Verily, each verse is like a date

February 15, 2011

Bishr bin as-Sirri said:

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“Verily, each verse is like a date: the more you chew it, the more of its sweetness is released.” Abu Sulayman heard this and commented: “True. It is the case with one of you that if he begins one chapter of it, he wants to read it to the end.” [al-Hadith fi ‘Ulum al-Qur’an, p.70]

Imagine Jannah

February 10, 2011

Allah Honours the Ones who Honour Their Parents

February 8, 2011

Uways al-Qarni was from the tabi’een (i.e. the generation that followed the sahabah). He was kept from meeting the Prophet as he spent his time looking after his mother and so because of this he can not be considered to be from the sahabah. However Allah honoured him, so much so that every time a group of people from Yemen came to Umar ibn al-Khattab, he would ask if  Uways was amongst them.

The Story of Uways al-Qarni

Asir ibn Jabir narrated: Whenever people would come from Yemen, Umar would ask them, “Is Uways Al-Qarni amongst you?” Until, one year, he met Uways.

He said, “Are you Uways al-Qarni?” He said, “Yes.”

Umar continued, “From the branch of Murad and the tribe of Qaran?” He said, “Yes.”

Umar then asked, “Were you once afflicted with leprosy and your skin healed except for a area of a dirham?” Uways said, “Yes.”

Umar finally asked, “Do you have a mother (that is alive)?” He said, “Yes.”

Umar then said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah – sallallahu alayhi wa sallam – say, Uways ibn Aamir will come to you with the delegations from Yemen, from the branch of Murad, and the tribe of Qaran. He was once afflicted with leprosy and his skin healed except for a dirham’s area. He has a mother, and he treats her kindly. If he was to ever swear by Allah (for something) Allah would fulfil his oath. If you can, request that he ask forgiveness for you.”

Umar then requested from Uways, “Ask forgiveness for me.” And Uways al-Qarni did.

Action Points

  • Always honour parents, even though they may keep you from other tasks that you think to be more worthy.
  • Remember that Allah is pleased with you as long as your parents are pleased with you and Allah is displeased with you as long as your parents are displeased with you.
  • Make dua for your parents and ask Allah to give you the tawfiq to treat them with ihsan.

How the Salaf read the Qur’an

January 25, 2011

Imam Nawawi writes in his book at-Tibyan Fi Aadaab Hamalatil-Qur’an:

“It is befitting to make special time for the tilawah of the Qur’an and increase in it.

It was from the practise of the salaf – may Allah be pleased with them – that they used to finish the Qur’an within different periods of time.

Ibn Abi Dawud reports that some of the salaf used to finish one khatam (complete Qur’an) in two months.

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Others use to finish one khatam every month.

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Some used to finish one khatam within ten days the likes of Hasan al-Basri. And some every eighth day such as the noble companion Ubayy bin Ka’b.

A great portion of them used to finish the Qur’an within a week, people such as Abdullah bin Mas’ud and ‘Alqamah bin Qays etc.

Some finished every six days such as al-Asud bin Yazeed and others every five days.

A portion of them used to finish the Qur’an every four days such as Abu Darda’.

And even a greater portion used to finish the Qur’an every three days like ‘Abdullah bin ’Amr.

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Some every two nights such as ‘Ataa bin as-Saa-ib. And a big portion of them used to finish the Qur’an every day like ‘Abdullah bin Zubayr.

Some even finished the Qur’an twice, meaning every night and day! Such as ‘Abdur-Rahman bin al-Qaasim.

Some finished the Qur’an three times a day, whereas others finished the Qur’an eight times a day, four khatams during the day and four during the night.

As for those who used to finish the Qur’aan every day and night were the likes of ‘Uthman bin ’Affan, at-Tameem ad-Daariyy, Sa’eed bin Jubair, Mujahid, ash-Shafi’i amongst others.

Ibn Abi Dawud reports with an authentic chain that Mujahid used to finish the Qur’an once during Ramadan between Magrib and Isha.

Some of the Tabi’een used to finish two khatams between Magrib and Isha during the month of Ramadan.

