Monday, February 28, 2011

Purification of the Soul

Purification (of the soul) cannot be achieved except by way of the messengers as stated by Ibn Al-Qayyim when he said:

“Purifying the souls is harder and more difficult than curing the bodies. So whoever purifies his soul through exercise, hard work and being in isolation – all of which the messengers did not come with – he is like a sick person that tries to cure himself based on his own opinion. 

Where is his opinion with respect to the expertise of a doctor?! The messengers are the doctors of the hearts – there is no way to purify and rectify the hearts except through their way, at their hands and by totally submitting and complying with them. And we ask Allaah for His assistance!” [Madaarij-us-Saalikeen (2/300)]

Respect Between Scholars

A beautiful story about manners and the respect these scholars had between themselves

The Biography of Shiekh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah

‎'People have differing opinions about the Sufis, some of them exaggerate and see them as the greatest Muslims. There are some who see all the Sufis as innovators, and have left the fold of Islam but this is slanderous. The best opinion about them is that they are a hard working Muslim faction who had worked hard to arrive at the truth. So some of them are unjust to themselves, some of them are frugal and some of them vie in doing good deeds. There are also attached factions that don't belong to the Sufis at all.' - amazing justice shown by Ibn Taymiyyah in his take on Sufis related in part 2 of the video below.

The speaker continued.. "I, in fact, had a discussion with the scholar and Imam, Ibn Baz, may God have mercy on him, before his death about this matter, so I wanted to hear his opinion on what he felt to be true. I asked him if we should adopt Ibn Taymiyyah's opinion about the Sufis, Ibn Baz said two or three times (I'm not exactly sure), he said: "This is my opinion, this is my opinion." I was sitting with him in a private session of three people, no more and he said those completely impartial words of Ibn Taymiyyah were fair."

We have to strive to be fair and uphold justice no matter what..

Allah says in the Noble Qur'an:

"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 8]

Allah Almighty knows best.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Does Allah Want From Me?

Article from Here!

The most important question that a Muslim can ask: What Does Allah want from me as a Muslim? What am I supposed to do in this worldly life I have been granted? We can rephrase this same question in more general terms, revealing that it is indeed the Big Question for all human beings: What is the purpose of my life?

As Muslims, we often hasten to answer this question by quoting the verse of the Qur’an where Allah tells us: “I only created human beings and jinn to worship me.” [Sûrah al-Dhâriyât: 56]

We are certainly right in doing so. It is right for us as Muslims to look for our answer in the words of Allah. Certainly, this verse is one of the most important and relevant verses in the Qur’an addressing the question of what Allah wants from us.

But have we really answered our question yet?

No, we have not. The term “worship” needs to be properly understood. In Islam, worship is defined as everything that we do that Allah loves and is pleased with. It can be in what we do or what we say. It includes both inward and outward actions.

Everyone agrees that prayer, fasting, remembering Allah, purifying the heart, and similar devotional activities are part of worship. It is, therefore obvious that these acts of worship are something that Allah wants from us. However, it is a mistake to forget that our worship – in other words, what we do, say, and think that pleases Allah – is limited to these personal devotions alone. Our worship also includes how we deal with others.

So we must ask our question again: What does Allah want from me as a Muslim in my dealings with others? To answer this question, we must return to the Qur’an and Sunnah. When we do, we find there can be no doubt that the texts point us to at least two types of concerns. First, it is obvious that we are supposed to propagate the faith and convey the message of Islam to others. There are many verses of the Qur’an and Prophetic hadith that call us to this duty. However, that is not all. There are also numerous texts that call upon us to serve humanity. How often are we told to respect, honor, and assist others? These texts help us to complete the picture of how we are expected to worship Allah in our daily lives.

Let us consider some of the main themes:

Helping Others:

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever is engaged in fulfilling his brother’s needs, then Allah will be fulfilling his needs.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī]

Likewise, he said: “Allah loves best the one who benefits people the most. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, remove his distress, pay off his debt, or placate his hunger. For me to go forth in fulfilling my brother’s need is dearer to me than to observe a retreat in this mosque (in Madinah) for worship for a month... And whoever goes forth to fulfil his brother’s need until it is taken care of, then Allah will make his feet tread steadily on that Day when feet will slip.” [al-Silsilah al-Sahihah]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is also reported to have said: “Whoever goes forth to fulfil his brother’s need and makes headway in fulfilling that need, it is better than observing a retreat in the mosque for ten years.” [al-Tabarānī, al-Bayhaqī and al-Hākim]

Being Kind and Well-Mannered:

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) declared: “I was sent only to perfect good conduct.” [al-Silsilah al-Sahīhah]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) stressed just how important it is to show kindness to people and exhibit good manners by describing an ill-mannered person as “bankrupt” even if that person was devoted to prayer and fasting:

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) asked: “Do you know who is bankrupt?”

