Sunday, 13 November 2011

Bundle of mistakes makes up a human

We all make mistakes because we are supposed to learn from them. If we have never committed a mistake in life then we might have been angels and not humans. Humans default, commit sins, make mistakes, and simply mess up and that's a common characteristic between us all. The distinguishing factor arises on the basis of the misfortune of those who die before being able to realize and undo their mistake and the fortune of those who  realize it in their life and take corrective action. Hazrat Adam had been strictly instructed to not go near a certain tree, yet caught in the web of the devil, he went against the commands of Allah and disobeyed Him. But the beauty of Allah's mercy is that He taught Hazrat Adam how to repent , taught him the words of the prayer for repentance and forgave him. the prayer of repentance that Hazrat Adam was taught is given in Surah Al Araf of the Holy Quran verse 23:
"They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers."

the above incident makes it obvious that if Hazrat Adam could be led astray by the devil, then we are bound to be tempted by the devil's evil traps. It's terrifying to imagine what it would like if we die while in the state of committing that sin, that mistake which causes His displeasure,  what will we say to our Lord then? How will we face Him? As kids we would avoid facing our mothers if we broke something precious in the house then how can we even imagine facing the Lord of the entire universe after committing acts that trigger His displeasure? Unfortunate are the ones who die in a state of committing those sins and have to face the Lord before getting a chance to repent, regret and beg for His forgiveness. I and all those reading this are extremely fortunate to be alive today. We all have done something or the other in the past or maybe are still doing it, that may have earned the wrath and displeasure of our Lord, or we may have hurt our fellow brothers and sisters, we may realize our mistakes but we might be delaying the repentance part. And that one delay may cause us to lose out on a life of eternal bliss in the Hereafter. Let's all realize how lucky we are to be still alive to realize our mistakes, to undo them and to beg Allah to forgive us and to ask our brothers and sisters to forgive us as well for all those times we may have hurt them, intentionally or unintentionally. Allah is giving us one chance after another, hoping we would turn our backs to our wrong doings and go back to Him (as we made a covenant with Him before being sent to this earth - explained in surah baqarah).
It's not in our hands to judge whether our sin is worthy of being forgiven or not. That's a matter that only He knows best but Alhumdulilah His mercy encompasses every possible thing as long as the repentance is sincere. There are moments in our life when we may despair that it's too late to ask for repentance and we may not realize this but such thoughts are acts of the devil, cos despair in the Mercy of Allah is an act of Kufr itself.
Secondly, we may commit mistakes in our lives which may cause us to lose something or the other, something irreversible, something irreplaceable like self respect, dignity, values etc and when the realization sinks in, and even then if it doesn't take us crying and weeping our hearts out onto the prayer mat, then it definitely is not a good sign. the lost dignity and self respect may never come back but the hope that your Lord will forgive you on sincere repentance, will make life worth living again.
People tend to believe that once you have realized your mistake you should only worry about pleasing Allah and asking for His forgiveness and shouldn't care about whether the person you wronged forgave you or not. I choose to differ on this opinion because man needs to forgive first before expecting mercy from the Creator.

This post goes out to all the people out there who regret their past mistakes, who regret being a part of something that is forbidden and who regret displeasing their Lord because nothing good can ever come out of displeasing Him.   It's not too late to repent and it's not too late to undo our mistakes. May Allah have mercy on us and guide us to the right path. Ameen.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


Unfortunately, I wasn’t really surprised to see Halloween decorations and event invitations being handed out today at a local mall in Karachi. The lack of my surprise primarily, because I have been witnessing the ‘western bug’ corroding our society for like the past few years now. The influence of the west is not declining but the values and beliefs of our society definitely are. It’s the ‘in’ thing of today; Halloween parties are not only ‘cool’ but are extremely fun as well.  Let’s take a quick look at the origins of this festival and then decide for ourselves if we are on the right track or not.

The origins of Halloween lie in the ancient Scottish festival of Samhain, celebrated as the beginning of the winters and the first day of the New Year, when it was believed that spirits of the people who had died during the year were allowed to visit the earth and roam around freely. Hence this festival was celebrated in honour of the Sun god (thanking the Sun for providing them with a good harvest) and the god of the dead. The ritual of putting out food on the patio and doorsteps took birth from the belief that if food wasn’t provided to these dead spirits, they would cast a wicked spell. Additionally, it was believed that the spirits of the good people were sent to heaven, but those of the bad ones hovered somewhere between this world and the next. And on this particular day of Samhain, they came to earth expecting to be honoured with food, sacrifices and offerings that would satisfy them and thus, feel no need to cast an evil spell on the living.

The christians, however, celebrated the All Saints’ Day (All Hallows’ Eve) which was in honour of all martyrs, known or unknown and with time this festival went on to include the honoring of saints’ as well. On this Day, the God was glorified for all the saints’ , known or unknown.  It was originally celebrated on May 13th, but the Pope Gregory IV moved it to 1st November(Evening of October 31st), to coincide with Samhain.  When Christianity came to the British Isles , thus started the festival of Halloween which ultimately became a blend of the Samhain festival and the Saints’ day festival. The blend however, was very peculiar since one honors the evil spirits while the other honours the ‘saints’. The Christian church was unsuccessful in to stopping the people from celebrating the Samhain event of worshipping the Satan. Hence, they simply modified the traditions a little in accordance to their own beliefs and gave it the new name of Halloween. The Samhain traditions however survived and became entwined with the Christian festival.  Some Christians rejected this festival once they realized that all the activities of Halloween (trick or treat, skulls and skeleton, images of witches and black cats, lighting of bonfires etc) were acts of worship for the devil and the evil spirits. They, thus, rejected the customs associated with Halloween and distanced themselves from this pagan festival. While many others like us enticed by the attractive activities of this festival began celebrating it with increased zeal and enthusiasm forgetting the significance of this event.

All of the Halloween traditions have been carried down from ancient pagan beliefs and customs and are a form of Idolatry (Shirk), the biggest sin of all.  We got involved in the celebrations of this event because our friends are doing it without even understanding the origins of this festival. Our religion gives us amazingly beautiful festivals to celebrate which allow for fun and celebrations while at the same time keeping the spiritual and religious significance intact. The Halloween celebrations are at the peak this year as well, with private parties being held at different places and celebrations and events being held at certain malls. Before being tempted to join in these festivities let’s just spend a moment to ponder over the origins of these celebrations and ask Allah to give us the strength to abstain from all such activities which negate our Islamic beliefs especially activities that involve associating any other being to His worship.

The Quran says:

"Has not the time arrived for the believers, that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed to them? That they should not become like those to whom was given the Book aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors." (Qur'an 57:16)

I tried to keep the history of Halloween brief and to the point to get my point across while at the same time keeping the interest of the readers alive.  May Allah guide us to the right path and enable us to use our intelligence to distinguish right from wrong, true from false. May He forgive us for the sins we committed knowingly and unknowingly. Ameen.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

SOcial RecOmmender Systems (SRS)

this topic might sound alien to many people but those with my educational background would be having a pretty good idea about it. I wont bore my readers with details of what SRS is but to get the gist of the main idea, the concept behind how social media and social networks recommend items,books,websites and commodities to us, primarily forms the SRS. for instance if i buy a book from amazon, it will recommend several other books to me based on various factors (my buying history, purchases of buyers similar to me etc). Now getting to the point of what's the idea behind me blabbering about SRS on the platform of REFLECTIONS !
When i first started listening to Quranic explanation, the first thing i learnt (and this was within one hour of the first lecture) was that my reading and understanding the Quran is not sufficient. No! the duty of a Muslim as clearly laid down in the Quran as well is to Seek,reflect and spread (SRS) and this SRS forms the social recommender system of a Momin's life. Seek guidance from the Quran and Hadith, reflect on it , ponder over it, apply it to your own life and then spread it to others to multiply your benefits and rewards. Summed up, it forms the ideal SRS (Social recommender system) -recommending and telling people what we need in life, what we need to purchase next (guidance through Quran and Sunnah by submission of our souls to the Lord) . Additionally, spreading knowledge helps in broadening the horizon of our knowledge as wel,l maybe because the person we impart the knowledge to, might have something more to add to it, which we might be previously unaware of. However, it's equally important to be sure about what we impart to others. Spreading wrong and misleading information(intentionally or unintentionally) would not only misguide the other person but would have undesirable consequences for us as well. It's better to confirm our knowledge before telling others and even them it's a desired approach to seek for Allah's forgiveness for unintentionally misquoting or mis-stating any information.