And it has also been reported that many of the salaf used to finish the entire Qur’an in one raka’ah these were people like ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, at-Tameem ad-Daareyy and Sa’eed bin Jubair.”

Action Points

  • Set yourself a target –  how long it will take you to finish reading the Qur’an. E.g one khatm every month.
  • How to reach your goal – Figure out how much you need to read each day to reach your target. So if you want to finish once each month, that’s one juzz a day. (Remember be realistic)
  • ‘Make special time for the tilawah of the Qur’an’ – Set out a certain time of the day when you dedicate your time to reciting and understanding the Qur’an.
  • Be consistent in reciting the Qur’an everyday, and then slowly increase it. E.g. start off with one page a day, then as time goes by increase it to two pages etc.

Truly Allah is Pure

January 8, 2011

This is the 10th hadith in Imam an-Nawawi’s collection (read here). This hadith discusses a number of topics, including the issue of purity, halal and. haram. There are a many benefits that can be derived from this hadith.

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‘Truly Allah is pure’

The meaning of the word ‘tayyib‘ (طيب) is something that is pure, clean, good and wholesome.

One of the Names of Allah is at-Tayyib meaning the One far removed from every imperfection and deficiency or weaknesses.

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‘And accepts only that which is pure’

This refers to all good deeds. Allah does not accept any deeds that are not in accordance with the sunnah, or deeds that are spoilt in anyway. For example, when you pray you must ensure that you have khushu’, are not praying to show off etc.

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‘Allah has commanded the believers to do that which He has commanded the Messengers’

Every time Allah addresses the Messengers, then we automatically assume that all Muslims are being addressed. This is because they were sent to pass on the message of Islam, and as an example to be followed.

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‘Eat from the tayyibat (good, pure things)’

Why is there mention of food? This is because food is something that everyone can relate to. Everyone can imagine in their minds what is and isn’t tayyib with regards to food.

This is a very important principle Allah is teaching us. Speak to the people in terms they can understand!

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‘Then he (the Prophet) mentioned a man’

The Prophet then gives us a perfect example to illustrate the point being made.

Everything in the description of the man suggests that when he calls upon Allah his dua will be answered:

  • He is travelling
  • He is weak, poor and tired
  • He raises his hands in the air
  • He calls upon Allah with fervour

However to our shock his dua is rejected. Why? Because his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing is unlawful.

This shows the importance of mu’amalat in Islam, because they affect our Ibadah. This affects our communities is so many ways. E.g. we deal with riba and then give in charity. We have haram jobs (e.g. owning off licences, restaurants with bars etc.) not realising that all money earned from such jobs is haram.

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Lessons

  • Allah is Pure and loves that which is pure – Make sure all your actions are pure and clean and free from any impurity or deviation.
  • Eat from the tayyibat – Be aware of what you eat. You can eat halal food that’s not necessarily tayyib.
  • Mu’amalat matter – Remember not disobey Allah in your mu’amalat. Your everyday dealings and actions have a direct result on your ibadah

One Minute with the Prophet

January 7, 2011

Q: If you could stand in front of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) for just one minute, what would you say and what gift would you give him ?

Q:

If you could stand in front of the Prophet for just one minute, what would you say and what gift would you give him (salallahu alayhi wa sallam)?

 

Q:

If you could stand in front of the Prophet for just one minute, what would you say and what gift would you give him (salallahu alayhi wa sallam)?

Istiqamah

January 5, 2011

The 21st hadith in Imam an-Nawawi’s collection (read here) deals with the subject of istiqamah (steadfastness). This is a very important topic especially when we consider the many tests and trials that we as an ummah are currently facing. It is of utmost importance that we not only understand the concept of istiqamah, but we strive to attain it.

Say ‘I Believe in Allah’

This is not just a single statement, rather it encompasses Islam as a whole. Belief in Allah is not just belief in the heart, but it is also words and actions. The Prophet also shows us that istiqamah comes only after we start to practice our faith.

What is Istiqamah?

The word istiqamah (from the root qaama) means to go straight into the right direction, acting rightly, allowing no deviation. It is from the same root that the word mustaqeem is derived (i.e. sirat al-mustaqeem – the straight path). It can be translated as ‘steadfastness’.

