Surah Taha 131-132

And strain not your eyes in longing for the things WE have given for enjoyment to various groups of them (disbelievers), the splendor of life of this world, that WE may test them thereby. But the provision of your Lord is better and more lasting. And enjoin as salat on your family, and be patient in offering them. WE ask not of you provision (money). WE provide for you. And the good end is for the Muttaqin. TMQ. Surah Taha 20. 131-132

SubhanAllah! I wonder why we are told to do just the opposite. Our papers, opinion makers, think tanks and talk shows constantly bombard us with Economic data on GDP, Currency Reserves, Mobile penetration, Interest rate etc to make us concentrate on those things which can make us look a bit more like the disbelieving materialists. We strain our eyes looking houses, golf clubs, social clubs, escorts, estates, farm houses, yachts etc so that we can get closer to having a modern lifestyle like “them” and through that transformation lay a claim to being an elite, civilized, modern and cultured person. However, Allah swt tells us to long for the reward from Allah swt. Is it that Muslims must sacrifice all the comforts of this world to gain something in the next world? We have to give up Duniyah to gain Akhirah?

In the ayah mentioned above there is no reference to Akhira. The reward from the Lord can be in both Duniyah and Akhirah or only in one of them. But the important thing to note is that the Lord of the Universe wants HIS slaves to yearn for HIS reward not the splendor of the world of the Disbelievers (assuming that they will have lots of it). Allah swt mentions “Rabbna Ataina Hasana wa fil akhirate hasanah wa qena adhaban naar”. Oh our LORD give us what is Good in this world and what is good in Hereafter and save us from the Hell fire. But Disbelievers will use their media and think tanks to promote their vision of life, which is an incomplete vision, and they will ridicule any other contradictory vision of life, which is their characteristic racist attitude to rest of the world. They want Muslims to succumb to their injuries of weakness in their faith, by accepting the disbelievers’ vision of a materialistic lifestyle. Unfortunate for us, Muslims, especially those in authority, generously promote disbelievers viewpoints by encouraging Muslims to compete with ferocity for those splendors of the world to be a bit “more like them”. Some Muslims go as far as claiming that it is perfectly Islamic to be like them so along as it allows Muslims to pray, fast and perhaps keep their black ropes in place. To bring religious issues into this modern day lifestyle is an uncivilized method according to the disbelievers because their religion (especially the religion of Christian Church, which is not the same religion of Isa AS) is not a complete social system having laws and procedures for administering a society.

What about Islam? Now, Islam should not be viewed from the “eyes” of a Disbeliever. The Disbelievers would never want their Disbelief to be defined by the Believers!! Islam can only be seen from the eyes of ISLAM. The eyes of Islam are the eyes of the Muttaqin. One who has not only submitted to Allah and HIS Deen of Islam, but he also manages all his affairs with the knowledge that he is accountable to HIM Swt for all his actions. Muttaqin is someone who does not need any police or CCTV to deter him from disobeying Allah swt. One who does not disobey Allah swt is a perfect human being, a role model for everyone. Allah swt tells us that such persons will have a good end. These Muttaqin will not only submit to Allah swt but they will also call their family (and friends) to submit and humble themselves in front of Allah swt. If the society consisted more of al-Muttaqins compared to materialists what would be the consequence? It would be good news for the human beings and bad news for those who benefit from materialist societies, like large corporations and tax collectors. Allah swt tells us to be Muttaqins, not Materialists, He swt tells us NOT to stare at the splendors of the world, but to submit and humble ourselves to Allah swt.

May Allah swt guide us and give us strength to become al-Muttaqin. Ameen.

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Understanding Taqwa

Outcome of fasting in Ramadhan is an extra-ordinary quality called Taqwa. Any person who attains Taqwa is called a Muttaqi or a Muttaqeen. Most honored amongst the slaves of Allah swt is a Muttaqeen. For Allah swt does not elevate a man due to his wealth, qualifications or children, but Allah swt gives honor to those who are Muttaqeen. HE swt tells us in the Holy Quran that success will belong to the Muttaqeen. True and permanent happiness is in Allah’s Hands and He swt tells us how we can please HIM swt so that He swt may forgive us our sins and have mercy upon us on the Day of Judgment. It is now up to us to think and decide which is best for us. 

Firstly, Taqwa comes from the Arabic root letters wa ka ya, which means shield. Its verb form Ittaki means to be careful or to be protected. Generally, taqwa is defined as “fear or consciousness of Allah”.

Abu Darda (R) said: “From the completion of Taqwa is that the servant fears from His Lord even with regards to things, the weight of an atom.” Abu Darda’s advice for servants who wish to accomplish a character of ‘taqwa’ should fear to commit the smallest of sins.

