Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The story of the Shaykh from Azhar and the prostitute

Stumbled upon this through a link of a facebook fanpage called 'Lives of the Salaf'..

Did you hear of the story of the Shaykh from Azhar and the prostitute? No?

Well, here you go, as was narrated by Shaykh Ali Tantawi (May Allah have mercy on him) in his memoir about Shaykh Ahmad Al-Zayaat (May Allah have mercy on him).

Shaykh Ali Tantawi said:

"The Shaykh (Ahmad Al-Zayaat) was a teacher, who did not know anything of this world except: The Azhar where he used to teach, the house he used to live in, and the road between them.

As years passed by, and he got older, his health started to deteriorate, and he needed to rest. So the doctor forced him to take some time off, and suggested that he goes somewhere away from his place of work and residence, and advised him to enjoy the quietness and calmness of the parks next to the Nile.

So one day, the Shaykh went out and stopped a carriage (as cars were not that available at the time). He told the driver: My son, take me to a nice place were I can enjoy the view and relax.

The driver of the carriage, however, was a wicked person, and took the Shaykh to a place in Egypt, which at the time had several prostitution houses.

After arriving he told the Shaykh: Here [we are].

The Shaykh said: O son, Magrib prayer is drawing near, where can I pray? Take me first to the Masjid.

The Driver [pointing to one of those houses] said: The Masjid is over there.

The door [of the place] was open, and the lady running that house was sitting, in the manner those like her usually sit.

When the Shaykh saw her, he lowered his gaze. He saw a seat, so he headed there and sat, waiting for the Call for prayer (Adhan).

[The woman in confusion, just] stared at him.

What brought that man here?

He doesn't look like any of her regular customers.

She kept thinking to herself, but did not dare ask him what he was doing here.

What kept her from asking was the shyness that remained in her heart, even as a prostitute. However, that shyness only appears in front of people of Piety.

He, on the other hand, kept doing Tasbeeh (saying Subhan Allah), whilst looking at his watch, until he heard the Adhan of Maghrib from far away.

He asked her: Where is the Moazin (Person who calls for prayers) here?

Why didn't he call for prayer when the time entered?

Are you his daughter?

She kept silent.

He waited for a while, and then said: My daughter, Maghrib time is short, and it is not permissible to delay it, and I do not see anyone here, so if you have your Wudu (ablution) then pray behind me Jama'ah.

He gave the call for prayer, and without looking at her, as he was about to give the Iqamah, he noticed stillness behind him?!

He asked: What is wrong? Don't you have your Wudu?

All of a sudden, as if her Iman (Faith) woke up and she remembered the old days. The days when she was filled with purity, and was away from sin, she started to cry loudly, and threw herself at his feet.

The Shaykh surprised, did not know in what way he can calm her.

She then, started narrating her story.

He saw in her words great regret, and felt the truth in her repentance. He realized the sincerity in what she was saying, so he told her: Listen, my daughter, to what the Lord of all creation says: {Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the Mercy of Allah. Indeed Allah forgives all sins "} (39:53).

All sins, my daughter, all sins..

The door of repentance is open to every sinner and it is so wide that it can encompass them all no matter how heavy their load [of sins] is even Kufr.

So whoever disbelieves in the all Mighty, after he was a believer, but repents before the hour of his death comes, and he was sincere in his repentance, and he renewed his Islam, Allah will accept him.

Allah, my dear daughter, is the most Generous of all. Did you ever hear of anyone generous shutting the door in the face of those who come seeking him?

Stand up and go wash yourself, and cover yourself. Go and clean your skin with water and your heart with repentance and regret. Approach your Lord, and I will wait for you.

But do not delay, so that we do not miss Maghrib prayer.

She did as he asked, and returned to him with a new dress and a new heart. She stood behind him and prayed. She felt and tasted the sweetness of that prayer, and felt that this prayer purified her heart.