There are three important sources of authentic knowledge as is in the following Hadith:
Abdullah ibn Amir ibn Al As (r.a.) narrated that Prophet (s) said, “Knowledge consists of three things: the decisive verses (Qur’an), authentic Hadith and prescriptions rightly deduced from the two. What is beside them is superfluous (extra).

I thought listening to the Quranic explanation and trying to understand it, is itself an accomplishment. I was wrong, because  it's not a satisfaction until and unless we spread out our knowledge and learning to our brothers and sisters who may be equally thirsty for this knowledge but might just not have the required resources to achieve it. once we realize this responsibility bestowed on us by our Creator and our Dear Prophet Mohammad pbuh (who wanted his Ummah to continue his mission of spreading Islam and imparting it's knowledge to others), only then have we fulfilled the primary duty of being a Muslim. And that is exactly why i started off with this blog. it's not necessary that everyone has to hold a religious sermon at their place, has to write articles, give public speeches on Islam and Quran. That is definitely not what I mean by 'spread'. Each of us can spread the knowledge of Islam in our own different ways. Sitting with friends and imparting Quranic knowledge to them is good enough, sending an sms to contacts regarding something we learnt about Islam is worth appreciating, telling even just one person something that we know and they might not know serves the purpose of "spreading.' it all depends on each individual's capacity and ability.
But then again a hadith of the Holy Prophet pbuh condemns extremism in teaching Islam (implying that if a person starts off with a sermon when and where possible will make people run away from the religion rather than towards it)   :

Narrated Ibn Mas'ud: The Prophet used to take care of us in preaching by selecting a suitable time, so that we might not get bored. (He abstained from pestering us with sermons and knowledge all the time).

 Knowledge is one thing that multiplies when shared and whoever has the blessing of knowledge is no doubt fortunate.

the Holy Prophet pbuh is reported to have said :  "The best of charity is a Muslim who learns a knowledge and later teaches it to his Muslim brother."

Sahih Bukhari Hadith Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr (RA)
The Prophet (SAW) said : “ Convey my teachings to the people even if it were a single sentence”

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud: The Prophet said, "Do not wish to be like anyone except in two cases. (The first is) A person, whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it righteously; (the second is) the one whom Allah has given wisdom (the Holy Qur'an) and he acts according to it and teaches it to others."

lets all join hands in adopting the Islamic SRS in our personal lives to attain salvation and the pleasure of the Most Merciful. may our good deeds act as our saviours on the Day of Judgement and May Allah forgive us for all displeasing and disliked actions (of tongue and otherwise) done intentionally or unintentionally. Ameen. God Bless.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

It's too late !

how often in our daily lives have we used this simple three word phrase "it's too late". it's too late to forgive you/him/her, it's too late to repent, it's too late to make things better again, it's too late to apologize and the list goes on. is it really too late ? I dont think so.
the only time when it really is too late is when we have stopped breathing. death is the only way of making this phrase realistic -"it's too late" . it's not too late for me to apologize to someone i have hurt unintentionally or intentionally, it's not too late for me to ask Allah to forgive me for all the sins i have committed, for every act of ungratefulness and for every disobedience to Him. It's not too late to forgive others who havent exactly been the nicest to us. Maybe we are still alive because we have been given a chance to realize that it's not late for anything, the fact that we are still breathing is a sign strong enough to make us realize that we can still undo our mistakes, still forgive the unforgiven,still ask for forgiveness from our Lord and still mend the hearts we broke.
Many a times we act too arrogant by saying that there is no way we are going to forgive xyz person. Irrespective of whether we receive an apology for their hurtful actions or not, do we really have the authority to withhold forgiveness? If we can be hard hearted enough to not forgive the people in our lives why then do we expect our Lord to forgive us? Especically when we continue hurting Him every hour of every day of our lives. No doubt He is all All-Forgiving the Ever Merciful but if we fail to adopt even a small fraction of mercy in our daily lives then we have no right to expect the same from others.

In a hadith the Holy Prophet pbuh state: Allah the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its.”

the Quran says :

Pardon them and overlook - Allah loves those who do good" (Qur'an 5:13)

"Those who control their anger and are forgiving towards people; Allah loves the good." (Qur'an, 3: 134)

Ja’far ibn Muhammad (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “For me to regret after having pardoned someone is more beloved to me than to feel regret after punishing someone.”
Many a times we feel that since we have sinned so much there is no way that Allah is going to forgive us (once again the philosophy of 'it's too late). But such thoughts are the work of the devil who tempts us and entices us into believing that we are not worth forgiveness. and this misconception moves us away from Allah and His worship as we tend to believe that no amount of worship can now undo what we did. Hence we give up on all attemtps at seeking forgiveness and we also give up on whatever worship we were previously involved in. Led astray by the devil at work we tend to forget that Allah loves it when His creations comes to Him  repenting and begging for forgiveness.

Say: "O 'Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. - surah Az Zumar ayat 53

Allah's mercy is no doubt vast and deep, beyond human comprehension. But it's the human aspect of forgiveness that needs to be reformed. blinded by our arrogance we hold grudges and threaten people with statements like " I will never forgive you.". Many a times we dont even mean it and we forgive immediately after our anger subsides but then often many of us make it a point to forgive only when asked for forgiveness. This is not a trait liked in the servants of Allah. We should learn to forgive others with an open heart with this thought in mind that our gesture of mercy will inshAllah shower Allah's mercy on us.
But then again apologizing to people by no means indicates that we are subservient to the one we are apologizing to. It does not stain our reputation or our worldly, materialistic status(if that even matters), Rather it's a simple action signifying our fear of our Lord Whose ultimate Mercy we seek, with this thought in mind that our humble attitude with His people will win us His Pleasure.
But we need to remember that Allah's mercy does not mean that we keep on displeasing Him with this certainty that He will forgive us.

Brothers and sisters lets all apologize to our parents,friends,siblings,spouses and anyone else on whom we have inflicted pain with our tongue and actions. lets all seek the forgiveness of each other in other to attain salvation and Mercy of our Lord. and lets not keep the forgiveness limited to smses and facebook statuses in ramadan and in the last 10 days of ramadan. keep the spirit of forgiveness flowing all year round and InshAllah we would be rewarded for it if not in this world then in the next one.
remember as long as we are alive it's never too late for ANYTHING. it's never too late to make things right and it's never too late to make several wrongs into one right. 
May Allah bless us with the trait of forgiveness, and shower His mercy and forgiveness on us all..Ameen.

Monday, 24 October 2011

SHow me the Money !!!

