Sunday, October 28, 2007

ISLAM The Easy Way: Khurram J. Murrad

One of the terms used by the Qur'an during the early Makkan period to describe Islam was Al-Yusraa, or 'The Easy Way'. This is simply because Islam was, and is the natural way of life. Indeed, whatever is natural for human beings should be easy for them in every way, hence cause them to gravitate towards it easily, and consequently bring harmony, peace and tranquility to their lives. Since the Quran is the book upon which the Islamic way of life is built, then the Quran has to be easy to understand and follow-it is 'The Easy Way'.
This view that Islam is easy to understand and practice is one, which is derived from the primary sources of Islam. In the Quran, Allah comforts us by continuously reassuring us that He desires for us ease not hardship, despite the seemingly formidable trials and tribulations that we may sometimes face. He says:
'God desires ease for you, and desires not hardship' (2:185);
Prophet Muhammad (saw) has advised us: 'This Deen or way of life is easy But if anyone overdoes it, it gets the better of him. So keep to the right course, approximate to perfection, rejoice, and ask for help in the mornings, the evenings, and some of the latter part of the night' (Bukhari).
This small booklet will be of immense assistance, to all those who want to understand ISLAM – The Easy Way
Author Biography: Khurram J. Murad was born in Bhopal, India in 1932, and migrated to Pakistan in 1948. He studied civil engineering at the University of Karachi (BEng. 1952), securing 1st place in the University, and went on to study in the University of Minnesota (USA) (MSc. 1958), he worked as a leading consulting engineer in Karachi, Dhaka, Tehran and Riyadh.
Associated Consulting Engineers Ltd., with which he worked as a Chief Engineer and Resident Director, was responsible for the initial design and electrification of the extension of the Masjid al-Haram, Makkah and He played an important role in the formulation and implementation of the plans for extension of the Haram.
He also served as the Director General of the Leicester-based Islamic Foundation, UK and was a household name among British Muslims throughout the seventies and eighties.

An author of over thirty works in Urdu and English, his thoughts have influenced two generations of Muslims the entire world over and he delivered Hundreds of Islamic lectures on different Topics.
His death came on Thursday 19th December 1996 (9th Sha'ban 1417 AH) at the Glenfield Hospital, Leicester.

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Khurram J. Murad
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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

"People’s deeds are presented before Allah on Mondays and Thursdays, and then every slave (of Allah) is granted forgiveness (of minor sins) if he does not associate anything with Allah in worship. But the person in whose heart there is rancor against his brother, will not be pardoned. With regard to them, it is said twice: ‘Hold these two until they are reconciled.’ ’’

Narrated by Abu Hurairah (r.a.) Muslim Hadith No. 1593 quoted from Riyad-us-Saliheen Volume 2 Chapter 17 The book of the prohibited actions.

Commentary: To entertain enmity without any major lawful reason is akin to inviting the displeasure of Allah. May Allah save us from it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cool or Fool? Choosing the Right Friends

Cool or Fool? Choosing the Right Friends

Your friends gather. Smoke curls in thick, humid air. Laughter and slurred words swirl together as bodies twirl and vibrate in time with pounding drums. Voices glide into eager ears, lacing minds with alluring words. Red, blue, green lights blink and flash--dotting open eyes with blinding colour. Hands wave, heads toss, bodies shake into oblivion. Glasses clink, cold orangey liquid drips and pools on greasy tables.

Fear grasps your heart. You walk on the edge of a knife; your friends clasp the handle and wave it like a sword. Your faith wanders onto the chopping block. Warning bells scream. You want to stop, you want to save your faith—but you slide along the edge of the knife. Your faith is sliced and diced. You wonder why you didn’t try. Your friends disperse.

Friends gather. Light flickers through shadow. Prayers flutter into the arms of a new day. Hands grip ancient texts, fingers follow curved winding letters, eyes strain to grasp meaning. Hands point towards Heaven, voices plead for hope, bodies bow in harmony in submission to the One. Peace descends.

Relief streams through your veins, nourishing your heart. You walk a wide, straight path—your friends ahead, beside and behind—catching you when you fall, pushing you forward. Your faith weakens as you climb a steep hill. Your friends tie ropes of faith around your waist and pull you over. Firm belief drips from your lips. You thank Allah. Your friends gather.