The messenger of Allah said in a Hadith, reported in the Sahih Muslim that, “Taqwa is here”, and he pointed to his chest.

Taqwa is profoundly explained in a discussion between ‘Umar and Ka’b who were companions of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

‘Umar asked Ka’b the meaning of ‘taqwa,’ as Ka’b was renowned for his deep understanding of the Qur’an Al Kareem.

Kaab (R) then inquired from Umar (R), whether he had walked through a thorny bush path with his cloak. Umar (R) replied that he had done so on numerous occasions. Kaab (R) asked Umar (R) to describe his movements through this thorny path. Umar (R) replied that he moved very cautiously, so as not to tear his clothing. Kaab (R) said that was the description and the meaning of Taqwa.

The path that inculcates and embraces a character of Taqwa is one that must be carefully and cautiously treaded. On this path one must be completely aware of oneself and one’s surroundings, to be disciplined with the correct action and behavior which will achieve one’s closeness to Allah.

The following verse of the Qur`an Surah 2 Al Bakarah, Verse 183 confirms that Taqwa is for everyone and not for a select group:

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, so that you may attain Taqwa.”

This verse confirms two points. Firstly, that fasting is for everyone and secondly, that the development and attaining of Taqwa is an essential part for all who aspire for tranquility and a contented heart. To establish Taqwa is for the rich and the poor, the knowledgeable and the uneducated, the leader and the follower, the ruler and the ruled, the old and the young, the man and the women. All must develop and enhance Taqwa.

The most honored in the sight of Allah is the believer with the most Taqwa, i.e. the most conscious and aware of Him.

The Glorious Qur`an illustrates this in Surah 49 Al Hujurat (the Inner Apartments), Verse 13:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you (Muttaqi). And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”

The ideal Islamic society is a Taqwa conscious society, conferring its highest respect on those considered to be high in Taqwa.

Though Taqwa is a state of the heart, we cannot judge the Taqwa of others, but many aspects of Taqwa will have a reflection in their character and behavior. The Qur`an though, prohibits anyone from claims of self-purity.

In Surah 53 An Najm (The Clans), Verse 32 reminds us that:

“Hold not yourself purified. Allah knows best who has Taqwa.”

“Hold not yourself purified. Allah knows best who has Taqwa.”

In Islam there is only one Shari’ah (Divine Law) and one scale of righteousness for everyone and that is measured through a character of Taqwa.

The word Taqwa has been mentioned 151 times in the Noble Qur`an. Allah has taken us through the various aspects of His Guidance and Blessings in the Glorious Qur`an. The Qur`anic descriptions of Taqwa are so precise and distinct that it is an indication of the importance of the involvement of this concept in the life of Muslims. These numerous verses elaborate the different dynamics and dimensions of inner meanings of Taqwa that enables Muslims to be an ideal and a living example as a vicegerent of Allah.

The four verses in Surah 2 Al Bakarah Verse 2-5 summarizes the guiding principle in the Noble Qur`an for the people of Taqwa:

2. This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear (or are conscious) of Allah (Taqwa).

3. Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them;

4. And who believe in the Revelation sent to you, and sent before your time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.

5. They are on (true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper.

The Muttaqun are those that believe, fear Allah and look to what He has ordained in carrying out His actions to avoid His displeasure and sadness. These people are involved and active in his/her life with the Ummah (the Muslim community), concerned with the affairs of humanity, whilst at the same time praying , fasting, spending in Allah’s cause, having good morals, are forgiving and just. All these descriptions can be attributed to a person who has Taqwa and will be assured and successful in the Hereafter.

We have evidence from the Holy Quran about the extra ordinary virtues of building Taqwa. If I can place it in simple words, Taqwa is to honestly seek the pleasure of Allah swt. Taqwa is in our Heart.

We will inshAllah say salah, fast, give sadaqah and hopefully perform many other good deeds, but they must fulfill one simple condition to be pleasing to our Rabbul Alamin. Every little or big thing committed or avoided must be sincerely and honestly done for the sake of Allah swt. Through fasting this extra ordinary quality is further strengthened. Constantly reminding  ourselves from dawn to dusk about Allah swt, that He swt is watching us and He swt will hold us accountable for our deeds. While fasting we don’t need imams or hujurs to regulate us, we do it willingly for the sake of Allah swt. This is from strong belief and knowing the presence of Allah swt in our life, society, family, work and everywhere else in the Universe. We came from Him swt and we will return to Him swt.

