“He is Allah, besides Whom there is no god, the King” (59:23), ain’t it time we all get to know the King? The Arabic word ‘Mulk’ means the ability to dispose of things, for Allah, this includes the ability to dispose […]
The Devil (Shaytan) is your enemy, we all know this pretty well, but how many of us know about his tactics to knock us down? The best Shaytan can do is knock you down, but if you’re not fully aware of his tactics, you risk knocking yourself out, for he can’t do it on his own. Shaytan’s “only” aim is “not” to make you sin, but rather to let you “repeat” the sins until you give up on yourself and think you’re hopeless.
Shaytan knows very well that as humans, we would sin anyway, he rather cares to prevent your repentance and let you repeat that very same sin over and over again. How many of us feel so ashamed of themselves after sinning that they don’t dare repent on the spot? BIG MISTAKE! The sooner, the better! Allah has promised us that if we meet Him with sins filling the earth but not associating anything with Him, He would forgive us “everything”!
When Adam AS sinned, Allah knew it wasn’t out of underestimating His Oneness, so He taught him how to turn to Allah in repentance. Seemingly, as Muslims, we sin not because we lost faith, but rather for being deceived by Shaytan and our own souls. Why else do you think Allah is The Forgiver?! It’s when you feel so ashamed of yourself and don’t care to repent that Allah’s names The Avenger and The Afflicter come into play. So please be careful!
If Adam AS hadn’t sinned in the first place, he would’ve been destroyed by his own arrogance; Allah is The Wise. Repentance is a remedy! How many of us do a good deed only to think themselves superior to others? And how many flee in full submission to Allah after a sin?!
One thing for sure, Shaytan has absolutely no influence over you “except” if Allah abandons you. So whenever you sin, repent instantly! And if Allah senses the slightest willingness and seriousness in your repentance, The Sustainer comes into play and you’d conquer Shaytan for you.
Trusting Allah is key to piety, we need it every step of the way, but especially before Ramadan as we prepare for the big reward. Trusting Allah comes in two forms: 1) Trusting that He knows your exact needs and what you don’t need 2) Trusting him in your worship. Also trusting Allah maybe voluntary, as in good times, and it may be involuntary, like when one is inflicted with difficulties and tests. Voluntary trust in Allah is definitely more pleasurable to Allah, so wouldn’t it be better if we flee to Him now before Ramadan and renew our trust in Him SWT?
Trusting Allah means submitting your heart to Him knowing that He’ll never desert you, and submitting your body in worship as he ordered you to.
Trusting Allah means fully relying on Him and on Him “alone”, resting fully assured that no one can harm you in such a state of heart.
Trusting Allah means never complaining to people about your life, because deep in your heart you know Allah has already chosen what’s best for you. Trusting Allah is realizing that complaining to people is worthless because deep in your heart you know they’re as helpless as you are. For complaining to someone about a life calamity is identical to complaining about the One Who has mercy on you to one who has no mercy.
Trusting Allah means complaining about one’s self to Allah, rather than complaining about The Most Merciful to His pitiless creatures. There are three ranks here: 1) Complaining about yourself to Him 2) Complaining about His creatures to Him, or 3) Complaining about Him to His creatures. So make sure you always stick to No. 1. Stick to No. 1 and only complain about yourself to Him, and He will turn every other creature to your service so you won’t need to complain again.
Before the beautiful month of Ramadan showers us with its mercy and blessings, we all need to make sure we’re as close as possible to Allah. There are two homeworks each and everyone of us should strive to accomplish before Ramadan: 1) Pardon all people 2) Don’t let people distract you and come between you and Allah. One verse comes to mind when one thinks about this and it is enough of a reminder until Ramadan comes “Draws near for mankind their reckoning, while they turn away in heedlessness” (21:1).
We all need to follow the example of the prophet SAW and his companions even if it’s just from now until the end of Ramadan. Ali ibn Abi Taleb rA said to this Dunya (life) “I have divorced you three times and will never return to you again”, can we do this just during Ramadan? We need to divorce this Dunya even just for once from now until the end of Ramadan, then we need to find ourselves a cozy place at home now to isolate ourselves from all worldly temptations.
Lock yourself alone daily even if it’s just for five minutes (to start with), and do Dhikr bearing in mind that the light of truth is brighter than that of the sun. To succeed and benefit from Ramadan you need three things: 1) Get rid of every doubt 2) Give away your lusts and 3) Have patience. And along the way, please keep one verse in mind throughout Ramadan. Open your Quran on Chapter Al-Sajdah, verse 24 and read it aloud:
“And me made from among them leaders giving guidance under our command when they were patient and believed with certainty in Our signs” (32:24).
Ramadan is your yearly spiritual recharge, a potential life saver and an open invitation to Paradise, so every effort is well worth it!