Allah says:

فَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَمَن تَابَ مَعَكَ وَلَا تَطْغَوْا ۚ إِنَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

So stand you (O Muhammad) firm and straight as you are commanded and those who turn in repentance with you, and transgress not. Verily, He is All-Seer of what you do. [Surat Hud, 12:112]

Ibn Abbas said that no other verse from the entire Qur’an was revealed upon the Messenger that was harder upon him than this verse. It was due to this verse that the Prophet said : “Surat Hud and its companions have made my hair white” Why was this? Because istiqamah is very difficult to attain. The scholars said that istiqamah is the hardest thing to hold on to.

The Companions on the Meaning of Istiqamah

Abu Bakr when asked about the meaning of istiqamah, replied: That you do not associate partners with Allah.

Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “It is that you should be steadfast on the matters that are obligated , and to abandon the prohibitions.”

Uthman ibn Affan said: “ To have ikhlas (sincerity) to Allah only in doing actions .”

Ibn Abbas said: “It means to fulfill your duties to Allah.”

How to Remain Steadfast

  • Keep  the company of good people. (Man is on the deen of his friends)
  • Keep connected to the Qur’an, through its recital, study and implementation.
  • Reflect and question yourself daily. E.g. are you headed the right way? Are your intentions sincere?
  • Learn to take advice from others.

May Allah grant us all steadfastness and firmness upon the deen.

The Destroyer of Pleasures

December 24, 2010

The Muslim Seeks to Obey

December 21, 2010

This is the ninth hadith (read here) of Imam an-Nawawi’s collection. There are many lessons and points of benefit from this hadith. From warning us of excessive questions, to giving us an insight into the flexibility of the shar’iah (Islamic law).

Background

The Prophet was giving a sermon in which he told the people that Hajj had been made obligatory upon them. A man then asked if it was obligatory every year to which the Prophet remained silent. The man repeated his question three times, then the Prophet rebuked him saying:

“If I had said ‘yes’ then it would have become obligatory upon you [i.e. every year], and you would not have been able to do so. [Muslim]

Lessons

1. “That which I have prohibited, avoid.” ­ Here the Prophet is focussing on the avoidance of haram before the command to do good deeds. One of the salaf said: Both the righteous and evil do good deeds, but only the righteous refrain from sins.

2. The command to avoid the haram is a general statement. The Muslim must stay away from all that the Prophet forbade, except in the case of necessity. For example we are permitted to eat haram food if we are starving.

3. “That which I have ordered you to do, do as much as you can.” – This is referring to the obligations in Islam. However, the command to do is bound by the clause, ‘as much as you can’. So we see that the Muslim carries our their obligations according to their abillity. For example hajj is only obligatory if you have the means to perform it, and although wudhu is a condition of salah, if you have no water, you can do tayyammum etc.

4.“Those before you were destroyed because of their excessive questioning.” – This is referring to Bani Isra’eel when they were commanded to sacrifice a cow. Instead of just following the command they kept on asking questions about what age, colour it should be and so it became difficult for them.

Action Points

  • Too many times we concentrate on doing the good rather than staying away from the bad. Remember than sins affect our ability to do good, therefore try to stay away from all haram and then do the good.
  • Avoid asking too many questions. Learn the etiquettes of seeking knowledge and try to implement that which you have learnt, before moving on.

Winter is the best season for the believer

December 20, 2010

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلّم) said: “Winter is the best season for the believer. Its nights are long for him to pray in, and its days are short for him to fast in.” [Reported by al-Haythami in ‘Majma’ az-Zawa’id’]

Action Points

  • Make the most of the short days by fasting as much as possible. Try to fast Mondays and Thursdays or the three ‘white days’ of every (Islamic) month, i.e. the 13th, 14th and 15th. (As per the sunnah)
  • Make a habit of Qiyam al-Layl (the night prayer). Fajr begins around 6:15am, so it is not hard to wake up 30 minutes early and prayer a few rak’ats of prayer!

More ways to benefit from the winter months: Winter: The Best Season