When the prayer was over, he told her: Come with me, and try to cut every relation you have with this place and everyone in it. Try to erase the time you spent here from your memory.

Consistently ask Allah for his forgiveness, and increase in doing righteous deeds.

Verily, adultery is not as big a sin as Kufr, and Hind [bint 'Utbah “ May Allah be pleased with her], who was a disbeliever and had animosity in her heart to the Prophet of Allah. After that she became from the righteous believers, and we started saying: Allah is well-pleased with her.

The Shaykh then took her to a house of righteous ladies, and then found her a righteous husband and advised him to take good care of her" 1/252.

[Original writer in Arabic forum said]: Notice [May Allah shower you with Mercy] the state of this woman, how she was and how she changed. It was nothing more than simple words from an old man that led her into changing her life upside down.

So if you only think how many people are just like this woman.

People who are drowning in filth, people who the dust from their sins gathered around their hearts shedding away its light.

These sins caused them to see the Truth as Falsehood and the Falsehood as Truth.

How much are they in need of one to take by their hands, and to clear the dust away from their hearts.

They do not need complicated educational and behavioral philosophical treatments, or theories in the manners of interaction and persuasion. Neither are they in need of complicated statements.

What they truly need is for someone to feel sorry for them and for their state Someone to understand their situation and to hope for their guidance Someone who would speak a word that would leave his heart, [and touch theirs]. A word which he seeks nothing from except the Face of Allah.

After this the light, that was for so long covered with sins, would emerge and their souls would return to its Fitrah, and would return to its harmony with the universe and to the true manner of life.



www.abdurrahman.org - Inspirational Stories

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Responding Positively

The following video is about a group of brothers from the UK trying their best to emulate the method of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), which is to POSITIVELY RESPOND by presenting the peace and beauty that Islam teaches and propagates, to the wider society. Allah Almighty says in the Noble Qur'an,

[ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَـدِلْهُم بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ ] 

{Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them with that which is best. Truly, your Lord best knows who has strayed from His path, and He best knows those who are guided.} [Surah An-Nahl 16:125]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Weight of the Qur'an

Taken from sayingsofthesalaf.net..

It is reported that Ibn ‘Umar – Allâh be pleased with him – said,

“We were the beginning [the heads] of this Ummah, and perhaps a man from the best of the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger – Allâh’s peace and blessings be upon him – and the most righteous amongst them could maintain only one chapter of the Qur`ân or thereabouts. For the Qur`ân was weighty upon them, and they were given knowledge of it or action based on it. But the last of this Ummah will find the Qur`ân light [and easy] – the child and the non-Arab will recite it, without possessing any knowledge about it.”

Al-Harawî, Dhamm Al-Kalâm wa Ahlihî Vol. 5 p144.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Goodly Life

'Life' refers to every single moment that is lived within it, and every hour spent within it, and within all of these we have a life that is either with us or against us..

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Motivation to Recite the Qur'an Better

The Qur'an is the word of Allah. The superiority of the Qur'an over the words of His creation is like the superiority of Allah Himself over His creation. The movement of the tongue in reciting the Qur'an is the best action that the tongue may ever perform.

If we research the hadeeths of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), we'll find many regarding the virtues of reciting the Qur'an, one of them is as follows;

Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu'alayhi wasallam) said, "Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.'' (At-Tirmidhi)

Let me share my own personal journey in trying to be better at reciting the Qur'an. I still remember the times when my recitation was very slow and akin to a kindergarten kid reading his first book after learning ABC. And this was way after I had first learned the basics of recitation.

I started learning while around the age of 8 at a weekly Qur'an recitation class, sent by my parents, but due to much negligence in reciting it daily, with exception to the weekly class, the level of recitation remained poor, and actually became even worse as I stopped attending the classes altogether during the later part of secondary school without completing recitation of the whole Qur'an.

I still remember while at class, my pronunciation and tajweed was often wrong that my teacher had to stop and correct me every few seconds or so. As such, it resulted in a lot of time taken to read just one page of the Qur'an and the progress from one page to another was very slow.