Allah SWT says is Surat Al-Takathur “Alhakum Al-Takathur” (102:1), meaning that the mutual rivalry among us (humans) for piling up worldly things is diverting us. This chapter of the Quran has three messages for us: a promise, a threat and a menace, so it definitely deserves our attention.
When Allah SWT says that these worldly matters diverts you, He is directly informing us that we are not to be excused for such diversion. The miraculous wording of the Quran is fully present here as Allah SWT said that worldly matters divert us, and not busy us. If the word “busy” was used instead of “divert”, we would’ve been excused, so what exactly is diverting our attention from our Creator?
Rivalry covers money, power, authority, gender and knowledge. The moment seeking more of these affects your Iman (faith), you’re in trouble! Now listen to the teacher of mankind as he SAW explains to us the reality of wealth right after he read “Alhakum al-takathur” (102:1). He SAW said “O son of Adam, is there anything that really belongs to you, except that which you consumed, which you utilized, or which you wore and then it was worn out or you gave as charity and sent it forward for yourself?” [Muslim].
The prophet SAW set it crystal clear: wealth is what we have “already” consumed, utilized or sent forward to our Hereafter in charity. When you waste your time in this world piling imaginary and unneeded wealth, you are actually deviating away from Allah’s Straight path. Do you really want to have a “living heart”, be healthy and powerful, and live happily and joyfully? Piety is your key to all three of them.
Protect your heart and limbs from sin, and Allah will fill your heart with Iman (faith) and make it a “living” heart. Protect your heart and limbs from matters which lead to sin, and Allah SWT will make you healthy and powerful. Protect your heart and limbs from unnecessary curiosity and backbiting, and Allah SWT will grant you happiness and joy.
Finally rest assured that every calamity and distress is a result of sins and negligence in praising and remembering Allah,and vice versa.
Wouldn’t it be better if we learned about faith and monotheism from an absolute source instead of all those personal opinions? Well, this is exactly what Allah SWT gives us in Surat Al-Kahf, which we’re supposed to read every Friday as a reminder of the whole story. Then the full details are disclosed to us in Surat Qaf, which the prophet once read, verse by verse, instead of lecturing his companions.
The crystal clear message throughout Surat Qaf is that this life is the smaller world, and that the bigger one is called the Hereafter. The truth is that on Resurrection Day, you and everyone else will come driven by one angel, and witnessed by another. Then the second angel will say “Here is the record ready with me” (50:23); your record and everybody else’s, for a permanent destination.
Allah will bring back your very same body and your very same soul for either reward or punishment, Heaven or Hell; there is no other option. And the disbelievers say “That is a far return” (50:3), are you challenging your Lord people? How did He create you in the first place?! And the Most Merciful still tries to convince them “We know that which the earth takes of them (their dead bodies)” (50:4), to no avail.
Then Allah SWT warns us of these disbelievers “So they are in a confused state (cannot differentiate right from wrong)” (50:5). And He reminds us so that we don’t get distorted by their lies “Were we then tired with the first creation?” (50:15). Answer your Lord! Or listen to His answer “And nothing of fatigue touched Us” (50:38), so how dare you doubt that He will bring us all back on Resurrection Day?!
Then Your Lord gives you exact tiny details so that you don’t ever fall victim to the disbelievers’ lies, listen carefully now and imagine! “And the trumpet will be blown, that will be the day whereof warning (Resurrection Day)” (50:20). Can you imagine the trumpet?! The tiny details leave no room for excuses, so “Indeed you were heedless of this” (50:22), may Allah SWT protect us all from heedlessness!
And this is when the devil betrays them all and says “Our Lord! I did not make him transgress, but he was (himself) far astray” (50:27), may Allah protect us! And your Lord concludes “And I am not unjust to My slaves” (50:29) and He sends the believers to Paradise, may we all be among them!
So why our Lord did You tell us the whole story in advance? Why did You include every tiny detail? Now listen carefully as your Lord answers:
“Indeed in this is a reminder for anyone who keeps a heart, or listens attentively” (50:37).
“The day when all will hear the Scream with the truth; this is the day of coming out of the graves” (50:42).
Now please go read Surat Qaf and try to visualize the whole scenario; trust me, it will change your life forever!
Do you have a problem concentrating and focusing full time while reading the Quran? If so, then this article is for you! You love the Quran, that’s for sure; otherwise, you wouldn’t be so keen to read it and wouldn’t get so frustrated by not being able to give it your full attention. The problem with many people is that they think that focus while reading the Quran is a work of mind, while in reality, it is a work of heart!
Listen carefully to the Creator “Verily, therein is indeed a reminder for him who has a heart or gives ear” (50:30), no mention of mind here! Therefore to prepare your heart for the Quran, you must first comprehend that what you’re reading are the words of Allah addressed to none but you!
