accept the facts and not be careless, making our actions vain like Allah has mentioned regarding some people: “And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed.” (Qur’an 25:23) Rather let us become cautious and send something foreword for the Day of Judgment, the Day when we will be in great need for good actions, i.e., our sincere and correct Ibaadah.

-Mariam Anwer

Originally Published at Arab News

AN Sincerity

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Blind Following – Not from the Characteristics of Prophets


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As humans we are imitative by nature. We tend to follow copy and emulate the actions from the environment around us or learn from people around us. Notice this in little kids around you, the way they copy their elders in their actions and style.

We know that Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) grew up in a household of shirk (polytheism) where they worshiped idols, and in a community that worshiped idols of stone and wood; a community which had a king who claimed to be God; but he never let this environment of shirk and kufr affect his way of life or his sound faith. Prophet Ibrahim was inclined to his Fitrah, his natural disposition, as was Muhammad (peace be upon him). He boldly stood against his own family, against the entire system of his community, against all kinds of shirk, kufr and sin, alone, with no companion or support except that of Allah. He was endowed with spiritual understanding from an early age. Allah enlightened his heart and mind, gave him wisdom from childhood; and Ibrahim (peace be upon him) never took this gift for granted. Allah Ta’ala says:

“And We had certainly given Abraham his sound judgement before, and We were of him well-Knowing.” [Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:51]

He used his intellect, his power to reflect, and reason to reject the practices of his community and submitted to the Creator of the heavens, earth, moon, stars and sun. Even in his childhood he was not like the people around him who had succumbed to blind following of their ancestors. Allah tells us in more than one ayah of the Qur’an that when Ibrahim (peace be upon him) asked them about the idols they worshiped…they replied: “We found our fathers worshipers of them.” (Al Anbiyaa’ 21:53)

SubhanAllah! When we apply this to today’s world, we see a lot of people taking their fathers, ancestors or other people as the yardstick of right and wrong. There exist in Muslim communities too, many innovated cultural practices and beliefs which have no basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Innovations like specifying words of Dhikr that are not prescribed in the Sunnah, or to say that a particular Du’aa or Dhikr should be recited a specific number of times without any proof from the Hadith, or to specify a day or night for religious celebration that the Prophet (peace be upon him) or his companions never did. Yet, unfortunately, when these misunderstandings are brought to the attention of people, many respond in the exact words of the disbelievers of old, “This is what our forefathers used to do so we will do the same.” People who make such statements should think about whether they are following the guidance of Allah or the way of the disbelievers.

One of the key characteristics of Islam is the importance given to verification of information and to the prohibition of blindly following practices which are proven to be unislamic. So wake up dear Muslims, and stop blind following! Instead, follow the examples of our beloved Prophets Ibrahim and Muhammad (Peace be upon them), and use the gift that Allah has blessed you with – the built-in recovery drive through which Allah has given man the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood, between what is beneficial and what is harmful. For the function of divine revelation conveyed by the prophets is not only to remind you about that to which your soul already testifies (that is, tawheed due to the pre-existent Fitrah), but also to teach you that which you never could have known (that is, the Shariʽah). The prophets came only to remind you; the choice is left to you-alone! Heed the reminder and be of the successful ones, or reject it and be of the doomed!

Allah says: “Indeed, this is a reminder, so he who wills may take to his Lord a way.” (Surah al-Insān, 76:29)

May Allah guide us to the right path, the path leading to Jannah and make us steadfast on it! Aameen.

-Mariam Anwer

The Forgotten Sunnah – Standing in the Rain


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An unusual sound penetrated my train of thought as I sat studying at my desk. I looked up pensively from my book and a few moments passed before I realised that what I was hearing was the sound of pouring rain. A sound so common back in my hometown, Cape Town, was now so foreign to me in the desert city of Madinah.

I rushed out onto the balcony to admire the rainfall. As I stood, witnessing Allah’s answer to the prayers of the community, a strange sight caught my eye down below. A man, instead of running for cover, walked calmly to and into his building. He reappeared shortly carrying a chair. Still in a state of composure, he placed the chair out in the pouring rain and just sat down! He appeared to be enjoying the sensation of the raindrops falling on his skin. I was intrigued.

Back home, many people become grumpy at the first sign of rain or run frantically from it when it catches them unawares. I just kept staring. I then made an intention to find out more about what I had witnessed and soon discovered that spending time in the rain was a practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and His Companions (may Allah honour them), based on these findings:

It is Sunnah (A practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to stand in the rain and to expose a portion of your body to it.

Its narrated by Imaam Muslim in his authentic compilation from the hadith of Anas, He said: It rained upon us as we were with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) unveiled his garment (from a part of his body) until the rain fell on him. We said: Messenger of Allah, why did you do this? He said: Because it (the rainfall) has just come from the Exalted Lord.

And Haakim in his book Al-Mustadrak narrates this hadith with the following words: “When the rain came down from the heavens He (The Prophet May peace be upon him) used to remove his garment from his back until the rain fell on it (his back).”

The scholars have taken proof from this hadith that it is Sunnah (recommended) to expose your body and clothing to the falling rain. Out of happiness that Allah is sending down his blessing and moreover rejoicing that its falling down on us.