Our friends can either be the rope that ties us to our faith in Allah, or the knife that cuts any connection we had with our Creator. They are blessings, they are tests. Ask yourself, who are your friends? And more importantly, what kind of friend are you?

“You can do it!”

“I have faith in you!”; “C’mon don’t be a wimp”; "Here, try one”; “If you say no, people will think you’re weird”; “Don’t hang out with those boring, ‘religious’ guys!”

Whether you are in school, college, university, or working in the corporate world, these are the voices of many of the people you interact with. In our teenage culture, which exaggerates the idea of personal freedom and excessive entertainment, you are exposed to Peer Pressure.

You know You are a Victim of Peer Pressure when….

Most teenagers fall into flirting, clubbing, smoking, cursing, cheating, stealing, bullying, gambling, drinking, drugs, pornography and other immoral practices due to negative peer pressure. You know you are a victim of this pressure when you:

  • are curious to try something new because "everyone's doing it";
  • want to be liked, to fit in, to look cool;
  • worry that others will think you are weird or a coward if you resist;
  • say and do things in the group which you would not do on your own;
  • wish your parents should stay out of your ‘social life’;
  • do something without questioning the outcome.

Beat the Pressure: Tips to Try!

A) Before the Pressure Strikes

Know your values, beliefs and limits
Ask yourself 'What are my boundaries?'’ before anything happens. Know what pleases and offends Allah. He is the One who created you, sustains you, and helps you. Study your faith and clarify your limits of ‘fun’ so you can resist the pressure with confidence.

Prepare your Strategy

Plan ahead of time what you can say and do in difficult situations. If your friend invites you to a party on a Friday night, you can imagine what you may encounter. If, at the party, someone cracks open a can of beer and offers you a swig, what will you do? Having a strategy will help you shun the pressure and keep your honour intact.

Steer Clear of Potential Trouble

Usually we know with whom, when and where the pressure to do wrong can emerge. Avoid late night outings, including malls, movies, parties, and clubs, especially with friends who don’t share your values. Watch out for places where gender-mixing takes place.

Choose who you Hang Out with

  • You become like those you hang out with. As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look (carefully) whom you choose to befriend.” [Ahmad]
  • Don’t belong to the ‘popular crowd’. The quarrels, competition, fads, and deception involved in the ‘popular crowd’ are not worth the image. Choose your friends based on character, not popularity or status.
  • Friends who are not sincere and do not love you for your principles, will gradually lure you into an artificial world of false hopes. Either help these friends change gently, or abandon their company before it’s too late!

Participate in the Community!

There are immense benefits of getting involved with your local food bank, seniors’ home, children’s program, anti-racism group, newspaper, library, Mosque, Muslim youth group, or any other project that helps society. For instance, you:

  • avoid wasting time just ‘hanging out’ with your friends;
  • enhance your skills and talents;
  • meet people who share the same values and enjoy the same activities;
  • gain confidence to influence others through positive peer pressure;
  • earn rewards from Allah!

Don’t Kill your Eyes: Watch less TV!

Yes, it’s tough to escape peer pressure, especially when your friends keep talking about the clothes, the music and the stars they watch on TV. Today, TV defines teen culture. TV, with its barrage of alluring ads and captivating shows, tells you how to dress and act, what is cool and sexy, and what is ‘in’ and ‘out’. Let Islam, not TV, decide your dress code, morals, and values.

‘Goofy’ Teachers, ‘Dumb’ Parents, ‘Preachy’ Imams can help!

Teachers, parents, Imams, and counsellors—a group of potential friends we often ignore—can be the first line of defence. When you feel weak in your relationship with Allah or find yourself in a tough situation, be smart—consult them!

Make Dua!

Ask Allah to help you resist the pressures around you.