Money, money,money and then more money. The world today is in a crazy frenzy of earning more and hoarding it. The means to earn may differ from person to person, may range to legal to illegal, may involve no physical activity or extreme manual labour but at the end of the day , we need money to drool over. the disparity between the rich and the poor has made each one of us blind and oblivious to the fact that hoarding money wont build us a castle in Heaven, it wont even guarantee Heaven. The eventual end of all of us is this very earth in which we all would be laid down and there wont be any distinction between the earth of a rich man's grave and that of a poor man. no money, no wealth will make our stay in that grave any easy. But hoarding money and earning it through wrong means might make our stay there unbearably painful. we save up our entire lives, being miserly about spending it on our family or ourselves but one day death simply parts us from our saved treasures. We dont get to see it,spend it or be proud of all the money we had saved up once we are sleeping in that grave. save up for the children's education, their marriage or any other legitimate reason but do not save up to the extent of being miserly in spending in charity. What Allah blesses us with , it should be shared with the less fortunate of the society as well. And remembering that whatever we have today it's not because we are better than the rest but it's only because Allah decided to bless us with it. Just as providing for us is a piece of cake for Him, similarly it wont take even a millisecond for Him to take it all away. So arrogance and haughtiness has definitely no role in our religion. Humility is a characteristic much loved and appreciated by Allah and it is He after all Whom we aim to please and not anyone else.
the disparity between the rich and the poor is increasing at such an alarming rate that it's no wonder we are blinded by the glitz and glamour of the materialistic world. we all want a three storey house even though there are just 3 people in the house, we all want to own several cars even though only one person knows how to drive in the family. there is no harm in desiring materialistic things but when the desires reach the level of obsession the humans tend to forgo the concept of right and wrong, islamic and unislamic, moral and immoral. and that's when the trouble starts for us in this world and if we are not careful the troubles may extend to the next one as well. blinded and intoxicated by these desires the goals and aims of our life slowly turn into one sole objective of gaining as much money as is possible and in the process we cease to remember our Lord, thank Him for the blessings.
Our religion does not condemn striving for a good living, it does not condemn earning well to provide a healthy and respectable life for your family, it does not condemn looking for a well paid job(as long as the nature of the business is permissible) that satisfies the needs and even some luxuries as desired by the earner and his family and neither does our religion condemn spending money on ourselves and on our families. But an obsession of anything is bound to lead us astray. Obsession of money stops us from giving charity (zakat and sadqa) which is an explicit denial of one of the important Commandments of Allah.  we have a tendency to take everything to a certain extreme missing out on the fact that islam is the most balanced religion without even a hint of extremism in it. People in our society tend to believe that doing a 9-5 job is against the principles of Islam and rather we are supposed to spend that time preaching islam and studying it. that's one form of extremism while the other form talks about earning money through any means without any care for it being legal,illegal,islamic or unislamic. Islam lies in between both these extremist thoughts. it tells us to earn our livelihood through halal(permissible) means and this includes a 9-5 job as well as long as the nature of the business,dealings of the business and code of conducting the business is permissible. But at the same time we are told not to get so obsessed with out work and earning livelihood that we forget to remember the Creator who blessed us with the job in the first place, who gave us the opportunity to earn. Who says we cannot remember our Lord while at job? Dont give up on the obligatory prayers that fall during the work hours, be aware that Allah is watching before engaging in a wrong deed, realize that Allah can hear us before being rude and disrespectful to a collegue,a client or the boss and just be aware that Allah is All-Knowing,All-Seeing and All-Hearing and we have managed to remember Him even at work.
the Quran says:

[3:92] You cannot attain righteousness until you give to charity from the possessions you love. Whatever you give to charity, GOD is fully aware thereof.

[3:134] who give to charity during the good times, as well as the bad times. They are suppressors of anger, and pardoners of the people. GOD loves the charitable.

[4:38] They give money to charity only to show off, while disbelieving in GOD and the Last Day. If one's companion is the devil, that is the worst companion.

       [24:37] People who are not distracted by business or trade from commemorating GOD; they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and they are conscious of the day when the minds and the eyes will be horrified.

As a writer once wrote:

Resist the urge to "keep up with the Jameels"
The Jameels got a new house. But then the Syeds got a bigger one. In response the Sakrs got a mansion. And the cycle continues. This kind of competition for material things is another example of material enslavement. Resist the urge to keep up with the Jameels or anyone else for that matter. If the pressure is too intense, consider widening your circle of friends to those who don't base their relationship with you on how much money you make or how many cars you have.

Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said: A time will come upon the people when one will not care how one gains one's money, legally or illegally. (Bukhari)

It is reported by Jabir that the Prophet said: The flesh and body that is raised on unlawful sustenance shall not enter Paradise. Hell is more deserving to the flesh that grows on one's body out of unlawful sustenance. (Ahmad).

Abu Said related that the Prophet said: The truthful and trustworthy businessman will be in the company of Prophets, saints and martyrs on the Day of Judgment. (Darimi, Tirmidhi)

let us not be a slave to materialism, let us not be blinded by the obsession for money. If we have ample of it, lets share it with the less fortunate ones of the society and spend it well on ourselves as well but do not forget that it is He Who blessed us with it, He may as well take it all away when He desires. spend well on the family and on your ownself but do not go beyond your capacity. If you cant afford the latest model of Corolla then be thankful with the cultus you have, if it's not in your capacity to build a three storey house in the most posh area of the city then be grateful for the appartment you have. competing for materialistic stuff and trying to belittle others by always aiming to get the more expensive commodity then the competing rival, makes us shallow minded and blind to the realities of life. let's just try to improve our standard of living but lets avoid trying to make our standards above those of xyz and abc family. Earn good and earn right and we will all be able to live well and eat right.
God bless:)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

We judge without knowledge of judiciary

I know my posts are getting more inclined towards daily issues and less towards tafseer but a mixture of both keep the spirits up:).
we dont realize it but we are a judge in our daily lives. we judge the person sitting next to us in the train, we judge the person who just bumped into us at the mall, we judge the lady buying bread from the store, but more importantly we even judge people we have never met or talked to. am sure no one agrees with this statement but its true.
recently the death of Steve Jobs had become the hype in the media and was the 'hot topic' of the week. some mourned his death, some were indifferent, some were actually happy with the hopes of young mind and young ideas replacing him. But then i personally caught snippets of conversations between people where they went so far as to judge the deeds of Steve Jobs. They went to the extent of deciding his life hereafter. Exactly when did we become the assistants of Allah? When were we entrusted with this task of judging who lands up in hell and who will be blessed with heaven? Maybe we do this with the ordinary people in our daily lives as well but this particular case of Steve Jobs and then Gaddafi as well has caught my special attention. Why? BECAUSE WE HAVE NEVER MET THESE PEOPLE. At least i havent. How can i say that Steve Jobs had money but no virtues to save him from Hell?How can I say that Gaddafi is destined for hell. I dont know what they were like in their personal lives. Whatever i know is through media and how much of the media are we going to believe? the same media that sells its soul,its ethics and values for a meagre sum of money? That same media that now aims to corrupt and corrode the minds of the viewers rather than show them the true reality? the same media that has been reduced to nothing more than just a vicious money making business?
I dont know what religion Steve Jobs practiced but his father was a Muslim Arab. I dont know what faith he belonged to, what level of belief he had in God and how he dealt with the daily issues of his life. But i know this that his faith is known only to Allah.
We need to realize that Taqwa is not determined by the length of the beard or the thickness of the veil, its a divine bond between the Creator and its Creation, between the Lord and the servant. That bond can simply not be understood by another human being. I cant judge another person's level of Taqwa because i may see his sins, i may see his mistakes but do i see his acts of forgiveness and repentance?Who am i to judge if an xyz person fears Allah or not? similarly claims to love Allah and claims of being the most fearful of Allah are not signs of Taqwa either. Taqwa is not something you explain, talk about or show. it's within us, in our hearts. it's the fear of Allah, it's the knowledge of the fact that Allah is All-Knowing and All-Seeing.A person may seem pious to us but we dont know his/her deeds in private. Its best to withhold judgements regarding the intensity of a person's faith and his hereafter.  we may like or dislike a person based on his/her personality traits, their thinking and their way of behaving with others. But based on this we cant and we shouldnt engage in judging and discussing what their hereafter is going to be like. its better to utilize our time worrying about our own hereafter,we need to worry about our deeds, we need to judge ourselves, we dont have time or the righ to do it for others.

I came across a very interesting article so i will quote a piece of it here:

How will Allah Almighty Judge the non-Muslims? Should a person be a Muslim first to be accepted in Paradise by Allah Almighty?

Allah Almighty will admit to Paradise those whom He loves because of their righteous work and belief:

"O mankind! [this includes all races and all nations] 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. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted. (The Noble Quran, 49:13)"

"Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. (The Noble Quran, 3:113-3:114)"

My definition of the word 'Muslim':

I believe that the definition of 'Muslim' is not just limited to someone who believes in Allah Almighty, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and the Noble Quran only. While it is extremely important and becomes mandatory for a person to believe in the Noble Quran and the Prophethood of Muhammad, especially if he or she is fully convinced of the Truthfulness of Islam, but the real Noble Quranic definition of a 'Muslim' is someone who believes in the Absolute Oneness of GOD Almighty and associates no partners (idols or humans or any other creations) with Him. This makes any Unitarian and Monotheist a 'Muslim'. That is why Islam is called 'The Religion of Abraham', because Abraham, peace be upon him was a true Monotheist and associated no partners with GOD Almighty. So Salvation is not just reserved for the Noble Quran's Believers only.