City of Knowledge (part 4)

Rasul Allah (swm)’s life was the practical way of the Holy Quran. To follow him (swm) is to follow the commandments of Allah (swt), in the best way that pleases our Creator (swt). And earning Allah taala’s pleasure through our deeds is the only thing which can be called “GOOD”. A believer will desire to do good deeds because they are GOOD for humanity, which is why our Holy Prophet swm is known as a Mercy for all Mankind. Alhamdulillah. Every society puts up heroes whom common people adore. They can be war heroes, poets or revolutionaries. Whether they did good or bad depends on what values they protected or promoted. In a world where values shift with generational change, a hero can turn into a monster, or a freedom fighter into a terrorist, or vice versa. Allah swt did not leave humanity to wonder around searching for everlasting values. He swt revealed them in the Holy Qur’an and sent His (swt) Messenger (swm) to show all of humanity HIS (swt) path. Whenever any believer acts on his (swm) sunnah, an act of good deed is performed for all of mankind.

Allahumma salli ala syedena Muahmmad sallillahu alaihi wa sallam, wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa ajmaeen. Ameen.

Continued from part 3,

“Why Should we Study the SEERAH?”

3. To follow the way of the Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] Ibn Hazm said that whoever seeks the hereafter, the wisdom of this life, the height of morality and character, let him follow Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam]. The Prophet was the perfect example of best character. We must first study his life to follow his beautiful example. If we study the seerah, this will help us build love for rasul Allah. and if we truly love him, then we should follow him in what he did and all he taught us. Allah SWT says: Say (O Muhammad): “If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3:31]

Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] was a political leader, a military leader, an imam, a husband, a father, a neighbour, a teacher….his life provides an example for all aspects of our lives, whatever place we are in, in whatever times.

4. To help understand the Quran Some ayahs deal with events that happened during lifetime of prophet Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam], revealed either before, during or after a particular ocassion. The seerah gives explaination, so understanding and knowing about seerah will help us to understand these verses. Example of surah al Ahzab, surah ali Imran, the ayahs dealing with the battles etc.

5. His life illustrates the methodological steps of the Islamic Movement We see the steps in Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam]’s life, the steps in the establishment of Islam and of the Islamic state. The stages in dawah. It is important for us to study this, as it was divinely directed, so it is the best guidance for us, on how to practice and establish islam. These events were all planned by Allah SWT The Quran and Sunnah are verbal teachings. How to apply these teachings? We must look at the application of these teachings into action, and we find all of this in life of Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] and companions.

6. Studying seerah is ibadah Studying seerah is not just for mere amusement. It is ibadah, Insha Allah we will get ajar for it. If we attend a halaqa of seerah, it is a gathering of dhikr. It is a gathering of angels. We are surrounded by mercy and tranquility. What better gathering is there than this?

7. Studying seerah is essential for helping us develop an Islamic identity and character Who are our role models? Who are our children’s role models? Living here in the West, we are bombarded daily with values, culture and ideas that are against the teachings of our deen. If this is not confronted, it works to shape and form our identity and character. Muslims today are faced by a serious identity crisis. Think of this: do our youth relate more with the life of with a pop star or with a companion? Do they know more about the players on their favourite hockey team or about the companions? Can our youth name all the anbiya? Someone said, to destroy a people, you must first destroy their roots. We must know what is our history, we must know what is the seerah to know our roots. And if we ourselves do not know it, we will not be able to pass this on to the next generation How to develop strong Muslim identity: Have a deep study of Islamic history – this includes learning about the lives of Prophets of Allah, lthe life of Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam], life of khulafa ar rashideen, life of companions, and then the general history of islam. History is our embilical cord, our lifeline. We are not severed from our roots, we are part of as glorious empire, we are an extension of a beautiful ummah.

2. Be part of the worldwide ummah. Our local identity does not override our Islamic identity. There is no nation-state concept in Islam. We are all part of worlwide ummah. Doesnt matter whether we are British or Pakistani or Syrian or whatever. We must know the situation of our brothers and sisters all over the world. What is happening in every corner of the Muslim world should concern us as if it is happening within our own house. We cannot be part of the ummah if we donot even care for the ummah.

City of Knowledge (part 3)

An outward appearance alone will not be a substitute for following his (swm) sunnah. His (swm) companions followed his (swm) sunnah by acting on what he (swm) approved of, and by avoiding whatever he (swm) disliked. Obedeience to him (swm) is by the actions of a believer.

Studying Hadith leads to understanding Fiqh (jurisprudence), necessary for legalistic and Halal vs Haram issues. SEERAH study will provide a comprehensive understanding of his (swm) life and his (swm) sunnah, necessary for understanding Islam as a way of life.