For a perfect effect, both the stimulus (the Quran) and the receiver (your heart) must be in perfect condition; we know for sure that the Quran is perfect, but how about your heart?! The status of a perfect heart, well prepared to receive the Quran, is called a “Living Heart”, and it was described by Allah SWT as follows:
“This is only a reminder and a plain Quran. That it may give warning to him who is living”(36:69-70), i.e. the one who has a living heart.
The difference between a living heart and a dead heart is that the first instantly believes Allah’s words, whereas the second needs tangible evidence. A living heart knows that it is a Muslim’s eyewitness on this worldly life, and hence, sees ‘ghayb’ (unseen matters such as angels) by insight. Consequently, before reading the Quran, you need to make that heart pledge that this is the absolute proof that needs no further evidence.
You need to be “fully” aware that every benefit and your absolute success is contained therein in the Quran, and that you’ll fully submit to it. You need to understand that this whole book, the Quran, is solely addressed to you, therefore, you cannot reject parts of its teachings. It’s not like this verse talks to me, but that other verse suits my brother or sister more; NO, both verses and every other verse is solely addressed to you!
Only then, your heart will shift from a state of hesitant belief and become a living heart; and only then you’ll attain that needed level of Quran focus. May Allah SWT fill our hearts with faith, and help us reach the state of living hearts that lead us to comprehend the Quran as He SWT pleases, Ameen!
There are many misconceptions related to the month of Shaaban which are not supported by any authentic Hadith of the prophet SAW. The most common misconception in Shaaban is that related to the virtues of the night of the 15th of Shaaban. The truth is that the Hadiths related to the night of the 15th of Shaaban are either broken in the chain of reporters, weak or fabricated.
Therefore, singling out the night of the 15th of Shaaban for special worship is wrong, but treating it like any other night is the right thing to do. Similarly, it’s perfectly allowed to fast the 15th of Shaaban if it happens to be a Monday, Thursday or one of the White Days. The most important thing to note is that you’ll be rewarded for fasting or praying Qiyyam on the 15th just like any other day of Shaaban, and just like any other day of the year.
Another misconception is that some people think that fasting till the very last day of Shaban, or that fasting the very last day of Shaaban is a good thing to be well prepared for Ramadan. The truth is that the last day of Shaaban is called the “Day of Doubt”, and that the prophet SAW has forbidden fasting such days. The Prophet said “Do not anticipate Ramadan by fasting one or two days before it begins, but if a man habitually fasts, then let him fast” [Bukhari].
Based on these stated “facts”, it becomes crystal clear that the month of Shaaban is special as a whole but not for a particular night or virtue. The month of Shaban is special because the prophet SAW used to fast in it more than in any other month of the year (except Ramadan of course), but not for any 15th night’s virtues. The month of Shaaban is special because your worship in it prepares your heart and mind for Ramadan, but not for any special or extra virtues.
May Allah SWT protect us from falling victims to this Hadith where the prophet SAW said “Whoever tells a lie about me deliberately, let him take his place in Hell” [Bukhari & Muslim].
“Home” is a blessing that many Muslims nowadays overlook, unfortunately, until the time its very presence is at stake. Allah SWT said “And Allah has made for you in your homes an abode” (16:80), i.e. a peaceful retreat full of benefits. Say Alhamdu Lillah! Because when Allah SWT punished the Jews of Banu Nadeer, what exactly did He take away from them? None other than their own homes! Listen carefully “It is He Who expelled the disbelievers among the People given the Book from their homes”(59:2). Your home is a blessing!
As a result, you are expected to take care of this blessing, and put your house in order, otherwise, you risk losing it. The prophet SAW said “Allah will ask every shepherd about his flock, whether he took care of it or neglected it, until He asks a man about his household” [Ibn Habban].
I was recently asked how this generation can reach Khilafah (Islamic Governance), and my instant reply was: Start with your own home! Home is the most important element in building a Muslim society, because households and families form the building blocks of any society. If our homes abide by Shari’a, the whole society will be naturally governed by Islam, without having to wait for a savior to do it for us.
Abide by Shari’a when putting the very first block of your home, i.e. choosing a pious and righteous wife. The prophet SAW said “This world is all temporary conveniences, and the greatest joy in this life is a righteous wife” [Muslim]. Once married, the spouses should guide each other, correct each other’s mistakes, pray and give charity together and choose a good company for themselves.
Then the couple should fill their home with the remembrance of Allah,starting with the Islamic salutation and including all timely Athkar. The prophet SAW said “The likeness of a house in which Allah is remembered and the house in which Allah is not remembered is that of the living and the dead” [Muslim]. By constantly reciting their Athkar, and by constantly reminding each other of Allah, a couple would be indirectly inviting angels to their home.