To support my statement above, let us look at the following Noble Verse:

"Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to God, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For God did take Abraham for a friend. (The Noble Quran, 4:125)"

"Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (The Noble Quran, 112:1-4)"

The entire coloured text is taken from an article i read. And i tend to agree with the opinion of the writer. there are so many things we go through in life and as the Quranic verse says that the most honoured is one who is most righteous. My level of righteousness is known only to my Lord and no one else. Steve Jobs and Gaddafi may have had higher levels of righteousness than maybe us , who knows. Allah did not come and tell me at least about how righteous they were.  maybe we need to understand what righteousness is ? Its not just about labelling oneself as a muslim, praying five times a day and observing fasts. It much more than that. How we behave with others, how we earn, how we live, how we speak, how tolerant we are to others pain, how firmly we believe in His existence, our belief in His help, our faith in His guidance is what counts.
lets kill the negativity within us and promote the positivity that islam preaches us of and of which each and everyone of us is capable. May we get Hidayat and God bless us all. Ameen

Friday, 21 October 2011

Talk of the Town !

"Hey did you hear about xyz? Her nikah has been called off, apparently she was having an affair with someone else."

"Did you see abc sitting in the cafe with that guy? She pretends to be so pious and look at her now dating. What a hypocrite."

"Oh my God! Oh my God! she was wearing a sleeveless in the party tonight. everyone was talking about her. she is so 'out' ."

such conversations form a major bulk of our everyday routine. If we brood over it then it's always the womenfolk engaging in such conversations and it's mostly about other females. Nobody wants to have such conversations
" You know abc has started taking a hijaab MashAllah. I feel so proud of her."

Nobody talks about these things
" xyz's kids have started going to the mosque for prayers and they have read half of the Quran already Alhumdulilah."

Nops all we have to talk about is the negative aspects. We dont want to know who is happily married they want to know who got divorced. We are not interested in knowing the sweet person she is we just want to find out if she is having an affair. we play the accusation game every single day of our lives. we wrongly blame people, defame them and accuse them without once thinking that we may be hurting the other person in the process. we seek pleasure in gossipping about the misery other people are facing in their lives. we see a girl sitting in a restaurant with a guy and immediately accuse her of being a hypocrite for being on a date while otherwise pretending to be so pious. we dont even give her the benefit of doubt that the guy might be her brother. even if he's not what right do we have to defame her and slander her? We disapprove then the right way would be to talk to her about it, and explain things in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
people are actually observant to the extent of scanning the girl's fingers for signs of a wedding ring and in absence of one, news of her being "out on a date" will be spread all over the circle. This may sound to melodramatic but it happens and we are so caught up in this web that we fail to notice it anymore.we are more concerned about what's happening in other's lives and that interest is usually not for a good cause. No No we intend to seek pleasure by gossipping about it and spreading it to whoever we get a chance to.
one should speak ass long as what comes out of the mouth is better than silence. the main reason behind these gossips is that the women in our society have nothing better to do. the Quran strictly condemns talking behind other's back and spreading rumours about them. If we dont agree with the actions of someone the maximum right we have is to voice our opinion to them and try to reform them. When the same gossip game is played for us we get infuriated. The Holy Prophet pbuh has said that do not desire for your brother/sister what you would not desire for your ownself.
At least men have this characteristic in them that they are not interested in gossipping about other's lives. A characteristic I have always respected and prayed that the women should adopt this habit as well. Realizing the presence of this evil trait in oneself is task half done. the remaining task is to deal with it and eradicate all possible remnants and signs of it from our personality.
if we want to talk about others then talk about good stuff, appreciate their good qualities behind their back, tell others about the joyous occasions taking place in their lives rather than spreading negativity all around us.
let's all start worrying about what's going to befall us, lets guard our actions and tongue, let's not hurt our brothers and sisters with our tongue. let's all take this pledge on this blessed day of the week- Friday.

Prophet Muhammad pbuh once asked: "Do you know what backbiting is?" His companions   replied: "Allah and His Messenger know best." Prophet pbuh then said: "It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike." Someone asked: "But what if what is said is true?" The Messenger of Allah pbuh replied: "If what you say about him is true, then you have backbitten him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him." [Muslim]

Allaah states in the Quran (what means): "O you who have believed! Avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allaah; indeed, Allaah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful." [Quran 49:12]

After such strong words from our Lord even then if we fail to change our ways then now would be the crucial point to peek into our hearts, rattle and shake it and see if the heart is still alive or has it died. A dead heart cannot be a Momin's heart. May Allah guide us to the right path and forgive me and my brothers and sisters if we ever wronged a person, slandered him/her or gossiped about them. May Allah have mercy on us and keep us blessed. Ameen.
Jumma mubarak.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Parents - a blessing !

Just last week I had the chance to visit the hospital where we had to wait a good three hours for my 2 year old niece to get her turn with the doctor. While waiting I realized that my parents and everyone else's parents went through the same process over and over again with their kids. the same hospital waits, doctors appointments, staying up nights, and what not just to tend to their kids who by nature are bound to fall sick somehow or the other. I realized that bringing up kids is not an easy task yet our parents did it without any complains rather they did it happily and one day we will experience this phase of life as well InshAllah. but the thought that came to my mind that day was scary. I realized that we take them for granted. We dont realize how much pain and difficulties they went through in making us what we are today. So many of us have left their parents alone leaving them to survive on their own without the support of their grown kids which they had looked forward to ever since their kids had been a toddler. Unfortunately, the west influence is so dominant in our lives that we fail to see the beauty of being there for our parents in the age when they need us. Many are unfortunate that this realization comes to them when their parents are no more in this world.
How easy it is for a newly wedded bride to demand privacy with her husband in the form of a seperate house? How many newly weds do move out after marriage just because the same parents had become unbearable all of a sudden? does even for a second the thought crosses the young bride's mind that her in-laws are no less than her own parents? does she care to consider that what would her own parents go through if her brother moved out too leaving them alone to fend for themselves? NO ! None of these thoughts cross the newly weds mind because they are so engrossed in their own world of newly found romance that everything else seems insignificant. And it's not just the girl's fault either, taken away by the beauty, charm and grace of the young wife, the husband seems to act like a robot around her. Every wish of hers is a command for him. he goes blind to reality and practicality. Is this what our religion teaches us? Is this the code of conduct of our dear Prophet Mohammad pbuh, is this how Allah commanded us to be in our worldly dealings? A BIG NO ONCE AGAIN.
Impressed by the western concept of old peoples' home God forbid we are slowly moving towards that very same concept. I had the chance of visiting the catholic old peoples' home and i say this with 100% surety that they were all miserable. they felt insulted, mistreated and stranded by their own kids and were trying to come to terms to life and counting every passing day waiting for the misery to end. It wasnt a happy sight at all. It was miserable. maybe we are still far off from the explicit concept of old peoples' home but implicity that's what's happening. the more educated we get the lesser we think of our parents, the more money we earn today the more we boast and belittle our parents. We are nothing we are worth absolutely nothing whatever we have today whatever we are today it's only because Allah blessed our parents with the capability,love and stamina for our upbringing. it's sad to think that we are failing on the basic principles and values taught to us by our religion.  it's never too late to realize these blessings we have in the form of a mother and a father. it's never too late to apologize to them for our mistakes, to make up for the love we never bestowed upon them and to compensate for the time we never gave them. We fail to realize that what we sow, we shall reap. How we treat our parents today, tomorrow our kids will treat us in the same manner.  May Allah keep us on the right track and give us the Hidayat to obey, respect and love our parents in the right manner. Ameen

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

grieving a loss : will i ever get over it?

grieving a loss : will i ever get over it? by Amal Killawi (SuhaibWebb)