Below are some additional points about why we should study his (swm) seerah:

 

1. Studying the life of Prophet Muhammad [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] is like studying history of Islam

Incidents and situations from the Prophet’s life are real life lessons to help us. Seerah is more than studying biography of a person, it is biography of our most beloved’s life and the history of our religion.

Muhammad ibn Saad ibn Abee Waqqas said our father would teach us the battles of Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] and tell us these are the traditions of your fathers so study them. Ali bin Hussain ibn Ali ibn Talib said we were taught the seerah of the Prophet like we were taught Quran. This shows how important it was to them, studied as seriously as the Quran. If we want to study life of the anbiya we go to Quran. But to study life of Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam], since there are only bits and pieces of it mentioned in Quran, in order to fully study, must go to Seerah

 

2. To develop the proper love of Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] in our hearts

Loving him is ibadah, part of obeying Allah SWT and it is part of our deen.

From a hadith we learn that, you do not attain true faith until you love Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] more than your parents and children and whole world. Our ummah loves Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam], if we ask Muslims they will say yes they love him. But true love is only deep and sincere when you really know the person. If you dont really know them, your love is only shallow. The more we know Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam], the more we will love him and the purer and deeper our love will be Insha Allah.

Amr ibn al Aws used to be an enemy of Islam. Afterwards he became Muslim and when he was passing away he was weeping and his son reminded him that Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said Amr was a mu’min, a true believer. Amr radi Allahu anhu explained of his tears, I have had three stages in my life: first was when the most dispised person in the world was Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and my desire was to get my hands on him to kill him. Then Allah put the love of Islam in my heart and I went to Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] to take shahada, and when Prophet extended his hand forward to take his pledge, Amr pulled his hand away. He said I want to make a condition that you pardon me for what I have done in my past. The Prohet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam smiled and said Ya Amr dont you know Islam erases everything before it, and Hijrah erases and Hajj. So then Amr became muslim. In this stage, Muhammad who was before the worst enemy to me now became the most beloved in whole world to me. I loved him so much and respected so much that I never could get a full glimspe of his face because I would always lower my gaze in shyness and if you asked me to describe him to you I couldnt.
This shows that when Amr radi Allahu anhu became close to Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] and got to know him, the Prophet automatically became the most beloved of beloveds to him

Suhail ibn Amr was a negociator from Quraysh who came to see Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] in Madina. He saw how the companions treated Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] and when he returned back he told the Quraysh, I visited the Persian empire, the Negus in Abysina, the Roman empire, but I have never in my life seen a leader so loved and followed and respected by his followers. Not in the whole world. I saw amazing things. Muhammad would make wudu and companions would rush to catch the water dripping from his body. He told them, do what you want but these are people who would never give up their leader, they would give their own lives and sacrifice everything but would never give up him. Suhail’s statement is evidence of the depth of love the companions had for Rasul Allah [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam]. We cannot claim to love him like this is we are ignorant of his life. We must study and understand to grow in love

No other person in history has had so many people named after him. His name is most frequently mentioned name around the world, at every time there is adhan being given. So at every part of the day a muezzin is calling adhan and bearing witness to his Prophethood. Everytime we hear his name we praise him and say, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Just like his name means, the praised one

Allah SWT says in the Quran:

Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight – are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause;- then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious. [9:24]

Allah, His messenger and Islam should be the most dear and beloved and precious things to us in whole world

 

(end of part 3. Pls watch this space for final part 4 soon, ia)

City of Knowledge (part 2)

Holy Prophet Sydena Muhammad sallillahu alaihi wa sallam is the final seal of all the Prophets. His (swm) evidence is from Allah swt. Mentioned in the Holy Book:

1. “Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. …” [Quran, chapter 3, verse 144]

2. “Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing. (40)”
[Quran, chapter 33, verse 40]

3. ” And those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down upon Muhammad – and it is the truth from their Lord – He will remove from them their misdeeds and amend their condition. (2)”
[Quran, chapter 47, verse 2]

4. “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves….”
[Quran, chapter 48, verse 29]

And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”
[Quran, chapter 61, verse 6]

He was mentioned five times. Four times as Muhammad and once as Ahmad.

He (swm) came as a mercy for all mankind. Allah (swt) commands believers to follow him (swm). Allah swt says in the Holy Quran:

And We have sent you not except as a mercy for all the worlds. (21:107)

Indeed, Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O you who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. (33:56)

Say (O Muhammad): “If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3:31]

Those who lead and hold influence over the ummah, can erect other personalities as alternative role models, but only after contradicting with evidences from the Holy Quran.