And the meaning of the phrase: “Because it (the rainfall) has just come from the Exalted Lord.” is mentioned in the explanation of Sahih Muslim of Imaam Nawawiy by saying: That the rainfall is a mercy which Allah has just created, therefore use it as a blessing.

Imaam Ashafi’ee mentions in his book Al-Umm: It is narrated by Ibn Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him): That the rain fell from the heavens so he told his servant to bring out his mattress and saddle so that the rain may fall on it. Abu Jawzaa’ then asked Ibn Abbas: Why are you doing that, may Allah have mercy on you? He (Ibn Abbas) then said: Do you not read the book of Allah:

“And we have sent down from the heavens water that is blessed” [Surah 50, Verse 9]

Therefore I would like the blessing to fall (incur) on it.

Scholars of jurisprudence have mention the following regarding standing in the rain:

1. The Sunnah of exposing oneself to the rain can be obtained by unveiling any portion of one’s body no matter how small the portion may be like one’s head or arms.

2. One should not expose one’s Awrah.

3. It is recommended by some scholars to take Wudu (ablution) and Ghusl (wash) from the rainfall. And they based their deduction on the following Hadith: It is narrated from the Prophet (may peace be upon him) that when stream used to flow he (Prophet) would say: “Leave with us to that which Allah has made pure so that we may purify ourselves from it and praise Allah most exalted.”

Imaam Al bayhaqee states that this is a narration from Umar (may Allah honour him) and not from the Prophet (may peace be upon him).

Imaam Nawawiy also mentions in Al-Majmoo’ that: “Its recommended that when the gorge flows (with rain water) to perform wudu (ablution) and ghusl (washing) from it. And if he or she is not able to do both then at least to perform wudu (ablution) from it.

And Allah knows best.

–Written by Khalid Abduroaf

Get your past sins forgiven!


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Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) observed Saum (fasting) on the day of `Ashura’ and commanded us to fast on this day. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: `Ashoora’ 10th of Muharram. In another Hadith, it is stated that when the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) emigrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah, he saw that the Jews were fasting on this day. He asked them why they did this on that day, and they told him that they did it for the reason that Allah granted Prophet Musa emancipation from Pharaoh on this day, and so they observed Saum in token of their joy. On this, he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said that in this happiness of Prophet Musa, Muslims have a greater right to observe Saum than the Jews. Consequently, he also observed Saum on 10th of Muharram. Then, he said that if he lived the following year, he would observe Saum on 9th of Muharram also so that they would make themselves different from the Jews. According to another Hadith, he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) ordained the Muslims to observe Saum on `Ashura’ and in addition one more Saum on 9th or 11th of Muharram in opposition to the Jews.

(Musnad Ahmad, Vol.4, P-21, edited by Ahmad Shakir; and Mujamma` Az-Zawaid, Vol.3, P-188).

Thus observance of two Saum on this occasion is a Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). These two Saum can be observed either on 9th and 10th or 10th and 11th of Muharram.

Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was asked about observing As-Saum (the fast) on the tenth day of Muharram, and he replied, “It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year.” [Muslim].

Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “If I remain alive till the next year, I shall also observe fast on the ninth of Muharram.” [Muslim].

The DAY of ARAFAH


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✦ The DAY of ARAFAH! ✦

• The Day, by which Allah SWORE an Oath.
• The Day of FORGIVENESS of sins, and FREEDOM from Fire.
• The Day, on which Allah PERFECTED the religion, and completed His FAVOR.
• The Day, on which Allah took the COVENANT from the progeny of Adam.
• The Day, fasting on which is an EXPIATION for the SINS of the previous year, and the coming year.

A BARGAIN YOU CAN’T MISS OUT ON: “Fasting the Day of `Arafah expiates for two years, one prior and one forthcoming.”

[Saheeh Muslim]

*-Get tens and even hundreds of bonus years on top of that by sharing and informing others!

*-Sisters:
If you sincerely intended on fasting and would have fasted, yet couldn’t due to your menstrual cycle, don’t be sad!
You’ll get the same reward as if you fasted, not a tiny bit less -insha Allah! (I spoke on that issue in: ‘Ramadan Gems #5’)
[~Shaykh Ahmad Musa Jibril]

May Allah accept from us…Aameen!

Do you want to respond to the insults?


 

~Dr. Bilal Philips said: “It is not strange for a civilization which holds nothing sacred (besides the Holocaust) to make fun of the Prophet of Islam – may God’s peace and blessings be upon him.
The buttons are once again being pushed and Muslims’ feelings are hurt. Consequently, some are angrily lashing out and harming innocent people in their ignorance. However, this is only further distorts the image of Islam which was the intention of those who made that evil film. Let us, instead, follow the prophetic way, and convey the message of Islam positively and with greater vigor, while patiently bearing the harm of our enemies.”

~Assim Alhakeem said: No matter what they say or do, the name of our Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) will always be exalted. Whether they make cartoons or films depicting him in a negative way, his name will still be mentioned 5 times a day (in adhan) all over the world. What has happened in Libya and what is happening in Egypt and elsewhere do not serve Islam and it is unislamic. These protests and hooliganism serve the enemy of Islam. They will never stop making fun of our religion and our religion will excel despite their efforts.

•►Let us abide by our Quran and Sunnah and this is what hurts them most.