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.
Advertisements

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

The Help of Allah is near!


tumblr_mk6kk0DgWV1reybgso1_500

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

He Knows what is best for you


Al Aleem

The story of Musa (alayhissalam) and Khidr holds so many profound lessons. Even Musa (alahissalam), a prophet of Allah, the one who spoke to Allah, struggled to stop himself questioning the actions of someone who was more knowledgeable than him. Just like us, he was human.

Yet, how many of us do this with Allah? The one who has the greatest knowledge of everything, both seen and unseen. The one who knows what thoughts we are harboring in our minds right now. Just like Musa (alayhissalam) lost patience with Khidr, we sometimes lose patience with Allah and begin to question His plan and decree, forgetting that He knows exactly what He is doing, as He is Al-‘Aleem, the Knower everything, the Knower of every creature, even of the little ant that scurries under a rock in the darkness of the night.

Instead of questioning the plan of Allah, have patience and watch his decree for you unfold, for He knows what is best for you.

And to Allah belongs the greatest of examples.

-Shaikh Sajid Umar

Lessons from Surah Al Kahf


kahf

Musa’s (alayhissalam) story in Surah Al Kahf (ayahs 60-82) teaches us that the outer appearance of things usually fools us whereas only Allah knows what situation is best for any individual. A problem is not always a problem. Our knowledge about things is limited while Allah is All Wise and All Knowing. Only He knows better how that specific problem is going to be beneficial for a person. Similarly, we might complain about a certain system or worldly problem but then it’s always according to Allah’s Plan and His wisdom. He created this world and the creatures in it…how can we doubt about His decisions for us? Let’s never fail to remember that our Lord is the Most Merciful and He will never ever be unjust in His Decisions for us, whether it is in this world or in the Hereafter. Allah says:

وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا
And your Lord does injustice to no one. [Al Kahf 18:49]

Soon when the veils of the unseen will be lifted then we will know and be sure that what happened was right for us…and we couldn’t have chosen a better destiny for ourselves. Sometimes it so happens that we fail to get the things we really want but many years down the road we realise that what happened was best for us…not getting that specific blessing then was the best for us! So our duty is to strive and do our best and if things don’t go the way we want them to go then we have to accept the Decisions of Allah for us and not be angry or depressed as He is the Only One who creates us, provides for us, gives and takes from us!

-My reflections after studying Surah Al Kahf

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