His Companions replied: “The bankrupt person is one who has neither money nor property.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: “The bankrupt person is one who will come on the Day of Judgment having to his credit much prayer, fasting, and charity. But alas, he will have against him that he ridiculed this person, falsely accused that one, stole the property of another, shed the blood of another, and assaulted another. They will each be compensated from his good deeds, and if his good deeds run out, some of their sins will be transferred to him and he will be consigned to Hell.” [Sahīh Muslim]

Upholding and Defending Justice:

Allah says: "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 135]

Allah also says: "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 8]

Indeed, Allah tells us in the Qur’an that establishing justice was part of the mission of all the Prophets: “Indeed, We had sent Our Messengers with clear proofs and sent down the scriptures and the balance with them so that people could establish justice.” [Sūrah al-Hadīd: 25]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) described the greatest for of struggle for the faith as follows: “The greatest struggle is to speak a true word in front of an unjust ruler.” [Sunan al-Nasā’ī, Sunan al-Tirmidhī, and Sunan Abī Dāwūd]

By helping others, showing kindness, and being just we engage in the worship of Allah, just like we do when we pray and fast. Therefore, these are also part of what it means to fulfil the purpose for which we were created.

Friday, February 18, 2011

How to Give Da'wah

It's not our job to convince others about the truth of Islam. Having constant debates with them are also futile.

We just have to do our part as Muslims to keep reminding and spreading the message and inviting others to Islam the best that we can, in any way possible, peacefully, sincerely with tact and diplomacy. 

Then leave the rest to Allah Almighty...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Let's Observe and Reflect

Excerpt from the preface of the book, ‘Reflections of Man and the Universe’ (from the writings of Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim in ‘Miftah Dar As-Sa’aadah’ ) arranged by Capt. Anas Abdul Hameed Al-Qoz.

The following are some of the techniques of thinking that Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim puts forth in his book, ‘Miftah Dar As-Sa’aadah’ (The Key to the House of Happiness);

1) Observing, with an open heart, Allah Almighty’s creations in both the universe in general and in the human sphere in particular, with a view to better appreciating Allah’s glory and comprehending His great power and wisdom.

2) Reflecting on Allah’s verses revealed to the Prophet sallallaahu’alayhi wassalam and His shari’a, to develop an awareness of this religion’s superiority and to realize the amazing correspondence between revelation, fitrah (human innate inclination to accept truth), and uncorrupted understanding.

3) Observing Allah’s commandments and abiding by His system, which is conducive to preparing the heart to have the purity and clarity of vision concerning what is good for it. Abstaining from covetous looking, for instance, is of great benefit apart from being an act of obedience; since it protects the heart from corruption, makes it exult at the closeness to Allah, strengthens it; supplies it with a light that enables a believer to have perceptive vision, firmness and courage; protects him or her from the designs of Satan, so that a believer is dedicated to considering what is best for him or her. This is so because there is a close link between the heart and the sight.

4) Guarding against the danger of sins and keeping away from them, since it distracts the mind from proper functioning; it is a fact that the heart will be corrupted if burdened with many sins and that leads in turn to the corruption of the other organs.

5) Guarding against blind imitation, since such a practice blurs thinking and dulls its activity. Instead, man is urged to focus on the teaching of the Scripture and the Prophet’s tradition and to comply with their teachings as exemplified by the upright Caliphs (i.e. the first four Caliphs).

6) Protecting the body from abuse, preserving its comfort and warding off all distracters.

The above techniques, if realized, will surely secure the attainment of the desired target. Some of the benefits of reflection are the following;

a) It is the way to acquiring faith.
b) It uncovers the truth about things and shows the distinction between right and wrong.
c) It wards off delusions and fantasies.
d) It protects one from sins.
e) It is the basis for all acts of obedience (to Allah)
f) It guides to acquainting oneself with Allah Almighty, His Oneness, His Attributes of Perfection; and directing all worship to Him alone, and
g) It is the basis of purity of heart while reciting the Qur’an.

One may add in support of the above, a saying;

تفكروا في خلق الله و لا تفكروا في الله

“Think of Allah’s creation, not of Allah” (As reported by Aby Nu’aym in his book, Al-Hilyah, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas.)