Back then I was also very ignorant of the virtues of reading the Qur'an and not only that, I was very ignorant of Islam itself! So all these factors, in addition to my ignorance made me become frustrated, easily bored and in the end led me to neglect it altogether except for recitation of surah Yasin once in a while. Alhamdulillaah, nowadays every Friday morning or Thursday night more of surah al-Kahf insya Allah.. its genuinely Sunnah..

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will shine from him from one Friday to the next.” (Narrated by al-Haakim, 2/399; al-Bayhaqi, 3/249. Ibn Hajar said in Takhreej al-Adhkaar that this is a hasan hadeeth, and he said, this is the strongest report that has been narrated concerning reading Soorat al-Kahf. See: Fayd al-Qadeer, 6/198. It was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6470)

It was only during my NS years when I started to recite more, alhamdulillah, as I began to attend a weekly basic Islamic knowledge course. This time, I was more motivated as I realized that the Qur'an is the basic and most important guide for a Muslim, hence the need to be more proficient in its recitation and knowledgeable about its contents.

Alhamdulillah, maybe due to some keenness in that aspect, Allah guided me to think about going back to attending weekly Qur'an recitation class for guidance on proper pronunciation. Actually, that didn't last too and I didn't manage to finish reciting the whole Qur'an with the ustaz as I was kept busy with other commitments.

However, this time, my recitation and understanding of the tajweed improved more because in addition to the weekly recitation under the guidance of the ustaz, I also strived, to try to at least read a few verses or one page of the Qur'an every day and revise tajweed knowledge. Another factor that helped me in improving my tajweed was also the usage of a Qur'an where there are colour indicators to aid in reciting the proper tajweed, whether its 2,4 or 6 harakaats or the emphasis of raa' or qalqalah for example. 

This was when I realized, that the key factor for improvement is simply to put in more time and effort in practicing on our own and to regularly recite the Qur'an. We just have to recite as much as we can with the time that we have, with or without a teacher to monitor.

Of course when we read alone, there is a higher chance of overlooking our mistakes but this is not a good reason for not practicing on our own. I'm not saying there's no need to read in front of someone who's proficient in the recitation and knowledge of the Qur'an, but we cannot just rely on the ustaz's weekly classes to help us improve.

I've observed too often that people who rely merely on their weekly classes, just don't improve much even though they have recited in the same class for many years. Some even neglected recitation of the Qur'an totally except for a few selected verses when they have completed reciting the whole Qur'an with an ustaz. Worse, some would be proud of it. It's as though they feel their small effort would be enough and they have chalked up enough deeds and rewards to save them in the hereafter. This is definitely a misconception.

Personally, while reading alone, to help prevent myself from overlooking mistakes that I might make, I would recite slowly and concentrate to listen to myself at all times. Slow recitation would help us be more aware when we make mistakes. At times I would also record my own recitation of a certain soorah then replay it, looking out for tajweed mistakes that I may have overlooked. I realized that when we listen to our own recitation, we'll actually realize better some of the poor recitation that we have been making even though previously, we thought that the recitation was fine.

Another way that I practiced, to try keep mistakes to a minimum when I recite alone, is by listening to the recitation of the verses that I'm about to read from the mp3 audio recording of good reciters before I recite the verses myself. My favourites are Shaykh Mishary Rashid al-Afasy and Shaykh Fahd al-Kanderi.

Alhamduliillah, I have managed to improve over the past few years especially, as I try to implement such exercises and try to increase the pages that I read daily on my own. Do keep in mind that it not as easy as it may seem. It requires continuous practice, a great deal of patience and perseverance before we'll see the results.

For now, I try to complete the recitation of the whole Qur'an by myself at least once within a few months. In the near future, I hope to be able to do this at least once every month. This would require us to read at least 20 pages every single day.