B) When Facing the Pressure

  • Think about the consequences of every action. Use wisdom, not emotion.
  • Say ‘No’ with courage. Make it clear how you feel about the situation. Explain why. It may be an opportunity to invite your friends to the Islamic way of life.
  • Use Humour. Throw out a funny line to ease the tension and show how you feel! “I don’t drink. I can’t afford to kill my brain cells. Unfortunately, I only have a few left as it is!”
  • Suggest a better idea. “Why don’t we play some hockey, instead of watching that movie? It’ll save us some money too!”
  • Remember Allah, your best Friend! He is there to help you. The Prophet told his close companion: “By Allah! Whoever gives up something for the sake of Allah, Allah will replace it with something better than it!”

Are Your Friends Worth it?...Use the Checklist to find out!

Does your friend fit these traits of a sincere, loving, and true friend?

  • Does he help you become a better and productive person? It’s a mistaken belief that a ‘good friend likes you for what you are’. A sincere friend inspires you, either with words or actions, to improve your personality and situation.

    In a beautiful analogy, the Prophet likened the company of a sincere friend to visiting a perfume seller. Every time you visit the perfume seller, you benefit from his shop: You get some perfume as a present, or you buy some from him or, at the least, you obtain a beautiful fragrance from his company. [Bukhari & Muslim]
  • Is she like a mirror to you? The Prophet stated, “The believer is like a mirror to other believers (in truthfulness).” [Abu Daud]. Like a mirror, your friend gives you an honest image. She forgives your mistakes, but does not hide or exaggerate your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Do his manners and lifestyle remind you of Allah? Once the Prophet was asked, “What person can be the best friend?” “He who helps you remember Allah, and reminds you when you forget Him,” he counselled.

    The Prophet was further asked, “Who is the best among people?” He replied, “He who, when you look at him, you remember God”. Such a friend reflects qualities of love, mercy, honesty, service, patience, optimism, professionalism, and the entire lifestyle taught by Islam.
  • Does he love you solely for the sake of Allah? The bonds we form at work, school and in the neighbourhood may whither over time if they are not built for the right reason. Friendship based on Islamic principles is sincere and everlasting, since it is strengthened by a higher purpose and fervent faith.
  • Do you feel comfortable and secure in her presence? If your friend’s company makes you feel guilty about the things you do and thoughts you share, you must question the benefit of this relationship. Consider the wise saying: “Being alone is better than having an evil companion and having a sincere companion is better than being alone.”

If your friend does not like you for the beauty of your character, intelligence, morality, and sincerity, you deserve better!

“And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Countenance, and let not your eyes pass beyond them to those who seek the pomp and glitter of this life.” [18:28]

Young Muslims Publications
Don'te Be Duped! [read, download]
Turn OFF TV - Turn on life [read, download]
Hijab: Fabric, Fad or Faith? [read, download]
Cool or Fool? Choosing The Right Friends [read, download]
Le Coran: votre Porte à un nouveau Monde [lire, download]
Iraq: The Real Story [read, download]
Ramadan: Un moment pour la renaissance ou la survie? [lire, download]
Prenez garde à la flèche! [lire, download]
Watch out for the Arrow! [read, download]
Sacrifice: The Making of A Muslim [read, download]
Ramadan: A Time for Revival or Survival? [read, download]
Salah: The State of Mind [download]
Quran: Your Gateway To A New World [read, download]
Violence in Palestine: What You Can Do [download]
Welcome to University [read, download]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Enjoining good, forbidding evil