I woke up to a text message from a friend.
“I’m really sorry for texting you early on a weekend, but I need to ask you. How can you forget someone who caused a tragedy in your life? I’ve done many things to forget him, but until today I can’t seem to do so. And it is really bothering me. If you can please try to send me some ways that I can try to follow, maybe it will work.”
I smiled, but my heart ached for her. I wished it was that simple. Layla’s marriage had recently ended, and she was struggling to adjust to the new loss in her life.
We will all experience losses in our lives. A loved one may pass away. A relationship may end. We may lose a job or be diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Thus is life. God tells us:
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” (Qur’an, 2:155)
Grief can be one of the most intense emotions we experience. Researchers have developed many theories about grief to help us make sense of the complex but normal process that is part of our human experience.
Mourning is how we heal through the grief. According to Worden (1991), this process involves a series of four tasks. In order to come to a sense of closure about our loss, in other words- in order to heal, we must:
  1. Accept the reality of the loss,
  2. Work through the pain of grief,
  3. Adjust to the new environment, and
  4. Emotionally relocate the “loss” and move on with life.
But perhaps the most famous theory is the 5 Stages of Grief by Kubler-Ross. She describes five stages people go through when coping with a loss or personal tragedy.
1. Denial: “I can’t believe this is happening!”
Initially, we may react with shock and denial. It is our first defense to help us make sense of the situation and deal with the first wave of pain. We slowly let in as much reality as we can handle.
2. Anger: “Why did our marriage have to end? It’s his fault!”
We begin to feel angry, and may direct our anger at ourselves, others, or life in general. Underneath our anger is intense pain.
3. Bargaining: “What if I had changed my ways? Maybe she wouldn’t have gotten sick.”
Our normal reaction to helplessness is a need to regain control. We may think in “what if” or “if only” statements. If only I had sought treatment earlier. If only we had gone to marriage counseling. We may feel guilt and try to negotiate our way out of the pain.
4. Depression: “What’s the point? I’m so sad; I don’t even want to do anything.”
We become disconnected from life around us. We may feel deep sadness, emptiness, and withdraw from others. We may wonder if life is worth living anymore.
5. Acceptance: “I’m content and hopeful about the future.”
In time, we learn to live with a different reality. We reach out to others and begin living again. We acknowledge our feelings, come to terms with our loss, and find acceptance.
Grief does not happen in a linear fashion, as in the order described above. It is important to think about the five steps as “fluid phases” since our experiences don’t fit neatly into boxed stages. We will often experience a roller coaster of emotions—moving continuously between phases that may last a few minutes, hours, days, or even months. We should be prepared for occasional relapses in the future, even after we think we’ve moved beyond the pain.
For example, after some time, we can again be struck by the reality that the loss has actually happened, or we may find ourselves angry again. Sometimes, a simple memory, a smell, an anniversary, can evoke intense emotions, and we feel sad all over again. Even the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) teared up when he came across the jewelry of his first wife Khadijah radi allahu `anha (may God be pleased with her), and this was many years after her death! This is normal, and part of the long arduous journey of grief work.
There is also no completion date for grief. There will be some good days and many bad days. If we’ve been wronged, it may be difficult to forgive. We must allow ourselves to grieve at our own individual pace. Whatever grief blueprint we may refer to, they are only maps to help us track our healing.
Remember, grief is a very personal process that will be different for each person. Knowledge about the grief process can help us navigate this journey, but each person’s journey will involve different routes, traveling speeds, and tools.
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to honor our emotions instead of resisting them. It’s important to surround ourselves with others who can comfort us and help us move forward. We can engage in various coping methods such as:
  • Talking to family and friends
  • Connecting with God through prayer, reading the Qur’an, dhikr (remembrance of God)
  • Exercising
  • Eating healthy food
  • Engaging in social and community activities
  • Seeking counseling
  • Discovering new hobbies or returning to old ones
Finally, we must also remember that all things (good and bad) come from God. In His wisdom, He tells us:
“[…] perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.” (Qur’an, 2:216)
God always has greater plans for us, even if we may not understand His decree. Loss is just an essential part of the experience we call life, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy process. Learning to adjust to a changed life, while focusing on the future, will help us to move on God-willing.
Helpful Du`a’ (Supplications) for Grief and Distress

اللَّهُمَّ لا سَهْلَ إِلاَّ ما جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلاً، وأنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الحَزْنَ إذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلاً
Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja-`altahu sahla wa anta taj`alu al hazana etha shi’ta sahla.
O Allah! Nothing is easy except what You have made easy. If You wish, You can make the difficult easy.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَ الْحَزَنِ وَ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ العَجْزِ وَ الْكَسَلِ
وَ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْجُبْنِ وَ الْبُخْلِ وَ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ غَلَبَةِ الدَّيْنِ و قَهْرِ الرجال
Allahumma inni a`oodhoo bika minal-hammi-walhazan. Wa a`oodhoo bika minal-a’jzi-wal-kasal. Wa a`oodhoo bika minal jubni wal bukhl. Wa a`oodhoo bika min ghalabatid-dayni-waqahrir rijal.
Oh Allah, I seek refuge in You from worry and grief, from helplessness and laziness, from cowardice and stinginess, and from overpowering of debt and from oppression of men.
اللَّهُمَّ رَحْمَتَكَ أرْجُو فَلا تَكِلْنِي إلى نَفْسي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ، وأصْلِحْ لي شَأنِي كُلَّهُ، لا إِلهَ إِلاَّ أنْتَ
Allahumma rahmataka arjoo falaa takilnee ilaa nafsee tarfata `aynin wa aslih-lee sha`nee kullahu, laa ilaha illa anta.
O Allah! It is Your mercy that I hope for so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshipped except You.
اللَّهُمَّ إني عبدك ابن عبدك ابن امتك ناصيتى بيدك ماضٍ فيِّ حكمك عدلٌ فيِّ قضاؤك أسألك بكل اسم هو لك سميت به نفسك أو أنزلته في كتابك أو علمته أحد من خلقك أو استأثرت به في علم الغيب عندك أن تجعل القرآن ربيع قلبي ، ونور صدري ، وجلاء حُزني ، وذهاب همِّي
Allaahumma inni `abduka wa ibn `abdika wa ibn amatika, naasiyati bi yadika maadin fiyya hukmuka ‘adlun fiyya qadaa`uka, as’aluka bi kulli ismin huwa laka sammayta bihi nafsaka aw `allamtahu ahadan min khalqika aw anzaltahu fi kitaabika aw asta’tharta bihi fi `ilmi al-ghaybi `indaka an taj`al al-Qur’aana rabee’a qalbi wa noor sadri wa jilaa’a huzni wa dhihaaba hammi.
‘O Allaah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is ever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You have named Yourself with, or which you revealed in Your Book, or which You taught to any of Your creation, or which You have preserved in the knowledge of the Unseen with You, that You make the Qur’an the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Romance in Islam - lecture by Abdur Raheem Green

for my married and to-be married readers I am posting a summarized version of the sermon and workshop held in Karachi by Shaikh Abdur Raheem Green who made this session possible by conducting it live from portugal.  The credits for the summarized version below goes to Aly Balagamwala.

  • And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves ... 30:21
  • The real love story: the Prophet (SAW) said (about Khadija RA): "verily I was filled with affection for her"
  • "Religion of Islam has been given to us by Allah to fulfill our needs" but cultures have corrupted our understanding of needs
  • it is very important we inculcate the values of #Islam rather than those of the Hollywood/Bollywood culture in our relationships
  • marriage in some Muslim countries unfortunately is forced even if not physical force then emotional coercion which is not appropriate in Islam
  • the ideals that are held in west today of romance, stemmed from similar conditions of loveless marriages in europe during middle ages
  • Prophet (SAW) said: "choose what please you" this is in terms of physical and emotional connection.
  • Marriage is the sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) and he forbade monaticism. Prophet (SAW) said marriage is half of deen
  • Marriage leads us to fulfill our fundamental needs both physical & emotional
  • Shaytan wants to take you to extremes. Either makes you loveless & unromantic or to make us obsessed with love & romance (Casanova). Islam teaches the middle path b/w these two extremes.
  • Prophet (SAW) "I do not lv for the men of my ummah a greater fitnah (test) than women"
  • Allah (SWT) has given a beautiful analogy "they are a garment for you & you are a garment for them". They r ur need & also pleasure.
  • The right groom "If somebody comes to you & you are please with his character&religion then marry him. If you don't there will be discord on earth & widespread corruption"
  • the right wife "A woman is married for 4 reasons: beauty,money,lineage,religion. Marry the one with religion & u shall be blessed
  • Marriage is the foundation of society. It is one of the important things for which Shariah exists is to protect this foundation
  • Allah (SWT) not only prohibits Zina He says "Do not come near Zina" so we should close all doors that lead to zina.
  • Islam discourages free mingling of sexes, recommends Hijab for both sexes.
  • relationship of Prophet (SAW) was very open. He & Ayesha (RA) used to take ghusl together yet some cultures prohibit spouses to see each other unclothed. How can that be sunnah?
  • being exposed to nakedness & sex on screens etc, which is artificial makes us see our spouses as not good enough and ultimately corrupting us.
  • "O young men marry young as it helps you to lower your gaze & guard your private parts" Prophet (SAW)
  • Romance in Islam is only the Romance b/w the husband & wife
  • who do you love most in this world" Prophet (SAW) was asked. He replied "Ayesha". The companion said "no from the men in the world", He (SAW) said: "her father". He didn't say Abu Bakr but her father which signifies his linking love of Abubakr with his wife
  • Prophet (SAW) used to race with Ayesha (RA) to answer the door. He also raced against her once & lost then a few yrs later beat her and reminded her "this is for the earlier one"
  • when Prophet (SAW) was home he concentrated on his family and "did not bring work home". He would give attention to his wives
  • when the call for prayer came, he (SAW) would leave his family & go to masjid. But before he left he would kiss his wife.
  • there is evidence from sunnah where Prophet (SAW) would argue with his wives. He didn't say "who are you to argue with me I'm the Prophet" - husbands should learn from this, he is not the absolute word for there was no one whose word was more absolute than Prophet (SAW)
  • a man came to Umar (RA) to complain about his wife's nagging. He came to his house & Umar was outside & his wife was screaming at him. So he turned around. Umar asked him why? He said you have it worse than me. :)
  • The Prophet (SAW) never raised his hand on his wives. The most extreme he did was tap Ayesha (RA) on her wrist w/ his miswaak
  • the Prophet (SAW) used to take care of his own housework & help his wives with household duties
  • Being romantic means Prophet (SAW) giving in to his wives wishes on small things but not to sacrifice on principles.
  • A wife is not allowed to refuse her husband physical relations but a husband is not allowed to force himself on her physically
  • wife should adorn herself for husband, not allow strangers in the house, take care of his affairs etc