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr: Allah's Apostle (sallallaahu'alayhi wassalam) said to me, "Recite the whole Qur'an in one month's time." I said, "But I have power (to do more than that)." Allah's Apostle said, "Then finish the recitation of the Qur'an in seven days, and do not finish it in less than this period." (al-Bukhari)

These next few hadeeths should motivate all of us to recite the Qur'an no matter what level we're at,

The Prophet sallallaahu'alayhi wassalam said: "The one who reads the Qur'an while having previously memorized it is with the angels, noble and dutiful, and the one who recites the Qur'an while it is difficult for him will receive two rewards." (al-Bukhari and Muslim) He also said: "It will be said (in Paradise) to the reciter of the Qur'an who acted upon its teachings: read, ascend and beautify as you did in your worldly life, for indeed your level is that equal to your last verse," (at-Tirmidhi)

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari: The Prophet said, "The example of him (a believer) who recites the Qur'an is like that of a citron which tastes good and smells good. And he (a believer) who does not recite the Qur'an is like a date which is good in taste but has no smell. And the example of a dissolute wicked person who recites the Qur'an is like the Raihana (sweet basil) which smells good but tastes bitter. And the example of a dissolute wicked person who does not recite the Qur'an is like the colocynth which tastes bitter and has no smell." (al-Bukhari)

Here's a few additional hadeeths for other reasons with regards to the Qur'an;

The reward of teaching: The Prophet sallallaahu'alayhi wasallam said: "The best of you are those who learn the Qur'an and teach it." (al-Bukhari)

The reward for teaching the Qur'an to one's children: The Prophet sallallaahu'alayhi wasallam said: "One who reads the Qur'an, learns it, and acts upon it will place upon his parents a crown of light as brilliant as the sun. He will clothe them with cloaks that are more valuable than this whole world. They will ask: 'Why are we made to wear this garment [of honor]? It will be said to them: 'Due to the importance your child paid to the Qur'an.' " (al-Hakim)

Intercession of the Qur'an for its reciter in the Hereafter: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Recite the Qur'an, for it will intercede for its companions on the Day of Resurrection." (Muslim) He sallallaahu'alayhi wassallam also said: "A slave's fasting and recitation of the Qur'an will intercede for him on the Day of Resurrection." (Ahmad and al-Hakim)

Multiplication of Reward: Every person who recites the Qur'an purely for Allah's sake will receive reward, but this reward is multiplied if the recitation is accompanied with attentiveness, contemplation and understanding of what is being recited. If it is done in this manner, each recited letter will be multiplied from ten to seven hundred times.

Daily recitation: The companions of the Prophet sallallaahu'alayhi wasallam would recite the Qur'an daily, and none of them would make a habit of reciting the whole Qur'an in less than a week. Rather, they were prohibited from reciting it in less than three days.

Thus my dear brothers and sisters, let's spend our time in reciting the Qur'an. Set ourselves a fixed amount of passage or time to recite daily, and do not leave it no matter what happens, since a small amount recited regularly is better than a large amount recited occasionally.

If we forget or fall asleep, make up that recitation on the next day, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Whoever falls asleep and fails to recite his portion of the Qur'an, or part of it, and then recited it between the Fajr and Dhuhr prayer the following day, it will be written for him as if he read it at night," (Muslim)

Let's not be of those who neglect the Qur'an or forget it in any way, such as failing to read it, recite it, not contemplating its meanings, not putting its teachings into action or not seeking the cure of illnesses by it. This is a reminder especially for myself before others.

Allah Almighty knows best.


- 'The Virtues of Reciting the Qur'an', And Explanation of the Last Tenth of the Noble Qur'an (www.tafseer.info)
- 'Virtues of Qur'an' of Sahih Bukhari (www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=61&translator=1&start=0&number=0)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Intellectual Humility

This video is a very important reminder about keeping our 'intellectual humility' in check at all times.. May Allah Almighty guide us whenever we make mistakes or fall into error and increase us in humility.. Amiin.