Enjoining good, forbidding evil
By Muhammad Baihiqi
"Let there be among you a community who enjoin good and forbid evil; it is they that shall be successful." (Al-Qur'aan, 3:104)
Allah said, "You are the best community that has ever been brought forth for mankind: you enjoin good and forbid evil, and you believe in Allah." (3:110)
And: "Those who repent, those who worship, those who praise, those who persevere, those who bow down, those who prostrate, and those who enjoin good and forbid evil." (9:112)
Furthermore: "Those of the Israelites, who were unbelievers, have already been cursed on the tongue of Dawood and Isa son of Mary, for they were disobedient, and transgressed. They did not forbid one another from committing the evil that they wrought. What they used to do was foul indeed." (5:79)
The Holy Qur'aan is full of passages, which treat of this subject.
Imam Muslim relates on the authority of Abu Saeed (Radhi Allaho anho) that Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) said, "Whoever sees something evil should change it with his hand. If he cannot then with his tongue, and if he cannot do even that, then in his heart. That is the weakest degree of faith." He also relates on the authority of Abdullah bin Masood (Radhi Allaho anho) that the Holy Prophet (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) told that there was not a single prophet among those who were sent before him, who did not have companions and followed his Sunnah and obeyed his commands, but afterwards, other generations came, whose words belied their deeds, and whose deeds were not in accordance with what they commanded others to do. Whoever struggled against them with his hand is a believer, whoever struggled against them with his tongue is a believer, and whoever struggled against them with his heart is a believer. But when none of these things are done, then not a mustard's seed weight of faith is present.
Bukhari and Muslim relate that Zainab said, The Holy Prophet (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) once awoke, and his face was dark, as he said three times, ‘There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah! Woe betide the Arabs, because of an evil, which will soon come! Today, the barrier of Gog and Magog has been breached by so much,' and he made a circle with his thumb and forefinger." Zainab said, 'O Messenger of Allah! Even when the righteous still dwell amongst us?' The Holy Prophet (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) said, 'Yes, when moral degradation becomes widespread.'
Malik bin Dinaar (Rahmatullah alaihe) once recited the verse, "There were in the city nine men who caused corruption in the earth, and would not cause reform," (27:48), and said, "Nowadays, there are people in every clan and district who cause corruption in the earth, and do not cause reform." He also said, "We have become accustomed to loving the world, so that we do not enjoin good or forbid evil to one another. Allah Almighty will certainly not permit us to continue doing this, but would that I knew what kind of punishment shall befall us!"
Umar bin Abdul Aziz (Rahmatullah alaihe) said, "It used to be that Allah Almighty does not punish the common people for the sins of the elite, but when the evil is done openly, and they do not repudiate it, they all become deserving of His punishment."

The greatness of Allah Almighty

The greatness of Allah Almighty
By Muhammad Saleh
Allama Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahmatullah alaihe) described Allah's greatness saying: He governs the affairs of the various kingdoms, and He commands and forbids, creates, sustains, gives death, gives life, gives power, strips power (to and from whom He wills), and alternates the night and day. He gives varying fortunes to people and alternates governments (and states), destroying some and bringing some into existence.
His Command and Power are dominant in the heavens and their zones, the earth and all that which is on and in it, in the seas and in the air. His Knowledge has encompassed everything and He counted everything.