Question: "You hv mentioned the man's responsibilities what about the women's"
Answer: "most men think of their marital responsibilities as being the physical provider. That is rubbish. Part of man's job is to provide emotionally also. Sunnah gives very little on women's duties as the onus falls on men."

Question:"Besides dua how do we get our husbands to practice islam more"
Answer:"if u really wanted ur husband to buy u something what would u do? Cook him a good meal, being nice to him, etc. Use the same technique"

Monday, 22 August 2011

surah baqarah verse 133-141

133. Or were you witnesses when death approached Ya'qub (Jacob)? When he said unto his sons, "What will you worship after me?" They said, "We shall worship your Ilah (God - Allah), the Ilah (God) of your fathers, Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), One Ilah (God), and to Him we submit (in Islam)."

134. That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.

135. And they say, "Be Jews or Christians, then you will be guided." Say (to them, O Muhammad Peace be upon him ), "Nay, (We follow) only the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham),   [Islamic Monotheism, i.e. to worship none but Allah (Alone)], and he was not of Al-Mushrikun (those who worshipped others along with Allah )."

136. Say (O Muslims), "We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob), and to Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya'qub (Jacob)], and that which has been given to Musa (Moses) and 'Iesa (Jesus), and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam)."

137. So if they believe in the like of that which you believe, then they are rightly guided, but if they turn away, then they are only in opposition. So Allah will suffice you against them. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.

138. [Our Sibghah (religion) is] the Sibghah (Religion) of Allah (Islam) and which Sibghah (religion) can be better than Allah's? And we are His worshippers. 

139. Say (O Muhammad Peace be upon him to the Jews and Christians), "Dispute you with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord? And we are to be rewarded for our deeds and you for your deeds. And we are sincere to Him in worship and obedience (i.e. we worship Him Alone and none else, and we obey His Orders)."

140. Or say you that Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob) and Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya'qub (Jacob)] were Jews or Christians? Say, "Do you know better or does Allah (knows better...; that they all were Muslims)? And who is more unjust than he who conceals the testimony [i.e. to believe in Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him when he comes, written in their Books.he has from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of what you do."

141. That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned, and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.


It is said that the Yahoods used to tell the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that it was Hazrat Yaqoob's last wish that they should all stay yahoodis even after his death. Hence the Yahoods raised this issue that how can the Holy Prophet(pbuh) ask them to be Muslims when their father , their ancestor Hazrat Yaqoob had instructed them not to leave their faith and rather stay Yahoods. But this was just another of their baseless excuses as Allah says that were they present at the time of the death of Hazrat Yaqoob. this indicates that these people who were creating hurdles for the Holy prophet (pbuh) were obviously  neither born nor present at the time of the death of Hazrat Yaqoob. Hence it was just a made up story on their part. Allah tells them that they were not there when hazrat Yaqoob asked his sons that who will they worship after his death? His sons replied that they would worship the one and only God who is the Lord of everyone be it Hazrat Yaqoob, Hazrat Ibrahim, Hazrat Ismail or Hazrat Isaac. They all followed the same Allah and it is the same Allah , the sons of Hazrat Yaqoob promised to worship.
the yahoods used to say that since they are from the progeny of Hazrat Ibrahim, the hell fire wont touch them, Hazrat Ibrahim would save them from it. Allah replies that they were a nation that passed away and they would get the reward according to what they earned and did in this world. and what Hazrat Ibrahim and the prophets did, it wont benefit their people because everyone would get what they earned and and they wont be asked about what others did they would only be asked about what they did.
the Jews and Christians said that become either Jews or Christians and then only you would be guided. Allah tells the Holy prophet pbuh to tell that they follow only the religion of Hazrat Ibrahim who worshipped only one Allah and he was not amongst the disbelievers who engaged in Shirk. Yahoods said that Hazrat Ibrahim was Yahoodi and Christians said that Hazrat Ibrahim was a christian but Allah tells them that Hazrat Ibrahim was neither rather he was a staunch believer and worshipper of the One Allah- the Creator of all.
the muslims are being told to reply to the Yahoods and the Christians by saying that we believe in Allah and what He sent down to Hazrat Ibrahim, Hazrat Ismail, Hazrat Isaac , Hazrat Yaqoob and the 12 sons of Hazrat Yaqoob and that which has been given to Hazrat Musa and Hazrat Isa and all other prophets by their Allah. and that the Muslims do not differentiate between the messengers of Allah and have wholly submitted themselves to Allah.
So if they believe in everything the Muslims believe in then they are on the right path and if they turn away then they are in opposition but the Muslims should not fear them because Allah alone is sufficient for help against them.
the religion of Muslims is the religion of the colour of Allah, the colour of love for Allah, the color of the connection with Allah and what is better than the color of Allah. The color of Allah refers to the entire attitude towards anything and everything in life. the real color of Allah or the real attitude in life arises as a result of true faith.
Allah tells the Holy Prophet pbuh to ask the yahoods and the christians that do they argue with them about Allah, the One Lord who is the Lord of everyone then what is the dispute about.  the yahoods and christians will be rewarded for their deeds and the muslim for theirs and none shall be answerable for the other. And the muslims believe and worship only one Lord.
The Yahoods and the christians are being asked that are they saying that Hazrat Ibrahim, Hazrat Ismail, Hazrat Isaac, Hazrat Yaqoob and his 12 sons were yahoods or christians? (the jewish religion started somewhere between 3 B.C and 4B.C  and christianity took birth at the time of Hazrat Isa so obviously Hazrat Ibrahim and his sons were neither christians nor Yahoods). Are they more knowledgeable or Allah. and they are unfair since they concealed the truth from the people when it was explicitly mentioned in their Book that a prophet will come but they refused to accept him even though they recognized him and they hid this truth from others.
Allah again gives a stern reminder that everyone shall be rewarded for whatever  deeds they performed and no one will be answerable for the deeds of others.

Monday, 15 August 2011

surah baqarah verse 123-132

123. And fear the Day (of Judgement) when no person shall avail another, nor shall compensation be accepted from him, nor shall intercession be of use to him, nor shall they be helped.

124. And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) [i.e., Allah] tried him with (certain) Commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him), "Verily, I am going to make you a leader (Prophet) of mankind." [Ibrahim (Abraham)] said, "And of my offspring (to make leaders)." (Allah) said, "My Covenant (Prophethood, etc.) includes not Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers)."

125. And (remember) when We made the House (the Ka'bah at Makkah) a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety. And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham) [or the stone on which Ibrahim (Abraham) stood while he was building the Ka'bah] as a place of prayer (for some of your prayers, e.g. two Rak'at after the Tawaf of the Ka'bah at Makkah), and We commanded Ibrahim (Abraham) and Isma'il (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka'bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I'tikaf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer).

126. And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said, "My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day." He (Allah) answered: "As for him who disbelieves, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!"

127. And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) and (his son) Isma'il (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka'bah at Makkah), (saying), "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower."

128. "Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage - Hajj and 'Umrah, etc.), and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.