There is one beautiful example between the prophet SAW and his wife Aisha, follow it and watch the miraculous change in your homes. “The Messenger of Allah used to pray Qiyaam at night, and when he prayed Witr he would say: Get up and pray witr, O Aisha” [Muslim].
Make it a habit to sit together and read Surat Al-Baqarah, at least once a month, and let’s see how many fights you’ll have from now on. The prophet SAW taught us “Do not make your houses into graves. The Shaytaan (Devil) flees from a house in which Surat Al-Baqarah is recited” [Muslim].
May Allah SWT fill your houses with love and mercy, and before both strong Imaan and certitude in Allah, Ameen.
Before Islam, Eve was portrayed as a temptress, who committed the first sin and seduced Adam to disobey God. As a result, all women before Islam were regarded as an extension of a temptress Eve, inheriting her guilt and guile, hence, were inferior. Before Islam, Menstruation, pregnancy and labor were considered a just punishment for all females inherited from Eve’s original sin.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle considered women a defective form of men, while others of his time didn’t even think women were human. Before Islam, a woman who gives birth to a girl would remain impure twice the time than if she gave birth to a boy; i.e. racism at its peak! As for the Arabs, they would simply bury their daughters to death or allow them to live a life of humiliation and degradation.
These were the conditions of women in others faiths and in the Arab Peninsula before Islam, so what happened next?
Then a book revealed to an illiterate declared both Adam and Eve equally responsible for their mistake; the first sin. That book, the Quran, came to revolutionize, correct and set the matter straight that no human could be punished for another’s sin! That book, the Quran, came to put an end to the endless blame especially on Eve for committing just “one” sin!
Instead, the Quran revealed that both Adam and Eve sinned, that they both repented, and that Allah, The Forgiver, forgave them both! The Quran came with “O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness” (4:19). The Quran came with “Whoever does good deeds, whether a male or female, and is a Muslim, We shall sustain him an excellent life” (16:97).
As per their request, the prophet of Islam designated a special day to teach women their religion; other faiths consider this Haram! Believe it or not, until today, other faiths clearly state that teaching religion to women is a major sin. This is in the 21st century! And while others faiths considered menstruation a punishment, the prophet of Islam would drink after his wife during her menstruation. Aisha said “I would drink while I was menstruating, then I would pass it to the Prophet and he would put his mouth at the place where my mouth was and drink” [Muslim].
The prophet of Islam taught “The best of you are the kindest to their wives and I am the best of you to my family” [Sahih]. Islam simply came to make Muslim women the best women on earth, if and only if, both Muslim men and women abide by Islam’s teachings. Otherwise, if Islam didn’t really make its women the best on earth, how would you explain that in every five converts, FOUR are women?!
The month of Rajab will soon end, Ramadan is less than six weeks away, and this in itself is a wakeup call for us all. It’s time to ask Allah to extend our lives so we may reach Ramadan, for how many people passed away during these days of Rajab and Shaaban. You may like to recite the following Dua': “Allahumma baarik lanaa fi Rajab wa Shaaban, wa ballighnaa Ramadan” (O Allah bless Rajab and Shaaban for us, and let us reach Ramadan).
It’s time to consider your Ramadan targets, what do you want to achieve this Ramadan? Remember, an unplanned event is surely a failed event. Write down as many targets as you wish, then in the coming couple of weeks prioritize them, then narrow them down to a maximum of five.
It’s time to make a sincere ‘Tawbah’ (repentance) and refrain from every sin, or at least try; you don’t want to reach Ramadan while still sinning. Stay away from harmful places and bad company, keep your hands busy with useful work and your tongue busy with Dhikr (remembrance of Allah).
Do not miss a single obligatory prayer during the next six weeks, otherwise, when Ramadan comes, it will be too late to change the habit. Start working on your robotic style prayer. Make the effort to ponder on the verses you read and in Who’s hands you’re reading them.
Start making up the missed fasts of previous Ramadan(s); it will make your heart lighter. You don’t want to start Ramadan with due fasts. If you don’t have any pending fasts, then start fasting Mondays and Thursdays, at least once; trust me, it makes a huge difference!
Talk about Ramadan to your family and friends, and remember, the closest ears to your mouth are yours, so it’s a reminder for you before anyone else.
Start reading the Quran on daily basis preferably with ‘Tafsir’ (explanation), even if it’s just one page, but do not miss the ritual until Ramadan.
Those were quick and simple reminders, but inshaa Allah they do make a huge difference especially when applied before Rajab ends. May Allah SWT extend your lives to reach the holy month of Ramadan, guide you to what pleases Him most in it and accept it from you. Ameen!