He hears all types of voices and they do not confuse Him. Rather, He hears each voice in its distinct language and need, and no voice will make Him busy from fulfilling the need of another, and no need will ever escape His perfect knowledge (and His power to deliver). He does not become bored because of the many needs of those who need.
His Sight encompasses all that which there is. He sees the movement of a black ant on a barren rock during a dark night. To Him, the unseen is uncovered and the secret is no more a secret.
(Says Allah Almighty:) "Whosoever is in the heavens and on earth begs to Him. Every day He has a matter to bring forth (such as giving honour to some, disgrace to some, life to (some, death to some, etc)." [55:29]
He forgives an evil deed, makes depression vanish and brings reprieve from disasters, relief for whoever needs it, wealth for the poor, guidance for the misguided, light for the lost, help for he who is desperate, fullness for the hungry, cover for the barely clothed, cure for the ill and ease for he who suffers.
He accepts he who repents, gives reward for he who does good, gives aid for he who was dealt with injustice, destroys an arrogant person, covers mistakes, gives safety after fear, elevates some people and humiliates others.
If those who inhabit His heavens and earth and all those whom He created, whether mankind or the Jinns, had hearts similar to the most pious heart, His kingdom will not increase. If all His creation, whether mankind or the Jinns, had hearts similar to the heart of the most wicked heart, this will not decrease from His kingdom.
Also, if all those who inhabit His heavens and His earth, all mankind and all the Jinns, the dead and the living, stand up on one strip of land and each asks Him for his need, and He then fulfils their needs, this will not decrease from what He has a bit.
He is the First, nothing is before Him, the Last, nothing is after Him, the Most High, nothing is above Him, and the Most Near, nothing is nearer than Him. He -- exalted and ever high as He is -- is the best whom one can and should remember, the only One who deserves to be worshiped and thanked, the kindest of all those who own, and the most generous of all those who are asked to give.
He is the King, who has no partner, the One who has no competitor, the Samad (self-sufficient), who has no offspring, and the Ever High, none like unto Him.Everything perishes save His Face and every kingship is bound to perish except His. His Knowledge uncovers all disobedience to Him. When He is obeyed, He thanks for it (in shape of blessing), and when He is disobeyed, He grants forgiveness (for those who truly repent to Him).
Every punishment from Him is just and every bounty is a grace. He is the closest witness and the nearest one with His perfect care. He controls the forelocks of everything and has the full records of all deeds end the books of all ages.
The hearts are unmasked to Him and the secret is unveiled. His giving and punishing is merely a command, "Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it: 'Be! And it is!'" [36:82]
Can we match two persons, one who spread VULGARITY in mails and by doing this SINFUL ACTIVITY he gains bad deed in his account which multiplies rapidly as much as many people check it and forward it to others and God knows better by this way of multiplication how many bad deeds would be written in the account of the person who first initiated this mail/forwarded it to others.
On the other part the person who tries to follow religion in its true spirit and preach people to obey ALLAH, spread true knowledge about religion, invite people to check the authenticity of their faith and think about life after death instead of remaining busy in worldly affairs. Just imagine if a single person returns to the true path after reading the mail how much good deeds will be written in the account of person who initiated this mail. We cannot imagine the impact of multiplication of this good act. It will be known to us only after death.
God has given us choice and its our duty to choose right path. Soon we have to die and we will loose all the luxuries of life. Only good deeds will be with us. We definitely have to reply to our Creator one day. So why not think on it now. God will definitely show us right path if we try to find out. Let’s try together to repent and achieve permanent success of hereafter by following true religion.


Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters, As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

The food for two suffices for three; and the food for three suffices for four persons.”

(Al Bukhari and Muslim – Page 497 Chapter 62 Hadith No. 565 Riyad-us-Saliheen)

Commentary: We are told that if on some occasion a host feels that the prepared food is too little to feed his guest, all of them should willingly share it with each other.

This will be both blessing and rewarding from Allah.

The Wolves within .......

The Wolves within .......
An old Grandfather, whose grandson came to him with anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice, said, "Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great 'hate' for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times."

He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way."

"But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my soul."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eye and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather solemnly said, "The one I feed."
The Meaning of Nafs
by Muhammad 'Afifi al-'Akiti
Ibn Kathir says:
"The Mu'min are a people who have been prevented through the Qur'an from indulging in the pleasures of this world; it comes between them and what might destroy them. The Mu'min is like a prisoner in this world, who tries to free himself from its shackles and chains, placing his trust in nothing in it, until the day he meets his Creator. He knows full well that he is accountable for everything that he hears, sees and says, and for everything that he does with his body." (Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 9 pg. 276, Cairo 1352)
There are two kinds of people, one are those whose Nafs have overcome them and led them to ruin because they yielded to them and obeyed their impulses. The other kinds are those who have overcome their Nafs and made them obey their commands.
Nafs (pl. Anfus or Nufus) lexically means soul, the psyche, the ego, self, life, person, heart or mind. (Mu'jam, Kassis)
Although some scholars have classified the Nafs up to 7 stages, there is agreement among Ulama' that in the Qur'an, Allah (s.w.t.) has described at least 3 main types of the Nafs. And these are in rank from the worse to better: Nafs al-Ammara Bissu' (the Nafs that urges evil), Nafs al-Lawwama (the Nafs that Blames) and Nafs al-Mutma`inna (the Nafs at Peace).
A summary of these states of the Nafs are given by Imam Tabari in his Tafsir of Surah Yusuf verse 53:
1. Nafs al-Ammara Bissu' (The Soul which Commands):
This is the Nafs that brings punishment itself. By its very nature it directs its owner towards every wrong action. No one can get rid of its evil without the help from Allah. As Allah refers to this Nafs in the story of the wife of al-Aziz (Zulaikha) and Prophet Yusuf (s):
"The (human) soul is certainly prone to evil" (12:53).
Allah also says:
"And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure; but Allah purifies whomever He wishes, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing." (24:21)
This Nafs resides in the world of the senses and is dominated by earthly desires (Shahwat) and passions..
Evil lies hidden in the Nafs and it is this that leads it on to do wrong. If Allah were to leave the servant alone with his self, the servant would be destroyed between its evil and the evil that it craves; but if Allah grants him success and help, then he will survive. We seek refuge in Allah the Almighty, both from the evil in ourselves and from the evil of our actions.
2. Nafs al-Lawwama (the Soul that Blames):
Allah refers to this Nafs,
"And I do call to witness the Nafs that blames" (75:2).
This Nafs is conscious of its own imperfections.
Hasan al-Basri said, "You always see the believer blaming himself and saying things like 'Did I want this? Why did I do that? Was this better than that?"..
3. Nafs al-Mutma`inna (the Soul at Peace):
Allah refers to this Nafs,
"O Self, in complete rest and satisfaction!" (89:27).
This Nafs is tranquil as it rests on the certitude of Allah.
Ibn Abbas (r) said, "It is the tranquil and believing soul".
Al-Qatadah (r) said, "It is the soul of the believer, made calm by what Allah has promised. Its owner is at rest and content with his knowledge of Allah's Names and Attributes, and with what He has said about Himself and His Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam ) , and with what He has said about what awaits the soul after death: about the departure of the soul, the life in the Barzakh, and the events of the Day of Qiyamah which will follow. So much so that a believer such as this can almost see them with his own eyes. So he submits to the will of Allah and surrenders to Him contentedly, never dissatisfied or complaining, and with his faith never wavering. He does not rejoice at his gains, nor do his afflictions make him despair - for he knows that they were decreed long before they happened to him, even before he was created..".. (Al-Tabari: Jami' al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 13, Bulaq 1323)
Imam Baghawi says,
"The Nafs al-Mutma`inna has an angel to help it, who assists and guides it. The angel casts good into the Nafs so that it desires what is good and is aware of the excellence of good actions. The angel also keeps the self away from wrong action and shows it the ugliness of bad deeds. All in all, whatever is for Allah and by him, always comes from the Soul which is at Peace.
The Nafs al-Ammara Bissu' has Shaytan as its ally. He promises it great rewards and gains, but casts falsehood into it. He invites it and entices the soul to do evil. He leads it on with hope after hope and presents falsehood to the soul in a form that it will accept and admire."
Ibn al-Qayyim also mentioned the states of Nafs:
"The Nafs is a single entity, although its state may change: from the Nafs al-Ammara, to the Nafs al-Lawwama, to the Nafs al-Mutma`inna, which is the final aim of perfection..
It has been said that the Nafs al-Lawwama is the one, which cannot rest in any one state. It often changes, remembers and forgets, submits and evades, loves and hates, rejoices and become sad, accepts and rejects, obeys and rebels.
Nafs al-Lawwama is also the Nafs of the believer..It has also been mentioned that the Nafs blames itself on the Day of Qiyamah - for every one blames himself for his actions, either his bad deeds, if he was one who had many wrong actions, or for his shortcomings, if he was one who did good deeds. All of this is accurate.
Sa'id Hawwa says regarding these Nafs:
"Depending upon its condition, the Nafs exist in multidimensional. When the Nafs is tranquil because of obeying Allah, and the soul opposes its desires, this soul is known as Nafs al-Mutma`inna. Regarding this, Allah has spoken about it in the Qur'an (89:27-28). But if the soul does not attain peace with itself, rather being exposed to desires, then such soul is known as the Nafs al-Lawwama because this soul reproaches its owner due to the owner's carelessness in fulfilling out Allah's wishes - Qur'an (75:2). More so, if the soul submits to lusts and allows itself to be seduced by Shaytan, such a soul is known as Nafs al-Ammara Bissu'. Allah tells the story about the wife of al-Aziz (Zulaikha) in Qur'an <>(12:53). (Tarbiyatun nar Ruhiyah, pg. 32, Cairo: Dar al- Salam, 1408)
There is a famous Arabic saying:
"O soul..Watch out! Help me with your striving,
in the darkness of the nights;
so that on the Day of Qiyamah,
you will win a good life on those heights."
By Muhammad 'Afifi al-'Akiti
Published originally in BICNews


Saturday, October 20, 2007

What after Ramadan?