129. "Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own (and indeed Allah answered their invocation by sending Muhammad Peace be upon him ), who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book (this Qur'an) and Al-Hikmah (full knowledge of the Islamic laws and jurisprudence or wisdom or Prophethood, etc.), and sanctify them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise."

130. And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham) (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) except him who befools himself? Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous.

131. When his Lord said to him, "Submit (i.e. be a Muslim)!" He said, "I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)."

132. And this (submission to Allah, Islam) was enjoined by Ibrahim (Abraham) upon his sons and by Ya'qub (Jacob), (saying), "O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except in the Faith of Islam (as Muslims - Islamic Monotheism)."

Tafseer :

It is said that the birth of rational thinking started from Hazrat Ibrahim. He was the one who questioned the very rationality of worshipping idols as his people used to do. He said these idols can neither hear,speak, see or move, hence they cannot be God. Thus he started on his quest for the search for Allah. By the Grace of Allah he was guided towards the truth and when he tried to inform his people and his parents about the existence of Allah, he was ridiculed and mocked. one day when everyone in the town had gone to attend some festival he stayed back on some excuse and broke all the idols except the biggest one and hung the hammer in the hands of the biggest idol. When the people returned they were shocked and confused but even then the they denied the message Hazrat Ibrahim tried to convey to them. everyone including his father turned against him.
Hazrat Ibrahim thus had to migrate, hence he went to Makkah where he had a son named Hazrat Ismail. Then Allah told him to leave his wife and son in the deserted valley of Makkah and return to Palestine. He left his wife and son there with no food and no water and his wife asked him that is it the command of Allah to leave them there? He replied yes it is. His wife said that in that case Allah wont let this sacrifice go waste. Years later when Hazrat Ibrahim returns to Makkah and his son has grown up to be 13 years old, Allah commands him to sacrifice his son(the son which Allah blessed him after many prayers) by running a knife through his neck. Hazrat Ibrahim blindfolds himself (so that his fatherly love doesnt stop him from obeying the command of Allah) and runs the knife over his son's neck but Allah saves Hazrat Ismail and in his place sends a ram(male sheep) who is thus sacrificed.
hazrat Ibrahim had to leave his home, his parents, his homecountry,was thrown into fire (but saved by Allah), had to desert his child and wife and was told to sacrifice his son. and he sacrificed everything without once asking "why". as a reward for all his sacrifices Allah made him the Imam of all mankind. today all religions respect Hazrat Ibrahim and there is absolutely no conflict regarding his status be it any religion. but the biggest reward he received from Allah was the title of being the friend of Allah. In Quran Allah has called hazrat Ibrahim as His Khalil(friend).
it's a natural phenomeneon that when a person receives a blessing he immediately thinks of his children. Similarly when Hazrat Ibrahim was made the Imam of all mankind he asked Allah that He will also make Imams from his progeny wont He?But Allah replied that His promise does not extend to the wrongdoers unjust.(Hazrat Ibrahim had quite a few children with the eldest being Hazrat Ismail and the youngest being Hazrat Isaac. Allah gave a high status to the pious children of Hazrat Ibrahim).
Allah took a very important and honourable work from Hazrat Ibrahim by getting the Kaaba constructed by him. Before Hazrat Ibrahim the Kaaba had been built by the angels, then by Hazrat Adam, it was built again after being destroyed by the storm during the time of Hazrat Noah and thus it was the 4th time that it was being constructed when hazrat Ibrahim was entrusted with this task. Kaaba is the only construction in the world which has blessings and rewards even for only looking at it. It is said that the stone, standing on which Hazrat Ibrahim built the Kaaba, that stone had been brought from the Heavens. That stone with the footprints of Hazrat Ibrahim is still intact and Allah has commanded believers to pray 2 rakat Nafal prayers near that place after performing the Tawaaf of Kaaba. Such prestigious status has been given to Hazrat Ibrahim that the stone bearing his footprints has been made a place of worship for the entire Muslim Ummah. Allah commanded Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail to keep the Kaaba pure from all sorts of impurity(garbage) be it the physical impurity or impurity in the form of acts of Shirk, violence so that the place is pure for worship by the believers who prostrate and perform sujood and pray there.
Hazrat Ibrahim prayed to Allah for peace, security and food for only the believers of Allah but Allah said that He would provide for even the non-believers for only a little while before tormenting him with his final abode of Hell fire ( this goes to show that even if things are perfectly well in this world it does not necessarily mean that Allah is happy with the people in question. It may just be that Allah is giving them a chance to come back on track.)
Even after being blessed with the honour of being responsible for building the House of Allah, there was no arrogance or haughtiness in Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail rather they were praying for the acceptance of their efforts. They prayed that Oh Allah make us obedient and raise Muslim Ummah from our progeny (thus the muslim ummah today is a result of the prayers of Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail). They prayed to Allah to tell them the ways of worship of Allah (asking for knowledge).
They also prayed to Allah to send a messenger to mankind from their progeny who would guide people through the message and ayats of Allah, would convey the message of Quran and give them complete knowledge of Islam (Allah accepted this prayer as well by sending Hazrat Mohammad as the last messenger and made his Sunnah and Hadith a source of knowledge for the entire muslim ummah).
The yahoods accepted the religion being preached by Hazrat Ibrahim but when Holy Prophet preached the same religion, they engaged in conflicts primarily because they resented the fact that Holy Prophet was not from Bani Israel.
Allah chose Hazrat Ibrahim as being among the pious people in this world as well as in the hereafter. such is the love of Allah for Hazrat Ibrahim that He preserved even his footprints and made it a place of worship. Hazrat Ibrahim was worthy of this prestigious and honourable status in the eyes of Allah because he followed all the commandments of Allah without questioning and complaining. and this same form of submission was enjoined by Hazrat Ibrahim on his sons and by Hazrat Yaqoob whereby they told their children to feel honoured as Allah has chosen the most perfect religion for them and to die as none but Muslims- as followers of the faith

Saturday, 13 August 2011

surah baqarah verse 112-122

112. Yes, but whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follows Allah's Religion of Islamic Monotheism) and he is a Muhsin (good-doer i.e. performs good deeds totally for Allah's sake only without any show off or to gain praise or fame, etc., and in accordance with the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger Muhammad Peace be upon him ) then his reward is with his Lord (Allah), on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

113. The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture. Like unto their word, said (the pagans) who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection about that wherein they have been differing.

114. And who is more unjust than those who forbid that Allah's Name be glorified and mentioned much (i.e. prayers and invocations, etc.) in Allah's Mosques and strive for their ruin? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them (Allah's Mosques) except in fear. For them there is disgrace in this world, and they will have a great torment in the Hereafter.

115. And to Allah belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn yourselves or your faces there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne). Surely! Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knowing.

116. And they (Jews, Christians and pagans) say: Allah has begotten a son (children or offspring). Glory be to Him (Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him). Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth, and all surrender with obedience (in worship) to Him.

117. The Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it : "Be!" - and it is.

118. And those who have no knowledge say: "Why does not Allah speak to us (face to face) or why does not a sign come to us?" So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike, We have indeed made plain the signs for people who believe with certainty.

119. Verily, We have sent you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) with the truth (Islam), a bringer of glad tidings (for those who believe in what you brought, that they will enter Paradise) and a warner (for those who disbelieve in what you brought, they will enter the Hell-fire). And you will not be asked about the dwellers of the blazing Fire.
120. Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) till you follow their religion. Say: "Verily, the Guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur'an), then you would have against Allah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper.
121. Those (who embraced Islam from Bani Israel) to whom We gave the Book [the Taurat (Torah)] [or those (Muhammad's Peace be upon him companions) to whom We have given the Book (the Qur'an)] recite it (i.e. obey its orders and follow its teachings) as it should be recited (i.e. followed), they are the ones that believe therein. And whoso disbelieves in it (the Qur'an), those are they who are the losers.
122. O Children of Israel! Remember My Favour which I bestowed upon you and that I preferred you to the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns) (of your time-period, in the past).