What after Ramadan?
We are leaving the blessed month of Ramadan, its beautiful days and its fragrant nights. We leave the month of the Holy Qur'aan, taqwa, piety, patience, Jihad, mercy, forgiveness and freedom from hellfire. Have we fulfilled the requirements of taqwa and graduated from the Ramadan school with the diploma of God-fearing? Have we fought our souls and desires and defeated them, or have we been overtaken by our customs and blind imitations? Have we performed our actions in a way that fulfil the conditions for receiving mercy, forgiveness and release from the Fire?
Many questions and numerous thoughts come to the heart of the sincere Muslim, who asks and answers with truthfulness. The topmost question is what have we gained from Ramadan? Ramadan is a school of faith and a 'stop to recharge one's spiritual batteries', to acquire one's provision for the rest of the year.
When will one take a lesson and change for better if not in the month of Ramadan? The noble month is a true school of transformation in which we change our actions, habits and manners that are in variance with the law of Allah Almighty. "Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." [Ar-Ra`d, 11]
If you are from those who benefited from Ramadan, fulfilled the requirements of taqwa, truly fasted the month, prayed in it with truthfulness, and strove against your soul, then praise and thank Allah Almighty, and ask Him for steadfastness upon it until you meet your death.
Be not like the one who has sewn a shirt and then destroyed it. Have you seen one who sewed a shirt, so when she looked at it, and she liked it. Then she destroyed it pulling a thread by thread for no reason. What would people say about such a person? Or have you seen one who earns a fortune trading throughout the day, then when the night comes, he throws away all that he earned, dirham by dirham. What would people say about such a person?
This is the condition of the one who returns to sinning and evil-doing after Ramadan and leaves obedience and righteous actions. So after he was favoured with the blessing of obedience and enjoyment of communicating with Allah Almighty, he returned to the blaze of sins and evil actions. How evil are the people who know Allah Almighty only in Ramadan?
My dear ones, falling short in one’s commitment to Islam after Ramadan is manifested in many ways, including:
1. Men leaving the five prayers in congregation, after they filled mosques for Taraweeh prayers, thus going to the mosque for recommended prayers and leaving obligatory ones.
2. Return to musical entertainment, forbidden films, women displaying their adornment beyond that, which ordinarily appears thereof, free mixing, etc.
This is not thankfulness for blessings and favours, nor is it the sign of acceptance of one’s actions. Rather, this is opposition to favours and absence of thankfulness.
These are from signs of one’s deeds not being accepted -- and Allah's refuge is sought -- for one who truly fasts rejoices on the occasion of Eid, praises his Lord for helping him complete the fast, and remains fearful that Allah Almighty may not accept his fasting, just as the previous ones would continue asking for acceptance of their actions in Ramadan for six months after it.
From signs that one's deeds are accepted, is that he or she has improved in his or her obedience to Allah Almighty. 'And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]...'” [Ibrahim, 7]
Increase you in good, faith and righteous actions. So, if the servant is truly thankful to his Lord, you will see him guided to more obedience and distanced from sinfulness. Thankfulness is leaving sins, as the early Muslims said.
'And worship your Lord until there comes you to the certainty [ie death].' [al-Hijr, 99]
The Muslim must continuously be in the state of obedience of Allah Almighty, firm upon His Shari'ah, steadfast upon His religion, so that he or she is not of those who worship Allah Almighty only during one month or only in one place. Rather, the believer knows that the Lord of Ramadan is also the Lord of other months, and that He is the Lord of all times and places, so he is steadfast upon the Shari'ah of Allah Almighty until he meets Him while He is pleased with him.
Allah Almighty said: 'So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah].' [Hood, 112]
And: 'So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.' [Fussilat, 6]
And the Holy Prophet (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) said, 'Say, ‘I believe in Allah,' then be steadfast.' [Sahih Muslim]
If the fasting in Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary fasting, such as fasting six days in Shawwal, on Mondays and Thursdays, the three days in the middle of the month, the days of Aashura and Arafah, and others.
If standing in prayer at night during Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary night prayer throughout the year. 'They used to sleep but little of the night.' [Surah Az-Zaariyaat, 17]
--Dar Al-Watan