those who surrender and submit themselves to Allah and perform good deeds for the Sole purpose of pleasing Allah rather than to show off and attain fame and praises of people, his rewards will be with Allah and he need not fear.
the christians felt that they were the loved ones of Allah and that the Yahood were worth nothing. On the other hand, the Yahoods felt that they were on the right path and the christians were astray. The christians said that since the Yahood had tried to kill Hazrat Isa and had not accepted him as the messenger of Allah, hence they cannot be the loved ones of Allah. Then those who had no knowledge of the Book(the habitants of Makkah at that time) , they used to talk in a similar manner. they considered themselves to be pious and from the progeny of Hazrat Ibrahim and hence they considered the Yahood and the christians to be worthless in the eyes of Allah. for them reading and conveying the message of the book was not important, rather for them the good deeds were limited to performing hajj, providing water for the pilgrims and looking after the House of Allah. hence everyone(those who read the Book of Allah and those who didnt) were all at the same level.
when the Christians took over Bait ul Muqaddas, they kicked out all the Yahoods and even when Hazrat Umer conquered it, at the time of handing over the keys, this condition was stated that the Yahoods should not be allowed there.
The people of Makkah made Holy Prophet(pbuh) and his companions leave Makkah and at the time of Hudaibiya when the Holy Prophet wanted to perform Tawaaf of Kaaba, the people of Makkah refused and told him to come next year.
Allah says there no one can be more unjust and unfair than those who stop people from coming to Allah's house of worship and prevent them from the worship of Allah. for such people there is severe disgrace in this world and torment in the hereafter. (the disgrace of the world has been witnessed already when in 8th hijri Makkah got conquered and the people of Makkah lost their control over the House of Kaaba which had been their cause of arrogance. Similarly rome was ruled by christians but when it was conquered during the time of Hazrat Umer it put an end to their era of rule and control even of the Bait ul Muqadddas.)
although it is compulsory to turn the face towards Qibla for the obligatory prayers but Allah says that no matter whichever direction you turn in, you will find Allah. This verse is a starter for the change of Qibla to be explained ahead. the qibla was going to change from jerusalem to Kaaba and conspiracies and issues were bound to arise, hence Allah says here that be it east or west, every direction belongs to Allah Himself. The fixing of qibla is only for convenience so that there is unanimity and unity among the muslim ummah whereby they face the same direction no matter wherever in the world in they are.
The christians used to say that Hazrat Isa is the son of Allah (nauzubillah). To this Allah replies that He is pure, He owns everything in the heavens and the earth and He is above all to whom everyone surrenders in obedience and submission.
Then its said that Allah created everything from scratch i.e. everything has been created out of nothing. there was nothing to create it from yet He kept creating and He is the creator of the heavens and the earth from nothing. He just says "Be" and it becomes. His command is sufficient and all that is required.
Then Allah talks about the people of Makkah that they complained that why does Allah not speak to them, why do they not receive any signs or miracles.all the people to whom Allah sent His messengers,they all said they same thing. for those who believe there are clear signs and guidance through Holy Prophet pbuh who brought the Truth to everyone with the glad tidings of Heaven for those who believe in the word of Allah and warns the disbelievers about hell being their abode. and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) will not be questioned about the disbelievers because they had been given the option and they chose to become the dwellers of Hell.
Then Allah is telling the Holy Prophet pbuh that the christians and the yahoods would never believe in the message of Allah he brings to them, unless he accepts their ways and beliefs. their arrogance would never let them follow the ways of the Prophet so he should not expect them to do so.Allah tells the Holy Prophet(pbuh) that even after acquiring the Truth if SUPPOSEDLY the Holy Prophet manages to get dissuaded by their scholars and their people then he should remember that there is no bigger protector, guardian and friend other than Allah.
those who have been blessed with the Book of Allah and who read it like its supposed to be read are the true believers. how is it supposed to be read is the real question. there are certain rights of the Quran which need to be given:
  • belief in it that indeed it is the Book of Allah.
  • reciting it with proper pronounciations (tajweed, makharij etc)
  • understanding the meaning
  • pondering over whatever is being said in the Book
  • acting on it. implementing its commandments in daily life
  • spreading the word and knowledge to others

and those who disbelieve in Quran and do not give it its proper rights, they will suffer losses.
althought originally this verse was for the Christians and Yahood (where Torah, Zaboor and Injeel would be the Book in question) but it refers to Muslims as well( where the Book in question is Quran).
At the end Allah once again reminds the Bani Israel of the numerous blessings of Allah on them. they were made rulers, prophets came from within them, they were blessed with the book of Allah(Torah) and most importantly Allah chose them for spreading His message to the world, to work for His religion.

Friday, 12 August 2011

verse 104-111

104. O you who believe! Say not (to the Messenger Peace be upon him ) Ra'ina but say Unzurna (Do make us understand) and hear. And for the disbelievers there is a painful torment.

105. Neither those who disbelieve among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) nor Al-Mushrikun (the disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, idolaters, polytheists, pagans, etc.) like that there should be sent down unto you any good from your Lord. But Allah chooses for His Mercy whom He wills. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.

106. Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?

107. Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth? And besides Allah you have neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper.

108. Or do you want to ask your Messenger (Muhammad Peace be upon him ) as Musa (Moses) was asked before (i.e. show us openly our Lord?) And he who changes Faith for disbelief, verily, he has gone astray from the right way.

109. Many of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their ownselves, even, after the truth (that Muhammad Peace be upon him is Allah's Messenger) has become manifest unto them. But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His Command. Verily, Allah is Able to do all things.

110. And perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, and whatever of good (deeds that Allah loves) you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allah. Certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what you do.

111. And they say, "None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian." These are their own desires. Say (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ), "Produce your proof if you are truthful."


these verses are now being directed at the believers(Ahl-e-Iman). The Holy Prophet(pbuh) used to hold sermons and whenever a listener or a companion of the Prophet(pbuh) failed to understand anything they would say Ra'ina (be considerate towards us as we are weak).  the Yahood changed this word into Ra'iinaa (oh our shepherd) . these words they addressed to the Holy Prophet so Allah said to the believers that they should stop using this word altogether and rather say Unzurna (make us understand). Allah went on to say that rather the believers should pay attention for the first time when something is being said. Allah took this approach of rectifying and changing the ways and habits of the believers rather than warning the Yahoods to pull their act together and act sensibly.
the christians, Yahood and the non believers didnt want the believers to receive any blessing or gift of Allah. Here the blessing refers to prophethood. the non-believers resented the fact that why worship only One God and the People of the Book(Christians and Yahoods) resented that prophethood was sent on Bani Ismail and not on them.
The Yahood raised the issues that:
1. If Quran is the Book of Allah then why is it different from the previous book i.e. the Torah. why do commandments follow one after the other?
2. if the Torah is the Book of Allah then why is there the need for another book (Quran).

Allah is responding to the isssues raised by Yahood in these verses by saying that Allah does not cause the previous verses and the words of Allah to be abrogated or forgotten , rather He brings better commandments that are similar to the previous ones. The reason for this is that the Muslim Ummah was undergoing social,mental and intellectual evolution at that time and hence a an evolution in the Shariah was also required.
the biggest logic of Islam is the gradual advent of any command. one after the other commandment is received to eventually reach the final commandment for instance in the case of declaring wine to be forbidden and Haram and many other such examples. These are all the wisdom of Allah and we with our limited knowledge and intelligence cannot possibly attempt to understand the wisdom behind the doings of Allah SubhanatAllah. And He is the sole creator and authority over the heavens and the earth and there is no protector, helper or guardian other than Him.
When Hazrat Musa told the Yahood to sacrifice a cow (as in the previous verses) the indulged in asking unnecessary and excessive questions.this ayat may also be addressed to Muslims( an incident where a person asked the Holy Prophet(pbuh) that is it compulsory to perform Hajj every year. The Prophet(pbuh) stayed quiet even when the question was repeated again. When asked for the third time, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that if he says yes it would become compulsory and hence a burden on the believers and Allah does not want to burden them.) The believers are being told in this verse not to engage in excessive and unnecessary questions and since it would not only waste the time of the preacher but also dissuade him from his real work. Excessive questions move the believers away from the right path.
The non believers wanted to trick the believers and move them away from the Truth, instigate them against Islam and bring them on the path of kufr (disbelieving). they did this solely because of envy and jealousy which took birth within them after the teachings of the Truth. In this situation it would have been totally natural for the believers to retaliate but Allah stopped them and told them to forgive the believers and let them do whatever they want until further commandment(i.e. truimph of Islam) from Allah is received. And perform Salah and give zakat and do good deeds so that they may be rewarded by Allah.

the christians were convinced that they will go to Heaven and the Yahoods were under the same impression. Allah tells them to bring forth any evidence whereby Allah promised them such a blessing. Heaven is meant for those who do good deeds and who submit themselves solely to Allah.